Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Casino Royale

I saw a commercial on TV a few days ago for the movie Casino Royale, the 2008 version that is. It brought back the memory of the first James Bond movie I saw back in the late 60's of the movie with the same above title, along with other spy stuff that originated from the Bond films. For years, the guys at school told me about the Bond films they saw in that little dive of a theater at the Fleetwood Fire Company. Back in the day if you didn't see a movie, it didn't show up a week later like today on DVD after it was gone from the theater and sometimes many years before it would even show up on TV. A reference was made to the Bond films when I went with the guys to see "Batman, the Movie", with the same actors from the TV series in that era. The one kid said during the intro to the Batman movie, it looks like something from the openings on the James Bond movies.

As timing would have it, the next Bond film released after that Batman movie, was Casino Royale. I was expecting good old Sean Connery and looking forward to a nice spy adventure like I was told about for the last few years. During those first few years of James Bond, it spawned a lot of interesting ideas for TV and merchandise. TV series like the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Robert Vaughn and now starring on NCIS, David McCallum), I Spy (Robert Culp and Bill Cosby), the spy spoof Get Smart and later of all things The Wild Wild West with government agents working in the guess where? The wild, wild west. The spy thing was even featured for a few episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies, where Jethro (if any of you are familiar with his character on the series), decided to go into the spy business as a "double naught" spy. Double naugth in his southern lingo, meaning double zero like James Bond. As far as merchandise, I remember a Christmas gift in 1966, way before the film Casino Royale was ever a thought called "The Secret Sam Attache Case." It was filled with all kinds of spy gadgets, a periscope to see around corners, an opening in one end of the case that shot plastic bullets and other things I have long forgotten. I also had the Aston Martin car model kit, the car used in the movie Goldfinger (spring loaded ejection seat and all). I also had model kits from the Man from U.N.C.L.E. It came in two separate kits with a stone wall that when joined together, made on nice long display with the Nopolean Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illyia Kuryaken (David McCallum) in action.

Now back to Casino Royale. I finally went along with the guys I was expecting to see Sean Connery and looked forward to seeing all the good adventures they bragged about seeing in all those good James Bond movies from previous years. The guy was not in the film at all. After all the hype, the spy stuff I grew up with, the toys, the models and stuff I ripped off of mom and dad to pay for all this, the TV shows about spies, guess who I see? David Niven (great actor, not who I expected there) as a retired James Bond, Peter Sellers (who did a great job in the film Dr. Stangelove, but didn't fit in this movie) and of all people, Woody Allen, both also as James Bond. Why Woody Allen? I have no idea. I never liked the guy in any movie he was ever in. Kind of like the Will Farrel of today, more annoying than funny. What a farce. I hated that movie so bad. In hindsight, I rate that movie as low as Paint Your Wagon and Mrs. Doubtfire, maybe even less if that is possible. I have no idea why they spoiled the James Bond series of movies with that one. It was as disgusting as the men's bathroom at the theater I was watching it from. The urinal was long porcelaine trough about six feet in lenght to pee in. On top was a water pipe the ran the lenght of it with water flowing continuously from the ten or twelve holes from it to flush down the pee and keep the urinal clean. There was nothing in the lobby to drink so you had to fill up before you got to the movie. So if you got thirsty, you were up the creek. Sort of why I now refer to the place as a dive. It fits the description. There was no sink to even wash up, no way to get a drink from a sink so if you got thirsty during the movie, you had to make due with any kind of water vessel you could come up with and we guys used to go into the bathroom and fill up with the water trickling from the pipe keeping the urinal flushed. Sharing that to express under those conditions the water was better than the film. There is one plus side to the film, the theme played by Herb Alpert and His Tijuana Brass. Herb and his trumpet was popular in 60's.

Gotta love the good old days. Hated the movie, but the water tasted fine.

