Holes in your pop culture knowledge

A friend and former trivia host wrote in her livejournal recently about how she's never seen the Karate Kid.  She asked what movie everyone else "should" have seen but hadn't.  It's an interesting question...but can really be expanded to all pop culture. 

What movie, book, tv show, etc. do you feel that you have to get around to seeing, but haven't?  I'm trying to think of mine.  I probably should have seen "The Producers" at some point, but haven't.  I haven't seen the movie or the play.  But I don't really care.  I guess I've seen a lot of classic films like Casablanca, so no holes there.

There are a lot of books that I tried to read after college because I always thought I should have read them, so I did.  I read War and Peace, Madame Bovary.  Some of them I forced myself through and didn't really enjoy, and it probably was silly because I can't remember a thing about them now.  So it's fairly useless.  I couldn't tell you a single thing about Madame Bovary.  Then again, maybe if I read it today, I'd feel differently.

Then, there's another category...things everyone else hates that you liked, and things everyone else loves that you just don't get.  Sometimes you avoid things out of principle, and miss out on something good.

Anyway, just thought I'd stimulate your brains (at least, the low culture portions) for a bit.

On that note, tomorrow is Halloween and I am going to go into work DRESSED LIKE MARIA FROM THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!!  Sorry, but I am.  My poor hubby probably thinks I'm weird.   I'll try to return to being normal before I get home.  But maybe not!

Cliiiiiiiiiimb evvvvvvvvvvvry mountain!


Where are they now?

Click to enlarge.

Can you find me on the left?  (I'm wearing a white barrette but I guess I accidentally ripped my photo...)
Useful info

For anyone who missed the update and was wondering, that's just the lighting making my eyes look black or tired below. My eyes are perfectly fine.

Now...on to more crucial info from the gov't...

"When does Daylight Saving Time/Standard Time begin?

Daylight Saving Time begins each year at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March. Move clocks ahead one hour at the start of Daylight Saving Time.
Standard Time begins each year at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November. Move your clocks back one hour at the resumption of Standard Time. Daylight Saving time and Time zones are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, not by NIST.
In 2008, Daylight Saving Time begins on March 9 and ends on Nov.2.
In 2009, Daylight Saving Time begins on March 8 and ends on Nov.1."


Coming this week:

(update: no, I don't have black eyes; it's just the lighting and the iPhoto colorization button I pressed)

Wintry weather!!

(or so I've heard.)
At least I have clothes for it.


Wag the dog

The answer to the financial crisis? You guessed it!!!!

Thanks to Brad for sending this. (Yes, he said I could give him credit for his excellent recommendation.)


The dog with the sweater had it easy...

Click here


Old things

One of the neat things about living in a 98-year-old apartment is that some of the features are still here from years past, even if they would not be built in today's times or don't even seem to have a purpose anymore.  There are fixtures that have been painted over, closed up, or just become obsolete due to changes in codes, family sizes, mores, living arrangements, etc., but they give such a clue to times past.  Some are just a mystery.

There are a few former windows in my apt. that are sealed shut.  Perhaps once there wasn't a building next door, so they were opened and the inhabitants breathed freely.  Or maybe once people just used to them toss out the trash.

We also have a tiny ironing board hidden in a panel in the kitchen.  The board itself is sorta broken and we don't use it; in fact, we have stuff in front of the door.  But it's pretty neat...

Inside the door:  An ironing board that drops down!

I can also look outside past the fire escape and see threads from old clotheslines that extended out to the trees and poles.

There's a tile in the bathroom that has pictures of vegetables painted on it. Kind of strange. Was the bathroom part of the kitchen once?

Anyway, sometimes things break and new things need to be brought in. The apartment is adjusted again for modern times, but it loses a bit of its charm. Then again, signs of what used to be there remain for future dwellers to marvel at.


This is funny

Listen to the narration. Hysterical!


By the way, my poor hubby has been watching me giggle at bulldog videos for a few days. So...no more.

Next, I'm doing weinerdogs!!! HA!


Who reads this?

We're down to 21-30 people per day.  I'm guessing it's:

80 percent friends/people I've met in life
19 percent people who read my book and contacted me
5 percent people who found me from another blogs that linked to me
2 percent family (meaning, the Hubby.  I don't think any others read it, and that's good!)
1 percent former dates who are curious
0 percent co-workers (good!)

Yeah, that doesn't add up to 100, but I was not a math major.


