Down the Ballot

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Trip

You drove 3,000 miles to the middle of nowhere because some dead person asked you to?

Not just some dead person. My dead ex-husband.

Still, a dead ex-husband. Not your current husband; who by the way thinks you are going to visit your cousin, but the dead one that you divorced 20 years ago.

I don't care. I know it seems strange or perhaps odd. But when someone dies and sends you a letter asking you to do just one thing, I assume it must be a pretty important thing and should get done.

Fair enough, but did we have to drive the whole 3,000 miles? Couldn't we have flown into Portland and drive the final stretch?

You know I can't stand air travel. This was the only way. No one twisted your arm to come with me.

I just don't think it wise to take instructions from a dead person you hadn't been in the same room with for over decade. I'm sorry for caring too much.

Would you rather be stuck in your small overpriced apartment in Brooklyn or on a adventure with me?

Well considering I don't like nature, let's go back to New York.

Ha! Too bad. We have 15 more miles according to the navigation thing. You can go back after we find out what was so damned important out here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

GSY: Jurassic World

*Please Note, this was written a while ago to give some folks a chance to go see it. I think three months is enough time. 

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Gee, the lack of humility before nature that's being displayed here, uh... staggers me.
Donald Gennaro: Well thank you, Dr. Malcolm, but I think things are a little bit different then you and I had feared...
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, I know. They're a lot worse.
Donald Gennaro: Now, wait a second now, we haven't even seen the park...
John Hammond: No, no, Donald, Donald, Donald... let him talk. There's no reason... I want to hear every viewpoint, I really do.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Don't you see the danger, John, inherent in what you're doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet's ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that's found his dad's gun.
Donald Gennaro: It's hardly appropriate to start hurling generalizations...
Dr. Ian Malcolm: If I may... Um, I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here, it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now
[bangs on the table]
Dr. Ian Malcolm: you're selling it, you wanna sell it. Well...
John Hammond: I don't think you're giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody's ever done before...
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should. 
-Jurassic Park 1993

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Moving on Up...and Out!

Adventures in 1985 continue! We often take moments to recall when notable television shows premiered. As a new season of prime time tv looms in the distance it might be interesting to recount some of the shows that ended in 1985.

One of the shows that ended in 1985, had begun a decade earlier in 1975. It starred Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford. The Jeffersons was spin off of All in the Family, and was a show that I was able to watch growing up with the help of Nick at Nite. In 8 out of 11 seasons, the show appeared in the Top 30 shows in Nielsen ratings. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

GSY: Tomorrowland

I didn't know what to expect really when I bought my ticket. On one hand it was a Disney film, on the other hand it was a non childish sci-fi film. We sometimes forget that Disney has the potential to make films that are not geared toward elementary students. I went to see this movie on Memorial Day. What better day could there be to think about a hopeful future? (Warning Possible Spoilers ahead...I warned you)

There were maybe a half a dozen people in the theater with me and as the previews were buzzing overhead, a familiar tune filled the theater. It was the Star Wars theme. The preview that got rave reviews several weeks ago was showing and I must admit it, like Star Wars itself, is something that needs a big screen. It was that cool. Back to this sci-fi flim....

I thought the acting was pretty good. Not that I have seen many George Clooney films since Batman (no, I'm not kidding not counting Batman, the Oceans Films, Monuments Men I haven't really kept pace with his films). Hugh Laurie delivered as usual. Brittney Robertson and Raffey Cassidy also played believable characters. There were some surprises in minor roles. Kathryan Hahn, Tim McGraw, and Keegen Michael Key were all pleasant surprises, but the biggest of all had to have been PAUL friggin MCGILLION. Great to see him on the big screen, even if it was only for a minute or so.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book It To the Store for McCallandia

I just finished McCallandia by Bill Hall. What a fun 'what if' story! I especially enjoyed at the end where Hall compares the book to actual historical fact to give you some perspective. ......I warned you....As a political junkie one of the most fascinating parts was the 1976 Election from the book. Imagine Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown and Tom McCall, all west coast governors running for President of the United States. 

Any fan of Oregon, McCall and 'what if' stories is going to find this a great read. You don't necessarily have to be a political junkie like myself to enjoy either. I know a few people who are going to get copies from me for Christmas if they have not already purchased it themselves.

I purchased the special edition which includes a bumper sticker, bookmark, autographed copy of the paperback, and a digital version. It also entered me into a raffle to win an autographed Tom McCall autobiography!

Bill Hall did an excellent job using his imagination to pry the threads of time and chance just enough to give us a McCall presidency. Something America dearly needed back in 1974.

Friday, April 24, 2015

We are the World

From Ebay
Many Thanks for all the birthday greetings yesterday. 30 has finally come. In furthering the adventures of 1985 I thought it would be interesting to see what song was #1 on my birthday.
 It was We are the World.

It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie for the USA for Africa campaign. It was associated with the 'Hands Across America' movement, and was produced as a way for artists to help contribute to relief efforts of the famine in Ethiopia and other parts of the continent in during the mid 1980s.

