Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This Has To Be My Most Cheerful January!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Despite it being almost my birthday month, and that of my beloved's, the start of January, especially when the post-Holidays slump hits on the second, has always done me in, emotionally.

          For the first time I can recall, I never enjoyed the month so much, as so much happened--New Years, marriage, the retirement party--and that is just for starters!!!!!!!  I shall always cherish the memories of this month.  I hope the rest of 2017 goes well for us (my beloved and I) as well as all of you.

See you next month, with more gossip, and party pics!!!!!!!!

Not since Hedda and Louella, darlings!!!!!!!!!

And one twelfth of the year is through!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, Get Set!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      I think I am about due to appear up front.  I see my curator, Doug, getting ready to say something, so this must be near the time when I stepped up.

                                        And this is where I will stop for today.  There will be more pics tomorrow, but  I promised you all some, this month!  And here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More Turned Backs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 The singular one standing out here is David, not only because he is so tall, but, hailing form Alabama, he is a true Daughter Of the South!!!!!!!!!!!!!   He is probably a direct descendant of Aunt Pittypat!  Or maybe Margaret Mitchell!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  There is Amy, back turned, who I so wanted to hear sing, but her voice was out, that night, and, back turned, is Charlie, whose technical savvy, sense of humor, and knowledge of things cultural makes him one of the most underrated folk around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     But not as far as I am concerned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Things Are Getting Underway!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  There are Alan and Patrick, near the mike.  Alan gave a lovely testimonial to me, while Patrick's lyric wit has kept me sane for lo' these many years, and his theater connections--oh, my God!!!!  Forget an agent; to get cast, speak to him.  If he ran an agency out of his office, it would make millions.

                                    But where would the theater scene be, without TOFT (Theater On Film And Tape) to chronicle it?????????????????

A Very Shakespearean Shot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Down left, there is Joe, again.  Back turned, is John, with Steve facing, and Annemarie in profile.  I cannot tell you what is happening here, but I can tell you, from the previous post, that was the best shot of me, so far!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               I may be ready for the stage, but not "VOGUE" covers--yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now We're Getting Somewhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          I swear, Francisco, to my left, seems to have been around almost as long as I have.  So, how come I aged, and he didn't?????????   To his left is Steve, who is always on "the cutting edge."  He was there, before it became a phrase, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   And to my right is Steve's lovely wife, who helps his raise four boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            How they do it?  To think, I once was going to have eight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            Some things happen, for a reason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two More Powerhouses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  In both style, and leadership. Pam and Graham, left to right, aid Tema in handling day to day matters, as well as dealing with nut jobs, both on and off staff, while managing perfect hair the whole time.  I don't know how they do it; I know what I go through, and cannot imagine what must happen, with them.  But it pays off!  As do all the Holiday work they do--spreading good cheer, decorating the place, and aiding the annual Christmas Party!

                                  Which I will be back for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"A Singular Individual!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                 That is exactly how one of my colleagues described Channan.  And that is certainly true.  He also knows just about everything about Music, and is a style icon.  I am telling you, his look is so individualized, so specific, if I sent this photo straight to ANNA, it would land on the cover of "VOGUE."

                                    But what I really want is to see Channan and Tema as Tevye and Golde, in "Fiddler On The Roof!"  The only way, after countless viewings, I would sit through the show, again!!!!!!!!!!

Get A Load Of This Dashing Trio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     From right to let, my colleague, Victor, who has talents more than just Reserves,.  Next to him is Kip, from Music, an affable fellow, and next  to him, is Tema, who, let's be honest, runs the place, supports staff, and kept me from being carried out of there on a gurney, like Blanche Du Bois!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      Tema is the only woman of her--vintage--who can pull off the long hair routine!  For so many of us girls, that shipped sailed years before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Straight Out Of Kaufman And Hart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             Here are Kris and Gerry again, looking as though they are enacting a scene from "Dinner At Eight."  But, darlings, what is going on, with me, in the background?  Am I stuck up?  Constipated?  Honestly, I was neither; I was so nervous I could not eat, and drank nothing stronger than bottled water.  I guess I was just trying to upstage!

                               It may have been my party, but I didn't cry, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once An Actor, Always An Actor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                              Actors know how to pose for pics, and this one, here, of my friend Joe, who just happens to be one, proves it.  He is stage center, with everyone else's back turned.  Just what I would have done, Joe!!!!!!!!!!  Behind him, as if they are lurking about, can bee see,  from let to right. Steve, Dr. Bladel, Annemarie, my David, and, leg pointing in step, our wonderful and enchanting young program director, Evan!!!!!!!!!!

                               I love the carefully muted lighting.  Just what I demanded!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here Are Some Party Pics, Dolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               The following shots were taken at my retirement party, the night of January 20, this year.  That is my former supervisor, Kris, and her husband, Gerry.  There I am, off to the background to the right, with Alan--ALLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!!!--our former program director.  Off to the left is my former Theater Collection colleague, and literary luminary, Christine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Doesn't everyone look fabulous, darlings????????????????????

