Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013 and All That

And now back to our normal programming....

Happy 2013. I have been turning a few things over in my mind lately (Perhaps due to this being my Fortieth Year), and one thing I have been wanting to do is revisit some of the films in my collection. I have been collecting films for twenty one years or so, first on VHS, then DVD in early 2000, and finally Blu-Ray in late 2008. I have bought several favorites multiple times in each format (Don't ask how many times I have purchased the Star Wars Original Trilogy).  Thank goodness for selling things on Amazon Marketplace, which has lightened the burden somewhat. 

So, in keeping with the auspicious nature of this New Year, I intend on both looking forward and backwards....Perhaps simultaneously.

As far as my Film project, I  shall try to look back at my collection and take a deeper look at some titles that have been lost in the mists of time.  Generally, I will follow how they are listed chronologically by release date on my DVD Profiler account. (Online listing can be found here.)

Additionally, I might touch on some other aspects of Life, the Universe and Everything as I see fit. I am also touching pencil to paper in an old Moleskine journal that I have had for a couple of years but never used until now. No time like the present, I suppose, and perhaps the Executor of my Estate will one day find a few amusing anecdotes within.

So, join me, won't you?

Monday, October 31, 2011

What's that? This "Blog" is abandoned, you say? Blogging is so 2004? Balderdash! I will occasionally utilize this space for talking about movies, books, music, and anything that crosses my mind, really. So, onward into the future!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Merrie the Composer

Meredith recently wrote a song about her favorite subject: her sister. She wrote this herself, only asking for help spelling "conversation" and "instead":

Do you
Do You
Do You
Do You
Holly Time

Monday, October 06, 2008

What is this blog doing here?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

shake the crime stick!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


PBS is, for all intents and purposes, taking Mister Rogers' Neighborhood off the Monday through Friday schedule next month. If you care, let them know about it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The End???

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Student 1: "who's shorter--midgets or dwarfs"
Student 2: "dwarfs are tall ass midgets--i saw this one chinese dwarf standing next to a midget he looked like yao ming"
Student 3: "you wrong--dwarfs and midgets the same height--difference is, dwarfs be angry--that's all they is--angry midgets"
Student 2: "YOU wrong--only SOME dwarfs be angry--but they all taller than midgets"
Student 4: "what about elves?"
Student 1: "elves ain't real"
Student 4: "you wrong--my brother said gary coleman a elf"
Student 1: "what about his ears"
Student 4: "he had surgery"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

by Oscar Wilde

"She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,"
cried the young Student; "but in all my garden there is no red

From her nest in the holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and
she looked out through the leaves, and wondered.

"No red rose in all my garden!" he cried, and his beautiful eyes
filled with tears. "Ah, on what little things does happiness
depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all
the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is
my life made wretched."

"Here at last is a true lover," said the Nightingale. "Night after
night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night
have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is
dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose of
his desire; but passion has made his face like pale ivory, and
sorrow has set her seal upon his brow."

"The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night," murmured the young
Student, "and my love will be of the company. If I bring her a red
rose she will dance with me till dawn. If I bring her a red rose,
I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my
shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no
red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me
by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart will break."

"Here indeed is the true lover," said the Nightingale. "What I
sing of, he suffers--what is joy to me, to him is pain. Surely
Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and
dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor
is it set forth in the marketplace. It may not be purchased of the
merchants, nor can it be weighed out in the balance for gold."

"The musicians will sit in their gallery," said the young Student,
"and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance
to the sound of the harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly
that her feet will not touch the floor, and the courtiers in their
gay dresses will throng round her. But with me she will not dance,
for I have no red rose to give her"; and he flung himself down on
the grass, and buried his face in his hands, and wept.

"Why is he weeping?" asked a little Green Lizard, as he ran past
him with his tail in the air.

"Why, indeed?" said a Butterfly, who was fluttering about after a

"Why, indeed?" whispered a Daisy to his neighbour, in a soft, low

"He is weeping for a red rose," said the Nightingale.

"For a red rose?" they cried; "how very ridiculous!" and the little
Lizard, who was something of a cynic, laughed outright.

But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student's sorrow,
and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery
of Love.

Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the
air. She passed through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow
she sailed across the garden.

In the centre of the grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree,
and when she saw it she flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.

"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest

But the Tree shook its head.

"My roses are white," it answered; "as white as the foam of the
sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my
brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give
you what you want."

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing
round the old sun-dial.

"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest

But the Tree shook its head.

