Tuesday, May 31, 2011

all along the watchtower

About five - to - six years ago, an impression was left with me, in a moment, outdoors in a parking area, & I began a new habit: I started automatically and immediately locking my car door after getting in.

It used to be -- Open car door, slide into driver's seat, close door, start car, put in music.
One day in late 05 or early 06, I changed it to:
Open car door, slide into driver's seat, close door, Lock Door (plap - clernk), start car, put in music.

Then a year or so after beginning that new policy, a small scary incident occurred where the realization was brought home to me very clearly that adding "Lock Car Door" to that routine was a Real Good Decision.

Living in an area where there's little crime, we become unduly relaxed, maybe -- "car-jackings" are not on our list of stuff to worry about, realistically.

I've thought about these momentary, isolated incidents once in a while and wondered about the implication for Society at Large.
I want to write more about this when I can get a minute,
or when can figure them out.


Friday, May 27, 2011

I can't take it

money money money money money money money money money
money money money money money money money money money money money
work to achieve wealth
workin' like a dog, just to keep the water runnin'
can't quit now, too much depends on me
...ain't no end in sight
YOU TUBE break it down cmd


Thursday, May 26, 2011

soft sweet spring

finally, after a tough (Cold, windy, feet of snow, streets clogged--like drivin' in frosty, treacherous garbage) winter, some mellow "non-weather" -- not TOO cold or hot; feels like Freedom ... today, sat on trunk of car, bathed in late afternoon Sunshine, watching drivers by STOP-sign ... last Sunday night, late, my Writing Studio window was open to let in the gentle, grass-smelling air, & a youth's voice drifted in from the street, "F-ck you! ... and you telling me -- it's f--kn not gonna -- I'm tellin-you -- F-ck-you! And I'm sayin' [mrbbmmmrmrbnuhr-r) - f-k-you ..." and FA-di-nng away -- on down the street ...
and I wondered later, since didn't hear another voice, if maybe the guy was actually alone, just practicing telling someone off -- Nice and luxuriant, to be able to have Windows Open to -- Sweet Springtime ... (?...!?)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

dig this

[excerpt]--------- And then, just as they came to the Six Pine Trees, Pooh looked round to see that nobody else was listening, and said in a very solemn voice:
"Piglet, I have decided something."
"What have you decided, Pooh?"
"I have decided to catch a Heffalump."

Pooh nodded his head several times as he said this, and waited for Piglet to say "How?" or "Pooh, you couldn't!" or something helpful of that sort, but Piglet said nothing. The fact was Piglet was wishing that he had thought about it first.

"I shall do it," said Pooh, after waiting a little longer, "by means of a trap. And it must be a Cunning Trap, so you will have to help me, Piglet."
"Pooh," said Piglet, feeling quite happy again now, "I will." And then he said, "How shall we do it?" and Pooh said, "That's just it. How?" And then they sat down together to think it out.

Pooh's first idea was that they should dig a Very Deep Pit, and then the Heffalump would come along and fall into the Pit ...
---------------- [end Excerpt. Winnie-the Pooh, by A.A. Milne. Copyright 1926, by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.]

Thinking about the "news story" last week where some people believed they were going to be whooshed up to Heaven Saturday (last Saturday), I was trying to figure things out and understand them. The way it looks to me now -- (theory): no one really thought that was going to happen, they simply enjoyed talking about it. And joining others in talking about it.

Humans need connection, and people sometimes connect through something they believe, and maybe sometimes some people pretend to believe something, in order to connect. Pretending to believe something can be fun -- when we read a novel or watch TV or see a movie, we pretend to believe, in order to enjoy it, and relax. (Dramatists call this, "suspending disbelief": it's like -- your story, even if it's fiction up front, must have emotional credibility that lets the audience suspend its disbelief and -- 'go with' the story.)

When I was pre-kindergarten age, the Catch-the-Heffalump chapter was one of my favorites in the Pooh stories: hearing it read aloud before bed, however-many-times, I was inspired to actually DIG -- a "very deep pit" in an effort to see if I could catch a heffalump. I was allowed to dig, in a corner of the garden, in our yard, in Ohio. Pretty soon the neighbor girl Sherry and also two or three boys from the neighborhood who usually ignored us girls were also in the corner of my father's garden, digging.

