Saturday, March 28, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine...


...week 2, and the natives are getting restless...

Heard a friend say they're spending too much time at El Kitchenata during this shelter in place order.

We always dream of warmer climes this time of year anyway, but even more so now for obvious reasons.

And since I stumbled across an ukulele (Hawaiian pronunciation: oo-kelele) left here by Karen's youngest when she moved out, guess what I'm doing in my free time?

who doesn't love a Hare playing ukulele?
Yes, I know...depending on your age the word "ukulele" conjures images of comic vaudeville performers, or maybe Tiny Tim on Laugh-In tip toeing through the tulips...

But it also brings to mind tropical breezes and relaxing times...

The ukulele is a tiny but fun apparatus for the non-musical among us to take a crack at melody making...and yes, I count myself in that number.

However, don't sell it short...there are some truly fine musicians who've mastered this surprising little instrument...

Under The Boardwalk

That's Aldrine Guerrero from ukuleleunderground.com kickin' it island style like you've never heard before.

For my part, I'm working on Christmas carols since I figure it will take me that long to actually master a few.

Mele Kalikamaka is the thing to say on a bright, Hawaiian Christmas day...
love the sandman with santa hat and scarf

What are you doing during this time to eradicate ennui and battle boredom?



Had a minor (read: embarrassingly obvious) insight recently while going through hearing tests (yes, I do need hearing aids)...

La doctora and I were discussing situations in which hearing is problematic for me, and I mentioned I rarely go to movie theaters since without subtitles I miss much of what's really happening on the screen.

"I suppose," says I in a flash of inspiration, "that's at least part of the reason I truly enjoy watching old silent movies...it's mostly visual and whatever dialogue there is I get to read on intertitles."

Well, duh...of course I knew that but I'd never actually verbalized it quite so succinctly before.

Yes, I'm a history fan and it's always fun to find some little bit of modern movie magic that was done first by the masters in the silent era (I'll share one here a little later)...

...but bottom line it's exhausting, trying to figure out what people are saying while missing every third or fourth word.

But when I watch a silent movie...

...I can just sit back, relax and enjoy.

How nice.

And I did so again this last week.

What follows are a couple more gems from the 1920's.



First up:

This is a delightful little rom-com starring (you'll never guess) Clara Bow from 1927.

After this movie she became known as "The IT Girl"...and what was "IT" in the 1920s?

Pretty much the same as it is today...you've either got "IT" or you don't...if you do, the world is your play thing; if you don't, well, welcome to my world.

In this movie, Clara Bow definitely has it...she's adorable and determined to get her man...and guess what?

Before the credits roll she does.

This one won't change your life but it will help you smile as Clara works her magic and captures the heart of her man.



The second one I watched has now vaulted up into my top 5 favorite movies of all time...

...Sherlock Junior starring the incomparable Buster Keaton.

This is absolutely one of the cleverest little films I've ever seen.  Only 45 minutes long, it is jam packed with amazing stunts performed by Keaton, all in real time and all very dangerous.
Keaton swinging on a railroad crossing bar into the backseat of a moving car

What this man would do to get a laugh is awe inspiring...a little crazy, but very impressive.

The story is simple...he's a film projectionist at a local theater but dreams of being a detective.

He's also sweet on a girl, but he's got some unscrupulous competition.

And his competitor steals the pocket watch of the girl's father, then pawns it for $4.00 to buy her a gift.

Our hero decides it's time to put on his detective hat and solve the crime of the stolen watch.

Unfortunately he has to work at the theater, running the film projector...but while he's there he falls asleep and dreams...
BK's dream-self stepping out of his slumbering body leaning against the projector

... about solving the crime.

This is where the movie gets truly creative.

Keaton dreamed up a special effect that was copied by Woody Allen to great critical acclaim 60 years later in his movie "Purple Rose Of Cairo".

What was this special effect from 1924 that garnered such praise from the critics when copied in 1985?

Buster Keaton's "dream-self" jumps into the movie he is projecting on the silver screen...
there he is jumping into the movie...

...and then promptly gets thrown out by one of the movie characters...
...and there he is getting tossed out of the movie


Never fear; in his dream he climbs right back into the movie and proceeds to become a world famous detective called to solve a pearl theft...

...and along the way has many hilarious sight gag misadventures.

Of course in the end he wakes up back in the projection room, but he also gets the girl and all is well.

Do yourself a favor and watch this comedy classic from 1924.

If you don't find it absolutely hilarious, please check yourself into the Hospital For The Terminally Humorless and request a funny bone transplant.

It's your only hope.



There's so much more I have to say to you, but I know mere mortals can only withstand so much abuse before they succumb, and so I defer to your desperate pleas for mercy.

Even so, I leave  you with some sights seen 'round the ol' homestead recently...
it stated snowing one night last week...


