Monday, November 18, 2013

Papercuts Papercuts Papercuts

I know that I have made a couple of entries regarding papercuts.  The reason is that I know the artist, Elaine LaMarche, and we commissioned a piece of art.  Now, I am so excited!  I just have to give a shout out to Elaine LaMarche of E-Art Judaicuts - Noah's Arc won first place in an art show!  Woo hoo!  This beautiful piece of art deserves all of the accolades it has received.  Check out her stuff on her website and follow her on Facebook.
Noah's Arc

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Frances Hodgson Burnett

This all started because I was looking for something new to read on my Kindle that was cheap! I have been rereading some of my favorite books so I decided to see if there was a free/cheap version of The Secret Garden or The Little Princess, both written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  To my delight, I found the entire collected works of Frances Hodgson Burnett for under $3.00!
After downloading the book, I was surprised at how many books there were in this collection, so I decided to find out what I could about the author.  I was shocked at how little information is out there, and so much of it is contradictory!  For heavens sake, she didn't live that long ago.  She was born in 1849 and died in 1924 and her children's books are considered classics!  Well, that just made me more curious.
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in England and emigrated to the United States at the end of the Civil Way at age 15.  Some websites call her English and other call her American.  All agree that she started writing as a child and continued throughout her entire life.  I could not find any agreement on when her father died.  I read he died in 1852, 1853, 1854, 1865.  After his death, the family lived in abject poverty, genteel poverty, or gradually declining affluence.  However, everyone agrees that she supported her family with her writing.  I saw that she was successful enough to support her family starting at age 18, 19, or 20, and that she was not successful until much later in life.
Again, websites disagree about how many books Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote.  They range from just a few to thirty, forty, fifty and sixty.  Now, she is strictly known as an author of children's books.  But during her lifetime, she was apparently best known for her children's book or her historical novels or her books for adults or for her plays.  Speaking of her plays, I read that she was a playwright as well as that she didn't write plays, just that her novels that were dramatized for the stage.
Some websites say the critics loved Frances Hodgson Burnett and others say that the critics really disliked her, critiquing her more for her private life than for her writing.  She was considered scandalous.  She married and divorced twice, she earned her own money and controlled it herself, she liked fashion and travel, and was entirely too independent.
Most everything I read agrees that her first marriage was unhappy.  Frances Hodgson met her first husband, Swan Burnett, shortly after arriving in Tennessee as a teenager.  Swan Burnett became a doctor, and I read on one website that she put him through medical school with her earnings as a writer.  Or she just financed his advanced training.  Or her husband was Dr. L. M. Burnett out of Washington, DC.
The most interesting contradictions I found is regarding Frances Hodgson Burnett's second husband.  Some websites state he was an English doctor, a secretary, her business manager, or an actor.  One website stated that he blackmailed her into marriage in order to control her fortune.
With all the contradictions I found, I felt that I had to find out more about Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I downloaded her biography to my Kindle and I should be able to find out the true story of this fascinating woman.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Random Girls

