Sunday, June 30, 2019

Winds of Summer

Celebrated being able to sleep in a little bit this morning with blueberry pancakes and Yankee Doodle Mickey. The Disney gang, Disneyland Chorus, and a kid's chorus perform popular American folk tunes and patriotic songs. Favorites include an ebullient young Molly Ringwauld joined by the kids on "This Is My Country," the Disneyland Glee Club's rousing "The Liberty Tree" from the 1950's adaptation of Johnny Tremain, and the Armed Forces Medley, featuring Mickey singing for the Marines and Air Force, Goofy for the Army, and Donald of course representing the Navy.

Switched to Take Me Along while I finished breakfast and cleaned up the mess. The 1959 stage version of Ah, Wilderness! somehow morphed into a vehicle for Jackie Gleason, who plays Uncle Sid. He may have the big star build-up (including his entrance during a chorus number, "Sid Old Kid"), but Walter Huston as Nat and Robert Morse as Richard have the better material. Richard's "I Would Die" with Susan Luckey is a hilarious take on how melodramatic teenagers can be (even today), while Huston gets the touching "Staying Young."

Put on By the Beautiful Sea while getting organized and changing into work clothes. This is another vehicle for a star comic, this time Shirley Booth. She plays Lottie Gibson, a vaudeville performer staying at her father's boarding house in Coney Island during the summer of 1907. Her father has sunk all her money into a ride on the boardwalk and is doing everything he can to keep it afloat. Meanwhile, she's there with her new beau, a handsome singer (Wilbur Evans). Unfortunately, so is his ex-wife and their daughter, Baby Betsy, a teen who has been kept in child roles by her doting stage mother. Betsy tries to break up the romance, but when Lottie gives her one of her dresses, she starts acting her age and even pursues the singing waiter who had interested her but thought she was a little girl.

I've listened to this CD at least once a summer since about 1996. It was among the few cast albums I was able to find at the now-defunct music store down the street from my family in North Cape May. Truth be told, it's far from a masterpiece. If the extensive liner notes are to be believed, they never did really figure out what to do with the Baby Betsy storyline (she doesn't even have a song). The show seems to come across today the same way it did in 1954 - pleasant enough, but not really that memorable. Favorite songs include Booth's comic lament "I'd Rather Wake Up By Myself," her maid's catchy "Happy Habit," and the lovely ballad "Alone Too Long" for Evans.

Work, thankfully, was no problem. We were busy for most of the day, to the point where the carts kept vanishing, and kept me outside. At least it was a nice day for it. Though it remained sunny, it was dry and very windy. The winds kept it from feeling as hot as it has the past few days. I did manage to gather the trash and recycling once another bagger arrived to help with the carts.

Clouds had started to gather by the time I left around 3:30, but this time, they never burst. It was so nice, I switched off the air conditioner when I got home and haven't had it on since. Did some writing after I changed. Harris is recruited to find what downed a snowmobile guard early the next morning. He drives out with Chewie, discovering one of Vader's mooks leaving a radar tracker device that explodes. He manages to dodge the explosion, but he's pretty sure that the Empire now knows their location...

Watched Body Language on Buzzr as I finished up my writing. This game show from the mid-80's seems to be "Password, but with charades, or charades crossed with Mad Libs." Two celebrities act out words to fill in the blanks for a silly story that the contestants have to guess. Charles Nelson Reilly and Vicki Lawrence were the celebrities. Indeed, this episode was run as part of Buzzr's afternoon and evening Pride Month Marathon; Reilly's many game show appearances were a big part of that. (I also liked the lady on What's My Line? who worked as a Naval mechanic and a what was likely the mid-60's. That's just awesome.)

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made a cheese and grape jelly omelet to go with my leftover pasta salad. Listened to George M! while I ate. This 1968 Broadway show is a more accurate retelling of the life of George M. Cohan than Yankee Doodle Dandy. He'd passed away shortly after the release of that movie, allowing them to make mention of his ambition and workaholic tendencies that drove off his first with Ethel, his second marriage to Agnes Nolan, and his fight with Equity in later years. The main attraction are several rare Cohan songs, like "Ring to the Name of Rosie," "Twentieth Century Love," and "Popularity," that give a more complete view of his talents. Joel Gray was Cohan; Bernadette Peters was his sister Josie.

Moved on to Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after dinner. I'm getting so close! I'm up to at least 90 percent now. Turns out I needed Blackbeard to get the last piece in London Town, which finished out On Stranger Tides. Finding the last piece and two compass points in "A Touch of Destiny" completed Dead Man's Chest. Now I just need to figure out Curse of the Black Pearl, then see what's in that last gold brick barrel.

Ended the night after a shower with Ragtime, one of my favorite musicals. Three families - one black and working-class, one white and upper-middle class, one Jewish and newly arrived in America - converge in New York and Atlantic City in 1902, as their lives and those of many celebrities of the time like Harry Houdini and radical anarchist Emma Goldman intersect. The release of this in 1998 and Anastasia a year earlier made Lynn Aherns and Stephan Flahtery one of my favorite Broadway composing teams. Some of their best work can be found here, including the epic title song, "Journey On" introducing Mother, Father, and the immigrant and his daughter, "Wheels of a Dream" for the black couple Coalhouse and Sarah, and the touching "Our Children" for Mother and the immigrant Tateh as they watch their children play on the beach in AC.

I've had the 2-disc original cast recording since it came out. It was expensive, but so worth it. If you can find it and you love Aherns and Flahtery, the book or movie it's based on, or historical musicals, I can't recommend it enough.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Bear-ing the Heat

Kicked off a hazy, sunny morning with a quick breakfast and more Clone Wars. "Legacy of Terror" gets a little freaky when Luminara Unduli is captured while trying to find Geonosian leader Poggle the Lesser. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and their clones have to brave a cave full of Geonosian zombies to rescue her and bring Poggle to trial.

Headed off to work shortly after the episode ended. It wasn't fun. I spent a lot of the day in the register, including the last two hours. There were two call outs, and a cashier quit. Most people at least seemed to be in decent moods. When I did manage to get out to do carts, it was humid, hazy, and murderously hot, in the lower-mid 90's. The carts kept vanishing all day. Even with help, I couldn't keep up with them.

Thankfully, it slowed down enough by 4 that I was able to leave a few minutes early. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon, even as I dashed home on my bike. I'd been home for about 20 minutes when those clouds finally burst, resulting in a rather noisy little thunderstorm. (To my knowledge, it hasn't done anything since.)

Spent the next few hours writing. Vedder recognizes Patricia, and she him...but he's still hurt by what he felt was her betrayal, and she can't understand why he's still with Palpatine. She addresses him by his real name, but he chooses not to acknowledge her and leaves instead.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made chicken stir fry with yellow squash, snap peas, mushrooms, and onion with the last of the leftover chicken cutlets over brown rice while continuing Clone Wars. "Brain Invaders" also veers off into horror territory. Ahsoka, Barris, and their clones are supposed to be delivering supplies to Tatoonie, but they don't realize they also have an unwelcome visitor - a worn that enters the heads of humans and controls them. Ahsoka has to dodge murderous clones who are under their commands...but things really get chilly when Barris falls under their sway, too.

"Grievous Intrigue" kicks off with the nasty cyborg kidnapping Jedi Council member Eeth Toth. Jedi master Adi Galla joins Anakin to try to save him, while Obi-Wan lures Grievous out of hiding and acts as a distraction.

Disc 2 ends with "The Deserter." Obi-Wan and his clone soldiers Cody and Rex follow Grievous to the near-by planet Saluecami, hoping to sniff him out. Rex is shot by a sniper and recovers with a fellow clone who deserted his ranks, married a Tw'lek woman, and helps her raise her kids on a farm. But Grievous might be closer than they suspect...

Moved on to Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after dinner. Only had time to get through "Queen Anne's Revenge" tonight. It took me long enough to figure out how to get past Blackbeard and into the final two rooms. Turns out you need to use Blackbeard to do it - apparently, Blackbeard has enough sense not to attack himself. Blackbeard has to open a closet in the first room; the second one requires finding a jewel and putting it in the right panel. At any rate, I've now totally completed "Queen Anne's Revenge" and need only one more piece to finish out Stranger Tides.

Finished out the night with Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! I go into further details on Yogi's first big-screen adventure at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Hot Day In the Sun

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and the Clone Wars second season opener, "Holocron Heist." Ahsoka is upset when she's taken off the front lines and is ordered to guard the Jedi Library. Her new job is a lot more exciting than she thought when she finds a shapeshifting alien who can turn himself into a Jedi. He's working with notorious bounty hunter Cad Bane to steal a certain "holocron," a crystal helix holding Jedi secrets. Ahsoka and Anakin try to stop him from selling it to the Imperials in "Cargo of Doom."

I had to get my laundry done today, especially my work clothes. I picked the right day. There were a few people there when I arrived, but it wasn't too busy. The TV wasn't even on. Worked on my story notes in peace. I didn't have a really huge load; I was in and out in less than an hour.

Put everything away, then had a quick smoothie lunch while continuing Clone Wars. Cad Bane wanted the holocron to find "Children of the Force" and bring them to the Sith. Ankin and Ahsoka go after the kids, while Mace Windu and Obi-Wan try to find Bane and the holocron.

Headed out to work quickly after I finished eating. I did get stuck in the register for the first 40 minutes; there was a call-out. Everything went fine after that. Gathered outside trash and recycling and helped a woman to her car, then spent the rest of the hazy, sunny, killer hot day alternating between rounding up carts outside and shelving items inside when I got too hot. We had plenty of help and no problems whatsoever.

I'm actually pretty happy with my schedule next week. I do work on the 4th of July this time, but it's 8 to 2. I'll live with missing Oaklyn's parade if I can go to Dad and Jodie's party and the fireworks. And the 4th is the only early day next week; I work 11:30 and 10 the rest of the time. Tuesday and next Friday and Saturday off.

I didn't need a lot of groceries, but I did pick up some expensive things that were on sale. I won't be getting to the Collingswood Farm Market tomorrow, so I bought peaches, cherries, and blueberries. Domino's Dark Agave Nectar was on clearance; I might be able to use that. It's too hot to bake, so I bought breakfast cookies and graham crackers (the latter were on a really good sale). A new probiotic pint ice cream was on sale and had a coupon. Restocked skim milk, butter, yogurt, peanut butter, apple sausage, aluminum foil, parchment paper, and a bag (I forgot mine at home).

