Friday, December 17, 2010

More Hodge and Podge

Thanks, Joyce, I’m in a slump…

1. What does it mean to have the 'holiday spirit'?

I don’t want to rain on everybody’s parade, but I’m one of those kooks who really prefers the religious aspects of the season.  I can do without Santa, Rudolph, and their friends.  The commercialism is APPALLING.  This is one of the two times of the year I actually AM religious (the other being Easter). 

That said, I have always loved and will always love “A Christmas Carol”, I read it every year and watch every version that comes out.  My all-time favorites (in order):  1.  George C. Scott’s 1984 Made for Television version.  The all time great, winner, and still champ.  All others pale.  It’s on Netflix if you want to take a look.  2.  The 1954 classic with Fredric March as Scrooge and Basil Rathbone (Sherlock!) as Marley. 

Not wild about the latest semi-animated one, but it was ok.  Looks good on Blu-ray.

(And, digressing, the current remake of Sherlock Holmes, entitled “Sherlock”, on Masterpiece Mystery Theater (it’s a BBC production) is amazing.  Set in present-day; Dr. Watson is fresh from Afghanistan and trying to find himself and falls in with crazy Sherlock.  As our British cousins say, “Brilliant!”  WELL worth your time (there are only 3 so far).

2. What sits atop your tree (s)? Why?

I don’t have a tree any more.  I’m allergic to real trees and the fake ones are…fake…besides, it’s just all to take down after Christmas. 

3. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?

I try to do it every day.  If I don’t, who will?

4. Which of your senses is most sensitive this time of year?

Tough call, between smell (I love the smell of hot punch, or mulled wine; HATE all the candles, etc.) and sight---I do love the exterior Christmas lights, love driving around looking at them.

5. What do you have too much of in your kitchen?

JUNK.  Somebody help me…

6. What do you do for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Big meal? Breakfast tradition? Open the cookie tins and have at it?

Ok, this is a weird one.  Our family has never liked turkey.  I don’t like it now, just not something I crave.  Mother despised it, Dad indifferent; it’s one of the few things my sister and I agree upon.  We always had SWISS STEAK for Christmas dinner.  We all looked forward to it (Swiss steak is hard to do and a labor of love), it’s one of our favorite things.

Also, I make spinach dip and use pumpernickel as the bread bowl/dip delivery device.  I use fresh spinach.  I don’t know what it is I do to it that’s different than everybody else, but everybody loves MINE.  So I always make that and that’s what we eat while we’re waiting for the Swiss Steak to cook.

7. What is the best thing about winter?

Absolutely nothing, I HATE winter.  The only good thing is it gives us a break here in Houston from the summer.  The days are short.  It’s cold and rainy.  Yuck!  Snow?  EEEWWWWWWW.  I’d go live in Southern California or Hawaii or somewhere if I could—tropical all the time, no winter EVER.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Christmas is depressing to me.  Don’t know why; my parents did everything humanly possible to make Christmas wonderful for us.  I’ve always been depressed at Christmas, even as a child (I now recognize).  I am always turned off by it.  Maybe that’s why now the highlight of Christmas for me is Midnight Mass (and nobody in my family will go with me; I go alone).  It’s a religious holiday; I go to church and that’s all I want to do (besides eat spinach dip and Swiss steak, and read/watch A Christmas Carol).

Friday, December 10, 2010

More Hodge and Podge

Keep ‘em coming, Joyce!

1. What is the most interesting thing you've done in the last year?

Having a friend email me at the very last second with a ticket, making a flying road trip on the spur of the moment to Little Rock, tailgating on the golf course, watching my beloved Arkansas Razorbacks give us thrills and chills beating hated LSU, then dancing in the stands and singing “Pour some Sugar on me!” with 53,000 of my closest friends.

Some of the most fun I’ve ever had at a football game

(Not my video, I was too busy singing and dancing to make one. I was to the right of this guy, somewhere about the 10 yard line, but this is what it was like. There are several more on Youtube and I love every one of them.)

Ok, one more, couldn't resist and added this one. These boys were having a lot of fun---the great thing is, so were we, their elders! We were all doing the same thing, they just have more energy....from the student section:

2. What is your most meaningful family heirloom?

I’m the custodian of the family pictures and the family history, and they’re going in the car with me if I have to evac for a hurricane. However, if you’re talking “things”, I have my great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s grindstone, and on the other side of the family, a sugar bowl that has been passed down for generations. Both little “antique” value, but tons of sentimental value.

3. What food festival would you most like to attend? If you're not sure click here to see a list of possibilities.

Um….all of them?

4. you love it or is it considered a four letter word where you live?

When I was young (college and young adult) I loved skiing. I loved snow (we didn’t have much in Texas, southern California, et al). As I got older, however, and lived in cold-weather climates, I saw snow for the evil it is. Now, my biggest complaint about Houston is that it’s too far north and too cold.

5. Can you ski? Do you ski? Are you any good?

I used to, and I was. I will never do it again.

6. What quality in your spouse or best friend are you most thankful for?

I’d have to say loyalty; I’m fortunate in friends and have several who have stuck with me through thick and thin. Friendships that have stood the test of time.

7. Describe the coziest spot in your home.

I guess the den—I’m not into “cozy”. I’m hot natured, so it’s always cool in here for almost everybody else. My den is a small room off the main living room; the living room has vaulted ceilings; the den doesn’t, and is paneled, and is filled with recliners and the television.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m grateful for the love I’ve experienced and am experiencing, and the great memories. Everything else fades, but those remain.

Eventually I’ll get around to posting my LSU pictures….

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge—on Thursday and 2 Weeks Late

I’m behind on everything, including my blog reading and especially on my blog writing.  I have some good excuses:  I have a new job (and I love it, and it’s exciting and fun), we’ve been right in the middle of one of the most exciting Razorback football seasons in decades, and I’ve been busy keeping up with old friends and making new ones. 

But, it’s Thanksgiving, the very first one I’ve ever spent totally alone.  Other than watching the Cowboys lose (sigh), It’s seemed a lot like a regular Saturday; I’ve sat on my posterior all day and done nothing but eat, drink, and alternate between football and James Bond movies (SyFy has a Bond marathon on Thanksgiving).  It’s actually been relaxing, truth be told.


So, I went over to my friend Kathy’s blog, Life in the Slow Lane, and discovered that she’d lifted an idea from our mutual friend Joyce at From This Side of the Pond, and I liked the idea.  Kathy missed the first week; I missed the first two.  Unlike Kathy, I’ve decided to just do both of them together and then try to keep up.  So, (in the immortal words of the immortal Jackie Gleason), “…and aWAY we GO!”

Week 1 Questions:

1. Do you think you're more like your mom or your dad?

Oh, hell, this is an easy one.  There are traces of Dad in there (the reading; the tending to things like classical music and literature; believe it or not, the practicality (“Why is every light in this house on?”  “You don’t need a new one, the old one’s not worn out yet.”).

But ask anybody who knew us both, and you’ll get an immediate answer:  I’m Mother made over as a man (and she was a clone of her Mama).  I frequently open my mouth and her voice comes out.  The genes didn’t lie…

1974 GrannieMP Wedding 061a[4] (1)IMG_9891a

Yeah, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree….

2. Do you like roller coasters?

No, I do not “like” roller coasters.  I LOVE roller coasters.  I think they are among the coolest inventions of man.  From my earliest coaster days (The Comet at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas; The Monster Mouse at Playland Park in San Antonio) to present, I love ‘em all.  Current favourite:  Rockin’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World, although I’m tempted to make a trip to Ohio specifically to ride the coasters at Cedar Point.

3. How did you name your blog and do you now wish you'd thought about it maybe another five minutes before you hit publish? Would you change your blog title if it were not a huge pain in the derriere? (French makes everything sound a little nicer doesn't it?)

I couldn’t think of anything better.  I wanted “Malvie” in it since that’s been my nickname since Razorbacking days (short for “MalvernHog”).  I wanted an alliterative name; ergo, “Malvie’s Musings”.  And yes, I’d change it if I could think of something better AND it wasn’t so much darn work…

4. What is the best wedding gift you received? Not married? Didn't get any gifts? Then what is the best wedding gift you've given?

Hands down:  When I lived in Little Rock, I sang for years in the Cathedral Choir at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.  We (the Choir) were available for rent for weddings (we did funerals for free, although donations were accepted and appreciated).  We used the wedding income for things like new music and vestments. 


Truly beautiful, isn’t it?

We did this wedding at Christmas.  The bride (who was no stranger to Hostess Twinkies; in fact, I daresay the entire Hostess line) was marrying a young man whose father was a member of the Canadian Parliament.  The young lady’s family lived on Edgehill Rd., the swankiest address in Arkansas.  Her father (probably relieved to give her feed bill expenses to someone else) threw a lavish wedding---the dress was from Paris; all 1,500 seats at the Cathedral were full; the groom’s family and friends flew in from Canada on a chartered 737; the 3-tent reception at the bride’s family estate featured us in one tent, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber group in another, and the Arkansas Opera Company in another; the florist (a friend/competitor of a choir member) told us the flowers alone were $15,000; the families were whisked from the estate to the church and back to the estate by a fleet of Rolls-Royce’s imported from Dallas for the occasion.  It was quite the spectacle.

Of course, making it even MORE spectacular were the bride’s mother dramatically “fainting” during the service, the groom and all his groomsmen being so plastered they literally could barely stand (I guess due to the width of the bride as she waddled down the aisle), and of course, there was the FIRE which occurred when one of the candelabra, festooned with real greenery, caught fire during the service (my friend Scott, ever the proper Episcopalian, took the burning thing to the sacristy, stopping of course to genuflect at the altar while holding the burning candelabra….)

What does this have to do with gifts?  The same day (it was a morning wedding), the maid of a friend of mine was getting married.  This extremely sweet young African-American lady (already mother of two) had finally met “Mr. Right”.  She thoughtfully invited both her employer (“Miss Anne”) and me, in person (handed us the invitations, hand-written on notebook paper).  She knew of my interest in photography, having admired some of my photos, and shyly asked me what I would charge her to take pictures at her wedding.  I replied that the photography would be my gift.

So, after Anne and I extracted ourselves from the “extravaganza” on Edgehill, we drove north of the city to the tiny crossroads community where the maid’s wedding was to be held.  The church was a white-clapboard A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) church, with a low-slung, concrete-block “fellowship hall” next door. 

The bride’s wedding dress was handmade by her sisters.  She was radiant walking down the aisle, accompanied by her two adorable children.  Her handsome young man, standing at the altar with HIS two adorable children, was obviously head-over-heels in love with her.  After a lovely wedding, we adjourned to the Fellowship Hall, which to our surprise featured packed-dirt floors and naked light bulbs hanging from wires stapled to the ceiling.  The wedding cake, home made jointly by the mothers of the bride and groom, was the single most delicious cake I’ve ever eaten.  I snapped about 400 pictures, had them developed, and put them in albums for the couple, who were ecstatic—and very much in love.

And that was the best wedding present I’ve ever given. 

Oh, and the walrus rich young lady and the MP’s son remained married exactly two months.  So far as I know, ‘Cille and Tom are still married after all these years.

5. What is the one bill you most hate to pay?

All of them.

6. Is the glass half full or half empty?

Half full, always.

7. What is your favorite word? Okay okay. Calm down. How about one of your favorite words?


8. Now, this is where you insert one random thought of your own...maybe something that struck you as funny, something that recently had you scratching your head in confusion, something that annoyed you a teensy bit, something on your to do list, something you are looking forward to, whatever. As long as it is in keeping with the friendly tone we've all come to know and love on Wednesdays then we're good. Don't make me get out my wooden spoon.

I don’t know which I like better, pot roast or chili.  But I have both available to eat this weekend.

Week 2 Questions:

1. What is the most amazing weather you've ever seen?

I have had the unmitigated displeasure to have lived through 3 hurricanes and 3 tornadoes.  The hurricanes were Carla, Allen and Ike.  The tornadoes were the Dallas tornado of 1960, wherein downtown was torn up as we watched; a tornado in Little Rock in 1982 wherein I had to get out of the car and into the ditch (in a 3-piece suit) and felt the tornado lift me up (slightly) and set me back down; and the one in Dallas wherein my friend and I had been to the bars, got back to our apartments (she lived upstairs from me and was a friend girl, not a girl friend), fell into an alcoholic stupor deep sleep, and awoke to discover that the roof had been torn off our building while we slumbered on (the Fire Department pounded on the door and took us out).

I’d just as soon pass on any more severe weather, thanks.

2. What is a sound or noise you love?

Here you go.

3. Do you like seafood? What's your favorite seafood dish?

I love seafood.  Unfortunately, crustaceans concentrate iodine in their delicious little bodies.  Ingestion of iodine for me induces anaphylactic shock, and I have to be hospitalized.  Accordingly, I have to eat SCROD while everybody else is enjoying lobster.  My favourite pre-anaphylaxis seafood?  Tie:  Oysters Rockefeller and gulf shrimp.

4. What part of your day requires the most patience?

Houston traffic.  Twice a day.  Every day.

Here’s another example.

And here’s some GREAT humor about it (you have to laugh; glass half full, remember?)

5. What's your favorite shade of blue?

Columbia blue, when paired with Old Gold (note the colours of this blog.  It’s not that way by accident.  Columbia blue and Old Gold for Sigma Chi.

Sigma Chi

6. Do people underestimate you?

I don’t know about now, but they certainly did in the past.  Fat people Gentlemen of Stature are usually considered to be stupid for some reason.  Additionally, you can walk down the street in New York and hear 50 different languages, but let a southern accent roll out and it’s like the old EF Hutton commercials:  everybody stops and stares.  They figure anyone from the south is automatically stupid.

7. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?

Two weeks ago, when I started my new job.

8. Insert your own random thought here, and remember...I have a wooden spoon and I'm not afraid to use it.

Goldfinger is my favourite James Bond movie.


The week 3 questions were all about Thanksgiving, and since that’s a rather tender subject at the moment, I’ll decline those.

Rocky Horror Picture Show dinner.jpeg

“That’s a rather tender subject at the moment.  Another slice anyone?”

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What Border Collies Seldom Understand…

…is that the mere fact that the refrigerator door is opened is not necessarily an indicator that treats for them are forthcoming....

…is that a queen-sized bed will only hold so many large creatures…

…is that armrests on chairs are for resting arms upon; when an arm is thusly placed, it is not necessarily there because it needs a border collie nose on it…

…is that leather recliners are for people, not border collies…

…is that the dogs in the next yard will be there tomorrow, too…

…is that vacuum cleaners, in and of themselves, are not fatal to border collies…

…is that a 60 pound border collie, when applied suddenly, unexpectedly, and exuberantly to the midsection of a middle-aged man snoozing in a recliner can cause spillage of drink, breakage of computer and a sudden change from baritone to soprano…

…is that yelling because your team scored a touchdown is not the same as yelling because your border collie pottied on the carpet…

…is that loud, raucous, welcoming barking, tail-wagging, and running around upon the entry of “Dad” never fails to bring a smile to Dad’s face, no matter how tough his day has been.



Friday, October 29, 2010

Calling the Hogs For Aunt Shorty

Aunt Shorty fell walking her dog night before last and broke her leg.  She’s having surgery this morning, as I type this.  She’s 91.

Shorty (Arline Jones Peeler; her actual first name is "Velda" but call her that at your own peril) started me on the road to rack and ruin; i.e., it was Shorty who infected me with Razorbackmania. 

Everybody else kept growing, Arline stopped at 4'9" (she claims; I think that's generous), hence the nickname.  She married badly during WWII (drunken asshole with fists), had a son out of it; divorced him (gasp) and was a divorcee living in Waco, Texas (where they wound up at the time of the divorce).  She was a secretary (and a damn good one) at the VA Hospital there.  She needed "out" (I can relate to needing "out" of Waco...) and put in for a job as secretary to the CO, Dyess AFB.  She got the job and moved with her young son to Abilene.

At Dyess, the top ranked pilot was a young-middle-aged, divorced pilot (hotshot), also short, by the name of Calvin Peeler (native of Corona, California).  He thought she was hot stuff; she wouldn't give him the time of day.  Eventually he worked his way into her affections and they married in 1958.  One of Cal's buddies was in the US Army Corps of Engineers.  They were having beers and the guy said, "Hey, isn't that new wife of yours from Arkansas?  We're getting ready to build a huge new lake up there; you ought to buy some property and have a lake house."

They thought retiring at a lake in the mountains sounded like a good idea, so they made a few trips up the tortuous, winding roads, through the tiny college hamlet of Fayetteville, and found a worn-out farm with a shotgun shack on it that was going to be half taken by the Corps for the lake.  They scraped together the money to buy it ($8,000!!!) and bought it.

