Monday, January 31, 2011

In Good Company

Iris by Monet

Iris by Van Gogh

Iris by Annie

Walk Like an Egyptian...Oh Whey Oh....

....I guess that means not following Mubarak.

Artistic Revolution - Can you say Dada?

Nudes Descending Staircase - Marcel Duchamp

In 1916 Europe was fraught with war and unrest and in the midst of this chaos there rose an artistic movement in Switzerland called Dada or Dadaism. In the years 1916-1922 the movement grew in Europe and captured the hearts and minds of artists and writers alike.

Hugo Ball was one of many who expressed disgust with the war and with the interests it inspired. On July 14, 1916 he delivered this Dada Manifesto:

Dada is a new tendency in art. One can tell this from the fact that until now nobody knew anything about it, and tomorrow everyone in Zurich will be talking about it. Dada comes from the dictionary. It is terribly simple. In French it means "hobby horse". In German it means "good-bye", "Get off my back", "Be seeing you sometime". In Romanian: "Yes, indeed, you are right, that's it. But of course, yes, definitely, right". And so forth.
An International word. Just a word, and the word a movement. Very easy to understand. Quite terribly simple. To make of it an artistic tendency must mean that one is anticipating complications. Dada psychology, dada Germany cum indigestion and fog paroxysm, dada literature, dada bourgeoisie, and yourselves, honoured poets, who are always writing with words but never writing the word itself, who are always writing around the actual point. Dada world war without end, dada revolution without beginning, dada, you friends and also-poets, esteemed sirs, manufacturers, and evangelists. Dada Tzara, dada Huelsenbeck, dada m'dada, dada m'dada dada mhm, dada dera dada, dada Hue, dada Tza.
How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying dada. How does one become famous? By saying dada. With a noble gesture and delicate propriety. Till one goes crazy. Till one loses consciousness. How can one get rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, europeanised, enervated? By saying dada. Dada is the world soul, dada is the pawnshop. Dada is the world's best lily-milk soap. Dada Mr Rubiner, dada Mr Korrodi. Dada Mr Anastasius Lilienstein. In plain language: the hospitality of the Swiss is something to be profoundly appreciated. And in questions of aesthetics the key is quality.
I shall be reading poems that are meant to dispense with conventional language, no less, and to have done with it. Dada Johann Fuchsgang Goethe. Dada Stendhal. Dada Dalai Lama, Buddha, Bible, and Nietzsche. Dada m'dada. Dada mhm dada da. It's a question of connections, and of loosening them up a bit to start with. I don't want words that other people have invented. All the words are other people's inventions. I want my own stuff, my own rhythm, and vowels and consonants too, matching the rhythm and all my own. If this pulsation is seven yards long, I want words for it that are seven yards long. Mr Schulz's words are only two and a half centimetres long.
It will serve to show how articulated language comes into being. I let the vowels fool around. I let the vowels quite simply occur, as a cat meows . . . Words emerge, shoulders of words, legs, arms, hands of words. Au, oi, uh. One shouldn't let too many words out. A line of poetry is a chance to get rid of all the filth that clings to this accursed language, as if put there by stockbrokers' hands, hands worn smooth by coins. I want the word where it ends and begins. Dada is the heart of words.
Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn't I find it? Why can't a tree be called Pluplusch, and Pluplubasch when it has been raining? The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness. The word, gentlemen, is a public concern of the first importance.
You have artists to thank for having a pot to piss in.

Watching a documentary the other evening on artists, from painters to writers to musicians, it is interesting to see that really freedom is what they are all about. Freedom to express themselves in their individual art forms. They don't want a bigger, better government - a government telling them what art to produce - they want freedom of expression.

Seldom do they want war, they have no vested interest in it. Their art is made with paint, words and music - not bullets. I look at all that is going on in the world today and wonder if in actuality that our saviors aren't in fact the artists themselves - perhaps it is time for us to say Dada, Dada - help me please!

This could be me and how I feel today, a bit disjointed, at odds with myself. Frustrated with my government that isn't making sense to me. "America, love it or leave it!" Come on, that's the easy way out. "America, love it and work to see it accepts basic human rights responsibility." That's the hard route - the bumpy road - but damn it, that's road I choose to travel!

And yes, I am very much appreciated that I live in a country that hasn't pulled my Internet plug - just so you know. But as I demand the best from my children, can I expect less from my government?

For Mare, Mon Amie

Tears Idle Tears
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from theunderworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!

The Day the Music Died

John Barry
November 3, 1933 - January 30, 2011

Without the talent that this man possessed the movies we love so much would be just so very plain. Music can make you cry, put you on the edge of your seat, fall more deeply in love.... well, really music can do just about anything. John Barry will be missed along with his wonderful talent.

Goldfinger - Scene 1 - John Barry Music

Out of Africa - Theme Music John Barry

High Road to China - Love Theme John Barry

"Safe Journey, John."

One Picture Says A Lot

Picture information and blog post below from: The Cahokian

I snagged this picture from an amazing collection of photos of Egyptian women in the current protests. It's on a facebook album compiled by Leil-Zahra Mortada.

Could it be any clearer? It's humanity vs. a faceless insectoid force. How inspiring moments like these are when fear is laid down and hope takes hold: hope that there is something better that can be grasped in the hands of people acting together. I hope the people of Egypt are not only able to stay resolute but able to win the hearts of these men dressed as insects, and have them shed their carapaces of repression and violence, and come over to the side of humanity.

Meanwhile on the side of the insects, Republican Weeper, er, Speaker of the House John Boehner said "What we don't want are radical ideologies to take control of a very large and important country in the Middle East."

# # #

Tibet, mind if I mention Tibet?

On his broader political point -- that the U.S. would be better off working with Mubarak rather than discarding the longtime leader -- Boehner was in agreement. "I believe Mr. McCotter [Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)] said it exactly right," he said.
"What we don't want are radical ideologies to take control of a very large and important country in the Middle East."

I wonder what the Tibetan people think about that? Maybe that it's alright for radical ideologies to take control of small, unimportant countries. (ie countries we don't buy oil from)?

Come on guys, grow a set of balls!!!!

Source for this: The Cahokian

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Boat Builder Extraordinaire

Joe Guess - Born January 30, 1917

Today is my brother's 94th birthday, that alone would be cause for celebration. But this is a story not about years but about my brother, boat builder extraordinaire. He loved cars, airplanes, most things mechanical and he really loved speed boats. When I was a little kid I remember nights over at his house where the garage was the place to be.

I had no idea that history was being made in that small garage, filled with guys always with their hands working on an engine. On weekends the family would head to places like Marine Stadium in Long Beach, California or sometimes out to the desert to a place called Salton Sea. These were places where you went to race boats, really, really fast.

The first boat he built was the "Guess Who", famous for its mad looking woodpecker logo painted on the hull, reminiscent of the Walter Lantz's cartoons that started with "Huh Huh Huh Huh Huh Huh Huh...Guess Who?" The early days were an adventure between Joe and his friend Clay Smith, a red-headed cigar smoking guy that drove the boat for him.

The "Guess Who" a 266 Hydro with a Ford 6 fuel injected Flathead Mercury V-8 engine [and one of the first Hilborn Fuel injections used in a boat...First was Alter Ego I believe - correction comment from Robert Sykes Jr.]set a mile record at Salton Sea with driver Bobby Sykes Sr. Another Joe Guess hull was "Z-Z-Zip", a Desoto powered 266 Hydro owned by Sid Street.

Here are some excerpts from MOPAR Magazine's HEMI Surf 'n' Turf article:

The watercraft is a famous DeSoto-powered hydroplane named Z-Z-Zip. It competed in the American Power Boat Association (APBA) “266” class from 1955 to 1971. It was built by Joe Guess in California and made famous by boat racing legend Sid Street, of Kansas City, Mo.
“It is a most unusual boat – sponsons far forward,” says Jeff Titus, a well-known former racer and a member of the APBA Hall of Champions. Titus was present on December 29, 1958, when Sid Street set the world record for the Kilometer on a narrow canal west of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Titus reported that the temperature on the morning of the record run was quite cold. Clay Smith, a legendary engine builder and cam grinder, was the mechanic on the Bobby Sykes-built HEMI that day. “He couldn’t get the cold alcohol fuel to fire,” said Titus, “so he took the plugs out and used a torch to heat them. Then he reinserted the plugs, started the engine and warmed it for the record run.”
Street recorded a 2-way average “at an astonishing speed of 146.945 mph,” said 3-time APBA Unlimited Gold Cup winner and former Z-Z-Zip owner Tom d’Eath, who restored the boat in 2003. Titus said, “The boat was totally airborne on the slick water, sucking mist off the sponsons with only one inch of the prop in the water,” He is still awestruck after all these years.
Street sold Z-Z-Zip and it later raced as Sea Biscuit and then Iroquois Chief, the latter driven by Gordy Reed to a speed of 148 mph, retiring Street’s old 266-class record.

There is also a great Popular Mechanics article on speedboats and my brother that was published in May 1948 which you can read in its entirety by clicking here.  [For you car enthusiasts, I see there is an article on the 1949 Lincoln that follows the speedboat article.]

