Monthly Archives: December 2012

New Years Wishing


Looks like we’re going to make it to 2013 after all.

Here are my top 10 wishes for the New Year (in no particular order):

  • Peace
  • Respect
  • Fair living wage for every one
  • Responsibility
  • Love
  • Joy
  • Take care of your mother earth
  • Patience
  • Tolerance
  • No more shooting school children ANY WHERE.

What’s on your list for 2013?

What are you looking forward to?


WordPress did a pretty cool “year in review” kind of thing for my blog… If you are interested you can click here…

See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2012 annual report..

Thanks to every one who has clicked on ritaLOVEStoWRITE and read the blog the last half year. I think this little writing experiment has been a success (if nothing else I have written SOMETHING every day.)

Have a safe, wonder-filled, joyous, happy New Year!





Patti Smith 12.30.12 Thought of the Day

“Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.” — Patti Smith


English: Patti Smith performing at TIM Festiva...

English: Patti Smith performing at TIM Festival, Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Français : Patti Smith au TIM Festival de Rio de Janeiro. Português: Patti Smith em Rio de Janeiro. Русский: Концерт Патти Смит в Рио-де-Жанейро. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Patricia Lee “Patti” Smith was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1946. She is 66 years old today.


Smith grew up in Chicago, Germantown, Pennsylvania and Woodbury , New Jersey. She was shy, sickly and awkward as a child, but she had a spark inside that would one day transform her into a world renown rock musician.


“I mean, I wasn’t attractive, I wasn’t very verbal, I wasn’t very smart in school. I wasn’t anything that showed the world I was something special, but I had this tremendous hope all the time. I had this tremendous spirit that kept me going … I was a happy child, because I had this feeling that I was going to go beyond my body physical … I just knew it.” []


She attended Deptford High School where she tuned into the music “of John Coltrane, Little Richard and the Rolling Stones and performed in many of the school’s plays and musicals.” [Ibid]


After a short gig as a factory worker she enrolled at Glassboro State Teachers College on tract to become an art teacher. But poor academics and a focus on experimental and obscure artists meant put an end to her college career in 1967.  Smith moved to New York City. While working at a bookstore she met Robert Mapplethorpe a photographer, painter, sculptor and activist.


She gave her first public poetry reading at St. Mark’s Church in 1971. She published several collections of her poetry with Seventh Heaven, Early Morning Dream and Witt. She also wrote for music magazines Creem and Rolling Stone and began to set her words to music.


In 1974, she formed a band and recorded the single “Piss Factory,” now widely considered the first true “punk” song, which garnered her a sizeable and fanatical grassroots following. [Ibid]


Piss Factory reflected her time working in a toy factory after high school. The success of the single helped her land a record deal at Arista Records and in 1975 she put out Horses, her debut album. The album featured break out singles Gloria and Land of a Thousand Dances.


People Have the Power

People Have the Power (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Her follow up albums Radio Ethiopia (1976) and Easter (1978) also achieved commercial success, especially  with Because the Night a tune she co wrote with Bruce Springsteen.



Things slowed down with the release of her fourth album, Wave. Smith married Fred”Sonic” Smith in 1980 and pretty much dropped out of the music scene for the next 17 years.


When Fred “Sonic” Smith died of a heart attack in 1994, the last in a series of many close friends and collaborators of Smith’s who passed away in quick succession, it finally provided her the impetus to revive her music career. Smith achieved a triumphant return with her 1996 comeback album Gone Again, featuring the singles “Summer Cannibals” and “Wicked Messenger.” []


She followed Gone Again with Peace and Noise (1997), Gung Ho (2000) and Trampin’ (2004) all of which did well both with the fans and the critics.  In 2008 she put out a live album with Kevin Shields, The Coral Sea. In 2010 her memoir, Just Kids, about her relationship with Mapplethorpe and her life in the 1970’s was published. It won the national Book Award for Nonfiction.


This  “Godmother of Punk,” was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on march 12, 2007.


Her latest album, Banga (Believe or Explode) came out in June of 2012.



Secondary Character Saturday — Sally Brown

Hey it’s Secondary Character Saturday! Today’s character is Sally Brown, Charlie’s sister. And she was suggested by Emma and Maggie.


Who: Sally Brown

Sally Brown

Sally Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) (TV)

Sally: I’ve been looking for you, big brother. Will you please write a letter to Santa Claus for me?
Charlie Brown: Well, I don’t have much time. I’m supposed to get down to the school auditorium to direct a Christmas play.
Sally: [hands a clipboard and pen to Charlie Brown] You write it and I’ll tell you what I want to say.
Charlie Brown: [sticks pen in his mouth] Okay, shoot.
Sally: [dictating her letter to Santa Claus as Charlie Brown writes it for her] Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer?
[Charlie Brown looks at her]
Sally: How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.
Charlie Brown: Oh brother.
Sally: Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?

