Category Archives: suburbia

Summertime Serenade

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This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It will be my “encore” serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

“Lassie” and Television’s Progress

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On Friday, September 12, 2014, 60 years of television had passed by, since “Lassie’s”

first debut episode. The show was simple, meaningful and encompassed all areas of

rural living, (1954 – 1973). When they list the ‘longest lasting television series,’ they

place this show close to top of the list.

 

The years I remember the show, “Lassie,” best had June Lockhart as portraying my

favorite mother of all time. The father was genuinely well-acted by Hugh Reilly and

my favorite little boy, “Timmy,” was played by Jon Provost.

 

Although the leading “human” roles changed over the years, there was always the

faithful dog, “Lassie.” (Many dogs played this role, of course, through the years.) I

enjoyed the various transitions of “Lassie,” having family values and including life

lessons.

 

Fast forward to September and October, 2014 for the New Fall, 2014 television

season.

It would be nearly impossible to picture most of the newest additions to our current

television programming to last ten years, let alone 19 years.

 

The “CSI” and “NCIS” shows are still going strong and on this Fall’s t.v. line-up.

I am going to miss having the original show, “CSI,” with its location of Las Vegas,

when it moves to its new Sunday evening slot. Sunday is my favorite ‘catch up’ night,

with PBS, Hallmark and I still am a big fan of “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge.”

The new Fall line up is already getting over-crowded on my own Sunday night.

 

I was talking to a good friend who thinks some of the shows sound “silly” and was

pointing out a Columbus Dispatch critic thought Debra Messing would be hard to

imagine being a cop, in the new show called, “”Mysteries of Laura.”

Since I would first respond, I love the silly show, “Mike and Molly.” I may be quite

blasphemous to say that “Mike” would NEVER make it on a real police force, due

to his large size…

Criticism from someone who loves all kinds of wild SyFy shows like, “Haven” and

“Eureka,”  and on regular network t.v., “Under the Dome,” should be wondering

about their own ways they stretch their imagination! I am laughing with you; not

at you, my friend!

 

Can you suspend your sense of disbelief and let your imagination go?

I remember the funny ways we learned, as children to open our ‘escape hatches’

and step into the Lands of Wonderment.

 

I shall try all the shows with female-driven plot lines. They have had ‘good fortune’

in the past. Imagine “The Good Wife” not being on,  not receiving another round of

Emmy Award nominations. I think it is nice to see women in professional situations,

not wearing an ‘apron’ and carrying out the character of a ‘housewife and mother.’

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy programs that have women who have chosen to

stay at home to do

this very important job and having this be part of the plot line, too. Choices are what

makes this a different world from the Fifties and Sixties’ television programming.

 

“We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”

I like the characters in this sweet little show about a single mother with a son, you may

recognize him from big screen movies, I “About a Boy.” I am sadly not pleased with

where they tucked this show into a 9:30 time slot. It is ‘not cute’ but original and quirky.

We, if you are a viewer, are ‘rooting’ for the handsome neighbor man to become the single

mother’s date. Although it is about a boy, it is definitely about the mother, too. Having

raised 3 children on my own, I am particularly happy to watch this one. I also like the

upcoming role of Katherine Heigl getting another chance on television in “State of

Affairs.” While Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy,” definitely getting better comedic

roles in movies, she is still sorely missed as the character of “Izzy,” on that show. I am

looking forward to seeing her as a CIA agent. She was funny in “One for the Money,” a

movie based on the hilarious antics of a bondswoman in more than 20 books by Janet

Evanovich.

 

If you liked Tea Leoni’s funny past roles you may have seen her show her acting chops

in serious dramas, too. We will see which direction she heads in, “Madame Secretary.”

She was one of the wackiest women on television for 2 years in a show called, “The Naked

Truth.”

 

I have read a decent review of “Red Band Society.” It is not a “Breakfast Club,” nor

is it one that will be all laughs, but will tackle diseases and illnesses with a touch of

humor and give it an uplifting spin. It is a group of young people who are ones who

have hospital experiences, who are dealing with personal challenges. I picture it more

like the movie, “Stand By Me,” in its tone and togetherness. It is about a ‘band

of young misfits.’

 

Critics are harsh when it comes to some and not so much with others. I remember

when I discovered, “How I Met Your Mother.” It was before the critics endorsed it,

awhile back. I am sad how they chose to end it, with the death of the mother but

happy the main gal, Robin, got her ‘man.’

 

The serious shows genre are tougher to predict. I would imagine Scott Backula will

knock the New Orleans’ version of “NCIS” out of the park. I happen to have liked his

‘goofy’ portrayal of character in “Quantum Leap.” I am not sure about, “Stalkers,” but

will support Dylan McDermott, since he is still okay after all these years since his role

as a non-supportive ‘husband’ for Julia Robert’s dying ‘wife’ role in “Steel Magnolias.”

