Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Damn you, Honey Bees...

Ever since uploading that Gilligan's Island clip yesterday, I can't get that song out of my head. All during a business meeting today, it was on "repeat":

You need us...You need us.
Like a clam needs a shell
Like a prisoner needs a cell.
Like a ding-dong needs a bell.
You need us...You need us.

Monday, August 30, 2010

(Re)Introducing the Honey Bees!

Remember this classic clip? Of course, it’s from Gilligan’s Island, and as a child in the ‘60s and ‘70s, I did my fair share of sitting right back and hearing a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. I bet I saw this episode at least ten times, as the gals take to the stage as the “Honey Bees”. Everyone loved Mary Ann and Ginger, but you have to admit Mrs. Howell is rocking her tight turtleneck sweater and mod haircut. She looks like she was having fun too! 

Seems the ladies packed really well for their three-hour tour. To each pack sweaters, white shoes, and giant honeybee brooches -- what are the chances?

I read today that Natalie Schafer was living in New York and acting in the theater - her true passion - when she was offered the role of “Lovey” Howell (did you know her character’s first name was Eunice?). Seems she agreed to film the pilot because it meant a free trip to Hawaii, but she never thought the series would get picked up. And she was a real-life millionaire, thanks to some shrewd real estate investments in Beverly Hills. When she died in 1991, most of her estate went to her poodle (and later to the Motion Picture and Television Hospital). Schafer also reportedly left a “tidy sum” to co-star Dawn Wells (Mary Ann), who helped care for her while she was ill with breast cancer. 

So any other Gilligan's Island fans out there?

Magnets in their heads

I'm going to a wedding next month where there will be loads of young women. I'll let you know about the magnet thing. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This morning's ups and downs

On the up side...my cab driver arrived ten minutes early (5:40 am) for my ride to Logan Airport.

But on the down side...he sat outside my apartment building and kept beeping his horn. Very much appreciated by other tenants and neighbors, I'm sure. I hurried to throw my last remaining items in my carry-on bag, grab my bagel and get outside; maybe I should have thrown my bagel from my third-floor window at him?

On the upside...it was a beautiful morning (it has finally stopped raining) and a quick ride to the airport.

But on the downside...Terminal C at Logan smells like dirty feet. What's up with that?

On the upside...once though security, I stop in Hudson News, a magazine-lover's paradise.  I peruse of all the glossy choices and pick up the latest Vanity Fair for my two-hour flight to Chicago.

But on the downside...I suddenly realize that I've neglected to bring my reading glasses -- and I can't read without them -- so it's over to the Foster Grant display for a $20 pair of magnifiers. I must have ten pairs of these things around the house and I can't remember to bring ONE with me?

On the upside...I approach the ticket counter at the gate, smile big, and politely ask the attendant if there is any exit row seating available on the flight. She smiles back and hands me a new ticket -- exit row window Now cruising at 35,000 feet, I have the entire exit row to myself. Sweet!!

But on the downside...wait -- there is no downside to sitting in an otherwise empty exit row. Life is good! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Watch this: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"

If you’ve read Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (and haven’t most people?) then you’ve got to rent the movie. Available now on NetFlix, the first movie made from this best-selling book was released more than a year ago in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland – and had a limited release here in the United States last spring. But be warned – it’s not an easy movie to watch. There are scenes of horrific violence against women (no surprise to those familiar with the book’s plotline), but features outstanding performances by Michael Nyqvist as journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. Entertainment Weekly says the “film makes excellent use of the cold Scandinavian landscape to emphasize the story's gloomy loneliness,” and they’ve got that right. It’s a dark, creepy film that unearths some deep family secrets.

Recent news reports say Daniel Craig (of James Bond fame) has been cast at Mikael Blomkvist in the U.S. version of this film. I don’t understand why anyone who’s seen the Swedish movie would think it needs to be re-made – or could be improved upon. 

It’s like privacy in a bag!

Trying to nap at the airport but just can’t get comfy? Or catch a few winks in the back of your car but that pesky sun is shining in your eyes? Enter The Snazzy Napper! It’s basically a triangular piece of fabric with a “cushioned eye guard” and “oval nose opening” and two strings that tie behind your head. As the commercial says, “While others toss and turn trying to get comfortable, you can rest and relax with The Snazzy Napper!” And it’s just $14.99 for the “original” Snazzy, but since I’m a big guy, I might splurge for the extra-large Snazzy for just $24.99. Or better yet, why don’t I just cut an “oval nose opening” in my Snuggie and call it a day?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Last set of Provincetown vacation photos

The view from our cottage's kitchen table.

Provincetown Harbor at sunset, from our friend's home in North Truro.

Meeting Miss Richfield after her sold-out performance at the Art House. (That's me on the left -- and the camera is shaking because Peter is laughing.)

Dinner at our friend's home, our last night in Provincetown.

The Carnival parade in Provincetown

It's the biggest week in Provincetown each summer -- "Carnival". And since this year's theme was "Jungle Fantasy", there was no shortage of zebras, Tarzans, pith helmets, monkeys, palm fronds...and beads, beads, beads. It's a wild parade and always a lot of fun.

That's comedienne Margaret Cho in the sunhat and writer Bruce Vilanch in the blue t-shirt. They were grand marshals of this year's Carnival parade. 

Salty dog

Otis was in his glory on the beach. I think the water calls to his Portuguese heritage, and since Provincetown is an old Portuguese fishing village, he's a natural. He's happy chasing the ball into the water and (sometimes) retrieving it or resting in a hole he dug under the shade of the umbrella. Like a kid, it's difficult to convince him to leave the beach at day's end. (Or maybe he was just dreading the cold rinse from the garden hose?)

Completely exhausted at day's end.

A last gasp of Cape air through the sunroof as we leave town.

A perfect week at the beach

The view from our cottage deck.

Well, we are just back from a week’s vacation in Provincetown, Massachusetts, located at the very end of Cape Cod. Despite the long-range forecast calling for five days straight of clouds and thunderstorms, we had nearly perfect weather: highs in the mid-70s and lots of sun. (Note to self: in the future, don’t get all worked up about a forecast that’s predicted seven days in advance. They are never right.)

It’s the sixth year in a row we’ve rented a small cottage studio right on the beach in the quiet East End of town. The cottage has a small kitchen and a ladder that leads to a mattress in the loft. (Second note to self: you’re getting kind of old to climb a ladder to get into bed.) The best part of the cottage is the large deck overlooking the harbor and the fact that it’s just steps away from the sand where each morning after breakfast and some very strong coffee, we dragged our lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels and settled in for the day.

Despite my best intentions to pick up and actually read a book or two on this vacation, I found myself much happier just to sit, look out into the water, play with Otis on the beach, and take lots of naps. I did start Richard Russo’s “That Old Cape Magic”, but kept dozing off every time I picked it up.

On Tuesday night, we treated ourselves to some South African food at Karoo Kafe, which is run by a woman named Sanette, who remembers us every year and serves up some unique, delicious fare. Then we took in a show -- “Miss Richfield 1981’s Bingo Bonanza” -- at the Art House on Commercial Street; it is laugh-out-loud-for-an-hour funny.  Miss Richfield, who “dedicates her life to sharing the good news about Richfield, Minnesota, where butter is a spice and gravy is a beverage,”, will be in Ptown for the rest of the summer, and this fall, is doing a show in Philadelphia. If you haven’t seen her, I’d recommend getting some tickets. She is hilarious and works hard for her money!

On Wednesday, we drove to a friend’s home in North Truro (just up the beach) for a wonderful clam and lobster back (the biggest and most delicious lobster I’ve ever eaten). And on Friday night, we joined our friends Robb, Salvador, George and Bruce at their rental house for a big Mexican feast in their backyard. (See? The whole trip wasn’t about napping…it was about eating, too!)

It was Carnival Week in Ptown, and on Thursday, there’s a big parade that draws huge crowds. As we do every year, we sat in the rear cargo hold of our SUV to watch the parade (the theme was “Jungle Fantasy”) as it goes by our cottage. Afterwards, we joined the thousands of people walking up Commercial Street for the big party at The Boatslip. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and everyone was in high spirits. We ran into into fellow blogger BosGuy, who’s posting some Carnival pictures on his site, and after a few beers and a slice of pizza at Spiritus, we made some new friends: Xander and Chad from Bangor, Maine, and Randy from Toronto, Canada.

We took a lot of photos, so I’ll be posting them in batches. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Remembering Gilda Radner

It’s hard to believe, but one of my favorite performers of all time - Gilda Radner – has been gone for more than 21 years. One of the original Saturday Night Live cast members (and the first to be hired), Gilda introduced us to such iconic characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella (“Oh…that’s very different. Never mind!”), Lisa Loopner, and Baba Wawa.  In 1979, she starred in her own Broadway show called “Gilda Radner – Live From New York”, which was later filmed and released in theaters. The movie bombed with critics, but I remember buying the movie’s soundtrack and playing it endlessly on the console stereo in the living room. I thought, aside from Lucille Ball, that Gilda Radner was the funniest person in the world.

Her movie included lots of great songs that I still remember all the words to: “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals” (the song that earned the film it’s R-rating), “I Love To Be Unhappy”, and “Goodbye Saccharin”.  But it was her closing number that always got me.  And as silly as the title seems, “Honey, Touch Me With My Clothes On”, the song is sweet, and the lyrics – written by Gilda – are touching. And who knew she could carry a tune?

What's this hole truth about this donut caper?

So you swing through the drive-through at a local donut shop on your way to work to pick up a dozen glazed donuts to bring to your co-workers (because that’s the kind of person you are). You pull away from the window and you start thinking about how good those donuts are going to taste, so you reach into the box. But instead of donuts, you find a stack of cash; $5,000 to be precise.

