Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer In Atlantic City

I slept in today - I won't be able to sleep in tomorrow! I work at 8 AM. Since I'll be working early for the next two days, I thought I'd have a little fun today. I rode over to the PATCO around 11 and took the 11:23 to Lindenwald. The train to Atlantic City was a little late, but not too bad. Good thing, too. The 12:02 was packed! Literally. The train conductor had to keep telling people to move to the back cars and the front cars. I'd never seen so many people on their way to AC.

The traffic was bad when I arrived, too. I assumed it was because of the nice day. It was hot, a bit hotter than yesterday, but not humid, and a heavy wind kept things from getting too warm. Had a quick lunch of those Spicy Chicken Wonton Tacos at Applebee's after I arrived. It was rather busy for 1:30. I assumed it was the tail end of the lunch crowd.

I browsed in the Tanger Outlets next. This large mall area is the first thing you see if you enter Atlantic City through the Expressway. I didn't do all that well. I did find a cute turquoise and black floral-print skirt at Layne Bryant, but they had nothing in my size at Eddie Bauer, and nothing of interest at Toys R' Us. Much to my disappointment, the Disney Store I bought my toddler Merdia doll at two years ago was gone as well.

I finally just dodged the traffic and the scores of people toting folding chairs and headed for the Boardwalk. I went in the opposite direction from my last couple of Atlantic City trips, towards the Tropicana and Trump Plaza instead of the Taj Mahal. Might as well go this way while the Plaza's still open. A stage area set up for a concert revealed what all the crowds and traffic was about, not to mention the balloons and ads all over the boardwalk for South Jersey country station Cat Country. A popular country star, Blake Sheldon, had a free concert on the beach tonight. Alas, the concert was at 6. The latest train I could get away with catching was the 5:52. There wouldn't be another one until 8:15! I wasn't staying in Atlantic City that late.

I wandered around the boardwalk for a couple of hours. Stopped at one of those 99 cent stores with ancient knick-knacks that Matt at Dinosaur Dracula loves. While I didn't find anything nearly as cool as he did, I did pick up a rather pretty lace-trimmed floral fan (I always loved fans as a kid - they seemed so elegant) and a can of Diet Rite, which I haven't seen since I was a kid. The Diet Rite was surprisingly tasty - I never remembered RC Cola and Diet Rite being that good in the 80s.

Played skee ball and some of the Wheel of Fortune machines at the Playcade. I also tried Pac Man for the first time in years. Got pretty far at it, too, up to the second peach screen. I ultimately won a small plastic trumpet and six peppermint hard candies. My American Girl dolls will get the trumpet.

I dropped by Steel's Fudge for my favorite fruit slices. They had flavors I'd never seen before, like apple, pear, pomegranate, and pineapple. I got a 1/4 pound of the latter two to save for a treat later or tomorrow, and a coconut macaroon for right there.

By that point, it was past quarter of 5. Time to head back. I first stopped at one of the numerous t-shirt shops for one of the main reasons I went there. The Atlantic City t-shirt I bought a few years was worn out. It was time to get a new one. I bought one with a simple red, white, blue, and yellow Atlantic City lettering that looked nicely faded. It took a while for me to buy it, as there were two women haggling over the cheap trinkets under the glass counter.

I wasn't originally going to check out the Pier Shops, a huge high-end mall, but I saw a giant, bright colored candy store and couldn't resist taking a peek. It'Sugar had every kind of confection you could imagine...ironically except for fruit slices. I didn't see any, and what I did see was pricey, including the giant stuffed Nerds. I just went in the main mall instead.

The main mall wasn't that much more exciting. While it was certainly prettier than it had been when I was in college and would occasionally shop there, the fancy stores carried nothing of interest to me. The fountains were lovely and soothing, but the whole mall was much too dark, especially around closed stores. I could barely read some of the signage. The upstairs was especially dark and foreboding, for all the blue lights in the ceiling that were supposed to look like stars. I hurried down a wide ramp, hoping to find my way back to the boardwalk.

I did not find the boardwalk. Instead, I strolled into a world of flashing lights, card dealers, and lemons and 7s. I forgot that Caesers' is connected to the Pier Shops and had ended up on their casino floor. I had neither the time nor the funds for gambling, so I just kept right on going, following the signs around the casino area and across the glass and carpet walkway over the street that connects one part of Caesers' to another. The walkway took me past several gift shops and to an elevator, which finally took me to a bakery and cafe and the lobby. I finally ended up back on the street near Bally's. I now knew where I was. I just followed the crowds straight down to the Rail Station behind the Sheraton Hotel.

This time, there were no travel problems whatsoever. The train to Lindenwald departed on time, was mostly empty, and was only slightly late getting in. The PATCO train to Collingswood somehow almost missed stopping at the Ashland station, but otherwise came and went on time. I rode straight home after I made it to Collingswood.

I was putting together a chicken pasta salad for dinner when the phone rang. To my delight, it was Mom. I sent her a card and a letter a few days ago, just to say "hi." I haven't heard from her much since she started her new job at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. She was in a good mood, though very tired. In addition to her job as a ticket taker and reservations assistant, she helped my sister Anny with her son Skylar's 10th birthday party earlier in the day. It was just his brother, his grandparents, his mother's fiancee, and a few local kids who were the children of Anny's friends. If the photos of them on Anny's Facbook page are any indication, they had a great time pelting each other with water balloons.

Ran most of 'Neath Brookyn Bridge while I ate dinner. We're back with the East Side Kids and a more substantial mystery. The boys help a young girl their age whose guardian was trying to force her to leave her paralyzed grandfather. When Danny (Bobby Jordan) goes back for her clothes, he discovers that her stepfather is dead. The police think he did it, but the Kids know better. Mugs (Leo Gorcey) goes undercover to infiltrate a gambling racket, while the others hide the girl.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Height of the Summer Harvest

I awoke to another amazing morning. It was perfectly comfortable in my apartment as I had cereal for breakfast and watched two more East Side Kids movies. Follow the Leader has Mugs (Leo Gorcey), out of the army due to bad eyesight, getting involved with a smuggling ring. Mugs is a jockey in Mr. Mugs Rides Again. When he's barred from racing due to a fixed race, he vows to find a way to help an elderly horse owner win the money she needs to keep her stable open, whether he races or not.

I didn't start today's errands until past 12:30. The Oaklyn Library was pretty quiet when I arrived. It was too nice of a day for a lot of people to be online. I organized DVDs - the kids' section was really bad - shelved a few kids' books, and headed out.

Next stop was Rite Aid. I needed a 9 Volt battery for one of the fire alarms in my apartment. I originally wanted to take out money, but they didn't let you take out as much as I needed. After I finished there, I went across the street for a quick, quiet lunch at Thriftway. They had a small cafe area. The sweet girl behind the counter made a tasty grilled cheese sandwich on rye with Swiss cheese, tomato, and bacon. I added a small Perrier for a great quick, simple lunch.

Next spent some time at the Haddon Township Library. There was a nice stack of DVDs to shelve today, both adult and kids' titles. This time, all of those darn "s" titles didn't make it onto the shelves. They have really, really at least got to clear out Scooby Doo titles. They don't need every single one of those three-episode monster-themed collections. I forgot something with my address on it, which meant I couldn't renew my library card today and didn't take anything out.

Just as well. After another brief stop, this time at the Westmont Acme to get money and a soft pretzel, I moved on to the Westmont Farm Market. The traffic was crazy on Haddon Avenue. Good thing there was a crossing guard this time that helped people get where they were going. Other than there were more food booths and the Sweet Pea Ice Cream cart was on the end of the block instead of the beginning, things were pretty much the same as they were last week. Cherries were gone, but the smaller melons had made their debuts. Squash is huge this year, some as long as baseball bats! I'd never figure out what to do with zucchini that size. I ended up with blackberries, blueberries, two much smaller yellow squash, one of the miniature cantaloupes, a tomato, a cucumber, and a smaller, pale white yellow pickling cucumber.

Went home via Newton Lake Park. It was a gorgeous day for it. It was in the mid-80s by 5:30, with a blue sky, a nice breeze, and no humidity whatsoever. Most families were probably getting dinner, but there were tons of people out for a walk, fishing, or riding bikes. I saw a lot of kids on bikes as I headed down West Clinton Avenue towards Manor as well.

Ran one of the later Sach/Slip-focused Bowery Boys movies as I put my groceries away. The Boys are Jungle Gents when it's discovered that Sach's sinus medicine gives him the ability to smell diamonds. Following an older man who is in search of a lost diamond mine, the four and Louie head for Africa. No one's happy with Sach when he accidentally burns the map. Sach has other things on his mind - he keeps encountering a gorgeous jungle native who seems to have fallen for him.

I did make it to Rose's for dinner around 6:30. Hark, hark, Toby and Kelsey did bark! Turns out Rose and the dogs and I were the only ones eating. Craig had to work (he's still a waiter at Anthony's in Haddon Heights), and Khai was tired and cranky after pre school and went to bed early. No matter. We both enjoyed an excellent meal of green beans, wild rice, and slow-cooker chicken legs that were so tender, they fell off the bone. We chatted and ate for a little while, until Rose decided she'd hit the sack early, too. I thanked her and headed home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In the Cold Days of Summer

Started off a very cloudy, unusually chilly day with an early work shift. It was almost exactly the same as it has been during weekdays for the past month - dead as a doornail for most of the afternoon. I spent a lot of time standing around bored. Once again, there were no major problems besides some cranky customers. In fact, my relief was on time today, allowing me to head out right away.

When I got home, I changed into regular clothes while watching one of the East Side Kids movies, Come Out Fighting. This series was the predecessor to the Bowery Boys, running from 1940 to 1945. Fighting was the last one, more-or-less a remake of the earlier Million Dollar Kid with a more sympathetic rich kid. The kid in question is the police commissioner's sheltered son, a dancer (Johnny Duncan). He wants the Kids to take him in and teach him how to be tough. The naive boy has gotten involved with some nasty folks, including gamblers. When the Kids try to come to his rescue, one gets hurt, and leader Mugs (Leo Gorcey) gets in trouble. It's up to the rich kid to win the boxing match for the Bowery and prove just how tough he is.

Dad-Bruce's birthday was yesterday. I tried to make him a Blueberry Butter Cake last night, but it fell apart. Oh well, it was edible. I cut it in half, glued together what I could with Cool Whip mixed with cinnamon, and took it and a birthday card over to Dad's house. Jessa and Joe were making a huge bowl of pasta with shrimp, scallops, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I ended up eating at their house. Even with five of us (and Joe's huge appetite), there was still more than half of that big bowl left after everyone ate, plus another bowl of plain pasta.

