The Vanishing Prairie

We went to the casino, where I quickly lost almost all my money.  Since math and statistics are a big part of my life, I had no expectation of winning and made no serious attempt to do so.  I played the slot machines that had television and movie themes, namely Wonder Woman, Jurassic Park, Gremlins, The Walking Dead, and The Flintstones.  It was early in the morning on the day after Christmas, so it seemed that the gamblers weren’t ready to rush into this place.  When we got home, I watched “The Vanishing Prairie,” the other Disney nature documentary of my youth.  I thought the footage of the buffalo calf being born was striking.  A lot of the movie is about the prairie dog, which was like a combination of a dog and a gopher out of “Caddyshack,” at least from what we saw.  I think the audience in the 1950s could relate to an animal that was like the family dog.  The ferret and buffalo were two of the animal that came into contact with the prairie dog.  One memorable sequence showed a mountain lion out to hunt a deer.  I somehow didn’t think that a Disney film of this era would also the blood from the kill.  I shuddered at the thought of those cubs eating that flesh.  Another scene a little later showed a faun hiding out and keeping perfectly still in its attempt to survive.  In some ways I preferred this movie to the movie about the desert, although it didn’t seem to have the colorful images of the earlier film.  There were some similarities with the humor and use of music.  In this one, we hear a lot of “Home on the Range.”  We also see a storm, which brings some connotations of Noah.  Both movie start with the magical paintbrush.  In “The Living Desert,” the narrator mispronounced “abdomen.”  The narrator got a bit intrusive this time, too.  It all comes down to the footage of the animals.  It was mostly pretty good.  They didn’t need to compare the animals to humans all the time, though.  I listened to Robert Hilburn’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Times radio program again, with the songs from Eddie Cochran and Pearl Jam.  I watched “Love Leads the Way: A True Story.”  It had a lot of stars in it, such as Timothy Bottoms, Eva Marie Saint, Arthur Hill, Patricia Neal, Susan Dey, Ralph Bellamy, and Ernest Borgnine.  It starts off in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1927.  A young man suffers an accident in which he’s blinded, and he has difficulty adjusting to life.  He learns about guide dogs through the Saturday Evening Post.  Susan Dey is the girlfriend who still wants to get married, although six months apart showed either her lack of maturity of lack of commitment.  Susan Dey was about 32 years old at the time, which seemed too old for such nonsense.  She did have one sad moment out on the street that brought to mind Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights.”  I’ll always remember Timothy Bottoms for “The Last Picture Show” and “The Paper Chase.”  I thought his character was a bit too angry.  I’m not sure that I would have blamed Susan for running out of patience with him.  He didn’t even treat his dog too well.  The movie had too much of a political taste to it towards the end.  I thought about some of the service animals I’ve seen in recent years, and I think there’s something to be said about not letting some of these dogs anywhere and everywhere.  There were many good things in the movie, though, and I thought it was something everyone in the family could see and draw something worthwhile from.  I kept thinking that a cat would not do these things for a human being.  The movie uses Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me” as a theme song, which I don’t think is a true fit.  I kept thinking about the guy who hit Morris in the first place.  He seemed like a real idiot.  I thought they were supposed to be only sparring in the boxing ring.  Some people are fools.  One character who disgusted me was the veterinarian, who didn’t warn Bottoms about the dog’s health problem.  He had a duty of tell the truth of the matter.  The blind man needed to make plans for the future.  In real life, Morris Frank’s mother was blind, and his own blindness resulted from two separate accidents.  The dog Buddy died on May 23, 1938.  Frank’s book, called “First Lady of the Seeing Eye,” was published in 1957.  Morris Frank died at age 72 on November 22, 1980.  I heard a lot about the death of George Michael.  I was never that much of a fan of his.  Josh Reddick probably has more familiar with “Careless Whisper” than I was.  I thought about the use of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” in the first Zoolander movie.  George Michael was only 53.  Some of the people who died on December 27 include Gustave Eiffel (1923), Hoagy Carmichael (1981), Hal Ashby (1988), George Roy Hill (2002), Alan Bates (2003), Meadowlark Lemon (2015), and Haskell Wexler (2015).  Today is a birthday for John Amos (77).

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