Friday, February 25, 2011

Tattoos - by Patty Mooney

I am not a big fan of languishing content. According to Thought Leaders at the recent San Diego Online Marketing Summit, "content is King." And so begins my "Retro Friday" when I share an old blog post that perhaps not all of you have seen. I mean, how could you? If you read everything that every one of your favorite bloggers had written, you'd pretty much have to be a computer.
"Tattoos" was written two years ago to this very day. Enjoy this "Retro Friday" offering!
Self Portrait "On the Trail" by Patty Mooney

"I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun - hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, "Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case." I will turn and say to them "It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!" And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup.” - Henry Rollins

I don’t go in for tattoos.

Although I appreciate people’s tattoos, each one as individual as the person who wears it, I would not do that to my body. And gratuitous scarification - those badges of pain that make the observer wonder, “Why would someone do that to themself?” - does not attract me. But I proudly wear the scars and tattoos that Nature has given me throughout a lifetime of assorted adventures.

Starting from my feet and working up, you will first notice the bruises splashed upon the calves and thighs. The big one on my inner left thigh is particularly resplendent. It’s two by six inches of purple, mauve and burgundy, edged with a touch of vermilion. As days pass, the hues deepen, then diminish. The bruises fade then eventually disappear. These impermanent ‘au natural’ tattoos fulfill my body’s need for colorful ornamentation. I have no desire for permanent etchings.

On my left inner knee, the scar shaped like a train track happened after I fell off a cliff and landed 30 feet below where I launched off, on a coincidental ledge. My bike kept bouncing 800 feet down to the bottom of Carrizo Gorge. The fact that the scar is train-track-shaped alludes to the abandoned rail that runs along the gorge, next to which I had been riding my mountain bike, in a spot where the trail gives way to cliff. I was tired after riding 30 miles. With ten more miles to go, feeling distracted, and perhaps a little delirious, over I went.

At first I sat there in shock and gratitude to the forces which had kept me from dying. But my eyes were drawn to the orange pixel my Klein Attitude had become in the far distance at the bottom of the gorge, and I moved as though to retrieve it. My husband, Mark, pushed me back and moved like a Dahl buck down that precarious cliff to collect my bike.

Even as our friends, John and Lisa helped me back up to the trail and “onto the saddle” of Mark’s bike, and even as I said “I’ll never come here again,” I knew in my heart I would ride Carrizo Gorge again when the wounds had subsided into flesh. Nearly a year to the day of the “cliff dive,” I returned to the "scene of the crime" with a coterie of males to catch me if I should fall, or so they said, and with plenty of sunscreen on my train-track scar. It turned out to be one of the best rides of my life. I looked fear in the face and also had a chance to say “Thank You” for my life.

Moving up to my right hand, there are the teeth marks of a potato cod the size of a small VW Bug which spotted a baggie of food that I was feeding to small fish 60 feet under the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia. I thought that hiding the bag behind me would make the cod forget he’d seen it. But no. He came straight at me. I surrendered the baggie too late. He had it and my hand in his ample mouth. Reflexively I drew my hand back, toward me, against his razor teeth. Unconcerned, he spat out my hand.

Seeing black dots of blood on my hand, I began my ascent, knowing the smell of fresh blood draws other kinds of sea life that could and would make a meal of you. Later that afternoon my buddies on the Spoilsport asked me if I had noticed the hammerhead circling below me during my ascent.

My right elbow is where I landed when I flew over the handlebars of my bike in Noble Canyon on my 43rd birthday. For weeks there existed a big red-brown scab surrounded by Technicolor bruising. When friends and family spotted it, they gasped and wondered how I could ever climb back on a mountain bike. But that strawberry was nothing compared to past injuries. Besides, if I sustained such injuries during the act of sex, would people expect me to stop making love? I think not.

This faded scar on my cheek which people don’t see until I point it out, occurred when I was riding down a rutted hill and passing a rider at breakneck speed, while mentally congratulating myself on beating a guy. It’s true that pride comes before a fall. I was too far forward on my bike and when I hit a rock hidden under a clump of grass, I flew over the handlebars and landed on my face which was now a bloody mess.

Kirsten Dunst and "The Gash" at VSDA Show in Dallas 1994

This happened just a few days before an annual video convention which my husband and I used to attend for our business, so by the time I stepped off the plane in Vegas, the bruising that accompanied the gash in my face was brilliant. This convention features photo opportunities with celebrities. That year, I collected shots of “Anne Rice and the Gash,” “Theresa Russell and the Gash,” “Pinhead and the Gash,” “The Star Trek Cast and the Gash.” I became an icon at the convention. Strangers would ask, “You’re the woman who crashed on a mountain bike, right?” It wasn’t exactly the fifteen minutes of fame I had imagined.

This little half-inch scar on my right eyebrow? I got that when I was two and walked into the coffee table in the living room. My parents had just taken me out to dinner, and I felt as uplifted as a helium balloon, proud and maybe a little catty, since my brother, Joe, was too young to go, and he’d had to stay home with a baby-sitter. Yes, pride indeed comes before a fall.
My parents sped me on to the hospital for a few stitches and a lot of attention. I can’t say I didn’t like the attention. Maybe my early emergency-room experience set the stage for others to come.

This scar on my left elbow came out of a hospital emergency room, when as a 22-year-old, I hopped up on the back of a motorcycle without a helmet after the driver had had a few beers. As we were heading down Post Street, San Francisco, towards the Marina, a car cut in front of us, then slowed down, trying to turn left into a gas station without seeing us. Charles tried to swerve into the next lane, but hit the back end of the car. Charles and I both sailed off the bike. Next thing I knew, I was in an ambulance bound for San Francisco General.

I learned a memorable lesson about promises and expectations that night. The handsome young doctor who assessed my injury said my arm did not appear to be broken, and that I’d probably be released in a couple of hours. “I still need to see your x-rays,” he said, oozing charm.

In less than an hour, he was back to say “Whoops. The x-rays reveal a hairline fracture. I’m afraid we’ll have to keep you here a couple of days. We’ll put a pin in there tomorrow.” I started crying as soon as he drew the curtain around my bed and walked away. Surgery? It was the end of my life. More than anything, I wished that I could close my eyes, fall asleep and when I awoke, none of this would have happened. “Please, spare me this pain,” I thought.

But the next morning, the pin went in as scheduled, then two months later it was removed, leaving a slim four-inch scar along the elbow.

My friend, John, has said that there is but a thin scar between pain and pleasure. I have never thought of myself as a masochist. I have always claimed to despise pain. And yet after a close scrutiny of my body, all the war wounds would seem to prove otherwise.

I have other marks I have not touched on, both physical and emotional. Over time I have learned it is best not to reveal everything at once. Just as I suspect Nature has not finished her handiwork on my mortal skin.

I have always said this, and would not retract it now: “When I turn this skin back in to ‘The Creator,’ it will have been very well-used.” It’s not my style to slip on a bar of soap in the shower and konk myself out. No. I will again dance in the arms of Nature and be grateful for her show of strength on the map of my body.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Poet Ilya Kaminsky Reads to a Rapt Audience, La Mesa - by Patty Mooney

Last week I went to a poetry reading that featured the Russian-American poet, Ilya Kaminsky who teaches poetry-writing at San Diego State University.

As I learned in Wikipedia:
Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. Ilya is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) which won the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year 2005 by ForeWord Magazine. Ilya has served as a Writer In Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy and worked as a Law Clerk at Bay Area Legal Aid, and National Immigration Law Center. He lives in San Diego, California, where he teaches at San Diego State University.

He truly has a performance style all his own. It's a power-packed minute and a half.

A Pocket Production by Patty Kay Mooney Follow her blogs:, and
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Monday, February 21, 2011

I Had the Craziest Dream - by Patty Kay Mooney

Tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of t...Image via Wikipedia I had the craziest dream the other night. My best friend, Mary Lynn, was visiting my husband, Mark and me in our cottage that was located about a block from the ocean. (Not in real life.) Mary Lynn was holding her newborn infant on her lap. When I looked at the infant, I had the same reaction as Elaine in the Seinfeld episode about the ugly baby when a guy called it "breath-taking." Mary Lynn's baby was bald with an earring and tattoes and he looked like a little old man. So I, diplomat that I am, said, "He's an old soul in a baby's body." And then I said, "What an interesting time for him to be born."

Mary Lynn replied that it was a very dangerous time and that the world was going to end due to an electrical event, and that many people would suffer greatly.

I woke up shortly after that vivid vignette. And that's when things got weirder. When I related my dream to Mark, he mentioned that he had been reading an article while I was sleeping, about a super collider in Geneva, Switzerland. UCSD scientists are involved (UCSD is located a block from the ocean, by the way) and they are trying to replicate the Big Bang via particle collision. According to an entry in Wikipedia, "The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator." I would think that it runs on electricity.... ??

Sometimes the membrane between reality and dreamscapes seems so permeable. Have you ever had a prescient dream? Are we living our dreams? Or are we dreaming our lives?
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Hot Child in the City - A Youtube Video

Hazel McCallion is the Mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The unique thing about her is that she has served 31 years and is now 88 years old, with no signs of slowing down. In fact, she outpaces the reporter on a stationary bicycle and on the hockey rink.

According to Wikipedia: Hazel McCallion, CM (born February 14, 1921) is the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, the sixth-largest city in Canada. McCallion has been Mississauga's mayor for 32 years, holding office since 1978. She is affectionately called "Hurricane Hazel" by supporters as well as the media at large for her vibrant outspoken style of no-nonsense politics.

She is one of Canada's best known and longest-serving mayors. Now aged 89, she was easily reelected in October 2010 for her 12th consecutive term, holding a 76% majority of the votes, and has often been reelected without even needing to conduct an actual campaign.

Mayor McCallion has worked with a variety of federal and provincial governments, and has not expressed a consistent party preference, preferring to work with each elected official.

Her principles are grounded in the belief that a city should be run like a business; thus, she encourages the business model of governance. Her family's business background, her education and prior career in a corporation prepared her to approach government with a business model. Mississauga is one of the few cities in Canada that is debt-free; it has not had to borrow money since 1978. However, Mississauga may have to borrow money to build new capital projects in 2012. She has been described as a "small-c" conservative.

Out and about with Mayor Hazel McCallion... By the way, Happy 90th Birthday and Valentine's Day to Mayor McCallion.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pink Saris Trailer

Something I came across today and wanted to share. Very compelling, called "Pink Saris Trailer."

Internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto's PINK SARIS is an unflinching and often amusing look at the all-woman vigilante Gulabi Gang in Northern India and their charismatic leader, Sampat Pal, who acts as judge and jury for girls and women who are being abused by outlawed patriarchal traditions and the caste system.

"A girl's life is cruel...A woman's life is very cruel," notes Sampat Pal, the complex protagonist at the center of PINK SARIS, internationally acclaimed director Kim Longinotto's latest foray into the lives of extraordinary women (SISTERS IN LAW, DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, ROUGH AUNTIES). Sampat should know -- like many others she was married as a young girl into a family which made her work hard and beat her often. But unusually, she fought back, leaving her in-laws and eventually becoming famous as a champion for beleaguered women throughout Uttar Pradesh, many of whom find their way to her doorstep.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Full Moon in Tahiti

This story appeared in "First For Women" Magazine in their "First Blush" column about a year and a half ago. The staff slightly re-edited it for comic effect, and this story infers that it was the most embarrassing moment of my life. (Hardly.)

“Mooney’s Mooning Mishap”

I was in Tahiti shooting a mountain-biking documentary, and the last day of filming was long and grueling. So after a difficult eight hours of riding on Mt. Orohena, one of the other riders, Steve, and I came up with a plan to lighten the mood; We were going to moon the production team as they returned to our hotel – a perfect plan since we usually get back before they do.

Around dusk we headed out to the parking lot to prepare. After a few minutes, I observed a pair of headlights coming toward us. “They’re coming,” I shouted. “Get in position!” When they were close enough to see us, Steve and I dropped our bike shorts and bent over. Then, hysterically laughing, we pulled up our pants and quickly turned around to see our victims’ faces, only to discover the vehicle (which was the same make and model as the one our crew was traveling in) contained five complete strangers! They were cracking up, and I even heard one of them yell, “Nice butt!” The most embarrassing part? Production was right behind them and saw the plan go awry. I guess the joke was on us. Luckily, we never ran into our flash prey again. But I think it’s safe to say that was my first – and last – mooning attempt!

- Patty Mooney, 54, San Diego

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Valentine Found Poem - by Eileen Dillon (Murphy)

This is a blog post that I first published two years ago. I still love it and refuse to allow it to languish. So in honor of Valentine's Day, I am sharing it again, with you, my friends.

Aunt Eileen Dillon-Murphy in 1971

It's amazing what your file cabinet can yield. In a file marked "Historical," I found two pieces of crumbling yellow notebook paper folded in half and when I gingerly opened them, I found the following poem, written by my Aunt Eileen as a young woman. I thought to myself, well, this totally deserves an entry in my blog. There were some missing chunks which I tried to fill in the best I could, including the title:

A Valentine Found Poem

Mary and John dwelt as friends on an old dairy,
Fell deep in love and became engaged to be wed,
Until one day, up went the nose of sweet Mary
Angry with John, at what some other girl said.

John simply smiled, he was so fond of teasing
And some old song quickly quartetted to sing.
Mary with rage every moment grew warmer
And at his feet she threw the engagement ring.

"I won't be your wife," said Mary.
"Thank Goodness for that," said John.
"I hate such a brute," said Mary.
"But other girls don't," said John.

"I'm going back to the dairy."
"T'would be just as well," said he,
"I hope you'll attend the wedding
Of Molly Malone and me."

Mary turned around taking a step or two from him
Then stopped again waiting patiently near,
She was so sure that he was already repenting
But all that he said was don't wait for me, my dear!

Out with his pipe, soon the smoke he was puffing
Into the air, stretched out full length on the green.
Mary stood by, somehow her heart was nigh breaking;
Had John become tired of his village queen?

"Well, am I to go," said Mary.
"I don't care a rap," said John.
"To spite you I won't," said Mary.
"Then maybe you won't," said John.

"Why are you so contrary
I'll drown myself, sir," said she
"Stop on your way, dear Mary
Send Molly Malone to me."

Tears filled her eyes as with her apron she covered
her pretty face heaving a heart-broken sigh.
Then turned away why should she wait any longer
As she walked away, she quietly said "Good-bye."

He kissed all the tears away from the face of sweet Mary,
And told her the tale fond lovers always try
And oh! how he hugged his Mary
As Mary crept close to John.

He vowed that as fair a fairy
He never had gazed upon
So now they are quite contented
As she has her head on his breast
So with that I'll conclude the story
No doubt you can guess the rest.

E. Dillon, Dec. 29, 1918

My my how the tug of war between men and women has not changed much over the last century, has it?

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peter Case Performs at Adams Avenue Street Fair - A Music Video by Patty Mooney

I love running around street fests with my camera and capturing stellar talent. This is someone I had never heard of before, a guy named Peter Case.

An entry on Wikipedia says this: Case was born in Buffalo, New York and lived in nearby Hamburg. A veteran of several rock bands and the local bar scene as a teenager, Case dropped out of high school when he was fifteen (he would later earn a GED), and after several years of traveling arrived in 1973 in San Francisco, where he performed as a street musician. During this period a documentary about the local music scene, Nightshift, directed by Bert Deivert, captured the young Case on film. In 1976, he teamed up with Jack Lee and Paul Collins in to form the early new wave band The Nerves in San Francisco. The group's 1976 single, "Hanging on the Telephone", was later recorded by Blondie.

When the Nerves disbanded, Case moved to Los Angeles and formed the pop-rock band The Plimsouls in 1980. The Plimsouls found a measure of success when their songs "A Million Miles Away," "The Oldest Story in the World," and "Play the Breaks" were featured in the movie Valley Girl, but by that time the group had already broken up. Case briefly toured with Gurf Morlix, Victoria Williams (Case's first wife), and Warren Tornado Klein as the Incredibly Strung Out Band, but their collaboration never resulted in a record.

To find out more about this talented musician, check out the Wikipedia entry on Peter Case.

In the meantime, listen to his music. I took the opportunity to insert some of my Lamp Hat Collection photos. So live and laugh!

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