Thursday, July 27, 2023

 San Francisco, the War in Vietnam and Anchor Steam Beer

A few weeks back, I was in Wegman’s beer section which is a vast collection of beer and ale and stout from everywhere.  I grabbed a six pack of Anchor Steam Beer brewed for more than a century in San Francisco.  It was beer with a special memory for me.

In August of 1969, my college friends Mike Rosenberg and Larry Kaye and I were halfway through a cross country camping trip.  Mike was going to do a super-senior year, in the fall, Larry had already started teaching biology, but for me this trip was the last page of my youth, with the first page of real life about to open at Chittenango High School in early September.  

We had come from Yosemite into San Francisco.  I can’t remember the exact order of events, so much time having passed, but a very important thing we had to do when we arrived was pick up my close hometown friend Barry at the San Francisco airport.  It was the Vietnam era, and Barry had joined the Air Force and had flown commercial, compliments of the USAF, to California.  The next morning he had to be at an air base, name forgotten, about an hour out of the city.  We had talked in Webster and realized that I might be arriving in SF at the  same time Barry would, and maybe I could pick him up.  Thank goodness, it happened that way.

Barry was on his way to Thailand to work on the jet fighters that were battling in Vietnam.  We got to the airport on time to see Barry coming down to the luggage pickup.  When he saw us, the expression on his face went from acceptance to happiness.  His last night in the U.S. of A. would be spent with a friend.

Now comes the part about the Anchor Steam.  We wandered across the Golden Gate that evening and found ourselves in the little bayside town of Sausalito.  It was once the subject of a song with the forgettable chorus, “Sausalito is the place to go.”  We found a great bar on the main street of the town.  Each table had a chessboard built into the top.  The beer on tap was a local called “Anchor Steam.”  I had a couple, loved it, and never forgot about it.  When I think about “Steam” I am transported back to that night.

Nothing monumental happened.  We drank in the little bar, then drove to the campground/chopped cornfield where we were tenting.  The next morning we drove Barry to the air base, dropped him at the gate, and wished him well.  I was so glad it had worked out.  We were on a trip without itinerary, and yet serendipity brought us together at the right time to see Barry off to war.

We were in San Fran for a few days.  We ate at Fisherman’s Wharf, rode the cable car, went to Giardelli Square, and saw a strip show in the Tenderloin district.  Then we headed south toward Los Angeles a day or two before Charles Manson and friends would begin their gory spree.  We had a great and memorable time in San Francisco.  And the Anchor Steam was great, too.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023


(I wanted to get this posted before Mother’s Day, but I didn’t.)


The Swing

by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it’s the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown—

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!!

When I was a kid, little, 3 or 4, I got a swing set for our backyard on Five Mile Line Road in Penfield.  My dad and uncle assembled it and put it in the ground.  It wasn’t much of a swing set when compared to modern backyard playground edifices.  “A” shaped supports, about 6 feet tall, on each end with bars to climb onto, a ladder in the middle for climbing over the top, a seesaw to be situated on a rung of the ladder, and two swings.  I loved the swings.

When my mother pushed me on a swing, she would sing the words above.  I can still hear her sing them.  It is one of my earliest audio memories.  I had no idea until I looked it up today that the words were a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson from a book called “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” but I remembered most of them.  When my mom sang the words to me, I imagined them.  On every push I would look out at the field behind my Gramma’s house where we lived, and be positive I was seeing rivers, trees, brown roofs, and green gardens.  And castles.  I though Mom was singing “castles” not “cattle.”  I’m sure she was, in fact, because she loved imaginary castles as much as I did.  Trying to see the castles is a wonderful memory.

This post is not about swings.  It is about my mom and how she had a song for virtually every occasion.  My wife Linda soon became aware of that and said so to me.  She was so right.  Being a kindergarten teacher gave Mom a songbook of little kid tunes.  I remember many rounds of “Jesus Loves Me” being sung.  Singing for hours on car rides.  We sang sheafs of Christmas carols, of course.  But there are two special songs I need to remember and share because they meant so much to us kids in the 50’s and then our kids in the 70’s and 80’s.  The first one got my daughter Jan in trouble when she was a little girl.  Gramma had taught it to her, and she wanted to share it in the neighborhood.  It goes, “Once I went in swimmin’, where there were no women, and no one to see, clothin’ I was loathin’, so I hung my clothin’, from the willow tree.  I stepped into the water, just like Pharoah’s daughter, stepped into the Nile.  Someone saw me there, and stole my underwear, and left me with a smile.”  It was a song that always left us laughing.  Jan should not have been sent home for sharing it.

