Fanatical teenyboppers through the ages

12 Apr


Old Blue Eyes





In the 40s it was Frank Sinatra.




Beatle Mania






In the 60s it was The Beatles.




I woke up in love this morning






In the 70s it was David Cassidy.




Check the hair






In the 80s it was Jon Bon Jovi.




I kissed his poster







In the 90s it was Hanson… specifically Taylor.



The Biebs






And now… well, you know.





What do these riot-causers have in common? Besides causing young girls to have completely irrational daydreams of marrying them, causing young girls to hyperventilate, and even causing them to faint.

The thing they have in common is the plastering of their faces on the pages of Tiger Beat, the magazine founded in 1965 by Charles Laufer, who just passed away. Okay… Frank Sinatra was too early for it, but I just love the term for his teenybopper followers: bobby sox.

I was no exception to the phenomenon of fanatical tween devotion to oh-so-cute famous boys: I really did kiss my Taylor Hanson poster(s).

Pocket squares and bow ties

12 Apr

Cary Grant, of course.

There is a whimsical, entrancing world that I am often drawn into. It is full of clothes and accessories and materials and fashions – peep-toes, strands of pearls, floral patterns and shirt dresses. NO! I’m talking about suit jackets, ties, flannel, and white button-downs cuffed at the elbow. Yes, I’m talking about men’s fashion.

I am a girl. I like dressing like a girl. But I think men’s style is indcredibly interesting and exciting. It is a strange addiction.

Exhibit A: I peruse Esquire and GQ online. I always feel quite odd when I go to these sites because I have to bypass the photos of Minka Kelly and Christina Hendricks,with headlines suggesting who-knows-what about unmentionable things. But these sites have how-to’s like The Well-Dressed Rebel (a guide to breaking the rules), and How to Wear Jeans. Not stuff I need to know, but still.

Exhibit B: GQ has a section called “Style Icons,” and created a fashion tribute to Paul Newman. Who do classically stylish women have to imitate, seriously? There are few ladies who were really bold and original in their time, I feel like.

Exhibit C: Bow ties and suspenders, yes please. The ties are great tied or untied… see photo of the lovely John Krasinski.

Exhibit D: Men’s runway fashion, much like women’s is weird. There is plenty of weird clothes out there.  And male models (again, much like female ones) freak me out. And STILL it’s fascinating! To keep things humorous, though, here’s a how-to-turn-your-boyfriend-into-someone-else-with-clothes blog.


April: For abused children and survivors of sexual assault

31 Mar

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It is also Child Abuse Prevention Month. These are two huge, serious problems to recognize in 30 days! Let’s look at some stats.

Child abuse:

Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. Most are under the age of 4.

90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator; 68% are abused by family members

Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy

Neglect comprises 60% of child abuse; 11% is physical.

Here’s more info.

Sexual assault:

Roughly 75% of sexual assault victims know their perpetrator

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime

Sexual assault takes many forms—it is any unwanted sexual contact, including rape or attempted rape

1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in his lifetime

Sexual assault is hugely under-reported; it is also seldom falsely reported – 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police

Only about 6% of rapists ever spend a day in jail

Here’s more info


Cures for the hopeless romantic

21 Mar

This is a serious condition. It is not gender specific. Most movies and music exacerbate it. It is long-term. And let’s be honest… it can’t actually BE cured, despite the title. So let’s talk about managing it.

Strategy #1: Never watch romantic comedies or romantic dramas. A lot of men do this anyway, and I know some women who don’t let a romance movie come near them. Also, cut all sappy, sentimental, lovey-dovey, heartbreaking, and otherwise emotional music out of your playlist. Discover instrumental jazz or offensive rap… anything but the hopeless romantic stuff. In fact, you might want to just fill your MP3 player with audio books in genres like thriller, war history, and political commentary.

To your nonsensical heartfelt sensibilities, that’s the equivalent of a cold shower.

Strategy #2: Develop a healthy dislike for the gender of your affections. Read about psycho, needy women or lazy mama’s boys. Ask your friends about their worst significant others, with all the depressing details. Watch bad reality TV and get disgusted by how awful people are treating each other.

Strategy #3: Do like nuns and monks – devote yourself entirely to a goal or pursuit, discarding all romance and intimacy – temporarily. Take six months, a year, or however long to learn how to do something well. Be single-minded. Be devout. Will the hopelessness away. Maybe you’ll get cured.

Strategy #4: Put yourself out there a ton. Chances are, you’ll either get rejected/dumped a lot, or you’ll find The One. If the former happens, you’ll develop a useful cynicism, beneficial to the goal of eradicating your hopelessly romantic tendencies. If the latter happens, congrats.

Whether or not you’re more traditional about love, good luck to you.

How to improve your mood

18 Mar

What’s your dilemma?

If you feel down and want to laugh at silly and inappropriate things:

  • Zach Galifianakis as talk show host on Between Two Ferns. His interview with Steve Carell is my favorite.

If you feel sorry for yourself and overwhelmed by your troubles:

  • The Real Full House : a blog written by a dad and uncle, raising three girls after the death of their mother. By that description you’d think it would worsen your mood, but personally, it warms my heart and they are quite hilarious writers. Talk about a good paradigm shift to stop being woe-is-me.

If you feel hopeless about romance and like you might give up on love:

  • 271 letters of correspondence between a husband and wife while he was overseas during WWII. Possibly the most real-life, lovey things ever written.

If you are feeling confused and bitter about faith and Christianity:

  • CS Lewis on Twitter
  • Sojourners – A progressive Christian organization all about social justice
  • Lord, Save Us From Your Followers – A documentary. It’s on Netflix instant play, or there are clips on the website.
  • The Broken Bread, my friend Troy’s blog, will help restore you, give you food for thought, and might spur some interesting questions and/or comments that you can outlet
  • Go straight to the source. Read and study the Bible.

If you are a guy feeling bad about your lack of DIY skills:

You feel like you should be more philanthropic with your money:

  • Look for a charity or nonprofit on GuideStar or Charity Navigator to help out with your cash. Find a cause you care about, or explore to find one.

You feel like a dunce:

More to come later. Send your suggestions.

Favorite Words

17 Mar

“What’s your favorite word?”


A dull, number-crunching IRS agent’s favorite word would obviously be integer.

However, once Harold Crick had his revelation and began to, as numerous punk-rock songs urged him, “live his life,” maybe his favorite word changed to tubular or righteous. Or serendipitous, sublime, succulent.

I love the movie Stranger Than Fiction, but I digress. The original question still stands: What is your favorite word?

The words on my favorite list come and go, but here are some current ones:


Sometimes it’s not even the word itself, but more how someone says it. For instance, Audrey Hepburn somehow made every word she said sound distinguished. I think I still love souffle because of how she said it in Sabrina (1954). Better to slave over a souffle than move to Butte!

The legacy of a WWII vet

16 Mar

If you want this story or any excerpts, please leave a comment at the bottom with an email address, and I will respond. All research and writing is mine.


Thomas “Sug” Collins returned from service in World War II’s European Theater and lived 66 quiet years in Laramie. He stayed in the first and only house he and his wife ever bought; where he fathered their four daughters and welcomed their eight grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren. Sug – short for sugar, short for “Little Sugar” – was a nickname he grudgingly endured from his older brothers as a kid, but a name he later kept and answered to from most everyone he ever knew.

Sug died at 89 on October 22, 2008.

His story was not formally published or widely known of. In fact, only a handful of people outside his family knew the details of his service. He was interested in living life, not on dropping his own name and letting his part in the war be known.

Though he fought with individual heroism, his story blends with the great number of deeds and sacrifices given by the myriad of WWII fighters. The collection of selfless actions provokes solemn awe in those dwindling members of the current generation who appreciate it. Instead of remaining disconnected, those few fix a purposeful gaze on the smooth, white marble of a cross or Star of David, or any marker on the grave of a veteran, and feel their chest tighten slightly in a sweep of speechless gratitude.

Photo: Mine. Taken in Luxembourg.

Maybe one day, a young person will stand before Sug’s headstone and be humbled that a WWII soldier lived through battle and many decades longer. But on October 29, Sug’s funeral didn’t stop traffic or merit a moment of silence. His was one of two military honors burials that week.

There was, though, a small group of young adults present, outside his family, who cared. Sug was buried amid the respectful formality and tradition of military honors drills by Air National Guardsman.

Precision in a step, a salute, a rifle volley: the marks of a military honors funeral. With the number of WWII, Korea and Vietnam veterans who die each day, some servicemembers report for duty at a cemetery. About 686,000 veterans died in 2007. The number of funerals near larger populations can be between seven and thirty daily.

Two National Guardsmen, along with American Legion and VFW members stood for the noon funeral. Sug’s family was there: his wife, Mildred, and his daughters, from youngest to oldest: Sally, Karen, Janet and Jeannie.

The honor guard presented Sug’s widow with a folded flag. They had been married for 63 years, 2 months and 28 days.

The four daughters said the service was sad, touching, lovely and respectful. It made them proud. “He very well deserved it,” Jeannie said of her father.

The women describe their father as strong and steady – a man who didn’t get shaken up easily. During the tornado that roughed Laramie up a bit in the spring, Sug sat square in the living room and didn’t worry about it. If it’s going to hit, it will hit.

They say skin color and class didn’t exist in their father’s eyes. He was very conservative. He hunted, but only for the meat and never for the trophy. As parents, community members and surrogate parents to local children in need of care, the four women describe both their mother and father as goodhearted people who didn’t expect anything in return.

Sug’s family plucks his story from the mass of war stories. By the way they describe him in soft, loving tones, he was a great man in each of their lives.

A few years after Sug graduated from Laramie High School he was drafted into the Air Force, then the Army Air Force. It was April 1, 1942. Not even four months after the Pearl Harbor attack, he was in training to be a ball turret gunner: manning a gun in the rotating ball underneath B-17 aircraft. He was supposed to protect the vulnerable belly of the plane, and it was one of the most dangerous jobs.

He was sent overseas, stationed in England in late 1943. He flew 25 missions in five months. One mission showed the gut of Sug’s character: the co-pilot was shot, and all the crew jumped in panic. Sug stayed. He helped the pilot land the burning plane.

After those missions, he came home.

Sug was a true war hero when he was honorably discharged from the Army Air Force and then the reserves three years after he returned home. For his brave actions in the war his uniform was decorated with pins and ribbons, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Oak Leaf Cluster.

Though Mildred couldn’t remember the dates right away, she and Sug met the year he returned home and were married on July 27, 1945. “Sixty-three years is a long time to think back!” she said.

Mildred knew Sug’s parents before she ever saw him. During his time overseas, Mildred first got a job helping his mother on their Colorado ranch. After that she went to visit her sister in Washington state, not expecting to stay long. Mildred was supposed to return home for school, but instead she got a job working on war ships.

She laughed at the thought of being one of WWII’s Rosie the Riveters. “I was young then; it didn’t seem like hard work,” she said.

She and Sug wrote letters over the months. She said he asked for cookies and wrote nice, interesting letters. So when he returned home they weren’t strangers; although their first meeting wasn’t exactly love at first sight.

Sug was in Ault, Colorado at a roadside bar where one of his brothers worked. Mildred was with friends outside. When Sug came out of the bar, she figured he was drunk and didn’t pay much attention to him.

They still got together. Sug was stationed in Colorado Springs at Peterson Air Field for the remainder of his service as a reservist. He didn’t have a car, so he would take Greyhound to visit Mildred.

She said they never had a real date until after they married, and that when he proposed he gave her a pin of wings instead of an engagement ring.

She never finished school. “All my schooling I got from Sug. He taught me a lot,” she said.

Mildred and Sug bought that one-story house in Laramie with the paychecks Sug had sent home to his mother, and which his mother gave back to the new couple. With the four girls they had there, two more rooms were added on to the house.

“I was [Sug’s] eyes, and he was my legs; so we got along pretty good,” Mildred said of growing old with Sug.

Sug lived in the house which used to stand alone on the edge of prairie land. As West Laramie built up around him, Sug stayed Sug. For his family, his memory is solid and consistent. He was a good man who fought good in the war and lived good afterwards.

The only photo found from Sug’s war service shows a crew of 10 men sitting and kneeling in front of a B-17 painted with a nude woman holding a peace sign and sitting on a bomb. Sug stands on the left, the shortest of the six men standing, with eyes shadowed by bright sunlight. He is smiling.

Words that resonate daily

15 Mar

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be.
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.


14 Mar

I’m trying to get Basie’s Boots indexed on Technorati!

This site is the leading online blog directory. I first learned about it in the same college communications class that inspired me to begin blogging in the first place.

Hoping they accept me!



11 Mar

I once heard Audrey Hepburn described as “the perfect woman.” I tend to agree. What didn’t she do?

-she danced
-she was an award-winning actress
-she sang
-her children speak well of their mother
-she was a humanitarian
-she was humbly beautiful
-she was both sweet and strong
-her speaking brought out the beauty in French and English alike
-she starred opposite  Hollywood’s great leading men of the era
-she was a style icon

Though it’s difficult to pick a favorite, I love the movie Charade (1963) [spoiler], in which she stars with the dashing Cary Grant. Of course Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, The Nun’s Story, Wait Until Dark, The Children’s Hour, Paris When it Sizzles, My Fair Lady, and How to Steal a Million are all fabulous. I have yet to see others like War and Peace and Love in the Afternoon.

I could go on!

This poem is supposedly not, as was rumored, about Audrey Hepburn. But it could be:

Time Tested Beauty Tips 

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.
Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

*Poem: Sam Levenson