Persistent Illusion


“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction
between past, present and future is only
a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Albert Einstein

Shine On

The Art of Selfies


“In 2021 pet vanity is the latest trend.”
JR

A selfie is one way to show off your impeccable fashion, as well as proof that you did something or met someone cool. It’s even turned a few lucky, ordinary people with no special talent, into having a profitable career.

Selfies have been around for more than thirty years. It became popular after Paris Hilton and Britney Spears posed for a selfie.

I was surprised to learn, the first selfie was taken in 1839 on a daguerreotype camera by Robert Cornelius in Philadelphia. Cornelius was an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again.

As if there isn’t enough selfie competition, lately the animal kingdom has gotten into the game. Animal selfies are not only amusing, but they might even make you a bit jealous. Some of them are indubitably photogenic.

From wild animals to domesticated pets, these creatures have perfected the art of selfies. 

Shine On

Good Writings to Read


“I find television very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set,
I go into the other room and read a book.”
 Groucho Marx


This year I decided that I spend too much time in front of the television, so I finally cut the cord. Not that I don’t enjoy watching all my favorite shows, but most of these shows I can watch on other noncable outlets. For example, my library has watching apps such as Hoopla, Kanopy and Pluto TV, all free if you have a library card.

Last year I promised myself that I would read a book a week. I came very close to that goal and missed it by only three books. Actually, I would have exceeded my goal if I had not watched so much television.

Most of the books I read last year were from my public library. This library is a beautiful old Spanish style building from the 1920s, situated on exquisite grounds with peacocks wandering throughout the property. I love visiting this library because of its picturesque setting and because it is rarely busy. I’m always able to get whatever books I want to read without having to wait weeks or days, even during a pandemic.

My favorite way to read is using my iPad for its ease of reading. If I want to read a magazine, my library has them for free using the app, Flipster. However, most of the books I read are downloaded to my iPad from the library using the app, OverDrive.

Whichever means of reading magazines and books I choose this coming year, I will have my plate full of good writings to read.

Shine On

Words Cannot Express

“Art is the lie that enables us
to realize the truth.”
Pablo Picasso

Since the death of Sean Connery a few weeks back, I’ve been rewatching all of the James Bond movies in chronological order. I noticed that the majority of the Bond movies were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I’ve been watching MGM movies my entire life but just now noticed the words, “Ars Gratia Artis” used as a motto by MGM and appears in the circle around the roaring head of Leo the Lion in its logo.

Curious lady that I am, I looked up the meaning of this Latin saying, Ars Gratia Artis which translates to, Art for Art’s Sake.  It is a phrase that dates back to poet Théophile Gautier from the 1800s. The phrase was also used by poet Edgar Allan Poe in his 1850 essay, The Poetic Principle.  These men argued that “. . . art for art’s sake affirmed that art was valuable as art in itself; that artistic pursuits were their own justification; and that art did not need moral justification, and was allowed to be morally neutral or subversive.”

With so many forms of art in our society, I dove even deeper into this subject and discovered writer and philosopher, Alain de Botton who is the founder of  The School of Life, where he examines the many purposes of art.

In Alain’s book, Art as Therapy he points out how art can be a form and a source of therapy and self-help. He explains how art has the ability to resolve our psychological shortcomings and ease our anxieties about our imperfections. Art can be used as a great tool that serves a complex important purpose in our existence. The highest achievement of art might be something that reconciles the two: a channel of empathy into our own psychology that lets us both exorcise and better understand our emotions.

There are many areas in our life that art enriches including how art helps us feel less alone in our suffering. de Botton believes art can also save us time as well as save our lives, through opportune and reminders of balance and goodness that we should never presume we know enough about already. He also says that art is our new religion and our museums are our cathedrals. We all have reasons for our tastes in particular works of art and that can reflect how we are feeling emotionally at particular times in our lives.

Art gives us a language for communicating to others. It can explain why we are so particular about the kinds of art we surround ourselves with publicly.  A sort of self-packaging we all practice as much on the walls of our homes as we do on our social media pages. A cynic might interpret this as mere showing off, but de Botton believes that the art we admire peels away this superficial interpretation to reveal the deeper psychological motive.

The art we admire can show our true desire to communicate to others the subtleties of who we are and what we believe in a way that words cannot express.

Shine On

Dreamy 007 Rides

“No action hero is more closely associated  
with cars than James Bond.” 
Richard Hammond 

 

 

The cars driven by the James Bond character started a Worldwide love affair with the automobile. I was not immune from this love affair. On the contrary, Bond cars were extremely influential in my taste in automobiles throughout my life. Out of the dozens and dozens of sexy cars driven by Bond, there are so many, I decided to list just five of my top favorites.

The white 1966 Toyota 2000 GT from the movie, You Only Live Twice, is my favorite of all the Bond cars. I was fortunate to see this work of art in person at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles Mother’s Day 2019. How apropos that Bond’s first film to take place in Japan should feature the country’s first supercar. Just like Bond, the Toyota 2000 was sexy, fast, powerful, and rare. There were only 351 models produced in total. Sean Connery was too tall to move around comfortably in the Japanese supercar, so Toyota modified the traditionally hard top coupe so Connery could zip around in a special open-top version.

The 1962 Sunbeam Alpine Series II, is the car he drove in the first Bond movie, Dr. No. This little gem of a car was not Mr. Bonds most extravagant car, but the two-seater, droptop with its lake blue coat of paint was a perfect introduction to the James Bond character.

I had never heard of Aston Martin before seeing the 1964 movie, Goldfinger. The silver 1963 DB5 Aston Martin was the first to make its motion picture appearance with James Bond. Aston Martins continued to show up in future films such as the 1965 Thunderball, 1995 Goldeneye, 1997 Tomorrow Never Dies, 2006 Casino Royale and 2012 Skyfall. Since its 007 film debut, the Aston Martin has become one of the most infamous Bond franchise movie cars. It is often referred to as, “James Bond’s car.” Some even argue that James Bond films were what really put Aston Martin on the map.

A yellow 1970 Triumph Stag was driven by Sean Connery in the movie, Diamonds Are Forever. Loved the design of this sports car but due to its unreliable engine, the Triumph Stag was not a big success.

In the 1999 movie, The World is Not Enough, starring in his first 007 role, Pierce Brosnan drove a silver 1999 BMW Z8. The appearance of this roadster screams BondIt was a sleek and classic designed sports car, and of course was equipped with surface-to-air missile launchers.  BMW’s decision to put James Bond in their car was a good choice because every movie they were featured in caused a huge spike in their sales. 

Throughout the James Bond film series, Q Branch has given 007 a variety of vehicles to battle his enemies. They have been equipped with various modifications to include elaborate weapons and anti-pursuit systems, and various other functions to make memorable dreamy James Bond rides.

Shine On