A Special Tribute To "Fatal Attraction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                                   Hard to believe, darlings, but the fabled thriller does turn 30, this year.  Now, we know that is Anne Archer screaming, and we know why--it's that damn bunny boiling in the pot.  Le lapin, dolls.  Rabbit stew!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    One thing that will always bother me about the film is how it ended.  I don't care it just was not that satisfying.  Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) should have gotten his, but doesn't.  The honor of male heterosexuality and suburban complacency had to be preserved--God forbid they should be violated.

                                     I have always been asked what would be a satisfying ending to the film.  I was never able to arrive at an answer--until I thought about things, from the rabbit's point of view!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     The ending starts and finishes with the rabbit.  Instead of Anne, the camera follows Alex (Glenn Close) cleverly sneaking into the house, while the family is out.  She goes to the kitchen, fills the pot, slices up some veggies, throws them in, and sets it to boil.

                                      She goes out to the yard, takes the rabbit out of its cage, carrying it into the house.  She holds it over the pot.  But--before she can throw it in, or slash it, the creature comes to life, a la "Night Of The Lepus," bears its fangs at her, leaps for her neck, knocks her down, and throttles her in the throat, dead. 

                                      Continue the film, as is, from there.  Anne enters, is surprised, and screams. Only she is not screaming over the dead rabbit.  She is screaming over the dead Alex, with the bloodied rabbit, standing over her on its hind legs, showing its teeth, and applauding with its front paws.  Now the words "THE END."

                                         What a perfect way to honor this film, as well as rabbits.  So much more satisfying, too.

                                          Don't you think so, dolls???????????????????

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Bit Piled On, But Worth The Read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      If what happens to the Drum boys, Frank and Jake, in the New Bremen town of Minnesota, back in the Summer of 1961, had happened to me, I would have been a basket case.  William Krueger's novel, which is both a coming of age tale, and a mystery story, is written by the adult Frank, looking back, and it is amazing both he and his brother turned out so well.  I am not sure I would have.

                                     Start with their father being a minister.  Add to that their mother not too happy about it, due to thwarted artistic aspirations, and a chance to marry into the town's wealthiest family. However, her daughter, the boys' older sister, Andrea, is going to fulfill those dreams.  Having graduated high school, she is scheduled, in the Fall to go off to--are you ready??????--Julliard, in New York!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     However, something must have gotten into the air that Summer, because plans are tragically derailed.  A toddler is killed by a train, an itinerant (what back then would have been called a hobo; what today would be called homeless; when did that change take place????????) is killed, and two other deaths so tragic, plus an attempted suicide that, at first, I thought were all connected, but are not, adding up to a town so chock filled with gruesome events, I would have left on the spot.  When things are unraveled, the tragedy is almost more than one can stand.

                                      This book almost got to me as much, but not quite, as "The Light Between Oceans."  There is a glimmer of hope at the close, which the other book tried, but not not convincingly, provide,  making "Ordinary Grace easier to stomach. And, yes, the title has a meaning, which is fully disclosed.

                                         I don't want to rob future readers of discoveries made during the course of this book.  Each will experience and process them differently, and if any of you out there have read this, feel free to tell me.

                                       Mr. Krueger is not the first writer to use Harper Lee as a template, nor will he be the last.  On its strengths, his story works, both breaking an d expanding the hearts and minds of readers willing to give it a try.

A Belated Happy Birthday To Celia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  You know, darlings, had I not been a preemie, my birth month would have been January.  Maybe that is why I have an affinity toward those born this month.  And one of those is the fabulous Celia Keenan-Bolger, the actress who can break our hears, while sporting killer hair.  Celia turned 39 on January 26--does she look it, girls?????????  of course not!!!!!!!!!!--and I cannot wait to see what she does next.  I will be there.

                                    I hope the New York Theater Community turned out for Celia's lavish birthday party.  Too bad, I was not there to cover it.

                                     Happy Birthday, Celia, looking fresh and ingenue-ish, as always!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Watch Out, C.C.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                               What on earth ever happened to Lauren Lane?  For the entire run of "The Nanny," as personal assistant C.C. Babcock, she was the most lovable manipulative, scheming bitch, on television.  Just the way she said "Nanny Fine," dripped condescension.

                                  I thought it was a cop out when she and Niles hooked up, at the end.  I could not accept it, and I thought the writers were off their mark.  Yes, Niles and C.C. were both bitchy, but, my God, she was from a moneyed background, and he was a servant!!!!!!!!!!!  Running off with the hired help!!!!!!!!!!!!!  How de classe, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Lauren should have gone somewhere, but she did not. Even Madeline Zima turns up, from time to time, having grown into a lovely young woman.

                                     But what ever happened to Lauren?  As C.C. she was a definitive bitch!!!!!!!!!!

                                      And we loved her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Did You Know Mothra Auditoned For "The Black Scorpion??????????"

