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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 Tuesday, May 17, 2022, or: The Rabbit-Hole of Memory

Photo by charan sai on Pexels.com

So, this week – yesterday, in fact – marks the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the fifth Star Wars feature film and the second installment of the Prequel Trilogy.

As it happens, I saw Attack of the Clones on Opening Day at the now (sadly) shuttered AMC 14 Theater at the Mall of the Americas. It was only the third Star Wars movie I saw on its first day of “wide release” – after 1983’s Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and 1999’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I went with my mom and then-girlfriend Betty June Price; Mom was not in a good mood that day so she didn’t like the movie on her first watch – years later, she liked it more after we watched it together in 2010 or 2011 on DVD.

As it also happens, 2002 was the year that my mom’s health began its downward slide, although at the time we didn’t know it. She was still driving her Chevy Cavalier then, and she would eventually upgrade her “wheels” to a Mitsubishi Miarage that our Swiss friends and neighbors – Rolf and Annette – had to sell because they were moving back to Switzerland, but she suffered from occasional dizzy spells and got extremely tired in the afternoons.

At first, her primary care physician (PCP) at the time thought Mom was suffering from anemia, but after a battery of tests and visits to hematologists and other specialists, she was diagnosed with a condition called “watermelon stomach.”

What is “watermelon stomach,” you ask?

Well, this is how the Mayo Clinic explains this medical condition:

The term watermelon stomach is another name for a condition called “gastric antral vascular ectasia,” or GAVE. With a name like watermelon stomach, it’s not surprising that the image of a large, oval-shaped belly may be the first thing to pop into your mind. Rather, the term comes from the internal appearance of the stomach lining in those who have gastric antral vascular ectasia. Engorged blood vessels in the lining of the lower part of the stomach often form as red stripes, and resemble the dark green and light green stripes on the outside of a watermelon. These blood vessels are prone to bleeding into the stomach.

Gastric antral vascular ectasia is a fairly rare cause of internal bleeding. It’s most commonly seen in older adults, especially women. It can be associated with long-term, chronic diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver; autoimmune diseases, such as hardening and scarring of the skin (scleroderma); Raynaud’s disease; or kidney disease.

I won’t regale you with a long story about Mom’s struggles with GAVE; let’s just say Mom’s gradual decline in her health began with this condition, then was affected by other issues, including poor circulation to her brain – which resulted in her having to give up driving because she had dizzy spells that came and went – and a brush with skin cancer on her left arm.

So, the next – and last time that Mom went to a Star Wars movie on Opening Day was to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in May of 2005. In fact, every time that I watch Revenge of the Sith I remember that this was the last movie my mother ever saw in a theater, even though she lived another 10 years afterward.

Mom was, of course, no longer driving, but we were invited to the movies by our good friend – and former child actor – Ivan Kivitt and his partner, Danny Mason. They lived in our gated community – East Wind Lake Village – in one of the townhouses on NW 97th Place, and worked in the cruise ship industry, mostly as salesmen for the stuff passengers bought on cruises, although Danny also got gigs providing music and other forms of entertainment. They often hired me to look after their cat, Corky, and to make it look like there was someone living in their home whilst they were away. They were also fond of Mom and me, and they helped us out during the early weeks of Mom’s serious health issues in early 2010.

One thing that Ivan and Danny liked to do was to take friends to the movies when they were on dry land, so when Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005, they treated us to a matinee showing at the AMC 14 at the Mall of the Americas. (Or was it the Cobb 19 Theaters at the Dolphin Mall?)

Anyway, yeah. Wow. 20 years…Attack of the Clones…and Mom’s health decline. What a weird trip into the past, Dear Reader.

Well, I have a shower to take and fresh clothes to get into, so I’ll take my leave of you. I really don’t feel like getting out of my pajamas; it’s not like I lead a busy social life or anything, but I am a creature of habit, so off I go. Until we meet again, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny of things.  

Source: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-watermelon-stomach-isnt-what-you-might-think/

Musings & Thoughts for Monday, May 16, 2022, or: The ‘Better Late Than Never’ Post

Photo by Soubhagya Maharana on Pexels.com

Hi, there, Dear Reader. I apologize for posting so late – it’s mid-afternoon in Lithia, Florida, on Monday, May 16, 2022 – but I am having trouble focusing on my writing today. I planned to write another Old Gamers Never Die post about Crusade in Europe, but my heart just isn’t in it.

