Showing 1 - 10 of 141 posts found matching keyword: family

Preparation H earned some notoriety in 2016 with an advertisement introducing America to the town of Keister, Minnesota. Their latest commercial features a town named Tookus.

Unlike Keister, Tookus is, as you can see in the screencap above, a "Fictional Town." Seeing that, I wondered to myself, if Tookus is fictional, where did they film it?

If you look closely, you'll see the street signs in the background reference U.S. 23 and Georgia Highway 42. Turns out, that's the intersection of Keys Ferry Street and Macon Street. Tookus is in downtown McDonough, Georgia!

My Mother's maternal family hails from just outside McDonough in a little place called Kelleytown (which has a surprisingly thorough Wikipedia entry). In fact, the family still owns some land out there. So if you're ever passing through Tookus, look us up.

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Mom and I watched these movies together in June:

111. (1340.) Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery (2015)
112. (1341.) Murder, She Baked: A Peach Cobbler Mystery (2016)
116. (1345.) Murder, She Baked: A Deadly Recipe (2016)
117. (1346.) Murder, She Baked: Just Desserts (2017)

There are five Murder, She Baked movies, all based on the Hannah Swensen series of mystery novels by Joanne Fluke. Mom had read several of the novels, though none that were the basis for these movies.

The obvious "Murder, She Wrote" connection is intentional. These were made for the Hallmark family of television channels, and they do have a very "television" vibe to them. The first is the worst, as the template there feels like a daytime soap opera. However, the others all have a different director and feel much more movie-like. They reminded me of the directorial style Twilight series, which I would call competent if not showy (or especially noteworthy). Things like setting and continuity are almost afterthoughts.

Hannah isn't as good a detective as she is a baker, but she's not up against The Maltese Falcon. Most of these films tip their hands early, and none of the solutions came as a surprise. But solving the crimes isn't really the point. The movies spend most of their time focusing on Hannah, her family, and most importantly, her love life as she vacillates between Mike the policeman and Norman the dentist. (For the record, I rooted for the dentist.)

Recommended for those who enjoy the cozy mystery genre and spending a rainy evening with a mystery that won't tax the little gray cells.

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One week ago today, a small wildfire approached my father's house in Fountain, Florida. (It's an ironic name in hindsight.) The fire ignited several bales of hay he had just that morning stored in his pole barn. The barn stood no more than 20 yards from his house and no more than 100 yards from the entrance to his cattle pen. Naturally, Dad called the fire department then jumped into action with a garden hose.

How's that for the start of a dramatic story? I'll go ahead and tell you up front that the fire department put out the fire, and the house was saved. That's not what this blog post is about.

I wasn't there at the time, but as I hear it, armed agents of the Bay County Emergency Department arrived before the fire trucks did. And the officers, rather than jump in and help, ordered Dad to put down his hose and let the fire burn. I'll give them the benefit of doubt and assume that they wanted to "protect" Dad, not "serve" the fire. Dad didn't see it that way. He had called for help to extinguish the flames not for a group of spectators to the destruction of his property. So he refused to comply.

You can see where this is going now, can't you?

When father, who moved to middle-of-nowhere Florida to get away from authority figures, said he wouldn't put his hose down until the firemen arrived, the police attempted to arrest him. Note the use of the word "attempted" in the previous sentence. Dad didn't make it easy for them. For what it's worth, I'm led to believe no actual punches were thrown, but there was certainly something of a scuffle as the police tried to drag a 72-year-old man away from a fire.

Personally, I think Dad's reaction was understandable. After all, he believed his property and his livelihood was being threatened. Understandable, I say, but also unwise. Sometimes your best option is to let the world burn.

When the Bay County fire department finally arrived, Dad was unable to see it. He was sitting far away, handcuffed, in the back of a police cruiser. And he stayed in the back of that police cruiser for the five or so hours it took them to put the fire out. (I should say put it *mostly* out. It would flare up again the next day on the neighbor's property and the fire department would be called back to complete the job.)

