Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Nostalgia Critic – 5 Reasons Why He is Great

Doug Walker is the Nostalgic Critic, the creator and star of an internet show which reviews and spoofs movies. He is funny, witty and we highly recommend his show.  In fact, here are 5 reasons why the Nostalgia Critic is great.

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1. He is proud of his hometown Chicago. The Nostalgia Critic is not trying to pretend to be a big Hollywood star or an aspiring New York intellectual  who has stooped to appearing on the internet. Doug Walker is a Chicago boy and he loves his city. He brings a Chicago point of view to many of his reviews.  In one review, The Nostalgia Critic noted how silly the sci-fi movie The Day After Tomorrow is. In the movie the weather suddenly turns frigid and the people have to huddle in a public library for warmth.  The Nostalgic Critic’s comment to that was:

“This movie says we’re supposed to be scared because a day starts out warm and then suddenly turns very cold. In Chicago we call that Tuesday.”

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2. He is a genuinely nice guy. Doug Walker wants reviews to be funny, but does not want to hurt anyone. He did a review of Thomas And The Magic Railroad In which he made fun of the bad acting of  Mara Wilson, who was 13 years old when the movie was made. Mara Wilson is now in her 20’s and she was very upset by the review. She said that she was in a very awkward stage at age 13.  When Doug heard about Mara’s reaction, he invited her onto his show and let her review a home movie he had made when he was 13.  He looked ridiculous in the home movie, in which he was trying to sing like a rock star. Mara had so much fun on the show that she and Doug Wilson became good friends.

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3. He is a great boss. The Nostalgic Critic show is a team effort, and sometimes they go on location in Chicago to film. In one episode they went to a park to film and after getting the whole team there it turned out the park was not going to open for another 2 hours. Instead of having everything sit in their cars and vans for the next 2 hours getting angry and bored, Doug took everyone out to a restaurant and treated them all to a huge breakfast. He runs a team of very diverse creative people who make very little money.  Yet they all have a great time and love working for him.  If he ever stops doing The Nostalgia Critic, Doug Walker could teach management courses  on how to motivate people.

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4. He admits when he makes a mistake. Being a low budget internet show , there are often production errors or factual mistakes. When this happens, Doug Walker admits the mistake and says that he made it. Doug does not blame it on someone else or on a computer glitch. He takes responsibility for his own errors. This is something that all bosses should do, but which very few actually do in practice.  At one point the team put together a tribute to Rachel Tietz, an actress on the show who left to go into main-stream acting. In post-production, Doug hit the wrong button on the computer and deleted the whole show.   Doug explained to the viewing audience exactly what had happened and why there was no tribute show.  Not once in the explanation did he try to shift the blame to another person or even to the computer.

5. He Loves his job. There is an old saying that states, “if you love your job, you never have to work a day in your life.” What makes the Nostalgia Critic so much fun to watch is that Doug Walker and his whole team really enjoy what they are doing. Even when they make mistakes, their sheer enthusiasm makes up for any lack of professional training, and makes the show fun to see.

We rate this show Five Stars *****

Words to Live by

As you go through life it is amazing how some advice turns out to be true and remembered forever. Here is a list of saying from family, friends, and teachers I have known throughout the years.

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  • “I get what you’re saying son, but I don’t quite know what you mean.” Savin Hoffecker

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  • “Smart is easy to find, but it’s one in a million to find Loyal.” Lou Romano

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  • “Never hit a man when he’s down. Kick him its easier. – Jack Reilly

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  • “Most people spend most of their lives trying to prove something to somebody – usually somebody that’s dead.” – Elsie White

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  • “When you get older you will realize that your family are the only people in the world who really care what happens to you one way or the other.” – Aaron (Woody)  Hess

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  • Never get romantically involved with a man who is better looking than you are – Susan Farrell

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Attack of the Naked Women

The stock market has crashed. The crime rate is rising. Racial tensions are high and police morale is low. The mass transit system is falling apart. So New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio  has decided that the top priority of his administration should be to protect us all from the “threat” poised by beautiful young women who pose semi-nude for the Tourists in Times Square.

Exactly why this is a police matter, de Blasio is having a tough time explaining. The tourists love the girls. This is exactly the sort of decadence they hoped to see when they boarded planes in the Midwest to come to the Big Apple.

No one who lives or works in New York is upset. That is because anyone who actually lives or works in New York City avoids Times Square at all costs.

The New York Supreme Court is not even concerned about the young women. It ruled more than a year ago that it is perfectly legal for women to be topless anywhere in New York at any time.

The Mayor’s brilliant plan is to arrest the women for illegally conducting a “business” since they take tips from tourists who take their pictures. When told that this might not fly legally, his next idea is that we should re-open the streets to traffic in Times Square. He would rather have the pollution, noise and danger of the extra cars, than risk seeing a female nipple.

The Mayor seems to be missing the point that Freedom of Expression is what this country is all about. After all, if a beautiful young woman cannot show her patriotism by painting her breasts Red, White and Blue and displaying them to the World, then the terrorists really have won.

WiFi and Naked Coffee

“Usually I’m naked when I drink coffee,” the girl whispered into her iPhone. ” I sleep in the nude, and I guess I am too lazy to put any clothing on before I have that first cup of coffee. Every morning I stand there in my apartment naked with the coffee cup in my hand. There is something amazingly sensual about the feel of the warm liquid going down my throat.

There are times I wish I could just stay nude all day.”

Joseph sat mesmerized, trying to pretend he was not listening to every word the young woman on the couch next to him was saying. Joseph was at a  coffee shop he had never been to before in Soho . It prided itself in its laid-back atmosphere. There were no tables or regular chairs; just soft couches and big easy chairs. The regulars got their extra large cappuccinos and then spent hours sipping their drinks and using the free WiFi. The coffee shop was packed to capacity day and night and you had to squeeze onto the tiny couches and sit next to strangers.

Of course, Joseph had immediately noticed the girl when she sat next to him. She was gorgeous and sensual, dressed in black jeans and a tight black top. Her brown hair cascaded over her shoulders in a very natural style.

Now that he overheard her speaking about walking around her apartment naked, Joseph looked up from his laptop computer and sneaked another glance at the girl.  She was speaking  on her iPhone, while at the same time typing furiously on her own laptop computer.  She was expertly juggling both devices, plus her cup of coffee and paying no attention whatsoever to Joseph, who was sitting so close that their thighs almost touched.

“No, I’ve never spilled hot coffee on my nipples. What a thing to say. You are just terrible,” whispered the girl into the phone giggling slightly.  Her tone of voice was in a teasing, laughing manner, and Joseph was dying to know exactly what her relationship was with whoever was on the other end of the phone. More than anything in the world Joseph wanted to be the person on the other end of the phone.

“Well, I’ve got to go,” said the girl suddenly as she hung up the phone, and closed her laptop. Joseph sighed slightly as he watched her walk away in her skintight Jeans.

Joseph decided it was time to try to get some work done on his own laptop, but when he looked at it all he saw was the dreaded” Blue Screen of Death”. He tried re-booting. He tried Ctrl-Alt-Delete. He tried physically removing the battery and re-installing it. Nothing worked. No matter what he did the computer screen stayed just a solid blue page. His computer was now nothing more than a large paperweight.

Then his cell phone dinged and a text message appeared.  It read, “Joseph – type CVd77@31Y into your computer and all will be well – your couch girlfriend.”

At this point, Joseph was desperate and he followed the instructions and typed the code into his laptop. The second he hit “Enter” a picture appeared with a message under it.

The picture was of the girl who minutes ago had been sitting on the couch next to be him.  However, instead of wearing jeans and a top she was wearing nothing at all.  She was naked and drinking a large cup of steaming coffee. The message under the picture read,

“Joseph – your computer systems need better protection. I was able to use a simple trick and steal all your passwords and get into your systems while you were listening  to my phone call.”  The message went on to explain that her name was April Massey and that she was a computer security expert. She had her own company that set up security on computers. There was a link to the website for her company, and a list of prices for different security packages offered.

Joseph spent the next 45 minutes checking every part of his computer to make sure he had not lost any data. Then he spent the next half hour changing every password on  every link he could remember.

As he was doing this, however, he kept toggling back to the naked picture of April. Finally he decided to make it his screen saver. He was so intent on looking at her breasts that it was a long time before he noticed the little  ♥ heart shaped character at the bottom of the picture. When he clicked on it a new message appeared,

“Joseph – you are the only one who actually got the naked coffee picture. Everyone else just gets the Blue Screen of Death and the security system message.  I think you are kind of cute. Next time a beautiful woman sits one inch from you on a couch how about actually talking to her? By the way, I don’t really drink coffee nude in my apartment in the morning. Every morning I am right here at 6am on that same couch.”

Joseph re-read that message 10 times. He could not decide it it was for real or if April was playing him for an idiot  for the second time in one day. There was only one thing he did know for sure. At 6 am tomorrow morning he was going to be right here on this same couch – waiting.

Hatari – movie review

Hatati is a 1962 John Wayne film which is notable for its exciting scenes of chasing Big Game in Africa. However, John Wayne is not a hunter. He leads a team that captures wild animals for zoos throughout the world.

This was long before the days of tranquilizer guns,  so the animals are captured by John Wayne roping the beasts while riding on the front of a moving truck.

Filmed entirely on location in Africa, the movie does not use any type of special effects. When a  rhinoceros rams the truck with such force that it almost tips the truck  over, that is not a gimmick. It really happened.

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While the animal chase scenes  are the best part of the movie, there is also a  silly, but fun sub-plot of a romantic comedy. John Wayne (Sean in the film) falls in love with a beautiful photographer named Dallas ( played by Elsa Martinelli) who has come to photograph the team in action.

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Dallas is crazy about Sean, but Sean is just too awkward around  women to open up and really tell her how he feels. John Wayne is actually great in these scenes since he himself is not exactly  what most people would consider a “romantic” kind of guy.

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Dallas has an natural way with animals, especially elephants. She adopts three orphaned baby elephants who think of her as their mother. Evan if you have not heard of the movie Hatari, you will probably at some point have heard the song The Elephant Walk by Henry Mancini; which came from this movie.

The Elephant Walk is from a part in the movie where Dallas runs away after a lover’s spat and John Wayne uses the elephants like bloodhounds to find Dallas and tell her he loves her. The funny part is that Dallas has run away to to a city, and the elephants cause chaos as they crash through stores trying to find “mom”.

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There is also an adorable tame cheetah which John Wayne liked so much that he loved playing with it even when the day’s filming was done.

So if you feel in the mood for a fun movie with beautiful scenes of Africa and a funny story line, we recommend you see Hatari.

 

 

 

 

Alicia von Rittberg’s Boyfriend

So who is Alicia von Rittberg’s boyfriend? The beautiful young actress from Fury  has been linked to Samuel Schneider and Elyas M’Barek. Take a look at the pictures and decide for yourself.

Alicia von Rittberg & Christian Kurtz

Alicia von Rittberg & Christian Kurtz. Is that a ring he gave her?

Of course, Alicia von Rittberg has also be seen around with Christian Kurtz.

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She looks happy no matter who she is with.

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It seems to us that she is still playing the field.

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Of course, that means there is still a chance for some lucky guy.

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Be sure to read about Alcia von Rittberg’s upcoming movie, Our Kind of Traitor.

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Will Alicia von Rittberg  really appear nude on Game of Thrones next season?

My Evening with Frank Gifford

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Gifford. Most people knew him as a sportscaster on Monday Night Football. An older generation remembers him a fantastic player with the New York Giants.  However, I will always remember him as a great after dinner speaker.

When I met him, Frank Gifford was in transition between being a professional athlete and becoming a T.V. star. He was one of many ex-athletes who were competing for a very small number of openings on T.V. or in the movies. Some guys could make  the transition.  Most did not.

