Tuesday, December 31, 2019

For RePeats Sake: New Year's Eve Concert

Take Away: 

This is a big tradition in Europe.  The New Year's Day concert, which translates to a "Best of Pop - Circa 1880".  It is joyous and usually festive music by famous composers performed in concert to bring in the New Year.  In most cases with a lot of ladies in gowns and men in tuxedos sitting in ornate concert halls.  This was no exception.  Bring on 2020. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Cost of Owning A Great Dane - Part 1

Iris - Four Months Old
28 inches tall
40 pounds

Iris continues to grow faster than any other animal I have encountered.  She is currently gaining about 5 lbs a week and should be around 60 lbs by the end of the year. She has recently been spayed which brings to light the other large aspect of owning one of these deer-like dogs, the cost.  

Here is a rough breakdown so far.: 

  • Cost to adopt: $650
  • Initial Vet Visit / Shots $350
  • Food: $60 to $80 / Month
  • Spay / Microchip: $700
  • Numerous Chew Toys / Shoes: $50
  • Car Ramp For Dog: $150
  • Five Large Dog Beds (required): $120
Cost after four months: $2,340 (approx)

Are they worth it?  Absolutely, if you can afford it. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

For RePeats Sake: Dire Straits - Alchemy Live

Take Away:

Just a good concert film.  Nothing fancy or flashy, just really good music shot live in front of a large audience.  Knoffler and crew do some wonderful jam sessions of popular Dire Straits tunes here, which is when the band really shines.  They are tight and proficient. 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

He Saw / She Saw: The Best of Mission Impossible - The Seal


The Seal" is one of those Mission:Impossible episodes that involves a cat named Rusty who helps to retrieve the national treasure (a jade seal) of an Asian country.  Whomever trained Rusty the cat deserves some kind of an award - he does make it look like he understands verbal commands from Barney.  I learned were as many as twelve different cats used during the filming, and each one with a different talent.   Typical Mission Impossible...good dialogue and kept your interest throughout!


A reminder of how good this show used to be compared to the current crop of Tom Cruise films.  Here it is more about suspense, trickery and a plot that you often can't figure out until the end.  What made this enjoyable is the use of 'high technology' back in the day to pull off their missions.  In this episode, they use a punched Hollerith computer card to introduce a virus into a computer, which then starts spitting out Hollerith cards like a machine gun.....the HORROR!

Things Old Guys Do: The Unix Server

Transitioning from the Man Cave to the Dog Lounge.

Upgrades are inevitable. 

After backing up more than a few hard drives (lots of images), it became apparent that I needed more hard drive space and better organization of my data.  The most cost effective way to do this was to 'upgrade' an old HP Desktop that I have.  It has been upgraded to a Two Terra-byte drive, a new cooling fan and a new operating system (Linux Lite)

Since I was tearing it apart, I thought I might as well do a little 'art' work on it and get rid of some of that old spray paint that has been cluttering up the Imagination Zone.  Hence, the old Black Hewlett-Packard Desktop is now the Red Media Server.   To make it look even more outstanding, I made a base for it from a discarded trash can and painted it bright blue.  Ad in the custom tall shop stool and a $99 flat screen from Walmart and a Lava Lamp and you have the 'new' $220 media player.

As an added curio, I also dug out the old Iomega Peerless swap-able hard drive.  Although their max capacity is only 20 gigabytes.  For when you positively, absolutely have to back up something small, right away. 

The servers only purpose is to store music and video content.  Currently there is about 28 days worth of music and several weeks of video (binge watch MadMan or Cosmos anyone?).  No streaming and no buffering in this dog lounge. The server is connected to the surround sound six speaker system for the lounge.  So the Dog Lounge now has the best sound system of any canine palace in this section of the country.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

He Saw / She Saw: Endless Night


It was my night to choose what we should watch and I picked this out as it was based on an Agatha Christie novel.  For me, there were probably too many twists and turns.  I honestly did not like it.  Reading about it after the fact helped make the movie make more sense, but still...I would not recommend it


This looked good based on the liner notes.  The notes were wrong.  While one of the latter films scored by Bernard Herrmann, it has his unique stylized score, but that is about it.  Filmed in the art noveau style of the early 1970s, the plot is hard to follow and the characters seem to wander aimlessly.  When the ending finally rolls around, there is a big disappointment.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

For RePeats Sake: Hullabaloo Vol 1 & 2

Take Away: 

Volumes 3 & 4 were so infectious, I went back to the well for more.  Its sort of like your first taste of cotton candy at the County Fair, you want more.  This didn't disappoint.  There are more musical numbers here than I can recall, each interesting or entertaining, but there was one standout.  The trio between Nancy Sinatra, Lola Falana and Frankie Avalon where they harmonize and laugh through popular television theme songs from the 1960s was just too surreal.  I thought someone had dropped LSD in my coffee.  Check out the YouTube version

Monday, December 2, 2019

For RePeats Sake: Mstislav Rostropovich: J.S. Bach Cello Suites

Take Away:

Wow!  Never listened to this before and discovered that it is a 3 disc set totalling 5 sides.  This is a master class in classical music where Mstislav first discusses the piece (in detail) and then performs it solo in a cavernous cathedral.  I rate this series by how often I stop and watch the repeating Laserdisc while walking through the room.  I often stood for lengthy periods of time mesmerized by Rostropovich's virtuosity. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

For RePeats Sake: Cindy Crawford - Shape Your Body Workout (with Radu!)

Take Away:

I have often wondered who purchased and actually used these disc after more than 1 or 2 viewings.  Not a bad video, especially if you like ogling Cindy.  Every time I see a workout video like this, I chuckle at the fact that most of these celebrity fitness experts have the resources to do stretching and yoga on a beach or a high-rise Manhattan rooftop.  Must be nice. 

He Saw / She Saw - The Thriller Collection / Masquarade


"Masquerade" first aired on network TV on October 30, 1961 -- the 43rd episode of the "Thriller" series.

Tom Poston and Elizabeth Montgomery play a young married couple that takes refuge from a storm in an old mansion (the PSYCHO house). John Carradine plays his creepy role as the head of the family that could be vampires, cannibals or just plain murderers.   

The episode was more amusing rather than scary, and the twist ending will either bring a smile or a groan to the viewer.  I was not impressed


Back in the day, you had 'The Twilight Zone', 'The Outer Limits' and this show.  While the other two had either great writing or pushed the bounds of television horror, this one just has Boris Karloff.  

This episode highlights a very young Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched) and Tom Poston with a lot of dialog that requires a suspension in belief.  (i.e finding someone dead in the basement and then going to the kitchen to scramble eggs).  

In the end, there is sarcasm and a comedic ending but not much else.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

He Saw / She Saw - They Won't Believe Me


Highly recommend this movie made in 1947 staring Robert Young, Rita Johnson, and Susan Haywood.  Interesting plot of a man who married only for money, and keeps cheating on her, and eventually he is accused of murder.  A stellar performance by Robert Young and so many twists which kept you wanting to not hit the pause button!   Watch it...you will be glad you did!


A fascinating sleeper film.  Both Sue and I watched most of this slack-jawed because we couldn't tell what was going to happen next.   The plot really can't be described in simple terms.  It is complex, but what stands out, is that this is a scandalous / daring film done in a much more repressive and button-down society.  In the end it is a morality tale, but you won't see the ending coming. 

For RePeats Sake: Yessongs

Take Away:

This is a classic concert film performed in 1972.  Its not fancy or slick, but shows the power of the original lineup of the band, including Rick Wakeman.  What was interesting were the trailers at the end of side two that indicated that this was a theatrical release in 'Quadraphonic' sound.  The laser is only stereo, but the theatrical performance was probably really impressive. 

Track List:

Opening Logos
Your Move/I've Seen All Good People
The Clap
And You And I
Close to the Edge
Excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Yours is No Disgrace
End Credits: Excerpt from Starship Trooper


Monday, November 25, 2019

For RePeats Sake: Wham! In China / Foreign Skies

Take Away:

An interesting view, not so much for the music performed by Wham, but as an historical document.  George Michael is all of 20 years old here and comes off as the perfect genetically engineered pop-star that pours out talent on stage.  However, there aren't a lot of musical numbers in this 60 minute video.  The ones that are performed are impressive, but this is more of a tour video and not a music video  What comes across is the fact that Wham! toured China about 10 years after Nixon's visit and they were still a pretty emerging country.  The group strolls through Tienanmen Square prior to the riots and hundreds of Mao clad concert goers fold their arms and stare at Michael gyrating on stage to "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go".  It is a bit surreal. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

He Saw / She Saw - Paths Of Glory


A thumbs up for me.  It is a World War I movie where soldiers decide to not attack an enemy position, so their superior officers punish them. The movie is directed and written by Stanley Kubrick so you should definitely watch it if you’re a fan of his movies. Kirk Douglas plays Colonel Dax who is one of the soldiers who refuses to follow orders.  Great acting and dialogue. 


One of the few Kubrick films I have not seen.  I was looking forward to it and it did not disappoint.  This was done earlier in Stanley's career and the pacing isn't perfect and he lingers a bit to long in some scenes, but that is just Kubrick.  A fascinating character study with stunning cinematography. 

For RePeats Sake: Thelonious Monk - '63 In Japan

Take Away:

Wow!.  Only a 39 minute long one-sided Laserdisc, but well worth a listen.  I was never a fan of Monk before, but I am going to look him up more in the future.  A live 30 minutes jam session done for Japanese Television back in 1963.  Try finding this on some streaming service. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

For Repeats Sake: Heavy Metal

Take Away:

A historical animation document with shorts tied together with a common theme. What the viewer walks away with are the origins of Nickelodeon's Adult Swim.  For a target audience of 1980s High Schoolers, it is spot on.  

Thursday, November 21, 2019

For RePeats Sake: The Beatles Anthology - Disc 2

Take Away:

A sentimental trip down memory lane.  With clips and interviews that have never been seen outside this documentary, that was authorized and produced by the remaining Beatles.  On disc 2 (of 5) we get to see the lads from Liverpool maturing and launching into fame in the United States. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

For RePeats Sake: Music for the Movies - Bernard Herrmann

Take Away: 

Wow!, A real gem.  An international release in three different languages, with extensive interviews with Herrmann himself as well as his collaborators.  A real rebel and innovator.  His first film score was "Citizen Kane", his last was "Taxi Driver".  Can't say much more than that. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Things Old Guys Do - Barn Doors

The original barn doors.  They were layered slats that were four layers thick and were rotting on the bottom.  Each door weighed over 1000lbs.  The extension on the right had also rotted and was torn down.  (O'Henry the dog)

The only portion of the original doors that were salvaged.  Norvell-Shapleigh - Norleigh Diamond Barn Door Hangers.  Stripped the layered paint from them and refurbished the hardware.  According to a Google search, these were manufactured sometime before 1918.  

Since the doors were to large (8' X 10') to hang once assembled, I chose to arrange the doors on the ground and then hang them piece by piece on the barn.  Essentially, assembling the doors in place.  (Coco the dog)

Once the frame was hung, the remainder of each door could be installed in place.  (Iris the dog)

The primary door panel material is corrugated metal with window inserts placed in each door.  The windows were found in the barn and are being recycled.  They will be stripped, glazed and reinstalled in the same color scheme.  But that is a separate project. 

Keeping the theme of the Norleigh Diamond Hangers. 

On to the next project..... (O'Henry the dog)

For RePeats Sake: Concerto! - Mozart: Concerto For Flute & Harp

Take Away: 

A very good video.  Basically, a documentary of how musicians rehearse and interpret a very complex piece of music.  They are all virtuosos and are able to collaborate and communicate on a different plain than the rest of us, which creates incredibly beautiful music as a result. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

For RePeats Sake: M.C. Hammer - Non-Stop

Take Away

The man had talent and his singing and dancing are infectious.  However, all of his proselytizing about black empowerment comes off as self righteous and a bit hypocritical.  Side one of this disc is an hour long film focusing on Hammers 'acting' talents.  It was a bit cringe-worthy when he wasn't doing a dance number. 

Track List:

(Side 1)[short film]
Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
That's Why We Pray
Yo Sweet Baby
Where You Let Them Be
I Am Dance Machine

(Side 2)
Let's Get It Started (live)
Turn This Mutha Out
Pump It Up
They Put In The Mix
Making of Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em
U Can't Touch This
Have Uou Seen Her
Pray II

Sunday, November 17, 2019

He Saw / She Saw - A Star Is Born


Definitely not what I expected.  Considering there have been 3 remakes of this movie, I was expecting it to be WOW.  In my opinion, it was not. Some film historians believe that the marriage of Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay was the film's real-life inspiration.  Who knows, but the plot is same as the remakes — country girl (played by Janet Gaynor) goes to city to become an actress, meets an actor she admires played by Fredrick March.  We soon find out he is an alcoholic and the ending is same.  She becomes famous...he dies.  I would not watch this movie again.


Going back through three remakes, this is the original that started it all.  An early O'Selznick film that shows glimpses of grandeur, but also has points that drag on far to long.  Good character development and pacing, however, this is a fair-tale film that is rather fluffy, aimed at farm girls on the Great Plains during the Great Depression. 

He Saw / She Saw - Disclosure


I am sure most people in our age group have seen this movie staring Demi Moore and Michael Douglas.   If you have not it is worth watching as they both give great performances,  She is his sexy new boss (and prior ex-girlfriend from many years back).  And she wants him...sexually!  Scenes are pretty graphic and shows how a woman can be domineering and forceful to get what is wanted in a man’s world.  Thumbs up!  


A well done film that oddly pre-dates the #metoo / sexual harassment movement of today.  Only back in the 1990s, it was the woman who is exposed as the predator.  The filmmakers vision of a technology / virtual-reality driven future is both interesting and humorous at the same time. 

For RePeats Sake: Aerosmith - The Making Of Pump

Take Away

An exceptional film.  I often lingered to watch segments as I walked through the Man Cave.  If you think you know Aerosmith, you probably don't.  Well shot with interesting interview segments that show the band had matured a lot by the time they made this.  The studio segments where they are rehearsing are astounding. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

For RePeats Sake: Beethoven - Symphonies 3 & 7

Take Away

If you see the words Karajan and Beethoven in the title, you know it is going to be good.  Classical discs like this are of two type.  Images of life that are highlighted by the music and an actual classical concert.  This is a hybrid, with the Berlin Philharmonic filmed on a specially built sound stage with very high production value.  Karajan is so into the music, he never opens his eye during the 3rd Symphony. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

For RePeats Sake - Fleetwood Mac: Tango In The Night

Take Away:

Filmed at The Cow Palace in San Francisco 12th/13th of December, 1987.  In this rendition, Lindsay Buckingham is replaced by Billy Burnette and Rick Vito.  They make a tight band even better.  All their greatest hits in a well done concert film. 

Track List:

The Chain
Seven Wonders
Isn't It Midnight
World Turing
Little Lies
Oh Well
Gold Dust Woman
Another Woman Stand Back
Don't Stop