Sunday, April 14, 2013

"You Say It's Your Birthday..."

...And like I so often do, I awoke to a phone call. But this time, it was a most pleasant one indeed. My sister Rose was calling me early to wish me all the best of the day. She even put her 3-year-old son Khai on the line to sing "Happy Birthday" to me. It was the cutest thing ever. I just about melted. He's getting so good at talking.

Called Mom right after getting off with Rose. She was recovering from a nasty cold that had left her laid up for days. Other than that, she was not only fine, but in a good mood. She just heard that my stepfather would be at work for his boat, either down south or up in New England, for most of the summer...and out from under her feet.

I had Brunch With the Beatles on for a while, but I opted to switch to finishing Scamp's Adventure while eating Chocolate Chip Pancakes for a birthday breakfast. Scamp is the mischievous only son of Lady and the Tramp, seen briefly in the end of the first film. Here, he's slightly older and wants to live the wild life his father once did. When Tramp comes down hard on him for his pranks, he runs away. He falls in with a gang of street dogs, including bullying Butch (who was once Tramp's best friend) and sweet girl pup Angel. All Angel wants is a family of her own. All Scamp wants is to be a tough, wild dog. You can guess how they meet in the middle...and yes, spaghetti is involved.

While this had some cute moments, I can see why my friend Linda Young had problems with it when she saw this a few years ago. She was right. It's a gender-reversed rehash of the first film with dull songs, so-so animation, and a message about the importance of family that has all the subtlety of three anvils to the head. The irony is, this is one property that Disney not only could have done a genuinely decent sequel to, but has. Scamp comes from a  long-running Disney comic book series detailing his adventures. It's a shame they didn't put more thought into this one. As it is, ok if you're a fan of the Scamp comics or Lady and the Tramp, but as with most Disney sequels, completely avoidable for anyone else.

Went for a walk after the movie ended. It was an absolutely glorious day. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and it was a bit warmer than yesterday, probably in the mid to upper 60s. Yesterday's few clouds were replaced by a soft, shy blue sky. The color around the neighborhood is absolutely amazing. The trees are really blooming now, their petals brightening the street with shades of pink, white, lavender, and pale green. While the daffodils are just about done, I saw the first ruffly, jewel-toned tulips of the season today. The sunburst discs of dandelions burst on every lawn.

Quite a few people were out and about, too. I passed several dog walkers and two young teens going for their own spring stroll. A little boy and his father raced each other, then happily wrestled together and rolled around in the grass.

My first stop was Dad's. He's still recovering from his surgery, but he felt well enough to give me my birthday card and a hundred dollars and show me the continuing work on the pool area. The interior of the pool has been cleaned and reupholstered. The new vinyl covering is a darker, mottled shade of cobalt blue that gives the water a pretty sparkling effect. They'll apparently be starting the concrete patio areas this week. He made me a delicious pork sandwich for lunch.

(And I left the card at Dad's after I got out of the pool area. Oops. I'll swing by tomorrow and pick it up.)

As it was getting late and I did have work, my next stops were a bit quicker. I hit CVS next, as it's a few blocks from Dad's house, but they didn't have the brush picks I needed. I thought of going to 7-11 because it's closer, but the people who work there are kind of scary and the store isn't the nicest in the world. I ended up at WaWa instead and bought a Frozen Cappuccino as a special birthday treat.

I watched birthday-themed cartoons throughout the day. Yogi Bear did three birthday shows during his brief solo series. Sweet little duck Yakky Doodle was the star of the first, "Happy Birthdaze." He "buys" a dinosaur bone for his bulldog buddy Chopper, not knowing he was really taking it from the museum. Yogi and Boo Boo cook up a surprise birthday party for Ranger Smith in "Slap Happy Birthday," but the Ranger thinks Yogi's working on another scheme. Yogi's the one who gets the surprise in the three-part special "Yogi's Birthday Party." He thinks he's going to appear on a TV variety show, but it's really a birthday party for him featuring Ranger Smith and all of the Hanna Barbara funny animals created up to that point.

Max and Ruby also did a three-part birthday episode, the only three-part story in the entire series. In the first segment, Ruby thinks she knows where her "surprise" birthday is going to be...until Max leads her on a merry chase to Grandma's house. In the second, Ruby and her girl friends play party games, but all Max wants is cake. And in the last segment, Ruby wants to keep the lovely wrapping paper from her birthday gifts, but Max finds a better use for it.

Mickey Mouse appeared in three birthday-themed shorts between 1931 and 1952. The first, "The Birthday Party," is one of the earlier "music video" shorts that basically features the cast singing and dancing and not much else. It does have a really cute scene of Mickey and Minnie singing a duet on the standard "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." "Mickey's Birthday Party" from 1942 is a semi-remake with more gags (including Goofy trying to bake a cake and Donald and Clara Cluck's rather jiggly dance routine) and Mickey on the dance floor alone this time. "Pluto's Party" is one of Mickey's last shorts; despite his face plate being in the beginning, it's really a Pluto short. Pluto's looking forward to his birthday party, but Mickey's rambunctious young guests make the party difficult for the orange dog.

I also dug up two "birthday" songs. The song "Happy, Happy Birthday to You" is the second on the Disney album Splashdance after the title number. And of course, the Beatles did their own rock n' roll birthday song on The White Album (which I mention in the title for this entry).

Work was very busy when I came in, despite the nice day. It cleared out so quickly, I spent the last 40 minutes or so doing returns. A lot of those earlier customers must have been shopping for last-minute barbecues. When I was shelving returned bread, I realized that almost the entire shelf of hot dog and hamburger rolls was completely empty. A customer confirmed this towards the end of the night when she asked me if the bread was going to be restocked. Geez, you'd think snow was coming instead of 70-degree temperatures.

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