Beauty aces talent at Wimbledon

Image copyright Annette Marie Hyder

Here I am raising my daughter with an emphasis on talent over looks — no baby beauty pageants or child modeling for her. No false equations of beauty with merit.  I do not want her to depend on her looks to get ahead. Activities with the focus on skill and talent rather than pulchritudinous posing are the order of the day. Naturally I am teaching her that when it comes to excellence vs. beauty, excellence is more important.

Well, apparently I’ve been misleading her and excellence is not more important than beauty. At least not if you are a tennis player at Wimbledon. It’s not how good you are proven to be at tennis that gets you center court at Wimbledon — it is how pretty you are considered to be.

Center court schedules are planned around physical appearance rather than athletic ability

The Age is reporting that:

A spokesman from the All England Club, Johnny Perkins, was quoted in the Daily Mail newspaper in London: “Good looks are a factor. ‘It’s not a coincidence that those [on Centre Court] are attractive.”

The following women have all played on Wimbeldon’s hallowed Centre Court in the past week: Maria Sharapova (unseeded, ranked 60th in the world), Gisela Dulko (unseeded), Victoria Azarenka (8th seed), Sorana Cirstea (27th), Caroline Wozniacki, (9th) and Maria Kirilenko (unseeded, ranked 59).

They are hardly household names, but have one thing in common – they’re easy on the eye. Major champions Svetlana Kuznetsova, who won the French Open and is seeded No. 5, and Serena Williams, No. 2, have been pushed to outside courts.

The Daily Mail reports that:

A BBC source said: ‘It’s the Wimbledon play committee, not us who decides on the order of play.’But obviously it’s advantageous to us if there are good-looking women players on Centre Court. It’s not a coincidence that those (on Centre Court) are attractive.’

‘Our preference would always be a Brit or a babe as this always delivers high viewing figures.’

Michael Jackson dies

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

One of the saddest days in music history

It is being reported everywhere that Michael Jackson has passed away at 50.

TMZ is reporting that:

In the moments following Michael Jackson’s death — so many people rushed to the Internet, that it practically stopped the entire WWW in its tracks.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, AIM–just a few of the scores of major web sites bombed by a tidal wave of traffic. Most of the sites still worked, but the epically high traffic numbers caused them all to move at a snail’s pace.

The last time the ‘net had this kind of traffic — Obama’s inauguration.

Despite his many astonishingly bad choices over the years, his genius and his creativity demand respect — can’t be ignored. Nor can his desire for the world to be a better place. Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.

michael jackson
august 29, 1958 – june 25, 2009

Annette Marie Hyder

his feet always jonesing for one more tap
this time he danced right out of this life
so to speak
packed up his glitteragalia for good: sparkly gloves
one to a pair, insignia
plenty to spare
and faces
ever changing

leaving behind
children, songs and scandal
but also something that shimmers
in our collective consciousness —
a signature slide moonwalks through our mind
replays with the haunting sound, something that binds
us in the words and the melody
of we are the world

Related Links:

Today an angel named Farrah took flight to many a person’s dismay
Why do we care?
Michael Jackson: The Official Site

Today an angel named Farrah took flight to many a person’s dismay

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

“As much as I would have liked to keep my cancerprivate, I have a certain responsibility to those fighting their ownfights who may benefit about learning from mine” — Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett, best know for her iconic red bathing suit and a mane of hair that shook the libido of a nation, has left behind a body of work that reflects the stages of her life in such a way as to mirror her change and growth as a woman. She passed away today after a long fight with cancer. Sad.

A friend made the point that many people die every day, without the fanfare attendant on celebrity deaths. He said that “thousands of people, some famous and most not so famous, died all over the world this week, like every week – and I’m not so sure the famous were any more valuable than the not so famous.”

That’s true. And it’s true that the great majority of us don’t know these celebrities personally. So what’s it to us? Why are we so moved to comment upon and memorialize their deaths in some way or another?

Besides the human compassion and empathy inherent in our response, there is this: celebrities often symbolize something for us, an idea or ideal, a certain time in our life, a cornerstone of common experience within our culture. When a person of that significance to our internal world view is removed from the external world around us, it is profoundly upsetting because their absence rocks the foundations of our experience. We’ve lost something, something intangible, but something that felt like a part of us nonetheless. IMHO.

Rest in Peace, Farrah Fawcett.

