Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Liebster’d Never Gets Old


A week and day ago Aurora, of the fine Once upon a screen… site, bestowed on moi my third installment of the Liebster Award. My first and second instances arrived last summer — I reference these so I don’t repeat myself. Truth be told, receiving any award, recognition, or readership just never gets old. I am truly grateful (an attribute my mother hammered into me long ago). Thank you, Aurora, and all who are inclined to stop by this Ye Old Site.

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to.
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
  5. Go to their page and tell them.
  6. No tag backs.

And here we go:

11 About Me

  1. I once had the same hair as my son: lots of wavy, sable brown locks. As I told my colleague Vickie, “No one mentioned it got ‘transferred’ when the first child arrived ;-).”
  2. Before we ever met, my wife-to-be and I ended up at a number of the same venues and exact times (dating separate people, of course) during the 80s.
  3. Like my wife, I’m a native Angeleno (both of our parents migrated to Los Angeles years before).
  4. My most-liked after-school snack during my junior high days was a Snickers bar and an RC Cola (cost me 35¢ for that combo).
  5. My favorite season is the autumn — but when I was a kid, it was obviously summer.
  6. Growing up in my first-generation grandmother’s home, we ate Mexican food almost everyday except for important Sunday dinners, when American fried chicken held sway.
  7. Years later, meeting my future in-laws, I discovered my wife’s family ate mostly southern food, but reserved Mexican food for their special Sunday get-togethers.
  8. At one time I was an ardent amateur photographer, like my future wife — she had a Nikon, a Canon was in my bag (so opposites do attract).
  9. I was once on-scene at the filming to one of Die Hard‘s big action sequences (a TMT to come).
  10. I have a history of sitting in dark, semi-desolate theaters watching films that failed to find audiences during their initial release; many later became well-regarded and/or cult movies (Blade Runner, Sorcerer, The Long Kiss Goodnight, etc.)
  11. A job I held decades ago still has impact on my movie viewing, even though it lasted only a year and a half: movie projectionist at the Huntington Park Warner Theatre, 1976-77.

My Answers to Aurora’s Questions

  • Why do you blog?

What I really get out of doing this blog (hopefully) is a chance to put some of me out there in the ether for the benefit of my children. It’s an archive of sort. My role as father in the family makes it difficult for them to gather much beyond that. Naturally, after they discover that their old man really didn’t have anything deep to say about life and the popular arts, they can move on to puzzle out why mom married this guy.


  • What was your “best” filmgoing experience?

My second movie date with my future bride. Falling in love with her while we both watched a Norman Jewison romantic comedy, as I detailed here.

Loretta & Ronnie

  • What classic film would you absolutely love to watch on the big screen and why?

That would be Casablanca. My all-time favorite film. Being in a packed theater, with other devotees of the same, is simply a magical happening. Something both mundane, because it occurs so often in movie halls across the globe at any hour of the day, but singular in way that remains so distinctive for this art form. Friends, family, and strangers getting together to wrap themselves in the warm glow of the cinema. And I just described the exact same experience when I took my entire brood to see that film on its 70th anniversary a year ago this month.

Casablanca 8

  • You’re having a dinner party and your list of guests include five classic film personalities/stars/directors – who’s on your list?
  1. Cary Grant
  2. Audrey Hepburn
  3. Barbara Stanwyck
  4. Humphrey Bogart
  5. and this lady, Marlene Dietrich (cause Bette Davis was insistent she’d smoke in the house):


  • What is your ideal day off?

Getting up early (I have a hard time sleeping passed sunrise these days), teeing up a favorite film of mine on Blu-ray to start off. Meeting friends or family for lunch at a favorite restaurant. Then, one and all heading to any of grand old movie palaces of my hometown (Grauman’s Chinese, Cinerama Dome, or Mann’s Village) to catch a film I’ve never seen before and let the allure of the motion picture have its way with me once more.


  • You can have a half-hour conversation with any fictional character. Who do you choose? Why?

Sitting down with George Bailey and having him relate his triumphs and travails in person. It’s why I wrote this a couple of years back.

It's a Wonderful Life

  • Your favorite movie monster is?

Without a doubt, it’s the stuff of penile nightmares, H.R. Giger’s Alien:


  • If you could choose to live in a house/apartment featured in a film or television show, which would it be?

The Petrie household of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Come on, Dick, Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner and company. What’s not to love?

Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner and cast

  • Name one thing you would have on your bucket list.

To play a round on the old course, St. Andrews Scotland.


I Dream of Jeannie, primarily because she didn’t come with a witch for a mother, and, have you seen Barbara Eden in that outfit?


  • Favorite film decade and why?

Easily, it’s the 70s. A particular span of time that proved to be one of the most tumultuous for many in the latter half of the 20th century. A decade filled with economic downturns, disillusionment, and the realization that things really could get a Hell of a lot worst. And did. The timing for film couldn’t have been better, though. For all of its crises and missteps, corruption and loss of idealism, the Me Decade heralded some of the absolute best cinema this country had to offer for the period. The uncertainty and controversy, which followed the waning years of the Vietnam War, aroused an atmosphere that prompted filmmakers to reflect so distinctly upon the eyes of movie audiences. Prompted seemingly from watershed moments, crossroads, and/or deflated dreams, nothing could hold the tide back. It shouldn’t surprise that the era’s off-beat and imaginative comedies, challenging dramatic themes, and stellar crime films of the period have rarely been surpassed.

Young Frankenstein

Here then are my 11 questions…

(Feel free to be as brief or expansive as you wish in your answers.)

  1. What is your favorite song or piece of music you put on to pull you out of a funk?
  2. Favorite book you read (or listened to) in 2012?
  3. Frank Capra’s James Stewart or Anthony Mann’s?
  4. Your favorite British film is?
  5. What is your preferred Paddy Chayefsky screenplay (for television or motion pictures)?
  6. What was the best-loved book you read in high school?
  7. The best movie you saw as a high school senior?
  8. Your most-liked song before graduating high school?
  9. Evelyn Mulray or Diana Christensen?
  10. Your favorite film that you don’t ever want to see again?
  11. The one song that will instantly cause you to change the cable channel, radio station, whatever, when it comes on is?

… for my Liebster Nominees

(If you can, great; if you cannot, no worries.)

p.s., I’d also invite my periodic guest contributor Kevin (aka Jack Deth) to participate, as well. He doesn’t have a blog (that I know of), but would really enjoy reading his answers.

22 Responses to “Liebster’d Never Gets Old”

  1. ruth

    Congrats once again, always fun to read your answers Michael.

    That’s so cool about you and your wife, must be fate then. My hubby and I actually grew up about 10 min from each other too, went to the same Jr High and knew mutual friends, yet we only met formally thousands of miles away in Minnesota, ahah.

    You’re in a Die Hard movie?? How cool is that! Looking fwd to your TMT on that one.

    Oh and I’d LOVE to be a fly in the wall at your dinner party 😀


    • le0pard13

      As usual, you are very kind to me, Ruth. I appreciate it.

      Wow, 10 minutes apart, had mutual friends, and went to the same school in Indonesian? But you met here in the U.S.? That is fate, Ruth.

      Yeah, I’ve just got to tie that TMT to another film I’ve yet to pin down. That’s why that memory has been kept in limbo. I’m going to nail it soon. I just need to watch Die Hard once more ;-).

      Thanks so much, Ruth.


  2. jackdeth72

    Hi, Michael and company:

    Intriguing questions demand forthright answers:

    1/: ‘The William Tell Overture’. Horns (Brass) never get enough appreciation.

    2/: ‘Republican Party Reptile’ by P.J. O’Rourke. Flat out, funny, funny stuff from a ‘National Lampoon’ alum.

    3/: Funny Jimmy Stewart is good. Angry, ready to lose like no one else can Stewart under Anthony Mann is so much better!

    4/: I’d have to go with ‘The Long Good Friday’. A great crime, gangster film that introduced two of my favorite actors. Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren.

    5/: Wow! The way tie with ‘Network’, ‘The Hospital’ and ‘Altered States’. With ‘Network’ winning by a nose.

    6/: ‘No Bugles, No drums’ by Charles Durden. A draftee’s tale of Vietnam told with very wry humor.

    7/: ‘The Godfather’. My high school civics class saw it as part of a field trip.

    8/: The Band’s ‘The Weight’. A song very much of its time (Late 1960s/early 1970s) that can have and deliver any connotation the listener may wish.

    9/: Evelyn Mulray. A seriously messed up, yet sensuous woman. Brought to life by Faye Dunaway.

    10/: David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’. A superbly creepy, other worldly exposition in B&W. That should be seen once. Strange dreams and nightmares, optional.

    11/: ‘Back on the Chain Gang’ or any song by Chrissie Hynde. Who fancies herself another Annie Lennox. Doesn’t have the pipes. And is nowhere close.


    • le0pard13

      I knew you’d come up with some stellar answers, Kevin. Very well done. I can’t say I’ve heard of Chrissie Hynde — I miss so much these days ;-). Oh, and great answer with ‘The Long Good Friday’. Love that film. Hoskins was ferocious in it, and Mirren… well, she’s Mirren. And that’s simply great. Many thanks for participating, my friend.


      • jackdeth72

        Hi, Michael:

        I couldn’t turn down such a gracious invitation.

        Those are some great answers, my friend.

        Neat catch on Creighton’s ‘The Andromeda Strain’. Superb book and a still a decent film.

        Can’t find fault with ‘Requiem for a Dream’. Another one and done flick.

        Harry Chapin is neuroses personified. Chrissie Hynde may have slipped your radar, since she was also part of The Pretenders.


  3. le0pard13

    Living by the suggestion made to other Liebster Award recipients, here are my answers to the Liebster questions I put forward:

    one – “What is your favorite song or piece of music you put on to pull you out of a funk?”

    A: Strangely, it’s the earliest pop song I recall instantly loving, and it’s an instrumental: Theme from A Summer Place performed by the Percy Faith Orchestra. I covered it here awhile back.

    It can still lift me out of a bad mood like nobody’s business. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve played it, if my life depended on it. Gotta be in the thousands by now 😉

    two – “Favorite book you read (or listened to) in 2012?”

    A: TAKEN by Robert Crais. A riveting thriller, featuring Crais’ well-known tandem/protagonists of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike; a pulse pounding, twisting, detective/crime tale, yet one that still was quite an emotional trip nonetheless.

    three – “Frank Capra’s James Stewart or Anthony Mann’s?”

    A: My head says, the mature James Stewart on the brink of losing it in so many Anthony Mann westerns is it, but my heart counters with the humor, idealism, and wit of Stewart in Frank Capra’s films. George Bailey breaks that tie with the unexpectedly film noirish, It’s a Wonderful Life, so it’s the former for me.

    four – “Your favorite British film is?”

    A: I’ve covered it more than once, but really I can’t change it out for films given higher ranking on the prestigious lists of British film. It’s Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night. My life changed for the better the summer of 1964 after that.

    five – “What is your preferred Paddy Chayefsky screenplay (for television or motion pictures)?”

    A. So many great ones by Mr. Chayefsky. But probably because I’ve worked in health care, it’s gotta be The Hospital for me.

    six – “What was the best-loved book you read in high school?”

    A: Not something any teacher ever assigned me in class. No, I read this in one day while home sick (as documented here): The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton.

    seven – “The best movie you saw as a high school senior?”

    A: I would say it was the same as Kevin’s answer in the above comment, The Godfather, but I saw that the day after I graduated. So it can’t count as I’ve stipulated. That leaves the film I had the most out-and-out fun with in twelfth grade, What’s Up Doc?

    eight – “Your most-like song before graduating high school is?”

    A. I go back and forth on two very different songs out before June 16, 1972 (the day of my graduation). So, I’ll list them both:

    Oh, Girl by The Chi-lites

    A lamenting, soulful ballad centering on a relationship on the verge of break-up; it has one haunting use of that most strange of musical instruments, the melodica (a reed-less flute crossed with a harmonica and a keyboard).

    Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time) by Elton John

    Inspired by a short story written by Ray Bradbury, it describes a Mars-bound astronaut’s mixed feelings at leaving his family in order to do his job. Maybe the pressure of finishing high school was driving me nuts. I don’t know.

    nine – “Evelyn Mulray or Diana Christensen?”

    A: Not a contest for me. It’s the damaged one Jake Gittes couldn’t save in Chinatown, Evelyn Mulray, performed wonderfully and tragically by Faye Dunaway in ’74.

    ten – “Your favorite film that you don’t ever want to see again?”

    A. I don’t think I can ever re-visit the theatrical cut of Darren Aronofsky’s, Requiem for a Dream. Just not possible.

    eleven – “The one song that will instantly cause you to change the cable channel, radio station, whatever, when it comes on is?”

    A: My kids can tell you what that song is. I’ve switched it off often enough on the radio while driving them in car for many years now. Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle. It’s represents all of my parental fears and nightmares set to music and lyrics. And the reason I refuse to embed here it 😉


  4. fernandorafael

    Michael, I commented the other day but I guess it wasn’t saved. Thanks a lot for this mention. I really appreciate it and you constant support.



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