Day 70-SIP-Movies

Thank God for streaming. If it weren’t for movies on demand I would have gone nuts during the past seventy days. In fact, I would have gone mad after Peg’s death if it were not for films. It all began when my financial advisor a forty something person asked me if I ever used Amazon Prime, On Demand, or Netflix and I responded huh? He walked me through the steps I would take on my remote and I went to work. It was a new adventure for me since I am not that adventurous anymore, not that I ever was a thrill seeker. However, I must admit that I have done a lot f things many of my friends wouldn’t even think about doing.

I love to keep logs, and always have. I love reviewing my journals and remembering bike rides I took, or projects I worked on. After Peg died people would ask me how I was spending my time. I would answer I watch movies, and read books. “Which movie,” they would respond and even though I could tell you the entire plot and all the characters if you asked me for the title, I couldn’t remember, nor can I remember the names of the actors unless they are from the fifties. So, I began to keep a log of movie titles. Then people would say, “gosh, I never heard of that one, when was it made?” From that point on I began keeping the year a movie was made also. I have seen so many stories that now when I look at the list, I have to strain to remember a single character. When I finally connect with one the story gradually comes back to me.

When I was a kid we got a bonus when the theater offered a double feature. We saw coming attractions, two cartoons, a newsreel, and two full length films for the price of one. Now I watch as much as I can bear in the comfort of my home without commercials.

Since Peg’s departure I have logged 180 films. Now I’m wondering what I did on the days when I didn’t watch a movie. I know I was hooked on Homeland for all eight seasons with thirteen episodes in each that leaves me with 81 days when I didn’t watch a film. I guess I still watch regular tv once in awhile.

Thankfully, the films are all rated. I never watch one that has less than a fifty rating, there is at least one actor that I recognize, and the title is a magnet. None of what I have watched is a stupid comic book hero or an action movie filled with car crashes, and the like. The stories I look for have to be about real people who suffer all the ills of living. I guess one could call that drama. I tend to also like romantic comedy.

Below, I have included the list of my movies. I recommend about forty percent of them as excellent stories and another forty percent as good stories, and about twenty percent as don’t waste your time. Which is which I can not say, I don’t remember them all. Usually, if I can’t remember the story line of a film it is because I thought it a waste of my time. How many of these films have you seen?

