Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Look Who's 27

It hardly seems like it's been 27 years since Stephanie entered the world and my life, but the calendar doesn't lie.

Happy birthday, Steph. Lots of love.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Such a Deal

A few days ago I won an eBay auction with a bid of one penny. I'm amazed no one else bid on this item. I know what you're thinking, they made up for it with an outrageous postage fee. No, not really. The item is coming from Canada and I knew it would be higher than our domestic rate, but not by too much. I was given a choice of five different classes of mail from a low of $16.65 to a high of $107. I chose the low. So I paid a total of $16.66 for an item that recently sold for over $30 on an earlier auction.

The item in question is a small plastic shelf made by Bachmann, who made the Birds of the World model kits in 1959-60. I have all of the bird kits and thought it would be nice to have the official shelf for them. Since there are 22 birds and room for only three, maybe four, on the shelf, it doesn't solve all of my display problems, but on its own it's a nice piece to have.

Pictured at right is the parakeet kit in blue. They also provided paint to make it in green. I've done both. The kits are really neat. They're life size and very realistically rendered. When I was in the sixth grade and some of our relatives visited, my cousin Georgie and I each built and painted a bird. A goldfinch for me; a scarlet tanager for him. The kits make a nice link to the past.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

            I broke down and saw The Magnificent Seven. It's a very good shoot-'em-up, blazing action, powder-burning Western and I enjoyed it, but there were things that bothered me at the same time.
            Case in point: In the first scene a group of citizens meet in a church to wonder what can be done about the ruthless businessman who has taken over their town and land. Among the group is the female lead of the movie, a lovely young woman who's wearing a scoop-necked dress. She's a farmer's wife and sports a peaches-and-cream complexion. Now, you know me. I'm not one to complain about a nice display of creamy cleavage or a pretty face, but come on. A farmer's wife?
            Point two: We meet our star, a black bounty hunter, who walks into a saloon looking for a man with a price on his head. WARNING. It's the barkeep. END OF WARNING  After some banter and tension a shootout occurs. The bounty hunter kills the shotgun-toting bouncer, the bartender, and one other man. He fires five shots. Then he gives a mean look to the 50 or so people in the bar and they stampede for the batwings.
            Number one, the minute a black guy walked into a whites only bar in those days he was either killed or beaten up and thrown out. Hell, it would have happened in 1959 in some places , never mind 1879. So that was bogus. Then, the patrons bolting for safety when the guy had either one or no bullets left made no sense. You need a huge supply of suspension of disbelief to be satisfied with this scene.
            So Black Guy assembles his team when offered some money to defend the town. They are Mexican Guy, Indian Guy, Asian Guy, Old Mountain Man White Guy, Ex-Confederate White Guy, and I think the last one was Irish White Guy. The U.N. must have loved the casting.
            Nevertheless, most of them were fun to watch.
            Final point: The evil land grabber and mine owner launches his attack on the town. For openers he sends in 200 desperadoes. They townies kill 300 and 100 more are still left to engage in street-to-street fighting. All of this is done quite well. But the attack is faltering so WARNING AGAIN Bad Guy breaks out a Gatling gun and starts killing everyone, including his own thugs. I ask, wouldn't it have been more effective to use the Gatling first and then use the owlhoots to mop up? END OF WARNING.
            Despite these flaws, I liked the movie for what it was. Like the Lone Ranger movie with Johnny Depp, it might not be the real McCoy, but it was fun and had some exciting action sequences.

            A couple of weeks earlier I saw Bridget Jones's Baby I thought it was a huge disappointment but some old geezer down the row from me laughed often. And that's more than I need to say about this.