30 May 2008
Avoid: The, In, An etc. You get the idea
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Over The Rainbow
Don't Make Me Over
Cross Over the Bridge
Feel free to leave a note with your song. I'll kick it off in the first comment.
29 May 2008
On May 29, 1906 a wonderful bit of magic entered the world. T. H. (Terence Hanbury) White, author of The Once and Future King, was born in Bombay, India, to English parents employed by the British civil service. Do take the time to read his Wikipedia bio as he was a fascinating, complex, and intriguing man.
Most readers know him simply as the man who took the old Arthurian legends and wove the tale of "Wart" and Merlin into an absorbing series of stories that turned myth into a human story of child becoming man, love turning to loss, and the eventual glory of simply doing ones duty. This amazing series of stories was so detailed and involved, that other media could only take tiny pieces of it. The childhood became a Disney movie, and the adulthood a great broadway musical. Neither of these, as wonderful as they are, came close to the magic found in the books of T. H. White.
King Arthur: "Our lives are like water that forms big waves of the sea, moving and welling for the most part in darkness. But occasionally a few drops break through the air and are caught in the sunlight, and some of them sparkle. Oh, Pelly, they do sparkle!"
May you all find and keep your own Camelot.
28 May 2008
First step: Post The Rules. Here they are.
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post,the player then tags 5 or more people (or doesn't) and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answers.
Okey-fine. Rules posted...check!
1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Let's see, that would be 1998. I was living in Northern California working for a charitable foundation as a proposal writer. Not particularly earth shaking but it was one of those jobs that made you feel good about going to work.
2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
Cook a corned beef (I live in a family that thinks St. Patrick's Day is a weekly event)
Change the cat boxes (probalby shouldn't have put that chore so close to the corned beef).
Make a doctor's appointment for six month check up.
Go by my favorite political site and scream at the %$%^^&^$# who don't agree with me.
Answer the Turnbaby's Triva Challenge questions.
3. Snacks I enjoy:
Cheese & Crackers
Peanut Butter on a spoon
4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Set up a charitable foundation to give away a lot of it.
Buy a home on the water at Bass Lake
Go around the world in a Queen's Suite on a Cunard Liner.
5. Three of my bad habits:
Swear at bad drivers (It's a California good driver thing).
6. Five places I have lived:
Multiple cities in California
Albuquerque, New Mexico
7. Jobs I've had:
Sales account computer coder
Technical Writer and Editor
Radio Station PR & Political Liaison
That's it. Feel free to steal it if you like it!
26 May 2008
Listening Is An Act of Love
From Publishers Weekly
Four years ago. StoryCorps set out to record an oral history of America with the voices of everyday people. This book is a collection of the most compelling excerpts from more than 10,000 interviews recorded, compiled by StoryCorps founder Isay, a radio documentary producer and MacArthur fellow. And they are compelling. Each one captures a moment in time—historical, emotional or personal—that make us who we are.
As simple stories of humanity, each one has its own potency, with themes of family, love, dedication and struggle. In one of the most emotionally wrought stories, a father sits down with his daughter and remembers her late mother and older brother, who both died of cancer within months of each other.
To gather the stories, StoryCorps provides a facility, recording equipment and a facilitator, then waits for people to invite loved ones, friends, grandparents to sit down for a 40-minute session. A copy of the tape is filed in the Library of Congress, and parts have aired on NPR. As Isay says, "I realized how many people among us feel completely invisible, believe their lives don't matter, and fear they'll someday be forgotten."
You don't need to wait for NPR or Isay to come calling. Here is an Oral History Questionaire that will help you to start gathering family stories to preserve for later generations. It is a start and keep the recorder handy as the easy questions can sometimes lead to the funniest or most poignant stories.
25 May 2008
The Texaco Star Theater began on radio in in the late 30s with Ed Wynn and Fred Allen, moving to television in 1948 starring Milton Berle. remaining the sole sponsor of this classic variety show until 1953. Each show on TV opened and closed and had commercial segments featuring the dancing Texaco men in their uniforms with the star logo. Yes Virginia, there was a time when gas station attendants wore uniforms.
Milton Berle was the best known host of Texaco Star Theater. Berle took part in a television test version in 1948. In June of that year he was selected as host, and the first East Coast broadcast of the TV series began in September. Within two months, Berle became television's first super-star, with the highest ratings ever attained and was soon referred to as "Mr. Television," "Mr. Tuesday Night," and "Uncle Miltie." Restaurants, theaters, and nightclubs adjusted their schedules so patrons would not miss Berle's program at 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday nights. The show was so popular that even though the pay scale was minimal, virtually every well-known entertainer of the time was eager to appear just for the public exposure.
The one-hour live shows typically included visual vaudeville routines, music, comedy and sketches. Other regular features included the singing Texaco station attendants and the pitchman commercials by Sid Stone. Berle was noted for interjecting himself into the acts of his guests, which, along with his opening appearance in out-landish costumes, became a regular feature.
Milton Berle's only real later competition in the early variety was Sid Caesar. A movie from the 1980s, My Favorite Year captures some of the madness that could occur in doing live TV on a weekly schedule.
There is a great eight part interview with Milton Berle done in 1996 when he was 88 that starts Here and covers virtually the whole history of television, but the interviewer doesn't get around to asking about his most "rumored" claim to fame that made him a "Star" with the ladies until the very END which is somehow very appropriate.
24 May 2008
How Will I Remember You
You ask if I will remember you.
I answer Rockefeller Double Feature, Westwood 2:00 AM
grape jam fired through straws - splashes of
purple silliness and dinner rolls in a juggling act.
You ask when will you enter my mind.
I answer Down in the Depths of the 90th floor
on black and white with P. T. Barnum Up In One
and the Musicians Union on Wednesdays
You ask when I will echo your words
I answer, "My lover, my associate, but most
of all my friend" with "Zuckys #6 heavy on the
egg salad, skip the onions plus an egg cream"
You ask if there is an empty space in my life.
I answer Mars on fire in a nightime sky, mist
rising off the pool, typing dressed in only a
towel words to wrap tomorrow's fish.
You ask when I will say your name.
I answer California Dreamin', the Chinese
Air Force in the middle of the night -
Cryptic instances that delineate a life
And stories I will tell until
MY dying day
Unless we are heavily involved in our communities, it is often hard to find congenial opportunities for volunteer efforts no matter how well intentioned we might be. It is so much easier to write a check to someone else to do something. There was a time in America when we were much more interdependent. Now with our very individual lives, necessity of two income families, time constraints and financial obligations, we are becoming more and more separated from our neighbors.
There is now a place on the web that matches willing volunteers with people and organizations that need their services. It makes it possible for you to match your interests and skills to people and organizations that can use your services. Whatever your available time, skills, or location, Volunteer Match will help you meet up those who need you.
What better way to turn the desire to do good into an activity that benefits both your family and others who will be glad that you are there.
The Veteran's Administration offers a wonderful service for families of deceased veterans who want something significant for their records or suitable for framing.
Presidential Memorial Certificates bearing the current president's signature can be ordered by the next of kin or direct descendant of any deceased, honorably discharged veteran. More than one certificate may be ordered for family members. The form to submit is available on the link above.
In addition to the above, if you do not know the exact location of a veteran's grave you can search on line using the gravesite locator.
For members and veterans of the armed forces who are of Scottish descent there is an organization that is both rewarding and fun: Scottish American Military Society (SAMS). Many U. S. Soldiers and veterans prefer the SAMS membership to one with their specific clan at gatherings and games because of their pride in the military service.
"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no good man gives up but with life itself."
Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland, 1320
23 May 2008
Iron Jawed Angels began running on HBO today. It is the story of the fight for women's sufferage. This is the full coverage schedule
It has been 232 years since the founding of the nation. It has been 88 years since women were allowed the right to vote. When reading the biography of Alice Paul played by Hillary Swank in this year when another Hillary is running for President of the United States, one has to wonder if we have come very far at all.
The Democratic Convention will take place less than two weeks after the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with the final vote taken in the State of Tennessee in what was known as The War of the Roses. It passed by one vote courtesy of Representative Harry Burn who changed his red rose to yellow and voted "Aye" after receiving a telegram on the floor from his mother urging him to "Do The Right Thing".
"The young women of today—free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation —should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price... the debt that each generation owes to the past, it must pay to the future."
~ Abigail Scott Dunaway
21 May 2008
Okay folks, one of my few network addictions has been cancelled. Forget the great acting by a superb cast (Alex O'Loughlin, Sophia Myles, and Jason Dohring). Ignore the fascinating premise. Pay no attention to wonderful writing and plot twists. Just remember that incredibly luscious star with the bared teeth and smoldering blue blue blue pools of ..... (old is not the same as dead) back to the subject.
The idiots at CBS think they can just eliminate one of the best shows on TV before it has had a chance to build a well deserved audience after being yanked around on its schedule and interrupted by the writers strike. They give us a season finale of Mick kissing Beth and saying "I Love You" and that's IT? NEVER!!!
OFFICIAL PROTEST SITE
Don't just sit there reading, click the link and join the furor. Then if you haven't ever watched Moonlight, go HERE to watch on line.
20 May 2008
1. Whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly.
2. (Figuratively) One must act in a fashion that conforms with one's position, and with the reputation that one has earned.
There he is. The baby of the family sitting on his daddy's lap. The beloved, spoiled infant catered to by not only parents but an army of siblings willing to cart him from place to place. Play at his whim. Make the way smooth even when he glibly gambols from failure to failure. Not much is expected of him, they will all do it all first.
The eldest brother will die in World War II.
The second brother will become President and then be assassinated.
The third brother will run for the presidency and then be assassinated.
He will stand alone facing the coffins and making the speeches.
He will watch over the sisters including the mentally retarded.
He will champion the charitable and political causes
He will be the father all the nieces and nephews lost.
He will be the last public vision of a dynasty.
He will run for the Presidency and fail
He will conquer his own demons of alcohol and womanizing
He will run for the Senate and Succeed.
He will be honored by political friends and adversaries.
For more than 40 years he will do his duty for his family and his country
Now a nation waits and wishes him well.
On May 20 in 1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received the patent for blue jeans to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of what is probably the single most worn garment in the world.
Loeb Strauss had immigrated from Germany to New York with his family in 1847 following the death of his father. The family established a garment business in New York, but he changed his name to Levi and in early 1853, Levi Strauss went west to seek his fortune during the Gold Rush by establishing a dry goods business in San Francisco. His new business imported clothing, fabric and other dry goods to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to supply the communities of gold miners and other settlers.
Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss' regular customers. In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points--at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly--to make them stronger. As Davis didn't have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together.
Since then blue jeans have been bejeweled, embroidered, worn while sitting in a bathtub of cold water to get "the fit", produce in low riders, hip huggers, bell bottoms, straight leg, and saddle back. Virtually everyone under the age of 90 has some version of this clothing staple that can be worn with diamonds and spike heels to a pent house gathering or survive slogging through mud on a trail climb.
So what was your favorite pair of jeans and what did you do while wearing them?
Oh Don't I Wish : )
18 May 2008
"The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King."
When exclaiming "The play's the thing!" we're seldom asked the embarrassing question of what "thing" we mean. Prince Hamlet, however, has something specific in mind. To secure proof that his uncle, King Claudius, murdered Hamlet's father, the former king. In order to do this he includes a few telling lines into a play about regicide knowing that his uncle will be watching at court. Hamlet then waits to see if Claudius will flinch. If Hamlet's plan works, he'll be convinced of the king's guilt and will feel better about taking revenge on his uncle.
It is at the heart of every play that though they are works of fiction, they mirror real life in such a way that the audience says, "I've been there. I know that. I recognize him or her", and somewhere in the middle of a laugh or tear comes a deeper understanding of the human condition. Great plays get recognized as great simply because they contain something universal that at one time or another the audience feels is a part of their life.
One of the best and most often produced is "Our Town". At some point we have seen it in a high school auditorium, on television, in any number of remakes. We have been dragged into playing one of the characters , helped with the scene changes of the minimal staging. Even people who hate theater probably have some knowledge of this Thornton Wilder play that even with being about a small town in a midwestern state, at a time removed from our hectic lives still somehow manages to touch us with moments of understanding.
As you progress through the lives of the characters eventually you come to the realization as spoken at the end "My, wasn't life awful--and wonderful." The ultimate message is that we never really notice the importance of our lives while we live them but a great play can make us sit up and pay attention.
17 May 2008
Yesterday was the 65 anniversary of the raid on German dams during WW II by the Dam Busters. This is one of those moments in history that few today remember. Only one member of the original crews is still living, Squadron Leader Les Munro, who was honored at the festivities to mark the date.
Also on hand was actor Richard Todd who played Wing Commander Guy Gibson in the 1955 motion picture, The Dam Busters. I've written about my early crush on Todd when I was seven and it was good to see him on the news coverage still looking good and being witty at 88. If you like well acted, old black and white war movies, this almost cult classic is worth watching. Here is the Theatrical Trailer to get you started.
15 May 2008
Misogyny I Won't Miss
Sex: What a Disgrace
Shame on you Randi Rhodes
Misogyny I Won't Miss
By Marie Cocco
Thursday, May 15, 2008; A15
As the Democratic nomination contest slouches toward a close, it's time to take stock of what I will not miss.
I will not miss seeing advertisements for T-shirts that bear the slogan "Bros before Hos." The shirts depict Barack Obama (the Bro) and Hillary Clinton (the Ho) and are widely sold on the Internet.
I will not miss walking past airport concessions selling the Hillary Nutcracker, a device in which a pantsuit-clad Clinton doll opens her legs to reveal stainless-steel thighs that, well, bust nuts. I won't miss television and newspaper stories that make light of the novelty item.
I won't miss episodes like the one in which liberal radio personality Randi Rhodes called Clinton a "big [expletive] whore" and said the same about former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rhodes was appearing at an event sponsored by a San Francisco radio station, before an audience of appreciative Obama supporters -- one of whom had promoted the evening on the presumptive Democratic nominee's official campaign Web site.
I won't miss Citizens United Not Timid (no acronym, please), an anti-Clinton group founded by Republican guru Roger Stone.
Political discourse will at last be free of jokes like this one, told last week by magician Penn Jillette on MSNBC: "Obama did great in February, and that's because that was Black History Month. And now Hillary's doing much better 'cause it's White Bitch Month, right?" Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski rebuked Jillette.
I won't miss political commentators (including National Public Radio political editor Ken Rudin and Andrew Sullivan, the columnist and blogger) who compare Clinton to the Glenn Close character in the movie "Fatal Attraction." In the iconic 1987 film, Close played an independent New York woman who has an affair with a married man played by Michael Douglas. When the liaison ends, the jilted woman becomes a deranged, knife-wielding stalker who terrorizes the man's blissful suburban family. Message: Psychopathic home-wrecker, begone.
The airwaves will at last be free of comments that liken Clinton to a "she-devil" (Chris Matthews on MSNBC, who helpfully supplied an on-screen mock-up of Clinton sprouting horns). Or those who offer that she's "looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court" (Mike Barnicle, also on MSNBC).
But perhaps it is not wives who are so very problematic. Maybe it's mothers. Because, after all, Clinton is more like "a scolding mother, talking down to a child" (Jack Cafferty on CNN).
When all other images fail, there is one other I will not miss. That is, the down-to-the-basics, simplest one: "White women are a problem, that's -- you know, we all live with that" (William Kristol of Fox News).
I won't miss reading another treatise by a man or woman, of the left or right, who says that sexism has had not even a teeny-weeny bit of influence on the course of the Democratic campaign. To hint that sexism might possibly have had a minimal role is to play that risible "gender card."
Most of all, I will not miss the silence.
I will not miss the deafening, depressing silence of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean or other leading Democrats, who to my knowledge (with the exception of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland) haven't publicly uttered a word of outrage at the unrelenting, sex-based hate that has been hurled at a former first lady and two-term senator from New York. Among those holding their tongues are hundreds of Democrats for whom Clinton has campaigned and raised millions of dollars. Don Imus endured more public ire from the political class when he insulted the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
Would the silence prevail if Obama's likeness were put on a tap-dancing doll that was sold at airports? Would the media figures who dole out precious face time to these politicians be such pals if they'd compared Obama with a character in a blaxploitation film? And how would crude references to Obama's sex organs play?
There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for "change." But for all Clinton's political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture.
14 May 2008
When I first read "The World According to Garp", it started me on a path to read everything that fell out of John Irving's quirky, delightful, hilarious and perceptive brain. Then someone mentioned it would be made into a movie. Who could possibly play Roberta Muldoon? As it turned out the actor who played "Roberta Muldoon" ended up being nominated for an Academy Award and introduced the general public to a man oversized in both stature and talent. He had been around the theater from just about the time he could walk, but this was the role that showed the world the man who can do darn near anything.
Need a psychotic killer - Call John Lithgow. Need a sexually confused ambassador - Call John Lithgow. Need someone to make a complete fool of himself for children - You've got it: John Lithgow ... urbane, witty con artist? Yep Lithgow. Bumbling extra terrestrial? Guess who??????????? Lithgow. The nominations and awards have been stacking themselves on his doorstep for 40 years and he just keeps adding more characters and creations wondrous to behold. His latest project takes place on Sunday and Monday nights at Lincoln Center as he does what I keep yammering at you all to do ... tell the family stories. Of course, you probably won't get a rave review from The New York Times and a standing ovation, but this is John Lithgow.
