Archive for the ‘Thursday’s Top Ten’ Category

My friend, Gail, sent me a link to a website called Collector’s Weekly.   In particular, the link related to the popular tradition of the 1950’s of individual town and state postcards.  Those were the days when the average person did NOT log onto Cheapair and find tickets to fly to Yellowstone Park or to Grandma’s house in Texas.  People drove!  I remember the trips my parents took sightseeing to Canada and to Florida and elsewhere.  My Dad was fond of the practice of putting decals on the windows of the car depicting a place or town or state. Photos of those collectibles another day.  

I scrolled through the many beautiful and colorful postcards, what a sweet trip down nostalgia lane.  It was hard to pick out only 10, they were so creative and cute.  

Here’s an excerpt from the article: “From the 1930s through the 1950s, tourists taking their first road trips in their newfangled automobiles would frequently stop along the way to pick up a few colorful postcards to mail to the folks back home. The most popular form of eat-your-heart-out greeting was the large-letter postcard, which had been around since the first part of the 20th century but whose heyday was during what we know today as the linen-postcard era. Made of textured paper rather than actual cloth, linen postcards were printed by companies such as Curt Teich & Company of Chicago, Tichnor Brothers and Colourpicture of Boston, E.C. Kropp of Milwaukee, Beals Litho & Printing of Des Moines, and Dexter Press of Pearl River, New York, among many others. Their souvenir postcards for states, cities, military bases, and tourist attractions were usually heralded at the top by the words “Greetings From,” below which were large, blocky, dimensional letters filled in with illustrations or photographs of the destination’s most scenic or noteworthy sights.”

I actually picked 11 and here they are:


The 1942 Cards Were Not Big Sellers, So The Retailer Threw Them Out Creating Instant Scarcity

The Bigger The Letters The More Graphic The Depiction Could Be Inside and Out

The Bigger The Letters The More Graphic The Depiction Could Be Inside and Out

Early On Sun Valley Was Promoted As A Ski Destination

Early On Sun Valley Was Promoted As A Ski Destination

It's Not Clear That Rawlins Was A Metropolis But The Rope Borders On The Letters  Is A Nice Touch

It’s Not Clear That Rawlins Was A Metropolis But The Rope Borders On The Letters Is A Nice Touch

The City of Pontiac Michigan Takes Its Name From the Native American Tribe Who Lived There Before the Arrival of the Europeans

The City of Pontiac Michigan Takes Its Name From the Native American Tribe Who Lived There Before the Arrival of the Europeans

Here The Letters Of Niagra Falls Appear About To Tumble To Their Doom

Here The Letters Of Niagra Falls Appear About To Tumble To Their Doom

If This Card Had A Yellow Top and Blue Horses It Would Be Rare

If This Card Had A Yellow Top and Blue Horses It Would Be Rare


State Parks were popular destinations and cards such as this one could be sold in the Park gift shop.

There's No Question As To What Gulfport Has To Offer

There’s No Question As To What Gulfport Has To Offer

Quick - Name A Vegetable That's Grown In Iowa

Quick – Name A Vegetable That’s Grown In Iowa

Radiating  Bands of Color Were A Common Background

Radiating Bands of Color Were A Common Background

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This is one time you don’t have to look at the expiration date on a food item.  Believe it or not I have a list of 10 items that seem to have the shelf life of a millennium  and I don’t mean a Hostess Twinkie!

When stored properly — in an airtight container, kept in a cool, dry place — there are a number of pantry staples that can last just about forever.

We’re not talking until the end of time forever, although some of these staples just may hold up that long. Rather, when stored properly, these items can last years tucked away in the pantry.

The Twelfth Of Never Is A Long, Long Time!

The Twelfth Of Never Is A Long, Long Time!

The Simplest Reason Why Food Goes Bad
There are a number of reasons why food goes bad, but one of the main causes is bacteria growth. The main culprit for bacteria growth in food is moisture — when moisture is present, it creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

These foods either aren’t very susceptible to moisture and bacteria growth, or actively discourage bacteria (as in the case of alcohol). Others of these depend quite a bit on proper storage.

10 Foods That Can Last Nearly Forever
A common theme in extending the shelf life of these foods is storing them in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

1. Salt: Salt is a preservative, and when stored in a cool, dry place, it will last a really long time.

2. Rice: While the shelf life of brown rice holds at about twelve months, white rice — including jasmine, basmati, and arborio varieties — will last indefinitely when stored properly.

