Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Reason To Dislike Politics and Politicians

And the people who work for them. Can't anyone run a campaign that is not in some way dishonest.

Country Roads

Too nice of a day to be sitting inside working on a computer. Be back tomorrow, maybe.

(photo by my sister)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Company Here

Phone rings, door chimes, in comes company!
-song lyric from Sondheim musical Company.

No time to post today I have my sister visiting. See you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Did They Do That?

A few posts back I put up three videos showing Dorothy Dandridge, Ella Mae Morse, and some cows singing (not all together) Cow Cow Boogie. At the time I wondered just how the animation for the cows singing was done. I found the answer in Saturday Morning TV by Gary H. Grossman. For the book Grossman interviewed Jerry Fairbanks, a movie producer, about his Academy Award winning comedy shorts, Speaking of Animals, that were shown on early television:

Fairbanks, who took an Oscar in the early 1940's for his short, Cow Cow Boogie, says that the process of combining the live action of the animals on film with their animated mouths was a staggering technical challenge. To accomplish the impossible mission, Fairbanks use a modified rear-screen projection process in tandem with a rotoscope system. "Rotoscoping," Fairbanks explained, "is a method by which the mouths of the animals were replaced by semi-animated human mouths. We would film live actors such as Mel Blanc and Sterling Holloway in black face with their lips painted white. That way we could have just their lip movements visible on film. The images were then traced frame by frame, reshot as animation that in turn was matted into the actual animal footage.

"It was a rather tedious and long operation." Fairbanks remembers. "We wanted it to look realistic, not just like some of the talking animal shorts, where a voice is simply dubbed in while the animal is chewing his cud. We had a credo. When the rotoscope was finished, we had to be able to read the words without sound."

What I find just as interesting is that rotoscoping is still used today.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Oscars Were On Last Night

Did anyone else notice how much John Travolta (on the left) looks like the old flocked hair Ken doll?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Everything New Is Old Again

One of the interesting things about getting older is that you have, in many ways, see it all. This fact can turn parts of your life into a big disappointment. For me that would be movies. Every Friday the Denver Post reviews the newest movies. I have reached the point where I very rarely finish reading any review I've started. I've discovered my interest in the review usually dissipates after reading the first paragraph describing the plot. At that point I think, "Boring, seen this."

This is because, according to screenwriter Ronald Tobais, there are only twenty movie plots:

1. QUEST - the plot involves the Protagonist's search for a person, place or thing, tangible or intangible (but must be quantifiable, so think of this as a noun; i.e., immortality). (Maxtrix*)

2. ADVENTURE - this plot involves the Protagonist going in search of their fortune, and since fortune is never found at home, the Protagonist goes to search for it somewhere over the rainbow. (Pirates of the Caribbean)

3. PURSUIT - this plot literally involves hide-and-seek, one person chasing another. (The Fugitive)

4. RESCUE - this plot involves the Protagonist searching for someone or something, usually consisting of three main characters - the Protagonist, the Victim & the Antagonist. (Die Hard)

5. ESCAPE - plot involves a Protagonist confined against their will who wants to escape (does not include some one trying to escape their personal demons). (The Great Escape)

6. REVENGE - retaliation by Protagonist or Antagonist against the other for real or imagined injury. (Man on Fire)

7. THE RIDDLE - plot involves the Protagonist's search for clues to find the hidden meaning of something in question that is deliberately enigmatic or ambiguous. (The Da Vinci Code)

8. RIVALRY - plot involves Protagonist competing for same object or goal as another person (their rival). (A Bronx Tale)

9. UNDERDOG - plot involves a Protagonist competing for an object or goal that is at a great disadvantage and is faced with overwhelming odds. (Glory Road)

10. TEMPTATION - plot involves a Protagonist that for one reason or another is induced or persuaded to do something that is unwise, wrong or immoral. (Bedazzled)

11. METAMORPHOSIS - this plot involves the physical characteristics of the Protagonist actually changing from one form to another (reflecting their inner psychological identity). (Cat People)

12. TRANSFORMATION - plot involves the process of change in the Protagonist as they journey through a stage of life that moves them from one significant character state to another. (Now Voyager)

13. MATURATION - plot involves the Protagonist facing a problem that is part of growing up, and from dealing with it, emerging into a state of adulthood (going from innocence to experience). (The Lion King)

