Monday, May 20, 2013

Thank You, Thank You, and See Ya.

I've got a mixed bag for my post this morning. 

First I want to thank all the new faces that stopped by as part of the BEST AND WORST MOVIE REMAKES BLOGFEST.  Especially those who joined me as Followers. I think I managed to return the favor to you all.

Thanks also to our blogfest hosts: Alex J. Cavanaugh, Al Diaz, Livia Peterson, and Stephen Tremp.  It was fun. 

Now I have to go back and pick up a thank you from last Monday.  Murees DupĂ© from Daily Drama of an Aspiring Writer gave me this lovely award. 


Thank you, Murees. 

 Of course this award comes with the usual set of rules, answer ten questions and pass the award on to ten other blogs. I hope Murees will forgive me but I'm only going to do half the award requirements. I'll explain a little farther down. 

First, the questions: 

1. Favorite color
This really changes with my mood, the season, etc. but I'll go with blue.
2. Favorite animal
I'm an equal opportunity animal lover (except for spiders) but I'd better say dogs since we have one in the family.  Wouldn't want her to get in a snit.
3. Favorite number
Hmm. Never thought of it. How about four - I have four grandkids.
4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink
Hot tea. But not Earl Grey - sorry Jean-Luc.
5. Favorite alcoholic drink
Pina Colada (I like that old song, too.  Do you know the one?)
6. Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook. I don't have a Twitter account. (Yeah, I know. Someday.)
7. Passions
Probably should say writing but to be honest, it's my family.
8. Prefer getting or giving presents?
I enjoy both but I think giving is more fun.
9. Favorite City
Toughy.  I love New York for the theater but I've got to go with Boston - home of my beloved Red Sox. 
10. Favorite TV Shows
During the winter season, I watch Castle, both NCISes, Person of Interest, and Elementary.  During the summer cable season, I like Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, Rizzoli and Isles, and Suits. 
Now, here's where I'm going to fudge on the rules. Rather than choose ten blogs to give this award to, I going to give it to everyone who stops by and would like to take it with them.  I'm doing this because so many of my blog friends have said they'd rather not receive awards because it makes them feel obligated to accept and spend time fulfilling the "requirements".  
If you visit my blog and leave a comment, you've brought me a little sunshine and I'd be delighted for you to take this award along with you.  If you have the time to answer the questions and pass the blog along to other bloggers, that's great. If not, feel free to accept it as my gift to you, no strings attached. 
Now for the last part of my post title...See Ya. I'm going on a cruise (Yea! Whoopee! Vacation time!) so I'll be about as far offline as I can get for the next couple weeks. Try not to get into too much mischief while I'm gone. I'll try to post on June 3rd unless Sophie is so traumatized over being left that I have to give her my undivided attention for a couple days, then it will be June 5th.
See ya!
Or should that be Sea Ya! 
(Get it? Cruise...ocean...sea. Oh, I'm sorry.) 

Joke of the Day:

On our vacation we spent some time in Louisville, and my wife and I were arguing whether it is pronounced “Louie-ville”, “Lou-i-vulle” or “Louis-ville.” 

I figured we could find out for certain when we stopped for lunch. As we stood at the food counter, I asked the young man, "Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are, very slowly?" 

He looked just a little puzzled, but he leaned over the counter and said, "Burrrrrrgerrrrrr Kiiiiing."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Best and Worst Movie Remakes

Welcome to the 

This blogfest comes to us courtesy of the Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, with co-hosts Al Diaz, Livia Peterson, and Stephen Tremp

My first movie remake qualifies as a Best and a Worst.

The Best goes to the 1954 version of  A Star is Born staring Judy Garland. 

This was a remake of the 1937 version which starred Janet Gaynor.


 But a Worst goes to the 1976 version starring Barbra Streisand.

My second Best remake goes to Ocean's 11
I'm awarding this one not because the 1960 original was bad - it wasn't. In fact, I really like the Rat Pack version. 

But it's a lot harder for a remake to top a good original than a stinker and I think the 2001version did just that. 

 My second Worst remake award goes to Sabrina.

The 1954 original was a delightful romantic comedy starring 
Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden.
It was nominated for several Academy Awards and remains a favorite classic.
The 1995 version starred Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, and Greg Kinnear. 
I really expected to like this movie. I love romantic comedy and...well, it was Harrison Ford.  But the movie was flat, there was no chemistry between Ford and Ormond, and the whole thing was just a waste of two hours.
This last one isn't exactly a movie remake but I'm including it anyway.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a wonderful animated Christmas show based on the book by Dr. Seuss and perfectly narrated by the great Boris Karloff. 
It happens to be my favorite Christmas special and I watch it every year.

It DID NOT need to be made into a feature film vehicle for Jim Carrey.

