Tag Archives: I Love Lucy

Meet Mrs. Trumbull

I got a Kindle for Christmas.

Late last night, seven months and three weeks later, I turned it on for the first time.

In yet another battle of man versus very small machine, I won. It took more than three hours, but my Kindle and I are now on a last name basis. It’s such a simple device. How could it have been so difficult?

I won’t go into all the gory details; or maybe I will. It was a  chicken-and-egg, O. Henry, Catch 22 kind of thing. I had to connect the device to a wireless network in order to use it, but my wireless password contains characters that the Kindle doesn’t support. Or so said the nice lady at Amazon’s help desk at midnight last night.

I had spent about an hour reading various chat threads about this technical conundrum and read all of Amazon’s instructions, each of which began with “Connect to a wireless network,” when I finally gave up and called. (After doing business with Amazon.com for 10 or 15 years, this is the first time I’ve spoken with a live person.) She confirmed I had to have the guy who set up my password change it for me. Unfortunately, for him and for me, but especially for him, he is gravely ill in the hospital; I guessed he wouldn’t want to take my call. The only option was to contact the wireless router manufacturer for help. I was two-and-a-half hours into this adventure, and not looking forward to bringing in another party, especially as I expected this would involve crawling under my desk in the wee hours.

The story took a turn. Despite Amazon’s telling me the device could not support my password, I did a little fancy fingerwork and tricked the Kindle into accepting it. I registered it and gave it a name. I don’t know why devices want us to name them; it’s not like they’re our pets, but I went ahead and did it. If my Kindle were a pet, and considering my existing pets are named Ricky and Lucy, and I was still high off a recent Lucy marathon, then it would stand to reason that I name my Kindle Mrs. Trumbull.

I chose a book and ordered it. Lo and behold, the book is now in the good hands of Mrs. Trumbull.

When I saw Midnight in Paris earlier this summer, I promised myself, once I activated the Kindle, I’d re-read some Ernest Hemingway. That’s going to have to wait.

The first book is … drum roll … The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health by Gerard E. Mullin M.D., and Kathie Madonna Swift, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., Foreward by Andrew Weil, M.D.

Why? I won’t go into all the gory details.

I’ll just say my condition didn’t improve with a three-hour dose of tech diff.



By the way, is it me or would the average adult suffer late-night indigestion upon reading the following message from the Amazon help desk:

When setting up your WiFi, please make sure of the following:

-Your Router is B/G-Wireless Compatible and not broadcasting solely in Wireless-N Mode.
-You will need to know what encryption you have. If you have WPA encryption, your WiFi password will work, however if you have WEP encryption, you will need to use your 8 or 10 character WEP Key.
-Make sure that your router is not filtering MAC Addresses.


Filed under Foibles and Faux Pas, Health, Reading, Technology and Social Media

Loving Lucy

I love Lucy.

If you do too, then you know that tomorrow, August 6, 2011, would have been Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday.

I knew quite a few people who would have turned 100 this year, but this weekend we celebrate Lucy.

If I had thought about it earlier, I would have planned to revisit the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Lucy’s hometown of Jamestown, N.Y. I made a pilgrimage there several years ago, when it was just a museum—and a monument of sorts. I decided then that one of my dream jobs would be the cashier in the gift shop. The Center has been vastly expanded since then and now offers a Tropicana room, which you can rent out for parties. Maybe I’ll celebrate my 100th there.

I’ve been an I Love Lucy fan since I saw my first rerun as a young child. It would be hard for me to choose a favorite episode, but I can say with certainty that the most famous ones are not my favorites. “Job Switching” (the candy factory), “Lucy Does a TV Commercial”  (Vitameatavegamin), “Lucy’s Italian Movie”  (stomping grapes), those are for amateurs. “Bull Fight Dance” and “Ethel’s Birthday” might be in my Top 10, along with “Mr. and Mrs. TV Show,” in which Lucy and Ricky sing a jingle I still remember. Do you?

I like any episode in which actor Frank Nelson appeared. He played several different roles throughout the show’s run, most of which included his signature “EEE-Yeeeeeeeeesssss?”

Lucy’s writers played with words, lampooning Ricky’s Cuban accent and occasionally poking fun at English. Remember this one?

I could go on and on. Many documentaries have been produced and volumes written about this American icon and her imprint on American culture. There are hours—even days—to be spent going through the Jamestown museum. Go and see it for yourself.

Do you love Lucy? What’s your favorite episode? How will you celebrate her 100th birthday?

I’ll be away tomorrow but when I get back, I plan to take a day off with my two cats—Ricky and Lucy—and invite my friend Sara to bring over her complete collection of DVDs. I’ll put on my hostess pants and serve up a bottle of Aunt Martha’s Old Fashioned Salad Dressing.

Like Lucy in Episode #98 (“Lucy Cries Wolf”), I may be tied up for a while. See you sometime next week.


Filed under In Memoriam, Movies, Television and Radio, Travel

Overseas aid

They say everyone should have a current résumé and a valid passport.

I have both. Neither one gets much love these days. In fact, I just noticed that my passport was renewed five years ago, so it’s at exactly the halfway point of its valid life. The sad part is that neither the passport nor I have left the United States since 2001. It’s waiting, in its safe place, along with all the passports I’ve had since age 10 (when, by the way, I apparently stood at 4 feet, 11 ½ inches tall). My current passport is stiff and uncreased and has a pretty good photo if I do say so myself. I just wish a customs agent could see it.

My last passport saw some action and it shows. In the years before it expired in 2006, I travelled to Switzerland several times, France several times, Greece twice, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Aruba. I like to look back at the pretty visas inserted by countries that require them.

I still travel often, but to places like Detroit and Tupelo and Cleveland, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that my passport and I are itching to fly beyond U.S. borders for a change. We just need a reason. And a lot of money.

I am reminded of an I Love Lucy episode in which the wives tried to raise money to accompany their husbands to Europe. They staged a raffle for a bogus charity called Ladies Overseas Aid. (“We’re ladies, we want to go overseas and boy, do we need aid!”)

This lady needs to come up with a clever way to see the world on someone else’s nickel. Any ideas?


Filed under Movies, Television and Radio, Travel

Glaring cast of characters

We’ve talked before about collective nouns. Recently I got thinking about the vast variety of verbiage assigned to collections of animals and insects.

We know that there are herds of cattle, elephants, caribou, antelope (or is it antelopes?) and zebras. We know that are prides of lions.

Did you that a group of rhinos is a crash? How about a troop of baboons, a sleuth of bears or a pod of walruses?

I didn’t know it at the time, but I’ve seen grists of bees and, appropriately, intrusions of cockroaches.

My son sees rafters of turkeys and bales of turtles on the roads where he lives.

I hope that I shall never encounter an ambush of tigers. But while we’re talking felines: What got me thinking about these words was a recent episode of one of my favorite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory. In fact, this whole blog post was a pretext for sharing a clip from this video, the first 50 seconds of which focus on the collective nouns pertaining to large numbers of my favorite domestic creature.

Because I currently have most of my faculties, I have only two, Lucy and Ricky. Who knows, one day I might assemble a full cast: Fred, Ethel, Little Ricky, Carolyn Applebee and Mrs. Trumbull.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Hearth and Home, Movies, Television and Radio

Frenzied New Yorker

One of my great indulgences is The New Yorker magazine.  For anyone who savors the delicacy of the written word, The New Yorker is the crème de la crème.

I’ve never subscribed to this weekly magazine.  That would be like having a case of dark chocolate truffles delivered to your home every week.  Instead, The New Yorker always been a special treat, reserved for rare times of prolonged quietude—a coast-to-coast plane ride, a long weekend at the beach.

A few years ago, a friend who was moving out of the country transferred his subscription to me.  I never would have chosen to order this frivolous subscription but I won’t lie, I was aquiver with anticipation. 

The first issue came.  I started with the first pages and read each Going on About Town, including the off-off-off-Broadway performances.  As if I’d have the chance to pop into one.  Each day, I enjoyed a bit of the week’s issue, savoring the essays, poems and cartoons.  But it was a challenge to get through each issue before the next one arrived.  I’d see the new one come in and I’d work to finish the last.  I wouldn’t even peek at one until I’d finished the last. 

I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t appreciate the writing the way I always had because it had become a chore, a quest.  The weeks went by more and more quickly.  How could it be Monday already when I am only three-quarters finished with last week’s issue?  I was no longer savoring, I was binge reading.

Then it struck me – the image of Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz, scoring their dream job at the candy factory.  They thought it would be enjoyable, even easy.  And it was, until the conveyer belt went into high gear.  The ladies struggled to wrap the truffles as the candies raced by, eating those there wasn’t time to wrap.  Not a bad assignment, enjoying chocolates while doing the job.  Then the shift supervisor shouted, “Speed it up!”  as the candies came at them at an impossible speed.  Cheeks and blouses were bulging with the chocolates that eventually made them ill.

And so it was with The New Yorker—too much of a good thing coming way too fast.  Mercifully, the subscription expired.

The New Yorker and I have made our peace.  We still meet every now and then, usually in an airport news stand in a city far away.  It is sweet.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Foibles and Faux Pas, Movies, Television and Radio, Reading