Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rainy Day In Never Land

It had just started to rain as I finished the Daisy Dalyrumple mystery Requiem for a Mezzo and wrote in my journal. It was absolutely pouring by the time I started breakfast. In honor of the weather, I ran a Tiny Toons Adventures first-season episode about stormy weather, "Rainy Daze." In the first short, Montana Max rents friends to abuse during a rainy day. He gets his just desserts when the next friend in line turns out to be Buster, who won't put up with that kind of treatment. Babs shows how to use your imagination to have fun inside when the weather's bad during the second short. Even cleaning your room and taking a bath can be an adventure when you let your imagination run wild! The third short has the two rabbits chasing Gotcha Grabmore, a fur-obsessed poacher who wants a seal-skin coat.

I waited out the rain doing chores around the apartment. I made the bed first. I haven't made it in ages. Who's gonna see it? After that, I did the dishes, then worked on taking notes. Listened to my Coasters' Greatest Hits LP while I took down some of what I have for Betty's fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid." The album ended around the same time I noticed the rain had. I decided it was a good time to get out and get some errands done.

The Oaklyn Library was relatively busy when I arrived. A couple of little girls watched Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons in the kids' area. I mainly concentrated on the DVD's while they were there. With not much else going on, I was in and out in less than a half-hour.

Had lunch at Capitol Pizza. I had my usual slice of mushroom, slice of cheese, and can of Diet Pepsi. Channel 6 Action News was mostly talking about the weather. Thankfully, by quarter of 1, the sun was in and out of clouds. The rain seemed to mostly be in Central New Jersey, between Trenton and the Central Shore area.

I made a couple of quick stops at the Westmont Plaza after lunch. The mayo I wanted at Thriftway was too expensive. I was hoping it was on sale. I'll get it at work. I checked Tuesday Morning for Ever After High dolls. I did see the original release of Cedar Wood there; otherwise, nothing new.

Haddon Township Library was even busier than Oaklyn had been. I guess everyone wanted something to do on a weird weather day. Interestingly, while the adult DVDs were so full I couldn't fit some titles in, the kids' shelves were decimated. Everything fit, even the Scooby Doo titles, with room leftover. The new releases cart was overflowing, too. I had tons to put away there.

I made an interesting video find at the book sale area. A three-video set in an insert from Reader's Digest called The Wonders of Christmas featured the 1983 holiday special The Nutcracker: A Fantasy On Ice. My sisters and I used to love that when we were little. It also had a Christmas concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and what I suspected was a Christmas-themed "background noise" series of instrumental Christmas tunes set to holiday scenes.

Headed home across Haddon Lake Park to avoid the traffic on Cuthbert. They were surprisingly busy for a sticky, humid day. There were a lot of kids out riding their bikes, people sunning themselves, and kids and their parents fishing off the rails or the concrete walkways. The lake is mostly looking better; the dredging machines hired by local officials seem to have gotten rid of most of the algae, except around the fountains.

Made a quick stop at Phillies' Yummies for cinnamon bun ice cream. Most of the kids seemed to be heading for Studio LuLoo or Phillies Phattties. The windows at what used to be Doria's Deli are covered by bamboo blinds. Hopefully, that means they've started remodeling.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at home. The clouds were starting to build again. They did burst somewhere around 5 PM briefly, but otherwise, it was just too humid to be doing any real running around.

Dubbed the Christmas specials while I continued to work on notes for "The Little Mer-Betty." The Nutcracker: A Fantasy On Ice streamlines the story a bit by having it begin after the party where Clara (Dorothy Hamill) receives her nutcracker doll (Robin Cousins) and having a modern grandpa (Lorne Greene) and his granddaughter narrate the story. There's also no Godfather Drosselmyer - the dolls dance and the tree grows on their own. This was probably the first version of The Nutcracker I ever saw, well before I even knew it was a stage ballet. I love the elaborate costumes and some of the more fanciful routines, especially for the World Candy characters in the second half. I don't think this was ever on DVD, but it can be found on YouTube.

Dubbed the other two while dusting the apartment. They both made great background noise as I did my chores. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir alternated between secular and religious Christmas songs, ending with a rousing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." The third tape was kind of a series of music videos - images of snow, Christmas, or Santa set to traditional carols or classic music, some of it (like "Ode to Joy") not even remotely related to Christmas. Both videos were nice to have, but far from essential unless you're a fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or choir music in general.

(And I suspect the videos in this set were original three individual releases that were thrown together when Reader's Digest wanted something relatively inexpensive for Christmas. They each had a different opening and closing video label. Vestron seems to have originally released Nutcracker - the others were probably cheap budget releases.)

After I finally got the dusting done and did the windows, I made myself a nice dinner. I've made Chicken Therese from the Eat Up, Slim Down cookbook many times, and it always comes out tasty. Chicken breasts in a low-fat, low-sodium cream of chicken soup-based sauce, with onions, mushrooms, and cooking wine. (It called for dry sherry, but I don't have any.) I had it with steamed peas. Yumm, yum. Salty but delicious, a wonderfully savory meal.

Finished the night dubbing the Mary Martin Peter Pan. This is the 1960 taped, color version of the beloved 1955 musical version of the boy (Martin) who won't grow up and prefers crowing and annoying Captain Hook (Cyril Ritchard) to adult life. He brings three kids from London to Never Land to tell his crew stories. The pirates first capture the princess Tiger Lily of the local Indian tribe to set them against the kids. When Peter rescues her and makes friends with the tribe, Hook goes after the kids instead, intending to poison Peter. What the kids really want is just to go home to their parents and dog Nana...but the pirates may not let them, and Peter certainly doesn't want them to.

I don't know how last year's Peter Pan Live looked, but I do know the original version is as campy a musical comedy as one could wish. You'd think Martin would be a tad bit creepy playing a young boy, but she actually does quite well as Peter - her "Distant Melody" is especially sweet. Ritchard happily hams it up as her adversary. I recommend this one for younger kids - they might get a kick out of the people obviously costumed as animals and very stage-y sets - but do explain that the extremely un-PC Indians were written as they would have been for the kids in the early 1900's. (Including a very blond Tiger Lily.) Campy but cute - if you're offended by the Indians, you might want to steer the kids to the Cathy Rigby version from the 90's or last year's version that toned down their role a bit.

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