Netflix Arrives

Recently, I discussed our Comcast service and its cost with one of their representatives.  Their most interesting idea was informing me they could drop 4 or 5 of their lesser channels (none of which I ever used) and replace them with Netflix.  Friends had raved about what could be had with that service provider, so we made a deal: the new service was available for no increase in cost.

1springsteen

In the first two weeks of Netflix, I found three programs (specials) to be of great interest. First was “Springsteen on Broadway.”(see above)  It was a film version of the extremely popular and highly praised (and priced) stage performance that was out of my price range.  It was not a concert of his greatest hits or a summation of his career. It was a two+ hour description of his life from childhood in a small shore town in New Jersey to his present status as rock and roll giant.  There were songs within his presentation  as he accompanied himself on a variety of guitars, harmonica, and piano.  He described the various influences on him, his music, band members and marriage.  He tours the entire country, band members change, influences on his music are made, and in the end, he says: “I’m Mr. Born-to-Run.  I currently live 10 minutes from my home town.”  His gave a magnificent performance.  You get to meet him in all his stages of development. He tells a memorable tale and he and we are the better for it.  Catch this film wherever you can.

2ellen

Second was a filmed concert of Ellen Degeneres’ (see above)return to stand-up comedy.  After a 15 year absence from where she started, the question was: Is she still “Relatable” to an audience?  Her Seattle fans answered emphatically: Yes.  She is funny and appreciated without the games and give-aways which she has provided for her TV audience.  Her sexuality is no longer a question or obstacle to be overcome.  She is humorous, observant, at ease with and entertaining for an audience.  She has not compromised her talent for her fans, but they find her an approachable, honest, and talented  performer. She is definitely worth your time on or off television.

3w+g

The third program was called “A Grand Night in… The story of Aardman Animation.”  I assume you are familiar with the concept of claymation or stop action film.  If not, think of Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” or Wes Anderson’s  “Isle of Dogs.”   In 1972, Aardman Animation began giving Great Britain and, then, the USA/world Animated Short Films and, later, Full-Length feature films.  Oscars and BAFTA awards followed.  My favorite characters are Wallace and Gromit.(see above)  The first, Wallace, is a middle-aged inventor and the second, Gromit, is his dog/friend/co-inventor.  Wallace usually sets up a storyline and Gromit saves the day in their adventures. Gromit never speaks.  He has no mouth; but his eyes and their brows provide all the emotion a film’s co-star needs.  They both love cheese.

Their first award was for: “Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out.”  Wallace decides to build a rocket ship to take him and his friend/dog to the moon.  Everyone knows it is made of cheese and, as it turns out, everyone is right.  Four other adventures, both short and feature length follow, as do awards.

If you want to sample W & G’s work, go to You Tube for a 3 minute chase scene from “The Wrong Trousers”. The Hero (Gromit, with his friend Wallace) chase a villain (a gem stealing Penquin) aboard a train.  Guess who wins?  You do.

Perhaps I caught Netflix in a better than normal two weeks.  But these 3 programs have caught my interest, and perhaps yours, as well.

 

 

About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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