Saturday, June 30, 2012


Turner Classic Movies channel featured "Homicidal Husbands Night" yesterday.  Oh, be still my murderous heart!  These were three black and white oldies I'd never seen before or even heard of, for that matter.  All the better.

Woman in Hiding has Ida Lupino discovering on her honeymoon that her hubby (overplayed by Stephen McNally, whoever he is) is a philanderer who may have caused her wealthy father to die in an "accidental fall" at the mill he (daddy) owned.  Ida decides to hightail it out of their mountain cabin while pretending to be asleep, but she doesn't know that Stephen has mucked up the car brakes.  After a harrowing drive down the switchbacks, the car busts through a road guard and plunges into a river. Woe is Ida.

But wait!!!  Ida has leaped to safety right before the crash, and now she is a Woman in Hiding!!!  She spends the rest of the movie roaming around North Carolina trying to avoid her evil husband, but he still keeps popping up at every turn.  With the help of Howard Duff (who later became Ida's non-homicidal husband in real life) and lots of heavy-duty cigarette smoking, she manages to get out of every nasty jam thrown her way.  Great movie!  And through it all, she never has a hair out of place!  Amazing!  Simply amazing!  The Flaming Bore gives it three-and-a half flames out of four!

Next up was Julie, starring sweet Doris Day and dastardly Louis Jordan (as in Loo-ee Jzor-DAWN).  Like Ida, cute Doris finds out shortly after the wedding cake is digested that her husband is a homicidal maniac.  He strangled her first husband to death and made it look like a suicide by hanging.  Early on, he makes a bedroom confession...this time at a beach home.  Doris plots her escape plan. Louis removes the coil wire on the car.  Doris hitchhikes into town and becomes, what else, a Woman in Hiding.

With the help of a lawyer friend and a few cartons of cigarettes to get her through the really tough times, Doris returns to her previous job as an airline stewardess.  And who should show up on one of her flights, hiding behind a newspaper, but...Louis Jordan!!!  Next thing you know, he's in the cockpit having a shootout with the pilot. All is doomed for sure.

But wait!   Doris and a passenger/doctor come to the rescue.  Doris takes over control of the plane, of course, and in a harrowing 20-minute-long conversation with the control tower, is able to safely land the plane. Big Bore says she wasn't sweating much, but her relieved facial expression looked like she'd just experienced the best orgasm of her life.  Light me up a cigarette.  I'm exhausted.  Three flames from The Flaming Bore.

Our finale of the evening was The Two Mrs. Carrolls starring two immortals--Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck.  Bogie is a successful artist whose first wife dies of a lingering illness, also known as death by poisoning.  Fast forward two years and he's married to Babs but struggling with his art. A younger, sexier gal enters the picture, resurrecting his artistic inspiration and erecting his paint brush. Time to get rid of #2 and move on.  Poison worked the first time.  Let's try it again.

But wait!  We all know that Barbara Stanwyk is a tough old bird and she doesn't die so easily. When she won't cooperate with the plan, he decides to bust into her bedroom window, a la Dracula, and strangle her with a curtain cord.  But wait--again!  Here comes her ex-fiance with the cops!  End of Bogie's attempt at attempted murder. He goes into a crazy act, reminiscent of  Gloria Swanson at the end of Sunset Boulevard, and offers the officers glasses of milk.  They aren't so thirsty.  The end.  --Since this movie lacked the cinematic and plot challenges of the previous two --it mainly just took place at home--and the smoking was minimal, The Flaming Bore only gives it two flames.

It's going to be hard to top this dramatic trio any time soon--which is just as well.  But if TCM has a Homicidal Housewives Night coming up soon, you can bet I'll be watching.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


The local library played host to some nocturnal critters this morning... a Madagascar hissing cockroach, a ball python, a hedgehog, and some sort of lizard whose name escapes me. 
I used to have a ball python  in my house, thanks to my husband at the time.  A mice manufacturing company was established in the basement to keep it fat and sassy. The snake didn't bother me; the mice, ick.

If I woke up in the middle of the night and found this cockroach in bed with me, I'd be calling 9-1-1. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Farmer Big Bore is finally seeing the fruits and veggies 
of his labor.  My favorite, the cantaloupe, should start being ready in late July and I can't wait to sink my teeth in some sweet, juicy 'loupe.  Some of our vines have wound their way up into a bell pepper, so BB has made nylon hose "bras" for two of the cantaloupe to support them (hopefully) until they are ready for picking.

