Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We are the art!

I found this on Etsy today. So pretty! And cool! And nautical, in a way. I would use it for shrimp cocktail. Where's my Wealthy Benefactor when I need him? Because even if I had that kind of money to throw away on a chip and dip plate I would never do it. But I'd let the Wealthy Benefactor do it.

I'm not actually writing about wealthy benefactors and the presents they would buy. That very pricey chip and dip plate got me thinking about art, which got me thinking of a show I watched the other night. (Slight pause while I hop over to the PBS web-site to find the name) "Simon Schama's Power of Art". I don't know who Simon Schama is (slight pause while I find out who he is)(Every time I do one of these slight pauses I get side tracked and 3 hours later I remember I have a post waiting to be finished)(Success! Only two minutes). He's some art historian type guy. I probably could have guessed that. Anyway, he's been doing this series of shows where he features one artist for a whole hour, expounding on their genius. I saw his Van Gogh one a while back. The guy playing Van Gogh in the reenactment did a very realistic job of eating paint. I watched the whole thing because I was mesmerized by this Schama fellow's speech habits. He had a way of conducting his words with his head. The next time we meet, ask to see my impression of it. Plus he kept pronouncing Van Gogh's name with a soft guttural "gh" which made me laugh like a loon.

The other night he was focusing on Mark Rothko, who paints stuff like this:

and this:

and this:

Now, I'm of the opinion that it's the intent of the artist that makes something art. People looking at a piece and giving an opinion doesn't make it any more or less artistic. An elephant with paint and a canvas provided by its trainer can produce all sorts of paintings but that doesn't make it art. The elephant isn't thinking "Finally! I can get my message across to these humans! You, with the broom, fetch me my brushes!" He's thinking, "Food. Water. Where are the other elephants?" (Pray that I never tell you about the other PBS show I watched about the elephants. You will weep. Weep, I tell you!). Rothko was obviously trying to get something across with his paintings so I'm not going to comment on how it looks like something an unmotivated 5th grader would do during painting time. And I'm not going to argue that people can find meaning in these. Obviously many do, otherwise he wouldn't be famous enough for a full hour of PBS time.

What I am going to argue is the Schama is crazy in love with Rothko and is so deluded by this love that he spent 15 minutes talking about how these particular paintings at the Rothko Chapel in Houston:

"pulsed with life" and "throbbed with meaning" and "exuded electricity". You do not need to adjust the color on your screen. They are, indeed, all black. There are 14 of them in the chapel. Sure, I guess I can see how people would be moved by these, especailly when faced with all of them at once. But listening to Schama practically cry over them as the camera zoomed in on the black canvass I couldn't help but think of that episode of Murphy Brown, when Elden (that was his name right?) had an exhibit where he did a mural on the ceiling and it was covered by a cloth, ready to be unveiled, but when the artsy people came in they only focused on the cloth, thinking it was the art. When the mural was unveiled the cloth fell on a bunch of people and one of them yelled, "WE are the art!" We are indeed.

I guess my whole point is this: If your last name is Schama wouldn't you at least try to legally change it to Schama-lama-ding-dong?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hirsute Hog

To the biker who zipped by me on the freeway this morning:

The next time you get on your motorcycle could you please make sure that your pants are pulled all the way up. Or at least wax that particular area. Because what I had to see this morning can only be described in one word: BLEH!

Thoroughly Disgusted,

PS - I love the word hirsute. It always makes me think of Hessian mercenaries and that wolf-man who lives down in Mexico. Both strangely funny. But I think it's way too pretentious for normal conversation. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to use it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Wave

You do not know what suffering is until you have had to listen to "Oye Como Va" played on the flute. It makes your ears whither and die. I've had to endure it because my co-worker listens to the lite jazz station they pipe in on our phones called the Wave, as in the wave of mind-numbingly bad elevator music that crashes over me every day. Maybe once a day they play something good, like Midnight Train to Georgia (Don't worry Gladys, I've got this one.) but generally it's a parade of saxophonists on Prozac who are in cahoots with the keyboard players union, I'm sure. You may think that the synthesizer died with 1989 but it still has it's cold dead hands welded onto the Wave.

I wonder about these musicians. Did they, as young impressionable band geeks, have dreams of one day arranging other musicians' already dull music to be played on their alto sax? Did they think that James Blunt didn't do a good enough job of putting everyone to sleep with "You're Beautiful" that they had to take a stab at it? And what about the songs that are great that are redone? Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" is far superior to any arrangement that Random Saxophonist #16 produces. Who do they think they are anyway?

Incidentally, my fabulous roommate from college is a flutist (hi Rac!) and she would never dream of playing "Oye Como Va" as anything other than a joke. She did, however, have a flute student who genuinely loved to play "My Heart Will Go On". Those were some rough half hours for all of us in the house.

PS. Congratulations Paul Newman (natch)! You're the winner of the "Who's hotter" poll. Sympathy to Mom, Amanda and Concerned Voter #3 who were faithful to Robert Redford. 72% of my teeny but much loved readership can not be wrong. Clearly, the people have spoken.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Au Revoir Maynard

The picture is titled: Maynard, not peeing.

Alas, my time with Maynard has come to an end.
Things I will miss:
1.) In the morning, after I would let him out to not go pee because he's already peed in the house and I just haven't found it yet, we would climb back into bed and he would snuggle up next to me and sigh.
2.) Whenever he would wake up from a nap and shake himself out with so much vigor that his jaw would go a little crooked and he would look, as if it were possible, even more retarded.
3.) How excited he got every time I released him from his maximum security compound in the guest bathroom.
4.) All that tongue lolloping.

Things I will not miss:
1.) The peeing.
2.) And more peeing.
3.) Cleaning up the pee.
4.) Explaining to him that peeing in the house is not polite.
5.) And the poo.
6.) Poo everywhere.
7.) What's that under the coffee table? Oh, right, it's poo.
8.) Did I just step in what I think I stepped it?
9.) The whining at 3 am to be let out even though we both knew that he'd already taken care of business in the office.


In other news, yes, I finished Harry Potter on the first day. And no, I will not tell you how it ended. Don't even ask. But if you make me brownies I'll whisper the name of at least one person who dies. Everyone has a price. I did end up going into Barnes & Noble after the Hollywood Bowl (Fab concert! Hooray Jaime Cullum!) and I took a load of pictures of all the people who dressed up. Don't you love people who dress up for things? That level of commitment is really commendable. But the pictures were all I left with because I'm an old woman and all signs pointed to me not getting a book until 2 a.m. I picked it up the next morning at Ralph's and went home and read and read and read and read, then took a 15 minute nap and then read some more. I tried to stop at 9 because I was at a point just before the action really started happening and my eyes were going a little screwy but then I thought I'll just finish this tomorrow morning, but what if I oversleep, or what if Maynard falls off the bed and lapses into another coma and I have to take him to the puppy ER, or what if the garbage disposal explodes and I have to flee, or what if I just can't read fast enough and I don't get to finish before church and I'll have to leave off at a climactic moment and I can't be late for church because I have to play the organ and I left the skirt I want to wear at the apartment so that means I have to leave even earlier for church giving me even less time to finish! Argh! I better finish now. So I just sucked it up and kept on reading. I finished around 1:30 and had a bit of a cry because it was such a melancholy moment. I hate it when good things end. I love these characters and it's sad to me that we don't' get anymore of them. It's a good thing I can't ever remember books that I've read. I could reread a book a week after I finish it and it would be like brand new to me. What? Dumbledore dies?!

P.S. Hi Laura! Sorry to make you wait.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Weekend Plans

1.) Go to the movies to kill time between work and meeting up with Katie. Maybe Ratatouille or Hairspray. Whatever fits in the best.

2.) Jaime Cullum at the Hollywood Bowl (wahoo!). He looks like a wee British hobbit but his music is fantastic.

3.) Pick up the new Harry Potter and snacks on my way to the beach.

4.) Not get sunburned.

5.) Read Harry Potter.

6.) Weep Openly.

7.) Eventually find it in my heart to forgive Maynard for waking me up at 5 this morning by peeing LOUDLY on the bathroom rug.

8.) (on condition that #7 is impossible) kill Maynard.

In regards to the last Harry Potter book, I'm pretty excited. Not excited enough to wait in line at midnight tonight dressed as Professor Sprout (although the thought did occur to me that I will actually be coming home around midnight from the Bowl and there is a Barnes & Noble nearby and it would be awfully easy for me to just pop in and get it) but excited enough to not schedule anything tomorrow so that I can read all day. And excited enough to prepare my Sunday School lesson last night so that I wouldn't feel guilty about waiting until I was done with the book to do it. And excited enough to buy these:

And now for some predictions: 1.) Snape will turn out to be good (duh!) and Harry will have the chance to kill him but doesn't and he will end up being instrumental in killing off Voldemort but will die in the process. 2.) Neville will avenge his parents by killing Belatrix but will die in the process. 3.) Dobie, and all the rest of the house elves, will be annoying as usual and will die in the process. I'm fine with 1, I'll be sad about 2 and maybe I'm just projecting my fondest wish on 3.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Very Important Question

Frequent readers of this blog (all 4 of you) will note that there is a new feature over to the right. It's a poll! Who doesn't love a poll? People who also don't love puppies or world peace, that's who.

(Random side note: I had a roommate whose last name was Gallup and she would always say, "...like the poll." when introducing herself.)

I should note that this question is not an original one. It was first presented to me by my pal and former roomie Amanda, whose last name is not like the poll. We had a slight disagreement on it. Meaning, I was right and she was wrong. Very close, but still wrong. Well, Amanda, how about we make this official(ish). All 4 of you readers can vote and we'll just see. Let me know who, at the peak of their hotness, you think was hotter: Paul Newman or Robert Redford. And by peak, I mean Cool Hand Luke and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for Newman and The Sting and Barefoot in the Park for Redford. Please don't judge Newman in the Sting because, let's be honest, that mustache was a little skeevy.

Here's my choice:


And to be fair, here's Amanda's choice:

There's no denying that he's a good looking man. But have you seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? No contest. And Amanda, I think we need to do an internet "hands in" that we will each only vote once.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it:

Dear Robert Redford:

It may be too late but it still needs to be said: Use some sun scren. Or maybe wear a hat. Or just stay out of the sun all together. I know you have all that land in Utah and you're all wildernessy and stuff but your skin looks like beef jerky. Maybe you could invest in one of those giant visors I always see Asian women wearing while they drive. You use to look so pretty.

Here's hoping the melanoma stays away.

Sincerly, Rachel

PS. I loved you in the Natural. Still my #1 baseball movie.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bob Saget's 'hood

Thanks to Katie for noticing this one. Yep, it's Bob Saget on a one-way sign. Awesome! I wonder if there's a Bob Saget gang. Like the Van Buren Boys on Seinfeld. They roam the streets of Montclaire causing trouble and quoting Full House. Take that Uncle Jesse!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Retarded Dog for Sale

Dear Mentally Challenged Maynard:

I’m not blaming you. I realize that you have a disability. The first few years of your life were pretty tough. You fell off the counter as a puppy and were in that little puppy coma. And then you ate those pills which brought on another little puppy coma. It’s not your fault. But even the mentally challenged can live very full and rewarding lives of self reliance. You’re too young to remember the show Life Goes On but there was this kid in it, Corky, and he had Downs Syndrome and even he was able to go to a regular high school and have a job and an apartment and he eventually fell in love with that girl who also had Downs Syndrome. I’m not saying that love is in the cards for you but certainly you can handle a few very simple tasks that will bring more independence to your life. Namely, going to the bathroom outside. I know you’re capable of doing this because I’ve seen you. You’ve even given me the very subtle sign of sitting down to indicate that you need to be let out. I’m proud of you for achieving this. But I think you may be using your disability, and your cuteness, as a crutch because every time I see a little pee stain on the new carpet and I look over at you, you look back with very large eyes and you cock your head to the right in that very cute way that makes your tongue lollop about. It’s adorable and I forgive you but then you do it again an hour later.

To help you out on this road to independence I’m setting a few goals for you. We’re starting small and I don’t want you to feel like you have to achieve them all tonight but at least if you’re aware of them and working on them, you’re making progress.

1.) Only get out of the bed if you need to. I know how hard it is to get into that bed. It’s pretty high. I have trouble myself. You know that if you get out of the bed you can’t get back in unless I help you up. So instead of hopping down and then waking me up when you want back in, why don’t you just stay there if you don’t need to leave.
2.) Come up with a different sign for having to go out. Like maybe barking. Sometimes when you sit down I can’t tell if you have to go or if you’re just tired.
3.) Do not pee or poop inside the house. Because if I have to get up at 3:30 in the morning to let you out for the 3rd time in 4 hours and on my way to opening the door for you step on another piece of poo one more time I promise that I will not forgive you and will send you to a home for retarded dogs.

I don’t want to sound paranoid but I would be a fool if I didn’t consider the possibility that you’re doing it on purpose. You are, after all, related by marriage to the cats who are trying to kill me because I'm the only thing standing in their way of world domination. I would hate to think, after all I’ve done for you, that you would have intentionally left that poo at the base of the stairs and then woken me up to let you out, knowing full well that I would step in it. If I find out that this is the case you can bet that no amount of adorable tongue lolloping will save you.

We only have two more weeks together. Let’s make the most of it.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Rachel's Official Summer-time Dress Code for Teachers.

1.) All teachers much be dressed appropriately.
2.) By "appropriately" I mean I shouldn't be able to see your underwear.
3.) By underwear I mean your bra that is showing through your top.
4.) By top I mean that really lacy thing you're wearing.
5.) The one that isn't just see through but actually has holes the size of my thumb in it.
6.) That top.
7.) Other items of clothing that don't fit under the "appropriately" guidelines:
a.) Flip flops that look like you wore them on a back-packing trip through Nepal in an effort to find yourself.
b.) A mini dress that has pastel martini glasses printed all over it.
c.) Shorts that could double as a bikini bottom.
c.) A tank top with a front so low that if you had a map of the world tattooed across your chest you could, without any sort of shifting, point out Tierra del Fuego.

I would say use your best judgement but clearly you left that in Nepal. All violators will be sacked, as in a floor length burlap sack with sleeves. I mean it. Don't make me get the modestly stick out.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Successful Diagnosis

Just added to my list of funny names: Ursula Bellugi. Say it out loud. It's hysterical.

I came across it in this article. It's really long. I'll summarize: It's about a genetic condition called Williams syndrome. People who have it struggle mainly with abstract spacial concepts. They can't replicate shapes or put together very simple puzzles. They also can't balance their check book. (Neither can I, but I think that has more to do with not keeping receipts.) What really makes them interesting is that they don't have the usual social fears that most people do, such as public speaking and meeting strangers. They're extremely gregarious and they have an almost insatiable need to be social. They also have smaller than normal faces and have a tendency to stare at you for long periods of time.

I think Maynard the Mentally Challenged Dog has Williams syndrome.

Monday, July 2, 2007

In Memorium

I'm wearing all black today because I use to have a summer vacation and today would have been the first day of it, if it hadn't died when I got my new position here at work. I know I'm being a big baby about it but I haven't been in work clothes on July 2nd since the dark days at Dr. Mintzer's office.

Dear Rachel, Get over it! Love, the Rest of the World.


I'll be officially over it when it's August 20th and for once I have more than $3 in the bank and all my bills are paid and there's food in my fridge and gas in my car. Three cheers for solvency!!!