West Side Story

Posted April 27, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Films

Tags: , , ,

Last night Paula and I watched the new “West Side Story” on streaming video. Here are some of my thoughts. Generally, we enjoyed the film, the music, the dancing. Though it was a little bit long (2.5 hours)

So to fill in everyone who has not either seen the original film or broadway show, this is this story of two gangs of New York City around the mid to late 50’s. The groups are the Jets and the Sharks. The Sharks are the Puerto Ricans and the Jets are the white kids. They don’t like each other.

So Tony (who is Italian/American meets Maria (Puerto Rican) at a dance. They fall in love. The things get ugly in a hurry.

The film was directed by Steven Spielberg. Tony was played by Ansel Elgort. Maria was played by Rachel Elgort.

Ariana DeBose (Anita) won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

I was amazed all of the 50 something cars they managed to show in the film. It felt like going back in time.

Several actors who appeared in the 1961 version of West Side Story had roles in the remake including Rita Moreno, Harvey Evans and David Bean.

It was a fun film to watch, especially the opening where they show a bunch of gang members milling about then break into a beautifully choreographed dance number. Boy, those kids sure could dance.

Music by Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Ocean View

Posted April 3, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Los Angeles, San Pedro

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Today is Sunday and as usual we go to church at Ocean View Baptist Church. This is a post not about the church but about the view. It’s been pretty much overcast this week.

On a good day, one can see the mountains. Not today. One can barely see the harbor. If you look carefully, you can see ships anchored out side the harbor waiting to be unloaded.

I have been told by a friend that works at the port, that the Port of Los Angeles had been parking the ships out of sight from the shore to make it look like the backup is easing.

1SE for March 2022

Posted April 1, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Uncategorized

Coda

Posted March 26, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Films

Tags: , , ,

In the prelude to the Oscars, we are trying to catch up on our movie viewing. Last night we watched the movie “Coda” starring Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur and Emilia Jones as Ruby.

Click image for IMDB article

The film has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur) and Best Adapted Screenplay. “Coda” is an acronym that stands for “Child of Deaf Adults”.

We watched the film on Apple+ screening service. It also started out in theaters. Never got around to seeing it in the theater.

This is the story of a deaf family who are fishermen in Gloucester, Ma. The mother and father are both deaf as well as their teenage son. They also have a teenage daughter named Ruby who has normal hearing. Ruby acts an ASL translator for the rest of family.

The movie is about the conflict that develops when the daughter (Ruby) wants to attend the Berklee School of Music in Boston. She has discovered that she has a singing talent. So she is torn between staying at home to work with her deaf parents and going away to school in Boston to develop her musical talents.

We enjoyed the film. I don’t think it will win any of the Oscars that it was nominated for but that’s not my call.

I had a couple of technical issues with the film. The sub-titles were too small (with no way to make them larger). And whenever they showed the screen of a phone, it was hard and almost impossible to read the text on the phone. Blame that on Apple+.

Update: Coda won Best Picture last night at the Oscars. Wow!!

109 Anawan Ave

Posted March 17, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Boston, Family

Tags:

So, as I reflect on my brother’s passing this week, I was thinking about our time together. When we were all teenagers, we lived on 109 Anawan Ave in West Roxbury. With the help of Zillow I was able to see pictures of the house where we spent our teenage years.

We went from a house in Brighton that seemed to be getting more crowded by the day. So in our new house we all had our own bedrooms. We had a den upstairs where we could watch TV. There was a large dining room and formal living room on the first floor.

So here is the picture that I found on Zillow:

109 Anawan Ave, West Roxbury, MA

It looks remarkably well renovated. The listing says 4 bathrooms. When we lived there, there was but 1.5 baths. In my minds eye I tried to figure out where the new owners put all the new bathrooms.

My Mom and Dad’s room was on the second floor on the right-front. My room was in the back on the right side. Stan’s bedroom was on the third floor. His benefit was that my Mom and Dad didn’t want to go up there very much. The down side was the third floor got pretty hot in the summer. No AC in those days.

Stan had a pretty much private domain on the third floor. But, I used a room on the third floor for my ham radio station. My Mom wouldn’t there either for fear of getting electrocuted. She wouldn’t go in my room either, same reason.

Stan would stash cans of beer up there with no fear of getting caught. Downside was it was warm beer. Having a refrigerator up there would have been a huge tell.

On the first floor, left-front was the formal living room. We had a grand piano there. Eventually, we inherited a second upright piano that was stashed in the entry-way on the right.

I think that my Mom eventually sold the place circa 1975. My Dad died in 1968 and all the kids had moved on. Too much house for one person.

Our neighbors to the left were the O’Briens. Frank O’Brien was a mechanical engineering professor at MIT. He was the person who persuaded me to study electrical engineering.

The neighbors to our right were Dr and Mrs Wood. Anne Wood was a speech therapist like my mother. Nice people.

Another benefit was the house was on a bus route that ran to Green St. Station on the Orange Line (MBTA). We could all walk out of the house in the morning and get on the MBTA bus to school in Dorchester.

So Zillow says the value is set at $1.5 million. It recently sold in 2021 for about $1.3 mil. I don’t remember how much Mom and Dad paid for it but it wasn’t anywhere close to six figures. Unfortunately, Zillow doesn’t have any interior pictures. Click here for the Zillow link:

Bowker, Stanley

Posted March 11, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Family, Obituaries

Attorney, Marathoner

Stanley A. Bowker Jr., 75, late of Longboat Key, Florida, died Sunday March 6th. A Brighton native, Mr. Bowker lived in New York City since his 20’s. He graduated from BC High and Boston College, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English. Mr, Bowker subsequently graduated from Fordham School of Law and practiced law for over 20 years specializing in trademark law.

He completed the NYC Marathon three times. He was an accomplished pianist and possessed encyclopedic knowledge of classical music and opera. With his first wife, Louise Galt of Pittsburgh, he travelled extensively in Greece and Italy until her death in 2003. He is survived by close friend Anna Kudlash, by his brothers Joseph of San Pedro, CA and Richard of Hingham, MA, and four nephews.

Friends are warmly invited to a memorial service at Parnell’s Pub and Restaurant, corner of 53rd Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, on Saturday March 19th from 1-4 p.m.

Visiting Hours: No visiting hours.

Ten Days Later…

Posted March 10, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Family, Health-Care

Tags: ,

So it has been one week since I learned of my brother Stan’s passing. So many emotions. I was never very close to Stan but I am still very saddened to hear of his death. I had heard on March 2nd that he was very sick. Rich & Mary were going to try to get him moved up to MA for his final days. Alas, that was not to be.

So the memorial service will be on Saturday from 1-3 pm in NYC (see the obit for details). Rich and Mary and her boyos will attend. I will not be attending. I figured it would cost about $1000 to fly from LAX to NYC and add a couple nights of hotel. We are watching the grandkids this weekend. I have other reasons that I don’t feel the need to share.

The planning was particularly difficult because we were all separated by 1000’s of miles. CA, FL, MA, and NY all figure into the mix

His death made be feel about my own mortality and that my death might be closer than I ever thought. It reminded me that I need to do a better job of communication with my wife to prepare her for the time that she might need to manage on her own.

So here’s my advice to men out there. Listen to you wife. If she suggests that you go see your doctor about some pain that you are feeling. Go see the doctor, it might save your life.

RIP

Posted March 6, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Uncategorized

I just got informed this morning that my brother Stan died in his sleep. He was 75 and was living in Florida. He was suffering with liver failure which in turn caused kidney failure and then congestive heart failure. Please remember him in your prayers.

Here is a picture of the three brothers taking in May 2018 in happier times. Stan in the one on the right.

L-R Joe, Rich, Stan

Happy Birthday to Me

Posted March 3, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Aging, Uncategorized

So today (March 3) is my 74th birthday. I have received many birthday wishes via email, facebook, text messages and the old fashioned method, snail mail. Thank you everyone.

So I am reasonably healthy, in no small part due to my personal health advisor (my wife Paula). My 74 year old body is not without issues. My hearing is getting worse. When Paula talks to me in the morning, I have to tell her to wait second while I put my hearing aids in.

I have had both of my knees replaced and I fear that I might have to have one my hips replaced. I have started getting pain in my left hip the gets worse as the time on my feet gets longer. I have an appointment tomorrow to see my doctor. So I sit down or lie down and the pain goes away.

It seems that at this point in my life, I have outlived many of my friends and coworkers at Digital/Compaq/HP.

Also, at this point in my life, I have outlived my father (he died when he was 67). I have a way to go to outlive my mother. (She died at the young age of 89).

Some of the things that have helped us live longer is better heart care. My dad died of heart issues. He had his first heart attack at age 56 or 57/. There wasn’t anything that medicine could do for him. No statin drugs, no open heart surgery, no bypass surgery.

1 Second Every Day for February 2022

Posted March 1, 2022 by joebowker
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Happy Mardi Gras everyone. Here is my 1SE for February.