Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Winter Shower Blues

Overslept this morning and had just enough time for breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood before heading out. Dan Sr. takes Daniel and Prince Wednesday on "Daniel's Winter Adventure" when they go sledding for the first time. The boys are nervous about the big hill, but Dan Sr lets them ride down it a little at a time until they're used to it. Likewise, he helps Daniel learn how to skate by taking small steps and doing it a little at a time. O the Owl is nervous about seeing the "Neighborhood Nutcracker" in a big crowd, but his uncle and Daniel help him get used to it. Daniel has to learn ballet in a hurry when Prince Wednesday gets sick and he has to take over dancing in the Nutcracker Ballet with Henrietta and Katerina.

Called for Uber soon as the cartoon ended. They took about 10 minutes arriving...and truthfully, they probably could have been worse at the height of the lunch rush hour. Thankfully, the traffic wasn't bad, and I got to work just in time.

That's the most interesting thing that happened all afternoon. We were off-and-on busy, probably due to it being Senior Discount Day and very close to the beginning of the month. I had a few problems with getting frustrated and people not bringing enough money, and at least one lady had to go back and get the right size shrimp cocktail platters for her customers. Other than that, there were no major problems, and my relief was on time.

Had no trouble getting home, either. The Uber driver arrived in 7 minutes and took less than five to get home. Despite the dinner rush hour just starting, the ride home was just fine. It rained before I went to work and looked like it might have at least showered during work, but it was sprinkling when I arrived at the Acme and long gone by the time I finished. 

Went straight into writing after I got home and changed, then worked on writing for a while. Richard asks Marcia what she knows about Ira, the railroad, and the Wild Rider Gang. The railroad wants to build a turnoff, but the people in Match Up won't sell to them. The Wild Rider Gang has stolen money from the mines outside of town and tried to run ranchers off their land or steal their money or cattle. Richard figures he'll ask Gene more about this at dinner.

Speaking of dinner, it was past 7 when I finally broke for mine. Caught the second Match Game Syndicated episode as I ate. Gene's rambling story about how lovely Southern California is goes on for so long, not only does most of the panel leave, but so do the crew and camerapeople! (Which gives us a rare view of backstage and the other side of the turntable when they show the abandoned cameras and set.) Bill Daily just goes to sleep in his arms. 

Finished the night on Amazon Prime with Bessie. I go further into this TV movie featuring Queen Latifa as pioneering blues singer Bessie Smith at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Tales of Romance and Fantasy

Got started on a cloudy day with breakfast, making my bed, and Match Game '75. In the first episode, Earl, the sweet little fellow in the Audience Match box who opened the answers, fell asleep back there. Gene had to go in and get him going. The second one has some interesting answers for what a huge Martian is doing to the astronauts' capsule and Mary Ann's old-time radio answer to "Call for __" in the Audience Match.

Went online briefly after that to look up the phone number for Collingswood Family Medicine. I tried to get into my patient portal, but I couldn't remember my password or the answer for the question they ask you to enter your account. I made an appointment for a check up on March 10th...before I remembered that's less than a week away, and I need two weeks to ask off. Oh well. If I work next Friday, I'll call them and see if I can reschedule.

Spent the next hour or so after that vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting my rooms. I'm upstairs in an attic. The rooms get really dusty, especially the bedroom. This being an attic, everything is low to the ground, so other than the vacuum, there's not a lot of standing, either. Took my laundry downstairs as well.

Listened to records while I worked. I've picked up several children's fairy-tale retellings from the 50's and 60's in the last year or so,  including one from England. The Golden Treasury of Fairy Tales is a bit of a misnomer. Among its stories are the storybook Heidi and the poem The Owl and the Pussycat. "The Ugly Duckling" is the song from Hans Christian Andersen. I preferred the adorable "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," with its darling-sounding Baby Bear, and a surprisingly dark version of "Little Red Riding Hood" where the wolf does eat Red and Grandma and the huntsman saves them by killing the wolf.

British actress Ceila Johnson of Brief Encounter narrates Snow White and Rose Red and The Goose Girl. The latter in particular is a rarity that doesn't often show up in adaptations of this sort. Even in death, the head of her former horse is able to help a princess who is forced to be a goose girl after her treacherous servant usurps her clothes and her place with the prince. "Snow White and Rose Red" is one of my favorite fairy tales. Rose and I used to pretend to be them when we were younger. The title pair and their mother give a bear shelter, then help him with the grouchy and ungrateful dwarf who stole his treasures.

I never heard of The Fairy Princess and the Ivory City until I found the record on eBay last spring. Apparently, it's an Indian tale of a prince who is banished after accidentally shooting the Vizier's wife. The Vizier's son, his best friend, insists on coming along. Good thing he did, as he's able to help the prince when he falls in love with a beautiful fairy and wants to win her hand. I do wish they hadn't gone in for the stereotypical Indian accents on the Vizier's son. Otherwise, this was rather charming.

Did some job searching after I brought the laundry upstairs and put it away. I wish most of the companies that hired mentally disabled people weren't tech companies. Maybe they're the only ones big enough. Most of them are getting rid of workers, not hiring more. I don't know anything about law, either. And there seem to be no disability-friendly companies in the South Jersey area.

(And it's a good thing I hadn't planned on doing anything outside today. It had been cloudy up to this point. After about 3 - 4PM, it started raining hard. It's been pouring off and on ever since.)

Switched to writing after dinner. Richard asks Marcia Wallace about the railroad and why Ira's so nervous. She doesn't have a high opinion of them. They've pushed raising taxes in the county and are trying to buy up land from local settlers and cattle ranchers to build an extension. The Wild Gang appear whenever they're unable to buy the land and force people off of it.

Watched Match Game Syndicated as I worked. I wish Alfie Wise was on the show more often. He was hilarious when he did appear. Poor Patty Duke slammed her knee against her desk and had to be helped by one of the contestants, who happened to be a physical therapist. Lots of fussing between Charles and Brett here, too.

Finished the night on Kanopy with another silent western, this one a more typical example of the genre. The Winning of Barbara Worth from 1926 is one of only two romances featuring Hungarian Vilma Banky and Brit Ronald Coleman known to exist in full today. Barbara (Banky) is raised by Jefferson Worth (Charles Willis Lane) after her parents die on their way to California. He hopes to irrigate the desert and turn it into fertile land for settlers. Engineer Willard Holmes (Coleman) arrives in the desert also hoping to do this, but his greedy boss James Greenfield (E.J Ratcliffe) won't finance his big project to divert the Colorado River to the settlers. Holmes also has to compete with handsome and sweet cowboy Abe Lee (Gary Cooper) for Barbara's hand. 

Greenfield's attempt to drive Worth and his men out of the area become all for naught when a cloudburst overflows the Colorado and sends a catastrophic flood heading straight for his town. It'll take all of Holmes' courage to help Worth and his men save the settlers and prove to Barbara that you don't have to look like Gary Cooper to be a hero of the wild west. 

This is one of Cooper's earliest roles, and...well, I have to admit, I don't envy Barbara's choice here. Cooper and Coleman are both excellent (and gorgeous) as the engineer determined to bring water to the desert and the sweetheart cow puncher who wishes Barbara would see him as more than a brother figure. Banky herself is wonderfully strong-willed as Barbara, and there's some amazing desert vistas (filmed in the real desert in Nevada and Arizona) done in blue and yellow tints. The highlight, though, is the rushing flood in the last ten minutes, with excellent miniature work as the town is destroyed and people flee the oncoming waters.

If you love Coleman, Cooper, westerns, or silent movies, this is one tale that's worth fighting for. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Games and History

Got such a late start, I pretty much had time for reading the first few chapters of The Mark of Zorro, writing, and wolfing down a quick breakfast before calling Uber. At least they arrived in 6 minutes and got me to work in about that amount of time, too. There was a little traffic down the White Horse Pike, but nothing overwhelming.

Work was off-and-on busy all day. This wasn't a big deal when I came in at 10:30 and we had more cashiers open. As the afternoon progressed, the morning workers went home...and no one replaced them. I spent the last few hours dealing with long lines mostly on my own. And my relief was late, which meant I was late leaving.

Thank goodness I had no trouble getting Uber home. Got a driver in 7 minutes and home in 5. Maybe that had to do with the gorgeous weather. It was sunny, breezy, and relatively warm all day, probably in the lower 50's. 

I was so worn out after work, I went straight home and into a nap. I needed it rather badly. Managed to sleep for an hour and a half, and probably would have gone longer if it hadn't been getting late. 

Had dinner while working on writing. Richard does end up renting the room from Marcia. The view is lovely, and it's close enough to town for him to easily walk to the sheriff's office. Marcia reminds him about paying extra for meals, but he says he's eating with the Marshal and his wife that night.

Finished up the night first on Buzzr for their African American Greats Marathon. Former football player Lynn Swann briefly hosted the 1990 version of To Tell the Truth from October 1990 to February 1991. (Alex Trebek finished out the run.) He wasn't really bad as he helped Kitty Carlisle, Monty Hall, Vicki Lawrence, and David Niven Jr. figure out which teen girl and her puppet companion was an expert ventriloquist and which man in black authored a book on his experiences in the CIA.

They had more fun on a 1971 episode of What's My Line? Sweet Sally Ann Howes joined Soupy Sales, Gail Sheldon, and Irish comedian Eamonn Andrews to find out how a teen from Cherry Hill filled donuts with jelly. They competed to see who could fill the most donuts in the least time. I think Gail and Eamonn won, but the kid finally admitted they all made more of a mess than dessert. They had no more luck figuring out a comely would-be actress had a side-line testing amusement park rides. (Wonder if she ever tested any in Wildwood or Ocean City?) Soupy did better with the Mystery Guest, black folk and blues singer Odetta.

Odetta wasn't the only performer from the 60's and 70's I never heard of until tonight who got a showcase on a game show. Philadelphia jazz bagpiper Rufus Harley demonstrated his craft on a 1966 episode of I've Got a Secret. He wasn't bad, either. I might have to look up his work online. He was certainly easier to tolerate than some of the stranger mid-60's fashions Lucille Ball introduced later. (And considering she mentioned a lot of orange and green and purple together, I'm glad the copy on Buzzr was in black and white.)

Switched to YouTube for the last Black History Month marathon from Match Game Productions. This time, the focus shifted to the later shows, as we saw Nathan Cook of Hotel, Roger E. Mosley of Magnum PI, and soap opera star Patronia Paley on two 1984 episodes of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. Roger returned for Match Game '90, along with Nell Carter of the sitcom Gimmie a Break and the Broadway revue Ain't Misbehavin' and a noisy Jimmie Walker. Nipsey Russell and Scoey Mitchilll joined in for episodes from the '70s run, including one from 1975 where Scoey left in the middle of a game after he already matched to make a bathroom break. Sitcom moms Esther Rolle and Mabel King appeared on nighttime episodes in 1975 and 1978 (the latter even got to briefly show off her gorgeous voice). 

Here's the link to the marathon, so you can honor the black greats of Match Game one more time!

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Let It Snow a Little Bit

Started off the morning with breakfast and messing around online while watching Doc McStuffins. Doc and the toys go on "The Search for Squibbles" when Stuffy's fluffy ball puppy goes missing. Stuffy fears he'll never see his best friend again, but Doc remembers that Squibbles does have a way to be tracked, via the collar he borrowed from Dress Up Daisy's electronic poodle Piper. Doc has a hard time rounding up her Log 'O Lemurs, acrobats who love leaping and catching each other...until one of them, Wyatt, realizes he came from the factory missing an arm. Doc assures him that he's "Factory Fabulous" and can still do many tricks.

Worked on the computer a bit, then headed out to work. No trouble getting a ride today whatsoever. Got a driver in 7 minutes going to work. Surprisingly, given I got out at the height of rush hour, I was able to get a driver who arrived in literally no time at all. It snowed a little bit on my way to work, but it wasn't anything huge and never did much besides look pretty coming down. 

Work was off-and-on busy. We'd have long lines, then they'd suddenly die out for twenty minutes or a half hour, then the lines would get long again. Some folks may have been scared off by the weather. Others may be waiting to get their beginning-of-the-month checks next week. Other than a few annoying people, there were no major problems. They did have to get a manager to come in for me when it became clear my line wasn't going to go away and I had no relief.

Had a few things to pick up after work. Found Secret gel deodorants on the clearance racks with 50 % off coupons, both 2-packs and individual. I couldn't decide which I wanted, so I bought a 2-pack and two individual ones. Grabbed a pack of muffins for lunch this week. Although the Nature's Valley granola bars weren't on sale this time, I still had an online coupon for them. Also had an online coupon for a free Oiko's yogurt; got two, since they were 89 cents this week. 

Bought a "cookie cake" to try for dessert. It's two wedges of the Acme's pizza pan-sized cookie cakes sandwiched together with thick buttercream frosting and topped with more frosting and chocolate drizzle. It's...way too rich. All that frosting was a little too much, even for me. I'm glad I tried it once, but I won't do it again. 

Went straight into writing when I got home. Richard will take the room. It's a few blocks from the jail, it's clean, and it has a nice view. He also asks Marcia about the Match-Up Times and its reporters. She says they're smart, hard-working ladies, and Lee in particular is known for being tenacious.

Had dinner and as I watched Polly: Comin' Home! I go further into the equally popular sequel to Polly that shows her attempts to bring her aunt and her professor sweetheart together and help the townspeople with an election at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Finished the night with the Lawrence Welk Show. In honor of Black History Month, I did three episodes hosted by and prominently featuring dancer Arthur Duncan. Duncan was one of two black members of Lawrence Welk's family for pretty much the show's entire run. (Drummer Paul Humphrey joined in the late 70's.) Fond though I am of the show's singers, I have a special place in my heart for Duncan and Bobby Burgess and his partners. I'm not a terrible dancer, but I certainly can't do the amazing things Duncan does with his feet in his "Stop Time" number from the "Shall We Dance" episode or the adorable "Cute" he performs on top of a piano Larry Hooper's playing from the September-themed one. He can dress down or go high up, as he does in "Lullaby of Broadway" from the "Oscar Winning Songs" show. 

Celebrate one of the great tap men with these three episodes revolving around various musical and dance styles and favorite Oscar-winning songs! 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Angels In the Night

Got a really quick start today. I had my counseling appointment with Karen this morning. Had just enough time to read, write, have breakfast, and call Uber. I suddenly recalled Karen saying we'd meet at the Haddon Heights Library this time instead of Collingswood, so I made sure the driver took me there. He arrived in 7 minutes; got me there in less than 5. 

Karen arrived only a few minutes after me. Turns out she originally wanted to meet at Haddon Township, not Haddon Heights. She didn't know the difference between the two. She ended up following the driver all the way up to Haddon Heights! At any rate, the library did have a study room, and we were able to talk.

I'm just frustrated with how long this is taking. I just want a good, solid job, so I can make money and buy a condo. I'm tired of the Acme. I've hated this job for 20 years. I want out, and now. I'm tired of waiting and everyone telling me I need to do this, that, and the other thing before someone will hire me. All I want is a job writing or in an office. I assumed they'd find me one back in August and September, when I did that work for them. I expected to have been out of the attic and into my own place within a few months, not a few years. I expected to find a job out of college. I went to half the offices in North Cape May and Wildwood, but no one would hire someone with no experience and who didn't know the boss or their family. 

I don't think people understand how much the Acme is driving me crazy. I keep the job for the health insurance. That is the ONLY reason. It's boring, it's overwhelming, I don't like dealing with the customers, I don't multi-task well, and my hours waver between pitiful and too much. I need something solid, with a chance for advancement and hours that either I make or are the same every week. I've been there for 15 years, but there's people who have been there 30 or 40 years. I'm never going to get respect or get anywhere. 

Karen said I needed to change my availability at work so I don't end up working so late. I did that right away tonight. I didn't get the chance to call Mrs. Stahl and ask her about the companies that hired disabled people she looked up. I'm  not sure she wrote them down. She just repeated them to me. 

She dropped me off at my place afterwards. I went online briefly, then had lunch while watching Match Game '75. Orson Bean, Mary Ann Mobley, and Patti Deustch join in to see Richard and Patti be the only ones to get a question right. Richard had no luck with "__ Rich" or "__ Sack" on the Head-to-Head.

Did some job research after lunch, then worked on writing. The room Marcia shows Richard is small, but clean and quiet. She does say that meals are included, but there's no drinking, smoking...or significant others after hours. The last gives Richard pause, but he still agrees to take the room anyway. He does add that he's eating dinner elsewhere, though.

Broke to get ready for work at quarter after 3. Watched Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood as I changed. "Daniel Gets Frustrated" when he can't get his favorite stuffed animal Tigey to sit on top of his block tower...and his mom gets pretty frustrated when they knock it over, too. They take a step back to asses the problem, then ask each other for help. Daniel is "Frustrated at School" when he can't find the pretend spaghetti to play restaurant with his friends. Teacher Harriett encourages Daniel to back up and try to remember where he last saw it.

Had no trouble taking Uber to work. It was windy and chilly, in the 40's, but it was also sunny. The lady driving me here arrived in 7 minutes. To my surprise, I managed to get a driver at 8 PM in less than 2 minutes. They were both expensive, since one was at rush hour and the other was late, but I did get to work and home on time.

Work was a pain. Good thing it was also a short shift. There were only two cashiers today, and one was express. I was the only regular cashier all night. The other called out. People are still having problems with the government cards. One man got upset when he had to leave behind the seafood he wanted because his card didn't work here. A woman wasn't any happier when her card paid for all but a little of her order, making her wonder what that was it didn't pay for. I really, really wish the government would explain these darn cards to the users better! We don't know anything about them, only how to ring them. 

At least I was able to get my schedule...and it's much better than last week's. Sunday is the only relatively early day. Nothing later than 6:30 this time. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday off. Still not enough hours, but at least they're not as bad. 

Soon as I got home, I went straight into the shower, then upstairs to finish the night with Charlie's Angels. They're "Little Angels of the Night" when three call girls are murdered in an apartment building. All of them are blonde and beautiful, which makes Charlie and the ladies wonder if there's a killer on the loose. They pose as residents and talk to a doctor who specializes in psychopathic behavior to find out what's going on...and discover that their subject is as close as the Italian restaurant across the street...

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Dolls on a Warm Winter's Day

Slept in, then worked on my journal for a while. Got going in time for the second half of Match Game '75. Patty Duke was rather embarrassed when she missed "Sign Language" for "Sign __" in the opening Audience Match. Brett's more interested in a handsome, broad-shouldered Texan whose town has an interesting 4th of July tradition. 

Called Uber shortly after the episode ended. It was just too nice to sit inside today, sunny and breezy and in the mid-60's. Ankle or no ankle, I did need a few things at Target. Took Uber there and back. Took about 7 minutes for the man to arrive this time. We did run into some road repair on Cuthbert, but thankfully, it blocked the traffic going towards Oaklyn. 

Didn't really need that much at Target, but they have a few drug items cheaper than the Acme. They're always out of the OGX curl formula I like, and when they do have it, it's a ridiculous price. Theirs is at least slightly cheaper. Grabbed Crest's Gum Therapy toothpaste for cheaper, too. Wanted to pick up granola bars and a bag of sliced vegetables, but their selection of the former is not great. I'll get them tomorrow. (Forgot something else I needed, which was tissues.)

Managed to make it into the Bagel Shop an hour before closing for lunch. Enjoyed an omelet with tomatoes and tons of stringy mozzarella and topped with sliced avocado, along with a toasted whole wheat bagel. Didn't have room for all of the slightly dry roasted potatoes, though. Had the tasty "diet half and half" iced tea from a bottler in North Jersey. I enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch. The only people who were there were a couple with their toddler, whom they distracted with what sounded like cartoons or online games.

When I got home, I went through the dolls' things and pulled out a few outfits to give to the daughter of a friend who has an AG-sized dolls and organized them, then dressed the dolls for March. Josefina wears her Harvest Outfit with the flowered embroidery and the yellow-green skirt. Whitney's in a flowered Queen's Treasures dress and the matching headband with her own petticoat underneath for more flair. I found Molly's shamrock-print dress with the rickrack trim at a yard sale years ago, which she wears with her white t-straps. Finally got Molly's underwear - her comfy-looking camisole and slip - on eBay to wear under it. 

I'm so glad I bought Samantha's Special Day Dress when it went on sale around 2015 - it's fairly hard to find now. I'm especially fond of the red shoes with the bows that goes with this outfit. Felicity gets what was her friend Elizabeth's Summer Gown. The pale celery color and quilted petticoat really makes it more appropriate for spring than summer. Jessa wears an emerald green wrap top I found at a booth in Deptford in 2009, the tight jeans from the 1996 Blue Jeans Basics set, yellow socks, and the loafers from her Girl Scouts set. Ariel gets Julie's original meet outfit with the multi-colored turtleneck, blue striped jeans, and peasant blouse worn with the boots Whitney came in. 

Found a really awesome Our Generation Retro outfit on eBay that's perfect for Barbara Jean. She's "Feelin' Groovy" in a totally mod orange, tan, and turquoise minidress, white fur vest, hot pink rectangular sunglasses, and white vinyl go-go boots. Most of the 18-inch outfits out now were made for dolls with cloth bodies, not Barbara Jean's slender hard plastic one, so the dress is too big for her. I added a leather-like belt that was still too big, but at least helped somewhat. 

The white fur vest is too short, as she's taller than the AG dolls, but it's not a deal-breaker. The boots being too big worked to her advantage, as her feet are a different shape than the AG and Our Generation dolls. She can't fit into most of their shoes, but these went on just fine. I even found a brown elastic headband with a yellow flower that matched perfectly. 

It was nearly 6 before I finally got to writing. Marcia Wallace is in charge of the Newhart Inn Boarding House. Richard tries to charm her, but she already has a room for him. Bill Daily told her what happened earlier. 

Broke for dinner at 7:30. Ate while watching Match Game Syndicated. Buzzr skips quite a few episodes, finally landing on the end of the next week with Loretta Swit, Dick Martin, Nancy Lane, and in his last appearance on the show until The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, Nipsey Russell. Charles is just nervous to help the contestant with "Milk and __" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night with Graffiti Bridge at YouTube. I go further into Prince's last vehicle for himself, a semi-sequel to Purple Rain, at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Party Like It's 1999

Had a quick breakfast this morning, then spent the next few hours checking out the newest American Girl historical dolls. Nikki and Isobel Hoffman are Jewish twins living in Seattle in late 1999. Nikki is a quiet tomboy who loves skateboarding, creating a 'zine for local girls, and the Seattle grunge scene. Isobel is a noisy, girlie partier and major Spice Girls fan. 

Now, you'd think I wouldn't relate to these two at all. By December 1999, I was half-way through my second year of college. I still remember a lot of what's represented here, though. For one thing, I adore that they have an accurate Pizza Hut "Book It" set, even though Pizza Hut hasn't done that in years. I did "Book It" in the mid-90's when I was in the Special Services Middle School. Cheap chokers like the ones in both girls' accessory sets were very popular in the mid-late 90's. I wasn't big on them myself, but I don't like tight collars or things that are too tight around my neck.  

I had a pillow seat like Isobel's. Mine was a chintzy pink flower print that I finally wore out by the time I went to college. I'm pretty sure we had inflatable chairs like Nikki's, too. They were even purple. Anny had a pair of platform strap shoes like Isobel's, only hers were black. I used to borrow them a lot, even though they were a little too big for me. I actually still have a purse that looks like Nikki's, only it's quilted instead of having a skating decal, and I use it for my digital camera. I was a bit old for Tamagotchi by 1999, but that didn't stop my sisters and brother from asking me to look after theirs. 

My family's first...and second...computer looked and sounded very much like Nikki and Isobel's. (The first one died during an especially hot and humid mid-90's summer in West Cape May.) I think 1999-2000 is probably around the time I bought my first laptop, too. It cost me over $900, but I could also finally connect to the internet at home and at my dorm, instead of having to hike all the way to the computer labs. 

Truth be told, while the dolls themselves are quite pretty - I love their bright green and blue eyes and Nikki's chunky highlights - I already made my Asian-American doll Jessa into my designated 90's character. She'd probably turn up her nose at Izzy's florals, but I could see her in Nikki's Skateboard Outfit without the helmet and pads, and she might get a kick out of her alien-themed pillow, too. (And ironically, they have the opposite problem from AG's previously-released historical doll Claudie. They have play clothes and regular clothes, but no formal outfits. I'm wondering if AG will release their holiday formals closer to Hanukkah in December.)

Broke at 1 for lunch and Doc McStuffins. View Master toy Viewie Stewie wonders if he needs glasses when he seems to see dinosaurs in Paris and polar bears on a pyramid. Doc and the toys help him to come "Fully In Focus" and figure out why he's seeing two images at once. "Picky Nicki" is a piggy bank who only likes shiny coins and won't take Doc's green dollar bill. After she accidentally loses Doc's money, she learns the importance of trying new things.

It rained for a lot of the morning and was a bit chilly. Though the rain had ended by the time I left for work, I still would have called Uber regardless of how my ankle felt. The guy picking me up came in about 6 minutes; the woman dropping me off took less than 3. No trouble anywhere on the road, not even when I left during rush hour.

No trouble at work, either. We were off-and-only steady, but not overwhelmingly busy. I still got frustrated when things went wrong. Someone who's worked at the same place for fifteen years should know what she's doing. Other than that, everything went very well. My relief was late coming back from her break, though. The self-checkout manager came in so I could (barely) get out on time.

Went straight home and into Match Game '74. Sweet Janet Finn was finally defeated in the previous episode by sophisticated Italian Sylvana. The others spend the beginning of the episode making jokes about Brett having joined the West Hollywood Olympics (and done very well, according to her.) Meanwhile, Gene tries to get Sylvana to calm down, but she can say the names of the Italian actresses he mentions better than he can.

The rest of the Match Game Syndicated week after Ginger left continued to be completely nuts. This was probably the single best week of the syndicated series. Joyce Bulifant continued to show off different wigs. She made a rather nice strawberry blonde in the first episode and had a very cute Mary Tyler Moore-style brunette wedge style in the second. One of the contestants being an acting student leads to a discussion of how Charles was an excellent acting teacher, and Robert Walden had been among his students. Brett also makes an attempt to imitate Zsa Zsa Gabor for a question.

Finished the night after a shower on YouTube with the 1974 version of The Mark of Zorro. This adaptation of the novel was made for TV, and is surprisingly very good. Frank Langella does better as the foppish Don Diego than he does as Zorro, but Ricardo Montalban is excellent as his adversary Captain Esteban. Apparently, it was intended to be a pilot for a series ABC didn't pick up, which is probably why it's relatively lavish for a TV movie in this era. It features period-accurate sets and costumes and a great supporting cast that includes Gilbert Roland and Yvonne DiCarlo as Don Diego's parents, who worry their son has turned into a buffoon while away at school. Not the best-ever retelling of this story, but worth checking out if you love Zorro, the cast, or desert swashbucklers. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Under a Winter's Moon

First of all, sorry this is so late. My internet went down last night. By the time I finally finished my musical review, it was too late to write this. 

Started off my day with a late breakfast and Doc McStuffins. Donnie's action figure Sir Kirby would normally be thrilled to join Doc's sleepover with her other toys...if it didn't involve sleeping in the dark. Sir Kirby doesn't think brave knights should admit to being afraid, but a "Dark Knight" scares him. He's used to sleeping in Donnie's bright room. Doc puts on a night light for him and admits it's perfectly normal to be afraid. "Hallie Gets an Earful" when she's having a hard time hearing Doc's calls during hide and seek. She's also stubborn about it, but Doc insists that even nurses need check-ups and ear exams.

Did job searching for an hour before counseling. I see a few interesting ideas, but...I'm just not sure. I'm worried my skills won't transfer to any job. I don't want to be in retail anymore...but what can I do with the skills I have and not have to spend years in school? Spending years in school didn't do me much good the first time around.

I ended up arguing with Mrs. Stahl over it during counseling. I know I get emotional. I know I have a hard time controlling it. I'm just frustrated. It shouldn't take someone twenty years to find a decent job, no matter what her mind is like. It's hard for me to just slow down and take a breath when I'm frustrated or anxious or angry. I can't really think at all when I get upset. She wanted to know if I'm asking Karen if I really have the skills for the jobs I'm looking for.

The trouble is...I don't belong in retail, and I don't seem to belong anywhere else. I thought I asked Karen about this, but I still have no idea what I should do other than writing or office work, or where I truly belong. I'm tired of the Acme. I want to feel like a professional doing professional work, not just someone who is there for a paycheck and free health care. 

I wasn't in a good mood when I got off with Mrs. Stahl. Returned to Doc McStuffins to cheer me up during lunch. It's "Diagnosis Not Even Close-is" when Doc goes over to her friend Emmie's house to play with her puppy, and the toys are left to figure out why Robot Ray is racing all over the place. They finally come to the conclusion that there are some diagnosis that you really do need a professional to figure out. Doc and her toys create their own band when she gets a plastic trumpet from her grandma. Stuffy's close encounter with Bronty leaves him with "Bronty's Twisted Tail." Bronty runs away because he's afraid Doc will hurt his already sore tail, but Doc can't help him if she doesn't. 

Worked on writing for a few hours. Richard does retrieve his luggage and heads in the direction Gene suggested. Marcia Wallace runs the boarding house, and she already knows about Richard and how he'd saved the bank. Chatterbox Bill Daily told her earlier. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Buzzr showed three of the best episodes of the entire 1973-1982 Match Game run tonight, starting with Match Game '74. Janet Finn gets more than she bargained for when she chooses Charles for her "Russian __" Head to Head. He draws out the suspense for so long with his Walter Cronkite imitation, the others "attack" him afterwards!

Match Game Syndicated also featured a memorable contestant tonight. Ginger was a very nice and enthusiastic lady who gave some of the strangest answers ever heard on the show. Her response to what an athletic caterpillar would buy was 100 sneakers and...an accordion. In the second answer, her response to "Cuckoo __" left the entire panel laughing so hard, they reportedly had to stop taping. Gene ran all over the set, yelling "Run for your lives!" and spinning the Star Wheel. Her partner on the Head-to-Head, Robert Walden, just looked embarrassed. 

Finished the night at Amazon Prime with Under the Cherry Moon. I go further into Prince's second movie at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Quiet Times at Home

Started the day late with material from Colliers Harvest of Holidays for President's Day. They have biographical essays on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, who have birthdays last week and Wednesday respectively, so I did both. Apparently, not much is known about Washington's early years, so his essays mostly focused on his part in the Revolutionary War. Lincoln's are far more interesting and pretty much cover the gamut of his life, from his early years as an amazingly tall pioneer boy who just wants to read to his years as president of the Union during the turbulent Civil War. We also get several poems, including Walt Whitman's "O Captain" on Lincoln's assassination.

Didn't get going until past 12:30. Watched Match Game '75 while I had breakfast. Gene finds himself describing a weather vane to slightly ditzy Louisa Moritz by standing on the lower desks and flapping his arms like a rooster while producer and tough-guy actor Sheldon Leonard looks on. Gene doesn't have a lot of luck with his screechy microphone in the opening, either.

Switched to Doc McStuffins as I got organized. Lambie accidentally gets "The Rip Heard 'Round the World" in her rear when Doc's dancing with her. She and Doc are incredibly upset. Lambie is Doc's favorite toy who has been with her since she was a baby. They learn about stitches from Doc's mom, who sews Lambie up good as new with a "scar" of thread seams that barely shows. It's "Walkie Talkie Time" when Donnie and Luca want to sneak up on Doc, but their walkie talkies aren't working. Doc figures out why Walter the Walkie Talkie can't contact his partner Grace, and where Luca left her.

(I know how Doc feels. I'd get upset if my stuffed animals ripped as a kid, too, especially if they were my favorite! In fact, I recently had to perform similar "surgery" on Grindal the Uni-Dragon, who somehow got a hole in his lower paw.)

Restarted my crocheting project, this time using pink and yellow yarn. It didn't curl this time...but it did ruffle! It wasn't supposed to do that, either. Oh well. I'm not restarting again. I kind of like the effect, anyway. It's supposed to be a spring plate mat. I'm going to make one for each season. 

Watched the first six episodes of the 1939 Republic serial Zorro's Fighting Legion as I worked. Reed Hadley is Don Diego Vega, who dons his Zorro persona to help his uncle Francisco after he's killed by men working for Don Del Oro. This golden figure appears to be an idol of the Yaqui Native tribe and is inciting them to attack Californians for taking their land. Don Del Oro wants to steal the newly-minted Republic of California's gold, end the Republic, and declare himself emperor. Don Diego takes his uncle's place on the local Council to find out which one of its ruthless members is posing as Don Del Oro, while he and his "Fighting Legion" combat the Natives and Del Oro's men.

This is definitely one of Republic's better western serials. It has the advantage of being their only serial to feature the original Zorro and be set in roughly the same time period as the book. (Their other Zorro serials feature a descendant using the name, or only use the name and not the character.) Hadley's reasonably charming as Vega and virile and dexterous as Zorro. 

Worked on writing around 4. Richard Dawson, now the sheriff of Match County, asks Marshall Gene Rayburn and Mayor Allen Ludden where he might take lodgings. Gene suggests the Newhart Inn boarding house on the other side of town, run by prickly-but-charming Marcia Wallace. He also invites Richard to dinner with him and his wife Helen that night. Richard agrees to take him up on the offer.

Didn't break for a shower until past quarter of 7. Finished the night upstairs with dinner and the original silent Mark of Zorro at Kanopy. Don Diego (Fairbanks) seems like a foppish nobleman, but he's really Zorro, who aids the innocent and abused in early California against the corrupt Govenor Alvarado (George Periolat). He and Alvarado's henchman Captain Juan Ramon (Robert McKim) both attempt to court the lovely but impoverished noblewoman Lolita Pulido (Margurite De La Mote), but she finds Diego to be dull and Juan to be a bully. It takes the governor jailing Lolita's family to finally bring Diego out into the open and let him reveal his true identity once and for all. 

This is the grandparent of every desert swashbuckler from Errol Flynn's westerns to the late 90's-early 2000's Antonio Banderas Zorro films. Fairbanks had such a marvelous time leaping from chandeliers and rescuing the girl, he'd spend the remainder of his career specializing in historical action films. Check out the scene where he takes boastful Sargent Pedro Gonzolez (Noah Beery) and a whole roomful of bar patrons on by himself!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Love Connections

Overslept and got off to a very quick start this morning! After I read and did my journal, I gulped down breakfast and called Uber. No problems there today. Both gentlemen arrived within 7 minutes, were very pleasant, and got me home in under 5 minutes. No traffic anywhere, either.

Including the Acme. We were off-and-on steady, fairly quiet for a Sunday. Either they're all waiting for their day off tomorrow, they shopped before the Super Bowl last week, or they went away for the weekend. There were a few people with those darn government cards they rely on to pay for their groceries, without knowing what groceries they can buy on the card. I wish the government would give them a straightforward list of what they can buy. We have no clue, and they end up putting back a quarter of their order because it wasn't on their card and they didn't have any other way to pay...and I end up panicking because they're holding up the line and I have to call a manager and baggers to put away cold items. One group almost made me late leaving; a manager had to finish them so I could get home.

Picked up a few things after work. Got tasty Sunbelt Granola Bars. I haven't seen them in years...and finally found them a few months ago near the Little Debbie snack cakes at the Acme. There's more grapes on sale, too.

Soon as I got home, I went upstairs, changed, and worked on writing. With the superhero story stalled, I decided it's too busy and complicated. I'll completely redo that eventually to be closer to what I originally had in mind. Ended up resuming the Match Game western instead. Richard's still dreaming, this time of being a Zorro-type hero in a wild west town. Mayor Allen Ludden just made him sheriff. Ira Skutch of the Goodson-Todman Railroad tells him to stay off his land, but Richard is seemingly more interested in admiring his suit. Gene and Ira offer to put him up, but Richard decides to get a room in town until his boys come out west.

