Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tween Dream, ChiChi and Joe & Steve's Big Adventure

For those of you seeking more personalized Bissette posts, here's your fix for the week.

Tween Dream, dreamt this AM, twixt 6 AM and finally getting out of bed at 8 AM (that's sleeping in way late for me):

Marge and I are watching a CGI-heavy fantasy film from a theater seating area that is our bed. The movie is tedious, and I have a hard time staying awake, especially with Tuco (our tabby cat) purring next to me. I barely make it to the end, in which an oddly-pitched camera angle of a 19th-Century flying contraption and a closeup of the film's nominal villain with a ridiculous wig akimbo fill the screen before the end titles. At this point, a red-haired Marlboro College professor wearing glasses plunks himself into the bed at my end, and announces he's speaking at the Center for Cartoon Studies, and asks if I can get him there. So Marge, Tuco and I head out, walking down Lower Dover Road [in Marlboro, where Marlene, Maia, Danny and I used to live] toward our house. Tuco uncharacteristically allows me to carry him, content to just look around.

En route down the tree-lined dirt road with this chatty professor, we pass a small roughhewn barn on the left I've always noticed was there, but didn't know was a bookstore. The proprietor, a middle-aged woman who seems to know all of us, places a book in my hand saying, "You told me if I found a copy of The Lost World, you'd do a dinosaur sketch in it for me!" At first glance, though, I can see this isn't Conan Doyle's book: it's something unusual, a hand-colored (very nicely done!) comic-form parody of The Lost World, drawn by an unknown and uncredited cartoonist very much in the E.C. Segar school, featuring Dr. Seuss-like faux-dinosaurs. I offer to trade a copy of the genuine Lost World for this book, and she seems interested, though I also offer to buy the book if that doesn't seem fair. Tuco gets restless on my shoulders with all this banter, and it's really time to go -- we still have to scrounge up lunch for ourselves and the unexpected visitor.

I wake up, Tuco beside me, purring.

ChiChi's New Face

(on the right), next to my sis Kathie

This just in:

A photo of my younger sister Kathie with her hubby Jim Szeredy, retired U.S. Army officer and active Shriner clown, in his "new ChiChi face" -- yep, my sister married a clown!

Mucho love to Kathie, Jim and ChiChi!

Joe & Steve's Big Adventure

So, Joe Citro and I stole away from our respective homes for a two-day jaunt into the wilds and not-so-wilds of New Hampshire this past Sunday and Monday. We went with a tuned car, full tank, overnight packs and no fucking clue where we would head to or why, though we gravitated toward a few long-discussed destinations before the days were out.

All photos are by Joe Citro, shared here with his full permission and a co-conspiratorial wink.

"On zee rud wit Fronchie" (caption & pic by Joe)

After a fine day of dining and book hunting, we spent the wee hours of the evening fruitlessly searching for accomodations for the night that would cost less than $100 per room. We passed countless car washes, pet hospitals, plant nurseries and used car lots, but the classic 'motor inn' of yore seemed completely vanished, devoured by chain hotels (Days Inn, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn were all entered and negotiations were attempted) demanding well over $100 (up to $169 plus taxes and such) for evening digs.

drove and drove fearlessly, at one point even spilling into Maine, ontil heez Fronchmon radar brod us to da Roude 125 Modor Een, w'ere fella Fronchmon Paquette servt us weel! Mon dieu!

A mere $80 per man got us each a clean and comfortable room with comfy sleeping accomodations. Merci, Monsieur Paquette! Monsieur Bissette tanks you!

By 8:15 AM, Joe snapped these daylight pix and we were back on the road, valiant (never violent) hunter/gatherers in search of morning grub. Routing ourselves back into the depths of NH via Route 11, we passed many a grand and glorious diner and settled on a '50s-style eatery called "Pink Cadillac", where the grub was delicious. Joe had grits, too; we both savored the country sausage. Our arteries suitably packed, we returned to the tarmac path of life.

We ended up spending a good chunk of Monday in Gilmanton NH, a picturesque classic New England town with sturdy white houses, churches, town halls and fences that reminded me a bit of Craftsbury Common, VT...

The reason for Joe gravitating us to Gilmanton: it was the first home of the notorious Herman Mudgett, aka H.H. Holmes, the true-life 'devil' of The Devil in the White City, harbinger of the ultimate 19th Century horror hotel...

...whilst I was there seeking info on Gilmanton's other most-despised, most famous citizen, Grace Metalious (September 8, 1924 – February 25, 1964), born in Manchester NH, author of the scandalous and immensely popular 1956 novel Peyton Place, which was based on Grace's then-home-town of Gilmanton, nearby Laconia, and also nearby Alton, where the news of an abused daughter killing her abusive father fueled the novel -- and still-lingering local resentments of Grace.

We visited her grave at Gilmanton's Smith Meeting House Cemetery, where Joe snapped this photo. I was hoping to find out why the 1957 feature film was filmed in Camden, Maine instead of Gilmanton, and that questions was indeed answered!

Next stop: Tilton, NH, where we snagged a tasty lunch. We tried to eat here, at the Tilton Diner, but the line spilled out the door, so we dashed to a local sub-and-pizza eatery, where the food was delish. As we dined, the Italian proprietor was unhappily talking with a meat supplier on the phone: "Look, the ham was shit... know what I mean? The shit-ham was just no good..."

was a busy burg named after a wealthy 19th Century patriarch who, while he lived, erected all sorts of granite and marble monuments to his own greatness all over town...

...the greatest of all being the famed Tilton Arch, which loomed over the town on its highest point (yes, Joe indeed snapped this photo -- though this was taken a couple or so years ago; Joe wanted you to see this shot, as it indeed shows the Arch in full-tilt boogie beauty). This was to be Tilton's final monument, his vast tomb and gravestone.

Here's a shot of the Tilton Arch on Monday, as the clouds moved in. Awesome, in't it? The delightfully perverse irony of all this is despite the grandiose marble statuary and stonework all about town, despite having built this massive monument to his own greatness, Tilton was not allowed by the town to be buried here! His grave is in a neighboring township. Gotta love those stubborn Granite Staters, they sure know how to live free or die!

The fact that Tilton shared its name with a fellow I was in court with a couple of years ago only sweetened the stopover (he lost in court, BTW), though Joe hadn't made that associative link.

Then we were off to the biggest book store of 'em all, and ah, sweet book booty was found.

As Joe can attest, I really am a much better driver than President Bush. We hardly ever lost our way, I never willingly steered us down blind alleys or into unnecessary conflict, and when we did get a wee bit lost, why, I'd just back up and turn around until we found a better way to get to where we were going. It really is much simpler, wasting less gas, time, and killing nobody at all. I didn't even run over a chipmunk or woodchuck doing so. And I didn't once get us stuck in a rut, much less "proving" my masculinity by spinning our tires for over five years, saying "Stay the course! We must be resolute!"
[This July 5th caption is dedicated to addled Bush supporters everywhere]

Have a great Thursday, one and all...

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