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February 8, 2016 / thackersam

The Girl in the Cage

Lada Edmund Jr.Though we were three years apart, and my brother was of the Howdy Doody era and I was an unofficial member of the later Winchell Mahoney club, we shared the same tastes in music until I entered junior high school and veered off on my own. But during those earlier years of The Ed Sullivan Show, and then those shows geared toward the “be-bop” music that the kids were listening to, as it was referred to by my father, such as Shindig and Hullabaloo, we sat in the den together in front of the television and loved everything that was thrown at us.

I was again reminded of those days when someone posted a video of the Young Rascals on the WNEW-FM Fan Club performing “Good Lovin’” on Hullabaloo. Quite some time ago, I don’t remember when, maybe you do, I wrote about The Rascals after finding a “best of” CD in the discount racks, and the video of “Good Lovin’” on The Ed Sullivan Show. I took a look at the recent Rascals video, remembering that drummer Dino Danelli was the looker of the group, bearing a striking resemblance to Paul McCartney (as did the late, fabulous Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five). The focus was mostly on Felix Cavaliere as he sang lead on the song. I waited for a shot of Dino, who was also an amazing drummer, and I noticed the dancers in the cages that flanked the group. There she was. The girl on the right. Dancing in an elevated cage. That crazy dancer that caught everyone’s attention back then. She danced wildly in her fringed dress and her untamed hair flew all over the place. Other dancers were a bit more subdued and their hair stayed put. My brother was enthralled with her, and was particularly impressed with her moniker, as you didn’t hear of many women back then, or now for that matter, with Jr. after their names.

What was her name? I fixated on her in the video and wanting to see more, tried pulling more than just Jr. from the recesses of my memory. Ada – Ada Ladman Jr. – is what I came up with and started the search. And there she was. Lada Edmund, Jr., the well-known dancer in the cage on Hullabaloo. I wanted to be her I recall, and at ten years old did have my very own pair of white go-go boots. Most of us little girls and big girls did too. Fact is, my brother, Davey, probably wanted to be her as well. Of course, growing up in my house, it was not uncommon for us to want to be anyone else than who we were, for different reason but with the same cause.

I can only assume that my brother suspected he was “different.” I don’t think many little boys constructed Barbie Town in their basements and made clothes for the apartment dwelling, world-traveling career girl Midge, who really set an example for me that women didn’t need to get married, have children and become suburban housewives. Neither of us became wild go-go dancers, but both of us shared Midge-like qualities later in life.

While it was the post of the Rascals that led me to think about Davey and his admiration for the unconventional woman, it is not the anniversary of his death or birth, which are practically the same day in September, except they’re three days and 33 years apart. It is however, the anniversary of the passing of my dearest and oldest friend Vicki, who died two years and two days ago.

Btw – Lada Edmund Jr., now in her late 60s, had a very successful career as a stuntwoman after her Hullabaloo days, and seems to be still going strong as a trainer. Most Hullabaloo videos are somewhat fuzzy, but available on YouTube, and I recommend the stalkerish “Look at That Girl” video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r60nCJVmdy4&feature=youtu.be.

In the photo, Lada Edmund Jr. is the dancer sitting on the B.Hullabaloo

February 1, 2016 / thackersam

January 31 – My Name is Not Susan

IWWG w-Suze BaronIt is a sad day. I have to say goodbye to a cherished old friend. No, not the woman sitting next to me in the picture, though she is a cherished old friend. I’ve not seen her and her Princess Leia hairdo since the IWWG conference where the picture was taken three summers ago. We actually met at the Amtrak station in 2002 when we were both on our way to our very first conference given by the International Women’s Writing Guild. The Guild had been around for more than a quarter of a century by that time, and my friend has attended every year since 2002 except last, and I have skipped a few due to the various changes it has gone through. We’re hopeful about this year though.