The group raised over 100 million dollars from sales of the album in 1985. While 'We are the World' was written specifically for the album and very popular, another song was included in the album that was written for the effort by a group of predominantly Canadian artists. That song was called Tears are Not Enough.
from ebay

The Canadian supergroup didn't just include musicians, but also included other notable Canadian born celebs. Folks like John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O'Hara. The American 'We are the World' supergroup had Dan Aykroyd! Check out the links to the wiki articles to see all the various stars in both groups.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pogo for the Future

Sticks? We don't need no stinking STICKS!

I still have no idea about this one. I never owned myself, but 30 years ago the Pogo Ball was mass produced by Hasbro to sell to parents in attempt to please their children for a few minutes of joy before tossing the damn thing in the pile of fads collecting dust in the garage. The Pogo Ball was just that; based off the Pogo Stick, only instead of a stick and springs there is a big rubber ball.

Some things are best left in 1985.

I'm a Pogo ball master! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

GSY: Kingsman: The Secret Service

I headed down to Tigard Regal 11 last Friday night for a late showing of Kingsman: The Secret Service. It has sorta been a bland winter for films the past two months, so I was hoping that Kingsman would be good. It did not disappoint.

A film with Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Cain? What a combo! While some of the story elements were rather predictable, it wasn't that big of a problem because the movie was FUN. I genuinely had a good time watching the film, the story had a good pace and kept moving along to the predetermined conclusion.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hello Computer

This last week I picked up a new computer. By new, I mean new to me. It is an old computer from 1989. A Macintosh SE. 

I have a lot of great memories with the MAC SE, playing Sim City with my cousins. As I was doing research on my latest computer I discovered that there are whole communities of 'low end Macs' and vintage apple computer users.

It got me thinking about one of my favorite scenes from Star Trek IV. Scotty attempts to chat with an Macintosh Plus. According to Michael Okuda , the screen of the Mac Plus was replaced with a video screen that could be driven at 24 frames per second.

Now I just need to find an old floppy of Sim City.

Monday, March 2, 2015

MacGyver Mondays

Patti and Selma from The Simpsons might be right about Mac being a genius. In my quest to celebrate 1985 I found myself skimming many of the television shows that premiered that year and I was surprised to see MacGyver on the list. I had never watched many episodes, my mother claims that I watched a lot of them with her when I wasn't old enough to pay attention. The entire series is on Netflix so I decided to start watching this month. Been dedicating Monday evenings to watching a couple episodes.

The first season so far has been interesting.  The stories were not greatly developed and in many cases I feel like viewers are dropped in the middle act of a longer story and that we never get to hear the beginning. In one episode for instance, MacGyver heads off to some place to help some friends work an oil well. The other characters are great friends of his, and he even decides to take off a few months to help them work on the well. We hear very little of why they are such great friends. That particular episode featured Nana Visitor of Star Trek Deep Space Nine. 

Friday, February 27, 2015


Nimoy campaigns for McGovern
While the world is mourning the passing of Leonard Nimoy, we should celebrate his life. Celebrating diversity and creativity was something Nimoy did daily. He lived a full life. He was an actor, artist, poet, public figure, environmentalist, and activist.

He supported many candidates over the years. In the early 1970s after Star Trek went off the air, he traveled and spoke at rallies in support of George McGovern for President in 1972. In 1973 he supported Los Angeles mayoral candidate Tom Bradley. He was co-chairman of the campaign. Once he quipped at a rally, 'we are a revolutionary people'. So true.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

GSY Review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Just got back from the good ole Regal 11 and have already digested this Go Screen Yourself of Hot Tub Time Machine 2. I find I must agree with the thinking of noted film critic Jay Sherman that 'after two; give it a rest". I think they have done all they can with this franchise. Give it five years and then reboot with other, younger versions of the current cast. Watch out for spoilers below.

That being said, the film did have some positive aspects. Adam Scott was a delightful addition to the cast for this outing. The absence of John Cusack was felt in the story, but they had a decent explanation and still tied in elements of the character to the film. Robinson, Duke and Corddray gave their expected performances.  Nothing terribly different from the first film.

Chevy Chase made a very brief cameo (which I really didn't get).

Monday, February 16, 2015

SNL 40 Moments to Shine

I just got done watching the SNL 40th Anniversary Special on NBC. Over 200 minutes of mostly hits. The strange, awkward moment with Eddie Murphy aside, I thought the show was pretty good.

My five favorite moments

5) Weekend Update Tribute

While I would have liked to have seen some recent updating from some of the many 25 Update anchors, what we got was from Fey, Curtin, and Poehler was pretty good. Then having a tribute to Chevy Chase by Nealon, Myers, McDonald, and Quinn was touching. All making jokes at each others expense with Gerritt Morris thrown in for good measure.

The best joke of them all was by far Curtin poking fun at Fox News. Wonder where Dennis Miller was?

4) Celebrity Jeopardy

That skit was money in the bank. Will Farrell as Trebek is always a crowd-pleaser. Hammond and McDonald reprise Connery and Reynolds (Turd Ferguson) characters that managed to pay tribute and remind us of the humor of the present (Bieber, Cosby et all).

