Thursday, April 26, 2007


He has been called an art terrorist, a guerrilla artist, and sometimes a criminal. Banksy, from Bristol in the UK, is a secretive grafitti artist made popular by his provocative creations. Banksy images sometimes contain poignant messages with a twist of humor and sometimes they are just a bit of good old British wit. His artwork is varied and includes more than the stenciled and painted installations found around London...

• In September of 2006 he secretly placed a black hooded, orange jumpsuit clad figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee on the grounds of Disneyworld in Los Angeles. Placed within the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride, it stayed for 90 minutes before the ride was stopped and it was removed. more

• Also in September of 2006, Banksy replaced 500 of Paris Hilton's debut CD's with his own remixes with titles such as "Why am I Famous?", "What Am I For?" and "What Have I Done?". The CD's were switched out in several record shops across the UK with their original barcode in place so they could be purchased without realizing the change had been made. He also replaced the CD cover artwork with that of a woman with a dog's head. more

• In the July of 2005 Banksy created nine paintings on the Palestinian side of Israel's West Bank 425 mile long concrete barrier wall. The images speak for themselves. more

• In March, 2005 he smuggled his creations into four highly guarded New York museums and hung his own paintings in each. Some artwork went undetected for days. Banksy was quoted as saying "Obviously, they've got their eye a lot more on things leaving than things going in, which works in my favour." more

• And just this week an original piece of Banksy artwork fetched a record breaking £288,000 ($500,000+ US). This final price was 20 times the estimated auction value and was paid by a telephone bidder from the U.S. The piece, titled "Space Girl and Bird" is painted on a piece of steel and was commissioned by the band "Blur" for their "Think Tank" album cover. more

Here are a few of my favorites from
Banksy's website...

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Ask The Shuffle

I found this meme on Snav's World. What a fun one!

Turn on iTunes, your Ipod or Mp3 Player, set it to shuffle, ask the question and hit next song...

How does the world see me?
Milk & Honey - Beck

Will I have a happy life?
Picture This - Jim Brickman

What’s going to happen next?
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley

What do my friends really think of me?
I'm Satisfied - Mississippi John Hurt

Do people secretly lust after me?
Tutti Frutti - Little Richard

How can I make myself happy?
Welcome To Paradise - The Yard Dogs

What should I do with my life?
The Roller Skate Song - Janis Joplin

Will I have more children?
Dum Diddly - The Black Eyed Peas

What is some good advice for me?
Groovin' Hard - The Buddy Rich Big Band

How will I be remembered?
Working Class Hero - John Lennon

What is my signature song?
Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding

What do I think my signature song is?
This Flight Tonight - Joni Mitchell

What does everyone else think my signature song is?
Metaphor - Delerium

What song will play at my funeral?
Super Trouper - ABBA

What type of boys do I like?
Bedbugs - Squirrel Nut Zippers

What is my day going to be like?
Push - Smashmouth

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Give Me A Sign

Hubby has been missing balou. Even though he knew I was not posting for a few days, he said he still checked in twice a day...just in case. Awww. He wuvs me.

The snow is gone, the temperature is rising and beginning to warm the cold ground. Last weekend I washed all the throw rugs in the house and hung them on the clothes line. Thus begins the spring cleaning. This year I feel like purging. I need to reduce the clutter and so decided to have a garage sale. Our dining room has become the collection point and is brimming with unnecessary things.

It is amazing the little things that get moved around and stored "just in case." I might need six calculators some day. I might need four ziploc bags of sea shells. I really might need twin sized bedding - especially since we no longer have a twin bed. I do need some garage sale signs. I think the chain wielding Fabio version would attract some attention, don't you? Is it just me or does anyone else think Fabio looks like a woman from the waist down?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Taking a Break

To save you some unnecessary clicks, I'm going to take a break this week from blogging. Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel. ;)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

What to do with left over egg dye...

Saturday evening, nephew Bob and I colored Easter eggs. Bob is 15.90136986 years old and I am 42.9616438 years old. We are both probably a bit old for this activity but the inner child is strong in us. After the eggs were colored, there were four cups of colored water destined for the drain. We decided to put it to work using a bit of strange imagination and paper towels.

The first was a Tibetan Prayer Flag. Can you guess what we prayed for?

The next was tic tac toe using drops of dye instead of X's and O's. It's hard to see but the 15.90136986 year old beat me every time. I think the dye absorbed through my hands and obstructed my cognitive skills. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

For Your LIstening Displeasure

Quote of the Day:

Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways.

- Samuel McChord Crothers

And to prove that I surprised myself at this's my first itty bitty excerpt of "Squeeze Box" (Mama has a squeeze box..) for your listening, well, displeasure. I claim no responsibility for pierced ear drums if your volume is too loud. The sound file doesn't like to be squished into Quicktime. And I am calling this my first as I plan to get better at this concertina thing and this song in particular.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Easter Bells Are On Their Way

On the Tuesday before Easter, it is tradition in France that the Easter bells fly from their steeples and go to Rome. The Easter Bells return on Easter Sunday bringing Easter eggs to everyone's gardens.

This seems so hard to believe. I mean, at least with the Easter bunny, you can pretend it comes in the night and leaves you treats from it's basket. It's not to be viewed by the kiddos as they should be fast asleep. But how do you pretend the Easter bells are flying to Rome and back for five days when they are most likely still hanging in their steeples? How do French parents explain this to their children? Is it like the mall Santas being declared "Santas helpers?" Do the bells have helpers to take their place in the steeple while en route to Rome for the goodies? And why go to Rome? Wouldn't you think Switzerland would be a more likely candidate with the famous Swiss chocolatiers? And just how do those bells carry eggs back from Rome? I have questions. An Easter bunny is much more believable and cute and makes for great clipart in newspaper ads, right? I'm kidding of course. I suppose some think it's strange to think a bunny would bring eggs to the kiddos too.