No it is not my friend, nor the Guild that I am sad to part with, as there is no parting. I am mourning the departure of my yellow hoodie. It is, or was, the perfect shade of yellow, just the right weight and so comfortable to wear out to breakfast at a writers’ conference. I even wore it on a date once with nothing but a black bra underneath (it was not our first date). Like all hoodies, except if you’re a guy, it reached that point for which it was no longer presentable outside of the home. No worries though, as it took its place as my favorite thing to climb into when I got home from work. I exercised in it and quite often would often fall asleep in it. Of course it became dingier and dingier and no matter how many times I would wash it, soaking it in the sink in detergent containing bleach, it would not get clean. The end of the sleeves and the piping around the zipper and pockets were permanently dirty and those dirty sleeves were also getting frayed, mostly from too much rough play with Max. I couldn’t even keep them pushed up anymore they were so stretched out. It was no longer presentable inside the home either, and I just had to throw it away. I couldn’t bear to see it in one of Max’s many boxes, for him to snuggle into, as has been the fate of some worn out sweaters. No it simply had to go, go from the apartment as well as from my sight and my body. It will always be appreciated for its faithful service over the years.

I have registered for the Writer’s Digest annual conference for this summer, just a few moments ago in fact to take advantage of the lowest rate, and hopefully the Guild will get their act together and present the kind of conference they used to, or at least something close to it. I hope to have an equally adorable hoodie for both.

Btw – As my workout routine now routinely includes the EnVogue CD, the words to their collaborative effort with Salt-n-Pepa on “What a Man,” a cute, fun song, as I mentioned last week, make me question the standards that S&P’s Spinderella has for her man. “And yes it’s me that he’s always choosin’, With him I’m never losin’, and he knows that my name is not Susan.” Really, that deserves high praise? First of all, the preceding line “He’s got me open like a Seven Eleven” is perplexing. I don’t want to be open like a Seven Eleven, do you? And then, this guy gets lauded for knowing what her name is not. “Uhhh, don’t tell me now – I know it’s NOT Susan.” What a man. He must really love her. Spinderella’s name is Deidre. Now we all know it’s not Susan.

January 25, 2016 / thackersam

January 24 – Have a Nice Day

Nice DayFor those of you who do not live in the United States, a major snow storm hit the eastern seaboard and yesterday New York had over two feet of snow dumped on it. It was my excuse for doing absolutely nothing constructive, nothing at all except maybe ten minutes of cleaning. I ate almost everything in the apartment and Friday and Saturday evenings partook of the pint of Jameson’s I had picked up as part of my snow emergency supplies. I napped some during the day, cursed the fact that with all the channels I have, I could find nothing I wanted to watch on TV, and threw a snowball at Max from my windowsill. He poked at the snow melting on the couch. It was very cute.

I slept poorly last night, probably due to the whiskey and my discovery that even though I don’t have sweets in the home, pouring real maple syrup on bread is almost like having French toast. But this morning, I was determined to walk across to the Tribeca Kitchen to have my Sunday brunch and loads of coffee, and knew my chances of getting there were so much better than the ex’s ability to get to 7-11 on Long Island for chocolate, his post-snowstorm craving. The city roads and many sidewalks were in good shape, and when I got to my beloved diner, my regular waiter, who I knew would make it into work, pointed me to a booth next to the window. What can I say, they like me here. I do take up more space than one person ought, as I bring my laptop and one or two notebooks, and I stay longer than most (I am a slow eater as well), but I’m a pretty easy customer, and if you are good to me, as my lovely waiter is, I am very good to you. Plus today, I got entertained watching the man who was relegated to shovel out a large space around the fire hydrant, shoveling with one hand and talking on the phone that he held in the other.

