‘THE LATE, LATE SHOW’ – “GUILTY PLEASURES” (MA-XXX) – Garry Armstrong

Yes, I know. The title sounds like a promo for a soft porn movie. No, it’s not!  I don’t do that stuff. Hold on. It does involve soft porn. I’ll get to that in a few minutes.

One of the few retirement perks we have is staying up late. During my 40 plus years as a TV/radio news guy, I had crazy schedules, usually mandating I be out of bed way before the roosters and sunrise. It meant missing lots of stuff that aired after dinner and during the wee, small hours. It meant missing lots of my favorite old movies.

I’m an ardent fan of the old movies. As a 20 something, I’d set the alarm for 2 or 3 am for “The Late, Late Show.”  This was before the DVR age when all you had to be was awake to see your program. Not just the classics like “Casablanca.” I’m a devotee of film nuggets like “Jubilee Trail” a B-western from the 1950s.  I love the film’s theme song and, actually, almost lobotomized myself to see the pre-dawn airing of the film just to hear Buddy Baer and the iconic Vera “Hruba” Ralston sing the song. I sang along with them until my parents awoke and told me to shut up. “Jubilee Trail” is one of my guilty pleasures.

The Magnificent Seven
Hell is definitely coming …

Marilyn doesn’t share my fondness for these movie nuggets. Golly, my heart still skips a few beats when Forrest Tucker finally concedes his love for the adorable Joan Leslie and the “Jubilee Trail” song swells up full volume to a happy ending and the closing credits. My eyes still tear up over the romantic conclusion. Yes, a guilty pleasure for a cheezy b-western.

Marilyn doesn’t share my fondness but “gets” the pleasure I derive from these films. She’s set me up with headphones and the opportunity to nightly watch my guilty pleasure flicks as she listens to audiobooks or watches her own favorite stuff on her Kindle.  Thanks, Marilyn!  You’ll do!

Okay, last night, still recovering from my “Marathon Man” like dental session this week, I snuggled under the covers with a headset on to watch some classic guilty pleasure stuff.

I started with “Marie Antoinette,” a lavish 1938 MGM picture I haven’t seen in decades. I watched it with great anticipation.  What a cast!  Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore, Robert Morley, and Gladys George just to name a few legends from the studio that boasted more stars than there are in heaven.

Norma Shearer was queen bee at MGM from the late ’20s to the early ’40s. She was married to Irving Thalberg,  Metro’s “Boy Wonder” who churned out some of Hollywood’s greatest films.  It meant Norma Shearer got all the plum roles. It didn’t matter that she was always “playing young” for parts in “Romeo and Juliet” and “Marie Antoinette.”  It usually doesn’t faze me.

However, last night I realized Norma was bringing her “Sandra Dee” take on the “let them eat cake” lady.  It was ridiculous. I stayed with this epic out of respect for old Hollywood. I gave up, however, when Joseph Schildkraut popped up, wearing more mascara, powder, and eye-liner than Norma Shearer. I couldn’t handle it.

What a cast!

I went to something I knew would be good. A Randolph Scott western. “Riding Shotgun.” a 1950s Scott cowboy saga in blazing color. I sat up straight as the credits rolled and a deep baritone voice sang a familiar range rider song. This was gonna be great!

Randy was doing a voice-over narration to barrel up a plot that was older than its venerable star. I watched in disbelief as the movie played on like a “Blazing Saddles” parody except this was not supposed to be a comedy. I gave up in disgust about 30 minutes into the western. Unbelievable!

Two classic movies, guilty pleasures, that were stinkeroos. I felt so cheated, so abandoned, so bereft and numb. I was in limbo, trying to fall asleep.

Remember my line about soft porn? Yes, guilty pleasure of a different kind. Why do guys watch (soft) porn? For its cinematic value?  Hey, I used to read “Playboy” for the articles and studied the photo layouts for their pictorial artistry.

I remember attending The Fine Arts Theater back on Long Island of the ’60s. It was a semi cultural venue. They were running “Tunes of Glory.” I went, anticipating “culture” with 40-DD breast cups. I was bummed out. “Tunes of Glory,” with Alec Guinness and John Mills, turned out to be a memorable twist on war movies. Guinness and Mills were brilliant as the disparate military heroes. Think “Bridge on The River Kwai” with a heavier bashing of heroic images.

