Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Dolls and Angels

Got a very quick start this morning! Barely had time to gulp down breakfast before I dashed off to work. I I rushed across the White Horse Pike and down the Black Horse Pike and barely got to work on time.

Work was confusing. I was originally listed as bagging. I swept the store and then gathered carts, but was pulled after an hour. The head manager didn't want two baggers. Trouble was, they didn't really need an extra cashier, either. We just weren't that busy, and they had plenty of help for once. I mostly shelved candy until around 1:30. Turns out the head of the online shopping department called out sick, and they pulled the bagger to handle her orders. I spent the remaining two hours sweeping and pushing carts again.

At least it was a nice day to be in and out. Blue skies, brisk breezes, hot - probably in the mid-80's - but not humid. Between the weather and this being close to the beginning of the month and a major holiday, I'm surprised we were even mildly busy. Everyone's probably getting ready for the weekend. 

It was such a nice day, after buying peach muffins for lunch next week, I stopped in downtown Oaklyn for a treat. I first thought of Phillies Yummies, but they weren't open yet. Then, I went across the street to the new juice place, but they close at 3 on Wednesdays. Finally ended up at Common Ground Coffee House. Had a frozen hot chocolate (which was really more like a chocolate milk slush) and a "cinnamon chuffin" - a cinnamon roll made with flaky pastry baked in a muffin tin. Yummm. Sweet, spicy, and flaky. Had my treat outside to enjoy the beautiful day.

After I got home, I changed and watched Tattletales while settling down. Greg Morris of Mission: Impossible and Vega$ and his wife Lee were the last-minute big winners today, over Janice Lynde and her husband William and comedy writer Jack Douglas and his sweet Japanese wife Keiko. Whammies flew fast and furious on Press Your Luck; the one guy got three in the first round alone. In the end, they took him out, and a cool little old lady named Jonie got a Hawaiian vacation and money to spend on it.

Dressed the dolls for July and Independence Day while the shows were on and afterwards. I finally found Felicity's white Summer Gown with the wide floral sash for a decent price on eBay last year. Molly's in her Camp Gowanigan uniform and saddle shoes. Whitney's ready to dance in the American Girl Revue Tap Costume that was also an eBay find and Molly's tap shoes. (The bottoms of the red tap shoes that came with the outfit are coming off.) Josefina wears her original school outfit, her Indigo Skirt and Camisa. Samantha's Sailor Middy and Tam was the second outfit I got for her after her Christmas dress. She wears it with black stockings and black and white boots. 

I originally bought the blue and bright pink-red terrycloth romper for Ariel, but it didn't come with the original jacket, and the tube top is kind of brief. I gave it to Barbara Jean instead. Ariel's outfit is entirely home-made other than her white Swiss lace Springfield Collection espadrilles. She has a patriotic patchwork peasant blouse Lauren found in her area and jean shorts from one of the local craft shows. Jessa keeps things simple in the red t-shirt from the original mid-90's Blue Jean Basics, jean short-alls, and purple jelly sandals. 

Tried to work on writing, but I was too tired to concentrate. I don't know why I get so caught up doing nothing, like looking up the history of hotels in Las Vegas or something when I should be doing work. I'm supposed to be writing, but it's too easy to get distracted. 

Had dinner downstairs, then finished the night after a shower with Charlie's Angels at The Roku Channel. "Angels In Vegas" was the two-hour third season premiere. No less than original Rat Pack member Dean Martin is the owner of the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Vegas who's seen suspicious deaths happen to two of his closest friends. He hires the Angels to find out who's behind the murders. Kelly joins the Moulin Rouge show as a can-can dancer, Kris gets hired by the casino's lounge singer (Dick Sargent) as his partner, and Sabrina works with the owner...and falls for him. He tries to push the girls away when he thinks they'll get hurt, too, but Sabrina won't abandon him...and then Kris disappears, right after meeting with the singer for rehearsal...

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Lady In the Tutti Frutti Hat

Got a quick start today with breakfast, then writing. The Red King called "all the king's horses and all the king's men" to help Humpty Dumpty, but they all ran off but Sir Jack (Klugman), the Red Knight. They're also after the Mad Hatter, who is one of Queen Betty's messengers. They don't want him or Orson the March Hare to get back to Wonderland and tell Queen and King of Hearts what happened to White King Gene. 

Broke for a very quick lunch before dashing out. At least it was a nice day to hurry off to work! Sunny, bright, windy, far hotter than yesterday, but not really humid. I didn't really see too many people out and about, but they may have all been at lunch.

Work was on-and-off busy, likely due to this being the day seniors get a five percent discount. There's a senior housing building two blocks from the store. Not only was it too nice of a day for most people to be shopping, but a lot of folks are likely waiting for either the beginning of the month or the holiday weekend or both. I did have a one woman who cheerfully complained about the prices and said she wouldn't be coming back, and another one of those people who somehow think they'll be able to buy 300 worth of groceries for 100 and put half of it back. If you're going to have a cart filled with giant bags of chicken and shrimp and huge packs of beef, it's not going to be under 100...and that would have been true even before the pandemic began.

Came home in time for the Audience Match on Match Game PM. Jon "Bowser" Bauman is thrilled when he gives the top answer for "Doll __" and "Good as __." Brianne Leary is more nervous when she has to help with "__ Hockey." 

Watched the finale of Sale of the Century while eating a late dinner. It was between the two gentlemen in the last episode of the 1983-1989 run. Even after buying a jukebox, the champ still jumped ahead in the Speed Round. He finished off the show with one last big win on the Bonus Round as well.

Finished the night online with Something for the Boys. I go further into this bizarre World War II vehicle for Carmen Miranda and Perry Como at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Home In the Rain

Began a cloudy morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. It's "Clean Up Time" for Daniel and O when they have to put away Dan's farm toys. This becomes more important when Daniel loses his watch, and they have to clean up the toys Dan dumped out to find them. The kids take part in "Neighborhood Clean-Up Day" when a strong wind blows sticks, leaves, and trash all over the playground. Katerina doesn't want to help at first, until she realizes how hard it is to twirl in a messy playground!

Put on Match Game '75, but got caught up in looking at my journals from last year. Last winter was just such a mess. All Jodie did was complain and rant on her side of the house. Rose was helpful...until things started to get down to the wire, and then she assumed I'd move in with Mom and threw a fit when I couldn't. No one in the family could fill Uncle Ken and the dads' shoes and do and be everything to everyone. I really wish they taught us how to do that, how to be everything to everyone, instead of just assuming someone would take over when they weren't there. 

And I'm still trying to figure out why Rose got upset. Because she was worried I'd get hurt riding around on my bike, living up here with all the traffic? Because she thought I'd end up living with her, and she'd have to take care of me on top of everything else she does? Because she was angry I didn't keep her more up-to-date about what was going on when I was looking for an apartment? I didn't because I didn't know what to say. I kept trying and getting turned down. She's just so intimidating, it's hard to talk to her sometimes. That makes her a great lawyer...and very difficult to explain problems to.

Finally ended up looking for writing job ideas online. I'm not really sure what I can do, besides write. The only time I've ever done almost anything is out of desperation. I took the job at the Acme because every office in North Cape May in 1999 turned me down, and I had no idea what else to do. I thought I could be a secretary for the manager of the store, but grocery store managers apparently don't need secretaries. I've spent the last 20 years being told by my parents, my co-workers, and my counselor that people only take jobs to make money and have health insurance. 

I was thoroughly depressed when I got on Zoom to chat with Mrs. Stahl. On one hand, other than Lauren getting overheated during the walk on Saturday, our vacation went very well. We even got to check out a mall I hadn't been able to get to before. I'm also glad my dental appointment went well, and while I am concerned about my diabetes numbers being higher than I'd like, I'm actually in pretty decent shape at the moment.

Still haven't heard from Rose or hireAbility, though. I'm wondering if they actually got my paperwork. If I don't hear from them by Tuesday or Wednesday next week, I'm going to call them or Vocational Rehabilitation and see what's going on. I have no clue what to do about Rose. Finley's birthday is on Sunday. I'll try to at least drop her present off, but I can't see Rose inviting me like she did last year. 

Oh, and Keefe invited me to a baby shower for his new daughter in late August. I'm not sure if I can - or should - go. I could probably get time off of work and take the train down there, but there's the matter of where to stay. Keefe and Julia have a small apartment, and Mom will be living down there by August as well. I haven't stayed at hotel since 2001. It's a lot easier to plan a vacation when you're just staying at a friend's house. I need to talk to Mom about it.

The rain finally started around noon, a heavy, soaking rain that fell in heavy sheets off and on. By the time I got off with Mrs. Stahl, thunder and lighting were added to the mix as well. Between the weather and how tired I was, I wasn't really up to anything but a nap. 

Got up about an hour and a half later for a little writing. Brett's a little worried when The Red King (Mark Goodson) and his slovenly Red Knight (Jack Klugman) follow the clumsy guards into the woods. Not only do they not find them, but the Red King scolds Jack for not being more careful and getting to Humpty in time.

Broke at 6:30 for dinner and Match Game '74. McLean Stevenson got really wild this week, even for him. He kept running out and kissing all of the men when the contestants won, including Gene and Richard, who weren't terribly happy about it. Meanwhile, Charles's face is somewhere between shocked and disgusted when Brett jokingly says they're engaged! 

Vacuumed and pushed the Swifter during Match Game PM. The audience was a flat-out nuthouse during this episode! They screamed curses, yelled at every answer, booed loudly, and cheered even louder. Gene looked like he was going to pop a gasket a few times. Charles even fled to the back of the set at one point and wrote an answer there, hoping to separate himself from the pack and the noise. Meanwhile, Richard Deacon is dressed as an actual deacon, and Robert Pine is nervous about helping the contestant with "Grizzly __" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night at HBO Max with Who's Harry Crumb? Harry Crumb (John Candy) is an incompetent private eye who has been assigned to find a millionaire's missing model daughter Jennifer (Renee Coleman). He suspects her shallow stepmother Helen (Annie Potts) and her tennis coach lover Vince (Tim Thomerson) kidnapped her, especially after a note arrives demanding ransom. Neither Detective Casey (Valri Bromfield) nor Eliot (Jeffery Jones), the current manager of the Crumb & Crumb Detective Agency, think he's much use, but Jennifer's neglected younger sister Nikki (Shawnee Smith) is more than willing to help crack the case. Helen's not the only one behind the kidnapping, though...and it'll take all of Harry's bravado and sheer dumb luck to track down the real crook and keep them from skipping town.

