Silence, Please

Here’s a silent movie GIF that is wonderfully odd and funny, from Tom G. Happy Friday.


Sylvia Archive: Cuisinart Wizard

The Woman Who Does Everything Better is a mechanical whiz, among other things. Query about an ability in a comment.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Miniatures Meet Japanese Commercial

Thank you, Nicole F. , for sharing this commercial that features a super detailed 1/48 scale model kitchen.  Yes, I am besides myself with happiness. Yes, I believe I am Japanese.

To promote their new Salt & Fruit soft drink line, Kirin released this commercial.

Japanese soft drink commercial image

Sylvia Archive: Surprise In The Mail

The Cats with Signs are still crafty. Click the strip for a comic larger than the typical stamp.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Photographic Mysteries

I saw the Vivian Maier documentary, Finding Vivian Maier, Saturday afternoon. The movie had all my favorite elements: a mystery, incredible photography (hers, unknown until discovered by a young flea market fan), darkness (hers) and obsession (the young man who found her negatives and brought her work to the world against all odds).

In addition, my friend Laura had an encounter with a pervert in the seat next to her. For a long time she thought his coat was resting on her leg. After a while it became too heavy and she brushed it away, discovering that it was in fact, his hand. He left. He was an old man. I think about how long he’s been doing this silent pathetic thing. When we were kids and went to the movies together, three of us from the neighborhood, it seemed this always happened. We often had to move. I wonder, was this more frequent then?

The movie was a revelation. See it. If you’re in Chicago, it’s at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema.

Vivian Maier 1

Photo: Vivian Maier


Photo: Vivian Maier

Photo: Vivian Maier

Armenian woman fighting, September, 1956, Lower East Side, NY

Photo: Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier 4

Photo: Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier 6

Photo: Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier 7

Photo: Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier 5

Photo: Vivian Maier


Birthday Cake

I applaud Roz for her cake acceptance. Check out her essay to see what I mean.

On my last birthday, Connie and friends ordered me an Angel Food Bakery cake of such lavishness that I almost couldn’t imagine slicing it up. I have also gone a step further and learned to make fondant at a local establishment called “Give Me Some Sugar” (Belmont and Leavitt) and when the weather is warmer I will attend a private class on making pie crust by hand. (Yes, Alekka, I promise).

Nicole's birthday cake from Angel Food

Sylvia Archive: Scientific Scent Studies

It turns out the smell of romance is not what we thought. Weigh in with a comment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sylvia Archive: Love Cop Makes a Citizen’s Arrest

May she ever be in pursuit of justice and good matches. Click the strip for a larger comic.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Our Stories

Barbara is in my writing class at North Center. She’s new this session, and so I had no expectations, anticipations. Her story knocked me out. The tone, the movement in time, the story itself. I hope you feel the way I did. Every session with our teacher Bobby B. from The Goodman Theater is a revelation. I’ve been in this class for about four years and I see the changes in the way each of relate to our histories, modifying or enlarging our memories and have seen these stories change and evolve. I don’t see many of the writers outside of the class, so coming together several times a year for six sessions to hear their work is a revelation.

The Beatles are coming! The Beatles are coming!  What’s that to me? I’m in love with Jerry Lewis. He and I are going to get married as soon as I’m old enough. He loves me. I saw it in his eyes, through his sunglasses. It was 1963.

My parents took me to the Granada Theater to see “The Nutty Professor,” which was scheduled to have a guest appearance after the movie by the one and only Jerry Lewis. The movie ended. The plush, red velvet curtains closed. The audience waited in anticipation, murmuring, laughing and whispering, and then an omnipresent, booming voice came out of the speaker. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, the one, the only Jerry Lewis.” And there he was looking like suave, sexy Buddy Love, the Mr. Hyde to his nutty professor Dr. Jeckel. His shiny black hair, his ebony suit, sparkling his white shirt, narrow black tie and black patent leather shoes. I was mesmerized. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. I fell in love with him that very moment. He finished his greeting and thanks to the audience, waved goodbye and left back stage through a secret door. “Mom, Daddy, please could we wait for him outside? Please.” They laughed, looked at each other, looked back at me and my mom commanded, “Okay, but hold my hand.” We walked outside and stood at the driveway that led back to where his limo was parked. There was only one way out so he would have to pass us. A crowd of fans surrounded the driveway. And there he was!

There was no screaming like there would have been for Elvis. Just clapping, shouting and waving. The limo stopped and Jerry rolled down his back tinted window. He looked right at me and said, “I love you, Barbie.” Then rolled the window back up. The driver turned right onto Sheridan Road and my future husband was gone. My parents didn’t hear him profess his feelings for me, but I know he did. As soon as we got home, I wrote him a love letter. My mother researched his address in our “Information Please Almanac” and stamped and addressed an enveloped for me. I folded my letter carefully and placed it in the envelope, sealing it with a kiss using my mother’s lipstick. I ran to the mailbox at our corner and placed it in the little door flipping it up and down several times as my mother taught me to ensure it wasn’t stuck and was deep within the mailbox. Then I waited every day for his response. Finally, after three agonizing weeks, an envelope came with a return address. It was from Hollywood, California!  It contained an application for his fan club. But no response of love from Jerry. I filled out the application, put in two dollar bills, sealed the envelope that was included, got a stamp from my mom sealed it with another scarlet kiss and ran to the mailbox once again. My 37-year-old fiancé, born on March 16, 1926 as Joseph Levitch in Newark, New Jersy, was soon going to know more about his 11-year-old girlfriend. I include my picture so he could keep it in his wallet. Only two weeks passed this time, I knew Jerry wanted to get back to me sooner this time, especially after seeing my picture. A giant size envelope appeared and in it was an 8” by 10” glossy black and white headshot of my love that was autographed “To Barbie, Jerry Lewis.” I knew he wanted to write “Love, Jerry Lewis,” but his wife might get suspicious. I mounted it on a piece of royal blue construction paper, hung it eye-level on my bedroom wall and kissed him on the lips over and over again, every day, every moment. My kisses wore off the gloss and his lips became matte finish, but I didn’t care. We would meet when I turned 18 and get married. Mrs. Barbara Lewis. I was hopelessly devoted to him and would be a wonderful stepmother to his six boys, two of whom were older than I was. His wife would have died so I would not be a home-wrecker. I had it all planned.

Several months later, my best friend Anita told me The Beatles were going to be on The Ed Sullivan Show and that I had to watch it. That would not be a problem. I watched The Ed Sullivan Show every Sunday night with my mom and dad. I especially liked Topo Gigio, the little mouse with whom Mr. Sullivan would talk. Topo Gigio would always make my parents and me laugh when he said, “Eddie, keesa me goo-night!” So on February 9, 1964, I watched The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and fell in love with Ringo.

Oh no! How can I be so fickle! I had to make a choice. School was all a buzz the next day.” Did you see The Beatles last night?” “Paul is so dreamy.” “What about George?” “I screamed every time John sang!” “I’m in love with Ringo.” Wait, that was my voice! Oh no! I had to make a big decision: indulge myself in Beatlemania or stay true to my real love, Jerry. I went to my room and gave him one last kiss. Took his picture off my wall and put a Fab Four picture in its place. Good luck, Jerry. I hope your wife doesn’t die. I’ll see you in the movies.

Fast-forward 32 years. I’m 44 years old and my daughter is 18. I took her to the Schubert Theater downtown to see “Damn Yankees” starring Jerry Lewis. I told her about my pre-teen crush which she had experienced at my age with The New Kids on the Block. And once again, there he was, still handsome as ever. This time I knew he wasn’t looking at me. I had broken his heart. I went home and wrote him a letter telling him my story and once again telling him I loved him. Two months later I received a large envelope with his return address on in. Inside was an 8” by 10” black and white glossy picture of Jerry Lewis with this inscription: “To Barbara, I love you, too Jerry Lewis ‘96”

barbara's autograph of Jerry Lewis

Sylvia Archive: Mass Hypnosis

Only for the most pressing needs. Dial in with a request.

Friday, April 11, 2014