Archive for dad

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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“Cinderella” Dies at 81

Posted in Cinema & Filmmaking, Fame & Celebrity, Movies & Movie Stars, Mythos, Romance, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by alphabetfiend

OK, don’t freak out — Cinderella didn’t die because Cinderella shall live forever in Technicolor.

Ilene Woods died at 81. Ilene Woods was the voice — speaking & singing — of Cinderella in the Disney classic.

Woods was just 18 when Walt cast her as Cinderella, beating out 400 hopefuls for the coveted part. The fellas who wrote the lyrics for the feature film were friends of Ilene Woods — songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston — and so Woods sang in the demos that were submitted to Disney. Walt liked what he heard and gave Woods the part. How exciting that must’ve been!

I wanna be a cartoon!

I wanna end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.

When I got my boobs & hips overnight, taking on a pronounced hour-glass shape of near fetishistic proportions, I was immediately hailed as “Betty Boop” by all the boys (much to my dad’s dismay.) The Boop thing continues to this day but before that, I was called “Cinderelli” by my father. If I felt the least bit put upon or taken for granted (as the oldest of six, I often had cause to feel grumbly) Dad would mercilessly tease me in sing-song, “Wash the dishes, Cinderelli! Fold the linens, Cinderelli! Sweep the hearth, Cinderelli! Serve us stew, Cinderelli!”

Only I had no mice or birds to make me gowns of cast away gewgaws. O woe! I want mice and birds! I want a perfectly drawn up-do. I want a pumpkin carriage.

I want GLASS SLIPPERS, the most dreamy and absurd accessory of all. As silly as the diamond-soled shoes that Paul Simon sang of, “People say she’s crazy, she got diamonds on the soles of her shoes, well that’s one way to lose these walking blues. Diamonds on the soles of her shoes!”

Yes, I wanna be the itty-bitty specimen of footly perfection that slips, effortlessly, into that magical high-heel.

It looks like Woods had a real-life pair of glass slippers! (She’s posing with the heels in the above photo.) Lucky lucky cartoon lady.

Ilene Woods said that the best part about playing Cinderella in the timeless classic was that her children (and her children’s children and so on) would be able to connect with her long after she parted.

I wonder if they’ve watched the film since her death on July 1st.

Maybe their hearts are still too raw for that.

Like Janet Jackson was, after Michael Jackson died, when the film “This Is It” was in theatres. Janet refused to see the film, citing her grief and a lack of readyness. Someday, she said, Not yet. Not now.

After my Dad died we continued to pay his cell bill, for months, because we couldn’t give up the comfort of that phone number. We’d call the number just to hear his voice on the message. It was kind of like pushing a big purple bruise, flinching, ouch, and then you push it again. When I finally decided to disconnect the phone, I checked his voicemail one last time and was astounded to find that calls had been pouring in, at all hours of the day and night, from family, friends, kids, cousins, nephews, even his dry-cleaner/tailor who had once turned the flag my dad stole from the post-office into a subversively patriotic shirt. It took me forever to listen to all the messages, as people spoke to him with desperate yearning.

How could you do this to me, Paul? asked one friend, You sonofabitch asshole cocksucker. Why’d you leave me here alone?

Losing a loved one is never easy. I can only imagine how hard it would be if your mother was CINDERELLA. Maybe it is too soon for Ilene’s family to cuddle on the couch and watch as Cinderella enchants Prince Charming. But someday they will and Woods is right, that film will be a gift that keeps on giving.

Bon Voyage, Cinder-Ilene! I hope you are traveling by coach. I hope the journey is magical and Technicolor and glorious. I hope you are wearing your glass slippers.

 

**For more info, see Animation Magazine.  **“I wanna end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard”  is from “You Can Call me Al,” yet another song by Paul Simon.

Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What?! (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey? Where’s my God and where’s my money?

This was one “Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel” that almost didn’t happen.  After the busiest of weeks and hours of off-line frustration in the Mississippi country-side, I said screw it all to hell and collapsed into bed with weary bones. Maybe it’ll be a Monday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel, I thought as I drifted into a deep air-conditioned slumber. Two hours later, at 4am, I awoke with a jolt to the spectres of Eddie Harris and Les McCaan. This is our Sunday, they insisted, so I reached with drowsy digits for my discarded laptop and whaddaya know?!  We suddenly (miraculously?) made contact. Now, fueled by caffeine & cigarettes, and a crazy lovely love for this song, I’m gonna knock this sucker out.

This week will be less wordy that usual, partly due to my fried-egg sunny-side up brain, but mostly because this song sings for itself.

How to introduce “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What” ???

What can possibly be said about one of the greatest songs of all time?

All I can do is tell you what it means to me and urge you to form your own fibrous connection. And you will. You will. It’s that damn good.

When I was 15, my Dad and I took a long dusk-to-dark ride through the New Mexico mountains. Our headlights guided us around treacherous curves which my father — an expert driver and Motor City son — took smoothly, sweetly, safely. The moon was fat and the stars glittered like sugared candies. It was the kind of memory that sticks to your ribs; the kind of living that gives life texture, taste and deliciousness. It was the kind of  time that carves into your soul and (RE)MAKES you into a new configuration (concoction?) of your self. It was there, in that cushy comfy night, that I first heard “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What.” It was also the second, third, fourth and fiftieth time. We played it over and over and over while reveling in the troubled beauty of the world.

Ten years later, my Dad was dead.

There would be no more moonlight rock-out rides; no more trading barbs over breakfast until he broke into a grin over my writerly wit; no more mounting our motorcycles at dawn and VVROOM-VVROOMing into the rising sun. 

There was no one to call when I needed to remember who it was that did that amazing fucking song. 

After all, that crazy beautiful fucker had turned me onto so many songs over the years and I figgered he’d always be around to help me keep ’em straight.

What was the song we used to play on the pontoon as we floated lazily down the Maumee River? Right. Take 5. Dave Brubeck. I remember now.

Who was it we were listening to that 3am by the fire? Ah! Buddy Holly. Duh.  

Who was it that did that kick-ass cool song that we couldn’t get enough of that night in your Lincoln, with the fat moon and her spilled candy?

Huh? Who? Hello? Dad? Where the hell you’d go? Hello?…hello…hey…hello? Daddy?

Damn that silence sucks.

Fortunately, there’s now such a thing as google. I typed in “tryin to make it real compared to what,” and was led to youtube, where Eddie Harris & Les McCaan broke my heart all over again. Then fixed it. Then broke it. It was awesome. I hit replay at least a dozen times. Oh. Such goodness. Such beauty. Such power.

My body flooded with rock & roll relief.

The song returned to me, like a gift, an act of cyber kindness, and now in the spirit of punk rock gospel, I am passing it on to you. I hope it breaks your heart and blows your mind. I hope it carves into you and sticks to your ribs. I hope it stays with you forever.

Is that too much to ask? No, I really don’t think so. Listen to it, see for yourself. Then go buy the record, download it onto your ipod, add the song to a playlist — spend some quality time with it. Let it add taste and texture to your memories… all the while striving to make it real while asking “Real?… Compared to what?”

Like a Buddhist koan, there’s really no answer but the question props your mind open.

TRYING TO MAKE IT REAL COMPARED TO WHAT

I love the lie and lie the love
A-Hangin’ on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!

Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
Where’s my God and where’s my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

(Music break)

Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

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