‘Tis the Season to Sing Along

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


Photo by: Nutmeg Designs

Doesn’t everyone know the lyrics to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” even those, like me, who can’t carry a tune?

Had a very shiny nose,

It’s played day after day every year during the holiday season.

And if you ever saw it,

You would even say it glows.

And it’s a favorite, full of high spirits, except for a little bullying.

All of the other reindeer

Used to laugh and call him names;

Rudolph was almost called “Rollo” or “Reginald” before his first appearance in a coloring book distributed by Montgomery Ward in 1939.

They never let poor Rudolph

Join in any reindeer games.

The story has since been told and retold in comic books, children’s books, and TV specials.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say,

Gene Autry, The Singing Cowboy, was the first to record the song in 1949.  His version reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart that year, eventually selling 25 million copies.

Rudolph with your nose so bright,

Musicians as diverse as Alvin and the Chipmunks and Harry Connick, Jr. have also recorded the song.

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

It’s amazing how a little publicity can turn things around.

Then how the reindeer loved him

As they shouted out with glee,

And the grand finale…

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,

You’ll go down in history.

After a musical interlude the whole song, except for the introduction, is repeated.  Oh, what’s the introduction?

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,

Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen.,

But do you recall?

The most famous reindeer of all?

All together now.

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer….


Here are The Temptations, as the California Raisins, singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”:–phzj2TQ  Smooth, so smooth.


I went to this restaurant last night that was set up like a big buffet in the shape of an ouija board. You’d think about what kind of food you want, and the table would move across the floor to it.

–  Steven Wright


Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

You’ll wish that summer could always be here.

–       Nat King Cole

But seasons change.

Photo by: Susan Marg


A Day at the Del Mar Races: Where the Surf Meets the Turf


Elizabeth Taylor loved animals. Visiting her godfather’s estate in the English countryside, she was in heaven, surrounded by dogs, cats, lambs, guinea pigs, tortoises, and chickens.  God forbid, anyone should kill one of those chickens for dinner!  For her fifth birthday, she was surprised with a pony named Betty.

Young and beautiful.

“The first time I got on her back, she threw me into a patch of stinging nettles,” Taylor once recalled, but that didn’t keep her from getting on and riding again.

At twelve years old, Taylor knew she was perfect for the role of Velvet Brown in MGM’s National Velvet, released in 1944.  The title character is a young girl who trains her beloved horse to win the Grand National.  Some of the crew questioned Taylor’s equestrian abilities and one of her trainers felt she lacked confidence when riding, but the audience fell in love with her.

Jumping ahead to 1985, years after she had wed and divorced Richard Burton twice and her marriage, her sixth, to Senator John Warner had ended, Taylor continued to be enamored with horses.  On the arm of her friend and fellow actor George Hamilton, she sometimes attended the races.  Getting further involved, she bought a three-year old colt named Basic Image.

The actress dressed her jockeys in a deep pink with chartreuse diamonds racing silks, the colors she had worn in National Velvet.  On July 26 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club that jockey was Willie Shoemaker.

Shoemaker wasn’t any ordinary jockey.  Up to that point in his 37-year career, he had won more races (8,482), more stakes races (928), and more purses (almost $102 million) than anyone else.  Only two weeks earlier he had finished second at Hollywood Park on Taylor’s horse.  This time, however, he fell leaving the gate, when Basic Image clipped the heels of another thoroughbred.

The Shoe, suffering a fractured vertebra in his lower back, was out for the rest of the season at Del Mar.  But always a gentleman, he called Taylor to assure her that it wasn’t the horse’s fault.

Philosophically, he noted, “I guess if something like this is going to happen, the best place for it to happen is at Del Mar.”  He continued, “I can’t play golf, but at least I’ve got the beach.”

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved



‘Tis the 75th Season: In Old Del Mar

This week it was off to the races at the Del Mar Racetrack, celebrating its 75thanniversary.

Bing Crosby sings. Photo by: Thomas Hawk

Bing Crosby, a horseracing enthusiast, convinced his Hollywood friends, like Pat O’Brien and Jimmy Durante, to raise money to build the venue.  He personally greeted the arriving guests when the Turf Club opened to the public in July 1937.  At a time when the sport was second only to popularity to major league baseball, the success of the venture was never in doubt.

It was somewhat of a surprise, however, when Crosby’s horse, High Strike, won the first race.  The fix wasn’t in, but it might have seemed that way.

This year opening-day attendance of 47,339 set a record, the eighth in a row.  They bet $14.1 million, compared to $13.2 million a year ago.

