Random quote of the day:

“Sometimes you lay an egg, and people will say, It was too early. Audiences weren’t ready for it. Bullshit. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s bad, it’s bad.”

—Billy Wilder, The Paris Review, Issue 138, Spring 1996

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.


Random quote of the day:

“Seeing oneself as acting in a movie or play is not merely fantasy or indulgence; it is fundamental to how people work out who it is they are, and may become.”

—Benedict Carey, “This is Your Life (and How You Tell It),” New York Times, May 22, 2007

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.”

—Orson Welles, “Ribbon of Dreams,” International Film Annual, No. 2, 1958

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Forgive me, LJ. It has been three months since my last confession.

Time has really slipped past me. I’ll spare you some of the Christmas whinging as that is so last year…

Dec 18
1 in 200 Women Say They’ve Had a Virgin Pregnancy:   Ooookay.

Dec 18
It wasn’t something I needed, thought it a bit extravagant, but I will admit that I sure enjoy my new latte maker. Best part? It was a gift!

Dec 19
More structural rewrites are in my future. I had so hoped this one was good to go.

Dec 19
If only my name was Felicia. Then I could change my Twitter handle for the season to Felicia Navidad.

So now of course I’m earworming Feliz Navidad.

Dec 19
My new most-hated phrase: “Clear all the jelly!

Dec 19
So beautiful! Worth sitting through the annoying ad.


Dec 23
Having occupied my office chair for 4 hours I will now go to lunch. 4 hours after that I will be off for 9 blessed days.

Dec 23
Ooookay. Candy Crush has now moved beyond divertissement to obsession.

Dec 25
My cousin’s Christmas gift to me: coming to take care of Mom while I have knee surgery. God bless you, Francie.

Note from March: there’s an unhappy ending to this story.

Dec 25
I still think the Miami Heat’s logo looks like a flaming butternut squash.

Jan 1
One half of the gay couple who married on the Rose Parade float was a former hair dresser of mine. I’m thrilled for him!

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Jan 3
I hate cutting characters out of stories even when I know it’s necessary. I feel like I’m denying them there chance at the limelight.

Jan 4
You know that thing where you’re unintentionally full of shite, where bad memory and public pronouncement collide? That thing.

Jan 6
This guy! who flew his plane under the Eiffel Tower to chase and shoot down a Nazi: …

Jan 7
Mom had some issues at dialysis last night so we had an outpatient procedure this morning. Home again. Everything’s fine.

Jan 7
Michael Easton on General Hospital always reminds me of Dr. Drake Ramore.

Jan 8
Back in the ER again. This week is a clusterf*ck.

Jan 9
Mom’s CAT scan was OK so the hospital kicked her loose late yesterday afternoon so I could take her to dialysis. I was not pleased. We didn’t get home from dialysis until after 10 and Mom was hurting. I had to do two hour watches on her all night long to make sure the head wound didn’t go south. But she’s doing much better than we had any right to expect. She’s got a 4 cm cut on the back of her head and 10 wee. She fell in the street when the transport guy came to pick her up to take her to the clinic.

Jan 9
I used to live 2 blocks from here in 79 (and other inane facts)—Venice Beach, 1979: 

Jan 15
A vivid and profound dream last night. Clearly a message from Self to self, but I haven’t quite figured out all it was trying to tell me.

Jan 18
A belief which keeps you prisoner in a life you hate should be done away with. It is not a thing of the Spirit, it is an aberration of Man.

Jan 19
All Ma wanted to do today was watch football and all I wanted to do was read philosophy. What a ridiculous conundrum.

Jan 20
I think Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber should date. Then the gossip media mill would implode and none of us would have to listen anymore.

Jan 24
So I says to my friend, “If the Apocalypse comes, I’m going to shelter in place and let it get me.” I’m not cut out for dystopia.

Jan 24
I’ve getting so tired of manufactured crises. I’m tired of the real ones, too, but the manufactured ones are really wearing thin.

Jan 25
I’m a committed mediocritist. It’s exhausting trying not to do better, but I can’t compromise my principles.

Jan 27
It’s official: I get my bionic knee on March 20.

