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Friday, November 25, 2016

The Writer's Life 11/25 - In Passing

RIP Florence Henderson, 82, matriarch of the wildly popular sitcom The Bray Bunch. She did 117 episodes of the series, plus three off-shoots. Although I wasn't a fan, there's no denying the show's impact of American popular culture. I don't think I've ever seen a full episode, but I found her to be a lively guest on talk shows. In reading her bio at IMDb, two interesting bits of trivia stood out: She was the first female to ever host The Tonight Show, and she was a licensed hypnotherapist. She was the spokesperson in ads for Wesson Oil for 20 years, Here's a quote attributed to her: "I begged them [the producers] to give Carol Brady a job. They wouldn't do that. I mean, those clothes, for God's sake, take a look at them! I didn't choose those, please...But I said, 'Can I just hit the kids every now and then? I mean, real life!' They wouldn't let me." Well done, madam.

Government busybodies were at it again recently. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK ruled that Heinz's Can Song ad should not be broadcast again in its current form. Nine people complained it encouraged unsafe practices or might be dangerous for children to copy. Over 1.6 million people have viewed a version on youtube. It shows families, workers and festival goers enjoying the product, a British mealtime staple, and using the tin cans to hammer out percussion in accompaniment of an original song. The ASA said there was a risk that viewers could cut themselves while trying to emulate the ad. The videos featuring the song included instructions on preparing a can and taping the inside to avoid cuts. Typical of government, the ruling comes after the end of the TV campaign, which ran for two months. They really think the entire public is stupid. Judge for yourself. The ad runs 1:09:

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I didn't over-indulge, but I did eat a lot more than usual. The fridge is loaded with leftovers my youngest niece gave me. My great-niece/godchild Danielle is not pleased with SUNY Albany and will transfer to a local JC and figure out things from there. My great-nephew Ronnie is not only taking a full class load at the University of Kentucky, where he's a junior veterinary student, he's working full time as a manager at Walmart. He did not make the long trip to south Jersey, but his mom showed me a picture he sent to her iphone of his first serious girlfriend. After dinner and before dessert, I sat in the living room watching TV while the boys in the band were playing in the other living room, Ron Sr. on banjo, Kerry on upright bass and the incomparable Ed on guitar. Man, can he play. It was a nice time, and traffic on the long ride home was a dream. And I didn't have to hunt very long for a parking spot.

I saw two interesting things on my morning walk the past two days. Yesterday, just after six AM, a woman was getting her hair done at the corner shop. I wonder how much extra she had to pay to get the stylist to service her at such an hour on a holiday. This morning there were five lovely young girls in line at a local, little clothing store on Sheepshead Bay Road, looking for Black Friday deals. One had brought a chair.

My thanks to the middle age women who bookended today's session of the floating book shop. The first arrived just after I'd set up and bought 12 books, all non-fiction except for Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Maeve Binchy's massive Circle of Friends. The second came just as I was about to pack up and purchased a beautiful pictorial on old Hollywood.

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