Sunday, April 30, 2023

I miss them

I haven't heard from Henry in weeks. He called me when I was in Hollywood for the film festival, and my phone was off. He reported that the police were there, in his Key West home, and he wanted them to leave. He didn't sound sad or frightened, just weary. The message was hours old by the time I received it, and I wasn't sure I should return it. The police have been called to the house before, and that's ended up in the invocation of The Baker Act (a judge has admitted him to a psychiatric facility because Henry was a danger to himself and others). I texted Patrick, a friend who lives there with them during the winter months, and he said that the police were there when he got home. "Henry had no sense of reality, and Reg was drunk and abusive. A total shitshow. But an hour after the police left, Henry was fine. He forgot all about it." Since things were peaceful, I chose not to rock the boat.

Henry's mental state is deteriorating rapidly. He likely will get even worse faster now that they are leaving Key West. Reg missed three mortgage payments. When he went to the bank to pay in person and catch up, he was told that the bank was taking advantage of a clause that entitled them to raise his monthly payments. If that sounds punitive, well, really, it's not. The bank had contacted Reg by both phone and mail during those 90 days, and he ignored the notices. The property already has a lien because Reg has skipped the homeowner association assessments. He has no choice but to sell and move somewhere where the cost of living is cheaper. 

This means pulling Henry away from his routine and the familiar surroundings, like his church. (He gets dressed up every Sunday morning for service.) Even before they move, they have to pack up the house and Henry hates parting with anything. He won't understand perspective buyers opening doors and checking out the property. Thinking of the confusion, even terror, all this will cause breaks my heart.

Especially because Reg refuses to seek counseling for himself or Henry. 

I worry about Henry. I worry about Mork and Mindy, their two very badly behaved chihuahuas. I can't imagine any apartment complex welcoming those yappy beasts -- though their behavior is not their fault. I fear they will be rehomed or put down. 

My heart is sore.

Henry is gone to me.


Similarly, my oldest friend is going through ... something. She's begun a new relationship with Robert and is either gloriously happy, or going through a manic phase. She doesn't have time to talk to me right now. She's preparing for surgery on her leg next week and cooking for Robert and well, busy, busy, busy.


All this would be fine if I thought it was real. She's only known Robert a month. She's counting on him to take her to/from the hospital this week. She has given up her writing -- it wasn't that long ago that her Beatle fan fiction was the center of her life and she wondered about becoming a published romance novelist -- and she's no longer looking for a new place closer to her daughter in Los Angeles. She's going to try to stay in the mountain community she's in (even though six months ago she complained that there is no quality, affordable medical care there) because it's where Robert lives.


A month. She's known him a month. Her landlady wants her out of that apartment. Is Robert going to invite her to move in with him (after a month)? I'm scared for her.


And I miss her. 


She doesn't know how my trip to Hollywood was. She doesn't know I had the flu. She doesn't care. Busy, busy, busy.  

I've known her since Kindergarten. I have so much history with her. When she's herself, she is funnier than anyone I know. But she's bipolar. I know she can't help the mood swings, but it's hard for me to hang on. (Especially because when she's manic, she acts like her depressive self never existed so I can't ask her: "Are you seeing your shrink? Are you on your meds?")


But I'm holding on. I sent her a little get well gift -- a little kitten-shaped dish she can use for her meds as she recuperates -- that she should get Tuesday. I want her to know I'm here. I think that matters to her more than she might realize right now.


I owe Elaine an email. She wants to get together for pastrami at the deli around the corner. 


My former art director wants to come out here for seafood and tater tots at my favorite sports bar because she thinks it would be fun to listen to me and her boyfriend talk baseball.

Nancy and her husband Paul just left me a note on Facebook: "We love you, you know."

But I don't want Elaine, my art director or Nancy and Paul. I want my oldest friend and Henry. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: Promises, Promises (1983)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this week's song, Naked Eyes lead singer Pete Byrne admits he believed his girl's promises, right from the start, but now he knows he should have been more careful with his heart. Do you consider yourself more trusting or skeptical? I've become more skeptical with time.
2) He looks back on when he and his girl laughed like kids. When did you recently literally laugh out loud (opposed to keystroking LOL)? "60% of the time it works every time." I just watched reporter Brian Fantana (Anchorman) explain his choice of cologne.

3) He accuses her of not being able to finish what she starts. How about you? Do you finish what you start, or can you think of projects that you're unlikely to ever complete? I have a list of things to do around here, but it sometimes seems adding to the list is as far as I get.

4) Naked Eyes was a British New Wave band who had four Top 40 singles, including "Promises, Promises." They never toured 40 years ago because it was difficult to recreate their synthesizer-driven sound onstage. Is there a band or singer you would have liked to have seen perform live, but never did? Sinatra or Elvis.
5) While "Promises, Promises" is about an untrustworthy lover, Peter Byrne says he and bandmate/cowriter Rob Fisher worked well together because they knew they could trust one another professionally. By sharing honest assessments of creative ideas, they knew Naked Eyes would never put out "rubbish." If you want an honest opinion on something important, where do you turn? It depends on the subject. Different friends have different strengths.

6) Madonna was a Naked Eyes fan. Are you a Madonna fan? Not in the slightest.

7) In 1983, when this song was on the radio, the Lotus 1-2-3 program made it easier for PC users to build spreadsheets. Are you answering these questions on a PC or a Mac? Laptop or desktop? Android or iPhone? MacBook Air.
8) Also in 1983, America West Airlines took off for the first time, taking passengers from Las Vegas to Phoenix. Where did you go on your first flight? What about your most recent flight? First flight: O'Hare to Fort Lauderdale. Most recent: Los Angeles to O'Hare.

9) Random question -- Finish this statement: If I knew then what I know now, I would have worked harder for, and contributed more money to, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. I just never believed anyone would look at that narcissistic reality show host and say, "YES! He deserves access to the nuclear codes." I was wrong. We cannot let this happen ever again.

Gentle souls preparing to peacefully tour the Capitol


But am I "the kindest and most thoughtful?"

My auntie thinks so. Two weeks ago, when I was on vacation in Hollywood, she was admitted to the hospital with mysterious and crippling pain in her gut. It was duodenal diverticulosis and emergency surgery was required. She was frightened and in a great deal of pain, both before and after her surgery.

I called her hospital in Sarasota. She mentioned in her text message that her condition was rather rare, so I didn't want to bother any of her team while they were giving care. I just asked them to 1) let her know I called and 2) the exact address I could send where I could send a floral arrangement.

I changed my mind and went with this plant. I knew she was likely to be in the hospital for a long while I didn't like thinking of her stuck in bed, watching the flowers die. I'm glad I did it. The plant made her happy, and that's when she declared me "the kindest and most thoughtful" person she knows. I think it was especially important to her because she's estranged from her oldest son and two of her grandchildren

I was feeling guilty that I didn't stop to see her when I was in Tampa in February. I just couldn't. She is so proudly MAGA, so loudly racist and homophobic, and can't resist being provocative. But now here she is, 77 and in crisis, and I missed a recent opportunity to spend time with her. 

But then she started posting to social media from her hospital bed. She was upset about Tucker Carlson's dismissal, going on about how he was the victim of the brainless woke mob. Now this isn't true. But that doesn't stop her from spreading misinformation.

I didn't engage her. She's sick and she's medicated and I'm not going to let Fox News come between us at a time like this.

But I'm also no longer sorry I didn't spend time with her earlier this year. It wouldn't have gone well. I don't think she'd still think I'm "the kindest and most thoughtful" if we had. Better that I hold her tight but at arm's length. 

May is almost upon us -- that's Mother's Day and her birthday. I have a package here and I'll drop it in the mail on Monday. It's a pair of books I think she'll like and a little get well present. I know she misses her son and grandkids a lot this time of year and I'll try to fill the void. From a distance.


