Friday, March 28, 2008

Hats Off to Herb

Having been born in the early 70s, I've never known a world without an Egg McMuffin. That eggy, cheesy, salty goodness sandwiched between two halves of an English muffin is one of my favorite McDonald's food items and can be easily replicated at home. Earlier this week, the inventor of the Egg McMuffin - Herb Peterson - passed away at age 89. That's no small feat considering he worked for a food chain who is known for clogging arteries. Peterson's recipe was inspired by Eggs Benedict and one news source claims a local blacksmith let him borrow one of his circular molds to cook the eggs in a round shape.

Peterson began his career with McDonald's as vice-president of the company's advertising firm where he wrote the chain's first national slogan, "Where Quality Starts Fresh Every Day." He eventually became a franchisee and owned and operated six McDonald's restaurants in the Santa Barbara area at the time of his death. He routinely visited his stores to chat with customers up until about a year ago.

At 300 calories, it's interesting to note that the Egg McMuffin is actually the McDonald's breakfast sandwich with the least amount of calories. That's a good enough excuse to treat myself to one for breakfast tomorrow. Hats off to Herb!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shoe's a Black Magic Woman

For years Carlos Santana has known how to make a guitar squeal, and now it seems he's hoping to do the same to women by providing them with shoes. Carlos by Carlos Santana is being sold online and in Macy's stores. The site says that Carlos footwear "is designed for women who demand fashion and love shoes." Yes, but apparently not for women that care about their feet. When are men going to learn that not every women wears stilettos or pointy toes?

A better option would be these mod patterned wedges, retaling for $89.99. There are also several styles of flats available as well. Oye Como Va!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patty's Day!

"You're always trying to steal me lucky charms!"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

When Hall and Oates Were Cool

For a while during the 80s I was considered the uncoolest person to anyone who knew me because I was a Hall and Oates fan. Furthermore, I had a crush on Daryl Hall, which as you can imagine in a junior high full of Motley Crew fans, wasn’t something I offered to share with too many people. It caused unceasing torment from my oldest sister and even my brood of girlfriends, who worshipped Duran Duran and Wham, were not entirely accepting of my musical tastes.

And let’s face it: even I can admit now that Daryl and John probably weren’t the hippest dynamic duo to rule the airwaves in the 80s. I got routinely told that they were gay, a rumor that has dogged them their entire career. It wasn’t helped by the fact that they were photographed on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1985 with Hall hugging Oates, his hand snugly tucked inside the pocket of Oates’ jacket, next to the cryptic headline “The Secret Life of Hall and Oates.” Their videos were cheesy and uninspiring compared to the creativity MTV was sending out across the cable airwaves those days. One only needs to watch the embarrassing video for “Family Man”, with its cubist, video game icons floating across the screen, for the unsettling evidence. I don’t recall a single breathing female sharing screen time with the band, unless the panther from “Maneater” happened to be a she. It always seemed to me that Hall & Oates aspired to be taken seriously as a rock and roll band, but would you ever hear a classic rock station playing the likes of “You Make My Dreams Come True”? Only on one that also regularly plays Rick Springfield. Their last official original studio album that was released before they split for the first time in 1986, the unfortunately titled “Big Bam Boom”, tried too hard for a rock sound and missed the mark. Hall had even grew his blonde mane out into a badly permed mullet by that time, dowsing the flames of desire on my teenage fantasy and causing me to run straight into the waiting arms of Don Johnson.