If any of you ever get the chance to see the old Casino Royale movie from 1967, don' Just kidding. Seriously if you do, keep my story in mind while you see it. I don't ever plan to see it ever, but if any of you are curious, give it a look.

Love you all.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Daytime TV

If not having a stomach virus is bad enough, try watching daytime TV for two days. Glad I have a job. Judge Joe, Judge Schmoe, Judge Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe, take your pick. Throw these losers in with Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer and all their copycat shows, you’ve got entertainment that makes one’s stomach churn even more. People actually watch this stuff?

It all started Tuesday night. Picture this:

You are walking barefoot through a tiny stream, water gently beneath your feet, caressing the toes, feeling all tickly. Sounds nice, huh? This was similar to what I was experiencing, but the water was puke and the rocks were the wooden stairs. I was on my way down from the third floor to run to the bathroom and all of a sudden, I felt sick and whoosh. I managed to cut off my only dry path to the bottom of the steps, so I had to do some wading. Found out puke is slippery and if this ever happens to you, puke behind you. I was leaving a trail of footprints on the hallway floor on my way to get some towels. As I cam back to clean up what Mother Nature had provided for me, I could hear the “water” running down each step and running onto the hallway floor.

Even though I felt like crap, already had this description of all this in mind and was just a matter of getting the energy to tell you. I spent all day Wednesday on the sofa and is when I discovered TV really stinks. I spent most of the time running to the potty, dozing off, all routine for this kind of excitement. I’m referring to the virus as well…lol. I ate very little and what I did eat, at least it stayed down. I did get sour stomach on Wednesday night and had a lot of bowel pain, but was gone on Thursday when I crawled out of bed a 1 PM. I took off work both Wednesday and Thursday and glad I did.

The worse seems to be over, now just have to get back some energy. My short burst here is coming to an end and I’d better rest up on the sofa for a bit. Off to see which judge is on TV.

Take care.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

oral surgery

After going to the dentist for some well needed dental work, I knew it would be a long road ahead to get my mouth back into shape. To my surprise after the examination, I found out that my mouth was not as bad as I thought it was. I will need a few crowns, a few fillings and in the end, a small plate on the uppers to replace three missing teeth. I got lucky as last year, I decided to go with the better of two dental plans my company offers for dental insurance. It is only a few dollars more per paycheck and it has already paid off. Before anything else can be done, I needed to get three teeth extracted by an oral surgeon. No problem. Been there, done that before. The appointment was set up and I bravely went in confident and with a smile on my face. I sat down in the chair and this nice lady got me all ready for the doc. I was wearing a shirt with a Car Tech logo on it and the lady asked me what department do I work there. I said the melting department. She then told me that her husband worked in the same department and retired from there as a furnace operator. Once she told me his name, I told her I knew him and asked how he was doing. She said he now works for the PA Liquor Control Board (meaning in the stores that sell booze) and commented that he is now working in his "element" and gave me these rolling I laughed and commented how it is nice to know someone who knows a bit about anesthesia, in whatever form people can find it.

She got me all prepped and soon the doc came in, I opted to stay awake for a bunch of reasons. First, I drove there alone and had nobody to drive me home. Second was the expense. It's a lot cheaper to tough it out and stay awake. Third, when you are asleep, I'm sure they put all kinds of clamps and medieval devices into play to hold your mouth open and I'm sure they are a lot rougher since you can't feel or see anything. The end result is once you end up awake and the anesthesia wears off, you will be a lot sorer in the end.

