Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Historoliterarydickensian Expectations

This evening, accompanied by one of London’s foremost literary-gossip connoisseurs (not pictured in this post due to a much-sympathized-with photograph-escape clause in the friendship contract signed universally by pairs of curly-haired women who reserve the right to claim “bad hair day,” which—as I well know—in curly-haired-girl terms means simply a “curly hair day in which I didn’t use my flat-iron”), I got one of the most remarkable tours of literary London. It’s the sort of tour that only people the most steeped in historoliterary arcana and can give. My old friend is just that sort of person.

We met in front of the British Museum, of course. Because that’s a very, very historical spot. There were even a few people standing outside holding replicas of the Rosetta Stone tablet they had just purchased within.

This is not a photograph of us, by the way, but I felt the need to share it because it confirms everything I had started suspecting lately: Doc Martens are back. And thank the little baby Jesus lying in his ghost manger, because they really add so much to an otherwise subtle denim-sandwich, as you can see.

So after my old friend and I reunited, we strolled North in search of a restaurant. Immediately we passed by what can only be termed a highlight of my life: The British Medical Association. Through its gates, you can see a little courtyard area. I mean, I couldn't quite make it out, but apparently one of Dickens’ houses was there! The two be-suited and be-suitcased men walking innocuously in front can only be undercover guards protecting that inner-sanctum of Victoriana.

And of course what should be located a convenient seven-ish minute walk away from the aforementioned old man of such moral and undeniable rectitude? Well, my friend gestured to this marvelous preservation of literary history:

You guessed it, probably! That’s right! That parking lot, gated of course for security, and respectfully festooned with those lovely primary-colored lights, is the spot where Ellen Lawless Ternan was lodged by Dickens. Ternan, of course, was his mistress. She was only 27 years younger than him when they met. That would mean that basically if I follow in Dickens’ footsteps as assiduously as I intend, my own future boyfriend is right now 2 years old. To put this in perspective: he was born after Harry Potter was written. We will meet in sixteen years!

Speaking of young boys, remember Tiny Tim? The young, differently-abled son of Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol? We passed by his house on our walk near the Camden Canals. I swear I could smell that roasted turkey Scrooge sent over to them for Christmas that year.

Lastly, and not leastly, after we dined in Gwyneth Paltrow’s neighborhood—yes, the very Gwyneth who played Estella in Dickens’ Great Expectations in 1998 (only eleven years before my hypothetical future boyfriend would be born, for those of you keeping track!), and yes, the very character who is, in part, modeled after Ellen Lawless Ternan—we went to this spot located inside a Gelato shop:

Recognize it? Probably not. It’s very obscure. It’s the sort of insider-information that you only get when you travel around with one of the elite luminaries of London’s literati. That’s right: Helena Bonham Carter stood there 2 months ago and ordered a gelato! And my friend witnessed this grand moment in history from that very chair in the top-left corner of this high-quality photo! And of course, I hardly need mention that said actress is a cornerstone of literary fame simply because she’s about to appear as Miss Havisham in an upcoming remake of Great Expectations!

I don’t know about you, but I’m squirming with excitement about that future moment in my life when I will see HBC’s pouty face squinting on the screen, her hair in disarray, saying to Pip, “Come nearer. Let me look at you. Come close. Look at me. You aren't afraid of a woman who has never seen the sun since before you were born?” Perfect casting, I would say. All those years she's spent avoiding the sun have finally proven useful to her career!

A grand thank you to my friend for this incredible tour of “LonDickens” as I will hereafter call it.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Return of the American!

Sometimes you don't realize how proud you really are to be American until you leave America again. Living in California, I often feel like an outsider. After all, I don't know how to skateboard to work and it's hard to find shampoo in the drugstores. It's difficult there, whatwith all the people speaking a strange dialect of Mexican and Uptalk, to really get a handle on one's American identity.

That was why I felt strangely at home amongst some of my students yesterday, while sitting in a restaurant in Covent Garden. We are here for three weeks doing walking tours of historical literary-spots. Greg, a former Marine who is completing college after serving in Iraq, ordered the "American Supreme Pizza" and a Budweiser. I knew then that I'd found a kindred spirit. "I'm offended that the 'American Supreme' pizza has pepperoni and onions on it," he said with no further explanation. A student named Robert, unlike me, understood what Greg meant. He leaned over to him reassuringly and explained, "It's called that because in Italy, pizza just has tomatoes and cheese. In the US we do things all zany!" He gesticulated with some jazz-hands to clarify. "You know, with pepperoni and crazy stuff in it!"

"I feel so out of my comfort zone here," Greg confessed as we ate and drank as dinner wore on. "Last year I went on a trip to Disneyland for a week. Every day was planned out. It was so much fun." Robert took a photograph of his own dish: Fish 'n Chips (which had no chips as far as I could tell). I asked him how it tasted. "Adequate," he said. It looked soggy. I'm so glad he captured an image of that dish on film. He also took pictures of some trees he liked, some buildings he liked, and of an accident we witnessed where a taxi driver hit a biker. Robert is clearly an American who knows how to travel properly!

We completed our evening's adventure by taking a photograph of Robert standing in a London phone-booth pretending to dial up the Ministry of Magic. The photo-session became funnier when we realized that there were "tarty" sex-phone ads posted above the phone itself.

I am sure that Robert, Greg, and the other students I was with (one of whom was carrying around her Harry Potter notebook she bought especially for this trip) will make me, you, and all of our fellow Americans proud as they examine the mother country this month.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Road Trip to America

I'm leaving the land of California soon and heading to America. That's right - the land of the free, home of the Braves (a totally inoffensive team-name; don't even get me started). Glad to watch the Hollyweirdo skyline recede behind me like my father's hairline and looking forward to hearing the ka-ching of the slot machines and the whirrrr of hooker nipple-tassles in Nevada.

Where will I go when I'm in America this time? I'm thinking hard about visiting the "Atomic Testing Museum" which includes the famous and not-tacky 9/11 Display.

Or maybe I'll RE-visit, yes RE-visit, Area 51 where I once spent the night in a trailer at "The Little A"Le"Inn." After all, since I last visited, they had a 2009 sighting according to Google.

According to Nevada's own MUFON site, Nevada has "one of the highest concentration of sightings in the US." Wow! I'm totally willing to believe a site that titles itself "Ufo's in Nevada." Great use of the apostrophe, guys! I hope your scientific skills are as good as your punctuational ones - surely they must be to be able to dispute the fact that most (all) astronomical evidence is against you!

Well on that note, I think I will bring a great camera with me on my trip and hope to spot some weird lights in the sky on my own. Bon voyage to me!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Dispatches from Kansas...

Ahh Kansas... Though it looks like we aren't there anymore, I like to remember it as a place where Gene Kelley helped defend our monkey-heritage. Well, folks, Kansas is at it again: it's the new battleground of American values. And that's as it should be.

Sometimes news stories come along that alert us to the presence of grammatically-challenged fellow citizens who make us just so proud to be American all over again! Especially groups like the Army of God - an organization that apparently has close ties to the abortion-doctor-killer Scott Roeder. On their site, they call abortion-doctor-killers "American Heros." I particularly like the part of their page - the "Scott Roeder American Hero Index Page." - where they list his accomplishments, including a link to the following masterpiece he drew in which two people stand over the slain abortion doctor's grave and one-the looming not-creepy-at-all man-vows to "protect precious babies." I like his attention to detail here. The shading on the bottom of the tree, the man's combover, the woman's ankle-bones...
The "Army of God" website also offers us a link to an email address ( - damn! I wanted that one!) where you can send letters to Roeder that they will then print out and show him! Wow! Fan mail!

If you want to read more about the court case, I suggest googling it or clicking here. It seems like the judge might be on the army's side! In any case, all I would do would be to refer them to the following image below. It's an actual photograph of Moses with the Commandment tablets:
Fortunately, none of these self-appointed God-soldiers, and no one involved with this Roeder fellow actually read Greek or whatever garbledy gook is on those tablets. Good thing! Or they just might have to change their arguments a bit!

