Category Archives: Movies

Birthday Boy!

Today is the birthday of our dear leader Dale!

We’ve talked here over the years of the gift that Dale has given us by starting the blog and setting a tone that we all appreciate.  Now let’s make a list of what gifts we would like to give Dale.

Here’s a poem for Dale’s birthday – although not quite up to the standards of Poet Laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler.

You’re honest,
decent, lovable,
and truly are first rate.
You’re charming,
and clearly pretty great…

You’re dignified,
gracious, sweet,
and kind.
You’ve got a lot
of talent
and a wit that’s
hard to find.

You’re cleaver, cool,
and clean up really nice.
You’re worldly wise,
and wonderful
and full of good advice.

You’re fun
and entertaining,
not to mention
very smart.
You’re altogether awesome
and you’ve got a lot of heart!

What gift would you give Dale?

Gardening with Godzilla!

Most of my friends don’t like weeding; all they see is a big chore ahead of them and how long it will take. Of course, if I never had to weed again, I probably wouldn’t be heartbroken, but I like to think of it as “zen weeding”.  I’m outside, it’s usually a lovely summer day with sunny skies and hopefully a nice breeze.  I let my brain wander off where it wants.

Today I was working on my creeping Charlie problem and trying not to think of all ground cover as evil.  After all, it’s only doing what Mother Nature intends it to do.   As I pulled up a tendril I wondered if the creeping Charlies on the other side of the boulevard knew what was happening on this side.  And that’s when I got to Godzilla.  What if the creeping Charlie is a Japanese city and I am the monster Godzilla?

No stopping my brain at this point! A long over ground tendril became an elevated train, underground tendrils were subway lines.  Tall bits that were reaching up – high rises.  Clumps of little root systems – office buildings.  Particularly thick clumps – city hall.  Bits that clung and clung and clung – Senate.  This kept me occupied for the better part of an hour.  I’m thinking Godzilla and I will be bonding again on the boulevard!

What monster would YOU like to be?


I’m not sure when I first realized there was a phrase “binge-watching”, and knowing me the phrase was probably around well before I came across it. I didn’t have Netflix at the time so never thought binge-watching applied to me. Then I started to think about it.

When I was in high-school, I inherited the small black and white family tv when my parents upgraded their set. Back then there was no cable, no Netflix – just channels 2,4,5,9 and 11, with only a couple of the stations broadcasting around the clock. During my junior year, the Bijou Theatre (beginning at 1 a.m.) showed all the Johnny Weismueller Tarzan movies in order, three a night for a week or so.  Every night that week, I set my alarm for 1 a.m. and watched them all.

Several years ago, after resisting Downton Abbey for a while, Steve (in Happy Valley) lent me Season 1 on DVD. Since other folks were waiting to borrow it as well, I watched the whole season over a weekend.  I have followed this by watching every succeeding season over a weekend, once the DVD comes to the library.

And if Hallmark Channel is showing Columbo or Perry Mason or Matlock back to back to back and I’m around, I’ll turn it on. So I suppose the seed was always there.

But I have to say that Netflix has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase binge-watch.  I have noticed that I’m pretty obsessive about watching shows in order, and only one series at a time until I’m done, then on to the next. Murdoch Mysteries, The Crown, Doc Martin, Raiders of the Lost Art, Midsomer Murders (why do all those folks go wandering around in the middle of the night in the dark?) and, of course, every series about castles, country homes and British villages. I don’t think I don’t actually watch any more tv  than I used to, but now I spend a lot less time looking through the tv guide to see what’s palatable!

What will you admit to binge-watching?


RIP Roger Moore

Roger Moore, most famously-known for playing James Bond, passed away this week. He was always happy about being known as 007.

James Bond, as written by Ian Fleming, is a smarmy, violent, misogynist. In addition the 007 movies have taken the violence to new heights.  If you can think of it, Hollywood has blown it up in the name of British spydom.

So why am I a Bond fan? Why have I seen them all? More than once? Can probably tell you the names of the books and the movies in order? Why did I make a special trip to visit Schilthorn (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service locale) when I was in Switzerland? Have had more than one heated discussion about who was the best Bond?  It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Just one of my many quirks, I guess.

What’s your most outrageous “quirk”?

The Not-So-Frozen River Film Fest

This was the weekend of Winona’s Frozen River Film Festival  and Thursday eve we attended our first of many events:  a cluster of short films, each between 4 and 15 minutes, about a given topic – like The Journey Set, Adventure Set, Expanding Frontier Shorts, Our Surroundings Shorts, Characters Set.

There were also longer films and speakers on myriad topics and at various venues – including Ed’s No Name Bar, the MN Conservatory of Arts, Public Library – but the majority will be held on Winona State’s campus. (Next year I’ll get this posted earlier in case anyone wants to make the trip!) I won’t see every film I’d like to because of volunteer shifts, but volunteering gets us free passes to most films and events.


Unfortunately, with temps in the 50s here this weekend, a couple of outdoor “side events” were cancelled (think ice skating on Lake Winona). On the other hand, the Fat Tire Bike Ride through Aghaming Park (island in the Mississippi that holds the boathouse community), was good to go.

Thursday night’s collection of eight films was called The People Set. I watched, i.e., “Edges”, about a 90-year-old woman still doing fancy moves on ice skates; “Throw” about a thrower who used his skill with a yo-yo to pull him out of gang violence; and the love and tolerance of a family whose young child, “Pink Boy”, is drawn only to feminine things. It was an evening of rich experience, and I traveled to many places and in several people’s lives in a short interval.

What person can you think of who is worthy of being ensconced in a short film?

R.I.P. Patty Duke

The untimely and unfortunate  death of award-winning performer Patty Duke at the age of 69 will lead many baby boomers to remember her 1960’s TV series, “The Patty Duke Show”.

Or more exactly, it will lead many to remember the one of the most effectively earwormy theme songs ever to plague mid-century television.   I don’t remember anything specific from the  stories or the characters – just this opening ditty.

But Duke had  intelligence and determination, and those qualities earned her a level of respect far beyond what one might gain from starring in a simple TV comedy.    Only after reading her obituary did I get a sense for the many personal obstacles she faced, or glimpse what she did,  as a teenager, with the Oscar-winning role of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.

That’s an amazing performance, and an admirable life.

What milestone had you reached at age 16?