Archive for childrens books

My Bike is a Magical Pony

Posted in Adventures in Design, Dork Alert, Goof & Glamour, In Celebration of the Absurd with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I rode a horse long before I ever road a bike. Born in the nothern New Mexico mountains, I was riding bareback by the time I was 2. Too bare from the sound of it. “You were just like Lady Godiva!” my dad would boast, often in mixed company. The horse was Jack. My Dad had known him for many years and trusted him. Not one to spook, Jack was emotional, intuitive, gentle and wise. I was never afraid.

It wasn’t until we moved to Toledo that my grandpa gifted me with a sparkly Schwinn, presenting it to me like it was a Cadillac car (which it became.)  

The bike scared me way more than the horse, or at least it did for for one terrifying 1/2 hour, after the training wheels came off. I was still uncertain of the physics but my Dad wasn’t willing to mosey through the big-girl bike process. (Years later, when teaching me t0 ride a motorcycle, he employed the exact same “Now or Never, Do or Die” method.) 

Once I managed to stay up after he broke his vow and let go — WOW! A bike with training wheels is like an orgasm without a moan. The release that comes with speed or sound, mmm. The bliss of velocity, the rush of movement, oh I was hooked. I hardly missed horses after that.

And when I did, my bike became a rusty stallion; mane blowing in the wind, hooves hitting cobblestone.

A few of the roads in our little south Toledo hood were brick paved and ahhh that pompompompompom sound still thrills.

Wasn’t I just telling y’all about the furious pedaling that took place as I rode my bike home from the library?  The potency is undiluted by the years. The musty papery scent of library books combined with the snapzap of rubber & gravel.  Those memories are saturated by the heady oomph of freedom. I had a lipstick red convertible Caddy and a platinum AM EX  (cherry red schwinn, library card) It’s not surprising that I often find myself back there in my dreams, navigating those roads in a strange bike-car hybrid.

For a kid, a bicycle is always more than a bike.  To you, it’s a beater with a banana seat. To them it’s a Venice beach lo rider or a gondola gliding along the canals of the otherVenice. To you, it’s a crooked big wheel. To them, it’s a monster truck.

Kids are always peddling in a ghosty aura or otherness.

Which is why I’m madly in love with “horsey,” eungi kim’s entry in ‘seoul cycle design competition 2010‘.   Kim’s design entry was shortlisted from over 3000 designs. The designboom competition was organized in collaboration with the  seoul design foundation.

Kim’s clever creation turns any bike into a magical pony.

 

Kim describes the product thusly:
 

‘horsey’ is an attachable bicycle ornament/accessory which makes one’s bicycle look horsey!
the ‘horsey’ package includes wooden ornaments (horsey shape body), metal parts, and screws.
the manual is very simple so that anyone can easily arrange it according to one’s needs.
through this ‘horsey’ project. I wanted to give a special look to bicycles so that people would care
about cycling not only as transportation but also as a lovely pet.

 

I think “horsey” is a magical ode to dreaming. I have just two concerns.

1) Will this horsey actually be sturdy enough for the kind of galloping I’ve got in mind?

2) When will you be launching a unicorn version?

Cause I’d like to order one of those suckers in either black licorice or pink neon. Hmm. What do you think? Black unicorn or pink unicorn?

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Happy Belated Birthday, Roald Dahl!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Books & Writing, In Celebration of the Absurd, Top 2% of Coolest Mofos with tags , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Happy *Belated* Birthday, Roald!

OMG! I love you so much!

Hey… is that a big spliff yer smoking? Wow. That explains a lot. Well, like my friend Dan sez, “Don’t treat me like yer step-sister, I like to bake too.”

Roald Dahl is a patron saint of childhood, along with Dr. Seuss. His birthday was September 13th. He would’ve been 94, had he not died in 1990.

There were days, coming home from the library, where I could not pedal my bike fast enough, so eager was I to curl up and crack open a new Roald Dahl book. The papery whiff of  absurdity that wafted from the page was a powerful intoxicant.