Pretty typical Candy vehicle from the late 80's, released just prior to his breakthrough in Uncle Buck. There's some funny moments, especially his trying so hard to improve his vocabulary and show off, and some, like his Indian air conditioner repairman schtick, that definitely wouldn't fly today. Fun for a rainy afternoon if you're a fan of Candy or wacky random comedies from the 80's and early 90's. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Games for a Song

Started off the morning with a quick breakfast before heading out. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning. Sunny, windy, warm but not too hot. Everyone must have been at church or sleeping in. I barely saw a soul outside, not even on the Pikes. 

They all went grocery shopping. It was busy from the time I arrived until around 2 PM. Everyone came through with food to take to the Shore or for barbecues and picnics, or just to feed kids who were now home all week. It slowed down after 2, but never emptied out. 

I did have a couple of annoying families about an hour before I left. One family came through loudly arguing amongst themselves. They were some of those people who say they have a hundred dollars to spend, despite having a car full of giant bags of shrimp and fish and packages of thick back and steaks that cost 200 or more. They ended up putting back a quarter of it, and ended up splitting it into three orders, even though they really didn't have to. 

My last customers had the wrong cheese for their WIC card. I had to go retrieve it, even though I only had about five minutes left before I was done for the day. And then the PIN number for their card wouldn't go through, and it eventually locked. I finally turned them over to the head manager and barely got out on time.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road to calm down and enjoy the day. While it was much hotter and more humid, it still remained a nice, sunny, windy day. Once again, there was no traffic anywhere. I was even able to cross the White Horse Pike quickly. Everyone must have either gone to barbecues or the Shore by that point. I admired gardens of waving purple and orange lilies and satiny roses. 

Went straight into writing when I got home. As Brett and Charles leave Humpty-Deacon, they hear a great crash. "All the king's horses and all the king's men" are supposed to put him back together again, but all they do is get lost and act ridiculous. 

Broke for dinner at 7. Listened to my cast album for George M! while I ate. This is the original 1968 version of George M. Cohan's life and times, with Joel Gray as George and Bernadette Peters as his sister Josie. I really do wish they'd used more of the lesser-known songs. "Billie" introduces his second wife Agnes, and there's a lot of cute chorus numbers like "Push Me Along In My Pushcart" and "Popularity" that didn't make it into the TV version. 

Finished the night online with more musical shows. Face the Music from 1980 had people guessing which songs related to celebrities of the day. It was better-known for its strange contestants than its gameplay. Here, a woman can't stop screaming, whether she's yelling out an answer or just talking. In her enthusiasm, she often forgets that she needs to figure out the face, too. Ron Ely tries his best to keep things from getting too crazy. 

Fandango was the first game show on The Nashville Network (now Paramount Network). This is a simple country music trivia quiz hosted by the ever-charming "Whisperin'" Bill Anderson. He was joined by a talking jukebox named Edgar who spouted bad jokes sent in by viewers. This was an early hit for TNN, running from 1983 to 1988. 

Triple Threat was originally a syndicated show in 1988. That only lasted a year. It was revived on BET in 1992, with families playing instead of celebrity-contestant pairings. This is kind of a variant on Face the Music, only in this case, they ask questions related to the song itself. It could be fun to watch; it was too bad it still didn't last more than a year. 

With the revival of Name That Tune still running on Fox, I revisited the 1970's syndicated version with Tom Kennedy. That was a big deal in the late 70's-early 80's as one of the first shows to offer a six-figure payout. I loved the version with Jim Lange as a child, and it's just as much fun to watch people try to name all the songs in the Golden Medley here.

Most music-based game shows don't just involve knowledge. The Singing Bee and Dance Revolution threw the focus on actual performance. The Singing Bee had contestants called up to hear part of a popular song. They then had to sing the next lines. This started out well in its original run on NBC, but it ended up dying by the end of 2007. It did slightly better on Country Music Television (CMT), running from 2009 to 2012 there. The episode I chose is a special from the CMT version that focused on former members of 90's boy bands playing for charity.

Dance Revolution brought kids in on the fun. This Saturday morning CBS show emphasized exercise and nutrition...but it was really an excuse for groups of children to show off some funky moves. Host "DJ" Rick Adams and his Slumber Party Girls would catch moves from three teams of contestants, the "Dance Crews." The Crews would learn new moves from a choreographer, then see who could execute them the best. The kids could be fun to watch, but it moved slowly and spent too much time on the "Slumber Party Girls" and their routines. No wonder it barely ran a year. 

