Category Archives: gender differences

Humor Comes in All Sorts of Packages

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Sometimes there are things you may “think,” but you would never

put into words. You may even admire the one who seems to have

listened to that impudent ‘voice in your head.’ You may, on the other

hand, cringe and think, “Oh no! That is way too blunt!”

 

Comedy is often built around those ‘cringe-worthy’ moments.  I

laugh at movies, which if someone were to actually DO the things

which are depicted in the movies, I may actually display a face

full of horror.  I may be outwardly ‘aghast’ but I also might be

laughing on the inside, too.

 

In Shakespeare’s time, his plays often added humor sometimes

displaying a bit of ‘sauciness.’ While taking a high school English

‘mini-course,’ we studied Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” The school

administration encouraged our teacher, Mr. Billman, to send home

parents’ permission slips before we read and discussed this rather

controversial book. It makes me smile a little to think we needed

permission to read this bawdy collection of tales. They are considered

‘classics.’ This book has been on some lists for ‘book-burning,’ too.

 

When the history of ‘drag queens’ is studied, you learn that the

ones who were “dressed as girls” became called, “drags.” While

those who were wearing men’s (otherwise known as ‘boys’)

clothing were named, “drabs.”

 

Women dressed as men, sometimes in the most interesting

situations. In the movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously,”

Kevin Costner’s character has a ‘male’ friend, a photographer.

Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress in her male role.

 

In the movie, “Yentl” Barbara Streisand portrayed a young man

in this Jewish story. It was unusual in that it was considered to be

a “romantic musical drama comedy” movie released in 1983.

 

In the more recent 2012 movie, Glenn Close depicted the main

character and title role in, “Albert Nobbs.” She was nominated for

Best Actress in this movie, along with Golden Globe and SAG’s

but did not win in her fascinating portrayal of a man.

 

Women were not often ‘allowed’  in stage productions, due to the

impropriety.  So, the original ‘drag’ performers were considered

‘normal,’ while performing in traditional plays. Their wardrobe

choice would fit the role they were playing. This made men wearing

women’s clothes, considered ‘appropriately attired.’

 

In the making of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life, in the movie,

“Amadeus,” there are several scenes where the fine, classical and

renowned musician is carrying on with people of questionable

sexual orientation.

 

Funny. how when the black and white movie, with Tony Curtis,

Jack Lemmon and the gorgeous, Marilyn Monroe cane out in 1959,

no one made a big deal about men hiding in women’s clothing,

from the Mob. The same theme came into play, in the television

series, “Bosom Buddies.” This resulted in giving us the famous,

funny and talented actor, Tom Hanks.

 

There are many other examples of men dressing up like women

which makes the audience laugh.

 

Why does it bother some people then, to go and see a Drag Queen

or a comedy performance with men dressed as women? I guess

this is up to each person’s level of Comfort Zone.

 

There may be some of Mary Nolan’s humorous comments listed

in this post which you may not like. You may even consider them

‘distasteful.’ I hope you will laugh instead. But, at least I gave you

‘fair warning’ of the content in the remainder of this post.

 

I edited out a few of this transgender Columbus native’s raunchy

descriptions of famous people and left the more ‘palatable’ ones

here.

 

There is something to be said about bluntness and edginess. I am

one who doesn’t believe in censorship. What I hear in a comedy

sketch or stand up routine performed in a local tavern, bar, film or

comedy club is usually off-color but comical, one way or another.

 

I have to admit, I may like ‘shocking’  or ‘bawdy’ content. Now, be

honest: Have you ever laughed at “Bridesmaids,” “American Pie”

or “There’s Something about Mary?”

 

This is not “R-rated”nor even “PG 13,” so hope you find something

to laugh out loud about. But if not, this is fine. Humor is like food

and other ‘tastes:’ To each his own!

 

Each of these comments were published in the January, 2015,

“Outlook” magazine.  These are taken from Mary Nolan’s column,

“Reading is Fundamental.” The main readership of this monthly

publication  comes from  the culture of Ohio’s  LGBT  and  Ally

community. You can find this in the lobby of our Delaware County

District Library and other central Ohio locations. It is free to all.

 

1. About John Boehner-

 

“Hey John, skin cancer called and it doesn’t want you either!”

 

2. About Taylor Swift- (appearing with the Victoria Secret models

in her own white outfit, circlet of white feathers on her head and

angel wings):

 

“It’s like the cast of “Glee” gang-banged a bag of sugar-coated

rainbows and the offspring was the most nauseating collection

of happy teen angst.”

 

3. About Kim Kardashian-

 

“I’m all for big (“a- – – -“) behinds, but this girl makes Ohio

bottoms look slightly less hungry.”

 

4. About Nick Jonas- (appearing in a photo without a shirt on):

“Nope, not gonna try to read this one except to say that he was

talentless in the group, Hanson.”

 

5. About Johnny Manziel-

“Nice work in that first start. Helen Keller did a better job of

finding the mark.”

 

6. About Mike DeWine- (on the subject of legalizing same sex

marriage):

“Fiscal responsibility apparently stops when it comes to a couple

of queens getting hitched.”

 

7. About Sherri Dribblelipz-

“I’m all for French broads and their hairy bodies, but for Christ’s

sake, would it kill you to take a weed whacker to them pasty white

airplane pillows? It’s like this: whatever happened to Baby Jane?

I don’t care!”

 

8. About Rosie O’Donnell-

“She’ll huff, she’ll puff and she’ll blow all of your interest in her

out the window.”

 

9. About Suze Ormon- (financial advisor)

“I’d rather get stock advice from the guy who sells drugs in a gay

bar bathroom stall.”

 

10. About Jesse Tyler Ferguson-

(From “Modern Family,” where he is the thinner man in the gay

couple and has red hair):

“For the love of everything unholy, flesh colored beards have never

been and never will be attractive!”