Heard from Rose when I got home. Rose invited me over her house for dinner tomorrow evening to celebrate her new job in a law firm in Camden. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't really seen much of her since Father's Day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Three Is a Magic Number

Once again, I began the day with an early work shift...and once again, it was dead for most of the day. It got mildly busy during the noon rush hour. By the time the dinner rush hour was just starting around 3PM, my (late) relief was arriving. There were no major problems other than some annoying or obnoxious customers, and I was in and out.

I watched more Schoolhouse Rock before work and as I was changing into regular clothes afterwards. Multiplication Rock was one of the earliest sets, covering basic math. Science Rock went into everyday science concepts, such as how the body works or how electricity is made. The sweet ballad "Three Is a Magic Number" is probably the most famous of the math episodes, but my personal favorite is the ethereal "Figure Eight," performed by cabaret singer Blossom Dearie. My favorite Science Rock number is Lynn Aherns' "Interplanet Janet," the catchy tale of an intergalactic baseball team traveling from planet to planet, looking for good places to play games.

I finally got out to the laundromat around quarter of 5. It was a gorgeous night for a walk. By 5, the sun was out, the humidity was lower, and there was a nice, cool wind. There were quite a few kids out and about, riding bikes or playing baseball in their yards, waiting for their parents to come home from work. That could be why the laundromat was busy, too. It wasn't bad when I came in, but by the time I left, I was dodging four people and at least one family with kids.

I was just happy to get home and make leftovers for dinner. Ran more Bowery Boys as I ate. They buy a detective agency and become Private Eyes after Sach is hit on the head by a local kid and gains the ability to read minds. Even Sach's newfound ability may not help them when a beautiful blond runs in their office and says she's being followed...and turns out to be involved in a fur-theft racket. The boys go undercover at a sanitarium to find the blond and the kid after the crooks kidnap him, too.

And while we had a whopper of a storm around midnight last night, we still haven't seen any rain today. It'll probably show up late again.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Put On Your Sunday Shows

I had a quick breakfast of Blueberry Pancakes while listening to most of Hello Dolly! Carol Channing was a huge hit in the original 1965 Broadway cast of the hilarious tale of Dolly Levi, a fast-talking matchmaker in the New York area in early 1900s. Resourceful Dolly manages to pair off most of the cast during one memorable Fourth of July in Manhattan...including herself with cranky but wealthy bachelor Horace Vandergelder (David Burns). I generally prefer Pearl Bailey and her later all-black cast, but there's some virtues here took, especially a very young Eileen Brennan as Irene Malloy (she gets to introduce the lovely "Ribbons Down My Back").

Work was more-or-less the same it has been on Sunday all month - steady but not overwhelmingly so. There were a few annoying or obnoxious customers. Maybe people were worried about the weather. We were supposed to get storms by later in the afternoon. It was hot and humid and, despite a nice wind, not very pleasant. It was still sunny when my relief came in around 3.

I changed into regular clothes when I got home, then took out a ton of recycling. I really shouldn't have put it off - the bin with the cans and milk bottles was overloaded. Spent the next hour cooling off in the air conditioning, messing around online and watching the squirrels and birds chasing each other on the porch outside my bedroom window.

Bored, I made a quick run to CVS for cards. Dad-Bruce's birthday is tomorrow. My oldest nephew Skylar has his birthday on the 31st. It was still sunny and humid, though a bit cooler, by quarter after 5. The ride wasn't too horrible, and CVS was quiet as can be.

When I got home, I sliced a tomato, a potato, and some green pepper, threw in the last of the mushrooms, added eggs and cheese, and had scrambled eggs and summer vegetables for dinner. Ran another Broadway cast album as I enjoyed a simple but hearty dinner. Plain and Fancy is a fairly typical musical from 1955 with an atypical setting - the Pennsylvania Amish country. Two normal sophisticated New Yorkers who have inherited land in the real-life Amish town of Bird-In-the-Hand find themselves among the Amish country folks. The "plain" folks of Pennsylvania butt heads with the "fancy" couple as both sides learn that love can be tough for anyone, no matter how plain or fancy they are.

Very cute if you're a fan of Barbara Cook or the musicals of the 50s and 60s. Hilda, the curious Amish girl who falls for the male half of the New York couple, was Cook's first role in a hit show. She gets a lot to sing for someone whose character doesn't really have much to do with the plot - she has two solos, plus joins in on two other numbers. This isn't something I'd go out of my way for (it's hard to find on CD), but is enjoyable enough if you ever run into a copy.

Oh, and at press time, it still hasn't stormed, or even put out so much as a raindrop. We'll see how things go tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Crosby's Island

It was cloudy and humid but surprisingly not hot when I awoke this morning. The American Top 40 took us ahead in the 80s to the summer of 1987. I was 8 years old, reading Star Wars novels or spending time at the beach with my family, when these songs were on the radio. Hits that July included "Shakedown" by Bob Seeger from Beverly Hills Cop II, "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael, "Girls Girls Girls" by Motley Crue, "Point of No Return" by Expose, "Something So Strong" by Crowded House, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2, and the remake of "Funkytown" by Psuedo Echo. That week's #1 hit was one of the biggest ballads in a year filled with slow, intense songs, "Alone" by Heart.

Work wasn't too bad. It was a little busier than it has been, but certainly not as bad as it usually is on a weekend. Though it did start showering on my way to work, the weather didn't seem to scare off the crowds. I suspect most people are probably on vacation. There were no major problems, and my relief was on time.

I ran a couple of Schoolhouse Rock shorts as I changed and settled down after work. The sun was shining, but I was too tired to do any running around. The America Rock shorts debuted in the mid-70s as the Bicentennial was looming. In addition to the familiar ones like "I'm Just a Bill" and "Fireworks," the 25th Anniversary set includes "Three Ring Government," which explains just how the government itself works. I also threw in "Tyrannosaurus Debt" from Money Rock, a rather pointed take on the government's fiscal spending.

I spent the next few hours napping. I feel guilty. I'm not used to working early. I should be. My sister Rose and my best friend Lauren both have jobs that require them to work normal hours. I wish I did. I wouldn't mind working early if I worked early every week, not just when the college students and high schoolers were taking the late hours. And I work at 8 AM next weekend! I feel like a teenager working their first job, not a real adult working their only job. All I want is consistency.

I ordered a set of some of Bing Crosby's lesser-known films that was on a really good sale on Amazon a few days ago. It arrived today. I started with one of several he did in 1934, We're Not Dressing. Crosby is Steve, a good-natured but mouthy sailor on a yacht owned by a snobby heiress (Carole Lombard). When the yacht sinks thanks to the heiress' drunk uncle (Leon Errol), she, Crosby, the two pampered princes who are courting her for her money, and her singer friend (Ethel Merman) end up on a tropical island. None of these people know how to take care of themselves...except for Crosby, who teaches them that maybe living "like the other half" isn't so bad. Meanwhile, the island isn't uninhabited. Two nutty explorers (George Burns and Gracie Allen) are searching for rare animals.

Oh boy, is this a weird one. A cross between a screwball comedy, a musical, and Gilligan's Island, this makes no sense whatsoever but has some fun moments, thanks to Merman chasing Errol and Burns and Allen's gags. Lombard has less to do besides look appropriately haughty. The big Bing song here is "Love Thy Neighbor" (which is worked rather well into the plot when Bing is scolding the others for not helping out and working with him).

Friday, July 25, 2014

Comedy This Afternoon

It was absolutely gorgeous today. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and it was probably no more than the lower 80s, with no humidity whatsoever. All of this added up to a very, very quiet morning at work. Other than a few annoying customers, we had no problems whatsoever. I spent a lot of the morning standing around bored. I got off as soon as my relief arrived.

I didn't leave right away, though. I had a little grocery shopping to do. There were a few things I needed to restock, like brown sugar, seasoned chicken fillets, and whole wheat bread. The Pepperidge Farm Goldfish are on sale for a dollar. I enjoyed the French Toast Goldfish Grahams so much, I bought two more bags, in Vanilla Cupcake and Fudge Cupcake. Since the Dr. Oekter mousse mixes and Cool Whip were on sale, I bought two boxes of dark chocolate mousse mix and a chocolate cookie crust to make mousse pie. The Acme is selling these tasty cinnamon twists for a dollar for a 4-pack, too. Thought I'd try that as my special Friday treat.

I'm not terribly happy with my schedule next week. While I have the same amount of hours I usually do at this time of year, they're all very early, as early as 8AM! On the other hand, I also have Wednesday and Thursday off. I'll be able to get to the Westmont Farm Market again and maybe do something else fun if the weather's nice.

When I did finally get home, I changed, then put everything away. I made a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Pie while as I watched more Bowery Boys. Bowery Battalion was the first of four movies where the Boys end up in the Armed Services. The boys join the Army after a mock air drill makes them think they're being invaded. They're not very good soldiers, but they find themselves having to get their act together when spies kidnap Louie in order to get his plans for a new military weapon.

Switched from the Bowery Boys to Laurel and Hardy as I made baked chicken breasts with molasses spices and Italian zucchini with tomatoes and onion for dinner. Stage actor Dennis King plays The Devil's Brother, an Italian outlaw who masquerades as a marquis in order to steal jewels from the nobility. While King tries to romance a huge payment out of the wife of a nobleman (Thelma Todd), Stan and Ollie act as his assistants...then decide they want to catch the Devil's Brother themselves.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rose Girls of Summer

I didn't sleep very well last night and got up fairly early. Spent some time reading and writing in my journal before having breakfast while continuing my Bowery Boys marathon. Live Wires was the first Bowery Boys movie. Fed up with the producer of the East Side Kids series, Leo Gorcey and his agent took to producing their own series about trouble-making young men in New York. Here, Slip Mahoney lives with his sister Mary, who's frustrated that he can't keep a job. Sach, for once, can - he's a process server. The movie becomes a series of gags about Slip and Sach trying to do their work, until they go up against a huge gangster who is easily three times their size...and find out who his boss is.

I did some stuff on the computer and didn't make it to the Haddon Township Library until nearly noon. It was a rather chilly day for late July, cloudy, windy, and probably in the upper 70s-lower 80s. Newton River Park was busy with kids playing with their parents on the playground and people going for lunchtime jogs.

Haddon Township Library was busier. Most of the librarians were busy, so I was on my own today. I shelved the children's DVDs. With more kids out of school and the weather iffy earlier this week and this weekend, many families were taking DVDs out. I once again managed to get everything on the shelves, even the "S" titles. Likewise the adult movies and non-fiction programming. Shelved some audio books and CDs as well.

