Thursday, December 06, 2007

The return of "WORK!"

Even in my wildest dreams I wouldn't have dared to believe that she would go THERE...Love the fake celly, VB. TMZ's version is better because it's shot from the front.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

West Side Story versión Zombie

I ran across this the other day. I thought it was very clever.

40 years ago this month, Bardot rocked Deauville.

Let's lamé!

So this morning my youngest sister asked me if I wanted to participate in the Las Vegas half-marathon this December. Let me think about it, ah no. Then while breakfasting on my Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, I ran across an editorial in the September Harper's Bazaar that had Chloë Sevigny in MYLAR (looking) leggings from American Apparel. I went to the site and they come in 6 colors including the original silver, a divine Studio 54 lamé purple and a Claudette Colbert lamé gold. I think this means I have to buy them and wear them in the half-marathon. Or wear them as inspiration while I work out. Unfortunately, the site warns "This garment can dull or scratch with repeated wearing; handle with care." Ah crap, you know I'd wear them every day if I could, but alas they won't retain the look. Do they come in fatass size? Secret message to my other sister. If you buy these after reading this I will personally murder you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Bucket of French and Saunders

Man I love me some French & Saunders (here shown in a sketch from their currently running BBC special A Bucket of French and Saunders as Amy Winehouse and Brit-brit.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm not your mate, mate.

I am not a Nicole Kidman fan. I don't think she is interesting as an actress or as a fashion plate. But even fans of hers have to wonder what exactly she and the editorial team at Vanity Fair were trying to achieve with this cover, although we get a hint from the title of the article, "The Lady is Yar." (I am so smart I know what yar means without having to look it up. It means we are going to be subjected to a photo portfolio of fisherman's sweaters and hearty nautical attire, but unfortunately no piratical eye patches.) Ok, I lied. I have no idea what they're doing here. My only guess is they want to push pea coats on us and they forgot to ask Tim Gunn's advice about how to go about doing that. I am not philosophically opposed to them, pea coats, I mean. I have owned quite a few in my time. I just think she looks like she's begging to get in the jacuzzi in the back of a Van Halen limousine circa 1986. Subtract the brassiere from the cover shot, and she's wearing exactly what my great-uncle Dick (LAPD, ret.) would wear to clean the leaves out of his pool before we kids jumped in on a hot summer day that same year. Wouldn't you feel ridiculous wearing that getup in combination with such a pose? Aren't you proud of me that I have completely restrained myself thus far from making any reference to Gilligan or The Skipper?

I'm a little bit country...A VERY LITTLE BIT!

Sometimes we need to be reminded of who we are and where we come from. Me, I'm really just a rodeo queen at heart, and I watch the tv show to prove it: Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge. Two weekends ago my sister and best bud and I were bored out of our gourds. We'd already done the dinner and a movie thing, and the tv thing was looking so bleak we actually ventured above BBC America, channel 223. Little did we know on CMT (channel 234...eek!) we were about to discover a late night marathon of d-list celebrities (including musical has-beens from two decades, celebuspawn, various athletes and a Baldwin brother) actually acquiring a skill set and...maybe even some character. We stayed up until 1:30 am the next day watching them learn the ropes, try to out-macho bluster each other and actually last 8 seconds on the back of massive steers.

For those that don't know, Ty Murray is the Roger Federer of Bull Riding who has somehow managed to not propose to Jewel Kilcher for 9 years. Watching him coach the celebs in these episodes was like learning at the foot of the barnyard Buddha. With each plain-spoken tough guy cowboy koan, I could feel the marrow cells in my bones triple in production. If all 535 members of the senate and congress were just replaced by genetic replicas of Ty Murray, our country would have no more problems. I'm totally there for another season of this show, should one be ordered. I will not however, be watching Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team 2.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dave and Steve's Gay Vacation

This was one of my favorite Letterman skits from back in the day. Thank goodness for you tube.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

When Worlds Collide

Ok, I know I've dropped the ball on the blogging for the past while. But it's because I wasn't aware that glorious convergences like THIS were afoot. My favorite is that as of this moment, post-encounter, neither of them could tell you who the hell the other is.

Fancy Pants

If I had to choose just one autobiography between the two, I'd definitely pick Anita's. But it'd have to be illustrated.

Dear Michaelangelo,

Thank you for introducing me to Monica Vitti...

