Delicious Clicks

When my wife and I completed a partial remodel of our house last year, we replaced the rather ordinary-looking front door with a solid-core faux mahogany beauty, highlighted with a stylish centered rain glass cutout.  This single architectural element transformed our entry into a much more inviting space.  But after many months of opening our new door, I’ve come to realize it’s not just the look I enjoy so much.  It’s the sound.  A door of this caliber comes with a well-machined, weighty set of hinges and lockset.  Close the door and you’ll hear the latch and catch nestle comfortably and perfectly together.  It’s one of the most pleasing sounds I’ve ever heard.  I call it a delicious click.

Our newish front door

Delicious clicks.  Maybe you already know what I’m talking about.  You hear a rich, deep sound and you immediately think “high quality” or “high dollar” or just “n-i-c-e…”.  You hear this kind of a click in someone’s house and you think, “whoa, these people have it made”.  If you haven’t experienced this brand of audible, here’s an idea.  Your local bank may have a walk-in safe, one of those with the big spinner handle front and center on the door.  Maybe you can hang around until the time they secure the safe.  They’ll push that massive steel door closed on silent hinges.  They’ll spin the handle until it catches, and then secure the deadbolt with a secondary lever.

That’s when you’ll hear it.  A delicious click.

I’d love to trademark my little sound phrase but I must give credit where credit is due, so I summon James Bond.  Rather, James Bond’s creator, the author Ian Fleming.  After From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and all of the other Bond adventures, Fleming wrote a wonderful, timeless children’s story called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964).  For those not familiar (and shame on you), Chitty is about a nutty inventor living in a windmill with his family, the nearby candy company whose owner’s daughter is “Truly Scrumptious“, a mysterious castle in a land called Vulgaria, and the magical flying car that brings it all together.

Note the license plate

Perfect for this post, “chitty chitty bang bang” is also the sound of the flying car’s engine when it’s in gear.  There’s a moment in the movie where you hear the four-part tempo and you think, “perfect words to describe it!”  But more to my point today, it’s the car’s doors that are even more pleasing.  Even without a copy of the book in my hands, I still remember the author’s description as Chitty’s doors came to a close.  Delicious clicks.

Mercedes just came out with its “largest and most luxurious” electric car, the EQS.  It’s the battery-powered equivalent of the popular S-class sedan.  It has an aerodynamically sloping hood to make speeds above 100 mph (!) smoother.  The EQS can travel 480 miles on a single charge.  And the purchase will set you back over $100K.

Ferrari’s 296 GTB

Ferrari just came out with a new “supercar” with 818 horsepower and a V6 engine.  The “296 GTB” is also a plug-in hybrid.  It’s not Ferrari’s fastest car but it sure looks like fun to drive.  If you have the means, the 296 GTB will set you back the equivalent of three Mercedes EQS’s.

I can’t afford either of these cars; not even close.  But I can guarantee one thing.  Whether you go with the Mercedes or the Ferrari, your money will get you meticulously crafted doors on your car.  With delicious clicks.

Only $900 on Amazon!

Recently one of my liquid soap bottles was down to its last few drops.  When I pressed down for more the nozzle made a horrible, empty, nasally kind of plea for more soap.  What an awful sound.  Not exactly “toot sweet”.

On that note, I think I’ll close my front door again.

Some content sourced from IMDb.com.

There’s Something About Mary

Mary Tyler Moore passed away over a week ago and I’ve been thinking about her ever since.  Countless actresses come and go, but then you have those who make indelible impressions with one or two jaw-dropping performances.  Audrey Hepburn, Julie Andrews and Maureen O’Hara, just to name a few.  Meryl Streep.  And Mary Tyler Moore.

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There’s something about Mary. I read her filmography from start to finish – a span of sixty years of television and movies – and came up with two roles of any significance to me: Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977), and Beth in the film Ordinary People (1980).  But I think most people would agree – those performances alone land Mary Tyler Moore in an acting class by herself.

Moore first became a familiar name as Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960’s, but that was a little before my time.  On the other hand, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a weekend staple in my house.  At an age when my father still controlled the TV remote (er, TV channel – no remotes back then), my brothers and I were treated to CBS’s Saturday night “killer lineup”, which included The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show.

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The Mary Tyler Moore Show included memorable opening credits, if only because the theme song was so infectious (“…you’re gonna make it after all…”), as was the final scene where Mary spins and smiles and throws her hat into the air at a busy Minneapolis intersection.  That throw – and Mary Tyler Moore herself – is immortalized in a bronze sculpture you can find at that very same intersection today.

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In 1980, just as I was heading off to college, Robert Redford directed the Best Picture winner Ordinary People, one of the most gut-wrenching, powerful, “real-life” dramas I have ever seen.  Timothy Hutton burst onto the Hollywood scene with an Oscar-winning performance as Conrad, the younger of two sons in a tormented Chicago family.  Judd Hirsch was also nominated for an Oscar (losing to Hutton) for his portrayal of the determined therapist who counseled Conrad back to stability.  But it was Mary Tyler Moore’s turn as the heartless and unforgiving mother Beth that stole the show.  Her performance was so counter to the sunny demeanor of Mary Richards, I wondered if she was tapping the energy of some real-life bout of depression.  That was the breadth of Mary Tyler Moore’s acting talents.  I’ve only seen Ordinary People a couple of times but the scene where Donald Sutherland tells Beth he no longer loves her still haunts me.  Moore’s silent, crestfallen reaction to that statement could’ve coined the phrase “verbal slap in the face”.

I am even more taken by Mary Tyler Moore when I read some of the details of her life.  Clearly, she tried to embody the positive demeanor and “independent woman” of Mary Richards, but she did so in the face of significant personal tragedy.  She dealt with alcoholism and smoking addiction, drug overdose (her sister), suicide (her son), and years of diabetes.   She took up the baton to promote diabetes awareness and animal rights.  Moore was even tougher and more outspoken than her little/big screen roles would suggest.

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The theme song of The Mary Tyler Moore show begins with “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” Scroll back up to that first photo.  Talk about ear-to-ear!  And I can’t help but smile back, even as we now say goodbye to Mary.

Some content sourced from IMDb.com.