Monday, March 31, 2014

A Dose of Hitchcock

We've been on a Hitchcock kick lately, and have watched some of his earliest films, including silent ones, from the 20's. It's interesting to follow the arc of his learning a brand new art form, and his growth as an artist and master of suspense.
Many of his early movies from the 20's and 30's we have found a bit boring, perhaps because they tend to drag in the beginning before culminating in a rapid climax and conclusion, which sometimes falls flat. Even so, it's enjoyable to watch him in the early days of learning camera work, technique, effects, pace, dialogue and foreshadowing. It had to have been an enormous undertaking, but also exciting -- navigating new territory and figuring things out as he went along. Still, I find that when there are limitations in the materials we have to work with, the result of these restraints can yield powerful results, those demonstrating the greatest imagination, creativity, resourcefulness and ultimately impact. To me, working within such parameters as those the early film makers encountered, demonstrates a mastery unequaled by many today who rely on special effects extraordinaire, nudity, gross violence and gore, excessive swearing, etc.

Sadly, Hitchcock succumbed to this growing trend in filmmaking towards the end of his career, sacrificing artistic integrity, as well as the quality of his work, which at its best, towards the middle of his career, was brilliant, and at the end, less than mediocre. His last movie was a so-so romp in the "Family Plot," while his next to the last one, Frenzy, was a huge disappointment. I was embarrassed for him as I watched it, with it's gratuitous nudity and explicit violence. Watching Frenzy was like watching a once brilliant man make a fool of himself, an alien Hitchcock -- the artist who has lost his vision or perhaps sold his soul to the mass market. How much more thrilling, alluring, engaging and ultimately terrifying it could have been, had he stayed true to himself, leaving us with our own imaginations to create the scene he could execute in our minds with the power of suggestion.

I understand an artist taking a creative chance, but to compromise decades of mastering his ability to terrify with suggestion, only to sacrifice that accomplishment to the altar of popular culture at the end of his career, is just plain sad.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Another Blizzard

Marty here. Another Wednesday, another blizzard here on Cape Cod. The good new is that I made it downtown to the office without getting blown away and had the post office all to myself - got everything mailed out. The bad news is that our front storm door succumbed to the storm, a bunch of roof shingles blew off the house, and there is over a foot of snow in the driveway - YET almost no snow at all on the front aching back.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Long overdue

My writing mojo's been a bit rusty for months now, must have something to do with not having a
working oven from about July 2013 to February 2014! Had a gorgeous 1945 Hotpoint  that we wanted to recondition but after enough consults, realized it wasn't feasible. Fortunately, our pals at the Old Homestead in West Barnstable, were converting to gas, so we're now living with a 21st century Kenmore. Yahoo! and I have been making up for lost time. Lots of granola, no knead bread, graham crackers, roast chicken and Alice's cream scones. How I lasted so long without an oven and survived -- well, it shows what you can get used to if you have to. Baking really does ground me though, and inspires me to pursue other creative endeavors (including writing). It also inspires me to amp up my walking regimen!

Alice's Scones (hers are truly the best and the simplest. Anytime I see a scone recipe calling for eggs, I cringe a bit. The only other recipe for scones I continue to love as much as Alice's is an old one of mine for oatmeal scones made with buttermilk. Thank you, Alice! your Art of Simple Food is one of my primary cookbooks, and I have your ASF II on order from the library, may have to buy that one too!)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Measure and mix together:
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached, a mix of buckwheat, etc.)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar (sometimes I use brown)
This is where if I feel like it, I'll add some dried organic cranberries, or my favorite, candied ginger, really whatever you like, about 1/2 a cup. Then add:
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream (or light if you're stuck)
Mix only until dough comes together, then keep it together like a big  soda bread and plop it directly onto a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet. I finish patting it into a circle shape about 8" and I skip the melted butter step, substituting a sprinkle of cream instead. Then I sprinkle a couple of big pinches of Demerara sugar, cut the pie into wedges, separate them on the sheet so they have room to spread  and bake for 17 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


We're still clearing out stock (we just have too much and want to add new items but lack space) over on Ebay. So if you want to pay at or below wholesale price, head on over:
Little Pink Dress on Ebay

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Subtract Shapewear and Girdles

Many lingerie and foundation companies have faded away during the past decade or so - Strouse Adler (Smoothie), Crown Foundations and more recently Custom Maid come to mind. True Form Foundations, makers of Subtract girdles and shapewear is another once popular brand that silently faded away a while back. Fortunately, many of those old Subtract styles are still made available by Cortland Foundations, under their Venus of Cortland label. These include many of the "memory stretch" styles. Included is the waistline control brief, the cuff-top control brief and the long torso control brief (all with tabs for optional garters); the waistline pantliner as well as thew high waist pantliner; and the long leg girdle and high-waist long leg girdle (both with tabs for garters). All of these garment feature the memory stretch fabric (kind of a double-layer fabric) and tummy panel. Here are a few photos:

Venus of Cortland Shapewear

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Berkshire Follow-Up

      Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Lupita Nyong' o wears Berkshire Ultra Sheer Pantyhose, Style 4419. She posted on Instagram: “Winter Tip: My go-to panty hose for that nude look. Every Chocolate Lady’s must-have. Wore a pair on the #abc live with kelly and michael show. To keep your legs warm and picture-perfect, consider swapping your usual black tights for a pair of these."
      We couldn't agree with her more. There are many Berkshire styles to suit almost any need - control top, sheer to waist, silky sheer leg, ultra sheer leg, reinforced toe, sandal toe, toe-less, thigh highs, garter stockings, girdle-top, opaque tights, fishnets, and of course fashion hosiery of all types. Not sure of what you need? We're just an email away.
Berkshire 4419 Control Top Pantyhose

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Berkshire Hosiery

Berkshire hosiery actually dates back to the turn of the century in Berks County, Pennsylvania. By the early 1940's they had produced over a billion stockings. Today, the company (Mayer Berkshire Corporation) still manufacturers fine quality hosiery here in the USA , North Carolina to be exact. Berkshire carries a full range of hosiery, including  knee highs,  thigh highs, traditional nylon stockings, sheer pantyhose, control top pantyhose, opaque tights, and much more. Many other hosiery companies have chosen to move manufacturing outside of the US in order to cut costs. The result is often an inconsistent product. Berkshire has chosen to maintain their high quality standards by staying put and taking advantage of an experienced work force.
Berkshire Stockings, Tights and Pantyhose