Monday, August 30, 2010

i've been on vacation

actual writer writing
I'm so sorry I have not put up a new post lately- I've been on vacation. I didn't want to say that- why say it, when I was so sure I would keep up?

I did write two new posts on the airplane because my seat mate would not talk to me!
She was a teenager engrossed in her Harry Potter. She did not even want to talk about Harry Potter. What is that, generation gap? You know how much we embarrass them when we prove that we are just like them.

So, I thought, well Miss, you may be reading a book. . . But I am WRITING one.

THREE POSTS are nearly finished- but will be delayed for the search for pictures. It takes me longer to find pictures than to write.

OK I won't make promises. Let's say NEXT WEEK. But you know it will be sooner.

Monday, August 16, 2010

still promising a post about hollywood monsters!

Eventually I will post, as promised, my comparison of the sad monsters of Hollywood as archetype and presence.
"Gothic" directed by Ken Russell 1986

at Byron's manor the Villa Diodati:
"A menagerie, with eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon: and all these, except the horses, walk about the house, which every now and then resounds with their unarbitrated quarrels, as if they were masters of it."
— Percy Blythe Shelley 1816

image found: website link
quote found on frankenstenia blog: website link

Please send me your suggestions for your favorite sad monsters. If I use it I will cite you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I am a Race Car Driver

You might remember, how in a previous blogpost (Aug 10), I discussed "The Lists":

Playboy, 25 Sexiest Celebrities
Esquire, Sexiest Woman Alive
FHM, 100 Sexiest Celebrities
Details, Sexiest Woman
Stuff, 100 Sexiest Women

I must take this opportunity to brag proudly, that I myself have been on such a list:

My name is on the run-off ballot for "Sexiest Woman Alive 2004."

That's me, in a Porsche.
I am a race car driver
Also in run-off for "Sexiest Woman Alive"
I am on wikipedia
                               didn't you know that?
                               don't you recognize me?

Really. Check it, you'll see. In fact I'm in a voting run-off with Kate Beckinsdale for 'sexiest woman alive':

1) Sexiest woman alive, run-off:  Link: (ostfc message board)
I am not in the first list but in the second, #51
2)  My website link

I am a race car driver. It's so exciting. Porsche has made me their chief model, and as their representative, I also give presentations for them.

I am also an actress. I was in Interceptor II. I played the alien, who is disguised as a beautiful young blonde woman. I have also been on Love Boat. That was fun.

By the way, I thought I'd mention- sorry to get off the topic- there is a German actress named "Eve Scheer," and, poor dear, the media is always getting us mixed up.

It's so annoying- she gets half my fan mail.

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A Brief Note on my Revisions

When you notice I have a new blogpost, it's probably best if you wait at least a week before you read it.

-I edit for that long, I'm a perfectionist; and always thinking up something new.

Yesterday I revised: "Why You Can't Find What You Want at the Library" and broke it into two parts.  (from July 27, 2010)
Part 1 is the revised part; Part 2 remains largely the same.

If you love books, please take another look at the revised library post! In Part 1 I've connected all the dots.

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Why you can't find what you want at the library, PART 1

'The Library of Grand Vizier Ragib Pasha' 
engraving in Tableau général 
de l.empire othoman
by Ignatius Mouradgea d.Ohsson
Paris late 1700s
I was at my favorite branch library last week. My inaugural post, my very first post of this blog, was about the Battery Park branch library of the NYPL system.

I gushed about how the literature section was full of not just classics but modern classics, and even newer books, on their way to becoming modern classics, pre-classic I guess.


It’s not enough just to know only Dickens and Conrad and Boccacio, "the Canon," the books agreed on as being the greatest literature, then taught in colleges.

Hamish ed, UK 1951
Between 1961 and 1982, The Catcher in the Rye was the most censored book in high schools and libraries in the United States.

Everyone reads them, and then everyone writes about them- think of the tens of thousands of dissertations dissecting the greatest to the smallest of the Canon.

I'm not saying there is something wrong with continuing to mine the classics. I agree, in great works of art, the wealth of things to discover is bottomless. Things the authors put there on purpose and—more often—things they didn’t know they’d put there, just following their instincts.

more interesting than the original? 
And I agree that every new reader brings all their own stuff into the trigonometry of allegory. 

I myself can endlessly hold forth on what a story means, or a book, or the movie they made from the book and how it failed (or didn’t). And enjoy myself thoroughly.

It's just that. . .
. . . Is that all there is? Surely great books have been written in the meantime! How it surprises me to see highschoolers on the subway still reading Catcher in the Rye for English class. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Something Rich and Strange

"The Lists." This is a post about lists. And Shakespeare, eventually that is.

She thinks he hasn't got a chance. . .
"The Lists"- they read kind of like the first ten pages of your high school yearbook. You know, the pages with the cheerleaders (hey, I’m from Texas), as they’re caught walking out of Civics class, or on the bleachers snuggling in their football hero boyfriend’s letter jacket.

Just a typical day at high school-- represented page after page by that little Club of the beautiful people. Plus maybe one picture of the geek who won nationwide for the Debate team; and the guy in Band who plays tuba.

from Fresno yearbook, p. 79
Mervin Whealy & John Goss, Fresno State College,
beat USC & Stanford to win Debate championship, 1960

link is here
There’s no explaining their popularity. They aren’t the prettiest (some are), the smartest (some are), the classiest (some are). How selection works is completely mysterious. And the same thing goes for "The Lists."

These are "The Lists":

Playboy, 25 Sexiest Celebrities
Esquire, Sexiest Woman Alive
FHM, 100 Sexiest Celebrities
Details, Sexiest Woman
Stuff, 100 Sexiest Women

Of absolute fascination to an English teacher. Said without irony.
I must take this opportunity to brag proudly, that I myself have been on such a list:
My name is on the run-off ballot for "Sexiest Woman Alive 2004."
Read all about it in my post I am a Race Car Driver.

him again
I know I promised you the most beautiful MATHEMATICAL theorems of all time. I’m sorry I didn’t get around to that yet, so can you settle for these lists, for the time being?

And don't worry, Shakespeare IS coming up.
OK right now tell me the names of the first ten women or girls or ladies, on every one of those lists. Count them on your fingers right now. And ask your friends in the room.
Did you come up with the same ten as I did? Did you come up with the same ten as your friends did?
Yes you did!
Let’s start with Angelina Jolie. Don’t forget Jessica Biel and her frenemy Scarlett Johansson.

Cameron VS. Jessica, in case you didn’t know
and then [reportedly] Scarlett
I'd like to interrupt this post for a moment to ask- What the heck is the big deal about Justin Timberlake?

Anyway back to my story. Who else? YES! Jessica Alba! Eva Longoria! Megan Fox! Giselle B.! Bar Refaeli! Kate Beckinsdale! Halle Berry!

Even Jennifer Aniston! voted #2 "TV Beauty of All Time" in a British supermarket poll! Let’s even throw in Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears-- for old time’s sake! -how embarrassing!
[ANOTHER] Jessica, Scarlett, Angelina:
Choose A, B, or C
Why even bother to mention last names? Angelina! Scarlett! Megan!

While I was "studying up" for this blogpost (yes there's research, as always),  I named a desktop folder of images "Jessicas & Jennifers."
And I’m always getting my Kates mixed up. Gosh there are so many Kates.

Just like in high school, the mystery of why this girl was voted cheerleader and not that one- there are many on “The List,” face it, no prettier than any other girl passing by. The real “movie stars” aren’t always the ones on the screen, they’re the girls at the office, the bakery, the Boardwalk, every bit as pretty.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the A-list girls and I do follow celebrities and their stories, like eating candy. I get much of their news in a glance as I pass by a newsstand on the street.

Hedy Lamarr
to remind you of the old screen goddesses
Ziegfeld Girl, 1941
They are our cheerleaders, our kings and queens- heck, our gods and goddesses (along with music stars)-  of our lowest common denominator. They fill the hole of mythology that we thought we'd become too sophisticated for.

