Saturday, April 06, 2013

A Bath Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

I awoke to a sunny morning that was chillier than yesterday, but nowhere near as cold as it has been the past few weeks. Celebrated the gorgeous weather with this week's American Top 40 re-run. Casey hopped backwards through the 80s to early April 1981, when R&B, New Wave, punk rock, and pop ruled the airwaves. We heard "Kiss On My List" by Hall & Oates, "Don't Stand So Close" by the Police, "What Kind of Fool?" by Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb, "While You See a Chance" by Steve Winwood, "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington Jr., "Woman" by John Lennon, "Hello Again" by Neil Diamond, "The Best of Times" by Styx, and "Take It On the Run" by REO Speedwagon.

Blondie was at the height of their popularity as the preeminent punk/New Wave band when they hit the #1 spot for the 4th time in two years that spring. Not only was the odd "Rapture" one of their most successful tunes, it turned out to be history-making, not only for punk rock but as one of the earliest exposures in the Top 40 for rap as well.

I went straight out after the Top 40 ended for the first yard sale run of the year. Alas, the yard sale part wasn't terribly successful. I couldn't find the two yard sales listed for Audubon, and the one in Haddon Township mostly had sports paraphernalia and board games, nothing interesting.

Did better elsewhere. I stopped at Family Dollar to pick up the trash bags I couldn't get to last week due to the pre-Easter crowds. Quickly peeked at Willie the Woodsman and Wife's to see if they had any new WebKinz; they didn't. I discovered another church thrift shop, this one held further down the White Horse Pike in Audubon, across from the WaWa. They were slightly larger and less-cluttered than the one on Merchant Street, with a pretty decent selection of records and cassettes for a dime each.

I ended up with four records and one cassette. The records were:

The original cast album from the 1979 Broadway musical The Grand Tour, a vehicle for Joel Gray (Caberet) with a Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly) score. The show was a flop, and the cast album is hard to find.

The Sinatra Christmas Album

The soundtracks for Brighton Beach Memoirs and the movie version of the musical Kismet. The cassette was also a soundtrack, this one for An American Tail.

My ride around Audubon was so frustrating, I treated myself to Desserts by Design to perk up my flagging spirits. She was busy with a pair of Girl Scouts den mothers buying cookies for their troop, but I did get her attention long enough to choose a vanilla cupcake with caramel frosting.

After my snack, I rode into Oaklyn to do a fast, quiet volunteering session at the library. The day started out blustery and a bit cold, but it was getting warmer and warmer outside by 12:30. There was only one other person there on the computers besides me and the librarian. It was too nice to be inside. I wasn't there for very long, either. Just organized DVDs and the kids' books. Made one more stop at the Dorias' for a Wild Cherry Pepsi (I wanted brown sugar, but they were out) before finally heading home.

Finished out the Phineas and Ferb collection while having the last of the leftover Bean Vegetable Soup for lunch. Perry's main enemy Dr. Doofenschmirtz usually isn't much of a threat. Even he realizes how bad of a villain he is. In "Agent Doof," he actually agrees to join Perry's animal spy organization, at least until he realizes that he wrecks even more havoc as a hero than as a bad guy.

Candace and Perry may find Phineas and Ferb's antics to be annoying, but in the end, they both deeply care about those crazy boys. Perry's genuinely upset when he can't join the family's trip to Africa in "Where's Perry?". The boys are even more upset when they get lost in an unexplored gorge with their buddies. Candace, meanwhile, thinks that her boyfriend Jeremy has broken up with her and decides to "go native" and live with the monkeys. And Perry has to help his boss General Monogram and Doofenschmirtz save the world from Monogram's overworked and underpaid intern Carl, who was hit with a ray that made him turn bad...and unlike Doof, he knows how to be an effective villain.

Spent the rest of the afternoon doing things around my apartment and watching cartoons and live-action comics who behaved like cartoons. Spring cleaning continued. I made the bed. I washed the windows inside and (as much as I can) outside. Opened the windows and let some fresh air blow in. Swept what little debris was there off the porch and the cobwebs off the outside windows. Made my bed and put on fresh, less heavy sheets. Changed the Cabbage Patch Kids girls into spring clothes. Vacuumed all around the apartment, especially in the bedroom, where the hair and dust gets caught the most.

Ran The Bowery Boys while working on cookies. I used the versatile Betty Crocker low-fat Stir-and-Drop Sugar Cookie recipe; replaced part of the sugar with orange juice, the vanilla extract with orange extract, and the lemon zest with orange zest and made Orange Sugar Drop Cookies. The Boys movie was Spy Chasers, one of the later 50s entries that emphasizes the Huntz Hall/Leo Gorcey pairing. The now-quartet helps Louie Dumbrowski (Bernard Gorcey, Leo's father) hide a coin until they can get the other half from a courier sent by Louie's brother, who is helping the King of Truvania return to his throne. The king's right-hand general and the princess' lady-in-waiting are traitors who want the king to return too early. The boys do  everything they can to help, despite the lady hypnotizing a smitten Sach into believing he's a knight.

Hit the bath after the Boys ended. Oh, did I ever need it! I tried the orange-jasmine bubble bath I bought from work yesterday, and it felt sooo nice. The bubbles were fun to play in, too. My sisters and I used to take bubble baths when we were really little (with Mr. Bubble or Muppets fruit-smelling bubble bath, of course), but I haven't done it in years. I will have to more often. I felt a hundred times better when I finally climbed out of the tub. I'm really enjoying these baths.

Watching Phineas and Ferb made me realize I hadn't put on any of the longer Disney movies since I bought Wreck It Ralph last month. This time, I opted for the more traditional The Little Mermaid during my taco and spinach citrus salad dinner. The first half of the movie more-or-less sticks to the original story. Ariel (voice of Jodi Benson) is a mermaid who falls for a prince when she rescues him and desperately wants to be human. Ursula the Sea Witch (voice of Pat Carroll) will give her what she desires...for the price of her beautiful voice. With the help of her friends Sebastian the Crab (Sebastian Wright), Flounder the Fish, and Scuttle the Seagull (Buddy Hackett), she tries to win the human of her dreams.

This was huge when it first came out in 1989. My best friend Lauren said she was crazy about it, and my little sister Anny was into it, too. I might have gotten more into it myself it its release didn't coincide with my first Star Wars all-out obsession phase. It's not my favorite Disney movie today; the animation is gorgeous and the music is fun, but some of the tunes (like the Oscar-winning "Under the Sea") aren't all that well-integrated into the story, and Ariel isn't always the brightest starfish in the ocean. My favorite scene is the "Kiss the Girl" number, with Sebastian leading a chorus of sea creatures, all encouraging Eric to finally give Ariel that all-important smooch.

If you have a little girl (especially one who loves mermaid stories) or are a Disney fan, this is probably in your collection already. If it isn't, I believe this is scheduled to be Disney's Diamond Edition Blu-Ray/DVD release for this fall. Even with the caveats, this is still the movie that kick-started the Disney Renaissance of the 90s and is recommended.

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