3) Political SNL

While this part could have been a little bit more in depth, exploring the history of SNL and it's link to American politics was wonderful. They hit a lot of the great debates, famous political faces and reminded us that we need to keep a sense of humor even in the tough times. I thought Jack Nicholson was a wonderful host to lead into this segment.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Of Edicts & Editorials

It has been a confusing, if not strange week in Oregon politics. Oregon's John Kitzhaber, the ever ready emergency room doctor turned politician, turned elder statesman turned politician again has finally decided to resign on the 18th of this month. The only governor in Oregon history to be elected to 4 terms will not see the end of his final term. I'm still not sure anyone has this thing all figured out. Having only served a little over a month of his 4th term he will official pass on the duties to Secretary of State Kate Brown.

This unfolding drama story of a boy, his girl and a state show the limits of our own patience when it comes to the work of commissions tasked with such work. In an age when editorials are edicts handed down from some meeting room with poor lighting we would all do better to take a minute or two before we pass judgement.

His resignation will bring change and more importantly focus back to the office of Governor and to the people of Oregon, which even John Kitzhaber knows is the most important reason for serving. As the Ethics Commission, the FBI, continue their jobs we hope that their work is allowed to continue without interference.

Oregon will get through this, we will continue to fly with our own wings.The turbulence will die down and we'll get back on course.

Friday, January 30, 2015

You'll know it

When you see it.

Justice Potter Stewart
Some folks know instantly what they'll be remembered for after they leave us. Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart knew exactly what he'd be remembered for, and he wasn't all the time thrilled about it. This adventure in 1985 allows us to honor and remember Stewart. He passed away in December of that year.

Anyone who has ever studied the First Amendment has probably read the phrase in conjunction with the decision rendered in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964). Jacobellis was a theater manager and was convicted of airing the french film The Lovers at his theater. The state claimed the film was obscene. Of course, Jacobellis took the state to court. He won the case and Stewart became, shall we say, infamous for his concurrence. This statement is famous that it even has its own Wikipedia page.

Here is the full statement

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nintendo Power Comes to North America

The back of the box of my NES
1985 was a big year for gamers in North America. For the last few years things had not been so good for the industry. The 1983 video game crash (Atari Shock) had sucked the market dry. It was the dark ages of video gamers. The golden age of the arcades was coming to an end. It could have all ended for video game enthusiasts, but Nintendo helped turn around the entire industry.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hey, mister? Are you hungry? I got a Baby Ruth.

Ruth! Ruth! Baby! Ruth! 

Growing up in Oregon there are just films that YOU HAVE to see at least once. If you don't instantly love these films, then there isn't anything wrong with you per se, but you should seek some sort of professional help from a doctor or film buff. 

1985 brought some great films to theaters; Back to the Future was the biggest hit of the year. There was both a Rambo film and Rocky film released, several quality Chevy Chase films (how many years can you say that about since?) and a favorite of this Oregonian: The Goonies

Yes, as I turn 30, so does The Goonies. It was released on June 7, 1985 to nearly 2000 theaters nationwide. What's not to love about this film? It has adventure, pirates, mystery, treasure, a little romance and probably most often overlooked are the class struggle elements of the film.

One of my favorite moments is when Chunk is being interrogated by the Fratellis.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Something Sweet and Bad for you from 1985

The first adventure in 1985 takes us to not a great revolution or amazing feat of human ingenuity, but
of a simple creation made for convenience and easy profit. Yes. Cherry Coke. Every soda shop, cafe, restaurant and even homemakers had been making their own unofficial cherry flavored Coca-Cola for decades before 1985. All it required was either cherry syrup or actual cherries. In 1985 that changed forever. Coca-Cola, one of the largest soda manufactures in the world released two new drinks. The classic coke was given a formula makeover and a snazzy ad campaign featuring Bill Cosby. Cherry Coke was unleashed at the same time. New Coke failed to win over consumers and loyal coke-a-holics, while you can still find Cherry Coke on store shelves all over the world today.

Of all the days they had to choose to make the biggest blunder of their company's history, it just had to be on my birthday. Even Bill Cosby couldn't hawk New Coke fast enough to make it popular. It is hard to gauge what Coca-Cola would like you to forget more now: New Coke or Bill Cosby. While New Coke barely lasted three months, Cherry Coke caught on with consumers. And why wouldn't it? People had been drinking it for years. Most of us, when we think long and hard about it wonder: 'WHY DIDN'T THEY DO THIS DECADES AGO??'

They marketed Cherry Coke as 'outrageous' and 'wild' to appeal to young people. One of the first commercials was based partly on Back to the Future.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 is Really Here

 Meanwhile Back in 1985...
Doc: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 2015?
Marty: Barack Obama.
Doc: Who??
[with a blank look on his face]

2015 certainly isn't what Robert Zemeckis envisioned in Back to the Future II. No commercially available, built for the masses flying or hovering cars yet. The year just started so who knows? 2015 is something of an interesting milestone for me. I will turn 30 this year. Yes, I was born in 1985. I decided that for 2015, will spend some time on this blog this year discussing 1985 and some interesting or important events of the year. While my birth is very important to me, it was just one of many events that year.