Friday, August 31, 2018

Out There

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and some public domain Gumby. He accidentally creates a "Robot Rumpus" when the automatons he assigns to take over his household chores go too far and start destroying the house and yard. "Gumby Concerto" and "Too Loo" takes him to Music Land, where he puts on a concert and helps two lost notes find their home. Gumby's dog Nopey is "Stuck On Books" when he gets wedged between a book and the area they're entering.

Worked on writing for a little while after breakfast. Yasmin finally orders her fattest and most fearsome bodyguard to show Luke the door when he asks a few too many questions she doesn't want to answer. Luke dodges the huge man, but he's gaining on him - fast. He has to find a way to put this guy out of commission...

Broke for lunch and more Gumby at 11. Gumby and Pokey somehow lend General George Washington a hand at Trenton in "Gumby Crosses the Delaware." They think they're "In the Dough" when a piece of bread dough offers to show them around the oven, but he may have something more sinister in mind than a tour. "The Glob" is a bit of paint from Gumby's artworks that turns into a monster and chases them around the toy store and through several books.

Headed out for work shortly after the cartoon ended. Other than I got tossed in the register twice and panicked both times (this was my first time using the new system with customers), it wasn't bad. Went surprisingly fast, for a day that was off-and-on busy. I swept up a mess in the front of the store, gathered inside and outside trash, mopped the bathrooms, did returns, and gathered carts and baskets.

Mixed feelings on my schedule next week. In good news, I have Sunday off (which means I'll be able to go to Dad and Jodie's party), along with next Friday and Saturday, and by far the most hours I've gotten in months. I'm less happy with working 8 hours two days in a row and 7 the day after that, but between the increased hours and a more normal shift on Labor Day, I'll at least have a great paycheck going into vacation.

It's just as well that I didn't really need much in the way of groceries. I don't have much money right now. Picked up Cool Whip, Nutter Butter cookies, and pudding mix for an icebox cake for Sunday. Restocked black beans, diced tomatoes, skim milk, yogurt, Belvita breakfast cookies (found their pumpkin spice flavor on a display), crushed pineapple, cereal, and plastic bags.

I was originally going to go to Oaklyn's Final Friday Festival after dinner for a snack. By the time I got home, it had started to shower. The rain picked up as I was unpacking. Not to mention, I was tired from spending a lot of the day on my feet. I ended up just staying home, eating leftovers for dinner, making a Peanut Butter Icebox Cake, and finishing out Gumby. "Sad King Ott's Daughter" is being forced to marry the Black Knight. Gumby and Pokey come to his rescue. "The Black Knight" in an earlier short has put a spell on a dragon and used it to terrorize a kingdom. Gumby comes to their aid. "Gumby Racer" pits Gumby and Pokey against the Blockheads. They use every devious tactic they know to force the duo off the road.

For some reason, I thought today was Saturday and ran The Hunchback of Notre Dame tonight. I still reviewed it for Animation Celebration Saturday at my Musical Dreams Reviews website.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney 1996)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

In the Still of the Day

Began another sunny morning with public domain Popeye shorts. It's "A Haul In One" when movers Bluto and Popeye compete to see who can get more of Olive's furniture out of her apartment. It's "Insect to Injury" when a group of termites decide that Popeye's house is their buffet lunch. A clean-shaven Bluto pitches some "Parlez Vous Woo" when he poses as the romantic TV star "The International" in order to take Olive out. Popeye tries to prove that he can be as romantic as the next sailor. "The Crystal Brawl" is one of several clip-show shorts Paramount did for Popeye in the 50's, this one showing how Popeye tricked Bluto with a crystal ball that shows him his failures from other shorts.

First outing on the agenda today was getting the laundry done. It wasn't nearly as busy as last week when I arrived, just a couple of folks with one or two loads. My own load was so small, it was done in less than an hour. I worked on story notes and half-listened to the news on NBC. Waved to a co-worker who lives near-by coming in as I was heading out.

Put everything away when I got home, then made a plum-ginger smoothie for lunch, with shelled peanuts to nibble on. Did more Popeye while I ate. Bluto is "Cooking With Gags" when he spends an April Fool's Day picnic playing pranks on Popeye. It's all fun and games, until the pranks turn on Olive, and Popeye has to prove that he wasn't the one pulling them. Popeye claims "I Don't Scare" when he and Olive go on a date on Friday the 13th. Olive's superstitious, though..and Bluto is determined to use every superstition in the book to frighten her into a date with him. Olive is a screen writer who adapts "Aladdin and His Magic Lamp," with Popeye as Aladdin and her as the princess.

Headed out around quarter of 1 for this week's library volunteering sessions. Started out at the Oaklyn Library. They were absolutely dead when I arrived, with no one but the librarian around. I looked over the DVDs and the board books, shelved a few kids' books, and moved on.

The Haddon Township Library was only slightly busier. I guess everyone left town early for their Labor Day trips. I did have some DVDs to shelve, especially kids' titles, but not to the degree of last week. I also put away audio books and a lone CD. Took out four movies, Rosalie and The Hunchback of Notre Dame to review for my musical blog, plus Moonrise Kingdom and the stop-motion animated film Isle of Dogs from earlier this year.

I also got to say good-bye to one of the older librarians, who is retiring this month. (There's a lot of people retiring this summer. Two co-workers at the Acme retired; one was going to but changed her mind.) Sampled some apple pastries from the Acme and a marble chiffon cake and mini-cinnamon rolls from McMillan's Bakery in Westmont.

Worked on writing for a while when I got home. I completely re-wrote Yasmin's entrance. After Leia sees her for the first time and envies her glamour-girl looks, she leaves Harry with Roberto Fettara and her pig-like bodyguards and joins her chorus for Hollywood's idea of a native "ceremony," complete with chorus girls in nothing but feathers and beads and a "bride of the gods" (the hypnotized FBI agent) being "sacrificed." Leia still wants to get to Harry, but her goons block him, and Yasmin herself isn't so eager to share...

Broke for dinner at 6. Poached chicken legs in a white wine-water-lemon juice broth, then turned most of the vegetables in my refrigerator, along with the tons of grape tomatoes I got from Charlie, into ratatouille. Ran a few more Popeye shorts as I ate. It's a "Spree Lunch" when Bluto and Popeye compete for Wimpy's non-existent dollar at their diners. "Let's All Sing With Popeye" is a sing-along to "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man" created for his fan club. All of Hollywood has come out to celebrate "Popeye's 20th Anniversary," but Bluto isn't thrilled with the attention to his rival. Popeye and Bluto are competing yet again, this time to fix Olive's plumbing, in "Floor Flusher." Popeye takes on Bluto's eternally bragging Sinbad in the "featurette" "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor."

Finished the night after a shower with Rosalie. I discuss this massive 1937 vehicle for Eleanor Powell and Nelson Eddy further at my Musical Dreams Reviews blog.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Best Friends In the Big Easy

Started off the morning with breakfast and two Danger Mouse shorts from the sixth season. It's a "Catastrophe" when a mechanical cat kidnaps Colonel K. DM and Penfold follow the cat, only to discover he was created by Baron Greenback. "Statues" also feature a Greenback creation that wrecks havoc, this time a ray that brings statues to life. The two rodents have to figure out how to break his control over them.

I had a little bit of time to write before work. Luke asks Yasmin a lot of questions about the FBI agent going off a cliff. The woman was intelligent, well-liked, and inquisitive. There was no reason for her to commit suicide. Yasmin tells him not to be suspicious and has some of her men lead him out...but he's not giving up so easily.

Had a quick and early PB and M (marmalade) wrap and a plum for lunch around 11, accompanied by more Danger Mouse. All of London's saying "Ee-tea!" when Greenback purloins the world's tea supply, leaving tea-obsessed England at a stand-still. DM and Penfold follow the disappearing tea crates into outer space to figure out what the devious frog has in mind. Danger Mouse is "Lost, Found, and Spellbound" when he and Penfold have to find a missing Dr. Squawkencluck in the jungle and go up against a witch doctor.

Work was quiet for most of the day. It's still in the mid-upper 90's here, and while it's dry, that's still too hot for most people to be out running around. Not to mention, it's the end of the month and a few days before the last major holiday weekend of the summer. It's a good thing we were dead, too. I was totally on my own all afternoon. The morning bagger went home sick, and the next bagger was my relief at 6. Spent most of the day outside in the heat with the carts. Came inside to do the trash, mop the bathrooms, and do some returns when I needed to cool off.

I wanted to sign up for my next day off for counseling, but they changed out system for requesting days off. Instead of writing it down on a paper and someone handling all the requests off for the entire store, you put in the request either on your own computer at home or on the store's computer. I don't often mess around in the Acme's computer system, and we had to change my password at least twice before they'd let me in.

It was annoying at first, but now I realize that the lady who helped me was right. It does make more sense to do it yourself. I could never keep track of how many days off I had. And while we can only ask for time off a month in advance (which means I'll have to wait for September 9th to ask for October 9th off), I also discovered that yes, my vacation next month has been approved. The whole thing was worth it just to see that.

Finished out the sixth season of Danger Mouse while having a quick leftovers dinner. "Penfold BF" becomes The Blue Flash when a pill given to him and DM by Dr. Squawkencluck turns him into a superhero. He's no better as an assistant with super powers than without them as he tries to help his buddy catch a wayward messenger pigeon. All the electronic devices in the world create "Mechanized Mayhem" when a devious supercomputer turns them on their owners. The season ends with a "Journey to the Earth's Cor!" The duo travel down through a hole in the North Pole to discover what's creating the loud racket.

Finished the night with Girls Trip. Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) is a writer and lifestyle adviser who has been asked to be the keynote speaker at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. Hoping to make the trip more fun, she invites her three best friends, whom she hasn't seen in years, along. Sasha (Queen Latifa) is a former Time journalist who now hosts a struggling gossip site, Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) is a nurse and mother who is still getting over a nasty divorce, and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is a major party animal who just got fired from her latest job for her temper and childish attitude. Unfortunately, shortly after their arrival, Sasha discovers that Ryan's husband and partner Stewart (Mike Colter) is cheating on him with an Instagram model. Ryan insists that she has it all under control, but the other three aren't so sure. The parties get wilder and crazier...until scandalous photos that threaten to destroy Ryan's image and her marriage are leaked to the Internet. Though they fight and walk off, they all end up supporting Ryan as she first tries to cover up her ruined marriage, then changes her tune. The women eventually discover that no one is perfect, not even lifestyle advisers, but good friends will always see the real you...and they're the ones who'll stick by you through the best and worst that life has to offer.

