Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Monday, February 28, 2005
Monday Madness

1. What time is it right now?

Eight bloody o'clock in the morning. (The other day I watched the M*A*S*H episode that has my favorite quote in it: "No wonder they shoot people at sunrise. Who wants to live at six in the morning?")

2. What are you usually doing at this time on any given day?

If I'm home, I'm sleeping. Otherwise I'm wrestling with a purchase order.

3. Is there a day of the week that time seems to fly by faster than the other days?

Anytime I'm not doing a purchase order. (Unless I'm at the doctor.)

4. If you could make ONE hour of each day twice as long, which hour of the day would you choose?

Oh, after James gets home on weeknights. (That's about seven, but it's variable because he has to stay late if he's on a call.)

5. If you could make one DAY of the week twice as long, which day would you choose?

Saturday, of course.

6. If you could make one hour and/or one day HALF as long, which time of the day, and which day of the week would you choose?

Tuesday, the longest day of the week. (Most people say Monday. Monday actually goes by fairly quickly most of the time. I'm rested from the weekend, even though I sleep badly on Sunday nights, and there are things to get caught up on. But Tuesdays! Tuesdays are like leftovers.)

7. Do you agree with the following statement? "The older you get, the faster time goes by."

Oh, yeah. I wasn't done with 2004 when it was over. Or 2003 or years previous, for that matter.

8. What do you usually do during your "down time?"

Read or work on my web pages or watch the idiot box (usually with a book in my hand) or play with Pidgie.

9. What one thing do you spend more time doing each day than anything else?

Staring at a computer screen under lights bright enough to burn my eyeballs out.

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» Sunday, February 27, 2005
DVD Transfer Diary
It's Christmas!

The Waltons: "The Best Christmas"
Voyagers!: "Merry Christmas, Bogg"
Rankin-Bass' 'Twas the Night Before Christmas"
Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory (the original with Geraldine Page)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
A Very Merry Cricket (sequel to The Cricket in Times Sqaure)
Christmas Past (London Weekend Television documentary on the history of Christmas in Great Britain)
Christmas Unwrapped (History Channel presentation)
TV Guide Looks at Christmas

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Your Brain is 66.67% Female, 33.33% Male
Your brain leans female

You think with your heart, not your head

Sweet and considerate, you are a giver

But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!

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» Saturday, February 26, 2005
Turbo-ing My Way to Taxing Subjects
While James was at the IPMS meeting this afternoon, I did our taxes. It went so smoothly I'm still wondering what went wrong. The interface has improved again and they don't ask so many weird questions. (Capital gains? I wouldn't know a capital gain if it hit me in the face.) The only problem I had was downloading updates. It would download and then when it went to install it locked up TurboTax. I had to reboot and do the download and install right afterwards. I guess the moment you ran the program it used up enough memory so that there wasn't any when it came time to do the restart and install.

So we have a refund. Of course it will immediately go for our home warranty policy and our termite service. Oh, well, easy come, easy go.

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DVD Transfer Diary
Disney's The Horse Without a Head based on the book One Hundred Million Francs by Paul Berna: five poor children have only one plaything, a wheeled hobbyhorse they ride through the streets of their French village. They run afoul of train robbers. One of the kids is Disney regular Vincent Winter (also in Almost Angels and Three Lives of Thomasina). The other is Pamela Franklin. If you ever saw this film, you'd remember it simply from Franklin's character, Marion, who has befriended or helped all the dogs in the area and they come to her whistle whenever she needs help. The "chief of police," Inspector Sinet, is played by Jean-Pierre Aumont and character actor Leo McKern is the dishonest peddler, Roublot.

Also Disney's featurette "The Horse With the Flying Tail," about equestrian champion Nautical (formerly a New Mexico cow pony) and his rider Hugh Wiley.

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» Friday, February 25, 2005
Anniversary
A sad one...it's two years ago today that Dana Sherman passed away after the birth of her son. I still see books and other retro things and think "I wish I could tell Dana about that."

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DVD Transfer Diary
Kilroy finished, as well as Isn't It Shocking? and My Mother Was Never a Kid. Shocking is a quirky little TV that originally appeared on the ABC Movie of the Week...anyone remember that little jewel? Original films made for television, most of them forgettable, like Seven in Darkness and But I Don't Want to Get Married with Herschel Bernardi. However, the most famous entry was Steven Spielberg's Duel.

Isn't It Shocking? stars early M*A*S*H era Alan Alda as Daniel Barnes, the sheriff of the small New England town of Mount Angel (pop. 1325), where elderly citizens start dying at an alarming rate. Barnes' offbeat secretary is played by Louise Lasser complete with her Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman hairdo, and the inimitable Ruth Gordon plays Marge Savage, the crazy lady who lives out in the woods in a crumbling house full of cats. This was filmed in a real small town called Mount Angel, except it was in Oregon.

My Mother Was Never a Kid could be subtitled at my end "the only ABC Afterschool Special I ever enjoyed." Fourteen year old Victoria drives her mom crazy and can't believe, from the way her mom talks, that she was ever anything but a perfect adult. Then she gets clonked on the head on the subway and wakes up in World War II--and coincidentally the girl she asks for help turns out to be Cici, her mom as a fourteen year old. Funny story, and the WWII setting a plus. Cici is played by Rachel Longaker, who at that time was appearing as Aimee Godsey on The Waltons.

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Tell It to the Marine
I first remember watching a Walt Disney television series back when it was called Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color with the "World of Color" theme by the Sherman Brothers. The show presented something different each week: there might be a multipart presentation of a Disney film like Almost Angels or The Three Lives of Thomasina. Or there might be something from the park like "Disneyland After Dark." My usual favorites would be the night they had an animal story: ones about horses ("Run, Appaloosa, Run!" or "The Horse with the Flying Tail") or dogs ("Little Shepherd Dog of Catalina" or "The Wetback Hound") or wild critters ("Run, Light Buck, Run" about a pronghorn or "Flash the Teenage Otter").

But the two things I remember most about the World of Color were Gallegher and Kilroy.

Gallegher I believe I've spoken about here; you can wander over to my Gallegher web page for all the Gallegher that's fit to print.

Kilroy didn't have quite the exposure that Gallegher did—it had only four episodes to Gallegher's twelve. But I loved him just the same, even if even fewer people remembered him.

Warren Berlinger played Oscar Kilroy, a Brooklyn-born ex-Marine who, after his discharge, visits the little Midwestern town of Wilton Junction. His bunkmate Greg Fuller has told him so many tales about the place that he wanted to visit—and tell Greg's family that their son was okay. The Fullers—mom, dad, son Billy (played by Kurt Russell's little brother Bryan), and daughter Gladys—become Kilroy's surrogate family (he has none; while talking to the family he gracefully skirts the fact that he grew up in orphanages and foster homes). Of course this being a Disney comedy, there's the usual requisite slapstick, especially in the final two parts where Oscar gets a job with animal control and brings home an Irish Wolfhound named "Junior."

There aren't many reviews about Kilroy, and most of them aren't fully complimentary. Certainly it has "no redeeming social value" and parts can be rather corny. But I like it. It's warm and friendly and doesn't lambast the viewer over the head with a moral like the predigested pap they make today.

The one thing I always object to in these reviews—and other reviews of these home-town stories, Disney or otherwise, are the snide remarks about "perfect small towns" where people are friendly and everyone knows each other and how such places don't exist in real life. All right, certainly Disney communities of that era were totally "white bread" and didn't represent all ethnic groups; I know it always irritated me back then when an Italian character appeared he was always stereotyped.