I also can’t think of anything to write a review about – I have not read enough of James Hornfischer’s final book, Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War, 1945-1960 to do a good critique, and although I have a bunch of movies and TV shows on Blu-ray and/or DVD that I can write about, I don’t feel up to the task.

I did start writing a post about my mom a couple of hours ago, but it was getting too long and too depressing, so I deleted everything I had written and went back to página en blanco.

Well, since I can’t simply not post anything – my conscience would not let me rest if I just said, “Nah, I think I won’t do the blogging thing today….” – here are some quotes that I find thought provoking.

On Movies

Photo by Nathan Engel on Pexels.com

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out” ― Martin Scorsese

“Oh, how Shakespeare would have loved cinema!” ― Derek Jarman, Dancing Ledge

“No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out.” ― Roger Ebert

“People who LIKE movies have a favorite. People who LOVE movies couldn’t possibly choose.” ― Nicole Yatsonsky

On Family Drama

“Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds, they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Awkward silences rule the world. People are so terrified of awkward silences that they will literally go to war rather than face an awkward silence.” ― Stefan Molyneux

“Making amends is not only saying the words but also being willing to listen to how your behavior caused another’s pain, and then the really hard part…changing behavior.” ― David W. Earle LPC- Love is Not Enough

On Music

“The music is not in the notes,

but in the silence between.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“Music is to the soul what words are to the mind.” ― Modest Mouse, Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News

“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.” ― Hannah Harrington, Saving June

On Lost Love

“You can love someone so much…But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.” ― John Green

“Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.” ― Mitch Albom

On Writing

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” ― E.L. Doctorow

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” ― Frank Herbert

Coda

With that, Dear Reader, I will close for now. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, May 15, 2022, or: And Now, Something Somewhat Different – Part Two

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

More Karaoke Madness

I am not the world’s greatest singer. I will be the first to admit it. But I have a good ear for music – that’s what my high school chorus teacher, Ms. Owen, once told me, anyway – and I did enjoy my two-and-a-half years as a singer in the men’s and mixed choruses at South Miami High School back in the early Eighties. Aside from working on the school paper and being one of the founding members of the school’s successful TV production program, I’d say my time as a Singing Cobra was what I missed the most after I graduated in June of 1983.

As I wrote yesterday, before I moved from South Florida to the Tampa Bay area six years ago, a group of South Miami High’s Class of ’83 alumni used to get together irregularly at the now-shuttered Open Stage Club and sing songs on Karaoke Night and consuming alcoholic drinks.[1]  As I recall, we did this twice – once on October 17, 2015,[2] and then in January of 2016 – with fewer people attending the second time around.

Image Credit: Open Stage Club via Facebook

In Lithia, I sometimes like to sit in my room and search YouTube for “karaoke” videos that some “YouTubers” post on their channel. Back when I was in a relationship, my ex-girlfriend and I would connect the TV out in the common room/family room/Florida room to the Internet (it’s a “smart TV”), go to YouTube, and look for songs that we could sing along to in “karaoke mode.” Now, of course, if I want to do that, I do it solo and in my room – and usually when no one is around.

Since the YouTube channels that are devoted to real karaoke versions of songs do not allow others to share their videos to blogs or websites they don’t control, I can’t post any such content on A Certain Point of View, Too.

I can, however, post non-karaoke videos of songs that I can sing decently, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Ready? And…away we go!

  • It Had to Be You (Isham Jones/Gus Kahn) – Harry Connick, Jr. version
  • It Was a Very Good Year (Ervin Drake) – Frank Sinatra version
  • And So it Goes (Billy Joel)
  • Perhaps Love (John Denver)
  • Fly Me to the Moon (Bart Howard) – Frank Sinatra
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads (Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, & John Denver)
  • My Life (Billy Joel)

Closing Thoughts

It’s midafternoon here in Lithia, so I think I’ll close for now and go read out in the living room for a while. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.


[1] Not simultaneously.

[2] Which, by a sad coincidence, was my mom’s 87th birthday, and she had died less than three months before.

Musings & Thoughts for Saturday, May 14, 2022, or: And Now, Something Somewhat Different….

Annoying Phrases

Today on Twitter, I came across a tweet by @KaylaChowShow:

What word or phrase do people use that you can’t stand?

Here’s what I replied:

“At the end of the day.”

“Irregardless.”

