Saturday, January 29, 2022

More Fun...



...with bird feeders...this past week.

As snow and cold have continued unabated, Mr. Hawk has decided the menu selection at the Castle Frankenstein Cafe will suffice for now.

"One oiseau sur un plateau, s'il vou plait and make it snappy..."

And Mr. Hawk's not the only one frequenting the cafe.

Lately we've had deer wandering around in search of food.


Karen has cut up apples for them, but they seem to enjoy fresh bird seed as well.



No accountin' for taste, I guess.


Lately I've been perusing a delightful book written in the 60's, but first published in 1972:


It's actually Alf Wight's (nom de plume, James Herriot) first 2 books - "If Only They Could Talk" and "It Shouldn't Happen To A Vet" - that were published in England, combined into one omnibus when published in America.

It has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide, and has been made into several movies and at least 2 TV series.



Wight/Herriot has a low key, descriptive, self-effacing narrative voice, and he puts you in the middle of every scene so you see, hear, smell and feel the events.

If there's a butt of a joke, you can bet it's him, and there are many laugh out loud moments throughout the book.

There are also tender, moving vignettes as you might expect in a profession dealing with the lives and deaths of animals...and their owners.

His writing is permeated by an overarching love for his clients, his surroundings and most of all his patients.

As he tells an old woman grieving the loss of her beloved pet and worried she'll never see him again:

"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."


Definitely worth a read.


As we near the finish of another perfectly executed blogging adventure...


...let's take some time for a relaxed stroll through the parting shots department, shall we?

shadow government?  guaranteed it's not Slo-Joe running things



okay, enough with belaboring the obvious



I truly regret missing out on the Pan Am flying boats



wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that




love this sunburst votive candle sconce




great pic of #4 son and his oldest on another adventure





I leave you with this encouraging thought:




hang in, mcm fans...

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

And Winter...


...Marches On.  

The good news?  Spring is less than 2 months away!

me on Sunday, March 20th, 2022


You'd never know it, but this native Texan really did try to fall in love with winter when my folks moved us north in the early 1960's.

Snow was definitely a novelty to us southern boys when we first arrived in Pennsylvania and we soon joined in the winter rites of bundling up and building snowmen.

Since we had some hills on the 7.5 acres where we lived, our parents turned to the trusty Sears catalog and bought us flexible flyer sleds...


...downhill skis...

everything you need to know for a quarter...such a deal

...and eventually, Snurfers...


Yep, the original snow boards...nothing to hold your feet in place, just a rope from the front of the board that you gripped in your frozen fingers while you did your best to balance on the slippery surface with your icy galoshes.

And, since my Dad was a native New Yorker, we also got ice skates and hockey sticks.


And boy did we rejoice whenever the white stuff presented us with a heretofore unknown gift called a "snow day".

You mean they actually cancel school when it snows enough?

Woo hoo!  Bring on the blizzards and don't skimp on the hot chocolate by the fire, either.


So by rights, I should love winter, right?  Or at the very least, greet its onset with fond memories from my idyllic childhood days.

I've tried...I really have...all those years I did my best to get out in the winter weather and enjoy the frozen months from December through February.

Bottom line?

I don't like being cold.  Never did, even as a boy.

My yankee friends could stay outside seemingly for hours, frolicking in the white stuff, but me?  After 30 or 45 minutes, I was done.

Don't get me wrong...it's pretty, even beautiful, when the land is blanketed with a fresh snowfall and the fir trees are decorated in tufts of marshmallow white.



And there's little I enjoy more than sitting by a warm fire on a cold winter day.



So I've made an uneasy peace with my cognitive dissonance re: winter...kind of like having a pet that bites you once in a while, I guess.


It's annoying enough that you're almost willing to do something about it, but not quite...not yet...

But someday...you wait...I just might actually solve this problem...really!

Until then...put another log on the fire.

later, mcm fans...

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Saturday, January 15, 2022

A Must Read...

 

...if only 'twere an actual book...and not just an hilarious sendup of the corrupt buffoon illegally occupying the White House.

Read it here and marvel at what has befallen this once great nation.

The latest from the moron-in-chief is a coordinated attack by the DOJ on what they refer to as lethal "anti-authority" domestic terrorists.

You mean the rioters in 2020 who burned our cities, caused millions of dollars in property damage and killed dozens of citizens?

Ah...no.  Those people are heroes.

His Fraudulency is targeting the truly dangerous folks in the country...people who disagree with him politically.

You know, the crazed lunatics like parents who oppose critical race theory in their childrens' schools, or madmen who believe the 1st amendment to our constitution guarantees them the right to free speech.

I am reminded of what two great Americans said in two different centuries:







Be a light in the gathering darkness.



Turning now to more insouciant fare, we had an unexpected visitor recently...


...when Mr. Hawk decided to pop in for a quick lunch time snack.  Unfortunately for him, his intended entrees...



...apparently had other commitments.

Ok, so I reused an earlier pic, but you get the idea.

Mr. Hawk's arrival cleared the place PDQ, and after a couple of minutes Karen went outside and scared him off.

Things have since returned to normal...




Staying with the animal kingdom theme, we have a couple of stray cats that hang around, mainly because the Lady of the Manor has put shelters outside for them...

the electrical cord connects to a vet approved pet heating pad so they don't freeze in the single digit temps we've had lately


...and regularly feeds the mangy critters.

One of them we've nicknamed Crybaby...



...and when you watch this doorbell video you'll understand why:



Judging from her reaction at the end, I'm quite certain Crybaby did not expect the turkeys' reply to her mournful lament.


Sorry, folks...it's winter, there's not much shaking 'round these parts and cabin fever is starting to set in...



Even though the days are getting longer, we still have 14.5 hours of darkness and only 9.5 hours of daylight...and too many of those daylight hours are cold and cloudy.

Don't want to wish the time away, but Spring can't come fast enough.

I want to be here

later, mcm fans...

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Saturday, January 8, 2022

And This Is Why...



 ...I'm a summer person...oh, it's pretty for sure, lovely to look at...but it's also cold and inconvenient.

Ever notice you don't have to bundle up, throw salt down and shovel sunshine to get out of your driveway in the summer?

But snow and ice, on the other hand...

See where I'm going with this?

And the stuff's heavy, too.  Here's our gazebo in the summer...


...and here it is after the most recent snow storm...

add sugar, vanilla, fold in cream, beat until firm, then grab an enormous spoon and enjoy

I rest my case.

So until they find a way to change the channel from this...


...to this...


...without having to wait 5 months...yeah, I'm a summer person.


Recently watched the movie...


...starring Renee Zellweger, who won Best Actress at the 2019 Academy Awards for her efforts.

And yes, she did actually sing in the movie.

The movie covers the last year of Judy Garland's life in 1969, when at age 47 she finally succumbed to the ravages of drug addiction.

But whence came that addiction?

Through flashbacks to Judy's youth as a teen star at MGM, we learn she was force fed drugs by her adult handlers:  uppers to help her work 18 hour days and curb her appetite, and downers to help her sleep at night.

As such, this is a depressing movie as we follow this incredibly talented wreck of a human being stumbling toward her inevitable, inglorious end.

So...why watch it?

Two reasons:  Darci Shaw and Renee Zellweger.

Shaw - who was mostly overlooked in all the effusive praise heaped on this movie - plays the teenage Judy in flashbacks to her days at MGM...


...and it is largely through her excellent interpretation that we learn why the adult Judy ended up staggering to her early death.

that's a teenage Garland on the left, Shaw on the right

For my money, Shaw should have won Best Supporting Actress, for without her efforts Judy would have been nothing but a dispiriting look at yet another drug addicted Hollywood has been.

But giving credit where it's due, the hype you may have heard is true:

RZ gives a tour de force performance as the jaded, run down and world weary Garland.



Except for one patently ridiculous, completely fictional and totally irrelevant scene where director Rupert Goold obediently and reverently bows the knee before the altar of wokeness - you'll know it when you see it - this is a worthwhile movie.

No, it won't leave you laughing nor whistling a happy tune, but it should spur admiration and sympathy for a world class talent who brought happiness to millions while experiencing far too little of it herself.


As another successful foray into blogging excellence chugs to its graceful finale...

scene from Buster Keaton's 1927 silent film "The General"

...we here at the Atomic Monster Cafe extend our sincere thanks for your faithful if inexplicable patronage.

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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