Sunday, March 31, 2013

March: Decades of Music

Image from the video of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean

We've got our monthly selection of music again, right under the wire. I always hate running late on this enjoyable feature. It seems stupid celebrating the sounds of one month in another.

Over the decades, the month of March has been full of good and interesting music. In fact, it was a bit hard winnowing my selections down to just nine songs. Some fun music was left to the side. So, we'll have to pass up on Snow's "Informer" from '93 and Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" from '98. Maybe we'll listen to them next time, in five years or so. ;-)

Another funny point about this month's post is that it would have been very easy to make it totally focused on Dance music. The whole reason why I changed the post titles, in January, from "Monthly Dance Party" was because it was too tough to put together a broadly enjoyable collection while just focusing on that genre. Well, it's all for the better; I can now honestly choose whatever sounds and videos catch my enthusiasm.

Interior art from Evanescence's album Fallen

Well, that's enough blather. Let's get to the music!!!

Baskets Full of Easter Joy

Rose o'neill, kewpie dolls, holiday card, easter
Rose O'Neill's Kewpie Dolls celebrate Easter

Candies and colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps, these are the yummy treats that make Easter second only to Halloween in gustatory delight. If I liked peppermint, then I'd give the Silver to Christmas, but rich Cadbury creme eggs beat them every time. Santa gets a Bronze. ;-)

Now, a good Fourth of July barbecue shouldn't be overlooked, nor should fresh Thanksgiving pies, but, for the intense sugar rush, they just don't compare.

So, we're back again, celebrating a standard holiday. Long time readers may remember that I don't really care about such festivities, which is still the case, but I'm no party pooper or Scrooge. I can find something interesting to celebrate on any day, for numerous occasions, and one of the purposes for which I blog is to share these special events with you. Nevertheless, since our society marks today as a "holiday", it's only neighborly of me to express my best wishes to all.

The Easter Bunny greets children at the Del Amo Shopping Center.

Therefore, may joy and prosperity be yours throughout the year. May you find happiness and reason for gratitude on every day. May you find the strength to overcome any trouble that you may face and the cleverness to make the most out of any good fortune that you receive.

Happy Easter!!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Life's A Beach

Waves, viewed from the Hermosa Beach pier

Although I live relatively close to the Pacific Ocean, I don't make an effort to photograph it very much. It might be that I've become so familiar with the beach, the waves, the people and birds, that I have developed a "blind spot" towards them. Well, I'm fortunate to be within a healthy walking distance of some of SoCal's finest beaches. So, I ought to make stronger efforts to share the local beauty with you all.

Previously, I mentioned that I was considering a change of blogging schedule. Because a generally have a very active Saturday schedule, I'm thinking of instituting "Snapshot Saturday", a quick and easy sort of topic about which to form a post. We'll bounce "Silly Saturday" on over to "Funny Monday", when I'll have something of a humorous or bizarre nature to share.

Beach-goers and volleyball games

I also think that I may switch "Spooky Sunday" posts back over to "Terror Tuesday", again to accommodate the demands of my weekend schedule. And maybe I'll designate an "Aesthetic Thursday" in which I can showcase some art or an exhibit at one of the local museums or galleries. I always intend to put up art-related posts, but somehow time seems to slip away before I can. Perhaps, setting up a scheduled day will help out.

As always, we'll see how this goes. My intentions do not always become actualized as deeds, but it's worth considering.

Hermosa Beach pier


Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Flowers: Paschal White

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers (Poem 124)
(By Emily Dickinson)

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untouched by Morning - 
and untouched by noon -
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection, 
Rafter of Satin and Roof of Stone - 

Grand go the Years, 
In the Crescent above them -
Worlds scoop their Arcs - 
and Firmaments - row -
Diadems - drop -
And Doges surrender -
Soundless as Dots, 
On a Disk of Snow.

Since today is Good Friday, I figured that we would celebrate the Easter festivities with some white flowers and poetry from Emily Dickinson. To be honest, this isn't one of my favorite from among her works, but, today, it feels right with me, more personally significant. I guess that I've been thinking of death a whole lot these past few months. ;-)

For Christian, this time of year is a reminder of the eternal life which we receive through God's grace and our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the early Church, the apocalyptic hopes of the faithful led them to believe that the End Times were upon them. As the years progressed, the Second Coming and Judgement Day started getting more remote into an unspecified future.

Sure, the Dead would rise to gain their final rewards, but the Son of Man left the believers waiting year upon year, century upon century. Grand go the years, without a peep from the Risen Lord. And still people wait, living their lives in preparation for a promised future life, losing opportunities in the Present with the hope of unimaginable treasures in the Future.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Feathered Friends

Barbie (2008, Black Label) as Tippi Hedren from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds

Today, we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, adapted from a short story by Daphne du Maurier. Now, I'm not much of a Hitchcock enthusiast. Certainly, his movies are engaging and memorable, but I've rarely been blown away by their artistry.

As a fan of horror and suspense, the only one of his movies that left lingering images to haunt my imagination, even years later, was The Birds. Perhaps, it's the primal fear of Things that lurk above us, capable of swooping down when we are totally unaware, defenseless. Maybe it's Tippi Hedren's portrayal of a hapless woman facing a bizarre yet lethal threat, all while trying to establish a romantic relationship. Or, it could be the juxtaposition of the mundane and the weird, both humorous and horrific, that creates ambiguous and transgressive symbolism.

Whatever the case, The Birds is a fine movie to watch. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you give it a viewing.

Barbie, Mattel, Tippi Hedron, The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock, 2008
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Barbie Doll (2008 Black Label)

And be nice to our feathered friends. ;-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lunacy and the Worm Moon

The first full moon of Spring, also called a Worm Moon, Crow Moon, or Paschal Moon.

It's been a while since last I posted. That seems to be how I start each blog post nowadays. Pretty soon, I'll set up a ritualized opening, something like "Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. It has been x days since my last confession." ;-)

Well, although I've been away from here, I have not been idle. I've got works in motion, new ideas, and innovations to my approach to blogging. Yes, we're getting experimental again!!!

In any case, we've done this routine a few times before, mostly to middling results. But this time will be different!!! I'm a changed man!!! I've got a foolproof plan!!!

Detail of Maita in Gold Dress (2010) by Priscilla Monge

Trust me. It'll be awesome.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wearing of the Green

Ellen Clapsaddle, Wearing of the Green, St. Patricks Day postcard
The Wearing of the Green by Ellen H. Clapsaddle

Yes, I've been away from the blog for quite a while. Sadly, I have been persistently unwell for around a week. This has sapped my energy something fierce.

But, since it's St. Patrick's Day. I figured that we could put up a few images to celebrate the holiday. And, this time around, we're steering clear of the Irish whiskey. ;-)

irish barbie, 1995, mattel
Irish Barbie wishes you a Happy St. Patrick's Day. Party responsibly and steer clear of the fisticuffs.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

In a Mist

rain clouds, twilight, pink
The last rays of the setting sun paint the undersides of the rain clouds a gentle pink hue.

I'm too tired today to do any quality blogging. The Daylight Savings switch always messes me up, especially if I have a late Saturday night. Throughout the day, I've been fuzzy headed and aimless. It's like my mind is in a mist.

At least the weather seems to have cleared up and gotten a bit warmer. Being a native Californian, I like my days pleasantly sunny and warm. However, I do appreciate the beauty of dramatic weather, at least if I don't have to spend much time outdoors actually dealing with it.

Oh well, I think that I'll call it an early night. ;-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Flowers: A Few Camellias

camellia japonica, c.m. wilson, huntington gardens
Camellia Japonica: C.M. Wilson

(By Carl Sandburg)

I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
     me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
     thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
     I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
     the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
     their women and children and a keg of beer and an

camellia japonica, happy holidays, huntington gardens
Camellia: Happy Holidays

Well, I couldn't find an appropriate poet's birth date to go with our lovely camellias. Therefore, I fell back on this Sandburg classic, simple but strong. And, with such gorgeous flowers to appreciate, how can one not be inspired towards happiness?

As for the camellias, I'm happy that I was finally able to share them with you. Again, they're from my trip to the Huntington. I was hoping to get around to one of the flower show, but that hasn't happened. Being so late in the season, it's unlikely that I'll get around to showcasing one this time. Oh well, there's always next year. ;-)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

2013 Weekly Wrap #5

Kukula, Things Dragged Not Said, Corey Helford Gallery, Octopus
Detail of Things Dragged, Not Said by Kukula

To celebrate my two years blogging here at Paideia, I took a few days off. It'll keep me energized and engaged, looking for things fun and new to share with you all. Alternatively, you could say that I've been a bit lazy. Either way works for me. ;-)

So, since our last Wrap, our posts have been primarily related to music and flowers. Well, there's nothing wrong with that, but I like this blog to have more of an eclectic feel, more ingredients in the mixture. I'll work on it. Moreover, I'm going to attempt to increase the posting rate, even if I have to rely on quickie "Photo of the Day" types. Yeah, I've said that before, on many occasions, but THIS time I really MEAN it!!!!!

Or not. We'll see how it goes. . .

Lawrence in front of a bookcase, looking to his left

So, here are our posts from the past few weeks:

We had three Music posts. Two birth dates were celebrated, for Nina Simone and Fats Domino. Then, we finished out the month of February with our Monthly Music Fest, enjoying various musical trends from over the past five decades.

Two posts featured Art. The first was a quickie showcasing an image of Frederick MacMonnies' Diana, part of the Huntington collection. Then, we looked at a few photographs from my gallery-hopping expedition to Culver City and Bergamot Station. Good stuff!!!

Flora was prominent in this cycle, being featured in three posts. We enjoyed a stroll through the prickly trails of a Desert garden. Then, we had two Friday Flowers, with magnolias and echeveria.

Then, we hit Paideia's 2nd Blogiversary, which was celebrated in a subdued but satisfied manner. I promise more fireworks for our 3rd year. ;-P

And our selections were rounded out by celebrating Tootsie Rolls and laughing over some eye-catching "Soup of the Day" signage. It was a fun time.

Anyways, that's how it's been. I'm looking forward to sharing some more exciting images and entertaining stories with you all in the next cycle. So, stick around and see how things turn out!!!

Owl, Licks, Tootsie Pop, Commercial
How many licks does it take. . .


Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Flowers: Echeveria

Echeveria Imbricata
Echeveria Imbricata

(By Robert Lowell)

History has to live with what was here,
clutching and close to fumbling all we had--
it is so dull and gruesome how we die,
unlike writing, life never finishes.
Abel was finished; death is not remote,
a flash-in-the-pan electrifies the skeptic,
his cows crowding like skulls against high-voltage wire,
his baby crying all night like a new machine.
As in our Bibles, white-faced, predatory,
the beautiful, mist-drunken hunter's moon ascends--
a child could give it a face: two holes, two holes,
my eyes, my mouth, between them a skull's no-nose--
O there's a terrifying innocence in my face
drenched with the silver salvage of the mornfrost.

Echeveria Pulvinata "Frosty"

Since we started this cycle of posts with desert flora, I figured we would close it out with some as well. So, here are a few photos of lovely echeveria from the Huntington Botanic Gardens. Looking at the varieties of echevaria in the conservatory, I actually started to develop a liking for these plants, becoming beguiled by their understated beauty. In times past, I would simply stroll right by them, ignoring their subtle grace.

So, even with all of my experience at pausing and appraising the wonders that surround me, I can be oblivious. Although a practiced aesthete, I can overlook splendors that bloom before me. Therefore, it is always good to have a friend who will lead one to appreciate that which is overlooked.