Betty's Blog

Staying Warm In "Snow-vember"

November 21, 2014

OK, who ordered all the snow? Enough, already! We’ve all been reading the stories about the polar vortex--aka Snow-vember, aka the Snowpocalypse-- and hearing about the towns and cities that are virtually buried in record-setting amounts. Although it IS that time of year, Mother Nature has been overly generous with the white stuff in some places, and authorities are advising people to stay inside. But sometimes you just have to go out! The secret to staying warm is layers! Start with thin against the skin, and build outward with thicker and thicker garments. Wool is best, but cotton or cotton/poly blends can be just as warm and are easier to care for. A hoodie is a great option, because you can wear a few layers underneath, flip up that hood and snug it up tight to protect against brisk winds or bitter cold, and if you don’t have gloves, the pouch pocket in front is a terrific hand warmer. Plus, hoodies come in an endless assortment of colors and styles so you can show off your personality. If you’re up north right now, you might want to pick a bright color so everyone can spot you in that vast field of white!

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I'm Missing My Yankees!

November 14, 2014

Here it is mid-November, and I’m really missing baseball. It’s been about a month and a half since the last game of Derek Jeter's 20-year career with the Yankees. Being a devoted Yankees fan, this year was especially bittersweet with the retirement of my sports hero. In my opinion, he made the game so much more exciting. Drafted right out of high school where he had been a superstar, Jeter didn’t make a great impression until about 1995, when he really started to shine. In 1996, he was unanimously chosen as AL Rookie of the Year, and in 2000 he was named MVP after the Yanks took home their 3rd straight World Series title. Well-respected and always the consummate pro, (listen to his farewell words: http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/derek-jeter-true-2-form-even-on-his-special-day-at-yankee-stadium-we-ve-got-a-game-to-play-1.9250051), the star shortstop served as team captain from 2003 until his retirement a few weeks ago. He’ll be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game--and not just by me, even though I'm probably his biggest fan. That said, I've found a few more things to add to my “shrine”!

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Veterans' Day Thoughts

November 10, 2014

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1. November 11 is the day we honor the lives lost in WW1 and other wars, up through and including the Middle East conflicts and the war on terror still being waged today. You may have seen that this year, the UK is honoring their WW1 war dead with an unusual and very striking memorial. Ceramic poppies have been placed in the moat around the Tower of London, with the first “planted” in July and the final one to be placed on Armistice Day, November 11th. The completed memorial will hold 888,246 bright red blooms-- one for each of the British or colonial soldiers who perished fighting for the United Kingdom. The virtual sea of red presents a stunning image and visually drives home the staggering number of casualties—just one country’s toll from the most deadly war this world has ever known. The memorial is scheduled to be dismantled starting the day after Armistice Day, but many are in favor of it remaining in place. What do you think? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-29935592

Military Tshirts Civil War 3D War Stories DVD MASH T-shirt Vietnam Watch

My Saturdays with John Wayne

October 30, 2014

I remember being in school all week just dying for Saturday to hurry up and come so I could go to the matinee. If a John Wayne movie was on the bill, I'd really have a hard time sitting still while the week dragged on and on and on. Every Saturday morning I 'd rush through my chores and snatch my allowance so fast that all my parents saw was a blur as I banged out the front door, hopped on my bike and pedaled as fast as I could to the neighborhood theater.

I can still recall how it felt to enter the cool darkness of the theater. I'd stand at the top of the sloping floor, waiting for my eyes to adjust so I could find the best seats--as close to the front as possible, of course. From science fiction to monster movies to shoot-'em-ups, I'll bet I saw every movie that played at that theater. But my favorites were John Wayne's Westerns.

Riding the range with John Wayne was much better than sitting in school. Instead of trying to make sense of something as mundane as fractions, you could imagine yourself saving the townsfolk from a black-hatted stranger, tossing cattle rustlers in the town jail cell and herding cows with a whistle and a flick of the reins. Filled up with Jujubees, Raisinettes, popcorn and icy cold Cokes, I'd leave the theater already hoping for The Duke's new movie to come out so I could rush back to the Saturday matinee and see what my favorite wrangler would get into next!


Abbey Road -- A Crosswalk AND A Crossroads

October 30, 2014

OK, I guess I'm on a Beatles kick this month! Here’s some Beatles trivia you might not know: even though Let It Be was the last studio album released by the Beatles, Abbey Road was actually the last album to be recorded by them! It was 45 years ago on November 1, 1969, that Abbey Road reached #1 on the charts and stayed there for 11 weeks. And still, the masterful album is considered to be one of the finest, if not THE finest, of their works. At the time, the band had already decided to go their separate ways. Coming together for this last venture at their musical crossroads, they didn't disappoint.

