Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Britney Comback? Hell yeah.

Okay, I'm thinking Britney's Back. With a song I can dance to for sure.



Now here's some inspiration. And, truth be told, I much prefer the new Britney over the old one.

Thinking maybe I can make a come-back in the bod department, myself. Yes, I'm thinkin' so. Spring is in the air, after all.

Hmmm. Also thinking I need to declutter so I can really get my moves on...

"Where to start?" she asks, pressing the video play button again and kicking furniture out of the way.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Deadly Nightshade and The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers

Deadly Nightshade ~ belladonna


Today's Wikipedia article of the day is about Deadly Nightshade, aka belladonna.

You may have heard of the plant belladonna, which by Italian definition means beautiful lady. This particular plant was once used by women as eye drops.

Why?

Because belladonna extract dilates the pupils. It was thought that dilated pupils on a woman was a sign of sexual beauty, as dilated pupils are a sign of arousal. In truth, what it did, was cause their iris' to malfunction, disinheriting them from their ability to constrict properly. Not only that, but belladonna caused blurry vision as well as increased heart rates, repeated use causing blindness.

For those of you who don't know, belladonna, or Deadly Nightshade is "a perennial herbaceous plant that has bell-shaped flowers and shiny black berries." Oddly enough, this flowering, berry budding herb is related to, yes, potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. But this is one plant you probably DON'T want to eat.

Why? It is toxic. In fact, "it is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western Hemisphere." Yesindeedee.

What makes it so toxic is it's high levels of alkaloids, or organic compounds / poisons.

What can it do to you?

  • Well, for one, you'll see things that aren't there (or perhaps they are),

  • blurred vision (and I don't mean from being too tired or too drunk to funk, though you may feel that way),

  • and tachycardia, which is, as you may have guessed from the root word cardia, rapid heart rate above 100 beats per minute (in an adult).

  • To read more about this multifaceted and interesting plant, check out THIS WIKIPEDIA LINK.


The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers


Yes, there is such a group and you may well have heard of them. They are, or shall I say were, a Minnesota band with an eclectic sound. Often times dressed in glittering superhero capes or choir robes, at times even tyvec waste clean up suits and other oddities, they found it hard to secure a good gig, or any gig at all, even though their audience would have surely followed.

They finally met their demise and piddled out in September of 2000. A sad day indeed. Perhaps they should have done a rethink on their band name, as appropriate as it was, they were in for it from the start I suppose. Their rendition of Brazil is my personal favorite, if you come across it, it's a keeper.

I must say some good came of it, however. Their lead singer, Randall Throckmorton (Think Tony Randall, Third Rock (or the rock), and Morton salt), is still out and about, with the sound that made The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers what they were.Randall's songs are often melancholy, and reminisce of the old days of railway cars and cross country radio singers, dusty roads, tent towns, whiskey, line mustaches, and waxed hairdos on slick men.









For more on Randall Throckmorton visit http://www.vimeo.com/1240593 or http://www.youtube.com/user/randallthrockmorton

For more on The Deadly Nightshade Family Singers, visit http://minnewiki.publicradio.org/index.php/Deadly_Nightshade_Family_Singers or http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=85581946 (great rendition of "Charlie" found here.

Second photo found at NHS Blog Doctor (a wonderful, often lighthearted blog you will surely find pleasing).

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Bible May Be Onto Something







My home page is www.thefreedictionary.com/ It's part of wikipedia, the best free online dictionary and encyclopedia I've ever experienced. I totally love it. Why? Because I love to read about all kinds of really cool things. That, and I can set my page to show me exactly, and only, the feeds I want. It's like reading (or listening) to my own little newspaper.


Each day there is an article of the day from wikipedia. Today's article has to do with one of the gifts of the three wise men; the very same gift that is burned as incense in most churches for thousands of years. The smell is, to me, inseparable and directly correlated with the intrigue of old, ornate churches, and old sermon styles and hymns. It adds to the atmosphere. Too much of it and you pass out thanking Jesus. Too little and you catch yourself sniffing deep.


