Sunday, May 30, 2021

(L)One Star out of Five ain't good: How does Memphis Hatwrks see itself

By now you have most likely heard about asshats at a store in Nashville, Tennesse, who think it's merchandising a Star of David patch to advertise their callous position that being an anti-vaxer in America is akin to being a Jew in Germany during WWII.  And then the alleged owner, took a photo - pleased as punch mind you - wearing that star which now reads "NOT VACCINATED". 

Evidently, said woman, thought this was a good idea.  Other articles talk about that and how she is defending the creation of the symbol while attacking those who find it offensive.   

That's a bit like a car theif claiming to the court that they are innocent because there are people out there murdering people, so ignore what I have done and be outraged over something that is worse than I have committed. 

Doesn't work well as a defense, does it? No.

She didn't name those other more outrageous things, she just uses them as her shield of self-rightousness. 

And you'll have no problem finding an image of said owner proudly wearing what other people know is an outrage. After all, she is entitled to her opinions, and we are entitled to our opinions.

But Cookie was curious - what else do they sell that demonstrates their profound lack of skill about the world around them.  After all, stealing a symbol of torture and slaughter for your own deplorable purpose doesn't happen in a vacuum.  It's usually an accomplishment, according to the Peter Principle.

First, we need to clarify something. Nashville Hatwrks seems to revel in the fact that they have a "Lone Star" attitude.  You know, that school of thought that leads people to say things like "Don't Mess with Texas".  

To the owner, the Yellow Star of Anti-vax is just another example of that "Lone Star" pride.

So Cookie went to their site, TODAY, and found something that is quite common - a company branding piece of appearing.  After all,  L.L. Bean sells tee shirts with their logo on them, so do other companies.  So why wouldn't these people?

My search criteria were simple, just the word "shirt". 

If you want to verify me and the finding, go ahead and copy the following link to said piece of merchandise is: https://www.hatwrks.com/products/hw-tee-lone-star?_pos=2&_sid=590e18089&_ss=r 

Evidently, even day-to-day irony is lost on the people running this store. They think that this shirt calls attention to the fact that they are the Lone Star Store. 

But isn't a "lone star" is an ALONE star? 

Not a star that is different from the others near it. 

There are no other stars near a Lone Star because it's supposed to be alone.  Even Merriam Webster breaks it down for us thus:

1) LONE - "having no company: Solitary.
2) STAR - "A conventional or stylized representation of a star, typically having five or more points."

That "ART? That one star is not alone.  They are four stars to the left.  Empty Stars.

So shirt says that Nashville Hatwrks is a store that only ranks one out of five stars.   

That's right folks, they are selling shirt what looks like a terrible rating on Yelp.  

And the irony? They are the ones giving their own store and their brand, one out of five stars.

Now imagine the people walking around wearing the said shirt, or said ball cap.  Well, they are a hat store so they have to advertise on a hat.  

The only star that is alone on that shirt art is a pure WHITE star. 

And the irony of that? 

That's their mindset and their misplaced point of pride. 

UPDATE:  News sites are telling us that Stetson Hats is dropping  Nashville Hateworks, I mean Nashville Hatwrks as a client. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Family is stranger than fiction:

 

Cookie has had nights where he is just so overwhelmed that his brain feels full.



As a genealogist, I come across some really odd news items and head-scratching stuff.   You never know where someone's line will take you. 

And as any genealogist, professional or avocational, you really hope that you uncover something meaty, something really interesting.   I have in the past. 

But reader, let me tell you, the line that plopped in my lap three weeks ago is beyond anything I ever imagined.  Methodism. Intrigue. Adultery. Money. The Gershwin Brothers!

This tree has taken me from Ohio to Nebraska, to Los Angeles, around the world in a boat, Spokane Washington, Cleveland, London, New York, Florida, and Mount Kisco!  Multiple marriages!  Multiple Divorces!

And a stolen child. 

Yes, you heard me - a stolen child. 

But the most amazing part of all of this is that two sisters in the middle of all of this, both marry weel, and one becomes the husband of one of the most powerful men behind the American Songbook era.  So now they are involved with both Gershwins, Lerner & Lowe, Rogers and Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, etc. and so on.  

Things finally normalize, after 1940, but a wow. 

Unfortunatly, I can't tell much more than that.   And my brain is so full that I cannot see to organize any of this.  I have taken to writing everything in snippets trying to put my professional hat on.  But the hat is way too small at the moment and my head is so full facts. 

AND I don't have a release from my client. 

So now I start looking for the stuff that wants to really remain hidden.  I can't get my hands on the hearings regarding the stolen child.  Even though it happened in the 1920s, its still a sealed juvenile record.  But the other stuff is out there - I just have to figure out where to look.

But wow.  Wow indeed.






Saturday, May 15, 2021

A day of celebration!

 Dear Ones:

Today the anniversary that the husband I observe.  24 years ago today, we became a couple.  And 22 years ago today, we celebrated that couplehood with a big party, all our friends and immediate family. 

In August we have two more observations: Our 13th wedding anniversary.  We were one of the first couples from a state that forbade same-sex marriages to get married in Massachusetts after they ditched that horrible law that was based on mixed-race marriages.  And then in the third week, we will have known one and other for - and get this - FORTY YEARS!

In all those years what I have learned is that your forever happiness is whatever you make it, and whomever you choose.  But as a couple, I needed my compliment to find my equal and realize how damn lucky I was. 

Big doings? 

Fillet's for dinner, and British mysteries for entertainment tonight. 

___________________

A dishwasher update: 

They came, they saw, they fiddled, and then admitted it's beyond their skills.  The washer arm is is "on" but not securely.  So we'll see.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The dishwasher that isn't getting repaired

 



For a second, lets think back - way, way back to the days when Kitchen Aid Dishwashers were made by the Hobart Company of Ohio.  Built like a tank - they worked for years and years and year. 

Then they were bought out by Whirlpool and they are now total crap.   Our Kitchen Aid, a high line stainless steel number, is five years old, has stopped working.  And the Warrantech extended warranty is useless. 

So far, Warrantech has displaced the appliance repair equivalent of the keystone cops to our home, twice.  Make that once.

They were here last Tuesday, ostensibly to fix our super deluxe impeller which stopped rotating at Easter.   Tweedle dee and tweedle dee'er came in - they were nice guys - and they fiddled with it for the better part of an hour, they got it back on, but it wobbled.  Off they went. 

Well, it turned alright until it flew off again, and again. 

So I called Warrantech for a second appointment.  Do I have to have these guys back?  Oh yes. Fine.  When? Tuesday.  All right, Tuesday. 

Tuesday they didn't show, and they didn't return the call.  After multiple attempts, I got an answer: "I didn't go into the office to check emails today.  But it at your house today.  I'll call tonight."  

When he didn't call back, I called the warranty company.  The operator in Texas said that they couldn't transfer the service because that company had started the procedure.  "Call us back tomorrow if he doesn't show up."

Cookie is a team player, because Cookie wants this remedied. 

Well, when they didn't show up today by noon, I called the repair company.  Their answer?  "We'll get you on Friday."  So back to the warranty company.

"They what?" the next operator said.   "No, they have to be at your house today."

Well, they aren't coming today. 

And so it goes.  Now we wait until Friday. 

But I did tell them that they had a problem. Look, I pointed out, these guys don't know what they are doing.  And if you keep sending them here and they aren't fixing the damned thing, they could be breaking it - and that replacement is on you.  You don't want to have to replace it, but under the terms of the contract, you will have to.  And they aren't doing you any favors, because they are taking your money and not doing the job according to the contract.  They make you look bad."

Cookie has options. And they know it. And they won't win.  But it could take some time. 

Still, if you have the money to spend and you are replacing your dishwasher, do what we didn't do - talk to a rock-solid repairman and find out from them which dishwashers never need service calls.  And for God's sake stay away from Warrantech. 

In the meantime, we have a lovely dishwasher and it isn't working. 



Friday, April 30, 2021

Cookie is fully ripened.

 Per the experts, it has been 14 days since my second COVID shot in my protocol.  Therefore I declare that Cookie is fully protected to the best ability of my vaccine type, Pfizer.   So I guess I have ripened.


Of course, Cookie isn't stupid.   The vaccine is only 94% effective from full protection under the current risk set.  So I am STILL going mask, when outside of our home, unless I am in a small group of known fully vaccinated people. 

There are seven homes on our block and ALL of us will be fully vaccinated in two weeks.  I am thrilled!

It isn't that I don't trust that vaccine.  I do, and so should you.  But Cookie has no need to press my luck, either.  And you should do the same. 

Get vaccinated.  Be smart.  Play smart.  Live to see another day. 


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Cookie on the edge of a nervous breakdown

 

Pepa, what is in this gazpacho?  "Tomats, pepinos, cebola, barbituatos..."

Sometimes, Cookie thinks that he is trapped in a nightmare, not of his own making.  I do wake up from these, which is better than the alternative, which seems like a bad way to go.

And then there are the nightmares that he finds himself within life.  In Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown, Pedro Almodovar examines the issues of farce and circumstance.  How we hang ourselves waiting on the whim of possibly getting something reasonable from someone we need to get approval from because we played by the rules. But in reality, we hold the cards by hanging in there.

Case in point, the nightmare haunting me day in and day out since the third week of January 2020 has been the New York City Health Department, a Byzantine bureaucracy screwier than any Almovador movie.

In the 1930s, the State of New York passed one of the strictest adoption privacy laws in the United States.  Unless specifically stated, all New York adoption proceedings were locked down, and they went BACK in time and locked down adoptions that happened beforehand as well.  Whether it was through a government agency, institution, or private agency, the information was locked down tighter than tight.   They would not avail records in cases of emergency, or medical issues, or even end-of-life requests.  Oh, you might be able to get an abstract, but no identifying information.  Ever.  Millions of adults went to the graves without knowing who their parents were if they had siblings.  

In 2019, the state finally passed a law granting access.  The state government would handle the applicants from outside New York, but it fell to the New York City Health Department to fulfill their requests.

A word about the City of New York's governmental bureaucracy regarding vital statistics: it is an impenetrable fortress of unwillingness to do anything for anyone. They follow the law, but they do everything not to cooperate with the spirit of the law or its intent. 

I do not joke about this, reader. There is case law to back up my claim.  The city of New York has repeatedly refused to turn over information that falls under the State's sunshine laws.  They refuse to even issue the indexes! 

Well, if you twist their arms, but they are going to try and bill you tens of thousands of dollars to compile that which they already have on file. 

So in January 2020, we filed for the pre-adoption birth certificate of a deceased member of our immediate family.  That was sixteen months ago.  And what was supposed to take 4 to 6 weeks went something like this:

January 2020: Did you get the application?  "We don't know. If you sent it in, we have it and we are opening them in order that we receive them. 4 to 6 weeks."

February 2020: Are were being processed?  No.  We are handling birth certificates for living people first because they need them. The immediate family will have to wait 4 to 6 months.

March-August 2020: Shut down for COVID.  The website contains no updates. 

September 2020: "Thank you for contacting the Mayor's office...when processing resumes..."

October 2020: "Yes we found your application, it's all in order, but your uncashed check is stale and we need another to move your application forward..."

November 2020: Our check clears.  "4 to 6 weeks..."

December 31, 2020: "Well our systems in customer service can only see back 60 days, if you claim is older than that..." and yet later that day "Your requested information will be ready to be reviewed and will be mailed next week...

ONE YEAR MARK!!!!

January 22, 2021: "Well I don't know who told you that.  It's fifteen to seventeen weeks for processing."  From when?  "When you apply." That was a year ago. "Well then from when we cash your check.  And remember, there are people who have real emergencies so they go first."

Second call on January 22, 2021: "Who did you speak to?  Is that the name they gave you because we have no one here who has that name... And no, we have no way of knowing when it will ship out..."

This, dear reader, was when I started to feel like I was cracking up.  One person says one thing, then someone else says something reasonable, then that person doesn't exist.  But wait, there's more:

February 1, 2021:  "Well, we received your second check in early October, but we didn't cash it until November so 15-17 weeks from the date it was cashed."

March 1, 2021: "It hasn't been assigned for review."

April 1, 2021: "Well let me send a message to the director's office..."

April 16, 2021: "Your application is complete and ready to ship...."

April 23, 2021: USPS Informed delivery has the document, and it's scheduled to be delivered...

April 26, 2021: The paperwork arrives, BUT is missing our original documents.  "Oh, we'll mail them right out to you!"

The good news is that we got the documents. We hung in there and we got them!  My tension head is gone, and Sunday, the day I was so worked up over where the documents were was spent puking.  All worth it. (But that was a lot of world-class projectile hurling.)

The bad news is, the people of New York City have to live with this.  No one should. 

Today is warm, the sky clear and gazpacho sounds good.  Just not Pepa's recipe with the barbituates in it...

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The one where Clyde broke his penis, and breaks it to us

Yes, the password was "cringe."

Many years ago we were part of a bowling league and one of the men we bowled with became our third on a team.  He was very nice, very well-spoken, dressed impeccably, a total top, and his hormones were in a constant state of full-on sexual arousal. 

Cookie is convinced that Clyde was born with a hardon and ready to fuck anything with a hole.  Every week it was all about sexually conquering this guy, that guy, and oh, there was always a corn-fed youth from Ohio State who fell under his power.

The third year we bowled with him, things took a strange turn. 

It was the first week back and Clyde was catching us up with his summer and oh, yes, he would need to do something about week five and week ten, because he would be at the Mayo Clinic getting treatments for his broken penis.

I dared not say "Come Again?" but my facial expression must have said that. 

Well then, Clyde had to tell us, every damn detail. 

He was having a three-way...he had popped viagra...twink...poppers...

Then he fell on his penis when he passed out from mixing Viagra and poppers.

His penis snapped.  Actually, the sponge-like material in the penis tore, giving him a hook.  Well, at the time, they had to call a squad because of the internal bleeding and bruising. 

"It looked so bad that when I came to, I passed out."  Then surgery, and another and another.   Finally, they told him that the damage was so severe that they were sending him to Mayo Clinic. 

I hope they can fix it because "Probie," (the name he had for his penis)  "is very unhappy."

Cookie gave him a look that said "What did the doctor say about using Viagra?" 

Cookie's husband, Husband, started calling him Captain Hook. 

I mean I felt bad for the guy, but damn it,  they warn you not to mix the two less you have a certain dangerous drop in your blood pressure, etc., etc., etc. 

Anyhow, by the end of the season, we needed to get away from bowling, and all of the drama of the broken penis. 

We have no idea what happened to Clyde, or if he got his "Probie" straightened out. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Egg Hunt



Try to find the egg, or what's in the egg.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Easter Whore


Tuesday, I am standing in line at the local grocery and I hear the following from the two young women behind me:

First Young Woman:  "Oh. My. God. She is such a whore."

Second Young Woman: "Total whore.  She's like the Easter Whore."

First Young Woman: "Total Easter Whore."

Which got me thinking if the Easter Rabbit brings the chocolate, what would the Easter Whore bring?  And where would the Easter Whore carry it? Instead of a basket, would it be in a Birkin?  And would you have to hunt for the goodies left behind by the Easter Whore, or see a doctor. 

So many questions. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Our second March in lockdown

 

Nice try mister, but where is the face mask?

Cookie can remember a time when he really thought that maybe, after 60/90 days in social distancing lockdown, we would be over this COVID hump. 

I mean, two weeks seemed a bit optimistic, right?

And a month, well, if we must.

But two months would have been mid-May, morphed into four months, morphed into six, and well, here we are.  

At first husband was working from home for two months, then four, and well, Spring 2021.  Now comes word that he'll be working from here until spring 2022.   I don't mind it.  I have adapted.  The dogs are enjoying this, too.  But it makes one wonder why they just don't switch everyone to at home, period.  Why couldn't we move back to Ohio?   It would be the same telecommute.  But no - we are tethered here. 

Still, if I look over the past year, there are two kinds of people, and yes - I am certainly going to stereotype here:

Type C People: We are cautious.  We either stay walled up in our homes, or we venture out safely for the things we need.  When we see friends, it outdoors at a distance and there is no physical contact.  But we all try to social distance as much as possible.  These people will deeply consider the vaccine to getting the vaccine.

Type U People: These are the people who refuse to accept science, refuse to let you observe the science in peace and quiet.  They invade your space.  They think its their business to make up reasons why they don't want ANYONE to get the vaccine. 

I avoid Type U people like I avoid the plague itself. 

To that end, now Mr. Cookie and I await our shots.  Maryland is slowly opening up the appointments.  Given my breathing issues, I hope for sooner, rather than later. But we'll see. 

Today in Baltimore, it is wet and soggy.  Hoping for better days ahead!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Facebook and its odd suggestions

Facebook continues to vex Cookie, and that shouldn't be a surprise.  Facebook continues to vex all of its users.  Unfortunatly, it has become one of the main ways that people keep in contact. 

Since it launched its new format, the situation has gone from bad to worse.  NOT ONLY did they redesign the interface, but they also redesigned how to get to you, and attempt to manipulate you. 

How so? 

With the launch of *new* Facebook, the evil duo of Zuckerman and Sandberg have ordained that instead of getting updates on your friends, you get updates from your groups.  

Groups you see are how they gauge your interests to feed you advertising.  In fact, they don't want you interacting with your close friends and loosely goosey Facebook friends on their profiles - they want everything in groups. 

Oh, they are still targeting your ads based on the information you have given them, but the reach to wit that they expropriate your needs has become less based in reality and more based on fantasy.  Part of the reason is that major corporations have pulled a lot of the ad dollars during COVID.  And because trustworthy stores are drying up (Lord & Taylor, for God's sake!) and closing, the means that Facebook is pulling in more start-up companies without any real "brand" to speak of,  or concrete contact information, selling sub-standard and questionable merchandise. 

So how is this impacting Cookie? 

Two days ago it was a direct assault on me.  It was horrific.  For every two posts from my groups or even friends, Facebook aimed one inane advertised product, one after another, and then it went into repeats that kept hammering away. 

This annoys me.  It also pisses me off.  Cookie is a contrarian.  Tell me to buy something and I simply won't.  And because money is tight, I don't have it to throw away on something I don't need from a company that I don't know.  Take this, for example:

Why would I need this?  Why would anyone with a lick of common sense?  Why would anyone want to look at this unless you are some hairy man from the Balkins?

You shave that hair off and it just going to come back thicker and itchier.   So what do you do?  You either live with it, or you get your back waxed by someone who knows what they are doing. 

Cookie is not opposed to manly hairy men in good shape.  But this looks like a product that is only in demand if you are a portly, sweaty, "mans" from the old country.  So Cookie to Facebook, this is a HUGE no.

Cookie also says no to the cluster ads for "Pants that look great with no underwear," and from another company "Shorts that look great without underwear."  Same for "Underwear that looks so great that you won't want to wear pants" or "Shorts" when you go out.  Also no to, yoga pants, biking pants, and those suit pants that "fit and feel like loungewear."

Cookie also does not need underwear designed to make my business look larger when I wear pants.  Nor do I need compression shorts to hide my "junk".  The Cookie Monster is happy as is. 

Still, I feel lucky.  Another friend, who is a male, in my age group, was hit yesterday with the unthinkable:

"Why does Facebook feel the need to advertise women's disposable urinal cups and menstrual cups on my feed?"  Why indeed.  "And what do think that a gay man of sixty needs a cervical cap?"

Why indeed Mr. Zuckerberg? Ms. Sandberg, why as well?

We'll never know.  And that's what scares us about Facebook.  Because no one really knows what is coming on behind the scenes, or what will come of it. 






Sunday, February 28, 2021

A winter without end

 


Usually, Cookie is ecstatic around Ground Hog Day - because it's the beginning of the end of winter.  And this past February 2nd, Cookie was high as a kite on the idea that January was done. And you know March, in like a like lion, and out like a lion, with a week or ten days of lamb time. 

And here we are the first of March, and mother nature has dealt everyone a punishing month. 

But a week of warming, and rain has turned our backyard into a water meadow and is making our sump pump work overtime.  At least something in this house is working.  The effing timer for the light over the front door is not.

Our latest problem is that the electric timer we had that turned our front door light on and off died. Now, you have to understand that we have used an intermatic timer for our outdoor porchlights for the last 30+ years.   Set it and forget is wonderful. 

Our problem is it is no longer 1990, but 2021, and things don't use electricity like they used to. The problem is that our house has the original 1928 BX wiring, which is safe if you just don't taunt it.  So none of the timers they make today - ALL of which are for these upgraded systems - work with our older wiring. Oh, we can buy one of the few remaining timers that will work with our house, but they only work with incandescent lightbulbs - the rough service variety that we used are up to nine dollars a bulb.  So we either spend $150 for a $15 dollar timer, and nine dollars a bulb, OR, we spend a thousand on rewiring that switch and another $500 for plaster repair, OR we live with the manual switch. 

And so we decided to be screwed with the manual switch.  The problem with that is that neither of us can remember to turn that damned thing off in the morning.  And because we're both stuck here at home, the damned light stays on all of the time, OR, gets turned off at 2 PMish.  Some savings. 

Oh, we have left tickler notes in paper, on our phones, set off alarms, but we keep forgetting to turn the fucking light out. 

We are just pathetic. 

Looking at the week ahead - it's pledge weeks on PBS which means a lack of decent programming.  I am thinking that I am just going to run through the two seasons of Derry Girls that we have. 