Not sure how the watermelon will do, especially since six of them are growing right next to each other. I'm skeptical.
Bell peppers can be picked, but BB thinks they'll turn red if he waits long enough.  Hmmm.  I think they'll get sunburned.  I want them NOW!

The Basket of Fire peppers are being grown in a container. Big Bore's guinea pig Neighbor Dave has named them Insanely Hot.  BB is still trying to work up the courage to eat one. "They're mainly for decoration," he now says.

No pics this time around of the 'maters and green beans.  Big Bore has picked five rounds of beans so far. They get an A--especially considering last year we didn't get a single mature bean.  

Almost hate to mention the brussel sprouts.  Unfortunately, all six plants are going gangbusters and will probably be ready to pick in a month or so.  I have a strong aversion to eating them AND smelling them cooking in the kitchen.  They may have to secretly disappear.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012


My nine-year-old sidekick and I hit up the local recycle center this afternoon to deposit a few items from the library. When she got to the "MAGAZINES ONLY" bin, she flipped out.

"Nancy, come here and take a look!" she said with disgust, as she tossed in a National Geographic.  

I braced myself for the worst and took a peek into the bin.

"Good grief!  Sonic remains and gift wrapping paper?  What's with these people?"

I've gritched about this before.  Can people not read bold print?  Are they stupid or just lazy or both?  

I think the recycle center needs to hire a trash bin security officer who will arrest all the dimwits using this facility. Or maybe the city could issue dumping permits only to those who can pass a basic sign reading test. This problem has got to be absolutely maddening for those people who have to sort the recyclables.  I'm afraid if this blatant disregard for the rules keeps up, we'll lose the recycling center altogether.

If I had my way, I'd toss all the violators into a special bin marked: DUMB ASSES ONLY.  Then I'd lock the latch and walk away with a look of sweet satisfaction on my face.  

The Flaming Bore has spoken.  Follow the directions or get lost!!

Monday, June 18, 2012


*This angel wing begonia has an ancient history.  It's a "child" of one that originally belonged to my great grandmother Schmitt who immigrated to the United States from Germany back in the 1870s.  My grandma Elizabeth took a cutting from her mother's and years later my mother took a cutting from that second generation one. When Mom had to move to the assisted living home, I took over the care of her third generation angel wing, which is now in our backyard.  Each winter we bring it inside and baby it along until the weather warms up and it can go outside and bloom again.  This morning I took a cutting from it and hope to start a fourth generation.  To be continued.

*Last night Sweet Neighbor Girl came over to take the hot iron to my frizzy head.  I parked in front of the TV to watch "Cupcake Wars," while she ironed away.  She'd never seen the show before and found it an instant winner--except she, like moi, had trouble understanding the French judge.  At one point he was criticizing the  apricot curd in one entry, but SNG mistook what he said.  

"Did he just say 'apricot turd'?" she asked.

"No!!!  It's CURD!" I answered.  "It's made from milk."

Then she started laughing....and laughing....and laughing until she just about tooted her own apricot turd right there in the living room, which caused her to roll up into one big, embarrassed ball on the floor and laugh some more.

*Hannah #2 came over today trying to pawn off a stray kitten on me that someone else had pawned off on her.  "Mom said I could have it, but it will have to stay at someone else's home."

"In other words, you can't have it," I sadly said.  "But I can't take in any more cats right now."  The poor little tabby was about the size of a tea cup, and it had crud in its eyes and a dirty mouth and gunky ears.

"Will you get the boogers out of its eyes?" she asked.

"Sure.  Let's go inside and clean him up."

So, I de-boogered him and washed off his kitty lips and gave him a plate of milk--then gave #2 some suggestions in finding a home.  I'm happy to report that she located an adoptive family and the baby has a name now:  Itsy Bitsy.

Welcome to the neighborhood, kid.


