Featured

Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss

This is the third and latest short film that I’ve either written or co-written with Juan Carlos Hernandez for his production company, Popcorn Sky Productions. It’s a comedy about a politically-divided family in New York City during the Trump era.

As Denise Longrie says in her review:

This amusing and enjoyable short depicts the fireworks that erupt when the Ronderos’ son Jerry (Anthony James Hernandez) comes home from college for a visit. Mom Veronica (“Ronnie”), played by Adria K. Woomer-Hernandez, lays down the law to her husband Guillermo (Juan Carlos Hernandez): no talking, not even whispering, about politics.

Although Juan was gracious enough to give me the sole writing credit for Ronnie, the truth is that much of the finished film was based on on-the-spot rewrites by the cast and crew in New York. I was asked to go to the Big Apple to be on hand, but I couldn’t afford the cost of an airline ticket plus a long extended stay at a hotel. So even though I was consulted, Juan, Adria, and Anthony had to rework the story and script to make Ronnie work well as a comedy with some serious commentary about the divisiveness in Trump-era America.

The film is 22 minutes long, but it’s a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. I think it’s both hilarious and relevant.

If you have not watched it yet, here it is, in all its YouTube glory.

Musings & Thoughts for Monday, June 21, 2021, or: It’s D (for Delivery) Day for the Indy 4K Box Set

(C) 2021 Paramount Home Media Distribution and Lucasfilm Ltd.

Hi there, Dear Reader. It is late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Monday, June 21, 2021. On this second day of astronomical summer (meteorological summer began on June 1), it is hot, humid, and typical of the Florida wet season. The temperature is 82˚F under sunny skies, but with humidity at 64% and the wind blowing from the south-southwest at 7 MPH, the heat index is 87˚F. Today, we can expect scattered rain showers – it is, as I said, the wet season – and the high will be 90˚F. Tonight, light rain is possible, and the low will be 75˚F. Today’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is 62 or Moderate.

Well, today is the day when my Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection box set finally arrives. As I write this, the five-disc set (four 4K UHD Blu-rays, one for each feature, and one 1080p Blu-ray with the Bonus Features) is on a UPS delivery van with a delivery window of between 1:30 and 3:30 PM. UPS is sharing a moving map which shows the approximate location of the delivery vehicle; from its present location, it looks as though it might arrive well before the 1:30 PM ETA.

Promo banner by Paramount Home Media Distribution and Lucasfilm Limiited

Although I was disappointed by Paramount Home Media Distribution’s decision to prioritize the street release of the more expensive steelbook version of the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection set over the more numerous DigiPack/slipcover variant, I am happy and relieved that after a 13-day delay, I will finally see Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the 4K UHD format.

Of course, this is a quartet of films that I am not only familiar with over the 40 year history of the Indiana Jones franchise, but I also own it on the two older disc-based formats (DVD and Blu-ray). It’s one of my favorite film series – on par with Lucasfilm’s Star Wars saga and slightly more beloved than the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World series – so I try to upgrade them every time a new “physical media” format is introduced.

Here are some of the specs of the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection box set, if you are interested:

Video

  • Codec: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
  • HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
  • Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
  • Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

Raiders of the Lost Ark 4K

  • English: Dolby Atmos
  • English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 kbps)
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 2.0

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 4K

  • English: Dolby Atmos
  • English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 2.0

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 4K

  • English: Dolby Atmos
  • English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 2.0

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 4K

  • English: Dolby Atmos
  • English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles

  • English, English SDH, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, Thai

Discs

  • 4K Ultra HD
  • Blu-ray Disc
  • Five-disc set (4 BD-66, 1 BD-50)

Digital

  • Digital copy included

Packaging

  • Slipbox
  • DigiPack, Inner print
  • Figure/replica/props/memorabilia included

Playback

  • 4K Blu-ray: Region free

The Bonus Features disc, sadly, is essentially a slightly redacted version of the fifth disc in the 2012 Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures Blu-ray box set; it merely ports over most (but by no means all) of the extras from the 2003 DVD box set, the 2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull home media release,and the 2012 Complete Adventures bonus disc.

Will I watch any of the Indy 4Ks today? More than likely, yes. I’ll probably watch Raiders of the Lost Ark first, mostly to see how good the 4K remastering is on the 40-year-old classic. Whether or not I watch the whole thing depends on my mood. I usually can’t stop watching Raiders I start – at least on home media – because it’s my favorite of the existing quartet directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by George Lucas.

I know that many fans of franchises love to rank films in a series based on their personal subjective opinions. I am not particularly fond of “ranking,” but if anyone is interested, here is my take on the Indiana Jones films:

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Now, to be clear: I don’t dislike the two films I ranked the lowest. I enjoy them, and they are both better than most action-adventure films made between 1984 and the present. I just like the other two a bit more.

(C) 1994, 2021 Florentine Films and PBS Distribution

Last night I sat down to watch Our Game (1840s-1900), the first inning of Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns on Blu-ray in its entirety. I enjoyed it, even though I am still not 100% on board with Burns’ decision to tinker with the aspect ratio of the series’ presentation. The first nine “innings” were aired in 1994 in the standard 4:3 “full screen” format; the remastered version changed the aspect ratio for widescreen TVs.

The beneficial effect of the cropping is that viewers get to see more fine details that they could not see before in the PBS/MLB TV broadcasts and reruns until the remastering was done last year for the June 2021 Blu-ray reissue and MLB TV reruns. For instance, if a shot in the 1994 version showed you a car in a parking space but you couldn’t see the license plate, in the new remastered version you not only see the car, but the license numbers on the plate.

The downside, of course, is that when you crop a near-square picture to fit into a rectangular space, you lose some information at the top or bottom of the frame. So in a talking head shot, and there are plenty of those in Baseball, you’ll see that the speaker’s top of the head is usually out-of-frame.

I was slightly irked by the cropping, but eventually I let go of my irritation and just focused on the story Burns and writer Geoffrey C. Ward tell in the first episode of this remarkable series about America’s national pastime.  

I started watching Our Game at what I figured was a reasonable hour (8 PM), but I woke up early yesterday, and I was so relaxed while I watched the show that I fell asleep not too long before it ended. I’ll try to finish the episode later this week though.