As I already said, the house was fine. The animals were fine. And Dad was released from the police car eventually and allowed to go home where he was now, presumably, safe. An inconvenience, sure, but at least a happy ending. Right? Wrong.

Four days later, the Bay County Sheriff's Department returned and served a warrant their fellow officer had sworn out against my father for the crimes of Preventing or Obstructing Extinguishment of Fire (Florida Code Chapter 806.10) and Resisting Arrest with Violence (843.01), both Third Degree Felonies. They served the warrant one hour after court closed for the day, ensuring he would spend at least one night in jail until bond could be set the next afternoon. What nice guys, I say sarcastically.

Dad is now home — again — after paying a non-refundable 10% of the $6,500 bond to a bail bondsman. He's facing considerably more in lawyers fees to argue against a 10 year prison sentence. All because he panicked when the cops he didn't call demanded that he not try to save his own house from a wildfire.

If there's a lesson here, it's don't ask for help in Bay County, Florida. Either way, you're going to get burned.

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I think my mother might be trying to gaslight me.

She tells me that I eat too much white bread. Every day when I wake up and go to the refrigerator for milk, she warns me "you're almost out of bread." When I look, she's right. There are only a few pieces left.

How can that be? When last I went shopping, I bought a loaf of Sunbeam Giant, enough bread to choke a horse. I've had the occasional peanut butter and honey sandwich for dinner — most of you would call it a "midnight snack" — but that's only a couple of slices in the past week.

Where's my bread going? Am I sleep eating? Does bread evaporate overnight? Or, as I suspect, is my mother throwing the slices away one at a time in a devious plan to get me to eat multigrain?

I'm on to you, Mom. You'll not trick me. White bread for life!

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Walking through Oak Hill Cemetery last week with Mom and the girls, we passed the burial plot for J.W.A. and Zippora Rowland. As you can see, only one of them was buried there.

You'll note that there is no death date for Zippora, though the engraver presumed it would happen sometime in the 20th century. That marker visible on the bottom right isn't for her, it's J.W.A.'s. Why is his body on Zippora's side of the bed? That's just the tip of the iceberg of what I don't know about Zippora. Who was she, and why isn't she buried along with her name? Of course this made me curious, so I did a little Googling.

It seems J.W.A. Rowland lived most of his life not in Newnan but in Bowdon in neighboring Carroll County. I don't know what he did for a living, but the Carroll Free Press of the late 19th century reports that he was the initial vice president of the Carroll County Chorus Choir Association. (That meeting appears to have been in the Shiloh UMC building which still stands halfway between Carrollton and Bowdon.) Still in Bowdon in 1892, he was witness on a U.S. Patent application for Ocran D. Bunt's plow fender (patent #467853). "James W.A. Rowland" appears as a 72 year old man living in Newnan, GA by the time of the 1920 census. Nearer his death, he was a co-plaintiff in a 1921 lawsuit against the Central of Georgia Railway Company in which he won $250. (They were riding in a buggy "when the mule drawing it ran away and threw them out," causing injuries. It's not clear what role the railroad played, but the court said they were guilty.)

None of those references mention Zippora.

Zippora Rowland does show up in the 1930 census as a 62-year-old woman living in Newnan, GA. "Zippora" was never a popular name, but I don't find any reference to her in the local papers of the era.

So whatever happened to Zippora? Did she remarry? Did she die somewhere else, and no one knew to bring her back to Newnan where her marker was waiting for her? I like to think she's still alive somewhere, enjoying the good life on her sesquicentennial birthday. Here's to you, Zippora!

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No time like the present to get a jump on March movies watched, so let's get started!

39. (1268.) An American in Paris (1951)
Should I have seen this movie before now? Yes. Am I disappointed I waited so long? No. Music, set design, and choreography are great. But Gene Kelly plays his usual, self-centered asshole, and I just don't really like spending time with him.

