Monthly Archives: November 2008

White Port and Lemon Juice

The year is 1979. My sister and I listen almost exclusively to a radio station that goes by the call letters WPLJ*. It’s AOR, with some great DJs including Carol Miller and Pat St. John (both can still be heard on Sirius). This is before WAPP started up, and their only competition is WNEW (where rock lives). What sets WPLJ apart are the station ID montages that are spliced together by Pat St. John. Each is built around a theme such as New York City or the gas crisis, and each is brilliant. Over the course of a year, Pat spliced them all together into 22 minutes of montage genius. And my sister caught it on tape.

For years, I ask my sister to make me a copy.

For years, neither of us get around to it.

In September of 2000, some old and decomposing wiring in the front porch light fixture of my sister’s house shorts out, causing a fire that takes the house, and its contents, to the ground. Everything that my sister and my brother-in-law own is lost. Their cars, their wedding photos, my sister’s pageant awards, even their beloved cat. And, I slowly realize as the tragedy settles in, the WPLJ tape. Yes, it weighs that heavily in our lives.

Clothes are easy to replace, but everything else takes work. I contact their all-inclusive wedding chapel to see if I can have their photos reprinted, but the cost is too steep. I can’t find a duplicate of the tiara that my sister won as Ms. Petite New Jersey, but for her 40th birthday, I buy her the biggest pageant tiara I can afford. The WPLJ tape, we occasionally think of with a glassy, distant look in our eyes. I even play some of the cuts in my head from time to time. Oh, well.

Last week, listening to a friend’s iTunes playlist, I heard one of the songs that Pat St. John had used a snippet of. A song that I had never actually heard the full version of. And it got me to thinking.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I present to you The Big Montage.

(Be sure to listen all the way to the end, so you can hear the first half of a radio ad for the “upcoming” film American Gigolo, which is how I know this montage is, at the absolute earliest, from 1979 and NOT 1978 as the link would indicate.)

*The station took its name from a 1956 song called WPLJ, by The Four Deuces, about a drink concoction made from white port and lemon juice. The song was later covered by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Both versions are in the montage.

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Filed under family, music, nostalgia, vintage

Late to the meme party

TWO people sent me this meme, and I’m finally now getting around to it.

Two word answers:

1. Where is your cell phone? ………………. right here

2. Your significant other?…………………. not yet

3. Your hair? ……………………………. two-tone

4. Your mother? ………………………….. not far

5. Your father?…………………………… daddy’s girl

6. Your favorite thing?……………………. my friends

7. Your dream last night?………………….. missed it

8. Your favorite drink? …………………… vanilla Coke

9. Your dream/goal?……………………….. independent success

10. The room you’re in?……………………. terribly cluttered

11. Your favorite food?……………………. dairy products

12. Your fear?……………………………. heights/drowning

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years?……… reasonably happy

14. Where were you last night?……………… Berkeley nabe

15. What you’re not?………………………. social butterfly

16. Muffins?……………………………… toasted corn

17. One of your wish list items?……………. always shoes!

18. Where you grew up?…………………….. metro NYC

19. The last thing you did?………………… ordered presents

20. What are you wearing?………………….. skirt/sweater

21. Your TV?……………………………… background noise

22. Your pets?……………………………. friendly fuzzies

23. Your computer? ……………………….. always on

24. Your life?……………………………. moving forward

25. Your mood?……………………………. anxious ennui

26. Missing someone?………………………. hell yes

27. Your car?…………………………….. reliably zippy

28. What you’re about to do?……………….. watch TV

29. Favorite Store?……………………….. too many

30. Your summer?………………………….. too hot

31. Your job?…………………………….. self-employed

32. Your favorite color?…………………… persimmon/periwinkle

33. Last time you laughed………………….. last night

34. Last time you cried?…………………… this afternoon

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THAT’S what I wanted to say!

My pal Erin (♥) found this card online at BlueBarnhouse, and sent it to me. It is my life, in A2 format. Except for the clean house part.

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Filed under amusement, friends, life-threatening clutter, romance, relationships

Aaaaaand, exhale.

When our elections were declared four years ago, I received an email from some acquaintances I have in Germany. “That’s okay,” they said. “We know it’s not your fault. We have room over here, if you’d like.”

Last night, through the magic of the Internet, I was celebrating with friends across the country, and once again, the globe.

I am greatly disappointed that three states voted against gay marriage, as if it is somehow more of a sham than straight marriage. But that is overshadowed, for me, by getting my country back. I am patriotic. I do support my troops. I am pro-life. BUT… I fear my President. I oppose the war in Iraq. And I am very strongly pro-choice.

I know that things won’t change overnight. I know that SEVEN YEARS of war have left our country scarred, perhaps not physically, but economically and emotionally. I know that President-elect Barack Obama (my first opportunity to write that) does not have all the answers. But I know that things are looking up.

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Filed under Is it safe to remove the gas masks?

November’s Header

If you’re wondering, and you probably are, this month’s header is from a color slide taken at the 1959 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My mom and I are big fans of the parade, and she actually got to march in it one year as a “balloonatic,” one of the handlers for the giant helium balloons. I still tear up a little every year when I watch the Rockettes perform for the grandstand.

The very last Horn & Hardart Automat closed in 1991, and I am so very sad that I never ate there.

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Filed under blogging, family, holidays, nostalgia, vintage

On Costuming

My friend Erin and I met, through mutual friends, at a roller derby bout. I’m usually terrible at remembering names/faces, but Erin’s hair was such a luminous, platinum blonde, that I was able to pick her out from the crowd of people I’d met that night when we all met up at a bar post-bout. And, unlike most people who meet briefly at a single social event, she remembered me, as well. When Erin hosted a Mary Kay party to support a coworker, I attended. In fact, Megan and I went together, dressed in our Tupperware Party best.

We made an impression that night.

Not too long later, Erin asked if I would like to accompany her on some Halloween shopping. It was probably late August or early September, so that sounded like a great idea to me. I didn’t know that “normal” people thought that was perhaps a little early. We spent all day driving around and shopping. Michael’s, Flossie McGrew’s, the wig boutique on the 16th Street Mall, one of those temporary Halloween stores, which was still setting out boxes. All day. And we only stopped because we didn’t want to worry Erin’s husband.

We clicked.

In the realm of people I’ve been friends with in my life, I have always been the costumiest. And while I’d known Megan and Joe for a few years before they introduced me to Erin, I somehow had never attended a costume function with them. I Didn’t Know. Now, out of the four of us, I am probably the least costumiest. I have grand ideas, but I cut corners. The three of them, however, spare no expense, cut no corners, and give up all sorts of activities for the sake of Creating. All of us insist on designing our own costumes. I did see Megan in a packaged costume ONCE, but I knew how much effort she had put into Joe’s costume that year, and it was totally understandable. We’re not unreasonable people.

When people ask me what our deal is, I have a hard time explaining it. I know that we love to get dressed up, but the four of us do that as frequently as possible. Dinner, cocktails, numerous parties during the year. Every event is an opportunity to polish up. Maybe it’s because we’re all designers, but for us, the beauty is in the actual creation, from our own hands, of a completely new person (place or thing). We get absorbed in the details. The illusion won’t fly if something is wrong. We’re not alone in our beliefs. Erica and Jeff joined us this year, making sure that Doctor Horrible’s weaponry was just right, and that Captain Hammer was so complete that he carried a wallet-size photo of Penny with him, lovingly signed on the back. Desha and Jon came as Bladerunner‘s Priss and Roy, and Jon was so bold as to bleach his hair and wax his chest for the role. In the world outside my own, Wil Wheaton mentioned on Twitter, “In the Halloween section, Target tries to pass off what is CLEARLY an Orc Barbarian sword as a ‘Giant Ninja’ sword. I weep for the children.” And early on Saturday morning, Andy Ihnatko posted this to flickr. It’s everything I’ve wanted to say to people who want to join in the fun, but are intimidated (or lazy). Being written by Andy, it’s better than anything I could say. My geeky cyber-heroes, you are gods among men.

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Filed under friends, Halloween, holidays, sewing, shopping