Note from March: As previously stated, this may not be true.

Jan 30
CCF is one of the most decent people in FSF. RT @Catrambo Charles Coleman Finlay produces some tips for rejectomancy. …

Jan 30
If you believe in the possibility of a fair trial in Italy, read The Monster of Florence by Preston & Spezi. Their legal system is a joke.

Jan 31
I think my cat is as likely to answer to “You little t*rd” as she is to Min.

Feb 2
RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. Stunning. Heartbreaking.

Feb 7
Actually, I’m not really having knee surgery in March, I’m headed here.

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Note from March: In fact…

Feb 9
The rages come out of nowhere like they always have. Why do they still have the power to surprise me?

Feb 10
He’s so cheerful all the time he gives me the creeps. No names please.

Feb 10
RIP Maxine Kumin, one of the best. 

Feb 11
Both beautiful and sad. Help take care of Baby Iver: 

Feb 12
Daily Mail article on sitting down: “those who sat more than six hours a day were 37 per cent more likely to die” NEWSFLASH: everyone dies

If you MUST read it for yourself: 

Feb 19
People assume that because you aren’t ambitious in the same way or for the same things as they are that you have no ambition.

Feb 20
Pussy Riot is brutalized by Cossacks while trying to protest, then Livejournal goes down. Probably not a coincidence.

Feb 20
So I won’t be getting my bionic knee after all, not for awhile. My cousin can’t stay with Mom. Not her fault, just life. She got sick herself.

Feb 24
Ah, farewell Harold Ramis. One for the ages.

Feb 26
So Der Weinerschnitzel is using a tiki motif to advertise their new chili cheese dogs which have no tiki motif that I can tell. ??  I’m a big fan of tiki so I don’t mind, but…

At home sick and watching too much TV I suspect.

Feb 27
Dear Marketers: If you make me create an account to shop at your site I won’t be shopping at your site.

Feb 28
My cat answered to “Farthead” today. In other news, I’ve been home since Tuesday with an awful cold. Am sick of being sick.

Feb 28
I watch my mother destroy a vintage pattern I bought her so she could make something from her past. Things don’t matter, just what they mean to people, and she is so present and content recreating that past. And I am content.

Mar 2
In Braveheart it always sounds to me like Mel Gibson is saying, “You may take our wives but you will never take our freedom!”

Mar 2
Watching the Oscars, Mom is confused. Spike Jones and Steve McQueen are not who she remembers.

Mar 4
Dear Nekkid Girl with “Individuals” emblazoned across your nekkid picture: all nekkid girls are exactly the same.

Mar 5
They’re getting Social Security and Medicare now—New Year’s Eve party, c.1960:

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Mar 6
She has no pattern recognition left since the stroke. She was a crafter/artist. This was key to her identity. Life is a cold-hearted bitch.

Mar 6
If I start receiving ads in my car as some bright sparks are proposing I’ll drive my car through the front door of the first ad agency I see.

Mar 7
And sometimes a miracle occurs and the way becomes clear again and the universe seems a warmer place. You just never know what Life will do.

OTOH, Miley Cyrus still thinks she’s the only person ever to discover S-E-X.

Mar 11
My latest Etsy obsession: 

and a continuing one: 

Mar 11
In my Twitterfeed I saw a story about shamans bilking relatives of those on MH370 claiming they can find the plane, followed by another claiming the loss of the plane was a giant government conspiracy. These seem to be the inevitable exploitive accompaniments to all tragedies these days.

17 Mar
It’s been a weekend of Dealing With Shit.  I am tired of dealing with shit. But I don’t have any choice. Privilege!

19 Mar
Tom Cruise is thinking of despoiling another classic 60s TV show: U.N.C.L.E.  Nooooooooo!!

I’ve pretty much resigned myself to turds like Cruise ruining my childhood memories.

20 Mar
She wore black tights and knee-high boots, a lavishly ruffled green blouse, walking her little white dog as if heading down a fashion runway.

20 Mar
Surprisingly, my Lotto ticket does not have winning numbers. One more chance tonight. I bet this time I’ll win big

21 Mar
I’m not sure if I’m ashamed I know about this or not. It certainly is hilarious, and possibly (probably) TMI: 

22 Mar
PETA kills 90% of all animals taken to their shelter: 

22 Mar
I’m finding it highly ironic that I just put a “Freedom” stamp on the payment I’m mailing off to the Tax Board.

22 Mar
Writing tip: Chances are, anything that can be labeled hip is not unique. Know what true uniqueness is before you attach that label to yourself.

25 Mar
Tell the L.A. Times ownership: “No Sale to the Koch Brothers!” 

25 Mar
Girls who define themselves by who they’re dating creep me the hell out. Talk about the Zombie Apocalypse!

26 Mar
Forms, forms, and more forms. The gubmint’s appetite for them is endless.

26 Mar
Dear upscale boutique: having a sign outside your store with script so fancy it can’t be easily read negates having a sign outside your store.

27 Mar
There are days when I could start screaming and never stop till my voice gave out. Fortunately for those around me I’ve maintained control.

27 Mar
Ironic outsourcing facts: The address for the Los Angeles Fire Department EMS billing is in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

27 Mar
Mom home from rehab on Friday. Thus follows days characterized by alternating moments of terror and relief.

3 Apr
I wouldn’t say I’m frazzled, but I just had a moment of panic about missing a meeting this morning…that I actually attended.

3 Apr
My phone conversations with my mother would make great comedy routines—if they weren’t so desperately frustrating to endure.

Who’s on first? That’s right.

8 Apr
Mom turned 92 yesterday and everyone wanted to give her little parties. The Happy Birthday phone calls began at 7 a.m., but she enjoyed herself a lot.

 That’s all that really matters.

8 Apr
I began my “weekend” in the wee hours of Friday morning with a nasty bout of food poisoning, but the weekend ended well enough, Sunday being Mom’s birthday. We took her out to dinner at Billingsley’s—an old-fashioned (70s décor) steakhouse. It was great and she really enjoyed it.

8 Apr
I had a long, happy dream last night about having enough time and energy to have a creative life again.

9 Apr
I think Peter Dinklage should be People’s Sexiest Man Alive.  Dead serious there.

9 Apr
Nothing in life is quite so good as sleeping in your own bed.  And yes, that includes sex and porterhouse steak.

9 Apr
She was always a slamming great cook; it’s a big point of pride to still cook, though it’s not always what it once was. Wouldn’t dream of saying anything to hurt her feelings. Just shut up and eat. Which is emblematic of my entire life, now that I think about it.

10 Apr
Back at the ER.

11 Apr
Mom’s chest pains turned out not to be a heart attack. A day of testing in the hospital. She’ll be released today. Update when I know more.

p.s. My cat is sick. I’ll try to work the vet in.

Finding time to get the cat to the vet while not knowing precisely when to pick up Mom…special.

11 Apr
Found a new use for my portable Bluetooth speaker: sitting it on the counter while I take a shower and waiting for the doctor(s) to call.

11 Apr
A strained muscle in Mom’s chest so that when she took a deep breath it hurt.  On our way home.

And Min is feeling much better tonight, too. 🙂

15 Apr
I spent an ungodly amount of money at the vet this weekend. Min is okay. I don’t feel the money was wasted. I love my baby.

She was harassing me at 4 a.m. to get my slothful butt up and feed her so I’d say she’s back to her old self.

16 Apr
I was busy all day at work then there was a screw up at the dialysis clinic and Mom got hooked up late. We didn’t get home until 8 p.m. so I heard about Boston plenty, but in bits and pieces. I wasn’t flooded with it all day. This morning there were police cars out in front of the building when I got to work. Just parked, hanging out. We’re a soft but unlikely target. Still, I don’t imagine the poor people watching a venerable race in Boston imagined themselves to be targets, either. Godspeed, Boston. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

16 Apr
I feel like the mother of a toddler: my purse is full of snacks and things to entertain the one I care for.

16 Apr
Mom saw a TV ad for the larger Kindle Fire HD and said, “It sure would be nice to have one of those larger ones. Too bad my birthday’s past.” What I thought but didn’t say was “Mother’s Day is coming up.” Mom probably was thinking but not saying the same thing. She may be old, but she’s still sly, and doesn’t hesitate to ask for stuff she wants. Life’s is way the hell too short.