Of course, the concept is nothing new. People have been judging performance probably since someone first shook their caboose in a cave. Judge for Yourself is one of the many musical shows showing off live performance in the 1950's. This is the original format from 1953, hosted by acerbic Fred Allen. He, three celebrities, and three audience members watch a trio of professional performers. If the audience's points matched the celebrities', the contestants won a jackpot. If they didn't, it increased until someone won. Yeah, I can see why they retooled the format after a few months, and this didn't even last a year. I can't imagine the audience and the celebrities were in complete agreement that often. 

Dance and sing your way into the summer with these musical excursions to the past!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

It's a Hot Summer, Charlie Brown

Started off a quiet morning with breakfast before heading out. It was already hot and sunny at quarter of 10. The sky was a searing blue and the humidity was through the roof. At the very least, I did get out fast enough to arrive right on time.

And that was probably the most exciting thing that happened all day. We were dead for almost my entire shift. It did get a little steady on occasion, but nothing overwhelming. Plenty of help, too, especially later in the evening. I spent a lot of time standing around, writing story notes or organizing soda coolers. Everyone's either at the Shore, were out at picnics or barbecues, or are waiting for the beginning of the month and the big holiday weekend next week. I picked up yogurt for breakfast this week and oatmeal cookies on sale during my half-hour lunch break.

Went straight home and into dinner after work. Watched He's a Bully, Charlie Brown while I ate. Chuck's not sure he's going to like camp when a bratty kid picks on him and Snoopy the very first day. He plays Re-Run for his grandfather's prized marble collection, and the little boy is devastated when it turns out this kid plays for keeps. Angry for once, Chuck learns the ins and outs of marble competition from Snoopy in order to get Re-Runs marbles back and beat this little jerk at his own game. Meanwhile, Marcie teases Peppermint Patty about her being with Chuck at camp, prompting her best friend to abandon summer school to join them.

Finished the night on Tubi with Tom Sawyer after a shower. I go further into the 2000 animated direct-to-video version of the beloved Mark Twain novels at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Hot and Bothered (Getting Things Done)

Slept in this morning and read until almost 11:30. Finally had my brunch while watching Match Game '75. In honor of the show's German counterpart, Gene replaced all blanks with the words "Schnick Schanck." Apparently, the Germans have no word for "blank" in their language. This lead to many German accent jokes, including from Richard Dawson, who knew real Germans and Austrians doing Hogan's Heroes

Headed out shortly after the next episode began. First stop of the day was Goodwill. I had a bag of books and records to donate. Finally found the donation center behind the shopping center. The door was open and surrounded by carts. I dropped my bag in the cart closest to the back door and headed out. Went around to the main store to check out the shelves, but I didn't see anything I really needed. I've bought enough junk lately.

Dodged lunch hour traffic in the parking lots and headed up to the Acme to do grocery shopping. Mainly needed something for lunch next week; grabbed scones. Larabars were on sale for a dollar each. I skipped the packaging and bought 7 in various flavors instead. Had a free online coupon for the new Biosteel electrolyte drink and 2 dollars off for the large container of blueberries. 

Not entirely happy with my schedule next week. In good news, Monday and Thursday off, Monday for counseling. Considering it's supposed to pour on Monday, it's a good thing I do have counseling that day! I also have three 8 1/2 hour shifts, including all of next weekend, plus I'm bagging on Wednesday again.

Since I went down West Clinton on my way through Oaklyn, I stopped there for a quick lunch. Wanted something better than pizza, so I had a tomato, feta, and spinach quiche, apricot shortbread cookies, and a "Manor Mixer" (milk with crushed strawberries and juice) at Common Grounds Coffee House. They were busy for them with people chatting over tables, even by quarter of 3.

Next stop was the CVS on the border of Collingswood and Oaklyn. They were having a buy one, get one 50% off on the shampoo and conditioner I use. Their nuts tend to be cheaper than the Acme's, too. Bought unsalted mixed nuts. And...I just wanted to see if they were still open. I did hear one of the cashiers mention that the Westmont store closed June 9th. Like I said, I'm guessing they finally succumbed to the competition. There's a Rite Aid and a Walgreens within walking distance of that store on either side of Haddon Avenue, plus Target and two more Rite Aids in Collingswood and Haddonfield.

Headed home after that. Had a snack and rested while watching two episodes of Police Squad. This is the original Zucker Brothers spoof of police shows that eventually lead to The Naked Gun series. It starts off with "A Substantial Gift," or "The Broken Promise," as the narrator reads in the opening. A blonde secretary a credit union kills her boss and one of her customers to steal their money and frame the latter. Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielson) thinks there's definitely something up and talks to a dentist who says a mouthful.

Drebin hits the "Ring of Fear" or "A Dangerous Assignment" when he's assigned to investigate the apparent suicide of a boxer. The boxer's manager, Mr. Frank, insisted on all his pugilists taking dives and handing him the money. Drebin takes control of the management of one of them, Bobby Briggs, and sets him up to beat "the Champ" fairly. When Frank has Bobby's drunk wife kidnapped, Drebin has to race against time to rescue her and bring her back to cheer her husband on.