Ended up at Friendly's for lunch. They're having a lunch sale - I got an All-American Burger, fries, a Diet Coke, and a Happy Endings sundae with hot fudge and two scoops of coffee ice cream for a little over $10 with tax and the extra cheese on the burger. They had a good-sized lunch crowd today, mainly mothers and grandmothers treating the kids to lunch and ice cream.

Made a short stop at Dollar Tree next. I'm finally almost out of sponges after I bought all those cheap ones from the Acme a few months back. I also saw a pretty rose-themed notepad that would work to write grocery lists on. Mine ran out some time ago.

The day was getting nicer by the minute. By the time I left the Westmont Plaza, the sun was out, and it was a little warmer, but neither humid nor overwhelmingly hot. The day practically begged for a ride. I've been meaning to get up to Haddon Heights and Barrington for months now, but I haven't had the chance. I decided it was a great day to explore the Barrington Antique Center.

The Antique Center is a barn of a building a few blocks from the ramp over the White Horse Pike. Tiny rooms are jam-packed with every kind of collectible item you can imagine, from the usual glassware, dishes, old magazines, and dusty knick-knacks to vintage clothes and linens, toys, games, records, and even CDs and DVDs. In fact, my first find was a DVD. I picked up the Tyrone Power Mark of Zorro for a dollar, a bit of a surprise given that the Antique Center's prices aren't always that great.

My best discovery of the day was a book. While I was able to pick up the majority of the 80s Rose Petal Place hardback storybooks on, two of them eluded me. Three smaller hardbacks had been released with cassettes. A Garden of Love to Share was a reprint of one of the full-sized books, but Rose Petal and the Evil Weeds and A Matter of Music were original stories. I finally picked up Evil Weeds for $2, much cheaper than I've ever seen it online. Rose Petal and her friends are attacked by weeds, who were sent by the evil Nastina the spider to choke Rose and her pals out of their homes. They fight back by cleaning up - and not letting Nastina's plotting get the better of them.

I went straight home after I left the Antique Center. The rush hour traffic was kicking in, and I was tired and not up to any more running around. Spent the next hour or so enjoying a relaxing bath. I read the American Girl Samantha mystery The Stolen Sapphire and Calvin and Hobbes comics while listening to one of my Lena Horne CDs.

After I finally got out, I just made a simple dinner of a summer vegetable and cheese omelet while watching more Bowery Boys. In Blonde Dynamite, the Boys turn Louie's Sweet Shop into an escort service after they talk Louie into going on vacation. While they try to make themselves presentable for the ladies, a group of gangsters blackmail their friend Gabe into giving them the combination to the safe of the bank he works at, then try to tunnel to the bank from Louie's.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Late Afternoon Harvest In Westmont

I began today at work. My early work shift was exactly the same as my late work shift last night - steady during rush hour, quiet the rest of the day. Most people are probably on vacation. Other than a few cranky customers and my relief being slightly late, I got in and out with no trouble.

When I got in, I changed into regular clothes and finished out Spy Chasers....then went right back out. Despite the heat and humidity (it got into the lower 90s here today) and my late night last night, I still wanted to try something. There's a farm market in Westmont every Wednesday evening from May to October. I've never been able to get there. I usually work between 4 and 7 on Wednesdays, and even when I'm home by 4, I'm often too tired to deal with the traffic. Not to mention, I usually attend Collingswood's farm market. This week, though, I once again work too early on Saturday to make it to Collingswood. With the weather holding out, the time seemed to be ripe to give Westmont's market a try.

After a quick stop at the WaWa in Collingswood for a bottled chilled mocha cappuccino and to use the ATM machine, I headed down Haddon Avenue to Westmont. The Farm Market is on Stratford Avenue between two blocks of businesses, across from Primo's Water Ice. They're not nearly as big as Collingswood. They only cover one block, and not even all of that. The big attraction, in addition to farm stands, are a lot more food booths with a far more varied menu than Collingswood has. This market does take place during the dinner hour. There's also a few more craft booths, which you don't often see at Collingswood during the summer.

The only vendor I recognized from Collingswood was the farm stand that sells the Chinese long beans. I love those. They have great tomatoes, too. I also ended up with an eggplant, cherries, white peaches, red potatoes, and a purple and white bell pepper, which I've never seen before. Tried Sweet Pea Ice Cream's Cupcake flavor; expensive, but so worth it. Tasted like Haagen Daas makes cake. Bought a huge bottle of water for the ride home.

I made flounder and Chinese beans for dinner while watching the second Police Academy film, Their First Assignment. Mahoney and the rest of the graduates from the first film have been assigned to the roughest, toughest neighborhood in their hometown. Hooks isn't thrilled to be on desk duty; the others aren't happy with their new partners. (Except for Tackleberry, who falls hard for the beautiful Kirkland, who's just as gun-crazy as him.) Captain Pete Lassard (Howard Hesseman) is desperate to control the crime in his area, especially the out-of-control gang leader Zed (Bobcat Golthwait). After he and Hightower are suspended, Mahoney goes undercover to infiltrate the gangs. This one is probably best known for introducing the totally insane Zed and nerdy Sweetchuck, who is seen throughout the movie as a shop owner who keeps getting battered by the cops and the gangs.

For all my frustration with my schedule this week, it's probably a good thing I worked late last night and not tonight. It didn't start storming here until around 8:30. It seems to be gone now, but we'll see how things go.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hot Time for Laundry

Began the late morning by finishing off Gumby. "Gumby Racer" pits Gumby and Pokey against the bullying Blockheads in a race across the countryside. While the Blockheads do everything they can to cheat, Gumby and Pokey just keep on rolling. "Sad King Ott's Daughter" has Gumby and Pokey using their new ball that can morph into anything to rescue the title character's daughter from the evil Black Knight. "The Glob" is a mound of clay Gumby was sculpting that somehow turns into a monster that eats everything in sight! Gumby and Pokey hit the western book Pokey came from to figure out how to pacify the clay creature.

I didn't get to the laundromat until nearly noon. It was hot and more humid than yesterday, but still not horrible. There was a wonderful breeze that felt good as I was walking there. It wasn't busy today at all, other than the managers fixing a recalcitrant washer and refilling one of the coin machines. By the time more people were arriving, my small load was nearly out of the dryer.

When I got home, I quickly threw on the Bowery Boys while I put away my clothes and had lunch. Gumby and Pokey aren't the only ones to rescue royalty. In Spy Chasers, Louie is called on by the King and Princess of Truvania to hold half of a coin that'll identify a courier bringing word of revolution in their home country. The Boys and Louie are delighted to help. Sach runs into trouble when he falls for the Princess' lady in waiting, who turns out to be one of the spies of the title who are determined to end the revolution and keep the king off his throne.

Work was very quiet for most of the night, and even the 4PM rush hour could have been worse. It's just as well. The Acme is in the midst of cleaning the stores' floors. They did the back storage area yesterday. The lockers were still shoved way in the back when I arrived. I had to store my things in the employees' lounge until they were returned. The stock boys and managers were moving candy shelves and soda machines and sweeping and cleaning under them when I left.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bowery, Gumby, and Beyond

Started a sunny, windy day with more Bowery Boys. Bowery To Bagdad is one of only two Bowery Boys films to feature out-and-out fantasy elements. (Ghost Chasers is the other.) Sach buys an old lamp for Louie's birthday. When he polishes it, he's surprised to discover it's a magic lamp with a genie (Eric Blore) inside. Slip eventually insists on being master for the Genie, too...but a group of none-too-bright gangsters and two Arabian men who have been searching for it for years also want the lamp.

I finally headed out around noon for today's errands. My first stop was at the Oaklyn Library. It was surprisingly busy for a Monday, with several families in and out to take out books. The adult DVDs were fine, but the kids' section was a disaster area, with almost nothing where it belonged. There were a lot of kids' books to shelve, too.

My original thought for today was a bike ride, but it ultimately got too hot. I took a (only slightly late this time) bus to the Market Place and Town Centre at Garden State Park...a long, fancy name for two shopping centers in Cherry Hill attached to condos. Since it was past 2:30 by that point, my first stop was Panera Bread for lunch. I was surprised at how busy they were well past the lunch hour. I was able to get a nice seat by a window, watching the traffic go by as I ate a tasty half of a tomato and mozzarella panini and a cup of French onion soup.

I was mainly at the Market Place to visit their Bed Bath and Beyond. I had a 20 % off coupon that was expiring in a few days. Though I considered buying a new rectangular cake pan, I decided it would be too heavy to carry home. Went with a new dish rack and dish mat instead. I've had my dish rack since I moved here. It was chrome and had rusted badly. Not to mention, the plastic cup that held the silverware broke off early on. I bought a smaller rack that was covered in white vinyl and a clear plastic mat. Easier to clean, and no more rust.

I was in and out of a few stores next. Wanted a wireless mouse at Best Buy. The wired mouse that I bought last year was nothing but a pain. It worked all right, but the wire kept getting in my way, especially on my desk. Also found Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! in the $4.99 family movie DVDs bin. Checked out Nordstrom's Rack in the hope of finding a nice pair of black shorts. My older ones don't fit very well anymore. Alas, I couldn't find anything I liked.

Finished at Barnes and Noble. I debated a couple of books before going with two mysteries, one for little girls, one an adult mystery about a little girl. A Growing Suspicion is an American Girl historical character mystery. Rebecca Rubin, a New York kid in 1915, finds out something strange is going on at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Fadeaway Girl is an adult mystery about Emma Graham, a 12-year-old girl who is a reporter and a waitress at her mother's hotel.

I waited for the bus on a patch of beautifully manicured grass by the bust stop sign. It was a lovely place to have my snack - some sourdough bread that had come with my lunch. What a difference it was from the last time I went to the Market Place in February, when the sidewalks were icy and messy and the grass covered in snow and ice piles from the street. The bus was on time, and there were no problems getting home despite the rush-hour traffic at 5:30.

I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for an Oreo Vanilla Coolatta to cool off, then headed home. Had half of a ham steak and sauteed Chinese beans for dinner while watching Gumby shorts. The highlight was the very strange Gumbasia, apparently Gumby creator Art Clokey's first shot at a claymation short. It was just clay twisting and turning and stacking itself into various shapes in time to catchy jazz music, and almost as odd as Les Escargots despite the scratchy print.

