Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Sunday Morning Muse, June 29, 2008

Great Aunt Millie used to 'count the widows' on the hill. She'd get the local newspaper delivered everyday and look to see who died. She noted one by one, the women she knew who outlived their men. Just as she outlived her own husband. She was way into the double digits before she died in 1988. All those widows living alone.

Those widows were the first generation Polish Immigrants. Many ended up in poverty--living on Social Security combined with a meager pension. Sitting on porches, making periogies, and walking to the neighborhood Polish church was their life. Every year fewer second and third generation children of that generation remain here.

Twenty years after Millie's death, I'm still in the neighborhood counting the widows. The widows themselves from her generation are pretty much all gone now. I swear I'm down to the last one.... a 98 year old woman who lives beside me. I saw her on the street walking with her cane. She laments that no one talks to anybody anymore. She still sits on her porch, and she still makes pierogies. "The young people don't have time," she said. I know she doesn't walk to church anymore. It was sold a few years ago.

The last vestige of a dying neighborhood.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saved from Junk Day

Junk Day 2008 came and went. The piles seemed even higher this year than last, as junk sprouted from almost every curb.

Of course there are pigs who put out more than a fair share. I tried not to let it dampen my mood as I drove about taking some pictures of junk, and taking in the scene. It was heartening to see the neighbor kids throwing out horrible big plastic things that kids play with and grow out of. I hate that stuff.

My album collection survived intact, though I almost threw out Mitch Miller and Gene Autry, then brought them back. I think they will go the Salvation Army.

One bright spot is an unexpected gift from the collective universe I received when I was pulling apart an old frame to pitch. Underneath an unwanted picture of my alma mater someone bought me at a thrift store years ago.... was the above poster by Eve of two of her Big Eyed girls with their record player! The edges were a little warn but overall the poster is in good shape and I intend to reframe it. I used to collect Maio Girl portraits (also big eyed) and posters. I have a few framed ones up in the house. The Maio Girl on the right hangs here in my computer room. I think they are cool.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Art for Art's Sake

I'm still musing about art this week. I'm not really great at anything, but I'm mediocre at a lot of different things when it comes to art, and find that even at my humble skill level I get enjoyment out of it.

I love all kinds of art-- paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, even 'installation" art. When I find something that really speaks to me, I try to figure out why. You don't always get an answer. Sometimes the art remains in your head, and maybe that is all there is to it. Your own personal reaction to something is the actual "art." More-so than whatever it is you happen to be viewing.

Where am I going with this?

I can remember at college, there was a giant brillo pad hanging from the third floor open space down an open stair well to the first floor of the library. People made fun of it all the time, calling it "metal pubic hair" and even worse names. I think Giant Brillo Pad was an entry in a contest someone started to further call attention to this unfortunate piece of work. Others abused it by trying to bounce super-balls into it because they would stick inside of the thing. What joy this brought, I really can't say, but.... the thing certainly caused a strong reaction from people.

I just did a search to see if I could find it. No luck. You'll just have to picture this one for yourself.

(With or without the superballs inside.)

Never Been to Spain

The Mid-Week Video muse is late.Oh well. Musing about "art" this week... specifically about 50's and 60's beatnik, Andy Warhol type of art, after I watched a special on PBS. Some of the video in this reminds me of that kind of stuff. Minus Soup Cans.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Much Does Your Trip Cost

Does anyone hate the phrase 'pain at the pump' as much as I do?
I just walk away from the TV as soon as I see the graphic or hear the mindless chattering about what station has the "cheapest" gas. There IS NO FRICKING CHEAP GAS.
It costs me about 4 bucks a day to drive to work. I say that simply as a statement. People have it worse than me. See what your commute costs:
If the link doesn't change, here is a handy Trip Cost Calculator based on gas mileage and a few other factors like proper tire pressure and whether you go 65 versus 55. (No word on 75.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Sunday Morning Muse, June 22, 2008

My topic today is collections. People collect all kinds of things. Elephants, salt and pepper shakers, cat figurines , mugs, Precious Moments stuff, etc.