Worked on writing for a while after the episodes ended. Humpty-Deacon finally points them back into the woods and tells them that to jump the square, they have to jump his wall. They finally do so when he decides he's had enough and simply ignores them. 

Broke for dinner and Match Game '74 at 6:30. Richard happily spends the episode flirting with a very pretty blonde. The others have to figure out what Tom Thumb will use to float in and who "___ Hopper" is in the Audience Match. Richard at one point finally turns around and tells Brett to "shut up, you hamburger!"

Had dessert during Match Game PM. Gene's impressed with a slender redheaded contestant who stands 6 feet, 7 inches and is amused by a lady with a very thick southern accent. Dick and Dolly Martin are more impressed with each other. The others try to figure out how a man likes his women and his eggs, Brett scolds Gene for being off-key, and Dick tries to help with "Debbie __" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night The Roku Channel with free shows there. Charlie's Angels find themselves involved in "Dirty Business" when a sleazy film publisher hires them to find out who's been threatening him and tried to burn his product. Turns out, not only is the guy a pornographer who makes sex films, but he films wealthy people in compromising positions and use them for blackmail...and he's filmed someone where they shouldn't be...

Switched to I Dream of Jeannie for the black and white first season episode "Guess What Happened On the Way to the Moon?" Tony and Roger are sent into the desert to learn survival tactics. Jeannie is shocked to see her beloved master sweating and thirsty, so she makes food and shelter appear for him. Not only does Tony have to explain why he's so healthy after a week in the desert, but Roger isn't happy he seems to have gotten deluxe treatment. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Summer Showers

Slept in this morning. When I finally got out of bed, rain pattered on the roof in a heavy shower. Opted to cheer things up instead with Silly Symphony shorts set around summertime as I ate breakfast. "Summertime" and "Night" are variations on the "animals sing and dance and eat each other in time to classical music" theme that was popular in the early Symphonies. "Playful Pan" plays music that makes the forest dance, but he's less helpful when gyrating clouds unleash lightning that sets off a fire in the forest. 

"Bugs In Love" was the last black-and-white Silly Symphony. An insect community comes to the aid of two ladybug lovers when a crow tries to eat the female. Disney's first color short "Flowers and Trees" is a similar story. Here, though, the lovers are two young trees threatened by an old hollow log, and he's the one who sets the forest on fire. 

Spent the next hour doing research on the NJ Transit River Line. It apparently travels from Camden to Trenton, stopping at small towns along the Delaware River. Some of those small towns, like Riverton, Riverside, Edgewater Park, Palmyra, Burlington, and Cinnaminson, have shops and tree-lined avenues that might be worth exploring. If nothing else, it would be a quicker summer trip than taking two trains and a bus ride to get down to the Shore. 

By 1:30, the rain had finally ended. I was bored out of my skull and needed to get out of the house and do something. Headed out for a bike ride. Cut through Newton Lake Park on my way to Westmont. It's so green there now. The leaves on the trees are big and bright now; flowers and thick rushes grow along the lake's edge. Even on a gloomy, gray, cool day, people went for strolls and took their dogs for a walk.

First stop was something for lunch. There's a whole row of restaurants (and a spa and Hair Cuttery) in a shopping center across from the Westmont Theater gym. I chose Que Ricas, one of the smallest spaces in the mall. This colorful, tropical-themed space sells real Venezuelan street food. I went with the scrambled egg, cotija cheese, and vegetable "arepas," a type of soft cornbread roll and a can of Diet Pepsi. Oh, yum! All of the flavors melded together so beautifully, and I loved the soft cheese tucked into the bottom. Not a bad price, either. Very tasty.

Headed a couple of blocks down to Phidelity Records after lunch. Did very well here. For some reason, Paramount doesn't have every episode from the original Odd Couple online. I picked up the fourth and fifth seasons, plus Police Squad and the second series of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Records included: 

George Shearing Quintet - Black Satin

The soundtrack from the Lucille Ball Mame

Jack and the Beanstalk Peter Pan children's record

Went across the street after that to check out Samaritan Thrift. Alas, I spent a little too much time in Phidelity Records. It would seem they close at 3, and I went over at 3:30. Peeked at McMillian's Bakery, but by this point, it was rush hour. Traffic on Haddon and Cuthbert was getting worse, too, and big black clouds were beginning to gather again. 

I thought of stopping at the CVS on Cuthbert to pick up conditioner, but...there was no CVS. The building was empty, and the sign was gone. I swear it was there the last time I rode down Cuthbert! Either I didn't notice it closed, or they just closed in the last week or two. I finally just headed home the way I came. 

Went into looking at local houses for sale and apartments for rent when I got in. Had an early dinner and watched Match Game '79 while I ate. Charles announces it's Save Your Vision week and how important it is to take care of your eyes while eating on the air. Debralee Scott is more nervous about helping the contestant with "__ Talks" in the Head-to-Head.