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print, so I will close for now. At last look, my box set is only a few blocks away, so maybe it will get here before noon. So until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, June 20, 2021, or: Claudette Gets Demoted to Tropical Depression, and Other Sunday News

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

Hi, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida, on Sunday, June 20, 2021. It is already quite sultry outside; the current temperature is 83˚F (28˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 57% and the wind blowing from the south-southwest at 7 MPH (12 KM/H), the heat index is 90˚F (32˚C). Today, the skies will be mostly cloudy  and the high will be 91˚F (33˚C). Tonight, we can expect mostly cloudy skies and the low will be 78˚F (25˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 55, or Moderate.


Today I woke up to the news that Claudette lost its tropical storm status and recategorized as a tropical depression.

. This should be somewhat of a relief for folks in Georgia and the Carolinas, but it still means that much of the Southeast will experience a wet, windy, and not-too-festive Father’s Day 2021.

Per the National Hurricane Center in Miami, here is the latest public advisory on Tropical Depression Claudette:

Image Credit: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

TROPICAL DEPRESSION CLAUDETTE FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER  11

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL       AL032021

0900 UTC SUN JUN 20 2021

CHANGES IN WATCHES AND WARNINGS WITH THIS ADVISORY…

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE COAST OF NORTH

CAROLINA FROM LITTLE RIVER INLET TO DUCK…INCLUDING PAMLICO AND

ALBEMARLE SOUNDS.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE COAST OF SOUTH

CAROLINA FROM SOUTH SANTEE RIVER TO LITTLE RIVER INLET.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT…

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…

* LITTLE RIVER INLET TO DUCK…NORTH CAROLINA

* PAMLICO AND ALBEMARLE SOUNDS

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR…

* SOUTH SANTEE RIVER…SOUTH CAROLINA TO LITTLE RIVER INLET

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE

EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA…IN THIS CASE WITHIN

24 TO 36 HOURS.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE

POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA…IN THIS CASE WITHIN THE NEXT 24 TO

36 HOURS.

INTERESTS ELSEWHERE ACROSS THE CAROLINAS SHOULD MONITOR THE

PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION CENTER LOCATED NEAR 33.3N  85.8W AT 20/0900Z

POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN  30 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE EAST-NORTHEAST OR  60 DEGREES AT  11 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 1006 MB

MAX SUSTAINED WINDS  25 KT WITH GUSTS TO  35 KT.

WINDS AND SEAS VARY GREATLY IN EACH QUADRANT.  RADII IN NAUTICAL

MILES ARE THE LARGEST RADII EXPECTED ANYWHERE IN THAT QUADRANT.

REPEAT…CENTER LOCATED NEAR 33.3N  85.8W AT 20/0900Z

AT 20/0600Z CENTER WAS LOCATED NEAR 33.0N  86.6W

As a Florida native who has lived through more tropical storms, hurricanes, and tropical weather events than I would have preferred, I am glad that Claudette did not hit the New Hometown area directly. We wouldn’t have been prepared for it, and even a few days without electricity, Internet access, and enough hurricane supplies for six persons and a dog would have been nightmarish. We are 20 days into meteorological summer and a day or two away from astronomical summer, and we have already had a few days when the heat index exceeds 100˚F/38˚C. Imagine how stifling the heat would feel in a house where The Caregiver sets the thermostat at 71˚F/21˚C, especially in a situation where the power is out for three or more days.

That having been said, I hope that my friends in Georgia and the Carolinas are not affected too severely by the effects of Claudette.

Photo by Ann Nekr on Pexels.com

This weekend has been dull and uneventful, at least as far as life here is concerned. I watched a couple of documentaries on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, and I read a chapter of The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History as well. And, of course, I wasted a lot of time on Facebook, since I have absolutely no one to talk to here.

I had hoped that UPS would miraculously expedite my package with the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection box set with the 4K UHD Blu-rays of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and deliver it ahead of time.

I should have ordered the Steelbook edition from Best Buy. This set was readily available on June 8. However, it cost more because of the packaging. (C) 2021 Paramount Home Media Distribution and Lucasfilm Ltd.

In theory, based on the time that the package arrived at the UPS facility in Lakeland, Florida, it wasn’t totally inconceivable that my Indy box set could have been delivered by 6 PM yesterday. And yet, it is still scheduled for an early afternoon delivery tomorrow.

Why the delay? Lakeland is a 40-minute drive from here, and the package was scanned there early in the morning, so it could have been hauled to New Hometown for a late afternoon delivery yesterday. But when I checked the tracking information on My UPS Choice, I saw that the package is still in Lakeland. I’m guessing that the delivery schedule is based on how many drivers/vehicles UPS has on hand for our area, compounded by the fact that today is Father’s Day,

Oh, well. Tomorrow is not that far away, I suppose.

Well, that’s all the news from my world – such as it is – that I have to share, so I’ll close for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Saturday, June 19, 2021, or: Adios, Claudette!

Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Saturday, June 19, 2021.  It’s hot, summery outside. The current temperature is 85˚F (30˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 52% and the wind blowing from the southeast at 10 MPH (16 KM/H), the heat index is 93˚F (34˚C). The forecast for today calls for mostly cloudy skies and a high of 92˚F (33˚C). Tonight, the skies will remain mostly cloudy, and the low will be 77˚F (25˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 87 or Moderate.

As the National Hurricane Center predicted yesterday, Tropical Storm Claudette formed last night and came ashore early this morning over Louisiana. According to a report in the Weather Channel’s website, Claudette is going to dampen – literally – this Father’s Day weekend across the Southeast.

Per the Weather Channel:

Tropical Storm Claudette formed over Louisiana earlier this morning and continues to pose a threat of flooding rain across the Southeast this Father’s Day weekend. This system could also contribute to coastal flooding, dangerous rip currents and gusty winds.