                             Yes, girls, it is one of the untold stories of Hollywood, which I am now going to bring to you.

                              The news, back in the late Fifties, that Columbia was planning a giant bug movie of its own, with no one less than Willis O'Brien--Willis O'Brien, darlings!!!!!!!!--doing the special effects, even reached Gojira's upstart rival on distant Infant Island.  Mothra was just a slug, but that did not stop her from having delusions of grandeur.  She thought it would be a snap; being she was a giant insect, already.  So, she slugged her way across oceans, knocking on Hollywood's door.  She asked for a screen test, and they agreed.  Her size was a factor.

                               Mothra thought it would be so easy.  Just cover herself with some cheesy black cloth, attach some tentacles to her, and she would like a black scorpion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               Well, Columbia execs were not fooled.  When the saw the test results, with a cheesy looking, pasted up monster, they laughed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Sending Mothra back to Infant Island in outrage and humiliation.  Gojira could not stop laughing.

                                 That Mothra!  Even before getting her own movie, she was trouble!

                                  And Hollywood knew it!  So, they figured, let Japan deal with her.

                                  Mothra is still mad, to this day.  Even though a has-been.

                                   Hollywood's memory is almost as long as mine, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, January 26, 2017

What An Unexpected Surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       I love reading what people recommend, so, when my bookseller friend, Toby, urged me to read "Thomas Jefferson Dreams Of Sally Hemings," I took him up on it.

                                       It took me a long time to read it, because I had other stuff I had to get through, then life circumstances stepped in.  So, by the time I was ready to pick it up, while I recalled Toby's enthusiasm, I was less than enthusiastic.  "What could be special about another historical novel?," I thought.  So, it was with somewhat jaded expectations, I picked up Stephen O'Connor's novel, and began reading.

                                      I discovered a novel so far removed from the traditional historic narrative I was blown away.  If anything, it was more like "Mason And Dixon," by Thomas Pynchon.  The  style was more accessible than Pynchon's.  But its mixture of meditative passages, time and space, points of view, and outlooks on social issues, made this a novel, not just of its time, but ours.  Some of the same issues dealt with in this novel are being faced in our country today.  Watch out for that pendulum, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       Mr. O'Connor is blatantly objective in his depiction of the title characters, showing both their strengths and flaws.  With Sally, he makes come alive, a figure who, for centuries, has been shrouded in ambiguity.  Though she is drawn fictionally, this may, in many ways, be the most full fledged portrait of Hemings given by history, yet.

                                       I was frankly shocked to see that this gem did not turn up on any Ten Best Lists for last year.  I have yet to read Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad," but intend to, shortly.  I cannot help if that book, and all the attention it received, deflected from O'Connor's work.  I will let you know, when I finish Whitehead's book.

                                         Don't be jaded by genre, like I was, darlings!  Had I given in, I would have missed out on a spectacular work.

                                          What a shame that would have been!

Oh, No!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not Our Mary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Yes, darlings.  Yesterday, at the age of 80, Mary Tyler Moore, whom I did not expect to go much farther than Laura Petrie, but went on to become an iconic force to be reckoned with, died.  She had been living in Greenwich, Connecticut, famous for the Martha Moxley murder.

                                      I loved Mary as Laura, my first exposure to her.  Until 1970, when "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" set sitcom precedents unseen since the days of "I Love Lucy," her career was a series of ups and downs.

                                      Though my favorite role of hers was as Miss Dorothy Brown, in "Thoroughly Modern Millie," despite her song and dance training, it did not make her the musical star it was planned to.  She then starred in two of the worst movies ever made, "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?," noted for being Thelma Ritter's last film--and yes, she stole it!!!!!--and then "Change Of Habit," wherein she played a nun, opposite Elvis Presley--who did not play a nun--and was considered one of the worst actresses to ever play a nun in film history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                       Mary was almost professionally extinct.  But, then came "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which changed her and viewers' lives. 

                                         Darlings, from then on, we all wanted to be career girls, like Mary Richards.  We wanted to move to Minneapolis, and throw our hats into the air.  We wanted to live in an apartment with a sunken living room, on the top floor of a gorgeous Victorian house.  Lives and careers, I am telling you, were forged by this show.

                                           Not to mention she was backed up by one of the most talented ensembles ever--Ed Asner, Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Betty White, Ted Knight, and Georgia Engel."  All became household associates.

                                             When the show was finally cancelled, I wondered what Mary would do, now.  I then had a subscription to "The New Yorker."  Shortly after the show was cancelled, there was a cartoon of a guy pushing h is TV set to the foot of a cliff, about to toss it over.  The caption read "The day after CBS cancelled 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'."

                                               She wasn't still, for long.  She went on to almost reinvent herself as a dramatic actress.  She won a TONY Award for "Whose Life Is It, Anyway?," garnered an Oscar nomination for her role as represses suburban matron Beth Jarrett, in "Ordinary People," and, another favorite of mine, went on to play Sante  Kimes--I just LOVE Sante, darlings!!!!!!!!!!--in the made-for-TV film, "Like Mother, Like Son."

