Sunday, December 30, 2012

Anne Boleyn's Body

Sometimes I write posts for this blog, then become disgusted with them and never post them.  Then I read them a year later and decide to post them because the world really needs to know how I feel about everything, even if it is poorly executed.  That will become a pun if you read on! 

Someone asked me what I could possibly be writing about so often in this thing (sometimes blogging comes up in conversation and because I never have the presence of mind to lie, I cryptically mention this, then refuse to give the address. The last person said, What do you like talk about private girl stuff there?  If by "girl stuff" you mean Anne Boleyn then...yeah).  Get ready!

o hai!

After their beheadings, Anne Boleyn and her brother George were tossed into some graves under the floor of St. Peter ad Vincula.  I am not really sure about the status of that kind of burial.  It wasn't total dishonor (like having your head left on a bridge for your spiteful ex to sneer at from his window), but a queen in good favor naturally wouldn't have been put there. 

As they do, the church fell into some disrepair in the centuries following Anne's death.  A restoration effort was taken during the 19th century, at which time the graves beneath the floors were opened.  It had always been known that Anne and her...family were in there (not only brother George but cousin Catherine as well), so I am not exactly sure why they were disinterred and can only attribute this to Victorian morbid curiosity.  The opening of the floor led to the realization that a bunch of regular  townspeople had been placed there along with the Boleyns and various other nobles over the years. 

It was at this point that they realized they really didn't know which of the skeletons belonged to Anne, having only a 16th century map and a jumble of corpses to go by.  Since a lot of bodies had been shifted around as they added new ones (apparently they would bash up old coffins and shove bones to the side to get new ones in), it was anyone's guess whether the female skeleton in the general area of Anne's X on the map was really her.  Hm, no sixth fingers or tails in here.  Get out the Victorian forensics!  Victorian forensics: "Eh...thiiis one."  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was just a kid when this happened, so he wasn't around to help.

Couldn't they have looked for trauma to the vertebra?  Not that beheaded skeletons were in short supply at St. Peter's.  Anyway, they picked the most likely female skeleton, slapped a tag on it reading AB 1536 :/ (jk, I don't know what the tag says), put her in a nice box, and back under the floor she went.

It seems like they could settle this situation with a little DNA testing.  Anne's sister Mary had children, and surely some of their descendents are living today.  Then again, would anyone care about this other than myself and Suzannah Lipscomb?  Of course they would!  This is important.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Party


My grandma was always a great fan of holidays and parties and decorated her entire house for Christmas.  Streamers and stockings and lights and cookies, cakes, food and crap everywhere.  This photo of her parents at Christmas on the farm helps to explain that.  I would place this picture around 1918.  Unlike other holidays, the most recognizable elements of American Christmas celebrations have changed very little. 

Crepe paper decor was such a big deal back then.  Not sure, but I think the Dennison's catalogs pretty much invented using it to decorate for parties, or at least made it popular to.  They're good for ideas when you want to decorate your Victorian palace in the most authentic way.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jane Eyre in Film, 1

I have queued every film adaptation of Jane Eyre that Netflix has, because why wouldn't I?  It may impress you to know that there are eight, all of which I plan to watch.  No, nine if you count the one with Timothy Dalton, which I reluctantly do.

So far, my favorite is the 2006 BBC miniseries.  It's extremely loyal to the book and to the descriptions of the characters.  I cannot say the same for the 1944 Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine film, which takes obnoxious license with the story, but is ultimately still watchable.  It also stars a young Elizabeth Taylor as Jane's only school friend, who dies.  I would say spoiler alert, but this book was published 165 years ago; you're on your own.


The Welles version was done while he was still young and babely, frankly too babely to be a convincing Rochester, but he makes up for this with his gruff, barky demeanor and reluctant smile.  Joan Fontaine was also too pretty to play a believable Jane, but we make do.  Unfortunately, she portrays a totally boring Jane, who simpers around seeming weak instead of interesting and willful.  The film shows a protracted view of Jane's unfortunate childhood, and we see just how terrible Lowood was.  Almost more terrible, in fact, than is described in the book.  This movie is all about how sad Jane is and how lucky she is to be rescued by a strange yelling man, rather than how resilient she is and how she rescues him, as CB had it.


Maybe I'm being too hard on this film because I've seen it done better.  For an era that produced some intolerable period pieces and adaptations, it is not terrible.  Also, Agnes Moorehead plays Jane's bitch aunt, three years after playing the crappy abandoning mother in Citizen Kane.  At this time, she seems to have been typecast as the plain domestic failure who knows she sucks but can't seem to do anything about it.  Thank god she showed everyone what the fuck was up later on Bewitched.

In closing, I just saw this on tumblr.  The tag!  Ah, the internet is for everyone. 



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Only this.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Astrology Drama


I picked up a 1972 copy of Linda Goodman's Sun Signs at the Salvation Army recently, and in my boredom* began to peruse the truths of my personality.

According to Linda, I am basically Elizabeth Taylor's character in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but younger.  Linda also thinks I'm blonde, or at least should be blonde, on account of the lion thing.  Be the lion.  Kill the people.  Get the attention.  Ask if you are the prettiest.  These are the things that keep Leos busy on a weekday.

As if that weren't bad enough, I also found out that I have had my rising sign wrong for approximately two decades.  Yes, two decades.  Astrology was around when I was growing up, ok?  My great-grandmother saved my horoscope from the day I was born for me to read later.  I did.  It said, "You are kind of a bitch, but it's not your fault. Also you have long flowing hair."  I wish I still had it.

Calculating your own rising sign before there were websites to do it for you involved flipping through large tomes of dates, and lining up your birth day with your birth time on a huge slanted chart.  The lines from one sign to the next are very fine in some cases, and I guess Liz made a mistake, because I just found out that I am a rising sign of Sagittarius, and not Capricorn.  That's a big deal, guys!  Your rising sign is supposed to be more personal, the "inner you," and as an angry teen, I took solace in Capricorn's weird, antisocial, uncool style.  Capricorn is measured, sensitive and real, not a name-dropping high flying bastard with frosted hair.  Finally!  I thought.  Something that sounds more like me!  Astrology is real!

So just imagine the blow to my self-identity to find out that I am not a lion-goat, but a lion-archer.  Is that cooler?  It sounds cooler.  I am ruled by Jupiter!  Jupiter is the big one that Tori Amos wrote about on Boys for Pele.  Apparently Sagittarians are jovial and merry and always say the wrong thing, too high on life to realize they've insulted people.  Also not me.  I always know, or often or usually know, when I have insulted someone.

I will continue to explore the Sagittarius in the future, but I think Linda and I are over. 

__
* I have a 25 page paper due tomorrow.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Of all the things to like.

This 90s retro explosion is just getting confusing at this point.  It seems like the window of time passage is becoming ever shorter before music and fashions return as retro.  Personally, I feel that we need to reach back much farther than this.  Skip a generation or two.  Like that moment in mid-70s fashion in which some dresses and hairstyles were looking distinctly early century. What could be better than that?  Answer: nothing.