Right now, Claudette is affecting swaths of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, and its track will take it across much of the Southeast, including Georgia and the Carolinas. And since the feeder bands extend to the east and northeast,

Forecast track for TS Claudette. Image Credit: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Here is the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami:

BULLETIN

Tropical Storm Claudette Advisory Number   8

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL032021

1000 AM CDT Sat Jun 19 2021

…HEAVY RAINS AND TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS CONTINUE ALONG

PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN GULF COAST…

…TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR A PORTION OF THE NORTH

CAROLINA COAST…

SUMMARY OF 1000 AM CDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION

———————————————–

LOCATION…31.0N 89.7W

ABOUT 75 MI…120 KM NNE OF NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA

ABOUT 95 MI…155 KM WNW OF MOBILE ALABAMA

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…40 MPH…65 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNE OR 25 DEGREES AT 14 MPH…22 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1007 MB…29.74 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

——————–

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for a portion of the North

Carolina coast from Cape Fear to Duck, including Pamlico and

Albemarle Sounds.

The Tropical Storm Warning has been discontinued from the Mouth of

the Mississippi River westward to Morgan City, Louisiana, and for

Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa/Walton County line

Florida.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* Cape Fear to Duck, North Carolina

* Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are

possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere along the northern Gulf Coast and across the

southeast U.S. should monitor the progress of this system.

Although I live close to the Gulf Coast, New Hometown is too far south of Claudette’s current position, and since the storm is moving away from us, I doubt that any of its feeder bands will affect our weather.

Photo by Brooke Lewis on Pexels.com

I don’t have much in the way of other news today; I am still keeping an eye on my package with the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection 4K UHD Blu-ray box set. According to the tracking information provided by UPS, it was last scanned in a carrier facility in Lakeland, Florida at 5:15 AM Eastern. Lakeland is less than 35 miles away from here, so in theory it’s possible – but not likely – that UPS will deliver the package today. The delivery window at both Amazon and My UPS Choice say it’s scheduled for a Monday delivery, so I won’t pin my hopes on an expedited arrival of Dr. Jones and his adventures.

Here’s what consumers can expect from the new box set, per the info on its product page on Amazon:

(C) 2021 Paramount Home Media Distribution and Lucasfilm Ltd.

 From legendary filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, comes one of the greatest movie franchises of all time in 4K Ultra HD. Collected together, all four original Indiana Jones movies have been visually remastered with HDR-10 and Dolby Vision, and state of the art Dolby Atmos for optimum picture and sound quality. Dive into the spectacular stunts and groundbreaking effects with seven hours of special features on one disc. Spanning the globe, on death-defying archeological endeavors, if adventure has a name… it must be Indiana Jones.

Today is one of my two days off from writing, so I plan to try and spend more time outside of my room and away from my desk. I have quite a few books that I’ve bought, started to read, but put aside, so maybe I ought to go to the living room and read for a while. If it weren’t so hot outside I’d even go to the park, sit on a bench, and read there. But I hate hot, humid weather, so I’ll just stick to staying indoors.

On that note, Dear Reader, I will close for now.  Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Sources: https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2021-06-17-potential-tropical-depression-storm-claudette

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT3+shtml/191438.shtml?

Musings & Thoughts for Friday, June 18, 2021, or: Closely Watched Storms….and Packages

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It is almost noon here in New Hometown, Florida on Friday, June 18, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 80˚F (26˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 61% and the wind blowing from the southeast at 2 MPH (2 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 78˚F (26˚C). Today’s forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and a high of 88˚F (31˚C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers and a low of 74˚F (23˚C). Today’s Air Quality Index is 59, or Moderate.  

Well, we are only 18 days into the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, and we are looking at the formation of a possible cyclone out in the Gulf of Mexico. It has not quite reached named-storm status – if it does, it will be named Claudette – but the National Hurricane Center in Miami is keeping a close watch on the tropical system’s progress as it makes a beeline for the northern Gulf coast.

Here’s the latest advisory and projected track from the National Hurricane Center:

Image credit: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

000

WTNT33 KNHC 181440

TCPAT3

BULLETIN

Potential Tropical Cyclone Three Advisory Number   4

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL032021

1000 AM CDT Fri Jun 18, 2021

…HEAVY RAINFALL AND GUSTY WINDS BEGINNING TO REACH PORTIONS OF

THE NORTHERN GULF COAST…

SUMMARY OF 1000 AM CDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION.

———————————————–

LOCATION…26.5N 91.1W

ABOUT 220 MI…355 KM S OF MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA

ABOUT 340 MI…550 KM SSW OF MOBILE ALABAMA

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…35 MPH…55 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 14 MPH…22 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1007 MB…29.74 INCHES

The advisory also had this to say:

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* East of Morgan City, Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County line

Florida.

* Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are.

expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 12

hours.

Interests elsewhere along the northern Gulf Coast should monitor

the progress of this system.

For storm information specific to your area, including possible

inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your

local National Weather Service forecast office.

Looks like this will be somebody else’s nightmare! Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com

Even though I live closer to the Gulf of Mexico than I did six years ago, I can say with 100% certainty that New Hometown will not be seriously affected by “Possible Claudette” if it strengthens over the next 24 hours. It’s too far to the west for its stronger rain bands to cause problems, and its path – governed by the Coriolis effect and the steering currents – doesn’t show any hint that anything beyond a sliver of the westernmost area of Florida (on the border with Alabama) is in the system’s “cone of danger.”

I’ve lived through quite a few direct hits and some scary near-misses from hurricanes, tropical storms, and strong depressions, so naturally I am relieved that Possible Claudette won’t be paying us a visit. I still have vivid memories of Hurricane Andrew, which devastated much of southern Miami-Dade County and left many neighborhoods – including the one I lived in – without electricity for several weeks, as well as various other storms that have passed through the state since then. To me, storm events aren’t “fun” or “exciting.” They’re scary and stressful.

I took this photo (not a great shot, I have to admit) from the front door of my former home in Miami after a tropical storm sideswiped the area in 2014. And this was not even a direct hit! Note the broken tree branches on the empty parking spot. That spot, by the way, was our second parking space, even though it is not adjacent to our property.

So, yep. I am a bit less nervous about this weekend’s weather outlook, although I am annoyed with the Caregiver’s lackadaisical attitude about preparing our home for hurricane season. But that, Dear Reader, is a topic for another blog post.