                                               Mary was also an animal rights activist, and battled juvenile diabetes.  While the cause of her death was cardiac related (she was, after all, 80) I am sure the diabetes was a contributor.

                                                Who didn't love Mary Tyler Moore?  She is one performer, who will be genuinely missed.

                                                  Rest In Peace, Mary.  You made it, after all.


Mark Porter Was No Cole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Actually, he was more like Iago, and that similarity would be enough to make him this week's winner of the Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award.  Like Iago, Mark went to the extreme of murder.

                                   He was a glutton for  money; he could not get enough of it.  After a successful stint as a Superintendent Of Schools, in the Springfield, Missouri, area, he landed himself a six-figure job at IBM, post-retirement.   Nice, huh???????????

                                  Porter's replacement at the school job was his assistant, and good friend, Gary Tyrell.   He and his wife, Jan, had known Porter for years, as a colleague, and family friend.

                                    So, why did Porter murder both Tyrells, on August 2, 2010??????????

                                     Jan was collateral damage.  She had to be eliminated, because she was in the way.  Gary was a vast antique and coin collector, and was fairly moneyed, himself.  Except he was not greedy, nor did he have a gambling addiction--which Porter did.

                                     It seems Porter asked Gary for some cash--something like $250K--to get him out of the hole he was in.  Gary refused; I don't think he was as moneyed as Porter thought.

                                    So, what did this despicable thing do?  He killed them both.

                                    And, right about this time, their daughter, Jessica Tyrell Murray, who was close and loving to her parents, was planning to marry her fiance.  She wanted more than anything for her parents to be there, and her dad to walk her down the aisle.  When they eventually did get married, the happiness was blunted somewhat by her parents' absence.

                                     An absence caused by scumbag Mark Porter.  Well, this Greedy Gus is right where he belongs---in prison, for life.

                                      You think he would have stopped, had Gary given him that money?
                                       You think he would have stopped gambling?  Not a chance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Was Humpty Dumpty Fried, Or Over Easy???????????????????

                                      Strange ideas just pop into my head, darlings, and one of them concerned literature's most famous "egghead," Humpty Dumpty.

                                       His "great fall" cracked him right open.  No one could put him back together again, but what I always wanted to know was, what was done afterward?

                                         If he happened to fall onto scalding pavement, he would cook right there.  There was not enough for am omelette, but surely scrambled, or at least over easy????????  I don't think sunny side up would have been possible.

                                           Did they have salt and pepper on hand?  And who partook?  Inquiring minds want to know the untold truth about Humpty Dumpty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                             I mean, what would Carol and Therese have done???????????????

An Actor Would Have To Be Pretty Desperate To Do THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            I am sure many of you recognize this as the moon landing from Georges Melies' 1902 classic, "A Trip To The Moon."  I always figured the sequence involved some actor painting his face white, and sticking it in a hole, against a solar backdrop, wearing moon make-up, and taking a rocket in the right eye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             Actors eat to work, and work to eat, so it is a pretty hard scramble life.  To play a moon, and getting struck in the eye, one would have to be hard-up, right????????? If this film could talk, I bet you would hear curse words, when the rocket hit!  I always wondered who this unknown "actor" was.  Wait till you read what I found out.

                             The director, Mr. Georges Melies, put his integrity on the line, in favor of his project, and assumed the "role" of the Moon.  That is right; this is Mr. Melies getting beaned in the eye, with that rocket.

                             Was this where Hitchcock got the idea to appear in his films?  Who knows.  But it does show how deeply Melies  believed in his project.  Hats off to him!

                              Space travel was never so much fun, after this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did You Know Kate Mara "Played" Martha Moxley, And Was "Cold Case's" First Ghost???????????????

                                   That's right, darlings!  Now, most of you on here know Kate from "American Horror Story's first season, "Murder House," in her role as delightfully bitchy and trampy Hayden McClaine.  But, back in 2003, when CBS was unveiling a new Sunday night police procedural--one that would become iconic--"Cold Case"--on September 28, 2003, they kicked off with an episode entitled "Look Again," which, fifteen minutes into it, anyone with brains could see was clearly based on the Martha Moxley case.

                                    A brief refresher.  Martha Moxley, a fifteen-year-old girl, was murdered by being bludgeoned with a golf club.  She was from a wealthy family, and resided in Greenwich, Connecticut, as did her next door neighbors, the Skakels, the White Trash branch of the renowned Kennedy clan.  The murder, which took place the night of Halloween, 1975, was eventually attributed to scumbag pig Michael Skakel, who was convicted decades later.  The Skakels are still scum, and Michael is just a fat loser.  Martha got justice.  He will rot.

                                    The show's template was eerily familiar.  Instead of Greenwich, it is Chestnut Hill, PA, which again would figure in the show's classic, "The Sleepover," the Moxleys were the Shelbys, and the Whitely brothers, Todd and Eric Whitley, stood in for the Skakels. The murder weapon was a tennis racket, rather than a golf club.  Elizabeth Franz played Jill's mother, Evelyn.

                                      I have not seen the entire episode--I am not sure if I want to--but I did watch the end segment, which, establishing formulae, is to musical accompaniment.  The brothers are brought in, and I believe Todd is the perpetrator.  We see Elizabeth Franz standing in the rain, a look of triumph on her face, as her daughter is finally accorded the justice she deserved--just like Martha.

                                     Two iconic traditions were established in this opening segment.  The first was Lily Rush (Kathryn Morris) getting out of the car, standing in the rain, clothes and hair dripping, her skin radiant.  From that shot on, girls, we all wanted to do that scene, and look like her!  I can tell you, I did.  And it was so popular, it was always used in the opening credits!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                      The last thing, which would become the show's poignant and trademark feature, is for someone to see the victim's ghost, as if thanking them for bringing their killer to justice.  It is Lily who sees Jill, and Kate plays it brilliantly and hauntingly, bringing Martha to mind.  Lily would not always see the ghosts, but would see them most often; especially memorable was when she saw Abigail Mavity  riding down the street, as Rita Baxter, at the end of "The Sleepover."

                                       "Cold Case" would go on for six more seasons, and endure indefinitely, thanks to YouTube and other sources.  Someday, I will have to watch this episode, because I recall Martha's murder.  It happened when I was in college, and I knew then one of the scumbag Sklakels was responsible.  I was never sure which one.

                                 Here is that shot of Lily in the rain. Don't you just want to look this glamorous, dolls????????????

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Sad End, And More Tragedy For Its Sole Survivor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Ten years ago this year, on May 12, Alec Devon Kreider, broke into the  home of his alleged best friend, Kevin Haines, killing the boy, as well as parents Tom and Lisa, in their Lancaster, Pennsylvania home.  Maggie Haines, Kevin's older sister, then a student at Bucknell University, was home from college--unknown to Alec.  Because of this, she got to her mother, who urged her to get up, and survived the massacre.

                            I posted on this, several years ago, as well as expressing compassion for Maggie, who has to live with unspeakable trauma that she presumably got help for.

                             How much more can poor Maggie take?  Because, on Friday, January 20, exactly two weeks before his 27th (February 4) birthday, Alec Kreider took his life.  He hanged himself in his prison cell.

                               When convicted, he gave no real motive for the killings.  Journal entries and conjecture led to the belief he killed the Haines family for the thrill of it, and because he coveted all his friend, Kevin, had--including a happier family situation than his.

                                No motive has been given for the suicide, but I cannot help but wonder that the closeness of both another birthday, and the decade anniversary of the killings played a part in it.  Not being able to enter Alec's mind, there is no better idea out there.

                                All in all, a sad end to a sad saga that can only cause more pain for Maggie.  Alec's death is tragic, but Maggie has yet to live with another piece of an unsolvable puzzle.

                                 May the Lord have mercy on these two families!  Especially Maggie!!!!!!!!!!!

The Sad Breakup (By Death) Of A Beloved Trio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Back when I was a kid, one of the remarkable things about Barbra Streisand (before she became, simply, BARBRA) was that she hailed from Flatbush, Brooklyn, making someone like me feel that anything is possible for someone with talent, no matter where one is from.  When The Roches (Suzzy, Maggie, in center, and Terre) first appeared on the music scene, they inspired me further--they, with their good looking and equally talented brother, David, were four Irish Catholic siblings from Bergen County (I believe Park Ridge) New Jersey, who, while not quite as renowned as, say Joan Baez, were beloved by any of us fortunate enough to discover them.  As an Irish Catholic kid, originally from New Jersey, The Roches still continue to inspire me, as I keep trying.

                               I loved them for the beauty of their sound.  Their harmonies, on songs like "The Hammond Song," and their Christmas album, "We Three Kings," were so pure in tone, so achingly beautiful, it broke one's heart to listen.  But they always had you coming back for more.

                               Maggie was the eldest, and this past Saturday, she died, at the age of 65.  According to sister Suzzy, it was breast cancer.  Google Maggie and read Suzzy's  Facebook tribute to her sister.  It made me dissolve in tears.

                                In retrospect, I have to wonder. Several years back, The Roches, who gave annual Christmas concerts I always wanted to attend, pulled back from performing.  I wondered why; now I think I may have an idea. 

                                Maggie's voice was the group's anchor.  She will be deeply missed by this fan, and my heart goes out to all the Roches.

                                But please come back, when ready.  Maybe with David.

                                The Roches, as were, will never sing again.  But their memory, which I will provide, will live on.

                                 Here are "The Hammond Song," and an a capella version of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus."  The beauty of these sounds remains unsurpassed.