"My roses are yellow," it answered; "as yellow as the hair of the
mermaiden who sits upon an amber throne, and yellower than the
daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower comes with his
scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student's
window, and perhaps he will give you what you want."

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing
beneath the Student's window.

"Give me a red rose," she cried, "and I will sing you my sweetest

But the Tree shook its head.

"My roses are red," it answered, "as red as the feet of the dove,
and redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the
ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins, and the frost
has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I
shall have no roses at all this year."

"One red rose is all I want," cried the Nightingale, "only one red
rose! Is there no way by which I can get it?"

"There is away," answered the Tree; "but it is so terrible that I
dare not tell it to you."

"Tell it to me," said the Nightingale, "I am not afraid."

"If you want a red rose," said the Tree, "you must build it out of
music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart's-blood. You
must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long
you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your
life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine."

"Death is a great price to pay for a red rose," cried the
Nightingale, "and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit
in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and
the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the
hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and
the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life,
and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?"

So she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air.
She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she
sailed through the grove.

The young Student was still lying on the grass, where she had left
him, and the tears were not yet dry in his beautiful eyes.

"Be happy," cried the Nightingale, "be happy; you shall have your
red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it
with my own heart's-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that
you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though
she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-
coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His
lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense."

The Student looked up from the grass, and listened, but he could
not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only
knew the things that are written down in books.

But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of
the little Nightingale who had built her nest in his branches.

"Sing me one last song," he whispered; "I shall feel very lonely
when you are gone."

So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like
water bubbling from a silver jar.

When she had finished her song the Student got up, and pulled a
note-book and a lead-pencil out of his pocket.

"She has form," he said to himself, as he walked away through the
grove--"that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I
am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all
style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for
others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that the
arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some
beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not
mean anything, or do any practical good." And he went into his
room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of
his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.

And when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the
Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn. All night long
she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal
Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the
thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood
ebbed away from her.

She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a
girl. And on the top-most spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a
marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song.
Pale was it, at first, as the mist that hangs over the river--pale
as the feet of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn.
As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of silver, as the shadow of a
rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost
spray of the Tree.

But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the
thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the
Day will come before the rose is finished."

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and
louder grew her song, for she sang of the birth of passion in the
soul of a man and a maid.

And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like
the flush in the face of the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of
the bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart, so the
rose's heart remained white, for only a Nightingale's heart's-blood
can crimson the heart of a rose.

And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the
thorn. "Press closer, little Nightingale," cried the Tree, "or the
Day will come before the rose is finished."

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn
touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her.
Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song,
for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love
that dies not in the tomb.

And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the
eastern sky. Crimson was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a
ruby was the heart.

But the Nightingale's voice grew fainter, and her little wings
began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter
grew her song, and she felt something choking her in her throat.

Then she gave one last burst of music. The white Moon heard it,
and she forgot the dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose
heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its
petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavern
in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams.
It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its
message to the sea.

"Look, look!" cried the Tree, "the rose is finished now"; but the
Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying dead in the long
grass, with the thorn in her heart.

And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.

"Why, what a wonderful piece of luck!" he cried; "here is a red
rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so
beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name"; and he leaned
down and plucked it.

Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the Professor's house with
the rose in his hand.

The daughter of the Professor was sitting in the doorway winding
blue silk on a reel, and her little dog was lying at her feet.

"You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red
rose," cried the Student. "Here is the reddest rose in all the
world. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as we dance
together it will tell you how I love you."

But the girl frowned.

"I am afraid it will not go with my dress," she answered; "and,
besides, the Chamberlain's nephew has sent me some real jewels, and
everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers."

"Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful," said the Student
angrily; and he threw the rose into the street, where it fell into
the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.

"Ungrateful!" said the girl. "I tell you what, you are very rude;
and, after all, who are you? Only a Student. Why, I don't believe
you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain's
nephew has"; and she got up from her chair and went into the house.

"What I a silly thing Love is," said the Student as he walked away.
"It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything,
and it is always telling one of things that are not going to
happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact,
it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is
everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics."

So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and
began to read.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fifteen things about Paul Wendell Elkins Jr. (1972-2007):

An old friend died last week...much too young at age 35. He had been ill for over a month but I was unaware until I read his obituary in the newspaper. I don't suppose that we were ever best friends, and in fact we hadn't talked much over the past decade; nevertheless, his passing affected me and brought back a few things:*

* - these are things as I remember them...not as they necessarily were.

1. I met Wendell Elkins (as I knew him then) twenty years ago...We shared homeroom in ninth grade. We soon found that we also shared similar senses of humor, and became friends.
2. Wendell had many other friends, such as Joe. It soon seemed as you couldn't see one without the other. (Kissing my first girl at the school dance, looking up to notice that the song had ended and we were alone in the middle of the floor...there was Wendell and Joe, laughing hysterically)
3. Wendell was born in October, so turned 16 earlier than most of us. He had a blue Mustang (similar to the one I received the following year, but darker and a notchback instead of a hatchback) with a serious-sounding stereo system. State of the art Sony cassette player, woofers, the works. We sat in my driveway one day, blasting Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing". It was a hard standard to meet.
4. Wendell also liked computers, as did I. He had several games such as Police Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Earl Weaver Baseball. I would borrow them for a while...we also experimented with online gaming. This was in 1989, before the internet was widespread. I had somehow convinced my father to sign us up on Compuserve, a text-only online service. They had a rudimentary MMORPG that Wendell and I were poking around one day. For some reason, we had named our character "Kevin Bond" after a mutual friend who would soon be my arch-nemesis du jour. Anyway, we met another player in the game, and after some small talk, brutally destroyed him. Later, we regenerated in another area of the game(under a new name) and ran into the same person, with a new player character as well. He said, "Some idiot named Kevin Bond JUST KILLED ME!" Wendell and I roared with laughter.
5. By early 1989, my first car (1972 Vega) had been partially restored and sat in our driveway in drivable, yet incomplete condition. Wendell came by one night and we decided to take my car for a test run. I didn't have my license at this point, but no matter...Mom was asleep, Dad was off camping...we took a few back roads, and I suppose we ended up on Nowhere Road, because I noticed that we were a bit further out than I had imagined...we soon reached Hwy 441, within sight of the famed Bulldog Inn. We retraced our steps and returned to my house...of course, all of the lights were on and an angry Mother awaited me. "Gotta go", murmured Wendell, leaving hastily.
6. One school day, at lunch, Wendell thought that it would be amusing to carve letters out of the cheese slice that was included on the menu. He nibbled out the words "BITE ME" and arrayed them on the top of his tray. The assistant principal sauntered by and leaned over to see what Wendell was up to; Wendell hurriedly ate a few letters, rendering the cheesy script unreadable. "Oh", he explained, "it just said 'Eat Me'." Quickly concluding that this might not be the best alternative, he helpfully added, "Uh...eat me...like cheese."
7. Later in 1989, girlfriend #2 arrived. She lived in Athens when we met, but soon moved to Monroe, which would prove to be a problem since I had killed my car on the way to school, not long after our first solo date. Wendell offered to drive me to Monroe, provided I offered up some gas money. It seemed like a good deal, except that I often didn't get my money's worth...several times, after we were there for fifteen minutes or so, Wendell was ready to return home. No doubt, it had a dampening effect on my youthful romance.
8. On one such sojourn, we noticed an abundance of dark clouds and lightning during the drive. Wendell looked out the window: "Hey, look at that funnel shaped cloud!" Upon arriving in Monroe, we proceeded to the Dairy Queen. The DQ window guy : "Did you guys see the tornado?" Well, yes, I suppose that we did.
9. The next year, I had my own Mustang, and was able to chauffeur myself. My girlfriend was babysitting for her aunt (out of town) and we had a rare chance for an unsupervised evening together. What could be better for a seventeen-year old boy?! I was driving over to the babysitting destination when a strange vehicle pulled up behind me. It closed up on my rear bumper, mere inches from my car. I frowned and looked in my mirrors...impossible to see because of the lights. I made several turns and the car matched every move I made. I blundered forward, finally arriving at the designated house. The mystery car pulled up beside me...of course, it was Wendell. He and Jeremy were out riding and saw my car. They followed me inside and hung around just long enough to be irritating. They soon picked up on my surly demeanor and left.
10. It wasn't all fun and games. Later that same year (1990) my close childhood friend Clint was killed in a car accident. I found out when girlfriend #3 came to the grocery store where I worked and broke the news to me. It had happened that afternoon, 15 minutes after school had let out. In shock, I somehow returned to work. As luck would have it, my task that night was to change the prices on the cereal aisle. (This was before they installed bar code scanners at our store...so we did things the old-fashioned way...that is to say, slowly). As I glumly crossed out prices and re-labeled the boxes, Wendell arrived and found me. We talked over the situation, trying to comprehend the finality of things. Wendell described how he had talked to Clint after school. They briefly spoke; Clint ended by saying that he needed to get home. Then he was gone.
11. Later, date undetermined, Wendell came over to my house. We went fishing at my family's pond. It was late afternoon, the magic hour. We spent a couple of hours at the pond, talking and enjoying the surroundings. I guess we knew that changes were in the wind.
12. College years: Wendell decided that he would rather go by Paul. It was hard to mentally adjust, but I tried for his sake. We didn't see very much of each other.
13. In 1993 I was living in my first apartment. Paul gave me an enrollment package for this new service called "America Online". I joined and was soon discovering this whole internet thing.
14. The next fourteen years flew by. I worked a string of unsatisfying jobs but was fortunate enough to have a wife and two daughters to keep me sane. Paul would call every now and then, and we would talk. Then he moved to Atlanta, pursuing his career goals. He worked for Studiocom and Halcyon. I found a rubber-banded stack of the old computer games that we used to play over a decade previously. I emailed him and asked for his new address so that I might mail him the games. He seemed rather indifferent, but I dutifully mailed them back to him, somehow feeling as though I needed to. That was in July of 2003. We didn't speak again.
15. Paul died on November 30, 2007. Requiescat in pace.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My old pal Wes Whitener has a shiny new blog, probably worth a look (or two or three).

Have a nice day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

This weekend, on a whim, I picked up my old hardcover of "The Book of Three" and re-read it after 23 or so years. The next day I read "The Black Cauldron", the next book in the Prydain Chronicles. It was strange to revisit these books after so long, especially when they made such an impression on me back in 5th grade.

I was saddened to learn that the author of the Prydain books, Lloyd Alexander, passed away back in May. I somehow missed the news. In a 1970 article on humor, written for The Horn Book Magazine, Alexander wrote: “Humor can help us accept our transiency, our mortality — in which all men are truly equal — and give us the courage, and the grace, to live reasonably and compassionately.”

I'll continue re-reading the rest of the Chronicles, and pass them along to my daughters.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Here's video from the show posted below. I'm the blurry chap at around 28-30 seconds in.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

20 July 2007

I finally got a chance to see Morrissey live. Here is what I posted about it on morrissey-solo.com:

"A few thoughts about the Chastain show:

This would be my first chance to catch Morrissey live after sixteen+ years as a fan. My wife and I made the drive over from Athens against some pretty brutal traffic - made it with time to spare. Wondered about the "muckety-mucks" (as my wife put it) wheeling in their coolers and carrying their deli trays. But, no matter. Found our seats...pleasantly surprised with our location. Aisle seats at Row 3 of the box seats directly to the right of the stage. We were about six feet from the edge of the stage all night long. Kristeen came out and played a dutiful set. I think it was still too light out when she played, which she referenced.

And then, here comes Moz, live and in person. He seems bemused by his surroundings..."Where are we? ...How did we end up here?...I'm a serious artist!...I've made two friends and four thousand enemies." But he perseveres and puts on a fine show, even if under duress.

The highlight of the evening...toward the end of the encore (Int'l Playboys) he wanders over towards our direction and I see open space between myself and the stage. I rush over, extend my hand...and suddenly there he is, the Master Himself, directly over me. He takes my hand and squeezes, I bow my head to him, he returns with a courteous nod. And then he's gone, show's over literally within a minute.

We drive home, me with a tingling hand and a stupid grin on my face. It's not every day that I get to shake the hand of the man who's meant so much to me. A very unexpected pleasure for my first show.

So, the venue may have been all wrong, and Moz might have been less than enthused by his circumstances, but this was an event that I'll always remember."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Well now, time does fly when you're having fun.

Actually, we no longer have DSL since we moved in March. Thus, I'm relegated to the dial-up dustbin of history. Anyway, I'll finish my best of '06 list right now, as if I can still remember anything of that rareified year.

8. Sex Dwarf by Soft Cell
7. The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky
6. Sesame Street - Old School Vol 1 DVD set
5. Funeral - Arcade Fire
4. Dimanche à Bamako - Amadou & Mariam
3. Bring it Back - Mates of State
2. My Video iPod
1. The very best of '06.....my girls. Jenny, Holly, and Meredith. Because they make life worth living.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

9. Radio Nigel

I began listening to this online station at work last year; Besides having a large amount of music that one could find on my iPod, it plays deeper cuts from the late 70s through the early 90s...I've discovered quite a few obscure tracks I would otherwise have missed.

Monday, February 05, 2007

10. The "About Time" book series

We finished a complete chronological viewing of Doctor Who in 2006; the girls seemed to enjoy it, even the wife, surprisingly. This book series was a useful viewing companion. The authors placed each story in the context of its time, and provided some new perspectives on the series as a whole; no easy task considering the volumes already written about it.