Sunday, June 17, 2012


Yesterday Big Bore and I had the pleasure of bleacher sitting at great neph Boomer's tee-ball game while we were in Pittsburg. My expectations, however, were not quite fulfilled.
Like his nickname suggests, Boomer is one of these kids who acts like he's been shot from a cannon most of the time. He operates in high gear. When he hit the ball off the tee, I figured he'd be zipping around the bases in warp speed. So, was I ever surprised when he just trotted down to first base like he was taking a merry stroll in the park.  "Run, Boomer!" I shouted from the bleachers.  "That's the slowest I've ever seen him move," I told Big Bore.  

But Boomer was not alone.  ALL the hitters did the same casual jog to first base and beyond.  

"What's with these kids?  I thought they'd be racing like there's no tomorrow," I said.

Mr. Logic had the answer.  "It's the helmets," Big Bore said.  "They're wearing half-ton buckets on their heads."

And, of course, he was right. If the batters tried to run fast, the helmets would likely roll off...and maybe take their heads with them. Better just to lollygag and be safe.  One kid smacked the ball and then walked back to the dugout. To heck with running.  

We had fun watching and Boomer had fun playing and there were high fives all around after the game.  No score was kept; this is just a learning experience. I learned to chill out during tee-ball and not yell for anyone to run faster...or to run at all, for that matter. Just clap and say, "Good try!" no matter what.

(Our family star is in the pitcher's position in the above picture.  He has the body language down pat.  All he needs now is a plug of chewing tobacco and he'll soon be ready for the big leagues.)

Friday, June 15, 2012


You know it's a slow news day when one of the national headlines in our big city paper is:  "Alaska town learns it isn't getting Taco Bell."  Apparently the 6,000 folks in the isolated burg of Bethel were crushed by an "evil hoax" circulating about town that the Bell was to open this summer. Personally, I'd say they are lucky to have dodged a bullet...and indigestion. That this uproar is considered news in Kansas, or even in Alaska, is beyond me.

Also in the news this morning....a 47-year-old woman is in critical condition with burns over half of her body, due to a house fire.  Cause of fire:  smoking while using her oxygen tank.  I wonder how many times she'd been told, "Put out that damned cigarette!  You're going to kill yourself!"  

When I was a social worker, I had a client, female, just like this gal in the news.  After years of smoking, she'd damaged her lungs and heart so much that she, too, was hooked up to an oxygen tank.  And she, too, continued smoking in spite of the big red warning sticker attached to the tank.  Every time I went to see her, I'd yell through the front door, "I'm not coming in until you either put out your cigarette or turn off your oxygen!  You decide." And most of the time, she opted to turn off the tank. Hopeless. I don't know why doctors even bother.

Lord knows I'm not one to gripe about the idea of kids reading more, BUT when the esteemed Governor of the State of Kansas, Sam What's-His-Name, jumps on the "Read Kansas Read" bandwagon, I'm somewhat suspicious.  He's not exactly been a friend of educators during his time in office, when it comes to funding public school. And then he finishes his "I challenge Kansans to read more books this summer" speech with his personal boast:  "I'm planning to read four." Well, big whoopity-do. Who does he think he's impressing?  Four books in three months?  What a slacker. I can read four books in a week. --With one hand tied behind my back.  With one eye closed.  While riding my exercise bike. Without a Taco Bell Burrito Supreme in my belly or a Marlboro dangling from my mouth.  So there.

I've got to quit reading the newspaper.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Wowza, wowza!  Yesterday was Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland Day on TCM, in honor of Judy's 90th birthday, had she not cashed in at 47, and I got to see (again) their 1940 classic, Strike Up the Band! 

In this great movie, Mickey is Jimmy Connors (not to be confused with the tennis player of a later era), a teenage drummer who wants to turn his fuddy-duddy high school marching band into a hip-hopping jazz band.  With his enthusiastic banter, he convinces the principal to agree to the change (and nearly faints when the old guy shakes his hand in agreement) and then sets out to organize the Jimmy Connors Orchestra, complete with a girls glee club that not only sings but also does little gal even does back somersaults and front flips while wearing an evening gown!  How often do you see that???

Mickey/Jimmy directs his high school musicians (most of whom strangely resemble 40-year-old men) like a tornado on speed.  He jumps around from section to section, whipping his bandleader's baton into a frenzy, perpetually smiling and occasionally winking at his audience. His lead vocalist and "pal," Judy is calmer and just sort of hangs around to sing, dance, and pout every once in awhile. This is Mickey's movie from start to finish, moving at warp speed.

