Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's all perfectly useless

Some people like Sudoku or crosswords; I like books like The Perfectly Useless Book of Useless Information. They have the advantage of being both restful and full of oddities you might trot out at the next social event where you find yourself challenged for conversational fodder. As in, "Did you know that the mascot of UC Santa Cruz is the banana slug?" Such questions are sure to prompt an inquiry from the recipient as to whether they can freshen your drink. If you're speaking with a sporty type, you can discuss how throwing the ball at base runners used to be legal (and may have put them out in more ways than one).
People who sleep with snoring partners don't need Voorhees to tell them that "a loud snore can reach 80 decibels, the equivalent of a pneumatic drill breaking up concrete" and that 5 more dB than that is dangerous to ear health, but it's nice to know someone cares! Sting got his nickname because he used to wear a yellow and black striped shirt. Good thing it wasn't fuschia! What is the most covered song in history? I'll tell you: "Yesterday" by Paul McCartney, who woke up from a dream after hearing the melody in his head. Here is some Woody Allen trivia. Allen divorced Mia Farrow because she wouldn't stop acting in Rosemary's Baby and make a movie with him. Then when Allen took up with Farrow's daughter Soon-Yi, Frank Sinatra (whose mother was a convicted felon for running an abortion racket) offered to break Allen's legs. What a mensch! TV Guide voted Bugs Bunny the greatest cartoon character of all time. Bugs' iconic pose of munching a carrot while standing against a tree was taken from Clark Gable in It Happened One Night. And

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Snips and tips

"I look for a book (fiction or nonfiction) with a strong narrative voice, wonderfully drawn characters and writing that makes me stop and savor the words the author has written." So librarian Nancy Pearl told NPR in recommending "10 Terrific Summer Reads" (four of them are pictured at right). She's made a cottage industry of supplying book tips, adding up to both a brand and a series. Witness More Book Lust: 1,000 New Reading Recommendations for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason.
***
Brooklyn's WORD bookstore has devised a monthly themed series called Literary Karaoke in which participants have three minutes to read a favorite passage from a relevant book that will "surprise and delight the crowd."
***
BBC News reports that The British Library will partner with Google to digitize 250,000 texts dating between 1700 and 1870 so that readers can view, search, and copy out-of-copyright works for free on both the library and Google books' websites.
***
Libri di legno dipinti a mano. Pezzi Unici. ("Handpainted wooden books. One of a kind.") These strictly decorative tomes are the charming creations of Italian artist Emanuela Ligabue.

In a switcheroo on the age-old problem of leaving things in taxis, Egypt has introduced a novel way of improving literacy. The "Taxi of Knowledge" campaign has placed five donated books in 200 Cairo cabs for passengers to enjoy therein and even discuss with their drivers. Drivers can switch them out and are invited to take them home at night for their families to peruse.
 ***
And this one has everything: thrift stores, a plucky young art activist, and poetry:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The swimsuit issue

1870s
1920s
Olivia de Havilland
1940s
1952
Fredericks of Hollywood
1965
The notorious Betty Page!
Brigitte Bardo dons a bikini
I have just finished perusing The Swimsuit: A History of Twentieth-Century Fashions, and there are some very chic and fetching examples from most every decade I wouldn't mind owning. Alas, they're not in this assemblage, which is my own little Google-based construct of the trajectory of swimwear over the years.