3. Honey: Because this natural sweetener has a low water content, it can last for years when stored in a sealed container and kept in a cool, dry spot. Even if it crystalizes or the color changes slightly, don’t throw it out — it’s still perfectly safe to eat.

4. Sugar: Sugar is another sweetener with no expiration. This includes all varieties — white, brown, and powdered. Be sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent moisture from dampening the sugar.

5. Vinegar: While all varieties of vinegar won’t last indefinitely, distilled white vinegar will last forever.

6. Pure vanilla extract: Pure vanilla costs a good deal more than its imitation counterpart, and for good reason. Not only is there a huge difference in taste, but pure vanilla also lasts a lot longer.

7. Dried beans: Store dried beans in a dark, dry place and they will last indefinitely. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that older beans may require longer soaking and cooking times.

8. Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a go-to thickener for pudding, sauce, and gravy. Most recipes use only a couple tablespoons, yet cornstarch is usually sold in large packages, but don’t worry — this is totally okay since it doesn’t have an expiration date. Just remember to keep the lid completely sealed and store it in a cool, dark place.

9. Maple syrup: As long as it’s unopened, pure maple syrup will last forever.

10. Alcohol: Even if it’s been opened, distilled liquor — like vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, and tequila — will last forever.

This blog post has been excerpted from The Kitchn (http://www.thekitchn.com/) of http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/

Thanks to my friend, Gail, chief sourcerer for Pbenjay for sending me the link to this article.

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Do you ever have a difficult time deciding what kind of wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner?  Of course you do….more than half of your guests like red wine and we all know white wine is the appropriate wine to serve with fowl.  Should it be a strong Malbec or Cabernet?  Or perhaps a Pinot Noir or Zinfandel?  And what white wine should you serve?  Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc?   Well you can see it’s really a conundrum, so I suggest you stick to Apple Cider.

Apple Cider, the traditional Autumn harvest drink, is the perfect non-alcoholic beverage to accompany your Thanksgiving feast.  I see these cocktails being served before dinner because I think the traditional Thanksgiving meal is on the sweet side.  I try to keep the sweetness to a minimum; No marshmallows on my sweet potatoes, even my cranberry sauce is tart;  I make it with grated ginger and sherry vinegar.  

Which one of these cider concoctions will you be serving this year?

1. Cider & Pomegranate Margaritas:   Coarse salt,  1/2 oz. simple syrup,  1/2 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. tequila,  2 oz. pomegranate juice,  4 oz. apple cider. Dip the rim of the glass in water, then in the salt.  Combine all ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously, strain.

2. Citrusy Cider Scotch & Lavender:  1 sprig fresh lavnder,  lemon wedge,  1/2 oz. simple syrup,  3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice,  2 oz. scotch,  4 oz. apple cider.  Combine main ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously.  Garnish with the lemon wedge and lavender.

3.  Cider Dark & Stormy: lime wedge,  4 oz. ginger beer, 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. dark rum, 2 oz. apple cider.  Combine the cider, rum, and lime juice in an ice-filled glass.  Top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Don't Forget the Mint Sprig

Don’t Forget the Mint Sprig

4.  Gingery Cider with Tequila:  1 spring mint, 1 small piece sliced fresh ginger, 1 strip lemon zest, 1 TBS fresh mint leaves, 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp agave, 2 oz. tequila, 4 oz apple ciderMuddle mint leaves, ginger, lemon zest and agave in a cocktail shaker.  Add cider, tequila, and ice.  Shake vigorously.  Strain over crushed ice and serve with the mint sprig.

5.  Cider Shandy:  1 orange slice, 6 oz. lager, 6 oz. apple cider.  Combine the lager and cider.  Serve with an orange slice.

6.  Smoke & Spice Cider:  1 sprig mint,  3 slices jalpeno, 1 TBS fresh mint leaves, 1/4 oz. simple syrup,  3/4 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. mescal, 4 oz. apple cider.  Muddle the mint leaves and jalapeno in a cocktail shaker.  Add remaining ingredients and ice.  Shake vigorously and pour into the glass. Serve with the mint sprig.

Apple Cider Champagne

Cider Bellini

7.  Cider Bellini: 1 spring fresh rosemary, sparkling wine like Prosecco,  1/2 oz. apple cider. Pour the cider into a champagne flute.  Top with sparkling wine.  Serve with the rosemary sprig.

