Happy 42nd anniversary! (Actually 6th anniversary, but in dog years)


Six years ago today, to the everlasting reluctance of my wife, we adopted two rescue dogs, Lexi and Opie. At the time, this was done mostly to placate our son and daughter (who were, respectively, 16 and 19 years old).

We’d had a dog up to that point, a German Shepherd mix named Jag, but he had died the previous month. My son took it the hardest, mainly because he had watched Jag deteriorate before his eyes. We knew in Jag’s last two weeks of life that he wasn’t doing well, and my son went out of his way to treat Jag tenderly. One day, my son was getting ready to take the dog for a walk when Jag collapsed in the driveway.

My son and daughter rushed him to the vet’s office, which happened to be across the street from where my wife worked, so she came over to console the kids. When my son found out that Jag was dead, my wife said he let out a howl like she’d never heard before.

For two weeks, our house was pet-less and quiet, which was just how my wife wanted it. But the kids finally cajoled her into getting another dog, so we went to the local animal shelter.

We took a tour of the place, and as it happened, two dogs named Lexi and Opie were penned in the same cage. The shelter supervisor — who, we now believe, must have seen us coming a mile away — told us these two dogs always stayed together, and they had already been returned to the shelter twice after their owners tired of having to deal with them. The supervisor brought the dogs out, and next thing you know, two extra “people” were riding home in the car with us.

Neither of these dogs believed that they now had a permanent home. Opie curled up in a corner of our dining room and wouldn’t socialize with anyone the entire day. At one point, Lexi got out in our yard in the middle of a pouring rain, and it took me and my son to drag her out from behind some trees where she had ensconced herself.

Initially, the dogs were my daughter’s project, and she wanted to handle their discipline and training. After a couple of years of discovering that the dogs had no discipline and were immune to training, my daughter threw up her hands and let me and my son handle them.

Six years later, they still have pretty much the same quirks that they had on their first day with us. They follow me everywhere, and if I dare to close the door of the master bedroom behind me, Opie will stand outside of it and whine incessantly in the fervent belief that I am never coming back out. If I dare to show Opie the slightest affection (e.g., stroking or petting him), Lexi will jump in and demand favored-nations, because heaven forbid that she doesn’t get equal attention.

My wife, never a pet lover, would still happily euthanize Lexi and Opie. I’m more sanguine about them. Yes, they’re often very annoying. But so are my kids and my wife sometimes, and so am I. So murder is just not the answer in any instance.

Many people have misconceptions about owning a dog. For one thing, Lexi and Opie are both black dogs, which I am told are the least popular kind — I guess because they’re not photogenic enough. But if that’s the only reason you’re getting a dog, your mindset is way off anyway. They’re not beautiful and not terribly well-adjusted, which is why, I’m sure, that I relate so well to them.

Bottom line, I’m glad we saved them from an undeserved fate. I’d like to join the chorus of dog-lovers who say: If you want to purchase a pet, don’t buy from a puppy mill. There are plenty of pets who are ready to declare themselves rescue dogs and show you their gratitude for the rest of their lives.

Credit: Harry Bliss, The New Yorker.









July 8 marks the fourth anniversary of this blogathon. Last year for the third anniversary, I hosted a blogathon with a theme of famous movie threesomes. So for Year # 4, I decided to do


Rules for the Blogathon

For this ‘thon, I’d like you to write about one of your favorite foursomes in pop culture. They can be real — such as a musical quartet — or they can be fictional. They can come from movies, TV shows, books, or even comic books. As long as they work in a group of four, they can be written about for this blogathon.

After you choose your quartet, describe why they appeal to you so much. Take any approach. If it’s a musical group, write about why you enjoy their music. If it’s a fictional foursome, maybe their heroics have inspired you in real life.

My only limitation for this blogathon: Please, no duplicate entries. (I will regularly update the list of blogathon entries below. Check the list to make sure your choice isn’t already taken before you enter the ‘thon.) Otherwise, the sky is the limit!

How Do I Join the Blogathon?

In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie trio you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for the ‘thon. Grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.