 

Another serious plot line can be found in “Gracepoint.” (Not to be confused with the

CIA/FBI show about the safe house, “Graceland.”) David Tennant, from the British

show, “Broadchurch,”and Anna Gunn are two strong actors that will head up the

already critically-acclaimed and well-promoted television show. This show is set in a

fictional California coastal community.

 

I think that the “Forever” show that is listed on two consecutive days, for its kick-off

first two episodes sounds good.  Sadly, I lost “Journeyman” and also another traveling

through  time show just in the past two years. I will hope this one ‘sticks’ because I like

the concept. I used to enjoy “Time Tunnel” on television and “Back to the Future,” on

the movie screen.

 

I have been a fan of Josh Dushamel ever since the show, “Vegas.” I have enjoyed his

forte into romantic comedies, too. The actor, Dushamel will be on a new show called,

“Battle Creek,” This will be loosely based on likely crimes to be found in Battle Creek,

Michigan. His co-star/partner will be that of Dean Winters. You will recognize him,

but not necessarily ‘place’ him. I will check this one out simply because I love crime-

solving television series.

 

I will return to comedies. This is what a good friend in Lancaster, Ohio mentioned

when we turned 50: “Try to laugh more, watch comedies!”

I came up with a slogan, which I will hope no one else has coined:

“Humor is found in the ‘ear’ of the listener.”

(“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)

So, if you liked “My Favorite Martian” did you ever try 2 seasons of “Neighbors?”

I think not, since it did not make it. This was clever, witty writing with four likable

adults, along with poking fun at Suburbia. I will miss this, unless it is on a later

schedule, it did not make the ‘cut.’

 

If you liked “Scrubs,” you probably followed the guy who was the janitor on over

into “The Middle,” who became the ever patient, sometimes ‘clueless’ Dad in this

sit-com. This also includes Patricia Heaton, who played the Mom/wife roles in

“Everyone Loves Raymond.”

 

If you liked “Taxi,” “Barney Miller” and “Psych,” you may have discovered last year’s

Emmy-awarding comedy, “Brooklyn 9-9.” Hilarious, quirky and goofy at times, but

watch out, you may laugh out loud anyway.

 

I am wishing that Nielson’s Rating chart were in my mailbox, because I had such a

lovely time about eight years ago, studying and analyzing the television Fall Season

Line-ups back then. The first time I had the full control of a remote control.  I wrote

some comprehensive and profuse notes for those receiving my multiple page Nielson

Ratings Report. I  am not a paid writer nor do I write for a newspaper. I was able to

honestly say this, it was all for the love of television and the future of programming

that I was inspired to carry out my ‘duties’ in this report.

 

My final thoughts on the Progress television has made since “Lassie” was on.

You are invited to ‘debate’ these comments, too. I love a good and lively discussion!

 

I personally feel current shows embrace more ethnicities, culture and show characters

with wider world views in our programming. They encompasses much more ‘diversity’

on television since my childhood days. This means the people who are represented

are not stereotyped as much, anymore.

 

I like that there are two children with special needs included in some popular shows.

I recommend, “Parenthood,” and if you have never seen this, start by watching the

first shows. It is cool to watch this fine young actor, “grow up” with two caring

‘parents’ who disagree about how to handle him, along with a supportive ‘family.’

I am not sure how they would ‘label’ the character, “Brick,” in the show “The Middle,”

but the family accepts him just as he is.

I feel the shows today give better examples of the way families really act, showing

varied relationships, how to handle or not able handle serious and controversial

subjects such as addictions, challenges and sexual orientations.

 

We have heroes and villains. The same as in the past, sometimes more graphically

(and honestly presented.)

 

World conflicts and images are horrifying.  We cannot ignore what is going on, bury

our head in the sand. Powerful, and yet maddening, events are daily depicted (some

consider, ‘bombarded’) on our television sets.

We are urged to ‘act’ and ‘choose’ which side of the dilemmas we will take, as a nation

and other countries must, too.

Along with this serious, somewhat negative impact of television’s immediacy to

situations, we have positives.

We have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, sporting events and international

specials, shown across the world. My coworkers and friends from the Philippines

were captivated by Pope Francis being chosen to be the Roman Catholic Pope.

Other friends were entranced by the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana. Then,

many followed the tragic ending to Lady Diana’s life. They were hopeful for the

more recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The baby’s birth and

now, the next one on its way, are subjects that many feel are happy bits of news.

 

History, social studies, geography and science are subjects of programs, for

everyone to  learn about, grow to enjoy and get more educated. There are so

many fascinating shows to watch. Nature, musical and art works may never be viewed

or listened to, first hand. Other countries and animals, places that may not be within

everyone’s budget or ability to travel.

 

Some people are not necessarily able to buy or read the newspaper. They find out

information about the world they live in, from the television news shows.