8.  Fall Cider Sangria: 1 sliced apple, 1 sliced pear, 1 sliced orange, 8 oz, apple brandy, 1 bottle white wine, 32 oz. apple ciderCombine all ingredients in a large pitcher.  Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

9.  Spiked Cider Tea:  2 thin lemon slices, 1 black tea bag, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 2 oz. gin, 8 oz. apple cider.   Bring the cider and vanilla to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the tea bag;  steep 3 minutes. Remove tea bag and stir in the gin.  Serve with a lemon slice.

10. Rum & Pineapple Punch: 1/2 sliced fresh pineapple, 1 oz. fresh orange juice, 1 oz. simple syrup, 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice,  2 oz. brandy,  4 oz. rum,  16 oz. apple cider.  Combine the pineapple, cider, rum, brandy, lemon juice,  simple syrup, and orange juice in a punch bowl.   Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

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Almost but not quite, everyone has a nickname.  Babies get temporary nicknames like sweetie pie, bunny, cookie face, doll baby.  As these little babies grow up their given names may also evolve into some shortened version albeit a nickname that is easily recognized as an abbreviated take on their actual name.  For example just in my own and extended family, Janet became Janie, Ellen became Ellie, Chiara became KiKi, Lorraine became Lori and Alyson became Sonny.

And then there are some nicknames that have historical origins and our Thursday’s Top Ten List will explore some of them.


The name Richard is very old and was popular during the Middle Ages. In the 12th and 13th centuries everything was written by hand and Richard nicknames like Rich and Rick were common just to save time. Rhyming nicknames were also common and eventually Rick gave way to Dick and Hick, while Rich became Hitch. Dick, of course, is the only rhyming nickname that stuck over time. And boy did it stick. At one point in England, the name Dick was so popular that the phrase “every Tom, Dick, or Harry” was used to describe Everyman.


There are many theories on why Bill became a nickname for William; the most obvious is that it was part of the Middle Ages trend of letter swapping. Much how Dick is a rhyming nickname for Rick, the same is true of Bill and Will. Because hard consonants are easier to pronounce than soft ones, some believe Will morphed into Bill for phonetic reasons. Interestingly, when William III ruled over in England in the late 17th century, his subjects mockingly referred to him as “King Billy.”


The name Henry dates back to medieval England. (Curiously, at that time, Hank was a diminutive for John.) So how do we get Hank from Henry? Well, one theory says that Hendrick is the Dutch form of the English name Henry. Henk is the diminutive form of Hendrick, ergo, Hank from Henk. Hanks were hugely popular here in the States for many decades, though by the early 90s it no longer appeared in the top 1,000 names for baby boys. But Hank is making a comeback! In 2010, it cracked the top 1,000, settling at 806. By 2013 it was up to 626.


The name Jack dates back to about 1,200 and was originally used as a generic name for peasants. Over time, Jack worked his way into words such as lumberjack and steeplejack. Even jackass, the commonly used term for a donkey, retains its generic essence in the word Jack. Of course, John was once used as a generic name for English commoners and peasants, (John Doe) which could be why Jack came became his nickname. But the more likely explanation is that Normans added -kin when they wanted to make a diminutive. And Jen was their way of saying John. So little John became Jenkin and time turned that into Jakin, which ultimately became Jack.


“Dear Chuck” was an English term of endearment and Shakespeare, in Macbeth, used the phrase to refer to Lady Macbeth. What’s this have to do with Charles? Not much, but it’s interesting. However, Charles in Middle English was Chukken and that’s probably where the nickname was born.


The name Margaret has a variety of different nicknames. Some are obvious, as in Meg, Mog and Maggie, while others are downright strange, like Daisy. But it’s the Mog/Meg we want to concentrate on here as those nicknames later morphed into the rhymed forms Pog(gy) and Peg(gy).

Edward "TED" Kennedy

Edward “TED” Kennedy


The name Ted is yet another result of the Old English tradition of letter swapping. Since there were a limited number of first names in the Middle Ages, letter swapping allowed people to differentiate between people with the same name. It was common to replace the first letter of a name that began with a vowel, as in Edward, with an easier to pronounce consonant, such as T. Of course, Ted was already a popular nickname for Theodore, which makes it one of the only nicknames derived from two different first names. Can you name the others?


Since Medieval times, Harry has been a consistently popular nickname for boys named Henry in England. Henry was also very popular among British monarchs, most of whom preferred to be called Harry by their subjects. This is a tradition that continues today as Prince Henry of Wales , as he was Christened, goes by Prince Harry. Of course, Harry is now used as a given name for boys. In 2006, it was the 593rd most popular name for boys in the United States. One reason for its upsurge in popularity is the huge success of those amazing Harry Potter books.