                                   God bless, Suzzy, Terre, David, and all the Roches!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some Very Deserving Actors Among The Oscar Nominees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                         How earlier can they push the Academy Awards hoopla up?  The 2017 Oscar nominations (for 2016) were announced this morning, and I cannot be happier that the DIVINE MERYL got her twentieth (breaking her own record!!!!!!!!!!) nomination, and that that fine young man, Lucas Hedges, received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his deeply moving work in "Manchester By The Sea."  His work here, as Patrick Chandler, fulfills the promise I saw in him, when he played Richie, the gay kid, in the NBC miniseries, "The Slap."

                          The actor pas de deux between Lucas and Casey Affleck, as uncle Lee Chandler, is deserving of every prize out there.  Lucas may not win, but he is on his way.  Casey, I am pretty certain, will win, and, unless there is a "La La Land" upset, "Manchester By The Sea" is the film to beat.

                          Now, Ryan Gosling, another good actor, who, also, like Casey, is good to look at, has nabbed a nomination for "La La Land."  So, this promises to be a tougher, more interesting year than usual, added to which is more diversity, with Octavia Spencer and Mahershala Ali named for their work in "Hidden Figures," and "Moonlight," not to mention Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, in "Fences."

                          I have never seen such a bevy of fine actors assembled.  But Andrew Garfield???? Come on; I thought he had dropped from the scene!  And Michael Shannon?  Good actor, but you know what?  I saw "Nocturnal Animals," and I cannot remember what he played in it.  For me, the film was all about Jake Gyllenhal, and Amy Adams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            And WHAT????????????????  No nomination for Amy Adams in "Arrival?"  When is she going to get the Oscar she so readily deserves??????????  And I was sad to see Simon Helberg omitted from his brilliant pas de deux with MERYL in "Florence Foster Jenkins."

                              I never thought Emma Stone would ever get a nomination.  And for a supposed musical????  I say "supposed," because I have not seen "La La Land" yet.  I have, however, seen Miss Stone in other films, and up till now, I would hesitate, based on what I have seen, to call her an actress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                Nevertheless, Oscar Season has arrived.  So, get out, see those films, and support your favorites!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alex Does It Again, But...............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                        Now, you know I just ADORED Marwood's first novel, "The Wicked Girls;" it pressed all my buttons.  Except that the end, which reviewers found so twisted and compelling, eluded me with those qualities; I thought the finale kind of petered out after a fantastic build-up.

                                         The same can be said for "The Killer Next Door," an interesting amalgamation of "The Silence Of the Lambs," "The Lovely Bones," and "10 Rillington Place."  I loved every page, but at the end, wanted more.  I figured out who the killer was quickly, but that did not stop me from reading.  Marwood's prose style is compelling, even when the material may not be.  I would much rather read about killers in an abandoned amusement park than excrement and body parts backing up in tenants' drains.  Yet the writing is skilled and atmospheric enough to make one want to proceed.

                                       Marwood's prose skill, and her characters, are very well constructed.  The people in this novel one gets to know very well, and while you may not want to hang out with them, Marwood manages to evoke compassion for people like these, who live marginally.  And while I often decry writers not providing enough background on the killer, I found it pretty easy to paint a profile, based on what is given.  I did wonder, though, about his relationships with his mother, or female teachers.

                                      Nevertheless, Alex Marwood is a writer I want to follow.  I understand there is another book of hers out there, "The Darkest Secret."  I cannot wait to get my hands on that!!!!!!!!!!

                                        And you, dears, be like Mistress Mary, and watch that garden grow!!!!!!!!!!

What Everyone Wants To Know About Daveigh Chase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  As you can see, darlings, Daveigh has come a long way from her signature turns as Samara in "The Ring," and that bitch Ariel Shuman on "The Sleepover," from "Cold Case."  If you have been on here awhile, dolls, you will know who she is.  Daveigh is now almost 27, and a stunner, but she still has those mysterious eyes--and acting skill enough to play evil, or as in the case of "Lilo And Stitch," characters as nice as Rita Baxter, Ariel's victim on "Cold Case."

                                 Some of you may know that, on February 3, which happens to be Blythe Danner's birthday, there is a new film opening called "Rings," part of the franchise started by "The Ring" back in 2002, which in itself was an American version of a superior Japanese film, called "Ringu."

                                    Nevertheless, I loved "The Ring" enough to see it three times, and Daveigh was the main reason.  Her centered performance established her as an actress to be watched, and when she crawled out of that TV set, she instantly became a horror icon.  Samara is going to be her Mrs. Voorhees.

                                     So, of course, with his new film coming out, everyone wants to know if Daveigh is going to be in it.  The first thing I want o know is, what the hell film is this?  Something new?  A continuation?  And why the plural form; why not just call it "The Ring 3?"  And how is the curse going to continue, when video cassettes no longer are in use?  What format will it be switched to? And how will that switch be explained?

                                      But back to Daveigh.  My answer about her is--I don't know.  But--I do have a theory.  Daveigh is not talking, but I am sure she knows/has known about the film, and that a lot of her fan base comes from Samara.  Now, Daveigh may have outgrown crawling out of TV sets, so she will not be seen as Samara.  My guess is--watch the film very carefully, and look at this picture before you do, because I think that, somewhere in this forthcoming film, the way Hitchcock always appeared, uncredited, Daveigh will be spotted.  I can't guarantee this, but I would not be at all surprised.

                                      "Before the film ends, you will see.....Daveigh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So, How Is Retirement???????????????

My first official day of retirement began yesterday, and like most things in my life, it was not what I expected. 

 I had first thought I would arise, go to some nearby coffee shop, and commence a daily ritual of penning some Patti Smith-like bon mots into a notebook or journal.

  What really happened was I had to get up, as though it were a work day, and go into the city, for a doctor appointment, scheduled for the same time I usually started work.

  The difference in all this was, not just the past tense I used, but the freedom I had.  Once the appointment was done, I had no obligations.  I could do whatever I wanted.  Which was to go straight home, and remain inside, where I am currently ensconced, writing this, because a ferocious, wind fueled Nor'easter was passing through the area.

I am still holed up here, on Tuesday, because the storm is not quite out of the area yet.  This was actually a great time to retire; something right I did, for a change, because the Winter weather, from January through a lot of March, is so awful there is not much one can do, beside hole up and engage in mental pursuits.

Which is what I am doing.  How is retirement?   It still seems strange, meaning I have not, in my head, made the transition.  I never took a vacation longer than two weeks, and I am still in that period, so this all feels like an extended vacation.  By the time Spring rolls around, and I do not go in to my former workplace, maybe that is when it will hit me!!!!!!!!!!  I will be sure and give you a full report, girls!!!!!!!!!!!

I also got a fabulous sendoff from my colleagues, whom I owe a thank you note.  I think my beloved took pics.  In days to come, they should turn up on here.

 So, I am retired, darlings!  Now on to other topics!!!!!!!!!


Friday, January 20, 2017

You've Got It Right, Mary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    Well, girls, this is it.  My last day of work--here, at least.

                                      Let me reassure you of several things.

                                      "No way, Jose," when it comes to Florida.

                                       There will be no "Devil Wears Prada" type book about my workplace. Too
                                         much stuff out in the world to write about.

                                        This blog will definitely continue; in fact, months later, there will be another celebration, as on April 7 of this year, The Raving Queen turns 10 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           So, I will let Mary speak for me.

                                            When I speak with you again, girls, it will be a brand new world!!!!!!!!!!!

"Take Me To Your Leader!"

                                  Today is Inauguration Day, and what better symbol for the next four years, than the dome enclosed leader of 1953's "Invaders From Mars," with those disabled reptile's claws?????

                                  Really, it is going to be all about mind control and conformity, so keep me safe from being brainwashed to spout Trump-isms.

                                   Actually, Trump is just the puppet.  The really scary thing about this administration is Mike Pence, the Right Wing puppeteer.  I think this is he with either a fish bowl or a cooking pot over his head.  It certainly isn't a permanent.  Can't you just see the resemblance?

                                   "History is about to crack open," wrote Tony Kushner in "Angels In America."

                                    Who ever thought this statement would come to pass????????????????

                                      We will get through this, girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Very Soon, I Will Be A Golden Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             To think I was watching them over 30 years ago, and now I face the prospect of becoming one.

                               But not in Florida.

                               And, let's get one thing straight, darlings--I will be Blanche!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               But, really, with retirement looming on the horizon--oh, my God!!!!!!!!--the idea of the so-called Golden Years becomes an  almost frightening reality.  I am going to have to break new ground for this term--even if it means working for ANNA--because I am not going to sit around in some rocking chair.  Not yet.  When I start drooling spittle, we will talk about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                I just hope my wardrobe can match Blanche's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Hazel Is Not Everybody's Pal, But One Cold-Hearted Bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Hazel must have been quite a bitch.  For starters, she was not much to look at, which may be why, in the first place, her husband, John, strayed with Cathy Whitehead, in the Rockvale, Georgia.  Down home, indeed!

                                   This thing, along with cohort Donald Glenn Everett, got back at husband John, by kidnapping and killing Cathy Whitehead.

                                     Now, I don't know if anything was going down between Hazel and Glenn--I mean, again, she was not much to look at, but was he?  Glenn might have been so desperate he would have taken up Hazel on an offer of sexual favors in exchange for being a murder accomplice--what else could one expect from two dumb crackers, who thought Cracker Barrel was haute cuisine?????

                                       Here is how it went.  On the night of April 14, 1983, Donald went to knock on Cathy's door.  When she answered, he told her that John Short, her so-called fiance, was calling her from a nearby pay phone.

                                         What is wrong with this?  She did not even have a land line?  She had to use a pay phone?  How White Trash is that?

                                             When Cathy got there, which was near a parking lot to some sleazy, one-horse strip mall, and took the phone, Hazel snuck up, grabbed her from behind, and, with Donald's help, tied Cathy and placed her in the trunk of her car, vowing vengeance on her from taking John away. They then drove to a wooded area outside of town, and, in a manner similar to Shanda Sharer, beat, tortured, and set Cathy on fire!  What a bitch!  She does deserve to be the winner of this week's Raving Queen Bitch Of The Week Award.

                                                 What an evil bitch!  I am telling you, I love "Gone With The Wind," but I am starting to rethink Georgia.  "Deliverance," and now this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                    One thing for sure, darlings!  Hazel's last name may be Short, but her incarceration period is anything but.

                                                      She was sentenced to Life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Will I Be Hanging Out In Abandoned Amusement Parks, Girls????????? Who Knows??????????????

                                  Isn't this image just haunting?  The minute I saw it, I knew I had to share it with you. It captures the more macabre aspects of an abandoned amusement area.

                                   Maybe I will take up photography, making a habit of visiting such places, shooting odd imagery at various angles, giving them a haunted patina they might not otherwise have had.  And these kinds of places figure big in literature; if you know any good ones, let me know..

                                    This could be an exciting harbinger of things to come!

                                     Don't expect me to ride this, though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Time Is Drawing Nigh, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               What I thought was in the distance is close to materializing. Today is my last week at work, and soon I will be sprung loose into an Unknown I have always feared, but now feel ready to face.  I hope I discover new and exciting challenges, and can enjoy myself, after nearly 36 years of work.  Can you believe it?  At times, it seems like yesterday.

                                 But it is not, and I still have till Friday to go.  So count down with me, girls, and I will report my transition every step of the way.

                                   Better than that other transition we face this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

An Entertaining Read That, Unfotunately, Covers All Too Familair Terrain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  I always thought Edith Wharton pioneered what has come to be known as "The New York Novel," but I am sure if I did my scholarly research--turning up enough for a thesis or dissertation topic--I would discover obscure others before her, who trafficked in the same areas.

                                   So, why do I feel like coming down so hard on Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's first novel, "The Nest?"  I think the reason is, for those of us who live in New York, we  know these types all too well, so why do we need to read about them???????????

                                    I have to question whether Ms. Sweeney is familiar with "The Little Foxes," not only because the quartet of siblings here is utterly despicable--and not nearly as fascinating and engineering as the Hubbards and Giddenses--but because I couldn't help noticing that the eldest child is named Leo, and how many Leos does one meet, even in literature?

                                     What you have here is a compendium of clichéd characters vying for "The Nest," which is cliché in itself--a divisible inheritance each one is to receive, and that everyone thinks will solve whatever immediate financial problems they are facing.  But how can problems be solved, unless the greed stops someplace, and these whiners just won't quit?????????

                                       Leo is the worst of the lot--the very New York male archetype I wrote about the other day, in my post on the Upper West Side.  He feels he  is entitled to grab everything--money, his dick, pussy--from whatever and whomever he wants, when he wants it!  I have to confess, I kept reading to see if this a-hole would get his comeuppance; I am certain Ms. Sweeney thinks she gave him one, but, as far as I am concerned, she let Leo get away with everything, walking off into the sunset, and I cannot forgive her, for that.

                                        Brother Jack, who is gay, is not much better, allowing himself to be enabled by a partner who genuinely loves and supports him, while he schemes and screws his way through life, deceiving Walker (the aggrieved partner) every step along the way.  He does get the comeuppance he deserves, and it is no wonder the others refer to him as "Leo-lite;" he is just as despicable.

                                        So, too, is Melody, (this family's last name is Plumb, but no relation to Eve, who played Jan on "The Brady Bunch," unfortunately!!!!!!!!) married to a loving attorney named Walter, but is a garden variety suburban bitch--hello!!!!!!--who is raising her twin daughters to be suburban clones of herself, yet has no idea one is a lesbian, and the other does not care!!!!!!!!!  Her materialism, where she refuses to work, is vile, and I could not help hoping the daughters get away from this bitch, but fast.

                                          Beatrice is the most benign of the siblings--a promising writer who has failed, but is trying again, and the only one with any humanity at all, as she ends up with someone at the end.  I found her tolerable, but the way in which she was able to  tolerate her siblings did not ring true for me; she is no saint, and even a saint would walk away from this group!

                                             Still, I did love the author's dark and cynical tone throughout.  Until the very end, where things morph into a wealth of hope and good cheer, like "Moonstruck."  Who does Sweeney think she is??????????????

                                              One problem is that, once upon a time, unknown writers--Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Judith Guest--would emerge from the unsolicited pile.  These days, if one does not spring forth from the Corporation Factory known as University Writing Programs, complete with MFA, one does not stand a chance.  Ms. Sweeney hails from such, and while she can write, her material here is much too formulaic and trite.  "The Nest" may attract lovers of the New York novel, but will disappoint with its overall familiarity.

                                              Try something different, Ms. Sweeney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!