The most wonderful time of the year

It’s almost here. The day we’ve been waiting for. (Don’t you just love ads, articles, blogs even that start that way. Like all of the world is “we.” It’s like the YouTube videos that begin, “You’re doing [something incredibly common and impossible to do wrong] wrong.”) (But I digress.) The day we’ve (cough cough) been waiting for is almost here.  Yes…[dramatic overture type music]…it’s Oscar time. (You know I’m really not allowed to say that. It’s copyrighted and a couple years ago they were going after those using it without permission hard. Yeah, well, tough on them! I said it!) Now where was I. Oh yes, it’s Oscar time!

For movie buffs, it really is a big time. Those awards still hold a mystique among awards, and people who live and die for movies have no real life. 

I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to say that.

Take 2! People who live and die for movies look forward to this time of year like normal people look forward to Groundhog Day. And I can say that because I too look forward to Oscar season. Oh not for the awards. I mean I guess they’re okay even though they really have gotten away from awarding the best performances and replaced that with awarded the performances that have the most to say but then sometimes that happens to be the same picture like last year. That was a good movie and I can’t wait to se it again when it’s like 40 years old. Umm…

Oh darn,I lost my place again. Don’t go anywhere. Hmm, people live and die. Look forward to too. I’m one of them. Oh yeah, I found it.

And I can say that because I too am one of them. One of the them who look forward to Oscar season but not for the awards. I look forward to this time of year because my favorite television station, TCM, plays an entire month of Oscar nominated and winning films from when they really were really good. I’ve said many times, my passion is old movies, preferably pre-1950s, certainly pre-1960s, and a rare one after that.

There was a difference in the movies from 70 and 80 years ago. There will never be a movie couple so well matched as William Powell and Myrna Loy. There will never be an actress so perfect in every role she played as Audrey Hepburn. Nor a musical as free spirited as Singing in the Rain, or a drama as soul searching as The Red Shoes. And there will never be another Casablanca. What made so many of the great movies of the golden age of movies such great movies is something we will never see again in movie land. The studio system. So completely controlling of all that went in the it should be The Studio System.

Take Casablanca as an example. Every part was perfectly cast. Not just the leading roles which none of the leads were who the producer Hal Wallis wanted but who the studio gave him. Even the director Michael Curtiz was not the first choice. All off the minor characters filled their roles like they had been doing those jobs for ever. And they had. Actors then were on contract to the studios and they all filled a niche. You want a bartender? They got an actor who played a bar tender so often he’d be a better bartender than a bartender. Do you need a street vendor? Central casting has a dozen to pick from, what do you want to sell? The system worked. Casablanca was nominated for 8 academy Awards and came away with 3, best picture, best director, and best adapted screenplay.

So next Sunday while most movie maniacs will be glued to their sets to see who gets slapped this year, I’ll be halfway through a smorgasbord of the best movies, some that even won for being the best movie when being the best mean being the best and the only message was “let us entertain you.”

Every moment of every day has the potential to be one that will be never forgotten. Those memorable moments can be anything and happen anytime. Last week in Uplift! we asked, will some moment today be your most memorable?



The envelope please…

And the envelope please…

Ah, Major Movie Award time. The Academy is cracking down in unauthorized used of the gold statuettes’ nickname but you know what Major Movie Award I mean. The Major Movie Award ceremony was last night and I missed it – again. Intentionally. I love movies and this year I actually saw most of the nominees for the Major Movie Award best picture award. But I love old movies a whole lot better and I dislike awards shows even more. Awards shows, awards banquets, recognition ceremonies, even graduations, but especially awards show when anybody who ever got lucky enough to be cast in a good movie demonstrates how valuable screenwriters are. Anyway, I didn’t watch the ceremonies but instead, as is my custom, I watched a couple Major Movie Award winners from 60 years ago.

In general, forty years is my cut off.  If a movie is still entertaining (and relevant, if possible), 40 years after it first hit the theaters, then that’s a good movie. I would say I’ll be re-watching this year’s winner in 40 years but in 40 years I’ll be well ensconced in the centenarian camp, so…that’s a maybe.

So with all this experience of watching long-lasting, significant award winning movies from 40, 50, 60, 100 years ago, you’d  think I could pick out this years winner effortlessly. Yeah, no. A hundred, 90, 60, 50 years ago, significant was defined differently. Right around 40 years ago, it started to be more important to have the right message than to have the right stuff. But that’s okay. That only holds true for the “big” awards.  The true magic in movies, the costumes, sets, music, and cinematography are still awarded on merit so there will always be good old movies to watch. Even forty years from now.


