Category Archives: floats

A Flower Cart Vendor and a Queen

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Today, May 20, 2014, we honor a character from a musical play and a

Queen of England! (Okay, maybe a day late for her!) Yesterday, May 19,

2014 was a federal statutory holiday called, “Victoria Day,” in Canada.

On my home calendar, they accidentally had it on the 20th! This extra

special day first came about for the celebration of Queen Victoria’s 35th

birthday.

That historic day had begun at midnight, with a ‘gun salute.’ I wonder

now if it was to wake everyone or maybe the party goers cavorted all

night and were already awake?

Annual celebrations included ‘pre-dawn serenades,’ athletic contests

or competitions, ‘torch-light processions,’ picnics and all-out 19th

Century revelry. This Canadian Patriotic Holiday makes it sound like

the United States’ Fourth of July celebrations!

There were two names listed, both French for Quebec’s celebration of

“Victoria Day:”

“Fete de Dollard” which lasted from the period of the “Quiet Revolution”

until 2003 and “Fete de la Reine,” (party for the Queen) which continues

to this day.

Also, there is another fascinating woman who really is ‘featured’ today:

“Eliza Doolittle Day!”

Both these notable women could be considered ‘heroines,’ of sorts.

One who was the creation in the imagination, originally, of George

Bernard Shaw in his play, “Pygmalion.” In 1938, a film adaptation of

the original stage play was produced.

When it was revised to become a musical, in 1956, Lerner and Lowe

had collaborated on the lyrics and plot line. It became a very well-

respected and beloved Broadway musical. It still circulates among

high schools, colleges and independent acting theaters.

When in 1964, Lerner and Loew’s musical was transferred into movie

form, it “shone” with the star, Audrey Hepburn. I think that I may

have written in a former post, awhile back, that Julie Andrews was

dismayed not to have been asked to be in either “My Fair Lady” or

“Camelot’s” film versions. Both had directors who chose ‘non-singing’

female leads in Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn.

Just for your information, Marni Nixon was the young woman who voiced

all of Eliza’s songs, in the 1964 film adaptation, “My Fair Lady.”

I love how she delivers the song, “Just You Wait (Henry Higgins).”

Audrey Hepburn, as an innocent waif, did an excellent and well-received

portrayal of the character simply described as ‘the flower girl.’ Her

name was Eliza Doolittle.

So, this is the character for whom we celebrate today!

The male lead, playing the character of Professor Henry Higgins, is Rex

Harrison.

The part of Colonel Hugh Pickering, was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Another fine actor and singer was Stanley Holloway portraying Eliza’s

father. He belts out the song, “I’m Getting Married in the Morning”

in his full blown version of a ‘cockney’ accent.

The songs are lovely memories for me, hopefully for some of you.

The whole concept of the transformation of Eliza, ‘the flower girl,’

into a fine lady of ‘high society’ in Edwardian London came from a bet

or a ‘wager’ between the two men, Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering.

They happen to be ‘phoneticists’ or linguistics. They study phonics and

dialects.

Higgins is the one who thinks he can change Eliza by using phonetics

and recordings to eliminate her ‘cockney’ accent. She is able to complete

this transformation into a refined and formal lady by a set time, to

attend a Ball. She falters as a stilted, yet genteel, lady at the Ascot

Racecourse.

I remember, at age 9, going to see this “breath-taking” movie at the

theater with my family. It really enchanted me with the way the whole

story went, along with the costumes that were lovely. Not only for the

Ball, but the race track, too. My brothers and father did not complain,

it is funny, thinking back to that time. Sometimes, I think about the

many action movies we would go to where I would not say that I didn’t

really want to go. As a sign of the times, there were less choices

and one did what their parents ‘told them to do!’

Another amusing thought is that if “Eliza Doolittle” met the Queen

Victoria, what those two minds would have come up with! Especially

with one who was considered one of the longest reigning Monarch’s

of the British colonies and a simple ‘street urchin’ who had spunk

and a feisty nature indeed. I imagine there may have been some mutual

admiration for their strengths of character.

Now go on!

Celebrate with birthday cake and British tea or have a glass of wine to

cheer these women on!

Announcing Ohio State Fair, 2014

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Entertainment and relationships have been found and made

stronger from attending lively musical performances and

riding on fair or amusement park rides. This year has

already been forecasted to be a hot summer, by the 2014

Farmer’s Almanac and meteorologists.

Where do you go that is not exorbitant in cost and get

the ‘most bang for your buck?’ The Ohio State Fair!

From July 23 – August 3rd…

I am sure that your area of the world may have wonderful

cultural events, festivals, zoos and botanical gardens

to enjoy.

The CBS news broadcasters (Channel 10 in Central Ohio)

recently gave us the upcoming partial list of singers

and entertainers who will perform at the Ohio State Fair.

Here are a few of them:

Lady Antebellum will deliver a great country and popular

musical performance. They are easy on the ‘eyes’ and

‘ears.’ Their concert will be held on July 25, 2014.

Joan Jett will be bringing her excitement and enthusiasm,

along with some ‘retro style’ (of the 80’s) ‘rock and

roll’ music.

Going even farther back in time, Aretha Franklin, The

Beach Boys, Nancy Wilson and Heart will be performing

for those who have nostalgia and deep pockets.

The American Idol night will include Scotty McCreary’s

deep vocalizations and country combined with pop style

music, (July 27, 2014) All the concerts will be held

in the air-conditioned Celeste Center.

I used to love to go to the Ohio State Fair, where

the coliseum and the bleachers were all one price.

Past personal experiences of fair entertainment was

so incredibly diverse. I have seen The Beach Boys,

Huey Lewis and the News, Kenny Rogers, Three Dog

Night, Alabama, Kenny Loggins, and many more singers:

All For Free, with the cost of Fair admission.

That time has been ‘long gone,’ sad to say!

There are many other directions other than music, to

go and see at the Ohio State Fair. There are all the

wonderful 4-H exhibits of crafts, cooking, domestic

animals, and even Rodeos! I enjoy the Amish hand-

crafted wagons, which are proudly displayed, along

with demonstrations of their skills in maneuvering.

I was lucky enough, to stumble across this with

an ex-boyfriend who loved horses. We sat and watched

several of these ‘programs’ in the Coliseum. It was

amazing to watch the beautiful horses showing both

obedience and majesty, with their heads held high

and their clopping hooves kicking up the sawdust.

I like to head towards the Natural Resources area as

the day gets warmer. There is a large prairie, filled

with original Ohio plant life. The Ohio animals display

includes wolves, coyotes, owls, songbirds, and other

interesting living native species to Ohio. There are

many trees, where you can feel refreshed, sitting and

listening to country style music, once you have toured

the area to see the ‘sights.’

Every year my children were young, they liked to go

see a huge Smokey the Bear, where there was a person

out front, who would ask questions about the children,

or they could ask Smokey ones, and the ‘helper’ would

help fill in the blanks to allow Smokey to talk to

the child. My children ‘fell’ for this for a few years,

then politely did not let my youngest daughter in on

the secret. It was like an Ohio trip to Disneyland,

where children are so in awe of the costumed actors

from their favorite fairy tales.

You may wish, in this Natural Resources area to view

loggers trying to stay on their logs, while there are

fishermen, (children can fish for free) on a man-made

lake in the center of this cooler, shady area.

There is even a place to ‘clean’ the fish and fry

them, if you should wish to!

One special area of the fair, that my brother Randy

used to enter his artwork,is the Fine Arts Building.

I always go to see our native Ohioans who are both

creative and artistic. It is air-conditioned and they

have a guided tour with ear phones, along with a kids’

packet that has the kids looking for certain details

and checking them off, very interactive!

Lastly, if you come to Ohio during midsummer, make

sure you come to see the Butter Cow, along with the

very unique and artistic butter sculptures that are

crafted annually.

I think it is interesting that the butter sculptures

have included tributes to John Glenn with his space

craft, the Wright Brother’s and their airplane, along

with the Ohio Children’s Choir.

I am sure you can check out some examples of such fine

and varied artistic renderings out of butter on their

website. As an aside, have you ever seen the hilariously

funny, yet poignant movie the Midwest custom of having

butter sculpture competitions? This one is focused on

the Iowa State Fair.

The movie simply named, “Butter,’ has such recognizable

actors as Jennifer Garner.

Now, I cannot write about the upcoming Summer event of

the Ohio State Fair without reminding you that our

cooking demonstrations and fair food cannot be beat!

There are all cultures represented in their trailers

where FDA inspects and the BBB endorses all the foods

prepared there. I would write an ‘ode’ to such delights

as the deep fried Snickers candy bars, Oreos and even

enjoy the deep fried pickles, too. There cannot be a

food that is not included on this fair’s menu! If you

want simple ‘home cooking’ you can go to the Bob Evans’

booth.

If you would like to eat some Ohio/Lake Erie fish, you

can catch it yourself, as mentioned, or you can seek out

a Walleye Fish Sandwich. You can go to Schmidt’s that has

been around for over 100 years to get a Cream Puff or a

Brat sandwich combo with sauerkraut and/or German Potato

Salad. You may purchase beers and other alcoholic beverages

inside the gates, where your photo ID will be necessary

and our state law is must be 21 years or older to purchase.

I personally like the homemade ice cream and also, the

funnel cakes. I choose to eat a Greek gyro, which includes

sour cream or a special Greek garlic sauce, chopped lettuce,

tomatoes and onions, too. Mmmm! Good!

I have hopefully enticed you to try out your local fairs,

just for the memories you and your friends or children will

have afterwards! If you go to Kroger’s or another grocery

store, they usually have discount tickets and if you are a

Veteran, there is a free day, as long as you bring some form

of identification!

Enjoy and looking forward to seeing you in my Home State: Ohio.

Let me know if you are coming!

Light Summary of the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony

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As in Olympics’ Closing Ceremonies go, I thought

the country of Russia, did an outstanding job!

The presentations, that were centered on their

heritage and culture, were moving, dynamic and

lovely. I am full of adjectives like “innovative”

and “evocative!”

It was called “A Tribute to the Arts.”

I enjoyed the artistic features of Marc Chagall

as one of the Russian artists.

I almost could not find the spelling of the other

artist who was mentioned, I did not recognize the

name.

It sounded like “Malcheck” or “Malaczech.” Once I

studied the wonderful directory of Russian artists,

I did recognize him to be: Kazimir Malevich. Well,

I was close! (Smile!)

Malevich was an avante garde artist and his paintings

were used for inspiration in the dance performances

and the mural like artwork on the field. He lived from

1878- 1935, as a Polish descendant Russian.

They featured black fish swimming around to form

the classic Olympic circles on the ground, This

glowed like shimmering silver rings. This was

carried out through people moving, carrying fish

fins to create the whole display.

There was some humor in that during the Opening

Ceremony, there was a ‘glitch’ where one of the

circles didn’t light up. I think the inclusion of

this display was to balance out the mistake of

the original ceremony. During this portion of the

Closing Ceremony, they had 62 pianists playing.

The fantastic upside-down village floating above the

field with the bright and lively painted design of

one of Marc Chagall’s pieces was delightful. I have

had some acquaintance with his work, since my parents

usually sent UNICEF cards featuring his designs. His

use of a dove to represent Peace and also, the Holy

Spirit at Christmas, is well known. One of Chagall’s

famous pieces, “I the Village,” shows his child-like

and dreamy artwork. His pieces may bring the observer

to smile, as if it were their own memories of some

imaginary times. We have put together, as a family, a

couple of his pieces into a picture puzzle, over the

years.

Chagall lived from 1887 until 1985. Since he later

moved to France, Chagall is considered a Russian-

French artist.

Someone asked, as a commentator, “Why was the village

upside down?” the answer was seemingly that Chagall

viewed the world as ‘upside down.’

I enjoyed the bold colors, dramatic dancing people

who wore wings, looking like Chagall’s doves or birds.

The ethnic, country Russian music was reminiscent of

the cultural music featured in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

This musical was set in Tsarist Russia, 1905.

There was a dramatic tribute to the Opera and this

utilized the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet dancers. This

was a beautiful exhibition of talent and skill.

There were floating dancers and gymnasts, similar

in the Cirque du Soleil type performances.

I was left with the impression of looking at Life

from a different lens. I am sure that this positive

impression, promoted by the Russian government, was

meant as propaganda.

The image of ‘Freedom of Expression,’ through their

“Tribute to the Arts,” shown during the 2014 Olympics

Closing Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia was simply ironic.

November Ups and Downs

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The “Up” part of my post is all about the wonderful Macy’s Thanksgiving

Day Parade! I love this fun experience, watching the crowds, and getting

in the seasonal celebratory “mood” and seeing the floats!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924. Wow! A long

history, where it wasn’t all captured on television, either! The main

attractions in those original years were circus animals, some wild

animals from the Central Park zoo and Santa Claus at the end of the

Parade! Three years after the Parade started, hot air balloons were

introduced. Over the years, this has become quite the exciting feature,

to see the wide and interesting variety of floats.

How many years have you sat and smelled the turkey roasting in the

oven, having prepared or help to prepare the fancy “fixings” or maybe

set the table and glanced to see the Parade? I think I saw them for 10

years of my life, either at my parents’, aunt and uncles’ or grandparents’

house. It usually kept the three of us, particularly my busy, rowdy

brothers from ‘under foot.’

The awesome “news” this year will be that there will be four new floats

and the Cirque du Soleil will perform on the streets of New York City!

The 37th time that Snoopy (Charles Schulz’s creation) will appear~ in a

new balloon!

I will be celebrating Thanksgiving at my brother and sister in law’s home,

taking Mom from her apartment over in the car, carrying pies and ice

cream. We usually have a couple of cans of real whipped cream to spray

on top, too.

My son, his wife and four children will be waking up at Susan and Rich’s

home, probably designated to Randy’s charge, the uncle who loves to play

games and last time, two years ago, carted down the Lincoln Logs and the

other “old-fashioned” toys from their attic.

We will make memories, take photographs, talk seriously, since we are a

family of ‘debaters’ on education and politics. We may finish with a trip to

the park, since the kids need to have some outdoor exercise to get their

energy out!

Before the excitement and happy occasion of Thanksgiving, one week

and fifty years ago, we will have memorials and tributes to our famous

President John F. Kennedy’s assination. The PBS Channel has had

one special (called, “Cold Case JFK”). Some of the investigation and

interview shows have mentioned this terrible, devastating day in our

country’s history.

Many of our older fellow bloggers lived through this day and the ensuing,

following horrible moments.

The Smithsonian Channel has the tragic day recounted through a series

of interviews, with eyewitnesses. It is called, “The Day Kennedy Died.”

This includes rare and rarely seen photos and footage.

It was all filmed in black and white.

It was a day that many before 9/11/2001 considered “The Worst Day in

My Life.”

On November 22, the somber reality is, we will be remembering,

thinking back to a sadder time. We won’t be able to get past it without

wondering why such things happen in this world.

For me, it was one week after my eighth birthday party. I was in school

when it happened.

I don’t remember getting on the bus, knowing it happened that day.

I just remember not going to school for a few days, sitting and seeing

Jackie Kennedy holding her husband’s head in her lap.

Seeing the adorable children, Caroline and who we called “John John”

at the funeral will always be firmly in my memory bank as a very sad event.

Also, little “John John” saluting the casket as it passed; another tear-jerking

photograph. Also, caught on video to see over and over again, following

this day.

Did you know three days after his father, John F. Kennedy, died that his son

turned 3 years old? How was that birthday occasion “celebrated,” I wonder?

What a somber thought.

He was born on November 25, 1960. I don’t think I had known that or I had

forgottne that sad thought.

I hope that you will share a moment of your memory of that day or week the

JFK was shot. It was certainly a shot heard round the world. (Or shots,

if you want to be technical.) I still have no opinion about the conspiracy

theory or if there were accomplices. I am just saddened that people

could be so mean, so selfish, so misdirected,  so crazy, so demented…

to want to kill someone that had not done anything personally to effect

them.

I will remember that day, always.

I will remember the best days of  John Fitzgerald and Jacqueline

Kennedy’s better, happier days, considered “Camelot” by many.

Then, I will move forward and be thankful for my family, friends,

and the way my life has gone, so far.

I will count my blessings.

Where were you on that fateful Friday November 22, 1963 just past

lunchtime?

If you weren’t born, did your parents share any of their memories?

If you are in another country, does anything come to mind that you

would like to share?