Sunday, March 01, 2015

Ice Is Not Nice

Mother Nature couldn't figure out what she was doing when I got up this morning. She went back and forth between ice and snow as I made Confetti Pancakes for breakfast. Baking mixes with rainbow sprinkles mixed in seem to be one of the "in" things these days. Not just cake mixes, either. I've seen frozen waffles and pancakes with them and recipes for Confetti Pancakes online. I thought I'd try my own. I used melted butter in place of canola oil and added vanilla, a little sugar, and round rainbow sprinkles (I didn't have the longer kind). Yum. Not bad. I couldn't really see much of the sprinkles, maybe because I make my pancakes with whole wheat flour, but otherwise, it was like eating a cake at breakfast.

I listened to the original cast album for Funny Girl while I ate breakfast. The original 1964 stage version of the musical that made Barbara Streisand a star has a lot more songs than made it into the film version. The movie drops two songs for her mom (including one about her mom possibly finding another husband), a song for Sydney Chaplin as Nicky Arnstein, and three large-scale dance routines. To be honest, I can understand why most of the material was dropped. The ensemble dance number "Henry Street" and the Follies routines really have nothing to do with the plot other than atmosphere and giving the dancers something to do. The losses of a song for Chaplin and Streisand on their way to the Henry Street party ("I'd Love to Be Seen With You Tonight") and two ballads for Streisand in the finale ("The Music That Makes Me Dance," "Who Are You Now?") are more regrettable. "Music" in particular is a lovely, aching number.

Although Funny Lady was a hit in 1975, mainly due to its stars Streisand, Ben Vereen, and James Caan, it was ravaged by critics and isn't terribly well-known today. Most people would be surprised to hear that the Kander and Ebb standard "How Lucky Can You Get?" was written for this film. I haven't seen the movie since I was a kid and it would turn up from time to time on cable, but I do like this soundtrack. Caan is supposed to be Fanny Brice's real-life third husband, the shifty con-man/songwriter/producer Billy Rose. The songs are a mix of ones written by Kander and Ebb directly for the film and real-life standards written by Rose, the latter including "It's Only a Paper Moon," "More Than You Know," and "Great Day." Streisand and Caan's "Paper Moon" duet, with their added lyrics written by Kander and Ebb, is especially charming.

The snow had changed back to ice by the time I went to work. I was hoping it would return to snow. There wasn't enough time to call for a ride. Besides, most people I know are either sick, dealing with children, or no good at driving in snow and ice. I rode my bike to work, dodging ice on the back streets and messy slush on Kendall Boulevard and the Black Horse Pike. The sleet felt like stinging needles on my face.

Work was very busy when I came in. Today was the first day of the month, and ice or no ice, many people don't have the time to shop any day but Sunday. There were some rude people, and now we're not only almost out of plastic bags, but paper bags, too. I was so happy to finally get out right on time.

By 6 PM, the sleet had been replaced by an ordinary rain shower. Once I got out of the Acme's ice-clogged parking lot, I actually had an easier time getting home than I did getting to work. The main streets really weren't that bad. Manor Avenue was a mess, though. I walked carefully down the street to my apartment and cut across my neighbors' path to avoid the icy mess in the front of the house.

I ate a quick dinner while listening to another Streisand LP. Her recording of Broadway standards came out, I believe, in the mid-80's. I remember hearing her stunning version of "Somewhere" on the radio as a kid. I also like the opening "Putting It Together," the sweet "Not While I'm Around," and the King and I medley that ends the first disc.

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