Fabiola makes skating history today

Fabiola Da Silva - this inline skating hero from Brazil really shook up her corner of the sports world Sunday on the LG Action Sports Championships when she successfully executed and landed a double backflip. This makes her one of the few athletes who have mastered this move, and the first female to even attempt it in competition. What a rush to witness this moment in history. She was in the zone, and what awesome shoulders.

From her profile on ASA Sport:
Brazil, which is one of the smaller skate markets in the world, boasts fifteen professional skaters including seven women. That accounts for almost a third of all of the women competing worldwide.

Golden Age music

I love music from the 1920s, '30s, and around there. Here are names of particular artists I enjoy.

Helen Kane (a favorite!), Deanna Durbin, Ruth Etting, Annette Hanshaw, Frances Langford, Al Bowlly, Lew Stone, Billy Merrin, Georgia Gibbs, Greta Keller, Phyllis Robins, Patsy Montana.

Then into WWII there's Flanagan & Allen (description & 20 tracks free for the QT listening).

As for the hillbilly and blues coming out of the Appalacian Mountains at the time, I especially run to black blues - Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bessie Smith. Dear Johnny Cash was in his formulation stages.

I'm forever searching for a certain mystery voice that remains in my head, a female soprano along the lines of Gertrude Lawrence. I can imagine her on Lover Come Back to Me and Always. The voice is immediately striking in its surreal timbre of a child or fairy (and don't ask me how I know what a fairy sounds like. I just do.) The voice could well be that of Adriana Caselotti (Snow White). Altho Walt Disney effectively owned her, with her family's musical background, I can't believe there aren't any earlier recordings of her languishing in someone's cellar or attic. Anyway, her voice is phenomenal, and it's a damn shame Disney restricted the world from hearing more of her.

David Garrick's website is an amazing labor of love. An approachable fellow via email, he's put his knowledge to good organization here at the Jazz Age, a great resource.

Here's a series of radio shows by "Jimmy Jazz" Jim Baldwin He broadcasts out of Vermont. He has an Annette Hanshaw show. He's linked from David's site, above.

Here's an internet radio station with music from 1925 - 1935 A Live 365 show that's free but annoys you with commercials to join for commercialfree access.

Left Cindy Ball as Helen Kane from helenkane.com

Below Bee Palmer, from David Garrick's great Jazz Age website.

Mrs. Little

On the last day of third grade, 1978, I was walking home and came across an old lady working on the edging along her sidewalk. She was sitting on the ground, digging out the grass along the sidewalk with handtools. This was Mrs. (Marcia) Little. I started talking to her, and thus began one of the most important friendships of my life.

I began to spend a lot of time at Mrs. Little's grand house on State Road, Ashtabula, Ohio. We'd sit for hours in her livingroom, me on the always-covered couch, her in a winged armchair, and she would tell me the stories of her life. She was Dutch, from a well-to-do family, with three brothers. She called her parents "mother" and "father." So many escape me now, but there were stories of large parties in her family's home, where all the people would come. The boys would crack walnuts and the girls - some other chore I can't remember now. They sounded like such wonderful parties, from a time I could only read about. Her brothers were older, and she, always tiny and with bright blue eyes, was the apple of not only her father's eye, but theirs, too. When she married Dave, they had a boxer named Corky. There were a lot of stories about Corky, one of the most loyal breeds, completely devoted to Mrs. Little. Once he got into a bees nest and came running to her with his jowls full of stingers. She sat, with his head on her lap, a pan, and pulled them out one by one - and he never whimpered or moved. One time when she and Dave were sitting on the couch, just fooling around, he pushed her in the shoulder, and in a flash, Corky jumped onto the couch between them and held Dave's hand in his teeth, staring at him; he didn't hurt him - just stared into his eyes as if to say, "Don't you ever do that again." There was a porcelain boxer standing in a show pose that looked like him.

We also played “Lawyer”, in which you answer a question with a question. We played Gin Rummy.

She often repeated a poem. I tried to memorize it, but still wonder if I’m missing something: One a task is begun, never leave it til it’s done. Be a labor, great or small. Though others quit with pleasure, you not at all.”

I would crack the mixed nuts while she talked. The nutcracker had a screw-down clamp to hold the nut, then I squeezed the handles to crack it. I became quite skilled at cracking various kinds of nuts just along their cleavage. She told me one kind they used to call "nigger toes." There was a black walnut tree in her yard, and we harvested nuts from the ground in the fall. We wore gloves because they turned your hands black. I took home a brown paper bag full of them.

Mrs. Little taught me how to set a proper table. Occasionally, we ate dinner in the formal diningroom, then she would let me set it. Knife protects the spoon, that was my way of remembering. Most times we ate in the alcove in the kitchen. That’s also where we took our tea. I added sugar cube after sugar cube to mine, with the spring-loaded claw tool made just for the job. Sometimes, I would drop them in quickly, othertimes, I would hold it hovering on the surface and watch the tea soak through grain by grain. There was also a woodpecker toothpick holder. The bird stood up over a hollowed log which held the toothpicks; I pushed him over to the lot and a single toothpick would lodge in the tip of his beak. On the same shelf was a glass bird filled with red liquid, which would rock back and forth over and over if you pushed it all the way to one side just once.

Mrs. Little walked around the block with me to meet my parents when I wanted to spend the night for the first time. I could tell they thought it was a little odd, but I was so happy they let me. I packed my clothes. She and I went to Moses grocery store at the corner, and we picked out what to eat for dinner. At home, we put cans in the pantry. “If you find something you like, buy a lot of it,” she advised. Her peanutbutter, for example, and our pickled beets, were arranged in duplicate in the cupboard. On Saturday nights, we would eat from TV trays in the livingroom and she would bring out the TV so we could watch Lawrence Welk. She turned off Sha-Na-Na because it wasn’t appropriate somehow; I enjoyed the show myself, as Bowser was one of my role models in “cool.” Then she showed me to the guest room, an enormous blue bedroom, which I now realize was the master bedroom. There was a weight machine standing in it, the old kind with a leather belt that you put against your middle, then turn it on and it vibrates like crazy. She let me try it. Mrs. Little slept in a smaller room nearer the stairs. She gave me something to read; I enjoyed the yellow hardback “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” which she said had also been a television show. Sunday morning, we read the paper in her room, in bed. I would read the comics. It was there she brought out her tin of buttons and let me look through them. I laid them out on the bed systematically, the wooden Dutch boy and girl and animals in one column, ivory rounds in another, etc. Mrs. Little said that when she died, I could have her button collection.

She was Dutch. The Dutch way of saying things was “Let’s cross the street over” and “Outen the lights”. The latter was on an iron hotplate in the kitchen.

A sign over the stairs leading into the basement read, “Enjoy yourself – it’s later than you think.” The basement was unlike anything else. It was a “rec room.” The wallpaper was orange and gold and black, with pictures of people dancing and drink glasses and olives. There was a leather couch, but I sat at the bar when she let me look through the huge collection of swizzle sticks. She even let me have some to keep. They were colored plastic with figures on top.

Once a woman was over on business and we were all standing in the kitchen when I passed gas. I stood perfectly still and hoped no one had noticed. When the woman left, Mrs. Little told me that when I had to do that, to go into another room. I was grateful for the advice.

She toweled off Puss when she came in with rain glistening on her black fur. Puss would then sit on the stairs and look at us through the rail. When Mrs. Little changed the livingroom some, she got the thickest, most lush green/blue carpet I have ever seen. I gleefully ran my hands through it while she told stories, making pictures in it and combing up excess fibers into piles. I could practically do snow angels in it. She also got faint blue paint antiqued onto the ornate gold frame holding Blue Boy, a painting she loved. I stared at its every detail, but never understood why she was so fond of it. Then she opened up the sunroom. I laid on the carpet there in my homemade mermaid tail while she talked.

We did yardwork now and then, and drank iced glasses of Coke when we came in. Once when she wanted her yard mowed so badly and the boy hadn’t come, I went across the street to Charlie Moses and told him I would pay him 50 cents if he would mow it for her. It was a total ploy; I knew this was a pittance, but I played the kid card and the pity card on her behalf, and before long, we looked out the bay window, and there he was in his riding mower.

I visited Mrs. Little less and less as I became older. I felt bad about it when I thought of it. When I was 15, she died. I went to the funeral and sat in the back. Where had all these people come from? They must be family. Her brothers, her actual brothers must be in this room. You mean they’re still alive? Why hadn’t they visited? Where did they come from now? Who had even arranged this funeral? I spoke to no one.