If you have not read the stuff Dahl wrote for grown-ups, then you have not know true creepiness. Go! Start with some short stories from The Best of Roald Dahl.

If you have not read the stuff Dahl wrote for kids, well, what is your major malfunction?

Go!  Post haste! James and The Giant Peach awaits.

Check out the bitchin’ Roald Dahl website, complete with tips for kids & parents on how to use Dahl to increase childhood literacy.

Happy Birthday, Ruby Slippers!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Robots, Movies & Movie Stars, Photography, Rock & Roll, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by alphabetfiend

A yellow brick road is today’s Google header — celebrating the 71st birthday of the landmark film “The Wizard of Oz!”

Happy birthday, Dorothy! And you, Lion! And you, Scarecrow! And of course, the Tinman!

And your little dog too.

Toto!

I think I can hear a heart beating from that box, Tinman. Unless it’s a bomb! I see a big butterscotch bow wrapped around a brain, Scarecrow. And for you, Lion, a lovely vial of courage serum. A little goes a long way! Don’t be a jackass! Dorothy? There’s a ticket to Kansas waiting at the airport. Tom Wolfe sez you can never go home again. Be forewarned, there’s probably a strip mall in Aunty Em’s corn field. So we got you a Pretenders album, so you can rock out to a song that this corn-fed midwestern gal (Holy Toledo!) has often enjoyed in a bittersweet kinda way.

MY CITY WAS GONE

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY CITY WAS GONE
THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION
THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN
SOUTH HOWARD HAD DISAPPEARED
ALL MY FAVORITE PLACES
MY CITY HAD BEEN PULLED DOWN
REDUCED TO PARKING SPACES
A, O, WAY TO GO OHIO

WELL I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY FAMILY WAS GONE
I STOOD ON THE BACK PORCH
THERE WAS NOBODY HOME
I WAS STUNNED AND AMAZED
MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
SLOWLY SWIRLED PAST
LIKE THE WIND THROUGH THE TREES
A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO

I WENT BACK TO OHIO
BUT MY PRETTY COUNTRYSIDE
HAD BEEN PAVED DOWN THE MIDDLE
BY A GOVERNMENT THAT HAD NO PRIDE
THE FARMS OF OHIO
HAD BEEN REPLACED BY SHOPPING MALLS
AND MUZAK FILLED THE AIR
FROM SENECA TO CUYAHOGA FALLS
SAID, A, O, OH WAY TO GO OHIO!

But most importantly, I must wish The Ruby Slippers a happy birthday, being as they were my favorite character in all of Oz. Or they were until I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

Before it was a blockbuster musical it was just a really great and lovely book. Wicked tells the story from the witch’s point of view, so gorgeously that I fell in absolute love with Elphaeba aka “Elphie” with her green skin and her yearning heart. Wicked is one of the sexiest most romantic love stories I’ve ever read. Crazy sexy! I still get the shivers just to think of Elphie and her loverman with the blue tattoos. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read all of Maguire’s books and each one is a memorable joy.

Speaking of great Oz books, I recently bought a chunky tome by Graham Rawle that is outrageously illustrated with photographs of old toys and surreal beaded landscapes.

The book was a birthday treat for myself but then my baby niece, Thing 2, saw it up on the shelf — cover showing — and demanded to see it. I brought it down like a precious treasure and we very gently turned the pages. Thing 2 was enchanted and continues to be. She calls the lion a “GRR”

And she pointed to the tinman and exclaimed, “Robot!”

Thing 2 has a robot for an uncle so she knows all about robots. I didn’t correct her cause I’ve always thought the tinman was a robot too.

It’s a big birthday blow-out for childhood memories. Oz is 71 and Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is 50. Google coulda celebrated Seuss instead with two green eggs as the double o’s.

The Rawle’s Oz (highly recommended by Thing 2) is available on amazon. So is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. And the Pretenders too!

Happy Birthday, Sam I Am!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Today is the 50th birthday of the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham” which is undoubtedly one of the most amazing literary masterpieces of all time. Seuss wrote the genius gem after his publisher bet him that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. A fine 5o words they are!

Dr. Seuss was a true poet and a gentleman of letters. He was a master of surrealism and a great hero of mine. 

I could not, would not, in a house.
I would not, could not, with a mouse.
I would not eat them with a fox.
I would not eat them in a box.
I would not eat them here or there.
I would not eat them anywhere.
I would not eat green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

I’ll be celebrating the book’s birthday by introducing it to my niece — Thing 2 — for the first time! She’s nearly 2 and it’s high time she fell in love with Seuss. I’m sure we’ll read it about 50 times.

50 words, 50 times, 50 years.

Maybe I’ll be a real go-getter and whip up a batch of green-egg cookies … mine will be like these:

Rather than like these fancy-schmancy hams. Hey, I’m not that ambitious!

I gotta save my energy for repeated animated readings. My niece refuses to let others read to her, claiming they don’t do it right. Naturally this is an enormous source of pride for this book-worm Aunty.

Enjoy this book’s birthday, y’all! Maybe a ham & spinach omelet for dinner??

Green Eggs and Ham is available on amazon!

TBA/Quintron & Miss Pussycat Holdover (Sunday PM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Dork Alert, I Heart Funny Fellas, I Heart Funny Femmes, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd, Music & Life & Sundays, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Mornin’ lovers… I bow my head before you, blue curls a blur of bedhead bedlam.  I am thunderstruck, drowsy….contrite.

Did you notice the PM in today’s title?

Ah. Blame it on the road, on the lure of the highway, on gas stations, on rainbows in oil puddles!  

Blame it on Hruskas (hybrid bakery/chevron) for making delectable yum-yums that had us rearranging our return date not once, not twice but three times. These suckers sell out fast and getting the really good stuff is some sort of competitive sport. Seriously! But oh it’s worth it. Egg sandwich — ooey gooey goodness — on fresh-baked croissant with a home-cut off-kilter slab of ham. And then there’s the cherry cream cheese kolaches that could maybe make a nympho nun cum.

Blame it on the baby with a sticky face, calling my name loud & clear from across the room; who later cried and cried until I untied my cupcake apron and offered up my lap as safe harbor. Blame it on the tears that dissolved into hiccups as I read about the pigeon who wanted a puppy but then met a real life slobbery pup and decided a walrus was a more practical choice.

Blame it on my own pups, let loose in the country, romping in the warm green Mississippi grass.

Blame it on Quintron & Miss Pussycat playing a Saturday night show in New Orleans in the old Shim Sham Club (you’ll always be Shim Sham to me xoxo.)

Blame it on Miss Pussycat’s puppets!

No.

Don’t frame the puppets.

Poor poor puppets.

Isn’t their lot quite a lot as it is?

It’s all the fault of rowdy pups & raucous thunderclaps which cause one pink-nosed pitbull to cower behind my protective legs.

Or maybe it’s the pelting rain and electric zigzags which keep knocking me offline?

OK. OK. Chalk it up to summery sloth.

I’m off to slumber, all sleepyhead fulla surprises.

Surprises?

The gospel — still in draft — is nearly written and the song is chosen but I’m not tellin’.

It’s a good one and it’s my gift to give — I know how some of you are with your google! You’d google Santa right off his sleigh if you could.

No, no, come back later and let me give you a belated gift. Oh, I’m giddy!

 

But I want it to be perfect and so I’ll wait… for a less-cloudy sky and a less-foggy mind.

In the meantime, for your patience, here’s a crazy wonderful surreal treat from Quintron & Miss Pussycat: “Mardi Gras in the Center of the Earth.”

More surprises? Clue: “Blue”… Look for it! (Any guesses?)

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