Thursday, December 29, 2016


Some celebrity deaths hit harder than others for a variety of reasons.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Index of Anabelle and Daddy Ad-veeeeen-tures! Yeah! *Jazz Hands*

Because of reasons that I no longer wish to talk about-
and are all stupid-
Up the Lake did not open this past summer with extremely short notice.

Outside of the enormous pile of suck that embodied were some specific issues.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Not a STAR WARS story- A Star Wars STORY

Let’s get the important thing out of the way first.

The movie was fantastic, had interesting characters, and impressive visuals.  The story pulled the audience along with strong drama and edge of the seat action scenes.  The 3D added a sense of movement and immersiveness to the space battles and chases

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Village 2016

A Real American Final Frontier
Knowing Anything that Pleases You Can be Made to Happen is Half the Battle

This year was a major creative issue.

Last year’s celebration of the return of Star Wars to the big screen was amazingly simple in concept, supply and execution.

The idea of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of another favorite “Star” series didn’t require much thought.

The problem arose due to differences in tones of the two franchises.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Masters of the Movie Arts

Sorry I’m late on this one I was visiting Doctor Strange.

OK, I was in Disney World, but he was there…


And I didn’t find out until we got home.

Anyway- on to the movie.

Need it be said?

It was awesome, go see it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Village 2016- Prelude

Christmas, it’s the Key to Our Evolution
What’s the Matter With Mutants? That’s Where We Fit In

It’s that time of year.

Yeah yeah, Peace on Earth, spirit of giving…

But more importantly, time to dust off the stored action figures and HESS trucks.

And what better way to start off the festivities than a parade provided by Anabelle:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Grandma Treks Season 1

In order to prove the multigenerational Star Trek fandom of my family that I have often referred to, I submit the following.

It’s my Mother’s reaction to each of my daughter’s episode reviews that she’s been sending me along the way.  She didn’t have to borrow the discs to watch the series as a refresher when she read these.

Because she did that after I did My Short Treks write ups.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Family Rooted Bronx Tale

Those of us who’ve been tracking my Nth cousin Xce removed Bobby Conte-Thornton’s theatrical career figured it wouldn’t be long before he was appearing on Broadway.

But man, does that kid know how to make an entrance.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Hotheaded Additions and Variations

I got a phone call at work one day from Morgan, my three year old nephew:

Him:  “Unca Jeff! Unca Jeff!”

Me: “What?”

Him:  “I loooooooooooooooooove Ghost Rider!!”

Me:  “Cool! How come?”


Me: “Congratulations, you figured out all the important nuances of the character.”

Him: “OK BYE!”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Right Moral for This Day

Dad started working with computers back when they filled a climate controlled room, used giant magnetic tape reels for storage, and the smallest user input feature was the typewriter stapled to an anwar sized Keypunch Machine.           

Dad told me a tale of the day when he was in charge of Technical Support and the boss (Tom) got a phone call telling him that a massively important file containing all the financial records of this large financial based company has been lost during an update

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Political Rant

(Image from

Most of the time I completely avoid politics in favor of pointless things I enjoy taking far too seriously.

This year, I’ve had enough.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dracula 1979

Toho’s new Godzilla Resurgence (Shin Gojira for purists) got a recent, week long, limited release in select theaters in the states and I was ready to see it…

At least that’s what the announcement said. What it should have said was, “During this week in the States, in the area you live Godzilla Resurgence will be shown exactly one time when you are otherwise occupied.”

Therefore another classic monster is showing up in this Halloween post (Click here for when I finally saw Godzilla): 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Milestone!!!! Stranger Days! Luke Cage!

Holy Monkeys this is the 600th post on this adventure in foolishness.

To mark the occasion, a special reversal:

Normally, I write about introducing my daughter to various films and franchises for “Through a Kid’s Eyes” posts.  But recently the information flowed the other way. 