And now, today’s post: You know those times when something really random and out of the blue pops into your head? I’ve got sock puppet going through mine and I’ve no clue why. Just the words, it’s not a visual. Is that weird? Sometimes it’s not as weird, but equally arbitrary, like last week when out of absolutely nowhere, “What a Man,” that collaboration between Salt n Pepa and EnVogue popped into my head. It’s not a song that would be played on The Peak, the radio station out of Westchester that I listen to at work, and I don’t believe it’s on a commercial. And, there is no one in my life that I can connect it to. It’s just a fun song with a fun video. So when a fellow member of the WNEW-FM Fan Club posted about guilty pleasures, it started me thinking. What do I have to feel guilty for? Neither EnVogue, nor Salt n Pepa were among the artists that were on my playlist 20 years ago, but I do like some of their stuff. Sometimes, I even like Madonna. Oh come now, who among us doesn’t have a favorite Madonna song? That one that you secretly sing along with whenever you hear it in the supermarket or wherever. “Gonna dress you up in my love, in my love, all over all over, all over your body.” That’s mine.

So coincidentally, or maybe not, during my last trip to the Housing Works thrift store in Tribeca, not really known for its CD collection, I found an EnVogue CD with “What a Man” and five other songs (It’s a “Specially Price CD”). I also found two Madonna CDs, more recent stuff, so I’m not familiar with them. At least I don’t think I am. One is from 2000 and the other 2012, and yes I consider both years recent. I confess while giving them a shot, I lacked patience. Each song, on both Madonna CDS, starts with these long disco type intros. I didn’t get passed one of them on any song. I’m not anti-intro, but these seemed like irrelevant fillers, and given this, my opinion of the Madonna CDs is that they suck. Big time.

However, as an alternative to my usual routine that starts with the first three songs of Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel, Santana’s “Smooth” twice, Sly and the Family Stone’s “Stand”, “Dance to the Music” and “Higher”, the latter also played twice, then Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (I assumed you needed and wanted a reminder), I am now adding somewhat shorter workouts during the week that consist of the Ronstadt selections, the first song from the Missy Elliot CD that is now in my collection, because hip hop just makes you move differently, and the whole EnVogue CD, which is only half an hour. I’m sure I look silly, but I do feel younger while dancing around to it.

Since the ex and I have put on holiday weight, we agreed to take off two of those pounds by the end of January. Not gonna happen, but at least we’re maintaining, and getting back into those routines. Except for yesterday. But it was a snow day.

BTW – While I was at the Housing Works in Tribeca, and feeling quite amused at the fact that a song that had been playing in my head was now available to me for a dollar, this mug was watching me. I hate those stupid happy faces, but it made me smile, so it now sits on my kitchen counter.

And another BTW – Take a look at the EnVogue videos from their hit songs. They’re a lot of fun, particularly “Giving Him Something He Can Feel.” It’s adorable.

January 18, 2016 / thackersam

January 17 – Planet Earth is Blue

Planet Earth is Blue

Planet Earth is Blue

I need to credit a fellow member of the WNEW-FM Fan Club for posting just those words on Monday morning. Nothing else, no picture, just those four words. Planet earth is blue. Nothing else needed. So following that example, this won’t be a long post, for me.

I wrote about Bowie during the early days of The Walrus Was Paul, when the blog started and the purpose was listening to my old albums from A to Z on my then new turntable while exercising to them, recalling all those odd memories of the times they summon, and writing about them. That was in September of 2013. An old friend already recollected her own memory for me on Monday with a sweet message about us sitting on my front stoop with Vicki and her sister during our high school years, with the door open and Bowie blasting from inside.

Bowie seemed to have planned out his life and indeed his death mostly for our entertainment. Right before his death I had watched the movie about his Ziggy Stardust days and concert footage with the late Mick Ronson, who really was the poster child for the ugly guitar player face that is mocked in This is Spinal Tap. Bowie on stage looked like he was having as much fun as his audience. I wonder how much of a coincidence it is that this rockumentary was been run at that time. I had also caught a portion of his new video before Monday, and thought it particularly weird, and that he looked so old. Somehow though, he sounded exactly the same as he always had. And as I watch the weekend theater review programs on TV, the Sunday just before his death, one of the reviewers had panned the recently opened play that Bowie had co-written and scored, finding it incomprehensible. I don’t criticize the critic as he was probably right, but I’ll bet he’s taken a second look now.

I, like many Bowie fans, do not mourn his death. Corny as it sounds, I don’t think that’s what he wanted. However, I am quite grateful that he was put on this earth, for the time we had him. And as many fans are suggesting by paraphrasing K from Men in Black, “Bowie is not dead, he just went home.”

I’m sorry, I have to do a totally unrelated BTW – You know I love to get facials and massages, right? Well, a friend, who we will refer to as Tabby for reasons she will understand, gave me a Groupon on my birthday for a full-body massage at a spa on Canal Street. I have gotten all sorts of massages including reflexology, acupuncture and even cupping (never again). This was the first time I have been massaged from head to toe, during which the masseuse used her full body in the process. Hands, elbows, knees, feet, she was all over me, and actually sat on my butt, which I barely felt, while she leaned her entire body weight into my back. Though a bit sore today, I loved it. Plus, my masseuse was wearing Winnie-the-Pooh slippers. Thank you Tabby.

January 11, 2016 / thackersam

January 10 – Waiting for the Sun

James BrownI am actually waiting for the sun to hang around longer during the day, and am not necessarily referencing The Doors’ song or album, that we already reviewed more than two years ago (can you believe it?!?). I was glad to see a sign of hope last week when I walked out of my office building a wee bit passed 5 and it was not yet pitch black, knowing that it will only get better. I’m revving it back up and really must stop beating myself up for not accomplishing as much as I’d like to. This happens every year and I should just get used to it. Alas, I’ve put aside what I was going to write about tonight, not because I’m not feeling the story, but because I’m feeling lazy. I am back to exercising 4-5 times a week, and can get myself off the floor with one hand and respectable fluidity, but the diet and writing are just going to have to get continuous jolts until I get back on the good foot.

January 4, 2016 / thackersam

January 3 – Missy Elliot – Miss E…so addictive

Miss E

Now we might just be on to something here.

I was in the Housing Works in Brooklyn Heights recently. They have a nice little music and literature alcove, and their album collection has expanded to include more than Barbra Streisand and show tunes, however anything I would have been interested in I already have. But the CDs offered more promise and at a dollar each allow me to explore music I don’t have from genres I haven’t much familiarity with. Such is the case with Missy Elliot. I have found her to be entertaining, unlike most hip hop acts I’ve experienced in some way, and do like her song “The Rain.” That’s not on this CD, but I confess I recognized song #5 “Get Ur Freak On.”

For those of you who don’t normally read the entirety of my blog posts, there’s a little spice at the end of this one. Yes, old spice, but hey, I’ve never really treated you to any real details of my love life, or lack thereof.

The size 10s have been a bit snug of late, which is totally my fault and I make no excuses, but tis the season and people keep sending me stuff – to my home. Well, okay one person sent me too much stuff that I shouldn’t be eating and I made these fabulous cookies I haven’t made in 20 years, plus my famous bourbon balls, which were a big hit this year and mighty potent. If you recall, I am neither cook nor baker, but do have my specialties like the bourbon balls for which there is no baking involved, and the chocolate, chocolate chip cookies that include other ingredients because I seem to need to color outside the lines. I can also make duck and bake bread though I haven’t done either in some time.

To explain this particular problem, I refer back to my article “Why I Can No Longer Feed the Squirrels” (June 3, 2014) about my strange addictive behavior in which I address my inability to keep tempting items in the home like cigarettes (3 ½ years smoke free), pistachio nuts (I will allow myself to purchase ½ pound a weekend knowing that I can consume all in one sitting), hard alcohol (I bought the ex a bottle of Jameson Caskmates and it accidently got opened and consumed, while the beer and wine I’ve had about remains untouched), sweets (and I’m not even a big sweet eater), and bread.

Having the cookies and balls in the home was dangerous but could have been worse if my need for praise had not managed to curtail further damage. I got a couple of batches of both mailed off and pleased many of my coworkers. I received many compliments, which makes me happy, and less weighty.

The issue of addiction and the title of Missy Elliot’s 2001 CD Miss E… so addictive is a total coincidence. I only noticed the title after I wrote the previous paragraphs, I swear. Of the CDs I brought home from the thrift store, this one got me up and moving, really moving. The image of a 60 year old white woman dancing around to hip hop remains between me and Max, but I was really getting my freak on, even if after a while Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot’s songs got a little tiresome. Song #5 has been added to my workout routine after Linda Ronstadt and before “Smooth.”

Speaking of getting my freak on, I had an interesting interlude at Housing Works, something that surely does not happen to me with the frequency it used to. While I was in that music and literature alcove at Housing Works, I heard a man ask me if I was planning on leaving the alcove soon. He stood by a shelf of CDs by its entrance and explained that he was now going to squat down to view the bottom shelf and it may take him a while to stand if I needed to get by any time soon. Though I am both nearsighted and farsighted, I am not blind nor dead in any sense of the word, and determined the pre-squatting man was a bit older than I, slim, and kind of attractive. His was not only a good opening line, it was relevant to me as I can relate to the perils of squatting. We did the dance, that conversation that delves slightly deeper into the small talk one would have with a stranger. I find you attractive, you find me attractive, let’s see where this goes… He likes classical music I quickly learned, I like rock and roll, and while I can expand my tastes to different genres (except opera), I have found the classical music aficionados I have met to be a bit snobby. But we pressed on. He mentioned something or somebody of which I had no knowledge, and when I mentioned recently getting into Billy Joel’s classical compositions, he admitted to having heard of Billy Joel. He told me of his experience as a boy, wanting to listen to the Yankees game on the car radio (I can speak fluent Yankees from the late 70s, early 80s), but his father insisting on putting on the classical station, thus first exposing him to the music genre he loved. I told him about my mother being a 20 something year old mother and housewife in the 1950s suburbs and my asking her why she never got into rock and roll, which she seemed to appreciate after she sobered up and I was in my 20s. “It just wasn’t done,” was her reply. In her defense, she was right about the norms placed on women, plus she had been a bobby-soxer screaming over Frank Sinatra.

I moved around the man so I would not have to request that he rise from his squat prematurely, and he said that he hoped to bump into me again. “Even though you like classical and I like rock ‘n roll,” I laughed. His last two girlfriends, he noted, were into other forms of music and didn’t seem to be an issue. We continued the conversation a bit more as he started to explain his thoughts on the music hierarchy, which I wasn’t grasping, especially when he started to compare it to religions. Now I don’t know much about the different protestant religions, but when someone says that Episcopalians are on a low rung but nothing is lower than Baptists, I can recognize bigotry. And that’s where I draw the line. The presence of pheromones and endorphins alike ceased immediately. Perhaps my rings, of which I wear four and are all types of bands, though none of the wedding variety, might have made him think I was otherwise engaged, so to speak, or maybe it was the perplexed look I may have given him after his out of left field comment only a snob could make, as I am well aware I do not have a poker face, that allowed me to exit gracefully, just saying that it was nice to have met him, thus ending the interlude. Sorry, that was the extent of it, granted not even medium spicy, but I was glad to be able to utilize my talents for flirtatious intelligent conversation, at least to a point.

Btw – I wish a happy new year to all, and would like to add that I like Ludacris, who sings with Missy Elliot on “One Minute Man.” He was really good in Hustle and Flow.

December 28, 2015 / thackersam

December 27 – The New Colossus

LibertyAUA“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus

 

I’ve mentioned before, many times in fact, that I have the good fortune to have the best view in the world. It was this lady who when I first walked into my studio apartment that I knew I would be paying too much for, and saw her out the window, made me say “I’ll take it.” I wasn’t looking for a studio apartment. But there she was in the distance, and I felt immediately at home. She has that kind of effect on people.

Btw – I spoke with my stepmother yesterday. She let me know that everyone I met in Holland during my visit remarked that I have a “great set of brains” on me. Truer words…

 

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