Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cool photos!

I found both of these cool photos on

Click on photos to enlarge

19. Reflect
A reflection from the louvre’s pyramid.

A reflection from the louvre's pyramid by franlumix:

46. Polar lights

Öxarárfoss in Iceland - Aurora Borealis

This photo is by Arnar Valdimarsson's: "Been going through my photos and I found a few nice ones from 2007. Here is another one of Öxarárfoss at national park, Þingvellir in Iceland. The Aurora Borealis was really active that night. Check out more of my Aurora Borealis pictures here : "

the goddess JOAN ARMATRADING--her classic song Willow--I worship this diva

There are a few women artists (singers, actors, personalities) that I consider to be goddesses. I worship at their feet. Here's a few: Jodie Foster, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Renee Fleming, kd lang, Judy Garland, Cate Blanchett. More recently, Kate Winslet. I can't think of them all right now. (Oh, Susan Sarandon was until she caused Al Gore to lose the 2000 election by urging voters to vote for her candidate Ralph Nader. I consider her largely personally responsible for the disastrous years of Shrub. And I lament the loss of such a beautiful goddess.)

One of my very first goddesses was singer Joan Armatrading. I've been in love with this singer since the early '80s. She has such a wonderful body of work. And she is fabulous in concert.

Here's a recent live studio recording of her early classic Willow.

Isn't that a beautiful simple song!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A great book I just read THE HIGHEST TIDE--starfish, and remembrance of vacations past in Gulf Islands of British Columbia

That was a mouthful.

For some reason the last couple of weeks I've had Saltspring on the mind. Prolly (as daninokc says) because I just read this really great novel titled THE HIGHEST TIDE by Jim Lynch. It is a lovely tale of a quirky, unusual and special kid in Olympia WA who has a very special relationship with the small cove and the Puget Sound, where he lives.

The only regret I have is that this book was way too short. At 250 pages I read it almost without stop I was so captivated and caught up in its charm.

It is a coming of age novel which features Miles OMalley, a 13-year old boy who enters a life-changing summer:
Thirteen-year-old Miles O’Malley lives on Puget Sound and knows everything there is to know about the sea and its creatures. When he becomes the first person to sight a live giant squid he is hailed as some sort of prophet. The media descend and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say. But Miles is just a self-described “increasingly horny, speed-reading thirteen-year-old insomniac” who’s in love with the girl next door and obsessed with the writings of Rachel Carson. While the sea continues to offer up surprises from its mysterious depths, Miles navigates the equally mysterious world of adults. Strange events continue over the summer, culminating in the highest tide in 100 years."

As Miles himself explains it: “People usually take decades to sort out their view of the universe, if they bother to sort at all. I did my sorting during one freakish summer in which I was ambushed by science, fame and suggestions of the divine ...” —Miles O’Malley

This truly beautiful story has the most interesting and multifaceted set of characters, most notably, the book's protagonist, Miles. When we begin the book we learn that Miles looks to most of the world as though he is 9 or 10 years old as his growth has been stunted. Which serves really as a metaphor for the book because by the time we come to the perfect end, Miles has grown figuratively and literally into a young man. What I think you appreciate most is the unique, very mature perspective that Miles has on the world.

I suppose that Miles also appealed to me because he is an insomniac and he reads voraciously. I suffer the same curse and passion, respectively. Mr. Lynch's first novel is truly remarkable and you should run out and get it immediately. You will not be disappointed.

Okay, so starfish. Oftentimes I will buy a book because the cover attracts me. Which was the case with THE HIGHEST TIDE. I loved the starfish on the cover in the tidal pool because it evokes very fond memories of vacations past that we've spent in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. For a guy who came from West Texas, experiencing British Columbia was an awakening indeed. On more than one of our previous vacations, Steve's nieces and nephews joined us when they were very young and we would all frolic and play in the ocean the way only young kids can (or rather were able to watch the young kid's frolicking).

For our vacations in BC we usually would rent a house for 2-3 weeks. Twice we stayed on Saltspring Island which is the most populous of the Canadian Gulf Islands and has the largest town, Ganges. All of the houses that we have rented were situated right on the water and the fun thing I discovered was the concept of a tide and tidal pools when we first visited the island. I also discovered and was charmed by starfish and all of the various colors they come in (I've always been attracted to colors): orange, blue, purple, red. When the tide comes out they are stranded in tidal pools or sometimes completely out of water. I remember being fascinated watching them and their slow movement. You could stare at them forever and it seemed they hadn't moved and then suddenly as if magic had occurred they would be in a different position. Really fascinating. We started collecting little starfish tchotchke's as a result when we traveled and have an assortment hanging on a wall in our kitchen.

Anyway, since we haven't had a vacation in a couple of years (alas, can anyone afford to do anything these days?) and I'm literally sick of the intense desert heat, I've been obsessing over our past Gulf Island vacations and so will "prolly" (as daninokc says....I just love his term for "probably") do a few postings on British Columbia because it truly is one of the most beautiful locations on the planet.