Hurray For National Geographic, Travel Channel, PBS, Weather Channel and

other quality network programming!

 

We have real and make-believe images still, with our magic carpet rides taking off,

from our own homes.

 

There are subjects and shows I may never care to watch. I embrace and support

those who like QVC shopping, cooking shows, reality shows and true dramas,

because they are part of the wide community of television watchers.

 

Many of the shows I choose to watch, you may not want to watch. I got hooked on a

soap opera, during our second break at work. For the past six years, I am ‘guilty’ of

watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

All the years I stayed home and babysat, I did not watch any soap operas. I did in

college, much to the chagrin of my parents, when I mentioned I was scheduling my

courses around a couple of soap operas!

 

I was listening, the first year of American Idol, to all the animated conversations in

the teachers’ break room. They were talking about the ‘bad’ try-outs and the odd

characters. It was in the very beginning of the national search for those who would

make it to “Hollywood.” This caught my attention and I am so glad that I started

watching it.  I can say, “I remember when I first heard Carrie Underwood’s fantastic

voice, was medium built and had frizzy hair!” Along with several well-known singers

who made it to the Top Ten or higher.

 

I am grateful that I don’t have to sit on a sofa and listen to radio to imagine the

great radio characters of the “Green Hornet,” “Gracie Allen and George Burns,”

or how the President of the United States looks like as he is speaking. I enjoy

hearing my Mom’s excitement when she heard about Amelia Earhart’s trans-

Atlantic plane trip and her memories of the “Fireside Chats,” with President

Roosevelt, though.

 

I liked how we  used to watch to find out if we had school on Snow Days. Later,

if our children or grandchildren have school cancelled. I enjoy watching to see

how ‘my’ candidates or ‘my’ issues are doing, as the voting polls report in their

results.

 

I am saddened that there are blind people who cannot see, but grateful for the

inventions of special devices and increased equipment due to new technology

allowing them ‘to see’ the shows. The descriptions of the setting, characters and

other visual ‘clues’ are given. I have read about these and think the inventors are

brilliant for creating and providing this service. There are new creations in hearing-

impaired equipment, too.

 

Many people cannot afford to go to the movies or take a vacation with their families.

They may not go to Broadway but on PBS, they can see a Broadway play or musical.

They get their main form of entertainment from television.

 

There are others, lying on their back sometimes, healing from surgery or permanent

disabilities. My Dad liked to watch the comedies, while getting his chemo treatments.

Laughing made him feel so much better on those days he was nauseous.

 

The elderly in the nursing home I worked at for 4 1/2 years, liked to watch the shows

on TV Land, old reruns of “Lawrence Welk” and  “Bonanza,” along with their church

programming on Sunday mornings. The beauty of fireworks in our country and

celebrations around the world, brought big smiles to their faces. They enjoyed, as

I still do, the lovely creations in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

We get a sense of conscience from our ‘small screens.’  The night I watched, “Stand

Up 2 Cancer” impacted me, along with millions of other people watching. It moved

us to donate to some form of Cancer (Society) fund-raising, including Hospice Care,

research and local hospitals.

 

Remember “One Small Step for Mankind?” We now look forward to continued

space travel, inventions and research. When we hear of satellites making it to

Mars or other planets this gives us information that we may use in the future.

 

A quote about freedom from H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist

(1880-1956):

“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom,

for no price that is ever  asked for it,

is half the cost of doing without it.”

 

My soap box, put away for now. . .

 

 

 

What do you watch?

Have you heard about any new t.v. show compelling you

to ‘set your DVR’?

 

Originality is a Plus

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I have always enjoyed quirky, unique characters. I have had a lot of friends

who could not be ‘pigeon-holed’ into any certain group. One thing or another

led us to each other, some for a season, like a poem says, and others for Life.

I have very eclectic taste in my television and movie watching, as well as my

book reading. It takes only something different to pull me in!

 

Here are some criteria: eclectic characters, different settings, weird or unusual

plots, mysterious going’s on, along with some humorous qualities. In other words,

‘one of a kind’ television or movies.

 

I prefer the descriptive words, “Unique” over “Cute,” any day of the week!

 

When the show (or movie) is over, you may feel like you had a visit with distant

family members, who you will ponder upon for awhile. If the show really captures

your heart, you may miss the people when they are gone. . .

 

Examples from the past include, “Barney Miller,” “Taxi,” “Seinfeld,” and “I Love

Lucy.” When we remember Robin Williams, we can think of his earlier t.v. show,

“Mork and Mindy.” Ray Walston created an alien in “My Favorite Martian,” but

no one could do improvisational comedy and ‘wing it,’ like Robin Williams.

