Thursday, July 31, 2014

An excellent Thursday. Fantastic news, fantastic movies and fantastic leftovers.

I’ve got so much FANTASTIC NEWS today I almost don’t know where to start! Maybe I’ll break it all down into separate little paragraphs for you with neatly-typed headings and illustrations whenever available and/or appropriate. Thank you.

I JUST SAVED US A FORTUNE. Of course you remember the wonderful back-ordered leather chaise lounge I ordered online from Macy’s a few weeks ago, the one that’s being delivered on August 9. It was on sale — 25% off — when I ordered it, but Macy’s is always sending me email ads with limited-time specials and assorted other inducement crapola and I always check their website to see if any of these additional discounts apply to my chaise. AND FINALLY, TODAY, ONE OF THEM DID. So I got involved in an “online live chat” thing for a couple of minutes with a Macy’s customer service rep and got us an extra 10% off the sale price; with tax, that’s an additional discount of $95. YOU SHOULD NEVER SNEEZE AT $95.
I’M FEELING GOOD. In case you’ve been following my kvetch reports and ongoing battle with insomnia, I finally managed to catch up on all my lost sleep and can report with confidence that I FEEL PRETTY DAMN SWELL RIGHT NOW. My heel pain is 95% gone, my knees are back to their usual mildly-shitty level of pain — as compared to the EXCRUCIATINGLY-shitty level of pain that started last weekend — and I can even shlep around the house now without screaming “FUCK!” It’s these little things in life that really matter, right?

WE’RE HAVING ANOTHER “COLD SNAP” IN TEXAS. For the third time this summer we’re enjoying several consecutive days with daytime highs in the low- or mid-80s, about 20 degrees below our normal triple-digit summer temperatures. Today’s high was 84°; tomorrow’s will be 83°. Actually, we’ve only had two or three  triple-digit days so far this summer and it’s already the beginning of August. (We typically start seeing them by Memorial Day.) The following four-day forecast from illustrates my point here. Trust me, these are very amazing and comfortable temperatures for Dallas in August and our overnight lows are equally amazing. (This time of year we’re lucky if it ever drops below 80° at night.) This is all unseasonably NOT VERY HOT and we’re loving it to pieces.
“SUMMER UNDER THE STARS” STARTS TOMORROW ON TCM. TCM is spotlighting a different star every day of the month in August and here are a few of the Howdygram’s picks for the first week in case you’ve got space on your DVR and a lot of hours to kill. Check your local listings for times.

AUGUST 2: DAVID NIVEN. My personal favorites include: The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) with Errol Flynn; The Way Ahead (1944); Bachelor Mother (1938) with Ginger Rogers; Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960) with Doris Day; The Pink Panther (1964) with Peter Sellers; and Around the World in 80 Days (1956) with a cast of thousands (seriously).
AUGUST 3: WALTER PIDGEON. Don’t miss his rare early 1930s films; and a few of them are MUSICALS! Kiss Me Again (1931) with Bernice Claire and Frank McHugh; The Hot Heiress (1931) with Ben Lyon; Sweet Kitty Bellairs (1930) with Claudia Dell; Flight Command (1940) with Robert Taylor; How Green Was My Valley (1941) with Maureen O’Hara; Forbidden Planet (1956) with Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen; and Advise & Consent (1962) with Henry Fonda.
AUGUST 4: JUDY GARLAND. All of Judy’s films are worth seeing — every single one of them — but here are my picks on August 4: Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) with Margaret O’Brien and Mary Astor; Easter Parade (1948) with Fred Astaire; In the Good Old Summertime (1949) with Van Johnson; Summer Stock (1950) with Gene Kelly; and Strike Up the Band (1940) with Mickey Rooney.

AUGUST 5: BARBARA STANWYCK. Illicit (1931) with Ricardo Cortez; Stella Dallas (1937) with Anne Shirley; Ball of Fire (1941) with Gary Cooper; Night Nurse (1931) with Clark Gable; and Annie Oakley (1935) with Preston Foster and Melvyn Douglas. (I love Melvyn Douglas!)

AUGUST 6: PAUL MUNI. Paul Muni loved disguises and probably never looked like his own self in any movie he ever made. That being said, my favorite Paul Muni films are: Angel on My Shoulder (1946) with Claude Rains; Juarez (1938) with Bette Davis and Brian Aherne (a TOTALLY BIZARRE film that’s worth seeing); The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) with Josephine Hutchinson; and The Life of Emile Zola (1937) with Joseph Schildkraut. (Schildkraut’s performance is fantastic.)
AUGUST 7: JAMES STEWART. I don’t think James Stewart ever made a lousy movie in his entire career so you really can’t go wrong if you watch them all on August 7. However, my personal favorites are: Navy Blue and Gold (1937) with Robert Young; Vivacious Lady (1938) with Ginger Rogers and Charles Coburn; and The Shop Around the Corner (1940) with Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan.

It’s already after 6 p.m. so I guess I’ll haul myself into the kitchen, smoosh together some wonderful leftovers from Long John Silver’s and watch the last half of Yellow Jack (1938) starring Robert Montgomery with a pretty good Irish brogue, Virginia Bruce and Lewis Stone as Dr. Walter Reed, the Army surgeon who discovered the cure for yellow fever in Cuba following the Spanish-American War. The only outrageously awful performances are Henry Hull’s almost-comical over-the-top death scene (my favorite part) and Buddy Ebsen as a hillbilly private who’s so damn stupid he makes Gomer Pyle look like Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Thank y’all for reading this.

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