Wednesday, July 27, 2011

leone would be proud

My girls wanted to rent something from Redbox and so they picked the computer-generated film RANGO.   I wasn't planning on watching it with them.  I was going to go about cleaning house as they enjoyed a kid movie together.  There was something about the sounds coming from the next room that kept drawing me back in, so I sat down and watched it.

I don't care for most kid movies that come out.   There have been exceptions.   I really enjoyed the SHREK.  I liked the first CARS, TOY STORY 1, 2, & 3 as well as UP.   I am a big fan of the exceptions.  Most kid movies though have little for the adults in the audience.  I think it's a bad move.  After all, it's we the adults that take their children to the movies and have to sit through it.   I can't tell you how many kid movies I've paid to go see and ended up falling to sleep.  RANGO is one of the exceptions, because it is exceptional.  It offers more than great characters and a good storyline.

What I like most about Rango is that it's a good Western with desert animals and reptiles in the cast.  Not only is it a good Western, but a good Italian Western.  It was like the entire film was paying tribute to the work of Sergio Leone.  I believe that any avid fan of Leone and the Spaghetti Western genre would appreciate this flick.   

Down through the decades directors have tried to pull off a Leone-esque Western.  Very few have given us anything thing memorable.  The most recent success was Quentin Tarrentino's WWII adventure The Inglorious Bastards.  Rango offers us some animated Leone, a familiar style, sounds and textures - making up a very unique film.

The cinematography of this movie is fascinating.  The film offered non-stop references to Spaghetti Westerns.  For any Leone fans out there, listen for the sounds, watch how each scene is framed, the characters.  I know my kids just enjoyed the characters, the action, and the humor - but dad sat there and enjoyed Rango on a completely different level.  Rango offered the grown-up in the room something special.

Friday, July 22, 2011

fallen fortress

While talking to the old airman at the Mighty Eighth Museum in Savannah, he told me that the Liberty Belle had flown her last.  The plane caught on fire and the pilot landed the plane in time for the crew to escape.

2007 flight on the Liberty Belle:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

therein lies the rub

Gina had to work throughout the weekend as well as the Fourth of July holiday.  We've been on one car for an entire  month now.  Gina took the VW Monday morning and had it for the majority of the day.  My daughters and I spent the day stranded at home and making good use of the situation.  We cleaned house.

Usually we don't do anything special for the fourth. This time we had some ribs in the fridge.  I took some time from housecleaning to rub down the ribs - prepping them for the grill.  The two for one deal at Winn Dixie allowed for more meat than our small family needed.  Gina's been working so hard - I thought she might like to see her mom a little.  I called Mrs. Hale and asked her if she'd like to come over and help us gnaw on some dead pig bones.

We had a pretty big spread and all of us ate entirely too much.  Mrs. Hale brought over a big bowl of her incredible green beans.  She also made a pan full of fried okra.  I didn't ask her to bring anything, but glad she did.  It was a feast.  After the meal and the table was cleared, Gina and her mom sat down for a game of Scrabble.  They both seemed to have a good time together.

The one about the grill:

For years Gina had been push the idea of own a grill off on me.  She didn't want to just go buy one without justifying it as a birthday, Father's Day, or Christmas present.  She'd always ask me if I wanted a grill for a present.  I'd always turn the offer down.  I am not a grill person.  Unlike a lot of men, I don't find pleasure in owning or cooking on a grill.  I'd just as soon cook on a stove top.  The house has air conditioning and I don't have to scrape and scrub the eye of a stove like I do an outdoor grill.  Now I LOVE food smoked/cooked on a grill - but I'd just as soon pay somebody who knows how to do it better than I can.

Every time a birthday, Father's Day or Christmas rolled around Gina would ask the same question.  "How would you like a BBQ grill?"  It took her well over a decade to finally get the message that I didn't want a damn grill for a present.

Eventually she started a different approach by saying, "It coming up on our anniversary, or let's make OUR Christmas (or Anniversary) present to each other a grill."

"Gina." I'd say to her, "let's just go buy a grill and not make it a present."  I don't want it as a present - even if it's a shared present.
I'd just as soon we buy a tire jack for each other.   "I don't want a grill."  Gina's mind doesn't work that way.  The expense of a grill has to be justified as a gift for some reason.  There was no sense debating it.  I didn't want the gift of a grill because I knew that it was a gift that had to keep on giving.  Like I said, I find no great joy in grilling.

The last time she mentioned giving me a grill - I told her that it wasn't I that wanted the grill.  I told Gina that it was SHE that wanted the grill.  If SHE wanted the grill - let's go to Lowes and just don't buy her a grill.

About three or four years ago Gina handed me a Lowes Black Friday Ad. She had circled a picture of the grill SHE wanted and told me to go get it.  "This grill is what I want for Christmas."
Okay.  I immediately went over to Lowes and bought it.  I took it home and assembled it.  It was a nice looking grill.  I hauled it up the stairs onto the deck.  It's been used about six times since its purchase.  I noticed while making the ribs yesterday how faded it looked.  It's even got some rust spots on it.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

City of Savannah

"City of Savannah" 5000th airplane processed through Hunter Field, GA in 1944
While roaming the Combat Gallery at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, an old airman approached me to talk about the B-17, 'City of Savannah' on display.  He told me that this particular Flying Fortress was built toward the end of the war never left The States.  Nevertheless, this bomber has an interesting history.

It was purchased for $350.00 after the war's end and used to fight fires.  Go rent the 1989 movie Always and you'll get a good idea what kind of combat this old bird experienced.  This B-17 was retired from the fire department in the 1970's and ended up at
National Air and Space Museum until 2009.

It was then disassembled and trucked down 1-95 to the Might Eighth facility.  The ball turret and tail gun section had been removed decades ago to fight fires.  The old vet told me that they've secured a tail gun section and will be installing it soon.

You can see images of her restoration on facebook.

Friday, July 1, 2011

the mighty eighth

B-17 "Flying Fortress" being restored at the museum.
I was welcomed at the door by a kindly old veteran.  He introduced himself as we shook hands.  While visiting the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Savanah, I could tell on the faces of all three old guides, that they were proud to be there.  At one point, one of the old gentlemen said that he's just as proud of his service to the Mighty Eighth Army Air Force Museum just much as he did during the Korean War.  They were there to honor those who served and didn't return.

As a boy, I was fascinated by that war.  I'd watch the old television shows, the movies.  My dad had a book Collier's Photographic History of WWII (1945) on the bookshelf.  I spent hours upon hours as a kid flipping through the pages of that book.  At that time, the war was only a few short decades ago.  The black and white images pushed the war into ancient of days.  Fathers didn't talk about it much so their children could be spared the pain of their sacrifice.  Their gift to their children was peace.

I continued my fascination as I grew up - reading many books about that war.  I have never lost my fascination of that time in our nation's our world's history.

There was a moment during my visit to the museum that I thought about my boyhood fascination versus my adulthood fascination.  The museum attempted to offer the visitor a firsthand multimedia experience to simulate a bomb mission.  I felt the blast of cold air hit me from the bomb-bay doors opening from the floor, flack bursts in stereo, back and forth radio chatter. I didn't feel an exhilaration that I would have once felt as a boy.  I sat there trying to hold back tears.