Sunday, December 31, 2006

MY 2006 News wrap-up

You know, I once was a news junkie, but anymore I rarely turn on that mess on the radio, and rarer still on the telly. At one time I would cook, sew or clean house and listen to CNN, occasionally stopping by the idiot box to watch the news crawl at the bottom of the screen, but I got past that about 7 or 8 years ago. These days I get most of my information from a variety of sources on the internet and even there the biases are profoundly distorting. It's rare to find just the facts, ma'am.

On Saturday afternoons, our local NPR (whose "news" these days is unlistenable) affiliate broadcasts Ira Glass' entertaining This American Life which I will turn on if I'm tooling about town at that time. It happens that I was yesterday but was surprised that at 3:13 PM NPR was broadcasting a music program. I soon learned I was listening to a 2006 news roundup by the Capital Steps, a 20-something year old musical variety group that takes popular music and re-tools it into political satire. In fact, in one song I heard Saturday, "Everything's run by Pelosi" (sung to the tune of "Everything's coming up roses" from Gypsy), one line from that is "NBC will be run by NPR." What? Like they aren't already??? Increasingly, most mainstream news sounds like it's getting marching orders from NPR, so it baffles me that astute "savvy" D.C. insiders like The Capital Steps haven't noticed this trend.

So, former president Gerald Ford died this week, and yet every broadcast of news I saw whinged on about how he was opposed to our actions in Iraq, how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, and he disagreed with what was put forward as our reason for invading Iraq. Now, I defy anyone to tell me THAT is not political haymaking-- you'd have to be blind not to recognize it. It is customary for an obituary to tell the milestone events of a public figure's life in the context of how their actions shaped their time. Well, pardon me, but I think it was more significant to note that Ford pardoned Nixon (as he should have done) and pardoned the American men who fled to avoid the draft during the era of the Vietnam war - these were significant events in our nation's history-- and offhand remarks made in an interview during a time in which he was in no way involved in US policy home or abroad simply wouldn't rate in a world where the news had a more sensible overview that didn't seek to buttress its bias. To me, to focus on this (I saw it on a news program Thursday night at 9:00, 9:30 and 10:00 at me mum's) at the exclusion of what the man DID that affected our nation is utterly ass-backwards.

If they are consistent in their reporting style, I expect them to eulogize Saddam Hussein (never may he wave) by saying he opposed new pencil-leg trousers from Prada and thought Madonna should be prevented from harvesting yet another baby from Malawi, and that, by the way, he was opposed to US intervention in Iraq so he could go about his business of exterminating the Kurdish race.

1:30PM addendum: 2 things I have to post here from the comments. g bro refreshed my memory that Carter and not Ford pardoned the draft dodgers. My bad, but I was, like 11 or 12, so I forgive myself for making that mistake. A brilliant observation from Myron was: The problem with folks detecting bias in the media is that no one sees bias when the article or programming agrees with their point of view.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Recently I mentioned my addiction to glossy magazines. In recent years, I've pared down subscriptions but I still take Dwell, Fiber Arts, Ornament and Lapidary Journal.

I'm finally going to admit it's over and let go of my one long-time favorite. The relationship is dead and editor Graydon Carter killed it.

Last night I went through a couple years' worth of Vanity Fair magazines--many still inside the original plastic mailer sleeve--and I have concluded that Mr. Carter's magazine is nigh unreadable these days.

Mr. Carter started Spy magazine in the 80s with his partner Kurt Anderson. Spy was a superb magazine full of fun. My favorite issue featured a lick-and-stick tattoo of Gorbachev's port-wine stain - how could you not love that? Spy featured a vile poke-in-the-eye called "Separated at Birth" in which they would publish beastly photos of celebrities that looked vaguely similar. Drew Friedman would do an illustration every month that was something like "private lives of public figures." I remember one of these had David Byrne and Paul Simon in safari gear bumping into each other while exploring a jungle in search of some primitive culture's music to exploit. There was also "Logrolling" in which they published and ridiculed the tendency of authors to "blurb" for each others' bookjackets. It was no-holds-barred, brilliant send-up of pop culture and celebrity.

Sometime in the mid-90s Carter took the helm as editor at Vanity Fair.

Today's Vanity Fair would rate high on the list of sycophantic star-intercoursing publications that Spy would have soundly lambasted.

When I first started reading VF about 20 years ago, it was an always-intriguing collection of articles about things social and political happening in the US and around the world. There were occasional celebrity features, but it wasn't the perennial right-bashing/Hollywood stroke-fest of today. The day a new issue would arrive I would clear the decks and sit down and read the thing from cover-to-cover. Happy times.

In 2003, Graydon Carter said his one goal was to prevent George W. Bush from being re-elected. Seriously?!!! A magazine editor (Canadian, come to that) thinks he holds sway with the public in such a way? Well, GC's campaigning didn't end in November 2004, for on the front of each issue is a teaser for at least one feature story on how evil GWB is. OK, we get it--you hate the guy!-- now stop beating us over the head with it.

The features on the issue above (September '06) include "Dubya vs. Daddy: what really goes on between the Bush presidents" and "What the Air Force didn't do on 9/11." (note the italics are theirs and not merely my insertion) If this were just a personal vendetta that simply stopped with the Bushes, that would be one thing, but going on to impugn our armed forces is beyond the pale. Of course, they would say the corruption of our military comes from the very executive office, but there is an impossible-to-ignore tone of abject abhorrence for our military and our fellow citizens who comprise its ranks. [When piece-of-shit retards lambast the men and women who put their lives on the line to ensure their very constitutional rights, well, "piece-of-shit retards" doesn't quite go far enough.]

So that's it: I'm done. If there's only one article of 3 issues I'd really like to read, I can do what people smarter than me do and sit on the bench at Barnes & Noble and read the article without giving them any more of my money. So this is my little protest, my tempest in a teapot, my so-many-bit message to Vanity Fair: call me when you've fired Graydon Carter. I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Her baby granddaddy

Speaking of Jon Voight... a photo I saw on the magazine rack at the grocery store this week of the Pitt/Jolie brigade. Imagine a baby girl - Angelina Jolie for a mother, Brad Pitt for a father - yet the child is Jon Voight made over. Almost eerie. He was kinda baby-faced. I could see her in a little Midnight Cowboy outfit.

The funny thing to me is that while I think Jon & Angelina are both brilliant actors, I've never been able to see him in her - she doesn't resemble him at all, to me. But her baby? Definitely related.
The real reason why guys won't stop and ask for directions...

Went over to mom&pop's tonight for dinner. We watched Deliverance, which I suppose I've never watched straight through. It's actually a very well-done film - very interesting.

It's funny to think about modern life, the 70s and the advent of a kind of dissociation people have from the natural environment that makes them eager to go out and test themselves against the elements. Such challenges range from climbing vertical faces of rock with no ropes, to hiking into remote locales with poor-to-no cell signal, to roughing it amongst backwoods rustics with nary a full set of teeth amongst them. In every case - the deck is stacked against you, and sometimes you're gonna lose.

Psychologically speaking, this is a brilliant film. The way they are occasionally filmed by a moving camera from a slight distance serves to give the feeling we are seeing them from the perspective of a creepy hick who wants to treat them like swine/rape/kill them. The city man who has the film-launching musical interlude with the backwood-mutant-banjo-boy thinks their harmony indicates some kind of dialogue has been struck, that he has achieved some sort of understanding with the brave old world he is confronting. Yet when the banjo duel is over, the boy turns away, autistic or simply acutely uncommunicative, not willing to go along for the ride, in any case. The Hallmark moment was just an illusion. This abrupt non-response foreshadows the urban men entering into an environment which they don't understand and for which they are ill-prepared--one that functions on some primordial code to which they have no translation device.

They were gonna need a bigger canoe.

Then consider Burt Reynolds' excessive rudeness and condescension to the locals - I commented to my folks that they were obviously setting this up so we don't feel what happened to them was entirely undeserved. BTW, I LOVED the shit out of that injury on BR's leg that looked like they's cobbled a raw slab of chicken onto his thigh - nice touch!

Good movie. Shocking to think what Burt Reynolds was then and the be-wigged, tanned-leather Vegas attraction he has become. [Hmm, who is aging nicely? Robert Duvall.]

John Voight and Ned Beatty did a great job in this film. Deliverance gets the Phlegmmy Seal of Approval™.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A while back, Sudiegirl tagged me on a Meme, but I couldn't find it in her archives, so I think I remember what it was - something like tell 6 strange things about myself.

1. I have great manual dexterity and I'm a fast typist and good at needlework and any delicate things with my sensitive little hands, but I detest the little static shocks you get when you touch doorknobs in the winter - it really hurts my fingers - so I always touch knobs with my forearm first and then slide down to my hands to get a grip and open the door. I realize this must look terribly neurotic, but the pain-- yeowch!

2. I'm not superstitious. At all. I think people who turn around if a black cat crosses the road in front of them should be dropped off the nearest tall building. Life is too short to waste time on that kind of B/S.

3. I'm a kook-magnet. I take people at face-value and I don't judge them, because I figure with my eccentricities and off-beat sensibility, I ought to understand that others are similarly disinclined to march in lock-step with the rest of society. Husband says I'm the most non-judgmental person he's ever met. As a result, I've always sorta trailed a string of oddballs in my wake - the more colorful, the merrier. As long as it is not unkind or dangerous, I admire outrageousness, and often practice same myself.

4. I don't like pizza. Most pizza, anyway. Olympic pizza used to make a Greek pizza I liked - no tomato sauce.

5. I have always hated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - I think this is a texture thing, although I can stand peanut butter and bread together if there are bananas present.

6. I put my alarm clock on the other side of the room because if I have easy access to it, I won't ever awaken fully and I'll hit the snooze button 30 or 40 times.

Yeah, maybe this stuff is strange. Maybe it's just a little boring. I'm not naming anyone in particular - if you want to do this meme -consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I have a question for anyone who's made the switch to Blogger Beta - will I have to re-set up my blogskin and all that stuff?
A glass artist pulling a glass twisted stringer cane

This is pretty entertaining to watch (at least to me). It's great to watch other peoples' hands working glass on YouTube - it's so much cooler to watch on video!
Wow, first James Brown died and now Gerald Ford? Celebrities seem to always die in groups of three. I predict Saddam Hussein will be next. Unless the former Mr. Britney Spears wises up and makes the only dignified exit possible...

Today a couple dropped into the office without an appointment and one of them acted like a colossal bully which goes over like a lead balloon with *moi.* We take a dim view of pushy asshats who think they are a cut above everyone else, and turning me off early in a business arrangement is a mistake a few people have come to regret. As recently as 4 months ago, I thought I wouldn't still be working where I am by the new year, so I'm a little surprised. I will be pleased to get out of this particular job title and into another aspect of the industry. Yuck. Ack. Pa-tooey.

A great show I recommend you watch on the Food TV Network is Nigella Feasts featuring Nigella Lawson. I LOVE that show, and I love every recipe of hers I've tried. NF must be recorded in NYC, because the price signs at the cheese market had dollar signs. Her old Style Network show, Nigella Bites, was recorded on film in her gorgeous kitchen in London, whereas the new show is recorded on videotape, which is not quite as visually satisfying. Still, it's a stunning program, and I've learned a lot about cooking from her. For example, when you are melting butter, put a tiny bit of vegetable oil in the saucepan to keep the butter from curdling and boiling. Neat, huh?

Tomorrow night I start making the rum cakes. Thousands of rum cakes to send to all and sundry. I made 12 tiny rum cakes on Christmas Eve (pulled them out of the oven about 1:30 am), but other than that, I am horribly remiss in this social nicety. I swear I'll do better.

I really love to cook, but these days it feels like I'm spending such an exhausting amount of time driving to and from downtown through harsh traffic that I've not much interest in pottering around the kitchen, so it's dinner out or just a sandwich, most of the time. I lived in McKinney and went to school in Denton during my classical voice training, and I drove a 35 mile stretch of road twice a day. Music theory classes at 8am, and opera rehearsals sometimes lasting as late as midnight. I was physically and mentally exhausted beyond measure. Now with this drive, I feel I've slipped into another grind.

When there's no traffic, it takes me 15 minutes to drive the 12 miles home up the tollway. When there's traffic, it's more like an hour. Commuting. Meh. I should have asked Santa for that jet pack. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Thanks for making it funky, James Brown

What a fun performer James Brown was. He breaks it on down in the hoofing department at about the 2 minute mark on this clip. Lots of wisdom here: Get up offa that thing, and shake it: you'll feel better.
Why not?
Anyway, long may his funky ass wave! "I feel good" is of course, an all-time classic, but "Get up offa that thing" captures his spirit, too. I'm sorry he died this weekend, but I'm so glad he was here. Here's to those among us who are always of good cheer - they light the way.

We had a fabulous Christmas. Niece loved the herd of Breyer horses auntie Phlegm got her, and nephew was excited by the remote-control robot dinosaur. The ones that really hit it out of the park, though, were when he opened his pack of 2 light sabers and exclaimed "this can't be legal!" That's apparently a line from some video game he plays, but it brought down the house. The other top giftie was what my mom got niece in the form of a Barbie with a dog which ate little magnetic pellets of food and then pooped them out when you lift his tail. Then there's a little magnetic poop scooper. I think she played with that for about half an hour at least, before I left their house on Christmas Eve.

It was a great weekend, and so nice to have some lovely time with family. I got shoes for 3 of the 4 men at the top of my list, and they all liked them and they all happened to fit. Luck.

