Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dick Flick Marathon

Since I'm off this week, & find myself twiddling my thumbs on many a cold, dark night, I journeyed out to Blockbuster & rented movies. I chose only manly sagas, those flicks with plenty of action, good looking chicks, devoid of uncomfortable emotions (other than anger & revenge), & always triumphant against the bad guys in the end. Here's my list with a few reviews:

Bloodwork Clint Eastwood B+++
Goldfinger Sean Connery (haven't watched yet)
The Fugitive Harrison Ford B-
Serpico Al Pacino B+/ A-
Mission: Impossible Tom Cruise (B+/A- even though I had little idea of what was going on most of the time)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gifts of Xmas' Past & Present

My dad brought out this old camera to show me on Christmas Day. His brother Willie gave him the camera for Christmas when he was a little boy. My dad's had this camera for 60 years.

I looked up the make and model of the camera on Google. It took me just minutes to find out it was made by the Universal Camera Company in NYC, in the late 30's, early 40's. The company made several models from the 30's to the 50's, including a movie camera. Their idea was to create small cameras that were affordable. At the time, this camera cost one dollar. It neatly fits into the palm of your hand.

My unique gift this year was antique riding goggles, from my sister. I did an internet search on vintage goggles & found some similar models, but not the exact pair. I did find out a few facts though. The most interesting info. is that the eye rims are likely made of bake-lite, & the glasses were probably made in the 1930's or 40's. Lastly, as much as I'd like to picture them on the mug of some vintage, baronistic motorcyclist, they were likely used for welding. (Look at the damage on the lens, & they're tinted green). Still, with an added leather strap, they'll make a fine addition (with my vintage helmet) to my baron attire. Thanks, J!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Boy, did I have fun yesterday at Toys R Us. I went hog wild buying toys for my two nephews and niece. I have to admit, I selected certain toys because I want to play with them myself (tee hee).
I also spotted a reissued, classic Fisher-Price telephone from 1962. I had this telephone when just a mere tot.

ahh, cute

Friday, December 21, 2007

Trio Versions of Cole Porter

My favorite Cole Porter song is, "Don't Fence Me in." Here below are three different versions of his glorious song. One, the Andrew Sisters, 1940's,

Two, Abba, the 1970's

Three, David Byrne, 1990's....

De-Lovely Cole Porter

Cole Porter. One of our greatest American composers.
The divine Ella Fitzgerald-- with her wide ranging, gorgeous voice--- found enough songs to fill two CDS of his music. See "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, Vol 1 & 2."
Some of Cole Porter's hits include:
"You do something to me."
"You're the Top."
"It's De-Lovely."
"Let's Do it. Let's Fall in Love."
"I Get a Kick out of YOu."
"Don't Fence me in."
"Begin the Beguine."

Here is Ethel Merman singing: "I Get a Kick Out of You." (1936)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's a Grand Old Name

I have always liked this old song, "Mary's a Grand Old Name," by George M. Cohen, 1905. He wrote "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and other Broadway tunes.
I used to go around my apartment, humming this song, when I had a roommate named Mary. Mary is a good old name, isn't it? Do you know any unpleasant Marys?
Here below are some beloved Marys.

Recently, I saw an article about Mary Christmas. She got married in Utah last week.

Seems about right.

Monday, December 17, 2007

How To Build An Igloo

Friends, Just in case you were wondering how to build an igloo, here are the detailed instructions, printed in the Boston Globe this past week. A gal should always be prepared.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What a Woman of 45 Ought to Know

Sounds pretty ominous. Being that this is the year I gracefully transition to being 45, I went to my bookshelves & searched for a little wisdom. I found this book, a joke gift given by a friend a few years ago. (thanks, ER!) Somehow, my mind is not at ease, after thumbing through Mrs. Emma F. Angell Drake's fine book: "Purity & Truth: Self & Sex Series: What a Woman of Forty-Five Ought to Know." 1902. Here below are some bullet highlights of the vast subjects she covers. If any of you gals out there need more details, let me know.

  • relation of early habits to later aches & ills
  • equipped for the change by the creator
  • the fear that unnerves many
  • the age at which it usually appears
  • jewish women
  • placid vs. nervous women
  • childless women
  • excesses
  • effect upon sight
  • increase of flesh
  • chilliness, dizziness
  • nature as woman's helper
  • irritability
  • fall house cleaning
  • Mr. Bok's description of English women
  • dress during this period
  • when the daughter from boarding school returns to make radical changes in the home
  • lustful indulgence
  • different kinds of husbands
  • benefits of cultivating flowers
  • removing dandruff


The Ultimate Performance-- Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey---- "Money", from Cabaret (1972). ATKM--- All the King's Men, a Boston female drag troupe, does a fantastic rendition of this classic.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Plump Fiction

Check out Julie Brown's spoof on 'Pulp Fiction'--- Plump Fiction. When you go to the site, click on 'Plump Fiction' at the bottom. Very funny.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Photographers Part 3

Part 3 of my featured, favorite photographers, is Man Ray (1890-1976).
A kind of a weird guy.
His epitaph reads: "Unconcerned, but not indifferent."

Man Ray considered himself primarily a painter, though I think it's his photography that's most famous. He was an American, but spent time living in Paris with thousands of other American ex-patriots during the Post W.W. I, avant-garde, bohemian 1920's. What a time for the arts, & Man Ray was a man of his times. He was friends with Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, and Marcel Duchamp. Fellow artists of the time were: Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Miro, & Jean Arp. His girlfriend during the 1920's---- Kiki de Montparnasse--- posed for many of his pictures (below).

Man Ray's work is the marriage of surrealist painting with photography. He also created fantastic advertisements & experimental films.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How Many of Me?

Stats can be fun. Here are a few.
There are 303,497,926 people in the U.S. (according to latest census records) There are 584,234 people in the U.S. with my first name. 99.9 % are female. My first name is the 86th most popular name. 943,879 people in the US have my last name. My last name is the 10th most popular name. ONLY 1, 817 people have my full name. (This doesn't count my middle name too. I'm probably the only one.......) Click on below to find out about your own name......
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Visitation

My nephews came this weekend to stay at my new place for the first time. They were on 'probation' to see how they'd behave. Mother wanted a 'report.'

As you can see, I'm no help because I instigate or go along with most of their shenanigans (to a point). Here we are filming, at 7:30 a.m., part 1 and 2 of our new horror film, "What did you do to my legs???? What did you do to my arms????"

The neighbors didn't mind.

Our flick is so low budget that our only prop was a checkerboard IKEA pillow that has two openings to put your hands & arms in to kept them toasty-- like an old hand muff. My nephew figured out he could put his legs into the openings. Something I wouldn't have tried myself.

Soon American cinematic history was forever altered....

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Spinning Lady Test

Take the 'Spinning Lady' test to see if you are right-brained or left-brained. I'm right-brained. Here are the strengths and preferences of each 'side.'

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Uncle Billy

My father's cousin, William Sydenstricker, was a glass designer. He designed a method for baking two pieces of glass, with a stenciled design (usually flowers) with colored sand. His designs were based on an ancient Egyptian art. For many years William owned & operated a successful gift shop in Brewster, Cape Cod, MA, right on Rt. 6A. In the winter he had a shop in Key West, Florida.
Bill was a great & unforgettable man-- funny, kind, generous, friendly, flamboyant, & easy-going. In the 1970's his store in Brewster was at the height of its popularity. He'd open the store at 10 a.m. and it would be cleaned out of wares by 12. He eventually hired many other apprentices to work in his studio.

Today folks still carry on his legacy. (Bill died in 1994). His gift shop--
Sydenstricker Galleries-- is still operating 'down the Cape.'
Below is a couple of pieces I own. Each year Bill would design a Christmas plate, and give my grandmother--"Aunt Lottie"-- a signed plate. From 1970 to 1990 or so, she had all the collection. On each plate, Bill would cleverly hide the year. Below you can see I have 1974.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sweet Dreams

Lyndell's Bakery in Ball Square, Somerville, MA., is celebrating its 120th year in business. Monday, they were giving out free cupcakes, which I missed.

Anyone who grew up in Somerville, or Medford, knows Lyndell's. At some point, everybody's mom, grandfather, uncle, aunt, or dad would "stop off at Lyndell's" to pick up sweets for the family. Lyndell's signature jelly donuts, birthday cakes, half moons, macaroons, whoopie pies, and mocha cakes were not to be missed.

All through the years, the best thing about Lyndell's is that it never changed. The interior always had the same decor, old cash register, tile floor, busy high school girls behind the counter, & that machine that magically tied the boxes with white string. It's was like walking into a 50's diner, owned by Mom & Pop.

Saturday mornings were the busiest at Lyndell's. Since all the pastries were made on the premises, you had to get there early, take your ticket, & stand around. Many times my Dad came home with a box of boring old, plain krullers because the jellies were all gone. We were disappointed.

Still, I think over the years we got our fair share of Lyndell's sweets.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dos Boxes

My father gave me these old boxes over the Thanksgiving break. (after much cajoling) I want to create an art project with them. They're beautiful. Despite the boxes looking like little coffins for my Barbie dolls, any other suggestions? Let me know........

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Scenes from Childhood

One movement of a lovely piece by Robert Schumann, "Scenes from Childhood (Kinderszenen Opus 15) 1838." This part is called "About Strange Lands & People." I first heard this piano piece featured in the movie "My Brilliant Career," (1979) with Judy Davis. Awesome movie with a feminist theme, set in Australia, directed by Gillian Armstrong. If you've never seen it, check it out.