At what point does your collection own you instead of the other way around? I was forced to consider this question with the quickly approaching Junk Day. You see, I used to collect oil lamps. I quit doing that in 1993 when I moved from a house with a porch that had these funky narrow shelves... perfect to display the lamps, and useful in lighting up the porch. I have them in all sizes and colors. I even have a "Santa Clause" shaped oil lamp, and if memory serves, one shaped like a log cabin.

The reason I say, "if memory serves" is... they all have been boxed away since 1993. That was a long time ago. Every time I moved, I moved the boxes... never bothering to unpack them, mind you... thinking someday when I own this wonderful home with a big back porch .... or I have this fabulous back yard where I host parties on long tables.... I will certainly have use for all these lamps.

Meanwhile back here in reality, I have half of a walk in closet space eaten by oil lamps.

Funny but as recently has two Christmases ago, a girl I grew up with gave me an oil lamp thinking I still collect them. I just smiled and said thanks.

I am the Oil Lamp Collector. A title that will take an awful long time to shake, but getting rid of 40 oil lamps would be a good start.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Far Away Eyes

For your Saturday night listening pleasure.... The Stones!

. . . the preacher said to send 10 dollars to the Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart of Jesus.... and next week they'd say my prayer on the radio... for the girl....well, you know what kind of eyes she got."


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Scatter Gun Approach to Women

Ever wonder why women seem to be attracted to the "bad boys?"

According to a new study, men who are narcissistic, thrill-seeking liars and all round "bad boys" tend to have the greatest success finding more sexual partners. Scientists believe that the root of their good fortune is simply that they try it on with more women, therefore by the law of averages are likely to ensnare more.

Hmmmm. Now I get it.

One Reason Not to Drill

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy

I got it straight from the Tiger's Mouth. Tiger is out for the rest of the 2008 Season. If you are any fan of golf, by now, you know why. ACL surgery and stress fractures in his tibia. Yikes. Of course I must say how bad I feel for him, and wish him the best in his recovery. The docs say the prognosis is good. Let's hope time heals.

Tiger is a force of nature in the golf world. The ripple in the pond effect is substantial. Face it, the PGA tour has much higher ratings when he plays. Advertising dollars are sure to dry up. Speaking as a fan of the game as well as a player, I am as sad for him not being able to play, as I am sad that I cannot watch him. I planned my weekends around watching him golf. The past 8 weeks he was out following The Master's, I'll be stretching it to say I watched half of a tour event during that whole time. It's going to be a long summer without him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Solstice Moon

Neatorama has a great post on the Solstice Moon that will be out tomorrow night. (Two days before the Solstice)

They are saying it will be the "biggest" moon you will see in a long time!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die

I have always found Ian Anderson compelling...and disturbing. --MJ.

The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end --- drank his ale too light.
Death's head belt buckle --- yesterday's dreams ---
the transport caf' prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
in his post-war-babe gloom.

Now he's too old to Rock'n'Roll but he's too young to die.

He once owned a Harley Davidson and a Triumph Bonneville.
Counted his friends in burned-out spark plugs
and prays that he always will.
But he's the last of the blue blood greaser boys
all of his mates are doing time:
married with three kids up by the ring road
sold their souls straight down the line.
And some of them own little sports cars
and meet at the tennis club do's.
For drinks on a Sunday --- work on Monday.
They've thrown away their blue suede shoes.

Now they're too old to Rock'n'Roll and they're too young to die.

So the old Rocker gets out his bike
to make a ton before he takes his leave.
Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner
just like it used to be.
And as he flies --- tears in his eyes ---
his wind-whipped words echo the final take
and he hits the trunk road doing around 120
with no room left to brake.

