Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Art of Rachel Salomon

landscape 1, 24" x 36", acrylic and ink on board
© Rachel Salomon

Rachel Salomon's work is layered and organic in feel and I love the line drawings superimposed over washes of color in her paintings. Her other work is interesting, but it's the paintings that really draw me in. View her gallery at

For her bio, Salomon writes simply and directly: "I was raised in the mountains of Utah. When I was young, I spent afternoons with my grandmother surrounded by her Japanese art, mid-century modern furniture, antiques, illustrated storybooks, and books about painters. Later, I competed as a downhill ski-racer, traveling throughout the country and internationally. I studied Fine Art at Brown University, and Illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I've been living in Brooklyn, New York since 2002."

I don't know why, but I love that. First person. Without pretension. And the insight into where she was raised and what she was surrounded by is relevant when viewing her work. Nice.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Good Food Deep South

I've been tagged.

Liza of Something Something (a really wonderful Israel based blog) tagged me with this meme. I am certainly a foodie, so the subject at hand cannot help but appeal, and it's got BRILLIANT practical applications -

The rules:
1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, USA)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, USA)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Kat (Ontario, Canada)
Cheezy (London, England)
tafka PP (Jerusalem, Israel)
Liza ("Northern" Israel)
dame (Southeastern United States)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

--1-- Five Star Day Cafe - Athens, Georgia - 229 E Broad St, Athens AND 2230 Barnett Shoals Rd, Athens- Southern, homestyle food and a quirky, sunny atmosphere. You order your food at the counter and then find a seat and the food is brought out to you. The menu offers barbeque, pot roast, roasted chicken, and - my favorite - the excellent river trout topped with a corn and black bean salsa as well as veggie plates that are piled high with three sides. The sides are southern classics like collard greens, fried green tomatoes, brilliant smoky macaroni and cheese (which, I suspect, has smoked gouda in it - brilliant), fried potato cakes and hoppin' john (black eyed peas and rice). They also serve brunch on Sundays and they always have some inexpensive items like a bowl of chicken and dumplings or PB&J sandwiches written up on the blackboard alongside the dessert of the day - usually a seasonal cobbler. My favorite place to eat in Athens bar none.

--2-- Flora and Ella's Restaurant - Labelle, Florida - 550 Highway 80 W, Labelle, FL 33935 - Classic Southern food and a warm friendly atmosphere. This place is what Cracker Barrel could have been modeled after, but it's the real deal. A great local restaurant with a little country store out front. All the classic southern standards - including a really excellent southern fried steak. My impression is that they are best known, however, for their pies. The pie selection is excellent and I worship their pecan pie. I love anywhere that serves a wide variety of pies and Flora and Ella's are worth going out of your way for.

--3-- European Street Cafe - Jacksonville, Florida - 2753 Park Street (Riverside) - Cute, eclectic bistro with a phenomenal beer selection, a wide variety of exotic sandwiches and salads as well as familiar classics, great German bratwurst (and genuine - warm - german potato salad!), and a little import shop where you can buy brilliant blackberry jam and the best candied fruit slices EVER. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed without being too casual, the staff is solicitous and professional, and the food is always very good. There are actually four locations in Jacksonville, but I always go to the one in Riverside which I believe is the original location.

--4-- Bahama Mama's Kitchen- Key West, Florida - 324 Petronia St (In the Bahama Village Market) - Best meal of my life. Seriously. Bahama Mama's Kitchen is a tiny little building with a small bar and soe open air seating outdoors, it's right next to a sort of makeshift craft market that is open during the day and is typically speckled with wild roosters and chickens wandering about. I was there in the summer, so we sat inside the little building. I seem to recall that there were maybe four or five tables. I had conch fritters and shrimp hash cakes and fried plantains followed by this dessert that was like funnel cake that had large juicy chunks of pineapple mixed into the batter. I could have eaten there every night. If I had to eat the food from one restaurant for the rest of my life, I think I'd live on those conch fritters and shrimp hash cakes and fried plantains quite happily. Being a big time foodie, I ate at at least a dozen restaurants in Key West. All but one restaurant (including this great nothing little stand that sold cuban food where I bought a brilliant bowl of rice and beans) proved the adage that you cannot get bad food in Key West but Bahama Mama's was by far and away the best meal I had there. I still crave it. I cannot wait to go back. Frommer's notes on Bahama Mama's Kitchen

...and there were supposed to be five. But THAT is why I hadn't put this up before. I'm picky. And these are the four I felt like listing. My apologies. As I have left it so long to respond, I'm not going to tag anyone - but if anyone would like to take up the challenge - especially in the Southeastern U.S. where the recommendations will do ME the most good! - please do so and let me know!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shorpy, The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog

Miss Grace Stockman with President Andrew Jackson's dueling pistols, at the National Museum, 1926. Contributed by Shorpy co-founder Ken is self described as "a photo blog about what life a hundred years ago was like: How people looked and what they did for a living, back when not having a job usually meant not eating."

I love this photograph - the intent look on her face. I am completely addicted to this blog (Thanks, Sheila! - I first found Shorpy via her blog). There are fascinating and unexpected photographs of women stepping outside the gender roles of their time (a female taxi driver, a female gunslinger!) and the photographs of children are strange and often haunting. Mostly, however - as Sheila pointed out - it's the faces that are just so compelling.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Judy Garland

“I was born at the age of twelve on an MGM lot.”
- Judy Garland

“Be a first rate version of yourself,
not a second rate version of someone else”
- Judy Garland

“I can live without money,
but I cannot live without love.”
- Judy Garland

“In the silence of night I have often wished
for just a few words of love from one man,
rather than the applause of thousands of people.”
- Judy Garland

“You are never so alone as when you are ill on stage.
The most nightmarish feeling in the world is suddenly to
feel like throwing up in front of four thousand people.”
- Judy Garland

“I think there's something peculiar about me that I haven't died.
It doesn't make sense but I refuse to die.”
- Judy Garland

“I've always taken 'The Wizard of Oz' very seriously, you know.
I believe in the idea of the rainbow.
And I've spent my entire life trying to get over it.”
- Judy Garland

When I was very young, I wasn't allowed to watch very much television and we never went to the movies. Our ancient television set only got the four main network stations. A few times a year, The Wizard of Oz would be the Sunday night movie on one of those stations - usually with much fanfare - and I was allowed to watch it, even if it meant staying up past my bedtime. I loved Dorothy. To be honest, I wanted her to stay in Oz. I couldn't imagine why Kansas was worth going back to - no matter how much she might miss Aunty Em and Uncle Henry. I was an avid reader already, so no stranger to escapism, but The Wizard of Oz was my introduction to film as an escape and the first movie I really loved. It was the beginning of a lifelong obsession with film and an enduring appreciation for Judy Garland.

I found a few of these photos at The Judy Room. The set up for this site appears a little tricky to navigate at first, but a little exploring reveals it well worth the visit. Scroll down to the "jump to" menu and you will find that this site contains a wealth of information and gallery upon gallery of gorgeous photographs. I strongly recommend visiting The Judy Room - the expansive content far surpasses the simplicity of the layout, so give it a chance!

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Art of Oksana Badrak

© Oksana Badrak

Oksana Badrak uses mixed media to create surreal landscapes and depict impossible interior spaces populated by seemingly out-of-place animals, cartoonish creatures and lush botanical elements. The images are unique and seem like representations of otherworldly dreams or nightmares. Most importantly (to me) she uses bunnies. Which is what grabbed my attention to begin with. I like her work. It was difficult to locate much information about her online, but the following is what I was able to find. Prints of her work can be purchased at Thumbtack Press.

"Oksana Badrak was born in 1978, in Moscow, Russia. In 1993, the Badrak family moved from Moscow to California. She was accepted to ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA in 1998. There, with the help of her amazing teachers, Rob Clayton, Jason Holley, Tony Zepeda and friends, Oksana began to develop her own distinctive style in illustration. While at ArtCenter, she became a recipient of several prestigious scholarships and graduated with distinction. After graduation her career quickly took off and her professional work was recognized by Society of Illustrators and American Illustration in their annual publications. Oksana Badrak has had several group and solo exhibitions, and her work has been published in major editorial publications including Entertainment Weekly, Nickelodeon, Playboy and eDesign to name a" - From an old article by Rob McBroom on

I also found this brief interview with her on

Saturday, June 16, 2007


“I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.”
- Oprah Winfrey

Like many women, I've got a thing about shoes. Unlike a lot of women, it's not a particular type of shoe or girly shoes or whatever. It's just shoes. Love them. Boots. Converse sneakers. Vintage pumps. Roman-style sandals. Elaborate, brightly colored wedges. Platform sneakers. Whatever. I am fascinated with the variety in which shoes appear. How they can be art on your feet. How you can tell so much about a person from what shoes they wear. In fact, with the noteable exception of modern athletic shoes (which all blend together and to my eye look like homogenized rubber status symbols) I have a general love of shoes.