 

The “Mary Tyler Moore Show” along with its spin-off, “Rhoda,” included a

lot of diverse persons, along with strong female roles. For a mild, kind and

dry humored, soft-spoken man, I loved, “The Bob Newhart Show.” (Both of

them, in fact!) Bob, in his farmhouse Inn,  had some strange neighbors, 3

handymen (were they Darryl, Larry and Larry? Who remembers this trivia

fact? Let me know!), the dentist and his wacky receptionist in the first show.

Both wives (from the 2 shows) were beautiful and very patient with good ole’

Bob. Many fell in love with them, wondering how he managed to capture each

of them.

 

I liked movies like the Thin Man series, along with ones starring Charlie Chaplin

and Errol Flynn. Way too many of the ones from the black and white era, up to the

newer color ones, to list my ‘favorites of all time!’

 

For comedic variety shows, I enjoyed the “Carol Burnett Show” and “Rowan and

Martin’s Laugh-In.” Each one had a purpose: the first was to entertain families

and the second one was to be a ‘sign of the times.’ Many iconic quotations had their

roots in these shows. They managed to attract many famous comedians, for guest

appearances on both of these shows. Totally different styles, but both met my quirky

and strange criteria.

 

More recent favorite t.v. shows featuring quirky characters were:

“Northern Exposure,” “Still Standing,” and “Gilmore Girls.”

 

I finished one whole season of Robin Williams, with Sarah Gellar playing his character’s

daughter,  in “The Crazy Ones.” If you wish to see funny, then you want to go with the

‘best’ comic in his time. The episodes with the baby ducklings, promoting roasted coffee

and McDonald’s ‘feel good’ commercial which their father/daughter advertising agency

made were all hilarious. Now that he is gone, many of us will value the talent, energy and

unique ‘crazy’ characters, that Robin William created.

 

I have some favorites that I have wondered if anyone else out there is watching currently,

on their televisions?

1. I  have been watching and enjoying, on Sunday evenings, “Last Tango in Halifax.”

This PBS story that unites two outrageously different families in marriage, via two

characters who knew and loved each other over 50 years ago, is quite addicting.

The older couple is unsure which home to live in after marrying, one of their

children murdered someone, in self defense, there is a gay woman who longs for

her soul mate, another woman to fall for her, and other plot twists. The scenery

and the dialogue are quite interesting!

 

2. I have been watching and laughing at Amy Poehler’s writing and her brother,

Greg Poehler’s acting in, “Welcome to Sweden.” This is on regular television on

Thursday evenings. A bonus is Lena Olin, in the cast. Greg plays an accountant

who marries a gorgeous blonde Swedish woman and had to find a job, among

other things, in Sweden.

 

3. I have my dental hygienist and my youngest daughter watching, “Hart of Dixie.”

If you start on the first show, it explains how someone from the North, from a big

hospital  ends up in little “Bluebell” town. The characters are played by fairly

familiar actors/actresses, Rachel Bilson, Tim Matheson, with two handsome men

playing a lawyer named George and a bar keeper named Wade. The character of

the black mayor is well done, along with an uptight but sometimes sweet and soft

as a marshmallow is named Lemon.

 

4. “The Goldbergs” is hilariously about the 80’s. It is like another kind of “Wonder

Years.” It has George Segal, who always will be part of my favorite memories of an

ensemble cast in, “Just Shoot Me.” He plays a grandfather living with the family.

I like the intergenerational ‘feel’ to this show.

(In “Just Shoot Me,” also were comedians, Wendy Malick and David Spade.)

“The Goldbergs” is told from the ‘nerdy’ son’s perspective who has a big ‘jock’

brother and a popular big sister. He has different problems, with girls, with his

interests and sometimes within his family. The plot line that is a good example of

funny stuff is when the son wants to make a film, his dad being cast as, “Alien Dad.”

He requests lots of bottles of ketchup and other different stuff to help him make

this. His father has to adjust to this idea, it is a tough one, he is more accustomed to

his older two’s interests. In the end of each show, as this one does, you find out there

are ins to each episode to the climate of the times, like “Say Anything” movie, the

boy uses a big boom box, to help get a girl’s attention. In another episode,  how he

studies the movie,”When Harry Met Sally” to try and understand girls. The message

he gets from it is one that will bring chuckles.

 

5. On Hallmark Channel, I have fallen for “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” and now

must wait a season for the continuing story. There are mail clerks, one boss and

the staff need to read letters that come down the shoot/chute from the Lost Mail

Department. Each letter holds a story, not all love ones, either. They have been to

different parts of cities, using partial labels on envelopes and other ways and means

to track down one or both parties on the envelope. It reunited a couple, it brought

death to someone who had hoped the other was alive, it brought parent with child

together, etc. The way I got started is, I had read the scripts were by the author of

“Touched by An Angel.” I also saw that good old Rhoda, from the “Mary Tyler

Moore Show,” Valerie Harper, was guesting in the first couple of shows. The main

boss was from the show, “Ugly Betty.” (My mother liked this one, due to the Spanish

connection and liked the way America Ferrara’s family used their heritage in their

decorating and there were sometimes chances for Mom to practice using her own

Spanish.)

 

6. When they come back there are a few female-driven shows, with interesting topics,

along with great ensemble casts like “New Girl,”  “The Mindy Project,” and “Rizzoli

and Isles.” My Filipino friends like the show with Cloris Leachman playing a silly and

forgetful grandmother in, “Raising Hope” and also the three families in “Modern Family.”

I still enjoy the show with Patricia Heaton in, along with the husband who played the

janitor in, “Scrubs,” in the show about mid-American incomes, homes and families:

“The Middle.”

 

I called my two friends who are dear to me, that have battles with depression, which

can sometimes lead to addictions last night. I asked them each had they heard about

Robin William’s death?  One said, “I’m good, at least for today. I know you are worried

about me. When Robin Williams decides this world is not where he belongs, it makes

you consider whether you need to stay here anymore. But, I’m good.”

The other one answered with a little sob, she was not so good. She had heard the news,

immediately knew I would be wondering whether she was taking it well, coping with

her life, as it is a struggle for her. She stopped her moment of crying, I could hear the

‘wheels spinning,’ and she finally let me in on her thoughts,

“I think I won’t take my medications tomorrow and clean the bedroom and bathroom,

then do the laundry. I need to ‘feel’ and action will keep me moving forward.”

 

If you would like to talk about Robin Williams, your favorite movie or anything, you

may do so.

 

If not, I had the idea of sharing our favorite television shows, current or past. . .

 

What are you watching on television that may be of interest to all of us? Do you

mind giving us an example of a plot or story line?

 

 

 

Diverse Television Interests

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When I used to teach preschool, my coworkers encouraged me to

start watching the television show, “American Idol,” in 2002.

I have watched several shows for years, one that just ended

named, “How I Met Your Mother.” I stick with a show, through

‘thick and thin,’ even if they ‘jumped the shark,’ long ago.

Did you know that expression came about due to Fonzy jumping

a shark, on a “Happy Days” episode?

My best Delaware girlfriend and I started our friendship, by

calling each other after the show, “Northern Exposure,” was on.

It had quirky characters and we liked the radio announcer, along

with the different story lines. We were both single, sometimes

without a ‘guy’ in our lives. We have known each other since 1992.

We would talk until one of us admitted we were starting to close

our eyes. This was a comforting way for us to become close friends,

with no subject off limits. Once my children were asleep, I would

sometimes ‘miss’ the ex-husband or boyfriend at the time, and my

friend and I liked the companionship, like a ‘sleepover’ on the

telephone. We lived across town from each other and neither could

visit more than once a week, due to busy lives and schedules.

We now watch two shows on Fridays, during our lunches together,

at her house. She DVR’s “Elementary” and “Dallas.” We both agreed

upon these two shows. We weekly watch other shows, in our own homes,

separately. She and I discuss the character development and the way

the plots are going.

Since she and her husband like, “The Americans,” “Person of Interest,”

“Bones,” and “Rizzoli and Isles,” she watches them with him while I sit

at home, watching them on my own. It keeps us connected, when our lives

may appear to be ‘mundane,’ the shows are always active and engrossing!

My way of enjoying my independent freedom is to engage in ‘channel surfing,’

choosing my favorite to watch and my second favorite at the same time,

to watch while there are commercials.

I also would like to recommend some of my favorite comedies:

I still watch The Middle, Brooklyn 9-1-1, New Girl, The Mindy Project,

Neighbors, Meet the Millers and The Crazy Ones. I like all of these

for different reasons, but mainly they all have zany plots, several

different kinds of characters and make me laugh out loud!

They all remind me of some of my old favorite comedies, like “Cheers,”

“Barney Miller,” “Frasier,” “Seinfeld,” and “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

I have taken to watching some serious shows on Sundays, which include

PBS British shows, “Call the Midwife,” “Mr. Selfridge,” (with the man

from “Entourage,” Jeremy Pivens acting in the lead character’s role),

and when “Downton Abbey” is on, then I watch that one. The wardrobes

and the way the beautiful old style department store, in the show,

“Mr. Selfridge,” captures my interest and fantasies. I like the

“Holmes” show with a modern twist, too. I have also been watching,

the Revolutionary War show, “Turn.” It is very good, try it! I also,

due to being a real fan of Alfred Hitchcock, I watch the ‘prequel’

of “Psycho,” called, “Bates Motel.” In that same gruesome vein, I

watch, “Fargo,” with the excellent Billy Bob Thornton, and a great

supporting cast, too.

To ‘dish’ on American Idol, I will share that I voted this week, for

Alex, Caleb, Jessica and C.J. I am going to post about ‘slurred’

words, and how I am starting to dislike Gena, due to her different

way she approaches words. She did an excellent job of singing the

rock and roll anthem, “Barracuda” but would like her to enunciate

the words. This is just a ‘pet peeve’ of mine.

What shows are you watching?

What are your secret ‘guilty pleasure’ shows? Come on and share,

since I have admitted I still watch “Dallas,” and awhile back,

I mentioned on one of those Award nomination posts, that I like

“Revenge.” I am not shallow, hence my very intelligent shows on

Sundays.

Character Study #2: A picture of “Brian”

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I have not seen Joe, the first ‘homeless’ man I studied

last Summer. He had been a frequent visitor to the

computer section of the library with his dog. I had

described him, once the chilly days had arrived and

the seasons had changed.

I still hope that Joe and his little buddy are either

out West or living in a warmer climate.

My second ‘homeless’ person, I have known about for

years. Within the last 7 years of living downtown in

Delaware, Ohio, I have seen him much more often.

The first year I moved into my little one bedroom apt.

I was always heading out to walk or hike, once the

weekend came.

I like to walk to the Delaware Community Market and

on my way, stop to see what wares and produce the

downtown Farmer’s Market holds. (Held on sidewalks

on the eastern side of Sandusky Street on Saturdays.)

Sometimes, I was going to the library or post office.

I was entranced with the novelty of not only being

“ecological” by not using my car, but also by seeing

all the people I had not noticed, while living behind

Buehler’s in the Lexington Glen development in what

is considered the ‘suburbs.’

Brian, I will call this second man. He seems like a

Brian (or a Patrick) since he has reddish hair and

scruffy thin face that sometimes sports a scraggly

red beard. I have looked into his blue or green eyes,

depending on what he wears. I think the time that

Brian was ‘most striking,’ and shocked the heck out

of my youngest daughter was while we were briskly

walking the Mingo Park trail from our apartment,

along the tributary of the Olentangy River.

We saw Brian straddling atop one of the walls of a

dumpster, five or six feet above us, gingerly

examining wine and beer bottles that the fishermen

or teens who may have ‘parked’ by the river to

‘make out’ had discarded.

He was putting the bottles along the rim of the

dumpster. His hair was standing straight on end,

like he had been electrocuted. It was stunningly

bright red in the early morning bright light!

Brian wore raggedy jeans and a brown non-descript

t-shirt on his upper body. He appears to be about

5′ 10″ when he is on the same level as I have been,

in other circumstances.

Brian waved at my blonde daughter and me, like he

recognized us. (Who knows? Maybe he had seen us

travel this walking path on other occasions.)

We actually slowed down to say,

“Good Morning!”

We thought we would have beat all the Saturday

morning walking/running ‘traffic’ at 6 a.m.

Little did we expect that the one who has no

home, must wake up at the ‘crack of dawn,’ too!

Brian repeated the greeting, in a jovial tone, back

to us.

His gallivant nature made us think, as we resumed

our quicker pace, that he was reminiscent of a

pirate! His neck had had a red bandana tied in a

cavalier knot, on the side. His black leather boots

were somewhat like a cowboy, but with a tug of one’s

imagination, could have ‘passed’ as a pirate’s.

We thought his pocked face and grin with a few

teeth missing made him likable. His appearance was

similar to one who had been a ‘mate’ on a pirate

ship on the high seas.

As we turned the curve at Mingo to go along

the river path, we saw him turn a green wine

bottle upwards into the air, catching a small

drop or two. This morning ‘juice’ would hold

him until he walked to the recycling place on

London Road, where he may get a few dollars,

enough to get a meal or at least something to

drink. The wine bottle in the tilted fashion he

had held it, finished my thoughts of a pirate,

as if he were drinking a big swig of rum and

releasing a loud, “Arggh!”

In later Fall, 2013 I saw Brian sitting on a

bench in front of Walgreens, smoking a cigarette.

He wore a khaki colored poncho, his hair a wet

mess. His face looked more ruddy and seemed like

he had contracted a rash. Not to be funny, but

it crossed my mind, “hope Brian didn’t sleep

out in poison ivy as it gets really ‘ripe’ in

the late Indian Summer months. He asked me if

I had a dollar, I looked in my pocket where I

put change and had tucked one dollar in with

the quarters.

I told Brian, “I need my quarters for laundry

so here is my only cash.”

He nodded his head and his raspy voice asked

me a question that stopped me in my tracks.

He was holding out the dollar, as if ready

to pass it back to me.

I had not expected him to really listen,

care or respond except for a ‘thank you.’

But Brian asked me,

“Are you sure you have enough for laundry?

You could go across the street over there

and they have a change machine.”

I smiled and answered, “Oh yes, I would have

not offered it to you if I needed it!”

Brian had longer, more stringy hair, the last

time I spied him at McDonald’s with a hot cup

of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. He was

leaning forward, crouching over the Styrofoam

cup, as if putting his hands over a warm fire.

Either he made it to the recycling or a kind

soul had given him a donation to his ‘pantry.’

He had a much warmer coat than the poncho I had

seen him wearing in the Fall. It was a deep blue

with a red plaid cotton lining, which you could

see since it lined his fake fur edged hood. His

face looked chapped and still had the ‘angry’ red

blotches. These kind of look like they may have

an allergic reaction, but more than likely, are

due to his all weather living quarters.

There is one other ‘homeless’ person, a woman,

who will sometime be my subject to practice a

little of character development. I think observing

details, finding and adding quirks and mannerisms

helps round out a person. I have never taken a

‘writing course,’ although we all write our thoughts

down and analyze life, situations and people.

I hope to see the more buoyant and ‘pirate-like’

Brian again this summer…

on the shores of the Olentangy River.

Random Findings and Thoughts

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My grandchildren are convinced that the people who live on the top (3rd) floor

of my apartment build are “aliens!” One of the oldest said, “We never see them

and then, if we do, they aren’t friendly.” Another one exclaimed, “They are ‘pod’

people!'” Part of this misconception evolved from their first trip, a few years

back, up the four flights of stairs to see the top floor.

The top floor, of this brick, sturdy building that has colonial columns in the

front and an attractive appearance, has the strangest ‘solar?’ or ‘ecologically-

friendly?’ tiles. The ceiling that runs down this hallway ‘peaks’ or appears like

a triangular shape. They have declared this a “rocket floor.” Anyway, they have

gotten to the point they want to run down this hallway, and yes, out of courtesy

to the unseen tenants, we only do this at around noon, hopefully, on weekends

when the people who may work have been allowed a certain amount of sleep. And,

no “whooping it up,” I demand.

Someone on the radio on one of my recent ‘road trips’ was giving a few examples,

some not too strange, but a couple that were quite ‘odd.’ These were famous

people’s names that are being given to animate and inanimate things. This makes

me wonder about those scientists, sometimes! In Liverpool, one of the less crazy

examples given was that they have named their airport after John Lennon. All

right! That is great! (I happen to have been listening on this car ride to both

“Imagine” and “This Christmas,” by said songwriter and member of the Beatles.

A most extraordinary use of a famous person’s name, a Diva with sometimes golden

hair was given to a fly! This was in Australia, a beautiful fly with a fuzzy,

golden-yellow underbelly was named the “Beyoncé” fly by scientists there. Wow!

The radio disc jockey was playfully teasing, wondering aloud to his listening

audience, “Did they get permission from the Diva herself?” and “Did they ask

Jay Z if this was okay with him?”

In exotic Borneo, a special hotel is named, “Villa Angelina” due to its

beautiful location and thinking of the gorgeous Angelina Jolie. Again, the

radio guy, not announced and my streaming Sirius did not give his name, so

unable to give him “credit where credit is due.” I did try to memorize these

weird examples and he did not credit where he located them, either. Anyway,

he was joking around with wondering if the big, adopted family had traveled

there, and then, on a more serious note, said that the family’s parents are

very world conscious and maybe they had visited and this had boosted the

Villa’s economy, through their popularity.

A more negative use of someone famous’ name is being given to a law recently

made. It is due to someone who purchased medical equipment, while his wife,

Katie Holmes, was pregnant with Suri. He had purchased a sonogram machine

so that he could ‘monitor’ the baby/fetus. Due to this erroneous, plus

dangerous act, there is now a law called the “Tom Cruise law.” This prohibits

any non-professional or non-licensed sonogram techs from owning and possibly

over-using or misusing medical equipment of any kind.

Another scientific wonder, a fern that has a very complicated genus name, and

no, I did not have a tape recorder on me, so alas, I cannot rattle it off! But

this fern starts with a few repetitive, ‘Gaga….” in the front, so you can

already guess, this lucky fern is now being given the ‘common name’ for it,

“Lady Gaga.”

On the subject of Lady Gaga, there was a Christmas special this 2013, entitled,

“Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular.” I enjoyed this, would recommend

seeing it and think she has an interesting look but children are fascinated by

her. She has a natural ability to sing and a quiet nature, shy almost, in her

television appearances. The December AARP Magazine was listing contrasts between

today and fifty years ago. They did not give out opinions just implied that in

1963, we watched The Judy Garland Christmas Show and today, we would watch this

example given above. Not sure if that was meant to flattering, no comments given

for choosing this particular duo. (Both were shy women and outstanding singers.)

There were other examples given of a “look what 50 years have done to prices and

changes in taste…”

I am a big fact finder, so hope this interests you, even if you are not a “Baby

Boomer.”