I sat in the dark, mesmerized by the film but disturbed that it wasn’t a Hugh Hefner/Russ Meyers product. Gee Whiz! It wasn’t a total loss because the film introduced Susannah York who I immediately adored. So, a guilty pleasure? Yes!

I must “out” myself on another guilty pleasure type film. As a kid and young man, I was addicted to westerns and war movies, normal for any red-blooded young fella. I cringed when the action paused for “mushy stuff.” I didn’t understand critics who praised the work of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Claudette Colbert, Myrna Loy and other notable actresses of Hollywood’s golden age.  The gooey love stuff was so boring. Nowadays, I never miss the films of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Ida Lupino, Myrna Loy and the other legendary ladies which I dissed as a young movie maven.

I like the pluck displayed by these women on and off-screen. They fought the studio bosses for quality roles and against movies and parts that demeaned women. I didn’t get this when I was younger. Now, as an old fart, stereotypes, and ageism, resonate strongly.

Guys are not supposed to like romcoms, chick flicks, melodramas or other movies where women have equal standing or are stronger and savvier than the male co-stars.  Reality bites!

When I hang out with the guys, we mourn the demise of westerns and dramas where a man was a man. If I mention Davis or Crawford, I can see the eyebrows rise around the lunch table. You have to be discreet with guilty pleasures, right? No, wrong, dammit! Our current political culture is egregious enough without ridicule of your entertainment preferences.

I wonder how Duke Wayne, Papa Hemingway, Bogie, and their brethren would deal with today’s good old boys and the too-long delayed exposure of their moral decay.

I’ll take my guilty pleasures, thank you, and enjoy their stories.

What’s it all about?  As an iconic movie private eye once observed, “Uh, the stuff dreams are made of!”

AUTUMN CAME BY FOR THE DAY! – Marilyn Armstrong

Autumn at the Canal and River – October 14, 2019

In a desperate attempt to cut down on email, I put all my emails from blogs onto the Reader and now I’m not getting anything at all and can’t FIND anything even when I look. At least I found this.

It’s hopeless. No matter what I do, I either don’t have anything at all or I have mountains of stuff.

Today we had Autumn. Sunshine and golden trees and everything. We took pictures. Not enough. I’m going to try to get out tomorrow, too because by Wednesday, torrential rain will be back and that will probably finish it off.

These are from both Garry and me, all taken down by the dam and Blackstone River. We had bigger plans, but I needed to hustle home to the bathroom. It turns out, there are none of them anywhere around that park. Not even one of those plastic horrors.

From Garry:

From Marilyn:

TEETH WITH AN HILARIOUS SPECIAL COMMENT FOLLOWUP — Marilyn Armstrong

Because maybe you’re wondering, Garry had two extractions today. It was supposed to be one, but it turned out to be two and the $200 turned into slightly more than $500. CareCredit, we’re back!

We went to our dentist’s office and the specialist who had come in for the extraction didn’t feel comfortable doing it.

So they called another oral surgery and we drove 50 miles to the edge of Boston metro-west. It turned out the tooth adjacent to the tooth that was rotten was brown and falling apart. Even with a filling, it would maybe — with good luck — last a year and then fall apart.

A falling apart tooth is not a tidy event like an extraction. It crumbles or shatters and can take months for all the shards to finally work their way out of the gum. Not fun.

So I said “You should pull it. It’s dying anyway, so let’s get it done before it becomes even more complicated.” Garry agreed. You can’t see it anyway. It’s on the side, so his lovely smile will not be ruined.

Even with a triple whammy shot of Novocain, it still hurt. The abscess was sitting on a nerve and no amount of local anesthetic was going to entirely numb it. He was trying to be very Marine Corp about it, but this was one of these “mind-over-matter doesn’t always work” events.

We’re back home. Our faithless GPS sent us home by “the short route” which takes twice as long as the “longer” way and sends you through every one-lane town. It was nice to see the trees changing. It would have been nicer had it not been raining.

