Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I have making lists all of my life. I have lists that only last for a day or less-grocery lists, lists of items to look up on the web, etc. Then I have lists that I have been keeping for years-my names list, favorite pet names, books I have read and movies that I have seen. I kept a list from the time I was in grade school until I graduated from college of the movies that I had seen. Then for some inexplicable reason I through it away. I can still see the green cover of the notebook I had this list in . I resurrected the list last year. Thank goodness for the Internet Movie Database.

I was a very sick kid and some of the ways that I amused myself was reading, looking at exotic places on my putty-colored viewmaster and watching lots of television ( I had my own television at a very young age). Here is a list of some of my favorite television theme songs in no particular order:

1. Peter Gunn-I was very young when this detective show was on television. However, I can remember dancing my little heart out to this theme song whenever the program came on. I just looked it up and it was on from 1958-1961. Henry Mancini received an Emmy nomination for the theme and won 2 Grammys for the album. What can I say. It's Henry Mancini.

2.Bewitched-I had a bedtime when I was a kid and this show was already on for a couple of years before I was allowed to stay up and watch it. I loved this show. Elizabeth Montgomery was delightful and I loved Agnes Moorehead and Maurice Evans. Another catchy instrumental. This one by composer Warren Barker.

3. Rawhide- A young, good looking Clint Eastwood stole the show portraying Rowdy Yates. This is another one that I watched on and off. Loved this theme song-"rollin,rollin, rollin keep them doggies movin, Rawhide". The theme song was song by Frankie Laine. There was just something about his big, clear voice that lent itself to this sort of song. Dmitri Tiomkin was the composer for this song and he also did the music for the Western Rio Bravo and High Noon-"Do not forsake me oh my darlin'".

4. F Troop- This screwball comedy was not ever one of my favorite shows, but the theme song told a story and I always liked that. Plus, it's such fun to sing along with the lyrics. The song was written by Irving Taylor.

5. The Mod Squad-Another jazzy instrumental. This one by Earle Hagen.

6. Mission Impossible-I loved this show. My family and I were a big fan of shows that had black characters. Believe me there weren't that many blacks on television in the 60's. Greg Morris as Barney was great. I wish this program would come out on DVD. I am a huge fan of detective shows, etc., but I don't think any of the shows today with all of their computer magic and special effects can ever touch the writing and acting that was on this show.

Lalo Schifrin was the composer for this wonderful theme. Here is a bit of trivia about the song. According to Robert H. Justman in his book "Star Trek: The Real Story", this show's famous theme was not the first one written. Lalo Schifrin had written a main theme, but creator and executive producer Bruce Geller decided that it was inappropriate. Instead, Geller used some chase music Schifrin had written for the end of the first episode. That throwaway musical cue became one of the most famous and recognizable television show themes in history.

7. S.W.A.T.-(S)pecial (W)eapons and (T)actics Unit. I actually wasn't that much of a fan of the show, but I loved the theme song. "d'na-na, d'na-na, d'na-na d'na-na duh-uhn!" It was this sort of funky, disco instrumental tune. I think Eliot Goldenthal was the composer for this song. I'll have to do some more checking. ( I really need to learn how to set this blog up to receive comments so that people can correct me when I make an unintentional faux pas)

8. Airwolf-I liked the helicopter in this show. That and the theme song. This had a very 80's vibe-lots of big sounds, but with jazzy undertones. Composer Sylvester Levay.

9. The Flintstones-this is one of my favorite cartoons. I don't have a lot of patience for cartoons these days, but I can always make time to watch an episode of The Flintstones. I just loved Wilma and Betty. I basically thought Fred was a loud and uncouth bore, but I loved the other characters. The music was written by Hoyt Curtin, who also composed the background music for every episode. The lyrics were written by those geniuses Willima Hanna and Joseph Barbera. There were quite a few good tunes on this show. The Drive-In Song and the song that Ann Margrock(?) sang to Pebbles come to mind.

10. Jonny Quest-My favorite cartoon of all time.
This was another Hoyt Curtin/Hanna-Barbera collaboration. Some say that Hoyt Curtin was more of the creative force behind this theme. Nice instrumental.

There are many others that I liked-Medical Center, Hawaii-50, The Avengers and Northern Exposure.

Even though this is a movie I would feel remiss if I didn't note my all time favorite theme song-drum roll please-the theme song to the movie Magnificent Seven. This epic song was composed by Elmer Bernstein.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Dogwood Winter

Growing up in rural Southwestern PA I ended up learning a lot of different things about country living. I learned to tell the difference between summer butter and winter butter, the names of different wildflowers and a lot of country expressions and seasonal weather lore. One county expression that I heard a lot at this time of year was "dogwood winter". The beautiful dogwood trees would bloom and then we would get a few days of cold weather. That's dogwood winter. After doing some research it turns out that this saying is credited to rural Appalachia folk. (Where I grew up is 40 miles from Morgantown, West Virginia and 40 miles from Pittsburgh). That's what kind of weather we are having now. You won't hear any complaints from me. I love cool weather.

Here and here are some tidbits about this bit of weather lore.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lynne Thigpen

First let me start by saying that it is hot, hot, hot outside today. The weather folks said it could go up to 90 today. I was just outside and I believe them. It isn't particularly humid so it was okay. Unfortunately the warm weather has brought out the penchant for folks to expose more and more of their bodies. Now ladies, I'm addressing this to you. NOT EVERYONE HAS THE LEGS FOR MINI-SKIRTS-DEAL WITH IT!!!!! And yes, I have already been disgusted by people's ungroomed feet. Yes, I get that not everyone can afford or even wants to have a pedicure, but at least wash your damn feet before you unveil those paws for all to see.

Years ago when I was living in Virginia I got addicted to the children's program Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego? I absolutely loved this progarm. I always liked geography and I thought this was a wonderful way to present geographical information to children. The a capella singing group Rockapella sang the very catchy theme song that I still find myself humming. They also were the voices behind a Folger's In-Your-Cup song. Here are the lyrics for Carmen Sandiego:

"Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"

Well she sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina,
She’s a sticky-fingered filcher from Berlin down to Belize,
She’ll take you for a ride on a slow boat to China,
Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Steal their Seoul in South Korea, make Antarctica cry uncle,
From the Red Sea to Greenland they’ll be singing the blues
Well they never Arkansas her steal the Mekong from the jungle
Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

She goes from Nashville to Norway, Bonaire to Zimbabwe,
Chicago to Czechoslovakia and back!

Well she’ll ransack Pakistan & run a scam in Scandinavia.
Then she’ll stick ‘em up Down Under & go pick-pocket Perth
She put the Miss in misdemeanor when she stole the beans from Lima,
Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
Oh tell me where in the world is . . .
Oh tell me where can she be?

Ooh, Botswana to Thailand, Milan via Amsterdam,
Mali to Bali, Ohio, Oahu . . . !

Well she glides around the globe & she’ll flim-flam every nation.
She’s a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery,
Her itinerary’s loaded up with moving violations,
Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

One of the characters of the show was The Chief. The Chief was the head of the Acme Detective Agency. Her agency was trying to capture Carmen Sandiego who was the head of an international crime syndicate. The contestants were tasked to use their knowledge of geography to located Carmen. The Chief would ask the contestants questions that would propel them around the world. The Chief was played by Lynne Thigpen.

I had seen Lynne Thigpen in different roles throughout the years, but I just thought she was quite wonderful playing The Chief. She passed away in 2003 and I can remember how her death really saddened me. I think we always feel a bit sad when a performer that we like passes away, but I really felt terrible about her passing for a long time.

I think at the time the media wasn't saying what caused her death. I have read some reports that say it was a circulatory ailment and some that say it was a heart attack. She was 54.

Here is an article about her and here is a Muppet salute. Here is an article that talks about all of the audiobooks she narrated. She had such a deep, resonant clear voice that leant itself so well to an audio format.