...and kept on snowing until the morning.


the waiting room at my recent ear appointment...my how things have changed



Mr. Turkey struttin' his stuff...for no one, apparently

Your mother called and said don't forget to wash your hands.

Don't roll your eyes at me...

...do what your mother says!

later, mcm fans...


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Saturday, March 21, 2020

This Blog...


...to be a "Covid-19 Free Zone"...

I know because I personally disinfected each and every letter as I typed them...

...a tedious and time consuming task I assure you, but hey, at the Atomic Monster Cafe...

...we're here for you through good times and bad, and even those times when you can't tell the difference.

So sit back, relax, and leave the driving to us...
...we promise it will be exciting! *

* "exciting" may differ in substantive ways from "safe".  "promise" may differ in substantive ways from "guarantee".  not a guarantee.  heck, not even a promise when you get right down to it.  this statement has not been evaluated by any government agency and is not intended to perform any useful function; i.e., it's piffle, fluff, palaver.


In spite of all the big talk about excitement you may have read recently, this is probably as good a time as any to admit I got nuthin'...

...I mean, c'mon, cooped up at home for days on end, looking at my co-workers via video conference calls sitting on their couches in bathrobes...I'm lucky to still be sane.

But, to fend off boredom I have kept up with my workouts...
I was tired that day so I took it easy here...
...as well as enjoying good cigars...

...while listening to great music...

...anything to help pass the time.

And in that spirit, I personally directed my department of expert researchers here at the the AMC...

...to scour our extensive vault of historical records and compose the definitive list of the best movies you absolutely need to watch while you're hiding out from the Attack Of The Monster Virus...

...to wit:

#1  The Artist...

...the absolute pinnacle of silent movie making - filmed in 2011 - and a delightful love story with a happy ending.

Jean DuJardin won Best Actor and Berenice Bejo should have won Best Actress for their brilliant performances.

You could use a happy ending right about now, couldn't you?

#2  Their Finest...

...the spectacular 2016 film that tells the story of tragedy and triumph during Great Britain's "finest hour"...The Blitz of 1940 in WWII.

Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy all give exceptional performances.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be inspired at this "movie within a movie".

Great story telling at its best.

#3  City Lights...

...a Charlie Chaplin masterpiece from 1931.

The "Little Tramp" at his comic best in a heartwarming story of love and philanthropy.

Be inspired by a spirit of giving and selfless love, and laugh along the way.

#4  Casablanca...


...the 1942 classic directed by Micheal Curtiz starring Bogey and Bergman.

World weary cynic Rick Blaine runs a saloon in Vichy controlled Casablanca during WWII where "...everybody comes to Rick's".

And of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, who walks into his but Ilsa Lund...Rick's long lost flame from days gone by.

But...now she's with her husband, Victor Laszlo, leader of the Czech resistance who's being hunted by the Nazis.

Rick may be able to help the fugitive couple, but...will he?

And does anyone actually say "Play it again, Sam" in the movie?

You've got to watch it to find out...and right after you do, be sure to cue up...

#5  Play It Again Sam...

...Woody Allen's hilarious 1972 send up of the film noir classic, Casablanca.

Allen takes the ability to laugh at himself to previously unknown heights and you'll be laughing right along with him.

Marvel at Jerry Lacey's dead on portrayal of the hard boiled Bogart at his wisecracking, tough guy best.

And of course, watch for the tip o' the hat to the famous Casablanca ending.

#6  The Rocketeer...

...Joe Johnston's 1991 sleeper that turned into a cult classic, and why not?

Set in 1930's Los Angeles, it's got adventure, romance, Hollywood stars, gangsters and a handsome pilot (Cliff, played Billy Campbell) who gets to be a comic book hero.

Plus, he gets the girl (Jenny, played by Jennifer Connelly) before the credits roll.

As a bonus, you'll finally find out the real story of how the HOLLYWOODLAND sign became just HOLLYWOOD.

What are you waiting for?

You're not afraid of flying, are you?

#7  Testament Of Youth...

...released in 2014, this is James Kent's powerful portrayal of Vera Brittain's moving autobiography set during WWI.

Alicia Vikander plays Vera and gives a luminous performance as an independent and talented young woman determined to make her mark on the world.

Sadly, the world has other ideas.

By the autumn of 1914 WWI has burst forth with all its unprecedented fury, shattering hopes, dreams and lives.

Her men march off to war - fiance, brother, friend - and she soon follows them as a volunteer nurse in the bloody conflict.

The acting is excellent, the cinematography gorgeous, but keep the Kleenex handy for this one, folks.

A meaningful and thought provoking experience.



So there you have it...7 excellent movie classics for your cinematic education and enjoyment.

Don't say I never did nuthin' for ya.

Until next time, keep washing those hands and keep cocooning...this too shall pass.

And by December, watch for the baby boom.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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

Get your paperback books here:



Get your ebooks here: