RSS Feed

Category Archives: commentary

Why Can’t I Celebrate Father’s Day Like a Normal Blogger?

Let me preface this post by saying that I have a terrific father.  He is fun, he is funny, he gives great advice and he is always there for me.  However, I wanted to make a kind of a different Father’s Day post, perhaps involving pictures, so I thought I would discuss a couple movies in which fathers play a key role.  Spoiler Alert!  I may give away a few salient plot points along the way, so if you have never seen The Wolf Man or Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, you may like watch them before reading this.

Last night we watched a movie involving a rather sad father and son story, The Wolf Man with Claude Rains and Lon Chaney Jr., as the father and son, respectively.  Chaney returns home, because his elder brother has died.  There is a nice scene where Chaney and Rains discuss how they don’t talk about their feelings and so are not that close, but that they are going to try to do better in the future.  Then, of course, Chaney gets turned into a werewolf and comes to a bad end, and it is very tragic, in addition to being a scary monster movie.

“Holy crap, I DO look like hell first thing in the morning!”

I can’t find a good shot of Claude Rains, but here is Lon Chaney, Jr., looking stunned and horrified at what he has become.  Bela Lugosi also has a small but pivotal role.

Not as slick as when he played the Count, perhaps, but, still, Bela.

Another movie I watched recently in which the father plays a pivotal role, although not nearly as large a role, is Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.  In fact, Victor Buono, as Charlotte’s (the incomparable Bette Davis) father, is listed as Guest Star on the DVD cover.  He is an extremely important character, however.  In the opening scene, he orders Charlotte’s married boyfriend to break things off with her.  When the boyfriend is subsequently murdered, the father whisks Charlotte off to Europe, so she is never forced to face charges for a murder she may (or may NOT) have committed.  Dear old Dad is dead for most of the picture, but his shadow looms over the proceedings.  One thing that cannot be denied is that he loved his daughter, and she him.

Clockwise from top left: Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotton, Mary Astor, Victor Buono, and Agnes Moorehead.

And, just for me, here is a shot of Davis, chewing the scenery divinely:

“Don’t you tell me to hush!”

I know, you all thought I was going to talk about Atticus Finch or Spencer Tracy.  I don’t know why you thought that, but never mind.  I will repeat that my own father is an awesome human being, and I wish a Happy Father’s Day to him and all fathers.

 

 

Run then Rationalize

As soon as I started my run today, my legs were not happy with me.  I had been up and had coffee but nothing to eat.  Well, if I would have eaten something, I would have wanted to wait a little while for it to digest, and then it might have been to warm and I’d have had plenty of time to talk myself out of it.  I told myself I did not have to run as long as I ran yesterday.  After all, last weekend I ran 67 minutes Saturday and only 45 Sunday.  I had upped my time by the recommended ten percent to 74 minutes yesterday.  It might be a good idea to ran the same today, but I do not always follow the idea course in my running.

I wasn’t going to run any hills, either.  I had made up my mind to that, although I confess I was not as comfortable with that decision. There are a lot of hills on the Boilermaker (that is the 15K road race in Utica, NY, I am signed up to run on July 9, for anybody just tuning in).  I don’t have to run hills EVERY day, I argued.  A little voice in my head said, “Oh, just start running, you’ll talk yourself into it as you go.” As soon as I started running, my legs informed me that we were NOT going to run any hills and we certainly were not going to run for an hour and fourteen minutes.

Cutting right to the chase, I’ll tell you:  I did not run any hills but I did run for an hour and fourteen minutes.  I crossed State Street and ran on a bunch of streets I don’t usually run on, so it was a very interesting run.  I’ll have to walk it sometime with my Tablet and take pictures to share.  I probably won’t be doing that today, though.  It’s not that my legs would object (they LOVE to walk), but it is supposed to be close to 90 degrees and sunny today.  I’m kind of a vampire.  I admire a sunny day, but it doesn’t pay me to get too close.

As I was running, I was narrating in my head.  It seemed pretty interesting at the time, but now I’m not so sure.  Then again, it is Wrist to Forehead Sunday.   I think this brief description of my run will suffice.  Now you have time to read other blogs.  Isn’t that generous of me?  Yes, yes, I know, that is only a rationalization, but rationalization is not always a bad thing.  To prove this I will end with a quote from the movie The Big Chill:

Jeff Goldblum character:  Don’t knock rationalization, where would we be without it?  I don’t know anybody who can get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations; they’re more important than sex.

Tom Berenger character: Nothing’s more important than sex.

Jeff Goldblum character:  Oh yeah?  Ever go a week without a rationalization?

If I do not have the lines exactly right, sorry.  I don’t have a rationalization for that, but I hope you will forgive me.

 

But I Wanted to Save a Life

I seem to remember making a note to myself in another blog post to the effect that if I am scheduled to donate blood, I should make my blog post in advance so I do not have to worry about it once I’m all woozy.  Yeah, like that was going to happen with all the trouble I’ve been having writing blog posts lately!  Anyways, I’m not as woozy as I have been other times I have given blood.  I say I was… moderately woozy.  I can rock this.

First, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone who is able to, to give blood.  Yes, yes, I know some people have health problems or don’t weigh enough or have other legitimate reasons for deferral.  For people who are scared of needles… for heavens’ sake, NOBODY likes needles!  I daresay even heroin addicts have a bad moment right before they get their fix (although, I admit, I know very little about heroin).   For people who are afraid of passing out, I point to a fellow I knew back in the 1980’s.  He was a six-foot tall, healthy, athletic young man (they called him Lurch), and he said he passed out EVERY time he gave blood.  And he still gave.  For people who fear they will get woozy, well, that’s me.

Ooh, one other thing.  Some people do not want to give blood, because they’re afraid some real stinker will get it,  you know, somebody whose life they would NOT want to save.  Well, any time you give any kind of donation anywhere, there is a chance that it will go to somebody who does not particularly deserve it.  Besides, you don’t know that.  Your blood might save the person who finds the cure for cancer.  Or makes the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl you have a bet on.

Well, that’s enough time on the soapbox.  Of course any donation is an individual choice, and I promise to respect others’ choices, so nobody needs to tell me “don’t judge”  (a spurious exhortation at best, as I will explain in a future blog post someday).

Now I see I am over 350 words, which is not bad for a woozy post.  I was going to go for a Non-Sequitur Thursday, but I couldn’t think of a punchy enough headline.  We’ll just hit Publish and hope for the best.

 

Red Wine, Red Blood, Happy New Year!

So there I was, ready to get this New Year’s Eve party started.  I only lacked my husband Steven (the only other guest expected since Spunky the dog was already here) and all the food I said I was going to fix.  I thought it would be a good idea to open a bottle of wine, so I could sip a little while I chopped and mixed.  And then things got ugly.  A short time later, I was posting the following on Facebook:

“So I open a bottle of wine, so I can enjoy a libation while I fix the snacks. Somehow a chip gets broken off the rim of the bottle, and I cut my thumb! It’s bleeding big red drops (although a very pretty color)! I get a Band-aid on it and go to cry on Facebook, and it’s STILL bleeding! I fortunately do not bleed on my laptop. I employ pressure and elevation for a short time and it seems to have done the trick. Then I see my thumb is bleeding from two places. Two Band-aids later, I wonder if I can be trusted with a knife.”

It really does seem OK, but you know what a drama queen I am (it’s a little awkward to hit the space bar with the band-aids on my thumb)  (it is my right hand, by the way).  I thought it might be a good idea to make my blog post before attempting any further culinary adventures.  I’m even thinking in a vague sort of way of sending out for pizza and making all the fun party snacks I planned tomorrow instead.

In the meantime, I had meant to write my blog post about quite a different thing.  I was going to talk about resolutions vs goals and strive for some profound thoughts about improving myself.  Or I was going to get all introspective about the passage of time and change and our own perceptions of what makes a good year.  I even had some vague notion of musing on these artificial milestones we invent for ourselves:  Why is one revolution around the sun called a year?  Who even figured out how we got back to the same place in the planetary ellipse?

And here I am, doing what once got a professor really annoyed with me:  writing about what I’m not going to write about (in my defense, he only wanted a two page paper; how much could I say in that?).  My thumb is fine; my wine glass is almost empty.  However, I feel disinclined to begin cooking or refill the glass, because a little dog (above-mentioned third guest at the party) is snuggled up next to me so cozily, I hate to disturb him.  Happy New Year, everyone.

 

Crime for Christmas

Thank God for Snapped on Oxygen!  There I was, listening to Christmas music while trying to get presents together, and all of a sudden I just couldn’t take the Christmas!  I wanted murder!  Oh dear, that didn’t sound very good, did it?  I was going to post this as my Facebook status when I thought it might do for a blog post.  Perhaps it is too macabre and unseasonal a thought for either venue.

So this was going to be a Scattered Saturday post, or perhaps a brief shout-out to Heidelberg Bakery, where I went first thing this morning. It’s just going to be one of those Posts About Why I Can’t Write a Post Today.   I think my post-Christmas letdown came early, so folks who are still high on the fa-la-la might want to skip this one.

