Friday, June 29, 2018

Major League Heat

I woke up early to a hazy, sunny morning. I wanted to get everything done that I needed to do before the weather got too hot for running around. Began the day with breakfast and Garfield In Hollywood. Garfield and Odie win an American Idol-style contest for talented pets and go on to the national finals in Hollywood. Jon shares their enthusiasm at first, but starts to worry when they cut him out of the act, and he wonders if stardom would mean leaving him behind.

First stop of the day was the Haddon Township Library. I'm not the only person who opted to get an early start and beat the heat. They were already busy just 15 minutes after opening. I shelved piles of kids' DVDs and helped the regular morning volunteer with the adult titles. Didn't take anything out this week myself. First of all, I have plenty of movies to watch for the 4th of July. Second, it's supposed to be insanely hot for pretty much the entire week. It might be too hot for a lot of running around outside of work. Third, I may not have the time anyway if I get a lot of hours for the holiday.

Made a few quick stops on the way home. Picked up milk, bananas, Cool Whip, and vanilla wafers at the Westmont Acme. Headed down the street to Dollar Tree for sponges and two aluminum cake pans with lids.

As soon as I got home, I pulled a box of banana cream pudding out of my pantry to make Banana Icebox Cake. Crushed the wafers and added melted butter to them for a crust. Layered a sliced banana, then the pudding, then Cool Whip. I'll be taking this to the Acme tomorrow. One of the baggers is retiring, and they're having a special luncheon for him.

Ran two episodes of Good Eats on favorite fruits as I made the dessert and a mango smoothie for lunch. Blueberries are in season, making "Kinda Blue" kinda appropriate. I'm not so sure about the pie (my fruit pies always seem to make a mess), but I may try the blueberry buckle and the syrup. "Orange Aid" also leans heavily on the sweeter side of fruit, including recipes for Orange Julius and marmalade.

Headed right back out after lunch. Heat wave or no heat wave, I had laundry to do. It wasn't a really big load, which is how I got away with putting it off for so long. They were busy when I came in, not quite as much when I left. Worked on story notes while half-listening to various talk shows.

Worked on writing for the next few hours. Thanks to Ben and the others dismantling the alarm system, they're able to get the gun and swords out of the storage room. They no sooner take off into the hall than they run into Vader and Tarkin. The latter almost strangles one of his men with the Force after a disagreement; only Tarkin's intervention gets him to leave the man alone.

Broke for dinner at 6. Had leftovers while watching a Three Stooges short. Leia and the guys aren't the only one who get into trouble in a fictional totalitarian state. The Stooges are in a Central American country selling coats when they stumble across a female spy. They're supposed to be bringing messages to her bosses, but the fur really flies when they're "Saved By the Belle" who helps them evade the firing squad.

It cooled off enough by 6:30 for me to stroll down to West Clinton for the first Final Friday Festival of the year. This is Oaklyn's food truck block party, which they do on the last Friday of every month from June through October. They were absolutely packed when I arrived. Wall-to-wall people lined up for barbecue, meatballs sandwiches, water ice, roasted corn on the cob, cookie dough, hot dogs, soft pretzels, cannoli, hoagies, and fried rice balls. A face-painting booth and chalk drawing on the sidewalks replaced Studio LuLoo.

A scoop of ice cream from Phillies Phatties was cheaper than anything in the booths. Tried their home-made "Reverse Cookies and Cream," chocolate ice cream with golden Oreo pieces. The ice cream was rich and yummy, but I really wish they'd included more cookie pieces. Enjoyed my treat at a table in front of Common Grounds Coffee House, watching the crowds head home.

Played some Lego Clone Wars when I got in. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong in "Destroy the Malevolence." I had to levitate that one piece upwards to fix the sprinkler, not to the side. Got three more pieces in that round and two more in "Defenders of the Peace."

Finished the night with Major League after a shower. The new owner of the Cleveland Indians Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) is a former showgirl with no real interest in owning a baseball team, let alone one that hasn't done well in years. She wants to move the team to Miami, but needs to have a losing year in order to do so. She hires the worst players she possibly can - a former criminal with a major fastball but no control (Charlie Sheen), a catcher with bad knees (Tom Bergener), a spoiled third baseman with an inflated sense of his own worth (Corbin Bernsen), a lightning-fast runner who can't hit (Wesley Snipes), a powerful hitter from Cuba who can't hit curveballs (Dennis Haysbert). The catcher is also having problems trying to get back together with his ex-girlfriend (Rene Russo) who is now engaged to a wealthy socialite. It takes the gruff manager (James Gammon) figuring out where Vaughn's control trouble is stemming from and the discovery of Phelps' scheme to encourage these guys to start winning games...and to start working as a team.

This was a favorite of Dad's in the early 90's, and we used to watch it a lot too (despite the R rating). The story is cliche to the max, and Russo's love-interest role feels shoe-horned in. For all the comedy, there's a surprising amount of grit in this tale, including the twist ending. Special kudos to Bob Uecker as the team's announcer, whose sarcastic and hilarious play-by-play is a highlight of the film.

Brief sexual situations and some fairly heavy swearing make this more appropriate for teen baseball fans onwards. If you have fans of the cast or the National Pastime around, they may get as much of a kick out of this as we always did.

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