Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Saturday Picture Show, September 26, 2020


I love fall colors so much, I thought I'd treat us to them twice today. This first one takes some looking up.
Not sure how many of you recognize this fella - he's PacMan's grandfather.
In the season finale of nighttime soap opera "Dallas" in 1986, Bobby Ewing returned from the dead, since he had never been really dead, but still needed a shower. In 1999, "Family Guy" dragged him out and soaped him up again, but this time, when Pam told him it was all a dream she saw on "Family Guy," all Bobby could say were the three most memorable words of December 1999, as we all careered toward who-knew-what in Y2K. He said, "What's Family Guy?"
This building at Ellis Island in New York Harbor is now part of a museum of American Immigration. When this picture was taken, the building was abandoned, prior to refurbishment. But you have to wonder how many came here, saw the Statue of Liberty, and set about making their new life in a new land that very day.
This is the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street, recently redecorated to salute our beloved fearless Justice Ginsburg.
Young people today might find it odd to even dream that there were men who drove around the neighborhood in the olden days, leaving milk and butter and eggs and cheese on your porch.
Old Corvettes are always a popular attraction at antique car fests. I always laugh to think of the old show "Route 66," in which Martin Milner, along with George Maharis or Glenn Corbett, roamed from town to town across America, finding odd jobs and romance before hopping back in the car, bound for the next burg, and more romance and adventure. What amused me was the thought that with a car like that, they hardly had room to pack more than a toothbrush and comb, and yet every week they were all togged out in all sorts of attire. 
Still lake, mirror image. Happy Fall!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Marshmallow out

I'm going to report this story to you straight, with no editorial comments about how little I care for Peeps, those marshmallow candies so prized by so many who like marshmallow. I do like to keep some on hand, just in case I am dealing with a hole or gouge in the drywall. Peeps make excellent replacement spackle!

The dreadful little things (that's the last one, I promise!) are made by the good people over at Just Born Quality Confections, and they are saying that you won't find Halloween Peeps this year, and don't look for them at Christmastime either!

Pumpkins, ghosts and monsters are all the usual starting lineup for Halloween Peeps, and I guess Christmas peeps look like little trees and gingerbread people, but they're all officially on break until 2021.

And if you're one of those cheapskates whose idea of a nice Valentine's Day gift is a dozen Valentine Peeps, guess what, fella? You're SOL too (Short On Luck).

Just Born is up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and they knocked off all candy production in April due to the you-know-what. They did it to protect the health and safety of their employees during the pandemic.

They made some upgrades to their plant and reopened in May, but that still put them behind in production and stock.

"This situation resulted in us having to make the difficult decision to forego production of our seasonal candies for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day in order to focus on meeting the expected overwhelming demand for Peeps for next Easter season, as well as our everyday candies," according to a company statement.

Of course! Peeps that look like yellow chicks are the big deal during Easter season, so they are throwing all their eggs in that basket, so to speak, and cranking out Peeps at a rate of roughly 2 billion a year.

Oh, by the way, no luck for your Halloween and Christmas Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike fruit candies.

I don't like them either, in case you were heading out to do some shopping today. Peanut M & Ms, Almond Joy, Snickers, and Peppermint Patties, now you're talking.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Resort town says "Stay Away"

Imagine what it takes for the mayor of a beach resort town to ask people to stay away from the seaside this weekend, but that's what's happening in Ocean City, MD right now, because of a "social media event" in which hundreds of carheads will descend on the town to drive their cars, park their cars, do funny things in the public roads with their cars, and generally annoy people with their cars.

Mayor Rick Meehan of Ocean City, Maryland, says attendees of this annual unwanted car rally cause problems by terrorizing the town.

Meehan figures the exhilarated accelerators will be screeching their way into town even now, ahead of the weekend. He worries that people won't be safe and he's put in place strict rules with tough punishments for scofflaws.

Meanwhile, local residents and people who unfortunately chose this weekend for a nice little seaside getaway will get to enjoy lots of noise, traffic delays, and crowds. Businesses are being told to sign up to have police keep an eye on their property, especially after hours.

They call this event H2Oi (I guess for the ocean water) and last year, one of the Phi Beta Kappa candidates racing around out of control hit bystanders on the street. Very nice gathering.

This year, there are new rules allowing the police to write more expensive tickets and impound cars under Maryland's new "Special Event Zone" law. With other agencies lending support to Ocean City's relatively small police force, there will be some 200 police on duty at all times all weekend long. Last year, 1,400 tickets were issued to violators, and odds are that figure will be eclipsed this weekend.

“Due to the pop-up car rally, this upcoming weekend is not going to be a typical fall weekend at the beach,” said Mayor Meehan. “We encourage our residents to avoid traveling on Coastal Highway if possible, as traffic is going to be unusually heavy. In addition, we urge our visitors seeking a family-friendly experience to plan a visit to Ocean City for another weekend. We pride ourselves on being a coastal community that everyone can enjoy year-round, but unfortunately, we are asking everyone to please exercise caution before deciding to visit Ocean City this weekend.”

The mayor added that some bars and restaurants are shuttering their doors, rather than deal with all this commotion, thus losing out on more revenue during a horrible year for business.

And all this is due to these gearheads. Let me say this: all my life, I have looked at cars and trucks as vehicles, useful for getting from one place to another and hauling a load of whatever from A to B. I buy reliable cars and pay people to maintain them so I can reasonably expect that they will a) start  b) stop and c) haul home a case of seltzer.

All this aside, I fully understand that some people are into their cars like I'm into reading, writing, listening to music and baking cornbread. And that's perfectly oke with me. Hunky dory. You want to spend the day in the garage waxing your Willys, go right ahead! Gapping the spark plugs for your Suzuki? Have at it! Putting tires on your Tesla? Good for you! Changing the oil in the Oldsmobile? Be my guest.

BUT - your love of cars and driving them in a flamboyant, illegal manner on the public highway is where we come in conflict. Unless you would be ok with me shutting down a road so I could put my desk out in the open air, or moving my oven into your living room so I could turn out a batch of cornbread, you don't get to close the roads for your hobby.

I urge all who wish to behave like this to buy a very large piece of land and pave over it, and you and your friends can do burnouts and wheelies and modify your cambers to your hearts' content.

Sound fair? 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bottoms Up

This summer, we saw Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on the news quite a bit. There was unrest in her city and grumpy governor Kemp of Georgia got all up in her business when she required all within the city limits of ATL to wear masks during a virulent virus outbreak and Kemp ruled that no mayor had the right to do so, even though other cities in GA had similar rules and Kemp pretended he didn't know that. As it turned out, Kemp threw out his own dumb rule, making himself look quite the fool.

I have been impressed with her handling of major issues in her town but it came as a whole shock to me when I was listening to the 60s on 6 channel and heard them play the classic Major Lance song from 1962, "The Monkey Time" (#8 Billboard in 1962.) DJ Dave Hoeffel mentioned that Major's daughter Keisha was the mayor of Atlanta, and I hereby forgive all my friends in ATL who kept this vital information from me.

To be fair, some of those friends are way too young to remember Major Lance and his two hits. His other Top Ten Hit, "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," was #5 Billboard in 1963. Major Lance grew up in Chicago, hanging around with future stars Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield of The Impressions. Mayfield wrote both of Major's hits. Their style of music was called "Northern Soul," and it became very popular in England, so much so that when his records weren't selling here in America, Major moved to England in the late 60s, backed up on tour by a band called Bluesology, whose piano player was a fellow named Reg Dwight.

After returning to America, Major Lance did not know success or peace; he wound up in prison for four years for cocaine possession and distribution, and also lost his sight due to glaucoma. He died in 1994 at age 55, just after daughter Keisha's law school graduation and just before her marriage.

About the funeral, she says, "a group of “eccentric-looking white men” attended Major's service, and Bottoms didn’t realize that one of them was Elton John until he left.

For the record, Elton John was Reg Dwight until he changed his name. I love how the story hangs together in the end!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Up Euphemism Creek

  I'm a big fan of Chris Elliott (we have our annual convention in a very tiny room) so I watched the "Schitt's Creek" show when it started out. Back in those days, it was on the beloved TV Guide Channel, which then became Pop TV when people realized that most of us figured The TV Guide Channel was something that showed what time the King of Queens rerun came on.

I liked the show, the whole fish-out-of-familiar water premise, and the trademark Chris Elliott snark went well with the goofiness of the Levys père et fils. I lost the show somehow, heard that Chris had left, and somehow managed to go on with my life without "Schitt's Creek."

I've heard that it was on Netflix now and very popular, and I thought it was nice to hear the other night that the show, and the actors on it, won every Emmy award for this year. 

And then came the morning TV shows, when all the network people shied away from naming the show. On the Today Show, Hoda Kotb grumbled mildly that she was not allowed to say the name of the big winner because NBC only allows them to say "that word" once.

In a nation where the president spews indelicate profanities with the zest of a longshoreman, in a world where any sort of language can be heard on the playgrounds and radio shows and classrooms, it seems to be almost quaint to see Hoda and Savannah with their knickers in a spin over a homophone for poop.

Please don't Bowdlerize my news! 

I can hear you saying, "I would never Bowdlerize your news," but that's a term derived from a Dr Thomas Bowdler (1754 - 1825) an English physician of whom it can be truly said that he was born in a town called Box, near Bath, and is buried in a place called Oystermouth.

And oh yes, he found it necessary to produce expurgated versions of great books written by others. He removed all the words that might make one giggle or blush from fine literature written by that naughty Mr Shakespeare, and others, and for his inane efforts he will be remembered with the word "bowdlerize," meaning to "remove 'offensive' material from the writings of others, rendering the work less meaningful."

Another person whose name became a verb was Horace Fletcher, a 19th century man who, with no background in medicine or physiology whatsoever, proclaimed that we should chew every bit of food 32 times ("one for every tooth"). Fletcher became known as the "Great Masticator" and to this day, chewing your food 32 times is called "fletcherizing" it.

I hope I gave you something to chew on.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Drawing attention

In my long-ago high school days, the joint was so packed with us baby boomers that the administration had to stagger dismissal times. One fleet of us left on school buses and then, when another yellow flotilla of wheeled chariots arrived, more kids got to leave.  

But to avoid having everyone and his/her brother mobbing the halls at the time of first dismissal, only students bearing the coveted "first bus" card could leave their 7th period class. All the rest had to sit around in the time-honored desultory fashion of teenagers everywhere, staring at the bulletin boards.

Most of us who rode the early buses pasted the "first bus" card to the front of their notebooks, to be shown on demand to hypervigilant teachers. I had one, although I rarely rode the bus home.

I was in a hurry to get to Smetana's Delly at York Rd & Burke Av so I could have a cold cut sub and chips and spend some time in the company of lazy Towson State students, before moving along to Read's Drugstore for ice cream, before hitchhiking home to dinner. All while weighing 140 lbs.

But our Spanish teacher, the late Jorge Ordóñez, was hypervigilant about being hypervigilant. One day he proudly told us that he had caught some kid who had gotten some paper the same color as the bus passes, and hand-lettered a fakeroo. Remember, this was long before the days of color xerography and technology.

So impressed was Sr. Ordóñez that he said he decided to encourage the young forger's efforts by requiring him to make 25 more of the fakes, which he then tore up.  Lesson learned, 60's style. I have no idea how long it took to make all those bogus bus passes but it was more than a while.

Which brings us to Kentucky 2020, where a hapless motorist found himself short on the price of a license tag for his beater. So he made his own, with Sharpie and a few hours of work!

The unidentified motorist gets extra points from me for making the 290 JCC characters look faded and worn.  But it was something else that drew the attention of eagle-eyed law enforcement down in Old Kaintuck.

He forgot to add a drawn-on registration sticker up in the corner!

All this took place in bucolic Millersburg, about 100 miles east of Lousville. Officers pulled him over for lacking the sticker, and then found out this loser had no insurance and was driving on a suspended license.

Once he's free to cross state lines, he should drive up here and I would take him to Smetana's for a cold cut sub, chips, and a Coke, except they tore Smetana's down to build a damn Starbucks.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday Rerun: As the nosy landlady said, "I heard a roomer"

When my father reached his dotage, he was still holding up pretty well for someone well into his 80s.

But one thing that went afoul for him was his hearing.  He used to say that he could no longer hear high-pitched, annoying sounds, like the little hourly chirp on his digital watch, and the phone ringing, and being called to do something when all he wanted to do was read his newspaper.

He made hearing loss a gain! Who wants to be disturbed by shrieks, human or otherwise?

And now comes news of a woman named Chen over in sunny China. She has a hearing disorder that is making her the envy of women all over the world: she can no longer hear men’s voices.

Forbes reports that she woke up one day and just couldn't hear her boyfriend speak.

There is a name for this, and I see lots of you looking it up right now. Google "reverse slope hearing loss" and find out that it means she can't hear low frequencies, such as male voices, and the sound of  – which includes the average male voice, Forbes reports.

“She was able to hear me when I spoke to her, but when a young male patient walked in, she couldn’t hear him at all,” said Chen's doctor, Lin Xiaoqing.
Image result for ear
It can be a genetic thing, just as if your parents didn't have any children, you can't either. But doctors who know stuff tell us that reverse slope hearing loss could also come from stress and not getting enough sleep.  And being stressed over not getting enough sleep.

Chen has been told that her condition is temporary and she should recover fully. She knows that because a female doctor told her so.

I'm notifying my HMO that a large contingent of female patients will soon descend upon their physicians' offices, complaining of not hearing a word their husbands are yakking.