He was born into a theatrical family, but didn't catch the acting bug until he won a scholarship to Harvard University. Harvard was followed by a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After returning from London, he began a successful stage career that brought him to the attention of movie makers and the signature Muldoon. Since he has alternated among stage, screen, and television winning a Tony (The Changing Room, Requiem for a Heavyweight, M Butterfly) and Emmy (Third Rock) and Golden Globes and Oscar nominations (Terms of Endearment, World According to Garp). Then just in case it was all going to his head, write a slew of children's books and become a clown to make them laugh.
Fortunately You Tube is cooperating with some samples of him doing most of the above. Enjoy:
For the Children: You've Got To Have Pep
For Drama: M. Butterfly
For pure hilarity: Third Rock From the Sun
Tony Nominated Musical Soundtrack - Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz
13 May 2008
Whomever you support, take the time to read this Crooks and Liars column. Nations have been enslaved simply because their media only reported what the powers that be wanted the populace to hear. This political season is an "I'm Mad As Hell" moment in the life of our nation. It may already be too late to stick up for freedom and a press that actually reports what is happening rather than what they want you to think happened, but we need to try.
Write a letter to the editors. Send an email. Make phone calls. Protest in front of buildings. Tune your TVs to C-SPAN or the BBC ... anything but the networks either mainline or cable. Let them know you will not let your freedoms be shredded by an ego driven punditry.
04 May 2008
For years now, I have been a fan of National Public Radio. Even in this age of IPods, you can always find something just a little bit different on NPR. One of the most consistently original programs is "Fresh Air", which is just about as eclectic an offering as you are likely to find anywhere.
If you are not familiar with NPR or live where it is not available, you can either find your local station or listen on line at NPR
Jessica The Rock Chick has joined forces with Shelly Tucker in the Camp Sanguinity project by organizing an on line raffle. Every donation puts you in the drawing for a great IPod Shuffle. All you have to do is:
1. Donate by paypal or check (Tucker’s Camp Sanguinity Fund 2008, P.O. Box 2241, Denton, TX 76202, or click on the link below to get to This Eclectic Life to donate through PayPal or the link to Jessica the Rock Chick at the top of this page who has a PayPal button on her blog post, too.
2. Write a post linking to Jessica's post (and you could mention Shelly Tucker's post about it, too, so people know why they are donating!), and make a comment on Jessica’s post, so she knows you are there
Shelly Tucker over at This Eclectic Life has started a fund to send every child to Camp Sanguinity this summer for free. It costs about $150.00 per child and we are trying to raise $21,000 by June at $10.00 per person.
So get into the game by visiting Jessica and Shelly. It's simple and a great thing to do for a child.
01 May 2008
How can YOU make a difference
without opening YOUR wallet?
That's right - if you post a knock knock joke with a picture on your blog today, then go to Camie's Kitties and leave your linky & a comment, they will donate 50¢ to Laura & the rescued kitties!
For everyone who posts a knock knock joke on their blog with a picture TODAY, 50¢ will be donated to help MuShue, LillyLu and Iris' family!
Isabel Necessary on a Bicycle
It's that time of year again. On Saturday, May 3, one magnificent horse will pose for a picture with the blanket of roses. For at least two weeks after that until the running of the Preakness, the question will be, "Is this the year for the Triple Crown."
For purely family reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with good sense, I will be rooting for two horse, (1) Cool Coal Man for my grandfather the coal miner and (2) Black Jack Bob for my father the gambler. Rory, Miss Priss, Mittens, Ki Ki Boom, and Wizard will be watching from the sidelines rooting for Tale of Ekati simply because his father was Tail of the Cat and goodness knows they are all possessed of expressive feline appendages.
If you are actually inclined to bet, you could go to Twin Spires, but most people enjoy it just as much without money changing hands. So mix up your Mint Juleps (recipe below), kick back and enjoy the greatest two minutes in sport.
This is important:
Jason Wilson of the Washington Post has written the proper way to make a julep as well as the history and humor of the drink. Have a good read and then click on the horse of your heart's desire (listed in order of post position from 1 through 20) for the details, picture and a video to watch them run.
Cool Coal Man
Tale Of Ekati
Bob Black Jack
Denis of Cork