Archive for the ‘Film & Books’ Category


img_6109I have a lot of photo albums. Scouting photo albums, that is. Most of them include pictures of troop meetings, weekend outings, summer camps, and courts of honor. There are also albums of the trips to Philmont Scout Ranch, the High Knoll Trail, and the 2001 National Jamboree. In total, there are 39 albums of Boy Scout Troop 68, covering activities from the mid 1970’s through this year.

The reason I am posting about this is because I just finished putting the last photograph in the 39th album this week. This brings me up to May 2016, the troop’s Camp Watchamagumee outing. It is time to start another album. Or is it?

As I was placing photos into the page sleeves I began thinking to myself, maybe this should be the last photo album I create of troop functions. After all, the only time they get viewed in when I use them for in displays for Scout Week in February or at one of the troop’s meal fundraisers.

I also began thinking about the cost of each album, not just the book but also the cost of printing the pictures. Each finished album runs about $40-$50 by the time it is done. When you stop to think about it, I have a lot invested in these albums.

Then I thought of a third point. Most people, including myself, are more into looking at photos on their phones and tablets than they are to picking up an physical album. That was the main reason I bought an iPad. Not to play games but to carry my photos with me. Add to this that we all share digital photos so easily these days it begins to make little sense to create physical photo albums.

Finally, what is going to happen to all these albums when I am done with Scouting? No one is going to want them. Our troop does not have its own hut or building. (We meet in a school gym for meetings.) The only place that may want the books is our local historical museum. Yeah, they would probably love to have over 36 years of local Scouting history to add to their collection.

So there it is. In this digital age I really do not see a reason to create any more Scouting photo albums for Troop 68. What do you think? Am I wrong for thinking this way?

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    Now that the Scouts of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 have left on their trip to Philmont Scouts Ranch I have been thinking about my trips to the ranch, and the DVD I have in my collection known as The Philmont Documentary Collection. It is one of my favorite Scouting DVD’s. I was even able to chat with Larry McLaughlin, the producer and creator of the DVD, during a Leader’s Campfire podcast episode. (More of that interview can be heard at http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/?p=1920 )

    Recently, while browsing Facebook, I scrolled across information about another DVD about the ranch. It is a collection of 40 short films created by David E. Carter during the years of 2006-2008. The DVD includes segments on all 36 of Philmont’s backcountry camps, as well as 3 special features.  It was only sold for two years in the Philmont trading post, and has not been available since then. This newly-edited version includes additonal content that has never been seen before. It contains over two hours of video.

    It looks like this is a DVD I need to add to my collection. The price of $22 includes shipping. Not a bad price if you ask me. My only wish is that it was filmed in high definition, but alas, it was created before all the new tech was readily available.

    More informations can be found on the website at http://www.sanibelfilms.com/philmont-dvd.html

    Do you plan to order yourself a copy?

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      2016Handbooks - 1Gosh! I do not know if you have heard or not but the Boy Scouts of America have changed the requirements for the Boy Scout advancement program. Scout is now a rank, which means there are seven ranks instead of six. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have changed a fair amount. Star, Life, and Eagle Ranks not so much. These changes could bring a few changes to your troop’s yearly program.

      Of course, these changes to the advancement program need to be reflected in the Boy Scout handbook, which means a new handbook needs to be written. I was hoping to see a new handbook by the end of last year, but I was told during last month’s roundtable that they would be out some time in January. Knowing the B.S.A.’s history of getting things out on a timely basis. I thought that meant we would have to wait until February.

      I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last week that stated the new handbooks were now on the shelves and available for sale. I drove the thirty miles to my nearest Scout Shop on Saturday to pick up one for myself, along with some items for the upcoming Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet. I ended up buying six handbooks; one for me, two for the scoutmaster and his assistant, and three for the Scouts. I like to keep a few on hand so new Scouts have them quickly available when they join the troop.

      I have already received an email from the father of one Scout who has asked me to put one handbook aside for him. I have a feeling the other two could be claimed by the end of the week. I bet I will need to pick up more of them when I attend next month’s roundtable in Sartell.