As soon as the USAF told him his eyesight was not good enough to fly fighters and grounded him, Cal was -out-.  They moved to Fayetteville and Cal finished his Masters in Math, then became an instructor at the UofA.  Shorty was always a big fan of the Razorbacks, and Cal quickly adapted (he graduated from California Berkeley, "Cal from Cal"). Arline got a job as secretary to the Chief of Surgery at the Fayetteville VA hospital, William J. Fink, MD.  The Peelers bought themselves a Cadillac to go to games, and started following the team.  They got to be a little crazy about it, going to all games, home and away.  This was especially interesting for them in the 1964 Arkansas football season...

They stayed at our house to attend the Cotton Bowl, in which Arkansas beat Nebraska (we were in Dallas).  Their 7 year old nephew was hopping up and down on one foot begging to go to a game.  The next season, they took that by-then-8 year old to a game---Texas was visiting Fayetteville, ranked #1 again, wanting revenge for their defeat the previous year in Austin.  It was getting dark in a stadium with no lights.  Texas had the game won, 24-20; Arkansas was out of times out and Broyles was pretty much out of options; 1:21 left to go in the game.  Brittenum to Crockett, Brittenum to Crockett, Brittenum to Crockett, TOUCHDOWN, ARKANSAS!!! (as time expired)  Arkansas 27, Texas 24.

That was the day I found out it's possible to scream until no sound will come out.
On the way out of the stadium, there was enough voice left (the mute part would come the next day) for the nephew to beg Cal for a souvenir.  Never big on such folderol, Cal bought the SMALLEST pennant to shut the kid up.  It's hanging on my den wall as I type this.

Cal passed away in 1989 (if you smoke enough Pall Malls, that can happen).  At about the same time, Bill Fink's wife died, in the same hospital, of the same ailment (Marlboros).  Having then known each other for decades, being close friends, Arline and Bill started hanging out together, and then wound up marrying.  Bill was universally known among his family members as "Pop", and that's what I called him as well.

When I moved back to Arkansas, I started going to all the games, taking Dad with me in Little Rock and Fayetteville, and when we went to Fayetteville, we'd stay with Shorty and Pop.  It was my privilege to take Shorty and Dad (sister and brother) to the Fayetteville games, where they had a ball.  Pop couldn't go because the arthritis had already gotten bad, although he did make it to a few baseball games at Baum (he was much more of a baseball fanatic than a football fan).

Shorty loved the tailgate parties and met many of my friends in WebHogs.  She could cocktail and Call Hogs with the best of them and saw no reason whatsoever why she couldn't do all that at 85.  She had a ball. 

We sat on the west side for years.  The lady we sat next to, Donna, was a young chick of 75 to Shorty's 85, and they had been to many of the same games. My buddy Don came and sat with us one time, and at a particularly egregious point in the game, let fly (at top volume) with a "colorful expression".  (He sat to my left, then me, then Shorty, then Donna.) He was aghast that he had cussed in front of Aunt Shorty and Donna.  This was particularly amusing to me (I had let fly with a slightly less colorful expression), as Shorty and Donna didn't hear him.  They had been too busy cussing at the top of their lungs to hear what we were saying....

She sat with me in the South Endzone Outdoor Club the last couple of years, but had gotten to where it was too hard to lug up the Hill to get to the stadium, and the walk back to the car in the crowd down Razorback Rd. was too much.  

So that's who she is.  She's made us all promise that, when she goes (at say, 130 or 140 years of age) that we will Call the Hogs for her. 

I hope that's not any time soon.

Scan10011 (2)

Jimmy, me, Aunt Shorty, and Dad, Calling ‘em before heading off to a game in Fayetteville

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Random thoughts on “Back To The Future”

Nathan’s wife Pam was out of town tonight, so he came over and we planned dinner and a movie.

Dinner consisted of Long John Silver’s.  I swear, Yum Foods would go out of business without my patronage.  What can I say, I like their food.  It’s reasonably priced, fast, decent, and did I mention cheap?

We had many movie choices, but settled on an old favourite:  The AMC Studio 30 is having two special 25th Anniversary screenings of “Back to the Future”.

Once again tonight on the Big Screen, Marty McFly leaped into Doc Brown’s tricked out DeLorean and went back to 1955, managing to screw everything up but somehow coming out all right.  Of course, we know that there were two more movies (which were filmed simultaneously, and the franchise “jumped the shark” in the third movie wherein Doc falls in love and stays in the past).