That’s what happened to a customer at a North Carolina Krispy Kreme store this week. Seems a clerk at the store in Fayetteville accidentally handed over a donut box that contained the store's cash receipts. The store manager had put the money in the box as a safeguard against theft, but didn’t tell the clerk. And here’s the kicker – the person who drove away with the box full of dough hasn’t returned the money.

As tempting as it would be to enjoy the $5,000 windfall, I know I’d have to turn around and bring it back to the store manager. It would be the “right” thing to do, of course, but even if I fantasized about keeping the cash, I would be a paranoid wreck. Every time I heard a siren or a knock on the door, I’d know it would be the police coming to drag me into jail. And what’s worse is that I could never return to that store and look the manager in the eye – and that would mean no more donuts for me. Shudder…

Footnote: I saw this comment on a news article. "Compared to a box of doughnuts, how much do you thing the box of money would weigh? And suppose you owned a fast food place that sold doughnuts and all of your boxes looked the same. Would you keep the box full of money next to the hundreds of identical boxes of doughnuts? It's an inside job." 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why is Steven Slater being called a hero?

JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, the guy who threw a few f-bombs over his plane's public address system and then opened an aircraft door and slid down the emergency chute (grabbing a beer on the way out), is being made out as some kind of folk hero. I tip my hat to most flight attendants -- they're constantly dealing with us grouchy and stubborn fliers whose flights have probaby been delayed and then are crammed into seats that are too small. But this story frightens me more than it amuses me. What would have happened if Mr. Slater had had an altercation with a passenger while the plane was still in the air? Would he have had the self-control to do his job -- which is to preserve our safety -- and not act out in such a rash fashion? We'll see where this story ends up, but if I ever get on a plane and Steven Slater welcomes me aboard, I'm immediately "deplaning". PS: The lady who stood up and started gathering her bags before the plane reached the gate - and then allegedly hit Mr. Slater in the head with her luggage - should be fined and banned from all future JetBlue flights.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Abercrombie & Fitch makes me feel old. Oh so very old...

I’ve been looking for a messenger bag. Ever since I got my iPad a few weeks ago (sweet!), I was in need of a new bag to carry the iPad and its wireless keyboard, and the stuff I drag back and forth to the office each day. My old briefcase was too bulky, and it was actually a promotional item I received at a social media conference last year, so there was a big cheesy logo on it.

So during my lunch hour today, I drove over to South Shore Plaza in Braintree. I started at Macy’s (just traditional luggage), then headed to Banana Republic (no good options), and then to The Gap (a contender but not exactly what I was looking for). Then I crossed the threshold of Abercrombie & Fitch.

Listen: I know I’m three times older than the typical A&F customer and I’m nowhere near their target demographic. It was like walking into a hot nightclub, complete with hardcore dance music blaring through the sound system. The young lady (12? 13?) folding jeans near the front door yelled something unintelligible in greeting – I just waved and kept moving, peering through the darkness to see if they had any racks of messenger bags. I got to the back of the store where three young employees – all with impossibly-white teeth – smiled at me (“Poor old man,” their eyes said. “Must have wandered away from his group.”). One of the young men yelled something to me over the music. “Excuse me?” I said, leaning toward him with my good ear. “I said our jeans can make you a superstar!” he yelled, with a big goofy smile.  “Yeah, right!” I yelled back, and turned back to the entrance, carefully following the trail of Geritol tablets I had dropped in my path.

I ended up at Filene’s Basement, where I found the exact bag I had envisioned. It’s a dark grey Ben Sherman (ooooh…Ben Sherman!) canvas bag, and all my stuff fits perfectly inside. Maybe I'll put it over my shoulder and venture back into Abercrombie & Fitch and show those young whippersnappers what a cool old man looks like!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ship happens

These photos represent three more reasons why I love my terra firma. This container ship smashed into another vessel off India’s coast near Mumbai over the weekend. Thankfully, all 33 crew members were rescued and the more than 200 containers that fell into the ocean are being collected. But the ship is leaking oil and it's spreading toward the coast. To top things off, monsoon rains and strong winds are making things even more difficult. Did I mention you couldn’t pay me enough to be anywhere near this ship? I find these photos truly frightening…

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One man's Castle

Having Castle Island in our backyard is a total luxury. The site, a 22-acre plot that looks out into Boston Harbor, is home to Fort Independence, the eighth generation of forts to occupy the site since 1643. And aside from its historical value, Castle Island offers visitors lush green lawns, unparalleled views, beaches, walkways, playgrounds, the perfect venue for watching planes take off and land from Logan Airport, and “Sullivan’s”, a great spot for cheap hot dogs, French fries, fried clams, and some of the best people-watching in the city.

After a long day of doing nothing, we drove Otis over to Castle Island for a late afternoon walk. It’s one of his favorite places in the world, evidenced by his crying, whining, and hopping around the back seat as we approached the parking lot. Here are some scenes from our visit.

Two requests: 1. Get a room. 2. Wash your feet.

We met another Portuguese Water Dog. His name is Basco and he had what his owner's called a "silver coat". Have never seen a Portie with this type of markings. He was really cute.


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