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Write Something, Right

In the mail yesterday was a package small enough to fit in the mailbox. These things arrive sometimes, many days or weeks after I’ve placed an order for yet another gadget. Not so long ago, a pen that actually records video came in a similar small package. This pen plugs into a USB port for downloading data to your computer and I’ve tried it out and it works! The hard part is getting it turned on and then positioned just perfectly in your pocket, but with trial and error, I’m sure I’ll eventually get something useful. 

Yesterday’s package contained two USB drives that have a built in sound recorder. Seriously, they look just like any other flash or thumb drive, as people like to call them, except there is a switch to turn on or off the recorder. The instructions for using this device were written by someone who doesn’t have English as his first language, but hey, I’m a guy, so I just did what I thought was right and read the instructions later!

Turns out, there was just one little subtelty in the instructions that made a difference. Other than that, I had it right. Of course, like most people might, I held the thing up to my face and spoke in a clear strong voice that completely over drove the little microphone, so I sounded pretty foolish in playback mode. If you just leave the gadget laying on the desk and speak in a normal tone, the sound quality is remarkably good. 

Did I mention I got two of these? I did. Maybe Margaret would like to have one. I’ll see what she thinks. Time will tell if any of these things make any sense at all. As in, if they are not used routinely, then it was probably yet another senseless purchase, based on “gee whiz” technology sales (to an easy mark).


Like so many people who read Catcher in the Rye, I was awestruck by what I thought was the most clever writing I might ever have seen. The part about, “like so many people” is made abundantly clear in the movie, “Salinger”, which we saw today at the Cinemas Palme d’Or in Palm Desert.

This documentary is based on the book, Salinger, by David Shields and Shane Salerno. And, unless you really like documentaries, or, like me, really have an interest in writing and writers, you may find this movie somewhat tedious. It made me squirm. It drives home the idea of success and the loss of privacy that may result from fame. This is a contradiction for most people, I think. “Rich and famous” seem to be joined at the hip for most people aspiring to become someone special. For me, I’ll take the riches and do without the fame, if possible.

There is one part of the movie that really hit home with me. One of the last people in the film is Betty Eppes and she reports on her encounter with Salinger. I’m sorry to say I don’t have a direct quote from the movie, so I’ll post something here that I’ve found online. In essence, he says you should “write for yourself.”

I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m doing here.

It was comforting to hear that that was advice given by someone as big as J. D. Salinger.

Salinger, as quoted in this article: I love to write and I assure you I write regularly. I’m just not publishing. I write for myself. For my own pleasure.

Loving All Animals

Loving All Animals

What a great event they had tonight in Palm Desert. There were hundreds of people, dozens of dogs, exotic birds, a pond with flamingos and koi, a waterfall, food and drink. I never did find the kittens, but I heard they were there someplace.

So many nice people, all drawn together by their love for animals. The event was hosted at the Bird Gardens of Lindi Biggi a great big home in South Palm Desert.

I’m sure I would have much more to say about this, were I not so tired. So, perhaps I’ll post a few more memories tomorrow. For now, let me just say that there are photos and video on Facebook. Look me up as Mousehelp and you’ll find my page.


Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird

It’s a sin. You can find this stuff for yourself, although you are as likely to find quotes from the book, as from the movie.

“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy … but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

This is one of those movies that just doesn’t move along so simply. It almost requires the kind of patience that goes into reading a good book. The plot moves along slowly, switching between adult themes and childhood innocence and boogie-man fears. There were a couple of times during the movie where I had to remind myself that we had come to see it on the big screen for the experience. Had we been at home, I would definitely have been out of my seat from time to time, just so I would have something else to do, while waiting to further developments.

That’s one of the benefits of going to a theatre, I suppose. The fact that you are there for a singular purpose certainly helps to focus your attention on the entertainment. Often, I find myself watching so much more than the movie – little details of things; like peripheral objects, lines spoken that seem out of place, expressions on faces, anything physical that should not be in the scene.

I neglected telling you in my last review that at the end of Roman Holiday, there’s a scene where you can see the bottom of the boom microphone. It moves along left to right as Gregory Peck stands there, drinking in the import of his situation. That kind of stuff fascinates me – the idea that they didn’t see that in the editing room and filter it out for us.

Back to our movie; To Kill a Mockingbird is a study in culture. It shines a light on ideas like racial prejudice, assumptions made, irrational fears, community standards, and integrity. You can’t help but love the children in this story. And, of course, you get to feel the pain of Atticus, as he is simultaneously burdened and enlightened in his role as a single parent.

This is not one of those movies you can easily rate. No number of stars would seem to spell it out clearly for your readers. Would I see it again? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing. The big screen experience and the intimacy of a movie theatre definitely made it worth a second look.

Audrey Hepburn – Roman Holiday

Which would you report first? How absolutely wonderful is Audrey Hepburn in this role, or, how is it that a movie can be so nearly perfect you will see it again, for the first time? That’s what happened yesterday. 

Years ago, Margaret shared this moving with me – probably long before the age of Netflix. Probably this was also several hundred movies earlier, too. Has anyone invented a way to keep time in terms of number of movies they’ve seen? If so, I’m getting older faster, I think.

That was some random thinking, I’ll admit. “You have my permission to withdraw.”

That famous line is spoken several times by our “Princess Ann” (a.ka. Anya Smith) in this movie. I should like to include that line in my repertoire, as a polite way of asking a person or people to leave the room. 

Watching the trailer for Roman Holiday is also a hoot. It’s the Gayest Spree A Girl Ever Had!

Logically, I’ll have to assume you’ve seen this one. If not, do.