Thursday, September 26, 2019

Downton Abbey

our local movie critic
If I had to name my favorite television show of all time, I would select Downton Abbey.  I've been watching a replay of the series on PBS since it started in February.  At present I have them all DVR'd, but I know I'll need to delete them because of space restraints.  The final season is ready to start replaying.  I figure I'll rewatch each episode and delete them one-by-one.  Maybe I'll save the premiere just for old times' sake.  If our DVD player were hooked up to the TV, maybe I would contemplate owning the set.  But probably not.

The new Downton Abbey movie has been receiving a lot of hype these past couple weeks.  The stars are on the talk shows, and I watch whenever I know about it.

I plotted when I would attend the movie.  Due to the hype and not knowing how long the movie would be showing here in town, I thought the theaters might be crowded.  A couple people mentioned on Facebook that a lot of people attended the showings in their locales.  I eliminated the weekend, then discarded Monday.  I was planning to go Tuesday, but then I saw that Tuesdays are reduced ticket-price days.

I finally settled on Wednesday for the 11 a.m. show.  I was still concerned about a lot of people.  What if a retirement home took all their residents on that day?  I arrived at the theater just after 10:30, and ....... the parking lot was empty.  I saw two older ladies wandering around on the sidewalk.  I guess that was "the rush."  Silly me.

I purchased my "senior" ticket and saved $1.25.  I was the first one in the theater and carefully selected my seat.  Ha!  Eventually a few more people arrived.  I believe our audience maxed out at no more than 20.

Two observations:
-  The episodes of the tv series had 3 - 4 - 5 plots going over each episode and extending through the season.  The many characters shared times when they were featured more and featured less.  In this movie there were 2 hours to give all 20 or so characters screen-time.  Plus, maybe 7-8 new characters were added.  While the whole plot line was introduced, played, and resolved, there simply wasn't enough time to feel like each character was highlighted.
-  The final scene with Lady Mary and her granny, the Dowager Duchess Violet, seemed to be setting up the beginning of a new sequel.

I would love to see a prequel.  Introduce us to Robert and Cora and Violet 40 years ago.  What was happening in each of their lives in England and America before they met?  Why did Cora agree to an arranged marriage?  I would hope that different actors would need to portray the characters, but I wouldn't mind.  With the exception of a young Carson and a much younger Mrs. Hughes, I don't think any of the 1920's servants could be in the prequel.  Perhaps Carson is a footman and Mrs. Hughes could be a young maid called Phyllis (since maids were addressed by their first names).  The prequel could take us through the first year of their married life and show us how Robert and Cora grew to know each other, then respect and fall in love.  And of course, the prequel would end with the happy birth of their first child Mary.

There.  It's all figured out.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Trigger Happy

We knew severe weather was headed our way.  The morning was sunny, but it started clouding up around 10:00.  Then at 11 a.m., the storm suddenly arrived with lots of rain and a strong wind.

Almost simultaneously the tornado siren sounded.

I turned on WCIA to see what they were reporting.  At one point they said there was no tornado.  Instead, maybe a "gustnado" was the reason for the sirens to go off.  They went on to explain that the conditions could lead to a tornado.

Hmm-- I thought that was the purpose of a tornado watch .... an alert that a tornado could develop.

This morning. Near Ivesdale, south of our town.
WCIA evening news explained the reason for the tornado siren:  Apparently a police officer saw something that resembled a tornado on the west side of town.  He "demanded" that emergency services turn on the sirens.  The news report went on to say that "it is unclear whether he is a trained storm spotter."  That sounds like a politically correct way of saying he is not.

Gustnado - A small whirlwind that forms as an eddy in the leading edge of a thunderstorm. Does not connect with cloud-based rotation and is not a tornado.

Monday, August 19, 2019

What an Idea

Reminds me of years ago when Theresa Grentz, former Univ of Illinois women's basketball coach, started calling the gym where her teams played The Huff

"I call it The Huff," Grentz said. "When I first got here, people thought that was funny. We changed it from Huff Hall to The Huff. You know, the Vatican, the pope, the Bronx, The Huff. . . . It isn't pretty but it's ours. The Duke coach (Gail Goestenkors) just said to me, 'There isn't enough money in the world to bring my team back to The Huff.' The crowds here, the fans were great."
                                                                                                             --  Chicago Tribune, 11/11/1997

Saturday, August 17, 2019

To the Rescue

Major Frank Burns took a tank on a joyride.

Colonel Sherman Potter put the jeep that Burns destroyed out of its misery.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic front-runner, left some in the crowd at the Iowa State Fair mystified when he told them: We choose truth over facts.

The 76-year-old former vice president, whose loquacious style and propensity for flubbing his lines endears him to some and draws mockery from others, was ending his speech at the state fairground in Des Moines when he attempted a rousing finish.

"Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts."
-- Washington Examiner, 08/08/2019

Monday, July 15, 2019

Double Coupon Day

I participate in our local public library's summer reading program.  Read, record the time in an online account, and for every 2 hours of reading you earn a reward.  Some of the rewards, for example: coupon for a free book at the Friends of the Library bookstore, coupon for a free pizza slice at Jet's Pizza, 20% off at a local bookstore.

The beginning of July I stopped in the library to pick up my 4th reward, the free slice of pizza.  The staff person accessed my account and told me I had also earned another reward.  I told her I would probably not use the coupon at the bookstore.  She then said I could have a second pizza coupon as a substitute!  What a deal!  Two pizza coupons.

I then headed to to a grocery store where I had another coupon to use.  I had to "earn" this coupon by purchasing the product and entering the information in an online account.  I worked diligently to purchase the correct number of items before the promotion ended.  I then was able to print out a coupon.

I was at a self-service register at Walmart, and for some reason, the coupon scanned "expired."  The clerk didn't know what to do and had to ask someone from customer service to come over.  That took way longer than it should have -- she kept getting waylaid while on her course to my checkout.  She didn't know what to do either.  So she just removed one of the products from my transaction and made it look like I had only purchased one meal instead of the two that were in my bag.  Meanwhile, the associate put the coupon in the slot, but it did not drop through.  So I retrieved it and left.

When I exited I thought "this better not ding as a shop-lifted item."  I got away safely.  It seemed obvious to me what the employee should have done: She should have manually deducted the coupon amount.  I've seen register clerks do this many times over the years.  You can see on the face of the coupon that there is a place to write the amount.

A couple days later I went to another store and purchased the items.  Again, the coupon scanned expired.  But this time, the clerk did an override and entered the amount manually.  Just like I thought should have been done at Walmart.  And I went home happy.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Day Off

1:48 p.m. — 
J: “Oh, shit. I was supposed to run Route 4 today.”