Amoeblog

francEyE 1922 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, June 24, 2009 05:01am | Post a Comment

Frances Dean Smith
, the prolific Santa Monica poet known as francEyE died earlier this month in San Rafael of complications from a broken hip. She was 87.
 
She was inspired by Charles Bukowski, whom she met in 1963. They began a relationship and soon after moved in together. Their daughter, Marina Louise Bukowski, was born the following year. But her legacy is so much more than being the mother of Bukowski’s child.

She was a winner of the Allen J. Freedman Poetry Prize, and was a frequent contributor to a variety of presses, large and small, like the Saturday Review, Chiron Review, Comet, and Blue Satellite. francEyE also published several collections of her work including Snaggletooth in Ocean Park (Sacred Beverage Press, 1996), Amber Spider (Pearl, 2004), Grandma Stories (Conflux Press, 2008) and Call (Rose of Sharon Press, 2008). Smith can be seen in the film Bukowski: Born Into This (2004), GV6 The Odyssey: Poets Passion & Poetry (2006), and other documentaries about the LA poetry scene.
 
francEyE was affectionately called the Bearded Witch of Ocean Park (a Santa Monica neighborhood where she had lived since the early 1970’s) because of the wispy gray strands of hair flowing from her chin. Bukowski fondly referred to her in one of his poems as Old Snaggle-Tooth. Here is some of her poetry:
 
(UNTITLED) "I WANNA KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO DIE ..."
I wanna know what it's like to die.
Will I see Skye? Will I really
fly? Will I never be able to taste tiramisu again
and are there pleasures after death greater than taste? Soon I'll find
out,
of course, but I'd like to know about it while I'm still
alive. This little pain in the middle of my chest
annoys me; is it trying to tell me not to worry? Well, really,
worried I'm not; I'm inquisitive. No
answers in sight, I believe, so I think I'll lie down and
close my mind to all that, think about
Leonard Cohen.
(Thursday, March 26, 2009)
 
SO LONG, WHOEVER YOU ARE
Today's the day I saw you die. It's
the day Obama won, so now I'll always remember,
Oh yes, I remember when Obama won, it was the day
I saw that woman die. We were sitting in the hall
across from each other in our walkers, resting. We
made eye contact, peaceful in the sort of eventless
afternoon when it seemed the only thing
happening was on
TV. Obama was winning, we were resting, our heads supported by
the backs of our chairs. Then yours wasn't, it fell forward til your
face
hit your chest; I gave a yelp; nurses came. Here, and then not here,
just like that. Mystery woman, I'll remember you, and honor you every
year on the day Obama won, 4th
day of November, 2008, his
victory day and your
yahrzeit.
(Tuesday, November 4, 2008)
 
FOR MY BIRTHDAY SOME DAY
to N.H.B. Sahoo

please,
make me a book
of pictures of dragons,
pictures of all the dragons that you know.
I would like to see a picture of the dragon of sunrise,
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon defender of all frogs and toads
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon of mercy
and one of the dragon of no mercy, too,
and above all I need a picture of
The Dragon of Everything and if there is a Dragon of Nothing
I need that one,
and then to end the book I think there should be a picture
of a dragon of excellent birthday parties and
one of
sweet sleep. Especially yes, I want to see with my own eyes
a picture of the dragon of sweet
sleep.
(Tuesday, August 15, 2006)
 

John Joseph Houghtaling 1916 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, June 22, 2009 11:39am | Post a Comment
Put in a quarter
Turn out the light
Magic Fingers
Makes you feel alright.
- Steve Goodman from “This Hotel Room”

Maybe it wasn’t quite up there with jet packs and flying cars as what the future might hold but in the 1960’s the vibrating Magic Fingers bed was a sign that the future was here. And it felt kind of weirdly good.
 
John Houghtaling, inventor of the vibrating Magic Fingers bed, died this past week in Fort Pierce, Fla., of a brain hemorrhage after a fall. He was 92.
 
Probably the first significant hotel room amenity after the TV was the Magic Fingers bed, and in its time it was a veritable goldmine. The vibration system offered fifteen minutes of mild massage to the weary traveler for only a quarter. At the height of their popularity 250,000 machines were in service across the United States. With the average revenue of just $2 a week per machine, they generated approximately $2 million a month.
 
In 1958 Houghtaling had been hired to design a combination mattress and box spring with a pre-installed vibrating mechanism. Neither the beds, nor the concept, sold well. But later as he worked in his New Jersey basement he devised a small motor that attached directly to the existing box springs.Magic Fingers relaxation service! The brilliance of the idea was not in the motor itself, but the idea to install this simple mechanism in hotel beds across the country for a newly mobile culture.
 