Movies:
Love By The Book
Lucky in Love
Mail Order Bride
Abduction
Angry Angel
For Better or for Worse
How To Fall in Love
Love Blossoms
Love by the Book
My Boyfriends Dogs
Site Unseen
Angels In The Endzone
Letters to Juliet
Blue Streak
Cluny Brown 1946
Early Summer 1951
The Bank Job ****
Fun With Dick and Jane
American Gangster
An Affair to Remember*****
The A Team
Intern
In the Line of Fire
The Bridge On the River Kwai*****
Cowboys and Aliens
At War With the Army
Magnum Force
Like Cats and Dogs
The Heist****
Echo
12 Dates to Christmas***
Edge of the Garden
An Old Fashioned Christmas
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
A Belle for Christmas
A Christmas Too Many
Love the Coopers
Christmas Caper
Pizza My Heart
The Gambler, The Girl and The Gunslinger
Freshman Father
Cancel Christmas
Christmas Cupid
The National Tree
So You Said Yes
Holiday Joy
Smart Cookies
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2*****
A Christmas Story
Goodnight for Justice
Goodnight for Justice the Measure of a Man
Goodnight for Justice Queen
Miracle on Christmas Lake****
The Wizard of Oz
A Christmas Carol
That Music Teacher****
Call Me Klaus
This Christmas
McFarland USA*****
St. Vincent*****
Hannah’s Law
The Family
Snow
Snow 2
The Holiday
Jack and Jill
The Family Man
Focus
The Giver
The Wild Girl
You Can Count on Me
The Next Three Days
Wanderlust
This Is Where I Leave You
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Central Intelligence
The Case for Christmas
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Deliveryman
No Attached
Inside Man
Hostage
Aloha
Blue plane
Beauty and the Beast
Dead Man Down
Never go back
Burnt
Green fingers
Broke Back Mountain
Being Rose
All Saints
The Devil’s Own
Boundaries
An Unfinished Life
Nobody’s Fool
The Time of Their Lives
How Do You Know
Solitary Man
Banger Sisters****
White Boy Rick****
The Missing
Whatever Works
Where the Rivers Flow North
The Wife*****
Last Cab To Darwin*****
Malena
Ruby Gentry
Secrets of the Summer House
The Savages
Midnight in Paris****
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Pride and Prejudice
The Grey
The Bourne Ultimatum*****
In the Line of Fire
Heavens Gate
Loopers
Excalibur
The Bog Lebowski****
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day****
Still Alice
Mud
Australia*****
The Man From Snowy River
Boyz n the Hood
Primary Colors
My Best Friends Wedding
American Made
Bohemian Rhapsody*****
A Star Is Born****
Days of Heaven
Heaven
Marley and Me*****
The Italian Job*****
Midnight Run
Get Out
Thelma and Louise*****
Logan
The Grace of Jake
Web of Dreams
Safe House
Secondhand Lions
Pleasantville
Elena
King and I*****
The House
A Dogs Way Home*****
The Kingdom
A Bag of Marbles*****
Eye In the Sky
The Sugarland Express
Living Out Loud
The Help
Adaptation
House Boat(1958)****
No Way Out(1988)
Blue Jasmine(2013)
Election(1999)
Bad Education(2019)
A Dog’s Journey(2019)*****
The Goldfinch(2019)*****
Invisible Life(2019)
Private Lives of Pippa Lee(2009)****
Tater Tot & Patton(2019)*****
The Orchard(2018)***
Definitely Maybe(2008)
Our Idiot Brother(2011)****
Hotel Artemis(2018)****
Queen of Hearts(1989)*****
The Visitor(2008)
At Eternity’s Gate(2018)*****
Brad’s Status(2017)****
Daisy Winters(2019)****
Cas &Dylan(2015)****
Hide Away(2011)*****

Day 60-SIP-Blogs, VLOGS, Videos, and Podcasts

As part of my routine of killing time everyday while in place and hiding from COVID-19, I listen to a lot of radio through my hearing aids. I have a blue tooth pendant that hangs around my neck that connects my iPhone to the hearing aids. Hell, I spent a fortune on that phone so I am going to get some use out of it, the same with the hearing aids. The system also feeds TV into my ears, and of course the telephone, i.e. if the connections are all made. What are the connections you ask? Number one the bluetooth pendant has to be charged and turned on, then it must be paired with the phone, once that is done I have to connect the phone to my hearing aids. It only took me two years of trial and error to understand and make all those connections. It all takes but 10 seconds to accomplish. Old folks don’t adapt too fast to these new fangled contraptions.

Another time waster is watching Youtube videos. My grand daughter kind of pointed me to that when I asked her what her favorite TV show was. Her response, “I don’t watch TV.”

“How do you find entertainment,” I asked?

“I watch Youtube videos.” That is what pushed me into watching Youtube. At first it was to learn how to cook. I found that if a recipe exists there will be any number of chefs making videos on how to combine the ingredients. I have gotten so spoiled watching cooking videos that now before I attempt to do anything I will search Youtube and watch other people do it. Some are fantastic entertainment and some are so so. What I’m learning about with this is that: 1. people make videos in the hope of making money, and 2. people would rather learn by watching than by reading and understanding a recipe.

Oma is a carbon copy of my mother.

Another thing I have become acquainted with through streaming are Podcasts. When my favorite radio programs are over and I am still in my shop grinding wood or glueing, I listen to Podcasts. First I found Fox News Channel with all my favorite people, and discovered that they are not broadcasting live news they are streaming podcasts and turning conversation into something entertaining and also educational. A favorite is listening to Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss politics, or history.

