Dear Trader Joe’s: hi! Been a week since I’ve been to the store, and I’m sure there’s lots of great stuff waiting for me, from the tart asparagus butter to that great air-puffed popcorn you make by trapping the breath of opera singers and heating it gently over a fire made from Belgian twigs. I can’t wait! But if we could just talk for a moment about the adhesive tabs on the coffee bags. I know, I know, I should buy the whole bean, and grind it right there - it’s part of the fun, part of the communal atmosphere, all us Joe people, or Joeple as we should probably call ourselves. But then I end up with those big round tins, except they’re not really tins. Sort of a stiff metal paper. Don’t get me wrong, they’re useful for crafts and holding old pens until the pens are all dried out from misuse, and then you can throw them all away, but they’re about 1/8” too tall for the shelf where the coffee goes. Plus, the stuff in the bags keeps longer, and I have a few bags in the basement stockpiled.

Now. Recently a change was made: there used to be a twist-tie thing on the top of the bag. This was remarkably useless, and I figured it was something of a private joke for the Joeple, because we all knew that the wire thing fell off almost immediately, and it didn’t exactly lock in the freshness. Now it’s been replaced by a bag that’s sealed even tighter than that room in the Vatican where they keep the lock of St. Peter’s hair, so you have to cut the bag open. Circus strongmen cannot pull it apart. To keep things fresh, there’s a little adhesive strip. I refer, of course, to this:

Here you see it in the state to which we have all become accustomed: A) broken, and B) not holding anything together. I’ve gone through six bags, and in each instance the adhesive strip tears apart when detached. This leaves just a small portion to close the bag, which it doesn’t do, because A) it attracts coffee - I almost said “coffee grounds,” but that’s the stuff after it’s used, right? Isn’t that funny? It’s ground coffee before you use it, and coffee grounds afterwards. What a peculiar thing, this English language! Anyhoo, it also has the sticking power somewhere between “old Post-It note” and “damp cardboard,” so even if you seal the bag, it’ll pop open soon. And when it does, it somehow flings ground coffee in the cupboard, which makes the shelf feel like it's filed with gritty severed ant thoraxes.

Just thought you’d like to know!


In a fit of industriousness, my wife took all the lights off the bushes in front of the house, and heaped them on the table in the backyard. This was my signal to get out the pole with the hook on top and take them off the big tree. Then I had to see which ones survived the removal process. Stripping them off usually pops a few, and the process is traumatic enough to cause shorts here and there. I’d say about 40% of the lights survived. So . . . I went through a string, bulb by bulb, seeing if I could coax the entire string back to illumination. Did forty: pull out, replace, check - nope? replace, repeat. When I got to the end of the string of dead bulbs and it still wouldn’t relight, I declared that the entire affair would be a waste of my time, and threw them all out.

I’d hate to say “that was my Sunday,” but it was the most substantial and productive part. The previous night I watched "Road to Shanghai," since I decided to watch all the "Road" movies in sequence.

You may wonder what this has to do with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby:

It's the HORRIFYING VISION OF MODERNITY that drives Crosby to flee town, because he's engaged to a woman who wants a house like this. The movie understood that its audience would find these things . . . telling. One of those women. Oh, it was interesting to see this stuff at the World's Fair, but what sort of person would want to live there?

Once in Shanghai, we meet the woman who will pop up in all the movies:



You just hate to learn that her last role was in "Creepshow." Correction: "Creepshow 2." But she had, from the sound of things, a long and happy life. Something I didn't know, from her wikipedia page:

Early in her career, Lamour met J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to Hoover's biographer Richard Hack,[4] Hoover pursued Lamour romantically, but she was initially interested only in friendship with him. Hoover and Lamour remained close friends to the end of Hoover's life, and after his 1972 death, Lamour did not deny rumors that she'd had an affair with him in the years after she divorced Kay.

Don't think that made the recent biopic. Did it? Rather changes one's view of the fellow. Edgar, you dog.

In the scene above she's dancing with a guy who has a whip.



Of course, you know him:



Anthony Quinn. Then there's this guy.



About 30 seconds into his routine, I figure: I'll bet he's in every "Road" picture, too. He is. That's Jerry Colonna. His catchphrase has its own wikipedia entry.

The catchphrase "Who's Yehoodi?" (or, alternatively, "Who's Yehudi?") originated when violinist Yehudi Menuhin was a guest on the popular radio program of Bob Hope, where sidekick Jerry Colonna, apparently finding the name itself humorous, repeatedly asked "Who's Yehudi?" Colonna continued the gag on later shows even though Menuhin himself was not a guest, turning "Yehudi" into a widely understood late 1930s slang reference for a mysteriously absent person.

The United States Navy chose the name "Project Yehudi" for an early 1940s precursor to stealth technology.

Well. That I did not know.

Something to chew on - hah! A joke - from the Matchbook entry today. This isn't used, but in case you ever wondered if Bit-o-Honey had a theme song, the answer is yes.



This week's teaser ad campaign: all will be revealed on Thursday! See you around.











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