Tomorrow, it’s me and the Pacemaker specialist for much of the day.

Meanwhile, while we were trekking the slow roads of Massachusetts, Owen was removing trash from the house — including that big box that had my writing in it. I guess I’m not going to find that script fo “Fall of Sauron Day.” Oh well. At least the basement is empty. We’ve got two dehumidifiers running, trying to get the dampness out. It has been a wet year.

Garry should be okay now. He’s on the equivalent of baby food for the next few days. And ice packs. He can have cold drinks, but nothing hot. No citrus — lemonade, OJ, or grapefruit juice is too acidic — but other stuff is okay.

Maybe it won’t rain all day tomorrow and maybe we won’t be at the doctor’s office all day so I can get a few pictures. It is ironic that Garry, the most dedicated tooth cleaner anywhere, is the one with problems. Not to worry. My turn will come again.


AND A FOLLOWUP COMMENTARY TO PUT IT ALL INTO PERSPECTIVE:


John Corcoran, Jr.
to Garry, me

Garry and Marilyn,

Total empathy. Been there, done that. My most memorable dental experience is so seared into my brain I remember it like it was yesterday. In fact, it was about 50 years ago. I was a wee pup — well a USAF second lieutenant.

One of the benefits of being in the service is if you get a horrific toothache, the military would cheerfully provide you with a dentist to extract it, or if one wasn’t handy, a civil engineer.

I had what is known as an “impacted wisdom tooth with a side of abscess.” My “dentist” received his training at the Ghengis Khan University of Dentistry and Yard Work.

He loaded me up with a few Novocain shots, then grabbed his ball-peen hammer and a set of clamp-nose pliers and immediately set to work. As soon as he began, I commented: “Aiiiiyeeeee.”

Since many metal implements, his fat mitts, and at least one of his feet were in my mouth at the time, he interpreted my screams to mean “Please continue.” My follow up shouts of pain and agony eventually got him to stop. He then brought out a new tray full of Novocain-filled syringes and unloaded them into my pie-hole.

“That should do yuh,” he said. It didn’t.

After a few seconds to let it soak in, he resumed pulling and I resumed shouting in agony. It didn’t help that the roots of my wisdom tooth went very deep. My orthopedist later estimated they ended up just below my femur.

Here’s the deal. I learned afterword, from another dentist, that they should first clear up the abscess with antibiotics — this may take a few days — and then yank the offending pearly. My uncivil engineer didn’t do that obviously, and it was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. And I have gout.

The second dentist told me the abscess likely neutralized the Novocain (I’d had about ten shots) and I essentially had a tooth extracted without a working anesthetic. There was only one upside. Perhaps filled with guilt, my torturer wrote me a prescription for a big, big bottle of codeine-based pain-killers. I finished the last one Tuesday.

So, Garry, I hope you got the good stuff, and you’ll be all better soon. And Marilyn, thanks for a lovely piece.

Best,

Cork


AND THE ANSWER TO THE ANSWER:

Cork, shame on you. You got me (and) Marilyn laughing. Laughter isn’t the r/x here tonight. Not for me, at least.

I wore my USMC sweatshirt today so that made me very “special”. As the road gang worked on my mouth, one of them said: “He’s tough. He can take it.” I guess they were deaf and didn’t hear my screams. They didn’t see my legs flopping up and down.

I must confess they gave me 3 local shots to calm me down. I could feel them chipping at the dead tooth atop the abscessed tooth. It sounded like Dragline and the boys keeping the man with no eyes happy.

I kept waiting for Strother Martin to come in and tell me there was a failure to communicate. Of course, there was. I sounded like Boraxo’s Old Ranger from Death Valley days. One of the winsome aides kept stroking my arm as if that would make it all go away. She looked like Flora Robson so no luck there.

I must admit my GP (Sam Jaffe) gave me antibiotics last week to make things easier. Helped some, I admit, but not nearly enough. I tried to mentally escape but it was no go. I couldn’t conjure up a suitable fantasy.

I kept hearing them jack-hammering inside my mouth. I shudda taken off my cochlear implant and my hearing aid. I could HEAR everything they were saying, including “This is a tougher job than expected.”I guess I postponed the happy-hour for the dentist and his aides.

