Friday, January 30, 2009

Meet the Creator of "Maxine"..

I never knew who the creator of Maxine was! This is interesting. After the Maxine jokes there is a summary on how she was created, and a photo of her creator. More from the gal everyone loves and admires, and you finally get to meet her creator at the end!

John Wagner, Hallmark artist since 1970, says Maxine was inspired by his mother, his maiden aunts and his grandmother, the woman who bought him art lessons when 'fill in the pumpkins' was about the extent of his art classes atSt. John's Catholic School he attended in Leonia,N.J.

John remembers doodling as a preschooler, and says both his grandmother and his mother encouraged his artistic interests . He eventually attended the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, and landed at Hallmark as part of a new artists group.But it was the birth of the humorous Shoebox Greetings (a tiny little division of Hallmark) in 1986 that added a new dimension to John's professional life.

The Shoebox way of seeing the world unleashed his talents and he created Maxine.'Cartoonists are sensitive to the insanities of the world; we just try to humanize them,' John says.'If Maxine can get a laugh out of someone who feels lonely or someone who is getting older and hates the thought of another birthday, or if she can make someone chuckle about stressful interpersonal relationships, then I'm happy. Putting a smile on someone's face is what it's all about.

'Those smiles have led to Maxine's becoming a bit of a celebrity. She (and John) have been the subject of media stories, including People, USAToday, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, and Las Vegas Journal-Review, and they have been included in a major Associated Press story.Collector and trade publications have reported that fans nationwide are collecting Maxine items. Letters from consumers and fans to John and Maxine reveal a very personal connection to Maxine . Many people say they are just like Maxine.

Why the name 'Maxine'? 'People at Shoebox started referring to the character as 'John Wagner's old lady,'And I knew that would get me into trouble with my wife,' John says. The Shoebox team had a contest among themselves to name the character, and three of the approximately 30 entries suggested 'Maxine'.John says the name is perfect.John, who says he's humbled by such acceptance of Maxine, admits he's proud of her.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gone South ?

The past couple of days have brought ice and snow to Middle Tennessee, part of the same Winter blast that has paralyzed much of the country.

I filled the bird feeders with fresh seed, and poured lukewarm water into the bird baths, hoping it will make life a little easier for all my feathered friends, here in the garden.

The bird feeder is now empty of it's " all you can eat buffet", the bird baths are once again frozen over, the only feathered "friends" I am left with, are the buzzards, who take to nightly roosting on the electric transmission towers.

Roll on Spring.........

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Technically Challenged...

Old faithful..

We have never been one of those families who were ahead of the game, when it came to owning the latest electronics and gadgets .
Just the opposite in fact, since my dear hubby is of the opinion that nothing needs replacing or upgrading, until it dies........ and even then, it's questionable.

When every household in the neighborhood owned a VCR , we had none. The luxury of "Pacman" was only ours when everyone else had tired of them, and couldn't give the stuff away to save their lives.
Same with DVD players. We actually own one, but because the main television in the Den area, is some twenty two years old, there is nothing to hook it up to, unless we are willing to give up our cable TV box, and forego my beloved BBC America .


So, we plod along, in harmony, with our perfectly good Curtis Mathis console television, of which we paid a mere fortune for, and in turn, we're given almost a quarter of a century of viewing pleasure.

I really do not have a problem with all of this, after all, I don't like change. I like sticking with what I have, antiques, old pets, a long marriage, a daughter and her family within walking distance, the same job for thirty's just that often times we have NO choice.

On February 17 2009 we will all face change.

Some of us, will be able to transition to the new DTV without ever noticing, for others, it will be a major electronic investment, or the requirement of yet another one of those "black" boxes staring us in the face every evening.

There is help of course, but now that's looking questionable......we may all end up huddled around the radio every evening, listening and giving our own "take" on stories.
Come to think of it.......that may be a "good thing".

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the government is running out of the allotted money — provided to consumers via coupons — to subsidize the purchase of converter boxes.
The article cites an increase in demand. “Rattled by the recession,” Amy Schatz and Ben Charny write, “many consumers facing the upcoming switch to digital television are taking the cheap way out — buying inexpensive converter boxes instead of new digital TV sets.”
More from the Journal:
“As of Monday, consumers who request the $40 government coupons are being put on a waiting list, Commerce Department officials said. The coupons help pay for set-top digital converter boxes that allow older TVs to receive digital signals. The department is also warning consumers that some stores may not have enough converter boxes to meet demand. Consumers requested about 7.2 million coupons in December, far higher than the 4.3 million the administration had forecast.”
The DTV Transition takes place on February 17.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Congratulations Nashville Public Television.