Photo by Deva Darshan on Pexels.com

On a somewhat related topic, I also don’t have to worry that the bad weather affecting the Gulf Coast will delay my package with the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection box set with the 4K UHD Blu-rays.  According to the tracking information from UPS and Amazon, it departed from Jackson, Mississippi last night at 7:08 PM Central (8:08 PM Eastern) and arrived in Jacksonville, Florida at 10:20 AM Eastern.

That means, Dear Reader, that it is possible that my Indy 4K Blu-rays might get here tomorrow instead of Monday. Jacksonville is only four hours away in ideal traffic conditions, so depending on how many stops the driver makes on the way, it’s possible that my package will be at the nearest UPS distribution facility by 6 PM. I don’t think I’ll get it tonight based on the last scan time of 10:20 AM. Either the driver will take a couple of hours to rest before driving down to this corner of Florida, or the package will be transferred to another truck and driven to the distribution center close to where I live.

I’m willing to bet, though, that I’ll get my Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection set tomorrow. That would be nice!

When I get my set, my Blu-ray collection (including one pre-order which ships in July) will consist of:

The I section of my Blu-ray collection, as listed in my Blu-ray.com account.
  • 48 4K UHD discs, all feature films and no TV titles
  • 401 Blu-rays (including the 4K discs), including 345 movies and 56 TV seasons

I still have my DVD collection, which includes titles I don’t have in either 1080p or 4K Blu-rays, so I have a nice if rather modest video library.

Well, I don’t have any other news to share, so I will close for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, June 17, 2021, or: Clouds, Packages, and Ennui

Photo by kira schwarz on Pexels.com

Greetings, Dear Reader. It’s late morning on Thursday, June 17, 2021, and it is a warm and cloudy summer day here in New Hometown, Florida. Currently, the temperature is 80˚F (27˚C) under cloudy skies. With humidity at 53% and the wind blowing from the southeast at 4 MPH (6 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 79˚F (26˚C). Although the forecast doesn’t call for rain during the daylight hours, skies will be mostly cloudy throughout the day. The high will be 89˚F (31˚C). Tonight, we can expect light rain, and the low will be 73˚F (23˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) today is 25 or Good.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today I woke up – involuntarily – at 5 AM. I had to go to answer the call of nature, and though it was a quick round trip to the bathroom and back, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I wanted to get at least another hour’s rest, but even though I curled back under the covers and closed my eyes, I could not shake off the state of wakefulness.

As a result, I have been awake for six hours, sustained only by the usual cup of café con leche that either the Caregiver or her boyfriend leave for me at my usual place on the kitchenette table. I wasn’t hungry, so as soon as I finished the café con leche, I made my way back to my room, closed my door, and wasted most of my morning on social media.

I did, of course, check on the progress of my package with the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection 4K UHD Blu-ray set. Twice.

Photo by Brooke Lewis on Pexels.com

The first time I checked the tracking information provided by UPS was around 6:00, just before I got up from behind my desk to have that cup of café con leche. At the time, the last checkpoint noted was that the UPS truck had left Ft. Worth, Texas at 11:14 PM Central (12:14 AM Eastern).

A few moments ago I checked the tracking data again, and I was relieved to see that the package was scanned in Jackson, Mississippi at 9:16 AM Central (10:16 AM Eastern), or a bit over an hour ago.

I am not sure how many stops the driver will make on the way from Mississippi to my corner of Florida. Assuming that there are not many stops in Alabama (the next state the route passes through) and that the driver takes a route that avoids some of the five road-construction zones on the I-10 E, my Indiana Jones set could be out for delivery as early as tomorrow. (This, of course, depends on many variables, which is why UPS and Amazon gave themselves such a wide window and a delivery estimate of Monday, June 21.)

(C) 2011, 2021 Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and Bad Robot Productions

I don’t have much else to report today. I did, of course, receive my 4K UHD Blu-ray of Super 8 on time late yesterday afternoon. I could have – and in retrospect, should have – watched the movie, but I opted to watch some of the behind-the-scenes featurettes instead. I also watched a few minutes of the 2011 movie to see how it looks on 4K UHD. I can’t get over how vivid and tactile everything looks in the ultra-high definition format.

Still, I guess I wasn’t in the mood to sit through all of Super 8, so after I ate a McChicken sandwich for dinner, I watched a few documentaries on Amazon Prime Video until I got sleepy and went to bed.

That’s all the news I have to share with you, Dear Reader, so I’ll close for now. As always, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, June 16, 2021, or: I Think I Can Have a Steven Spielberg 4K Film Festival Soon

Well, after a week’s delay caused by supply chain problems, my box set shipped last evening from Arizona and is due to arrive next Monday. (C) Paramount Home Media Distribution and Lucasfilm Ltd.

Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. The current temperature Is 81˚F (26˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 68% and the wind blowing from the west-southwest at 6 MPH (10 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 86˚F (30˚C). Today’s forecast calls for thunderstorms to pass through our area, and the high will be 88˚F (31˚C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers and a low of 74˚F (23˚C). Today’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is 55 or Moderate.

Well, late yesterday evening Amazon emailed me to let me know that the package with the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection box set is finally on its way to the Sunshine State. It is coming via UPS Ground all the way from Tucson, Arizona and has a delivery window of Monday, June 21. Per the tracking information provided by UPS, it left Tucson at 3:07 PM local time (6:07 PM Eastern).

Photo by Brooke Lewis on Pexels.com

I don’t know much about UPS Ground’s operating procedures or how many stops the driver makes between Arizona and Florida. I do know that the distance between Tucson and New Hometown is 2,059 miles if you take I-10 E on a direct route. I am sure that the driver had to take at least one rest stop before reaching Houston, TX, which is roughly the midway point between here and there.

Under ideal conditions, the drive time from Arizona to this part of Florida is 30 hours. However, per Google Maps, I-10 E has five stretches where road work is underway. There are also three spots, two in Texas and one in Louisiana, where I-10 E is closed. So that particular truck is going to have to take at least one major detour to avoid the “road closed” areas. No wonder the delivery “window” is for Monday the 21st.

Oh, well. At least the darned thing is on its way, right?  

