Interlude or Où Est Ma Tête?

Since my brain is still on holiday, I’m falling back on my RA bag of goodies while I go in search of it.  Yes, I know what you people come here for.

Here is one of my lesser seen favorites. I’ve always thought RA looks quite French and therefore made the perfect Monet.  The expressiveness of his face in this scene when he first embraces the concept of painting en plein is really quite charming, don’t you think?

Richard Armitage as Claude Monet, courtesy


Serene Sunday – Winter Wonderland

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow!  That makes this snow bunny quite happy. So starting off the Serene Sundays of holiday music is Winter Wonderland sung by Johnny Mathis.  It was part of one of the most famous Christmas albums every recorded, Merry Christmas.  Recorded in 1958, it was Mathis’s seventh album but first Christmas album.  Percy Faith was the musical director.  Winter Wonderland itself is a winter tune but treated as a Christmastime song.  It was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Through the decades it has been recorded by over 150 different artists and is considered a holiday pop standard.

Winter Wonderland sung by Johnny Mathis

♪ Make sure to see the new wide screen version; a link is below and also in the video responses. Winter Wonderland ~ Sung by Johnny Mathis ~ No copy infraction intended on my videos. ~ Dedicated to the romantic Christmas heart that beats in each of us.


Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He’ll say: Are you married?
We’ll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you’re in town.

Later on, we’ll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we’ve made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he’s a circus clown
We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain’t it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.



Surreal Saturday – Ghostbusting Wall Street

While trolling YouTube for your enjoyment, I came across ADA which does animation battles.  Contestants submit their videos and they have face-offs.  Uploaded a few weeks ago was a funny current satire called Ghostbusting Wall Street.  It’s political but still ridiculous enough to be enjoyed by everybody.

Ghostbusting Wall Street!

Ghostbusting Wall Street! NEW VIDEOS SOON! SUBSCRIBE for more hilarious cartoons & SHARE on the sites below.



Happy Black Friday!

For those of you out braving the Black Friday insanity, more power to ya!  Meanwhile, I shall be sanely indoors playing elf for my hosts, helping them decorate four trees and a sweeping staircase.  Yes, it’s my own brand of Christmas madness.

In the meantime, I’ll kick off the holiday celebrations by giving you what you really come here for:

RA MattHolyoak-36

Richard Armitage from Project Magazine, courtesy

Have a great day!


Happy Turkey Day!

Ah, Thanksgiving, the day when we pause to commemorate the story of the Pilgrims and the Indians breaking fish and maize together, and give thanks for all we have -on some other blog.  On my blog, I believe in getting down to what really matters – the FOOD.

For most of my childhood and adolescence, food was a big deal in my family.  My mother prepared the meal with me acting as second chef. This continued until I was old enough to take over the whole meal.  Preparation started at the stroke of 3:00PM with cleaning of the giant 20+ pound turkey. (Yes, we cooked enough for an army).  It had to have a high breast and plump legs or it couldn’t darken the door of my mother’s kitchen.   We extracted the giblets and neck, putting them on cook with chicken thighs, while thoroughly cleaning, drying and salting the bird, and storing it in the fridge.  My mother mixed the cornbread batter while I chopped and cried over a bag of onions, green peppers, and stalks of celery, first by hand and then with a food processor when they came into vogue. ( Then I cried for joy over the Cuisinart.)  The cornbread mixture was poured into cast iron skillets to bake.   Two hours later, we had enough cornbread dressing to fill the bird and a small pan besides.  We stored this away.

Thanksgiving-Charlie-Brown-SnoopyNext came mustard potato salad made with 10 pounds of red potatoes, celery, onions, and green peppers.  Did you know that the right amount of mustard, sugar and vinegar produce the taste of eggs?  It’s true.  The potatoes had to be peeled and cut while still hot.  Over the years, we acquired hands like asbestos although we always had ice cold water to dip our fingers on hand. The Making of Potato Salad was a family secret with my mother and I huddled over the pan, sampling for The Right Taste, adding a bit of this, a tad of that until BINGO! it was finished.

Then I would put on the sweet potatoes to boil.  These would be cooked until tender and left in the giant pot until the next day for the candied sweets.  Then we would take a break, mop our brows and plan dessert.  When I was small, my mother made sweet potato pies from scratch.  Sadly I never learned the secret of the tender, flakey crust.  She had to bake at least six pies because everybody wanted one to take home, they were that good.  She also made a three layer pineapple cake from scratch which I eventually took over.  My cakes were always moist and light, I must say.  Eventually dessert became just the cake.  After 6-7 hours of straight cooking we called it a night.

The next morning, we rose at 7AM  to dress the monster turkey and stuff it. The thing would be so heavy my dad would muscle it into the oven.  Then I made the macaroni and cheese from scratch while my mother prepared the candied sweets.  Then we fixed the vegetables, usually, broccoli and cheese, asparagus, and green beans to balance out all those starches.  The giblet gravy was the last dish prepared.  We never did casseroles or mashed potatoes since most of the dishes were southern.  In my grandmother’s time, there was also a Virginia honey baked ham and probably a capon.  Like I said, enough food for an army.

At precisely 2PM dinner was served, and the horde would descend, usually eating in shifts around the large table.  They made short shrift of all that food, leaving a quarter of the monster turkey, a small pan of stuffing, another pan of candied sweets I’d have hidden away, and a spoonful of all the vegetables. Mom and I never ate much because we tasted it already while cooking.  It was exhausting work, but we always had a sense of satisfaction having cooked a great meal.

Today, my parents are gone and the family is dispersed around the country, so I usually visit a friend’s house for Thanksgiving.  I haven’t cooked a Thanksgiving dinner in at least 14 years.  But sometimes when I’m walking down the hall of my building, I smell the aroma of onions and celery sauteeing and it all comes back, the Thanksgivings of days gone by.




The Holidays Are Coming! The Holidays Are Coming!

For me, the countdown to Thanksgiving (the last Thursday in November in the US) means officially  heralding in the Christmas season.  This has always been the way things have been done in my family.  But for the last 15 years or so, the holiday season  seems to creep earlier and earlier in sales land.  Pre-lit Christmas trees compete for space with jack o lanterns now.  This past year, I actually saw garland being strung right after Labor Day (the first Monday in September).  I know stores feeling the pinch of the recession want the longest shopping season possible, but I don’t *really* want to shop for tree lights while preparing for a July 4th barbecue.  Do you?

All that being said, I’ve also been guilty of the Christmas Creep, only not with shopping but with music.  I started listening to my all Christmas radio station on November 11th.   In an interesting creep of its own,  the radio station asked its listeners to vote when the holiday music should start.  Each year, the audience voted earlier and earlier until the station determined it should start no sooner than Veteran’s Day.  It’s a bit strange listening to “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas” interspersed with commercials for Veteran’s charities, but there it is.

You might think I would be tired of holiday music even before the season starts, and you would be wrong. The holidays ordinarily infuse me with a sense of contentment and well bearing, like the smell of jet fuel does for travel. (What, you didn’t read my London travelogue?)  I say ordinarily because at times the stress of the holidays, with shopping, deadlines, and the need to be jolly even when I may not feel that way, gets in the way of actually enjoying the season.  So I try to celebrate with things, like Christmas tunes, before the holidays get underway.  I changed my computer and iPhone wallpaper over to holiday themes.  My ringtone is “Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer.”

I even thought about putting up my tree, but something stopped me – have to wait for Thanksgiving first.


Serene Sunday – Down by the Riverside

When I was child, I recalled watching the great Mahalia Jackson on the Flip Wilson show.  She sang a renditions of the gospel spiritual, Down by the Riverside that had the crowd singing and clapping along.  I finally found the piece on YouTube and it brought back memories.

Down by the Riverside dates prior to the Civil War when slaves sang it as a work song adding lines from other spirituals.    It was first published in Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag in 1927 and has been recorded many times since then.

Mahalia Jackson – Down By The Riverside

Mahalia Jackson ao vivo


  1. Gonna lay down my burden,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside.
    Gonna lay down my burden,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside.

I ain’t go study war no more,
study war no more,
ain’t go study war no more.
I ain’t go study war no more,
study war no more,
ain’t go study oh war no more.

  1. Gonna lay down my sword and shield
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna try on my long white robe
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna try on my starry crown
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna put on my golden shoes
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna talk with the Prince of Peace
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna shake hands around the world
    Down by the riverside…



Surreal Saturday – Animation Band

I don’t know anything about this guy but since my man DeStorm, favorited it on YouTube. I took a look.  It was an interesting concept and cool enough to share with you.  Enjoy.

Animation Band – Joe Penna

Join us! Share on Facebook: and Twitter: Thanks to THQ for their support and for the uDraw GameTablet! Check ’em out on Facebook: Check out these awesome peeps: Check out my other videos: My second channel: Shirts: Send Me Stuff: MysteryGuitarMan, inc.



Foolish Friday – Hair!

Well look, it’s Friday again!  Time for another Foolish Friday.  Today, darling, gimme head with HAIR.  Yes, class we will study the many hairstyles of a certain Mr. Richard Armitage.  Let’s start.

Here’s a young RA during his dancing days I presume.  This is a nice example of the long carefree style of youth.

hair richard03

Young RA hopes the photo is snapped before he loses the curl.


Next we have a much shorter older cut helped along with a lot of mousse, to go with the vague goatee.

hair StarWarsAutographPic

RA plots how not to drop his popcorn again when his big Star Wars scene comes up.


Finally, a picture in color!  Here RA with the au naturel medium brown hair.  We see the beginning of the characteristic locks brushing forehead style seen in later photos.

hair coldfeet_073

Lee is proud he purchased the best cubic zirconium ring little money can buy.


Here we see the style for which he’s known, dyed dark brown, cut medium short with a high left part.

hair NandSPromo4

John Thornton learns the cost of chicken feet has risen 3 pence a pound.


And of course we must study the long, almost black tresses, courtesy of extensions. Notice that they are reminiscent of the long locks of his dancer days, except much, much much better.  Mmmhmm.  I’m sorry, where were we?

hair RH3_051

Guy schemes to sell overpriced share in Guy's Salon and Spa.


Now we have him minus the extension but retaining the floppy locks, strategically placed just so.  Kudos to his hairdresser.  Seriously.  He’s kept either a long or shorter version of this style.

hair TonyBAFTApic2

RA gives thanks to Guy's Salon and Spa too.


Okay class.  Lest I be accused of bias, I’m including a photo of the current au naturel colored buzz cut, which is brushed quite well here, I must admit.

hair ra2-recognise

RA realizes the little female mouse trying to gatecrash his photo op is a fan.

That’s enough for today class.  Have a happy TGIF.





NaNoWriMo or Adventures in Speed Writing

November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. It challenges any writer, including you, to sit down at keyboard and dedicate the month to writing 50,000 words, preferably as a novel, in 30 days.  It doesn’t have to be polished or even coherent. (You conceivably can type one word 50,000 times).  The purpose is to get people in the swing of writing. NaNoWriMo has a website where you can register your word count progress each day and see if you’re on track to meet the goal.  As you might imagine, churning out a 50,000 word novel requires concentrated dedication.  To stay on track and possible win at the end of the month, you must average about 1,666 words or a day or 3 1/2 pages doublespaced.

NaNoWriMo has been an internet creative project since 1999.  Each year when it was publicized, I thought it sounded interesting but year after year went by and I never participated either because I heard about it too late or felt daunted by the idea of 50,000 words. This year my fanfic series happened to coincide with this year’s project.  What better way, friends pointed out, to break your writer’s block than NaNoWriMo?

So I registered and then panicked.  Not one to cheat typing gibberish, I needed a plot, but plotting was my main stumbling block.  I moaned and procrastinated for five days, not writing a single word. My kingdom for a plot!  Desperate, I turned to my old beta reader and plotter extraordinaire.  She can reel off a plot in less than 2 minutes without thinking hard. Look, she said. Think about a goal, create obstacles to accomplishing that goal, and then find the solutions to those obstacles. Easy peasy!  Okaaay.

For the conclusion of my series on fanfic writing, I wrote a standalone scene. If you read the Foolish Friday Fan fic post last week, then you know what one I mean.  Since I usually don’t care for scenes without plots, I wanted to write a story around it. Hence, my story for NaNoWriMo was born. So on the 6th day, I sat down to write and instantly stalled. What was my first sentence? Where was this story starting? No problem, the NaNoWriMo forums had openers you could adopt and take home.  So I adopted one. It turned out to be not everything I wanted but it did help jumpstart the opening paragraph.

Over two days, I pounded out over 8,000 words, no mean feat with a short attention span right now.  I spent 70% of the time daydreaming and 30% actually typing.  It gave me a taste of how things can be when Winston finally comes to heel.  I concocted a semblance of a plot, wrote in the standalone scene and sat back.  The result was – a lot of words.  Seriously, the result was an uneven story, but a real recognizable story nevertheless.  Since the goal requires I keep going, there isn’t much time for polishing the rough edges.  The chance of reaching 50,000 words is nil; I will be happy to hit 25,000.  I’ve never written a 25,000 word story in my life.  So I’m certain to finish the month with a sense of having chipped away a bit at my writer’s block.  Another mark for creativity, yes!


Why RA?: Part 3 – We’re Moving On Up

[I’m telling this story because it represents my background in fandom spanning a period of almost 20 years.  All observations and opinions stated are mine alone. This post has been months in the making because it’s been so difficult to articulate and pen.   It’s important to know this background so Dear Reader can understand upon what basis I attempt to answer the question of various bloggers in Armitage World: Why Richard Armitage?  This series will be posted sporadically as my thoughts gel.  Here are Part 1 and Part 2.]

In early 1998, we learned that Mr. Crush would be appearing in play staged in a small experimental theater.  British members formed an advance team and attended an early performance.  They approached him and told him about our club.  He was friendly and shared a drink with them.  After much brouhaha, 13 of us from the US, Canada and UK journeyed to London to see the play on 8 days notice.  If you can imagine the logistics of the situation, it was an exciting but crazy thing to do.  The play was indeed in a small venue.  I sat in the first row; I could have tripped him had I stuck out my foot.  The intimacy of the theater coupled with it being over a bar helped in arranging a meeting between Mr. Crush and us.  By that time, he knew we were an older mature bunch who would be respectful and polite.  He was flummoxed we would fly across the pond to see him and was quite gracious in spending the rest of the evening with us.  It was a lovely experience plus we got to meet each other, many for the first time.

The high continued upon our return.  Mr. Crush’s wife acted as intermediary with designated members and were eventually recognized as an official fan club. List mom set up a website.  The group continued to grow.  More fanfic and art poured forth on our mailing list.  (The contained aspect of the list made it quite nurturing, something I’ll discuss in another post.)  Over the next several years, a few of us journeyed to see him again in a bigger production, and a film premiere in Toronto.  We also organized a mini two day convention for ourselves also  in Toronto.  A small contingent began a yearly tradition of attending the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario.  A few formed close friendships had get-togethers in different cities.  In 1999, I averaged a trip every other month.

That’s not to say things were perfect in the club.  Periodically we had interesting types join who did not fit in with the club’s laid back approach and they eventually had to be eased out.  We had flame wars break about about twice a year usually during the heat of summer or the dead of winter precipitated by personal issues which List Mom decisively doused.  We had personal crises with appeals and fundraisers for very serious situations.  Overall, it was a pretty cohesive group within.  Then problems started without.

NEXT: All good things must come to an end

Fantasy Poll Results – Who You Gonna Call?

The poll results are in.  I asked you to have fun with it, and 72 comments later you certainly did, so much so it gave Servetus nightmares.  In a landslide victory, heavyweight Richard Armitage beat poor David Tennant.  Interestingly, three people think my meds are too strong; one considered it all a trap, maybe for the men with the white jacket; three were terribly objective; four like blood and gore; two had caveats; and nobody thought it was a draw.  I suspect the rest of you were simply biased.  I’m shocked, I tell you.

So tell me, if you were offered the dream fantasy job to be RA’s assistant, for what reason would you NOT go?



Serene Sunday – Rejoice in the Sun

The film Silent Running, produced in 1972, impressed me as a child.  The movie depicted a future in which all planet life had become extinct. The remaining was saved and maintained in greenhouse-like geodesic domes orbiting in space for eventual reforestation of Earth.  It followed the actions of a scientist, who fought to maintain the forestry against callous corporate interests, accompanied by his robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie.  Joan Baez sings Rejoice in the Sun, a lovely, simple, but haunting melody of what it might happen on Earth if we don’t pay attention.  This movie is a stirring cautionary tale I highly recommend.


Joan Baez ‘Rejoice in the Sun’ – Silent Running

Her performance with the footage from the 1972 motion Picture ‘Silent Running’ Fields of children running wild in the sun Like a forest is your child growing wild in the sun Doomed in his innocence in the sun Gather your children to your side in the sun Tell them all they love will die, Tell them why in the sun Tell them it’s not too late Cultivate one by one Tell them to harvest and rejoice in the sun


Fields of children running wild in the sun
Like a forest is your child growing wild in the sun
Doomed in his innocence in the sun

Gather your children to your side in the sun
Tell them all they love will die,
Tell them why in the sun

Tell them it’s not too late
Cultivate one by one
Tell them to harvest and rejoice in the sun


Surreal Saturday – Expialidocious

I’m going to ruin your childhood because that’s what I *do.*

I’ve become fascinated with auto-tune remixes and came across this one based on Disney’s Mary Poppins.  Since I never cared for Mary Poppins and like this version better, this rendition seems a good way to introduce auto tune remixes to those of you unfamiliar with it.



Remix of Mary Poppins (1964) Spotify: Bandcamp: SoundCloud: Twitter: Contact:



In Honor of Veteran’s Day – In Flanders Fields

A friend posted the following poem on a mailing list.  I’ve seen it many times and it’s never failed to move me.  It really says it all.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt Col John McCrae (1852-1918)
Canadian Army