I sang the other song I want to share at Mom’s funeral.  I sang, “Alice where art thou going?/Upstairs to take a bath/Alice with legs like toothpicks/and a neck like a giraffe./Alice stepped in the bathtub/pulled out the plug and then/Oh, my goodness!  Bless my soul!/There goes Alice down the hole/Alice where art thou going?/Blub blub blub.”  As I sang it, my siblings joined in, and we brought the house down.  A very funny moment at a wonderful memorial for our mom.

My mom loved to sing.  My mom was a song.  A song of love, and joy, and caring, and humor.  A song saying all is well, fear not, just sing along.  Happy Mother’s Day a bit late, Mom.  We love you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

 Take Me Down to Asteroid City, Where the air is hot, and the girls are gritty. . .

Wes Anderson is an amazing filmmaker.  A little crazy perhaps, but amazing anyway.  I went to see his newest, “Asteroid City,” Sunday at the Manlius Theater, which, thank goodness, is back in business.  I loved it.  It will be hard to explain why I loved it, though.  I think the main reasons were the strangeness and the humor of the experience.  

It’s a story about a play that is taking place as we watch.  The play is on a huge soundstage with a motor court, a diner, a bus station, a bunkhouse, an auditorium of sorts, and a lot of desert which you can buy from the vending machines at the motor court.  Ten dollars worth of quarters will get you a desert plot about the size of half a tennis court.  A plot with no possible use.  At the beginning and then occasionally, the play is interrupted by a black and white scene of the backstage and commentary by a sort of Walter Cronkite narrator on the nature of theater and some other things.

The movie has some unforgettable characters played by a remarkable cast of actors including Maya Hawke, Jason Schwartzman, Scarlet Johansson, Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Adrian Brody, Bill Murray, Steve Carrell, and Brian Cranston,  If that is too few Hollywood biggies for you, there are also in the cast Rupert Friend, Hope Davis, Tilda Swinton, Jeffrey Wright,  Jeff Goldblum, Matt Dillon, Rita Wilson, Liev Schrieber, Willem Dafoe, and Bob Balaban.  When after watching the film you read the cast list, you will have no idea who some of these actors played.  They are all so good, save for Maya, Scarlett, Jason, Steve, and Tom who are superbly good.

“Asteroid City” is about a science conference for teenage science students in 1955. This location is chosen because a famous asteroid crashed in this spot 600,000 years ago.  There are also A bomb tests occurring maybe 50 miles away every so often.  The period costumes and set pieces right on it.  The lighting is terribly bright, high noon desert light.  Be sure to sit close if you are soon to have cataract surgery and want to read the signs and see any little, but important bits of the action.  I sat where I always sit and learned a valuable lesson.

The plot concerns how everybody in the cast gets to know everyone and the audience figures out who these people are as they interact.  Maybe two-thirds of the way through the film, an alien drops in at a ceremony taking place.  Everyone is sore amazed.  Schwartzman, a photographer, takes its picture as the alien poses coyly with the chunk of the famous asteroid he is stealing.  The alien is built like Jack Skellington.  Later on the asteroid is returned.  The alien leaves and the science camp goes on military lockdown.  Then some more fun stuff happens.

I forgot to mention the Faris triplets, darling 11 year old actresses who often steal the screen as Schwartzman’s daughters who believe themselves to be part witch and part alien.  They want to bury their mom’s ashes in the middle of the motor court.  Mom has been dead for about a month, but it took their dad 3 weeks to get the nerve to tell them.  I also should mention their teenage brother played by 19 year old Aussie actor Jake Ryan.  The guy has an amazing nose. He is really good in his part,  a main character!

I think this movie is about the importance of art, music, theatre, photography, science, being in love, despair, accepting death, making friends, being tolerant to people or aliens who are different that you are, and, the meaning of life.  The question of just what that is is posed several times during the film.

It’s time, I guess, for this review to ride off into the sunset in the back of Tom Hanks’ giant 1955 Cadillac convertible.  Which is just how the movie ends.