14. LOVE - plot involves the Protagonist overcoming the obstacles to love that keeps them from consummating (engaging in) true love. (When Harry Meet Sally)

15. FORBIDDEN LOVE - plot involves Protagonist(s) overcoming obstacles created by social mores and taboos to consummate their relationship (and sometimes finding it at too high a price to live with). (Brokeback Mountain)

16. SACRIFICE - plot involves the Protagonist taking action(s) that is motivated by a higher purpose (concept) such as love, honor, charity or for the sake of humanity. (Terminator 2)

17. DISCOVERY - plot that is the most character-centered of all, involves the Protagonist having to overcome an upheaval(s) in their life, and thereby discovering something important (and buried) within them a better understanding of life (i.e., better appreciation of their life, a clearer purpose in their life, etc.) (Castaway)

18. WRETCHED EXCESS - plot involves a Protagonist who, either by choice or by accident, pushes the limits of acceptable behavior to the extreme and is forced to deal with the consequences (generally deals with the psychological decline of the character). (The Days of Wine and Roses)

19. ASCENSION - rags-to-riches plot deals with the rise (success) of Protagonist due to a dominating character trait that helps them to succeed. (The Pursuit of Happyness)

20. DECISION - riches-to-rags plot deals with the fall (destruction) of Protagonist due to dominating character trait that eventually destroys their success. (Fargo)

With only twenty plots and almost one hundred years of movie making it is not surprising that some movies are the-same-old-same-old.

No wonder most movies make me think of that Wendy's commercial from the 1980's called Soviet Fashion Show. The same model presents Daywear, Eveningwear,and Swimwear. Each time she is has on the same plain gray dress. When she models Eveningwear, she carries a flashlight. When she models Swimwear, she carries a beach ball. Most movies seem to be like that these days.

*my example of a movie that falls into each category.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Angry Red Planet

Due to the weather I did not get to see the lunar eclipse last night. All I could see was smuged light emanating from the moon glowing through the cloud cover. My sister drove up to Boulder for the lunar party at Colorado University's Sommers-Bausch Observatory. After she got back home she sent me a e-mail listing the things not to ask when attending one of these events:

Here is what I learned at the observation desk.
1. When looking at a map of the sky, do not ask where Earth is located because they will say "Its a map of the SKY."
2. Do not ask if you can look through the microscope to see Mars.
3. Do not ask them why Mars looks so little and that you saw it much clearer in your sisters binoculars.
4. Do not ask what a "cloud rainbow" is. They do not know.

She also added this:

I did however get some great shots on my cell phone that you will not friggen believe.

And, my new boyfriend who is majoring in astronomical physics or something.... said to go to this guys site*. he be funny.

I wish I had been with her, sounds like she had a wonderful time.

*Bad Astronomy (He is correct. I enjoy this site.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

There Ain't No Cure For The Wintertime Blues

Got this e-mail from my sister this morning:

What's going on, missy? Is there anything I can do to help?

My reply:

Yes, make the sun rise earlier, put the leaves back on
the trees, make the wind stop blowing and my feet stop
hurting, develop an OTC pain medication that won't
damage my stomach or liver, and keep writing nice
e-mails like the one I am answering here.

The last one helps the most. :)


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Don't Care Who You Are, That's Funny Right There!

-Larry The Cable Guy

Saw this photo on last night's Tonight Show. As Jay Leno pointed out there is no way you are going to get your dog and cat to pose like this. Those animals supposedly have a leg around each other's neck.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Three Day Pass

I took Kate for a walk down main street this morning and was surprised by how dead it was. Whole blocks without a single parked car. Then we stopped at the hardware store to get Kate's weekly nibble of a doggie snack and I found out today is President's Day. P-Day is one of those three-day-weekend holidays that replaces the celebration of a holiday on the day that it actually falls on. This one replaces the holidays that celebrated the birthdays of our sixteen president, Abraham Lincoln (February 12th), and our first president, George Washington (February 22nd). So, in order to take advantage of this wonderful holiday I will be taking the blog day off. See you tomorrow

Friday, February 15, 2008

Barack Obama Relates To What You Are Saying

This is making the e-mail rounds. Just click on the words to go to the next screen and so on and so on. What I find most amusing about this is that it applies to all the presidential candidates.