Worked on writing for a while after I finished. Humpty-Deacon wants to stay on the subject of words and discuss how he makes up his own. Brett complains that this makes no sense, rather like the poem about the Jabberwock she'd read in the Alice book in her backyard. Deacon tells her it's mainly talking about all the monsters in Limbo and how slimy and terrible they are. 

Finished the night after a shower with Stars and Stripes Forever. I go into further detail on this 1952 biography of John Phillips Sousa at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Hum While You Work

I swear I heard the alarm go off this morning, or I thought I did. I set my alarm for 7, but I ended up sleeping until 8:30! Not a good thing, as I had work at 9:30. Rushed through breakfast and darted out; I was lucky to only be a few minutes late.

After all that, we weren't really all that busy. I spent the whole day sweeping or doing carts. I did have to put away cold items at one point. I dropped a cartoon of half-melted ice cream, and while it thankfully didn't make a mess on the floor, it did get all over my arm. I was really embarrassed by that. 

At least it wasn't a bad day for pushing carts. Humid, but cloudy and cool, in the upper 60's. It was supposed to rain later in the day, but it hasn't done anything worse than spit slightly at press time. Even so, I rushed back to Oaklyn, hoping to avoid any bad weather.

Went right upstairs and into a snack. Watched Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood while I ate. They just put out their third hour-long special, "Daniel Visits a New Neighborhood." Daniel's excited when he and his mom take a train ride to visit her friend Valentina and her family in mostly Hispanic community. Dan and Valentina's son Juan Carlos are pen pals. They're shy at first, but then they discover everything they have in common, from playing with cars to how much they adore their favorite stuffed animals. 

Put up the summer decorations and took down the spring stuff during the second half. I don't want to hang anything on the walls, but I do have several wooden sunflowers and a lovely little wreath for summer. There's also a few patriotic-themed decorations I've picked up over the years, including two red, white, and blue bows for the doors, a trio of folksy angels with the letters "USA" on their pedestals, an Uncle Sam cardboard container, two patriotic mini Beanie Bears, and America Cares Bear, the Care Bear with the US flag on its tummy I found at a yard sale several years ago. (Incidentally, I remember seeing this bear sold in the early 90's under another name and with a slightly different stomach symbol with a star instead of a flag.)

Had an early dinner while watching Match Game '74. Scoey Mitchilll made his first appearance in an episode mid-way through the year, while Charles returned after being sick the previous week. Bert Convy appeared after the Head-to-Head, making love to a contestant as the turntable came back around! In reality, he was there to advertise Tattletales, which was just about ready to debut. 

Worked on writing for a while after that. Brett is more than happy to comply with Humpty-Deacon's insistence on moving on to another topic besides age. This leads into discussions of "unbirthdays," which are quite common in the Under Kingdoms. Brett would rather get presents as a surprise, but in Wonderland, there's reasons to celebrate birthdays all year round.

Finished the night at the Internet Archive with The Mouse Factory. I remember seeing this syndicated Disney anthology show on The Disney Channel as a kid in the 80's and early 90's. Human hosts (generally actors who had done voices or appeared in live-action Disney films) interact with costumed characters to introduce cartoons or live-action documentaries revolving around a theme. The show opens with the characters and the host checking in to the "Mouse Factory" before moving into a rapid-fire preview of the episode's gags and shorts. The main bit is a series of skits revolving around the theme and leading into that episode's shorts or segments from longer films. The host would toss out a little bit of trivia or history about the subject at hand between skits. 

Just looking at the stars tells you this was made in 1972 and 1973. In addition to Charles Nelson Reilly (who is in charge of the vacation-themed pilot episode), hosts include Jo Ann Worley, Johnny Brown, Henry Gibson, Ken Berry, Joe Flynn, Annette Funicello, Wally Cox, Kurt Russell, Jim Backus, Harry Morgan, John Astin, Johnathan Winters, Don Knotts, Phyllis Diller, Dom DeLuise, Pat Paulsen, Nipsey Russell, and Sharri Lewis and her puppet pals Lambchop and Hush Puppy. That alone, along with the odd rapid-fire cutting and occasionally dated gags, could explain why this is on the Internet Archive and not Disney Plus. 

Winters' lone entry, "Interplanetary Travel," wins for the weirdest episode hands down. His deadpan impersonations, including an alien, are mainly lead-ins for the odd animation from the Tomorrowland segments of the original Disneyland show. Disney created some of the freakiest alien designs I've ever seen for those episodes. They look more like they crawled out of the Paraphernalia Wagon in Halloween Is Grinch Night than a Disney show. 

Funicello's first show gets the nod for "host most related to the subject matter." Who better to be in charge of the episode revolving around Mickey Mouse than a former Mouseketeer? Her warm presence makes this far less frantic than most episodes as she introduces "Thru the Mirror" and "Symphony Hour." 

Most of the shows are a lot simpler. Worley's second episode, "Horses," gives us everything from Goofy trying to learn to ride a horse to Mickey and the gang playing polo against popular Hollywood comedians of the 1930's. Gibson is an unlikely choice for "Knighthood," as he shows how Goofy and Arthur of The Sword In the Stone went from being squires to knights and kings. Reilly returns to sell the Disney crew on "Spectator Sports" like horse racing. Brown shows off several "Folk Tale Favorites" (including segments from the rare Song of the South) and teaches Donald and Goofy how to fly a plane and a glider in "Aviation." Flynn's only show was "Water Sports," as he convinces Mickey and his crew to become "Boat Builders" and sells Goofy a boat that gets him into "Aquamania" and turns him into a water skiing champ. 

I'm not sure what younger kids would think of this today, but for those of you who grew up watching it in syndication or on the Disney Channel like I did and are familiar with either the celebrities or the shorts, it's absolutely worth a watch. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Welcome to the Summer

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast in the front room before rushing out. It was still a nice, sunny day at that point. Thankfully, it continues to be much cooler here than it currently is in the south and Midwest, barely in the 80's. Dodged some traffic, but got into work just on time.

Work was dead almost the entire afternoon. It did get a little busy around the noon rush hour. Otherwise, we were pretty quiet. Had some trouble with a woman who didn't or couldn't get everything she needed for her WIC card. They don't have a book anymore; everything they need to read is online. We're also out of a lot after the holiday weekend, including the store-brand eggs and milk needed. It took so long to figure out what she got that wasn't on the card, I had to move and take other customers while the manager finished. All I did the whole time was panic. 

Rushed home the moment one of the college boys came in for me. The sun had vanished behind clouds at this point, but it remained fairly cool and breezy. It was even a tad chilly for the first day of summer. 

As soon as I got in, I went online to do some writing. Humpty-Dumpy is Richard Deacon, a grumpy, balding character actor who sometimes sits next to Brett on the show. Brett and Charles keep trying to get him to come down, but he either ignores their questions, thinks they're asking riddles, or asks personal questions from them.

Broke for dinner and to do the laundry at 7 PM. Ate while watching Match Game PM. Brett and Charles happily spend the episode sniping at each other, including over what a lion that's been trained to attack when it hears a bell eats. Gene's less amused when he has to fix the recalcitrant turntable and push it himself. Brett's more nervous about handling "__ Peck" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night after a shower and bringing the laundry upstairs with George M! I kick off two weeks of All-American Weekdays with this adaptation of a Broadway show about the life of George M. Cohen, featuring Joel Gray as Cohen and Bernadette Peters as his sister, at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Day In the Sunshine

Started off the morning with Father's Day material from Colliers Harvest of Holidays, which I forgot yesterday. We had a lovely short story about a father taking his little girl for a night walk by the river to calm her down enough for sleep, the chapter from Cheaper By the Dozen where Mr. Gilbreath has his kids form committees to help with chores and other family decisions, and several poems. 

Had a very quick breakfast, then headed out. Left early...which may not have been smart. Work was being done on West Clinton Avenue, between 7-11 and City Hall. I still got to the Acme with time to buy some salad bowls for later in the week and buy one, get one free bags of bakery oatmeal raisin cookies. 

Work was crazy today. We had no bagger until 6 PM. I ended up pushing carts, sweeping the store, taking a register, and going in for other cashiers' breaks. At least it was a gorgeous day for pushing carts. Sunny, dry, warm but not oppressively so for June, and the wind finally died down, too. I ended up going in for another break a half-hour before I was done. Thankfully, they did have a relief for me.

It was so nice, despite it being rush hour, I had to take the long way home down Nicholson Road. Everything is so fresh and green now! Flowers bloom in brilliant rainbows across yards, and the leaves are fat and shady. I'm wondering if a lot of people had today off, considering how busy it was this morning and later in the day. Maybe they all went for afternoon drives. (Oh, and they were long finished with the White Horse Pike by then.)

Went straight upstairs and into writing when I got in. Brett and Charles land and let the Jabberwock return to Limbo. They follow a brick wall until they find Humpty Dumpty...who looks like Richard Deacon with more of an egg shape. Humpty is a rather crabby fellow who constantly criticizes Brett, Charles, and everything else. Brett and Charles are just hoping he doesn't fall off that wall and need to be rescued by all the king's horses and all the king's men!

Grabbed dinner while watching Match Game '74. Charles was out sick, so voice impressionist and stand-up comic George Kirby took his place. Morey Amsterdam joined in help the others figure out "__Timer" in the Audience Match and what Brett has locked in her dressing room to make the man with the buzzer behave.