 

11. About Bianca Del Rio-

“Bianca calls her bit the “Rolodex of Hate.” It’s more like the

“Rolodex of Repeat.” She’s had the same material for her entire

40-year career! Speaking of which, Bianca, what were the 70’s

like?”

 

I used to listen to RuPaul, a famous Drag Queen, actress and

author. She made the rounds on talk shows and often appeared

in comedy skits. You can see him in such family movies as,

“The Brady Bunch Movie” and “Brady Bunch Sequel.”

His two books were published and had good sales.

RuPaul’s two books are called,

“Letting It All Hang Out” (an autobiography)

and “Workin’ It.”

 

Here are three RuPaul quotes for you to read:

 

~”When you become the image of your imagination,

it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

 

~”If you don’t love yourself, how the H- – – you gonna

love someone else?”

 

~”We all come into this world naked.  The rest is all drag.”

 

Viva le difference!

 

Artistic Genius

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My young friend, Margaret, at a fun blog recommended I see this

movie, “Camille Claudel” which is a French movie about Rodin and

one of his many female apprentices, who became enraptured with

him, became an artist by her ‘own right,’ and ultimately finished her

life in a mental

institution for 30 years. This was another example of how being a

woman during a different time period created challenges for her

own ability to present her artwork, mainly sculptures, to the world.

 

Poor dear Camille Claudel.

While getting this movie, you may have to go through a rather

complicated ‘search,’ since mine took me on a nearly ‘wild goose

chase.’

 

This was not available in the state of Ohio, in DVD form?

How is this possible?

 

Anyway, Central Campus of Southern State Community College

sent Delaware County District Library the movie, “Camille Claudel”

in VHS form. Thank goodness, I have one of those tiny televisions

with a VHS ‘drawer’ installed in it. It is one that has accompanied

more than one of my own three children off to college in the late

90’s and early 2000’s.

 

The director is Bruno Nuytten and has the sense of darkness in

his scenes and perspective thrown into his filming close shots.

The main actor, portraying Rodin, is Gerard Depardieu who was

in the American movie, “Green Card” and is well know for his

Academy Award nominated role in, “Jean de Florette.” The

female character is played beautifully by Isabelle Adjani. She

may be recognized for several roles but more famous, at least to

me while playing in, “Ishtar.” She was nominated for her portrayal

of  a character she played in, “Story of Adelett.”

 

This fine French film, “Camille Claudel, fascinated me. It was truly a

disturbing masterpiece. It  was nominated for “Best Foreign Language

Film” in 1989. (Gerard Depardieu was thin and muscular in this film.)

The story begins with a young, lithe woman in an alley in Paris, where

she is digging into a cliff of what looks like mud.  This must have some

amount of ‘clay’ in it.  She is gathering clumps of this, being muddy

from head to foot, and flinging it into her large container; like a bucket.

 

The brutal cold scene depicts snow on the ground.

It is February, 1885.

 

Camille’s story is full of  harrowing and intensely dramatic moments.

I hope you may look up her fantastic sculptures.  One which has the

name of “The Chatterboxes.” In the film, the piece looks like it is

carved from black coal, in its raw material state.

The beautiful sculptures may be viewed at the Musee D’Orsay in

Paris, France. Or much closer, you may look Camille Claudel on

the Internet.

 

Another, called, “Age of Maturity,” a neighbor child named Robert

asks such a sweet and insightful question of Camille of a gorgeous

sculpture:

“How did you know there were people inside the big rock?”

As if she had chiseled them Micah said,

“Out of their hiding place, like in a cave.”

 

My grandson, age 5 1/2 mentioned when I had him come across the

room where I sat at the dining table watching this film.

Micah was over by the living room section of my apartment watching

Saturday morning “Sponge Bob Square Pants” episodes and eating

pancakes he had helped make.

 

Later, he took a “cartoon break” to wash the dishes, taking his shirt off

and standing on my step stool. He rushed out to see a particularly

dramatic scene where the noise caught his attention.

 

Sadly, Camille Claudel was used and debased in every way.

She became a model, muse and an original artist and sculptor,

under the tutelage of Rodin.

 

She lost touch with her father, mother, brother and reality by

becoming immersed and having a long-lasting affair with Rodin.

Rodin’s wife who lives apart from Rodin, while he is ensconced

in his huge studio, calls Camille loudly on the streets, “Whore”

and many obscenities.

 

I felt it was most depressing that her husband is still given his

wife’s adoring attention, not disparaging HIM with the same

kind of swearing in other scenes. She persuades him after many

years of his intimate relationship with Camille, to move away.

When Camille is eventually thrown out of Rodin’s studio, having

served her time with him for almost 28 years, I cried. It is such

a tragedy, but you cannot help wanting to see more. . .

 

Camille writes long letters to the Court and Magistrate, asking

and pleading for her own sculptures and art pieces, ones she

designed to be given back. She independently had created lovely

marble sculptures with fine detailed hands, arched backs and

her brother finds her living in the upstairs of an abandoned

building, wishing to use his fame as a poet, along with his good

friend, “Blot,” who wishes to be her ‘benefactor.’ He is meaning

by helping financially and wonderfully is not asking her to give

her still beautiful body to him.

 

There is a point when the Court says she was ‘paid’ for her donations

of her artwork. (They were stolen and kept by Rodin.)

Camille defiantly declares,

“I burned the check!”

 

Her anger at her inability to get her own art back leads her to yell

about “Rodin’s gang.” She feels that France calling her sculptures,

“Property of the State,” are wrong but cannot find anyone at any

level to listen to her pleas. Her friend and lawyer, “Dr. Michaux,”

tried his best to defend her. The cops who haul her each time out

of the courtroom seem to show a more sympathetic view, as they

take her away.

 

When her father is dying, Camille goes to see him, she listens but

cries as he says she ‘disappointed him,’ but he ‘still loves her.’

There is something hurtful and touching in her studying the

Her brother, after the one singularly amazing gallery opening,

describes her pieces as lighting the inner beauty and qualities

of people through her sculptures. They have such delicate and

sensitive details, but she later while they are transported back

to where she is ‘squatting,’ is told not one piece was sold. Her

appearance in finery at the opening, with rouge and red lips

made her appear scandalous, unfortunately.

 

Camille destroyed many of her pieces, her madness in these

scenes of devastation is understandable. I would have gone

mad, under the circumstances.

The authorities never jail her in prison.

 

It was her own brother who ultimately, ‘betrayed her,’ and using

the ‘excuse’ of preventing her from hurting herself, placed her in

the mental institution.

 

Camille Claudel was put into a mental institution in March, 1913.

She lived, ‘imprisoned’ there, until 1943.

 

Camille never did any more artwork after she was placed there.

This was her own way of rebelling and refusing to ‘buckle under

authority.’

 

Thank so much for recommending this, Margaret! Your comment,

after reading my post about Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna Mozart

led me to watch this. You were so right in your choice of this movie,

another example where because of her gender, along with her

choice to become involved with a famous sculptor and artist,

she lost herself.

You may find Margaret who has a clever and funny video of

herself recently on a post at:

http://verybangled.com

 

 

The best question I feel needs to be asked,

“Where does creative passion separate from insanity?”

 

 

Onward later tonight, I will be watching, “Amadeus,” which I had

seen so many years before. . .

My grandson, Micah, is with me, while playing Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtle ‘free games,’  I will try to check a few posts out.

Mystery about a Sister

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Be prepared to read about a woman’s story, one which may or may

not have been relevant and meaningful to the musical world. I feel

there is a true basis and possibility that she made a big difference in

how her famous brother became who he was. I have to admit, I was

on my  own personal “movie fest” over the weekend. Originally I was

thinking, I would just post some of my favorites and give short film

critiques.

 

Somehow, this evolved into something ‘bigger’ than I expected. It

was time-consuming and yet, I felt like a private investigator with

her mind open and ready for understanding and analyzing the facts.

I looked up, using different sources, to find out more about this

fascinating woman.

 

Now that I may, or may not, have your attention, I will tell you the

riveting movie that led to my research.

 

MOVIE REVIEW:

“Mozart’s Sister,” a French film which needs you to read the sub-titles.

 

In the movie,  which came out in 2011, Rene Feret is the director

and a young actress who is his daughter, Marie Feret, plays the

sister to her character’s famous younger brother. Historical details

that were  discerned through research shall follow this summary of

this fine movie.

 

First, here are three splendid comments from famous reviewers,

starting with one who’s deceased.  Roger Ebert, “Chicago Sun-Times,”

was always one of my favorite reviewers. He is such a trustworthy

man to recommend movies.

(Of course, many of you will recognize his name and the television

show which I used to enjoy- “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.”)

 

Here is what Roger Ebert said of, “Mozart’s Sister:”

“Marie Feret is luminous.” (in this role.)

 

David Noh, “Film Journey” says:

“A triumph!”

 

Ronnie Scheib, “Variety” Magazine:

“A treat for classical music lovers and cinephiles alike.”

 

What was a turning point in this movie which motivated me to

investigate and research?

What happened to make me seek the truth?

 

When Leopold Mozart, father of Maria Anna (also referred to as

Marianne and affectionately known as, “Nannerl”) tells his only

daughter when she is interested in writing musical compositions,

“Harmony and counterpoint are not understood by women.”

 

Of course, this caused me to say indignantly to my television screen

which was innocently displaying the film,

“That’s outrageous!”

 

Big sister, “Nannerl,” is helpful to toddler brother, “Wolfie,” and

helps him practice his keyboard lessons on a harpsichord. This

baroque instrument is lovely sounding. The scales and other early

beginning lessons are closely supervised by their father.

 

At age 5 or 6, “Wolfie” is paraded in front of wealthy families and

is also given an audience with royalty. He is a cute boy and shows

great potential and musical aptitude. The film shows Wolfgang

using creative interpretation of the music and dramatic arm

flourishes. He was supposedly beginning to write his own musical

compositions at age 4 or 5.

 

In the beginning of the movie,  their coach’s wheel breaks after

going over a rut in the country road. It is late and the Mozart family

stays in a nearby nunnery. It is interesting to note that there are

two sisters living there. Their story emphasizes the difference in

the way male and female genders were treated in this period of time.

The two girls have been shuffled and taken away from the palace,

being raised by nuns.

 

At one point, there is a name mentioned of the two girls’ brother,

who is being raised to be a ‘Royal.’ The part that Maria Anna plays,

and is asked to carry out a charade, is to transport a letter to their

brother, if the Mozart family should be ever happen to appear at

Court. Anna Maria treasures this new friendship and promises to

keep the letter safe and take it to their estranged brother.

 

This movie would engage someone who has been enjoying the inner

workings of the staff and upper class levels or tiers of British society

on the PBS show, “Downton Abbey.” Although this is a whole other

period of time, there are still the ideas of class structure and family

expectations being expressed. Definitely, it is an eye-opener in both

the film about the late 1700’s and the television series of the 1900’s.

Traditions and historical details about clothing, customs and roles

women and men played also are featured in both of these storylines.

 

At the end of the film, there is not much said about Nannerl’s  being

anything but helpful to her brother.  There are no illusions that she

may have helped Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart compose his greatest

works.

 

In the movie’s middle,  there is a nice romantic interlude, where

Maria Anna disguises herself as a boy, in a white-haired wig, to give

the hand written letter to the young Monarch from his sister. They

use the young man’s title in the film as ‘Louis XV.’ This story becomes

a very sweet part of the movie. I will not tell you about how it unfolds,

hoping you will someday pursue viewing this one. I will say it depicts

Nannerl’s character as having spunk, showing independence and also,

her romantic side.

 

Before the credits roll, there are a few sparse details given. The written

lettering after the movie ends mentions Maria Anna helped to write

some of her own sonatas as a young woman. It mentions she helped

Wolfgang transcribe his first writings, since he scribbled them. There

is a subtle undertone of the possibility that she was his ‘muse.’  As his

sister, she may have written (created) some of his early works.

 

The movie has places that explain traditional upbringing of “fine young

ladies.” The women are encouraged to wait on men, not to further their

education. Maria Anna tries to ‘rock the establishment.’ Her mother has

disappointment and her father shows anger for her independent streak.

She doesn’t wish to follow the social order of the period. I was rooting

for her, all the way!

 

RESEARCH:

If you enjoy history and reading about a famous person’s family,

you may enjoy this part of the post. . .

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived from January 1756 until December,

1791. There is confusion about why he died at such an early age of 35.

 

He was the son of a musician and teacher of music, Leopold Mozart.

His mother was named Anna. He was born in Salzburg, which later

became part of, or known as,  Austria. Wolgang’s father and mother

had seven children, only two that lived beyond infancy. The oldest

living child was a daughter named Maria Anna, nicknamed, “Nannerl.”

There were four years between the two children, sister and brother.

 

When Wolfgang was 3 years old, his sister was learning her lessons,

which included language, music and reading. She was practicing

with her brother close by her side. Later, she would be by his side,

while he was the one leading the lessons. This relationship lasted

probably all of their childhood. “Wolfie” was her little shadow,

trying to do everything she did.

 

There is a notebook that Leopold made for Maria Anna, which is

known as “Nannerl’s Notenbuch” or also written as, “Notenbuch

fur Nannerl.” In English, this was “Nannerl’s Music Book.” This

amazing composition book demonstrated the first lessons that

Leopold gave to her, along with her brother. It consists of only

(originally) 48 pages, now only 36 pages remain.  This book has

her father’s exercises for her practicing beginner harpsichord

pieces. This also included anonymous minuets and some of her

father’s  original  works.  Two composers,  Carl P. E. Bach and

George C. Wagenseil, had their pieces transcribed as passages

in this musical exercise book.

 

In 1982, a man (just a coincidence) named Wolfgang Plath

studied the handwriting within the Notebook and attributed

the variety to consist of five different handwriting samples

or sources. There are evidences of the collaboration between

Leopold, the father, and his son, “Wolfie.”

 

Leopold took his family touring around countries and the cities

of Vienna, Austria and Paris, France. Maria Anna Mozart was

born in 1751 and lived 78 years, until 1829. When she became a

young lady, it was considered inappropriate for her to continue

to publicly play the harpsichord, piano or sing. Up until she was

18, Maria was part of her musical touring family. A biographer

considered her to be a great singer and an,

“Excellent harpsichord player and fortepiano player.”

 

Sadly, there is no mention about Nannerl being a conduit, or

letter transporter, between the sisters raised in a nunnery and a

member of Louis XV’s “Court” or “Royalty.”  This was the main

part of the plot I enjoyed in the movie I reviewed earlier.

 

At age 18, Maria Anna went home to Salzburg with her mother,

to teach musical lessons and stay at home. The following reason

was mentioned in one source,

“This was due to her being of marriageable age.”

 

Wolfgang and his father both wrote letters to Maria Anna which

some have been saved. Wolfgang during the 1770’s, was touring

in Italy and mentioned Nannerl’s writing musical compositions

and Wolfgang goes so far as to ‘praise her musical works.’

 

There are no references in her multiple letters from her father

to any of her own musical compositions in his correspondence.

 

An interesting note (and slightly salacious fact) is mentioned

in some of the biographers’ notes about Maria Anna’s and

Wolfgang’s close, intimate relationship. When they were young,

they developed a “secret language” and they had an “imaginary

kingdom.” They pretended they were married and carried out

their positions while playing together, as “Queen” and “King.”

 

There are a few indications and there is evidence of Wolfgang’s

using sexual wordplay which he used in other letters to his

lovers or girlfriends. This can be found also in the words he

chose and were included in his writing to his sister. One

historian considers this to be a ‘strange relationship’ for a

sister and a brother.

 

As an aside, my two brothers and I would play ‘house’ but

we would not have myself be the “mother” and one of my

brothers be the “father.” We would instead play that one of

the brothers was the “father” and other brother and I were

his “children.” Like the old television show, “Family Affair,”

where the uncle has “Buffy” and twins “Cissy” and “Jody.”

(I used to love this show, with Sebastian Cabot playing the

butler/nanny and Brian Keith playing the bachelor uncle.

did you know it ran from 1966 until 1971?) Or I would play

the ‘mother’ role and the brothers were my ‘kids.’ We usually

had company or neighbors over.  Once in awhile, they would

‘marry’ one of my girlfriends, or once in awhile, I would ‘marry’

one of their guy friends. I mention this to confirm that I would

also think it strange that the siblings played ‘Queen and King’

together over a Kingdom.

 

A sad note about Maria Anna’s independence shown in the

movie, “Mozart’s Sister.” This is not to be found anywhere in

any biographies or any letters. She is shown to be subservient

to her father, allowing him to forbid her to marry a man named,

“Franz d’Ippold.”  They were both young, he was a Captain and

a private tutor. When he proposed, there is an implication she

would have liked to say, “Yes.”  There is a letter in the family’s

collection where her brother, Wolfgang, tried to persuade her to

stand up to her father. Ultimately, Maria Anna was ‘forced’ to

turn down Captain Franz d’Ippold’s proposal.

 

Years went by, Maria Anna was allowed to marry at age 32, when

asked by a man named Johann Baptist Franzvan Berchtold  “un

Sonnenburg.” They were  married in 1783.  Listen to the “fun” life

Maria Anna participated in:  She became the wife of a widower

with five children she helped to raise. She had three more of her

own children with Johann. When she had her first born son,

she named him Leopold. Her father insisted on taking the her

only son to raise him in Salzburg at his home. The biography

doesn’t mention her mother’s role in this drama. From 1785

until he died in 1787, Leopold Sr. wrote letters and in a journal

telling about his toilet training Jr. and teaching him how to talk.

 

There was no mention of the boy’s illness nor a reason why he

should not have been raised as a baby until age 2 by his own

mother.  There is some speculation for her father’s thinking he

would raise another musical prodigy. Since he felt he was the

reason Wolfgang A. Mozart turned out the way he did.

 

After all, Leopold Mozart, Sr. did write and publish a violin

music textbook.

 

SUMMARY:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known for his classical

musical compositions, which included over 600 works.

They include symphonies, concertos, operas and choral

music.

 

Beethoven, while young, lived in the shadow of Mozart.

During his early years composing his own original music,

he was constantly compared to Mozart’s body of work.

 

Composer, Joseph Hayden said of Mozart’s legacy:

“Posterity will not see such a talent in another 100 years.”

 

Wolfgang A. Mozart married Constanze and had two sons.

He died at the early age of 35 years old.

His magnificent “Requiem” was never completed.

His music is still revered and considered the best in classical

music.

 

Maria Anna was never given any credit (that I could find out

about) for her influence on her brother’s music nor were any

of her musical compositions published. The book, “Nannerl’s

Notenbuch” is not considered to be anything but her lesson

book to practice and play music using the hand written

exercises.

 

I need to see the movie, “Amadeus,”  (again) to see if there

are any musical or notable references to his sister. If you

have a good memory or recently seen this, let me know in

the comments whether there is mention of Anna Maria

Mozart please.

 

I strongly recommend, “Mozart’s Sister” as a film to savor

and enjoy, while wishing the story line really happened.

 

Truthfully, being an older sister myself, how could “Nannerl”

NOT have had an influence upon her little brother, “Wolfie?”

 

Either way you look at this famous musician’s life,

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made a huge impact

on the musical world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons to Celebrate

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On August 29th, we are to celebrate games and the rules of cards, while enjoying

According to Hoyle Day! It is simply crazy to imagine the fact that Edmond Hoyle,

the “Master of Games,” was originally a tutor for students. When lessons were

completed, they would play card games, such as “Whist.” They did not have any

books with the rules for them, back in the 1740’s so Hoyle made a booklet to

pass out amongst his students, friends and family. He eventually published the

book, “A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist.” Edmund Hoyle lived almost to

97 years of age, which reminds us all to~

Play More, Enjoy More! Live Longer!

One thing led to another and soon, we all know this expression,

“According to Hoyle. . .”

Another reason to celebrate it today is Friday!!

It is the beginning of some lucky people’s three day holiday weekend!

Last but not least, a new way to package a well known product just came out on the

market. . .

Have you heard of the new 99 Cans of Beer? (You may purchase this for only $99!)

It takes two burly men or three or four average men to pull this long carton of beers

out of the store’s cooler.

Then, guess what?

You may not fit this into your car.

It was not easy to put it into a truck, in the advertisement shown on the television

news show I was watching this morning!

But, remember this, it would be perfect for gatherings of over 21 years old age,

since they may be able to consume it before it warms up!

(Imagine having to transport, unload, then find place to put this elongated package!)

There is no pre-requisite to having to sing several stanzas of:

 

“100 bottles of Beer on the Wall,

Now take one down and pass it around, 99 bottles of beer on the wall!”

 

Now are you laughing?

I am and so is the guy who suggested this in his beer company’s marketing meeting!

Creativity “Toy” Celebrates Its 54th Anniversary

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On Saturday, July 12th, good old “Etch-A-Sketch” will celebrate the

54th anniversary of its creation in America. In France, they may add

one more year to this number, as the inventor, Arthur Granjean, had

this toy named, “Magic Screen,” and was ready to manufacture it in

1959. Interestingly enough, the Wikipedia gives credit to a French

man named, Andre Cassagnes. How did I learn of Arthur Granjean

and his “Magic Screen?” A poster that was on a friend’s wall, told

of the creation of the Ohio Art company’s product.  Supposedly,

according to the Clement’s “news and views” poster, Granjean took

his invention to the Nuremberg, Germany toy fair.

Arthur Granjean chose to sell the idea, for which we in the U.S.A.

should be grateful for, since many of us have enjoyed trying to get the

two different knobs to go the way we imagined!

I looked up the current prices, since this is still being sold at many

Big Box stores, like Walmart. The prices vary, from as much as $22.93

to as low as, $15.59.

I am happy to tell you that my two grandsons have one “Etch-A-Sketch”

between the two of them. When I asked my daughter-in-law, Trista, she

said they “had one but it ended up left outside and got moisture caught

inside.”

While I went around asking coworkers about their experiences with the

“Etch-A-Sketch,” I learned of a few frustrated ‘artists’ and listened to

their favorite things to ‘draw’ using this tool.

I had some comments about this toy, their expectations of the ‘toy,’

and some musings about, “What this new generation would think of the

toy?”

We all agreed that it may be considered, ‘boring’ to today’s standards,

due to its lack of technology.

Also, we found out, almost EVERY person I asked over the age of thirty,

Sketch!” It became one toy we could say was, ‘non-gender specific.’ Also,

I heard some humorous thoughts about it, as far as whether one gender

was ‘better’ than the other at creating pictures. There seemed to be a

little ‘competition’ on this point!

One friend mentioned that they can be quite artistic in presentation

and recommended looking up the website, to view some of the elaborate

designs and pictures that artists had rendered. I found out while looking

at these beautiful creations, that the stuff that makes the pictures can be

actually ‘drained out’ to allow the picture to become permanent! I also

found this to be comforting to know, since there were times my brother,

who was outstanding at making his “Etch-A-Sketch” come alive! Now I

know that if someone does this ‘now-adays’ they can preserve the pictures.

Here are some funny comments that I heard from my fellow warehouse

workers:

1.  Tammy said,

“My favorite designs to make were checkerboards on my Etch-A-Sketch!”

 

2.  Melvin, (ever the tease and comedian) said:

“I created colorful rainbows on my Etch-A-Sketch!”

When I gave him my ‘stern teacher look’ he folded and told me that one

of his best pictures he ever made on it was:  “A dragon!”

 

3.  My male friend, who I hope someday to be more than friends, told

me that he had ‘trouble making many things on his Etch-A-Sketch.’

Mark added,

“My favorite thing was to try and make a house, but I could not make a

slanted roof, so I made it a square one. Then I added windows and a

door, also a sidewalk. I was very proud of that accomplishment, since I

am not an artist.  Another thing I liked to do, was to grab my younger

sister’s Etch-A-Sketch and try to shake her picture away! I was a ‘brat!'”

 

4.  Robin said very enthusiastically,

“I remember having one of those! I liked to draw lines and squares. I made

one time a square snowman!”

(I told you that she was my ‘twin’ according to Melvin, even though her hair

is short and blonde. It sticks out like feathers everywhere and she is very

up. She reminds me of the woman on the “Drew Carey Show.”  This wild

character’s name was ‘Mimi Bobeck,’ played by the actress, Kathy Kinney!)

 

5.  Joe, one of the shipping guys, mentioned an interesting fact that had

eluded me, that he thinks it was “one of the toys that everyone got.” He

could not remember what the advertising for “Etch-A-Sketch” looked like

nor could he remember a ‘jingle’ or tune.

Everyone that was at our second break, hearing Joe. They all agreed,

“Slinky” had a cool song that went with its toy. Some wondered why

we could not visualize the advertising on commercials for this toy?

Joe added:

“I loved the sound of what seemed to be metal filings or sand ‘swishing

around’ in that toy!”

 

6.  Charlene, my fellow ‘soap opera’ addict, during ‘second break’ watching

the show, “The Bold and the Beautiful” said her favorite ‘activity’ using her

Etch-A-Sketch, was to ‘create mazes.’ Wow!

 

7.  My brother once ‘drew’ a horse on his Etch-A-Sketch, for which I wish I

had a photograph of this memorable artwork!

 

8.  I cannot remember any creative endeavors so complicated as a horse or

a maze, but I did learn how to make ‘circles.’ My best pictures and favorite

drawings were of roses with tightly ‘twirling inner petals and then looser,

ruffled edges on the outside.’

 

9. Chuck, passing by and being ‘flip’ told us all that he liked to make pictures

of,

“Starless, moonless nights. I made completely black pictures, starting from

the left corner, going back and forth, until it was covered.”

 

10.  Mary Jane, says that she had a ‘coveted’ toy, “Etch-A-Sketch” while she

lived in the Philippines as a girl. She shared this with many of her cousins,

liking to see how they would make their pictures. Then, she says,

“I would take it home and practice, practice, practice!”

The next time she saw her cousins was during a special holiday.

MJ expressed her satisfaction and joy at demonstrating to her family

and cousins her best drawing:

“I made a table with dishes on it and the plates held food. Some were

little circles and others were lines back and forth. Then, I described

our ‘feasts’ with the different homemade dishes, like ‘adobo,’ ‘lechon,’

and ‘pancit palabon.'”

M.J. said her uncle actually clapped! This made her smile, remembering

this special moment.

Note: Traditional Filipino meals include rice dishes, which were her “little

circles.” Then, Mary Jane explained her “back and forth things she

drew were their homemade noodles.”

That was my personal favorite story about “Etch-A-Sketch!!”

 

Are you inspired yet?

What was your favorite or best design that you made on your Etch-A-

Sketch?

If you didn’t have an Etch-A-Sketch, did you visit someone who did?

Have you ever seen a special design that stood out in your memory,

created on one of these ‘toys?’

 

 

 

Famous T. V. Dads

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Famous television fathers were quite conventional, sometimes filling

current stereotypes, but they usually seemed above normal in their

tolerance and patience. We were talking at Friday’s midpoint mark, in

the breakroom about how we may have formed misconceptions about

the way dads should act from watching these early family shows. After

all, most of us did not have traditional fathers, who would go to work in

suits and ties, come in cheerful, pull out a newspaper and quietly unwind.

I am sure my father wished he could have been ‘so lucky!’

My family consisted of two bread-winners and the three of us children,

were often in the winter months the last ones picked up at our baby-

sitter’s house. I remember looking out of Mrs. Boos’ picture window

into the darkness, wondering which day it was that Mom was doing her

oracle debates, drama or Spanish club meetings? I would sigh with an

almost exasperated ‘whoosh!’ when I finally saw her station wagon’s

headlights in the driveway. Mrs. Boos had two sons who played with my

brothers, occasionally I would join in or get a chance to sit on Diana’s

bed, her teenaged daughter and look at pictures of the Beatles or the

Dave Clark Five, or sometimes there would be magazines full of fashion

and hairstyles. My Mom was pleased when Diana went to Kent State

University and invited me to spend “Siblings Weekend,” as Diana’s baby

‘sister,’ Robin.

When we got home, my Dad, usually, would be home shortly, pulling off

his tie, after he took off his jacket, asking what he needed to do to ‘pitch

in.’ Spoiled me, made me think all fathers were like this. Today, Saturday,

June 14th, 2014, they had on the CBS Morning Show, a segment on the

percentage of fathers in the fifties, sixties and seventies that helped out

in child-rearing responsibilities. Sadly, they still said in the more recent

years the percentage of household responsibilities, even with working

moms being in the majority, it is still not a 50/50 deal.

Anyway, Melvin’s Mom and Dad were more like my parents, sharing the

chores and also, enjoying family times together. He admitted most of

his African American friends had either a limited amount of fatherly

involvement or none.

Tammy said that her mother had stayed home, whenever she would ask

for help inside the house, her father was quick to remind her, “You don’t

work.” She was dismayed at this behavior, remembering, even as a young

girl in her imagination, “I won’t stand for this in my adult life!” (Tammy

and Mike have been friends since childhood, “fence post buddies,” but have

never tied the knot.) She certainly is open that she doesn’t even have a

joint account with Mike, they just split the bills and love each other. She

is an independent woman, almost the ‘polar opposite’ from the parents

she dearly loves.

Trevinal said his parents are more together now, but in his childhood his

father sounded like my first husband, wished for dinner on the table,

kids cleaned up and early to bed, and lots of time watching his favorite

sports shows on television. There is a whole different love that he and his

wife share, more understanding and encouragement. He is so ‘blessed,’

he says to have someone who believed in his ability to think. The family

cannot believe that he is in Nursing School, working fulltime to pay his

bills and rising far above the expectations of Special Education. He feels

that by meeting the ‘right’ woman to share his life is a ‘daily blessing.’

His being in his thirties, reminds me of my own son, and I also remind

him of my belief in his ability to be a good father, when the time comes.

Here are the above persons’ and other coworkers, along with family

members who have cited some excellent, funny and different television

situational comedies for “Best Examples of Television Fathers:”

1.  My favorite father of all time, is from the show, “My Three Sons.” This

show allowed a non-traditional father, in amongst the ‘drones’ that I

found on other television shows. The combined household of widower,

played by Fred McMurray, his brother, who was the boys’ Uncle Charlie,

and the three rowdy boys always made me admire the patience, fortitude

and compassion showing what I considered “true family values.”

 

That is not to say, I didn’t laugh at the antics of Dick Van Dyke, Danny Thomas,

John Forsythe  (“Bachelor Father”) or Brian Keith (“Family Affair.”) I also liked

“The Ozzie and Harriet Show,” an almost first time reality show, since the family

was played by actual family members. I liked the sense of humor and the handsome

boys in this one! (Diana, my babysitter’s daughter, also had a few articles in her

teen magazines which featured the Nelson boys, especially the “cute” Ricky!

 

2.  Hugh Beaumont, who played the Dad on “Leave It to Beaver,” was the one

that my coworker, Mark, listed as his favorite. The different ways that influenced

his choice was first he liked that Beaver’s mother wore an apron, like his mother

did, daily. Also, that the father character hardly ever yelled, even under stressful

times.

3.  Tammy said the whole family in her household liked, “The Danny Thomas

Show.” I still like that Marlo Thomas was an independent woman, not hurrying

into marriage until she fell in love, in real life, with the talk show host, Phil

Donahue. I also personally enjoyed the fact she is a columnist in my “AARP

Magazine.” Tammy said she liked Danny Thomas, since he presented a few

shows, mentioning different cultures. I would have to check this out, but do

support and believe in St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Marlo has said that she

got her Dad’s slightly sarcastic sense of humor, which carries her through

tough times.

4.  Trevinal still remembers almost every show that “Family Matters” had

on television. He has found this to calm him, looking at Urkel’s silly dress

code, high water pants and his often expressed question, “Did I do that?”

The sense of humor and the family were something he admired and felt

that Urkel’s character was one that gave him confidence when he made

mistakes, throughout many of his years,  in life.

Trevinal’s words are very powerful, expressing this to me:

“Whenever Urkel goofed up, people would roll their eyes, sometimes

bellow at him, but always forgive him. That is how I wish to be when I

am a father.”

Reginald VelJohnson, who played the father in “Family Matters,” is

in one of my youngest daughter’s favorite shows, “Hart of Dixie.”

(Rachel Bilson and Tim Matheson play doctors on that country

setting show.)

Trevinal also noted that Urkel was a neighbor,  the family next door’s kid,

but he became part of the family and included, whether wanted there or not,

anyway.

5.  Keith told me, laughing, while lifting a box in the aerosol room, in what we

call the “Bomb Shelter,” that his favorite father character was Archie Bunker.

That show was called, “All in the Family,” where all sorts of issues popped up,

Archie sticking his neck out, saying all kinds of bigoted or prejudiced comments,

but usually backing down on them. Meeting people of all ethnicities, while they

were in an urban setting, with his wife being accepting, his daughter also very

open minded and often, Rob Reiner, playing “Meathead,” took the brunt of

Archie’s anger. I asked why he thought of this character? He told me, a little

bit sheepishly, that his own father was ‘backwards’ and ‘ignorant’ like Archie

had been. This made him become aware that there were other perspectives

on people. I appreciated Keith’s candor. He also added his parents were from

Kentucky! He added this with a laugh, like that explained everything!

He also said he respected the actor, Carroll O’Connor,  who had gone on to

play a cop, with a black partner, in the show, “The Heat of the Night.”

6.  My son, James, joked that he liked Homer Simpson, for the same reason

that Keith liked Archie Bunker. He said they were the ‘opposite of everything

he hoped for in a father.’ He also said that making mistakes for Homer, making

poor judgments, did make him feel more comfortable in his own parenting

skills.

7.  My oldest daughter said she liked Patrick Duffy, in the show, “Step by Step.”

She had a crush on him, from early days of watching, “Dallas,” and also had

a young ‘crush’ on Cody, the cousin who lives in a van in the driveway on this

sit-com. I liked it because Suzanne Somers was a hairdresser, average single

mother, who found a man with children to marry. I think the idea of stepkids,

appealed to me, also in ‘The Brady Bunch.”

When I mentioned my oldest daughter’s opinion, the men still were ‘hooting’

and ‘hollering,’ in a playful manner. They said she ‘made’ the show, “Three’s

Company,” and still looks great to this day.

8.  No one named, “Father Knows Best,” but all cited this as their 2nd and 3rd

choice of Best Television Father.

9. Charlene, whose young son, Ian, was in on my ‘Opinion Poll’ on Thursday,

had said she loved, “Wonder Years.” Since the mother character is on our

favorite soap opera, (Allie Mills), she remembered to point out she is good in

“The Bold and the Beautiful.” She also mentioned that the Dad on “Wonder

Years,” had to tackle difficult teen subject matter, since the boys grow up on

that show, from junior high through high school. I have to check out the dates,

be back to tell you the years: 1988 until 1993. The father’s character was

played by Dan Lauria. The couple who ended up taking the show into the

more mature theme included Danica McKellar and Fred Savage as “Winnie

Cooper,” and the kid next door, “Kevin Arnold.” In the Arnold family, the

mother stays home while the father worked. An interesting fact that I found

out was, Danica’s sister could have won the part of “Winnie,” the directors

say it was a ‘toss up’ between Danica and Crystal McKellar.

10. My mother loved the shows with Bill Bixby, including his role in “My

Favorite Martian” and “The Hulk.” But when I would come home from

junior high and high school, I would have the lights off, my Mom sitting

on one end of the sofa with her feet up on an ottoman, watching, “The

Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” When I overheard that song on the radio

and recently, on a commercial, I would almost “tear up.” Mom was much

more tired when I was that age, she would not volunteer to be coaches,

helpers or club counselors at Westlake High School. She would be the

chaperone, with my Dad by her side, for dances. That was as much energy

as she could ‘wrangle up,’ in her forties. I love Harry Nilsson’s song, the

memory of her sometimes lightly snoring, until the song would play

and she would sit up, watch and share those moments. My one brother

would be in track, (Spring), water boy in basketball, (Winter) or in

Cross Country, (Fall). This was ‘our time.’ The song began with these

words: “Let me tell you about my best friend,…” (The song includes

the father saying, “My pride and joy.”)

By the way, the jingles or songs for television would make an excellent

memorable post. When we were noticing the songs, we all agreed that

the piano playing and the off-key singing by Edith Bunker, played by

Jean Stapleton, was iconic: “Those Were the Days.”

That “Wonder Years” song, “I Get By With a Little Help From MyFriends,”

is legendary. We were nostalgic, reminiscent of family shows when there

weren’t as many choices on television and everyone’s family gathered together

to watch the shows. Even the commercials were memorable.

10.  The last contributor to this post on television fathers was my youngest

daughter’s suggestion of “Little House on the Prairie.” She enjoyed the setting

out West, through tough times, settling and learning how to live as a family

in a different time period had intrigued her.

She grew up watching this in reruns on Nickelodeon. This television

dramatic series ran from 1974 until 1983. (She was born in 1985.)

She reminded me that she read most of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books,

after I introduced them to her. She felt Michael Landon portrayed a

very charismatic and dynamic father. I am happy that she remembered

him in this role. (His personal life, somewhat like the much admired

Bing Crosby; left much to be desired. I feel the same about Eric Clapton,

Robin Williams and Bill Cosby. Troubled, but still admired for their

personal talents and  the ‘body of their works.’)

What was your favorite television father?

Opinions

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Sometimes, there are lots of opinions flying about our break

room at work. The ones that when we were growing up, we

were taught to not bring up in social settings, seem to

catch my attention more. You know, like you are spying or

catching a glimpse of someone, sometimes a side you would

not expect.

At home, those who have read a few of my past articles or

posts, you may remember my parents were very open-minded.

We, essentially, at the dinner table talked about all kinds

of things considered, ‘inappropriate.’ My Mom’s high school

students had prepared her, from the fifties through the

eighties, to handle those three subjects one could think about

but, never, ever bring up. We had “guess who’s coming to dinner,”

literally including students from her school, my brothers and my

friends and neighbors, too.

I tended to ‘echo’ this pattern, while a single mother, raising

my three children. We had guests often, we did not limit our

conversation subject matter, (unless someone got ‘squeamish’ or

asked that the subject be ‘squashed.’)

Both my parents helped to make me a more relatable parent. This

meant I did the same thing, let the children have their ‘voice’

and forget about that old, antiquated philosophy,

“Children should be seen and not heard.”

In our country, when you start talking about the three subjects

most consider ‘touchy,’ the general population list: sex,

politics and religion.

I heard it expressed many times before at friends’ and my

ex-husband’s, “We don’t talk about those subjects in ‘mixed

company.'” One of my best girlfriends, who had a mother who

resembled, Donna Reed, wore an actual full, ruffly apron while

she prepared dinner. One time while I was helping set the

table, my friend’s brother started to talk about what was

called, “Sex Ed.” We were in middle school and he was in high

school. Susan’s mother said,

“Jeff, we don’t talk about those things at home! It is not

nice!”

(Wow! Wonder what that did to his sexual performance, later

in life? Thinking the subject matter was not only ‘taboo’

from discussion but it was, “not nice!”)

I also have heard the familiar expression, “Who opened this

can of worms?”

I was thinking today, of a light hearted post, where people

from around the world, would respond with their ‘off limit’

subjects and also, what it is called when you wander into a

controversial subject. There must be a wide variety of ways

that this is expressed!

I hope that posing this open-ended response won’t start

something!

Just wondered, what did your family consider too personal to

talk about?

What does that mean: ‘in mixed company?’

Was that to refer to men could talk about certain things,

which women’s ‘pretty little minds needn’t worry about?’

I think my Grandma once told me,

“That’s not lady-like to say, Robin.”

Laughing my way through, what some people call, ‘hump day!’