Sunday, May 27, 2012

Melancholy Baby....or I Dare You to Try to Cheer Me Up

Does anyone else remember the wonderful episode of Twilight Zone in which an excruciatingly young and gorgeous Robert
Redford plays Death resplendent in a white suit?  He appears on some old lady's doorstep and she just isn't having anyof his nonsense even though it is her time and he has come to fetch her..... he has one helluva time for nearly an hour persuading her to go with him.


I remember thinking at the time how  brilliant and novel the idea of having Death represented by something/someone so deliciously attractive as a newly minted Robert Redford......breathtakingly  irresistible....instead of that tired old creature  wearing a sheet and carrying a scythe. 

 Amazingly, she managed to resist him for almost an entire hour despite my shouts of encouragement and lewd comments on her unbelievable idiocy.


I only bring up the subject  because, lately I have  been casting wistful eyes at my doorstep wondering if the same young, delicious Robert Redford is still playing that role and, if he is, where the hell is he?  Not, you understand, that I am necessarily anxious for the  Bitter End, but, after all this time of proudly proclaiming my age, I am finding that there is a huge difference between "going on 85" and actually becoming 85.....a situation I dolefully face this coming Tuesday.  No, no....never mind the messages of congratulation and the good wishes etc............I am too busy trying to figure out how the hell this could be happening to me.   I actually never planned to live   beyond the age of 72 because I could simply not imagine myself coping with writing letters, reports or checks dated anything  beyond 1999.........and, to be honest, it has not  been easy.    Occasionally, when my mind wanders, I find myself on the verge of writing March 12, 1933 as I recall laboriously scratching out that date at the top of a test paper in the 2nd grade at the
William Cullen Bryant Elementary School (corner of 60th St. and Cedar Ave in good old West Philly).



This entire train of thought was inspired, indulged and egged on by a fabulous post by one of my favorite Bloggers, the incomparable Mary of MurrMurrs, who did a fascinating treatise on
Adolph Hitler's parents, his ultimate fate (maybe ) and some unusual burial and cemetery customs in foreign countries.  I loved the blog except for the part mentioning Hitler whose name brings back wretched memories of the Big War in which I lost  friends and participated, in my small way, as an Air Raid Warden Messenger during real or practice Air Raids which happened periodically.  (I probably am one of the few readers to whom Hitler is not merely an abstract historical figure.)  I recall, like it was yesterday,  things like ration stamps and blackout curtains and the air raid sirens and patrolling the pitch black neighborhoods with my Air Raid Warden with a mixture of excitement and dread.  We each had a gas mask hanging from a strap on our shoulder (probably left overs from World War I) and a special whistle around our necks....I am  not sure what that was for or what good that would have done at all....and possibly a metal helmet...also leftover from WWI. I felt  freaky, scared and proud, I am not sure in what order.



However, my very favorite memory was of the night I finally got up the courage to ask the question which had been bothering me since we first began these patrols. (There was probably some sort of indoctrination given when we first volunteered, but I swear I do not remember it at all)  One especially dark night I cleared my throat nervously and asked him the big question.........


"If one of these happens to be a real Air Raid, how will we know and what are we supposed to do?"


I will never forget the way he looked down at me for a few moments with half a smile before he sighed and answered , ".......Damned if I know."



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Who? Me?

    Akannie of  Elegant Blessings has honored me with the Kreative Blogger award.  As usual, I am flustered and utterly flummoxed..........and so appreciative.

It seems I have to confess 7 secret or as yet unconfessed things about myself and then nominate some worthy recipients.

Confessing is easy.....I really have no secrets....remembering what I have already revealed and what I haven't is the hard part, but I will do my best.  And, of course, selecting whom to honor is the most difficult because I consider all my bloggy pals  to be deserving since they are all so superior in every way.

OK.....here we go with things you may have not  suspected or possibly never guessed about me.

1.Once on my way to a Saturday art class in Fairmount Park I got lost and at one point had to take down my bloomers and pee behind some bushes.

2. When I was 14 I got the chance to meet Frank Sinatra in a record  store that was promoting his record, "I'll Never 
Smile Again" and I was so transported with awe that I shook his hand with only 3 fingers and realized later (to my horror) that my pinkie and ring finger were still glued to my palm tightly clutching the 50 cents I was holding to buy his record.


3. All obsessive-compulsive clean-niks had better avoid me because I am something of a slob and do not consider a bit of dirt either a sin or a vice.  By me cleanliness is not next to godliness and definitely has a much lower priority....though I DO bathe occasionally.


4. I have been told that, in my prime, I was a great kisser.  I did luv kissin'.

5. To my great shame, I have never been able to overcome the character flaw of despising stupid people...to my credit I have never physically harmed one of them despite great provocation.......and there are so many.....sigh.


6. There have been many times, during various diets when I would have gladly sold my body for a bagel.  (maybe I even did but you would think I would remember that, wouldn't you?)


7.Despite my pretensions as a Gourmet, if I were doomed to have to eat the same appetizer daily for the rest of my life it would be a tossup between onion dip with raw broccoli spears or a really good salsa with fresh corn chips.  A close third would be a spinach and cheese stufffed, grilled portabello mushroom.


And now for the hard....nay...excruciatingly difficult and near impossible part.  How can I choose 7 out of the myriad of marvelous bloggers I enjoy.  Some of my dearest are already renowned stars of the Blog World and hardly have room on their bods to pin another medal so I will just throw a grateful kiss to Mary Moon and Mary of Murrmurrs and Mr. London Street and nominate some other stars whose delights you may not yet know.
.....oh, God......only 7........sob.

Fur-licity 
Cloud Cuckoo Land  
Life Unexpectedly
The Sassy Curmudgeon
Pearl, Why You Little...
Troutbirder

Roy's World



Bless all of you for amusing me, astounding me and just plain pleasing me.


I must add a footnote to this blog to say that I am so grateful to AKannie for this award and hope it cheers my chosen recipients as much as it did me.  

I apologize for not providing links.  Maybelline bless her, tried to teach me how to do it and I did try several different ways.....still haven't got the knack yet.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

P.S. One More Photo of Lo and the Bozzettos

For some reason this photo got cut off from my earlier blog.  I think son 
Fabio took this one since he does not appear in the group.  Aren't those Bozzettos gorgeous?



Bruno and Me

As I promised in my last blog, I will tell you a bit about my adventure last week in which I had a real live meeting with my idol., Bruno Bozzetto, the Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg of Italy.

To briefly recap the relationship, about 10 years ago some wonderful person whom I cannot identify sent me a link to some of Bruno's animated videos and I went totally bonkers over them.  To compare him to Disney is totally unfair to Bruno because his works are not for children, but for adults and the material is so witty, profound, ironic and sophisticated that he relates more to Spielberg or perhaps Billy Wilder.  And his animation style is gorgeous and closer to, perhaps, Miro or Matisse.  As you can tell, I am an extreme admirer.

Anyhoo, after I stopped bouncing off the walls and ceiling I sat down and wrote him a fan letter....by now you know a bit about me and the fan letters I write .....judging from the results I have had, I must conclude that they are pretty good.  I swear I never expected a response, but to may amazement, a few days later I received  a simple, charming reply thanking me in his inimitible English (which he describes as of the "me Tarzan - you Jane" variety.  Not so...his English is very good.  Well, after I stopped bouncing off the walls and ceiling I responded with my thanks for his thanks and before we knew what had happened we were steady correspondents and long distance friends.


Then on my last trip to Italy about 8 or 9 years ago I wrote and asked him if I were to make my way up from Venice to Milan (his home base) whether it would be possible for me to lure him out and buy him a cup of coffee.  He was tickled with the idea and countered with his wish to take me to lunch along with his twin daughters (gorgeous adults)  who wanted to meet me.  So I hopped on the train from Venice up to Milan and we met and had a wonderful day together.  From that point our relationship continued via email and many precious gifts exchanged......He was a huge fan of Disney and I was able to send him some material and books I had acquired while I worked at Disney Studios and he sent me several original Cells from some of his films.  We also exchanged a lot of wonderful hand drawn greeting cards over the years there were marriages and grandchildren and all in all, he and his family became very dear to me and I have considered myself privileged beyond words to have such a close and intimate relationship with such a brilliant and exalted person.

Of course he is frequently honored with invitations from all over the world and with special exhibitions of his work etc. (one of his animated shorts was nominated for an Academy Award....did not win....he wuz robbed....absolutely should have won)   but this spring he wrote to me with great excitement because he had been invited by the head of Pixar Studios (now owned by Disney I believe)  to come to the studios here in Burbank  for a tour and honorary ceremony.  How far from Burbank, was I located, he wanted to know, because he and the family wanted to get together with me.  It happens that on a good day I could spit and hit Burbank so it was arranged that Florence would take me to their hotel in BRB for a brief visit on their last day before they flew out.  They had wanted me to join them for lunch with some Studio bigwigs, but I declined politely.  for one thing, I still recall that, during our lunch together in Milan, I was hardly able to eat a mouthful of my gorgeous mushroom risotto because I was so overwhelmed.  Also, the complications of my having to take my oxygen with me now just made it all too difficult to be gone for a prolonged period, but the hour we had together was wonderful and I got to meet another member of his family.....his youngest son, Fabio, who was traveling with them. 