Greg Ellstrom

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Scary Vampire Tale, Inspired by and Dedicated to Stephen King

Going Too fast on the Barlow Road
by Greg Ellstrom
  I wish that my car had broken down that night.
I wish I had run out of gas.
I would even have taken the chance of driving off the road into a tree.
Anything to have avoided seeing what I saw down that little lane that ran off the right side of State Route 47.  That little road which I felt sure was a shortcut between the towns of Castle Rock and Jerusalem’s Lot.  Even now, almost a year later, I don’t know what drove me to take that shortcut.
I was coming home from a two-day job just north of Boston.  It was Friday night of Columbus Day weekend, and I was in a hurry to get home to Annie and the kids.  So when I came upon this little road to the right, although I didn’t remember having noticed it before, I just felt that it was the way I was supposed to go.  I turned onto it and headed into the coming darkness, my high beams cutting the way through the tendrils of mist that suddenly appeared floating above the cracked blacktop.
The road, I thought, was really desolate.  Understatement!  I had gone about a mile or two before I realized that I hadn’t passed a single house.  The mist was thickening, becoming a sort of “creepy fog.”  That was when I should have turned around and gone straight back to 47.  I didn’t.  Instead, I accelerated.
That was almost my undoing.  I rounded a bend and started down into a hollow, when my lights reflected off the twisted metal and chrome of a car wreck not fifty yards away.  I stood on my brakes, and they caught and screamed to a halt a few feet short of smashing into the wreck.  Christ, I nearly wet my pants.  I sat upright, squeezing the hell out of the wheel, my heart pounding.
But, I stopped being concerned about myself when I saw her in the throw of my high beams.  A young woman was caught under the twisted body of a ruined sports car.  Night black hair framed her face that was dappled with blood.  Her eyes were closed.  Her arms were reaching out, but her fingers weren’t finding anything.  I was sure she was dead.
Some adrenalin kicked in, I guess, and I jumped from the car and ran the few steps to where she was trapped.  I knelt down and put my fingers to her neck.  I couldn’t find a pulse, but I’m never quite sure of where you are supposed to put your fingers when searching for a heartbeat.  She was ridiculously cold.  I would say “ice cold,” but that is too frickin’ trite, and she wasn’t ice cold, anyway.  She was something else cold!  Something altogether different and wrong. . . then her eyes popped open!
“Shit!” I screamed and really peed my pants a little.  “You’re alive!”
She was blinking rapidly, and her right hand shot to her face to block the bright light. I took her left hand.  It seemed like the comforting thing to do.
“Matthew?”  She said.  “Matty?”
“No. . .No,”  I said.  I had to say it twice because the little word stuck in my throat the first time.  “I’m Todd.  I just. . . came upon your accident.”  Came upon!  God, that sounded dumb.   I pulled my cellphone from my pocket.  
She spoke in a sing-songy voice.  “Going too fast on the Barlow Road.”  Her eyes continued blinking.
I had to get help, but I my phone had none of those blasted bars.  “Shit!  No reception!”
Her eyes stopped bouncing in their sockets, and she looked at me, and I saw fear in those dark orbs.  “What’s your name?”  I asked.
“Kate.”  Her voice was husky and weak.
“There’s no cell reception, Kate.  I’ll have to go for help. “  
I started to rise, but her hand, surprisingly strong, clamped around mine.  “Don’t leave,” she said.  “Please.”
"Kate, I have to.  You’re hurt. . .badly.”
“Call, Matthew,” she said.
“My phone won’t work.”
“Give me your phone.”  Her dark eyes stared into mine.  I gave her the phone.
     She took it with her right hand and punched in a number with the thumb nail.  Her nails were painted deep scarlet.  She tucked the phone under her hair and listened.  
     In a moment, she smiled.  Her teeth were very white.  She said, “Hi, darling.  It’s me.”  She listened then said, “I’m in trouble down the Barlow Road.  Driving too fast,” she said.  “Come, please.”  She listened.  “Thank you, Matthew.”  She clicked off the phone and handed it to me.  “Thank you, Todd,” she said.  “Matthew’s coming.  You can leave.”
“Your wreck has blocked the road.”  Another dumb thing to say.
“Go back the way you came.”
“I can’t leave you.”  
“If you don’t,  you might wish you had,” she smiled.  Her face which had been pale was now livid.  She had to be minutes from death.  I couldn’t leave her, could I?
I opted for nobility and went to the car to get a bottle of water and switch off the headlights.  When I got back, I offered her a drink, but she shook her head and locked her lips.  Sitting there in near darkness with a bottle in my hand, I decided to take out my very clean handkerchief and wash the spots of blood from her face.  It seemed like a nice thing to do for a dying woman.  I dampened the cloth and dabbed at a splash across her forehead. My finger began to burn, and I pulled my hand away.  I looked at the handkerchief.  There was a hole in the fabric where I had wiped away the blood.  At that moment, I should have hauled ass out of there. . .but I didn’t.  I sat frozen like some kind of stupid lawn ornament in the middle of a Hieronymus Bosch painting.  When I looked back at Kate, she was smiling.  In her hand she held a shard of glass from a shattered headlamp.   “Todd,” she said, “slice open the palm of your hand.”
“What?”  I began, but she stared at me and smiled.
“Do what I ask?”
So I did.  I took the glass and sliced my palm from pinkie to wrist.  It hurt like hell.
      Kate grabbed my hand and pulled me and it to her.  She started to suck on my palm.  My palm stopped hurting. It felt good.  It felt even better the longer she sucked my blood.  She looked better, too.  Color was coming back to her cheeks.  
I don’t know for how long she stole my blood.  Maybe two minutes.  Then she pushed me away and said, “I don’t want to use you all up.  That would make Matty very, very angry.”  
  I was weak.  She looked strong.  She felt strong, too, because she put her hands to her sides and tried to do a pushup with the car on top of her.  It actually rose a few inches, but she had to quit and let herself slowly back down to the ground.  “We’ll wait for Matthew,” she smiled.  I thought she had lipstick on her teeth, and then I realized it was my blood.  Realizing that, really sucked!  Poor choice of words.  I tied my burned handkerchief around my palm wound.