RIP ANTONIONI

Is it ok if I prefer this version of events (woot for narrative!)?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nessie's BACK!

Check out the video from CNN (so you know it's TRUE ;) So....what do you think Nessie really is? A 50 foot long eel?

Friday, May 25, 2007

A review of "The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel"

by Louis Bayard

I am really in a slump here people. I am apparently plagued with the ability to pick out books with great premises that are never brought to fruition. This is what, the third book in a row that I made 3/4 of the way through and didn’t finish? I’m starting to think it’s not them, it’s me…nah, it’s them. The plot has a great set up in the beginning: cadet Edgar Allan Poe is brought in to help solve a twisted murder at the US naval academy crica 1830. Then for the rest of the book, nothing happens. There is no trail of clues to follow, and only one vilain to consider (well, maybe two). Instead we are punished by extended authorial excercises in character voice. Edgar Allan Poe as written couldn’t be more of a linguistically ostentatious twit. Less talky, more plotty, ok?

Monday, May 21, 2007

In The Navy

Sometimes I think I have shameful hidden addictions just so I can have the pleasure of disclosing them on this blog; I am more than a little bit knowledgable about TMZ, shall we say. I try really hard to keep my fascination with it on the down low, but Harvey Levin just has a way of surprising you with info that you didn't know you wanted to know. In this particular post, I am confessing that a) I read TMZ on an hourly basis, and for my efforts, look what I get blessed with. And b) the cat's out of the bag! I watched The Bachelor this season (the finale is tonight!) and I really don't want Bevin to win.

But does there really have to be a finale? Can't we just keep an hour and a half of prime time a week devoted to Lt. Dr. Andy Baldwin? Why does it have to end?

Would it interest you to know...

That I've only ever sung 5 karaoke songs in my life? For those of you that know me, I'm sure that's pretty hard to believe, but it's true. They are:

  1. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor at Club Omni, Provo UT, 2001
  2. Amanda by Boston at Coyote Bar and Grill, Carlsbad, CA, 2004
  3. In Your Room by The Bangles at Palos Verdes Bowl, Torrance, CA, 2007
  4. Ready To Take A Chance Again by Barry Manilow (same)
  5. Diamonds Are Forever by Dame Shirley Bassey (same)

A review of "The Janissary Tree: A Novel"

by Jason Goodwin

This book started out promisingly. It’s abundantly clear that the author has a profound knowledge of Turkish history and culture and a light comic touch when it comes to characterization. Unfortunately, the plot, although interesting enough at first, was hampered by the choice (and I don’t know if it was authorial or editorial) of using very short chapters that always ended with a dramatic cliffhanger, but were followed by a new chapter that involved different settings and characters. A little of this is usually alright, but used with such consistency here it had the effect of confusing me and making me forget where the action had left off once returned to a scene. It reminded me of reading the Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, which was first serialized in a magazine before being published in book form. There Collins had to use cliffhangers so readers would buy the next issue. Here, the technique just made me feel manipulated. With with 80 pages to go, I realized that I really didn’t care whodunnit or why, which abruptly put an end to this visit to Istanbul.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!

This will take some effort, but the payoff is worth it. The funny part of this clip begins 4:56 in, so press play, let the buffer load, and zish to that point.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Are you talking?


So I pretty much think that Julie Christie is a goddess, OK? I loved her in Darling, Far From The Madding Crowd, Petulia and Dr. Zhivago (which I just saw for the first time like a week or two ago.) I also thought she was the best thing about McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Afterglow (shut up, I saw it back when I was in my crush on Jonny Lee Miller phase). She even brought some class to Troy, a flick I enjoyed for more prurient reasons having to do with biceps and the like.

I am even really stoked to see her new movie, Away From Her, which I just saw the trailer for. It looked particularly good, which is not something I ever thought I would say about a Canadian romance about Alzheimer's. That's why I was sadly brought back to earth by a short piece in the recent New Yorker in which she made a statement that shocked me:

Told that she should see “The Lives of Others,” the award-winning movie about East Germany, Christie paused, then re-plied, “I’m not sure I can bear to see a film they gave the Oscar to, that tells you what awful people Communists are.” And with that she laughed, unlocked her bike, and pedalled off into the sunshine.