A few months ago I was in conference with my financial advisor. He asked me how I spend my time now that Peg is gone. I told hm I was struggling trying to find suitable TV that was worth watching, but that I loved reality programs. He told me about how new companies like Amazon, Netflix, etc. are now doing original programming to compete with network broadcasters. So, I checked out what Amazon has. Since I already subscribe for their Prime shipping service I also get what is termed their streaming service. Streaming allows a person to tune in to a program at the moment you are ready to watch it. There is no need to remember to watch at a specific time. You find a program, and click watch and it happens on the spot. Needless to say, I got hooked on a several of their original programs and love watching TV this way. It allows me to turn on the set when I am ready to see something and to see it immediately.

If all of this sounds old to you remember I am old and it takes longer for this kind of stuff to register as useful. Long gone are the days when I was entertained by a floor model radio that had a speaker as large a pizza that I sat in front of with my ear glued to the sound. Those were the good old days. The good old days are different now, we sit in front of a huge color picture screen with high definition picture and stream material we never could have imagined before.

The use of these new technologies has inspired me to wonder if I shouldn’t be getting into making videos and/or podcasts. Grumpa Joes Place is my number one vehicle to spout off steam and to talk without actually speaking. I like writing because words seems to flow from my mind easier than does speech. One of my speech problems is that I always say the opposite of what I actually mean. If I want to tell you to use your right hand to do something, it will come out as use your left hand. Or, if I want to tell you the sky is blue it will come out the sky is grey. I have done this repeatedly for years and I believe it is some form of dyslexia. Anyway, I want to try videos and podcasting as a form of expression. At this point though, I don’t know my rectum from a hole in the ground.

One Idea I have for a podcast is to promote Lions. I would interview Lions Club Presidents and discuss what he does with his club to serve the community. With over 46,000 Lions clubs in the world I think I have some work to do. One curiosity leads me to compare club size to town population. In the nineteen eighties Frankfort population was 2500 residents, but the Lions had 130 members. Today, Frankfort population is near 20, 000 residents and the single Lions Club has seventy members. Why so? Take another example, the La Moille, IL Lions club has thirty members and a town population of 750. What are they doing that is so different from Frankfort? I think I could use that kind of information to make an interesting video for Lions all across the world.

My body clock is running down and I have a lot of work to do before the main spring finally reaches the end and stops ticking. This pursuit however, may make life more interesting along the way. What ever I do, I’ll give you a report on Grumpa Joes Place in the future.

Day 57 a.m.-Traffic

This morning I had to attend to a number of errands which I have been putting off until such a time it was worth risking a trip into the public forum; Post Office, Accountant, Bank. One thing I noticed was the greatly increased traffic since my last venture out. This can only mean that people are beginning to lose interest in COVID-19 and are giving Governor Pritzker the finger for his directives.

Otherwise, it is a beautiful spring day in Illinois, the sun is actually shining. This will bring out people en-mass to the walking paths. The dogs in the community seem to be losing interest in their owners sudden burst of energy for exercise. Many are no longer leading on the leash, but rather lagging and requiring a tug to move forward. Although the dogs navigate on scents, and with so many dogs marking the same routes there are many new and interesting chums to check out.

My Tuesday Night Stray Bar Club meeting on Zoom is also beginning to lose members who opt to do other things. It just isn’t the same drinking as a group within without social distancing rules. Pouring your neighbor more wine is not possible, so the ability to get a hot lady high is just not happening. Not that the group is so crazy as to cohabit, but the conviviality, and bawdiness of the conversation makes for more fun.

As soon as I hit the post button I will descend into the bowels of my home to the wood shop to make dust on my new project. I began with a burst of enthusiasm, but over the last couple of days I have faltered and ignored the project, the same has happened with my garden goals. Sunny days should be spent in the garden and rainy days in the shop. The prediction for today was for rain, therefore my desire to grind wood, and not transplant perennials. The ground is still cold and the plants will be healthier if I leave them alone for another week.

Day 52-SIP-Life Goes On

Every Spring I am blessed with a visit from a pair of mallard ducks. This morning, I spotted a rather violent splash of water in my water garden so lovingly referred to as my pond. The sun was shining so I knew it couldn’t be lightening or any storm related violence. I slowly crept up to the window with my camera ready. Low and behold, the splash was from the lady mallard landing in the water. Her faithful partner landed shortly thereafter. I have studied mallards to determine f they mate for life like swans, but they do not. In fact they are very promiscuous in their habits. Nevertheless, they like to sun themselves in my sacred little lake. Later this morning they will disappear until tomorrow at the same time.

Mallards Having Fun

I have dreams of the mallards raising their family in my back yard, but that has not been realized yet. I am hopeful that someday they will do it. The idea of seeing a dozen fuzzy little baby birds swimming around with mom is just too much to not want. I have watched parades of mallard families out for a training swim with their mother in the pond near the town of Frankfort. All I can say is that mom is relentless. She shows no mercy on her young. She swims around the entire pond and they have to keep up or they are lost. She never stops to rest, she just keeps on paddling, and the little ones keep up the struggle to show her they can make it.

At this time, the wetlands behind my house are loaded with Canada geese all nurturing their newly hatched families. There is already too much vegetation blocking my view so I won’t see any of the youngsters until mom and dad begin the flying lessons. Then I see them taking off in formation and circling overhead before landing again. They remind me of the jets doing similar exercises from an air base. When I wintered in Arizona I was ten miles away from Luke Air Base where they trained pilots. The way they fly and the train is so like the geese it is amazing. When I see pairs of geese coming in for a landing I also visualize F 15 fighter jets coming home.

Spring is also a great time to bird watch because so many birds are migrating and stop in the yard to feed and rest. My yard is loaded with warblers that are not yearlong residents They will disappear until some time in fall when they reverse migrate. The slate grey junco and the black juncos are now gone, or very rare. They migrate to the north into Canada to have their families. Meanwhile the flock of Canada geese that call Illinois their home is growing by leaps and bounds. Most likely because there are so many acres of fields planted in corn and soy beans that their food supply is plentiful, even in winter. One can see a thousand geese gleaming a newly harvested field. The next week, the same flock will be in another field doing the same. All I can say is that the farmers lose a lot of grain during their harvest.

A few years ago, we had a bout of mosquito borne bird flu called West Nle Virus which took out huge populations of popular wild birds. There was a day when I thought for sure I would never see another chickadee. Yet, many years later the chickadee and all the other birds damaged by the West Nile Virus have come back strong. We will also come back strong after COVID-19, but now we must suffer until we develop immunity. At this point, the only way I know of to get immunity is to get the disease and live through it.

Day 48-SIP-The Three Roses of Padauk

Who is leading? If my recollection serves me correctly President Trump announced the COVID-19 Task Force Guidelines on March 16, 2020. Within forty-eight hours the Mayor of Frankfort issued the same guidelines under his name. Four days later on 20 March 2020 our State Governor issued his version of the same.

I began writing my Covid-19 diary on the 16 of March, the same day the president announced the guidelines. What I see here is a chain of command from the National level down to the local community, but the State lagged in making decisions. Could this lag also be the reason why Illinois has the most debt of all the States? Could it be that is the reason citizens are leaving the state as fast as they can? It is the reason that I have considered leaving many times, only to be sucked back by personal responsibilities?

Anyway, it is a beautiful sunny day in Illinois today, but a might on the chilly side at 46 degrees and it’s windy making it feel even cooler. The sun is making the plant life explode and life is returning from the deep winter sleep. Tulips bloom in abundance, the daffodils are already gone as are the magnolias. The grass is Irish green and the trees and shrubs are about half way open toward full leaf. As soon as I post this non-sense I’ll join many others on a walk along our bicycle path fully masked.

This morning I cleaned my shop as I do after completing a project successfully. My routine is to hang the new work in the place of honor with lighting for a few weeks or until I get tired of it and replace it with something different. In the meantime, I will begin a new piece with fewer elements which should be quicker to complete. This latest was supposed to be that project, but it evolved into one with one hundred pieces and short equaled forty days. My goal is to get ‘short’ down to seven days max. There is a lot of room for improvement ahead.