Some of Gumby's later adventures were only slightly less strange. Gumby and his horse buddy Pokey get into a "Robot Ruckus" when the robots they hired to do their chores end up destroying the family's yard instead. "Too Loo" and "Gumby Concerto" involve Gumby befriending two musical notes and first returning them to their home, then creating many versions of himself to play musical instruments. "Baker's Tour" has a rather obnoxious - and perpetually rising - piece of dough leading Gumby and Pokey through a stove. "Gumby Crosses the Delaware" have Gumby and Pokey helping George Washington and his men in Valley Forge out somehow with their very out-of-place walkie-talkies. Gumby's stubborn dog Nopey is "Stuck On Books" when Gumby and Pokey try to teach their pet how to walk through books like the other regulars in the series.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jersey Dolls

Thank heavens I didn't oversleep again, like I did last Sunday. I awoke to a perfectly pleasant, breezy July morning, with plenty of time to have Double Berry Spice Pancakes and a handful of cherries for breakfast while listening to the CD of movie theme songs I bought last month. Most of the songs were from the 90s (with the exception of Billy Joel's "Modern Woman" from the 1986 comedy Ruthless People). For some reason, throughout the 90s, there were a plethora of movies - mostly action films and romantic comedies, but also serious dramas, family movies, and animated films - that featured theme songs that could compete for Oscars and attract another market to the film. They were mostly syrupy ballads like "For the First Time" from One Fine Day or "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic, but an occasional rap number (Will Smith's title song for Men In Black), heavy rock ballad ("Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen from the hard-hitting drama Philadelphia), or uptempo song (Sophie B. Hawkins' sweet "As I Lay Me Down" from the otherwise so-so coming of age tale Now and Then) would sneak in.

Work was on-and-off steady through most of the afternoon. Despite the nice weather, we had quite a few cranky customers, including chop-shop people who buy up sales to sell at marked-up prices in Camden and one of those people who somehow think 60 dollars will cover a 90 dollar order. I was so happy when it slowed down enough by 5 that I was able to leave despite my relief being late.

When I got home, I had leftovers for dinner while listening to the original cast album of Jersey Boys. If you're a fan of the Four Seasons or 60s rock, you'll want to at least give this a listen. Narration helps you get some sense of the story of how four guys from North Jersey met and formed a group in the late 50s and spent several years as backing musicians before hitting the big time with "Sherry." The narration has some adult language, so this is for grown-up Four Seasons fans only. realistic as this sounds, you're probably better off getting the real group first. Their records, CDs, and downloads can be found easily on and offline.

Since I had some time after dinner, I decided to change the dolls. The patriotic outfits were swapped for bathing suits or lighter gowns. Whitney wears the Springfield Collection navy polka-dot bathing suit and white espadrilles. Jessa sports the lavender floral bathing suit from the AG Island Luau set and holds the adorable pineapple-shaped ukulele. Molly wears her peach 1944 Bathing Suit and holds the towel that came with it. Samantha's 1904 Bathing Dress was layered over black Springfield Collection stockings. Felicity's in her lavender "Traveling Gown" (the second "meet" outfit) with the lovely hat from Elizabeth's Summer Gown. Josefina is cool as a cucumber in the beige Party Dress and her rebozo.

Ran Sail Away in honor of the late Broadway legend Elaine Stritch as I changed the dolls. This musical from 1961 about the social director on a cruise ship who falls for a wealthy millionaire was old-fashioned either then, and despite being Noel Coward's last show, sounds even more dated now. Stritch still has some good material, though, including the eleven o'clock number "Why Do the Wrong People Travel?"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Naughty Number Nine

I had to work earlier than usual, so I got up earlier than usual for the American Top 40 re-run. I would have been a little over a year old in the summer of 1980 when this episode was new; many of these songs were a big part of my childhood. Hits in mid-July of that year included "Love the World Away" by Kenny Rogers, "The Rose" by Bette Midler from the movie of that title, "In America" by the Charlie Daniels Band, "Emotional Rescue" by the Rolling Stones, "One Fine Day" by Carole King, "Little Jeanie" by Elton John, "More Love" by Kim Carnes, "Let's Get Serious" by Jermaine Jackson, "Tired of Toein' the Line" by Rocky Burnette, "Take Your Time" by the S.O.S Band, and two hits from the Xanadu soundtrack, "Magic" by Olivia Newton-John and "I'm Alive" by the Electric Light Orchestra.

(I left for work before I heard the #1 hit, but research online indicates that it was one of my favorite Billy Joel songs, "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me.")

I had 9AM work today. It was dead for a lot of the morning. I worked on a full cart of returns. It started picking up around 10:30, even before rush hour. By noon, it was busy. I had some fairly annoying customers. One woman fussed because she wanted the Cheerios she found on an end display for the price there. It was the wrong kind of Cheerios and was in the wrong place, but I gave it to her for that price anyway to keep her from complaining. Later on, another woman also threw a fit over an end display, this one for a cleaning products sale that gives you five dollars off your order if you buy the products listed in the flyer. She bought the products on the display...most of which were not a part of the sale. A manager and a stock person tried to explain it to her, but she got mad and left rather than listening.

I wasn't up for anything else after dealing with that. The moment my relief arrived, I hurried home. I watched another Bowery Boys movie to cheer myself up while I changed into regular clothes and had a snack. Jalopy is basically No Holds Barred with a car having the special powers instead of Sach. The Boys hope to enter their beloved, broken-down Model T Lucy in a car race, but she can barely get one lap in...before Sach and a professor friend of his develops a special fuel that makes her run like a champ! Now a group of gangsters who have money on the race would do anything to get that formula, including sending their moll after the Boys.

My original plan for today was going swimming at Dad's, but I ended up napping instead. For one thing, the weather wasn't really all that conductive to running around. It was on-and-off cloudy all day, cool and windy and kind of blahh. For another thing, I was dead tired after my early work day. I passed out at 4:30 and didn't get up until two hours later.

I had leftovers for dinner while starting the last disc of that public domain cartoon set Lauren gave me last month. Fraidy Cat was one of the few funny animal shows created by TV animation studio Filmation, which mostly specialized in action cartoons and adaptations of popular characters. Unfortunately, it's a good example of why Filmation generally stuck to action. Poor Fraidy is a cat whose first 8 lives were killed off quickly. He wants to live out his remaining one, but every time he says a single-digit number, the ghosts of his past lives appear and makes things worse. When he says 9, a cloud in the shape of a 9 appears and tries to zap him! Though a few of the ghosts are pretty funny, the show is more annoying than anything. It gets pretty bizarre at points, especially the episode that consists of that pesky 9 cloud chasing Fraidy and trying to get rid of him.

I'm working on ideas for things to do this week. It looks like the weather on Thursday is going to be nasty, so Monday will be the outing day by default. I'm tired of malls, and I don't have that much money. Maybe I'll just go for a long ride and have a nice lunch or a real picnic instead.

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day

It remained absolutely gorgeous when I got up this morning. I took advantage of the nice weather to bake a Chocolate Raspberry Chip Cake while watching more Bowery Boys. Slip and Sach are in Triple Trouble after they and the others stop a robbery and are accused of the crime. Gadgeteer genius Whitey overhears another robbery being announced on his ham radio, which gives Slip an idea. He and Sach plead guilty and befriend the real robbers in prison in order to flush them out. But when their cover is blown and Whitey hears about a planned jailbreak, it's up to their friends and lawyer Gabe Moreno to save the day.

Work was pretty much the same as the rest of the week - mildly busy during rush hours, quiet for the remaining day. Most people are probably on vacation, enjoying the gorgeous weather while they can. I was in and out with no problems other than the occasional cranky customer.

I got out just in time to ride over to Sonic for a lovely outdoor dinner. I wasn't the only one who opted to eat in the fresh breeze and sunshine tonight. The patio was packed, with three families and two older people all in the midst of eating while I was there. I enjoyed a cheeseburger, tater tots, and my favorite cherry limeade while listening to the people chattering around me and the music over their station. (Heard "Snoopy and the Red Baron" at one point; can't remember the last time I heard that one!)

Grocery shopping was next on the list. I'm not going to make it to the farm market this week or next week, so I restocked produce I needed, like peaches, zucchini, and blueberries. Bought more of the Smart Balance butter on clearance. Picked up skim milk, which I ran out of this morning. Quaker cereals are buy one, get one - I went with my favorite Oatmeal Squares, in cinnamon and brown sugar. Replaced the box of cake mix I used this morning. Grabbed single fish fillet packs and chicken drumsticks (otherwise, the chicken sales weren't very good).

I'm not terribly happy with my schedule next week. Good news - Monday and Thursday off. Otherwise, it's all very late or very early hours. I work 2 to 9:30 on Tuesday, then 9 to 3 on Wednesday! I'm not looking forward to it at all.

I cheered myself up with one of the Garfield travel-themed specials when I got home. Garfield In Paradise takes the famous fat cat and his owner to Paradise Island. Their vacation doesn't begin well, with rough plane travel and cheap hotel rooms making Garfield wish he'd stayed at home. Things begin to look up when they rent a gorgeous vintage 50s car...that leads them right to a tribe of 50s-worshiping natives and a volcano that's about to explode!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Goin' Up the Suburbs

I couldn't believe how nice it was when I awoke this morning. Started a gorgeous day with more Bowery Boys. Slip's In Fast Company after he agrees to help a taxi company owner after his vehicle is run off the road by the competition. The Boys have to get passengers and duck around the rival company, who wants to be the only cabs on the New York streets.

My first stop of the day was the Haddon Township Library. The head librarian (yes, the one I clashed with a few weeks ago) had a good suggestion. She wants me to stop trying to shove the overflowing titles onto all three shelves. Putting the letters out of order confuses kids. Just put the overflow on the return shelves. She's right. Maybe they'll finally start understanding that certain series have too many titles and need to be paired down, no matter how popular they are. I got lucky this time. A lot of kids must have taken out DVDs during the heat wave and storms; everything fit, even the S titles. I also shelved adult DVDs and newly released books.

Rode across Westmont and Audubon, dodging traffic coming back from lunch, and headed to Simply Soups for lunch. It was quiet for quarter after 1. I was the only one who ate in the main room. I had my favorite Italian Wedding Soup, with a good-sized slab of cornbread and a can of Diet A&W. Since they don't accept credit cards, there's an ATM machine right next to the desk where you pay. I took advantage of an older woman ordering soup for friends and used the machine instead of going to WaWa for money.

I just barely made it to the corner of King's Highway and the White Horse Pike across from the Shell station in time to pick up the bus to the Moorestown Mall! Good thing it was a few minutes late. The Moorestown Mall is the last of the area's four major malls I hadn't explored yet...because it's the furthest away. The bus ride was an hour, twice as long as the rides to Deptford, Cherry Hill, and Voorhees. On the other hand, it was rather pleasant, passing through attractive suburbs and wooded areas. The bus wasn't full to begin with. I was the only one who went all the way to the Mall.

