GRIPS, GAFFERS, &; Best BOYS

GRIP, GAFFERS, & BEST BOYS

I love movies. My beloved and I watch at least two movies a week.  We recently watched The Kominsky Method and Mr.Roberts, a movie starring Kevin Kostner playing Kevin Kostner, but using the surname Roberts.  As always, I waited for the credits to see the names of the Key Grip, the Gaffer, and the best boy.  Christine asked what these folks did on a movie set and I could not give her a coherent answer.  This happens a lot when I don’t know what I’m talking about but should.

Grips are technicians critical to the making of a film. They have two primary functions.  They support the camera department, particularly if the camera is mounted to a dolly, a crane, or assumes an unusual position such as hanging from a helicopter on one of those James Bond sequences.  A dolly grip specializes in operating camera dollies or camera cranes so that mobility is enhanced. Grips work closely with the electrical department to create lighting set-ups for a shot or sequence under the leadership of the Director of Photography.

The key grip is the leader of the grip gang. He supervises the building and maintenance of all the equipment that supports cameras.  This includes tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs (a boom type device), cranes, and static rigs. This equipment uses heavy duty parts but is quite delicate. It requires a high level of experience to operate and move.  The assemblage of the equipment is based on meticulous specifications for virtually every scene in a movie.  These guys push, pull, mount or hang cameras and equipment from a variety of settings including a basic tripod or the mounting of a camera on a 100ft. crane.

Where did the use of the term grip come from?  In the 30s-40s, the slang for a tool bag was a grip. But the explanation I like the best is the notion that during the days of the hand-cranked camera, several guys had to hold onto the legs of the tripod to keep the camera steady. The director always wanted the fellows with the “good grip” and it stuck.

A gaffer is the head electrician on a film set. If it has to do with lighting, the gaffer oversees it. The term originally related to the movement of overhead equipment controlling lighting with a gaff, a long pole with a hook on the end. Deep-sea fishermen also use gaffs.

The gaffer must have a mastery over the vast array of lights, lighting equipment and lighting techniques required for a particular film.  In turn, this demands a knowledge of the set, script, and the inclinations of the director.  The gaffer has the responsibility for making certain that all lighting workers are up to speed on all the changes being made and are working well with other members of the crew. The lighting crew has to be constantly available even if that means working 18-hour days. The gaffer has to make sure the team meshes well by avoiding accidents and short tempers.

Best boys are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the lighting department. Their many responsibilities include the hiring, scheduling, and management of the crew; renting equipment; workplace safety and maintaining discipline within their department; completing time cards and other paperwork; planning and implementing the lighting or rigging of locations, and coordinating with the photography unit. He is the second-in-command to the key grip.  On large film crews, the gaffer also has a best boy.

The term “best boy” most likely originated as a term for a master craftsman’s most able apprentice.

The next time you are watching a movie look for the name of the key grip, the gaffer, and best boy. These are the guys that make it happen.  It will mollify your need to be totally satisfied with the two hours spent gazing at a screen. Kevin Coster just plays Kevin Costner.

THE OXFORD COMMA

OXFORD COMMA DEBATE

comma

The Oxford (or serial) comma is the final comma in a list of things. For example, I would love to have a pear, a knife, and a napkin. The Oxford comma comes right after knife.

Use of the Oxford comma is stylistic, meaning that some style guides demand its use while others don’t. AP Style—the style guide that newspaper reporters adhere to—does not require the use of the Oxford comma. Unless you’re writing for a publication or drafting an essay for school, the use of the Oxford comma is generally up to you. However, omitting it can sometimes cause some strange misunderstandings. I love my girlfriend, Meryl Streep, and Jane Fonda. 

Without the Oxford comma, the sentence above could be interpreted as stating that you love your girlfriend, and they are Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda. Here’s the same sentence with the Oxford comma: I love my girlfriend, Meryl Streep, and Jane Fonda. Those who oppose the Oxford comma argue that rephrasing an already unclear sentence can solve the same problems that using the Oxford comma does. For example, I love Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and my girlfriend.

