Simply 6 Minutes: Snow!

I’m glad I now live in a part of the country that doesn’t get a lot of snow. Not that we never get any: we’ve had several substantial snows since we’ve been here, the kind that keep you in for several days at a time.

We came from Chicago, where it snows on a fairly regular basis, and it wasn’t unusual to go to bed and wake up to 5-6" of new snow in the morning. We really didn’t think much of it. In fact, it was fairly easy to sleep, because snow will suppress a lot of the noise, and ours was a particularly noisy neighborhood. When we moved to Atlanta, everyone told us "Don’t buy a snow shovel! People will know you’re a Yankee! If it snows, we just wait at home until it melts. And it usually does by the next day." "Usually" is the operative word there.

I do notice the lady in the lower right hand corner of the picture, sleeping in the snow. I visualize things like that when I can’t sleep. You should try it sometime.

When you move from Chicago to Atlanta and hear a forecast of 2-3" of snow, you don’t really think much of it. Meanwhile, the neighbors are going crazy buying up all the milk and bread at the stores. That’s when you learn that 2-3" of snow in a pretty much level city where there’s a lot of snow removal equipment is a hell of a lot different than one that has lots of hills that are damn near impossible to climb when they’re slick and practically no snow removal equipment because the amount of snow we get in an average winter really doesn’t justify the expense.

Not that it bothers me that much. I don’t go out a lot, anyway.

Christine runs Simply 6 Minutes.

Simply 6 Minutes: At A Loss For Words

Christine was nice enough to invite me to participate in this blog hop a few months ago, and I’m sorry that I haven’t participated in it very well. I know she goes out of her way to come up with picture prompts to inspire us to write. Were I more of a fiction writer, I would find them challenging and fun; as not much of a fiction writer, I find them bewildering. I really find myself at a loss for words. You might say I’m nonplussed.

Today, I decided that, no matter what the prompt, I was going to write something. And the picture you see above is today’s prompt. And I have no idea what to write, so I’m going to fall back on something she puts in the directions every week:

For any participants that do NOT like restrictions, please feel free to participate in any way you would like. It is great to read the contributions!

I got to thinking about a feature we had in the Sunday comics called "Cappy Dick." (For us in Chicago it ran in the Daily News, so the "Sunday" comics came out on Saturday.) It’s hard to describe what it was, but there were little panels in it that gave you ideas for things to do that would keep you out of your parents’ hair while they were trying to cook Sunday dinner or watch football on TV. I Ducked "Cappy Dick" and found this page that goes into more detail, and there are several samples of the strip embedded you you can see what it looked like (or, if you remember seeing it, refresh your memory). There was a weekly contest which was essentially a coloring contest, although sometimes you have to unscramble a word or answer a trivia question. You’d then cut the picture out of the comics and mail it in to "Cappy Dick, c/o this newspaper," and hope to win some cheap toy that probably broke within five minutes of you getting it, after which you decided the whole thing was stupid and you weren’t going to waste anymore time on it. Then there was a national prize, a full set of The World Book Encyclopedia and something called Childcraft.

Which kind of shows you the world we lived in during the ’60’s.

I have a cousin (okay, a cousin once removed, all right?) who read the entire World Book Encyclopedia in the bathroom. Really, he’d take a volume into the bathroom when nature would call and read it….

Simply 6 Minutes: The Hamburglar!

I saw this picture and all I could think of was the old McDonalds commercials and the way the animated hamburgers looked…

I used to work in Oak Brook, Illinois, not far from the international headquarters of McDonalds, the location of Hamburger U. It was across the street from Oakbrook Centre, a very big outdoor shopping mall. In the corner of the parking lot of the mall, there was a McDonalds where they test-marketed all of the new products they were considering unleashing on the general populace. I think you could get anything but a hamburger there.

You know what I think would have been a great thing for them to sell? Liver McNuggets…

By the way, the person providing the voice for the Hamburglar is none other than Howard Morris, best known by people of my generation as Ernest T. Bass from The Andy Griffith Show.

Christine runs Simply 6 Minutes.

