The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Humor with Barbs

        If you want a well-needed chuckle, or your sense of humor runs like mine (way into the realm of sarcasm),check out this blog.  Her posts are brilliant.  You thought a depiction of a casual get-together would be a bit dry?  Think again.  Is corporate mumbo-jumbo dull?  Not with Pearl.  If you aren't already a follower, you will be soon...

        (Be sure to read Pearl's 3-part mystery about the death murder of her fish, Yang.  It was posted on December 15.  It's unbelievable.)

photo by katyekat30

Potential: Buried and Wasted

           I was reminded of Karen Carpenter when reading Becky Povich's blog. (She has music that accompanies her blog, and there was the Carpenters, a blast from the past.) When I was 11 or so, I loved the cool, smooth harmonizing of the Carpenters.  What a voice!

          Then when she died, I was a bit angry.  Having that talent, how could she be so tortured?  Me, who when I sing, cause people to wonder if a cat is caught in the car engine...What would I have done with a voice like that?

         I also bemoan the absence of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Croce and Harry Chapin.  What would our musical world be like if they were still around?

Harry Chapin
photo by RSB Image Works
Janis Joplin
photo by frangeek

        Some of the talent I shake my head about belong to people who are still around, but have been hit with the whacky stick (numerous times).  Robert Downey, Jr. is one.  There was a time when he wandered around, got into a stranger's house and was found, asleep, by the homeowners.  In and out of rehab.  He is such a talented actor---what did he need drugs for?  (However, it looks like he might be on a straighter and more narrow path these days.)

       Whitney Houston is another.  If you ever saw the "reality" show that trailed after Houston and her husband, you know she was far off the whack-a-doo scale. If I had just a small fraction of her singing talent, or her looks...Where would I be now? 

        What writer or performer or artist do you miss the most that is "gone," whether that absence is due to death or drugs or mental illness?  (It could even be someone from a hundred years ago.) 


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pinch Me, Please!

photo by lens&needle

          In case you missed the earlier whining, along with the backstory, here goes: girl writes story.  Girl sits on her butt for several years, not sending it out yet continuing to whine, all the while certain it's a decent story.  But on her butt she sits nonetheless.

         Enter Barb Hodges and the Saturday Writers.  Girl is motivated to send her picture book manuscript---finally---to a publisher.  Girl sits on her hands for almost four months (so she can't bite her nails in nervousness).

       Girl gets rejected (of course) but she has a Plan B in mind.  Riding in on a majestic horse is Louella Turner, of High Hill Press.  Because Lou is sitting on the saddle behind John Wayne, she has to lean out to see Girl, but manages to tell Girl that High Hill might indeed be interested in the manuscript...

       Pinch me...Is this a dream?

Spying On People, For the Sake of a Story

        Writers often are observing their surroundings, the people around them, always ready to jot something down to use later.  Sometimes the gems they take home are exactly what they saw and heard and smelled.  Other times, the story only exists in their head.  A face, a gesture is all it takes, and the imagination takes the wheel...

photo by Jay Rajamanickam
        A blogger friend of mine, Rohin Kallat, has a post on December 15 called "Imagining Life and Love, In a Moment" that begins on a train.  Since I have never traveled through India, much less on a train, that alone made it interesting.  As the train rolls along--or not--the story also unfurls.  Writers make ordinary moments extraordinary.  Rohin does this.  He freezes a moment in time, and really gets into his own head as a writer.

photo by Jay Rajamanickam

        If you have time, check out his post and make a comment.  We are all hungry for an audience!


High School Reunion Advice

            Rumjhum Biswas has written a marvelous poem about school reunions.  Go to her post on December 15; she has a link to the poem.

photo by mere2007

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

True Grit Meets the Coen Brothers

         I was raised with a mother who loved anything with John Wayne.  I think she even loved the movie he did where he was Genghis Khan.  (How whack was that?)  On occasional Saturdays or Sundays there were John Wayne movie marathons.  When that happened, she would take over the television and we'd either have to watch it with her or retreat into our room with a book.  Boooring!

