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Monthly Archives: October 2009

I love this time of year.  The trees reveal the glory of their fall colors.  The heat drains from the air and that slight chill I love returns.  The bright colors of fall produce fill roadside stands. 

And Halloween.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  There’s just something in the air on Halloween that makes mischief and shenanigans that would normally illicit a frown of disapproval completely acceptable.  But beyond that, there’s a little extra edge to that chill in the air.  The falling leaves make the trees start to take on a skeletal appearance.  And those bright colors, become the garish tones of the things that go bump in the night and hide under the bed.

In short, fear is everywhere.  And we love it.

There is simply something about that sudden adrenaline burst that comes from a good scare.  Fear is an emotion that we have an extremely dysfunctional love/hate relationship with.  On one hand, fear is that instinctual reaction to danger that helps keep us alive.  We hate feeling that, it makes us feel weak and small.  But, at the same time we seek out experiences that make our hearts race and adrenaline flow like rivers through our bloodstream.

We climb to high places and stand on the edge.  We creep through a dark room in the middle of a dark night.  We go take in that horror movie or novel.  We play that scary video game with all the lights off.  Any experience that occurs to us that might give us that thrill of fear is in bounds under the right circumstances.

And Halloween gives us carte blanche to do all those things we wouldn’t normally do.

So, this weekend, take advantage of the opportunity.  Go out and get a little of that adrenaline rush.  Feel that thrill of fear race up and down your spine.  Walk through a haunted house and get startled enough that your heart races.  Turn all the lights off and snuggle up with your significant other and a scary movie.  Just enjoy fear again for a night.

After all, in this day and age, there is enough to fear in reality.  It’s nice to have the chills of fantasy for a bit and remember fear can be fun, too.

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Hello everyone and an early Happy Halloween!

I have to admit I am actually shocked.  A Halloween weekend and the only thing Hollywood has coming is a re-release of the “Halloween II” remake from August.  If you want my thoughts on that one click here for that week’s MovieDruid.

 Wednesday saw the release of the Michael Jackson concert/documentary film “This Is It,” but as has been the policy of the MovieDruid from he beginning I am not going to touch on concert films.  My position has always been if you like the artist and the concert film is something you enjoy, I am not going to persuade you to stay away and if the artist is not your cup of tea or you hate concert films I am not going to convince you to go.

I must express a certain amount of disappointment this week, however.  A film I have been much anticipating “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” is only being given limited release.  If you are in an area that happens to have the film available I would give it a go.  The original “Boondock Saints” would be on my personal top ten list easily.

So, if you’re itching for a flick this weekend, I would recommend checking out on of my previous picks, or grabbing a classic horror flick and curling up with it and some popcorn.  Since there are no national releases this week, I’ll throw out three films that have good Halloween memories for me.  Enjoy!

“Fright Night”

Trailer

Synopsis: Classic Vampire film about a teenager who learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, and no one will believe him.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I remember sitting with my friends watching this on Halloween years ago.  It is more than a little campy, and definitely has the ’80’s stamped all over it, but it is a fun ride if you enjoy vampire flicks.  And, besides where can you see Chris Sarandon, the future Prince Humperdinck (“The Princess Bride”) and voice of Jack Skellington (“The Nightmare Before Christmas”), as a vampire being hunted by Roddy “Planet of the Apes” McDowall.  In my opinion, one of the best of the campy horror films of the ’80’s.

“Spellbound”

Trailer

Synopsis: Dr. Constance Petersen is a psychiatrist with a firm understanding of human nature-or so she thinks. When the mysterious Dr. Anthony Edwards becomes the new chief of staff at her institution, the bookish and detached Constance plummets into a whirlwind of tangled identities and feverish psychoanalysis, where the greatest risk is to fall in love.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I saw this film for the first time with a group of friends who were, like myself at the time, just beginning to discover the joy of old black-and-whites.  I had already fallen in love with “Casablanca” and “To Kill A Mockingbird,” so when someone suggested a Hitchcock film with Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck for Halloween, it was hard to pass up.  Critics generally consider this to be one of Hitchcock’s weakest, and even the director brushed the film off in later years.  However, the performances are fantastic, the score won an Academy Award, and the film is worth a viewing just for the bizarre dream sequence designed by surrealist painter, Salvador Dali.  Personally, I think it is a solid Hitchcockian thriller.

