Tuesday, April 22, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Bettie Page!

AKA Bettie Mae Page, the Queen of Curves, and the Dark Angel.

Born April 22, 1923. Died December 11, 2008.

She was one of America's most favorite pin-up models as well as one of Playboy Magazine's earliest Playmates of the Month.

She later converted to evangelical Christianity and spent most of the latter part of her life in less than happy circumstances. Then again, she was alleged to have begun the earliest part of her life in less than happy circumstances.

However, unlike so many members of her former profession, she is still remembered today for her iconic features and her enigmatic wink and smile. Indeed, she is one of the few female celebrities of the 1950s whose name can still be recognized by people under the age of 30, and despite her less than happy life, she still inspires women of a certain profession even today. Hopefully, this is a good thing, right?

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British English Words: Parte I

1. banger -- sausage.
2. bed and breakfast -- room plus breakfast.
3. bent -- dishonest.
4. bespoke -- hand tailored.
5. bob -- former shilling; now 5 new pence.
6. bobby -- policeman.
7. bog -- toilet.
8. bonnet -- (car) hood.
9. boot -- (car) trunk.
10. caravan -- trailer.
11. chemist -- drugstore.
12. chips -- French fries.
13. cinema -- movie theater.
14. civvies -- civilian dress.
15. coach -- long distance bus.
16. crisps -- potato chips.
17. demo -- political demonstration.
18. detached house -- house that stands alone and does not share a wall with another house.
19. dustbin -- garbage can.
20. engaged -- (phone) busy.
21. fag -- cigarette.
22. football -- soccer; rugby.
23. fortnight -- two weeks.
24. frankfurter -- pork sausage.
25. full up -- no more room.
26. gateau -- cake.
27. have a go -- take a turn; try something.
28. hire -- rent.
29. holiday -- vacation.
30. interval -- intermission.
31. ironmonger -- hardware store.
32. kiosk -- booth.
33. knickers -- underpants (ladies).
34. lift -- elevator.
35. loo -- toilet.
36. lower grand floor -- basement.
37. mobile -- cell phone; cell number.
38, mobile phone -- cell phone.
39. nappies -- diapers.
40. newsstall -- newstand.
41. not to worry -- never mind.
42. off the peg -- readymade.
43. overtake -- pass.
44. pants -- underpants (men).
45. pardon? -- what did you say?
46. pavement -- sidewalk.
47. petrol -- gasoline.
48. pillar box -- mail box.
49. post -- mail.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Anthony Quinn!

AKA Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca.

Born April 21, 1915. Died June 3, 2001.

He was a Mexican-born actor who disappeared into his roles so completely that it took me years to realize he was not Italian but Mexican. His most iconic role was the title role of the 1964 film Zorba the Greek but he also played key roles in such diverse films as Lawrence of Arabia, The Guns of Navarone, The Shoes of the Fisherman, and Jungle Fever. Moreover, Mr. Quinn won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1952 for Viva Zapata! and again in 1956 for Lust for Life. As if that was not enough, he also played the god Zeus in the five made-for-TV movies that eventually led to the syndicated series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

My first memory of him was in the title role of the 1961 Biblical epic Barabbas but I have had the pleasure of seeing him in many movie roles after that.

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Quote of the Week

A universe more complicated than one can imagine fits with a God who is greater than we can imagine.
--Bruce Bawer, Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

¡Feliz Pascua de Resurrección!

Don't be mad. It's Easter!

Here's hoping all my readers have a wonderful holiday.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

R.I.P. Gabriel García Márquez

Colombian-born writer, novelist and journalist Gabriel García Márquez -- best known for having been awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature and for having written such novels as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera -- finished the last chapter of his autobiography yesterday at age 87.

He will be missed.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Movie Quote of the Week

God made men. Men made slaves.
--John Derek, The Ten Commandments (1956)

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TV Quote of the Week

I know why they have holidays. They have holidays so people can get together and have fun. So why am I alone?
--Todd Barbee, It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Selena!

AKA Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.

Born April 16, 1971. Died March 31, 1995.

It is difficult to use her name nowadays without confusing it with Disney star Selena Gomez whose fans also like to refer to her by only her first name.

Then again can Ms. Gomez claim to have a U.S. postage stamp issued in her honor?

On a more serious note, I would gladly see an end to such items if it meant the original Selena was still alive. But, alas, that is one wish that will never come true.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Dusty Springfield!

AKA Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien.

Born April 16, 1939. Died March 2, 1999.

She was one of my favorite English pop singers.

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Envy is one of the most fashionable vices that exists nowadays and I suspect it has always been fashionable. As the movie Life of Brian once illustrated, even people in the midst of misery can't resist the temptation to envy other people.

Moreover, in an age when so many are suffering the effects of a bad economy and worse economists, it can be very hard to resist the siren call of such a vice. It is even harder to preach against such a vice since it may be argued that the right to envy those who have more is one of the few consolations that the poor can count on in this day and age.

But who are the poor?

Those who have little?

Or those who just envy those who have more?

And who are the rich?

The rich folk on the hill?

Or the not-so-rich folk who live down the block or across the street.

And what does it mean to "have more"? And how can you be that sure that the folk who have more are necessarily that rich just because they seem to have more than you?

After all, a neighbor of mine who lives on a fixed income is considered "rich" by many of her friends and neighbors because she owns her own property and has a steady supply of money due to a monthly disability allowance that she doesn't have to work for.

But just because she is richer than some of her neighbors does not mean she is richer than all of them. Nor do it mean that she is totally exempt from money troubles. After all, a fixed income is still a fixed income, no matter how large it may seem to those who don't have one. And unless you are around her 24/7, you have no idea what expenses she has or how much trouble she has paying them. Indeed, by the standards of many rich people I know, she might actually seem poor.

So what about the neighbor who owns his own car? Surely he is rich, right?

Well, he probably is not that rich or else he probably would not be living in a neighborhood with so many poor people in it. And even if you assume differently, you have no way of knowing for sure how hard he had to work to get that car unless he tells you. He might have had to work two jobs. Or maybe three. Or get into outrageous debt that he has to work night and day to repay. Or pay it off with a legacy he received from a deceased relative. (The type of legacy you don't exactly get every day.) You just don't know for sure unless he tells you and even then there is no guarantee that he might tell you the truth.

Anyway, the more you know about said neighbor, the less inclined you might be to envy him. So it might be better for your own peace of mind if you resist the urge to make assumptions about people until you have gotten to know more about them. And bear in mind that even the most open of people tend to be like icebergs in that they don't always show everything in their past to the people they encounter in their present.

Come to think of it, there are probably a great many secrets that you may have from the world at large. And for all you know, there may quite a few people out there who envy you -- though I doubt that such people would ever admit it. And it goes without saying that you would probably care as little about the assumptions such enviers make about you that the people you envy care about the assumptions you make about them. So perhaps it is best to resist the lure of envy altogether.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Literary Quote I Like

Yesterday's sin becomes tomorrow's virtue.
--Judith in H. A. Keller's Yesterday's Sin

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