i’m with them…oldies…but still…goodies

At least I aspire to be one of them. But with my recent spate of aches and pains…I’ll have a lot of catching up to do. I wonder if Tony Bennett, Betty White, and my mother-in-law for that matter, ever complain about stiffening, arthritic fingers, or lower back pain when bending over to wash their faces, or heartburn due to acid reflux? All we hear about Tony and Betty are how wonderfully they’re doing, considering their advanced ages. He’s 85; she’s in her 90s. And to think, they’re both headlining shows, Tony’s still performing on stage while Betty’s part of a winning foursome in Hot in Cleveland, a TV sitcom.

What’s their secret formula, their fountain of youth? Betty’s humor and “go with the flow” attitude probably serves her well. I loved her both as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show,                    (betty + white.jpg) 

and as Rose Moreland on the Golden Girls. What I liked best about her characters was that they were the butt of everyone’s laughter. Sue Ann was a controlling bitch (no other word will suit), and Rose was a middle-aged, ditzy blonde. That Betty White took on these roles speaks to her ability to laugh at herself. Something we all should emulate, rather than thinking we are too good to take some tarnishing now and then. And yet, it’s for sure she is nobody’s doormat. Despite her acting characterizations, Betty doesn’t look like she’d put up with any nonsense. After all, before she played dizzy dames Betty was one-half of the brainy duo who created Password. (allen ludden betty white.jpg) 

She and husband Allen Ludden ruled the airwaves long before Alex Trebek and Jeopardy. Gosh…am I showing my age…or what!?!

Did anyone see Tony Bennett schmoozing with Lady Gaga on TV on  (tony-bennett-lady-gaga.jpg)

Thanksgiving Day? That she was fawning all over the senior crooner was flattering, albeit a little weird. I mean she looked like she was trying to seduce him. And I couldn’t tell what he was thinking behind his famous smile…or was it more of a grin…hmmm. They did sound great together, however, singing songs from our past…his and mine.

I must admit to finally warming to Lady Gaga…until I heard some of her own creations later in the show. One in memory of her grandfather was sweet, although it didn’t appeal to my middle-aged ears. Blame it on the generation gap, I guess. Now if she had only stuck to the oldies…

According to Christopher John Farley’s article “On the Horizon” in today’s Wall Street Journal, Tony is pursuing “artistic collaborations with Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga.” Evidently Tony already has a hit on his hands with “Duets II” which went to number one on the Billboard 200 chart. No small potatoes that he also garnered 3 Grammy nominations to boot. How many other 85-year-olds alive today can say the same? By his side in the album was bosom buddy Lady Gaga, as well as a couple of other pretty, young things…Carrie Underwood,  (tony.jpg)

and Amy Winehouse, the 27-year-old British singer who died this summer.

Not only is Tony a celebrated singer, but he’s also an accomplished painter. In Vanity Fair’s January 2012 issue the elder statesman “is shown sketching a nude portrait of Lady Gaga, with the real Lady Gaga reclining disrobed nearby.” What must her grandfather be saying? “Oy vey!!! That #&%*@ is old enough to be me…before I died!” Maybe gramps will keep from turning over in his grave knowing that his grand-daughter’s likeness, “in all its Technicolor glory,” will be auctioned off on eBay, with the proceeds going towards charity.

…not sure if my makua kane (hawaiian for “grandpa”) would buy that…but then again…i never knew the man…

………hugmamma.  😉

(…and by the way…i’ve never heard my mother-in-law…in her late 80s…drone on about a darned thing…god bless her…young heart!)

365 photo challenge: swiping

lucy & ricky

Image by elena-lu via Flickr

Biographies provide insight into little known facts about their subjects. According to Desilu – The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy fame was found swiping pencils from work.

     “Lucy’s concept of money and spending had been severely affected by the early days of her childhood,” Leeds explains, noting that about eighteen months after joining the company he was approached by an assistant who told him. ” ‘I don’t know what she does with them, but every week we buy a gross of pencils for the program, and after the last rehearsal, even though they have only used about ten or twleve of them, Lucy takes the balance home.'” A week later, at the Arnazes’s house for dinner, Leeds confronted Lucille about the pencils. “She took me by the hand and led me over to a closet, opening the door and showing me about ninety gross of pencils. ‘Why are you taking them?’ I asked. ‘You are only stealing from yourself. You own them.’ She replied, ‘Martin, when I was a little girl, we were poor and couldn’t afford pencils. We used pieces of charcoal. Pencils are a symbol of having enough to eat.’ She later told me I had unintentionally ruined a symbol.”

swiping from lucy…for lucy…different.

Lucy’s other eccentricities? Birds

Bird Park KL

Image by phalinn via Flickr

     ” ‘I can’t stand pictures of birds on wallpaper or plates or in paintings–anywhere. Whenever I check into a hotel room with bird lamps and pictures in it, I have them all taken away at once. Why? I haven’t the faintest idea–particularly since I love real birds.’ ”

…and Indians.

Indians at dedication (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

      “She also was said to have a ‘compulsive rejection of Indians in native costumes, though not of Indians dressed in regular clothes.’ According to her friend, writer Katherine Albert, ‘She told me she could never see Annie Get Your Gun because she couldn’t stand the idea of all those Indians in it. It’s some sort of fear that dates back to her childhood.’ “

The star’s greatest phobia?

Ball as Lucy, Vivian Vance as Ethel on the

Image via Wikipedia

     ” …her inordinate fear of being too close to people, of being touched. ‘I get numb. The first day I went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1942, I wasn’t really aware of this phobia. But a new hairdresser spent forty-five minutes working on the bangs on my forehead, leaning against me, breathing on me. At the end of that time, I had tears streaming down my face. My makeup was ruined, and I was paralyzed.’ (Vivian Vance, aware of this peculiarity, quickly learned to work with Lucy a bit of a distance from her.) ‘I have the same feeling away from work, at parties. I can’t bear the idea of dancing with some man I don’t know and like well. Desi knows this, so he’s always ready to help me explain that I’m too tired to dance. Or else he cuts in after a minute or two.’ “


Image via Wikipedia

…you never know…what makes people tick………hugmamma. 



tv land, 2010

Once upon a time sitcoms ruled the airwaves. There were the good, the bad, and the really greaaattt! My favorites will always remain “I Love Lucy,” “All In the Family,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and the early black and white episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.” These are like comfort food for the soul, conjuring up memories of a simpler time when family life was very important. I enjoyed watching others with some regularity as well, like “Ozzie and Harriet,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” “Father Knows Best,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Barney Miller” and “Sanford and Son.” Growing up my daughter had her favorites as well, among them, “The Bill Cosby Show.” 

What was appealing for my daughter and me was the laughter the sitcoms evoked. For half an hour we lost ourselves in others’ foibles, while enjoying the family dynamics acted out on the small screen. Time flew by, leaving us eagerly awaiting the next installment. As we drifted off to do other things, echoes of laughter could still be heard as we remembered some mishap, or hilarious “punch line.” Sitcoms left us feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Fast forward to the present, and TV land’s domination by reality shows. I balked when Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson wanted to play husband and wife in my living room. Nuh, uh. I don’t think so. Other shows piqued my curiosity but never held my attention, like “Wife Swap,” and “Super Nanny.” I was never a fan of “Kate and John Plus Eight,” and I’m still not interested in watching her carry on without him. Though I’m glad she is; he’s  such a loser. What finally “sucked” me into watching Reality TV was “The Bachelor.”

I don’t think I watched with the thought that I’d be hooked, but one, gorgeous hunk surrounded by a bevy of beauties was intriguing. It was inconceivable that 25 women would lay bare their souls, and bodies, for millions of viewers to see, and pass judgement. I never thought of them as desperate, although some let it be known that they were. A few said they were on the show to marry the bachelor because their biological clocks were ticking away, and time was running out. Wow! Talk about honesty in front of millions of strangers. Whenever I asked my daughter if she’d audition for the show, her eyes would bulge in disbelief, “I’d never go in front of a TV audience to compete for some guy. Those women are crazy! I can’t believe they’d do such a thing.”

