Movie Hero of the Week: Michael Keaton*

Apologies for slacking on the “-of the week” part of this series.  However, it’s proven to be pretty popular!  I was going to do this post in honor of Spring Cleaning, but I fell down on the job.  Thankfully, this is a volunteer position and we will all survive. Anyway, many of the more recent additions to my life (post 1999) have originated in the area surrounding the Ohio River Valley sweeping from Jefferson County, Ohio through West Virginia and into Allegheny County, PA.  The additions include friends, a husband, and subsequent family.  As such, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that completely coincidentally, one of my favorite actors has always been child of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, Michael Keaton.  The fact that I can’t seem to escape “yinzers” is mutually exsclusive from my love of Michael Keaton, but it was worth mentioning.

ANyway, a man is more than his origins, isn’t he.  ISN’T HE?!

Of course, being a child of the 80’s, Michael Keaton was a pretty easy guy to spot.  Mr. Mom, Night Shift, Beetlejuice, and Batman are like 1980’s Film 101 selections.

The aforementioned good people of mining country often tout Gung Ho as one of Mr. Keaton’s underappreciated films.  I, on the other hand, would like to draw your attention to Johnny Dangerously.

Johnny Dangerously

Johnny Dangerously is an up and coming gangster in 1920’s New York.  He is trying to balance his career in crime with his ailing mother and Eliot Spitzerish (pre-scandal) crime fighting DA of a brother.  It’s an all star cast, if you count Joe Piscapo, and it’s really funny.  Really very funny.  80’s funny, but also truly funny.  If my eloquence isn’t convinving you, let me include this excerpt between Johnny’s mother and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law-

Ma Kelly: You’ve gotten to be like a daughter to me and I wanna share somethin’ with ya.
Lil: Awww, what’s that Mom Kelley?
Ma Kelly: I go both ways.
Lil: Oh.

Johnny’s nemesis is a gangster named Roman Moroni who is famous for butchering swear words.  My personal favorite is bullschtein.  Marilu Henner sings a song I’ve been trying to find the sheet music for for years.  Check it out.  It’s a great flick.


Although the 80’s were perhaps Keaton’s popular heyday, the 90’s allowed him to expand a bit and movies are better because of it.  His turn as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing is perhaps one of my favorite Shakespearean performances EVER.  I don’t say that lightly (although I don’t say that as heavily as some other dorks.)


Perhaps my favorite Keaton performance of all time is in the quirky movie Multiplicity.  On it’s face, it’s basically a screwball slapstick comedy, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that it is perhaps Keaton’s finest hour, at least in the comedy sense.  He is fantastic in the dramas Clean and Sober and My Life, sure.  But making people laugh is so much harder than making them cry and no matter how goofy Multiplicity gets, Keaton is freaking fantastic.  I find myself quoting this movie and expecting everyone to know what I’m talking about.   Unfortunately, when I say “Good party, Steve,” people just think I’m confused.  Ah well.

So here’s to you Michael Keaton!  Truly, your films have been some of the most joyous movie experiences of my life.  And that’s no joke.

*What is a movie hero? An un or under-sung member of the film making community who deserves more of the spotlight. And yet lack of such a spotlight often adds to their charm.


The Hand-Walking Queer

Iris Levandowski, The Hand Walking Queer

Let’s talk perfume.

One note in particular is making me smile these days, and that is iris.


Quite literally, anytime I have fallen instantly in love with a scent lately, it is chock full of iris.  What is it I love so?  Well, while iris is a flower, the scent is actually extracted from the root, not the bloom.  Ergo that fecally bad breathy hint of indole screeching out of your average white flower isn’t there.  Iris is dark, cool, powdery, mysterious and rich.  It’s also rare in that extracting the oil from the dried iris root (orris) is difficult, painstaking, and frankly, now that there are synthetic interpretations, not quite as lucrative.  Not quite.  However, orris root butter (the raw fragrance material) is worth three times it’s weight in gold.  Intriguing, no?

Orris Root

I fell in love with Iris because of her friend Lily of the Valley.  They blend oh so well together.  I was loving green powdery perfumes with an underlying richness.  I knew that mysterious dark and woody scent wasn’t coming from any recreation of a little bell shaped bloom.   That rich dark scent was iris.

If you want to try out iris, here are a list of fragrances to sniff:

Chanel no 19

Chanel no 19 (If the Chanel section of the perfume department doesn’t have it, try the makeup counter.)  This is a powdery green perfume, but the anchor is iris.

Parfums di Nicolai Odalisque

Parfums di Nicolai Odalisque:  This is the current love of my life.  You won’t find it on any perfume counter.  Try Luckyscent.  You can order a sample for 3 bucks.  Unless you know me, then I’ll give you a smellin’ strip for free, so to speak.

Chanel no 18

Chanel no 18 (This is available only at the Chanel boutique)  This is a rose iris, and it is gorgeous.  Personally, though, Odalisque will do the trick and it costs about $150.00 less.