40. (1269.) The Cisco Kid and the Lady (1939)
Not so long ago, Mom pointed out that the relationship between The Cisco Kid and his sidekick Pancho were the template for Hanna-Barbera's Quick Draw McGraw and his sidekick Baba Looey. That led me to this Caesar Romero western/comedy that was actually quite charming.

41. (1270.) Pixels (2015)
Frankly, it's not as bad as all the reviews make it out to be, but that could be partly because I wasted too much time (and too many quarters) in video arcades in the 1980s and am tolerant of many of the film's indulgences. Don't mistake that previous sentence as an endorsement. The editing is terrible and the movie-watching experience would be better if you walked out before the ridiculously stupid third act started. All I'm saying is it isn't The Worst Movie Ever™ as some critics have portrayed it. (I *still* say that's Armageddon.)

42. (1271.) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
I loved, loved, loved the first half of this movie. The pace congeals somewhat in the second half, adding Rihanna's character is a huge mistake, and it really should have been called Valerian and Lauraline (Cara Delevingne is actually the best part of the entire movie), but the action-packed sci-fi of the first half is alone worth the whole price of admission.

43. (1272.) Darkest Hour (2017)
Damn, can Gary Oldman act! I had to remind myself it wasn't actually Churchill appearing in this biography. Totally worth a watch.

More to come.

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The 2018 Winter Olympic Games may have come and gone, but they didn't stop the movie watching. Here's batch 2 for February.

26. (1255.) The Foot Fist Way (2006)
The movie that made Danny McBride a star! Actually, I think that may have been Pineapple Express, but this was earlier. It's exactly the sense of humor you've come to expect from McBride, so if you generally think his movies/TV shows are funny, here's some more. (Personally, I waffle. I think McBride's persona is entertaining in ensemble casts, but I can only take so much of his signature self-absorbed abrasiveness in one sitting.)

27. (1256.) Inside Out (2015)
Mom loved this movie, but I was only lukewarm. Too much touchy-feely for Walter, I suspect. The only time I was really captivated was when we got a look inside other people's heads at their control crews. To clarify: good movie well made, just not to my tastes.

28. (1257.) Congratulations, It's a Boy! (1971)
Bill Bixby plays the antithesis of his usual, responsible adult as a spoiled playboy discovering a grown son he didn't know he had. (Mom named the boy after Bixby's character, but told the son that dad was dead. That's some great parenting.) There is a subplot involving Bixby's overbearing parents' mistakenly thinking that their son and their grandson are in a homosexual relationship, but that's too little too late to save an otherwise dull affair.

29. (1258.) Rapture-Palooza (2013)
I don't usually like end-of-the-world movies, but this slapstick comedy wasn't so bad, perhaps because darling Anna Kendrick was there cushion the blow that everyone's living in Hell on Earth.

30. (1259.) The Ultimate Warrior (1975)
This is not about the WWF superstar wrestler but Yul Brynner's rather boring attempt to save Max von Sydow's post-apocalyptic commune. Yawn. (It could have used some Anna Kendrick.)

31. (1260.) Meet Wally Sparks (1997)
Golly, I remember this movie getting a lot of bad press on initial release. I can understand why, although if you're attending a Rodney Dangerfield comedy, you shouldn't be expecting Citizen Kane. It's not worse than any Chris Farley or Adam Sandler movie of the same era. Plus, in part because the movie spends most of its time lampooning the Southern manners of the citizens of the Great State of Georgia, it's got Coke!

Drink Coke! (Wally Sparks)
None of these kids is Wally Sparks.

More to come.

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As you may recall, I destroyed Mom's 2012 Kia Optima back at the beginning of August. Replacing it has turned out to be a bit of an uphill journey.

