Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Joy of Discovering Good Blogs

Since I started working part time, I don't have nearly enough time to do things that are just fun, like looking for and reading new blogs.  In fact, it's an effort just writing mine once or twice a week.  Sometimes I stumble upon blogs when doing an internet search.  For instance, last week I was looking for retired Girl Scout cookies, in particular, forget-me-nots, a granola cookie made in the seventies.  Anyway, one of my hits was 17 Retired Girl Scout Cookies, an entry for the blog List 17.  I think this is an awesome idea for a blog, although, if I'd thought of it, I would have picked my favorite number:  16.  Some of the topics covered in List 17 include 17 Childhood Games from Hell, 17 Best Disney Songs of All Time, 17 Movies to Make You Smile, and 17 Things You Can Do Without.

My circuitous route to List 17 made me wonder how do people find blogs.  Those of you who follow my blog--officially and unofficially--how did you find your way to the fruitcake files?  Leave me a comment and let me know how you got here and tell me about yourself.  I read the bios of my official followers--and, at long last, I welcome you all.  I would have done so sooner, but I'm not savvy enough to leave you a message via the internet--and, believe me, I did try.  Also, I'd love to hear about other blogs that you read.  So next time you stop by, take the time to leave a comment and share.  I promise I'll reply to everyone who leaves a comment.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"We Got a Right to Pick a Little Fight Bonanza!"

Bonanza (1959-1973)
Created by David Dortort
Starring Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, and Michael Landon
Featuring Ray Teal and Victor Sen Yung

Bonanza, which ranked #43 on TV Guide's Fifty Greatest Shows of All Time list, is a western about the Cartwright family who live on their humongous Ponderosa Ranch on the northern shore of Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  (See the map below.)  The Cartwrights include patriarch Ben (Lorne Greene) and his three sons of different mothers.  (All three mothers are dead--the fate of every woman who has the misfortune to fall in love with a Cartwright man.)  Oldest son Adam (Pernell Roberts) is the learned, if somewhat arrogant, one; Hoss (Dan Blocker), the middle son, is a gentle giant whose kindness  transcends his plain looks; and Little Joe (Michael Landon) is the hot-headed one with something to prove.  Big eaters, especially Hoss, they are fed by their Chinese cook, Hopsing (Victor Sen Yung), who gets really ticked off if they're late for dinner.

Most episodes are serious western stories, as the Cartwrights are gun-toting killers who fight a lot.  (See Bonanza lyrics below.)  Rest assured, the Carwtrights are always fighting on the side of right and are often aided in their violence by Sheriff Roy Coffey (Ray Teal).  But Bonanza isn't always serious; oftentimes it takes a more playful, humorous tone.  I'm not really fond of most of the serious episodes, except "Journey Remembered," which tells the story of Hoss's mother, but I love the funny ones.  Hoss and Little Joe, not the sharpest tools in the shed, when left to their own devices get up to quite a bit of mischief with Pa and Adam looking on and shaking their heads with superior amusement or exasperation.  Some of the more entertaining episodes are "San Francisco" (1.28), "Bank Run" (2.19), "Any Friend of Walter's" (4.25), "Hoss and the Leprechauns" (5.12), "A Knight to Remember" (6.19), "The Flapjack Contest" (6.15), and "The Ponderosa Birdman" (6.20).

Tomorrow to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, while most people will be attending parades and drinking themselves Irish, I'll be watching "Hoss and the Leprechauns."  Incidentally, this is my 100th posting:  One hundred postings in 16 months--not too shabby.

Bonanza Lyrics
We got a right to pick a little fight
If anyone fights anyone of us
He's gotta fight with me!

We're not a one to saddle up and run,
Anyone of us who starts a little fuss
Knows he can count on me!

One for four
Four for one,
This we guarantee.

We got a right to pick a little fight
If anyone fights anyone of us
He's gotta fight with me!

To order from Amazon, click on one of the links below:
Bonanza: The Official First Season
Bonanza: Official Second Season

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Of VW Beetles and The Beatles' Abbey Road

Thinking Small:  The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle
by Andrea Hiott
Ballantine Books (January 17, 2012)
512 pages
ISBN: 0345521420

From Hitler to the hippies, Hiott takes us on the weird trip that is the Volkswagen Beetle.  Though originally manufactured to bring cheap transportation to the masses, the Volkswagen (the people's car) has long since transcended its humble origins:  It's come to represent freedom, adventure, escape, and a certain joie de vive.

Having lived through the sixties and seventies, I remember when every other car was a VW beetle.  Watch television shows and movies of the time, and you'll see the little buggers everywhere in the background shots.  We used to count them on long car trips--though we didn't engage in punching each other in the arm and shouting "Punch buggy!"  My favorite joke of all time comes from the sixties and involves a VW bug.  How do you get six elephants in a Volkswagen?  Answer:  Three in the front and three in the back.

One of the most famous bugs is the white one featured on the cover of Abbey Road with the license plate number LMW 28IF.  The significance of this plate involves the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead and had been replaced with an uncanny duplicate who could have been Paul's identical twin.  The VW bug's license plate number was yet one more clue that Paul was gone, as he would have been "28 IF" he had lived.

I've been in love with Volkswagen Beetles my whole life, though it has been an unrequited love.  In the early seventies, my family owned a tan VW microbus, the VW bug's second cousin, but I've never managed to own the real thing--unless you count my little pink and green Volkswagen Christmas ornaments.  I was always talked out of purchasing one as it would be too impractical, too expensive to repair, and offer too little heat.  There are a couple of vintage bugs around town that call to me:  a baby blue one parked a few blocks down the street that I stalk like a teenage girl with a crush, and a red one with a black rag top that gets taken out for the occasional ride.  Who is free spirited enough to still be driving one of these loveable bugs?  With a twinge of nostalgia I crane my neck to watch the little red convertible drive down the road and out of sight.

To order from Amazon, click on Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle or Abbey Road.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Recent Blog Stats

I haven't enjoyed the last couple of books I've read and haven't seen any new movies lately, so, while I fish around for something to review, I thought I'd share recent blog stats.  Since posting my Interview with Dan Boehl on November 11, 2011, it has been the most visited of all my posts.  But yesterday Grimm's Tales (November 5, 2011) surpassed Dan to become the the fruitcake files favorite post.  Four of the top ten posts are from this year:  Facebook Time Travel (February 9, 2012), Spend Valentine's Day with Cary Grant, Harrison Ford, Colin Firth, or Johnny Depp (February 13, 2012), The Blood of the Children (January 16, 2012), and Drinking Rum with Johnny Depp (February 17, 2012).  Following are the top ten posts:

Grimm's Tales
Interview with Dan Boehl
Facebook Time Travel
Spend Valentine's Day with Cary Grant, Harrison Ford, Colin Firth, or Johnny Depp
The Blood of the Children
In Defense of Chop Suey
Harry's Makeover
Tom and Huck Down on the Farm
Drinking Rum with Johnny Depp

Other hard hit posts this past month include:

Goodbye Whitney Houston, Jill Kinmont, and Florence Gree
Robbing the Rich and Giving to the Poor
Chinese Cooking in the Year of the Dragon
Summer of Butter Pecan Ice Cream and the Brooklyn Dodgers
No Escape from Stalag 13

Though I'm still waiting for readers from Africa and Antartica, I am getting more readers from the Middle East, Australia, and South America.  Currently, the five countries with the most fruitcake files readers are the U.S., Russia, Germany, the U.K., and Canada.