I first heard about the Easter bells of France while enjoying David Sedaris book of essays, "Me Talk Pretty One Day." This excerpt is from the essay "Jesus Shaves."

[instructor] "And what does one do on Easter? Would anyone like to tell us?"

The Italian nanny was attempting to answer the question when the Moroccan student interrupted, shouting, "Excuse me, but what's an Easter?"

Despite her having grown up in a Muslim country, it seemed she might have heard it mentioned once or twice, but no. "I mean it," she said. "I have no idea what you people are talking about."

The teacher then called upon the rest of us to explain.

The Poles led the charge to the best of their ability. "It is," said one, "a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and . . . oh, sh*t."

She faltered, and her fellow countryman came to her aid.

"He call his self Jesus, and then he be die one day on two . . . morsels of . . . lumber."

The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.

"He die one day, and then he go above of my head to live with your father."

"He weared the long hair, and after he died, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples."

"He nice, the Jesus."

"He make the good things, and on the Easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today."

Part of the problem had to do with grammar. Simple nouns such as cross and resurrection were beyond our grasp, let alone such complicated reflexive phrases as "To give of yourself your only begotten son." Faced with the challenge of explaining the cornerstone of Christianity, we did what any self-respecting group of people might do. We talked about food instead.

"Easter is a party for to eat of the lamb," the Italian nanny explained. "One, too, may eat of the chocolate."

"And who brings the chocolate?" the teacher asked.

I knew the word, and so I raised my hand, saying, "The Rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate."

My classmates reacted as though I'd attributed the delivery to the Antichrist. They were mortified.

"A rabbit?" The teacher, assuming I'd used the wrong word, positioned her index fingers on top of her head, wiggling them as though they were ears. "You mean one of these? A rabbit rabbit?"

"Well, sure," I said. "He come in the night when one sleep on a bed. With a hand he have the basket and foods."

The teacher sadly shook her head, as if this explained everything that was wrong with my country. "No, no," she said. "Here in France the chocolate is brought by the big bell that flies in from Rome."

I called for a time-out. "But how do the bell know where you live?"

"Well," she said, "how does a rabbit?"

It was a decent point, but at least a rabbit has eyes. That's a start. Rabbits move from place to place, while most bells can only go back and forth--and they can't even do that on their own power. On top of that, the Easter Bunny has character; he's someone you'd like to meet and shake hands with. A bell has all the personality of a cast-iron skillet. It's like saying that come Christmas, a magic dustpan flies in from the North Pole, led by eight flying cinder blocks. Who wants to stay up all night so they can see a bell? And why fly one in from Rome when they've got more bells than they know what to do with right here in Paris? That's the most implausible aspect of the whole story, as there's no way the bells of France would allow a foreign worker to fly in and take their jobs. That Roman bell would be lucky to get work cleaning up after a French bell's dog -and even then he'd need papers. It just didn't add up.

Nothing we said was of any help to the Moroccan student. A dead man with long hair supposedly living with her father, a leg of lamb served with palm fronds and chocolate. Confused and disgusted, she shrugged her massive shoulders and turned her attention back to the comic book she kept hidden beneath her binder. I wondered then if, without the language barrier, my classmates and I could have done a better job making sense of Christianity, an idea that sounds pretty far-fetched to begin with.

In communicating any religious belief, the operative word is faith, a concept illustrated by our very presence in that classroom. Why bother struggling with the grammar lessons of a six-year-old if each of us didn't believe that, against all reason, we might eventually improve? If I could hope to one day carry on a fluent conversation, it was a relatively short leap to believing that a rabbit might visit my home in the middle of the night, leaving behind a handful of chocolate kisses and a carton of menthol cigarettes. So why stop there? If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt? I accepted the idea that an omniscient God had cast me in his own image and that he watched over me and guided me from one place to the next. The virgin birth, the resurrection, and the countless miracles -my heart expanded to encompass all the wonders and possibilities of the universe.

A bell, though, that's f*ed up.

Ode to Okapi

Ode to Okapi
by balou

Okapi, okapi, what a strange beast you are.
Part zebra, part giraffe, part chocolate bar.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fashion Restraint

It's a comforting thought that if I have to attend a special function requiring one of these, I will have a choice of colors.

"I'm feeling basic black tonight Nurse Ratchett."

* * * * *
Wouldn't it be fun to be a Straight-Jacket designer? It may not be very glamorous as an actual job but just to be able to answer the question "So, what do you do for a living balou?" with "I'm a Straight-Jacket Designer" would be worth any down side to the job.

* * * * *
I think Lime should buy the white one and tie dye it. ;)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Spring Sonnet

Every year Garrison Keillor's radio show, "Prairie Home Companion", has a spring poetry contest. There are several of the finalists on the website this week and is worth checking out. The poem below is one I heard on the radio while driving home Saturday night and it made me cry I thought it was so beautiful.

by Marcy Telles of San Rafael, CA

There are fifty Aprils in your eyes
A portrait of a full and well-spent life
Your face is kindly, loving, warm, and wise
And I am proud to call myself your wife
And sometimes, in the deepest part of night
I lie awake and think about the past
The folks who were important in our lives
And taught us how to build a love to last
Those welcome phantoms populate my dreams
Still dancing at some wedding long ago
As insubstantial as my self-esteem
As palpable as gravity or snow
Will we live on in someone's reverie?
I sigh and turn, and pull you close to me.

Dammit. It just made me cry again.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cute Cubs

Saw this photo and it was just so cute though I had to share. Any ideas for captions?

Here's what I see: "Shoulda seen it Brownie! First he gave him a left right across da choppers then he gave him a right and he was dancin' around da ring da whole time."