Monday, October 29, 2012

old movies

Remember these old Video Cassette recorders?   Now they are passe' being replaced by DVD discs.   But at one time they were "cutting edge" technology.   Now you can see piles of them in the second-hand stores for a few dollars.   No one wants them anymore.   Discarded like an old pair of shoes.   And what about the VCR cassettes?
I use to purchase blank tapes at $20 each.   And the tapes with the prerecorded movies on them ranged in price from $49 to $79 depending on popularity.   I didn't want to spend that much money 30 years ago so I got my rented my movies from the movie stores.    Now look at these expensive cassettes.   They range from 50 cents to 69 cents at flea markets, yard sales, and second hand stores.   When I like a movie I like to view it again from time to time.   So I buy them and play them in my VCR.    I have built up an extensive collection of these old movies.   I started to list the movies that I have but the list is much too long.
I have my favorites though like War of the Worlds
and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.  
I also like Broken Arrow.
I have got a lot of them (92 at last count) at those ridiculously low prices.   Let me pose a question.   Have you ever been asked at the holidays that if you had to take all of your presents back except one, which one would you keep?   Sometimes you get some surprising answers, but it ells what the person really liked best.   Of these 92 movies which one would I keep if I could only keep one?   It is the earliest movie that I can remember seeing and I just loved it.   So which one is it?   It is the Enchanted Forest starring Harry Davenport.
Why this particular film?   It brings back so many very pleasant memories for me.   I watch the film from time to time and I still love the film.   It is a very idealistic film of simpler times.   I am just glad that I have a copy.
But let me tell you of a big advantage of VCR is that when you stop it in the middle of a movie, it will pick up right where I left off, even if it is the next day.   Having to start at the beginning is an annoyance that I find of DVD's.   Think about the possibility of starting your own collection of past movies with ridiculously cheap tapes.   Rewatching an old movie like Hoffa starring Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito is something that I just don't seem to tire of.   Jack Nicholson's performance was fantastic.  
I could just go on and on rattling off the names of the great movies of the past. but I won't.   I have already started rambling in the blog too much.   Take care and let me know which recorded movie (either VHS or DVD) is your favorite in the comments section below.   Also which movie would you like to have that you don't have already.   Take care and don't forget to vote.    Lew

Saturday, October 27, 2012

migrant mother

The great depression of 1929.   What a terrible time to live through.   I cannot fathom just how miserable it must have been during the depression.   The hopelessness.   The woman in the picture is a migrant mother who was a field worker.   The picture was taken at a pea-pickers field camp in Nipomo, California in 1936.  Her name was Florence Owens Thompson.  The children are Ruby at her right shoulder, Katherine at her left shoulder, and Norma is the baby in her lap.  A photographer took her picture in 1936 and the picture came to symbolize the plight of the farm workers during the depression.   She was age 32 when her picture was taken.   She must have been quite a fighter because she survived and lived to age 80.   The picture below was taken 43 years after the great depression picture and she was age 75 at the time.   The three women with her are her daughters in the picture above.
From left to right the daughters are Katherine, Norma, and Ruby who is squatted down.   Of course that is their mother Florence seated in the chair.   Go back and take a look at the children in the picture above and realize how well her children succeeded when they grew to adults.   They started with nothing and ended up successful.  Here is a picture of Katherine today holding the famous picture of them with their mother.
She has her own home which looks to be pretty nice.   Quite an accomplishment.  Did the adversity that they faced growing up make them stronger?   People really were a hearty stock years ago.   Like the song says "only the strong survive".  
The necklace that Florence is wearing in the picture above looks to be of an indian design to me.   It is hard to tell because the picture is so blurry.   It would be logical since Florence was born Florence Leona Christie, a full-blooded Cherokee from Oklahoma.   She was also the granddaughter of Ned Christie, who was a Cherokee, a well respected, man and in 1895 was a Cherokee senator.  
He was falsely accused of murdering a marshal, hunted by a posse and killed.
An eyewitness testified years later that Ned Christie had not killed the marshal.   And so his good name was cleared.  
What a colorful heritage Florence Thompson had.   And it looks like life turned out alright for her and that the bad days of the great depression are just a memory for her.   The picture of her as a migrant mother now resides in the Library of Congress.   And in 1998 the United States Post Office put her picture on a postage stamp to commemorate her life.   There is lots of information on the internet about Florence Owens Thompson and "migrant mother".   Do some searches because it is really a very interesting story. 
I sometimes wonder if there may be another depression looming on the horizon with the economy being so bad.   Will I get to experience what this woman went through?   Would I be strong enough to weather a depression as she did?   I sincerely hope that I don’t find out.   With the presidential elections near, these thoughts of the country’s finances and the image of the migrant mother loom in my mind.   Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best, and of course vote for the right person.   But most of all, Vote!    Lew