As one of the adult co-stars philosophically says, "Give a boy and horn to blow and he'll never blow a bank."

The Flaming Bore calls this movie red hot! Mickey, you sizzle!

Saturday, June 9, 2012



I broke away from my reading this afternoon and went to the front door, but no one was there--just an envelope with my name on it and Sweet Neighbor Girl's name on the return address.  On the back side was written:  "Please dress nicely."  Inside was an invitation to come to a tea party at 4 PM, twenty minutes away.  Never mind that it was also dated April 9th.  There were instructions to RSVP by checking either the Yes box or No box, plus the message:  "If you cannot come, I promise I will not be mad at you."

Well, who can resist that?  So I walked over to her back door and ding-donged back at her.

"Do I have to wear panty-hose?"  I asked SNG.  (Now, I should have also asked if her parents knew about this little shingdig because I later found out they were clueless and taking a nap.  Small detail.)

"No, you do not."

"Okay, I'll be back over."  

I put on a jumper, with matching flip flops and hair scrunchie so I'd look accessorized to her satisfaction, and returned at 4 o'clock sharp.

"What kind of tea are we having?" I asked as I was seated at the dining table.

"Well, actually, we don't have any tea today, so we're having milk."  She also threw together a plateful of giant marshmallows decorated with chocolate syrup and a graham cracker cereal square, plus a dip of ice cream, to go along with the beverage, which her kitty Napoleon kept trying to drink from us.

"Am I supposed to lick this up or use my fingers?"  I asked.

"Oh, I'll get you a spoon," she smiled.

So, we drank our "tea" and ate the snack and played a game of Sorry that Napoleon kept interfering with. 

I think my book of social life etiquette says I must reciprocate with an invitation to Casa de la Flaming Bore within one week, but it's going to be hard to top this one.  

Friday, June 8, 2012


I typically tune into "The Today Show" on NBC each weekday morning, but that habit came to end this morning when I turned on the TV and was assaulted by Chris Brown's so-called singing, as part of the Today Summer Concert Series.

Brown has an actual court record for assault, so it should have come as no surprise to me than he was killing my ears.  He was convicted of the crime in 2009 after whipping up on his then-girlfriend, Rhianna. This morning in New York City, however, all was forgiven, as hundreds of young gals were swooning to his every word---whatever they were.  I couldn't understand anything that was coming out of his mouth because he was performing what I think is called the acoustic style.  It sounds sort of metallic-like and is a good way to cover up for a weak singer who basically can't carry a tune but has a sexy body to shake on the stage--as in Chris Brown.

I couldn't get to the remote control on the coffee table quickly enough.  Bam!  "CBS This Morning," here I come!  What a relief!  And what a nice surprise because the guest being interviewed was that cute little Adam Richman from "Man vs. Food" and he was talking about a new show he's got on The Travel Channel called "The Best Sandwich in America."  It sort of sounds like it will be the Miss America Pageant of sandwiches and I, for one, plan to become its biggest fan.  "I'll have the Grilled Mediterranean Turkey on Rye, please."

Eat your heart out, Chris Brown, you butt-twitching little twit!  I'll have a great sandwich over your ridiculous excuse for singing any time!  CBS rocks!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I joined the bleacher creatures yesterday to cheer on Sweet Neighbor Girl's softball team. Her side won, 6-3, she went 2 for 2 batting, fielded every hit that came to her at third base, and even made a stellar throw to second base for a force out. High five! But this blog entry is not about her. Not by a long shot.

This is about the right fielder. Now, anyone who's ever played little league ball knows that the least talented (aka: worst) kid on the team usually gets relegated to right field. It's just part of the rules, I think. Damage control. Odds are, the ball will get hit somewhere else on the field so stick the weakest link out in right field.  My big brother Beans, hampered by near-sightedness and little talent, was a right fielder when he was a kid.  Mama Bore saved his ball glove for posterity because it has a chewed-out thumb, either due to boredom or fear that the ball just might come his way.  

So, back to yesterday's game and a play that will go down in softball's Right Field Hall of Fame. SNG's team has the field.  A left-handed batter comes up and hits the ball between 1st and 2nd, closer to 1st. The 1st base girl fails to make the play, mainly because she is practically stuck to the base, so where does the ball roll?  Right field!!!  And what's the right fielder doing?  Sitting on the ground, of course, picking at the grass, off in la-la land!  The ball rolls inches from her and then on past, but she doesn't have a clue.  That grass is just too darned interesting.

