Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Difficult choices

So over on Facebook, PBS is having a Masterpiece "March Madness" to celebrate Masterpiece's 40th year on television. (Huzzah for Masterpiece!!) They have created brackets, and viewers/fans vote every day on one of the pairings to advance their favorite characters from over the course of the 40 years.

Yesterday's bracket: Mr. Darcy vs. Mr. Rochester. Are you kidding me? How are you supposed to choose between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Rochester? That is just MEAN!!! How can a reasonable person make that choice (pretending, of course, that I am a reasonable person)? I first did "eenie, meenie, miney, moe" and then ended up voting for Mr. Rochester because he was trailing.
I think that Mr. Darcy vs. Heathcliff would have been a much more interesting match-up. (I would be voting for Mr. Darcy, NATURALLY.) It would be interesting to see who would be voting for Heathcliff, especially if it were Tom Hardy's Heathcliff. ;-)

In that train of thought, I wanted to mention that I bought myself Kate Beaton's Bronte sisters picnic tee shirt recently. (It is super soft and fits really nicely.) The joke was totally lost on Sisters K & B. I think it is brillant. I might wear it to the next meeting of book club.

Building on the whole "Heathcliff" thing, do you remember the Kate Bush song Wuthering Heights from the 1980s? If you do, you might appreciate this. British funnyman/actor Noel Fielding did a lip sync cover of the emo "red dress" video for the song for Red Nose Day 2011 on BBC One. I was laughing so hard at this the other day that I started to cry.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Seven years passed, I stopped going to Paradiso Perduto, I stopped painting. I put aside the fantasy and the wealthy..."*

Last week, I was on vacation on the Gulf Coast of Florida. My family has been vacationing in Sarasota for the last 25+ years, but this year marked my first visit to John Ringling's (of Ringling Bros. circus fame) fabulous winter home, Cà d’Zan.

Built in the Venetian Gothic style in 1924-25, Cà d’Zan (which means "House of John" in the Venetian dialect) is both a relic and a reminder of a time when American opulence was at its pinnacle, and the wealthy tried to outdo each other by recreating the splendor of European palaces in American settings. Sitting right at the edge of Sarasota Bay and certainly as stately as any of the "summer cottages" in Newport, RI, Cà d’Zan is considered to be the "last of the Gilded Age mansions."

The house went through an extensive restoration within the last ten years, and it is simply splendid. The grounds include Mable Ringling's rose garden (the most outstanding American public rose garden of 2006), the "Secret Garden", and some fascinating banyan trees. Also on the property is the John & Mabel Ringling Museum of Art and the Circus Museums. You could easily spend the whole day there.

Zodiac mosaic, Cà d’Zan Path to the Mable Ringling rose garden
Spanish moss Cà d’Zan
Cà d’Zan Cà d’Zan Statue in the banyan trees
Mable Ringling rose garden Secret Garden, Cà d’Zan
IMG_5962 Cà d’Zan

*If Cà d’Zan looks familiar to you, perhaps you recognize it from the Hawke/Paltrow version of Great Expectations. It was Anne Bancroft's house in the film!! (Quote is from the movie...)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Top of the mornin' to you..."

"...and the rest of the day to yourselves." (Irish people don't really say that. But it is okay to say on St. Patrick's Day.)

Don't forget to wear your green! Happy St. Patrick's Day to one and all, even if you are only Irish in your heart (and, in that case, especially so)!!!

Dingle Peninsula
Temple Bar, Dublin
Aghadoe Heights, Killarney

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"The lighthouse lifts its massive masonry, A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day."*

My old co-worker often spoke about the beauty of Nobska Light. (She used to have a photo of it as the desktop on her computer.) I finally got myself to Woods Hole this weekend and took some shots of the lighthouse. My trusty driver (AK) and I decided to drive the bike route through Falmouth rather than take the main road (Rte. 28), and it was such a nice drive (although Sister B would have motion sickness within the first five minutes - LOTS of twists and turns.)

When we left to go down to WH, it was sunny; by the time we got there, it wasn't. Shortly after we left, the sun reappeared. But it didn't make it a bad day for taking pictures. The clouds looked really cool with little bits of light peeking through. Added bonus: we were the only ones there!

Nobska Point Light Nobska Point Light
Nobska Point Light Nobska Point Light
Woods Hole, Massachusetts Nobska Point Light

I now have eight lights in my New England lighthouse photo collection!

*from The Lighthouse by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Some casual observations...

1. Although this year's Oscar ceremony was kind of a bust, I LOVE that the award for Best Picture went to a film that was uplifting and about overcoming obstacles and not to a film about being mean to your friends while making a gazillion dollars, regardless of the fact it was written by Aaron Sorkin.

2. The new iPad. Have you seen it yet? It goes on sale tomorrow. I want one.

3. I gave up Diet Coke for Lent. It's going to be a long forty days.

4a. Soooo excited that James Corden is going to be back for the new series of Doctor Who. "The Lodger" was my favorite episode of the last series!

4b. Also very excited that BBCAmerica will be running "Doctor Who" on the same day that it will be shown on BBC One. Now if they would only stop running it with 12 million commercials...

5. Despite the fact that FOX moved "Fringe" (my favorite show on American telly) to Friday nights, the show is still producing AWESOME quality episodes. It is like "The X-Files" with actual answers. (Their accuracy with Boston geography still leaves a lot to be desired, however.)

6. The biggest drawback to converting my entire music collection from CDs to mp3s? Sorting your music on iTunes isn't nearly as satisfying as reorganizing your cd collection. On the other hand, it is much easier to make play lists (the mixtape of the 21st century.)

7. Last Sunday, instead of Masterpiece, PBS ran the 25th anniversary Les Miserables concert at The O2. When this musical first came out, I was OBSESSED with it. I sent away for the libretto and had the whole thing memorized in a week. I had the French concept album and the American and British cast albums. Finally getting to see the show on Broadway was a highlight of my adolescence. Thank you for airing this, PBS! (I think that I rewatched the finale with the original London cast ten times. I had to delete it from the DVR to get myself to stop!) When you are good, you are so good.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Celebrating Carnivale at home this weekend

Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty ImagesI have said it before, and I will say it again: the best candy EVER comes out at Eastertime.

I had my first Cadbury Creme Egg of the season today, and it was "MMM, delicious, thank you!!!" I also had my first Cadbury Mini Eggs; they were also VERY delectable. It probably is a really good thing that they don't have these guys available all year long. I don't think that my blood sugar could handle it!


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