Monday, February 04, 2019

Jazz on a Winter's Day

Began the day with my second early work shift in a row. If anything, it was even quieter than yesterday. It was pea-soup foggy when I awoke this morning, but by the time I was gathering carts and doing the outside trash and recycling, the fog had long burned off. The day was once again sunny, bright, and far warmer than it has been, in the mid-50's. I also did some bagging, returned cold items, and rounded up baskets. I ran out of laundry detergent yesterday; good thing there's a big sale on the smaller bottles of Arm&Hammer. Grabbed a pretzel, too.

Charlie was outside, cursing at the dormer roof, when I got in. Evidently, he decided to take advantage of Mother Nature's unusually good mood and continue his work on the porch. I changed, grabbed the DVDs that needed to go back to the Haddon Township Library, and left him to do what he needed to do.

First stop on my long to-do list was the PNC Bank in Collingswood. I needed to deposit the money from the American Girl bed sale and get a check for the rent. Ended up getting a whole bunch of them when I made a mistake on the first one.

Since it's a few blocks down Haddon Avenue, I parked my bike at the Collingswood Library and walked over to the Pop Shop for lunch. Given it was past 2 by that point, they were very dead. I only saw two families with small children out enjoying the afternoon. I had a huge chicken sandwich smothered in provolone cheese on ciabatta bread with lettuce, tomato, and a pickle. I admired the glittering pink and magenta hearts hung around the room.

Taking the bike over to the Haddon Township Library was a lot more complicated than usual. I ran into road work on Cuthbert. I had to go around it and the long line of cars being diverted around it. They're still building the new McDonald's, too. The building is up, but they're not finished with the grounds yet. I shoved the bike up the hill between the liquor store and Crystal Lake Diner instead.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't any busier than the bank and Pop Shop were, but it must have been busy earlier. The DVD return cart was literally overflowing with discs. There were so many, I only had the time to do the kids' titles, and I had a hard time fitting half of those on the shelves.

Speaking of, they finally got in The Incredibles 2. The Incredibles is one of my favorite Pixar movies, so I had to catch this one. Dug another new Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That season set and more Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood out of the kids' section. Went with Steel Magnolias (the original movie from the late 80's was a favorite of my real-life Steel Magnolia mother) and the recent remake of the all-black musical Sparkle for review this week. Renewed All Night Long.

Charlie had just finished when I went upstairs to get an envelope for the rent check, then dropped it in the mail box. We chatted a bit about the frozen lake and how much we wish we could skate on it before he went back downstairs.

Spent the next hour looking up writing jobs. I didn't know they'd want you to write proposals before they'd hire you! I have no idea what I'd say in one. How can I explain my lack of experience, or my lack of knowledge? I don't know anything about writing for medical tombs or academic research. What would I say? I got so nervous, I gave up and moved on to writing instead.

Yoda decides that Han should give him a ride across the river for being rude. Han gets tired of being hit with his walking stick and his odd laughter and ends up dumping him in the river. Luke fishes him out. Turns out that the old monk has news of a friend of Leia's who may be in trouble...

Broke for dinner at 7. I'd had a big lunch, so I settled for making a Banana-Carrot-Oat Smoothie while watching Daniel Tiger. I ended up skipping some of the episodes I'd seen on other collections, but some of the ones I did watch were so cute. "Daniel and Miss Elania Play Rocket Ship" when he visits the curly-locked miss and her mom Lady Elaine at the Museum Go-Round. Elania is upset when first her cardboard telescope breaks, then her cardboard box rocket ship, and won't play outer space. Lady Elaine and Dan remind the little girl that Dan is there to play with her, not her toys.

We have a similar situation in "Daniel Plays at the Castle," only this time it's Prince Wednesday who is upset. Dan wants to play with his rock collection, but some of his rocks are fragile. They go on a treasure hunt to find more rocks instead.

Katerina has her own problems with a tea party for her favorite toy monkey she set up herself in "Friends Help Each Other." She's devastated when she knocks the tea cups on the floor and spills the water. Dan insists that he doesn't mind helping her gather the cups or wipe up the mess.

Daniel and Miss Elania meet Prince Wednesday's cousin Chrissie for the first time in "Daniel's New Friend." Chrissie is on crutches and has braces on her legs. While she can't move fast or do some the things the kids can do, she can do other play knights. Daniel realizes how much they have in common when she tells him that red is her favorite color, too.

"It's Love Day," or as we know it in the real world, Valentine's Day. Daniel has made all his friends and Teacher Harriet hearts to show how much he cares. Someone gives him a mysterious sailor-themed valentine in his cubby at school. He asks the other kids if they did it, and find out what they do to show their love for one another.

It's "Prince Wednesday's Happy Birthday." The kids all have a great time playing pin the tail on the bunny and looking for treasure in the Royal Garden. Daniel just hopes his friend is happy with the wooden case and rainbow rock he made him.

Finished the night with All Night Long. This modernization of the Shakespearean tragedy Othello resets it in London's underground jazz scene in the early 60's. Musician Aurelius Rex (Paul Harris) and former singer Delia Lane (Marti Stevens) are happily married, despite their different races, and are enjoying an anniversary party. Drummer Johnny Cousin (Patrick McGoohan) stirs up trouble when he tries to convince Delia to come out of retirement so he can start his own band. He won't take "no" for an answer, starting gossip about Delia having an affair with the band's manager Cass (Keith Michell). Not only does Rex take this badly, but Cass already has a relationship with black female singer Benny (Maria Velasco). Cass loses his job and Rex attacks his wife before promoter Rod Hamilton (Richard Attenborough) and Johnny's wife Emily (Betsy Blair) reveal what a liar he is.

If you love hot mid-20th-century jazz played by real-life greats like Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus or are interested in Shakespeare adaptations or tight little melodramas, this is really interesting. If nothing else. it's a rare glimpse of not one, but two (mostly) loving interracial couples. McGoohan in particular gets to show off his dramatic chops as the drummer who cares about his own talent and not much else, including his wife and other people's feelings.

Currently only available as part of a Criterion set here in the US with other movies set in the London underground by British director Basil Dearden. It's worth looking for if you like jazz or dark romances.

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