1 Second Everyday for July

Posted August 1, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: 1 Sec Every Day, 1SE

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Greyhound

Posted July 29, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Books

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Last night we watched a movie titled “Greyhound” starring Tom Hanks. This is a story of the US Destroyer USS Keeling that was performing escort duty of a convoy heading from the US to Great Britain during WW2.

The book is based on a CS Forester book titled “The Good Shepherd”. Actually, the title has been renamed to “Greyhound” to coincide with the movie release.

CS Forester has written many books about naval warfare. He probably best known for his books on Horatio Hornblower during the Napoleonic wars. He also wrote the book “The African Queen” that was the basis for the movie made in 1951 starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.

So I learned a new word. “Pillenwerfer” is the name the Germans used for a device used by the U-Boats during WW2 as a decoy to US Navy Sonar. From Wikipedia:

It was launched by an ejector system colloquially referred to as Pillenwerfer (English: “pill thrower”). When mixed with seawater, the calcium hydride produced large quantities of hydrogen which bubbled out of the container, creating a false sonar target.

So I managed to read the book before the movie came out. It tells the story of action on a US destroyer escorting about 60 ships to England during WW2. It was a quick read. I read it under a week. Lots of action chasing all of those nasty U-Boats. Reading the book beforehand made it easier to understand all of the action.

Back to the movie. I kept wondering, “How’d they do that?”. You know that they didn’t film an entire convoy crossing the North Atlantic in heavy seas. The CGI artists did a masterful job of making the film.

Hamilton

Posted July 23, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Broadway, Music, Reviews, Television

Tags: , ,

Well, we finally watched “Hamilton” on Disney+. Actually, we have watched it twice. It is such an amazing production. We have been listening to the sound track while riding around in our car. Even our grandson, Jonathan, has heard some of the lyrics.

One of my favorite parts is toward the end of act one, where King George (played by Jonathan Groff) comes on the stage dressed in red velvet with white edging and a matching crown. He sings the piece “You’ll be Back”. Here’s the start of the lyrics:

You say, the price of love’s not a price you’re willing to pay. You cry in your tea which you hurl in the sea. When you you see me, why so sad? Remember, we had an arrangement when you went away. Now you’re making me mad...

I tried to find a video clip on IMDB but couldn’t find one. You’re just having to go out and sign up for Disney+ Well worth the money.

They say that after the pandemic is all done with us, they might do another road show up at the Pantages in Hollywood. We are eagerly awaiting the day. Though, we wouldn’t be able to do repeat views.

At any rate, sign up for Disney+. Once you’re done you can always cancel. You won’t be disappointed.

Fever Pitch

Posted July 12, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Baseball, Movies, Reviews

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We watched another baseball movie last night. This time it was Fever Pitch starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.

So this is the story of a young man named Ben who has season tickets to Red Sox games that he inherited from his uncle. He is a super fervent fan. He doesn’t miss any games, ever.

So Ben has real good seats located between home plate and home dugout. The tickets would have needed to be owned by his family for decades.

So Ben meets a young lady named Lindsey (Barrymore) who he takes a liking to. Ben has plenty of time for Lindsey during the winter, but when summer rolls along he has to decide whether baseball games are more important than love.

Okay, this movie was filmed in 2004 when the Red Sox were heading towards the World Series. And the playoff series between the Yankees and Red Sox is prominent in the story.

There was produced an extended Red Sox edition of the film with additional scenes from the actual baseball games. Guess which one we watched?

Other baseball themed movies on my list include “Bull Durham” and
“The Natural”.

So baseball starts up again on July 26th. We should be able to get in one or two more baseball movies before opening day.

Battered Bastards of Baseball

Posted July 2, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Baseball, Movies

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Well enough dancing for a while. Now, it’s back to baseball. Last night we watched a documentary called “The Battered Bastards of Baseball“. This is the documentary about an independent minor league baseball franchise called the Portland (Oregon) Mavericks.

The team was independent in that it did not have any relationship a major league team. In fact at the time, it was the only team in Minor League Baseball that was independent. The team operated in Portland from 1973-1977. Most of the team consisted of misfits and outcasts. But the people of Portland came to love the team and set attendance records for a minor league team.

Usually minor league teams are told who is on their team by the parent major league team. In this case, the Maviricks held tryouts to see who could do the job,

The team was started by Hollywood actor Bing Russell. Bing Russell was best known for playing the deputy on the TV show Bonanza and Robert on “The Magnificent Seven”. Bing was also the father of Hollywood actor Kurt Russell. Click here for his bio on IMDB.

It was an interesting story, full of interviews with Bing and Kurt Russell. There was a lot footage of games and players. The documentary runs about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It is showing on Netflix.

In the end, MLB seeing that the team was doing so well tried to buy out Bing Russell with $25,000 and replace the team with a AAA Minor League franchise. Bing took MLB to arbitration and eventually win $206,000 for the rights to running a baseball team in Portland.

1SE (1 Second Everyday) for June

Posted July 2, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: 1 Sec Every Day, 1SE

Tags: ,

Here it is.

Flashdance

Posted June 30, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Dancing, Movies, Reviews

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Last night was movie night, again. This time we went back to the “dancing” theme and watched “Flashdance” starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri.