I was just flabbergasted. As with most actors, from her generation especially, I naturally assume that they're left-wing, until proven otherwise. You don't get to be Warren Beatty's paramour for 7 years in the 60s and 70s if you're OK with the likes of Margaret Thatcher, one would assume. But I am astonished that she so ardently still admires Communism, after all we know know of all the millions murdered and and such rampant abuses of power, and the total failure of it as a political system.

If Ms. Christie could be bothered to watch The Lives of Others as I have, she would have seen a frightening portrayal of what it is to live in a Communist state where lover is pitted against lover for political gain, where neighbor spies upon neighbor and reports to the Stasi, where there is no freedom of press, and where you literally cannot tell a joke amongst friends at lunch without losing your job. That is the life that she apparently wants for all of us; that's her ideal.

Also I think it's telling that she tacitly implies that in the Julie Christieverse, Oscars would be given to films based primarily on their political message, with "artistic" achievement apparently a distant consideration. As an aside, this just makes one wonder who the Oscars are really for? If Middle America doesn't go see the five Best Picture nominees, as has been reported, and the Hollywood gliterati are disappointed in who gets the awards, then who IS, outside of the winners, pleased with the films that get honored?

When I watched Dr. Zhivago recently, I was most struck at the end, when Komarovski and Lara leave on the sleigh for China, leaving Zhivago behind, and Komarovski comments that Zhivago is foolish for not leaving with them, to which Lara replies something to the extent of, "Yuri will never leave Russia." I had to laugh. Surely, the thought life as an emigré in Paris with Lara and their child was more torture than could be borne by Dr. Zhivago. Why leave Russia when you could starve AND freeze to death or be killed for asserting the right to live in your own property?

I mention this experience because I am amazed that after filming that movie, in which the ravishes of Communism were put into such relief, that Julie Christie would continue to see Communism as an ideal worth pursuing. Of course movies are not life, but if I was confronted day in, day out over months of filming with the realities of that era and had to participate in the re-tellings of such horrors, they certainly would have made impressions on me that were obviously lost on Ms. Christie. I guess in that sense, she 's never going to leave Russia either.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Amuses-bouche

Just when you thought I couldn't get any more obsessed...I go and discover Pâtisserie Chantilly. It's tucked away in a strip mall, you wouldn't ever know it was there. But I found out. Boy did I ever. My first trip there I sampled their signature piece, the choux aux sésames, , and I was floored. Sesame isn't exactly a flavor I think of when I think dessert. But I am hard pressed to think of a more delightful dessert than this. And the size of the choux makes it just right for that elusive dessert we all seek (well at least in my family): just a little sweet after dinner, substantial enough to sate the sweet tooth, but not enough to regret it.

Next I had
lemon madeleines. They were ok, not the best I've ever had. I ended on the caramel machiatto, a confection created to look like a cup of espresso, but made entirely of pastry. Next time around I'm going to try the tarte aux fruits...and maybe some of the items that were sold out (there were quite a few of those!)

In front of me in the line at the counter were two mothers and their children. What nice moms! My mom would have never taken me to a pastry shop "just because". She also would have never spent $74 on pastries like these moms did. It was worth it, I'm sure!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Certified Geekdom

I got a link to this video this morning and I admit I was drawn in. It's the Bayeux Tapestry, animated.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A review of "Tinisima"

by Elena , Poniatowska

Tina Modotti is a fascinating 20th century character whose life was stranger than fiction. Elena Poniatowska, journalist and author, allegedly spent 10 years researching Modotti, and this novel is the fruit of that labor. It’s difficult to understand why she chose to write a novel instead of a biography. Her training as a journalist is evident throughout this book, much to its detriment. Modotti’s life is intricately plotted: first she did this, then she did that. We get a well-researched timeline of events that would be laudable in biographical form, but we never quite come to understand Modotti.

Why would such a vibrantly voluptuous spirit, the center of bohemian Mexico in the 1920s, who tried so hard to create beautiful forms in both art and life consciously subsume and excise all remnants of her unique personality from her life to become a drab gray Comintern agent, abandoning her appearance and her art? Why would she go from a sybaritic plethora of male admirers to obsessing over a pro-Stalinist assassin that just couldn’t be bothered to pay her attention? How was her automatic love of mankind and the idealism it engendered tricked and blinded by the evils committed in the name of Communism? If there were no answers to these questions to be found in all Poniatowska’s biographical research, than certainly a novel might be the ground for examining these questions. It would allow the author to venture with imagination to answer what is left unknown. But Poniatowska creates a Modotti so opaque that psychological understanding becomes impossible.