“Trump is the best President in U.S. history.”

“Do your own research.”

Karaoke Madness

Sadly, this venue closed its doors in 2020…..

Before I moved to the Tampa Bay area in 2016, I went to two karaoke events at the Open Stage Club in Coral Gables – a venue that closed its doors in 2020 because the city did not renew the lease – with some of my fellow alumni from South Miami High’s Class of 1983.

I am not a professional singer, nor do I believe I could (or should) be one, but I did have some formal vocal training in elementary school – I was in Tropical Elementary’s first choral group in the 1976-1977 school year – and high school (I sang in both the Men’s Chorus and Mixed (SATB) Chorus in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. I enjoyed singing on stage then, so the two times that members of the Class of ’83 arranged for a Karaoke Night at Open Stage, I was eager to participate.

Here are the songs I performed on those two occasions:

  • The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra version)
  • Just the Way You Are (Billy Joel)
  • Strangers in the Night (Frank Sinatra version)
  • She’s Always a Woman (Billy Joel)
  • Piano Man (Billy Joel)
  • Some Enchanted Evening (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

I don’t know if or when I’ll ever “do” another Karaoke Night – here, there, or anywhere – but I had fun singing at Open Stage – even if I was “fortified” by liquid courage, i.e. a couple of Cuba Libres consumed before taking the stage.

On Books & Reading: My TBR List for Mid-May 2022

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

As you know, I am a guy who loves to read. I have been reading books – and magazines, and other media, print and digital – for as long as I can remember. Family lore has it that my maternal grandmother taught me how to read using ABC blocks and pages from magazines even when my father was alive. Dad died on February 13, 1965, a few weeks before my second birthday, so if that version of history (it came from my mom) is true, I was a prodigy at reading.

Now that we are nearing the middle of the merry month of May, let’s look at my (quite considerable) To Be Read (TBR) pile.

Like my late mother before me, I read more than one book at a time on any given month. I rarely go to a suitable reading corner in this house to read a book, nor have I been able to read an entire book from cover to cover in a short time.

Now, if most of the books on this list seem familiar to you, it’s because they are holdovers from my last TBR pile-related blog post. Because of my routine and the way I stick to it like a barnacle on the hull of a boat, I have not made much of a dent in the lineup of books I wrote about in late March.

(C) 2015 Quarto Publishing Group UK
(C) 2022 Simon & Schuster Books
(C) 2008, 2010 Oxford University Press

I’m still reading:

  • The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain, Stephen Dungay
  • Watergate: A New History, by Garrett M. Graff
  • The Bay of Pigs, by Howard Jones

I put aside, for the moment anyway:

(C) 2022 Atlantic Monthly Press/Grove Atlantic
  • The Steal: The Attempt to Overturn the 2020 Election and the People Who Stopped It, by Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague

And I added:

(C) 2022 Bantam Books
  • Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War 1945-1960, by James D. Hornfischer

I wasn’t making much progress with the Bowden-Teague book; I enjoy well-written books about history, but until recently, political history was not one of my “passion topics.” And as much as I like Mark Bowden (in my book collection, I have five other books that he wrote), I think I’m suffering from “Trump Exhaustion Syndrome.”  In its place I have been reading – with more enthusiasm – Hornfischer’s final work, To Hold the Sea.

I don’t have much else to report, Dear Reader, so I’ll close for now. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

On Movies: A Quick & Dirty Update on ‘Inglourious Basterds’

(C) 2009, 2011 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Okay, so I finally finished watching Inglourious Basterds last night. And on the “Big TV” out in the Common Room at that. Of course, I had to wait till the Caregiver and her boyfriend went to the master bedroom for the night, but at least I didn’t have to watch it on my smaller – if more advanced – TV. Plus, I was on the far more comfortable recliner sofa, so….

Because it was already rather late – I think It was 9:45 PM when I finally plopped onto the sofa and hit PLAY on the Blu-ray player remote – I only watched the last two chapters of Inglourious Basterds Operation Kino and Revenge of the Giant Face. I’d seen the film before – in one of my ex-girlfriends’ apartment a bit over 10 years ago – so I remembered that Quentin Tarantino’s revenge fantasy/dark humor/war film is also an alternative historical movie. I especially remembered the last scenes, but I had forgotten most of Operation Kino because I was paying more attention to my then-girlfriend than the movie.

