Tag Archives: fabulous clothes

Regular Poem: A Blue Scarf

30 Dec

I don’t remember how
I got the idea
to wear that blue scarf.

It wasn’t even
a scarf, really,
so much as a silky handkerchief–
navy blue with white trim
smelling of a beguiling and persistent and unfamiliar perfume–
a ten-by-ten square
of fabric,
ancient, no doubt, before it
happened into my possession.

I was nine-
ish,
and I wore it
as though my head would fall off
my shoulders if it weren’t
cinched tightly around my neck
in a jaunty knot
worn to the left.

I felt so
glamorous
in it.
I felt so
powerful
in it.

My mother wouldn’t let me wear it
anywhere real.
So
it remained a costume piece
in my gallery of fantastical plays:
the ones in which I
saved lost artifacts and belligerent damsels in distress
and shot communists on trains
and solved baffling mysteries
and led bands in parades.

My mother wouldn’t let me wear it
anywhere real
because
she said
it was too small.
She worried
it would suffocate me.

But nowhere did I do more daring deeds
that might jostle it into an accidental noose
than in my own backyard.

To this day
I question
her logic or her veracity.
I’m not sure which.

I don’t know why
I stopped
wearing it.
And
I don’t know where
it went.
I miss it–in those
strange moments
when I suddenly remember
it existed.

But I’m more into red
now, anyway.

Sassing, Sobbing, and Strumming a Few Chords on a Ukulele: Ginger Rogers as Tragi-Comic Heroine

29 Jun

Posted as part of the Funny Lady Blogathon put on by that talented and prolific purveyor of silent-movie gifs and other intriguing gems, Fritzi, of Movies, Silently.

I have a Top Hat poster in my room.

It’s this one.  It was given to me for maybe my 13th or 14th birthday by someone who knew I loved classic films in general, musicals specifically, and Ginger Rogers especially.

But I have a confession:

I don’t like Top Hat.  In fact, I don’t like any of the Rogers-Astaire musicals from the ’30s, and I just can’t put my finger on why.

Let me retrace my affection for Ginger Rogers.

The first classic movie I watched on my own (I mean, I spent every Christmas Eve watching It’s a Wonderful Life, and I think my mom and I had probably committed four hours to Gone with the Wind at some indistinguishable point in my childhood, but those don’t count because they weren’t my own choices although they both remain in my very-favorite-movie list) was a little number that’s not even that classic or that good.  It’s a weepy-wartime, totally ludicrous affair called I’ll Be Seeing You.

It stars Ginger Rogers as a sexually harassed secretary who accidentally shoves her boss out of a window (killing him, of course) when he tries to molest her.  She goes to prison and then she gets out on some kind of furlough for the holidays and goes to stay with her aunt (Spring Byington [best character actress ever]), uncle, and cousin (Shirley Temple).  Nobody trusts poor Ginger, and there’s a lot of family drama and some cattiness, and a lot of Ginger Rogers looking totally glamorously upset in gorgeous Edith Head gowns.

Meanwhile, Joseph Cotten is a half-crazy-from-shellshock WWII GI who’s on leave.  They fall in love, and neither of them tells the other their entire stories.

More drama ensues, the truths come out, Ginger goes back to prison, but Joseph declares his everlasting love, and all is well.

At the end, Ginger and I were both bawling, and I wanted her hair, her clothes, and her tragic and nonsensical love story.  (I was 12. Sue me.)

And then, as any good fangirl in 1999 would do, I decided I needed to boot up AOL and figure out what Ginger Rogers movies I could watch next.

Perhaps the next was Gold Diggers of 1933.  While I enjoyed Ginger’s turn as the hilariously gold-diggingest gold digger, I was more mesmerized by the Busby Berkeley choreography, Joan Blondell’s outrageous beauty and delightful warble, and the general charm of a fast-paced, tightly scripted pre-code.  And so I took a detour down that sort of road for a while.

And I branched out to other ladies–Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, even a brief thing with Kay Francis, and many, many hours with Ann Sothern as Maisie.  And countless others in varying degrees of fangirlish devotion.  Joan Crawford was a late edition, but at the peak of our affair, it was pretty intense.

But then I was back to Ginger and her great tragedies: Kitty Foyle, The Primrose Path, Tender Comrade.  I tried her Astaire stuff and even sort of liked The Barkleys of Broadway, but, for me, there was nothing like Ginger in tears, losing her man, having children out of wedlock, etc.

And then I watched Stage Door where she’s opposite Katherine Hepburn in an actress boarding house, fighting with her for parts and finally becoming BFFs.  And I partially realized what the deal is with my thing for Ginger.

No better foil exists for Ginger Rogers than Katherine Hepburn.  I don’t dislike Katherine Hepburn, and I don’t want anyone to mistake the following for criticism because Kate is obviously marvelous and can make me laugh and cry just as well as anybody, but she certainly has a persona (which is like half the plot of Stage Door): that New England aristocrat with a recognizable tinny voice and a rigid physique who’s rather dour in her tragic roles and who is always ultra stagy.

And then there’s Ginger–soft and flexible, draped casually over a chair playing a ukulele, with her big clear eyes and her buttery midwestern voice barking out sassy witticisms but then also cooing softly to her friends when they’ve had a bad day.

I realized seeing this juxtaposition that I love watching Ginger Rogers cry because she does it as she does all things: with half a smile on her face.

I like her in tragedies because she’s open and warm-looking and funny like your best friend is funny–not like stand-up comic funny but clever jabs and pratfalls funny.

I like her in tragedies because she seems so honest.

I like her in tragedies because in real life she’s a comedic actress.

And her sensitivity to the comedy of tragedy shows in the way she plays someone so foolish and silly but with so much heart like Kitty Foyle or the gal in I’ll Be Seeing You.

Why Fans of Classic Movies Should Like Star Trek: Voyager

11 May

I’m a firm believer that Star Trek: Voyager has something for everyone; however, everyone is not the same, of course.  For example, if I were trying to  indoctrinate cajole my Grey’s Anatomy-loving coworkers into watching my favorite show, I would entice them with a completely different set of pros.

As it stands, the following list is inspired by my blog friend Ruth, who is a delightful classic-movie blogger.  Several posts ago, I talked about Voyager’s still enjoyable bad episodes, and she commented that she’d never watched the show before.

That’s an Internet gauntlet, folks.

I’ve compiled this list to attract a certain kind of person, and I have faith in my tactics.  And, as Captain Janeway would say, I feel lucky today!

Series Overview

Let’s get a quick rundown of what’s going on in this series before I start the list rolling.  I’ll pretend anyone reading this has never watched Star Trek, so I’ll try not to be too technobabble-y.

The Premise:  It’s the 24th century, and Earth and several other planets have long ago joined together to form The United Federation of Planets.  Starfleet–a space navy, basically–serves and protects this governmental agency.

There’s some disputed regions on the fringes of the Alpha Quadrant (because they’ve divided the galaxy into quadrants and named them with Greek letters, of course), and a rebel group called the Maquis has sprung up to defend what they feel is their own land.  Officially, The Federation sees the Maquis as terrorists, but they’re all wronged idealists, mostly (and the dudes they’re fighting [the Cardassians], who are officially in The Federation, are sneaky jerks, tbh).

Captain Kathryn Janeway and her new starship Voyager have been sent out to the Badlands to go after a particularly trouble-causing Maquis ship, on which one of Janeway’s oldest friends is serving as a spy!  Quelle drama!

Before she goes, she springs a dude from jail who had been in Starfleet and then also in the Maquis to act as her guide! Quelle more drama!

Well, both the Maquis ship and Voyager get gotten by an alien who pulls them 75,000 lightyears away from Earth–all the way to the Delta Quadrant.  This dying alien is trying to figure out if anybody has similar DNA so that he will have an heir to look after this planet he’s looking after.  Spoiler alert:  Nobody does.

Meanwhile, these other aliens are trying to get at the thing that transported everybody from the Alpha Quadrant so they can use it to gain power and take over stuff.

Janeway can’t let them gain power and take over stuff because they’re meanies, so she destroys the thing, stranding her ship and the Maquis ship in the Delta Quadrant.  Quelle drama-est!

This is the first time Janeway meets Chakotay (the Maquis captain). I hope they both brushed their teeth this morning because dang.

Janeway and the Maquis captain decide to join forces to get back home, so they all take up residence on Voyager and are forced to work together.

Meanwhile, they’ve picked up a few people from the Delta Quadrant to be on their crew:  a dude who’s a trader and is supposed to be good at navigating this–to Alpha Quadrant types–uncharted space and a lady (from the planet the alien who whisked them away was guarding) who has a really weird short lifespan.

Also, meanwhile, the ship’s doctor dies in the first twenty minutes or so and is permanently replaced by the Emergency Medical Hologram.  His journey into sentience becomes a plot point in many episodes.

Also along the way they run into the Borg, a species that is not so much a species but an amalgamation of species who act as one unit, like a hive, and they basically steal other species’ bodies to use in their ultimate goal of perfection through putting together the best parts of every species and then enhancing themselves with robotics.  The Borg are weird and scary and robotic and hard to describe, and when you’re part of the Borg, you have no personality of your own and do only the will of the Collective.  Anyway, Janeway rescues a lady from the Borg, and her journey into humanity becomes a plot point in many episodes.

So, if all the sci-fi hasn’t already turned you off, let’s have a go at the list.

Honorable Mention:  Clean (with a Little Innuendo)

One thing I really love about old movies is that they’re not explicit.  If a couple is intimate, they cut to a fireplace.  If somebody’s mad, he gives a glare and bunches his hands into angry fists instead of cursing a blue streak.

And because of the cleanness, they get to have a little more fun (and be a little more creative) when they wanna be a little bit dirty.  So they say things like, “You know how to whistle, don’t ya?” instead of something yuckier.

Because Voyager aired on regular old TV instead of HBO and because we have a lady captain who is so stagy and sassy, we get cleanness, and a little bit of sassy dirtiness once in a while.

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Why You Might Find This Picture in Your Text Message Inbox

12 Apr

We take a break from our regularly scheduled Poem a Day to bring you this special message from Mrs. Columbo:

creepy puppet

Behold this screencap from an episode of Mrs. Columbo called, “A Riddle for Puppets.”  Mrs. Columbo, for those not in the know, is a short-lived Columbo spin-off (kinda) that chronicles the adventures of Columbo’s never-seen wife (kinda), who is a housewife/part-time reporter for a tiny local newspaper that is mostly coupons.  Except Kate Mulgrew is about 15 in the series (while Columbo is about 60 always), and I guess later the producers decided she didn’t have a husband at all and the whole thing is just weird about that aspect of it.

Mostly, it’s just a show that follows the same format as Columbo except with a plucky lady in the lead investigator role.

Oh, and also, the show is completely absurd.

And Kate Mulgrew is the stagiest actress ever.  Which makes the show watchable.

So in this episode, a ventriloquist murders another ventriloquist.  And this puppet that Kate Mulgrew is holding had “witnessed” the murder (the murderer ventriloquist is crazy and thinks the dummies are sentient), so the murderer ventriloquist tries to get rid of this dummy by giving it to Mrs. Columbo (to take home to her daughter.)

I’m already loling as I write this.

I grabbed this screencap as I watched because. Well. Lol.

It has amused me ever since.

I have been texting it to people ever since.

And that has also amused me.

Oh how I love it; let me count the ways:

  • For the purpose of clarity so far in this post, I have called this lady alternately Mrs. Columbo or Kate Mulgrew, her name on the show and the actress’s name, respectively.  But at home, in texts, and on twitter, I almost always call her Baby Captain Janeway.  Because Captain Janeway.  Circa 1979.  This cracks me up for some reason.  Tish was watching the show with me the other day, and she said (about the sometime boringness/straight up weirdness of the show):

“I’m glad she went back to school to become a starship captain.”  

  • This ’70s outfit.  Double-popped collar!  Holla!
  • That facial expression.  You can tell she’s thinking, “WTF am I supposed to do with this thing?”
  • That dummy.  And his hair.  And his everything.
  • That dummy’s name is Clown.  He is a clown.  And his name is Clown.  They did not give him a name like “Bobo” or “Laughy-Smiles” or “Stan.”  His name is Clown.  And everyone says it with a straight face.  I can’t even write it with a straight face.  Clown.  LOL!

And so, because of the listed reasons, you may unexpectedly get Clown Bombed (as I’ve termed it).  Don’t worry; you’re in good company:

A coworker’s watching documentaries while recovering from knee surgery. So, of course, Clown Bomb.

A middle-aged-lady friend had invited me over the night before, but I couldn’t make it. So, of course, Clown Bomb.

I always text Tish about where we’ll go eat after church. So, of course, Clown Bomb.

I’m sure no one loves this quite as much as I do.

Ask me if I care.

creepy puppet

Cuz Clown sure don’t care.

Damages Season 3 Recap (All Spoilers, All the Time)

16 Mar

Oh hey, Season 3.  Haven’t thought about you in a while.  And I want to start season 4 now, so…

Best outfit all season

The format of my synopses has changed. The fabulosity of Patty’s clothes has absolutely not changed.

Flashforward Mystery #1:  Patty is driving.  Some other car runs into her!  Whodunnit?

Flashforward Mystery #2:  Mysterious Hobo hangs around a dumpster.  Tom’s murdered body is found in the same dumpster!  Whodunnit?

Main Plot Line:  Patty is the court-appointed trustee of the Tobin estate.  The Tobins are big business people involved in some kind of Ponzi scheme thing, as per usual.  She must figure out how and where and when all their money went wherever it did.

Joe Tobin, alcoholic oldest son, becomes Patty’s go-to dude for a minute, but mostly to establish him as a down-to-earth character at first.  He wants to make sure he looks as if he did everything he could to help the investigation (which also includes the DA’s office, where Ellen works now).

Joe gives Patty a cell phone number, and Hobo is in possession of the cell phone.  Tom investigates and finds clothes in the dumpster belonging to a DMM.  He investigates more.  Everyone is red-herringed into believing DMM–a lady who looks SO MUCH like Emily Prentiss from Criminal Minds–was having an affair with Dad Tobin (the CEO of the Tobin company), and Tom decides to investigate this angle because why not.

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Dear Googlers 4: Additional Letters to Additional People I’ve Never Met (Probably)

18 Feb

Dear Googlers Who Found My Blog Using the Search Terms “china town situation”:

I’m wondering if you’re using this term the same way I am.

My daughter AND my sister,
Alexandra

***

Dear Googlers Who Found My Blog Using the Search Terms “why does anyone care about the difference between similes and metaphors”:

They don’t. :(

And that’s why I got fired,
Alexandra

***

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OUaT 2.9 Recap: When the Joker Ain’t the Only Fool Who’ll Do Anything for You

8 Feb

Episode 9: Playin’ with the Queen of Hearts

Fairytale Flashback:  Hook decimates some Queen’s guards.  He saves Belle from the queen’s prison.  Hook wants to know about the weapon to kill Gold.  He pimp slaps her and says,  “So pretty, so useless.”  Now that’s just mean.

Regina comes in and saves Belle from imminent death.  Is this Dynasty?!  WTF is this fabulous outfit!?

…Yes. Give me more of this.

She knows all about Hook and how he wants to kill Gold.  She explains that Belle can’t help him but she can, if he does something for her.  She tells him about the curse she’s about to do, after which Hook won’t need magic to kill Gold.  She explains that she wants to take out a hit on her mom so that Cora won’t follow her into curseland.

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