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30 March 2007

Something I Stumble(d) Upon

It's official people, the web is fun again. This great new...okay maybe not so new it's been around a while but new to me) program? extension? web thingy? web-thingy called StumbleUpon. It's all very technical and involved but it's a little like MySpace meets Google. Let's say you like a website...you then put a little sticky note thing (metaphorically) on it saying 'If you're at all like me and into, I dunno, cat's pajamas, boy will you love this site.' Someone comes behind you who likes cat's pajamas and has a sticky note finder thing  attached to their computer. They switch it on and lo and behold! it takes them to the cat's pajamas site you earlier recommended. There's a lot more to it than that, but you get the idea. Anyway...Yeah...What was I saying? Oh, I like StumbleUpon and you will too. Just trust that and ignore the weird and slightly disjointed description.
Oh, and I'm getting another cold. This makes Number 5 since the beginning of February. I'm goin' for the record folks. But in the mean time I StumbledUpon this really funny cat video someone put together.  

28 March 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Thirteen Things I Would Never Leave Behind


Thirteen Things I Would Never Leave Behind. In no particular order.
Oh, and books will probably be heavily represented.

1. A 1935 edition of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
2. The story of my life.  An old boss and dear friend gave me a journal from Rag and Bone Bindery just before  I left them to make my first trip to Europe. They're quite lovely, handmade, acid-free paper and bound in natural materials like cork and silk. 
2. A paperback copy of Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. There's an interesting reference in it about the dangers of thoughtless people (as in, 'she's not cruel, merely thoughtless') and it's quite a nice read. But it's special to me because I picked it up at a bookstore in Venice. The first book I'd seen that was writen in English for many weeks.
3.  My ring, which for the moment is lost. Ever have one of those items you feel some deep connection to; that no matter how many times or how far away you misplace it, it always comes back to you? I bought this silver ring from a sales rep of the now defunct Mineralore. It's silver with a gold starburst and a blue tourmaline set in the center. It was the first piece of real jewelry I ever bought.
4. My love bag. I've kept every congratulatory or loving letter or card ever sent me.  And sometimes, when times get ruff, I find comfort in reading them to remember I am loved.
5.  My notebooks. They contain my ideas and some of the best writing I've ever done. 
6. My laptop. It contains my ideas and some of the best writing I've ever done.
7. A passel of silk handkerchiefs. I love them and yes I have actually used them to blow my nose. There is no graceful way of blowing the schnoz, and I'm not a cute crier; a fluttery hanky adds a dash of drama. But mostly they're used to clean my glasses.
8. My cashmere sweater. I read somewhere that every woman should have at least one cashmere sweater and I couldn't agree more. Mine came dirt cheap from Ebay but it's so pretty and soft. It's a reminder of and hope for prettier and softer times.  
9. An antique art deco tea set from Czechoslovakia. This was also an Ebay find. When it arrived there was actually a card which said whose anniversary it was for and the year 1935. A card which I have most foolishly lost.
10. This wonderful soft knit cardigan I call my Holland sweater. I bought it as (what I thought of at the time of purchase) an inadequate replacement for one stolen by an old roommate. But it's grown on me tree-mendously since then.
12. A paperback copy of Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. She is one of the most undersung poets of the 20th century and her work connects very deeply. This book has all of my notes and markings, including those written while reading Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay the intimate biography written by Nancy Milford.
13. Pinkerton the feline. 
Links to other Thursday Thirteens! 1. (leave your link in comments, I¿ll add you here!)
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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It¿s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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A little something I wrote a while ago.

Yes. Cause love it or hate it (and there are plenty on either side of that particular fence) Oprah is Queen of America. She is certainly the most influential woman and possibly the most influential person in the United States. Personally, I go back and forth on whether to love her, hate her or forget her. But anyone who can get America reading Faulkner! and Tolstoy! forever wins a place in my heart.

The brouhaha over James Frey illustrates the peril faced by by public figures for whom the perception of the line between public persona and private become blurred. I'm talking about Professional Personalities, not actors. Feeling as though we have the right to know whether Brad Pitt prefers boxers or briefs does not make him a Professional Personality (though I do have concerns about what that feeling makes us). Pitt does not use his personal life as fodder for his public career. It's those people who come into our homes over the television screen every morning or afternoon with stories about their husbands, children, pets and what they did over the weekend, who earn the designation Professional Personality.

When the Oprah expressed her support via telephone during Frey's appearance on the Larry King show saying among other things that the 'emotional truth' was what was important. I think she was speaking for herself, the private individual who was unutterably moved by the experience of reading Frey's book; and that this assessment, gauging the book by the impact of its emotional truth is perfectly reasonable. Unfortunately, making that statement in a public forum is problematic; because she's not merely a private individual. Her Professional Personality has standards and an image associated with it that may have little to do with how she feels about herself privately. Her PP is bigger; living in corporations, brands, on the air waves and is owned by us 'we the people'. Years ago, we decided that we liked Oprah and as we do when we like people we conferred upon her certain rights and privileges and demand of her certain standards and practices. This is why it is that when she likes a book, it becomes a bestseller, when she makes a call to the Larry King Show it makes headlines. As a PP she doesn't have the luxury, as I do, of calling and expressing her private opinions without hearing from thousands of people about violations of certain of the standards and practices.

Rather like the CEO of a candy bar company sitting at his desk, happily munching a chocolate bar he's just removed from a taffy bar wrapper. He is perfectly within his rights to enjoy eating the irregulars. It's just going to get thrown away and the candy is perfectly good. What he can't do is sell these mislabeled bars to Raley's and sell them to us as taffy bars.

In Oprah's case, a person can understand her wish to withdraw the public statement of a private sentiment, without calling into question her sincerity. It's the way in which it was done. To take Frey apart on national television was an unnecessary cruelty. It isn't Frey's fault that instead of lacing her fingers in her lap, she chose to dial the Larry King Show. But for that phone call, she would not have tried clean up her public (and again, voluntary) comments, by ripping Frey a new one in front of millions of people. But once she did choose to speak up for Frey, I can't help thinking, the correct and even-handed thing would have been to make a statement on the show making her apologies to the public and retracting her words of the previous week.

As for Frey, he was drug addict, what a shock that an addict would lie. Why is everyone getting so hysterical? In fact, the only people who rival drug addicts for mendacity is the writer of an autobiography. Imagine the number of lies that have gone into memoirs of some of the most notable figures of our time. Fiction? Science fiction some of it. It is nearly impossible for any one person to tell the truth about themselves.

It's impossible not to feel for Frey. He did the back-breaking, heart-rending work of coming out the right side of addiction alive. He wrote a book. When he wrote it, there is no way he could have imagined his life or his 'life' would end up under such an enormous microscope. According to some reports he first submitted his manuscript to publishers as a work of fiction and had it rejected, he then resubmitted as a memoir without changing anything, and Doubleday chose to publish. Whose fault is that? My opinion...Frey might be cashing a check, but he's also taking most of the fire. Considering the many demons he already wrestles with...well let's just say many a man has been broken by far less. The only one who really makes out in this fire storm is the publisher...they are laughing all the way to the bank.

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27 March 2007

What I'm Reading Now

So I just finished this book called A Way Through The Wood. It's by a guy named Nigel Balchin about . . .Gosh, that's a tough one. I want to say it's about the unraveling of a marriage, but there's a lot more to it than that. It's about conscience and the manner in which we are human. It's beautiful, complicated and a page-turner.

It was recently made into a film starring Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson and Rupert Everett (if you read the book, you'll know that no one but Everett could play the character of Bule)called Seperate Lies. I haven't seen the movie and probably won't. The book has left me plenty satisfied. It might be difficult to find, but I definitely recommend making the effort.


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26 March 2007

Seriously....can we talk about how much I hate that song? Why is it then, that I can't get the song out of my head? Not even the version generally acknowledged to be a classic;  but the nightmarish American Idol version sung by one of those turkeys from the 'Worst of the Worst' show.

I shot the sher-i-i-iff...but I did not shoot the de-pu-teeee....

Lud.

 Am I in hell?



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