From: Peanuts

Written by: Charles Schultz

Date she first appeared on the comic strip: Aug 23, 1959 (first mentioned May 25, 1959)

Sally's debut in the Peanut's comic strip.

Sally’s debut in the Peanut’s comic strip. [Image courtesy: go.comics]

Why:  She’s got style. Sally is the foil to the other characters on the strip. She has no filter and says what she feels. In that way she is a mirror to (overly) introspective Charlie Brown and sensitive Linus (and to us). We see a simplified version of our own daily struggles in the way she struggles in school.

Pros: She is innocent. Has a “way with words” [Some people are right-handed…some people are left-handed…some people are able to use both hands with equal ease. Such people are called handbidextrous.] Loves what she loves with all her heart unreservedly and loudly (mostly her Sweet Babboo, Linus.)

Cons: Hot tempered when her innocence is betrayed (like after spending all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin). Oblivious to the feelings of those around her.

Sally: Which gramma gave me the book—the fat one or the skinny one?
Charlie Brown: The skinny one.
Sally: Grammas should have names like people.


Sally (Photo credit: sally_monster)

Maggie Smith 12.28.12 Thought of the Day

“I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost – it’s there and then it’s gone.”
Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith was author J. K. Rowling's person...

Maggie Smith was author J. K. Rowling’s personal choice for the role of McGonagall in the film series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Margaret Natalie Smith was born on this day in Ilford, London, England in 1934. She is 78 years old.
The daughter of a secretary and a public health pathologist, she has twin older brothers. When Smith was 4 the family moved to Oxford where her father took a position at Oxford University.
Upon graduating from high school,
Smith attended the Oxford Playhouse School in 1951-53. She made her professional stage début in 1952, playing Viola in an Oxford University Dramatics Society production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. [Biography]
She worked on Broadway in a comedy review, New Faces of 1956. 1956 also saw her first film role, an uncredited part in Child in the House.  She did a number of guest spots on television shows  before she landed a larger role in 1959’s Nowhere to Go. (For which she won  the British Academy of Film and Television Arts “Most Promising Newcomer” award.)
Back home she worked with the National Theatre of Great Britain, and had her break out role as Desdemona opposite Laurence Olivier’s Othello in 1964. The duo “reprised their roles in a film version of Othello the following year.” [Ibid] The film earned Smith her first Oscar nomination
While at the National Theatre, she acted in classic dramas by major authors such as Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov. [Ibid]
She played Beatrice to Robert Stephens’ Benedict in the 1967 television version of Much Ado About Nothing.
In June of 1967 Smith and Stephens married (’67 – ’74)  and had two sons, Chris Larken and Toby Stephens. Both of boys grew up to become actors.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the story of a headstrong Scottish school teacher, won her both an Oscar and a BAFTA award in 1969.  In 1978 she won her second Oscar, this time for Best Supporting Actress in California Suite.
By the mid ’80s  she was winning accolades (and awards) for more mature roles, like her turn as Charlotte Bartlett in A Room with a View, Mrs. Medlock in The Secret Garden, Lady Random inTea With Mussolini, and as the elitist Constance, Countess of Trentham in the wonderful Gosford Park.
In 1975 she married playwright and librettist Beverly Cross, who died 1998.
In 1990 she won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in Lettice and Lovage on Broadway.
While she donned a pointy hat and tartan accented witch robes for the role of Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter series, she continued to perform in an eclectic mix of movies, television and stage shows in both England and the US.
She won an Emmy for My House in Umbria in 2003,   and two more as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Cousin Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey.
On the big screen she recently won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012).  You can also see her  Quartet with Michael Gabon and Billy Connolly.

In 1990 Smith was made a Dame commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Louis Pasteur 12.27.12 Thought of the Day

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”
Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur (Photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur)

Louis Pasteur was born on this day in Dole, Jura, France in 1822. Today is the 190th anniversary of his birth.

Pasteur was the third child of Jean-Joseph and Jeanne-Etiennette Roqui Pasteur. His family moved to the banks of the Cuisance River in Arbois  when he was three. His father was a tanner by trade, but was also a decorated soldier in the Napoleonic War. Pasteur was an average student whose skills leaned more toward drawing and painting than science. As a child Pasteur witnessed “the treatment of several victims of bites by rabid animals;” [] the epidemic left sixteen dead “in the region, four of them in the immediate vicinity of Arbois.” [Ibid]

In  1840 he received a bachelor of arts  and was “appointed teaching assistant at the Besançon collège.” [Ibid] It was then that he began to study math and science in earnest.

He received a bachelor in science in 1842 then a doctorate in 1847 at the Ecole Normale in Paris.

