Tag Archives: A Christmas Carol

So good-bye yellow brick road …

Greetings, readers. After nine years and two months of writing the blog and other various writing projects, Rebecca and I have decided to close up shop. We will miss working together, but at the current moment it is the correct decision. The blog doesn’t pay the rent. Does this mean that I am closing the blog? Absolutely not.

The blog shall be open for everyone to enjoy and comment on, though I would ask you to please comment on my Facebook page. I visit there everyday. There are other blog topics to write about, but with me physically challenged and trying to find myself again, I’m going to take a short time off, and I shall try to get back to a once a week schedule at the beginning of the year. Rebecca said that she will also occasionally do a From Rebecca, and that is cool. She and I will have to touch base now and then to make certain that we don’t blog about the same topic. Lol. You know what they say, great minds think alike.

As we work on blog entry 871, I find myself looking back upon all the topics we’ve written about. There are a multitude of Top Ten Lists, R.I.P.s to numerous folks famous or otherwise, tons of entries about the weather, as well as blog topics dealing with Air Crash Investigation episodes and modern conveniences. It still gets me in the funny bone why Top ten list of modern conveniences was such a big hit, but it was.

I have also tried my hand at calming the country down, saying things like give peace a chance. What happens? More shootings. With only 15 people a day on average reading me, I guess I shouldn’t expect to be as powerful as a TV evangelist. 😉 We’ve also talked about natural disasters, and have prayed for those victims and families.

Am I calling this day a defeat? No. This is simply another chapter in my life. The brain is working better these days. I’ll explain why in a minute. But still I lack those tools to write that great American novel; that big hat hook that would put me on the map. I’m only 54 years old, so I’m not counting myself out yet. I know I’m not supposed to compare myself to my Dad, but hell, he wrote 30 books, albeit about theology and philosophy. My three books deal with my camping experiences and blogging. My fourth venture, of course, was as the co-author of Darren Taylor’s novel.

One of my current projects, which is improving my brain power, is playing an app on my phone called Wordscapes. I made words, usually from a group of four or five letters at a time. The higher the level, the more words you have to make and the harder it is. I can feel myself filling out the puzzle faster than the first time I tried to play it.

Oh, yes, readers, I have had many successes in life and shall continue to do so. I don’t think I shall ever close the blog down, and will add to it when I have big news to share. For instance, I am doing a one-man performance of A Christmas Carol locally tomorrow from 5 – 7pm. Rebecca or I may possibly even write a review. For anyone in the State College area, it is at the 3 Dots Art Gallery at the corner of Beaver Ave and Pugh Street. Come one, come all.

It has been a pleasure and an honor writing for you, and it has also been a true honor and pleasure to work with Rebecca these last nine years. Again, this is not good-bye.

So I will say, friends, until we meet again, much love, take care of one another, happy holidays, and we will be in touch soon … and oh, yes, as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of my favorite movies

Greetings, readers. It has been a long time since we have done a top ten list and as mentioned before my favorite movies seems to be a good topic. The choice for #1, 2, and 3 are in order, the rest are not so much. So here we go.

#10. The Village – 2004. [Bryce Dallas Howard gave a remarkable performance as Ivy Walker, the blind heroine who had to overcome her fears and travel to the town to get medicine to save her fiancée’s life.]

#9. Smokey and the Bandit – 1977. [Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jerry Reed did a marvelous job in their roles respectively. This movie, as well as two others in this list, came out in the era before VHS tapes. I went to see this film 13 consecutive Friday nights in the theater. I laughed and cheered every time.]

#8. King Kong – 1976. [This is another one of these movies that I saw multiple times. This film fascinated me. This was the first film that Jessica Lange appeared in and she did very well. The special effects were above average in my opinion. Another note is that it was held over four times and was at our theatre for 56 big weeks. I saw it ten consecutive weeks.]

#7. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – 1977. [As a young teenager I was fascinated by UFOs. I loved the cast’s performances and of course I was naïve enough to actually think there was a UFO landing strip behind Devil’s Tower. I saw this film weekly all 12 weeks it was playing in town.]

#6. Green Book – 2018. [I saw this film only once during a Monday afternoon film festival with a friend. It was one of those of films that you never want to end. I loved it from the first scene to the last. It told the true story of a Black musician in the 1960s who went on tour and eventually became the victim of bigotry and racism. The scene that affected me the most was when this African-American gentlemen was told he could change and eat in the broom closet.]

#5. Star Wars: A New Hope – 1977. [Anyone who was a science-fiction buff at that time would have loved this picture. As the film starts with the now-famous line, ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …’ it leads to the feeling that anything is possible. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford give wonderful performances as well does Sir Alec Guinness.]

#4. The African Queen – 1951. [I saw this film a few weeks ago when I rented it from our public library. I had heard about it for years but had never seen it. Boy, had I missed a good one all these years. It was my first Humphrey Bogart picture and both he and the impeccable Katharine Hepburn were amazing. That is a picture that I would highly recommend to anyone and I intend to watch it again soon.]

