Category Archives: My Favorite Things

And then there was Eve…

1billion-home-india

Favorite thing of the day #2. #1 is We Are Not Trayvon Martin :).

This article, Boys with Tender Hearts And Big Dreams In Their Hoodies, and video broke my heart and put it back together again.

I’ve always loved Eve Ensler. She is a phenom, scribe and agent for change, all things closest to my heart. Now, I love and respect her even more for breaking it all the way down like this and doing that thing she does so well, turning passion into purpose. Read and watch… #J4TM #StopViolenceAgainstWomen #Rising

Visit http://www.Onebillionbising.org

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Thanksgiving Rocks: Foodies & Funk Addicts Unite

My favorite holiday is almost upon us. You know the one where I get to give thanks for the blessings in my life AND show off my culinary excellence. I love Thanksgiving and I have no shame. I’ve spent the morning crafting my menu and it’s hot lol. So, for all the foodies out there who struggle to make others salivate in a good way. Here goes…

I might include a beef roast for the red meat lovers. In fact, here’s a bonus recipe for Rib Roast, guaranteed for rave reviews. The whiskey gravy is almost better than sex! Props to http://www.epicurious.com for making every holiday sublime ;).
I found musical inspiration on YouTube while reviewing and have decided to make a 70’s playlist for my mom, all funk, all the time, so we’ll be grooving as well.

God is here….

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When I was a little girl I fell in love with trees. I have a picture of 7 year old me sitting on a tree trunk, swinging her legs, eating some pie and smiling at a boy. Dare I say that this remained for a long time my own personal version of heaven?

My love of trees naturally lead me to parks. I am a NYC girl after all. I recall 10 year old me hanging out in Van Cortlandt Park. It may be interesting to note that I had apparently skipped school that day to do it. Why I really couldn’t say except that I had a lot of issues in school when I was young because I was constantly teased for being the tallest girl in the class. My nickname, because kids are oh so literal, was, you guessed it, Tree. Maybe that was a reason for me to find them lovable. In retrospect, such teasing makes today’s bullying episodes look like a walk in the park but I digress…

That day remains magical for me, surrounded as I was by a literal castle of green. I played at the water’s edge and made tea in a discarded can that in my mind was a kettle. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I think that would be my first experience of the word serenity.

Time moved onwards and I discovered the NY Botanical Gardens. Walking under the Tulip Tree Allee at the main building is still one of my favorite things ever. Even better, I loved it in the Fall when leaves added their dancing mystery to the quiet symphony of sound that is Mother Nature. I escaped my life there on many a day.

I always dug the ocean but never so much as when I began to travel. I have spent many idle hours staring at the Caribbean Sea in Mexico, puzzling over the Indian Ocean in Bali and contemplating the gorgeous Atlantic stateside, courtesy of my Northeastern upbringing. 

I have had the glory of traveling alone. It was not my first choice but in retrospect I realize that these were some of the best trips I ever had because I got to listen to Me uninterruptus.

I spent 7 days in Antigua and on the second day, I found myself walking up and down the small beach fronting the hotel with my Walkman in hand. Back and forth, a slow sashay that was backed by The Roots playing “Love of My Life” which has remained my favorite song ever since.Only when I stopped and sank to the sand exhausted did I become overwhelmed with awe and a surfeit of emotion as I took in the unparalleled vision of the sea and the horizon unbroken by any man made thing. The thought which rang in my head was, “God is here.” 

In that moment, I felt completely at peace and joyful. Never was I so happy as I was when I was on that trip. I felt as if I was on a constant high, loving everyone I met, feeling absolute clarity and writing with sincere ferocity – pure. I was happy in my skin and felt a groundedness that I hoped to find again and again.

For me, certain places evoke this feeling and I have learned to take advantage and hone in on self and spirit when I am there. I am always on the lookout for more but like all the best moments in life they are rare.

Interestingly enough, I am both terrified and fascinated by deep water. 

It was after Antigua that I came to realize that we each find God in our own way. Church and Bible are not the only way. In fact, polluted by man, they may be the worst way. No insult to those who feel otherwise.

Is there a place that makes you feel this way?

Just Me & My Nook

Moving right along to topics less heady and agitating, Monday’s highlight was my belated birthday present from my honey, a Nook! You know, B&N’s e-reader :). I was completely taken aback considering the conversation we had on Saturday night.

