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August 2, 2020:

THE SAD DEMISE OF THE LEAN CUISINE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, August is flying by, like a gazelle playing the tuba whilst reading Gunter Grass on the pavement.  And I, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to the symphonies of Robert Schumann with adjusted orchestrations by someone named Mahler – and one for Mahler.  They’re interesting and I’m enjoying them but am looking forward to hearing one of my favorite conductors, Mr. George Szell, do them, although I’m told he made his own orchestration changes.  Leonard Bernstein, from what I understand, did them as written, so I’d like to hear those, too.  Now, one key question of the day is, when did Stouffer’s Lean Cuisines become inedible?  I’ve now tried four or five and haven’t made it to bite two without hurling them into the trash bin.  I remember liking them at some point.  I still do like the pizza bread thing, but the rest is from hunger and I wonder if it’s just gone downhill or if thus it always was.  Yes, these are the late-night ramblings, these ponderings on the demise of the Lean Cuisine, all set to the music of Robert Schumann and one for Mahler.  Before I get off the topic of the frozen dinner, I will say that everything I’ve had from Marie Callender’s as a frozen dinner has been quite good.  Of course, those aren’t exactly “lean” but they’re at least tasty.  And I’ll take tasty over inedible any day of the week, especially Sunday.

Yesterday was not a bad first day of August.  I was up at eight-thirty and out of the house at nine-thirty.  I had two and a half hours to kill, so my first thought was to mosey on over to the Coral Café and sit outdoors and have a nice breakfast.  And so, I did mosey on over there only to find all their usual outside tables taken with an additional ten tables set up on the side street also all taken.  I found that curious as I’ve never seen anyone having breakfast at nine-thirty on a Saturday there and I’ve been there many times – Sundays, yes, can’t get in.  But everyone wants to eat out, I guess, and sit outdoors.  I then drove back, passing Denny’s – same exact story there – lots of outdoor tables, all completely filled with people waiting.  Go know.  I then drove to the mail place and saw that the important envelope had NOT been delivered on Friday, and it was too early yesterday for that mail to have even arrived there, so I still don’t know if it’s there, but certainly hope it is.

After that, I drove over to Jerry’s Deli, where they have seven or eight tables outside, none taken.  Why?  Because you have to order and get your food inside “to go” and then take it outside and eat it.  Apparently, no one wants to do that.  I got some bagels, cream cheese, lox, and a small thing of coleslaw.  I drove around for a bit, and finally it was noon o’clock and I came home – she of the Evil Eye had already left the premises, and as a special gift, she’d let in a fly, which I then had to stalk for about thirty minutes before it met its untimely demise.

Then for the rest of the afternoon I did Kritzerland show stuff.  There’s still one thing that’s up in the air, but I’m told that will be rectified this very day and I can only hope and trust that will be the case.  I had several telephonic conversations and found out a prediction that I’d made weeks ago is about to come true.  I said that once a certain musical theater group saw our shows, that they’d start to do their own concert series.  And that’s what they say they’re going to do.  I’m not sure they quite understand how we do ours but I’m sure they’ll be doing everything in their power to figure it out.  And just two days ago I had a little telephonic call from someone asking me how we do a certain thing – since I knew the person, I told him, and now we’ll see if he’s going to start doing something.  I said when we began these in early May that we’d become the poster child on how to do these and so it has come to pass.  Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I like to retort with imitation is the sincerest form of imitation.  The same thing happened when we first began doing our shows.  It took about a year for people to see what we were doing, how successful we were, and then the floodgates opened and have never closed, with many shows attempting to use the format we created here in LA, sometimes right down to the tiniest details.

I ate my bagels, cream cheese, and lox, and that was excellently excellent – I also had the little thing of coleslaw.  Very satisfying meal.  Then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched the rest of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes of season three.  The ones that are lame right off the bat, which is way too many of them, I speed through.  Thankfully, there were three excellent episodes in the final batch.  Interestingly, two of them starred Barbara Bel Geddes.  The Foghorn, the first of her episodes was really good – her and Michael Rennie, and wonderfully directed by Robert Stevens.  Then it was enduring more poor episodes, all of which were directed by James Neilsen and Paul Henried, and we had to add a third name to the awful directors – Don Taylor.  However, one episode directed by him starred Hazel Court.  Both were, I believe, married to others at the time, but just a few years later they would marry.  The second Barbara Bel Geddes episode is one of the classics of the entire series, Lamb to the Slaughter, directed by Mr. Hitchcock from a story and teleplay by Roald Dahl.  Miss Bel Geddes is so great and she just sparkles in this devilishly good yarn.  The third episode, also directed by Mr. Hitchcock, was Dip in the Pool, a fun little episode, also from a story by Roald Dahl, starring Keenan Wynn.  All the episodes in this last batch aired in 1958.  It’s amazing to see how many people from Hitchcock’s films were in these shows.  Barbara Bel Geddes had, of course, just co-starred in Vertigo, but character actors like Raymond Bailey, Adam Williams, Edward Binns, Doreen Lang, Karl Swenson, and lots of other good folks, appeared regularly.

After that, I tried to watch a motion picture entitled Freebie and the Bean, but so bad was it that I finally gave up after about forty minutes.  It’s completely incomprehensible for the first twenty-five minutes, and then the “plot”, such as it is, kicks in and it’s a big ho-hum.  But you do get to watch Alan Arkin and James Caan improvising like crazy and being pretty much completely unfunny.  Of course, Mr. Tarantino LOVES it.  It takes a lot for me not to like a movie made in the 1970s, but this joins that list.

Then I listened to music and relaxed, made a Lean Cuisine, took half a bite and into the trash it went, so instead I made a Marie Callender’s frozen dinner (about 400 calories) and that was pretty good as frozen dinners go.

Today, I have to be up by ten-thirty to have an eleven o’clock telephonic conversation with one of our New York guest stars – just technical stuff to go over and hopefully that will all go smoothly and more importantly effortlessly.  Once that’s done, I’ll mosey on over to the mail place – one little package is coming today and I’m praying that the important envelope will be there waiting for me.  Then I’ll eat something and then I’m not doing anything after that but relaxing.

This coming week is getting everything and everyone ready for our Sunday show, plus our little Facebook and YouTube Live test, which I hope you’ll come watch, as I’ll be answering questions that were asked on Facebook.  I haven’t prepared any answers – I just printed out the questions.  Then we’ll hopefully be all set for Kritzerland 108 at Home, and we would love it if you all could watch it LIVE rather than viewing it after the fact.  Watching live is much more fun because you can leave comments as the show goes along, and that goes for both Facebook and YouTube.  So, mark your calendars for Sunday August 9 at five o’clock PDT and eight o’clock EDT.  I’ll have the links in the notes, of course.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by ten-thirty for an eleven o’clock call, I must hopefully pick up a package and an important envelope, I’ll eat, and then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them.  So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as I ponder the sad demise of the Lean Cuisine.

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