Saturday, December 6, 2008

Can't Touch This

My, how time flies!

It seems like today was over before it even began, but we both got in our workouts and had a nice pasta dinner tonight.

We watched "The Untouchables" tonight, because it had been many years since either of us had seen it. A fine addition to our mob movie collection, and very cool that it was based in Chicago and much of it was shot there, including the classic Union Station scene. (Remember the baby carriage?)

I found it interesting, though, to see the portrayal of Frank Nitti, and his demise at Eliot Ness's hands. As we watched that scene, I told Ken, "I really don't think his death happened that way," although I couldn't remember the details. I checked online, and sure enough, Frank Nitti's death was far removed from this cinematic portrayal. It would seem that Hollywood isn't always honest when it comes to history. Who knew?! [wink]

When we were in Missouri, I picked up a documentary about the Mob. I told Ken tonight that we should watch some of it soon, to get a better idea of what really happened with some of these people. As you can imagine, he was totally thrilled at the prospect of that and was very gung ho about watching several hours of Mob footage! Hey, maybe I'll screen it first while he's at work, and just tell him about it. Then if he wants to watch it and get details he can do so. I think he'd be okay with that.

I'm percolating another entry about my recent comments and subsequent feedback concerning the appeal of powerful men, and whether or not men feel the same way about powerful women. I find it a very complex issue, and I'm looking forward to exploring it a bit. My own feelings aren't as cut and dried as you might think, so I think I'll have a lot of fun diving into the subject.

Stay tuned, and stay warm!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Light lunch, big game


Shane and I had a great lunch! We went to Panera, and I had never been there before. Yummy soups and sammitches! We ended up talking for over two hours, if you can believe that. (You probably can.) It was great to just get caught up on stuff, chat about things both serious and fun, and of course there was talk of Route 66. He said that about the only part he hasn't driven is between Vinita and Oklahoma City, and I think that's the stretch where Laurel's Afton Station is--how ironic that he hasn't done that part! We had a good talk and some great laughs!

When we were talking about Route 66, he mentioned Devil's Elbow in Missouri. That's a spot that I haven't explored yet, so I'm looking forward to that in the future. Shane said it's probably his favorite stretch of Route 66 in Missouri, and it has one of the old truss bridges. He also talked about the stretch in California that is probably a good 200 miles or so, one of the longest he's driven. Oooo, talking with him about it gave me Road fever! We also talked about our trip in June of 2001, and I told him that on our recent trip to Missouri, the radio station mentioned the McKinley Bridge which is apparently still open. That's one of our more memorable adventures from our trip, because it's a pretty old bridge, and we drove on this outer lane that looked like an addition to the actual bridge, like it was hanging by a thread. There wasn't even a guard rail, just a small curb between us and the Mississippi River. We both felt like we were going to drop into the river at any moment! Considering my fear of drowning, that was very creepy!

I was excited to see that my Ball State Cardinals are playing on ESPN2 tonight. This is the conference championship, and if they win this (they're still undefeated, 12-0), they could be going to a BCS bowl. Wow! And yes, our big cheer at games really was "Ball U!" It's not quite as bad as at Indiana's basketball games, when they were cheering for the IU defense and yelled, "IUD! IUD!" but I supposed "Ball U!" is close.

Back to my lunch with Shane...of course we talked a bit about the election. I mentioned my previous entry about the Emanuel [emanuel, whispered] brothers. He doesn't quite get the appeal, but I have to say that some of the comments on that entry were interesting! I'm also pondering the appeal, and I think it's a combination of power and intelligence. Is this a big difference between men and women? While I can't say that I'm a total sucker for power (maybe just a little bit), extreme intellect is definitely a draw, and that seemed to intensify as I got older. I've had relationships with those who were the direct opposite of intellectual, and believe me, it wears very thin very quickly. (One of my favorite phrases from one particular guy was when he was talking about someone being in danger, and how they were "in arms way." [snort] It always made me think of Robbie the Robot yelling, "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!" and waving his robot arms!) How much better is it to find someone who is intellectually stimulating? Oh yeah, babe. "I luuuuuuv your mind..." Grrr, baby, grrrrr!

But I wonder--and I hope some of my testosterone-laden readers will weigh in on this--is power and intelligence in women as attractive to men as power and intelligence in men is to women? I'm curious. I think there are some men that are intimidated by that in women, but I would guess that most of my readers of the male persuasion are much more enlightened, and into a broad who knows her stuff and can give as good as she gets. (Yes, I'm laughing, and yes, that was tongue-in-cheek! And even "tongue-in-cheek" made me laugh!)

As Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating."

Spaghetti Cat

Cousin Shane (we're having lunch today--yay!) sent me this, and it's one of the silliest things I've seen in a while. So of course I had to share it with you all! Indigo, if you read this entry, there a little song that goes, "Spaghetti cat...cat cat cat...a cat shouldn't be eating spaghetti," etc. Hey, Spaghetti Cat looks kind of like Sheeba!

Addendum

In my dedication to you all, as well as my fondness for Spaghetti Cat, I have transcribed the lyrics.

Spaghetti Cat

Spaghetti cat, I weep for you
Spaghetti cat, it's all I can do
Spaghetti cat, to keep from fallin' apart
Spaghetti cat, 'cause you're breakin' my heart

[spoken]

Oh yeah, when I first saw you on that daytime TV show
Sitting behind that plate of spaghetti
I knew that you were no ordinary cat
Haters will hate on you
And make negative comments
Such as, that cat looks scared
And a cat should not be eating spaghetti
But you just keep on eating that spaghetti
Because you will always be...

Spaghetti cat, I weep for you
Spaghetti cat, it's all I can do
Spaghetti cat, to keep from fallin' apart
Spaghetti cat, 'cause you're breakin' my heart

Spaghetti cat!

*****

So who's going to be singing this song all day? This gal!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Family dynamics, brotherhood, and a new cologne

Did you all happen to hear about Republican Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who received a phone call from Barack Obama congratulating her on her re-election? Pretty cool...except she thought she was being punked by some local radio personalities, so she hung up on him. But wait! There's more! After she hung up on him, Rahm Emanuel called her up to tell her the President-Elect wanted to speak with her...and she hung up on him, too! Ha ha ha! It finally took the chairman of the House committee she's on to get her on the phone and tell her that Obama really was trying to get in touch with her! This just tickled me to no end, because I can imagine Barack and Rahm (and yes, we're on a first name basis) sitting in his Chicago office (or wherever they were) and trying to deal with this.

Barack: Representative Ros-Lehtinen? This is Barack Obama. How are you today? Good, good...yes, I'm fine, too. Busy, as you can imagine! Listen, I just wanted to congratulate you on your re-election, and tell you that I'm looking forward to working with you and the other members of the Foreign Affairs Committee...what? No, this isn't a hoax. It's really me. What? No, wait--- [to Rahm] She hung up on me!

Rahm: [laughing] Are you f***ing kidding me? No f***ing way! [If you haven't heard, he's notorious for his profanity. At a fundraiser, a roast of Emanuel, Obama commented on the loss of most of one of Emanuel's middle fingers in an accident with a meat slicer...he said that it rendered Emanuel half-mute.]

Barack: Way!

Rahm: Give me the phone. I'll call her back. Hello? Representative Ros-Lehtinen? Rahm Emanuel here. Listen, the President-Elect is trying to contact you and no, it's not a joke, that really was him! What? No, it's me, Rahm. I see you all the time in the House. Look, Ileana, you need to get over your paranoia and talk to--hello? Hello? [throws the phone across the room] Holy f***, she just hung up on me, too! I don't f***ing believe this! What the f***?!

Then I picture the two of them cracking up in stunned amazement! You can bet she isn't going to live that one down anytime soon! I think this was a case where she punked herself, but it sounds like she was pretty good-natured about the whole thing.

In the course of reading about the incident, I came across an interview from earlier this year, with Charlie Rose interviewing the Emanuel brothers. If you haven't read much about them, Ezekiel is the oldest, an oncologist and bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health; Rahm is the middle son and worked with the Clinton administration, then made several million as an investment banker, then successfully ran for Congress; and Ari is the youngest, and is considered a Hollywood "super-agent," representing many A-listers. Here's a clip from the interview:



The dynamic between these three over-achieving brothers is just fascinating to me. First of all, can you imagine these three growing up together? In watching other parts of the interview, it's obvious that while they all showed extreme intelligence and drive as boys, they were also typical boys and typical brothers, a strange mixture of love and competitiveness. It made me wonder about the whole nature vs. nurture argument again. What is it about these three, or about their family, that made them all incredibly successful in their individual areas of endeavor? Why are their fields so wildly different--medicine, politics, and entertainment? Was their parents' obviously ample intelligence passed to them genetically, or was the atmosphere in the home conducive to learning through discussion, argument, and persuasion? How much did birth order have to do with it? How much did competition with the other brothers come into play? Rahm speaks of he and Ari having a hard act to follow in Ezekiel when it came to grades--did that drive them to work harder in order to not be overshadowed by their genius older brother?

Is there anyone else who is fascinated by this? [sound of crickets] Maybe not. But I can't help but wonder about the psychology between siblings such as these, and the reason for their wild success in their individual fields. Their drive to be the best must be incredible. I suppose that if I could isolate and bottle their essence, I'd be a millionaire. "Coming soon, exclusively to Macy's [that one is for you, Miss G!], surround yourself with the scent and success of Emanuel...emanuel [whispered]. Power has never smelled so intoxicating, so heady...or so enticing. Emanuel...emanuel [whispered]."

Whaddya think?! I think it's a winner, and honestly, not a bad name for a cologne. A sort of woodsy scent, with a subtle hint of musk, and perhaps a light citrus overtone. Think I could get Rahm to do a commercial?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Some pics (and kicks) from Route 66



video

On our way back from Ken's mom's place in Springfield, Missouri, we stopped in Lebanon for a few pictures. Lebanon is the home of the Munger Moss Motel, and I've heard that it is well-maintained; our friend Laurel knows the owner, and assures me that it is a fine establishment and a great place to stay! It has an interesting history, and you can read about it on their website. I think the story of the creation of their pool is a neat one! There's also a gorgeous picture of the famous sign all lit up at night. It's a beauty!

Just from our quick look-see, the Munger Moss really is beautifully maintained. The red brick looks brand new, and the grounds look clean and well-cared for! Old motels, not just along Route 66, often get rundown and end up quite seedy and creepy. There were several in Illinois that Shane and I would have loved to stay at back in 2001, but after a drive-by, we realized it was not a very good idea at all! Even the beautiful Coral Court in St. Louis, which had an amazing architectural design, ended up a "no-tell motel." (I still want to write about the Coral Court, and how sad I am that it was demolished. Stay tuned.) Anyhoo, it's a pleasure to see one of Route 66's iconic motels so lovingly maintained, and alive and well!

Doesn't the sign look similar to the Holiday Inn signs? I don't know who designed the Munger Moss sign, but it came well before the Holiday Inn signs. Copycats! I'm including a larger picture here, because the slideshow is fairly tiny. Note that at the bottom of the classic googie sign is one of those yellow rental signs that says, "The Mother Road lives forever here." My caption for the picture is that it lives forever in our hearts, not just at the Munger Moss! (Also note that they offer free TV! Sweeeet!)

I was also pleased to see a few other old motels right around the Munger Moss, including the Forest Manor and the Holiday Motel. Those didn't look quite as well maintained, but I'm always happy when I get to see an old courtyard motel and some great signage, no matter how rundown! I had also totally forgotten that Wrink's Market is in Lebanon, so I had a moment of excitement when Ken said, "Look at the old market," and when I looked up, I said, "It's Wrink's! I've read about it!"

Ohhh man, I love the history of it all, and the way it fires my imagination! Does anyone have a clue as to why this fascinates me (and others) so? What is the lure of Route 66? What brings people from all over the world to travel what is left of the Road? All good questions, and I'll soon ponder my obsession passion while our brief foray is still fresh in my mind.

Birthday wishes for someone special



Today is Cousin Shane's birthday! Everyone yell "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHANE!"

I can't begin to tell you how much I genuinely like Shane. It's not just because he's family, either! We've always gotten along well, and our parents hung out together a lot when we were kids (his Mom and my Mom are sisters). It's hard to explain, but Shane and I just "get" each other. You may have noticed that I have a sense of humor that can be a little...odd, shall we say? Shane gets it, and he's the same way. Sometimes the littlest things can just set us off...a word that sounds funny, an interesting phrase, a line in a song...and we're giggling like crazy people. (If any of you are still doubting me, remember this?)

It's not always fun and games, and he's helped me through some bad patches by always being there to listen, and I believe he knows I'm always there for him, too. But somehow we always end up laughing again.

Shane is one of the kindest, coolest, most decent guys you'd ever hope to meet, and he's also my partner in crime when it comes to music. Ooooo, the concerts we've been to! I just love the guy to pieces, and I wish you a happy day, Shane! And on this cold December day, I just watched as two bluebirds paid a visit to our bird bath, so it's official: the Bluebirds of Happiness also wish Shane a very happy birthday!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm getting sleepy...verrrry sleeeeeepy....

Tonight I think I'll sleep like Sheeba is sleeping here!

Good grief, where did the day go? I did manage to get caught up on blogs, but I'll be honest with you. I couldn't comment on each entry!

I'm afraid I didn't get to picture editing today, because I ended up with a hitch and a glitch in my day, and yes, it was a bitch! I got a fairly early start and headed out to the grocery store before noon. There was nothing urgent, but I did want to get a few things since we just got back. We had about 4 inches of snow in the driveway, but it looked very light and fluffy...almost like a little sprinkling of fairy dust, able to be blown away with the slightest breath.

Yeah, well...those stupid fairies can take a flying leap. The top inch was light and fluffy, but underneath that it was heavy, wet, and slippery. And yes, I got stuck in the driveway. You don't want to know the words that came out of my mouth. I did some stuff around here, including a workout to get out my aggression, and I noticed some melting going on, so I tried it again a couple of hours later. I had just enough traction to get out, so I was able to get my shopping done.

Then I got stuck again as I was trying to get back into the garage. Argh! After much maneuvering and some gentle coaxing, Slick rolled back into his garage berth.

Whew.

So I didn't have much gumption for messing around with pictures, and I didn't even feel the urge to play the piano, even though I missed it for the few days we were gone. I think my Muse took that flying leap with the fairies. Just for today, though. I'm thinking that tomorrow is going to be a good day, a cozy one spent at home. But for tonight...

I'm spent.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I forgot this part!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) has left a new comment on your post "A (mostly) good trip":

Buzzie's even came complete with creepy old men with staring complexes :o)

I totally forgot to mention that! When we walked in, there was a large round table in the center of the diner, where the local "knights" were holding court. I heard "tractors" mentioned several times, so I think most of them were farmers, and they were definitely locals, as the waitresses called them by name.

After we got our glasses of pop, Ken visited the restroom. While he was gone, I realized that one of the older guys at the round table was staring at me. Even after Ken came back, the guy continued to stare! It was bad enough that I murmured to Ken, "Okay, that guy can quit staring any day now!" Ken murmured back, in a geezer voice, "What are you doin' in our town?" I said to Ken, "We're here to rob the bank!" Did we look like Bonnie and Clyde or something?!

I swear, it was on the verge of a geriatric children of the corn moment. I don't often use the word "geezer," but it applied in this case. It was rude and creepy, but it did kind of make me laugh. At least there wasn't a slow speed walker chase in the parking lot! The horror!

A (mostly) good trip

Ahhh, it's great to be home! It was sad to leave Ken's mom--she always hates to see us go, and it makes me feel bad--but Dorothy was right: there really is no place like home. Cousin Shane took good care of Sheeba, who was quite happy to see us. I suspect I'll have a kitty curled up right next to me tonight!

We left Springfield at 8 AM, and there was a little bit of snow overnight, so there was some black ice in the area. We were happy to get out of that, and most of the trip was uneventful after that...until we got to Carmel, which is a northern suburb of Indianapolis (it's where all the doctors live). From there until around Peru, Indiana (about 75 miles), it was slow going and nerve-wracking. That stretch of road is surrounded mostly by farmland that's as flat as a board, so when the winds are blowing from the west, the snow blows across the roadway. There wasn't a lot of snow, but there was enough to get the highway wet, and when the sun started going down, the temperature dropped. It was a skating rink!

Wow, there were slide-offs everywhere, police cars, ambulances...it was very tense for a while. Ken put the truck in 4-wheel drive, but that doesn't help on ice. We finally ran out of it by the time we got into familiar turf, about an hour south of Nutwood. Ken is about wiped, and I'm doing my best to get tired, but still fairly wide awake. I'm just thankful that we got home safe and sound!

Before I forget, rabbit rabbit rabbit! And happy December!

We stopped in Lebanon to get pictures of the Munger Moss, and I was pleased to see a few other older motels in the immediate vicinity. I'll try to get pictures edited tomorrow and get a slideshow up. The Munger Moss is a beauty, and the sign is an absolute classic! When we were in southern Illinois, we were getting seriously low on gas, so we had to stop at a town in southern Illinois called Highland. We found a neat little diner called Buzzie's. It's on US 40, which is another legendary road, also known as the National Road. Buzzie's was metal and glass brick, with a cool tile floor and walls, and the classic metal and plastic chairs and tables. I had a salad and BLT and Ken had a club sandwich, and it really hit the spot! I was inspired by the design on the table, and I'm thinking that I'll check into updating my blog with a funky retro motif. Only a thought at this point...easier said than done!

So it's a relief to be home, and I missed you all. I'll work on getting caught up tomorrow, but I've got groceries to get and there is laundry to be done. Please bear with me as I get back to our regularly scheduled program!