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Thursday Thirteen #306

The 13 Most Influential First Ladies

I’m fascinated by our First Ladies. It’s such a public position, and yet it’s so undefined. Each woman who has held it has made it her own, finding individual ways to balance the support of her husband and family with her duties as a representative of the United States. Because the job has no formal parameters, she can be as involved (Eleanor Roosevelt), or as remote (Bess Truman), as she wishes to be.

The Research Institute at Sienna College in upstate New York regularly reviews the First Ladies and, with the help of 90 history and poli sci professors from across the United States, ranks them based on their integrity, intelligence, courage, value to country, value to the President, leadership, public image, and “being her own woman.”

Here’s the most recent ranking, which was conducted in 2014:
1. Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Abigail Adams
3. Jacqueline Kennedy
4. Michelle Obama
5. Hillary Clinton
6. Lady Bird Johnson
7. Betty Ford
8. Martha Washington
9. Rosalyn Carter
10. Barbara Bush
11. Laura Bush
12. Edith Roosevelt
13. Edith Wilson

The list is fluid. Here's my TT from 2008 on the exact same subject, if you'd like to see how it's changed.

Please join us for THURSDAY THIRTEEN. Click here to play along, and to see other interesting compilations of 13 things.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

PS I can no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? Revenge Tour by Mike Lupica. Boston PI Sunny Randall has taken on a fabulously successful romance novelist as a client. Melanie Joan Hall is turning her bodice-ripping series of novels into a mini-series and a cable channel, and someone is threatening her, implying that she's a plagiarist. Sunny has to get to the bottom of this before her client's burgeoning empire comes tumbling down. The stakes are raised suddenly higher when people around Melanie Joan start getting dead.

I like Sunny. She's independent, smart, strong and feminine. Let's hope this story is worthy of her.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Capote's Women by Laurence Leamer. In life, Truman Capote was better known as a celebrity than an author. He was a mainstay in the gossip columns and society pages because he surrounded himself with New York's wealthiest, most beautiful, most stylish women. 

These women fascinated him. For the most part, they were self-created. Small-town girls, children of divorce, survivors of lost fortunes ... each gained the spotlight by becoming beautiful, learning about style, and capturing the eye of progressively wealthier and more powerful men. I suppose there's something admirable, or at least likeable, about this pursuit. Especially put in the context of their times (these women were born between 1912 and 1933). 
Truman Capote ingratiated himself to them. He took their hospitality, encouraged their confidences, and then betrayed them in print with Unanswered Prayers. They were humiliated and they cast him out.

To me, it read like a clash of mid-century Gatsbys. It's a uniquely American and a very sad saga. I look forward to Ryan Murphy's mini-series.

3. What will read next? I don't know.



At the Movies -- The Last Day

On Day Four, I went to CVS. I got a menthol inhaler, a bag of cough drops, a box of cheese crackers and a packet of string cheese. I don't know why the last two, exactly. I didn't feel good and they just appealed to me.

I started at 9:30 again -- same time and same theater as yesterday -- with Mickey Rooney again. This time with Judy Garland and Strike Up the Band (1940). This wasn't my favorite of the festival, and I admit I dozed off (a fellow Fester said Judy shouldn't be shown before noon). But it has Judy singing "Our Love Affair." And the "I Ain't Got Nobody" scene in the library! I love it so much.

Then I wanted to see No Man of Her Own (1932), the only on-screen pairing of Gable and Lombard. But I got shut out, so instead I went with Casablanca at the big IMAX. And it was pretty perfect. Not only because Casablanca is a great movie, but because of the venue. I mean, look!

This photo is from Slant magazine (read the article here).

I'm here, with 900 like-minded classic film fans in a movie palace. It doesn't get any better than this for me.

Then I was back to one of the smaller mall venues for another very nearly perfect movie, All About Eve (1950).  This one was introduced by two "nepo babies," as TCM host Ben Mankiewicz (grand nephew of the movie's director Joe) interviewed David Newman (son of the film's composer, Alfred). I enjoy hearing about scoring, and Newman clearly knows his stuff.

As far as the movie goes ... this is the first time I've ever seen this classic with an audience and was tickled by how everyone spontaneously applauded one of my favorite moments: Bill Sampson comes running (literally running) into Margo's room, takes her in his arms, and whispers, "Bill's here, Baby." It's only then that tough-as-nails Margo drops her guard and starts to cry. At one time or another, we've all been Margo, haven't we?