Pasteur then spent several years researching and teaching at Dijon Lycée. In 1848, he became a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, []

While in Strasbourg he met Marie Laurent (they wed in 1849 and had five children together, only two of whom survived to adulthood.)

Entrée du bâtiment de l'Institut Le Bel, à l'U...

Entrée du bâtiment de l’Institut Le Bel, à l’Université Louis-Pasteur (Strasbourg I) (France). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He worked with tartaric acid, fermentation and germ theory. While on vacation he examined diseased wine and “observed the presence of germs analogous to those found in lactic fermentation.” []

he demonstrated that organisms such as bacteria were responsible for souring wine, beer and even milk. He then invented a process where bacteria could be removed by boiling and then cooling liquid. He completed the first test on April 20, 1862. Today the process is known as pasteurization.[]

Experiment Pasteur

Experiment Pasteur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1852 he was appointed the chair of chemistry at Strasbourg University. Two years later he was given the same post at the University of Lille.

When he proved that “microbes were attacking healthy silkworm eggs” [ibid], he saved the silk industry in 1865.

In 1868 he had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, but he continued his work. He revolutionized the treatment of infectious diseases such as anthrax and chicken cholera.

In 1882, the year of his acceptance into the Académie Franaise, he decided to focus his efforts on the problem of rabies. On July 6, 1885, Pasteur vaccinated Joseph Meister, a 9-year-old boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. The success of Pasteur’s vaccine brought him immediate fame. This began an international fundraising campaign to build the Pasteur Institute in Paris, which was inaugurated on November 14, 1888. [Ibid]

Louis Pasteur - Rabies

Louis Pasteur – Rabies (Photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur)

Pasteur died in September of 1895. He is considered “the father of germ theory and bacteriology.”

Français : Statue de Louis Pasteur à Dole dans...

Français : Statue de Louis Pasteur à Dole dans le Jura (ville de sa naissance). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thomas Nelson, Jr. 12,26.12 Thought of the Day

An engraving of Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer o...

Thomas Nelson, Jr was born on this day in Yorktown, Virginia in 1738. Today is the 274th anniversary of his birth.

Nelson was a planter, statesman, and soldier. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and he was Virginia’s fourth Governor (he followed Thomas Jefferson in the post.)

English: Portrait of Governor Thomas Nelson at...

English: Portrait of Governor Thomas Nelson at age 15. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His grandfather and namesake, Thomas “Scotch Tom” Nelson  was one of the first men to settle in the Yorktown area. And the family was prominent in local and regional politics. Young Thomas traveled to England for his formal education. He went to Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.  In 1760 he graduated and returned to the family home.

Capitol Building from the North side. [ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

Capitol Building from the North side. [ritaLOVEStoWRITE]

One year later, 1761 he was elected to the House of Burgesses, Colonial Virginia’s legislative house in Williamsburg, Virginia. His time in the Capital wasn’t all business, in 1762 he met and married Lucy Grymes, niece of one of the richest and most powerful men in the Colony, Peyton Randolph. He and Lucy had 11 children in their 27 year marriage. (One son, Hugh Nelson, served in the US Congress.)

In 1774, after hearing about the Boston Tea Party, he [Thomas] performed an act against the British Tea Tax by boarding a merchant ship, Virginia, which was anchored near his home, and dumped several chests of tea into the York River. []

He was a member of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1775 to 1777. A supporter of the independence cause, he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

English: This is a high-resolution image of th...

English: This is a high-resolution image of the United States Declaration of Independence (article (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In May of 1777 he suffered the first of a series of strokes and returned to Yorktown. He also suffered “periodic bouts of asthma”[] but remained active in politics.

He also became a General in the Virginia Militia. He and his 3,000 Militiamen were part of George Washington’s Army during the siege of Yorktown. Cornwallis, the British commander had taken Nelson’s home for one of his head quarters. The

American artillerymen refused to fire on the house, in respect to General Nelson. Nelson then aimed … a cannon at his own home, and ordered the men to fire at his house…. [Ibid]

He offered a bounty of five guineas to the first American gunner to hit the house. The house, now a part of the Colonial National Historical Park system, still shows “evidence of damage from cannon fire.” [National Park Service]

Nelson House, York County, Virginia. [Image courtesy: National Park Service]

Nelson House, York County, Virginia. [Image courtesy: National Park Service]

In 1781 he succeeded Thomas Jefferson as Governor Virginia. He retired to his “son’s estate, ‘Mont Air,’ Hanover County, Va., and died there on January 4, 1789” [ Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress] He was buried in Yorktown, in Grace Churchyard.



Special Christmas 12.25.12 Thought of the Day

Assuming that most of you know whose “birthday” it is today (even if you don’t celebrate it) I thought I’d tell you about some other pretty cool folks who were born on December 25…


“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
Sir Isaac Newton, 1642

Sir Isaac Newton, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (...