I’m not as faithful a fan of “The Bachelor” as I once was. The network lost me when they began substituting it with “The Bachelorette.” I didn’t find the  shenanigans of the men in the house, as much fun as that of the women. How they can behave like divas and catty “b—s” on national TV is beyond my comprehension. But with so much competition, “Bachelor” is just one of many shows that I view sporadically.

Among the many reality shows that I’ve glimpsed, some more than others,  are “Laguna Beach,” and “The Hills,” depicting the life of spoiled, rich kids. The exception was “The City’s” Whitney, who became a successful fashion designer in NYC. Celebrities whose lives I’ve watched with curious disbelief are Atlanta’s Kimora, the self- crowned “Queen of Fabulosity,” and Beverly Hills’ Kim Kardashian with her menagerie of family members, including former Olympic champion, step-father, Bruce Jenner. My daughter actually reminded me that the first reality show I probably watched was Tyra Bank’s “America’s Next Top Model.” I’ve not seen it in ages, so I guess I’d forgotten about it. What I do remember, however, is disliking that the candidates’ vulnerabilities were exploited by the show for its own benefit, and Tyra’s fashionista presence. I found both unappealing by the time I stopped tuning in to watch.

Then there were “The Housewives of…” Orange County, NYC, New Jersey, Atlanta, D.C., and soon to be aired, Beverly Hills. I watched the first in the series, the O.C. housewives, because I wanted to see how the “other half-lives.” It was difficult to believe that there were such shallow women whose lives revolved around money, and all it could buy. Underlying all the other Housewive series is the same dollar worship. Of course, some of the women are more tolerable than others. Bethenny Frankl-Hopy of NYC being one of my favorites. She is self-deprecating, realizing that the show should be viewed with more than a “grain of salt.” I must admit to still watching the “Housewives” from time to time, and I can’t wait to see how much sillier the Beverly Hills group will be.

Currently I’m a fan of “Say Yes to the Dress,” the New York version. The show is taped in Kleigsfeld, “the” bridal shop patronized by many brides-to-be. The warm, friendly staff remind me of the years I worked in the “Big Apple.” Those who have not worked, and perhaps lived, in Manhattan haven’t experienced the unique charm of New Yorkers. They can be brusque, but they also have “big hearts,” especially for those whom they befriend. So watching the bridal staff do their utmost to marry a bride with the perfect wedding gown is gratifying, even to me, an observer.

HGTV is my reset channel. I’m always up for one of its home sale or designer shows, “Get It Sold,” “Property Virgins,” “Divine Design,” “My First House,” “Color Splash,” and, of course, “House Hunters,” and “House Hunters International.” It’s so much fun to see the “befores” and the “afters.” It’s equally entertaining to guess which of 3 properties house buyers will purchase. And several of the show hosts are like old friends, Sabrina Soto, Sandra Rinomato, Janice Olsen, and David Bromstad. I know their voices, and can picture their faces with my eyes closed.

I’m not such a fan of the reality competitions like “American Idol,” and  “Dancing With The Stars.” While I may drop in to watch “America’s Got Talent,” it’s not often enough to say I’m a devotee. When “So You Think You can Dance” first aired, I watched because my daughter was tapped to be one of its first contestants. The British judge, Nigel, and a couple of others associated with the show, sat in on a company ballet class where my daughter use to dance. She was singled out, along with others, to try out for the show. But my daughter declined because she was already under contract, and didn’t relish the thought of a television competition. In some of the early shows, she did recognize contestants with whom she had danced in various summer programs, like Danny Tidwell, and Neal (blonde guy, forgot his last name).

These days reality shows dominate TV viewing. I enjoy some, and loathe some. But not even those I favor gives me the same pleasurable feelings, as did the sitcoms of bygone days. If only “I Love Lucy” could have gone on forever.         

for the good old days, huge hugs…hugmamma.