Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all Grouches and Grouchettes around the country. I hope all are with family or friends today and all cares and worries can be laid aside for a few hours at least.

Next week the Grouch journeys to Fayetteville NC to visit older daughter and little ladybug the sweetest granddaughter in the world. Can't wait!

Today the sun is shining, the temperature is in the 50s, we walked 6 miles with the pooches, and the turkey is cooking nicely. Three of the four offspring are gathered for dinner and all is ok in the world, at least for the next 24 hours.

Enjoy your thanksgiving dinner!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Where's the Grouch?

Just like Waldo, the Grouch and the missus show up just about everywhere. Here we are ogling the svelt lines of a Ferret armored scout car circa 1965 complete with the Browning 1919A4 in the turret. You never know where we'll pop up!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Living History

Young son and I went to a small store front synagogue this week to listen to a talk by Philip Bialowitz, a survivor of the Nazi extermination camp called Sobibor located in Poland. Mr. Bialowitz was a teenager when he and his family were sent to Sobibor. Only he and his older brother survived the initial culling of the transportees. His brother told the Nazis that he was a pharmacist and his brother Philip was his assistant. His Mother had been killed earlier by the Germans. His Father, sisters, and niece died that same day in the camp. 100 of his family perished in the war at the hands of the Germans.

Sobibor was a factory designed to kill humans efficiently and quickly before those to die realized what was their fate. The SS appeared so reasonable and apologetic for the situation that the Jews found themselves in that the victims applauded the welcoming speech that the SS officer gave each group of victims. Mr. Bialwitz stated that within an hour or two of arrival each group was dead and only those who had a skill that benefited the staff that ran the camp were allowed to live for awhile. At any one time up to 650 prisoners staffed the camp, living on borrowed time. Although the prisoners wanted to rise up, kill the guards and escape they felt that they were too weak and sick to do so. The situation changed when Soviet POWs arrived in 1943. These prisoners were Jewish and thus sent to the camp to die. A Red Army Lieutenant organized the uprising and the prisoners overpowered and killed many of the guards and escaped. About 600 escaped but only 42 survived the war including Philip and his brother.

Philip came to the U.S. and his brother went to Israel where he lives today at 99.

The talk was matter of fact and direct. He did not sugar-coat anything. The incredible barbarity of the Germans to the Jews is unimaginable to us, something that we cannot fathom. Young son was there as part of his A.P. history class as were many of his classmates. Hopefully the talk had a positive impact on the young in the audience. It was an honor to be in the presence of someone who has experienced so much in his long life.

He wrote a book about his experience which is available on

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"All Clear" Connie Willis

I mentioned earlier that I had the latest Connie Willis book. At first I was disappointed, it seemed the first third of the book was simply the characters rushing back and forth looking for others so they could return to the future (it is a time travel book after all). But then it got going and I could not put the book down. I had to read the last two pages three times to make sure I understood what happened. In fact I may still not understand what happened! But what a great book. It made this old grouch a bit teary-eyed but then I find that happening more these days. I must be getting soft.

If you are a Connie Willis fan, get the book, stick with it, and tell me what you think happened on the last two pages and who Colin is!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Movie: Skyline....Do not waste your money!

So, young son and I went to see the alien invaders beat up L.A. movie today. We were hoping for a good aliens with their foot on humanity's throat until the hero finds their one weakness movie. What we got was a two hour flick that moved in fits and starts and had the worst, the absolute worst ending I have seen in a movie forever. I wanted action, and I got action for about half of the movie. The rest was a cast of beautiful young people who emoted and anguished about themselves...blah. There was nothing good about the movie. Ok there was one good thing about the movie, the special effects were good. Ok, there was one more good thing about the movie, the military could actually do damage to some of the alien creatures and machines. But other than that it was a waste of time. Even the popcorn at the theater was stale, burned and so hard I almost broke a tooth eating it. Young son agreed with me.

El stinkeroo.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

A salute to all in the extended Grouch family on both sides on Veteran's day 2010:

Great Uncle Thomas 74th PA. Volunteer Infantry Gettysburg 1863

Great Uncle Paul Army, WW1

Grandfather Edward Army, WW1

Uncle Jacob Howard Army, WW1

Father Edward Army Air Force, WW2

Father in law Regis ANG, Desert Storm

Brother Edward Air Force, Vietnam era

Brother in law Regis, Army Cold War

Brother in law Christopher, ANG

Brother in law Bill, Air Force, ANG, Vietnam +

Brother in law Steve, Air Force

Sister in law Anne, ANG

Sister in law Kathleen, ANG/AF Reserve

Sister in law Elizabeth, Air Force

Sister in law Monica, ANG, serving

Sister in law Helen, ANG, Desert Storm

Daughter Marla, ANG, serving

Son Kurt, ARNG, serving, Noble Eagle, Operation Iraq Freedom

Nephew Michael, Army, serving, OEF
Thank you all past and present for your sacrifices and thanks to God that all have come home safe and alive despite many opportunties for tragedy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"The Passage"

So, the missus read this book over the summer "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. She told me a bit about it and it seemed silly and implausible. She told me I should read it but I declined. Just recently she brought it home from the library and implored me to read it. "We need to discuss it!" she told me. So, I reluctantly started to read it. The first chapter....meh...the second chapter, hmm, interesting....the third chapter, whoa! I could not put this book down. What a tale! During the whole book I kept telling the missus, "this book better not have a dumb ending." Well, it didn't, but only because it is part of a trilogy, and the next book isn't due for two years! Give me a break!!

I will be thinking about this book for a long time. The book is ultimately an epic quest and the vision and sweep of the book is amazing. This one gets a Grouch thumbs up and an A+!

p.s. DO NOT read the forum at the book website unless you want the whole book spoiled for you. Many of the posts reveal the ending.

p.p.s. Read the book! The missus was in tears at the end and even this grouch was a bit misty-eyed.

The Blind Side

We watched "The Blind Side" last night. A good movie and gets a Citizen Grouch thumbs up. Sandra Bullock was appealing as always in it and I loved her attitude in the movie. She reminded me just a bit of someone I know.

Rent this one without hesitation.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween 2010

The Grouch household hosted two interesting personalities at Halloween this year:

(click on the pictures for a larger view)

Carl Fredrickson from the hit movie "Up"

Queen Elizabeth I taking time from directing the destruction of the Spanish armada:

Costumes provided by a teenage friend of young son who is managing her mother's theatrical costume business. I particularly enjoyed having her majesty in residence at Grouch estates.