Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)

Of course this disco song, an icon of the late 70's era, was featured in "Milk." ((In my opinion, I'm actually glad they didn't saturate the movie but background music. I think it's the cheap way out to just plug in some music and call it the era).

This video is hilarious. It's got that foggy-colored look of early videos. Sylvester, man or woman, is the biggest drag queen I've ever seen (well, almost). The waif, jogging suit dancers are a riot! (I don't know what those two women are trying to do to each other, butt to butt). And the lip syncing at the end is horribly mismatched! And of course what would a boogie night be without a disco ball!

Harvey Milk

I finally saw the film 'Milk' tonight. It's the first movie I've gone out to see for a long time. The film was very emotional, inspiring, and of course I love Sean Penn. Not to mention I loved the setting--- San Francisco in the late 1970's.

I was about 13 or 14 at the time, but I didn't have any awareness of the gay rights battles that were going on. In fact I'm pretty amazed that the Briggs proposition was defeated in California. That's 30 years ago!

Unfortunately I do remember Anita Bryant.

I think she was on the cover of Time magazine, which my Dad had a subscription to. God was she scary! And so wasn't Briggs!

Some years ago I saw the documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk" (1984). Last night I came home directly from the movie "Milk" and watched the documentary again. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. If you have any trouble with this viewing go directly to

Monday, December 29, 2008

Favorite Movies A-Z

Here's a Monday Morning Meme. Your task is to list your favorite movie titles, from A to Z. I promptly went to my Netflix rating list & found plenty of highly rated movies. Unfortunately, many started with the same letters, so I had to painstakingly choose among my dearest favorites. For other letters, I had to stretch it a bit, as you can imagine. There aren't too many X and Z movie titles out there.

Amadeus (1984)
Babette’s Feast (1987)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Elizabeth I (2005)
Fargo (1996)
Gandhi (1982)
Henry and June (1990)
I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)
Julia (1977)
Ken Burn’s Civil War (1990)
Laundrette, My Beautiful (1986)
My Brilliant Career (1979)
Notorious (1946)
Ordinary People (1980)
Piano, The (1993)
Queen, The (2006)
Rear Window (1954)
Summer of Sam (1999)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
Vertigo (1958)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Zorro, The Gay Blade

Sunday, December 28, 2008

101 Things in 1001 Days

Perhaps you've heard of this meme. The task is to list and complete 101 goals in 1001 days. I've thought about making the list and completing it before. In honor of the coming year, 2009, here is my list. As you can see, I haven't got 101 goals yet, but I'm sure I'll come up with a few more. Most of them are serious, and several are coded or abbreviated for privacy. I struggled with listing what I realistically could complete, as opposed to what I'd wish or dream to complete. This list is a little of both. I suppose if I got 70% done that would be cool.

101 in 1,001 days
  1. finish reading mayflower
  2. read Walden pond
  3. read the universe in a single atom
  4. finish reading proust & the squid
  5. transfer funds from obra X
  6. direct deposit to orange acct.X
  7. make t-shirtsX
  8. go to bank abt. pmiX
  9. get 2nd job in bookstore
  10. visit Iceland
  11. visit grand canyonX
  12. visit montreal
  13. visit western Canada
  14. visit new mexico
  15. visit las vegasX
  16. nyc ellis island
  17. nyc the strand bookstore
  18. nyc judy Chicago
  19. visit Chicago
  20. visit Wisconsin
  21. visit n. s. Dakota
  22. make dentist appt.X
  23. go to dentistX
  24. get c.X
  25. exercise 2x wk 60% for 3 months X
  26. hair cut/perm colorX
  27. disability insurance
  28. Tibetan singing bowlX
  29. camera fixed or newX
  30. lose weight to 175X
  31. mediate daily for 1 weekX
  32. glacier national parkX
  33. yoga wkly 80% for 4 months
  34. get m
  35. sound barrier on door
  36. insulate windows in bd. & k X
  37. send inquiry to limerick, ireX
  38. return book to border’sX
  39. have friend appreciation partyX
  40. close b of a credit cardX
  41. pay off car loanX
  42. refinance
  43. indoor skydiving
  44. go to antiques fairX
  45. take literature class
  46. take basic Norwegian
  47. bookmakingX
  48. land in maine
  49. hybrid car
  50. mini cooper
  51. paint bdrm.
  52. get ticket to fenway dance X
  53. join non-fiction book club
  54. civil war pantsX
  55. frame or hang rug
  56. hang posters in laundry roomX
  57. move treadmillX
  58. sign up for 2nd cello classX
  59. bring lunch to work 70% for 3 monthsX
  60. visit Alaska
  61. do a 3 day fastX
  62. backpacking trip
  63. see Little Big Horn
  64. cross country scooter trip
  65. see American Indian reservationX
  66. sweat lodge
  67. put case on back of scooterX
  68. tune up for carX
  69. go for walks with n
  70. update resumeX
  71. get up off chair X
  72. sign up for journaling course
  73. extra lights on scooter
  74. massages 1x month for 3 months
  75. buy teasX
  76. write in grateful journal 2x month for 6 monthsX
  77. get another bookcaseX
  78. try para-gliding
  79. take collage classX
  80. cook a dinner for friendsX
  81. get a tattoo
  82. buy a watchX
  83. play tourist in concord, ma
  84. finish 101 things listX
  85. get on earthwatch website againX
  86. close s. credit cardX
  87. take spanish & get a B
  88. read Lolita
  89. read anglos, saxons, celts
  90. get iron on patch for pants X
  91. no x for 900 more daysX
  92. get flower box for porchX
  93. return celloX
  94. organize laundry roomX
  95. organize photographs
  96. plan earthwatch trip
  97. organzie tools/ cleaning suppliesX
  98. go to marathon sportsX
  99. order new checksX
  100. go check on pdp pointsX
101. pay tax refund towards credit cardX

