15 October 2009

I'm moving my blog so you don't have to marry Google.

Go to http://whizbangwoman.wordpress.com/

It is much easier for you to read and comment.  All it requires is your name and email address, only if you want to comment. 

Hopefully this will make it easier for everyone.

If you have already tried to follow or followed me here, please follow me over there.  I don't think it imported my followers.  Glad I've only been working with this one for a few weeks!

Have a great day!!

14 October 2009

Be a good Samaritan if you're around anyone whose heart stops beating.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta is researching and doing a program on "cheating death".  I read this striking account of a woman who survived after her heart had stopped for 10 minutes.  Her husband, who is a first responder, immediately started chest compressions.  Studies are indicating that, because there is already oxygen in the blood, chest compressions only are more likely to preserve life.  Taking the time to do mouth to mouth isn't as necessary as was once thought, and it apparently takes away from the rapid chest compressions that help the heart start beating again.

This resonates with me because the woman in the article as well as Denise, my husband's first wife, was 33 when her heart stopped and she passed on.  She just collapsed while they were watching television.  We've never talked about what he did while he was waiting for the rescue squad to arrive.  I know they told him to make sure the lights were on and the front door opened.  I'm not sure exactly when her heart started back up.  I just know Tim had flashbacks about that evening, and he waited for 2 hours in the emergency room with no news.  Her heart started, but the neurological damage was done, and she had lost brain function. 

The article said 2% of people whose heart stops beating outside of a medical setting survive.  In this case the woman showed neurological damage, and they cooled her body and were somehow able to reverse or heal the neurological damage.  She did say in the article that the trauma was driving her family apart, that she and her husband were dealing with it differently.  I would love to know if she remembered anything that happened while she was unconscious.  The husband probably has PTSD, even though she survived.  It's a huge trauma.  And/or perhaps she had some brain damage that affects her cognitive function or even her personality, so she is different.  I wonder if she had a near-death experience.

Anyhow, hate to talk about something so sad, but the article said very few people start CPR on someone who collapses in public.  I think this is probably because they are afraid of doing something wrong.  However, it said that if rapid compressions (100/minute) were started within 60 seconds of the heart stopping, the survival rate would increase considerably.  100 beats/minute, and don't stop until medical personnel arrive.

Not very creative, but it resonated, so I wrote.  Ta Ta!

12 October 2009

Inspiring myself, hopefully.....

By listing some inspiring, moving, resonating quotes.
  • I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou
  • By the time a man is 35 he knows that the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man which he received in high school do not work in life.
    Robert Bly
  • All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man.  -- Henry David Thoreau

Well, here's a bunch by Mark Twain, my hero.  He was a man before his time.  In fact, the Thoreau quote above would apply to Mark Twain, I believe.  Here we go!

  • Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
  • Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
  • Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.
  • Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.
  • But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
  • Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.
  • Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

  • Don't let schooling interfere with your education.
  • One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
  • Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
  • Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
  • Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Okay, well, there are a few Twain quotes.  I started this entry this morning, and just completed it with the Twain quotes.  I had a much more 'alive' day than I was feeling this morning and I'm thankful for it!!

10 October 2009

Dominick Dunne, or, "My Cultural Education via Vanity Fair Magazine."

Wow, I looked through all my tags and I can't believe I haven't talked about Dominick Dunne.  There has been a lot said about him.  I guess he first came into my consciousness when he first started writing, because he started that part of his career fairly late in life.  I knew nothing at the time of his previous television & film career.  I read The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, a juicy novel based on a real Society murder.  Unfortunately this novel was made into a TV movie, which is all that needs to be said about that! 

I probably had been reading articles by Dunne in Vanity Fair Magazine before then.  I started reading Vanity Fair in about 1982 or 1983.  I loved the photographic portraiture best.  I fell in love with the great photographer, Annie Liebowitz.  The three of them-- Dunn, Leibowitz and Vanity Fair were always my pop culture triumverate.  For years I kept all my copies of the magazine, because the cover always featured a sensational portrait by a great photographer.  Vanity Fair also introduced me to the incredible photography of Bruce Weber, the late Herb Ritts, and others.

Dunne had started writing about crime after the murder of his daughter, Dominique, by her ex-boyfriend, in 1982.  John Sweeney, the murderer, was a chef at Ma Maison.  It was the classic domestic violence nightmare.  Overly attentive, loving boyfriend quickly becomes controlling, jealous boyfriend (or husband-they are always trying to hurry things up-the wedding, the pregnancy, etc.).  When she tried to break it off with him he became violent, and shortly thereafter was able to murder her.  Sadly for her family, he only served about 2 1/2 years for the crime.  I could go on and on about domestic violence.  I have some experience counselling survivors at our local shelter and on the phone hotline, and have become fairly well educated on the subject.  That's for another time.

Anyhow, the editor of Vanity Fair at the time, I think it was Tina Brown, who is British & started out at "The Tatler", a British magazine/tabloid, was excellent.  She encouraged Dunne to keep a diary about the trial, which became either an article or a series of articles, and the Vanity Fair/Dominick Dunne marriage was born.  Whenever I got my Vanity Fair, the first thing I would do is look up whatever Dominick Dunne had written and read it.  I really believe this cemented my interest in the true crime genre for good, and I didn't have to be ashamed of it anymore because it was in Vanity Fair!  Actually, I would peruse the photos, see who photographed the lead article, view them,  then read the Dunne article.  Dunne covered the Menendez & OJ murder trials extensively, eventually writing a book about the OJ trial.  One of the enduring images of the OJ trial is certainly Dominick Dunne's shocked face, mouth hanging open when the verdict was read. 

He also covered the William Kennedy Smith rape trial, and wrote a novel based on the true story of a horrid crime in Greenwich, CT in 1978 or 1979.  A young girl had been murdered violently and the crime was never solved.  This murdered girl's name was Martha Moxley, and Dunne would be instrumental in the prosecution and conviction of her neighbor, Michael Skakel, 25-30 years later.  This is also the case Mark Furhman wrote about in Murder in Greenwich.   This sparked a public feud between Dunne and Robert Kennedy, Jr., because Skakel is Ethel Kennedy's nephew. 

I followed Dunne through the years in Vanity Fair, read books he wrote, and watched him on the Court TV show Power, Privilege and Justice.   A month or so ago, I was perusing documentaries (my favorite film genre) on Netflix and found a documentary about Dominick Dunne called, Dominick Dunne, After the Party.   I was shocked I hadn't heard about it!  It was excellent, and provides a consecutive, thorough account if the events of his life.  I learned a lot about his life before he became a writer.  He died this summer.  His death was overshadowed by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, who died about the same time, which I thought would have made Dunne crazy because he did love his own celebrity.

Dominick, Annie and Vanity Fair gave this college dropout quite an education, and always prompted me to learn more about whatever subject broached.

09 October 2009

Some new music and some old music

I've just gotten started talking about Belhaven, but taking a break.  I hope it wasn't boring.  Tell me if it was, really. 

On NPR today I heard an interview with Rosanne Cash about her new album The List.  Let me just say, Johnny Cash is sacred to me.  The man moves me.  Of course I've always known of him from his early years.  In about 1997  I got this album called Unchained.  It was one of the ones produced by Rick Rubin.  I have no idea what goes into producing a record, but everything I've known to be produced by him is excellent.  It's one of those records on which every song rocks.  He actually actually covered a Sound Garden song called Rusty Cage.   He also wrote (his second, I believe) autobiography around that time, which I read.  I was in love.  The man is just heart stirring.  His songs...ethereal to me.

Anyhow, this interview with Rosanne Cash was the bomb.  She was so eloquent; just her speaking was art.  It sounded like poetry.  The List was inspired by a list of songs her Dad wrote down for her when she was about 18.  She described being into The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, etc., and he was shocked she had never heard the song by Don Gibson called Sea of Heartbreak, and some others.  Well, I hadn't either when I was 18, but it's one of my favorites now.  Anyhow, he wrote down a list of about 100 songs that she needed to know.  This album includes songs from the list he wrote for her so many years ago.  And, she sings Sea of Heartbreak on the album with Bruce Springsteen.  She also gets a little help from some pretty solid folks like Rufus Wainwright, Elvis Costello and others. 

My favorite (at least one of my favorites-how can I choose?) song by Johnny Cash was actually written by Kris Kristofferson.  It's called Sunday Morning Coming Down.  It's pretty melancholy, but it has always spoken to me.  He recorded that a long time ago.  "Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.  And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert...."  It talks about the things that, as a Southerner, you would have done as a kid on Sundays-sing in church, eat fried chicken for Sunday lunch, etc. 

Okay, there's a little girl named Elsie who wants one last walk, and I need to get myself to bed.  Here's a picture of Elsie, by the way.  She's my baby.

08 October 2009

A few thoughts ...

Well, I finished reading Prince of Tides.  I think I may have read it before, many years ago.  The ending was really familiar.  Maybe I'm just remembering the film.  The writing is incredible.  It is so moving and I want to quote some of the prose.  It's sweet, and his love of the south is familiar.  It reminded me a lot of the time I spent in Belhaven, NC, as a child.  My friends Theresa and Stephanie both visited there with me at one time or another while I was growing up.  Early in life, I think we visited on most of the holidays.  It is the town where my parents grew up.  I didn't know my Mama's father, but I knew my Dad's father, Harold Thorne White, Sr.  He was quite a character, I've been told.  He was a people person, I know that.  I wish I'd known him better because I've been told he never forgot a face or a name, and he could remember people's birthdays and anniversaries well.  I'm like that, too.  He passed when I was 6, so I have very few memories of him.  Like several of his brothers and sisters, he was a pretty bad alcoholic for a large part of his life, but he became sober for good just a few years before he died.  He went to a place called The Shepherd Home for Men, I believe.

Both of my grandmothers I knew well.  Granny White was Thelma Plum Howerin White.  Memom was Edna Earl(e) Spencer Allen Fussell Gregory.  This was my Mom's mother.  These 2 ladies were very different from each other.  I spent a lot of time with both of them when I was a girl.  Until I was 9 years old we lived in Newport News, VA, in Hampton Roads.  There the James River is 4 miles wide.  Here in Richmond its width can be measured in yards.  Oddly, most of my memories as a child are of times when I was in Belhaven.  I have very few memories of where I spent most of my time, Newport News.

Belhaven is in Beaufort County, NC, and the county seat is Washington, NC.  Beaufort, NC, is not in Beaufort County.  The town of Beaufort is further south.  It is pronounced Bofert.  Belhaven "beautiful harbor" or a metaphor for me -- 'safe place' is a peninsula with Pantego Creek on one side, and the Pungo River, off the Pamlico Sound. The area is known as the 'inner banks' of North Carolina.  When I was a girl there were 3 crab houses (places where the meat would be picked from the shells and claws of crabs, by hand.)  It also had drinking water that had a lot of sulphur and didn't taste or smell very good to me.  So, the town had a pungent smell.  I remember looking for pearls in oysters as my Dad shucked them, and eating them raw just to be tough.  My favorite food then was fried shrimp.  Now it is crab meat, served just about any way.  I'm pretty picky, though, about where it comes from.  I read recently something like 60% of fish sold comes from 'farms' now.  Just like commercial agriculture, commerical farming of seafood produces a lot of pollution, and can be unsafe because it can be contaminated with so many of the animals eating, excreting in one little space.  Plus both practices pollute the oceans.

Back to Belhaven--the mosquitoes were terrible.  During the summer the "mosquito truck" would spray pesticide and leave a fantastic fog in the street through which we would joyfully run!  I remember storms that smelled so good, and jumping in puddles as the storm died down with its last big drops.  I have a blessed memory of lying in bed at Memom's being able to smell flowers and hear birds singing.  I love hearing birds sing in the morning. 

Memom and Granny both had hydrangeas in their yards, which I loved.  They also had pecan trees.  I rarely entered Granny's backyard.  For some reason I was a little afraid of it.  However, I loved her front yard.  She lived on Main Street and had a big front porch with a swing and I loved sitting on it and watching people walk or ride by.  It was also the perfect perch for the annual 4th of July parade, where this town of about 2000 swelled to about 15,000 for the day.  It was one wild day.  The parade got over about noon, but the parade of partiers lasted all day into the night and that was fun to watch, too.  There was a street party at night but I was always too young to go to that.  My Aunt Nellie lived on the water, a block behind Granny, and we always watched the fireworks from her pier.

My favorite place in the world to be was Granny's front porch.  It still is.  We always felt so safe with Granny.  She exuded granny-ness.  She always smelled good and wore tasteful mauve lipstick.  I don't think I ever saw her sweat.  She was gentle and genteel.  She made this delicious cake with yellow batter and thick fudge frosting, and she took a fork or something to make the thick fudge frosting go into the cake.  It was divine.  She made the best sweet tea, too.  Strong and sweet.

Well, I'll go ahead and post this.  I hope it isn't boring.  Just wanted to get some of my memories of Belhaven on paper, so to speak.

05 October 2009

Talk 20 at 1708 Gallery

I'm going to this on Wednesday.  Doesn't it look like fun?

C3 the Creative Change Center and 1708 Gallery present the first of a series of gatherings that will bring together some of our favorite creative people and projects.

For our first Talk 20 on October 7th, you will hear from seven creative leaders. Each of them will show and discuss 20 slides, 20 seconds each slide, and then take your questions.

Thea Duskin, co-director of Ghostprint Gallery, multimedia and tattoo artist, ghostprintgallery.com

Shaun Irving, ultra-large format photographer, cameratruck.net

E.B. Kellinger, visual artist and creator of the Reveal/Conceal Project, ebkellinger.com

Matthew Lively, visual and multimedia artist, mattlively.com

Michael Pellis, of Baskervill, innovative and sustainable architecture and design

Angeline Robertson and Charley Foley, of the print and interactive media firm Scout Design, stateofscout.com

Noah Scalin, of Another Limited Rebellion Design and the now-famous Skull-A-Day blog and Skulls book, ALRDesign.com

Finger food, cash bar.