Sunday 5 September 2021
In football, there's nothing like a good offense, and there was nothing like a good offense in yesterday's UGA opener vs Clemson. The only touchdown was an interception return. A win is a win, but it looks like another year for the Bulldogs without anyone who can catch a ball. I should be used to it by now.
Friday 3 September 2021
None of my teams are playing football just yet, so still some time for movies!
98. (1957.) Fat Albert (2004)
Hey, hey, hey! I enjoyed this in large part because I went in expecting it to be really terrible, and it was only slightly terrible. Keenan Thompson's affability and commitment to the bit shines even through the fat suit.
Maybe a nostalgic movie about a fat guy isn't the ideal place for sugar water product placement.
99. (1958.) Orchestra Wives (1942)
In this dour musical romance, Ann Rutherford loves that boogie woogie bugle boy so much that she runs away from home and marries him on a whim. Little did she know that all the titular Orchestra Wives are bitches. Drama ensues.
Hard to tell in this pic, but that's Officer Bill Gannon there playing soda jerk.
103. (1962.) The Devil's Disciple (1959)
Kirk Douglas goes waaaaay over the top as the titular Devil's Disciple, a Revolutionary War anti-hero who just seems to hate everyone... except the one person the script requires him to like. I guess he's just a contrarian. Burt Lancaster's best scene is a fist fight in a church in the middle of a war, but Laurence Olivier steals the show as murderous gentleman British General Burgoyne. It's a real mixed bag.
104. (1963.) The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
This movie is so badly cast that the film is sunk before the first frame, which is a real shame as the story comes straight out of the best of 1930s Capra and director Brian De Palma sure seems like he knows what he wanted to be doing with it. Bonfire, indeed.
More to come.
Wednesday 1 September 2021
Welcome to the 16th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 166% more disease!
A year ago, I looked upon the approaching college football season with trepidation and wrote
I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.
Oh, how naive I was in my youth. Let me show you how much things have changed in the state of Georgia in one year. This is August 2020:
And this is where we are in August 2021:
A year-to-year gain of +7,000 cases on a graph that is still climbing! To get numbers like that, you have to be actively trying!
Just like in 2020, I bought UGA football season tickets in the early spring under the assumption that this whole pandemic thing might be under control by fall. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Granted, some things have changed in a year. In theory, the players have all been vaccinated (right?), so they should be safe enough (from COVID if not brain damage). But can the same be said for the fans? There's a non-zero overlap between the group of people who love to watch live football and the group of people who would rather kill children than wear a strip of cloth over their faces.
I'm fully vaccinated and have been since May, but vaccination is no guarantee that I can't get the virus. (If you like to be depressed, Google "breakthrough cases" and "vaccine efficacy decline".) Since we have yet to see any sign that this latest pandemic surge is ready to turn any corners, it looks like I'll be missing out on another season.
I guess I should have spent that ticket money on a new, larger television. I may be in my bunker for a long time yet to come.
Tuesday 31 August 2021
I've been re-reading some of my posts from years past. While they can and do often entertain me, even I have to admit that sometimes I really can be an obnoxious blowhard. Sorry about that.
Monday 30 August 2021
Saturday 28 August 2021
My father was supposed to have surgery this past Tuesday to finally address complications resulting from his diverticulosis in October 2018. It didn't happen.
We've spent most of the past three years dealing with his heart issues, which made doctors uneasy about intestinal surgery. First an artificial valve, then a pacemaker, then another pacemaker.... Now that those are resolved, Dad was all set to finally put (most of ) his abdominal issues to rest. Unfortunately, things continue to work out not as planned. This time, the hospital had to cancel. It seems they ran out of room.
Late this week, Piedmont Hospital Newnan was forced to call in the National Guard for help against the latest surge against COVID-19. They didn't need that help back in January, so that tells you how bad this wave is. According to one report, they are booked to 125% of capacity, with the Emergency Room waiting room converted to temporary overflow COVID-patient holding.