Then it was time for my last movie of the festival. I admit that by now I was really dragging. I was tired, I missed my cats, I wanted to go home. And yet, I didn't. I was very conflicted as I stood one last time at the forecourt of the TCL Chinese, looking at all the movie stars' footprints in cement. 

My final movie was the 40th anniversary celebration of The Big Chill, introduced by cast members Tom Berenger and JoBeth Williams. I was especially interested to hear that JoBeth didn't want to play her part -- the dissatisfied wife, Karen -- and instead wanted to play Mary Kay Place's role -- lawyer Meg, who wants a baby. Glenn Close also wanted to play Meg. Writer/director Lawrence Kasdan had some ruffled feathers to smooth among his cast, and Williams said he did a masterful job. Now she says she can't imagine the film cast any other way.

Will, Guy and Karen all went to the Festival closing party, but I went back to my room and back to bed. I don't regret it. Will tells me the party was very crowded and this year they charged for drinks. 

The money wasn't the issue for me. I was exhausted. In between movies there was a lot running from venue to venue. Up the stairs and down the escalators. This old gray mare just ain't what she used to be.

But I had a great time and can't wait to do it again next year!


At the Movies -- Day Three

On Day Three, my nose was stuffy but I didn't let that stop me. I had a full plate of movies ahead of me! 

I started at 9:30 at one of the smaller mall theaters with Boys Town (1938). I haven't seen this one since I was a very little girl and was happy to revisit it.

It's the story of Father Flanagan, who famously believed that "there is no such thing as a bad boy." He created a boys home where at-risk boys could feel safe, get an education, believe in themselves. Spencer Tracy won his first Academy Award for playing the priest, who was the first real person to see an Oscar-winning depiction of himself.

I was very moved by the story and especially by Tracy. Before the movie, a representative of the Academy Museum gave us a little background that made the film even more poignant. Mickey Rooney, who played Whitey, was at this time the #1 star on the MGM lot. He was an important commodity and the studio wanted to get as much product out of him, as quickly as possible. While he was doing the drama Boys Town, he was also making Love Finds Andy Hardy, a comedy-musical. He'd finish playing Whitey on one soundstage and then dash to another where he played Andy. On the same day. He was 17. Considering what we know about his frequent costar, Judy Garland, it's easy to assume studio-provided amphetamines were involved. 

So here we were, watching a beautiful and effecting movie about saving at-risk children starring an exploited child. It was sobering.

Which doesn't diminish the power of the movie or its message. To learn more about the real Boys Town and its good works, click here.

Then it was on to the big IMAX screen to see a glorious presentation of The African Queen (1951). Shari Belafonte, who has traveled extensively through Africa, gave a little talk about the challenges of on location filming 9,000 miles away from Hollywood -- especially in 1951, when soundstages were still the norm. Hepburn, Bogart and director John Huston were all pretty influential and used their star power to get this film made the way it should be made.

I love this movie. This is (at least) the fourth time I've seen it and I'm always moved by the performances. Hepburn is luminous. A woman of faith, falling in love for the first time in mid-life. Her Rosie is just beautiful, inside and out. Bogart is funny and irascible. This is his Oscar-winning performance and he's a charmer.

For Bye, Bye Birdie I met up with Will, Guy and Ann-Margret. She was beautiful and gracious. At 81, she seem pleased to be surrounded by a crowd of classic film fans who really love the movie that made her a star.

Watching it again, I was impressed by how good Dick Van Dyke is. He was funny, sang well, and danced gracefully. Is there anything he couldn't do?

I wish I'd gotten to spend more time with Guy. He's very funny, very easy to be around. But after Birdie, we each went our own way. He was off to The Exorcist. Will, the greatest of Stanwyck fans, chose Sorry, Wrong Number. I went with one of the trashiest, most glorious movies ever.