Match Game PM was from the otherwise-pretty bad week with Mabel King, Ken Olfsen, and Guich Kotch. Kotch didn't play that well, but he made great eye candy and was funny enough to return several times in 1978-1979. King did not play well and other than briefly singing, looked pretty bored. Olfsen had more fun, including helping a contestant with "Grandma __" on the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night with Overdrawn at the Memory Bank at Shout TV. This episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 has a lot of things in common with The Running Man, starting with it being another 80's movie set in a dark future. Giant company employee Aram Fingel (Raul Julia) is caught watching Casablanca at his desk and is sent to a strange form of rehabilitation that involves putting his mind in a baboon's body. It works, but thanks to a passel of kids on a school trip, they lose the body. His personality is downloaded into the computer, and will be lost if they can't find the body soon. Within the computer. Aram finds himself caught between his dull job as a computer programmer and the exciting world of Casablanca. He's Rick, and everyone else he knows are the characters in the movie. The Fat Man is the evil head of Novicorp (Donald C. Moore), and the girl in the office he has a crush on is the singer at the bar (Wanda Cannon). Scientist Apollonia James (Linda Griffiths) tries keep Aram's personality amused and out of trouble...but he ends up first rebelling against the computer, then taking it over. 

Mike, Pearl, and the bots honor this being a PBS movie by parodying PBS programming and fund drives between segments, along with the idea of rewiring another person's mind. It's too bad that the ending is anti-climatic and makes no sense, because this is actually a pretty interesting ride before then. Jones' narration is annoying and unnecessary, but Julia does well as the normal guy who suddenly has the power to control what goes on around him. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

All Kinds of People

Started off my Father's Day by oversleeping. I somehow set my alarm to 7 PM instead of AM. Got up with just enough time to write in my journal, eat, and hurry out to work. It was still really windy and chilly this morning, enough that I needed my jean jacket when I left, but didn't need anything on at home.

Work was a pain this morning. We were busy up through about 3:30. Everyone was buying huge orders for Father's Day barbecues, birthday or graduation parties, or just to feed kids who were now at home all week. Lots of gift cards for dads, grads, and birthday presents, too. Once again, we didn't have enough help until later in the which time, everyone made it to their barbecues and parties and we were dead. We were so quiet by 5:30, I just shut down and left with no objection.

Went straight home after work. Had dinner while listening to one of my many recent record acquisitions, The Girl Who Came to Supper. In this musical version of the play The Sleeping Prince and the Marilyn Monroe/Lawrence Oliver movie The Prince and the Showgirl, the members of the West End show "The Coconut Girl" are excited when they learn the Prince of Carpathia (Jose Ferrer) is in London for the coronation of King George V and will be seeing their show. 

The star of the show, Mary Moran (Florence Henderson), catches his eye when she trips instead of curtseying. He invites her to dinner and becomes enchanted with her, and she's overwhelmed by his charm. But his teen son is aligned with those who want to overthrow the throne, and she's hardly versed in royal etiquette. Though their worlds are too far apart to make things work, she still teaches him a lesson in democracy and seeing the world in a different and more open way.

This was...just ok. It's especially disappointing for one of Noel Coward's works. Tessie O'Shea and Henderson stole the show. O'Shea got a supporting actress Tony for her medley of Cockney songs that takes everyone on a jolly musical tour of London. Henderson gets a sweet ballad, "Here and Now," after she's been invited to the Coronation, and a tour-de-force number that has her reenacting the entire "Coconut Girl" for Ferrer, including five songs. Ferrer and his material come off far less well. He can't sing, and it makes his ballads and patter songs sound all alike. 

Lesser Noel Coward is still worth hearing, so if you love him or the big brassy Broadway musicals of the 50's and 60's, you'll want to look up this one at least once.

Worked on writing for an hour after dinner. As they look down, Brett sees a wall with a familiar egg-shaped figure. Humpty Dumpty was supposed to help her jump to the next square. She gets the Jabberwock to let them down far enough away that he won't scare Humpty before taking off again.

Finished the night on YouTube after a shower with game show episodes honoring Pride Month and Juneteenth. Homesexual actor, director, and voice artist Charles Nelson Reilly and lesbian writer and comedienne Fannie Flagg are two of my favorites on Match Game. The only time they appeared together on Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour was the final week. I went with the very last episode, where Charles cries over his answers in Match Game and Fannie gets a few risqué ones in Hollywood Squares

Celebrity Bowling was what it says on the tin. Stars played four rounds of bowling for charity. Charles appeared at least twice. In the episode I chose where he's partnered with Gabe Kaplan from Welcome Back, Kotter, he accidentally hits Shelly Berman with his ball just as he's about to start! Charles did a lot less damage as a panelist on What's My Line in 1964, during the time he appeared in Hello Dolly on Broadway.

One of Fannie's funniest appearances on Match Game was also her last. She and Brett came rushing in late for the show! Gene gave them a good scolding for that. Fannie also did her last Head-to-Head, helping a gentleman with "__ Rebellion," and got to hear Brett complain how no one would rebel against whiskey!

Actor and "poet laureate of television" Nipsey Russell's natural habitat was word games like Password Plus. He did very well in early 1980, easily helping his contestant to the Alphabetics round. Jimmie Walker and his then-girlfriend Samantha did even better on a 1975 episode of Tattletales against experienced couples Lynda Day and her husband Chris and Don Galloway and his sweet wife Linda.

There's so much to celebrate this month! Honor some of the best panelists in game shows with these classic episodes!

And here's the Father's Day marathon Match Game Productions put together last year for even more June holiday fun!