Friday, February 24, 2017

Our Boy, Patrick.

A little after two this morning, I was awakened by a couple of strange cries coming from the bathroom where our cat, Patrick, liked to sleep on a blanket laid out for him. He suffered a seizure about a year ago, and it seems he'd had another, or maybe a stroke. He died almost immediately, as far as I can tell. My wife and I rushed to revive him, but death, as you know, is quicker than the best intention and deaf to the most desperate prayer.

He was about two months shy of his eighteenth birthday, which somehow equates to about 88 in people years. Although he took a pill twice a day (kitty chemo, we called it) and had other health problems, we sat there with him for a while, stunned, petting him and saying his name. Our boy was gone.

We always called him our boy. Donna had him longer than she's had me. I had the two of them for almost fifteen years. She found him as a rain-soaked kitten in Myrtle Beach and took him in. She tried to give him away many times because they hated each other at first. Then they came to an understanding, and soon they loved each other. I guess it took him a while to tolerate me when they joined me in Oregon. He certainly seemed to like me just fine once I was doing things for him, such as giving him water upon request (he liked it warm from the tap, lately insisting it be poured into the bell of a watering can for him to lap at). "Spoy-YULD!" Donna would say, as if she wasn't constantly inclined to indulge him herself.
She knew the meaning of every purr, chirp and yowl. We wondered if, in his dotage, he was in any pain, but he seemed mostly okay. He had trouble getting around for the last ten years or so, since a fall from our deck nearly killed him. But he rallied and survived, even if he had less grace to show for it.

It hasn't been a full day yet but it feels like a week. If I'm upset, then Donna is devastated, inconsolable. I want him back, she cries.

I look around at the many artifacts in our now-quieter home that evince that he existed, and the thought occurs to me to be rid of them all now, to sweep them away like a tearful drunk clearing a tabletop of spent bottles with the swipe of an arm. Then I think I want to preserve them just as they are for ever (which would be odd), and then a moment later I'd like to collect them all together, right here in front of me, like a museum display or a shrine (which would be even odder).

I guess the watering can will go into the bathroom closet now. Should I push the blanketed ottoman away from the window, where he took his sun-bathed naps, and return it to the edge of the chair where it supposedly belongs? How do I change his litter liner--no, not change, remove, the last one, this last time--without blubbering like an idiot?

He was just a pet, right? Well, no. He took care of us. Not like we took care of him of course, but he cared. I can see his face now, close, as if inches from mine, like when he'd lay on my chest as I reclined on the couch. He'd look right in my eyes and I'd wonder what he was thinking. I suspect he looked at me and thought, Who are you? But I think he knew. I'd look at him and think, who are you? And I knew, too.

He was our boy, Patrick.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Newsday TV Book, February 6-12, 1983.

I hope everyone enjoyed the 1972 TV listings I had been displaying here, but I feel I've ignored other years long enough on this blog. Thus, here's a look at a Newsday TV Book from 1983. Not a great year for TV, as I recall. Flipping through this edition it seems I hardly watched anything in network prime-time. I mean, Dukes of Hazzard? Powers of Matthew Star? Little House: A New Beginning? Gimme a Break? Give ME a fuckin' break!

Okay, I watched Fall Guy and Newhart and Family Ties, and of course Hill Street Blues. None of which I've ever really felt compelled to revisit.  This particular week saw premieres of Condo with MacLean Stevenson and Luis Avalos from The Electric Company, and Amanda's with Bea Arthur. The latter was one of several American takes on Fawlty Towers. Read the Wiki here if you're interested in the story behind the show, and why wouldn't you be. Bea Arthur.

Alright, let's get to the thing. The Winds of War, an expensive and flavorless WWII mini-series courtesy of Dan Curtis, made its debut this week, and probably the best thing about it was this sick Viskupic cover.(Click pics to enlarge, you know.)
 In the TV Line, folks ask about cutie Kathleen Beller (later married to Thomas Dolby), LI's own Stray Cats, and whether Valerie Harper holed up on Shelter Island.
Harriet Van Horne, always entertainingly disdainful of innocuous pap, actually rather likes this week's made-for-TV offerings.
Here's the ad for that Gary Coleman movie she was disarmed by. He played a two-foot-tall gynecologist employed by Our Lady of Mercy. (I thought the role was a stretch. Ka-BOING!) If the Steve Martin special is even funnier than its title, well, I just don't know if I'd be able to handle it.
Here's a Tuesday close-up for Caddyshack on network TV, which I doubt I watched since I'd seen it two-hundred times on HBO. WOR Channel 9 took over for WABC channel 7 when the latter shit-canned The 4:30 Movie, and on this day at that time aired Horror at 37,000 Feet, which was about being forced to watch Take This Job and Shove it on a flight to Columbus.
The Audio Video Update guide features yet another freaky Viskupic scene.
The Apple IIe was a tremendous upgrade from the old model, adding more memory, an RF modulator, a denaturizer, a sloppy disk drive, and, for the first time, a question mark to the keyboard. (That last one alone was a big improvement!)
Here's a double-page spread for The Video Connection. It almost convinces you that Coleco Vision may not suck. (We Intellivision owners know better. Yes, that's present tense.)
I'm going to be charitable with this noseless, Nutcracker-shaped glamor gal and assume the X's in the corner represent kisses.
Ba Ba Baldy! Cinemax tests the outer limits of your taste with both Diner and Norman... Is That You? in the same day.
I loved spending an eclipse at the South Bay Motel, especially once they added mirrors to the amenities.
"Off Camera" breaks the news that Mike Douglas is bailing, and touts the TV movie One Cooks, the Other Doesn't. I remember watching it and mocking the dweeby kid character, who early on claims to be into punk rock but later totally creams his corduroys over Toto tickets. Pbbpht, scoffed super-cool, prematurely jaded, 13-year-old me.
I guess that's it. There are many more interesting computer/video ads in the guide section, but really, don't we have other things to do? (See, there's that question mark--man that's convenient!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Missed it by This Much...

Yeah, I almost finished out the full year of 1972 Newsday TV Books, but I was too damn busy to write up a post for the very last one of the year (with Guy Lombardo on the cover). What the hell, here it is:
Now that I've got more time, I'm still deciding if I'm going to continue the Newsday TV Book theme. I figure I should since they're such a rare commodity, plus there's some great covers and stuff coming up for 1973. But it actually takes a lot of work putting that together, so we'll see.
When I began my nostalgia collecting in earnest, I thought I'd stick with the seventies, as that was where my fuzziest and favorite memories were. Early on I'd reject anything from the 80's, until at some point I thought, well, I was still in Catholic school then, so I made 1983 my cut-off point. Years later, I decided to stretch it out through my reviled high school years to '87, and soon I went ahead and included all of the eighties.

I just bought a bunch of old tapes from a Goodwill, and after dunking them in a vat of Purell I took a look at  them and found they were recordings of 90's TV. God help me if I get nostalgic for that era. I don't even want to dig deeper, because if I find some interesting commercials I'll be on the hook, and I really don't have the room for another decade in my new nerd room. (I could do without the phrase "man cave," and besides it doesn't exactly suit a small windowless cell with ample shelving stocked with bins of busted Star Wars toys, old TV Guides and crates of dusty VHS.)

Anyway, I was deleting old, irrelevant documents from my computer and found something I wrote in 1999. It's the text from the first auction I listed on eBay. I jokingly put up a random supermarket purchase just to test the waters, I guess. My reason for reproducing it here is not as clear, although I did, while the auction was active, post a link to it on the Soul Coughing message board, where another poster described it as "the best spam ever." So somebody thinks it's funny (I guess). And yes, you really can buy a whole chicken sealed in a giant can. You can, but you shouldn't. It's revolting, as I will further describe shortly.

Chicken in a Can! Peculiar! Delicious! NRFC!
[That is, "Never Removed From Can." A little auction humor for ya.]
Collectibles: Weird Stuff: General
Currently $0.99 (reserve not yet met)
First bid: $0.69 / Quantity: 1 / # of bids: 6
Location: beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon
Started 08/19/99 / Ends 08/26/99
Seller: simio
High bid: lucys.

Chicken Ready™ chicken in a can is ready for you to eat! 50 whopping ounces of chickeny goodness, packed in a savory broth. Yes, it's an entire cotton-pickin' chicken (sans giblets---sorry, giblet fans!) in its original Atlapac can. It has been "inspected for wholesomeness" by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and myself. It is quite a versatile food item. You may eat it hot or cold, in soups or sandwiches, fully-clothed or in the buff. Just don't heat it in the can! I'm talking to YOU, careless hobos!

Mystify your friends with this edible, collectible, displayable treat. Makes for a good last-resort munchie. Lucky high bidder to pay shipping, money orders preferred. Seller not responsible for resultant botulism, salmonella, or trauma from sight of an unfortunate line-worker's severed, bloated thumb. Thanks! Tell your friends!

[I later added this helpful info.]
Straight from the chicken's mouth (or beak, not included): "SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Salads and Sandwiches: Meat may be removed from bones and combined with ingredients such as mayonnaise, dressings, olives, relish, spices, celery and onions. Soups: Broth is delicious when used to prepare Chicken Rice or Chicken Vegetable soups. May also be used in place of water in preparing foods such as rice."

I should probably point out that this Chicken (which, I believe I may have mentioned, is in a can) is NOT a significant source of dietary fiber, sugars, vitamin A, vitamin C, or calcium. So if that's your bag, don't bother. I don't think the feet are in there, either, but you can get those on the buffet at Great China, NW Davis and Third. (The prairie oysters are good there, too.)

The label on the can is a fine brick-red, with seven smiling cartoon chickens in a line, evidently preparing to be canned. The hefty can itself is four inches across and seven inches tall. I will personally sponge the dust and crud off the top if you so desire. There is a series of cryptic alphanumerics on the top which I will not repeat here. (The Man's got enough on me as it is!)

There is also a recipe here on the label for "Delectable Chicken and Dumplings." Oh boy, that sounds good! Think I'll have some right now! Oops, I forgot. I can't eat this... YOU'RE going to buy it!

By the way, "lucys.," a.k.a. Lucy Starcrest, a.k.a. my friend Jen, was indeed the high bidder on my Chicken in a Can. So a bunch of us got together and opened it up one intoxicated evening. We were horrified at the shrunken, pallid, decrepit specimen that plopped out, its meat sliding sickeningly off the bleached bones without provocation. This thing looked like a pigeon version of a veal, not only cruelly raised right there in the can but perhaps even partially submerged in the viscous, smelly broth. It was all we could do to keep from heaving. Thank god we hadn't impetuously stocked up the Y2K shelter before giving it the once-over. Do not try this at home. Or anywhere. Ever.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Newsday TV Book, December 24-30, 1972.

It's been said many times, many ways, but screw it, I'll say it anyway: Merry Christmas! This week's cover features a cookie that looks like a real bicuspid buster. But we'll get to that shortly.
The TV Line gives us the skinny on Pierre La Cock, offers more evidence that astrology is bullshit thanks to a dopey query about Miyoshi Umeki, and teaches us (and by "us" I mean me) that Kris Tabori is the son of Viveca Lindfors and Don Siegel. Did you know this?
Elwood Nursery hawks its after-Christmas sale, which is a little annoying since, reading chronologically, it isn't damn Christmas yet! At least the Storybook Caverns are open until the 30th. Except in Bay Shore, which officially makes that store the worst of all Elwood Nurseries.
Now we get to everyone's favorite part: The celebrity greetings! On this first page (of only four--this section would be expanded greatly in Yuletides to come), we get all the info on that cover cookie angel. When it has to be pointed out that a cookie was made "using edible materials," that's a bad-looking cookie. If this had been a gift, I would have thanked Jean Loomis Newman and slipped it deftly into my pocket for later disposal. Otherwise, this page and the three that follow offer holiday wishes ranging from heartfelt (Chad Everett) and verbose (The Brady Bunch) to glib (Jackie Gleason) and crabby (Carroll O'Connor). My favorites are the ones with plugs for whatever show the person is on, some subtle, some not. A few get political, with the best being the folks at PBS' Electric Company urging us not to ride the Long Island Railroad during a strike! There's a Sudduth sketch of Gleason here...
 ...and a portrait of Joe Garagiola by Bob Newman here. (Wait, Newman? Same last name as the concrete cookie baker? Hmm...) Miss Louise from Romper Room relays a wish from Mr. Do Bee, and well, that makes my Christmas a little brighter indeed.
 Two Viskupic drawings edge the third page, and Paul Lynde not only pushes his show, he delivers his holiday greeting in character. How's that for sincerity!
A neat Cootner doodle of Dino and Geraldine graces the last page, with quotes from an uncharacteristically restrained Joe Franklin and a typically windy Geraldo.

To lighten my load this time out (hey, I got things to do this week!), I'm simply presenting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in their entirety for either your nostalgic enjoyment or your edification (as in you actually spent time with family over these days instead of watching TV and therefore you've never had any idea what was aired). Note the seventh appearance of WPIX's Yule Log, which varied in length over the years and was probably at its longest here--four-and-a-half hours!

On Tuesday night, CBS aired A Death of Innocence, which sounds like a real drag, but watching it would have saved your eyeballs from viewing Paul Lynde wearing a bunny costume in the Gidget TV movie. (Which, given the absence of online evidence, I may have hallucinated. I'll see if I can dig up this nightmarish image from my personal collection of video rarities...
[Later add: Whoops, wrong movie. I was thinking of 1969's Gidget Grows Up. I found the promo in my collection, didn't find it online, and so uploaded it to YouTube. Enjoy.]
 Bolting to Saturday, we have a close-up on a rerun of Bridget Loves Bernie. A rerun. I'm telling you, between Christmas and New Year's you may as well have unplugged the tube.

Next week: That Lombardo Guy and the Canadians he hung around with!