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 theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Sunday, February 29, 2004
After the Crickets Chirp...
Been blank in here the past few days. Had errands to run, a scare that turned out to be okay, and was doing more rearranging in the den (moved a media bookcase and finally transferred a blanket chest upstairs to sit at the foot of our bed).

Had a wave of nostalgia tonight while doing some mending: watched a DVD of four Make Room for Daddy episodes I'd bought awhile back. These are the early episodes, with Jean Hagen, and to my surprise included the original commercials. The sponsors at that time (1955) were Dodge and the American Tobacco Company, who made Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, and Herbert Tareyton cigarettes. (The cigarettes advertised seemed to be mostly Pall Mall, but I was interested by the "Herbert Tareyton" appelation. I remember Tareyton cigarettes, but not by that name.) The cigarette ads seem so funny today. They were the conclusion to a romantic dancing date, or were companionable around a campfire. Danny Thomas even pushed smokes at the end of one of the shows.

(Incidentally, one of the shows featured the Williams' family dog Laddie. I'd completely forgotten they even had one!)

It's funny how things turn around--at least this one is for the better. Everyone smoked when I was growing up. The air at weddings was blue with smoke. I once even saw my mom smoke a cigarette at a wedding. Afterwards, I said, astonished, "I didn't know you smoked!" She said, "I don't, but it's polite to say yes when someone offers you one." Wow. Utterly different world altogether.

Once the DVDs were over, the Oscar hoopla had started. I'd quit watching the Oscars in the past few years, because there were no or few movies that I really cared about, but I want to see if Return of the King and Peter Jackson hit the jackpot this year.

It's just not as fun watching the stars arrive anymore. For one thing, it's full daylight out--the glamour just isn't there in the glaring Los Angeles sunlight. I understand why they've pushed the time of the Oscars forward; I remember watching the show when it began at 10 p.m. and staying up until the very end in the wee hours of the next day. (I seem to remember it being on Monday nights originally.) But it's still not the same as watching the stars glide up in limos in full darkness, their expectant faces lighted by flash cameras and spotlights.


» Thursday, February 26, 2004
What Kind of Horse Are You?
The variety of these quizzes always surprises me. :-)



Thursday Threesome

Onesome- Choreography: What do you choreograph in your life? Your morning routine? The dinner ritual? How you study?

Oh, I generally choreograph any chore that I might forget something if I didn't have specific steps. When I get up in the morning I have to do everything in order or I usually end up forgetting something. I've been known to walk out of the house without taking my Protonix, or my lunch, or my PDA, if I don't do things that morning--and the night before--in a precise order.

And when I do study, I do it with the television on. I can't concentrate when it's too quiet. I know it's the stuff Mom and Teacher always warned us against, but...besides, in math homework I always needed something to keep me awake. Math is God's way of punishing us for our sins.

Twosome- The art of symbolically: Art? Hmmmm... Sure, what do you like to have? ...or do you? ...but how about that little symbol you keep on your desk or headboard? The one you keep because??? I mean, if you can share that...

I'm not sure I understand the question! Yes, I have art. We both have fan art. Got some wildlife prints on the bedroom wall. A lovely little picture of two budgies courting called "Honeymoon." Movie posters. Or are you referring to my St. Jude medal? It's on my neck, not my headboard. Over the headboard of my bed I have a dreamcatcher, actually. It doesn't work. I still have nightmares, mostly about work, all the time.

Threesome- representing dancing: No, not 'do you dance?' (although that's fine too!); rather, which type(s) of dancing will you stop and watch for a moment? Ballroom? Swing? Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey?

Swing and ballroom are nice. Square dancing is kinda fun to watch, too, but the costumes the square-dancers wear are so funny looking. They've exaggerated country clothing to the point where they look like parodies of people. It's very grotesque, I think.


Up on the Housetop, Snowflakes Pause
We usually have a "snowstorm" here once a year, consisting of about an inch of snow, which I'm sure makes the Northeast crowd green with envy. The childlike part of me misses their kind of snow. Yeah, you have to shovel it, and I'm so overweight I'd probably have a heart attack after the fifth or sixth shovelful. And it's a pain to drive in because some people just can't get "go slower and more carefully" through their birdbrains.

But snow is nice, and it's fun, too. I don't get people who think standing around in the sun in eighty degree temperatures is fun. All bright sun does for me is give me a headache and hot days leach the energy right out of my body. Heck, it went up to sixty last Saturday and by the time I got home I was hot, tired, cranky, and dehydrated.

Well, we had the annual snowstorm today (going to be in the sixties over the weekend, so it's truly the "last gasp" of winter), had a late start at work, and, even with what little snow we had, I couldn't resist taking Willow into the back yard (there's a cat rooming under our shed; it absorbed her for ten minutes) and tramping through the thin crust. I always loved going out after a snowstorm and tramping around. When I was little I'd make trails with my boots in the back yard and then gallop around on my stick horse Whinney from "town" to "town," like Johnny Tremain carrying postbags on Goblin. As I got older I liked to go across the street into the ballfield, which was just bare ground and not developed with a walking track and lights and a fence like it is now. Back then it had a few more trees, and you could see the tracks of squirrels in the snow. Sometimes I'd tramp all the way out (without telling my mother, of course) to the railroad tracks and look at the pictures the snow had made of ugly switches and metal rails.