There are no definitive theories on how Jim became the commonly used nickname for James, but the name dates back to at least the 1820s. For decades, Jims were pretty unpopular due to the “Jim Crow Law,” which was attributed to an early 19th century song and dance called “Jump Jim Crow,” performed by white actors in blackface. The name “Jim Crow” soon became associated with African Americans and by 1904, Jim Crow aimed to promote segregation in the South. Jim has since shed its racial past, and is once again a popular first name for boys all by itself, sans James.


Sally was primarily used as a nickname for Sarah in England and France. Like some English nicknames, Sally was derived by replacing the R in Sarah with an L. Same is true for Molly, a common nickname for Mary. Though Sally from the Peanuts never ages, the name itself does and has declined in popularity in recent years. Today, most girls prefer the original Hebrew name Sarah.

May 24, 2010 – 5:07am

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It’s so true…many movies we’ve come to love and make classic were really box office flops in their day!  You’re going to be shocked by some of these, I’m sure.

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

1. CITIZEN KANE:  Most often listed as the Number 1 top movie on many lists and the must-see handbook for aspiring film-makers and actors, this movie didn’t do much for Orson Welles career at the time.  Initial reviews were favorable but much of the American public was shielded from them because Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul, blocked any mention of the movie,  believing the character was based on him.

2. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE:   There wouldn’t be a holiday season if there weren’t a broadcast of this now-loved classic Christmas story.  It’s hard to imagine a film watched so often by so many could have failed miserably in the theaters, but it did.  The movie cost $3.18M to make and only grossed $3.3M.

3. BLADE RUNNER:  With an opening weekend revenue of only $6M, things looked dim for this movie that cost $28M to make.  It received mixed reviews, while viewers were awed by the imagery, they were alienated by the narrative.  It probably would have been better if the studio had left Ridley Scott alone and kept his original vision instead of meddling with the final cut. The film resurfaced with a Director’s Cut in 1992 prompting critical reevaluation and huge home video sales.

4. RAGING BULL: A favorite of mine as I am in still in awe of Robert DeNiro who totally transformed his body to play the thuggish Jake LaMotta.  It was nominated for 8 Oscars but tanked at the box office.  It lacked the feel-good factor of ROCKY and alienated the viewers first by being shot in black and white which was exactly how it should have been done artistically and then there was the prevalent violence for 2 hours – most people go to the movies to relax and enjoy some form of escapism.

5. THE WIZARD OF OZ:  Can you believe this movie actually lost money?  It cost $2.7M to make and garnered $3M in its opening run.  Viewers did not flock to see Judy Garland, a cute dog and a tornado in technicolor.  However, over the years and many re-releases,  the viewing of The Wizard of Oz has become an annual event in many of America’s  households.

Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption

6. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION:  Tell the truth now, do you switch the channel when you see Shawshank Redemption playing? The film finally found its audience on TV.  In 1994 when it was released, it was overwhelmed by PULP FICTION AND FORREST GUMP.  It cost $25M to make and grossed $28M.

7. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW:$  Budget-$1.4M.  This one requires some explanation. Despite making next to nothing ($22,000) its opening weekend, the late night flick is actually the longest running movie in continuous theatrical release, attracting a cult of folks who dress up and shout along to the campy comedy with kick-ass songs. With ticket sales, and home movie availability, it has reportedly made over $365 million! Just like the movie itself, it’s financial success is in a category of its own.

8.THE FIGHT CLUB: Budgeted at $63M it grossed $37M.  Maybe the first rule of Fight Club shouldn’t have been “Don’t talk about Fight Club.” David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel was the victim of a botched marketing campaign (or at least that’s what the studios are saying). It lived on through home video sales.

9.  THE BIG LEBOWSKI: Happy to admit I’m part of the cult club that will watch The Big Lebowski whenever it is on TV.  Not many box office bombs can claim such a cult following, an annual fan festival and religion! Released in 1998 during the immensely successful box office run of “Titanic,” the film starring Jeff Bridges, which cost $15 million to make, debuted to $5.5 million opening weekend.  The film recieved mixed reviews with Variety calling it “hollow and without resonance” while others like Roger Ebert found it “weirdly engaging” like the Dude himself.  The film eventually pulled in $17 million at theaters, but it wasn’t until years later fans used the internet and social media to re-evaluate the film and turn it into a cult sensation.