The doc gave me the standard Novocaine and let me sit there for about ten minutes. It took few minutes for my jaw to feel like they were in la-la land and he soon returned. That is when he told me that each tooth would have to be removed in pieces and would have to break them apart to remove them. I figured that in the first place and was ready to go. He said he would begin with the two teeth on the top which were side by side. He poked at them with something to loosen them and then pulled out this device that looked like a Dremmel tool with a big round bit on the end. I guess he had to make an opening so he could fit his pliers inside to get a grip. When he put this drill into my mouth, he said i will feel some vibration. He turned it on and at first it didn't feel so bad, but soon I could feel my whole head vibrating. It was actually blurring my vision. He had to use it with all three teeth. It was painless, but a sensation that can't be described. Then he got out a pliers and said that I will hear some crunching and breaking and not to worry. I watched him pull out one tooth in about three pieces, snap, crackle. pop. Same with then next. All was going fine, but so gross. All the while the nice new assistant (not the one who prepped me) was saying to me how well I was doing and giving me words of encouragement, as she had the suction device making that sloshing and sucking sound, knowing everything she was sucking out was blood....yuck. The price you pay if you stay Once the uppers were done, I had to get one out on the bottom on the other side. same procedure. As all his was going on, the doc walked me through each step, telling me things like, "Now you may hear a breaking sound." or "You may feel a crunching feeling." So He was right. Even though your mouth is numb and you feel no pain, you still feel the sensation of the teeth being broken and you can see the doc removing everything piece by piece. The assistant kept telling me that I was doing fine and was giving me a lot of encouragement step by step. I expected all of this and none was a total surprise, but just wanted to get it over with and get out of there. Soon it was all over and I was told I did fine and everything will be all right. I got the usual post operative instructions and went home feeling pretty good.

When I got home, Koby (my neighbor's son) and two of his friends saw me. They saw my cheeks puffed up with my mouth full of gauze and Koby asked me what happened? I mumbled in a muffled lisp voice, "I justhted got three teeth remoothed and whatether any one ever taught you about thaking care of your teeth, you bether lithen to them". By my voice, they just looked at me sort of weird and I kept walking.

But in the end, I'm so glad I got it done. In the past months before I got my teeth out, I had so much discomfort after eating and in just two weeks I can eat without all that discomfort and it is all gone. Feels so good. Now that is all gone, but still have to get a few fillings, a few crowns and an upper plate to fill in the lost teeth, I will be as good as new. The upper plate will be of a thin design, not like in the days of my parents and I was told that once I get used to it, it will feel like not having it there.

What I want to say to all of you, dental hygiene is important. It is just not your mouth that is affected, but problems with teeth can and do affect the rest of your body. I know a guy I work with who had an abscess and he ended up getting a valve replaced in his heart many years ago. On my last visit to the dentist, the hygienist told me whenever you brush your teeth and see blood, it is a sign of a bacterial affection. I heard a lot of horror stories this past summer about how one's teeth can cause a lot of health problems later down the road and this is why I began taking it serious. What is that old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

Nobody likes going to the dentist, but I remember going to good old Dr. Roland with a toothache way back in the early 1990's. He came into the room as was sitting in the dentist chair and remembering me as an old patient, he looked at his assistant and said with a big smile and his usual loud voice, "They always come back eventually." He was right. I will always remember that statement.

All of you, take care of those pearly whites and they will take care of you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pork and saurkraut

I'm glad to be back here after a long hiatus.

About two months ago, I made myself a batch of pork and sauerkraut to take for lunches at work. I whipped up some in the oven and it didn't give me the yield I was hoping for. I filled only three containers and now decided to double or double and a half the recipe and fill the biggest casserole dish I have. The last time I made it, I picked up a plastic bag of sauerkraut and the cheapest kind of pork I could find in the meat section at Giant. Turned out to be a pack of ribs for about $4.50 and the combination worked out quite well. The oven dish was only filled about halfway last time. When I went to the store this time at Redner's, there were no plastic packages of kraut like I bought at Giant, so I had to do a little guessing. I had no idea of how much was in that plastic bag and I ended up picking up four 27 oz. cans of kraut, totalling almost 7 pounds and managed to find a 4 pound piece of 1/2 butt pork picnic for close to $7. I decided tonight to cut up the pork and get everything ready to make on Saturday. Since I knew I would not need 4 pounds of the pig and when I opened the package and well hidden on the bottom was a thick one inch piece of fat. I sliced off the one inch, by three inch by eight inch of fat, got out my scale and the hunk of fat weighed in at fifteen ounces!!!! I don't throw things like this in the trash, as it might stink up the kitchen so I wrapped it in plastic wrap and storing it in the fridge until trash day on Wednesday. Maybe I should take the hunk of fat back, label it "free" and put it back in Redner's meat section. Maybe some Hispanic or Black, might find it a

