Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bringing Out the Beast In Sports and Games

I was happy just to have time at home after being at work all day yesterday. I spent the morning doing little chores around the house that I've put off during the holidays and for the last few weeks. Made the bed. Cleared out old paperwork. Finally scrubbed the pot that got scorched when I attempted fudge a while back. Went through my Christmas books and the remaining donations in the back and got them packed up to be taken to the church on Saturday.

Ran a Bowery Boys semi-dramatic boxing tale, Fighting Fools, as I puttered. This one starts with tragedy, as another fighter is killed in the ring. Sach and Slip drag the fighter's old brother, a former boxer who dropped the game after dealing with racketeers, back into the limelight in order to help his mother and brother. Once the guy starts winning, the same racketeers who fixed the fight against his brother want a piece of the pie. Slip says no...until they kidnap the little brother. Now the guys have to find the kid and make sure their boy wins that fight fair and square.

Did the dishes and finished in the back room while listening to Bon Jovi's Greatest Hits. Felt like I needed the driving music. (For one thing, it drowned out Charlie and the guys working on the porch and helping Richard taking down his Christmas lights outside.)

After I finished with the dishes, I played some Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. "Droid Factory," the third round of Attack of the Clones, is long and complicated. After having to go back because I got stuck, I did eventually do better on it than I did the first time. (Including avoiding that annoying glitch on the conveyor belts) "Jedi Calvary" was much simpler. All you have to do is have Mace Windu free Anakin, Padme, and Obi Wan and fight Jango Fett.

Dodged road work on the residential side streets off Cuthbert as I rode to Westmont. First stop was Friendly's for lunch. They were still pretty busy when I arrived, including a young couple with the most adorable toddler daughter. I had a tasty turkey burger with bacon and Swiss and fries. Dessert was simple chocolate ice cream bathed in strawberry syrup, with a mountain of whipped cream and a cherry.

The Haddon Township Library was quiet as can be when I arrived. In all honesty, there wasn't that much to do. I shelved DVDs and the one CD and pulled TV show sets out of the one-disc movies. Took out a couple of movies this week. Continued exploring the films of the 60's and 70's with Cool Hand Luke. The library occasionally gets movies from made-to-order DVD company Olive Films. Went with Forever Female, apparently a comedy with Ginger Rogers and William Holden. Since the second Pacific Rim film is coming out later this year, I thought this was a good time to finally get around to checking out the first one. Also grabbed another Scooby Doo three-cartoon set, this one with a birthday theme. Found a cookbook of low-fat dishes that still looked tasty (some of which recreated restaurant dishes) and another on the psychology on how and why we eat.

Went straight home after I left, riding across the half-frozen landscape of Newton Lake Park. While it was sunny and in the mid-30's, much colder than it has been, it was really closer to what it should be at this time of year. It was the wind that made it feel that much chillier. The park was mostly empty, even as the kids were just getting out of school. I eventually took the shortcut over the hill and past the Haddon Township Environmental Center and Museum.

Went into writing when I got in. The Organas raise tiny Leia to be a feisty and intelligent young woman. She has free range of their walled garden, chasing out pests and making friends with smaller animals and birds, learning their languages. Her parents teach her everything they know, including law from lawyer Bail.

Leia loves her parents, but she really wants to find some friends her own age and size. The Organas send her on her way beyond the walled garden with their blessings. Barely out of the gate, she's promptly snatched by a blue, yellow, and green toad, who wants her to be his fat, slimy toad boss' wife. Leia's not having any of it, but the toads strand her on a lily pad to force her to agree.

Broke for a quick dinner at 6:30. Did some more Good Eats while eating leftover shrimp salad. Alton explores the fancy nut and fruit oils that were just starting to show up in most supermarkets in the mid-2000's in "There Will Be Oil." Wish I could do the nut oil ice cream in this one, but I don't have an ice cream maker. Might be able to pull off the stir-fry in the beginning, though.

Returned to Lego Star Wars after dinner. I finished Attack of the Clones, then did the first half of Revenge of the Sith. Just missed True Jedi on "Count Dooku," but did get it on the round with Anakin going after him (even though it took me a while) and on Palpatine's rescue. Also found another red brick in the "Battle of Coruscant" round and half the pieces (though I bonked into the sides so much, I came out with no studs). Also had problems with "Battle of Kashyyak," which takes forever. There's one part where you have to shoot out the lead droids, or more will just keep coming. It took me ten minutes to figure out how to get rid of them, and I lost all my studs.

Ended the night on YouTube with Animalympics. Figured it was appropriate, with the real-life Winter Olympics beginning in a couple of weeks. This 1980 animated parody of international athletics have animals from the five continents of the world (and Eurasia, aka Russia) coming together in the spirit of world understanding. Four actors (among them Billy Crystal, Gilda Radner, and Harry Shearer) voice a wide variety of characters. There's a surfing dude otter whose laid-back lifestyle helps him win big in swimming and diving, a lioness and a goat who are determined to out-run each other in the marathon, a Canadian bear ice hockey team going up against bigger boars, a European boar fencing with a sleek Russian falcon, and a Japanese penguin and Russian minx who come up with perfect scores in gymnastics.

This used to show up a lot on cable in the 80's and early 90's, and it became a favorite of my sisters and me. This is the first time I noticed that a lot of quite well-known animators worked on this film early in their careers. Brad Bird would go on to helm The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles movies, and Roger Ailiers later directed The Lion King. That would explain why the animation is pretty good for something originally intended for TV, especially the otter's diving dream sequence. I'm also a big fan of the soundtrack by Graham Gouldman and the 70's rock group 10cc, including the disco number "Go for It," the anthems "Now That We've Made It" and "With You I Could Run Forever," and the lovely ballad "Away From It All." Love how realistic the graphics that introduce each segment are, too. The really do look like they came directly from the 1980 Winter Olympics and 1984 Summer Olympics broadcasts.

If you're a fan of other animal-based animated comedies like Zootopia and Sing, love the Olympics, or have fond memories of seeing it as a child, this is currently on YouTube and is worth a look.


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