I’m a bit tired and don’t feel like writing a long post, so I am not even going to give you a full review of the movie. I’ll do that at some point in the future, just not now. I will say this: I liked the casting – there’s a fine international cast, including Brad Pitt, B.J. Novak, Mélanie Laurent, Cristoph Waltz, Rod Taylor, Mike Myers (yes, that Mike Myers), Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Jacky Ido, and Daniel Brühl – and the dark humor. I was taken aback by some of the violence in Inglourious Basterds, but I have only seen three of Tarantino’s movies (Inglourious Basterds, Death Proof, and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood), so it’s not like I am a connoisseur of his filmography.

Anyway, I don’t have much else to report, and I should get off my rear end and take a shower and change into fresh street clothes. So, Dear Reader, I’m signing off. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part Four of a Series)

Every new “day” in a scenario begins at midnight right after your supplies have been distributed. Note the two Supply Depots (green for the Americans, red for the British/Canadian forces) off the coast of the invasion area. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse & Atari

Hello and welcome once again to another installment of Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe.’

“You will not find it difficult to prove that battles, campaigns, and even wars have been won or lost primarily because of logistics.”General Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you’re new to A Certain Point of View, Too and are just joining us, today’s post is #4 in a how-to-play guide to Crusade in Europe, a command-level strategy game that focuses on the Allied campaign to liberate Northwest Europe “from D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge!”

Note here that Operation Market-Garden not only has limited tactical air support (you only get one air wing here), but you have to open lines of supply to your three airborne divisions….and with only one depot and one headquarters unit. This is the Drive on the Ruhr variant, in which the objective is the German city of Wesel, which lies just to the south of the British 1st Airborne Division (red parachute NATO symbol). Image (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse & Atari

Published by the original iteration of MicroProse Software in 1985 as the first installment of Sid Meier and Ed Bever’s Command Series trilogy,[1] Crusade in Europe puts you in the role of a Supreme Commander of either the Allied Expeditionary Force or the German Wehrmacht during the campaigns in France, Belgium, Holland, and the German frontier west of the Rhine River. In Crusade in Europe, you exercise command of your vast forces not at the grunts-on-the-ground first-person shooter or even tactical-level small-unit scale, but at the theater level where your battlefields are depicted by maps and your units(divisions, mostly, although every so often you’ll see regiment/brigade-sized units) are represented by NATO-style symbols or simplified icons.

If you want to catch up with what I have already covered in previous parts of this series, it might be a good idea to read these blog posts first:

Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part One of a Series)

Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part Two of a Series)

Old Gamers Never Die: A Player’s Guide to ‘Crusade in Europe’ (Part Three of a Series)

Logistics: Because an Army Can’t Fight Without Bullets, Spare Parts, Fuel, or Food

(C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

“An army travels on its stomach.” ­– attributed to either Frederick the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte

Most civilians – including the author – who have no military experience but are interested in militaria to some degree or other often focus on the ‘exciting parts” of war stories – the struggles of the soldiers on the front lines, the derring-do and flying skills of fighter pilots high up in the sky, or the loneliness of command felt by officers when leading their troops into battle. That’s the stuff that makes for good dramatic tension, whether it’s in a non-fiction book like The Longest Day, movies such as Saving Private Ryan or Battle of Britain, or even computer games a la Call of Duty or Medal of Honor.

However, when it comes to such questions along the lines of “Why did it take the Allies 77 days to break out of the Normandy beachhead and liberate Paris?” or “Why didn’t the Germans in the West simply collapse after the drubbing they got in the summer of 1944?” the discussion then turns not just to the controversy regarding Field Marshal Montgomery’s “narrow front” strategy vs. Gen. Eisenhower’s “broad front” strategy that still divides many armchair generals, but to the dry and unexciting topic of logistics.

Logistics, in its simplest form, is defined as the organization of moving, housing, and supplying troops and equipment. It is a crucial element in any type of military operation, whether it is a combat one such as Operation Overlord or a humanitarian one along the lines of the failed Operation Restore Hope in Somalia (1991-1993).

Logistics is also a big deal in many strategy wargames; some games, such as Gary Grigsby’s War in the West and War in the East, delve into the nuts and bolts of logistics to such a degree that you almost must have a military commission to play these games. Other games, such as Strategic Command WWII: World at War are less complicated and more easily grasped by casual wargamers but still require direct player involvement, especially where choices about industrial production and other key decisions need to be made.