“So what do you think of e-readers?” He tossed this my way after watching me obsessively browsing Amazon for my next tome. 

“Me? Well, I guess I’m weird. I have a problem with the idea of not holding a book. I can’t seem to get around it in my brain. love books. I like the sound of turning pages, the feel of the paper, the fonts…”

I was abruptly cut off as some folks just don’t get it. He is a musician after all.

“Yeah, but don’t you think it’s more convenient and cooler to carry a much smaller device that holds the same information. Don’t you think that’s progress?”

I suppose this was a veiled reference to me toting around Stephen King’s book the Stand which is like 1,100 pages long. I read it once a year and discover something new in it every time. Go ahead and laugh. Only librophiles will empathize.

“Nope. Not impressed. Some people spend their whole lives collecting books. My library is like one of my favorite places in the world. I smile every time I look at it. I just can’t see deriving that same kind of pleasure from a device… Another backlit device that requires charging and god help me upgrades.”

There was a loaded silence and then he burst out laughing. As usual, I was refusing to get with the program. Resistance is one of my favorite words. Capitulation isn’t bad but why make it easy?

“Granted, but you can actually have both. It is after all the 21st century. You know the magazines and books are taking over the house.”

The nerve! I was forced to laugh at myself as at this very moment we need another bookcase. You now it’s bad when one has to go on cleaning expeditions to compile the books but why get off my soapbox?  

“You know this could be just a way to phase out books. I mean it’s much cheaper for the Publisher to put books out in a digital format than actually paying for printing costs. Think of all the printers that will be effected. No one ever thinks about the little man…”

“That would take a long time to happen and there are plenty of good reasons it will never happen like loss of data, cyber-terrorism and book nuts like you. Besides,  think of all the trees you could save!”

Really! Just fighting dirty was the thought that went through my head. I am a proud tree lover and I do care passionately about the environment.

But let’s face it, I am a gadget girl. One could not work in Technology for two decades and not be obsessed with it. At the same time and by the same influence, I take a conservative approach to new technology. When something first comes out it is (a) always overpriced and (b) prone to bugs and other issues. So, I am never the first one on-line to buy the next bigger, better, brighter piece of techno-crap.

I have a deep seated, unspoken resentment against technology companies as they seem to string us along and get us hooked on something only to change the operating software or hardware in like the blink of an eye. Some call it progress. I call it carefully executed extortion under the guise of capitalism. I remember distinctly buying stereo equipment with open slots in the back for god knows what. Someone knew what it just wasn’t ME.

I think of all the great libraries of the world and it is orgasmic. Some day I will get there. There is nothing cooler than being surrounded by a fount of knowledge or meeting other folks who are CRAZY about your favorite author.

I have faults, I’m a wee bit stubborn and like most of us resist change. It is a hallmark of this generation that they are open-minded about change. Hell, they can’t seem to live without it. Not I. I am steadfast to my ideals and my loves are deeply ingrained. I am proud of that.

RIGHT. 

As soon as the damn thing was placed in my hand I went all glassy eyed.

“Oooh, look, I can have all my print material in ONE place? Newspapers, daily feeds, books and magazines, oh my.”

“Yes, and don’t forget Pictures. You can even go on Pandora, FB and Twitter,” my smug boyfriend interjected.

I ignored the I told you so look on his face because all my points were valid. Maybe a tad outdated but still valid lol.

“It’s sooo small and so bright I don’t even need a booklight AND I can highlight text and make notes in my favorite passages. What a great tool for a writer and a student…hmmm.”

“And it actually makes the page turning sound. WTF.”  

All this as I had been busily browsing and building my Wishlist.

“OMG. I CAN GET THE COMPLETE AND UNEDITED VERSION OF THE STAND!!!”

That was all it took and now I’m hooked, just me & my Nook.

Just for the record, I still meant every word I said but am forced to admit it is a great addition to my growing pile of gadgets and for those books that I really love (under 1,100 pages) I will buy a hard copy so I can have a library of only the very best AND I am doing my part to lessen deforestation!

Oprah’s Farewell Message… Have you found your Calling?

I, for one, thank God for DVR’s. I just watched the final Oprah Winfrey Show, only two days late. I can’t say that I was an Oprah groupie, or even one who watched her show obsessively. Yet, who in the world can say that they don’t know O, or have tuned into her show for at least a few hours of entertainment, enlightenment, or inspiration during her 25 year reign? You can? Don’t feel bad but you missed out and are definitely a minority :).