Okay, those are my picks. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What would be yours?
Hop around today and check out some of the other choices. 
To see the list of participating blogs, click here.

Joke of the Day:

My neighbor was working in his yard when a late model car came crashing through his hedge and ended up in his front lawn.

He rushed to help an elderly lady driver out of the car and sat her down on a lawn chair.

"Ma'am, forgive me, but you appear quite elderly to be driving."

"Well, yes, I am," she replied proudly. "I'll be 97 next month, and I am now old enough that I don't even need a driver's license anymore."
"You don't need one?" 

"Nope. The last time I went to my doctor, he examined me and asked if I had a driver's license. I told him yes and handed it to him. He took scissors out of the drawer, cut the license into pieces, and threw them in the waste basket. Then he told me, 'You won't need this anymore.'  So I thanked him and I left!"

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Man's Best Friend? (Hump Day Funnies)

Happy Hump Day

Here we go, time to enjoy a good laugh to help you over the mid week hump and on to the weekend.

Today I'm in the mood for man's best friend.

Sort of.


You decide.

 Oh, I really don't want to go upstairs.

Uh huh. I'm not buying it.

 Or something.



"Has anyone seen the cat?"

I can't come up with any comment here that tops that face.

 Mocking? Why, no. Why would you even think that?"

And here's your "aw".

"Come on. Won't you say it for me? Please."

Okay, that's it. Did any of these tickle your funny bone? Give you a hump day laugh? Are you over the mid week hump? Did you have a favorite?

Joke of the Day:  Since this was an all picture post, I've got a joke for you.

Father Mike and Pastor John tended their flocks in churches across the street from each other, near the edge of town. One day the two clerics were seen erecting a sign by the side of the road which read:


They had barely finished when a man drove by and shouted at them, "Why don't you two keep that religious crap to yourselves?"

His word were still hanging in the air when there was a screech of tires and a loud splash.

Father Mike turned to Pastor John and asked, "Do you think we should have just said, 'Bridge out ahead.'?"

Monday, May 13, 2013

When the Hero Doesn't Save the Day

Spoiler Alert. If you haven't seen Skyfall and/or Iron Man 3 and don't want the ending spoiled for you, please skip this post and I'll see you on Wednesday.

You sure?


Okay, read on.

I saw both these movie within the last week and they had something in common that I found interesting.

In Iron Man3, during the big exciting action finale, the hero's (Iron Man/Tony Stark) lady love is in peril. Sounds normal for an action film, right?  Pepper Potts is about to fall from a great height. Tony manages to get close and tells her to let go and he will save her. I believe the line was, "I'll catch you, I promise." Again, pretty standard stuff. She lets go and he makes a desparate grab but...oops, he misses and she falls into the flames below.

What? The hero didn't save the fair damsel? That can't be right.  

Pepper does not die. Not because of Tony but because of a rejuvenation drug forced on her by the villain. In fact, because of the power of that rejuvenation drug, it's Pepper who ends up saving the day.

So the hero didn't save the girl, the villain did. 


Then I saw Skyfall.

Here we have hero James Bond, trying to save his boss, M. At the end of the big action finale the villain has reached M and is about to kill her. In fact, he wants to force her to kill them both (firing a bullet through one into the other). If James doesn't get there in time, the villain and M will both die.

Hooray!  James arrives in the nick of time and kills the villain. But it turns out M was seriously wounded earlier in the battle and she dies in James's arms. The villain and M are both dead...exactly what would have happened if James hadn't got there at all.

When did the heroes stop saving the day?  Especially superheroes. (Oh come on. Of course, James Bond is a superhero.)  Is this a trend I managed not to notice?  Or simply a coincidence?  If you've seen either or both of these movies, did this strike you, too?

Fun Photo for Today:

Okay, it's a Mother's Day picture but I'm actually writing this post on Mother's Day and I thought this was funny.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Forty-four Years and Counting

My daughter-in-law calls this weekend "the Leszczuk Christmas".  She's referring to the number of gifts being exchanged. Yesterday we had two birthdays (mine and my dad's) and, of course, Sunday is Mother's Day. But today is the best one of all. On this day, forty-four years ago, Stan and I were married.

I thought of writing a nice long post all about our life together - and we certainly have had our share of adventures - but when I thought about what really matters, I realized I could sum it up in one picture.

Our sons, daughters-in-law, and grandkids. 
(Not to mention the guy in the Santa hat - my dad.)

Forty-four years and this is what we have to show for it.
I think we've been truly blessed.

And I'm ready for forty-four more.

I love you, Sweetheart.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Newspaper Clipping for Today:

Why don't I ever see news like this in my local paper?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Happy Hump Day

I usually offer a joke and/or some funny pictures to get you over the mid-week hump but today I'm just going to tell you about something that happen last weekend. As the saying goes, you just can't make this stuff up.

Hubby and I were sitting on the couch watching TV. Sophie, our Jack Russell terrier, came in through her dog door and hopped onto the couch between us.

After a moment, my hubby said, "Sophie has something in her mouth."

I leaned around to his side and saw several blades of grass sticking out the side of her face. "Yeah, she's been eating grass again."  I started pulling on the grass and bits of fur followed. Oh, crap. She'd been into something more than grass.

I lowered her to the floor, not wanting whatever was in her mouth to land on my couch, and turned her head to pry open her jaws. Sticking out on the left side were a pair of feet.

Oh, blech. "Honey, get me a plastic bag. She's got something gross in her mouth."

He headed for the kitchen while I hung on to Sophie.

Then the little feet started kicking.

Okay, I freaked. "Honey, get that bag in here. Whatever's in her mouth is still alive!"

He laid the bag on the floor with the top open and I tried to position my fingers around the wiggling feet. Sophie didn't fight but she didn't exactly cooperate either.  I managed to pry open her mouth and something small and dark dropped onto the plastic.  It was about the size of a small field mouse but to be honest it could have been a baby rodent of almost any kind. I noticed there was no blood but that was about all.  Hubby scooped up the bag while I made sure Sophie had no other gifts tucked away behind her teeth.

My husband returned to his TV show and I tried to keep Sophie from licking me. Mouse breath. Gross.

"What did you do with it?" I asked.

"I put the bag in the trash."

"Which trash?"

"In the kitchen."

"What? No! You can't just drop that bag in the trash. That little thing is still alive."  Yeah, I was freaking again. 

I retrieved the bag and carried it outside.  The slight rustling told me the occupant with still with us. Okay, I really didn't think this one through. I don't know if I thought I was setting it free or if maybe it was a baby and its mommy would come get it or what. I just felt I had to put this poor traumatized creature back out in the yard where it belonged. So I took a couple steps off the deck and emptied the bag gently onto the grass. In the dim light I saw it stir but nothing more. I didn't want to see anything more.

I went inside and shut the door, including Sophie's private entrance.

"You know," my ever-practical spouse told me, "as soon as you let her back out, she's going right after it again."

Hmm. He was right. I should have put it outside our fenced backyard. But I just couldn't bring myself to visit it again.

Then the Calvary arrived. My son and my grandson dropped by.

"Hey, would one of you move a mouse off the grass by the deck for me?"

"I'll do it!" said my grandson.

Three of us trooped outside (my husband having lost interest in the proceedings) and I pointed to the tiny shadow on the grass. My son had come prepared with a paper towel. I stood back while they debated if this was really a mouse or perhaps a baby bunny. I didn't want it to be a baby bunny. I love baby bunnies.

Baby bunnies in the yard - last summer

"Hey," my grandson jumped back several paces. "That thing's still alive."

"I know. That's why I want you to move it. So Sophie doesn't kill it."

My son passed the paper towel to his son. "You do it."

My grandson passed it back. "Uh uh. You do it."

My big brave hunters.  I went inside and procured a small garden trowel. "Here, can you pick it up with this?"

My son - who, by the way, is 6' 3" and 200+ lbs. - carefully approached the tiny shadow.  He bent down with the shovel in his hand. Suddenly there was a spray of dirt and a thud as something bounced off the wooden gate.

"What did you do?!?"

"I was just trying to lift him but the tip of the shovel got caught in the dirt and I...I sort of flipped him."

Good grief. Captured by a dog and trapped in her mouth, stuffed in a plastic bag and dropped in the trash, and now bounced of a wooden gate.

I'd like to say the little creature survived. I don't know. We searched for a while but never found where it landed. Maybe the flight through the air (before slamming into the fence) was enough to bring the little guy out of his stupor and he scampered/crawled away. Yeah, I'm going with that idea. And he was definitely a mouse - not a baby bunny.

No, I didn't forget your aw. And, believe it or not, it's not a baby bunny.

You know you said it.

So what do you think? Hopeless, right? The whole lot of us. But I hope our mouse misadventures gave you a laugh. And least enough to get you over the mid-week hump and on your way to the weekend.

Definition of the Day:

Carpool Tunnel Syndrome - The numb feeling in your hands from gripping the steering wheel to avoid smacking one of the other people in the vehicle.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Signing for Flights of Fiction - Okay, It Was Fun

Well, I made it through my (our) first book signing. And, yes, it was fun.

Our host bookstore put us in a lovely reading room with chairs and low tables all around, a very comfortable setting.  We had a nice assortment of refreshments (which added to the comfort level) and a beautiful cake.

Although, if you look closely at the top, you can see the cake had slipped slightly off its foundation due to a quick stop on the way from the bakery. 

We did the traditional cake cutting with all the participating authors. You'll notice they only trusted us with small plastic knives. 

The readings went well. Each author read about a page from their story. I didn't flub up too much on mine.

Then came the signing part. Since there weren't a lot of large tables, several of us simply signed at the low table near where we were seated (we were scattered through the room, among the guests).  Those with books to be signed just followed a line that wove through the room past each author. It was a little awkward but worked well enough.


For a little while, things were sort of a blur. People handed me books and I signed them. I even remembered to sign my pen name instead of my real one.

Things finally slowed down when the bookstore ran out of copies to sell.  How's that for a book signing problem? 

Was it perfect? Not quite. I wish the signing part had been slower so I could have really thanked everyone who bought a book. I wish I'd had more time to talk to people who came to support me. And I feel bad because there were a couple good friends who deserved very special "signings" and in the rush, I couldn't think of the right words.

But all in all, it was a really good night.

My thanks to the Western Ohio Writers Association - especially Gery Deer, who organized this event - for being such a great group to work with and learn from. was your weekend?

Joke of the Day: The nuns at a small convent were happy to learn that an annonymous donor had left his modest estate to them. Each nun was given $50 in cash to give away as she saw fit.  

Sister Catherine Ann decided to give her share to the first poor person she saw.  She looked out the window and saw a man leaning against the telephone pole across the street, and he looked very poor indeed. 

She immediately left the convent and walked toward the man. He had obviously known better days. The good nun felt he had been sent by Heaven to receive her offering.  

She pressed the $50 into the man's hands and said, "Godspeed, my good man."  

As she left, the man called out to her, "What is your name?"  

Shyly, she replied, "Sister Catherine Ann."  

The following evening, the man returned to the convent and rang the bell. "I'd like to see Sister Catherine Ann," he said.   

The nun at the door answered, "I'm sorry, but I cannot disturb her right now. She's in the chapel. May I give her a message?"   

 "Yes," said the man gleefully. "Give her this $100 and tell her Godspeed came in second at Churchill Downs."

Friday, May 3, 2013

My First Book Signing.

Okay, I'll admit it. I always thought my first book signing would be for my own book. You know, my novel, with my name on the cover and everything. It would have to be a novel because I didn't write anything else. Not short stories. Certainly not poetry.

Then I joined the Western Ohio Writers Association and soon I was doing pieces for our Beatnik Cafe (public readings), trying poetry, writing short stories.  And lo and behold, it was a short story that was published first. Mine along with ten others in the anthology, Flights of Fiction.

Our launch party is tonight, 7:00 to 9:00 at Blue Jacket Books in Xenia, OH. Ten of the eleven authors in the book will be there. We'll each read a page from our story. We'll sign books (hopefully). We'll meet and greet and mingle.

I'm a little nervous.

Our public readings are different. I always write something especially for those, something that will be easy to read aloud. The events are laid back. Casual. Free.

If someone is buying our book - spending their hard earned money - are the expectations different? Do I suddenly need to look/act/sound like a professional author?  What should I say? What should I wear?

What should I write when I sign?  If someone wants all ten of us to sign a book, do we move off the title page or squeeze on there together like a get well card being passed around an office?

What if I forget and sign my real name instead of my pen name?

Maybe I'm a lot nervous.

Any suggestions? Tips? Kind words of support?  (Try to keep the snickering to a minimum.)

I'll tell you how it went on Monday.

If I'm not here, assume the worst.

Groaner for the Day:  (it's been a while since I've given you a real groaner)

King Ozymandias of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with the Hittites.  His last great possession was the Star of the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world. Desperate, he went to Croesus, the pawnbroker, to ask for a loan. 

Croesus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it." 

"But I paid a million dinars for it," the King protested.  "Don't you know who I am?  I am the king!"

Croesus replied, "When you wish to pawn a Star, makes no difference who you are."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Good Joke for Hump Day.

Happy Hump Day.

Okay, here are your hump day laughs to get you over the middle of the week hump and headed for the weekend.

First, remember the post I did a couple hump days ago on the pet hall of shame?  Here's one I missed.

Now for the joke. This is one I hadn't heard/read before and it made me laugh. I hope it will do the same for you.

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken."  She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right because everyone else laughed. 

My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.  I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals ... very much. I do, too, especially chicken, pork and beef.  

Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.  

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken. She sent me back to the principal's office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.  

I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am. 

 Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most. I told her, "Colonel Sanders." 

 Guess where I am now?

Did it work? Did you laugh? Chuckle? Smile?

Since the joke was kind of long, I'm jumping straight to your 'aw' picture. 

I know that one worked. 

Are you all set? Gonna make it to the weekend? 

Do you have any special plans for the weekend?  I know that's usually a Friday question but I have a couple other questions in mind for Friday and I don't want to overwhelm anyone.

Definition of the Day:

CHICKENS: The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.

(I'm sorry. It just sort of fit.)