The opinions of the opinionated. Let's take a look at food, cinema, fragrance, baby products, legal decisions, booze, cars, and whatever else catches our interest.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Of course it is!
It grabbed me because I'm such a fan of both men. Turin is a biophysicist and a perfume critic, and his theory of how the sense of smell works is as compelling as his writing about the art of scent. Stephenson, starting with the magnificent first chapter of Snow Crash, turns science and math into great storytelling. Seeing Stephenson refer to Turin's theory in was like finding out that my two good friends already knew and like each other.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Nelly: He's been around a while, and I still don't get it. In gay slang dating back to the 1940's, nelly or nellie describes stereotypical gay effeminate behavior. Pretty much the opposite of this dude:
Another association for the name is the character Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Nelly's gonna wash that man right out of his hair, perhaps by killing him execution-style.
I'd never heard of Flo Rida before watching the awards, but his name is a hoot. So many levels of (unintentional? intentional?) queerness. First, as a riff on the state name Florida, it's a great drag name, competing in my mind for favorite status with Bertha Venation (that To Wong Foo movie) and Ida Slapter (a drag performer in Puerto Vallarta). Seond, it conjures up bags of frozen potatoes, a la Ore Ida, with which it rhymes beautifully. Finally, he shares a first name with Flo, Polly Holiday's wisecracking waitress on Alice. Smack your chewing gum and say, "Kiss my grits, m***er f***er!"
I bet she makes a mean casserole for those church suppers.
I was worried that my third example of the oldladyfication of hip-hop was a strech until I visited the official website of Lil Wayne. I looked in vain for the apostrophe that would indicate that "Lil" was a contraction of "little." It isn't there. I have to conclude that Lil is in fact short for Lillian. Lillian Wayne is quite a pretty name.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Welcome to Listen To The Music, an occasional feature in which I'll puzzle out the lyrics of the songs we know and love.
Peaking at #4 on the charts in 1971, Bread's "If," written by group member David Gates, has some lyrics worth a listen.
Question: If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't I paint you?
Answer: You can, just use water-based paint so I can shower afterward.
Declaration of Committment: If a man could be two places at one time, I'd be with you/ tomorrow and today/ beside you all the way.
Analysis: Dude, tomorrow and today are two different times, not two different places. You can be with her tomorrow and today, so long as she's not still mad at you for getting paint all over everything (see above).
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
My friend Julie has a blog, too. She shares stories of her family moving from Washington to Southern California, and her kids' difficulties and triumphs in adjusting. I love her writing and her humor. A recent post was an unabashed love letter to Disneyland and how she loved introducing her kids to it. What started as a comment on her post became an email, and as it grew longer, a post on my own blog.
I really loved your post about Disneyland. I think it's funny that you and I never went there together, maybe some summer in college, because I've always felt the same way: Disneyland is important! When I was a kid in Tucson, we would go as a family every 2 or 3 years, and I remember it being such a big deal, almost like a holy pilgrimage. I think the my parents' attitude about it rubbed off on us, since they were both big fans, too. They'd taken long road trips as kids in the 50's to visit Disneyland when it was new, and they've been going ever since.
There were some things we all loved as a family, particular things my dad taught me to love. Though it's gone now, the Penny Arcade on Main St. had all those beautifully restored and maintained mechanical orchestras, arcade games, 3D photo viewers, nickelodeons, and the thing that shocked you when you grabbed the handles. Dad would give me a bunch of change and we'd walk around trying everything. He loved the mechanical orchestras, and I did too, and what a weird coincidence that I married a man who is crazy about them as well. Dad had one favorite area in Pirates with one drunk pirate mumbling to himself, and I love going back and seeing him still mumbling away. Mom took me on Storybook Land while Dad and Sandee rode the Matterhorn.
We rode Adventure Through Inner Space first. We always visited Pirates and the Haunted House twice each.
I must have been about twelve or thirteen, certainly old enough to handle disappointment, when a family trip to Disneyland had to be canceled. I remember walking casually away from the dinner table into the kitchen so nobody would see that I'd unexpectedly burst into tears. Dad noticed and I could see his surprise. I remember explaining to him that Disneyland meant so much to me, and that I was embarrassed to be crying, but I couldn't help it. He was taken aback, but I think he understood.
When my husband and I started our lives together, one weekday morning when we were both between jobs, I asked if he wanted to go to Disneyland for the day. Within hours we were walking down Main St. grinning like idiots. He called his mom and asked "Guess where I am?!" while I sang "Small World" loudly in the background. We've since been back probably a dozen times in eight years, together and with friends. When none of us was making much money, we discovered that splitting lunch making duties made for a great mid-afternoon break in the picnic area outside the park. Disneyland food has never been much good, so sitting down to Brooke's tuna salad, my homemade butterscotch cookies, cheese, crackers, fruit salad, chips and salsa is a great improvement on Tomorrowland's rubbery hamburgers.
I am a worrier and always have been. Even on vacation, stray thoughts of work sometimes keep me from losing myself in the moment. A vacation in Puerto Vallarta was less fun and less relaxing for me because another resort guest reminded me of a client with a very difficult upcoming trial. Every time we settled under a palapa on the beach, I would see my client's unintentional twin stroll by with an umbrella drink. My client was back in California in custody, but I felt like he came to Mexico with me. Kind of a downer.
I can lose myself in Disneyland, especially an uncrowded off-season weekday. (Hint: go in February on a Tuesday or Wednesday. No lines!) I still over-analyze everything, but I have fun thinking about how California Screamin' takes off so fast (magnetic induction) and how Walt's vision of a riverboat trip still feels complete when the Mark Twain comes back around the Tom Sawyer Jack Sparrow Pirate Huck Finn Johhny Depp Merchandising Island.
Criticisms abound about Disneyland and the unfocused and disappointing California Adventure park. Two websites in particular, the Reimagineering Blog and Mice Age are worth a read. Disney walks along fine lines between what should be restored or replaced, where money should be spent or saved, and how much merchandising the visitor can stand. The Disneyland of my past won't be the Disneyland my son will see. I'm disappointed that I'll never ride Adventure Through Inner Space again, and I think the addition of Disney cartoon characters to Small World is appalling. Tomorrowland is a confused mess, and the Paradise Pier area in California Adventure is barren and uninteresting.
Star Tours doesn't belong in a Disney property, based as it is on a story of a totalitarian state overthrown by violence -- how un-Disney can you get? Funny that Disney never licensed the Star Trek stories and chose Star Wars instead. Roddenberry's vision of the future was more in tune with Walt Disney's, less about epic space battles and more about how progress and open hearts and minds can shape our destinies.
But I love it. The castle still looks great, and some of the new stuff, notably Soarin' Over California, It's Tough To Be A Bug, and the gorgeous undersea-themed carousel are new favorites. It's great to ride the submarines again. The Honda Asimo robot show, tucked into the Innoventions building, reminds me of Walt's original idea for Tomorrowland and Epcot in Florida -- an optimistic glimpse at our future.
Though there's a little too much Pixar-themed merchandise for my taste, I gotta shout it: To Infinity and Beyond! Disneyland will always be a part of my life.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
If you've never seen The Best Years of Our Lives from 1946, it's time. I plan to write several blog posts in the future aimed at those who have little or no interest in classic movies. I certainly understand their apprehension. Older films have different conventions from those made today -- slower pacing, unfamiliar speaking styles, and all that black and white -- and these conventions seem strange and distancing to many of today's viewers. With our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, controversy about PTSD and the health care our veterans receive headlining the news, it's appropriate to take a look at arguably best movie about soldiers returning from war.