This was the most purely fun comedy I've seen in ages. No wonder it was a major hit last year. I really wish I could have joined the ladies at the Essence Festival. I may not be a drinker, but the musical acts alone were worth it - I spied Mariah Carey, Babyface, Ne-Yo, New Edition, and Sean Combs, among others. All four of the female leads were excellent, but Tiffany Haddish has gotten the most praise as loyal, loud, live-for-today Dina. My only mild complaint is a smattering of scatological humor about mid-way through the film, but that kinds of goes along with the partying.

Adult women and their buddies who want to go on their own "girl trips" without leaving home will thoroughly enjoy this funny and touching tale of true friendship.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hot Times In Late Summer

Began the day with one more Neil Simon musical. They're Playing Our Song would be his last hit musical on Broadway. It's a departure from his previous three shows, which were all big, traditional musicals. This one is an intimate two-character piece with a six-person chorus. Vernon (Robert Klein) is an Oscar-winning composer who's looking for a new partner. He never expected to find her in Sonia (Lucie Arnez), a scatterbrained lyricist who is getting over a bad breakup with her boyfriend Leon. They do start sleeping with each other, but she ultimately returns to Leon, before he realizes that he can't live without her.

Though it was a long-running hit when it debuted in 1979, it's rarely been heard from since. Too bad. Real-life lovers Carol Bayer Sager and Martin Hamlish crafted some nice numbers, including the title song, Vernon and Sonia's "Workin' It Out" when they first meet, and the touching "Fill In the Words" for Vernon when he's in the hospital and writes a song about how much he misses Sonia. The "chorus" are three guys and three girls who act as alter-egos for the two leads.

Worked on writing for a while after breakfast. Yasmin tries to hypnotize Leia, but she's able to fight it off. The female gangster is about to try again when her boyfriend/orchestra leader Barry Fortune tells her that a reporter from the Daily Star is demanding an interview. It turns out to be a sober, black-clad Luke, who is highly suspicious of her involvement with the FBI agent who drove off the cliff the night before.

Broke for a quick lunch and another record. My LP version of Mickey and the Beanstalk uses most of the original cast, though I believe the voice of the harp is different. (And the narrator is a woman, rather than Edgar Bergen or Professor Ludwig Von Drake.) "My, What a Happy Day" sounds especially good here.

Headed out at quarter of 1 for Haddonfield after a quick stop at WaWa for the biggest bottle of water I could afford. Today was hazy, sunny, dry, and hot as heck, though a cool wind did help somewhat. I went straight down Cuthbert to Crystal Lake Road and across Haddonfield's back roads from there. It probably took longer, but the streets in Haddon Township and Haddonfield are shady and a bit cooler than elsewhere. It was so hot, I had to stop periodically to wipe the sweat off my face with a towel I brought for later. I'd slathered myself with suntan lotion before I left, and the lotion-infused water burned my eyes.

Discovered a new toy shop when I pulled in at King's Highway. Ninja' Toy Shop is tiny but jam-packed with toys from popular brands like Lego and Marvel. They had an especially good collection of Pokemon toys. I had to resist cuddling the cute Snorlax, Pikachu, and Venusaur. They even had an episode of the show on. (I can't believe Team Rocket are still blasting off after all this time.)

Had just enough time to ride over to Mrs. Stahl's office for counseling. I told her about my busy month, mainly spent at home. I've come to the conclusion that really do want to write for a living, and that my blogs would be a great way to start. A big part of the reason I was so hesitant to look for secretarial jobs is I haven't done anything like that since the early 2000's. I have been keeping up with my blog, though...and my blog consists of writing.

The problem is selling them. I'm hesitant to advertise myself. I've already gotten some trolls at my regular blog (though not in at least four years or so). I really don't want to encourage more. Having seen how ridiculous people behaved in both the Star Wars and American Girl fandoms, I'm all too aware of how hurtful people can be online. I've spent my entire life being tormented, shamed, and ridiculed because I'm different from everyone else.

On the other hand, I really need to make money somehow, and this and Craigslist seem to be my best options at the moment. It's just really scary for me to put myself out there. That child in my head and heart is terrified that she'll get hurt again.

Mrs. Stahl pretty much said "work on the blogs and try to put yourself out there." We'll see. At any rate, I have over a month and a half to do it. We won't be getting together again until early October, due to my vacation next month.

It was so hot (98 degrees, according to the digital sign outside of the Westmont Fire Station), a stop at Primo's Water Ice was mandatory. I caught them just at the right time. There were only two teenagers choosing ice cream and a mom buying sundaes for her kids. I'd barely ordered my mint chocolate chip water ice when at least two large families came in. I dodged them and ate my refreshing and VERY minty treat on a shaded bench outside.

Took Newton Lake Park back to Oaklyn this time. They weren't that busy; the few people there were fisher folk and a few brave souls out for a stroll. I made my way around them, admiring the brilliant sunshine on the bottle-green water.

Stopped at Dad and Jodie's for a swim. I brought my towel and bathing suit with me so I could get some time in. Their neighbor Sandy was the only person in the pool when I arrived. After she got out, I had the pool to myself for a while before Rose, Craig, and their kids arrived. Swam with them for another half-hour before we all got out so I could head home for dinner and Rose and Craig could order their kids Chinese.

Oh, and Jodie told me they'll be having their Labor Day party on Sunday instead of Monday. Most of the kids in the neighborhood will need to spend the rest of the week, including Labor Day, resting up for their return to school. I'll bring another icebox cake.

Had leftover fish tacos with escarole sauteed in lemon juice, white wine, and olive oil for dinner. Ran a couple of New Three Stooges cartoons while I ate. "The Classical Clinker" is Curly Joe, who makes an opera impresario believe he's a star via an opera recording and a wind-up Victrola. They earn their "Movie Scars" as oft-battered stunt men. "A Bull for Adamo" has them bringing bulls to the ring in Mexico, but they end up being mistaken for matadors and chased by one of their charges. "The Tree Nuts" have to stop a tricky termite from destroying the forest. They're western deputies who stop a "Tin Horn Dude" and his elderly creator from robbing banks.

Finished the night with Guys and Dolls, which I review at my my musical movies blog, Musical Dreams Reviews:

Guys and Dolls

Monday, August 27, 2018

Adventure is a Family Business

First of all, you'll note that I've changed the title of my blog. The URL remains the same, but I think three-fourths of the visitors I was getting were mainly people looking for actual apartments by rivers for rental. I'd like to see what kind of traffic I get when people aren't mistaking this for a rental blog.

Kicked off a hazy, sunny morning with breakfast and my original cast album for Sweet Charity. Figured I'd run the musicals Neil Simon wrote for the next few days in his honor. Poor Charity (Gwen Verdon), a taxi dancer in New York City, can't seem to catch a break. The first guy we encounter her with dumps her in the river. The second is an Italian movie star who uses her to make his mistress jealous. Guy number three is Oscar, a nice but shy accountant whom she meets in a stuck elevator. He genuinely likes her, and she thinks he's really sweet...but she's afraid to tell him what her real occupation is...

This tale of a lady who keeps looking for love in the worst possible places is kind of meandering and a little bit dated, but it does have some great music by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields. "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This," a trio for Charity and two of her friends at the dance hall when they dream of finding decent jobs, is my favorite number. I also like Charity's "I'm the Bravest Individual" to cheer up Oscar in the elevator, "The Rhythm of Life" for a strange chuck that Oscar takes Charity to, and the chorus song "I Love to Cry at Weddings."

Worked on writing for a while around 10:30, shortly after Charlie went downstairs with his dad (for the day, as it turned out). Yasmin has her men tie Leia to a chair in the room that holds all her illegally-purchased antiquities. She's been using the khyber crystal taken from the Sword of Wisdom to manipulate fellow business people into doing her bidding...including hypnotizing the FBI agent Oola Twylar into driving off a cliff. She tries to use it to force Leia to tell her what she knows about the Sword and its powers, but Leia's not talking...

Broke for lunch at 1. Put on another Neil Simon-penned musical as I ate coffee yogurt and half of a cantaloupe. Most people think Broadway cannibalizing Hollywood movies for musicals is a recent development, but it's been happening for years. Case in point is the 1968 hit Promises, Promises, based after the Oscar-winning comedy The Apartment. Chuck (Jerry Orbach) is a normal guy who, hoping to advance in his job, lets his bosses use his bachelor quarters for extramarital affairs. He's mostly ok with it, until he learns that one of these mistresses is the girl he has a crush on, Fran (Jill O'Hara). Fran nearly kills herself after his boss won't marry her, but it's Chuck and a neighbor who cheers her up...and makes her realize who she really loves.

It's too bad that a revival with Kristen Chenowith in 2010 didn't do very well. There's some terrific music here, some of the best by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" is the standard, but I also enjoy "She Likes Basketball" for an adorkable Chuck as he swoons over Fran and two sad ballads for Fran, "Knowing When to Leave" and "Whoever You Are." (The revival added two more David-Bacharach hits, "A House Is Not a Home" and "I Say a Little Prayer.")

Headed to work before the record had ended. Work was off-and-on busy despite the dry 90-degree heat. I spent the majority of the day outside, doing carts. The head bagger did take over for me during my break, and I helped her with returns and shelving candy, but she'd been outside for most of the morning. There wasn't anything I could do about it. The carts kept vanishing. It was especially bad around rush hour.

Went straight home after work and right into leftovers with escarole for dinner. Watched Tomb Raider while I ate. Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a bike courier who is constantly in trouble. After she's bailed out of her most recent scrape by her missing father's former partner Ana (Kristin Scott Thomas), she reluctantly takes over his business...and discovers a vast office in the bottom of her father's tomb. He's done research and has gone in search of a mythical Japanese sorceress who may have been able to kill or heal at will. Lara ignores her father's video warning to burn his research and goes to Hong Kong to find the ship he was going to take to Japan. She finally convinces a drunk Chinese youth named Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), whose father took Lara's to the island and vanished when he did. They're capsized in a storm and fall into the clutches of Mathais Vogel (Walton Goggins), a rival of Richard Croft, and his expedition. Lara manages to escape from him, but little does she know that her father isn't as dead as everyone thinks...and that the power in the tomb is not eternal life, but a slow, painful death.

I'm a big fan of Indiana Jones-style adventure tales, but this one has it's ups and downs. Casting is the main problem. Vikander is too dainty-looking to pass for a rugged female adventurer, and she spends more time running and being beat up than anything. Goggins is a bland villain, too. The story really isn't anything you haven't seen before. On the other hand, there's some absolutely spectacular action here, including Lara fleeing Vogel and his group and the discovery of the tomb.

(In some ways, this reminds me a bit of The Last Jedi, especially the relationship between Lara and her father.)