Negative Thinking

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Paranormal

This seems to be a good a time as any to delve into the paranormal. Despite being a skeptic, I find the lure of this subject irresistible and entertaining. I've been watching a few 'ghost hunting' shows, "Ghost Hunters" and "Ghost Hunters International" on SCIFI. After watching several shows, here are some of my observations.

1. Probably the best part of the show is that you get to see beautiful old houses, castles, lighthouses, inns, forts, etc... and you get to hear some

2. It's interesting to listen to people's stories. Whether 'provable' or not, their experiences seem very real.

3. Unfortunately, most of the recordings made by the teams are nebulous. The team always investigates in the pitch dark (why? I don't know), and are talking, moving around, and wearing clothes that make rustling noises. The team 'hears' something (usually a footstep or thump), but the viewer does not clearly hear the same. There's also strangely malfunctioning equipment right at the critical moment.

4. The same dramatic scene is played out again and again. The team hears something, runs in the other room, and lo and behold, "There's no one there!"

5. It seems that in this modern age, many houses have 'electrical hot spots' in the basement or walls. This may explain a lot of 'paranormal' or 'poltergeist' activity.

6. Most of the sites investigated by the team are business places or historical sites for tourists. It adds quite a bit of attraction to claim the site is 'haunted.' The setting also gets featured on T.V. Free advertising. hmmmm.

7. Occasionally, the team records something very intriguing. For example, they record a moving figure on the thermal camera, or an unmistakable, clear voice. In this case, it's either outright fraud by the T.V. crew, or there is something there that's unexplainable.

8. Guess what? We'll never know.......

Saturday, December 20, 2008

N.D.E.'s Near Death Experiences

N.D.E.'s, or Near Death Experiences, are rather intriguing. I remember reading Raymond Moody's book "Life After Life" when I was in high school. At the time I determined that N.D.E.s were the result of the brain's reaction to extreme stress and pain. I'm still convinced on this point, but I have an open mind.

Of course the big question is: are N.D.E's proof of 'life after death,' or, that our consciousness can exist outside the physical body?
If our consciousness can exist outside the physical, then all the facts we currently have about neuroscience and physics will be challenged.

That's a big tamale, if you think about it. Here are my random thoughts about Near Death Experiences.

1. There seems to be no doubt in my mind that the
experience, to these people, is very real and very vivid. People have painstakingly accurate recall, and often their lives are significantly altered after the N.D.E.

2. On the other hand, we know
other events can bring on such vivid 'hallucinations,' such as drugs, extreme emotional trauma, epilepsy, and sudden acceleration of the body (jet pilots have reported these experiences).

3. I'm intrigued that the majority of people report an experience that closely parallels a Buddhist philosophy of life; one I happen to have an affinity for.

4. It's interesting that prior to modern medicine, N.D.E.s are rarely, or vaguely, reported. Is it because with modern
resuscitation methods, and modern drugs, more people 'live to tell the tale?' Or, centuries earlier more people believed in god and afterlife, so reports of such experiences were hardly surprising or newsworthy? Finally, is it because modern medicine and procedures cause these events?

5. The 'out of body' portion of the experience is most intriguing to me. People report hearing conversations of loved ones and medical personnel verbatim, while in a coma, or 'unconscious.' People see their own body from above, and can later report details they couldn't have seen with their physical eyes.

6. I'd be willing to consider that there are aspects of human consciousness that we are yet to understand. But science should be able to prove it, and, this higher level consciousness would not be exclusive to humans.

Here are some reported N.D.E.'s. Enjoy tickling your brain.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Baron's Antique Roadshow

Found here in Bellingsgreens, Kansas
1. Jessie Driftlow's Civil War Pipe

2. Aunt Millicent & Her Special Plate

3. 3 Old Ladies Born in 1902

4. Judge Pipshaw's False Teeth

5. Old Maid Larson's 1903 Bloomers & Matching Stockings

6. An OriginalBag of Hortense Weegleworth's Old Home Flour

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lyric Misunderstandings

Everyone has had the experience.... Thinking the lyrics to a song say something very strange..... Wondering if you're the only person on the planet that doesn't quite understand these lyrics, until you find out the true lyrics later. Here are some of mine:

1. Bennie and the Jets, Elton John

ME: "she's got electric boobs, her ma does too,
you know I read it in a magazine...."

REALITY: "she's got electric boots, a mohair suit,
you know I read it in a magazine..."

2. Everybody Plays the Fool, Main Ingredient

When I was about 8, because of the music, I thought the song was, "Everybody plays the flute." But I thought it odd. I knew plenty of people that didn't play the flute. In fact, I didn't know anybody that played the flute.

3. Scar Tissue, Red Hot Chili Peppers

ME: "With bird shit it's a lonely view....."

REALITY: "with the bird I'll share this lonely view..."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

If You're Miserable & You Know It Find a Friend

This landmark research study, published in BMJ, has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Basically, the study concludes that other people's happiness 'spreads' and elevates our own. All I can say is: "Come on, happy person, be my friend!"

This citing is the abstract. For the full published article, go to

Published 4 December 2008, doi:10.1136/bmj.a2338
Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2338


Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study

James H Fowler, associate professor1, Nicholas A Christakis, professor2

1 Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA , 2 Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, and Department of Sociology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Correspondence to: N A Christakis

Objectives To evaluate whether happiness can spread from person to person and whether niches of happiness form within social networks.

Design Longitudinal social network analysis.

Setting Framingham Heart Study social network.

Participants 4739 individuals followed from 1983 to 2003.

Main outcome measures Happiness measured with validated four item scale; broad array of attributes of social networks and diverse social ties.

Results Clusters of happy and unhappy people are visible in the network, and the relationship between people’s happiness extends up to three degrees of separation (for example, to the friends of one’s friends’ friends). People who are surrounded by many happy people and those who are central in the network are more likely to become happy in the future. Longitudinal statistical models suggest that clusters of happiness result from the spread of happiness and not just a tendency for people to associate with similar individuals. A friend who lives within a mile (about 1.6 km) and who becomes happy increases the probability that a person is happy by 25% (95% confidence interval 1% to 57%). Similar effects are seen in coresident spouses (8%, 0.2% to 16%), siblings who live within a mile (14%, 1% to 28%), and next door neighbours (34%, 7% to 70%). Effects are not seen between coworkers. The effect decays with time and with geographical separation.

Conclusions People’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. This provides further justification for seeing happiness, like health, as a collective phenomenon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Separated At Birth?

Is Steve Tyler of Aerosmith the missing link in human evolution?
VS = ?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

3 Glorious Cello Pieces

I love the cello, and since September I've been taking an absolute beginner's class. When I can't even play 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,' it's amazing to see Yo Yo Ma and Jacqueline du Pre play.

Below are 3 pieces I think are sublime. Actually, I found out the third piece features the viola
da gamba, not the cello. I still included it, though, because I love it.

Tuesday I will be participating in my final cello class for the semester. We will put on a mini concert, and have some drinks and snacks. Our teacher will also be playing for us. If any friends want to come, they are welcome.

1. Yo-Yo Ma "Prelude -Bach's Cello Suite No. 1"

2. Jacqueline du Pre "Elgar, Cello Concerto in E minor, opus 85 1st mov."

3. Marin Marais "Sonnerie de Sainte-Genvieve du Mont-de-Paris"