Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Life West of Philadelphia


You know you're in podunk when the opening of a new supermarket brings out cheerleaders and the pep band from the local Big 12 university.
This sight on my morning ride brought back a memory from childhood in Hicksville, New York, sometime in the early 1950's. I don't remember how old I was--single digits seems likely. My father swept me up one day after lunch (after supper?), loaded me into the gray '49 Plymouth, and drove to the opening of a new supermarket, an A&P, I think. This isn't your normal activity with a child, is it. I mean, what little kid cares about a grocery store, unless there's a real chance that Dad will buy you that new box of cereal containing a plastic submarine that--with the addition of a little baking soda--will sail the bathtub ocean blue under its own flatulent power. The attraction this night was a little different: the celebrity opening this new market was none other than that intrepid space traveler (and TV pioneer), Captain Video, Captain Kirk's predecessor and probably the first television actor that I was familiar with aside from Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody.
I am going to change directions here slightly to go on to make the point that podunk also existed on Long Island--a pep band here, a minor celebrity there; however, this is also a memory of over fifty years ago, and Hicksville was a commuter podunk at the time, connected in my mind to New York City only by the Long Island Railroad.
I wanted to wrap that last thought quickly and loosely because in the meantime, I've seen a movie that I want to say a few words about--and just a few. (Pretty sneaky way to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, no?)
Besides, in future, I should probably be reminded to avoid what shall hereinafter be known as a pointless OFA, old fart anecdote. I'll post warnings if I sense I might be headed toward one.
*****
My schedule lately has been very open, and I have spent my free time wallowing in cinema. Here's the list since the last bloggish update:
"August Evening" (very engaging)
"BenX" (difficult and worth every second)
"Syriana" (a repeat for me, ever susceptible as I am to a conspiracy plotline)
"Mickey Blue Eyes" (short meh)
"Friday Night Lights" (a repeat for me and a favorite)
"Forty Shades of Blue" (drawn out meh with shrug)
"Choking Man" (well done)
"Slumdog Millionaire" (wow!)
"Music Within" (I'd like to like it, but in a week I won't remember it.)
And finally, this evening at the public library there was a showing of "Food, Inc." sponsored by a local organization comprised of people with high-minded principles, advanced degrees, and Birkenstocks with socks--my pipples. If the books "Fast Food Nation" or "The Omnivore's Dilemma" caught your attention, you might enjoy this. I thought it was very well done--deserving, perhaps, of some fact checking, but when the folks in the corporate headquarters of various multinationals all decline opportunities to be interviewed, refuse to represent their positions outside a courtroom, well...
There is a companion book to "Food, Inc.", and I'm going to add that to my someday-maybe reading list.
So here we started the day with a supermarket opening and ended the day wary of our food supply. Meh.

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