Spitball Army

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Postcard: Mount Vernon, east front

July 14th, 2014 · No Comments

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Card is titled: “East Front, Mount Vernon.”

Printed on back of postcard:

EAST FRONT: Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon is owned and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union, founded 1853 for the preservation of the home and tomb of Washington.

Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies Association.


Publishing information:

Published for Mount Vernon Inn, Mount Vernon, Virginia. Mike Roberts, Berkeley 94710.

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Screenings: Snowpiercer (2014)

July 11th, 2014 · No Comments

Would’ve enjoyed it more if I wasn’t busy noting plot holes. Where’d they get all the bugs? And steak?!…was there a cattle car?

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one hell of a bass response

July 9th, 2014 · No Comments

I walk into work Monday and before I can even log in to the store system, three people have stopped me to ask what I think of the New Refrigerator in my department. New Refrigerator? I ask. IT HAS A STEREO BUILT IN! they each swoon, wide-eyed, slack-jawed. Indeed, our Whirlpool representative is on site, and has wheeled a stainless steel tank of a French-door fridge onto the floor. And it is singing just like Jack Johnson. Actually, that is an mp3 of a Jack Johnson song, streaming via bluetooth technology from one of my salespersons’ phones. All day, with the Jack Johnson demos. All day. I try it once, play a song by Adele for about 30 seconds. Nobody responds (because everyone has heard Adele ad nauseum in our workplace muzak broadcasts). So. Okay. Yes, it’s cool, but, basically, just a non-integrated Harmon Kardon bluetooth music streamer that sits atop the unit. And, like a shiny new Christmas present that gets lost among the balls of wrapping paper, it eventually becomes forgotten and unnoticed. But, later that night, as the place begins shutting down and I have 30 minutes or so to do paperwork and walk the department, I connect the cloud player app from my handheld to the fridge stereo. For a few minutes I am existing in a flashback to Laser’s Edge Compact Discs days, straightening up the store at the end of the day with Josh Rouse, Hem, Bobby Womack and Laura Veirs playing and singing to me at a bit more than average volume. Loud enough to demonstrate that that thin Harmon Kardon device has one hell of a bass response. And then the corporate-controlled lights go out, the electric strips hanging from the ceiling power down, and the music – for that night – is silenced.

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Postcard: Old New York City, 1976 Bicentennial

July 7th, 2014 · No Comments

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Card is titled: “Old New York City / American Revolution Bicentennial 1776-1976.”

Printed on back of postcard:


Etching from Library of Congress shows arrival of British troops in New York City, September 1776.

Wall Street, Center of Financial District, with Trinity Church in background. The statue of George Washington appears on the steps of the Federal Hall Museum, New York City.

Publishing information:

Alfred Mainzer, Inc., 39-33 29th St., Long Island City, N.Y. 11101

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Screenings: Last Vegas (2013)

July 6th, 2014 · No Comments

This should have been so so so bad: “The Hangover” for the Geritol set. But it was not. The big question is: Why did I watch it?

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Screenings: Perfume – The Story of a Murderer (2006)

July 6th, 2014 · No Comments

The Obsessive Quest To Bottle The Essence Of A Soul seems bound to a literary concept, but it works. Actor Ben Whishaw is perfect as The Obsessed.

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Screenings: I See a Dark Stranger (1946)

July 5th, 2014 · No Comments

This World War II espionage thriller is hilarious. Intentionally, it seems. Deborah Kerr’s would-be Mata Hari has spunk.

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Screenings: Life Itself (2014)

July 4th, 2014 · No Comments

Documentary of Roger Ebert’s famous career, ordeal with cancer, and inspiring marriage. I was near tears several times. Essential.

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My South: P is for pyrotechnics

July 4th, 2014 · 2 Comments


Half a block from where I work, a Ninja Fireworks stand sits in the corner of the Raceway filling station. Next door to the Raceway, in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart, a fireworks stand three times the size of the Ninja truck sits. They are called TNT. The fellow at the TNT stand told me that if I go online to TNTfireworks.com, I can print out a coupon to get an additional 20 dollars off of my 50 dollar purchase. (Where do people get the money to spend on these things?)

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Here’s the truly odd thing about these trucks: they are parked in the city of Leeds, but Leeds has an anti-fireworks ordinance. Therefore, folks from the surrounding areas are driving to Leeds to buy fireworks and put sales tax dollars in the City of Leeds bank account. This is both wise and crooked on the part of Leeds, in my view. Where I live, in Birmingham, there is also an anti-fireworks ordinance, both for sales and use. This does not prevent residents there from firing off round after round after round on the 4th of July. As a result, on the 5th of July, my Facebook feed is peppered with notices of runaway dogs throughout my neighborhood. Dogs have an inherent sense of right and wrong, and flee from areas where shameless disregard of the law exists. And you thought it was the noise that frightened them.

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Inside the Ninja truck, fireworks are piled up in nice stacks and rows. The right-angler in me was immediately attracted to the symmetry on the shelves.

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The Patriotic theme is everywhere. Because it is patriotic to blow things up. With unmitigated force. And proudly.

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Marketing tactics are sometimes very mystifying.


“Thank you for shopping at Ninja!”

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Screenings: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

July 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

Not enough pre-Code raciness, but plenty of the old ham from Paul Muni in the lead. Stereotypes R us.

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