In the distance, the roar of a powerful engine coming from the direction in which I had been traveling filled the hollow.  A truck with a row of spotlights across the roof of the cab came over the edge of the hollow and roared slowly to a stop.  It was a big, frickin’ black truck!  A Ram with a Hemi!
"He’s here,” Kate purred.
He, Matthew, got out, and he seemed to me to be nearly as big as his truck and nearly as black.  He walked toward us, a tower of a man, easily six and a half feet tall, with shoulders wide as a pool table, and an afro the size of a chrysanthemum at the end of October.  He crossed to us and smiled.  HIs smile was as white and bright as Kate’s.
     “Hello, baby,” he said.  “What I tell you about driving too fast down the Barlow Road.”
“Thank goodness, Todd came along.  If no one had come before sunup.. . .the joke would be on me.”
Matthew looked at me with a smile devoid of warmth.        “Thanks, Todd.  Now here’s what you are going to do.  When I lift the car off of Kate, you are going to pull her out from under it.  Got it?”
“Yes.”  My voice was nearly as weak as my body felt.
Take hold her arms now.”
Kate raised her arms, and I grabbled them by the sickly cold wrists.  The big man from the Ram bent at the knees, put his hands under the edge, and lifted the car off the woman as easy as you might lift the lid of a hope chest.  Strange simile!  Hope was something of which I was rapidly running out.  “Pull her out!” he ordered, and I did, and what I saw made me abandon all hope. First, I saw the a pool of blood that seemed big enough for a couple of bodies.   It  had been hidden under the car.  Then, I saw that a three foot piece of metal from somewhere on the frame had been driven directly through Kate’s chest right where here heart should be.  Six inches of the metallic spear protruded from her back.  She had been skewered straight through the heart and was grinning.
As I contemplated this ghastly anomaly, Matthew dropped the husk of the car.  It crashed loudly, and my head snapped away from the horror I had seen.  I wanted to cry, but Matthew roared with laughter.  “Holy shit, baby.  Glad we didn’t get you the car with the real wood trim.  You’d a been a goner.”
Kate with the gaping hole in her chest laughed giddily at that, and I knew what I had known for awhile but which my brain refused to accept. . .this was vampire humor I was hearing.  The undead!  Nosferatu!  Blood suckers!  Yupper, that’s who I was hanging out with.  But me having heard that joke. . .maybe the joke would be on them.
They were no longer paying me any mind.  Matthew knelt down by his lady, rolled up the sleeve of the skin tight t-shirt he wore.  And drew his fingernail across his wrist.  I saw then that his nails weren’t nails, they were green, twisting claws.  Black blood spurted from the wound, and he put his wrist to Kate’s mouth.  “Drink some, baby,” he said.  “You’ll be your old dead self, soon.”
So Matthew offered his wrist, Kate sucked his blood, and I walked back as quietly as I could to the rear of my SUV, more than ever thankful that I had chosen surveying as a profession.  I was also grateful that the morning before I had been worried about being short on stakes to mark the plots I was to survey, so I had gone down into my basement and taken two old inch and a half by four foot dowels, trimmed them to sharp points and tossed them into the back of the Jeep in case I needed them.  Thank God, I hadn’t needed them.
I was as swift and as silent as my drained body could be fetching those stakes.  When I got back to my new friends, Matt had just taken his hand away from Kate’s mouth, was starting to turn back to me, and said, “Now I’m thirsty, Toddy!”  That was when I jammed one stake into his back with all the might I could summon.  I picked just the spot, because the stake went through his chest, not encountering any bone, and exited through his heart and seven or eight inches out of the front.  The surprised wail that came from Matthew’s mouth was terrifying, I guess, though he was dead almost immediately.  He tumbled down onto his lady friend and the stake that was through his chest went through her stomach.  She gulped, her eyes bulging, and some black blood came out of her mouth.  “Holy shit!” she sort of whispered.  “Todd, you killed Matthew!”
“Yep,” I nodded and watched as Matthew officially passed away.  He didn’t turn into a pile of dust like in some of the monster movie.  Instead, he shriveled up like a big African-American raisin.  When he was done shriveling, he was about half his original size.
Instead of giving Kate a chance to enthrall me or something, I took the other dowel and jammed it through her heart.  The life went out of her eyes, and, for a second she looked sad, then for even less than a second, she looked happy.  Then she shriveled up!
This was no time for messing around or doing things in a half ass way. I got the can of gas I keep in the rear of my car and doused the two vampire prunes with it.  Then I tossed a lit pack of matches on them and watched them go up.  They and the stakes burned really brightly.
I got in my Jeep, did a nice K turn, and raced down the Barlow Road, never stopping until I reached Route 47.  Then I drove like hell home.  When I got in my house, I hugged my wife as if I hadn’t seen her in a year.
When we stopped embracing, she said, “you smell a little like gasoline.”
“I had to burn up a couple vampires!”
She grinned.  “Silly boy!”
Then I showed her my sliced and burned right hand...which made her frown.
Three days later, we moved.  If I was ever to get a full night’s sleep again, we had to move out of the Lot.  Annie never much cared for it there anyway.  She was a city girl.  The kids were too young to be anything but excited.  In daylight, we went south on Route 47 on our way to wherever our new home would be.  Nowhere along 47 between the Rock and the Lot,, was the Barlow Road to be found. And I looked really carefully,  But way out in one of the fields where the Barlow Road should have been, I could see a narrow wisp of smoke climbing straight up into the windless sky.  Were a wrecked sports car and a couple of blood suckers still smoldering out there?  I imagine so.