After a month of insurance negotiations and car shopping, Mom picked out a 2017 Nissan Murano the first weekend in September. (She was looking at a model with a heated steering wheel, and I talked her into saving $5000 by buying a slightly different car. As you will see, I should have kept my mouth shut.)

First try

The Murano had all the safety features she wanted plus luxury to spare. Unfortunately, it also had problems. We only had it for two weeks when I discovered rust under the dashboard (and under the driver's seat, and behind the rear seats, and around the spare tire . . .). It took Nissan another month to declare the problem a factory defect. Eventually, Mom negotiated a buyback under Georgia's Lemon Law. Goodbye, sweet Murano.

(On a related note, we're selling a set of black WeatherTech® floor mats for a 2017 Murano, if anyone is in the market.)

Mom started her car search over from the beginning. She still wanted safety features, but she never got used to driving such a large SUV. So she got something smaller instead. Introducing Mom's 2018 Ford Escape!

Try, try again

I promise you, I've been over the whole car with a magnifying glass. There's a scratch on the interior of the driver's side headlight cover, but I can't find anything else wrong with it. It certainly isn't rusted. (And it does have a heated steering wheel.)

The Escape only has a three-year warranty on the interior electronics, so if I'm going to ruin this one, I need to act fast. I'll keep you posted.

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In 2005, I watched Super Bowl 39 between the Eagles and Patriots at my father's house in Buford, Georgia, with my father and brother on Dad's large (26") CRT TV. We were cheering for the Eagles because they were Trey's favorite team (and, so far as I know, still are).

I don't recall feeling much drama in that game. I was confident that the Patriots would find a way to repeat as Super Bowl champions. (This would be their 3rd win in 4 years.) After the game, Trey claimed that he also expected the loss to the reigning champions, and that it didn't bother him to come so close to winning a Super Bowl only to lose to a great team.

I think he was lying.

Tonight, in the Super Bowl 52 rematch, the Eagles were finally the better team. Congratulations, Trey. You don't have to lie anymore.

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Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way.

167. (1226.) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

I asked Dad what he wanted to do for his birthday yesterday, and to my horror he said "I want to see Star Wars." So I took him to see it. (A child's job is never done.) Dad may not be, but I'm getting too old for this shit.

The original Star Wars wasn't exactly Shakespeare, but neither was it insulting. By comparison, The Last Jedi begs its audience to forget everything it knows about science and society, physics and psychology. I guess that's why it's marketed as a kid's movie — a kid's movie supersaturated with graphic violence, copious death, and a PG-13 rating. Say, if you're going to remake Empire Strikes Back, can you at least keep it under 2.5 hours, please? Sorry, but I can't suspend my disbelief long enough for this level of stupidity anymore.

Ugh. Every time I think about it, I find something new to irritate me. Unjustifiably incompetent Hux. Edsel bumper Phasma. Smug cartoon Snoke. Topless emo Kylo Ren. Horny Rey. Pointless Finn. Stalker Rose. Traitorous mass murderer Po. Atmosphere in space. Gravity-assisted bombers. Belated use of indefensible hyperspace missiles. Not enough Threepio! Aargh!

Was it all bad? No. Mark Hamill steals every scene he's in as Mirror Universe Luke Skywalker. Dead Yoda is the best Yoda. And I particularly enjoyed Benicio Del Toro's parting "maybe." But then how did Del Toro's DJ know the crucial piece of information that led there? Damn it! It's impossible to even praise this movie without tripping into another of its innumerable flaws.

There were parts where I think I could see where director Rian Johnson wanted to take the movie's theme of loss and transcendence. These themes would sit much better in the third act of a trilogy than the second, so why here and now? How much of a role did Disney's executives play in distorting that vision to keep its golden goose laying? I don't know. At this point, I don't care.

The worst of it is that I'm afraid this isn't the last Star Wars film I'll have to see. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to me being in the theater for whatever dreck Disney cranks out next Christmas. Let the past die, Dad!

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To be continued...

 

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