Thursday, May 28, 2009

Distortion Contortion

Had a bit of fun in a 'fun' mirror. Who says adults can't play? My friend Asia took these pictures of me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Come up and see me sometime.......

My grandmother, not surprisingly, loved Mae West. (She enjoyed that crass, bawdy humor). In honor of this great woman, I've compiled some of Mae West's amusing well known and not so well known quotes. My grandmother often quoted them to me.

"The curve is more powerful than the sword."

"A girl in a convertible is worth 5 in the phone book."

"Give a man a free hand, and he'll run it all over you."

"Any time you've got nothing to do, and lots of time to do it, come on up."

"When I'm good I'm very, very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better."

"Why don't you come up sometime, and see me?"

"A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up."

"To err is human, but it feels divine."

"A man in the house is worth two in the street."

"I believe it's better to be looked over than overlooked."

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

"It's not the men in my life that count, but the life in my men."

"Ten men waiting at the door? Send one home. I'm tired."

"Is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

"When women go wrong, men go right after them."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bessie Smith

I saw a short movie the other night at a film festival, featuring Bessie Smith. I've heard of Bessie Smith, but never really listened to any of her music. (Shame!) We're going back a long time when we speak of Bessie Smith. She was popular during the 1920's and early 1930's.

Bessie Smith, "The Empress of the Blues,"was born circa 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She had several older siblings. One of her older brothers, in 1912, managed to use his influence to allow Bessie to join the Stokes Troupe. Ma Rainey, another blues singer, was featured in this troupe. Originally, Bessie joined as a dancer (similar to Ella Fitzgerald's story), and later was discovered as a singer.

Some of Bessie's well known hits included "Downhearted Blues," and "St. Louis Blues." Pretty much all the songs are about broken hearts and lost love.

Lore has it that Bessie Smith was bisexual, having affairs with both men and women throughout her life. Unfortunately, she lived a short life. In 1937, she was in a serious car accident, and died a few days later.

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (1923)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Little League

Here are a couple of clips of my nephew playing baseball. I went up to Windham, ME yesterday to watch him play. The first clip is long, but I think it captures the day. I never realized how devoted an auntie you must be to watch little league. Needless to say, not much by way of hitting or fielding occurs throughout most of the game. These are little boys, indeed, attempting to play a rather complex game.

They are darling, though. Many funny events occurred, like the boy who yelled to his teammate: "Well, don't swing at everything!" Another boy was wearing a cup so large it looked like he had a Roman shield in his pants. A boy at third simply screamed when a pop up fly came towards him.

Watch my nephew Zack on first base showing off for his aunties. My sister and I offer much amusing banter in the background peanut gallery as we are watching. As you can tell, my sister is rather down on baseball, though she's willing to watch her nephew. Later, in the second video, Zack hits a single.

The Good, the Bad, and the Marty

My friend Melissa Tomey participated in making a movie this past weekend, as part of the 48 hour Boston Film Race. She's the corporate lady in this clip. I've participated in the past on the 12 hour and 24 hour film races. It's a lot of fun. The requirements this year were:
Character: Marty or Mary Quinzani, Second-in-Command
Prop: a magnet
Line of Dialogue: "Yes! I mean, I hope so."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Could Have Told You Vincent

I've always had a soft spot and fascination with Vincent Van Vogh. Still to this day, I cannot believe that I was in Amsterdam during the time The Van Gogh Museum was being renovated (closed to the public). I never got to see inside a whole museum devoted to one of my artistic heroes! Alas.

I think I like Vincent because he seemed an extremely sensitive person, like me. This sensitivity allowed him to capture beauty, yet at the same time see the grotesque in life. Vincent soaked in and felt emotions deeply. And yet though I can censor myself, and 'control' my emotions, Vincent let his passions fly. The acuteness of his passions went to extremes, both ultimate joy to the depths of utter despair.

Given all of what we know of his character, it's never been surprising that Vincent Van Gogh sliced off his own ear in a fit of passion. He certainly was capable of other forms of self-abuse, heavy drinking, and eventual suicide at the age of

However, two German art historians have a new explanation for what happened to Van Gogh's ear. Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans, in their book "Van Gogh's Ear: Paul Gauguin and the Pact of Silence," contend that Paul Gauguin (an able fencer) cut off Van Gogh's ear during a disagreement. For years, the two men had experienced a passionate love/ hate relationship. Van Gogh had invited Gauguin to stay with him in Arles. The two authors postulate that since Van Gogh revered Gauguin, he concocted his self-mutilation story to spare Gauguin from prosecution.

I'm not sure I buy the theory, but since it's a crime mystery of sorts, I'd like to read the book.

Van Gogh's last recorded words to Gauguin were: "You are quiet; I will be, too."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How G.W.B. Spends His Time

Here's a graph I created on the I Can Has Cheezburger website. Fun Stuff.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

More on Selma, Alabama

My friend Jackie Taylor has written a bit more about her experiences growing up in Selma, Alabama. Earlier I posted some of the pictures of her family.

In 1965, when she was 8 years old, she was present during Martin Luther King's Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. She remembers seeing Dr. Martin Luther King standing in front of the Brown Chapel. She also witnessed some violence, and had to flee the crowds with her mother and brother.

On that day in 1965, about 600 civil rights protesters were attacked by police with tear gas and billy clubs. Five months later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Here are Jackie's words, and a few pictures.

"In March of 1965, I was 8 years old when Dr. Martin Luther King came to Selma, Alabama the small Southern town where I grew up. My mother, being a poet and bohemian character in the town, took my brother, Tony, and me to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to see, as she described it to us, "history in the making." One of the law enforcement officers came over to us, and told my mother she better get her kids and herself out of there. I can't remember my mother's exact words, but she "smart-mouthed" back to the officer.
When the marchers got to the other side of the bridge, we could hear yelling starting, and folks starting to run back over the bridge. Then there was tear gas, and police going through with billy clubs. My mother, holding us both by the hands, ran. I remember running, my brother, my mother and me, and hearing people yelling. The civil rights marchers on the other side of the bridge had been forced back by law enforcement, and the day would become known as, "Bloody Sunday."

One of the sayings I live my life by is, don't judge someone by the color of their skin ( or other prejudices ), but instead by the content of their character."

"This is my vivid memory of the march. Dr. King walking right past me." -J.T.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dalai Lama

This morning I went to see the Dalai Lama speak at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. I admit, it was a bit odd to view his holiness at a football stadium. (The Budweiser ads looked a bit out of place, or he did) The Dalai Lama was wrapped in an orange robe and sitting on a temple-like structure that looked like a pagoda. The stadium smelled like incense.
Unfortunately, I missed the first few several minutes of his lecture. He spoke about the existence of God, the illusion of the self, mind and what it is, and the four noble truths. He also talked about suffering, and what causes it: karma, and the illusions of the mind.
The Dalai Lama also compared various religions and made some funny comments about Christianity. He said, "Majority go up to heaven. Minority go down to hell. You don't want to look down." He also said that all religions or traditions deserve mutual respect. He talked about the old Buddhist masters, and it's clear that he's read a lot of texts. Sometimes, he was above my head, or blowing my mind when he talked about cause and effect and conditional existence. For example, every thing has a cause. Therefore, it's illogical that a God created us because something had to create God. At the same time, how can we explain this beginningless beginning?
At least the good news is that the Buddhist belief is that part of our mind, not the sensory part but the consciousness or soul, is permanent. This is also difficult to understand, since in everyday life we see that everything eventually passes.