I first saw this movie at the wonderful, gone-but-not-forgotten General Cinema NorthPark I in Dallas.  At 1050 seats, it was bigger than anything out there now.  It was one of the first three theaters in the country to get THX sound, with the THX inventors personally supervising the installation.  The sound at that theater was astounding.  George Lucas famously said it was his favorite place to show (and watch) his movies.  No “theater seating”, it had big red plush velvet seats that reclined, offered acres of leg room, and swept down to that huge 70 mm screen.

I had not seen much press on “Back to the Future”; I was in the mood for a movie and just went to the theater to see what was playing.  “Hmmm,” I thought, “Spielberg sci-fi movie?  I liked Michael J. Fox in “Family Ties”; he’s in a movie?”  So I went in.

The first thing that hit me was the THX splash screen.  It was introduced in 1983 with “Star Wars—Return of the Jedi” but our crappy theater in Little Rock didn’t have the technology.  The first time I ever saw this was at that screening of “Back to the Future”.

I loved the movie, and my enjoyment of it has not dimmed with the years.   It is one of my all-time favourites.


Nathan, of course, was born in 1984.  He didn’t see “Back to the Future” in the theater, ever.  He grew up with the movie in the background, like everybody of his generation, but it was no big deal to them.

So, it was kind of fun to see it together.


At the time (1985) we all thought it was great, looking back into 1955.  If you didn’t experience life in the 50’s (which officially ended November 22, 1963), it’s impossible to understand it.  It was just a much different country, and the people were different.

Now, the fun is in looking at BTTF as a time capsule—of the now-simpler, more manageable 1985.  In 1985, there was no “terrorist” situation; we didn’t have a “Threat Level” or “Full-Body screening” at airports (everybody was still pissed we had to “endure” the simple little x-ray machine at the door); the Twin Towers still stood tall in New York, and nobody had the image of them burning, then crashing down seared in their memories.  Jobs were plentiful; it was the “Go-Go” 80’s, baby!  No “Great Recession” hanging over everything, where people at parties ask, “Where’s Joe?” and the hushed answer is, “He was laid off and they had to move.”  “Foreclosure” was something that happened very rarely, a throwback to the bad old days of the Great Depression.

BTTF was so “modern” then. 

-The Mall figures prominently in the story.  80’s kids hung out a lot at the Mall.  When was the last time you even WENT to a Mall?  (Ok, these days I can’t think of the Mall without thinking of “Robin SparklesWinking smile

-Marty uses a WIRELESS phone—a huge clunky thing with a little retractable antenna.

-We ALL had one of those “flip” alarm clocks---every minute, a little “flip” as the “digital” display changed.  Mine was a Panasonic, just like Marty’s.

-Jennifer and Marty are sitting in the park, but after the “Save the Clock Tower” lady interrupts their kiss, they are stymied by the arrival of her Dad (in an AMC Eagle…anyone born after 1980, did you know there once was a “Big FOUR” in Detroit, the fourth car company being American Motors (AMC), producer of the Eagle and Jeep lines?).  Jennifer is going to be spending the evening at her Grandma’s---so she has to rush back to give Marty the telephone number.  He can’t just call her on her cell, because there are no cells.

-There aren’t any computers, either, nor references to the internet.  Nobody buys anything on eBay, or watches a video on YouTube.  Nobody Google's anything.

-Marty orders a “Pepsi Free”.  They stopped making it in 1987.

-Speaking of Pepsi, this is the first movie I remember where product placement was so very prominently featured (it may not be the first ever, but it sure was “in your face”).  Pepsi, Texaco, Toyota, all prominently featured (to their best advantage).  Cleverest, to me:  When Marty is onstage performing “Earth Angel” with Marvin Berry, the amp is sitting on an upside-down Pepsi case.

-Nathan didn’t know this:  the “teacher” in the gym, who passes judgment on Marty and his band (“I’m sorry, kids, you’re just too darn loud”) was Huey Lewis, who had a huge hit with “The Power of Love”, the theme song of the movie.

