Did you ever have one of those days when you wake up and a word or phrase is jammed into your brain sideways like a rusty shard of steel and you just can’t get it out?
Happened to me today. The phrase was “Dark Pastry.”
Now a normal person would have thought, “Yes! Substitute dark chocolate in all recipe instances in which chocolate is required.”
I thought, “that would be a great name for a baking/horror/reality TV show.”
It also conjured up one of the scariest things from my childhood — next to getting stabbed to death while sleeping — which was going down into our basement for any reason whatsoever.
And it went from there. You can read about my reality TV show here.
TRIPLE FEATURE: Are you familiar with the “VW Bug phenomena”?
Bugs are invisible to people until they buy one of their own. Then suddenly, you began to notice that they are everywhere.
That happened when I watched the 1958 romantic comedy “Houseboat.” Suddenly movies with handsome male stars who live in exotic places and share screentime with exotically beautiful European co-stars were popping up. And I had to watch them all.
Here, you’ll see what I mean:
“Houseboat” (1958) stars Cary Grant as a foreign service officer and widower who returns to Washington DC to retrieve his young children from the clutches of wealthy in-laws. Through a series of misunderstandings, he hires Sophia Loren as a domestic and nanny for the kids and they all end up living on a badly deteriorated houseboat on the Potomac. In no time, the boat is looking like a million bucks but repairing the shattered relationships take up the rest of the movie. Harry Guardino is the young buck who balances out the aging male star. Hilarity ensues.
“Dear Brigitte” (1965) James Stewart is an absent-minded professor of poetry who lives on a converted paddlewheel ferryboat in Sausalito with his wife (Glynis Johns, herself an exotically beautiful European) and children. His young son (Bill Mumy) turns out to be a mathematical savant, to the professor’s horror, but also an ardent pen-pal of exotically beautiful European Brigitte Bardot. Fabian is the young buck who balances out the aging male star. Hilarity ensues.
“Come September” (1961) Rock Hudson is a wealthy captain of industry who one month a year lives in his fabulous Italian villa that floats on the hillside above Milan. His companion for that one month is the exotically beautiful European Gina Lollobrigida. Chaos reigns (and hilarity ensues) when he suddenly decides to visit his villa in June. (Maybe the movie should have been called “Come June.”) Bobby Darin is the young buck who balances out the aging male star. Hilarity ensues.
NYT SUNDAY CROSSWORD PUZZLE: I have avoided the Sunday crossword puzzle for years because — I tell myself — I just don’t have time for it.
So now, while isolating at home, I guess I do.
Though I’d say normally I don’t have the brainpower for it.
The Sunday, May 24 puzzle, however, is the most fun ever. It is structured like a diamond theft in a huge manor, with eight suspects. The puzzle is filled with clues to the culprit. It is titled “The Mystery of McGuffin Manor” and actually had a set-up to draw you in:
“This crossword contains a whodunit: “Thank you for coming, Inspector,” said Lady McGuffin. “The famed McGuffin Diamond has been stolen from my study! The eight members of the staff had a costume party tonight–it has to be one of them: the butler, driver, cook, baker, page, porter, barber, or carpenter. They have all been confined to their respective rooms surrounding the parlor, as shown here.” Can you determine who stole the diamond … and where it is now?”
This one took me 2 hours, 10 minutes, 5 seconds to complete and it was a blast the whole way through. Well done, crossword creator Andrew Chaikin!