In a recent post, I spoke about my fondness for the Public Broadcasting Service, and all the superb programs and documentaries that are aired.

To my delight, I find our local Public Television Station has just been awarded nine Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards !

NASHVILLE, Tennessee January 26, 2009 -- Nashville Public Television took home a station-record nine Midsouth Regional Emmy® Awards on Saturday, January 24, 2009, at the 23rd Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy® Awards ceremony and banquet at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The station had previously won eight awards in 2004 and 2005. The awards are presented by the Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS

Highest accolades , from one proud supporter !

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wuthering Heights

Sunday Evening Addiction.

I have always been a long time supporter and viewer of Public Television. I can't say enough about the quality of it's programming, or count the many hours I spend in awe of it's documentaries, inspiring performances, and hilarious British sitcoms.

My absolute favorites seem to always be the Masterpiece Theatre productions, aired every Sunday evening, ranging from the Classics, Mystery, and Contemporary.

Beginning in January 2009 the following Classics are airing..........

Do make yourself a nice pot of tea, and enjoy !

Oh...and be sure to keep a hankerchief close by ....

Coming in 2009

Masterpiece classic premieres in January, 2009 with two beloved romance tales — Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Wuthering Heights. The Tales of Charles Dickens, a quartet of his greatest works, airs from mid February to early May with new productions of Oliver Twist, Little Dorrit and The Old Curiosity Shop, plus an encore of David Copperfield.

Tess of the d'Urberbvilles Violated by one man, forsaken by another, Tess Durbeyfield is the spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy's novel. Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) stars as Tess, joined by Hans Matheson (Dr. Zhivago) as her seducer, Alec, and Eddie Redmayne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) as Angel, the idealistic man she loves.

Wuthering Heights A new adaptation of Emily Bronte's haunting classic, which chronicles the passionate spiritual bond between Heathcliff, a Gypsy boy adopted by the Earnshaw family of Wuthering Heights, and the family's daughter, Cathy. British heartthrob Tom Hardy stars as Heathcliff, and newcomer Charlotte Riley is Cathy.

Oliver Twist This bold adaptation breathes new life into the Dickens story about the young orphan Oliver who is sent to the workhouse where children are raised on a diet of hard work and thin gruel. Starring Timothy Spall as Fagin the cutpurse king, Tom Hardy as Bill Sikes, Fagin's accomplice and Sophie Okonedo as Nancy, Oliver's guardian angel.

David Copperfield Charles Dickens's beloved novel gets all-star treatment in this encore presentation of David Copperfield. An event for the entire family, the cast includes Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen, Bob Hoskins — and an irresistible ten-year-old Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as the young boy against the world.

Little Dorrit One of Dickens' greatest love stories also has the timely theme of financial collapse. Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice) stars as hero Arthur Clennam, with Claire Foy as Amy "Little" Dorrit and Tom Courtenay as her father, who has been incarcerated for 25 years for insolvency. Scores of other great actors appear in this moving tale.

The Old Curiosity Shop A teenage girl and her grandfather lose everything to a maniacal moneylender and flee his relentless pursuit. The saga of Little Nell, Grandfather, and their tormentor, Daniel Quilp, is one of Dickens' most heart-rending tales. Derek Jacobi stars as Grandfather, with Sophie Vavasseur (Northanger Abbey) as Nell and Toby Jones (W.) as Quilp.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Farewell, "Woolies" my old friend.......

The last of the UK Woolworth's stores, closed their doors this past week.
"Woolies" was not just a high street shop, it was a part of the "Baby Boomer's" childhood, and history.
I cannot recall a time when shopping in our local high street, that I didn't make a stop in the local Woolworths store.
It was ingrained in our heritage.
They stocked everything from cosmetics and housewares, to some of the best "sweet" counters in the UK
A bargain could always be found, they had lots of it, and it was always cheap !
Woolworth's was a synonym for "Cheap"- the products and the workplace........there was often a threat to people of my age, that if you did not work hard in school, "you will end up working at Woolworth's".
The image changed over the years, but the dead end has now sadly come to it's own end.
Over 27000 employees have now lost their jobs, my commiserations and good wishes to you all.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

The first day of a new year is an opportunity to start anew, and adopt healthier and better promises we so faithfully make to ourselves, but fall short of keeping.
I try not to make New Year's resolutions these days.
Just a more common-sense aproach to eating better, making wiser choices, being more understanding and forgiving of my fellow man, and taking a little less from this planet we call "home" than I did the previous year.
I treated my soul to this beautiful calendar today. In the throws of Winter, I feast my eyes upon these timeless English gardens, brimming over with renewed life and promise.
I wish you all the same in 2009....