Amazon also sent me an email letting me know that even though the price of the 4K UHD Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection set was $90.00 (plus applicable sales taxes) as of yesterday, my credit card will only be billed $11 less because of the online giant’s Pre-Order Price Guarantee. (With Florida’s sales tax added in, I’ll pay $85.99 for this.)

I still had close to $35 worth of points in my Amazon Visa Rewards Shop with Points account, so I used $20.99 worth to pay for my 48th 4K Blu-ray and 401st overall Blu-ray.

(C) 2011, 2021 Paramount Pictures and Paramount Home Media Distribution

In an effort to keep my pledge to get titles I don’t already have in my collection, I purchased J.J. Abrams’ Super 8, which was In theaters back in 2011 but I missed because (a) the neighbors who often took me to the movies bought a house in southern Miami-Dade County and moved out of the complex and (b) I was busy taking care of my mom after her health took a serious downturn. I vaguely remember wanting to see Super 8 because  I had enjoyed his 2009 Star Trek reboot film and knew that Steven Spielberg, my favorite currently active director, was the executive producer.

Considering the tumultuous changes in my life between 2011 and now, I didn’t see Super 8 – a film about 1970s-era kids, home-made films, and a Spielbergian plot about human-alien interaction in Midwest America – until I caught it on Amazon Prime Video last fall before it was rotated out of the “free to watch” roster on that streaming service.

I don’t remember much of the movie because I watched it late at night and after I consumed a Seagram’s Escape, but the cast of young actors – including Ellie Fanning, Joel Courtney, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills, and Riley Griffiths – impressed me with their talent, and I like the veterans in the cast, especially Kyle Chandler, Dan Castellaneta, and Ron Eldard.  Plus, I’m a sucker for stories with strong influences by Spielberg’s films from the 1970s and early ‘80s. So I used close to 2100 rewards points to get Super 8.

That order will get here way before the Indy box set. It shipped from a warehouse not that far away shortly after midnight, and as I write this my copy of Super 8 is at a carrier facility 13 miles away via Amazon Prime delivery van. Per the order status page on my Amazon account, it’s due here by 10 P.M.  Usually, though, vans go out on their routes shortly before noon, so realistically my package will be here between 2 and 6 PM, depending on the weather and traffic.

Well, I don’t have a hell of a lot to report besides that, so I’ll close for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Tuesday, June 15, 2021, or: The Storms Came at Dawn….

Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

Hello, Dear Reader, and welcome to another edition of A Certain Point of View, Too. It is late morning on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, and it is a dark, gloomy, blustery day in New Hometown, Florida. Currently, the temperature is 75˚F (24˚C) under rainy conditions. With humidity at 95% and the wind blowing from the south at 3 MPH (4 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 74˚F (24˚C). The forecast for today calls for thunderstorms to move through our area, and the high will be 85˚F (29˚C). Tonight, storms will continue to pass through our area, and the low will be 74˚F (24˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 37 or Good.

I was awakened at 4:15 AM by a barrage of lightning strikes and thunder from what must have been a powerful thunder cell. I tried to go back to sleep after making a trip to the “head,” but as is too common for me these days, I could not rest easily. By 5:15 I was looking for Sandy, our elderly miniature schnauzer, the only being in the house that dislikes stormy weather as much as I do. I found her, in the laundry room, hiding behind the half-closed door, shivering with fright.

A screenshot from when I used this computer in my old townhouse and had AccuWeather as my go-to weather app. Mom was still alive then, since this was captured on April 27, 2015.

I scooped her up – I have a soft spot for sweet, friendly dogs – and comforted her as best I could. I thought about taking her to my small room so that she would feel protected, but she would have just made a beeline for her “safe place” behind the laundry room, so I just held her for a few minutes then set her back down on the floor where I found her.

After the storms eased off and conditions morphed from Stormy to Rainy, I turned on this computer and puttered about on Facebook. After doing that for a while, I went to Amazon to – yep – check on my order of the new 4K UHD Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection box set.  And, as I suspected, there was no change in status; it still has a Deliver by June 23 window, and there’s no sign that it is ready to be shipped today.

I know, intellectually, that it’s not Amazon’s fault that my package is in a holding pattern. I also can’t be all that upset at Paramount Home Media Distribution, although I must say that its decision to prioritize the steelbook shipments to Best Buy over the “standard” DigiPak box sets at a time when the 4K UHD disc replication facility in North America is struggling (and failing) to meet demand was…at best….dodgy.

And I know that maybe I should count my lucky stars that I have the same movies in the two other disc formats (DVD and “regular HD” Blu-ray) and that I can watch them whenever I want. First World problem, right?

Anyway, looks like today’s weather is going to be typical for this time of year in Florida. The “wet” or “rainy” season usually starts in May and runs well into October, coinciding – of course – with the Atlantic hurricane season.[1] As I recall, it rained heavily in Miami during my last days as a high school student, although the actual day of the commencement ceremony – Friday, June 16, 1983 – was sunny, hot, and muggy. June and July days usually fall into a predictable pattern: hot and sunny mornings, followed by afternoon rain and some local thunderstorms.

Sometimes – like last night/this morning – a front will pass through the area and bring lines of squalls and thunder cells. If you’re lucky, the storms are not directly overhead and all you’ll notice – if you’re awake – is the occasional “camera flash” or “sheet lightning” visual accompanied by a low “boom” in the distance. If you’re unlucky, you’ll see and hear a display of nature at its angriest – bright slashes of lightning that part the darkness like million-candlepower strobes and thunder so loud that the house trembles and prevents you from going back to sleep.

Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com

If the thunderstorm activity somehow steers far from here, I may be able to stay on this computer and get some writing done this afternoon. If not, I’ll try to use my laptop on battery power, even though I am aware that laptops with touchscreens tend to “run out of juice” faster due to their slightly higher need for power. And if things get too dicey with the storms, I will just have to settle down with a book and read for a while, preferably while listening to music on my Amazon Fire tablet.

Well, I don’t have much to report besides the day’s atrocious weather outlook, so I will close for now. I’ll just put on some classical music on my Amazon Music app and relax until the storms pop up again.

So, until next time, Dear Reader, take care. Stay healthy, stay safe, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.


[1] Today, I see headlines that the second storm of the season, Bill, formed out in the open Atlantic overnight. I hate hurricane season….

Musings & Thoughts for Monday, June 14, 2021, or: Of Rainy June Days & Closely-Watched Packages

Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com

Hey, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Monday, June 14, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 74˚F (24˚C) under rainy conditions. With humidity at 66% and the wind blowing at 8 MPH (9 KM/H)  from the west-southwest, the feels-like temperature is 73˚F (24˚C). Today is going to be a wet Monday; we can expect scattered rain showers and a high of 86˚F (30˚C). Tonight, scattered rain showers will continue, and the low will be 74˚F (24˚C). Presently, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is 38 or Good.

Rainy Days and Mondays

I took this snapshot from my former home’s front door after a wicked thunderstorm in June of 2015.

It’s been raining on and off with varying degrees of intensity since yesterday. Sometimes, like right now, we have lots of gray clouds around and a quiet-but-steady drizzle. Every once in a while, a thunderstorm will make its presence known with the “flashbulb” effect of lightning strikes flooding through the closed blinds/curtains (I have both) and the distinctive rumbling sound of thunder. Sometimes the thunder is just a distant low-frequency, bass-tinged “Boo-oo-om.”  If the lightning bolts hit closer, though, the strobe light effect is brighter, and the thunder has an edgier, more threatening ‘Cra-AAA—ACK BOOM” sound.

Luckily, the storms have not been severe in my neck of the woods, but I still keep an eye on my computer’s Weather app; it has a Doppler radar display that shows where the rain and thunder cells are and in which direction they are going, and I can use it to determine if I have to unplug my electronics and use my laptop on battery-only mode. Or, if that is not an option because of our house’s bandwidth issues, I can pick a book to read until the storms have cleared out.

Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

Perhaps not surprisingly, rainy, stormy summer days tend to dampen my mood a lot as I grow older. I’ve never been the “Ooh! Cool, thunderstorms!” type like my older half-sister Vicky or the Caregiver. I am not as terrified of thunderstorms – especially severe ones – as I was a child. But as an adult who vividly remembers the loss of a television set (in 1974) and a computer (2004) to errant lightning strikes, I have a healthy respect for the power of nature. So – even though some of my online acquaintances think I’m odd for this – I avoid using electronics during a thunderstorm lest they, too, get fried.

Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

Of course, I don’t like that, so I tend to get antsy and snarky until the storms move far away enough for me to plug stuff back in and turn my PC back on.

Bad summer weather also triggers memories – mostly unpleasant ones – of my mother’s last few years, which she spent in a semi-perpetual state of confinement in a hospital-style bed in what used to be our townhouse’s guest room on the ground floor.

Not only did it get gloomily dark in Mom’s sickroom during a severe storm of long duration (some thunderstorms tended to linger overhead due to either the size of the storm cell or the windspeed), but we had to unplug her TV and Blu-ray player, and we had to turn off the air conditioner as well. (We had an oscillating fan that we plugged in and turned on to keep the room cool enough for Mom.)

When Mom’s dementia was in its early stages and the symptoms were barely noticeable, she usually understood why I had to take such precautions and took them in stride. She even sided with me whenever Vicky – my older half-sister – protested the almost ritualistic unplugging of TVs (I, of course, unplugged my set, too!) and chided me mercilessly for my precautions.

Later on, starting in the summer of 2012 (the third summer of Mom’s Via Crucis), the symptoms of her dementia were far worse. She’d get disoriented, anxious, and overly aggressive when the skies darkened. And as if that weren’t enough, she’d get petulant if anyone unplugged the TV or turned off the air conditioner during a thunderstorm.

Mom and me at the last Christmas party we attended (in 2009) at our neighbor Elena Guasch’s townhouse before she got sick. Photo by Baldomero Guasch.

 I miss my mother. I miss her a lot, and sometimes I feel her absence so keenly that it feels like I am back in the late summer of 2015.

But I don’t miss all of the arguments with Vicky over having to unplug televisions during lightning storms or seeing my mother go from a fiercely independent head of household with a sunny, confident demeanor to a highly dependent, immobile, and constantly depressed/confused invalid. I still have nightmares about her last summer with us – and I think I always will.

Closely-Watched Packages: The Saga Continues

Meanwhile, in other news….

Well, if it gets so stormy later that I can’t watch TV or use this computer, I can at least read my copy of The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History, by Alexander Mikaberidze. I used a huge chunk of my Shop with Points rewards on Amazon to pay for it, but it was worth it.

According to the entry on Wikipedia, Alexander Mikaberidze was born on January 27, 1978 in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. Of Georgian ancestry, Mikaberidze learned about Napoleon as a boy growing up in the Soviet Union, His keen interest in Napoleon and his impact on world history led Mikaberidze to emigrate to the U.S. 21 years ago. Here, he attended Florida State University, graduating with a Ph.D. in history in 2003 from the Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at FSU.

I haven’t spent too much time reading The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History. It arrived late in the afternoon yesterday, and due to the thunderstorms I couldn’t find a comfortable place in which to read. (The Caregiver is not much of a reader, so she doesn’t have lamps in the house that are perfectly placed for reading.) I did leaf through the book, and it looks interesting.

I know a few things about military history, but much of that knowledge is about World War II, Vietnam, the first Persian Gulf War, and, to a lesser degree, the Civil War, World War I,  and Korea. I don’t know much about the Napoleonic Wars, though; ordering The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History is a first step to learn more about that important period of world history.

I also started watching Apocalypse Now: The Final Cut in 4K UHD. I like what I have seen so far; Coppola’s psychological war epic drama has never looked as visually striking as it does in the remastered ultra-high definition home media version, and its retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is just as viscerally powerful as it was 42 years ago.

I really should start watching it before 6 PM, though. The 2019 Final Cut edition has a runtime of 183 minutes, and I have started watching it (last night as well as the night-before-last) after 8 PM. And after I consume a Seagram’s Escape (which is a kind of flavored malt liquor with the taste of a tropical cocktail and the kick of a beer). This is not a good combination if I am going to watch anything longer than a TV sitcom episode, and I have fallen asleep – on both occasions – well before Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard encounters Marlon Brando’s Col. Kurtz. The horror. The horror….