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Yes, that is Hurricane Sandy off of the coast of Florida churning away.   See that yellow X in the picture?   That is me in Orlando watching the hurricane pass by heading up the coast.
I am enjoying the "blustery winds" that we are getting from the hurricane and the occasional brief showers are good for the flowers.
They are flying the red hurricane warning flags at the lifeguard towers at the beach on the coast.
Just a brief question - Did you ever see the movie Lifeguard starring Sam Elliott?   What did you think of it?
I liked the philosophy of the film of doing the job that you enjoy doing, whether it be taking x-rays or catering large events.  
So few people in life truly enjoy what they do to earn a living.   I was lucky, I enjoyed being an x-ray technician.
But to get back to Hurricane Sandy.   I would like to get over to the beach to see the big waves and pounding surf.
I like the sound of the surf and the feel of the salt spray on my face.   So why don't I go?   Gas.   The price of gas.  
I drive a pick-up truck and they are typically terrible on gas mileage.   I use to consider how long a trip will take in terms of driving time, now it is how much is the trip going to cost me in gas.   What other purposes could I use that money for.
Yes, as the gas gauge heads to "full", my wallet heads for "empty".   An unfortunate sign of the times.
Sometimes Seaside will get some pictures of the surf and email them to me.
Since I won't be getting over to the coast, hopefully Seaside will get some pictures for me.   It is the next best thing to being there.
For those of you living in the northeast portion of the United States like Long Island or Delaware, look out because Sandy is coming.
Even the computers says that Sandy is coming.
Good news, bad news.   The bad news is that there is a hurricane close by.   The good news is that it won't be coming to Orlando.   For the people on Long Island and Delaware the bad news is that there is a hurricane heading their way.   The good news is........well, there is no good news.   Sorry.   Well, maybe there may be some good news after all.   They can have a hurricane party.   Take care and don't forget the chips and dip.    Lew

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

a thief in the night

We have a housecat, Tammy and four stray cats that hang around the house waiting to be fed each day.   They all love Deli-Cat (no, this is not a commercial for Deli-Cat.   They just seem to really like it).    Normally the outside cats get a less expensive brand of cat food and I use the Deli-Cat as a special treat for them.   Tammy (a.k.a. "the princess") is pampered and gets Deli-Cat all the time plus either Fancy Feast canned or the fancy Market Select Meow Mix in the small container.  
Now you know why she is also called "the princess". 
If you click on any of the pictures, you will get an enlarged version of the picture which will have better detail.
I keep the Deli-Cat food for the outside cats in a plastic container.   Last night some animal thief dragged the plastic container out of the garage and tried to get to the food with its teeth.
I keep it on a large wooden table in the garage.   You can see the bite marks on the lid.   As luck would have it, I just happen to have a "game camera".
This is a camera that is motion activated and is used by hunters.   I use it at times for security.   I set the camera up in the garage aimed at the table with the plastic container containing the Deli-Cat so that when the animal thief returns tonight it will snap their picture and then I will know which of the four cats is the thief.   What about our housecat Tammy?   She is kept in the house all night every night and so she doesn't have the opportunity to be the culprit.   It will be interesting to see who it is.   The "game cameras" are neat and they are reasonably priced.
This morning the food container was not on the table.
The plastic container was on the floor with the lid off and most all of the food eaten.
What a mess.   And look at all of those little black things.   Ants?
Yep.   Lots and lots of hungry ants.   That's why I had the food in a plastic storage container to keep the ants out.
Well, let's see what pictures there are on the game camera.   Yep, that is definitely Betty up on the table.   She must be the culprit.  At the bottom of the picture it says 1:24 am.   She should be asleep at this time.   I was.
But wait, we have another visitor.   A visitor famous for their thievery.  A raccoon.   And a well-fed one at that.   It already has its hands or paws on the container.
The raccoon is working so hard to get into the food container.   Of course we already know that he was successful.   And look at the time at the bottom of the photo,  4:18 am.   He has that famous raccoon mask on the eyes.
He has the container on its side and I think that he is close to success.   I have to say that he definitely is persistent.
The mystery has been solved with the cats not to blame.   They are off the hook for this bit of mischief.   "All's well that ends well" as they say.   I will keep the container in a cabinet in the garage from now on.
Now it is time a quiz.   Don't panic, it is only one question.   Who is this woman and why is she on a postage stamp?   Leave you answer in the comments section.    Lew

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Space Station

So here's the deal, would you like to see the international space station from your own backyard?   Sound impossible?   I am going to tell you how to do it and it is a lot of fun.   Let me preface that what you will get to see is not what you see in the picture above or in the picture below.
What you will see is like a very bright shining star moving across the sky.   It is best observed either just before sunrise or just after sunset.   But how do you know when it will be over your house?   Easy.   Just go to the website   When you do you will get this page.   By the way, even though the web address is in blue, it is not a link.   You will have to type the address in or do a search for n2yo and go from there.   If you are having trouble reading the item below or any of the other items or pictures, just click on the item or picture and you will get the larger version of it which will be much more legible.
What the map shows is a live tracking of the international space station as it orbits around the earth and is continually updated every couple of seconds.
At this particular moment the space station was over Sri Lanka.   But now we have to know when it will pass over your house.  
First you have to tell it your location by clicking on "change location".
Just follow the instructions and then come back to this page which should show your location under the heading "current location".   Are you still with me?   Just persist because it is worth it.
Now you have to click on 5-day prediction which I have circled on the right in the picture below.
And "voila" you have the paths of the international space station orbiting over your house.   And here it is for where I live.
The space station should be passing over me around 7:38 pm (which is about 37 minutes from now).   Click on the little box that says map and look at what you get.
Now isn't that pretty neat.   In this case the space station will be travelling from the southwest to the northeast.   And remember the smaller the number for the magnitude the brighter the space station will be.   Tonight the magnitude is going to be -1.5.    I like it best when it has a magnitude of -2.4.   Isn't it kind of crazy that the lower the number the brighter the space station is.   All you all set now?   As they say, keep looking up and enjoy see the actually space station pass overhead even if it appears as a bright star.   Click on the tab on the picture that says satellite or hybrid and you will get a birds-eye view of where you live.   Please let me know in the comments section below how much success you had and if you enjoyed watching the skies.    Gotta go, the space station will be overhead shortly.    Lew