Modotti crosses paths with hundreds of people in this book. The work is peppered with names of people that are just randomly inserted, possibly to give events context but without context of their own, making it impossible to tell to the reader if a) the person is fictional or b) the person really existed. I get the feeling that most of the people named were real, however Poniatowska gives next to no information about them, so their addition becomes blather. Additionally, as there is no internal examination of Modotti herself, there is no examination of her interaction with these people that would help us understand anything about them. Weston did this, Mella did that, Rivera said this, Vidali went here…we don’t know why, they just did, and we stop caring. I couldn’t be bothered to finish the book with 50 pages to go.

I’m sure Modotti’s life would make a fascinating biography. That’s what I should have read instead of this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Synchonized Swimming Contest Routine

This is from Girls' Camp, and these are all peeps I know. Unfortunately I wasn't a counselor that year, but thank goodness we have video!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oh the Humanity!

I've thought a lot about whether I should write this post. Since the shootings at Virginia Tech, there's been a lot of discussion about showing evil in the media. Some say that by looking into the eyes of pure evil we can educate ourselves and thus protect ourselves. Some argue evil can exert such influence that acknowledging or studying it gives it more power. I normally am all for not giving evil any power, but I feel that we citizens of planet earth have not been sufficiently warned about this particular evil. No photos will be posted here, no extensive description proffered. Those who want to look can look. Those who are afraid what damage might be wrought on their eternal souls can choose not to view it. I just wanted to give evil a human face. Well, I guess it's not human, but as close to human as the guy who gave Michael Jackson his first seven referals to plastic surgeons could look...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I was talking to my friend this past week and she commented that I "wouldn't be me without [my] obsessions." I guess that's true, but I've always been to busy obsessing about my latest obsession to make that self-realization. So I thought I'd share with you my new obsession: I was a Crabcakes Benedict virgin till last week. This is the second Saturday in a row that I had them for brunch, the first at Good Stuff, the second at Misto. They were even better the second time around. Don't they look delectable?

It's a family tradition we have that we make homemade Eggs Benedict for my Dad for Father's Day. I can only handle that about once a year, though because hollandaise is tricky to make (LOW HEAT), and I'm a well-intentioned yet sometimes not great cook. I might order them once a year at a restaurant, but usually it's an infrequent treat for me, and I'd never had them made with crab!

So has anyone else noticed the ascension of crabcakes on the social scene over the last 4-5 years? Now you can buy a fabulous gourmet crabcake from Trader Joe's where as I'm sure the only grocery store version available in the past was probably Kentucky Fried Smells Like Real Crab patties. So maybe I'll have to try these at home!

Friday, April 20, 2007

It's official, I'm OLD!


Did you know it's Dirty Dancing's 20th Anniversary? You do now...coming soon to a screen near you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I sense a theme running through your work...

I was born in the 70s, LIVED the 80s, but secretly, I think my heart belongs to the early 60s. And I think it has to do with the clothes. You're shocked, I can tell. One of the unsung staples of the 20th century well-dressed man, a crisp, single-breasted suit of a pearly dove's breast was never done better service than by Cary Grant as the daredevil plutocrat-cum-adventurer Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest...



or rumpled with such phsyicality and insouisance as the ones Jean-Paul Belmondo seemed to wear in all his early 60s flicks. In this picture from Pierrot le Fou he wears a divine Prince of Wales check...



This photo is a still from OSS 117: Le Caire nid d'espions, the 2006 French espionage farce set in 1955 that I finally saw this past week. The star of the film, Jean Dujardin (pictured below), rocked the suit like he was discovering the new world, splitting the atom and landing on the moon all in one stride across the lobby of Cairo's best hotel. It made me yearn. Yes, Kramer, to answer your question, I YEARN! I yearn for a time when every man wore cuff links when he left the house. Is that so wrong?


If anyone is interested, Kilgour of Saville Row is doing a bespoke tour of the USA...grab a dude and drag him down to get his measurements taken!

DODGERTALK

Did you know Alyssa Milano has a blog about the Dodgers? NEITHER DID I! I have never been a fan of hers, not that I was overtly anti-Alyssa, but this is certainly a startling turn of events. That Justin Timberlake is such an early-adopter! I will certainly keep an eye on the blog and more importantly on the Blue Crew this year, as the LA Times and Sports Illustrated have both named them as likely to be in the world series this year. Watch this space.

