Monday, 31 August 2009

Alexandra of Denmark

Queen consort to Britain's King Edward VII. I have always though that she had the potential to be a great beauty, but she rarely looks happy.

1863 Wedding Photograph

1870 King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, George V, Victoria, Louise, Albert Victor
(I have also always thought that 1860s fashion looked much better on her than 1880s and 90s. Sure, she has a GORGEOUS figure, but I think it made her look less human)

1867 Princess Alexandra with her daughter, Princess Louise
(This is my absolute FAVORITE picture of her)

1879 with five of her six children

1893 Queen Alexandra with Queen Louise and the Duchess of Fife

1898 with Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia (her sister)

See, some people in that family like cats.

Playing cards with her father, King Christian IX Denmark, and sister, Empress Marie of Russia and Princess Thyra

1910 aged 66

Tea of the Day!

Gunpowder Green Tea (Wellcat): 3.5/5
"A Truly mellow and refined tea"

Tastes like Green tea. It's very smooth, in that it is not grainy, like Korean Green teas tend to be. I dont really know what else to say about this one, except that it is much better than green tea from a bag. And, as you will read below, it comes in tiny pellets, which is kind of cool looking.

Extra: Green Tea
Green teas hint at the freshness of newly plucked leaves, retaining their original chraacter because they do not undergo oxidation. As soon as the leaves are picked, they are steamed or pan-fired, which destroys the enzymes that allow oxidation. They are next rolled or twisted into different shapes: for example, Dragon's Well has flat leaves, pi lo chun is spiral, gyokuru (Pearl Dew) looks like pine needles, Gunpowder is formed into tiny balls, and Celestial Peach Ball is rolled into a larger sphere that resembles a peach. Finally, the leaves are fired to further dry them.
Most green tea is produced in China, Taiwan, Japan, and India. It is ubiquitous in China, although only about 20 percent of tea drinkers consume it worldwide. A powdered version of green tea, matcha, is used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Japan also produces gen mai cha, a mixture of green tea and toasted rice. To preserve its distinctive flavor, green tea shoulc be made with water heated until just before boiling.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Beginning of the End

So, as most of you know this is my very last week in Englandworld! *sadface* So, as a farewell tribute to my temporarily adopted country (and to make James happy), I give you a week of monarchs! (Well, Queens, anyway.) And where else to start but with the Longest Reigning British Monarch Of All Time:

1887 Golden Jubilee Portrait

1844 with Princess Vicky (supposedly the oldest known photograph of Her Majesty)

1852 with Princesses Helena and Louise (she really was tiny!)

1854 Victoria and Prince Albert (some sources say a re-creation of their wedding, as photography wasn't exactly the thing in 1840) I'm amused at how their photographs together are always so sterile (the opposite of paintings). Here, V looks lovingly at Albert who seems to be commenting on the amount of dust on the table!

1857 Queen V and her daughter, Vicky

1861 Victoria and Albert (the year he died *sadface*) Another stellar example of a loving couple looking like two strangers at a bus stop.

1870s I find this one funny because I really don't see Her Majesty doing anything so menial in her spare time.

1890 Queen Vicky looking like a very huggable grandma

1897 Diamond Jubilee Portrait

1898 With her grandchildren Edward, George, and Mary

Apparently she even smiled on occasion:

Friday, 28 August 2009

The Little Tramp

Who's that handsome, clean-shaven man? Why, it's Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin! (Yeah, I didn't know he was a Knight either) And no, that's not pre-mustache, it was a fake! Part of his 'Little Tramp' costume that was his character in most of his movies which he put together out of different bits from other people's costumes, only his cane was his own- the original mustache was paper-mache! Like Mary and Lillian, Charlie Chaplin was born into a family of English stage entertainers and was 25 before he started working in the movies and the Little Tramp character appeared for the first time in his second. Within one year of working in the movies Chaplin's salary skyrocketed from $150 a week to $1,250 a week! Though it is said that even once he became a millionaire he continued to live in a shoddy hotel room (he did finally get himself a mansion in Beverly Hills near Mary and Douglas Fairbanks's place- Pickfair, complete with tennis courts!) Within five years he joined with Mary, Doug, and Griffith to form the United Artists company. He was just as happy to write, film, and compose for his films as act in them!

At the first Academy Awards in 1929 Chaplin won an award "for versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing" the film The Circuis. He returned in 1972 to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award. I have never seen a full Chaplin movie, but I did see quite a bit of 'Modern Times' (I was in the video room watching a fairly boring Griffith short film and the guy next to me was watching Chaplin- guess which film had both of our attentions?)