10.  I’m leaving number 10 blank and giving you all some suggestions.  What do you think was a great film but one didn’t make any money?  Here are a few;  The Fountain, Water World, Assination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Ed Wood, Cleopatra, Heathers, Vertigo, Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, The Postman, The Hudsucker Proxy, Tron-The Legacy, Donny Darko, Once Upon A Time In America

OK guys it’s your hands, let’ s vote for number 10 – one of the above or one of your own.


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This year, more so than previous years, it seems like every movie channel is trying to out-scare the other.  I walked into the bedroom the other night and my husband was watching God knows what and as I glanced at the screen I said, “Dear God, what are you watching?” I really don’t like horror movies and even some thrillers;  It would have to be very obviously tongue-in-cheek or so outrageous you know it could never happen and therefore no reason to be scared.  My problem is whatever the really bad scene is in any movie, that’s the one that creeps into my consciousness just before I try to go to sleep.   And getting back to the TV screen it was a shot of several people being hanged!  Geez!

Well there are certainly a lot more than anybody’s top 10 films created to scare the heck out of you, so please feel free to comment and add a few of your own!!!!

Reagan My Sweet

Reagan My Sweet

1.  THE EXORCIST – This one had me so frightened (it didn’t help being Catholic) that for 2 nights I slept with every light on,  I threw the Ouija Board in a dumpster in town AND called a priest friend of mine and asked him to come and bless the house (knowing he couldn’t really perform an exorcism).

2.  Silence of the Lambs – Another really tough one for me.  Anthony Hopkins was SO sinister he was real.

3.  ROSEMARY’S BABY – I had read the book and thought that was hand-shakingly scary for me and the movie practically followed the book word for word! 

4.  THE SHINING – Jack Nicholson on a good day can be scary and in The Shining he was downright horrifying.  The soundtrack added a tremendous amount of adrenalin-rushing fear to the film.  Who can forget Jack at the locked door of the bathroom saying, ” Wendy, I’m home”.

5.  Alien – OMG when the thing was coming out of the stomach…oh well I think I left the room after that part!

6.  BLAIR WITCH PROJECT –  A movie that reminds us that sometimes the things that scare us the most are the ones we can’t see.  I was exhausted after watching this!

7.  WAIT UNTIL DARK – This thriller is scary and doesn’t fall into the horror movie category at all.  The tenseness is palpable.  The silence terrifying and you absolutely feel her fear!

8.  THE OMEN – Wow! Even the dog knew there was something wrong with this kid.  The toppling shaft of steel nearly killed me too. 

9.  PSYCHO – Oh sure, it’s been replayed so many times in so many ways that we can laugh at it BUT when it first debuted – You have to admit you were scared.  Shower anyone?

10.  NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – A low-budget film that messes with your mind big time! What is real and what is imaginary?

And there are so many more crossing the boundaries of thriller to horror to sci-fi – They all scare the bejesus out of me!

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Do you know what a hack is?  It’s a nickname for cab driver, it’s chopping away at something as in hacking. I believe there are few more definitions BUT the explanation for today’s blog goes something like this: A Hack is an appropriate application of ingenuity.

Look at these 9 ingenious ways you can save space or in other words add space to your home.  Apparently I’m 1 short of Thursday’s Top Ten lol.  These ingenious ideas have been excerpted from the PURE WOW web site.

1. Let Your Makeup Stand Up

Pretty Ingenious

Pretty Ingenious

Leave it to the inventive folks at Quirky to come up with a silicon grid that grips any and all tubular products. The vertical orientation not only saves space but also keeps your brushes clean.
Zen Cosmetics ($15)

2.Use Magnetic Knife Racks for Grooming Tools
Another brilliant idea from our good friends the Swedes: a big ole magnet. Load it up with metal bobby pins, tweezers, clippers and such. But mount it somewhere secluded (inside a drawer or cabinet), so your cuticle pusher isn’t in your face on a daily basis.
Ikea ($13)

3. Make a Place for Your Towels 

Got Hang Ups?

Got Hang Ups?

Don’t waste precious wall space when your towels can nestle right outside the shower curtain with a double rod. (Important to note: You’ll need a masonry drill bit if you’re installing in tile.)Bed Bath & Beyond ($40)

4. Hang Your Hair Dryer
Don’t be an idiot and waste a whole drawer on something that’s literally built to be hung. Adhere a hotel-style fixture next to the mirror for easy access. (And maybe consider a dryer upgrade if you’re still slinging a purple Conair from ’99.)