But those small towns do and did exist...and they didn't even have to be small. As Clancy Strock says at the end of all his Reminisce editorials, "I know...I was there." We knew all the neighbors by name (or most of them), when one of us went on vacation, the other ones watched the house for them, we did errands for each other. Our mothers kept an eye on everyone's kids...which was good because we always had a safety net, but bad if we wanted to be naughty! Maybe it didn't have a town square and a pompous old mayor, but we did have the friendly milkman, and a bread man, and the oil delivery man who knew everyone (he certainly knew us; he was my godfather!). We had neighborhood stores where we called the proprietors by their first names and the neighborhood bakery (doughnuts were 8¢ each and hermits were a nickel).

All gone now; in the same place kids steal cars from peoples' driveways for joyrides. So forgive me for retreating to Kilroy and remembering a time when times were better.

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» Thursday, February 24, 2005
Botheration...
...just heard from my mom--the one night I don't call her first she needs me to call.

Someone swiped her car out of the driveway last night.* They tried to get the car from the house next door first; it wouldn't start and hers was parked out front (she comes out the front door these days rather than the back because it's easier). They broke a window and apparently ran it over some curbs as there seems to be both front and rear suspension damage. Probably teenagers joyriding, the cop told her when they found it--the radio was turned up as high as it could go.

So she's been saving her money for new teeth and now she probably needs another car.

And what bothers me more than the car is that these idiots could have been looking for a house to rob.

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* Do you know how damn ironic and infuriating this is? Our neighborhood used to be so safe that in the summertime we went to bed with the doors wide open to catch the breeze. When I was a kid we never even bothered to lock the doors if we went next door or even down the block to the superette for milk.

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DVD Transfer Diary
Tonight: The Story of Lassie and Lassie Unleashed, both broadcast in 1994 for the 40th anniversary of the series.

June Lockhart always has great fun telling a story about one episode called "The Big Cat." Quick synopsis: the family has gone ahead to help set up at the Grange supper. Ruth follows with the ribs she's cooked. Car gets flat tire; when she gets spare out of trunk it rolls away. Cut to earlier scene: ranger arrives at Martin house, tells Ruth he has planted traps to get a cougar attacking farm animals. He gives her a C-clamp to release the traps should any of their farm animals get caught in it. It falls to the floor, Lassie picks it up. Ruth puts it on the counter.

Back to story: You guessed it, Ruth is caught in one of the cougar traps. Back at the house, Lassie senses something is wrong, jumps out window (the Martins spent a fortune getting replacement panes of glass), finds Ruth. On the chance Lassie will get it, Ruth tells her to "get the C-clamp on the counter." Lassie runs off, comes back with the cheese slicer. "C-clamp," Ruth repeats. "You picked it up. On the counter."

This time Lassie gets back with the C-clamp, Ruth frees herself, and just in the nick of time since the cougar attacks her. Smart lady, knowing there was possible danger, she toted a shotgun with her. She keeps the animal from hurting Lassie or herself.

Anyway, Ms. Lockhart always goes on about the absurdity of telling Lassie to get the C-clamp. I haven't figured out what is so absurd about it. First, smart dogs understand many words. I am constantly astonished at Willow's vocabulary. I'm sure this dog understands at least 30 words. If we wanted to teach her "counter," we could. Charles Schultz of "Peanuts" fame owned a beagle named Sparky who was the inspiration for Snoopy. He says you could tell Sparky to "go down in the cellar and get a potato," and the dog knew both cellar and potato and could do it. So all Lassie had to do was get something on the counter. After all, she mistakenly fetches the cheese slicer first.

Secondly, there is an exercise in obedience classes where a dog has to fetch one dumbbell out of six that has been recently touched by his handler. It is a standard exercise which is passed by hundreds of dogs out for their U.D. (Utility Dog) degree every year (they also have to distinguish between a plastic, wooden, and metal dumbbell on command and bring the correct one back). So if Lassie knows what "counter" is, it is probably pretty simple for her to reach up on the counter to find some object that was recently handled. She may not recognize it as a C-clamp, but she knows Ruth handled it earlier from the scent. So there's nothing really "absurd" about it at all.

(On the other hand, I agree with June Lockhart about the episode about the new refrigerator. That was just silly.)

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Happy Birthday to...
...Rupert Holmes!

Check out the new web series Art in Heaven created and written by Rupert and starring Kevin O'Rourke and Christopher Murney from Remember WENN.

Rupert's latest novel, Swing, a mystery taking place in 1940s San Francisco, will be released on March 15.

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DVD Transfer Diary
Last night I popped "Secrets of the Wild Parakeet" at the end of the DVD with "Ballad of the Irish Horse" and "Those Wonderful Dogs." Still can't watch the scenes where a snake eats the baby budgie and an eagle eats an adult bird. (Know it happens and don't begrudge the predators; just don't want to look...)

I also transferred off The Thanksgiving Treasure. Wish Disney Channel had shown the uncut copy; there's an entire line bleeped out because James Mills says the word "damn" --it's not much of a loss, but the cut is abrupt and I hate it. In House Without a Christmas Tree, there is also a "damn" used, but they just bleeped it instead of cutting the entire sentence. (But, boy, it makes you appreciate the old Disney Channel--no interruptions, no logos, no pop-ups, no "Toon Disney" twaddle.)

It's taking more time to do these things because (1) I have a lot of things scattered--all my Ronn Lucas material, for example, was on ten different tapes and (2) I'm trying to stick to themes (which is a bit silly, since I'm not doing that with the movies I'm recording "live"--I put Lili with Five Weeks in a Balloon, for instance). I had 45 minutes after finishing Treasure, so popped on the only other fall-themed story I had, the For Better or For Worse Halloween story, "The Good for Nothing."

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Thursday Threesome

::Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men::
"The current book on my nightstand is The Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men (every man I love is either married, gay or dead) I thought we'd have a little fun..."
Onesome: Sweet Potato-- Sweet potatoes always remind me of thanksgiving which brings me to food...what is your all time favorite holiday food that you wish you'd get a chance to eat at other times?

Wine biscuits. Of course I could make them any time. My mom and aunts also made them for Easter as well as Christmas. But then it wouldn't be a treat anymore.

Twosome: Queens'-- do you follow what Prince Charles and others are up to? What do you think about the Queen not going to the wedding?

Not really. The Royals don't interest me all that much; they're just people that have a title slapped on them. As far as I'm concerned, Charles should have married her long ago rather than ruining Diana Spencer's life with a sham marriage. Maybe people put up with that nonsense 100 years ago, but it's stupid these days. And sure, Diana might have been just as unhappy if she didn't marry Charles. But being stuck in a loveless marriage certainly didn't help any.

Threesome: Field Guide to Men-- when it comes to the opposite sex, do you feel you have a grasp on 'em - or do they continue to just surprise you?

I don't think I'll ever understand men as long as I live. The one thing I've never been able to get: why a man will just keep avoiding some really obvious piece of trash on the floor--let's say a fallen napkin, or one of those dopey little condiment packages--instead of picking it up--and then when you say "Can't you grab that?" they respond "Grab what?" It doesn't bother them that it's in the middle of the floor. Totally bizarre. (And don't get me started about replacing the toilet paper roll... [wry grin])

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» Wednesday, February 23, 2005
And Then There Was One
A long television journey will end next week: it's the final episode of NYPD Blue.

There are probably people around who don't remember the furor that surrounded the premiere of this show. Several local stations blacked it out because it featured "salty" talk and at least one obscene gesture (which, oddly, was okay when Michael Jackson and Madonna did it). It became praised--and panned--for its frank portrayal of police work and street criminals.

A year later it made news again when star David Caruso wanted to quit to go make movies (a career move that later backfired). From all reports, Caruso was a prima donna and a pain in the neck on set and no one was sad to see him go, although many fans (myself included) still liked the character of John Kelly. Caruso was replaced by Jimmy Smits, whose Bobby Simone character lasted several years and who finally died onscreen in what was a very emotional episode.