Finished out "Senate Spy" when I got home and started putting everything away. Padme offers to spy on her fellow senator Rush Clovis, who is suspected of aiding the Separatists. She'd once dated him, but though she's no longer interested, Anakin is still jealous and goes along as a bodyguard. When Padme is poisoned, he has to press a reluctant Clovis to get him the antidote.

"Landing at Point Rain" lands us in the thick of war as Ahsoka, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Jedi master Ki-Adi-Mundi follow the information from Clovis to Geonosis, where they discover a huge droid factory. Luminara Unduli and her padawan Bariss Offee joins in for "Weapons Factory." Ahsoka begs for more responsibility. Anakin sends her and Bariss to take down the factory while they distract the Separatist army.

Decided I was too tired to work on stories and played Lego Pirates of the Caribbean instead. I'm almost 90 percent done now. Completing "The Maelstrom" finished off At World's End and got me a gold brick for that round. Also finished "A Touch of Destiny," "The Fountain of Youth," and "A Spanish Legacy" and got all but one piece on "The Black Pearl Attacks." Tried "Queen Anne's Revenge," but it glitched and I had to start over.

Finished the night after a shower with Radioland Murders. A thunderstorm moved in while I was playing video games, so I thought it was the perfect night for a mystery. It's 1940, and radio station WBN from Chicago is launching coast-to-coast. The audience may love the mix of soap operas, action shows, and Rick Rochester (Michael McKean) and his Orchestra's numbers, but what's going on behind the scenes isn't as amusing. Writer Roger Henderson (Brian Benben) is trying to convince his wife Penny (Mary Stuart Masterson) that he wants her back, despite having an affair with the manager's sexy Mae West-esque wife Claudette (Anita Morris).

Throughout the night, someone broadcasts messages insisting that a member of the staff is going to die...and Roger somehow manages to be there every time another person dies, to the annoyance of Chicago cop Lieutenant Cross (Michael Lerner). Roger has to dodge Cross, figure who whodunnit, and still somehow manage to get his scripts on the air...if he can keep from falling out windows and down stairs long enough to make it to the end of the broadcast day!

Comic mystery from the early 90's has a poor reputation, but it's not really that bad. The first half, when the emphasis is on the music and the shows, is fast and funny. The emphasis on farce and slapstick in the second half really drags things down and makes the plot harder to follow. The music is great, and a cast of familiar faces (including Christopher Lloyd as the German special effects man, Ned Beatty as the militant owner, and Corbin Bernson as the announcer who is constantly smoking) makes the most of the material.

This has been a favorite of mine since I first found the video in the early 2000's. If you love the movies of this era or are a fan of the cast or real-life old time radio, you'll want to give WGN another hearing.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cat and Bird Antics

Kicked off another sunny morning with breakfast and Looney Tunes shorts. The next disc in my new set features Tweety and Sylvester...but to my disappointment, the vast majority of the shorts were ones I'd already seen in the Golden Collections. I still kicked off with the first to pair the duo, the Oscar-winning "Tweetie Pie." Tweety is brought in out of the snow by Sylvester's (here called Thomas) owner. Sylvester is determined to have canary dinner, even if it gets him thrown out in the weather. "I Taw a Puddy Tat" has Sylvester chasing Tweety all over the house, trying to avoid his owner figuring out what he's doing.

Headed out to work after breakfast. It was actually pretty quiet for most of the morning. I did do some returns, but spent the majority of the day outside, gathering carts, doing the trash and recycling, and sweeping the patio. Fine by me. It was still hot, in the 90's by noon, but a stiff breeze and the lack of humidity made things a lot more bearable.

Changed in the bathroom after work, then headed to Chick Fil'A to us that gift card. By the time I got there, it was busy, but not overwhelmingly so. I had a hot, tasty, and very messy Chick'n Deluxe, Frosted Key Lime drink, and waffle fries. I sat in a quiet corner and enjoyed my lunch in peace. (And thanks to the young Asian boy who loaned me a penny when my order went over!)

Was in and out of a few store after that. I wanted to find a boa or a play tutu that would fit Finley for her birthday, but no one had anything. The play outfits at Wal Mart were too big for her, and there was nothing at Five Below, Ross, or Marshalls. I just ended up buying sugar and a new patriotic starburst ribbon for my front door from Wal Mart, along with a bottle of Gatorade for the ride home. None of the stores were remotely busy, not even Wal Mart.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road, since I was closer to the Wal Mart entrance than the Acme entrance. Not much there, either. I encountered no traffic and had no trouble getting home.

Did some writing when I got in. Senator Patricia Amidala confronts Police Chief Darren Vedder at his office in downtown Coruscant...and is nearly knocked flat by the familiar air waves she feels on him. She knows him well, but doesn't want to believe that this monster is the husband she thought she lost all those years ago...

Didn't break for dinner until 6:30. Finished off the Sylvester & Tweety shorts while making a tropical smoothie (strawberries, bananas, and a peach) for a quick dinner. "Satan's Waitin'" is an unsettling story about how Sylvester manages to use up all of his nine lives chasing Tweety through an amusement park. "The Last Hungry Cat" is an only slightly less strange Hitchcock spoof that has Sylvester thinking he's eaten Tweety and feeling extreme guilt, expecially after he sees a newspaper claiming police are after "The Cat" (actually, a thief). "Tweety and the Beanstalk" has the two of them retelling the famous English fairy tale, though it's actually Sylvester who climbs the beanstalk. He's thrilled to discover a huge Tweety, but the giant who owns him isn't what you'd call happy to see him.

Moved on to Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after dinner. Completed "A Spanish Legacy" and "White Cap Bay." Got at least two pieces on "Isla De Mureta" and one more piece on "Queen Anne's Revenge." I really need to look up where the pieces are in the latter rounds online.

Finished the night with Summer Holiday. I go further into this charming vehicle for Mickey Rooney and Gloria DeHaven on my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Summer Holiday (1948)

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Heat Is On

Started off a bright, sunny morning by finishing Corpse at the Crystal Palace, then going straight into breakfast while finishing the first season of Clone Wars. Mace Windu fights for "Liberty at Ryloth" when he convinces heroic Twi'lek freedom fighter Chaim Syllendula to join them in taking down Separatist leader Wat Tambor.

Anakin is involved in a "Hostage Crisis" when he goes to visit his secret wife Padme at the Senate Building and she and her fellow senators, including Bail Organa, are held by bounty hunters in order to force Palpatine to release gangster Ziro the Hutt. Anakin has to figure out how to save him without his lightsaber, which he loaned to Padme.

Between this and Rebels, I'm wondering if the Prequels should have been a TV series all along. Both are largely better-written than the majority of the films, and the characters are far more fleshed-out. You really get a sense of Obi-Wan and Anakin's friendship here, and I adore feisty Ahsoka. The animation is far more detailed and attractive than the slightly stiff CGI seen in the Clone Wars movie.

While you can see this without having seen the Clone Wars animated film, a working knowledge of the Star Wars Universe, especially Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, is necessary to understand most of what goes on here. If you're already a fan of the Prequels in particular or Star Wars in general and you want more, you'll want to see if you can track this show down. (There will apparently be one last season coming out this fall on Disney's new streaming service.)

Called Mom as "Hostage Crisis" was winding down. Rose mentioning her on Sunday made me realize I hadn't talked to her in ages. She's not very happy about moving to Anny's old house. The yard is too big for her to take care of on her own, and like every other house in Cape May County, it's overpriced and too expensive. What she really wants to do is move down to Virginia with my brother Keefe in a few years after he gets married and buys a house. It doesn't help that she's not getting along with my sister Anny again and doesn't have her support in moving. Like me, Mom is an extreme introvert who lacks a wide group of friends to help her out when things go wrong.

Made my way out the door as soon as Mom went to tackle her current yard. First stop was the Oaklyn Library. They were a little busier than usual, with a few people on the computer dodging the heat. I gave the DVDs in both areas a look and shelved a few children's books.

Made a quick stop at WaWa for money, then went to Genova Pizza on Cuthbert Road for lunch. They now have the cheapest pizza in the area. A slice of broccoli, a slice of cheese, and a can of Coke only cost me a little over $4. I enjoyed my meal outside on their shaded patio, enjoying the soft breeze and listening to two older men chat with the cooks.

Next stop was the Haddon Township Library. While a magic show in one of the conference rooms kept kids amused, there wasn't a whole lot to do with shelving items. For once, I had no trouble putting away the kids' DVDs. Everyone must have taken out movies to amuse their kids once they got out of school. The adults' titles were the opposite. I could barely fit them on the shelves and only got half of them. I had even less luck with the TV shows. They really need to put them somewhere else, or get more spinning racks. They don't begin to fit in what they currently have. I considered taking out books, but couldn't find anything I liked and eventually moved on. (No DVDs, either. I have no idea when I'll be in next to return them.)

Stopped at Tuesday Morning and Target after leaving the library. Mom mentioned that Finley is really into playing dress-up now. I was hoping to find her a boa or little play ballet slippers or a tutu. No luck at either place. The tutu play outfits at Tuesday Morning and princess costumes at Target were way too big for Finley, and she's still too young for the kids' costume jewelry. I did finally manage to be bandage wraps I could afford at Target, though.

Today was lovely, sunny and dry,  not a cloud in the sky...and in the lower 90's and climbing. I was so hot, I stopped at Cabana's on the way home and bought a black cherry/vanilla gelati. Enjoyed on their patio, where they sell mums in the fall, Christmas trees in December, and football merchandise during their season.

As soon as I finally got home, I went straight into writing. Luke remembers nothing after passing out until he awakens in the room he shares with Han, Leia, and Chewbacca the dog at the ski lodge. Everyone's there, including Chewie, who lavishes Luke with slurpy doggie kisses. Charlie and Rudy praise how well he's recovered. Harris is more interested in needling Leia about their non-existent relationship. He finally annoys her enough to kiss Luke before she takes off.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching one of the more recent episodes of Rick Steves' Europe Linda sent me for my birthday. Rick spends his early summer exploring Italy's rugged Cinq Terre area on the Italian Riviera. It's a line of five towns, four of them on the Mediterranean, that are touristy but less glamorous and fancy than their French counterparts. I think I prefer these, with their laid-back atmosphere and lovely little fishing towns.

Played a little Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after dinner.  I'm getting closer to being done. Finished "The Bretheren Court," "The Kraken, and "Singapore." I have all the extras and True Pirate statuses. I just need to get the minikits and compass points.

Finished the night with Meatballs after a shower. The counselors-in-training of Camp North Star is gearing up for a fun summer of stealing air conditioners, playing pranks on the camp's owners, and occasionally playing against their snobbish rich rivals across the lake at Camp Mohawk. Tripper (Bill Murray) is the head counselor who lives to wisecrack, break rules, and chase the head female counselor (Kate Lynch). He makes friends with a camper named Rudy who feels neglected (Chris Makepeace) and spends his mornings jogging with him and his evenings playing cards. The jogging comes in handy when they play Camp Mohawk in a three-day Olympiad, and Rudy is the only one who can run the all-important marathon.

This is extremely 1979 (check out the tube socks, short-shorts, and Afros on everyone) and hasn't always dated well (Tripper's assault on the female counselor early-on would probably be considered harassment today), but is still pretty funny, especially if you're a fan of Murray or went to summer camp yourself.                                                                                   

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

We're Having a Heat Wave

Kicked off a partly cloudy morning with breakfast and more Clone Wars. Finished off "Blue Shadow Virus," then moved on to working on my new Facebook page. The problem is, ads on the page cost I don't have at the moment. Inviting people off my friends list worked out better. I took a brief look at my neglected Instagram feed, but I think I'll go further into that tomorrow.

Broke for a quick lunch around 12:15. Anakin and Obi-Wan must solve the "Mystery of a Thousand Moons" when Padme, Ahsoka, and the clone troopers are infected with the Blue Shadow Virus from the previous episode. The only known antidote is on the mysterious planet Iego. On arrival, they convince a young boy who has reprogrammed battle droids to serve him to help them find the antidote and find out what the electrical lasers are keeping people from leaving the planet.

Headed out after I finished eating. First stop of the day was Target. My inner elbow and at least one finger are feeling really sore. I was hoping to find affordable wraps or bandages, but they were out of the cheaper bandages and had no elbow or finger wraps. I just moved on quickly. Stopped at the CVS in Haddonfield when I got in there, but I didn't like their prices.

I got out of CVS with plenty of time to head a few blocks down to counseling. I'm mostly feeling much better about things. I think jumping right into job hunting with the Upwork and the proposals might have been too far of a leap for me. I'm going to ease into social media and see if I can let people get to know me and my work before I go for jobs that require pitching myself. This is a much easier and less nerve-wracking way of putting myself out there. I'm glad Jodie and Dad were able to open the pool and that Mom finally found a new home.

Work is the only problem. I'm tired of getting thrown into the register with barely any warning, or given four different orders at once by five different managers. If I'm such a wonderful cashier, why did they take me off cashiering? And there has to be a way for them to improve their communication so they know who is doing what.

Made my way down Haddon Avenue after I finished with Mrs. Stahl. It was hot and humid (88 degrees, according to the digital sign at the Westmont Fire Department), and the sun was in and out. I badly needed water ice. Needless to say, they were very busy with families feeling the same way when I arrived. I quickly ordered a small chocolate peanut butter water ice and ate it on a metal bench outside.

Stopped at the Westmont Acme on the way home. They did have bandages, but I didn't like the prices, and there were no elbow wraps. I just bought a Gatorade (they're on sale this week for 88 cents) and a Kind fruit and nut bar (had an online coupon) and moved on.

Newton Lake Park is gorgeous at this time of year, all lush and emerald green. I avoided the afternoon crowds by taking my bike over the hill and past the Haddon Township Environmental Center and Historical Society and into Oaklyn. It was rush hour by then; took me a while to dodge all the traffic on the White Horse Pike.

Went straight into writing when I got home. Luke hears what appears to be Ben's ghost repeating his words from the previous story about Luke going to see Yoda Yemada in the Dagobah district. Harris doesn't see or hear any of it. He only knows he has to get his friend into a tent quickly, as the snowmobile he brought along can only fit one and won't work well in the extreme cold.

Had dinner around 6. Pan-fried apple sausage, then made a summer vegetable pasta salad with broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, sliced onion tops, and cubed cheddar cheese mixed into tri-color pasta. Oh, yum! It came out nicely. I imagine it'll be even better in the next few days as the flavors have the chance to marinate.

Returned to Clone Wars as I ate. "Storm Over Ryloth" and "Innocents of Ryloth" revolves around the Jedi and clones' attempts to drive the Separtists from the title planet, home of the Twi'leks. "Storm" has Ahsoka learning a lesson in perseverance when she loses most of her squadron after making a hasty decision. Anakin realizes that she's upset and convinces her to help him with an even riskier maneuver that could break the Separtist blockade around the planet. Obi-Wan and his clones help "Innocents" as they march into a droid-controlled town to destroy their weapons. A sweet orphan girl who befriends the clones teaches them a sad lesson about the true cost of war.

Played Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after dinner. Tried Tortuga again, but I can't figure out how to get the last two pieces. Had more luck with "Pelegoso." Once you get more characters (including Blackbeard), you can open up more areas...including a lot of shortcuts that make that long and complicated round far easier to deal with. I completed that one, all pieces and compass points.

Finished tonight with The Music Man. I cover the original 1962 film version with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

The Music Man (1962)

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Jedi and the Little Tramp

It was still sunny when I rolled out of bed this morning, but a little hotter than it had been. I cooled off with breakfast and finishing off "Defenders of the Peace." Tried to work on my new Facebook business page...but I'm sort of stalled. I have no fancy cover page or books to promote. What would I use for a cover page? How would I promote my blogs? I need to do further research. I'd like to add further to my Instagram, too. I joined them, but then did nothing with them.

Broke for a quick lunch at 11. Made a Berries and Cream Smoothie while watching the next Clone Wars episode. "The Hidden Enemy" is apparently a prequel episode, set after the movie but before the series proper begins. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and their clones attempt to liberate the planet of Christophis from the Separtists, but they're ambushed and forced to retreat. The two Jedi believe that it's a Sith plot...and that there's a traitor in their midst. While clone officers Cody and Rex look for the traitor, the two Jedi pursue assassin Asaji Ventress.

Peeked in the mailbox on my way out; was surprised to discover a letter addressed to me. It was from an anonymous long-time reader, who praised my blog and encouraged me to keep writing. She suggested looking into local small newspapers to make occasional contributions and sent me a Chick Fil'A gift card. I'll use it for my lunch after my other early day on Thursday. Thank you so much! You don't know how much your kind comments mean to me.

Work was less pleasant. I spent an hour doing carts, then went inside to work on the candy. One of the managers sent me on my break, then said she wanted me to get the carts. I'd no sooner sat down in the back employee room with my peach than I was called back up to do carts by another manager. I wolfed down my peach in five minutes and went back outside. After a half-hour, the head bagger came outside and told me I could take a 20-minute break due to the mix-up, but it shouldn't have happened in the first place. Spent the rest of the day with the candy, which I didn't close to finish.

Doing the carts wasn't always fun, either. The heat had returned, and with it came the humidity. While not nearly as bad as last week, it also wasn't as lovely as the weekend. I switched the air conditioner on as soon as I got in.

Went straight home after work to do some writing. Leia's horrified to learn that Harris has gone out in the snow after Luke. Harris is prepared with a tent and medical kit...but a blizzard has just started. Even so, Dr. Rieekian closes the main door and says he'll dispatch men to look for them the next day. Meanwhile, Luke is wandering around in the snow after having dealt with a yeti-like monster. He gets a visit from a familiar figure, who may or may not be a ghost...

Had leftovers and a salad for dinner at 6:30. Returned to Clone Wars while I ate. Padme discovers a "Blue Shadow Virus" being developed in a lab on Naboo by Separatist mad scientist Dr. Nuvo Vindi. When she and Jar Jar are captured by Vindi and his guards, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Rex, and Ahsoka go after them.

Played a little Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after dinner. Finally picked up the last two red hat extras. I knew there was an extra in the bay between the main port and the tiny island, but I couldn't figure out how to get to it...until I looked it up and learned that you pulled out the bridge with the gold wheel. That gave me more hearts. I'd found the Invincibility extra at Tia Dolma's before, but I wasn't able to afford it then. I could now.

Didn't do nearly as well with the actual rounds. I tried "Isla De Murta" three times before finally giving up and moving on. Got all but one piece and one compass point on "A Spanish Legacy," including finding at least one piece I hadn't expected via a huge fish who leads you under a gate on the water.

Finished the night with Chaplin. Robert Downey Jr. plays one of the most famous film comedians in the world, Charlie Chaplin, in this biography. Chaplin relates the complex story of his life to the fictional man who is taking down his real-life autobiography (Anthony Hopkins). He joined a dancing troupe after his delicate mother Hannah (Geraldine Chaplin) is sent to a mental institution and eventually becomes a big hit in a comic drunk act. His first love is chorus girl Hetty Kelly (Moira Kelly), who turns down his proposal before he goes to America.

He does well in the US as part of the stable of comedy king Mack Sennett (Dan Ackroyd), which is where he develops his iconic "Little Tramp" character. He convinces Sennett to let him direct after he gives his girlfriend Mabel Normand (Marisa Tomei) a shot. He loves directing so much, he leaves Sennett to take further control over his work. This comes to a head after the short The Immigrant is criticized for its political comment and he makes an enemy of the head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover (Kevin Dunn).

His movies may be doing well, even as he refuses to switch to sound, but his love life isn't so funny. His first wife, Mildred Harris (Milla Jojovich), first lies about having a baby, then leaves him after the one she does have dies in infancy. He does have two sons by his second wife Lita Gray (Deborah Moore), but it doesn't work out. He marries the leading lady of his second movie with sound effects, Modern Times, Paulette Goddard (Diane Lane), but she's tired of him spending more time working on his movies than her and leaves. He finally finds lasting love with Oona O'Neil (Kelly) in the 40's, even as a paternity scandal breaks and he's no longer allowed in the US. He settles in Switzerland, still occasionally making movies...but he does get one last moment of glory when he returns to Hollywood to accept an honorary Oscar and see just how beloved he still is.

This was one of the rare 90s new releases that Mom, not Dad, brought to my attention. She's a huge fan of old movies and loves Downey Jr. as well. I've been looking for this one at a good price for years. Downey Jr. got some of the best reviews of his career as a pitch-perfect Chaplin. He really does look like him, especially in his "Little Tramp" persona. The rest of the cast is also excellent, including Kevin Kline as an equally well-cast Douglas Fairbanks Sr., James Woods as the acerbic lawyer who handles the paternity case, and Kelly as Chaplin's two great loves. And yes, that is Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie's oldest daughter by O'Neil) playing her own grandmother.

Yes, this is cliched and overlong, and there's occasional liberties taken with Chaplin's life, but for the most part, if you love stories of old Hollywood or Chaplin or want to see Downey Jr. in something very different from the Iron Man and Avengers movies, I can't recommend this one enough.

(Incidentally, whatever Charlie went through to make Modern Times was worth it - it's my favorite of his movies. I'm also very fond of The Gold Rush.)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

One Summer Night

It was still beautiful outside when I rolled out of bed this morning. Celebrated the first weekend of the season with breakfast and Nat King Cole. The song and the album Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer came out in 1963, just as surf music, sun tans, and beach party movies were gaining popularity. Most of the songs are covers of summer songs of the turn of the 20th century, but the title number was written for the album, and it's a cute ode to the fun people have during the summertime.

Work was even quieter than it was yesterday. It got mildly busy around 11, but otherwise wasn't anywhere near as crazy as it usually is on a Sunday. Everyone must have gone out of town for the weekend. I rounded up carts and did recycling until another bagger arrived and took over the outside duties. Returned items for the rest of the morning.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road. It was too beautiful not to! The weather isn't going to stay this nice. It's supposed to get killer hot by Wednesday. There was almost no traffic, not even around the Audubon Crossings entrance or the Hispanic church. Tiger lilies and creamy calla lilies waved in the breeze as I went by.

Changed and made tasty strawberry pancakes for lunch when I got in. Listened to two of my WFIL record collections as I ate. WFIL was one of Philly's top rock radio stations from the 60's through the early 70's. Non-Stop Music is a later LP from about 1970 from the line-up. I'd never heard "Together" by the Intruders or "Mind, Body, and Soul" by the Flaming Embers before; they ended up being really catchy. Other favorites here include "Cherry Cherry" by Neil Diamond, "Build Me Up Buttercup" by the Foundations, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam, and "Didn't I" by the Delfonics.

Went back out as soon as I finished lunch and the album ended. It was so nice, I decided to take advantage of my early day and run a few errands. Dollar General was out of sugar. I did better at CVS. That cheap dry erase boards I bought at Five Below never erased properly, got scratched too easily, and got pushed out of their casing every time I wrote on them. I finally splurged and bought another good magnetic board, along with dishwashing liquid.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped at Dad and Jodie's on the way home. Dad wasn't feeling well, but Jodie and Dana were chatting by the pool. Rose arrived with Finley shortly Mafter I came. Finley's getting so tall! Her feet can almost touch the bottom of the pool now. She swims so well. No wonder she prefers to do without her mother's help. I didn't bring my bathing suit and just stuck my legs in, but Jodie and Dana joined them.

Jodie says she and Dad will be doing a Fourth of July party, but it'll just be for the family. (So she claims.) Rose and Craig are going to bring the meat. Jodie will provide the salads. I'll bring that icebox cake I made last year. It came out pretty well.

Oh, and Rose gave me news from the Cape May side of the family. Mom did find a house...the tiny bungalow Anny and her family used to rent in the Villas. Good. That wasn't a bad little house, but it was way too small for a family of five. It'll work just fine for one older woman. (And apparently, she and Anny are feuding again. I'm with Rose. I'd rather stay out of it. Let those two work it out on their own.) Rose is talking about going down next month after the 4th of July to pick up some of Mom's furniture that she can't fit into her new home. (I'll have to ask her if she has a spare dresser. Mine came with the house, and it's a cheap plywood piece that's falling apart and has been for years.)

When I got home, I set up the dry erase board and wrote down this week's schedule. Switched to another WFIL collection, History of Rock: The Fifties, Vol 1, while I worked. This is what it says on the tin - one of the disc jockeys ("boss jocks," as they were apparently called) narrates the history of rock and roll, via hits like "Why Do Fools Fall In Love?" by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and "Sweet Little Sixteen" by Chuck Barry. Other favorites here include "Come Go With Me" by the Del Vikings, "Little Darlin'" by the Diamonds, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" by Jerry Lee Lewis, "Sixteen Candles" by the Crests, and the original version of "One Summer Night" by the Danleers.

Went into writing as soon as the new schedule was on the refrigerator. Leia contacts her mother Padme about losing Bob Fettman and his gang. The White Queen is still happy that they found out where their hideout is...and she's still trying to play matchmaker with her daughter and Harris, whom she finds charming. Leia's not sure she agrees. Before she can argue the point further, Charlie comes upstairs and tells her that Luke is missing out in the cold...

Broke for dinner around 6. Had scrambled eggs with yellow squash, mushrooms, onions, tomato, and cheddar cheese while listening to the second History of Rock record. Worked on Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after I ate. Picked up more pieces on "White Cap Bay," "Queen Anne's Revenge," and "A Spanish Legacy," but didn't complete any of them. Couldn't find any more extras, either. I looked up how to get them online - I'll pick up the last two tomorrow.

Finished the night with more music. No, No, Nanette is one of the archetypal musicals of the 1920's. I have the cast album for the hit 1971 Broadway revival, with Susan Watson as the vivacious young lady who runs off to Atlantic City when her guardian Jimmy (Jack Gilford) gives her money. She's ultimately followed by Jimmy, his wife Sue (Ruby Keeler), her friend Lucille (Helen Gallagher), Lucille's lawyer husband Billy (Bobby Van), and her less-than-amused boyfriend Tom. Jimmy's also got three women he's supporting on the side, strictly for their careers, of course.

The music is the thing here. The score includes iconic 20's chestnuts like "Tea for Two," "I Want to Be Happy," "I've Confessed to the Breeze," and the title song. While you can't see the apparently spectacular sets, costumes, and tap dancing that won raves and Tonys, you can hear some great performances. Gallagher sounds terrific on "Too Many Rings Around Rosie" and is having a blast doing "You Can Dance With Any Girl at All" with Van.

My favorite number from Nanette was actually written for the revival. It was dropped before the show opened, but thankfully, they did record it. Keeler and Gilford reminisce on their past in a bygone New York - and why nostalgia means so much to so many people  - in the charming "Only a Moment Ago."

Rita Hayworth was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood when she appeared in You Were Never Lovelier with Fred Astaire in 1942 and Cover Girl with Gene Kelly in 1944. I'm afraid I haven't seen Cover Girl yet, but I have seen Lovelier. Once again, it's the music that stands out. Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin turned out the gorgeous ballad "Long Ago and Far Away" and the peppy "Make Way for Tomorrow" (with an assist from E.Y Harburg on the latter) for Cover Girl. Johnny Mercer joined Kern to produce "Dearly Beloved" and "I'm Old Fashioned." "Beloved" and "Long Ago" got Oscar nominations. I actually prefer "I'm Old Fashioned," a dreamy dance number for Astaire and Hayworth that sounds oh-so-romantic on the recording.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Galactic Harvest

It remained absolutely gorgeous - and quiet downstairs - when I awoke this morning. Celebrated the lovely day with breakfast and more Clone Wars. "Rookies" introduces a group of new clone troopers, called "shinies" by their fellow soldiers, who are bored to death stationed on a remote outpost. They get more action than they bargained for when they end up helping veteran soldiers Captain Rex and Commander Cody fight off a droid invasion.

Dashed to the Collingswood Farm Market as soon as the episode ended. I needed a ton of produce, especially since I work too early to get there next week. They were packed elbow-to-elbow with people out enjoying the lovely day and buying produce for impromptu barbecues and graduation parties. Peppers, corn, tomatoes, and raspberries made their debuts today; I grabbed two fat tomatoes, along with cherries, strawberries, snap peas, red leaf lettuce, blueberries, and a spring onion with its top on.

Made Blueberry Softbake Cookies with my blueberry windfall when I got home. Continued with Clone Wars while I baked and as I ate a hasty lunch. "Duel of the Droids" was one of my favorite rounds in the Lego Clone Wars game, and I liked the original version just as much. Rex and his men join Ahsoka and Anakin in a dual mission to rescue Artoo and destroy Grievous' secret base. Also joining them are a black and gold Artoo unit, R3-S6...who may not be quite as helpful as he seems.

Jar Jar inadvertently becomes a "Bombad Jedi" when he passes himself off as one to help C-3P0 rescue Padme from the clutches of Separatist leader Nute Gunray after her attempts to bring the planet Rodia into the Republic goes south. Padme, however, has a few plans of her own.

Nute Gunray is taken to prison to stand trial in "Cloak of Darkness." Dooku sends his apprentice and assassin Asaji Ventress to free him. Ahsoka finds herself paired with the super-strict Jedi Master Luminara Unduli, who teaches her the value of patience and trusting one's master.

Headed off to work shortly after the cookies were out of the oven. Work was pretty much the same deal as yesterday, only this time, I was only stuck in the register for 10 minutes after I arrived. I spent the rest of the afternoon gathering outside trash and recycling, shelving gift cards and loose items, rounding up carts, and enjoying a gorgeous, sunny, blustery day that was barely in the 80's.

Went straight home after work. Did some writing after I changed my clothes. Leia follows Harris downstairs. She does have feelings for him...ones that she'd never admit to, and he knows it. They argue in the hall, ending with Leia insulting him and saying she'd rather kiss his dog than him.

Broke for a garden salad at 6:30. Finished out Disc 2 with the third part of the Nute Gunray story. Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his new padawan (pupil) Nahdar Vebb invade the "Lair of Grievous" to get Gunray back. Turns out the lair is a trap - Dooku and Grievous lured the Jedi there in order to test them and punish the latter for failing to capture them. Kit knows better than to take the bait, but his hot-headed young student is a different story.

"Jedi Crash" returns us to Ahsoka and Anakin. After Anakin is hurt while fighting with Jedi Master Aayla Secura, they crash-land on a remote moon. The only inhabitants besides monsters are a village of Lurmen who, although they do help heal Anakin, insist on remaining neutral in the war. That barely lasts into "Defenders of the Peace." The Separatists do end up invading, claiming they're going to test their weapon on the village. The Lurman have to decide whether to give in to the Separatist leader, or fight for their land.

Got a lot done in Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. Completed all but one compass point in "Norrington's Choice" and more than half the pieces in "The Malestrom." Dug up the Red Hat Finder extra, which allowed me to also pick up the x10 and Breathe Underwater red hats.

Finished the night after a shower with a double feature of The Care Bears Movie and Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation. I go further into the colorful tales of the infamously loving animals at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Care Bears Movie and Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation

Friday, June 21, 2019

The First Day of Summer

Kicked off another cloudy morning with breakfast and seasonal-themed Silly Symphony shorts in honor of the Summer Solstice. Indeed, "Summer" was the sixth Silly Symphony, and like most of the early ones. it's mainly animals dancing and eating each other in time to classical music. "Night" is much the same, only this time with nocturnal animals like frogs and owls frolicking after dark. "Playful Pan" has the famous fawn god dancing with the animals of the forest, until a fire nearly burns it to the ground. Pan has to play his flute to return the woods to life.

Later Silly Symphonies had slightly more complex plots. "The Bears and the Bees" are two adorable bear cubs who find a stump full of honey. The bees don't like them invading their home, and a larger bear is after the honey, too. "Bugs In Love" was the last black and white Silly Symphony. A pair of bug lovers are attacked by a crow. The boy manages to rally the other bugs to help rescue his sweetheart.

Headed out to get the laundry done as soon as the cartoons ended. Though the clouds lingered, they weren't as dark as they have been the past few days, and it wasn't anywhere near as humid. It was enough to scare people off. There were a few people at the laundromat when I arrived and the morning managers, but it wasn't really that busy. Good thing the managers were there. I forgot my laundry detergent; they loaned me one. I didn't have a huge load, anyway. I was out in less than an hour.

A light shower was just winding down when I headed home. I put my clothes away, then ran a summer-themed episode of Sailor Moon while having a quick lunch. The Sailor Guardians have a spooky start to their solstice in "The Summer, Youth, and Ghosts." Usagi is looking forward to her training vacation with Rei, Luna, and Ami...until they realize that their hotel is a spooky hulk run by creatures out of a Universal horror film. The owner is a menacing man who seems to be controlling his young daughter, whose psychic powers prove more frightening than any vampire or ghost when they're unleashed.

Went into "Usagi and Rei: Nightmare In Dreamland" as I packed up for running errands later. This is from a bit earlier in Season 1. Rei and Usagi's constant bickering comes to a head when they, Luna, and Ami investigate mysterious disappearances at a local amusement parks. Rei suspects every ride and robotic critter, but Usagi just wants to have fun and ride the rides. They have to learnt to work together when a creepy audio-animatronic "princess" steals Ami's energy and lures them into a trap.

Left a little early to return the DVDs to the Oaklyn Library and do volunteering. I had just enough time to go over the DVDs and the board books in the kids' area. I don't think I would have hung around for very long, even if I didn't need to dash to work. The only people there besides the librarian were a couple of elderly ladies whose complaining and gossiping got tiresome very quickly.

Work didn't begin well. They tossed me in the register as soon as I walked in the door. There had been a call-out, and two more would call out as the afternoon progressed. The manager begged me to stay another hour, due to the lack of help. I was stuck dealing with people for two hours, and they weren't always in the best moods. Thankfully, it slowed down shortly after that. I did end up briefly in the register again, but I was mainly shelving returns or helping the other two baggers with the carts. The extra hour didn't turn out to be necessary. It was so dead by 5 PM, I spent the last hour hanging up gift cards with no interruption whatsoever.

By the time I finally got out around 6 PM, the clouds and humidity was long gone, revealing a windy, sunny day that felt a lot more like the first day of summer. It was too nice to have dinner anywhere but Sonic. Surprisingly, despite the nice day and it being the dinner hour, the patio was empty when I arrived. I was able to enjoy my cheeseburger, tater tots, and cherry limeade in much-appreciated peace.

Went back to work to do this week's grocery shopping. I really didn't need much. The Acme's having big weekend sales on broccoli and eggs. I wasn't in that desperate need of eggs, but the sale was once again too good to pass on. There was a good sale on Emerald nuts, too. Went with honey-coated peanuts. Took advantage of a sale and an online coupon to grab the Nature Valley Granola Cups. I love them, and they almost never go on sale. The clearance shelves still groan with discontinued candy; I went with a bag of mini white Reeces Peanut Butter Cups. Grabbed my favorite Talenti Gelato, too. Restocked skim milk, canned pineapple, yogurt, honey, brown sugar, peaches, chocolate chips, and soap.

My schedule this week is a little strange. We're back to mostly early days, including a very early day on Sunday...but there's a relatively late evening next Friday, and Thursday has me listed for the floral department as well as bagging. Well, ok. I like the floral department manager, and I wouldn't mind lending her a hand. Tuesday and Wednesday off, Tuesday for counseling, and slightly more hours.

Stayed with Sailor Moon as I put everything away and changed. "I Want a Boyfriend: The Luxury Cruise Ship Is a Trap" has Usagi desperate to get tickets for a romantic ocean voyage for couples. Thing is, she has no significant other in her life...but that doesn't stop Rei from winning tickets and inviting Ami along. Usagi and Luna stowaway as photographers, which turns out to be a smart move when they learn that the ship and the cruise is a Negaverse plot to steal energy.

Went into Lego Pirates of the Caribbean around quarter of 8. I'm getting very close to finishing this game. Completed "Isala Cruses" and "Davy Jones' Locker," including all pieces and compass points. The minikit finder's been a huge help in digging up the remaining pieces! The last on in "Locker" was especially tough. I didn't realize that you needed to shoot everything that's breakable in the extra room with the food to get it.

Finished the night with Recess: School's Out in honor of the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer. TJ Detwiller is looking forward to three months of fun with his best friends Vince, Mikey, Gus, Spinelli, and Gretchen. He's devastated when they all go away to camp, leaving him to spend a boring summer along. Things take a turn for the strange when he sees strange men in sunglasses around Third Street School and a laser blasting out of the lunch room. He tells Principal Prickley, but he disappears. When neither his parents nor the police believe his story, he rounds up his friends and the other students at Third Street to get to the bottom of this mystery...and discover a conspiracy to eliminate summer vacation forever!

Enjoyable ode to time off was a surprise hit in 2001, even bigger that year than Disney's "canon" animated movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Ironically, it's about as equally forgotten today. If you're a fan of the cartoon or have fond memories of when it ran on Saturday mornings, or are a fan of 60's rock (which makes up most of the soundtrack), you may find much to enjoy in this one.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Heaven Help the Fighting Woman

I awoke to another gloomy, too-humid day. The windows were wet, indicating that it had likely rained again overnight, but by 9:30 AM, the rain had taken a temporary leave of absence. I celebrated with breakfast and more Clone Wars. I didn't realize that the discs were out of order in the case. I finally started at the real beginning, with "Ambush." Yoda and his clone crew crash land on a moon that the Republic is hoping to build a base on. Sith witch Asaji Ventress and her huge droid army has already landed and is hoping to take the planet and its king for the Separatists. Yoda proves that size really matters not when he slices and dices his way through Ventress' robot troops.

Tried making a Facebook business page after breakfast. It took me a while to figure it out...because I have no idea how to advertise it. The problem remains - how to do I explain my lack of experience? I don't know what to tell people. It's easier to talk about my life here than promote it.

Broke for a very quick lunch around quarter after 11. Went into the next Clone Wars episode while I ate and got organized. "Rising Malevolence" introduces fatherly Jedi Plo Koon and Grievous' new weapon, the starship Malevolence. Plo and his clones are the only survivors of the evil cyborg's first attack. Anakin Skywalker thinks they're gone, but Ahsoka was more-or-less raised by Koon and refuses to give up on him.

It was still just cloudy and murderously humid when I headed to work. I swept the store when I got in, but I spent most of the afternoon outside doing carts and gathering the outside trash and recycling after the head bagger took over that job. I also did most of a cart of returns, at least what I could figure out where it went. I tried to get some gift cards shelved, but the managers and head bagger insisted that I go back to the few returns that were left.

I was doing carts when it rained the first time. It poured, and once again, I took shelter under a corral. This time, it lasted less than five minutes, allowing me to quickly resume the carts. I was long done with them and shelving the returns by the time it poured again. This lasted a little longer, but it was still gone by the time I finished work. The sky was even blue, though it continued to be very muggy.

Ignored the heat and took the long way down Nicholson Road, dodging rush hour traffic. I could have taken out money for the laundry tomorrow from the Acme, but I was hot and sticky and desperately needed a milkshake. I decided to try the lemon version of their new frosty drinks. Yum! Tart and creamy, it tasted a lot like the Chick Fil'A frozen lemonade.

Worked on writing for a while when I got home. Harris corrals Leia in the main computer room, after talking to Dr. Carl Rieekian about leaving. She wants him to stay because he works so well with them and has been such a good help. He's a member of the Golden Trio. How can he run now? Harris thinks there's more to it than that, though...

Made chicken cutlets with mushroom and onion sauce and steamed snap peas around 6:30. Did a few more Clone Wars episodes while I ate. "Shadow of Malevolence" and "Rising Malevolence" continue the plot with Grievous and his deadly ship. In the first story, Ahsoka, Anakin, and Plo join the clone flyers to try a daring bombing raid on the vessel. Anakin's secret wife Padme and protocol droid C-3PO are taken hostage by Grievous in the second episode, forcing Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan to go after them.

 Played some Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after dinner. "Smuggler's Run" became the first round I completed in full, including Jack's compass items and all the pieces. Didn't do nearly as well on "The Flying Duchman"; missed a piece and two compass points.

Finished the night with Footloose. I go into more detail on the original 1984 version of this musical teen melodrama at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Footloose (1984)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Thunder In the Stars

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and more Clone Wars. Anakin and Obi-Wan wants to see "Dooku Captured"...but Hondo Ohnaka and his band of pirates got there first and are holding him prisoner. The two Jedi head to their hideout on Florrum to see if they can make a deal for him.

Spent the rest of the morning trying to write the blog entry I didn't get to last night. The internet went down almost as soon as I posted my Blues Brothers review last night. It still wasn't up by 9 AM. It didn't come up until 10:30. That barely gave me enough time to get the entry up, change, grab lunch, and hurry out.

The carts were a total mess when I arrived. I spent the first three hours alternating between catching up on them and sweeping the store, including dodging a downpour in one of the corrals. Between showers, it was hot, humid, and on-and-off sunny. Thankfully, another bagger came in and took over the carts and sweeping after about 2:30. I focused on shelving a full cart of returns for the last hour. Grabbed tissues and a pretzel for a snack before rushing home.

Took out the trash and the old cork board that used to be over my desk, then changed and put the tissues away. As I was getting a snack, I caught sight of a note from Charlie on my kitchen. He painted the wide rectangles under the windows in the bedroom black; I suspect they'll probably be covered with wood eventually. He'll supposedly return next Wednesday.

Went into writing after I ate. Leia contacts the White Queen, telling her that they know the location of the stolen coolant. Now they just need to figure out who wants it so badly. The White Queen's even more interested in playing matchmaker with her daughter and Harris. Leia's not so sure, especially given he wants to leave...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while continuing with Clone Wars. Anakin and Obi-Wan aren't feeling so smart anymore in "The Gungan General." Hondo's drugged them and is now holding them and Dooku for ransom. It's up to Jar-Jar Binks (yes, that Jar Jar) and several clones to deliver the ransom and make sure Dooku doesn't get away.

Finished the night with Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. I'm getting so closer to the end! The minikit finder extra was a huge help. Got more than half the pieces, Jack's compass, and a ton of studs on "The Fountain of Youth." Finally got through "London Town" with no glitching and found all but one piece. Picked up the last character I didn't have and the x10 red hat extra, as well as figuring out how to switch from day to night in the hub areas.

And the rain has continued on and off. It came down in torrents during dinner, and we're currently in the midst of a rather noisy thunderstorm. I think it's supposed to finally pass by the time I got to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Little June Showers

First of all, sorry I'm late with this. The internet went down last night and only just came up about an hour ago.

Spent most of the morning puttering around. I looked up some job ideas online. I liked the idea of making a Facebook page for my writing. I'd really rather push my writing than myself. I might find other ways to get myself on social media that might not be so nerve-wracking. Cleaned up the table with the printer next to my desk, putting various papers in folders. Decided I liked the big basket I got from Mom in January as a holder for small things on the dining area table when I don't have guests.

Finished Chip n' Dale's Rescue Rangers while I worked. Dale wants to be "Double O Chipmunk" in a a James Bond spy spoof. The others dress as gangsters and a moll to make his wish come true...but the game suddenly turns real when they run across spy rats and Dale accidentally mixes up his film canister with their microfilm.

"Gadget Goes Hawaiian" when she meets a female mouse named Lahwinie who is her exact double...on the outside. On the inside, Lahwinie is selfish and spoiled, caring only about becoming queen of a tribe of mice who live just outside a resort hotel. She's rigged the hotel's fiberglass volcano to blow its top on cue, and she'll scorch the others if Gadget doesn't take an obstacle course for her.

Dale goes from Ranger to superhero in "It's a Bird, It's Insane, It's Dale!" He finds a sliver of a meteor that gives him stretching powers like Mr. Fantastic of The Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, so does a slimy travel agent, who uses his powers to steal monuments from around the world and demand ransom for them. Dale gets a big head at first, until he's accused of the crimes and turns to the others for help.

Monterrey Jack and Zipper take over a diner kitchen to make cheese chowder after they blow up the Rangers' pressure cooker. They're not the only ones with an interest in the diner. A couple of "Short Order Crooks" intend to tunnel from there to the bank. The Rangers fight food with food to keep them from getting there.

Monty's told to "Mind Your Cheese and Qs" after his obsession with cheese almost gets the crew killed. His swearing off cheese proves to be easier than he thought when there's a cheese shortage in town. Rat Capone has cornered the market on all the cheese in town...but he didn't reckon with Monty and his cheese attacks!

Chip and Dale are "Out of Scale" when their constant feuding lands them in the mitts of the bratty daughter of a gangster who wants them for pets. Her dad kidnapped Professor Nimnul and is using the reverse of his Gigantic Ray from the previous season to shrink buildings and not only steal their valuables, but turn them over to his daughter for doll houses. The two chipmunks have to figure out a way to work together to evade the spoiled kid and reveal what her father is up to.

Gadget's tired of violence and her menfolk always getting hurt in "Dirty Rotten Diapers." She insists that they find kinder, gentler ways of dealing with their cases. That works until they run up against two women running a phony adoption agency...and "kinder and gentler" doesn't cut it with the midget posing as a baby to rob rich childless couples. It may take a little elbow grease to put this guy behind bars that aren't a crib.

Unfortunately, despite there being at least 20 more episodes, that seems to be all Disney's released on DVD at press time. They did finally put out the rest of Tale Spin and released the last of the original DuckTales on their Movie Club, and there's been rumblings of a live-action version in the works, so maybe that'll happen down the line.

Mixed feelings here. I liked the show a lot. It's well-written and animated for a cartoon from its era, with some of the most enjoyable characters of the entire Disney Afternoon. Gadget in particular is one of Disney's strongest non-princess female characters and retains a considerable fan base to this day.

On the other hand...this show could get really, really weird. There's a couple of episodes I'm not sure they'd even get away with today, notably "The Case of the Cola Cult" and the Asian-stereotype-ridden "Song of Night n' Dale." The occasionally juvenile humor, cliched plots, and rather silly villains will probably go over better with the target audience than someone my age.

Overall, I'm glad I saw it again, but it's not something I'm going to buy or actively seek out. If you're into the furry fandom, have older elementary school or tween-age kids, or have fond memories yourself, you may find a lot more in this one than I did.

Headed out as soon as the cartoons ended and I had my smoothie lunch. First stop on a cloudy and killer humid day was the PNC Bank in Collingswood. I needed to print out checks for my rent. I went in, ordered the checks from the young bearded gentleman behind the counter, and got out.

Rode across Collingswood and Westmont, then up the hill past McDonald's for this week's session at the Haddon Township Library. They weren't a whole lot busier than the bank was, and there really wasn't that much to do. I mainly shelved the few DVDs that were there. Didn't take out any movies - I have plenty to watch, and I don't know when I'll get to the libraries again - but I did find the next Daisy Dalyrumple book, Corpse at the Crystal Palace, and a book about a trio of friends running a jazz club in Roaring 20s Chicago.

Rushed home just as it was starting to shower lightly. Thankfully, unlike the last few weeks, that's all we got. The shower ended shortly after I got in, and to my knowledge, it didn't rain the rest of the night.

Went straight into writing. Harris takes Chewbacca upstairs to tell Rieekian they're leaving. He's not happy, but he does understand. Leia, who just came from contacting the White Queen, is not happy and doesn't understand. She wants Harris to stay. He just wishes she'd actually respond to his flirting.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Started the first season of Clone Wars while eating leftovers. We witness the "Downfall of a Droid" when Anakin loses Artoo during a fierce battle with the Separtists. Anakin's fondness for the little droid isn't the only reason he wants him back. Artoo has a lot of sensitive military information stored in his memory. He and his padawan (student) Ahsoka search half galaxy to find him.

Did really well with Lego Pirates of the Caribbean tonight. Picking up Blackbeard allowed me to use his power to open black and red doors I couldn't before. I totally completed "Port Royal" except for Jack's compass and got more pieces on "The Black Pearl Attacks." Made enough money to buy the x6 red hat extra and more characters.

Finished the night with The Blues Brothers. I go further into this much loved 1980's comedy at my Musical Dreams Musical Reviews blog.

The Blues Brothers

Monday, June 17, 2019

Rainy Afternoon Rangers

Kicked off a cloudy, humid morning with breakfast, then trying a new recipe. I wanted to make something from the Hershey's 1934 Cookbook I found during the Oaklyn Town-Wide Yard Sale. Tried their Chocolatetown Chocolate Chip Cookies. Oh, yum! They came out perfectly, soft, chewy, and just sweet enough. They also use a lot of butter, so I probably won't make them as often as the Oatmeal-Chocolate Chunk Cookies, but it's nice to have an alternate recipe.

Watched more Chip and Dale episodes while I worked. "The Last Leprechaun" is Darby Spree, who tricks the Rangers into giving him some company. As he's using his magic to keep them underground, his gold is stolen by a banshee. The Rangers help him find his fellow leprechauns and bury the gold again, before all leprechauns lose their powers.

Went into "Weather or Not" while the cookies were in the oven and I was cleaning the bowls. Monty claims his tail can predict the weather. The other Rangers doubt this when his tail insists it's cold during a heat wave. They learn Monty's tail may not be quite so off when they discover a snow-making cloud that's freezing bank vaults and leaving armored cars stranded on roofs.

"One-Upman's-Chip" has Chip trying to get Dale back for pranking him earlier by claiming to be a mystical swami. Unfortunately, Dale takes his joking too seriously and ends up being used for bait by Fat Cat, who is after the world's largest pearl.

The Rangers are "Shell-Shocked" when their day off at the beach is disrupted by a group of crabs whose shell homes have gone missing. Tired of Chip constantly scheduling everything, Dale insists on being the leader for the day...then learns how hard it is to lead the group when he has to create a plan to stop Fat Cat from taking over the local fish supply.

"Love Is a Many Splintered Thing" for Monty when he smells a certain perfume and recalls Desiree, a rat he almost married once. The others are trying to figure out what a gang of antique thief rats are after when Desiree turns up, claiming to still be in love with Monty. Chip thinks there's something not quite right with the alluring female rodent, but Monty takes umbrage and leaves...just before they go after the thieves.

It was hot, sunny, and killer humid when I headed to work. When I got in, I first stopped to talk to the manager. I was originally working two and a half hours on Wednesday. That's ridiculous. It's now a more normal four. I also found out why I'm working at noon all week. Apparently, most baggers are now only working from noon to 8. I suspect Acme wants us to emphasize the hourly inside sweeping....ignoring all the other things we do, like bag and gather carts. Who's going to do those things in the morning now? Carts vanish all day.

Speaking of the carts, I spent most of the afternoon keeping up with those. The head bagger helped me early on. Heavy clouds were rolling in, even as I was rounding up the outside trash and recycling. Thankfully, by the time it started pouring, another bagger took over the carts. I was inside doing returns. The rain slowed down just a few minutes after I finished, but I still got home rather wet, thanks to the soaked streets.

After I changed into dry clothes, I did some writing for a while. I re-wrote Luke to being attacked by a yeti, not a human. Harris does get the others back, but he doesn't intend to stick around after their encounter with Bob R. Fettman. They're now staying at the abandoned Hoth Valley Ski Lodge in the Hoth Mountains. He goes to tell engineer Dr. Rieekian about his leaving..but there's one person who isn't happy with his decision...

It was almost 7 before I broke for dinner. Returned to Rescue Rangers while eating the last leftover chicken leg and a spinach salad. "Song of the Night n' Dale" is basically the Hans Christian Anderson story "The Nightingale" in the setting of Lost Horizon. The Rangers crash-land in a Shangri-La-like oasis in the Tibetian mountains. They defrost a nightingale who is upset that he was forced out of the house of the kindly emperor by his nasty sister. The emperor - and Dale - seem to be going crazy when they see the bed go upside-down and statues come to life. The others don't believe them at first, until they find apparatus that make them realize what's really going on.

This time, I did do Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. Went back through "A Spanish Legacy" tonight with the new 4 times extra. Picked up three pieces and enough money to finally buy Blackbeard. He opens the areas blocked by red and black skulls. Took him through Tortuga and picked up two more pieces and True Pirate.

Finished the night with BlackKKlansman. Ron Stallingsworth (John David Washington) is the first black police officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department in 1972. He's tired of getting stuck with low-level jobs and dealing with racist epithets from his co-workers and asks to be transferred. Assigned to infiltrate a Black Panther rally, he mostly agrees with its leader Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) and college student Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier).

He's transferred again after that, this time to intelligence. He uses his new clout to rout out the KKK, one of the major white supremist organizations in the US. Posing as white, he manages to wrangle a membership from the head of the group himself, David Duke (Topher Grace). Recruiting Jewish detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to act as his "face," the two eventually discover a plot to take down local black leaders...and that racism runs far deeper in the Rockies than they'd originally suspected.

A chilling, well-acted look at one man's attempt to expose one of society's greatest ills...and just how much and how little has changed since the early 70's. Driver and Washington carry the movie as the two putting their lives and reputation on the line to prove that all people, no matter what their color, can work together to bring justice and save lives. The movie was a deserved winner for Best Adapted Screenplay; Driver was nominated for Supporting Actor. Look for long-time activist Harry Belafonte as an older man at the rally who tells the story of one of the most notorious and tragic lynchings in the the south. Adults interested in the history of the Civil Rights Moment and how they relate to what's going on now will find much of interest in this searing tale.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Of Dads and Chipmunks

It was still sunny when I rolled out of bed this morning. Started off my day with reading in honor of Father's Day and Flag Day on Friday from the Colliers Harvest of Holidays book. While I enjoyed the two stories about Betsy Ross and the women who made the flag that flew over Baltimore in 1814 and inspired "The Star Spangled Banner," my favorites were the Father's Day pieces. The first story was a very sweet and simple short about a dad who takes his little girl outside on a hot summer night to get her to go to sleep. The second is an excerpt from the biography Cheaper By the Dozen that has Mr. Gilbreath forming his 12 children into a committee to do chores and buy supplies.

Made Blueberry Pancakes while watching more Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. "A Creep In the Deep" is stealing fish from restaurants and cargo boats. The Rangers discover that the raids are lead by Captain Fin and his crew, who restored a submarine and filled it with water so they can steal on land. The Captain thinks he's setting the fish free, including a star whale...but not all of them are so eager to leave their homes or show business.

Moved to "Normie's Science Project" while cleaning up from breakfast. Normie is Professor Nimnul's equally obnoxious nephew, who has swiped his uncle's "sound amplifier" for a school science fair. Turns out it does a lot more than impress teachers. It can level whole cities. The Rangers have to get the record it uses back to it's original owner, Normie's rival at the fair.

"Seer No Evil" has a gypsy moth fortune teller at a fair claiming that Chip will die within the next 24 hours. Chip thinks it's a load of hogwash, but when her predictions seem to come true, the others try to keep him from getting hurt and still solve the case of a monkey and a game barker who use the game prizes to rob the homes of wealthy fair goers.

Headed out to run a few errands around noon. The day had become a bit cloudy while I was finishing breakfast. I even felt a few sprinkles of rain as I headed down Manheim to Dad and Jodie's house to wish Dad a happy Father's Day. Jessa was also there when I arrived. I was able to give Dad his card and a hug, and the four of us talked for a while. They'd had Rose and her brood over the day before. Evidently, Finley has now decided she doesn't need anyone's help to swim and will stubbornly jump in without her mother's help. They said she's all over everything at once, grabbing at things.

Jessa drove me to Dollar General, which was my next stop. I was out of dishwashing liquid, and I badly needed underwear. Treated myself to one of the tasty pecan logs that only they sell.

The rain was long gone and the sun was out by the time I strolled back to Oaklyn. I had lunch at Phillies Phatties. It was past 2 by then; not surprisingly, the only people there were me, the cooks, and Freeform on TV. Enjoyed a slice of white broccoli, a slice of tomato basil mozzarella, and a can of Vanilla Pepsi. (I had no idea Pepsi revived their vanilla flavor. Considering I'm a big fan of Vanilla Coke, I'll more than happily take Pepsi's version too.)

The clouds were starting to gather as I hurried home, and though it was still a bit cool, it was also windy and very humid. Spent the next few hours writing. Luke separates from the others to check out something he saw at a cave in one of the snow-covered mountains. He no sooner lands to check it out than he's knocked out...and it's not by a huge yeti-like creature, but something far more human...

Broke for dinner at 6. I wasn't really that hungry and stuck to having a chocolate banana smoothie for dinner. Continued Rescue Rangers while I ate. The Rangers are "Chipwrecked Shipmunks" when they're stranded on a deserted island. Dale and Monty find a treasure while looking for supplies and plan to keep it for themselves...until their old friends the Pirats show up, looking for treasure, and a hurricane starts to roll in...

Monty is hailed as a hero by a little Spanish mouse town in "When Mice Were Men." They believed he saved them from a nasty bull. The truth isn't quite as heroic as they think. Monty has to find his inner courage when the bull returns, seeking revenge.

Dale has a sweet tooth on a camping trip in "Chocolate Chips." Though Chip scolds him for eating all their snacks, it comes in handy when he's the only one who isn't bitten by drugged mosquitoes that forces locals to cut down cacao trees and turn the chocolate into candy for an insane chocolatier.

It started to rain just as I began dinner. Once again, when it rained, it monsooned. No pyrotechnics this time, but the precipitation was really coming down for a while. (To my knowledge, it's been gone for a while.)

Instead of video games, I switched to Buzzr after dinner. They were preempting their usual weekend re-runs of re-runs with Game Changers, a documentary on game shows. The show was more valuable than its makers could have known at the time. At least three of the men interviewed are no longer with us, including long-time Let's Make a Deal host Monty Hall and TV songwriter and actor Alan Thicke. By the time I got online, they were discussing more recent shows and how they were made. Seeing Pat Sajak and Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune for the first time or Regis Philbin discuss the phenomenal success in the late 90's of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire brought back so many memories. I watched the latter in college (and still occasionally catch it in syndication), and my whole family would gather to watch the former and Jeopardy in the 80's and early 90's.

Finished the night after a shower with more Mary Pickford. Her movies are so short, I managed to squeeze in three. I think my favorite of the bunch was The Poor Little Rich Girl from 1917. The story of a girl who has everything in the world but her parents' attention is a wonderful showcase for Pickford's brand of comedy. My favorite sequence is when she happily turns a broken sink into her own water park, prancing around in the spray, and even letting it hit the resentful maid who wanted her out at one point.

A Little Princess wasn't the most faithful adaption of that particular book (the whole Ali Baba sequence early on just drags things down), but it's saved by an expressive and surprisingly rather pretty ZaSu Pitts. Cinderella was a dreamy adaptation from 1914, with Pickford paired with her then-husband Owen Moore as the prince.

Here's all three if you'd like to give Pickford and her child-like world a try:

The Poor Little Rich Girl
A Little Princess

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Harvests and Yard Sales

Kicked off a beautiful, sunny Saturday with breakfast and two cartoons about Popeye and his dad, Poopdeck Pappy. "Goonland" has Popeye going against the strange creatures to rescue his dad, who isn't exactly happy to see him. "My Pop, My Pop" wants to build a ship on his own. Popeye insists on helping out, especially given Pappy keeps dozing off.

Spent the next couple of hours riding around, checking out Oaklyn's Town-Wide Yard Sale. It was a beautiful day for it, sunny and breezy, warmer than yesterday but not too hot. My first stop was the home of my former landlords Linda and Andrew. They had some really nice pans I ended up buying. The Paula Dean pans Jodie and Dad gave me a few years ago are badly dented, scratched, and flaked. I suspect Jodie bought them because they had Paula Dean's name on them and she loves her, not due to their quality. I took the pans back down the block to my place, then went right back out.

Around 10:30, I rode over to the Collingswood Farm Market to pick up produce. Even at quarter of 11, they were teeming with people looking for produce for their Father's Day barbecues and graduation parties. Cherries, patty-pan squash, spring cabbages, cauliflower, and broccoli, tomatoes, and New Jersey blueberries are out now. I just grabbed blueberries, cherries, snap peas, and mushrooms.

Made a stop at WaWa for money and a Perrier Peach sparkling water, then resumed my ride. Along with the pans, this was my best yard-sale day since the Audubon town wide yard sale in late March. Found The Sting, the Mary Martin TV version of Peter Pan, and the first and second seasons of Star Wars: Clone Wars on DVD. Grabbed two cookbooks from the Oaklyn Library's annual book sale. One turned out to have too many organic and fancy recipes for my budget, but I'll definitely use Hershey's 1934 Chocolate Cookbook. Got a K-Tel collection and a jazz/vocalist collection on records. Picked up a coffee-table book on stage musicals from an enthusiastic young mother who said she was not only a fellow musical lover, but makes occasional appearances with local theaters, including the Ritz in Oaklyn.

I didn't get home until past 1:30, and I was bushed when I made it. Finished out the Pappy/Popeye shorts while having a blueberry-banana-cucumber smoothie for lunch. "With Poopdeck Pappy" and "Problem Pappy" are both variations on "Pappy wants to go out, but Popeye says he needs his rest." "Quiet, Pleeze!" has Popeye silencing every noise in town so his hungover dad can get some rest.

Despite being dead tired, I couldn't put it off anymore. I really needed to get my laundry done. I'm glad I did it when I did. Once again, it wasn't very busy when I arrived. Only two other people were there, and two more would come later. Good thing they weren't busy (and the other women were using the larger washers). I had a huge load I needed to get done, including the spring/fall sheets.

When I finally got home from that, I went straight into writing. Luke's about to fly home when he tells Harris he sees something in the hills. Harris warns him to be careful. Luke says it won't take very long, but he's about to get an eye-opener on that...

I was too tired to really write for long. I broke for a dinner of leftover hot dogs and steamed snap peas. Played Lego Pirates of the Caribbean after I ate. Got through White Cap Bay this time. While having the mermaid allowed me to get a lot more pieces (including underwater), there's one area behind the tower I just can't seem to get to. Can't swim to it - a shark eats anyone who tries. Can't jump down to it. I did manage to get five more pieces and True Pirate off this one, though.

Finished the five-part Chip n' Dale's Rescue Rangers pilot "To the Rescue" (which I'd started at lunch) as I got organized. Chip and Dale used to hang around the police office with a police bulldog they admired named Duke. When Duke and his human are framed by a gangster and his fat, obnoxious cat that is believed to be dead, they leap into action! They pick up Monterrey and Zipper after Fat Cat inadvertently sinks their home, and Monty leads them to Gadget, the daughter of an old friend. The group now has to figure out what Fat Cat and his owner want with a huge ruby and Professor Nimnal and his crazy contraptions, and why he took tons of ice from the Arctic.

Ended the night with an old favorite of mine, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for father's day. I go more into this fantasy about a flying car and the inventor who repaired it at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Friday, June 14, 2019

A Windy Day In June

Kicked off the morning after breakfast doing chores around the apartment. First up was changing the sheets. Today was cool, barely in the 70's, but it's supposed to get into the 90's by early next week. It's time to put the lightweight white summer sheets on. I also changed my two Cabbage Patch Kids dolls into summer outfits. Dulcie gets a white strawberry-print sundress; Carrie is a tomboy who sports a blue sailor jumpsuit. (She has such short yellow curls, Mom tied a ribbon in one of them to make her look more girlish.)

When I finished with that, I pulled out the summer and patriotic decorations. Like I said, we're close enough to summer. Besides, today's Flag Day. This is a good day to put up the patriotic stuff. I have a big cardboard flag, large and small fabric flags on sticks, a red, white, and blue bow and bell hanger for the front door, two tiny flag-themed Beanie Baby bears, a Care Bear with a flag-themed tummy, a tall tube-shaped rustic Uncle Sam container, and a folk-art angel trio on navy blocks that say "USA."

Ran The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again as I worked. Amos (Tim Conway) and Theodore (Don Knotts) are ready to start over. They ride into a boom town to deposit money, but when the bank's robbed, a feisty old lady (Ruth Buzzi) accuses them of the crime. Marshall "Wooly" Bill Hickock (Kenneth Mars) agrees with her, especially after they accidentally get him badly injured twice. Dodging him, they hide in a carriage that ends up at the local fort for the US Calvary. They join the regiment, but they aren't any better as Calvary members than they were thieves. Another encounter with the now-loony Hitchcock during a military ball ends with the fort burning to the ground and Major Gaskill's (Harry Morgan) daughter Millie (Alyssa Davalos) being grabbed by cowardly Calvary officer Private Jeff Reed (Tim Matheson).

Theodore and Amos end up in military prison, which turns out to be a front for a bank robbery group headed by Big Mack (Jack Elam). They manage to escape him and warn the nearest authority...but Hitchcock is still on their train. Meanwhile, Jeff's let Millie go. She's ready to go home with her father, but Jeff isn't who he claims he is...

To my surprise, I really enjoyed this. It was cute. In some ways, I liked it better than the original. The gags were sharper, Mars was a great addition as the crazy lawman, and there were no cutsey kids around. The main problem is the subplot involving Millie and Jeff. Matheson and Davalos aren't nearly as much fun as Bill Bixby and Susan Clark in similar roles. His taking off with her like that was more creepy than romantic, no matter what the old blind woman in the cabin thought. There's no build-up to what his real job turns out to be. It just comes out of nowhere, and it doesn't really fit with what we see in the rest of the movie.

I'm going to say, if you're a fan of Conway, Knotts, or western comedies, you're probably going to want both of these. They're both equally fun comedies with great turns by both Apple Dumpling members.

Headed out to run errands as soon as the movie ended. My first stop was The Square Meal on West Clinton for lunch. Despite it being noon, they were totally quiet when I arrived. Their specialty is healthy menu items made from sustainable local ingredients. I had half of a chicken sandwich with spinach and cheese and a Spent Berry Salad - cracked wheat berries with carrots, basically - and a molasses crinkle. All three were absolutely delicious, especially that yummy sandwich. I ate them at the big main table while watching the few folks on West Clinton go by.

Next stop was the Oaklyn Library. There were a few people reading on the couches, but otherwise, there wasn't much going on. I organized DVDs and looked over picture books. Took out The Blues Brothers and the original 1984 Footloose to review next week. Also admired the new, young librarian's gorgeous artwork for "scary Disney princesses" that she intended to give a friend. She was really good; the Creature of the Black Lagoon Ariel looked like the real thing.

Went to the Acme after lunch to get my schedule and do grocery shopping. I really didn't need that much. I finally got to the clearance carts and shelves; grabbed more Kashi granola bars, All Bran cereal, a small bag of mini Yorks, and a bottle of Inkos Strawberry Iced Tea. Restocked ground turkey, sausages, yogurt, skim milk, bananas, pasta, pancake mix, peanut butter, and batteries,

My schedule next week is very strange. I work at noon across the board, but while I get off at 4 for most of the week, I'm done at 2:30 on Thursday. I have no idea why I'm only there two and a half hours that day. Sunday and Tuesday off.

Went straight home and put everything away, then made Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins while watching Daffy Duck cartoons. Most of these were from the 40s and 50's, when Daffy was in his zenith as Warners' most lovable miser. Favorites included "The Iceman Ducketh," "Tick Tock Tuckered," "Design for Leaving," and the early TV spoofs "This Is a Life?", "People are Bunny," and "Person to Bunny."

Worked on writing for a while after I took the muffins out of the oven. Luke follows Mara to a former ice cream warehouse in the Bespin district. Neither of them can figure out how to get in after Fettman's van enters. Mara has her broadcast soon, and Luke relies on the sun for his powers, so both withdraw for the moment. Luke tells Harris that he sees something he wants to check out...but he may not survive the trip...

Broke for dinner at 6. Had beef hot dogs and a spinach salad while watching a She-Ra episode for Father's Day later this weekend. "King Miro's Journey" brings Prince Adam and his grandfather to Eternia to visit Adora. They end up helping her and Madam Razz defend the Whispering Woods when Hordak and an inspector sent by his boss Horde Prime try to cover it in a force shield.

It was such a nice day, I opted to go for a walk after dinner. Stopped for a vanilla Yum Yum (creamy, gritty water ice) at Phillies Yummies, which I enjoyed at the picnic tables on the sidewalk outside the storefronts. Watched groups of girls go to dance class at Ovations next door and groups of boys take off on their bikes and get money off each other for more pizza.

It was cool and cloudy earlier, but by 7:30, the clouds had scuttled away. It was still windy and chilly, but the sun felt nice on my back. There couldn't have been a nicer day in early June. Other people walked around the neighborhoods as well, walking their dogs, talking to their neighbors, and admiring the gorgeous gardens.

Went into Lego Pirates of the Caribbean when I got home. After "London Town" glitched and made noise early in the round, I only had time left for one more. Thankfully, I got through "Queen Anne's Revenge" with no trouble. Picked up three more pieces and True Pirate (and just missed the last point on Jack's compass).

Finished the night on YouTube. Since The Girls In the Picture involves silent star Mary Pickford and makes extensive references to her movies, I thought it was time I gave some of them a shot. I chose Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Despite being in her 20's, Pickford believably plays Rebecca as a spunky 12-year-old tomboy who will beat up on anyone who insults her and her friends, including nasty bully Nellie Smellie. She turns to a handsome and wealthy bachelor named Alan Ladd to sell soap to. He buys the soap and provisions for a poor family to have a lovely lamp for their house. Rebecca adores him and claims she'll marry him. Her stern aunts send her away soon after to boarding school. She grows into a lovely young woman...and Ladd finally comes to see her as more than just the cute little girl who brought him so much pleasure.

Though it has the basic idea in common, Rebecca herself is very different from in the books. Here, she's tough, feisty, and prone to pranks and crazy ideas, like the time she sets up a circus to help a poor family and gets caught by her aunts. In the book, Rebecca is more introspective and better-read. Even so, this was still a lot of fun to watch. Pickford may not have had much of a childhood, but her instincts of how to play one were solid. I especially loved the circus that gets her into trouble and her ongoing fights with the obnoxious Nellie.

If you're a fan of Pickford or silent movies, this might not be a bad introduction to both.

Here it is on YouTube:

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm