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Autumn is Coming

Yay! It’s the Oneth of September and I’m happier than the average bear. September is the month that brings us the beautiful Autumnal Equinox which falls officially on September 22nd, my birthday.  Is it any wonder that I love Autumn? I was born for it.

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Autumn signifies order and routine as the kidlens head off to school. Autumn leaves blow in the cool breeze, bringing sighs of relief from the summer’s icky heat. Rain tap-tap-tapping on the window panes always encourages me to slow down and take the time to cuddle up with a favorite book. Autumn brings thunderstorms that wash away the Old. And best of all, Halloween is almost here.

What are your favorite things about Autumn?

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Today kicks off the Taboo Word Challenge created by Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog. Click the link for details and to participate!

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You’re a Daisy if You Do

 

For as long as I can remember, daisies have always been my favorite flowers. Symbols of love, purity, and innocence, they’re such sweet, homey, and cheerful flowers. Daisies always bring me sweet memories of my childhood. They remind me of the whimsical little effeuiller la marguerite [pluck the daisy] game that I used to play — only my translation was “He loves me, he loves me lots” so I would always have a happy outcome. Daisies also remind me of the song, “Daisy Bell” that my grandmother sang to me when I was a little girl.

daisy darling

 

When we were dating, my future spice was impressed and pleased to learn that Shasta daisies were my favorite because, as he said, “They’re cheap.” He’s such a romantic. Actually, he is … he surprised me with an arrangement of daisies on our wedding day to serve as my wedding bouquet.

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July 6, 1993

Of course, as a self-proclaimed cinephile, I’m always pleasantly surprised by daisy references in cinema, especially obscure ones. I only have a few references that I know of which I’ll share here.  If you know of any others, please share them with me in the comments below.

Movies with Daisy(ies) in the title:

Daisy Kenyon (1947)

Pull My Daisy (1959 short film)

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960)

Daisies (Sedmikrásky original title, 1966)

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Daisy (Deiji, original title 2006)

 

Joan Crawford in Daisy Kenyon

Joan Crawford in Daisy Kenyon

 

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Still from the Czech cult classic Sedmikrasky

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Publicity still from Please Don’t Eat the Daisies

Bonus Daisy Trivia:

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My favorite photo of early-Hollywood icon Buster Keaton.

 

Val Kilmer’s character Doc Holliday uses the line “You’re a daisy if you do” in the 1993 film Tombstone. Kilmer’s incredible performance, coupled with shrewd dialogue consisting mostly of witty one-liners, gave the archaic phrase a solid come-back for modern audiences.

 

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Arthur C. Clarke, then visiting friend and colleague John Pierce at the Bell Labs Murray Hill facility, witnessed John L. Kelly’s vocoder synthesizer recreate the song “Daisy Bell: Bicycle Built for Two,” using an IBM 704 computer in 1962. Inspired by this spectacular event, Clarke later created a similar event in the climactic scene of his novel and screenplay for “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Clarke’s fictitious HAL9000 computer sings a haunting rendition of “Daisy Bell” as he is disassembled by astronaut Dave Bowman.

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Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore is my favorite modern flower child. She has been quoted as confirming that she loves all kinds of flowers but that daisies are indeed her favorite.

 

 

 

5 Things this Texan Discovered in New York

So, my spice took me to New York last week to see Jessica Lange performing with an ensemble cast to die for [or drool over, depending on your bent] in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night. A magnificent four-hour free-fall  into the unpalatable bowels of addiction, depression and blame. It was wonderful! You can check out the theater and the rest of the available performances here.

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Starring Gabriel Byrne, *the* Jessica Lange, Michael Shannon, and John Gallagher, Jr. Roundabout Theatre Company | New York, New York

Here are some things this native Texian learned while on her first official trip to  New York.

  • In NY, pigeons are basically the equivalent of TX squirrels. A newcomer may find them cute and fascinating, but to natives, they’re just rats with wings. And, they’re huge. I swear you could leash some of those fellas.

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  • New Yorkers get a really bad rap. “Northern Hospitality” is actually a thing. Most of the people I encountered were super friendly. Sure, they did talk funny, but they were sayin’ nice stuff. I think.