Lazed about all afternoon/evening on Christmas at mom and dad's watching old movies including the superb 1945"A Tree Grows In Brooklyn". I was misty several times in this movie, and tears rolled down my cheeks more than once - brilliantly written and performed - very touching. I always feel incredibly content at mom&pop's. It's very nice, too, to come out on the other side of Christmas feeling all the stress and rushing about was totally worth it.

I hope you all had a grand time, too.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas everybody!

Stan Laurel was so adorable. Did you know he had red hair?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Myron tagged me so here goes. 3 things I want and three things I don't want for Christmas.

I've decided to forego squandering my wishes on impossible concepts like 3-day work weeks and world peace and will instead focus on the narrowly personal, which seems more reasonable and obtainable. Besides, if I'm happy, then I'm better poised to fix all the world's problems, which I already know how to solve.

thing 1 - I'd like shoes from John Fluevog. [always a safe bet with me]
thing 2 - I'd like a
bauble from Yossi Harari's collection *drool mode on*
thing 3 - I'd like some flowers & a bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame.

thing 1 - I don't want something boring
thing 2 - I don't want any fruity-smelling fragrance
thing 3 - I don't want something someone didn't want to give me

OK. It's Christmas eve and almost 1pm. I've got some wrapping to do for niece and nephew, and some rum cakes to rustle up, so I'd best get cracking. I had a photo I was going to post here, but my photo file has disappeared from the desktop, and I can't find it anywhere, so imagine a fabulous photo snapped by yours truly.

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

OK, by popular demand, here is my Christmas tree replete with home-grown monster green treeskirt with pink marabou trim. What a mess, eh? At least it makes ME happy. [In case anyone missed it before, this is a recycled discount store gum rack spray painted red & green and donning now its gay apparel - that's recycling!]

We took niece and nephew to see the Nutcracker last night, and they had a good time. Niece is 9 and nephew is 4, and we thought he might not be into it, but he sat and watched with rapt attention. At points I thought he was enjoying it more than niece, who seemed in danger of drifting off occasionally.

Nephew is taking drum lessons, so he likes making noise, and really got into the applause portions of the program, clapping with increasing gusto every time. It was funny.

We left the music hall and drove through downtown on Jackson street, then back up Commerce street making the U around Neiman-Marcus and back down Main street so they could see all the Christmas lights. Frank insisted we listen to The Gorillaz, so we kicked out the jams while digging the Christmas lights. It was too late at that point, but we vowed to come back downtown soon at night and take a carriage ride.

Then we went through Burger Street at about 10:45 and went home, eating our burgers while watching Meerkat Manor. Astonishingly, I was the first to conk out. Sitting in my pimp chair and dozing, husband woke me up to tell me I should go to bed, and I agreed.

I'm making a few more pieces of jewelry, but other than that and a few small things, I have ALL my Christmas shopping yet to do. There has been simply no time in recent weeks and it's been all I could do to keep up with pressing commitments.

Ah the world of procrastination: that's the life for me. At least I don't have to run out and buy a tree every year. And I never have to water it or hoover up pine needles. No muss, no fuss. And no actual tree to get in the way of all my commercial decorations!

Happy Christmas, everybody!

Friday, December 22, 2006

does he or doesn't he?

I got a giggle out of this one.
I had a great time at work today. I was fixing goodie bags for the residents' Christmas gift, and my fellow hypo-manic friend, Erin, popped by and helped me. She is often afraid to come by my office because when we get together, we get sucked into a conversational tractor beam and it's very hard to break free.

Erin rides dressage and I think most people in her family are horsey-set farm-dwellers. When she married her husband, he moved from Boston to Texas and of course spent a lot of time with Erin's family. Somewhere along the way, he casually mentioned that he'd always wanted a goat.

Erin said "never say something like that around my family, because they will GET you a goat." Sure enough, one day someone brought him a baby goat, of which he is exceedingly fond.

She said if they are not neutered, boy goats start emitting an eye-watering musk when they mature, and the time came that Corky needed to be rendered a eunuch. Apparently the whole thing of neutering farmish animals is a very casual affair, and Erin insisted that Corky be taken to a proper vet and administered some sort of sedative during the ordeal. After all, Corky was a pet, and not some mere anonymous beast of the field.

Nope. Country vet showed up and had Erin's husband hold the crying goat down as he stopped the family line right in its tracks. Erin had flung herself on the bed and put a pillow over her head singing the national anthem in hopes of not hearing the goat. Apparently she still heard the cries of distress.

I played her the I wanna goat for Christmas mp3, and she was delighted and couldn't wait to play it for her husband.

Anyway, seeing her made the day great - we laughed and laughed. It's funny, because we start talking and chase rabbits all over the universe, and every time I've seen her, later on I remember at least a dozen sentences or stories I never finished because we were suddenly off on some completely different subject. I suspect we seem strange to other people, but to us, we are refreshingly normal.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pachelbel Canon Fodder

Well, the one that sent me 'round the bend was Pomp & Circumstance, but Pachelbel can get stuck in my head and bounce around for days. I laughed and laughed at this guy. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

5 Favorite Christmas Songs

My friend Kim over at Something to Say tagged me with a meme a while back, but I wanted to wait to post my response until I could give audio aids to demonstrate my ardor for the subject. The second on my list, I wanna Goat for Christmas, was one I had to track down and post on my own bolt listing. I suspect this 45 may have been vacuum sealed for the last 46 years, because it was remarkably devoid of snaps, crackles and pops. Anyway, I'm pleased it transferred to mp3 as well as it did.

OK. I love a lot of traditional Christmas music, and I love some more contemporary oddities. It's always hard for me to pin down favorites when it comes to music, but I keep coming back to a couple of these in my mind year after year. Two you most likely have never heard, and I hope you will click on the links, particularly the goat song, since I've tracked down the original vinyl and taken the trouble to post the little devil on bolt. Cheers!

Not in order of preference:

Blue Xmas by Miles Davis. This one is rather bah-humbug-ish , but it's a bit funny and definitely out there. You'll probably recognize vocalist ____ from the schoolhouse rock series - he sang several of those you would recognize

I wanna goat for Christmas by The Wilder Brothers, 1959. The oddball in me who is so besotted with David Sedaris is the same oddball who is so besotted with this song. LOVE it. Love the crap, the stuffing, the business out of it. My kind of holiday music.

Millionaire's Holiday by Combustible Edison. The video here at Youtube is mildly amusing and features a creature of dubious extraction who goes by the name Formica Dinette. Still, the song's a real humdinger. Me likee.

Go Tell It on the Mountain as sung by Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman or any other proper diva. I don't think I need to explain this one.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - So much Christmas music is over-sweet and will lull one into a diabetic coma. This song sounds very Dickens era, and I love the minor key that never gives the sappy, no-brainer All-American happy ending of justfying on a major chord. In fact, despite having "merry" in the title, it sounds rather grim. Good for you - in a tough old world, stick to your dour, severe roots, baby.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


At the recent fancy-dress wedding of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, Courtney Love appeared as the Queen of Hearts. WTF is going on with that implant? Ladies - if you're going to corset up, best to do a dry run when fitting and make sure your lady bits don't get so squoze up so much that other guests can read "Dow-Corning" and the serial number off your prosthetics, m'kay? Ew. It kinda looks like a little butt on there or sumpthin. It's a pity, because otherwise, I think this is about the best and healthiest I've seen her in a photograph, even looking semi-trashed.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Here are a few beads I made this weekend. I was rather pleased with the big bead, which is about the size of a quarter. Although I've acid etched a lot of beads, this was my first attempt at applying a resist on clear dots to keep them glossy while the rest of the bead goes matte as the surface is eaten away. I used a contrasting color nail lacquer to coat the dots. The cool thing is the different finish makes the dots look like they are glowing.

I thought you might like to see what goes into making one of these beads. I'm always talking about "silvered ivory" and here you can get some sense of what that process involves. The ivory rod at the top is the core glass of all these beads shown. With the stone-looking beads, I made the core roughly the size I wanted the finished bead to be, and then wrapped on scrolls of the two twisted stringers you see here. The greenish one is two Moretti glass (from Italy, a soft soda glass that melts at roughly 1700 F) colors called Sage and Avocado. To make the other stringer, I took a rod of ivory and put about 1.5" stripe on one side of cobalt blue transparent and on the other side of the ivory I put an equal stripe of cranberry transparent, cobbed another ivory rod on the other side of the tip and then twisted as I pulled the molten mass into a stringer about the size of a pencil lead.

The cool thing about these colors is they are highly reactive with ivory - ivory is much more fun than white because the oxides in that glass make for a very unpredictable finish, which is more exciting than the expected. OK. Yes, I'm pathetic and very easily thrilled. Ivory goes bananas with turquoise blue (it makes little black rims around the blue bits) and other fun stuff I'll show you some other time.)

Anyway, after I doodled these stringers onto the core ivory beads, I wrapped a leaf of fine silver (.999 as opposed to the .925 purity of sterling) onto the bead burnishing it with a graphite marver to ensure all-around contact, and melted it in, causing further reactions with the oxides in the colored stringer and the ivory. On one of the smaller beads, if you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see how this silver has turned into something of a dusting of minute silver balls. I love the way the silvered beads have a stone-like appearance, and now they are etched, they feel like smooth rocks, too. Neat.

Finally, I daubed a series of ivory dots onto the bead and then did a cobalt transparent nubbin. I love nippled beads - the texture is fun, and the form is pleasing.

The other bead is a core of ivory encased in clear transparent, and then spiraled with the avocado/sage stringer. I then put ivory dots around to give the clear green more dimension.

These actually look much better in person, though I am far from a master beadmaker. My beads are just a means to an end, and I make them solely to have something to my taste to swag on my jewelry. They are a means to an end, but they amuse me mightily, and the keep me off the streets. Somewhat.

Let's see if it works on its own post - blogger photo is being so cantankerous today.

And Bob's your uncle! It finally worked.

Sunday I went to a little get-together at my boss' house. She hosts a cookie party every Christmas and everyone rates the cookies and votes on a favorite from the prize-winning recipes published in the local paper every year. My top 2 picks for the cookies were what everyone else rated lowest. Poo.

Then I left and couldn't scare up my folks on the phone, so I just went driving around snapping photos, and oh, what a good night it was for that! I took photos of a huge wreck on I-35 - the trailer of a big rig was accordioned and splayed across the highway, blocking traffic utterly. I stopped at an overlook point and snapped away. I may not do anything with those images, but it was interesting.

I got some spectacular night time shots downtown with long exposure in both B&W and color, and I finally got images of the Neiman-Marcus windows which are always a big part of the season around here. Apparenly this year's theme was gold, and in this image, the dresser enshrouded in gold leaf is a Heywood-Wakefield which is a very distinctive and very collectable mid-century modern furniture manufacturer. In another tableau, the mannequins are standing by a Philipe Starck Louis chair that has been gold-leafed. I'd love the cast-offs from their window props. Good stuff.

The mannequin on the right looked kind of Angie Dickinson-esque, and the one on the left reminded me of Marilyn. What was cool was I noticed that the inside of the wind
ow caught the reflection of Marilyn and that it echoed back again through the mirror on top of the dresser. Thought you'd like to have a gander.

Sometimes it's just great to drive around and see where your wheels take you. I ended up in one parking lot at the West end of town where I had a moment of chest-bursting civic pride: the sole green glass bottle to be seen on the pavement was Perrier. Ah, bless!

I love this crazy town!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

For some reason, blogger is not letting me post that photo of the NM window display - I'll try again later in the day on Monday. meh.
I have a glossy addiction and I take a (probably unhealthy) number of magazines, including some interior design publications. I don't read much of the text - it's more a design direction I sort of keep my finger on, as it is of interest to me, and I mostly just skim through them once, each.

This has been a slow-dawning realization, but something is really bugging me these days.

Tonight when flipping through the new House & Garden, I saw a circa 1940s photo of Walt Disney. I paused and wondered why Walt Disney would be in an ad in a decor magazine in 2006. Well, I'm glad I asked me that. It appears that the furniture manufacturer Drexel Heritage is going to unleash on the consuming public a collection of furniture in 2007 called the
Walt Disney Signature Collection. Turns out this furniture was "inspired" by Disney.

This brought to mind the ad campaign that Thomasville furniture began in 2003 for Bogart™ of which they say: Like the screenstar himself, Bogart™ from Thomasville is cosmopolitan but never pretentious.

Bogey, pretentious? How's about when he appeared in The Barefoot Contessa, set in tropical climes, as the Contessa (Ava Gardner) and other rustics ran about barefoot and scantily clad, and meanwhile, Bogey sported a trench coat? Nah, he was never pretentious. But I'm chasing rabbits, aren't I?

It's so nice that a furniture company thought of ways to help you Bogart™ your joint. Like that's a bad thing.

Anyway, there's a passel of products out there sporting the likeness and/or name of dead icons to shill things created long after the death of these celebrities. Hell, call it the Casablanca collection or "Play it again, Sam," or anything else - but using the name taints the legacy of a great artist, in my opinion. I just think it's crappy.

I noticed several years ago that there's a fairly sexy line of lingerie that sports the name Marilyn Monroe. She has a wine too. Considering she was famed for not wearing underwear, it's a little odd to have a collection of undies sporting her name. And given the sad chemical nature of her demise, it seems more than a little ironic that her comely visage with her eyes at half-staff would be festooned on a bottle of an intoxicant. But that's just me--jaded cynic that I am.

Now, Raymond Burr who played Perry Mason had his own vineyard in Healdsburg California and his own wine label prior to his death some years back. His partner has continued that company, and in the case of a product a celebrity originated or endorsed in their lifetime, I have no problem with the heirs of the estate continuing in that vein.

