Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Starbucksaroo

The day I thought would never happen happened.

"This is a day I thought would never happen," I said to the cashier at the store opening.

"Huh?" she chirped.

"Starbucks, here in the country."

"Here we are! We're excited, too."

"Overlooking the Wal-Mart," I narrated the scenery.

"We've got the best spot! Beef meat, Texas toast, next door!"

"Yes, so cosmopolitan!"

I savored the occasion, drinking my grande, no fat, no whip caffè mocha, while basking in dusk at our community's grandest, trendiest chicken house.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Warm Cool Cat

Professor Kelp, cool cat.
At 20, Kelp is enjoying a well-deserved semi-retirement, which is highlighted by working on his tan in the afternoon sun.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Mother and Father's Little Kelper

One fine cat, the nutty Professor Kelp.
Our Professor Kelp has been celebrating his birthday this month, although the specific April date is unknown.

Long ago, a speeding car screeched to the curb of an outdoor pet adoption fair, where my wife was looking for a female kitten to join the family.

Donna and I had seen numerous candidates in the months and years leading up to that eventful day, but each one of them was a fella and she would have none of that. Males, she said, spray their territories.

Donna had a problem with boys being boys inside the house. Go figure.

I finally gave up the hunt and left the matter in her hands to find us a girl.

"YOU CAN HAVE HIM! I DON'T WANT HIM!" screamed the spiteful driver, as she tossed a helpless, weeks-old kitten onto the ground near the other animals. The woman, who hadn't even bothered to step out of her car, slammed the door shut, and zoomed out of sight.

Donna, standing yards away, made immediate contact with the bewildered feline, carrying him to safety. Sadly, due to his gender and her unshakable principles, she was compelled to leave him behind.

A mile or two down the highway, she snapped and U-turned back to the fair. The blue-eyed baby was still orphaned!

I was home that Saturday afternoon, counting my blessings. Number one being I was permitted to partake in a goodly selection of male activities inside the house.

The front door opened and Donna entered, cradling a beautiful pussycat.

"Oh, hi!" I said tenderly, reaching out to stroke the kitty. "What kind is she?"

"Um," Donna hesitated.

I stared at her, waiting.

"She's a he."

I was stunned. She caved.

I've always been glad she did. Sweet Kelp has been an exemplary pet, companion, and family member, impeccably mannered and obedient.

Donna shares one of the great loves with him.

And with Kelp at my side, marking the good times and not the furniture, 20 years streamed by.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

The Future Has Eyes, Too

"Mommy, Timmy ate my jelly belly!"
Wonder why society is increasingly sick?

Bad parenting at movie theatres is a good reason. I have personally witnessed hundreds, if not thousands, of incidents like this one during my previous life as a cinema employee.

Our pal Stan writes about his Monday at the drive-in theatre where he works, a school night, by the way.

"...I was helping out at the gate when a couple with three under-10 children drove up. When they asked what 'The Hills Have Eyes 2' was about, I told them that it was about some mutant humans capturing and eating some National Guardsmen. In other words, a cannibal movie.

"Their reply: 'We'll take two.'"


Kids under 10 are admitted free. Great for families looking for brain damage on a budget!

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

The Postman Always Brings Invoices

Our friends sent us a snail mail!

The envelope rested on the kitchen table for the better part of the morning. It appeared harmless enough, but we couldn't understand why Scott and Cheryl were invoicing us.

Finally, I decided to open the envelope with care. While doing so, a curious sight materialized. There was no bill demanding any payment.

We discovered, however, an inserted sheet of parchment. The whiteness had been folded into three equal sections. On one side, from top to bottom, they had typed lines and lines of words, followed by handwritten signatures.

At first glance, it looked very much like an email might look printed on a page of paper. Donna suggested we may have received: a letter.

Why, I seem to recall encountering -- and touching! -- such things in the murky haze of a bygone century.

Or maybe I saw a letter mentioned in one of those black-and-white movies from ye olden times. I forget which one. There was a writing instrument involved, maybe a left hand, fingers. I remember that.

"Why are we whispering?" I asked.

"Shhh," Donna said, as she struggled to return the document to my grasp without causing breakage. "See if you can decipher."

We would learn this *letter* contained recent Scott and Cheryl news and anecdotal tales of interest to Donna and myself. What a hoot!

It only took a moment for me to figure how to work it.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Bunny Cam

Although I much adore kitties and pups and other animals, I do believe bunnies win the cuteness honors hands down fluffy tails up.

If I finally manage to train our young cat, Morty, to bounce, he'll capture the irresistibility trophy for sure.

Meanwhile, click to enjoy the Bunny Cam, where wucky wabbit wanglers co-exist with a houseful of hares, as they scamper hippity-hoppity. It looks akin to living inside a Pacman video game.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

The Nest / The Test

I'm often asked what is the secret of our marriage.

Thanks for asking.

We Durretts have many classified equations, devices, and acts of masculine begging for forgiveness and Cheetos.

