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Comments Off on Our Town – October 22, 2020

Our Town – October 22, 2020

| Movies/TV, Our Town, Water | October 22, 2020

A friend raises the Soupster’s consciousness about “the worst thing”.

“Hi, Soupster,” called a voice from behind the mask.

The Soupster squinted in concentration, struggling to recognize the pleasantly crinkled eyes above the mask. He almost had it… wait, wait…

“Anastasia Anarchy! It’s you!” he finally said triumphantly. “So good to run into you, Stace,” he continued, striving to use his best, Ethel-Merman-projecting abdominal voice, and to enunciate carefully from behind his mask. The last time he’d spoken with Anastasia, she’d shown some signs of a hearing deficit.

“Yes, wonderful serendipity, chancing upon each other in front of this grocery store pop-up cello concert. Though maybe not total chance, eh, Soupster. There are patterns everywhere.”

“Is that your truck over there, Stace? Let’s go chat a bit over the hood while we listen to the music.” They got to the truck and the Soupster glanced down through the open window at the passenger seat.

“What’s that, Stace,” he said. “It looks like a DVD of Wagon Train???”

“Yeah, that it is, Soupster. I used to watch that on T.V. all the time when I was a kid. I was,” she said with twinkling eyes, “especially enamored of the scout, Flint McCullough.”

“Oh, I remember him,” said the Soupster. “Wasn’t he played by a guy named Robert something?”

“Yup. Robert Horton. That’s him. One time, when I was about eight, I even had a dream about him,” said Anastasia. “He was out doing his advance scouting thing and he was fording a river. He was walking through the water towards me, and I walked in to meet him…But maybe I’d better leave it there.”

“I get it, Stace. Sometimes you don’t know what something means until years later.”

“I was fascinated by cowboy movies, Soupster. Sometimes I wanted to be a cowboy and have those special skills – you know, like swinging a lariat and yodeling. Not much to do with guns except maybe twirling them round your finger. Later on, in high school, I learned some basic bow-and-arrow skills, like not hyper-extending my bow arm and receiving a terrible burn.”

“All that cowboys and Indians stuff, Soupster – it was really a thoughtless world I grew up in.”

The Soupster looked steadily at Anastasia and said nothing.

“One time, years ago, when I was working as a young lab tech at the hospital, one day I went in to draw some blood in one of those four-person rooms. I’m pretty sure it was a Saturday afternoon. This must have been, like, back in ’82.

“There were these three older guys sitting around watching T.V. I was getting my tourniquet and stuff ready and I saw they were watching a western. They seemed really quite absorbed in it. A couple of them were older Tlingit guys. They were just, patiently, sitting there and watching the show, and I asked them, ‘Does it ever bother you? Watching westerns like that?’

“And one of the old guys said, ‘Well, some of them are pretty bad, but at least we’re up there on the screen. We’re not invisible. That’s the worst thing, you know. Being invisible.’”

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Comments Off on Our Town – July 14, 2016

Our Town – July 14, 2016

| Crazy Theories, Movies/TV, Our Town | July 14, 2016

The Soupster speaks of movie stars among us.

“Kudos to our local movie theater!” a smiling Soupster thought as he emerged from the out-the-road cinema. He stepped out of the dimly lit lobby and squinted at a near-Midnight Sun. It was a beautiful Our Town summer day — at 10 o’clock at night.

The Soupster had just seen the very latest in end-of-the-world-blockbusters. Bringing top movie hits to Our Town at the same time they were being promoted in the South 48 was an accomplishment for which theater management should be thanked, he thought.

Back in the day, only a limited number of expensive film prints were made. The big and heavy reels of actual celluloid film made a slow round of theaters all over the country, starting with the huge population centers and working downward toward smaller towns – say one with 9,000 souls perched on a rock.

Those big and heavy films didn’t make it as far as Our Town until weeks — sometimes months – after all the promotions for that film had ended. It seemed then like the theater got the film right before it was due to be released on DVD (VHS tapes in those days). Now, practically as soon as a new movie is announced, the film is being shown in Our Town.

That’s because movies today are most often distributed over the Internet, just like other information. They can also be shipped in preloaded onto a storage device. Theaters then download the film for exhibition via a digital projector.

“Hey, Soupster!” called Lucy Coral, a well-known local cinephile.  “How did you like ‘DinosaurNado: Apocalypse”?

“A whole lot of drooling and big, sharp teeth,” the Soupster said. “But I liked the film.”

“I think that Liam Helmsworth is hot,” Lucy said, referring to the film’s lead actor. “Wouldn’t mind if he would show up on a cruise ship and I could follow him down Lincoln St.”

“Did you ever notice that Don Freed, the pharmacist, looks like a lot like a 45-year-old Helmsworth?” asked the Soupster.

“Noticed?” said Lucy. “Let’s just say when ever my doctor prescribes medicine for me, I perform my happy dance.”

“Is Don Freed the Liam Helmsworth of Our Town?” the Soupster asked.

“I prefer to think of Liam Helmsworth as the Don Freed of the rest of the world,” Lucy said. “We have the original.”

“So when I say that Grace Greenwald is the Scarlett Johansson of Our Town, I should be saying that Ms. Johannson is the Grace Greenwald of the rest of the world.”

“That’s it,” said Lucy. “You got it.”

“For a long time I have surmised,” the Soupster surmised, “that what we have in Our Town is 9,000 originals that are replicated all over the world. Whereas we have just one of each of the 9,000 types of people. Your Helmsworth-Johansson theory dovetails perfectly.”

“You have quite a lot of theories,” said Lucy.

The Soupster tapped his forehead. “I have a mind like a steel trap,” he said.

“True, Soupster,” said Lucy. “An old and very rusty steel trap — but a steel trap nonetheless.”

 

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 13, 2014

Our Town – February 13, 2014

| Movies/TV, Our Town | February 13, 2014

The Soupster can’t escape Sitka in the movies.

“Whaddaya wanna watch?” Dorothy O’Dean asked the Soupster.

“Something fantastic, Dottie” said the Soupster, settling into the second-most-comfortable chair in Dorothy’s living room, which was still pretty darn comfortable. Dorothy handed him a bowl of popcorn.

“Something that really carries me away,” said the Soupster, cramming his mouth full. The week had been a frustrating one. “Something that makes me forget reality.”

“I got just the thing!” Dorothy said, pulling a recently-rented DVD of “Pacific Rim” off her coffee table. “How’s about skyscraper-sized sea monsters threatening America? Earth’s only hope an elite cadre of aces piloting equally gigantic robot-warriors?”

“Okay, okay” said the Soupster. “Let’s give it a try, Dottie.”

They settled in to watch the film, passing the popcorn bowl back and forth.

In the film, Raleigh Beckett — a robot pilot and our hero — is working construction on the “Wall of Life,” a towering barrier meant to repel the skyscraper-sized monsters. The grizzled commander of the gigantic robot pilots tracks Raleigh to the Wall of Life which is being built … wait… in Sitka, Alaska.

“Our Town!” sputtered the Soupster, gesticulating at the screen. “I don’t want to be reminded of anything having to do with Our Town. Please take it off!”

“Okay,” Dorothy said, ejecting the disk. “Oooh. oooh, ooh! Got just the thing!”

“What?” asked the Soupster.

“It’s perfect,” said Dorothy, walking over to her shelf of DVDs. “It’s a classic French adventure story.” She flashed a CD in the air. “Aha, Soupster! Jules Verne’s `Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

“Pat Boone and James Mason, Dottie? Didn’t they go into a volcano in Iceland?”

“And Arlene Dahl,” said Dottie. “But this is a newer version of `Journey.’ Stars Ricky Schroeder. I’ve been wanting to watch it.”

In the film, an all-grown-up Schroeder portrays an American adventurer enlisted by a wealthy woman to find her husband, who had disappeared on a journey to the center of the earth via an old Russian mine in Alaska.

But before the Soupster could say “Alaska” Schroeder and his crew rolled into a late 19th Century Sitka – complete with a replica of St. Michael’s Cathedral.

“No, no!” wailed the Soupster.

“Well, I can see you’re in no mood to hear my idea for the movie that I wanna make,” said Dottie. “About millions of communist fish pouring into Our Town all at once?”

The Soupster said, “Don’t tell me you’re going to call it…”

“`Red Herring!’” Dottie said.

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Comments Off on Our Town – April 7, 2011

Our Town – April 7, 2011

| Animals, Cats, Downtown, Fish, Movies/TV, Our Town | April 7, 2011

Decorative tattoos for animals? the Soupster pondered as he walked on the Our Town downtown sidewalk. He had heard the identification tattoos that people put on their dogs and cats had blossomed into an art form. But the previous evening, he had witnessed the unseeable – a cat with the face of Celine Dion smiling up from a shaved part of its foreleg.

And then he had heard the unhearable – the news that one of Our Town’s newest tattoo shops was tattooing pet fish. Naturally, the Soupster had resolved to see one of these tattooed fish forthwith. Ergo, he was downtown early (for him) in the morning.

A goldfish with the chemical symbol AU for gold would, perhaps, be an apt tattoo, the Soupster considered as he passed a store. A printed notice taped to the window caught his eye, from the Local Illness Network Team. Another offshoot, LINT had grown out of a collaboration between Our Town’s foodies and healthies. An official ceremony would be held later in the month, declaring a certain type of fluid-filled growth that appeared on the right flank as a “Sitka cyst” – joining the esteemed ranks of Sitka rose, Sitka alder and Sitka black-tailed deer. It was no joke – it drained and hurt.

Could put a tattoo of the devil on an angelfish, the Soupster thought mischievously.  Betta are the pretty fish with those swirly, airy fins that make them look like they’re flying through the water. What could you possibly tattoo on a betta? he wondered.

