Sunday, March 30, 2008


Got together with some of my fellow softball players this afternoon. We went to "Extra Innings" in Watertown, and amongst a sea of small boys & men, got some batting practice under our belts. It was fun.

Gay Photographers at Work

Recently I came across an article about an Australian photographer, Tina Fiveash. In 2001, she and another artist Deborah Kelly created a public art project, a series of simulated advertisements highlighting heterosexual privilege called: "Hey, Hetero!" They posted the photographs on billboards & in magazines all over the world. Her more recent work (2008) is a series of mock travel posters typical of the 1940's, 1950's era. I think this poster is especially funny.

From the "Hey, Hetero!" series......

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Gay Scientists at Work

Ha, Ha, Funny!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Unfortunate Names

I owned a humor book a number of years ago:"John Train's Book of Remarkable Names." I lost the book, & cannot find it now. The book made a lasting impression. The authors listed odd names, which they researched in telephone books, (before computers) linked with amusing occupations. For example, "Cheatum & Steale, Bankers, Illinois." "Ima Crap-- daughter of plumber."

Recently a similar book has been published:Bad Baby Names.
I saw the authors being interviewed on TV.

Some of the data the authors of "Baby Baby Names' collected was found on I decided to do my own search on I typed in amusing words, & it didn't take long to
find several, unfortunately named, real people. Here are some of the unfortunates I found. Especially in the 1930 Census, many an immigrant name turns out to be quite humorous in English.
1. Ima Crap, Connecticut, 1977
2. Oscar Holle Man, Arkansas, 1930
3. Goldie Holle, California, 1930
4. Wah-la-He Such Shit, Yakima Nation, 1901
5. Marry Shit, Missouri, 1900
6. Sister J. Ann Poop, Michigan, 1910
7. Rose Poop, Michigan, 1910
8. Heelga Homo, Minnesota, 1885
9. Francois Deafen Dumb, Montana, 1888
10. Gussie Sick, Alabama, 1930
11.Fern Fart, Arizona, 1930
12. Quong San Fat, Arizona, 1930
13. Minnie Mouse, South Carolina, 1880
14. Donald Duck, England, 1901
15. Marken Mistake, New York, 1930
16. Leo Cat, Arkansas, 1930
17. Zebedee Queen, Alabama, 1930
18. Christian Idiot, Iowa, 1885
19. Carry Kidney, Alabama, 1930
20. Don Vigina, Illinois, 1930
21. Clatus Witch, Maryland, 1930
22. Easter Pew, Alabama, 1930
23. White Bum, South Carolina, 1930
23. Mina Samira Penis, Texas, 1930
24. Buster Jerk, Louisiana, 1903
25. Shirley Devil, Pennsylvania, 1930

Monday, March 24, 2008

World War I Soldier

This is my grandfather, William W., in his WWI uniform. Family lore has it that William enlisted with the Canadian troops, because he had flat feet and the Americans wouldn't take him.

More than likely, it was because he was born in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.

When my grandfather enlisted, he was 19 1/2 years old. He is described as 5'9" (shorter than me), with blue eyes, brown hair, & 'a ruddy complexion.' His job at the time was 'waiter,' and he lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his mother.

I guess the adventure of wearing a uniform, getting paid, & going off to Europe was too hard to resist. This is the reason why many a soldier enlists....

My grandfather never spoke about his W.W.I experiences later in life...... to me at least. I only knew him as an old man with white hair, mostly sitting in his armchair smoking cigars & telling jokes.

I wish I knew his experiences, history buff that I am! Supposedly he also 'rode the rails' all around the U.S. after his wartime service.

Family lore has it that my grandfather William W. marched under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris at the end of the W.W.I. I would have liked to have heard his own words!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dreaming Is Free

I saw a small clip from a Sopranos episode the other day. This song is now on my mind....... Blondie was very popular when I was in high school. I did not appreciate her then. Now I do. Here she is......

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Frozen People

Here's a fun idea about what to do on your day off.

Thanks for the link-- s.b.!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Roots

They say everyone's a bit Irish on St. Patty's Day. When I was growing up, I never thought of myself as Irish, and I didn't acknowledge any ancestry. Even with my keen interest in genealogy, I never recorded or acknowledged my grandmother's Irish heritage until adulthood.

I think there's a reason for this, a family mystery or omission of some sort. But I can't confirm it completely.

My grandmother's mother-- Mary Margaret Lowe, was born in Rathkeale, Ballinvirick, Ireland, in Limerick County in 1886. That I'm sure of. On the birth certificate, her mother's name is listed as Katherine Kennedy and her father's name was John Lowe. When my great grandmother was quite a young woman, (16/17) she emigrated to from Limerick to New Brunswick, Canada circa 1902. She did not emigrate with any relatives or friends as far as I know.

Mary Margaret later got married to my great grandfather, Henry Raymond Downing, and lived in St. John's, Newfoundland. He was a Newfoundlander. She later emigrated to the United States and lived in Chelsea, Massachusetts for the rest of her life (1954).

My grandmother always talked about her family, and told me many stories. Oddly enough, my grandmother never mentioned her mother talking about Ireland. That's partly why I never knew I was Irish. In fact, my great grandmother never talked about her parents or possible siblings in Ireland. She never talked about her life there, or sent any correspondence. This seems curious. During those days, especially in Ireland, it seems odd not to have any siblings or cousins.

My great grandmother also married a Protestant--- another oddity about her and very controversial for those times. (No doubt the area of Ireland she was born was Catholic)

My guess is that my great grandmother, Mary Margaret Lowe, was born out of wedlock and/or her mother Katherine married a Protestant (John Lowe). If she was born out of wedlock, perhaps Mary Margaret was taken from her mother and put into an orphanage. Or if her mother were too young, perhaps she was raised by others. In either case, it's possible her mother was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. I'm assuming my ancestors in Limerick would be Catholic. Perhaps my great grandmother never mentioned her mother because she never knew her. Later in life, my great grandmother left Ireland as soon as she could, married a Protestant, and raised her children as Protestants.

I'd say it's a good guess, but I do not know. These kinds of truths would not be discussed in 'those days.' But it's a 'family history mystery,' which I'll look into.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ah, Summer & Softball!

I know it's jumping the gun, so to speak, but I can't wait for softball to begin. Here is my beloved team---SLAM---- last summer, and me hitting the ball. (it happened sometimes)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Good Queen Bess

I've had a fascination for a while with Elizabeth I. Over the years I've collected many books about her life, the best being "The Life of Elizabeth I," by Alison Weir. Now, after recently watching "The Other Boleyn Girl," and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," my interest in history has been rekindled.

How to separate the myth from the history? The first thing I want to do after watching these films about Elizabeth is to run to the history books. That's a good instinct, I suppose. At the same time, I am mesmerized and romantically seduced by the mythical, goddess-like figure of the great Queen, as portrayed in drama by pretty ladies.

Certainly the story of Elizabeth I is a mixture of both myth and history, but even after 400 years we do have much accurate, historical information about her life. Click here for a
podcast from the BBC about how her image has waxed and waned in popularity over the centuries. Apparently, Elizabeth's image was not quite so popular during Victorian times. In contrast, Elizabeth I nowadays seems a cultural icon. (BTW, I joined the Elizabeth I fan club if you're interested)

In any case, popular or not, throughout the ages she has remained a formidable English monarch, a woman with "the heart and stomach of a king."

Saturday, March 8, 2008


My friend told me about the BTO, or The Boston Typewriter Orchestra. Last night they played at an art opening at the Atlantic Works Gallery in East Boston. I'm sorry I missed them. What a creative use of an antiquated gadget! Click on below for some audio clips of their work. This one's called the "QWERTY Waltz." Hilarious!

Faye Dunaway

Here's a short tribute to Faye Dunaway. I watched her performance last night in "The Thomas Crown Affair." (1968) Her character is a bit far-fetched but irresistible. She is hot! I opine that Faye Dunaway's heyday was definitely during the late 1960's through the 1970's. She was an icon of a woman of the times. Some of her best films include "Chinatown" (1974) and "Bonnie and Clyde". (1967) I've never seen "Network," (1976) but I plan to watch it soon.

Today, this gorgeous, distinguished, and talented actress is nearly 70 years old!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mama, I want my wingsuit!

This looks like fun. But they left out the part about how to land.
Wingsuit flying
Wingsuit flying

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Frozen Waves?

Newfoundland, Canada, where both my grandmothers were born, is a damn cold place. Even in July there are icebergs in the harbors. But, my grandmas never mentioned frozen waves! Watch this! (It's fun to hear that Newfoundland accent too)
Frozen Waves in Newfoundland
Frozen Waves in Newfoundland

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ms. T goes to Las Vegas

My sister and brother-in-law went to Las Vegas last week. They high tailed it out of the city after a day and went to see the Grand Canyon and Death Valley. Awesome. Here they are in their signature black, even in the desert.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pretty in Pink

Stats can be fun. Listed below are the most popular (ranked number one) girls' names for the past one hundred plus years. As you can see, Mary ruled for many decades, only to be usurped by Linda in 1947. I wonder what suddenly made Linda such a popular name? Anyway, Linda signaled the beginning of the Baby Boom generation. Then Mary reemerged for several years until Lisa came along in 1962. Jennifer ruled from 1970 (the year my sister was born) to 1984, when Jessica came along and usurped Jennifer. Jessica ruled until 1990, when Ashley came and went for two years. Jessica reappeared, and then finally Emily has been the reigning queen from 1996 until the present. In 2006, Mary ranked 84th in popularity!
1900-1946 Mary
1947-1952 Linda

1953-1961 Mary

Lisa 1962- 1969

1970- 1984
Ashley 1991-1992
1996-Present Emily

Jennifer (on Nana's lap)