When the deed was finally done, dead tooth removed and abscess cleaned out, I remained hazy and woozy as in days of old when we conferenced at the local pub.

Sure enough, as I Walter Brennaned my way out of the room, one of the older aides smiled and said, “It was a pleasure. I grew up watching you on TV.”

That’s a wrap.

Vince Edwards

THE MAVEN ANNOUNCES “IT’S MOVIE NIGHT AT THE UXBRIDGE SENIOR CENTER”! – Garry Armstrong

Hey, movie mavens!  Tomorrow night it’s “Roll Everything!” as I host “Rustlers’ Rhapsody” at the Uxbridge Senior Citizens Center on Main Street in downtown Uxbridge.

It starts at 5:30 pm with refreshments and trivia prep time.

At 6pm, it’s curtain time for “Rustlers’ Rhapsody,”  a wonderful 1985 spoof and homage to those wonderful “B” westerns of our childhood. Surely, you remember the Saturday matinees at your favorite neighborhood theater? You know, where the good guys wore white and the bad guys wore black.

The plots were simple. Good versus evil. Good always won. The heroes had nice outfits. The villains usually wore dirty, ill-fitting garb you could smell from your front row seats as you chowed down popcorn, juji-fruits and hot dogs.

At 7:45 pm, it will be Q&A time as we swap trivia about favorite movies.  Maybe the featured film will sharpen your recall of those golden olden days.

“Rustler’s Rhapsody” fondly remembers heroes like Roy and Gene. There’s a nice bit of surprise casting that will leave you smiling. If you know who I’m talking about, mum’s the word.

You’ll find yourself singing along with the wonderful ballad at film’s end that definitely will have you recollecting your days of innocence, lost in the wild west where there was no doubt about law and order.

So, saddle up your cow pony and ride the high country to the Uxbridge Senior Citizens’ Center tomorrow night.  We’ll start the show at 7pm. We need your help to smoke out all those bad hombres.

That includes YOU, Pilgrim!

IT’S BEEN ONE OF THOSE MONTHS – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry is the most obsessive tooth-brusher and general oral cleaner I’ve ever met. Apparently, this alone was not enough to stop an abscess from forming under a filling in the gum right on top of the tooth’s root. OUCH.

He didn’t just have an abscess either. He had managed to contract an ear and lymph node infection — just to round it all out. Some people have all the fun!

He’s taking the biggest amoxicillin pills I’ve ever seen along with gigantic muscle relaxants and some pretty hefty pain medications. He says he feels like he’s got a really bad hangover. You think?

But he’s sleeping really well.

Next door to the dentist!

They won’t pull the tooth until next Wednesday by which time the antibiotics will have knocked out most of the abscess. Followed by two fillings for small breaks in teeth that aren’t really cavities, but do need to be patched before they become something worse.

He is not a happy camper and I’m trying to figure out what to cook since he can’t chew much and can’t have any sugar or anything crunchy. Too bad he really hates oatmeal.

Chicken soup?

And there goes the repair on the back door. Oh well. Sometimes life is just like this. I’m hoping after this, we get a bit of a break. Please!

THE CHANGING SEASONS – SEPTEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, September 2019


It’s the last day of September. In New England, that’s Autumn. It’s sort of Autumn out there, but not a lot. It may get better, but a lot has to do with rain and if it gets very warm again.

It’s been very up and down. Moreover, climate change has made our erratic weather even more erratic than it was before, so it’s very hard to figure out what happening. Or will happen.

The trees are mostly green with large patches of bright yellow and in a few places, some red and orange. But the color is very slow in coming and if the rain starts before the color shows up, fall will wash away with the rain. As it did last year and the year before.

The barn and corral and our car, tucked in the corner. happy weather watching.
The farm road. Follow it if you want to see the horses.

We have taken some nice pictures, so even if we aren’t getting that golden red fall feeling, it certainly is lovely outside.

I’d hate to lose a whole season, especially Autumn.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

      • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
      • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
      • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

      • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
      • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
      • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, Su-Leslie can update her post with links to all of your posts.