Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today the King would have been 74.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Fire, again..

Here's another, better article about the fire in my old neighborhood....

Boston 4-alarm fire destroys restaurants

By Jessica Fargen
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One hundred Boston firefighters braved the freezing cold overnight to battle a fast-moving fire that caused $5 million in damage to six restaurants and a dry cleaning business near Fenway Park [map] and caused the evacuation of 130 people, according to the Boston Fire Department.

“It’s almost all the good restaurants in the neighborhood right here, all lined up. It’s just a shame, really,” said Peter Wick, 25, who lamented the loss of El Pelon, where his favorite menu item was the steak burrito. “It’s a little shocking. I hope they find out what happened.”

The fire broke out at 1:57 a.m. at Thornton’s Fenway Grill on Peterborough Street and quickly became a four-alarm inferno. Flames spread to Sorento’s Italian Gourmet, Umi Japanese Restaurant, Greek Isles, Rod-Dee Thai Cuisine II, El Pelon Taqueria and a dry cleaning business. The string of one-story businesses on the block from 84 to 98 Peterborough Street were completely, or nearly completely destroyed, MacDonald said.

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One hundred thirty people in 98 units, mostly elderly and disabled people, were evacuated from a five-story apartment building next door after heavy smoke filled the units, said Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald. Residents were welcomed into the nearby William McKinley Preparatory High School, which was opened as a shelter.

Residents are only being allowed back inside their apartments to pick up medication and belongings because of concern over elevated levels of carbon monoxide inside, said John Hardiman, acting director of emergency management for the city. American Red Cross volunteers assisted residents this morning and a mobile shelter trailer will be arriving shortly, said Red Cross spokesman Patrick Baldwin.

People who rely on the eateries to make a living said they were just happy nobody was killed.

Tori MacMillon, 24, paused as she walked up Peterborough Street before 9 a.m. today and saw the charred shell of Thornton’s, where she started two weeks ago as a waitress. “As long as everybody’s OK. That’s all I’m worried about,” she said.

Added Jeff Zamiri, owner of Sorento’s: “Material things can be fixed. I’m just thankful nobody was hurt,” he said as he surveyed the damage.

The fire completely gutted Thornton’s, even burning away the sign, but Christmas garland could still be seen winded around a pillar in front. Holiday lights still hung from the awning at Umi and the bright blue Greek Isles sign was almost untouched. The inside of the restaurants appear to be a scorched mess.

Fire trucks remained on scene this morning and at one point firefighters doused the buildings with water after smoke started billowing from the roof.

MacDonald said 100 Boston firefighters battled the blaze, and two were injured when they slipped on ice.

MacDonald said the fire chief ordered firefighters to fight the blaze from the outside of the buildings once it was determined that no one was inside.

“The fire got up in the ceiling and traveled horizontally throughout the building, above the ceiling and below the roof,” MacDonald said, adding that roof air conditioning units were a hazard.

Part of Peterborough Street remained closed this morning.


I used to live about a 20 second walk from here and used to frequent these places quite often. I hope they are all able to re-build..
The article states that the fire was on Kilmarnock Street, but really It's Peterborough Street ...

Fire destroys 7 shops in Fenway
January 6, 2009

(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
By Andrew Ryan and John R. Ellement, Globe Staff, and Michele Richinick, Globe Correspondent

A four-alarm fire tore through a block of shops early this morning near Fenway Park, destroying six restaurants and a dry cleaner as it caused an estimated $5 million in damage.

Firefighters continued pouring water on the rubble seven hours after the blaze started just before 2 a.m. on Kilmarnock Street. It took more than 100 firefighters to battle the blaze, which also forced the evacuation of a block of brick apartment buildings that housed 130 people, some of whom were in wheelchairs.

No one was hurt in the blaze, but two firefighters slipped on ice while working to extinguish the flames, said Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department.

"When firefighters arrived, they had heavy fire showing from the restaurant on the corner," Thornton's Fenway Grille, MacDonald said. "The fire spread, got in the ceiling, spread horizontal, and pretty much destroyed all seven stores."

