the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

Month: October, 2007

music from a mother’s memory

(thanks to naik fur for introducing clara rockmore to us) 

Le Cygne is the thirteenth movement of The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.  

based on the poem by alfred lord tennyson

The Dying Swan


The plain was grassy, wild and bare,
Wide, wild, and open to the air,
Which had built up everywhere
An under-roof of doleful gray.
With an inner voice the river ran,
Adown it floated a dying swan,
And loudly did lament.
It was the middle of the day.
Ever the weary wind went on,
And took the reed-tops as it went.


Some blue peaks in the distance rose,
And white against the cold-white sky,
Shone out their crowning snows.
One willow over the river wept,
And shook the wave as the wind did sigh;
Above in the wind was the swallow,
Chasing itself at its own wild will,
And far thro’ the marish green and still
The tangled water-courses slept,
Shot over with purple, and green, and yellow.


The wild swan’s death-hymn took the soul
Of that waste place with joy
Hidden in sorrow: at first to the ear
The warble was low, and full and clear;
And floating about the under-sky,
Prevailing in weakness, the coronach stole
Sometimes afar, and sometimes anear;
But anon her awful jubilant voice,
With a music strange and manifold,
Flow’d forth on a carol free and bold;
As when a mighty people rejoice
With shawms, and with cymbals, and harps of gold,
And the tumult of their acclaim is roll’d
Thro’ the open gates of the city afar,
To the shepherd who watcheth the evening star.
And the creeping mosses and clambering weeds,
And the willow-branches hoar and dank,
And the wavy swell of the soughing reeds,
And the wave-worn horns of the echoing bank,
And the silvery marish-flowers that throng
The desolate creeks and pools among,
Were flooded over with eddying song.


a little scandalouse


somehow asian women smoking is so risque.

we like!

snippets as the result of blog surfing

found apart by lowry’s at bored and beautiful

found here. digging tucked in tops.


and i just couldn’t resist.

touching reality

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Again we’ll need bridges
and new railway stations.

Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass which has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out,
blade of grass in his mouth,
gazing at the clouds.

by Wislawa Szmborska. she died in 2002, at the age of 101.


alexandra boulat died earlier this month. she was 45.

her photographs: here, here, here,

garlic breath is a sign of true love


and there is nothing better than when he kisses you after eating skordalia.

(photo credit: isa b.)


a recipe for a tasty garlic dip. great with pitas and pickles.


  • 1 1/2 pound of potatoes for boiling
  • 6-12 cloves of garlic, minced or grated (to taste)
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of good quality red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of salt


Peel the potatoes and boil in salted water until well done (easily pierced with a fork). mash.

In the blender bowl of the food processor (or with a hand mixer), purée the potatoes and garlic until well mixed, about 30-45 seconds. Still puréeing, slowly add the olive oil and vinegar, alternating between them until the mixture is smooth. Skorthalia should be creamy and thick. If it gets too thick, add a little cold water (not more than 1/4 cup).

Yield: About 2 cups

To prepare by hand

Mash potatoes with garlic. Drizzle in the olive oil and vinegar slowly, alternating between them, mashing well.

Note: Skordalia is a matter of taste. Some prefer a mild garlic taste, while others prefer a strong garlic taste. If the taste is too strong, adjust the quantities of potatoes or bread up a bit. If the taste is not strong enough, increase the garlic.

the snub-nosed one

al-Khansa', al-Funun 2, no. 10 (March 1917)

al-Khansa’, Drawing by Kahlil Gibran, al-Funun 2, no. 10 (March 1917)


The tribes bury infant daughters.
The men believe they bury shame and sorrow,

not flesh and blood. But mothers dig
deepest. Fingers raw, tattooed with dirt,

they plant their daughters like seeds.
Left alive, our girls would grow to grieve

for sons, brothers, husbands,
gone like the few rainy days each year,

their blood carried home
on another man’s robes.

How do we watch them kill
each other? Soon we’ll walk naked,

all our clothes ripped out of grief.
No words left to describe our sorrow.

I’ve spoken them all.
Every death haunts my words

like the spirits that bring madness,
poem after poem leaves my tongue

dry as the brush in the valley.
It’s our boys we should bury:

Bury them now so we won’t love them,
never miss them, never wish we held them tightly

in the darkness beneath. I dig a grave
for words, place them gently inside,

cover them with earth. The dead
need these tokens, reminders that we remain

roots shallow, spread wide, seeking water
wherever it seeps.

(poem by Eman Quotah)


note: Al Khansa is considered by many as the greatest Arab poetess of all times, renowned for her eloquence and outspoken courage, and she remains to this day a legend in Arabic literary annals. She was born in 575 AD, to a father who was the chieftain of his tribe, Bani Sulaym, and all circumstances in her youth were preparing her to become a great poetess. History does not tell us much about her childhood, except that she was nicknamed Al Khansa, which means either the ‘Gazelle’ or the ‘snub-nosed one’ and that she had a very strong personality and presence since her early days.
Al Khansa was so proud of her tribe that she rejected the marriage proposal of a very famous knight, Duraid Bin Al Samma, in favor of a cousin called Rawaha. But this marriage, the fruit of which was one child, did not last long because her husband was addicted to gambling. She remarried another cousin, Murdas Bin Abi Amer, and they had four children.
In her early years, Al Khansa wrote a few lines of poetry every now and then. In fact, most of what she wrote in her youth was lost because nobody at that time cared much about her inherent talent. But what gained her the prestigious status was the profound sorrow and mourning she carried all her life, following the tragic deaths of her two brothers Mu’awia and Sakhr. Both were famous knights who were destined to die in skirmishes with rival tribes. She wrote several poems mourning the death of Mu’awia and inciting Sakhr to avenge his brother. It is clear from her poetry that Sakhr was actually her favorite brother; especially that he had shared his resources with his sister several times during her first marriage whenever her husband lost all he had in gambling.
Sakhr succeeded to kill his brother’s murderer, but was fatally wounded in the battle. The bereaved sister had to watch her beloved brother suffering in front of her eyes for a whole year till he died. The poems she wrote during that year and the elegies she wrote on the death of her brother are regarded as the best in Arabic literary history.
She met Prophet Muhammad in 629 and converted to Islam and encouraged her children to fight for their new faith. She died in 645.
In those days, it was part of a poetess’ role to compose elegies for the dead which were recited before the whole tribe. Khansa’s elegies made her famous throughout the Arab world. Her poetry was full of deep passion and anguish.
Many literary researchers of pre-Islamic poetry have rated the work of Al Khansa as superior to others in terms of literary merits and pathos.

FASHION is not about clothes

and so it is time to find inspiration in other things.

like poetry.

today’s lunchroom conversation: acid washed denim


would and should we go there?

i recently purchased a high-waisted acid washed denim skirt (from the 80s) with an oversized belt. it comes with that classic bum-flattening effect and memories of junior high. in fact, my first reaction was to tuck in my black tank top, team it with an a pair of payless shoes flats and break out the electric youth hat

quelle horreur!

but i confess: i like the skirt. i like that acid washed is making a comeback. christopher kane’s use those fashion faux pas’ from my dorky dear diary days makes me really happy. 

however, i’m not ready to dress like i did when i was 14.

so me and my acid washed have a date. 

the goal–a modern twist on a stoner chic classic.

i’ll let you know if i have any success.

until then we’re movin’ like a meteorite!

check out irina rocking the look and some pat benatar


sometimes there’s just no reason.

(but that belt is pretty hot)

this season’s favorite





nina ricci

the best combination consists of 


parted-in-the-middle hair

blanket worn as shirt

heels in pic. 2

and grunge layering techniques