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  • Be prepared to take a cab. Everywhere. Every. Where. Otherwise, the hustle ‘n bustle of bodies will make you feel like you’re the last sperm tryin’ to reach the elusive egg.
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Times Square | Photo credit: Marley White

  • New York may be “the city that never sleeps” but be prepared to see people sleepin’ in the strangest of places.

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  • New Yorkers don’t cotton to cold weather in Spring. I’ve never heard so many complaints about a delightful Springtime chill in the air. Sure, it was 90 degrees when I left Texas, so I appreciated the 50 degree sunshine, but still. What’s wrong with y’all? Real Spring is a luxury. Just sayin’.

The Bottom Line: I didn’t love New York, per se. But! I really liked the people in New York.

Fierce Texan Women

As International Women’s Month draws to a close, I thought I’d share a glimpse at a few of my favorite fine, fierce and fabulous women from Texas — where we grow ’em beautiful, bright, and brave.

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Joan Crawford, San Antonio, Texas.

 

Sissy Spacek (b. 1949)

Sissy Spacek, Quitman, Texas.

 

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Farrah Fawcett, Corpus Christi, Texas.

 

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Robin Wright, Dallas, Texas

 

Selena (1971 - 1995)

Selena, Lake Jackson, Texas.

 

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Janis Joplin, Port Arthur, Texas.

 

Bonnie Parker (1910-1934)

Bonnie Parker, Rowena Texas.

 

Ann Richards (1933 - 2006)

Ann Richards, Lakeview, Texas.

 

Barbara Jordan (1936 - 1996)

Barbara Jordan, Houston, Texas.

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Mary Kay Ash, Hot Wells, Texas.

 

Bessie Coleman (1892 - 1926)

Bessie Coleman, Atlanta, Texas.

 

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Beyoncé, Houston, Texas.

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Sheryl Swoopes, Brownfield, Texas.

 

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Katherine Anne Porter, Indian Creek, Texas.

 

God is Slightly Crazy, Right?

I ran across this modest little poem in the earliest hours of this morning and it struck me in such a significant way, that I read and re-read it several times, trying to digest its considerable meaning, while grinning from ear to ear. I must admit that I admire anyone cheeky enough to give God what-for, especially in such an honest and tender way, so I made inquiry with its author, Thomas D*. He has generously allowed me permission to share it with you. May you find it as meaningful as I do.

 

Psalm Zero

*About Thomas

Thomas was graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1987, and attended the University of Massachusetts for three semesters. In recent years, his poems have appeared in The Christendom Review, in Dappled Things, and in Plainsongs. His self-published books of poetry include Under all Silences and Chasing the Waves, available through lulu.com.

Thomas lives in a “wicked awesome” suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.

Arthur Miller’s Fall from Grace

Oh my, randall smoot’s just opened a great big ol’ can of worms concerning the separation of artists and their work. This is a subject that causes much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Allen home. It’s a constant debate, although I usually just heave a heavy sigh and lament the fact that my lust for the arts always wins over my scruples.

I applaud randall’s ability to sum up the quandary so succinctly in this article, especially with the following passage,

“I don’t require artists to be good people in order to admire their works – any more than I need inventors to be nice before I’ll utilize their inventions. If I found out tomorrow that Thomas Alva Edison was the biggest asshole who ever lived, I wouldn’t go back to reading by candlelight…”

Take a gander at the original post in its entirety at Arthur Miller’s Fall from Grace.

Source: Arthur Miller’s Fall from Grace

Words o’ Wisdom Wednesday

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Isn’t it the sad truth for book lovers that whenever the powers that be decide to take one of your favorite books and run it through the celluloid engine, they inevitably skrimp on substance? As both a self-proclaimed bibliophile and avid cinephile, this fact is one of the most heart-wrending banes of my existence. There are two happy exceptions. Harper Lee’s magnum opus and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird and Stephen King’s short story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.”

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Horton Foote’s screenplay of the 1962 Universal production of To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck and Mary Badham, was able to deftly carry all of the familial love and political turmoil of racial tension in the South from page to screen. This miraculous leap even garnered the film 3 Academy Awards.

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Frank Darabont both wrote the screenplay for and directed The Shawshank Redemption, which he adapted from Stephen King’s short story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” originally published in King’s 1982 collection entitled Different Seasons. The film, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning none. Even though the movie was essentially snubbed at both the box office and by Oscar voters, thanks to movie lovers it has become an American classic.

Feel free to share your exceptions in the comments below.