Monday, February 25, 2008

I Missed the Passing of Vampira

Maila Nurmi died January 10, and I missed it. The notices of her death are split in their estimation of her age: some say 85*; some say 86**. They all agree that she died in 2008, but some say she was born in 1922, others say 1923. So what do the reference books say?

Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 12: September, 1979-August 1921

Film Index International 1921

Internet Movie Database 1921

Wikipedia 1922

* Chicago Tribune, 1/20; Grand Rapid Press, 1/20
** Variety, 1/21; Boston Globe Blog Report 1/23

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Beauties of Black & White

Recently I watched the 1943 film Ghost Ship. Those of you who know of my taste for camp will be surprised to hear that nothing supernatural happens in this film. “Ghost Ship” is a metaphor for the dried-up life of the Captain of the Altair, whose struggle to maintain absolute authority over his ship coincides with his mental breakdown. It’s not a sophisticated film, but it has fairy-tale-like charm. Val Lewton, the producer, was responsible for a number of creepy films: The Cat People, Curse of the Cat People, Isle of the Dead, The Leopard Man, and I Walked with a Zombie. Ghost Ship has the atmosphere of the Cat People films: lots of suggestive shadows and fog. The creepiest scenes have no background music to tell you exactly when the bad thing is going to happen. As much as I love color, I wonder if it can convey the same combination of smooth elegance and teasing threat that black & white can.

Well, that’s enough. If you need more, look at the page.

Strange Home Decoration

Thanks to Julie & Dave for these photos of my favorite features of their pre-remodeled house.

I tried to get them to sell this chandelier on eBay, but they couldn't wait to trash it.

I saw this metallic wallpaper in person, and I can tell you this photo doesn't do it justice. The 60s-style design was enough to cause hallucinations on the stairway.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snowstorm, February 22, 2008

The snow is so pretty...

...but kitty doesn't like to get it on her paws. See more of my snow shots at the end of the My Neighborhood album at my Picasa page.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Scenes From my World

Here, a clay griffin I made a long time ago is checking out a glass cornucopia that I bought from the Tesuque Glassworks.

These knick-knacks appear to be enjoying themselves.

Obviously a garden party.

A day at the beach.

John Collins's cubicle. I put a link to my blog on his blog.


I still haven't heard from Donald Montoya, though seems to think he still lives at the address Karen gave me. I sent him the URLs for both my and Chuck's blogs, hoping he might make a comment, but no. Perhaps the air force is monitoring his correspondence, as a result of his appearance in The Roswell Incident. They may want to make sure he doesn't spill the beans about all those aliens.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Photoshop, etc.

Here's a picture of me with the fresco filter. I wish I would hurry up and learn how to do dithering and layers. But I seem to be taking forever.
My old college roomie Barb proposed that we take a trip this coming summer. In 1995 I went with her to Italy, so now it's my pick. I wanted to do one of these river cruises, perhaps down the Danube. We invited a third old roomie, Brenda, who persuaded us that Europe is just too expensive at present, so we've settled on the Canadian Rockies. As a matter of fact, my first choice would have been London; but a dollar only buys 50 cents worth of stuff there. (Will it be any better in summer 2009?) In The Remains of an Altar there is reference to a lot of Brits retiring at 50. I hope they all come to the U.S. and pump their wealth into our slumping economy. Recently I've run into groups of Russian tourists around Cambridge. I recognized the word horoshow (my transliteration), which means good. I'm glad they thought so. Do you think the English would find New England boring, too much like home? ( "I live in old England; why the bloody hell would I want to visit a derivitive England?") New Mexico's deserty alienish landscape ought to attract them. Any British subjects reading this are urged to book their holidays in Santa Fe or Taos and bring lots of money, because you need a lot of souvenirs. You need Indian pottery and jewelry and rugs! And the New York Times says these are the places to eat in Taos: Joseph's Table (108 A South Taos Plaza; 505-751-4512, Bavarian Inn (Taos Ski Valley; 505-776-8020;, the Trading Post Cafe (4179 State Road 68; 505-758-5089) in Ranchos de Taos, and Doc Martin's(125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; 505 758 2233;* I've never eaten at any of these places, but the New York Times wouldn't lie. So spend, spend!
Well, I've done my bit for the economy. Time for a nap.

*Taking the Bite Out of a New Mexico Winter By HENRY SHUKMAN Section TR; Column 0; Travel Desk; CHOICE TABLES TAOS, N.M.; Pg. 10

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Millennial Memories in Anticipation of Valentine's Day


It was just about 10 years ago that I started seeking year-2000-predictions for a library display. I only wanted prophecies from scientists, academics, and think tanks--respected intellectuals. I remembered prophecies made when I was a teenager: 3-day work weeks, colonies on the moon, robot servants. Some economists in the 60s had worried that an excess of free time would plague the 21st century. Frankly, I was pretty pissed off at the way things turned out. In the name of truth, justice, and the American Way, I needed to hold these prophets up to ridicule.
Most of the predicting happened in the 60s and 70s, after which it tapered off. But I did dig up one daring futurist who, from the standpoint of 1982, predicted that we would be able to marry robots by the year 2000. OK, you may ask, why would I want to marry a robot? You can just buy a vibrator. Why should a more sophisticated masturbation aid require matrimony? Well, Arthur Harkins (University of Minnesota) expected we'd have real artificial intelligence by now that would make robots a lot more interesting. They might even be smart enough to have their own preferences about whom they wanted to marry. But even without AI,
"The great bulk of human relationships are formulated on a ritualistic basis, which is to say that most humans, in their relationships with wives or lovers, expect a kind of metronomic precision of expected behavior and expected responses to occur over time," he explained.* Ick.

O.K. I was not bitter about the failure of the robot-marriage prediction. My first thought was that if this guy was married when he gave the interview, his wife would've killed him.

I googled Arthur Harkins. He is still alive
and still at the University of Minnesota.
*Computerworld, May 17, 1982 p.19

Saturday, February 09, 2008

My Mind is Blank

NASA needs a name for its new satellite, but my aging brain won't come up with anything. I guess the old gray matter just ain't what it used to be.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Welcome to my Lovely Home

Here is my hard-working clock radio. Getting me out of bed takes real assertiveness.
My best bookcase with knick-knacks, 19th C fashion plates, and books.

The amazing salt rock lamp freshens the air around the cat box.

The TV acts as hearth and home altar.

The galley kitchen with brand new (Kenmore) microwave.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Those Old Photos

I've been scanning some of my old photos, but the black & white ones come out looking like random ink blotches. So I tried photographing them. Except for a bit of reflection, they came out pretty good.

Friday, February 01, 2008

My Neighbor

This is my cubicle-neighbor John Collins. There is a link to his blog in my links list. John doesn't have a links list on his blog. I wish he'd hurry up and make one and put my blog there.