12 November 2012

Weighty Marbles

In honor of the birthday of August Rodin, a blast from the past reprint.

Look into the face of Mary and see what the sculptor of the pieta did in 1499. Across her lap is the body of her 33 year old son, but her face is that of the teenage girl who first heard an angel announce that she was about to become an unwed mother. She had no guarantee that Joseph would marry her. She lived in a culture that severely punished anything that was considered immorality in women, yet she accepted the duty placed on her, and this is the way that duty ended with her beloved child dead in her arms not knowing yet where this road will end. There is grief on that face, but there is acceptance and trust in the future as well. Michaelangelo takes a block of hard, cold marble and makes you see the passion, glory and the ultimate end of doing one's duty no matter where it leads as a simple act of faith.

In 1972 a man by the name of LASZLO TOTH damaged the Pieta with a hammer. He was never charged with a criminal offense. On 29 January of the following year he was declared a dangerous person and was ordered confined to a mental hospital. On 9 February 1975, the Hungarian-born, Australian geologist was released from the hospital and deported from Italy as an undesirable alien. His act of madness had it's own result. The Vatican announced that the team of restorers attempting to repair the damage that Toth had inflicted on the Pieta had discovered a previously unknown secret signature of Michelangelo on the palm of the Madonna's left hand - an "M" fashioned from the skin lines reproduced in marble as another mark from the genius who brought her to life once more.

Several centuries later another great sculptor took on a similar subject. Marble was not August Rodin's favorite medium, yet he produced many famous ones such as The Kiss, The Lovers, and The Hand of God. Instead of marble he preferred the casting in bronze and one of his greatest is the Fallen Caryatid.

Years ago, Robert Heinlein used this bronze of the Caryatid in Stranger in a Strange Land to attempt to show beauty where apparently there was none. His words:

This poor little caryatid has fallen under the load. She's a good girl---look at her face. Serious, unhappy at her failure, not blaming anyone,not even the gods and still trying to shoulder her load, after she's crumpled under it.

But she's more than just good art denouncing bad art; she's a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women---this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in uncomplaining fortitude until they crumpled under their loads. It's courage...and victory. Victory in defeat, there is none higher. She didn't give up...she's still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her...she's all the unsung heroes who couldn't make it but never quit.
So there you have two young girls, one in marble and the other in bronze trying to lift marble, who were asked to shoulder burdens way beyond their years. In the process they become examples to all of the glory that comes from simply doing what is right when it is necessary.

05 November 2012

Remember Remember

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

03 November 2012


The Bearatones return because around the world today, bloggers from more than 50 countries including all 50 States of the U.S. will speak with one voice: Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace). The only hope for mankind and this world is the willingness to make life better for all of us. That can only happen if we approach each other with open generous hands and minds.

If you would like to join us, go to Peace Globe Central at Mimi Writes or just share and retweet on Twitter and Facebook. A simple request: One Day, One Voice, One Phrase as a message to the world: Grant Us Peace.

Sing Out with The Bearatones

Give Peace a Chance
- John Lennon

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters,
Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

(Let me tell you now)
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Regulation,
Integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper,
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna
Hare Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

26 August 2012

What Every Man Need To Know

" Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honour, courage and virtue mean everything ; that power and money ... money and power mean nothing. That good always triumphs over evil. And I want you to remember this.... that love....true love never dies ! Remember that boy ... remember that. Doesn't matter if it is true or not, a man should believe in those things , because those are the things worth believing in...... got that ? "

Hub McCann (Robert Duvall) - Second Hand Lions

My favorite scene from one of my favorite movies.

25 August 2012

50th Anniversary

If two people had been crazy enough to go on making each other unhappy, this would have been my 50th wedding anniversary.  As it is we both went on to better lives.  It may not have ended well, but he was and is a good man.  I remember the good times fondly and always wish him well, particularly now.

Oh and I still have soft spot for gentlemen with guitars who know the lyrics to this song.

24 August 2012

5 On Friday - Chicago Tribute

5 On Friday is the meme invented by our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts. To join in, visit his blog to sign in and choose your five musical selections for the week to share with others. 

This week, I'm heading for the midwest and a city that seems to be almost as unending a source of inspiration for songwriters as New York.

Chicago - Crosby, Stills, and Nash open the set with a song about another political convention.

The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace

Chicago, Illinois - Lesley Ann Warren

Chicago, That Toddlin' Town - Frank Sinatra

Chicago Wind - Merle Haggard

17 August 2012

5 On Friday - Beneath The Southern Cross

Our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts invented the Five on Friday meme. To participate, sign in on his site and then share your musical selections for the week

For this week's Five On Friday I'm heading below the equator for a taste of all things Australian with 5 stars from its flag and music.  Just for the record, I liked the image above because it was in the shape of the country, but the actual flag has six stars - 5 making up the Southern Cross and then the seven pointed Commonwealth Star in honor of the 1901 Federation of the States and Territories of Australia.

A classic surfing movie Morning of the Earth and a thoughtful theme song

Can't do a set like this without the genius of Tommy Emmanuel on guitar.

The Amazing Peter Allen with his tribute to the land of his birth

Slim Dusty with a country song very very Southern style

Redgum and a poignant story song

12 August 2012

What Do Women REALLY want?

The above image came around on Facebook and I immediately "liked" and "shared".  It hit so hard that I was ready to go out hunting for any one of the six.  You will notice that all of these men are of interesting looks but none of them, with maybe the exception of  Tennant #10, are classically handsome and even with him it is a sort of dorky sweetness.    If you are a man and don't know who Tennant is - hie thee immediately to BBC for everything from Doctor Who to Hamlet.  Come to think of it, if you are a male of the species ... Hie thee immediately to BBC for lessons if you ever want to get laid regularly again in your natural life because this is what women want.  We are so desperate, we will even settle for any combination of two qualities of six ... take your pick.

Brilliant + Patient or Loyal or Passionate or Adventurous or Kooky

Patient + Loyal or Passionate or Adventurous or Kooky

Loyal + Passionate or Adventurous or Kooky

Passionate + Adventurous or Kooky

Adventurous + Kooky

Now women are hardly immune to the attraction of an Adonis as circulation of another recent picture of the Australian Swim Team proves beyond doubt.  There were definitely a lot of longing gazes aimed in that direction.

Don't let this window shopping upset you.  Every single one these guys would be rejected and or dumped after a first date unless he possessed at least two of the attributes of the men of the BBC.  As long as you take reasonable care of yourself and aren't a total slob, it is the internal not the external that always wins fair maiden, matron, grandmother or crone - we are eternally optimistic!!!

Now to zero in on the essential truth.  What you are is important, very important but even more essential is how you make us feel about ourselves.  You see, we want to be a "Companion".  We want Doctor Who to show up in his little blue box, Sherlock to involve us in an adventure, or Rory to finally walk us down the aisle.  We want to be the lover, partner, confidant and most of all friend - a necessary part of your life.   Make a woman feel as if you would be less if she weren't around and she will do darn near anything and go anywhere just to make sure that feeling doesn't end.  So lets hear your requirements gentlemen - just name them.  

In the meantime, do study the men of the BBC and just to give American TV a chance you could throw in a little of the danger of Harvey Specter from Suits, the charm of Neil Caffrey from White Collar, or the intensity of Hank Lawson of Royal Pains because that's all good too.

10 August 2012

5 On Friday - Farewell Marvin

June 2, 1944 – August 6, 2012

Our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts invented the Five on Friday meme. To participate, sign in on his site and then share your musical selections for the week
This week brought the news that we had lost one of our great Broadway and movie composers with the death of Marvin Hamlisch.  This week's 5 are dedicated to this great talent.

While not his greatest hit, They're Playing Our Song meant one of the best theater nights of my life if only for those Arnaz legs coming across the banquet to the uproar from the audience.

Redford and Newman with a little larceny for The Sting

Redford rich and beautiful - Streisand not quite as rich or beautiful - One great song for The Way Were

Even Baryshnikov had to dance to "ONE"

And from again from Chorus Line in both the balcony and mezzanine a little T & A - "Dance 10 Looks 3"

03 August 2012

5 On Friday - Never Say Never

Our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts invented the Five on Friday meme. To participate, sign in on his site and then share your musical selections for the week.

On this day in history in 1977, The Spy Who Loved Me, premiered. That's all the excuse I need for the James Bond themes:

First the movie's song sung by the wonderful Carly Simon: Nobody Does It Better

My favorite for the lyrics if not the voice of Nancy Sinatra: You Only Live Twice

Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings, but here it is Wings with: Live And Let Die

Probably the theme that let us know Bond girls and Bond music would always be special. Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger

And you can never listen to just one song by Dame Shirley: Diamonds Are Forever

29 July 2012

Arghhhh I've Been Meme Tagged

She who must be obeyed, namely Queen Mimi of Bloggingham has dubbed me with a rather powerful sword in her possession for the "Liebster Award"  While this may sound like something suitable for boiling, it actually means:  A German word for sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome -  So thank you your most gracious majesty.

The rules are:

1.  Each person must post 11 facts about themselves.

2.  Answer 11 Questions the tagger has given you and give 11 questions for the people you've tagged.

3.  Choose 11 people and link them in your post.  Tell them you've tagged them.

4.  Remember no tags back

So first, 11 statements about myself, though coming up with things you don't know isn't easy:

1.  I married the same man twice.

2.  I went to so many schools that I actually have to number the grades and match to cities to figure out where they were when.

3.  I really, really like to swim nude.

4.  Never ever wear shoes indoors and caftans are preferred for body cover.

5.  68 and I still don't have grey hair except for the "skunk stripe" in front there since I was 35.  (Just whacked off all my hair to check).

6.  Reading for me is like watching a movie.  I get totally lost in the "pictures" to the point that I have to be touched or talked to loudly to "come out of it".

7.  I'm horrible at remembering names unless there is real attached emotional content.  Too many "goodbyes" and need to erase.  Now I seem to erase immediately to save myself the time and trouble.  Trying to get better about this.

8.  My middle names are both surnames _ Jamieson Durward

9.  My first crush was Richard Todd - I was seven.  My mind has never changed about what constitutes an "Oh My - Heart Be Still!!" handsome man.

10.  I have been driving some form of mechanized vehicle since the age of 8 (tractor), have had a license since age 15 and have never had an accident outside of a parking lot or a moving violation (deserved speeding tickets) in 60 years.

11.  Really want to live in New York or Australia for at least a year.


Now for The Queen's curiosity:

1.  What is the nearest book to you?  Your Kindle does not count.

Embattled Dreams, California in War and Peace 1940 - 1950

2.  When was the last time you took a "me" vacation

Roughly once an hour - I have a GREAT imagination

3.  How many telephone numbers do yo have? - Two

4.  If you could fix one thing in the public school system, what is the one thing you would do immediately?

Immediately reinstitute all music, drama, and literature classes even if it meant tossing out some of the "basics"

5.  Are you a big tipper?

Yes - I was a waitress.  You have to be really, really bad for me not to make excuses for the service.

6.  Do you watch reality shows?

Never - Mindless drivel stultifying the American psyche

7.  Who is your favorite sports team player?

Historical:  Sandy Kofax
Current: Harley Ramirez of the LA Dodgers

8.  If you could travel in a spaceship to any planet, which planet would you like to visit and why?

This one.  There are so many places I still want to see.  If forced into space, then Mars as there stands a chance of a habitat suitable for living.

9.  When was the last time you sat in a church?

Honestly don't remember.  It's been years.  

10.  Are there any aspects of blogging that annoy you?

People who visit but don't comment even to say "Hi!"

11.  When someone follows you on their blog or subscribes to your Facebook page, do you automatically follow and subscribe back?

Not usually.  If they are someone I recognize or with a shared close friend, then maybe.


Here are the questions I've sending to the folks tagged as "Liebster" below:

1.  Who, when and where was your first kiss?

2.  You are giving a party and can invite five people fact or fiction - Who's coming to dinner?

3.  How many people can you call now who have known you since you were in school?

4.  What Are you wearing right now?

5.  What are your current favorite TV shows

6.  If you drink what is your favorite alcoholic libation.  If not, flavor of Ice Cream?

7.  What is your favorite Olympic event?

8.  You just got thrown out of your country.  Where do you want to become a citizen?

9.  Do you have a hobby - What is it?

10.  Do you dye your hair?

11.  Do you consider yourself a Conservative, Moderate, or Progressive?

Now let the tagging begin.  Queen Mimi  grabbed some of my favorite people I may not get to eleven:  Shelly Tucker, Mary Tomeselli, Julia Phillips, Claire Pitt, Carol George, Arabella, Then if they choose to do it twice:  Travis, Linda Orlomoski ... And that's all I've got.

27 July 2012

5 On Friday - Another IPOD Shuffle

Our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts invented this meme. To join in visit his website to sign in and then share your selection of five pieces of music for the week.

This week keeping it simple with IPOD roulette. Spinning the shuffle machine to see what happens with the usual eclectic results.

20 July 2012

5 On Friday - Fly Me To The Moon

Our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts invented this meme. To join in visit his website to sign in and then share your selection of five pieces of music for the week.

On July 20 of 1969 Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. One of these days we really need to go back and build, but in the meantime some moon music.

17 July 2012

Sundown Message In A Bottle

The Happiest Place On Earth

July 17 just happens to be the anniversary of the opening of Disneyland in 1955. While I didn't go on opening day, I did attend during the first month and several times a year from then until 1962 when I married and moved to Northern California which reduced my visitations to once a year for the next 20 years.

There are many stories to tell about the adventures on Tom Sawyer's Island, just ask any California female of my age group about the dating service at Merry Go Round Rock, or the course I could give how to get from land to land at record speed and avoid standing in lines or where they put the telescope in Star Wars and other trivia. That is for later years.

Now normally I wouldn't recommend dating outside of ones species, but I must confess that because of Disneyland, one very pleasant evening was spent romancing a deciduous growth. As you can see from the photograph above, he was a rather handsome tree.

In 1961 Disney had just released Babes In Toyland. To promote this event, the space just to the right of the entrance was given over to a walk through exhibit of the scenes of the movie with music. My girlfriend and I skipped this until the end of the day and thought we would make it the last stop. Once walking through the scenery and since we had been on our feet all day, it seemed like a good idea to sit on the low wall at the exit area until heading for the car. Leaning back against the very stationary forest also seemed wise until the tree said, "Please don't lean on me". Once the leaping up in startled surprise and shrieking stopped, I apologized for getting too familiar with his trunk.

My tree and his leafy friend indicated they were about to get off work and would we stick around for a while until they changed. Now until you have found yourself gazing into the eyes of a forest growth asking you for a date, you haven't quite exposed yourself to all that life has to offer. It was a pleasant one time evening due to geographic undesireability, but a pleasant memory only topped by the day I really did shrink the kid (story for next year's anniversary).

Happy Anniversary to the Happiest Place On Earth

16 July 2012

The Job I Really Wanted

You have read here about my experiences of growing up in a town that was a crossroads for the movie industry and how I had brushes against celebrity for various reasons.  Some people want to grow up to be movie stars.  There was one job I always wanted in the field.  I wanted to grow up to be a Script Supervisor.  While you have heard about producers, directors, cinematographers, set designers etc.  - all of the people eligible for Oscars, very few people in the audience have a clue about this job.  They do get credit at the end of the movie if you stay for the credits, but that is about it.  What you don't know is that whether or not you liked a movie was often on a subliminal level the result of whether or not this person did their job well.

What is even more remarkable about this job is that even from the earliest days of film, it was a woman's job.  The earliest incarnation was "Script Girl".  This was the exercise of male dominance who knew they needed a "girl" to make sure everything looked good when it hit the screen.  Just as secretaries have now become Administrative Assistants, Script girls have now moved up to become supervisors because rarely are they men.  What you don't hear is that most directors have "girls" they always ask to be their assistants.  They now get paid very, very well to save the director's ass ... daily.

Definititon:  Maintains an accurate shooting script and recording in detail all information related to each take, including length of shot, scene and take number, camera placement, and printable takes, as well as any notations on dialogue, action, props, set dressing, wardrobe, make-up, and hair in order to provide continuity during shooting and to facilitate editing.

What You See On The Screen

How it looked to the actor

How it looked to the director

How it looked to the Script Supervisor

How important is this job?  Every commercial movie made has an IMDb page giving all sorts of data about the cast, crew, plot, quotes, financials etc.  One page is always devoted to mistakes of all kinds and there are huge numbers of people who avidly follow and contribute to these pages just for the fun of it all.  It is pretty much the script supervisors job working with the director to keep these pages very, very, very short.  You have all read my rant about the errors of the movie Australia playing havoc with what should have been a much better motion picture.  Here is the IMDB page with the list of errors for that film.  (It is not a short list so either the director or the script supervisor was a major FAIL)

So life didn't quite work out according to plan, but that early urge for a job I knew I would love led to jobs as a researcher, editor, administrative assistant - the person in the background who makes sure everything is correct.  Still, even now, I would have loved being a script supervisor.

13 July 2012

5 On Friday - Tell Me A Love Story

This wonderful meme was invented by our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts. To join in, go to his page, sign in and share your five choices of music for the week.

My Favorite songs are often ones that could be the great novels or scripts for whole movies - The story songs.  Now this is a tradition in folk music and old ballads, but there are modern incarnations and here are some of my favorite "stories in song".

I'll kick it off with a May December Romance in Crimes of the Heart written and sung by Amanda McBroom

Then a couple with nothing in common but their dreams - John Buchino's "Sweet Dreams" sung by Barbara Cook

Next up a pair of "Star Crossed Lovers" only this time on meaner streets than Shakespeare's Verona. Mark Knopfler with Romeo and Juliet (Had a hard time picking just one Knopfler song as he is a modern master of the art - Check out "Done With Bonaparte"

Shotguns at the ready Bonnie Raitt takes you on a wild ride to chase down a runaway

Now a slice of real life. Leonard Cohen's song Chelsea Hotel #2 that is supposed to be about his encounter with Janis Joplin written after her suicide. Here sung by Rufus Wainwright (Warning for the sensitive about such things, it kicks off with a graphic sexual description but if you love Cohen, you are used to that.  )

06 July 2012

5 On Friday - Theme Songs

This wonderful meme was invented by our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts. To join in, go to his page, sign in and share your five choices of music for the week.

This was the very first song I remember hearing on the radio while I was reading and thinking of it as "my song". The singer was Bing Crosby.  It became a best seller in 1948.  While writing this I realized that I was four years old and already had a strong identity of a "me" who loved to travel.

While records had been bought for me, this was the very first record I ever went to a store and bought for myself.  It was 1956.

For eight years of my life when I entered a room where a wonderful man was playing for the public, this was the way he said hello with "my song".  Are we starting to detect a theme?

This is the movie from 1978 that always reminds me of a "making what bread we need at a piano bar in the Valley".  The first time I heard that line in the  "60's" portion of the movie script, I almost choked to death laughing.

This is simply the song that says how I feel that friendship is at the heart of any true love.   The movie was "The Jazz Singer" in 1980.

That takes us through the first 36 years, though I left out 1961 - 1971, but that is another story.  So what are the "Theme Songs of Your Life"?

02 July 2012

Happy Bottom Riding Club

"When you have a choice -- choose happy."

Before anyone really knew there was a NASA and before the world had honored the first astronauts by making them really famous, they hung out at a classy little joint named the Happy Bottom Riding Club located in the California high desert run by a middle aged lady who raised hogs. In the movie, "The Right Stuff", the actress playing Pancho Barnes is the one behind the bar and calling the newest test pilots "pudknockers". At her best as in the Hurrell photo above, she wasn't attractive.  In fact, Chuck Yeager called her "the ugliest woman he had ever known" but it was her fence where he broke his rib before flying the X-1 for the first time and her restaurant where he celebrated breaking the sound barrier.

Whatever fame she had was pretty well forgotten by the mid 1950s except among a small and select community. So why did all these men respect this woman almost more than any other they had ever met. Why was she honored by the Governor of California, praised by Howard Hughes, make friends with movie stars and astronauts, and why did General Jimmy Doolittle deliver the eulogy for her memorial service?

Do yourself a favor and meet Pancho Barnes on the link above and this trailer; then watch the full documentary next Monday on PBS on July 9.

29 June 2012

5 On friday - The Land Down Under

This wonderful meme was started by our friend Travis of Trav's Thoughts. To join in, visit his page, sign in and post your selections for the week.

It's Colin Hay's birthday.  Given my obsessions with Scotland, Australia, music (particularly guitar and piano) and yummy men, a yummy Scottish-Australian guitarist who was part of the equally yummy Men At Work just pushes all the right buttons.

28 June 2012

22 June 2012

5 On Friday - Golden Anniversary

Five on Friday is the meme invented by our friend Travis of <a href="http://travsthoughts.blogspot.com.Trav's Thoughts</a>.  To join in visit his site, sign in and go forth to share your musical choices for the week.

This week isn't a five but a 50 as it is the 50th anniversary of the song that started a global music and dance craze with the Bossa Nova.  You can read the whole history of The Girl From Ipanema and Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto who inspired the song by clicking the link under her picture.