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Showing posts from 2017

Grandmother's Dressing

My grandmother was an interesting woman, to say the least.
She had a style that could only be described as…”Faye”. That was her name and her style was all her own. She loved to wear colorful clothes. Going back and looking at the pictures now I’d say that a lot of the things that she wore didn’t always match. But she liked it and she was the kind of woman that you didn’t dare speak against lest you wanted to spend the next thirty minutes being told why you’d better get your head right.
But there was never any reason to say anything. She dressed well. She had a pair of red heels in her closet. She always said that every woman should have a pair of red heels, which is a piece of advice that my mother never followed since there wasn’t a red heel anywhere in our house…but that’s beside the point.
She also used to say that a lady should always put on some lipstick before her husband comes home from work. She said it was important to look your best after he’s been working all day to suppor…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1991

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The further I go into the project the harder it becomes to pick a favorite out of any particular year. 1991 is no exception. By the age of 14 I was a full-fledged film fan. I wouldn’t say that I was a film “buff” yet since I had not gotten around to appreciating classic films. That wouldn’t come for a few more years. But there was no question that I loved watching movies. And at the age of 14 I was not quite old enough to be working and getting out of the house but old enough that I didn’t need a babysitter. So, during the summer I would stay at home all day either by myself or with my brother. We would go to the video store every night and rent two or three movies to watch the next day.
It was that year that I saw movies like JFK and I learned that not all of the movies have spaceships and cartoon characters. I saw Beauty and the Beast which taught me that some of them still do. And on a bus ride back from a school trip to Tennessee one of my teachers made the very poor decision to …

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1990

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Admitting failure is not an easy thing to do, but it is something that I have to do today. I failed to complete this project by the date that I promised. I know that the deadline was something that I imposed on myself, but I promised that it would be met and it wasn’t. So, I’m sorry.
That being said, I still want to complete my list of my favorite movies from the last 40 years. I’m up to 1990 so let’s start right there.
1990 was a big year for me since it was the year that I officially became a teenager.  I have some pretty vivid memories from that time. I was just beginning my journey into nerdom. I was falling in love with movies. I went to the theater as often as I could, which was not as often as I would have liked since I still depended on my parents for transportation and our closest theater was a 30 minute drive away. Oh, and I didn’t have a job. I was a frequent customer to the local video store. Perusing the shelves of films was one of my favorite ways to pass time.
But I ha…

A Word About Victims...

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Facebook is a wonderful thing. There is probably no way to measure the hours of time I’ve wasted away on that site…whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is really up to interpretation. It’s definitely helped me relieve a lot of boredom. But it’s also become a nuisance for me in the fact that it is so readily available when I feel the need to lash out. If I get angry over something that I’ve heard or something that is in the news then I can go for the instant release of expelling my bile on the internet. I don’t always think of what comes next…people actually read it.
My lessons in this began last year. As many readers know, I lost my mother in April of 2016. Watching her pass away is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to go through. I came out the other side of that experience pretty much broken. Her suffering was a hard thing to deal with and there were lasting effects with family and people surrounding the situation that last to this day. I was a pretty angry guy for a while…

Happy Birthday, TNG!

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I’m a geek…it says so right there on the name of the website.
I’m not even embarrassed about it. There was a time in my life that I felt kind of bad that I wasn’t like the other boys my age. I didn’t like sports. I wasn’t into hunting or fishing. I didn’t have a big ol’ truck.
But those days have passed me by. I’m at an age now that I like the things that I like. If I don’t measure up to what you think a man should be then you can look elsewhere.
I wasn’t always like that.
I’ve posted many, many blog installments about my childhood. I was a fat kid. I dealt with a lot of bullying. My days were usually spent dodging insults. If they had been dodge balls then I’d be the worst player ever…because every one of them hit me.
When I was in my early teens I found this TV show that I kind of clicked with. It had been on for a couple of years but I had not been watching faithfully. Then, sitting in my house with nothing to watch I settled on it to see what it was about.
It was called Star Trek…

Seventeen

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He was a kid.
He wasn’t literally a child. I mean, he was technically a grown man at the age of 23. But he hadn’t really experienced much of life. The small town life had been all he’d every really known and he had not yet figured out what his place in the world was. He made $6.50 an hour at a job that didn’t really hold much of a future for him. He spent his days working and at night he’d sit alone in his room, watching TV and wishing that there was more to his existence.
She was a kid, too. She was only 22. And in her short life she’d actually already lived a lot. She’d lived long enough to have been hurt by the man she loved. And she’d been around long enough to have a precious little boy that meant the world to her. She thought she had everything she needed. She thought that if it were just her and her son that she’d be fine.
The Universe had other plans.
These two met one day. They went on a date. Neither of them was really out to find a relationship. They were each just trying …

"Stretching From Here To Pletcher"...a tribute to Steve Latham

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Today is a dark day.
If you’ve ever read any of my blog posts before then you’ve heard me tell the stories of my experiences in high school. I was bullied. I was bullied a lot. It’s something that has affected me my entire life. It has caused social anxiety issues that I deal with to this day. It’s not something that I like to remember, but it’s my history and it’s a part of who I am.
Granted, I was an awkward teenager. I didn’t play any sports. I wasn’t on the little league team. I didn’t even like watching sports...I still don’t. I don’t know enough about football to have an extended conversation about it. The stuff that I was into was a lot nerdier than that. I liked Star Trek. I liked reading science fiction and fantasy novels. I liked writing stories. I liked watching old black and white monster movies. I liked British sitcoms. Like I said…weird kid.
When I was a junior in high school I signed up to be a library aid for one class period a day. I figured I liked to be around book…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1989

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1989 was the year that I turned 12 years old. I was getting to be the age where I was all in on films. I drove my mom crazy when I begged her to buy me some magazine at the grocery store that cost $4 just because the cover briefly mentioned a movie that I was excited about. We didn’t have 50 websites giving us up-to-the-minute details behind the scenes like we do now. We got our news in spurts. So, if there was a tiny mention of something we were into, we had to be on it.
It wasn’t plausible to get my mom to buy every magazine on the rack at Food World. So, many Saturday afternoons saw me at the local convenience store, sitting in the floor next to the magazines and comics, reading what I could until old Mr. Smith told me to go home.
This is probably the hardest installment that I’ve had to write since I started this project. There are so many movies from 1989 that I love. And unlike a lot of the ones that I’ve written so far where my favorite movie from a given year wasn’t discovere…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1988

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So I fell a little behind.
I promised two installments a week until my birthday and now I’m way behind the 8-ball. What can I say? Life happened. It’s been a busy and stressful year for yours truly and those around me. I moved out of that old trailer that was too small for us 15 years ago and now we’re living in a house in Leeds. I even have my own space in the house. A game room/family movie room/office that I like to call the Geek Cave.
I finally finished up all the work that I needed to do for last semester and I’m getting ready to start taking another class over the summer.
Wasn’t there something I was supposed to be doing?
Holy crap! I’ve still got 30 years worth of films to get through in my blog project before July 4! Well, two installments a week isn’t going to cut it now. This blog is going to just about have to be daily for the next few weeks in order to catch up. Oh well…I think I’m up for a challenge.
The summer of 1988 was a milestone of a year for me. I finished element…

13 Reasons Why: A Parental Review

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As I walked by my daughter’s bedroom a couple of weeks ago I saw her staring intently at her phone. I could tell that she was enthralled in something and I figured she was catching up on some of her favorite shows.
“What are you watching?” I said, trying to be the dad that knows what his daughter is doing.
“It’s a new show on Netflix,” she replied. “It’s called 13 Reasons Why. Everybody at school is watching it.”
I thought nothing else about it. I very rarely condemn anything that my kids are watching unless I know that it is something extremely violent or raunchy. The title actually registered in my mind because I had seen the book on the shelf at the bookstore and online a few times. I knew it was a young adult title so I figured a Netflix show based on that should be alright. I mean, she’s seen The Hunger Games, right?
A couple of days later my wife tells me that she saw a few stories online about some kids that have committed suicide after watching the show. That sounds a little f…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1987

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I have fallen a bit behind in posting to this project. So there may be a few articles posted this week in order to get caught up to schedule.
In 1987 I had been alive for a solid 10 years. I distinctly remember going to a barbecue on my birthday, as we usually did since it was also the 4th of July. I walked to the sitting area on my uncle’s deck overlooking the lake and announced to my grandparents that I was a decade old. It didn’t impress them that much, especially since by that point they had over 50 years on me.
The year that I turned 10 was a pretty big year at the movies. Leonard Nimoy was working his directing chops with Three Men And A Baby, Michael Douglas had a Fatal Attraction, and Mel Gibson and Danny Glover started a franchise that spanned four films with the original Lethal Weapon.
The movie that came out that year that had the biggest impact on me is kind of embarrassing to admit. I may have to turn in my cinephile card once I admit how big of a fan that I am of Ernest…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1986

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1986 is a year that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Not because of any one particular movie that came out, but because of something that happened in the news.
When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut. I read every book that my library had about the space program, the planets in our solar system, the moon, NASA…you name it. So, when I was I the third grade and we got the news that a teacher was going to go into space and conduct classes for us on television I was thrilled.
That was the year that the Challenger exploded a few second after blast off. The entire crew died. The fact that we all saw it happen made it so much harder to deal with. It was an absolute defining moment in my life. It was the moment that I realized that not all the stories had a happy ending. I just wanted to take a moment and acknowledge that at the top of this entry. But this blog is about movies, and there were a few of them in 1986.
Sigourney Weaver was fighting Aliens, Ralph Macchio was back in The Karat…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1985

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1985. There were a lot of good movies that came out that year. Stallone was back in two of them, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV. Oprah had her acting debut in The Color Purple. And the world was learning that Goonies never say “die”.
It was the year that I turned 8 years old. I was in the third grade and I had developed a fascination with reading. I read every book that I could get my hands on. My town’s public library had become one of my favorite places, followed closely by my school library. And not only had I discovered a love of reading, I had discovered a love of science fiction.
One of my favorite books of that time was a “choose your own adventure” story. You would read the first couple of pages of the book and then it would give you a choice to make. The page that you read next would depend on what your choice was. It was great because you could go back over and over and make different decisions and have a whole new story. This particular story had to do with time t…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1984

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By 1984 I was old enough to start noticing that there might be some good TV shows and movies out there that didn’t involve cartoon animals and Muppets of various sizes. A lot of the hours that I spent in front of the television were in the company of Sesame Street and Captain Kangaroo. But I started to pay attention a little more often when my parents were watching their shows. I started noticing things like The Incredible Hulk and The Dukes Of Hazzard. Live action entertainment was just starting to peak my interest.
And it was a pretty good year for live action movies. Indiana Jones was exploring the Temple Of Doom, theaters were full of Gremlins, and the crew of the Enterprise was back in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.
A lot of the movies that came out in 1984 are on my list of some of the best of all time. One of these days I’ll make my top 100 list and all of the ones that I just mentioned will probably be on there. 1984 also had Beverly Hills Cop, The Karate Kid, Police Ac…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1983

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I turned 6 years old in 1983. That was the year that I started the first grade. That’s pretty much the only thing that I remember about being 6. I went to school and I watched a lot of Sesame Street. I wasn’t watching a lot of movies at the time but there were a lot of them coming out that year. John Travolta was Staying Alive, Matthew Broderick was playing War Games, and 007 was back in Octopussy.
I looked at the movies that were released in 1983 and I tried to really ask myself the tough questions. Is this really your favorite movie of the year or are you just saying that because of the others. Well, as I looked through the list once…twice…three times…there is no doubt that my favorite film of 1983 is Return Of The Jedi.
Jedi, as it’s called by fans, is the final installment of the original trilogy of Star Wars films. And, other than a couple of terrible Ewoks TV movies and a short lived cartoon called Droids, it was the last we would see of the Star Wars universe for over 15 years.