The second base girl and center fielder, yelling at her to no avail, run on by her to retrieve the ball.  And does the right fielder finally get her head into the game and try to help out?  No, she's still digging into the grass.  Finally, after the batter stops at third with a triple, the coach (in a grand show of self control) calls a time-out, walks out to right field, and kindly helps the kid up. One of those teaching moments.

Now, lest you think this child is in the special needs category, I'm assured she is not.  Otherwise, I wouldn't nominate her for Right Field Hall of Fame glory.  "She just doesn't like playing ball," I was told when SNG came over this morning.  Well, we've all been made to do something we didn't really want to do, like:  "Hang up your clothes right this minute, Nancy Elizabeth, before I ground you for life!!!" --so I guess I can understand why a kid would sprawl out in the grass and daydream of being somewhere else rather than work up a sweat chasing a blasted softball.

If she hangs in there till the end of the season, I'm betting her ball glove will start looking a lot like my brother's.

Monday, June 4, 2012



When my long-time pal Pam the Kindergarten Teacher and I decided in January to take a road trip back to the scene of our high school senior skip trip, Rockaway Beach, Missouri, I started checking out activities that would be fun and different. 

We've both done just about everything there is to do in the 45 years since we graduated from Fredonia High School. She's well-traveled and has been to Hawaii, Germany, and Ireland.  I've hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and motorcycled from coast to coast.  What could we do that was new to us old birds?  Ah ha!  There it is advertised on my computer screen!  The Branson Zipline!  

But would Pam be game? Of course she would!  She works with five-year-olds and is in danger every day!  So, we strapped on harnesses and hard hats Saturday, signed our lives away on the dotted line, hopped into a jeep, and were driven up to some swinging rope bridges deep into the Ozark Forest.  

We were with four other zip lining virgins and two zip guides, the youthful Jen and Justin, who swore they were experienced and would get us back to the ground in one piece, more or less.  We'd paid to zip on four different lines.  "Any questions?" J and J asked after telling us the basics.

"Has anyone ever done the first zip and then refused to do the next three?"  I asked.  "Has anyone ever thrown up?"  I'm always ready with intelligent questions.

Convinced this was going to be a cinch and the harness was latched and could bear my weight, I volunteered to take the lead--"Wheeeeeeeee!  That was fun!  Let's do it again!"  It was a breeze! Pam and I agreed this was ever so much better than getting on a roller coaster and looping into a stomach-churning panic. We'd do it again, if given the chance and some spare $$ to blow, and I've already started checking out zip line attractions in Arkansas and Colorado.

Are we ready to be even more daring and go bungee or parachute jumping?  No way!  Zipping is as zippy as we two swinging seniors care to get.  

Friday, June 1, 2012


Sweet Neighbor Girl has decided she’s going to do the impossible and become my personal stylist.  Since school got out, she’s come over once a week to relax my frizzy hair with my hot iron, which I don’t have the patience or skill to use, and she’s actually quite good at it. Even Big Bore is amazed how she can turn my Cousin Itt look into something much sleeker. She is so enthusiastic about this job that she has even started wearing her official "beautician's outfit" when she's called into duty.

Last night she stayed over after the hair was done because her mom and teenaged sister were out for some driving practice.  When we were putting away the hair stuff, she took one look at my wads of jewelry in the bathroom and decided that I needed  to get my necklaces untangled and earrings paired off. 

“You need to get organized.”

Be my guest. 

Once that was done she said, “You need to get these earrings assigned to your outfits so you’ll be coordinated.” 

Outfits?  What outfits? I didn't have the heart to tell her that when one's wardrobe basically consists of sweatpants and T-shirts, it's not really necessary to coordinate. “I’m too lazy,” I said.  “I guess I need a stylist to help me.”  Ooops.

She was all too willing to volunteer for the job, which I hope she will have forgotten about by today. I would, however, like to keep her on as my go-to gal for more manageable hair since I'm also too lazy to fix it myself. She knows what she's doing, and nine-year-olds are about all I can afford on a regular basis.