So here  you can view the Bozzettos and Lo.......Bruno, the twins Anita and Irene, and son Fabio.  I am almost recovered from the excitement of the day and still feel warm all over from the warmth and charm of this incredible man and his family.  He emailed me this morning with these photos that they took and promised more when they were processed.  (among other virtues he is a man of his word).


So, that is the story of my latest adventure.  Am I a lucky so and so   or what?





Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And Yet Another Hero Outdoes Himself

Holy Moly.......I  had another face to face, hug to hug encounter with an Idol and Hero this week, and I am still recovering from the excitement..  You may recall my introducing you to him in a blog a while back.  He is Bruno Bozzetto, a combination of the Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg of Italy,  who miraculously became a friend when I sent him one of my effusive, adoring fan letters 8 or 10 years ago.  Since then we have corresponded heavily via email and I had the thrill of meeting him on one of my trips to Italy when he and his twin daughters took me to lunch one heavenly afternoon in Milan.

.I do not have it together enough tonite to do a proper expose of the latest adventure, but I promise I will blurt it ll out shortly.  My energy span is something less than a ADD child's attention level these days.  Tsk.

Stay tuned.  I will be back.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Update In Which My Hero Does Not Disappoint

Gadzooks........wonders never cease.......

My loyal old followers may remember that just about a year ago (may 31, 2011 to be exact) I published a blog about a kind of miracle that fell on me when I got a chance to meet my idol and hero, Magic Johnson,
while enjoying a birthday lunch with a friend.  If anyone missed that blog and cares to check it out. just go back to the old blog  of May, 31, 2011 (called "I MUST Have a Guardian Angel) and you will be right up to date on things.  For those of you who remember it almost as if it were yesterday, the photo and punch line below will refresh your memories even better.


   "And, now, for those of you who may not believe in miracles......you may want to rethink that....



And, by the way.....no, I am not sitting down.....I am that short and he is that tall !"

                                         *****************************************


Well, about a month ago I heard the amazing news that my idol had  felt the need todo some more good in the world and had gone and purchased the LA Dodgers baseball team, an event that  made me shout, "Huzzah".  (The Dodgers have been sorely in need of some magic for some time.....sorry about the pun).

Being one who believes strongly in giving praise where praise is due, I naturally seized my pen and dashed off a letter to Mr. Earvin "Magic" Johnson at his corporate headquarters lavishing thanks, approval and other good stuff upon my hero.  I also included a copy of the photo and a brief reminder of how we had met (on the off chance that he might have forgotten) just so he would know he should not consider me a total stranger and therefore my opinions and declarations of devotion could be trusted.

If I say so myself, I am a pretty damned good letter writer, so I must admit I had some hopes of perhaps receiving a letter back from his secretary thanking me.  I have been surreptitiously checking all incoming mail for an official looking envelope from Magic's company, but, alas, nothing has appeared in my mailbox and I put it down to his being very busy buying up baseball players and such. Actually, I knew that he was out of town back in New York for the opening of the show called "Magic Bird" which is a wonderful interview with him and Larry Bird, Boston Celtics basketball legend who dueled it out with Magic on the courts during the '80's.   Consequently, my feelings were not reallly hurt and I just hoped that someday,m perhaps he would get to read my glowing words .

As you may know, the past month has been a tough one for me, what with one bump in the road after another and I have been slowly coming out of a black funk and have not been taking kindly to phone calls where people are either doing heavy breathing, trying to sell me home improvement or worse, want me to give them money just because they are a worthwhile charity, so when the phone rang on Friday I answered with some trepidation, trying to keep the loathing out of my voice.  When the cheery female inquired if  "Lois" was there I cautiously admitted to being that person and this is what I heard.

"Lois, this is Bailey, Magic Johnson's Assistant."

 Me....."Oh, my goodness",,,,,,.( I am nifty on paper...not so good in person on the spur of the moment.)

Bailey: " I just read your letter to Magic and he told me to be sure and call you and thank you for all your kind words."

Me:  "Oh, wow.  Did he remember me?"

Bailey :  Oh yes.  And so do I....I am the one who was with him when you met and who took the picture of you with him."      (I had thought it was his Sister but I now remember that, when I peered blindly at the young lady with him and asked if it was Cookie, his wife, he said no that he and the young lady were just discussing some business.)

Me:    gulp...."oh, wonderful.  Oh, thank you so much and please tell Magic I still love him."

Bailey:  "I will surely do that .and thank You.       (g'bye, g'bye)


.................. so who was it among you who didn't believe in miracles?