Oh, tell me you have watched Derry Girls, popkins.  Don't let Cookie be disappointed in you.  Make you a deal, watch it if you haven't done it.  Once you get the hang of the accents, it's a snap. Or you can turn on the SAP feature on the television, eh?

Hope your lives are at least more soothing than mine.

Crotchictyly yours,

Cookie








Sunday, February 14, 2021

Current mood

 



It's Valentine's Day.  Whoopie. 

This little girl isn't bummed about Valentine's Day, but some May Day celebration in the USSRT in 1968.  Still, I feel her pain.  And she expresses my angst to a T: lackluster color, droopy hose, even balloons lacking in color.  And the hair!  Cookie needs a haircut, too. 

Husband and I fine, but he's been working 20/hr a day since this cold snap hit the midsection of the country, and it's been hard on Cookie because it's been hard on him.  You can't plan dinner because whatever I make will be cold for him.  And if I wait to eat with him, it could be Midnight before he shuts down.   

Dinner at Midnight?  I mean dinner at eight is civilized, Cookie is not that civilized that I could hold off until midnight!  Why I would self-digest by that late hour!

But, if places like Tulsa can just tough it out a few more days, then the temperatures will moderate.  This sub-zero patch should begin to end by mid-week and by Sunday it will be a balmy 50 degrees there.   And then our lives can get to normal.

It's been a miserable week here in Baltimore.  Snow, ice, and now a melt. All this white stuff should be gone by Wednesday.  I loathe winter. 

On the plus side, today is February 14th.  And in two weeks we'll be at the March 1st - and that means we are closer to the start of spring than the first day of winter.  And that means warmer temps and that means an end to winter isolation. 

Our next week forecast is highs in the 50s, hooray!


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Childhood WANT: Aunt Jane's Pickle Mobile

 

This one stayed in the box for fifty-five years. 

Pictured above is one thing that Cookie wanted more than anything when he was a three to four-year-old, an Aunt Jane's Pickle Mobile.  

In the mid-1960s was a company named Marx Toys and Marx Toys produced OK plastic toys. I mean, your parents wouldn't have found them at the FAO Swartz at Shaker Square.  Topps or Uncle Bill's, yes.  But never FAO Swartz quality. 

Anyhow, there was also a company called Aunt Jane's Pickles, and Aunt Jane's was kind of popular in the terms that Vlassic is today. Aunt Jane's was the number two selling pickle brand in the U.S.  And Aunt Jane's used radio and television commercials in heavy rotation to sell those pickles. And they were clever.  Clever like Stan Freberg clever. And they appealed to kids with their tongue-twisting mispronunciations of the word 'poockle'.  I mean "pickle".

And in some of the commercials, being "made the old fashioned way," some of the commercials featured brass era vehicles delivering pickles.

Into this comes the old advertising gimmick of a give-a-way.   In the mid-sixties, Aunt Jane's Pickles starting offering - for a nominal fee - a battery-powered, child-sized car shaped like the Mercer Runabout of the 1910s.  The car, built by Marx, wasn't green, but usually appeared in yellow or white and it had "Aunt Jane's Pickle Mobile" bumper sticker plaster on the hood. 

To a child, the idea of a car of your own that could move on its own was cool.  To a car happy kid like myself, it was intoxicating.  So much so that I can hear the jingle. 

Never mind that I had every pedal version of conveyance known to child kind.   Cookie coveted that Pickle Mobile.  More so, my cousin who lived a couple blocks away ALSO coveted it.  We agreed to nag our parents together.  

"We want a Pickle Mobile!" we said, sang, and screamed. 

And you know what? 

Our parents refused. 

"You don't need that."

"No, and stop singing that commercial jingle!"

We were thwarted.  I mean we wanted one, but our parents were totally within their rights.  And we did have more than most children.  And after time, the commercial stopped and was no longer on our top ten list of toys.  Eventually, we even forgot about the brand.

And can you imagine the mess created by that battery technology in the 1960s?  It would probably roll under its own power a hundred feet and then die. It was for the best and Shaker did not have smooth concrete sidewalks, but stone slabs that were laid smooth, but went this way and that as the ground either settled or heaved because of tree roots.  And Marx quality toy? The plastic would crack under a child's use. 

Eventually, Aunt Jane's Pickles disappeared as well.  Apparently, the Michigan based family-owned company was sold to Borden Foods, and like all of its varied food lines, Borden's shift in focus to chemicals in the 1970s allowed it to wither and die. 

The family behind Aunt Jane's, the Gielow's, however, wasn't out of the pickle business for long. They started up anew and continue to manufacture refrigerated pickles in Michigan.   

Still, every now and then the child in me remembers the jingle.  "...in an Aunt Jane's Pickle, Pickle Mobile..." and feels a pang of desire for the Pickle Mobile he never had.



Sunday, February 7, 2021

Cooking shows and one of mom's recipes

 


We have three "local" PBS stations. 

WETA, Washington DC, programs its Saturday afternoons with cooking shows.  Including Julia Child's episodes from the late '80s, early '90s.   It's not Julia cooking, but Julia watching other cooks and commenting.  

"And the aroma, viewer, which you can't smell at home, so I will take another inhale, is full of rich and satisfying beefiness."  Thank you, Julia. 

One of the cooks piped potatoes around one end of the service plates and I got a flashback to Fanny Craddock.

There is another guy, Nick Stellino, but he talks too much.  Cook more Nick, talk less.

There is Cristopher Kimbal, who was with America's Test Kitchen (which I love) and is now on Christoper Kimball's Milk Street", a name I find disturbing.  It's named after the organization Milk Street, Boston address.   But I am troubled by Kimball's "milk" in the "street".

My favorite is, and she has always been my favorite, Sarah Moulton and Sarah's Weeknight Meals. I simply adore her - she seems like a friend who invites you into the kitchen and says "this is so easy and tastes for good and I am going to show how easy it is, and we'll have fun cooking!" 

Ah, but tonight, it's about comfort food, and leftovers.  Tonight the husband is cooking "Chicken and Greenbean" casserole.  Here's the recipe its old school - hold your disgust - it's yummy. 

Pound and a half of chicken breasts, off the bone.
1 bag of frozen green beans
1 box of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice
1 cup mayo (or a half cup of  mayo grosses you out)
1 Can of Campbells Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup of diced pimento
1 can water chestnuts, drained and rinsed in water
1 container French's "French Fried Onions"
Two cups sharp cheddar cheese

Bring to boil a large pot and add a pinch of salt when the boil becomes roiling. While it's heating, cut the chicken into strips and then add that to the boiling water.  Cook until done. Remove the chicken and shred. Leave the "stock" in the pot - we're still not done with it. 

Prepare the rice according to the box instructions in a saucepan, but instead of water, use water from the stockpot. 

Add the frozen green beans to the stock water and cook until tender and drain.  Dispose of any stock water left.

In a bowl, mix the mayo, soup, pimento, and one cup of cheese. 

In a 9x13" pan, scatter evenly the shredded chicken, water chestnuts cooked green beans, and rice.  Pour a mixture of the soup/may over the chicken.  Add the other cup of cheese over this and then add the French Friend Onions on top. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-minutes (Gas Mark 4 if you use that, 177c if you use that.)

Remove from oven and let it stand for 15 minutes. 





Friday, January 29, 2021

Just because you can, you shouldn't

 


Just because you can doesn't mean you should, mother always said just as I was about ready to jam a knife into an electrical socket.   

"The results could be shocking," she'd add. 

And here we have something that meets that definition.   Just like New Shimmer is a floor wax and a dessert topping, we have a can opener that is also a clock.

AND a TIMER!  And they say you'll love it. (Or else.)

Does anyone really need this? No.  But do we want one? Admit it: YES!

Because God only knows how badly Cookie needs a buzzer going off when it's time to open a can. 

"Honey, did you remember to open that can of green beans at 4:18?"

"Oh, sugar. No! It's 4:30. NOW the dinner casserole will really be late!"

And it's an accurate clock so I will never be late again!

"Honey, what time is our reservation at Chez Horrour?"

"I don't know, let me check the can opener!"  

How many times do you hear that today?  I know, not nearly enough. 

And just look at the name!  

CAN-O-MATIC!

Because as everyone knows, EVERYTHING is better when "-O-" is in between two words.  It's a fact.  Don't challenge me on this. 

And yes, there is MORE!

The people who build this build the MOST BEAUTIFUL CAN OPENERS MADE*. 

It has everything.  Beauty. Utility. And it includes other bonus features. A plug. A sharp blade. And a clock. 

Who could ask for anything more? 

How about a chef to do the cooking? 

Tell me, how would you use this indispensable device?


*Don't tell this to the French.  They no doubt have a can opener that is also a car.  They do!  The Panhard Dyna. (Can oper's in the glove box.)


Monday, January 25, 2021

Six days in...

 So what has Cookie been doing in the first six days of the Biden administration?  Well...



1) Sleeping.  Ever since the storming of the Capitol, Cookie has been sleeping in fits and starts, usually an hour up and an hour down.  It's been pretty awful.  I thought Wednesday I would sleep like a baby.  But, no, my mind was still on Trump Time.  Finally, by Saturday, sleep was something that came easier.  I should think by Groundhog Day I should be back to sleeping through the rest of the night. 

2) Learning not to wake up worried.  Remember the last five-plus years where waking up was accompanied by the Dorothy Parker thought of "What fresh Hell is this?"  You never knew what buzz saw you were walking into or what tweet the Donald had issued.  Would it *just be* insulting the an entire class of human beings (isn't that, in and of itself, a horrible way to phrase something degrading as that) or would he announce that Russia. troops had the green light to come in and help get the country settled down, or worse.   So now I wake up knowing that the new day really is a new day after all.  That we will now honor people for who they are, and we do our best to give them the help they need to gain not only equality but equity as well. 

3) Deprogramming myself from round the clock news coverage of what fiendish Donald Trump is tweeting, saying, doing, or worse still, not doing. 

4) Worrying about the cooked book records on how many people would die from COVID in vain.  At least now we have a competent administration in office who is taking this seriously.   Oh, I still worry about the Donald crawling out from underneath his rock and saying "When I was President we were beating this COVID thing..." when he was clearly not.   

5) Finding what to do without a lot of stressors.  Seriously, it took four-plus years to tolerate stress, save for the almost heart attack that I had on election night 2018, to get us to this level, it ain't going away overnight. 

6) On the plus side I am LOVING the fact that we have press conferences now that aren't on giant lie after another. Jen Psaki , the Biden Press Secretary, is WONDERFUL, confident, a professional.  She instills confidence by giving honest answers, and when she doesn't know, she doesn't belittle the person asking the question, like Sarah "Moose" Huckabee Saunders, or hiding like Kayleigh McEnany did when the tough got going and no one was around to do her makeup.  If Pasaki doesn't know something, she admits it, promises to get back to that person, and then does just that.  Simple, easy, the way it should be done.

So I am a work in progress. 

And on today's agenda? 

Getting over the last episode of Bridgerton, season one.  We finished the series last night and I am still hot and bothered by the actor who plays Simon.  Le' hot.   And isn't that a wonderful feeling? Indeed.



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Inauguration Fashion Report

 Well, by now you know that our new President Joseph Robinette Biden, and so has our new Vice President, Kalama Harris, have been sworn in.

President Biden.

Vice President Kamala Harris.  

Doesn't that sound nice? 

While everyone is waxing poetic about the change, er, make that welcome change, Cookie is looking at the fashion statements made today. 

There were winners and there were losers. 

Let's start with the Winners:

Poet Amanda Gorman - Ms. Gorman's poetry and delivery were one of the day's highlights.  The former National Youth Poet Laureate, and Cookie predicts will soon be that National Poet Laureate, delivered a fashion statement that was both appropriate and stunning.  She complimented her yellow coat with a stunning RED head warp that popped with color. Straight to the point: Stunning. 



Joseph Biden, (Below) 46th President of the United States.  I won't post a picture of the navy suit and the dark navy overcoat, suffice it say he looked good, and the clothes fit.  One might not think that this is such a ringing endorsement, but after four years of Trump's sartorial misfires, this was a welcome relief.  Straight to the point: Biden is ready to get down to work.



Jill Biden (above) - our new First Lady surprised us all today with a teal dress/coat pairing.  Inaugurations can get overly Red, Navy, and White - remember that laughable choice that Kellyanne Conway chose in 2017?  Instead, Dr. Biden chose a classic fit tea dress in teal, accents with crystals.  The look was repeated in the jacket, which also features a darker teal collar, Jimmy Choo heels, and matching leather teal gloves completed the seamless look.  Classic and refreshing.  Straight to the point: Timeless and Elegant.




Kalama Harris, 49th Vice President of the United States.  The Vice President went with the safe option, which is neither good nor bad.  But the look and the symbolic color of purple was a good solid choice.  But it was the color of the purple that elevated the look. Vice President Harris (I cannot type that enough) went with a bright plumb, which was spring-like in its appeal.  Not an Easter purple, this had a vibrancy that was eye-catching and it complimented her skin tones, beautifully.  Straight to the point: Nothing edgy, all business.



Lady Gaga - in addition to providing her talents to delivering a near-perfect national anthem, for the day, Gaga made sure she had plenty of gaga all over.  Frankly, the only thing that she could have worn today that would have failed was the meat dress.  For the event, she chose a full formal red skirt and navy Schiaparelli number with a large gold dove brooch.   Larger than life for a larger than life talent. The only misfire was the black hair ribbon and the black gloves.  Straight to the point: All Business Gaga style. 


The Losers

Douglas Emhoff, the first Second Gentleman (see above).  Emhoff, the husband of Kamala Harris?  Did anyone really get a good look at our Second Gentleman?  Does anyone know what he wore? Buehler? Buehler?  It was grey, black and white. Pure Brooks Brothers.  Straight to the point: The was no there, there. 

Garth Brooks.  Cowboy, thy name is Garth did you not get the memo on how to dress for the event?  Brooks wore denim pants.  And a cowboy hat.  There was something boring, a black mock turtleneck and dark gray sport coat covering his chest and gut. This was the disappointment of the day. So bad, I am not even going to go looking for a picture. Straight to the point: Misfire.  



Jennifer Lopez. Where to begin. Where, oh where, oh wear.  Lopez stormed the stage like she was taking radio city music hall in an all WHITE-WHITE outfit including a nubby WHITE coat.  In my head, and out through my mouth came my mother (who is with me always) who said in my voice "She's wearing WHITE to someone else's big day."  

