In Memory of Queen Fabiola of Belgium (1928-2014)

One year ago, Her Majesty, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, died.  Her death, while anticipated due to continuing health problems associated with age, left a loss that still feels painful for Belgium, even after a full year. Yet, for the people of Belgium, this was a life to celebrate, not in the partying sense, but with a feeling a gratitude, grateful that this woman who came from Spain would step up to the plate, and serve her adopted country & leave the world a better place. She did that, and did it well.

MARRIAGE OF KING BAUDOUIN TO FABIOLA de MORA y ARAGON
15 December 1960–Cathedral of St. Michael & St. Gudula

It was a Royal Marriage that would last until the unexpected death of the King in 1993. From images we see via the Internet, they seemed to be always in support of one another. Never did I read of any discontent. Instead, they seemed made for each other in a way that is almost beyond contemporary understanding. My interest in Belgium & their Royal Family has been long-term, and it is my hope that this simple tribute, in words & visuals, demonstrates the positive impact that this woman from Spain had on many lives.

She was born in Madrid, 11 June 1928, in the Palacio Zurbano. She was no stranger to being high born. Yet, from her earliest days, she seemed to have a strong instinct to provide care for others, eventually entering training to become a nurse.

The ironic sadness was that she could not have children of her own. After 5 miscarriages, it became clear that the Throne of Belgium would pass to the King’s younger brother & his wife, Prince Albert & Princess Paola.

HERE WE SEE SCENES OF THEM FULFILLING PUBLIC DUTIES DURING THEIR TIME TOGETHER AS KING & QUEEN OF BELGIUM

 

After the death of the King, Her Majesty graciously took a more minor role in Royal Duties, in order not to overshadow her Sister-in-Law, the New Queen, Paola.

She quietly came “into her own” despite the “Dowager” status of being a Widowed Queen. She was fun-loving & mixed well with younger people, seeming to gain a strength & energy from them. In her later years, some deranged person posed death threats to Queen Fabiola, stating his intention to kill her with his bow & arrow. In response to the uproar over this, she publicly held up an Apple, in reference to the Legend of William Tell. Her sense of timing was better than his, and she won legions of new fans by this action.

QUEEN FABIOLA, THE FUNNIEST MEMBER OF THE BELGIAN ROYAL FAMILY

As with us all, this thing called life must come to an end. She died @ Stuyvenger Castle, Laeken, Belgium 5 December 2014. Her funeral was attended by people from all over the world. Royal families representing nearly all the remaining Monarchies of Europe were in attendance, except the House of Windsor & the Princely House of Grimaldi. Such absence was inexcusable.

Further Tribute of Funeral of Her Majesty, Queen Fabiola


Lyrics to Traditional Spanish Folk Song

Salve Rociera

Dios te salve María
del Rocío señora,
Luna, Sol, Norte y Guía
y pastora celestial.

Dios te salve María
todo el pueblo te adora
y repite a porfía:
como tú no hay otra igual.

Olé, olé, olé…
al Rocío yo quiero volver
a cantarle a la Virgen con fe
con un
olé, olé, olé…

Dios te salve María
manantial de dulzura,
a tus pies noche y día
te venimos a rezar.

Dios te salve María
un rosal de hermosura
eres tú madre mía
de pureza virginal.

Olé, olé, olé…
al Rocío yo quiero volver
a cantarle a la Virgen con fe
con un
olé, olé, olé…

Olé, olé, olé…
al Rocío yo quiero volver
a cantarle a la Virgen con fe
con un
olé, olé, olé…

TRANSLATION IN ENGLISH…

Hail From The Rocío

Hail Mary,
lady from el Rocío,
Moon, Sun, North and Guide
and celestial pastor.

Hail Mary,
all the people adore you,
and repeat incessantly,
like you there isn’t any other.

Olé, olé, olé…
To el Rocío I want to go back,
to sing to the Virgin with faith
with one
olé, olé, olé…

Hail Mary,
spring of sweetness,
at your feet night and day,
we come to pray to you.

Hail Mary
a rosebush of beauty
you are my mother
of virginal purity.

Olé, olé, olé…
To el Rocío I want to go back,
to sing to the Virgin with faith
with one
olé, olé, olé…

Olé, olé, olé…
To el Rocío I want to go back,
to sing to the Virgin with faith
with one
olé, olé, olé…

To end with these stunning & simple photographic tributes.

May Queen Fabiola, the Queen of all the Belgians, remain in their hearts forever & May she rest in Eternal Peace, Amen.

 

In Memoriam: ROBiN WiLLiAMS 1951–2014

Thank you for blessing us with your talents. Rest In Peace. We shall miss you…

In Memory of Robin Williams-who gave us many facets of the human diamond.  Too soon gone.

In Memory of Robin Williams-who gave us many facets of the human diamond. Too soon gone.

Godzilla Flees San Francisco When He Looks At Apartment Rent Rates!