(With, as many scary stories deserve, a tip of the hat to Stephen King.)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Something Wonderful is Happening in Auburn

There have been few times in my personal history when I have been more in need of a little spiritual uplift.  On Tuesday afternoon, my spirits soared, when we went on a joyous journey to Avonlea courtesy of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and its wonderful production of “Anne of Green Gables.”  Billed as a folk/rock musical, I found little folky or rocky about it.  What I found was musical theatre brilliance performed by a cast of mostly young people who sing and dance and act with their voices, their bodies, and their hearts.

McKenzie Custin as title character Anne Shirley is this musical.  This delightful young woman has a remarkable voice, a sweetly expressive face, and the ability to act, to be someone else, equal to that of older, more established performers.  Her performance was one of the best I have seen in the last several years, which includes two visits to New York to see FIDDLER, WAITRESS, and SUNSET BOULEVARD.  The next time the role of Elfaba opens in Broadways’s WICKED, McKenzie should get it.  She would be magical.

Tremendous credit should go to the other actors, too.  The five adults, two of whom take multiple roles, and the cast of kids cavorting about the stage for nearly 3 hours.  Director Jenn Thompson and Choreographer Jennifer Jancuska are so talented in creating movement, fashioning interaction, and drawing beautiful stage pictures.  Of course, the creators Matte O’Brien and Matt Vinson deserve huge applause for devising this magical adaptation of the novel.

