Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Do not adjust your set! If you enter this site, you may never get out again. ("We control the horizontal. We control the verical." Oops, wrong program.)
This may be the best internet site I have ever encountered: more than 100,000 print ads and posters from the 1840s to the present day, culled and collected from God knows where and lovingly scanned for public consumption. You even get to choose from two different sizes.
These ads cover food, fashion, medicine, pets, even space-age inventions like the computer, which in the 1940s filled a room. Each ad is a sociological treatise in capsule form. Some are extravagantly beautiful, some stylish, some stark. Obsolete products like "brain salt" mystify, and one ad from the 1890s recommends tapeworms to cure a weight problem. A baby glugs from a 7Up bottle, beer is recommended for nursing Moms (hey, even I remember that one - I got a lot of mileage out of it), and smoking is something that soothes the throat, eases asthma and keeps a girl slim.
I may never get out of here, though I am beginning to think I should stop saving images and just leave them where they belong. This site is simple and extremely easy to use, without any of the annoying bells and whistles and things popping up and squirming around in the corners that drive me mad. There is no long wait for downloading: in fact, no waiting at all!
It's a time machine, one that I will jump back into (like the Time Tunnel!) over and over again. Try it. It's a trip.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
It came in this little cardboard box. I mean, I’m saying small. It was probably the size of a shoebox, except it was higher. It had a little chicken wire screen window in it. There was a cut out. All you could see if you looked in there was his face. I brought it home, and I actually snuck it into the basement of the house.
No instructions [were included]. He had this waist belt on, a collar, if you will, on his waist, with an unattached leash inside the box. So I opened the box up inside the cage, the monkey jumped out, I withdrew the box and found the leash. I have no idea where it came from; I assumed it came from Florida. I figured, well, it’s probably near dehydration, so I opened up the cage to put some water in it. It leapt out of the cage when I opened it up the second time! I mean, it was eyeing the pipes that I was unaware of. As soon as I opened the cage, it leapt up and grabbed onto the plumbing up on the ceiling and started using them like monkey bars, and he was just shooting along in the basement, chirping pretty loud. It was heading towards the finished side of the basement, where there was a drop ceiling, and if it got into those channels, I never would have got it. It would have been days to get this thing out of there.
I grabbed it by its tail, and it came down on, starting literally up by my shoulder, like a drill press it landed on my arm, and every bite was breaking flesh. It was literally like an unsewing machine. It was literally unsewing my arm coming down, and I was pouring blood. I grabbed it by its neck with both my wrists, threw it back in the cage. It’s screaming like a scalded cat. I’m pouring blood. My friend’s laughing uncontrollably, and my father finally comes in the basement door and goes, ‘Jeffery! What are you doing to that rabbit?’ And I go, ‘It’s not a rabbit, it’s a monkey, and it just bit the hell out of me.’ ‘A monkey? Bring it up here!’ I’m pouring, I wrapped a t-shirt around my arm to stave off the bleeding, carried the cage upstairs, and I don’t know why I bothered sneaking it in, because they fell in love with it, and it was like, there was no problem at all. They took me to the emergency room and I got 28 stitches on my arm.
The beaver was spotted Monday evening wandering around a residential neighbourhood, along a busy street, through a graveyard and golf course, all the while escorted by an N.W.T. Environment and Natural Resources officer.
Mike Keizer, a longtime resident in the town of 2,400 near the N.W.T.-Alberta border, said he hopped on his bicycle as soon as he heard there was a beaver on the loose.
"It looked huge. I always thought beavers would be smaller," Keizer told CBC News on Thursday.
"All the beavers I've ever seen have been in water, so you only ever see pieces of them; like, you don't get to see the whole beaver."
Another Fort Smith resident, Jason Mercredi, shot video footage of the beaver moving in a ditch and on a sidewalk along McDougal Street.
"There's a beaver holding up [the] main street," Mercredi says in the video, before asking his uncle if the animal would attack.
"He's pissed," Mercredi remarked.
Got agitated, flustered
The wayward animal, which Keizer estimated was the size of a dog, zigzagged across people's lawns and around their homes.
"Every time it got agitated or flustered, it would bang its tail on the ground. I mean, I was amazed at how fast it moved when it was agitated," he recalled.
Keizer said the beaver became especially agitated when it came nose-to-nose with somebody's German shepherd, with just a chain-link fence separating the two animals.
"It never backed down once. It grabbed the fence, it was hissing, and the dog was barking," Keizer said.
"When the ENR officer went to get it turned [around] so he'd get it away from town, he had a plywood sheet in front of him, and it rushed the sheet."
Keizer said he rode his bike ahead of the beaver, knocking on residents' doors and warning them to bring their dogs indoors "because there's a wild beaver walking through town, heading your way."
"While I was there, all kinds of people were driving up in their trucks and their cars and taking pictures," he said.
The beaver wandered about another kilometre or two before it headed towards the Slave River rapids and disappeared.
Keizer said in his 17 years living in Fort Smith, he has never seen a beaver — never mind a beaver so large — come into town.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
I've been on a bit of a Stephen Sondheim kick lately, maybe because of his longtime connection with Anthony Perkins, one of my perennial preoccupations/happy obsessions. These two were similar in that they were both intricate, impossible, brilliant, and (in spite of their vast creative contribution) essentially unknowable.
Though Perkins was prematurely snatched at 60, Sondheim is still with us at 80-some. One of his many legendary shows was Company (1970), in which T. P. almost played Bobby, the still point at the centre of a comedy of couples. When it comes to relationships and love, Bobby won't commit, but committed people (or people who should be committed) swirl all around him.
Somehow Tony Perkins wasn't available. Another commitment, you see. Or he didn't really need to "play" Bobby; he was too busy being him.
I tried to find a really good version of an incredible song, Being Alive, Bobby's final soliloquy/aria/heartsong. I went through Bernadette Peters, whom I've always loved; Patty LuPone; Barbra Streisand; even Julie Andrews. Nada, naynay, nonenonenone, can't get into it and am almost at the point of giving up.
Then I stumbled on. . . this.
It's Dean Jones, yes, that Dean Jones from the Love Bug series and innumerable other Disney flicks. I didn't even know he could sing. It's a recording session, probably the original cast recording judging by the fact that Sondheim looks like a middle-aged juvenile delinquent. But what Jones does here is beyond singing. He opens his mouth, his eyes soft with a frightened vulnerability, and releases this hymn, this almost unbearable paean to the aching neccessity of love.
Jesus! He can't just sing: he can fly. Where has he been all my life? I don't know if I've ever heard a song turned inside-out like this. Along with flat-out artistry, he possesses a soaring technical brilliance, the ability to sustain a phrase in a clean, steady arc for an impossibly long time. He builds and builds the drama as the orchestra crescendos and begins to thunder at the end. . .and when it's over and he stands there with a tense, "was that any good?" look clearly visible on his face, there's an eerie silence in the studio. Sondheim mumbles something about it being adequate. Then, almost like at the end of Laugh-in, sparse applause, the sound of a few hands clapping.
When I hear something this good, which is never, I want to do something really extreme, like throw all my manuscripts on a bonfire, committ suttee or whatever it is (but my husband would have to do it first, damn it). When I hear something this exalted, I want to just chuck my ambitions and go take a long walk in the park (ten years ought to do it). But at the same time, it goads me to be better than I know how to be.
This song is about someone who can't fully live until he learns to open himself wide to the splendors and catastrophes of love. I wonder why I have such a visceral response to it. Love is at the centre of my life, and in fact, I know it is my central purpose. Of this I have no doubt. But what does it mean, what does it really mean to love? Do we ever get it right?