Wednesday, November 2, 2016

1970'S Verses NOW !!!

Today I had to drive my 2 oldest children to the DMV to get their learners permits renewed. Yes my 17 year old son and my 19 year old daughter STILL have their learners permits, As I still do not feel they are ready for full driving licenses.

For today’s standards I am a strict parent. I am not a buddy, and pal or a friend to my children, I AM A FATHER !!!!! As that I take the responsibility seriously.

The drive to the DMV is about 50 minutes from our house and then, well you all know the fabulous wait at our lovely government offices, (LOL), then lunch and the 50 minute ride home, gave me some quality father, son & daughter talking time.

My daughter’s almost 20 year old boyfriend who does have his drivers license, (and is a fathers dream for a daughters boyfriend, also has a healthy fear of me ~ LOL), I would not let him drive another couple with them, on prom night, even though he is an excellent driver.

On the way to the DMV, my son notices a sign that says; “Do Not Enter ~ Wrong Way”, and he says wouldn’t the cars heading towards you be your first clue. I told him if he would watch the news, he would see at least once a week here in Georgia especially near Atlanta, some non-caring driver who enters the expressway by the wrong way and has a head-on and kills themselves or someone else.

The other thing that is on the news here in Georgia EVERY week is a bunch of kids that are in the car together, and one changes the radio, or somehow distracts the driver for a split second, and because of that distraction they can not react in time when a non-caring driver does something stupid. Then the car full of kids are killed. And that is why I will not allow my daughters boyfriend to drive a double date around. If he is driving my daughter on a date, then it had better JUST be my daughter in his vehicle only !!!! And he abides by my rules and so does my daughter ~ their friends don’t understand it and think I am a %&&%&%%%^ prude, but oh well, IT’S MY DAUGHTER !!! PERIOD !!!

Our highways are filled with non-caring drivers. Ride down the interstate in the morning at rush hour and look next to you, watch the lady putting on her makeup, the guy reading his report for work, another talking on his cell phone, yet another arguing with the talk radio station, and yet another woman adjusting her pantyhose, the construction worker eating his breakfast, everyone doing everything except paying attention to driving.

Read my blog “My Philosophy” read about the accident I had that turned my life around. A guy late for work blew through a stop sign at 80+ miles per hour hitting me a flipping my Blazer upside down a sending it sliding down the highway on its roof for 300 yards. Almost killing me for being 6 minutes late!!! A non-caring driver 6 minutes late for work blew through a stop sign for what, an extra .35 cents in his pay check. Is that what my life boiled down too, being worth his carelessness for .35 cents extra in his paycheck.

That’s when my fatherly discussion with my children took over. I told them when they started to drive on their own they had to be defensive drivers, a non-caring driver was around every hill, turn, bend and corner and just then as I said those words a Fed-ex truck whipped out in front of me, causing me to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting him, proving my point.

I told my children it was a shame that they were growing up when they were. I said that when I was growing up in the 70’s there weren’t as many non-caring drivers. It was not a thought for a bunch of us to jump in a car and not care were we ended up. Just to get in a car and cruise, ride until we couldn’t ride no more. We would sometimes leave home and end up at the Jersey shore, or the Pocono Mountains. One time we ended up in Nevada. But it was carefree and we didn’t have to worry about non-caring drivers popping up out of nowhere.

Also in the 70’s the worst I had to worry about going to school was maybe having to meet somebody out front at the flag pole. Maybe I would have to clean their clock or maybe they would clean my clock, but after wards we would get up dust ourselves off, shake hands and walk away. Nowadays you have to worry about offending someone and having them come back with a gun and blow you away, half your classmates away and then your teacher, just because you called them a name.

Another thing in the 70’s, a group of us would walk South Street in Philadelphia on Friday & Saturday nights and then go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight, we would be carefree with no worries at all. I use to be one of the few white people that could walk 63rd street in Philadelphia untouched. Nowadays if you walked South Street or 63rd St. you would be mugged for 20 bucks and a Timex.

Now it has been just 30 years since I personally did all these things myself, experienced all of these things of life, would I let my children go to the Pocono’s or the Jersey shore? Would I let my children go on a cross country trip to Nevada? Would I let my children walk South Street or 63rd Street in Philadelphia? NOT WITHOUT ME !!!!! NOT TODAY !!!!!

In the 30 years since I did all those things, our society has made all types of advances in technology, medicine and social reform, BUT HAVE WE ADVANCED ????

Something to think about !!~~!!

Just one man’s opinion. As always, put the wind in your hair and keep the sun to your back. Be good and stay safe. Peace, Love and prosperity to all.

Good Journeys !!!

Frank WOLF

watchdog taking a BITE out of corruption!

Copyright

If you like this blog or any others that you read and would like to hear me in person, I am available for speaking engagements.

I still have some 2007 dates available; contact me at 706-348-1308© Frank J. Ball Sr.

all rights owned by Frank J. Ball Sr. All rights reserved. Written permission must be secured from owner to use or reproduce this material.

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Tags:1970’S Verses NOW !!!

1970s Movie Review of the Week - "The Stepford Wives"

Based on the 1972 best seller by Ira (Rosemary’s Baby) Levin, adapted to the big screen by William (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) Goldman, and directed by Bryan Forbes, The Stepford Wives is an interesting thriller that doesn’t quite thrill and a social satire that doesn’t quite go far enough. There isn’t an equal balance but the material carries the film until its final scenes when the movie finally goes off track and loses all the momentum it has tried to build up for its first 90 minutes.

Katharine Ross stars as Joanna, a housewife and wanna be photographer in New York City with two young daughters, who is preparing to move to the suburban community of Stepford, along with her lawyer-husband Walter. Stepford seems like a quaint, ideal suburban neighborhood but Joanna almost immediately finds herself going a little stir crazy without the hustle and bustle of city life. She finds that most of the women of Stepford are obsessed with their housework and unusually devoted to their husbands. On the first day Walter is greeted by their neighbor Carol, who delivers a casserole to him.

Soon enough some relief comes in the form of Bobbi (Paula Prentiss), another newcomer to the community. She is sloppy and freewheeling and speaks her mind. They also befriend Charmaine (nicely played by Tina Louise, Ginger from Gilligan’s Island), an avid tennis player who finds an opponent on the court in Joanna. The three of them decide to create a club for women (Walter has joined an all male club so fair is fair after all) but find that most of the wives who come to the meeting only want to talk about housework. This is a terrifically satirical scene and I began to think I was watching a devious black comedy unfold. Another involves Bobbi and Joanna walking into a house overhearing the occupants making love with the wife seemingly reaching rapturous heights of orgasm. Later they run into the couple and we see that the wife is a beauty while the husband is your typical older small town pharmacist.

My opinion was heightened when a series of scenes occur grabbing the attention of Walter and Joanna. Their neighbor, Carol, is in a minor car accident at the supermarket and begins repeating the same phrases over and over. When the ambulance takes her away both Walter and Joanna notice that it drives off in the opposite direction of the hospital. Then, while driving by Charmaine’s house, Joanna and Bobbi spot a bulldozer digging up the tennis court and a visit to the house proves that Charmaine has changed and appears to be more like the other wives than Joanna and Bobbi.

This is where the movie veers off some and turns serious by wanting to become a thriller. Joanna knows things are wrong but Walter thinks she is just having a hard time adjusting to suburban life. Bobbi also knows things are not kosher. At first they think it’s something in the water so we get an obligatory scene of them taking a water sample to a scientist (who happens to be an ex-lover of Joanna’s) Joanna goes to the city to show some of her photos to a photographer and when she returns things have gone from bad to worse. The movie then makes a near fatal error of trying turn into a thriller. Joanna has more or less been sucked into a Twilight Zone-ish situation – we already know that. Director Forbes feels the need to beat it over our heads instead of continuing to poke a little fun at the situation.

The film really goes off the rails in its final sequences as Joanna learns the truth and begins facing off against the villains. Forbes throws out any desire to further satire his material and tried to grab the audience by the throat with thrills. He even sets one of his final set pieces in a gothic looking mansion (which must totally stand out in a community like Stepford) amidst a powerful rain storm complete with thunder and lightning. I was starting to think I was watching a Vincent Price movie.

The Stepford Wives is a marginally decent movie with a strong one waiting to break out (the film was remade by Frank Oz in 2004 and was even worse). Maybe the material is just not suitable for a good production. Or maybe the film could have used a different director (imagine what someone like Elaine May might have done with this script). The wives should have been noticeably different from their real selves. We should have seen more of them being frumpy and lazy and then have them far sexier after the change occurred. Reportedly screenwriter Goldman had written that the women would all wear miniskirts in their new state but director Forbes vetoed that and went for a more traditional ’50s look. It doesn’t work.

The performances range from merely adequate to terrific. Katharine Ross was absolutely beautiful but her acting ability was marginal at best. Peter Masterson (as her husband) is limited by the script in the kind of performance he could have given. (Incidentally, Masterson’s daughter Mary Stuart, who would become a successful actress in her own right, made her screen debut as the youngest daughter here). Paula Prentiss gave the performance of her career as the best friend. The film comes alive every time she is on screen and her absence is felt when the story veers away from her. Several of the smaller roles of the wives are poorly performed as if their robotic state carried over to their talent.

In the end The Stepford Wives is more frustrating than satisfying. There are plenty of strong moments but there are just as many weak ones as well. I think either another re-write of the screenplay was in order tilting the tone of the film one way or the other and not trying to divide it evenly. There is still a great satirical movie or a great thriller waiting to be made from this material.

Unfortunately this version is not it.

Tags:1970s Movie Review of the Week - “The Stepford Wives”

1950's Retro House Featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch

A recent feature in the Lifestyle section of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, (www.stltoday.com), featured a house down on the “Hill” area of southwest St. Louis that really hasn’t changed much since the 1950’s. The house, owned by the Formenti family, which has occupied it for 50+ years now, is part of a block of tract houses built in the 50’s. According to the Post, the inside of the house is a “perfectly preserved relic of a bygone era.”

The kitchen is a basic white that still has the original table and rotary telephone on the wall. The only thing I didn’t see in the kitchen was one of those black plastic wall clocks with the eyes that move from side to side. The only time anyone was allowed in the kitchen was when they needed to get something from the refrigerator. The bathroom features a lot of pink tile that was all the rage at the time. The floor is made of small pieces of tile, white, with a few gray ones thrown in that was also popular back then.

The upstairs living room was off limits to the Formenti children when they were growing up. most of the living took place downstairs in the unfinished basement.

The Formenti house may be one of the most well-preserved houses from the 50’s in the city, but if you take a close look, you’ll see that certain parts of south St. Louis is full of them. Take my uncle’s place for example. The neighborhood on the south side that he has lived in for the past 40 years is filled with bungalow-style tract houses that all look the same, from their neatly manicured Zoysia lawns out front to the screened in sun porch in the back. There’s the obligatory basketball hoop over the garage that’s never used and the plastic awning on the front that carries the owner’s initials on it.

Inside is the white kitchen with the black cat clock and next to that is the dining room with the large oak table and cabinet full of the “good china” that is never used except for company. But most of the time, “company” doesn’t use it anyway, they all sit and talk at the kitchen table. The living room is a showplace that is never used unless the guests are strangers that have never been there before. The sofa and chair are covered with clear plastic. When family visits they are directed to the “rathskeller” or basement.

The rathskeller, also known as the “family room” is where all of the action takes place. There’s a bar, stocked with liquor that is never drunk, the drink of choice is beer, which is stored in an old refrigerator that has been painted red. There’s the required neon Budweiser light over the bar, a console TV, and an old stereo complete with turntable and a stack of vinyl.

One of the hottest new decorating themes is retro and there are quite a few stores popping up around town that will sell you replicas of furnishings from the past. Or, you could just go and visit my uncle for some decorating ideas. He might even sell you that blond wood end table in the family room.

www.stltoday.com

Tags:1950’s Retro House Featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch

1972 - Joe Namath's Last Great Season

To an entire generation the name Joe Namath conjures up an iconic image from an era of controversial figure among who he stood shoulder to shoulder. Where you loved him or hated him, Joe will be forever emblazoned in our memory as he trotted off the field, one arm raised in victory after guaranteeing and then delivering victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in January of 1969. But when I think of Joe Namath I remember the 1972 season in what proved to be his last the last time in which he would lead a team on a run at the playoffs before the inevitability of age and injury took their permanent toll. Having missed most of two seasons with major injuries in 1970 and 1971 Namath roared back with a year as unlikely as any in his career.

The Jets fortunes had faded considerably during the three years since their Super Bowl win with many members of their championship team having completed or settled into the twilight of their careers. The defense was a ragtag bunch that gave up points nearly as fast as Joe could put them on the board, but in a season that was famous for the Miami Dolphins going 14-0-0 on the strength of a conservative run oriented offense Namath defied the odds by playing the game his own way one last time in much the same fashion that Brett Favre would confound the pundits two decades later. With an arsenal of receivers that included Rich Caster at tight end, Don Maynard and Eddie Bell at wide receiver with Emerson Boozer and John Riggins in the backfield Joe had an offense loaded up to score and was to average an amazing 17.4 yards per completion. Imagine that in today’s game when quarterbacks are averaging 10 and 11 yards a completion.

With his gun slinging style Namath was unafraid to put the ball into the teeth of the era’s zone defenses that were allowed the notorious bump and run that virtually sanctioned the mugging of wide receivers. Still, Namath lit up the scoreboard leading the league in touchdowns and yardages with two four hundred yard passing games. Think about this, Brett Favre topped four hundred yards only once in his entire career in the modern era when defensive backs are limited in their coverage of wide receivers. Namath did it twice in one year, the year most famous for its conservative play calling and tough defenses.

After an easy season opening win against Buffalo the Jets came into Baltimore in week two of the season for a showdown with their division rival Colts. On a sunny afternoon in Memorial Stadium, Namath rocked the once mighty Baltimore secondary for 496 yards and 6 touchdown on only 15 completions in 28 attempts while Johnny Unitas battled back with 376 yards on 26 completions in 45 attempts for 2 touchdowns as the Jets pulled out a 44 to 34 scorcher. Rich Caster reeled in 6 passes for 204 yards and 3 touchdowns while teammate Eddie Bell caught 7 passes for another 197 yards and a touchdown. It was a game for the ages and one that not many people saw outside of New York and Baltimore and a few snippets of highlights on Monday Night Football the following evening. It’s a shame the videotape of that game doesn’t exist. Here’s the scoring breakdown: New York Jets 44 at Baltimore Colts 34

Sunday, September 24, 1972, Baltimore, Maryland
Announcers: Curt Gowdy & Al DeRogatis

Scoring Recap
NYJ Eddie Bell 65 yard pass from Joe Namath (kick failed) 6 0
BAL Sam Havrilak 40 yard pass from Johnny Unitas (Jim O’Brien kick) 6 7
BAL Jim O’Brien 14 yard field goal 6 10
BAL Jim O’Brien 32 yard field goal 6 13
NYJ John Riggins 67 yard pass from Joe Namath (Bobby Howfield kick) 13 13
BAL Don McCauley 93 yard kickoff return (Jim O’Brien kick) 13 20
NYJ Don Maynard 28 yard pass from Joe Namath (Bobby Howfield kick) 20 20
NYJ Rich Caster 10 yard pass from Joe Namath (Bobby Howfield kick) 27 20
NYJ Bobby Howfield 14 yard field goal 30 20
BAL Don McCauley 1 yard rush (Jim O’Brien kick) 30 27
NYJ Rich Caster 79 yard pass from Joe Namath (Bobby Howfield kick) 37 27
BAL Tom Matte 21 yard pass from Johnny Unitas (Jim O’Brien kick) 37 34
NYJ Rich Caster 80 yard pass from Joe Namath (Bobby Howfield kick) 44 34

Joe Willie’s QB Rating on the Legendary Day was surprisingly not a perfect record which is 158.3, but a very high 123.6. Just in case you were wondering, here’s how it’s figured.

Passer rating is determined by four statistical components, each of which is computed as a number between zero and 2.375. The benchmarks for these statistics are based on historical averages. If any of the raw components are beyond the limits of zero or 2.375, the component is set to limiting value of zero or 2.375 as the case may be.

  • The component for completion percentage, C, is calculated as:
  • The component for yards per attempt, Y, is calculated as:
  • The component for touchdowns per attempt, T, is calculated as:
  • The component for interceptions per attempt, I, is calculated as:

The four components are then added, divided by 6, and multiplied by 100. Thus, the formula for passer rating can be given as:

Confused? Baffled? Need a PHD for your Doctorate in Footballology? You’re not the only one.

Nine weeks into the season the Jets were 6-3-0 and in the hunt for the playoffs facing a showdown with the undefeated Miami Dolphins. Holding a slim 24-21 lead late in the game they were stunned when ancient Dolphins’ quarterback Earl Morral not known for his mobility scrambled for a thirty yard touchdown to win the game in what proved to be the closest contest the Dolphins were to play that year. The loss put New York in a position it would be difficult to climb out of.

But the Jets struggled on and came into the 13th week of the season, a Monday Nighter in Oakland at 7-5-0 needing a win to stay in the race for the AFC Wild Card. The Jets had lost their star running back John Riggins to a knee injury and had virtually no running game that night. Namath was suffering from the flu, but moved the Jets up and down the field to within 17-16 until a late Raider score put the contest away. He finished that game with 25 completions in 46 attempts for 403 yards. Don Maynard in the last great game of a Hall of Fame career caught 7 passes for 131 as he passed Raymond Berry to become the all time leader in pass receptions that night. New York Jets 16 at Oakland Raiders 24

Monday, December 11, 1972, Oakland, California
Announcers: Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell & Don Meredith

Scoring Recap
OAK George Blanda 48 yard field goal 0 3
NYJ Rich Caster 49 yard pass from Joe Namath (Bobby Howfield kick) 7 3
OAK Fred Biletnikoff 39 yard pass from Daryle Lamonica (George Blanda kick) 7 10
NYJ Bobby Howfield 25 yard field goal 10 10
NYJ Bobby Howfield 30 yard field goal 13 10
OAK Charlie H. Smith 1 yard rush (George Blanda kick) 13 17
NYJ Bobby Howfield 42 yard field goal 16 17
OAK Raymond Chester 68 yard pass from Daryle Lamonica (George Blanda kick) 16 24

With the playoffs lost, Joe sat out the season closer leading the league at year end in with 2,816 yards and 19 touchdowns despite only playing in 13 games. And although Joe was to have his moments in the fading seasons of his career, he would never have another year like 1972.

For an intriguing look into the life and career of Joe Namath check out Mark Kriegel’s Namath: A Biography

Tags:1972 - Joe Namath’s Last Great Season

1960s Rhythm & Blues: A Primer

R&B came of age during the 1960s, when such popular sounds coming from Motown, Stax/Volt Atlantic Records and various points all across the United States dominated AM Radio and inspired generations of musicians and music-lovers alike.

R&B didn’t really get its signature sound, though, until the late 1950s, when singer/songwriter Ray Charles emerged on the scene. A true innovator, the singer came to be known as the inventor of Rhythm & Blues when he took Blues riffs and married them with Gospel harmonies to much acclaim. Though Charles was criticized within the Black community for secularizing many popular Gospel tunes, he would go on to have a number of Top Ten hits with such songs as “Night Time Is the Right Time,” “What’d I Say” and “Hit the Road, Jack.”

As the 1960s dawned, a new sound emerged from Detroit, dubbed by producer Berry Gordy as the Sound of Young America. Funky and sophisticated all at once, the Motown sound, which included such artists as Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Mary Wells, the Supremes, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, came to define much of R&B during this period. What made the music popular was not only the famous personalities that came out of Motown, but the music that fronted them. Known as the Funk Brothers, a collection of jazz-trained musicians around Detroit that Gordy personally selected, these studio musicians laid down tracks that would have young America grooving to their funky rhythms and beats.

Where the Motown sound was slick and often watered down for mainstream tastes, the Stax/Volt sound was raw, gritty, and uncompromisingly Southern-fried. Emerging out of Memphis, where many blues artists during a previous era made their mark, Stax/Volt brought Southern blues and R&B to American radio with widespread success. With such names as Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Booker G & the MGs, and later Aretha Franklin, Stax/Volt, which later merged with Atlantic Records, would come to inspire many of the early seventies funk and R&B groups with their signature style, focusing on the rhythm section, especially the bass guitar, for its sound.

But one artist that emerged from the 1950s R&B scene and became famous during the 1960s was James Brown. Known as Soul Brother No. 1 and the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Brown would set the foundations that later became funk music during the 1970s. During the late 60s, he also created an anthem for Black America when he released “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Having one of the tightest R&B bands around, Brown created funk beats that would later be sampled by rap groups such as Public Enemy. A true innovator, Brown set the standard for what R&B music would come to look and sound like during the 1960s.

Though he didn’t belong to any particular sound that defined much of 1960s R&B, singer Sam Cooke was definitely in a league of his own. Originally a frontman for the Gospel group The Soul Stirrers, Cooke struck out on his own as a solo act to much success. Cooke earned hits with such songs as “Cupid,” “Chain Gang,” and “Wonderful World.” Like many of the Motown singers, Cooke’s style was much smoother and jazz-influenced. He was able to turn a phrase to interpret a line or lyric with gut-wrenching effect. His Dylan-inspired song “A Change is Gonna Come,” which reflected the political and social movements of the day is a perfect example of his superior song styling. Cookie would later inspire such artists as Rod Stewart and also set the standard for smooth R&B singers whose phrasings teased out the seductive qualities that define R&B today.

Tags:1960s Rhythm & Blues: A Primer

1973's The Wicker Man: Burn Baby Burn!

Police Sgt. Howie (Edward Woodward), of the Scotland police, receives an anonymous letter from the island farming community of Summerisle, asking him to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, Rowan Morrison, there. He travels Summerisle and discovers a secretive, closed-knit pagan-like society. Summerisle is led by the strange Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee).

Howie is a devout Christian; he is shocked by the islanders’ open sexuality and belief in the old nature gods. As his investigation continues, he begins to suspect that she was sacrificed. It was described in an island library book about the May Day celebrations in which, during bad harvests, a young girl or more suitable person is sacrificed in hopes of a better harvest in the upcoming year. In the horrifying final scene, the whole truth (about the townspeople and himself) is revealed when Howie meets the Wicker man!

The basic plot is simple but takes a turn which some viewers might not figure how it turns out. The first ¾ is rather slow (minus the nude girl scenes) but it picks up slightly near the end. This is NOT a movie for high-paced action. It slowly builds to one horrific scene – not horrific in a gory sense but in an evil, demented “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” way.

The atmosphere is relaxed with the only action being Howie’s outbursts of Christian values. That is, until the last scene. Then it becomes a frantic plea for escape and one man’s faith against a whole town’s faith in a spine-tingling scene. The whole movie takes place on the island with highlands, near the ocean, and within the old walls of the town buildings – mostly outdoors with a few night scenes.

Edward Woodward plays Sergeant Neil Howie, the policeman investigating Rowan Morrison’s disappearance. His character is righteous but he just tries to force his Christian religious beliefs onto this town which has its own beliefs for generations. He is there to investigate and that is all. It gets annoying after a while but he did not write the script.
Edward Woodward is a veteran actor (star of the 80s hit show, “The Equalizer”) and does his best here, especially in the final scenes.

Christopher Lee plays Lord Summerisle, the eccentric leader of the island. The highlight is him dancing in the May Day parade – in a dress, with make-up, and a long black wig! It’s hilarious! Aside from that, the veteran horror actor, Christopher Lee, is great.

Britt Ekland plays Willow, daughter of the bed and breakfast owner. She is gorgeous and the highlight is her dancing naked (my pants did a dance too! :) while trying to seduce Howie from the adjoining room by singing (lip-synching) and pounding on the wall.

Aubrey Morris plays the Old Gardener/Gravedigger. He’s a veteran actor and has done some horror, including Bordello of Blood (1996), Lifeforce (1985), The Night Caller (1965), and Legend of the Mummy (1997).

Irene Sunters plays May Morrison, mother of Rowan.

The cinematography is good for its time but a bit faded today. No special shots.

There are not really any SFX except for the wicker man. The sound is suitable. The music is suitable for a Celtic pagan society, very outdoorsy. Some viewers complain of the music being too 70s but it is just how Celtic folksongs sound like. It fits.

This is not for all horror fans as it is rather slow-paced and not gory but I enjoyed it. The first half is mediocre but it builds up to a controversial ending for the 70s. It is partly based on fact. The real Lord Summerisle and his town’s beliefs were used as source material for the movie. It’s worth a view just for the final scene.

Tags:1973’s The Wicker Man: Burn Baby Burn!

1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic: Most Reliable Vehicle I Ever Owned

I bought a brand new Jeep Cherokee Classic in 1998 and drove it for ten years before going out to buy a new vehicle. The only reason I ‘downgraded’ to a Chevy Cobalt was due to gas prices in 2008 and the 80 miles a day I drove back and forth to work wasn’t exactly financially benefiting to my family. Although Chevy is my second choice manufacturer, the Jeep stole my heart with the power of the inline 6, the control that the 4 wheel drive produced and most of all, the ease of having to get repairs done, not that it happened often. The Jeep had 357,000 miles on it in 2008 when my husband started to drive it and today, three years later, it has 408,000 miles and still running with the original engine and transmission, without a miss.

Granted, after my divorce in 2001, I had to make sure that I always had a vehicle to get back and forth to work. While I was learning to balance the changes in my new life, raise four kids, continue my education and keep up on the bills the Jeep became an important part of my life as a nonstop mom and career woman. The last thing I needed was a money-pit for a vehicle; so, I was grateful that I got the Jeep and he got the Ford Explorer, but that is another story all in its own.

So I have to be honest, the water pump did need to be replaced three times since it hit 150,000 miles, but I did all three replacements myself in as little as 40 minutes at the cost of $45 per pump. The power-steering pump went at 300,000 miles and I replaced that myself, although that took me an hour, but was only $55 out of my pocket. I am far from a mechanic: 34 years old, always been a female and I am a business professional, not exactly appearing to be a grease monkey. The mechanic I almost hired offered to change it for about $300, so I saved myself $250 and a day of being without my Jeep. Besides tires, brakes, oil changes the only other thing that needed to be replaced were the U-joints at about 200,000 and 350,000 miles, this cost me less than $100 for parts, both times combined, 2 hours the first time with an assist from my brother and about 1 ½ hours the second time for me to do it alone.

Besides poor gas mileage, about 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway, I know that I own one of the most reliable, best driving vehicles ever made. Never had I been stranded on the side of the road, nor had I worried about it when I drove it regularly. After religiously keeping up on maintenance for the last 14 years, I still have no problem taking it for a drive, on road or even a little off road. The muffler is starting to go now, but even washing it weekly will not stop that from rusting out in upstate New York, so muffler number three is about to take its place. I am waiting for the 500,000 mark now, patiently. Just another mile marker for Jeep. If there were a way to wave a magic wand and get 30 mpg, I would sill be driving it every day.

Tags:1998 Jeep Cherokee Classic: Most Reliable Vehicle I Ever Owned

1988 Toyota: The Best Truck I Ever Owned

The best truck I ever owned was a 1988 Toyota 4 Cylinder short bed. It wasn’t much of a truck and was falling apart, but the engine, the Japanese 22R was under the hood. I knew the engine needed to be replaced, so I looked and looked everywhere, but every wrecking yard that got a Toyota with the 22R, the engine had been taken. My wife and I took that truck everywhere together. We went camping, fishing, puddle jumping, picnics and more. We also used it to help others who needed furniture moved, and made a great summer work truck to run around in.

One day we were driving the truck and blew a radiator hose. We stopped at a gas station and I worked on it enough to get us home. Unfortunately, the head gasket had blown on the side and I didn’t have the money to fix it, because it would be expensive. Despite the head gasket, I was able to drive it anyways with little trouble for three years. Oh it had its moments, but when it was time to go, it went. Then finally, after I got a new car, the truck finally began breaking down. It no longer had the get up and go it once had and when I opened the hood, steam shot out from the side. I slowly nursed it home, and finally parked it, but not before the mileage turned almost 300,000 miles.

My wife and I have never forgotten that truck and the times we had in it. One time she even tried to drive it, but she couldn’t manage the concept of clutch and gas. We lurched back and forth, in the parking lot until she gave up. We still laugh about it today. That’s why my Toyota was the best truck I ever owned.

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1985 Ban on Gay Male Blood Donors Stays Put

A 25- year- old federal ban prohibiting gay men to donate blood was reconsidered on Friday, June 10. Federal Legislators decided against lifting the ban at the discretion of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety voted 9 to 6 in favor of keeping the ban in place. The law against gay males donating blood was first implemented in 1985 during the climax of the AIDS scare. AIDS/HIV became prevalent in the gay scene beginning in the 1980’s. The law was imposed in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

The Federal Drug Administration says that the AIDS/HIV virus risk is 60% higher in gay men than on other individuals in the general population. The ban says that a man who has had sex with another man even once since 1977 is at a high risk for carrying the virus and is not eligible to donate blood. There have been 9 reported cases since 1994 of the transmission of HIV through blood products. The 25-year- old ban that has been called “archaic” by gay activists groups was imposed before there were ways to test blood for HIV/AIDS as well as other diseases that could be potentially dangerous. The Center for Disease Control Prevention claims gay men likely to donate have an HIV infection rate that is 15 times higher than the general population.

The American Red Cross recommended the ban be lifted and implementing a “deferral” period. The “deferral” would mean that men who have had sex with other men would be required to wait a 12-month period prior to donating blood. Gay rights and advocacy groups such as HRC.org, call the ban discriminatory against gay men. A statement made by Senator John Kerry D-Mass to San Jose Mercury News says, “This lingering policy is responsible for turning away thousands of healthy donors from blood clinics across the country, not because they have engaged in highly risky behavior but because they are gay. This is blood that could save lives”. Kerry led a group of senators in a request to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the ban be lifted.

An estimated 219,000 pints of potential donor blood is being withheld each year by keeping the ban in place. Gay rights advocacy groups claim that this policy is discriminatory because there is no such ban on heterosexual individuals with multiple sex partners. The policy specifically prohibits men who have engaged in sexual relations with other men to give blood. The ban makes no mention of others in the general population who could be at risk for transmitting a disease or virus if blood is donated. Gay rights groups, gay men, bi-sexual men, and multiple blood groups are calling the ban “outdated” and “unnecessary”.

The 1985 blood ban has been up for review twice in the past ten years prior to the recent review that took place last Friday, June 11. Each time the ban has not been revised and the policy sticks the same way it did when it was first imposed. The decision was made that no change or “lift” of the ban will take place at this time.

Sources:

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1980's Xanadu

“Xanadu” is the now cult classic movie released into theaters in 1980. It ushered in the eighties with all the cinematic fanfare you could possibly imagine. This is one of the single most excessively eighties movies I have ever seen in my entire life. (Possibly with the exception of, “Breakin'” from 1984.) It’s so over the top, so hard to believe, and so full of musical numbers that you will never find another movie like this one.

The plot centers around a muse sent to Earth to inspire an artist. This muse is played by Olivia Newton John, fresh off her success from, “Grease”. The artist is played, in a rather forgettable way, by Michael Beck. (The role was originally meant to be played by Andy Gibb.) But believe it or not, the leading man isn’t important in this movie. He’s sort of a plot device. Because also appearing in the movie, and in his last film role, was Gene Kelly. As silly as this movie is at times, it’s well worth a watch just to see Gene Kelly performing again. He still sounds the same when he sings and he still dances beautifully, even in the ridiculous musical numbers they created. The plot doesn’t matter at all, what does matter is the endless string of highly stylized musical numbers.

I say it’s ridiculous, but I actually mean that in a good way. You know that happy feeling you get when you find one of your favorite music videos from that 80’s online? Maybe you haven’t seen it forever and it just gives you a wave of nostalgia. This movie offers that feeling up the entire way through. It was a complete and total flop at theaters, making almost no money. It was so bad, that it actually inspired John Wilson to create the Razzie Awards honoring terrible movies. They still run today.

But this is one of those movies that’s so bad, it’s good. Olivia Newton John’s character comes to inspire the creation of a roller disco. Yeah, a roller disco. The culmination of the entire movie takes place in that roller disco, in what might be the most lavish musical number ever filmed in the eighties. There are fleets of stunt skaters, Olivia Newton John singing, lights, magic tricks, dancers, costume changes, themes, glitter, and more.

This movie makes an excellent excuse for a themed eighties party. It’s fun for kids to watch, even if they won’t understand enough to be in on the joke. There’s just no way I could possibly describe it. You have to see it for yourself to believe it, and you definitely should. For anyone who collects films from the eighties or enjoys VH1’s, “I love the 80’s” list show, this is an absolute must-see for you. Also, because of its cult-classic status, and because it flopped at the box office, you can find it for cheap. If you’re a pop culture fan, you should definitely own this one.

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1984, Big Brother Vs. Adolf Hitler

1984 is a book about a corrupt leader who resembles a big government. George Orwell the author of the book was passionate about horrors and wrote about such atrocities in brilliant satires. In the novel 1984 Orwell foretold a society under the all powerful, omniscient Big Brother. 1984 is a cautionary tale which cautions us about the dangers of a totalitarian government. He mentions ” For citizens of this future world, there is no hiding, no such thing as privacy. Big Brother is always watching you.” (pg.2)

This quote is a warning of the dangers of a totalitarian government in the future. This is similar to Hitler because he also watched the Nazis and the Jews and was also very controlling.

Adolf Hitler is another leader who is similar to Big Brother. He is similar to Big Brother because he is very controlling and is obsessed with power. “Hitler was a rationalist and materialist…. What interested Hitler was power, and his belief in Providence or Destiny was only a projection of his own sense of power.” This quote shows how obsessed Hitler was with power and being able to control people. ” Black magic, white magic – Hitler is the typical person with no firm foundation, with all the shortcomings of the superficial, of the man without reverence, quick to judge and quick to condemn.” He had no feelings and didn’t think twice about his actions. This relates to Big Brother because he was also quick to judge he never gave anyone a second chance it was either your equal or your dead.

A cult of personality arises when leaders such as Big Brother and Adolf Hitler use mass media to create a heroic public image through unquestioning flattering and praise. Hitler created a cult of personality for himself by making himself seem god-like and infallible. “Personality cults are most common in regimes with totalitarian systems of government, that seek to radically alter or transform society according to (supposedly) revolutionary new ideas.”(pg.1) This quote relates to Hitler and Big Brother because they both transformed society into their revolutionary new ideas using propaganda and technique. Hitler and Big Brother presented themselves as god-like to gain people’s appeal.

Hitler has taken part in many cruel actions that relate to Big Brother. One action Hitler has taken part in that relates to 1984 is the holocaust. In the holocaust he killed millions of Jews because he was prejudice against them which relates to Big Brother because he was prejudice against intelligence. Another action Hitler has taken part in that relates to 1984 is anti-Semitism. He used anti-Semitism to advance his career and to consolidate his power. This relates to Big Brother because he also used anti Semitism to gain power. He was prejudice against intelligence and made everyone equal.

Adolf Hitler has taken part in many actions that relate to Big Brother. The holocaust is one action Hitler has taken part in that relates to Big Brother. In the holocaust he killed millions of Jews because he was prejudice against them which relates to Big Brother because he was prejudice against intelligence. Big Brother also used other methods of stopping those who were intelligent such as the memory chip which erased peoples memory.

Anti-Semitism was another method Hitler used to advance his career and to consolidate his power. Hitler blamed the Jews for political gain often using them as a scapegoat to gain more power. The Nazi party played on historic fears and complaints with great effect. This relates to 1984 because Big Brother also used people’s fears as a way to consolidate his power. They both did anything they could to gain power.

1984 is a cautionary tale which cautions us about the dangers of a totalitarian government. He mentions ” For citizens of this future world, there is no hiding, no such thing as privacy. Big Brother is always watching you.” This quote is a warning of the dangers of a totalitarian government in the future. Hitler is similar to Big Brother because they are both obsessed with power and use a cult of personality to create a heroic public image. Hitler is prejudice against the Jews and used them as a scapegoat for what he has done. Big Brother is prejudice against intelligence and they both kill anyone who is a threat to them. They both are strong leaders who will trick and play off people’s fears to gain more power.

Tags:1984, Big Brother Vs. Adolf Hitler

1982

School halls filled with kids,
us innocent kids in a fog,
Junior high jinks,
and fall setting in,
14 yrs. old and awkward within.

A child by most standards,
cravings of unknown things,
yet, to be found.

Children playing on play grounds,
Discovering a first kiss,
on the beaches of Newman Lake.

Maybe a trip to Moab Junction,
or Stateline bridge for a swim,
in summer time,
or jumping off the cliffs at Post Falls,
like Allen Skidmore did.

These were the lives of Mt. View Jr. High kids.
Sneeking out of our windows to stay with a crush,
First loves while riding the bus,

Playing football on our fields.
Wanting to be like the older kids,so much.
A teacher to take care of us.

Children playing games of life,
who we are today,
still in love,
watching out for eachother,
like the angels from heaven above.

Dreams won and lost,
our own children raised,
as age sets in.

We have eachother,
here to grow old with,
for whats left of our next forty years.

Written by: Michael Lonnie Vincent Boykin

Tags:1982

1990's "Tonight Show" Reruns During the Writer's Strike and What We Can Learn from Them

As this article’s being written–America is probably going to have to endure reruns of every TV show in existence through the end of the year as the result of the protracted WGA strike and writers waiting longer than they should to get what they more than deserve. While I can personally live with prime-time shows not getting back to business for a while–many of the late-night shows are the most frustrating to watch in reruns and suffering the most when we see monologues and comedic bits going back only one or two months ago talking about news stories that still basically apply…yet really don’t. I guess that proves that we’re too used to having topical subjects getting some kind of comedic perspective on a nightly basis through Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien…as pedestrian as some of their monologues may be.

Well, time to turn over to TV Land for a while instead and enjoy some TV from a more classic time, right? No, not necessarily–though that doesn’t hurt either. One of the most brilliant things I’ve seen Jay Leno’s version of “The Tonight Show” do last week while in reruns is dip into the older shows from the mid-90’s and airing a show each night from each year in that decade or by a current related theme. You can only imagine those who weren’t even born in 1993 tuning in and seeing a dark-haired Jay Leno with a little bit more of a na├»ve and gee-whiz sensibility in having his own show and following in the still fresh footsteps of Johnny Carson. Some might initially think Jay Leno used some Grecian formula on his hair and went to a barber that’s fifteen years behind the times. And then we probably have those who wonder why Branford Marsalis is there leading the band–subsequently not laughing at Jay Leno’s jokes as Kevin Eubanks does now…

While perhaps some people bristled recently having to watch a “Tonight Show” rerun from 1993, ’94 or ’95–I was instantly drawn in and sat there amazed at the realization of how much has changed in America and the world since Jay Leno started his reign on the “The Tonight Show.” A lot of us who have some good memories of the 90’s usually think that decade wasn’t all that long ago in the bigger picture of history. Yet viewing all the details on some of Leno’s shows reminded me that just about everything has changed since that time–including a relative peace about the state of the economy, movies, politics and the ever-evolving thing called music. Plenty of evidence showcasing all of that was in an episode shown late last week that originally aired in early April of 1995.

The state of politics…

Hearing a monologue where the top joke of the week was Ross Perot shows the quantum leap we’ve taken since the 1990’s in how we view the political spectrum. Little did we know then in our state of economic bliss how things would go under in the way of economic security and the more insidious nature to speed up political agendas within a decade. We certainly didn’t have to worry about the American people electing Ross Perot in either the 1992 or ’96 elections–and Leno’s monologues (while not maybe as influential as Johnny Carson’s monologues in making things move and shake) ultimately made Perot a punching bag of ridicule. Apparently we needed Johnny Carson again when George W. Bush became the next Presidential candidate to ridicule around 2000. Somehow all the monologues from Leno, Letterman and Conan then didn’t sway people to question Bush’s true ability to think intelligently or lead the country. Oddly, it’s only been in President Bush’s second term have their monologues possibly made a dent in general opinion…or maybe mostly via the American people’s own thoughtful volition.

Even though Bill Clinton’s administration was scarred by the Monica Lewinsky scandal by 1998–it seemed the late-night monologues had to turn to other people most of the time before ’98 to find someone to lampoon. Sure, Clinton still had his womanizing stigmas, but nobody not living in the White House really thought it would ever disrupt his Presidency. Most of the Clinton jokes by Leno in his mid-90’s monologues had to do with the battles with Newt Gingrich and the eventual Contract with America–plus Bill’s suspect marital relationship with Hillary. And here we thought some of that was a major burden on people’s backs.

Those political thoughts seem to paint America in the mid-90’s as a bit of a golden age of comfortableness not seen since the 1950’s. And it was probably akin to dangerous complacency in a lot of ways that even the 50’s naively went through.

The state of movies…

Here’s one that obviously needs no explanation in how things have changed. It just didn’t hit me earlier, though, how much movies and other forms of entertainment have evolved in such a short time since the 90’s. While most people cite 1939 as Hollywood’s golden year ever for movies (and fellow Associated Content producer, Timothy Sexton, http://ift.tt/2fGcH3o rightly cites 1980 as just as great)–I’ve long thought 1994 was close to the same caliber in movies that managed to influence all others that followed for the next ten years. Seeing a Leno rerun last week from 1993 (with guest Tom Hanks–promoting “A League of Their Own”) reminded me that within a year, he’d have two back-to-back Best Actor Oscars and be in one of the great movies of the 90’s: “Forrest Gump.” 1994 also gave us “Shawshank Redemption”, which eventually developed into one of the most beloved movies made ever by young and old alike. Add 94’s “The Lion King”, “Pulp Fiction” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” as all movies that influenced every movie you’ve seen since other than the gross-out comedy (that took the low road later with “Something About Mary”).

I also was reminded on other 90’s Leno reruns that Hollywood truly tried to bring back an old part of itself by making old-fashioned blockbusters for a while. A seemingly more sane Mel Gibson was promoting “Braveheart” on one episode from 1996 that brought back the four-hour epic that people didn’t mind sitting through again as well as the Oscars showering them with awards. Of course, Hollywood had record business in the 90’s–and they thought they could get away with almost anything. The rise of the indie feature in the next decade would change that to a degree. It’s a somewhat strange phenomena that Gibson managed to keep making big, epic, important movies in the 2000’s that you either loved or hated.

It was a telling sight seeing a younger Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, et al., before their fame and/or legend became too large for them to nearly contain. All of them are much more mature now and obviously struggling to top what they’ve already done. At least they’re the true emblems of class in Hollywood–despite peaking early and trying to keep up only ten years later in a time when movies drastically changed from when they started.

The state of music…

Out of all the others–this probably blew me away more than any. All you had to do was see one of those Leno reruns from 1995 when “The Tonight Show” somehow thought it’d be cool to have Anita Baker and James Ingram sing a soulful romantic ballad duet together at the end of the show. Hopefully some of you reading this can remember a time when you’d see a lot more of those type of musical performances at the end of not just late-night shows but right in prime-time and back when variety shows were still going. And you know Leno’s “Tonight Show” has always been hip, which shows how far we’ve gone just since 1995.

I wrote an article here on Associated Content detailing Celine Dion’s new 2007 musical sound and the death of the power ballad since her 90’s peak. The romantic power ballad was red hot in mid-90’s America until something happened to stop it. Obviously, some people threw a party and had a beer or more when that happened. But seeing a performance like that on a Leno rerun from only twelve years ago was somehow refreshing and eerie. There seemed to be a romanticism renaissance in America during that time that I hope we can still get back to. Maybe that’s only because I’m one of those quixotic types–though having music more reflective (or vice-versa) of the harsh realities of the hard-knock life (i.e. the rise of Hip-Hop and Rap) gives a recurring state of depression to the music charts that maybe isn’t quite as bad as polar-opposite 90’s Grunge was. And don’t even make me mention the downgrade in the pop songwriting world where the only bubbly songs left are just cookie cutter with no real feeling or emotion.

Obviously, the age of terrorism and general uncertainty of the future put more of a damper on a more positive outlook in music since 2001. The sexualizing of music has always been there–but the cynicism and an emergence of powerful people running corporations who have no sense of quality proved the ability to give vast changes in little time.

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And here we think of all other decades prior to the 90’s to be ancient history. Who would have thought that watching “Tonight Show” reruns from the early days of Jay Leno’s reign would give us a chance to see how fast things can change when we expect ten years to change things only slightly? The writer’s strike may be a nuisance for those demanding new episodes and monologues from “The Tonight Show” and other late-night shows. At least it provided us a chance to look back to analyze a decade that hasn’t been analyzed that thoroughly yet in relation to our current one. It also should make you pay a little more attention to this decade so you won’t be too shocked when it looks nostalgic to you in maybe only…three years.

Tags:1990’s “Tonight Show” Reruns During the Writer’s Strike and What We Can Learn from Them

1984 Grammy Night with Duran Duran

My first big concert was Duran Duran, in Pittsburgh, PA on February 28, 1984, on their Seven and the Ragged Tiger tour. Tickets were $13.75 apiece, and I wanted to get good ones. I convinced my Mom to sleep out on the sidewalk in front of the Civic Arena with me, to get good tickets. That morning, I did get a pretty decent seat, and my Mom bought a ticket somewhere in the back of the arena. I was only thirteen years old; she didn’t want me going all by myself but also didn’t want to embarrass me by sitting with me.

The day of the concert arrived. I’d been planning my outfit for weeks. My Mom and I went in, and she helped me find my seat. This was way before cell phones were commonplace, so we agreed to meet back at the car, after the show. The lights went down, and the screeching began. The opening act, a new wave band called Christmas Past, was pretty bad. Most of us who’d been standing, sat.

When Duran Duran came out, we went crazy. Every teenage girl in there had a favorite band member, and mine to this day is singer Simon leBon (after whom I later would name a son). I knew every word to every song, because I’d been playing the vinyl album nonstop since receiving it for Christmas. This was before video screens were used regularly at concerts, so to see one used was definitely the coolest thing any of us had ever seen. These guys were dressed to the nines, their hair and makeup was perfect, and they put on a fun show.

The standout moment happened during the show’s encore when bassist John Taylor disappeared from the stage for a moment, then returned and whispered something in Simon leBon’s ear. At that point, Simon announced that the band had just won a Grammy Award. It turns out that the Grammy Awards were happening the same night; Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Synchronicity by the Police both cleaned up, and Duran Duran won for Best Short Form Music Video (Girls on Film/Hungry Like the Wolf). Every time I hear about the Grammy Awards, I remember actually being in the room with Duran Duran when they found out about theirs in 1984.

When I met my Mom back out at the car, the car was running and she was in there, reading a book. Clearly, she’d been out here a while. “Didn’t you like the show?!?” I asked. My Mom did not understand that concerts had opening acts. She’d thought Christmas Past was Duran Duran, had been baffled at why her daughter liked such a bad group, and she’d left the concert to go back to the car and read a book. She’d totally missed Duran Duran.

Tags:1984 Grammy Night with Duran Duran

1996 Pontiac Sunfire: A Blast from My Past

Even though I love my 2012 Kia Sorento SUV, enjoyed my 1998 Mitsubishi Montero Sport SUV, and tolerated my first car, a 1991 Ford Tempo, that liked to stall while it was running (even though it was an automatic!), the best car I’ve ever owned would have to be the 1996 Pontiac Sunfire Coupe I got after I graduated high school. That sporty, Manta Green, zippy car was not only my very first brand new vehicle, that car literally saved my life. The Sunfire’s safe build, excellent gas mileage, and user-friendly features, easily make this my favorite car.

Safe Build Kept Me Alive

One night, nine months after I got my Sunfire, I was in a single-car accident while driving home on I-95. The air was thick with fog, and the roads were slick from an earlier rain storm. A possum ran in front of my car, and being the young driver I was, I swerved to miss the animal, rather than hitting it. The tires hit the wet grass when I over-corrected, and that sent my car fishtailing towards the trees clogging the median that separated the north and southbound lanes. My Sunfire went airborne and cut a massive hole through the tree canopy. I had no idea how bad the damage was until my mom showed me pictures of the wreckage the next afternoon. The only thing untouched by damage was the trunk. Despite the fact that my car was a total loss, it kept me safe. The seatbelts locked as they should have. The airbags deployed swiftly. But the feature that truly saved me by keeping my car from crumpling was the side-locking beams that ran through both sides of the frame. During previous instances of having to stop short, I would notice a loud locking sound, and I knew it was the safety beams engaging. Those side beams kept my car from trapping me inside a ball of metal. They allowed me to climb out of the car on my own. In short, the Sunfire’s safety features saved my life!

$20 to Fill Up a Tank!

One of the greatest memories I have of owning my Pontiac Sunfire would have to be the trips to fill up the gas tank…back when gas was only 98 cents a gallon! Even when the prices rose to just under $2.00 per gallon, the Sunfire still was the best vehicle for gas mileage that I’ve ever owned. I could fill up my tank for $20 and easily get 34 miles per gallon.

User Friendly

Although my Sunfire was a pretty sweet Manta Green color, it was not flashy by any means, but that did not stop it from having very user friendly features. My dad, however, was not thrilled by the “plastic” interior, but I didn’t mind. It gave it an almost spacey quality and made it easy to clean. The instrument knobs were ergonomically designed to be within easy reach.

Though I’ve owned several different makes and models of car, the Pontiac Sunfire was my favorite. I loved it so much and felt so safe driving it that I did not hesitate to purchase another after the first was wrecked. The safety, the great gas mileage, and the sporty features made this the best I’ve ever owned.

Tags:1996 Pontiac Sunfire: A Blast from My Past

1984 and The Unknown Citizen

Individual freedom is taken away from people in a dystopian society. Anyone who is in a utopia is deprived of all natural rights and privacy. Among Utopian societies the government knows everybody inside out. Their habits, hobbies, type of work, income, health, and even their thoughts are controlled in a way.

1984 by George Orwell and “The Unknown Citizen” by W.H. Auden both depict how individual freedom is deprived within a Utopian society. Two literary elements that are utilized in 1984 are irony and symbolization. Two literary elements that are amid “The Unknown Citizen” are characterization and irony.

In a utopian society, which quite honestly goes hand in hand with a dystopian society, people live without any real knowledge of how the many restrictions they are forced to obey because they are blinded by how everything is supposed to be in that society.

1984 shows how a utopian society limits people in many different aspects. When Winston begins to rebel against Big Brother by not only writing in the diary but by also eating real food that is pleasurable to him, finding places in which he can be in private, and by becoming emotionally and physically attached to Julia, it becomes more and more apparent to him why it is that he rebels. Winston rebels mainly because he enjoys the freedom he creates with Julia, in which he believed all that time that the party was unaware, but not one thing escaped them. Through

1984 symbolism is used as proof of how the party was everywhere and knew everything in that the room in which he rented through Mr. Charrington had rats and bugs. Rats symbolizing a snitch, while the bugs symbolized objects used in a concealed manner to spy on people, such as a microphone. Irony is used throughout

1984 also in that Winston always rebels and feels deep inside that the party is unfair and should be stopped, but in the closing stages, after having gone through all that he encountered, he ends up loving and admiring Big Brother.

A similar theme is seen in “The Unknown Citizen”. This work also supports how individual freedom is dispossessed from the people of that society in that the main character is not even referred to by his name, but by “JS/07 M 378”. Another reason in which individual freedom is striped from the citizens is that they are not allowed any privacy, and everything is known about them. In “The Unknown Citizen” characterization is used to describe the citizen referred to as JS/07 M 378. The way in which JS/07 M 378 is described portrays him to be the ideal citizen. Another literary device used to explain the dystopian society would be irony in that the title of that specific work is “The Unknown Citizen”, when in all actuality everything is very well known about his life.

Dystopian societies infringe not only within individual freedom, but freedom in general. Both

1984 and “The Unknown Citizen” are great proofs as to how dystopian societies have excess power over the citizens in that they provide first hand examples to the bondage and limitation in the dystopia. Who knows whether or not this can come to pass amongst our world? It’s probably already in progress, without our awareness.

Tags:1984 and The Unknown Citizen

2 Days in the Valley Movie Review..

“2 Days in the Valley” stars a hot cast that includes Charlize Theron, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, Teri Hatcher, Paul Mazursky, and Glenne Headly. It’s written and directed by John Herzfeld, one whose work I am not familiar with.

The story centers on multiple characters that eventually tie in with each other. We are introduced to each of these characters, one by one, each of them developed very vaguely. The first line of characters that we are introduced to is a slick assassin and a sleazy hitman involved in an insurance scam. Next, a director whose failures as a director have caught up to him and is now suicidal, only if he can find a home for his lovable dog. Then, a crude art dealer with a sweet and innocent assistant. Next, a hot tempered vice police man and his well mannered partner. Finally, two sexy woman who get mixed up in their own scheme.

The film starts developing it’s characters, which in my opinion, is one of the best ways to start off a movie. Without strong characters, the viewers become careless. This crime drama has some very interesting characters that pieced together in the end exceptionally well. This is a film that contains a small amount of black comedy that is overwhelmed by the relentless drama that ensues. This is a good thing. It works much better than adding too much humor and demolishing the action by referring to lame one-liners.

The scene that will grab everyones attention is the exhilarating cat fight between the devilish Charlize Theron and the tough Teri Hatcher. Never before have I seen such a rousing cat fight. “2 Days in the Valley” tries it’s hardest to walk the footsteps of the cult favorite “Pulp Fiction”, but fails to mimic the witty dialog that made “Pulp Fiction” the masterpiece it is. This is still, none the less, an exciting thrill ride from beginning to end. I can’t say that it’s unpredictable because I was never trying to predict it, mainly because I was in a trance.

“2 Days in the Valley” is shocking, edge-of-your-seat entertainment that took me by surprise. Near the end, you will probably find yourself rooting for the sleazy hitman, for he is surprisingly sincere to the ridiculed assistant. The acting was subpar and the script was well written. Even if the dialog lacked some serious wit, it is still somewhat intelligent and has a feel good ending. Spending two days in the valley was an experience I am not likely to forget. 4/5 stars

Tags:2 Days in the Valley Movie Review..

19th Amendment Challenges Women to Vote to Memorialize Its Anniversary

Equal rights for women has arrived for the women of today, but yesterday’s women fought hard for those rights, the right to participate equally in choosing America’s leaders.

According to historical treatises, the women’s rights movements began in the 1830’s in earnest and culminated in the passage of the 19th amendment August 26, 1920. It was mixed together with the struggle to abolish slavery. It was in 1851 the abolitionist, Sojourner Truth, gave her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman” as she eloquently proclaimed, not just the rights of African Americans, but the rights and liberties of women as well.

The fire of the women’s rights movements continued to burn for years, bringing with it strong supporters whose names are etched with steely resolve into permanent historical monuments made from their sacrifices. The names include Reverend Antoinette Brown, Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, Frederick Douglas, Reverend Harry Ward Beecher, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony, among others.

The major impetus for women’s right to vote began in the 19th century, and resulted in an official introduction as an amendment by Congress in 1878. It remained controversial for 40 years until the 19th amendment was finally enacted, giving women the right to vote.

Those rights, hard fought, came early on in Oregon, one of the leaders in the women’s suffrage movement, adopting the women’s right to vote in 1912. The movement with its foundling days, moved to adulthood in the passage of the 19th amendment officially when it was ratified by the states in Congress.

Those early proponents of women’s suffrage in Oregon swept not just women into the movement but men as well. Advocates for women’s right to vote were strong in that land of the pioneers.

Later the suffragist movement was used as a stepping stone to expansion of rights for women in education and employment. It became intertwined again with the rights of African Americans in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that solidified and expanded women’s rights.

As a woman born and bred in Oregon of pioneering stock, I was taught early on the strength of women as they received their equal rights. My grandmother, a woman of the days before the right to vote, spoke to me, with the words of advice as well as admonition, “Do everything you can, my dear. This is the first time in the country’s history women have rights to learn.”

This was her encouragement for my college education, coming from a woman who had barely finished elementary school but who had watched the changes over the years. She stood as a shining citadel to me, a child of the 1940’s then, someone who hadn’t been able to vote as a very young woman but who treasured it when she secured it later.

Clara Diadema Matthews, my grandmother, took her voting rights seriously. She used to say, in her salt-and-peppery ‘play,’ “Look at your Grandpa there. He used to ask me how he should vote, and now I’m telling him. Why Franklin Roosevelt wouldn’t have been elected and got us out of trouble during the depression if it hadn’t been for me.”

This good humor view of the power of the women’s vote spoke to me dramatically those days of my girlhood in La Grande, Oregon. That view speaks to me now, as visions of that grandmother move across my memory slate today. It tells me again how important it is to have the right to vote.

It is that right that makes a difference today in election outcomes. As women look at the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, nothing is stronger in that anniversary than what empowerment it has given the rights of women today.

It is a right my grandmother held dear, that I hold dear today and the best way to memorialize its anniversary is to use it in November.

Women’s Suffrage
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History of Women’s Suffrage

Answers.com
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Civil Rights Act of 1964

A History of the American Suffragist Movement
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A Timeline

Tags:19th Amendment Challenges Women to Vote to Memorialize Its Anniversary

2 of the Best Telescopes for Beginners

There are many different hobbies and interests it’s never too late to get into, including astronomy. Having the ability to look at the sky and see the wonders of the night is just an amazing experience and truly beautiful. Looking up into the sky and seeing what else might be out there is a very good spiritual experience and can be done using telescopes even if you are a beginner. There are many different telescopes available for someone who is just starting out their astronomy interests. If you are thinking of getting into astronomy and want to know which telescopes would be great, here are a couple that you should look for.

When considering buying a telescope there are a number of things you want to take into consideration, just as you would with anything else. You always want to make sure that you are getting a good quality product, so do your research on the brands available. Meade and Celestron are among the top telescope brands on the market and have high standards to meet high expectations.

When you think you want to get a telescope you also need to be aware that they are not very cheap. Most of the telescopes start out about 200 dollars even for beginner telescopes. Buying from a reputable company is essential to make sure you are getting something good since you will be spending at least 200 dollars on it. Also, you do not want to really buy any used telescopes since you never really know what you might be getting. To ensure that the parts are all there and it works correctly, you should stick to only new telescopes. You can get telescopes from online stores or regular retail stores that sell scientific items, just make sure you are dealing with a reputable business.

You should also ask about a warranty or any other information regarding refunds just in case something breaks or happens to your telescope. Buying a telescope even if you are a beginner is just like buying anything else, use common sense and make sure you have done your homework so you know what to look for.

The Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ Reflector Telescope would be a very good choice for a beginning astronomer. This telescope has a very small lightweight design so it can be carried or stored where ever you might be. One of the best things about this telescope is that is has a very quick setup with no tools needed. This telescope has a reflector design which enables you to have slower controls for smoother object tracking. There is a mount on it also which helps track the objects in the sky and you also get a tray for storing your accessories.

You also get a computer program with this telescope which is very good for a beginner. The software has over 10,000 items in the database which helps you locate objects in the sky and helps you figure out what a certain object is. The software will guide you through the steps of beginning astronomy with the new telescope and will really help you through the unknown objects you encounter. You can get this telescope online at various websites or at a scientific store for about 200 dollars. Overall this is a very reasonably-priced telescope for a beginner and is sure to have some of the best overall quality out of all telescopes.

The Meade DS-2080AT Telescope is also a great option for someone just starting out in astronomy. This telescope is designed for a more serious beginning astronomer and is suited more for the sky than land. The detail is very crisp and you can see many things through the scope.

For 300 dollars you really do get a great telescope with more detail and crisper images than you can get anywhere else for that price. This telescope is not just a fun and entertaining telescope so it is for a very serious astronomer and can be used for a beginner or an intermediate enthusiast looking for better visibility and details. The lens is 1.25 inches which provides a more detailed view as well as larger viewing field. This telescope has its own computer controlling hardware which will guide the telescope around so you can see over 1,400 different objects in the sky. There is a multi-speed motion control switch also which will allow you to have better accuracy at tracking the objects in the sky.

You also get a computer software program with this telescope which is why it is a great telescope for a beginner. The software gives you a tour of which objects can be seen the best on any given night to make sure you get the most out of your viewing experience. The software also teaches you about the history of astronomy, mass of objects and their temperature as well as distances between objects. The educational aspect of the software is very good for a beginner because you get the basic information about astronomy and it teaches you the many aspects of objects in the sky and their relation to Earth. You can get this telescope from any science store or various online retail stores such as Discovery Channel.

For 300 dollars you can not go wrong with this telescope and it makes for a great beginner telescope since you get the higher accuracy and expanded details.

Tags:2 of the Best Telescopes for Beginners

1st EHealth Summit Brings ICT and Health Sectors Together

Recognizing the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in health, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Health (DOH) will hold the first Philippine eHealth Summit on 4 February 2014 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila.

With the theme, “eHealth Innovations for Universal Health Care (UHC),” the summit will not just be a venue for exchange of information and expertise on current eHealth initiatives in the country but also for presenting the Philippine eHealth Strategic Framework and Plan to gather inputs from stakeholders.

One of the important eHealth programs is the setting up of the Philippine Health Information Exchange (PHIE) to ensure the availability of health information, crucial in making informed decisions for both health practitioners and policy-makers. The PHIE will be an enabling system of interoperably health-related information, databases and registries linking all health services, users and providers.

The Summit will also feature the eHealth Marketplace and Poster Exhibit competition. The eHealth Marketplace is a platform for the government, private and industry sectors, ICT developers, international development organizations, academe, to meet, discuss, and form partnerships on eHealth innovations to support the Kalusugang Pangkalahatan (Universal Health Care). The poster exhibit contest, meanwhile, is a competition for undergraduate students and professionals on eHealth researches, projects and applications.

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