Friday, December 21, 2007

Loose Ends

I said I was going to list the worst Christmas songs of all time. It is also possible that some folks were left hanging by my mention of the song Grandma Grunt. So let's get all this settled before the weekend takes over.

MSLOE's Worst Chrismas Songs

1. The Little Drummer Boy - It drones on forever and is a revisionist version of the Christmas Story

2. 12 days of Christmas - This includes all parody versions. This song is no more than a holiday version of 64 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

3. Winter Wonderland - Thank you, Ricky Hatton. After hearing his band of British hooligans singing "ro-ro-ro Ricky Hatton" instead of : "In the lane are you list'ning" - continuously, it called attention to how crappy Winter Wonderland is to begin with. Floyd Mayweather thankfully beat the living crap out of Hatton, so we shant be hearing the tune again, I hope.

To end this in a positive note, my 5 favorite Christmas recordings are.

1. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
3. Please Come Home For Christmas - Charles Brown
4. Blue Christmas - Elvis
5. Here Comes Santa Claus - Gene Autry

Grandma Grunt was a rousing and catchy tune that allowed boys to actually whistle in class and girls to sing "tra-la-la-la". The title alone made it worthy. I can't find anything about it. If I do, I'll post the link.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Not Cute

I thought it would be a good idea to make a trial batch of pigs-in-a-blanket today instead of going directly to the public. It turned out to be a great idea.

I had "a little trouble" with the crescent rolls. I opened the package and was greeted with a tube of dough. There were perforations scored, but somehow I couldn't start peeling away what I hoped were thin preshaped triangles of doughy goodness. Instead I inadvertently pinched off a big glob of dough. I panicked and would up with 4 or 5 globs that couldn't be peeled apart.

I decided to flatten the dough out with a rolling pin. Seemed OK. The recipe said the tube of rolls should make 32 pigs. I would up with about 15. Thick ones.

They are very tasty despite their appearance and as one would expect, a little heavy on the blankets. I think I'll have Patti instruct me before I do the real batch.

These little guys will be good to dip into mustard, sweet and sour sauce, or something cheesy. Ugly as they are.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cute Food

A rogue neuron fired somewhere in my brain. I am suddenly fixed on making pigs-in-a-blanket.

Why? I don't relish them. In fact, I don't recall ever eating them. Yet I have crescent rolls and mini sausages on my shopping list for the big feast next Tuesday. I guess the thought process went from the idea of having various snack items, treats, and delicacies for the holidays rather than a Big Ass Ham, escalloped potatoes and other traditional fare that eventually gets pushed to the back of the fridge and undergoes chemical changes until it is chucked out on Martin Luther King Day, to brainstorming on what items to prepare. PiaB popped in somewhere after Swedish meatballs and before teeny tiny sandwiches. Of the three, it seemed the best.

So there it is. I always wondered what the point was of miniature sausages. I will find out next week.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Old Business - 500 Years So.

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Believe it or not, I have issues with this; the second verse of "The First Noel".

Put the stones down. I like the song. Unlike those that will appear on my list of the worst Christmas songs, this one has tradition, a pleasant melody and a joyful message. It's very hard to screw up, even by your local church choir or a glitzy country music star.

The problem goes back 50 years ago when it was mandatory for my elementary school class to sing The First Noel for The Christmas Program. Like I said, it's a pretty hard song to screw up, even by a bunch of squirrelly nine year-olds. OK. We breeze through the first verse but then when the shepherds look up to see the star to open verse two, the music stops. Mrs. Greene, the lady to whom I will forever be ingratiated for teaching me the tune, "Grandma Grunt", said, "No, no, no. It goes like this: They look -ked up , not looked."

What? It says looked. It rhymes with cooked, not crooked. We knew how to read. In fact, bring look-ed to the reading circle and you'd get corrected on the spot. Something that the "top" reading group (We knew who we were.) considered a great indignity. The argument lasted only a few minutes before Mrs. Greene and centuries of tradition imposed their will.

I did a search and found out the carol came from 16th century England. I'm positive the lyrics have gone through some revision over the years and are not exactly as originally penned. Why couldn't this awkward bar be cleaned up to match the cadence of the song? 'They all looked up" would work.

But no, the lyric remains screw-ed up to this day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No Head - No Post

I had an inspiration for a good post last night, but it will have to be mothballed because a key component cannot be found.

I desperately needed a picture of Earl Scheib's head. Not a picture of Earl Scheib. Not a description of his budget auto painting franchise. No, just his head. Not a portrait showing his upper torso. Not his head with neck. Just his head. It is crucial to the post.

I searched last week for a good picture of The Crawling Eye as it appeared on screen. No luck with that either. Google Images have let me down two times in a row.

I did find a chihuahua head (no body, no neck). It will have to do until someone brings me the head of Earl Scheib.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Crawling Eye

I am drawn to movies like this. I used to watch them two at a time on Saturday afternoons a long time ago. The formula is simple:

Something mysterious and troubling is caused by a monster that eludes detection by the scientific and military / law enforcement agencies. We see more and more of the monster until it is fully revealed. Only after it breaks into the room where a pretty girl is housed and makes her scream, do the authorities figure out how to whack it.

I was a treat watching this plum today without interruption. I was too afraid to go see it in the theatres in 1958. The thought of a crawling eye didn't set well with me back then. It was kind of creepy at first when I saw it today, so it may have been wise to avoid it 50 years ago.

Although bad science, cheesy special effects, and cornball plots are to be expected from this genre of cinema, I have an unresolved issue with the film that can't even be sloughed off as campy.

The Crawling Eye(s) as it turns out, are not like the eye shown on the poster. No, this is an eye ball alright with tentacles replacing the optic nerve and connective tissue, but the crawling eye is equipped with a relatively normal-sized eye so it can see. The Crawling Eye is not a product of intelligent design. A giant eye that requires an eye to see just ain't right.
Spoiler: A British jet fighter is called into the Bavarian Alps to incinerate the optical menace. I thought BB guns would have worked just as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Beep Beep

Two Ellen Feis moments around here in the last week:

Patti is trying to get her prescription filled though an automated phone system. The Rx and benefit number must have 15 digits each in them. Naturally, a wrong number was pressed. She had to wait 10 minutes just to get on the system. After 2 or 3 incorrect entries she was booted off the line. Twice. The second time she went into Joe Pesci mode, cursing and pounding the phone on the counter top. Cool. The tirade must have been just what she needed because she waltzed through the process on the third attempt.

I got a call Monday night from Patti's doctor. It's one of those automated messages with an appointment reminder. I listened to the message. Patti knew about the appointment. I went on with the business of retrieving voice mail.

So today, Patti calls and announces, "You cancelled my appointment!" She's calling from across town at Doc's office.

"I did?", "I guess I did." "Shit." "Sorry." That's all I had in the way of a defense. Seems I cancelled by giving the message the old "337". This sequence skips ahead and deletes the voice mail message. But, no, it was a first generation recording, not a recording of a recording, as I thought it was. I guess it said press 3 to cancel, and I did.

Even so, I like key presses better than voice recognition. Once I answered, "Did this help you with your problem.?" with "Hell, No" instead of just plain "No."

The automated answer was, "I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Could you please repeat your response?"

We always try to buy durable telephones in this household.