         However, there were a couple of his movies I loved.  The Quiet Man was one.  The fact that it supposedly took place in Ireland, a fiesty red-head costarred in it...Perhaps I enjoyed it in spite of John Wayne.

         True Grit is the other one.  I saw it as soon as it came to the theaters, and even though my mother was next to me, enthralled with John Wayne, I was there to see one of the costars.

photo by One Eyed Z
          Glen  Campbell.

           I know, go figure.  I had graduated from Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy to Glen Campbell.  Or maybe I have the timeline wrong.  Whatever.

          For a while, I had a huge crush on him, and when he died in the movie, I was crushed.  (When he married Tanya Tucker in real life, I was pissed.)  There is an incredible scene where Wayne is against several gunmen and he takes the reins in his mouth, shouts a great phrase and gallops towards them, with a gun in each hand.  Kim Darby is wonderful in it, and Robert Duvall plays a great villain.

photo by Paul Garland

         Recently I've gotten excited about the Coen Brothers' most recent movie--True Grit--which will be released this holiday season.  They have made some of my favorite movies, and I'm intrigued. 

       Apparently Joel and Ethan have an "if-it-ain't-broke, don't-fix-it" philosophy, which is encouraging.  They have changed some of the scenes so it is more consistently from Mattie's perspective but reportedly have not strayed but instead stayed true.

photo by One Eyed Z

           I will be going to the theater in the next two weeks, but I am also interested...

           Who did you have a crush on when you were a kid?  Perhaps it's a crush you'd like to shove under the rug?

Monday, December 13, 2010


        Today I got the mail, and carrying it into the house, I glanced at the holiday cards, and the "junk" flyers, not even noticing what lurked in the midst of the stack.  Folded around part of the mail was a familiar-looking jumbo envelope.  It looked familiar because I had addressed it back to myself, and of course, since I had not gotten a business-sized envelope back, it was bad news.

photo by almostgotit3

      Albert Whitman & Company passed on my manuscript.  I'm disappointed, but I have a next step already in place.

photo by Allan Sanders

     Lou Turner, be ready!  High Hill Press, tell me what I need to do...Send you a query?  Type up a letter of acceptance so all you have to do is sign it?  Let me know... 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where Have All the Tigers Gone?

     Imagine a guitarist strumming along...

Where have all the tigers gone?
Long time passing...

Where have all the tigers gone?
Long time ago...
Where have all the tigers gone?
Poachers extinguished them,
One by one.
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn? *

      A blogger friend of mine, Rohin Kallat, has a marvelous post about the plight of the tigers. The picture he paints should cause everyone to go to the zoo and drink in the sight of these gorgeous beasts, because they probably won't be around for too much longer.

     And in case you want to enjoy some delicacies from the plundering and poaching of these big cats, here is how much you need to stuff into your wallet:

   pair of tiger eyes  $175-250
   raw tiger bone $140-370 per kg.
   powdered tiger bone $3,000-4,000 per kg. (so, order the
     raw tiger bone--it's a bargain!)
   tiger skin $15,000
   and the piece de resistance:  tps $320 a bowl (tiger penis soup)

     Choose your tiger from the following photos. You pick 'em and we'll poach 'em.  But hurry. Don't spend too much time on your appetizer. Soon they'll be extinct...
photo by ianmichaelthoms
photo by Swamibu
photo by law_keven
(Note:  If you want the ground-up bones of both the mother AND the cub, that'll cost you extra.)
photo by digitalART2
(Note:  The eyeballs of the tiger cub are the most succulent.  Those'll cost you extra.)

photo by Firdaus

*For those who are not 300 years old, you won't have any idea of the melody, and if you are old enough to have heard the folk song Where Have All the Flowers Gone but were a conservative, you'll still be clueless. Sorry.