Broke for dinner at 7. Listened to the 1969 original cast album of 1776 while I ate a sandwich and vegetables. William Daniels is even more of a firebrand here than he is in the film version. His "Is Anybody There?" is especially impassioned. Clifford David also gets an impressive "Molasses to Rum," while "Mama Look Sharp" is almost hauntingly beautiful. 

Finished the night online with Match Game Production's extra long Black History Month Match Game marathon, then with a short history of the ultimate romantic game show, The Dating Game. After his success with The Newlywed Game, Chuck Barris came up with this even simpler format. One young woman chooses a date from among three men behind a barrier. She can only hear their voices and doesn't know their names, only that they're Bachelor 1, 2, or 3. After a series of questions, she chooses one of the young gentlemen to go out with. We may hear about their date and how it went on a later episode.

This is pretty much the format the show had through its first twenty or so years on the air. San Francisco disc jockey Jim Lange was the amiable host until the 1986 syndicated revival, when he was first replaced by Elaine Joyce, then Jeff MacGregor. Unlike most shows of its era, most of the original daytime Dating Game and all of its syndicated versions survive, but they're still hard to find online. Here we have a 1968 episode in black and white, despite ABC having switched to full color broadcasting by that point. 

Celebrities lent themselves well to this show. In addition to stars-to-be like Terri Copley appearing well before they were famous, celebrities would come on either as bachelors or to choose a date for someone else. Dick Clark appeared on the 1973 syndicated show to choose a date for one of his American Bandstand dancers, and didn't do too badly for her, either. 

Like they did with The Newlywed Game, the 1996 version made changes...and also as with The Newlywed Game, those changes were not well-received. By the time of its second season, they'd gone back to the original format, but this time, bachelors could now choose from three bachelorettes. Chuck Woolery, fresh off of Love Connection, took over for the second season. Michael Bolton and Zoey Deschanel hosted a short-lived Celebrity Dating Game from August 2021 to April 2022 back on its original channel ABC. 

Come and see which lucky guy these gals will choose in one of the wildest game shows about love on the air! (And almost all of them come with their original commercials.)

And here's tonight's Match Game Black History Month marathon, too!

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Winter Reasserts Itself

I was so worn out, it was noon when I finally rolled out of bed, and past 1:30 when I had brunch and watched Doc McStuffins. Rescue helicopter Ronda breaks a rotor while getting Stuffy down from the roof of Doc's clinic. Ronda can't resist continuing to rescue her friends, even after Doc's pasted her up, but Doc admonishes her to "Rest Your Rotors, Ronda!" Ronda finally finds a way to help her friends in trouble without flying - by being a good leader. Donnie's eager for his new toy truck Tremaine to win a toy car show in the park. He's upset when Tremaine scrapes his snazzy new paint job. Doc tells Donnie she'll fix him...but it's hard to do that with Tremaine constantly zooming around. Doc reminds him that in order to "Keep On Truckin'," he has to hold still.

Watched F-Troop for an hour or so while I tried and tried and tried again to re-crochet my round place mat and get it to lie flat. "The Phantom Major" (Bernard Fox) wants to teach F-Troop how to capture Natives using subterfuge. Of course, his idea of "subterfuge" is everyone hiding in tree and horse costumes. No one wants to become a Native-hunting troop, least of all Agorn and O'Rourke, whose enterprises are threatened by the major's plans. They all work together to find a way to scare him off.

Agorn overhears O'Rourke talking to the fort veterinarian after he's gone to the vet with complaints about an upset stomach. He thinks they're talking about him dying and writes "Corporal Agorn's Farewell to the Troops," which includes a full confession about his and O'Rourke's activities, and sends it to the inspector general. Once he learns the truth, he and O'Roarke pose as mail bandits to get it back...but the real bandits are after the mail, too.

By that point, I just felt depressed. Nothing's going right. I couldn't get my round to do what it was supposed to do. I can't get myself to do what I'm supposed to do, either. I hurt myself for the second time in three years. I don't want to work in a grocery store or live in an attic forever, and I'm tired of not being able to change. It shouldn't take twenty years to make things better...and the harder I try, the worse things get. I'm so frustrated and angry with myself for not doing better.

I didn't care about my stupid ankle. I was tired of sitting inside. Pulled on the boot and went for a walk to the fried chicken and gyro place a block down the street. Besides, it was too nice to sit inside all day. It was cold, yes, in the upper 30's, but sunny and bright and still. Frankly, it felt more like a typical day in mid-February than it has lately.

Needless to say at 4 PM, they were totally empty. I managed to explain to the gentleman behind the counter I wanted a tilapia sandwich with fries and a Cranberry Canada Dry Ginger Ale. I've never tried their flavored ginger ales before. This one wasn't bad, a little sweet but slightly tart. The fries were hot and crispy and not too salty. The fish sandwich was huge, with a bun that took up half the plate, slightly spicy and totally delicious.

Worked on writing when I got home. I can't figure out this story, either. It's going nowhere. I may either re-write it to make everyone already knowing each other when Richard is "the Ace," or switch to the western story I put off. It's moving way too slow and taking too long to introduce everyone.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Watched Polly while I ate. I go further into this charming TV adaptation of Pollyanna from 1989 with a mostly-black cast at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Finished the night on YouTube with The Lawrence Welk Show. I couldn't find any shows on Washington's Birthday, and only the Valentine's Day one for Lincoln. Turned to the other holiday next week, Mardi Gras, instead. For some reason, the 1966 show kicks off with "Brotherhood of Man." "I Dreamed' of dressing in costume at the parade, the Lennon Sisters sing wistfully. Bobby Burgess, Arthur Duncan, and Jack Imel are "Together Wherever We Go" in a lively dance routine. A beautifully costumed Norma Zimmer admits "I Could Have Danced All Night." Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylen show off their stuff to "High Society," while Jo Ann Castle, Myron Floren, and Kenny King have a blast on their accordions with "Clarinet Polka." 

The episode from 1976 had a similar theme and equally lavish and strange costumes. This time, Bobby and Cissy King got their square dance on with their ode to "Big D." Guy and Ralna stay in Dallas to sing about "The Yellow Rose of Texas." Ralna returns later in a tiara and huge fur collar to ask "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?"  Norma Zimmer's ballad in costume here is the theme from Gone With the Wind, "My Own True Love." Arthur Duncan admits he's "Breezin' Along With the Breeze" in his lively solo. The Semonski Sisters get an adorable "Windy," while Anacani in a frilly sequined and striped dance outfit encourages everyone to "Come to the Mardi Gras." Larry Hooper admits to the chorus "That's What I Like About the South." 

Found a "Riverboat Show" from 1980 with a lot of the same songs and a similar deep-south theme. Bobby and his new partner Elaine Nivenson get "Waitin' For the Robert E. Lee" in this episode, here done as a energetic cakewalk. Arthur Duncan does his own solo version a little earlier in the show. Anacani goes really, really deep south with "South of the Border." Country diva Ava Barber's joined by organist Bob Ralston to sing about those "Southern Nights." Kathie Sullivan gets the lovely ballad "Stars Fell on Alabama," while Guy and Ralna croon about that "Moon Over Miami." Ken Delo shows off another side of his talents with his hand puppet "friend" who helps him out with "Down By the Riverside." 

Join the Mardi Gras parade and ride on a riverboat way down south with Lawrence Welk and his champagne partiers!

Friday, February 17, 2023

When the Rains Came

Awoke to a phone call. Karen, the counselor for Abilities Solutions, called to see if I wanted a ride to our appointment today. Rain fell heavily even as we spoke, and the wind howled. It was no day for the bike, no matter what condition my ankle was in. I told her I'd appreciate it, but to give me an extra half-hour for breakfast. 

Watched Doc McStuffins as I got ready. "The New Girl" is Keiko, an action figure Doc's grandmother sent from Japan. She's supposed to do karate kicks, but she can barely stand. She was in the package so long, her legs are weak. Doc teaches her how to stretch and flex to build them. Donnie's crane has no problems when Doc tells him to "Wrap It Up," but he's afraid to take off the bandages (duck tape), and they've gotten dirty. Doc assures him that he'll be fine, and that you have to change bandages over time.

I was almost late getting out the door...and then I walked down the street a block to find Karen. Turned out she misheard the number I gave her. At least the rain had stopped temporarily by that point. She let me out at the Collingswood Library, and I told the lady in charge that we were borrowing the study room.

The trouble with trying to get a writing job is a lot of the proofreading requires taking certification classes. I was really hoping to get out of the Acme soon as possible. Yes, I know I'll be giving up my health insurance, if only temporarily. I just can't stand it anymore. All of these college kids are leaving and getting better homes and jobs. I just wished something jumped out at me or seemed right. I don't know what I want, other than something that's not retail. I'm a writer, but I don't know how to apply that outside of my blogs. I feel completely, utterly worthless. 

I don't know why people say I'm too hard on myself. If anything, I'm not hard ENOUGH on myself, or I'd have a job already. I should push myself harder to look in the right place and find me a decent job that'll make me happy and earn me enough money for a condo of my own. I wish I knew how to give myself a kick in the right direction.

Karen was nice enough to let me drop my library books off quickly, since the Haddon Township Library is only about two or three minutes from the Collingswood Library by car. I slid them into the slot and went back out. I don't know when my ankle will be up for an errand run again. 

Soon as I got home, I made lunch, then ate while watching Match Game '75. A wild episode began with everyone looking for Gene's spare microphone and ended with the introduction of Carol Bartos, a contestant who would go on to win many more matches in the days ahead. 

Worked on crocheting while finishing the All-Star Family Feud set. A 1981 special pit shows set in the country - the good ol' boys of The Dukes of Hazard and Dallas' rich oil drilling family - against the hard-working city-dwelling waitresses of It's a Living and the "movin' on up" Jeffersons. Even the Ewings and their wealth and dysfunction couldn't stop the Jeffersons on a roll. (And the Dukes group represented the later cast with the two "cousins" who came in when the Dukes left the show and were later replaced.) 

The very first special from 1978 pit four of the most popular shows of the time - Three's Company, The Love Boat, Soap, and Eight Is Enough - against each other. John Ritter managed to be adorably goofy, even while playing game shows, as he led his team to victory. Norman Fell returned in 1979 with the cast of his spin-off The Ropers, including a young Jeffery Tambor. They played a far more interesting Dukes of Hazard group that included Tom Wopat and Catherine Bach, the Depression-era family of The Waltons, and the cast of the short-lived sitcom Angie. Anyone who's seen Debralee Scott on Match Game knows she's terrific at game shows. She did so well on her second fast money game, Robert Hayes didn't even need to come out - she got it all in one go. 

Too bad there's still specials missing. It would be nice if they included the entire "Adventure Heroes and Heroines" and "Hollywood Walk of Fame" weeks - they did for the 50's Sitcom Reunion week. Wish they could have convinced Warners to let them use the Batman/Lost In Space episode. As mentioned, the final two "Battle of the Perfect 10s" shows aren't on the set, either. Other specials not included on the set include one that Love Boat crew members as captains with team members made up of actors who had guest-starred on the show and the 8th All Star Special with Benson, Angie, WKRP In Cincinnati, and Dallas. 

Honestly, if you love game shows like me, the sitcoms and shows playing each other, or remember when these were on the air, I still recommend the set for a blast from the past and some great play-along fun. 

Worked on writing around 4:30. Gene's eager to meet Richard and hopes he'll be able to help him lift the ratings. Richard does too...but he also gets the same type of power off Gene that he got off Charles. Here, however, it's a small burst of air from his hand, rather than water...

Broke to make dinner at 5:30, then watched Match Game '74. In the first episode, Gene jokes about sweet contestant Janet Finn wearing a checked vest very similar to his jacket. Patti Deustch and her equally strange comedy writer husband Donald Ross turn up in the second. Patti insists that she has nothing to do with the strange bright floral tie-and-shirt combos her spouse favors. 

Switched to F-Troop as I finished dinner. This spoof of western cliches has Captain Wilton Parameter (Ken Berry) being mistaken for a hero and sent to Fort Courage. This is pretty much the repository for any soldiers the army doesn't want. The Native tribe is friendly - in fact, they hate war. They'd rather make souvenirs for Corporal Agorn (Larry Storch) and O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) to sell illicitly. In the first episode, Parameter shows up as the "Scorge of the West," but when a genuinely nasty Native tribe attacks, it takes his reputation and some excellent shooting from Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson) to get rid of them. "One of Our Cannons is Missing" because Agorn and O'Rourke lent them to the Native tribe for their Moon Festival...but the moon hasn't risen yet. 

Finished the night on YouTube with Hero at Large, which is free there. Steve Nichols (John Ritter) would do anything to land an acting job. He takes what seems like a routine job when he poses as a superhero in costume to advertise the latest blockbuster. It becomes far more to him when he stops a robber from harming two elderly store-owners. They're so grateful, he decides to become a superhero for real. He even lets the mayor of New York hire him to win over votes for the upcoming election. Trouble is, now everyone thinks he's a fake, something created by the media. It takes an act of real heroism after his girlfriend Jolene (Anne Archer) encourages him to not give up to prove that anyone can be a superhero, if they have a truly heroic heart.

Strange little film lets Ritter go to town, looking ridiculously skinny in a goofy superhero costume. The story doesn't always make a lot of sense, and the moral about how anyone can be a hero is pounded home with all the force of Steve trying to show off. Still, it's an early attempt to show a normal person emulating the superhero life, and is worth checking out once if you're a fan of Ritter or the comedies of the early 80's. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Angels In the Rain

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast in bed. I debated it and debated it, but finally decided to go into work. I'd only be there for four hours wearing the boot, and other than picking up a few things, had no plans for afterwards. Called for Uber; the driver arrived in 7 minutes and was a cheerful gentleman who chatted with me about my injury and his own years ago.

I'm glad I only worked four hours today. It was a literal and figurative pain in the rear. Even wearing a boot, I had to push carts. And that was with the head bagger there. She kept going in for cashiers' breaks. Good thing we weren't that busy. We were so dead, I spent nearly 40 minutes doing returns before being called up to sweep the store. We're just that short on help, especially managers. Apparently, another manager is leaving, this time because she and her family are moving to South Carolina.

I originally planned on doing my grocery shopping tomorrow, but between my foot and the continuing bad weather, I figured I might as well get it done today. Those yummy "Candy Snaps" red grapes were on sale, and so were blood oranges. Had online coupons for buy one, get one 20 oz Pepsi (went with regular Zero Sugar) and their generic bags of fruit and nut mix. Found one that had combined dried cranberries with heart-healthy walnuts, almonds, and cashews. Grabbed a bag of pre-sliced veggies for a snack. 

By the time I got out, the rain that had been predicted all week had finally arrived. I'd be calling Uber, even if my foot was in good shape. The sweet lady arrived in 6 minutes...but didn't know the area well and turned onto the highway instead, almost taking us into Camden. She said she'd get me home and wouldn't charge me. She did get turned around pretty quickly after that, and was a doll to boot. Whether she charges me or not, I left her a stellar rating and a big tip. 

(We got home right on time. It started raining harder as she drove through Mt. Ephraim, and has poured off and on for the rest of the day.)

When I got in, I ran Doc McStuffins while changing and getting organized. Doc's ballerina doll Bella becomes a "Break Dancer" when she mistimes a leap and breaks her leg. She's upset that she won't be able to dance after Doc puts her in a cast, so the others, including big fan Lambie, find ways to keep her occupied. "Bubble Monkey" makes her initial appearance when she suddenly stops blowing bubbles while Doc, her friend Alma, and Alma's little sister Emmie bat them around. Doc teaches her friends and her toys about the importance of a balanced diet when she finds out just what Alma mistook for bubble solution.

Resumed working on my crocheting project during The Emperor Jones. I go further into this intense-but-troubled 1933 vehicle for charismatic African-American tenor Paul Robeson at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Switched to writing after the movie ended. Lee leads Richard around at a whirlwind pace, barely allowing him to catch his breath or ask her out again. She finally brings him to the dressing rooms to meet Gene, his co-host. The older man greets Richard warmly and admits that the show needs "a little something." 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Continued All-Star Family Feud while I ate. This time, it's a soap opera showdown as night-time comedy-dramas Soap and Eight Is Enough go up against popular daytime serials General Hospital and All My Children. Susan Lucci may have ruled daytime, but neither her group nor the Hospital crew (including a young Richard Dean Anderson) could hold a candle to the night shows. Eight once again took home the trophies. Richard seemed especially fond of 11-year-old Adam Rich of Eight, who may have reminded him of his own sons at that age. 

Finished the night after a shower on The Roku Channel with Charlie's Angels. In the two-part second season episode "Angels On Ice," the Angels are called to investigate when two figure skating stars suddenly disappear before the Ice Capades-style revue they star in. Kelly joins as a chorus skater. Kris discovers she's not so great on the ice and becomes a figure-skating clown. Meanwhile, Sabrina and Bosley start to get even more suspicious when other workers at the arena vanish too...and it all points to a bizarre attempt to assassinate visiting Arabian oil merchants. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

At-Home Feud

Got a late start this morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel Gets a Cold," just as his class is preparing to celebrate Prince Wednesday's birthday with strawberry shortcake. He's too sick to stay, no matter how much he wants to. His father assures him that, even if he has to miss the party, rest is still best to fight a cold. Likewise, when "Mom Tiger Gets Sick," her boys make her lunch and finish the invitations she was working on.

Finished the book The Bear and the Nightingale while listening to An Evening With Lerner & Loewe, the LP set I picked up from Phidelity Records a few months ago. This is a collection of songs from the four major projects by the songwriting team at that point, My Fair Lady, Paint Your Wagon, Gigi, and Brigadoon. Fair Lady is probably the best of them. Phil Harris doesn't remotely attempt to sound Cockney, but he's having so much fun with "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me To the Church On Time," it scarcely matters. Jane Powell's Cockney on "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" isn't so hot either, but she does do a fine, fiery "Show Me." I also liked Jan Peerce's stunning "On the Street Where You Live." 

Tenor Robert Merrill shares my favorite song from Brigadoon with Powell, "Almost Like Being In Love." Harris' dicey French accent does "I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore" and "Thank Heavens for Little Girls" no favors. Powell and Robert Merrill have a disappointingly bland "I Remember It Well"; Merrill does far better on his own with "Gigi" and also gets a powerful "They Call the Wind Mariah." Powell's best solo is "Say a Prayer For Me Tonight." 