I know what I'm getting Dominick Dunne for Christmas...

Dear Vanity Fair,

When A. M. Homes calls something "slightly naughty", I believe her. One of our more subversive modern authors, who has mentioned more than once in interviews that she had sexual feelings about her biological father when she first interacted with him as the result of a search for her biological parents, if SHE thinks something is indecent, I'm sure Tipper Gore is drafting a bill to put through congress right now to save us all from it.

So, you crazy content creators at vanityfair.com, looks like I fell for one of your nasty lexical tricks. You put Lilly Pulitzer and "naughty" as a tease for an article and I'm thinking sock garters and horsewhips for stockbrokers available in a flamingo pink or billiard table green. These ties are more like what Stanford Blatch from Sex and the City would use to distract you from the awful eyeglasses he wears.

I am willing to concede that maybe I don't have a firm grasp on what passes for modern masculinity these days (c.f. my comments about the inaugural issue of another Condé Nast publication, Men's Vogue on this blog.) Hell, I'd wear them if I didn't think women-in-ties a dangerously tricky sartorial move only best attempted by someone at the top of their game or in a Billy Idol video, which I admittedly at this juncture am not. But I do have what I will christen my McQueen Masculinity Maxim which when stated as a mathematical proof looks like this:

If Steve McQueen is THE MANLIEST MAN OF ALL TIME, then everything he does is masculine.

Ergo, if Steve McQueen would not do X, then X is not masculine.

Q. E. D. Masculinity can be determined by answering the question, "Would Steve McQueen do X?"

According to my calculations, that makes these ties less than virile. However, the Grande Dame of Palm Beach apparently disagrees with me. When Homes queries Pulitzer about her target market, "who is the Lilly man?", she responded thus:

"He's confident, of course. He's walking down the street wearing pink and green elephants," says 75-year-old Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau


I admit it would take nigh on to McQueenian confidence to do something like that.

What exactly does Lilly Pulitzer have on you, Graydon Carter?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Baby, you can drive MY car!

This pic I came across is from a promotion that's almost a year old and I don't even care. It's of one of my many Britboy crushes, Rupert Penry-Jones modeling for my lovely Aston Martin.
To quote Her Madgesty, as I am wont to do..."If I was a car, I’d be an Aston Martin." Give those guys in marketing a raise, they got me.

This is the photo I am sending with my Christmas cards this year. This is me and my lovely RPJ overlooking the Firth of Clyde, he in his lovely cashmere coat, me in my snuggy cable knit. We are so in love with the performance of our new Aston Martin!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A review of "Selected Poems"

by Joseph Brodsky

Hrm. These poems are obviously translated from the Russian, and I wonder what kind of translation it was…literal, word for word, or did the translator take license to try and replicate the tone of the poem with out the precision of meaning. I guess I can’t just help but feel that I’m missing something here. THESE are the poems a man was exiled over? For what? Maybe I’m just too American, meaning I don’t question a person’s right to dissent, but there hardly seemed to be any criticism of the Soviet Regime AT ALL. There are some poems that deal with atomic power, boats, his exile. But most talk of nature, and the towns he has known, and maybe a few long-ago loves. Hardly the stuff to make you wanna expel him from your country.

More knowledge of context on my part probably would have increased my appreciation. This was admitedly an intro to Brodsky for me.

Monday, February 26, 2007

"'ere are oo?"

I've lost my passport, better said, I have TEMPORARILY mislaid it. I have been obsessing about it ever since I realized it's...not where I thought it was. It's a good thing too, cause if I had it I might not be able to keep myself from buying thisssss luxe passport cover from Smythson. As it is, I'm placing 4 orders with the universe (yes I've seen The Secret just like everyone else...)

  1. Please help me find my passport before I'm supposed to go on the Scandinavian Cruise with my sisters this summer.

  2. Please help me go on more fabulous vacations than I have been going on.

  3. Please help me to be able to afford this passport cover and something smashing to put it in besides the fanny pack (a little too downmarket).
  4. Please let me have a fabulous villa in Morocco and an architect husband that likes to surf like this chick.

Speed Stacking

My first cousin once removed is 10 and she is way into this. I think it's weird. Apparently Germans are way into it. The World Championships are in Denver in April.


Jerry Seinfeld=BIG BOWL OF MAC & CHEESE

What the hell did Jerry have to do with the Oscars last night? Even after he explained it, I still don't know. I do know that for my money, he was the best thing about the telecast. Firstly because he YAWNED during Al Snore's acceptance speech and was busted for it in front of a billion earthlings; the only snarkily subversive moment of the evening. Unfortunately, I am quite sure that he was yawning because of the animated cartoon characters and dance sequences that somehow the Oscars never seem to shake, and not as any gesture about Al's "most important moral issue of our time."

And what about his bit? Just listening to it suffused my body with warm feelings of remembrance for a time when Ellen DeGeneres wasn't considered to be a comedian; when there was "No Hugging, No Learning." Yea, those nine years of must see TV that now seem so far off, like the last time I ate a bowl of really good macaroni & cheese. Except, uh, I just ate some on Friday.

On a related note, here are the winning recipes of the Tillamook Mac & Cheese Contest 2006. Just in time for New Year's Resolutions...OH YES, I WILL COOK THEM ALL!!!!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

You know how they always say, don't by clothes too small for you in the hopes that it will motivate you to lose weight because it never works? Well it ALWAYS worked for me. Until I decided to become a fatass.

Now that I'm deciding NOT to be a fatass, do you think I should buy this fanny pack (I cannot believe I just typed that phrase) to inspire me to work out?

What if I bought it as surrogate Official Liza Minnelli Tour paraphanalia?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Not the smartest thing in the world....

These are family friends. And they are loco.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Top Design

Well, what can be said. For being a 100% Project Runway derivative, this show is shockingly bad. Todd Oldham is no Tim Gunn, that's for sure. We have none of Sensei Gunn's prolific vocabulary, laser-like mentoring precison and genuineness. Instead we have faded hipster doof Oldham with a sing-song voice so lifeless it's frightening. I mean really, couldn't he just pantomime his instructions? I could not be more collectively annoyed by a group than the contestants that we are presented with here. I honestly don't want ANY of them to win. So the question becomes why am I watching? Ya got me there.

I do have to credit the show with introducing me to Kelly Wearstler's work. Well, maybe I knew it already, I just didn't know it was her. Apparently she's one of the major proponents of the Hollwood Glam ethos that was so hip in interior design circa 2004. I describe her point of view as how Vincente Minnelli would style his sets if he was shooting Mitford to Mussolini: the Life of Lady Diana Mosely in the 21st century. That doesn't keep me from wanting to have every party ever from now on for the rest of my life at the Viceroy, which she designed. Damn you, you ex-playmate turned "design superstar". You are now officially in the #2 slot of my Pantheon of Chicks I Love to Hate, right behind Sienna Miller, but above Chloë Sevigny....who used your wallpaper in her house....as seen in January's Home and Garden.

Now Jonathan Adler, I am COVETING your Muse pottery collection this season. Let's face it, you had me with the names: Misia Sert, Kiki de Montparnasse, Gala Dalí...and I WANT the Dora Maar vase (pictured).

A review of "Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment, Featuring the Scientist Emilie du Chatelet, the Poet Voltaire, Sword Fights, Book Burnings, Assorted Kings,"

by David Bodanis

Emilie du Chatelet is a wonder of nature that sent her lover Voltaire into depression because she was SMARTER than him and he knew it. She didn’t try to show him up, she just was who she was. Where has this book been all my life, and how did I just hear about her for the first time. She’s my new #1 Girl Power Icon. Queen Elizabeth I, your majesty, after a 18 year reign over my heart, you’re bumped to #2.

And, amongst her other lovers, the Duc du Richelieu, aka the basis for Valmont in Choderlos de Laclos’ Liaisons dangereuses. DING DONG! If you’re a big 18th century ho like me, you’ll luvvvvvv this.

That's Enough For Me.

by Benita Eisler

This was a slim biography, easily digestible, not a large scholarly tome, which is a blessing and a curse. My criticisms for the author mainly come from the format. We learn (a summary of) what she knows, but not HOW she knows it. There is a small notes section at the end corresponding to minimal (less than five) footnotes throughout the text. Now believe me, I am not demanding the kind of intricate note system that has you keeping a finger in the notes section so you can jump back and forth between the text and the additional information at the back of the book. But it would be nice to know when she concludes, for example, that Sand’s father Dupin was not her biological father, whether that is authorial conjecture or common knowledge (at least amongst Sand scholars). For that fact there is no footnote, no way of following the scholarly trail, nothing. There is no doubt in my mind that Ms. Eisler is VERY knowledgeable about her subject, but her choice to largely remove her authorial imprint from the text has a novice “Sandiste” like me wondering how authoritative the work is.

I have long been interested in George Sand, but this is the first biography I have read about her. It will probably be my last, mainly because of Ms. Sand herself. I have a problem with people that absolutely live the life they want to live (at the expense of children) and then blame “class” and “society” when they themselves persist in behaving in a way that always end in drama and sadness.

Bizarre Love Triangle

by Dan Jacobson

I’ve often heard it said that one’s ability to take responsibility for one’s own actions is the highest indicator of self-esteem. Don’t tell that to the protagonists of this book. Certainly we the readers are entertained by their devastating choices, but it’s their inability to relent in the pursuit of the inevitable consequences that fascinates. I can only liken the behavior of these people to the current exploits of Britney Spears. However, I don’t think Ms. Spears is as enamored with the acting out of the dramatization of her own saga as much as Princess Louise and her erstwhile lover Mattachich. Once on top of the world, Britney is insistent on degrading herself, but in the pursuit of pleasure. For the lovers of this historical novel, pleasure never really comes into it.

I believe the book’s titular “love” was never part of their endgame (sorry to disappoint!). They are two united pilgrims of imagination, seeking to discover what lies beyond the strictures of class in Hapsburg Vienna. Once they find it, puzzlingly, they don’t stop. They continue on in an intractable gyre of indigence and affliction of their own making, only ending, in this life at least, in death. While on the one hand the reader marvels at their brazen, obscene commitment to finish what they audaciously start, one cannot help but ponder, was it all worth it?

A review of "The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles"

by Martin Gayford

The precision with which this book is written is very impressive. There is so much detail in this book, the author presents us with the type of house linens that Vincent purchased to decorate the Yellow House in Arles. He can describe the contents of the house even to what pictures were hanging on which walls, and what chair was placed where. But the details don’t override the narrative. I knew next to nothing about van Gogh before reading this. I knew what everyone knows. He cut his ear off, and he painted sunflowers.

Who knew that Vincent was a bigtime reader, and even possibly a synesthete? Literature was as important to his work as color, but you’d never guess it just by looking at their subject matter. The author of this book teases out the influences and the symbolism behind his works. Yes, SYMBOLISM. And even though Vincent’s references may have been obscure, the author easily connects the dots for us. He can be my Art History 101 prof any time.

A review of "Far from the Madding Crowd"

by John Schlesinger

JULIE CHRISTIE! TERENCE STAMP! ONE HELL OF A LONG MOVIE! And her hair never moves the whole time!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ruling Reversal

So as you will recall, I had a good belly laugh about the first issue of Men's Vogue. I didn't think it was going to fly...but now, well, let's just say I'm man enough to admit...those crazy kids just might be on to something. I was particularly taken by the penultimate issue with Sir Hugh Jackman on the cover.
Playboy may claim to be all about the articles, but this magazine really is. Flip inside and you've got a piece on Peter Beard's new book from Taschen, for example. And nary a female covermodel in sight...so far. In this Maximized world, that's an impressive editorial direction that really sets them apart. Well played.

Betcha can't eat just one...

I love you Pocky, oh yes I do.
I love you Pocky, and I'll be true.
When you're not near me, I'm blue.
Oh, Pocky I love you.

Get a D to the I to the C-T-I-O-N-A-R-Y

You know, if you're an admitted Meth addict leveraging your turn on Kids Incorporated despite a tenuous grip on your urinary tract, I'm guessing you were never one for hitting the grammar books, so I'm gonna recommend the spell check function next time you're, ah, composing. And a hint...it's TASTY, no "e".

Happy Birthday Dolly

"If you look in the mirror, I wonder what you see/
I wonder if you realize you're beautiful to me"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oh how the mighty have fallen

What's going on?

It really bums me out to say this, but I think Daniel Craig has actually surpassed Luke Walton and Kobe Bryant to win the dubious distinction of having the most asinine tattoo I've ever seen. Ancient Peruvian condor/ufo landing signal beats stickmen and butterflies for sure.

Why couldn't the art director at W just save us all and photoshop it out. It's not like they didn't airbrush the hell out of Nicole, so why stop there.