I’m an adult now, and I had recurring dreams of going back to Mrs. Little’s house. It’s all changed, emptied, people have taken away its grandeur. And from the looks of it from the outside, this is in fact the case.

I miss Mrs. Little. I really do.

I wish I had a photograph. If anyone ever reads this who remembers her or knows of descendents, I would love to hear from you.

Where my writing will be published in Feb.

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship
Volume 7, Issue 2
Academic study on how marketing bodybuilding to females must change in order to attract more competitors
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PanGaia Volume 43, Jan-Mar, pg. 24.
Poem: The Land
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Fitness & Physique Feb. issue
The anti-steroid perspective in the bookshelves - overview of themed narrative books;
Buffo, the world's strongest clown
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OSU press release on bilingual aquatic study program for youth
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Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness
Another article on Buffo
Rescheduled for August issue, out in May

the evolution of King Kong's "woman"

The more I think about this version of KK, the more I like it (that of it which I saw). It really fleshes out the character of Kong, the action sequences are heartpounding, the spectacles are spectacular, the careful send-up to the '30s original was a brilliant decision. This despite the many problems with the story (it's a horrible story (manifest destiny, et. al); seriously, why would Kong be interested in anything that small? Why does Jack Black only use one facial expression?). The website is a marvel in Flash techology, very nice trip. I don't understand why I can't find my favorite image from the film anywhere, the rear view of Kong and Anne sitting side by side, looking out at the gorgeous sunset and scenery. Seems to me that would be a main image used in marketing. I'd like it for wallpaper. I like how they developed the Anne character. Here's a nice commentary on her evolution, tho I disagree with one point: the insects are marvelous.
ETA: Emma was graciously thanked me for this entry in an email and confirmed that this was not an assignment. Great to hear from you, Emma!

Kong's inamorata evolves: Bimbo to sexpot to heroine
By Emma Trelles - South Florida Sun-Sentinel - January 1, 2006

Excerpt (follow link for full piece)
A heroic heroine: Besides many disgusting insects, Jackson's 2005 flick offers the millennial Ann (Naomi Watts) -- a self-sufficient woman with integrity. She relies on her vaudeville skills (albeit questionable ones, but we're talking intent here) to defuse the strain between her and her captor, and she adapts quickly to her new digs on the island. In one scene, she settles next to Kong on his mountain perch and admires the sweeping vista and sunset. This beauty is an activist: She is horrified at Kong's enslavement, and not only does she try to block his capture but she also boycotts all of the hype surrounding his NYC debut.

She is a product of the era that fashioned her -- namely the 21st century, also a time when courtship often lacks giddy romantic overtures. Perhaps this is why Jackson chose to include a ludicrous sequence of Ann and Kong night-skating across an icy pond in Central Park. Maybe Jackson drank too many mai tais while editing the movie -- this is just one scene of several that a right-minded director would have shorn off. Or perhaps he thought a female viewer might find solace in that sort of thing, so starved for romance that we, Ann included, find it easier to connect with mythologized movie love than with the real thing.

What Olympic lifting is giving me

The obvious is rekindled passion and enjoyment about working out. It's been so long since I've felt like I'm lifting for FUN. It's been methodical work, albeit enjoyable most of the time, for years. But this harkens back to what the running guru (what was his name?) wrote in his book - that life is running, and everything in between is thinking of past runs or looking forward to the next. Well, come on, the Mighty Kat is nothing if not diversified, but it's the principle of the thing. It's something I look forward to and totally enjoy.

Time. This is not demanding on my time like traditional lifting has been all these years. I get in and out with multijoint, full body work outs with plenty of time in my week left to spare.

Results. Holy shit, I'm looking good. Hypertrophy. BBing is cosmetic, and the great fear in varying traditional specific training is that some cosmetic benefit will be lost, but this is not the case. Of course, I'm careful to keep specific work in where I see necessary (the subject of another entry), but still.

O lifting is benefitting me in aesthetic appearance, strength, power, cardio, coordination, balance, improved symmertry and unified muscular development, overall health and well-being, and general peace of mind and satisfaction with my lifestyle.

Blog quiz -past life animal

You Were a Cat

You are an independent person who inspires others with your dreams.
A calm protector, you will fight when you need to.

another funny cat site

He's a different person when he drinks