5. Extend Your Countertop  

Up, up and away

Up, up and away

Useful little risers like this are especially handy if you share a sink with a significant other.
Kmart ($15)

6. Lift Up Your Spray Bottles 

Don't Get Hung Up

Don’t Get Hung Up

When it comes to teeny bathrooms, levels are your best friends. Create one for your cleaners by hanging them from a small shower rod. Just make sure the rod can withstand the weight. (Screw mounts are best, and the hardware store can trim the rod to fit.)
Home Depot ($6)

7. Re-purpose Spice Racks for Beauty Products
In more “you should be hanging that” news, free up space in an overflowing medicine cabinet by shelving your more infrequently used items. Just be careful to maintain a clean and streamlined look–and don’t clutter up your walls with erratic colors.
Ikea ($4)

8.  Swap a Vanity Tray for a Cake Stand
L’Occitane hand cream deserves a sweet display. But that tiny single tray you’re using isn’t doing you any favors. Double the amount you can store simply by switching it for tiered server plates. (Pro tip: Go vintage to preserve the dainty vibe.)
Etsy ($45)

9.  Take Advantage of Higher Elevations 

Look UP!

Look UP!

That extra foot between your door frame and the ceiling? Use it or lose it. Install a shelf to store extra necessities (like spare T.P. and guest towels).
Ikea ($23)


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I bet you think this is going to a list of badly-acted B movies.  Well, not exactly!  Some are certainly in questionable taste and others….you’ll see and decide for yourself.


I  love Edward Norton and his performance in this movie is one of his best and also probably the most upsetting.  He portrays a young man drawn into Neo-Fascist community –  from quiet teen to violent adult.  The movie is bleak and replete with scenes of shocking violence and jaw-dropping racisim.


Janvier  Bardem was acclaimed for his performance here, scooping awards at Cannes and even getting nominated for an Oscar. To receive the nomination, the judging committee had to watch this film once, but I doubt they could bear to sit through it again. Bardem plays a drug dealer diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the combination of the dark and disturbing world matched with Bardem’s ever-worsening situation marks this as one of the finest films you’ll never, ever want to see again. Don’t be fooled by the title.


Requiem for a Dream completely will blow you away the first time you see it. Maybe this is the movie they should show to kids in middle school to convince them not to do drugs? Because it’s way more effective than any after-school special. Once you see what Jennifer Connelly gets herself into just to score some dope, you’ll never be the same.

The Birth Of A Nation

The Birth Of A Nation


This movie is considered one of the first ever movies in the sense that we see them today-with a coherent story, use of jump cuts, and a long running time, which is all good.  But then you  realize the movie is a heartily enthusiastic celebration of the Ku Klux Klan.  Real film buffs and historians will find it worth watching but for the rest of us, a grim example of days gone by to be left on the shelf.


Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgesse’s “unfilmable” dystopian novel is now seen as a seminal movie-but at the time was banned and panned for it’s constant violence and the depiction of rape. A Clockwork Orange is a difficult movie to talk about, because it’s one of those ‘you have to see it for yourself’ kind of films.


Director Lynch excelled himself here with The Elephant Man. The movie tells the true-ish story of John Merrick, played by British thespian actor, John Hurt, a grotesquely deformed man with a heart of gold.  The film shows the despairing plight of humanity and is just too depressing to watch twice. The performances are amazing and the prosthetics  brilliant.

The Road

The Road


I read the book, shivering through most of it and yet had this yearning to see the movie.  As graphic and dismal as the book was, it’s nothing compared to the cold bleak relentless scenes shot in shades of gray.  It’s the story of a man trying to keep his son and self alive in a post-apolcayptic  wasteland.  Full of misery but performed beautifully.

Sophie's Choice

Sophie’s Choice


The film itself has become a byword for onscreen misery, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t see the  film once. Meryl Streep’s performance is typically brilliant-she allegedly only shot the “choice” scene with one outcome, and refused to perform the other.  The tale of her struggling with what she did during the second world war is harrowing and devastating in equal measure. It might be almost synonymous with sadness, but it’s something you have to see to appreciate fully.


Frankly I couldn’t bring myself to watch this movie even once.  Every time I saw the trailer I had to turn away.  The story line is about greed, power and human sacrifices.  In the Maya civilization, a peaceful tribe is brutally attacked by warriors seeking slaves and human beings for sacrifice for their gods. Jaguar Paw hides his pregnant wife and his son in a deep hole nearby their tribe and is captured while fighting with his people. An eclipse spares his life from the sacrifice and later he has to fight to survive and save his beloved family.