The blogathon will take place from Friday, July 6, through Sunday, July 8, 2018. When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update up to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).

I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on July 8, I will be satisfied. (That said, the earlier the better!)

Again, be sure to leave me a comment and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry!

Here’s the line-up so far:

Movie Movie Blog Blog – The Beatles

Movierob – The four Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings movies The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003); the starring females of Sex and the City (2008); and the starring males of The A-Team (2010)

The Stop Button – The Four Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts (1929)

Caftan Woman – The Hi-Lo’s

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – the four main students in Dead Poets Society (1989)

Tranquil Dreams – Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara, and Blake Lively in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen in Closer (2004)

The Observation Post – Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy in Libeled Lady (1936)

thoughtsallsorts – Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich in Red (2010)

Once Upon a Screen – The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

The Wonderful World of Cinema – The Doors

Moon in Gemini – The Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society – The titular siblings in Adam Had Four Sons (1940)











The 4th Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON – Da Big Finish

Sadly, we’ve had quite a few no-shows for our blogathon. Nevertheless, we shall bounce up and down with joy over those bloggers who saw it through, as we present


(Click on the appropriate day to see the entries for Day 1 and Day 2. For today’s ‘thon finale, click on the name of each individual blog to read their entry.)


Against their better judgment, a pent-up couple Clash by Night, as chronicled by Moon in Gemini.


Movierob finishes his three-part blogathon entry with another threesome — Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and a leopard — in the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby.

Gilda 2

And Anybody Got a Match? details the sizzling chemistry — on- and off-screen — between Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, as Gilda does its best to put the blame on Mame.

Thanks to all of our blogathon participants and readers! And stay tuned for yet another blogathon coming up shortly from this blog!





Happy Father’s Day!

I wish a happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there. It has occurred to me that some of you might be wondering why I have never written a blog entry about my father. It’s because if I did, it would probably depress you even more than did my recent blog entry about suicide. Suffice to say that when it came to helping my wife raise our two children, whenever a child-rearing issue came up, I usually found success by thinking about what my father would have done in the given situation, and then doing the exact opposite.

To end this on a lighter note, here’s Groucho Marx singing “Father’s Day,” a song by his old pal Harry Ruby (who also co-wrote “Hooray for Captain Spaulding”).

The 4th Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON – Day 2 Recap

We received only two new entries in the second day of our blogathon. But they were two really big attention-getters, so let’s take a good look at them as we present


(Click here to see the entries from our Day 1 Recap. For Day 2, click on each blog’s name to read their individual entry.)


Henry Fonda falls at Barbara Stanwyck’s feet (a lot) in the Preston Sturges classic The Lady Eve, as reviewed by Movierob in his second of three entries.


And A Shroud of Thoughts examines the “trilogy” of romantic comedies that starred Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

Keep us bookmarked, as we still have one more day to go with our sexy-movie blogathon!





SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

Our bloggers really gave it everything they had. So don’t be surprised by the high quality of the great entries in


(Click on the name of each blog to read their individual entry.)


The first of three entries from Movierob eavesdrops on some Pillow Talk between Doris Day and Rock Hudson.


The Midnite Drive-In displays anything but Contempt for Brigitte Bardot in his critique of the Jean-Luc Godard classic.


Realweegiemidget Reviews rooks us into a sexy game of chess between Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair.


Dell on Movies explains why all is fair in Love and Basketball.


And finally, your faithful correspondent details how Jane Russell’s film debut in The Outlaw is, in every sense of the word, a bust.

We still have two more days to go in our sexy blogathon, so keep us bookmarked. (And for heaven’s sake, put something on — people are watching!)































The 4th Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON is here!

The time has arrived! All blogathon participants need to present their credentials for


Join us for the next three days as bloggers pay tribute to movies that cleverly suggest sex rather than overtly depicting it.

If you are one of the ‘thon entrants, please go to the “Comments” section below, and post the name of your blog and the URL of your entry; we’ll link to you as soon as possible. If you are just here to read, keep us bookmarked; all entries will be linked back to their original blogs, and also we will do a ‘thon recap at the end of each day. Enjoy, and try not to get too hot and bothered!

