Monday Escape: Give me some fin

1958 De Soto Firedome

One of the most famed and truly iconic aspects of American cars from the 1950s is the tail fin, a design aspect attributed to the designers’ having returned from war with new, aircraft- and rocket-inspired visions in their minds as well as the nation’s optimism and our preparing to reach the moon (and beyond, it was hoped at the time).

1958 De Soto Firedome
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Drop Everything And Read Day is tomorrow!

Brief Library Tour

Okay, so that’s actually a “boxed” set of Temptations music. It just doesn’t fit anywhere else!

It’s a small holiday, but one I particularly like, especially with such a fine weekend in the offing (and even more so after spending all of today up until about two hours ago working in the garden—your exhausted correspondent is ready to rest!): Drop Everything And Read Day, shortened to DEAR.

Taking place on April 12th each year, DEAR Day pays tribute not only to a love of reading but to children’s author Beverly Cleary. Though aimed at children, hoping to encourage a love of reading by having them…well, DEAR a book, considering the way most adults’ lives are packed with far less rewarding (however necessary) activities, why shouldn’t we adopt it? Continue reading

When is the last time you saw a red-checked tablecloth?

Liberty Images Photo


Jan at Restaurant-ing Through History has a brief, interesting look at the rise and fall of red-checkered tablecloths in restaurants. After reading, I thought about the last time I’d seen one in a diner or other eating establishment, but couldn’t think of one! I do recall bananas being used as napkins at the Red River Steakhouse in McLean, Texas, but a red-checked tablecloth? The last time we ate off one (with dinnerware, of course!) was right here at home.

Though they’re obviously out of favour at restaurants (for now), I’ll always love the good cheer and homey-ness of a red-check tablecloth. How about you?

Where does “historic” stop?

Happy HouseWhen it comes to historic preservation, at what point should municipalities and preservationists (who can be, let’s confess, really…um…passionate) let the property owner alone?

This question came to mind as it so often does when I’m reading or skimming various articles about historic preservation and rules regarding properties with a “historic” designation of some sort. I’ll be honest with you (in case you’ve not yet figured it out): I think that when it comes to the majority of things, the government should just keep its nose out of our business.

Of course, like so many of you, I love old buildings and towns: they’re often quite handsome or even beautiful; they speak about our history and those who came before us; they give regions a sense of place and vibrancy and keep things from becoming too depressingly cookie-cutter (I defy you to go anywhere in this country and not find a shopping center suspiciously like one back home). There’s quite a tug-of-war about this sort of thing that often rages within, but in the end, I find myself siding with the property owner no matter how sick it makes me when a grand building is defaced or worse. It’s their property. Continue reading

Doris Day all day Thursday, The Duke as Star of the Month

Doris Day

Happy birthday, Doris!
Photo courtesy BJ Alias, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

This week began in a rather terrifying fashion for me, and no doubt you understand what such things bode for the remainder of the week. I can’t tell you how relieved I am not to have anywhere to go today, nothing terribly important to do—yesterday was stressful, too (I didn’t even eat!) and yours truly needs a break. Happily, everything seems to have been straightened out, so no worries, but feel free to send as much dark chocolate or as many old books and embroidery patterns as you’d like. ;)

Despite the rocky start, things began to take a turn for the brighter side last night, and I have some fun classic movie news to share with you. Just because I no longer do TCM Wednesday (and because we’re nearing Stanley Cup playoffs season) doesn’t mean I’m ignoring my love of classic films!

First of all, tomorrow is the great Doris Day’s ninetieth birthday, and TCM is celebrating with a full day of the affable star’s films. Hurrah! Prime time is packed with Doris’ delightful 1960s comedies, all of which are very much worth watching, and in daytime you’ll get your fill (well…almost, because can we ever get enough Doris?) of her musical comedies, including the ever-popular and entertaining Calamity Jane at 4:15PM EST and Love Me Or Leave Me (which Doris herself considers one of the finest movies she was in) at 12:15 in the afternoon. (For a brief look at her career as well as a rundown of the movies, here you go.)

Doris Day and the poodles

“Doris Day and the poodles”, courtesy joanneteh_32, ( CC-BY NC-ND 2.0 )

Now, I don’t know about you, but Doris Day has been one of my favourites since I was able to recognize the faces on the television screen—I love her sunny attitude (she has her own very American brand of good cheer, even when she’s exasperated, that I adore), her twinklingly mischievous eyes and beautiful smile, and of course her lilting voice (Doris Day records from the 40s have a place of honour in my collection). Not only that, but she had undeniable style, whether making catsup or finding herself in a police station surrounded by hippies and chicken feathers!  Continue reading