I was probably one of three people on the planet who never cared for the Simone character and quite enjoyed it when "little Ricky" Schroeder replaced Smits. The former child star now had some good credits under his belt, including a role in Lonesome Dove. I enjoyed Schroeder and was upset when they killed Danny Sorenson, although by then he had turned into a bundle of neuroses who annoyed some viewers. Schroeder was replaced by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who did a great job as John Clark Jr.

The lynchpin, of course, in the NYPD Blue was the alcoholic, bad-tempered, politically uncorrect Andy Sipowicz. For someone who began as so unloveable, Andy--due to Dennis Franz' strong portrayal--not only changed his life, but became the favorite. Twelve years later Andy is still no saint, but he's a sterling example of someone who's turned his life around and made himself better-loved in the process.

Can't walk away from any chat about Blue without mentioning my two favorite supporting actors: Gordon Clapp as the earnest but never quite on-the-ball Greg Medavoy--who appears to have gotten the happy ending this sweet character deserved--and Bill Brochtrup as PAA John Irvin. Other kudos: Esai Morales as Lt. Rodriguez, who was quite easy on the eye as well as being a great addition to the cast; Andrea Thompson's Jill Kirkendall, whose character deteriorated near the end but in her time was a fine, tough cop; and Henry Simmons as Baldwin Jones, who proved the right combo of tough and tender (and who I must admit was also easy on the eye!).

For superior Blue on the web, skip ABC's site and go directly to Alan Sepinwall's site. There's also NYPDBlue.org.

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» Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Two More Ticked Off
Not much time to dub on weeknights, especially on Tuesday when we have {gasp!} programs we watch. Traffic so wretched that it took me 65 minutes to get home, so I changed my plans a bit and did two of the National Geographic Specials, "Ballad of the Irish Horse" (very famous for its soundtrack by the Chieftains) and "Those Wonderful Dogs." Next up, my favorite NGS, "In the Shadow of Vesuvius."

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» Monday, February 21, 2005
A Presidential Holiday...
...with Christmas overtones (among the thunderstorms) in Holiday Harbour.

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Good News
By the way, re this February 6 post about UltimateDisney.com's forums--they are back up. They managed to retrieve most of the unhacked material from backups. Both e-mails I received, the polite and the nasty, were spoofs. And they traced the miscreant to a particular university.

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Dub-grims's Progress
(I formally slap myself with a trout for that title.)

Got all my Ronn Lucas stuff together yesterday--except for the Merv Griffin Show appearance, which again was not entered into my index properly--and transferred it all to DVD except for Who's in Charge Here? from the Disney Channel (just in case I find that Griffin bit somewhere). If you've never seen Ronn Lucas, "the Voice Wizard," in performance, and you get a chance--definitely do it. He is utterly hilarious.

Check out Ronn's official site and, even better, Ronn's fan site to learn more about him.

Last night I was able to do two of the three parts of America: The Way We Were--The Homefront. This was a Reader's Digest presentation from the late 1980s and comes off very much like a video scrapbook of World War II. It's of further interest because it tells you something about pre-war lifestyles as well.

Right now I'm trying to get a good copy of The Gathering, the Ed Asner/Maureen Stapleton Christmas movie from 1977. Why on earth this movie is not out on DVD--even a cheap DVD with no extras on it--is someplace beyond my ken entirely. It won all sorts of awards, including, I believe, a George Foster Peabody Award, and is everything a Christmas movie should be without being a morass of sticky sentiment. I've had to start a second copy because the tracking went off on the first; it was still viewable, but if I'm gonna do these things, I need to do them right. Of course that means I won't be able to do much else this afternoon, but--

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» Sunday, February 20, 2005
New Trucks for Old
So we went out yesterday and bought a new Tacoma.

2005 black Tacoma pickup

Yeah, James didn't really want black because it shows dirt so badly--but it was the only automatic on the lot and we had already looked on the Atlanta-area Toyota websites and everyone had manual transmissions. They had other automatics listed--James wanted the indigo blue--but they were all four weeks away from delivery. We know as soon as we get a settlement, the insurance company is going to pull the rental car.

This truck was only $2000 more than the one James bought six years ago, which I find astonishing. Plus the standard truck (that's all we wanted) has some upgrades: it includes a CD player and the bed liner already installed with rack-mount tiedowns that can be adjusted all along the bed. The gearshift (which is now on the floor) has an electronically-controlled transmission that can be popped into third gear (like a manual) when you are in drive at high speeds. The cab/truck itself is also a little wider and the body is a little taller.

(We'd gone over to the Ford place to look at Rangers and they only had one manual on the lot. As we left we took a look at the new Mustangs, which are more reminiscent of the original ones, which are low to the ground. I looked at James and said, "You know, I'm glad we're not in the market for something like this. I'm old and don't want to crawl down into cars any longer!")

Plus the indigo blue would have looked just as grimy over time.

The bottom line was we had to get another truck. We could have bought used, but both of us have had nothing but trouble (read: $$$$$ repairs) on used ones. And a truck! God knows what maintenance they get because people figure "it's only a truck."

By the way, speaking of getting another one like the original, here's a funny: the salesman asked, "So you've been here before...how was the service?" We both looked at him blankly. What service? In six years we had had the normal things done: changed the oil, bought new tires, had the brakes done once. Otherwise it had never needed service!

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» Saturday, February 19, 2005
"We Did It Before..."
Speaking of dubbing...I'm doing Life Goes to War: Hollywood and the Homefront right now. This is a 1977 documentary narrated by Johnny Carson and contains great clips of homefront life and of Hollywood stars supporting the war effort, some that I haven't seen anywhere else, including in Entertaining the Troops, Going Hollywood: the War Years, and Reader's Digest's America: the Way We Were.

It's a bit fuzzy since I taped it from WSBK-TV38 (ah, WSBK again), probably about 1981. Maybe since Johnny Carson has passed on, we might see this released on DVD at some point? They did a couple of Life specials, but this was the best of them.

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Oooh, Cool...
Ivan...sorry I misspelled your name...Shreve linked me on his great OTR-themed blog, "Thrilling Days of Yesteryear."

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» Friday, February 18, 2005
The Friday Five

1. If you could have anything you wanted to eat for a day, what would you choose for your meals and snacks?

Chicken soup with rice, T-bone steak, milk and lots of dark chocolate and Italian bread.

2. Is there ever a dish/food or dessert you wanted to try but never had the opportunity, what is it?

If I did, I can't remember what it is. (I hope it's chocolate.)

3. What's a dish/food or dessert you've tried that you wish you hadn't?

Liver. My dad used to have it for Saturday lunch and it smelled so delicious cooking that I asked my mom if I could try some. She said "You won't like it" and gave me a piece. EWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

4. Ever watch cooking shows? (i.e. "Great Chefs," "Epicurious," etc.)

Sure. Good Eats, Food Finds, Unwrapped, Rachel Ray's stuff and Emeril, shows like that. (Everything except Iron Chef, which both James and I think is more boring than watching paint dry.)

5. Are you hungry yet?

I'm always hungry, until it hurts. That's why I can't lose weight.

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Eeeek! Already????
Nice little scroll going across my personalized Weather Channel screen: "The pollen forecast for your area is high."

I shoulda known it. The trees with the purple blossoms are already in full bloom.

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"An Irishman Sat on a Stool..."
More Memories Whilst Dubbing to DVD

After the Monty Python's Flying Circus success on PBS in the 70s, TV stations went hunting for British sketch humor. Many stations picked up The Benny Hill Show which featured vaudeville/burlesque type skits, including lots of half-clad young ladies with big boobs, and lots of slapstick with the moon-faced Benny Hill. The lucky stations purchased Dave Allen at Large, the 1970s BBC series starring raconteur Dave Allen.

Allen's format was simple: him onstage, sitting on a stool, smoking the inevitable cigarette and sipping occasionally at a glass of something that was implied was liquor (but which was actually only water), to give the impression of a cabaret act. And he told stories: everything from shaggy dog stories to old jokes ("how do you get down off an elephant?") to tall tales. The stand-up (or would that be sit-down?) portions would be interrupted by short skits ranging from silly to hysterically funny, involving slapstick occasionally, but more often visual and verbal puns and absurd situations, featuring a supporting cast that included the slight Ronnie Brody and the always put-upon Michael Sharvell-Martin.

What made Allen different--and ultimately controversial--is that his show was peppered with pokes at religion, especially Catholicism. His jokes and his sketches had references to confessionals, the Pope, priests, nuns, and other church rituals. These could be a bit risque but never really in absolute bad taste--although you'd never know it from the comments it provoked. Dave Allen at Large was broadcast on WSBK-TV38 and the howls of protests about the religious humor from the people of Boston overwhelmed the complaints about Benny Hill's overt sexual innuendo over at WLVI Channel 56. Allen, Catholic himself and unperturbed, even appeared on TV38's commentary program Forum 38 to be interviewed by Tom Larson and addressed by viewers perturbed by scenes of the Pope falling backwards out of chairs, priests smoking and drinking in the confessional, and other sacreligous goings-on. Even Allen's sign-off, "Goodnight and may your god go with you," was upsetting to some folks.

I never had much use for Benny Hill. I wasn't allowed to watch slapstick much as a child--my dad didn't want me watching "stupid people," as he called them--and most of the humor about it escaped me. The sexual humor I found childish. But Dave Allen...oh, now that was fun. Of course not every story and sketch was great, but the satirical bits were hilarious and delightful--especially the Catholic humor, since I'm also of that persuasion. Allen also loved supernatural/horror type themes and there were many funny skits involving vampires and endless permutations of Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde humor. Videotapes were $25 each back then, but I still managed to save four episodes of Dave Allen at Large, which is what I was transferring last night. They are still as funny as ever.

(I also have one lone sketch which is one of my two favorite Dave Allen bits. It's very typical of a BBC show of the 70s, too: a priest enters a church and genuflects next to a large white baptismal font. As he walks toward the altar the font follows him. He looks back, alarmed, and the font, which does resemble a squat, white Dalek, begins intoning "Exterminate! Exterminate!" and chases him down the aisle, whereupon he leaps into the pulpit, ducks down, and the pulpit dematerializes with the wheezing sound of the Doctor's TARDIS! I'm sure every Doctor Who fan in the audience was howling that night.

Sadly, I never did get a copy of my other favorite sketch, which contains a visual pun that still make me giggle. A middle class couple (Dave Allen and one of the ladies of the ensemble) sit in a small living room, each totally involved in their reading. The room features an old fireplace which has one of those electric fire gadgets set into the surround. As the couple read, the camera follows the electric fire, which suddenly begins to move! It sidles its way toward the left of the screen at a deliberate pace, across the room and through the doorway. After the very last glimpse of it is seen in the doorway, the woman looks up at her husband and says simply, "Fire's gone out.")

I mentioned Forum 38--Dave Allen appeared on the show because he was in town appearing in his one-man show at the Wilbur Theatre. Two of my friends in the Boston area, Steve Eramo and Liz Carleton, got tickets and the three of us went to see his show one weekend evening. I was in my twenties and it was only the second stage show I'd ever seen (and the first at a non-repertory theatre) and the entire experience was delightful. The show itself was 90 minutes of Dave Allen perched on his stool and storytelling; every moment was hilarious. After the show, Steve and Liz suggested we go to the stage door. I'd read about doing this in books and seen it in movies and TV but I didn't realize people actually did it in real life! There were only two other people waiting back there and when the stage door did open, they actually invited us inside to talk to Dave Allen.

He had done several stories with a supernatural/horror angle to them and I think Liz mentioned she enjoyed them because at that time she worked part time at the Witch Dungeon in Salem (she alternated playing Rebecca Nurse and the woman accusing her of witchcraft). Well, he was delighted and started to ask her all sorts of questions about the dungeon and the museum because he was planning to visit while he was in town. He chatted with each of us and asked us where we were from and autographed our Playbills. What a great time!

Besides reliving old Dave Allen at Large memories, the tapes made me wistful again for the "old" Channel 38 before it was "Borg-ized" by UPN: Tom Larson on sports and commentary, Dana Hersey, and of course Ask the Manager. When I think back on my childhood memories of local TV, most of it is Salty Brine on WPRO (WPRI) and Jay Kroll and "Eye Guess" on WJAR (and a bit of Kimba the White Lion on Channel 56). But all of my fond adult local television memories are of WSBK-TV38. It was a great station to watch once. Miss it.

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» Thursday, February 17, 2005
I Hate It When a Plan Falls Apart
Hmn. Turns out I can't dub off the very last Gallegher story, "The Mystery of Edward Sims." I didn't record this myself; I didn't even know it was on. Someone who had seen my Gallegher web page had a copy of it when it was shown in the middle of the night on the Disney Channel and sent me a copy of his videotape. (This was definitely recorded from television and is not any type of copy from a copy-guarded tape: not only does it have the old Disney Channel promos before it, but Gallegher has never been released to video in any form--trust me, if it had, I would have bought it long ago!)

I tried to dub it first on Tuesday night and failed; 27 minutes into the story the recording just quit. Since there was no way any of the buttons on the remote could have been struck, I was quite puzzled--and annoyed about wasting 20 minutes of good DVD. I had already started it on a DVD that had a mistake on it, since it was about the only thing that would fit, and now it too had failed.

So last night I found a fresh DVD and tried again. About 25 minutes into the story, there is a drop-out from the cable signal that lasts for about a minute, maybe more. I thought that might be the problem, but the recorder sailed over that part with no problem. However, when the machine resumes speed, there is a minutely faint flickering that evidently cues the DVD recorder into thinking it is a copy-guarded tape and it comes to a dead halt. Nuts.

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Thursday Threesome

::Mountains, Valleys and Streams::

Onesome: Mountains-- What is the elevation where you live? Do you like it there or would you prefer something a little different?

Man, beats me...let me look it up...according to city-data.com we are 1,128 feet above sea level. (That's pretty high; I used to live 60 feet above sea level.) I like mountains; it's cooler up there, but I also like the seashore (at least in the wintertime when the tourists are gone!). It's the climate here that drives me crazy.

Twosome: Valleys-- When you travel, do you have any particular valley or area you like to pass through on the way from here to there? ...and is there any route you'll take just for the scenery even if it's just a tad longer or more out of the way?

I dunno--the way we went up to DC last November seemed perfect; much nicer scenery than I-95! This was I-81, just along the Blue Ridge.

If I'm in RI I will always go to Newport at some point. It's beautiful any time of year.

Threesome: and Streams-- Do you have a stream you like to walk along and just think and enjoy the view? How about a netaphorical one if you don't have a real one close by?

Actually, we have a creek across the street from our house, but I couldn't walk it--would have to cross onto too much property. Besides, the mosquitoes are deadly.

The one stream I loved to walk along was the river up near Picnic Shelter #5 at Unicoi State Park, up on the road toward Anna Ruby Falls. There was a path that parallelled the river leading up into the woods that was lovely. But we had folks with mobility problems, so we go to the next picnic shelter now. There's a stream there, too, but it's not quite as nice to walk along.

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» Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Why Am I Not Surprised?
James just went to pick up the police report. I'll give you one guess why the person driving the other car ran the red light and hit him.

Yep. Yapping on a cell phone.

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Carlee's a Winner
Club Crowns America's Top Dog

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» Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Doggone Fine!
Sporting winner was a German Shorthaired Pointer, the best of group of the Hounds was the Bloodhound (a liver-and-tan, first time one of those winning its group), and a gorgeous Border Collie won in the Herding group.

Everyone looked wonderful in the Best of Show assembly, even little Jeffrey the Pekinese, who manfully lumbered across the floor with a look of determination.

But Carly the German Shorthaired Pointer won--she did a lovely pose right at the end that was breathtaking.

But Coco the Norfolk Terrier was still the cutest!

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The End
The truck is caput. They're presently taking it somewhere to decide how much we will get. I'm sure it will be the lowest of the totals we got from Kelly Blue Book.

The upholstery was rather stained due to two upset colas back when James was still drinking the "hard stuff." But otherwise it ran in tip-top condition, had had all its scheduled maintenance. The two front tires were brand new, about 3 months old. The paint job was newer than the truck since it had to be repainted a couple of years ago after a woman banged into the right rear taillight coming out of a parking space. There were still two payments on it and a year left on the warranty.

So do we have any legal recourse here? The other driver ran a red light and apparently hit two other cars besides the truck (or caused them to have collisions in some way; we haven't seen the police report yet). This really throws cold water on James' plans for after the truck was paid off: we didn't plan to get another one until that one was falling apart. He was going to use the car payment money to whittle down a credit card bill, then use it to pay off his student loan. It seems rum luck all around.

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Oh, What a Lovely Language!
Reading The Adventure of English.

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Interesting New Blog
I Am A Child Of Television

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Do You Have a Type A Personality?



You Have A Type B+ Personality

B+

You're a pro at going with the flow
You love to kick back and take in everything life has to offer
A total joy to be around, people crave your stability.

While you're totally laid back, you can have bouts of hyperactivity.
Get into a project you love, and you won't stop until it's done
You're passionate - just selective about your passions


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"...with Newsprint in his Veins..."
I either had a close encounter with the world's nastiest gastrointestinal bug yesterday or something I ate bit me back, because my favorite room became the bathroom. So instead of trading pleasantries on Valentine's Day, I kept myself occupied between shuffling short trips in dubbing off my Gallegher tapes (I finished all but "The Mystery of Edward Sims").

I sat there thanking God this was the sort of programming I grew up with on television rather than that junk they shove at kids today which is a strange combination of "knock-'em-silly with the moral" and toilet humor. We had great adventures with kids like Gallegher and Timmy Martin and Joey Newton instead of watered-down dullness with feel-good plots and...ugh...Lizzie McGuire and the Disney Princesses. I can't even imagine Disney putting together a show like Gallegher today: it had the kid in danger and use of weapons and him going out after "leads." Gallegher made today would be all touchy-feely with clearly stated lessons at the end–but Gallegher would say "butt" a lot and make outhouse jokes. Gah.

I still prefer the very first trio of stories, which were done seriously as mysteries with very little humor in them. The second trio, The Further Adventures of Gallegher, relied a bit more on physical humor–Harvey Korman, who played "Brownie" was a pretty straight character in the first set of episodes but became the buffoon in the second set (he even does a slapstick falling out of a window routine), and Anne Francis, who was in two of the three episodes, frankly stole the show from all of them.

In 1966, the Western was still very popular on television: there was Bonanza, Wild Wild West, Guns of Will Sonnett, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, and several others running very strong, so Disney sent Gallegher out west to Brimstone, Arizona, for the rest of the twelve episodes. These were a notch under the city-based sleuthing and made Gallegher just another Western adventure, but they did manage to hold their own due to Roger Mobley's always engaging character and the presence of character actors John McIntyre and Jeanette Nolan as the Whites, publishers of the town newspaper, the Brimstone Blast, with guest appearances by Peter Graves and Dennis Weaver. (The first two episodes of Gallegher Goes West also features a menacing Bruce Dern as his usual creepy thug character, one of the dishonest mayor's gunslinging henchmen. He gives the story a real fillip of evil, especially the scene in the newspaper office, where he threatens Gallegher and the Whites.)

I'd just turned nine when Gallegher showed up on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, as the series was known in the mid-sixties. Already a devotee of all the live-action kids' adventure series like Lassie, Fury, My Friend Flicka, Rin-Tin-Tin, Sergeant Preston, Roy Rogers, etc., I fell in love with the concept immediately. The teenybopper crushes on the Beatles, the Monkees, Donny Osmond and all those musical groups went right over my head: Roger Mobley was the one I liked. I wanted to be Gallegher; he did such cool stuff, figured out the clues, and had chutzpah enough for ten. The whole newspaper reporting angle was very romantic to me (until I was about sixteen, that was what I wanted to major in, journalism). I knew very well it wasn't going to be like the TV series, but investigative reporting seemed like a swell job: better than being a detective because when you got done finding the facts you got to write about them, too! Anything that involved writing was A+ in my book (and still is).

Gallegher doesn't quite mean as much as it used to, and it's still fun to watch: not only does it bring me back, but it features all those wonderful old character actors–besides the ones mentioned already, also Edmond O'Brien as Gallegher's Daily Press boss (the blowhard Jefferson Crowley), Larry D. Mann, John Dehner, Ron Hayes, Beverly Garland, James Gregory, Parley Baer, Alan Hewitt, Jack Warden… It's a joy to preserve and renew my acquaintance with them–and with my favorite childhood hero (next to Lassie), Gallegher...who truly always did get the news.

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Tuesday Twosome

Do you...

1. Feel safe in your community? Why?


I'd say "fairly." I wish people didn't use our street as a shortcut to get around the traffic light. They drive through much too quickly.

2. Tend to be a follower or a leader?

Follower. I don't like to lead. Too much responsibility. I want to take care of myself and James and the fids and that's it (wish I could take care of Mom...).

3. Like where you are in your life? Why?

No. Hate doing purchase orders. But the mortgage must be paid and the bills remitted. (And we need the medical coverage.)

4. Confront problems or try to ignore them?

I'm non-confrontational, like my dad.

5. Stand up for your beliefs or keep it all to yourself?

I believe in what I believe in and other people can believe in what they like. I may not agree.

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Ah, Yes, My First Love!
WordPerfect for DOS Updated

Thanks, Caran!

Flourish

» Monday, February 14, 2005
Arf-ly Nice to Look At!
Time for Westminster again: tonight's groups are Working, Terrier, Toy, and Non-Sporting. They've just finished the Toy group—another "ambulatory tribble" (the Pekinese) has won again. A magnificent Great Pyrenees (anyone remember Belle and Sebastian on Nickelodeon?) won the Working group, and the most adorable Norfolk Terrier bagged honors in that group. We were really disappointed that the longhaired Chihuahua didn't win the Toy group—he was very appealing and a good shower—or the Pomeranian (a little Spitz dog in miniature).

Non-Sporting dogs are up next...

[11:02 p.m. The Tibetan terrier won that group (fourth place went to the Tibetan spaniel; both are Tibetan but not a terrier or a spaniel)].

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Truck Update
It was towed to the body shop today; we await the verdict. James got a Nissan Ultima as a rental car.

Flourish

» Sunday, February 13, 2005
Valentine Sunday
Well, it was a bit of a subdued day, as you might have expected. It threatened rain all day, so we didn't go play miniature golf like I'd planned, but just did our errands and came home to read the paper. We had a matinee and watched Hunt for Red October. For supper we went to Olive Garden. If you want a delicious, really great appetizer, try their "San Remo seafood dip." It's a mixture of mini-shrimp, crab and lobster meat, cheese, and a little tomato sauce. They serve it with little slices of Italian bread. Yum. Of course we had the Black Tie mousse cake for dessert. Double yum.

For V-day James got me a copy of The Adventure of English and I ordered him (it hasn't come yet) 101 Best Aviation Attractions.

Taking a bit of time off from dubbing. I've finished Ask the Manager except for what I remember being a very funny little clip of Dana's new year resolutions. It was not on the tape I had it listed as being on, so I'll have to not finalize the disk for now and have a look for it on one of the earliest tapes, which it has to be on. I even have all the odd funny little TV-38 promos and the end of one of the episodes of Spenser: for Hire with Robert Urich, which was filmed in Boston. Dana Hersey appears as a lottery host at the end of this episode.

Next I need to tackle Gallegher, and probably after that, what I have of Dave Allen at Large and all my Ronn Lucas stuff. Can't wait till I get to my National Geographic shows, especially "In the Shadow of Vesuvius" and "Ballad of the Irish Horse."

In the meantime, watching an agilty championship on Animal Planet. Tomorrow and Tuesday is the really important sports event of the year--Westminster!!!

Flourish

» Saturday, February 12, 2005
There's Bad News and Then There's Good News
We still went to trivia tonight...we actually lost tonight's game, but we won the tournament.

When we got home James went surfing around Kelly Blue Book's site to see what the truck is valued at. There is a range depending whether it is a retail price or a trade in price (the difference is $2000). We have to face the real fact that they may total the truck. James had the back panel fixed a few years back when a lady smacked the back of it at Sweet Tomatoes and that alone cost $2000.

So he was looking at new trucks, too. Surprisingly, the price on the Tacoma hasn't risen all that much since 1999.

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This is Getting Silly
James dropped me off at the house before going on to the hobby shop because I wasn't feeling well. Good thing for me, bad thing for him.

Ten minutes later the phone rang: "You're not going to believe it. I just got hit."

Not only did he get hit, he got hit in nearly the same place I got hit six months ago: driver's side door. Another person in an SUV ran the light and hit not only James but at least two other cars. However, the left front wheel is intact. The driver's side door is bashed in (and the window broken) and the front part of the bed of the truck (around the gas tank door) is also bashed in. Whether the suspension is involved we don't know. The impact spun the truck completely around and rammed it up and over the curb, so the front axle may or may not be damaged. (The front end alignment certainly is.)

James is fine except for a crease on the neck from the seat belt, his left arm is stiff, and he's sore. We've called the insurance company and they've already arranged for Enterprise Rent-a-Car to come pick him up Monday morning and get him into a rental car.

The real kicker? He had only two more payments to make on the truck...

banged up truck

Flourish

» Friday, February 11, 2005
Oh My God...
I just found out someone that I have talked regularly with in a newsgroup for over two years died while she was away on a trip. What a shock.

Flourish

Found this on Sue's Live Journal:


How evil are you?

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The Friday Five

1) Would you rather live in a world with or without technology such as computers, cars, airplanes, bombs?

With. As for the bombs, you have to take the good with the bad. I'd rather get rid of the people who create the bombs. They're the dangerous ones.

2) If you had to live without either heating in your house or air conditioning, which one would you keep?

That's a hard one. Down here, I'd probably get rid of the heat--if it's okay to have a space heater to keep Pidgie warm. Although I'd miss the warm bathroom...

3) If you had to own five dogs, what kind would you get?

Little ones. :-) Five dogs. That sounds insane. (To be really insane, choose five Jack Russells...)

4) If the world had a front porch, what would you do on it?

Oh, please...that's a song cue...

"I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect har-mony..."

5) Would you rather live in a neighborhood where you know all of your neighbors by name, or where everyone sticks to their own business?

Where I knew 'em by name. I used to live in one like that. We knew all the neighbors and we all looked after each others houses and property and kids and dogs.

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» Thursday, February 10, 2005
The Sky is Falling and It Can't Get Up
There's a tag on my Weather Channel page that says "severe weather alert." I click it to find out that there will be "increased lake winds" tonight.

Okay, put out a "small craft warning"--but a "severe weather alert"? Severe weather used to be the deadly stuff, threat to life and property: hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal waves, blizzards, hail, ground blizzards, flooding from heavy rains, ice storms. Now any time the weather makes any kind of a blip--a dip in temperature after a warming trend in midwinter, gusting winds before a front, the tide 1 inch higher than usual--and suddenly it's a severe weather alert. Next thing we know, rain, snow, and sunny days will all be someone's idea of severe weather.

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Mystery Woman
Just who is Edith Van Dyne?—in Cozy Nook.

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It's About Time
Charles to Marry Lover Camilla

He's only been in love with her for years.

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Bad Luck Stone?
Hope Diamond Cut from French Crown Jewel

I've heard stories about the Hope Diamond since I was a kid. Apparently it was supposed to have been unlucky and Evelyn Walsh McLean, who owned the stone, would not allow her friends to handle it. A very touching story I heard about the diamond was that McLean used to bring it to wards in military hospitals during World War II and let the soldiers play catch with it. But she stipulated that only terminally ill soldiers could touch it, because they had nothing to lose.

The story is probably apocryphal because I have found other stories saying that McLean loaned the diamond to friends who were getting married and let others try it on.

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Thursday Threesome

Nothing is certain but death and taxes --Benjamin Franklin

Onesome: Nothing is certain- Have you ever thought you had "Sure Thing?" Did it pay off or not?

You mean like a bet? I don't gamble, and the few times we've played the lottery I knew it wasn't a "sure thing" but a matter of luck of the draw. Or do you mean a "sure thing" as in "If I mention I have money in front of the car, it's a sure thing it will break down."

And it did, too.

Twosome: But death- Do you belive in life after death?

Yes. But if my animals aren't there, I'm not going in. :-)

Threesome: and taxes- Have you got all your tax documents squared away and ready to work on? Or are you one of the people at the post office on April 15th?

We've got the software and really should have done them by now. But I don't remember receiving the documentation from the mortgage company telling us how much we paid in interest. I know we have both W-2s and the receipt from our Georgia tax refund -- doesn't that strike everyone as unfair that the tax refund you got last year because they said you paid too much in is now counted as income and you have to pay taxes on it? -- and the receipts from the car tags.

I do have to sit down to finish putting values on some of the things we donated to Goodwill. A couple of times we were in a hurry so I just made a list of the items and did not assign values.

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» Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Hate What Eisner's Done to Disney?
Join Roy E. Disney at SaveDisney.com

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My Mom Turns 88
Join me for a retrospective in Holiday Harbour.

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» Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Tuesday Twosome

1. Do you have plans for Valentine's Day? If so, what are they?

Valentine's Day proper? No, it's a work night. Besides, Westminster starts that evening. We'll probably do something on Sunday.

2. Flowers or chocolate?

Chocolate. I'm allergic to flowers.

3. If you don't have a significant other on Valentine's Day, what do you end up doing and why?

I do--but the most significant answer to this is "buy half-priced chocolate on the 15th." :-)

4. What is the most romantic Valentine's Day memory you have and what made it so memorable?

Oh, dear. We don't really go for these hearts and flowers things. I remember two years ago--it was raining, but we had a swell day, lunch at Olive Garden, just spent some time together without the chores interfering.

5. Do you prefer traditional gift (flowers, candy, card) or do you prefer something unique and/or spontaneous?

Let's put it this way: this year I'm getting a book, which I asked for. The Adventure of English. Can't wait to read it. Thank you, James!

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Help Is on The Way
I'd like to draw your attention to a very funny new potential series premiering on the web. Kevin O'Rourke, who was the delightfully devious Scott Sherwood on Remember WENN and Mark Blum have founded www.testtube.tv, which plans to present series concepts in an internet form of five minute increments. The first series, Art in Heaven, began last night. Art was created and written by Rupert Holmes (who also created WENN) and stars O'Rourke, with his associate portrayed by WENN alumnus Christopher Murney and also starring Maddie Corwin and Matthew Arkin. "Art" is a low-level deity assigned to help with the overflow from "up there" and Corwin is his client. The first episode is basically a teaser for what's to come and has some smart and funny lines (Murney gets the best one).

The next episode is scheduled for next week.

This is a shoestring venture for O'Rourke and Blum, so if you enjoy the series, please leave feedback and show there's interest in more episodes.

(The shows are in QuickTime format. They're working to get an alternative form for people who may have trouble with QT, but, again, there are budgetary constraints.)

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Ele Vader
If anyone's still interested in George Lucas' little epic, I noticed that after Five Weeks in a Balloon's Saturday showing, Fox Movie Channel showed a trailer for Revenge of the Sith. It's probably playing between all or most of the movies.

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» Monday, February 07, 2005
It's Wizard!
Oz Encyclopedia

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Monday Madness

1. How many clocks (not watches) are in your home? How many of them are digital? How many do you really look at during the day?

Good...God. I've never counted. If you count the clocks on the computers and the phones and the PDAs...there are ten at least in the den alone. Those mentioned are all digital. The watches and the clock on the wall aren't. Four clocks in the kitchen (one analog). One analog clock in the library (a digital one also if the stereo is on). One digital and one analog in the spare room. Digital in the bedroom. And I guessJames has a clock in his hobby room.

2. How many lamps (non-overhead lights) do you have in your home? What's your average wattage? Are any of them energy saver bulbs?

No to the last. The only energy-saver bulbs I see are fluorescent. I won't have the things in my home (actually, James has one in his hobby room, but I don't have to use it). The ones at work give me enough headaches. Lamps: four in the den, I think, two forties over the desks and three-ways in the other. The lamps in the bedrooms are forties. Don't know about the lamps in James' hobby room. Two lamps in the library: a three-way (30-70-100 like the ones in the den) and a 40 (replaced by a 75 if we have a party). Oh, and there's "Willow's" light, a little candle lamp, and a candle lamp in the library that goes on at dusk.

3. How many house plants do you have in your home? How many need more attention than you give them?

None. I kill them through ignorance so I don't keep them.

4. How many photos/pictures/drawings/child's art are on your walls? How many from each of the four categories?

No children. Don't have any pictures of the fids on the walls, either. Have some at work of Bandit and Leia.

5. About how many electric gadgets are in your kitchen? How many are used on a daily basis? How many are used occasionally? How many have been used once and stashed? How many have never been used?

Does the microwave count as a gadget? We have two at the moment. James has a tea maker. And there's one of those small hand-sized food processors. We have an electric carving knife put up somewhere, but I think we've used it once. That's about it.

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» Sunday, February 06, 2005
Some People Are Pathetic
In my previous post I mentioned a glitch that a couple of friends and I had seen on upcoming Disney DVD covers. One of the places I go for information on Disney DVDs is a great site called Ultimate Disney.com that has upcoming release schedules and reviews of new Disney DVDs, so I went into that site's "Forums" and posted a message about this mistake and asked if there was some way to contact the folks at Disney.

This afternoon I received two e-mails from them. One, to my astonishment, was very rude with sexual and scatological references and making a reference to 2008 (a Bush-related reference, perhaps?), but the other was very polite, saying that the forums were being shut down, perhaps not to reopen, and wished everyone a Happy Super Bowl Sunday.

Well, puzzled, I went to the site and clicked on the forums. Sure enough, all of them were gone, except for the trade forum. I entered that forum and found the subject lines scattered with...again...sexual and scatological references. Looking at a couple of old messages, they were liberally scattered with these same references. Obviously, the entire forum portion of the site had been hacked.

How pathetic. This loser has enough intelligence to hack into a site and what does he do with his brains? Scatter profanities all over a site adults and kids enjoyed, like he's some ignorant 12-year-old spray painting dirty words on the side of the school building. What a waste.

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Please Tell Me This Isn't the Final Version
There's a website called "The Digital Bits" that publishes cover art for upcoming DVDs (http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/upcomingart.html ). It's a good preview of what's coming up (since Deep Discount DVD's upcoming page is woefully inadequate) and fun to see the covers.

But someone tell me what they have for the May 3 releases are pre-production covers that someone caught and fixed...there in bold colors are three films I've been waiting for: In Search of the Castaways, Summer Magic, That Darn Cat. Check the last two very carefully. See the problem? They've misspelled Hayley Mills' name in big letters on both of them.

If they're released this way, it's going to make the Disney DVD people look really stupid.

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» Saturday, February 05, 2005
Titles Left Off My DVD List
Tales of the Gold Monkey: One season only series with Stephen Collins, Jeff McKay, Jack the one-eyed dog, Caitlin O'Heaney, the one and only Roddy McDowall, and a Grumman "Goose." Takes place in the South Seas in the 1930s. Great show.

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium: Hilarious 1966 movie about American tourists in Europe. Have never seen a widescreen copy. (This is a HINT.)

I got lucky: Fox Movie Channel ran Five Weeks in a Balloon letterboxed this afternoon. And TCM has Lili on Wednesday morning. In April (I think) they will be showing a letterboxed edition of Seven-Per-Cent Solution.

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» Friday, February 04, 2005
The Friday Five

1. How old were you when you got your drivers license?

Sixteen on the button. My mom made me get a learner's permit the moment I was old enough. She'd never learned to drive and wanted to make sure I did.

2. Did you get your own car right away, use the family car, or bum rides from friends?

I was supposed to get my own car before I went to college, but then I had surgery the last quarter of my senior year. My dad bought the car so I wouldn't have to walk the mile and a half when I finally went back to school.

3. What was your first car and what was it like?

A red 1970 Toyota Corolla. We hated each other's guts. Literally. The darn thing only drove well for my father.

4. How old were you when you got your first traffic ticket and what happened?

I didn't get my first ticket until I was 28, in Forsyth, Georgia. I was doing 72 in a 65 mph zone. That was bizarre. I didn't know my Chevette could do 72.

5. What is your favorite car story, be it an accident, road trip, etc?

Don't want to tell any accident stories. I don't really have a favorite car story, just favorite cars.

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A Coupla Things...
"Just Call Me Moose: Growing Up Italian in Boston"

Also, a article about growing up in the 1940s.

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What A Memory a Song Makes...
One of the pieces on George Winston's new CD is a sentimental, slow arrangement of that sentimental old song "Good-night, Irene." It reminds me of my parents...I have a cousin Irene and every time we would visit her and her family (my dad's sister and her husband), one of them would at some point sing "Goodnight, Irene" to her. How embarrassed she was. (Irene used to play the accordion. It fascinated me; I couldn't figure out how she made one hand do one thing and her other do something different. I also couldn't figure out how she hefted the darn thing up--I thought it weighed a ton!)

I remember their old house in Peabody, Massachusetts. It was a ranch and was the very first house with heated floors I was ever in. The refrigerator was "built-in" in a way that it looked like cabinets--you would open what looked like the door to get to the soup or the cereal and the light would go on and you'd find the milk instead. They had a pool in the backyard, a real inground pool, that was great fun to go in in the sweltering summer months.

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RIP John Vernon
John Vernon obituary.

A gentleman who played delicious film and television villains so well. I remember him best as Geoffrey Darro in the telefilm The Questor Tapes, in which he chased our hero to find him and take him apart (Questor was an android) to see how he ticked.

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» Thursday, February 03, 2005
For Fans of the World's Best Word Processing Software
WordPerfect Universe

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The Back Porch- Thursday Threesome

::All Things Girl::

Onesome: All-- all the world's a stage... So what types of issues put you on your soapbox?

People who abuse kids, bad drivers, and--

I was talking to James about this last night. I'm tired of foreign countries who complain how Americans pollute their society. I already regret that I didn't live 100 years ago, when people in different countries wore traditional costumes and not imitations of American/English garb. I don't want to walk down the Champs Elysees and see a McDonald's, or emerge at Piccadilly from the tube to come face-to-face with a Pizza Hut. If you don't want American restaurants or American stores in your country, just say no. Ronald McDonald is not going to put out a contract on you because you don't want the golden arches next to the Colosseum. The Burger King is there because some bizarre majority of the country wants overprocessed ground beef fried in 3-day old oil and topped with soggy tasteless iceberg lettuce--God only knows why.

Twosome: Things-- what sort of things are you most likely to purchase "spur of the moment" when shopping?

Books. (Which reminds me there's another 25% coupon for Borders this week...)

Threesome: Girl-- sugar and spice and everything nice? Come now, what are YOU really made of?

Flab, mostly.

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» Wednesday, February 02, 2005
The Latest "Why on Earth Isn't This Out on DVD" List
The non-Disney version.

Alistair Cooke's America: It's excellent, even if the last part is so passè

Blake's 7: Region 1. It's coming out in Region 2 and they keep promising us a US  release. Is this like politicians' promises?

Doctor in the House: British, syndicated here in the 1970s. The first couple of years, with the medical students, are some of the funniest stories you'll ever see on TV.

Eleanor and Franklin and its sequel. Fabulous--bravura performances from Jane Alexander and Edward Herrmann.

Ellery Queen: 1975 series, with Jim Hutton and David Wayne. Surely if we have Fractured Flickers we can have this postwar (1940s) period piece with a stellar roster of guest stars and occasional performances by the inimitable John Hillerman.

Get Smart!: 'Nuff said.

Good Morning, Miss Dove: Wonderful tear-jerker about a schoolteacher.

Lassie Lassie Lassie Lassie Lassie: Enough.

Life Goes to War: Now that Johnny Carson has passed on, a great chance to revive this WWII overview narrated by Carson. Some great clips from Hollywood's role in support of the troops.

Lili: Charming Leslie Caron vehicle about a French waif adopted by a carnival troupe. "A song of love is a sad song, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo..."

Little Lord Fauntleroy: Ricky Schroeder's version, which makes the Freddie Bartholemew "classic" look anemic.

Me and the Colonel: Obscure Danny Kaye dramatic film about a Jewish man attempting to flee Europe, one step ahead of the Nazis, in the company of an anti-Semitic Polish colonel.

And in a Kaye lighter vein:

On the Double: Danny Kaye plays two roles, with Dana Wynter as his "wife."

The Prisoner of Zenda: Gah! Where is this swashbuckling classic from 1937? Johnny Depp? Brad Pitt? Leonardo DeCaprio? Wet noodles in the sexy department as compared to Ronald Colman.

The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao: Tony Randall's most unusual film role--um, roles, since he plays seven in the movie--and a fabulous fantasy about a Chinese showman in a small Western town.

The Seven Per Cent Solution: A decent widescreen version, thank you.

Twenty Three Paces to Baker Street: Blind playwright Van Johnson embroiled in a London crime about to happen--if he can find out what it is before someone kills him.

Up the Down Staircase: C'mon, guys, "let it be a challenge to you."

And Chuck Jones' three made-for-TV Kipling pieces: "The White Seal," "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and "Mowgli's Brothers" (not to mention "The Cricket in Times Square" and "A Very Merry Cricket," which aren't Kipling but are classic).

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Some Chatter, Musing, and Rants While Dubbing
My stinky cold helped me at least make some progress on the dubbing effort. I now have 15 episodes of Ask the Manager committed to DVD-R (including one with Dana and Carla sparring like a couple of kids that had me nearly rolling off the couch for laughing so hard), plus Walt Disney: One Man's Dream and most of my American Experience savers (I still have to do "Journey to America" and "Pearl Harbor: Surprise and Remembrance"--which is narrated by Jason Robards, who was at Pearl Harbor as a sailor during the attack). I also have to transfer "America 1900" if I can find it. I looked through the unlabeled tapes twice last night and didn't see it. It had only a post-it note on it because it was scheduled to be dubbed and I'm afraid the stupid thing fell off and I taped over it. (Oh, and there's "T.R." about Teddy Roosevelt left to do as well.)

I was reminded of all the cool documentaries that I have as I paged through the tape list and also looked through them: Trolley: the Cars That Built Our Cities, two episodes of Bill Moyers' A Walk Through the 20th Century: "Come to the Fairs" (with footage of the 1964 New York World's Fair) and "The Reel World of News" (delightful story of the newsreels). (I may have Moyers' "T.R. and His Times" somewhere as well.) And of course there's James Burke's The Day the Universe Changed and the original Connections, and the Reader's Digest 3-part "America at War" and Boston: The Way It Was and my really snowy but favorite Life Goes to War, narrated by Johnny Carson.

I also have dubbed off the second and the third of NBC's once ubiquitous bloopers specials--the ones hosted by Dick Clark before they morphed into Bloopers and Practical Jokes (some of the practical jokes were funny, but most of the time they were stupid and detracted from the bloopers). The early ones were really the funniest before they descended into endless loops of people missing words; they were fast-paced for the most part, and the celebrity guests were tolerable in general. The third blooper special has the classic "Tim Conway tells the elephant story" clip that twenty years later still has both James and I in tears of laughter.

But these are nostalgic in yet another way. Imagine watching an entire television program that has no "station identification" bug down in one corner during the hour. Or even better, has none of those horrible scrolls on the bottom or "pop-ups" (I recorded Balto III on Cartoon Network the other day and the entire movie was spoilt by these stupid monster pop-ups for some damn fool other thing coming up) advertising what's coming on next. When did our television programs become promos for the next program? Isn't that what the commercial break is for? And as viewers, why do we put up with this crap? I knew there was a reason I had quit watching almost all network TV! The worst you had to put up with in 1982 (or whatever) was the voiceover that drowned out the closing theme song during the credits! And now even that looks good compared to today's shrunken/squeezed credits with some blaring inset for a show you weren't interested in in the first place and now wouldn't watch unless God ordered you to (and then He had better have a good reason...).

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Light a Candle...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Tuesday, February 01, 2005
"Birdbrained" Doesn't Mean Stupid

I'm sure Pigwidgeon would agree...

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Tuesday Twosome

Under the weather...

1. What is worse: having the flu or getting your wisdom teeth pulled?


Well, there's yuk and there's yuk...for sheer terror, having the teeth pulled is worse. However, the flu lasts longer and makes you feel more miserable than having your teeth pulled. So...it's a toss-up.

(I have a cold, so I have the right to be wishy-washy.)

2. What are two "comfort" foods you want when you are sick/ill?

Chicken soup with rice.

3. When sick, do you need somebody to take care of you or you can take care of yourself?

James does a wonderful job taking care of me when I'm sick: he makes soup and, when I need it, peppermint tea. But I'm like a dog when I'm sick; I most often want to just curl up in a little ball and get through it.

4. When you start to feel ill, do you go straight to the medicine cabinet to pop pills or do you wait it out to see how bad it will get?

I'll pop some aspirin (or the equivalent) immediately in hopes that it will put a brake on whatever's hurtling toward me. Does it work? No. Didn't work this time, that's for sure.

5. What are two things you do to help prevent illness (vitamins, eat healthy, etc.)?

I take vitamins every day as well as soy supplements. Doesn't seem to help much. My allergies always leave my resistance very low.

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