Tuesday, April 30, 2019

On to Nashville... Indiana, That Is

Wendy and I did an overnighter last week, up the road a ways to Nashville, Indiana, with a couple of friends of ours. Nashville's just far enough that you really need to spend the night, as it's about three hours away from Lexington, KY.

We started off bloodshot-eye early in the morning so as to skip around the various rush hours, which worked well. Started off with a good breakfast at Wild Eggs. And regardless of their name, you don't have to order just eggs. Lots of good side items, so you can get creative with breakfast. I made sure, though, this time, I didn't funnel down a bunch of coffee like I did the last time we headed to Nashville. About the time we were rolling through Louisville, I was needing a bathroom break.

Scooted along on I-64, then picked up I-65 North, and it's a fairly straight shot. We were thankful we weren't southbound on 65. Traffic backed up for miles. Construction, I think. So, I made a mental note to map out a different route for the way home next day.

Little bit of trivia here: Along the way on 65, there's a sign that says, "John Mellencamp Way". From Seymour, Indiana, John's humanitarian work has not gone unnoticed, and a section of I-65 now bears his name.

Up around Columbus, Indiana, we hopped on Hwy 46, and it's pretty much straight on to Nashville. One of the towns I love going through is Gnaw Bone. I'd love to have my address as Gnaw Bone.

Made it to Nashville, and I've gotta say, it's grown up a lot over the years, at least in my scattered memory. I first went there with some friends back in the mid 70s. And my memory of it is there wasn't much there. Mostly it was an artist colony. Which it still is, but there are more places to stay and more restaurants. 'Course, as I say, my memory isn't great, and that's over forty years ago. And it was the 70s. So, there's that.

Our first stop was Chateau Thomas Winery where the fellow who served us was personable and had a wonderful sense of humor. He also told us a good deal about the wines for our tasting. Wendy and I sampled a batch of the dry reds, seven I think it was, finally settling on a bottle of Tosca, which is an "....equal blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon". I'm just reading that part from the bottle. I only know it's dry and we both liked it. Here's a link to the winery. Check it out: Chateau Thomas Winery.

Well, gonna close up for now. More on Nashville later, if I remember.

As always, keep writing, friends.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Let's All Go to the Drive-In

I was thinking back to some of my memories of going to the drive-in theater. When I was little, it was for my family, as it was for most, cheap entertainment for the whole family. Built-in babysitter, inexpensive food, inexpensive movies, and family themed. My earliest memories are of going to a drive-in in Evansville, Indiana, in the early 60s. Best I can tell, it was called the Sunset Drive-In, on Highway 41. Don't remember what we saw there, but probably a Disney flick.

Some years later, my folks and I moved to Owensboro, Kentucky. That was in the mid- to late 60s. We had at least four drive-in theaters there, still doing the family thing. We had the Cardinal Drive-In, at the intersection of Old Hartford Road and Triplett Street. Lots of memories at this one, especially as a teenager and on into my twenties. Here's a photo of the Cardinal:
I'm sure my folks and I saw some family-themed flicks there, but by the 70s, it was heading toward more of a teenager destination. I remember packing several friends in the trunk of someone's car and sneaking them in. Memories of watching movies like The Exorcist, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, and Vanishing Point are still strong. Sometimes I'd go with a bunch of friends, other times it was my solo escape place. I'd grab a dog and a Coke from the concession stand, plop down on the hood of my car, the windshield as my backrest.

We did have one theater, the Owensboro Drive-In, out south of town on Frederica Street, that showed what was known, if memory serves (so be warned, my memory is flexible), as Hard-R movies. Got a clipping here from an old newspaper advertising the Owensboro. This was a bit before my drive-in movie days, but it shows the types of movies they showed. Nowadays it'd probably be R. Maybe. Or perhaps even PG-13.

Well, I'll close for now. Just had to share some old drive-in movie memories with you folks. Might share some more tomorrow.

As always, keep writing, friends.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Those Cave Folks are Awfully Stylish

Yes, it's true. Continuing on with yesterday's post about the movie Valley of the Dragons. As an aside, which I'm known to do. A lot. I wonder how many movies have the word 'valley' in the title.

