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Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodbye January

The first month of 2011 is ending already. It should be called "It's Only January". Because this winter seems unsurviveable already. Snow after frigging snow. Half-hearted sun that gives way to mid-afternoon lingering darkness that lasts until the dark falls and someone says, "It's only January."

Yes, and we have at least 2 more months before any sign of spring may show up. Maybe it'll go on til April; we don't know. We just wait as best we can. And use every crutch available to keep the last bit of a will to live kindled.

Each year, it seems a bit more pointless. Time to read the Russians and Swedes. Hold on, everybody. It's just a test.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Valentine's Day is a Darwinian Result

Think about it. It's mid-February. The holidays were hard, the winter has been miserable and everyone's about to lose the will to live (started early for me) or plotting something nefarious. Something has to be done- it's at breakpoint. What to do?

Eat chocolate. Buy chocolate. Feed chocolate to those you love.

And, add a salespitch that it's about love, especially where the guy or gal looks like a hero and the set up is complete. A justified and good idea wherein everyone's happy, and so it goes on and on. Very socially Darwinian.

They're Making the World Safe for Capitalism

As Egypt looks promising, this unbelievably disgusting news comes from the UK:

Who are the barbarians and who do they serve and protect?

Cairo Erupts in Civil Disobedience

Everyone paying attention knows what's happening in Egypt. While watching the news last night I got tearful over the soldiers holding hands with the protesters in the streets. Though it's being called chaotic, a couple of mummies have had heads ripped off and Mubarak has banned al-Jazeera from broadcasting, my heart is warmed with hope that even now, the People can take back their country. They're already policing themselves, banding together to halt the looting and get wounded people to treatment. This is as civil an unrest as I've ever seen. I'm amazed and full of cautious optimism that this will work. And if it does, what message will that send, what ripples of head-turning eyebrow-raising thoughts of revolution will happen?

We should keep an eye on this via what's available, sites like this:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

When Being Poor Was Easier

The BBC has been broadcasting a series of The Story of Pop, hosted by Alan Freeman.

The latest installment, A Trip on the London Underground, is about Progressive Rock and the unusual music of the late 60s- early 70s and includes a young David Bowie talking about the poor days. He was good friends with Marc Bolan, who got him going to the trash bins of Carnaby Street after closing to salvage soiled and damaged clothing. It got me thinking about those days when I was young, healthy and poor.

It's easier to be poor when there are good times for the middle class. The middle class would throw things out because of their replacement ability- food that isn't bad, just unwanted; clothing that doesn't fit or has gone out of style. We dumpster-dove before the term was ever invented because what was discarded was perfectly usable. It was during a comparatively thriving economy which we don't have now.

Also, I'm thinking about how the recycle-reuse movement has taken much away from the poor. If you're really poor, you can't afford the thrift and consignment stores of today, where most of the middle class brings their unwanted goods. And then shops there, using their spare time to bargain-hunt. Even then, the rare affordable goods are more often bads now, as people are making things last longer and giving away less and money is so tight that charity organizations hold out for the top dollar they can get rather than part with anything, much less the extravagant waste that we depended on finding for free in a trash can.

So how are the really poor surviving now? They look much worse than we did, are depressed to the point of addiction and filth, have no hope left... being young and poor when I was, was a test of imagination and creativity. There was surplus to work with, at least. There's no surplus now. It's Dickensian, at best. I'm hanging on, but if I were to be booted out of the system, I'd be dead within a year. I have no doubt. Is this the America we worked so hard to create?

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Endless Indignities

Today was script refill day. The pharmacy guy delivers (no aide today) and in the bag is a note from the dr & a "Contract for Narcotic Therapy" which I'm to initial & sign, and if I don't, I lose my dr. Here's the terms:

1. All narcotics must go thru them (who cares, that's fine).

2. Random urine testing will be done multiple times annually. I will submit blood and/or urine at request to detect all drugs in my system. Random pill counts will be done and I must be there by the end of the business day for these.

3. Refills must be done only thru them and at one pharmacy.

4. Daily dose changes, whether more or less, must be reported.

5. Accidental loss will be no reason for replacement.

6. Appointments must be cancelled 2 days prior and pill counts in its original container will be done at appointments.

7. You will be dropped as a patient for recreational drug use, diversion, altering of scripts, getting drugs from other drs, or abusive language to the staff.

8. The contract will be terminated if you develop a tolerance, if you "use alcohol or other intoxicants", unmanageable side effects emerge, functioning diminishes or there's poor pain control, or for engagement in any criminal activity.

Freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, war is peace. And Big Brother is watching.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homey's Gone Home

News has come of another passing, this time Michael Marantz, aka "Homey" to us in this area. It was a shock, because we were expecting him to recover. Homey was a ball of fireworks, always in the center of the hurricane, but at his center was a heart of gold. He did a lot of good work in his alloted time, and there are many in mourning today. I've already heard tributes on two of our local radio stations, the one he dj'd on and the local talk station. He will be missed; he already is.

See you at the great Common Ground in the sky, Michael. We'll finish that argument then.

Meanwhile, this one's for you:

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Hate This Place

Up until a month ago, life in this building was barely tolerable. Never mind the ridiculous expense, the thievery, the outside noise, it was just tolerable. It's not anymore. Now they seem to be renting to anyone who waves money at them. All weekend long, from 5 a.m. til 3 a.m., it's been noise. The upstairs humanoids bang on their floor (my ceiling) til the house shakes and wall hangings move. The children directly across the hall play "music" that consists of a loud droning bass punctuated by yelling. And this isn't intermittent; it's for hours on end. When one stops the other starts. Yesterday morning I finally yelled, "AY!" at the upstairs bangers which got the response of repeated "AY!"s back at me, followed by a half hour of continuous floor-stomping.

Oh, and then there are the hallway runners. People seem to think The Shining-like long hallways in this place are for exercise and run full-throttle on the old wooden floors, shaking the whole building.

What's to do? I've called and called and complained. The building mgr says, "uh huh" and lists the littany of miseries in her life, says she'll stop by and say something, but the beat goes on. I've given up on calling the super. He's more miserable than the rest of us and has found his coping skills which don't involve solutions. I'm sick of the lies and bullshit but have nowhere else to go. It's damn near impossible to concentrate enough to read, my nerves are shot and I'm crabby as hell from lack of sleep. I'm too old and sober to live in Animal House and none of these people are John Belushi, they're just assholes.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

People I Admire: Stephen Fry

Among the many people I admire, some are altruists or peacemakers, those whose characters come from a "good heart" and perhaps a religious perspective; Stephen Fry is not among those.

Stephen Fry is a thinker. He is also a writer, an entertainer, a comic and a celebrity. He is not above snobbery when it comes to things he holds as standards and is a shameless name-dropper. But if those are the worst flaws one can find in him, they are laughable ones, for even he laughs at his own silly pompousity. While he can be pompous he's not pretentious. Because that giant brain of his won't tolerate falsehood; he is that rare bird, a moralist from reason alone. And that is why I admire him.

One of my criticisms of the major religions is the attitude from which they frame how humans are supposed to live. This is an attitude of shame, blame, guilt and forbiddance. From this nasty and disfunctional viewpoint we are supposed to be forever begging mercy from the invisible old man in the sky. We are supposed to walk a narrow path of loving like-minded people and work hard to declaim anything but our own love of said angry old invisible man in the sky. Sounds like an abusive relationship. Mr. Fry eruditely explains his stance on religion often and with calm argument, such as in this blasphemy debate with Christopher Hitchens:

Mr. Fry has written a few books, some lively fiction and some autobiographical. He is forthright about who he is; bipolar, homosexual, scholarly, politically unrepresentable. A stubborn traditionalist he is also an advocate of human rights, freedom and innovation. These are a few things I find admirable in the man. But what I most admire is that he shines his speculative light on his own life and behavior with truth and bravery. And he's never a bore.

Fry, Stephen; Laurie, Hugh (1990). A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Mandarin. ISBN 9780749307059.
Fry, Stephen (1991). The Liar. Soho. ISBN 9780939149827.
Fry, Stephen (1994). The Hippopotamus. Soho Press. ISBN 9781569470541.
Fry, Stephen (1997). Making History. Arrow. ISBN 9780099464815.
Fry, Stephen (2000). Moab Is My Washpot: An Autobiography. Soho Press. ISBN 9781569472026.
Fry, Stephen (2000). The Stars' Tennis Balls. Hutchinson. ISBN 9780091801519.
Fry, Stephen (2003). Revenge: A Novel (reprint ed.). Random House. ISBN 9780812968194.
Fry, Stephen (2005). The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within. Hutchinson. ISBN 9780091796617.
Lloyd, John; Fry, Stephen; Mitchinson, John (2006). The Book of General Ignorance. Faber and Faber. ISBN 9780571233687.
Carwardine, Mark; Fry, Stephen (2009). Last Chance to See. HarperCollins Publishers Limited. ISBN 9780007290727.
Fry, Stephen (2010). The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography. Michael Joseph. ISBN 0718154835.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wilfrid Sheed 1930-2011

Wilfrid Sheed has died. He leaves behind a great array of writing and many loved ones. I didn't become acquainted with his work until after I'd met him. That was back in 1999-2000. He and his wife came here from Long Island to have Thanksgiving with his stepdaughter, who was a good friend and neighbor. I liked them both instantly but with my usual cluelessness had no idea what a celebrated wit and writer he was. His curious accent, part old-fashioned New York and part British, charmed me. He was on crutches due to his polio affliction but suffered no help from anyone, apart from allowing me to precede him downstairs. They returned for Christmas that year and once again he eschewed help over ice-covered stairs and a trecherous walkway. But his temper flared and dropped just as quickly.

He told us marvelous stories from his life experiences over lingering after-supper drinks. I could've listened to him for years on end. I won't repeat those stories here, it would dull them.

At some point his stepdaughter leant me a book of his, In Love with Daylight, in which he'd scribbled notes and re-edited himself. Our friendship eroded, I forgot I had this book, and only after I'd moved into this apartment did I realize I'd never returned it. Phoebe, if you read this, contact me so I can return it.

Bill, as everyone called him, was the kind of man you hope never leaves. He has now, for good, and my sympathies go to all who loved him. I wish I'd gotten to know him better.

School Lunch # 1

Sister Itisberger's Franks and Beans

Who among us never ate school food? You'd smell it in the hallway, growing stronger as you neared whatever room served as the cafeteria. The shredded chicken in cornstarch gravy over instant mash, the mystery meats, gloppy mac and cheese, dry pizza. Though most of it was truly nasty, some things were classics. Here and there, I'll post the recipes I've recreated with a slight improvement; these are edible.

Sister Itisberger was the school lunch lady of St. Francis. I'm sure she never made this recipe and I didn't get it from school archives, but it sure tastes a lot like what she served and so this one's for her, Lunch Lady par excellence. Simple and yummy for a cold winter's night, franks and beans are still one of my guilty pleasures. Warning; this feeds several people, so cut down proportionately.

3 cans Heinz Vegetarian Beans
1# Nathan's cocktail franks
1/2 c. grade 2 or 3 maple syrup
3 Tblsp. Heinz ketchup

In a non-reactive saucepot, combine everything and stir well. Cover and let sit to marry flavors for an hour. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally until everything is steamy hot but not fully boiling. Serve with white bread and butter or rolls.

Dessert suggestion: cold milk and Oreo cookies

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On Love

Just read my friend's blog about love:

and thought, wow, I never would've thought about the love of my parents at that age. Which is one reason why I read her blog. She's so much saner than I ever was at that time in life. And the only love I ever really thought about was romantic; even then, not so much after my twenties. There was a line from a movie that impressed me so deeply when I was a teen that I lived accordingly; "The one thing a man can't resist is a woman who loves him." In the big picture, that may be true, but in practice it doesn't work. Which was proved to me several times in the 80s. As Depeche Mode sang, "There was a time when all on my mind was love. Now I find that most of the time, love's not enough, in itself."

One of my closest people has fallen madly in love. I'm trying hard to not be cynical but it's tough. She has been run through by Cupid's arrows more times than what killed St. Sebastian. Part of me wonders at her recuperative powers and willingness to keep going back for more. Part of me shakes my head and waits for the heartbreak. Because I've lost my faith in romantic love.

It didn't happen overnight by any means; it was a cumulative deal. Many bad men, bad relationships, poor choices over the years. Finally it became apparent that I'm very good at picking friends but not lovers. I tend to fall in love like I'd fall off a cliff- not seeing anything but the blur of my rushing feelings until suddenly hitting the ground with a hard crash. In short, I totally lose it. I loved falling in love, being in love, all the pining and obsessing, like a drunk loves a drink. I was even capable of being in love at, not with, someone! I was addicted to love (and oh how I hate that song). Now, it seems, I've broken the addiction and with it went my suspension of disbeliefs, the ones you need in order to make it happen at all.

Not that I'm not attracted to and don't flirt with guys anymore; that still goes on. But it's a game, a sham, a pastime. There's nothing more to it, no hoping that something comes of it or Mr. Right may appear. If anything I'm quite capable of blowing off any potentiality nearly immediately and without much thought. It's going to take a considerably determined man to turn my head at this point.

Perhaps that's not so bad. Perhaps it's just time that happens. Maybe if I'd not been such a junkie all those nasty men wouldn't have suckered me in. Whatever. But I need to stay mindful that just because love chewed me up and spat me out that doesn't mean it'll happen to others. I have every right to be cynical about my own love life but nobody else's.

And I do carry a hope, for her sake, that this will work out. I don't want her to become as distrustful and jaded as me.

2/1/11 Update:
Things go swimmingly for the lovebirds. I am addicted to watching Robert Plant's penis and the rest of him :

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ophiuchus' Sake

Here we go again. I thought the whole theory of Ophiuchus and changing the astrological charts was poo-pooed and discarded in 1995. Now 16 years later, Ophiuchus is back shaking his snakes.

I'm no great astrological believer but it's a tool for those who haven't a clue who they are to try to establish their identifying characteristics. When I was a teen, for example, I agreed with the Sagittarius rising and moon that supposedly make me a happy-go-lucky, outgoing and loud person. Oh, and the plodding, faithful, methodical Taurus sun. I am those things. Later on I went on to read my rising sign rather than sun sign as a forecaster because I found it more accurate. But it's all a load of fanciful superstition in the long run, so who really cares? I mean, really, does anyone take astrology so seriously in 2011?

Apparently, yes. This past week I've heard this whole thing on every morning TV show, in blogs, on YouTube vlogs, and all over various news sources you'd think were above this sort of thing. And according to this new method which warps the time alloted to each sign, I am now an Aries.

Besides, astrology is based on planetary placement, not constellation placement. And just when did Ophiuchus take effect? If it's anytime after your birthdate, it doesn't apply anyway, because your chart is based on the minute you were born, not today. So the holes that were in this theory in 1995 are still there.

And I flat out refuse to be an Aries. I am not a leader, an individualist or any of the traits traditionally assigned to Aries. If I never thought of astrology as hogwash before, I do now. But thankfully I'm old enough to know who the hell I am and am not. This whole silly theory may give the adolescents an identity crisis and make them less likely to follow astrology seriously. Which would be... only to the betterment of humankind, really...

Okay, I'm changing my tune. Ophiuchus rules! Welcome, Ophiuchus!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

There's Older and Then There's Dead

My mother and father were 18 years apart in age. They met first when she was 16 and he a sophisticated 34. Two years later they were engaged but then WW2 came and they both went into the service. He was already too old for the draft but he enlisted in the Air Force and she joined the Marines. They broke their engagement and went on to marry other people right after the war. Both of those marriages quickly failed, they married and stayed married for 18 years. To the ends of both their lives they said they were each other's real loves but couldn't live together. That happens more than Lifetime would tell you.

The point I'm taking a long time to get to, is that they were a generation apart but that wasn't an issue. This came up because I was reading about English comedian Polly Samson, who is married to David Gilmour the Pink Floyd guy, and they are 16 years apart. He's about to turn 65 and she, 49. When one gets to these ages the difference doesn't seem so great, and they've been married for 16 years, seemingly happy and their ages not an issue . Through my life I've known several couples who are a generation apart and it isn't a matter. Except for some reason when the woman is the elder, and then it's other people who raise an eyebrow. But that's a double standard for another post.

Then the annoying Mating Advocate in my head that I bind & gag with regularity brought up the idea that I should look for an older man. And somehow, when She raises a point I haven't considered, I think about it. Perhaps She's right. After all, I have much more in common with older men than with men of my own age. It can't be helped; I was raised by and have always been around older people, and my own interests and curiousities aren't fashionable to my own generation. In my many love affairs it's always been better with older men; straight men my own age often bore and annoy me. The advantages of younger men are limited, in my experience (I've had several and each one was worse than the last). I have no need to be teacher or mommy.

So just when I consider this to be a possibly good idea I realize something. If I were to go for a man 16-18 years older, he'd be near 70. I'm no spring chicken, but 70? SEVENTY?

The Mating Advocate is bound and gagged again. I think it's time I put her in a home where she'll be appropriately drugged and too busy making crafts to come up with stupid ideas.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ya Learn Something New Every Day

Today my BFF presented me a pair of longjohns. Nice ones. "Chill Chasers" by Cuddle Duds. She got them on a deep sale at our local Peebles. They're cottony on the inside and kind of polysatin on the outside so clothes fit smoothly over them. They are super comfortable and warm without overheating and almost reach my ankles (with a 34" inseam you get to expecting shorties). I really like them.

Because I have gotten labor conscious over the years, I looked to see where they were made. It's always a nice surprise when anything's made in the US but of course these weren't. They were made in Lesotho. Lesotho? Never heard of it. So I went to trusty Wikipedia, source of some truths. Generally, they don't have much BS when it comes to dry subjects like countries. And I see that Lesotho is a little constitutional monarchy surrounded by South Africa. It's had a troubled past but recently has gained some ground. Most of its people are literate, despite there being no obligatory schooling, their chief products are water (it's mountainous), diamonds (two rather famous huge diamonds in particular) and garments. They do have a child labor issue and the country is in the process of formulating an Action Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (APEC). Not bad for a struggling country in subsaharan Africa.

Then I read on. Lesotho is one of the African nations with a huge HIV/AIDS epidemic. 50% of women under 40 in the urban areas are infected and the general population rate is 23%. Estimated lifespan is 48 years for men and 56 for women. According to the CIA's World Fact Book, the average life expectancy is 41.18 for men and 39.54 for women. The government has started a proactive program called "Know your status" to test everyone in the country who wants to be tested for HIV. The program is funded by the Clinton Foundation and started in June 2006. Bill Clinton and Bill Gates visited Lesotho in July 2006 to assess its fight against AIDS. The Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) is an industry-wide program providing prevention and treatment, including ARVs (anti-retro-virals) when these are necessary, for the 46,000 mainly women workers in the Lesotho apparel industry. It was launched in May 2006. The program is helping to combat two of the key drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: poverty and gender inequality. Surveys within the industry by ALAFA show that 43% of employers have HIV. There are 5 physicians per 100,000 persons in Lesotho. Which would translate to about 30 doctors in the whole of my state.

I saw the AIDS epidemic in NYC in the 80s. I held a lot of bony hands and saw the young and healthy become old and terminally sick in a matter of weeks. Everybody went bald, turned blue, then died.

Though I love my new long johns, I'll always be wondering if the person who stitched them together is still alive.

A Waste of Time But...

I love it. There it is. I LOVE The Jersey Shore.

Yes, it's junk food entertainment. There is not one redeeming quality. The kids are drunken hos; vain, pathetic and ignorant. But they're also just like the Guido kids I was surrounded with when I was a teen. I was the nerdy outsider, one of the ones they picked on until they needed homework help or a joint to buy. So maybe I'm working out some 35 year-old unresolved BS by watching these kids. Trying to identify with them, looking for similarities (and there are a load of similarities between Jenny & me, except for the fake boobs) to put the whole thing to rest. Or maybe it's just ridiculously funny to watch.

It is.

The Jersey Shore is a microcosm of being young and stupid in all ways possible. There are Italian guy archetypes: the fatherly cocksure Mike, the too sweet to be really cool Vinnie, the handsome bad boyfriend Ronnie and the typical sidekick Pauly. And then the archetypal Italian Princesses: Snooki, the little mess; Jenny, the much-too-sure-of-herself fistfighter; Sammi, the vapid and self-obsessed codependent; and the new girl of this year, Deena (replacing the trashy Angelina), who is only a Snooki clone so far. But these kids have a lot of things the Guids I knew didn't. They're on TV, have a lot of money to throw around, and are entirely free to do whatever they want- they're also about 10 years older than the kids I knew, but seem much less mature.

Of them all, the only one I really dislike is Sammi. Her entire life seems based on lying in bed, looking at herself or parts of herself, and bitching. She is a bitch to everyone and then claims to be a victim. She is so codependent on her boyfriend Ronnie that it's embarassing and uncomfortable to watch. She may be the only person I've ever seen who is a guilt-throwing marytr and a needy whiny child at the same time. I've grown to enjoy watching her pull yet another crying fit. Which doesn't say much good about me, either, but it's the truth.

So there's my secret guilty pleasure, written by my own hand for the world to see. This is the 3rd season of JS, the kids are getting older and starting to show the scars of a drunken crazy life (Snooki is already not aging well and she's only 25, I think). But for this season I'm gonna sit back and enjoy the insanity while it lasts.

You can watch TJS on mtv at 10 p.m. Thursday nights, or see all of season 2 and new episodes on the website (strangely, they've tagged season 3 eps as 214 & 215):

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What I Really Really Want

A friend asked me what things I really wanted, if I could have any material anything. That's not an easy thing for me. What I want most is nothing material.

So I thought about it for a few days and realized that the things I want are small, but really important to me.

I want the pix and letters and notes of my husband that nobody returned to me after borrowing them while I was still in shock.
I want my wedding rings that were missing from his apartment when I looked for them.
I want my high school ring, which I wasn't allowed to buy when I graduated. That place meant, and still means, a lot to me.
I want the bracelet my Dad gave me that was lost in the restaurant I worked in.
I want my Grandmother's bracelet that was lost when I was Christmas shopping.
I want the cups that Billy Anderson and friends stole from my apartment. Silly coffee mugs, but they were sentimental to me.
I want the things David Platt stole from me.

And that's really all I'd want. Some things lost along the way.
So I hope that answers your badgering, Val. ;)

It's a good exercise, I guess. Because now that I know what I'm missing, I can let them go. Or at least start to. And I suppose it all boils down to forgiveness, which I didn't know was needed til I thought about it.
Now that I've written it all down, I can work on it. One thing at a time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter

It's 4:15 and the snow that started last night seems to be taking a break. For much of today I couldn't see across the Harmony; it fell thick and fast, swirling like a snowglobe until the wind would blow it sideways. There's about 2 feet of it out there. I feel sorry for my super and anyone else my age who's been battling the drifts and trying to clear a path. This kind of snow, powdery, is easy to lift but impossible to get to stay where you put it. Early this morning I watched the super pointing and cursing the snowblower a la Basil Fawlty, sans the tree limb to beat it.

My friend Joe said that this winter is very long- every day feels like a week, and he's right. I don't know why, but it does. For as long as it's like this, I won't be getting out at all. A wheelchair doesn't work well on snow. There should be snow tires or chains or something but I've never seen them. It'll be a real challenge to not go nutty this year.

The Housing people called and offered a 1-roomer in our town's equivalent of the Marcy Projects. Though I can't take it, because I really can't live in one room in a family development full of kids who have kids, if I don't take it I'll be thrown out of the program and have to start all over. So I have to get some note from some health pro with initials to say I'll go nuts if they put me there. For this I waited 2 years?! But how can I go on giving 7/9ths of my income to a slumlord, either?

Oh yeah, disability, social services, it's all a real gravy train.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Silence, Again

In the wake of the insanity that happened in Arizona I've tried to blog. Every few hours I sat here and mourned and raged, typing words that fall short of what I'm thinking and feeling, full of hatred of Sarah Palin and these irresponsible blabbermouths like her and the morons who worship them.

But words beyond that fail me. I don't want to fuel a fire of hate. Yet I can't, right now, get past that.

And like September 11th, I find the silence a much more significant statement.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gentlemen and Scholars

Once upon a time there were a lot of middle-aged men. Nondescript, usually white, always in a suit and tie with polished shoes. What set them apart was their comportment and conversation. They were often on talk shows, or hosted their own. They did no stand up and weren't, in general, comics or comedians. They were intelligent and had vast vocabularies and ideas. They thought about things and said what they thought. They engaged in debate with their subjects, with no teleprompters of jokes and promos. They listened, responded and challenged. These were men like Dick Cavett, David Frost, David Susskind and Kenneth Williams:

It has been SO long since I've seen anything on television at this level of forthrighteous opinion and respectful intelligence (until Parkinson opens his mouth, a shade of things to come). Why is everything on the tube so massively dumbed down? Where are the Cavetts and Susskinds and why aren't they on the air? Bring back intelligence!

I've decided to add a Curiousity Question here and there, in the hope that readers will look these things up to satisfy their own curiousity, so here's CQ 1:

How and why did Russia and Greece lose 13 whole days in the 20th century?

RIP Pete Postlethwaite

Character actors seldom receive their due. The limelight shines on the pretty, not so much on the talented. Last week one of the finest character actors of my generation died. Pete Postlethwaite was one of "those guys" that you see in good movies, the ones who deliver a helluva performance but whose name is rarely heard. Not genetically blessed nor surgically enhanced, he was just one of the best actors alive.

If you want a movie that shows him at his finest, I recommend "Brassed Off":

There are rarely deaths of public figures that sadden me so much. We've lost a great artist.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Everyone's Still Here! Woohoo!

As the holidays flounced by, I was concerned about 2 people- old friends who hadn't been in touch, very unusual for them. They are stalwart Xmas card people. No card= uh oh.

I heard from one and that was relieving, but nothing from MIA friend of 35 years who always sends an epistle and photo. Every year. Every. Year.

Finally today I screwed up the courage to email him and see what was what. He's off having a ball. Traveling, arranging a cross-country move and getting a book published that was a deathbed promise. So, a little busy, that's all.

That means that everyone I know and/or care about made it thru another new year. The best way to start a year, really, is alive. ;)

And my sis-in-law in the midwest asked me if I wanted St. Julia's book, My Life in France, (which I've tried to get from my library forever but which is always out or unreturned). So synchronicity meets a nice thought, and I'm going to own it. Nice. It's the little things that really do make you happy.

And... a curious magazine came in the mail; I don't know if it's a new gift subscription. But it's a certain magazine that I'm pretty sure only one person would be sending ... more if things develop.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Resolve

This year I have no Resolutions including not having resolutions. I will probably, over the year, resolve to do or not do something. But I'm not piling more shit on my head right from the beginning. I made a couple last year, didn't do them, and have slapped myself upside the head ever since making them. Maybe my first in the year resolution is to not create things I'll end up slapping myself upside the head over.

When I think "Resolve" I think debate team, and I'm sure there will be lots to debate this year. At the moment I don't really care. All I want is a few yuks.

So here is the great Lev Yilnaz' "Tales of Mere Existence Resolutions" for 2011:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

At the Turning

The last thing I read was MoonRaven's piece about love (see my followed blogs on my profile page). It's a lovely way to end the year.

I spoke to Rosa, my Mom's best friend, today; left a message for Ruth & Tommy; talked to Mac and laughed like an idiot; talked to Kathleen; talked to Cam and emailed with Stevil and lots of peep today. It was a good day.

2010 is about to pass away for good.

Dick Clark is trying to speak but it's worse than ever. It's almost cruelty.

And that's it, it's over.
It feels pretty much the same in 2011.
But that will change.