Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Salute the Troops

First of all, I honor all the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces on this Veteran's Day. This includes my biological father Bruce (Vietnam), my late uncle Ken (World War II), and two who are currently serving in the Navy, my brother Keefe and my friend Jen Waters.

It was still sunny when I got up this morning, not to mention more humid and even warmer than yesterday. I celebrated nice weather and Veteran's Day by starting the day with the Donald Duck In the Army shorts. These cartoons were released from 1942 to 1944, when the US was in the thick of World War II. Donald became Disney's number one short subject star during this time. Like Woody, Daffy, and Bugs, his brash temper was more in tune with the spirit of the era than the toned-down one Mickey Mouse was using by then.

The series kicks off with "Donald Gets Drafted," which is what the title implies. Donald finds himself in the Army without a paddle, and with Sargent Pete yelling at him for being the smallest guy around. But what Don really wants to do is become a pilot. He does finally get in the air in "Sky Trooper," but he's shocked when he finds himself in the parachute brigade! He finds a way to get even with Pete in "The Vanishing Private." He discovers camouflage paint to use for a cannon, but ends up using it on himself when Pete thinks the cannon is missing.

Mickey didn't figure too much into World War II shorts, but he did make one war-oriented short early in his career. "The Barnyard Battle" pits skinny rubber-hose Mickey against a platoon of huge Hun cats! Scrappy Mickey figures out how to use farmyard items to make this a much fairer fight.

The Pink Panther was one of the few characters of the 60s to land in Vietnam in "G.I Pink." Cranky drill sergeants, crankier mascots, and land mine filled fields make him wish he'd just stayed home. His commanding officer gets so fed up, he sends him off to the Navy instead!

I hit the laundromat after Pink ended. Needless to say, it was busy on what is a holiday off for most people. I didn't mean to sound rude to the older lady who asked me how much the larger washers cost. I really don't know. I guess I emphasized this a bit too much. She got all offended. I don't mean to offend people. Thankfully, I had a very small load. I was in and out in less than an hour.

When I got home, I put away my clothes, then made a nice lunch of leftovers at home for once while continuing the war theme. The Three Stooges also saw their popularity rise during the violence-loving war years. They inadvertently round up a group of Nazi spies while fixing their doorbell in "They Stooge to Conga." They're "Back to the Front" when they find themselves stranded on a Nazi war ship and have to don creative disguises to save their hides. They go "Higher Than a Kite" when they escape an irate officer in a missile and end up capturing the enemy. A trio of "Dizzy Pilots" want to create a home-made plane that'll keep them from getting drafted. They have more luck getting Moe in the air than the plane.

I headed back out after lunch to do chores and errands. First up was sweeping the porch. It had clouded over by that time, though it remained warm. The wind picked up, too. For every pile of leaves I swept, another seemed to quickly replace it. I finally gave up and went downstairs.

I was originally going to rake the side path today, but I couldn't find the old rake. My neighbor's son was working on fixing the path leading to the front apartment. He said it was broken, so he got rid of it. Great! That rake should have been tossed years ago. However, he hadn't replaced it, and couldn't find a rake at his parents' house. I finally gave up waiting, decided I'd rake tomorrow, and headed out.

I wanted to go to Rite Aid yesterday, but I ran out of time. I mostly just needed shaving lotion. I also started my Christmas shopping. Grabbed presents for my friends Lauren and Amanda. Lauren's big present this year will be cookies. She'll only be getting a few small items. Amanda, however, isn't really into food. I'll be looking for more for her.

I stopped at WaWa on the way home. I was out of skim milk. I picked up a pretzel and one of those tasty Sparkling Ice sparkling waters (Black Raspberry) as a snack while I was there.

When I got home, I made Ginger Cookies while running Clipped Wings. The fourth and final Bowery Boys Armed Services-themed comedy puts Sach and Slip in the Air Force, this time without the aid of their usual crew. They were originally there to help a friend out of jail. One wrong turn later, and they find themselves signed up as recruits. While Slip cleans his way through the barracks, Sach somehow finds himself assigned to the women's quarters and drives his female sergeant crazy. When their friend is captured by spies, they go after him in a plane that they can't seem to control.

Made baked salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner while watching The Corsican Brothers. This 1941 adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas book tells the story of two Siamese twin brothers (both played by Douglas Fairbanks Sr.) who are separated at birth when their parents are killed by an evil baron who wants to rule Corsica. Mario is taken to Paris, where he becomes a dandy. Lucian remains in Corsica and becomes a rough-riding bandit...but he has visions of a young man in splendid surroundings who looks just like him. When the brothers finally meet each other, Mario joins Lucien as a bandit to avenge their parents and restore their family name. They start to question their vows when they fall for a beautiful countess (Ruth Warrick) whom the Baron wants for his bride.

Pretty standard stuff with surprisingly well-done special effects for 1941 - you really do believe Fairbanks is two different men who share a psychic bond. Fairbanks has a blast with the derring-do, especially as the somewhat foppish Mario. Most copies currently available (including the one I dubbed) have been colorized, but that actually works pretty well with the story. Recommended if you can find it for fans of swashbucklers and old-fashioned action.

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