Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration

Attending a southern celebration in one of Mississippi's oldest towns, Natchez, was a delight last week. Listening to writers on southern humor emphasized our connection with the rest of the world. A tribute to Horton Foote by Scott Dixon McDowell through a documentary that took 20 years to complete was one of the outstanding aspects of the week. McDowell has a film that will be viewed by college and post college students of literature and writing for eons to come. Horton Foote died last year at age 94 and left us two of many endearing movies: "Trip to Bountiful" and "Tender Mercies". One of his many movie adaptations "To Kill a Mockingbird," revealed his subtle humor. (Sis and I were pleased to have heard Mr. Foote seveal years ago when he was celebrated at a Southern Writers' Conference in Alabama.) Gerald McRaney, actor originally from Mississippi, gave us his views on Mr. Foote in his sharing of "Horton Foote, the Man That I Knew". McRaney is a member of the advisory board that produces this literary festival yearly.

Another bright light that shone was Clifton Taulbert, author of Once When I Was Colored,Last Train North, and Eight Habits of the Heart. He grew up in Mississippi and now lives in Tulsa, OK where he runs the Building Community Institute, which he founded. He spoke of the humor that George Washington Carver possessed. Always he is a popular speaker.

One speaker delighted us with referrals to "Double Names, Conniption Fits and 'Kiss My Foot':Laughing at Ourselves with Eudora Welty and Other Southerners" An actress of television, movies, and theatre, Jane Welch, entertained us with behind the scenes struggle of snatching a role in TV, theatre, or movies with her "Life in the Theatre: The Agony and the Ectasy".

Others reminded us of how gentlemanly manners pervaded the Old South and how Pogo, Snufy, Lil Abner and other comic strips used southern humor. Our own cartoonist from Jackson's Clarion-Ledger, Marshall Ramsey, delighted us with a series of his political cartoons and a running commentary of how he found humor in serious subjects.

Collectively, these speakers, southerners who live and work in the east and south, reminded us of the traits of behavior, speech patterns, and use of flowery expressions that are slowly disappearing as we adapt to modern life, thereby losing our identity as southerners. Only our accent remains.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day A Bust

I'm a romantic. My R is the least romantic guy on earth. He rarely thinks creatively (do engineers think any other way than rationally?) so his idea of readying himself for this loving day begins this way:

"I guess I need to buy you something for Valentine's Day, huh?" I say nothing. I am going to let him be the instigator of any gift or thoughtfulness for the day set aside for lovers, knowing all the well it'll be a bust.

"What do you want?"

"Something in diamonds," is my reply. I hate diamonds but I may as well suggest it knowing that'll never happen. "Just don't buy me a box of candy." That is a hint that I'm tired of the cheap candy he buys at the drug store.

"Well, Joe (our neighbor R walks with) is going to ask me what I got you, as well as the kids."

"Don't worry about what they say," I tell him, all the time wishing he'd be hit by a guilty stone and rush to the bakery and purchase one of those heart-shaped cookies. But no, by the time he'd wait, the cookies would be sold out.

Sunday arrives, I open a card from Sis (we understand to remember each other when a guy doesn't)and I buy her the valentine cookie. We meet for a movie, appropriately entitled "Valentine's Day" and split her cookie.

The songwriter of these words must have thought this of my husband:

I can't give you anything but love, baby
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby
Dream awhile, scheme awhile, you're sure to find
Happiness, and I guess, all the things you've always dreamed of...

Gee, I'd like to see you looking swell, baby
Diamond bracelets, Woolworth doesn't sell, baby
'Til that lucky day you know darn well, baby
I can't give you anything but love.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Sedum Heralding Spring?

My husband bought himself a camera. Not the one I would have selected. I thought we needed a SLR digital. But he chose a small one to fit into his pocket. That was his birthday gift to himself with my urging. Next, one son gave him a book on digital photography which had beautiful photos of macro/micro photography. That got me to begin looking at textures and beautiful colors I could find around the house outdoors. The sedum is a cropped photo of a larger snapshot of sedum regrowing in a pot outside.

I decided to think of textures and captured some closeups with my Canon PowerShot. Then using simple choices of Adobe Photoshop I came out with these photos of a droopy poincettia:

For a different texture I added from Adobe the plastic feature to get this:

For an interesting texture look at this:

Can you guess what I took here?