This led Nathan to wonder what happened to Huey Lewis and the News.  I told him they’re still around, still performing, but there’s no Top 40 any more.  Ahh, yes, I mused, “Top 40”, as in “A-merican…Top FOR-TY!” with Casey Kasem.  I told Nathan that, when I was a teenager, my friends and I would all listen to ATF every week (Saturday morning), to see where our favourite songs were going.  We’d keep a list of the songs on spiral notebooks.  He thought this quite the funniest thing he’d ever heard, accused me of making it up, and couldn’t BELIEVE that we would do such a thing.  I told him well, we might want to buy the single, or even the album, before it left the charts.  This brought more gales of laughter.  I further told him, when I moved to Houston in 1979, the city featured KRBE, the number 1 FM Top 40 station, and KLOL, the “Head” “Metal” station, plus a couple of country stations, and that was –it-.  The rest was AM, which still ruled but was waning.  My car had an AM radio; I slung one of those little FM converters under the dash.  That’s how I made the switch from KULF, Houston (“Houston…first word spoken from the moon!  and KULF IS Houston!”), the Mighty 1090, KAAY in Little Rock, KTSA in San Antonio, and KFJZ in Dallas, to KRBE FM Houston, KLAZ, “Z-98.5” in Little Rock, KTFM in San Antonio, and KVIL in Dallas.  Again, shock and incomprehension.

But back to the movie:

-Marty wears Nike’s in the movie.  The swoosh was everywhere then.  Nobody cared where they were made, or by whom.

-Suspenders:  Marty wears ‘em the whole movie. I had at least 12 pairs, probably more.  All kinds of colours and designs.  All the pants came fitted with suspender buttons, but if they didn’t, I had a variety of “clip on” suspenders.  I guess you can still buy them now, but why would you want to do so?

-Jennifer (the first one, who was far better than the second) sure had some big-ol honking 80’s hair on her, didn’t she?  Farrah-hair.  Very chic.  Lots of curlers and lots of hairspray to achieve that look.

-When Marty comes back to a re-arranged future, the living room is a stunning white—with mauve-and-teal accents, brass fixtures, and a glass dining table.  Very 80’s-chic.

-Plot hole:  Marty comes back to a rearranged future---but there’s still only one car?  (admit it’s a BMW, but if Dave is successful now, where’s HIS car?  Where’s MOM’s car?  Where’s the sister’s car?  They ain’t THAT successful if they’re all riding around in Dad’s BMW).

-Plot hole:  At the beginning of the movie, Marty revs the DeLorean up to 88 in the parking lot at the Mall.  When he’s in 1955, he has to go way, way down the street to accomplish the same thing, and lumbers 0-60 in about 2 minutes.

-Plot hole:  Marty appears not to know his own grandparents, aunts, and uncles?  He’s never been to their house and doesn’t recognize them?  They live in the same town!

-Biggest error on the part of the directors:  leaving out the rest of the scene where “Darth Vader” comes down from the planet Vulcan to convince George to take Lorraine to the dance (starts at 3:34 in the clip).


All in all, a fun visit to an old friend.

One more thing:  At the end, Doc Brown finally succeeds, traveling himself into the future.  30 years into the future, to be precise:  October 21…2015.

I STILL want my flying car!!!  I was promised a flying car!!!  Where is it?

I want my flying car!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Coincidences continue from the New England trip

As you can see from the previous blog entries, Dad and I enjoyed a vacation in New England a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday, I got an email from an old friend; we were at Trinity together back in the day.  He now lives in Houston as well, and we never see each other, but that doesn’t diminish the friendship (it’s a shame we don’t make time).

Anyway, Jerry wrote me the other day:


     I stopped by  Malvie's Musings  today and was so excited to read about your trip!
Polly and I were in Maine at the same time!  Like you, we left on Saturday, Oct 2
and flew into Boston.  Our US Airways flight arrived about 4:15, so I guess you were
out of the airport by then.  We drove up to Boothbay Harbor, Maine and spent the week.
Tuesday we went to Wiscasset and ate at Sarah's Twin Schooner Pub that you have a
picture of.  Then we went on to Augusta to tour the capital.  You, apparently, were in
Rockland on Thursday.  We drove through Rockland that morning on our way to Bangor.
Polly had to see Stephen King's house!  Then we drove back through Rockland that afternoon.
I might have been one of those cars you were dodging as you crossed the street!
We drove back to Boston Saturday, Oct 9 for our flight home about 1:00.
     Both our great minds just knew it was a great time to go to that part of the country!
I just can't believe we were crossing each other's paths and didn't know it.....


Ok, so we live about 30 miles apart and we fly all the way across the country at the same time and are in the same place at the same time.

As we said back in the day, “That’s…bizarre!”

Jerry, let’s get together soon.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dad n Me in Boston, Day 7

Well, here we are in the hotel in Boston, repacking, going to bed early so we can catch our flight back to Texas in the morning.

It’s been a wonderful 7 days, and I’ll be glad of it till my dying day (which may come soon enough if this cold doesn’t get better; or maybe I just WANT to die and the rhinovirus is toying with me, saying, “Oh, no, you’re gonna LIVE through ME, buddy!”).

We took our time this morning leaving Brunswick, and drove down I-95 to Boston.  We’re staying in one of the suburbs.  Boston traffic is---Boston traffic.  It astonishes me that anyone would ever complain about Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, or even Austin when there are examples of traffic anarchy like Boston available. 

Drove to the “Wonderland” T station and hopped the Blue Line for downtown.  Walked around Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, then a quick cab to the wharf to see an old friend.

Ya gotta love Legal Seafood.  Yes, it’s the tourist trap, but they really do have excellent food.  One martini later, I felt alive again.  I’m allergic to shellfish, so I had the tuna sashimi style with seaweed salad and mashed potatoes.  Dad had----a cheeseburger.  I tried to get him to try any of the sensations on the menu, but he was sticking with the tried and true, and I didn’t argue.

We were tired, worn, and I’m not feeling well, so we just came back to the hotel for the night.

Tomorrow:  Houston.














Boston Harbor

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dad n Me in Maine, on the Train, Day 6


I love trains.  Always have, ever since Dad brought me my first one (well, Santa brought it.  Mother and I went to the store for some milk on Christmas Eve so Santa could have milk and cookies; when we got home, that debbil Santa had come and gone!  He was early (Dallas was apparently one of his first stops, and Santa probably wanted to get done early so as to get at least a little sleep).  In any event, I loved that train.  Later, Dad got HIS train from HIS Dad’s, and I had both. 

My grandmother Forthmon (“Grannie”), who lived with us, would take the train back to Malvern to visit her relatives, and I’d go along too.  It was always grand.  We went on “Ol Bluie” (Texas and Pacific, and later Missouri Pacific’s engines were all navy blue with gray trim; I didn’t realize at that age that there were DIFFERENT engines, they all looked like “Ol Bluie” to me).


Yes, planes get you there faster.  I used to love plane travel.  Now, I’d be just as happy never to get on one again.  Trains, now that was when travel was more leisurely, more glamorous. 

In any event, today Dad and I boarded the Maine Eastern Railroad and took off on a journey of 50 miles to Rockland, Maine (it took 3 hours, which might explain why people abandoned the train).  Still, it afforded some great vistas and we had a marvelous time.

In Rockland, it was raining a bit.  We found a used bookstore (always a plus), made purchases (you thought we’d go into a used bookstore and come out empty?), and found a great lunch place to have drinks and lunch quietly, in a great atmosphere, as the rain fell gently outside.

When the rain stopped and we were suitably refreshed, we went back toward the depot, and went to the Maine Lighthouse Museum (Kathy Beaumont, where are you when I need you?).  Had a great time; our guide was fascinating and just boiling over with facts and figures about lighthouses.  I honestly knew nothing about them other than they were cool and had big lights.  I learned that the US Lighthouse Service operated before the Coast Guard, and that many of the lighthouse keepers were women.  Quite a few performed amazing acts of heroism, saving lives.  One of them, Ida Lewis, had a pennant with 18 stars, one for each life she’d saved.  A fascinating glimpse into a life I knew nothing about.

I think some of today’s were among the best photos of the trip:


“Ol’ Greenie?”




Not exactly the boarding platforms at Grand Central Station….


“The Magnolia” was spiffy in green.



Maine WORKS.  This is where many of our current US Navy ships are built.  There’s a huge Naval Air Station in Brunswick.





I loved it!  They were all clustered along ONE of the rails (not the other!).


Wiscasset from the rails.


The gulls’ friends the pigeons were clustered on this house….


I wanted to go.


Note the widow’s walk on top of the house.






Rockland harbor.


Rockland, Maine.


It’s all you need.



View from our table at lunch.



The Rockland Light (center of picture, on the peninsula).



Port Arthur, Texas, baby!


Back on the train; this time, we rode the “Alexander Hamilton”.

The following are my favorite pictures of the trip.  Salt marshes and mud flats.  Lobstermen checking their pots.  I LOVED this part of the trip.









When exactly did I turn into Orson Welles? 





















^^^Probably my favorite.


Remember Microsoft “Bliss”?


Maine Eastern

Tomorrow:  Boston!