Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Come On In Out of the Rain

I began a sunny, humid, unseasonably warm day with breakfast and the end of Snow White and the Three Stooges. I switched to another 60's fairy tale musical, the second version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, while giving the bathroom a desperately-needed cleaning. This is the second of three versions of the only musical the famous duo wrote for TV. Leslie Ann Warren is the famous servant girl who is able to go to a ball and wed a prince (Stuart Damon), thanks to the intervention of her Fairy Godmother (Celeste Holm). Ginger Rodgers and Walter Pidgeon are Damon's parents the Queen and King. Comediennes Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick are Cinderella's spoiled stepsisters. This is probably my favorite version of this musical, mainly because it's the one I grew up with; Warren makes an especially lovely and sweet Cinderella. I like Holm's warm and kindly Fairy Godmother, too.

(And the bathroom was gross, especially the tub. Since I was scrubbing the rest of it, I decided to do the tile floor and the rectangle of linoleum that forms the hall between the TV area and my bedroom as well. I usually do them twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. I put the rug on the linoleum outside to air while it dried.)

Thanks to my being distracted by reading old journals in the back room, it was well after 12:30 before I headed out to run today's errands. Though the sun was out this morning, heavy, dark clouds had begun to gather even as I strolled to the Oaklyn Library. They were almost totally dead there, except for the librarian. I took a quick look at the DVDs and shelved and organized some children's books.

(I saw Charlie as I was leaving. He was cutting down most of the bushes around the pine tree as you enter the front yard, which have been looking rather withered these days. He says he is going to try to save those lovely lilac bushes that smell so wonderful in the spring, or if he can't, replace them with something similar. I hope he can save them. I love picking lilacs from the bushes and taking them home when they're in season.)

Amato Bros, the deli and hoagie shop on the White Horse Pike, is just a few minutes' walk from the Oaklyn Library. I went there for lunch. Though it was 1:30 by then, they were very busy with the tail end of the lunch crowd. I had a "mini" Mama's Turkey hoagie - turkey, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, bacon, and Russian dressing on half of a seeded hoagie roll. Even just half of those suckers is enough for one meal! I ate it with a can of Diet A&W. Watched the two guys in the table next to me and all the people from the local small businesses and shops come in and order food as I ate.

The clouds were just starting to burst when I finished lunch. I darted the two blocks to WaWa as fast as my legs could carry me! They were very busy, too. Today was National Free Coffee Day. I don't drink coffee, free or otherwise. I was mainly there for skim milk. Treated myself to a Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie as well. Unlike the Pumpkin Cream Smoothie, this one really tasted like someone liquefied a pumpkin cheesecake. Yummy.

I didn't get as lucky walking home. It started raining again even as I was heading down Manor. By the time I was half-way down the street, it was pouring and I was soaked. Ducking under two trees didn't help. I finally sprinted into Common Grounds Coffee House, the closest building I could dry off in. I bought two small but delicious pieces of shortbread while waiting for the shower to slow down.

The rain did end long enough for me to rush home. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon indoors. I went right into writing after changing out of my dripping t-shirt. Betty rescues Scott, Mackie, and his other men from Grace's wiles by using her light magic to distract her, then to turn Palermo's men into temporary butterflies and birds. She and Mackie head for Mr. Eldridge's house, letting Scott deal with the remaining goons.

Once they all arrive, Scott explains what happened. Grace is a siren, a beautiful female mer-sorceress who uses her magic to ensnare men. Most sirens are confined to the water, but some can spend time on land, and Grace is one of them. Light or fire magic dissolves their powers.

A none-too-happy Betty asks how Scott knew Palermo in the first place. He explains that he'd once done jobs for the gangster and had gambled in his casinos before he came to Wennaria. A run of particularly bad luck left him in 20,000 in the hole. He has to pay off Palermo, before the dapper gangster finds a way to cut it out of his hide. He finally admits that while some of the money from their thefts are going to the poor, a lot of it is being used to settle his debt.

Betty does not take this revelation well. In fact, her reaction is similar to his admittance at the end of "Who's Scott Sherwood?" - she slaps him and accuses him of not caring about anyone, including her. Mr. Eldridge and Mackie walk in just in time to see her tell Scott off. She finally says to Mr. Eldridge thanks for the hospitality, but I really need to find the Guardians, and tells Mackie she wants to get out of the woods as soon as possible.

 I got off around 5, in time to make Dark Chocolate Chip Mint Brownies from a recipe in that Hershey's cookie cookbook Lauren gave me a few months ago. Since the oven was already on, the meatballs I'd planned to make for dinner became turkey meatloaf. Tossed in honey-glazed carrots for a nice, simple meal.

Ran Who Framed Roger Rabbit as I worked. This watershed blending of animation and live-action takes us to Hollywood in 1947. The title character (voice of Charles Fleischer) is a typical "toon" from that era, as wild and wacky as you can get...but even toons can have love problems. Roger is married to toon bombshell Jessica Rabbit (voice of Kathleen Turner) and thinks she's chasing the owner of their home Toontown, Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye). His boss hires private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to take photos of them together. The real story goes a lot deeper than that, which Eddie discovers when Acme is killed and Roger is accused of the crime. Now the animated rabbit and the cartoon-hating detective have to work together to bring down a particularly weird judge (Christopher Lloyd)...or they may end up being the ones who get hit by a five-ton safe.

This was one of my family's favorite movies in the late 80's and early 90's, especially Anny's, and it holds up extremely well today. I loved this movie so much, one of my favorite toys for over a decade was a stuffed Roger Rabbit my parents picked up for me on a trip to visit my mom's sister's family in Virginia. The special effects are still amazing...and Bob Hoskins' performance is even moreso. You'd never believe he spent most of the movie talking to mechanical objects or nothing at all in real life.

As much as my little sister loved this, I'd be iffier about showing this to younger kids today. In addition to walking pin-up-queen Jessica Rabbit, there's a ton of adult jokes and at least two family-unfriendly deaths onscreen (including that of main villain Judge Doom) and another that's heavily discussed. For older kids on up, especially those who know anything about classic animation, this is still one of the best blendings of live-action and animation ever...and just a damn well-written, hilarious mystery. Highly recommended.

And it didn't start raining again until about a half-hour ago....and now, it's totally pouring cats, dogs, chickens, and Roger Rabbits. It looks like it's going to rain on and off for the rest of the week. Good. We badly need the rain. Better now than when I'm on vacation.

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