      I was caught a bit off guard when I saw the price of the new handbooks was $14.99. I should have known they would not be the same price as the old handbooks. Oh well, we have to have them.

      Did you get your new handbook yet?

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        Boys Life poster picIf case you do not know it yet, today, May 4th, is Star Wars day. That means it is time to say, May the fourth be with you! Yes, it is a bit of a silly pun, but it is a fun silly pun. The folks at Boys Life Magazine have decided to have a spot of fun with Star Wars day by creating their own poster to celebrate the new holiday. What is your favorite part of the design? Is it Pedro the burro as Luke Skywalker? Or could it be Pee Wee and Westly as the two droids? How about the Death Star depicted as a glazed donut? I do not think I would care for the alfalfa shake, even with the cherry on top.

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          Boy Scout NovelsSaturday, May 3rd, was free comic book day so I went to St. Cloud to pick up a few at Granite City Comics. I arrived downtown early to get a good parking spot so I decided to walk around to get some exercise and to see what kind of stores were in downtown St. Cloud these days. After all, I had not been shopping downtown for years. There has been no need for me to go downtown since this was on the east side of town and most of the big stores and shopping malls were on the west side of town, closer to where I live.

          While I was walking the streets I noticed that there was a used bookstore a block away from the comic book store. I did not realize there was such a store in the downtown area so I decided I needed to check this place out when I was done at Granite City Comics. And I did.

          There were two main types of books I looked for once I arrived at the used book store, science fiction and old Scouting books. I was lucky enough to find two old Boy Scout themed novels written in the early 1900’s. Both were in pretty good shape considering that they were over 100 years old. One was The Boy Scouts Of The Eagle Patrol written by Howard Payson, published in 1911. The other was Boy Scouts In An Airship by G. Harvey Ralphson, published in 1912. I was able to pick up the two of them for under twenty dollars.

          As I laid them on the counter I thought to myself, I hope I do not already have these books. I could not remember if they were already part of my collection or not. Oh well, if they were I would now have two of them. I could always use one as a prize at a Scout Roundtable or something. I was happy to discover when I arrived at home that I did not own either one yet. I also discovered that I have the ebook version of The Boy Scouts Of The Eagle Patrol on my computer.

          Do you collect old Boy Scout novels? How many do you have? Where do you find them?

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            Near the end of this month’s Scenic District roundtable meeting I asked the Scouters if many of them had any of the digital copies of the old Boy Scout themed novels written in the early 1900’s. I had noticed that many of the Scouters owned smart phones and tablets and that they used these during meetings, so I thought it was a valid question. I do not think a hand went up in reply. That surprised me a little.

            I have collected over 50 of these old books in the open source epub digital book format. They are novels featuring the adventures of Tom Slade, Roy Blakeley, and Pee Wee Harris. You may recognize those names from the Boy’s Life magazine cartoon pages. There are stories of the Banner Boy Scouts and the members of the Eagle Patrol. All of these old novels have fallen into the public domain. I think I have more eBooks than I do actual hardbound books in my collection.

            I understand the epub eBook file works well with many current tablets, including the iPad, but does not work with the Amazon Kindle tablets. I guess Amazon would rather sell you a copy in their own format. However, I hear that there are free programs available to reformat epub files to something the Kindle can use. It is just an extra step needed to work on the Kindle.

            I asked the Scouters if they would like a digital copy of these books. Most of them said yes. This morning I got busy and started burning cd’s of the 50 Scouting novels for the next roundtable. I will bring 12 cd’s to the meeting. It will be a nice bonus for some of the Scouters who take the time to come to the roundtable. If more than one Scouter from a troop attends I am sure they would be willing to share the cd of books.

            How many of these digital novels do you own?

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              ThinkStock/AMCIt is Friday night. More than likely, somewhere in this country there is a group of Boy Scout teens watching a horror movie of some sort. While in decades past these movies may have included Frankenstein, the werewolf, Dracula, or the mummy, today’s youth seem to love teen wolves, sparkling vampires, serial killers, or the worse of all – zombies! Between World War Z and the television series The Walking Dead, zombies are the rage today.