And he was too old to Rock'n'Roll but he was too young to die.
No, you're never too old to Rock'n'Roll if you're too young to die.

Tiger Versus Mediate


Rocco Mediate the Underdog from Western PA

VERSUS Tiger Woods! ( NOW who do I root for?) Can't we just say it's a TIE?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Sunday Morning Muse, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!
I was waiting in line at a local drug store yesterday and this impatient man burst through the door and yelled at his wife (who was a good 15 yards away in the card aisle)... Hurry UPPPP! I've been out here 15 MINUTES already. It's a CARD. How long can it take to run into a store and get a CARD?

"You want it to MEAN something don't you?????" she yelled back.


My first thought was, THIS marriage won't last. My second was.... I wonder whether it was for her father or his? My third was... if it IS for his father, it ALREADY doesn't mean anything.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mac or PC?

Do you think the President of the United States should be able to work a computer?
(C'mon. You know you DO.)

Three Dog Night- Out in the Country

Tim Russert Will Be Missed

It will be sad to get up and turn on Meet the Press tomorrow and see who sits in Tim Russert's chair. The Washington Bureau Chief and host of Meet the Press came into our livingrooms not just on Sundays, but during this monumentous election year, the news achors turned to him for comments or perspective on just about every story that came out of the election news cycle during the week as well. I admired his professionalism, and his ability to put things in context, or give us a sense of history when describing an event, rather than just blurt out accusations with inflammatory language like so many others out there pretending to do political commentary.

I'll miss his election night coverage the most. You could tell he just lived, ate and breathed politics. His enthusiam spilled over onto his trademark erase board. Experience and dedication set him apart from many of the others.

I get frustrated with the dumbing down of news. (Example: Fox News--- with it's "news presenters"-- little more than Barbie dolls reading from a cue card. They can tell you about the plane crash... with a gleam in their eye...)

Tim Russert will be missed.

Advertising Haiku

I Can Write Haiku

I can write Haiku on a train
I can write Haiku in the rain
I can write Haiku on a wall
I can write Haiku in a stall.
I can write Haiku with a friend,
I can write Haiku and hit SEND.

It’s quite easy to write Haiku,
If I can do it, so can you.

(Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Lot of Hot Air

On the calendar it isn't summer yet, but with the first temps in the 90's this week along with the dreaded three h's... (hazy, hot, humid) spring seems to be slipping by much too fast.

The airconditioner is back from it's 9 month visit to the garage. I'm really not an 'airconditioning' type of person. I keep it in the bedroom incase I can't take it any more on those HHH nights, when the ceiling fan isn't doing enough. I used to put one in the Diningroom, too. I don't anymore. My thought was this would cool the whole place down, but it didn't, and it destroyed the view of the garden. Full house air isn't feasible in this old house.

Air "conditioning." That's what I'm musing about this morning. Silly as it seems, I never thought of it as conditioning, but that's what it is. We are conditioning the air to make it more comfortable to be in. Making air do what we want.

There are those people who run air-conditioners 24-7. It's almost a sense of entitlement.... somehow man has triumphed over hot air, and no more shall ye bask in one's sweat sitting in front of a fan. Energy use is not part of the equation if you can afford the bill. Comfort takes precedence over everything. I don't fit in with that view. I actually LIKE summer. The three H's are great when I'm on a golf course with beer and sun and shorts. I like the heat. I like cool breezes now and then. I feel hermetically sealed in with full house air. I'm in airconditioning all day at work. I want to actually feel summer when I'm home.

I find it best to ration airconditioning as an occasional means of escape from the drudgery of heat, but still maintaining a sense of summer. Windows open mostly....ceiling fans, etc. A happy medium of man and hot air. Perhaps even a thought to conservation. Avoid the whole "rolling blackout" thing we had here a few years ago.

And, besides, without the diningroom airconditioner in the window, the cat retains her view of the garden and woods.