There was enough that I liked here that I didn't mind the rental, and I actually hope Warners, despite this movie's failure at the box office, picks up on those loose threads about the Croft family business in the finale. If you're a fan of adventure tales like me, especially with a female lead, this one deserves better than it got in theaters last winter and is worth checking out.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

You Bring the Summer

Started the morning with Gray Squash Pancakes (I had half of a gray squash I had to get rid of) and music. I've never seen the Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour, but given the reviews I've seen for it basically state that it's a mess, maybe that's just as well. It has some great music, though, including "Your Mother Should Know," "I Am the Walrus," "The Fool On the Hill," and the title song. Four numbers that were previously released as singles-only, "Penny Lane," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "All You Need Is Love," and "Baby You're a Rich Man," were also collected here for the first time.

Charlie and Richard had long been upstairs by the time I was burning one side of my pancake. They were applying some kind of brownish sticky stuff, glue or epoxy or stain, to the porch with a roller. It smelled terrible, oddly sweet and too strong. The guys wore blue hazmat suits and goggles just to deal with it. And of course, the wind blew that smell right into my apartment.

I tried to ignore the smell while working on my fanfic. (The smell was so bad in my bedroom, I did my writing session at the dining table.) The moment Leia kisses Harry, most of the clouds lift. His vision is still a bit blurry, but his mind is now his own. Unfortunately, their reunion is short-lived. Roberto Fettara saw Leia creeping around and alerted his boss. Yasmin Hutt orders Harry returned to her room under lock and key, while Charel will be locked in another room. She has her own...special...plans for Leia...

It must have dried by the time I was having lunch, because it smelled a bit better. At least enough that I was able to put on Good Times! and make a plum-ginger smoothie without feeling dizzy. Good Times! is the most recent album by the Monkees. It was a surprise hit two years ago, and for good reason. Whether brand-new or reworked for this album, these songs are some of the best they've done since the late 60's. The title number is my favorite, but I also like Micky's "You Bring the Summer" and "Little Girl" from Peter.

Headed off to work right after lunch. It was busy when I came in, and there were no carts. It doesn't help that they're switching to our new computer system tomorrow. We're getting totally new everything - register computers, schedule spreadsheet, even new price tags. People from a computer company were rushing around, trying to get everything ready...and getting in people's way and using up carts that customers needed. I didn't have help for a lot of the afternoon, either. I spent 3 and a half of my five hour shift outside. I was so tired by my last hour, I used it to work on the overflowing carts of returns instead.

Rushed home after that, and was once again greeted by that sickeningly sweet smell. Charlie and Richard had finished up the other side of the porch. I once again tried to ignore it while eating leftovers for dinner, and then while in the bath. I looked over two of my Christmas With Southern Living books for holiday ideas while listening to Johnny Mathis and a CD collection of hits from the 1940's, The White Cliffs of Dover.

Finished off the night with the soundtrack from Brighton Beach Memoirs in honor of Neil Simon, who passed away today. While neither the first of his comedies adapted to film, nor the most successful, it does have a rather nice 30's-inflected score and a couple of good songs from the era.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Beautiful Day Harvest

Began another stunning late summer morning with breakfast and cartoons. Betty Boop was in the spotlight today in shorts from my public domain set. She has "A Language All My Own" when she takes her vaudeville act to Japan. A snooty dog and her owner insists that Betty's puppy Pudgy is a "Little Nobody," until he saves the pampered pooch from a raging river. Betty thinks "A Little Soap and A Little Water" are all she needs to get Pudgy clean, but he'd rather get his bone from a coal bucket. Betty and her nephew Junior are upset when it rains the day they were planning to go to the carnival. Grampy uses his inventions to turn his apartment - and in scene that still looks awesome to this day, their entire apartment building - into a midway.

Rode to the Collingswood Farm Market around quarter of 11. They were still packed, even at that late hour, with people looking for produce for barbecues and pool parties. Blueberries are gone, replaced by the first hard squash and Italian plums of the season. I picked up the plums, white peaches, escarole, two ears of corn, and one of the mini-cantaloupes.

I hadn't had a good yard sale morning for a while. No luck anywhere. A rummage sale at a church in Collingswood was bust, with not much of anything lining it's tables. It took me forever to find a sale on Park Avenue. I read the small paper hanging on a street sign wrong and went completely in the wrong direction.

Since I was already in the area, I rode over to Westmont Plaza to check out AC Moore and Target. AC Moore was packed when I arrived. There was a ton of stuff going on, including local radio station B101 FM holding court from a tent in the parking lot and people sitting at a table inside. I considered doll outfits, then decided I'd wait for vacation for fun shopping. Went into Target, but they didn't have the mouse trap I was looking for. I did pick up a new dish scrub brush and toilet bowl brush at Dollar Tree. Briefly checked out a third yard sale at Cuthbert Road on my way down the street.

Stopped at WaWa on the way home. My long ride had made me very thirsty! I picked up their amazing Chocolate Banana Smoothie and a soft pretzel. (Ended up saving the pretzel until later.)

Charlie was working downstairs, having finished the porch for the day, when I arrived. He said that his cherry tomatoes were ripe and I could pick a few. I grabbed some that were red, or at least yellow, along with a green pepper.

Ran more Betty Boop cartoons while putting everything away and having yogurt, fruit, and the pretzel for lunch. Betty and her buddies Bimbo and Koko are competing in a big car race, but "Betty's Ker-Choo" winds up propelling her into the lead. "Betty Boop's Rise to Fame" is live action-animation hybrid clip show, featuring a live Max Fleischer and reporter asking Betty about her life story (via bits from earlier shorts). "Betty Boop and Little Jimmy" are in an attic, where Betty's working out. When one of her pieces of equipment goes haywire, she sends the little boy to find an electrician...but he misunderstands her words. "So Does an Automobile" has Betty as the head of an auto repair shop, where the autos are live and get just as run-down and tired as any human. "Betty In Blunderland" sends her into the world of her Alice In Wonderland-based puzzle. It's all fun and catchy dance routines, until the Jabberwocky arrives and grabs Betty!

Worked on writing for the rest of the afternoon. Yasmin isn't at home when Leia arrives, having been called away by an associate. Leia takes advantage of the extra time to find Harry. Charel is there as well, and he's the one who directs her to Yasmin's room. Harry is being kept there as a virtual prisoner, naked except for a collar and chain. Leia kisses him back to recognition...but their reunion is short-lived...

By 5:30, I was tired of sitting around. I went out for a walk in the neighborhood. The day couldn't have been more beautiful, breezy, sunny, and dry, probably in the lower-mid 80's. It's so green here for this time of year! There's barely any of the usual dry patches in the grass one normally sees by late August, and the trees are still vibrant shades of emerald and lime. Needless to say on such a lovely evening, there were quite a few people out and about. I saw a couple pushing a stroller on Newton while the mom sang "The Wheels On the Bus" and a father head off Manor with his teen children, probably on their way to WaWa. Boys rode bikes down the other side of Manor as I made my way home.

Decided I wanted a decent dinner after all the running around I did today. I made the Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip, which I had on a bed of escarole, with cherry and grape tomatoes. Made a tasty Peach Crisp from canned and fresh peaches for dessert.

Ran The Phantom while I ate. The Phantom (Billy Zane) is the latest in a long line of superheroes who live on an uncharted jungle island among natives, protecting them from evil. Evil comes in the form of mercenaries who are seeking three skulls that can grant amazing powers. Their boss Xander Drax (Treat Williams) is determined to find them at any cost. The Phantom just wants to find the man who killed his father, the previous Phantom (Patrick McGoohan). His job is complicated by the arrival of his ex-girlfriend Diana Palmer (Kristy Swanson), the daughter of a newspaper owner who is investigating Drax. She insists on investigating Drax's connection to a mysterious spider emblem, and is promptly captured by pirates on the way, including avatrix Sala (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The Phantom - aka Kit Walker - has to rescue her and figure out what Drax really wants with those skulls, before he uses them to destroy the world.

A mostly enjoyable Indiana Jones-esque romp that's marred by some poor casting. Swanson and Zeta-Jones are fine as the ladies in the Phantom's life, and Treat Williams is having a ball as the typical bad guy, but Zane is completely out of his element as the superhero in purple tights. Some nice action sequences, especially towards the end, and lush Australian cinematography somewhat makes up for this.

This was a flop at the box office in 1996, but it did far better on DVD and video and has since become a cult favorite with action nuts. If you're a fan of "The Ghost That Walks," the Indiana Jones series, or historical superhero tales, you'll want to give this one a shot as well.

Finished the night with one of my favorite animated films, The Swan Princess, which I reviewed at my Musical Dreams Reviews blog.

The Swan Princess

Friday, August 24, 2018

Summertime, and the Livin' Is Easy

Started off another beautiful day with breakfast and a couple of classic Woody Woodpecker shorts. He's a "Buccaneer Woodpecker" who tries to capture pirate Buzz Buzzard in order to get a bag of gold. "Wrestling Wrecks" has him taking part in a pro wrestling championship when his favorite wrestler is knocked around by a pugnacious challenger. Woody and Buzz are "Belle Boys," bell hops who compete for the favors (and tips) of gorgeous hotel customer Ga Ga Gazoo. "Hypnotic Hick" lets Woody mess with Buzz's mind when he hypnotizes him into coming along to be served a summons, and they both end up nearly falling off a skyscraper in the midst of construction.

Switched to music while doing a few chores around the house. I mainly needed to take photos of the AG bed and my red prom dress to eventually sell. I'm hoping to put out the dress on Craigslist later in the fall, when the high school and college formal season starts, and am currently casting around to neighbors with little girls who might be willing to buy the AG items.

Charlie had arrived to work on the porch by 9. I headed out around 11 to avoid the noise and his constant cursing. First stop on the list was the Oaklyn Library. They were far less busy than the Haddon Township Library was yesterday. The head librarian and I were the only ones there the entire time. I organized DVDs, looked the kids' section over, and went on my way.

I pulled in at Avenue to take a peek around their clearance sections. I've lost 25 pounds since at least June, and it's starting to show in my clothes. All of my shorts but one jean pair are way too big for me! Alas, I didn't see anything at Avenue I liked, and the urban-based clothing at Rainbow was too ruffly and bold for my taste. (I'm not really big on ripped jeans and huge prints, and big ruffles are a bit too much for my bust.)

Hit Sonic next for lunch. It was too nice to eat inside! I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with tater tots and a cherry slush. The sandwich was ok, a little on the messy side. The slush was cold as heck! Gave me major brain freeze, and didn't really taste all that much like cherry. From now on, I stick to cherry limeades at Sonic. Given the breezy, warmer day, I wasn't surprised to see a group and another guy eating on the patio as well.

Went to the Acme after I ate to pick up groceries. Found a crusted tilapia filet at a good price in with the seafood. Grabbed deodorant (mine just ran out) and more of those colored folders while they're still on the 4 for a dollar sale. Restocked skim milk, honey, yogurt, breakfast bars, whole wheat flour, chocolate chips, butter, canned pineapple, mandarin oranges, and canned chicken.

My schedule for next week is pretty much the same as this week, with one more hour and Tuesday off for counseling instead of Friday. Fine by me. I'm usually at the Acme on Fridays anyway to do my shopping. Things should start picking up a little once we're closer to Labor Day weekend, the kids going back to school, and the beginning of the month.

Headed straight home to put my groceries away. Did a few more Woody shorts while I got organized. "Hot Noon (or 12 O'Clock for Sure)" has fun with High Noon, which had been released the year before. Newly anointed sheriff Woody is encouraged to face down gunslinger Buzz Buzzard and his brothers by a lovely senorita. Woody's "Socko In Morocco" when he has to rescue a desert princess from the Sheik (Buzz) who wants her for his harem. An "Under the Counter Spy" accidentally leaves behind a liquid that Woody mistakes for his cure-all tonic. It's really a strength formula, and the spy will do anything to get it back. Woody goes into "A Fine Feathered Frenzy" when the lady who flirted with him on the phone turned out to be a huge older bird who wants nothing more than to drag him kicking and screaming to the alter.

As soon as I finished, I used three of the folders to re-organize another accordion folder. The one that holds all the paper paraphernalia from various obsessions - the Monkees, the Bowery Boys, Perfect Strangers, Star Wars - was cleared out. I'm going to leave the other two accordion folders alone. They mainly hold stories and essays leftover from high school and college. There's too much in those for regular folders.

Worked on writing for a while. Leia calls Luke after reading his front-page story in The Daily Star. He warns her against going to Yasmin Hutt's home in the Hollywood Hills, saying that this is a job for the police. When she still insists on going, he says he'll join her later, as soon as he can get away from the office. She adds that she has Artie with her and is perfectly capable of taking care of herself.

Broke around 5 to head to Dad and Jodie's for a swim. Khai was already there when I arrived. His mother and baby sister joined in about twenty minutes later. I laughed as Khai squeezed a shark that squirted water at his mother, and she retaliated by tossing him behind her. Finley was first determined to eat a smaller rubber shark, then jump face-first and join the rest of us. (Her mother had to help her with that one.)

After a while, Khai started to get cranky and disobey his mother, who really didn't want him to be squirting his sister. He was sent out of the pool twice for not listening before we all decided it was getting late and got out with him. He'd been out with his grandparents at an Amish market and farm for most of the day and was probably tired. He had spaghetti with olive oil while his sister ate baby food from a sippy container. Jodie gave me bratwurst and an apple cider donut from the Amish market, along with hot dog rolls to take home.

I sauteed gray squash with garden-fresh tomato and green beans and boiled an ear of corn to go with my bratwurst for dinner. Watched Captain Ron while I ate, and later after my shower. Chicago ad exec Martin Harvey (Martin Short) inherits a yacht and sees this as the perfect opportunity to plan the adventure of a lifetime in the Caribbean with his wife Katherine (Mary Kay Place) and children. Not only does the boat turn out to be a dilapidated wreck, but it's driven by Captain Ron (Kurt Russell), the most laid-back, oblivious skipper ever. He ogles Katherine openly, keeps getting lost, and even gets them mixed up with freedom fighters at one point. Martin's about ready to toss him overboard, until they go up against the infamous Pirates of the Caribbean and both have to be heroes.

Another old family favorite from the early 90's. Short and Russell play off each other nicely as the uptight dad who wants to show his family a good time and the oddball sailor who has no idea how much havoc he's raising in his boss' life. This is fun if you're a fan of either leading man or Vacation-style comedies.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pink Porch Antics

I awoke to people on the porch for the first time in months. Even as I finished Hummus and Homicide, Charlie had decided that the lovely day was perfect to start working on it again. On one hand, I'm glad he's finally getting it done. On the other hand, first of all, he should have told me he was going to do it. I'm the one who actually lives here. I really don't enjoy spending my days off listening to him cursing deities and other races, either.

Put on a couple of classic Pink Panther cartoons to drown him out as I had oatmeal for breakfast. "The Pink Phink" kicked off the series (and would be the only one to win an Oscar). Pink wants to paint a house in his favorite color, but the actual owner wants it to be blue. They end up competing to see who can paint the house first. Pink explores a department store and avoids the janitor in "We Give Pink Stamps." "Pinkfinger" parodies the spy movies that were popular at the time as a narrator encourages Pink to become a secret agent and ferret out a nest of evil-doers. "Reel Pink" has him dealing with recalcitrant bait and oddly aggressive crabs.

Switched to one of my 80's collections after breakfast as Charlie and Richard continued to work on the porch. I made the bed, then dug the bedding for my American Girl bed out of the plastic bin in the back room. The only bedding I plan on keeping are the lace-trimmed blanket and pillow Mom made for Samantha years ago. Everything else (including the quilt from Kirsten's line) came with the bed and can go with it. I took photos of the bedding...but forgot to photograph the bed itself. Oh well. I'll do that tomorrow.

Next on the agenda was getting the laundry done. I didn't have much, but I figured I might as well get it out of the way. It's just as well that I didn't. They were pretty busy when I arrived, with at least two or three families also trying to get things done. I worked on story notes and tried to ignore a mother fussing at her two young kids (one of whom was watching Calliou on her phone and kept dropping it).

Put everything away when I got home, then made a blueberry-carrot smoothie and peanuts for lunch. Ran more Pink Panther while I ate. He tries to introduce his own drink, "Pink Punch," but the dot in the i keeps turning green and won't cooperate. He has even less luck with a new car that has a mind of it's own and wants to race an old lady in "Pink Pistons." "Vitamin Pink" makes him a huckster in the old west selling a youth-rejuvenating pill. He regrets selling it to a former bank robber, who uses the pills to give him the energy to rob banks. The sheriff insists that Pink is the panther to stop him. "The Pink Blueprint" is similar to "The Pink Phink," only this time, he and the man are competing to see whether they build a normal house or a fantastic modern one.

Took the long way down Newton Lake Park to the Haddon Township Library after lunch. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a ride. The lake sparkled like jewels, reflecting trees that are still fairly green for this time of year. I dodged many people out for a walk and watched mothers push their children in swings at the playground.

The Haddon Township Library was the busiest I'd seen it in weeks! A lot of people must have taken out movies during the heat wave and storms we had last week. The DVD return carts were overflowing so much, it took me over an hour and a half to get it all shelved. Took out Guys and Dolls to review for my musical film blog, along with Girls Trip and the new version of Tomb Raider from earlier this year.

Made a quick stop at Target on the way home. They had few shorts still out, and none that I could fit into. There was no underwear left in my size, either. I did finally find the backpacks. They actually had a pretty decent selection. Maybe in a week or two, when back-to-school stuff starts going on bigger sales.

Went into writing as soon as I got home, trying to ignore the noise Charlie and Richard made as they finished off the porch for the evening. Did some more re-writing. Leia heads back to hers and Luke's apartment, only for her brother to be called out suddenly by the Los Angeles Daily Star in the middle of the night. Luke often gets assignments at odd hours, so she thinks nothing of it...until she gets her morning newspaper and sees a headline about a female agent named Oola who mysteriously drove off a cliff...

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. The catfish I bought last week came in chunks...which made them perfect for fish tacos. Had that with sauteed zucchini and tomatoes. Since I was low on blueberries, I also added zucchini to a blueberry muffin recipe. Came out pretty well, actually, nice and soft.

Watched Hello Dolly! as I worked, which I go into greater detail about at my musical review blog:

Hello Dolly! at Musical Dreams Reviews

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cat and Mouse and Cowboy Games

Started off the morning with a really quick breakfast before moving on to writing. Leia tells Laurence and Charel that she intends to follow Yasmin to her house to find the sword and free Harry. Larry warns her that this might not be a good idea. The woman Yasmin's goons grabbed was a government agent, and they may attack Leia as well if they think she's with her.

Broke at 11 for a quick lunch and some Tom & Jerry shorts. Tom is "Cat Napping" on a hammock, but there's no way Jerry is going to let him get some rest. He stitches together wings and becomes "The Flying Cat" to catch Jerry and a canary. Jerry and his nephew Nibbles are musketeers who attack Tom the Cardinal's Guard in "The Two Mouseketeers." The prequel "Touche, Pussy Cat!" explains how Nibbles came to join his uncle.

Work was absolutely no trouble at all today. Between the sunny and breezy weather and it being the middle of the week and the month, we were dead all afternoon. I spent most of the day doing carts, but it was so quiet, I was also able to get the recycling, returns, and inside trash done and gather baskets.

A pleasant young man gave me a test on the Acme's new computers shortly before my break. The registers now use a touch-screen system, rather than a keyboard. It was no problem. I passed with flying colors. I always did do better with essay or hands-on tests than with questions and answers.

Went straight home and had leftovers for dinner while watching a few more cat and mouse antics. Jerry's country-singing uncle is a "Pecos Pest" when he keeps yanking out Tom's whiskers for his guitar strings. Tom has "Designs on Jerry" when he creates a blueprint for a better mousetrap. Even the drawn Jerry manages to foil his drawn cat counterpart.

Finished the night after a shower with City Slickers. Mitch (Billy Crystal) just turned 39, and he feels like he hasn't done anything with his life. His best friends aren't doing much better. Phil (Daniel Stern) hates his wife and his job, while Ed (Bruno Kirby) can't decide if he wants to have kids with his much-younger wife. After a disastrous birthday party that results in Ed breaking up with his wife, Mitch ends up going to a dude ranch with his buddies to take part in a cattle drive. They quickly prove to be out of their depth with the hard-bitten owner, Clay Stone (Noble Willingham), and the crusty head cattle driver Curly (Jack Palance). Mitch's antagonizing the two head cowboys on the ranch doesn't help. Mitch does finally make friends with Curly, especially after he adopts a calf he delivered from a dying cow. They finally do make it to the round-up...but when things go wrong and the cattle and calf are in danger, the trio prove that working together and talking things out may be the best kind of therapy there is.

This seems to have been one of those things that just came together and worked. Palance worked so well as the tough-bitten old hand with a soft heart, he won an Oscar. It's a bit sitcom-ish, but it still garners laughs, especially once the guys make it to the ranch and everyone is picking on them. (And it's never worked again - a sequel in 1994 that involved a treasure hunt and most of the same cast flopped.) If you're a fan of comic westerns, Crystal, or Palance, this is one trip out west worth taking.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Adventures of Mickey Mouse

Since I had so much fun with the Looney Tunes yesterday, I decided to continue with my shorts marathon. Did a batch of black-and-white Disney shorts from the 30's today, starting with "The Mail Pilot." Mickey's a daring pilot who dodges air pirate Pete while making sure that the mail gets through. "Mickey's Gala Premiere" picks up the Hollywood satire thread from yesterday. The premiere of Mickey's newest short is attended by many of the top celebrities of the period (some in costume for what then would have been their latest film). There's even a fictional "short within a short" that looks very much like a real Mickey cartoon of the early 30's. Police officers Mickey and Donald have to capture "The Dognapper" who has stolen Minnie's prize pooch. Thief Pete leads them on a chase through a saw mill in a spoof of melodramas.