16 Apr
Min has the beginnings of kidney issues. Nothing life threatening right now, but we’ll get her tested every 6 months or so. Kidneys!

Random quote of the day:


“You’re a man with ideals. Well, I guess I better be goin’ while you still got ‘em.”

—Mae West, My Little Chickadee



Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.


Random quote of the day:

“When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my face.  That’s the price she pays.”

—Groucho Marx, A Night At the Opera


Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

This one is a bit of a cheat. Yes, I will be presenting you with a mystery here, but I will also be reviewing the documentary film Resurrect Dead, which sums up and explores the mystery of the Toynbee tiles far better than I ever could. The film is available on Video On Demand (at least until the end of November on my cable carrier) and iTunes. I highly recommend it.

But what are the Toynbee tiles? you ask.


Sometime in the early to mid-1980s handcrafted linoleum tiles began appearing in the streets of major American cities. Mostly Philadelphia at first, the tiles have in subsequent years appeared in two dozen American cities as well as four in South America. The tile pictured above was found in downtown Washington, D.C. They mostly bear some variation on the same message:

IN Kubrick’s 2001

Toynbee is thought to refer to the historian, Arnold J. Toynbee, whom Stanley Kubrick consulted with when preparing for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Toynbee once wrote in his book Experiences:

Human nature presents human minds with a puzzle which they have not yet solved and may never succeed in solving, for all that we can tell. The dichotomy of a human being into ‘soul’ and ‘body’ is not a datum of experience. No one has ever been, or ever met, a living human soul without a body… Someone who accepts—as I myself do, taking it on trust—the present-day scientific account of the Universe may find it impossible to believe that a living creature, once dead, can come to life again; but, if he did entertain this belief, he would be thinking more ‘scientifically’ if he thought in the Christian terms of a psychosomatic resurrection than if he thought in the shamanistic terms of a disembodied spirit.

And if you’ve ever seen the film 2001, you know there’s some weird mamajama stuff going on at the end of it, once the surviving astronaut reaches Jupiter. The tilemaker seems to have combined these ideas—and probably some others—into a belief system which includes some kind of resurrection of the dead. This resurrection seems to depend on human beings believing it’s possible for their spirits to live on, so it’s vital to the tilemaker to get the word out: As you believe, so shall it be. His (for lack of a confirmed gender) belief is so ardent that he’s trying to spread the word through this remarkable means, mostly because he doesn’t believe he can get the message out any other way. Often his messages contain elements of conspiracy theory with a profound distrust of mainstream media, especially John Knight Ridder of Knight-Ridder. There’s also a strong element of anti-Semitism in the tilemaker’s beliefs/tiles.

The film, Resurrect Dead, is a great whodunit. It follows Justin Duerr, artist and man obsessed with the identity of the tilemaker, as he and his fellow investigators painstaking seek out clues. The director, Jon Foy, paces the film impeccably, keeping the excitement of the hunt at a steady drumbeat, even though it takes years of poking, prodding, and searching to yield answers. This is a fascinating exploration of obsession—of the filmmakers as well as the Toynbee tilemaker. There is a kind of redemption at the end, though I’m not sure I quite buy the final “confrontation.” It’s difficult sometimes to know what is fact and what is merely the will to believe. But then, that’s what the Toynbee tiles are all about, isn’t it? And Resurrect Dead is also about the longing after mysteries, about that special electric intensity they cause in human minds, and how sometimes the very best mysteries are the ones that are never completely solved.

Resurrect Dead Trailer from Resurrect Dead on Vimeo.

Websites you may wish to peruse:

Random quote of the day:


“I am a typed director.  If I made Cinderella,  the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.”

—Alfred Hitchcock, Newsweek, June 11, 1956


Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

This isn’t as grand a mystery as some I have blogged about, but it is a personal one.

My stepdad, Tom, the former Marine, used to work as a house painter. One day he came home from a job in one of the ritzier neighborhoods—Hollywood Hills? Beverly Hills? Brentwood? Bel Air? I can’t remember anymore, as this was many years ago now (the early 90s). Anyway, the people who lived in the house where he was working as a sub-contractor were chucking out a bunch of stuff to remodel. He came home with an enormous cabinet loaded on his truck. This cabinet was about four or five feet wide, about six or seven feet long, and divided in the middle, but it only stood about three or four feet high. It had a lovely blond wood finish. The drawers were deep but very shallow, making it resemble one of those for holding maps. It was totally cool and I totally loved it.

“I thought it might be good for holding all your art and crafts stuff,” Dad told me. He was incredibly thoughtful like that. “Do you want it?”

Of course I wanted it. So he and a buddy unloaded it from the truck. (It weighed a ton and a half, btw.) As they tilted it to get it through the door, I noticed someone had written across the unfinished bottom, “Kubrick”—like a maker’s mark to help identify who the thing was meant for.

“Wow, where did this come from?”

“That house I’ve been working at.”

“Is it Stanley Kubrick’s house, by any chance?”

“I don’t know. I’ll have to ask the main contractor.”

I was very excited at the thought of having something that might have belonged to Stanley Kubrick, one of my favorite directors. I knew he’d lived in London for many years, and I thought he was originally from New York, but I wondered if there might be some L.A. connection. I thought the drawers would be a great size for film canisters or VHS tapes or some such. Dad duly asked the contractor and came back with disappointing news. “It’s not Stanley Kubrick. I think he said it was some guy named Leonard Kubrick. He might be his brother or something, and I think he’s in the movie business, too.”

Disappointing, but still cool, and still a really great cabinet. I did indeed fill it up with arts and crafts supplies. Sadly, I couldn’t take it with me when I moved from the family manse and my mother felt much less reverence for it than I. To her it was a gigantic, unwieldy piece of furniture that always got in the way. She tried numerous times to get me to allow her to give it away, but I wouldn’t, so she had someone move it out to the patio, put the bird cage on it, and there is has remained, sadly abused.


Kubrick’s cabinet, complete with bird droppings

Stanley Kubrick’s brother, Ma! She failed to see the significance, but I told a number of people about it. Some years later I decided to search the IMdb for this Leonard Kubrick. No such guy. In fact, further research also showed me that Stanley Kubrick only a sister, no brother. However, one strange thing emerged from the interdweebs: Kubrick’s father was named Jacques Leonard Kubrick. He died in Los Angeles in 1985. Stanley also lived in Los Angeles for a brief period. One of his daughters (Vivian) was born here.

Then I watched an absolutely fascinating documentary called Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes which detailed the incredible collection of stuff from Kubrick’s films still stored at his estate in London: mountains and mountains and mountains of cardboard boxes with every imaginable scrap of material from all his films. He never threw anything away, not one photograph or location report or planning session or cocktail napkin. The family and friends didn’t think these boxes should be thrown away so they donated them en masse to the University of the Arts London—an incredible film treasure. Before the archive went off to the U, though, filmmaker Jon Ronson was invited to the estate to go through those boxes and he made the documentary based on what he found, and on interviews with Kubrick’s family, friends, and co-workers. I highly recommend this film, not just for Kubrick fans or film buffs, but for anyone who wants a view inside the mind of creative genius.

At one point, Ronson interviewed a gentlemen here in Los Angeles who had been responsible for collecting and reviewing, then storing all of the audition tapes for actors for Full Metal Jacket. Kubrick invited anyone who wanted to submit a tape to do so and there were hundreds and hundreds of them. Stored for years somewhere here in Los Angeles. Yeah, my imagination went there.

But really, that’s all I have: imagination and admiration for Kubrick and a mysterious and cool cabinet with Kubrick scrawled across its bottom. For all I know, it could have belonged to Antonia Kubrick, beaded dressmaker; or Fernando Kubrick, herbalist; or Fitzhugh Kubrick, fancy pipe enthusiast. Imagination and speculative thinking, every bit of it. But that’s what I do. It’s a tenuous and threadbare connection to Stanley Kubrick, but it is the only definite one I have.


Stanley Kubrick’s boxes

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