Friday 5: I Spy

  1. How do you feel about candy sprinkles (on ice cream, doughnuts, cupcakes, or whatever)? I’m a big fan of sprinkles. I almost always get them when I have the chance.
  2. Where’s a good place to look at Christmas lights? Any upper-middle-class neighborhood or better.
  3. What’s a good idea for a drive-through service or product that doesn’t yet exist? I don’t know that this is a good idea, but it’s certainly one I’d appreciate–a drive-through pasta place. Now, a place did try this in my hometown, but it went out of business before I got to try it. I imagine it’s super impractical.
  4. How confident a parallel parker are you? I haven’t done it since I took my driver’s test. I live in an area where it’s easily avoidable. When I was tested on it, I was able to do it perfectly and I’m confident that with a little practice, I could do it again, but if you made me do it right this second? Probably a mess.
  5. How much plaid do you own? Not a lot. I’d actually like to add a little more plaid to my wardrobe. All I really have is a couple shirts, a dress, and I think the leggings I have on now.

As always, from Friday 5.


Saturday 9: I’m Gonna Put Some Glue ‘Round the Christmas Tree (So Santa Will Stick Around All Year)

Saturday 9: I’m Gonna Put Some Glue ‘Round the Christmas Tree (So Santa Will Stick Around All Year) (1954)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s featured songstress, Peggy King, sings that she’d like to extend the Christmas season all year. How about you? Do you wish the season was longer? Shorter? Or do you think things are fine as they are? I love Christmas, but I hate the commercialization and materialism. This whole thing of getting ready for Christmas after Halloween–and for some stores, in the middle of summer–is ridiculous. The month of December is plenty.

2) She specifically mentions toys. Have you purchased/will you purchase any toys as holiday gifts this year? I haven’t and I don’t think I will, unless I pick up a few things for my niece or nephew on the way. But I’m trying to control myself on that front.

3) Search for “glue” on The Home Depot’s website and you’ll get more than 3,000 results. There’s heavy-duty adhesives, all-purpose glue, clear epoxy, wood glue, and more. Do you currently have glue in your home? If yes, how many kinds? I do, but maybe just two or three–your typical all-purpose and a fabric glue for sure.

4) What’s the last thing you used glue for? That fabric glue is amazing on just about anything that needs a strong glue. I don’t remember when I used it last, but most likely, something broke and I knew what would fix it.

5) This week’s featured artist, Peggy King, was a TV staple in the 1950s. With her perpetually upbeat persona, she was known as “Pretty, Perky Peggy King.” Do you consider yourself upbeat, aka “perky?” Nah. I’m pretty calm.

6) Ms. King got her start singing radio jingles for Hunt’s tomato sauce. Prepared tomato sauce, properly stored, can safely be kept in the refrigerator for days. Do you have any leftovers in your refrigerator right now? Some pheasant soup from my mom and mu husband has some leftover pork, but I’m pretty sure that’s getting sketchy.

7) Her biggest movie role was in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955). Do you watch scary movies and shows all year around? Only at Halloween? Or not at all? All year!

8) In 1954, the year this record was released, President Eisenhower dedicated the Marine Corps. Iwo Jima Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of Washington DC. If you were to play tourist in our nation’s capital, what site would you be certain to visit? I just got back from there! I went a few times as a kid, a few times as a teenager, once (or twice?) in college, and again over the weekend, so I’ve pretty much tackled every monument, memorial, and museum. Weirdly, it might actually be the place I’ve visited the most. I would like to go down to see the cherry blossoms, though, and the only place I’ve wanted to go to and never made it to in the Newseum, the museum for journalism and the press. I also think everyone should visit the Holocaust museum at least once in their life. I’ve been twice.

9) Random question: Which of these common household items would you miss most if it suddenly went on the fritz — your bedside lamp or your hair dryer? Neither? Our bedroom still needs some organizational help and because it’s a small room and I crammed a queen-sized bed in there, there’s no room for a nightstand, at least not with the way it’s arranged right now. The bed’s almost against the wall on one side, and on the other is a heat vent. So I don’t have a bedside lamp right now. And I use my hair dryer pretty infrequently, so…

Saturday 9: Call Me

Call Me (1966)

Unfamiliar with this week’s song. Hear it here.

1) Chris Montez sings that you can always call him, regardless of the hour. Do you believe that it’s ever too late to phone someone? I’ll put it this way–I’m the type of person who says, “Call me if you need something, no matter what time it is,” and means it but also says, “It’s after 8, better not bother anyone.”

2) He insists that you can depend on him, even when your friends desert you. Who is someone you can trust to have your back, no matter what? My husband and my best friend.

3) Billy Crystal serenades Meg Ryan — via answering machine — with “Call Me” in When Harry Met Sally. Answering machines have been replaced by voice mail. Who most recently left you a voice mail? I have no idea. The only people who do are my mom and my husband, and that’s only if it’s important.

4) Chris Montez is a graduate of El Camino College in Torrance, California. The average daytime temperature in November in Torrance is 70º. How is the weather where you are today? Cold. I don’t think it rained or snowed at all, but we’ve had a lot of wet weather lately regardless.

5) Today Chris actively promotes a healthy lifestyle to children. He was honored for his efforts by the group SOPA (Stop Obesity, Promote Activity). Do you believe you get enough exercise? I could probably benefit from more, but I do okay. I alternate lifting weights and doing cardio throughout the week and would love to be able to go daily, but that rarely works. I made it four days in a row last week, though, and can probably do the same this week.

6) Released in late 1965, “Call Me” became a big hit in 1966, reaching #2 on the charts. Even though it sold millions of copies and was certified as a Gold Record, it never hit #1. Is winning, or being the best, important to you? Not really. Being good and getting acknowledgment for it, sure, but I don’t need to be at the very top.

7) In 1966, when this was playing on jukeboxes, kids were watching Batman and Star Trek. If you had your choice of watching an episode right now, which would you choose: Star Trek or BatmanIt depends entirely on which era we’re talking, because I cannot handle cheesy Adam West Batman.

8) Also in 1966, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was born. Do you enjoy cooking? I enjoy having a delicious finished product, but I do not enjoy the process of getting there. I’m too impatient.

9) Random question — You have the opportunity to perform in the circus! Would you rather be shot from a cannon, or put your head in the lion’s mouth? Strangely, being shot from a cannon sounds safer, but I would love to get that close to a lion.

Saturday 9: Black Magic Woman

Saturday 9: Black Magic Woman (1970)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune: Hear it here.

Okay, first of all, we need to talk about the fact that Fleetwood Mac did this song originally–before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined, obviously–and I never knew that until they played it live earlier this month with Stevie singing.
1) Black is this week’s signature color because Friday, November 23, was “Black Friday,” when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any “Black Friday” bargains? I think the only thing I bought all holiday weekend was my sugar scrub I use, mostly because it was 25% off and it’s almost never on sale. Nothing else caught my eye or seemed worth it.
2) On busy shopping days, carts often litter parking lots. After loading your items into your car, are you careful to return your shopping cart to the store or the designated cart receptacle? Yes, because there are only a tiny handful of good reasons not to and none of them apply to me.

3) Who on your gift list is hardest to buy for? My in-laws, followed by my dad. I just never know what my in-laws would want or need, and I’ve exhausted the few ideas I’ve had over the years. My dad’s tough for similar reasons, mainly limited interests, but he’s also a foodie and I usually find something neat that appeals to that side of him. I’ve done various food kits the last few Christmases and birthdays, like kits for making cheese, infused olive oil, an herb garden, and I think I did a sauerkraut one once.
4) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include enjoying leftovers or watching a game? Leftovers always, football never.

5) Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is an annual event. It began in 1924 as a local event in New York. Today it’s nationally televised. Did you watch it? Parts of it. I’ve never really cared for it, especially the blatant lip syncing, even though I know it’s out of necessity. It annoys me.

6) What did you give thanks for on Thanksgiving 2018? We didn’t go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, probably because I’m a smartass about it every year, but my husband, my family, and my whole inner circle. And having a new house this year!

7) At the first Thanksgiving, there were no forks. Pilgrims ate with spoons and knives, and forks didn’t become popular until the 18th century. Think about your Thanksgiving place setting. Did you have both a salad and a dinner fork? Nah. We don’t get fancy.

8) Pies are a popular Thanksgiving dessert. What kind of pie did you enjoy? Or did you have ice cream? Or did you skip dessert? Since my brother had to work Thursday, my family did Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night. My dad made pumpkin creme brûlée, so I went for that, although it’s not too far off from pumpkin pie, really. The next day at my in-laws’, I had apple pie, and then we got sent home with a couple pieces of chocolate cake.

9) This week’s featured band, Santana, was named for its founder, Carlos Santana. He was born in Mexico. When at a Mexican restaurant, what do you usually order? Usually something simple and vegetarian, like a quesadilla. If I’m at local chain Mad Mex, though, their tofu tacos all the way. They’re so good. I’ve only ever ordered something different one time, and I liked it, but I was like, “Man, should’ve got the tofu tacos.” And I’ve never ordered anything else since.

Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey

Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey (1945)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Doris sings that she has her bag packed. Tell us about your luggage. Is your bag easy to spot on the luggage carousel? I haven’t traveled with it yet, but probably not. It’s a nice, deep red color, but I can’t imagine it’s very unique.

2) The release of this song coincided with VE Day, and so it meant a great deal to troops returning home from Europe. What song has sentimental value for you? Why? “Heroes” by David Bowie. I always loved it anyway, but it was also our first dance at our wedding.

3) As a young girl, Doris was passionate about dance. Concentrating in the studio and performing on stage helped distract her from heartache and embarrassment over her parents’ divorce. When you want to escape from what’s troubling you, what do you do? I don’t do much different from what I normally do, which I guess is kind of weird, but I think I find comfort in my routines. So I read, watch Netflix, screw around on the Internet, and write. Sometimes I write about what’s going on, but that’s not much of an escape, really. It helps get things out of my system, though, for sure.

4) Her dancing days came to an end when, at age 15, she was in a car accident and damaged her leg. During her recovery, she discovered how much she enjoyed singing with the radio, and was delighted to find others enjoyed hearing her. Tell us about a time you unexpectedly found happiness or success. Does my husband count? Because he was just kind of the older brother of one of my own brother’s friends and I expected this to go nowhere, but here we are.

5) She moved from singer to actress in the late 1940s and was a major movie star for 25 years. She was paired with the most popular leading men of her time — everyone from Clark Gable to Frank Sinatra to Rock Hudson. If you could share a kiss with any actor or actress, who would you choose? Man, I don’t know. There’s not, like, one in particular that stands above the rest. Although I guess I wouldn’t turn down Idris Elba, and my husband probably would be happy for me.

6) 1968 was a terrible year for Doris. First, she suddenly became a widow. Then she discovered that her late husband and his business partner had squandered her money and she had to file for bankruptcy. Oh, wait! There’s more! She also found that, in his role as her manager, her late husband had, without her knowledge, committed her to a weekly TV series. Do you have a 1968? What year you can point to and say, “Wow, I’m glad that’s over”? I believe it was when I was 23. My friends were pretty shitty to me, my mother-in-law was pretty shitty to me either at the same time or very shortly afterwards, and I was 110% done with all of that. I removed myself from those equations as much as possible and benefitted from doing so, honestly.

7) After retiring from show business, she became an advocate for animal welfare. She has said we should be more sensitive to the loneliness, sadness and guilt people feel when they lose a pet. Think of a time you were grieving. What words or gestures helped you through? Conversely, what’s something no one should ever say to someone who is hurting? I prefer to be left alone but know that people are close by, especially if I need a moment to vent and blow off steam. As for what not to say, there’s nothing specific that I personally hate hearing, except maybe suggestions that it was God’s will or meant to be, but I think all the general advice on what not to say is good. There’s a lot that’s well-intentioned but can just be not at all what someone wants to hear then.

8) Doris’ only child was her son, record producer Terry Melcher. Terry had a successful, years-long collaboration with The Beach Boys. Do you have a favorite Beach Boys song? Ooh, I’m gonna give you two, both from Pet Sounds. First, “I’m Waiting for the Day” because I love the drums, and the whole thing just gets better as it goes, especially when the vocals start to get a little more angry and intense. The last like 30 seconds of the song are the best. The second is “Sloop John B,” originally a Bahamian folk song, because I love the melody. Pet Sounds is one of those very highly regarded albums with a lot of famous songs, and although I like some of the more well-known ones like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows,” it was these two that made me really get the hype around Pet Sounds and appreciate what The Beach Boys were doing with instrumentation and layering. They both have these little touches that enhance them.

9) Random question: What’s one thing you’ve never done, but have always wanted to try? I don’t know. I’m not very daring, so thrill-seeking things like skydiving are out, and I’ve done a lot of the small-scale things I’m interested in. I guess the only thing that comes close is just that I’d like to do more traveling.

Saturday 9: The Middle

Saturday 9: The Middle (2018)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about compromise. When did you recently give in a little and meet someone halfway? I choose to believe that sharing my macarons with my husband instead of eating them all myself counts here.

2) She sings that the floors are wet. Are there any floors in your home that could use a good scrub today? If you answered “yes,” will those floors get cleaned this weekend? Pretty much all of them need cleaned, with the exception of my office, which got vacuumed last night. But yes, they’re all on the agenda for the weekend, as usual.

3) She also sings that the cabinets are bare. What’s currently on your shopping list? Our weekly grocery staples–yogurt, some produce, some snacks, some things I can make for lunch.

4) You may be familiar with this song from Target’s TV commercials. Do you often shop at Target? Not often, but I love it when I do.

5) The lead vocal is handled by Maren Morris, a Grammy winner for “My Church,” which is all about singing with the car radio. What’s the last song you sang along with? I was very, very quietly singing along to “American Pie” in a restaurant this evening, plus a few other songs before and after.

6) This past April, Maren married singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd and they have performed onstage together. Who is the last person you sang along with? Probably my husband in the car.

7) This song was composed by brothers Kyle and Michael Trewartha. With their bleached hair and sunglasses, they look like a pair of surfer dudes — which they are, having grown up in Huntington Beach, CA. Is there a body of water near your hometown? There are some small ones near my actual house, but the general area has plenty of rivers. I’m close to Pittsburgh, with its three–the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio–and the town where I grew up is close to the Youghiogheny.

8) January 2018, when this song debuted, we had a total lunar eclipse. When things like that happen in the sky, do you go out of your way to watch? I never used to because I lived in an apartment, and the way the building was situated, there was no good view of the sky, plus a good bit of light pollution. But now at my house, yeah, I absolutely will next time we have one. We have a much better view of the sky here, in a slightly more rural area with much less light pollution. Plus a deck and yard to watch from!

9) Random question — They say we’re all young at heart. In what way can you be childlike? My husband teases me about my favorite foods because they’re very childlike.  I eat macaroni and cheese somewhat regularly. That’s not to say I don’t branch out or that I’m a picky eater, it’s just that I have certain go-tos, and they’re very simple.

Saturday 9: It Must Be Him

I thought I already did this. Whoops.
Saturday 9: It Must Be Him (1967)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a woman waiting impatiently for a phone call. Do you consider yourself patient? For the most part, yes, but there are a few things where I’m not so patient. Like waiting for my online orders to come in. Or my paycheck.

2) Other women (most notably Shirley Bassey and Dottie West) have recorded this song. Harry James and Doc Severinson did instrumental versions. But there’s no record of a male singing “Oh dear God! It must be her! Or I shall die!” Do you think that’s because waiting for the phone to ring is more “a chick thing,” and men simply don’t do it? I think men do it but either they want everyone to think they don’t or we’ve all just pretended like it doesn’t happen. I mean, have you ever seen screenshots of dudes when a woman takes too long to reply to his Tinder message?

3) This recording enjoyed a sudden surge of popularity after 20 years when it was included on the soundtrack of Moonstruck, the 1987 film that won Cher an Oscar. Have you seen MoonstruckI haven’t, but I’d like to.

4) This week’s featured artist, Vikki Carr, was born in El Paso, TX. El Paso can proudly proclaim itself one of America’s safest cities. What can your hometown be proud of? I’ll tell you what we are proud of–throwing such a fit over alcohol being taxed that they had to send the damn president here. The Whiskey Rebellion, ladies and gentlemen. We celebrate it every summer.

5) She was a staple on Jerry Lewis’ Labor Day Telethon, raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association by performing this song. Is your TV on right now? If so, what are you watching? It is not. In fact, we still haven’t hooked it back up since we moved.

6) In 1971, Vikki fulfilled a dream of hers by establishing the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation. Every year the foundation awards Hispanic American students money to use toward higher education. She says it’s her way of returning “the support and encouragement she received from others” early in her career. If you could establish a charitable foundation, what cause would you like it to benefit? I’ve thought about this before, and to be honest, I sometimes feel like there are so many charitable organizations that I’d rather donate to existing ones.

7)  In 1967, when this song was popular, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant. Today, one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States is the coronary artery bypass surgery. Have you had any surgeries? Nope.

8)  Also in 1967, the RMS Queen Mary was retired after 31 years of service. Have you ever traveled by cruise ship? Nope. I know I would love all of the perks of a cruise and I know that in the grand scheme of things, the highly publicized stories about cruise mishaps actually happen rarely, but they’re just off-putting enough.

9) Random question: Who is your oldest living relative? I’m not sure! I would think probably some great aunts and uncles, some of whom might either be in their 80s or are very close to it.