1914 Makin' A Living, Chaplin's Film Debut

1915 Burlesque on Carmen with Edna Purviance

1919 Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith

1919 Signing the contract to establish United Artists

1921 The Kid with Jackie Coogan

1931 City Lights with Virginia Cherrill

1936 Modern Times

With Mary Pickford on Douglas Fairbanks

All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.

Tea of the Day!

Blueberry and Apple (Twinings): 2.5/5

Blueberry and Apple? That sounds like a promising combination. But, of course, it's an herbal tea. And what is the main ingredient in most herbal teas? HIBISCUS. What did my Apple and Blueberry tea taste like? HIBISCUS. Really, it's not a bad tea. It just has no resemblance to anything remotely either Blueberry or Apple. Which makes me sad...

Extra: Tea flavor is affected by a crop's duration in a certain field - first generation harvests are distinct in aroma and texture from second generation harvests. Selective growers will retire fields for a time to allow them to regenerate for future crops.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

America's Other Sweetheart

Lillian Gish started making movies a few years after Mary Pickford, but both had started out on the stage. The girls were childhood friends, but Mary was terrified to be left alone with Lillian, her mother had told her that 'the good die young'. Mary was afraid that Lillian would drop dead at any moment. In Mary's old age, Lillian became one of the few people who Mary would speak to in person. Lillian would eventually become the star of an enormous portion of D.W. Griffith's short and feature films - her most famous being Birth of a Nation. I was lucky enough to take a Griffith film class - basically a Lillian Gish fest. She was a phenomenal actress, but would never have made it in today's movies. Lillian acted with her face. Though she did make several forays into the world of talkies (I saw one of them as well- it was even in color) her voice was high and squeaky, and she was not terribly graceful on her feet. It was her expressions and smaller movements that really took to the screen. She frequently played the part of the innocent little girl. In Broken Blossoms, probably my favorite of her movies, she was given the part of the lead who, in the novel was 12. Lillian was 27. Griffith assured her that it would be all right, they were raising the girl's age to 15 so it would be more believable. Believe it or not, it was.

Lillian's decline came with the rising popularity of the flappers and the jazz babies. She was dropped from her MGM contract as a 'sexless antique' to be replaced by Greta Garbo. The same Greta Garbo who was required to be present every day of Lillian's filming of The Scarlet Letter as part of her acting apprenticeship.

1921 Orphans of the Storm with sister Dorothy

1920 Way Down East (pretty much Tess of the D'Urburvilles)

Mrs. Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish

1928 The Wind


Those little virgins, after five minutes you got sick of playing them
- to make them more interesting was hard work.

I can't remember a time when I wasn't acting,
so I can't imagine what I would do if I stopped now.

I never approved of talkies. Silent movies were well on their way to developing an entirely new art form. It was not just pantomine, but something wonderfully expressive.

I've never been in style, so I can't go out of style.

P.S. I'm still taking requests for Saturday's post!

Tea of the Day!

Raspberry Echinacea Tea (Twinings): 4/5

So I bought a box of interesting flavored teas (clearly). I was a little skeptical about the fact that the first ingredient in all of them is Hibiscus flowers. That makes things tend to all taste the same. But my congestion demanded something, so I had to oblige somehow.

This one tastes like Honeysuckle! You know how you can get that itty bitty drop of nectar that can be gotten from a Honeysuckle flower? Imagine a nice hot cup of that! That's really all that can be said of it. The aftertaste is pretty full of Hibiscus flowers, but if you're looking for something new and different, I definitely Recommend it.

Extra: "In the taste of a single cup of tea you will eventually discover the truth of all the ten thousand forms in the universe." - Attributed to the Venerable Kyongbon Sunim, Ch'an (Zen) Master

Monday, 24 August 2009

The Girl With The Curls

Well, since NO ONE gave me any requests for film stars about which I should post, I'll just have to come up with my own. So to start with, I bring you Mary Pickford. Born Gladys Marie Smith, Mary was America's first sweetheart, a Silent film Actress (making up to 48 films a year (they were shorter then)), Co-founder of the original United Artists film company (along with her then husband, Douglas Fairbanks, the director D.W. Griffith, and Charlie Chaplin), one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the first actress to have her name in marquee lights. Sadly, I've only ever seen one of her films, and it was a very poorly preserved one.


1819 with Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin

1925 with Douglas Fairbanks

1926 film Sparrows

1929 with her Oscar for Coquette

1918 in How Could You, Jean?

'The little girl made me. I wasn't waiting for the little girl to kill me.'

'We were pioneers in a brand-new medium. Everything's fun when you're young.'

Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter. What do people want to go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise . . . I am a servant of the people.
I have never forgotten that.

'Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo.'