“Frailty”

Trailer

Synopsis: Years after terrorizing a small Texas community, the God’s Hand Killer has returned, leaving in his wake a perplexing trail of fear and death. Convinced that he knows the killers identity, Fenton Meiks shows up at FBI headquarters intent on putting an end to the murderous rampage and relieving his conscience.

MovieDruid’s Comments: One of the most interesting, and understated horror films I have ever seen.  A finely crafted film with incredibly nuanced performances from its entire cast, “Frailty” is a nightmare of building menace.  If you haven’t had a chance to see this one, I highly recommend it.  As an interesting aside, this was also Bill Paxton’s directorial debut.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about patience.  About what it really means and why it is considered such a prized quality.  There’s even an old saying about it that we all know: “Patience is a Virtue.”  And, as we all want to be virtuous on some level, patience seems like a pretty good deal overall.  But, like any other virtue, I suppose, it is far from easy.

In today’s world the pace of life is so frenetic that anytime we have to stop and wait for something, be it a latte at Starbucks or for someone to pull out of a parking place we covet, it feels like wasted time.  We’ve developed an attitude that any time spent waiting in a line or similar activity is simply “hurry up and wait.”  I know I am guilty of this quite often, I suspect most others are as well.

Patience can be a fleeting thing, difficult to grasp.  It is all too easy to let anticipation, anger, frustration, or any other powerful emotion simply come on like a tidal wave and overcome the tiny ship of patience floating in our psyches.  Society has done such an admirable job of teaching us that we need to hurry up and that time is money and that wasting time is a sin.  Patience often seems like an indulgence we can ill afford.

Of late, I have been trying to cultivate my own personal patience.  I’ve been trying to achieve, as I have said before, a certain Zen-like quality.  But, try as I might it is a difficult task.  I think the hardest part for me is an unforseen pitfall: apathy.  It’s one thing to control your anticipation, control your lack of patience.  But, when there is an expectation for something to arrive, to occur, or simply to be and nothing happens that silence can be deafening.  It strains your hold on the calm of patience, but holding on through trials like this are important parts of becoming better people.  But, yawning before you as you turn your back on one group of negative emotions lies the trap of apathy.  How long do can patience hold out without becoming apathy?

My problem is that apathy and I are old friends.  Apathy is a warm blanket I can wrap myself in to shield me from the world.  I don’t want to become apathetic, but I feel myself slipping in some areas.  Apathy is a comfortable place because you feel so insulated.  How can you be hurt if you just don’t care?  The trick is to skirt the edge of that pit and not fall in.

So, I will continue to be patient.  I will continue to skirt the pit of apathy.  I will continue to control my negative emotions.  Perhaps one day it will pay off.

Living in central Pennsylvania is an interesting experience from a sports fan perspective.  Locally we only have minor league teams like the Harrisburg Senators baseball team and the (10-time Calder Cup Champion) Hershey Bears hockey team.  And, while these teams do have loyal and dedicated followings, the lack of a local major league team makes for interesting times.

The Hershey/Harrisburg area is geographically in the center of a large swath of sports cities.  If you are willing to drive three or four hours you can pretty much hit Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.  It makes for some interesting rivalries between local fans.  However, one thing I have learned since being here is the truly amazing thing that is the Philly Sports Fan.

Sports fans of the Philadelphia franchises (Eagles/Phillies/Flyers) are a very loyal bunch.  These fans do not abandon their teams no matter how dismal they perform or their outlook is.  However, they are not quiet about it.  They will bleed green for the Eagles, but will publicly crucify Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid if they misstep.  I’ve seen countless interviews with players that will tell you that Philly is the greatest city in the world to play in because the fans truly love their sports heroes, but don’t make a mistake because they can be brutally unforgiving. 

Now, as anyone who follows sports probably knows, the Philadelphia Phillies have earned a second straight trip to the World Series and a chance to defend the title they won from the Tampa Bay Rays last year.  Excitement for the series is high throughout the area, and fans are definitely pumped up.  A few nights ago, the New York Yankees managed to knock off the Los Angeles Angels to step into the ring with the Phillies.  The World Series looks to truly pit the two best teams in baseball against one another.

I was riding to work the other day listening to the morning news, as is my usual custom, and I heard a sportscaster talking to a Yankee fan after their victory against the Angels.  He noted that there were a number of Phillies fans at the last game, assumedly to witness who would be facing off against them come the Series.  The interviewer then asked the fan what he thought of Philly fans. His response:

I think they’re a bit obnoxious.

Really?  I mean, I know that Philly fans can tend in that direction, and often cross that line, in their religion like zeal for their team.  But, really? You, a Yankee fan, feel they are obnoxious?  Wow.

I had to laugh.  This was the most hilarious pot/kettle/black moment I had heard in years.  In the top ten list of the world’s most obnoxious fans Yankee fans rank only just below Dallas Cowboy fans.  Granted, Philly fans of all sports are on that list as well, but it takes a true native New Yorker in a Yankee cap to reach levels of obnoxious that even rival Cowboy fans nationwide.  I was a Phillies backer to begin with since their my wife’s team, but now I hope they clean their clocks in a humiliating fashion.

Obnoxious enough for ya?

My mother was a teacher.  When I, and subsequently my brother and sister, was born, she stopped teaching in the classroom for a time, but she was always a teacher.  She had a gift for reaching the hearts and minds of children and not only educate them but also be a positive influence in their lives as a whole.  It was one of the many things that I admired about her.

My brother followed her into the profession.  And, from what I have become privy to, he has the same gift.  His drama students seem to consider him one of their favored instructors.  His ability to build those relationships and become such a positive light in the lives of others demonstrates to me that he is a definitive inheritor of my mother’s talent and spirit.  I admire him a great deal more than he will probably ever know.

My sister, likewise, seems bound for the role of the teacher, though from a different level.  I always remember my sister as incredibly intelligent, but her intellectual pursuits and her accomplishments leave me in awe.  But, despite all of these it is her unbridled, and seemingly inextinguishable, optimism and zeal for life that comes through in so much of everything she does.  She is the whirling dervish of my mother’s optimistic energy made flesh. 

I, on the other hand, am not the outgoing educator bound to change lives for the better.  Unlike my siblings, I am uncomfortable in social situations, never really feeling like I connect with people.  In fact, I am often happiest when my vocation allows me to spend the bulk of my time with cold machines and raw reports and data.

I can’t account for the difference between us, siblings are always different, I suppose.  But, I feel as though I am failing to honor the memory and spirit of the wonderful woman who was my mother by failing so completely to carry some aspect of who and what she was out into the world.  Susan Ford was a woman worthy of remembrance.  She touched so many lives with her light, and that is something special in a dark world like this one.  My brother and sister both have taken up her standard in their own way and carried forth that light as they have pursued their dreams. 

I can’t say the same.  Self-examination is something that I have been trying to do more of lately.  I have a great deal to repair in my life going forward, and to truly do so I must understand how things became broken to begin with.  And, this point is one that has been nagging at me.  I am not carrying forth the light that was gifted to me by my mother, and I think that represents a key failing within me.  I’m just not sure how to fix it.

I truly wish I could sit down with her one last time, I need her words of advice so badly right now.

Last night my wife and I attended a talk given by Vince Papale.  If you’re unfamiliar with Vince, he was a 30-year old season ticket holder who never played college football who through an unprecendented series of opportunities managed to make the team with the Philadelphia Eagles and play three years as a special teamer.  His story was chronicled in the Disney film “Invincible” starring Mark Wahlberg.

Now, Vince still seems a little enamored with the fact that someone thought his story was worth making a movie about.  But, in between the talk about “Invincible” he did have a few things to say that really got me thinking a lot about my life. 

In particular, Vince made the point that all of us have people who have believed in us and helped us along when we needed it most.  He stressed the importance of being aware of the importance of such people in our lives and making sure we let them know how important they truly are to us because you never know when the chance to say such things will no longer be there.  I have been reflecting on that since last evening, and I wanted to be sure that I am doing just that.  So, if you are a new reader here or hate this sort of thing, but today’s post is going to be some thank yos to the people who have been there for me over the tears.

First and foremost, is my wife.  Without her help and support over the years I don’t know that I would have weathered the storms that life threw my way.  She has been my solid foundation and my biggest cheerleader when even I didn’t believe I could make it.  I hope that I return that support, but I can never fully repay you for everything you have been for me.

Secondly, I want to say thanks to my family.  Things are rocky right now, and I know where the blame for that lies.  But, I know in my heart that everything that is good in me is because of you.  Todd, you and I have been at odds many times over the years, but despite all of it you have been my brother and I thank you for that.  Vicki, your uncontained enthusiasm for life and loving spirit have been a light for me in dark places more than you will ever know.  Dad, you and mom made me who I am.  All that is right with me is because you instilled it in me, all that is wrong is my straying from the principles you gifted to me.  I can never make amends completely, but know that I love you and always have.

Finally, to my good friends.  I have been gifted with two groups of wonderful friends.  To Kelby, Meg, John, Maria, Ken, and Holly: thank you for giving me a place where I can experience acceptance that is so hard to find in this world, a safe place where I can be myself without any masquerade.  To Chris, Joanne, Dennis, Bekki, Eric, Ben, and Nicole: thanks for making me feel like I am part of something larger than myself.  Our group is a family as much as friends, we even have our dysfunctions.  But through it all, we all know we can depend on one another.

Thank you to all of you for being part of what makes my world a good place.  With such good family and friends at my side, I know that there is nothing that can come that I can overcome.

Hello, all.

I apologize for the lack of a MovieDruid post last week, but my wife and I were out-of-town enjoying the sights of New England and Canada.  But, I have returned, and just in time.  This week is one of the heavier release weeks we have seen recently. 

Before we get on to this week’s national releases, just a mention of the new “Surrogates” review which has been posted in the usual spot.  As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome.  Also, there is one release I will not be mentioning below.  Disney is releasing “A Nightmare Before Christmas” (one of my all-time favorites) in 3-D this week.  I don;t know why we suddenly are back to a 3-D craze, but if that’s your thing, check it out.

“Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”

Trailer

Synopsis: 16-year-old Darren was like most kids in his suburban neighborhood. He hung out with his best friend Steve, got decent grades and usually stayed out of trouble. But when he and his buddy stumble upon a traveling freak show, things begin to change inside Darren. That’s the exact moment when a vampire named  Larten Crepsley  turns him into something, well, bloodthirsty. Newly undead, he joins the Cirque Du Freak, a touring sideshow filled with monstrous creatures from a snakeboy and a wolfman to a bearded lady and a gigantic barker. As Darren flexes his newfound powers in this dark world, he becomes a treasured pawn between the vampires and their deadlier counterparts. And while trying to survive, one boy will struggle to keep their brewing war from devouring what’s left of his humanity.

MovieDruid’s Comments: The Cirque du Freak books have been a fairly popular series for young-adults since they first started coming out, and for pretty good reason.  The stories are just twisted enough to be entertaining without going so far as to make them inappropriate.  It looks like they have managed to capture this in the film version of the first of the books.  Overall, the production values look spectacular.  They have put together a talented cast that includes Salma Hayek (“Desperado” & “Fools Rush In”) and Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai” & “Memoirs of a Geisha”).  My concern, and it is a minor one is John C. Reilly (“Chicago” & “The Aviator”) as the vampire.  Reilly is a very talented actor, but somehow I can’t seem to get my head around him in this role.

 “Amelia”

Trailer

Synopsis: An extraordinary life of adventure, celebrity and continuing mystery comes to light in “Amelia,” a vast, thrilling account of legendary aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. After becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, Amelia was thrust into a new role as America’s sweetheart — the legendary “goddess of light,” known for her bold, larger-than-life charisma. Yet, even with her global fame solidified, her belief in flirting with danger and standing up as her own, outspoken woman never changed. She was an inspiration to people everywhere, from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the men closest to her heart: her husband, promoter and publishing magnate George P. Putnam, and her long time friend and lover, pilot Gene Vidal. In the summer of 1937, Amelia set off on her most daunting mission yet: a solo flight around the world that she and George both anxiously foresaw as destined, whatever the outcome, to become one of the most talked-about journeys in history.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Mira Nair (“Mississippi Masala” & “Tha Namesake”) was an intriguing selection to direct this biopic.  She has, in the films I have had a chance to see, had a gift for painting with a dramatic brush and tell a sentimental story without it slipping into the realm of cheap sentimentality that is far too prevalent in films of this sort.  Add to that a wonderful cast that includes Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby” & “The Gift”), Richard Gere (“Primal Fear” & “Pretty Woman”), and Ewan McGregor (“Angels & Demons” & “Trainspotting”).  Hopefully this film will give us as unvarnished a look at Amelia Earhart as “The Aviator” gave us on Howard Hughes.

 “Astro Boy”

Trailer

Synopsis: 

Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist named Dr. Tenma. Powered by positive “blue” energy, Astro Boy is endowed with super strength, x-ray vision, unbelievable speed and the ability to fly. Embarking on a journey in search of acceptance, Astro Boy encounters many other colorful characters along the way. Through his adventures, he learns the joys and emotions of being human, and gains the strength to embrace his destiny. Ultimately learning his friends and family are in danger, Astro Boy marshals his awesome super powers and returns to Metro City in a valiant effort to save everything he cares about and to understand what it means to be a hero.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Anyone who has been a fan of Japan’s animation has heard of “Astro Boy.”  The character has been around for what seems like forever, and has always been a nice change of pace from the hardcore stuff that makes up the bulk of the anime scene.  How well will the “Astro Boy” brand live up to its history with new filmmakers, new American voice talent, and a fresh coat of CGI paint?  From the look of things it seems to be pretty solid, but whether the spirit of the original is still present remains to be seen.

 “Saw VI” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: Special Agent Strahm is dead, and Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw’s legacy. However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw’s grand scheme is finally understood.

 MovieDruid’s Comments: OK, I admit it.  The “Saw” franchise is my yearly guilty pleasure.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for sheer visceral thrills around Halloween little really does the trick like Jigsaw’s latest endeavors.  Now, before you start flaming the comments with browbeating for picking something like a “Saw” movie as pick of the week on a week like this, take a deep breath.  I don’t think you could go wrong with any of this week’s releases.  But, everyone, no matter what they say, has a movie franchise or TV show that they barely want to admit they are a fan of.  We all need our guilty pleasures.

As I’ve mentioned before on the Jungle Gym, I am an avid reader.  I consume books of nearly every type, fiction or non-fiction.  Books have been lifelong friends and companions to me all the way back to my childhood.  I’ve also mentioned my proud membership in the Nation of Geeks.  We are a proud people, and not to be trifled with.  My membership here even extends to joining my friends in fairly regular sessions of tabletop roleplaying.  If you’ve never experienced it, don’t knock it.

What these two activities has led me to become is an amateur writer with dreams of publication someday.  And, one thing I have learned with my forays into writing, whether with my early attempts in my youth or my more serious attempts at the craft that I am currently molding, is that no matter what your subject matter or setting is, you are building a world with your prose.

creation

Now, others may argue this point.  They will claim that writers who write in real world settings and the like are not actually world building, but I disagree.  The second you take a turn down a fictional path, whether it be creative license or the crafting of a fictional story in a non-fictional setting, you change the rules from reality.  Now the world you are writing about is different, the actions of its inhabitants will be different.  They may end up in a “historically accurate place,” but you have created a world different from our own by its very nature.

The interesting thing about this, is that if one takes it seriously the craft of sculpting a world, no matter how similar or dissimilar to our own, becomes an intriguing act of creation.  You begin to consider the smallest of consequences to every action, and the “butterfly effect” of chaos theory begins to roll in waves through the place you have crafted.

Yes, the place is fictional, but somehow that makes it even more interesting.  The world begins to take on a certain life of its own as it swirls in your imagination.  But, the really fascinating part is when that world is shared with someone else.  Watching their reactions, listening to their interpretations, feeding on their imaginative energies the writer can take the comments and observations of another and see his world through another lens.  A new look at a place whose every nuance was crafted by your mind allows for the final refinement of the place.

The experience is truly a wondrous one.  It allows us to connect on a level that people rarely seek out connection, imagination.  It is too bad so many people leave their imaginations behind as they grow out of childhood, for it is one of the many fibers that defines the human experience.

I hope my readers, no matter how many or few, latch onto those flights of fancy and soar through the skies of foreign worlds built by the imaginations of other souls who never lost that spark of humanity.

Read. Write. Create. Live. Nothing is more precious than our ability to look out through the window  of our mind’s eye and see things that stir our imaginative forces.  For it is with these imaginative forces that we will truly find the answers to the questions of our hearts and minds.

For anyone who has ever been to EPCOT Center in Florida, I say this.  I want to be like Figment!

Last night I stopped at my local Giant for some groceries on the way home from work, and I was a bit disheartened by what I saw as I walked in. Right there at the front of the store, in the place normally reserved for weekly featured items or the like, was a fantastic array of Christmas wrapping accessories. The size and variety of the display, with all its festive colors and images, was truly amazing.

Now, I understand that the retailers need to squeeze every penny they can out of the holiday season, especially in this economy, but come on. I am tired of just glossing over two holidays and skipping directly to Christmas.

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. It gives us all a chance to drop all of our normally well positioned social armor and become someone, or something, else for a night or two. The stress of today’s world will drive you crazy, and, thus, every opportunity we can find to cut loose and feel free, even if only for one evening, can be incredibly therapeutic. So, don’t skip Halloween, embrace its spirit even if it’s just renting your favorite scary movie and snuggling on the couch with popcorn. For one night remember what its like to have fear be that adrenaline that dashes up and down your spine not the pit in your stomach when you hear rumors of layoffs.

Glossing over Halloween is bad, but at least it gets some buildup before Christmas kicks in. Thanksgiving seems to get entirely swept under the rug. And this, my friends, is a sin. Thanksgiving isn’t all about the food, football, and family dysfunction. It’s about taking time to reflect. It’s about realizing that, no matter how bad it seems, we all have something to be thankful for.  I know that I, personally am have a lot to reflect on this year.  I have a loving wife, great friends, and a rekindled relationship with my family.  And that’s just a start.

 

I guess my point is, we need to be careful as a society not to let the flash and gitter of the retail Christmas machine to overwhelm us as we move into this time of year.  Christmas is wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  But, this year I think perhaps the therapy of Halloween and the reflection of Thanksgiving mean just a little bit more. 

So, Happy Holidays, everyone.  All of them in equal measure.

Hello, again, everyone!

I apologize for the lack of posts last week.  My wife and I were on vacation, and I don’t like to announce times I am going to be out-of-town over the internet.  I know, I sound paranoid as hell, but you can’t be too careful these days.

We took a cruise up into New England and Canada.  This time of year the region is actually very beautiful, although the colors weren’t as brilliant as we hoped.  The trip was, overall, a good one.  We got to see some different places and experience some new things.  If nothing else, it was nice just to get away from everything and be able to just be us for a while.

 

However, I did discover something rather disturbing during our cruise.  The northeastern United States and eastern Canada were absolute fire zones from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century.  It was incredible!  Every port we stopped in had a tale of fiery devastation in its past.  It was moderately disturbing, especially considering the fact that many of these ports were playgrounds for the rich and famous in their heydays!

Don’t believe me?  Think I’m exaggerating?  Then check this out:

Now, by my count that is four of five ports (the only exception being Newport, RI) that had major fires between 1872 and 1947.  That, in and of itself, would be impressive.  But, the fact that a five port cruise itinerary hit all four seems like some kind of disturbing confluence of fate.  You have to wonder if there is some sort of meaning there.

(In a bizarre twist of irony, we encountered some people from a Carnival cruise in Halifax.  They told us that their ship had no heat.  Not that it was broken or not working, it was not one of the amenities of this particular vessel.  Who sends a ship with no heat into New England and Canada in October? I bet they closed their eyes and smiled from the imagined warmth when they heard about those fires.)

The cruise did teach me one thing, though.  My business plan is all wrong.  I need to invent time travel and take fire prevention, protection, and fighting gear back to those days. 

I could make a killing!

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