Worked on writing for a little while after breakfast. Actually, I did some re-writing. Leia specifically asks to see the Sword of Wisdom. Yasmin says no, but she can come to her house the next day to talk about archaeology and Central American cultures. She now lives in a mansion, rather than a yacht, as was my first thought.

Broke for lunch at 1. Made a smoothie with the last of the kale/apple mix and ate peanuts while watching more Mickey shorts. Minnie brings a very young Morty and Ferdie around to see what their uncle does all day in "Mickey's Steamroller." As cute as the little boys are, they get into mischief when they take off on the steamroller as Mickey and Minnie flirt. The other two chase them around town, avoiding all the damage the runaway roller causes. "Mickey In Arabia" has him rescuing Minnie from Bedouin Pete, while riding a drunk camel and encountering a passel of Arabic stereotypes. Pete also captures the mice in "Shanghaied," this time on the high seas. Mickey has to duel with the nasty cat (using a swordfish as a weapon) to free his beloved. "Mickey's Mechanical Man" is a robot he's trained to be a boxer. He ends up losing in a match against a fighting gorilla, but Minnie's horn may get him back in the ring.

It started to rain when I was half-way to work. The rain stopped shortly after I arrived, and it wouldn't rain again while I was there. Other than being late for break because I had to gather carts, it wasn't really that busy today. Along with the carts, I did the inside trash, gathered baskets, shelved some candy, and returned cold items.

The rain started up again as I rode home, and it's been off and on (sometimes heavily) for the rest of the night. I perked up the gloomy evening with leftovers and a double-dose of Eleanor Powell, MGM's top musical star in the 1930's and early 40's. My reviews for those films are at the Musical Dreams Blog:

Double Feature - Born to Dance and The Broadway Melody of 1940

Monday, August 20, 2018

Movie Maniacs

Began a cloudy, blissfully cool day with breakfast and a couple of Looney Tunes that spoofed the Golden Age of Hollywood. The black-and-white "Hollywood Capers" has Beans from "I Haven't Got a Hat" hitting the studios for a chance at the big time. He ends up rescuing Miss Kitty from a robotic Frankenstein monster. "The Coo-Coo Nut Grove" and "Porky's Road Race" are more-or-less the same idea, caricatures of the popular stars of the time interacting with one another. "Coo-Coo Nut Grove" has the stars as birds and other animals in a tree nightclub. "Road Race" pits them against Warners' then-biggest animated star in a race to the finish in some very creative cars.

Actually did a little re-writing after breakfast. Leia notices that one of the chorus girls in the tropical-themed number onstage is dragged off before the number's over. She doesn't get a chance to either talk to the dazed Harry, who doesn't seem to recognize her, or as Yasmin about it. Yasmin is suddenly called away by an especially fat and pig-like guard, saying they have the dame in the basement, and she needs to "handle" her.

Broke for lunch at 1. Continued with the Warners movie spoofs as I had peanuts and yogurt with blueberries and got ready for work. Porky is "The Film Fan" who stops to watch shorts and newsreels rather than bring his mother's groceries home. "Goofy Groceries" is another caricature cartoon, this time with animated versions of then-popular store mascots coming to life. A Jack Benny bunny has to stop a gorilla from wrecking havoc with the can-can dancers. (Beware of the African-American stereotype in the finale.) "Video Wabbit" lets Bugs and Elmer have fun with early TV as Elmer tries to get Bugs to appear in his hunting program.

Two of my favorite Looney Tunes shorts of the 1950's parodied hit sitcoms from that era. "The Honey-Mousers" is a spoof of the Jackie Gleason working-class show The Honeymooners, with Ralph and Ed trying to evade a cat and get dinner. The guys have some amusing schemes, but it takes no-nonsense Alice to get rid of him. "The Mouse That Jack Built" uses the actual cast of The Jack Benny Program to voice their rodent counterparts. After inspecting his cheese vault and getting his favorite jacket off his valet Rochester, Jack is ready to take Mary Livingstone out for the evening. She's not so crazy about his choice, which looks distinctly like the inside of a cat. (I like that there's no stereotypes here - Rochester looks pretty much the same as the rest of the cast.)

Headed out to work the second Jack ended. I got stuck in the register for about an hour or so after I got in. We were busy and still short on help. I managed to get out as the afternoon shift arrived and it slowed down. Spent the rest of the afternoon doing the inside trash and gathering carts and baskets.

Made Chicken Stir-Fry with canned chicken and some of the vegetables in my refrigerator that were starting to go soft for dinner. Watched a couple of episodes of the first season of Sailor Moon while I ate. "Usagi Vs. Rei: Nightmare In Dreamland" has Ami, Rei, Usagi, and Luna exploring a local amusement park with a history of people disappearing mysteriously. Rei is determined to stick to their mission, but Usagi just wants to ride the rides and have fun. They have to learn to work together in order to rescue Ami and figure out what the creepy "Dream Princess" audio-animatronic figure is really after.

"I Want a Boyfriend: The Luxury Cruise Ship Is a Trap" has Usagi sneaking aboard a ship where Rei and Ami are passengers. It's supposed to be a romance-focused cruise, but Rei won the tickets and didn't want to deal with Usagi's fussing the whole time. Usagi once again just wants to enjoy herself...until she and Luna discover that the ship is a fake and is being used by Jadeite and a fellow minion of Queen Beryl to gather energy.

Took a nice, cool bath after dinner. Ahhh. I very much needed that. Listened to jazz while looking over one of my Christmas With Southern Living books for ideas for the holidays. It felt so nice to just relax in the coconut-scented bubbles.

Finished the night with Houseboat. Tom Winters (Cary Grant), a government official in Washington DC, finds himself with the care of his three children after their mother dies. He has no idea what to do with them, until he meets Cinzia Zaccardi (Sophia Loren) after his son Robert runs off and she returns him. She's so good with the kids, he hires her as a maid and nanny. They're to live in a guest house provided by Tom's late wife's sister Carolyn (Martha Hyer), but it's accidentally destroyed. The group end up in a leaky old houseboat instead. Not only that, but Cinzia is no maid. She can't cook or make coffee, and she's terrible at the laundry. Tom and the kids grow fond her, though, even after an incident on the 4th of July when friends of Carolyn's make vulgar jokes about their relationship. Tom thinks he wants to marry Carolyn...but even after he figures out who really owns his heart, there's still the matter of the kids not wanting to share him.

This is somewhat similar to Father Goose, only this time, she's the free spirit and he's the repressed one, the kids number boys as well as a girl, and there's no war. The kids bothered me. Even considering the trauma with their mother's death, they were still way beyond bratty at times, especially when Robert ran off early-on and in the end before the wedding. Grant was obviously on more familiar territory here, playing the befuddled bachelor dad to the hilt. Sophia Loren did well enough as the flightly Italian who wants a life of her own outside of her father's world.

I think I'm just not a romantic comedy fan. The script was nominated for an Oscar, but I found it abrasive and a bit sitcom-ish, especially once they got on the houseboat. The music is better, including another Oscar nominee, the Sam Cooke ballad "Almost In Your Arms."

If you're a fan of the leads or are more into romantic comedy than me, you may find this one to be a lot more enjoyable than I did.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Shadow Knows

I awoke to rain that lingered in one form or another through most of the morning. Brightened the gloom with Lemon Blueberry Pancakes and The Boy Friend. Julie Andrews was a winning Polly in the original Broadway cast. "Won't You Charleston With Me?" sounds much better here, and "A Room In Bloomsbury" is especially sweet.

Did a tiny bit of writing before I left for work. Added some details about Yasmin Hutt's late husband, a grotesquely obese gangster who recently died from what was believed to be cardiac arrest...though some claim it was poisoning. Leia is trying to figure out how to get the Sword from Yasmin's ill-gotten antiquities collection when one of her pig-like goons comes up and tells her they've taken one of the chorus girls for questioning...

It had rained hard while I was writing. The rain had slowed to a mild shower by the time I headed to work, which allowed me to take my bike. Despite the ongoing showers, I spent most of the day outside, rounding up carts. I also gathered baskets, gave the bathrooms a look, and did returns and the indoor trash. We were really busy today, especially early-on. People are starting to prepare for Labor Day and kids going back to school. Others may have canceled or curtailed weekend vacation plans due to the weather.

The rain was down to a soft mist when I headed home. I was so sore from doing carts all day, I could barely move. I settled for leftovers and some episodes of The Shadow. This radio show from the 30's and 40's is kind of a cross between a superhero comic and a pulp horror mystery. Lamont Cranston (performed by Orson Welles in these early episodes) picked up the ability to cloud men's minds and appear invisible on a trip to India. Agnes Moorehead was originally his girlfriend, Margo Lane. Naturally, he uses these abilities to fight crime. I figured the chilly, damp weather was appropriate for these fairly dark mysteries.

Of the three episodes I listened to tonight, my favorite is "The Bride of Death," the spooky tale of Lamont and Margo rescuing a young girl from being sacrificed by an Indian cult. "The Temple Bells of Nibun" has an Indian woman who has been drugging the son of a rich man threaten to eliminated the Shadow's invisibility powers if he tries to stop her. "Poison Death" is a cat-and-mouse game that pits Lamont and Margo against a madman who is using poisons in the city's water to kill off innocent victims. Killing the head of the sanitation department clues Lamont in to who he is and what he has planned.

If you're a fan of pulp fiction and unique superheroes like I am, all three episodes (and many more) can be found on YouTube.

The Bride of Death
The Poison Death
The Temple Bells of Nibun

I've had these episodes on cassette for a long time. I bought a set of four cassettes, each holding two episodes, from Borders during my college years, probably sometime in the late 90's. (I also have an additional cassette with two shows from one of the later non-Welles seasons. I forget where I got it from. It was possibly a yard sale or thrift shop find.) When we lived together with three other girls in around 1999-2000, Amanda and I used to lay in our shared bedroom and shiver during cold night while listening to The Shadow to drown out the party noises above us. Oh, how we wished we could send away for that trial ton of Blue Coal! I've never been able to listen to these recordings without fondly remembering those nights we spent huddled in our beds, drifting off to sleep while The Shadow cackled in the background.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Summertime Harvest

Did a few random cartoon shorts from my public domain set as I got ready to head out this morning. "The Fresh Vegetable Mystery" is the root-napping of a mother carrot and her babies by a mysterious figure with pincer horns. Honestly, between the stereotypical Irish potato cops and their not-at-all funny methods of "interrogating" food they suspect to be criminals, this one is more than a little tough to swallow (pun intended).

