Saturday, May 12, 2018

Harvests and Yard Sales

It was raining when I got up this morning, but by the time I was eating breakfast, the showers were long gone. Cheered up a morning that was still cold and gloomy with The Backyardigans. Uniqua goes into "The Heart of the Jungle" to find the home of Sherman the Wormen. Tyrone, Pablo, and Austin are a trio of Tarzans, each one representing something Tarzan is famous for (talking to animals, being strong, not saying much). Uniqua is a scientist and has no time for their pulp fiction nonsense...but for all that she teaches them, they have some things to teach her, too.

While it remained cloudy and cool when I headed out around quarter after 9, it was also dry. I figured it was ok to run errands, starting with this week's Collingswood Farm Market. I'm not the only one, either. Despite the chill, they were packed when I arrived. I saw the first strawberries of the season and an adorable baby goat being fed in a pen. They're still a bit low on produce at this point; most booths are selling plants, herbs, and flowers. I just ended up with a hot house tomato and a bag of greens.

Rode around Westmont and Haddon Township for the next three hours, checking out yard sales. While a few families did postpone or cancel due to the weather, most figured they'd wait and see what Mother Nature did. It remained cloudy and windy, but it never rained. There were tons of houses having sales. It was almost as busy as Audubon was a few weeks ago, especially in the "Bluebird" neighborhood on the edge of Collingswood and Westmont and on the streets behind the old Westmont Theater.

While I didn't do as well as I did with the previous town-wide yard sales, I did make some good finds. Picked up a travel-themed journal and a glass beverage jar in Westmont, the book The Silver Crown by Robert O'Brian in the neighborhood behind the Haddon Township High School, and The Last Unicorn on DVD and two records at a sale in the Bluebird neighborhood. The records:

Nat King Cole - Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Soundtrack from Midnight Cowboy

Finally headed back towards Oaklyn around noon. Stopped at the Oaklyn Library to finally do a quick volunteering session there. The only person there the entire time was the librarian. I reorganized some kids' DVDs, but was otherwise in and out.

One of the reasons the Library was so quiet may have been the Spring Fling fair taking place just down the road on West Clinton. The Oaklyn School PTA holds a small fair, with rides and games for the kids, every year in mid-May. Along with the bounce houses and games and a swing ride for the little guys, I saw several craft booths, a booth for the lady with the chickens, and a food truck. Saw nothing I couldn't live without and moved on.

As soon as I got home, I put most of my finds away. Filled the glass jar with water, raspberries, and chopped strawberries to make berry infused water. Had lunch while watching a couple of episodes of Sailor Moon. "Usagi Vs. Rei: Nightmare In Dreamland" takes the duo, Ami, and Luna to a local amusement park. Ami heard that guests have been disappearing and suspects that the Negaverse is involved. Rei takes her assignment too seriously, while Usagi just wants to have fun on the rides. They have to figure out how to work together when Ami is trapped with other people whose energy is being stolen by a creepy Audio-Animatronic doll.

Continued on to "I Want a Boyfriend: The Luxury Cruise Ship Is a Trap" as I scrubbed the inside of the refrigerator, another job I only do a few times a year. Usagi is upset when Rei wins tickets on an exclusive luxury cruise line and invites Ami but not her. She uses the Luna Pen to stow away...then discovers that the whole thing is a Negaverse trap set up by a watery monster.

Put on Pontoffel Pock, Where are You? as I cleaned up from the refrigerator and made the bed. Pontoffel Pock just lost his job at a pickle factory and wishes he could get away from it all. A fairy grants his wish, giving him a magic piano that can take him anywhere. His first trip to a small mountain town ends in disaster after he shows off a little too much. His second brings him to the girl of his dreams, "eyeball dancers" Eefa Neefa, but he loses her during the take-off. He has to figure out how to get back to his girl...and the fairies have to figure out where he went with that piano!

Put on the records I bought today as I dusted the bedroom. It always takes me a while to thoroughly dust the bedroom. That's where I keep most of my collections, including the 12-inch and 18-inch dolls and the majority of my books. Tried to re-arrange the American Girl books to give them more room, but I just have too many. Thankfully, I was able to lift most books with one hand (though I did leave the heavier books in the crate I use as a bedside table.)

The Acme used to play "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" during the season in question a few years ago. This is one of Nat King Cole's more fun albums. Along with the delightful title number, we have nicely done standards of the early 20th century like "A Bicycle Built for Two" and "In the Good Old Summertime."

The soundtrack of Midnight Cowboy is best-known for introducing the Harry Nilsson hit "Everybody's Talkin'." John Barry's score isn't bad, either. There's some nice tracks here that ably capture the gritty world of the two New York grifters.

Enjoyed Cowboy so much, I went to the opposite end of the 60's and ran the soundtrack for Breakfast at Tiffany's. This one is also about two lost souls in New York, and it also produced a pop hit, the Oscar winner "Moon River." That's about where the resemblances end. The tale of a call girl and the would-be writer who lives upstairs has a more delicate and wistful flavor, with cha-chas and mambos and gentle horns.

Worked on some writing after finishing the bedroom. Turns out Counselor Mon Mothma's wine cellar is the meeting place for the Rebel underground, here literally underground. The older woman had been friends with Padme Amidala Skywalker when she was on the Royal Council and expressed her sorrow over their deaths. Leia explains about why Luke can't be there before Jyn arrives, telling her friend that Cassian and Kay are spying on Palpatine and they've been working with Mon Mothma since they left Scarif.

Had leftover tacos for dinner around 6:30. Ran an episode of Scooby Doo, Where are You? while I ate. Mystery Inc is asking "Which Witch is Which?" when a wrong turn during a fishing trip lands them at a spooky swamp. The area is supposedly haunted by a witch and a zombie she created, but the gang finds a lot more lost in the bog than voodoo magic.

Went for a walk after Scooby Doo ended. It was still windy and cold and getting darker by the minute, but I'd been inside all afternoon. Besides, the McHughs were having a huge, noisy party at their house next door that included kids screaming around. I figured the rest of the neighborhood would be quieter. Celebrated having finished my spring cleaning with my first treat from Phillies Yummies of the year. Had a cotton candy "Yum Yum," a creamy and gritty water ice. The clouds were getting even darker, and I was worried that the rain would finally arrive. I ate it as I strolled home (passing the kids screaming for the Mr. Softee truck as I did).

Ran The Last Unicorn as I cleaned up and got organized. Amalthea is the title character, the last unicorn left in the world. She sets out to find what happened to the others of her kind and is promptly captured by a nasty old witch with a traveling circus. The kind-hearted but incompetent magician Schemedrick (Alan Arkin) sets her free and joins her on her journey. They're later joined by Molly (Tammy Grimes), the older woman who had been traveling with a man who is often called "Robin Hood" but is nothing of the kind. They run across the evil Fire Bull at the seaside castle of King Haggard (Christopher Lee). Schemedrick transforms Amalthea into a frail but beautiful human to keep her from being captured by the bull. She ends up falling for Haggard's far more gentle son Lir (Jeff Bridges)...but as she falls deeper in love, she starts to forget her magic. She must decide if she wants to fight the Red Bull and restore her kind, or remain with her beloved prince.

Dark fantasy tale was the last theatrical release of Rankin-Bass, best known for their holiday specials and the animated Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. This is a beautiful but bizarre movie, with a meandering plot line and more than a few dark or morbid moments that still freak out kids to this day. While the cast may be one of the best assembled for any 80's animated film, most of them can't sing, making some moments on the soundtrack rather painful. Farrow does do well as the unicorn and transformed beauty when she's not singing; Grimes and Arkin are also excellent as her traveling companions. And it's too bad that some of the songs aren't performed better, as the score is quite good, including the hit title song by America.

If you've got older kids who love fantasy and are ready for some of the darker aspects of the story, they may enjoy this as much as Rose and I did when we were kids in the 80's.

Ended the night with the Disney Tarzan. The House of Mouse offers a slightly different take on the story of the King of the Jungle. We actually do get to see his origins here, including how he was adopted by a gorilla mother (Glenn Close) who just lost her own child, and how he grew up among apes who taunted him for being different. He works hard to prove he's as good as any ape, whether he has a ton of hair or not. The arrival of a group of human scientists, including the intelligent and adorable Jane (Minnie Driver), brings many changes to Tarzan's (Tony Goldywn) life. His friends Terk the gorilla (Rosie O'Donnell) and Tantor the elephant (Wayne Knight) wish he'd stick closer to home, but he's fascinated by these strange "humans"...and he's falling for Jane. Like Amalthea, he now has to decide where he really belongs, before the hunter Clayton (Brian Blessed) attempts to shoot every animal in the African jungle.

As much as I love Goldywn and Driver as a pitch-perfect Tarzan and Jane and Nigel Hawthorne as Jane's eccentric father, the rest of the cast isn't at their level. Knight's all right as the nervous pachyderm, but O'Donnell's Brooklyn bray is totally out of place in the jungle and takes one out of the 1880's setting. Her big number "Trashing the Camp" has nothing to do with the plot besides giving her and some of the other gorillas something to do. Clayton is one of Disney's worst animated villains, too obvious and annoying. They should have stuck with the big cat who preyed on several characters early in the film as a bad guy.

While not Disney's best adventure film, this isn't bad, either. Fun for older kids and young teens who'll be able to handle the mild violence, including several deaths and a lot of gunplay.

And after the clouds lingered all day, they finally burst around 8...sending everyone scurrying downstairs. And when it rained, it thunderstormed. Got pretty loud there for a while, actually. It's long gone now, though it looks like it's going to rain for a lot of the week.

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