Elizabeth Taylor was the most notorious women in America when she made this movie. She was The Other Woman who broke up the marriage of America's Sweethearts: Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. Everyone thought she was a slut, and here she was playing one.

She didn't want to appear in BUtterfield 8. She knew she was being exploited, and what's worse, it was exploitation by MGM, the studio where she'd worked since she was a girl. (The same studio that made Boys Town; these people were assholes.)

Once it was obvious she couldn't get out of it -- litigation was threatened -- Liz gave it her all. Make no mistake about it: this is a silly movie. Her leading man, Laurence Harvey, is so sour and dreadful you can't believe she'd fall for him. Her costar and then-husband, Eddie Fisher, is inconsequential. But Elizabeth Taylor is wonderful in this. She's sincere and authentic. That she won her first Oscar for a movie she always insisted she hated tells you she was much more than a glamour girl.

Any day with LaLiz and the Great Kate is a good day!


At the Movies -- Day Two

Day Two was our first full day of movies.
I began first thing in the morning at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX. It's a huge, iconic theater with a screen 93 feet wide.* It was the perfect venue to see another new-to-me movie, the original King Kong from 1933.

To say that this film is racially insensitive and regressive in attitude toward the sexes is a massive understatement. The special effects -- ground breaking 90 years ago -- look downright silly at times. And yet, it gripped me. Kong was just a critter. A rather sweet-natured one, at that. He only acted up when he thought his human needed his help. Great story telling is timeless. I'm glad I saw it, even at 9:00 AM.

After my date with the ape, I planned to grab a quick lunch and then race over to one of the smaller theaters to see Larceny, Inc., a 1942 crime comedy starring Edward G. Robinson. Unfortunately, as I was finishing my tater tots and preparing to pay my bill, Bob appeared at my table. Bob used to belong to our movie group but he dropped out because he's too shy to participate. Anyway, he's from a small town in Wisconsin and doesn't seem especially comfortable navigating the festival alone. I didn't want to spring up from the table ... OK, I really did want to spring up and be on my way because I had another movie to catch, but that would have been rude so I chatted with Bob for a few minutes. And was shut out of Larceny, Inc. No good deed goes unpunished, right?

Instead I returned to the IMAX. That theater has more than 900 seats and TCMFFestival goers are seldom turned away. So I caught the 30th anniversary presentation of Groundhog Day, introduced by the actor who played Ned Ryerson, Stephen Tobolowsky. I've never seen this one before, either. It's very funny -- of course it is; I mean Bill Murray and a rodent! -- but it's also far sweeter than I expected it to be.

Then I boarded the complimentary shuttle to the Hollywood Legion Theater. Built in the 1920s, it was the American Legion Hall for Hollywood's WWII servicemen, including Clark Gable, Henry Fonda and Ronald Reagan. Today it's run to benefit veterans. 

Learn more about the theater here.

TCM took it over for the festival and on Friday I saw Peyton Place there. It was introduced by Russ Tamblyn. You probably know him as Riff in the original West Side Story. But to me he'll always be Norman, the sensitive nerd. He was interesting and charming. The print of the movie was pristine, and the audience loved it as much as I did.

Next, Frankie Avalon saved my life. OK, that's an exaggeration. (But I like it as the title of my autobiography.) Anyway, here's what happened. The big movie at the IMAX was the 2001 remake of Ocean's 11, starring George Clooney. George and director Stephen Soderbergh were set to introduce it. TCM had taken over the screens next door at the mall. Vincent Price's House of Wax was being shown in 3D, and friends were all at the Barbara Stanwyck classic, Ball of Fire
The hotel pool screening
All those classic film festers were affected by the "shelter in place" alert
. A man was shot in the head right there on The Walk of Fame, and the police were searching for the gunman who was still at large. Meanwhile, I was blocks away, poolside at the Hotel Roosevelt, wearing a lei, sipping a cocktail and waiting for Frankie Avalon to introduce the 60th anniversary screening of Beach Party. So my lowbrow tastes kept me out of harm's way. 
82-year-old Frankie looks good and was very charming. He told us he and Annette had been lifelong friends, even though they worked really hard. They made seven of these movies together over four years. Each was shot in 15 days with no days off. (Most major films have three months of principal photography.) He never did learn to surf. As he joked, he grew up in Philly, where the closest thing to swimming he got was splashing when the police opened a fire hydrant. 

