Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Blind Art Collector

Fran Lebowitz 
Photo from guestofaguest.com

I still have tears streaming down my face from watching  Public Speaking, a Scorsese documentary on Fran Lebowitz. If you are a fan of Fran's you can catch this on HBO, for more information click here.

There is something about Lebowitz that makes me want to be just like her when I grow up and it has to do with more than just smoking, there is an honesty about her that I think just makes most people shutter. Oh, and always being correct, yeah I like that.

Just to lighten up your day a little here are a few quotes from Fran and another great woman, Dorothy Parker. Sometimes life gets just too serious.

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"Special-interest publications should realize that if they are attracting enough advertising and readers to make a profit, the interest is not so special."
                                                                                     ~ Fran Lebowitz

Symptom Recital

I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again."
                                                    ~ Dorothy Parker 

"I must take issue with the term 'a mere child,' for it has been my invariable experience that the company of a mere child is infinitely preferable to that of a mere adult."
                                                          ~ Fran Lebowitz

"Time doth flit, oh shit."
                                    ~ Dorothy Parker 


Partway through Public Speaking, Fran Lebowitz stops speaking and drives. Specifically, she drives her 1978 Checker Marathon, painted a “such a subtle shade of pearl gray, she observes, that straight men think it’s white.” As she drives, Ellen Kuras’ camera conjures Taxi Driver, watching her drive by as the car gleams and New York’s nighttime streets are bright with lights, then cutting to a shot of the rear-view mirror from the back seat. Bernard Hermann’s memorable theme music makes sure you don’t miss the allusion.

A Little Closer to Home

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico - "Then"

This is a post card my brother sent to a friend describing the beauty of Cabo San Lucas, "back when". I can't make out the year on the postmark, but suffice to say it was many, many years ago. I thought it interesting to compare a photo of Cabo San Lucas today.

Cabo San Lucas - "Today"

I made a trip to Cabo in the late seventies and it was much more like the "then" postcard. I think at that time there were two or three hotels that had been built on the beach. We flew in by private plane, buzzing the town before landing at the little dirt airstrip not far from town. This was a signal to the taxi drivers to come out to the airport to pick up a fare. I think I like the "old days" best.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Z as in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

Above a photo of Victoria Falls taken from the end of the falls as seen in Zimbabwe. Affectionately know as "Zim" by the locals. Mollie says Zimbabwe has water but the Zambia end is dry as it is higher and the Zambesi is low on water. She writes that it was interesting to get the two views, which also required two additional visas and a 45 second drive by van from the Zimbabwe border to the Falls parking lot.

Roughing it in the bush

Mollie said the camp in Zambia was air-conditioned, the only camp on an electric grid, with the power coming from the Falls. Even with the air-conditioning it would get to 100 degrees in the canvas tent.

Who would have known when we were little kids in school there would be a time that I would be sharing Mollie's trip to Africa on a thing called a blog on another thing called the internet. Amazing in all sorts of ways.

Delta Force - The Final Fly-Over

Mollie's view from the Cessna as she flew over the delta in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana

While Mollie is trying to adjust to jet-lag she emails me pictures and little tidbits from her trip. "There is so much to see in the bush", she says. She writes how different this trip to Botswana is from her trip four years ago to Tanzania and Kenya, there she said she saw thousands of animals on their migration. This trip is a driving trip and looking for scenarios. "Little families at work to be fed and safe."
 ~ ~ ~
"We had a BBQ one night outside the camp. As we put things away and readied to go into the camp our headlights spotted a momma hyena and two pups waiting for any scrap that may have fallen. None can be left on purpose. We chased her for a while with a big spot light, she always staying between us and the babies.

Another time our driver/guide spotted something on my vest. He stopped, picked a leaf off a vine and gently removed a worm and placed it outside the Land Rover...and another one. Nothing is killed. A little frog, about the size of a quarter jumped in and again we stopped and removed the frog."

"We spotted a leopard by a water hole at sunset...he was asleep He couldn't have cared less about us. He got up, took some sips of water, rolled over on his back and went back to sleep. He had no fear of the Land Rover because it had never done him any harm."

"We also got close to a group of Cape Buffalo males, all in bad moods. One kept looking at us, the guide backed up a little. The buffalo took his horns, twisted them around a bush, gave a yank and up came the entire plant...message delivered...things aren't always peaceful."

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Stores and pictures courtesy of Mollie Kavanaugh, thanks again Mollie for sharing your adventure with us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Candy Man Can

Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two
The Candy Man, oh the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good
 Who can take a rainbow, wrap it in a sigh
Soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good
 The Candy Man makes everything he bakes satisfying and delicious
Now you talk about your childhood wishes, you can even eat the dishes
Oh, who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Candy Man, oh the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good
 The Candy Man makes everything he bakes satisfying and delicious
Talk about your childhood wishes, you can even eat the dishes
 Yeah, yeah, yeah
Who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good
Yes, the Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good
a-Candy Man, a-Candy Man, a-Candy Man
Candy Man, a-Candy Man, a-Candy Man
Candy Man, a-Candy Man, a-Candy Man 


Thanksgiving Day Parade - St. Louis, MO

Here is the Wings of Hope float is this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade in St. Louis. Nice job all you volunteers. To see slides of all the floats, new cars, old cars CLICK HERE You just gotta love a parade!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Is that pot I smell?

A tour bus pulls into Sierra Blanca, Texas. The bus door is opened and the border patrol officer gets a whiff of marijuana, not the scent of  Bleu  De Chanel - it was unexpected (?) A search of the bus turned up six ounces of the weed. The sheriff is quoted as saying Willie Nelson claimed it as his own. Willie was held briefly before posting a $2,500 bond. The cost of pot briefly rose in Sierra Blanca, Texas.

Good for you Willie. I guess the thought of saying he "didn't know how it got in his purse" never occurred to him.

It is not the intent of this post to encourage, or condone the use of illegal substances, rather merely to inform and (en) lighten up its contents.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Botswana Up Close and Personal

Up close and personal for sure. Click on photos to enlarge, it will put you right there.  I think Mollie tells the story best so here are her own words about this incredible adventure.
"We saw many instances where animals would soon be a meal for the next in line. In these parks and reserves things are left untouched, no help given. Only ivory is removed by park rangers, nothing else is moved. Botswana has a most unusual water supply coming from Angola where the water takes 4 months to travel.  A complex series of events that geologists would know about, the water goes out into the Kalahari Desert, at times even flows backwards, and ends eventually in the desert, not going out into any ocean. This area is called the Okavanga Delta and worth another peek at Google.  Maybe the only place like it on earth. [More information click here.]
Now if  you want to see a close up of an African elephant, try this. 
Photo by Mollie Kavanaugh
We stopped to watch an elephant eat a tree and we were soon circled by this big guy, 2 junior bulls who were challenging the big guy for power and a group of moms with babies.  I am not sure what was behind me but no one in our Land Rover moved for about 30 minutes when our guide finally said that we were going to make a run for it when the mom's got out of the road. 
Something about angles of attack....guess we didn't want to show ourselves at right angles so when we went, we went fast. I was closest to the big bull, the photo is not zoomed, he was close. All I thought of was if he gets me I hope that someone gets my camera. When asked by management the size of the herd, the guide estimated plus or minus 20. Scary and yet it wasn't.  There was nothing  you could do if the big bull got interested so why worry.   
And then there was Casper the Elephant, a name I gave him after my Casper the Tortoise...they are similar in that they go straight and take out everything in their way.
 Casper the Elephant - Photo by Mollie Kavanaugh
Only Casper the Elephant has the right-away, it is his house.  Casper the Turtle must stay out of my favorite area and gets moved via wagon if he gets where he doesn't belong.
The baboons would climb a tree behind my tent and shake down red berries onto my porch.  Casper the Elephant came around and ate all that he could reach.  Maybe I got a little too close, you are ordered to stay clear of them, put I love my shots...when he got all of the berries he could reach he went to another place where the baboons helped him get his dinner.
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Mollie, thanks so much for this story. I hope you don't mind my sharing it with my blog friends, it was too good not to share.