One of the Allies’ main objectives early in the Normandy scenario is to sever the lines of supply for the German units in the Cotentin Peninsula at the western point of Normandy. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

Crusade in Europe, thankfully, is not that detailed when it comes to managing supplies and replacements. Instead, as the manual for the game states:

Supply is an essential consideration in both strategy and tactics. Many effective

attacks involve destroying the enemy’s source of supply or isolating his units. Each

unit carries a limited amount of supplies with it, but deplete these rapidly if not

resupplied. Each day at midnight the computer will automatically conduct the

resupply routine, in which units may receive fresh supplies from a friendly supply

source. Supply sources will distribute supplies to all units to which a line of supply

can be traced, within the limit set by the side’s overall supply total.

1.OVERALL SUPPLY TOTALS: Each side begins the game with a store of

supplies set by the scenario. In addition, each side’s total will be increased regularly

to reflect the inflow of supplies into the theatre. On the other side of the balance

sheet, supplies will be withdrawn daily from this total to resupply friendly units

that are not isolated. The level of supplies in the overall supply totals are reported

(on the status display at the end of the resupply routine). The possible levels are:

(1) AMPLE: Enough for several days of normal activity.

(2) SUFFICIENT: Enough for more than a day of normal activity.

(3) CRITICAL: Less than one day’s reserve. Units will begin running out of

supplies. This can only be rectified by husbanding your supplies to build up a

surplus, basically by restricting your army’s activities.

2. SUPPLY SOURCES: Two types of units serve as supply sources for combat

units: headquarters and supply depots.

(1) Depots: Supply depots act as the points or origin for supplies, the places

where they enter the map. Each depot can act as the source of an unlimited amount

of supply. Depots can supply any other units. Depots can never become isolated.[2]

Early in the game, you will only have Supply Depots to replenish your divisions once every 24 hours (in-game time). (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse and Atari

The other supply unit in Crusade in Europe is the Headquarters. These are smaller, more localized conduits for supplies that come from the Supply Depots. These are usually linked to specific formations, such as the U.S. First Army or the German Fifth Panzer Army, and although they are labeled like a command-and-control unit, their function is to serve as an Amazon Prime “last mile” forwarding service that distributes supplies to armored, infantry, airborne, and – in the Allied armies – tactical air units.

Keep in mind that both Supply Depots and Headquarters units do not have large numbers of personnel (on average, each type has a strength of 3900 men) or any combat capability. This means that you, as the theater commander, must ensure that they are close enough to the front to keep your armies in supply while at the same time secure from attack by enemy forces.

In Operation Market-Garden (historical variant), it is easy to see the dangers involved in risky missions that depend on a slender line of supply. Here, not only does the British Second Army’s XXX Corps have to link up with the airborne divisions from Eindhoven in the south to Arnhem (where the red symbol of the British 1st Airborne sits), but it has to prevent the Germans from cutting the Allied supply lines along “Hell’s Highway.” (C) 1985,2022 MicroProse, Atari.

“Logistics is the ball and chain of armored warfare.” Heinz Guderian

Supply units distribute food, fuel, ammo, and other essential items to your combat units automatically at midnight each day for the duration of each scenario. How well those supplies are distributed depends on two factors: whether your units can trace an unobstructed line of supply to Headquarters or Supply Depots and operational range of the units – roughly 125 miles from origin point to destination.

Now, if the enemy somehow manages to surround one of your units due to a successful counterattack or because you made a mistake by sending one division to capture a Victory Point location on its own and it got cut off somehow by enemy units you did not know were there, you can’t expect that poor unit to get resupplied until you fight your way to it with a relief force and reopen its lines of supply. The enemy doesn’t even have to Attack that isolated unit; all the Opposing Force (OPFOR) has to do is sit pat in its positions till your division runs out of supplies, its Effectiveness level drops to 0, and eventually surrenders.

(Of course, what the enemy can render unto you, you can render right back unto him. And in many scenarios – but especially The Battle for Normandy and Operation Market Garden – the key to victory is to outflank the enemy line – it can’t be strong everywhere – and place your units in spots where the OPFOR’s supply lines can be interrupted, while at the same time making sure you stay in supply.)