Yes, Beach Party is still stupid. Perhaps even more stupid. But I had fun and was happy to miss all the drama on Hollywood Blvd.

Monday, April 24, 2023

At the Movies -- Day One

I'm finally feeling better -- a week after returning home from Hollywood. I had a lovely time, but the weather was awful (I kept hearing Sinatra's voice: "She hates California, it's cold and it's damp.") Many of us fell victim to a virus, too. My old boss, Aaron, works in Hollywood and we were going to get together and catch up. He had to cancel on my first night because of a bug, and I think I took it home with me. Rumor has it 50 TCM festival goers reported being sick on social media -- but to be clear, I don't know for certain that's true. I do know that I started feeling shitty last Saturday night and by the time I got home on Monday, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. Where I've pretty much stayed for a week.

Which doesn't mean I didn't have a great time. Fourteen movies at five different venues over four days. Surrounded by other passionate cinephiles (OK, movie nerds).  What's not to love?

I was back at the Hollywood Celebrity Hotel again this year. They did everything they could to make us TCMFF-ers feel safe and welcome, and I appreciated it. My room was also warm. I spent all day chilled as I rushed from venue to venue, and then the movie theaters themselves were entirely too cold, too.* So it was completely wonderful to burrow under the covers.

On Day One, I got together with my Chicago crew -- Karen, Betty, Will and Guy -- at the opening reception. Karen and Will competed gamely in the classic movie trivia contest. They didn't prevail, but they represented us well.

Then it was off to the movies! My first film of the festival was one I'd never seen before: One Way Passage (1932). Joan is a beautiful heiress. Don is a dapper ladies man. They meet briefly in a dockside bar and sparks fly. Then they find themselves on the same ocean liner to San Francisco. They embark on a shipboard romance, each trying to keep a secret from the other.

It was short, sweet, and very romantic. And rather rare. I don't think I've ever seen it offered anywhere, not even TCM. A poignant beginning to Festival 2023.

*When I get my email survey from TCM, this is definitely going to get a mention. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sunday Stealing


1. Would you rather trade some intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence? Looks for intelligence.

2. If everything in your house had to be one color what would it be? Pantone 294, aka Cubbie blue.
3. What animal would be the most terrifying if it could speak? I don't think any animal could possibly be more terrifying than us.

4. How do you procrastinate? With tremendous skill and a lifetime of experience.

5. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? Doesn't give up until absolutely forced to.

6. Would you rather go 30 days without your phone or life without dessert? My phone. Because I could use my laptop instead. There's no similar easy substitute for chocolate.

7. If one animal was made the size of an elephant, which would be the scariest? The lowly ant. They can already lift thousands of times their own weight. Imagine what they could do if they weighed several tons.

8. If you were reincarnated as a famous landmark, which would it be? Sleeping Beauty Castle at the Magic Kingdom. 

9. What celebrity chef would you like to make you dinner? Chef Art Smith. His Reunion Restaurant is a favorite of the Obamas ... and mine. I had no idea how good a fried chicken sandwich could be until I ate there. Here's the menu.

10. How much would someone have to pay you to eat a spider? There isn't enough money. I'm very allergic to bee sting. I suspect that with my body chemistry, this experiment wouldn't end well.

11. If you joined a circus, what would your circus act be? Wow. I got nothing for this. I must admit I have no circus-worthy talents.

12. Do you have any superstitions? Sure. I recite my same Sunday School prayer when I'm scared (like fight take off and landing).

13. What cheesy song do you have memorized? Her name was Lola. She was a showgirl, with yellow feathers in her hair and her dress cut down to there. She could merengue and do the cha-cha. And while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar across the crowded floor ...

14. What’s something weird that you recommend everyone try at least once? Go to Graceland. Such a fascinating cross section of humanity congregates around The King.