The most popular toy in 1963 sold for a hefty (surprisingly) price of $15.95 for

an Easy Bake Oven. Today, 2013, the most popular toy ‘flying off the shelves’ is

the Big Hugs Elmo for a whopper price of $59.95! In 1963, a Christmas tree sold

for $2.50 and today, the same size (not given) would be $45. Our stamps, recently

I mentioned those first Christmas cards cost only one penny to mail, the cards

going out in 1963, amazingly enough are attributed to only a four cents increase

from the 1800’s. Now, of course, in 2013, one stamp of a Poinsettia, Mother and

Child, or other holiday stamp would cost 46 cents.

Those dreaded fruitcakes that many make fun of, used to cost for “mail order”

service in 1963, $4.25 and now, you may spend $27.95. I happen to like those

yellow fruitcakes that have mainly butter in their cake but don’t mind the

darker, richer brandy flavored fruitcakes, too. I prefer it warmed up in the

microwave with a dollop of vanilla or eggnog ice cream on it.

Last mention of the way times have changed since fifty years ago, is being

called by journalists and merchandisers, “The Christmas Creep.” This is

recognizing that Christmas advertising and merchandise is now being taken

out as soon as Halloween articles are being put into the clearance department!

I hope this wide variety of information will have a small impact on your

day today. I hope that it will give you something to tell another person,

like those famous peoples’ names being attached to odd things. Or maybe, just

the silly story about my grandchildren, with their lively and wild imagination

getting me to study those third floor people more closely, when I rarely run

into one or two of them.

Who knows? Maybe they are like those characters in the current television show,

“The Neighbors.” In private, they like using their bathroom to grow plants and

turn into green blobs while in their “real” alien forms. This is one of the

most underrated comedies with some fine acting from the four main leading actors.

You will only recognize the name of one of them, Jami Gertz, from a different

comedy show. Suburbia is wittingly made fun of and yet, embraced at the same time!

Or maybe those people upstairs really exist in the human bodies, like in the show,

where John Lithgow and Jane Curtin made my three children and I crack up so much:

“Third Rock from the Sun.”(1996 – 2001)

Or maybe they are like that old time favorite of my Dad’s and my brothers and I,

while young, “My Favorite Martian.” This aired from 1963 until 1966, with Bill

Bixby and Ray Walston. This may replay on Nick at Night or TV Land.

Anyway, have you any weird facts or neighbors to “report?!”

Suburbia Police Stories: Escort Service and Tree Poisoning

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I was up over Labor Day weekend, reading many articles that my Mom,

God bless her, saves for me. She is very excited about my “blogging

career!” She calls it that! She found some nice articles about nature,

fishing and this one was on a page of the local “Police Beat blotter.”

I am going to type it word for word, leaving no room for different

interpretations. These are the facts, simply the facts!

“Weslake, Ohio:

Escort Adventure, Cahoon Road.

Reports vary about what occurred after a self-described “lonely”

26 year old called an escort service for some companionship on

August 21, 2013.

As could reasonably be predicted, a dispute arose over what

exactly was agreed to with the Cleveland woman, 20, who arrived.

A Cleveland man, 32, drove her to the scene and collected the

amount of $145 fee up front.

After dancing in a manner reminiscent of Salome, she either was

(or wasn’t) given a $100 tip, which then either was (or wasn’t) taken

back by the “lonely” guy.

The dancer then either demanded (or didn’t) a framed picture of an

elephant as compensation. The caller also supposedly requested

(or didn’t) some sexual contact. The female and her driver were sent

on their way; the prosecutor will rule on a possible menacing charge,

due to the threats made by both sides during the encounter.”

Now, I am going to say, first off, Isn’t it cool how my Mom saved this

for me?

Next, aren’t there more than the usual embellishments in this police

report? I was shocked at the way the writer included the way the

woman danced like Salome. I mean, isn’t that taking the liberty and

privacy away? Also, that each side of the story was so obviously told

in opposite fashions. Also, does this mean escorts can be minors?

It mentions her age as 20 years old!

I have another short Police Beat blotter story that is not quite as

sensational but is very intriguing because of its totally off the wall

uniqueness. I hope this one will tickle your funny bone!

“Westlake, Ohio:

Tree Concerns, Hunters Point Lane.

A resident suspects her neighbor of trying to poison her cottonwood

tree and has gotten several city departments involved. After the Fire

Department, city arborist and a private tree-trimming company

examined the tree and did not confirm her suspicions, she called the

police. The woman’s video surveillance system recorded a man in her

yard on August 18, 2013. Police looked into the matter, and the

neighbor she thinks is involved denied any involvement with her tree

or being in her yard.”

I want to know more about this! Does the woman have to pay those

city employees for their time? Does the neighbor who was caught on

her video surveillance tape, get into trouble for lying? I mean if he

was caught on tape, doesn’t that mean he did something?

I am laughing and hopefully, you are too at these antics in the

nice suburb of Westlake, Ohio.

Just when you thought you had heard

it all!