(C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse/Atari

“Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.”Tom Peters

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make sure your Supply Depots and Headquarters units are well-protected and can keep friendly units “in supply” throughout the scenarios in Crusade in Europe. It is also equally important to attack enemy supply units – when possible, anyway – and disrupt your opponent’s supply lines at the earliest opportunity.[3]

Well, General, I’ve briefed you on the concept of logistics as it pertains to Crusade in Europe. Remember, Sid Meier and Ed Bever designed Crusade in Europe to make it both historically accurate and easy to play. Just remember that when each new “day” in a scenario starts, you will be told what level of supply is available, so plan your daily operations accordingly.

Good luck! And until our next Player’s Guide briefing, you’re dis-missed!


[1] The other two games in the series are Decision in the Desert and Conflict in Vietnam.

[2] Crusade in Europe game manual, pages 21-22.

[3] Here the Allies have a clear advantage because they have Tactical Air Units that can deliver Bomb-o-Grams to German supply units. The amount of damage inflicted by air attacks depends on several variables, such as game balance, weather, the supply unit’s Formation level of defense, terrain, and how many air wings are available in the scenario. Even in scenarios where the Allied player has four Tac Air Wings on hand, you have to decide if you want to “sic” all four wings on that Depot or Headquarters, or if you have to save some of those bombs and rockets for panzer or infantry divisions that are giving your forces a hard time on the ground. Oh, and even air strikes don’t obliterate any units right away unless their Effectiveness is at 10-0%.

Also, for realism and reasons of fair play, play your scenarios with Limited Intelligence settings so you don’t know where every enemy unit is located on the map. But keep in mind if you want to play with Full Intelligence (the game does have that option), your air units have a limited range – artificially set at 90 miles or so – and can’t attack enemy units beyond it.

Musings & Thoughts for Tuesday, May 10, 2022, or: Late Night Movies, Replacement Remotes, and Adjustments in Routine

(C) 2009, 2011 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s afternoon in Lithia, Florida, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. It is a warm-going-on-hot spring day here in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 82°F (28°C) under sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the northeast at 9 MPH (15 KM/H) and humidity at 49%, the heat index is 82°F (28°C). Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 88°F (31°C). Tonight, skies will be clear. The low will be 59°F (15°C).

Last night I watched part of Inglourious Basterds (2009), a film by Quentin Tarantino that is part alternative history, part dark comedy set in occupied France during World War II. If you have not seen it, here’s the publicity blurb on the Blu-ray package’s back cover:

Brad Pitt takes no prisoners in Quentin Tarantino’s high-octane WWII revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds. As war rages in Europe, a Nazi-scalping squad of American soldiers, known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” is on a daring mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich.  

This time around I managed to watch two-thirds of the movie before I finally fell asleep and turned off my television set/Blu-ray player with the player’s remote. That’s more progress than I made on my previous attempt to watch Inglourious Basterds, which is one of the two Tarantino movies I own (the other one is 2019’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood).

I really need to change up my routine and watch movies during the day; I will try watching something – not necessarily Inglourious Basterds – as soon as I post this epistle on WordPress. Routines – whether they are good or bad – are hard to break, at least in my experience. But since the TV is in my room, and the player is connected to that TV, it should not be that tough to do, right?

Speaking of my 4K UHD TV, the replacement remote is on its way to the house from Amazon’s distribution center in Seffner. It was shipped yesterday from Austin, Texas and marked as Out for Delivery at 11:28 AM Eastern. I can, as I said in my previous post about the disappearance of my TV remote control on Sunday, use the Blu-ray player’s remote to turn the TV on and off and access the smart TV’s apps using the HOME button, but I can’t access my streaming services easily without the remote that came with my TV.

In the event that the original remote eventually surfaces – it could have slipped unnoticed into one of my Ikea cubby’s four drawers; I just have not emptied each drawer to inspect them closely – I can always use the new one as a spare RC. Better safe than sorry, as the old saw goes.

Well, that’s all the scoops I have for you today, Dear Reader, so I’ll close for now. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Monday, May 9, 2022, or: My Sunday Night at the Movies…It Didn’t Go So Well

(C) 2011 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Hi there, Dear Reader. It is early afternoon in Lithia, Florida, on Monday, May 9, 2022. It is a hot, muggy spring day here in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 82°F (28°C) under mostly cloudy skies. With the wind blowing from the east-northeast at 5 MPH (9 KM/H) and humidity at 63%, the heat index is 83°F (28°C). Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 90°F (32°C). Tonight, skies will be clear. The low will be 62°F (17°C).