Jockey Chantal Sutherland on trainer Kristin Mulhall’s Miss California won the first race.   This was hardly surprising.  The petite, of course, blonde jockey with the model-good looks is closing in on 1,000 races and $45 million dollars in earnings.  In 2011 she was the first woman to win the Santa Anita Handicap, and she had won the Hollywood Gold Cup only a couple of weeks earlier.

But even the poster girl in the racetrack’s advertising campaign this season has her moments.  Just after the start of the seventh race she was – how to say this nicely – dumped by her mount Sir Hamilton.  She wasn’t hurt, except maybe for her pride, and she was given the okay to ride in the tenth race.

One of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” in 2006 she has a good sense of her chosen profession.  “This game is tough,” she declared after being thrown. “One minute you’re on top and winning, the next you’re gum at the bottom of someone’s shoe.”

Bing Crosby couldn’t have said it better, even if he put it to music.

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


For anyone for whom Christmas can’t be here soon enough:



There’s No Getting Around It

It must be true:  the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Everyone says so.

Rock on! Photo by: all that improbable blue.

The feeling might be sentimental or cynical.  It can refer to private pleasures or shared sorrows.  Poets make it rhyme, and songsters put it to music, whether it’s pure country or full throttle rock ‘n roll.

“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss. It’s a sip of wine, it’s summertime. Sweet summertime.  The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Kenny Chesney sings of summers past and present.

“Now I hear all about your running around. Man, you’re a legend all over town. The more things change, the more they remain the same,” Mary Chapin Carpenter criticizes a cheating ex.

On their album Strange Times, Moody Blues recites, “Nothing changes, and nothing stays the same. And life is still a simple game.”

But to the glam heavy metal band Cinderella, life is anything but a game. “You gotta go for the throat. 
You gotta fight for your life.

 The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Everyone’s your brother till you turn the other way.”

Bon Jovi observes, “The same sunrise, it’s just another day.  If you hang in long enough they say you’re comin’ back.  Just take a look, we’re living proof and, baby, that’s a fact.  You know the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

“You know what I’m talking about,” Jon Bon Jovi shouts in concert in the middle of his song, “Right?” Right!

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Like a fine wine, baby.  See Jon Bon Jovi rock it out:


‘Tis the Season: Bake a Fruitcake

Marie Rudisill, also known as The Fruitcake Lady, got her nickname from writing about fruitcake.  Her book, Fruitcake: Memories of Truman Capote and Sook, preceded her appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  In fact, it precipitated her appearance when she sent a copy to a producer of The Tonight Show with a letter chastising Leno for his fruitcake jokes.

Too pretty to unwrap. Photo by: Babe_kl

Q. What do you do with a Christmas fruitcake?  A. Try eating it! Hey! It’s one way to get rid of it!

Seriously, Marie’s book is a gem.  She reminisces about growing up in the Old South, family traditions, her nephew Truman Capote, and their cousin Sook Faulk, whom Capote memorialized in A Christmas Memory.

Marie also rhapsodizes about fruitcakes, describing them as a “wonderful concoction of walnuts, pecans, candied red and green cherries, pineapples, date, almonds, and such” and calling them “true ambrosia – the queen of cakes.”

And, of course, she includes over twenty recipes.  Can’t wait to get started?  Here’s one Martha Washington is said to have used.

Cream together a 1/2 pound butter and 1-1/2 pounds sugar.  Gradually add six beaten egg yolks until creamy; then dissolve a teaspoon of soda in one pint of sour cream and add, alternating with 1-1/2 pounds of flour.  Next, add the whites of the six eggs, beaten stiff.

For the final steps, add one pound of raisins, one pound of currants, a 1/2 pound citron dredged with a 1/4 pound of flour.  Add the juice of one lemon and the rind of two lemons, one grated nutmeg, and a sprinkling of mace.

Bake in a greased ten-inch tube pan for five hours at a slow, steady heat.  Cover with buttered paper while baking.

A fruitcake will make a nice addition to your Christmas table.  Or you can always pass it along to a neighbor or friend who’ll pass it along to a neighbor or friend who’ll pass it along to a neighbor or friend…

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Cougars Just Wanna Have Fun.

The horses are running at the Del Mar Racetrack, but the competition for Miss Cougar Del Mar is over, at least for this season.  The 2011 winner was Rosa Hildebrandt from Chino, California.

Miss Cougar Del Mar 2011. Photo by: Jennifer Armour

From Miss Hildebrandt’s photo in the local papers, she’s a youthful looking 51-year old who knows how to strut her stuff.  Her electric-blue mini-dress was as tight as an unopened jar of dill pickles.  Her smile was a bright as a full moon.