Opinions among writers and editors differ on whether to use the Oxford comma, and usage also differs somewhat between regional varieties of English. A majority of American style guides mandate the use of the Oxford comma, including APA Style, The Chicago Manual of Style, The MLA Style Manual, Strunk and White’s Style Manual, and the Government Printing Office Manual. In contrast, the Associated Press Style Book advises against it. In Canada, the stylebook published by Canadian Press advises against it. It is used less often in England, but a few British style guides require it, notably The Oxford Style Manual. According to The Oxford Companion to the English Language, “Commas are used to separate items in a list or sequence … Usage varies as to the inclusion of a comma before and in the last item … This practice is controversial and is known as the Oxford comma because it is part of the house style of Oxford University Press.

WAIT A MINUTE—A CASE AT LAW OVER A COMMA?

The Maine dairy story is a convoluted story, as most law-related stories are. Here are the basics:

  • In 2014, three truck drivers sued Oakhurst Dairy for what they said was four years’ worth of overtime pay owed to them for deliveries they’d made.
  • Oakhurst Dairy said NOPE, citing a law that lists distribution of dairy products as one of the activities ineligible for overtime pay.
  • Maine state law at the time stated that workers are not entitled to overtime pay for: “The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of: (1) Agricultural produce; (2) Meat and fish products; and (3) Perishable foods.”
  • Aha…!the lawyer for the truck drivers said.
  • Without a comma after “shipment,” it’s the packing “for shipment or distribution” that’s not eligible for overtime—not the distribution itself. Only with a comma would “distribution” have been included as one of the series of activities ineligible for overtime.
  • So: the law does not apply to the deliveries the drivers made. Pay up, Oakhurst.
  • The court (the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) agreed—and took 29 pages to say as much. Oxford comma enthusiasts high-fived!
  • Oakhurst Dairy settled, agreeing to pay $5 million to the drivers.

This case was a David-and-Goliath showdown between the little guys and the corporate overlord. And it has guys driving around in trucks with copies of Strunk & White in the glove box.

Why does something as pedantic and ordinary as grammar ignite raging debate—both in Maine and in the rest of world? Even when there isn’t actual money at stake? And more broadly: Why do some of us love to correct the grammar of others? Love to sharpen our grammar chops on the soft underbelly of those unfortunates who might use literally to mean figuratively? Who misspell lose as loose?

Maybe it has something to do with that word “rules” when it’s paired with “grammar”: Grammar rules seem strict, impenetrable, and unyielding.  Some grammar rules are more like laws or statutes—breaking them quickly creates anarchy. But others are more open to interpretation: Splitting infinitives (to boldly go is a famous one). Ending a sentence with a preposition. Using “they” as a singular pronoun. And the Oxford comma.

ARE ALL GRAMMARIANS JUDGY AND HUMORLESS?
The type to correct you silently at a lunch counter when you’re ordering a sandwich.

Well, most grammar sticklers I know come at it less based in judgment than in something more generous: They want us all to be understood! “Grammar rules” stirs up in the righteous a feeling of right and wrong, of needing to put a stake in the ground, to polarize language: Black and white. Off and on. Yes and no. Smart and stupid. Occasionally it really matters (overtime or no overtime). But often it just doesn’t.

BILTMORE

Christmas at Biltmore

BILTMORE

A visit to Biltmore is a feast for the senses. Wrap yourself in the scent of fresh evergreens as you admire holiday décor featuring wreaths, garlands, and the sparkle of thousands of ornaments on more than 55 glorious Christmas trees. The celebration continues across the estate, including colorful holiday blooms in the Conservatory, commemorative Christmas wine at the Winery, special menus in restaurants, and Antler Hill Village’s must-see evening illumination display.

A short visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains with his mother immediately sparked George Vanderbilt’s imagination in 1888. He found the perfect location for his country home. Vanderbilt’s 250-room French Renaissance chateau is a true marvel, the largest undertaking in residential architecture. Over a six-year period, an entire community of craftsmen came together to create America’s premier home and the environmental wonderland that surrounds it.

On Christmas Eve 1895, the country retreat George Vanderbilt had spent so long planning was marvelously decorated and full of festivity. The finished home contains over four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.

