Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Seven years ago I hosted a Halloween "party" -- a blog-post with pictures of my friends (many of you!) wearing Halloween costumes. It was fun.
Given that few of us can attend parties today due to the virus, let's give this another go. Make a costume, e-mail me a picture (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I'll post it on the Big Party Post (BPP) on October 31st. Of course I'll add your name and link to your blog or wherever you want.
Start planning! Here are photos of some of my previous costumes...
Sunday, September 27, 2020
We're all experiencing pandemic fatigue. Tired of restrictions, we're blue. We need something POSITIVE to enjoy and look forward to.
Halloween! The ultimate holiday where there are no limitations except your imagination. Even if you don't want to venture out into public, you can still create a fun costume and share it with your friends. I plan to do that.
Does anyone have a big gold necklace that says "Puddin"?
I hope you'll create your own costume and share it with us.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
I love commercial signs. Two attributes that especially appeal to me are indicia of aging and unusual fonts. I never expected to see both in one sign.
This morning I walked the sad streets of Amityville. An old sign called out to me. Not only does the sign show age and odd font but the font is fun BECAUSE it's old -- the original standard font warped over time from exposure to outdoor weather and curled into interesting lettering. Cool!
Here's also a second sign (seen last month in South Jersey). What's remarkable is the content which leads me to ask -- is there anything Seymour doesn't do?!
Friday, September 25, 2020
I'm in the middle of reading philosopher Albert Camus' most famous work, "The Myth of Sisyphus," and just heard Camus' lover, French singer and muse Juliette Gréco, died this week at age 93.
Both Camus and Gréco are worth learning about. They lived during World War II and its aftermath when life seemed bleak and pointless. You can trace Camus' philosophy, Absurdism, to that life experience. Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 when he was 44.
Juliette Gréco was also remarkable. As a teenager in France during the war, she worked for the Resistance, got caught by Nazis and was imprisoned for years. When the war ended, she walked eight miles back to Paris, penniless. She built a notable singing career that you can taste in YouTube videos. She created the later-publicized look of sultry French women -- dark-haired, clad all in black and usually wearing a tight turtleneck sweater.
Gréco had affairs with many famous men (and women) of the time, including Jean-Paul Sartre and jazz musician Miles Davis. Davis declined to marry her because he feared she'd suffer racist abuse in America which turned out to be true when they tried to dine in restaurants here.
In terms of legacy, Gréco was admired by numerous later artists. Paul McCartney wrote a song about her ("Michelle") and John Lennon said, "I'd always had a fantasy about a woman who would be a beautiful, intelligent, dark-haired, high-cheek-boned, free-spirited artist àla Juliette Gréco."
History isn't boring when you look in the right places.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Holga Week is approaching!
A group of hardy/crazy enthusiasts will celebrate the Holga camera next week (Oct. 1-7). I am among them. Because this cheap plastic tool produces unpredictable photographs, we embrace its unique charm. And we will do so in the finest way possible -- by actually using the camera.
During Holga Week contestants shoot 120-roll film and enter our pictures in friendly competition. Winner gets a non-working Holga that's been spray-painted gold which makes it even less valuable. Hey, you need a sense of humor to be a Holga-lover. Photo companies -- including my favorite, which is really named "Old School Photo Lab" -- are contributing additional prizes (e.g., photo supplies for Holga cameras).
It will be interesting to see what people come up with. I have several ideas for future photos and will show them to you later. Maybe one will win the coveted, worthless Gold Holga!
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Playing with old cameras offers many pleasures. The cameras themselves are beautiful objects. Shooting pictures with them is a wild adventure full of surprises. And exploring their history is fascinating. I just learned something cool about my Kodak Brownie Starflex.
When I got this camera, research told me the model was manufactured from 1957 to 1964. I assumed that range of dates was the most you could learn but I just discovered it's possible to date particular cameras more precisely. Inside the camera is a hidden code which reveals the exact month each camera was made. Four letters are stamped on the metal and a secret key translates them.
My camera says "CMRS" which means this camera was made December 1957. That date has significance: I was born November 1957. This camera is the same age I am!
I bought some 127-roll film and shot a roll of black-and-white photos. Not attempting art, just doing a test-run to see if and how well the camera works. The images are sharper than I expect from a cheap plastic lens and have the characteristic muddiness of old film. These qualities give Brownie pictures their distinctive look. Here are a few I just developed.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Forty five years ago today The Best Comedy of All Time premiered on British television: "Fawlty Towers." The show is painfully hilarious. John Cleese plays Basil Fawlty, an inn-keeper who makes every bad decision possible and suffers endlessly. Nobody respects Basil, his wife abuses him daily, and life treats him like dirt. Yet you laugh and laugh and laugh as you empathize with poor Basil's plight.
There are only a dozen short episodes so you can binge it in an evening. Unless you get tired of laughing. I've seen the show numerous times and keep falling over at its jokes.
The BBC says it "stands up to this day as a jewel in the BBC's comedy crown."
Thursday, September 17, 2020
It's no exaggeration when I say that outfit-posts are one of the chief joys in my life. Contemplating them, creating an attractive ensemble, assembling its pieces and putting them all together are creative acts I find immensely enjoyable. Sharing the fruit of that labor with you -- and getting feedback -- is delightful.
Outfit-posts were, indeed, the initial impetus for this blog. Over a decade ago I wanted to connect with others on feminine activities and appearance. Because outfit-posts, for me, are laborious I supplement them with updates on my other activities, my views on social issues and miscellaneous items. But those are supposed to be side dishes, not the main course.