I met with my (and they keep telling me NOT to make blogging all about me, and I keep doing it anyway!) good friend, Godzilla today. It was utterly impossible to meet & greet & get popcorn @ AMC 1000 Van Ness because he forgot to remind me about Bay To Breakers. When I first got here when Godzilla was in 8th grade, I really & truly thought it was Beta Breakers, a run of drunken college sorority or fraternity people. It took about 10 years for the fog on that issue to lift. Why I am so learning impaired? But Godzilla was fine. He really able to sink his teeth in his latest film role. I just wanted so much to act right along side him, maybe a reptile animal trainer, or a Catholic priest in a straight jacket, trying to give Last Rites to all the dying people.

My poor friend had to contend with these two antecedents of giant, meat-eating, pesky pigeons that had plans on getting first dibs on all the water-front apartments & penthouses with great views. That got all messed up due to their size. They just won’t fit into Million Dollar 700 Square Foot condominiums, the way humans clamour to do around here.

Nope, it was a bit chaotic. The big birds fouled things up for everyone, but the music that was generated by the reptile rebellion was terrific. You can tear up San Francisco, you can earthquake it, and have over-sized lizards come & act out their nuclear waste binge eating, but you can’t close a film made here without some ambiguity & uplift-and that’s just what happened.

Go see this—and believe it! It will happen. There is a reference, belated, to the reason for Godzilla’s coming to life. That reason is because things are out of balance. Too many cell phones being stared at for too long will bring giant reptiles out of the woodwork, out of the strip mines, and they will probably come out from recycling centers. In the case of Godzilla: 2014–what came from Las Vegas did NOT stay in Los Vegas, or Honolulu, or even Paris. Towards the end, we all became one with Detroit, the Godzilla of Cities.

You Tube Trailer of Godzilla: 2014
“You’re hiding something out there…and it’s going to send us back to the Stone Age…”

“Please stand by.” The cameraman always has the last laugh.

You Tube Trailer of Godzilla: 1998
As things turned out, content mattered more than size. But it was still Godzilla!

You Tube Trailer of Godzilla: 1954/2014 Mashup
Images are from the original with voice-over from 2014 version.

Godzilla thundered on the set, we thought at first this was a film...then, the horror unfolded before our unbelieving eyes.  He had returned & meant business!

Godzilla thundered on the set, we thought at first this was a film…then, the horror unfolded before our unbelieving eyes. He had returned & meant business!


Even baby Peeps were not safe. Were they made from nuclear waste? Were they from Las Vegas? They were so innocent, so cute!

Three little Peep huddle in terror, too little to fly away.  They did not know that Godzilla has a 'thing' about flying creatures.  Poor babies...

Three little Peeps huddle in terror, too little to fly away. They did not know that Godzilla has a ‘thing’ about flying creatures. Poor babies…the 4th one did not make it!

Their baby brother is sadly missed.  You can visit his other family members via Facebook.  They are not big enough to withstand Godzilla!  He just does not take kindly to peeps, human or otherwise.  He rules!

Their baby brother is sadly missed. You can visit his other family members via Facebook. They are not big enough to withstand Godzilla! He just does not take kindly to peeps, human or otherwise. He rules!

You Tube of Death Scene From Godzilla: 1954
The original film has something that the remakes did not quite get: beauty, poetry, sublimity. The original Godzilla leaves the viewer with a sense of pathos & empathy for this wronged creature. The compelling music, and the simple gesture of the woman who removed her hat says it all so perfectly. Her eyes fill with tears…because of loss.
That is the great theme of Godzilla, loss. The first film captures that with a majesty unmatched by the others.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman–Rest In Peace–1967-2014

He had everything an actor could have dreamed of having–and, now, gone–because of drugs & needs that could not be fulfilled, even by such standards of success as a career with few gaps, fame, fortune, and Awards. He was even married with children, but that was not enough. It is a terrible loss & it is sad that peace of heart & mind did not come his direction. We have lost a brilliant actor–and the dreadful irony: Heath Ledger was nominated for the Academy Award that went to Hoffman, and died basically because of the same reasons.

Peace to the family & friends, and professional colleagues of this uniquely gifted man.

YOU TUBE TRIBUTE; PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN 1967–2014

When NOIR is War, Noir is Hell-Post World War II Japan Noir Film Festival 2014

This is the year of Noir International. Eddie Muller, the producer & curator of this increasingly successful genre film festival, featured two films from Post World War II Japan. Both of them were directed by the legendary Akira Kurosawa. There was no clean-up, no tidying of the Post War mess, no candy-coating. The background of black marketing, dysfunctional public heath issues, and lack of basic supplies to support ordinary day-to-day functions are reflected in a pool of stagnant water that becomes a constant & silent reference point in the film DRUNKEN ANGEL.

