A Normal Thanksgiving Day

NOT! The weather is normal, but the circumstances are totally out of whack. A grey cloudy day, cold, and a little wet, but where are my friends, where is the turkey in the oven and the stuffing next to it? Where is the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, and the pumpkin pie, where are the friends and family? All hunkered down. In compliance with our governor’s mandate to stay at home, celebrate alone, or virtually. How does one pass the gravy over a Zoom meal?

For as long as I can remember, and that is not long these days, Thanksgiving has been at my house or at one of my kids’ houses. It is not to be this year. I am made to feel like I am placing my life in jeopardy by visiting my daughter for dinner. God did not encourage us to have families so we could abandon them during the holidays.

Add to the gloomy day, and the lack of familial fellowship is the gloominess of having lost an excellent series called Home Fires. I got hooked watching this historical drama about a small town in England just as WW 2 begins in Europe. The folks are privy to having an RAF Airbase located right out side their town limits. This soap opera has stories galore to tell. Nearly everyone in the population has some part to play. The number of social issues and taboos is limitless, such as divorce, lesbianism, the call to duty, the declaration of conscientious objection, poor versus rich or class distinction, crooked business men taking advantage of the government spending, cancer, rationing, black markets, spousal abuse, women living without their men, etc. The actors all fit their parts and play them well. So well in fact that I had become one of the residents living next door to the action. This is one story that could well have run for ten or more seasons with many episodes in each and it would not fail to fascinate me. Evidently, I am not enough of an audience to meet the needs of the producers. Sadly, I have just read that the producers learned that the program leaned toward an older audience and have chosen to look at something that’ll lean toward youth. Being an old fart I will agree with their assessment, but not their action.

I switched to a new series being pushed by Amazon labeled The Pack. This mindless non-sense will no doubt run forever without adding a single scintilla of good to the world. It will make dog lovers happy, and since all of us love dogs the program has a chance, but I didn’t finish watching the first episode and will avoid any more.

I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

Iris Cove

Just another day in paradise, this morning was glorious. I say was because it is already after noon. When one finishes breakfast at ten o’clock noon comes quickly. Thankfully, I haven’t kicked myself out of KETO this week, God knows I have tried. On Thursday I thoroughly enjoyed a sub sandwich from Jersey Mike’s bread included, then washed down with a sugar cookie. This morning I feasted on a mushroom-spinach omelet with thick sliced bacon.

Last evening I went for a bike ride with a friend and as usual I was way ahead and stopped to let us catch up with each other. I did something stupid on the start-up and wound up prone on the street. The last time I dumped on a bike was fifteen years ago when I hit a patch of wet leaves on the trail and found myself skidding on my side for twenty feet. It just goes to prove that if you ride long enough, you will have an ass dumping accident. At one block from home I stopped again to allow us to even up, and a white haired man stopped at the same corner. He shouted out “how are you doing?” “Fine” I relied. “God bless you,” he answered then drove off. Strange.

I was determined to find a new series on TV to watch and tuned into one called “Red Oaks.” The story revolves around a country club called of course “Red Oaks.” It takes place in the eighties and resembles “Mrs. Robinson.” Of course all the characters are filthy rich except the kids who work there parking cars, life-guarding, teaching tennis, or carrying golf bags. It is funny how all the staff sucks up to the rich membership. I would never do anything like that. I found it amusing and will continue to watch.

I spent another afternoon in the garden cleaning the other half of my pond which took a lot longer than I wanted to spend, but it was worth it. I cut back a huge bed of irises and the cattails for the first time in twelve years. I learned that one of the things drawing the pond water level is the irises. Another culprit is the cattail. I pulled a root that turned out to be two feet long and the diameter of a garden hose. If ever there was a pipe pulling water out it was that root.

Cattail Root–One Inch In diameter by two feet long
Iris Cove

The water level in the pond was down by six inches and I started the water to fill it. After half an hour the level was where it should be. It’ll be interesting to learn how the level changes now that two of the main culprits have been cut-off. At the end of the day I came in exhausted and sat at my computer staring at a screen fighting off sleep. I vowed that if I am still at this house next year that my garden will be as magnificent as it has been up until two years ago. The garden must be in my blood, just like bike riding is.

Menage a Trois

Today was one of those days where I didn’t accomplish a darn thing. I had one appointment on my calendar at 3:45 and I missed it. I went to the meeting, but it was already finished.

I had early morning shock when I took my window blind in for repair. The price for replacing the string on this unit was twenty dollars higher than the last one I had fixed in in May. Thankfully, the last repair date was written on the frame in small print. This particular blind was serviced in 2015. I guess opening and closing a blind 1825 times is enough to wear out the polyester string that makes it happen. I thought sixty bucks was expensive when I paid for the last one, but now I have to shell out $80.

I invited my house partner to ride with me, and of course she invented an agenda of her own. She is famous for visiting deli’s for her ethnic food desires. I dropped her off at not one, but two different deli’s. By the time I got home is was past lunch so I snacked and did not eat a substantial KETO lunch. Guess what? I lacked energy all afternoon. I’m learning that eating a substantial KETO breakfast is necessary to maintain my body-machinery. This morning I opted for a small sandwich using a brand new loaf of KETO bread I baked the day before. It was a good sandwich, but evidently not enough to give me the energy I needed. It was a low fat sandwich that did it.

I made up for the energy deficiency by eating a very ample KETO supper. Now, I feel better and I am no longer cold. My hands are finally warm and my body warmth is much better. I find that after losing weight I get cold easily. I guess having a thick layer of fat all around helps keep me warm.

As soon As I post this piece of useless information I will retire to the TV to watch the first Presidential Debate between Biden and Trump. I am afraid that it will bore me to pieces and I will escape to the universe of streaming tv programs non-stop for the remainder of the night. I have learned that my favorite program, Heartland, is out of episodes after thirteen seasons. I happily watched thirteen years worth of a story in less than eight months. Production of season fourteen has been slowed because of COVID-19 and I’ll not see my favorite family until 2021 as the production company rushes to catch up with new product. In the meantime, I find myself watching movies again.

I found a remake of one of my favorites called The Grand Seduction which was done in 2013. It is an English language version of a French Canadian film titled Seducing Dr. Lewis made in 2003. I have watched the original five times over the last ten years and I still love it. The two films are nearly carbon copies of each other in content, but the characters in the 2013 version are not nearly as interesting as they were in the 2003. Another difference was in color. For some reason the new version was not as rich in color as the first. I give Seducing Dr. Lewis five stars and The Grand Seduction four stars. I’ll watch the 2003 version again and again.

The theme of the story centers on a small harbor town on an island in the St. Lawrence river in Quebec province. Their livelihood was fishing but Canadian government regulated them out of business. They now subsist on a monthly check from the government. They hate it. Their mayor is seeking a new company to settle on their island so they can all work again and feel human once more. They find a company but the business requires that they have a resident doctor. They do not have a doctor, and there begins the story.

This story is serious drama but the creativity exhibited by the population is comedic and keeps things moving along. In one scene the mayor is frustrated and can’t sleep. He walks the town at night and winds up entering the home of his associate who is sleeping. The mayor enters his bedroom and plops down in bed next to him. The two men speak of the problem when the partner’s wife pops up and makes a comment that the neighbors will talk about their three-way bedroom tryst. This story is sad, funny, and also up lifting.

The Grand Seduction 2013 -* * * *
Seducing Dr. Lewis 2003 * * * * *

Kenneth Is A Man’s Name

TV IS No Longer Channels 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11 Anymore.

Finally, I got an answer from COMCAST about why my Amazon Prime Video service is not responding. After umpteen phone calls and chats with service advisors I was transferred to the Advanced Troubleshooting group. Within 48 hours they had an answer, a lame one, but at least it was an answer. It seems that Comcast has the same problem that I am experiencing across the country. Why in the hell didn’t they just alert their customers to the fact? Instead I have spent hundreds of hours over the past several months trying to get the stupid service to work. Of course COMCAST apologized and agreed to discount the months I had crappy service.

I asked them when they will have this nationwide outage fixed, their best guess is September 23 at 2:47 pm. They haven’t been able to fix the damn problem for months but they can tell me to the minute when it will be corrected, B.S. I felt sorry for the lady who was speaking to me for having to bear the message. Her name is Kenneth and I appreciate her ability to speak flawless English with great diction. Kenneth spoke to me from an island in the South Pacific near Singapore. Hiring her is one good thing COMCAST was able to do.

In the meantime, what I have discovered on my own is that the problem is weird. I have three TV’s spread around my house. I watch two of them and the third sits in the guest room waiting the arrival of a guest. Of course the TV in the guest room works flawlessly and the one I watch (50 inch screen with LCD display and high definition) is the most troublesome. Last night I took to watching TV in the guest room. I signed the guest register and the land lord allowed me to do that. What I have been doing is sitting in the living room with a laptop computer balanced on my knees to watch my Prime Video program over the internet. The pc has a high def screen but the sound is crappy.

My latest find is a program called Tin Star. Filmed in Canada near the Rockies in a town called Little Big Bear. The premise of the story is that an English policeman and his family(wife, teen daughter and six year old son) emigrate to Canada to escape all the violence they have in their homeland. In the very first episode a strange man dressed in black and wearing a face mask stops them in the road as they are driving to their new home, he raises a gun and shoots at the policeman, he misses the cop but kills the cop’s son, and injures his wife. Welcome to North America. The rest of the story revolves around how the cop goes about seeking revenge for his son’s murder. To make the story more interesting the writers make the cop an alcoholic, and make the demon in town a huge oil company that is extracting oil from Canada’s oil-sand reserves. In subsequent episodes the cop’s alcoholism takes over, and he does stranger things than the villains who tried to kill him.

I like the program because it is loaded with beautiful scenes of Canada, lots of mystery, sex, crime, murder, and intrigue. I hate the program because glamorizes sex, crime, and murder.

And that is all I want to say about that.

Feel Good Story

My last post for August 2020 is about a remarkable story documented on film. The last time I had this much excitement about a film was when Kevin Costner starred in McFarland. The new film is titled Spare Parts and stars George Lopez a standup comedian who shows us a new face in his role as an unemployed engineer who takes a job as substitute Science teacher in a Phoenix high school.

Both stories take place in poor communities heavily populated with illegal immigrants, all working in a cash society without any documentation. They send their kids to school because it is the law and they don’t want break any laws and bring attention to themselves. The teachers involved take the job seriously and learn to coach their students effectively. In Spare Parts, Lopez is corralled by a really smart kid to mentor a team four who want to enter an underwater robot contest.

The kids gel into a team and brainstorm through the problems associated with a robotic device that must function under water. They finish in time to drive to Santa Barbara for the competition. They enter into the college division because they rationalize that if they lose against a bunch of high schoolers no one will know the difference, but if they lose against MIT they will at least get some mention.

The story of how the team constructs “Stinky,” as they have named their creation, creates enough interest, but the story is deeper than just the kids building a robot from junk. There is a love interest between Lopez and another teacher played by Marisa Tomei, and conflict between one of the key members of the team and his father. The lad who initiated the whole project is running from I.C.E. who is hot on his trail to deport him.

Although the film does not get political, it does make the viewer aware of the problems involved with undocumented workers and their kids. They live in fear, they work for menial wages, they stay clear of the law, anything to stay here in America. The team member who has conflict with his father is under pressure to guard his brother who was born in the USA, while their mother was found and deported to Mexico.

Both McFarland and Spare Parts are films based on true stories. In both cases some of the plots are so unbelievable they have to be true because one couldn’t imagine the situations these characters go through. I give Spare Parts five stars. It has all the components of a great film, but most of all it is a tear jerking funny, and romantic story that keeps the viewers interest throughout. I will watch it again and again just as I have watched McFarland five times.

All through this film I kept thinking about the two families Iknow personally who are undocumented, and are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to staying in America. In my two cases the families have been here for over twenty-five years. Neither has been able to apply for Social Security nor any of the social programs we have here. Because of new Homeland Security rules they cannot fly on any domestic flights. They can leave the country to visit relatives, but reentry may take as long as ten years before they are granted new visas and green cards. In one family they traveled here with a young daughter who was a toddler. She is as American as any other kid in the country, but she is undocumented, her brothers who were born here are US citizens. In my mind this opposes a real moral dilemma. The toddlers who were dragged here should be granted automatic citizenship. The parents should be given some grace for each year they have lived here without any trouble.

Of course all people in this situation know where all the loop holes exist in the immigration system. We who have no interest in knowing the details of immigration have no clue about how illegal immigrants survive under our laws. Why should we? That is why we elect our representatives. It is their job to write the laws that govern these situations. Over the past twenty plus years under our bureaucracies, and our law makers we have allowed the problem of allowing undocumented people into the country and now we are faced with a real dilemma about how to resolve the issue. First, we have to stop the flow into the country. We need the wall, we need more and better border control, but most of all we need the resolve to enforce the laws. Then we must work on taking care of all the kids who were dragged here by their parents, lastly we must enable the undocumented people who have been here for so many years to stay here legally, and to give them a path to permanent residency, and a path to citizenship. Of course the easiest thing to do is to grant them all amnesty, but that didn’t work the first time we tried it, and we mustn’t allow it to happen again.

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