Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017, Bengies, Best 10 Of, And Others Less Fortunate

Bengies 2017 Top 10 Movies and More

This year there's as long a list of movies not watched at the Bengies than watched.  Previously (e.g. top ten movies for 2016 ) I posted ten movies in the Letterman style.  In 2017, I'm adding an addendum of those that didn't make the cut, either because I didn't watch the show on purpose, or conflicting events got in the way.  Whether the weather prevented my attendance on one of those lost weekends.


  • Boss Baby
  • Hidden Figures
  • Wonder Woman
 I didn't make the opening weekend this year, though by May there were several features of interest.  Of the 3 listed, Wonder Woman definitely hit the target, great special effects and action, good anti-Nazi catharsis, and women first.

Boss Baby could have been one note or even been tone deaf.  It was enjoyable if only by surpassing minimal expectations.  Probably would have not seen it without a strong second feature.

Hidden Figures contrasts with Wonder Woman with a similarly strong plot, made stronger by being historically accurate.  With Hollywood twists such as mild caricatures and compressed time lapses.


OK, maybe we didn't see WW until June.


  •  Despicable Me 3
  •  Spider Man Homecoming

 Sequels can degrade the original experience, or just about break even.  Despicable Me is funny enough, depending on the Minions to sustain the humor.  The group singing an other-worldly version of a Modern Major General was worth the admission price.

Another Spider Day, another Spider Man.  I've lost track of the reboots, honestly.  This year's model was entertaining even with the deja vu.



Scout Camp-In

  • Cars 3
  • Pirates
  • Ferris Buellers Day Off

For the sixth year, local area Scouts (and a few from the DC area) crowded the Bengies on the first weekend after Labor Day, filling the field with tents, the snack bar line with new fans, and a crowd-pleasing line-up.  Can't please everyone of course, putting out a survey picks that can't all show, and tenting plans that mostly line up with the house rules and sight lines.


 Season Ending
  • Sandlot
  • Back to the Future
  • Executive Action

If you're keeping count, the above 3 take the season total to 11.  Which works for me even if the entire bill was pre-2017 productions.  The sum is closer to 10 since we left before the third feature ended.  I had not seen Sandlot, and so learned the origins of an oft-heard phrase (among Scouts) "you''re killing me. Smalls.").


Holiday Special
 - Holiday Affair

Icing on the cake this year was an after the fact Double Feature. Almost missed this due to being out-of-town for the originally planned date, a squallish snowstorm pushed the Bengies management to reschedule for the week after.

Always like Robert Mitchum, and this lesser-known feature did not fail to entertain. For a rare exception to standard practice, the print was shown at an aspect ration differing from the original release.  Anything cut-off was not missed.

So, a Baker's Dozen of best for 2017.

Let's leave Chevy Chase for a future rant. Not in the top.

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 - 2001


The marquess below, and a few of the movies shown above that I saw part of the bill at least, are shows I did not see in 2017.  I think a few would have made the top 10, pushing one or more out of the top billing.  Others I'm good to pass.

Recent twitter thread ("Get Out":

Dec 29
pray 4 me my mom asked me what the best movie of the year was and i said get out so now....we're watching get out

 \- follow this thread.  Ir's hilarious.  Not maybe safe for work. R.


 Kong Skull Island
 Lego Batman



King Arthur
 Alien Covenant



 Guardians of the Galaxy 2
 War for the Planet of the Apes

GG2, sure, would be great on the big screen.  Would have sat through an Apes movie, maybe.  Have seen a lifetime supply, starting with Technicolor, swearing, Charlton Heston.

 Baby Driver
 The Emoji Movie

Yeah, definitely would have missed anything with Emoji in the title if I wanted to see another show on the same bill.

Baby Driver had a lot of positive feedback. Darn. But Netflix DVD for the rerun.



Now I can't remember a year where I didn't get to at least one of the all-night shows for 2 or more flicks, even staying through to the second playing of the National Anthem. But 2017 was an exception.

 Atomic Blonde


  Lego Ninjago

Two Lego movies in one year?  Yeah, peak 2017 is movies about children's building blocks.

 Blade Runner 2049

Of all the above, Blade Runer 2049 is the one I would have liked to catch.  Only played one weekend I believe, so poof and it's gone by.

Honorable Mention

On the return from total eclipse viewing, we caught a double feature at the Starlite Drive-In near Christiansburg, Virginia. The "kiddie" feature was Nut Job 2 ("nutty by nature") and the second feature the remake of The Beguiled.  Small crowd due to local sports events apparently, but a friendly atmosphere and decent snack bar food.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Workmate renewed

This gem was given to me by my parents sometime in the late 70s I would say. 

It's a Black & Decker Workmate, fairly early model thought probably not the first generation.  It folds up neatly and has a metal frame that one can lean on for small or medium cuts.  Larger ones I'd want saw horses.

The top was pressed sawdust or something and while it lasted decades, wasn't as durable as the steel frame, threaded rods, and plastic handles (though one of those died at the very end of the rejuventation when I turned it wrongway up.

I bought slices of red oak and proceded to mostly duplicate the original top in dimensions and utility.

Happy to have it workable again, and thanks to Mom and Dad!

2 2

2 2

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bengies Top Ten Movies for 2016

Bengies Top 10 2016

 The Bengies Drive-In Theatre closed out their 2016 regular season with a great post-Halloween weekend trippple feature and I started reviewing movies I'd see there this year for another "Top 10" list.  Before I could get this published, an announcement came out asking what movies people might want to see during a December Saturday-only show night.  If I make it to that show, and if my opinions on the top 10 changes, I may update this blog.  But I'm going to finish it in November and push it out so it's done. For now.

  Below, somewhere, are links to my prior year posts on the best movies I saw at the Bengies that year, going back to when I was posting this list on the Netflix site.  This will be the 16th consecutive list.  And despite travels and not-the-best-year for great releases, there are gems here.

  I'll depart from the old David Letterman style of just ticking these off from 10 to 1, or 1 to 10, and go narrative.  The fifth annual Bengies Boy Scout Drive-In Camp-In was another success, thanks to the generosity of the management and crew on September 10.  They showed:

  The Secret Life of Pets
  Star Trek (Beyond)

  Every year the choices for the Scout weekend are a source of great interest, and small controversy.  I have learned, maybe the hard way, you can't please everyone.  All of these fit into my Top Ten for 2016.  Some reviews panned Sully--I thought it the perfect real life hero movie for Scouts. Pets was hilarious, and I've yet to dislike a Star Trek film (some I like better than others of course).

  For us, the closing November weekend included two of the three shows on the bill:

  The first one was cute enough, but as a sequel a pale imitation of the original.  Which was long enough ago that the succession seems quite forced.  I would say Doc Strange had the best visual effects of the year (for me).  Not that others like Star Trek weren't as advanced, just that these fit well into the story as opposed to "blowed up real good" takes.

  My spouse and I squirmed through The Girl On The Train in October.  Worth watching, and definitely in the top ten.

  For the all night show Labor Day weekend, Kubo and the Two Strings was my favorite.  I'm still a 2-D animation fan.

  The Jason Bourne series has started to run together for me, maybe due to the continuous chases, intermingled with explosions, and how many double crosses can we include in the plot to keep the characters and audience off kilter.  It;s an enjoyable big-screen adventure as long as it more than just loud noises and flashing bombs.

  For the all night show Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed (somewhat):

  Marvel Comics with their intramural rivalries are passable, and the cameos of Stan Lee are the modern equivalent of Hitchcock showing up in his own shots.
  And, that's Ten.  Here are two more, for good measure:

Finally, at the bottom of the pictures below, is an image of the worst movie of 2016.  We have no idea why someone thought this universe needed two superheroes trying to rough each other up.  It was so dark and depressing to imagine the depths of despair reached to produce this lemon I can only hope one day it will appear as the target for my favorite spin doctors, the crew behind Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Until next year: "See you at the movies!"

2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 - 2001


Monday, October 10, 2016

Lodgemaster 3.x.y Service Hour Reporting by Chapter

Since I cannot find a Chapter level year-to-date service hour report in LodgeMaster, this is how I managed to produce the numbers the Chapter Adviser wanted.

First, go to the Event Manager.  You don't need to pick an event; that is just where Service Hour reports are on the menus.

Click on "Yearly By Member".  Yearly Detail returns similar data though more detail, requiring more work at the end for totals.

Generally, pick the current year as shown.  If you need to look at last year, change that field.  Then Submit.

After the report appears, click on the "Save" icon (the old school floppy disk icon).  You can choose XLS, XLSX or CSV to create a file for a spreadsheet.

The next menu with CSV Export Options can be left with those that appear (click OK).

I like to include a date in the Year-Month-Day style in the name of the file for easier identification later.

Once you have the file on your hard drive (or cloud drive or wherever) you can load it into Excel or another spreadsheet programs.  The red oval above shows the first four lines that include heading information.  In an Excel format (XLS or XLSX) the first line has a graphic OA logo.  Either in the CSV file or in the spreasdheet program, remove these first few lines, leaving Name/Chapter/Hours at the top.

After that, it's a matter of sorting by the Chapter column and either removing those outside your area, or just summing the hours for your Chapter.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cal Hob

Calendar demo

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bengies Top Ten for 2015, In My Eye

Bengies Top 10.  An Annual Tradition. For me, dating back to 2001 (see: lists), with single lists each year - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.  Now for 2015.

First, the top "exceptions" to the year's list are movies that were filmed in previous years, and when shown on the giant outdoor screen are a fine an experience as I can have.  With the season ending with Mel Brook's classic Young Frankenstein, these are ultimate events!

  1. Young Frankenstein
  2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  3. E.T.

Another exception was the Fourth Annual Bengies Drive-In Boy Scout Camp in, in September.  These all were crowd favorites:
  1. Minions
  2. Pixels
  3. Jurassic World

I was hoping for Inside Out, which didn't make the cut, though I did catch it on two other weekends.

In order, the remaining 10 top features:

  1. Inside Out
  2. The Martian
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. Shaun The Sheep
  5. Spectre
  6. The Peanuts Movie
  7. Mission Impossible 5
  8. Mad Max: Fury Road
  9. Spongebob
  10. Tomorrowland
  11. Insurgent
  12. Man From UNCLE
I had to put in a couple that were close to the top ten, despite having all great picks in other years, there just didn't seem to be much more to choose from.  I definitely was disappointed in the Man From U.N.C.L.E., partly because it wasn't a series that demanded resurfacing.  Similar failures might include I Spy, Get Smart, or even The Avengers (the 1998 try, of course, not the unrelated Marvel fantasies).  Mission Impossible is the exception to that rule.  Maybe not my favorite ongoing spy/thriller series.  Lots of competition in that genre for sure.

Pixar still has it going.  I would not call Inside Out my favorite (hard to top WALL-E, Up, et al). Such a cast is par for the course.  Mad Max - up there due to the Creative Alliance Marquee Ball (Baltimore icon).

Insurgent and Tomorrowland are low; others would think of them more highly.  The Peanuts movie surprise me.  It could easily have been very bad.

The late season showing of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. as a single Sunday early evening show was stupendous, not least because the weather cooperated.

This year's "NAH": Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

That is all, folks!