Saturday, May 17, 2014

Secret Agent Man

Today's American Top 40 re-run went way back into the 70s to 1973. As the US reeled from the tail end of Vietnam and the Watergate hearings, they turned to hard rock, soft ballads, R&B, and bubblegum pop to get their minds off the bad news all around them. Hits in mid-May of that year included "Little Willy" by Sweet, "The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia" by Vicki Laurence, "Hocus Pocus" by Focus, "Frankenstein" by the Edgar Winter Group, the original version of "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray, "You are the Sunshine Of My Life" by Stevie Wonder, "Pillow Talk" by Sylvia, "Sing" by the Carpenters, "Wildflower" by Skylark, and "Stuck In the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel.

The number one song of that week wound up being one of the biggest of the year. Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ol' Oak Tree" sounds a little cheesy today, but it did inspire many people to do just that in support of troops returning from Vietnam.

I went to work an hour after the show ended. Work was slightly busier than it has been all week, but otherwise no problem. The time went quickly, and it slowed down enough by 4PM that I was able to shut down without a relief.

Good thing, because I did have some grocery shopping to do. I mostly needed to replace fruit and staples used during the week - grapefruit, bananas, apples, canned pineapple, brown sugar, cooking spray, mayo, white cooking wine, butter spread. I needed a new journal and a new lock for my locker at work - the old one got so dented, I couldn't use it anymore. Took advantage of a major baking mix clearance and bought two Duncan Hines cake mixes (pineapple and orange) and Betty Crocker's Molasses Cookie mix.

Oh, and my schedule this week isn't too bad. I have fewer hours than I did last week, but that's my only complaint (and it's not surprising, given we weren't that busy last week and probably won't be until next weekend). Nothing later than 7 or earlier than 11, and Friday and Saturday off. I'm especially glad I got Saturday. I'll be able to enjoy Collingswood's May Fair without having to rush home after an hour.

When I did get home, I changed into regular clothes, then made a lamb chop with scallion-mushroom sauce and steamed asparagus for dinner while finishing Skyfall. After a mission goes wrong, Bond finds everything he's ever worked for questioned. M is in a load of trouble herself when MI6's headquarters is destroyed and her files are hacked. James works with pretty Eve and a new, rather geeky Q to stop a former agent from killing the one who set him up in the first place...M.

This was a smash hit in 2012, the biggest Bond hit to date...and I can understand why. In addition to the awesome theme song, we explore the characters of Bond and M far more than in any previous film, including learning more about Bond's parents and M's tendency to "mother" him. The villain is fairly unusual for this series, too, including the manner he acquires his "hideout." This may still be too dark for people who want their Bond goofy in the Roger Moore mode, but for those who enjoy Craig's tougher brand of Bond, this is highly recommended.

I needed to lighten up the mood a bit, so I put on The Backyardigans after Skyfall finished. The backyard dance crew has had their own spy adventure in the form of the double-length special "International Super Spy." The spy of the title is Pablo, who likes his apple juice shaken, not stirred. He has to seek three containers that may hold a recipe for disaster in the wrong hands...namely, the hands of the evil "Lady In Pink" Uniqua and her hench-moose Tyrone. His boss Miss T(asha) and fellow agent Austin lend a hand in his quest.

It was absolutely beautiful today. After spending all of yesterday and most of today inside, I needed a walk badly. I just strolled around the neighborhood. It was around 6:30. I had dinner early, so there weren't too many people out besides two boys who played catch in their front yard. There was still plenty to see. The neighborhood looks gorgeous now. The trees are filled with soft green leaves. While the tulips are gone, irises, wisteria, and beautiful flowering bushes in magnificent shades of lavender, pink, fuchsia, white, orange, and yellow bloom in every garden. I saw the very first buds on the rose bushes. The sky was a soft baby blue.

I made the Molasses Cookies after I got home. Ran one more Backyardigans episode as they baked. Wizards Tyrone and Pablo have "A Giant Problem" on their hands when enormous Tasha stomps into their kingdom. Queen Uniqua demands that they get rid of her so she can have her royal nap. Thing is, Tasha's friendly. She thinks the boys want to play. They think she wants to eat them, and uses increasingly desperate spells to get rid of her.

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