(I think now, they were probably not allowed to dig in their own yards - !) It was a bit of a trend, for a couple of days. When the other kids first showed up & asked what I was doing, I had stated the goal of Digging A Very Deep Pit To Catch A Heffalump. I don't know if they believed, but no one argued. They wanted to dig.

And even though I was pretty little, and loved those Winnie-the-Pooh stories -- I knew there was no such thing as a Heffalump. I pretended to believe, because it was fun to pretend, fun to act out what was in the book, and fun to dig.
I think the boys pretended to believe -- because they wanted to dig. (A little more direct-action oriented -- typical.)

When you're a little child, you can pretend and not be labeled crazy or nutty. Once you're an adult, it's different.

Jackie Kennedy once commented that children have such wonderful imaginations, and that's a quality which seems to be snuffed out in so many adults.

Lee Silber (Time Management for the Creative Person) writes, "Resarch shows that 90 percent of five-year-olds are creative, but only 2 percent of adults are. What happens? The scientific explanation is that you learn to rely more on the left side of your brain (the rational side). The simple explanation is that the muse gets flabby from lack of use. Either use it or lose it."

When you are a child, you can pretend to believe in Heffalumps and dig a hole in the garden with the neighborhood kids, and just have fun and social strengthening / bonding, whatever, and Society does not Criticize.

But for many adults, much of the time, what's lacking in our lives is Relaxation-Through-Creative-Play (I think). Adults are completely wrapped up, trying to Make Money And Take Care Of Family. Any "free-time" thing they do almost has to have some Significance and Usefulness in order to Justify doing it. You can't go around digging holes for pretend Heffalumps.

However, the folks who were getting into the idea of listening to one guy who's predicting the end of the world, last week could -- I think -- justify some Relaxation-Through-Creative-Play, which they probably needed very much, to have some respite from worry and stress, by Pretending To Believe that they were going to -- possibly -- be elevated in Heaven -- right quick -- on SATURDAY ...?!

If these same folks had gone outside to dig a Heffalump hole, they would have felt silly; they wouldn't have been able to "justify" it as being somehow "productive." But the Heaven Elevator thing was tied to RELIGION -- and therefore unassailable. No one, they may have felt, could criticize them for wasting their time in Relaxation-Through-Creative-Play.

[excerpt] "Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh dear!" said Piglet to himself. And he wanted to run away. But somehow, having got so near, he felt that he must just see what a Heffalump was like. So he crept to the side of the Trap and looked in....

And all the time Winnie-the-Pooh had been trying to get the honey-jar off his head. The more he shook it, the more tightly it stuck. "Bother!" he said, inside the jar, and "Oh, help!" and, mostly "Ow!" And he tried bumping it against things, but as he couldn't see what he was bumping it against, it didn't help him; and he tried to climb out of the Trap, but as he could see nothing but jar, and not much of that, he couldn't find his way. So at last he lifted up his head, jar and all, and made a loud, roaring noise of Sadness and Despair...and it was at that moment that Piglet looked down.

"Help, help!" cried Piglet, "a Heffalump, a Horrible Heffalump!" and he scampered off as hard as he could, still crying out, "Help, help, a Herrible Hoffalump! Hoff, Hof, a Hellible Horralump! Holl, Holl, a Hoffable Hellerump!" And he didn't stop crying and scampering until he got to Christopher Robin's house.
[end excerpt -- Pooh, Milne, Dutton]


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

dam the flood of gossip

I sort of deplore the way it seems "gossip" is being mainstreamed and "fed to" us as "news," which it isn't: and then last week, what stories did I read in NY Times on line? The silliest, most gossipy ones.

It's like a drug. Very bad for you. Me. (As Bridget Jones would put it, "V. bad."

Example: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver getting divorce. Someone had sex. Blah blah blah. Why did I read that? Do I follow the careers / lives of these people? No I do not! Felt bad about self, reading that story. AND I read a bunch of the comments. Am awful person of weak intellect.

Do I care that they are Quote, End Quote, "splitting up"??
NO -!
None o' my business.
25 years is a long time to be married.
And -- am pretty sure they can afford "stuff" like liability insurance on their car
-- some of us have actual problems, the shrivers - schwarzeneggers - et. al. have Non-Problems and (tired of this word, but it is so apt) "dramas."
Also -- it sort of seems like, as Shriver met with Oprah and all this, looks to me like she (Shriver) is set to have her own TV show and the Story Of Her Split attains public attention / sympathy / attention, which makes more $$$$$$$ for the show.

The only "story" I read last week sillier than the schwarz-shriv split was the bizarre predictions of World Ending -- or rather, all the "best people" were going to be, like, vacu-sucked up to heaven. Saturday.
I knew better. I knew most people don't believe that. I kept my plans for Sunday. So why did I read that story, when there were More Intelligent things to read? (Got vacu-sucked IN.)

Today, determined to read a news story that was Actual News and Not Dumb, I read a New York Times article:
"A Slice of Afghanistan Well Secured by Afghans." I think that was about my last "free" article for the month of May. (You only get 20 free ones per month, now.) It was worth it; feel somewhat better about self.


Monday, May 23, 2011

town on the map

Church house, gin house
School house, outhouse
On highway number nineteen,
The people keep the city clean

[Tina Turner's main stock in trade is vocal interpretation and performance; this is one song which, to me, is special because she WROTE it -- about her childhood home-town.] ...

They call it Nutbush,
Oh -- Nutbush
Said they call it Nutbush City Limits
Nutbush City --

Twenty-five was the speed limit
Motorcycles not allowed in it
You go to the store on Friday
You go to church on Sunday
They call it
Nutbush, oh Nutbush
Call it Nutbush City Limits
Nutbush City --

You go to fields on weekdays
Have a picnic on Labor Day
You go to town on Saturday
Go to church every Sunday
They call it
Nutbush -- oh Nutbush
Nutbush City Limits
Hey! -- Nutbush City ...

No whiskey for sale
You get drunk, no bail
Salt pork and molasses
Is all you get in jail
They call it
Nutbush -- oh, Nutbush
Said they call it
Nutbush City --
Nutbush City Limits

Little old town in Tennessee
That's called a quiet little old
One-horse town;
you got to watch what you're puttin' down
Nutbush City --
Nutbush City Limits --

["Nutbush City Limits," Released June, 1973, Vinyl 7" single, United Artists.]

You can find several versions of this, most notably by --
Tina Turner
the Ike and Tina Turner Revue
Bob Seger ...


Friday, May 20, 2011

you might like to dance

People on internet commenting about the "end of world" prediction -- (tomorrow?! -- I'm just like several of the other "yahoos" on NY Times Comment "thread" who are gonna hold off paying their electric bills, until Mon. ...!)

Though I'm a minister's daughter and of course grew up attending Church Every Sunday (even when on vacation), I never heard of anything called a "rapture" until recently. That wasn't part of our (UCC / Congregational) deal.

Now as an adult, I don't use my free time to be in church, I use it to write -- (I got stuff to do, man) but if I were raising children, I'd take them to church. (My cat -- not so much, he's cool; God blessed him with Ultimate Wisdom and Love as He does all of our sweet pets, I think).
On my own, I've just "boiled down" all the Religious and Church teachings to one sentence --
"Be nice; don't kill people."

Another Commenter in NY Times wrote this.
A Buddhist meditation:

I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill-health.
There is no way to escape having ill-health.
I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love
Are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.

----------- If we can remember this every day, we can remember to be thoughtful and kind because any day can be the last with or without rapture.
[end quote]
I'm no Buddhist, but that Meditation seems to me to get across the same idea: "Be nice; don't kill people."

More art, less hostility.
Make love, not war.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

problems to be avoided

Contemplating totalitarian dictators: when I was in grade school, or maybe middle school, I asked my father why the German people would allow Hitler to do such terrible things. My dad's answer had something to do with the economy in Germany -- he said people were desperate and afraid because there was no stability. This image stayed in my mind, all these years: he told me that in 1930s Germany, the economy was so bad that if a man wanted to buy a potato -- just one potato -- he would need, like, a wheelbarrow full of money.

There you go. Economics 101.
And because people were desperate, they listened to the ravings of a lunatic like Hitler.

Osama bin Laden. (Did people in the middle east have that potato -- wheelbarrow problem? I....erh -- think it's something different, there. ...but maybe, some of the same desperation, and hopelessness of the Way Of Life ...)


Monday, May 16, 2011


hello, does this Lettering work?
hello, hello Blog --
what are the letters doing now?

horrors and atrocities

Ned Beatty is an actor who appears in two of my favorite films of all time:
>All The President's Men>, and
Charlie Wilson's War,
30 years apart.

In Redford's All-Pres, Beatty plays Mr. Ken Dardis,
and in Wilson's-War, he is Doc Long.

CIA guy: "All you really need are the Committee members."
Tom Hanks: "All I really need is the Committee Chairman!"
CIA guy: "Doc Long!"
Tom Hanks: "Doc Long!"
In one scene, after Doc Long is on board, he's making a speech -- spontaneous -- saying "a few words," to some Afghans determined to drive Soviet communists out of their (the Afghans') country.
Long (Beatty) says, [followed by a translator with his own microphone], "My son served in Vietnam. So I am no stranger -- no stranger at all -- to the horrors and atrocities of the communists!"
And when I thought about the phrase, "horrors and atrocities," I thought about two things:
1) it's a "twist" which I never thought of until last week when contemplating this stuff: the Hitlers, Osama bin Ladens, etc. of this world may not actually kill any people themselves, personally, with their own hands or bullets -- their rendition of evil is to get other people to do the killing, to commit the cruelty, to perpetuate whatever horrific injustice is current.
2) HOW does this stuff happen? How did Hitler get people to do such terrible things? (following orders) How did bin Laden get people to hijack planes and fly 'em into buildings? "Religious" inspiration / fanaticism.

Most of us aren't leaders, in a big way. We don't lead cities or countries, the majority of us. But if we, individually do not lead, someone will, and bin Laden, Hitler, et. al. are historical proof that we have to be damn careful who we let be the leaders.


Friday, May 13, 2011

pleased to meet you

In my last previous post here, had Rolling Stones song, "Sympathy for the Devil," and I've been wanting to write more about dictators and totalitarianism and how / why miscellaneous penny-ante crackpots such as Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, bin Laden, and the like ever get into "Power" and manage to get a bunch of people killed on planet earth.

However, by Friday I'm generally a little too tired for dictators, so will have to work on that next week.

Meanwhile, an interesting discovery: when I look for Rolling Stones songs on You Tube I tend to gravitate toward original album cuts, or live performances from sixties and seventies -- I don't know, going back further feels like getting closer to the source, or something -- I seem to shy away from more recent performances.
But -- found this: if you're on Google, & type in "Sympathy..." song title and hit enter, two You Tube uploads are presented there -- the first one an album cut, and the second one reads, "The Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Devil (live) HQ" -- that one is
Not from either the Sixties or the Seventies,
and it is a
Well worth viewing.
Uploaded by "MOROCKKO2"
One of the Comments says the performance is from 2007.

I think rock stars who've lasted that long carry with them a maturity and sensibility of -- "I'm fortunate to still be around and be able to do this, and to draw this audience who want to hear my music." It isn't chaotic / casual / somewhat drugged, as performances in 60s may have sometimes been. These people are Grown-Ups. And they're giving the Best Interpretation of the Song that they can come up with, using All Their Energy and, one can imagine, serious preparation and rehearsal.

Im - pressive.
Mick Jagger "acts" a song, similar to Tina Turner.

And like -- you can go back to a 1968 or 69 performance of this song in Hyde Park -- I saw that one and -- while I'm usually a person who says, or thinks, "Ooooh I wish I was born earlier so I could have BEEN THERE!" (I've had a nagging feeling my whole life that I was missing Something by not being old enough to really Live the 60s) -- still, watching the confusion etc. during that Hyde Park concert, if I'm being honest, have to admit it may have been better that I missed THAT particular show. Some freaky behavior. Yikes.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

hope you guessed my name

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith

And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

[Last week when Osama Bin Laden was back in the News, I kept thinking of the lyrics to this song by the Rolling Stones, about the persistent nature of evil.]

I stuck around Saint Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the Czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the Blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah,
What's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made

I shouted out
"Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all
It was you and me

Please let me introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadors
Who get killed before they reached Bombay

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name
But what's puzzlin' you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste, umm yeah

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the
Oh yeah
Oh yeah

Tell me baby, what's my name
Tell me honey, baby guess my name
Tell me baby, what's my name
I tell you one time, you're to blame

Oooh who
Ooh woo

What's my name
Tell me, baby, what's my name
Tell me, sweetie, what's my name

oh yeah
["Sympathy for the Devil," from the album Beggars Banquet, Decca Records. 1968]

It's like -- these horrible people instigating horrible acts in the world keep coming back. If it isn't Stalin, it's Hitler. It it isn't Hitler, it's Pol Pot; if it isn't Pol Pot, it's Ghadaffi (sp?); Bin Laden overlaps Ghadaffi; and just -- aaauuuggghhhh.
Most of the time I don't think about evil, but thinking about Bin Laden last week made me think of this song and then found this quote from the song's co-author, Keith Richards: he says what I have tried to figure out -- I read it & thought, "There it is!"