As a businesswoman, Rosa also knows how to handle herself.  Commenting on a request she received for a sexual favor in exchange for a vote, she said. “That’s ok…thank you so much. It’s not all about that, you know?”

Well, it’s not all about that.

Still, she appears a bit on the defensive concerning the image of cougars as women on the prowl.  “Our group is more tasteful, and we take pride in what we do,” she remarked.  “We’re not out there swinging on stripper poles.”

Did anyone say they were?

Opinions certainly vary on whether the contest is tasteful or tacky, but it sure brings in the crowds, especially those who qualify as cubs.  “I wish they had this every Friday,” said one 20-something male.

Another rhetorically asked, “Am I cougar bait?” And then he answered his own question, “God, I hope so.”

The day of the event the two previous title holders were on hand to wish their successor well.  How could they give up their fun in the sun?

Rosie Goldstein of 2009 gave a rousing rendition of Del Mar’s theme song, “Where the surf meets the turf,” reminding attendees, as if they needed to be reminded, “to take a plane, take a train, or take a car” to get to the racetrack by the sea.

Another winner. Photo by: Jennifer Armour

CC Perkinson of 2010 had just returned from a “Cougar and Cub” cruise to Mexico.  It wasn’t reported how she made out.  In September she will appear on an episode of “Fear Factor.”

There’s apparently life after wearing the crown.

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Endless Summer in San Diego

Photo by: Leadenhall

Summer officially is here when the San Diego County Fair opens at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in mid-June.  The site was constructed in 1936 with a half-million dollar grant from the Works Progress Administration.

An all-time attendance record was set this year, with the 1,412,113 visitors enjoying the variety of livestock, endless arts and crafts exhibits, professional garden displays, super-duper carnival rides, and top-notch entertainment.

And then there’s the food.  The most popular item was “Deep Fried Kool Aid.”  I have no idea what that is, but 100,000 people tried it.

The second half of the summer revolves around thoroughbred horse racing where the “turf meets the surf” in Del Mar.

Same locale; different crowd.

Blogging about last year’s season, Del Mar Racing Thoroughbred Club CEO, Joe Harper, wrote, “Horses, hats, silicone and spandex.  It was all here and hanging out.  Sports stars, politicians, celebrities and wannabes.”

“Hats” refer to the “One and Only Fabulous Hats Contest” on opening day, a popular tradition started in 1995.  Participants, which include a good portion of the female contingent, compete in four categories:  best racing theme, funniest or most outrageous, most glamorous, and best flowers.  The Bing Crosby Grand Prize winner earns two round trip airline vouchers, courtesy of American Airlines.

Less than two weeks later, women over forty vie to become Miss Cougar Del Mar.  This competition was first held three years ago to showcase the Cougar II Handicap Race, Del Mar’s longest event at one and a half miles.

“Cougar” is urban slang for a woman who looks young, dresses young, and dates young, usually men eight years or more her junior.   Some feel it is a derogatory term, but that doesn’t damper the enthusiasm of the contestants.

Photo by: Bill Gracey

Miss Cougar 2009, Rosie Goldstein, wore a strapless red and white dress the day she was awarded the title.  “I hold my head up proud,” she emphatically stated.  “I have never felt more beautiful than this year.”  Exactly what year it was she didn’t say.

Miss Cougar 2010, CC Perkinson, believes that being a cougar “empowers women to keep a healthy mind and a healthy body.”  It’s good to realize “there’s men out there that are attracted to you.”

The four finalists for Miss Cougar 2011 have not yet been selected.  They will each receive clubhouse admission for a day at the races and VIP concert passes for later that evening.  The winner also has the honor of presenting the trophy for the Handicap.

The deadline for applications is July 24, so there’s still time to send in a photo and explanation of your qualifications.  My motto: if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Hats off to the ladies of summer.


© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Welcome to “The More Things Change…”

Change is a constant, both stimulating and rewarding, if sometimes disruptive.  We go on vacation for a change of pace and travel to faraway destinations for a change of scenery.  We change jobs to broaden our experience and change places to get a better view.  We change our minds when circumstances warrant it.  And then change them back.

On this website I will look at history, her story, true stories and fiction, considering the quirky, crazy things we once said and did compared to the quirky, crazy way we live today.  I’ll comment on gossip, too, what we talked about way back when and who captivates us currently.  We might find out that the more things change the more they remain the same.

As you can tell, I’m just getting started, but I’ll be adding posts, photos, quips and quotes often.  Drop me a line.


© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved