Meet Henry.

He's a dog of few words

I told my family I was in the market for an adult female rescue standard poodle. My aunt found a 7-month-old male. But he is a rescue standard poodle.

One-out-of-three sounds like my kind of odds. I think I'll keep him.

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Meet Henry

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I don't have anything new to say today, so let's review some recently watched movies instead.

133. (1992.) Elvis Meets Nixon (1997)
Friend Otto called to tell me he had seen this and judged it "must watch." He wasn't wrong. It's the story of Elvis's infamous December 1970 meeting with President Nixon, and it is bonkers. The details are fudged, usually for comedic effect, but the fundamentals are accurate. Otto was right; I very much enjoyed it.

Drink Coke! (Elvis Meets Nixon)
Elvis famously preferred a different brand of soda, but this movie corrects that flaw.

134. (1993.) The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
It's always interesting to compare how creators change a movie between versions. The lead, played here by James Cagney, is brighter than his future version will be just seven years later (see One Sunday Afternoon), but he's also angrier (because Cagney). This one also has less music, a larger cast, and a faster pace, but the only way it is really superior to its eventual remake is the presence of George Reeves as a heavy.

135. (1994.) Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)
This Japanese samurai movie is not perfect (some comedy is too broad and some story beats come too quickly), but it is better than the average movie, and the ending is dynamite. I enjoyed it.

136. (1995.) Tequila Sunrise (1988)
In hindsight, not a lot really happens in this cops-and-robbers romance/drama, but I didn't notice at the time because the cast is so damn talented. Kurt Russell, Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Raul Julia all kill it. And though the film is named for a different drink, it's a particular soda that manages to make it into a late-film montage at the start of the third act:

Drink Coke! (Tequila Sunrise)
No movie about cocaine smuggling is complete without Coke!

More to come.

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Say hello to this year's post-Thanksgiving yard sign, Speedy Alka-Seltzer:

Oh, what a relief it is!

Speedy Alka-Seltzer was a 1950s advertising character. I don't know how many people will recognize him today. (The original Speedy was a stop-motion stick puppet, but this painting is based on a 3-foot talking doll made for mid-century promotion in pharmacies. You might have seen a surviving model on Antiques Roadshow.)

Mom was enthusiastic — it was actually her idea — so he'll be out by the mailbox for at least the next week reminding people not to party too hardy.

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What am I thankful for this year? Hmm. Let me think.

I know! Bluey. I caught a couple of episodes on Disney Junior in the middle of the night and was instantly hooked. It's a very, very charming cartoon, and I've been watching it when I can.

A cartoon aimed at preschoolers might sound like a strange thing for me to like, but I'm not exactly completely unaware of children's television shows. PBS's Odd Squad has long been must-watch tv for me. (Have I mentioned that around here? No? That's odd. I really do get a kick out of it.)

And I'm sure that a certain Randy somewhere in the world will be quick to remind everyone that I was a big fan of Lazytown back in a day I was already too old for it. Pink is still my favorite hair color.

So, yeah. Happy Bluey, everybody!

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May I present this year's Thanksgiving yard sign, Poppin' Fresh (aka the Pillsbury Doughboy):

Over there! Over there!

For reference for this piece, I bought a Pillsbury™ Moist Supreme® Chocolate Premium Cake Mix. I'm typically a make-it-from-scratch cake guy, but I have to admit, it paired quite well with Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® White Frosting.

Hoo Hoo!

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If there is a Heaven for dogs, I hope it's full of squirrels

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Today we put down my father's 7-year-old poodle Scarlett because we discovered that cancer had eaten her liver. She'd been lethargic for the past week, had stopped eating, and at the last, her skin and eyes turned yellow. But she didn't complain. She wasn't that kind of dog.


Scarlett's last haircut, Oct 5, 2021

Scarlett loved chasing squirrels, walkies (especially when she was stalking a squirrel), belly rubs, and escaping through open gates to chase the squirrels who wouldn't stay inside her fence, probably in that order.

Scarlett wasn't my dog, but she kind of was. And I miss her. Even the trouble.

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I opened the refrigerator to reach for a Coke, and I thought, "I have some movie reviews to post." So here we go.

129. (1988.) State Fair (1945)
Like you might expect from a fair, there's not a lot of substance here, but it is a fun way to waste a few hours. I enjoyed it, but I doubt I'll remember anything about it next month. (Heck, I don't remember much about it now.)

Drink Coke! (State Fair)
I'll always remember the Coca-Cola.

130. (1989.) The Fuller Brush Girl (1950)
I learned afterwards that the title of this film is a reference to a previous Red Skelton movie, The Fuller Brush Man. But the plot doesn't really have anything to do with Fuller brushes other than as a mechanism to get Lucille Ball involved in the center of a murder mystery. Don't let that description confuse you; this is really a mistaken-identity screwball comedy, the kind that Ball and her costar, Eddie Albert, do so well.

131. (1990.) Her Husband's Affairs (1947)
Another Lucille Ball movie, this time with her as the competent spouse. (Husband Franchot Tone is frankly insufferable and completely undeserving of Lucy's love.) It's pretty clear that the formula of silly comedy movies like this and The Fuller Brush Girl are the template for what would eventually make I Love Lucy such a success on the small screen.

132. (1991.) Black Widow (2021)
In the mood for a nonsense action movie that says the word "Avengers" a lot without showing any? This is the film for you. I was kept entertained mostly by David Harbour, who steals every scene he's in.

Drink Coke! (Black Widow)
Dismantling Soviet-era sleeper cells in the 21st century sure works up a thirst!

More to come.

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When I was a kid, September was my favorite month, because that was the month I got Birthday presents. When I was in college, July was my favorite month, because that was the month where I had the run of campus. But I'm starting to think that November is my favorite month, because it looks like this:

Dead leaves are the most beautiful leaves

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To be continued...

 

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