Thursday, March 15, 2018

Back on the Road

Began my day with dusting the apartment after breakfast. I should have done it earlier this week or even last week, but I just never got there. Just did a really fast once-over. I'll do it more thoroughly next month and in May before Lauren visits.

Ran The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town while I worked. This is Rankin-Bass' third and last Easter special. Sunny the Bunny is the official mascot of the youthful citizens of isolated, kids-only Kidsville. He takes their eggs over the mountain to Town, where grouchy Lady Longtooth and her put-upon young nephew King Bruce preside. Sunny constantly invents new Easter customs to get around her overly strict laws...proving that the delights of Easter will outlast any attempts to curb it.

Dad picked me up around 10. We dodged trash trucks picking up garbage cans on Manor and headed for Cherry Hill. There's a nice bike shop just a few blocks down the road from Market Place, near a residential area. He'd taken me there before to fix the wheel on an earlier bike, but not in a long time. It's bigger than the one in Haddonfield, with a much better bike selection. 

I looked over several bikes before settling on a beautiful Liv cruiser. Basically, it's the same as this one...only the design is a lovely bright magenta with white and turquoise trim and stitching on the handlebar pads. As Dad said, it's South Florida colors. (I guess I'm more of a southern belle than I thought.) The white-walled tires had matching turquoise trim. Even the bell matches. I also picked up a new bike lock. The owner offered to put fenders on the tires to keep the rain off them. We decided to go out to eat and run errands while he did the work.

We drove a few more blocks down the highway to Ponzio's Diner, on the former circle across from Whole Foods and near CVS. This is a local institution that has apparently been around for years. It certainly seemed popular when Dad and I were there! They were busy as heck, even around 11:30, mostly with old folks, office executives in fancy suits, and college students. I liked their huge bakery selection. The St. Patrick's Day leprechaun cupcakes were adorable. 

We got a big booth next to the windows. I had a spinach and feta cheese omelet with hash browns, whole wheat toast, and Orange Blossom (pekoe) tea. Dad had fried eggs with mini potato pancakes (that he spread with raspberry jam - that actually looked kind of tasty) and coffee. We had a nice chat about work and the bike and the family.

Doubled back to the Market Place to hit the Home Depot there really quick after brunch. That place is gigantic. We stepped into rows and rows of paint, tools, siding, doorknobs, keys, and probably everything else you can fix inside or outside a house. Dad looked at a new track for the sliding door in the living room, but he just ended up buying a balm that can repair cracked nails. His are apparently cracking and splitting from his cancer treatments.

As we were on our way back to the bike shop, we got a call on the phone in Dad's car that allows you to talk without handling a phone or a lot of buttons. We timed things right. The bike was ready to go. The gentleman even loaned us a rack to get it home. (Dad's current car is smaller than his previous van.) 

I got off at Dad's house. After we failed to figure out how to work my new lock (I'll just use the old one until I can get that together), I rode the bike home. It's wonderful. Handles like a dream. The rustproof chain rides beautifully. And I can't stop ringing that cute bell! (The man did tell me not to use WD 40 on the chain. Actually removes lubricant. Great to get grease out, not so much for chains. I'll see if I can find some oil actually intended for bikes. Maybe Amazon or Dick's Sporting Goods has it.) 

Ran another cartoon while getting ready for work. Dr. Seuss on the Loose gives us not one, but three short Seuss tales. "The Sneeches" are yellow creatures who live on the beaches. Sneeches with green stars on their stomachs snub those who lack them, until an enterprising monkey teaches both groups a lesson in equality. "The Zax" refuse to move to let each other pass, even as the world continues around them. Sam I Am tries to interest one poor fellow in his favorite dish, "Green Eggs and Ham." The guy goes to increasingly wild lengths to avoid the persistent little fellow!

Work was pretty much the same as yesterday - mildly busy around rush hour, otherwise quiet. One of the cashiers did say it was crazy earlier. Must have been the lunch crowd. I spent the first half of my shift mopping the bathrooms and bagging, and the second half rounding up carts and baskets and doing out the outside trash, with no problems whatsoever.

Dad invited me to dinner at his house when we were at Ponzio's. I went straight over there after work. Jodie made corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes in a Crock Pot as an early St. Patrick's Day meal. Yum! I haven't had corned beef and cabbage in years. Corned beef is too big, fatty, and expensive for me to buy, but Jodie's came out just right, nice and flavorful. (She added vinegar to hers. I've never heard of that. I settled for butter.) Showed Jodie and her friend my new bike, letting them ooh and ah over the print and the big comfy seat and the stitching on the handlebar pads.

Finished the night at home with Earthquake. The mammoth success of Airport and The Poseidon Adventure in the early 70's inspired many similar extravaganzas about an all-star cast surviving some catastrophe or the other, including this one. A young seismologist named Walter Russell (Kip Niven) has discovered that a devastating quake could hit Los Angeles within a day or two. His superiors don't believe him at least until the first quake hits, and they realize that he might actually be right. Among those effected are Denise (Genvieve Bujold), a single mom and actress, who is having an affair with executive Stewart (Charlton Heston). His father-in-law (Lorne Greene) just offered him a major promotion, but he thinks it's because he's married to his daughter Remy (Ava Gardner). Rosa (Victoria Principal), a roadie for a motorcycle stuntman (Richard Roundtree), is caught looting by a National Guard member (Marjoe Gortner) with a dubious hold on his sanity. Cop Lou Slade (George Kennedy) corrals Stewart to help him find the survivors, before the Muholland Dam comes crashing down on all of them.

This was one of the biggest hits of 1974, but it hasn't aged well, to say the least. From Rosa's massive Afro to the Technicolor pimp clothes on the drunk at the bar (Walter Matthau in a cameo), this movie couldn't be more of its time if it tried. Even at the time, most critics apparently thought it was pretty bad, and yeah, all the soap opera theatrics are really cheesy. 

There are some things to like. While some of the Oscar-winning special effects are a tad dated (the animated blood on the screen after an elevator plunges down a shaft looks flat-out ridiculous), others remain amazingly effective. Gortner comes off best in a chilling performance as the soldier who is constantly taunted by his housemates and is fed up with his customers at a local grocery store. (And I thought I hated my job.) Kennedy as the burnt-out cop and Heston as the heroic executive are also fairly memorable. 

If you're a fan of the cast or disaster movies and don't mind sitting through the slow-moving first half, this is worth a look for the effects alone. 

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