It so happens that I am writing this before the Major Movie Awards ceremony and the announcement of best picture. So, given that I’ve seen them, what movie would I vote for if I were a member of the Major Movie Award voting bloc?  I will say I don’t think the one I would vote for will win, but it should.  I think several of the best picture nominees are definite possibilities for cinematography and costume and would be worthy of those honors. But those same movies have no story, no coherence, or are just not good enough to be “best.” And there are so many this year (10 nominees for best picture), the field is clearly watered down.  But I digress.

What movie would I vote for if I were a member of the Major Movie Award voting bloc? West Side Story. It will have a hard time getting to the podium.  Although remakes dominate moviedom, rarely do remakes get nominated for the best picture award. To win the award, the odds are greater than finder teeth in a hen, but just barely. Only twice has a best picture been a remake. (Ben-Hur in 1959 and The Departed in 2006). To make it an even higher mountain to climb, West Side Story is the first time a remake of a previous best picture winner (1961) has even been nominated for best picture.

So … if I don’t think the. Ivies I would vote for will win for best picture, where would I put my money? Although almost all of the rest of the world thinks, The Power of the Dog will be so honored, I think last night’s winner was CODA. But wouldn’t it be a hoot if Licorice Pizza walk away with it?

We could do this for the other 23 categories too but I have to get dinner on the table.

How did I do?

Sunshine Blogger Award

I am honored. Or I have been honored. (You know, one of those sounds slightly boastful while the other sounds very appreciative. Shouldn’t they be the same?) I found out last week that Peg from The Tempest and the Teapot picked this little blog as worthy of the Sunshine Blogger Award! 《Applause, applause.》 Thank you Peg! 《More applause.》


“Holy crap!”  you say, exclaim even, “a whole week it takes acknowledge this?” Or maybe you don’t. No but if you do, I have an excuse. There are rules to follow and they actually involved work,. And a slide rule but we’ll get to that later. A while again, Ask a Gimp nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. Now that was easy. Say thank you, recognize some other bloggers. This one…well, just look.

Here are the rules for being nominated…

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you in the post and link back to their blog (Easy and done.)
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you (Equally easy although I was specifically directed not to use a slide rule which made #4 almost unanswerable.)
  • Nominate 8-11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions (Eleven questions! I taught Masters level courses at a pretty big Eastern university and I almost never asked eleven questions at one time. Even finals were mostly a bunch of questions I previously asked so I don’t know I had to think up 11 questions at one time then. Anyway, that took forever (and then a little longer).)
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo on your post and/or in your blog (Also easy but I’ll have to retype the rules since I now have defaced them.)

So, to make a short story unnecessarily long here are Peg’s questions of her nominees and my answers. Stayed tuned for my nominees and my (more reasonable) questions of them.

  1. Make me the yummiest sammich to ever grace a plate.
    Concentrate and follow this closely. Two pieces of thick sliced Italian bread, preferably homemade but a good bakery bought loaf will do. A quarter pound thinly sliced capicola just warmed in a dry skillet with two slices sharp provolone allowed to melt on top. Move this onto one sliced of bread and top with a good amount (maybe a quarter cup) of vinegar based, fairly dry cole slaw and heaping handful of hot freshly made french fries (which are actually a Belgian creation but you knew that) and a couple slices of tomato. Slice in half, eat greedily with a kitchen towel tucked in your collar and another on your lap. It doesn’t matter what you drink with it because you won’t have a free hand because you’d be putting it down, but I like a frosty bottle of Peroni.
  2. Do you like your handwriting?
    Absolutely. It demonstrates a flair not seen since cursive was outlawed in the US.
  3. After that glorious morning pee, what’s the first thing you do?
    Pray, meditate, and take my blood pressure.
  4. If you have 20 apples and some bully comes along and bruises half of them in New York, how long does it take the train travelling to Albuquerque to make a savory picnic pie from the remains?
    This would be easier if I was allowed to use my slide rule but just figuring it out in my head I say “not long.”
  5. Tell me what’s in your iPod/MP3 player playlist, or the CD in your car stereo right now?
    Jazz on all of them. David Benoit on most although I think one of the CD players has Keb’ Mo’ right now and yes, I know he’s not really jazz but it’s my playlist and I’ll make him whatever it takes to fit.
  6. Keeping with the music theme…shuffle or straight through albums?
    Shuffle? That’s just anarchy!
  7. How soon after the advance ticket sales did you buy your seats for the opening night of Avengers: Infinity Wars?
    By Avengers of course you mean the TV show starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg. I didn’t realize those two had a new movie out. Now the last time I purchased any movie ticket via advance sales, it was a week before the cinematic re-release of Singing in the Rain. Those guys were real superheroes!
  8. Have you watched all the other Marvel Universe movies in preparation for this event?
    The only marvelous movies from this universe that I have watched are the complete collections of Bond, James Bond and Men in Black, and everything staring Audrey Hepburn.
  9. Why won’t WordPress let me skip a number in this numbered list?
    It’s been illegal since 1999.
  10. Boxers or briefs (or other, I totally won’t judge!)?
    The great American compromise, boxer-briefs.
  11. What’s the first thing you notice about people?
    Their eyes, even in pictures. And yes, I have a personally difficult time if I meet somebody for the first time and they are wearing sunglasses.
  12. What makes you unique?
    Because I’m me!