Thomasville and Drexel Heritage are known to produce high-quality furniture, but nonetheless, I think this is an icky trend.

Oh, and speaking of semi-icky advertising - I was watching the extra footage and interviews from Top Chef on, and before each clip they made me watch a 15 second ad spot for toilet paper. Well, if you eat, you HAVE to poop, so it makes sense, but it's a little too close to home to be called tasteful to advertise potty-ish-ness on a cooking program, don't you think?

Actually, the whole commercial thing is why I DVR everything - I can't get past the tremendous feeling of insult and resentment I get when I see what networks and their advertisers put out there and expect us to respond to. Well, I'm responding, but not in the way they hoped, I bet. Grrr.

That is all.
For now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Now THIS is the way it ought to be.

Some kids in Bridgwater

Somerset [England] were observed on CC tv vandalizing the Christmas tress at town center, and the CC monitor notified police. The Police quickly reported to the scene then forced the vandals to re-decorate the trees. Sweet!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Does anyone remember the lessons of prohibition?

New York City is going to ban its restaurants from serving any foods containing the evil trans-fatty acids.

During the U.S. alcohol prohibition, booze clubs called "speak-easies"popped up all over the country. I predict the emergence of the "eat-easy." People will need a special password to get in and will have to show credentials proving they are in no way connected with the fat-police. NYC will spend millions raiding these dens of senseless fat ingestion and possibly billions prosecuting and incarcerating these fat-mad diners. Yeah, we know who the real criminals are in our society - it's clearly fat people. This will be money well-spent because we need another war on a substance as money sink-hole, since we already don't know what to do with all the excess cash we have laying around in this country. I can just see The Far Side cartoon now, with tubbies lurking around foggy alleys, comically attempting stealth as they furtively slip into darkened doorways.

some British professor says that enormous clothes for fat people should have a label sewn in warning the buyer that this is a fat person's size and that they should get help. Well, hello, asshole, the fat person's clothing already has a "fat warning label" -- it's the size tag, dickweed.

I think anyone who is overweight already has a pretty clear idea that they are having a problem. A warning label on clothing would be as ridiculous as that "help" line for gambling addicts that's printed on every lottery ticket. And they don't need some rocket-surgeon academic to tell them about it - I suspect they've already noticed. What will he suggest next - that manufacturers should be prevented from making large clothing because people won't be fat if they have nothing to wear? The other idiocy of this label thing suggests that someone will grow into a size because they aspire to wear a particular garment. What a load of crap.

I think it would be a neat idea if we fixed our governments and the major societal ills we suffer instead of interfering with peoples' personal lives. But that's just me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ah, life has a way of running in circles.

You know how I posted that thing about mother-in-law's driving neuroses yesterday?

In the oddest sort of coincidence, last night Husband told me that his mother wants to go to California to see her grandchildren in May. I told him it would take her a month to drive there if she didn't get on an expressway at some point or other. He said she wants him to go with her as passenger while she drives there. I didn't ask, but strongly suspect I wasn't invited for this little foray.

One really odd thing is that she is deathly afraid of non-white people and indeed will make great loops around sections of town where the population isn't predominantly white. I can't imagine how she's getting to California, unless she drives up to Canada and then down along the Pacific Coast. On back roads, I'm figuring that'll be more like 3 months. Anyhoo.
Not my problem.
Not going to be my problem.

But I reserve the right to giggle at it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wow. Watch out for distracted, lunatic drivers. I was exiting an expressway Tuesday when a woman on the side road rolled through a stop sign at about 25 mph and nearly hit me. She then took the trouble to overtake me and flip me off. I could see she was in another world as I took the exit ramp - she never even looked around. Naturally, I honked my balls off.

It's incredible to think that some dipshit who isn't paying attention could just take your life in an instant. As I was driving down upper Greenville yesterday morning on the one-way south-bound just above Mockingbird, some goober came driving along in the opposite direction whilst reading. Yes, reading. He was holding up some sort of paper with one hand, and I assume the other hand was on the wheel, but I couldn't swear to it.

Stuff like this gets my attention, but I try to stay in a state of relaxed readiness behind the wheel rather than being bone-stiff and freaked out constantly - it's too physically and mentally exhausting to do otherwise. If husband rides in a car while I'm driving, he's Mr. Whiteknuckle and wears out the imaginary brake pedal on the passenger side. If someone taps the brakes 200 yards ahead, he's crossing himself and bracing for impact.

He gets that from his mother, who is so incredibly neurotic that she can't ride in a vehicle with someone else driving. She also can't drive on an expressway. If she needs to take his father to the airport, they have to drive the 20 miles through on town roads, taking hours longer than the 20 or 25 minutes it would take a mere mortal.

I think I told this story once before, but it's such a good one it bears re-telling. Way back in the 60s when they were at university in Lubbock, my father-in-law was driving and ran a stop light and ploughed right into some random yahoo. That random yahoo turned out to be Tex Ritter and of course it was splashed all over the local Lubbock papers, to my inlaws' eternal chagrin. Mortified is a word.

Funny thing is, I think most people would say something like "wow, I really screwed up, and isn't it funny that my victim turned out to be Tex Ritter?!" Then again, my mother-in-law talked for years of a former sister-in-law who humiliated the whole family by having a belt set off a metal detector at an airport in Corpus Christi about 15 years ago-- she was a bad person.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Tree Teaser

Here are some ornaments from my tree. I just love this little hedgehog, and I had to share with you the nekkid Santa with the strategically placed beard. I suspect he delivers his goodies on a hog. Love the rosy cheeks.

I was living in a loft about 18 years ago and a neighbor had the wackiest thing - it was an old Wrigley's rack from a WalMart or a dollar store or some such, and it became my official Christmas tree. Remember when those stores would have these racks with hanging 10-packs of Wrigley's chewing gum like Big Red and Doublemint and Juicy Fruit? Well, maybe it's a Southern thing, I dunno. Red and green spray paint sorta give the rack the spirit of the season. Now it's a little more unwieldy and cumbersome when it comes to storage, but I've usually had some good place to tuck it away and have it out of sight in off-season.

By the way, I loved the crap out of the flavor of Juicy Fruit gum. As soon as the sweetness ran out on one stick, I'd unpeel the wrapper from another, like chain smoking only with chewing gum. Now I hate chewing gum - it makes my jaws ache. Ew. Still like the memory of the flavor of juicy fruit, though - haven't had it in years, maybe decades? Wow. Time is flying. Anyway, do they even make Juicy Fruit anymore? If not, pity.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I have listened to this over and over and it's yet another reason I absolutely adore opera. Every once in a while, there's a trainwreck. It happens on the last note.

This is La donna è mobile from Rigoletto performed by Nicolai Gedda. Rough translation is that women are changeable or fickle. Ha!

The link is on which is a queer opera zine simply dripping with opera gossip, which probably doesn't interest you if you're not an opera queen or a diva. Ah, but I have had many a wicked giggle at the expense of well-paid popular opera singers, and that in some small way salves my aching ego that I'm not having a career. Bitches!

The sweetie-lambs came over last weekend and decorated the tree for Aunt Phlegmmy. They did a fantastic job and it's always a great time when they are around. I'll post a pic of the tree soon - it's a little kooky, which is perhaps what you'd expect from me. My tree is rather unconventional, as you will see.

I'm in my last big push of making jewelry for selling before Christmas, and I'll have some new stuff up before the end of the week over at Ranchorita. I'm kinda sicky now, but I made a bunch of beads today anyway, resting in between torch sessions in front of a roaring fire. I bought some fine silver mesh (.999 instead of the .925 of sterling) which I'm melting in little strips on the glass in the flame. What's cool is when the silver draws up into little balls where the grid lines intersect so it's just a field of tiny dots instead of the cross-hatching of mesh. Also, if I'm using ivory Moretti glass, then the silver reacts with the oxides in the ivory glass and makes the glass blacken around the edges, almost making the glass appear veined with dark lines. Fun stuff.

This is going to be a hectic week, so don't be surprised if I seem like a galloping looney. Cheers!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Speaking of Spanish, which has come up in a couple posts this week, I LOVE the Castilian pronunciation one hears in the films of Pedro Almodovar. My favorite of his films is "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" which is very silly and sublimely funny. Highly recommended. Of course, I'm predisposed to love any film wherein peseta is pronounced "petheta." I love that little lispy thingie on the "s" sounds. Cute. Here, too, Carmen Maura has an intriguing method for serving gazpacho, the yummy Spanish tomato soup, served cold.

One 1967 film set in Spain is (though I think it's in Seville rather than in Barthelona) is The Bobo, starring Peter Sellers.

Peter's wife, Britt Ekland, stars as the ingenue and she has the most fabulous, groovy sixties wardrobe along with Maseratis to match. The film has a rather unexpected ending which leaves you thinking either Sellers' character is brilliant or a simpleton - either way, what he wants out of life is not something he will compromise on, regardless what extraordinary opportunities come his way. I think the surprise ending makes this film much more memorable than most, and while it wasn't side-splittingly funny as some of Sellers' films are, there is still plenty to chuckle over, and as usual, he brings an elegance and grace to what could easily have been a ridiculous character and nothing more. I suppose that is something I love about his acting - he always donned a persona with conviction, never morally judging the characters he played.

I must mention one riveting scene in this film features a flamenco dance performed by a sweaty, intense woman. In a strange way, she's ugly as she strains through a grueling zapateado (that's that rapid-heel slamming dance so common in flamenco) but it is a magnificent vision. I think that scene alone is worth seeing the entire film.

And speaking of Peter Sellers, I saw the 1967 original Casino Royale a few weeks ago, and it was corny as shit (corn being one of the Elfin Foods™ which the intestinal elves magically re-assemble). What has derailed my fragile psyche time and again in the past few weeks has frequently been the cornball motif Burt Bacharach composed and which that dastardly Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass performed - I just can't get it out of my head and in a not-good way. Yeuch! Anyway, I must say that despite oozing a complex gravy of camp/groovy/spoof, this wasn't enough for me to enjoy it very much - I thought it was particularly bad, and I have pretty low standards, so that is just sad. I will say that Ursula Andress was a vision of loveliness as ever, so the film's not a complete, er, bust, but nor do I recommend it. Proceed at your own risk with this puppy, 'cause that dog won't hunt.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Haranguing up

You know, I've complained about cell phones before, but I think I'm due to unburden about cell phones yet again.

First let me say that I have an abiding appreciation for the ways cell phones enrich our lives and make things so much easier. I have a close relationship with my parents, and I know it was stressful for us all when I would go on a road trip to visit grandparents in Arkansas by myself as a young woman--I would be out of touch with mom & pop, and they'd wonder how I was getting along on the road. Now there is no being out of touch - dad can call me on the road, or I can call him if I need to chatter someone to sleep. *** See footnote Of course, in the event of emergencies, that emergency services may be instantly summoned is of immeasurable value. There are probably too many good features of cell phones to name.

However, some of these same qualities render cell phones an extraordinary annoyance. Was it Plato who said something like one's very best qualities, unchecked, would act to destroy one? One of the good things about leaving the house used to be that you got away from the telephone. One could do their thing and not have someone hectoring them to give a blow-by-blow of their daily routine. Apparently, when people dial someone else up, the first thing they say is "what are you doing?" and then the person responds. I have overheard countless people in restaurants answer the phone and say "Hello. Nothing." Well, no, you're not doing nothing--you're eating in a restaurant (in some cases with a date) and you're disrupting other diners, jerk! Once in a Record store, a guy next to me answered his phone "Hello. Making a baby. What are you doing?" When in every case, the appropriate response would be "I'm talking to you."

On Tuesday I went into the restroom at school. This is a big modern facility with a row of about 10 stalls, and I proceeded to the handicapped stall, or, as I like to think of it, the executive stall. I had a bag of crap for my class, my purse and a coat, so I folded down the diaper station and stacked all my stuff on it. Then a chick came into the room spewing a rapidly babbling brook of spanish. At first, I thought she was two people, and then I realized as she entered the stall next to mine that she was on a cell phone. Blah blah blah, shut the hell up, lady. She could have taken any of the other 8 stalls not right next to me, but nooooo. So I'm putting on my coat and gathering up my things and I hear her peeing like everybody's business as she's chattering along. So I flushed the toilet about 4 times in a row, just to put my 2 cents' worth in. It never seemed to break the flow of her conversation. I guess when it came to talking to this friend, she simply couldn't wait.

As i griped once about the annoyance of cell phones, my English friend Rosie laughingly agreed what rude devices they are. Her nephew, Murray, was on a train from London to York and as soon as the train got rolling, an American man's phone rang and he proceeded to carry on a protracted business discussion with the person at the other end. Murray got up and approached the man and said "Excuse me, am I going to have to ride the entire way to York in your office?" and the American said "Yes." Murray, steamed, grabbed his coat and stormed off to another rail car. In York he realized he'd left his briefcase on the overhead rack of the first car, and of course it was gone when he went back to retrieve it.

Cell phones: meh.

[I have chattered dad do sleep, more than once. Like me, dad is a night owl and has trouble turning his brain off, so I consider it a mark of achievement that the dulcet qualities of my voice have enabled a tired man to get some much-needed rest. tee hee. I'd be talking along about whatever silly thing was interesting to me at the moment, and I'd hear his breathing, slightly raspy and very even. Awww, what a lamb! He's so sweet when he's sleeping! I'd just leave my phone off the hook so he could hang it up when he woke up, that way he wouldn't be jarred awake by that awful "your phone's off the hook" tone. Mom is always mad at him for running the juice out of the cordless phones. I suppose she should be mad at me, even though I haven't talked dad to sleep in a while.]

Friday, December 08, 2006

Well, crap.

I messed around and didn't get tickets to see Thomas Dolby at the Granada Theater tonight. I went online and looked, sorta thinking they wouldn't sell out, and I'd finally decided that yeah, I DO want to see this show.

It was the 6th, not the 8th. I don't know if I mis-read and thought today would be the 6th, or if I thought the show was on the 8th. All I know is that I had my chops all set for going to this show on Friday night.

Oh well. He's playing Houston tonight and I'm SO not driving down there.
Mind the gap.

Remember the North Ridge earthquake in San Francisco on the day of the world series? There was footage they played over and over on the news of someone driving along the top deck of the Bay Bridge (at least I think that's the one) which is a double-decker and an entire section of the roadway had falled into the bay, yet the driver seemed to accelerate as they approached the gap, with dire results. Mind you, the gap was not enormous, but you'd need a seriously souped-up machine to span a gap that was at least two car lengths with no ramping up before the dropoff. And you'd need to be an ace behind the wheel, besides.

I've always wondered about that person, though.
Did they see the gap and think, "oh, I can make it if I drive really fast" or were they so freaked out and distracted by the earthquake that they didn't see the gap ahead? Perhaps they were fumbling with their cell phone. Or maybe they were distracted and looking up at the news helicopter that was filming a section of the bridge with no one on it. Hmm. Empty bridge in a town where it typically takes 1 hour fighting traffic to go five miles. This might be a sign...

This is a cautionary tale for us all, perhaps: if you see a news helicopter filming something in the road ahead, you may want to proceed with extreme caution. I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wow, this is so cool I had to post it.

Yesterday in typical sunspot flare-up fashion, our universe's gooey warm center burped out a big ropey loop of molten product bigger than a cluster of planets our size. You can click on this link to get to a page where you can find a link with moving images of the flare, or listen to audio of the radiation storm interfering with radio waves. That's hot!

Wow. I'm amazed. I read the first 400 pages of Lonesome Dove from October 5 through last Sunday, and then I read the last 540-ish pages in the last 3 days. Incredible. NOW I'm ready to see the cinematic version of it, at last.

I'm not uptight about spoilers, but I know some other folks might be. So I'm going to put the names in white and you can highlight them to see the names if you so choose.

I can't believe Larry McMurtry killed Gus.

I'm in total shock that we don't find out what was in the letter from Gus to Lorena.

Then again, I know there's at least one sequel.

I cried when they buried Deets, and I cried for about the last 3 pages. I never cry. It takes a lot to make me cry. Crying when reading a book? Well, that's the second time this year, and I've read a lot of books until I hit upon this one.

I can't believe July Johnson is such a dim-witted dullard. I disliked his wife and I'm not sorry that she got massacred.

At first I thought Gus was a diarrhea-of-the-mouth, no-account layabout, and eventually I found him to be so incredibly competent, capable and just plain old ALL MAN that he grew heroic in my eyes.

That was perhaps the greatest surprise to me in this novel, finding out the strong, silent guy was just piling grief on his own misery and unwittingly avoiding the most noble thing he could have done while the jabbering (seeming) dimwit was the very portrait heroism and rugged individuality.

Blue Duck was a mean mo-fo - I suppose there were people around that were that cunning, ruthless and evil. After all, they're around today, too, aren't they?

I was sick of the word poke used to refer to sexual intercourse by about page 7 of 944.

Incredibly good book.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Well, THAT was fun!

I just wanted the chance to slap around a bony, addle-witted broad. Actually, I always wanted to live in England, if only for a little while. It's so great when you can go into a structure and see where it was built in sections from the Norman period forward. You have so much more a sense of being part of a continuum when everything around you wasn't just built in your own lifetime.

I always thought I'd get a chance to live in England, but I suppose that ship has left the station.

As for living in Texas, I hate the heat and there's waaaay too much sun for my taste, but I really like the people here.

I was waxing so gushmatic after the Imogen Heap episode that I didn't talk about how Austin has changed in the several years since I've been there.

To bring you up to speed - didja see that movie "Slacker" about 14 or 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Well, that very much conveyed the typical neo-hippie hang-arounder one would always see in Austin at that time. They're still there, somewhere, no doubt. However, that place has slicked-up proper, and frankly is looking more Dallasesque all the time, in my opinion, to their detriment. Texas already has a Dallas, you poser copycats!

Funny thing was there was a bumper-sticker trend in Austin for quite some time that said "Keep Austin Weird." In response, a group of Dallas' own eccentrics formed a group called "Keep Dallas Plastic" and they are a little kooky. I've never spent any time reading their site or anything, but I appreciate the off-the-chart nutty factor. Actually, what's funny is that they seem sorta activist and whole-grain-ish and probably more than a few of their women sport armpit hair you could braid and bead. Probably no deodorant, no hair products. Probably not much plastic.

What is this hippy business doing in the land of Aquanet? How can one live in Texas yet eschew the ladies' prime directive of big hair? Remember what Danny from Withnail and I said:
DANNY: All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. hair are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos and transmit them directly into the brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight.

WITHNAIL: What absolute twaddle!

Everyday is a good day for a Withnail quote.

Anyway, above is a picture of some big-haired gals of yore.

The other picture, well, it's a picture from a medical scrubs uniform company, but I just had to share it with you. Came across this on the web today, and I thought "why is she tweaking his nipple - that doesn't seem very professional? I guess everyone is nasty these days." Turns out, she's holding a stethoscope that has gone into stealth mode in that technicolor yawn pattern on his shirt. Sheesh. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

...and from the backpedaling department of the home office, Gwyneth Paltrow took pains Monday to release a statement saying how proud she is to be an Amercian and that her comments had been misconboobulated when printed in a Portuguese paper. She said she needed to take a refresher course on 7th grade Spanish. I suppose that would help, except that they speak Portuguese in Portugal. Yeah, I know it's remotely related, but it ain't the same thing. Maybe that's how they misquoted her - she was speaking another language. She should stick to English, and scripted English, at that.

She should have pulled a Michael Richards and blamed our government's unpreparedness for Katrina. I'm just sayin'...

I read hundreds of pages of Lonesome Dove today. Love that book, love the characters, I'm even kinda diggin' on cowboys now. Kinda. Good reading. Larry McMurty: cool guy.

I know a guy in his late 70s who went into a book store in the 50s or someways along in there and there was a youngish author sitting at a table peddling his books with free autograph. He said he felt sorry for the guy because people walked by and didn't bat an eyelash, effectually staying away in droves. He bought several copies.

Turns out this new author was Larry McMurtry and these were the first prints, first editions of his first book. They're worth oodles of money now. Good for him, and good for Larry. I wonder if he sat there that day and thought people would just never get his writing...

Monday, December 04, 2006

And now, for something dead-serious:

This post
over at Tam's View from the Porch should be required reading. It'll just take a minute, but it points out something so fundamental that I wonder how anyone can be conflicted over the issue.

OK, it's been a while since I've drawn a picture for you sexy, sexy people.

Word is that Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock have slipped the bonds of matrimony. They had like 3 weddings, so shouldn't they have to get divorced 3 times?

Anyway. Pamela Anderson, appearing as herself, was a willing participant in the film "Borat" in which she was stuffed into a canvas bag and absconded with. Allegedly, Kid Rock saw the film and became enraged at her participation in such exploitative crap.

Um, hello? This is not new for Ms. Anderson - ever hear of Barb Wire? I watched that movie as soon as it came out on video hoping to get a few laughs, and it disappointed even on that score. Anyway, for Kid Rock to act like he got some mis-represented bill of goods seems a bit obtuse.

Celebrity gossip... where to next? Hmmm...

How about something a little closer to home?

A relative by marriage is related to Blythe Danner. When Gwyneth Paltrow started to become very successful as an actress, my relative's kid sibling -- about 11 at the time -- told schoolmates they were second cousin to G.P., but naturally the kids at school acted like it was baloney. So this little kid wrote Blythe and asked for an autographed picture of GP, and instead came an autographed photo of Brad Pitt, whom GP was dating at the time. Brad's name was signed along with the chummy greeting "hey cuz."

Not long afterward, either by phone call or letter, Blythe contacted ranking family members and laid down the law that no one in the family was to seek autographs from them or ply them for celebrity fodder or to give their contact information out to anyone.

Wow. Some little 11 year old kid-- a blood relation-- being impressed with something you've done makes you hounded and harrassed? Ok. Whatever.

So now GP is in the news for saying Brits are more intelligent and civilized than Americans. Well, I think she had such an insular existence in the USA (upper crust NYC crowd, finishing school, film industry, & sundry other of/by/for the wealthy/celebrity) that I don't think she would know how the average American converses, especially since she wouldn't learn that kind of dialogue in a film script.

Another point - tell me in which country she claims to live predominantly for tax purposes? Why do many Irish/British celebrities declare US residency? I'm so glad you asked. They do so to benefit from not paying taxes to an outrageously confiscatory system of taxation that bludgeons the bounty of creativity to fill the capacious cup of the governmental teat onto which almost everyone else is latched. [Ours is bad enough, but if THAT is civilization, I'll say no thanks and hold onto my firing iron while I'm at it. Call me a cavewoman.] The irony of U2 frontman Bono telling the USA to forgive third-world debt, yet divesting of homes in Ireland in order to avoid paying his fair share of their taxes is simply too much hypocrisy to be endured. If the USA sucks so hard, why are people still trying to get here? But this has turned into a rabbit-chase, hasn't it?

I find Brits in general to be brilliant conversationlists. Wry wit has ever been an earmark of the English psyche, whereas most Americans are born without an irony chip, and our popular culture often reflects that. The truth is we are very different cultures and the dewy-eyed optimism that seems typical of the American spirit can often be mis-read as naive gullibility.

The irony is that the same insular existence that kept Gwyn away from the great unwashed in the USA guarantees that she'll never interact with the intellectual giants that routinely maim and kill random strangers at English football events, the famed hooligans for whom foreign governments have watch lists on mass transit to prevent their entry into their countries during World Cup Soccer play. There must be more than a few addle-witted British brutes who could go toe-to-toe in the dim-olympics with any sorority girl or chicken de-beaker the USA could churn out.

Also, Gwyn was obviously preaching to the choir: living in England half the year, I'm sure it's satisfying to say complimentary things to the home crowd. However, probably lots of folks back here will be none too pleased with another American with diarrhea of the mouth overseas. I'm guessing she would like to sell a movie ticket here again in future.

SO, to summarize: for Gwyneth Paltrow to make an indelicate statement on what the average American is like makes as much sense as saying you understand all there is to know about American society and politics from a Michael Moore film. Not a full picture, babe. You're gonna catch hell for this one, not entirely underserved.

So just put your feet up, sit back, and I'll be back here with the popcorn in just about 4 minutes. This is gonna be a good one.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My first snowflake photos. I told you I went bananas with the camera yesterday. Loved it. I feel happiest in nasty weather. I can't explain it, but the sun makes me grouchy. Today it was cool but sunny, but I kept wishing someone would flip on the dimmer switch...

You ought to mosey over to see the post kees has up on her blog with a couple youtube links to video of a pair of superb Mexican guitarists she saw perform in London last week - great stuff!

Thomas Dolby will be in Dallas next week and I'm thinking it over very carefully - The Flat Earth and Aliens Ate My Buick and Retrospectacle have all been albums in heavy rotation for me at one time or another. He's written and produced lots of music you never knew he was involved in, like keyboards in Foreigner's Urgent and Waiting for a Girl like You and too much other stuff to name.

He founded Headspace which would become Beatnik in the early 90s which was a high tech company that worked on developing polyphonic ringtone stuff. Anyway, in a world where so many people realize enormous, outrageous success and popularity at a very young age, only to ride out the rest of their lives on the pitifully downhill slide, Thomas certainly hasn't rested on his laurels.

Good for him. I think I won't be able to resist the temptation to go. But I'm not taking him any jewelry. I promise.

Friday, December 01, 2006

OK, swans have got to be one of the most overly-photographed, clichéd things a new camera enthusiast could obsess over, but when the blustery winter weather hit today, I HAD to run out with my camera and get some snaps. I don't have a program on the pc where I can really mess around with and give alternate realities of images yet, but suffice to say that I'd like to give the water a chrome-like effect. I'll get there...

These swans were total hams, making like hogs for the camera. Rudely, for their all their comely posing, I offered nary a crumb of bread in exchange. Tomorrow I'll probably pick some up for them and run it by - don't want them to become aloof to the siren call of budding photographers in future, do we?

I wish we had more of a proper winter like this more of the time. I know Dallasites can't drive for beans on ice-slicked roadways, but the cold weather is nice and good weather to curl up with a good book. Doglet is my little furry hot-water-bottle, so who could ask for more? Tonight was the first time in the evening I've had a chance to read other than right at bed time. I pulled it over by the fire and hunkered down in my favorite $10 Thirft Town green velvet 1970s thunder-pimp chair and read a goodly bit of Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I haven't had much time for reading in recent months, but I've been stringing this one out for about 6 weeks so far, and I'm only about 269 pages in - it's so beautifully written and such a brilliant character study that this is truly one to savor.

There was an incredible line I'll share with you. This is sometime after the Civil War and in the absence of the sheriff, the deputy in Fort Smith (Arkansas), Roscoe, is being harrassed by a couple of pushy busybody citizens demanding he take action. Mr. McMurtry writes:

That was such a radical thought that merely trying to think it gave Roscoe the beginnings of a headache.

I found that passage particularly delicious, as I often feel that other people are giving me the beginnings of a headache!

I'll post some more pictures tomorrow. Stay bundled up and warm, folks!