Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Sunday Morning Muse, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend is winding down. I think the T-Day story of the week is a wild Turkey that smashed through the front window of an Eat'n Park down in the 'Burg right on Thanksgiving Day. The video of the bird on the floor of the restaurant surrounded by glass with it's feet sticking straight up is priceless.
I'm pretty much done with turkey for awhile. Two days of Turkey soup after the big day are enough. I'm making baked barbeque spareribs today.
And so "The War on Christmas" season begins. Every year it is the same thing.I get tired of the "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas" discussions. It's clearly not the problem. When you see people fighting over discounted underwear at Victoria Secret, maxxing out charge cards to try to buy unneeded things for people who oftentimes don't even want those things... you have to ask yourself...what is going on here? Are there really two holidays? The commercial one....with Santa and all the hype...and this religious holiday that happens to fall on the same day to celebrate the birth of a baby in a humble manger?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Stream of Consciousness

The scene at some Walmarts on Black Friday, the uprising of the people in streets in Egypt. The drought in Texas, the icecaps melting. What is going on today? In the world. If some intergalatic consciousness peered in on us, what would it see? Spinning the globe around and around like playing with Google Earth and zooming in, at any given moment on any given thing? What is new in the world? What has remained for centuries (pyramids)?

Who is eating leftovers? (me) Who is walking the long ago paths of the maids in Druid Hills, Georgia, taking lovely photographs and pondering on the words of Mary's Magnificat? (Suki)
Words that have endured and been translated in many languages.
Who is fighting for freedom? Who is just trying to get through another day, and not paying attention to the struggles going on?
I watched an old Leonard Cohen interview this week. He was asked about his poetry. "As the world becomes more baffling and bewildering, one is thrown back on one's own shabby little story."He explained that is what produces his work."If one or two poems remain out of a man's work... he is considered a major poet.....generally nothing remains of our work."
Who we are, with the transience of our lives...why do anything? Why build a pyramid at all? Asked Alan Parsons. And it remains. Poetry, art, music, architecture, literature... all not necessary for existence, yet here we are, for our own reasons, trying to explain, trying to be understood, attempting to build something that will last. Leave something behind.
And what we really have, all that we can actually say with certainty, is that one day we won't be here. So we may as well make the best of it.

Alan Parsons Project- What Goes Up

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Turkey Drop

Happy Thanksgiving

Don't assume you're always going to be understood. I wrote in a column that one should put a cup of liquid in the cavity of a turkey when roasting it. Someone wrote me that the turkey tasted great, but the plastic cup melted.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Sunday Morning Muse, November 20, 2011

Sunday morning, coffee in hand, and little Sambo sitting on the desk looking out the window at the crow on the telephone line. A cloudy but relatively warm morning. 58 degrees in November. Sweet.
Yesterday I visited the local library book cellar. Scanning the shelves, looking for bargains, I didn't find anything I really wanted, but ended up buying a couple of hunting magazines for a quarter a piece. Funny, I felt obligated to explain to the older lady volunteer checking out my purchase, that it really was NOT for me, I was just thinking of my neighbor. "Rack" Magazine with big horned antlers on the front. Hopefully no porn inside. I didn't really look through it much.
I worked at the library when I was 14 years old. A couple of years of Monday to Thursday night 5 - 9 shifts and an 8 hour stretch on Saturdays if I could get the hours. I was so excited to have that job. It was a chance to get out of the house and actually see people. Once in a while, other than simply putting away books and magazines, or refiling them, I could substitute for the front desk check out person and that was the high profile, more grown up type work. At least from a 14 year old's perspective. I liked library work so much that in college I also worked in the library, mostly in Periodicals. I got to look at all the new magazines and separate them, and in winter I'd look forward to having morning tea with the lovely library lady who supervised Periodicals downstairs in the basement. I learned a lot of life lessons from that very intelligent woman. Thank you Shirley, looking down from above now.
It is in this frame of mind I came home from my library trip yesterday to see that Newt Gingrich wants poor children to clean schools for money.

"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid," Gingrich said. "Saying to people you shouldn't go to work before you're 14, 16. You're totally poor, you're in a school that's failing with a teacher that's failing."

HOLD THE BUS! Did he really mean he wants children younger than 14 to work? All this in the midst of dissing teachers...and later...suggesting we fire all the janitors (union, of course) and replace them with poor kids?-Pause for outrage.-Really. That's going to make America so much more on par with China. Really. Let the 10 year old's scrub toilets, while the ones from "better" families sit around and make fun of the poor kids in their spare time.

"Hey Toilet boy? Wassup? you missed some funky stuff around the urinal..."
Newt, this is one of the dumbest, cruel, out of touch ideas I have ever heard. Yeah, I worked at 14... and I wanted to do that. But I also remember my dad telling me, "Are you really SURE you want to do this? Once you start working, you will work for the rest of your life." He said that with a touch of sadness. Almost like he knew my fate beforehand....or something. Knew that I wouldn't hit the lottery, or marry a rich man. Wanted me to have a few more years of timeless days. Not having to be somewhere in the summers. Time to read, paint, enjoy my youth. Because adulthood hits too quickly and the responsibilities are endless.
Yeah, dad. You were right. I'm still working. I somehow wish I could relive that 13th year's summer, knowing what I know now. That was the last real summer.
Newt, little kids should be little kids. Maybe instead of a 250 thousand dollar credit line at Tiffany's you could
be using your money to help disadvantaged kids. Instead of bashing teachers, help come up with incentives that work to make schools better.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reading is Fundamental... Pass it On.

The Herman Cain Art project gets freakier and freakier. Quoting the Simpsons? Really?
Reading is soooo overrated. Humph.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stay Out of the Water

Remember the terror of having to do a book report? Imagine what it felt like to get called upon to go to the front of the sixth grade class and talk for five minutes about a book you haven't read.
Well...the book is called Old Man and the Sea. It's by Ernest Hemingway. It's about a man...and a fish. But I can't say I agree with the way he caught the fish. I would have analyzed it more, got more intelligence. No, I can't really say I know what intelligence the old man had, but I would have analyzed it better. And the sea is a nice place. I've been to many seas...and I think water is a good thing. What did you ask me again? I can't say I agree or disagree with the old man. But there is a lot of things swirling in my head.

Now watch Herman Cain.

That's all for now.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Sunday Morning Muse, November 13, 2011

Sunday morning bluejay frenzy at the house. Each day, as predictable as the sunrise itself, at least 10 peanuts are put on the stump and the birds know this. Ten peanuts for 10 birds. I suspect it never gets divided up that way. I should take a video, because within five minutes they show up en mass...swooping and diving. Here are just two.
A big blackbird got shut out. He didn't get the message, apparently, that you have to move fast or lose out.
Birds are family here. Woodpeckers on the suet. Finches and sparrows at the bird feeder. Eight turkeys in the woods near the dump this week. Someone said wild turkey really isn't worth the trouble to eat. The birds taste better from the store. Who'd pluck it anyway?
I confess I am someone who has a disconnect when it comes to food sources versus what is on the table. Sometimes I look at a McNugget and wondered where the chicken came from. Really. Then I realize they are Processed Meat...that is meat mixed with other stuff and bent and mixed into the form that is needed. Much like the McRibs. (follow this link at your own peril. You may never eat one again.)Then I wonder how many chickens are really in a McNugget? And what else is in there?...and then I don't want to think anymore. I just dip it in the honey sauce and eat it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Sunrise

The sun just started to peak at me through the window and it is another Saturday morning. I take for granted the view I have because I've lived here so long, but it really is a beautiful horizon as I peer out and see the east side hill over the river. The wide bridge over the river, the rows of little homes on the other side staggering up the hill...and in the middle...the steeple of the old Polish church. The trees have lost their leaves now and the sun is a very bright glowing orb causing spots in my eyes if I look off the edge of the computer screen. With the west side hill behind me I never see the sunset. Unless I am out somewhere.
Yesterday it snowed...the first snow with any covering power. I felt sudden sadness. Is this it? Is the long winter here more color? Thankfully today, no snow. What few leaves remain on the Japanese maples out front still cling and the piles of leaves underneath are still there. It looks like fall again. Even if it isn't prime. Like the woman of a certain age with fading hair color, just before it turns all gray. Suki says November in Atlanta is like October here. Beautiful.
I was looking at pictures of 30 celebs who are aging with grace. To their credit most look believable when they say they aren't going the botox route or attempting to turn back time with some surgery or other creative means. I can't ever see myself doing that. My favorite of the bunch has got to be Julianne Moore. She is exuberant and her inner beauty shines through. Helen Mirren is amazing. But I admit seeing Lauren Hutton startled me a bit. More like a wake up call to me that time is moving on, because my mental image of her is forever in 1980 with Richard Gere. American Gigolo. Sheesh. A long time ago.
Well, on that happy note, I think I'll go look at the clouds in my coffee...and try to remember just how old Carly Simon is these days. Then again maybe I won't.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rainbows and Robots

Jethro better go home to the cement pond and help Ellie tend to the critters. It is pretty obvious he can't cut it on the national stage.

We just barely got over the lively video of him yucking it up with the conversatives...slurring his words. (drunk???) And now this week, he is abolishing cabinet departments he can't even name. Where are the Rhodes scholars? It's getting sad, people. Right now if you put a robot out there and program it to say "I won't cut taxes," and "I love Ronald Reagan," you are halfway to a nomination. Give lip service to the pro-lifers and the anti-Mexican wall builders, and there ya go. Oops, almost forgot, and "Drill baby drill."
If you haven't seen the meltdown video, here it is. It is pretty obvious he's been cramming lists in his head. Nothing more than dry talking points. It's not like he has any real plan to solve America's problems. Something he has given considerable thought to that would be second nature to describe. Reminds me of when I memorized Roy G. Biv to remember the colors of the rainbow for eighth grade science. (red orange yellow green blue indigo and violet)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Sunday Morning Muse, November 6, 2011

"If you want to hang out, you've got to pay her out, Koch's Cain"
(sung to the tune of Eric Clapton's, Cocaine.)

In a turn of a phrase, this comment posted at a news website pretty much tells you more than most news organizations out there. Of course I am referring to the Herman Cain sexual harassment turmoil from this past week, but, and I think more importantly, the lesser story of just who is financing this man. What details haven't made national news about his funding by the Koch brothers? And what about the campaign laws that he ignored by getting money from sources not disclosed to start his campaign? The MSM has largely given a pass to all this.
Can a pair of zillionaire brothers essentially pick a candidate, finance him and ignore the traditional campaign strategies, buy their own air time to bolster a campaign, and do whatever the hell they want while the media focuses on decades old picadillos? Uh huh. Because "sex sells." It sells newspapers, it boosts ratings, it heightens the "give a hoot" factor regardless of truth or lie. (And thanks to the Supreme Court-- Corporations Are People, Too! So they can write all the checks they want to, so cue up those negative ads....and really crank 'em in the swing states!) C'mon media you can do better! Dig a little.

Meanwhile, while you, John Q. Public, is out there salivating over the next sex scandal details in the news, take a minute to watch the commercials. Americans for Prosperity. Sounds like a great name. These are the wolves in sheep's clothing. Watch for it. You will see it in tiny print on millions of dollars in campaign ads attacking Democrats and Barack Obama for the next entire year. It's the Koch Bros. Members of the one percent. Guys who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars from their old man (a founder of the John Birch Society.) Now they are using it to try to buy the White House. (As an aside, their chump change... goes to funding studies that attempt to disprove Global Warming, and perhaps some Tin Foil Hats.)
That's why I love the Occupiers. They are the real deal. With all their flaws and warts. Are there people causing trouble here and there? of course. Are some people littering? Yeah, but look at the ones with brooms cleaning up, too. As much as the right wingers want to portray them as dirty smelly jobless people looking for a handout, they are not a group you can easily "label and negate" although Fox News tries so hard... Seriously.This uprising is a melting pot of people who feel they are getting a raw deal. They can't write checks to buy political influence. They are a hodgepodge of old, young, middle class, poor, white, black, hispanic, etc. with the same feeling of just wanting to be heard. And they are doing it by getting media attention with non violent protests springing up all over the place.
Something is striking a chord in people. All kinds of people. Something is HAPPENING. Here is a great summary, I think, of what people are really upset about. This movement is not about Jealousy or envy or hating the rich. It's about getting a fair shake, playing by the same rules!
I'm just happy to see people showing up. Apathy is the biggest enemy we have right now. Judge them at your peril. This is Democracy at it's best. It's how it is supposed to work. The people are rising against the powerful who control a huge majority of the wealth of this country, and have destroyed the middle class. Mill workers, teachers, health care workers, etc. These people are the backbone of America. They are hurting. They are not the enemy. Unions are not the enemy. People like the Koch Brothers are the real problem with America. And their "Americans for Prosperity" hit ads, which will go further to divide us as a country than unite us. Remember that when you see these ads and also remember the "monopoly money" that is paying for them. Pun intended.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just a Reminder...

So Long Andy

When those waiters ask me if I want some fresh ground pepper, I ask if they have any aged pepper.
Andy Rooney

Friday, November 4, 2011

Richard Brautigan Said...

“I will be very careful the next time I fall in love, she told herself. Also, she had made a promise to herself that she intended on keeping. She was never going to go out with another writer: no matter how charming, sensitive, inventive or fun they could be. They weren't worth it in the long run. They were emotionally too expensive and the upkeep was complicated. They were like having a vacuum cleaner around the house that broke all the time and only Einstein could fix it. She wanted her next lover to be a broom. ”

Richard Brautigan

Are you Listening?

Tom Waits and Pink Martini have new music out this week. Can't call them albums...can we still
call them CD's? How soon will EVERYTHING be digital?
I heard Waits on Fresh Air with Terry Gross this week on NPR. I like him, but he can be hard to listen to with that gravelly voice. With Waits, the stuff I like I really, really like, and the stuff I don't, I really...don't. There is no inbetween. Pink Martini is a group I like to think that I like, but the truth is I don't. I like a few songs and that is about it.
I'm getting to be an impatient music listener. Listening to Pandora...I get exposed to all kinds of music but I never really go all that deep into it. I just flick around... and flick and's like when you are watching TV and a whole half hour goes buy and you didn't "watch" anything.
When I was a kid it would take me two weeks to save up to buy an album. They cost $6.35. As soon as I got it home I disappeared into my room with my headphones and that is pretty much
where I stayed until I listened to the whole thing over and over again. I can still tell you the order of songs on some classic rock albums, because I was used to hearing them that way. And, in my head at least, I knew every guitar riff, every nuance in the lead singer's delivery, just where a chorus kicked in, all the verses, etc.
Now when I listen to things I punch around....I listen to stuff I know until I'm bored with that, then delve into something new until I tire of it and then I'm just done. Is everyone getting like this? Is my mind so fast paced now that I can't listen to an entire song without feeling this inner impulse that I could be listening to a "better" song...I just need to punch this button one more time?
Maybe I need to hook up the turntable again. It was awfully difficult to switch songs if you are
on the floor with headphones on. You had to get the cover, drag and drop the needle...
or flip over the album...or find another album...put the first one away...etc. Life was slower. Listening was...more like listening. Does that make sense?