I feel like I grew up with her as her show first aired when I was just 18. I was old enough to be conscious of her uniqueness as an African American female in the broadcasting world and smart enough to be cognizant of the common thread of human experience that were the hallmarks of her show. Unashamedly, I was proud to cheer her on as she broke barriers and watched her ascendance to worldwide, icon status with awe. Yes, you can.

Oprah’s energy, intelligence, passion, humanitarianism and commitment have touched the lives of many. She has unreservedly shared much of her personal pain and given so many people the courage to unburden themselves of shame and break past their own self-induced barriers. She has given a platform to others and helped them rise. The Oprah touch. Yes, she became a millionaire in the process but I think that is a merely a very happy circumstance. She found her calling you see. She is a fine example of the law of reciprocity, the power of belief, self-will and going forward even when the path is not clear. Her wealth can’t be counted in mere numbers.

With such an impact on the lives of millions, it’s not surprising that there are teary eyed people, women in particular, everywhere. Who can take her place? Who would we want to?  We are all agog to see what she will do next and if her past endeavors are any indication, OWN will be the one to watch. Thank you, Oprah.

On her last show, she spoke of finding your calling. I was deeply moved by her comments. As many of you know, the circumstances of my life have shifted me to a second career.

For most of us, life passes by really fast. So fast, that you spend a large portion of your time focusing on the necessities of survival. We don’t spend a lot of time ruminating and often in the noise and struggle we miss the threads, so fine are they, that make up the tapestry of internal life. I almost missed mine. Upon reflection, I realize that I was moving towards this place for at least 10 years before I arrived.

I’m a NY girl. When I moved to NJ, I didn’t have a licence because I never really needed one.  Catch that cab!!! lol. Likewise, I always loved flowers but since I never really had anywhere to grow them but my fire escape, I didn’t pay much mind to them although I secretly harbored an obsessive love of trees. Looking at pictures of me over the years, I am always in front of one, in Texas, in California, in Singapore, in Jamaica. A sign, had I but known it.

Only when I brought my house did I actually start to dig the smell of earth. Looking at the sparseness of my garden was painful and aggravating so I bought a bunch of bulbs and dropped them in the ground. I knew nothing about plant sizes, or watering, or fertilizing, even, dare I say it, mulch. But nature is miraculous and so most of them grew. Just to underscore my lack of knowledge the intrepid survivors quickly outgrew their space and I was encouraged to do a little more and a little more and…

It took six years of reading magazines and studying landscape shows and my fledgling successes to make me want to go to school. I always yearn to be an expert at whatever I do, no doubt caused by Virgo ascendancy in my chart. I had no time with my very demanding job but I had heart and so I continued my voracious ingestion of whatever written material caught my eye and the expansion of my garden. The day arrived when I found myself surrounded by women in nurseries and garden centers and I was spouting information. They always thought I worked there lol. Those days gave rise to burgeoning confidence and me ripping out my entire garden and starting from scratch. In a word, joy.

I was never a morning person. I was the cranky friend you knew not to call before 12 on the weekends. I do not know when I became the person whose favorite leisure activity became sweating in the garden and greeting the day surrounded by the symphony of birdsong and buzzing insects.

The day arrived when I heard a flower unfolding in the garden, the tiniest puff of a sound as the flower unfolded and hit the air.  Yeah, really. I bent to watch it and realized I was in love and there was no place I would rather be than right there. It took me one year after that to lose my job, find a school, open a business and take my arrogant self-taught personage into somebody’s garden and get them to pay me for all those hours of voracious reading and practice. Now, I get to play in the dirt for fun and I know, unequivocally, that this is where I was meant to be. Corporate America be damned.

My clients speak to me of my passion and knowledge. They have no idea how proud that makes me. It is almost a crime to get paid for doing something you love. I am so grateful that God called and I had the sense to answer.

What about you?

Find it, love it, do it. It is life changing. Say it again. It’s worth repeating :).

Heaven On The Screen: Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor RIP

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Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor

February 23, 1932 – March 23, 2011

On March 23rd, I was stunned into silence for about five minutes as I watched the news broadcast which announced the death of Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor. I had heard that she was ill but it never crossed my mind that her time with us was drawing to a close. Had it crossed my mind, I might not have lapsed into a brief spurt of heartfelt tears. Then again, knowing the depth of my respect and admiration for the late actress it would probably not have played any differently.

