Sunday, March 31, 2013

All dolled up for Easter

Irene, Jennie, Brook, David and Dad
In our day we were all always expected to dress up for church on Sundays.  Easter was always different.  Extra polish and pomp was in order for this day.  The Finlayson kids were supposed to get dressed up even more.  I remember the Easter shoes I had to wear.  They were white and I'd have to dab more flat white shoe polish on them to hide the scuff marks.  The white polish would turn each shoe into a big piece of chalk.   They never stayed white for long.  The little boy that I used to be could scuff up shoes in a matter of seconds.  Those Sunday shoes sure were uncomfortable.  I realize now the theological implications of having those shoes.  It was apparently better to look good for Sunday rather than your sole to be truly at peace.

I never liked wearing dress-up shoes to church.  Our church had carpet and if you drug your feet just a little, you'd get zapped good from static electricity.  For a United Methodist Church - there was a lot of electricity in that place.  It could've easily been a Pentecostal church with all the zapping power there.   I'd never been in a church since that had that much static power.  I was always accidently zapping myself because of Sunday shoes.  The upside of it was, you could zap a pal who wasn't expecting it.  Beware though, if you start a zap war, you're going to get paid back for the prank.  Children at that age have not learned to turn the other cheek.  Zap your neighbor and thou shalt be ZAPPED!

The boys usually wore white suits for Easter.  The spring sun shinning down reflected off the lily white fabric made us look like snow white angels.  The lens that captured the moment seemed to actually make us glow a little in the sunlight.  That image carries well in a photograph, but it was nothing like real life.  In real life, I liked getting grubby and dirty.  I couldn't wait to get down on my knees in a ditch.  The egg hunt on the grounds after church would ensure that I wasn't coming home lily white.  I'd bring home grass stains on knees, elbows and pants bottom.

My sisters wore frilly white dresses, white hose, usually with a little white purse and usually donned in a little Easter bonnet.  On Easter little girls were to look like little lacy dainty Victorian dolls.  Don't let the cute fool you.  If you attempt to zap a sister at church, she'd clobber you with her little lily white Easter purse.

My sister Irene.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

RoboCop Remake?

Back in 1987 Orion Pictures released a very good sci-fi flick.  It was really a great concept.  Alex Murphy, played by Peter Weller, is a police officer that was killed in the line of duty.  A bunch of scientist decided they could rebuild him...they had the brains...they had the technology.  Murphy is brought back to life, a soul inside a destructive cyborg body.  Back in the eighties, we were all about cyborgs.

I went to watch or rent most of the the sci-fi films of the eighties and this one peaked my interest.  The first RoboCop was very enjoyable, but the two that followed got progressively worse.   The third one stunk to high heaven.  I held my nose walking away from the third one.  The writing was awful, the acting was awful.  I also didn't care for the political anti-capitalism message that kept being driven into the ground.  The message was there in the first installment, but the message kept getting hammered and hammered into the ground.  As for evil capitalism, it won out in the end. This particular anti-capitalism movie made a bundle at the box office.

RoboCop was a cyborg Dirty Harry who dealt justice to the criminals of future Detroit.  There was a glitch though, RoboCop was regaining pieces of his memory, haunted by images of moments from his past human life.  If only those producing could have laid politics aside and told a deeper/human story.  Instead, they chose to preach.  Heck, they could have made their political point better if they had simply told a better tale.  There was so much potential for this concept and they blew it time and time again. 
There was a time when I thought the basic story concept could have gone as far as The Terminator franchise.  Peter Weller portrayed a unique character, there were places to go, but those writing and directing chose not to go.

So I heard they are remaking a new RoboCop that's to be released in 2014.  It looks like a great cast, but I have my doubts if it will be any good.  I saw the new RoboCop outfit.  It looks a lot like the BATMAN suit minus the bat ears.  I think the original costume is better than the new one they've created.  The original suit stands the test of time.  It's still a futuristic design twenty three years later.  Like the suit, will the new RoboCop movie won't be able to surpass - let alone live up to the original RoboCop?  Star studded cast or not, I might just wait till it comes out on Netflix till I watch it.  I've been burned by the franchise before.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

picture of a memory

Someone posted this picture at the Welcome to Gadsden facebook page.  It's the Murphys  variety store at the old Agricola Shopping Center.  I went there a lot as a kid.  I can still walk that place in my mind.  I remember going there a good bit with mom and dad.  I guess dad went there more because he could get around it in his wheelchair.  Downtown was not so easy, but Agricola offered plenty of parking and relatively easy to get in and out.  A treat for me was always having a club sandwich at their cafeteria.  I remember dad and I eating there on many occasions.  Dad had the BLT.  Before Masons, K-Mart and Wal-Mart, Murpheys was the place to go.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

a childhood favorite

One big highlight of a Finlayson family vacation was stopping by an A&W.  We didn't have one in our neck of the woods, so it was a real treat for the Finlayson kids to get a burger and a root beer at a drive-through along the way to visit relatives in Columbia, SC or Macon, GA.  We had our choice of a Papa, Mama, Teen or Baby Burgers.  On one visit, Dad actually splurged and let us get our root beer in a glass mug.  Those mugs disappeared a long time ago, but I've found a few here and there in antique as well as second hand stores.  Having these old mugs remind me of our family trips together ~ a family of eight crammed into a single station-wagon for hours upon hours.

Unknown family enjoying A&W together.
About four years ago the one in Trussville, AL was closed.  Just prior to it's closing,  I had taken Katie there and let her try her first root beer float with a side of onion rings.  She was all about that.  The one in Jacksonville, AL closed a while back too.  I'm going to make sure the next time I come across one in my travels, to pull over and enjoy a burger and a root beer in a frosted mug.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

foto finished

They started popping up in strip mall and grocery store parking lots.  To me it seemed like the wave of the future way back when.  Pull up, drop off your film, drop back the next day to pick up your prints. 

I always felt for the people that had to work in those little kiosks.  They had to work in a cramped environment on a tight deadline.  I think the first time I saw a Fotomat was in Macon, GA while my family was visiting Uncle Pat.  The last time I saw a Fotomat kiosk was about 10 years ago while in Orlando, FL.

Fotomats were everywhere, 4000+ nationwide, but no more.  Film seems to be no more.  The world went digital overnight.  It was a different world and a different medium.