The Three Roses of Padauk

Day 47-SIP-A Letter To My Friends

3 May 2020

To My Lion Friends:

            It seems like forever since we last met, but it has only been since our last government allowed meeting in February. I miss you all. I miss the meals together, the drinks, the congenial fellowship, the back slapping, and hilarious but crude jokes. I feel like I should be doing something more than just sitting around avoiding a chance meeting with a virus. There has to be something we can do as a club that does not involve meeting in person and face to face as a group. 

There is a way to have a meeting using technology called Zoom, and it might even be fun. What is Zoom you ask? It is a virtual meeting that takes place via the internet. If you agree, I will set a meeting time (like at 6:30 p.m. 9 May 2020, our regular meeting night) and then you will click on the link in the email that takes you to the meeting. Your face and voice will be heard on the screen. Lady Lions please have your make up and hair done before signing on. Male Lions please wear your Lions Vest, pants are optional since we’ll only see your face. Shaving is also optional, but you may want to show off your new COVID mustache, or beard.

All of us will be seen on the screen in separate frames. If you don’t have a computer with a camera, you can substitute a smart phone or tablet by calling a local-number in the same e-mail, If that doesn’t work you can call in on a regular phone but we won’t see your face. That may be a good thing. If you are looking grizzly on Monday and don’t want to scare the rest of us you can substitute your high school graduation picture by using the share-upload feature of the program.

You Too Can Be on This Screen

            Of course, with so many people on the same phone call the meeting leader will have to shut off your sound, and only give voice to those who raise a hand (click on the hand icon) to be heard. That will be better than our regular meetings where the one who speaks the loudest gets the nod over those who are too meek to shout-over. Members who would rather speak to their cliques like you do at a regular meeting you can do so through the chat feature in total privacy. That too will also be an improvement over our regular meetings where the general sound level gets so high it drones out the President.

Of course we will not feature our monthly buffet dinner, but you may bring your home cooked tv dinner to the meeting and eat while the rest of us watch you and chat. Drinks will not be available either, but again, you can put a straw into the neck of your favorite libation and suck it down at will. If you happen to disappear from the screen we will know you had too much. If you won’t be home, don’t be bashful and call from your car, but be sure the phone is in a cup holder and aimed at your face. That way you won’t have to put your beer down.

I ask you to respond to the following:

1.) Do you want to meet this way? Yes or no

2.) Send your service ideas, and questions in advance

3. Good jokes are always welcome as long as they are appropriately phrased to keep them clean.

Here is hoping we can Zoom soon to serve our community.

Respectfully yours in Lionism,

Lion Grumpa Joe, Past President

The Countdown Begins

Writing with regularity has to become a habit. This morning, I sit here before my computer with a great challenge. What topic shall I cover? So, taking the advice of my writing coach in college, I begin by writing non-sense. Eventually a topic will become evident. In the meantime I write only words.

The display I am working on for the weekend art mart is completed and standing in the garage waiting for me to disassemble for transport to the event. I sit here with a good case of jitter-shitters hoping I follow through with the project. I am told that performers get nervous before going on stage. They suddenly question their talents. They only have to walk on stage to overcome the fear. Once in place, they perform as well or better than their capabilities deem. Meanwhile I will complete a couple more steps I need before I step on stage. I lack simple things like a chair to sit on while waiting for customers, lookers, art aficionados, and critics to pass by and comment, or better yet to buy.

I have deliberately priced each piece of art very high for the simple reason that the price reflects what I believe the specific piece is worth. I have several favorites which are priced in the 3-5 thousand dollar range and nothing less than two hundred dollars. I have made the mistake of recording the time I spend on pieces and using a nominal rate of $15/hr the listed price is a bargain. What is more important to me than getting paid for my time it is getting recognition for the beauty, precision, craftsmanship, and artfulness of the work.

Time will tell whether I have begun a new life journey as an artist or whether I continue as I have for the past twenty years as an obscure producer of heirloom art destined to collect dust on the walls of my beautiful grandchildren.

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