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Frank was taking whatever gigs he could get so as to get used to speaking to the public. When I saw him he was the after-dinner speaker at King School’s annual father-son dinner. The dinner was held at a restaurant called the Halfway  House which is on the Stamford-Greenwich border. This was so long ago that the term “halfway house” was not yet associated with ex-cons and drug addict rehabilitation. (The restaurant is still there, but now calls itself Twin Faces).

Frank Gifford could have just showed up after dinner, given his speech and left. But that was not his style. He arrived early, had drinks with the fathers and told funny stories to the boys. At dinner he sat at the front table with the headmaster Mr. Jackson and made everyone around him feel comfortable.

During dessert it was time for Frank Gifford’s speech. All these years later I can still remember it. He spoke of his days as a professional football player and the funny things that happened on the field and in the locker room. The man was a natural story teller, and the audience loved him.

The funniest parts of his speech were when he spoke about his days after football and his attempt to be an actor. With his good looks and athletic build, Hollywood tried putting him in the movies. For some reason they kept trying to put him in Westerns as a cowboy, even though he knew nothing whatsoever about horses

He told a story about one scene where he was supposed to pick up a saddle from a fence and “saddle up” a horse. No one had told him the saddle was strapped to the fence and you had to unbuckle it first. Frank went over to the saddle, grabbed it with one hand and heaved. This resulted in Frank falling flat on his back and ruining the scene. After that, directors had no interest in trying to make Frank Gifford into John Wayne.

After the speech, Frank stayed for the rest of the evening and everyone got a chance to spend a lot of time with him. Even then, we all realized that there was something special about Frank Gifford. He had a natural charm that came from the fact that he could genuinely connect with people. We knew that his career after football was going to be a success.

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It was only a few years after that when Monday Night Football started and Frank Gifford became a household name. I am glad he was such a success.

Goodbye Frank. Thanks for the stories.

 

Go Set A Watchman – a very disappointing sequel for To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee never intended to have  Go Set A Watchman published. She wrote it decades ago  and then locked it away in a safe deposit box. Perhaps she intended to eventually take the draft out and re-write it. Perhaps she knew it was not a good piece of literature, but like all writers, she could just not bring herself to throw away something she had toiled on.

Harper Lee then reached an age where she no longer understands completely what is going on around her. That is when her agent suddenly “rediscovered” the manuscript of Go Set A Watchmen and rushed it to publication.  Undoubtedly it will bring a financial windfall to the agent and the publisher. Sadly , the poor quality of Go Set A Watchmen leaves the literary reputation of Harper Lee somewhat tarnished. It also is very disappointing sequel  for the millions of readers who so loved To Kill A Mockingbird.

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The basic set up of Go Set A Watchmen sounds like it could be interesting. It takes place long after the events in To Kill A Mockingbird.Jean Louise (“Scout”) is now 26 years old and living in New York City. She returns home to visit Atticus, and suddenly finds herself very disappointed in him and in the town. Atticus is the chairman of a committee which is actively fighting school desegregation and associating with a crowd of overt  racists.

It is a clever concept, but somehow the story just does not come across as real. The main problem is with the characters. Except for Scout and Atticus there are almost no characters carried  over from To Kill A Mockingbird.

Most disappointing is that it turns out that  Scout’s brother, “Jem” died a long time ago. This piece of information is given to us in a very back-handed way as an awkward plot device to introduce a new character.  This charter is a young man named Henry Clinton. He works as a lawyer with Atticus and is supposed to be Scout’s home-town boyfriend.

In order to explain how Henry first came to work for Atticus we are told that Henry graduated from law school and:

“Just about that time, Jean Louise’s brother dropped dead in his tracks one day, and after the nightmare of that was over, Atticus, who had always thought of leaving his practice to his son, looked around for another young man.”

That’s it? That’s all we get to hear about the death of a beloved character from To Kill A Mockingbird, and Atticus’s reaction to the death of his only son?  One sentence?

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There also seems to me no real chemistry between Jean Louise (Scout) and Henry although they are supposed to be in love. The most award and badly written dialogue in the book are the scenes with these two “lovers”.

All the book’s flaws could be forgiven if there was some sort of final riveting courtroom scene like there was in To Kill A Mockingbird. Instead, the big supposedly dramatic finale is a very long and boring private  discussion between Jean Louise and her uncle about States’ Rights and court-imposed desegregation.

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I think when Harper  Lee finished her draft of the book she realized that it just did not work and she locked it away.

I do wish that Harper Lee had made another attempt at a different kind of sequel. I would have loved to read the story of Scout as an independent young Southern  woman now living in New York City.  After all, that is exactly what happened to  Harper Lee herself.

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To Kill A Mocking Bird will always be an American classic and Harper Lee one of our most revered authors. The fact that she chose to lock Go Set A Watchman away instead of releasing it and making millions of dollars only makes me respect her more.

 

 

 

 

Naked and Afraid – The Stupid show everyone watches

The sheer stupidity of Naked And Afraid on the Discovery Channel is what makes the show so much fun to watch.  If you have never seen this show, the basic concept is that a man and a woman are placed naked in a jungle or an island and must survive for almost 3 weeks. They are complete strangers, and the first time they ever see each other they are naked.

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There is not enough space to list all the ridiculous items in this series, so we will just touch on some of the most hilarious;

  • The show takes itself SO seriously.  As viewers, we are somehow supposed to believe that these people are really in danger. This; despite the fact that the “survivalists” are at all times surrounded by a Camera Crew, a Sound Technician, a Director, and all the laborers who carry the food,  equipment and set-up camps for these crews.
  • We are supposed to pretend that nakedness is part of a normal survival scenario.
    Through the years, there have been many true stories of people suddenly being thrust into desperate survival situations.  Planes have crashed in a jungle. There are shipwrecks. Storms have destroyed homes.  In any of these real situations, the people were afraid, but they were certainly not naked.  The naked component is there for the sole purpose of increasing ratings.

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  • The naked people are pixelated.  Since the Discovery Channel is on basic cable, it cannot show naked genitalia or naked female breasts. However, they do  get around this as much as possible by blurring only the absolute minimum. Viewers can get a very good idea of exactly what the naked people look like. There is also the titillating feature that the people move around a lot and the blurring does not always keep up with the movement. There is no doubt that many of the viewers watch the show hoping to get a glance of something forbidden. If this seems cynical, just take a look at the comments on the internet. The most common question people ask about Naked and Afraid is “Where can I see a version of the show without anything  blurred out?” The disappointing answer is “Nowhere.” However,  we all  know that eventually someone is going to steal an uncensored print and release a truly naked version of the show on the internet.

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  • The contestants are good-looking exhibitionists. Take a look at the contestants in the picture shown above. Do their bodies look like those of the “average” American who might get caught in a survival situation? Of course not. They have great bodies, and love showing them to people. If your plane crashed on a remote island chances are you would be with a bunch of middle aged fat people rather than the very  sexy Jane & Tarzan types we see here.
  • Many of the contestants don’t make clothing.
    Despite the fact that it is easy to make some basic coverings from palm leaves or other items, most of the contestants do not.  In particular, the men seem to especially enjoy leaving their penises to swing free.  There is no doubt that most men would place a top priority on covering up this sensitive part of the anatomy to protect it from sun and scrapes. However, the men on this show, want very much  to share their little friend with the world.

 

Despite all of its flaws, or maybe because of them,  the show is actually fun to watch.  It does teach you something about human nature.  The contestants  come to the show with various level of survival skills and we see which skills are useful and which are not.  It turns out that the most important skill is a positive attitude and the ability to encourage others. The people who get along and work together do well regardless of their basic skills.  Those who argue with each other end up miserable.

Of course, if you are ever really find yourself in a situation like this, here are  are the  3 easy to follow steps which will keep you and your partner alive.

  • Step 1 – Make weapons from the sticks and rocks all around you. Spears are easy to make and are very effective.
  • Step 2 – Use your weapons to attack the Director, Camera & Sound Crews. Take their food, clothing and water which they have been selfishly not sharing with you.
  • Step 3 – Put some damn clothing on!

We rate this show Two stars **