I hear that they are making a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego movie that should be out next year (2006). I don't know who will be portraying The Chief, but whomever it is, they will have some big shoes to fill.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Caught My Eye

Here are some items that caught my eye(s):

I"ve always been fascinated by different textiles and corduroy has always been at the top of the list. I have a pair of beloved black cords that I wear all winter. They are just getting to the stage where they are soft and almost noiseless. That interesting sound that cords make, especially new cords can be a bit of annoyance. I wonder if these make the same sort of noise.

It's always been a puzzle to me that items can be missing in my home. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for the oddest things-keys, cellphone, something that I just had in my hand moments ago,etc. To my mind though,the great enigma in the where-in-the-hell-is-something hierarchy are socks. Missing socks are the true baffler. They go into the wash, into the dryer and then where. Is my dryer a portal to some planet where socks have their own world? Apparently I am not the only one who has spent some time pondering the elusiveness of socks. Check this out.

It's fun to shop online and to wait for the package to wend it's way to you. It's even more fun when you forget that you have ordered something and a package shows up and you can be all surprised and everything. Two sites that are helping online shoppers save money are Naughtycodes and CurrentCodes. These sites contain listings of coupon codes that gives a percent or dollar amount off your purchase. There are quite a few of these sites all over the Internet, but these are the two that I like.

I love ships. Always have. Anything from a kayak, john boat, canoe all the way up to yachts-I'm right there. However I do think there is such a thing as way, way, way too much conspicuous consumption. (Via Luxist)

Happy Songkran, New Year in Sri Lanka. Today is the day of water festivals. Thai Buddhists will be bathing their Buddha statues in flower-scented water, bathing their parents hands in flower-scented water and dousing each other with water. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

April 5th Happenings

April 5th is the 95th day of this year.

In China, April 5th is the day for the Festival of Kwan Yin. Kuan Yin or Quan Yin, is the goddess of compassion and mercy. Her name translates to" the one who heals the cries of the world". Kwan Yin is one of China's most popular and revered goddesses. Her qualities are compassion, alturiusm, service to others and unconditional love. (taken from the Witches'Spell-A-Day-Almanac).

In Tibet it is the Sunning of the Buddahs day. Lamas bring buddha statues out of temples to enjoy the sun.

On this day in 1614 Native American Pocahontas married colonialist John Rolfe.

On this day in 1792 President George Washington used the Presidential veto for the first time.

On this day in 1911 80,00 people marched on 5th Avenue in NYC for theTriangle Shirtwaist Victims.

On this day in 1930 Gandhi's march to the sea began.

On this day in 1951 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were sentenced to death for espionage.

On this day Booker T. Washington,Colin Powell, author Robert Bloch (wrote Psycho) Bette Davis and Arthur Hailey were born.

On this day in 1968 San Francisco Mayor Alioto "issued a proclamation condemning the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr". Thousands of people gathered at the Civic Center in memory of MLK. City flags were lowered to half staff.

On this day in 1969 Pope Paul VI abolishes the galero (red hat) & red shoes of cardinals.

On this day in 1976 aviation pioneer and film director Howard Hughes died.

On this day in 1992 500,000 women marched in Washington, DC to support women's reproductive rights. I was there and it was amazing.

According to the Farmer's Almanac it's a good day to "make jams and jellies, castrate farm animals, wean and quit a habit or smoking".

According to the Chinese Fortune Calendar today is a good day to get your baby's haircut. It's a fair day to build a new house, either attend or have a funeral and to tear down a building. Under no circumstances should you do any of the following:attend a wedding or engagement, attend a Grand Openning, move your residence or your bed,get a new job, travel, ship merchandise, break ground or conduct any business trading.

April 5th is the feast day for St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Albert of Montecorvino, St. Becan, St. Zeno, St. Theodore and Pausilippus, St. Derferl-Gadarn, the Martyrs of Lesbos and the Martyrs of Londo.
(taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia).

(The above information was culled from resources mentioned and The Daily Bleed).