I was exhausted after watching this film.  Filled with horrible violence, filth and poverty, it’s quite a snapshot of life in the Five Points in New York City.  At one point I actually did leave the screening room and fled to the ladie’s room to avoid one of the bloodiest scenes.  The narrative and characters are weak but the general sweep and spectacle of the whole thing makes it worth a look. I’ll seen any movie Scorcese does, so I went, but I’ll never watch it again.

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Do you think Baby Boomers invented ThrowBack Thursday as a way to continue touting everything we did or had was better and best?  TBT affords us a stage and setting to look back affectionately on our school days, our toys and to desperately try to hold onto that powerful position we held for so long in the news, the culture and well just about everything.  Just musing….

Anyway it is TBT and here at Pbenjay it is also Thursday’s Top Ten so let the list begin;

1. Skate Key and Metal Roller Skates

Love the Skate Key

Love the Skate Key

Long gone are the days of roller skating along the sidewalks and driveways we once knew.  Nowadays yes kids do roller skate but they are wearing shoe skates – WoW just like what only professional skaters wore when I was growing up or you got to wear them if you went to a skating rink.  Learning to skate is hard enough but when you are dragging clunky metal skates along with you and wearing real shoes so your skates can stay attached to the toe of your shoe, well that’s a whole other experience!  And you hung your skate key around your neck so you wouldn’t lose it!

2. Church Key and Miss Rheingold

A Key To Open A Church

A Key To Open A Church

Pretty Miss Rheingold

Pretty Miss Rheingold

I’m sure just about everybody still has one of these can openers but did you know it was called a Church Key?  I wrote about the origin of that term previously – see blog post: https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/once-common-now-obscure-do-you-know-what-these-phrases-mean/ And let’s not forget Miss Rheingold!  Every year, the photos of 10 or more gorgeous women would be on a poster in the package stores (yes I lived in CT and that’s what we called them) and people would fill out a form and vote for the prettiest Miss Rheingold.

3. No Draft Window

Don't Catch A Draft

Don’t Catch A Draft

At one time this small triangular window was standard equipment on every American automobile. Some folks called it the “no-draft” (its official name), some called it the “vent,” and others (including my Mom) called it the “wing.” Whatever the name, the purpose was the same: in those days when air conditioning was a very expensive option and opening the main driver side and passenger windows caused too much turbulence (not to mention noise) the no-draft provided quiet yet efficient air circulation while driving during warm weather.

4. S & H Green Stamps

S & H Green Stamps

S & H Green Stamps

I used to love pasting the green stamps into the books and constantly checking and re-checking the number of books we had and looking in the catalog as to what we might get.  Green stamps were given out with purchases at grocery stores and gas stations and many other places.  Quite the incentive to shop where they were given out, sort of like points on your American Express card.  This was pretty much a 1950’s thing but I think I may have to admit still collecting some in the 60’s! 

5. Typewriter Eraser

Typewriter Eraser

Typewriter Eraser

Even after White-Out and correction tape were commonly available, neither worked well on onion skin (a type of very thin paper regularly used for multiple carbon copies…perhaps we need to add a twelfth item to this list…) and typewriter erasers were still a necessity. The abrasive end was used like a regular pencil eraser, and then the typist brushed away the resultant debris with the bristle end.

6. Motel Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener

Wall Mounted Bottle Opener

Wall Mounted Bottle Opener

Some older roadside accommodations still have a bottle opener mounted on the bathroom wall, but a lot of the guests in those cases are stumped enough to ask the front desk, “What the heck is that thing?” We refer you back to the bottle-opening end of the church key and further explain that pop machines (“soda machines” to you heathens) at most motels in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s dispensed pop the way God intended – ice cold in 10-ounce glass bottles with a small ring of ice floating in the neck. There was a bottle opener included on the machine, but a lot of folks preferred to wait until they returned to the sanctuary of their room before they popped the cap off and enjoyed that first refreshing sip. And then there were those (wink-wink) who eschewed the pop machine but traveled instead with a cooler full of beer. That’s why the opener was usually mounted in the bathroom – all that beverage spillage was easier to mop up off a tile floor rather than have it soak into the carpeted areas of the room.