The Moorestown Mall is sort of in the middle of the pack, compared to the other area malls. It's not as large as Cherry Hill and lacks its history and upscale stores, but it's bigger than the Voorhees Town Center and nicer than Deptford. What is does have is a nice selection of stores (including a good-sized Boscov's and the area's only remaining Lord & Taylor) and a gorgeous floor area with soothing fountains, dramatic curved ceilings, and lots of plants. No one will ever mistake this pretty mall for a hospital, at least from in the inside.

The stores in the main mall are an eclectic lot, too. The Moorestown Mall also has the last remaining mall FYE in this area. In fact, this is where the Cherry Hill Mall's FYE ended up after they shut down in 2011. They were only slightly larger than the former Cherry Hill store, but I did make a few finds. The used sale this time was buy one, get the second half-off. I finally grabbed the two-disc Schoolhouse Rock 30th Anniversary set, which I've almost gotten a hundred times since it came out, for $10.99 (not bad for a heavily packed Disney set). Wayne's World was the half-off title at $2.49. The first four Police Academy movies were on sale for $9.99; continued the 80s-early 90s vibe and grabbed that, too.

I wandered around for a little while longer, taking in the rest of the mall. Briefly explored two video game stores, an independent and Game Stop; didn't find anything in either. Bought a Rita's Water Ice for a snack. The marshmallow peanut butter was really yummy, creamy and sweet with good-sized peanut butter pieces. Considered seeing a movie at the huge new theater, but decided it was getting late. Managed to wriggle out of a survey when they discovered that I work in retail and they couldn't have people in retail doing testing for candy. I didn't have the time, anyway. I wanted to catch the bus home.

Despite it being rush hour, the bus was right on time. The only traffic we ran into was going into Haddonfield. Otherwise, we mostly just stopped to pick up office workers, hotel workers, and nurses and hospital clerks. Moorestown seems to be mostly the mall, tons of office buildings, and a series of large shopping centers that included an AC Moore and a Barnes and Noble. (Maybe I"ll do my birthday in Moorestown next year instead of Deptford.)

When I got off, I went across the street to the big CVS to pick up some much-needed conditioner. Herbal Essences was cheaper, but they didn't have their curl formula. I ended up with Pantene, which was also on sale, though not as much as Herbal Essences. Honey and peanut butter were also on good sales.

I finally went straight home after that, avoiding the rush hour traffic on the White Horse Pike. Spent the rest of the evening making tilapia with sauteed mushrooms and onions and a fresh garden salad for dinner while watching the first Police Academy movie. The mayor of a large city has just opened her police academy to anyone who wants to join. This brings in a wide assortment of motley characters, from gun-loving Tackleburry to determined rich girl Thompson to gentle giant Hightower and sweet but occasionally noisy Hooks. Forced to join the academy to avoid jail time, Mahoney (Steve Gutenberg) goofs off and tries to annoy everyone in order to get kicked out. Falling for Thompson makes him have second thoughts. A riot that gets out of hand finally gives everyone a chance to prove that they have the right stuff for crime work.

A surprise hit, this spawned a wildly popular series that ran throughout the 80s. (A final one set in Moscow came out in 1994.) This is a pretty typical "misfits thumb their noses at an institution" 80s comedy. It's a little raunchier and more scatological than the slightly toned-down later entries would be, including some nudity and racist epithets. The adult humor really makes this more for teens and adults who enjoy slapstick and other "misfits against society" 80s comedies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hanna Barbara and Bowery All-Stars

Though it was still a little humid when I got up this morning, by the time I went to work, it was really nice out. Which could explain why we were fairly quiet for most of the day. It was the same deal as Monday - steady during rush hours, otherwise not bad. I shelved candy between customers. One of the teen baggers who doubles as a cashier came in for me so I could go home on time.

When I got in, I ran the remaining Hanna-Barbara cartoons while starting turkey burgers with cucumber and tomato and more sweet Jersey corn for dinner. Some of the shows on the second disc were pretty cute. I especially enjoyed a couple of the more exotic funny animal shorts, like Peter Potomus and Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole. Peter and his monkey buddy So-So have to dodge Caeser and Cleopatra on the Nile. Secret Squirrel and his buddy rescue the clock face of Big Ben from a giant who wants a really big cuckoo clock!

The action shows were more of a mixed bag. While Johnny Quest and Space Ghost remain icons of 60s animation, their shows haven't dated well. Johnny's somewhat better, with decent animation and less cliched dialogue. The story I saw had Johnny, his Indian buddy Hadji, Johnny's dad, and his friend Race Bannon being spied on by a mechanical eye on eight legs worked by an evil (and stereotyped) Asian overlord. Space Ghost had a faster and more action-oriented story. Unfortunately, the interesting, sleek animation is brought down by some rather cliched dialogue. Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles is a lighter variation - Frankenstein Jr. is a monster, the Impossibles are a rock group, and both fight crime with nifty designs and goofy dialogue (and another Asian tyrant stereotype in "Frankenstein").

While I enjoyed the rental, as I was born more than a decade after the majority of these shows were gone from Saturday mornings, I don't really recommend it to buy unless you really do want just a sampling of Hanna-Barbara's early shows. Most of the half-hour shows are on DVD; I think only about half of the funny animal shorts are, though they probably all turn up on Boomerang.

Switched to more Bowery Boys as I finished dinner. We skipped ahead to the early 50s movies, the ones with just Sach, Slip, Chuck, Butch, and frequently Louie. All five find themselves Loose In London when a lawyer tells Sach he's expected to inherit from a kindly British earl. The other members of the earl's family aren't happy with these vulgar American upstarts. They first try to scare Sach and the others off. When they just ignore it, they decide to take matters into their own hands and kill the earl and the Boys!

Positive Note...Even with all the negatives I noted above, it was nice to see those Hanna-Barbara shows, in a few cases for the first time. I knew Johnny Quest, the sitcoms, and most of the funny animals well from their appearances on cable and frequent revivals during my childhood. I never heard of Space Ghost until his talk show started on Cartoon Network, or Frankenstein Jr. and the Incredibles until I saw them mentioned online.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quiet Day Before the Rain

Thanks to an exceedingly hot and steamy day, I kept my errands light. Started around 11:30 with a quick stop at the Oaklyn Library. It was really quiet there. The only people around were the librarian and the older woman she was chatting with. I mostly organized DVDs and looked over the board books. I wasn't around even a half-hour.

My next stop was the laundromat. It was a hot, sticky walk. I was surprised there was anyone out and about. I did see a bunch of men in jeans and tank tops at a house a few doors down loading landscaping equipment into the back of a truck. They were all complaining about having to do lawn work in the heat. Not that I could blame them! I was dripping when I got to the laundromat. No wonder they were dead. There were only a few people there when I arrived...and by the time my small load was in the drier and I was listening to The View, the place was empty.

When I got in, I watched Hanna-Barbara cartoons while reading in the back room and putting my laundry away. We finally got away from Quick Draw with a Flinstones episode. It must have been a really early one - the opening was different, with no lyrics on the theme song. Fred's upset when he finds a stone tablet with romantic poetry to Wilma. He thinks his wife is cheating on him. Of course, this being an animated sitcom, what Wilma's doing is quite different from what he expects.

Top Cat was my favorite of the remaining funny animal characters. TC and his boys were basically the Bowery Cats - a group of street-wise New York alley felines who come up with schemes to get a meal and avoid the local cop. Here, they take another standard sitcom plot line - adopting an abandoned baby - and give it a rather sweet spin. The cats find the baby dumped on the doorstep of a condemned building. They take the child to their alley and do take care of it...but listen to reason when their cop friend reminds them that they don't have the money or home for raising children.

The last cartoon on the first disc was an episode of Hanna Barbara's other well-remembered animated sitcom, The Jetsons. I was glad to see this one, as it answered a long-time question I had - how the Jetsons got my favorite character from the show, their sassy robot maid Rosie. I always wondered how a guy who pushed buttons all day for a miser could afford a maid. They can't - Rosie's a rental. She tells George's boss Spacely off after he starts in on George, but when Spacely admits that Rosie was right about his big mouth, George has to retrieve Rosie, before she returns to the rental company.

It was 2:30 when I finally headed out for a really quick lunch. Thick, heavy black clouds were grumbling behind West Clinton Avenue, even as I ducked into Phillies Phatties for lunch. They have tasty pizza, and the cheapest deal around - $3.50 for a slice of mushroom, a slice of cheese, and a can of Diet Pepsi. I watched American Restoration on the History Channel with a couple of teen boys and a trio of adults who came in later.

I didn't like those clouds building up behind West Clinton at all. I spent the rest of the day at home. Thankfully, the rain waited until I was in the shower around 4:30-5 PM to burst. I was in the bath by then, listening to vocalists sing Rodgers and Hart tunes on one of my jazz CDs and reading one of the guides to Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. The storm was huge, with noisy thunder and lots of rain. It's since subsided. I think it's just wet out there right now.

I switched back to the human Bowery Boys while making a chicken salad for dinner. Inspired by Top Cat's adventure, I ran Hold That Baby! The Boys find a baby abandoned in their laundromat. Unlike the cats' foundling, this baby is the heir to a fortune. His greedy aunts don't want him found or returned to his mother. Even the Boys figure out that something's wrong when gangsters threaten them and try to keep them from revealing the whereabouts of the child. While Sach tries to romance a dummy in a store window, Slip and the others go undercover at the sanitarium where the child's mother is hidden to figure out what's going on.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Storm's A 'Brewin'

Began the morning at work. Actually, work was pretty quiet for most of the day. It did pick up a bit during the noon rush hour, but other than that, it was slow. By the time it was starting to pick up again, one of the college boys was coming in for me. I was in and out with no problems besides some cranky customers.

It was hot and steamy as heck when I got out around 4. I thought about taking a walk, but I decided to relax at home and finish out the Scooby Doo set instead. The first two episodes were Scrappy/Shaggy/Scooby shorts, with no monsters or mysteries to be seen. My favorite of these was "Basketball Bumblers." Shaggy's team is losing to one that's much taller and stronger...and whose manager is using a video game to cheat. Scrappy decides to beat him at his own video game when he ends up with half of the machine. "The Creepy Case of Old Iron Face" drops back to the mid-70s show as the gang tries to out-water-ski a ghostly pirate with an iron mask who rides two sharks.

The set concluded with two racing-related episodes of the early 2000s show What's New, Scooby Doo? The kids deal with a worm that's attacking an off-road race in Mexico in "The Fast and the Wormious." Fred's hearing "Gentlemen, Start Your Monsters" when he enters a major car race that's under siege by a huge monster car driven by a skeleton.

