Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Thunder and the Revolution

I awoke to yet another sizzling sunny day. Cooled off after breakfast with Tiny Toons: How I Spent My Summer Vacation while I made Pudding Icebox Cake with a blueberry and strawberry "flag" on top for Dad and Jodie's barbecue tomorrow. Babs and Buster spend their holiday on a raft down river after an epic water fight gets out of hand. Plucky joins Hamton and his family on their trip to Happy World Land, but their smiley-happy obnoxiousness drives him crazy. Fifi chases her favorite movie star, while Loudmouth chases Shirley the Loon and Elmyra terrorizes the animals in a safari park. Enjoyable enough if you're a fan of the Toons or the cartoons of the 90's.

Charlie left a message last night saying that an electrician would be coming around this morning. I made the bed, tidied up, and got ready for work while watching Garfield In Paradise. Jon and his pets pass the holiday at Paradise World, an island resort where the hotel owners spout Jack Benny jokes and the natives worship 50's cars. Garfield's beginning to think that this trip might actually be fun...until the island's volcano threatens to blow them all sky high!

(And of course, it turns out the electrician couldn't come today after all. Charlie says he'll "keep me posted." We'll see how that works out.)

While it remains incredibly hot, it was also murderously humid today as well, with very little breeze. Thankfully, I wasn't out for quite as long as yesterday. One of the managers wanted me to organize and hang gift cards, which occupied a lot of time during the first half of my shift. Had a few things to pick up when I arrived and on my way out, including a roll for lunch on Thursday, Gatorade for the ride home (it was on sale), and a stuffed Beanie Baby puppy intended for infants for my niece Finley's first birthday (which was today).

Rested when I got home with a chapter of The Gates of Sleep, then took a much-needed shower. After I got out, I worked on writing. To Luke's horror, Vader's red light blasts through Ben, turning him to ashes. He tries to attack Vader in anger, but Harry and Leia whisk him off before he can get to him.

Dark clouds had been building up as early as the middle of my shift, around 1. By 5:30, we were in the middle of a series of massive thunderstorms. They were so noisy, I lost my internet twice while I was writing. I gave up around 6 and opted for an early dinner and Lego Clone Wars instead.

I got really far tonight. Did the final story-based bonus round, "Hostage Crisis." A group of bounty hunters storm into Coruscant to hold a group of senators hostage in exchange for the gangster Ziro the Hutt. Completing that round gave me most of the remaining bounty hunters, including sniper Aura Sing. I swung her back to the Republic ship to use her shooting skills to pick up the Super Saber Cut red brick. Bought a truckload of characters that had popped up after finishing "Hostage Crisis." My favorite of newcomers along with Aura was Hondo Ohnaka, the old pirate and con-man who was also a prominent character in the Rebels animated series.

Finished the night with 1776. John Adams (William Daniels) is determined to see that the US is free from the tyranny of England, but he can't get the Continental Congress to discuss the matter, let alone agree on anything. The New Jersey delegation is late, New York won't vote on anything, the southerners want to keep slavery going, and most of Pennsylvania except snarky Benjamin Frankin (Howard DaSilva) would prefer to stay a colony. Adams and Franklin recruit Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard) to write a Declaration of Independence and bring around his wife Martha (Blythe Danner) to make sure he does it. Even after it's written, they need a unanimous vote to pass it. It'll take all of their skills and know-how - and a little help from Adams' sensible wife Abigail (Virginia Westoff) in Massachusetts - to convince Congress that they're ready to make history.

I give this one (and the more recent Hamilton) credit for making the American Revolution come off as a lot more interesting than it ever did in history books. You really feel the tension in this one, especially in the end, when the southern delegates walk out and the whole project is in jeopardy. Some of the musical numbers are amazing; special kudos to Broadway star John Cullum for his stirring "Molasses to Rum" (on how both the south and the north profit from slavery) and to Stephan Nathan as the young courier who performs the heartbreaking "Momma Look Sharp."

Once again, length and pacing are the major complaints. This one is super-slow and very talky. It's the last of the major epic musicals of the 60's and early 70's, and you definitely feel the length. At any rate, if you're looking for an interesting movie on American history or for something new for older kids to watch on the 4th of July, this is an underrated gem that gets a major recommendation from me.

Here's some more tales of the 4th of July and the American Revolution, along with two Disney parades from the late 80's, to help you get in the mood for the real-life fireworks tomorrow.

Ben and Me
Liberty's Kids - The First Fourth of July
Dennis the Menace (Animated) - Yankee Doodle Dennis/Dennis the Barnstormer/Trial and Error
The Unsung Hero - Classic Terrytoons
Walt Disney World 4th of July Parade 1988 1989

And for those of you who won't be around tomorrow, I hope you all have an explosive 4th of July! Everyone else, enjoy your summer vacations.

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