Prada Infusion d'Iris

Prada Infusion d’Iris.  This is readily available at Sephora, perfume counters, etc.

Bvlgari Pour Femme

For a lighter touch of iris, try Bvlgari Pour Femme.

Dior Homme

Dior Homme is also a contender for great iris.

Aqua di Parma Iris Nobile

Finally, Aqua di Parma Iris Nobile is a cologne version of Iris.

The thing to remember with Iris is (and this goes for all perfume) don’t gender it.  What I mean by that is if you are a woman and you dig Dior Homme, girl, WEAR Dior Homme.  Same for men.  If Chanel no 19 trips your trigger, then dude, WEAR Chanel 19.  Only in the past 50 years or so has perfume been so segregrated by gender.  Ava Gardner wore Aqua di Parma.  Bridgette Bardot and numerous men wore Jicky.  I mention this in a post about iris because iris knows no gender.  Iris just knows a certain sensibility, and that is mystery.

Go back to your roots, so to speak, and find yourself some iris.  Learning what notes you both like, love, dislike and loathe can be the foundation for your personal map of the weird, huge, and overwhelming world of scent.

Spring Cleaning: Part Three – The Plan

I have tomorrow off.  Rather than loll about watching Judge Joe Brown and eating an enormous breakfast with grits and eggs, I shall loll about watching Judge Joe Brown and eating an enormous breakfast with grits and eggs and THEN Spring Clean.  And here, in somewhat abbreviated fashion, is what I plan to do:

I start with the Kitchen.  I hate doing the kitchen, so I do it first.  Otherwise, it would never get done at all.  I then move on to the hallway and entry, followed by the bedroom (my favorite), the dressing and craft room, the living room, guest room and then bathroom (second favorite).  I try to vary size of room and messiness of room.

No matter which room I’m exorcising, however, the basic game plan is the same:

1.  Open the room.  All windows open and aired out.
2.  Strip.  *wink wink*  All linens unhung, off the beds, towel racks, tables and the like and pitched into the laundry or handwashing.
3.  I then pick up any clutter.  I also put any breakables or decorative items (including anything hanging) into a big box.
4.  Rugs are put outside to be abused.  I then sprinkle them with homemade carpet fresh-nah’ and let them think about what they’ve done.
5.  I pull all the big and mobile furniture to the center of the room.
6.  And then the room gets a scrub from tip to toe: ceilings, fans, walls, windows, floors, furniture.  I make Will do the fans because I’m allergic to …well…everything.  Really.  I have proof.
7.  I then label and reorganize things if they need it.
8.  I dust and replace breakables.
9.  I press and rehang the linens.
10.  I putter.  Potpourri, candles, linen spray, decorating.
11.  I take any notes on things I would like to see in the room, things I need, things that need to be done (painting, etc.).  I then add any new items to daily, weekly, and monthly maitenance lists.
12.  Then I go get the rugs and vacuum them.

Then I nap.  For way too long.

Though this is the bulk of the action, it’s the little things that count, isn’t it?  Like, what movies will I be watching while I’m doing this?  Well, thanks to my facebook friends (who are also my friends in real life, I’ll have you know), we have created a formiddable list of choices.  I like a movie with a good cleaning scene, of course.  It’s inspiring.  But a musical is good, too.  Also, childhood favorites are nice because you’ve seen them 8 million times and you won’t feel a need to be riveted by every moment.  This is why Mary Poppins is the tops of the tops for me.  Cleaning scene, musical, AND from my childhood.  There it is.  Here are some other suggestions:

  • Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Titanic
  • Maid in Manhattan
  • Robin Hood – any version.
  • Sunshine Cleaners
  • Corrina, Corrina
  • The Sandlot
  • Back to the Future
  • Enchanted
  • Mr. Mom
  • Uncle Buck
  • 13 Going on 30
  • Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead
  • King Ralph

I haven’t seen all of these, but I trust the suggesters.  Mr. Mom and Uncle Buck will likely be two of my choices.  Although, like I said, I do dig a small claims court show.  Also Dr. Phil and The Steve Wilkos Show.  They’re so cranky.  I love it.

Then there is music to consider.  I prefer poppy 80’s and early 90’s tunes with the occasional squirt of uptempo, nay, high speed bluegrass.  Avalanche by Nitty Gritty is one of these.  I don’t know what it is about “Every Heartbeat” and “Faith” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” that helps me clean, but they do.

I also love watching episodes of How Clean is Your House? on the internet.  Seeing the absolute atrocities they are dealing with helps me trudge on.  I want to hang out with Kim Woodburn.  I love her.  I want to call people “mucky pups” and “filthy beggars” but unfortunately, I am the muckiest pup I know.  I did trim my gloves in pink maribou, thou.

I’m actually considering live-blogging this whole fiasco.

Anyway, next up is the actual work!  I will be taking Before and After pictures.