17 August 2014

After the dire predictions of the wrath that hurricane Bertha was forecast to wreak, I have to say that we got off pretty lightly. Not sure that she deposited a month’s worth of rain in a day as they had projected, at least not in our neighbourhood anyway. Certainly there were lashings and lashings of rain on Monday but not the high winds that had been predicted, fortunately. She came, she did a bit of pissing about on everyone and then she left. Still, the weather has been considerably cooler in the aftermath with largely cloudy and overcast skies and the occasional thunderous downpour through the rest of the week.

We seem to have done essentially nothing this week! Actually, that’s not true, of course; I’ve done nothing all week while Penelope has been extraordinarily busy. That’s usually the way things are around here.

We watched the film Nebraska on Friday evening – it finally became available on one of the movie channels we have. It’s a film I have wanted to see ever since I watched about a third of it on the flight home from Boston in April. As most of you know from your own experience, long flights are very, very tedious and, since I don’t sleep on airplanes the one way of alleviating the boredom is to watch four or five movies. This last trip home I watched three, I think, and then thought I would give Nebraska a go. I was enjoying it until we landed at Heathrow and the in-flight entertainment facilities were shut down and I didn’t get to see it through to the end.

Rather similarly, many years ago when my folks were still living in Arizona, I remember a flight from Chicago to Phoenix. This was in the “old” days when you only had one film to watch and, instead of the thirty-four hundred films one can choose from nowadays, your only choice on this particular flight was whether to watch the film or not. The film they were showing was Mrs Doubtfire and the flight came into Phoenix about twenty minutes early due to a tailwind, I suppose. The plane landed, taxied to the terminal and still people were stuck in their seats because the film hadn’t quite finished. I guess the rules have changed now because they don’t keep the system running during landing anymore.

Anyway, I made a mental note to keep a look out for Nebraska when it came to our screens and it finally made its inaugural appearance this week.

If you’ve not seen it, I would heartily recommend it. It’s a “road trip” film of a father and son driving from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska so that the father can claim a million dollar sweepstakes prize. They make a stop in a small town in central Nebraska, where the father grew up and has scores to settle. The son knows that there is no million dollar prize – it’s all part of a magazine marketing scam – and warns his father not to mention his “good fortune” to his friends and family. Naturally, word gets out and everyone in his old hometown ultimately wants a piece of the prize.

It’s a sweet film, shot in black and white with majestic scenes of the big, expansive skies of Montana and Nebraska. Bruce Dern is excellent as the father and the other parts, largely played by actors with whom (mainly) I was unfamiliar, are played with deadpan humour.

A sweet little film, well worth watching.4_and_half_stars – The Befouled Weakly News.

This week has been a veritable jackpot for commemorations. Tuesday (I think) was National Middle Child Day (sorry we missed it, Nick), Wednesday was International Left-Handers Day (sorry we missed that as well, Ben) and Friday was International Apostrophe Day. I guess it’s true (note the appropriate use of the apostrophe there) – there is now a day dedicated to just about anything you can imagine! (Click the graphics for a larger version).

apostrophe_day middle_child_day

left-hander-graphic

Various publications had lists and/or photos of famous left-handed individuals. I was thinking about our extended family’s own group of left-handers – there’s Ben, Karin and David that I can remember – are there any others? I am guessing there must be a few more, perhaps in the great-grandchildren generation? Taking our left-handers as an example, they are certainly the smartest and best-looking of our extended family (apart from Dad and me, of course) and I was thinking that this must generally be true. Then I saw that David Cameron is left-handed; even his closest friends and political allies concede that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer so I guess it’s not necessarily true.

Finally, are you wondering what to do with the forty-seven zucchini which keep materialising in your vegetable garden? Try this recipe for Cream Cheese-Swirled Zucchini Bread. It is very, very tasty and, as it’s got vegetables in it, it must be good for you too!

Love to you all,

Greg