              I like a good horror movie, but I am not big on the gore. I prefer suspense instead of seeing blood gushing 50 feet into the air. I prefer movies like Spielberg’s original Poltergeist. I have yet to see a Saw movie, and I really have no desire to see one. I laughed through the original Halloween movie when I saw it in the theater, except for that one part when the dead guy swung out of the kitchen closet.

              Back to zombies. I hate zombies. Several months after seeing the original black and white Night Of The Living Dead on late night PBS twenty-some years ago I had one of the worse nightmares of my life. And that movie is basically PG-13 by today’s standards. I watched the first season of The Walking Dead when I received the dvd’s from Netflix. I have not watched any other seasons. I did like Shawn Of The Dead however. I thought it was hilarious.

              So when I read an article online today about a new movie about to be made it sent mixed feelings through my system. Paramount Pictures hopes to start production on a new movie in the spring of next year. It is currently called Boy Scouts vs Zombies, which I read about on the Screen Crush website. According to the article “…this new film is exactly what it sounds like. ‘Boy Scouts vs. Zombies’ is based on a Black List script from Carrie Evans and Emi Mochizuki, and centers on a boy scout troop that must save girl scouts from the walking dead.”

              Will this movie be strictly a horror film? Will it be a comedy? Something in between? Will it be a strong R, or receive a PG-13 rating? Will this be a movie I will want to add to my Scouting themed film collection? I just don’t know. What do you think? Does it sound like something you will want to watch?

              http://screencrush.com/boy-scouts-vs-zombies-paranormal-activity-christopher-landon/

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                lasteaglescoutOne of Boy Scout Troop 68’s Eagle Scouts stopped by Sunday afternoon to watch a new movie I had recently received in the mail. Both of us had been waiting for “The Last Eagle Scout” to be released since we had read about it on Facebook a couple years ago. Here is the synopsis from the movie’s website:

                In the not-so-distant future, society has allowed political correctness to go beyond the point of the absurd. For years the Boy Scouts have been under the government microscope and finally have been mandated to close their doors for good. Boy Scout, Cliff Elliot, stirs the pot as he tries to cling to the last shreds of patriotism and earn his Eagle Scout Award. In this ‘dramedy’, watch as Cliff jumps through ridiculous hoops, avoids the bumbling antics of government cronies, and tries to escape murderous plots against him, as he sets out to accomplish what he sees as the ultimate honor—becoming the Last Eagle Scout.

                As we sat down with our pizza, popcorn, and soda Dakota and I understood that this was an independent made film, not a major studio financed super blockbuster. We had both seen the trailer which looked interesting and promising. We hoped that it would be a decent and fun film.

                By the time the end credits rolled across the scene Dakota and I both agreed that we enjoyed the movie. The plot may have been simple but the film moved along at a nice pace and kept our interest. A few of the special effects may not have had the polish of a high budget Hollywood film but the acting was good and the action sequences were fun.

                The movie is described as a dramedy in the description above, but I felt it played a bit more toward the drama side. There were a couple scenes that gave me a good chuckle though. Cliff, the hopeful Eagle Scout, decides to go against a government ban of flying the US flag on public property and in teenage fashion may not have though about the repercussions before doing the deed. The slow moving chase scene was another part I found humorous. I also enjoyed the homemade “iWatch” used by the Scouts in the movie.

                One thing Dakota did not like was that for a lot of the movie Cliff was not wearing his uniform properly. It did not bother me because Cliff was on the run for nearly half the film. Keeping your shirt tucked in would be a low priority when you are running from government stooges.

                Dakota and I both felt the “political correctness run amok” theme was a bit frightening. To tell the truth, we felt the tone set at the beginning of the film may not be that far in our future if this country continues on its current course. Can you imagine a United States of America government that decides to shut down the Boy Scouts of America?

                Like I stated earlier, Dakota and I both enjoyed The Last Eagle Scout and give it a thumbs up. I consider it a solid addition to my Scouting-themed movie collection. Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it?

                The trailer for the movie can be scene at:
                http://lasteaglescout.com/ .

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