Monday, November 10, 2014

Golden Autumn

I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was when I got up this morning. The sun filtered through the bright yellow leaves on the trees outside my apartment, giving my whole bedroom a golden glow. I started Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, then had Cranberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins and a grapefruit half for a very late breakfast.

Ran more wartime shorts while I ate. Walter Lantz and his studio at Universal only dealt sporadically with war-related matters. Woody Woodpecker's only military short was "Ace In the Hole." Woody wants to join the Air Force and become a pilot, but his commanding officer would rather have him shave horses. He's less than thrilled when Woody does finally make it into the air!

Some Lantz one-off characters had more luck in the military. "$21 A Day (Once a Month)" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" depict the pre-war draft; both were released a few months before the US entered the fray. "$21 A Day" features Woody and Andy Panda in cameos. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" tells how a Chicago musician was drafted and gets his camp moving with his hot reveille. While it's marred by heavy African-American stereotypes, it is one of the few cartoons of the 40s to show minorities in the military.

"Pigeon Patrol" is a more typical wartime tale. Homer Pigeon is a country bumpkin who wants to join the carrier pigeon squadron. He wants to impress his girlfriend, but is literally deflated when they reject him. He gets his chance when he delivers secret papers for a downed squadron member, dodging a nasty (and caricatured) Japanese vulture.

I heard a knock on the door as I got organized to head out. It turned out to be a middle-aged gentleman in a sweater. He said he was one of my neighbors' sons, the one who intends to move downstairs next year. He wanted to do some measuring in and around my apartment.

He gave me a long list of things downstairs and up here that have be replaced or fixed before anyone can move anywhere, starting with the porch. I told him about the mice and showed him the broken window in my bedroom and the mailbox that's been falling apart for years. He said in addition to the porch, I'll be getting new kitchen cabinets, a new counter, a new toilet, and a new front door. The windows will be replaced. The kitchen will be rearranged to give me slightly more room. The roof will be repaired next summer. The area over the front door will be raised so tall people don't bang their heads on the frame when they enter anymore.

Along with fixing the porch and clearing out the mice, the other big thing to be concentrated on right now is the plumbing. It's old and clogged with river gunk. I've had problems with it running slow for years. That toilet is a pain, too. You have to hold down the handle to keep it from making noise. I'm so glad they're finally doing all this. It's needed to be done for years, but I never had the heart to push Miss Ellie (and I suspected she didn't have the money).

I finally headed out around 12:30. It was an absolutely glorious day for a ride in Newton Lake Park. There were tons of parents with strollers, people out for a walk, and Canadian geese basking in the glory of autumn in South Jersey. The trees are at their peak now, dripping rivers of scarlet, sienna, umber, gold, and pale green. The day was warm and bright, probably in the lower 60s, with no wind and not a cloud in the soft blue sky.

Given the beautiful day, I wasn't surprised that it was dead when I arrived at the Haddon Township Library. There wasn't really much to shelve. I worked on organizing the kids' movies and continued with the romance novels. I did from H through L and finished out the first set of revolving shelves. I'll start the second set next week.

I didn't take out anything live action this week. I still have 9 videos to dub here, plus more wartime shorts I want to watch for Veteran's Day. I did find a few animated sets. The newest collections for Strawberry Shortcake and Gravity Falls had arrived. I also renewed Rio 2, which I never got to last week.

I had a very late lunch at Friendly's. Though there was only a couple of secretaries enjoying a leisurely late lunch when I arrived, more people came as I ate my Turkey Cranberry SuperMelt and French fries. It was basically the same thing as "The Gobbler" hoagie from WaWa, only with melted cheese, real turkey instead of sliced deli turkey, and surprisingly less stuffing. I complimented the nice day and the fall meal with a scoop of Apple Pie ice cream.

After lunch, I made a quick stop at Dollar Tree. I was mainly there to buy a birthday card for my sister Anny, whose big day was today. I also ended up with bags of Christmas cookie containers (I give away a lot - I like to keep well-stocked), a Dora the Explorer calender (I like colorful character calenders to brighten my bedroom), and a box for cookies being shipped out of town.

I went home this time, dodging rush hour traffic on the White Horse Pike. After I got in, I put everything away, signed Anny's card, then went right back out. It was too nice to be inside for long. Though it had gotten a bit chillier by 4:30, the weather otherwise remained stunning. A few people still had Halloween decorations outside, but most had replaced ghouls and witches with leaf garlands and friendly scarecrows. Banners represented the Eagles, Thanksgiving, or saluted our troops. There was a lovely sunset at the landing on the end of Goff Avenue, all orange sherbet and soft molten pink.

When I got in, I switched to Popeye shorts while making Banana Honey Muffins from The Pooh Cook Book Blueberry Muffins recipe. Replaced the white sugar with brown sugar and the blueberries with mashed bananas and added nutmeg and cinnamon. Oh, yum. Moist and flavorful and just sweet enough.

Like the Walter Lantz characters, the Fleischer Brothers put Popeye in the war several months before America actually entered, in "The Mighty Navy." "Fleets of Strength" was more typical. Popeye gets into trouble with the commander on his ship before he finally gets a chance to take down the enemy.

If he wasn't fighting the Japanese, he was fighting Bluto for Olive's hand. Popeye's "Kicking the Conga Around" in order to impress the lovely Senorita Olive with the then-popular dance. The two discover that "Olive Oyl and Water Don't Mix" when Olive's visit to their ship leaves them with that sinking feeling.

Three of my favorite wartime shorts featured Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Bugs becomes "Super Rabbit" in order to stop a cowboy and his horse from harming all bunnies. When the going gets tough, he turns into a real superhero...a Marines officer. Daffy, on the other hand, would rather avoid that persistent "Little Man From the Draft Board" in "Draftee Daffy." And for once, Bugs goes around with an antagonist who gives as good as they get, a little gremlin who is sabotaging planes, in "Falling Hare."

Moved to Strawberry Shortcake while making a spinach-mushroom omelet for a quick dinner. Once again, the girls have to help each other to make a building in a short time. Here, it's a new marketplace for the Berrykins' increased harvest. In the first story, Orange Blossom wants to prove she can handle the enormous amounts of fruits and vegetables sent to her store alone. The massive harvest proves to be more than even the most organized girl in Berry Bitty City can deal with, prompting the creation of the marketplace.

In the second, while the head Berrykin tries to figure out how to store his harvest during the building of the marketplace, the girls try to surprise Strawberry by building her the apartment of her dreams upstairs. Trouble is, they ignore her ideas in favor of what they want, and Strawberry doesn't have the heart to correct them. She finally gets the nerve to explain that, though she appreciates their help, they should have discussed any changes or suggestions with her first.

The third story is completely different. The girls are joined by Cherry Jam to rehearse their band for a local gig. They're thrilled when Cherry Jam gets them a booking at the opening for the athletic games in Berry Big City! Orange Blossom is nervous. She's never been away from  home for more than a few days before. While the Berrykins try to figure out how to run Berry Bitty City in the girls' absence, Orange Blossom finds reasons to stay. Strawberry and Cherry finally remind her that, even though she's leaving, she'll be back...and she has a huge adventure to look forward to.

Oh, and the Eagles played the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football this week. They dominated the Panthers up through the 4th quarter. They faltered a bit then, but still went on to win 45-21. Replacement quarterback Mark Sanchez had a big game, and rookie Jason Matthews is starting to look like a real find. 

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