Monday, October 29, 2007

Young Frankenstein

In honor of Halloween, here's a clip from one of my all-time favorite comedies. As Mel Brooks said, if you haven't seen "Young Frankenstein (1974)," "you're insane."

Starring in this comedy is the brilliant comedian, singer, and actress Madeline Kahn, one of my favorite funny girls ever. I love Cloris Leachman's character too--Frau Blucher. "Yes, yes, say it! He wuz my boyfriend!"

Unfortunately, YouTube does not have links to the best lines and scenes of "Young Frankenstein." I suppose there are too many. (my sister can quote all of them) But here at least is a funny scene with Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, and Madeline Kahn. Enjoy. (in my opinion, Marty Feldman ad libs in this scene. Can you guess where?)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fall Fun Day

I enjoyed an excellent day today. Drove to the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, Massachusetts. Spent the day sampling wine and beer, and picking apples with a group of gals. Afterwards we gathered at one woman's house for curry vegetable soup, cheese, and sweets.

After imbibing copious samples of wine, apparently apple picking can be a rather titillating activity. My video below proves this point. We also had these long, jousting-like poles to retrieve apples, which added much to the comedy of the afternoon. You can only imagine. There was certainly a lot of giggling going on.

By the by, for wine lovers, I liked the Blueberry Merlot. Somebody said the Strawberry Rhubarb and the Plum wine was good. As for beers, the Oatmeal Stout was good.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Caveman Speakth

Cro-Magnons (modern humans) have ALWAYS had the image of the Neanderthal as the proverbial "caveman," grunting and snorting whilst dragging off a female to his den by the hair. (Don't get too excited, guys) The Neanderthal man--- brutish, stupid, & mute.

In my opinion, this image of the Neanderthal man stems from a deep-seated inferiority complex on our part. Perhaps, like the interaction of the Europeans and Native Americans, the so-called superior race was actually the more brutish and stupid.

Anthropologists know the Cro-Magnons and the Neanderthals co-existed in Europe for more than 15,000 years. No doubt there was extensive interaction and perhaps intermingling. Why did the Neanderthals die out (except for a lagging mixture of Neanderthal DNA in Modern Europeans (especially redheads-- controversial opinion)) ?

In some ways, the Neanderthal had a survival advantage over Cro-Magnon. They were in Europe for many thousands of years. The Neanderthal had already proven they were hardy survivors in a harsh environment.

But the Cro-Magnons won out, presumably, because of intelligence & language.

Now DNA research suggests the Neanderthal had language too. A genetic marker for speech & language-- FOXP2-- has been found in Neanderthal bones. Other evidence for speech, such as a hyoid bone, a hypoglossal (tongue) muscle, & similar auditory sensitivity, exists. It is likely the Neanderthals did have language. In my opinion, they could not have survived for all those years without advanced communication of some sort.

Cro-Magnons were not necessarily superior in any way, but more adaptable. In a sense, the Neanderthals were overachievers. Their people managed to survive in an extremely limited environment. When that environment rapidly changed, due to climate, or influx of disease, or lack of game, the Neanderthals could not adapt quickly enough.

The superior (more numerous) gene flow of the Cro-Magnon eventually blotted out the Neanderthals.

Yet they remain our human cousins, our closest competition for ruling the planet.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Be Brave, Not Beige

Friends, I like my newly painted purple (plum/eggplant) living room accent wall. I know it's not for everybody, but I love it. It's awesome.

For those of you doomed forever to beige, neutrals, or eggshell white, think twice, and watch this very scary video from an IKEA ad. If you decide to change your beige ways, you can visit their website and experiment with bold colors in the safety of cyberspace.

Be Brave Not Beige! Funny Video - These bloopers are hilarious

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sylvia Plath

After posting about T.S. Eliot, I thought of other favorite poets. There's nothing more scathing & bone crunching than the poem "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath. She is one of my favorites, other than Emily Dickinson, of course.

by: Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

From "Ariel", 1966
List all poems from "Ariel"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I have heard the mermaids singing.....

One of my favorite poems-- from the great T.S. Eliot. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" 1919

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,15
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,20
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go35
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—40
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare45
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—55
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?60
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress65
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!75
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,85
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—95
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:105
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,115
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.125

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

original manuscript

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dog Gone South

Do you remember the Colonel on the Bugs Bunny cartoons? The old Southern gent, all dressed up in a white suit, with a white handlebar mustache? He would proudly saunter out onto the large porch of his plantation, & bellow out: "Oh, Belvedere, come HEEEEEREEE boy!"

From some distant point on the plantation, along would come bolting his enthusiastic pup-- Belvedere. Every time, the dog would knock the old man over, licking his face violently. It was very cute. Click on the mp3 link......

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Al Gore Wins the Nobel Prize

Fellow Americans, We could have had this man as our president, a great thinker and American hero. Instead, we chose a person who's barely read three books in his life. So much for looking down on "elitist intellectuals
." I'll take an intelligent, well spoken but 'stiff' candidate over an inarticulate 'back-slapping good old boy' any day. American will pay for this error for years to come..... Red states, you were duped.....

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Three Stooges

I hated the 3 Stooges in 5th grade. That's all the boys would talk about each day. The girls all rolled their eyes, even me. It was, "Sooooo stupid." There's definitely some brain and/or developmental gap between girls and boys at this age. I can attest to this fact, after some years of experience being around 5th, 6th graders.

I didn't get to appreciate the 3 Stooges until much later in life. Now I find a place where, for 10 minutes or so, the world can be a very silly place where pies are thrown and proper ladies lose face (literally). How many times did one of the 3 Stooges get to say, "Why you........."

Here below is a classic slap-stick comedy scene--- the pie fight. It proves there IS a perfect moment to throw a pie.

Hail to the 3 Stooges-- American icons. Their comedy provided solace to Depression Era and World War II America, and then, in re-runs, generations of younger Americans.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Teen Talk

I remember writing coded messages to friends in junior high. We would make symbols stand for words. Of course only a chosen few knew the code.
We didn't have cell phones back then. Just paper folded up into neat shapes. But the motivation was just the same. Keep those nasty adults and everyone else that's not cool away from OUR business-- our business that's so INCREDIBLY dramatic & deathly important.
Can you read the following message, in teen speak text messaging? (perhaps there's a few 20 somethings that can decipher the note too)


*****Translation for the middle-aged, parents/ teachers, old farts, others
"What's up? Thinking of you. Whatever. Will you go out with me? I'm bored. See you."

Nora, The Cat That Plays the Piano

We featured Toonces, the driving cat, earlier. Now it's time for Nora-- the cat that takes piano lessons.. I was doing a search for scenes from my favorite movie, "The Piano," on YouTube, when I came across this video of Nora. She's an older gray and white fluffy feline, with that matronly paunch. Her huntress days are over, so she's taken up a new hobby. Watch! Long, but amazing.....

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What are words for?

Ever since I've moved, I feel like a missing person. Thought about this song. It's SO eighties. For example, why is the lead singer wearing a giant computer chip around her waist? Why is her hair white and blue? Why does she sing and talk like she's locked in the fifth dimension?
"Before I'll pullllllllllllalllll the plug......"

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Settling in after a long day of scratching, napping, sniffing, eating, pooping, looking out the window, trotting around, exploring, and plopping....