Oh, and one other thing - Happy Birthday, Big Brother!

  ~ ~ ~

Straightaway Speed Records One Mile or One Kilometer designated class prefix "F" 266 Cubic Inch through 1969 5 Litres 1970 and after  (Originally the 225 Division I class)
Date Site Name(s) Boat Engine/Hull Speed (MPH)
xx/xx/49 Salton Sea, CA Paul Sawyer Belligero II Ford/Hallett 99.890
11/17/50 Salton Sea, CA Paul Sawyer Alter Ego F-211  Ford/Hallett 115.045
11/09/51 Salton Sea, CA Paul Sawyer Alter Ego F-211  Ford/Hallett 120.085
11/11/52 Salton Sea, CA Bob Sykes Guess Who Mercury/Guess 121.703
12/27/56 Hollywood, FL Sid Street Z Z Zip DeSoto/Guess 132.600
12/29/58 Miami, FL Sid Street Z Z Zip DeSoto/Guess 146.945
08/26/60 Cape Coral, FL Claude Barracliff & Bill Jeffries (O)
Ennie Argence (D)
Gun Shy F-90 Chevrolet/Jones & Jones 123.593
10/14/61 Issaquah, WA Dixon Vose Chris III Chevrolet/Colcock 137.258
10/27/63 Norristown, PA Michael Thomas Apache Chevrolet/Lauterbach 138.085
10/25/64 Ft. Lauderdale FL Carl Henderson (O)
Mike Thomas (D)
Miss Washington, DC F-999 Chevrolet/Lauterbach 144.835
01/31/69 St. Petersburg, FL Gordie Reed Iroquois Chief DeSoto/Guess 148.638
10/30/71 Parker, AZ Fox, Thompson, & Wolf (O)
Mickey Remund (D)
Going Thing 16-F Ford/R. Jones 152.130

Nicko's Ferrari 458 Italia - For under $200,000

It's Friday night, let's get to work!

For a few weeks we have been anticipating the arrival of "our" model car, a little assembly project that was going to be fun for Nicko and Gammie alike. It's not always as easy as it seems, schedule-wise, grand-kids have very busy schedules these days. Next thing you know they will have to have social secretaries... but I digress.

Open and Organize!

First job was to carefully open up all the little packages and make sure everything was there. My job at this point was to over-see the opening and to make a mug of nice hot chocolate. You can't assemble a Ferrari without a little oomph in your own tank first.
Hot Chocolate and Cookies, a must for this type of work!

Scissor and Screwdriver - Check!

Nice Rims!

The Ferrari 458 Italia
The Ferrari 458 Italia, launched at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2009, is an 8-cylinder two-seater berlinetta with a mid-rear mounted engine, and represents a genuine break with the past in terms of Maranello's previous high-performance sports cars.

 Technical specifications:
Engine Type - V8 – 90° 
Total displacement - 4499 cc (274.5 cu in.) 
Maximum power - 570 CV (425 kW)** @ 9000 rpm 
Maximum torque - 540 Nm (398 lbs/ft) @ 6000 rpm 
Specific power output - 127 CV/l
Compression ratio - 12.5:1

Dimensions and Weight:

Overall length - 4527 mm (178.2 in.)
Overall width - 1937 mm (76.3 in.)
Height - 1213 mm (47.8 in.)
Wheelbase - 2650 mm (104.3 in.)
Dry weight - 1380 kg (3042 lbs)*
Weight/power ratio - 2,42 kg/CV (7.16 lbs/kW)
Weight distribution fr/r - 42%/58%


Maximum Speed: >325 Km/h (>202 mph)

0 - 100 Km/h  <3.4s

Do we even want to know the fuel consumption? 

OK -  13.3/100Km

Designed to fulfill the expectations and ambitions of our most passionate clients, the 458 Italia continues the Ferrari tradition of putting the thrill into driving as a result of track-derived technological innovations.

Maranello's racing experience can be felt not only in terms of pure technological transfer but also on a more emotional level, because of the strong emphasis on creating an almost symbiotic relationship between driver and car.

~ ~ ~ 

Thank you Nicko, it was a fun evening. Thank you Ferrari for being the things that dreams are made of. Thank you future employer of Nicko for supplying the salary to make his dreams come true.

All car facts and figures come from: Ferrari

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's the Same Old Story - Despots & Democracy & War

Billie Holiday sings Same Old Story

Haven't we been down this path before? Maybe the faces are a bit different, but isn't it the same old story?
 Marcos- - - - - - - - - - - Mubarak

Really, isn't it the same old story?

Same old story, just the names are different.

Remember Vietnam? We were never going to forget that war, it was to be a lesson learned...Yet the beat goes on...

Ah, is it just me or does anybody see
The new improved tomorrow isn't what it used to be


 You know the more things change the more they stay the same
Never and forever just keep comin' back again

The more things change the more they stay the same
The same sunrise, it's just another day
If you hang in long enough they say you're comin' back
Just take a look, we're living proof and baby that's a fact

~ ~ ~

Just once I would like our leaders stand above the fray, stand up for what is right. Stand up for Human Rights, not just for Oil Rights. Sit down and talk with the despots, yes, but talk about freedom and democracy for the people they oppress and brutalize , not about doing business. If Hitler were still alive today and his Nazi empire financially strong and a world power like China, would we go to him for loans and trade deals???

~ ~ ~

*Lyrics from the song 'The More Things Change' Bon Jovi

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nobel Peace Prize Nomination for 2011

 Breaking News - Wings of Hope has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

Here's a little background on the Nobel Peace Prize:

The Nobel Peace Prize

“The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
(Excerpt from the will of Alfred Nobel)
Alfred Nobel was interested in social issues. He developed a special engagement in the peace movement. An important factor in Nobel’s interest in peace was his acquaintance with Bertha von Suttner. Perhaps his interest in peace was also due to the use of his inventions in warfare and assassination attempts? Peace was the fifth and final prize area that Nobel mentioned in his will.
Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, shared the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 with Frédéric Passy, a leading international pacifist of the time. In addition to humanitarian efforts and peace movements, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded for work in a wide range of fields including advocacy of human rights, mediation of international conflicts, and arms control.
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of five persons who are chosen by the Norwegian Storting.

Article Source: "The Nobel Peace Prize". 28 Jan 2011
~ ~ ~ 
I am so excited!!!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Please Mr. Postman - The Days Before Email

Gladys Horton, co-founder of Marvelettes, dies today at age 66

Remember Mr. Postman? - A bit simpler life in the slow-lane days before email.


You have to see this to believe it. Isn't she cute?! I mean really don't you want one for each one of your kids this Christmas? I hear this Barbie-Version-Politician doll comes with a complete wardrobe, a TV show, Twitter and facebook accounts, plus a kid with a high paying job.  And when you pull the string to hear her talk your kids will get an instant self-esteem boost when they realize they know more than the Barbie-Version-Politician doll. Cute, just so damn cute! Hurry, 'cuz the line forms behind me!

Barbie-Version-Politician Doll - Get Yours Today!

** Just in case you wanted to know: FOX NEWS - the ties that bind

Bill Shine, the senior vice president for programming, expressed little concern about the ties. “There are always some sort of, let’s just say, unique relationships that happen when you live in Washington,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s the culture of that town.” He said Ms. Van Susteren did “not necessarily” have to disclose on television that her husband (John Coale) had worked with Ms. Palin.  Source: New York Times article  A Host Defends Her Brand, by Brian Stelter, May 24, 2009

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rebuttal to the rebuttal to the rebuttal...

Pee Wee Herman after he listened to Michele Bachmann's rebuttal

Well we heard from the President of the United States last night, he's a Democrat if you didn't know. Then we heard from the Speaker of the House, he's the 'other' side, a Republican. THEN we heard from Michele Bachmann - WTF?

I am an Independent, admittedly with liberal leanings but I don't carry a membership card in either party, as I have said before. It seems as though Independents are the chopped liver of political parties, yet we hear from these wing-nut-Republican's wrapped in tea bags all the time. If the Republicans don't like being looked upon as loony someone of credibility in the party with an (R) after their name better start speaking up.

Here are some quotes from Ms. Bachman:
"The Tea Party is a dynamic force for good in our national conversation, and it's an honor for me to speak with you." - The Tea Party is a dynamic force for good? - WTF?
 "And I believe that America is the indispensable nation of the world." - Huh? - WTF?
 "Just the creation of this nation itself was a miracle. Who can say that we won't see a miracle again?" - WTF? I think someone put stupid pills in my coffee, does anyone understand this woman?
 "We will proclaim liberty throughout the land." - Hear ye! Hear ye! Let Freedom Ring.
Now I could post and pick apart all the incorrect statements in her speech, but WTF this was so much more fun. I will leave it to her fellow Republicans to stand up to her and the other loony tea-party-nutters and take their party back, because I don't think the real American people believe in this tea party crap. Sorry Alice this is America, not Wonderland.

P.S. Never trust anyone who won't look you in the eye.....just saying.

No Man is an Island

No Man is an Island
by John Donne

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 


Over these past few days I became fully aware that it does take a village and no man is an island. I was exposed to public support systems that needs revamping; I am an intelligent and educated person and I found the system to be cumbersome and slow and often times contradictory.

I can't even tell you the number of people who where trying to help since the call went out last Saturday for advice to help my granddaughter get her baby back. Of course if you are going to have a crisis perhaps the weekend isn't the best time to scheduled it. I will say this though that one call to Child Protective Services and within just a couple of hours, they had made a house visit to check on the baby and reported back that she was alright. A small relief in a very hectic day, but relief nonetheless.

Monday was a day filled with frustration upon frustration. Calls to family service agencies, messages left and un-returned . One group saying this; another group saying that. Tuesday morning I had hit my limit and I felt my own heath was beginning to be jeopardized. We would have to move away from the public system and seek private legal counsel.

By the time we sat down with an attorney, entered papers to the court and had the baby back in the arms of her mother four hours had elapsed. And probably a dozen people working and involved in this endeavor. An attorney, para-legals, clerks, a judge, a process server and county police officers.

It was an expensive solution in the end but health and well being are priceless as is peace of mind. Every human being is entitled to this, not just those who can afford it. We are as John Doone wrote - a part of the main.  We are collectively mankind, not unkind man.

Conservatives will state that government is too big, too ineffective and in most cases just too much and not needed. I will agree it can be cumbersome and slow and needs to be over-hauled but I don't agree that it should be done away with. If conservatives are going to work hard to save babies from abortion then they are going to have to work equally hard to protect and care for those babies after they are born if there is a need.

The African proverb - "It takes a village to raise a child" is so true, we as parents, grandparents and family don't do it alone. When we need help we reach out to others that can help us and we need to be there as well for others when they need our help. 

It does take a village and when you open the village door you see the people of the village: parents, families, doctors, lawyers, teachers, neighbors, law enforcement officials, politicians, clergy... and the list goes on and on. 


Monday, January 24, 2011

Put on a Happy Face...

Gray skies are gonna clear up
Put on a happy face
Wipe off the clouds and cheer up
Put on a happy face

Spread sunshine all over the place
And just put on a happy
Put on a happy face


Yesterday the television was on only for football and barring any 'Breaking News' interruptions everything seems right with the world. The President will speak soon on the State of the Nation, I guess we will hear what we already know. President Obama has the ability to speak with hope and assurance and inspiration and  a "Yes, we can" attitude, I hope he speaks that way to us tomorrow night.

I see very tiny cracks forming in the facades of some the Republican and Democratic elected officials - maybe they will actually decide to stop fighting with one another and get to work for the people. We can only hope.

Hope is what we cling to, hope is all we have. So we put on a happy face and hope for a better tomorrow.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Turning Inward

"I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man that had no feet."

When I was a small child I often would sit at my grandfather's desk. Just barely old enough to read I would look at this plaque he had hanging on the wall - It said "I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man that had no feet." At first I thought it was the oddest thing and didn't understand its meaning, over the years I probably read it hundreds of times and finally I grew to appreciate those few words written on that plaque.

Without going into details yesterday was one of those days you are drawn into the closest of circles - the family circle. The rest of the world drops off into space and you are focused on one thing and one thing only your family member, the situation and how you can help.

Yesterday I thought of this saying that was written on the plaque that hung on my grandfather's wall. As bad as our situation was,  there had to be so many, many more that very same day going through far worse situations.

I have been very fortunate most of my life not to have had those all consuming events in my life. I felt so odd this morning when I woke up and I realized my vision yesterday had shrunk to probably no greater than fifteen feet at any given moment, color had vanished from the landscaped left with only the whiteness and glare from the recent snowfall.
There is a story to tell from yesterday's events and it will be told when the time is appropriate. I ended the day yesterday with knowledge that things are not as bad as they could be while at the same time far worse than you would ever imagine.

The next few days will be spent mostly in this small circle while we figure out solutions to problems, seek professional advice and remain close for support of each other. In the end when stripped of everything else - we are family.

~ ~ ~

"An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind." ~ Buddha
~ ~ ~
 "Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence." ~ Buddha

~ ~ ~

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive." ~ Dalai Lama

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Terminator - I'll Be Back

Taking a little break to attend to a family crisis, but just like the Terminator, I'll be back.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wrigley Field In Winter

 Wrigley In Winter

Beneath the snow
The grass still grows
Albeit waiting patiently
For the feel of cleats
Upon its head

Spring around a corner waits
Muscles groan as they stretch
From a winter’s solstice sleep
In the distance, shhhhh …do you hear?
The call, the call, it comes closer now


                      ~ Annie, January 20, 2011