7. Pull Tabs

Pull Tabs

Pull Tabs

In between cans requiring a church key and today’s pop tops there were pull tab soda and beer cans. The convenience of not requiring an opener was revolutionary, but the innovation came with a downfall: a new type of litter. Instead of disposing of their pull tabs responsibly, many folks simply discarded them on the ground before chugging away. Walking barefoot on the beach in the 1960s and ’70s was often something of an obstacle course; those tabs weren’t always immediately visible, but they were razor-sharp, and savvy sunbathers included Band-Aids in their picnic baskets for the inevitable sliced toe.

8. Self-Service Tube Tester

Test Your Tubes Here

Test Your Tubes Here

30-plus years ago when a TV went on the fritz you called the TV Repair Man. He was so ubiquitous that he made house calls, but his services were expensive (and today’s Cable Guy has taken the TV Repair Man’s vague “I’ll be there sometime between X and Y o’clock” promise to a new level). Since a good percentage of the TV malfunctions back then were due to malfunctioning vacuum tubes, DIY Dads started diagnosing and replacing the tubes on their own, saving both time and money. Almost every drugstore, hardware store, and even grocery store had a self-service tube testing machine stashed among the gumball and cigarette machines. Dad (or Mom or whoever) simply brought whichever tubes he thought suspect and tested them on the machine to see whether they were functional. If the tube in question was kaput, there was a wide selection of brand new tubes stocked in the cabinet underneath the machine available for purchase.

9. The Palmer Method

The Palmer Method

The Palmer Method

Learning the Palmer Method of longhand now known as cursive, with the Sisters of No Mercy (oops I mean Mercy) was hard enough, I can’t imagine being a lefty and trying to write on the slant, paper tilted and all.  My classroom at St. John’s looked just like this photo.  The alphabet banner was posted above the blackboard and the pull-down maps right below.  Maps on a roller like a window shade.

10. Smith Brothers Cough Drops

Smith Brothers Black Cough Drops

Smith Brothers Black
Cough Drops

I remember these well, and Luden’s Cherry Cough Drops.  When we were kids, any little sniffle and cough was a reason to ask for a box of these candies, er cough drops.

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Looking back over the years and some many things have come and gone from the life I knew!  Throw Back Thursday is the perfect time to show those readers of this blog that are younger than 55.  Personally I’ve had or used every one of these vintage items which only goes to prove I’m a woman of a certain age.

I have such vivid memories of these metal wire pants stretchers.  My father’s work pant were put on them right out of the washer and when they dried they didn’t need to be ironed.

Pants Stretcher

Pants Stretcher

Rubber pants went together with cloth diapers and have the way of them too.  Pampers came along and combined the absorbancy of cotton and the water-proofing that the rubber pants provided and eliminated the stinky diaper pail too!

Rubber Pants

Rubber Pants

We had pencil boxes, rulers, protractors, erasers, library paste AND Mucilage, aka LePage’s Glue.



Wherever did the tradition of bronzing baby shoes go to?  My baby shoes were bronzed and I bronzed my son’s first baby shoes, now I see them at Flea Markets.  I think parents should start doing this again, they’re really cute.

Bronzed Baby Shoes

Bronzed Baby Shoes

If you had straight hair growing up like I did, then at some point you probably convinced your mother to give you a perm, a Toni, to be exact. It NEVER came out the way they showed it on television.  I always had frizzy hair for months and it smelled too.

Shirley Temple Curls

Shirley Temple Curls

Neil Sedaka sang about them, many of us wrote in them daily, kept them hidden in our underwear drawer, filled with teenage angst.  Mine was pale blue, what color was yours?



Now there are rows and rows of hair products in every drugstore, discount store and supermarket.  Way back in the dark ages of the 50’s there weren’t quite so many BUT there was Dippity-Do and a couple of colors too!

Sticky Icky Dippity-Do

Sticky Icky Dippity-Do

Summer Glasses

Summer Glasses

We had iced tea in these cool looking glasses and we only used them in the summer.  

Speaking of glasess, I received a set of these glasses in their own wire carrier as a wedding gift in 1968.  We all had fancy Highball glasses.

Wedding Present

Before computers, tablets, and iPads, all of my friends and myself carried 3 ring notebooks to school.  You could fill it with a hundred sheets of paper and divide the paper into sections marked with plastic tabbed dividers.  There was a mechanical snap lock that you would press hard to snap open the the 3 rings and remove a piece or two of paper.  Sometimes you weren’t careful and one of the holes tore through.  Gummed Reinforcements to the rescue.                                  


Mucilage “Gummies”   

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