15. What do you think is the most unpleasant sounding word? "Smegma." Fortunately it seldom comes up in conversation.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Saturday 9

 Saturday 9: I Won't Be the One to Let Go (2002)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Barbra Streisand begins by singing about dreams and wishes. What are you wishing for this morning? I want to feel better. I've felt crappy all week. I blame LA. When I was in Hollywood for the TCM Film Festival, my Cubs just so happened to be playing the Dodgers. Two of the Cubs broadcasters, Pat Hughes (radio) and Taylor McGregor (TV) came home sick, as well. Coincidence?

2) Barry Manilow sings that "anytime you need me, you'll know where I am." If a friend needs you, what's the best way to reach you (text, phone call, email, knock on the front door ...)? Call my landline. If you are my friend or relative, you have the number. It's been the same for decades. If I'm not home, leave a voicemail. I'm not tethered to my cell. It's either in my purse or charging on the kitchen counter. I won't hear it ring and I won't see your text until the next time I pick it up or go out. 

My nephew knows this, but still is a text-only guy. He not only won't call my landline, he won't call my cell. He will not talk on the phone. Nor will he Zoom. I assume he has to use Zoom for his job but he won't for his personal life. He's 22 and just "never got into the habit" of talking on the phone. We each think the other is strange.
3) Both of this week's artists are from Brooklyn. In addition to Barry and Barbra, Brooklyn is home to Coney Island, where America's first roller coaster debuted in 1884. Do you enjoy amusement park rides? If yes, do you have a favorite? I used to. I haven't been on one in years. None of my friends will go with me! I used to love the Tilt a Whirl.

4) Barbra and her husband, actor James Brolin, have lived in the same Malibu home for more than 25 years. How long have you been in your current residence? Do you think you'll be moving anytime soon? I've been here 21 years. I'm not leaving. You can't make me.

5) Barry Manilow once lived in luxurious Bel Air. His neighbors were former President and Mrs. Reagan. At first he thought it would be great to have the Reagans nearby but quickly changed his mind because he disliked the Secret Service helicopters flying overhead. Tell us about one of your neighbors. (No pressure; we don't expect to hear about historic figures.) My across-the-hall neighbor is a woman of about 30 who always wears a white blouse to work (she's a bank teller) and she has tremendous false eyelashes. I worry about her. She lived with a very amusing stoner for about a year. During covid, I distinctly recall encountering him in the hall and watching him miss his nose/mouth with his mask so he looked like the Lone Ranger. Anyway, they got married and in no time all, he moved out. She's trying to afford the condo without him, but it's hard. He won't let her sell it until their divorce settlement is worked out. She may have to rent it out and move in with her parents until their divorce is final and she can sell. I know all this because I'm on the condo board and have to approve the rental. ANYWAY, she seems stressed and sheepish every time I see her. I hope she gets through this rough patch and comes out happier on the other side.
6) As a teenager, Barbra worked as a switchboard operator. Her job consisted of connecting calls by inserting phone plugs into the appropriate jacks. As telephoning became automated, these jobs were phased out and by 1983, the switchboard operator was obsolete. Can you think of another occupation that used to be common but doesn't exist anymore? I thought it would be cool to be an elevator operator, like Miss Kubelik in The Apartment. You got to work in a big office building and wear a spiffy uniform.

7) Loyal Fanilows can subscribe to ManilowTV. For $9.95/month, fans can watch exclusive content, like interviews and concert performances. Do you more often watch live broadcast TV or streamed content? I'm still more broadcast than stream. I watch a lot of news and baseball.

8) In 2002, the year this recording was released, the Sears Wish Book offered seven different collectible Barbies. According to Mattel, the doll's manufacturer, there are more than 100,000 Barbie collectors all over the world. Do you collect anything? Books and magazines. I'm overrun with books and magazines.

9) Random question: Are you exclusively an online/ATM bank customer, or do you often go into the branch and interact with a teller? I never actually spoke to anyone at the bank, but now I go to the window to turn in the quarters from the laundry room. (One of the few benefits of being on the condo board is that I no longer have to hoard quarters.)