George Vanderbilt married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser in Paris in 1898. Edith is a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the first governor of Dutch colonial New York. After honeymooning in Italy, Edith and George returned to live at Biltmore. George and Edith’s only child, Cornelia, was born on the evening of August 22, 1900, in the Louis XV Room. It was a celebrity birth, even by modern standards.

George Vanderbilt passed away at the age of 51. Vanderbilt is buried in the Vanderbilt family mausoleum on Staten Island. He left an enormous philanthropic legacy. Edith sold approximately 87,000 acres of the estate to the United States Forest Service in 1914 for less than $5 an acre.

Cornelia and her husband, John Cecil, opened Biltmore House to the public in 1930. Leaders in Asheville hoped the celebrated house would increase tourism during the Depression. During WWII, the house stored priceless works from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

To avoid a faux pas, always refer to the estate as BILTMORE.  THE Biltmore is a hotel in New York.  Enjoy a trip to Biltmore and enjoy the festivities.

BLOG SITE:

http://www.weaver1888.com

THE ROANOKE TIMES

Published in the Roanoke Times

0n October 27, 2018

 

October 19, 2018

Letter to the Editor

Republicans have a problem this November: Healthcare is the hot issue in the midterm elections, but their stance on it is wildly unpopular. So, they’re trying a bold political tactic: Covering up and making up new facts.

Large portions of American voters want to keep the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions. President Trump and Mitch McConnell have both recently claimed that all Republicans feel the same way – even as they fight in court to vaporize those protections and vow to take yet another stab at killing the ACA entirely.

There are 36 anti-ACA Republicans running in unfriendly congressional districts in November – more than enough to flip the House to the Democrats. The GOP could overcome this with an ACA alternative that did everything they claim they want to do: lowering regulations and costs while protecting patients. But this is a fantasy, thanks to another, even more difficult math problem.  This stuff involves trade-offs the Republicans are unwilling to make.

Congressional Republicans don’t say what they would do about much of anything, save “Cut taxes more” or “Try to kill Obamacare again.” This reflects a Trump-era party that has no idea what it stands for anymore, aside from nurturing cultural grievances. In Southwest Virginia, voters cling to these cultural things even when it means their families get less health care, jobs are not available and educational opportunities are second-rate or non-existent. My friends and neighbors, in this election vote for things that will make a DIRECT difference for you and your children. Health care, jobs, and education for our part of Virginia—vote for Jennifer Lewis.

T. Michael Smith

 

RUDE

RUDE

Bad behaviour

We find ourselves living at a time of incredible rudeness. Everyone needs to have an opinion, on everything, at all times, and this opinion must be delivered forcefully. We have been taught to celebrate meanness. In our country, the rise of a very rude man to a most powerful position has brought into sharp and terrifying focus just how dangerous one moment of rudeness might prove: it might lead us to nuclear apocalypse.

So, what does one do when confronted with rude behavior? Well, we can have the guts to call it out. It’s our duty. The only way to end rudeness is to make a conscious decision to do so. We should not have to put up with rude behavior.

The rage, injustice, and hurt we feel at the inexplicably rude behavior of someone leads us in directions that are uncomfortable and often wrong. For me, the trick to handling rudeness is to pause, take a breath, and ever so gently deliver a sentence as simple as “Just stop.” We can do it with grace. We can handle it well, by handling it without a trace of aggression and without being rude ourselves. Because once a rude person has had the looking glass held up to them and can see their actions through the eyes of others, they are far more likely to end that behavior themselves. This can be done by you, by me, by everyone. You and I choose to be civilized so we can expect others to be civil.

 

The Shopping Mall (Part 2)

Clothes

Sometime in the years 2016-2017, my granddaughter became a full-blown teenager. I got the first glimmer of this change when I went clothes shopping with her last August.  This year there was no doubt the transformation had occurred. Accordingly, and with some trepidation, I set out for the mall with both my granddaughters: 9 and 15.

The car conversation went something like this:

“Mom said we should shop for Hattie (9) at Old Navy. Since she doesn’t like jeans, they have a good selection of the leggings she likes. They also have shirts for her as well,” says Emma (15).