Last night I attempted to watch Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) on my smallish (26-inch) 4K UHD television set. I recently acquired the 2K Blu-ray Special Edition from around that time for $9.99; I would have preferred to get the 4K UHD disc, but I already have a huge credit card bill because I bought a new computer last month and must pay it off in installments. I saw it once at a friend’s house when it was on HBO or offered as an In-Demand pay-per-view thing and I enjoyed it, but I had never bothered to get a home media version until I saw it advertised for sale at $9.99 (plus, of course, Florida sales tax).

I say, “I attempted to watch” Inglourious Basterds because even though I wanted to see it, I did not plan my Sunday night well. At all. Instead of getting off my office chair and away from this computer at any time after I posted yesterday’s blog entry, I spent most of my afternoon and early evening hours – in the words of my Cuban friends – comiendo mierda on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. I knew I wanted to watch Inglourious Basterds, even had the Blu-ray in its package sitting on my desk, where I could see it.

I guess I was reluctant to log off from social media because I don’t have anyone here to talk to anymore. I’m not the most gregarious person, but I’m also not a recluse. But over the past two years – and especially the past few months – a huge gap has been growing between the Caregiver and me, and it has widened to such a point that she will serve me my dinner at my place at the kitchenette table and forget to tell me. And since online interactions are better than none, I stay at my desk for longer than I normally would.[1]

But back to Inglorious Basterds…. I should have started watching it around 7 or 8 PM, but I waited till after dinner to put the disc in the player and plop down on my convertible couch/futon to watch it. Because the Caregiver opted to order from Outback Steakhouse on perhaps the worst day to order delivery – Mother’s Day – we got our food around 8 PM, and she did not bother telling me my order was served, so I ate a cold Bloomin’ Burger and cold Aussie Fries around 9 PM. By the time I finished eating dinner it was 9:30 PM, and a fruitless search for my TV’s main remote control[2] delayed the start of Inglorious Basterds until 10:30 PM.

Well, I eventually put the Inglorious Basterds Blu-ray in the player and started watching, but I was exhausted, and the whole “missing remote” brouhaha had stressed me out, so I fell asleep 20 minutes into the movie. So now I must pencil it in, as it were, into my TBW list for the week.

Based on this new development, this is what my TBW list looks like for the week:

  • Inglorious Basterds
  • The Office
  • Apollo 11
  • Casablanca
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks (Season One)
  • The Pink Panther
  • West Side Story (2021)

Well, I have no other news to share, and I should go take a shower and change into clean clothes, even though I will probably stay indoors and not go for a walk. So, until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.


[1] It’s sad but true. The Caregiver and I were once happy in each other’s company, and she used to be mindful of my well-being. Now we rarely interact; she spends most of her free time catering to her new boyfriend’s whims and needs, leaving me to fend for myself in a house that is woefully not suitable for me to “fend for myself.”

[2] I have the remote for the 4K UHD Blu-ray player, which is made by Samsung just like the TV, so I am not totally bereft of RCs for the TV. However, the TV-only remote is the one that works best when I’m streaming. I did not find it, so I had to order a replacement from Amazon.

Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, May 8, 2022, or: Mother’s Day 2022

My mom and I when I was a baby, circa 1963. (Photo by Jeronimo Diaz-Granados)

Hi there, Dear Reader. It is early afternoon here in Lithia, Florida, on Sunday, May 8, 2022. It is a hot spring day in the Tampa Bay area. Currently, the temperature is 84°F (29°C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 61% and the wind blowing from the west-northwest at 7 MPH (13 KM/H), the heat index is 85°F (30°C). Today’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 91°F (33°C). Tonight, skies will be mostly clear. The low will be 67°F (20°C).

Today – in the United States and many other countries around the world – is Mother’s Day. So, in honor of the occasion, here are some relevant quotations about mothers and motherhood:

My mother was 15 years old in this family photo, circa 1943 or 1944.

“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” –  George Eliot

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ― Washington Irving

Mom (on the right) and I at a neighbor’s holiday party two years before she became seriously ill.

“The truth is, every son raised by a single mom is pretty much born married. I don’t know, but until your mom dies it seems like all the other women in your life can never be more than just your mistress.” ― Chuck Palahniuk

Another photo of Mom holding me when I was a little tyke.

“I love you every day. And now I will miss you every day.”― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

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