The New York Times
ABC News

Want something? Tell the right ear

Science Daily is reporting that:

We humans prefer to be addressed in our right ear and are more likely to perform a task when we receive the request in our right ear rather than our left. In a series of three studies, looking at ear preference in communication between humans, Dr. Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli from the University “Gabriele d’Annunzio” in Chieti, Italy, show that a natural side bias, depending on hemispheric asymmetry in the brain, manifests itself in everyday human behavior.

In one of the studies, the researchers intentionally addressed 176 clubbers in either their right or their left ear when asking for a cigarette. They obtained significantly more cigarettes when they spoke to the clubbers’ right ear compared with their left.

Good to know. Want something, ask the correct ear.

Curiously, when I am talking on the phone, I listen exclusively with my left ear. Always.

From with birds

Annette Marie Hyder
Previously published in Newspaper Tree

you are the seashell i put to my ear
to hear the roar of seas
i have never seen–
your voice is the wind winding through
pearl chambers and pushing
the tide like an unsaid wish into my ear–
salt rims and bird cries echo
the rise and fall

Father’s Day


Camera Obscura

“Listen,” he said, and we huddled in the back seat of a station wagon, poised for words that did not come. Came instead, drops of water on the rooftop, a susurration of intent, a grasping at conveyance of a thought as big as rain.

What did he mean to tell us with his silence in that storm?

I hear maracas filled with sharp shards and monsoons microphoned. The wind sounds like brakes skidding, like glass breaking and accidents happening.

But that’s not what he meant.

They say that a car is the safest place to be in a storm. But I’ve seen pictures, trunk metal twisted like a slinky and cotton candy upholstery in a baby’s car seat cone.

But that’s not what he meant.

I think he thought that it was beautiful because we finally heard him say, “Do you hear the music of the rain?”

He left before I could answer. Left me with one windshield wiper for the storm that was to come, one windshield wiper and no seat belt.



Flash Bulb

You tried to give us pretty, perfectly framed snapshots of him. You showed him at the beach laughing, his laugh so big it filled the picture, his laugh so big, I could almost feel it where my finger touched his glossy-finish chest.

In another, he was at the kitchen table carving a centerpiece turkey on one of those generic family occasions. I was always hungry for, wished on every wishbone for, him.

How smart he was, you said. He’d kissed the blarney stone. And handsome, I could see that for myself in the flash you popped for him. But still, he left and I was only three and I didn’t know that there wouldn’t be any more “Kodak Moments” for the other kids and me.

Mom, you didn’t have to sepia tone those pictures, delicately tint them for me. I would have loved him, I would have loved him anyway.



Dark Room

He came to me as I lay sleeping, a gift from my dreaming mind –straight to the phantom limb of my childhood.

He did nothing more than sit in a chair. But how that chair preened to have him sitting in it. The carpet wore his feet in ostentatious display.

I stood by his side and his arms, sprinkled lightly with freckles and reddish blonde hair, wrapped around me like a blanket. I pillowed my head on his chest, another dream remembered from which he rescued me with a father’s store bought milk.

Thirty years have come and haven’t changed that he is gone. How flat the dearest face is delineated in photo graph. Something inside us renders truer if more primitive.

Look. The red crayon made spirals for his hair but went off the page trying to draw his heart. A ghost arm that can feel pain takes up the crayon again.



Development and Epilogue

And so what is the point of this story of a daughter as camera and her father as subject? In losing its subject the camera lost focus and stared blankly at the world. The camera kept clicking away but with no reference point its frames were empty of meaning.


It’s also about how the camera somehow got more film and a new angle. How did it happen? Did the subject step outside the frame to be an unseen hand, directing, in the final resolution? Or did the pictures keep dropping from the camera’s fingers like leaves drop from a tree?

Glossy camera leaves filled with the color green they become rich with gold, purple, and red. Finally they wither, are not even crisply black and white but are brown end of autumn leaves. And they crumble, become the detritus for new pigments on photos if not for this particular camera/tree then for the next.

Maybe this story’s point is to just be ready for more film while your leaf pictures fall and litter the ground with the rustle of what could have been, the crunch of what will be.

Previously published in Conspire Magazine and Triplopia Magazine.

First day of summer

Tomorrow is father’s day and it’s the 1st day of summer. Happy Father’s day! And in honor of summer, two poems:

Annette Marie Hyder

the heat tries to woo
but I only love you my

Get yours here —
Annette Marie Hyder

Summer licks
the gelato spring colors away
from the ice-cream cone of the city
(filled to extraordinary heights
and swirled on top with a shiny loop).
Lapped up are the robin’s egg blues,
the soft lime greens, shy pink
and darling yellows.
As summer swishes away at us
one sticky tongue lash at a time
she ignores the way her breath
slowly melts us –
but oh so deliciously.

Rain at the lake

makeup artist
Annette Marie Hyder

rain shimmers highlights on branches
glosses the lips of the leaves
applies intense blue shadow to the lake shore lid
gives the day a makeover so intense
it looks like a photoshopped picture
on the cover of a magazine

Rainy day picnic

Yesterday we were all packed for a picnic at the lake. When we got there, on a
beautiful June day, it started pouring down rain. Delicious food?
Check. Lake view? Check. So we stayed in the car and ate our gourmet
sandwiches, our mouthwatering olives, our tongue teasing cheeses and
fresh fruits. We drank our iced teas and gazed possessively at our
chocolates while the rain drummed down on our car under the trees and
made patterns on the lake. It was wonderful.

Extra perk? No ants.

So, the next time
you plan a picnic I suggest to check for rain for preference. A rainy
day picnic is easy to put together. The most important ingredient being

List for a RDP:

  • Rain
  • Shelter (any car will do)
  • Scenic view from shelter
  • Delicious bites and nibbles (choose to suit taste)
  • Libation
  • Someone to share it with


Fox has a thing for shoes and will steal to get them

Photo courtesy of bscrittersitterblogspot

Annette Marie Hyder

fox fashionista —
can such a thing really be?
vixen shoe fetish?

what does one pair with sly ears?
look in her den and you’ll see

Stunning collection

For more than a year, a thief in Föhren, Germany has been going around stealing shoes from resident’s doorsteps and garden terraces at night. The culprit has finally been discovered — and she’s a fox.

She has been dubbed “Imelda”, with an Imelda Marcos-size shoe collection amassed and snugly arranged in her nest.

SPIEGEL ONLINE International reports:

The bushy-tailed culprit, believed to be a vixen with a family of cubs, is still at large, and locals have two explanations for her kleptomania. Either she amassed them as toys for her children, or she simply likes collecting shoes, or both. So far 120 stolen shoes have been retrieved.

“She’s clearly got a thing about shoes,” Rudolf Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, the local count who lives in Föhren Palace, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “We found 86 shoes in the den and a further 32 in a nearby quarry where they like to play. That includes 12 or 13 matching pairs of shoes.”

“The shoes may well be intended as toys for the cubs because there are bite marks made by little teeth on the shoelaces,” he continued. “It’s impressive that she found the time to steal them in addition to getting food.”

Count von Kesselstatt had the retrieved shoes laid out in the palace on Wednesday so that the townsfolk can come and collect them.


 Photo courtesy National Geographic

Dimming Lights

National Geographic Magazine’s June issue is reporting that:

“If the dark seems a little bit darker these days — and the world a bit less wonderful — it probably is. Researchers in Asia, Europe, and North America are seeing dramatic declines in fireflies.

Thailand is one place that seems to be losing the bioluminescent beetles. For centuries they blinked along the Thai rivers with splendid synchronicity. Foreign visitors compared their lights to chandeliers or Christmas candles. Locals were able to fish solely by their flashes.

But the glow appears to be fading. “Twenty years ago I saw many, ” says Thai entomologist Watana Sakchoowong. “Now there are no more.”

Scientific counts are just starting No one has yet confirmed what’s causing the population drops, but experts suspect habitat loss and light pollution.”

If you’d like to help tally firefly population totals, check out this website: Museum of Science Firefly Watch

Also see:

Fireflies Courting at Dusk in Central Park 

Annette Marie Hyder
Previously Published in Fairytales and Much Ado

Stars fell
like fireflies tipped
from cradles in the sky.

Twigs and besoms
browned and crumbled
no longer able to fly.

Cobweb thread and petal fabric
shirt, vest and dress.

The unspooled thread
of Puckish laughter
lay in a knotted mess.

Feathers flew
back to rightful owners —
songbird’s breast and nest —

no more to be
splendor on hat
badge of sartorial zest.

The trees sighed
with mourning
to again be merely trees

to give up being castles —
their turrets back to branches
pennants back to leaves.

The mouse, the worm
the beetle too, were
released from their service

no more to mount
light heeled gallants
and meet in moonlit skirmish.

The flowers wept
pollen tears
the grasses chanted a lament

while earth and sky
hissed and crackled
with the energies unpent.

And what of
the fair folk themselves?
No matter what they tried

they hardened into black marks —
turned into words in books —
the night the magic died.