Friday, 1 January 2010

2010: Another great decade begins for America!

If you want to start your new year right, ditch the ol' Resolution list and head straight to the theaters to see Avatar. Immediately. (If you haven't already.)

Here are 5 reasons why you, as an American, will be proud of this film:

1. It was made by an American. A GREAT American. One who realizes the important role Americans play in world-domination. (See minute 2:56).
2. Americans discover yet another land! That's right! It's a planet this time, and it gets named "Pandora." It's filled with long-haired, less-clad natives with agile bodies and different-colored skins (see movie still below). They conveniently already speak English in funny accents, just like real non-Americans do! They speak in secret code (aka non-English) when they don't want the Americans to understand. (Apparently they haven't heard about sub-titles yet!)

3. An AMERICAN marine - well, half a marine really, that is until he can fulfill his mission and get his legs back from the sarge' like promised - is sent into the bush to find out inside information so that the Americans can better exploit native resources. He is given an "Avatar" via MRI-coffin machine. His avatar has legs and therefore is able to actually do things (unlike the Marine himself apparently).
4. Said AMERICAN's covert intel was so good that it means the natives and their ancestral homes will definitely be terminated! Because their natural resources are worth genocide!
5. So THUS, the AMERICAN is the natives' LAST HOPE!!! You might call it ironic, I call it "perfect." Only the American can repair the damage he himself caused! Just like in real life! And then he can congratulate himself on a job well-ish done!

LOVE IT ALREADY? ME TOO! I hope it wins every Oscar, just like Titanic did. Cause we all remember how great THAT movie was, right?

Friday, 13 November 2009

I am so proud.

Obama received the Nobel Imperialist Prize recently, much to the surprise of the hippie, commie, Muslim, bleeding heart, unwed-mothers who elected him.

I, on the other hand, am so proud that I could almost go buy a new Amer'can flag today, but I've bought them all. Venice, unfortunately, has only a limited supply and likes to reserve them for the homeless vets who like to decorate their wheelchairs with them.

Here's why: Obama accepted his Imperialist Prize on behalf of us, after all. And by "us," I mean those of us proud Americans who believe that our nebulous belief in "liberty" and "freedom" should stand in for ALL BELIEF SYSTEMS around the world. Some call it "American;" I and Obama consider them to be default. As he stated in his acceptance speech: "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations." That is right. American leadership represents the "aspirations" of people in ALL NATIONS. EVERYONE is secretly Amer'can. I knew it all along.

Obama, like any good conservative ahistorically-minded oppressor, also gives a shoutout to the Founding Slaveowners, stating that his prize "reflects the kind of world that those men and women and all Americans want to build, a world that gives life to the [white-man only] promise of our founding documents." In other words, again, Amer'cans are building the world. And the world hasn't been built yet. And this future world, constructed by Amer'cans, is based on the founding documents - cause they were so good. (And hopefully we bring back the 3/5 clause too.)

King (may I?) Obama also informed us that many Amer'can soldiers (see yesterday's post) sacrifice their own "safety and freedom and ... lives" so that others can benefit from our ruling powers. Obama concluded by saying:
That has always been the cause of America. That's why the world has always looked to America. And that's why I believe America will continue to lead.

I am so proud. I am an American who believes in safety and freedom, no matter how unsafe that makes others and regardless of whether or not "freedom" ever gets defined!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Good job God.

I'd like to honor the Veterans of our country today by interspersing pictures of them with President W. Bush's Veteran's Day speech from 2004.

What veterans have given our country is beyond our power to fully repay,
yet, today we recognize our debt to their honor.
And on this national holiday, our hearts are filled with respect and gratitude
for the veterans of the United States of America. (Applause.) May God bless our veterans
and their families, and may God continue to bless our great nation. Thank you. (Applause.)"