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Rated: 13+ · Book · Cultural · #1437803
My blog. I'm opionated and I just want to sound off.
This is a way of making myself write something coherent and grammatically correct almost every day. I'm opinionated and need an outlet. I'm also prone to flights of fancy. Thanks for stopping by.
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July 4, 2015 at 10:47am
July 4, 2015 at 10:47am
Have a joyous day as you reflect on the meaning of freedom.
July 3, 2015 at 11:37pm
July 3, 2015 at 11:37pm
         I'm excited about cowboy weekend. INSP is showing westerns all this weekend for the holiday. I don't know what that has to do with July 4th, but I guess it is special programming for them. I hope to see some old movies I haven't seen in a while, maybe a John Wayne western.

         I'm going to a last minute get-together at a nearby friend's house Saturday night. She lives on the side of a mountain, so we'll walk up the hill in her subdivision and watch the city fireworks from a distance. But she's a good cook, so we'll have a nice dinner first. One guest uses a walker, so it won't be like getting exercise.

         I will also go to my subdivision parade in the morning. It's about 5 very long blocks that circle around in the middle. This year they're having fire trucks. Kids decorate their bicycles. Parents pull kids in wagons. People get out their old convertibles or collector cars and hang red, white, and blue ribbons. It progresses slowly, of course. It lasts about half an hour, tops.

         They serve hot dogs, free, by the pool to residents only, but I always pass on that. That's at the far end and would require a car ride. We don't join the pool, but the picnic is for everyone. I'm just not into hot dogs enough to go.

         I've had my share of traffic on the 4th, so I prefer to stay close to home. I've been stuck in downtown DC, trying to get out to the suburbs to my car, while the subway kept breaking down. It was hot; people were packed in like sardines. People stood holding onto the overhead rails with one hand, holding dearly to coolers and bags with the other. It made you think, "Don't you wish everybody used Dial?" I'll never do anything like that again.

         My quiet version is much more to my liking. I had planned to sit on the hill with my Dad near the house. I invited him to go with me to my friend's, but he declined, so I'll have to cook for him before I go. He'll be watching the celebrations on TV when I get back. I'll flip to a Western on the other TV.

July 2, 2015 at 11:13pm
July 2, 2015 at 11:13pm
         I think old films are becoming my passion. I saw Peter Sellers and Britt Eckland, his wife, in The Bobo. Not one of his greatest, I'd say. The story came from a much earlier book, which I have not read. The movie script presents a very implausible plot. The movie is in English, but the setting is in Spain; everyone has an accent, but they come across as French or Italian. I can see why it was not critically acclaimed. I don't think a modern remake would work without a major overhaul on the story line.

         Britt Eckland isn't bad as the beautiful young woman who loves only rich men and knows that she is beautiful. She's not overtly trashy as in today's movies, but is very confident and knows her beauty gives her power. She revels in luxury and attention. I don't know enough about her to know if she ever did anything except beautiful, sexy femme fatale roles.

         On the other hand, Hawaii, starring Julie Andrews and Max Von Sydow, was wonderful and stands the test of time. I did see this decades ago, but remember the good parts and appreciate some others more. This was Ms Andrews first non-musical movie, and she was stellar. Von Sydow's character is despicable at the beginning, difficult to love at the end, but he has the most developed role, By the end, even though you might not have loved his personality, you admired him and realized he was a better man than all the more tolerable characters.

         This, too, came from a book. James Michener is a marvelous author who teaches in his stories and does tons of research. I'm sure the book reveals so much more than the movie. Watching the people dying of measles was heart-rending. Seeing how the people who came to liberate the islands profited from it was an eye-opener, too.

         The three main Hawaiian characters are excellent actors, but they never claimed much fame. The Ali Lui (queen) was terrific. The handsome young man died with all his dreams and hopes crushed, and the viewer feels the loss. Yet, the movie wasn't really about the Hawaiians, but about those well-meaning people who invaded their islands.
July 1, 2015 at 11:44pm
July 1, 2015 at 11:44pm
         The deer ate all the green beans in our small raised garden. It seems that deer in cities and subdivisions just outside the city have gotten tame. They aren't afraid of us and think our yards are for their enjoyment. They aren't even bothered by traffic or dogs. You can try various cloth traps and things that are supposed to irritate them, but they get used to it and go in the garden anyway. I read that Coast soap shaved into pieces and distributed around the garden will keep them away. I tried it, but the soap melted in the sun and didn't stop anything.

         On the other hand, we do have little eggplants and green peppers growing in pots on the back porch. The pots are high up on railings and you have to go up steps or a wheelchair ramp to get to the porch. So far the deer and other critters have stayed off the porch. The squirrels, the birds, and the insects have them all to themselves. I also have chives, dill, and flowers on the porch. It was hard to pick the strawberries before the birds got them.

         These are regular green peppers. I know that when planted in pots, they aren't as productive as when planted in the ground. The eggplant was bred for patio boxes, so we'll wait and see what they do. I don't expect any great size to them.

         So now we're discussing the costs of tall fencing, or something that shocks, versus just eliminating the garden and all its work. If we do the latter, I will certainly miss those home grown tomatoes. Nothing in the store comes close to one grown by you or a neighbor.
June 29, 2015 at 11:03pm
June 29, 2015 at 11:03pm
         At the end of a yard sale, they were giving small things away. I found a reference book called The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network TV Shows. The subtitle is "1946-Present". Well, it was copyrighted in 1979. So the "present" is 1979. I like old TV, so I took it.

         I've had a great deal of fun with it already. There is a great index of actors, a list of hit theme songs, and a list of the most popular shows by year. Most of the book is an alphabetical listing of the shows by title, with a synopsis and a brief history. I've already cross-referenced a lot of things. I've discovered my favorite stars were in more shows than I knew about.

         It's amazing how something cheap/free can bring so much entertainment. This one actually feeds my more recent addictions: vintage TV watching. Now I want to find the book that covers the following 35 years. That would take me up to 2014. If I run across a book on old movies, I'll be busy for years.
June 28, 2015 at 10:57pm
June 28, 2015 at 10:57pm
         There are "doers". Every organization needs them. The ones who weed the lawn at the church or the club, who cook the meals, who volunteer to do the books, or do security. Every charity and civic organization needs doers, the ones behind the scenes, who take no glory, but tend to the heat or a/c and lights, who clean up and lock up. We can't function without them. Homes and corporations, even hospitals are the same way, whether they are paid positions or not.

         But there are also listeners, readers, and thinkers. They're needed, too. People who like to write tend to be in this category more than the first. It's tough to decide which one we need to be at times. When do we let the grass grow another day or two and spend time with a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on. Do we sometimes miss the "rock star" or the "angel" when we have the opportunity to bask in their company, because we're busy doing laundry, washing dishes, or running errands? Those things need to be done, but do they need to be done right now?

         When we are old and gray, will we lament the missed opportunities to just hang out with someone who became famous? Will we regret not watching the sunset with someone we valued? We don't want to be remembered as lazy or irresponsible. But do we want to be remembered as workaholics, or self-involved, or too busy for friends and family? I am confident that I will not lie on my deathbed and say, "I wish I had done more housework" or yard work or commuting.

         Mary and Martha were two sisters, or relatives, in the New Testament. Neither one was wrong. But Martha was jealous and resentful that Mary wasn't helping her prepare the feast for company. She went to Jesus to get him to send Mary into the kitchen. But he told her that Mary was taking advantage of his presence while the time was available. We don't know if Martha understood, or if Mary even heard the conversation. But he indicated to her that listening to him, asking questions, was more important than feeding him.

         It's up up to us, moment by moment, to discern when we need to carry on business and when we need to stop and listen.
June 27, 2015 at 11:39pm
June 27, 2015 at 11:39pm
         I've seen the ads for making a good living copy writing. It turns out that what they mean is writing those long boring, repetitive ads that drive you crazy when you click on one of those catchy titles. It's deceitfulness actually. I certainly don't want to be one of those people.

         You know those tag lines you see on a search page or on Facebook or other websites that carry ads for other people. You click to see what can relieve arthritis or help you shed those last 5 pounds or which 5 foods you should never, ever eat. Twenty-three minutes later in a PowerPoint Presentation which is just an oral reading of the written word, you finally find out what they're selling, and its exorbitant price. Boy, do you feel misled! Worse, you're now targeted by other ads like that one!

         These ads are extremely repetitive. Every time you feel like a point is about to be made, they write, "more about that in a moment". Then they go on with testimonials. Nothing has changed in hundreds of years. They're still selling "snake oil" or books or pills, but not face to face. It's on your computer.

         I couldn't make a living by lying and writing crap and fooling people. But then I couldn't run phone scams or do identity theft either. They are all ways of manipulating people, whether direct dishonesty, or just conniving to sell a book or "system". I suppose the copy writers feel like people are at least getting something tangible for their money, even if it isn't the miracle they're painting.
June 26, 2015 at 11:46pm
June 26, 2015 at 11:46pm
         My church had a yard sale this weekend. They're making a profit. Thursday was for members only, but Friday and Saturday were open to the public. The members donated everything from furniture and lamps, rugs, sheets, small appliances, books, toys to a new TV.

         A member died recently without close family. She left her clothes, household goods, and personal affects to the church, except for heirlooms designated to her nieces and nephews. She was very neat and particular, so everything is in good shape. We didn't do clothes for the yard sale, so the ladies of a very small size had already gone through her very nice wardrobe. What they didn't take went to Good Will and the area clothing closet. (The people who go to the clothing closet tend to want outdoor clothing, jeans, durable clothes, not fancy sweaters or wool skirts.) I bought her recliner with an electric lift for my father. I just have to figure out how to get it into the house and up the stairs, once I get it here.

         This morning, my dad told me he wanted a floor lamp he had seen there. So I went back today and got the last one they had. It was $5. I wouldn't have bought it because it looks old and worn. The shade isn't the original. But it had an expensive bulb in it. If he doesn't like it, I'll give it away. For $5 I can't lose. It's his house, and he keeps knocking over the expensive "day" lights and breaking them, so $5 is the right price for him.

         The church is making a lot of money from the donations. People are leaving with what they think are treasures. Volunteers have manned the doors and money. We will use all of the proceeds to do mission projects, mostly in our town, but some to a Haiti project.
June 25, 2015 at 10:39pm
June 25, 2015 at 10:39pm
         Sounds like a title for a good scary novel. But it's a TV show. Uh huh. I watched an hour show. The camera fortunately blurs our the appropriate circles of film. Two individuals actually go out naked on some uncivilized island or jungle and have to survive for 21 days, with only one tool each, no food or water.

         This sounded crazy. I thought a few minutes and I would be done. But I watched the whole thing. They are screened in advance for good health and physical endurance. They do not carry bug spray, sunglasses or sun screen, soap or toothpaste, or toilet paper. They have no compass, only a map. Each is driven separately, having never met each other.

         When they reach the drop off point, they strip, and they are given a burlap sack which drapes over one shoulder or around the neck and conveniently hangs over their privates at times. The sack is used to carry any food or things they pick up. They are given their choice of a tool. On the show I saw, the woman chose some weird kind of knife. The man picked a pot with lid, so they could boil water. No they do not have matches. They are dropped off about a mile apart and wander around to meet up for the first time.

         And wouldn't you know, it would be one man, one woman. Naked. How many people really want to endure something like that? Not a sexy atmosphere. A survival atmosphere with someone of the opposite sex, naked, unarmed, grubbing to survive. The bugs are everywhere. They sweat in the heat. The bare skin burns in the sun. And they can't find clean drinking water. They know there is some in the jungle, but there's also alligators there.

         In this episode, they decide shelter is their first priority because of the sun and heat. The guy actually does a good job of building a frame with natural materials latched together and pushed into the sand. She uses her knife to cut green branches with broad leaves. That becomes the roof and the beds. By the second day, they hide in the shade of the shelter, but realize they are dehydrated and must find water. They turn to snails, eaten raw, for protein. He knows this works from book knowledge. Successfully building a fire turns out to be a severe problem for them.

         At the end of the show, they rank them again. Both have lost a lot of weight, him more than her. Their feet are cut up, and they are sunburned and tired. He is humbled, but has actually learned new skills. She actually had good experience to start, but not much confidence. She ends up with a higher rating, because she succeeded in things they needed, and her self esteem has grown.

         I actually felt like the show had merit. Survival skills interest a lot of people. I'm not completely sold on the idea of them being totally naked to do it, but the title probably does get more people to watch.
June 24, 2015 at 11:07pm
June 24, 2015 at 11:07pm
         Today I made a strawberry pie. Now my question is "Why do we eat strawberry pie?" There are perfectly good, wholesome strawberries, covered with a thick mass of sugared, mashed strawberries with cornstarch on a fat-filled pie crust. We go from healthy to unhealthy. It's delicious, of course. But why?

         First, you have to bake a pie shell. I filled my pan with the raw dough. I've never made a pretty crimped edge, but it tastes okay, so there. I checked about halfway through the baking, and oh no! This shell was shrinking. It no longer covered the edges, but was halfway down the sides. I pulled it out, took a fork, and started poking more holes in the bottom to let out the air underneath. I started smoothing it out, pressing out the lumps, and pushing it back up the sides. The fork gave it a distressed look, so I used my thumbs (I always wash for kitchen work) to press it up. I gave up and finished cooking it. It ended up with a few cracks in the bottom.

         Well, the crust did taste fine. It saved you from dying of the sweetness in the throat that gags you. It was so good, I had to have just another half slice. I was too ashamed to have more. I still wondered why we don't skip the glaze, and just do the high calorie crust cut up in small pieces with some sliced low-calorie strawberries instead. A dollop of whipped cream optional. You wouldn't have to worry about its appearance, and it would cut down on the guilt a tad.

         Pies can be very interesting. I guess we make them just because we can. I have had tomato pie (I didn't care for it) and yellow squash pie (two thumbs up), I have made buttermilk pie and cornmeal pie; both were delicious. I have made apple, pumpkin, peach, and coconut pies, with varying types of crusts. Pillsbury makes a nice crust, but I still can't crimp them correctly. Store versions fall a little short of Pillsbury's standards.

         Pie-making is a fading art. Ask a group of cooks for pies, and only a few show up. Ask the same group for cake or cookies, and you'll get an abundance. I don't count "pizza pie" as pie. And quiche falls in a category all by itself. A "crustless" pie may be better for your hips, but it just isn't pie.

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