Monthly Archives: June 2012

Mocha choco cocoa bop

Greetings and salutations from sweltering Pennsylvania, which I imagine goes along with sweltering Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Missouri and the Netherlands.

Yesterday, they arrived in Hershey, and they chocolated. Selah. Chocolate World embodies everything you ever dreamed about chocolate. Wonka’s factory might come close, but if your choco-fantasies take the form of milky, wonderful, delicious Hershey’s ambrosia, Milton’s empire wins, sticky hands down.

We took a faux tour of their plant (everything was simulated, but looked totally real) in these little Tilt-a-Whirl looking cars that moved slowly through an enclosed exhibit.  Think of the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney and you’ll be close. After exiting the ride, we crossed a balcony walk and saw the teeming millions below, searching out their chocolate treasures. We descended into the milieu.

Boy howdy.

Black Forest Cake and Frozen Cocoa

Of course, we had to sample the wares. Ai ai ai. The Black Forest Cake from The Bake Shop was stupendous. We were a bit skeptical at first, because, like a certain huge coffee retailer who shall not be named (but its initials are S, T, A, R, B, U, C, K and S), sometimes baked confections look delicious but taste like a pizza box. Not so with this stuff, Jim. As we chowed down, the Thriller mused, “Well, this is Hershey’s place, and it’s their reputation. I’m sure they want to get it right.” Agreed.

The Frozen Cocoa was out of this world! Imagine your favorite hot chocolate, mixed with shaved ice and run through a blender. Fantastic. We shared both items halvsies, which was good, because on a 99-degree day, the Thriller would have been less than Thrilled to have to take me back to the hotel for a long, sugar-induced nap.

We had a delightful afternoon of shopping, walking, touring (and of course, eating) everything chocolate. It’s an amazing place.

Having the evening capped off with a dead battery in the parking lot wasn’t fabulous, but it didn’t take long to get a jump, and we were back in business in no time.

Today is Gettysburg (yay) and lunch with my cousin Sue (yippy!). I think it’s been 35 years since I’ve seen her. Fun!

Happy Saturday, fiends. Until tomorrow, stay cool.  :mrgreen:


Well now, I jumped out the bed at 4:20 this morning, ready to make a go of it. Rather wish I hadn’t done that, but I guess I can doze on the 6-hour drive to Hershey, yummy (I never have to drive on our road trips — how great is that?). If I won the Super Bowl and they asked me what I was going to do now, I’d shout, I’m goin’ to CHOCOLATE WORLD! The Thriller, in his inimitable way, asked me last night: “If it’s supposed to be 99 degrees in Hershey tomorrow, how the heck are we gonna haul around treat bags full of chocolate?” Hmm. Good question. But trust me — I’ll figure it out.


I think we’re both going to skip lunch. Wait, scratch that. We’ll have lunch; it’ll just be here. I’m gettin’ all hypoglycemic just thinking about it.  ::swoon::

So yesterday was crazy, but fabulous. I got to spend some awesome quality time with the Js and with our new 3-week-old grandson, who is a doll and a half. BFF Kay, bless her heart, offered to come get Rousseau since she was driving into town anyway, so I got to have her all to myself for an hour or so, which was nice. Great penultimate day all around.

Although we’re a good week shorter in duration for this year’s Odyssey as compared to the last two, it’s still going to be a great adventure. Speekina — I’m going to make the coffee, hit the shower, and drag the Thriller out of bed. I’ll be updating this space and Facebook, hopefully on a regular basis. Are you ready to go with me? Hugs to all my fiends. Yikes and away!



Welp, the next time I talk to you here, fiends, it will be to say Bon voy-AH-gee!

Today is a day when we sew things up, to wit:

  • One final sweep through the house to make sure every power cable, charger, sock, shirt, GPS update and hotel reservation is accounted for
  • Lunch with Hannah and the Js, and hopefully a visit with another special little person
  • Kaffee klatsch with a pal later in the afternoon
  • Last-minute “car food” run
  • Take Rousseau out to BFF Kay and Bob’s farm for *his* vacation
  • Pack the Finkmobile and lock it in the garage till 6 a.m. tomorrow

Is that it? Am I forgetting anything? The Thriller arranged to stop mail and newspaper weeks ago, so we’re good there. Oh, I know what I’m forgetting — to take you all with me. But I will be with you in spirit, as you always are with me, right? I love it when you “ride along” in my silly little journeys.

Yikes, the Thriller is vacuuming. I need to look busy er somethin. Until tomorrow…



Random Neuron Firings

Today, my friend Joni shared this picture from someone’s website on her Facebook page. I immediately thought, “Hey — made that up. Boo to that copycat!” [I say that exact thing to my students every once in awhile. Not the “Boo, copycat” thing, but the saying on the picture. Right…] But it’s not the first time that I have experienced that letdown; the one where you go, “Aw, man…here I thought I was so clever, and turns out the phrase has been around for years.” Nuts.

The other time was when the Thriller and I were on the interstate, and for reasons known only to the angels, traffic slowed to a complete stop. It stayed that way for 15 minutes or so, with the occasional 5-MPH creeps forward. Then, when we got to a certain point, the stone was rolled away and traffic just returned to normal. Just. Like. That. There was absolutely no remnant of an accident or construction site. The traffic jam simply vanished. I said to the Thriller, “Wow…it’s like, I dunno, a phantom bottleneck.” He chuckled and agreed.

I owned the phrase. It was mine. Until, that is, I wanted to find out the reason it happened, so on a whim, I did a web search on the term phantom bottleneck.

Oy.  :|

Not sussmart after all, are ye Fink?


Hey, did I mention that we’re in the last 48 hours before the Odyssey begins? Time to go clean out the fridge and start laundry. Wahoo!


Review: The Newsroom

First: If you’re going to psychoanalyze this show, or point out its occasional (OK, habitual) stretches with regard to realism, or if you’re going to snark on about how it’s basically historically inaccurate with regard to the role of cable news and competition and ratings share, or Aaron Sorkin’s dreamland interpretation of Committed, Serious People Doing the News for the Greater Good, then maybe you shouldn’t watch it.

However, if you want some gosh dang great acting, and kick-arse, awesome rapid-fire dialogue in a series that makes you wonder where the heck the last hour went — you should definitely watch The Newsroom (Sundays, 10 p.m. on HBO). The opening scene was among the most enjoyable five minutes I’ve ever witnessed on TV.

The lead character, cynical news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels, in a curmudgeonly, crusty role that will hopefully make everyone on earth forget Dumb and Dumber forever), sits on a panel discussion at Northwestern University, and the moderator — clearly becoming frustrated with McAvoy’s non-answers — goads him into answering an uncomfortable question, which launches him into an absolutely delicious rant (warning: profanity).

Who cares if the last 90 seconds were a bit pie-in-the-sky (um, going to war for “moral” reasons??)? It was great theater, and I loved it. I was entertained. See, that’s the problem sometimes: people inexplicably confuse entertainment with real-world thinking. Now I’m all for realistic renderings of current events, and truthfully, Sorkin doesn’t quite deliver the goods. For instance, the show focuses on the day of the Gulf Coast oil rig explosion. Supposedly, every other network was calling it a search-and-rescue mission, while only the dynamic, greenhorn twenty-somethings in McAvoy’s newsroom saw the real environmental consequences, and ran with it on-air to produce a truly compelling, dramatic newscast. But hey, I forgive them that. Why? Because it’s great television. That, and I’m not a pretentious schmuck who whines when I’m not intellectually edified by an hour of play-acting. Hello.

But it’s still art, and that’s what’s gratifying. If it makes people mad, great. If it makes people think, greater. If it amazes and fulfills and entertains — fantastic. That’s what art is supposed to do.

The only trouble I have with the suspension of disbelief is Sorkin’s choice for the young, irresistible romantic female for whose affections men are seemingly willing to throw down. Allison Pill is a fine actor, and does the confused-but-intelligent intern thing really well, but...gorgeous? Not so much. That’s a little thing, though. I know I’m not pretentious, but let’s not ruin it by instead being shallow. :-D

Still, it was totally enjoyable, and I’m not kidding when I tell you I looked at the clock and could not believe it was 10:55 already. For some, the show will seem like a kind of amalgam; a case of House meets The Network. To me, that’s part of its charm. It’s a keeper in my book.

On the Rat-O-Meter scale of five cheeses, I give The Newsroom: