Monday, July 11, 2022

The Beauty of a Book

Began a beautiful morning with breakfast and the original 1985 She-Ra. The baker's son overhears Bow telling a story about "The Crown of Knowledge" and Kowl claim he knows where it is. He wants to be a lot more than just a baker and convinces Kowl to show him to the crown. His father, She-Ra, and Bow are worried when he vanishes and follows the duo to the temple where the crown is hidden. Trouble is, Hordak wants the crown for himself, too...

Made the bed while Match Game '75 was on. I can't remember the last time I did that. The fitted sheet was coming off. I don't usually have the time to make my bed, before or after work. Besides, who's going to see it? No one comes up here. 

Headed out around 12:30. There was a book store in Cherry Hill I wanted to check out, but it wasn't near a bus stop. I called Uber instead. The man was there within four minutes; got me to the Ellisburg Circle Shopping Center within five. 

The Ellisburg Circle Shopping Center is the area's oldest outdoor, non-enclosed shopping mall, dating from around the early 60's. (To tell you how old it is, there hasn't actually been a traffic circle at Ellisburg since 1992.) And unlike most shopping centers from the 60's, this one is still almost entirely full, with a nice mix of local and franchise stores. It even retains its original Wildwood-esque slanted signage. 

One of the local stores is Book World, which unlike Inkwood in Haddonfield, specializes in used and discount books. I was surprised at how big they were. Every wall was lined with books and artwork, and books filled displays in the center. I wasn't the only one there, either. A mother brought her two young sons in shortly after I arrived. After they left, I saw two other people who chatted with the owner like regulars. 

Spent over an hour going through all of those books! There were a few boxes of used books in the back, but most of them were remainders of releases from the last decade or so. I ended up with:

Two comic books for the 2015-2017 version of DC Superhero Girls, Search for Atlantis and Summer Olympus. (I previously had the first chapter of the latter, which was given out for Free Comic Book Day in 2016.) 

Two children's chapter books, the historical novel Celeste's Harlem Renaissance and the fantasy novel Serafina and the Black Cloak. 

Serafina was one of two books I fished out of the used section. The other was Parisian Charm School, on learning how to bring beauty and joy into your life the French way. 

The 1920's-set mystery Bright Young Dead

Decided I wanted to check out the rest of the mall after I left Book World. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, breezy, in the mid-80's, and dry as a bone. It was too nice to go straight home. Most of the other stores were the usual ones you find at big-box shopping centers, like Buy Buy Baby. I was surprised to see a Bath and Body Works; they usually prefer indoor malls. An elegant furniture outlet replaced a closed Stein Mart department store earlier this year. Grabbed a gift and a candy bar from Five Below. 

The largest building was taken up by one of two Whole Foods Markets in South Jersey. They're basically the same deal as Wegman's a few blocks down, a high-end grocery store specializing in healthy foods with prices to match. I looked at their bakery, but ultimately ended up taking advantage of a Lavabar sale to pick up flavors I hadn't seen elsewhere, including Pecan Pie and Coconut Cream Pie. 

(It looks like there was also a Dollar Tree in the building next to Whole Foods until very recently, from the still-visible label scars. I wonder why they shut down? Couldn't compete with Five Below, despite it being smaller?)

I considered the Mediterranean restaurant in the mall near Whole Foods, but ultimately ended up crossing the busy highway to enjoy Ponzio's. They're one of the area's fanciest diners, all chrome and fake stonework and tan vinyl booths. They're also one of the only diners in the area with a bar. They date from around the same time as the Ellisburg Circle Shopping Center and look like it, with their slightly space-age fake stonework exterior. 

Since it was 2:30 by that point, I pretty much had the place to myself.  Enjoyed a chicken BLT wrap, home-brewed iced tea, and a cannoli with blueberry filling while reading the comic books. I've only been here once before. To give you an idea of how long ago it was, Dad took me here for lunch when he bought me a new bike for an early birthday present, the one that was stolen from the Acme's bike rack in 2018.

Dashed back across the highway after lunch. I considered further exploration, but ultimately decided I was too tired. Picked up Uber at Whole Foods. They arrived within five minutes, and dodged traffic on King's Highway well enough to get me home in another five minutes.

Went straight into Tattletales when I got home. This time, Marcia Wallace and her then-boyfriend Michael Bell and Orson and Carolyn Bean split the win, over Hal "Mark Twain Tonight" Holbrook and his then-wife Carol Rossen. Whammies slammed everyone on Press Your Luck, especially in the first half. In the end, it came down to the champ and the one guy. He Whammied out on his last turn, leaving her to pick up trips to New York and Hong Kong.

Took my laundry downstairs, then tried to focus enough to work on writing for a while. Turns out, it's the Lion and the Unicorn fighting for the crown who are making all that noise. The Red King orders Charles the Messenger to stop the fight and see what they're up to. When the Red King leaves, Brett opts to tag along.

Broke for dinner at 7. Ate while watching Match Game PM. They ran episode 74 tonight, the one Buzzr ran for the first time since 1977 about a year ago. Gene's slightly insensitive joke to a Japanese-American man early-on makes me understand why it took so long to reappear. Brett's more interested in trying to look elegant with a fan, while Richard figures out "A Pound of __" in the head-to-head.

Wanted to finish out the night after a shower with more of Brett Somers in honor of what would have been her birthday today. Alas, most of her early appearances on live TV anthologies like Philco Television Playhouse and Goodyear Playhouse seem to be gone for good. The earliest appearance I could dig up for her was in a second-season episode of the 1958 crime anthology Naked City, "Vengeance Is a Wheel." She gave an impressive performance in a small role as the bitter wife of a longshoreman whose husband is caught in the middle when he's accused of killing an Italian man by the man's family. 

She naturally played Blanche, Oscar Madison's salty ex-wife on the original 70's The Odd Couple alongside her actual then-husband Jack Klugman. Her last appearance on the show was in the fourth season episode "That Was the Army, Mrs. Madison." Felix flashes back to when he and Oscar were in the Army Reserves. Blanche wanted to marry him, but he couldn't get out unless he managed to clean off his bed, and then Felix had to sneak him out. 

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