Friday 30 December 2022
Tuesday 27 December 2022
Early in the 2022 football season, Friend Randy said that if his beloved FSU made it to a postseason bowl game, we were going. Well, FSU did make it — to the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando — but Randy decided we should go to a closer game. So we went back to the Birmingham Bowl to see the East Carolina Pirates play the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Full disclosure: Randy wanted to go to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery to see Georgia Southern play Buffalo. But that game kicked-off at noon Eastern time, and I didn't want to wake up so early in the morning. So we compromised and went to Birmingham, which had a 6:45PM Eastern start. The only down side to this decision was that the entire game was played after dark. We could have used a little sunlight warmth. Actually, we could have used a lot of sunlight warmth. It was cold.
University of Alabama-Birmingham's Protective Stadium has replaced historic Legion Field for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I mean, it does have larger bathrooms and more convenient concession stands, but its seats aren't any more comfortable and the place isn't wrapped in the smell of BBQ. I mean, it's fine. I'm just old fashioned.
Sadly, the game itself wasn't as good as our last visit. The Chanticleers' starting quarterback knocked himself out of the game in the second quarter, bouncing on his head in the end zone right in front of us, and the team never recovered. (The backup's nameplate read "Guest," which Randy and I had a lot of fun with: the poor temporary replacement wasn't even given his own account!). We left at the end of the third quarter when the game was very obviously over.
Despite these minor problems, Randy and I agreed we both had a great time and will have to try to make going to some bowl game an annual tradition. Maybe we'll get to the Camellia next year... depending on kickoff time.
Monday 26 December 2022
Did everyone have a Merry Christmas? I guess I did, all things considered. I mean, so long as I ignore the fact that the Miami Dolphins collapsed in the second half and lost their 4th straight game, going 0-4 in December and demonstrating that despite some earlier success they are definitively not ready to be a playoff team for the 22nd year in a row. (Annual reminder: their last playoff win was in 2000.)
Yeah, ignoring that and the fact that I badly cut my thumb on the large carving knife while doing the dishes, the rest of the day went pretty well. It was in the wee hours of this morning that I ran into trouble. Or maybe I should say that it was Louis who ran into trouble for us all.
After watching Sunday Night Football go to overtime and spending an hour trying and failing to play online games with Friend James (the trouble seemed to be with his ISP), I noticed at about 1:30 in the morning that something smelled wrong in my room: the faint smell of burning plastic. That's never good.
I began sniffing my way around the darkened house for the cause, starting with the basement. It wasn't coming from my room. It wasn't the furnace which has been running all out for days to combat the 30-year historic cold. It wasn't in my studio where I had been painting finishing veneers earlier in the day. So I moved upstairs where the smell was indeed stronger. I thought maybe it was the Christmas tree lights, but no, they seemed fine. And It wasn't any appliance in the kitchen or anything electronic in Mom's office. I even grabbed a flashlight and checked outside to no avail. What *was* the source of that smell?
When I came back inside, I noticed that the flashlight wasn't a spotlight like it was outside but an illuminated beam, a fuzzy lightsaber. As a former Boy Scout, I quickly recognized this as a Very Bad Sign. The good news is that I could follow the flashlight beam to find the areas of thickening smoke.
The source, as it turns out, was behind the curtains separating the den from the sunroom that Mom uses for crafting. As is usual in the winter, the "sun" room was the coldest in the house, and she has been running an older model portable oil space heater day and night to keep the chill out. At this point, you've probably figured out where this is headed.
Context clues indicate that sometime while I was preoccupied with football or video games, my mischievous puppy, Louis, had taken a break from chewing up my new shoelaces and pajama bottoms to sneak behind the curtain — where he knew he wasn't allowed alone — and knocked over the heater. The sideways heater did not have an automatic shutoff, and worse, on its side it started leaking oil, oil that fortunately smoked before it flamed.
I uncovered the problem in time to prevent any further damage to life, limb, or property. (Sure, the house *smells* like burnt plastic and oil, but at least there's a house to smell.) I think from now on I'm going to have to keep Louis tied to me. And I'm going to recommend that Mom mounts her new space heater (with automatic shutoff!) to the floor!
Post-Christmas crisis averted!
Saturday 24 December 2022
145/2154. Freebie and the Bean (1974)
The influence of Bullitt is obvious in this buddy-cop anti-cop comedy. It's almost funny, but the episodic scenarios suffer from uneven tone — though they often successfully recognize their own absurdity, the gags either go too far or not far enough, rarely hitting the bullseye of what makes each scene actually funny. (And the ending? Don't get me started.) There's a good movie in here somewhere; it just needed different people in creative control.
146/2155. The Mummy (1932)
This is the Karloff classic, and I found it boring, though that probably has a lot to do with how much it borrowed from the financially successful Dracula made by Universal the year before. Karloff and his makeup are, of course, the highlight. (Actually literally.)
147/2156. Le Million (1931)
The title is a reference to a lottery ticket that has gone missing in this classic French cinema's idea of an early screwball comedy as told largely in (subtitled) song. I have problems with the central love interests, but I'm a prudish American and probably shouldn't be making value judgments on French culture.
148/2157. White Cargo (1942)
I've thought about this film several times since I watched it in part because of some clever dialogue but mostly because of Hedy Lamarr's skimpily-clad, gold-digging "native" Tondelayo and her "mammy-palaver." She's the kind of girl who sticks with you, which is very much the point of the film.
149/2158. Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
I watched this Polish film when TCM ran it to honor Martin Scorsese's birthday. Apparently, it's one of his favorites, and it's easy to see the influence in his work, especially Mean Streets. I didn't love it myself, but I'm not a huge fan of most of Scorsese's films, either.
More to come.
Friday 23 December 2022
The big winter storm came through last night, bringing with it sub-freezing temperature and crazy wind. As is usual for these sorts of things, half of my neighborhood lost power immediately; our backyard neighbors lost theirs at 2 AM. (The yard was awfully dark.) Fortunately for us, we only lost cable and Internet.
Power company estimates a restoration by 8 PM tonight. There's no estimate yet from the cable company, but I'm not complaining about that. Better to be bored than cold.
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Tuesday 20 December 2022
Sunday 18 December 2022
140/2149. Cop Land (1997)
Sylvester Stallone is very good in this modern crime drama where the cops are the robbers. Of course it helps that the rest of the cast includes DeNiro, Keitel, Liotta, and about a half dozen other fantastic talents.
Commit crime and drink Coke!
142/2151. Foxy Brown (1974)
Pam Grier is on a mission to avenge the death of her government agent boyfriend, who was killed by a narcotics gang... after being tipped off by her own brother. There's some unintentional silliness in here, but the entire film is worth the climax.
Sell out your sister's boyfriend and drink Coke!
143/2152. Alligator (1980)
Foxy Brown's Pam Grier plays the title character In Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, where her love interest is played by Robert Forster. I mention that because by coincidence, Forster is the lead actor in this mediocre killer monster movie. And no one even drinks Coke in it! (The closest it gets is the one kid nearly eaten while wearing an "I'm a Pepper" t-shirt.)
144/2153. Matinee (1993)
I really enjoyed this heartfelt love letter to the creature features of the late 50s and 60s set during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I mean, I love movies about the movie business, I love atomic monster sci-fi films, and I love coming-of-age stories, so it's sort of tailor made for my specific interests. But I think everyone will appreciate John Goodman's conman with a heart of gold.
Watch movies and drink Coke!
More to come.
Friday 16 December 2022
Mother spent all day sitting on the sofa watching college bowl games with her current beau. As soon as he left, she went to her bedroom to change her clothes. When she emerged in her pajamas, she looked at me with a very straight face and said, "I think the hard part in seeing someone is putting on clothes."
As the great sage once said, your mother should know.
Wednesday 14 December 2022
Don't worry. He'll be up and around in no time.
Monday 12 December 2022
Henry and Louis.
Henry and Louis who?
This is no joke! Just let us in, already.
Louis bolted out the door while I was letting Henry into the yard solo to take care of his business, and when the pair of poodles eventually decided they were tired of rolling in every mud puddle they could find, this is what they looked like when they finally asked to come back in.
I don't think I've ever mentioned it here on the blog, but once upon a time, while I was running an errand in downtown Newnan with July and Victoria in the Jeep, a car pulled into the parking space beside me and the woman inside said she just wanted to say hello to the girls. "I breed poodles," she explained. "I used to breed whites, but now I only breed dark-colored dogs. I'll never have a white poodle again; it's just too much trouble to keep them white."
That's proving especially true for Henry. His favorite color is Georgia Red Clay.
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