Coincidentally, while I was watching Luke Cage* and his adventures in Marvel Harlem on Netflix, my daughter was in the real Harlem discovering a different Netflix series.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Circle of Traffic

After several mistakes, mishaps and misadventures I made sure we had the address of the garage we use in Hoboken logged, and the methodology of the metrocard memorized for this year’s trip to Broadway.

Then I found out - with only three days’ notice - that the Path Trains were under maintenance and not running on the 33rd Street line any weekends this fall.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Quality All Ages Horror Movies Can Exist!

Though mentally fighting it every step of the way, my daughter is slowly coming to accept she is a major fan of the fun style of horror movies.

Amazingly, wanting to see Van Helsing again as soon as the credits rolled did not tip her off.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Treklets: Where This Man Has Gone Before

Wait a minute!

Just because it’s Golden Celebration, and I’m watching the entire Original Series yet again, but with my family this time, do I really think I can get away with doing another episode list of every adventure of the greatest crew of the Starship Enterprise when it isn’t even the first time my child is seeing this show?

You’re darn tootin’ I do!

Star Trek  has been an important part of my life for a LOOOOOOONG time.  
Since it's been part of my birthdays, I should honor it's.
Thanx for all the cakes over the years mom! 
Even the mini ones were cool!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Up the Lake: Childhood Fair Years- Part 3

The game in question was trout fishing.  

There was a shallow swimming pool type area heavily overstocked with heavily overfed trout.  Snagging was not allowed, and none of the fish being kept in the piscine concentration camp ever looked interested in eating anything.  The tackle and bait supplied probably didn’t help matters.  Fishing poles were given out, but they were reelless. At the end of the tied on string was a small hook featuring an eraser sized piece of either raw calamari…or dry caulking.

The sum total of our fish winnings was far less than the number of Rambo knives we took home.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bondlets: Tomorrow Never Dies



A pre announced snow day allowed the viewing of another James Bond adventure when God intended them to be seen, on a Sunday evening.

Brosnan’s second portrayal was why we started watching the franchise in the first place.  Given that it is his best outing, that shouldn’t be too surprising.

We were flipping by one of the near infinite Bond film marathons on cable and the handcuffed motorcycle chase scene caught my daughter’s eye.

The fact that it is an amazing stunt scene filled with practical effects is to be expected from these movies.  What pushed it over the edge to generate her interest is something excessively rare for a Bond film:

The only reason the scene works, is that Bond and Wai-Lin are shown to be equals. 

This highly unusual state for a female character dealing with Mr. Bond was a key area of appeal.  It was also why she was more upset than usual when upon the viewing of the whole picture in sequence with the other films. When Michelle Yeoh’s Chinese super-agent finally succumbed to Jamesbonding at the end:
“And…there it is.  She was awesome the whole time and then- mwah…bleah.”

The only kiss she was more upset with in any of these movies was in this one as well:
The “dead kiss” with Paris, because…”ew.”

That one kind of upset me as well.  Not for the same reason, as it was a powerful, character driven, quiet emotional scene in the middle of all the chaos that worked excellently.  My issue was having Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, and wasting her like that.  Can she come back as her own twin, Marseille McKenna or something?

My daughter also had fewer complaints about the title sequence this time around because:
“The x-ray images make ‘naked watch’ harder.”

The action kept her and my wife interested throughout, leading to both of them laughing and cheering at the violence.

That’s my girls!

She though Elliot Carver was whiny and “Anakin like” sometimes, yelling, “Who cares?” after one of his monologues.  The whole concept that he was manipulating the world into the brink of war and killing a great many people only for broadcasting rights offended her sensibilities a great deal.

She also found his weird little Kung Fu demonstration at Wai Lin, “Disturbing.”

However, none of this ever took her out of the film. She viewed him as a threat and a worthy opponent to 007.

Because callin up Jonathan Pryce when you need a villain is always rewarding for everyone involved.

She did continue to laugh at Brosnan’s sounding like a “leprechaun.”

However, this time around she was more accepting of Joe Don Baker’s Wade as “Felix’s replacement.”

Though, she had some issues with his briefing before the HALO jump detailing the multiple ways it could kill James.
“Well, that’s nice and not creepy at all.”

Other interesting observations:

After he breaks free of Wai Lin handcuffing him to the pipe, (which caused her to proclaim one of many times, “She’s awesome!”) my daughter pointed out how out of place he looked.
I asked, “Because he’s not Chinese?”
She replied,
“No, because he’s all wet.”

My wife and daughter both called the remote controlled BMW crashing into the rental car place.

OK, maybe these things do follow patterns, but we all still laughed.

Finally, my daughter was truly upset with the upgrade of James Bond’s standard sidearm.

It had nothing to do with tradition, concealment, or knowledge of handguns.

It was simply that with the Walther P99, she was unable to make the
“Pee Pee Gun” jokes she made about the Walther PPK.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Up the Lake: Childhood Fair Years- Part 2

Aside from crowding together to laugh at each other at that old time picture booth, once we hit our teen years, our folks let us wander the Fair on our own with set check in and return times and locations. Note to modern parents: we pulled this off successfully year after year without the use of cell phones.

Yes, Up the Lake people do have a limited form of telepathy.

Also known as: “Fear of the wrath of a worried and angered Italian Mother after a missed check in.”

Monday, September 12, 2016

Up the Lake: Childhood Fair Years- Part 1

(With an update added today! Vocal Trash returning next year! YAY!)
Heading up to the Duchess County Fair was an annual excursion from Up the Lake for an insanely large number of us (or a number of us large insane people) during a great many years in my youth. I’m not sure how it began, but one thing is for certain:

Our parents were far better at getting children suffering from Up the Lake levels of exhaustion out of bed in the wee hours of the morning than we ever were. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Mix Up of My Fandoms I Never Imagined

Happy 50th Anniversary Star Trek!!!

Unfortunately, I got overexcited and watched them alone last year and wrote them all up instead of stretching them out...

And I started watching them again, with my family this time, but haven't gotten far enough through them to start posting my daughter's reactions.

So here's stuff about two other franchises:

Monday, September 5, 2016

Up the Lake: Transitional Fair Days Part 2

When everyone tried to go through the “Haunted Pirate” dark ride, Kim’s car started shooting sparks and flames out the back like an old zip cord motorcycle.  Lauren and Ashley screamed (a lot) and told Kim to move her hair.
Then Lauren turned to me, wisely stationed on the ground, and shrieked, “I survived the friggin’ Wheel of Death, now I’m gonna die in this crappy haunted house.”

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ash Vs. Evil Dead Season One- Groovy!

Since the first season is now available on Blu-Ray instead of airing on a network I wasn’t prepared to subscribe to for only a ten episode half hour series, I can acknowledge the existence of something I was looking forward to for quite a while.  

Wow…that introduction sucked.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Up the Lake: Transitional Fair Days Part 1

We often went to the Fair as kids, but then high school activities and early college startups blocked that part of our schedule.  The normal amounts of chaos Up the Lake should have kept focused on the mountain for a while once we graduated...but we liked to expand our horizons.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bad Music Confessions Part 2

With the Hot in the Shade live performance before it, and the Revenge release in 1992, it looked like KISS had settled on a new and kick-ass image and sound and Gene was focusing on the group again.  The looks came together staring on Crazy Nights in 1987, but the sound wasn’t there yet.  Paul was always the ringmaster on stage with a powerful yet theatrical quality voice.  (I would have liked to see him in Phantom of the Opera.) However, the band lost a lot of its hardness and edge with Gene’s influence lessened.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Up the Lake: Modern Fair Days

All’s Love at Fairs and Wars
Agricultural Adventures

It’s Duchess County Fair season in Rhinebeck New York.  Normally, we’d plan our vacations and/or Up the Lake stays around it.  This year, however, we aren’t going.  While my family’s absence may not be the largest protest in history, we’re demanding action.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bad Music Confessions Part 1

I must apologize to all of my readers.  Granted given my limited reach that might be quicker if I did it in person, but I have space to fill.