Went online for a while, but I couldn't concentrate. I finally broke for dinner at 6:30. Thought I'd try something I hadn't done in ages. Eating on the end table I got from the Manor Avenue apartment has really scratched up the finish. I thought I'd try making smaller place mats for it. The ones I currently have are not only too big for it and meant for a larger table, but they're in storage with the rest of my kitchen items. I tried to make a round place mat for spring with a cotton pastel yarn I have...but first I couldn't find the yarn, then I couldn't figure out how to make it lay flat. It was past dinner when I finally realized you have to chain into the sides, not the top rows. 

Finished the night with All-Star Family Feud. The original Richard Dawson Feud did a series of hour-long prime time specials from 1978 to 1984 featuring celebrities instead of the usual families. They mostly featured actors from popular sitcoms and dramas of the time (or in one case, popular daytime and nighttime soap operas). I finished out Disc 2 with the most unique roster, "Heroes and Villains." Feud had an odd idea of what constituted a hero and a villain. Joan Collins, Leonard Frey, and Henry Silva were certainly known for playing bad, and Paul Smith just came off well-received bad guys in Popeye and Midnight Express...but who in the heck put Marion Ross and Jon Bauman in with the Heroes, the latter in "Bowser" mode? And how did Norman Fell get in with the villains? At any rate, Fry and Collins' group trounced all comers, including the first Hero roster. 

"Battle of the Perfect 10's" placed a man in charge of a group of gorgeous ladies and a woman as the captain of hot guys (or cute kids, in the case of Ricky Schroeder on Debra Sue Moffat's team). Wilt Chamberlain and his beauties went up against Debra Sue Moffat and her boys, while Phyllis Diller led beloved sitcom and soap opera actors against Richard Simmons' former Miss Americas and models. Debra and her gentlemen won the first game hands down; Richard and his models got the second.

Most of the sitcom battles were a tad more generic. Ironically, the show I knew the least about did the best. I don't remember watching Family as a kid. It's one of only two shows listed I never saw, even in re-runs. I don't remember Hawaiian Eye, either. The Family that plays together, wins together. They steamrolled the competition, including the high schoolers and their teachers from Welcome Back Kotter, the crew of The Love Boat, and another big family show, Eight Is Enough. Hawaiian Eye had no luck with the castaways of Gilligan's Island. Dallas was the other major winner...and they had the funniest opening when the cast was seen holding up Larry Hagman before unceremoniously dumping him on the floor! 

(And I'm disappointed they don't include all of the specials, or at least all the ones they can find. The "Beasts Vs Beauties" episode is currently the only one missing. I suspect rights issues may have kept the second half of the Hawaiian Eye/Gilligan's Island show, which pits the casts of Batman and Lost In Space against each other, off the set...but there were two more "Battle of the Perfect 10" specials after that, including one with Betty White and Bert Convy leading teams that are on YouTube.) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Home-Bound Valentine

Began a sunny Valentine's Day with the Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology. They only have one story for the holiday, but it's the lovely The Valentine Box by Maud Hart Lovelace. Janice is new in town and thinks she won't get any valentines at her class party. She learns that the best way to make a friend is to be a friend when she helps popular girl Margaret retrieve her valentines after they've blown away, and Margaret helps her find hers when she accidentally leaves them outside. 

After writing in my journal, I finally had breakfast while watching Match Game '75. They're down to the end of the year as the panel celebrated Christmas Eve with attempting to figure out "G.I ___" in the Audience Match, Brett insulting Charles for supposedly sleeping through the proceedings, and everyone singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in the finale. (Also in the finale, for some reason, Brett is hugging Gene so hard, she nearly knocked him over!) The second episode introduces Richard's then-girlfriend Jody Donovan, has Gene admiring the contestant's rainbow bolo tie, and Richard not too happy with Gene's attempt to kiss the "new kid on the block" he happens to be dating!

Called Mom during the show. She was preparing to take Keefe and Julia's two frisky dogs for a walk. She was delighted I sent her a separate Valentine's card. She's been bored, stuck in the house with few places to go. She's apparently waiting to get her library card, so she can take out all the books she pleases. They're going to make a nice dinner for Valentine's Day. Oh, and she says little Aurora is growing like a weed and is so smart! She takes in everything, and is almost ready to start solid foods. 

Honored the holiday by letting Tattletales run. Never knew Rue McClanahan did this show, here with one of her five husbands, Gus. They were joined by two more familiar couples, Ron Glass and future TV villianess Joan Collins and goofy Dick Gautier and his sarcastic then-wife Barbara Stuart. The second episode brought back songwriter Sammy Cahn and his smart and funny wife Tita, Hal "Barnaby Miller" Linen and his sweet wife Fran, and Scoey Mitchilll and his sensible wife Claire.

Switched to Sepia Cinderella while I ate lunch and rested my foot. I go further into this charming "race musical" romance from 1947 at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Read The Bear and the Nightingale in bed for a while, since I didn't get to it this morning, then went online for a while to do some writing. Lee is not impressed with Richard's flirting or his name-dropping. She's even less thrilled when Gene tries to make a pass at her after she introduces Richard to him. Richard can sense that there's something unusual about Gene through the ham, though...

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Ate while watching Valentine's Day specials. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown is an earlier and slightly darker take on the Peanuts romances. Linus is smitten with his teacher Miss Othmar and buys her a huge box of candy that Sally thinks is for her. Lucy destroys Schroder's piano when he's not listening to her ranting about him not getting her a valentine and dodges Snoopy's messy "pawpet" show. Violet wonders what one gives to a male teacher, while Charlie Brown is waiting (and waiting) for someone to give him a valentine, any valentine.

The Pink Panther has an even messier holiday in Pink at First Sight. He wants to buy candy to attract a female panther, but has no money. When a singing delivery boy accidentally leaves a Valentine's gift at his house, returning it inspires him to become a singing delivery boy too. After he's chased by a jealous husband, an angry father, and a group of gangsters to whom he inadvertently delivered a bomb, he's about ready to give up on love...but he finally gets a nice surprise in the end.

Oh, and I got a valentine gift, too. A friend of mine gave me a heart-shaped box of Mars miniatures, and a friend of hers gave me three soft pretzels. Yum! I'd rather have soft pretzels and Snickers than chocolates with too-sweet centers anyway. 

Finished the night on YouTube with more vintage Valentine's Day specials. The Popeye Valentine's Day Special: Sweethearts at Sea has Olive furious that Popeye forgot her on the holiday. She takes a "swingin' single cruise" to forget him. Bluto tags along, hoping to finally curry her favor. Popeye follows...but so does the Sea Hag from the comics, who has her eye on Popeye. When Bluto shakes out all of Popeye's spinach, he'll have to figure out how to impress Olive and duck away from the Sea Hag's advances without it.

Disney did two Valentine's Day specials with the DTV moniker, of which Disney's DTV Valentine is the first and longer. DTV was The Disney Channel's attempt to cash in on the music video craze of the 1980's. They created videos based around segments from various Disney media. The music they used was pretty varied, too, from jazz standards to rock to Disney songs. Here, we get the original "The Shoop-Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" by Betty Everett, "Hello" by Lionel Richie, "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder, "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News, "You Give Good Love" by Whitney Houston, and "There Must Be an Angel" by the Eurythmics, along with "Once Upon a Dream" from Sleeping Beauty and "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Snow White. My favorite segment was Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear," set to snippets from cartoons featuring Disney bears like Humphrey, Baloo, and Bongo. 

And here's hoping you had a wonderful Valentine's Day with your favorite teddy bear!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Foolish Heart

Started off with a late breakfast and Match Game '75. I came just in time for Gene to announce a new contestant...a gentleman who happened to own a motel in Encino, California, the very town Brett and Gene are always joking about having trysts in. Rather amusingly, he went on to win in the next episode. The others got to help him with "Line __" in the Audience Match.

Headed out for a walk around quarter after 1. The weather continues to be too nice for hanging around inside. It was sunny, breezy, and nearly in the 60's when I strolled along to Dollar General. No wonder they weren't terribly busy. I just grabbed a pack of Suave soap (6 for a dollar!) and two boxes of Dollar General's generic grape and strawberry-watermelon electrolyte drink mixes.

The Dunkin' Donuts on the White Horse Pike finally reopened last week. While the exterior was remodeled into the modern, blocky look a few years ago, the interior remained largely the same. Now, they finally cleaned up the interior, pulling the donuts from the back and putting them in a case that was right out front. The chairs and tables have a Formica retro look, with the smaller ones being rounded and cushy. Most donuts are too sweet for me, though. I went with a Vanilla Bean Coolatta instead. It took a bit of time. There was a long line at the drive-through window wanting to get Dunkin's coffee again after having to wait two weeks.

After the poor, harried lady finally got it to me, I took my sweet, cool treat down East Clinton and the stone stairs into Newton Lake Park. Thanks to the ridiculous spring-like weather we've had, I'm already seeing the first yellow crocus in gardens and green grass waving in the breeze in the park. There was even a guy going fishing. I dodged other people out for walks and the muddy dirt path behind the houses on Beachwood. Instead of going all the way, I followed another path up a hill, past a large stone Tudor house and a few other older houses, enjoying the stroll and the view.

When I got home, I looked over a Valentine's Day card from my mom and watched Bugs Bunny's Cupid Capers during lunch. This Looney Tunes compilation special has an Elmer Fudd-like Cupid spreading love among the Toons, despite Bugs insisting he's medling. Bugs falls for the mechanical rabbit being chased in a greyhound race, helps Granny get a gold-digging Yosemite Sam off her back, dodges an overweight and over-eager Eastern European female rabbit, and finds a mate for the Tasmanian Devil. Detective Daffy tries to figure out why a gorgeous dame claims she's guilty when she isn't, while Pepe Le Pew plays sheik for a beautiful black cat at a Foreign Legion fort. 

Took my laundry down to the basement after lunch...and that was when the trouble started. I missed the last step, turned my ankle, and found myself wailing on top of a pile of spilled laundry. Good thing I did land on the laundry - the floor is concrete. I managed to get it all in the washer and myself back upstairs, but my ankle hurt and was swollen. (Oh, and I did get the laundry done, though someone else had to bring it back upstairs.)

I went online to do some writing and try to figure out what to do about my ankle. Revised it to be Lee Merriweather as the reporter again. She's indifferent to Richard's attempts at flirting. She'd rather dump him on Gene Rayburn, who is getting ready for a meeting about the next day's show...

By 6:30, there was no denying it. The ankle was badly swollen, and though I could walk on it, I was limping and it was really sore. A friend who was running errands anyway took me to Cooper Urgent Care in Audubon to have it checked out. 

Checking in proved to be quick and easy. I'd been there at least twice before, when I broke my elbow in May 2020 and overextended my right thumb in May 2018. I did have to wait for a few people in the waiting room before me, but it only took about ten minutes before they came for me.

I was very upset by the time they took my blood pressure. I can't believe I did this. I'll never be able to make that appointment to talk to Karen about finding a job now. And if I can't find a job, I'll never be able to make enough money to buy an apartment or condo. I need to get back on my own. I don't feel like a real adult. I feel like a spoiled child who isn't good enough to own a home or do anything that real adults do. 

Another lady came in and checked my foot, then lead me down to another room two doors down. I sat on a bench, and they scanned my ankle with the x-ray. It all took less than 10 minutes before I was back in the check-up room.

Another doctor came to give me the verdict. Oddly, though they suspected there might be a chip, as of right now, it doesn't look like there's a fracture. The bone is smooth and not jagged. It's still sore and swollen, though, so I have to wear a boot and take two days off of work. (To be honest, I really didn't want to work 8 1/2 hours on Wednesday anyway.) I also have very high blood pressure and need to do something about that, though I wonder if some of that might be stress from the last few years. 

Soon as I got home, I went upstairs and put my ankle on ice. Had dinner, then spent the rest of the night watching relationship and dating game shows on YouTube. By far the best known of these are The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game. These brainchildren from the titillating mind of Chuck Barris were designed for maximum randiness at a time when the networks were just starting to push the boundaries of good taste. Dating Game had bachelors and bachelorettes choosing from three potential dates; Newlywed Game let four just-married couples answer questions on their relationships. 

They became the templates for almost every dating and relationship show that came after them. The biggest hit among these imitators was Love Connection, which ran from 1983 to 1994 in syndication. Chuck Woolery lets a woman or a man select a date from three potential suitors. Unlike with Dating Game, we do get to hear all the details of their date, whether it worked out or not. If it didn't work out, they can choose from among the also-rans. Honestly...I found this show to be a colossal bore as a kid, and it still doesn't interest me much today. The interview portions leave me cold, with all the fussing over what went well and what didn't. 

Dating shows go back further than most people realize. The template for Dating Game would be Blind Date. This started out on radio in 1942 and was one of the earliest game shows to hit television in 1949. It also made history, with Arlene Francis being one of the first female hosts of a game show. Three young college gentlemen talk into a phone and answer questions from three young ladies. Honestly kind of cute, especially the odd skits midway through.

Tattletales revised an earlier show, He Said, She Said. Same deal as The Newlywed Game, but this time, celebrity couples played for the audience members. My interest in this show depends heavily on the couples playing. This episode from 1976 had Clifton Davies and his darling wife Lorraine, Richard Dawson and his then-girlfriend Jody, and William Christopher and his very funny wife Barbara. Richard and Jodie and William and Barbara were the big winners here.

Even ultra-hip MTV got into dating shows in the late 90's with Singled Out. This time, one guy or girl has to narrow down a potential date from a field of 50 would-be suitors. When they've whittled it down to three hopeful canidates, the three answer questions about what they want in a lover, and the guy or gal holds up signs to answer it. Jennifer McCarthy and Chris Hardwick pumps up the crowd and keeps the wacky proceedings moving. 

Romance shows came from abroad, too. Ross Schafer cut his game show teeth on Love Me, Love Me Not, an American adaptation of an Italian dating show from 1986. The champ listened to a panel read true or false statements about love and romance. If they guessed correctly, they "captured" the panelist. If they guessed incorrectly, the panelist got $100. In the second round, they took turns choosing questions from panelists they didn't own and tried to steal the other contestant's panelist. The bonus round had them guessing answers to love-related questions while going around a giant orange "daisy." Getting all the way around netted them a car.

Unique among dating and relationship shows in that it focuses on trivia, not relationships or mating. No one talks about their relationships or goes out on a date here. Too bad the game is way too complicated, and the Daisy Chase finale is kind of silly. 

Change of Heart debuted in the late 90's, just as "reality" shows and talk shows revolving around troubled relationships were starting to pick up steam on American television. Here, the couples are already established, but having problems. They date other people, and see if they want to stay together, or remain with their new mates. Ho hum. Despite being a five-year syndicated hit, I found this to be an annoying snore. It's a little too Jerry Springer for me, with all these people screaming over their bad habits and fussing that their mates aren't good enough. 

Match Game was more fun when married or dating couples played on the show. Jody and Richard actually did turn up together in a week in late '75. Jack Klugman and his wife Brett Somers initially appeared together during two weeks in 1973. They didn't do a week together again until 1978, by which time they'd divorced. No matter. They were still hilarious together, enough for Charles to insist they sit next to each other on the last day of the week and the others to hold a mock "wedding" for them. 

Spend your Valentine's Day enjoying these games with your own favorite love connection!

And here's more vintage Valentine's Day specials on the funny side of love for your enjoyment!

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Super Shower Bowl

Got a late start this morning. I did manage to grab breakfast and do some reading before heading out. At least this morning, it was a decent day, chilly, cloudy, and windy, but not really out of line with the time of year.

Needless to say, we were mobbed when I got in, with lines down the aisles. And that was with most of the registers and all of the self-checkout lines open. Everyone probably got off work early for the Super Bowl and to get ready for Valentine's Day parties. Thankfully, once everyone got to their parties, it cleared out. By 3 PM, we were off-and-on steady, but nothing like it was before. They even had hot roast beef and provolone sandwiches in the back for us. It was so dead by 5:30, I was able to shut down and return a few cold items with no one the wiser. 

The Super Bowl wasn't the only reason the crowds thinned by dinner time. It started raining sometime later in the afternoon. Though the rain did lessen as I hurried home, it never quite stopped. I rushed inside damp, traded my lunch bag for the bag with the cookies and Valentine's cards and gifts for Rose's family, and rushed out. 

There were a lot more people at Rose's little party than I figured on. In addition to her husband Craig, his parents, and their kids Finley and Khai, Craig's brother, his girlfriend, and their four-month-old son were down from Maine. The baby boy was so little and cute! He's very alert for his age and spent most of the night looking around at everyone curiously. 

Rose had a huge spread out. I saw a vegetable tray and a fruit tray. Finley and I shared shrimp, and Mr. and Mrs. Wurster brought a huge tray of hot dogs wrapped in pretzels. Rose made popcorn with white and green candy coating, and there were bowls of potato chips and tortilla chips. Craig, who works at a fancy Italian restaurant in Haddon Heights, cooked up barbecue ribs and lasagna noodles with cheese for dinner. 

We had dessert during halftime. As R&B star Rhianna performed her greatest hits in flaming red on a floating platform, Rose brought Craig a chocolate fudge cherry cake from Desserts by Design. His birthday was last month, but apparently they hadn't gotten to the cake until now. His late birthday present was a box of chocolate-covered cherries the size of your average bedroom. That cake was very tasty - and very thick and fudgy! My strawberry-white chocolate chip cookies joined brownies and Rice Krispie Treats made in the shape of footballs. 

I spent most of the time on the couch, with Oreo the black and white mixed retriever cuddled up next to me. Apparently, he likes cuddling. He certainly kept me company. The game ended up being really, really good. The Eagles would get a touchdown, and the Chiefs would run right back and get another one. The Eagles were up 21-14 at halftime after I finally left.

I took a quick shower when I got in, then hurried upstairs to watch the Match Game Classics marathon (married couples were the theme tonight) and finish the game. It remained a nail-biter, with the two tied 38-35 by the last 5 minutes. Alas, the Chiefs kicked one last field goal to push them ahead and win 38-35.