Just beyond the cyst notice, the store owners had placed in their window a clever new device for Our Town motorists. “As Seen on TV,” said the lurid poster, mounted adjacent to theWindshield ProjectionTM. The device projected scenes from the most beautiful places in the world – Tahiti, Switzerland, Kilimanjaro, Patagonia – onto the windshield of your car in a way that allowed you to drive safely while enjoying the world-class view.

Our Town already had a world class view, the Soupster judged, but even the most gorgeous waterfront commute could be boring if unchanged day after day. At any rate, there was way more of a chance of his buying a Windshield ProjectorTM than of having the face of a Canadian diva – any Canadian diva – tattooed on the shaved forearm of his cat.

Across the street, the cinema bi-plex offered up two films. “The Sea Lion King,” which the Soupster had not seen, and “Give ‘Em Hell, Herring,” which he had. In smaller letters, for movies showing at the out-the-road bi-plex, the sign advertised “Shallow Halibut” and “Rocky.” Do two bi-plexes equal one multi-plex?

Ooohhh, those little seahorses could sport wonderful tattoos, the Soupster thought, as he continued down the street. A saddle, for instance. Or a tiny jockey. Maybe they should tattoo seahorses on the sides of regular horses?

He ignored the light rain that had started. The Soupster had money in his pocket and no appointments till afternoon. He considered the coves and forest surrounding Our Town as paradise, but with money and time in his pocket, even downtown – even in the rain – seemed like paradise to him.

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Comments Off on Our Town – July 16, 2009

Our Town – July 16, 2009

| Crazy Theories, Movies/TV, Our Town | July 16, 2009

The Soupster dialed XYX-QYZQ and waited for his friend Chuck to pick up the phone.

“Hello,” said a female voice.

“Marcie?” said the Soupster, recognizing her voice.

“Soupster?” said Marcie.

“Ooops, wrong number. I was calling Chuck about his kayak,” the Soupster said. “So, what are you doing?”

“Well, I’m very glad to be back from a trip to the Real World,” said Marcie. “I had the weird experience of seeing a Sandra Bullock movie that was supposed to be happening in Our Town.”

The Proposal?” asked the Soupster.

“I’m sitting in the audience in some gigantaplex theater that my grandmother, of all people, dragged me to,” continued Marcie, “and there’s Sandra Bullock in Our Town all recreated in Massachusetts. They had some aerial shots from here, at least. Granny was thrilled and told everybody she could that her granddaughter was actually from that town.”

“What is it about Our Town that so fires up people’s imaginations?” The Soupster asked his friend before hanging up and dialing XYX-QZYQ,”

“Hello?” a male voice answered – but not Chuck’s.

“Gene?” said the Soupster, again recognizing the answeree. “I’m supposed to be calling Chuck. I can’t believe I dialed the wrong number twice.”

“No problemo, amigo.” Gene said. “I’m just here flicking my newest DVD. Who’d you call the first time?”

“Marcie,” said the Soupster. “Who was just telling me she saw Our Town depicted in a movie when she was Down South.”

“Bingo, Bubba,” Gene said. “I’m here watching this Gregory Peck movie from the Fifties that just so happens to share a locale with The Proposal.

“The World in His Arms,” he continued. “Monsieur Peckorino is a San Francisco sea captain who pursues a Russian Princess to the fair shores of Our Town, including a downtown chase on horseback – except there are trees all over – and a daring rescue from a forced marriage in St. Michael’s – except it’s the size of the Tacoma Dome.”

“What is it about Our Town,” said the Soupster, “that so fires up people’s imagination?”

“Gotta go,” said Gene, “Ann Blyth is about to marry an evil count at the enormous St. Michael’s!”

When the Soupster finally got Chuck on the line and told him about the wrong numbers, his friend was sympathetic.

“Easy mistake to make,” Chuck said. “My number is XYX-ZQYQ”

“So what is it about Our Town that so fires up people’s imaginations?” the Soupster asked Chuck.

“Dunno,” his friend said, “I’m too worried about all the pedestrians who may get stuck in the center island of the new Roundabout. It’s okay now, but what about winter, or October? Now, what I think they should do is take out all that landscaping and put in a survival shelter which is equipped with wireless and a satellite phone link and …”

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Would you like to create an Our Town?

The Sitka Soup would welcome an infusion of “new blood.” You may tell your story in words (450-500 of them), or as a graphic “cartoon” strip. We would even consider a short original photo essay with B&W photos. Your Our Town must be closely connected with the life of Sitkans, and the Soupster must make an appearance, even if it’s a brief one.

If we run your Our Town, we’ll pay you $50. To submit: Email your creation to shop@sitkasoup.com and put “Our Town” in the Subject line. Or call: 747-7595.

What is Our Town?

Our Town is a bi-weekly column that tracks the life of the Soupster and his friends and neighbors.

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

The first Our Town was published December 22, 1999.

Read Our Towns published before February 2009 HERE.

Who is the Soupster?

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

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