"The Golden State" is easier to take today. It's just one of Paramount's later Screen Songs follow-the-bouncing-ball shorts, this one for "California, Here I Come." Raggedy Ann joins in to show a little blind girl how wonderful the imagination can be in "The Enchanted Square."

Headed out as soon as Raggedy Ann ended. First stop was the only yard sale I saw listed today. I actually did see some really interesting vintage novels. Thing is, not only did I just buy a ton of books, but I wanted to save money for later in the day. I moved on.

The Collingswood Farm Market was still bustling, even at 11:30. I had to elbow my way through crowds to check out the mid-summer produce. Everything you can imagine is out now, from greens to watermelons to apples. I went with red potatoes, white peaches, blueberries, and a small cantaloupe.

I completely forgot that Collingswood's big craft show was today. It's pretty much the same deal as the May Fair, only focusing on crafts without the extra car show and midway. I browsed around for about an hour, admiring the beaded jewelry, carved wooden furniture, glittering tile mosaics, beautiful paintings, colorful dresses and linens, and tasty-looking cheese and herb dips. The woodcarver who made those nifty mushrooms a few years ago was back, this time carving vegetables with unique faces on them.

Headed out around 12:30 when it got too hot to be walking around on Haddon Avenue. I headed home across Newton Lake Park. It was still hot, sunny, and killer humid at that point, without a cloud in the sky. I dodged more than a few people out riding their bikes or walking their dogs.

As soon as I got home, I changed into lighter shorts (the ones I had on were too heavy and were falling off of me), put everything away, and headed back out. I wanted to catch the 1:29 bus to Cherry Hill. I waited...and waited...and waited. I waited for at least 20 minutes, but the bus never came. Checking my phone revealed that the next bus wasn't until 2:30, and the previous one had been at 1:14! How could that be? My schedule said 1:29!

I finally gave up in frustration and headed around the corner and down Cuthbert to Genova Pizza. Maybe it's just as well that I was late. I hadn't had lunch let, and the two cheese slices and llama-print can of Dr. Pepper were just as good as any of the franchise restaurants in Cherry Hill...and a lot cheaper. I ate outside on their patio to enjoy the errant breezes.

Picked up the bus about a block from Genova's. There were no problems once I did get on the road, no traffic anywhere, not even on the Cooper River Bridge. I got off at Market Place shortly before 3.

I was originally going to do the toy convention across the highway today, but it costs 10 dollars to get in the door. Browsing at Bed Bath and Beyond is free. I didn't see what I wanted there - a backpack - but I did buy scrub sponges for the tub, a laundry bag backpack (might be easier to use on my bike), and a plastic and fabric shoe container that can be slid under the bed.

Had no luck anywhere else. No backpacks at the Christmas Tree Shops, either. (They did have tons of fall and Halloween stuff out, though.) I just bought muffin cups there. Was only at Barnes and Noble to use the bathroom. I'm going to save major book shopping for vacation. Ducked into Wegman's to avoid a nasty thunderstorm that almost literally popped up just as I was leaving Barnes and Noble. They did have backpacks, but they were all kind of cheap. I bought lime-flavored water and waited with a big group of other shoppers on the patio for the storm to end.

The moment the rain started to slow down, I dashed across the busy parking lot to the front buildings. There were quite a few other people who were waiting to take the bus as well, including two chatty waiters from The Cheesecake Factory at the Towne Center. The bus was about ten minutes late, probably a miracle at rush hour in Cherry Hill. Once again, the traffic going home was fine, and there were no problems getting into Oaklyn.

As soon as I arrived, I pulled out my new shoe holder. I left my sneakers and walking sandals on the wooden shelves in the closet in my bedroom. Any shoes I didn't use often or that were out of season went in the container, along with my good silk purse that Dad-Bruce brought from China and a leather purse a friend of Mom's who owned a leather store in the 80's made for me when I was a child.

Left the unused shelves in the closet. I got them from the Vermont Country Store, but they've never stayed in properly, and I was afraid they'd fall over. I'll find another use for them.

That went so well, I decided to organize my important papers, like bills and medical papers. I pretty much just shove everything into my leather binder and one of my accordion folders. I had to go through the leather binder to find the lease and the other paperwork for the apartment. Eventually, I separated medical paperwork, bills, taxes, bank statements, paperwork for my college loans, and anything related to work and the Acme into four folders. Important letters, papers, and certificates (like my birth certificate) stayed in the leather binder. Dropped any previous greeting cards I wanted to keep into a now-empty plastic shoe box. (The other holds extra extension cords.)

(If nothing else, I found my original birth certificate. Mom must have sent it a few years ago, and I never took it out of the envelope it came in. Oops. Boy, do I feel silly. At least I have two copies now, just in case something really does happen to one.)

I had a quick pineapple-ginger smoothie dinner before hitting the shower. Watched the animated Disney Alice In Wonderland as I went online. I review this one for my new Animation Celebration Saturday feature at my Musical Dreams Reviews blog.

Alice In Wonderland (Animated 1951)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Sisters are Doin' It For Themselves

Started off a hazy morning with breakfast and my one and only Aretha Franklin record to honor the passing of the Queen of Soul yesterday. While I do have some of her 60's and 70's hits on various classic rock and R&B collections, the only full album I have for her is Who's Zoomin' Who from 1985. I have fond memories of hearing "Freeway of Love," "Another Night," and "Sisters are Doin' It For Themselves" on the radio when I was a child.

Work was pandemonium all day, by far the busiest it's been since the 4th of July. We were having a huge one-day-only sale. Some over-sized items, like laundry detergent and bags of shrimp, were five dollars or five a pound. I managed to sneak out to do carts when I got in, but that was the only thing I ever got done. I was stuck in the register and panicking the rest of the day. I wasn't the only one, either. We didn't have anything resembling enough help. There had been call-outs, and one of the younger cashiers quit. They kept calling anyone and everyone up to the registers. At least they pulled me out a little early to put some cold items away.

Maybe it's just as well that I didn't need much in the way of groceries. The lines were still long, even as I was walking around the store. I was mainly restocking yogurt, skim milk, breakfast bars, jam (Smuckers' Natural Preserves were on sale - went with orange marmalade), cheese, honey, wraps, and brown sugar. Bought four plain folders for a dollar to use for all of the rent and medical-related papers I have stuffed in my leather case.

My schedule next week is pretty much what I've been getting all summer. I figured my strange hours this week were because the head bagger went on vacation, and I was right. I'm back to work four days, then have Thursday-Friday-Saturday off. Other than I would have liked to have continued with more hours, that's fine by me. I'll be able to call Rose and get a lot done next week.

Went straight home after work. Listened to the soundtrack from The Blues Brothers while I changed and put everything away. Franklin was among the "guest stars" who contributed a number to this rollicking R&B extravaganza. Her rendition of "Think," as a waitress backed by the Brothers, was a highlight of the film.

Worked a little bit on writing for a while. A none-too-happy Leia goes up to Yasmin Hutt and asks her about her collection and the Sword of Wisdom. She says she'd like to catalog it. Yasmin doesn't mind showing off her artifacts, but she's more touchy about showing off her new toy. She keeps a tight hold onto a dazed Harry, who wears a collar like a dog's around his neck.

Broke for dinner at 7. Finished a quiet night with turkey bacon and scrambled eggs with tomato, onions, and gray squash. Watched a Three Stooges short while I ate. Curly hits the road with his brother and best friend in "We Want Our Mummy." They're detectives who have been assigned to find a missing professor, who was kidnapped while searching for a lost pharoah's tomb in Egypt. The pharoah is said to be cursed, but even the Stooges think that's a lot of hokum...until Curly discovers what the animated mummies are really after.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Won't You Charleston With Me?

Today was my second of two early 7 hour shifts in a row. It was a bit cloudy when I headed out this morning, and not nearly as hot as it would be later. I worked on carts, did the outside trash and recycling, and did two carts of returns until the other bagger arrived around noon. I did get stuck on the registers for a while around 12:30 and before and after my second break. We weren't busy and there were no call-outs. We were just that short on help in the afternoon. Thankfully, it slowed down enough for me to put a full cart of candy away (with an assist from some of the high school and college cashiers who came in during the afternoon).

Went straight home after work. By this point, it had gotten hot along with humid, and the sun had returned. I spent the rest of the afternoon avoiding it. Read a few chapters of Cookie Dough or Die (which I hadn't gotten to this morning), then worked on writing for a little while.

Leia and Charel are seated by Artie, who serves them drinks. He, Clarence, and Larry have searched for Harry everywhere, to no avail. Yasmin is keeping him under lock and key. Luke has not yet arrived; he's planning strategy with Yoda, his boss at the Los Angeles Daily Star Ahsoka Tano, and the FBI. Leia's about to suggest they go find him when Roberto Fettara leads Harry in. The pilot is handsomely dressed in a white tuxedo, but he's also dazed and appears to be drugged or under hypnosis...

Broke at quarter of 7 for dinner and The Boy Friend. I review this 1971 musical at my new musical reviews blog, Musical Dreams. I've grown rather fond of it since I found the video in 2010, and it's a reminder that part of my reason for starting this third blog is to bring lesser-known musical films like this one to a wider audience.

The Boy Friend at Musical Dreams Movie Reviews

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

It's a Dog's Life

I was up so late this morning, I didn't get moving and having breakfast until around 10:30, and I didn't make it to the laundromat until past noon. They were incredibly busy by that point; almost all of the dryers were taken. It's just as well that, even with my summer quilt added to the mix, I still didn't have a very big load. I won't have another day off until Saturday, and I have other things I want to do that day. I had to get it done today. I ignored soap operas, worked on story notes, and chatted with an adorable little girl who was enjoying a Rice Krispies treat.

Went straight home afterwards. Put away the laundry, had a quick lunch of a smoothie and a plum, then went right back out again. Rode by Target on my way across the Westmont Plaza. Jodie said yesterday that they were only open for friends and family of the employees, and that the actual opening would be Sunday...but there was an awful lot of people going in and out for a "soft" opening.

One of the librarians at the Haddon Township Library confirmed this when I arrived. It was still a "soft" opening...but people were going in anyway. Too many people around here have wanted this place to open for them to bother stopping them!

The DVDs were a mess. I left the loose ones to be shelved by others, but I did organize the shelves and removed TV series and foreign films that belonged elsewhere. I also shelved a couple of audio books.

Found a new cozy mystery about a waitress at a Greek restaurant in a fictional Jersey Shore town (I can never resist anything about the Jersey Shore) and DVDs, all comedies. I'm not up to anything heavier than that right now. Houseboat is the other movie where Cary Grant romances a European lady in an exotic setting while kids play matchmaker - the lady here is Sophia Loren. Also grabbed City Slickers and Best In Show.

I finally decided I couldn't resist anymore and stopped by Target on my way home. On one hand, yes, they were smaller than the stores in Cherry Hill and Deptford, with a small Our Generation area in the toy section and barely any DVDs. The fitting rooms were dropped kind of awkwardly in the center of the building, and I wish there had been two doors, instead of everyone going in through one main door.

On the other hand, it was certainly much nicer than the Cherry Hill store for the size it was, with a decent grocery area. Starbucks replaced Thrifway's failed "cafe" on your right as you enter. Not only did I notice that they had the Nature's Valley fig bars I love in boxes (they were only sold individually in the Acme), but they were on sale. I had to have the raspberry.

Worked on some writing when I finally got home. Leia is escorted to the Twin Suns Club in Hollywood by Charel. She's dazzled by the opulent Mexican/Southwestern/Aztec-themed rooms, with their sunburst lamps and fake warrior armor. Mrs. Yasmin Hutt proves to be even more dazzling. Unlike her recently deceased husband, who was notoriously fat and ugly, Yasmin is model-gorgeous...but is said to be even more ruthless. Leia feels dowdy alongside her stunning beauty.

Ran an episode of Get Smart while I had leftovers for dinner. "I'm Only Human" from the first season has Max and his dog Fang undercover in a kennel when they learn that several CONTROL dogs who went there recently attacked their agent masters. Fang is fitted for a TV collar...but when it goes fuzzy, Max and 99 go after him. It turns out to be a CHAOS trap to catch the chief and get all three out of the way, unless Max can get through to Fang and get him to destroy a bomb.

Max isn't the only one having problems with his pooch. Best In Show is the third Christopher Guest mocumentary, this time about five entries in a prestigious dog show. Normal middle-class couple Cookie (Catherine O'Hara) and Garry (Eugene Levy) dote on their terrier, to the point where they write songs about him. Gay couple Scott (John Michael Higgins) and Stefan (Michael McKean) regard their Shizu Tzu as their child. Tackle and bait store owner Harlan (Guest) is a goofball who is following the family tradition by raising bloodhounds. Meg (Parker Posey) and Hamilton (Michael Hitchcock) are neurotic yuppies whose fighting is probably freaking their Weinmaraner out more than anything. Spoiled trophy wife Sharri Ann (Jennifer Coolidge) is more interested in her poodle's trainer Christy (Jane Lynch) than in the dog. There will be much bonding, dog grooming, fighting, and discussions of pistachios taking place over the course of three days, but only one dog can come out victorious...

Another fun improv-style mocumentary from Guest, including the aforementioned pistachio monologue, the arguments between Posey and Hitchcock about their dog being bothered by what they do in the bedroom, and O'Hara and Levy's sweetly silly terrier tunes. If you're a fan of Guest's other movies or of other improv comedies or you love dogs, you may find this one to be a blue-ribbon winner, too.

(And I'm sorry this is late. My internet went down last night right as I was posting it, and I didn't have the time to wait for it to come back to life.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Musical and Rainy Day Dreams

It was sunny out when I started off the morning with music and breakfast. Listened to my Best of James Bond CD while I ate and got organized. I picked up this double-disc set from Abbie Road a few years ago. The first disc covers all the Bond theme songs up through License to Kill. In addition to obvious favorites like the title songs from Live and Let Die, A View to a Kill, and Goldfinger, "All Time High" from Octopussy, and "Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me, I rediscovered two underrated gems. The searing title song from Diamonds are Forever is a high spot in that enjoyable but very strange film, while the title number of Moonraker is a lovely ballad that tends to be forgotten amid that film's sci-fi plot.

I only had a few errands to run today, starting with the Oaklyn Library. They were fairly busy for them; a paper on the door said a program was in progress. I had a lot to do. Both the adult and the kids' DVDs were a mess. The librarian has removed the DVDs for sale and is now using those shelves for a DVD "theme." This month, the theme is the 80's. They already had a bunch of titles out and were talking about ordering more. I helped them find The Goonies (which they also mentioned).

Dark clouds had moved in, and it had just started raining as I rode over the finally-finished train bridge and into Audubon. They didn't last long, and wouldn't all day. The sun was out before I made it half-way down Market Street. By the time I was riding up to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center, the sky was blue, and the humidity and heat had returned.

Since I was there, I poked around in Marshalls and Ross Dress for Less for a while. There's only a few things I really need right now. I rather badly need new errand-running sneakers. My EasySpirits are falling apart. While my backpack isn't in quite as bad of shape, I use it fairly often, and it's pretty battered. The drawstring that's supposed to close it came out ages ago, which means I haven't been able to close it in ages, and it really doesn't have enough pockets. I didn't see anything at either store I had to have, but I have a better idea of what I want now. The Shoe Depot had EasySpirits (that's where I got my current pair), but I think I'll wait for better sales a little later in the month.

The main reason I went to Audubon was I left my blue raincoat in the back room at work. Since I was there, I also grabbed the Irwin's spice wafers (it's going to be way too hot to bake this week) and an orange sparkling water. I can understand why my hours were lousy this week. None of the stores I went to were busy, not even Marshalls or Ross. I easily got into the express line at the Acme.

Had a quick green smoothie lunch when I got home. Listened to Copacabana while I finished it and went into writing. Barry Manilow adapted his TV movie based around one of his most famous songs for the stage in the 1990's. My favorite additional material includes a comic number for the owner of the Copa and it's aging cigarette girl, "Who am I Kidding," and a lovely duet for Tony and Lola, "This Can't Be Real."

Worked on writing for a while as a second, heavier thunderstorm came down. Vader reports to his boss that he lost his kids but got the maps. Palpatine insists that the time is right to move along to Guatemala and begin searching for the remaining Sword of Strength. He also insists on teaching Luke and Leia himself, despite Vader's protests...which leads Vader to wonder who's really in charge here...

Went over to Dad and Jodie's between storms around 4:30-quarter of 5. We ordered the tickets for my vacation at Lauren's, which is a month from today...or we tried to at first. Seems NJ Transit will be upgrading equipment for the Atlantic City Rail Line for the rest of the year starting September 5th, and the track will be shut down for the rest of the year, including the Cherry Hill station. I'll just have to get a ride into Philly and leave from there. (I really, really owe them for all of this.) It started raining on my way home; I hung around at their porch briefly to avoid the weather.

Finished the night with a BST (turkey bacon, gray squash, and tomatoes) wrap for dinner and Funny Face...and my newest venture! My review for Funny Face, and all subsequent musicals, can now be found at my blog for musical movie reviews, Musical Dreams. I'm hoping to get affiliates eventually. For now, it's a work in progress.

Musical Dreams Reviews

Monday, August 13, 2018

Starry, Starry Night

Started off a gloomy, rainy day with work. It was coming down pretty hard when I headed out; was a little wet when I arrived. It rained once more later in the morning before clearing in the afternoon. While I did do carts when I got in, I spent most of the day doing a cart and a half of returns. I also gathered inside and outside trash, took a look at the bathrooms (they just needed toilet paper and soap refilled), and gathered baskets. It had been fairly quiet before 1:30; picked up a bit after that. I got stuck in the registers briefly a few times when the lines got long.

Since the sun was out by the time I finished, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road and onto Atlantic Avenue. The train bridge into Audubon was finally finished a few weeks ago, which means the cars are now running both ways on Nicholson and it's busy down there again. I also ended up avoiding the other half of Manor, which is getting the same repairs that the side I live on got a few months ago. (Part of Kendall is also getting re-paved, from what I could see.)

(And darn, I realize that I left my rain coat at work. I didn't need it later. I'll go back for it tomorrow.)

Worked on writing for a while after I got in. They arrive at an air field just outside of Bespin, where they're met by Laurence's friend Nievo. They're all going to LA in the Silver Falcon. Yoda will talk to Dr. Mothma at UCLA and get the expedition organized, while the others go on to Mrs. Yasmin Hutt's notorious Hollywood nightclub to find Harry.

Broke for dinner at 6. Had a scrambled egg and turkey bacon wrap with cucumber-tomato salad for dinner. Watched an episode of Tales of the Gold Monkey that involves gambling and a glamorous casino while I ate. A "High Stakes Lady" wants Jake to deliver her to a poker game with several big-shots, including a Japanese businessman, a slightly smarmy Texan, and the infamous Princess Koji. But this lady isn't what she seems, and the game turns out to be about a lot more than money when Jake discovers what the lady is really after.

Finished the night after a shower with Loving Vincent. This unique take on the final days of artist Vincent Van Gogh is the first animated film to be done entirely in oil paints. The son of a postman (Douglas Booth) is asked to deliver Van Gogh's final letter to his brother. The more the young man hears about Van Gogh, the more he considers his death to be suspicious. He follows the trail of his final days, from a doctor who cared for him after he left an asylum (Jerome Flynn), to the innkeeper who befriended him (Eleanor Tomlinson), to the doctor's sweet daughter (Saiorse Ronan), who defends the local boy accused of killing him. In the end, the doctor delivers the letter to Van Gogh's late brother's widow and gives him as close to an account of what happened on Van Gogh's last night as we're likely to get at this point.

This movie is absolutely gorgeous to look at. The oil paintings were done to closely resemble Van Gogh's actual work. It's incredible how much went into this, how vibrant the colors and brushstrokes are. I found the actual story to be a bit dull on occasion, and rather talky. It might mean more to fans of Van Gogh or fine art.

The plot may not be the most exciting, but the achievement is still a worthy one. This was a deserved nominee for Best Animated Film at the Oscars and has won or been nominated for many awards elsewhere. If you're a fan of visual arts or Van Gogh, you might actually get a little more out of this one than I did.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Swimming to Oaklyn

I stayed up so late with Lauren last night, it was 10:30 before I awoke, and nearly noon before I rolled out of bed. (I finished The Chocolate Cat Caper first. I probably won't have the time for much reading before my early work day tomorrow.) Treated myself to some tasty chocolate chip pancakes topped with the last of the butter pecan ice cream for breakfast.

Watched Help! while I ate. The second Beatles film gets them involved with an Indian cult that wants a ring Ringo was sent by a fan. Whomever wears the ring will be the next person they sacrifice to their god...and it's currently stuck on poor Ringo's finger. They're not the only ones who are after it, either. A pair of daffy mad scientists (Victor Spinetti and Roy Kinnear) are convinced that the indestructible piece of jewelry will somehow help them take over the world and also chase after it. Ahme (Eleanor Bron), the high priestess of the cult, gets a crush on Paul and aids the boys as they flee from London to the Alps to the English countryside to the Bahamas in order to evade both groups and have a really cool vacation.

