Here’s a little known fact about me. I do a lot of gardening.
On the positive side of this lockdown, I will get a head start on my garden this year.
We usually only get to our Ancramdale house on the weekends. I have a big garden and take care of all the planting and weeding myself, for all the beds surrounding the house. The acres in front are brush-hogged by neighbor Big Lou. Brush hogging is not something you do to a pet pig; it involves a tractor, some big blades and tall grass.
I have been building out the garden year by year for the last 17. Fortunately, I seem to be immune to poison ivy and poison oak and I’m proficient at pulling out deer tick. Wildlife abounds here. I have encountered a four-foot garden snake out back. He was feeding on the little froggies in the little pond I had. It got rid of the little frogies.I got rid of the little pond.
My biggest problem with nature to date has been a fucking ground hog chewing away on my front porch rocker. He favored the red rocker not the green for some reason. Perhaps like me, he never eats anything healthy.
That furry little shit was living under my garden shed. I was told that you could drive out groundhogs using kitty litter. I tried pouring it down the critters hole. I just ended up with sandy blue crap all over my lawn. Somebody should have explained it was used cat litter that works. I refuse to pee down a groundhog hole, another option suggested. Those things bite.
I tried the humane approach. I left warning signs. No good.
Big Lou offered to shoot the waddling rodent in the head with his 22.
I don’t have groundhogs anymore.
I also had issues with birds nesting above my outdoor speakers. More of my first world problems. The concern was that the flood lights above would set the nest above on fire. There have been home fires caused this way in the County. This was another story from Big Lou. He was a volunteer fireman and a man never short a tale of doom.
I was advised to place a fake owl underneath the speaker. That would scare nesting birds away. The starlings built their nest anyway and shit on my plastic owl.
I took down the speakers
I was defeated by nature again.
For those of you that have seen Animal House, Donna Riley has represented the good angel on my shoulder since 1992! Donna, who’s kept me on my Mission From God, told me recently that her favorite movie is The Blues Brothers. I’m all in for that.
I’m so clever. I just slipped in subtle references to two movies directed back to back by John Landis. Religious references no less. Both films star John Belushi and both are still hilarious, if not still politically correct.
I first saw The Blues Brothers when my father rented the film on VHS over a weekend. When he watched it with me that Sunday afternoon it was for his third time in two days. It is that much fun.
The Saturday Night Live alum have made some pretty awful movies over the years. This is not one of them. For a start, the director John Landis had some pedigree. Then of course, there’s John Belushi, on the hot start of a short career. There’s also Dan Ackroyd at his finest, before he ballooned. The movie also features a who’s who of Soul and Blues superstars awkwardly blending their timeless hits into the script.
The Blues Brothers is basically a road movie. Jake & Elwood Blues need to put the band back together, to raise money and save the orphanage they grew up in.
My personal favorite song, in Blues Brothers, is the Rawhide theme performed in the bar cage. That’s because I like both kinds of music – country and western.
Blues Brothers features the biggest car pile up in film history. These are real cars; we had no CGI in 1980, this was old school stunt driving.
The concert finale is a hoot. And as Jake & Elwood sang back then, and now more so than ever – “Everybody, needs somebody.”
Geek trivia: Ridley Scott based the opening shot of Blade Runner (my favorite film of all time) on the opening shot of Blues Brothers. Why do I know this shit?
Completing the John Landis/SNL circle, there’s Trading Places. This 1983 comedy features Akroyd as a stuck up broker and Eddie Murphy as a street hustler. Their roles are switched as part of an elaborate bet.
The movie also features Jamie Lee Curtis’ boobies.
Merry New Year!
The Blues Brothers started as an SNL sketch, which connects to my book recommendation: Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests. The history of the show is recounted in short excerpts of dialogue from dozens upon dozens of interviewees – basically anyone and everyone ever associated with the show.
The book is gossipy, fact filled and great fun. I am a drop by fan of SNL at best so I can only imagine how much more enjoyable it would read to lifelong viewers.
You get to hear how Larry David never had any of the pieces he wrote as an SNL staff writer produced on the show. He later turned his failures into Seinfeld plots. Tales are told of Bill Murray punching out Chevy Chase (sweet).
I read this large volume on hardcover. Brienne also recommends the Audio book version.