Anyway, I'm sure I have more kraut than I need and enough pork. I already have the good old mashed potatoes made and have five containers in the freezer to go with the kraut.

Just watch what you buy in the meat section. I'm sure my butt has a two slabs at least on each side, even though my butt is

Take care.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A hidden gem

No I didn't find a diamond here at the house hidden behind some wall and be rich forever, but found a great place in Boyertown that holds an activity every year called Duryea Day. It is a car show sponsored by the Boyertown Historical Vehicle Museum and they have it every year on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. It is surely a hidden gem once you discover it. Elliot and went on Saturday and was a lot of fun for both of us. Cars of all kinds, as most car shows go and the fun was interacting with the owners. They eat it up the attention when you compliment their cars and the stories they begin to tell are enjoyable and they don't seem to want to let you go so you can move on.

While we were looking at this one car, the owner came up and offered to let Elliot sit in it so I could take a picture. He actually lifted Elliot in the car, so he would not get his feet on the white carpeted running board. I complimented the owner, telling him he did a good job on the car. He then told me he didn't do anything, as this was the "only car" he had that he bought already finished and is so much easier than fixing a car up by yourself. So he must have others. Made me wonder where people like him get all the money for this, but I got a good picture of Elliot sitting inside.

Soon Elliot and I were getting thirsty and after we depleted our own supply we took along, we found a stand for food and drinks. The prices were normal and not like buying things at a typical event. You know, $5 for a bottle of water or a soda and so on. As we found the place to rehydrate, things were winding down at the show. Since the show was in the community park in Boyertown, we passed by a huge playground and the stand to buy the drinks was only a few feet away. There was no long line and just one guy was in front of us. He ordered a cheeseburger and a Coke. As watched him being served it was like a flashback to the days when I was a kid and the place to go was Schell's in Muhlenberg.

Schell's in the 60's was a place where you had to get out of your car an order at a window. There was no indoor seating there back then and you had to eat in the car. This was typical for back in those days and something I will never forget. The problem with Schell's, they didn't have hamburgers. Their big thing was hamburger barbeque's and fries. I longed in those day for them to put hamburgers on the menu and they soon did. What sent me back on my little flashback, the guy who ordered the cheeseburger on Saturday, I watched the server walk back with a pair of tongs and dig a burger from an aluminum pan with pre cooked burgers soaking in their own juice and throw it on a roll. So retro, just like I remember Schell's doing once they upgrade to hamburgers in the 60's. Throw it on a roll, add a slice of cheese and you have your cheeseburger. So simple and tasted so good.

Elliot got his first look at a Chevy Corvair. It was a small family car in the early to mid 60's. The hood and trunk were opened and as he looked in the front, he looked at me and asked, "Where is the engine?" I said it was in the back. He was a bit puzzled and as we looked back at what we all know as the trunk, there was this little flat looking engine with a fan and a belt on top. I told him how this was something that Chevy came up with, no radiator with what we have now as a water cooling system and the engine was cooled just by a fan. That was why corvairs, had vents on the "trunk, cover for ventilation. I also old him how many of the classic vehicles he saw on Saturday, were typical family cars in their time period and nobody ever knew how these cars would be classics someday.

So it was a good day and Elliot learned some interesting things about cars from the past. He liked comparing engines, whether they were four, six or eight cylinder. He liked what was know as the slant six, made by Chysler and we had one with that old beige wagon we had when we bought our house here on Perkiomen. Had to explain the difference to him about a V engine (V 6 and V 8) and the straight models. Elliot now wants to go back to the Museum in Hershey and take a good look away from the crowds and hot sun.

Got lots of pictures and hope to share soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dental work.

Okay all of you listen up, seroiusly. I finally made an appointment to get my mouth back into good shape. If I break it, I want you all to come over to my house and scream at me. The appointment is for August 28 at 9:30 in the morning so please pray for the I lost a ton of fillings which I spent a good buck for over the years and as as you all know, my dental hygiene habits were never the best. Why do fillings fall out? Because if you don't keep brushing, decay finds it's way beneath them. I honestly didn't know that. I thought it was just because I have a habit of chewing ice from my sodas and other drinks. Duh on my part. If any you think my mouth is shot, I'm giving it a shot to not keep it shot. Just think, no more breath mints and no more turning my head while talking to someone within a few feet away. Those with good smell can smell it anyway, but that hopefully will be something of the past. We can't get back what we lost, but can still gain some things back when we take the right steps. So true with teeth and so many other things in life. I'm just glad I'm finally doing it again.

I have no idea of the outcome, whether I will have to either deal with getting the fillings replaced, or maybe some teeth extracted and having them replaced as well. My front teeth are fine, but all the damage is with the molars. I do have a nasty habit of chewing on ice and I did lose some as a direct result, but I'm sure that wasn't the only reason. "We can rebuild him. We have the technology........", as from the famous intro from the old TV show, The Six Million Dollar Man". Speaking of money, when I made the appointment, the gal on the phone could see on her computer (as she commented) that it has been a long time since I was there. I made the remark that Dr. Wetmore may be able to book a cruise once he get s finished with me. She laughed and said, it probably isn't that bad. Made me feel kind of good.

So it looks like I will be spending a lot of time at the dentist for a while and as I said, pray for Dr. Wetmore. I'm sure he will have a good time on a boat at the Caribbean on my expense this winter. At least I will have another part of my health taken care of by the end of this year. I have an appointment with Dr. Braun in early September and I plan to have a lot of other things taken care of on the next few months and don't plan to leave this planet for a long time, God willing.

Ignoring a problem is so easy, but they will never go away until we face them.

Love you all.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

original movies vs. remakes

I just got finished watching the newer version of "The Producers". I really like the new version, but as seeing the original, I was a bit disappointed. I like all the actors that star in the new version, but it is just not the same. The Producers was Mel Brooke's first movie, yes, before Spaceballs and Blazing Saddles. If one didn't ever see the original, they would not be aware of the differences. If they did see the original, maybe they would feel the same way as I do. The remake is very good and follows the original plot, but what is missing most is what happens during the play on stage. The original shows the play in the movie, "Springtime for Hitler" and the antics going on depicted in more detail. To me that is the highlight of the movie. I was never a big Dick Shawn fan, but he played Hitler in the original better than any other actor I could think of. He also played the son of the nagging mother in law on the film, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and did a great job. Other than that, I never saw him in any other movies and no place on TV, other than talk shows or game shows. in the 70's. His role in both movies were similar. His cool, "Baby, baby", "Daddy-O" persona fit both films. If you would do a search on this guy, I'm sure he was a hit on Broadway.

As "The Producers" was Mel Brook's first movie, he wanted Dustin Hoffman to play in one of the starring roles. He gave Dustin a call and Dustin told Mel he was not available as he was flying to California to audition for a movie with his (Mel's) wife for a new film. It was an audition to star with Anne Bancroft for the movie that became a world hit, "The Graduate." As it was, film history was in he making.

There have been so many remakes of many movies over the years and if I may say, watch the original first. All are entertaining, but always fun to see what the differences are, not only for the technological but to see what the modern movies may have left out in plot . From my perrspective a lot is added to the newer versions, but look for the things that may have been left out.

That is Hollywood, as they say.