Keith Richards -- [2002] "Sympathy is quite an uplifting song. It's just a matter of looking the devil in the face. He's there all the time.
... Evil -- people tend to bury it and hope it sorts itself out and doesn't rear its ugly head. Sympathy for the Devil is just as appropriate now, with 9-11. There it is again, big time. When that song was written, it was a time of turmoil.

It was the first sort of international chaos since World War II. And confusion is not the ally of peace and love. You want to think the world is perfect. Everybody gets sucked into that. ... You might as well accept the fact that evil is there and deal with it any way you can. Sympathy for the Devil is a song that says, Don't forget him. If you confront him, then he's out of a job."
[end quote]


Monday, May 9, 2011

I'll just have the dress

[excerpt, from JackieStyle, by Pamela Clarke Keogh. Copyright 2001. Harper Collins. 10 East 53rd St., New York, NY.]

After studying at the Sorbonne, Jackie moved home to Merrywood and attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., for her senior year. Switching her major to French literature, she studied journalism and creative writing as well.
[Jackie] pored over rare copies of French Vogue and studied what was happening in Paris. She would sketch out an idea she had for a dress and bring it to Mrs. Rhea's...to be produced at her home at 1820 Thirty-fifth Street, NW.

..And it is almost historic to note that one of the most influential looks of

Camelot was invented in Mrs. Rhea's little shop.
...Jackie...looked in the mirror and said, "I definitely look better with this sleeveless effect."
Mrs. Rhea agreed, although she continued, "It's a pity the style isn't that way for daytime."
Jackie went over and retrieved a magazine from her pile of things on the couch. It was the first time Mrs. Rhea had seen a French fashion magazine.
"Look here, Mrs. Rhea," she flipped a few pages. "You'll find almost any look you want -- why can't you wear a sleeveless dress for daytime?"

While Mrs. Rhea leafed through the magazine, amazed at the variety of clothing styles the French were wearing and the extreme look of French dresses, Jackie fiddled with the muslin at her neck and shoulder, deciding which neckline looked good on her and how deep the armhole should be cut.
"I like the slim, sleeveless look. I think the shoulder should come about here." She pointed to the tip of her shoulder bone. "And I think it should barely cover here," as she ran her finger along the ridge of her collarbone.

Shortly thereafter, wanting to test her theory, she ordered a sheath for daytime and Mrs. Rhea suggested a little jacket to cover her arms. "That would be losing the whole point," Jackie said. "I think I'll just have the dress."

And so, a look was born.
[end excerpt]


Friday, May 6, 2011

walk this way

Today I walked to work.
(3 miles)
A couple of people doubted I could do it.
Why would I not be able to do it?
Well, in the part of the country we live in, the lifestyle is, You get into the car and drive someplace, you do not walk someplace. That's just the way it is.

But -- today I walked to work.
Coming up the hill by the highway, under a bridge, and continuing on, I was thinking, "Why did I think this would be hard?" Like -- walking is not "hard," -- Hell-o!
It just depends on what you are in the habit of doing; how you're accustomed to doing things.

Like -- walking that distance would be hard if I had a sprained ankle or broken leg and had to use crutches. Or if you were hand-cuffed to another person -- like that movie where Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier escape from a vehicle that's transporting them to jail, or to work, or something -- and the two of them are hand-cuffed together. And they take off down the back roads of the South, like that.

That would be difficult.

I, however, have not got a broken leg; and I don't need to use crutches; nor am I handcuffed to Sidney Poitier (unfortunately).

So, I said to myself, "This is Not 'hard.' Why did I imagine that it would be?
Sometimes there are things right in front of you that you don't know.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

a day too long

Sky full of fire, came pouring down
Nothing you can sell me, I'll see you around

all my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

some people will offer you their hand and some won't
Last night I knew you, tonight I don't
I need something to distract my mind

...But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me

[from "Mississippi" -- Bob Dylan -- Love and Theft album -- Released September 11, 2001, Columbia Records]