I can not say that I grew up with Elizabeth. By the time I was old enough to pay attention to her body of work, we were already 20 years past Hollywood’s Golden Age (1910-1960) when she reigned supreme.  I was in my early twenties when my love of classic cinema was born and it was then that she captured my attention and I began to understand the meaning of the word adulation. Knowing the definition of something is nothing like experiencing the state which it describes.

When I think of her performances, a string of words spring to mind. Words like riveting, passionate, masterful, presence, brazen, concentration, powerful and beautiful. She is to be associated with that overused phrase “the consummate professional”.  I can’t say which of her starring roles awakened my thirst but to see her once is akin to falling in love. Even in silence, she drew the eye. Her exceptional beauty would make this a foregone conclusion but coupled with her talent it was a lethal combination. Yet one of the things I love about her is that she was not just another pretty face. Her performances were never disappointing as she portrayed her roles as if she inhabited the character, and walking in their shoes could regale us with their emotions and idiosyncracies with prescience. The depth and brilliance of her talent is one that I associate with legendary actresses like Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Vivien Leigh. Such talent, I am sad to say, is all too rare today. They literally lit up the screen.

Her very much publicized private life gives every indication that she lived with passionate purpose, breaking rules and choosing her own path. This propensity was in all likelihood a base for the range of emotions that she so seamlessly displayed upon the screen. Such people always evoke my admiration as they live a life less ordinary.

Her filmography is awesome, befitting her talent and popularity. Of her films, my favorites are “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, “A Place in The Sun”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Cleopatra”.  Virginia Woolf is actually my favorite dramatic film and she was awarded an Oscar for her performance. The stormy, dark and very human drama about couples and the twisted games people play is timeless, the dialogue is genius and the acting was superb. What’s not to love about Tennessee Williams? 🙂

She is an icon, deservedly so. We loved her from a distance and are left to mourn her passing, ever grateful that we were the witness to a glittering star of such luminescent brilliance…

Vaya Con Dios.

Reliving The Age of Innocence

I was reading a book this evening and a line jumped out at me, “Go back to the time of Popsicles, Lemonade and Sprinklers…”. It sounded like such a great idea that I closed my eyes and gave it a try.

I ended up visiting me at age 9. Mini me was me running up the three, long, wide concrete stairs that ascended a hill to the Projects where I grew up. My book bag jounced in time with the rhythm of my steps, and around me was a veritable wonderland of lush greenery and tall, towering trees. They formed an airy canopy, silent sentinels that watched over me as I grew.

Flash, and there I am running, then skipping home through the rain, trying to dodge the raindrops and avoid all the squishy earthworms who writhed to the surface to escape suffocation. Even then I was overly conscious and hateful of worms.

Flash, and I am hurtling towards Mr. Softee, whose jingle I love to this day. All other truck jingles bite as far as I am concerned. Fiending, I am standing on line, shifting from leg to leg, waiting for an Ice Cream Sandwich, or a Strawberry Shortcake. I also had a penchant for Pistachio Ice Cream, go figure, but that was saved for trips to Carvel. I pestered my Mom endlessly for Oreos, Twinkies and Dipsy Doodles, sugar and salt my drug of choice. I can almost taste the Sugar Babies now that I loved like an addict, caramel oozing and liquefying on my tongue.

Flash, and I am on the swings. My God, how I adored the swings. I could swing forever, trying to touch heaven and hit repeat. I liked to jump rope but could never get the timing right to jump in and so I was mercilessly tortured. I liked to play jacks and hopscotch and like a true, New York city kid, was always ready to run through a fire hydrant in the oppressive heat of Summer. The hectic pressure of the ice cold water jets hitting us, and some slow stupid kid getting tossed in with a chorus of screams was our idea of bliss.

Flash, and I am 12 or 13 away at a camp for a School trip sleepover. It’s nighttime and Mr. Goff, our English Teacher, tall, balding, with a grey beard just like a literate, lumberman is telling us a scary story. His voice and inflection will never be lost to me as it was the first time I remember a real live, male adult reading me a story. Even with the crowd of kids it seemed like he was reading just to me, and oh what a story, it was Edgar Allen Poe and wonderfully terrifying. We squealed in frightened delight at some parts and huddled together for warmth in riveted silence at others. Finally, my mind takes me to the YWCA on some overnight trip where me and my two best girlfriends are running through the huge, dark grey hallways, playing tag with  a bunch of kids after lights out. There is nothing but buoyancy, the joy of discovery, laughter and light. Nothing but innocence, what a beautiful thing.

When I opened my eyes, I felt completely loose and at peace. All the tension was gone from my shoulders and neck, the exhaustion from a day spent gardening completely dissipated. It felt so good, if only for a moment, to be in touch with the girl who lives inside me again. She is just a heartbeat away.

Occasionally, between the bouts of cynicism brought on by adult life, heartfelt disappointments, bills, aggravation, losses in love, sickness and unanticipated troubles, it is helpful to have a mental escape route. Often, mine is a sandy beach, sloping to sparkling, turquoise and indigo seas, lush breezes and towering palm trees, my Mojito firmly in hand. And that rocks lol, but not like this. This was so much better, as I embraced a mental state that describes a part of my essence, induced by things loved and familiar and the unfolding possibilities of the world before me. It is good to know that I can resurrect her whenever I want. Her resurrection is like a shot of adrenaline, chased by rejuvenation…

P.S. – I still LOVE swings although I have to say that are not made for people with hips 🙂

What is Love? A Musical Tribute Pt. 2

More videos for the Romantics and video lover. 🙂 Happy day before Valentine’s day.



What is Love? A Musical Tribute Pt . 1

To me, the act of creation is the truest reflection of God. Love inspires so many phenomenal works of art and music is, without doubt, one of it’s purest expressions. A good love song is timeless, spanning genres, race, class and generations. Art is a reflection of the times in which we live and it’s influence is so obvious from looking at these selections. Most are love ballads but the selection touches on all kinds of love, from attraction to the joyous, romantic to parental and through heartbreak to the triumphant. No doubt, music has changed and the change is not for the better. Here then, is part I of my favorite love songs.

My thanks to my Mom for exposing me to so many different kinds of music, her taste is truly eclectic and much love to my Sweetie for helping me put this together.

Feed your Mind: American Museum of Natural History

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Today, I woke up with a renewed sense of purpose. I’ve come realize that I have been letting life drag me under and that interior balance has gone winging away to the detriment of my sanity. Put another way, I NEEDED to step outside of myself and my feverish mental activity so I could just breathe.

Where to go? What to do? Ever since I saw Night at the Museum, I have been obsessed with seeing the Dinosaur exhibit at The American Museum of Natural History. Aren’t you always talking about places you want to go but you never have the “time” to go there? Yeah, me too, but not today lol. Instead of staying in my house, bent over the computer, looking for a job, listening to drama that is drivel, watching other people live on my TV screen, stressing about bills or chasing down clients who owe me money, I fed my mind.

The attached slideshow only shows a fragment of what we saw but hopefully it is enough to imbue you with a sense of wonder about the wonderful world we live in. I am a Dinosaur freak so of course we raced to the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing and it was positively wild. It’s wonderful to be amongst people gasping in awe and staring in joint amazement at our rich and varied history. For that one moment, we were all awe struck little kids again and isn’t that wonderful? I am still tripping out that I got to touch an actual dinosaur bone lol.

I am also obsessed with Butterflies so we visited The Butterfly Conservatory. It is small but beautiful and tropical, not to mention hot, since Butterflies like heat. It was kind of strange to go from 20 degree temps and dodging black ice to sweating in the tropics but it was divine. Down with winter! I am sad to say I could not induce a Butterfly to land on me but I plan to redouble my efforts another day. They did land on my fiance though so I can only deduce once again that the ladies love him :).

The next exhibit we took in was Brain: The Inside Story which was a 3-D journey through the way the human brain works. We learned about brain physiognomy, the evolution of  the brain and which parts can be traced back to our ancestors and related mammals, what specific chemicals the brain produces and what they do, utilizing  video, art, audio and Brain teaser games. Yes, it’s true our brains were overflowing when we left. 

Finally, we staggered to Journey to the Stars. Can you say wow? If you have never visited the Hayden Planetarium, you are missing out on something extraordinary. The round, domed roof of a circular auditorium serves as a projection screen. With your head tilted back you undergo an unforgettable sensory experience. I ought to know, my friends and I haunted the museum in the 90’s when they held Laser Shows in the Planetarium featuring artists like Pink Floyd.  We talk about them to this day. From our seats, we watched a film about the universe. It took us to the Milky Way Galaxy, discussed the life and death of Stars, explained the cause of Super Novas, the important role of Sun, which is also a star, and explained how Stars and Dark Matter played a key role in the evolution of planets and all organic compounds known today. You could be an astronaut for the perspective that you were given in a mere thirty minutes. It was breathtaking and awesome, a real brain buster.

So, in just three hours, I visited the Triassic, Jurassic and Creataceous periods; The Milky Way Galaxy and The Southern Hemisphere all by stepping outside of my mind and immediate sphere. Pretty awesome, right? 🙂 I feel utterly calm and happy now, able to face the tasks of tomorrow. Sometimes all you need to do is step outside your mind…

For more information on the museum, go to http://www.amnh.org.

My Favorite Things – Great Moments in Comedy – Part III

Ok, so if you are looking for intellectualism, please click the back button now. This list is all about making you laugh. They are my top rated comedic memories, comprised mostly of movies but some are standup. I will tell you now that many are politically incorrect, certainly for adults and completely lacking in moral fiber. A lot of classics are in here too since timeless comedy is amongst my faves.

“Have a look and laugh”, which was actually said to my friends and I by an irate, and you guessed it, drunken woman in the hallway of a hotel many moons ago.

What are your faves?

TOP MOVIES

1.  Jerry Lewis – Cinderfella

I grew up on Jerry Lewis and still consider him one of the funniest men alive. His goofy humor coupled with the physical expression of idiocy gets me every time. The only person that comes close to him in my book is Jim Carey. They have both got to be just a lil bit touched.

2.  John Cusack – Better Off Dead – “I want my two dollars!!” 

I am a product of my generation and there is not one of my friends that does not love and revere this scene. Call it stupid and infantile but it has staying power lol. John Cusack will always be one of my favorites as I have literally watched him grow up on screen. He is the King of B movie 80’s comedy. 

Most of Savage Steve’s Holland’s work does not appeal to me but this tale of teenage search for self and romance gone awry, then miraculously right, is too close to truth not to be funny.

3.  Jack Lemmon – The Out of Towners, 1970

This is an example of Black comedy at its best. Yes, its old but it is still really funny. It’s a cautionary tale on traveling lol. The remake, which was highly anticipated, was a flop in my opinion. Unfortunately, the 1999 remake with Steve Martin couldn’t hold a candle to it. 

4.  Jane Fonda & Robert Redford – Barefoot in the Park, 1967 

What can I say? I’m just silly and ever since I saw this movie, I can’t forget the ridiculously funny scenes at the end which Jane Fonda and Robert Redford did flawlessly. It is a great old fashioned romantic comedy, the kind written to leave you smiling on the inside.

  

5.  Katherine Hepburn – Bringing Up Baby, 1938

I discovered this gem about 2 months ago and thought it was SO silly and funny. The story is improbable but entertaining nonetheless. The performances are classic Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, icons of American cinema. I was gratified that it was a NY Times Critic’s pick. 

6.  Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese & Kevin Cline – A Fish Called Wanda

John Cleese had me from his days as Monty Python. Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis never fail to send me into paroxysms of laughter. The stuttering scene in this movie is classic although I couldn’t find a good clip of it. I also love Kline in “In and Out” and who can forget Jamie and Arnold Schwarzenegger in “True Lies”? I have to say I liked Arnold much better as an actor… 

7.  Jim Carey – The Mask. “I will reveal my croissant. I will spread your pate. I will dip my ladle in your Vichyoisse…”

If you haven’t found a Jim Carey movie that you like, check your pulse. He is an idiot extraordinaire. He is the modern day Jerry Lewis, rivaling his physicality and slapstickesque humor. He shot to fame after SNL and In Living Color which was surely not a surprise. I absolutely loved him in “The Truman Show” and “Liar, Liar”. He went serious on us in “The Number 23” and was surprisingly good but his comedy rules.

“Fun with Dick and Jane” is a comedy that pokes fun at capitalism, corporate denizens and suburban life. Another of Jim Carey’s Best.

8.  The Hangover, 2008

One of the very best comedic depictions in recent memory of the dangers of excess. You’ve got to love it!

9.  What happens in Vegas, 2008 “Why? You know Why!”

One of the funniest things in comedy is the depiction of the battle between the sexes and this is no exception. Cameron and Ashton make my B list but this movie is one of their best.

10.  Queen Latifah & Steve Martin – Bringing down the House, 2003

The pairing of Queen and Steve in this movie was so successful that you see Hollywood occasionally trying to replicate it. They rarely succeed but they do try lol. Steve Martin is one of America’s funniest men and Queen Latifah, a triple threat, held her own in this VERY funny movie which defies our expectations and made fun of our prejudices.

  

BEST STAND UP

1.  Eddie Murphy – “The Ice cream man is coming”

What happened to Eddie Murphy? I know, he grew up but how sad for us! lol He was ridiculously funny and his standup, no holds barred, rules. When I was coming up, the older generation said he was the natural progression from Richard Pryor. He was just as filthy mouthed and the fact that he could dance and do impersonations so well made him the next King. I have tested it and the mere mention of this skit is enough to make people laugh uncontrollably.

2.  Eddie Murphy – Hot Tub

  

3.  Dave Chappelle – Claython Bigsby

Whatever happened to Dave Chappelle. I know some of you are twitching in your seats right now. What an example of corporate fuckery and what a waste for the masses who actual liked humor which made a statement. This is classic Chappelle and it is sure to make you cringe at it’s lack of PC but leave you howling at how incredibly stupid racism and bigotry will always be. ***Adults only.

4.  Richard Pryor – Prison & The N Word

There is not much that can be said about Richard that has not already been said. He was a pioneer of adult comedy and he lit up the 70’s stage with his vulgarity, honesty, pointed comedic skits on racism and personal failures. Clearly, he did not give a damn, and I for one dig that about him. Thanks, Mom!! ***Adults only.

5.  George Carlin – People are F** Boring

I dig George. I have a weakness for Black comedy and he epitomizes this. His brash, honest and caustic skits of contemporary issues like religion and politics always made you laugh and pause. One of a kind. ***Adults only.

6.  Gilda Radner – One Ringy Dingy & The Columbia School of Journalism

When I think of female comedians, the first one to pop into my head is usually Gilda. Her skits on SNL were legendary and she’s another one who could have you laughing spastically if you don’t watch out. Gone to soon. We have alot to thank SNL for,  like the wonderful Tina Fey.

Bonus:

7.   The Honeymooners, “You’re a real riot, Alice. Baby, you’re the greatest. Bang, Zoom…”

I grew up on #7, 8 and 9. This is my nod to classic American comedy and the interesting perspective of life in a simpler time, at least for some. I love Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, they put the F in funny. Ralph is a very interesting combination of the jealous, sexist, insecure, short tempered, loving, hard working and surprisingly bashful male of an age gone by. He laughs at himself and that’s a real plus.

8.   All in the Family

I loved Archie Bunker and Edith. He was a racist, a bigot, a sexist and a homophobe, what’s not to love? I’m still singing the theme song so what does that say about me?

9.   I Love Lucy “Do you poop out at parties?”

My all time favorite, red headed, Leo. What a powerhouse she was AND she had great taste in men, flawless comedic timing, no qualms about making a fool of herself, incredibly facile expressions and was a fashionista, go figure. Who can forget the Grape pressing scene or Vitametavegimen?

10.   In Living Color & The Boondocks

You’re on your own….my fingers hurt lol.

My Favorite Things – Movies – Part II

I am an avid movie fan, as you could probably tell by Part I of the series.  My taste in movies is very eclectic, and my favorites are classic and foreign films.  I can be caught watching TCM any day as I love the glimpse into the past and vibe on the depth and substance of the films.  I believe that classic film is typically better than current films because they didn’t rely so heavily on special effects.  Hence, the script, dialogue and acting are far superior current cinema.  I dig foreign films because I enjoy seeing cultural influences at work which often spawns different perspectives. 

TCM Moguls and Movie Stars was a series which aired last year. It was a wonderful depiction of the birth of American cinema. One of the guest speakers theorized that movies are loved because they serve as an escape from reality, while satisfying the voyeur in us. Brilliant!! I’m saving comedy for another post 🙂

What are your favorite movies?

 Unforgettable Movies

1.  Lolita, 1997

2.  The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, 1989

3.  Pink Floyd – The Wall, 1982

4. Guess Who’s coming to dinner? 1967

 

Movies to make you think

1. Jerry Maguire, 1996

2. Jurassic Park, 1993

Quote – “I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility… for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now…”

3. Bulworth, 1998

Movies about the human condition

1.  Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf? 1966

2.  Dangerous Liaisons, 1988

Quote – “It’s beyond my control.” “You’ll find the shame is like the pain, you only feel it once.” 

3. The Breakfast Club, 1985

4.  A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951

5.  All About Eve, 1950

6. Vertigo, 1958

 

Movies to inspire you

1.  Braveheart, 1995

2.  Malcolm X, 1992 

3.  The Hurricane, 1999

4.  The Shawshank Redemption, 1994

 

Movies for the Romance Addict

1.  A Place in the Sun, 1951

2.  Snow Falling on Cedars, 1999

3.  Like Water for Chocolate, 1992

 

Movies for your Inner Child

1.  Lord of the Rings Trilogy, 2001

2.  Harry Potter, 2001

3.  Wall-E, 2008

 

Movies for Sci-Fi & Horror Addicts

1.  The Shining, 1980

2.  Aliens, 1986

3.  The Matrix, 1999

4.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula

5.  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, 1994

6.  Silence of the Lambs, 1994 

7. Cape Fear, 1991

African American Arias

1.  Beloved, 1998 

2.  Diary of a Mad Black Woman, 2005

3.  For Colored Girls when the Rainbow is not enuf, 2010

4. The Color Purple, 1985

5. Do the Right Thing, 1989

 

My Favorite Things – Quirks & Sayings – Part I

I have been thinking about my idiosyncracies and have been transfixed with laughter because the list is rather odd.  

1. I have an almost perfect recall of important phone numbers. When I concentrate, I can visualize them. I lost touch with one of my best friends and called her out of the blue after not speaking to her for 16 years. We were both surprised that the number just popped into my head but it happens all the time.

2. I have an eerie recollection of quotes and lines from my favorite movies and other media. Many of them have worked their way into my speech. Some lie in the background, zooming across the landscape of my consciousness at select moments. They are like old friends from which I draw inspiration, laughter, hope, fortitude, or just plain marvel at their veracity or beauty. Some truths are timeless. Still others, are indicative of my generation, culture, race, or gender, exemplifying some of my dearly held beliefs.  Some, like me, are just downright silly. The best of them speak to the human condition and experience. 

3. I am nocturnal and have been known to greet dawn with a good book in hand, bleary eyed and deeply contented. I have been like this since I was a child.  This only changed when I discovered my love of gardening. All my friends were astonished when I started rising with the birds just to tool around the garden because I used to be the person that you couldn’t call before noon.

4. I love old things, furniture, books, music, movies (viva la TCM), architecture and fashion. 

5. I am obsessed with dinosaurs and have a sick fascination with disaster movies although they terrify me as well. 

When I hit #2, I got the idea for a series, my favorite things. It may seem unrelated but your idiosyncracies say a lot about you just like your favorite things. 

What are your quirks and favorite things? What do they say about you?  

P.S – Can I just say that I LOVE Youtube? There is almost nothing you can’t find on there!

 My Favorite Sayings

1. “Never stop fighting until the fight is done.”  Kevin Costner, The Untouchables, 1987.

2. “Why? You know why?”  The Hangover, 2009.

3. “These are the things that grind my ass to the bone on a daily basis…” Whoppi Goldberg, Live on Broadway, 1980’s.

4. “My eyes are like poached eggs. They run when poked.” – A strange commercial that used to run on WPIX.

5. “…How can people be such a necessary part of your life one day, and simply gone the next?”  Threesome, 1994.

6. “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s gonna be a bumpy night.”  Bette Davis, All about Eve, 1950.

7. “It’s a Red Letter Day.” Unknown Book.

8. “The World is a Ghetto.” War

9. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

10. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Old Proverb.

11. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Unknown author.

12. “Identify the problem and fix it!” 2008 Election, Saturday Night Live

13. “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” Old phrase, origin unknown.

14. …”Dumb as the day is long.” Author unknown.

15. “Ignorance is bliss.” Thomas Gray, 1742.

16. “Stinking thinking.” – My mother.

17. “Refuse and resist.” New York Activists, Sonia Sanchez, 1987.

 18. “Bang, zoom”… The Honeymooners, TV sitcom 1951 – 1955.