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

. . . . .
. . . . .  

» Thursday, March 31, 2005
Summer Snarls
Anyone who has hung around here a lot knows that I'm not a fan of summer. My mantra is "Summer sucks--it sucks so much it should be renamed Hoover." (There, we've gotten that over with.)

The last few days have been an example of another reason I hate warm weather. Tonight, despite the fact it was Thursday, traditionally almost the worst traffic day of the week (Friday being the champ), while traffic was a little slow, it moved steadily from the east side of town to the west at least (northbound in the northwest corner was a different story). This was because it was cloudy and dim, with temps in the mid 60s. But on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the sun shining and the temps in the low 70s, the roads were clogged with more traffic than I'd seen since Christmastime around the malls, everyone seeming to think it was their God-given right to dash out in the warmth billowing carbon monoxide in their wake. It's absolutely absurd to take nearly 90 minutes to drive 24 miles, but that's how it goes--and that time was good only because for a change the surface road I take home was not backed up for several miles!


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Hot Dogs--Spring picnics and cookouts are coming! Is it hot dogs or hamburgers you want to have on your plate as you head back to the table?

Hot dogs. I do get a craving for hamburgers occasionally, but I don't really crave ground beef. Now steak on the other hand...

Twosome: and-- ...and what else is on that plate that you just cannot be without as you work your way through the crowd? Potato salad? One of those huge pickles? Come on, there has to be something <g>!

Sigh. Chips. Potato or corn. I'm a sucker for anything with salt in it. I tend to crave salt.

Threesome: French Fries-- ...and the real toughie: do you have to have "fries with that'? ...or will chips do well enough for you. Just curious...

I try not to have fries. We don't go to hamburger joints that often. The chips will do, but I should have those, either. Wendy's has started offering mandarin oranges, which I think is cool.


» Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Tonight's Report
I called the vet this morning and James late this afternoon: Willow is doing okay. She hasn't had diarrhea or vomiting today, but is still on antibiotics and pain medication. They will take another blood test on Friday and if it turns out okay she can come home. I hope that's the case. It's very lonely around here without the patter of canine feet, although Pidge is doing his best to make enough noise for two. There's no collar jingles, and when James sat in his chair tonight there was an absent furry brown lump lying on his right leg.

Poor Wil. All she knows is she threw up and it hurt when she went outside; now she's stuck in a cage away from home. She must think she's being punished.


» Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Can Anyone Tell Me...
...what the purpose of Chi McBride's character on House is, besides to make people's blood pressure shoot through the roof? I am counting the episodes until this clown is gone--and hope there is some kind of good payoff in his fifth episode, otherwise suffering through his obnoxiousness will have been all for naught. Right now I'm all for "billionaire Edward Vogler" duplicating Ronny Cox's fate in Robocop...


I'm Depressed...
...I can tell; I put "Spider" on.

This is the first time we've watched any of the From the Earth to the Moon episodes on the new DVD player. To our surprise, when the titles come up, there is sound in the background, including Neil Armstrong saying "One small step for man..." This never played on the Apex!

James said when we swapped out DVD players that he couldn't tell the difference between the old one and the progressive scan. As Tom Hanks was doing the intro, I said to James, "There's your difference." The Apollo sculpture nearly jumped off the television into the room, it had that much depth. I guess it depends on what's being filmed.


Things Never Let Up, Do They?
Mom as of last night still didn't have definite word because her eye is now swollen; the doctor has given her antibiotics for it. But he won't be able to operate if it's still that bad on April 7.

This morning as James walked Wil he noticed she had blood in her stool. He rushed her to the vet and she will be there for a few more days. She has pancreatitis, but they say she should recover.

Things just go from bad to worse.


Tuesday Twosome

1. Do you procrastinate and if so, explain?

I expect that there will be many waggish answers that say "I think i'll wait to answer that one." :-) To be honest: Yes. I keep hoping things will go away.

2. Do you feel tired most of the time or not?

Yes, I do; it's the menopause and it getting warm. I don't sleep at all well when it's warm, not just now, but from childhood. Plus I'm a night owl; I'm not sleepy at night. But in the daytime get me in some fresh air and it's droopy eyelids immediately. My mom found out the best way to get me to sleep as a baby was to put me in the baby carriage outside the kitchen window, cover me against the sun, and let me snooze!

3. Do you get enough sleep and if not, how much time do you wish for?

Oh, eight hours would be nice, but even on weekends I toss and turn: I'm too warm, my nose stuffs up, or my knees start to hurt. It's also not how long, but when I sleep. I get my soundest sleep between six and eight a.m. Guess what time I have to get up for work. If the traffic wasn't so bad I'd go in later, but that's not an option. Even at 6:20 a.m. it's a struggle to get the 28 miles cross town.

4. Do you rely on an alarm clock to get you up or not?

Oh, yes. It's set to NPR, since there don't seem to be any "beautiful music" or big band stations anywhere.

5. Do you you dread certain things when you wake up and if so, what are they?

Work itself--and the freeway. I was doing nearly 80 m.p.h. this morning. Some idiot from Fulton County still passed me on the right.


» Monday, March 28, 2005
Monday Madness

Let's have some fun! More fill-in-the-blanks! =)

Christmas is more fun to celebrate than any other holiday. (And it's in the winter, which is a big plus.)

2. The last vacation I took was to New England to visit my mom .

3. The next vacation I plan to take will be to dunno; never plan that far in advance . (Something always goes wrong.)

4. I'd really like to be more assertive .

5. I can't remember the last time I bicycled .

6. The book I last read (or am currently reading) is Swing, by Rupert Holmes (currently I am re-reading All Creatures Great and Small) .

7. The last program I installed on my computer was Firefox 1.0 .

8. When it comes to food, my weakness is Italian or French bread .

9. I really look forward to spending time after work . (Anything that gets me away from the fluorescent lights.)


» Sunday, March 27, 2005
Easter Rumblings
We're having a quiet day. I had hoped to go out to do something fun, like playing miniature golf, if Mountasia was open, but it was threatening rain most of the late morning, we had the tornado sirens go off, and now it is thundering and raining. Instead we slept late, had breakfast, read the paper, watched A Davey and Goliath Easter and Here Comes Peter Cottontail, and now I have Star Blazers on while I cross-stitch. I wanted to dub off more Remember WENN, but I can't take a chance of the power going off in the middle of something.

{Later: watched Hello Down There while James was making himself breakfasts. This is a silly 1969 movie with no redeeming social value (think similar to the cute Disney flicks of the late 60s/early 70s (Blackbeard's Ghost, The Ugly Dachshund, etc.) starring Tony Randall, Janet Leigh, Jim Backus, and Ken Berry, and featuring Richard Dreyfuss in a role he'd probably rather forget (his fourth movie appearance, and only his second billed appearance). We had Harry's Hellacious Ham for supper, with candied maple carrots and garlic potatoes, and strawberries and whipped cream for dessert. It's still thundering and raining to beat the band...}


Happy Easter!
God bless you all.

Easter tree


» Saturday, March 26, 2005
The Latest News
My mom's doctors have finally decided that the growth near her eye is not going away from chemical means and will have to be taken off via surgical ones. So she is scheduled for surgery on April 7. It's a good thing because she's been complaining about pain in the eye for several months, even as far back as our visit back in November (when she was still taking radiation for the problem).

Unfortunately a side effect of the surgery is that she will need someone to help her out after she gets out of the hospital. In the past my wonderful cousins have filled in on this front. However, at this point my cousin Anna, the main caregiver, is also in need of surgery, and her children need to be with her and would be spread too thin if they had to help out my mom, too.

So I will be flying up there in a couple of weeks. I don't mind going, but I hate to leave James and the critters, to be honest I am still a little afraid of flying alone after 9/11, and it means we will probably miss our annual weekend in the mountains with our friends.

I can only hope this surgery helps her. She's been pretty miserable for a while, she's been inside most of the winter, then the car getting stolen twice was a blow. James has asked that if she is feeling okay I should please get her out for some air and change of pace.

Thank God we got the yard done early and I hope I won't have to worry so much about ants, and that James is pretty self-sufficient. I know men who can't cook anything and look at a washing machine as if it's a foreign object. I'll have the laptop so I can get online and write in my diary; we'll probably end up chatting to each other on IM because it's cheaper than phoning (although we do have the new cell plans; he can call me for free).

To that end I abandoned my DVD dubbing sequence and am copying off Remember WENN--even if I have no idea if it will play on my mom's DVD player. It will play, albeit badly, on the laptop...if I have WENN there will always be a reason to smile. (Which is the reason today I'm in the incongruous position of decorating the Easter tree while watching "Christmas in the Airwaves." It's all right; no matter what time of the year it's good to be with friends.)

I wonder if I've thanked Rupert lately for this show...


» Friday, March 25, 2005
The Friday Five

1. What is your favorite movie of all time?

Hm. Used to be The Andromeda Strain. I guess I'd say Galaxy Quest.

2. How often do you watch this movie?

Several times a year.

3. What's your favorite line out of the whole movie?

"It's a rock; it doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"

4. Who's your favorite character from this movie?

Fred Kwan, played by Tony Shalhoub. Nothing ruffles him.

5. What scene do you love the most?

Oh, there are so many! Almost all of them!


» Thursday, March 24, 2005
DVD Transfer Diary
Last night: finished up the American Experience shows with "The World of Tomorrow." This film about the 1939 New York World's Fair is narrated by Jason Robards, and along with marvelous black and white and color footage of the fair, there are home movies of Robards and his family. I had some time at the end (I still do, unfortunately) and popped on some appropriate shorts: some of the "Popular Science" newsreel clips I had kept from the series Invention that used to run on A&E—anyone remember that one? with host Lucky Severnson (sp?)—and some old Fox Movietone films from the 1950s, including the X-15 flying, weather balloons being mistaken for UFOs, etc.

This afternoon: transferred the Christmas episodes of Hill Street Blues ("Lordy God, it's Christmas Eve and I'm gonna get shot dead in a moose suit") and NYPD Blue (I realized I hadn't watched the latter since I taped it; everyone looked so young!). At the end I tacked the two take-offs of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, "Raging Rudolph" and "The Reinfather" (well, both the other shows were about crime...seemed appropriate!).

Tonight: found something else for the stand-up comedy disk with Robin Williams and Elayne Boosler, An Evening With Lewis Grizzard. Also tacked on two short Gallagher bits, "Why?" from The Tonight Show and "Women" from the Smothers Brothers' revival show.


Thursday Threesome

::Wine, women and song::

Onesome: Wine- or beer? Or do you prefer your beverages non-alcoholic?

I usually do not drink alcohol. I have been known to have a kahlua and milk every couple of years or so and sip a bit of something on New Year's Eve, but I'm wary of doing so since I started taking the Atenolol for my palpitations. I really don't like dry wines and those are the ones that everyone seems to think are the good ones. As for beer--eeewww. I don't see how anyone drinks beer, but I know most of my male friends love it. How on earth do you drink anything that smells that bad?

Twosome: Women- and men. We're entirely different creatures. What do you think makes the opposite sex tick? Or do you consider their behaviour a complete mystery?

I thought what made guys tick was food and sex. :-) Sorry, listening to Bill Engval too much. There are just some things I don't get about guys. Like why skirt a piece of Kleenex or a napkin or even a bowl put down for the dog in the middle of the floor a dozen times rather than picking the fool thing up and disposing of it (if it's disposable) or taking it to where it belongs? (Now, granted, we always have a problem at our house about "where things belong"--the half-finished DVD boxes, for example, are on the coffee table right now because I haven't cleared enough out of the VHS case to store them in there, but as I finish them, I am putting them up in one of the cases--it's just taking a while.) And for crying out loud, put the new roll of toilet paper back on the holder, don't plunk it on the edge of the sink.

These are the sort of small things that drive women absolutely mad...

Threesome: and Song- What's your favorite song? Your favorite band/ musician?

"The Impossible Dream" (sung by Richard Kiley, of course).

My favorite singer is Rupert Holmes and if you're looking for a good mystery you should really pick up his new book, Swing which includes a CD of big-band tunes he wrote.


» Tuesday, March 22, 2005
This is News?
The next story on our local Fox channel news is something about whether appearing on American Idol is too stressful. There is an entire world full of news to comment on and we're talking about some stupid television show that is just the latest incarnation of Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour?


Tuesday Twosome

Are you more likely to...

1. Give advice or take advice?

About 50-50. It depends on what we're talking about.

2. Interrupt a conversation or have your conversation interrupted?

Afraid it's the former. I have the terrible habit of wanting to finish interesting stories.

3. Get lost while driving or find your way without a problem?

Usually I consult a map first, so usually the latter. If I do get lost, I stop at a fire station. I figure if the firemen don't know where something is, someone's in big trouble. (I used to stop at police stations. This abruptly stopped when, while in vacation in California, I suggested to my dad that the California Highway Patrol—CHiPs, the series, was big at the time even if I didn't watch it—would probably know where the street we were looking for—Beverly Boulevard, where CBS was—was. They didn't.)

4. Be a trendsetter or be a follower?

Follower. I've always spent my life trying to blend into the woodwork.

5. Look at a situation as "half empty" or "half full"?

Half-empty. When you get disappointed it's easier...


DVD Transfer Diary Extra
I have these days occasionally--I call 'em "crash and burn" days--where I awaken feeling absolutely ragged out; may have a stuffed nose or a backache or both, and no possible way of keeping my eyes open enough to drive safely. They are the days I stagger back to bed and sleep as late as I can and wake to have soup or oatmeal for lunch and try to stay awake so I can sleep that evening.

So I wouldn't feel like a slug, I continued the DVD dubbing; I wanted to finish The American Experience disks:

  • "Pearl Harbor: Surprise and Remembrance," a 90-minute edition narrated by Jason Robards (who was at Pearl Harbor the day of the attack, as a radioman third class on the U.S.S. Honolulu). An excellent overview of the events leading up to the attack as well as the event itself, along with modern scenes of reunions at the Arizona Memorial.
  • "Journey to America," the story of the immigrants, mainly in their own words accompanied by old photographs and early film.
  • "T.R.," the four-hour story of Theodore Roosevelt, who is one of my favorite Presidents, despite of his imperialistic tendencies. He's infinitely fascinating--the man of action, the naturalist, the indulgent father, the irascible foe of the Trusts.
  • "America 1900," which has had me worried for weeks since I couldn't find the videotape--it was hidden away on a shelf I hadn't checked. From January to December, photos and old film tell the story of that year: the story of the McKinleys, race relations, the Scofield mine disaster, the Galveston hurricane, Americans involved in the Boxer Rebellion, life and death, the state of nature and urban life. When I found the companion book on the bargain table I was overjoyed--another cool history book!

    P.S. I still haven't finished; have to do "World of Tomorrow" (more Jason Robards narration).

  • Flourish

    This Sounds Interesting...
    The Edward R. Murrow Collection


    » Monday, March 21, 2005
    War is Swell
    Bought the first season of Hogan's Heroes--amid all the furor about this series, it's still darn funny. And I don't think Robert Clary, John Banner, or Werner Klemperer would have done the show if they thought it in bad taste; they all suffered too much at the hands of the Nazis. My dad, a World War II vet, used to love this series; he used to say wistfully that they had wished the Germans were that stupid!

    I don't know if they still show it since Borg-ization, but Hogan used to be a mainstay of WSBK-TV38. Series came and series went, but Hogan's Heroes and The Three Stooges, like Old Man River, just kept rolling along.

    The picture is absolutely stunning, the color deep and true; it sure never looked this good on our 19" black and white Magnavox--or in reruns in [washed out] color later on. (The soundtrack is rather odd; the dialog is soft, but the laugh track and the sound effects are loud.) But what made my jaw drop is that the episodes even include the old CBS color logo! This would be the equivalent of the Star Trek episodes having the NBC peacock precede it. Sure brings back memories of Friday nights in the 60's, The Wild, Wild West followed immediately by Col. Hogan and his crew.

    BTW, the "Tiger tank" in that eponymous episode is really an M-7 Priest, according to James.


    DVD Transfer Diary
    Trying to cheer myself up with Christmas animation:

  • For Better or For Worse: "The Bestest Present" -- takes place when the children were young; Lizzie loses her stuffed bunny in a department store and is unconsolable. Have always loved the first day of snow song.
  • For Better or For Worse: "The Christmas Angel" -- another Liz story; she's feeling left out: Mike doesn't want her around and taking care of April only gets her into trouble, especially after she breaks Ellie's favorite glass angel. This one has a little supernatural element typical of a lot of Christmas stories, but is still pretty heartwarming without being gloopy.
  • It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special -- Okay, so we get junk series on DVD--where is Tiny Toons??? This one is chockablock full of pop culture references; the song "Cher" (or "Share") alone is hilarious. Buster Bunny learns what Tiny Toons would be like without him with the help of a guardian angel rabbit named Harvey (who sounds like Jimmy Stewart, natch; God sounds like George Burns).
  • The Great Santa Claus Caper -- Here's the gloopy one, literally; the Big Bad Wolf takes over the North Pole and covers everything in Gloopstick, an unbreakable plastic, so the toys won't break. Raggedy Ann and Andy and Santa's reindeer Comet try to thwart him. Suffers from terminal "cute" and my copy is full of drop-outs, but Raggedy Arthur is adorable and the wolf and Santa are voiced by one of the voices of OTR, Les Tremayne.
  • The Simpsons Christmas Special -- Doesn't everyone know this one by now? Homer's Christmas bonus doesn't come through and Marge has to use the Christmas money to get a tattoo removed from Bart's arm (just a typical day at the Simpsons). So Homer gets a job as Santa Claus. Doh!

  • Flourish

    That Car Again
    My mom and my cousin have picked up the car; for some reason although it was found near downtown it was towed to a company in the other direction and she had to pay $90 towing charges. (I see nothing changes in the city of Providence; Cianci's in jail--which of course should have solved all the problems--and the tow companies still gouge, presumably to send kickback to whomever they're paying off now.) She doesn't want to take the car back to whomever fixed the window two weeks ago because they left the remains of the shattered glass in her car after charging her $800 to put a new one in.

    And now to protect the car until they can figure out how to keep it from being stolen again, it's at my cousin's house. So before she was only trapped inside when her eye was hurting too much. Now she's stuck with no car, too.

    I am so unspeakably pissed about this that I would like to throw bricks at someone. And here I am stuck not able to help...


    Monday Madness

    How Many........
    1. gadgets do you own?

    Counting the computers? Um, three, the desktop, the laptop, and the PDA. (And a partridge in a pear tree.)

    2. on your living room walls?

    The actual living room? Five. Um, a print of a little boy looking at a star map with the night sky above him, a poster of Newport, a poster of New England, a map of Great Britain and a poster of Boston (the latter which you can't really see because it's mostly blocked with the travel books). There are also two airplane prints on the side of the back to back bookcases near the closet.

    3. ...magnets on your refrigerator?

    I've lost count. At least 20. When we go on vacation we buy a magnet for the fridge.

    4. ...reference books in your bookshelves?

    Holy cow, I've never counted them. I have an entire tower bookcase next to my computer desk that's full of etomology and linguistics books, writing books, and name books. The top of the computer desk is lined with HTML and other computer reference books. Plus there are three shelves of history books, three of biographies, three of Christmas books, and four of various housekeeping/cooking books that are used for reference, as well as an entire five-shelf bookcase full (and that includes the top) of movie, television, and radio books.

    5. ...boxes of cereal in your cupboards?

    None. All our cereal is in plastic Rubbermaid-type containers since the last onslaught of the ants.

    6. ...lamps in your house?

    Three in the den, one little one in the kitchen for Wil, two in the living room, one in each of the useful bedrooms, and about four or five in James' hobby room.

    7. ...times a week do you shop for groceries?

    Too many. Fridays and Saturday and Sundays taken up with part of the nonsense because one thing is one place, another at a second place, yet more at a third.

    8. ...magazines do you subscribe to?

    One, Reminisce. (James subscribes to Sport Rocketry.)

    9. programs do you watch on a regular basis?

    Monk when it's new. House, M.D.. That's it.

    10. ...items on your bathroom counter that don't really need to be there?

    Right now? I don't think anything. Everything that's there now (hairbrushes, deodorant, shaving cream, the thing that holds the Q-tips and the bobby pins) is supposed to be there.


    DVD Transfer Diary
    I was so ticked off at last night's news that I didn't post this, although I'm sure nobody would care. Didn't get much done yesterday afternoon for hopping from one drugstore to the next trying to find vitamins on sale.

    Christmas stuff again:
  • Mercy Mission with Scott Bakula and Robert Loggia. I've written about this film in my holiday blog, so won't repeat. (Those are pretty neat links in there, though.)
  • Twilight Zone: "The Night of the Meek" with Art Carney as a disillusioned, drunken hired Santa Claus who would just once want to bring some happiness and hope to the impoverished people around him--and gets that chance. Oh, look, it's John Fiedler again!
    and, sorta Christmas, as it ends with a Christmas celebration:
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy, the Ricky Schroeder/Sir Alec Guinness version, which I like much better than that insipid Freddie Bartholemew film. Yeah, yeah, I know the FB version is a classic--I don't care. I saw a review somewhere--Amazon? IMDb?--that put their finger on it: this story is filmed with the reverence usually accorded to a Biblical epic. The soft focus on Dolores Costello Barrymore even makes her look like the Madonna. It's very stagy.

    This isn't saying the Schroeder version is perfect. They have chosen to make "Dearest," who in the book is strong-willed while managing to remain ladylike, into a feminist wannabe in order not to alienate the women watching. This might have worked with a softer actress, but Connie Booth isn't the type. (And I like Connie Booth!) Cedric, who isn't the wimp most kids forced to read Fauntleroy think he is, was brought up as a gentleman even though he lived in a slum; they kept giving Schroeder slang to spout ("Well, I'll be jiggered!") until it became silly. But the movie is gorgeously filmed, Schroeder is a real kid rather than a wax doll, and the story follows the Earl's thaw from martinet to human being excellently.

    I was surprised while watching when Wilkins, the groom spoke--it sounded like Patrick Stewart. I looked closer and checked the IMDb. Darned if it wasn't Patrick Stewart...

    Another thing: I tried to fit something else after Fauntleroy, a hideously edited copy of "The Little Christmas Tree," a black-and-white Corey Stuart-era Lassie episode. It wouldn't fit, even though Discovery Kids has pared these things down to 22 minutes! I went back to check the movie. Darned if I hadn't forgotten that back when Fauntleroy was filmed one actually got more than 90 minutes of movie in a two-hour time slot!!!! The film was 102 minutes; there would have been only...gasp!...18 minutes of commercials in it! And no bugs at the bottom of the screen, no crawls, no promos popping up...

    Forgive me if I do say "Those were the days!"

  • Flourish

    » Sunday, March 20, 2005
    Well, #$!$#$!$!%$%!#
    Someone stole my mother's car again, again right out of the driveway, broke the back window this time!

    The policeman thought it was because the other kid who did it got caught, getting her back. If that's so, apparently they're raising really stupid kids these days. What did they expect her to do, not report it stolen?


    » Saturday, March 19, 2005
    Happy St. Joseph's Day!
    She Couldn't Escape Minestrone

    The Swallows Return to Capistrano

    Faith and Feasting (St. Joseph's Day in New Orleans)

    Altar Joys (St. Joseph's Day in New Orleans)

    And if you're registered at the Providence Journal (or the Dallas News or any of the other Belo Interactive sites), this article by Gail Ciampa...the photo of the zeppole is enough to make you drool.

    Here's a pic of the zeppole, if nothing else.


    » Friday, March 18, 2005
    The Friday Five

    1. What are your five favorite all time TV shows?

    Lassie, Remember WENN, Get Smart, Babylon 5, Ask the Manager.

    2. What five things you want to do before the year is out?

    Lose weight, see my mom again, survive end of fiscal year, survive summer, enjoy autumn sans car accidents.

    3. Who are five people (alive, dead, or otherwise) you would want to have dinner with?

    Rupert Holmes, Eleanor Roosevelt, Don Adams, Walt Disney, and Rudd Weatherwax.

    4. Where are five places (cities, states, countries, etc.) you would like to visit?

    Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Alaska, and Prince Edward Island.

    5. What are your five favorite desserts?

    Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse cake, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cream pie...and a nice crusty loaf of Italian bread. (Well, I consider it dessert!!!)


    DVD Transfer Diary
    Popped the reunion movie Get Smart Again! at the end of the DVD with the remainder of the episodes last night. As much as I loved Smart this one is kept strictly out of sentimentality, and it amazes me to see reviews that say "this was as funny as the series." One reason some folks may think so is that Leonard Stern and the other scriptwriters basically lifted routines verbatim from different episodes and plugged them in here. Don Adams and Barbara Feldon still work well together, but if the series was at 45 r.p.m., the movie moves at 33 1/3. The series used to snap off the gags bing-bing-bing, which made even the lame ones seem funny; the movie punctuates them with a molasses pace. Even the once rapidly-paced fight scenes are choreographed in slow-motion. The new gadgets are ho-hum, although I must admit I thought Dr. Denton's "Hall of Hush" was kinda funny with its touch of surrealism. (Dr. Denton is played by nebbishy Danny Goldman who popped up in all sorts of places, including as the hippie son in the Larry Hagman/Donna Mills series The Good Life).

    But if you're looking for classic Get Smart, this ain't it.

    Also copied off, as I said I would, the two Elayne Boosler specials. These were made back in the mid-1980s and have not aged at all; James and I were still laughing ourselves silly. To finish the tape, I find I have HBO: Live from London somewhere, but I confess I haven't watched it since I taped it and don't even remember it. The IMDb tells me Rowan Atkinson and Dawn French are in it. Okay... (Also Howie Mandel, who I loved in St. Elsewhere but never could quite get into his comedy routine.)


    » Thursday, March 17, 2005
    Feasting Flock
    I stopped at the Sibley Library on the way home to pick up my copy of Thomas Fleming's Illusion of Victory and parked next to a tree thick with reddish-orange berries. It was filled with at least thirty birds, chirping madly and eating the berries. They were brown with a crest and a black mask, and the tips of the tails were yellow. For some reason, the name "cedar waxwing" sprang into my head.

    Just looked it up and I was right: here is the bird I saw.


    Thursday Threesome

    ::Happy St. Patrick's Day::

    Onesome: Happy-- No matter what's going on in your life, what always makes you smile?

    Willow and Pidge playing with each other. She play bows to him and tries to chase him. He patters over to her and nips her feet. (Yes, we monitor them; he's too aggressive for his own good.

    Poor Wil--today's her birthday and she's not feeling well, although she still has her appetite and is drinking okay. We noticed last night--she ran to meet James okay, so it was sometime after that--that she was favoring her right foreleg. James felt the leg and couldn't find anywhere tender, nor anything caught in her paw (I was working with floral wire last night and, as careful as I was with it, was afraid a fragment had caught in her pad). She was still limping this morning but bearing some weight on it, so we are waiting to see if it gets better before lugging her off to the vet, which she hates. Neither of us go to the doctor right away for sprains, either.

    Twosome: St. Patrick's-- St. Patrick's Day is March 17th. Do you celebrate and wear green? Drink Green Beer? Ignore it?

    Oh, I have a green thing I wear occasionally, but mostly I ignore it. I'm Italian, not Irish--my day is on Saturday. I've always been wary of a day that seems to exist just to drink alcohol.

    Threesome: Day-- What day of the week is your busiest?Tell us about your schedule...

    Depends on what's going on. Sometimes it's even over the weekend; we've had Saturdays with "Hair Day," Myriad collation, and trivia all at once.


    » Wednesday, March 16, 2005
    DVD Transfer Diary Coda
    Oh, in an effort to watch something funny tonight, also dubbed off Robin Williams: An Evening at the Met. I wish I could bleed off some of this guy's energy. I have two other comedy specials I can put on the disk with it, Elaine Boosler's "Broadway Baby" and "Party of One." Don't think I have anything else, though, not even all those George Carlin specials we watch.

    I always wonder what happened to another stand-up commedienne I remember from the 1980s--except I can't remember her entire name to look her up. It was Maureen something, and she was Australian. Very, very funny lady.


    DVD Transfer Diary
    I finished up Get Smart this afternoon:

  • "Moonlighting Becomes You" -- with Victor Buono--the other definitive Wild Wild West villain, Count Manzeppi--as Hannibal Day, the egotistical radio star. Where on earth did they come up with this story? I don't know of anyone doing radio shows in 1969.
  • "And Baby Makes Four" -- the twins are born; meanwhile the guest stars are Dana Elcar (long before he became McGyver's boss) and Jack Gilford as Simon the Likeable, the KAOS agent so nice no one can oppose him (except 99's mom, who finally belts him one).
    and finally
  • "House of Max" -- in which a French doctor in London has invented a serum that will temporarily bring waxwork figures in his Chamber of Horrors to life. Features the ever bizarre Marcel Hillaire as Duval and the always stalwart Hedley Mattingly (from Daktari) as Inspector Sparrow.

    Speaking of guest stars, both Martin Landau and Phyllis Diller have cameos in "Pheasant Under Glass."

    So, all those of you who go back far enough to remember watching Get Smart in its original network run, do you also remember the all-comedy star Bob Hope-hosted specials NBC used to have in the late 1960s? This would generally be some type of 60- or 90-minute story with comedians like Hope, Jack Benny, etc. and NBC's comedy stars in them. The first, and the best, of these was called Murder at NBC and featured Don Adams playing Maxwell Smart. Don Rickles was also in it. Don't remember much else of the plot, but do recall it was pretty funny. Now there's something I'd like to see on DVD, if it still exists. It was done on videotape, as I remember, and possibly has been wiped out.

  • Flourish

    Amazon says the new Harry Potter is 672 pages, which puts it halfway in size between Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire.


    » Tuesday, March 15, 2005
    DVD Transfer Diary
    Didn't get a disk finished tonight; one more to go:

  • "To Sire, With Love" -- Max's lookalike, King Charles of Caronia, returns in a two-part story. One of the subplots deals with Max's jealousy over 99 accidentally kissing His Majasty, and there's a great sequence where they try to make each other jealous. The villainous Rupert of Rathskelar is billed as playing himself; in reality it's Don Adams' buddy James Caan, who didn't wish to be credited, but sure has fun playing the bad guy.
  • "Pheasant Under Glass" -- unremarkable except that 99 tells Max she's preggers; this is the first of the CBS-produced episodes, wherein the quality went waaaaay down.

    I'm planning to finish the disk a bit out of order with "Moonlighting Becomes You," which is another mostly wretched CBS episode, but the story involves Max and 99 on the set of a radio series--how could I resist?

  • Flourish

    Tuesday Twosome

    on a lighter note...
    (I know some of the questions are not specific, so when you read the question, apply it to whatever comes to mind)

    1. Shaved or not shaved?

    Right now not; I wear pants all the time anyway. It takes an hour to do and afterwards I have to lie down because my back hurts so bad. Then next day I break out in a rash. I'd rather stay in pants.

    2. Asleep or awake?

    I'd love to be asleep now. The lights are too darn bright.

    3. Above ground or underground?

    Above, as long as it has good supports. I get claustrophobic. (Unless you mean the subway. I'm okay with the subway.)

    4. Bath or shower?

    Shower. Who wants to get out and have dirty bathwater still on you?

    5. Fake or real?

    Real chocolate, fake flowers (I don't need an allergy attack).


    » Monday, March 14, 2005
    More "Maximum Smart"
    (This is what Nick at Nite called it when they broadcast these episodes.)

  • "Classification: Dead" -- the Get Smart version of the old Edmond O'Brien b-feature D.O.A., where our hero is given a slow-acting poison and tries to hunt down his killer before it gets him. One of the very entertaining appearances by CONTROL's leggy showgirl/brilliant boffin Dr. Steele. The villain is played by...John Fiedler, a mousy little character actor you saw just about everywhere then.
  • "The Mild Ones" -- Max and 99 join a motorcycle gang working for KAOS; when they're caught, it really looks like the jig might be up for Max. Steve Allen has a small part at the beginning as the ambassador's private secretary.
  • "Don't Look Back" -- a spoof of The Fugitive, complete with unctious narrator and a relentless police detective named Gronski (played by character actor Bruce Gordon, another guy you saw just about everywhere, mostly playing heavies).
  • "The Impossible Mission" -- or "Max and 99 Get Engaged"--features Jamie Farr in a supporting role as a beatnik informer, a Keystone Kops-type chase at the end, and a bandleader named Herb Talbot, a takeoff on Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass. (They definitely don't make tape recorders like that anymore... <g>)
  • "With Love and Twitches" -- 48 hours before his wedding, Max drinks (yes, drinks) the map to the Melnick uranium mines (it will break out as a rash on his chest as long as he doesn't lie or sit down). He tries to call off the wedding, but no one will believe him and everyone thinks it's a case of nerves (except for 99's mother, who thinks he's a bum). With the delightful William Schallert as Admiral Hargrade, Alan Oppenheimer as Dr. Madre, character actress Jane Dulo as 99's mom, and a cameo by Don Adams' then-wife, Dorothy Bracken and his agent Mace Nuefeld, who now produces films like Hunt for Red October (Bracken is the blonde who tells her husband not to help in the brawl of KAOS and CONTROL agents at the wedding).
  • "The Wax Max" -- Max accidentally gives the password at an amusement park and gets a radioactive cupie doll meant for KAOS, which leads to a chase around the abandoned park and a bad ending at the park's wax museum...

  • Flourish

    Monday Madness

    1. I wish I had more time to sleep during the week.

    2. I usually think about changing my blog layout when not often at all.

    3. If more people would be responsible, especially to their children, the world would be a better place.

    4. I really should dust more often.

    5. The weather we're having right now is too darn warm to sleep comfortably.

    6. When it's time to plant a garden, I'd like to plant nothing--I hate growing vegetables and I'm allergic to flowers.

    7. When I'm running late, I sometimes forget to take the coupons I might need.

    8. When I can't think of anything to blog about, I usually shut up.


    » Sunday, March 13, 2005
    86'd At Age 9
    My mom was a great stickler for early bedtimes for kids, which explained why at age eight I was in bed long before 8:30--but I was a night owl always and still awake. Our house was small--four rooms and a bath, my room off the kitchen--and if the TV wasn't on quite low enough I could still hear the dialog faintly since I slept with the door open.

    Which is why I scrambled out of bed and trotted into the living room and asked, "Who was that talking? It sounded like Tennessee Tuxedo."

    "It's Don Adams," my mom said. "Now go back to bed."

    At that time Adams was a regular on The Bill Dana Show as Byron Glick, the house detective (and also the voice of cartoon penguin "Tennessee Tuxedo"). I tucked away the name for future reference and noticed it again in the Fall Preview TV Guide for 1965, as the star of a comedy spy series. It was the beginning of a long love affair between me and Get Smart.

    Since there was only one television, ably managed by the adults in the household, and Dad thought Smart was...well...stupid, I managed to watch the show during the original run through a twist of fate: we weren't home on Saturday nights. That was the night my mom and dad went duckpin bowling and I went along, too, occasionally to Legion Bowladrome (which was still there the last time I drove by it) or to Town Hall Lanes on Atwood Avenue, but mostly to the Garden City Lanes, run by the Zarella brothers, Tom and his brother Ray. They started out in a smaller place, but eventually the bowling business was so good they built a huge, 36-lane building on Sockanossett Road on the outside edge of Garden City Shopping Center. (I used to wish for a bookstore the size of Garden City Lanes. The bowling craze of the 60s eventually waned. Garden City Lanes is gone and the lot occupied by a strip mall.) It had a snack bar with live attendants instead of machines, a jukebox, a billiards room and two roomy bathrooms; when I was really bored I would go in the ladies' room and act out adventure stories between "customers."

    My dad was friends with everyone, so it was no trouble to go up to Tom or Ray or whomever else was manning the desk that night, Vinny or Bobby or Teddy, and ask them if they could change the channel of the TV behind the desk at 8:30 so I could watch Get Smart. I'd stand at the counter for the entire half hour, out of the way of the customers as much as I could, hands on my fists, eyes glued to the adventures of Max and 99. The only nights there were trouble was when the Providence College Friars had a big game. I learned to loathe basketball very early on! :-) But syndication was my real friend. I was into all things Smart from magazine articles (remember TV Radio Mirror, Modern Screen, Photoplay and all the other great movie and TV magazines? Heck, remember when TV Guide actually had good articles?) to the nine original novels by William Johnston published in paperback by Tempo Books.

    There are rumblings of a Get Smart DVD release, but not wanting to take any chances, I was dubbing off some of those I had kept from the Nick at Nite run last night. They annoy me because not only are they time-compressed slightly (the opening theme sounds a bit like a wind-up toy) but they are still the syndication copies with bits very expertly edited out; I know they're gone because I have the originals of my favorites practically memorized. But some Get Smart is always better than none. I watched ten of them, one after the other, with as much delight as I had forty years ago--and can't believe I didn't record some other favorites, like "Ship of Spies" and the first Harry Hoo story.

    Here's what ran tonight:
  • "Mr. Big" -- the pilot episode, done, as many series in the early 1960s, in black and white; Michael Dunn, perennial villain Dr. Loveless from my Friday night favorite The Wild, Wild West (I was a geek from childhood--my favorite WWW character was Artemus Gordon), was the KAOS villain. Max meets 99 for the first time as well.
  • "Aboard the Orient Express" -- with the strangest KAOS operative you'll ever see; contains one of two Johnny Carson cameo appearances; this time he's the conductor--he comes in to stamp passports claiming they are "just entering Lichstenstein." He leaves, the train squeals as it goes around a curve, and he is back saying they are now leaving Lichstenstein. Max asks sarcastically, "What took so long?" and Carson replies briskly, "Floods. They had to evacuate the country."
  • "Double Agent" -- Max "goes bad" (to infiltrate KAOS, of course); more great Max and 99 interplay.
  • "Kisses for KAOS" -- 99 romances an art dealer who's really a KAOS agent; this is the episode about the explosive paint; I liked this one especially when I was younger because we got to see Max shirtless. :-)
  • "The Only Way to Die" -- Max pretends he's dead while CONTROL tries to find out who's behind the explosions at national monuments; Agent 13 in a mailbox and a really funny scene where a mourning 99 is entertaining a visiting millionaire and bursts out crying every time the guy mentions something that reminds her of Max (oh, yes, and Max leaping over the bar).
  • "Island of the Darned" -- my very, very favorite episode--I can recite lines verbatim--a Get Smart reworking of Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game"; I loved it because it was slightly more serious than comic. Harold Gould is villanous KAOS agent Hans Hunter and in probably one of the funniest exchanges ever, Hunter is telling Max about all the animals he has stalked in his lifetime, including, he adds as he strokes the visible scar on his left temple, "...have you ever heard of the great white rhino?" Max stares at the scar, impressed. "That was done by the great white rhino?" Hunter replies, "No, this was done by a small blue convertible." Max's eyes widen. "The great white rhino was driving a small blue convertible?" Pure Max.
  • "Appointment in Sahara" -- the title a spoof of the then bestseller, Appointment in Samara; Max and 99 vs. the desert; 99 sees a mirage of an ice cream stand and Max tried to eat her last salted button...
  • "The Groovy Guru" -- this one is soooooo 60s, hippies and all; a cult favorite--Max and the lie pill is hilarious; Larry Storch plays the Groovy Guru.
  • "99 Loses Control" -- this is apparently on a list of lower-rated Get Smart episodes and the premise is a little strange--99's gonna suddenly up and leave CONTROL after meeting some guy on vacation? But I ate it up; it's wildly romantic for the Max and 99 "'shippers" as we would call them today. (Frankly I've always wondered if she did it to get a rise out of Max.)
  • "The King Lives" -- Don Adams the old movie buff and his sister concocted this Get Smart take on the old Anthony Hope warhorse The Prisoner of Zenda, which Adams plays complete with Ronald Colman voice for Max's double, King Charles of Caronia. Johnny Carson's second cameo as a footman given the unenviable job of presenting the many-titled Princess Marta to Max.

    Coming up: Get Smart's take on D.O.A. and The Fugitive, Max and 99 join a motorcycle gang, and the inevitable happens in the form of a ring and a vow...

    You know, I just realized, of all the stories I kept, not one of them has Seigfried in it?

  • Flourish

    DVD Transfer Diary
    The remainder of HBO's Remember When: "The Image Makers" (about advertising, from broadsides to television), "Way Out West" (self-explanatory), "Wheels, Wings and Whistles" (transportation in America: the steamboat, the railroad, cars), "Go, Team, Go!" (American sports), "It'll Never Fly" (about inventions).

    Also Nova's "A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama" about the building of the canal.


    "...And May Your God Go With You"
    More Dave Allen obits:

    The Express and Star

    The Independent

    The Telegraph

    The Mirror

    The Times


    Well, Darn...
    Comedian Dave Allen Dies Aged 68

    I'm glad I got the DVD now. :-(


    » Saturday, March 12, 2005
    Sometimes It Turns Out Okay
    I've mentioned before that I love reading historical books, even if they aren't for my age group. :-) I have all the "American Girls" books and short stories, and have collected all of the 22 History Mysteries.

    Well, looks like the publisher is combining the two: there are four new books out (as of March 1) that are "American Girl Mysteries." One is about the Nez Perce girl Kaya, one is about Victorian Samantha, one of Depression-era Kit, and the last about WWII-era Molly.

    I was out today and stopped at the Borders in Kennesaw looking for them. When I didn't see them on the shelves I went to the in-store computer, looked them up--and discovered they were in every other Borders near me except the one I was in (naturally...). Just on a whim, I did a search on Rupert Holmes' new mystery, Swing, which was due out March 15, but which a friend elsewhere had already picked up on Wednesday.

    Of course it wasn't in at the Borders I was at. But it was in...all together every other Borders near me.

    Swing coverSo I drove down to the closest one and got a copy. (I was happy: there was a 25 percent off Borders coupon until the 14th and I had two $5 preferred reader coupons.)

    I spent six solid hours reading the entire book, enthralled from first paragraph to last. This is even better than Where the Truth Lies, although this may just be me liking the 1940s setting better than the 1970s setting of that previous novel. Just super all around, from the characters to the different tendrils of the mystery coming together to the setting (1940 San Francisco, at the Golden Gate Exposition, a World's Fair that ran concurrently with the second year of the 1939 Fair in New York City. It's just a great book all around. Glad I didn't have to wait until Tuesday.


    » Friday, March 11, 2005
    The Friday Five

    1) What was your favorite toy as a child?

    Probably my stuffed poodle, Fifi.

    2) What is your favorite toy now that you're "grown up"?

    LOL. My computer.

    3) What is the most dangerous toy you had growing up?

    I didn't have dangerous toys. Remember how your mom always yelled "Don't run with that stick in your hand?" My Aunty Lisa did when she was a little girl and she actually did poke her eye out. So I wasn't alllowed to have dangerous toys.

    4) What is the most dangerous toy you have now?

    I don't own any dangerous toys.

    5) What one toy do you wish you had/have?

    As a kid I wanted Tinkertoys (but they had sticks with them--see #3) and Lego blocks. My aunts said they were boys' toys so my dad wouldn't buy them. I got stuck with ... ugh ... dolls most of the time. I did have Lincoln Logs, which I thought were boring. My Construct'O'Straws were better.