Unfinished Business…

This being the first week of the A to Z Challenge, I let a few things slide, so I want to clear all that up now…

In last week’s Battle of the Bands, we had Jackie DeShannon up against The Ramones in the battle over who did the song "Needles and Pins" better. Several of you voted for The Searchers’ version, and yes, theirs was the most popular version, and had they been in the running, they would have won easily, which is why they weren’t. Here are the results:

Jackie DeShannon – 5

  • Cathy
  • Birgit
  • Willow
  • Arlee
  • Mary

The Ramones – 2

  • Stephen
  • Ed

Congratulations to Jackie and a pat on the back to The Ramones, and might as well give one to The Searchers. The Next battle will be this Friday, April 15.

The subject for Maggie’s and Lauren’s Throwback Thursday was "going to the movies."

Do you remember specific times you went to indoor movies or drive in theatres? Do you remember the first time for either? Oddly enough, I’ve never been to a drive-in movie. There weren’t any around, really.

The first movie I can remember going to was for a friend’s birthday. It was a double feature, one of which featured Sinbad (the character, not the stand-up comic, who would have been my age, and who wants to see a movie about a seven-year-old?) and the other might or might not have been Flipper. The Sinbad movie was bloody and violent and I think I had nightmares from it.

The first I can remember going to with my folks was Mary Poppins. It was not bloody or violent and did not give me nightmares. I found out years later that Matthew Garber, who played one of the Banks children, was born the same day I was. I feel a certain bond with the movie as a result, and can even forgive them for casting Dick Van Dyke, who had the worst Cockney accent in the world, as Bert.

Both of those experiences were when I was about seven or eight.

Do you remember going with friends and not parents? When I was in eighth grade, my class, which had just read excerpts of Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, went to see Charly, the movie based on the book, which starred Cliff Robertson. I went to several movies with friends in high school, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy and Deliverance (which we had just read in English class). I went to see American Graffiti by myself, I remember.

Then there was the night that a couple of friends and I went to see Gone With The Wind at one of the more artsy theaters in Rogers Park (the neighborhood of Chicago I gew up in). I don’t think we realized just how stinkin’ long that movie is. Naturally, we started cutting up. It’s a wonder we didn’t get thrown out.

Please share one or more experiences about going to the movies. We would go to Delavan, Wisconsin for vacation every year, and usually on the last night we were there we went to the movie. I can remember some of the movies we saw: The Patsy with Jerry Lewis, How To Steal A Million with Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn, The Party with Peter Sellers, and Hombre with Paul Newman. That was kind of a bummer, but the theater also ran a "Chilly Willy" cartoon that had all of us on the floor, laughing. Well, not exactly on the floor, but it was funny.

Then there was the Saturday night when Mom and her fiancĂ© were going out to see the movie Mame with Lucille Ball. I wasn’t doing anything, and my brothers were out, so I asked if I could tag along. They sat in one part of the theater, I sat back in the smoking section.

I understand Fandango’s Provocative Question was a rerun:

Is technological advancement a net positive or a net negative?

You know what? I’m going to say it’s a net zero. In other words, the pros and cons tend to cancel each other out. For example, all the good that social media has done in bringing old friends and families together has resulted in all the bad of people being at each other’s throats, probably because they realize just why they hadn’t spoken to each other in so long. The good that wind-powered electricity generation has brought us has resulted in birds being chopped to death and the eyesore of all those damn windmills.

Maybe the reason we end up in messes like this is because the people who thought of these things never give enough consideration to the potential harm. But that’s just me.

I think I owe Christine an apology for not participating in her Simply Six Minutes on a regular basis. It’s just that I have trouble using many of the prompts. Not being a fiction writer, I see a picture like the one above (this week’s prompt) and draw a complete blank. I took a look this afternoon, and something sprang to mind: it’s a rhinocerooster! But I’m pretty sure someone thought of that already…

Simply 6 Minutes: Having A Butt With Grandma

I used to smoke. Most of the people in my family smoked, so I took it up. I don’t smoke now, and haven’t in over 25 years, and sometimes I miss it. Grandma Holton used to smoke, and sometimes we’d have a cigarette together. It was a bonding moment.

Likewise, my in-laws both smoked. My father-in-law and I would go to White Sox games together, sit in the grandstands at old Comiskey Park, smoke Camel straights and drink beer, and talk. I had the greatest in-laws of anyone I know. My mother-in-law used to do the crosswords in the Sun-Times, and I used to do the on my way to or from work. I’d come home, she’d be outside having a smoke, and she’d ask me questions like, "what was 26 across?"

Bonding moments are precious. If you can still have them, have them.

I gotta play this…

Christine runs Simply 6 Minutes.