There is much fascination with shoes or we wouldn't have so many incarnations in polular culture; Dorothy's Ruby slippers, Cinderella's glass slippers, the enchanted red ballet shoes of "The Red Shoes," the focus of much conflict in the film and book "In Her Shoes," practically supporting characters in the film "Kinky Boots" Well, CLEARLY I could go on and on.

So I'm working on a shoe CD. I make mix CD's for my friends, with carefully selected songs following a theme and full color covers and painstakingly applied labels. I have no idea WHY I put so much effort into this. I just do. It makes me happy.

So the shoe CD playlist thus far is:

"Goody Two Shoes" - Adam Ant
"Blue Suede Shoes" Elvis Presley
"Boogie Shoes" - KC & the Sunshine band
"Shoes" - Kelly
"In These Shoes" - Kristy MacColl
"These Boots are Made for Walking" - Nancy Sinatra
"I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" - Scissor Sisters

Any suggestions?

I'm thinking "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" qualifies by virtue of close association with Very Famous Shoes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Female World Leaders

A friend just emailed me a conversation that took place in her office. This conversation was between 4 women who are in their early to late 20s, 2 women from the northern United States, 2 from the southern United States, and from widely varying socioeconomic backgrounds...

Woman 1: I wouldn't vote for a woman.

Woman 2: Me either. They are too emotional and fly off the handle.

Woman 1: No, that's not why for me. It's because other countries wouldn't respect us and we would lose power if we put a woman in office.

Woman 3: I would vote for ANY woman but Hillary Clinton. She drives me up a wall.

Woman 1: I think we just need a more peaceful time to have our first woman president. There's too much going on right now.

Woman 3: Yeah, if things went badly they would blame it all on the fact that the president was a woman.

Woman 1: Yeah, just need a more peaceful time to do that.

Woman 4 (my friend) thinks "Margaret Thatcher, Current president of Chile..."

I shouldn't be surprised, really. But I was.

How sad is it that, in this nation that imagines itself such an enlightened world power, our young women cannot imagine a female president? Any educated person will tell you that MANY other countries have had freely elected female leaders. The United States is behind the times on this issue and while I do not think anyone should be elected BECAUSE of their gender, I want to live in a country where being female is not considered a massive obstacle to holding the highest office in government. I want to live in a country where OTHER WOMEN feel a female leader is a realistic and desireable option.

Just so we're clear on this:

Female Presidents and Prime Ministers currently (or until very recently) in office in other nations:

Ireland, President Mary McAleese - The eighth, and current, President of Ireland. She has a longstanding interest in issues concerned with justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation but has never engaged in party politics. During the 1997 -elections 5 candidates were female and there was only one token male candidate (finishing a distant last).

New Zealand, Prime Minister Helen Clark - She became Prime Minister of New Zealand in December 1999 and entered her third successive term in that office in 2005.

Latvia, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga (left office May 31, 2007) - She retired from the Universite de Montreal in 1998, after being a professor of psychology there since 1965. She was elected to the post of president as a non-political compromise candidate and re-elected unopposed 5 years later. She is most known for her role in securing NATO and EU memberships for Latvia.

Finland, President Tarja Halonen - She began her first term of office in 2000 and was re-elected on January 29, 2006. Her current term expires in 2012. She is the eleventh President of Finland and the first woman to hold the office.

The Philippines, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo - She is the country's second female president after Corazon Aquino. She is the daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal. Prior to becoming president, Arroyo was the country's first female vice president.

Bangladesh, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia (left office 29 October 2006) - was the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 1991 to 1996, the first woman in the country's history to hold that position, and again from 2001 to 2006. She is the widow of assassinated president Ziaur Rahman. She has ruled the country for about 10 years (longest period). She has been elected to five separate parliamentary constituencies in the general elections of 1991, 1996, and 2001, a feat unachieved by any other politician in Bangladeshi history.