The secrets are kept locked away for the eventual TV movie spectacular, coming just as soon as we can refurbish Cloris Leachman and Tom Bosley.

And Jerry Mathers as The Bear.

Should the project not materialize, I'm shopping our story as Quentin Tarantino's "Grindspouse" or a two-part "That's So Raven."

Can't wait?

Yeah, we're tingly, too. (Hope it wasn't the summer squash.)

Here's a starter secret: I am a helpmate.

I'm always there for Donna, like the time she sent me that actual email from her office....

Subject: test
From: Donna Durrett
Date: 2/23/2007 3:28PM
To: Mike Durrett

Did you receive this test email?


From: Mike Durrett
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 3:31 PM
To: Donna Durrett
Subject: Re: test

No, I didn't. I have not seen your test email. No ma'am.


Subject: RE: test
From: Donna Durrett
Date: 2/23/2007 3:31PM
To: Mike Durrett

Well.

Thanks for responding anyway!

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

The Miracle of the Benny

"The Miracle of the Socks" and "The Miracle of the Birdie" were certainly unusual incidents, and this next coincidence is equally, if not more, improbable. It involves a little-known, seldom-shown half-century-old episode of "The Jack Benny Program," one of the longest-running radio and television comedy series.

To introduce the classic clip featuring "The Landrews Sisters," a spoof of the popular Andrews Sisters singing trio, here's a background note found at YouTube, written by fromthesidelines.

This was from Jack's "New Talent" show of December 31, 1956. The routine goes all the way back to Benny's stage appearances in the '30s, and he frequently revived this "bit" on radio and TV in later years {the last time he did, they were called "The Smothers Sisters"!}. Iris Adrian played the "cynical" one ... Muriel Landers [is the soloist].




I stumbled upon the obscure video Sunday evening. I forwarded it to a fellow Jack Benny aficionado, Frank Thompson.

Here comes the supernatural part.

Shortly, Frank emailed back from the other side of the continent.

How weird is this? Every Sunday night one of the PBS stations here shows a local, rather cheaply made show called "I Remember Television." They'll show either a one hour drama or variety show or two half hour shows from the 50s.

I watched the Landrews Sisters clip you sent me, walked straight to the TV and that very episode of Jack Benny came on. By the way, it's a riot throughout, with a great appearance from Jayne Mansfield (I just noticed she was busty) and a terrific bit with Mel Blanc. The Landrews Sisters bit is probably twice as long as what's on YouTube ("Are you really sisters?" "I am -- I don't know about them.")

Anyway, odd, huh?


I'll say! It was a solid odd weekend. The day before, the famous Don Ho died in the midst of the infamous Don "Ho" Imus career demise.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

The Miracle of the Birdie

Within hours of going public with "The Miracle of the Socks," the bizarre personal experience my foot shared with a spousal foot, friends revealed other tales of the weird.

Stan Malone, in a remembrance at Cinema Treasures, writes of his paranormal encounter, dating back four decades.

"I only had the pleasure of attending a show at the Piedmont [Drive-in Theatre in Atlanta] one time.... Although the purpose of the trip was to see 'Born Free,' it was the co-feature that made the night memorable. It was the first, and only time in a theatre, that I saw 'Bye Bye Birdie,' although I have watched and enjoyed it many times since. If I watch it enough I may discover why Ann-Margret calls the title character by the proper name of 'Birdie' in the movie itself, while in the opening and closing songs she sings his name 'BurHEE.'"


As it so happens, I've rewound and replayed those portions of "Bye Bye Birdie" on several occasions to reassure myself she gushes "BurHEE."

She does.

That is a puzzler.

Nevertheless, we must now move forward undaunted to the strange coincidence facing scrutiny.

Stan told me, during my recent investigative probes, outreach, and prayers of fellowship in regards to this matter, that neither he nor his companions had any pre-movie awareness of the phenomenon known as Ann-Margret. They learned of the actress' existence when her face and name flashed across the big screen.

"The fact that I attended this showing with my cousins, one of whom is named Anne, and the other Margaret, only made the show more memorable."


Yipe!


Next: The Miracle of the Benny

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

It's Intermission Time!

Every once in awhile, as a public service, I like to take a break and give all of the other blogs a chance to catch up.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Our House Socks

Only three days ago, I wrote about "The Miracle of the Socks," a true occurrence involving mysterious, wayward footwear. It was an odd event to say the least, but now there has been another incident in our tiny cabin, deep in the woods.

This morning began like any other day. Donna slipped into the bedroom, quietly smooched me good-bye, and headed out the door of this home of eight blissful years, off to work.

A few minutes passed before I managed to propel myself from the mattress and start my dawn with the obligatory, ceremonial stubbing of my toe on the dresser.

That was standard operating procedure. The new mystery of which I speak lurked at the top of the stairs.


