Tag Archives: Movies

Happy New Year, everyone!

Here it is, 2013. Where did you go 2012?

Our weekend kicked off Friday night with a sleep over, not the fun kind. We participate in a homeless ministry at our church. Once of twice a year, the church provides overnight housing for a group of homeless families for a week at a time. They need couples to cook meals, be “evening hosts” and “overnight hosts.” Since we don’t have small children at home to worry about, Mrs. Poolman and I usually take one of the overnight assignments. It’s just a matter of going up to the parish center and spending the night sleeping on cots. It’s not a real hardship duty, and it apparently does some good. Our night was uneventful, except that Mrs. P hardly slept a wink. I rarely have such problems.

So Saturday was largely a wasted day. Mrs. P spent most of the day napping on the couch. I made some corn chowder and delivered it to our daughter and her husband who were sharing a case of the flu.

Trouble with the curve We rented a pretty good movie that evening – Trouble With the Curve (Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake.) It’s a story of an aging baseball scout whose attorney-daughter joins him on the road to help save his career and reputation. It was Clint being Clint and Amy Adams being her usual cute-self. Throw in a boy-meets-girl sub-plot with Timberlake and you have a fairly predictable, but still very enjoyable flick. Mrs. P went back to sleep before we were 20 minutes into the show, but I liked it anyway.

Lincoln-Movie-Poster-1536x2048_extra_bigOn Sunday, we hit another movie at the theater that we both really enjoyed. “Lincoln” with Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones was simply outstanding. I’m sorry we waited until it was almost at the end of its theater run before getting around to watching it. If you miss it in the theater, be sure to catch it on DVD or pay-per-view. The movie is not a comprehensive bio-pic of Old Abe. Rather, it focuses almost entirely on the single month of January 1865, when Lincoln lead a determined effort to convince the House of Representatives to pass the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. At face value, that probably sounds boring to a non-history buff. However, the script is very well written, and the acting is outstanding. Watch for it to come up frequently when the awards season rolls around.

Mrs. P had to work both Monday and today, New Years Day. Unfortunately, they can’t send those babies home just for a holiday. Last night, some of our friends invited us to their house for dinner. We had a great time, but were back home by 10 pm so Mrs. P could hit bed in time for her 5 am wake-up. I’ve mostly watched football games today. So far the SEC is looking pretty good. Florida plays Louisville and long-tine, popular Gator assistant coach Charlie Strong tomorrow night. I’m back to work tomorrow. It’s been a good break. I may need it. Right now,  January and February look like they will be rocking.

Two cool guys

I just finished reading a partial biography of one of my favorite actors – “Jimmy Stewart Bomber Pilot” by Starr Smith. I was reminded that two of my favorite actors of earlier generations, Stewart and Paul Newman, are favorites, not just because of their acting, but because of some of the things they did.

Stewart was already a major Hollywood star when he was drafted in 1941 at the age of 32. He had starred in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” a few years earlier, and had just won an Academy Award for “The Philadelphia Story.” Even then, he was no lightweight. Actually, he was in a literal sense. He originally was drafted but failed the physical for being underweight. He appealed the decision and was shortly accepted into the Army Air Corps. Stewart could have easily taken the path of many of the other Hollywood stars who traded on their fame to sell War Bonds, or make recruiting or training films. Stewart went to flight training and learned to pilot heavy bombers. He flew 20 combat missions with the 8th Air Force in Europe, leading many of them. He could have taken the easy way out, but he didn’t.

Paul Newman is another favorite. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is probably my #1 favorite movie of all time.  He had great roles in other films like “The Sting,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Verdict” and “Absence of Malice.”  Late in his career he banked on his famous name and started up a food company. Apparently is all started with a bet with a friend about who made the best salad dressing. That grew into a successful line of spaghetti sauces and other items. What many people don’t know is that Newman never made a cent off of the sales. Early on, he designated that all the after-tax profits from his products be donated to charity. As of 2010, the donations had totaled more than $300 million. Not bad.

Sometimes when I’m in the check-out line at the grocery store, I look at the headlines in the celebrity magazines. Most of it is just scandal. It’s nice to remember that there are (or were) some celebrities like Stewart and Newman.

Children, movies and a holiday week coming to an end

The rest of our holiday-vacation week has gone fairly well. Mrs. Poolman and I have been kept busy entertaining an easily bored, and somewhat difficult-to-please 11-year old.

On Thursday, we visited the Georgia Railroad Museum (aka: The Roundhouse Museum.)

The turntable at the Georgia Railroad Museum

A friend of ours is the curator there and we thought it would be a good outing. I enjoyed it. Mrs. P was neutral. Christine the Younger liked the short train ride, although the complained about being uncomfortable in the tight seat most of the time. Sigh.

After the train museum, we took her to a movie, “We Bought a Zoo!” The movie wasn’t at all what I expected. Instead of a silly, children’s comedy (Think Kevin James.), it was a pretty decent flick, based on a true story. At times, the movie had a few too many story lines running simultaneously, but I would still give it a strong recommendation, especially for someone looking for a PG rating for kids and “tweens.”

Actually, the evening before, we rented another movie that turned out better than expected – “Letters to Juliet.” It was a cute, feel-good movie that was entertaining. It won’t be up for any Academy Awards, but it was certainly worth the $2 rental fee. I was the only one in our group who picked up on the reunion of Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero as the older-generation, reunited lovers. The pair played Guinevere and Lancelot in the 1967 film production of “Camelot.” The movie was just the beginning; their relationship continued beyond the ending credits.

Note: After having a son, the pair went their separate ways. Years later, Redgrave and Nero reunited personally and were married in 2006.

Redgrave and Nero in "Camelot."

Writer Princess joined us for a dinner of homemade lasagna (my sauce, Mrs. P’s “construction.”) Son-in-Law was fighting a bad cold, so he stayed home. (Thank you!)

Friday was scheduled to be our last day with young Christine. It was a gorgeous day, so we headed out to the beach. Obviously, it was too cold to go in the water, but it was a nice day for a walk on the sand.

Tybee Island beach, December 30, 2011

Both our children, SIL and Poolboy’s girlfriend were heading to Jacksonville Friday evening, to spend the New Year’s weekend with their cousins. That worked out well. They were able to give Christine a ride back home.

All told, it was an interesting week, but we’re glad to have our house back.

We’re planning a quiet New Year’s Eve. Our neighbors have invited us and a few other folks for game-night evening. We may make it until midnight, but I’m not taking any bets. In any case, it’s just a two-house walk home. I don’t think we’ll get into any serious trouble.

Happy New Year!

A near miss with Angelina!

I really love it when I watch a movie or TV show and see a location I recognize or have visited. People like me in LA or New York must go crazy. I had one of those “ah ha” moments on Monday night.

I had watched the move “The Tourist” with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp on the airplane flight back from Europe in April. We rented it again on Monday so Mrs. Poolman could watch it. (As it turned out, she fell asleep half-way through the flick. So much for that effort.)

In the opening scene, Angelina Jolie walks out of her Paris apartment and walks to an outdoor café to have breakfast. The café looked familiar, so I paused the DVD and pulled out my laptop to check the pictures I took on the trip. Sure enough, Angelina was having breakfast at the Café Le Nemours, which is right near The Louvre. Ron, Birdie and I had lunch there the very first day we flew into Paris.

Cafe Le Nemours the afternoon of our lunch. No Angelina in sight!

We didn’t see Angelina there when we had lunch. Too bad.

Is it summer yet?

It was another quiet weekend around Casa Poolman.

Saturday was a little rainy, which quashed our plans to do yard work. We ran a few errands and puttered around the house. We planned a “double feature” of DVD watching in the afternoon and evening. However, our friend, Susan, called saying she was bored and was looking for playmates. We invited her to join us for dinner. So we spent the evening “visiting” rather than watching movies.

We had a few friends over for an “open pool” on Sunday afternoon. The weather cooled down a little and so did the pool water, so there was not a lot of splashing around — more sitting around the deck drinking beer.

Our friends Steven and Liz dropped by with their two nine-month old twin daughters. The girls were great. They were very happy to sit with and socialize with whoever was holding them at the time. Too cute!



Dachau, Berchtesgaden and headed home

After Friday night’s , Dan and I went light on breakfast Saturday morning. Besides, speaking for myself, I don’t think I could handle another sausage this soon.

Our first stop was the Dachau concentration camp.

"Work makes you free.:

I think we came out of it with mixed feelings. On one hand, it was a moving experience to walk on the actual site where so much evil was perpetrated. But on the other hand, the actual camp/memorial is fairly sterile. Much is simply a large open area of graveled ground. The museum is sparse.

The former administrative building, now a museum

The ovens inside the crematorium

The execution and crematorium area is landscaped and well groomed.

The crematorium

It is actually like a park. Maybe that is the idea. However, the sensory impact of Dachau contrasts sharply with some of the military museums, especially those with audio-video experiences, we visited last week.

By 11 am, we were on the road again, heading to the Bavarian Alps.

The trip was very scenic.

Along the road to Berchtesgaden

Most of our trip was through a country of rolling hills and small villages. We drove through Berchtesgaden and then up the mountain to Oversalzburg, which is actually the village where all the Nazi bigwigs had homes. Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest was not accessible.

Eagle's Nest is that little knob on the left of the photo.

Apparently the special shuttle buses don’t run for another few weeks. The restaurant was closed at the visitor’s center, but there was an interesting interpretive center, complete with Hitler’s underground bunker.

Dan (right) in the interpretive center

A tunnel in the underground bunker

The four of us at Obersalzburg (l-r) Poolman, Dan, Birdie and Ron

After a couple of hours at Obersalzburg, we stopped in Berchtesgaden. This is a pretty little resort town, but a bit on the touristy side.

Dan in Berchtesgaden

Birdie and Ron had a Berchtesgaden hot dog.

A Berchtesgaden scene. Note the Alps in the background.

It has a bunch of cafés, boutique stores and gift shops.

We headed back to Munich for our “farewell dinner” at the Hofbrau House, a famous, 400 year old beer hall. It was a fun time.

I think the band conductor has had plastic surgery to permantly put a smile on his face.

We were entertained by a Bavarian band, dancers (who looked very bored) and some guys with whips who came out and snapped them in time with music. The hall was filled with hundreds of people at long tables. The beer came by the liter. We all had wienerschnitzel  warn potato salad.

Dan and Poolman. Note the liter size beers..

On Sunday morning, we were out of the hotel by 8 am. bound for Munich airport.  That’s 2 am Savannah time. We didn’t land in Savannah, after three airline segments, until 9:30 pm. It was a long day. On the trans-Atlantic leg, I watched an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” and three movies.

The Tourist — Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie (Cute)

Morning Glory — Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton (Pretty stupid, but I enjoyed it because of my TV news background. dAt one point or another, I “knew” everyone of the characters in the film. They just had different names.)

Red — Bruce Willis, John Malkovitch, Richard Dreyfuss, Morgan Freeman, Mary Louise Parker (Pretty good. I love Mary Louise!)

I got a good night sleep Sunday night and was back at work by late morning on Monday.

It was a fun and interesting trip, but I’m glad to be home. Two weeks is a long time to be gone for me.

A surpise encounter

Mrs. Poolman and I watched The Blind Side last night on DVD, when we had a bit of a surprise.

Mrs. P says I drive her crazy with my obsessive behavior over identifying actors. I guess I’m guilty. I’ll see an actor or actress I recognize but cannot place, and I need to figure out what they played in the past. Fortunately www.imdb.com comes in very handy.

So we were watching last night, and during the scene when Sandra Bullock is in the DMV, I paused the DVD and said, “Hey, that actress! Who is it?”

Mrs. P said she thought she looked familiar but she couldn’t place it.  I told her I think she used to work for me.

Google to the rescue and there she was. Stacey Turner was the actress. I knew her as Stacey Williams, which was her married name at the time. I had hired her as a reporter when I ran the news department of the CBS affiliate TV station here in Savannah in the 1990s. We haven’t had any contact since I left that station nearly ten years ago.

That was a nice little surprise. I hope she does well and we’ll see more of her.

An easy holiday weekend

This has been a good weekend – relaxing and enjoyable, if not overly productive.

Both our children and their spouse/girl friend came over Christmas afternoon and we cooked a major holiday meal – turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, squash casserole, cranberry sauce, fresh green beans, and more. We really cooked too much, but both kids took large amounts of leftovers home with them. They won’t need to cook until they just get tired of turkey.

I spent most of Saturday bringing my home computer back from the dead. I restored it to its original factory condition and then reinstalled software, files etc, with several comprehensive anti-malware scans along the way. I encountered no bugs, but it did take awhile.

Saturday evening, we went down to our friends/neighbors, the W’s, for a holiday open house. They had all three of their children home at the same time, which is unusual, so they decided to have a party. Very nice. We came home and hit bed early.

I had the best of intentions of getting up on Sunday and starting to work on my part of our bedroom. We want to do a major clean-out and paint the room. When that is complete, we will replace the carpet there and in the other bedrooms with hardwood or laminate flooring. It will match the rest of the house. Well, I slept late; made some ham and eggs for Mrs. P’s brunch and then got back on the computer-update project. Mrs. P slaved away at her share of the bedroom project and we had a car load of stuff to take to Goodwill.

We decided to hit a Sunday afternoon movie. We saw “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin. It was a very good movie –not an Academy Award winner, but a well written and well acted romantic comedy. Meryl Streep was good, but Alex Baldwin was off the chart. The plot is basically that Meryl and Alex are couple divorced for 10 years. They hook up at their son’s college graduation and begin an affair. Alex has remarried to a younger woman. You can imagine how it goes from there. Steve Martin is also their as the “third wheel,” an architect who is wooing Meryl.  It is a predictable path, but an enjoyable journey, all the same. Their three grown children are a little too saccharine for my taste, but that is the flick’s only real weak point. Don’t expect a complex plot, just enjoy Meryl and Alex doing their thing. If you are looking for a diversion over the holidays, it’s worth the price of admission and a box of popcorn.

We spent today running errands, to Goodwill, Home Depot for paint, etc.  Mrs. P is back to work for two days tomorrow so I’ll have no excuses not to get some work done.

We’re just hanging out this evening, watching Georgia play in the Independence (formerly known as the Poulan Weedeater) Bowl. Mrs. P has cooked a homemade turkey pot pie. If  it’s as good as it smells, I’ll post the recipe later.

Which one is Steve McQueen, and where is the motorcycle?

Recently our two dogs have decided their life is a movie. Unfortunately, it’s not a regular dog movie like Turner and Hootch or Eight Below. No, they have to stretch their thespian talents and star in a regular people-movie – The Great Escape.the-great-escape-poster

We have two dogs. One is an eight year old chocolate lab, Casey, who we adopted from a lab rescue organization when he was roughly two years old. Casey is very sweet, but not the most energetic or intellectual of dogs. Sammy is a year-old female border collie mix (???) who we adopted from the Humane Society last fall. Sammy is bright, energetic and probably the happiest dog in the world.

The POWs

The POWs

They really don’t have a tough life. For the most part they are house dogs. However, when Mrs. Poolman and I are both at work for the entire day (which is only three days a week), their domain is our large back yard. They have plenty of shade and water, and access to the garage through a doggie-door. Not a bad life. It’s not air conditioned, but whatever did dogs do before AC was invented?

Our back yard is divided in half and separated by a waist high chain link fence. They normally stay in the section with the swimming pool. Their favorite escape route is to tunnel under the chain link that divides the yard, into the other section and then under the wooden fence to ultimate freedom.

The Tunnel

The Tunnel

On Saturday, the camp commandant (myself) went to Home Depot and picked up some concrete blocks and 24-inch sections of rebar. On Sunday, I dug a shallow trench on the dog-side of their favorite escape route. I half-buried the blocks and then reinforced them by hammering the rebar into the ground to hold them in place.

The Deterent

The Deterent

On Monday, we get to see how it works.