Thursday, April 30, 2009

Made Up, Unmade Up

Last night we watched a few episodes of Kasia i Tomek and I realized that if I were living in Poland, I would be buying and wearing more make up.

As a friend of mine said (referring to academic projects, however): once one has such a realization, what does one do with it?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Cardinal

Cardinal with Bokeh, originally uploaded by Uncle Phooey.

I'm having coffee with the Northern Cardinal. He (I know for a fact that it's a boy, because he's red from beak to toe [toe?]) is sitting outside on a branch and not singing for me but for the cardinal ladies in the area. I am almost trying to work on an essay. But it's hard, because there are no cardinals in it, not even a feather.

Friday, April 17, 2009

... and They Don't Even Know How to Make Good Tea

I saw some protesters in front of the post office on my way to mail my tax returns. I know filling those out is hard as hell. Still, I don't think that doing away with them is a solution. Well, actually, I know it isn't. Sorry.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Add Zombies

I'm not sure I understand why.

I also don't understand why I am intrigued by the idea. But I am. Maybe it's the simplicity of the title, which doesn't purport that zombies are somehow implicated in the story but just adds them. Obviously, I can't answer the big question posed by NY Times -- I don't know what exactly zombies add to the plot. Exercise? A dash of female agency as Elizabeth Bennet gets to run around with a dagger rather than sit in a parlor with her mother and sisters?

Or not.

I found an excerpt and illustration (there are illustrations! the book is scoring points with me) here. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Broken Fairy Tale

Where Are They Now? American Queen Hope Cooke
About Hope Cooke the only American Queen who married the King of Sikkim, history and biography of her then and now.

Headline--1963: HOPE COOKE

At the Peak: It seemed to be a real-life fairy tale back in the early 1960s when Hope Cooke, a shy 22-year-old New York debutante, won the heart of the crown prince of Sikkim, a fabled Shangri-la principality astride the Himalaya.

They called Hope "the Grace Kelly of the East" in those days, and the public was bombarded with details of her exotic romance. We learned how the bride, an orphan who'd been raised by the former U.S. ambassador to Iran, had been wooed by her Prince Charming, a handsome widower whom she'd met in India in 1958.

After many consultations by the Buddhist astrologers, the wedding was set for March of 1963, and the public was treated to rhapsodic descriptions of the two-hour ceremony, replete with throbbing Tibetan horns, bejeweled altars, clanging cymbals, and classical chants by imperial lamas. Then the couple was supposed to live happily ever after in a palace nestled in the shadows of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain (which the groom happened to own).

Please read the rest of the story here. They issue scary copyright warnings but when I clicked on the conditions I got blank subpages.

... And come back here!

I'd like to thank Shital Pradhan, whose comment on this post provided the proper ending. The article glossed over the details of Hope Cooke's leaving Sikkim for the U.S... and the fact that she later divorced her king.

I wish I had more time to actually research this. If you know more about the American queen of Sikkim, please drop me a line.

(Image found here.)

So sitzen Sie richtig

This is one of my favorite paintings (and poems). Back in the day, before April turned from Poetry Month into tax month, I would linger over my favorite art and read poems waiting for something (or nothing) to happen.

Not to make it sound too idyllic, I was often bored.

There is a picture of me, though, leafing through an Egon Schiele album, some seven years ago. It was taken in a darkish pub on a hot August day, one of the most surprisingly surprising days when my sandals fell apart and I walked barefoot through the main streets of Poznań.

For years I remembered that a couple of pictures were taken on that occasion but had never seen them. Until Gryzmak dug them up in a box last Christmas. Between the summer we first met and our meeting six years later they had been waiting among other photographs and papers. Objects can be patient like I never can.

I envy that kind of poise as I fill out my forms and wait for magnolias to kick into full bloom. Now they are teasing me, on the verge of opening but still keeping to themselves.

What's admitted by the door can be kept
by the mind. Can be trapped
in a list. Can be lifted

by the tail and tenderly placed
where it will no longer be
in the way. It was never easy.
(from Mary Jo Bang, "This Is How You Sit Correctly (After Goya)")

Sometimes it's hard to make connections and the concluding sentence chooses to imitate the spring.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Update of Sorts

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Struggling through my tax return forms and everything else...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"I think it's the best costume for the day, you understand"

I really want to see Grey Gardens.

Jezebel quotes ambivalent reviews. I still want to see both the documentary and the movie. I have a soft spot for Drew Barrymore for reasons beyond my rational understanding.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Unsurprisingly, the Beauty Myth Still Topical

Watch this New York Times video about photo retouching. Then you can click over here for some contrast. Not that those represent anything like a "golden age in socialist advertising" (what a concept...), but at least the people you see in them are not a cocktail of several bodies with extended legs.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Reasons to Write a Song About How You Don't Like Fridays


An hour's drive from here, in Binghamton, gunmen have captured the immigration services building and killed several people. I'm following the news. I have a storm in my head. There's a storm outside. It's raining heavily. I put on another pot of coffee, inevitably thinking that someone had gone to the immigration services earlier today, thinking they'd go back home after getting their business done and they might have been thinking about making more coffee.

Trivialities don't stop. Around noon I get an email from friends about a Neko Case concert later this month. It's pleasantly surprising that sometimes such things happen in this small town. Terrifying that such things are happening in this area as well. The planet keeps turning. News coverage shows that it's also raining in Binghamton. We make lunch. There are probably many people grocery shopping in Binghamton at the same moment. One thinks that grief should stop the world for at least one minute of silence but that is never true. Irony. Coincidence.

I decide I won't go to the concert. Clicking between news articles and youtube, I find this video, am amazed by the beautiful animation (not so much by the music), sad

and still sad, I click over to the news.

(The post title alludes to "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats, that story, and all shootings, no matter who's behind them and whatever reasons they *pretend* they have. There never are any reasons.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just the Shoes

Here are the shoes I wore to my wedding. I was intrigued by friends' requests that I give them a photo of, I quote, "just the shoes." If I knew the selections from the wedding pictures could end on that, I wouldn't have hesitated so much whether to put those very personal photographs on facebook.

I could launch a big debate about the limits of privacy in our strange age, but we all puzzle over these issues daily. (At least I think we do.)

As a little girl I did not fantasize about my wedding (I was not one of those little girls, trust me). And I would never even have pictured the whole problem of "telling people about it." Not even on that most basic level of your aunts and uncles, so the clicking and sending a letter to the world is completely beyond me... In the end I clicked and spread the word and even posted a few pictures. But don't ask me how I feel about it. I'm not sure. It does feel a little bit like showing off.

Our weekday wedding was low key and involved running around rainy Manhattan. On the subway on our way back, after the dinner and before the drinks, a lady asked me about my bouquet. I told her that we had just got married and, immediately, the people sitting next and opposite us were all smiling.