When I was tired and wet enough I'd come in, most of the time have to change clothes, and sit in the nice warm kitchen in my stocking feet. Mom would make hot tea for herself and Nestles Quik for me and we'd sit and sip and maybe watch the birds outside the kitchen window arguing over the stale bread Mom had crumbled up and tossed on the snow.

It was nice. I would have liked to have stayed home today and watched the birds at the feeder. About eight we had two chickadees, always the brave ones who sample first, and Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. I don't know how well they came out, since I had the dog leash in one hand and the camera in the other, but I got a picture of Mr. Cardinal on the bird feeder, and on the maple tree branch next to the bird feeder. He sure is pretty--his wings seem to have turned dark for the winter, but the rest of him is a bright bright crimson.

As pretty as Mr. C is, I love the chickadees best. I love all the little birds, sparrows and wrens and tits and nuthatches as well, but the chickadees have attitude. I love it. "I'm the birdie. I'm in charge here. What's that? Food! Me first!"


» Wednesday, February 25, 2004
"We'll Meet Again, Don't Know Where, Don't Know When..."
One of the delights of Remember WENN were the fans that emerged as a family via e-mail and newsgroup. Some of them were still high-school students, others were professionals, one or two were even in the military. The show crossed all ages and all fandoms.

One of the people I "met," initially on the Internet, was a woman named Dana Sherman. Dana was about 10 years my junior, a librarian going for her Master's degree, married to a "swell" guy named Alan. She was crazy about the 1940s, swing music, and old radio shows, even though she hadn't heard many of the latter. So naturally she loved the entire concept of WENN, from the period setting to the literate scripts. Dana also loved reading about the British Royal Family and participated heavily in the Royalty newsgroup.

Anyone who was in the group at that time remembered Dana's joy at becoming pregnant for the first time. She loved children and wanted a nice little family all her own. I was able to meet her in person, along with her new baby, during a layover she had at the Atlanta airport. She later accompanied her husband on a business trip to Atlanta and accompanied us to a friends' wedding. In 2001 we visited her and her husband and daughter in New York.

During the first two meetings I was struck by how thin she was, but didn't think it was polite to ask nosy questions. Our friends even expressed concern about her at the wedding. I found out only after she was pregnant with her second child that she had a congenital heart defect. But she had come through her daughter's birth okay; there wasn't any reason for any of us to believe she would have a problem with a second birth.

The Saturday before her son was born, Dana signed off from our weekly chat session early, complaining that she wasn't feeling very well. On the Tuesday following we found out she had been rushed to the hospital with an infection in her aorta that would eventually mean an aortic transplant. On Wednesday the decision was made to take the baby by Caesarian section to take the strain off Dana's heart.

The gamble didn't work. Dana passed away one year ago today. Today Alan is standing strong, but he still misses her always. Their little daughter still asks if Mommy can come home. Their son is happy and healthy, but will never know the mother who adored him.

I still see things she would have liked that remind me of her. Last weekend James bought a book called Grandma's Wartime Kitchen about cookery during World War II. She would have adored it. Hallmark had a retro calendar this year she would have loved.

The day after she died, I was playing Big Band music as I worked, as a tribute to her. When I woke up the following morning with one of the tunes running through my head, I thought it was merely because of the disc I had listened to the day before. Then I realized the version of "We'll Meet Again" on my CD was sung by the Ink Spots. The voice I could hear clearly in my head was sung by a woman. Vera Lynn perhaps? Or Jo Stafford.

No matter. I'd like to think it was Dana trying to tell me something.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day.
Keep smiling through, just like you always do,
'Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

So will you please say hello to the folks that I know,
Tell them I won't be long.
They'll be happy to know that as you saw me go,
I was singing this song…


» Tuesday, February 24, 2004
The Passion of The Christ Controversy
The storm over the movie was the cover story of last week's Newsweek magazine, which explored the battle between those who think the film unfairly blames Jews for Jesus' death and those focused on the graphic portrayal of Jesus' agonizing crucifixion.

First, I haven't seen the movie, so I can't fairly comment about the former. I'm still wondering sometimes if folks all read the same Bible. Yes, there was a faction of the Jewish order that played a role in Jesus' death. This doesn't mean Jews were responsible for Jesus' crucifixion, any more than all Muslims are terrorists and all Germans were Nazis and all Southern white men are members of the Klan.

The comments about the violence...well, I did see the PAX making-of special about this movie the other night. It is very graphic, to the point where I don't know if I could sit through it. I couldn't even manage Alien and I knew that was fantasy.

But what did these folks expect? When the Bible said Jesus was "scourged," what the heck do you think they did to Him, give Him a few picturesque bloody marks with a lash as portrayed on a crucifix? When they jammed that crown of thorns on His head, do you think He just went "ouch" as if he'd gotten pricked with a rose thorn while gathering flowers? Do you think He just got a little backache from carrying that heavy cross up to Calvary, as if He'd been some helpful hubby moving furniture? Do you think He just had the equivalent of the type of pain from bad menstrual cramps when He hung there on the cross, big thick blacksmith-forged iron nails in His hands and feet, out in the burning sun for hours?

Let's not pretty it up, folks. Jesus was tortured to death, lingeringly, brutally, painfully. The people who said this was "typical Hollywood gore" are complaining for the wrong reason. It's all the other times that it was "Hollywoodized" and sanitized so much that people don't understand what this man--whether you believe he was the Messiah or not--went through.


» Monday, February 23, 2004
Changing Rooms
Saturday we started to do the reorganization of James' hobby room.

It's a bit of a dog's breakfast in there. He has hundreds of plastic models and a lot of book references for the models, plus display shelves for models, and his paperback bookshelf, an oversized, tall set of shelves a friend made for him.

It was the model boxes that were the problem. They are in Xerox paper boxes right now, and filled the closet, with more in front of the closet, and there are boxes of them in the rest of the room so he can't get to the books. After eight years of saying what he'd like to do in the closet, we finally got around to starting.

Some months ago we bought three Closet Maid wire shelves, along with the hardware for mounting them. Saturday after emptying out the closet we realized (a) we could put at least one other shelf in there and (b) the shelves we did have were 2 inches too long. So we brought the three shelves back to Lowe's, had them cut, and bought a fourth (and of course had it cut), and returned home.

After we mounted the shelf bracket supports, it became obvious that there was enough space to put yet a fifth shelf, so after supper we went back to Lowe's yet again and bought a 48 inch, narrower shelf to serve as a top shelf where there isn't quite as much space.

Looks kinda spiffy. James has already started unloading some of the boxes and has the laptop in there to catalog the contents of the closet.

We also bought and put together a DVD tower to serve as an extra set of shelving. We had only a narrow space, so the DVD tower served the purpose just fine. He's storing his spray paint primers there now.


Monday Madness

1. If I could wear smaller-size clothing, I'd be so happy!

2. Maybe one day I will try my hand at cataloging all my books.

3. Before I started blogging, I used to scribble in my diary.

I still do. But now it's on disk.

4. Long hospital tests sure make me scared!

5. If I could fly, I would fly to Allston, MA.

Closest "A" city I could think of near Boston...

6. If more people were nice, the world would be a better place.

Isn't this the favored answer?

7. I thought this meme was rather lame this week. (any letter will do for this one.)


» Sunday, February 22, 2004
Note to Harry's in Marietta
I found filberts (hazelnuts, whatever you guys wanna call 'em) bagged at Food Depot.

Another reason not to come to your stupid store again.


» Friday, February 20, 2004
You Have GOT To Be Kidding
I just sent a message to a friend of mine on AOL.

The message bounced with this response:

"Due to a high volume of member complaints, AOL will not currently accept email from your point of origin."

EXCUSE ME????? AOL now has their nose up in the air about getting messages from Earthlink when AOL is a spammer's haven?


The Friday Five

Sounds like my mother this morning. :-) Well, except for the last question.

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?

Too recently, unfortunately. Last Friday.

2. ...went to the dentist?

Um. Um. Not since I moved to Atlanta.

3. ...filled your gas tank?

Five days ago, on Monday.

4. enough sleep?

Sometime last century, I think.

5. ...backed up your computer?

Um, the last time I got a new hard drive?

But I do back up my website once a month.


» Thursday, February 19, 2004
I Think I'm In Love...
Last summer I downloaded a trial version of HTML Assistant Pro 2000 to try out just before we went on vacation. I loaded it onto the laptop...and then didn't touch the laptop after we came back from vacation.

A month or so ago I downloaded the trial version again, this time to the desktop, but hadn't installed it. The Pro people keep sending me polite little e-mails asking me if I like it, and have I tried this, etc. Well, I finally installed it.

I think I'm in love.

I mean, I have most of the features on the version I have, but they've been souped up a lot. I get six programmable buttons for user tools I use the most and colored tags (okay with me; I just want to know if there's any way I can change the colors...). But the thing I like the best is the quick publish/site manager feature (something FrontPage has, but I didn't like enough to put up with FrontPage; I think Dreamweaver has it as well). After fiddling with it about an hour, I got it to work. It would mean when I finished updating a page I could publish it directly, without having to go into WS-FTP to upload it to the web site. When you do publish, there is also a block on the dialog box that lists all the files associated with that particular web page, which means I can not only load the web page itself, but all graphics associated with it.

One-click publishing, just like Blogger.

And since I have a legit copy of the previous version, I can pay the upgrade price and not the full price if I want it.

Definitely love. :-)


Getting With the Program
Sorry for the gap in entries; I'm having a little problem getting adjusted to a new schedule.

It's not my new schedule, actually, it's James'. The Powers That Be at work abruptly changed his hours in midweek to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Of course since I have to be up at six this plays hob with our schedule. The most obvious thing to do, of course, would be grin and bear it, see each other for a couple of hours each night and eat on our own, and then have me drag up to bed at eleven leaving him downstairs for another couple of hours until he's sleepy.

Linda doesn't want to play that game. She didn't get married to eat supper alone, and, honestly, she really hates cooking anyway. The game plan goes thus: I get home, unwind a little by reading a few e-mails, and maybe a newsgroup or two, and then go upstairs and sleep for a couple of hours.

Since Bandit isn't around to keep company any longer, this should be easier than it looks. Willow greets me happily enough, but Daddy is her real god and she spends all the time from when I get home to when James gets home either in her crate or waiting by the door, so I have no compunction to keep her company. I am always dead tired when I get home anyway. The combination of an afternoon of purchase orders marinated in fluorescent lights burning my eyeballs out and an average hour commute on the freeway and by the time I get home I'm about half dead on my feet anyway. There were many days before Bandit got ill that I came home, crawled in some not-dark-enough place, and fell asleep until James got home. This stopped when I realized Budgelet didn't have much time left and I wanted to spend as many hours with him as I could.

Add this to the fact that I've always hated going to bed early (and to me eleven p.m. is early). Where I'm drooping at six, I'm positively effervescent at eleven; the "night person" genes I exhibited as a baby are still in force.

The one obstacle to my getting some sleep in the early evening has nothing to do with tiredness or previous obligations: it's my dratted stomach. By the time I get home from work I'm hungry enough to eat the hind end off the dog. I've been counseled by various friends and even the doctor about this and the annoyance still occurs.

I'm trying to lose weight with less than spectacular success. I know giving up carbs will help, but those carbs are one of the few things that don't make my stomach sick. Even on the Protonix, I have trouble digesting raw vegetables, which of course are the only kind I like. Everything gives me gas or comes up on me, including bananas, cantaloupe, apples, and my favorite, watermelon. I can't eat popcorn because it gives me the runs (and comes up on me, too). I can stand cheese only in very specific situations, which usually includes them with carbs.

(Yes, the cause is being investigated. After the preliminary finding, I daresay I'm not going to like the final result.)

I thought I'd found a respite. I'd discussed the problem with the doctor last month and agreed with her that the five or six mini-Chips Ahoy I was munching on the way home, while it helped quiet my roiling stomach, was not doing my hipline or my blood sugar count any good. Now I chew gum on the way home (which is at least no-fat) and at home had begun soothing my growling tummy with her suggestion, nuts. And since I hate dry-roasted nuts and didn't want to eat oily, salty canned nuts, I decided a good alternative would be filberts (hazelnuts, as Harry's calls 'em). I love filberts, they're not as fattening as other nuts I like, such as cashews, and I can get them in shell without being roasted.

Unfortunately when I went to Harry's Sunday they were all out of filberts. Sometimes I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall. [rant] Harry's is pretty much a dead loss since Whole Foods took them over. Their Granny Smith apples are mealy and taste too much like Delicious apples, which I loathe. They quit having fresh salad greens and went to bagged. I brought the bagged to a Thanksgiving gathering and it only took one bite to figure out why no one ate the damn stuff: it was limp, sour, and unappetizing. It's like pulling teeth to find peas in the pod, they've truncated the deli, the French bread is either overdone or underdone, and they seem to be catering to a clueless Yuppie crowd who didn't grow up with an Italian grandfather with an endless vegetable garden and who wouldn't know a fresh vegetable if it jumped up and kissed them. [end rant]

So Tuesday night I couldn't fall asleep properly because my stomach was growling. Last night I tried warmed milk and a granola bar. Not only was I still hungry, but skim milk has the same effect on me that beer does to guys. Not condusive to sleep at all.

As I remember, Eckerd's has Fig Newtons on sale, so I may stop by there tonight to get a bag. It's a cookie, but it's a lower calorie cookie than most of the others out there, it has fruit in it, and it sits well on my tyrant tummy.

Gah. Who would have thought you could have so much trouble falling asleep when during the day you're so sleepy you could pillow yourself on your desk blotter and go right out?


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Serendipity:-- Do you believe in destiny?

No, unless by that you mean people make their own destinies.

Twosome: Making fortunate discoveries-- What is your greatest "find"? Is it an antique you discovered tucked away at a garage sale? Or maybe something as simple as the great sale on khakis or lawn mowers at your favorite store?

:-) Our Christmas tree is named Serendipity, which may tell you how she was found. That very first copy of St. Nicholas magazine I picked up at Oxford Too and the very first bound volume I found at Brattle Books probably count.

Threesome: by accident-- Have you ever discovered a place entirely by accident and it's become a favourite place to go now? A hidden grove in the city park, a wonderful little coffee shop or restaurant, a treasure trove of a shop?

Oh, gosh, several places. There is at least one place at Roger Williams Park where you can walk down to the edge of the lake during the summer and because of the thick leaves on the maples and oaks not be able to see the road, or the cars, just the water and the boathouse, which looks exactly as it did 100 years ago when it was first built. If you could truly loose the fabric of time, as in Jack Finney's Time and Again and step through, this would be a great place to do so.

And there used to be this little restaurant in a couple of the malls, Lincoln and Swansea, called "the Roast House." They had real roast turkey, not turkey breast or processed turkey breast, but cut right off the bones. Their "turkey sandwich special" was utterly exquisite: a cup of hot savory turkey soup, a big turkey sandwich on a kaiser roll with the top of the roll dipped in turkey gravy, a side of chips, and a big 32-ounce drink for one small price: I'd always get a glass of coffee milk. It was satisfying and filling and delicious.

(Of course it all went downhill. First they quit having the turkey soup, then they started using only breast meat [gag], then it closed.)

Then there was this lovely used bookstore in the basement of the Wilcox Building on Weybosset Street. It was called Dana's and they had really old books, volumes that I know now were bound issues of St. Nicholas and other old magazines like Harpers and Scribner's, copies of Lucy Fitch Perkins' "Twins" books, etc.

One night in 1974 the art store or whatever it was upstairs in the Wilcox building caught fire. The fire department was able to save the building, which was due to be restored for historical purposes, but, although they were untouched by fire, water drenched all the books downstairs at Dana's. I walked by a week or so after the fire and peered down the stairway; the door was open and the books were literally smeared all over the floor. I started to cry and could never walk by there afterwards. It was like seeing a dead friend.


» Monday, February 16, 2004
Days of Wine and Bradford Dillman
I forgot to mention it, but I had a "blast from the past" yesterday. While wandering the television dial I noticed the Hallmark Channel was just starting an episode of Banacek.

Thomas Banacek was one of the "gimmick" detectives of the 1970s. We started with the "different" ones: Ironside was in a wheelchair, Longstreet was blind, Cannon was fat, Barnaby Jones was old, Columbo was sloppy. Then we got into the ethnic run, of which Banacek, who was Polish, was one of the first. (Later we had Nakia, who was Native American; Sarge, who fit both bills because he was Irish and an ex-cop turned priest; Tenafly, who was African-American, etc.)

Actually Banacek wasn't even a detective; he was an insurance investigator, a "finder" who tried to discover highly-insured items before the company paid off the claim. Dapperly played by George Peppard, he lived on Beacon Hill (the Boston setting was one of the draws) in a nice house, had a gorgeous classic car driven by a chauffeur, and was friends with Felix Mulholland, a rare book dealer. Banacek liked lovely ladies, money, fine wines, money, nice furnishings, money...well, you get the picture. Despite his mercenary proclivities, Banacek was a gentleman. Were a lady to sleep with him, he would be the ultimate lover, serve wine next to a bed with silk sheets, and "not tell" afterwards.

His other penchant was quoting obscure "Polish proverbs," including my favorite "Never play leapfrog with a unicorn."

Watching the episode brought back all those lovely memories of the halcyon days of the 1970s TV mystery series: the classic NBC Mystery Movie, which included McMillan and Wife, Columbo, Hec Ramsey, and McCloud (which started out on the earlier Four-in-One dramatic series) on Sundays and later Madigan, Tenafly, Faraday and Company, and The Snoop Sisters on the Wednesday/Tuesday edition, as well as the peacock network's classy Ellery Queen (which they didn't have class enough to renew), and also the Quinn Martin series ("A Quinn Martin Production!" as the opening narrator always proclaimed): Barnaby Jones, Cannon, Nakia, The Streets of San Francisco, The F.B.I. and perhaps his most famous, The Fugitive. It of course featured a complement of guest stars who, had they only appeared on the NBC mystery series, one might refer to as the "Universal Studios Repertory Company."

The guests for this episode ("To Find a King") included many of the most classic members of the "rep company": Kevin McCarthy, Brenda Vaccaro, Pernell Roberts, Roger C. Carmel, and Logan Ramsey. There wasn't a mystery series these folks didn't turn up on, along with the following: Lawrence Pressman, William Windom, Craig Stevens, David Wayne, Howard Duff, Ida Lupino, Dean Stockwell, Anne Francis, Geraldine Brooks, Pat Harrington, Kip Niven, Robert Loggia, Ross Martin, Roddy McDowall, Stefanie Powers, Herb Edelman, Bert Convy, Peter Mark Richman, Beverly Garland--along with a whole horde of others. Ah, just the names make my mouth water for a decent mystery that didn't need T&A to cover up the holes in the plot!

The one guest star this episode didn't feature was that ultimate of 1970s mystery series guest stars, Bradford Dillman. Check out this guy's "Notable TV Guest Appearances" on the IMDb. And I'm sure there are some that are missing! Bradford Dillman was on everything. The only problem with him in a mystery guest star role was that if all you were interested in was "whodunnit" and not how the series detective got to that conclusion, you could switch channels the moment you saw his name. Bradford Dillman was the bad guy. Bradford Dillman was always the bad guy, no ifs, ands or buts. Roddy McDowall and Ross Martin and Peter Mark Richman all played lots of bad guys, but often enough the script would fool you and they'd be innocent. Dillman never was.

To complete the nostalgia, "To Find a King" was directed by one of my favorites of the 1970s "rep company," Lou Antonio. (His brother, Jim Antonio, was also a member of the rep.) He's now better known as a director, but his career in the 1970s included numerous guest star appearances on various shows including The Rookies and he starred in two television series, Makin' It and Dog and Cat (with Kim Basinger) and co-starred in The Snoop Sisters in what is my favorite Antonio role, the elderly sisters' ex-con chauffeur and bodyguard, Barney.

Watching Banacek just makes me long for all those Mystery Movie shows to come back somehow, especially Faraday and Company and Snoop Sisters. If Universal would like to release them to DVD, I'll be first in line to buy them, believe me!


The Devil, Peabody!
I've got on a History Channel presentation about Howard Carter's discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb.

Elizabeth Peters hasn't reached 1924 yet, but it strikes me that Radcliffe Emerson is going to be, agitated...when Carter gets to be the one to discover Tut. :-D


» Sunday, February 15, 2004
A Rainy Day In Georgia
It always amazes me--and maybe scares me a little--how quickly I can go back and forth from delight to depression and back again.

Today was mostly depression, but how could you not be depressed on an awful day like today? James had to truck off to work and it poured and poured and poured outside. Even the dog was depressed. She met me at the gate when I came back from WalMart laden with various things, but not when I came back from the library, and she didn't even bother to get up all afternoon, not even to go outside, while I was curled up on the sofa reading, cold, and feeling more than a bit sorry for myself. I finished a book of Doctor Who short stories and also Jane of Lantern Hill before starting a discarded library book I bought at a booksale some years back about 1943, told in diary format.

I also folded clothes and cleaned the bathroom, but mostly I moped. Sometimes I just feel like my mainspring's broken.


» Saturday, February 14, 2004
All Ya Really Need is Heart...
...and a coupla DVDs...Valentine's Day at Holiday Harbour.


» Friday, February 13, 2004
The Friday Five

1. Are you superstitious?

Sometimes I don't know. I'd rather not tempt fate, though. :-) For instance, I've never been much for believing stuff about Friday 13. But then sometimes...

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?

Nothing very awful in my case. My mom still won't walk under ladders. But that's probably a safety thing, too. Who knows how safely the ladder was put up, or if it has something that might drop from it?

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?

I don't know if it's a superstition, but Murphy's Law.

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?

Nope. But I do have a Saint Jude medal. It sure isn't a guarantee against anything, take it from me.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?

No. The fault, dear Brutus, lies only in ourselves, not in our stars.


» Wednesday, February 11, 2004
He Got Off the Porch
Newfoundland Takes Home Top Prize at Westminster

I have this love/hate relationship with the American Kennel Club.

On one hand I love to look at all the breeds of dogs. On the other hand, I know that inbreeding to produce the "perfect dog" is adding more defects to each breed's gene pool. And it drives me simply insane when they point to the way a dog is bred or clipped and say "That's the breed standard."

Like the poodles. The classic show cut is always been what guys call that "sissy" look with the big puff around the head, the circlets around the "ankles," and the pompom on the tail. But if that wasn't indignity enough, today's poodles now have two balls of fluff on their backsides. It looks even more stupid, but they will tell you it's the "breed standard." Nope. Go look at the way poodles were clipped fifty years ago. The "breed standard" ain't supposed to change. It does--yet the American Kennel Club says they're preserving the standards of the breed.

For instance, even I can still remember when Yorkshire Terriers used to be members of the terrier group, not the toy group. A nice size Yorkie was about 15 pounds. Now they weigh in at half that. How is breeding the dog smaller preserving the breed standard? German Shepherds were nice sturdy, erect dogs; now they have bred in that sloping back so much that the dog shambles when he trots--but this is considered a good thing! Hey, and if hip dysplasia goes with it, that's just the breaks, right? ::snort::

And how about the cocker spaniel? A generation or two of kids grew up with Dick and Jane and their cocker spaniel Spot. He was a nice sturdy dog with enough feathering to make him pretty and a good-sized head to house a clever brain. What the AKC now calls an English cocker spaniel still preserves all this. The American cocker now has too small a head for his body and tons of fur down below. Yep, can really see this dog running beside some kids, having too little brain to catch a ball, let alone flush a woodcock, and his fur getting caught on every twig.

Not to mention the Pekingese. The Peke's always been a short little dog with a long coat. He was bred to be a lap dog way back and it shows. But even fat little Tricki-Woo of the James Herriott books seems more mobile than the "breed standard" Peke of Westminster, who resembles nothing more than an ambulatory tribble with a pug face.

James and I were not rooting for either the Peke or the standard poodle, even though the latter can't help how he's clipped--I know standard poodles are cool and smart, but the clip job just makes them look horrible. We really favored the little Norfolk Terrier, who had the most adorable manner, or the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, ditto, but we still cheered when "Josh" the Newfoundland won. He was a very personable dog, and, in my book, personality wins over looks always.


» Monday, February 09, 2004
A Big Milestone Indeed!
Mom's birthday, in Holiday Harbour.

Mom's birthday always reminds me of my dad. He always bought her something nice--not jewelry, because we were already drowning in it from his working in Trifari, and not flowers, because I was allergic to them--and what she wanted, but he never could quite remember that her birthday was Feb. 9 and not Valentine's Day. :-)

He did bring chocolate, which she nicely did share, and we always went out to eat. I think that's about when I discovered I liked baked stuffed shrimp. Before that the only seafood I liked was crab--real crabmeat, out of the crab, and not that awful deviled stuff with the pepper in it. We had, at one time found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that served six baked stuffed shrimp at a ridiculously low price. Then they went to five shrimp, and then four.

And then, of course, since we loved going there, they closed. [wry grin]


Awww, Nuts...
Found out yesterday that the final furniture rearrangement plan I wanted to do in the den won't work. The sofa is just too wide to go across the room, even if it's put against the wall. It looks like the Great Wall of China where I wanted to put it.

I keep thinking of Mr. Nicholson telling Timmy that just because it didn't work it didn't mean it wasn't a good plan. Still...rats...


Monday Madness

1. On Sunday afternoon, I like to just...

Depends on the Sunday. Somedays, like yesterday, we get some things done, like mounting lights or pictures. Sometimes we go out shopping. Sometimes we vegitate.

Sleeping late whenever possible is #1.

2. I'm behind someone at a traffic light, the light turns green and they just sit there, I...

Beep the horn. They're always on the damn phone anyway. I wish I had a bullhorn to yell "Hang up and drive!"

3. My immediate reaction to someone making a nasty remark to me is...

Try not to be nasty in return.

4. If I had to live in a state/country where it was cold most of the year, I would...

Buy warm clothes and boots, get snowtires for the car, and buy a snowblower. You do what you gotta do. Better cold than warm.

5. When the weather outside is hot and humid, I prefer to...

Find an air conditioner and sit next to it. I hate summer.

6. My favorite 'comfy' clothes to wear around the house is...

Sweats in winter, a duster in summer.

7. If given a deadline at work/school to finish a project, I usually...

Wait until the last minute of course--I'm a charter member of Procrastinator's Anonymous--unless it's an interesting project. If someone let me design a web page or type a manuscript, I'd do it right away.

8. If someone gave me a pet for my birthday, I would...

Without asking me? I'd keep it, I guess, unless it was a snake or reptile. But it would be terribly inconsiderate of both me and the pet, wouldn't it?

9. As far as watching the clock on weekends, I...

Oh, I still watch it. It just moves too quickly, instead of too slowly.

10. I usually wash my car about every...

Wash? Car? Oh, I had my car washed last April. I paid off the 5-year-loan on it in August. (Yes, that's right. I've washed it once in 5 1/2 years. Now I vacuum it out when I can, and occasionally rinse it off with the hose in the summer, but why bother washing it? It's not like we have salt here and I don't go in mud.)


» Saturday, February 07, 2004
What Do Many Women Do With a Useful Coupon?
I had this $5 off coupon for Sears last week if I charged something to my Sears card.

Usually I get this feeling I'm an anomoly among women. I mean, if all those advertisements are correct--surely they don't lie on television or in the newspaper, right? ::snort::sputter::guffaw::--what the usual woman rushes out to buy with a nice coupon is a pair of shoes, right? Or a new sweater or makeup or some cunning little piece of jewelry?

I bought a Laser Level. :-)

I was playing with it today; we need to rehang our Wizard of Speed and Time poster and this seems like it will be great to get Jittlov level. I don't claim any Adrian Monk tendencies--the dust on our bookcases give mute evidence to this--but I do hang pictures with a level. Crooked pictures drive me crazy.

We're also going to install some shelves in James' hobby room closet and a closet organizer in our bedroom closet as soon as it gets warm enough to leave the windows open at night when we paint. The Laser Level should come in handy.

I love cool toys... :-)


Both our electronic filings have been accepted. I've printed out all the forms and signed what's appropriate. I have the rebate forms filled out and will mail them as soon as I make copies. The home maintenance fee and the termite guys will be paid off from the proceeds without nicking into the budget. Thank God.


A Cozy Nook to Read In
No, we haven't been able to put a reading room on the house. :-)

Cozy Nook, linked above, is a new blog about reading, books, magazine other words, all the news that's fit to print about print.

I've backdated a bit to discuss some bookish things that have happened earlier in the year, so don't be surprised to find a collection of messages already there.


» Friday, February 06, 2004
The Friday Five

1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?

Got on the log flume ride at Six Flags. I hate roller coasters and anything else that has a drop in it.

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of?

Are you kidding? Both my mom and my SO like roller coasters.

3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)

0. :-)

4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?

Hmmm. Met my SO.

5. ... and what's the worst?

I fractured my left elbow trying to learn to roller skate. (Never try to learn to roller skate as a fat adult; you're not bendable enough...)


Thursday Threesome

(A day late and always a dollar short!)

Onesome: Anyone-- Has anyone made an impression on you lately? No, not on the national level, but at work or school or just 'around'. ...or even here on the web?


Twosome: can Miss-- Speaking of webbish things (and of course we are !), what types of things do you take a miss on at your place and chose not to post about? Just curious...

Politics. Arguing over these dishonest boobs seems to me as futile as arguing over which used car salesman is the slimiest.

Threesome: a Day-- On a similar note: do you post every day? ...or just whenever? ...or is every session at the computer a spur to work up a little something?

Like Mr. Ed, I try not to speak unless I have something to say...


» Thursday, February 05, 2004
No Surprise...
What Star Trek Race Are You? - Quizilla

You're a Human!
You're a Human! Inquisitive and mellow, you're an
explorer at heart.

What Star Trek Race Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


» Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Hey, Look, Peter David Has a Blog
I've linked it up there in the title bar.

(Hm. I've put David next to Lileks. Lileks is a conservative and David is a liberal. Well, I suppose they balance each other out. [grin] Or you can just skip the political commentary and read the great commentary about Minnesota winters and the latest SF series reviews.

Political snipes drive me crazy. Repulsivecans rail against Dumbocrats, Dumbocrats against Repulsivecans. Read my lips, folks:

Dogs chase cats.
Cats catch birds.
Birds sing.
Politicians are all liars.

What's the use of arguing that Clinton was better than Bush, or vice versa? It doesn't matter which side they're on; one flavor is no better than the other. They all lie, they're all deceptive, they all have their own interests at heart. It's just their nature, like the dogs, cats and birds.)


If It Costs $2000 and Professes True Love... better be in a big cardboard box that says "Dell" on the side.

My yearly diamond commercial rant.


Absent Support
It's happened again. A few nights ago a group of hormonal teenagers were out at night, speeding in a car. There was a collision and minutes later almost all of them were dead. What a waste.

Again, after the accident, "grief counselors" were sent to the school.

What is it today with "grief counselors" having to be sent to schools after accidents or acts of violence? We had grief counselors when I was a kid, but they were called "parents." If something utterly horrible happened you could run home and bury yourself in Mom's arms, or go snuggle up to Daddy, whatever your age, and they'd talk to you and stroke your head and try to explain that sometimes life is hard.

If for some reason Mom or Dad weren't accessable, there was always a godparent, a best friend's mother, an aunt or a cousin--heck, even one of the neighbors or your teacher.

What goes on today? I think it's very sad that children have to run to strangers when they have a problem instead of their parents. This is part of the job of being a parent--and if you didn't want to do it, why did you have a child at all?


I forgot to mention that the W-2 we needed showed up Monday afternoon and I was able to complete the taxes Monday night. By last night we'd already received our first reminder message to check TurboTax and discovered our Federal tax form had been accepted, but the Georgia form was still waiting. It always takes longer for the state to respond anyway.


» Monday, February 02, 2004
No Candlelight on Candlemas
In Holiday Harbour.


I noticed when James started his blog Saturday night that he has a different editing screen than I do. I don't know why. Is it because he started his just recently and mine is two years old, or is it the template he chose?

My screen is divided in half. I type my post at the top, and the "Draft" and "Change time and date" selections are permanently at the right. At the bottom of my screen are posted and published messages.

He has a floating block to type his message in and the "Draft" and "Change time and date" selections are on a "slider" that can be left open or closed at the right. Then he has to preview his message, and then publish.

Anyone know why this is?


Monday Madness

1. I probably spend about ______ on the computer every day.

10-14. My job involves working on the computer. Which explains how I got this damned tendonitis...

2. It always takes me ____ minutes to get ready in the morning.

20. Less if I don't use the bathroom again.

3. I would rather go to the dentist than go to _________.


4. My favorite dessert is ________.

The black tie mousse cake at Olive Garden.

What we actually eat are sugar-free Blue Bunny ice cream bars.

5. When I go to the store for one item, I always walk out with about ____.

Usually that one item. It depends on what I'm shopping for, though.

6. If the statement, 'You are what you eat' was true, I would be a _______.

Glass of milk?

7. I set my thermostat to _____ in the summer and _____ in the winter.

What time of day? We have a programmable one. In the summer it's 80 during the day and then I ramp it down to 70 at night. In the winter it's 67 during the day and at night and 71 when we're at home.

8. My favorite outdoor activity is _________.

Napping. Really. I sleep better outside. As a baby all my mom had to do was put me outside in the baby carriage and I'd conk right out. Fresh air makes me sleepy.

9. My favorite indoor activity is _________.


10. When I'm feeling down, I usually _________.

Feel sorry for myself. I miss those days when a glass of Hood's milk, a Hershey's semi-sweet (Special Dark) bar, and a rerun of Lassie could solve just about any depression I had.


» Sunday, February 01, 2004
No Tax Today
I thought I had all my ducks in a row. For the past few years I have been collecting everything pertaining to taxes in an 8x10 manila envelope--deduction receipts for tax donations--and then adding the things that arrive at the beginning of the year, like the W-2s and the interest statements. So I sat down with my envelope, my TurboTax, and blithely started on the taxes. Got the state form downloaded, got the income statements in, and was continuing through the endless questions about extra income...

...and got stopped cold. I'd forgotten the money I'd earned on jury duty--haven't received a W-2 for that--and James did a small job for his ex-boss last year--no W-2 for that here, either. So I had to pack everything back in the envelope. Darnit.

Ah, well, at least I got my mom's birthday present mailed out...


The Stupid Bowl is Over
The Patriots won. I don't care about football, but if someone had to win, I'm glad it was New England.

We spent the day (a) having breakfast (rather lunch, considering the time we got up) at Ryans, (b) then going to the computer show, (c) then reading the paper, (d) then taking the dog out for ice cream (well, we had some, too), and (e) watching From the Earth to the Moon episodes (interrupted by Space Camp, which is enjoyable, especially the John Williams score, if you take it with a grain of salt, a couple of pepperpots, a sugar bowl, and some cinnamon sticks ::wink::). The closest we got to football was listening to the food show on the radio on the way to Ryan's, with them fixing chicken wings and other finger foods for the fray.

Played all our favorite eps: "Spider," about Grumman building the lunar module; "That's All There Is," Al Bean's humorous reminisce about the Apollo 12 mission; "Can We Do This?," the first episode chronicling Alan Shepard's preorbital flight through the last Gemini flight; and "Galileo Was Right," about the astronauts learning to be geologic field observers. Made the mistake of watching the last episode "La Voyage dans Le Lune." Not a mistake because it's a bad episode, but because it leaves me in tears. It makes me homesick. I want to go back to a world where we had stars in our eyes, when we wanted to explore the universe, when we believed we could cure cancer and poverty and have sky-high goals.

Instead I'm stuck in a world where we argue over picayune things like sexual terms and instead of celebrating real heroes--how many of the Super Bowl freaks, without reminder from the news, remembered today was the first anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle "Columbia"?--we celebrate steroid-freak athetes and actresses who look like whores and so-called entertainers who don't have the talent people like Katharine Hepburn or Laurence Olivier had in one finger of their left hand. Magazines are "dumbed-down," history lessons are truncated, and understandable written expression is considered trivial.

For cryin' out loud, I want to go home!


James has a blog! It's at, or linked above at "The Mister."