I was taking a break and turned on the TV; Funny Girl was on.  It is a Barbra Streisand movie about and an early Broadway star, Fanny Brice.  And so begins my Google searching!  The movie took some liberties with the real life of Fanny Brice but Barbra Streisand depicted her fairly accurately.  I was surprised how differently Fanny Brice could appear in photographs.  I can definitely see the comedic actress but she wasn’t that ugly.
Fanny Brice
Next, I looked up the Ziegfeld Follies.  They were put on by Florenz Ziegfeld and were around for around 25 years starting around 1910.  I guess they were sort of a cross between more modern Broadway musicals and vaudeville.  The chorus girls, or Ziegfeld Girls, were famous for being beautiful, but I was surprised at how risqué most of their pictures were.  I guess they were the pinups of their time.  Reading a bit more, I found out that many stars got their start as a Ziegfeld Girl (but I recognized more that were turned down by Flo Ziegfeld).
Ziegfeld Girl
Lillian Lorraine was considered the most famous of the Ziegfeld Girls.  Apparently, she had an affair with Flo Ziegfeld and he loved her even after their affair ended.  I looked up her image and was surprised… I think she wasn’t that good looking.
Lillian Lorraine
Researching even more, I found out that the Ziegfeld Girls were preceded by the Floradora Girls.  Floradora was the first of a series of musicals during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that became really popular.  These chorus girls were not nearly as  risqué as the Ziegfeld Girls.  Amazing what a difference about fifteen years can make!
Floradora Girls
And before the Floradora Girls were the Gibson Girls.  I was expecting the Gibson Girls to be similar to the Floradora and Ziegfeld Girls.  But, instead of being chorus girls on stage, they were a illustrations by an artist, Charles Dana Gibson.  Not real.  In fact, very not real.  I know, that is not grammatically correct but I couldn't believe how unrealistic he depicted women.  He combined two different standards of beauty into an impossible ideal; he wanted a “fragile lady” with the “voluptuous woman”.  In order to reproduce the look of a Gibson Girl, women needed to lean forward and have a tightly cinched waist.  In fact, in order to maintain such a ridiculous posture, a special corset was developed to allow women to depict this artist's ideal.

Edwardian S-Curve Corset

Friday, August 30, 2013

Feeling Nostalgic

My search was a little different this time than what I usually do for these blogs.  Instead of trying to find out new information, something I hadn't heard of before, I used Google to verify the facts and make sure that I had things in the correct chronological order.  And I did have to research the correct name of some of my favorite games.  It doesn't help to say "You know, that game where the guy swung through the trees on a vine and jumped crocodiles."
The very first video game I ever played was Pong.  I was in high school and I loved it!  The only place I knew that had it was a pizza parlor that had several pinball machines and the one Pong machine.  I couldn't get to the pizza parlor because I didn’t have a driver’s license and there were no such things as home gaming consoles.  Pretty soon, other video arcade games showed up but they were pretty bad in my opinion.  It wasn't until I was in college that the good ones came out such as Space Invaders and Asteroids.  The golden age of Pacman and Donkey Kong came out after I graduated.
The first real home video game console to be released was the Atari 2600.  But we never got one before I went to college since money was tight back in those days.  So it took several years before I could afford to buy an Atari 2600 of my own.
I had to get Pong, of course, and Breakout which was a more advanced version of Pong but tipped on its side.  My other favorite games were Space Invaders and Asteroids, Adventure and Haunted House.  I had Pitfall, Berzerk, Missile Command and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Other games included Dig Dug, Pacman, and Frogger.  There was even an educational one - Brain Games.  I even bought ET the Extra-Terrestrial.  Yes, that one - the video game that was so bad they buried unsold cartridges in the desert someplace in New Mexico; the game that was so bad it almost destroyed video games before they even got started.  In addition to the games I had all the possible controllers – the joystick, the paddle and a keyboard controller.  I continued to play for quite a few years, but after one move I never bothered unpacking my Atari 2600. 
But I still have all of that stuff around someplace.  I never get rid of things.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Night Owl

I have chronic insomnia.  I have had chronic insomnia for as long as I can remember, and it has always been difficult.  I seldom get a regular night's sleep.

I remember being glad to learn how to tell time in first grade.  We had this mantle clock that chimed the hours - at noon it chimed twelve times, at 1:00 it chimed once, at 2:00 it chimed twice, and so on.  When I was awake during the night, I knew what time it was by the chiming of the clock.  But I dreaded the time between 12:30am and 1:30am.  That was because the clock only chimed once for the half hours.  So if it chimed once, I wasn't sure what time it was.  It could be half past the hour or 1:00am.  And if it chimed once two times in a row, I still wasn't sure what time it was.  It could be 1:00am or 1:30am.  But if it chimed once three times in a row, I finally knew what time it was!  It was 1:30 in the morning!  And that was in the first grade!  Now, how many of you know 6 year olds that are awake for hours in the middle of the night?

Having insomnia has wrecked havoc with both school and work, but I have learned to get by with little sleep.  However, as I have gotten older, I sometimes I wonder if it is really insomnia or if I am just a Night Owl.  No matter how tired I am, if I remain awake until 10:00pm then I am remain awake for hours.  It is as if a switch is flipped at 10:00pm and, suddenly, I come alive.  If there is no social requirements for me to get up at a certain time, I naturally fall asleep around 2:00 or 3:00 o'clock in the morning and awaken sometime around 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock in the morning.
So, I decided that tonight's Google search should be the Night Owl.
First of all, Wikipedia is not very informative.  It just defines night owls as people  who stay up until late at night and morning larks as people who get up early.  Next, there were some businesses that had late night hours: bars and lounges and, for some reason, hookah places.  I was surprised by the next listing - sales of night vision goggles.  The first page on Google ended with several blogs ranging in topics from baseball cards to hair products.  Now, I don't know how any oft that is related to being a night owl, but the next few pages were even more baffling.  There were blogs about home decor, a Christian pastor, fishing lures and pediatric urgent care.  Not what I expected when I googled "night owl".

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Video Game Muse???

Have you ever been inspired by someone?  Tried to emulate them and fail, miserably?  That happened recently.  I follow a blog in which the author recently spoke of her muses in the kitchen.  Based purely on memory, I thought a muse was an artist’s inspiration based on something Greek. Oh, and there were nine of them.
I looked it up and it turns out that there were nine Greek goddesses that inspired artists, writers and scientists.  So that inspired me to try and google gaming muses.  I thought I would eventually google something about video game inspirations but it was a total disaster!  First of all, google kept trying to correct it to “gaming mouse” instead of “gaming muse”.  When I finally got google to understand I wanted to search for “gaming muse”, I still didn’t get what I expected.  I got either foreign websites, stuff on tumblr, or something about Muse Software.  I kept going deeper into google to see if anything about video game inspiration showed up and when nothing of interest showed up, I switched to “video game muse”.  That didn’t turn up anything either.  <sigh> I am so disappointed.
So, do I write about my own muses in video gaming?  What inspired me to start gaming in the first place?  I don't know.  I am so disappointed but I might revisit this topic at a later time...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ugly Wedding

The inspiration for today's post is something that showed up on my home page - a wedding video in which the bride and groom were made up as zombies.  Oh, it was sooooo ugly!  Most people want to look their best on such a momentous occasion.  I can understand bringing your own personality to a wedding but where you can't bear to look at your wedding pictures?  So, I wondered if it was very common that a couple wanted to be memorialized in that way.  So, let the googling begin!
I found several other zombie themed wedding pictures.  I can't imagine sharing these with your children or grandchildren!
Too much blood!
Too gruesome!
I saw quite a few other images of the bride and groom in a lot of makeup.  The most common seemed Shrek inspired weddings!  Shrek?  Green ogres?  Oh, well...

I wonder if this was a way of dealing with a cold outdoor wedding?
At least their makeup color matches.
Now, I really enjoy Star Wars, and so does my sweetie, so a Stars Wars themed wedding doesn't seem that outrageous.  But I can't imagine not being able to recognize the bride and groom!

General Akbar???

At least the bride got an ivory helmet to match her dress.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


I love finding out new things!!!
We watched the 1962 movie "Gypsy" and I was curious how accurately the musical portrayed the real life Gypsy Rose Lee.  It was fairly accurate for two of the main characters: Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee) and her sister, June.  They were child performers in vaudeville, they did have a pushy stage mother, and June was the more talented singer and dancer.  June did elope at an early age in order to escape her mother, and she became a pretty famous actress.  Louise did go into burlesque and became a "classy and witty striptease artist".  Both sisters did well in the entertainment field, acting on stage, in films and on television.  Both became writers, and June even was nominated for a Tony award for a play she wrote and then directed on Broadway,
The mother, Rose, was portrayed much more sympathetically in the movie than what I gathered from everything I found out about her.  I enjoyed reading about both Louise and June, but I was shocked at what I read about Rose!  I could not believe that when Louise was born in 1911 she was named Ellen June Hovick but when her sister was born one or two years later, her mother gave that name to the new baby and renamed her Rose Louise.  What mother does that!?!  Later, Louise became know as Gypsy Rose Lee and June went by the name of June Havoc.
June never knew exactly in what year she was really born because her mother forged several birth certificates for each of the girls.  Rose put June into silent films as a toddler, and was able to get her to cry for the cameras by telling her the family dog was killed.  The girls supported the family throughout their childhood by performing in vaudeville.  As I mentioned above, June did elope with one of the boys in the act.  She was 15 or 16 at the time.  Unlike in the movie, Rose did call the police and had the boy arrested.  Rose went to the police station to meet with him carrying a concealed weapon, and tried to shoot the young man!
Horrible passport pictures of June, Louise and Rose
Rose was supported by both her daughters for the rest of her life, and continually made demands for money and gifts.  Louise set her mother up with a farm in New York state and a 10-room apartment in Manhattan which Rose ran as a boardinghouse.  One thing I read described it as a "lesbian" boardinghouse and, apparently, one of the women became Rose's lover.  Louise came for a visit, and the woman made a pass at her.  Rose shot and killed her, but was never prosecuted for it because the woman's death was made to look like a suicide! 
Those two sisters definitely had interesting lives!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In Honor of the Oscars

Okay, at first, I didn't know why this popped into my head but I wanted to see if I could find famous people who owned German Shepherd Dogs.  But then I realized that is probably from seeing all the hoopla on TV about the Oscars - so on to Google!
Chuck Norris owned a white German Shepherd named Angel.  Nick Lachey has a male named Luka.  Deion Sanders, Jennifer Lopez, Martina McBride and Jim Belushi have GSDs.  I saw that Ted Shackelford, Tanya Tucker, Jake Gyllenhaal, Shania Twain, Christina Applegate, Roseann Barr, Alyssa Malano and Shannen Doherty have all owned German Shepherds.
Roy Rogers' Museum: Trigger and Bullet
But it seemed like the search strayed to famous German Shepherd Dogs and stories about German Shepherds.  For example, a German Shepherd in Argentina stood watch over his owner's grave for six years after he passed.  Other stories were about dogs that saved or attacked their owners.
The one that gave me the most mixed feelings was Roy Rogers.  He not only stuffed and mounted his horse, Trigger, but his German Shepherd Dog, Bullet.  I know how I have felt about my pets after they have passed and I can't imagine having that done to them.  I wouldn't like to see them but know that they are gone.  But... everyone has their own way of dealing with loss.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I saw the first episode of a new series on the SYFY channel, Ghost Mine, and it is basically about TommyKnockers.  The only association I had for that term was a Stephen King book about extraterrestrial aliens so I started the search!

That's an actual candle on the Cornish miner's helmet!
It turns out that TommyKnockers have nothing to do with aliens.  The term comes from Cornish folklore for a type of faerie, the equivalent of the Irish leprechaun.  TommyKnockers are small gnome-like creatures that inhabit mines.  As I have come to expect from these google searches, I came across a lot of contradictory information.  Sometimes TommyKnockers are considered helpful and friendly, leading miners to valuable ore and warning of cave-ins.  Other times they are vindictive, hurting or even killing miners.  I read that miners would not enter a mine unless they were assured that TommyKnockers had already started the job, or that miners would abandon mines as soon as TommyKnockers made their appearance.

Cornish miners emigrated to the U.S. and had a huge influence in the Pennsylvania coal mines and the California Gold Rush spreading the superstition of TommyKnockers.  But over the years TommyKnockers changed and instead of being Fae creatures, they became the ghosts of dead miners.
Apparently, with modern technology, TommyKnockers are supposed to be fading into legend.  But if this new show is any indication, people are just as superstitious as ever!