Monday, May 31, 2010

Detroit, Necropolis Reborn - A Video by Chris Hume

House With a Message, Heidelberg Project, DetroitImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr

At the age of 18, I left Detroit to seek my fortunes on the West Coast. My father, a man who was born and died in the environs of Detroit, used to say, "You couldn't get out fast enough." I know he was proud of me and my accomplishments in life, because he told me so before he passed. I also know that he would have loved it if I had visited Detroit a little more often.

As the years swept by, I did visit my family every once in a while, and each time I would come away with more of an appreciation of Detroit and all that it has to offer. The culture cannot be beaten. Look at all the artists to whom Motown gave birth. Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Jackson Five, Lionel Ritchie, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin and the list goes on. And because I think of "Motown" as synonymous with "Detroit," let's add Madonna, Sonny Bono, Alice Cooper, Eminem and Jack White. And those are just the musicians.

Detroit also boasts this amazing art installation created by Tyree Guyton in the Heidelberg neighborhood which has turned that actual neighborhood into a piece of "found art."

Clint Eastwood went to Detroit to film his fabulous movie, "Gran Torino." My father grew up in a house a lot like that of Walt, the character played by Clint.

I came across this little video which is Part 9 in a series of videos by Chris Hume called "Red State Road Trip 2." If you still have the wrong idea about Detroit, maybe you should take a look and see how Michiganders are plotting to set Detroit free of its decaying corporate bonds (that is happening naturally) and turn it into the first green sustainable city in the USA, a 21st century model for all other cities now experiencing the economic crumbling that Detroit has suffered for the last few decades.

Detroit - Once a 20th century industrial dynamo, now an 18th century rural society? Pheasants and deer wander among the rusting towers and ruined factories as nature reclaims this mighty American metropolis. Even more shocking: there is not a single supermarket in all of Detroit. In this episode, the remaining citizens of Detroit are turning this industrial wasteland... into a life giving urban garden.

Detroit, Necropolis Reborn - A Video by Chris Hume and Amy Sunshine Moon
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

To All the Kids Who Survived the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

I know this has been floating around the Internet for a few years, but it totally illustrates my point about how much fun it was to grow up in the mid 20th century. And really, I could not have said it better myself!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.
We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.
And, we weren't overweight.

Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes.
There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes..

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them?
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They Don't Call Us Mooneys For Nothing! - by Marge and Patty K Mooney

Moon DreamsImage by jurvetson via Flickr

When I returned to Michigan to participate in the celebration of my dad's passing (while he was still around to enjoy it, too - what a blessing!) my siblings and I became closer than ever before. With Facebook, Skype and email, we have been able to stay connected and "close" even with the distance of miles between us now. I wanted to share this little story that my sister, Marge, shared with me of her most mortifying moment. She had submitted it to First For Women Magazine, but they were seeking summer stories, so I snapped it right up for my blog. Here, in her own words, Marge's Most Mortifying Moment:

My husband and I were out at a fun Irish pub with some friends. We were in the front window of the long, narrow bar, and I went to the bathroom. Then I came back through the long, narrow bar to the front window. When I sat down, I swept my hand to brush my skirt aside. It was then that I realized I had tucked my skirt into my nylons, and had mooned the bar as I walked to my seat. (nope. no panties...just nylons).

She told me that as soon as she realized that she - a Mooney - had mooned the entire bar, she told Freddie, her hubby, "It's time to go."

When I asked whether I could use her story on my blog, she said okay, but that she was not going to send me a photo of her "moon."

Isn't it funny how in retrospect these moments during which you feel like shriveling up into a small ball and rolling off into a corner far away - are pretty doggone funny. So now, I would like to hear YOUR most mortifying moment. Please share it with me and my little piece of the blogosphere.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bellwood Boys & Babes - A Video by the Mooneys

I recently "rediscovered" a treasure trove of family films that were shot primarily by my mother after my dad won a film camera for his sales prowess at Chrysler, before I was born, around 55 years ago. She just picked up the camera and started shooting family gatherings, special occasions, and other "red letter days." My dad shot any footage where my mom appears, and who knows who operated the camera when both of them are in the frame.

I remember sultry summer evenings in the town of Bellwood, Illinois, where we grew up, when my dad would set up a portable screen and projector in the back yard, and invite all the neighbors to come watch these films on folding chairs. I remember that this was as big a deal to us then as Avatar recently was.

I have begun to digitize these films, and they are making quite a stir in my family. Here's my latest one, called "Bellwood Boys 'n Babes."

Twist and Shout - Bellwood Boys and Babes from Patty Mooney on Vimeo.

I created a channel for all of our family films here.
Patty's Family Films Album

Taking place in the 1950's and 1960's, I feel that these films are not only precious family memories, but of historical significance as well. You will see the history of places in Michigan, Illinois and Kansas, where my family has lived, as backdrop to one of the first true "reality television" families, albeit without sound.

Back then, when the cost of processing these films was astronomical compared to today's standards, the camera operator did a lot of "in-camera editing" and only captured moments of the utmost significance. Camera ops of today could take a lesson in such efficiency.

In observing myself growing up, I have to say that I had a great childhood, free to play outside all day long enjoying the company of my five siblings. These videos are a gift from my parents to us, their children, and also to the world. They're sort of like a time capsule broken open, and reaching back fifty years. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Love Poems from Izumi Shikibu

Izumi Shikibu (和泉式部, ?-976?) was a mid Heian p...Image via Wikipedia

From "Poem-A-Day". You can sign up to receive a poem a day during the month of April of each year.

Izumi Shikibu, born around the year 974, lived and wrote during the golden period of Japan's Heian court. She was "committed to a life of both religious consciousness and erotic intensity," the poet Jane Hirshfield and her translation partner Mariko Aratani tell us in the introduction to The Ink Dark Moon, their translations of ancient court love poetry. Though men of the time could take multiple wives and lovers and a woman could be wife to only one man, Heian women were able to own property and receive income, giving them the ability to choose their romantic fates with some independence and enjoy multiple affairs of the heart. Divorce was also possible, and was the outcome of Shikibu's marriage to a provincial official when, while in service to a former empress at the court, she had a passionate affair with the empress's stepson. Poems played a key role in such affairs ("the first intimation of a new romance for a woman of the court was the arrival at her door of a messenger bearing a five-line poem in an unfamiliar hand"), and in this climate, Shikibu wrote the verse that guaranteed her place as Japan's major woman poet. Her famous Diary tells of her significant love affair with Prince Atsumichi. Their five-year relationship, which ended when he died, began with his gift of a spray of orange blossoms.

in the world
is usual today.
This is
the first morning.


Come quickly—as soon as
these blossoms open,
they fall.
This world exists
as a sheen of dew on flowers.


Even though
these pine trees
keep their original color,
everything green
is different in spring.


Seeing you is the thread
that ties me to this life—
If that knot
were cut this moment,
I'd have no regret.


I watch over
the spring night—
but no amount of guarding
is enough to make it stay.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Zealand Woman Sells Souls to Highest Bidder

At Your ServiceImage by cleopatra69 via Flickr

My Uncle Vern sent me this little snippet he found somewhere online:


- The rare spirits that went under the gavel at a recent online auction in New Zealand weren't aged brandies or hard-to-find liqueurs.

Instead, two glass vials purportedly containing the ghosts of two dead people sold for $1,983 at an auction that ended Monday night.

The "ghosts" were put up for bidding by Avie Woodbury from the southern city of Christchurch, New Zealand. She said they were captured in her house and stored in glass vials with stoppers and dipped in holy water, which she said "dulls the spirits' energy."

Uncle Vern says:

I have contacted the lady in NZ and obtained exclusive territorial rights for North America. I think this is a terrific opportunity for up to 5 people in each state to make some $'s. In that spirit, I am offering you a chance to get in on the ground floor of this business for less than $10,000. Remember this is a sure money maker with no more than a small investment in bottles and a few minutes in your local cemetery where these "ghost souls" are lurking. If the idea of spending time in the cemetery seems uncomfortable, I am willing to sell you pre-filled bottles for the small sum of $200. So don't delay, get your chance for a comfortable life and retirement and remember what PT Barnum said: "There's a sucker born every minute" and they are all just begging to have a "ghost in a bottle" of their very own.

Be sure to get back to me right away. This opportunity can't last long!!

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