“Great. We can just shop there for you too,” I respond.

“Granddad, you have to be kidding, I hope?”

“YES.”

“Sometimes, Granddad, you can be cruel.”

The selections at Old Navy were very good as far as Hattie was concerned.  Of course, Emma took charge and began pulling things from the racks hoping that her sister would make fast decisions.  But Hattie has her own notions when it comes to fashion.  She has graduated from wearing a pink tutu with everything, but she knows what she likes. It took a while, but finally, we had some choices for the leggings and three tops or shirts or whatever.

Off to the dressing room, they went.  I noticed how careful Emma was with Hattie and how protective.  It was good to see the love these two girls have for each other.  The fitting lasted 20 minutes.  There were a lot of men and boys milling around waiting for mom, girlfriends or daughters to emerge.  One guy picked out two shirts from a sale rack for himself and another picked some Birkenstock knockoffs. Old Navy has some good merchandising techniques.  Total time including checkout, 51 minutes. And the receipt was only one GASP.

Hollister

Somehow, I knew Hollister would be different. This store positions itself as a cool SoCal beach shack as you can tell from the picture. You expect to see surfer dudes and gals talking about waves and boards.  What you see is a bunch of teens looking for something awesome to wear for the new school year. By the way, Hollister is a division of Abercrombie and Fitch and was established in Ohio in 2000.

One Mom was holding a pair of jean cut-offs.  Back in the day, you would simply take an old pair of jeans and cut the legs off. Today you pay $45 for the same thing.  I assumed the Mom was holding them for a daughter.  She held the cutoffs up to her waist.  I wanted to say something, but sanity prevailed since I didn’t want to be arrested for harassment.  Luckily, her daughter came to the rescue.

“You have got to be kidding Mom. Put those back! They are not for you!”

Emma was in action. First the jeans. Last year I was opposed to ripped jeans, but I have seen the light. I am not in control.  A pair of white ripped jeans and a pair of skinny jeans came out of the pile.  Then on to the shirts.  This took some time, so I found a nice chair.

There was a dad with a worried look on his face as his daughter had at least 6 pairs of jeans and as many shirts over her arm.  She headed for the dressing room.  He stood beside my chair and looked to be in pain.

“She can’t possibly wear all those clothes,” he said.

“She doesn’t know that!” I responded.

Since this was my second year of back to school shopping I was a veteran and I sounded like I knew something.  He sighed and looked resigned to facing a very large bill. That could easily be 5 gasps.

All of Emma’s stuff fit, but she told me to stay seated while she shopped for a few more things. The girl with all the clothes came out with a big smile and announced that all but one pair of jeans fit There was a big sigh of resignation from her dad. We are hopeless!

Well, we were next in line at the checkout.   The girl at the counter took all the stuff and began to sort it out.  She held up a purplish, lacy something or other and said, “I just love this color in a bra.” I froze, turned scarlet and made some sort of gurgling sound. Emma looked at me and turned scarlet.  The sales girl looked at me, “Granddaughter?” and smiled. I shook my head yes. The item disappeared into the bag. I was still recovering my breathing when the receipt came. I failed to look or gasp.

Chick

I was in need of sustenance–I was a little dizzy and in need of a real lift.  The chicken store was just down the hall.  I made a dash for it as the girls lugged their bags down the corridor after me.  A diet DP was just the thing along with a spicy chicken sandwich all the way with waffle fries with plenty of ketchup.  No need to gasp at this place. I will deal with the calories and fat later!

vans-logo-2

RETRO sneakers!  Are you kidding me?  History does, in fact, repeat itself.  Last year, it was high-top gumboots from LL BEAN and this year it is white sneakers with no strings and elastic on the side. This was a three gasp item–how much can a little canvas and some rubber be. Of course, it’s the label–I get it!

Next stop Claire’s–the junk store of all junk stores.  Hattie needed some new fake nails.  This time they were purple with blue stripes.  Her mother does not let her out of the house with them on.

I love my girls and am already looking forward to next year.  I hope Emma will still go with me.