I lied when stating that the only two major acts I actively sought out all new album releases for were Weird Al, and Alice Cooper.  There was another band I was an equal or greater fan of for a large portion of my life in the past.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Up The Lake: Parental Hike Part 2

Click here for Part 1

Extended swims had already thrown my allergies into crisis mode.  With the addition of the historic dust blowing into my face, I was blind from combinations of muddy tears and Olympic class eye boogers.  To add to the fun, my nose produced volumes of fluid normally only seen in the economy size beverages of a multiplex cinema.  One sharp corner that, once again in the grand tradition of Up the Lake nomenclature, had been referred to as the “turn by the yellow house” for generations, was summarily redubbed based on its proximity to “The Nose Blowing Tree.” 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

DC Finds the Right Tone With a Wrong Crowd

After two dark and dismal showings of their icon of hope, DC finally found proof that the classic Superhero ideology extolling:

Every life is worthwhile

Most criminals have some redeeming values that make rehabilitation a possibility

Is viable by using some of its lesser known characters.

Granted, they found it using some of the nastiest, deadliest, most sociopathic, super villains of the DCU.

But hey, they found the fun that comics are supposed to have too, so …yay!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Up the Lake: Parental Hike Part 1

The Longish Walk
The Dusty and Winding Road

Walking to the Three Mile Stand was an important and regular part of our childhoods Up the Lake.  Similar to most key memory making moments, it eventually and with some regularity turned into a way to force exercise on our children.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes through a Kid’s Eyes

Since I’ve been talking about mutants and apes recently, I should really get to the last Blu-ray available entry about these mutated apes before the next film comes out and I get behind on another franchise.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Up the Lake: Bugs Part 3

Other insect related adventures were also connected to a club.  This time, the location of the rocks was directly behind Nick’s kitchen.  For anyone wondering, how this qualified as “far from being viewed by wherever the parents are hanging out?”
We spent most of our time there during the day while everyone else was down the Lake.

The first order of business was deciding that this was going to be a club focused on nature…

No, I take that back.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Star Trek Beyond Expectations!

The training wheels are well and truly off the warp nacelles now.

Perhaps I better clarify before I mangle another metaphor.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Up the Lake: Bugs Part 2

Crickets heralded the coming of August.  Virtually no noise in July, then the tree tops sang for the whole next month, fading out when September dawned.  I wonder where they got tiny little calendars?

The August noisemakers were of the small black variety of that species.  Although there were even smaller black ones.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Who You Gonna Call...Now?

My daughter was more excited about seeing the new Ghostbusters than I was.   With other things going on at home, and “important” films being released before and after it, I wasn’t pushing for an opening weekend viewing. 

However, the idea of an all-female main cast in the traditionally male dominated realm of supernatural / superhero/ action movies appealed to my daughter enough that she pushed to see a “scary movie” in 3D as soon as it came out. Since the Horror/Comedy is my favorite genre, no nagging beyond the initial request was needed.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Up the Lake: Bugs Part 1

Insects Inside
Carloads of Creepy Crawly Critters

There were a great many of bugs with us Up the Lake.

Correction:  since we were in the woods without electricity, running water, or land clearing and gutting structures, there were a bunch of campers in the territory of a great many bugs Up the Lake.

While some could be a nuisance, due to bites, posse size, or general ickiness, most of us found a way to get used to them.  That isn’t to say our six legged co-habitants did not contribute to a near continuous stream of those “moments” which led to dinner conversations for years to come.  These are the conversations that reduce Up the Lake folks to hysterical laughter, and outsiders to nervous stares hiding the question, “You all really are insane, aren’t you?”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Through a Kid’s Eyes

My daughter and I are in full agreement at not understanding why viewers are having a problem with this outing.

It has too many characters? 


Have you ever seen an X-men comic book?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Up the Lake: Animals Part 3

Click here to go back to Part 2

Another creature of the night that caused a few surprises was the raccoon.  Although usually content with hanging around just out of sight, ready to go for the garbage once the lights went out, raccoons have caused some stunning encounters, due almost entirely to bad timing.