#3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – 1982. [Ricardo Montalban said in an interview once that he had to re-watch the original episode “Space Seed” to learn how to get back into his character. It worked. He gave a masterful performance as the villain Khan. After Star Trek: The Motion Picture was more or less a bust, the folks at Star Trek know that this second film had to be a blockbuster, and it was. I highly recommend it to anyone who has not seen it.]

#2. Cleopatra – 1963. [The 1963 version of Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor has fascinated me for years. Liz gave a stellar performance as did Rex Harrison and Richard Burton. It was the most expensive film made to that date, and if I have heard correctly, it actually lost money because of it. SPOILER ALERT: From the opening of the film to the intermission shortly after Caeser’s death is a marvelous and exciting motion picture. The film took on an entirely different feel in the second half, and I have never been able to stay awake through it. A real snoozer. I tried the entire film straight through as well as with a break; same outcome. I loved part one, didn’t really care for part two. Her performance is what ranks this movie so high.]

#1. On Golden Pond – 1981. [My favorite movie of all time, it stars Katharine Hepburn with Henry and Jane Fonda. The writer of the play On Golden Pond, Ernest Thompson has a cabin somewhere on Great Pond in Maine and it is rumored that Golden Pond and Great Pond are one and the same. The film was shot on Squam Lake in New Hampshire and it really captured the essence and beauty of Great Pond. I have seen that film probably over 100 times.]

If I ever do a part two of this favorite movies list, George C. Scott’s A Christmas Carol will certainly be on it. That is a list to think about.

There’s our list for today. Please chime in on Facebook or here in the comments section with your list. Let’s get a debate going.

I shall try extremely hard to put up a blog entry this Sunday or Monday. So until then, take care, have a great few days, and happy reading.

We’re going on hiatus. This is not the end of the blog…, I promise. :-)

Greetings, readers. Fear not, for this is not the end of the blog. Rebecca and I are going to take a break for several weeks, so that I can get my new writing project off the ground before I leave for Maine. Have I run out of topics to blog about? Absolutely not. All schoolchildren or college students look forward to a summer vacation, free of the daily grind of classes and homework. That is what’s happening here.

After today’s blog entry is posted, the next new one will appear on August 21st. I have several writing project ideas in my mind, and one in particular which is bubbling up to the surface. I’m going to keep it a complete surprise until the project is well underway. That’s always been one of my downfalls; letting people know what my project is about, and then have folks tell me that idea has already been done before. ☹

Rebecca has told me many times that even if an idea has been done, to go ahead and write my story and put my twist on it. That is sound advice. We had a conversation the other day about how many versions of a Christmas Carol have been produced. In the current TV market where old series’ reboots are commonplace, I am going to strive to write a story dealing with the topic I know very well, and put my own slant on it. It’s going to be loads of fun. 😉

before closing, I hope everyone in the United States had a wonderful Fourth of July, that you stayed safe if shooting off fireworks, and had safe travels home. Please have a wonderful rest of your summer, give someone you love a hug every day, give peace a chance, not war, and until next time…, happy reading.

 

Dreary warm Christmas week

Greetings, readers. I know that the calendar says that it is Christmas week, but today the temperature is 56 degrees and tomorrow it might hit 60. Now, I know that we have global warming and El Nino, but I think 60 degrees is pushing it a bit much. It is also raining all day with grey skies. As much as I hate snow and ice, I do like a white Christmas, for it reminds me of good childhood memories. It was much colder in those days.

My girlfriend and I are going to continue the Christmas Eve lights ride tradition, which we are both looking forward to. The Zipcar rental has already been procured, and even though it might rain, at least it won’t be freezing rain. As of this moment, the light ride is a go. Other holiday traditions which I’m indulging in are the lighting of scented candles, and listening to plenty of Christmas music. Tonight, or tomorrow night, I will watch A Christmas Carol, as I always do, and, if I can find it on YouTube, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I know I had two opportunities to see Rudolph, but they were both shown on Tuesday evenings when I’m not home.

Christmas morning, I’m going to see if there are any parades on, and then Traci and I have a full day of visiting her family. I’m looking forward to that, because I’ve not seen her sister Roni since high school; she was in my graduating class. I can just imagine all the wonderful food and pleasant conversation we’ll have.

The day after Christmas is always a downer for me because it is the beginning of what I call the dead season. Shortly after New Year’s the town’s outside decorations come down, and without leaves on the trees, the whole area looks dormant. Sometimes I suffer from my depression at this time, but I’ve already taken steps with my therapist to help me this winter. I don’t think it is going to stay warm all winter, but every warm winter day is one day closer to spring.

On January 2nd, I’m going to watch the Penn State bowl game. I was a little disappointed by how the team finished the season, but we are going bowling, and that is good for the school.  A few days after that, I think all my Christmas decorations will be taken down and boxed, and the business of the new year will begin.

I bid everybody a happy holiday season. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Top ten list of favorite holidays

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list, as you can see by the title, is my favorite holidays. So here they are and one through five are in order.

#10. Valentine’s Day [I used to love this holiday, but with my luck with the opposite gender not being so good, this holiday has slipped way down on my list.]

#9. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day [When Mom and Dad were alive, I would get them nice gifts and sometimes I would buy Mom flowers. Now that they are both gone, I visit their gravesites on those days.]

#8. Memorial Day [As a kid I loved Memorial Day for on that weekend the Indianapolis 500 race would be on TV. It is one of my favorite sporting events. Also this holiday meant the end of the school year was soon approaching and summer time would soon begin.]

#7. Labor Day [This is the day where the workers of the United States are honored, and when I was a kid it meant the end of summer and school would begin the next day.]

#6. St. Patrick’s Day [It is an Irish holiday and the tradition is that everyone should dress up with some green in their outfit. I always enjoyed doing this. A couple of years ago I plumb forgot and was teased, though in fun, by my friends at Panera Cafe. I also enjoy the holiday because green just happens to be one of my favorite colors.]

#5. 4th of July [When I was living at home, I would always watch the New York Macy’s 4th of July fireworks, which was shown on a New York TV station that our cable company picked up. I watched it for at least a decade before they went with alternate programing. Now, kitty cat Keekee and I watch our local fireworks from the living room window on the top floor of my apartment building. The window faces Beaver Stadium where the fireworks are shown.]

#4. Easter [In my youth I enjoyed getting all dressed up in my Sunday best for church. Later when I officially became Catholic, I enjoyed getting palms on Palm Sunday and attending midnight Mass on Easter Eve. Many good memories with Mom and Dad over those years.]

#3. Thanksgiving [Another one of my biggies. As a family oriented person, I always enjoyed holidays such as Thanksgiving where the family got together, watched parades, football, and eat that delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. This year I am going to watch my parade as usual and partake of the Thanksgiving meal served at one of the local diners. I did that last year and found the day quite satisfying.]

#2. New Year’s Day [New Year’s Eve and Day go together for me. I would always watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, drink some champagne with Mom and Dad on the stroke of midnight. On the day itself, one of my favorite things to do was watch the Cotton bowl game on New Year’s morning. After a day of football and making New Year’s resolutions, the holiday season draws to a close.]

#1. Christmas [My all time favorite holiday. Even as a small child, I knew Mom and Dad bought the presents but I still believed in Santa Claus. I always enjoyed watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a wonderful story told be Burl Ives in that version. In recent years, I concentrate more on the meaning of Christmas, buying myself only a small present perhaps, but I do decorate my tiny apartment. Watching such classics as A Christmas Carol, and TV channel 11’s Yule Log, are must dos, along with plenty of egg nog in between Christmas and New Year’s Day.]

Well, there they are. Most of them are in order. As always please feel free to chime in with your list. Add it on Facebook if you wish. I know that people of other faiths and in other countries celebrate different holidays, and feel free to share about those too.

As always, have a good day and weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Now that the holidays are done …

Greetings, readers. First off, before I forget, four more pics of my musical KISS performance have been added to our new page, which is now called Performance pictures. The name I chose yesterday, Pictures of Joe’s Musical Performances, was too long for the top of the blog, especially compared to the one-word names of the other pages.

I hope everybody had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a wonderful New Year’s Day. I certainly did. As I told Rebecca, I was planning on watching one of the New Year’s Day’s parades, but after a mild case of insomnia after staying up to watch Ryan Seacrest and his co-host of several years Jenny McCarthy drop the ball in Times Square, I just couldn’t get up early enough. So, this is what I did instead. I awakened about 10:00 and immediately put on the Netflix streaming version of Crackling Fireplace. I chose the track with the traditional Christmas music and watched and listened to it for an hour. After that I went to Panera – yes they were open New Year’s Day – and got myself a yummy blueberry muffin and a cup of their wonderful coffee. At 1:30, Rebecca came in to work for a half-day session. After that, I turned on Netflix again and watched a whole slew of my new favorite show in re-runs, Futurama. Never having liked the Simpsons, I didn’t think I would like Futurama either. Oops, who knew? I’m addicted.

New Year’s Day evening was spent losing … I mean playing … John Madden football at the highest difficulty level. Yes, I love a challenge. I decided to get to bed a little bit earlier than usual.

Overall, I would have to give this holiday season from Thanksgiving through yesterday a B+. Last year I was depressed and did not really make my apartment festive. This holiday season was much better. Lights went up, I watched A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott a couple of times, drank lots of egg nog and listened to Christmas tunes. The only thing that would have made this holiday season better would have been if my mom and dad were still here to share it with me. I do miss them everyday of course, but much more on holidays.

The banner image for this blog is currently a shot of Christmas lights around a framed painting that used to hang in my mom and dad’s house, but now hangs in my apartment. This banner will remain up until next Wednesday. That is when Rebecca and I will choose another picture and switch it out.

For all of you who are in the major snow storm this week, take extra care, stay warm, and as always, happy reading.