Sights and Sounds

Atomic Café

In the early 60’s I remember going through atomic bomb drills in school.  We were dutifully herded by our teachers down to the depths of Roger’s Elementary school here in Bloomington, past the furnaces, and seemingly below the floors to the area in which we were to remain until the radiation levels dropped enough for us to come out.  I can still remember the big storage cans of water stacked along the walls and under stairwells marked with the Civil Defense emblem.  I assume, though I can’t really remember seeing them, that there were food rations that were available for us to eat as well.  Along with the television advertisements for cereal, candy and toys we saw public service announcements with “Burt the Turtle” teaching us how to “duck and cover” if we should ever see the flash of an atomic bomb.   How naïve these advertisements and steps seem today when more accurate information about atomic blasts and radiation is common knowledge.   We know for example that we can’t survive an atomic blast by hiding inside of a refrigerator.

Leonard Nimoy 1931 - 2015

Leonard Nimoy

Today I lost a friend though I did not know him personally.  He has been a part of my life since I was ten years old and Star Trek first aired.  Leonard Nimoy passed away this morning.  He was 83.   His best known role was that of Mr. Spock, first officer of the USS Enterprise. The character Spock was a Vulcan/Human mix, not devoid of emotion, but able to suppress and control his emotional responses.  For many of us who thought we were different Spock gave to us a role model that showed us that we could overcome our limitations and excel in what we chose to do and be.  He told us it was okay to be different and that was really a good thing.     While Nimoy alternately tried to remove himself from the character of Spock and embraced it he was forever in our minds the symbol of diversity that epitomized Star Trek.  Spock’s devotion to logic inspired us to examine our situations and understand how they could be improved.

My Cousin Vinny

Imagine if you will traveling across the country with your best friend and stopping for snacks at a small town gas station.  Shortly after you leave you, glance in the mirror to see and hear the flashing lights and the siren of a police car.  You are about to be charged with the cold blooded murder and robbery of the proprietor of the gas station you just left.   Your only hope for freedom is your eccentric cousin Vinny, a New York lawyer who has yet to win a case. 

While You're Waiting for This Year's Oscar Nominees

Get ready for all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood with this evening’s Academy Awards! While you’re waiting for a copy of one of this year’s popular Oscar nominees, we suggest revisiting some Best Picture winners of the not-so-distant past. 

12 Years a Slave12 Years a Slave (2013) -- What better way to get ready for the Oscars than by rewatching the Best Picture winner from last year! The film won four Academy Awards and is based on the 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup. Northup was a free African American man with a wife and children when he was abducted in Washington, D.C. and sold into slavery. This moving film depicts Northrup's years as a slave working on plantations in Louisiana and fighting for the freedom to return to his family. 

No Country for Old MenNo Country for Old Men (2007) -- No Country for Old Men was directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, who are known for their films Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and most recently, Inside Llewyn Davis. No Country for Old Men is the winner of four Oscars and is based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel by the same name. The film is a dark thriller about a hunter in Texas who stumbles upon two million dollars and the deserted scene of a bloody drug deal gone wrong. He flees but is pursued by a merciless hitman out for revenge. 

ChicagoChicago (2002) -- This dazzling musical won six Academy Awards in 2002. Dancer Velma Kelly, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, and aspiring performer Roxie Hart, played by Renee Zellweger, live in the Jazz and booze infused 1920s Chicago. Both women are accused of murder and are sent to jail to await trial. While behind bars, they make a plan to win fame and public sympathy to escape death sentences.

The Prestige

Opening Lines:  “Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge.” The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn." The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige."

While growing up in Bloomington, I had the pleasure of knowing a professional stage magician.  He made a small living performing at various conventions and meetings around the United States.  As a small boy of 10, I found him fascinating.  He took me under his wing for a while and gave me what he called a beginning magic kit.  It wasn’t the type you found in magic stores. This was something special. 

Super Bowl Sunday

Whether you're excited for Super Bowl, sad another football season is ending, or just don't care, here are football related movie's and television episodes for everyone to enjoy!


Romantic Comedies

Silver Linings Playbook

SufferinSilver Linings Playbookg from bi-polar disorder and recently released from a psychiatric hospital, Pat returns to his parent’s house and determined to win back his ex-wife.   Pat meets recently widowed Tiffany, complete with her own neuroses, at a dinner at a friend’s house, where she offers to help Pat communicate with his ex-wife-as long as he enters a dance competition with her.  Constant throughout the movie is Pat and his family’s devotion to the Philadelphia Eagles- and all the rituals and good luck charms that go along with being a Birds fan.


The Waterboy

The Waterboy

Socially inept and clumsy Bobby Boucher takes his job as water boy for the university football team very seriously.  When he is fired from his position because of sheer incompetence, Bobby approaches the rival university’s coach and asks for a job.  After enduring one mean spirited comment too many, Bobby lashes out and tackles the quarterback to the ground which leads to him quickly becoming one of the most feared linebackers.



We Are MarshallWe Are Marshall

This historical drama describes the aftermath of the 1970 plane crash that killed 37 football players on the Marshal University Thundering Herd football teams, the rebuilding of the football programs and the healing of the community.




Remember the TitansRemember the Titans

When African-American coach Herman Boone is hired to coach the T.C. William’s High School football team, the white players boycott until the former coach, Bill Yoast, comes on as assistant coach.  The team deals with several racial clashes, while the school board tells Boone that if he loses even one game he will lose his job as well.  This leads to an undefeated season, which is threatened right before the semi-finals when it is apparent the referees are intentionally calling a bad game.



Rudy dreams of playing football for Notre Dame even though his grades aren’t good enough to get into the school and he lacks the stature or talent necessary to play in such a prestigious program and instead goes to work in a steel mill.  After his best friend is killed in a car accident, Rudy decides it’s time get on with his dreams, enrolls in a junior college where after a lot of hard work he is accepted to transfer to Notre Dame.  Rudy doesn’t make the team, but gets the chance to be the “tackling dummy” and after two years of inspiring the team he’s allowed to dress for one game, where he is triumphantly carried off the field by his teammates.



HIMYM How I Met Your Mother-“Monday Night Football” (Season 2, episode 14)

When a funeral and extra-long wake on Super Bowl Sunday prevents the gang from their tradition of watching the game live while eating hot wings, they decide to tape it to watch the following night.  Everyone disrupts their regular routine in order to keep from accidently learning the outcome of the game-Ted works from home while Barney handcuffs himself to Ted’s wall.  Hilarity ensues in Lily’s classroom and as Robin tries not to listen to the recap while she’s presenting the news.


Seinfeld “The Label Maker” (Season 6, episode 12)

Jerry has two tickets to the Super Bowl, but can’t attend because of Drakes Wedding, so he gives them to Dr. Whatley-who Elaine suspects re-gifted to Jerry a Label Maker she gave him for Christmas. In an epic kerfuffle that Seinfeld is known for, the tickets go from person to person, until finally Jerry finds himself at the Super Bowl sitting next to Newman.


SimpsonsThe Simpsons “Lisa the Greek” (Season 3, episode 14)

Homer begins to bond with Lisa when he discovers her ability to pick winning football teams and uses it to help him gamble. For the 8 weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, all of Lisa’s picks wins.  When Lisa discovers Homer is just using her for her prognostic abilities, and not because he enjoys spending time with her, she quits talking to him.  Homer makes tries to make amends by inviting her to watch the Super Bowl with him, where Lisa gives him this cryptic prediction: if she still loves Homer, Washington will win; if she doesn’t, Buffalo will.