(Side note: They say that most of those currently ill with the Delta variant weren't vaccinated. I wonder what the overlap is in Georgia between those who chose not to vaccinate and those who have no health insurance? I'd ask a high school student to draw that Venn diagram, but masks are optional in Coweta County schools, and I don't want to end up in the hospital myself.)
Both Dad and I like to think that one day he'll finally be fixed enough to avoid his current monthly visits to a urologist and surgeon. Maybe so. But the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be any day soon.
Thursday 26 August 2021
If any commercial could get me to start drinking beer....
For those of you who don't watch the right kinds of television, I created that advertisement from footage of the 1978 The Incredible Hulk television show episode "A Child in Need," in which the Hulk solves a case of child abuse by beating the shit out of the child abuser. Violence is always the answer!
By the way, the title of that video, "Flagler Hits the Spot," was suggested by my mother. So blame her.
Tuesday 24 August 2021
A pipe burst under the kitchen sink last night. Waiting for the kitchen cabinet to dry out, I'll pass the time typing some movie reviews.
93. (1952.) The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Every list of 70s great crime films includes Eddie Coyle, and I now understand why. It's ugly, but that ugliness feels realistic, almost like a documentary. Definitely among the best performances of Robert Mitchum's career.
94. (1953.) Remember My Name (1978)
The protagonist is so mysterious, I had to watch the first half of this movie twice to see if I wasn't missing something. I wasn't. It's intentional. The protagonist might be a very bad person, and the film protects her (and the audience) by sharing details very, very slowly. I'm still not sure I liked it, but it is something different.
95. (1954.) Grand Prix (1966)
Is "race procedural" a genre? If so, this qualifies. We follow several racers and their lovers through a season of a sport so thrilling and yet so dangerous, participating is practically suicide. On second thought, maybe this is a drug movie; that is definitely a genre.
Quick, before you die, Drink Coke!
By the way, Coca-Cola appears to have been a sponsor of the real life car racing that is the background in this stylish film, so Grand Prix is filled to the brim with Coca-Cola advertising. I actually had a hard time deciding which screenshot to show. So if you do decide to watch this 3 hour epic, I recommend having a couple of Cokes within easy reach. Watching death on wheels really builds up a thirst!
Here are a few more screencaps featuring some non-traditional Coke logos and the movie's human stars (none of whom actually drink a Coke at any point):
96. (1955.) Bandido! (1956)
More Mitchum, this time as an American arms dealer during the Mexican Revolution who falls for a rival's wife. It's not nearly as good as it could have been, in part because the sudden romance angle felt so unnatural to Mitchum's amoral rogue. Oh, well. They can't all be hits.
97. (1956.) San Francisco (1936)
I can't tell you how many times this has come on TCM and I've said to myself, "I should watch that." You see, I knew it was supposed to have impressive earthquake special effects, and I can now attest that it does. The rest of the plot, however, is worthless. But at least I have finally watched it and from now on can ignore it with a clear conscience.
More to come.
Sunday 22 August 2021
Disappointment is a side effect of expectations.
I liked Executive Producer Mike Richards as Jeopardy! MC. I thought he was among the best of the "guest hosts" who have been substituting for the late, great Alex Trebek. I wanted Richards to have the job permanently.
But Richards (or his bosses) made a mistake. When they told the general public that the new host would be "one of the guest hosts," that set the expectation in the minds of the public that the job would go to the host they personally liked best. Hence the widespread disappointment from LeVar Burton's legion of well-earned fans when the least known (but best connected — and probably also the cheapest) of all the temporary hosts got the gig.
Thus the door was opened for the inevitable amateur yellow journalists digging up every negative thing Richards has done or said in his 46 years on the planet. Sadly, not everyone can be as perfect a person as Alex Trebek.
If any of Richards' innumerable sins (mostly misogyny & bad jokes) is truly unpardonable, it was that as Executive Producer he had the inside track on selecting and auditioning hosts. Even if he didn't have the final say himself, he should have known that when you're in the race, you can't also be the referee. Americans expect their game shows to be fair, and they're always disappointed when they aren't.
Friday 20 August 2021