Monday, June 27, 2011

From accismus to valentine

Reading something thelyphthoric
always made her hair stand on end.
Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages is a treasure trove. The author has manfully mined the depths of all 20 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary, bringing to the surface glittering jewels of word exotica. You will either think him a nutbar or hero; I incline to the latter view. For word lovers (a.k.a. vocabularians), this book is beyond engrossing. Ammon Shea is an appealing Virgil, taking the reader on a labyrinthine lexical journey with pit stops along the way for colorful information about dictionaries and those who both create and devour them. On my scribbled list of words whose definitions I will return to with delight (and perchance incorporate into my daily life) are the following:
Accismus—an insincere refusal of a thing that is desired
Anonymuncule—an anonymous, small-time writer (c'est moi!)
Bouffage—an enjoyable or satisfying meal, from the Old French for "cheek-puffing meat"
Cachinnator—a person that laughs too loud or too much (what shrinks call "inappropriate laughter")
Exsibilation—the act of hissing somebody off the stage (can't imagine anyone contemporary witnessing this, but would like to know about it if so!)
Eumorphous—well formed (sounds like a word William F. Buckley would have used)
Farouche—sullen, shy, and repellent in manner (an all-around rotten egg!)
Finifugal—shunning the end of anything (like Mad Men?)
Heredipety—the seeking of an inheritance
Illutible—see if you can guess; it was a problem faced by Lady Macbeth
Kakistocracy—government by the worst citizens (definition of Congress?)
Mawworm—a hypocrite with pretentions of sanctity (GREAT word!!)
Nefandious—too odious to be spoken of (pretty dang awful)
Oxyphonia—guess: it caused poor Julia Child to be much ridiculed
Psithurism—whispering of leaves moved by the wind (too poetic a thing for such a silly word)
Quisquilious—trashy!
Ruffing—stomping of feet as a form of applause (who does this??)
Scrouge—standing too close to or pressing against someone so that you discomfit them
Somnificator—one who induces sleep in others
Thelyphthoric—morally corrupting to women (sadly, no examples are given...)
Valentine (v)—birds greeting each other at mating time
P.S. Spell check flagged all but three.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Full circle for Rendell's Wexford

We're on the same page as British crime writer Val McDermid, who pays tribute to Baroness Rendell of Babergh as her favorite mystery writer on Vintage Crime/Black Lizard's website. She remembers reading Detective Inspector Reg Wexford’s beginnings in From Doon With Death (1964) and being "bowled over."
It’s one of a handful of crime novels that shaped my own ambitions in the field. The classic Rendell hallmarks were all there right from the beginning—the sense of place, the delicate filleting of the characters’ psyches, the avoidance of the prosaic both in character and in motivation....Patricia Highsmith is often cited as the mother of the psychological suspense novel. But for my money, Ruth Rendell’s influence has been far greater.
The Monster in the Box is supposedly the last novel in the Wexford series from the winner of the silver, gold, and diamond daggers from Britain's Crime Writers Association and the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. Thankfully, the prolific wordsmith shows no signs of letting up on her stand-alone titles.
Another renowned crime writer whose novels are consistently excellent is P. D. James. We have the first in her Adam Dalgliesh mystery series, 1962's Cover Her Face, in an attractive commemorative paperback.
I count the novels of both of these writers as must reads. What mystery writers make your list of "dying" to have their latest?

Cool bookstore name sighting: One More Page in Arlington, VA. My sentiments exactly.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Marion Bataille‘s ABC3D & more


I may be woefully behind the times on this, but I just had to share it, not the least because the soundtrack is a song by the super duper Boswell Sisters! On the same topic, here's an image from a New York City alphabet book by Joanne Dugan, whose progeny were tired of ones with barnyard friends.


Any favorite alphabet books you'd like to share? Edward Gorey comes to mind....
There are 19,799 alphabet books listed on Amazon. The Graphic Alphabet by David Pelletier will please adults immensely in its marriage of form and content (below is his representation of "o"). Among our offerings, pop-up maestro Robert Sabuda's The Christmas Alphabet is a particularly fetching one. And if you feel design-y, have a look at Modern Display Alphabets: 100 Complete Fonts. 


Friday, June 24, 2011

Cover girl & music men

Dieter E. Zimmer has assembled an online exhibit containing more than 150 covers of Nabokov's Lolita from 33 countries spanning 54 years. The range is  fascinating from many points of view: design, interpretation, and freedom of expression. Here's a representative selection:

Segueing over to music, I hope you've been perusing our Smithsonian Folkways recordings. I especially love anything by Mike Seeger or the classic Country Gentlemen. Mike introduces them in this video. Its visual quality isn't great, but it sure gives a flavor of the group in its heyday.

Here are two videos of Mike, one as a young man and one near the end of his life, with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. Besides having a huge repertoire, Mike played many many instruments.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dissing other writers


The very discriminating author looking soulful in 1920
Vladimir Nabokov takes the blini for being quoted on 3 of flavorwire's 30 most devastating literary putdowns.
“Dostoevky’s lack of taste, his monotonous dealings with persons suffering with pre-Freudian complexes, the way he has of wallowing in the tragic misadventures of human dignity — all this is difficult to admire.”
“I cannot abide Conrad’s souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist cliches.”
“As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early ‘forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.”

Here's D.H. Lawrence on Herman Melville: “Nobody can be more clownish, more clumsy and sententiously in bad taste, than Herman Melville, even in a great book like ‘Moby Dick’….One wearies of the grand serieux. There’s something false about it. And that’s Melville. Oh dear, when the solemn ass brays! brays! brays!”
Does this mean we're off the hook for reading Moby Dick?  I guess it depends on our estimation of Lawrence as critic. I remember trying to read it in high school (unbelievably, it was required) and getting totally bogged down in the technicalities of whaling. Perhaps I was just waiting for the PBS treatment of the subject, which I actually enjoyed.

* * *
“You are tearing me apart! You say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again.” When I posted the photo of James Dean with Natalie Wood on the set of Rebel Without a Cause the other day, I neglected to mention that we have special DVD editions of both that film and East of Eden, as well as a documentary called Sense Memories. The sets both have a second disc with beaucoup extras. Natalie Wood, who was only 16, had affairs with both director Nicholas Ray and Dennis Hopper. Must have been quite the charged atmosphere! At right is another backstage moment with the two stars  during filming.
* * *  
If you're a sucker for Egyptology, as I am, get a copy of The Splendor that Was Egypt before it's too late; they're running out fast! Goodbye for now; or in hieroglyphics,

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

From Symphony Hall to 42nd Street


Gwen Verdon in Damn Yankees
  1955. Billy Rose Theatre Collection,
New York Public Library
Yesterday's date in 1948 marked the debut of the LP record. In contrast to the measly 4 minutes a side afforded by thick and bulky 78s, Columbia Records proudly displayed to the press their new product line of "long-playing" records that spun at 33 & 1/3 revolutions per minute and held 17 minutes per side.

Before long, Columbia's Masterworks series was treating listeners to Stravinsky and Copland conducting their own works. But the bonanza for them and for lovers of American Popular Song was their series of original cast recordings. The cavalcade began with 1949's smash hit South Pacific (with Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza) and continues to the present day with reissues of lulus like Damn Yankees (with the delightful Gwen Verdon) and Anything Goes (with Merman successor Patti LuPone).

Anybody want to weigh in on their favorite musicals? Or are there too many to mention?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Movie memorabilia extravaganza


Last Saturday Marilyn Monroe's dress from The Seven Year Itch sold at the Debbie Reynolds auction for $4.6 million. Her red-sequined gown and feather hat from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes sold for $1.47 million, and the Ascot hat and dress by Cecil Beaton worn by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady cashed in at $3.7 million. Reynolds' phenomenal and extensive collection was originally destined for a museum that never came together. Other bounty included garments worn by Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth I and Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet.
Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of Oz went for $910,000, whereas her "test shoes" went for more than half a million. They were deemed too Aladdin-like and were scrapped for the pumps now in the Smithsonian, although that's the way they appear in the Densmore drawings in the original Baum book. What do you think of them?

 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Seuss's Dr. T—we have it!


From NPR's Composer's Datebook by John Zech:
Today's date marks the 1953 New York premiere of a musical movie that flopped at the time, but has since become a cult classic—and for two very good reasons.
First, the movie's script—written by Dr. Seuss—was about a little boy named Bart who didn't enjoy practicing the piano , and who was worried that his widowed mom might marry the dreaded piano teacher, Dr. Terwilliker. The film, entitled "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T," is cast as Bart's dream—or nightmare—with surreal scenarios as only Dr. Seuss could imagine them.
Second, the film boasted a score by Friedrich Hollaender, a composer of droll Berlin cabaret songs who found a welcome home for his talent in Hollywood. For "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T," Hollaender crafted witty songs and an extravagant instrumental sequence for a whacky Seussian ballet.
Despite all this, The New York Times reviewer was bored: "a ponderously literate affair," he wrote. Little kids who saw the film in 1953 weren't bored; on the contrary, they were scared silly by the movie. Too dull for The Times, too scary for kids, "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T" did not do well at the box office in 1953.
The film did have its fans, however, and one was a little boy who did like to practice the piano, singer and pianist Michael J. Feinstein, who lovingly gathered together all of Hollaender's used and unused music for the movie for a limited edition CD-set released in 2010.
Above right: One of Theodor Geisel's wonderful "adult" paintings, titled "Fooling Nobody." artbrokerage.com specializes in limited edition prints and original artworks by Dr Seuss.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Be your own Steve Reich


Have you tried this? Observe the demo and then click through to the website. I'm getting addicted. It's so fun to experiment with ... setting up a number of boxes and hitting play or adding one at a time. It's a cross between wind chimes and minimalism. If you find a really good sequence you can save the url for future use.

Of course, if you'd prefer to have someone else make your music for you, just click through to the Daedalus site!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Inside Bunnydom

Who needs WikiLeaks? Sistahs are doin' it for themselves! Witness this cover page to a website exposé (posted by "Bunny Regina") of the dog's life that was being a Playboy bunny back in 1969. From the graphics, zombiedom was apparently required, as well as eye-catching measurements and a willingness to be groped and ogled by disgusting businessmen and self-styled swingers! The manual also touts the "handsome discounts on Playboy gift items" as well as "finder's fees" of $50-$100; how magnanimous! Below are a few choice excerpts of the highly detailed instructions for the "top job in the country for a young girl," including preparing for inspections by the "Bunny Mother," info on demerits for things such as "not doing the Bunny dip" and having an "unkempt tail," and an illustration of the deliriously happy winner of the "Good Service Contest."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dr Who?

I know embarrassingly little about Dr Who, except that it's British, it's on my Netflix list, and time travel is involved. So I thought it advisable to avail myself of an 8-CD early BBC radio version we have in stock to get myself a bit up to speed. The first one flew by on a 2-hour car trip, and I'm all geared up to listen to the rest. I especially liked the level of the language; for example, one villain described the contemplated pleasures of evildoing as the joy of hearing several dozen violins sawing away out of tune.
     The theme song to Doctor Who was declared the winner of a poll conducted by totalscifionline.com to find the best sci-fi TV theme tune of all time, beating out Red Dwarf, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Thunderbirds, The Twilight Zone, Battlestar Galactica, Quantum Leap, and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The theme was composed by Australian composer Ron Grainer in 1963 and arranged by Delia Derbyshire. She produced it by combining a tape loop of a struck piano string with the sound of test oscillators and filters.


I don't know, somehow I have a special feeling for Twilight Zone.... especially the way The Manhattan Transfer does it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Short Ride in a Fast Machine"

On June 13 in 1986, a four-minute work debuted by one of the most renowned of modern composers, John Adams (Nixon in China; Doctor Atomic). Played originally by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine would become one of the most frequently performed of all contemporary American orchestral pieces. Marked "delirando" by the composer on the score, the piece begins, says critic Michael Steinberg,
with a marking of quarter notes (woodblock, soon joined by the four trumpets) and eighths (clarinets and synthesizers); the woodblock is fortissimo and the other instruments play forte. Adams describes the woodblock's persistence as 'almost sadistic' and thinks of the rest of the orchestra as running the gauntlet through that rhythmic tunnel.
 I very much enjoyed this imaged-enhanced version of the work. What do you think of it?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Books books books

From bookshelfporn.com comes this simple and smart coffee table made out of Penguin paperbacks. Bravo for the recycling aspect and for making book designers' talents more enduringly visible. And at right, we know what they're into, because they carved it on their flesh!

Taxonomy of wine labels

Jen Cotton made this graphic to accompany a humorous article on wine labeling by Matthew Latkeiwicz in newyork.grubstreet. For example:
Graphic Design Subclass: Letterpress. Have you seen those greeting cards where there is some nice serif font that says something like 'Thank You' and then there is an equally nice image of a dandelion on it? And also a lot of white space, and it sort of looks like a wedding invitation? That’s what these wine bottles look like. 
My favorite has to be the "active animals." For the real deal in connoisseurship, check out Bordeaux: The 90 Greatest Wines!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Behind the scenes

Imgur.com has a nifty slide show of off-the-cuff moments on the set of famous films. My favorite is below, from Rebel Without a Cause showing James Dean and Natalie Wood talking with director Nicholas Ray. I also like the Angie Dickinson one (what is she wearing & why? haven't seen that one!). The Hitchcock & Hedren photo is too, too classic! Which ones are your favorites?

Friday, June 10, 2011

"What Song Are You Listening To?"


First there was a New York version; now there's a London one. Lots of pop and rock. I like the guy who is engrossed in an audiotape about St. Paul's cathedral (I listen to a lot of podcasts and stories). Quick: what music are you listening to (if any)? I'm enjoying a Chopin cello/piano concerto.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quip Art

"Otterino Respighi m'dear; pleased to make your acquaintance."

Lemony Snicket & Maira Kalman: match made in heaven!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pinetop's boogie woogie

With his cascading 88s and mellow vocals, Pinetop Perkins was a cinch for the 2010 Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album (Joined at the Hip, with harmonica wizard Willie "Big Eyes" Smith). At 97, he was also the oldest Grammy winner ever. On March 21, 2011, just over a month after the ceremony, the legendary bluesman died from a heart attack at his home in Austin. Here he is live in the '90s, performing "Miss Ida Bee."


Perkins is featured on the excellent Smithsonian Folkways CD Blues Routes.
Muddy Waters, Speckled Red, Sunnyland Slim, Robert Nighthawk, Louisiana Red, Furry Lewis, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Blind Boy Fuller, Cow Cow Davenport, David Honeyboy Edwards, Catfish Keith, Buckwheat Zydeco, Kokomo Arnold, Barbeque Bob
Have you ever played around with creating your own colorful blues or jazz name? Google "blues name generator" and try a few and report back your results if you like. On two tries, mine were Palmer "Jazzy Stretch" Blackwell and Boney Back Lee. Not too shabby!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jazz spots

Last February, Down Beat ran an article called "150 Great Jazz Venues." New Yorkers (and most jazz fans) will recognize Birdland, The Blue Note, Joe's Pub, and the Iridium. For the Washington D.C. area, where I grew up, they mention the old stalwart Blues Alley in Georgetown (where I caught Anita O'Day, Carla Cook, and Susannah McCorkle) as well as the U Street corridor's Bohemian Caverns, where R&B singer Ruth Brown got her start and Ramsey Lewis recorded The In Crowd LP in 1965.

Sadly missing was Pennsylvania Avenue's One Step Down, sold to a developer a decade ago for apartments. Among the many luminaries I heard there was the great Shirley Horn, who played as if in a trance, completely one with the music.

In which club venues have you seen your favorite jazz artists?

Down Beat also had a tribute to saxophonist James Moody (1925–2010), who came across as incredibly charismatic and kind. I love what colleague Sonny Rollins said: "It’s nothing to mourn about. It’s not that I’m not sorry we won’t get a chance to hear him play any more or be in his company. That’s true. But it’s also really a joyful moment because he was here in this life and look what he left people, a legacy of wonderful music and the memory of a wonderful person. To know him and think about him brings light to me. We can’t feel sad or sorry. We have to feel good about a man like Moody." Here's a video of Moody with the RIAS Big Band playing "I Can't Get Started."


In this 1968 clip from Copenhagen he plays "Cherokee" on flute and is introduced by his close friend Dizzy Gillespie.


Needless to say, we have loads of CDs featuring many other legendary jazz musicians—many of them cutouts from Concord and Prestige that will never be available again. So nab a few today!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cool new contest involves dog pics: Win/Win!

Calling all Trotskys and Muttleys and Bellas and Sparkys.... From the website Bluestone Bookshop ("where independent booksellers can find cool marketing content to share with their customers"), we bring you news of Random House and Gary Shteyngart’s SUPER HAPPY BOOKLOVING DOGS CONTEST:
To celebrate the release of Super Sad True Love Story in paperback, we’re running a contest from 5/15/2011 to 7/15/2011. Gary will name a dog in his next novel after the winner, who will also receive a signed photograph of Gary with his favorite dachshund, Felix, as well as a signed, personalized edition of Super Sad True Love Story. To be eligible to win, email a .jpeg, .gif, or .png photo of yourself reading Super Sad True Love Story with a dog between Noon (ET) on 5/15/2011 and Noon (ET) on 7/15/2011 to bluestone@randomhouse.com. You may also mail a physical copy of the photograph to Angela Dong, 1745 Broadway, MD 3-1, New York, NY 10019. Limited to one entry per person. Offer is only open to U.S. residents (excluding Puerto Rico), age 18 years or older.
We know there are thousands of pooch lovers among our customers (why else would we carry mountains of canine compendiums??), so get busy and may the best dog/owner combo win! And if you are a dog lover and have not seen Best in Show, do not pass GO—order it today!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"O for a Muse of fire,

that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention..."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Now THAT's copy writing!


Note on back of box of cards brought back by my parents from a trip to China (I think the faces portray figures from Chinese opera):

The fifth Olympic movement "Humanistic Olympics" combines traditional Chinese culture in the facial makeup of Beijing Opera between heaven and earth, demonstrates the humanistic philosophy of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games the "higher, faster, and stronger" Olympic movement. Along with the sacred flame of the 29th Olympic games, the world will share the great and deep history and culture of ancient China and taste the verve of classic and splendid chapter brought by ancient oriental capital.


 I guess opera folks can't be too careful about their "facial makeup"!

Friday, June 3, 2011

A new take on fingerpainting

I hope y'all have seen some examples of David Hockney's iPod touch paintings—executed with his forefinger! He has more talent in his little finger than most of us have anywhere ... but I love to look and marvel. Although an exhibition was mounted in France, he doesn't sell them; instead, he e-mails them to his friends.
Since I've established that I'm more of a visual arts voyeur than creator, allow me to recommend a most excellent book on one of my favorite artists: Modigliani: Beyond the Myth. 
(I recently learned that the 'g' isn't pronounced.) If he hadn't died so young, the artist would undoubtedly have explored sculpture more fully, and his impressive efforts in that medium are  revelatory. As the Washington Post's Blake Gopnik wrote in his review of the show that spawned the book:
"Head," now in the Guggenheim.
The rebellion, on view in the sculpted heads, is impressive. Modigliani may have been heavily influenced by Brancusi, but the Italian's work sometimes moves ahead of the Romanian's. Brancusi tends to err on the side of a kind of pared-down art deco elegance. At his best Modigliani pushes toward rugged solidity. His heads can have a tough, barely roughed-in quality, borrowed from some African, Asian and prehistoric models, that you can read as a kind of negation of the Renaissance poise that was all around him growing up.
The caryatid studies have a more traditionally European flavor than the heads. Strictly speaking, the caryatid, as an architectural form, comes out of ancient Greece, where graceful female figures were sometimes used as structural elements. And the crouching, straining bodies in Modigliani's studies are based on Renaissance images of the muscled titan Atlas struggling to support the globe. But combining the two, so that a bodybuilding woman labors to hold up a crushing weight, makes for a work of modern art that barely registers as part of the tradition. Or that at very least seems to be a thorough, knowing revamp of it. Shaking up traditional ideas about what the sexes are supposed to do was one way for the Parisian avant-garde to push back against 19th-century proprieties, and Modigliani was on top of the trend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another fail in the Taintor caption contest

Below is the May image for the Anne Taintor monthly web contest, followed by my entries:


  • "If you think this is amazing you should see my fallout shelter."
  • Food budgets pre birth control: not a pretty picture.
  • You can never have too much man bait on hand.
  • "This ought to wake up his pheromones!"
  • She had stake in her marriage … and the groceries to prove it.
  • Vegetarian my ass!
  • She had no truck with sacred cows.
And here are her picks for the six finalists. I think they are somewhat ... dare I say ... gross and subpar? What do you think? Any suggestions of your own?
  • I did all the laundry and cleaned the house, and then I felt like killing someone
  • He got his wish. I made him dinner.
  • well, Ethel, he did say "bite me"
  • I have my shit together too, but you don't see me bragging about it
  • funny... he took up so much more space on the sofa
  • oh, that reminds me... I have to go bury a body 
For all of your "vintage images adorned with cheeky humor" needs, don't forget to stock up on our Anne Taintor notecards!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cool thoughts

Since the temperature outside is currently stuck in the mid-'90s, I'm going with this blog's tagline theme of "something cool" to bring you the song of the same name. First it's sung by the person most associated with it (it was the title track of Christy's first and most famous solo album, made after she left Stan Kenton's orchestra). Next is a bit of a curiosity: a fragment from the tail end of Judy Garland's tv show in which she tries several times to introduce the song (pretty much ad libbing), finally gets down to a quite visceral rendition of it (@2:37), and then muffs a line and quits. Like her outtakes from Annie Get Your Gun, it's a poignant reminder of what could have been from one of the most compelling performers who ever lived.

 
 

From a neatorama.com roundup of "seriously cool" bookcases comes one with punctuation marks (for the editor/grammarian in your life!) and another for people with a penchant for contemplating infinity.

And from our own vast resources of cool ways to take your mind off of the heat, how about a little fun and frivolity from one of our favorite funny women? Don't miss out on Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, & Health-Inspected Cartoons by Roz Chast, 1978–2006.

Now for a Campari & soda…..