Eddie Muller, writer, film curator, producer, lecturer, visionary, the man who put Noir on the map, and now has taken the concept to higher levels each year since the Noir Festival started 12 years ago.  January 2014

Eddie Muller, writer, film curator, producer, lecturer, visionary: the man who put Noir on the preservationists/restorationist map, and now has taken the concept to higher & international levels each year since the Noir Festival started 12 years ago. Castro Theatre, San Francisco, January 2014

Takashi Shimura plays an alcoholic physician, who needs to abide by the ancient Western proverb of “Physician heal thyself.” His bedside manner is as atrocious as the background in which he must do his best to patch together the broken people of his broken country. Despite his appearance & mannerisms, he is the Angel of Life, trying to bring life to those who are pretty, but in worse physical & emotional condition than he is. Toshiro Mifune, is caught up in a chaotic world of crime & avarice, soon to be doomed by his inability to follow doctors orders & treat his tuberculosis appropriately. Instead, he drinks, smokes, and slugs his way through an underground culture in order to ‘save face’ and prove his worth. It was a struggle from which he could not emerge victorious–and we see the loss of potential, the potential that Japan so much-needed, go to waste, as he throws his life way in the sludge that had, at that time, become the world of a defeated nation.

YOU TUBE DOUBLE OF DRUNKEN ANGEL:Film 1948 & Song by Lucinda Williams from Car Wheels On A Gravel Road 1998

Stray Dog, 1949-also directed by Akira Kurosawa & Starring Toshiro Mifune.

This film is more closely associated with & influenced by the American Noir experience. The emphasis is less upon the Post War infrastructure, and more upon a rookie cop who has had his gun pickpocketed while on public transit. In that respect, those from New York & San Francisco can more easily relate to the overcrowded conditions & the ‘cell mates’ with which we must endure in close quarters on a daily basis. In keeping with Noir, the rookie cop goes on a search for the person who lifted his heater, only to unintentionally go deeper & deeper into an underground cesspool of crime, vice, passion, and vengeance. The gun in question has recently begged re-examination of the issue/question of do guns kill people or do people use guns to kill people? It’s clear that our love affair with Noir embraces guns, but do we want guns to embrace us? (Remember: “It’s a bitter, little world.”)!
Let’s ask the National Rifle Association to embrace Columbine & ask the perennial question: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Depart from the Film & Listen to Petula Clark, then continue…

YOU TUBE MONTAGE FROM STRAY DOG-edited for horror mode-1949

A Doll Named YaYa!-Corn Gourd Doll by M. Miller

For Christmas, a new household member, YaYa, the doll that belonged to the late Princess Antoinette Bonaparte, arrived. She had been missing since the 911 call went out, and later, the Princess was found, her lifeless body providing no clue as to who had done her such harm.

But YaYa is back with us, now. A testimony of the love we all felt for Princess Antoinette, a symbol of the future. YaYa will greet all who gather here.

THE TRAGIC FUNERAL OF PRINCESS ANTOINETTE BONAPARTE EARLIER THIS
YEAR

And now, her beloved YaYa, has been returned–a silent witness to the Memory of Princess Antoinette, whose voice has been forever silenced, but never forgotten.

YaYa, the beloved doll of the brutally murdered Princess Antoinette Bonaparte.  YaYa remains the only witness to what happened to the beloved Antoinette. YaYa will be here to greet everyone with joy & hope for all time.

YaYa, the beloved doll of the brutally murdered Princess Antoinette Bonaparte. YaYa remains the only witness to what happened to the beloved Antoinette. YaYa will be here to greet everyone with joy & hope for all time.

The Futility of the Feud-Au revoir, Joan Fontaine…

In the end, it comes down to the same thing for each & every one of us, a final curtain, a fade-out. If we are lucky, someone will miss us, and there will be a rolling out of credits, either as a memorial or funeral or some type of gathering of family & friends.

While I was not in the company of either Joan Fontaine or her sister, Olivia de Haviland, I do understand the lasting confusion of two sisters who became estranged & would not speak nor visit with each other. They were not glamorous nor famous. But they were sisters, our mother, Betty, and her sister, our Aunt Mary Louise. Sibling rivalry, going back as far as their early childhood never ended, till that sad March day in 1996, when one of my cousins called me to let me know that her mother (the eldest) was no more of this earth. No one wept nor grieved more profoundly than did my mother, who would fade away not too long afterwards, due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease. The day after my Aunt’s funeral, I can still remember my mother, tearfully saying to me, “I can’t stand to think of my sister’s body out there underneath all this awful snow.” The pain of the separation was simply expressed in that statement, but the lost years could not be brought back. They both missed out on so very much.

If I could write a letter to Olivia de Haviland, it would simply be to say, “Let it go. Embrace her children, her grandchildren, her legacy, for the rest of your days. Let the wounds heal. You both got to live out many of your dreams, and left superb legacies in the process. It does not get better than that.”

For me, going back to attempt to visit with my mother & fit it a visit with my Aunt (and I adored them both, in different ways) was like attempting to deal with a divorce. Yes, it does seem that sisters can divorce, but the trade-off is just not something that I would advise, nor wish on anyone.

I always thought it was because they were so much alike…but will never really know.

May this visual tribute to Joan Fontaine inspire those who have estranged family members to come together, celebrate what you have in common, and let the stuff that is not important go.

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