The album cover image of the Fab Four stepping through the zebra-striped crosswalk is one of the most iconic photos of our time. Did you know that there is a webcam set up with live feed at this very spot in front of Abbey Road Studios? You can see double-decker buses zooming by, tourists taking photos, and locals mostly just coming and going about their daily business. But every once in a while, you’ll catch someone re-enacting the Beatles’ steps in their own version of the famous cover shot. It is actually a very busy thoroughfare and staging photo ops in the crossing is tricky, to say the least. But if I ever DO manage to make it there, I’m going to give it a try--or at least wave to the camera! Then I can search the site’s archives by day and time, and pull up the image and save it! http://www.abbeyroad.com/crossing

Abbey Road GlassesYellow Sub ornament Let It Be muglyrics book tour jacket 2015 Calendar

Remembering Lennon

October 23, 2014

I have a friend who judges a person's character based on the answer to a single question: "Who's your favorite Beatle?" When we met, it was one of the first things she wanted to know about me. When I said, "John Lennon," I expected her to tell me if that was the right answer or not. She says there is no right or wrong -- the answer just gives her insight into a person's character. What did my answer tell her about me? I'm not sure, but we've been close friends for more years than I want to admit I've been alive.

John Lennon would have been 74 this month and I still miss him. I miss his music and his message of love and peace. And I still miss the Beatles, too. I was one of those holdout fans who always believed that the Fab Four would reunite and take us on one more magical mystical tour.

The Beatles reunion was not to be. But I still have the music and even a piece of Lennon's artwork, but it's the memories of that I treasure most. From his career with the Fab Four, to his "almost comeback" shortly before his death, he will forever remain my favorite Beatle.

Vintage Vinyl

October 16, 2014

People are buying records again. Remember records? Those long-playing vinyl discs encased in paper sleeves and lightweight cardboard? For a long time it seemed the advent of digital music would overtake and replace our old friend, vinyl, but the opposite has proven to be the case. Vinyl is selling at a hot clip right now and sales are picking up, not dropping off.

Why do people love vinyl records when they are so easily damaged, they take up tons of space and you can't even play them in the car? Audiophiles say you can't get the same depth and richness of sound from digital recordings. Fans say they've missed the liner notes on the backs of LPs that helped them get to know the artists. Collectors claim digital music will never be worth as much as vinyl.

Perhaps not surprisingly, for me it's the nostalgia. It's the feel of the record in my hand, the smell of the aging sleeve and the sound of the pop and hiss of a needle traveling across the grooves in the vinyl disc. I still love my MP3 player, but when I want to listen to something that takes me back to the old days, vinyl is the only thing that will do!

Star Trek's Continuing Mission...

October 09, 2014

I am (arguably) a die-hard Trekkie. Arguably because I collect everything Star Trek, but I'm not inclined to trek long distances, don my Spock ears (of course I own a pair!) and spend hours combing a convention hall for autograph opportunities. But I was one of the first people I know to own a Star Trek phaser and I'm probably the only person in Florida crazy enough to dress up in a homemade tribble costume on an 80-degree Halloween day.

Star Trek turns 48 this week and it's more popular than ever with new actors cast in new movies with new stories and new high-tech gadgets to admire and desire. So, of course, I have to watch my favorite episodes from the original series in honor of the franchise's special day. "The Trouble with Tribbles" is on the list and so is the pilot episode, featuring the now-iconic Captain Pike.

I love the new movies, too. The special effects are out-of-this world and the new cast is almost as good as the first. But there's nothing like watching the original Captain Kirk and his crew go where no one has gone before to remind you of the days when you used to rush home from to school to watch the intrepid Enterprise and crew on an old console-style TV.


Macabre Movie Marathon

October 02, 2014

Halloween has always been one of my favorite nights of the year and (lucky for me) as I grew up, Halloween became an adult holiday. So I never had to outgrow it!

Besides the staple rituals of dressing up and handing out candy to the neighborhood ghouls, goblins and zombies, there are lots of adult things to do on the year's spookiest night. If you're not up for a costume party, you could transform your house and yard into a haunted haven and invite unsuspecting revelers into to your domain of doom. Too much work? Go to a hosted haunted house and let someone scare the beejeebers out of you.

I'm hosting a Haunted Horror Night this year. Of course, mine will be a little different, a little retro. I'll be screening the movies that made me scream when I was a kid, including Roger Corman's The Terror, starring the terribly terrifying Boris Karloff. We'll be rewatching the scariest episodes of The Twilight Zone and Karloff's Thriller series, too. Finally, we'll finish the macabre marathon with Bella Lugosi's most fiendish films, which will, I hope, leave everyone screaming. Just like the old days.


Comic Book Day

September 25, 2014

Today is Comic Book Day. Not to be confused with Free Comic Book Day, which is celebrated on the first Saturday in May each year. Today is just a day to celebrate comic books by reading, trading, buying and selling or even dressing up as comic book characters.

I don't need a national holiday to celebrate comics. My childhood collection still survives, though not in "collectible" condition. I've read them so much that a lot of the covers are falling off and some of the pages show markings from the various foods and beverages I enjoyed while reading over the years. The only one who would want my collection is me. And that's just fine because I have no intention of parting with my beloved vintage comics.

How many rainy days did I spend fighting crime with Batman and Superman? How many bowls of cereal did I share with Archie and the gang? How many times did I take to the skies in Wonder Woman's invisible plane? Countless memories live in the pages of my old comic book collection. The covers may be torn, the pages may be yellowed and a little grimy, but to me those musty old books are priceless.