Wednesday, March 20, 2019

They Shall Not Grow Old...

...you must see this film by Peter Jackson...it is stunning.

Not really a documentary - though it draws upon film, photos and written words from the era - it's more of a tribute and memorial to the soldiers who fought for England during WWI and it tells their wonderful, terrible story.

The title comes from a poem penned by Laurence Binyon:


For The Fallen
by Laurence Binyon,
21 September, 1914
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Words fail me, which doesn't happen often.

See this film.
By way of contrast to the brave men who gave their all in defense of their country, we have the snowflake generation and their complaints about how stressful life is.
on our left, a real man...on the right, pajama boy...
More than half believe life is more stressful now than ever before, and more than a third believe their lives are more stressful than everyone else's (aka "the wonder of me" syndrome).

Their top 10 stressors?  Read them and weep for the future of humanity:


1. Losing wallet or credit card
2. Arguing with partner
3. Commute or traffic delays
4. Losing phone
5. Arriving late to work
6. Slow WiFi
7. Phone battery dying
8. Forgetting passwords
9. Credit card fraud
10. Forgetting phone charger

It appears the search for intelligent life among certain groups has indeed been a dismal failure.  Off they go to hunt for legendary pokemons!

Happy Spring, by the way...March 20th this year...don't know about you but I've had enough of Ol' Man Winter...
...and I'm oh so ready for Spring...
...and all the outdoor delights that implies...




...can't wait...but looks like even though it's officially Spring, someone forgot to tell Mother Nature...
...yep, that's snow today...aw, snap...
Still casting about for my next writing project...
...so far sans inspiration...wandering in a creative desert at the moment.  I need to be writing...
later, mcm fans...



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Sunday, March 17, 2019

This Page...













...intentionally left blank...yeah, it's that bad...not much shaking and I'm feeling burned out for whatever confluence of reasons.

Which begs the obvious question, why not just skip this for now and catch it some other time when I feel more creative?

That might be acceptable...there's no real deadline, nor are there thousands of people waiting breathlessly for the next edition of the AMC...pretty sure there are less than 300 folks on average who land on this blog with any regularity...

...but I've found in my life that skipping something due to feelings (or lack of them) is usually a bad plan.

Think I'll skip my workout today because I don't feel like doing it.
Think I'll skip being courteous today because I don't feel like being civil.
Think I'll skip work today because I don't feel like going.

Allowing your life to be run by your feelings is a pretty good recipe for failure.

You do something, not because of how you feel, but rather because it needs to be done, it's the right thing to do, you said you'd do it, someone is depending on you to do it, if you don't do it, it won't get done...

So malditos los torpedos, it's on with the show...
Watched a movie that has become predictably controversial since it deals with race relations in the early 1960's...
...and since it was chosen as Best Picture of 2018 during the Oscars recently.

I've read that I'm supposed to like it because of the ethnic / age group I occupy, while others are supposed to hate it for the same reason.

All I'll say is this one is worth your time.

It seems likely the races will never live in peace for all kinds of historical and cultural reasons, but Green Book deserves a look, written as it was by the son of one of the principal characters.

Watch it with an open mind to appreciate the skill of the actors involved and the legacy of a courageous and truly great musician.
It was almost warm enough to enjoy hitting a few whiffle golf balls with my hickories this weekend...
...but not quite...sunny, but still an unpleasant bite when that cold wind blows.

And yes, I'll probably start with just my irons, at least until I knock some of the rust off...mid-iron from the tee, mashie and niblick on the fairway, Calamity Jane putter on the green.
Hickory golf...gotta love it.
My 1959 GE Slimline TV is on the blink...
...and it's proving quite a feat to find someone who can help repair it.

The guy in the above pic is Justin Rubsam, the one who installed a Philips 25M800 chassis in it.  Those were made from 2001 to 2006, so they are NOT the old vacuum tube electronics from the 1950's and '60's.

Supposedly Justin has a board for it if I can find an electronic tech type to swap it out.  I'd try it myself but Justin tells me using a big hammer won't help.
Apparently my reputation precedes me.

later, mcm fans...

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Hate To Admit It...

...but I discovered an exception to my rule...that most modern era Oscar winning movies are crap.

I once saw a comic strip that perfectly illustrated my belief...it showed a condemned building that used to be a movie theater and one person asks "What happened?"

The other person replies, "They only showed Oscar winners".

And that my friend is too often the case...but in 2011 they definitely got it right.

I'm late to the party, but I just watched the 2011 Oscar winner for Best Picture: The Artist...
...a French film that is absolutely stunning.  It has vaulted into the top 5 of my all time favorite movies...it's just that good IMHO.

Warning: it is actually a silent movie filmed completely in black and white, and I know there are some people who won't be able to get by that.

But I'm a silent movie aficionado and appreciate the genius inherent in effectively communicating complex emotions without the use of the spoken word.

To be able to emote love and pathos, hatred and disdain sans dialogue requires real skill...y'know, acting.
the great Garbo and Gilbert
True, many silent movies relied on overacting and mugging for the camera, but the great ones of that era - Fairbanks, Valentino, Gilbert, Garbo, Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Bow - understood how to peel the onion with a sultry look, a subtle gesture, a passionate glare, a bold thrust.

And now we must add two names to that list of the best silent movie actors and actresses of all time: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo.

Dujardin did win the Oscar for Best Actor; Bejo should have won for Best Actress.
The above scene alone was enough to place her in the category of the greats.  That's her arm in the coat sleeve around her waist, by the way.  You have to see that scene to believe it...it's amazing.