As I rounded the upper step, my eyes beheld a befuddling sight. Throughout the house, there were socks draped everywhere. Socks on the counters. Socks on the chairs, drawer handles, doorknobs, the stove, and, yes, my beloved TiVo, already set for tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" and an all-new "The New Adventures of Old Christine" on CBS. Later, Dave's got Kelly Ripa!


Nearing the coffee pot, I mustered the courage to touch a white crew sock which may have once contained and coddled my tippy toes and their wide array of Ace Bandages and wound creams.

The sock was moist, cold. I recoiled and blanched.

What was this scene? Who are these socks? What is their story?

I've heard of phantasms or some such, yet I prayed there had been a problem with the clothes dryer. I hadn't received a memo.

Perhaps Donna had set the booties out to evaporate after a wash -- as simple as that?

I don't know. I don't know where the laundry room is or I would check.

Meanwhile, I'm scared. I am very afraid.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Spring Bounces Back

After taking a spring break for several seasons, our dormant dogwood tree has returned with its pretty white blossoms. Last year, you may remember, squirrels ate all of the berries, leaving us without pups.

And for a time we thought the tree might have died. We are so happy to have this cherished sight return. Our prayers have been answered!

Too bad the tree goes when we add the room to the house. But, hey, closet space...

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Springtime for Morty


Why is it, whenever I try to take a scenic photo, someone walks into the picture?

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

The Miracle of the Socks

Easter Stockings
Every word that follows is true. Nothing has been changed, except I weigh 40 pounds less.

Easter morning was unusual. As I stirred from a deep sleep, I realized my right foot was in the nude.

My sock had removed itself inexplicably during the night. Throughout an entire 40-pounds-less life, I do not recall another nocturnal sock absconder.

I was amazed, frankly. I wiggled my left foot. It nestled warm and snuggy in tubular white cotton.

But that right foot was naked. I moved it out from under the bedcovers to be certain, waving toes six-through-10 high above a cat.

"Yep, naked," I mumbled.

"What?" Donna whispered softly.

"It's odd," I said. "I had one sock fall off in the night."

"Me, too," said Donna, raising her pink show-and-tell toes, nicely arranged on the left foot!

We were a perfect pair.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

100 Things About Me #99

Those Easter Egg Hunts

My hunts are so successful, three hours later, I do a rematch for the west coast.


This year, we added a Hawaii hunt.


And Pago Pago.



100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Buzz Buzz

Moving from a metropolitan swirl into a woodsy area outside of a small town, there were certain things we never expected to see.

  1. Cable TV
  2. Jehovah's Witnesses
  3. DSL
  4. Starbucks

We migrated to the country in 1999. In the first week, we were wired for television and had religious solicitors in skirts and neckties hike through the forest to knock-knock for Jesus.

Within the first year, our dial-up Internet magically upgraded to broadband -- and free Wi-Fi is now available in the business districts, although only me and a geeky raccoon named "Woot" have laptops.

But designer coffee? Don't hold your froth -- or so I thought.

The nearest Starbucks was 42 miles down the highway until last summer, when a supermarket 25 miles south installed a kiosk, allowing us to buy cat food and cafe mochas with one stop shopping and sipping. (No whip, non-fat Fancy Feast, by the way.)

In March, we read the startling news that our predominantly agricultural community is on the brink of a Starbucks franchise! This was an eye-popping flash, so, with visions of caffeine dancing in my dozy head, I sleuthed around to locate the site, not a barista was stirring.

The construction proceeds only seven miles yonder, out in front of the strip mall, enabling us to get Wal-Mart mismanagement and espresso within one over-congested eyesore. (No whoop, non-fast Wal-Mart indifference, by the way.)

I'm excited, yet progress brings another loss in nature's serenity. The hills are alive with the sound of "Fo' dollers for a cuppa coffee?!"

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Ice / Storm

There was a one-minute shower of hail at our house on Tuesday. I saw the proverbial golf ball-size hail. There were reports of softball size-hail. I refuse to be impressed until we get Lucille Ball size-hail.

hail

Who would have believed that on the very same day we had hail berries on the ground, out in Hollywood...

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

Godson at Sundown

Several readers have requested to see a photograph of Jeremy, mentioned in the previous post.

Why, of course, I'd be delighted to share. Here's a picture I snapped of Jeremy at the Delicate Arch in Utah.

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah
Unfortunately, he blinked.

Mike Durrett: CONFIDENTIAL

The Disappearing Act

Piano Maneuver
Our godson, Jeremy, is about to graduate with a degree in music. We attended his senior recital at the university concert hall and it was an amazing sight and glorious sound.

Jeremy threw himself into lengthy and intricate piano selections by Brahms, Chopin, Cowell, and Beethoven. The curious thing, however, was that after each musical rendition, he would stand, bow to the audience, and quickly disappear offstage for a minute or two before returning to perform the next piece.

Puzzled, I decided to ask for an explanation at the reception, but Jeremy would eat a sandwich, bow, and leave the room for a minute, then return to munch a grape, bow, and leave the room for a minute, then return to scarf down a potato chip, bow, and leave the room for a minute....
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