What shall I do to celebrate Halloween?  I love the creepiness, the colors, the festivities, the candy (of course).   But I'm a tad too old to trick or treat, and no, I don't want to go into crowded Manhattan for the parade.  Maybe I would drag His Hubbiness to a Halloween party if a friend was having one, but maybe not.  The last one I went to was about four years ago, thrown at the apartment of this fellow author, who was dressed as Batman.

How are you folks celebrating, in your own special way?


Speaking of which, so far I've managed to avoid packing on a few extra pounds, despite the two weeks of traveling and eating out we recently had - including a wedding.  I gained a lot last year in October, so I tried to avoid that this year.  With it staying darker out later in the morning (thus sleeping later), more candy around, and staying indoors more, there is more temptation to nosh.  Well, I'll have to keep being careful.

One more thing about food:  My beloved Hen of the Woods (otherwise known as Maitake) mushrooms are in stores!  They are only around very briefly, though.  Hubby and I had some this evening.  Yummy.

Puppy fun

Yes, I actually do look on Youtube for videos of bulldogs, because they make me laugh.  I'm laughing WITH them, not at them.  Well, except in this case.

Unfortunately, someone took it too seriously and commented:  "Take the fucking sweater off him you bitch, your entertainment shouldn't come at the expense of his distress."


If you were wondering...


From CNN this morning:

"An out-of-work money manager in California loses a fortune and wipes out his family in a murder-suicide.

"A 90-year-old Ohio widow shoots herself in the chest as authorities arrive to evict her from the modest house she called home for 38 years.

"In Massachusetts, a housewife who had hidden her family's mounting financial crisis from her husband sends a note to the mortgage company warning: "By the time you foreclose on my house, I'll be dead." Then Carlene Balderrama shot herself to death, leaving an insurance policy and a suicide note on a table.

"Across the country, authorities are becoming concerned that the nation's financial woes could turn increasingly violent, and they are urging people to get help. In some places, mental-health hot lines are jammed, counseling services are in high demand and domestic-violence shelters are full."

First of all, why are people evicting a 90-year-old woman from her home? Is there no one around who can be notified to find ways to help her pay for a while, or to find a better solution than her losing her home completely? What about the guy who dropped off seven kids at a hospital because he just couldn't take care of them?

This shows not just that the economy is in crisis, but that there aren't enough social workers or mental health workers to help out. Police and other authorities should be able to work with and call upon social workers. Not enough people are pitching in to help those who need the help, but maybe they just don't know where people are who are in crisis.

I don't think churches alone (as some would suggest) can be counted on to provide adequate mental health support or navigation of the social service system, although they sure help. There have to be crisis workers and social workers in a community, too (and they should be better paid and less overworked so more people will go into the profession). And just people paying attention to what their neighbors are doing, and trying to help when they can.



We enjoyed a lovely weekend in Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, the foliage was not at peak, but it was still nice.  It probably will be at peak this weekend, for those heading to Mass or Connecticut.

Anyway, we stayed near Concord & Lexington and visited Minuteman park.  We also went to Boston and shopped at Quincy Market. 

We also saw the original Walden pond (which cost $5 to get in, has a gift shop, and also has a beach.  OK, Thoreau might have been appalled).

Oh, and yes, as a Jersey girl, I will note that we went to a mall.  Yeah, I know.  The Hubby was kind enough to let me go.

Below are some pix, so you can enjoy it too!
Boston, behind Quincy Market

Concord, Mass.

1800s graves in Concord.

Minuteman historic park.
Walden Pond.

Walden Pond, the beach part.  The photo is weird on a number of levels, isn't it?  People swimming among fall leaves?


More TV news I love to hear!

NEW YORK, April 7, 2008 -- Spike TV is updating the long-running "Unsolved Mysteries" franchise by creating a new collection 175 re-edited episodes hosted by acclaimed television and film actor Dennis Farina. The new episodes, focusing on more of the dangerous and action-oriented cases, will also be available on Spike's web site, http://www.spike.com, and mobile outlets.
Spike's TV's "Unsolved Mysteries," featuring real-life cases of unsolved crimes, missing persons and unexplained paranormal phenomena begins its five year run on Spike TV in October, 2008. Each one-hour episode will feature five stories re-enacted by professional actors, plus brand new show wraps and updates on past stories. The series will be stripped weekday afternoons.

I hear it's starting this Monday...but why does it have to be in afternoons!?
Life on Mars

I'd heard about this show, in which a modern cop somehow gets transported back to 1973, an era when they did things a little differently (like working without cell phones...and roughing up criminals.)

The American version of his BBC series premiered on ABC last night. I really enjoyed it. Some things in it were a little silly, but it's a lot of fun to compare the years. And it's got Michael Imperiole (Christopher from "The Sopranos") and Harvey Keitel, for fans of his. And Lisa Bonet. And some actress my hubby knew about. Anyway, read on.

The title comes from a David Bowie song, so I'll have to check that out now.


Money-saving tips

Keep meaning to post some of these...

1. With lots of people canceling hotel and motel reservations, save money. If you have a room reserved, call a few days beforehand and just ask about the rates. You may surprisingly hear a lower rate mentioned than when you booked months ago! I did this at the beginning of the summer when we went to Vermont, and the rate they told me on the phone was actually $20 a night lower than when we booked months earlier. So I got the new rate! (Be warned, though, some rates require you to pay in advance, which means you get no refund if you have to cancel for an emergency or whatever. I don't ever take the pay-in-advance rates.)

2. If you are buying a Macintosh computer or major peripheral, keep in mind that they may give you a discount if you buy more stuff. So if you are planning to buy more stuff anyway, pretend you aren't. When you go in the store, just act like you only want the iphone or iMac or whatever. They may tell you that if you take 3 years of Applecare, or this or that, they'll knock $100 off the price of the main thing you're buying. Since you wanted the extra stuff anyway, now you've got a little discount.

3. Expired coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond still work (usually). And you can use a whole bunch of them at once. Also, Linens & Things coupons work at BBB.

4. If you go to Customer Relations at the NYC Macy's and say you're an out of town tourist, they can give you an 11 percent off discount card that works for a few days. Unlike almost all their usual discounts, this card applies to every brand - even stuff like Coach. So if you are planning to buy an expensive designer item, get the card. (I am not sure that it would apply to a wedding dress, but it applies to most things!) (Oh, speaking of which, go to David's Bridal for a wedding dress, unless you have like $1,000 to part with or don't care. Thank God that store exists. My dress was....well, I'll just say somewhere under $500. Definitely a deal.)

5. Get AAA, even if you don't have a car. It saves a ton of moola on hotel reservations, and even works for some restaurants, car rentals, other things.

There. Hope that helps.


Eli again

Eli Manning and his wife were shopping for cards & Halloween thingies in Rite Aid earlier this evening. I ended up in front of him on line.  Eek, a little nervewracking making Eli wait for me.

See, he's just like us.  Except he was a Superbowl MVP and you weren't.

Update:  "Stop stalking them." - The Hubby

Hmph, maybe they're stalking ME!


The Cabbie

This was an e-mail forward that the Hubby forwarded on to me. I think it's a sweet story and also reminds us not to take our jobs and our interactions with other people for granted. You never know which little blip in your daily routine will really affect someone's life!!!

Here goes:

I am a cabbie, and one day, I was called to pick up a woman at her apartment. I walked to the door and knocked.

'Just a minute', answered a frail voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened.

A small elderly woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said.
I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness.
'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.'
'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'
'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.'
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
'I don't have any family left,' she continued. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.'
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. 'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now.'
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.
'Nothing,' I said.
'You have to make a living,' she answered.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. 'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.
Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

You won't get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on.
Thank you, my friend...
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, we might as well dance.



This weekend, we went to the wedding of one of the Hubby's college friends.  It was at the Naval Chapel in Annapolis (no, the friend didn't attend the Naval Academy, nor did my hubby).

It was very pretty inside.

To get from the chapel to the restaurant, the guests took two school buses.  We don't remember this middle kit being on our own buses growing up.  Kids today!!!

What's up with this?!


'Worst book i've ever read. biggest waste of time.'

I recently discovered a goldmine of reviews of my book that I previously didn't realize existed. I mean, I knew about the site and had friends on it, but I didn't realize there were like 26 capsule reviews of my book on there.

OK, maybe authors shouldn't narcissitically look at these -- but it's fun. Most of them are really positive, and then there is the one above, which is fine too.  My book's not to everyone's taste, but I'm glad so many people read it.

Anyway, I can see it being the worst book she ever read...but come on, biggest waste of time?! Has she ever watched The Girls Next Door?

UPDATE:  Two different people e-mailed me to ask why someone would read it or finish it if they thought it was the worst book ever.  Well, maybe she was curious to see what would happen, even if she hated it, or maybe she really didn't finish it and read enough to know it sucked.  I'm really, really, not offended!  Some liked it, some didn't.  If she said she met me personally and thought I was an evil person, THEN I would be offended.

So thanks for the condolences, but it's perfectly fine.  I'm lucky anyone has heard of my book enough to give it a bad review!




I just thought of the dumbest blog post. Then I erased it. You're lucky you were spared.