The Winona We Never Knew
I’ll bet you didn’t know that Winona Ryder was born Winona Horowitz and she was named after the town where she was born, Winona, Minnesota. And, that she grew up in a hippy commune in Northern California with no electricity. Her Godfather is Timothy Leary and her parents were close friends of the Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg. You can’t get any cooler than that, Allen Ginsberg for a buddy and Timothy Leary for a Godfather.
I found it interesting that she was harassed her first week of junior high school when a group of bullies mistook her for an effeminate, scrawny boy. Did you know that she is blonde but when she made her first major film her hair was dyed black? She was told to keep it black and with the exception of Edward Scissorhands, it has stayed that color every since. I’ll bet you didn’t know that she dated Johnny Depp for many years. He even had a tattoo of WINONA FOREVER on his right bicep but after they broke up, he had it reduced to WINO FOREVER. She suffers from insomnia and she supposedly spends her nights on the phone with Al Pacino, who also suffers from insomnia.
She also has a collection of vintage Hollywood costumes, including Russ Tamblyn's jacket from West Side Story, Leslie Caron's dress from An American in Paris, Claudette Colbert's gown from It Happened One Night, Olivia de Havilland's blouse from Gone with the Wind, and Sandra Dee's bikini from the “Tammy movies”. Wow, what would you give to have Sandra Dee’s bikini?
When asked, back in 1990, why she is always playing teenagers. She responded with: “Like, I'm nineteen. What am I supposed to do, play . . . a judge?”
Scientists believe that the cultivation of olive trees began more than 7,000 years ago and that olives were first grown commercially in Crete as far back as 3,000 BC. Why was that you ask? Doesn’t the olive tree produce a fruit that is so naturally bitter that it is inedible by man or beast? Olives are so bitter that they must be subjected to fermentation or cured with lye or brine to make them eatable. I wonder what they did with these bitter things thousands of years ago. They must have learned how to extract the oil from this bitter fruit and what’s more they actually found uses for it. The ancient Greeks used to smear olive oil on their bodies and hair as a matter of grooming and good health. Olive oil was used to anoint kings and athletes in ancient Greece. It was burnt in the sacred lamps of temples as well as being the “eternal flame” of the original Olympic Games.
I can buy that Classical Greece learned how to make olive oil but how in the hell did ancient man produce it? They would have to have known how to transform the olive fruit into an olive paste and then slowly churn the paste to allow the oil droplets to concentrate before putting it in a press and extracting the oil. Does this sound like a process prehistoric man could have mastered 7,000 years ago or even 5,000 years ago? Then why did they grow the trees?
And another thing that I’m confused about is the various grades of olive oil. When I think of virgin I think of something totally different. Okay, for those of you as confused as me here’s a primer. But first we need to define a couple of terms. The grades of oil extracted from the olive fruit can be classified as: Virgin which means the oil was produced by the use of physical means with no chemical treatment. Refined means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes and neutralize the acid content. Refined oil is commonly regarded as lower quality than virgin oil and oils with the retail labels extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil cannot contain any refined oil. Got it?
To further confuse things The International Olive Council, an organization based in Madrid, Spain, issued these definitions:
Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste.
Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has an acidity of less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.
Pure olive oil and Olive oil are usually blends of refined production oil and virgin oil with no more than 1.5% acidity. They generally lack the strong flavor of the virgin oils.
Olive pomace oil is an oil extracted from the pomace using solvents, mostly hexane, and by heat.
So there you have it. There will be a quiz on Thursday.
How Was That Again, Mae?
In Mae West’s third film, I'm No Angel, in 1933, a controversy arose resulting in the studios establishing the Motion Picture Production Code, which regulated what content could be shown or said in pictures. As a result of these codes, Mae began to double-talk so that a person could take a word or phrase any way they wished. This was so she could get her material past the censors, and it worked. Here are some better examples of her double-talk:
It's better to be looked over than overlooked.
A hard man is good to find.
When women go wrong, men go right after them!
When caught between two evils I generally pick the one I've never tried before.
When I'm good, I'm very good. But when I'm bad, I'm better.
It's not the man in your life that counts. It's the life in your man.
Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
I only like two kinds of men: domestic and foreign.
Too much of a good thing is wonderful.
It's hard to be funny when you have to be clean.
I wrote the story myself. It's all about a girl who lost her reputation but never missed it.
Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere else.
I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I'm tired.
I do all my writing in bed; everybody knows I do my best work there.
To err is human, but it feels divine.
I always save one boyfriend for a rainy day . . . and another in case it doesn't rain.
The man I don't like doesn't exist.
I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.
I'm not good and tired, just tired.
She was also famous for her morning enemas, which she claimed made her skin like silk and left her “smelling sweet at both ends”. On the set of her last film Sextette in 1978, when she was a mere 85, co-star Tony Curtis claimed that she was given an enema after being made up, at approximately 11:00 in the morning, as the last step of her preparations before going on camera.
I went looking into the origins of the expressions: the whole nine yards, dressed to the nines, and on cloud nine. I wondered if the number nine is used to represent a quantity, a grade, or something else. You know what ― nobody knows. So we’ll just have to decide for ourselves.
The answer I like best is that the whole nine yards and dressed to the nines refer to the bolts of cloth that tailors and dress makers used which contained nine yards of material. So when a woman came in and requested a fancy or elaborate dress the tailors would jest that she was using the whole nine yards. Now when she wore this gaudy dress she would be thought to be dressed to the nines.
Another explanation is that in the 1800s the number nine was used indicate perfection, the highest standards so when you were dressed to the nines you were ideally dressed.
You have to decide for yourself but I like the nine yards of cloth explanation better.
We all know that Cloud Nine or on Cloud Nine refers to a state of elation or happiness, but why nine? A totally unsubstantiated explanation is that it denotes one of the classifications of clouds defined by the US Weather Bureau in the 1950s. Cloud Nine is the fluffy cumulonimbus type that is considered to be attractive.
Another explanation is that the phrase is derived from Buddhism and that Cloud Nine is one of the stages in the progress to enlightenment of one destined to become a Buddha.
There is no clue as to the origin of these nine phrases and one etymologist I sought out thinks that these nines phrases, don’t refer to anything specific ― they just mean a lot.