Official website for Barack Obama

Official website for Hillary Clinton

Official website for John McCain

Official website for Mike Huckabee

Official website for Ron Paul

You know, all the candidates keep harping on the fact that they are ready to create change but not one had the courage to not use what some people consider patriotic red, white and blue colors on their websites.

Remember: If you don't vote, you don't matter.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Valentine's Day

People who miss the point:

(Ad in yesterday's Denver Post.)

(More from this website.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Welcome To Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

-announcer on Wild Kingdom

( from yesterday's Denver Post, photo by Craig F. Walker)

Amazing. Caption reads: "A coyote carries off a Canada goose Monday on frozen Cherry Creek Reservoir as a bald eagle passes overhead."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Get The Blues Most Every Night

I just started reading a book I picked up in Denver before Christmas last night called The Journey From The Center To The Page: Yoga Philosophies And Practices As Muse For Authentic Writing. On the back cover is a list of the ways in which the book is supposed to help, including the following:
-Reconnect with your deeper intention for writing
-Sustain concentration and confidence when writing
-Make time to write what matters most to you

That third one really got my attention. I have a project that I started last year and which I had not finished, I hadn't even been working on it, so I thought maybe this book could help me. Besides it was used and inexpensive, what could I lose? I then I put it on my bookshelf and forgot about it until last night.

At first I had to force myself to read past the first chapter and into the second. It was almost as bad as reading a chemistry textbook but I kept on plowing through until I got to this, A writing practice, like any practice, requires self-discipline....Without self-discipline, we only make half the journey, if that far. That got my attention.The book went on to describe the two types of writers who do not have self discipline, Time Crunchers and Time Stretchers. Time Crunchers have no time to to write while Time Stretchers have too much time:

These few writers and aspiring writers, who either by wealth or by wit succeed in leading a simple life, are privileged to wake up when they wish, write when they wish, and sleep when the wish (with some regular exceptions, of course). On the other hand, these same writer, who avoid penciling in their activities like monks bowing on the hour to the bells on Wall Street, and who have time to write, may be the more frustrated as deciding what to do with themselves and their days.

That certainly describes me. My days are not planned and can get nudged off track very easily. I start the day with the best of intentions and before I know it the day is over and I have not done half the things I planned. Each week I do in one day all the things I had planned to do that week in a frenzy of intense activity. Each night I go to bed mentally and emotionally exhausted by what I have not accomplished. Realizing this depressed the hell out of me and I put the book down and tried to go to sleep.

This morning when I went online to check the websites I read I stopped at one that I don't visit that often and read my horoscope:
February 12, 2008
Creating Something Better
Gemini Daily Horoscope
You may feel worried and have a tendency to expect the worst today. This mood could have you viewing the glass as half empty rather than half filled, which will only increase your anxiety. You can easily turn this mind-set around by using the power of positive focus. Every time a negative thought comes into your mind today, simply choose to consciously turn it around to be positive, empowering, and faith-filled. This can be challenging to do at the beginning, especially if your existing circumstances don’t reflect the reality of the positive thoughts you are trying to embrace. But your willingness to stay positive in spite of everything else will begin to attract more positive energy into your life and improve your circumstances, rather than keeping you mired in the negative.

Choosing to keep a positive focus, even while in the midst of difficulties, helps to improve our mood and put the creative process into motion. When we feel stuck in unsatisfactory circumstances, our negative thoughts can easily take control of our mood and mind-set, which only attracts more negativity into our lives. By consciously choosing to turn our thoughts to a more positive place, we regain our inner power to direct our destiny. Not only does our positive focus help us feel lighter and more optimistic about our circumstances, but we also boost our vibrations and initiate the creative process to attract better circumstances for the future. Your willingness to stay positive in spite of your dissatisfaction today demonstrates to the universe your determination to create something better.

Sometimes I hate it when the universe talks to me. I've got to (as the old people say) study on this bit.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Everybody Knew Ya Didn't Give No Lip To Big John.

(Big John, Big John) Big Bad John
-song lyrics to Big John

While we were in Denver the other week we took the dogs to Bible Park for their walks a couple of times. We usually take them to the dog area of Cherry Creek State Park but after a big snow storm it is easier to get them to Bible. Plus after a storm Bible Park is mostly deserted and we can let the dogs run off leash.

The first time we took them to the park was the morning after the storm had hit and we had that blanket of white all to ourselves. We started walking on the trail east of the parking lot with Duke a little bit ahead of us sniffing around in the weeds near the creek that runs though the park. I was watching him when something farther ahead caught my eye. It was a coyote loping along in a northerly direction near the tennis courts. I was hoping Duke would not see him because I knew he would be very interested in him. Duke did see him and tensed up. The coyote stopped and both animals gazed at each other intently for a few seconds and then Duke took off running. The coyote watched Duke come at him and then whirled around and started south, following the path that led to the tennis courts, as Duke pounded after him. When the coyote got to the open space between the tennis courts and the creek he disappeared into the tall grass. Duke no longer seeing him stopped at the edge of the fence surrounding the courts and stared at where the coyote had vanished. Then he turned away and trotted back to us.

(A little information about Bible Park. It sits in a bowl with the Highline Canal looping around the rim of the bowl on the west, south and east sides of the park. On the east and south side of the park the canal runs next to streets. On the west side it runs behind the backyards of neighborhood houses. Next to the canal is a wide dirt walking path and down in the bowl a path of asphalt meanders though the park, mostly parallel with the canal dirt path. )

Later that same day my husband took Duke back to the park for another run and when they got back to my sister's house after it he told me this story. When he first got to the park he again started by walking on the asphalt path on the east side of the park heading south. He walked around to the west side while Duke raced around in the open areas and up on the canal path. At one point he noticed Duke on point up ahead near the canal so he climb up to see what Duke had found. When he got up there he saw four coyotes on the other side of the canal behind one of the houses about thirty yards away. The coyotes were looking at Duke and when my husband appeared they turned and started to walk away. This is when Duke did something stupid.

(A little information about Duke. When we first got him it was some time before we heard him bark and when he finally did we were so surprised by the sound of it we looked around to see if another dog was in the area. Kate has your basic adult dog deep resonate "WOOF!" when she barks but what came out of Duke was a puppy like "Arff!" which made us laugh. The good thing about his bark is when we hear one of the dogs barking we can always tell which one it is.)

So, as the coyotes turned away Duke, probably feeling very brave after chasing one coyote away already, let out an "Arff!" The coyotes stopped and looked back at Duke in surprise. The biggest one took a step toward Duke and before he could take a second step Duke bolted toward my husband and hid behind him. The coyotes then continue on their way.

Big Bad Duke.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
-John Ruskin (1819-1900)

This morning the sun is shining and snow is falling. The sunlight is making the snow sparkle like tiny pieces of pyrite confetti. It's beautiful.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Comma Ti Yi Yi Yeah

-lyric from the song Cow Cow Boogie

In an effort to get away from all the violence that has happened this week I have been spending my time watching Soundies online. Soundies were the first music videos. Most of them online are dreck but every once in awhile there would be something good or surprising or strange- sometimes all three at the same time. I want to share three of the Soundies I watched today. They are all performances of the song Cow Cow Boogie.

First, a heartbreakingly young Dorothy Dandridge.

Next, a very young Ella Mae Morse, who had a hit with this song in 1942. She was seventeen when she first recorded the song and maybe eighteen when she made this Soundie.

And finally, Cow Cow Boogie sung by (what else?) cows.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Five Things In My Fridge

Saw this meme at Mindful Life and Changing Places but did not have a camera at the time so I am a little late to the party. Anyway...

My husband's pheasant jerky spices.

Two bottles of sparkling lemonade that I picked up while I was in Denver.

A half-gallon carton of Dairy Ease milk.

A package of fresh Spinach. My favorite vegetable.

And four cans of tuna because I like the tuna in my tuna-salad sandwiches cold.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

Do to circumstances beyond our control my husband and I did not make it back home after coming to Denver to attend my sister's Super Bowl party Sunday. Yesterday they were forecasting icy rain out on the plains and since I slid off the road when conditions were icy once before I talked my husband into staying another day. This morning we woke up and found this Severe Weather Alert issued by the National Weather Service:
Severe Weather Alert





We will be staying at least one more day.

In other news, today is Super Tuesday. Time to let everyone know who your candidates for public office are this election. All of you in states having a primary- don't forget to vote. All of you in states having a caucus-don't forget to show up.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Forced Break

I had a migraine yesterday and am still feeling punky. See you next week.

(You know, I always feel like I imagine a maple tree that has just be tapped feels like after I have a migraine. It is an energy drain.)