Attending ANNE OF GREEN GABLES is like attending a world premiere.  I could find mention of only one other production since the show was birthed at “The Pitch,” which is FMT’s annual musical incubator two summers ago, I believe.  ANNE runs until the 25th of this month.  Get a ticket if you can.  Don’t be surprised if they are all gone.
Greg Ellstrom

Mckenzie Custin (National tour: All Hands on Deck, Regional: Newsies and Mary Poppins at Centenary Stage Co.) makes her festival debut as titular character Anne Shirley; with Nancy Anderson (Broadway: Sunset Boulevard, A Wonderful Life, Wonderful Town, A Class Act) and D.C. Anderson (Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera, National tour: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Pippin, Martin Guerre, The Phantom of the Opera) as siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert; Chris McCarrell (Broadway: Les Miserables, Off Broadway: The Lightning Thief) as Gilbert Blythe and Michelle Veintimilla (Broadway: The Visit) as Diana Barry. Dawn Troupe will be playing the role of Rachel Lynde; with Alan Ariano as Mr. Blythe/Mr. Phillips and Angela Travino as Mrs. Barry/Miss Stacy.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

How Bad Can Movies Be?: “The Open House” and “The Circle”

         I just finished watching the Netflix film “The Open House.” One thing good to report is that it is only an hour and thirty-seven minutes long. The plot: There's this financially strapped family made up of dad, mom and son. Dad gets run down by a car that is speeding in an alley. Mom now can’t afford the mortgage. Mom’s rather odd sister says use our house in the California mountains, but remember it is for sale so you’ll have to leave during open houses. They move there and meet a weird old woman at the local store. What crap might she be foretelling?  Got me.  They get to the house. Weird things happen. No reason. Uninteresting. Idiotic. Things get bad for mom, son.  There one friend gets his throat slit Then things get really bad for mom and son. I mean really bad. The Awful Ending all because of the open house?  I don't know.  There's no purpose. No reason. Dare I say, no logical motivation. It is a movie that shouts out “why was I ever made?” Why did you watch it, Greg? Because I am a sucker for scary movies. They can even be bad scary movies. But they must be bad/good! This was just plain bad/bad!

       Now “The Circle,” available on Amazon Prime, stars A-list talents Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. When those two watched the finished film they helped create, they must have run screaming from the screening.  It is the embarrassingly terrible tale of a sweet, bright young woman (Emma) who takes a job at vast tech/social media company run by a Steve Jobs-like, super-cool CEO (Tom).  The company (The Circle) is manufacturing a mini-cam system which will keep an eye on every single person in the world. No more bad people because everyone is traceable with facial recognition in the mini-cams. Pretty soon governments are requiring their citizens to wear these cams. No more crime. Everyone votes. Yada! Yada! And sweet, bright Emma, rather than being the hero that brings this ridiculous idea down, champions it. Ludicrously she goes from data enterer to the new CEO of the company. Two characters who were introduced early seem to be the ones that will show her the error of her ways. Nope! They both just disappear. Emma and the Circle take over the world.  There are two embarrassingly bad scenes. One when Emma’s mom and dad are caught in a sad sex scene involving a pump that is seen by the whole world, and two, the final scene, which made me want to shout, “Emma, fall out of that kayak and sink!"  When I finished watching "The Circle," I considered going back and watching the last half hour, thinking I had missed something that would give some logic to this blundering, tiny brained, stegosaurus of a movie. But I couldn’t stand the thought of it.

Doughnuts and Slavery

A couple years ago I did a post about a time many years gone by when I was teaching, and the student council was having a home room competition for something or other. The poster advertising the competition said that whatever homeroom won would receive "Three Dozen Dognuts." It's a great, funny memory. I saw another interesting and somehow wonderful poster last weekend when we went to watch a basketball game at a local high school. Not Chittenango. As I was walking through the gym area lobby, I saw a small poster which had a little picture of a cupcake and read "Bake Sale to Raise Money to Combat Human Trafficking." Talk about a challenge. Kind of like "Pea Shooters Needed to Take Down Rogue Elephants." Still it seemed so sincere and nice. Here are some safe, protected kids trying to do something about an unbelievably heinous crime. When you can't hire Liam Neeson, you go with the baked goods. I loved that poster. Dognuts for all!