All the businesses were closed when the fire started. When it was determined that no one was inside the block-long brick building, firefighters left the building because it appeared that the roof might give way. Crews continued fighting the flames from outside the building, dousing the fire with ladder pipes and tower units, MacDonald said.
Officials evacuated the apartment building because they detected high levels of carbon monoxide from the wafting smoke, MacDonald said. The residents were taken to William McKinley Preparatory High School on Peterborough Street, which also served as a shelter for firefighters seeking refuge from the 20-degree weather. The McKinley school was not damaged by the fire, but it will be closed today. All staff are required to report to the McKinley Middle School on St. Mary Street, according to the Boston Schools Department.

The restaurants destroyed by the blaze also included Greek Isles Restaurant, Rod-Dee Thai Cuisine II Fenway, El Pelon Taqueria, Umi Japanese Restaurant, Bon Cleaners, and Sorento's Italian Gourmet. The fire also inflicted minor damage on a two-story garage behind the row of shops, MacDonald said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Firefighters are expected to be on scene all day pouring water on hotspots.


Alfred Shaheen, garment industry pioneer, dies at 86

Shaheen revolutionized the garment industry in postwar Hawaii by designing, printing and producing aloha shirts and other ready-to-wear items under one roof.

By Claire Noland , January 4, 2009

Alfred Shaheen, a textile manufacturer who revolutionized the garment industry in postwar Hawaii by designing, printing and producing aloha shirts and other ready-to-wear items under one roof, has died. He was 86.

Shaheen died Dec. 22 of complications from diabetes in Torrance, where he had lived for the last five years, his daughter Camille Shaheen-Tunberg said.

After World War II, many servicemen and servicewomen returned to the United States from Asia and the Pacific islands with aloha shirts that had been made in Hawaii since the 1930s. Tourists began flocking to Hawaii in the 1950s as faster airplanes allowed for easier travel and the former U.S. territory became a state in 1959.

The tropical-print shirts for men and sundresses for women became standard and sometimes tacky souvenirs for travelers, but Shaheen raised the garments to the level of high fashion with artistic prints, high-grade materials and quality construction.

Even Elvis Presley wore a Shaheen-designed red aloha shirt featured on the album cover for the "Blue Hawaii" soundtrack in 1961.

Born into a family established in the textile business, Shaheen maintained high standards by controlling the process from start to finish at the factory he built in Honolulu.

He hired professional artists and silk-screened their designs on silk, rayon and cotton fabrics he imported to Hawaii. Then his seamstresses cut and pieced together garments that were sold at his own shops and other retail outlets in Hawaii or exported to the mainland and around the world.

"He was a genius," Dale Hope, art director for the Honolulu-based Kahala shirt maker and author of "The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands," told The Times. "He knew more about the inner workings of all of the elements of printing, the garment business and wholesaling and retailing and distribution. He was really a bright, sharp and smart man."

Linda Arthur, a professor of textiles and clothing at Washington State University who has written extensively about the Hawaiian fashion industry, said that "before Shaheen came along, there was no Hawaii garment industry. There were mom and pop stores but no real modern industry."

Shaheen was born Jan. 31, 1922, in New Jersey, where his father and grandfather owned textile mills and clothing stores. He moved to Compton with his family when his father decided to relocate. The elder Shaheen would travel to Guam to buy silk for the family's custom women's wear line, and after falling in love with Hawaii on stopovers, he moved the family again, this time to Honolulu in 1938.

Shaheen returned to California the next year to attend Whittier College, where he studied math and engineering and starred on the football team. After graduating in 1943, he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and became a fighter pilot in Europe during World War II.

His cousin, another soldier, had been engaged to a woman named Amelia Ash in Olean, N.Y., but he died in the war. After the war, Shaheen wanted to meet the woman his cousin had told him about, so he went to meet her and wound up marrying her and bringing her back to Honolulu.

His parents operated a custom dress shop there, making bridal gowns and prom dresses from formal fabrics such as silks, chiffons and lace. But Shaheen wanted to branch out into ready-to-wear fashion.

He struck out on his own in 1948, opening Shaheen's of Honolulu with four seamstresses his mother had trained. In those days of relative isolation, clothing manufacturers in Hawaii had to store a year's worth of fabric to guard against the vagaries of shipping delays, strikes and other unforeseen factors. And they had to settle for whatever fabric the textile mill sent them.

Using equipment he built himself, Shaheen started a silk-screen printing plant in a rented Quonset hut in 1952. He put artists on salary to design patterns inspired by Polynesian and Asian cultures. Soon the company was printing more than 60,000 yards of fabric per month. Some of that fabric was used to make garments, and some was distributed in bolts to other businesses.