    » Thursday, March 10, 2005
    DVD Transfer Diary
    Lassie: "The Disappearance" -- This was the five part story that introduced Corey Stuart as Forest Ranger Corey Stuart, who rescues Lassie from a lake where she has been swept overboard after a storm. The version I have is a two-hour movie which clipped about 25 minutes out of the story. (Ironically, there was once also a 90-minute movie version which included about half of the edited scenes; had I taped that as well, I'd have almost the whole story!)

    National Geographic Specials: "In the Shadow of Vesuvius" and "Mysteries of Mankind." -- The former is my favorite of the NG specials. My maternal grandparents grew up on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, in sight of Vesuvius. In 1883 there was a huge earthquake in the area caused by rumblings from deep in the bowels of Vesuvius. During the earthquake a rock landed on the chest of my grandfather's mother as she was trying to protect her baby (my grandpa's younger brother) and seriously injured her. She died a year later, having never really recovered. Poor Grandpa got stuck with the stepmother-from-Hell after his dad remarried.

    If you asked as a trivia question "Name something you're interested in that most people don't know about," I'd have to say anthropology and archaeology. I have several books on the subject and still regret I didn't buy the big coffee table anthropological book that was on sale in BJ's during Christmas of 2003. In junior high one of the books I repeatedly took out of the school library was The Morning of Mankind. Louis and Mary Leakey are literary friends and Olduvai Gorge and Lascaux are as familiar to me as Westminster Street and Pontiac Avenue. So "Mysteries of Mankind" was a natural.

    Lassie the Voyager: -- Again, the movie version; since we're fitting a seven-part story in a two hour movie, lots went bye-bye. I have loved Lassie all my life, but as the series went on you had to do a lot of stretching to believe "Lassie" as she was portrayed actually existed. She went from a "smart dog" in the Jeff Miller era to something a little bit smarter but still just a dog in the Timmy era to this "angel in disguise" in the color era, a savant who instinctually cared for the helpless, brought together the lonely, and guarded the forest. (Best example: in an early Jeff episode Lassie isn't hungry because, they surmise, she killed and ate a rabbit earlier in the day; one couldn't imagine the later Lassie doing a real dog thing like hunting a rabbit, she was too "nice.")

    Voyager has Lassie separated from Corey after she breaks away from where she is being cared for to search for him (he's loading the last of a shipment of erosion-stopping trees on a ship headed for Hawaii before a hurricane strikes the Florida coast) and boards the wrong freighter. She escapes the freighter off the Virginia coast, swims to shore, and proceeds to head west, presumably for California which is Corey's home base. Corey is always one step behind her after getting different reports of her location. Some of these stretch the bounds of incredulity: he finds out she's in Williamsburg, Virginia, for example, by seeing a front page story in the Jacksonville paper about a dog on trial for her life (not on the front page of the features section or a section devoted to law, but on the front page). So let's get this straight: Jacksonville just got hit by a hurricane and their front page above-the-fold story is about a dog almost 1000 miles away? Such were the vagaries of the color period. The dog was gorgeous, though.

    Remember When: "On the Air" and "Page One" -- This was a nostalgia series HBO did; not sure how many episodes--I have seven of them. To prove how good they were, I even taped the one about sports! Dick Cavett hosted the show with a light but not joking touch and one of the gimmicks was working him into the background of a photo taken in the period. For instance, in "On the Air" Cavett is dressed in a White Star Line officer's uniform and, projected in black and white, "walks" down the deck of the Titanic. It worked pretty well; you might almost think he was there. "On the Air" is and "Page One" is about newsgathering, with an emphasis on newspapers, newsreels, and radio broadcasters.

    Whatever happened to Dick Cavett, anyway? On the list of things I wish to God I had on video, like NBC: the First Fifty Years (much better than the crummy 75th anniversary bash they did more recently) and CBS: On the Air (the weeklong 50th anniversary retrospective), was a 90-minute interview either Dick Cavett or David Frost did with Don Adams and Don Rickles.

    Finally, some Disney animal shorts: my absolute favorite of all of them, Run, Appaloosa, Run!, and also The Little Shepherd Dog of Catalina, which concerns a champion Shetland Sheepdog who is stranded on Santa Catalina Island after he falls off his master's boat.

    Today, although a few words are no longer P.C. and some of the dialog is stiff, 1966's Run, Appaloosa, Run! is still a super story about a young woman who breaks out of a conventional mold to follow her talents. Mary Blackfeather is a talented Nez Perce equestrian who is already violating the male-oriented rules of her tribe by doing a trick riding routine with her palomino horse and her Australian Sheepdog, Silver. She has a great talent with horses and raises an orphaned Appaloosa colt that the tribe names "Holy Smoke." The horse is sold when grown, but comes back to Mary through a circuituous route. Each year in Washington State there is a race called the Hell's Mountain Suicide Race, which the Nez Perce originally instituted to test the stamina of their Appaloosa horses. For years all the winners have been white men, but Mary feels that Holy Smoke is the horse that will bring the award back to the Native tribes. She and the horse are so good that the tribal elders give her leave to enter the race. The final segment is a fast-paced free-for-all in which Mary and Holy Smoke must negotiate jumps over rough country, a ride down a 210-foot tall, 62° slope into the Okanogan River, and then swim the river to win. Mary is a super heroine, the dog and the horse are wonderful, the featurette includes some exciting incidental music to accompany the race, and the entire story is framed with "The Ballad of the Appaloosa" sung by Bobby Wayne, a song you will be humming long after the story is through.


    Thursday Threesome

    ::A Somewhat Aimless Hodgepodge::

    Onesome: A Somewhat-- We're in somewhat of a lull between holidays. Are you decorating for St. Patrick's Day or going right for the Easter season. ...or are you just hanging on for margaritas by the pool?

    I'm not Irish, so I don't decorate for St. Patrick's (although I do have some shamrock clings somewhere that I used to put on the door; I haven't decorated the glass doors in a while). I don't think there are decorations for St. Joseph's Day. Besides, I'm not putting up my spring decorations until I have to. This year Easter is so early I'll go straight to my Easter tree from the winter decorations.

    Twosome: Aimless-- Aimlessly waiting for Spring? What are you just waiting to do once the weather clears up?

    Once the weather clears up? Oh, I haven't planned for next fall yet. :-)

    Threesome: Hodgepodge-- Where's the hodge podge collection at your place? You know, that drawer or shelf or cabinet where 'all the other stuff' ends up when there's no place assigned to it. Yeah, that one !

    You mean just one place????? There's the coffee table and James' side table and the junk drawer in the kitchen and the spare bedroom...


    Another Survey
    This is from Sue's blog.

    Name:Linda Maria Rosa Lanzi Young
    Birthday:December 11
    Birthplace:Providence, RI (at the "Lying-In")
    Current Location:Marietta, GA
    Eye Color:brown
    Hair Color:brown
    Right Handed or Left Handed:right
    Your Heritage:2nd generation Italian-American
    The Shoes You Wore Today:black Reeboks
    Your Weakness:dark chocolate
    Your Fears:enclosed spaces and fire
    Your Perfect Pizza:bacon and black olive on thin crust--NO CHEESE
    Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year:lose weight
    Thoughts First Waking Up:Please God, don't let me be killed on the freeway today.
    Your Best Physical Feature:hands
    Your Bedtime:11:30 on weeknights, in the wee smalls on weekends
    Your Most Missed Memory:the Paperback Bookstore in downtown Providence
    Pepsi or Coke:neither--I hate colas and sodas
    MacDonalds or Burger King:Burger King, for the Cinni-minis
    Single or Group Dates:single
    Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea:hate tea, too
    Chocolate or Vanilla:chocolate
    Cappuccino or Coffee:can't drink either; they give me palpitations
    Do you Smoke:no--ugh
    Do you Swear:yes, especially on the freeway
    Do you Sing:yes, but not well!
    Do you Shower Daily:yes
    Have you Been in Love:yes
    Do you want to go to College:go back? maybe
    Do you want to get Married:been there, done that, still enjoying it
    Do you belive in yourself:no more than yes
    Do you get Motion Sickness:only in small planes and on "barf rides"
    Do you think you are Attractive:no
    Are you a Health Freak:no
    Do you get along with your Parents:yes
    Do you like Thunderstorms:yes
    Do you play an Instrument:used to play the organ
    In the past month have you Drank Alcohol:no, I take heart medication
    In the past month have you Smoked:no
    In the past month have you been on Drugs:just the ones my doctor prescribes
    In the past month have you gone on a Date:no
    In the past month have you gone to a Mall:no--Waldenbooks doesn't discount anymore; no reason to go
    In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:no
    In the past month have you eaten Sushi:no--ugh, fish
    In the past month have you been on Stage:no
    In the past month have you been Dumped:no
    In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:no
    In the past month have you Stolen Anything:no
    Ever been Drunk:once
    Ever been called a Tease:no
    Ever been Beaten up:no
    Ever Shoplifted:yes
    How do you want to Die:at a very old age
    What do you want to be when you Grow Up:happy
    What country would you most like to Visit:Great Britain
    In a Boy/Girl..
    Favourite Eye Color:blue
    Favourite Hair Color:brown
    Short or Long Hair:short
    Height:about James'
    Weight:just right
    Best Clothing Style:casual but not grubby
    Number of Drugs I have taken:only prescription (that's about four)
    Number of CDs I own:about 180
    Number of Piercings:none
    Number of Tattoos:none
    Number of things in my Past I Regret:at least three--leaving my parents, not going to another college, and taking my Dodge Omni to Tune-Up Clinic



    » Tuesday, March 08, 2005
    Stars in My Eyes
    My friend Sherrye and I met in sixth grade. We were totally "sympatico" from the first. She was the only person I ever allowed to read my stories, and we pretty much had the same taste in television, although she was crazy about SWAT and Starsky and Hutch, both which I tolerated for her sake, and I never could get her into Doctor Who. Our reading tastes diverged occasionally as well--I remember she devoured Asimov's "Foundation" books and then gave me a set for Christmas; I couldn't get beyond the third page of the first book. I didn't hear any "this is great" comments from her about Nick O'Donohoe's Crossroads series that I sent her, so I figured it was a miss as well.

    But she did turn me on to two television series I still love to this day. The first was Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, which was unusual for me as I didn't usually like stuff that involved techy gadgets. The other was my third foray into Japanese anime.

    I'd already watched programs like Kimba the White Lion (ran every day at three on Channel 56, then WKGB, in Boston) and Speed Racer. When Sherrye talked to me about this newest find, she was wholeheartedly enthusiastic. "You have to see this."

    So I tried it one day when I was home sick, which was possibly a bad time to do so. I clicked around the channels and came to WSBK-TV38 (ah, there's Channel 38 turning up in my stories again) to find it, but couldn't make heads or tails of the plot, which seemed to involve a whole bunch of mostly guys in funny white uniforms with colored markings floating around space in an old battleship.

    What Sherrye turned me on to, of course, was the infamous Space Battleship Yamato, known here in the US as Star Blazers. At that point, however, I couldn't figure out what she saw in the series.

    A month or so later I finally had the opportunity to watch the series from the beginning--since I had realized that it was some sort of serial story. And I was suddenly in love with the show: I had never seen a cartoon--excuse me, an animated television series--that contained characters that grew older, experienced life, made mistakes and learned from them, and even fell in love. Even in Jonny Quest Jonny and Hadji stayed eternally ten years old.

    I ended up eventually audio taping all the episodes, which involuntarily got my mother watching the series--I don't think she ever liked it, but she did end up watching it--when right in the middle of the rebroadcast of second season, Ch. 38 switched it to 7:30 a.m., right when I was leaving for work. I'd prop the tape recorder next to the speaker of the television in the kitchen, cue it at 7:30 after giving my mother a kiss and asking her please not to make a lot of noise, and then zip out the door! (Mom was patient, can you tell?) Audio tape wasn't as good as watching an episode, but at least I knew how the story progressed and finally ended.

    By the time I had a VCR, Star Blazers had moved to Ch. 25, WXNE. Tapes were very expensive back then--my first 2-hour videotapes cost $25 apiece!--so I only recorded a few episodes of the series, and almost none of second series. Ch. 25, as its call letters indicated, was a Christian Broadcasting Network station, and they would cut out big hunks of the plot of any series that went contrary to their beliefs. (Why purchase series you're planning to butcher???) Series 2 of Star Blazers involved a woman named Trelaina who had powerful "mind powers" (she could destroy planets by getting angry). The CBN people thought any "mind powers" came from Satan and carefully bleeped any mention of Trelaina's "ungodly problem" (even though the point of the story was that Trelaina realized her mind powers should not be used to destroy innocent people and she refused to use them and was repentant of the one time she had!). Naturally these big cuts also made the story a little hard to follow!

    Over the years and through more Japanese anime, I have managed to keep my fondness for Star Blazers. Some of the cable channels show anime late at night and although the animation itself is much better than in years past, I find I don't warm up to these incredible characters with their cool ways and overwrought English-dubbed dialog as much as I did to the very human characters aboard the Argo. On Star Blazers I could see past all the "cool tech-y stuff" like the wave motion cannon and the "Flying Tigers," etc. and still identify with Nova Forrester and Derek Wildstar, and my especial favorite, Mark Venture. So a few weeks back I bit the bullet and ordered the Series 1 and 2* sets. So once again I am traveling to Iscandar and Telezart with old friends and enjoying the journey immensely.

    * I never did get to see Series 3, "The Bolar Wars"--Ch. 25 was scheduled to show it and then reneged--and I really didn't have the funds for the DVD set. I'm intrigued, but heard several reviews that they changed the voice actors for the Bolar episodes and that they weren't as good as in the original two series. Maybe a rental copy will be available some day...


    Tuesday Twosome

    1. Do you ever feel overwhelmed, and if so, how do you deal with it?

    Oh, yeah...wait until I'm alone and then cry. For a while at work I had to keep a spreadsheet on a contract with 60+ task orders (a task order is like a mini-contract within the big one). Someone was supposed to give me the figures to plug in, but about half of them didn't. So the numbers wouldn't come out and I'd wait until everyone had gone to lunch and then sit at my desk and cry.

    I hate numbers. They're God's way of punishing us for our sins.

    2. Is there a place you go to when you want to be all alone, and if so, where?

    Not much to go to around here where I'd feel safe. When I was in RI I used to go to the museum at Roger Williams Park, or to the zoo. The museum was very old-fashioned at that time (it's since been updated and isn't as interesting) and dim, or I'd go out on the wetlands trail in the zoo and watch the birds.

    3. Do you prefer to be in a crowd or a small group of people, and why?

    Small groups or alone. Big crowds pressing in make me nervous.

    4. Do you tend to be more optimistic or pessimistic, and why?

    Pessimistic. Then when something bad happens like it always does, you aren't as disappointed.

    5. Who are two people you tend to turn to when you need help?

    Mother and James.


    » Monday, March 07, 2005
    Monday Madness

    1. What's on your refrigerator? (Please feel free to use a picture to answer.)

    The main thing is a calendar whiteboard which has the present month on it and significant dates like what Fridays I am off, what weekend day James has to work that month and what his alternative day off is, when "Hair Day" and Myriad collation is, doctor's and vet's appointments, etc. Surrounding it we have all our magnets--some are just cute, like the "Singer for City Council" and "Booth for City Council" buttons from Remember WENN or a wooden dog that has a flip tag that says "the dog is fed" after which I penned in "but still starving." Most of them are magnets we have brought back as travel souvenirs--a Figment from the old "Journey into Imagination" ride at EPCOT, a Thurber House tile, magnets from Cape Canaveral, the New England Air Museum, and the Seashore Trolley Museum, etc. There are some from airplanes that James got at airshows. There is also a magnetic container that holds various booklets: the one for the oven, the one for the dishwasher, etc., plus the magic marker to mark the meat that goes into the freezer, and a magnetic cup that holds the dry-erase markers for the whiteboard. On the side we have magnetic hooks to hold stuff like bottle openers, a magnetic trivet, and the largest thing, a magnetic paper towel holder from the Container Store.

    2. What color is your refrigerator?

    Almond (I think they call it "bisque" now).

    3. Is the freezer on the top, bottom or side?

    Top. We want one on the bottom. We were so disappointed—we found the perfect bottom-mount freezer at Sam's, except the door opened on the wrong side. We consulted their website, and the doors all opened that way, so we sent them a note, and, because of the electronics, all the doors open from the left. Our kitchen is set up so the fridge must open on the right. Damn...

    4. How old is your fridge? Does it match your stove?

    It's 10 years old and may be a bit older--we got it from the Sears outlet store; it was a repossession, when we moved into the house. Yes, actually when we bought the new stove we got it in almond to match the fridge because the white stove actually cost $20 more! (Go figure.)

    5. How regularly do you clean the inside of your fridge?

    If a shelf or bin is empty, I wash it. It doesn't get too bad because we don't store a lot of drippy things; it's just basic washing.


    Pre-emptive Strike
    We worked in the yard yesterday. Neither of us wanted to--I loathe working in the yard--but we wanted to go out there before it got too warm (it was already too warm, in the low 60s) and stop trouble before it started. This meant trimming the privet bush (which has turned into a privet tree) so it didn't touch the roof and James getting up on the ladder and cleaning out the gutters. (We have a gutter guard on the highest gutter, the one that's about 20 [30?—I'm terrible at estimating distances] feet up on the eave of the upper story, but we couldn't afford the others. We're thinking of getting those screens you can buy at Lowe's/Home Depot and put on yourself.) He also used the extensible pole we bought and scraped the dead leaves off the roof with the small rakehead; we were both happy to discover the ants had not formed a nest in it yet. I raked the leaves back from the back door and sprayed it and spread ant granules on the ground for a couple of feet and also sprayed the other doorframes and the kitchen window, and then towed innumerable privet and other tree branches out to the curb to be collected.

    (My mom once asked me irritatedly "Why did you buy a house if you didn't want to do yard work?" Well, because we were tired of the roaches that poured into our kitchen from the next door neighbor who refused to let the exterminator in his apartment, and tired of listeing to his stereo through the wall and have the floor and the walls vibrate every time our downstairs neighbor got drunk and turned his stereo up to max volume, and tired of the kids in the complex throwing rocks on the roof, and tired of our parking area that flooded every time it rained, and tired of the rats around the dumpster... It was cheaper to buy a house than to rent an apartment in a nice-enough complex where we might not have had those problems. Besides, our yard was flat, small, and had no trees on it; aside from cutting and trimming the lawn weekly and clipping the azaleas a couple of times in the summer, therre was nothing else to do!)

    We were knackered by the time we finished and cleaned up, so treated ourselves to ice cream at Bruster's. We brought Willow with us and to our utter surprise she turned her nose up at the "doggie sundae" (child's scoop of vanilla ice cream in a bowl with a dog biscuit in it) she has always loved. She scarfed down leftover rice at home afterward, so it wasn't that she was sick. How odd!


    » Sunday, March 06, 2005
    The Friday Five

    Late because it's been going up late and I forgot to check:

    1. Thing that's on your mind right now.

    My mother's health and well being. She is in some pain and also her car is still being fixed after the jerks who stole it messed it up.

    2. Songs you like.

    Petula Clark's "My Love," Rupert Holmes' "Touch and Go," the theme to Lassie.

    3. Things that make you angry.

    People talking on cell phones while driving! And child molesters/abusers.

    4. Things that make you happy.

    James, Mom, budgie songs, writing, Lassie, my books.

    5. People who have made a big impact on your life.

    My parents, James, Rupert Holmes.


    » Saturday, March 05, 2005
    Bundle from Britain II
    Played Dave Allen Live this afternoon (according to the DVD cover this is the new odd) and spent the entire 90 minutes laughing so hard that occasionally I coughed. The Dave Allen at Large television series had Dave's onstage commentary on life interspersed with jokes and short sketches; Dave Allen Live is just his stage show, commentary about life, mostly about the stresses of modern life: traffic, telephones, getting old, children, work. Think of the Bill Cosby Himself presentation of several years ago with a white Irish guy and you have about the same format. He did a wonderful piece about how adolescent males mumble when they speak to you that had us in tears of laughter.


    » Friday, March 04, 2005
    It Pays to Complain
    A few months back James complained to the Nature's Own folks that the bread he bought in Kroger on Friday was mouldy by Monday (even though it hadn't passed its sell-by date). They sent us three loaves of bread and some doughnuts.

    If you remember I mentioned that James bought me some Russell Stover sugarless chocolates for Valentine's Day, a small box of assorted candies. The chocolate coating was quite good and so was the texture; they are also not overly sweet. But the flavor left something to be desired: when I eat an orange cream I want to taste orange, and the maple cream to taste maple. James had the lemon cream and could barely taste any lemon.

    So I wrote them a note to tell them I was disappointed. I was. Their sugar-free dark chocolate candy miniatures are superb; they taste like "regular" dark chocolate--and the good stuff, too. I love their sugar-free peppermint patties as well (made with the same dark chocolate) and their sugar-free peanut butter cups are better than Reeses. James also likes the sugar-free versions of coconut-filled chocolate and caramel filled. So it was disappointing that the mixed chocolates were so flavorless, since, as I mentioned to them, that the dark chocolates and patties were so good.

    Today I found a box on the porch--from Russell Stover. As an apology they sent two boxes of the dark chocolate miniatures and two small bags of the peppermint patties! Wow! So they not only tried to make amends, but they actually read my letter!


    "Getting to Know You"
    These things get passed around in e-mail, but I like doing them in my blog, too.

    1. WHAT IS YOUR FULL NAME? With confirmation name? Linda Maria Rosa Lanzi Young
    3. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My fan. :-) I'm gonna put George Winston on in a minute...there. From "Autumn": "Colors/Dance"
    4. WHAT'S THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Quaker maple oatmeal
    7. HOW IS THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW? Cold but clear; we had a frost last night
    9. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT YOU THIS? Yes. Known her for about 20 years
    10. HOW OLD ARE YOU TODAY? Too! (49)
    11. FAVORITE DRINK? Skim milk
    12. FAVORITE SPORT? Dog agility trials (and horse jumping)
    13. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nope, glasses--can't stand the thought of putting little bits of plastic in my eyes
    14. SIBLINGS? Only child
    15. FAVORITE MONTH? October in New England, November here in Georgia. When it gets cool and the leaves are pretty!
    16. FAVORITE FOOD? Italian bread
    17. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? I think it was Isn't It Shocking?
    18. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR? Christmas!
    19. WHAT DO YOU DO TO VENT ANGER? Mutter to myself
    20. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD? My grey stuffed poodle, Fifi
    21. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter! Summer sucks!
    22. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs; they make you feel warmer
    23. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Chocolate (ugh...vanilla)
    25. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Emma Redmer (if she reads this)
    26. WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? One of the guys
    27. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS? 3-bedroom house
    28. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Tuesday night, watching the last scene of the last episode of NYPD Blue
    29. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED? It's actually a waterbed frame with mattresses in it, so...drawers!
    30. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? Played with Pidge, lifted small (2 and 3 pound) weights for about five minutes (all my elbows could stand), ate supper, dubbed off Portrait of America: Massachusetts and New York City, watched two episodes of Star Blazers and an old Ask the Manager, read my newsgroups (alt.recovery.clutter, alt.rhode-island,, and rec.arts.books.childrens), ate chicken soup with rice
    31. FAVORITE SMELLS? Fresh-baked bread, cinnamon, gingerbread, coffee (even if I can't drink it), lilacs and hyacinths (even though they make me sneeze)
    33. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? Enclosed places and fire
    34. NUMBER OF KEYS ON YOUR KEY RING? Nine, plus the "beepy" thing to my car, a small Swiss Army knife, an "Outtime" keyring ornament from Universal Studios, my Kroger Plus card tag, my Replay card tag, and a rubber expandable thing so the keys can be hung around my wrist
    35. IF YOU COULD BUILD A SECOND HOUSE ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE? Australia or New Zealand, so I could go there in the summer when it is winter there
    36. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING? My Lassie sweatshirt that Alice made me many Christmases ago
    37. THE LAST CD YOU BOUGHT? George Winston, "Montana"
    40. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR OR SUV? :-) The PT Cruiser I'm driving
    41. DO YOU BELIEVE IN AFTER LIFE? Yes, and I hope there are lots of books and budgies there
    42. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK? The Open Gate by Kate Seredy
    43. WHAT'S IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR? Two collapsable black nylon square containers, two soda bottles with water, two "cans" of oil, a bottle of transmission fluid, an ice scraper with a brush on it
    44.WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SUSHI OR HAMBURGER? Hamburger, if I have to choose, but I'd really prefer a T-bone
    45. FAVORITE DESSERT? The black tie mousse cake at Olive Garden
    46. WHAT IS GOD'S GREATEST GIFT TO YOU? Being able to write


    » Thursday, March 03, 2005
    DVD Transfer Diary
    A disk full of regional documentaries: back in the 1980s TBS did an original series hosted by Hal Holbrook called Portrait of America about each of the 50 states and a few of the big cities (they did New York and I believe there was a Los Angeles and a Chicago as well). Here I have their "Rhode Island," "Massachusetts," and "New York City" presentations.

    Also Sense of Place, a special about Rhode Island architecture hosted by David MacCaulay, and two shorts from PM Magazine: Don Bousquet, the "Beware of the Quahog" cartoonist, and Jack Major, the then entertainment editor for the Providence Journal. I once did a television survey as one of the projects in my 11th grade journalism class and sent the results to Major; he wrote an entire column about it. (For the record, this was 1973 and the favorite show of the high schoolers I surveyed was divided radically by sex: the girls' favorite series was The Waltons and the boys' was Kung Fu.)

    (So who remembers PM Magazine? This was one of those shows birthed by the prime-time access rule in the early 1970s. The show actually had two different titles. It was produced by Group W Broadcasting (Westinghouse) and shown on both Group W and non-Group W owned stations. The Group W stations showed it as Evening Magazine and the non-Group W stations showed it as PM Magazine. Group W would produce about half of the 30-minute show with features about actors, parks, people in the news, etc., then the local markets would fill in the rest of the show with segments filmed about their own particular area. The host of Providence's PM Magazine was a very young and very seventies-looking Matt Lauer.)