But recently, through the magic of listening to music online, I’ve discovered a Hall and Oates record that could convert even those cynics who would rather poke their eyes out with a knitting needle than listen to “One On One” and that proves that Hall and Oates were indeed cool. The album is called Abandoned Luncheonette and was released in 1973. This little gem is Hall and Oates at their mostly acoustic and dare I say it – folksy best - before electronics and synthesizers infiltrated the 80s and their signature sound. It was their second album – a risk for the record company, since the first one flopped. Abandoned Luncheonette is comprised of only 9 tracks, including the hit “She’s Gone”, which was inspired after a girl Oates was supposed to have a date with stood him up. There’s also “Turn Around”, which tells the tale of an airplane stewardess named Sara who flies “gambling fools to the holy land Las Vegas.” Yes, this is the same Sara, Hall’s longtime girlfriend, Sara Allen, before she became immortalized in the later hit “Sara Smile.” Other favorites are the easy, breezy “When the Morning Comes” and the violin-tinged “Lady Rain.” What’s interesting to note about Abandoned Luncheonette is that Oates shares as much vocal time as Hall – something that drastically changed when the duo hit it big and Hall’s ego took over. Their voices go together like tomato soup and grilled cheese – especially on “She’s Gone” – making me realize what a shame it was that they later got pulled apart.

Now, do I think this album is any better than what the duo turned out in the early 80s? Not necessarily. Those later hits that arrived a decade later – like “Private Eyes”, “You Did It In a Minute”, “Say It Isn’t So”, “Adult Education” and a slew of other favorites remain my guilty pleasure, happily ensconced on my Finetune player next to tracks from other eras. But Abandoned Luncheonette makes for an interesting listen and a glimpse of how it all began for two “blue eye soul” buddies from Philadelphia.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mary Ann Likes Her Mary Jane

This is old news by now, but Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the TV series Gilligan's Island, was busted for pot. She looks perfectly blissed out in her mug shot, which was actually taken back in October 2007. She was sentenced to 6 months probation last month and five days in jail.

According to E!Online, the 69 year-old Wells was on her way her home from a surprise birthday party thrown for her by friends on Oct. 18. She was stopped by a cop who witnessed her car swerving and speeding up and slowing down repeatedly. He caught the distinctive odor of pot wafting from her car. Her answer was that she had picked up three hitchhikers, but dropped them back off after they started smoking marijuana. Lame excuse!

A search of her car revealed four half-smoked joints, plus two small cases used to store marijuana.

This is all Gilligan's fault! Bob Denver was well-known for having an affection for weed and was busted himself in 1998 for marijuana possession. I'm sure he got Wells hooked. No wonder these stoners never left the island - they didn't want to! Gilligan's Island? More like Giddigan's Island.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Go Retro's Retro Hottie of the Month: William Shatner!

There are two things about Star Trek that I don't understand. First, that the show only aired for three years (the way it's worshipped, you'd think it had been on for 30) and second, how did such a handsome guy become an idol for so many socially awkward dweebs? I guess if you're not getting any here on earth because of your dweebiness, you reach for the stars.

William Shatner is anything but a dweeb. He has a hit show with Boston Legal, but as much as Denny Crane amuses me I am even more fascinated by his...er..."musical performances." Here's a gem of a clip of him speaking (while pretending his cigarette is a joint) Elton John's Rocket Man at the 1978 Science Fiction Awards. How - or why - did anyone in the audience keep a straight face? I lost it when the third Shatner, tie undone, emerges from himself thanks to 70s special effects. He's a rocket, man!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cool, Daddio

Picture copyright Andover Townsman and photographed by Katie McMahon.

If you're in the Boston area or Eastern Massachusetts and into mid-century modern, you may want to check out the new exhibit "Birth of the Cool", running at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. The gallery's site says that the exhibit "presents over 150 objects that examine the painting, architecture, furniture design, decorative and graphic arts, film, and music that launched mid-century modernism in the United States and established Los Angeles as a major American cultural center." The title comes from Miles Davis’s 1949 album, "Birth of the Cool," and runs through April 13. Best of all, it's free!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Come Aboard...They're Expecting You!

The first season of The Love Boat comes out on DVD on Tuesday, March 4. Can you believe a show that regularly featured Charo set sail for eight straight seasons? You can get it for $24.99 over at Amazon.com.

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