But the bedroom window will be off limits till September.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Now Pronounce You... uhhh...Just Married

Here's a question I bet no one has ever asked you. If you could marry any inanimate object, what would it be? (Certainly makes the whole anti-gay marriage thing seem trivial in comparison, doesn't it?) Opens up a whole new avenue for those who remain unattached at the moment and wish to find a life long companion. Or perhaps some of you out there are already married to an inanimate object on your couch, and would consider a change of scenery?

I got to thinking about this after Neatorama posted the story about the woman who married the Eiffel Tower. I guess she changed her name and everything.... pledged to love and honor... but I dare not speculate about the uh... Honeymoon night.


Back to inanimate objects. Since I can't come up with anything off the top of my head, I will attempt to reason my way through the question. It would be unreasonable to marry, say, Stonehenge, or one of the Great Pyramids. Too far away anyhow. Hmmm. The Berlin Wall is taken. Bummer. Not that I really cared a lot. It's gone now anyway.. but Mrs. Berlin Wall lives with bits of barbed wire somewhere in Sweden. Follow the link. I can't make this up.

I could marry the Viaduct that spans a river and a junk yard in my hometown, but that is a bit bourgeois, wouldn't you think? Especially with all the possibilities out there. I mean, it's early in the game. There's got to be plenty of "single" choices out there.

What qualities would I even look for in an inanimate spouse? For a lasting relationship I need an object that has stood the test of time. Something tall.... something solid and well taken care of.

Maybe I can marry the last Big Boy in America!

Angel From Montgomery

Written by John Prine, performed by Bonnie Raitt. "What kind of a person, goes to work in the morning, comes home in the evening...and has nothin' to say?"

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cemetary Polka

And for your Friday Night listening pleasure... I bring you... Tom Waits!

Is It Worth the Weight?

Pack less, weigh less, pay less!

Everyday the news gets worse. Stocks in the tank today, record oil prices, airline woes. Fark had a great story about an airline hoax ad that ran in Philly papers. It was good for a chuckle. It's actually part of some market research. I can't imagine for what. Who can afford to fly anymore?

Hell in handbasket. That's the mode of travel of the future if things don't shape up soon.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bonnie and Clyde- Georgie Fame

I found this song,which I used to sing as a kid,and never knew who did it. How neat when I found it was Georgie Fame!I recognized him immediately.

(Note to Suki: please watch till at least one minute and 10 seconds in--to get a good closeup. He's as sweet as Tupelo Honey, but he has bad teeth, a quality that you find so charming about the singers in the old videos I post.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Sunday Morning Muse, June 1, 2008

We have separation of church and state here in the US of A. That said, in order to get elected though, and actually become President of this great land, there are some unwritten rules of the road:

1. You have to believe in some sort of invisible, all knowing, powerful being in the sky who watches over us and blesses the United States. Otherwise you can't end every speech with "God Bless America!!!"

2. Be careful which being you pick to worship. Some are more popular than others, and if you believe in the wrong one.... or none at all, you lose any realistic chance at election. Also, be careful how you pray... not to loud, not to long, not too strong, not all the time, not so much in public unless you are actually in a church, or saying a blessing at a meal. Even then don't do anything that may be construed as undignified or out of the mainstream. And don't wear any strange looking scarves. Even if they were a gift from your mother. Remember what happened this week to Rachael Ray. And she's just a talk show host.

3. You certainly have to make nice with the religious right and appear to care about what they care about. Whether you do or don't. Or you will be very very sorry. Hell hath no fury like anti-abortion demonstrators.

4. You may not be able to attend your own church. This is because your fellow churchgoers will be pounded by media attention as people try to "get something on you," to use against you. Also, every word your pastor says since he was born will be scrutinized. And you just may have to denounce things he says along the way, or own up to them. You have to decide which is worse.

5. In short, be nice to everyone no matter what religion they have or do not have. Restrain from making fun of the more outlandish beliefs, and please, if God starts speaking to you... don't tell anyone.