Let's see. There's Valley of the Dolls, The Valley of Gwangi, Valley Girl. Okay, enough of that.

And please excuse any typos. I have a writer's cat on my lap. I don't know if she loves me or what I'm having for lunch. ... and, here comes the other one. This'll be interesting. Welcome to lunchtime with Guinness and Barley.

Here's a link to yesterday's post on Valley of the Dragons: Dragons Part One.

Italian-American Cesare Danova played Hector Servadac, the main character in the Verne novel. We had seen him before in Chamber of Horrors, a great horror/mystery flick. Fellow duellist, now good friend, (as they have to follow the Hollywood standard where two sworn enemies must become good buds when placed in dire circumstances) Michael Denning, played by Sean McClory, was in Them!, one of my favorite Big Bug movies. One of the fashionable cave women, Deena, was played by Joan Staley, who was in the Batman TV series from the 60s. There she played Okie Annie. And one of the cavemen, a rather large caveman, Anoka, was played by Mike Lane, who had wrestled professionally.

Valley has a high cheese factor to it, but it's fun. A batch of fake dinos and giant spiders, and great fake world-coming-apart effects. They used stock footage from One Million B.C., King Dinosaur, Cat-Women of the Moon, and Rodan.

We get some social commentary when our two heroes get separated during one of their new world's hiccups. Each get adopted into a different tribe, who just happen to be rivals. Naturally, our modern guys help solve a variety of problems, one of which is how to dispatch troublesome dinos with some hastily concocted gunpowder. Yayyy! Now they can blow each other up real good. However, our tribes have to work together near the end of the flick when two iguana-looking dinos trap members of both tribes. So, our heroes' gunpowder is put to good use to dispatch said dinos and save the day.

Oh, nearly forgot. In one brief sequence they encounter a group of really, really primitive cave people who have skull-like faces. Why, I'm not sure.

Overall, though, it's a fun ride, though I'm still not certain how they made the trip from Earth to the other world.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

It's Hard to Beat Alligators with Dino Fins Attached

Ah, yes, good ol' Svengoolie delivered last night. Wendy and I watched Valley of the Dragons on MeTV. And one of the things that was great about it was neither of us had seen it before. With as many horror and science fiction flicks as we've watched, it gets harder to find a first-timer.

Valley was played straight... for the most part. Based really, really loosely on a Jules Verne novel, Off on a Comet. Now, here's where it gets a bit confusing. Wikipedia has the original title as Hector Servadac, published in 1877. Then a U.S. translation appeared, titled Hector Servadac; Or the Career of a Comet. I'm not certain when Off on a Comet first appeared, but I have a paperback version, copyright 1957, from Ace Books.

Okay, back to the main subject -- the movie. Valley of the Dragons came out in November 1961 from Columbia Pictures. We kick things off with a duel between two men, in Algiers. Just as they're about to fire, there's a tremendous earthquake, and a blinding ball of light, sparks everywhere, that was reminiscent of the meteor ships in This Island Earth, which came out six years prior. People are ripped away from the Earth to who knows where.

Once things settle back down, our two duellists are the only ones to have survived, apparently. But they look up in the night sky and see -- good ol' Terra Firma. They somehow were transplanted to the comet, or planet, or whatever the planetary body was. Or is.

Lots of changes, as far as I can tell, from the novel. I haven't read it yet, so I can't say for sure, but it's obviously played for American audiences. There was no duel that I know of in the book, so that was added to the flick, so as to get the whole "Okay, we have to work together" aspect. Also added to the movie were cave people, and lots of pet store lizards turned into dinosaurs.

One quick note: No dragons in the movie. Lots of fake dinosaurs, though.

More on this tomorrow.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

What about Voyages One through Six?

We have to save the princess, man!

Okay, maybe not so much save her, in this, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, as getting her unshrunk. From the machinations (don'tcha love that word?) of an evil magician. What happened was this:

Sinbad (who looks very much like a really white guy) is packing the princess back to Bagdad where the two, Sinbad and not-yet-tiny princess plan to marry. Hopefully, prin's dad and Sin's kind-of dad will unite their two kingdoms.

Sailing back, Sinbad and crew stop on an island with some Ray Harryhausen critters, one of whom is chasing said magician, who has a genii lamp. Sin saves magic man, but they lose the lamp, and the cyclops snags it.

They make it back to Bagdad, but magic man is PO'd because Sin didn't take him back for his lamp, so magic man shrinks the princess. Magic man says he can restore her (didn't Sin suspect magic might've been the one behind said shrinking?), but he needs egg shells from the giant Roc that's back on the island. So, off the go back to the island, fight some more Ray Harryhausen critters, including the Roc, a little Roc, a cyclops, a dragon, and a skeleton. They also promise the genii (who is a little kid) that if he, the genii, helps them, they'll help turn him into a real live little boy with pimples and changing voice, so he does, and they do, and the dragon falls on magic man, and Pinocchio, er, the boy-who-was-a-genii, is now Sin's cabin boy, and everyone sails back to Bagdad.

I think I liked The Golden Voyage of Sinbad better, but the Ray H. effects, as always, stole the show.

The end.

Keep writing, friends.

Why, Yes, I'll Have Some More Coffee and Donuts, Please

And we did.

Hard to believe we finished up our OLLI class, For the Love of Coffee and Donuts.

Yes, that's really the name of it. And, no, it's not one that Wendy and I concocted. It's a class we attended through the OLLI program where we learned about... coffee and donuts. Literally. Gotta love a class where your homework is to bring your coffee mug to class. And donuts. Did I mention the donuts? Or doughnuts. Take your pick.

For the last "For the Love of Coffee and Donuts" class, the folks from North Lime Coffee & Donuts presented. What was cool was they paired two different coffee blends with two pairs of donuts. Can we say caffeine and sugar boost? Yup. We had, if I remember, a Papua New Guinea with a couple of the round pastries, then I think a Sumatran with another couple of donuts.

Their parent shop is located at 575 North Limestone, in Lexington, KY, and there's another shop near us. Yayyy! They also have a shop in Old Louisville.

All their coffee is locally roasted, and the donuts made from scratch. They're really doing a close-to-home, roots-operation. One of the cool things they do is refurbish old buildings for their shops.

Here's their website: https://www.northlime.net/. Check it out to see what the donut of the day is.

Keep writing, friends.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Heard the One about a Dinosaur Walking into a Bar?

Okay, I confess, the dinosaur was me. Is me. And it wasn't really a bar, although with all the TVs on the wall, it had a sports bar feel.

It all started with our Internet crapping out again this morning. I call Redirect'em (don't strain too much on the company is), and went through their automated support stuff. Did the reset thing, unplugged, plugged in. Nope, no 'net.

Keep in mind, I grew up with technology. Worked at Radio Shack in the late 70s. The original geek. Now I don't reset my car stereo clock as it's such a pain in the ass, and I can't remember from one time to the next how to do it.

Next step, call and get a rep. An actual, live, human-being-type person. I did. And here's the thing. This is not to bash the company at all. The fellow I spoke to was helpful, but still no 'net. So I decided it's time for a modem upgrade. Connected to sale. Also helpful. She said I could pack the old one with me to a nearby Redirect'em store and a get a brand new, fancy, supposedly faster monster. So I headed over.

I go inside and everyone's helpful again, almost soothingly so. Lots of folks wearing blue. Generic music playing. But no restrooms.

They took my name and I was queued up. I was just "Tom Z". I took a seat and just looked around.

Remember when I mentioned earlier about the sports bar feel? That was the bank of TVs uniformly placed on the back wall. But there were lots of us seated on semi-comfortable leatherette seats. Had a doctor's office feel, all of us waiting. I have to say they got through us quickly, but what struck me was how I felt like a cypher. A number. "I am not a number, I'm a free man." With the calming music, pleasant faces, I half-expected someone to walk around, smiling, handing out our meds -- think One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Soma, anyone? The whole experience was like taking part in one of our old science fiction movies, perhaps THX-1138, Brave New World, or Rollerball.

And there I sat, with all the other androids, carrying my modem, my little box of electronics, so I could reconnect to the 'net and be placid again.

We wonder when computers will take over? They already have, kids.

Oh, yeah, postscript, got the new modem hooked up. That's how I'm writing this. But sometimes I wanta go Luddite.

Keep writing, friends.