But most of all- celebrities are our FRIENDS. It feels that way because we see them on the screen and we watch their lives unfold before us.

Gossip rages over: does she have
 8 tattoos or 9? (Megan Fox, 23)
And what’s so bad about that? They are our glow in the dark. We speculate on whether they will stay together, split, adopt, secretly marry, or get a tattoo- until we lose track of the sixth degree of separation- so-and-so went out with so-and-so who ALSO went out with so-and-so before so-and-so even KNEW so-and-so. . . didn’t they? Like mix-and-match.

If you read "The Lists," I’m sure you simply cannot keep track of which one was number one in 2006, 2007, 2008-- they switch off with each other from poll to poll.

(You think I’m being ironic!)
This is not the point of this post. I’m not here to make fun. I’m here to be amazed--

Latest Fashion, bunny ears:
Louis Vuitton runway, Paris Fashion W
eek 2009 

The Guardian; Photo, Stephane Cardinale/
People Avenue/Corbis
-by Playboy’s 2010 winner of their annual "25 Sexiest Celebrities." And if you pay attention at all to this kind of thing, you have NOT forgotten which young lady was the winner. . .

Katy Perry?

I remember in the 80s walking down the street in a dress 20 years ahead of its time -and I knew it- when my eye was attracted by a black and white poster which I could barely make out from across the street. Something compelled me to cross and look.

It was a poster of Madonna, her album Like A Virgin, just out. OMG, I thought. She's a little bit like me. But very different. Not sweet like me.

That was when I realized that "Girls" were changing. Punk had swallowed rock (Madonna notwith- standing). The culture had diverged left. Me, and everything that I was, avant guard dress or no, was headed for a topple.

Katy Perry- Why?

I’m not going to claim that I am qualified to talk music. I’m a book nerd. I can’t figure out who is better, Lily or Katy or Gaga or whoever. But I do have rather strong reactions to Katy (which is why she’s popular).

Her voice is pretty enough, but is it her voice I like, or just the up-down slide of her melodic hooks? You can sort of hear her voice, she's not as digitalized as some, but she's still digital enough to hurt my ears like the clatter of metal.

just "One of the Boys"
It’s her “brand” that distinguishes her (in jargon). She gets by as “One of the Boys" girl-next-door skateboarder, who suddenly shows up at the prom in bubblegum decollete.
Rolling Stone this week claims that in her personal life Katy is the second-most innocent music star after Taylor Swift.

From her infamous interview about not posing for Playboy: "I think there's a fine line between being a tease, and just giving it away. I like to be considered more of a tease  . . ." Katy's riding the Candyland Pinup craze.
new video: California Gurls

(For the curious, I think this is her newest video):

Yes she's sweet, like a virgin teen wearing the latest peek-a-boo: look, don't touch. But to me there’s a harshness in her sweetness. Could that be the attempt of a generation, to hop the hurdle of the cynicism around them? -with harshness as the residue. Is Katy Perry another flash in the pan, or- as the media seems to squak- she's leading the way?

I’ve seen her called “bubblegum punk,” “princess of pop,” “commercial punk-pop.” While we're talking labels, to my mind she also qualifies as "hipster."

Which explains why in my research, I discovered that one cannot read about these young ladies for long before the topic of tattoos starts popping up all over.

Which explains why a 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 36% of Americans ages 18 - 25, and 40% of those ages 26 - 40, have at least one tattoo.
And why in 2002, Lycos web searches for the word "tattoos" came in as the number two most-requested search term on the internet. It was so popular, that Lycos put it on the list it has stopped counting. (More on that list another time.)
Whew I made it
I believe that 2010 is the first year the readers of Playboy chose a "Katy" over a "Megan" or a "Scarlett" (Scarlett won 2007).

I see this as a "sea change" (that’s Shakespeare. I said I would get to Shakespeare in this post).

painting: Henry Fuseli c. 1800
Ariel's Song, from The Tempest
Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

tattoo stats:

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