In 1956, to meet increasing demand, Shaheen expanded to a new, state-of-the-art factory that sprawled over 23,000 square feet. The company's focus remained on good design.

"I wanted a certain look that was different from everyone else's," Shaheen said in an interview for Hope's book. "I would not do hash prints or chop suey prints. I avoided bright or garish colors."

Most of the patterns featured three to five colors that laborers applied to silk screens by hand, saturating the fabric. Artists in the Shaheen studio had more than 1,000 dye colors to choose from, including innovative metallic shades, and they consulted rare books, libraries and museum collections. Sometimes Shaheen sent the designers on field trips to Tahiti and other exotic locales to soak up the culture for future work.

By 1959, according to company history, Shaheen employed 400 workers and grossed more than $4 million annually, dominating the local industry. The Hawaii garment industry overall had grown to roughly $15 million in sales from less than $1 million in 1947, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.

Shaheen sold men's shirts and shorts and women's dresses and sarongs in his own seven-store chain as well as to other retailers in the islands, on the mainland and across the world. Bullock's and the Broadway (both since closed) and other upscale department stores on the mainland carried the clothing, and some stores had special "East Meets West" boutiques dedicated to Shaheen's fashions.

Shaheen retired in 1988 and shut down the factory. He maintained homes in Honolulu and Los Angeles before relocating permanently to Torrance.

In addition to his daughter Camille, of Venice, he is survived by three other daughters, Susan Mulkern of Oahu, Cynthia Rose of Maui and Marianne Kishiyama of Culver City; a son, Alfred Shaheen II of La CaƱada Flintridge; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Joyce Bowman. His first marriage ended in divorce, as did a second.

Although the company is defunct, vintage Shaheen shirts can sell for $1,000 or more, said David Bailey of Bailey's Antiques and Aloha Shirts in Honolulu, a well-known emporium that stocks about 15,000 aloha shirts.

As Arthur, the textile professor explained, a Shaheen garment "is like a piece of moving art."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Didn't even curl my hair!

I'm just going to say, if you get mildly electrocuted, your body doesn't actually shake at all. And also it hurts after, not really all that much during. The movies lie!

Mom, I am fine.

Here's to 2009... it's electrifying already!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The way to my heart...

I'm pretty sure I have written about these geese before. These geese are lawn decorations that you can dress up in different outfits. Um, I need these BBQ-ing geese on my lawn. BBQ-ING GEESE! They could become friends with the flamingos out there.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Turn it up

My house came with a 70+ year old oil boiler. It was prone to breaking down, and did quite often resulting in me developing the habit of running around all the time, touching all the radiators in my house to see if he was still working. He. His name was Orville and he was my "bastard in the basement." All he did was not work and cost me money. heh.

Well, this year I kicked him out and got a brand new gas boiler. It's now nice and toasty in my little bungalow... which last winter was something I never experienced. Orville broke down over eight times last winter, and so I had to get rid of him.

When he was working, Orville was so loud that you could feel it sputtering and rumbling in the living room. The new boiler is very quiet, which is new to me.. I'm used to being able to tell if the heat is on by sound.

It's odd having a reliable heating system. Now what am I going to bitch about all winter?

Another article...

Click the article and you'll be able to read it.

Sad news.

1950s pinup model Bettie Page dies in LA at 85

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bettie Page, the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controverisal photographs in skimpy attire or none at all helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, died Thursday. She was 85.

Page suffered a heart attack last week in Los Angeles and never regained consciousness, her agent Mark Roesler said. Before the heart attack, Page had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia.

"She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," Roesler said. "She is the embodiment of beauty."

Page, who was also known as Betty, attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and see-through lingerie that were quickly tacked up on walls in military barracks, garages and elsewhere, where they remained for years.

Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.

The latter helped contribute to her mysterious disappearance from the public eye, which lasted decades and included years during which she battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.

After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.
"I don't want to be photographed in my old age," she told an interviewer in 1998. "I feel the same way with old movie stars. ... It makes me sad. We want to remember them when they were young."

The 21st century indeed had people remembering her just as she was. She became the subject of songs, biographies, Web sites, comic books, movies and documentaries. A new generation of fans bought thousands of copies of her photos, and some feminists hailed her as a pioneer of women's liberation.

