Friday, February 5, 2016

Advice from Richard Gere

Richard Gere makes a lot of sense to me, in many ways.  This is from the Richard Gere Online Facebook page...

"My friend's mom has eaten healthy all her life. Never ever consumed alcohol or any "bad" food, exercised every day, very limber, very active, took all supplements suggested by her doctor, never went in the sun without sunscreen and when she did it was for as short a period as possible- so pretty much she protected her health with the utmost that anyone could. She is now 76 and has skin cancer, bone marrow cancer and extreme osteoporosis.
My friend's father eats bacon on top of bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never and I mean never exercised, was out in the sun burnt to a crisp every summer, he basically took the approach to live life to his fullest and not as others suggest. He is 81 and the doctors says his health is that of a young person.
People you cannot hide from your poison. It's out there and it will find you so in the words of my friend's still living mother: " if I would have known my life would end this way I would have lived it more to the fullest enjoying everything I was told not to!"
None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else."

Mmmmmmmmmm Bacon!
I remember shortly after John Lennon was gunned down, his widow, Yoko Ono, said that she and John had been trying to eat very healthy food so as to foster a long life, and that after John's murder, she told her son Sean, "Eat what you doesn't matter."

And of course, I am one who often repeats the fact that Jim Fixx, a healthy man who wrote "The Complete Book of Running," died of a severe, sudden heart attack after his daily jog in 1984, which meant that he did not live long enough to read about how Keith Richards mixed his father's ashes with cocaine and snorted them.

Before we focus on the dietary advice above...and no, I am not recommending that we all begin eating duck fat wedged into Krispy Kreme donuts...let's also pay attention to the part about jumping into the ocean and walking in the sunshine and saying your truth.  

I have not died yet, but I have lost people I love, and the signals I get from them above are unmistakable.  You'll regret the things you didn't do much more than those you did.  It doesn't cost you a nickel to tell someone they look nice today, and who knows?  It might be the first time they've heard it today!

Meanwhile, who wants some bacon?! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy birthday, Peggy!

Falling in love with Peggy was easy for me, but I hear all the time about people who have trouble staying in love. It only took me about 3 seconds to figure out why I stay in love with my wife of almost 43 years. It's the same reason we keep tuning in to see what Victor and Nikki are up to, or why we look forward to the next John Grisham novel (I guess some people do) or the release of the 2017 Buicks or what's next on McDonald's Dollar Menu.

It's because Peggy is this marvelous flower who blooms in another way every time I see her!  When we met, she was shy and quiet and mainly kept to herself, but over the years, she has evinced interests in music, art, reading, philosophy, faith, self-improvement, and home decor.  She reads, she journals, she takes art classes, she does things around the house, she keeps up with friends old and new, and I sit here watching YouTube videos of iceskating dinosaurs.

I'll show you how classy people think Peggy is, and with good reason:  I came to work one day telling a friend that Peggy had so enjoyed the great film masterpiece "Ernest Goes To Jail" - especially the part where Ernest thoughtfully bites into his pen - and then, my co-worker insisted that I give her Peggy's phone number so she could verify that a woman so cultured would enjoy anything so lowbrow.  You know, like stuff I like.

So today, as Peggy turns __ ___ years of age (sorry, but the numbers on my keypad won't work right today) I send her my love and best wishes, with my thanks for being the book I love to read every day, because who knows what the next page will bring?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Let's Go On With the Show

Vanessa and her father 
I'm not the sort who goes crazy for Broadway musicals.  

I fell asleep in the mighty Majestic Theater as the candelabra plummeted earthward in "Phantom Of The Opera."  For real.  

I do love "The Music Man," about a flamboyant huckster who goes to Iowa and sells the local rubes a bill of goods, based on false hope in empty promises.

But that couldn't happen again, right?

And I love "Grease."  We saw it in the movies when it came out in '78 and we must have seen it a hundred times on VHS and DVD. Even went to the movies again to see a 20th Anniversary re-release in '98.  I have the soundtrack on LP, cassette, CD and mp3. There's not a song from that show that I can't sing in my car...oh those summer nights!

So I was pleased to see the live performance on FOX the other night.  "Grease Live" was everything I could have hoped for, and as it came on, I was glad it was on the DVR so we can watch it over and over (until the DVD comes out!)

I saw online, as the show came on, that Vanessa Hudgens had lost her father late on Saturday night just before she went on live as Rizzo on Sunday.  He had been ill with cancer for a while, but I can tell you, even though the death of a parent seems imminent for some months, it still hits hard when it happens.  

But, in the finest showbiz tradition, Vanessa went on live tv right after losing her dad, and she killed it.  She knocked that role into the next county, first tweeting that she was doing the show in his honor.  Here she is with the showstopper "There Are Worse Things I Could Do." 

There's an old song by Irving Berlin, sung by Ethel Merman in "Annie Get Your Gun," about show business...

There's no business like show business like no business I know
You get word before the show has started
that your favorite uncle died at dawn
Top of that, your pa and ma have parted,
you're broken-hearted, but you go on...
It's corny and old-fashioned, and I'm not saying that you should still go to work rounding up carts at the Try 'N' Save hours after you lose a parent, but this aspect of show business is worthy of note. Surely Vanessa Hudgens had a million things on her mind when she started dancing around those stages on Sunday evening, but those million things allowed her to focus on the thing that mattered at show time: doing her best to entertain.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snow Grief: It's a thing

They say there are five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and the same is just about true for when a major snowstorm approaches a large metropolitan area.

Denial is when everyone quotes their favorite television meteorologist and dismisses the forecast given by "the guy (or lady) on the other station."  There are those who stand by the words of Marty Bass or Tom Tasselmyer to the very end, and would not grab an umbrella if anyone else said it was fixin' to rain big time.

Anger is when it has snowed and the schools aren't closed.  Or when the schools are closed, or traffic is backed up to Harrisburg, or the snowblower won't blow, or you can't find the shovel, or the boss still expects you in on time because you're the only one who knows where the K-Cups are locked up.

Bargaining is when you finally get the kids off to the bus stop with promises of mac and cheese the next seven nights, or when you find someone willing to let them hang around on a snow day, or when you get behind a snow plow on Perring Parkway and zip right up the road, or you make a deal with the kid up the block to shovel your driveway for a salary just short of what they pay Manny Machado, or when you finally get to work and find that Debbie from Accounting stopped at Draggin' Dognuts and brought in a Jumbo Java for everyone.

Depression is when the school closes early after all and there goes your personal leave time that you had saved, because you have to leave work for that, or when everyone comes home soaked and cranky, or when your windshield is cracked by a flying clod of salt, or when the kid up the block wants his money.  Sure cure for depression is to remember it could be worse.  You could have a Coldplay CD jammed into your CD player and that's all you can hear.  Even worse, you could have a Coldplay CD.

Acceptance is when the roads are clear, the windshield is repaired, no one is seriously injured, the boss gives everyone a free day off for all the inconvenience, the kid up the street comes back and shovels the next little snow for free and you realize that the time Coldplay will be playing during the Super Bowl is only 11 1/2 minutes. And you can suffer through anything for that long! You've survived the Blizzard of '16!

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's all relative

Yes, I was that kid who read the almanac and the encyclopedia and the dictionary all the time, because I love facts.  Odd facts, please. I mean, the average 7th grader knows more than I about the planets, the dinosaurs, how Medicare works, and why -7 x -7 =49. No one will ever convince me that if you're 7 dollars down, and things get 7 times worse, you're suddenly 49 bucks up.
The Vargases 

But different facts interest me.  I mean, it's fun to be able to point out that Lana Clarkson, the woman who played weird science teacher Mr Vargas's wife in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," was the woman who was allegedly killed by record producer Phil Spector in a shooting incident in Spector's mansion in 2003.

Curtis and Pee Wee
I also love to see actors in other roles, although I am not capable of realizing that Lawrence Fishburne is no longer Cowboy Curtis on Pee Wee's Playhouse.  Every time I see Meryl Streep in another movie, it's like she is a whole different person.  That really interests me, that someone could become someone else just by acting.
Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper
as Fred and Doris Ziffel
So we're watching some old show the other day, and an actress looked familiar.  "She looks like Fred Ziffel's wife!" I pointed out, referencing the farm family from "Green Acres."  So I grabbed my phone, and said, "OK, Google! Who played Fred Ziffel's wife?"

(I have plenty of free time.)

Google didn't know, but it told me that the part of Fred Ziffel, father of Arnold the Pig, was played by one Elmer Calvin "Hank" Patterson (1888 - 1975), a crusty old guy who played crusty old guys in hundreds of movies and TV shows.  

I read the Wikipedia entry on ol' Hank, and the very last line knocked me off my kitchen stool. 

               The stunning Ms Leoni
It said, "Patterson's great-niece is actress Téa Leoni."

Téa Leoni, star of "Madam Secretary," whom I regard as one of the most beautiful women alive!  Téa Leoni, about whom I could always mention, in connection with all those years we trick-or-treated for UNICEF, that her paternal grandmother, Helenka Pantaleoni, was the president of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for 25 years! Téa Leoni, forced to divorce her former husband David Duchovny because Duchovny revealed to the world that he is some sort of sex pervert! 

Arnold loved TV
My fair Téa, great niece of Arnold Ziffel! How about that!

I still don't know all the names of all the planets.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday rerun: Don't let this happen to you!

Zookeepers and others involved in the care and feeding of brass monkeys all across the Eastern United States are reporting that there are hardly any new ones being born!

Brass monkeys are traditional adornments for the well-to-do and the well-done, for the hale and hearty, the lean, the lank, the content, the querulous, in their swanky mansions and spare huts.  They are said to bring good luck to those who display them, and good fortune to all those who gaze upon them in the course of their daily meanderings.

And they just look so nice out on the porch, gazing beneficently on all who pass by!

But scientists and fanciers of metal animal replicas are all concerned by the recent, huge, decline in the birth rate of the primates in the phylum Chordata, subphylumVertebrata, class Mammalia orichalcum - the common brass monkey, so beloved of American decorators and the locals of the United Brass Workers International.

Renowned expert Adel Vice, reached at his office high on a hill, pointed out that it's believed that the tendency of many Americans to leave their brass monkeys outside on nights like last night is to blame.

"People know good and well what happens when a brass monkey is left out in sub-freezing temperatures," he said in a phone interview that I just made up.  "It doesn't have to happen this way.  When you hear two 'thuds' on the porch in the middle of the night, it's already too late."

Don't let this happen to you!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Saturday Picture Show, January 30, 2016

52 years ago this past week, America got a gift to help the 1960s finally begin.

Abe Vigoda passed away this week.  His performance as Sal Tessio in "The Godfather" was excellent.  Imagine being led away to a turncoat's death and still being able to say, "Tell Mike it was only business. I always liked him."  Then, when he asks consiglieri Tom Hagen to "get him off the hook, for old times' sake, Tom says, "Can't do it, Sally."  This reminds me of the Beatles' song "Long Tall Sally," and the fact that Sal Tessio is the tallest "Sally" I ever knew.

It certainly is a "privledge" to see how well Mr Brady can spell "alot" of the words he uses.  
Mugs for grammar lovers.  What a "grate" idea!

It must be fun to check into a hotel and find that your outfit perfectly matches your surroundings.  It's like being a chameleon!
The burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) is a small, long-legged owl found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. Notice the genus "athene." Athene was the Greek goddess of wisdom. And that's why we call owls "wise." And they don't give a hoot!

I remain obsessed with the musical talent of Phil Spector, who gave us such great music back in the day.  But his personal demons took him away from all that and led him to the prison hospital ward where he is living out his life. This picture was taken at the top of his fame and success.  How sad that his music wasn't enough for him to be happy.  I listen to it all the time; I just have to separate the music from the man.

In Baltimore, we got enough snow last weekend to allow for all sorts of creativity.  Notice the attention to detail in this Snoopy tribute...the artist took a quick "paws" as he/she finished up...