Someday, one of my "MEWANTS" (see my posting on MEWANTS) is to have a house in Gulf Islands. It really is the most idyllic getwaways. We've stayed now on two of the islands: Saltspring and Maine, and we've traveled to all of the others by ferry or boat. The interesting thing about the islands is that they all have varying ecosystems. I love Saltsping because it is a haven for artists, and we've always brought back wonderful treasures of pottery, paintings, and other perfect objet d'art.

The southern Gulf Islands, where we have vacationed, are located off the southeast coast of Vancouver Island. From Wikipedia:

The Gulf Islands are the islands in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The Gulf Islands are usually divided into two groups, the Southern and Northern Gulf Islands. The dividing line is approximately that formed by the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, and the mouth of the Fraser River on the mainland. All the major islands are served by B.C. Ferries. The southern Gulf Islands include hundreds of islands and islets, and form part of an archipelago that also includes the San Juan Islands in the United States (separated by the Straits of Juan de Fuqa).

More about the wonderful Gulf Islands in upcoming posts but I'll leave you with some photos to admire of the area.

HERE's a COOL picture in every respect

Send cooling thoughts to those of us who live in this hellacious desert!

Sankei / Getty

A polar bear named Gogo laps a fruit-filled ice cube at the Tennoji Zoo in Osaka, Japan.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

YOU WALK WITH ME--from the musical The Full Monte--by the amazingly talented and beautiful SEAN McDERMOTT

I spent a good part of the day I yesterday trying to figure how to add songs to the blog. So you better all listen up to these!

Some of the songs I love aren't available on youtube videos. So will include them here with an mp3 player. Just press the play button and listen.

This song is from the musical The Full Monty and is sung by Sean McDermott. It's from his album Piece of Sky.

Pretty damn fine song and eye candy no? For more information about Sean, visit his website at

A MAN NAMED PEARL--Beautiful documentary film--another example of why I LOVE pearls

I love pearls as a mentioned a couple of postings back. They are so beautiful. But here is a unique, but equally beautiful, Pearl. We watched this documentary (thank you again to NetFlix) titled A Man Named Pearl the other night and we were just so moved and astounded at this man's talents.

A quote from the film's website: "A Man Named Pearl tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar who has created the most magical topiary garden in his backyard. It is a subtle and intriguing film that is certain to open hearts and minds. It offers an upbeat message that speaks to respect for both self and others, and shows what one person can achieve when he allows himself to share the full expression of his humanity."

Here's the movie's trailer (short clip):

Part Edward Scissorhands (another one of my favorite films with one of my favorite actors, Johnny Depp) but all inspirational you'll want to see this film. This is such a wonderful story. Narrated by Forrest Sawyer. Here's another video clip

For more information on A Man Named Pearl visit the film's website at

To find out how to visit the Pearl Fryar garden visit this website at:

See pearls are beautiful in every way:

Pearl Fryar in photo below

Check out this short video on how pearls are harvested:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

THE CONFESSION--funny short film

This will make you smile..... (this is a real short clip at 3.44mins)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beautiful Photos for the day

Wally Santana / AP

You Look Fabulous
A French Bulldog peers out from behind the stage curtain before modeling in a dog fashion show in Taipei. Photo from Time, Today In Pictures.

Maya Hitij / AP

Vertical Stripes
A young zebra stands next to her mother at the Berlin zoo.

Photo from Time, Today In Pictures.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DAVID BURNHAM -- sings FLIGHT-- an extraordinarily gifted and beautiful singer sings one of the most perfect of songs--the lyrics are breathtaking

Click on photo to enlarge

This song by the talented songwriter Craig Carnello is literally plumbed, wrung through by David Burnham. All that beauty and all that talent...all in one person.

You can watch this live performance which is wonderful but the sound isn't as good so I used his recording above first.

David Burnham singing "Flight" by Craig Carnelia at the Caffeinated Cabaret in Riverside 4-19-2009 his album is available....Here it is.....he is quite the little hottie, no?

For more information about this talented lad visit his website at

Click on photo to enlarge

Monday, July 20, 2009

A funny true story about Dik Diks:)

Recently we went to Seattle for my partner Steve's niece's wedding (I posted on this early on in this blog).

We've watched these kids grow up from little rugrats and although we've been somewhat distant "uncles" we've been certainly devoted to the "poohbears," as I used to call them. The kids, John, Beth, Jessica and Chris range in age of I think from late 20's to Chris who is 22. Early on we would spend vacations with them in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia or they would come down and visit us in the desert.

On one of their first visits to Palm Desert we took them all to The Living Desert which is probably one of the BEST and coolest things in the Palm Springs area. It's a combination of a zoo, a botanical garden, a nature's just really this amazing place that is ultimately dedicated to educating visitors about the amazing ecosystem called a "Desert".

Anyway, when we were in Seattle for the Beth's wedding on our first night we went to see Pam (Steve's sister) and Rob (Pam's husband) and the kids, Beth, Jessie and Chris. It was the night before the wedding rehearsal and it was just really special being with these wonderful people that we have loved for so long. The kids have become these amazing, interesting and vibrant adults and we are just discovering them and their uniqueness.

We were laughing and talking about old times and in particular the kids were talking about their Uncle Steve and Beth brought up a memory that had never left her. She remembered going to the Living Desert when she was kid and seeing "Dik-Dik's". Stop it right there! There really is an animal called a dik dik. It's an antelope named for the sound it makes when alarmed and lives in the bush of East Africa, Angola and Namibia.

The Living Desert has all of the wonderful Desert-esque animals like zebra, lions, elephants, rhinos, etc. It also has the cutest little meerkats.

But back to the story. Beth talked about the memory of the dik dik's and Uncle Steve. She remembered Uncle Steve turned to the kids and said, where's the "vag vag"? (as in another sex's anatomical parts). It makes me laugh all over again. All of those years that memory has stuck with Beth and there we were on the eve of her wedding talking about it.

Steve blushed and think was horrified and didn't remember. But it was such a perfect moment. Perfectly funny and perfectly wonderful at the same time. Interesting all of those years later, at such a wonderful milestone event in Beth's life to have a funny story to share.

It was and is very funny. I hope it brings a laugh to your day. Here's a dik dik. Wonder what a vag vag would look like?


CHERI--beautiful movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer about courtesans--Colette's classic--OH and PEARLS!

I had the mean reds yesterday, as Holly Golightly called really bad depression (you can read about my love for the movie and novella, Breakfast At Tiffany's, in a previous blog It was even more appropriately called "red" instead of "blue" because the chief reason for the predicament was the raging inferno that I live in called the Desert. It's like living in Seattle with the constant rain. Too much of one thing, without end (at least weather-wise), can be maddening and saddening. So the Bug (my mother, Junebug) and I braved the scorching heat and went to a chilly dark theater. It was delicious.

Run to the theater to see this magnificent film about two aging courtesans in France during the Belle Epoque and a cute boy. You can look at my other posts about my fascination with courtesans....but this perfect movie simply fuels my passion.

Cheri ("dear" or "sweetheart" in French) is a film based upon the novel by the French writer Colette: "Post-war, her writing career bloomed following the publication of Chéri (1920). Chéri tells a story of the end of a six-year affair between an aging retired courtesan, Léa, and a pampered young man, Chéri. Turning stereotypes upside-down, it is Chéri who wears silk pajamas and Léa's pearls, and who is the object of gaze. And in the end Léa demonstrates all the survival skills which Colette associates with femininity. (The story continued in La Fin de Chéri (1926), which contrasts Léa's strength and Chéri's fragility and decline)."

There are so many remarkable things about this movie but the chief one is Michelle Pfeiffer. She is simply gorgeous and I'm not sure anyone could have played this role except for Catherine Deneuve, but I think maybe she's had a bit too much "work". Pfeiffer obviously, hasn't, and that is what gives this film its character, and makes the goddess Pfeiffer even more exquisite. This movie is about beauty or the losing of it. Watch the two next clips with interviews with the goddess herself to see what I mean:


The second thing about the film is its absolute passion and devotion to beauty. Every set is filled with amazing color combinations, every film shot is slavishly devoted to creating the perfectly gorgeous shot. Be it the scene on a Biarritz beach looking down at the blue waves that match perfectly Pfeiffer's blue dress. Or be it the alabaster sculpting of Rupert Friend's (Cheri) body as he makes love to his young wife. Every scene is ravishing. The costumes are sumptuous....even the debauched old aging courtesans at Maxim's are clothed exquisitely. This film should be made into a coffee table book of film stills. I could study the photographs forever.

The third thing about this film is its tour de force cast. Kathy Bates gives a bawdy and gutsy performance that could in less capable hands have been nothing but a hamfest. But when she laughs, as we saw in the film clip, there is nothing but pure ribald honesty. Rupert Friend is beautiful in a monstrous sort of way.

I've read references to Lea as a "cougar" which is superficially true and rather funny. But this film (and the book) are really about a great love affair. It is also about the strength of women.....which transcend a one-dimensional "cougar" viewpoint. Lea and Cheri are deeply in love and in many ways perfectly suited for each other. The problem is that one was born too early and the other too late (I'm paraphrasing a line from the movie)

I just cannot praise this film enough. But ultimately one has to acknowledge that such an accomplishment would not have been possible without the performance of Michelle Pfeiffer who obviously shines from the direction of the master director Stephen Frears. This is a movie that someone should see more than once because it is a film of nuances. A perfect film of amazing beauty and at least for me is an instant "classic".

Finally, I should say that I LOVE pearls: black pearls, white pearls. They are more exquisite than diamonds. They are perfection to me. I've always lamented that men can't wear pearls. Well in this film Cheri wears pearls and demonstrates, in the wedding scene, why I think men and pearls as a fashion rule has found its time and should be accepted and implemented immediately! See what I mean? Very handsome, indeed!