Here is the list of blogathon entries, in chronological order:

The Flickering Screen – Nosferatu (1922)

Movierob – Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Lady Eve (1941), and Pillow Talk (1959)

Anybody Got a Match? – Gilda (1946)

Sat In Your Lap – Ball of Fire (1941)

Movie Movie Blog Blog – The Outlaw (1943)

“DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!” – The Big Sleep (1946)

thoughtsallsorts – Duel in the Sun (1946)

Moon in Gemini – Clash by Night (1952)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Female on the Beach (1955)

A Shroud of Thoughts – The Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedies (1959-1964)

The Midnite Drive-In – Contempt (1963)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Dell on Movies – Love and Basketball (2000)

THE OUTLAW (1943) – It’s a tussle (with Russell) to get through


The following is my entry in The 4th Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from June 15-17, 2018. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ entries about movies that subtly suggest sex rather than graphically depicting it!


In the 1940’s, moviegoers went to The Outlaw to see Jane Russell’s much-ballyhooed breasts. What they got was the Brokeback Mountain of its time. Sad to say, there’s more chemistry between the three male leads than there is between Russell (playing sassy Rio) and Jack Buetel (as Billy the Kid).

Although the movie is most remembered as a Howard Hughes production — Russell was a receptionist in the office of Hughes’ chiropodist, and Hughes immediately became obsessed with her bust and the idea of exploiting it — The Outlaw actually has some powerhouse credits behind the camera. These include screenwriters Howard Hawks and Ben Hecht (both uncredited) and Jules Furthman (To Have and Have Not); photographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane); and composer Victor Young (The Palm Beach Story). How Hughes could assemble a group like that, with the added insurance of Russell’s cavernous cleavage, and come up with such a blah movie is beyond my comprehension.

The story begins in Lincoln, NM, where Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell) is the sheriff. Garrett greets his old friend Doc Holliday (Walter Huston), who is looking for his stolen horse. It turns out that Billy the Kid  has the horse, though he claims to have bought it fair and square. Even though Doc and Billy spend the rest of the movie vying for the horse, they quickly become close friends, much to the consternation of Garrett, who now feels left out of the, er, threesome.


The movie’s first shot of Russell. Roll in the hay, anyone?

At one point, Billy decides to sleep out in the barn to protect the horse from getting stolen by Doc. He ends up having a scrape with Rio (which obviously inspired the movie’s famous tagline, “How’d you like to tussle with Russell?”). It turns out that Billy had killed Rio’s brother, and she wants vengeance and tries to stab Billy with a pitchfork. But Billy overpowers her, and the movie suggests (rather nonchalantly, IMHO) that Billy rapes her as well.

The next day, Billy gets in a gun battle in town and ends up getting shot by Pat, forcing Doc to shoot two of Pat’s men. Doc takes the wounded Billy to his home to recuperate, and as it turns out, Rio is there, the movie imply that Rio is Doc’s live-in lover. (How did they get that one past the censors?)

Doc asks Rio to take care of Billy while he rides off to escape Pat’s posse. At first, it appears that Rio is going to murder Billy, but instead she nurses him through a month-long coma. Doc has told Rio to keep Billy from getting chills that would kill him, and so — to the gratification of salivating moviegoers — Rio begins to take off her clothes, declaring, “I’ll keep him warm.” Because of course, in a script by three male screenwriters, it’s only natural that Rio would fall in love with the guy who raped her.


The close-up that gave Russell instant screen immortality.

Eventually Doc returns to find that Rio is in love with Billy, and after that, it’s a contest as to which dreary romantic rivalry will eventually win out — Rio and Billy, Rio and Doc, or (let’s face it) Doc and the embittered Pat.

At this blog, I’ve previously declared what I refer to as “The Adrienne Barbeau Theorem” — that theorem being that big breasts, in and of themselves, are not a compelling enough reason to sit through a terrible movie. The Outlaw proves that theorem in spades. 

‘40s males must have been delighted with the views they got of Russell’s blossoming bosom, but the story that bookends those views is so dull, it doesn’t even make for good movie camp. The publicity stills of Russell reclining among bales of hay (including the image at the top of this review) are far sexier than anything in the movie. Russell’s character is a cipher, and she even more so. One would never have guessed from this movie debut that Russell could be a very good actress and comedienne, she’s so one-note here.

Finally, the males in the movie are a perfect example of why I don’t like Westerns. They aim their guns at each other and talk more about shooting each other than they actually do. You’d think their ammo was macho conversation rather than bullets. What is it about boys and their toys?





Suicide is not painless

This week, sadly, brings news of the suicides of two celebrities: Fashion designer Kate Spade at age 55, and Anthony Bourdain at age 61.

I watched Bourdain’s TV work only sporadically, but he certainly seemed to enjoy what he was doing. I admit I was barely aware of Spade until this week’s news. But I am always sorry to hear of any such news, especially regarding people who seemed to have everything going for them. My heart goes out to their families and friends.


I have long hesitated about telling the story of my own suicide attempt. But after reading this news, as well as the news that suicides and attempts at it are increasing in nearly all 50 states, I feel that if my story can help even one person, it’s worth telling.

In 2003, I had been a public school teacher for 10 years. At first it had been quite satisfying, but little by little, the micromanaging and the unruly students chipped away at my self-confidence. Finally, I ended up with a house administrator who, for some unknown reason, had me in her sights. She made a point of observing me and writing me up, right in front of a class of my best students.

As it happened, the day before, I had gone to see a counselor and had been prescribed Xanax for depression. I had duly taken the first four pills on schedule, just like I was supposed to.

But the next morning, I went to talk to my principal about the write-up I had received. I had hoped he would see things my way. Instead, he sort of shrugged his shoulders and said that things would be this way from now on and I might as well get used to it.

When the meeting was over, I nodded my head, went to the nearest restroom, and swallowed the remaining 56 Xanax pills all at once. Then I got in my car and left the school, intending to go directly to my counselor’s office.

As it happened, I got only halfway there before I passed out. Luckily, I had at least enough presence of mind to pull over to the side of the road and shut the car off. A passing policeman noticed me, found the pill bottle beside me, and called for an emergency. I’m told that he found me muttering that I just wanted the pain to stop.

When I came to, I was in a hospital room, facing my wife and my kids (then ages 7 and 10). My wife later told me that she was furious when she got the news. She immediately pulled our kids out of school, telling them that Daddy had been in an accident and that they all needed to visit him in the hospital.

As I recall, my wife said very little and just allowed our kids to crawl all over my bed and all over me. She later said that this was her way of showing me just what I would have been leaving behind had I succeeded.

The next three years were not easy, as I pretty much had a nervous breakdown and then regularly attended counseling sessions, which made me feel like I was an onion getting peeled away at, layer by layer. But I knew it had to be done if I was to get any further in life.

In the 15 years since my suicide attempt, I have gone on to write, direct, and star in several local plays; created this blog and a podcast, both of which have many followers, for whom I am very grateful; and have found the job of my dreams, after so many decades when I was certain I wouldn’t find satisfaction in any job. My kids have long since learned the truth about that day in the hospital, and while it might have been more difficult for them to deal with than it was for me, we seem to have a very good relationship now “on the other side.” I would have indeed missed out on a lot if I had killed myself.

I have previously written about suicide here on this blog. It is the most maddening of subjects, because it’s nothing you can truly get a handle upon. If you cut your finger, you can put some ointment and a bandage on it to heal it. If it’s cold season, you can get a flu shot and take Vitamin C to help prevent getting sick. The relentlessness of suicidal thoughts ensures that they cannot be controlled or prevented so easily.

I can only say, please find a reason to live. Even if it is only for the purpose of surviving for another day, you will have accomplished something. Get help however, wherever, and whenever you can. Trust that somebody, if not a lot of somebodies, will be sorry if you attempt suicide and succeed.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255