Gretchen Mol portrayed her in 2005's "The Notorious Bettie Page" and Paige Richards had the role in 2004's "Bettie Page: Dark Angel." Page herself took part in the 1998 documentary "Betty Page: Pinup Queen."

Her career began one day in October 1950 when she took a respite from her job as a secretary in a New York office for a walk along the beach at Coney Island. An amateur photographer named Jerry Tibbs admired the 27-year-old's firm, curvy body and asked her to pose.

Looking back on the career that followed, she told Playboy in 1998, "I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It's just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous."

Nudity didn't bother her, she said, explaining: "God approves of nudity. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were naked as jaybirds."

In 1951, Page fell under the influence of a photographer and his sister who specialized in S&M. They cut her hair into the dark bangs that became her signature and posed her in spiked heels and little else. She was photographed with a whip in her hand, and in one session she was spread-eagled between two trees, her feet dangling.
"I thought my arms and legs would come out of their sockets," she said later.

Moralists denounced the photos as perversion, and Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Page's home state, launched a congressional investigation.

Page quickly retreated from public view, later saying she was hounded by federal agents who waved her nude photos in her face. She also said she believed that, at age 34, her days as "the girl with the perfect figure" were nearly over.

She moved to Florida in 1957 and married a much younger man, as an early marriage to her high school sweetheart had ended in divorce. Her second marriage also failed, as did a third, and she suffered a nervous breakdown.

In 1959, she was lying on a sea wall in Key West when she saw a church with a white neon cross on top. She walked inside and became a born-again Christian.

After attending Bible school, she wanted to serve as a missionary but was turned down because she had been divorced. Instead, she worked full-time for evangelist Billy Graham's ministry.

A move to Southern California in 1979 brought more troubles.
She was arrested after an altercation with her landlady, and doctors who examined her determined she had acute schizophrenia. She spent 20 months in a state mental hospital in San Bernardino.

A fight with another landlord resulted in her arrest, but she was found not guilty because of insanity. She was placed under state supervision for eight years.

"She had a very turbulent life," Todd Mueller, a family friend and autograph seller, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "She had a temper to her."

Mueller said he first met Page after tracking her down in the 1990s and persuaded her to do an autograph signing event.
He said she was a hit and sold about 3,000 autographs, usually for $200 to $300 each.

"Eleanor Roosevelt, we got $40 to $50. ... Bettie Page outsells them all," he told The AP last week.

Born April 22, 1923, in Nashville, Tenn., Page said she grew up in a family so poor "we were lucky to get an orange in our Christmas stockings."

The family included three boys and three girls, and Page said her father molested all of the girls.

After the Pages moved to Houston, her father decided to return to Tennessee and stole a police car for the trip. He was sent to prison, and for a time Betty lived in an orphanage.

In her teens she acted in high school plays, going on to study drama in New York and win a screen test from 20th Century Fox before her modeling career took off.

Associated Press writer Raquel Maria Dillon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oh Dear.

Pinup Bettie Page Hospitalized After Heart Attack


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup known for her raven-haired bangs and saucy come-hither looks, was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a heart attack, her agent said Friday.

''She's critically ill,'' Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide told The Associated Press.

He said the 85-year-old had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released when she had the heart attack Tuesday. Page was transferred to another hospital in Los Angeles and remained in intensive care Friday.

A family friend, Todd Mueller, said Page was in a coma. When asked to confirm, Roesler said, ''I would not deny that,'' but he would not comment further on her condition.

Page, a secretary turned model, is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure that were tacked up on walls across the country.

Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.

Page later spent decades away from the public eye, and during that time battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.

After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.

Mueller credits his business dealings with Page for bringing her out of seclusion. He said he first met her in 1989 when he offered her ''a bunch of money'' to show up at autograph signings.

''I probably sold 3,000 of her autographs, usually for $200 to $300,'' he said. ''Eleanor Roosevelt, we got $40-$50. ... Bettie Page outsells them all.''

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's Alive!

The super secret project I've been working on for months and months is live. Right now. Live. It's all very exciting.
It's here.....

I still have an entire notebook of links I need to add to the site, so I'll slowly do that in the coming weeks. Some sections are a bit thin.... sorry Pennsylvania!

it should be noted that my friend Chris built the thing from my crazy design files and did all the fancy-pants coding. I could not have done this without her immense help.