Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bear-Ing the Fall Weather

I awoke to a day that felt far more like fall than late summer. My apartment was actually chilly! I slept in a bit more than usual and only heard the last 40 minutes or so of the American Top 40. We hopped into early fall 1985 as power ballads, pop, and R&B dominated the airwaves. Hits from that week included "We Don't Need Another Hero" by Tina Turner (from the sequel Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome), the dynamic theme song from St. Elmo's Fire by John Parr, "Don't Lose My Number" by Phil Collins, and "I Don't Want Your Freedom" by Wham!. That week's number one was one of the most emblematic songs of the year, the very "greed is good" "Money For Nothing" by Tears For Fears.

I made a longer farm market/yard sale errand run than usual, since I was off today and had more time for it. I wasn't at the farm market for too long. I'm going away for a few days next week and didn't really want to buy too much in the way of perishables. I did see that the first pears of the year and spinach of the fall season were out, while blackberries and cucumbers are gone. I ended up with the little gala apples, white peaches, a small bag of baby spinach (the large head of lettuce I bought a while back went bad before I could eat all of it!), and two tomatoes.

Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon wandering around. There were lots of yard sales out this week, probably due to the gorgeous weather. My first finds were at an estate sale on Newton Avenue in Oaklyn. I bought three Golden Books and four Disney Wonderful World of Reading books for my nephews for Christmas. Mom still has a ton of our old Golden Books, and almost all of our Wonderful World of Reading books. We loved them to death, and I'm sure the boys would love to add some Pixar stories to their nana's collection.

I spent an hour riding around Collingswood after leaving the farm market, looking for a street but not being able to find it. Finally gave up around 11 and crossed Cuthbert to Westmont. I had far more luck there. I found two Strawberry Shortcake DVDs at one yard sale. Another yielded a Miss AG Bear, American Girl's furry mascot in the mid-90s, in her fancy "Soft n' Shiny Outfit" for a dollar. I treated myself to a Pumpkin Cheesecake Vanilla Misto Shake at Rita's, and found a just-opened catering shop and deli, the Silver Spoon, across the street that was giving away free eggplant-salami mini-hoagies and tomato mozzarella salad. Tried one more in Westmont and one on the street behind the Westmont Rite Aid with no luck. I was tired and sore by that point and finally headed home around 1:30.

Given my long week and the ride I had this morning, I didn't go anywhere for the rest of the day. Lauren's been on a Red Skelton kick, so I ran two of his vehicles. Did DuBarry Was a Lady first while making Baked Pumpkin Pudding in honor of the era. Here, Skelton is a hat check boy in a nightclub who has a crush on the singer (Lucile Ball). The club's dancer (Gene Kelly) has a crush on her, too, while the cigarette girl (Virginia O'Brian) is just trying to get Skelton to notice her. Ball, however, would rather marry for money. Skelton wins the lottery and thinks he can buy Ball's favors. When he accidentally drinks a Mickey Finn, he dreams he's King Louis in France in 1743, Ball's his mistress, O'Brian is her lady-in-waiting, and Kelly is a revolutionary....and learns a lesson about the importance of marrying for love.

This was originally a Broadway show in 1939 with Bert Laher as Louis, Ethel Merman as DuBarry, Betty Grable as the cigarette girl, and future director and choreographer Charles Walters as the dancer. I wish they'd retained more of the original Cole Porter score - as it is, the best number in the film is it's goofy finale, with the cast joining in for "Friendship." This is best for fans of the cast or 40s Technicolor extravaganzas.

I jumped into the bath while the pudding was baking. It felt sooooooo nice, especially after my long week. I leaned back, read stories from the Disney books I found a few years ago, and listened to the Rod Stewart Great American Songbooks CDs.

Returned to musicals while making turkey meatloaf, sweet potatoes and apples, and a spinach salad for dinner. I moved a decade to the more elaborate Lovely To Look At. Once again, operetta and musical conventions make for an odd pairing in this remake of the 1934 film version of Roberta. Three musical performers (Skelton, Gower Champion, Howard Keel) go to Paris to sell Skelton's share of his late aunt's dress shop to earn the money for their show. They change their minds when they meet the shop's pretty owners (Kathryn Grayson and Marge Champion) and opt to stay in Paris and get the shop back on its feet instead. That is, until Keel's girlfriend (Ann Miller) shows up, and then it looks like his show may get put on after all...

This isn't my favorite MGM musical, but it has some nice moments, including the amazing finale. Adrian outdid himself with his costumes here, and I love the Champions' smoky dance. Once again, mainly for fans of the cast and MGM musicals in general.

(And while my dinner actually came out quite well, alas, the spice cookies I made did not. I undercooked one batch and burnt the other. Darn it. I'll try again next week. At least the pudding came out well.)

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