So, you now know almost no more about me than before you started reading this tome in disguise. Now we come to my nominees and the (more reasonable) eleven questions waiting their answers. Coming up with 8 to 11 blogs is kind of challenging. I like many more than 8 to 11 blogs but I can’t say they all bring sunshine to my day when I read them. Doesn’t mean I don’t like them. Some blogs just aren’t the sunshine-y type. Thought provoking. Informative. Eye opening. Educational. Witty. Humorous. A blog can be any of these and not bring me a healthy dose of artificial sunshine. To me, sunshine is a warm feeling all the way through and a big smile reflecting my new-felt warmth. These are the ones that make me feel happy that I took the time to read them. And if you don’t think that answering eleven (wow!) questions is your idea of fun, fits with your blog, or brings you unimaginable, deep down warmth, I’m ok with that. I still like you and you still bring me sunshine.

With that, my nominees are:

Now, to remind you of the rules:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you in the post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 8-11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo on your post and/or in your blog.

And my questions are:

  1. What is your worst bad habit or secret vice (either)?
  2. Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home?
  3. Does your go to ID picture really look like how you describe yourself?
  4. What color is your favorite underwear?
  5. Are you an Oscar or a Felix?
  6. Did you understand the above reference or did you have to do research?
  7. Does 11 questions seem excessive to anybody else?
  8. What’s the most embarrassing thing in your refrigerator?
  9. Quilted, two ply, or should I bring my own? (Yes, I will judge.)
  10. When did you last mail a handwritten personal card or letter?
  11. If you couldn’t live where you live now, what different country would you pick based on beauty, culture, what you know, what you hear from other people, or read in books, and price is no object to getting there but you can’t consider travel blogs or magazines, Instagram posts, or current political climate?

Whew! Ok, I’ve written enough. Blame Peg for that.


Blogger Recognition Award

Somebody noticed. I’ve been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award by askagimp. askagimp is the mother of a son on the autism spectrum and herself has Marfan Syndrome. Her blog fosters better understanding of people with disabilities and/or chronic illness by allowing able bodied people to ask anything that they are curious about without offending anyone. The author of askagimp remains anonymous so nobody has to be embarrassed asking her questions regarding the challenges she faces. Her blog isn’t just about challenges though. She includes craft projects, product reviews, and some delicious recipes.  Actually she has two blogs. The second is Pregnancy on Wheels as she chronicles her new journey through pregnancy in a wheelchair.

I’m very honored that somebody might be moved enough by my tales to formally recognize my little blog. I’ve been a bit under the weather this week (read “at death’s door”) so I haven’t done much and I needed something to talk about today anyway. So… this came at just the right time! I am instructed to:

  1. Show my gratitude to the person who nominated me and provide a link back to the person’s blog.
  2. Give a brief story on my blog.
  3. Share two or more pieces of advice for beginner bloggers.
  4. Choose 10 other bloggers to nominate.
  5. Comment on each blog, letting them know they’ve been nominated and provide a link to your award post.

As much as I have been able, I have expressed my gratitude to my secret admirer, hmm, unknown nominator. I too am still quite unknown. I started the Real Reality Show Blog as an alternative to TV’s “reality shows” that in my opinion diminished reality as observations of life encountered at work and play and things seen and read. I hope you find these posts as entertaining as the reality you find on television.

BloggerRecognitionAwardOver these years my reality has changed. When I started I was hale if not completely hearty and gainfully employed as a department manager in a national hospital chain. Now I’m more than slightly older, a cancer survivor slowed again by kidney failure now on dialysis, both of those conditions brought on by living with a rare vasculitis that will someday be the death of me if the rest of reality doesn’t get me first. Although my life is defined by what I am and limited by what I can do, I hope to still be able to share my reality and hope others see as serious as reality is, it’s really not all that serious. Nor always all that real. It’s like me. Sometimes funny, sometimes hungry, sometimes pointed, always honest.

One thing that hadn’t changed is my anonymity. You’d think on a blog pushing reality I’d be a little more real and say who I am. Well, I do. I am you. An underlying theme of the RRSB is that although these are my stories they’re your reality as much as mine. There’s nothing I’ve been through or done or said or wrote that isn’t out there for you also. Whether that’s taking a week’s vacation on an island in the Caribbean or having major organs surgical removed. Hey, that’s reality. Sorry.

My advice for any blogger is to be as real as you can. If you can’t write from your heart at least write from your fingers. The key word in all of that is “your.” You’re you, nobody else. Don’t be anybody else. Don’t try either.

Now the hardest part. Nominate 10 other bloggers. Everybody in the blogging world deserves to be recognized. That’s not going to make me take the easy way out and say “you’re all good, you don’t need me to single you out.” Because even though you all are, you do. So I will.

Although I follow a LOT of bloggers, these are the ten that I will read every word of every post they publish. Another thing that singles out these people are that when I discovered them and began following their on-line adventures is that I went back through their archives and read everything up to the point that I began my follow. For some that was a handful of posts, for some it was hundreds of posts. They were all gems. There are probably others out there better than these but I haven’t found them so to me these guys are the tops. I love you all. So here in some, though not obviously particular nor particularly obvious order, are my top ten.

  1.  Quiall at Butterfly Sand, a gentle soul who graces us with at least a quip each day and a story each week. On her “About Me” page she claims to be fabulous and has a wonderful life and nobody can rain on her parade because she has an umbrella. She also has MS but you’d not know it unless you read her about page.
  2. Peg at The Tempest and the Teapot, admits to being a mother, a daughter, and an aunt, but not a monkey’s uncle. She’s actually a great story teller, a terrific photographer, and a chainmailler extraordinaire.
  3. Quinn at When Do I Get the Manual says consistency is key but she is always losing her keys. She is a young woman struggling with learning the ways of adulthood. Her stories are so real with experience so well chosen you have a hard time believing she’s still learning her way around life.
  4. Alison at A Pierman Sister hasn’t posted much recently but when she does her stories are honest, fun, and dying for company as she travels through home and family and sometimes different parts of the world. Please write again soon.
  5. WD at WD Fyfe is my blogger doppelganger. He thinks everything I do but says it so much better. WD bills his blog as a sideways glare to contemporary society. If his posts seem polished that’s because he’s had a lot of practice writing having published several books with the best cover pictures in the business.
  6. Angela at That Extra Inch is the daughter I never had who would be the perfect sister for the daughter I did have. Although on her about page she claims her biggest problem is not knowing what she wants from life, her posts describe a woman with a clear vision of what she wants and goes about getting it. Most of the time. Sort of. She’d still make a good big sister.
  7. Belle at Read Between the Lyme started her blog after she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease which was after she was misdiagnosed with many other diseases. I share Belle’s initial struggles in finding the doctor who can figure out which of the thousands of unexpected conditions to walk into the waiting room. Her stories aren’t just of struggling with Lyme Disease, they’re of struggling with life and the amazing journey it is.
  8. Leona at Leona and Alexander chronicles the adventures of a modern family attempting to recapture the charm of yesteryear.  Although she claims they live “in the Heart of Dixie” I swear I ran into most of her same scenarios north of the Mason Dixon Line.
  9. Dale at Tip of My Iceberg says, “Unless you know what to look for, it’s relatively easy to assume that what you see is all that you get.  Much like people,” in her “About” page. Her stories are warm and real and show her faith in God, family, and self.
  10. Nicole at NicoleSundays counts “Can’t Count” among her Five Most Unnecessary Facts on her “About Me” page. She counts very highly in the humor department as she takes us through college life and emerging adulthood in the 21st Century.

So those are my top ten. Actually, 10 + 1. The plus one? My nominator, askagimp. Anybody who loves oatmeal that much is ok with me!

So you know the drill, copy the rules and do what you’re told. Or not. You’re still the real things.


The Ultimate Participation Award

Anybody who has ever been at a youth sporting event medal ceremony knows they can be longer than the event. With that in mind, it’s a good thing they don’t have participation medals at the Olympics. Sort of.

There were over 11,000 athletes at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. As it was, there were over 900 medals awarded in 306 events. Since there were several multiple medal winners that means that quite fewer than 1% of the athletes who participated in the games went home with an award.

All those participants in all those events and the only ones who stood on a podium and had gold, silver, or bronze draped over them were those who finished first, second, or third in their particular endeavor. And that’s the way it is. Only the top three contestants are awarded medals. Plus another twenty-one.

The Pierre de Coubertin Medal is a special award given to those who exemplify the true spirit of sportsmanship in the Olympics. Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee and introduced the modern games to the world. He felt the games were an opportunity to promote peace, unite people around the world, and celebrate the struggle of competition.

How special is this special award. Saturday it was awarded for only the eighteenth time. Maybe you saw when long distance runners Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand and American Abbey D’Agostino got tripped up during the women’s 5,000 meter preliminary event. Hamblin went down and D’Agostino stopped and urged her to get up to finish the race. They began running again and that’s when D’Agostino went down and it was Hamblin’s turn to stay with her.

The two women became the 20th and 21st people to have received the award which has been presented eighteen times since its introduction in 1964.

Even though neither was expected to medal in the event, both left Brazil with the ultimate participation award. Hamblin said of the incident, “You can’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose what you do about it.”  Words more precious than gold.

That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?