Apparently Frankincense has been linked to curing bladder cancer. "...researchers believe an enriched extract of the frankincense herb boswellia carteri may help fight bladder cancer. In laboratory experiments, the oil suppressed cancer growth and induced apoptosis, a process also known as programmed cell death." Interesting stuff.


Click HERE to get the full scoup on this exciting approach and correlation. It will take you to a bunch of news articles that talk about it. Pretty cool. Now if they can just find a cure for other cancers, like breast cancer, that would be just fine by me.


As always, thanks for reading,
F.B.



Photo credit by Sea Moon, titled "Fine Frankincense" © All rights reserved, can be found on flickr, and was taken on July 15, 2008 and uploaded March 5, 2009.

Cleaning with Four Seasons Five star Housekeeping Staff

Me. Just hangin' out, watchin' tv. Doin ma yo-ga... Oh wait, wrong photo.



I actually watched some television today. I rarely if ever do, but Ellen, you know, Ellen DeGeneres? Ellen gave me a tweet (on twitter) about her show. Very exciting... Oprah called and asked her to be on the cover of O Magazine. A dream come true for Ellen, I can tell you. She's been wanting Oprah to be a guest on The Ellen Show or for Oprah to invite her to be a guest on Oprah for... what... an eternity? So yeah Ellen, that's fantastic! Maybe Oprah will agree to a shower song? (Only fans of Ellen would know about this, so if you don't you've got to check it out on you tube or watch The Ellen Show.

Okay, brief sidetrack there. So I was watching television today and after Ellen is Days of our Lives, painstakingly awful, but I kept it on because it gave me a nice brain dead buzz. We all need one of those every once in a while, don't we? Well, I'm glad I did, because had I not kept my television tuned onto Days, as it's called by fans, not me, I'm not a fan, and turned it off instead, I would have missed "Show Me St. Louis".



Welcome to Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis
Photo from Four Season's Hotel St. Louis website.

On "Show Me" today, the first feature was all about Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis' Housekeeping staff. Interesting feature that offered lots of great housecleaning tips. Here are some of them that I thought I'd share with you.
Four Seasons Hotel housekeeping staff clean up scuff marks with tennis balls. They poke one onto the end of a broomstick, and bingo, there you go. Rubs those nasty scuff marks off any floor. Duh (this is a tip I've got to remember).

They also clean each room from the top down (one of my personal tricks). This way, the dirt goes down, down, down, the further down you go, until, finally, it all ends up on the floor. Then its vac or mop and voila, you're done and all is clean.

Telephones, light switches and door knobs are all wiped down as well (another one of my tricks). Where people's hands go, I go, and so should you, every time you do a thorough cleaning, which should be once a month in most households; singles or super clean keep-my-hands-to-myself people can get away with a thorough cleaning like this once a season. I'm not certain if they do, but I also include doors; especially the middle knob area, as most people's hands hold, linger, open, and close with their hand attached to this spot as opposed to the doorknob. And lets not forget door frames Those suckers connected to the wall get some good action. You'd be surprised at the dirt you'll find on your towel or cloth after a good wet swipe. Your house will look surprisingly cleaner when you're done. Don't believe me? Give it a try.

Housekeeping at Four Seasons also have another trick up their sleeve which helps keep their vacuum cleaners shiny and new. They use a cloth cover for the nose on their vacuum cleaners. I myself know how ugly a scuffed up vacuum cleaner can be, however I choose the used and loved look for my vacuum cleaner.

Fact: At Four Seasons Hotel, the housekeeping staff takes 40 minutes to clean one room and each cleans 11 rooms a day.

How do they get into shape? They stretch and do a little jogging in place. I'm serious. Each morning before getting started, they all meet in the housekeeping office and do a group warm up. Its mandatory. It keeps them in shape and gets them ready to take on those rooms so your stay can be as fresh and cozy as possible.

With a staff and housekeeping as great as this, it's no wonder Four Seasons is St. Louis' best and only five star hotel. So if you're ever looking to visit, or just want to get out of the house and have someone else cook and clean for you for a change, I recommend Four Seasons St. Louis hotel. I believe you just can't go wrong with this one.


Comfort and luxury ideal for entertaining


Thanks for reading. Comments always welcome.
F.B.


You can find what I watched today here, and see other clips and episodes of "Show Me St. Louis" on KSDK.com .

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Postcards ~ Dear Grace


Dear Grace,


Heaven sent. This morning I got to sleep in! All morning! Guess what I woke up to. Donuts. Cream filled, glazed, chocolate covered, sprinkled, vanilla, soft, smooshy, creamy, tasty! I've got nothing planned for the rest of the day, and it feels great.


Your friend,

Jane

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ashes in a Jewelry Box


My stepfather died May 6, 1990. His body was cremated. The funeral parlor gave us his ashes in a plastic zip-lock bag, safely protected by a brown paper lunch bag.


My mother put the zip-lock into a large, porcelain jewelry box she had hand painted. It was white with a gold band that clasped the lid to the base. The lid would not close tightly because the zip-lock just fit into the box, so my mother taped it closed with scotch tape, which always humored me. I never could stand it. On the lid was painted a Boucher cupid tiptoeing on one leg upon a soft, white cloud. In its outstretched hand, it gripped a burning torch, and a pale blue ribbon that wrapped round its thigh and belly, floated into the peaceful blue of the sky.


My mother never imaged that this jewelry box would one day be used for this purpose. It had been sitting on a shelf in the cedar room on the third floor with all her other porcelain waiting to be painted or used.


Standing next to my mother, my sister and I watched quietly as she slowly placed the box on the top of the baby grand. "Now when you girls practice piano, your father can enjoy you." Agh. The Little Women aspect of this sickened me a bit. To me, it was sugar coated morbidity.


It's funny, we never called him Father while he was alive. In fact we called him Doctor since we first met him, mostly because that's what he was. But even after he married my mother, the name stuck with him. It was our way of calling him Daddy and he seemed to like it. Now if any of us call him Doctor, everything grows silent. Yet what had his death changed? It was like walking around in a crazy play.


My mother wiped her hand over the top of the box as if brushing off stubborn dust. "You know, I wasn't sure, when I was painting this, if I wanted to paint the cupid's ribbon pink and make it a girl cupid, or if I should paint it blue and make it a boy cupid. But something was telling me, paint the ribbon blue, so that's what I did and now it's perfect." My sister and I smiled at my mother then looked back at the box. I did my best not to set my mother off.


"And the torch is perfect, too," my sister said, and put her hand on the edge of the piano just in front of the box. She meant this. She truly meant this. She meant the smiles. She meant all the Jesus sweet things she did and said. She had a naive pureness that I never possessed. And I played along, lest I be cast as the ungrateful, selfish one. I could not fathom the two against one, they in cahoots, I the freak show.


"Yes. Isn't this something," my mother agreed. She always told us that we shouldn't be afraid of death and that heaven was a wonderful place. "Wen you die," she said, "you don't need your body anymore. So all the problems your body had, all the pain, you are freed from. And you don't need your eyes anymore because you see in a different way." Would there still be a heaven if she weren't left with millions?


The three of us looked down at the cupid on the box for a while as if in silent prayer.


My mother let out a sigh, walked over to the opposite corner of the room, and sat down in my stepfather's chair. It was a large, tall backed, armchair, one you would find in a study, and had an Aztec pattern with deep browns, reds and greens. It had never matched with anything, but he wouldn't part with it and refused to let my mother get it reupholstered, as often times reupholstering meant the feeling and comfort of the chair changed.


She touched the pipes in the wooden pipe carousel stand that sat on one of the wooden shelves that lined the wall on both sides of the fireplace. The shelves on the left by my stepfather's chair were lined with his collection of records, most of them jazz. He had tapes, too, in open boxes on the bottom shelf next to the stereo and the record and tape players. Most of the cassettes where white with braille writing on them. They were his cassettes from the Free Matters for the Blind he received every month or so in the mail. When he was done listening to them, he would tape jazz shows onto them from the radio.


The first Thursday night of every month was family Jazz night. We'd all go into the living room after dinner and my mother would bring in my step-father's demi-tasse and sit at his feet. He would then turn on the radio or put on a record or tape. My sister and I would dance and pretend like we were the performers. This would go on and on for hours, all of us laughing, until we grew tired and called it a night.


Now my mother straightened out one of the pipes and repositioned the stand. A smile lit up her face. "Okay. Who's going to play first? Victoria? Play the piece your father liked so much."


Victoria bit her bottom lip and gave my mother a weak smile.


"Come on. Sit down."


She sat on the piano stool and swirled around a couple of times until it was the right height. I sat on the pink silk couch beside the piano and leaned on its large, rounded arm. She looked at me and smiled. I smiled back, sorry for her but trying not to show it. It seemed to me, for a brief moment, that maybe she felt the uncomfortable strangeness of it all, yet I never could be sure. Even if she did, she would have cast that feeling aside with a shiver, as though a stranger had just offered her an oily palm.


As for me, I just wanted to pick at those damnable pieces of tape that kept the box closed, maneuver its contents, and shut it with a snap. Once and for all.

Postcards ~ Dear Judy

Dear Judy,
Bought some milk and bananas today. Made a smoothie. Smelled and looked great. Used the blender you gifted me for my birthday. Cat drank the smoothie then puked. Won't be using the blender again. Writing to see if you wanted it back.

Cheers,
Gladys

P.S. Can't find the cat.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! ~ Check me! Another Nomination. Details Here.

Frieda wants to be a Hubnugget winner again! This week Picture Perfect Postcards - How to Make Your Own has been chosen to be a Hubnugget contender! Yaee! For info and to vote (for Picture Perfect Postcards, of course, check out the Golden Hubnugget Rush. Scroll down till you get to the poll, click on the circle by the title Picture Perfect Postcards, click vote, and voila, your done. Thanks for reading! Comments always welcome.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Aristocrat and the Taudry Waitress

The aristocrat sat down. No one he knew was there. This was a relief. No socializing with backstabbing bores. Bores. Did he just say that? Yes, he supposed they were rather boring. He grinned and looked around.

Whores, he'd meant to say. Whores. That's what they were. Lipstick freshened every moment. Lips plumped in wait for an "Innocent encounter". Pretending to take offence to cash if left on the bedside; believing their whoring had gone unnoticed (oh could they smirk) when given a credit card. What was the difference?

The men were whores as well. After his money and pieces of him. Though not willing to put out anything for it. Thank god for that. Greasy, buffed out bumps of life that they were. Thinking their crotches a perfect match for rosebud lips, yet stuffing them into the decaying mouths of trash. Laughing about it all the while.

In that, though, was he any different? When feeling the perfumed bodies of his affairs. Tarnishing the reputation they thought was uplifted by the mere fact that it was "his soul" they had reached. What did they expect? That he would marry them? That he would give them a good letter of recommendation? That he would sacrifice his position?

He let them believe his undying love. His secret love for them. His private, hidden from the public eye love. Their own crotches wet at the thought. So easy and smooth, pouted like their lips, ready to suck him dry of everything.

In this place, so soothingly murky and pallid in ambiance, he was free to entertain his desires. Without being talked about. The widening of his pupils could here be construed as simple adjustment to the dim lighting. One day She would enter a room. He fantasized this often. The tawdry waitress. He would surprise her. She wouldn't expect it. He would reach for her naked thigh beneath her skirt. It would press against his hand and slightly quiver then melt. He would pull her to him by the waist. She would let out a defeated breath of sound.

"What'll it be?"
"Hot brandy."
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