Saturday, August 6, 2016

Remembering Happier Things

Magic Words

Now that I'm no longer a classroom teacher, one of the saddest times of year is right now, with all of the "Back to School" sales going on all around me.

Like a moth to a flame, every August I am drawn to my favorite stores to check out the latest and greatest stuff. These days I'm just looking, unfortunately, but I still feel an urge to stock up on old favorites...

I'll always have a soft spot for
Office Max because my late best friend Matt used to work there, and got me good deals on computers, printers, and one of my all-time favorite office chairs.

Office Depot and Office Max are one company now, though their stores (at least for now) retain their old looks. I always liked Office Depot because it stocked the small binders my students liked to use for their contest scripts. All the other stores either charged too much for them or didn't stock them at all.

I got a great deal on my excellent Lexmark C540n color laser printer at a Staples in Omaha back in 2012, and when I took the teaching gig at Thomas Jefferson HS back in 2014 I bought a beautiful new Sealy office chair in red leather at the same store.

"You do look impressive sitting in that chair, it's true."

I know, right?


Rosewood set with gold trim

One of my favorite things about eBay is the way it makes collecting older items much easier. These wooden pens and pencils were made and sold by Hallmark in the '70s, but they haven't been available in stores for 40 years.

Thanks to eBay, I was able to add this nice pair to my collection this week for far less than what the set sold for brand new.

"That explains why you were doing your Touchdown Dance in the living room the other day."

I did no such thing...

Happy Birthday!

On August 6, 1809 Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. He published his first volume of poetry at age 18, and went on to become England's Poet Laureate under Queen Victoria, an honor he held for 42 years (1850-1892).

I encountered Tennyson quotations all the time during my education (he is one of the most-quoted poets in the language), but never read any of his complete works until I was assigned to write an analysis of "Locksley Hall" in college.

Tennyson was a joy to teach in my literature classes, and my students were always surprised to learn how many familiar phrases in our language originated in his poems.

On August 6, 1911 Lucille Désirée Ball was born in Jamestown, New York to working-class parents.

Lucy enjoyed a storied career in television after failing at live theatre and not making much of a splash in motion pictures. I Love Lucy is one of those cultural icons that is actually even better than its reputation. Many people consider it the best show in television history, and there is a strong case for that assessment.

Lucy was a brilliant comedic actress, an innovative producer, and a shrewd business woman. She left an indelible impression on American culture, and like all real Americans I will always love Lucy. Here's a classic of Lucy's famously physical comedic style...

Come Again, Mr. President?

From the incisive pen of Michael Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

The theme song from I Love Lucy is one of the most recognizable melodies in the history of television.

Original 1953 sheet music
The music was written by film composer Eliot Daniel, who did not want his name associated with the song because he was afraid being connected in any way to the new medium of television might jeopardize his successful career composing for movies (he had been nominated for multiple Academy Awards).

The song's lyrics were the work of Harold Adamson, another Oscar-nominated songwriter whose body of work eventually led to his election to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Due to the show's popularity, series co-star Desi Arnaz included a vocal version of the song as the "B" side of a single he released in 1953.

Today's send-off is from the "Lucy's Last Birthday" episode of the show, originally broadcast on May 11, 1953, in which which Desi sings the lyrics to the song for the first time on the air. Enjoy...

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