The Coronavirus disrupted our lives in varying ways. For me, it's hindered my ability to create outfits. I'm grateful you've hung around in their absence. I know you gals don't care about motorcycles or other subjects I post about so your continued visits are deeply appreciated.
I'm back to outfit-posts. No matter what I need to do to make them, I'll post more. This is not only for you but for me: I need the satisfaction they bring to my soul.
Here we go...
I start with a simple dress from Charlotte Russe (on sale for $12). To brighten it, I add a yellow belt; yellow brings sunshine to any outfit. My legs glisten with metallic gold fishnets and metallic gold platform heels which lift me seven feet high. I finish with some matching jewelry and complementary eye-shadow (yellow and green).
Two pro tips: When wearing fishnet stockings, wear nude pantyhose underneath or else the fishnets cut into your feet like a cheese grater. Ouch!
Second, did you know they make arm makeup? Yup and I need it in Summer when my t-shirts give me dark tan on my forearms and no tan above the elbow. It looks jarring when wearing sleeveless women's clothing so lightening the forearms with makeup is essential. Easy fix.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Sunday, September 13, 2020
The trip down was awful. My EZ-Pass died, my GPS went wonky and other mechanical issues arose. Aggravation made me wonder if the trip was worth it. But then I heard the ROAR of screaming engines at full blast. The sight of men flying fast through space. Suddenly the siren song of fast motorcycles lured me back into her exciting embrace.
Yes, the journey was worth it. Let me share some of it with you through these pictures.
Thursday, September 10, 2020
A spy and adventurer, Emma Peel was an expert in martial arts who needed no one to rescue her. She drove fast and became a feminist icon. She's often remembered for wearing a leather catsuit, something shocking at the time.
Here's Peel driving her Lotus Elan. Yes, LOTUS!
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Saturday, September 5, 2020
I like seeing actors popular now performing at the beginning of their careers. In 2005 British TV (BBC) did a series of modern interpretations of Shakespeare's plays ("ShakespeaRe-Told") and the cast in one is greatly amusing ("Much Ado About Nothing").
I recently binge-d all five seasons of "Lucifer" which stars Tom Ellis. He plays a terrific, distinctive character. Seeing Ellis fifteen years ago -- young as a tyro, impossibly clean-shaven, with different hair-style and accent -- is shocking. Ellis was just starting out then and is paired in the show with Billie Piper, immediately before she became a star in "Doctor Who." Billie later led "Secret Diary of a Call Girl." You also spot Olivia Colman who's the current Queen Elizabeth II in "The Crown" after appearing in the successful "Fleabag."
Stardom was right around the corner for these three but, at the time, they didn't know it. Fascinating to watch them at this juncture.
Friday, September 4, 2020
If you're old, you might remember Soupy Sales. Soupy had a children's TV show back in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. It was popular and broadcast live from New York.
Soupy was usually described as "kooky." A comedian, he was innately silly, often bordering on surreal (like when he brought Alice Cooper onto his show in 1979). Soupy told stories, jokes and sang songs. At least once each show he or someone else would get hit in the face with a cream-pie. Humor like that appeals to kids.
But Soupy also had an edge. If you were an adult, you picked up on it. Like later Pee-Wee Herman, Soupy was winkingly irreverent. That audacity led him to pull the greatest prank in television history.
In 1965, Soupy was forced to work on New Year's Day. He wasn't happy about it so he did something unscripted on his live show. He told his television audience (children) that their parents were probably still in bed sleeping off New Year's Eve. He encouraged them to go into mommy's pocketbook, pull out some of "the green paper there with pictures of men with beards," stuff it in an envelope and send it to "Soupy Sales, Channel 5, New York, New York."
You can guess what happened.
A week later Soupy was summoned into the TV network's executive offices. When he arrived, he was shown into a room full of agitated vice presidents and lawyers. They asked if he did what they heard he had done. (Some parents complained.) He said yes. They asked how much money he received in the mail. He said $80,000. That's the equivalent of $1 Million today.
The network suspended him for five days and instructed him to donate the money to charity, which he did. For the rest of his career, Soupy loved re-telling this story.
Soupy, born Milton Supman, lived to age 83. He died a decade ago and is buried about an hour from me. I plan to visit his grave soon and, out of respect, will leave some "green paper" on his tombstone.
Have you heard of Soupy? If not, you can catch videos of his show on YouTube.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
The best writing published these days appears in The New Yorker. In the current issue, there's a book review on the subject of beauty pageants that contains exceptionally smart, entertaining prose. Link here.
The subject is ripe for examination because pageants reflect a society's culture. You see this in how the Miss America competition emerged in 1921, later changed and then changed again. Contrasting the event with Miss U.S.A., its tawdry cousin, enlightens even further.
Tidbits from the review:
- "Pageants, commingling ideology and entertainment, offered something extra—the French-braided forces of patriarchy, capitalism, and racism."
- "At its peak, in the nineteen-sixties and seventies, Miss America attracted more than two-thirds of the country’s television viewers. The annual telecast, culminating with Bert Parks, the m.c., crooning “There She Is,” amounted to a minor late-summer holiday, a reunion of the intact but dysfunctional American family. Boys learned how to watch girls, and girls learned how to watch boys watching girls."
- "Miss America still commands attention, rivalling perhaps only major-league baseball in outsized nostalgia-based influence."
What are your thoughts on beauty pageants? Did you ever participate in one?