As for the closely watched package with Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection on 4K UHD, the only thing I can say is that it is still scheduled to arrive between June 19 and June 23. I have not received an email from Amazon telling me that my order has shipped, so there’s no hope that the five disc box set will be here before the 19th (Saturday).

Oh, well. First World problem, right?

Well, I see that it’s now past noon – slow typist, Your Humble Correspondent is – and I do need to go take a shower, get dressed, and get on with the rest of my day. So, Dear Reader, I now take my leave of you and wish you well. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Movie Watcher Memories: Indiana Jones, Mom, and Me

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage. – Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

It was 40 years ago, give or take a few days, that my mom, Beatriz Diaz-Granados, and I went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, a new action-adventure movie produced by George Lucas, written by Lawrence Kasdan, and directed by Lucas’s long-time friend Steven Spielberg.

(C) 1981 Paramount Pictures and Lucasfilm Ltd Poster art by Richard Amsel.

Set in 1936, Raiders introduced the world to a hero straight out of the Saturday matinee serials of the Thirties and Forties: Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), an archaeologist and college professor who, when he’s not giving lectures to his students at Marshall College, is up to his snap-brim fedora in trouble when he criss-crosses the globe in search of ancient, often legendary, artifacts, many with – in Indy’s creator Lucas’s words, “a supernatural flavor.”

Major Eaton: Doctor Jones, we’ve heard a lot about you.

Indiana: Have you?

Major Eaton: Professor of Archeology, expert on the occult, and how does one say it… obtainer of rare antiquities.

Indiana: That’s one way of saying it. Why don’t you sit down, you’ll be more comfortable.

Colonel Musgrove: Yes, you’re a man of many talents.

Mom would have loved to see these 4K UHD discs. (C) 2021 Paramount Home Media Distribution and Lucasfilm Ltd.

I became aware of Raiders of the Lost Ark in November of 1980. I had just bought a book called The Empire Strikes Back Notebook, edited by Deborah Call and consisting of the screenplay for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, which was credited to Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan but written mostly by Kasdan, since Brackett died of cancer in 1978, not long after she handed her draft to Lucas.

The Empire Strikes Back Notebook included a short bio for Kasdan and it informed the reader that in addition to Empire, he had also recently completed the script to Raiders of the Lost Ark and was directing Body Heat, which he also wrote.

Back in 1980, of course, the Internet was only a “thing” in government circles and academia; email, BBS forums, and social media did not exist yet. And I didn’t read entertainment news – beyond Star Wars – at the time, so I had no idea what Raiders of the Lost Ark would be about, much less that it would star Harrison Ford.

My second and more definitive introduction to the Indiana Jones franchise was in April of 1981, when I was in a book store (or maybe a drugstore’s book section) in search of a Mother’s Day gift. There, for the first time, I beheld the now famous logo (inspired by the one for Terry and the Pirates) and a still image of Indiana Jones and the film’s heroine, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) against a black backdrop.

This is a later reissue of the novelization. It was not that pricey when I bought my mom’s copy. And the cover art is different. (C) 1981 Ballantine Books and Lucasfilm Ltd. Cover art by Richard Amsel

Here’s the back cover blurb on the 1981 Ballantine Books paperback:

The holiest artifact on earth is filled with dazzling, incredible power. Indiana Jones has to get it before the Nazis do.

Indiana Jones, archeology professor and swashbuckling adventurer, has unearthed many an ancient treasure. But now the very future of the world depends on his finding one special relic.

With a bullwhip in his hand and a beautiful lady at his side, Jones journeys from Nepal and Cairo to the Mediterranean, dodging poisons, traps and snakes, battling rivals old and new, all in pursuit of an ancient artifact said to give invincible power to its possessor.

I knew my mom well enough then, and I thought this was the kind of story she would enjoy. So I bought a copy, took it home, and, with a pencil, wrote an inscription:

To Mami,

Happy Mother’s Day!

Alex

I don’t remember if I read parts of Black’s novel then or after my mom read it; I probably did, although I do remember that Mom read the book from cover to cover and told me it was an exciting adventure story like the ones she used to watch as a teenager back in Bogota in the 1940s. She loaned me the novel after she finished, and I read it – no exaggeration, folks – over one weekend in May of 1981.

When I was finished, my mind was blown.

I have to do something really nice for Mom, I thought. Vicky (my older half-sister, from whom I am currently estranged) can give her pricey gifts like stuffed animals and flowers, I can’t. But I can buy her a movie ticket and snacks at the movies. She loved the book of Raiders of the Lost Ark, so maybe she’ll like the movie.

This was sometime in mid-May, and Raiders of the Lost Ark was set to open on June 12, 1981.

Mother’s Day had already come and gone, but I asked her if she would go with me to see the movie the weekend after it opened in Miami, I emphasized that I would pay for her ticket and her snacks as part of her present.

Happily, Mom accepted the invite.

Mom and I had strikingly similar tastes in movies. Sure, there were divergences in tastes; Mom liked melodramas and romantic movies more than I, but at the same time she had an “inner tomboy” streak and liked watching action-adventures, historical epic dramas, and even a few war movies. The only genre she didn’t enjoy much was Westerns, and that’s because it had been my late father’s No. One type of movie to watch.

So, unlike Star Wars – which she avoided watching until she agreed to go to The Empire Strikes Back the previous summer – or Jaws, it wasn’t particularly difficult to ask Mom if she wanted to go see Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Belloq: [looking down at Indy in the Well of Souls] Hello! Hello! Why, Dr. Jones, whatever are you doing in such a nasty place?

Indiana: Why don’t you come on down here, and I’ll show ya?

Belloq: Thank you, my friend, but I think we are all very comfortable up here. Yes, indeed. We are all very quite comfortable up here. So once again, Jones, what was briefly yours is now mine. What a fitting end to your life’s pursuits. You’re about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something.

Indiana: [laughs]

[muttering]

Indiana: Son of a bitch!

Belloq: I’m afraid we must be going now, Dr. Jones.