Christmas Eve used to be my favorite day of the year.  I realized today that this is no longer the case.  And, you know what?  As soon as I typed those last two sentences, I no longer wanted to kvetch.  Why should I rain on everybody else’s holidays?  That’s more of a job for Ben’s Bitter Blog.  I wouldn’t like to horn in on his territory, although there might yet be room in the bitter pond, even with the incredible number already there.

The fact is, writing is working its usual magic.  Putting words on the keyboard (paper works, too) is putting me in a better mood.  I DO love Christmas!  And I love Christmas Eve! And I love watching true crime shows!  I’m going to write a murder mystery that takes place at Christmas-time.  In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all my readers, or Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Saturday.  I hope your December 24 is grand.

(Although I guess my WordPress site is going to say this was posted on the 25th.  I am always off kilter.)

 

We Can’t All Be the Grinch

My house is back online, just in time for Wuss-out Wednesday.  Instead of sitting at Basloe Library (a perfectly wonderful place to be, but I have to wear a bra and shoes ) I am lounged on my couch.  But it is still Wuss-out Wednesday.  My brain is dead.  My body is not doing much better, but my purpose is not to complain but to blog, possibly to entertain.  At least I may entertain myself.  That’s something.

Steven is watching The Year Without a Santa Claus.  Yay, Snow Miser and Heat Miser!  Did anybody here Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s cover of their song?  An awesome rendition.  However, I have a few problems with this special.  I guess I could do worse for a Wuss-out Wednesday post than mention them.

A friend pointed out that the whole plot is a little shaky.  The two elves go in search of Christmas spirit so Santa will not take the day off.  Then the mayor says if it will snow, he will get all the mayors together and give Santa… the day off!  I gotta say what I say when confronted with a plot hole in a cheesy horror movie:  Waaaaait a minute!

My first problem happens before the elves take off, though.  Mrs. Claus has the wonderful song, “Anyone Can Be Santa Claus,” her first plan being to impersonate the fat man herself.  I quite frankly thought (the first time I saw it, and I still think it) that this is a marvelous idea.  Of course anyone can be Santa Claus!  All you have to do is give somebody something! EVERYBODY should be Santa Claus!  But, no, Mrs. Claus is shot down almost immediately.  SHE can’t be Santa Claus.  Only the REAL Santa Claus will do.

Now don’t tell me it would have been a shorter story if Mrs. Claus had just delivered the toys.  They could have  put in a lot of twists and turns if they had gone with that plot line.  No, I’m not going to write it.  If you can’t think of any twists and turns yourself, just take my word for it.

The biggest problem I have always had with this special is the same one I have with almost all the Christmas specials about Santa Claus.  Christmas = presents.   All I can hear in my head is Boris Karloff saying, “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Well I won’t wax philosophical about that tonight (regular readers know that half-baked philosophy belongs on Lame Post Friday).   I’ll just enjoy the fun music and charming animation (so retro), while I ponder the Christmas spirit.  I hope you are all having a lovely December so far.

 

Alliteration before Auditions

I’m afraid it’s Middle-aged Musings Monday, or Mental Meanderings Monday (choose your alliteration).  I’m sitting in Basloe Library in Herkimer, NY, with my usual Monday back-ache (and you were hoping I could get through a post without griping about my physical ills) (quite frankly, so was I), sipping coffee and typing on my laptop.

I will just mention that there is something vaguely comforting about my Monday back-ache.  I won’t pretend to be so twisted that I enjoy having a back-ache, but at least it feels familiar.  Does that make any sense?  Does anything make any sense?  How about that headline?  Let’s talk about that.

After famously saying, “No more plays!” after Much Ado About Nothing (a truly grand theatrical experience, thank you, LiFT!), I am planning to go to Ilion Little Theatre tonight to audition for Steel Magnolias.  Oh come on, did anybody seriously believe I wasn’t going to?  Of course, there is no guarantee I will get a part.  It actually might be kind of better if I don’t get one.  I mean, I’m writing three or four murder mysteries.  They are scheduled for February, March, April and TBD.  More details to follow.

I’ll tell you what, this is not the best place to sit with a laptop.  The florescent lights are reflected in my screen in a most annoying fashion.  I just re-tilted in an attempt to minimize the effect.

Where was I?  Ah yes, too busy to be in another play.  Additionally, the deadline looms for Mohawk Valley Living magazine.  My computer problems have delayed my getting my articles written and submitted.  To be more exact, my dithery, ineffective attempts at dealing with my computer problems have had that effect.  A more organized writer would have handily completed said articles.  Here we come to the ugly truth about me.

On the other hand, I see it is 4:24 according to my computer.  That is almost two hours before my ride will pick me up to go to auditions (it’s so much more comfortable to go to these things with a friend!).  I can progress on my articles now!  As Gene Wilder famously said in Young Frankenstein:  “IT!  COULD!  WORK!”