Monday, March 29, 2010

The Little Mermaid Goes to China!

No, it's not some new Disney stage spectacular - it's the recent removal of the Little Mermaid from the Copenhagen harbor as she embarked upon her journey to Shanghai, where she will feature as the crowning jewel in the Danish pavilion of the World Expo.

My parents were there with the camera as she was hoisted off! She was serenaded by choruses and speeches before her departure, which is exactly as it should be.

So strange to think of the harbor without her.
More info here!

Friday, March 26, 2010

An interesting family resemblance

A couple of years ago, I happened upon a plea from a German woman on, looking for information about her American relatives. I realized with some excitement that she was looking for the Schuers! The Ohio Schuers. My Schuers!
So I wrote back, she was thrilled to find her relatives, we exchanged some information, and since then we've been in touch. (Hi, Gerda!) She often posts interesting facts and photos on her Facebook page, and sometime I will post more about that, because I have learned lots of interesting things.
Now, usually, I feel that Scott generally looks more like his mother. But then Gerda sent me the above photo. That's Clemens Schuir (yes, it used to be spelled with an 'i'!), and I believe he's Scott's grandfather's uncle.
The fact is, he looks a whole heck of a lot like Scott! I was really startled at the resemblance. So was Scott, as a matter of fact.
It occurs to me that this would be a more effective post if I had a photo of Scott to post along with it, but I don't on this computer, so it'll have to wait. I'll add one later.
Meanwhile, I just wanted to post the picture - because I get such a kick out of it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Oops! It's been a few days. Let’s see, what have I been up to? Not much, I guess, but I’ll write it up anyway!

I finally had the opportunity to go to CafĂ© Habana in Ann Arbor. I've been meaning to check it out for ages now. Liza and I sat in the window and watched the world go by. (Which was occasionally irritating. It may have been unseasonably warm for mid-March, but there’s no need to go jogging topless yet, fellas. Can we graduate from coat to jacket to T-shirt and then go jogging topless? What’s the point of having an interim season at all otherwise?) The Cuban sandwich was as delish as I have been led to believe, and I definitely want to go back and check out the groovy-looking downstairs lounge there, too. Who’s with me?

I went clothes shopping for the first time in God knows how long and bought about five million T-shirts. Hey, these days, if it fits, I’ll take it. Kind of fun to have a closet full of shirts.

Sarah, Andy, Scott and I went to the Tap Room Annex late last Friday night, and I realized I’m starting to like that place better than the usual two Depot Town suspects. Sure, it’s a little smoky, but not too bad now that the smoke has to waft all the way through two rooms to get to the Annex.

Scott and I went to see the Detroit Red Wings earlier this week and it was an all-around splendid night. We started out at Casey’s in Corktown, an old Irish pub with police and firefighter paraphernalia adorning the walls and locals sitting around in affable, mostly silent companionship. I love that kind of place. Then off to Joe Louis Arena, where the Wings resoundingly won against the current Stanley Cup champions, and the entire place cat-called and sang and shouted like a European football audience.

I tried cooking orange-glazed chicken in the oven the other night. As many of you know, I have this fear of cooking if it isn’t in a slow cooker, and I’m determined to work toward overcoming it by trying something on the stovetop or in the oven every now and then. Honestly, it wasn’t great. I don’t understand how you get the chicken all crispy and glazey: this was just gloppy. It was tasty enough, don’t get me wrong: I got the sauce right, and I even managed to get the rice and the green beans ready (relatively, after a microwave reheat!) at the same time as the chicken. So, not a complete flop, but again, true oven success eludes me. However, I will continue my determined efforts to overcome my fears! No mere glop will stop me in my quest!

And, honestly, that’s about it these days! Not a whole lot of activity, but so what, really? One can’t be rushing around living life vividly all the time, can one? Downtime is important, too!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A happy accident

When I was in middle school, I was obsessed - obsessed - with the TV show Fame. I mean, these kids were creative, intense, living the life in New York, destined for greatness! They burst into song and dance at any moment! They were truly alive!
I recently discovered that the first two seasons of the show are available for Netflix streaming. A few evenings ago, with Scott unexpectedly retired early for the night (he wouldn't watch "Fame" if you paid him!), I blissfully watched a couple of episodes.

Is this a great show? No. Can I sufficiently connect with my eighth-grade self to see it through her eyes? Yes!

So I hopped on eBay and found the soundtrack cheap - on cassette. Well, I have one of those handy-dandy digitizing deals, so I bought it. It arrived today.

Only - it's not the soundtrack. The cover says it's the soundtrack, but it is not. Oh, it is way better than the mere soundtrack. It's the rare, never-released-on-CD Kids from Fame: Songs recording! Including the classic song Mannequin, sung tunelessly and charmingly by the tonedeaf Leroy, with the memorable lyrics, "Mannequin, I love your frozen grin! Mannequin, you got it all over most humans!"

Are these great songs? No. Can I sufficiently connect with my eighth-grade self to hear them through her ears? Yes!
I'm happily listening to it for the second time right now.

I have e-mailed the eBay seller to thank him profusely for his error.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Be a Mindsticker, Part 3

Okay, the obsession ends after this. I promise. But first, here's a third Mindsticker commercial from 1969.

This time, the guy in whose mind the woman is working hard to be a Mindsticker is a leering, greasy-haired fellow who can't seem to close his mouth. This time, they have added an additional phrase to the jingle: "Why don't you keep your shape in shape?" Seems a little confrontational, doesn't it? As in, "Look, we've been telling you! Keep your shape in shape! Why don't you listen? Your husband's going to dump your fat self if you don't listen!"

A decade later, that was all gone. Look at this one from 1979 (which is the one I was nostalgically looking for in the first place, before I fell down this rabbit hole!) or this one from way later in 1986. Men and women alike drinking Tab. No more creepy Stepford wives. I mean, sure, there were and are plenty of similar messages - I'm not pretending otherwise, just look at the 'Housewives' franchise! - but the message is generally not quite so - how do I describe it? - claustrophobic. Women are generally not depicted as sitting around in a walled garden or on a deserted beach, hungry, forlornly drinking Tab, waiting for their husbands to return and restore meaning to their lives.

Bottom line: I am so grateful I was born into the generation I was! And I applaud the women who not only survived the Mindsticker era with their dignity intact but also helped to transform it. This means you, Mum!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Enivrez-vous sans cesse!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I give you - a French poem!

It's Baudelaire's Be Drunk (Enivrez-vous), in a translation used, appropriately enough for today, by the late, great balladeer Liam Clancy, in a recitation during a classic Makem & Clancy concert recording. It's one of my favorites.

One should always be drunk - that’s all that matters.

So as not to feel time’s horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without ceasing.

But what with? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose - but get drunk.

And if at some time on the steps of a palace, or in the green grass of a ditch, or in the bleak solitude of your room, you are waking up when drunkenness is already abated, ask the wind, a wave, the star, the bird, the clock - all that which flees, all that which rolls, all that which groans, all that which sings, all that which speaks - ask them what time it is.

And the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will reply: "It is time to get drunk! So that you may not be the martyred slaves of time, get drunk! Get drunk and never pause for rest - with wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Be a Mindsticker, Part 2

I found a magazine advertisement from Tab's "Mindsticker" era and had to post it.

No idea why I'm so engrossed by this whole thing, but I am. Look at the completely vacuous expression on the woman's face. "I have no thoughts in my mind. Why should I? I'm a Mindsticker, not a mind user. Wow, look at this fascinating stick. It reminds me of - well, me!"

Also, apparently, two TV commercials were made. Here's the other one. A little jauntier, not quite as unsettling as the reproachful twinkle-harp one, but still plenty nauseating. "She's stuck! Stuck in his mind! She's a Miiiiindsticker with a goooood shape!"

Yeah, she's stuck all right.

Be a Mindsticker

I ran into this Tab commercial from the very early 1970s. It shows a businessman dreaming of his slender young wife, who is then shown running around in a garden with her little girl, both of them exuding little-girl prettiness. The scene is accompanied by a twinkly harp and a high, sweet female voice trilling delicately about how all-encompassingly important it is for you to be a "Mindsticker" in the mind of your man.

"Don't you want to have a good shape? He wants you with a good shape," she coos reprovingly.

I suppose the message hasn't changed much over the years: we're still urged to be sticks. There's just something about the directness of the statement that I find so interesting. You have to be a Mindsticker or your husband will find someone who is.

Hmm. Maybe we've made some progress after all, eh?

I was actually very excited to find Tab in Atlanta. I've never liked sugary pop (I love sugary everything else, but sugary pop makes my teeth feel funny), so when I was a child on summer vacation in the States, I always looked for Fresca - and Tab. In Atlanta, I happily sipped the saccharine stuff out of the signature pink can and for a moment it was the 1970s again! (But was I a Mindsticker? Who cares?)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I spent an extended weekend with Barb and Evelyn in Atlanta. And it was wonderful. A few highlights:

Having a Rangoon Ruby at Trader Vic's

Princess Diana's wedding dress (yeah, the real one)

The CNN Studio Tour (I didn't take that picture - we were back there in that blank black spot at the top rear, peering down at the newsroom)

Attendees of "Cardboard Con," apparently occurring at our hotel

Chilling in Olympic Park on a beautiful spring day

Snacks for our hotel-room Oscar party

The dizzying vertigo of the atrium at our hotel

And of course great restaurants, fabulous weather, fun shopping, and excellent company.

I recommend a friends' weekend to Atlanta any time you can manage one! Well, maybe not in deep summer - it was already 70 degrees the day after we left, and this is early March. So I recommend a friends' weekend to Atlanta in early March. And if you do plan one, buy me a ticket, too!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

True that

This morning, Scott said, "I have come to the conclusion that Tim Burton's goal in life is to make Johnny Depp look as weird as humanly possible."

I have to agree.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another great book club

Good company and good food - steak, chimichurri, gnocchi, cookies, and cake. Who cares if the book was iffy? It's always great to catch up with the gang! Thanks for hosting, Beth! And there's no need to fire the photographer, either - it was nothing a little image editing software couldn't fix!