Friday, March 31, 2017

Rain and a Mystery

I awoke to a torrential downpour. Cheered up the weather with breakfast, then getting some chores done. I vacuumed, washed the windows and the mirror in the bedroom, and dusted the entire living room (which is huge).

Finished out the final minutes of Star Trek Beyond, then ran It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. The Peanuts gang are preparing for the spring holidays with clothes shopping and looking for a new home for Woodstock. While Lucy tries to con Schroeder into giving her gifts, Peppermint Patty and Marcie attempt to color eggs (without success). Linus claims there's no need for the fuss. The Easter Beagle will do all that. Sally's skeptical after the Great Pumpkin incident at Halloween.

Switched to Wonder Woman while I finished the cleaning and got organized. Princess Diana (Kerri Russell) is an Amazon from Paradise Island, which has been cut off from contact with humans...especially men. When pilot Steve Trevor crash-lands on the island, her mother holds a contest to see which of her warriors will represent Paradise Island and take Steve back to Washington DC. Diana's the winner who gets the honor of donning their bulletproof gauntlets and using the Lasso of Truth. She's appalled when the world of humans turns out to be filled with men who underestimate and undermine women...and is even less happy when one of her fellow Amazons frees Ares, the god of war, from his prison. Ares is determined to make up for lost time and fill the planet with hatred...unless Wonder Woman can convince the Amazons to come to the world of men and help her stop him.

I put this on in honor of the live-action Wonder Woman movie coming out later this year. I believe this is Wonder Woman's origin story transposed to present-day (the first half is very much like the original pilot film for the 70's Wonder Woman TV show). As such, it's not bad. The messages about peace and feminism are sometimes pushed a little too hard. Otherwise, if you're a fan of the DC animated films or the character, this one is worth looking for.

Continued the DC superhero theme with a couple of Fleischer Brothers Superman shorts as I got ready to head out. "The Mad Scientist" is the pilot short. This quite typical story has Superman stopping the loony doctor of the title from using his secret weapon to destroy Metropolis. Lois Lane just wants her story. She takes off with "The Mechanical Monsters," aka robots who have been programmed to steal jewels. Superman has to rescue her and the loot.

The rain slowed down enough by 12:30 for me to head out. I wanted to at least get my grocery shopping done. Had lunch at Arby's, which was busy with the tail end of the lunch hour. The line at least moved fast. Since their fried fish sandwiches were cheap, I tried the Flatbread Fish Sandwich. Not bad. Basically a fried fish version of their gyros. At least the fish tasted like real fried fish (more than their beef and turkey do). Could have used at least some tomatoes and onions or cheese or something.

The rain was picking up as I headed across the parking lot to the Acme for this week's grocery trip. I needed a lot this week. Had coupons for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (grabbed the spring-themed Vanilla Cupcake graham cracker bag) and Chobani "Flip" Yogurt that has yogurt on one side and bits and pieces on the other. (Decided to try three new flavors - cinnamon bun, carrot cake, and the limited edition strawberry crisp.) Nestle's butterscotch chips were on clearance - thought I'd do something different and have Butterscotch Cookies this week. Restocked canned chicken, tomato sauce and paste, brown and white sugar, peanut butter, plain yogurt for baking, apples, bananas, the $1.99 bag of oranges, canned Mandarin oranges, and skim milk.

Since it was past 1 PM by the time I was shopping, I picked up my schedule, too. I have the best schedule I've had in weeks, only two days off this time, but all morning work except for Monday again, and more hours. Probably just as well. I have to pay my rent this week. I won't have the money to do much else. (I also lost the paper that had my schedule on it, and after searching for it through half the store, went back and wrote it down again.)

It was pouring when I got out. I tried waiting, but it just kept pouring. I rode home and got soaked. There was no way I was going to do anything else in that weather. I renewed my books and DVDs and decided I'd hit the Haddon Township Library on Tuesday instead.

Opted to spend the rest of the afternoon on Pinterest and working on my story. Luke and Ben are practicing Luke's fencing while waiting in the junk yard for Han and Chewie. Luke's working with a ball made of Khyber crystal that behaves the way the practice ball did in the Falcon in A New Hope. He first asks Ben about the Force, then his parents. He can explain the Force to the boy. Explaining his parents is...more difficult. He doesn't mind talking about his mother Queen Padme, but he's cagier about his father, Sir Anakin. Han and Chewie show up just in time to insist that "hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good pistol at your side."

Rusty and Cedric turn up in the Junk Pickers' cart a few minutes later. Rusty goes to Ben and turns the plans over to him. Ben wants to get to the Rebel Society. Luke wants to rescue Leia. Han doesn't want anything to do with either - he just wants to sell the jewels and go home.

Broke around quarter of 7 to eat leftovers for dinner and make a Snickerdoodle Cake. Since the heavy rain was continuing, I ran two shadowy comic mysteries that seemed to fit the weather. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid has Steve Martin as a typical tough-guy private detective who runs afoul of a group shady folks while helping a dame find out who murdered her father and why. Both of these all-star movies had a gimmick along with the mystery. In this case, Martin appears to interact with footage of real-life film noir stars like Veronica Lake, Ray Milland, Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardener, and Ingrid Bergman. Strange film, but a lot of fun if you like funny mysteries or the shadowy world of film noir and spy tales of the 40's.

Clue is even more unique. Inspired by the famous board game, six people are invited to a huge mansion for a dinner that turns ugly when the host is murdered...and everyone has a motive, including the unflappable butler (Tim Curry). Now they all have to find out who done it, before someone does them in, or they all end up going to jail.

The gimmick here is not one, but three very different endings. (The DVD comes with the option of playing one, or playing all at once, like the video and most cable showings.) While none of them especially make sense, they're all hilarious in their own way. Special kudos to Curry as the flustered servant who digs up more dirt than he originally planned, Michael McKean as the perpetually pushed around Mr. Green, and Leslie Ann Warren as the delightfully sarcastic madam Miss Scarlet.

The gimmick made this one a flop when it debuted in 1985, but it picked up a following on cable and has been a cult favorite ever since. This is another frequently-seen gem that my family has probably memorized in its entirety. If you love the cast, the game, comic mysteries, or find the gimmick intriguing, this is one of the best unsung comedies of the 80's and is very highly recommended.

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