The story line is simple and takes place over a 5 year period: silent movie superstar George Valentin meets newcomer and movie extra Peppy Miller.
Unrequited love begins.

By 1929 the stock market crashes and silent movies are on the way out; with them goes George Valentin.

By 1931 the Depression has blanketed the nation and talkies are here to stay; their new darling is Peppy Miller.

Can a down and out former silent movie star and a top of her game talkie movie goddess find love and happiness?

You gotta watch it to find out...and to hear the only two words spoken by famed silent movie star George Valentin.
Because it is a black and white, silent movie, it won't be for everyone...but if you can put yourself back in 1927 to 1932, embrace the era and open yourself to the culture and technology of that time, you will enjoy a brilliant and classic cinematic treat.

C'mon, expand your filmic horizons...

You're not chicken, are ya?

I dare ya.  No, I ding-dang-diggety-double-dog dare ya!
A late breaking news bulletin from the IT Disaster Division:
...we actually did successfully upgrade this past weekend and are now happily thriving on a shiny new computer system:
same two guys, 10 years later...
Our goal, naturally, is to keep pushing forward until we reach Computing Nirvana:
...but we know we have to take things one step at a time.

In all seriousness, we did finally leap onto the latest and greatest this past weekend and of course it was a team effort with many people involved, all of whom had to work too many hours to make it happen.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not give a shout out to our Team Leader, Dave Roderick...
Dave is a consummate professional with many years experience, and he led the charge from beginning to end.

Smart, focused, detail oriented with great organizational skills, we could not have achieved the success we did without his guidance and leadership.

Thank you, Dave!

If it's ok with your highness, can we finally have a weekend that does not involve panic and coronary occlusions?
I see our friends at Google are celebrating the birth of the internet.

I needs must conclude therefore they are honoring the life and times of that self-proclaimed technology pioneer, Al Gore...
...that's Al himself on his brick phone, just before the moment of truth when he gave the word to his elves in foo-foo land to throw the switch...
...and invent the internet!
Unfortunately Al caught them on their martini break, and it was actually some time later before they were finally able to get it cranked up.

But never fear, Big Al did eventually get it all invented and stuff and the rest as they say is make believe history.

Some other well known inventions for which Al takes credit are the Nobel Prize and the Oscar.

In fact, as the creator of both those he saw fit to award himself one of each...the Nobel Prize for Fictional Achievements...

...and the Oscar for Fantasy Documentaries...
...way to go, Al!

Haven't heard a whole lot from Al since he missed his prediction for the end of the world...
...but he did sell his TV station for millions of greenbacks to that like minded bastion of truth and integrity, Al Jazeera...maybe because they have the same first name?

If nothing else, he's a patriot.  A very, very rich patriot.
And that dear readers concludes our broadcast day here at The Atomic Monster Cafe Studios...please stand by while I play a funky rendition of Taps on my kazoo...
...at which point we turn on the Giganta-Fans and blow everyone out of the studios and off our property.
Hey, we're busy pursuing excellence; we don't have time to wait around for dawdlers.

later, mcm fans...


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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Let's Celebrate...

...it's National Barbie Day...she debuted at the American International Toy Fair in New York on this day - March 9th - in 1959.

For a rundown of her fabled history, go here:

Happy Birthday Barbie

Why do I care, you ask?

Because my beautiful wife is a fan of the iconic doll, having played with her as a little girl back in the day...and imagine our surprise when DNA tests proved they were actually sisters!
I always said I loved Barbie so much I married her.

Of course, it's also National Get Over It day...
...so if you've got something in your life over which you finally need to get, today's the day...

Either way, it's time for a par-tay, and what better way to celebrate than a shot of whiskey from Bogey himself...
...that's right, the famous tough guy from Hollywood's golden era has his own whiskey...gonna have to try some when they start marketing it here in Michigan this summer.

Paired with an Arturo Fuente Short Story cigar...
...c'est magnifique!
It's time change weekend...
...did you remember to set your clocks ahead 1 hour?

I used to dread this weekend due to the loss of an hour's sleep, but as I've aged I've learned to embrace it...stays light later and it's another step toward exiting winter and welcoming Spring.

But as happy as I am to be rid of February and into March, it's still one of the two ugliest months of the year here in Michigan...
...yes, it's got a few good things going for it...this time change weekend, St. Patrick's day, the official start of spring...but even so it's just ugly to look at...piles of half-melted, brown and crusty snow, bare leaf-less trees, dead grass...not pretty.

November...that's the other one.
Did battle with Mr. T this weekend...
...not a current pic, obviously...
...and finally got him started...didn't drive him very far...running pretty rough at the moment...the bitter cold of the last few weeks killed the battery and so had to charge it overnight just to get him to crank.

Hate to say it, but might be time to sell the ol' boy...inspired me to write 7 Papa's Model T books...
...and I definitely enjoyed bombing around in a car that's almost 100 years old...but I really have no great place to drive him out here...unlike when we lived in Wyoming where we had all those interconnected city blocks with 25 mph speed limits, our neighborhood here is small and opens up onto a 45 mph speed zone...not safe for a car that cruises comfortably at only 35 to 40 mph.

Who knows?  Maybe I can trade it even for an Auburn Boattail Speedster...
...hey, could happen...I see a new series in the works:

"Big Daddy's Boattail Speedster"
later, mcm fans...


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In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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