Sunday, May 10, 2020

Beautiful Day for Mothers

Began a glorious late morning with Colliers Harvest of Holidays stories for Mother's Day. Along with a few poems, Colliers has "The Most Beautiful Mother In the World." When a little Ukrainian girl is lost in the wheat fields, she tells people her mother is "the most beautiful woman in the world." Turns out that her loving, warm mother isn't beautiful to most people, but she is in the eyes of her adoring child.

Slept so late, it was nearly noon before I started breakfast. Made perfect strawberry pancakes with oranges and milk while listening to the original Broadway cast CD of Gypsy. Ethel Merman was the first Mama Rose, and she powers her way through both the big songs like "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and the more charming ballads "Small World" and "You'll Never Get Away From Me." 

My favorite song from this score never made it to opening night. "Mama's Talkin' Soft" was intended for June and Louise to sing above Rose and Herbie in counterpoint to "Small World." Alas, one of the girls was afraid of heights, which lead them to cutting the number. Too bad. It's a great song that gives wonderful insight to how the girls have seen their mother act like this with men before, and know they'll likely see it again. It's such a great song, some modern revivals include it and the counterpoint duet. There's also a solo for Herbie that didn't make it into the show, his assessment of Rose, "Nice She Ain't."

Here's Petula Clark's early 60's recording of "Mama's Talkin' Soft" to give you an idea of what the song is like:

Tried calling Mom after brunch, but she was talking to my sister Anny's boyfriend Jay. Oh well. I'd get back to her later.

After I got off with Mom, I grabbed the jump rope and went outside. It was too nice not to! The sky was blue, the sun was warm, and the cold wind from yesterday was replaced by a soft spring breeze. I was surprised to find Veteran's Park empty. I had the park completely to myself. I figured it would be as busy as parks are currently allowed to be. Everyone must have opted to hold their Mother's Day barbecues in their backyards. I jumped two loops around the park, stopping on the first loop to check out the magnificent view of the creek and the houses on its banks from the edge of the peninsula with the gnarled old tree.

Spent the rest of the afternoon writing and looking things up online. Gene manages to make the tall, gnarled towers of the evil Queen Malade's regular castle appear. She's still holding King Allen (Ludden) hostage and tries one last time to force him to marry her. When he still claims he's too much in love with his wife, she turns him into...something. Her back is turned to them, and they can't see what she transformed him into, but they can hear her say that only his wife can break the curse...

Mom called me as I was finishing up for the evening. Other than she's still out of work - the Cape May-Lewes Ferries are only making two runs a day - she's perfectly fine. Like me, she's an introvert who would rather be at home anyway. She's also now on better speaking terms with my sister Anny, whose family helps her take care of her large yard. They were over to wish her a happy Mother's Day and talk about the yard when I called. 

Broke for dinner at quarter after 6. I defrosted turkey hot dogs yesterday, but was too tired to make them by the time I got home from work. Had them tonight, along with steamed asparagus and spiral pasta. 

After I ate, I opted to try an Alton Brown recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies I saw on YouTube. With flour in such short supply, I thought this was another way to stretch what I had and save my flour to make muffins for work. I forgot the vanilla and salt and burned the first batch a little bit, but for the most part, they still came out really well, full of peanutty flavor! The recipe doesn't make a lot, though, only about 16 cookies. Maybe next time, I'll double the recipe. Here's the Alton Brown YouTube short with the recipe. (And having your kids mix the dough is obviously optional, given I have no kids who can really hold things.)

Finished the night online with Mystery Science Theater 3000. I hadn't checked out one of their episodes in a while. The German fairy tale movies I watched last week put me in the mood for more fantasy stories from Europe. Mike joined the robots for Jack Frost, which turned out to be something of a cross between Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and the Russian fable Baba Yaga. An egotistical young man (Eduard Izotov) wants to impress the gentle beauty Nastenka (Natalya Sedykh) he met in the woods. After he insults an old man in a mushroom hat (Galina Borisova), the fellow turns him into a half-bear, half-man, and tells him he must do a good deed to restore his form. Even when he does, he learns that his Nastenka has been left in the woods by her henpecked father (Pavel Pavlenko) and taken in by Grandfather Frost (Alexander Khvylya). Meanwhile, Baba Yaga wants the boy for her supper, and would do anything to keep him, including forcing his lady love into a curse of her own...

Even with the bad dubbing and the robot's welcome wisecracks, I still found the story to be oddly charming. I used to read books of fairy tales from around the world when I was in high school and now know the stories of several cultures very well, including Russia. It's still obviously cheap and the characters are stock fairy tale archetypes, but the story is interesting, and it ended up being rather fun to watch.

Here's the episode on the free Shout TV channel, so you can enjoy it, too!

Mystery Science 3000 - Jack Frost

Oh, and the Match Game marathons will return tomorrow with the promised second half of the Technical Difficulties marathon!

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