shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


sunday mornings feel different

Yesterday was a lovely day, unseasonably warm, drowsy from staying up too late the night before. These things can conspire to make a day like a bubble, closed off from what came before and what comes after, from anything distressing or stressful. I don't know if you can think in a messy house, but I can't, so first we cleaned furiously the shambles that had grown up around us. Then we went out to the Headley-Whitney Museum as planned.

The World's Worst Docent, an older lady with a little bit of the hydra neck going on, if you know what I mean, escorted us to the bibelot collection -- telling half-truths that were far less interesting than the actual ones. For instance, her account of the robbery several years back, which devastated the bibelot collection was that the robbers were "trying to get into the mafia" and were "in jail now." The second part is right and, hell, the first part may be too, but here's an account of the robbery I found on a museum theft news page:

The cleverest crooks can even make it look easy. Three summers ago a well-oiled team relieved the Headley-Whitney Museum in Lexington, Kentucky of its collection of bibelots by jewelry designer George Headley. The state-of-the-art alarm system was rigged to automatically telephone the police upon detection of an intruder. But a short distance from the museum the high-tech thieves cut into the phone line and sent a dummy signal that made it appear like a routine service problem. Meanwhile, accomplices drilled the cyllinders on the locks, disarmed the security system, and gathered up 103 jeweled objects in gold, silver, and precious gems worth $1.6 million. Despite their command of the latest telephony, the perps opted for a decidedly low-tech mode of escape: tracks in the dirt suggest they made their getaway on cross-country bicycles. "The most-asked question we get here," says executive director Diane Wachs, is, "Haven't y'all solved that yet?"

The collection does still have a number of amazing things, though. A big costumey pin of a wasp, famously rejected by Joan Crawford, provoking an angry missive from the designer Headley saying essentially, "But it matches your personality."

The hydra lady was one of those obnoxious people who think that rich people are inherenty interesting and that anything they do is just fine, even if it involves them acting like they really do own the world.

Not that George Headley isn't interesting, he is. If for nothing else, than for his elaborate pet cemetery. Unfortunately, I forgot to take the camera, but I do swear I'll post some pictures at some point. Each animal has its own little foot-stone, complete with a descriptor of its personality or place. Biffy was "A Friend to Barbie." Kitty White Sox "thought she was a dog." Apparently, Headley often put his necklaces on his dog Ernie and let him parade around the starlet-surrounded pool of his Bel-Air mansion. Hydra thought this should be endearing; I think it's funny. I bet Ernie would have written something besides "Courageous Friend" on Headley's tombstone.

Anyway, we ditched the docent for the shell grotto, which is pretty unbelievable and, oddly, completely different from what I remembered from grade school. I remembered it as an arched structure made entirely of shells, but it's actually a spacious, airy room coated in shell designs and coral.

Still though, I think the oddest and possibly most sickening thing are the Whitney Estate Dollhouses. Yes, it's amazing to look at tiny bookshelves and be told that the tiny books on them can actually be read, but it also makes you think that there should be some guidelines put on people when they have enough money (and thus time) to construct such things. You know, $1 million to cure cancer for each room of the dollhouse built to amuse. That kind of thing.

A couple of unrelated links for your reading pleasure:

Bill Sheehan rave reviews Steve Erickson's latest.

The WaPo quizzes different writers on their favorite fictional love stories. Y tu? Post in the comments and I'll do a round-up on Valentine's Day. Or don't and I won't.

Update: It occurs to me that tomorrow is Valentine's Day and no one reads blogs over the weekend. So, if you want to post favorite love stories (or anti-love stories; which most of mine turn out to be) during the day tomorrow, I'll do a post-V-day thingie.


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