Switched to the Hanna Barbara set as I had leftovers and some marvelously sweet Jersey corn for dinner. Disc 1 kicks off with cartoons featuring some of the company's most beloved animal characters. Western horse sheriff Quick Draw McGraw and his burro sidekick Baba Louie stop a bandit from blowing up a dam with the help of Snuffles, a dog who really loves his treats, and introduce Quick Draw's Zorro-esque alter ego El Kabong. Cat and mouse detectives Snooper and Blabs search for a ruby on Mars that was stolen by a monkey. Augie Doggie runs away to prove to his Doggie Daddy that he's a grown up now. Daddy tries to bring his son home, but in the end, it takes the opposite sex to show Augie that he's not quite cut out for adulthood yet.

I swept the porch between cartoons. It was a mess of downed sticks and leaves from the last storms we had. Even as I swept, I could hear thunder on the horizon. The clouds had been gathering since before I left work. Mother Nature was nice enough to wait until about 10 minutes or so after I finished sweeping to burst. It's rained on and off since then, though it seems to be off at the moment.

Positive thought....yum. One of the things I love about living in the Garden State is the produce. The snow we got may have driven humans crazy, but it did great things for the flora. The cherries were sweet and rich; the peaches drip down my chin. I've never had such sweet corn, either. I hope the rest of the summer produce is just as good.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On the Dark Chocolate Side

I opened my eyes and stretched this morning, as I always do...and was shocked when I turned to my bedside clock and it said 11 AM! I had to be at work by noon! I didn't have enough time to write in my journal or read. I was able to make some tasty Raspberry Lemon Pancakes for breakfast and listen to one of Bruce Springsteen's early albums on his summer adventures in Asbury Park, The Wild, the Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle, before rushing off to work.

Work wasn't too bad for a Sunday afternoon. It was steady, but not nearly overwhelming as it has been the last few days. We had plenty of help and no real problems besides some mildly cranky customers. My relief was a high school girl who was exactly on time.

When I got home, I changed into regular clothes, then spent an hour or so finishing the Nancy Drew book The Clue of the Leaning Chimney and writing in my journal. I ran the soundtrack from Eddie and the Cruisers while making a ham steak, salad, and the last of the zucchini for dinner. The movie and the soundtrack have long been favorites of mine. (I'd like to look up the book again as well; it's out of print, but I might run into it online.) Eddie and the Cruisers is a fictional Jersey Shore band whose hard-driving leader pushes them for a harder, cooler sound, then disappears in a car accident as they're on the verge of major success. This was the music of my childhood; my family wore out our old LP. There's a lot of South Jersey references, and most of the movie was actually filmed in South and Central New Jersey, mainly Somers Point, Ocean City, Asbury Park, and Atlantic City.

It was the perfect night for a short walk to Leo's Yum Yums. Though it was humid, it also wasn't that hot, and there was a nice wind that kept things from feeling worse. I got in line behind a mom and her two daughters while I decided what flavors I wanted for my gelati. Gelati is water ice and soft serve ice cream layered in one cup. I got lucky; they use Yum Yums (a creamy, gritty water ice) for geliatis as well as the regular stuff. I had chocolate soft-serve layered with their new chocolate banana Yum Yum. Oooh, that felt nice. The Yum Yum wasn't very chocolate-y, but the ice cream was, and the banana part was sweet and candy-like.

For some reason, ice cream parlors like to follow me. When I lived in Wildwood, I also didn't have to go far for a cheap ice cream fix. There was a small ice cream parlor on the Boardwalk a few blocks from me that had over 100 flavors of soft serve at one time. I adored their Chocolate Mint Patty ice cream. There was an ice cream parlor in North Cape May near our house too, Rainbow Ice Cream. They sold Breyers; I began my love affair with Breyers' cherry vanilla there.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Peach-y Keen Harvest

Started off another hot, hazy day with this week's American Top 40 re-run. We jumped ahead almost a decade to mid-July 1983. I would have been about 4 when this round of pop, hard rock, dance tunes, and duets were new on the charts, and I know them very well. Hits that summer included "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant, "Time" by Culture Club, "1999" by Prince, "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks, "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo, "Come Dancing" by the Kinks, "Our House" by Madness, "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John, "Is There Something I Should Know?" by Duran Duran, and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson. The number one hit that week would go on to be the smash song of the year - Police's biggest hit, "Every Breath You Take."

The farm market was bustling when I arrived, with long lines everywhere. And  no wonder. The summer harvest is out full force. I saw eggplants, yellow summer squash, and English (seedless) cucumbers for the first time this week. The orchard booth finally has the smaller peaches I like. I eventually ended up with a cucumber, two heirloom tomatoes, the peaches, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, a spring onion, two ears of corn, and my favorite Chinese (long) beans.

Work was just as busy. We were once again short on help, too. While it's hot and hazy, probably in the upper 80s, it's not really that humid. A lot of people probably took off for the Shore or the Poconos as soon as they could, or they're on their way. It did slow down enough by 5 that I was able to get out on time.

I was originally going to go out to dinner, but I stayed up late with Lauren (who had off today) last night and got up early this morning. I decided I wasn't up to much more than making flounder with sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms and cucumber-tomato salad for dinner while watching the Scooby Doo: Fields of Screams set. This one had a sports theme to coincide with the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil. Ghastly Goals is a new special that has Scooby and Mystery Incorporated trying to retrieve a special soccer ball from the World Cup stadium for two little boys. It turns out that the ball has been covered with a special formula to make it very bouncy...and a trickster demon wants that formula for himself!

The next episode was also recent, one of the last from Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated, "Night On Haunted Mansion." Two soccer players are scared out of their wits by a female demon searching for something in the canyons. Now back together, Mystery Incorporated is determined to find out what she's after...though Velma thinks there's something familiar about her...

The remaining stories are all "Scooby and the gang finds a monster" tales from the 70s and early 80s. Scrappy joins in for a couple of them, notably "The Demon of the Dugout." The crew is in Japan for a big Japanese/American baseball game. By the time they arrive, the game is called on account of a demon who doesn't want baseball players on his sacred turf! While Shaggy and Scooby explore sushi options, the others try to figure out what he's really after.

They return to their own home turf for "The Ghost That Sacked the Quarterback." The ghost of a hated player is kidnapping star quarterbacks before the Hawks' big game. Shaggy and Scooby would rather sample quarterback-sized sandwiches than be decoys on the field, but Velma and Fred think there's something else going on.

I'm glad Warners is putting out these sets. Scooby really brings me back to my childhood. The original late 60s and 70s Scooby shows would have been in re-runs on cable when I was a kid, and I do remember watching A Pup Named Scooby Doo in the late 80s. I always liked Shaggy, Scooby, and Velma the most. They all made me laugh, in different ways - Shaggy and Scooby with their slapstick and huge appetites, Velma with her sarcasm and common sense compared to the others.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sunshine Girls and Bowery Boys

Began the morning with Strawberry Shortcake. In Fun Under the Sun, Strawberry and all her friends in Berry Bitty City are feeling frazzled and in need of an end-of-the-summer vacation. First, Blueberry thinks Strawberry's taking them on a trip, but when it turns out to be something different, she tries to keep the others from finding out. Then, they decide to build the berry sweet tropical hotel of their dreams, but Orange Blossom gets so caught up in the little details, she forgets to let her friends have a good time. Even after they do get their mini-resort going, an obnoxious bug reporter invades, trying to get an interview with Cherry Jam. Even after she fails to get the interview, the girls' polite hints aren't enough to get rid of her. It's a wild summer, but everyone finally agrees that you don't need to find paradise to have a memorable vacation.

I had a few errands to run late this morning. My contacts were ready at America's Best. I rode over there and grabbed those before doing my grocery shopping. I had a fairly long list of things I needed and a lot of restocking to do. Acme's having some really good sales this week, including some over the weekend. I bought cooking spray, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish French Toast Graham Crackers (had a coupon for them, and they were on sale for $2), 18-count eggs, canned chicken, and Smart Balance butter (half-off - may have been a clearance). Restocked chocolate chips, canola oil, skim milk, honey, chicken fillets, and lemon juice. They had Cure 81 ham steaks on sale for $2.50. A pile of them had $2 manager's coupons on them - I got two for a dollar!

When I got home, I put everything away, had leftovers for lunch, and watched more Bowery Boys. It's No Holds Barred when a build-up of calcium in Sach's body causes him to have amazing "traveling muscles." Slip takes advantage of Sach's new strength to make a killing in the wrestling ring. A shady manager wants in on this new phenomenon...and when Slip won't let him take a cut, he becomes determined to find out just where Sach's strength is going to show up next.

Work was more of a pain. They were short on help when I went grocery shopping earlier, and they were still short when I arrived. It was on-and-off busy, too, which didn't help. It did slow down by 7, and the call-outs mostly seemed to be in the morning and afternoon. I was able to leave quickly without a relief.

Oh, and I have an excellent schedule next week. All early days, thanks to a lot of morning people going on vacation this week. My only complaint is an extra-early day next Saturday means I'll have to miss the Farm Market next week. Otherwise, Tuesday and Thursday off again and nothing later than 6. I might try for a day trip on Thursday. (It sounds like the weather's not going to be conductive to much running around on Tuesday.) I won't be going too far until fall, but I'd at least like to try for some short excursions.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Princesses of Summer

Began the late morning with today's few errands. Made a quick stop at WaWa first. I needed money for the week. Picked up one of those "Sparkling Ice" carbonated juices as well (cherry limeade). It was still hot today, but not anything near as hot or as humid as it was on Tuesday. Once again, a nice wind helped keep the air from feeling worse.

My Haddon Township Library volunteering went much better today than it did two weeks ago. This time, everyone pretty much left me alone. I started with shelving the adult DVD titles and the one CD that needed to be put away. The kids' collection did need to be done, though there wasn't too much to shelve there. I mostly had to figure out what to do with all the "S," "P," and "D" titles. I did pick up four kids' titles for me. In addition to the newest collections for Sofia the First, Scooby Doo, and the 2009 version of Strawberry Shortcake, I found a set of 25 episodes of some of Hanna Barbara's most popular creations, from Scooby to The Flintstones to Johnny Quest. I haven't seen some of those shows in years. Also found some more guide books on the Tri-State Area. Other than some trouble at the desk (I wanted to renew my card, but they wanted to see my address, and my ID hasn't been updated in years, and I had nothing with my current address on me), I was able to get in and out and do my thing with no fuss.

Stopped at the Westmont Bagel Shop for lunch. It was 1:30 by the time I made it there. I just missed the rush hour. They had soap operas on as I ate a Grilled Cheddar and Bacon on French Toast-Style Brioche Bread for lunch. Took a peek at Game Stop to see if they had Kirby's Epic Yarn, but it wasn't in.

I brought my bathing suit along so I could go swimming in Dad's pool after I finished my errands. The pool felt absolutely marvelous today. The water was in the upper 80s, according to the thermometer on the side of the pool...and unlike the 4th of July, the air wasn't too cold for a dip. I wasn't the only one in there, either. A neighbor, Ashley, her adorable four-year-old daughter Chloe, and her energetic seven-year-old son BeBe were enjoying a day in the pool for BeBe's birthday. Chloe happily practiced her strokes and holding her breath underwater, while her brother did dives (well, belly flops).

I got out when the kids did. After they left, I had a nice chat with Dad, and later Jodie. Jodie, dressed in a lovely white top with lace sleeves and a tight blue skirt, had just come from an interview as a clerk for an elevator company. We discussed how well it went and the possibility of her landing the job. Other than Jodie's job interviews, she and Dad are hoping to spend the summer visiting friends in Cape May and up north in Long Island.

When I got home, I changed into dry clothes, then put on Sofia the First as I finished the cleaning. I did the indoor windows and as many of the outdoor ones as I could reach, then did a quick dusting session. (I did a lot of dusting last month, but it gets so dusty in here, I really can't put it off.)

Sofia and her family are spending their summer vacation on "The Floating Palace," a castle-like houseboat. Sofia's looking forward to seeing the mermaids of Merriway Bay, but her family insists they aren't real. Sofia's disappointed, until she meets Oona, a sweet little mermaid who possesses a magical comb that can control the ocean. When the nasty family sorcerer Cedric turns into a sea monster and tries to steal the comb, Sofia needs help from Ariel of The Little Mermaid to get her family and Oona's merpeople family together and stop Oona's mother Queen Emilee from creating a storm.

There were some other cute episodes, too. James badly wants to win the games during "The Tri Kingdom Picnic," but he's a sore loser when he doesn't, and a not much better winner when he does. Sofia finally shows him how the adults are just enjoying themselves to get him to back off. "Make Way For Miss Nettle" introduces a grandiose gardening fairy who was once the apprentice of Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather, and now wants to be the greatest fairy ever! When she traps the trio in a bubble, Sofia, James, and their schoolmate Desmond go after their secret Spell Book to find out how to free them. Desmond is the school's best gardener, but he's also afraid of everything under the sun that isn't a plant. Sofia tries to encourage him and show him that he can be as brave as the next prince.

Finished up with more Bowery Boys as I made a quick Salmon and Cucumber Salad for dinner from canned salmon and the Persian Cucumber Salad in my fridge. They think they're Master Minds when Sach gains the ability to see the future every time his tooth aches. Even Sach can't predict that a mad scientist will want his amazing new ability for his half-man, half-ape creature. The Boys, Louie, and their buddy Gabe have to find Sach...and switch his brain back into his right body when the mad scientist actually pulls off the brain transfer!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Angels of the Bowery

My one and only chore today was a quick run to the laundromat. Thankfully, it wasn't busy when I came in. I had a lot to wash, including the blanket I laid on during the fireworks in Newton River Park last week. There was just one other family cooing over a new baby and me and The View when I was there. I grabbed my clothes as soon as I could and hurried home.

It was hot and humid again, though not as sunny or as hot as yesterday. Heavier clouds and a nice, stiff wind helped. It was hot enough to scare off our customers. Work was quiet for most of the afternoon, with cranky customers who weren't crazy about the heat. It did pick up during rush hour, but even that wasn't nearly as bad as usual. We're past the beginning of the month, and there won't be another major holiday until early September. I was in and out with no major problems.

I ran more Bowery Boys movies when I got home and after I finished the laundry. The hilarious western spoof Bowery Buckaroos is one of my favorites in the series, and probably my favorite of the early ones with Bobby Jordan. Sach dreams that the Boys head out to the Old West to prove that their favorite soda shop owner Louie didn't kill a man. Gabe Dell, an on-again, off-again member, goes on ahead as a gambler and falls for a no-nonsense cowgirl.

Angels Alley is mostly pure melodrama and isn't nearly as fun. When two pals of theirs (later series regulars Bennie Bartlett and Buddy Gorman) are sent up the river for stealing a car, the Boys jump into stopping a car ring from hiring young men to do their dirty work. Slip almost takes the rap for his no-good cousin (Frankie Darro), then takes Sach and the others undercover to find out how the ring operates.

And my positive thought for the night is...if a guy like Slip Mahoney can make justice come through, a girl like me can do just about anything. ; )

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

By a Water Ice

Started out a very hot, humid, windy day with a volunteering session at a quiet Oaklyn Library. The heat must have scared off all the regular customers. It was just the librarian, maybe one other person on the computer, and me. I organized some DVDs and children's picture books (and commented on how the new "separate all the genres" system the library director came up with for the children's section isn't really working) and left in less than a half-hour. I did find a reprint of the original novel version of Gidget in their free book bin (complete with vintage photos of the real-life Gidget who inspired the story).

My next stop was a quick one at the Dollar Tree in the Westmont Plaza. They have that wonderful strawberry preserves that's just made with sugar, strawberries, and pectin again. It's a different brand name, but the same idea. I've been needing a new scrub brush for my dishes for years, too. And since it was hot and I would be doing a lot of running around, I bought a large bottle of cold water. It was colder than Dollar Tree, anyway. Their main room was warm and stuffy. A none-too-happy cashier told me the air conditioning in the main room had died. They were awaiting the repair person.

Went straight to Haddonfield for counseling next. Stopped at the Bistro for lunch. I didn't have a lot of money, but I was able to afford a tasty "Caribbean" chicken salad wrap with lettuce and pineapple. I cooled off in the dark room, drank a lot of water, and watched the families with young children, elderly people, and office workers enjoy their lunches.

I got into Mrs. Stahl's office about ten minutes early. I mostly described my eventful month. I might as well announce it here. My sister Anny is pregnant. Not only is she going to have her third child sometime early next year, but she's set to marry her current boyfriend, J.J, soon as well. He's a nice guy. He's a commercial fisherman who works frequently, he's good to Anny, and her kids love him. I think they'll be good for each other. I don't think Mom and Dad-Bill are all that happy about it (Anny still doesn't have a job), but I'm thrilled, and Rose said she's happy for her, too.

I'm glad the 4th of July and Lauren's visit went really well, too. Like I said in earlier entries, I don't have a lot planned for the summer. I usually spend the summer working on job ideas, but that well has run dry for now. I think I'll spend it working on ideas to get out of town instead. I'd like to do at least one trip to Atlantic City, maybe two, if I can squeak it in. While Wildwood is too far, Ocean City might be a little more realistic. I miss their lovely downtown area and fun boardwalk. I'd also like to do more in Philadelphia and visit other area malls, like Moorestown, Marlton, and King of Prussia.

I also told Mrs. Stahl about my journal writing. She said use the offline journal to get out all of my fears and negative thoughts...then try to end it and this blog positively, to get more in the habit of doing it.

It was still really hot when I headed out. The digital sign at Westmont's Fire Station said 97 degrees! Needless to say, I stopped at Primo's Water Ice to cool off. It was understandably busy there. I dodged two young adults eating water ices as I went in. When I came out with a medium "Oreo dough" water ice (sweet vanilla water ice with chocolate dough and icing pieces - not pretty, but very, very tasty), a family with small kids sat outside. My water ice melted too quickly to stay there. I joined two boys playing a noisy war video game inside in "The Ice Box" (the big back room where games and movies are held).

(I will add that while 97 degrees wasn't fun to ride in, it beat doing errands in 13 degree weather in January, which involved dodging ice and wearing 8 layers.)

I debated going to Dad's for a swim, but by the time I got home, I was so darn hot, I really didn't feel like going anywhere else. I played Epic Mickey for a little while. This complicated game has Mickey thrown into "Wasteland," a world created by his old Sorcerer's Apprentice boss for lesser-known Disney characters. Mickey accidentally spilled paint on it, then fled. Now, he has to fix what he's ruined. You need both the nunchucks and the regular controller to play, and it takes a while to get it all right. I actually failed the second mission to repair the broken steam pipes. Hopefully, I'll do better with the current one fixing a blocked boat ride.

When my fingers got too sore from playing for hours, I switched to movies and leftovers for dinner. Footlight Parade is James Cagney's other well-known musical, and my favorite of the Busby Berkeley movies of the 30s. Cagney steps briefly out of gangster mode to play Chester Kent, an energetic producer of "prologues," short musical numbers that played onstage in larger movie theaters between films during the 1930s. He has a lot to deal with - someone's stealing his ideas, his ex-wife suddenly decides she wants his money, his partners are stealing money from him, his director (Frank McHugh) does nothing but whine, and his receptionist (Ruby Keeler) has decided she'd rather be in the chorus. Good thing he has a smart and loyal secretary (Joan Blondell) to help see him through.

"By a Waterfall" is the big number here, a massive spectacle that has half the girls on the Warners lot put through an enormous water ballet that would make Esther Williams jealous. "Honeymoon Hotel" is just goofy. Keeler doesn't work as the title character of "Shanghai Lil"; Cagney is much better as her sailor sweetheart.

And a positive note...I love musicals. Cagney, Kelly, Broadway Melody or Teen Beach Movie. I know people think they're silly and not "realistic." Realism is highly overrated anyway. I'd rather dance in the rain.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Boys and Tough Guys of the City

I worked early today, at 11. It wasn't nearly as busy as it has been. It was off-and-on steady for most of the afternoon, and we had tons of help up front. They had trouble getting help elsewhere, though. I stayed an extra hour to shelve light bulbs, shampoo, lotion, insect spray, and sponges. The weather helped. It's supposed to get much hotter starting today, and indeed, it was hot and humid when I finally got out around 5.

As soon as I got in, I changed into regular clothes, then finished News Hounds, which I started this morning. This Bowery Boys movie has Slip and Sach as a sports reporter and photographer respectively for a major paper. Slip catches a major horse race betting scandal, but Sach loses the camera with the photographic evidence. Their friend Gabe, sore with the gangsters who worked him over, turns in Slip's article to get even. Now Slip and the others have to find that camera, or the paper faces a huge lawsuit and Slip and Sach will lose their jobs!

Switched to Angels With Dirty Faces as I made salmon with mushrooms, steamed snap peas, and fresh strawberries for dinner. James Cagney is Rocky Sullivan, a hoodlum who returns to the slums where he grew up and was sent to reform school. Pat O'Brian is the priest who was once his best friend. Ann Southern is his girl, who owns his boarding house and also grew up with him. The Dead End Kids are local street toughs who admire Cagney. O'Brian wants to keep them on the straight and narrow, but they see the riches the gangsters are making the easy way. Humphery Bogart is the corrupt lawyer who skims the books. A spectacular showdown leads to Rocky ending up in prison...and his priest friend trying to convince him to do the right thing and not make his lifestyle look good to the kids... Strong Warners melodrama with great performances by everyone involved, especially real-life best buddies Cagney and O'Brian.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The Summer Goes Rolling Along

I slept until quarter after 11. I had to do a bit of rushing this morning, given that I worked at 1. I ran my Yankee Doodle Mickey LP while making some tasty blackberry pancakes for breakfast. This 1980 kids' record is mostly recordings of kids or the Disney characters or the Disney chorus singing beloved songs about America, like "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "This Land Is Your Land." A very young Molly Ringwauld performs several numbers, including "God Bless America" and "This Is My Country." The other song written for the LP is "The Liberty Tree," performed by the Disneyland Chorus. I get a kick of the Armed Forces Medley that has Mickey representing the Air Force and the Marines, Goofy representing the Army, and of course, Donald singing for the Navy.

Rushed off to work not long after the record ended. Once again, it was busy for most of the afternoon, likely for the same reasons as Friday - it's still the beginning of the month, and this is one of the few days many people can shop. Other than a few small customer problems and my relief was late, I was in and out.

Since it's still a nice day (though a bit warmer than yesterday), I stopped at Leo's Yum Yums for a special end-of-the-holiday-weekend treat. I had a watermelon Yum Yum, a creamier, grittier water ice. Ooh, that was good. It really tasted like very sweet, ripe watermelon. I watched kids chat and a little girl eat ice cream with her daddy.

When I got in, I went right into a cooling bath. It felt nice to relax for an hour or so, after the long holiday week. After I got out, I had the last of the chicken salad on a bed of farm market red romaine lettuce while listening to the first disc of  my America the Beautiful LP. Released in 1986 to honor the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, I listen to this on or around every patriotic holiday. In addition to some of the same songs as the Disney record, there's several symphonic pieces, notably "On the Trail" from "The Grand Canyon Suite" and "American Salute."

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Baking Day

I began a gorgeous, sunny, cool morning with this week's American Top 40 re-run. We jumped all the way back to late June 1974, as folk, ballads, hard rock, pop, soul, and comic novelties helped people through that year's rough news. Hits that summer included "The Loco-Motion" by Grand Funk Railroad, "Rock and Roll Heaven" by the Righteous Brothers, "Rock the Boat" by the Hues Corporation, "If You Love Me, Let Me Know" by Olivia Newton-John, "The Streak" by Ray Stevens, "Band on the Run" by Wings, "Annie's Song" by John Denver, "Billy Don't Be a Hero" by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, "Dancing Machine" by the Jackson 5, "Hollywood Swinging" by Kool and the Gang, "Haven't Got Time for the Pain" by Carly Simon, "The Air That I Breathe" by the Hollies, and "Rock Your Baby" by George McCrae.

That week's number one song was one of my favorites from Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, "Sundown."

Headed to the Collingswood Farm Market around 9:30. It was a wonderful day for it. While it remained windy, yesterday's clouds had been replaced by a brilliant blue sky and temperatures in the lower-mid 80s. The summer harvest continues to debut. Strawberries are gone, but I saw the first Jersey green peppers, blackberries, raspberries, patty pan squash, and green, wax, and Chinese beans of the season. The small booth that has corn on a truck bed and tons of locally-made salad dressings and condiments appeared for the first time this year, too. I ended up with blueberries, a tomato, a cucumber, cherries (they've been divine this year), red romaine lettuce, and a pint of organic blackberries.

I was tired, and there wasn't much going on in the way of yard sales this weekend. I just headed home instead. Took advantage of the cool weather to make Blueberry Muffins from The Pooh Cook Book (with a touch of honey, of course) and have chicken salad over fresh farm market greens for lunch. Ran Recess: School's Out while they baked. TJ Detwillier is upset that his usual gang of pals from the Third Street School have opted for camp instead this summer. When he discovers an out-of-this-world conspiracy to eliminate summer vacation and their principal disappears, TJ calls his friends back to help save "the ultimate recess" for every kid in the world. This is a really cute movie, even if you don't know anything about Recess; especially fun for classic rock fans, who'll appreciate the soundtrack of 60s hits.

Work actually wasn't bad for most of the day, especially compared to yesterday. Things picked up later during rush hour. People got crankier, too. I was so glad that my relief was right on time.

I poached chicken legs and sauteed zucchini for dinner and made Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies while cheering myself up with two Bowery Boys movies. Slip is Mr. Hex when he uses hypnotism to turn cowardly Sach into a boxing champion. Sach is also at the heart of Bowery Bombshell. When he's accidentally photographed with stolen money, the police think he's got the loot! The others hide him while they ferret out the real crooks.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Cool Considerate Weather

The Oaklyn 4th of July Parade was late, as always. It was cloudy, very windy, and surprisingly cool, barely in the 70s, when I headed out around 10:30. Even as I rode my bike the two blocks to West Clinton, the clouds burst, and it started showering. Rose waved me across the street, in front of the billiards supply store, where she, Craig, Khai, and Jodie were standing. Khai was happily chasing neighborhood kids around under the dinosaur umbrella he got for his birthday.

The Parade finally started a few minutes after I arrived. Shortly after it got underway, the shower slowed down, then ended. The theme this year was "Oaklyn Gives Back," featuring local non-profit organizations like Oaklyn's food bank. Phillies Phatties, the pizza parlor on West Clinton, had a well-decorated mini RV and someone dressed as their mascot, a walking pizza slice. The Food Bank had a float with shelves showing off their wares. And every softball and baseball team in town, as well as a roller hockey team and a cheerleading squad, threw candy for the kids.

While I did follow the crowds to the Oaklyn School for the announcement of the awards, I didn't stick around after that. I skipped the free hot dogs and long lines in favor of the chicken salad I made yesterday. I didn't really have the time for the freebies, anyway. I had to work at noon.

The Acme was a mess all afternoon. In addition to it being a holiday, it's also the beginning of the month. Not to mention, this is probably the only day a lot of people can shop this week. We had down-the-store lines for most of the day. I was grateful I was able to hurry out at 4 with no relief.

I ran 4th of July or American history-themed cartoons as I changed, both earlier in the day after the parade and when I got home. Bugs Bunny takes on Hessian soldier Yosemite Sam with lots of wisecracks and very big cannons in "Bunker Hill Bunny." The Pink Panther has to deliver the news of independence to the people of Philadelphia on the back of a Red Coat horse in "Pinky Doodle." Donald Duck's 4th of July fireworks picnic with Daisy doesn't turn out quite the way he planned, thanks to a recalcitrant blanket and chairs that won't open, in "Donald's Failed Fourth." Popeye tries to keep his nephews away from the fireworks and show them how to have a safe holiday in "Patriotic Popeye." Walter Lanz and his animators gives us several "Hysterical Highspots In American History," including what Columbus really sighted when he first came to America and two sisters who would do anything for men in any era. Jerry is "The Yankee Doodle Mouse" when he defends his "cat raid shelter" from Tom in their first short to win an Oscar.

Pulled my Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Pie out of the fridge and headed to Dad's around 5 for his party. By then, the clouds were rapidly vanishing, though the wind remained and the air was still cool. Jodie had just pulled out the barbecue burgers and hot dogs when I arrived. There were also sliced tomatoes topped with real mozzarella and glazed with Italian dressing, a pretty basic green salad,  grilled asparagus, macaroni salad, hot poppers (for those who could handle them), and a meat and cheese tray and star-shaped watermelon slices outside by the pool.

I hopped into the pool after dinner. Much to my surprise, the pool itself was warm, probably in the 80s. It was the air that was cold. The sun had come out, but the wind was still chilly. Though some of the kids were still swimming around, it was too much for me. I wasn't even in the pool a half-hour.

The desserts were mainly pies or fruit-based. In addition to my pudding pie, there was sliced pound cake with fruit that Rose brought, a bowl of cut-up fruit, and a lemon meringue pie from the Acme. I tried the lemon meringue pie. I've sold it enough. Ugh! It was awful. Bland crust, gooey lemon filling that tasted mildly of olives, for some reason. Rose's fruit and pound cake was much better.

I finally caught a ride home with Mark and Vanessa around 7:30, then finished 1776 while I changed into dry clothes. This ended up being a really enjoyable take on American history, and probably one of the few genuinely good movies on the American Revolution. There's some really well-done music. In addition to "He Plays the Violin" for Thomas Jefferson's wife Martha, we have a truly stirring number for the delegate from South Carolina describing the selling of slaves and how the Colonies profit, "Molasses to Rum," the heartbreaking "Mama Look Sharp" for the young man who brings General Washington's dispatches as he describes the Battle of Lexington, and John and Abilgail Adams' ongoing duet, "Til Then."

While not all of this is historically accurate (for instance, most of the delegates signed in August, rather than on July 4th), it's an improvement over the composer biographies for its warts-and-all portrayal of people whose lives seem considerably less bland than in history textbooks. Perfect 4th of July viewing, or for fans of the big epic musicals of the 60s and early 70s, or for families with older kids who are just starting to learn about American history.

I threw on a sweater, packed my flannel checked blanket, and headed to Newton River Park around 8:30. The new blacktop (parking lot?) was nearly done but not quite. Everyone had to stumble around plastic fencing that kept nothing out. This time, I plopped down in the middle of a field and watched the kids chase each other around with glowing lightsaber-like swords, butterfly-shaped wands, and light-up laser guns until the fireworks began at 9:15.

They were absolutely gorgeous this year. By 9:30, the clouds were gone entirely, and though it was still windy, it wasn't as bad as earlier. I especially loved the shaped ones. There was a gold one shaped like a flower, a heart-shaped one, and one that had three rings inside each other.

I had the same problems getting home that I did last year. Even leaving during the finale didn't stop me from running into a long line of traffic on the White Horse Pike. Thankfully, I was able to cross over with two teenagers when someone was nice enough to stop for us and make it back to Manor unscathed.

I don't often go for walks at night. Maybe I should more often. Manor is lovely and calm after the fireworks on the 4th of July. Most people are walking home or stuck in traffic or at the Shore or heading to bed. It was just me, the wind, and the amateur fireworks going off all around me. I saw one more gold, sparkling firework over the train tracks to cap off my day as I turned onto the path across the front yard.

I hope that all of you had an equally fun, stirring, and not too hot 4th of July (and that our neighbors to the north enjoyed their Canada Day on the 1st).