Magic Fingers have become a popular reference point in American culture, frequently appearing in movies and television like National Lampoons Vacation, Planes, Trains and Automobiles -- which features a can of beer exploding on a vibrating bed, and an episode of The X-Files where Agent Dana Scully is seen dropping quarters into a Magic Fingers in her hotel.

Summer Solstice

Posted by Whitmore, June 20, 2009 10:45pm | Post a Comment

Summer begins in Hollywood, Ca 34°08′02.56″N 118°19′18.00″W
June 20, 2009, 10:45 PM PDT.
 
The longest day of the year is here.

At the Summer Solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the North Pole is leaning 23.44° toward the sun. As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23.44° north of the equator, at the Tropic of Cancer.

A solstice occurs twice each year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is most inclined toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun's apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme. Solstice means the “sun standing still;" at the solstices the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the apparent movement of the Sun's path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction.

World Juggling Day

Posted by Whitmore, June 20, 2009 09:48am | Post a Comment

Juggling
the thing of a thing of a thing ... the physical skill of shaking up gravity and moving a couple or more objects through the air with care, in a continual motion as balls roll or bowling pins fly or a chainsaw and lit torches flutter in ways light and weightless clinging to their paths here and there and there and here.
 
Or as T.S. Eliot put it: "Twit twit twit / Jug jug jug jug jug jug / So rudely forc'd. /Tere"
 
Yes, today is June 20, 2009, World Juggling Day (or just WJD for those in the know), and jugglers everywhere are tossing or bouncing their balls or rings or cantaloupes into the air, simply because they’ve solved that great mystery …
 
Here’s a bit of trivia: The earliest known graphic depiction of jugglers was found in the Beni-Hassan tombs situated on the east bank of the river Nile and dated back to around 2000 BC. The drawings show several Egyptians figures standing sideways tossing balls into the air.

Here are some events around the world:
 
Canterbury - The University of Canterbury Unicycling and Juggling Society (Unisoc) will be holding an event meeting at 2pm in Cathedral Square, Christchurch.
 
Bucharest - The Juggling Culture community is organizing a juggling Flashmob at Piata Universitatii, at the fountain at 3pm and will juggle for a total of ten minutes. Don’t be late.
 
Singapore - Jugglers will be gathering at Esplanade Underpass, and will be giving free lessons on how to juggle from about 1pm - 6pm.
 
Miami - somewhere near the south end of Kennedy Park, by the Coconut Grove Juggling Exchange Banner, people will be gathering with an odd assortment of objects. 
 
Dublin – Emerald Circus Live '09 will host Ireland's official juggling event for WJD and will be included as part of the festivities at the Street Performance World Championships '09, which will take place in Merrion Square.
 
Santa Cruz - In honor of World Juggling Day, the UCSC juggling club held a day long juggling mini-festival on Thursday, promoting next year's Santa Cruz First Annual Juggling Festival.
 
Sacramento - Drop in juggling lessons are taking place between 11am - 1pm at the McKinley Library, 601 Alhambra Blvd.


Lego introduces a mini-Guggenheim and mini-Fallingwater

Posted by Whitmore, June 19, 2009 10:28pm | Post a Comment

Now, I’m not sure my six year old wants these Legos, unless some clone troopers are included, but …

The Danish plastic toy-brick maker, the Lego Group, has joined with Brickstructures Inc. to launch a model version of Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic architectural design, the Guggenheim Museum, to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New York museum, which opened six months after Wright's death. In late June, both companies will once again combine their talents on another model to commemorate the up coming 75th anniversary of Wright’s famous Fallingwater house located in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
 
The mini-Guggenheim has a suggested retail price of $39.99 and contains 208 pieces, including dish-shaped pieces that attempt to evoke the building's inverted ziggurat. The model of the Fallingwater house will consist of 811 pieces and is listed at $99.99. Among the elements, there is a clear plastic version of the waterfall from which the house takes its name. By the way, if anyone is interested, my birthday is in just a couple of weeks.

The name Lego is from the Danish “leg godt,” which means “play well” and was coined by Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen, who began making wooden toys in 1932. By 1940 Lego expanded to producing plastic toys. In 1949 Lego began producing the now famous colorful interlocking plastic bricks. Based largely on a design by the UK company Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, Lego slightly modified the design and by the late 1950’s had settled on the overall design most kids are familiar with today.
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