Though Hard Day's Night has it's charms, I actually prefer this one. It's like Monty Python parodying James Bond, cut with the occasional Monkees-esque music video. A cast of kooky British comedians make the most of the weird (and stereotyped) material. You can't argue with some of the Beatles' best songs of this period, including the title number, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," and "Ticket To Ride."

My only complaint is...yeah, the Beatles were right that they do sometimes feel like extras in their own movie. The comedians are really the ones who actually drive the plot. On the other hand, they do have some decent contributions, especially from Ringo and John (who has a couple of good zingers and a nice action sequence in their London flat when they're attacked by pretty much everyone).

This may be weird as heck, but it's a must-see if you're a fan of the Beatles, James Bond spoofs, or British comedy of the 60's and 70's.

Got bored around 2 and went out for a quick ride to Dollar General. I'm almost done with my current journal. Bought a new notebook, and finally remembered sponges, too. They weren't busy at all, especially for a Sunday. I was in and out.

Worked on writing for the next few hours. The group agrees to break up as soon as they get to the mainland. Yoda knows people in the FBI who specialize in finding smuggled artifacts and would love to get the goods on Yasmin Hutt. Laurence says he and Charel could probably get jobs as security guards. Artie volunteers himself as a waiter, and, to Clarence's consternation, him as a translator or secretary. Leia and Luke will go in as performers or patrons.

Broke at a little after 5 to go for a swim at Dad and Jodie's. It was quiet there when I rode past them around 2:30, but by 5:30, they were buzzing. Chloe, Bree, Dad's neighbor Sandy, and Chloe's friend Rebecca were all in the pool when I arrived. I swam back and forth while the girls pretended to be mermaids, escaping from Bree the shark.

Dark clouds were gathering by 6 PM. It was time to round the kids up and get them out of the pool. I lingered a little longer, chatting with Dad and Jodie. Their trip to Ocean City yesterday was apparently just to visit friends for a few hours, and they did enjoy it. I'll be going around there later in the week. First of all, Jodie and Dad want to order my tickets for vacation next month. Second, Jodie needs to talk to Rose - she hasn't made that appointment with the doctor yet, but she says she will. She filled a container with macaroni salad for me before I headed home.

Changed as soon as I got in. Tried green beans with bacon to go with the macaroni salad for dinner. The original recipe from Jiffy Cooking called for canned green beans. The only canned vegetables I ever use are tomato products (sauce, diced, paste). I replaced them with fresh green beans from Charlie's garden, chicken stock, and water. Not bad. Might add some lemon juice for a little zing if I ever do this again.

Did a double dose of camping comedies tonight, starting with Ernest Goes to Camp. Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) is the handyman at Camp Kikakee, but what he really wants to be is a counselor. He gets his chance when a group of juvenile delinquents who are at the camp as part of a program hurt their original counselor and needs a new one. They pick on Ernest, too, at least until the camp's nurse (Victoria Racimo) scolds them for treating him badly. As it turns out, no one may be at the camp for much longer. The owner of a local mining company (John Vernon) wants the camp's owner Chief St. Cloud (Iron Eyes Cody) to sell, and tricks him into doing it when Ernest translates his language. Ernest feels responsible....and neither he, nor the kids are going to let the only place where they feel at home go without a fight.

This was a surprise hit in 1987, and while a lot of it is pretty generic, kids even today might like some of the gags and how the delinquents and Ernest finally get to the mining company owner in the end. Ok time-waster for anyone who isn't a kid or a fan of Ernest.

Finished the night with more-or-less the girl-oriented version of this story, Troop Beverly Hills. Phyllis Neffler (Shelly Long) may be a great shopper and have good taste in colorful wide-brimmed hats, but her life is a mess. Her husband Freddy (Craig T. Nelson) is on the verge of divorcing her, tired of her shopping habits and her never following through on her commitments. Hoping to make a change and bond with her daughter Hannah (Jenny Lewis), Phyllis takes over Hannah's Wilderness Girls troop. These poor little rich girls are hardly the types who bake cookies and make rustic crafts. Good thing Phyllis isn't, either. She's determined to prove to Freddy and to militant, arrogant Velda Plundor (Betty Thomas) that there's more than one way to be a Wilderness Girl...whether you teach a girl to survive in the woods, or the wilds of Beverly Hills.

An old favorite from my late childhood, this still mostly works pretty well today for the most part. Long in particular is having a blast as the slightly ditzy housewife and Stephanie Beacham as Vicki, her sensible romance novelist best friend and the mother of one of the girls.

If you have fond memories of this one from your own childhood, or have a girl the age of the troop who might enjoy the comedy, it's definitely worth a look.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Musical Harvest

I awoke to a cloudy, gray morning that sort of suited my mood. Listened to Billy Joel's An Innocent Man on CD to cheer things up a bit. Mom and Dad-Bill were big Billy Joel fans (Mom caught him when he was still playing pianos in bars, Dad's a fellow Long Island native), and this album came out at just the right time to be one of my absolute favorites during my early grade school years. Pretty much every song in this album is a winner, from the opening "Easy Money" to the ballad "This Night" to the oft-covered hit "Uptown Girl."

I got up late and didn't get out to the Collingswood Farm Market until nearly 11. Despite the humidity and the heavy, dark clouds, they were crawling with people looking for produce for their barbecues and garden parties. I still had quite a few vegetables left over from last week and not a lot of money. I settled on peaches, an onion, and a type of yellow plum I'd never seen before.

Since the clouds were holding off for the moment, I took the long way across Newton Lake Park. Dodged a couple of people walking dogs. Otherwise, you can probably guess that they were pretty quiet. It was too humid for anyone who didn't have a dog or were running errands like me to be out and about.

Made a quick stop at the CVS on the border of Collingswood and Oaklyn next. I needed to restock my brush picks, and they're the only one in the area who seem to carry them. There were a few people at the pharmacy counter in the back; otherwise, they weren't that busy.

Since I was in the area, I rode by Dad and Jodie's house to see if they were home. They weren't, but I saw Jesse and Dana loading up their car. Seems everyone is going away for the weekend. Dad and Jodie went to Ocean City, Maryland to visit friends. Jesse and Dana are heading into the mountains. I chatted with them for a few minutes before heading back to my place.

Put my food away, then had yogurt, a breakfast cookie, and a Greens-Tea Smoothie for lunch. Listened to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds while I ate. This classic album wasn't a huge hit over here in the States when it came out in 1966, but it did better in England and is now recognized as one of the most influential rock albums ever. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Sloop John B" were the hits; I also like "God Only Knows" and "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times."

It sprinkled lightly while I was on the way to CVS, but the rain held off until after lunch. It was raining, and raining hard, by the time I was dusting the bedroom. I also made the bed and cleared out almost all of the stuffed animals on the DVD shelves in the living room but a couple of flamingos and little Amalthea the Unicorn (who is just too cute to get rid of). Amalthea was moved to the Beanie Baby shelf in my bedroom.

Worked on writing and updating my resumes for the next couple of hours. Leia and Luke escape Vader via the fire escape. They jump off when Vader comes after them, landing through the roof of Laurence's Rolls Royce. After fussing at them over the damage to his car, Laurence tells them that they couldn't catch up with Roberto Fettara's armored truck; he and Harry are gone. Leia finally tells them that they're returning to LA to talk to her boss Dr. Martha Mothma and pursue Harry at Yasmin Hutt's club.

Took me longer to update my resumes than I thought. Didn't break until quarter of 7. Ran Deep In My Heart while eating a leftover chicken and cheese wrap with cucumber-tomato salad for dinner. If Sigmund Romberg (Jose Ferrer) doesn't sound as familiar as other MGM biographical subjects like Jerome Kern and Rogers and Hart today, it's likely because he's probably better-known to aficionados of light opera and operetta. He did start out like his contemporaries, playing piano in a middle-European dive run by an old friend (Helen Traubel) and writing numbers for girlie revues and goofy Al Jolson vehicles for low-brow producers the Shuberts, but he has loftier ambitions. He finally gets them to produce his romantic operetta Maytime. It's a huge success during World War I, but while he does adapt a hit show (Blossom Time) for the US and write a few more Jolson shows, he feels he's hit a writer's block until he meets the lovely and strong-willed socialite Lillian (Doe Avedon). She inspires him to create some of the biggest hits of the 20's, including The Student Prince and The Desert Song.

Critics were apparently rough on this when it came out, but it was a hit at the box office, and I think it's actually dated pretty well. Sure, the story is a storm of cliches, but there's some lesser-known material here that you just aren't going to find anywhere else. Among the rarities are Gene Kelly and his brother Fred dancing to "I Love to Go Swimmin' With Women" (which was partially written for the film), "Your Land and My Land" with Howard Keel and the chorus from the almost never-performed Civil War musical My Maryland, and "It," a comedy number featuring Ann Miller that's originally from The Desert Song. Other good numbers include a lovely "Road to Paradise" and "Sweetheart, Will You Remember?" from Maytime, performed by Vic Damone and Jane Powell, and a sexy "One Alone" pas-de-dux danced by Cyd Charisse and James Mitchell that's sexier than anything in the 50's film version of The Desert Song.

Underrated musical treat that's highly recommended for fans of the cast or Romberg and his operettas.

Finished the night with a rarity on YouTube. TV musicals were rarer in the 1970's than they had been a few decades before, but they still occasionally popped up, as with Cindy from 1978. This all-black retelling of Cinderella sets the story in Harlem during World War II. Cindy (Charlayne Woodard) is a girl who has just come up from the south to live with her daddy (Scoey Mitchell) and his new wife (Mae Mercer) and her two spoiled daughters (Nell Carter and Alania Reed). Cindy wants to go with her sisters to a big dance that decorated officer Captain Joe Prince (Clifton Davis) will be attending. Cindy's stepmother doesn't have the time to make her a dress. Her "fairy godmother" is actually Miles Archer (W. Benson Terry), the guy who lives upstairs and is too cowardly to join the services. He loans her a beautiful gown and drives her to the dance. Prince is so smitten with her, he wants to marry the girl on the spot...but unlike in the fairy tale, Cindy's not so sure she really wants him. Especially after she learns that Miles has joined the Army...

Not bad. The music's just ok, but the cast is having fun, especially in the swinging dance sequence. The nifty period-accurate costumes were Emmy-nominated. Davis made a particularly dashing "prince" charming, and I liked Mitchell as Cindy's supportive dad.

It's on YouTube in parts if you're interested:

Cindy, Part 1