Mozambique, Prime Minister Luisa Diogo - Prime minister of Mozambique since February 2004, previously the Head of Department in the Ministry of Finance 1986-89 and National Budget Director 1982-89 in Ministry of Planning and Finance.

Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel - Merkel, who studied physics and holds a doctorate in physical chemistry, is simultaneously the first female Chancellor of Germany, the first citizen of the former German Democratic Republic to assume the chancellery of reunited Germany, and the first woman to lead Germany since it became a modern nation-state in 1871. She is also, as of 2007, the youngest person to be German chancellor since the Second World War. Merkel, considered by Forbes Magazine to be the most powerful woman in the world at present, is only the third woman to serve on the G8 and in 2007 became the first woman to chair a G8 summit after Margaret Thatcher.

Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf - Current president of Liberia and Africa's first elected female head of state and Liberia's first elected female president. She is the second elected black woman head of state in the world and also second female leader of Liberia after Ruth Perry (who assumed leadership after an overthrow), and the third such head of government after Eugenia Charles of Dominica and Sylvie Kinigi of Burundi.

Chile, President Michelle Bachelet - The first woman to hold this position in the country's history. She won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, beating center-right billionaire businessman and former senator Sebastián Piñera, with 53.5% of the vote.

Jamaica, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller - She replaced outgoing Prime Minister P. J. Patterson, becoming the first female head of government of the nation and the third in the Anglophone Caribbean following Eugenia Charles of Dominica and Janet Jagan of Guyana. She also holds the position of president of the ruling People's National Party.

Switzerland, President Micheline Calmy-Rey - A member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2003. She is head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (the Swiss foreign minister) and President of the Confederation for 2007.


A small sampling of past female leaders who have held the highest elected office in their country:

India, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (1966-1977, 1980-1984 - appointed, and later elected in 1971) - As prime minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and 1980 to 1984, Gandhi led the world's largest democracy. Indians called her Mataji, or "respected mother."

"I don't mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die today every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation."

- said the night before she was assassinated, October 30, 1984.

Israel, Prime Minister Golda Meïr (1969-1974 - appointed, and later elected in 1973, resigned in 1974) - Golda Meir, born in Kiev, Russia, became the fourth prime minister of Israel. She and her husband emigrated from the United States to Palestine and she quickly became a leader in the Zionist movement. She was elected to the legislature of Israel in 1949 and served as prime minister from 1969 to 1974. She was the first (and, to date, only) female Prime Minister of Israel, and was the third female Prime Minister in the world.

"It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? … Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either."

United Kingdom, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) - Thatcher began her long career in Great Britain's Parliament in 1959. She was the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom and the longest serving. She advocated conservative economic policies during her tenure from 1979 to 1990. She is the first and to date only woman to serve as head of government of a nuclear-armed state.

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

Iceland, Vigdis Finnbogadottir (1980-1996) - The first popularly elected female president in history, Finnbogadottir defeated three men in her first run for Iceland's presidency in 1980. She worked to modernize Iceland and improve the status of women until the end of her fourth term in 1996.

"This people never gave up, never forgot their language, their stories, their memories."

The Phillipines, President Corazon Aquino (1986-1992) - She was Asia's first female President and world-renowned advocate of democracy, peace, women empowerment, and religious piety.

"I would rather die a meaningful death than live a meaningless life."

CLEARLY being a woman is no obstacle to being able to execute the office of President or Prime Minister of a nation. I am not saying I advocate the politics of these individuals (and my apologies for the brief bios being less than uniform in coverage), but my point is simply this: Other nations are electing women. Other nations trust their future in the hands of a woman. Women in the U.S. have not yet learned to put as much trust in our fellow women as we should.

A woman can lead a nation.

Get more information by going to Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership, and I particularly reccommend reading their section on Female Heads of State and Government Currently in Office.

To be clear, due to time constraints, the brief bio information I included on each woman was culled from three or four online sources. Some of it has been paraphrased and some of the informations is directly quoted (particularly text from "" and Wikipedia), and has simply been placed here with the intention of providing a quick reference.