The funny thing about 80s and early 90s fashion nostalgia is that all people looked terrible during these years.  I thought we were all on board with that fact.  I think romantics (or post-80s children) have simply un-remembered all of the wretched details that made the fashion of those eras a total blight upon human history.  Yes, yes, Madonna's jacket in Desperately Seeking Susan was totally cool, but do you remember side ponytails on grown women, or stirrup pants?  There were men in tight stonewashed jeans and net shirts, and they weren't kidding.  I feel that every school/childhood picture of me is ruined by the horrible fashions of the day.  I almost can't even enjoy how awful it is because it is actually too awful.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot that I enjoy from the era.  Extremely busy floral prints layered all over each other!  Dark matte lipstick!  Janeane Garafolo in Reality Bites!  Floral or glittery Doc Martens!  Bikini Kill on stage in ugly taffeta 80s prom dresses, which seemed like such a genius idea at the time.  When super short babydoll dresses and t-strap shoes seemed boundary-pushing instead of just like some kind of burlesque baby fetish costume.  Fishnets that came in every color.  I'm ok with all of that. 

What I'm trying to say is that I watched a video today and could not tell if it was a current artist or an old ass song from the early 90s.  I had to Wikipedia this person to figure it out.  It is a new song.




Obviously, I have always been more interested in the eras of dead people than I have been in my own.  When I was 12, it was Victorian everything.  Then it was the 1940s.  Then the 20s.  Then the 60s.  Now the 10s and 30s.  My dad, apparently grown weary of all the fun I was having with this, once tried to snip at me about how things only seem nice from a distance, but they actually weren't that great to experience.  To that I said, no shit.  Just because I enjoy the craftsmanship of antique furniture, bygone design styles and Glenn Miller doesn't mean I yearn for a day before civil rights, birth control and indoor toilets.  Get realllllllll

But then I find myself thinking the same thing about this 80s/90s explosion.  Do you guys even understand how unappealing this shit looked in context?  People wore jeans that were tailored more like sweatpants.  Shoulder pads.  Boxy suits.  Blue eyeshadow with abandon.  Perms.  The movie Roadhouse being an authentically cool thing instead of an ironic cable tv cult classic.  Do you understand?  As Roast Beef would say, This is not a thing to like. 

Oh whatever.  Kids can like what they want.  Like I care.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daria addresses the desert oasis

Finally, as I begin to seriously consider prospects that will take me out of Arizona, I have grown a tentative affinity for Phoenix.  Not for all of Phoenix, but for other-Phoenix - that is, Downtown.  The place where everyone assumes you're a Democrat, where drag queens operate frybread food trucks, and where completely different lives cross paths without much notice from anyone.  I really kind of love the weird juxtaposition of watching homeless people leaving shelters in the morning crossing the paths of shiny young college babes.  The sum of conflict is a wary sideways glance from each.

It's not perfect.  It's not even that great!  But I think I could actually be happy in Phoenix if I moved downtown and stayed there in my baby bubble of museums, galleries, farmer's markets, ancient delis, coffee shops, broken sidewalks and unexpected bits of interest.  It's gentrified, but, you guys - not that much.  I was walking down 5th Street today thinking, "Damn. This shit looks way better at night!"  Little bungalows lean with sagging porches and cracked bricks.  Spraypaint murals aren't exactly architectural improvements.  All the yards are dead, and Depression-era driveways open onto vast chain-linked dirt fields, the missing homes razed decades ago.  It is a kind of dry, blasted out charm. 

There's a lot of Phoenix that I do like, but each is a tiny pocket interspersed throughout hundreds of miles of irredeemable wasteland.  I love my grandma's house, and particular streets.  I love parts of north central, and certain buildings, and certain alleys or spots by the canal where old wind-breaking farm trees still live in the city.  I love sunny cold days when the entire fucking city is glinting in spite of its featureless gloom.  I like knowing where everything is, even if I don't care where it is. 

I've hated Phoenix since I was old enough to realize that other places aren't like this.  Like a reincarnated baby who remembers half of its old life, I felt distinctly screwed by living here.  No weather!  No seasons!  No architecture!  No history!  What are you supposed to do with this place?  It's so antiseptic, so staged, and the more other people love the strip malls stretching to the horizons, the more I hate the city.  And the people! I may have been treated to special breeds of desert rebels (guys in ZZ Top beards who call you madam without irony?  being taught to ride by a failed rodeo star? fine.) growing up, and they still weren't enough to stem the crush of human-shaped crap that populates every inch of this place.

I asked my grandmothers why they moved here.  My Grammy came here to follow my grandma.  They fetishized the warmth after years of Montana winters.  My other grandma came here for a man.  She had to leave Iowa or die, her doctor said, for the dampness that already lived in her lungs.  So she went to Santa Fe, where she went on a blind date which brought her here.  "Never thought of leaving after, eh?"  I jeered, resentfully.  No she never thought of leaving, she said.  One dull summer vacation day, when I was lying half on her coffee table and half on her couch, watching Bob Ross paint a winter scene on an antique circular saw blade, she said, "Change it!  I've seen enough snow drifts to last me a lifetime!"  I thought of the inches of frost that accumulated inside her freezer.  Like that?

I like enjoying the city for what it is, when I can.  Certain bits of research mean more to me because I'm from here, and I know that.  I love historic photos of the big empty valley, with only natural characteristics to identify it.  I visited the Luhrs room at ASU the other day to look for some things and came across a lot of early shots of Phoenix in the teens by Albert Ross, I think.  I took surreptitious, poor phone photos of the few that appealed to something deep and nativeish in me.

 Child swimming in the canal, 1924.  This one really gets me.

Praying Monk. 

Kids playing in the street at 7th st. & Van Buren.  Probably Monroe students.  The street looks so narrow. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh, Jean

I never understood the allure of Jean Harlow.  I couldn't quite make the connection between descriptions of her and the woman I saw onscreen.  Although she's commonly described as the most molten thing to come out of old Hollywood, all I saw was a sad-eyed girl with a sweet face and too-blonde hair.  She seemed out of place.  This was supposed to be the sex banshee who haunted the souls of a million Delano-era men? I had envisioned someone more like Raquel Welch instead of a small voiced and smaller-statured woman whose childlike features and pouting lips had earned her the lifelong nickname of "The Baby".

In movies, she's almost always the put-upon, resentful side dish who gets elbowed out of the way when the Loy type comes sweeping in to win the prize man.  She's the vampy secretary, the blowsy blonde, the tacky poor girl, the one who gets put down as soon as she's picked up.  She's vulnerable, yet resilient. 

I have a feeling that seeing her onscreen is to see her out of context.  I think that her real power, perhaps something akin to those breathless descriptions, was rooted entirely in her interpersonal behavior.  I assume this because I've read a number of items in which men and former lovers like James Stewart or Bill Powell share their recollections of her, which frankly are a bit breathless and awed.  James Stewart called her "all woman," which is something he would say, and then made coy references to her generally braless state and the way this went over in a silk sheath dress.  He later said that he realized that he had never been "really" kissed until they filmed the car scene in Wife vs. Secretary together. Well, it is a memorable scene. 

Paying closer attention to her has caused me to shift my perceptions completely, and not only do I love her, but I think I understand the sex witch characterizations.  She played women honestly and never seemed like a caricature as so many other female characters were at this time.  She always seemed like a real person, and managed to place her sexuality at the forefront in a way that was unashamed, affecting, and yet subtle.  But most importantly, she was a great comedienne with excellent timing and perfect expression.

In her private life, she seems to have been an intelligent and genuine person who was not much impressed with fame or Hollywood, and who didn't much resemble her characters in behavior.  She spoke in a measured and thoughtful way and carried a book with her always.  Myrna Loy called her "a sensitive woman with a great deal of self-respect."  She had a tumultuous few years of stardom, which included multiple marriages including a farcical two month marriage to Paul Bern, who shot himself in their bedroom, leaving a bleak and mysterious suicide note.  His ex-girlfriend killed herself by jumping from a ship the following day.  Jean died five years later at 26 years old from kidney failure, apparently resultant of undiagnosed complications following a childhood bout of scarlet fever. Because she was so young, her illness was underestimated in its first stages so that it was too late when doctors finally figured out that her kidneys were failing.  Hollywood legend credits Clark Gable with leading doctors to the diagnosis after he reported to them a strange odor emanating from Jean's body as she lay in the hospital bed.  Harlow and Gable were self-professed BFFs who had worked together in a string of movies during her short career.  Gable had a lot of blonde trouble in his life, as I may have mentioned in one of my 17 Carole Lombard posts, and later with poor self-destructing MM, still unfairly blamed for his death. 

Here is an interesting article written by Hollywood reporter Adela Rogers St. Johns about the Bern suicide aftermath.  Her writing style is weird - schizophrenically baroque, well written, melodramatic, dark, and speculative.


Photo: Edwin Bower Hesser

Friday, November 16, 2012

Woops, nevermind / write time

Eh?  I'm going to keep writing some stuff here too.  Why, because I am an adult and I do what I want.

I'm very wrapped up in atmosphere and how it affects my mood.  Small things will agitate me and prevent me from doing the thing I have set out to do.  It's all very princess and the pea.  I am constantly having to maintain some kind of ambient environment for myself, otherwise I will just...leave.  So basically that means I dislike using Wordpress as well and don't like that blog.

Also, a very sweet 92 year old woman has contacted me based on a post I wrote there about a school that she attended in the 1920s, and now we are email pals.  She's so sincere and grandmotherly and charming and sweet and signs her emails with, "I hope you have a good day," and just emailed me to tell me to have a happy Thanksgiving.  How can I make my vulgar observations about life there now, when I know she might see it?  She's my new grandma!  That's not really why, I do really dislike using Wordpress too, and I feel like this fussiness is just going to end up with me writing to myself in Gmail drafts.

So now I have three blogs.  One is academic, for my internship and my mentor.  One is, I guess, going to become my "professional" blog in which I comment sans vulgarity about local historic architecture bizzle dizzle.  And this.

I have a hard time identifying the voice in which I am most comfortable writing.  I envy people who are able to dissect parts of their own lives into beautiful prose.  I'm much too private for that, and cryptic references to elements of personal experiences never come off well.  You either talk or you don't.

I haven't been writing much of anything, in spite of having all these blogs and all.  The less I write, the worse I get at it.  Writing frequently never feels like the success it kind of is, however, because for every thousand throwaway ugly lines, there are only a few to keep.  There are things I've been trying to write about for years, my relationship with my mother, my feelings about adulthood, the BBC "Victorian House" series...that I just can't elucidate. 

The only reason I came over to this thing was to document this: one of the greatest, most concise summaries of Truman Capote just came out of Caitlin Moran in a New Yorker interview.  Talking about other writers she admires, she says, "Truman Capote, for the ruthless way he hones and hones pages until there's no grit, no snags - the whole thing just floats off the page, like blossoms floating upwards."

Cait!  So poetic! Such a perfect and delightful way to talk about the constant revision that distills into a concise, refined and very short finished product. 

I had to turn a rough draft in recently for peer editing, and had spent all of my preparation time raking over and over the few paragraphs I had managed to bang out in one sitting.  I turned in seven pages of the expected twenty-five and called it a success when the professor (whom I love, like, love-love) told me it was "beautifully written," and then something about being very wanting in length, but I was still ruminating on the beautiful part.
Truman Capote, for the ruthless way he hones and hones pages until there’s no grit, no snags—the whole thing just floats off the page, like blossom falling upwards.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/11/interview-with-caitlin-moran.html#ixzz2CSAacCD6
Truman Capote, for the ruthless way he hones and hones pages until there’s no grit, no snags—the whole thing just floats off the page, like blossom falling upwards.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/11/interview-with-caitlin-moran.html#ixzz2CSAacCD6
Truman Capote, for the ruthless way he hones and hones pages until there’s no grit, no snags—the whole thing just floats off the page, like blossom falling upwards.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/11/interview-with-caitlin-moran.html#ixzz2CSAacCD6
Truman Capote, for the ruthless way he hones and hones pages until there’s no grit, no snags—the whole thing just floats off the page, like blossom falling upwards.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/11/interview-with-caitlin-moran.html#ixzz2CSAacCD

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This blog is herewith 2tally ov

I hath removed to Wordpress, because Blogger has become intolerably buggy.  I cannot live like this!

History rambles will continue at

http://boudledidge.wordpress.com/


Monday, October 1, 2012

WWJMD?

It's John Muir Day*.  If it weren't for him, Yosemite and other protected places would probably be paved over and full of Walmarts and 1980s apartment complexes.

In a time when Manifest Destiny was the holy inspiration that justified violating every natural and indigenous thing from Illinois to the Pacific coast, as well as naively believing that the natural resources of America were "a million times infinity," Muir envisioned cordoning off natural areas of exceptional beauty or interest so that they could remain in their pure state, hopefully forever.  You know, so that people could experience them rather than try to figure out a way to sell them.

Congress ended up following almost all of his recommendations for protecting Yosemite, something that is unimaginable today.  "Who let Father Time in?" "That's John Muir, the guy who's been spamming us from the forest!"  (paraphrased)

I also enjoy his crazy inventions, such as with the alarm and pulley system that pulled him from his bed at 3 in the morning during his adolescent years.  16 hour workdays on the family farm afforded no spare time to study academics, but little JM wanted to go to college.  The punishing effects of his day laboring made it extremely difficult for him to rouse himself on his own.  The alarm system afforded him an hour to study in the mornings, and he did finally enroll at Wisconsin-Madison when he was 22. 

Also,
look how cute he was!!!

~*~

*John Muir Day isn't really a thing, but the anniversary of Yosemite's protection was yesterday so it just seems right, or would if I had posted this yesterday.  


Welp apparently jk, there IS a John Muir day, but it's on his birthday, and the only people who observe it are...The Sierra Club.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Catfaire

I started volunteering at a cat shelter.  I quickly learned several things:

1. There really are crazy cat people
2. Despite my enjoyment of cats, I am not one of them
3. Just because you are not allergic to one cat doesn't mean you won't be allergic to 20 cats
4. Crazy cat people are fucking crazy

My favorite is Cupcake, a tiny ghostly gray thing with the most outgoing personality I have ever seen in an animal.  She is extremely affectionate and likes to climb up my back to lay across my neck like a catfur stole.  I let this happen for a couple of seconds until I get nervous, because...she bites.



I love her, but her name is stupid.  Cupcake.  I would probably name her Mary Pickford.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I've finally learned not to share news prematurely. 

Instead I write cryptic little shit that I can look back on later and say, "A ha! That."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Demasiado

It's a Fuck You Saturday.

If you are cool in any way, then you know about Achewood's Fuck You Fridays.  No?

HERE http://achewood.com/index.php?date=09122008
HERE http://achewood.com/index.php?date=09212007
HERE http://achewood.com/index.php?date=05112007

You're welcome.  Now it's up to you to figure out what Judas Priest Friday is.  Trust me, it's better than FYF.  Oh fine here it is.


Anyway, on this Fuck You Saturday, I am saying fuck you to the entire world, existence, consciousness, America, school, and anything that I don't specifically like right now.

I just explored this a little via email with my bff, but she's biking across the country right now and I'm keeping the word count reduced to short bursts so she doesn't wreck her bike reading it.  I could never text while riding a bike.  Kids!

My problem is the feeling of suffocating personal guilt that comes with slacking off.  I'm always reading these articles or blurbs about how Americans are too results-driven, too busy, too obsessed with cramming productivity into every second of the day.  Obviously, this is not descriptive of ALL Americans, but it is part of the general ethic here.  We're expected to be raring to work until we literally die.  I've had plenty of jobs where the employer expects their employees to be frenetically active throughout the entire work day, and continually piles unreasonable amounts of work on them, creating a frantic, tortured environment in which people are constantly afraid of being fired because they can't do the work of three people without making mistakes.

That kind of environment conditioned me to believe that not being absolutely harried by my workload somehow meant I wasn't getting anything done.  Work wasn't work unless it was accompanied by stress.  It's taken me a year to cycle out of that mentality and feel satisfied with my current working style.  Fuck you, old job!  The last thing I'll say about that is if you have ever fantasized about telling a particularly awful employer to righteously fuck themselves on your last day of work, DO IT.  You'll never regret it.  I wrote an email to my old boss that was so spectacularly horrible, he threatened to sue me.  Probably because I cc'ed the entire company on it.  Do I regret that?  OF COURSE NOT IT WAS AWESOME.

The point of all of this is that I have a lot of shitty and boring things on my to-do list.  I'm not doing any of those things today because I do not feel like it, which means I now feel guilty and bad, like I am breaking a law.  I seriously cannot wait until school is over and I can just work like a normal human being and then do whatever the hell I want for the rest of my day.  School better fuck off unless it wants its own nasty email.

Instead of all that, tonight I am drawing pictures for my new ~professional blog~ while listening to Norwegian satanic black metal covers of Beatles songs.  Because it's Fuck You Saturday, and I do what I want. 

TLDR:
1. Americans are torturing themselves and others as usual
2. The memory of telling my old employer off still sweetly tucks me into bed at night sometimes
3. I'm slackin' off and drawing a coat of arms for my futureself,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

HP HBIC

It's the 1895 Charles Pugh House.


Queen Anne style.  I have read on the internets that it was a "bordello," but have yet to find any real corroboration for that.  (Every old house/hotel/anything was allegedly once a speakeasy or a brothel and I just feel like, make with the sources or GTFO)  It was a rooming house from the 1930s to the 1970s, and in the 1990s it was a restaurant, or a series of restaurants.  That was its last iteration, and I think it has been vacant for at least 10 years, probably more.  My grandmother just told me that my great-grandmother, a real estate agent, sold this house to one of the restauranteurs about 25 years ago.  wtf mate.

Gossip indicates that it's owned by two very old sisters who think it is worth $$$$$$, which may be why they're still holding onto it.  If they thought it was worth so much, you'd think they'd maintain it.  It might actually be, then.  They probably just mean the land, of course.  Bitches.

Well, I'm glad to know the basics.  It's one of like, two? or three Queen Annes remaining in the city and is foremost among the most endangered historic properties we have. 

I didn't prowl around it today because I was running late, however I will definitely be skulking in the future, and I have the remaining survivor Victorians on my list as well. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Knipe House Update

December 2011

Front


Back

Oh, remember?  There was a fire.

Today:

Front. No more second floor.

Back. Phone camera doesn't zoom. Click on it.



The latter pictures are kind of gigantic, so closeups can be had.

Here's an article from April about the house.  Not much info, but it's the most recent I have seen.  Excerpt from a 2010 article:

"I’ve often thought that preservationists have a 'sixth sense' about buildings and sites.  They’re able to see the incredible 'after' in looking at the dirty, drab, and dilapidated 'before.' (DUH! -AUTHOR) Yes, the Knipe House is looking forlorn, but I remember Barbara Stocklin, our city’s historic preservation officer, saying that it is structurally sound but does need a new roof."

I think the press from this restoration will make Knipe much more well-known in Phoenix.  I'm seeing his name here and there in my researching of other stuff.  He drew the plans for ASU's old Industrial Arts building, and I think the 3 remaining PUHSD buildings on Monroe, around 6th.  See post-renovation photos at the bottom of their Wikipedia entry.  A delightful woman I know from the museum world got to go into those buildings 5+ years ago before they were renovated, and would only describe the interior with sounds.  "Peh! Ew! Uh uh!"  I wish I could have seen inside them!  Why do I only like moldering, fucked up stuff?  Picture of me.

Anyway, the same architect (Norman Marsh) designed all the PUHSD buildings, the Industrial Arts building, and the Monroe School, which is the subject of my research, so I am trying to find out if Knipe worked on it as well. 

OOOOOOOOH! Fun.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dear World,

You are cruel.  Andrew Eldritch was right to say so. 

For only in a horrible place does this happen, in a desert so sadly deficient in historical properties of interest:


Do you notice the scalloped siding?  It is pink and purple.

The front yard is all concretey, and there is a very primitive and ugly add-on to the back that looks like a kitchen.  I'm thinking this was a rooming house, or some kind of commercial property, once.  I was going to explore the front area some more, but a guy was asleep behind the planter, so, maybe later.  You can see his knee in the shot. 

The sadder thing about finding a loner like this, so strange yet partially invisible between parking lots and modernity, is that it was once simply part of a neighborhood.  Rows and rows of pretty little Victorian houses once stood on the site where I routinely lose my car in a confusing garage. 

Old photos of the R*ss*n House (someone local found this blog while searching for the house recently and it alarararmed me because I don't want some 75 year old docent who thinks I'm a nice young lady to be reading this blog!  What good is a life unless you can bitch about it free of ramifications!  Double life.  Anyway, a picture of "that other Victorian house in Phoenix" from the 19-teens showed streets of similarly-outfitted two-story Victorians behind it, heading down what I guess was 6th Street from Monroe. 

Some piece of shit (generations of them) systematically knocked down every one of those to put up something commonplace, ugly, and unnecessary.  The Mercado is now part of ASU Downtown, but what about the other twenty-five years it sat empty and worthless?  Glad we lost irreplaceable pieces of history for that.  (I realize those houses were probably knocked down like 3 decades before the Mercado was built but that is not the POINT.)  I would make a comment about how these practices only drag the city down, but no one in this town one cares anyway.  They love their strip malls; they prefer them! 

Anyway, this house is on 2nd Ave, south of Fillmore.  Or, next to hipster travesty the Crescent Ballroom.

It's probably full of unpleasantness in the form of arachnids and/or crack users, but I would so like to go inside.  Actually, it looks pretty well sealed up.  Later on I'll research the address and see what it was.

ETA: It was a restaurant in the 90s.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Caitlin Moran on Lady Gaga

"Ultimately, I think it's going to be very difficult to oppress a generation of teenage girls who've grown up with a liberal, literate, bisexual pop star who shoots fireworks out of her bra and was listed as Forbes magazine's seventh most powerful celebrity in the world."

Indeed.

I sort of missed the whole Lady Gaga introduction to the world, because I don't listen to contemporary pop music ever or follow it in any way.  But then I saw her on the Oprah channel (I love the Oprah channel fuck. YOU!) and realized that she's a totally awesome rad mensch re: using her celebrity to further the progress of a multitude of extremely relevant causes.  So, now I like her.  Her music is not really my steeze, but she does have a pretty great voice.

And I agree with Caitlin.  Unless you are a complete fucking idiot, Lady Gaga's message is 100% positive and extra valuable because it is reaching so many people at once.  She is relentlessly pro-gay rights, pro-female body image, pro-anything denigrated, made fragile or under attack by the dominant culture or hysterical political factions.  It's amazing to me, nearly unbelievable, that someone can be sincere about their intent and the image they project and still rise to the top of the one of the most superficial industries in the world, but I guess people just really like dance music. 


And that's what's going on with that shit.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Damn.

I started work at another museum specifically because I want to learn practical crap like MONEY: HOW TO GET.  Grant research, development, proposal writing, etceterah.  Most museums are non-profits and it seems like a lot of small museums are suffering unnecessarily.  I picked this museum because they are utilizing really intelligent money-getting strategies, and manage to grow each year instead of wither.  Such smart choices I make!  I'm gonna learn, champion-style!

But then I heard that someone on the development team (oh god I should make this entire blog pw protected) was given the task of researching the history of the building and generally maintaining what collection of artifacts there is.  as in the stuff that I actually like to do.  Not surprisingly, the research consisted of no research, and I have no idea where their archives are, but I am picturing a moldy, half-open cardboard box wedged between industrial sized boxes of coffee stirrers in the basement. 

It's not a history museum and their mission doesn't have much to do with communicating the history of the building.  Fine.  The person given this job has a full desk, and is a money dude, so I get it.  But after learning of this, and seeing the insane way their digital collections were stored on the server, I just kind of said,

"I think I'm just gonna work on this?  Yeah.  Can I...clean this?  Instead.  Ok."

And that's what I've been doing since.  This is kind of a fail because that's not why I'm there, but I can't help it.  My work activities will be entirely self-directed for a couple of weeks due to my little mentor being at a conference, and I doubt I'm going to choose researching the charitable giving history of Bancorp over obsessively researching and providing correct citation for old photos.

The latter one is the more fun activity, in case it is not immediately obvious.

So!  I have been reacquainting myself with the available local resources.  They are many, and are available to everyone. 

ASU Libraries - Arizona Collection.  Lots of stuff, most of it not online.  That's cool, you can go down to Hayden, get your little cotton gloves on, and see it in person.  It's more fun.
www.chroniclingamerica.com - US newspapers 1836-1922!  Radical resource.  They're adding more each year, but there's already a decent amount of Arizona papers. 
Arizona State Archives
Burton Barr Arizona Room  Lots of great books in there, but they have a nice photo collection.  Might have to go in or ax the archivist.
Arizona Historical Society archives - Never been here, I think they are recataloging things right now.

There are more, of course.

Apropos of nothing, someone told me there are several ghosts in the building.  I never respond when people matter-of-factly inform me of random preternatural shit, because you never know where they're coming at it from.  Also, I have noticed that my typical response of OH NO WAY TELL ME EVERYTHING usually makes them back down about talking about it.  So I just look at them and wait.  Still waiting.

Monday, August 20, 2012

And I don't care who knows it.

Tired Old Queen at the Movies, youtube superstar.

He reviews the classicest of the classic 40s-50s hits, Born Yesterday, Ball of Fire, Giant, Now, Voyager, and everything in between.  He has his favorites, and luckily, they are mine too.



He does Born Yesterday in this episode, which is a delightful, subtle comedy that is somehow ridiculous without being too overt.  Judy Holliday is the best ever, and even though Jean Arthur was another baby-voiced, absurdly-funny comedienne, she's too little and refined to have played the big (personalitied) blonde ex-chorusgirl from NYC.  There are so many parts of this movie that I love that I am probably an intolerable watching-partner.  Leaning forward, chin on my fists, "This part is SOOO funny WATCH WATCH HA HA!" 

Anyway, this guy does a really great Bette Davis impression.  Look for the over-35 Bette in his portrayal.  When he says "Tired old queen...at the moviess," in clipped tones while rapidly blinking his eyes...that's her.  There she is!  Uncanny.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wilhelms

Last week I stayed at the Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams, Arizona.  Built in 1891, it is allegedly the oldest functioning hotel in Arizona.  It was the only place I could find with a room to let, and I am so glad.  I love it.  John Muir stayed there many times; I wonder if he ever stayed in my room?


As I have said, I prefer historic buildings to be a little threadbare, a little dirty, a little unrenovated.  I have a very Grey Gardens aesthetic, minus the cat pee.  This place ran through the 1970s, went out of business, and sat empty for almost 40 years (a "home for pigeons," they said) before the current management bought and "renovated" it.  By renovated, they mean they fixed the sewer, water lines, some electricity, and painted.  The wood floors are still 1891, almost completely worn of finish.  They didn't refinish the floors!  They are so creaky.  The banister is chipped and worn and you can see at least 4 different paint colors on it.  The rooms are furnished with all period furniture, including antique books on the bedside for casual perusal (I did, and was offended!).

I wrote this at the time and never posted it:

I am sitting on a small, squeaky brass bed, looking at a primitive walnut dresser/vanity on which is a 19th century vanity kit complete with hair-receiver and boot button hook!  A BUTTON HOOK.  The hotel is filled with early photographic portraits, some of which have faded so much that they may not be visible in another 25 years.  Needless to say, I am much pleased.  If my next door neighbor didn't have tuberculosis (not Doc Holliday or Val Kilmer so fuck them), this would be perfect.




People hate old portraits of babies and kids.  Why?  Because they look like killer dolls?  I'm over it.


Copyright: the twenties

The only time that "bathroom down the hall" thing sucks is when you're walking through this darkened area at 4 am with your hands out in front of you thinking, now is seriously not the time for any paranormal shit, plz/thx.

When I was a child, I read a weird horror story called "The Newel Post" about a newel post that anthropomorphized at night and, I don't remember, scared people.  Every time I see any class of a banister post, I think of the story.





Peeling mirrors, I prefer them


*Button hooks were necessary in Victoriana when super tight, heavily buttoned garments were en vogue.  A woman's boot could have up to 24 tiny buttons to fasten.  The buttons were small and the material was quite stiff, so the slender hook was used to reach into the button hole, grab that button, and pull it through.  Same with gloves and some men's items.  They must be a collector favorite, because I never see them around anywhere.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More About the Internet

Ironically, I judge people by how much time they spend online.  This is part of my ongoing "What the fuck is happening?!" slow roll freakout reaction to the internet.  I tend to view these people as suckers who either don't know how to disentangle themselves from the doubtlessly banal, pointless or sad things they must be doing online (getting into political arguments on reddit, looking at photos of their exes on Facebook, self-diagnosing on webmd, or...gaming*), or as people whose lives are shitty enough that the internet is preferable.

How do I explain my own presence on the web?  First of all, blow me, you don't know me.  Secondly, I am taking online classes, and thirdly, my best friends in the world all live far away, and how else am I supposed to communicate with them?  If those sound like bullshit excuses, it's because they are.  Also, the online class thing only works on older people.  Older people who won't ask questions like, "Oh, are your classes on Pinterest?"

I'm as guilty as anyone else of being too present on the internet.  The longer this goes on, the more normal it seems, and while I think I am probably only middling on the spectrum of internet-loserdom (somewhere, someone just leapt a horse over a fence or is Jeremiah Johnsoning it up in the wilderness, but someone somewhere else is on their (his, who are we kidding) 7th consecutive hour of World of Warcraft), I don't want to sink any lower.  That's why I'm no longer participating in any new sites that one has to join.  I sure hope nothing cool gets developed, because I am not signing up for it.  I think there are a lot of undetectable, negative side effects to the internet.  Comparing oneself to others is an ancient human favorite when it comes to self-damaging activities, and now it is possible to compare yourself to EVERYONE IN THE WORLD.  Wondering if you are attractive?  You're not, here are photos of 178,000 people who prove this.  Feeling like a champ because you made the Dean's List?  What a child.  Forget evaluating yourself against your classmates, friends or family to figure out who is having the best time; that's small time nickel and dime, as the greatest rapper of all time would say.  The sky is the limit for finding people who are better than you are.  There are people who are so much more successful than you are that your lame, second-rate brain can't even comprehend the magnitude of your whateverness. 

I also find this culture of display to be really weird.  You know damn well that most times a camera comes out at an event or on a trip, it's because they're already envisioning posting that shit on their Facebook or blog.  Yeah, they probably want to remember the moment, but they really want to share it with people who had no part in it.  I think they want to portray an enviable, constantly-interesting, well-turned-out life.  I guess anyone would want that, but really, that much?  I believe that most of these people who carefully craft their online images are actually unfulfilled, possibly unhappy people seeking to live vicariously through their own fictionalized lives.  Isn't it also fun to give no fucks about what people think about you, and to not be aware of what they think?  Yeah, I'm wearing an inside out Edgar Allan Poe shirt and my grandma's bra (story for another day); you have a problem?  If you do, guess what, don't care, and in all reality, probably don't know.  It's for the best!

I totally buy all of these alarmist articles on HuffPo about how the internet is eroding millenia of lessons about human interaction, self-perception, blah blah.  I read these articles on the internet.  I know. 

This brings me to my long-anticipated point.  I have spent a lot of time not on the internet this week, and have thereby discovered a type of productivity hitherto unknown to me.  Thereby and hitherto in the same sentence, are you still reading?  I have been cat-sitting at my grandmother's house.  She doesn't have cable.  She doesn't have wifi.  Her computer blows.  To entertain myself, I have been forced to do homework and read books, and it has kind of been the time of my life, within reason.  After three consecutive weeks of totally fucking off with my classes, I have completed a great deal of work.  I have read several books!  I wish I could say that I was also completing other tasks, but it's too hot and my S.A.D. is still in effect due to summer.

So basically, I have to figure out how to draw a strong line between me and the internet, because I would like to continue my newfound success, and really, I kind of hate being informed of what every person I know is doing all day long.  I experience guilt and embarrassment when posting to Facebook.  I am only really interested in what about 3 of my Facebook friends have to say.  Again, what is this life?!  I don't like enough other people to have signed myself up for a constantly rolling bottom ticker about their kids' first days of school or what they ate for dinner or all of their wrong political opinions!  No!  I don't need to read every blog and article, and I sure as hell don't need to read the comments on them.  A decent portion of my time online is spent saying shitty things to other people based on their wrongness, and while I generally stand behind this, in the end I am only giving myself a heart attack.  How many internet arguments have resolved with anything like, "Hey, I never thought about it that way! Thanks for your perspective! No hard feelings, pally!"  No.  They end with people trying to curse each other with their keyboards and telling each other that they hope the other gets hit by a bus in front of their family.  As someone who is genetically predisposed to being pissed off, I really don't need this shit.  I have plenty of things to be mad about all by myself without ever having to read what some fucking jag in Kentucky thinks about "the feminist agenda".

Obligatory commentary re: the internet isn't all bad: duh.  I understand that I would not be able to cook anything or find cheap textbooks or figure out where to go on vacation or know everything about anything without the internet.  I mean, I guess there are encyclopedias and recipe books, but I am on a schedule here.  I have made friends on the internet; good ones, too.  Anita and I met on Livejournal in 2001, and she is one of my best main-style buddies for life!  The internet allows me to commiserate with other people and/or learn that no one's life is necessarily going the way they want it to, which is apparently a necessary comfort.  Without the internet, I would not have Bitches Gotta Eat, Angeliska Gazette, Hark a Vagrant, Achewood, innumerable awesome podcasts, and the veritable universe of blogs written by middle aged gay men ostensibly for the main purpose of NEVER LETTING NORMA DESMOND DIE.  And I wouldn't have found my new 100% greatest life inspiration Caitlin Moran, or all of the other things I need in order to enjoy life.  I would still be able to send long, rambling letters to my best friends and to hear about their lives all the time, but this makes it faster.  So, great. 

But I'm seriously still going to scale it back.

--
*Obviously I have done all of these things, except gaming, because come on.  I think I left out what most people are actually doing online, though: PORN.  I forget about that one.

I seriously have to explain the grandma bra thing at some point just because I don't want that one dangling without clarification (not that it gets better!), but I have to go not be at a computer now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thoughts Upon Being a Grown Ass Man, Part I

Oh god, I must turn away from the internet at some point.  I'm obsessed with the idea of social networking profiles staying up forever, long after the person has died.  I hate the idea of this.  Digital memorials are chilling, disturbing, weird.  I don't want my last internet-words to remain published forever.  Hanging there like a wraith of yesterday, forever exclaiming about the obnoxiousness about Dr. Phil's twang.  

I like the idea that there is some anonymity in death.  Like it or not, death makes us quite unavailable; unavailable for conversation, and generally unavailable for perusal. 

I have actually considered including in a living will document the passwords to all of my internet personae, so that a trusted person may unplug them all!  Delete, delete, delete.  I will not undulate on the internet for eternity. 

But while we are all still alive, the pages of the past continue to fascinate me.  I have spent many days idly reading back through a friend's Livejournal lately.  It is five years of a girl; it ends in brilliant, masterful, absurdist accounts of a life, and descends back through the years into the everyday rambles of a grown child.  She stopped posting in 2009 or something, although she is around somewhere.  I read this journal and I can't get over how witty, how sharp, how sad, but how continuous it all is. 

Then I look to see what I was doing on some particular day in 2004, 2006, 2008, and am reminded of why this journal may not need to stand sentinel to my former days.  

---

little hell flames wrote,

i've fixed the hole in the crotch of my jeans with safety pins, just for the night.

i'm terrified, but so lazy.


  • 2 comments
---


The reason this came up, aside from the fact that I've been devouring her journal like a weird life manual written by a contemporary Los Angelean Charlotte Bronte, is because I can't remember my old Myspace password.  I haven't logged in in years, and none of my old passwords work.  Do you know what this worst thing ever is?  Having a hilarious password.  You can't tell anyone!  So I tried my old hilarious passwords and my not so hilarious passwords, and I'm locked out.  The email I used is old and defunct, so I can't retrieve it.  And my profile is public.

So there I am forever, for the rest of Myspace, dangling in my early 20s, scowling in bars, epitomizing all that I was then. 

I suppose it'll be all right.  I'm not a revisionist anyway.

gother, Myspacer dayz

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Now that damn cowboy is President." 1901


A bar room memory from Theodore Roosevelt's "An Autobiography," 1919:

   "The only time I ever had serious trouble was at an even more primitive little hotel than the one in question. It was also on an occasion when I was out after lost horses. Below the hotel had merely a bar-room, a dining-room, and a lean-to kitchen; above was a loft with fifteen or twenty beds in it. It was late in the evening when I reached the place. I heard one or two shots in the bar-room as I came up, and I disliked going in. But there was nowhere else to go, and it was a cold night. Inside the room were several men, who, including the bartender, were wearing the kind of smile worn by men who are making believe to like what they don't like. A shabby individual in a broad hat with a cocked gun in each hand was walking up and down the floor talking with strident profanity. He had evidently been shooting at the clock, which had two or three holes in its face.

  52
    He was not a "bad man" of the really dangerous type, the true man-killer type, but he was an objectionable creature, a would-be bad man, a bully who for the moment was having things all his own way. As soon as he saw me he hailed me as "Four eyes," in reference to my spectacles, and said, "Four eyes is going to treat." I joined in the laugh and got behind the stove and sat down, thinking to escape notice. He followed me, however, and though I tried to pass it off as a jest this merely made him more offensive, and he stood leaning over me, a gun in each hand, using very foul language. He was foolish to stand so near, and, moreover, his heels were close together, so that his position was unstable. Accordingly, in response to his reiterated command that I should set up the drinks, I said, "Well, if I've got to, I've got to," and rose, looking past him.

  53
    As I rose, I struck quick and hard with my right just to one side of the point of his jaw, hitting with my left as I straightened out, and then again with my right. He fired the guns, but I do not know whether this was merely a convulsive action of his hands or whether he was trying to shoot at me. When he went down he struck the corner of the bar with his head. It was not a case in which one could afford to take chances, and if he had moved I was about to drop on his ribs with my knees; but he was senseless. I took away his guns, and the other people in the room, who were now loud in their denunciation of him, hustled him out and put him in a shed. I got dinner as soon as possible, sitting in a corner of the dining-room away from the windows, and then went upstairs to bed where it was dark so that there would be no chance of any one shooting at me from the outside. However, nothing happened. When my assailant came to, he went down to the station and left on a freight."

So it basically went like THIS.

I love the stories of the tenderfoot nerd who flings himself into a wild west lifestyle after his civilized life falls apart.  It's what everyone wants to do, right?  I was surprised in one of my 19th century West classes when so many students said "oh hell no" when asked if they would have considered moving out in the 1860s, or whenever.  The myths of the West are so powerful and ridiculous, singing cowboys and conquering American gods and all.  They all seemed to wish to hang onto those whitewashed interpretations of history, yet still wouldn't go there themselves if they had the chance.  Contradictory and stupid, like much popular memory of the topic.

You can read TR's autobio online!  HERE.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Informative Post

Ugh, no one understands me.  Only the Cure's 1993 live version of A Night Like This understands me.


This is the best version of this song that exists.   I love every second of it in ways that I should love people, if novels be believed. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE

TEXTS FROM JANE EYRE

I just finished Jane Eyre the other night.  I'm not sure how I got around reading that 15 years ago, but I should have anyway.  I read such crap when I was young and impressionable!  Jesus, I'm surprised I'm not worse.  If I ran out of things to read back then, I'd just take something off my dad or stepmom's shelves.  That's how I first read Gone with the Wind.  She told me it was too adult for me, and I said I'll be the judge of that, p.s., you're not my mom (although I like you better). Later, I accidentally read a grocery store class of romance novel, because the cover had a woman in a historic looking dress (the part that the Byronic Fabio had still dangling in his teeth), and probably developed some confusing ideas.  Then I read some bad Dean Koontz novels about Hells Angels and killer blobs.  I guess it's better than what I would have gotten from my mother's shelves.  Autobiographies by Goldie Hawn or maybe Sally Field, and guides to Have Stronger Thighs in 30 Days!

So anyway.  Texts from Jane Eyre.

IS IT YOUR SEXY COUSIN
"ST. JOHN"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

JA says No

There are lots of days to choose from that could be representative of American Independence,  but John Adams (who really knows best, I would think) was planning on our celebrating the day on July 2, not 4.  The 2nd makes more sense as a momentous day, as it was when the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia to vote on a resolution of independence from Britain.

July 4 is when the Congress adopted Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, but it wasn't signed then.  There was no grand convention of guys applying their signature all at once; they just trickled in whenever, and most didn't sign until around August 2.

Right away, Adams had ideas about how the day should be celebrated, and naturally he told his wife all about it, writing two letters in one day.

___
July 3, 1776, AM:
     "Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, and as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and to do all the other acts and things which other states may rightfully do." You will see in a few days a declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man. A plan of confederation will be taken up in a few days."

July 3, 1776, PM:

     "The second day of July, 1776, will be memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations, as the great Anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever."
___

John; would you settle for hot dogs and blackouts?

Nevertheless, the 4th is the day that was adopted, because celebrating the Declaration apparently seemed like it had more gravity than the day on which the Congress was together and cast a unanimous vote to throw off their parent country.  I disagree, obviously.  But then, 50 years later, former and recently reconciled bffs John Adams and Thomas Jefferson managed to die on the same day, within hours of each other on July 4, 1826.  The coincidence is so strong that it seems quite relevant.  July 4 it is.

See here for the Massachusetts Historical Society's massive collection of Adams letters. 

And here is some exciting and appropriate music for the holiday.

You are a little soul carrying around a corpse

epictetus


Season of the Witch mixtape by Recspec.  No revelations, but enjoyable of arrangement.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rehab Addict

Rehab Addict is my new favorite tv show.

flickr user edition_of_one


This woman flips historic homes in Minneapolis, but before she puts them on the market, she renovates them to something resembling their original condition.  That is, she tears out all of the ugly things that bad, bad people have done to the houses through the decades, and replaces it with as many period-correct elements as she can. 

Why do people buy historic buildings and mutilate them into modern looking buildings?  If you want something new, get something new (you fucking son of a bitch moron jagweed asshole)!  Leave the old ones alone.  When I was house shopping, I hated walking into a cute 1930s bungalow only to find that it had been gutted and renovated in approximately 1987.  NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Maybe I'm weird, though.  As I have detailed at some point, I grew up in a 1950 time capsule.

Our house was the Phoenix winter home of a mildly eccentric old man who had kept the house in such pristine condition that my dad didn't see fit to change much but the carpet and the strangely cushioned kitchen tile.  All of the furniture and incidental items of the house conveyed, and my dad kept it all.  I was too young then to realize that this was a little weird.  The prior owner had had a daughter (by then middle aged), and one of the bedrooms of the house was still painted pink, with a little pink velvet vanity chair, a ceramic piggy bank in the shape of a cocker spaniel, and a 1950s jewelry box.  These became my things, and I still have the dog.  I still have their pink Pyrex set, '50s egg cooker, monogrammed glasses and so many other random old things that I've forgotten what was theirs.  So what I'm saying is maybe my perception of this situation is different from that of other people.  I'm somewhere between "normal person" and that couple in NYC who live year-round as though the year is 1940.

Anyway, Rehab Addict is full of awesome tricks and easy ways to rehabilitate sad, abused properties.  What I love the most is that she salvages everything she possibly can and puts it to some use.  She seems to mostly deal in Craftsman style, teens-era bungalows, which she picks up on the crazy cheap at auction.  She's doing the good work.  Perfect job.

Monday, June 18, 2012

VB Chat

To recap a recent phone conversation with my dad:

Guys Who Were Tough
Charles Bronson
John Wayne
Steve McQueen
Charlton Heston
Robert Mitchum (my suggestion, confirmed)

Modern Day Guys Who Are Acceptable
Sam Elliott
Gene Hackman
Ed Harris

Guys Who Are Not Tough

Bruce Willis

Now you know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Downton Abbey makes another nod to Gone with the Wind!  This one was too fond, familiar and noticeable to not be the act of shameless fan.  Probably this guy.

In the scene, a girl is weeping and is offered a handkerchief, at which point she thanks the offerer and notes that she never seems to have a handkerchief in times of crisis.

Like when Rhett gives his handkerchief to a tearful Scarlett while noting that he has never known her to have one during any of the many crises of her life.  So mild a moment, yet so obvious.

I finally had to research this on the internet, and found that I'm not the only one identifying these scenes.  See?  I was starting to wonder if I just see GWTW where it isn't, which would of course be strange and unfortunate.

Regarding Downton Abbey, I am particularly enjoying this because of the era, but it is taxing to care about a soap opera.  Something is always HAPPENING. Also, I'm still watching the prior season, and I'm not sure if other people know this, but the internet contains lots of spoilers for television shows.  So that's also a problem.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SJP in America

So, "Who Do You Think You Are?" is a recent program that showcases the ancestry of various celebrities.  Obviously you can't get something like this off the ground unless famous persons are featured.  With the use of historians, librarians and genealogists, the show traces through various family trees until something remarkable turns up.

I like Sarah Jessica Parker.  Contrary to whatever people think of her due to her roles, it's immediately evident upon hearing her speak that she's an intelligent woman with a reader's vocabulary, oh, and a child named after eminent Victorian novelist Wilkie Collins.  She's not what you think. 

Anyway, she knew almost nothing about her pre-20th century ancestors and assumed her family to be fairly recent emigrants from Europe.  Throughout the program, she finds out that half of her family has been in America since the early 17th century.  One of her female ancestors lived in Salem, MA and was actually accused of witchcraft during the final months of the Salem witchcraft craze.  The only reason this woman was not executed was because the witch-finding court had literally just been disbanded.  Unbelievable to have an ancestor who survived this situation, as the court had executed all of the accused up until its end.  Draw your own conclusions about what would have happened with Sex & the City had this happened...I know it's what you're thinking.  Also, this lends extra gravitas to Sarah's role in the excellent movie "Hocus Pocus".

eh, I can't resist.

Wouldn't it be nice if the people who survived ignorance against all odds developed a resistance to it in future generations, the way survivors of the Bubonic Plague passed to their descendants new immunities to use against similar diseases? 

Anyway, I love this show.  It showcases the unique discoveries you begin making the second you start to scratch the surface of history, whether it's about your own family or not.  And it's extra interesting and special to know that one of your ancestors may have witnessed some significant moment in time, such as when my great-grandmother was on the set of Far and Away, eh, I mean when she participated in a land race in South Dakota in 1904 or so.  Tom Cruise wasn't there.

More people should care about these things, and not just because they want to locate a famous ancestor, although I'm sure that's the motivation for many.  People don't care about history until it's made interestingly or alarmingly relevant to them.  I am sure the recent encroachments on women's health care, contraception and abortion are causing plenty of previously wide-eyed 19 year old girls to realize that the control they have over their own lives is something women have possessed for approximately one half nanosecond, historically-speaking, which may lead them to give a shit about what's been going down with women activists for the last 100 years.  JUST SAYING.  HISTORY IS SERIOUS BUSINESS, DO NOT FORGET IT.