Next Stop Botswana

You know my friend Mollie from previous blog mentions. We have been friends almost since we were born. She emailed me yesterday that she had returned home from about a two week trip to Botswana, Africa. I think I have a bit of adventure in my soul but Mollie really does and the nice thing about being her friend is that I kind of get to tag-a-long vicariously through her emails and photos. I am sure there will be more to come but I wanted to share with all of you these two photos.

Photo by Mollie Kavanaugh

This is a Botswana elephant, now I am not sure if there is a difference here from the African elephant, maybe she will let me know (1). I do know that the African elephant is different from the Asian elephant. The African elephant has ears shaped like the continent of Africa and its head has a round dome and the back is concave. Both males and females have tusks, the male tusks are larger (of course).

(1) Mollie has gotten back to me about this particular Botswana elephant, after she told me I took a second look, this poor elephant has no trunk or tail. He (she) can eat only through his (her) mouth, Mollie says as a result will probably not live too long.

Photo by Mollie Kavanaugh

This is Mollie's favorite photo of a coupl of Saddlebill Storks. To learn more click here. When I Goggled to learn more I found out that we have some Saddlebill Storks right here in our St. Louis Zoo. Here is what our zoo had to say about this bird:


saddlebilled_stork01_sm.jpg: Saddle billed stork
saddlebilled_stork_sm.jpg: Saddle billed stork
Range: Sub-Saharan Africa
Habitat: Rivers, lakes, swamps
Conservation Status: Common
Scientific Name: Ephippiorynchus senegalensis
The saddlebill stork is one of the largest and most spectacular species of storks. Its long legs and upturned beak help this wading bird catch fish, frogs, and insects in shallow freshwater marshes.
The stork reaches adult size by its first birthday but does not have adult plumage until it is two years old. A male and female are thought to mate for life. The pair builds enormous treetop nests, and cooperates in sitting on the eggs and raising the chicks.

Did You Know?

The yellow "saddle" across this stork's enormous multi-colored bill gives the bird its name.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Merci Beaucoup

The Perle Mesta Award goes to Ms. Rallo, the hostess with the most-est. This was the BEST Thanksgiving ever. Thanks to you and Nick for making it all possible. In fact I would say this Thanksgiving takes the cake, but in this case it would be pie.

I guess if you want to get a job done give it to a busy person. Linda you are remarkable, wife, mother of three, hard working legislative assistant and grad student all wrapped up in one tiny frame. Helen Reddy must have had you in mind when she wrote I Am Woman. Great job, thank you for a wonderful evening.

Flowers by Logan

St. Louis, Missouri

And so it begins...

It won't be long now... Yum....

Thanksgiving Maui Style

Aloha Everyone

Oh Deer !!!

Three Deer for you to see.

I was over at my daughter's home yesterday helping with some Pre-Turkey Day preparations, when we saw three deer walk by the kitchen window and into the back yard. After about a minute's wait I realized I had my camera with me in my purse. I managed to get a quick pic of them before they all disappeared into the trees behind the house.

Those of you with a keen eye will see that the deer are wearing festive neck ware, these are tags to help track their migratory patterns. Many communities in the Chesterfield area have what they call an "over population" of deer. I think it's more of a situation of over population of people where deer have become a nuisance, hazard and inconvenience.

A lot of time and money is being spent on attempting to find a solution to this 'dear' problem. Netting has been erected, a sterilization program begun and even sharp-shooters brought in to help curtail population growth. Yes, the deer can be a problem from something as simple as eating all the newly opened tulips in your yard in the spring to a more serious problem of crossing the road or walking down a street to the sudden surprise of speeding cars.

So man (lots of them together) again is confronted with the desire to live in a rural-type environment with only some,  but not all of the accoutrements of country-living.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Soldier's Thanksgiving Day

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Imagine Fall Without Color

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

~~ Thank you John Lennon for the beautiful lyrics

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Once In A Blue Moon

November 21, 2010

Chesterfield, MO

For some reason right in the middle of Amazing Race I remembered tonight was a Blue Moon, a little extra treat - a full moon bonus so to speak. Hope you got to see yours.

Sweet Potatoes Hawaiian Style - So Ono

 Sunset on Maui

Probably for more than twenty years this recipe has replaced the candied yams/sweet potatoes recipe that was made and which I hated, but which I prepared because it was the tradition. My first taste of Ono Sweet Potatoes and I was hooked. It must be the addition of the bananas that give this dish its subtle different flavor, sweet but not 'icky' sweet the way I find candied yams. And the added crunch of macadamia nuts and crushed cornflakes is a nice topping. It couldn't be easier to make and will not add any extra stress to the T-Day menu. Enjoy from the land of Aloha.

Ono Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4 – 6

                                1 (24-ounce)      can sweet potatoes or yams, drained
                                3 ripe bananas
                                1 teaspoon cinnamon
                                ½ teaspoon salt
                                brown sugar
                                ¼ cup    macadamia nut bits / chopped macadamia nuts
                                ¼ cup    crushed corn flakes
                                ¼ cup    melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash sweet potatoes and bananas with cinnamon and salt. Place in a baking dish. Top with a thin layer of brown sugar. Mix nuts and corn flakes. Spread over brown sugar. Pour melted butter over top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

From A Taste of Aloha by The Junior League of Honolulu, Inc. 1983

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Xmas to Go

I finished up my Xmas to Go containers for my to be baked cookies. My three granddaughters, ages 23, 19 and 16 all reminded me today that they really, really wanted to decorate cookies again this year. I just love it, it is something we have done almost every year since they were big enough to sit up by themselves. I will begin the baking process right after Thanksgiving. I make the cookies ahead and then turn the kids loose with frosting and food dye and sprinkles for them to do as they like. This year I think I am going to make some fudge and peppermint bark candy as well. Can't wait to get started.

Here is a copy of my Snowball Cookie recipe that has been used every year since I was a little kid. When I was little these cookies were baked ahead (they do get better with time) and stored in a large glass jar and then hidden behind the sheets in the linen closet in the hallway. Always every year, hidden in the exact same place. Every year I would sneak a sample of cookies from the jar and leave a trail of powdered sugar behind. Nothing was ever mentioned as the cookie level would drop by an inch or two each year.

Snowball Cookies

1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups finely chopped walnuts

Cream butter until soft; add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, salt, nutmeg and vanilla, continue creaming until thoroughly mixed. Stir in flour and nuts. Shape dough into small balls. Place on baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and quickly roll the hot cookies in the remaining two cups of powdered sugar. Cool, roll again in powdered sugar. Store in air-tight container. Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies about 1" in diameter.

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Young Love

A candid shot of my daughter and her husband (then boyfriend) following a Mizzou baseball game. I think this was in the spring of 1988. Now their oldest daughter, Nathalie, attends the same university. Seems like only yesterday...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homeless but not Honorless

Dave Talley hero in his own right.

Homeless man, Dave Talley, returns backpack he found containing $3,300 in cash. The lost article belonged to an Arizona college student who was going to use the money to buy a car. Bryan Belanger, the ASU student gave Talley an undisclosed amount as a reward and said he is planning on donating time to the local homeless shelter. This is a classic example of 'pay it forward' and doing the right thing. Right now I am extremely proud of these two men: Dave Talley and Bryan Belanger - Way to Go Guys!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Confronting My Greatest Fear

The Many Faces of the Republican Party

Teddy Bear

  • Governor of New York
  • Vice-President
  • Author
  • Bull Moose Party
  • Noted Outdoors-man

Mama Grizzly

  • Governor of Alaska
  • Vice-President Candidate
  • Author
  • Tea Party
  • Noted Outdoors-woman

Most Noted For:


Going Rogue

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010