On On the Beach

Book coverWell, I didn’t get to watch this film on the first try, but I did get to watch it after my triathlon class ended.

For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, it’s a film from 1959 where, after a nuclear war, an American submarine comes to Melbourne, Australia, where people are trying to carry on even though the scientists are pretty sure that the fallout will eventually reach Australia and kill them all.

The captain of the submarine, played by Gregory Peck, doesn’t like to think that his family in the states is dead. The Australian navy places a young officer, played by Anthony Perkins, as a liaison with the American forces, and he introduces Gregory Peck to a local drunk played by Ava Gardner. They start to have feelings for each other, but it’s complicated.

The Australian admirality receives a radio signal, so it sends the sub and its crew to the coast of California to investigate, which gives the sub crew a chance to view the empty coastlines and cities. Unfortunately, it’s not a remnant of civilization. So the sub returns to Australia, and everyone dies.

Well, the film ends with the sub heading back to America because the crew wants to die at home, but, man, it’s a heckuva downer of a film.

As you might know, gentle reader, Gregory Peck is not high on my list of favorite lead actors from the era, and Ava Gardner is not high on my list of actresses, either. However, the film does have Fred Astaire in it, so that’s a bonus.

A downer of a film, for sure, and anti-nuke agitprop. Not something to watch when you want to watch something entertaining, but if you fancy yourself a film buff, you might want to watch it for completeness.

The Only Styx Song I Can Stand

You know, my beautiful wife owns a number of Styx albums, including at least one on vinyl, but I really don’t like many of their songs.

But one, “Show Me The Way”, struck a chord with me.

It came out in 1990, when I was transitioning from an awkward high school student into an awkward college student. I moved from small town Missouri back to the city of Milwaukee, and I certainly could have used some guidance.

I still can.

I often think of Styx as a seventies band, but this hit was from 1990.

Kind of how I think of the Rolling Stones as a sixties band, but they charted records well into the 1980s. But the radio playlists really focus on the greatest hits of both bands, which are the early hits.

Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture From Marvel Studios

Environmentalist superhero Captain Planet visits kids at Discovery Center:

With so many shows and games for kids to play it can be hard to get them excited about things like the outdoors. But today, the Discovery Center brought a superhero in to help bring shows and excitement about the environment together.

Captain Planet from the well-known show made a visit to the Discovery Center today to interact with kids and teach a little about the environment.

From the well-known show?

Which one is that? The one that ran for two years in the early 90s, or the one that ran for three years in the middle 1990s?

Hey, I’m not knocking it. Keep promoting it as “popular” and maybe even “collectible.” I’ve got a copy of the Marvel Captain Planet and the Planeteers #1 that I need to increase in value if I’m going to retire someday.

I Wonder Why The North Side Mindflayers Trivia Team Keeps Me Around

So we have this cat, and I like to proclaim often, “You’re a menace!”

He doesn’t look like much of a menace in this action photo, but he really is. He has the nickname “Foot” which is short for “Underfoot.” He likes to walk ahead of me and stop suddenly to turn to look to see if I’m going. And when I say “Walk ahead of me,” I mean inches ahead of me. He’s also prone to appearing in the kitchen when I’m cooking, and if I start downstairs (and hence towards his food dishes) before him, he will come bowling down the stairs after me, often striking me in the back of the legs as I’m descending. When I say “Bowling,” I mean like a bowling ball. He is, after all, nineteen pounds of cat who thinks affection involves biting the hand that pets him and lying across the pillow in the middle of the night and grooming me while I’m sleeping. And then biting me.

Of course, I call all the cats menaces in the spirit of J. Jonah Jameson.

So recently I started to tell him, “Don’t Be A Menace.”

You know, like the movie.

But then I realized I couldn’t remember the name of the movie, a film that came out in 1996 and which I’ve never actually seen, but which has the words/shortened title on the movie poster.

I had to look it up.

Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood.

Which I now tell the cat all the time, and which means I’ll probably retain that bit of information in case it shows up on a trivia night.

Yes, I do talk an awful lot to my cats. But I have been a remote worker for over a decade. I have to talk to someone.

My Next Home

It would be my home in eight weeks if I had the money: A castle outside Clever, Missouri:

5000 square feet on 10 acres, and the shields on the gate already have the letter N on them.

At roughly a million dollars, it might still be on the market by the time I can afford it. Unfortunately, I’ll need hyperinflation to get there, but unfortunately, in that event, I wouldn’t get change from my $200,000,000 bill.

Mr. Keith Begs To Differ

An ad on my Facebook feed makes an assertion that country music science does not support.

The ad:

The study that refutes it:

Why this ad appeared on my Facebook feed, though, I have no idea. One would expect with all the data that Facebook harvests from me that they would know we don’t host many gatherings here at Nogglestead.

We still have blue and orange disposable cups from my oldest child’s fifth birthday party, almost eight years ago. The bags are gone, though, so I could not tell you if they were Solo or Hefty in nature.

The Week of Easter to a Parent

“Dad, can we eat the entire contents of our Easter basket RIGHT NOW?”


My boys, well, the oldest, has a habit of going through the video library and pulling out interesting films to read the boxes, and recently he’s left The Hunt for Red October lying around. Given that it’s PG, I suppose we could watch it together. It will blow their minds to see James Bond older.

You Can Probably Guess The Answer

So I’m in the process of transitioning computers, which means I have to again set my Web browser to stop bothering me when every last Web site wants to send me notifications.

This is a simple config change, but I did a quick Web search to ensure I set the correct preference name to false.

The Web search led me to a Reddit topic:

Which was obscured by Reddit prompting me about its notifications.

Note to self: It’s dom.webnotifications.enabled.

Also, let it be noted that when previewing this post, I had the impulse to click Not Now on the above picture out of recently acquired habit.

Current Status

It sure is Monday.

You know, my knowledge and appreciation of popular music from the middle 1990s is strangely lacking. I think I was listening mostly to country at that time or something.

Speaking of Monday morning, this line of Keats in “The Eve of St. Agnes” which I finished reading this morning stuck with me:

But let me laugh awhile, I’ve mickle time to grieve.

Mickle means “a large amount.” You can bet I’ll use this word on a call today, if not the whole line.

Book Report: Haitian Hit The Executioner #129 (1989)

Book coverTo what do I turn after completing The Count of Monte Cristo? Why, an Executioner book, of course.

This book is not a bad entry. Bolan is in Haiti to put the hurt on some mobsters, and he ends up getting entangled in a revolution looking to overthrow the military junta in charge after Baby Doc fled. Since the junta is allowing the mob to build a casino and resort, Bolan’s plan turns to its destruction.

Once again, these books from the 1980s illustrate how little has changed in the thirty years since they were new. Haiti is still a mess, and the story would not need much updating to be set in 2019 instead of 1989.

Book Report: Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies (1999)

Book coverDonald Margulies is my favorite modern playwright. I really enjoyed Sight Unseen both on stage and in print. Which makes it weird that it took me over a year to get to this book (bought in in January 2018) while I read lesser plays.

This book has four characters: Karen and Gabe, two married food writers, and Beth and Tom, friends that they introduced a dozen years ago whose marriage is ending. Beth reveals that Tom has cheated on her, and he cannot join them for dinner because he’s gone out of town to visit his mistress. The news shocks Karen and Gabe. Scenes center on meals where Beth or Tom eat at Karen and Gabe’s.

The emotions are pretty raw, and the play really evokes wondering what is happening off-stage as much as on. Karen and Gabe disagree over how to treat Tom after the break-up, and Tom touches Karen’s hair at one point, which leads one to wonder if something happened there. How strong is Karen and Gabe’s marriage? Can Beth and Tom reconcile while eventually destroying their friends’ marriage?

Very good, but not as good as Sight Unseen. Margulies has numerous other works, and one of these days I might start ordering them new instead of hoping to spot them at book sales in Springfield or Ozark.

Book Report: The Zen Way To The Martial Arts by Taisen Deshimaru (1982, 1991)

Book coverI bought this book just last month, and like so many of the Buddhist or martial arts books, I dived right into it. This book is a two-fer in that regard, as it blends Zen Buddhism with martial arts.

The book is a collection of talks given at a retreat in Switzerland in 1975 that blended zazen sitting with martial arts demonstrations. Of course, you can draw many parallels between the focus in practicing martial arts techniques and forms and the Buddhist focus not only on sitting/meditating, but also in the focus on being present in every moment and doing everything fully in the moment.

So there’s not really anything surprising in the book; I didn’t flag anything for comment.

I read these books because I find them a bit calming, but they really do go in one eye and out the other as far as remembering their contents goes.

An Uncomfortable Conversation

Last evening, my twelve-year-old son asked me a question that took me aback and led to a stammering, rambling, and incomplete response that probably left the boy more befuddled than when he asked.

He asked me for an overview of the Terminator story.

I mean, I have only seen the first three movies (of five, apparently), the television series, and read one of the books. So I’m not an expert.

I could made it through explaining Skynet, sort of, and the plot of the first two movies and a bit about the television series, but, honestly, it’s hard to explain them all in gestalt. It’s probably best to explain each movie or property discretely and then gloss over the problems in the timelines and continua.

I don’t think he got it. I’m not sure I do. Perhaps the best explanation is the simplest. Intelligent unstoppable killing machines travel time to kill people who are troublesome in the future.

Man, I wish he would have asked me to explain something I understand better. Like women.

Broken News

Clearly, two different city papers have read two different Mueller reports.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel found evidence of collusion:

It’s also running a red banner throughout the site saying that the report shows links between Trump aides and Russia, but ultimately found no crime.

The response in Springfield is more muted:

Join me in speculating why the Gannett properties are so different. The editors know their audiences? They want to tip the balance in Wisconsin, but know editorial spin wouldn’t make a difference in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee Tries Harder

News from DC: D.C. housed the homeless in upscale apartments. It hasn’t gone as planned.:

The SWAT team, the overdose, the complaints of pot smoke in the air and feces in the stairwell — it would be hard to pinpoint a moment when things took a turn for the worse at Sedgwick Gardens, a stately apartment building in Northwest Washington.

But the Art Deco complex, which overlooks Rock Creek Park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is today the troubled locus of a debate on housing policy in a city struggling with the twin crises of homelessness and gentrification.

Located in affluent Cleveland Park and designed by Mihran Mesrobian — the prewar architect behind such Washington landmarks as the Hay-Adams Hotel — Sedgwick Gardens was once out of reach for low-income District residents.

That changed two years ago, when D.C. housing officials dramatically increased the value of rental subsidies. The goal was to give tenants who had previously clustered in impoverished, high-crime areas east of the Anacostia River a shot at living in more desirable neighborhoods.

Milwaukee is going to try the same thing, only harder: Downtown apartment tower would include affordable units — and the city Housing Authority as developer:

A new $150 million downtown Milwaukee apartment high-rise would have an unusual feature: a large number of units with affordable, below-market rents.

Perhaps even more unusual is the developer — the city Housing Authority.

The proposal, which would redefine Milwaukee’s public housing scene, was unveiled Wednesday.

“It will allow us to change the narrative,” said M. Joseph Donald, a Housing Authority board member.

The 32-story building would have around 315 to 350 apartments, as well as 43,000 square feet of office space. Its conceptual plans call for a swimming pool, fitness center and other amenities typically found in upscale high-rises.

Anyone want to bet that it’s a different outcome? I wonder if the people behind this program would even take the bet.

I Was At That Game

I watched a little bit of the baseball game last night while looking to see if the hockey game had started, and the Cardinals broadcasters talked a bit about Bob Uecker, mentioning that he had been traded to the Cardinals and won a World Series with them in 1964. So I went to his Wikipedia page to learn a little more, and I read about his work with the Milwaukee Admirals:

Uecker also appeared in a series of commercials for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League in the mid-1990s, including one in which he re-designed the team’s uniforms to feature a garish plaid reminiscent of the loud sports coats synonymous with Uecker in the 1970s and 1980s. In February 2006, the Admirals commemorated those commercials with a special event in which the players wore the plaid jerseys during a game. The jerseys were then auctioned off to benefit charity.

Friends, I was at that hockey game.

I took a trip to Milwaukee for my birthday before the birth of my oldest child. I went to the hockey game alone. The Admirals played the Peoria Rivermen, which was the farm team for the St. Louis Blues at that time. So I was very confused as for whom I should cheer. The Admirals were in these garish yellow plaid uniforms, or the ones that looked like the St. Louis Blues.

You know, given that I haven’t been to a Blues game since my children were born, that might have been the last professional hockey game I’ve seen in person.

Carbondale, Illinois, Police Send Emergency Response Team To Florida

A rare emu-like bird attacks and kills Florida man, officials say:

A cassowary, a giant bird with long claws on each foot, killed its owner after he fell in the backyard of his Gainesville, Florida, home, officials told CNN.

A cassowary? A causetoworry, if you know what I mean.

Forget Florida Man; we need to really worry about Immigrant Floridian Bird.

(Oh, you short term readers–I have to explain the Carbondale Police Emu thing from 2006, look here.)

Gimlet’s Right: I Don’t Listen To Enough Iron Maiden

Well, Gimlet didn’t say this recently. He mentioned in 2012 that I was not familiar with Iron Maiden’s “Phantom of the Opera”.

You know, when I worked in an office, I played Iron Maiden at my desk all the time. My beautiful wife’s Iron Maiden, if I must confess all.

But working remotely, I haven’t listened to much Iron Maiden in the home office. Sometimes I do, but it’s not the go-to metal. Perhaps I rely a lot on my latest metal albums too heavily. I don’t even have any Iron Maiden on my gym playlist.

I should probably listen to some now. Care to join me?

Iron Maiden’s repetoire is so literate.