Dietrich: Our prize is awaited in Berlin. Yes… we are finished here with everything. But we do not wish to leave you down in that awful place… all alone.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s been 40 years since Raiders premiered in that summer of 1981, and of course the passage of time has sandblasted many of the small details of that trip to the movies in Miami. If you asked me the name of the theater we went to, I’d have to guess that it was at the Dadeland Twin Theaters, since the now-closed Ambassador Theater in Sweetwater was not yet open. Dadeland was perhaps the closest movie house to our townhouse in Fountainbleau Park, although it’s possible that we might have gone to the theater at the Concord Plaza, where the Dade County Public Library had a branch before the larger West Dade Regional Branch opened in 1982 or thereabouts.

What I recall, though, is how happy Mom looked when she watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time. I watched the movie, too, of course, as raptly as I had watched Star Wars in 1977 and The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, but since I had insisted on paying for Mom’s ticket, her small popcorn, and her Coca-Cola (with lots of ice!), I sometimes glanced surreptitiously at her to see the expression on her face.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I can still see my mom’s expression in my mind’s eye, even now. Her eyes, brown and lively with intelligence, never wandered off that huge screen as Indy, Marion, and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) engaged in battles of wits and fists with Indy’s French arch-rival Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman) and his Nazi “raiders” over the legendary Lost Ark of the Covenant.

[Upon opening the Well of the Souls and peering down]

Sallah: Indy, why does the floor move?

Indiana: Give me your torch.

[Indy takes the torch and drops it in, revealing hundreds of snakes all over floor of the Well of Souls]

Indiana: Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?

Sallah: Asps… very dangerous. You go first.

Like Indy, Mom had ophidiophobia, so sometimes she would cover her face so that she wouldn’t see the snakes. She did this every time we watched Raiders or any of the other entries in the series, but other than that, she watched the adventures of Indiana Jones as enthusiastically as I did.

And, of course, I remember her saying, as we left the theater, “That was the best Mother’s Day present I ever received. Just don’t tell your sister I said that; you know how touchy she gets.”

I also emember, with some amount of bittersweetness, that my mother became as big an Indiana Jones fan as I, and that we saw the next two films in the series – 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on Opening Day, She would have gone to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in theaters back in 2008, but by then her health was in decline and she preferred watching movies at home. She saw it a few times on DVD and Blu-ray, though.

I love the Indiana Jones series, in no small part, because the films and the Young Indiana Jones TV series are entertaining and fun to watch. I am also an unabashed fan of Harrison Ford, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. I even did a bit of cosplay as the Man in the Hat almost six years ago and listen to some of John Williams’ scores from time to time because, hey, as the song goes, John Williams is the man.

This isn’t the official cosplay outfit; this is what I consider was the rough draft of my Indiana Jones costume. (Photo by Rogers Perez)

But I have a strong suspicion that I love Indy and his adventures because Raiders of the Lost Ark was a fun mother-son bonding experience that coincided with the onset of my young adulthood.

Musings & Thoughts for Saturday, June 12, 2021, or: A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to WordPress….

Photo by Ann Nekr on Pexels.com

Hey there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 85˚F (30˚C) under light rain. With humidity at 54% and the wind blowing from the west at 4 MPH (7 KM/H), the heat index is 94˚F (34˚C). Today’s forecast: We can expect scattered rain showers throughout the day, and the high will be 91˚F (33˚C). Tonight, rain will continue, but it will be light. The low will be76˚F (24˚C).

(C) Richard Amsel and Lucasfilm Ltd.

When I went to bed sometime after 11 PM, I’d planned to write a post about how I went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark with my mom 40 years ago.  It was a great bonding experience, especially because I’d saved some money to invite her to the movies for the first time, and we both became Indiana Jones fans by the time we emerged from the movie theater after the end credits rolled and the house lights went back up.

Alas. I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:51 AM, and try as I might, I couldn’t go back to sleep. So, as I type this, I have been awake for nearly seven hours, and I’m sore (I had a really bad, painful leg cramp at one point), grumpy, and tired,  I don’t know how I am even able to cobble together a coherent sentence, let alone a blog post.

Nevertheless, let’s push on, shall we?

Not with the original planned post. I’m too tired, and if I am going to write any story about my mom, I want to have my wits (and long-term memory) with me. Maybe I will be up to it later. If not, that’ll be tomorrow’s post.

(C) 2019 Lionsgate Films and American Zoetrope

Well, as you know, yesterday I decided to redeem a bunch of my Amazon Visa Rewards points to purchase Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, a six-disc box set that presents Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 mashup of Joseph Conrad’s 1902 novella Heart of Darkness and America’s lost crusade in Vietnam in three iterations:

  1. Apocalypse Now (1979), the original theatrical release edition
  2. Apocalypse Now Redux (2001), an extended version with 49 minutes of footage restored after being cut in 1979 for the film’s theatrical release
  3. Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (2019), a slightly pared-down version that cuts an entire scene that was re-inserted in Redux, and  reduces the runtime of another sequence from that 2001 cut. Reportedly, Apocalypse Now: Final Cut is the director’s preferred version

So, basically, I am getting one film, three cuts; Apocalypse Now: Final Cut – which was a 40th Anniversary release in 2019 –  includes 2 4K UHD Blu-ray discs and four standard Blu-ray discs, with the three versions of this psychological war drama, as well as a Huey helicopter’s worth of extras.

Some of those I already have on the previous Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure box set, including Eleanor Coppola’s 1991 “making of” documentary, Hearts of Darkness. Other extras are new, including a Tribeca Film Festival Q&A with Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Soderbergh.

As of 7:41 AM, my package was last scanned at a carrier facility some 13 miles away from the house. It should be Out for Delivery soon, though, and it’s slated to arrive by 10 PM tonight.

(C) Oxford University Press

I also bought a history book, The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History, but that shipped out from Columbia, SC earlier this morning, so it is going to arrive tomorrow.

I suppose this is not the most exciting blog post I’ve written, but it will have to do. As I said earlier, I had something else planned, but unfortunately, fate and a too-early-rising put a spanner in the works and the plan was changed.  If I feel better later, I will write that story about Raiders, Mom, and me.

If not, you’ll see it tomorrow.[1]


[1] Assuming, of course, that I get a good night’s rest,

%d bloggers like this: