Book Report: The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry (1966, 1979)

Book coverWell, as I mentioned, Larry McMurtry died while I was reading this book. I read Books: A Memoir in February, and I knew I had a couple of his novels on the shelves. I came across this one while I was looking for something to read before picking up Hud, the movie version of Horseman, Pass By.

And I came here to bury McMurtry, not to praise him.

This book, which the cover calls the precursor to Texasville even though this book and its movie came before the second book in what would eventually be known as the Thalia Trilogy and its movie. Published in 1966, the book is set a decade or so earlier in a small Texas town. It’s the sort of literary novel favored by serious artists and those who love them: The novel of pissing on where you came from, your home town where everyone is pitiable. So I did not like the book at all, and that’s before nine teenaged boys ran a train on a blind heifer and the novelist assured us that all the small town boys have sex with farm animals, if not cows and horses then dogs and chickens. Whatever is available. It’s not often that I call a book depraved, but here you go.

I mean, the main character or protagonist, such as it is, is a high school kid estranged from his father and lives in a rooming house with another high school friend. The friend is dating the daughter of one of the rich families in town, a girl who wants to be a legend in town and is a climber, always plotting her next move and/or boyfriend. The book is chock full of characters–the local coach, who might be a latent homosexual; his wife, Mrs. Robinson Ruth, who is turning forty and discovers orgasm with the protagonist; the owner of the pool hall/picture show/diner who is like a father figure to the town boys; and so on. You don’t really like any of them. Mostly, you pity them. The story, such as it is, follows a winter/spring/summer of the boys’ senior year, including football season, a trip to Mexico to score with some prostitutes, sexual escapades/adultery/sociosexual climbing and more prostitutes, it’s all pitiable and games until someone loses an eye, and then…. Well, it ends. To be taken up thirty years later in Texasville if you’re so inclined. I am not.

So this is why I like genre fiction. Because it has heroes and adventures, not normalish-but-quiet-desperation-amid-meaningless-sex vignettes.

I did flag a couple things to comment on, but I have decided not to bother except to bring up two points below the fold.
Continue reading “Book Report: The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry (1966, 1979)”

Someone Forgot One

I am so something that I saw something else.

I saw Hewlett Packard mainly because I just ordered a new laptop. No, scratch that: Some months ago, I ordered a new laptop, and Hewlett Packard sat on my money for a couple of months and then sent me a laptop directly from its factory in China which I just received. And rather don’t trust now that I’ve seen where it shipped from.

You know what else marks one kind of a person from another? Getting a new computer/laptop/device and immediately thinking, “Eh, what a chore to set it up” instead of “Cool! I can’t wait to try the new version of Civilization/other game that I bought this computer to run.” I mean, it marks me old that I still run computers for the most part and don’t get excited–or even get the latest mobile devices until the battery on my current one cannot take a charge. But it marks me older yet that I don’t jump right on the new computer, either.

Also, I am not much into gaming on the computer these days, so I don’t need the gee-whizzery of the latest modest improvement.

And even though I saw Hewlett Packard first, I think the other two are more fun.

(Image via Ms. K.)

UPDATE: I am not alone.

Local Debacle Makes The News In England For Some Reason

Inside the $1.6bn ghost town abandoned in 2008 – before anyone moved in:

The Ozarks region of Missouri was set to become home to a prosperous town featuring a shopping mall, a 390-room hotel, the country’s second-largest indoor water park – and dozens of castle-like townhouses.

But the $1.6bn investment went to waste as the town remains uninhabited almost 15 years later.

The Indian Ridge Resort was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis hit; resulting in defaulted loans and a halt in the construction work.

As someone who watches the bankruptcy auctions from time to time, I still see a lot of those lots coming available for only the past taxes due.

I am not sure why this is news in England today for some reason. Perhaps the new deadly COVID variants are not as bad as advertised. Like COVID itself.

Book Report: Supercarrier by George C. Wilson (1986, 1989)

Book coverI started this book because I’m on a novelization/source of movies kick to begin the year, and I remember the short-lived television series from the 1980s. This book is not a novelization of it or a novel that’s the source: It is a non-fiction book that was purportedly source material for the television show, but I don’t think they had much to do with one another aside from the name and the type of boat.

The author is a Washington Post reporter and a former pilot who embeds before embedding was a thing with the crew of the USS John F. Kennedy as it deploys for a seven month cruise in 1983-1984. Originally scheduled to steam out to the Indian Ocean, it gets put on point off of Lebanon after the attack that killed the Marines in their barracks. The posting climaxes early in an ill-conceived bombing raid that results in the loss of two planes and the deaths of two aviators.

Initially, I thought the author was playing it pretty straight, but in gestalt, not so much. He proffers some respect for the people on the ship–and he gets around, so he gets to know people in every position from the captain down to the boiler tenders–but, really, he’s kinda for the guys who are in the Navy because they had no other prospects in their slums or backward small towns. And when we get to the bombing raid, he really takes some time to call out the civilian leadership of the military (Reagan and the Republicans) for attempting a limited retaliation for a missile strike. Which is weird because he mentions Operation Eagle Claw which was launched in an election year by Carter, but he doesn’t call that a political operation.

So, basically, the author tries to be for the troops while pissing on the military and the political leadership.

However, the left-leaning subtext is fairly subtle compared by modern standards, and in between its blushes we get some good stories and insight into various occupations and life on a deployed aircraft carrier. The cover says it was a controversial book, and I bet it was, as a lot of people who would have liked a straight narrative got a Political Message in it. But, as I said, by the standards of today, it’s relatively subtle and mild. Although books like this likely led us to where we are now.

I can’t give it a completely unalloyed recommendation, but it was insightful in spots.

Quibbles and targeted snark below the fold.
Continue reading “Book Report: Supercarrier by George C. Wilson (1986, 1989)”

It Must Have Been One Of Them Assault BB Guns

Bullet strikes window of Dollar General store in northwest Springfield, Mo.:

bullet struck a front window of the Dollar General store at 2535 W. Kearney Street in Springfield, Mo. Monday night.

The bullet did not penetrate the window, right by the front door. Police say the bullet came from a low powered weapon, possibly a BB gun, fired from someone driving by the store.

BB guns fire small round balls powered by compressed air. Not bullets. But one would not expect journalists to know that.

Book Report: More Book Lust by Nancy Pearl (2005)

Book coverAfter I read Book Lust in January for the Winter 2021 Reading Challenge, I was surprised/not surprised to find I had the sequel on my bookshelves. I didn’t buy them at the same time–I bought the first at the Friends of the Christian County Library Book Sale in autumn 2015 and this volume, signed by the author but not inscribed but with the recipient’s name, in autumn 2018 at the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale. So of course they were not really anywhere near each other on the bookshelves, and any time I saw one, I probably saw the other.

At any rate, it’s much like the first volume: A collection of topics and books for that topic. Really, one, and by “one,” I mean I is not so much looking for books to read about a topic–one has a disorganized library full of books on many topics (books on boomerang and whip making, for example) and actual book sales this year to fill the few gaps one creates by reading these smallish paperbacks. So it’s more about keeping score on books I have already read.

Which is not a lot, actually–the bulk of the topical book listings list relatively recent books for the most part and avoid poetry, read: grandmother poetry and chapbooks, and classical literature. The book also dodges overtly political content, but the leftist bent is in evidence, more acutely in this book than in the previous one as she explicitly says about some older books that it’s hard to read because contemporaenous views on race were not contemporaenous to this book and because a lot of the selections are on the Race question–pretty much the whole state-by-state selection of Southern fiction deals with racial matters.

Still, I flagged a number of books she mentioned that I have read:

  • Killing Floor by Lee Child (see below)
  • The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  • The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. MacDonald
  • Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (although I do not have a book report on it, I did ask my boys to read it last year)
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.
  • Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (this year)
  • “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe (I read it most recently in Selected Tales and Poems in 2017)
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (apparently, I cleaned up on the books listed in the “Horror for Sissies” section)
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • David Copperfield (in progress)
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  • Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
  • “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot. It’s not a whole book, but I haven’t brought up that I used to go to poetry open mic nights and recite the whole thing from memory in almost a year
  • The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer (ugh)
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • By The Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the section on South Dakota, as are
  • The Long Winter
  • Little Town on the Prairie
  • and These Happy Golden Years
  • True Grit by Clinton Portis
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Millennium by John Varley
  • Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Those are the ones I flagged as having read, anyway. To be honest, in the week or so where I read the book off and on, I might have stopped flagging the ones I’d read if I felt like I was flagging too much and then started after a couple of pages without flagging anything.

Most of the books that I read are mentioned in passing and are not actually the subject of the entry. Also, note that only, what, three of them that I have read are from within the last fifty years.

I also flagged a couple of passages for snark, but I’ll tuck them below the fold to keep this book report from completely consuming the front page here.
Continue reading “Book Report: More Book Lust by Nancy Pearl (2005)”

Chores You Didn’t Know Existed

Today, I will have spent over an hour aligning the mylar covers on my record sleeves.

As you know, gentle reader, I have a burgeoning record collection. Not one that goes all the way to the ceiling–yet!–but it does fill the record shelving I made in 2019 pretty tightly.

And, in the process of taking them out and putting stacks of them back into the shelves, the sleeves slide a little out on the record sleeves, so they extend in varying lengths out of the shelving.

So today I decided I would reshelve recent listenings and align the sleeves on all of the LPs. It would also give me a chance to find the sleeve for Brahms’ Fourth Symphony which had been shelved with the record still on the record player and thus was lost in the disarray. And maybe find the record for one of my copies of The Lonely Bull which somehow got shelved without its sleeve–more likely, one of the boys put it into another sleeve when we asked one of them to pick a record (and they probably picked John Denver).

I took a quick snap to show you it wasn’t a complete waste of time:

You can see that I’ve done the top two shelves; they all looked like that bottom shelf when I started.

What makes it a partial waste of time is that they will probably look like that again soon. But that’s what chores are: A revolving door of tidy and needing to tidy.

And, hopefully, I will find the Swedish Gospel Singers LP that has been a Sunday morning tradition at Nogglestead for eight years now, I guess, except for when I lose it in rearranging the Christmas albums and whatnot.

Literary World -2

Beverly Cleary, author of children’s book ‘Henry Huggins,’ dead at 104

Larry McMurtry, Novelist And Screenwriter Of The West, Has Died At Age 84

I can’t help but notice that the former article is in the New York Post and features a picture of Beverly Cleary with George W. Bush and the latter article is from NPR, which tops the article with a picture of McMurtry with President Obama. So I guess we know how to feel about the death.

I actually have been reading The Last Picture Show for a couple of days, and I absolutely hate it. McMurtry’s death is only one of the coincidences with my reading of the book. I’ll mention the other in the book report.

Cleary was 104, and McMurtry was 84.

Someone Knows Their Audience

‘Dad bods’ are the biggest turn-on for singles in the pandemic sex era:

Embrace the bulge: Scales have once again been tipped in favor of the common man.

Nearly 75% of singles are more turned on by a “dad bod” over any other body type — including a mate with rock-hard washboard abs, according to a sexy new survey of 2,000 people by Dating.com.

Wait a minute, who is the most likely to use a dating site and not go to the latest high-end club to pick up models?

People with normal bodies.

So when they, the dating site, says that “single” especially the ones on their dating sites think a little paunch is sexy, don’t you think the paunchy would be more likely to sign up for their dating site?

Could I be more skeptical and cynical if I tried? I shall try!

The New Shows of 1984 Quiz

I just can’t quit turning a viewing of the New Shows Of…. video compilations that Ace links to into personal reminiscences and quizzes.

Yesterday, he linked to the new shows of 1984.

How many do I remember/did I watch?

As always, I’ve bolded the ones I remember and added a link to references to the show on this blog.

  • Punky Brewster. C’mon, man. Although, to be honest, it was a bit a little girl, so I probably only watched it reluctantly. I understand Soleil Moon Frye has a new documentary about being a kid celebrity in the 1980s out. Which I will bold in the future, for although I will remember she did it, I won’t watch it.
  • It’s Your Move. Short lived, to be sure. I remember when Jason Bateman tweeted about a show getting a second life in 2011, and I responded I hoped it was this show (It was Arrested Development. Man, that was ten years ago.)
  • Charles in Charge. I think I wanted to be Scott Baioish when I grew up.
  • Who’s the Boss?. Kind of like Mr. Belvedere if Mr. Belvedere were a former boxer. Or like Charles in Charge if Charles were a former boxer. Also, Alyssa Milano.
  • The Cosby Show. Wow, those kids were young in 1984. So was Cosby. So were we all, except for you damn kids who weren’t born yet.
  • Three’s a Crowd, the follow-up to Three’s Company. I didn’t see this as much as the original because I saw the original more in syndication.
  • Dreams.
  • E/R. But not that ER. The first note in each Wikipedia entry is that this is not that.
  • People Do The Craziest Things. I mean, I think I remember this. The middle 80s were full of these humor segment shows.
  • Highway to Heaven, which I mentioned just last year in Know Your Frenches.
  • Finder of Lost Loves.
  • Glitter. Although by the title, I can tell what it’s about.
  • Paper Dolls.
  • Call to Glory. I thought this was a miniseries, actually.
  • V. Which was a mini-series. The television series came several years later, after V: The Final Battle. I most recently referred to it only last year.
  • Murder, She Wrote. I know I have mentioned that my mother loved this show, and that I read one of the paperback novels based on it that I had given to her in 2010, not long after she passed–and I still have plenty of them floating around yet to be read.
  • Jessie. I want to say I remember the Bionic Woman’s later show, but I am not sure. It wasn’t around long enough for syndication, though.
  • Partners in Crime, a detective show starring Lynda Carter and Loni Anderson. I want to say I remember Wonder Woman’s later show, but, again, I am not sure. Note that both Jessie and this program have similar titles with a puzzle motif. Were they related?
  • Hot Pursuit. I wasn’t sure I remembered it until we got to the point of the intro where the woman says, “Find her, or find them before they find her,” and the guy raises his eyes and one is another color. I didn’t watch it, though.
  • Cover Up. I did watch this one which was far too short, and it’s a shame about Jon-Erik Hexum.
  • Hunter. I also watched this, and I referred to it in 2006. I might even say, “Works for me,” and try to sound like Hunter from time to time.
  • Hawaiian Heat. What if Magnum, P.I. were a buddy show?
  • Miami Vice. I referred to it when I published my earlier essay Name That Muzak on this blog, and I did buy the soundtrack on CD a couple years back for some reason.

That must be my high score, ainna? 15 of 23?

You can see previous results and musings on the years 1982, 1983, and 1987. Which means I have more than half of the decade to go whenever Ace posts them. Or, in case he already has before I paid attention, when I think of it.

Just One?

A strong coffee half an hour before exercising increases fat-burning

You know, by the time I hit the YMCA in the mornings, I have already had three or four cups of coffee. And I have been known to dope up before a triathlon with a lot of coffee. As a matter of fact, before my second Y Not Tri, I was sitting in the lounge of the YMCA before my heat, pounding styrofoam cups of coffee, when my personal physician walked through. Not to participate that year–to watch his daughter play basketball. But I was afraid he would rat me out for using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Coffee, metal, and Advil: The basics of my exercise routine.

(Link via Instapundit.)

Lights Out, Costs Up

In 2008, I lamented how the cost of lighting was going up as the backed-into ban on incandescent bulbs meant you could not buy a light bulb for twenty-five cents as all the energy-efficient others cost $4 each.

Each of them, though, touted you would save seventy cents a year in power costs [citation needed] over the twenty years that the bulbs would last [citation needed].

Well, gentle reader, as you know, Nogglestead didn’t have many regular light bulb sockets when we moved in. I have since replaced the kitchen light fixtures, which previously took a finicky circular fluorescent light bulb, with fixtures that use regular bulbs.

But, you know what? The touted energy-saving light bulbs are not lasting as long as advertised.


I am replacing the LED, CFL, and halogen lights about as fast as the incandescents. So the cost savings promised has not materialized, and the more expensive bulbs with their precious metals and toxic compounds, are more expensive to make and buy than the simple piece of hot wire in the incandescents.

Oh, but we will do better once we’re back to candles.

Ms. Monheit Suggests

On Facebook, Jane Monheit touts that her new album, released last week, is doing well:

Which led me to wonder, Who is Veronica Swift?

A “prodigy” of jazz, the child of jazz musicians, who recorded her first album at the age of nine. Now she’s 26 and has a new album out.

I ordered it. Of course, the new Monheit album is also on order. Which means my musical balance is way out of whack lately. And, given that I’m ordering a lot from artists’ Web sites, it will be harder for me to track them down since they’re not all on my Amazon orders list.

One Writer’s Pinch At-Bat Strikeout

On the World Famous Ace of Spades HQ Hoity Toity Book Thread, someone recommends Thom Jones:

235 I’d like to recommend “Pugilist at Rest”, by Thom Jones. This book was a finalist for The National Book Award in 1991. The book is actually a series of short stories, of somewhat autobiographical reflections. A former boxer and Viet Nam veteran, among other things. The stories are real and raw. From the flap:

“Jones’s stories -whether set in the combat zones of Vietnam or the brittle social milieu of an elite new England college, whether recounting the poignant last battles of an alcoholic ex-fighter or the visions of an American wandering lost in Bombay in the aftermath of an epileptic fugue-are fueled by an almost brutal vision of the human condition, in a world without mercy or redemption. Physically battered, soul sick, and morally exhausted, Jones’s characters are yet unable to concede defeat: his stories are infused with the improbable grace of the spirit that ought to collapse, but cannot.”

Posted by: Brave Sir Robin at March 14, 2021 10:38 AM (7Fj9P)

This sounds like a light-hearted, happy, optimistic book that will pick you right up when you’re feeling low. The author sounds like quite the phenom, though:

Thom Jones made his literary debut in The New Yorker in 1991. Within six months his stories appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Mirabella, Story, Buzz, and in The New Yorker twice more. “The Pugilist at Rest” – the title story from this stunning collection – took first place in Prize Stories 1993: The O. Henry Awards and was selected for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 1992.

If stories were drinks, Jones’ would not be those little froo-froo drinks with paper umbrellas and fruit in them, they’d be straight shots from a bottle you keep in the bottom drawer of a battered old desk.

Gentle reader, I myself read The Pugilist At Rest almost thirty years ago because an editorial assistant at Harper’s recommended I do.

Continue reading “One Writer’s Pinch At-Bat Strikeout”

On Buddhism by Professor Malcolm David Eckel (2001)

Book coverAs I mentioned, I got bogged down listening to this audio course, one of the longer, 24-lecture series (although, yes, I know some courses go even longer yet). I mean, I think I skipped the last lecture in the first part (it comes in two binders, as two sets, as library editions do) because I was so excited to finish the first part that I stopped and ejected the CDs from my automobile when I finished the first lecture on that CD (these are 2 thirty minute lectures per CD). Then, I loaded the next set in the car, listened to the first lecture on the second set (“Buddhist Philosophy”) before pausing for something more exciting (History’s Greatest Blunders and the Lessons They Teach). Then, when I finished that course, I reloaded this set and inadvertently listened to the penultimate lecture (“Zen”) because the audio system played the sixth CD, the last one loaded, first, and I realize that I’d skipped a whole 10 lectures until he said the next lecture was the last one, at which point I listened to the 13th (“Buddhist Philosophy”) again and hoped I hadn’t listened to two or three lectures I would have to repeat to get back to where I paused.

All this is made possible by the scope of the lecture series and by Buddhism itself. This course provides a very, very high level overview not only of the history of the Buddhist traditions but also some insight into their thoughts and philosophies as well–and over the course of 2000 years or so and introduction into several different Asian cultures produced a great variety of different religions all called “Buddhism.” I mean, you go from emptying yourself to escape the cycle of rebirth in what is essentially an off-shoot of Hinduism to Celestial Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that are akin to angels to a full on there is one omniscient and omnipresent Buddha that you can pray to, and Siddhartha was his earthly avatar. You know, these are not the same, but they’re all in “Buddhism.” It’s as though you would take all the Abrahamic religions along with all their various denominations and heresies (unpunished) and call them a single thing.

The lectures include:

  1. What is Buddhism?
  2. India at the Time of the Buddha
  3. The Doctrine of Reincarnation
  4. The Story of the Buddha
  5. All is Suffering
  6. The Path to Nirvana
  7. The Buddhist Monastic Community
  8. Buddhist Art and Architecture
  9. Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia
  10. Mahayana Buddhism and the Bodhisattva Ideal
  11. Celestial Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
  12. Emptiness
  13. Buddhist Philosophy
  14. Buddhist Tantra
  15. The Theory and Practice of the Mandala
  16. The “First Diffusion of the Dharma” in Tibet
  17. The Schools of Tibetan Buddhism
  18. The Dalai Lama
  19. The Origins of Chinese Buddhism
  20. The Classical Period of Chinese Buddhism
  21. The Origins of Japanese Buddhism
  22. Honen, Shinran, and Nichiren
  23. Zen
  24. Buddhism in America

To be honest, the firehouse of information, delivered in a low-key manner, and the foreignness of the names involved (I could not visualize the name Avalokoteshvara, for example, which makes it harder to individualize the thinkers or Buddhas) means most of what I heard won’t stick with me–but it is a survey course. I have the two course books set aside for light review later, but I suppose if I wanted to really study Buddhism, I would have to pick a flavor and dive more deeply into it. But, honestly, as I mentioned, the ontology (ontologies) don’t really speak to me (although does any ontology make sense without belief?). Most people who get into it, I suspect, are looking for the calming and practical aspects of meditation and mindfulness. Zen, one of the less ontologically focused strains of Buddhism, is good for this.

At any rate, I have another two-part course on Buddhism that I picked up last September, so I can do some A/B testing comparing the two courses except I probably won’t get to the other course any time soon since I still have most of that stack of courses awaiting me, and the next book sale is coming up in less than a month, and I hope to score some more courses in diverse subjects then.

Good Book Hunting, March 18-19, 2021: ABC Books / Hooked on Books

So after watching Fletch on Monday, I thought I would see if I could find a copy of the book or others in the series for my oldest son, whom I’m always encouraging to read a book with words in it instead of cartoons.

However, the Fletch series seems to have aged out of the used books–most of them would have been sold in the 1980s, remember–so I did not find books at either book store. Perhaps I will get lucky at the upcoming book sales this year.

I did, however, pick up a couple things:

At ABC Books, I got:

  • Semper Fidelis by M. L. Brummett, a local author. I had just been at the Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks, as you might recall.
  • Earth Games, a short collection of poetry by Ruth Loring.

At Hooked on Books, I got a couple of $1 books:

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
  • Blood and Thunder by Max Allan Collins.
  • Neon Prey by John Sandford. I know, I know, I swore these off, but it was only a buck. And note that this went from a new book at the library in April 2019 to the dollar cart outside a used book store in under two years. I wonder if his popularity is widely suffering.

The sale room in the back was pretty bare, but I still saw some books with red dots on the spines. Gentle reader, Hooked on Books used to mark their discount books with the red dot (which, two years ago, a cashier there didn’t know because it had been so long ago). So those books had been in the building for quite some time indeed. I expect that young man no longer works there, so they outlasted him by quite a margin.

At any rate, now that Spring Break is over, I hope I can get back to my normal reading schedule. I realize you have not had a book report in quite some time, gentle reader (eleven days since Mission: Impossible), and I know I am your primary source for book reports on twee books of decades past. Soon. Soon.

The Interleaved Movies of Spring Break

In addition to spending the days together, I made a point of watching movies this week with my boys. We watched six from Monday through Friday:

Night Movie Daddy Always Says
From This Movie
Comment/Reaction
Monday Fletch
“I charged [it] to Mr. Underhill’s American Express Card. Want the number?”
“Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo.”
Although the oldest bet me five dollars he would not laugh through the movie, he did; both boys liked the dog chase in Utah.
Also, as I mentioned, my boys have heard the soundtrack of this film for a decade or more, so their eyes lit up when a song played that they recognized.
Tuesday Real Genius
“That’s a wonderful story, Bodie. I noticed you’ve stopped stuttering.” There were no bets, but they liked it.
Wednesday Airplane!
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to….”
[Definition of what it is], but that’s not important now.”
You know, the parodies don’t age very well for a new generation because they don’t recognize what’s being lampooned.
Thursday Top Gun
“I feel the need, the need, for speed.”
I mean, I guess. I am not sure I quote this film much.
The oldest was ready to enlist. So it has the intended impact even almost forty years later.
Friday Hot Shots!

Hot Shots! Part Deux
“Why me?” / “Because you’re the best of what’s left.”
To be honest, I don’t quote either of these movies much either.
The boys did not like the movies much; again, the parodies don’t age well, even though they saw the film the first one of these two was parodying the night before. They liked the second one better because it had guns they could try to identify from their video games.

When looking for these films in the disorganized library, I thought it was on VHS because I remember getting it on VHS for my dad, who liked the movie. But I must not have come away with that VHS–we own both of them on DVD.

Fletch and Real Genius were on videocassettes that held up and looked pretty good even though I bought them both probably twenty-five or thirty years ago and watched them a bunch in those early days. Top Gun was also on VHS and looked pretty good; it’s not a first pressing or whatever, though, as it lacks the contemporaneously controversial Pepsi commercial. The first time I saw Top Gun was in the trailer park at Jimmy T’s trailer; his father got it right when it came out. I am not sure if I’ve seen it since.

I titled this The Interleaved Movies of Spring Break because look at the connections between the films:


Fletch Real Genius Airplane! Top Gun Hot Shots! Hot Shots!
Part Deux
Val Kilmer x x
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar x x
Lloyd Benson x x x
Harold Faltermeyer x x
Bunny slippers gag x x
Popcorn x x
Scenes at air fields x x x x x x

You see? They’re all connected.

Spring Break Wrapping Up

As I mentioned in passing, on Thursday, we went to the Air and Military Museum of the Ozarks (and ABC Books, but we will get to that later).

I had taken my boys to the AMMO (get it?) during the summer after my youngest’s first grade year. I had another gap in contracts at that time, so I took them all over the Springfield area to all sorts of places, including this little military museum up on Kearney. I wrote this up for another one of my defunct blogs defunct blogs, the Missouri Insight, and I later imported those posts here when I defuncted that blog. To sum up, AMMO is a storefront in a strip mall with artifacts from people’s personal collections, and it takes about an hour to go through, including the garage in the back with the helicopter, the jeeps, and the jet trainer.

A volunteer that was showing us around told us a little about each piece; the boys were not as eager to sit in each as they are now teen and pre-teen and not elementary school children (although the Airman First Class in the Air Force JROTC did sit in the jet trainer). The volunteer also pointed out the skeleton of a World War II glider trainer that they had on the ceiling. I asked how big actual trainers were because I’d heard they were used in Operation Market Garden (which I just heard about in the History’s Great Military Blunders audio course.

He got a far away look in his eye and said that his father had participated in Operation Market Garden and was scheduled for D-Day but had acute appendicitis and was held back for a couple of days. This fellow himself was wearing a Navy cap, which probably meant that he was Vietnam or after. Which is odd because he was the age that World War II vets were when I was a kid, and going to this museum made me feel like a kid. And a bit unworthy, actually–knowing a bit about Operation Market Garden and mentioning that I would have preferred helicopters to flying airplanes. Because I chose college instead, I am not in the fraternity of those who served. And when I’m around a bunch of veterans, it just seems unseemly to know anything about anything.

At any rate, yesterday I had a call in the early afternoon, so we didn’t go anywhere in the morning. In the afternoon, I took them for frozen custard.

Okay, now the double-effect narrator is kicking in. This might be the last time we do this. The summer opens up–but the summer closes. With band camp and JROTC activities, the oldest will be very busy. Not to mention if he gets a job, which he likely will, if not this summer, then next. And then he’s gone.

At any rate, a good week, a glorious week. Better than being tied to my computer all day while they play video games and fight.