Movie Review – “U.S. Marshals” (1998)

4-Star Post Master

U S Marshals - 1998

It has been some time since I have sat down and reviewed a film that I have recently watched. That should send a hint of some proportion as to how exciting movie watching has been over the past several months.

Well it took a movie almost 17 years old to raise me out of my dormant state and back into the movie review mood. The film, “U.S. Marshals” which, given my taste in films, would seem to have been a film I would have seen years ago but of course that was not the case as I have already established. I actually think the reason I had never watched the film pretty much revolved around the fact that of the three main actors in the movie, two of them were not actors for whom were very endearing to me, that being Wesley Snipes and Robert Downey Jr. On the other hand the third actor of the starring trilogy, Tommy Lee Jones, has always been one of my top favorites.

But enough said about my excuses for not having watched the film until recently. Needless to say I really enjoyed it and it was quite entertaining. Lots of action and a couple of unexpected twists added to the entertaining formula. A good ole’ shoot-em’-up but not one of those extremely gory films we’re often subjected to these days. I do have to note that the plot was somewhat reminiscent I thought of the film, “The Fugitive”, which also starred Tommy Lee Jones along with Harrison Ford but not to a level of distracting the viewer who may have been familiar with that film.

Sear’s Ad Gives Birth To A Christmas Eve Tradition….

RadarAlthough I have long been aware of the Christmas Eve tradition of tracking Santa Claus on radar, admittedly until now I was completely unaware of how this tradition actually began until reading and listening to a current back-story on National Public Radio. I assume, unlike me, that everyone else is well educated with regard to this subject. Nevertheless, just in case I thought I would share an overview of my latest enlightenment session. Besides… tis’ the season to be made aware!

Rather than just retype part of what you will hear on the short recording below, I will just defer for the moment to that subject recording regarding how that tradition began…


What more or less amazed me the most about this story was that I grew up during the Cold War and was actually 14 years old in 1955. Granted however, I was certainly past my Santa years at that age. Here is an image of the Sears ad referenced in the story you just listened to above. (Click to Enlarge)

Sears Santa Ad - 1955

And of course I would be remiss did I not honor the man who had the compassion to fulfill the dream of one small child, and then so many others so I have also enclosed his photo. (Click to Enlarge)

Col Harry Shoup

A Doc Martin Interview….

Doc Martin

Martin Clunes as Doc Martin

Up until I ran across additional information recently, to include the video interview below, I was packed and perfectly content with heading off to Cemeteryville at a moments notice. But to my dismay, I find out now that the concluding season of my favorite television show will probably not air until the spring of 2016. This information really screws up my carefree dying plans!

During my recent search of the Internet for information regarding the previously referenced television show which airs on PBS, “Doc Martin”, I ran across an interview of Martin Clunes who plays the role of the lead character. It was an enjoyable interview and shows a side of our character we fans have not seen before so I thought I would post it here on my blog should there be other fans here and about. The interview took place this past March on the British television program “This Morning” which is quite similar to the network morning shows seen here each weekday in America.

He briefly discussed the filming of the rumored last season, Season 7, of “Doc Martin” which will be filmed in 2015 and aired in early 2016. Like the majority of the show’s fans, I wait with great expectations for that projected release.

Martin also talks about his upcoming documentary, “Martin Clunes and a Lion Called Mugie”, which he says is reminiscent of the lion named Elsa whom we American’s came to know in the movie “Born Free”.

Will the real Santa please stand up!

Santa - 1938(The Coca-Cola Santa – 1938)

Other than the fact that the Christmas season is now upon us, I am not quite sure why but recently I have been thinking a lot about Santa Claus. It has been around six decades or so since that jolly old character last visited me so it is not in anticipation of his visit and delivery of a list of goodies that has me engrossed in thought. At any rate, whatever the reason there has been a couple of things on my mind and this time of year certainly seems the appropriate time to share my thoughts with those of you willing to listen.

There must be thousands upon thousands of artistic representations of our beloved Santa circulating in this world. There are paintings, drawings and photos of Santa in every conceivable body configuration and attire imaginable. But as you and I know, there is only one Santa so all the varied assortments of representations certainly come from the minds of those who have not ever seen the real Santa. I have seen the “real” Santa.

For me, there is and has always been but one Santa Claus and everything this child could imagine about this man is embodied in the pictures accompanying this post. And that Santa, who is sometimes referred to as the Coca-Cola Santa, was created by artist Haddon Sundblom and his rendering of Santa had its artistic debut in a 1931 edition of “The Saturday Evening Post”.

Santa - 1931(The Saturday Evening Post – 1931)

There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Mr. Sundblom actually met the “real” Santa and convinced Santa to let him paint his portrait. Of course if you watch the video featured in the Haddon Sundblom link noted in the previous paragraph you’ll know that is not quite how it happened. Without that magical moment, we would have been left with nothing but our own imaginations and thousands of fictional representations of our beloved Santa.

Santa - 1951(The Coca-Cola Santa – 1951)

Christmases may come and go as they do along with the many visions of Santa that are showered upon us but that is of no matter to me. Those visions fall as water off a duck’s back on me until someone shows me a picture of the Coca-Cola Santa. Now there is the “real”, non-fictional Santa!

Santa - 1964(The Coca-Cola Santa – 1964)

With Regard to Ferguson….

Every now and then someone comes along and seems to calmly explain to the masses that which you have been chomping at the bit to say in regard to a particular issue but they are much more uniquely qualified to make the point and catch the attention of your targeted audience.

(Barkley Interview Week of 11/24/2014 on Philadelphia Sports Radio 97.5)

Thank you Mr. Charles Barkley….

UPDATE 12/5/2014:  Apparently the video I had originally posted has been pulled from ‘YouTube’ and other major news outlets due to copyright issues. I have subsequently found the interview on the subject radio station’s website where the interview was conducted. Interested individuals may listen to the interview by clicking “here“. Please  note that the part of the interview regarding the Ferguson, Missouri situation begins at the 5-minute mark of the interview.

My life among the trees….

Dear Diary…

I ask you, “What’s not to love about trees?” Pretty much nothing of course unless you live in the middle of suburbia and are trying to kid yourself that because of a few trees you’re living in the Sherwood Forest or even the Sequoia National Forest! All those neighborhood barking dogs should be enough to put that little fairy tale to rest. And those big and strong old oak trees that surround me are self sustaining and independent when they are growing in the forest but when we humans set up housekeeping in among those same lovely trees they seem to suddenly become helpless. We are suddenly tasked with spending hour upon hour in the fall cleaning up their leaves. Those falling leaves don’t seem to even exist in the forest, only in our yards…

Front Yard Leaves

Backyard Leaves(Click Photos to Enlarge)

And while we are on the subject of leaves… in that top photo of the leaves, you see all those leaves across the street in my neighbor’s yard? Well fortunately he is one of my neighbors who does his best to clean up his leaves in a timely manner but leaves are really smart if you didn’t already know that. If he didn’t clean them up, the first wind to come along, a large number of those leaves would hitch a ride and blow across the street into my yard. If there’s anything leaves can’t stand it’s someone’s “in your face” clean, leafless yard” staring right back at them and taunting them.

And all those twigs and small branches that can litter the yard after a thunderstorm, you never see those in the woodlands and forests….

Driveway After Thunderstorm - 02(Click Photo to Enlarge)

And those winter snow and icing events, well let’s not even go there or I will have to start bitching about my neighbor’s tree that came crashing down three years ago from the weight of a snow event and damaged my fence which I, of course, had to pay for….

Fence Damage from Neighbor's Tree(Click Photo to Enlarge)

Then comes all those much larger tree limbs that seem to want to start prodding and poking at the house, seemingly coming from all directions. Many of my tree’s limbs seem to suffer from some sort of exhaustion affliction and want to lay down and rest on the roof of the house. It is at that time when I find out that living in among the trees can get very expensive. I have been living in my home surrounded by a forest of oak trees now for almost 17 years and have spent several thousand dollars over that time period both removing and trimming the trees in my own personal forest.

I just had more limbs attended to only about three weeks ago at a substantial cost which is reflected in the two photos below. I wasn’t very happy about it since it involved working on removing numerous ‘dead’ limbs from trees growing in my neighbor’s yard near our shared property line. They fall on my roof and they fall on my second little car which has to be parked in the open so I have been having to park it away from their trees. Just plain aggravating to live next to people who take no responsibility for their property.

Tree Trimming Work - 01
Tree Trimming Work - 02(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Well ‘Dear Diary’, don’t know about you but I feel much better now we have had this little talk. I so appreciate the fact that you never interrupt or take exception to what I say regarding my little rants, raves and otherwise meaningless obsevations. Thanks…

Little sisters never get older….

Dear Diary…

My little sister turned ‘sixty’ this past week and I think I was more in shock over it all than perhaps she was. Obviously whoever was doing the calculations on her newly acquired age really needed to take a remedial course in math. Sixty years old? No way! My little sister will always be my little sister and even today when I look into her face I still see my little sister.

Family - 374a(Little ‘Sis’)

Little ‘Sis’ is 13 years younger than I am so it’s obvious why she is and always will be my little sister. We are both definitely too old for me to play the “tickle monster” any longer but I doubt either of us will ever be too old to remember the love we’ve shared over the years.

Alan & Edie(Me & Little Sis)