This is the story of a young woman named Alex (played by Jennifer Beals) who works as a welder during the day and dances in a bar/night club in the evening. Her dream is to become a professional ballet dancer. So the manager/owner of the construction business (played by Michael Nouri) recognizes her when he sees her perform in the bar.

So it is a simple story. He meets her and tries to ask her out. She initially refuses but eventually gives in. Then he uses his contacts to facilitate getting her an audition with the local ballet organization. So she eventually does the audition and nails it. She gets the ballet gig and they live happily ever after.

So here is a little that Roger Ebert has to say about Flashdance:

I have a friend who has a simple test for a movie: Is this movie as interesting as the same things would be, happening in real life? A lot of movies aren’t, and “Flashdance” sure isn’t. If this movie had spent just a little more effort getting to know the heroine of its story, and a little less time trying to rip off “Saturday Night Fever,” it might have been a much better film.

See RogerEbert.com

So a manager/owner dating one of his employees is a BAD thing. He shouldn’t have done it and she shouldn’t have agreed to go out with him. But that would have ended the story, wouldn’t it.

So the film runs for about 1 hour 35 minutes and is rated “R” for nudity. Once she gets the ballet gig the show is done. Not much else to say. In comparison with the other “dancing” movies that we’ve seen over the past weeks, Flashdance looks decidedly light weight. We enjoyed it but not the best we’ve seen recently

The movie won the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song and had a few other Oscar nominations. The film was released in 1983. That being said, the movie has a fairly decent sound track. Click here for the Amazon entry.

So this was filmed in 1983. I was amused to see many articles of the time, like pay phones or desk phones. Like when was the last time you used a pay phone? Or not see someone with a cell phone in their hand? The film was filmed in Pittsburgh. Nothing much to say about that. Never been there. Not on my bucket list.

Back to baseball movies in a few days.

Hamilton

Posted June 28, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Broadway

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So last Christmas, our son Neil gave us tickets to see “Hamilton” here in LA. We were ecstatic, up until COVID-19 showed up on our doorstep. You see the tickets were for June 9th at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. So back in April we were thinking. Oh, Oh, this doesn’t look good. Not good at all.

Indeed, the show was cancelled. No big surprise. Neil got his money back from TicketMaster.

So then we heard that Lin-Manuel Miranda was producing a show to be broadcast on Disney-plus, starting on July 3. So we hurried up and added Disney-Plus to our streaming line up on ROKU. Click here for the official trailer

The production will be a filming of a live performance on Broadway. The filming was done over the period of 3 days and edited accordingly.

Today we read an article about the show today’s newspaper. The writer suggested taking a look at a couple of books to get a better understanding of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

We also downloaded the soundtrack of the show. Started listening while we were driving this morning.

The first book is titled “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernov. This is a long and very detailed (and exhaustive) look at Alexander Hamilton’s life and career in politics.

The second book is titled “Hamilton-The Revolution” and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. This is more of an explanation of what is happening during the show, including words to the music, etc.

A League of Their Own

Posted June 27, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Baseball, Movies, Reviews

Tags: , ,

Okay, another baseball movie. Paula got her fix of dancing movies. So now we did another baseball movie. So last night we watched “A League of Their Own” starring Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell

It is the story of the AAGPBL, ie the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was created during WW2 to fill the need for people wanting to watch baseball games while male players were serving overseas in the armed forces. The league eventually grew to sixteen teams, The league mostly operated in the Midwest where people hungered to watch baseball games.

One of the things that caused girl’s baseball to end was the development of TV coverage of baseball games. Ie. People no longer had to go to a ball park to see a game.

Tom Hanks plays the manager Jimmy Dugan who was a former pro ball player. Slowly he manages to get his life under control and stops drinking. Indeed, many of the managers were ex-professional ball players.

So Jimmy was the manager of the Rockford Peaches. He has one of my all time favorite quotes. One of the players started crying when she was coming off the field. Jimmy says to her “There’s no crying in baseball”. This is rated #54 out of the top 100 movie quotes.

Here’s the link to the American Film Institute’s top 100 movie quote list. No. 1 on the list is “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

Field of Dreams

Posted June 25, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Baseball, Movies, Reviews

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So last night I was thinking about how I was missing baseball. So we figured that the next best thing would be a movie about baseball. There are plenty of “Baseball” movies. So we decided to start off with “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner. The film was released in 1989.

We’ll probably watch a few more baseball movies during the next couple of weeks before the 2020 baseball season starts on July 24.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were significant in that eight members of the team were accused of accepting bribes to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The occasion has been known as the “Chicago Black Sox” scandal.

So here is the story line. An Iowa farmer (Ray Kinsella, played by Costner) has a dream that he interprets to mean that he should build a baseball park on his corn field. Then the 1919 Chicago White Sox show up to play in the newly built park.

The players wander in from the corn field beyond left field area in the ball park. Ray Kinsella is nagged by his brother-in-law (Mark) to stop the lunacy. Ray stubbornly refuses to give it up.

The movie received three Oscar nominations but no wins. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Writing (screenplay based on another medium (book) and Best Music.

We watched the film on Amazon Prime.