Sir Isaac Newton, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (died 1723). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.”
Clara Barton, 1821

Clara Barton

Clara Barton (Photo credit: Marion Doss)


“I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me.”
Humphrey Bogart, 1899

This screenshot shows Sydney Greenstreet and H...

This screenshot shows Sydney Greenstreet and Humphrey Bogart in a discussion about whether Sam (Dooley Wilson) will come to work for Greenstreet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.”
–Rod Sterling, 1924

Impression of Rod Sterling

Impression of Rod Sterling (Photo credit: Felix_Nine)


“It takes no more time to see the good side of life than it takes to see the bad.”
Jimmy Buffet, 1946

License to Chill

License to Chill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I had a dozen years to act before starting a family then found that motherhood dwarfed everything else. Once or twice a year, I take a project that appeals to me for its redeeming social value.”
Sissy Spacek, 1949

English: Sissy Spacek at a ceremony to receive...

English: Sissy Spacek at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Johnny Gruelle 12.24.12 Thought of the Day

“What is all the racket about? Did you put red pepper on the lollypops?'”
— Johnny Gruelle


John Barton Gruelle was born on this day in Arcola, Illinois, USA in 1880. Today is the 132nd anniversary of his birth.

Gruelle followed his father, Richard Gruelle, into Art. But, while Richard Gruelle was a member of the acclaimed Hoosier Group and produced beautiful American Impressionist landscapes and portraits, Johnny’s art took on a more commercial side. He was a prolific political cartoonist, illustrator and children’s book author in the early 20th Century. But he is best known for creating Raggedy Ann and Andy.

His career started in newspapers.

In 1901 the 20-year-old Gruelle landed his first newspaper job, at the gossipy Indianapolis tabloid, the People. There he worked for several months creating rough-hewn “chalk-plate” portraits. [Johnny Gruelle, Inspired Illustrator by Patricia Hall]

He worked for several paper, both in black and white and  color, and

would turn out as many as ten cartoons each week, his style steadily growing more expert and refined. [Ibid]


Mr. Twee Deedle

Before Raggedy Ann came out he  produced a popular cartoon for the New York Herald, Mr. Twee Deedle. It ran from 1911 to 1914. That brought commissions for children’s books. He wrote and Illustrated All about Cinderella, and illustrated Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Nobody’s Boy, All About Hansel and Grethel, All About the Little Small Red Hen and  Sunny Bunny.

Rapunzel, from the 1914 Cupples & Leon edition...

Rapunzel, from the 1914 Cupples & Leon edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, illustrated by Johnny Gruelle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His daughter Marcella found an old rag doll in the attic of their family home and, after cleaning it up, Gurell painted a face on it and gave it to the girl. He created stories and adventures about the doll and incorporated other toys in Marcella’s nursery. Marcella loved the doll, Raggedy Ann, and the folk-lore her father built around it.  And Gruelle thought other children might like the stories too.

The original patient for Raggedy Ann

The original patient for Raggedy Ann

He patented the doll in 1915 and worked with the PF Volland publishing company in Chicago to put out Raggedy Ann Stories in 1918.

The Raggedy Ann and Andy stories are similar in structure to the more modern Toy Story movies. The dolls and toys have full, adventurous lives when the humans aren’t looking. But, the second the humans enter the room all the dolls are back in place, just where they were left.

Raggedy Anne and Andy's adventures are available on Project Guttenberg at

Raggedy Anne and Andy’s adventures are available on Project Gutenberg at

Gruelle’s beloved Marcella, his daughter and muse, died in his arms from diphtheria when she was 13. He was heartbroken and could only find comfort from her old rag doll. He continued to write Raggedy Ann stories in tribute to Marcella for the rest of his life, capturing with each joy-filled illustration the little girl he lost.

Marcella plays with Raggedy Ann.

Marcella plays with Raggedy Ann.

His writing and illustrating career flourished. He went on to draw and create stories for books, magazines and newspapers, until his death in 1938.

Here’s a little Christmas story from across the pond by blogger Kate Shrewday. (She’s excellent, btw, you should follow her!)

Kate Shrewsday

Mary has always been a coveted role in the Christmas play.

Parents across England wait for their little daughters to come home as the parts for the Nativity are dolled out. Who can still the flutter in their heart when they hear that their little girl has bagged the prime part?It doesn’t matter if they are staunch atheist; that blue dress and veil on a little tot  make her look little short of angelic. She positively gleams.

It doesn’t get much bigger than the mother of Jesus because the Messiah himself is usually played by an aged Tiny Tears Doll wrapped in a festive Christmas old sheet.

In Maddie’s businesslike way, at the age of about six, she went about preparing for what to do, were she ever chosen.

She needed a Mary outfit.

Asking Mummy was a dead loss. Mummy would look at the price of Mary outfits, and…

View original post 490 more words

%d bloggers like this: