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52 Books: An Update from 3 Months In

5 Apr

Okay, I will admit it: this sh*t is hard, yo! Turns out that reading a book a week can be tougher than I imagined, what with trying to maintain a 40+ hour a week job, commuting to said job, spending the odd moment with my husband, family and friends so that they don’t thing I’ve become a total book hermit, sleeping, eating, shopping for “fat” pants and all the other things that cut into my reading time.

(P.S. I think there is a definite correlation between increased reading time and my increased waistband. Enough said.)

Here’s where I stand on this day, Saturday, April 5, 2014:

my april book tally

my april book tally

It’s actually not too bad: only 2 books behind (which I still can’t believe – really?? I’m behind 2 books?? How the hell did this happen??), and I’ve read some really amazing stuff.  Continue reading

Endorsement Monday: Judy Garland & the American Masters series

12 Nov

This week’s endorsement comes courtesy of PBS’ excellent American Masters series, which has profiled greats like Charlie Chaplin, Billie Holliday, Julia Child and Cab Calloway. I’ll be adding several of their DVDs to my Christmas wish list (you can find them on Amazon, among other places).

But this week’s endorsement is for “About Judy Garland: By Myself” which CityBoy was sweet enough to record for me and with which I spent two hours yesterday, engrossed in this amazing portrait of an amazing woman. I’ve always liked Judy Garland, having watched (of course) The Wizard of Oz about 10,000 times. I also watched many of her classic early movies, like the Andy Hardy movies with Mickey Rooney (if you haven’t seen one, go now). And I saw A Star Is Born a few years ago, her magnum opus. But I wasn’t a “fanboy,” which I have to say, having watched this documentary and seen snippets of her belting it out in concert, I now proudly am.

Original image: ‘The John Fricke Collection’ | Digital image restoration: Ranse Ransone | Quote: Judy Garland

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Endorsement Monday: Slate’s Culture Gabfest & Linebreak

5 Nov

I’ve recently become obsessed with the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast, which I stream from Stitcher during my interminable car rides to and from work. I’ve become so dependent on this trio of snappy commentators to make my work commute bearable that I become quite surly when I realize that I’ve already listened to this week’s episode.

It’s not just that they talk about things that I’m interested in (recent movies, Internet happenings, cool art, etc). They’ve also thought about what they have to say and found a way to say it that is thoughtful, witty and funny. Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens and Julia Turner are just good eggs who could probably dissect any subject and find something worthwhile to consider about it. And they have the best audio in the podcast business (don’t get me started on the terrible sound of most podcasts – do these people not have friends who can tell them they sound like crap?). Continue reading

Just How Open-Minded Are We (Me)?

15 Jul

Last week, as I was visiting clients’ offices, I was struck by a singular sight, one that made me feel a little weird for thinking, as I looked at it, Wow, this is a weird thing to be in a company’s lobby. The thing in question was a large, beautiful oil painting of Mecca, in particular of the pilgrims surrounding the Ka’ba. It looked something similar to this one:

It was the only piece of art in the room, which was the lobby of this medical company I was visiting. I’d never been there before, and I was instantly drawn to the painting, which took up most of the wall. I remember thinking, Cool, and moving up closer to inspect the intricately drawn bodies, the white-draped figures perambulating around the black cube in the center. And then I felt strange to be seeing this obviously Islamic painting here, in Southern California, in the lobby of a medical company with no obvious ties to Islam or the Arab world, and then feeling stupid and bigoted for being conscious of any strangeness. Continue reading

Long Beach Digs: Southeast Farmers Market

4 Jul

Gorgeous fruits and veggies + Southern California sunshine + handmade tamales = the Southeast Farmers Market, held every Sunday from 9:00AM to 2:00PM in Alamitos Bay Marina, a place near and dear to my heart, so dear in fact that almost every Sunday since we’ve moved to Long Beach, I haul myself out of bed, suit up in my most comfy of comfies, strap on my Guatemalan “shopping purse” and motor on over.

I mean, I love a good farmers market just as much as the next Toms-wearing boho hippie, but honest to god homemade tamales?? And hand-mixed strawberry lemonade?? Hello – get outta my way! In exchange for five of your measly dollars (I can’t get a grande Starbucks mocha in NYC for that little), the lovely man at Me Gusta Tamales will graciously spoon green and red salsa over your piping hot pork tamale (the only way I roll) and expertly eyeball-mix the most perfect blend of homemade lemonade and strawberry juice. If this guy set up shop any closer to my house, I’d be 300 pounds by now.

dude! you and your man purse – outta my way! i need a tamale!

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