This was not the wonderful white of Kamala Harris' pants suit worn during her acceptance speech, this was a white that can only be compared to Ross Geller's teeth in Friends, appropriately enough entitled "The One With Ross' Teeth".  It was too WHITE.  A dear friend said she was channeling suffragette white, but no really. Accented with lots of pearls.  Lots and lots. Straight to the point: This was way too white

and last but not least, Cookie gives you the...

What da Fuck Award

And my What da Fuck Award for the day goes to...

MELANIA TRUMP, you remember her. "The Fucking Christmas Tree" Former First Lady.  The day for Melania was a bust in Washington for her departure.  I mean this was her BIG exit, and she looked like the "morning after the call-girl party" Dolce and Gabanna look.   But evidently, she decided to take a shower on Air Force One.  When she emerged from the plane, she had morphed into...


Mrs. Roper

Of course, this is a very expensive mumu. Or shower curtain. The New York Post, which covered this today, stated that it was a $3,700 dress.  It tells me that Melania is finally able to embrace the easy slow life in Florida.  Right after she signs up for that reverse mortgage on Mar A Lago. And complete's her application for a Colonial Penn Life Insurance policy.  Straight to the point: Once again, she misreads the room.


Monday, January 11, 2021

I am so over this stuff: Cliché signs of the times edition.

 What art Cookie bitching about now? 

This is the post where Cookie states what he has never been on board with, but is so totally over:

Say it with a blanket


Whatever the fuck this blanket (and others just like them from many vendors featuring look a like woman, all standing on porches) is, it is poorly spelled, horribly word, and just plain ugly.  The ads have been showing up all over people's Facebook feeds.  The comments are a hoot - everybody ragging on the design, grammar ("Thanks you...") and the God damned fonts on these.  They look like they were designed by some fool who was squiffed at an Apple using Indesign.  I mean can't you hear some drunk louse caught by his wife making out in the car at the bowling alley ("...with that whore, Corliss...") saying these things to apologize? 

I will encourage you to try and read this damned thing and find the errors.  It's cathartic in a way that its creator never imagined. 


"Live, Laugh, Love." signs


Sweet Jesus, I hate these.  I understand the idea behind the sign - they are cheap to make, easy to sell to people who think they are "so cute!", but really - these need to be thrown out people.  The only person who is really going to be touched by this is the person who spent their money on something like this.   And make sure you buy one with the correct punctuation.  


"MANGIA!" signs



Unless you aspire to live in a recreation of an Olive Garden - and that better include the hostess podium - there is no reason to have a "MANGIA!" sign in your house.  Say it, if you are serving pasta, by all means, but it's forced and it's fake.


Rules signs

These come in a number of styles, all cutesy.  "House Rules" on the wall of your home are unnecessary unless you are running an illegal bar, gambling operation, a whore house, or all three.  They are not cute, they are cliche. 


Trust me, the parents of the people who made them grandparents were never this liberal with their own children.

SO...

If you see a trend, you are right.   Why take up valuable wall space with this kind of crap when you can have beautiful works of art.  

None of this stuff is creative or imaginative and NONE of this crap supports artists

Art inspires.  

Art adds color. 

Art makes you think.

But these signs are not art.  You've been sold a bill of goods by HGTV that these are art and they are not.  They are sold at the stores that sponsor and advertise with HGTV.

No one reads them.  

No one heeds them. 

And most importantly no one needs them.  

INVEST IN REAL ART!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

And back we go into the absurd

 


Do you know what's going on here?  

I know I am very confused, Honey Bean.

Tongue tongue,

Cookie

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021 - an attempted coup detat

Cookie is very sad. 

We have, for the first time since 1861, insurrection, and an attempt to tear my nation apart. 

These bastards stormed the Capitol, a building that forty years ago I worked in, and fell in love with. 

It's an attack on my country.  And I hate everyone who was involved, everyone who supports this, and every fucking idiot who is claiming "This is false news!"

Fuck everyone involved in this. 

My biggest complaint is that these assholes will get away with what they have done. 

This isn't freedom of speech - this is insurrection. 

Trump and his follower have declared war on the United States. 

I hate everyone one of them and their supporters. 

At the same time, I want to know what the fuck that balless wonder Ted Cruz is doing.  He and his dirty dozen are facilitating this take over by protesting the count.  

Or is balless Ted Cruz going to change his tune?

We know that Liz Chaney, Republican of Wyoming - a woman who I do not agree with -  and a quorum of Senators and House members counting the electoral ballots.  The House and Senate will not be thwarted in their duty as outlined by the Constitution.

I don't want any more violence. In fact, I don't want violence. 

I want the people who broke the law today caught, charged, and given fair trials. 

And I want Donald Trump's term to end peacefully so he can begin his retirement under indictment.  He has permanently soiled what was left of his legacy. 

This nation will survive.  

But it will be stronger when people involved in this are brought to justice.

What's new on Danish TV for Children?

It is indeed a weird day.   

Georgia. 

The Electoral College certification. 

The Despicable Rally in Washington, D.C., and could also include a destructive riot if things don't go their way.   I am not even going to get into the stress on the home front.

We're dealing with a lot of stuff. 

So Cookie is offering a diversion. 

Something to get your mind off the pressing problems of the world.

Danish Television has launched a new series - JOHN DILLERMAND - for children. 

John appears to be your average neighbor in the claymation universe.  John is married to a woman - or is it his mother - I don't speak Danish. His neighbood looks very much like a model train town, well kept, cozy suburban layout, everything in its place and a place for everything. 

John has a sartorial style of his own.  White Shorts, and a red/white striped tank top that is apparently an onesie. 

How do we know this? 

Well, we see a great deal of John Dillermand's penis in the show, which in the preview I have seen, is very long.  Very, very long. 


Don't Try This at Home. 

We don't see the actual penis - it's always covered in the material of the onesie. And it acts like a snake.  Yeah, I should have made that clear.

Before we go any further - there is nothing lewd or sexually perverse in this show. Children and John Dillermand's "personality" do not interact.  It is not used as an enticement.  It is as erotic as a container of cornstarch.  And John is reminded by other adults to keep it in his pants, to which John politely agrees.  But should a lion escape from the zoo and pin children atop an ice cream truck, John Dillermand would use his attribute to whip the beast into submission so the children can get away. 

What happens is John uses his penis to do the errands and chores that he can't get close enough to or is afraid to get close to.  Like walking dogs who refuse to get near the weiner shop, where he has been told to pick something up.  John ties their leashes to his flexi-penis and then is able to get to the door of the shop and pick up his packet of weiners.  John is afraid of lighting his back yard grille, so he uses his penis to do it, and the results are bad. 

I. Kid. You. Not.

The links are below to the story and then a link to Danish TV where you can watch an episode. 

The Guardian: Denmark Launches Children Show About a Man With a Large P****

Direct link to John Dillermand Episode

Additional episodes are available on YouTube. 

And, you are welcome. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Off to a bang

 


Cookie's new year is not terribly great.  It's also not a dud, yet.  

It started quietly enough.  

And it has continued to be quiet.  Nothing blog-worthy, that's for damn sure. 

We vacuumed and cleaned the stove.  Now we are doing laundry. 

Told you things were quiet.

I got to gossip with a friend about what the scene at the Hobgobblin's got into with their daughter's boyfriend, in the front yard.  One should never air one dirty linen in public, but screaming at the poor girl's boyfriend in the front yard is something that doesn't say "I am in control of myself."  So my friend and I tut-tutted about that.  Then I heard about the new place they are moving to in Guilford (old money tres chic) and we both agreed that isn't going to endear them to their new neighbors either. 

We did get bits of news about two people we know and love, and the word is it's not good. Neither is Covid, and I won't say more, but be grateful for your health. 

I have decided that 2021 will be the year that I really work on my Photoshop skills, so I have been following the adorable Unmesh Dinda, host of PixImperfect on YouTube. 

I would say that I am still a beginner with full-blown photoshop but this week is mastering adding patterns to clothing, which also demands color shading skills.  This is way over my head, but three days in and I can keep pace with the tutorial, and my goal is by Wednesday to be able to do it without the tutorial at all.  My self-test is going back a week after I stop working on one of these lessons and seeing how far I can get on my own. 

I have two hurdles this week to get through. 

This first is this Georgia Election on Tuesday.   (If you there, please cast an informed vote if you have not done so.)  People, pray that the two incumbents get the boot.  Both are dirty corrupt people. 

And on Wednesday is the certification of the Electoral College.  If this goes according to law, all is well.  If the Trumpist Shit Show doesn't destroy us as a nation. 

My advice, try and make this first week of 2021 the best you can. 

Cookie



Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Year end

 


2020.  Yes, it was that bad. Oy!

Cookie started off 2020 deathly ill.  It was not your normal flu event. High fever, trouble breathing horrible cough, chest tightness, loss of taste and smell, and a thirty-pound weight loss because nothing smelled good or tasted like anything.   The doctor said, "Oh, there are numerous flu virus' floating around, I would monitor it and let it run its course."

The virus started in mid-December, peaked after Christmas, and then came back with a vengeance in the week between Christmas and New Years'.  It abated at the end of the first week of January, and then came back again for final linger blow. 

I have asked if it could have been COVID, but the doctor seemed non-plussed in February.   We still don't know. 

And that's how the rest of 2020 went for Cookie. Sealed off except for the husband, and chats friends only at a distance, this year would go down as the worst in our collective lives - because we are all in it together. 

And then there is the Presidential Election.  The ultimate stressor. 

And then there is the current president - who isn't doing his job and doesn't deserve a capital "P".  What a grotesque and vile version of the leader of the "free" world.

Anyhow, there is enough about him. 

On the COVID topic, Cookie received some bitter news today. 

In 2019 I contracted with a genealogical society to speak at the annual meeting in May 2020.  Well, we in COVID lockdown mode when that rolled around and Cookie was in lockdown because of Asthma and breathing issues left over from the "flu".  The doctors forbade travel except for the grocer, the doctor, or walking the dogs.   So I contacted the person who hired me and said I couldn't fulfill the contract. 

I was doing this pro-Bono, so no money had changed hands when I made the call on March 31st not to do the gig.  EVERYTHING was on lockdown by that point, but the client insisted I reconsider. 

Then the first spike really took off.  And Cookie reconsidered and said no, again.

"But it isn't bad here," said they. 

Cookie refused to become a possible Covid-Cookie posterchild.  And there were frustrating feelings.  Someone wasn't taking this for as dire as it was.  And in fact, on March 31st it wasn't that bad where they were. 

But it certainly was getting very bad, very fast, elsewhere.   And it still is.

Today, I found out that this person and their spouse both came down with the disease, and both were hospitalized.  That's the bitter news.  

I hate, hate, hate finding out that people I like are hurting. With this virus, I hate that people are hurting, period.  Damn this disease. Damn it to Hell. 

Sometimes I wonder if we will ever beat it back.   Yes, I know that there are vaccines - and Cookie will get right in line when told to do so and I will gladly take it.  I worry though that person will not get the second shot.  I worry that they will think they are invincible having gotten the vaccine.  It doesn't prevent you from carrying it, it's designed so if you get it, hopefully, you can shrug it off faster. 

So I guess you know what is in Cookie's mind. All the time.  If it's not COVID, it's the person in the White House and those who would undermine the election. 

But we have hope. 

A new year is always the start of new hope, better things to come, more and better Joy, and less OY!  

And mine, for myself, the people I love, the people I know and the people I don't are that 2021 will end on a higher note. 

 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Horrible Christmas Movies You Can't Avoid on TCM


Gale Storm gives Don Defore a piece of her mind and a big fat Merry Christmas in It Happened on Fifth Avenue

Cookie is going to get all sorts of hate for this post, be the Clarion of Truth and the War Tuba of Warning need to be sounded. 

This is the season when TCM hauls out every holiday stinker in the vault. Fitzwilly. King of Kings. You know.  And that ever dreadful Shop Around the Corner.  Hint, Cookie is not a Margaret Sullivan fan, here, Mr. Matuschek.

We all know that every Christmas movie has to have either a religious miracle or a miracle to help us see what really matters, or romance.  And unfortunately, holiday movies are either wildly famous and beloved and well know, or they fall into a trash heap. There is nothing more out of place than a Christmas movie that comes out in May.

Two of the lesser-known are like accidents, once you watch the first few minutes, you cannot look away.  They are It Happened on Fifth Avenue and Holiday Affair.  Both are post-war 1940s movies and have WWII as providing something to the plot. It Happened on Fifth Avenue, uses Vets in search of affordable housing.  In Holiday Affair, it's a war widow with a young son.

They aren't horrible stories for film.  It Happened on Fifth Avenue is "Capraesque" in its story, but actors - B list - and all are wrong for their parts, save two.  The second, "Holiday Affair" has the wrong leads in the "male" roles, and it simply feels cold.

Let's start with It Happened on Fifth Avenue.   As I said, it's Capraesque in its story, but Capra was never part of the project.  Instead, the studio used Roy Del Ruth as the director.  (This was a disappointment for Gale Storm who wanted Frank Capra.  But had Capra been involved in the project, Gale Storm's role - make that everyone's roles - would have gone bigger profile stars.)

IHoFA's story is about a hobo, who spends his winters living in a mothballed mansion on Fifth Avenue every year while the owner winters in Virginia.  The hobo is played by Victor Moore, a one-time stage and silent film comedian turned supporting actor. Moore's high pitched voice didn't record well, meaning an end to most of starring credits. Instead of becoming the avuncular lead needed to provide guidance to the other characters, Moore simply becomes a nagging voice of advice never asked for, but ready to shoot whenever there is a lull in the conversation. Along the way comes Don Defore and his band of homeless vets who camp out with Moore in the mansion.  Defore is too old to play the juvenile love interest to a very young Gail Storm.  And Storm, whose character is the daughter of the man who owns the house, has a limited range. Her acting talents at that point in her career rivaled Shirley Temple's limited range, and they aren't right for the part either.  In fact, the only two actors that are up to their parts are Charles Ruggles and Ann Harding who played a divorced couple.  Ruggles character actually owns the house he pretends to be squatting in.  Harding is an undervalued asset that Hollywood never used properly. In the end, they all scattered to the winds, and all ends well.  Wrongs are righted, and the future looks loving for all involved.  And Ruggles tells his wife that next year, instead of coming into the house through a hole in the fence, that "Next year he's (Moore) coming in the front door," as Moore walks away on a treadmill with a grainy rear projection of Fifth Avenue is played in the background.

Our other ho-hum holiday movie is Holiday Affair starring Janet Leigh, Robert Mitchum, and Wendell Corey.  Also appearing as the spunky son of the WWII widowed Leigh is Gordon Gerbert.  Only Leigh is in the correct part in the right movie.  Mitchum is flat as the Vernors Ginger Ale your moth made you sip when you were ill as a child. There is zero chemistry between Leigh and Mitchum.   Also horribly miscast is Wendell Corey as Janet Leigh's boyfriend. Corey puts as much effort into the role as the Vase on Harriett Craig's mantle put into being a valuable antique.   

Gordon Gerbert as Leigh's spunky son is spunky enough, but I understand that he grew up and became a well-known architect.  Good for him.  Life after movies isn't often kind to children in the film.  Gerbert seems to have landed well. 

Anyhow, the movie is a simple plot - Janet Leigh is trying to make the best life she can for her son while working.  She's engaged to a solid man, but it lacks passion.  In comes Mitchum (Steve) as the rogue she needs, not the stuffed shirt that Corey plays. But Mitchum and Leigh have as much spark as wet cardboard.  And you find yourself kind of rooting for Wendell Corey.  But Hollywood being Hollywood - Leigh decides to throw all caution to the wind and go with the guy who longs to build boats, not the one in the gray flannel suit. 

So if these two stinkers are so bad, why watch them?  Simple: They are far better than any of the Hallmark Christmas movies and better than most of the modern-day over the top holiday specials. And it's fun to watch and think of which actors would have been better in the roles. 


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sue Mengers was such a doll.

 

Now apparently she's BACK as a doll.

The real Sue would never wear dark lipstick.  

Still, if you knew her, this was her. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

And now I know someone who has died of COVID

 Until this point in the pandemic, I considered my friends lucky in that none of the people in my orbit that I knew had fallen victim to COVID-19. 

That streak ended today when a friend from high school - a super guy - a year younger than I died back home. 

I had known people who had lost people that they knew, but this was the first person that I interacted with for a period of time with.  The last time I saw him was at his place of business while I was doing a compliance visit.  That was about 14 years ago, but if I saw him back home, we'd know each other and catch up. 

This sucks, on so many levels. 

I don't need to tell y'all that it does - we're all in the same boat together. 

My husband likes to joke that life with me is seven degrees of Cookie.  I am always running into people that I know in some way or another. 

This is one of those times when I wish that it hadn't touched the life of a schoolmate.  

Wear your mask, stay home, only go out when you have to. 

Stay safe,

Cookie

Thursday, November 26, 2020

When Thanksgiving gives you lemons...

 ...It's time to roast that turkey for a seasonal surprise.  Make sure the volume is turned on the video. 


Happy Thanksgiving from the Cookie's.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

What Thanksgiving day movie should we see, 1975 version.

 


As is traditional, after the parade, after the Thanksgiving meal, after the football games, after dinner left overs, what movie shall we see?  And in 1975, these are our options.

Jaws for the 100th time? Paper Moon? The Sting? 

How about this double bill from the third column?  


Now, Cookie has questions. 

How does one approach this?  "Oh, honey, how about seeing the film adaptation of one of Shakespeare's greatest works on power and how it corrupts, followed by an X-Rated film of an unknown subject?  Sound like a plan?"

I mean Macbeth is, well, Macbeth - "Out damned spot, out!  Hell is murky..." and all.

And what sort of X Rated film does one chose to run in the theater?   The Devil in Miss Jones would work, I think.  But what if it's a three minute Rip Colt loop film involving men creating their own salad dressing? 

  


If 2020 were a birthday party...

 ...this would be it.


Seriously, I mean.  What the fuck. 

This is more like a dream that you need to talk to your therapist about:  

"Well, Dr. Freud, I am trapped in a French birthday party.  There is only me, the guest of honor who speaks no French at all, and two faceless people who walk around, dressed as emotionally ambivalent clowns, who are observing me, acting out pantomimes that make no sense.   The man occupies what I think is the woman's costume.  A woman occupies what appears to be a then old man's costume.  They dance about, feigning shock, surprise, and ennui. 

"Yes, there are candies to eat, but I am told that they are not for me, but guests.  Who the guests are no one will tell me.  And they generic brand candies, too.  To drink is warm strawberry quick, with peppermint sticks.  And there is a cake which I am not allowed to eat.
 
"The wall of balloons prevents my escape. And the mute clowns keep pulling me back into this scene. 
I can now only seek sexual fulfillment if there are people in costumes made of boxes, judging my performance.

"John Paul Sarte appears, doing magic tricks.  "Pick a card," he says.  I look, it is the three of hearts.  Sarte then holds up a rubber rat and says "You guessed wrong."

"what does it mean, Dr. Freud?  What does it mean?"

 


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Horseshoe Lake, 1908

 


Simpler days, no?

This was taken way back 1908 and it appears to be folks out for an excursion to Shaker's Horseshoe Lake.  And it's so early that Shaker Heights as a village wasn't even established.  The concept was there, just not the incorporation.  That would happen until January 1912. 

The lake was full - they have been dredging the lakes, I believe, to get rid of years and years worth of silt and muck.  I don't know if it's full again. But they called it a Beauty Spot, and for good reason. 

Apparently, this was taken along the earthen damn that separates (and makes possible) Horseshoe Lake from Doan Brook. The map below, looking SSE is about right:




The house in the distance of the original picture is still there today 17050 South Park Boulevard, and it is a masterwork of Chateauesque style.  You just can't see it from this vantage point in the original picture from Google Maps street view. 

We should be grateful that this still exists.  In addition to the lake providing parklands and a nature reserve, this vista could have been a giant freeway interchange had a fiend by the name of Albert Porter had his way. 

Long story short, Albert Porter was the Cuyahoga County Engineer.  In addition to being a grade-A creep (he would ultimately lose his position when it found he had been demanding salary kickbacks for years from his employees) hated Cleveland's eastside heights communities.  He felt that the people that lived there in the 1950s looked own him.  So chip firmly planted on his shoulder, Porter devised a network of freeways that would effectively destroy Shaker Heights and the Doan Brook watershed.  

Two of the freeways were the Lee Freeway - an eight-lane monster that would have torn through the right side of the picture, and the Clark Freeway, also overbuilt, would have gone from left to right in through the middle of the image.  Connecting them was a multi-level exchange of concrete, steel, and pavement.  Porter got as far as convincing the State of Ohio to fund the project. (I believe that there were four freeways involved in this diabolical plan. 

What stopped it?  Shaker Heights citizens led by mostly housewives and professional women including one Alice Van Deusen, principal of Mercer Elementary School.   They are the ones who brought Governor Jim Rhodes to this site and showed him what he would be destroying.  It worked; Porter was stopped dead in his tracks.  Moreover, ODOT moved to cancel funding on any highway that would never pierce the sylvan scenery. The nature center building was built in the wooded area and name for Mrs. Van Deusen, who was also Cookie's grade School Principal until her retirement in 1970. 

Why all this now? 

Remember, when you fight for what is right, just, and serves a purpose larger than yourself, beautiful and enduring things happen.  In this time of unsettlement, remember what side you are on.  Good people win when they choose the cause larger than themselves, and the bad guys who want to wreck it all for their own greed don't win when you stick to your principles and fight the smart fight.