Archive for the ‘Reviews’ category

Where the Crawdads Sing

July 28, 2022

So what is everyone reading? I just finished reading “Crawdads”. I had read it once a few years ago so it was still in my Kindle library. So when I saw the announcement for the movie, I thought I would go back and take a look.

So this is the story of a seven year old girl living in the marshes of North Carolina. She is abandoned first by her mother and then a few years later by her drunken father. She had been left to fend for herself and manages to not only survive but to thrive becoming an expert on the flora and fauna on the marshland of North Carolina.

She then was accused of murdering a former lover and tried in a court of law. I’ll not tell you how the trial turns out. You will have to read it to find out.

I’m not sure whether or not I’ll go see the movie. Definitely worth reading.

Jet Blue

June 17, 2022

Well last night we arrived on our flight from LAX to BOS on Jet Blue. Let me start with the good news. The flight departed on time and arrived on time. The flight was full as were the other flights we were on in the recent days.

For some reason, the airline couldn’t assign seats until we were at the gate. I don’t know what the problems were, but other airlines seem to be able to do it.

This aircraft was pitching their on board Wi-Fi. Lots of ads on the screen in front of you. Too bad the Wi-Fi didn’t work.

The flight last month on Delta had phone charging ports on the front of each seat. None on Jet Blue. Didn’t matter much because the Wi-Fi didn’t work.

This flight had flight status on the screen in front of you, telling your speed, altitude and position on a map. But you had to watch all the ads on what you could do on the Jet Blue app (if the Wi-Fi worked.)

There were no directions on how to watch any of the media (movies, tv shows, etc.)

Another good thing, when we were over NY somewhere the stewardess came around with the drink cart. Had our first cup of Dunkin coffee in a long while.

So here’s the deal killer for Jet Blue. After arriving on time at about 10 PM in BOS, we had to wait for over an hour to get our luggage. Now I understand why people don’t want to check bags. They made a couple of announcements about it. They said it would be another 25 minutes or so. GRRRR. Just what I wanted after spending 6 hours on an airplane to wait for an hour to get our bags.

Today, we pick up our rental car and head up to Vermont for the wedding.

TTFN

Bedpan Commando

June 11, 2022

I forget where I discovered this book. It is the story of a combat nurse serving in Europe during WW2 named June Wandrey. So this book was released in 1990.

The story starts with June boarding a troop ship heading to North Africa, Her journey takes her from Africa, to Sicily, Rome, France and finally to Germany at the end of the war.

The story is relayed through her letters to and from her family and friends back home in the US during WW2. Her unit was constantly on the move following the action of the war. Here’s a sample:

One of our Catholic nurses dated a war photographer who took her to meet the Pope. Pius was upset that she had come into his presence wearing pants. How sad that in his elegant surroundings he knew nothing of the life of a combat nurse. Maybe he thought she wore white silk hose and white starched uniforms in the muddy fields where she lived.

Click here to read the bio of June Wandry in Wikipedia. She certainly had an interesting life.

Click here to get the Kindle book from Amazon.

While we’re on the subject of Kindle. I tend to read Kindle books rather than paper books for a few reasons.

  • I find them easier to read. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be and one can adjust the font size to make it easier to read.
  • When I’ve finished with a book, I just delete. I don’t have room in our house to store old books.
  • BTW Apple won’t let you buy a Kindle book from the Amazon App on iPhone or iPad. Apple wants you to buy the book for the Apple book reader. There is a work-around. Just go to amazon.com on the iPad browser app.
  • Another reason for Kindle. The print version of this book is no longer available. The Kindle version lives on.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

June 9, 2022

Last night, Paula and I went to the movies to see “Downton Abbey: A New Era” at the AMC theater in Torrance. We had previously seen all of the many episodes on PBS. So, we pretty much new what to expect.

We were also thinking of seeing the new “Top Gun” movie with Tom Cruise and all of the fighter pilots. We figured that Downton is probably at the end of its theater run, while Top Gun might be running a while longer.

The producers managed to get all of the actors for the main characters to return to do the movie sequel. Often times, actors seem to be busy with other projects and don’t have the time (or interest) to do the sequel. We went to a 4:15PM show on a Wednesday afternoon. I think there was about 6 people total in the theater. The parking lot was pretty much empty, too. We decided to do the early show so that restaurants would still be open when we finished the movie. Movie finished up about 6:30PM.

Okay, now for the SPOILER ALERT. Lord Grantham finds out that the family is due to inherit a nice villa in the south of France. So everyone heads down to France for some fun. Lord Grantham finds a picture of a young Violet Grantham which causes much consternation among the family.

We did dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in San Pedro called “Crazy Fish”. I had my usual Fish Tacos and Paula had a Salmon bowl. We each had a glass of white wine. At the beginning of the pandemic, the owners had set up an outdoor eating area. They have kept the area in operation. Nice to sit outside with a light cool breeze.

We would rate it about 7.5 out of 10 stars. Worth seeing, though one might want to wait until it hits the streaming market.

YouBreakIfix

May 3, 2022

So on April 7, I took my laptop to youbreakifix to get it repaired. The case had split open. It seems that the battery was failing.

YoubreakIfix repair site was recommended by HP. Bad recommendation. (in my case this store was in Torrance CA

I received a message from them that they would need to order a replacement battery. Should be received within a week. That was almost a month ago. I try calling to get status. They don’t answer their phone and the voice mailbox is always full. No email listed to ask for status.

I will be needing my laptop for a trip we will be taking this month. So, I bought a new one from HP. I couldn’t wait any longer

So today, I went there to try to get back my laptop. There were about five people ahead of me in line to talk with the sales guy. Most seemed to be having problems with their phones. So he refused to go find my laptop. He said come back tomorrow.

I finally got to talk with the guy behind the counter. He scanned my receipt, he had non answer. When I complained about not answering the phone, he said he didn’t have time to answer the phone.

He was the only person working there today. Apparently, two people called in sick today. Probably sick of working for youbreakifix.

So, bottom line , if you are having a problem with your phone, PC or Mac, DO NOT GO TO YOUBREAKIFIX.

Rosie’s Diner

February 5, 2022

Went out for breakfast this morning. Found a place called “Rosie’s Diner” in Aurora CO. I had my usual bacon and eggs. Paula had a breakfast burrito. Very tasty. Here’s the pointer for Yelp.

https://yelp.to/74Yjp1ekpnb

Jersey Boys

September 25, 2020

Last night, we watched “Jersey Boys” on Netflix. It’s also running on Amazon Prime but you rent for $3.99. This is the film that is based on the Broadway show of the same name done a few years ago. The film and show are based on the pop music group “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

So I was reading the obits in the Los Angeles Times a couple of days ago. (At my age, I find myself reading the obits more and more often. So I ran across an obit about Tommy DeVito (not to be confused with Danny DeVito, the actor). So that sparked my interest in watching Jersey Boys. Here’s the obit from the Los Angeles Times.

Mr DeVito died of the corona virus and he was 92 years young. He sang baritone along with the others in the Four Seasons.

The movie covers the beginnings of the group singing in bars and night clubs. Eventually, they met Bob Gaudio who wrote most of the groups most successful songs.

Bob Gaudio wrote hits like “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, ”Walk Like a Man” and many, many more. One cannot help but sing along, even if you were not alive when these songs were first released.

Franki Valli, Bob Crewe, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio

We watched the film to the very end, listening to all the music while the credits rolled by.

I suppose that Four Season’s musical journey is not unlike other pop groups struggling to get heard by the right people.

Starship Troopers

September 10, 2020

Last night we decided to watch a film that was dropping off of Netflix at the end of the month. The film was “Starship Troopers” starring Neil Patrick Harris, Casper Von Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meger and Jake Busey. Directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Usually, the Times does a piece about the movies that are aging out of streaming services to allow you a chance to watch before they are dropped. Here’s a quote from Wednesday’s New York Times (on 9/9/2020):

An astonishing (embarrassing, frankly) number of film critics blew the call entirely on Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of the 1959 novel by Robert A. Heinlein, dismissing it as a dopey sci-fi-action-monster mess while missing its pointed indictments of “patriotic” militarism and government authoritarianism (and mainstream cinema’s frequent carrying of those messages). In retrospect, Verhoeven couldn’t have made his intentions clearer: From the flag-waving propaganda sequences to the purposefully plastic acting, this is political satire with real teeth.

If you want to watch this on Netflix, do it before Sept 30. Else see it on Amazon Prime for $4.

So here are few of my comments:

  • There are no ugly people in this film. The guys are hunks and the gals are beauties. Everyone is beautiful. I suppose this is a general rule on this type of movie.
  • The giant bugs are great. I don’t know who did the special effects, but I loved the bugs.
  • None of the good guys ever run out of ammo. Another general rule for shoot’em up films. James Bond doesn’t run out of ammo either.
  • I wonder if any of the veterans who managed to survive would have PTSD. The film ends before you see any of the survivors heading home.
  • There’s a great bit where the head bug gets his nose out (I guess it’s a nose) and sucks the brains out of one of the troopers. Delightfully icky.

We loved the film. It was so outrageously bad. It made it worth watching.

Annie

August 26, 2020
Kathy Bates, Victor Garner and Alicia Morton

We decided a couple of days ago to start watching some musicals on TV. So last night, we watched “Annie” on Disney +. There seems to be plenty of musicals available either on Netflix or Disney+. Also, there are some on Amazon, but I usually avoid Amazon because they typically charge $4 to watch.

I couldn’t find an IMDB entry for the 1999 version which is weird. I did find an extensive article in Wickipedia. Clicke here for more than you would ever want to know about “Little Orphan Annie”. The reason there was know IMDB for this version might be that is was made for TV.

There have been several movies made on Annie. First one was in 1982. Next one in 1999/ And one in 2014. We watched the 1999 version on Disney.

In the 1999 version, Annie is played by Alicia Morton. Daddy Warbucks played by Victor Garner and Kathy Bates played the evil Mrs Hannigan.

So the movie(s) Annie is based (of course) on the smash Broadway show of the same name. The Broadway show first premiered in 1977 and was based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”. It initially ran for about 6 years and won numerous awards. There have been numerous revivals and touring shows over the years.

And finally a little bit about the comic strip. First published in 1924 by Harold Gray. Gray died in 1964 but the strip continued until 2010.

Finally, here is a sample of the comic strip art work.

The Greatest Showman

August 21, 2020

Last night we watched “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman on Disney +. This is the story of Phineas T Barnum and his development of his circus. One can watch it on Amazon Prime for $3.99 but if you subscribe to Disney + you can watch for free.

It was a pleasant romp of Barnum’s band of talented misfits including the midget, the bearded lady, the acrobats, et al.

There was much singing and dancing. Somehow, I think that the real PT Barnum couldn’t dance like Hugh Jackman, No matter, still pleasant. Jackman looked quite spiffy in his bright red tails and top hat.

The film also talks about Jenny Lind who was a soprano, known as the Swedish Nightingale. Barnum discovered during a tour of Europe. He convinced her to do a tour of the USA. She was paid $1000 per night. Eventually, she tired of Barnum’s style and did her own tour of the US.

This wasn’t the first film about the circus. There was a film done in 1952 titled “The Greatest Show on Earth” starring Charlton Heston, James Stewart and Betty Hutton. This was more of a film about some of the stars of the show. It won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Writing.

So what about the real Phineas T Barnum? P.T. Barnum was born in 1810 in Bridgeport CT and died in 1891. He is widely credited with saying “There’s a sucker born every minute”, but there is no proof that he actually said that.

Barnum served for two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1861 for Fairfield CT. He spoke to the legislature supporting the ratification of the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution. (Supporting abolishment of slavery.)