Friday, July 29, 2011

ladder safety

Recently, was called upon to do a bit of ghost-busting.
We walked all through the house, to every room, upstairs and the basement, and to every closet.
In front of one closed door:
"I don't think anybody could fit in there."

I opened it anyway, to make sure.

I carried the .22 -- as it happens the house is furnished and decorated more beautifully than any home I've ever seen. So I had an odd balance of --
"Uh-oh, what's that?! Oh, it's OK.
What a beautiful picture! -- is that new?
Oh boy, there could be someone in there --
I love those curtains!

Ghost-busting is easier at someone else's house than your own, in a way. Because if you're alone at home, you're the one who's been hearing the sounds and you're more scared. If you just stop in to someone else's house to do it, it's more like a social visit / tour.

A ladder with wide rungs leads to a picturesque loft. We thought the loft needed to be checked. Standing at the bottom of the ladder holding the .22 I remembered in the Safety Committee meeting at work last month, when the Safety Manager discussed Ladder Safety. One of the causes of accidents with ladders is when people climb up a ladder while carrying something.

(The company where I work is very proactive about safety, with a progressive, stringent accident investigation process. I admire that, & think it sets an excellent example for the industry -- for any industry, really....)

I thought of the Safety Manager and the fact that I hardly ever climb a ladder and hardly ever hold a .22, and wondered, Now what would he say about me climbing a ladder tonight, while carrying a loaded gun? Hmmmh.

Thought of what could be in the loft.
Ghosts, maniacs, serial killers.
(Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!)

Ermf. I laid the gun on the dining room table. On the elegant, pretty "runner" decorating the table's top. Mmh. Not a look that's yet been recommended by Martha Stewart, but you never know where decor trends will lead. ...

Climbed ladder: thought of gun and the fact that my friend could take command of it -- almost turned to say, "Cover me!" but didn't want to add unnecessary "drama."

What would I do if serial killer present? (Maybe could talk to him until he runs away. "Hey, are you registered to vote?")

As it turned out, we were serial killer-free.
Ghosts -- I didn't see anything, but of course you can't tell with those.
On "Sex and the City" they talked about ghosts: "You're supposed to confront the ghost, acknowledge its presence, and then tell it to leave."
"How did you know that?"
"Everybody knows that."

I don't believe in ghosts, for myself, but if someone does believe, or has seen one, I wouldn't deride.
I do believe that there in things in the world, and in life, that we're not going to understand. We have to live with the Overwhelming Reality of Enduring Mystery.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

be damn sure

"Feel Like A Number," a great rock song by Bob Seger, backgrounds a scene in the movie, Body Heat:

I take my card and I stand in line
To make a buck, I work overtime
Dear Sir letters keep coming in the mail
I work my back till it's racked with pain
The boss can't even recall my name
I show up late and I'm docked
It never fails
I feel like just another
Spoke in a great big wheel
Like a tiny blade of grass
In a great big field
To workers I'm just another drone
to Ma Bell I'm just another phone
I'm just another statistic on a sheet
To teachers I'm just another child
To IRS I'm just another file
I'm just another consensus on the street
Gonna cruise out of this city
Head down to the sea
Gonna shout out at the ocean
Hey it's me
And I feel like a number
Feel like a number
Feel like a stranger
A stranger in this land
I feel like a number
I'm not a number
I'm not a number
Dammit I'm a man
I said I'm a man

Before the song, Ned Racine and Matty Walker are at a construction site at night. There are blinking, or flashing lights -- welding or some other process, and men carrying building materials. Ned has got directions to Teddy Lewis's shop; Matty's going to wait in the car.

And the first hammering notes of the song come in loud and suddenly you see a close-up of some kind of incendiary device; in Teddy's shop, Ned is working on it, tightening something. Teddy watches him operate, then can't stand to look anymore, comes over and turns down the music and takes over.

Teddy: "Whatsa matter, you can't think with a little music?"
"Like this, I said."

[this paragraph is a quote from Lawrence Kasdan's screenplay]:
Racine nods then duplicates the clipping. Teddy goes back to his stool, slapping the beat of the music on his thigh. Racine pulls out the alarm lever on the clock attached to the device and stands up. He throws a look to Teddy and Teddy nods that, yes, the device is now set.
Ned: "That's it?"

Teddy: (nods) "It's fast. It's hot. It's simple. You can use the clock or rig it to something that moves. It starts big and it'll go with just the mag chips. If you want more, splash a little accelerator around."
"Just regular gasoline?"

Teddy starts climbing up a ladder that leads to a high bunk-bed; he talks as he climbs:
"Regular, unleaded, supreme -- whatever you like, counselor. I got to tell you, though, this mama has a big drawback."
"It's easy to spot. Even after the meltdown, they'll know it's arson."
"I don't care about that."

Teddy's face registers a surprised sort of "Are you stoned or stupid?" look.

Ned: "That's all there is to it?"
"No. No -- that ain't all there is to it. You gotta get in, you gotta get out. You gotta pick the right spot and the right time. And you gotta try not to get famous while you're in the act. If that was all there was to it, any idiot could do it."
Teddy (Mickey Rourke) is now sitting on the edge of the loft bed, his feet dangling.
"Hey, now I want to ask you something."
(Ned idly punches a thing hanging from a rope and waits for it to swing back, watching it...
Teddy: "Are you listening, asshole? - because I like you.
(he's got Ned's attention)
I got a serious question for you.
What the fuck are you doing? This is not shit for you to be messing with. Are you ready to hear something? See if this sounds familiar.

Anytime you try a decent crime, you got fifty ways you can fuck up. If you think of twenty-five of them, then you're a genius.

And you ain't no genius.
(a small smile)
You remember who told me that?"

(The lawyer nods, small.)

Teddy: "Listen man, let me do it for you. Gratis. I'll do it. I wouldn't even be on the street if it wasn't for you.."

(Ned shakes his head slightly -- no.)
Teddy: "Well I sure hope you know what you're doin' -- you better be damn sure. Cause if you ain't sure, don't do it. Of course, that's my recommendation anyway -- don't do it.
------------------ Music comes back UP again -- "...a stranger in this land, I feel like a num-BER --"


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

it's the heat

"My defense was evolving. You guys got scared. Costanza doesn't like me. ..."
In the film Body Heat, there's a lunch place called Stella's which is patronized by the courthouse crowd (policemen, lawyers, clerks, etc.).

A window air conditioner is buzzing and blowing -- little flippy things, streamers, are flying and flapping in the generated air stream.

Ned Racine (the lawyer, played by William Hurt) sits at this crowded lunch counter and lights up a cigarette -- ! (From today's perspective it seems pretty funny: he blows the smoke right out over the counter, over the food of the person sitting on his left, the snack of the person at his right, his own food, & the food they're preparing and transporting behind the counter!)

Now it's like our laws are screwed-down so tight, people who want to smoke have to get into a spaceship, fly to Mars, smoke their cigarette, and then get back in the spaceship and fly back to earth.

Ned's friend, the prosecutor Lowenstein (Ted Danson) kids him, "Ned I don't know why it's taken me so long -- you've started using your incompetence as a weapon."

"My defense was evolving. And you guys got scared. Costanza doesn't like me. What'd I do to him?"

"He's an unhappy man. Thinks he should be in circuit court by now, Here he is in a state with really top-notch corruption and he's stuck with the county toilets. I'm surprised you weren't in on that toilet caper. Could have been that quick score you've always been searching for."
"Maybe Costanza was in on it. That's why he was mad."

"Stella when are you going to get a real air conditioner in here?"
(she eye-levels him.) "If you don't like it, there are lots of other places."
"They don't have you." ...

About twenty-five or thirty-five minutes in,
there's another scene in Stella's.
The same two guys are there at a table; their friend Oscar Grace (J.A. Preston), a policeman, comes in.
Oscar: "Whatcha got in pie today, Stella?"
"Cherry, cherry, and -- cherry."
What do you recommend?"
"I like the cherry."
"Bring it on. And a gigantic Coca-cola."

Lowenstein: "I'm really disappointed, Racine...."
Ned: "There's nothing to tell. I lead a lonely life."
Oscar: "Right. And it's gonna snow later today --"
Lowenstein: "...And people are basically decent. ... Oh wait a minute, I know -- you finally got to Glenda. How was it? Did she let you into the no-parking zone?"
Stella: "I happen to know Glenda is seriously involved with a narc from Palm Beach."
Lowenstein: "A narc from Palm Beach. What is that, his hobby?"

...Ned: "How's the cop business, Oscar?"
"Real good. Always starts hoppin' in weather like this. When it gets hot, people try to kill each other."
Stella: "It's true. I could tell you some people who'll be dead if we don't get a break soon."

Oscar: "We've got more of everything bad since the wave started. It's the crisis atmosphere. People dress different, feel different, sweat more. They wake up cranky and never recover. Look at Lowenstein. (smiles) -- Everything is just a little askew.
Pretty soon people think the old rules aren't in effect. They start breaking them. figure no one'll care, cause it's emergency time...time out.

Lowenstein: "Oscar, I just don't understand how you could be doing advanced theoretical thinking like that and still be stuck in our little town."

Oscar -- (grins): "Lowenstein dreams of bigger things!"
"Assistant County Prosecutor isn't the end for me, fellas."
Ned: "Hell, no. Someday -- Deputy County Prosecutor."
Lowenstein: "When the truth comes out..."


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I love a rainy night

a pound-and-run Thunderstorm
Fantasizing about cool air


Monday, July 25, 2011

to be tough

Just another "manic Monday."
Should have stayed in bed.
Someone (Diana Vreeland, I think) said, "Elegance is refusal."
I was thinking about toughness: being tough. Where a person is "tough," as in they don't let others hurt them. Or -- are they still capable of being hurt, but you believe they aren't because they are so strong through it.

Someone I know had a hard-cover biography of Laura Bush, on a decorative table next to sofa, last week -- I was like, "Ooh, that looks interesting!" "I haven't read it yet."
And we were talking about being "tough"; I said I wish that I could learn better skills in that area. I need to be more strong and surrounded with powerful, thick emotional "armor" like men I see at work who have tattoos. No one can mess with them.

In our conversation, we realized maybe God didn't make everyone to be able to be tough in the same way, just like He didn't make everyone so that they can be comfortable in different situations; He didn't make everyone so they can sing like Tina Turner, or play football like the stove.
Or -- Refrigerator ...

Thought of the quote, "Elegance is refusal," and thought about Laura Bush. And was imagining maybe I can't be as tough as some men, but maybe I can be as calm and centered as Laura Bush, or at least strive for that.
Calm, and centered, I do not engage.
No one can hurt me because -- I don't engage.
I refuse to engage, or to have my composure disturbed.
Elegance is refusal.

Someone I know told me she had a stroke at a young age -- nineteen, or something. I said, "Oh! That would have been scary!"
She looked imperturbable and, with a shrug, said lightly, "No."
That's elegant refusal.

On Monday, November 25th, 1963, Mrs. John F. Kennedy, Kennedy family members, world leaders, and others walked eight blocks from the White House to St. Matthews in Washington. From the crowds lining the streets, as Mrs. Kennedy passed by a teenage girl was heard to exclaim, "Boy, is she tough."

That did not mean she wasn't in pain. But she could still be "tough."

Tina Turner's "elegant refusal," the day she was tough enough to leave was July 1, 1976 --
[excerpt]: whap! Another one of those backhand licks. And then I started fighting back. He kept hitting me, but I didn't cry once. I was cursing him out: He was going, "Fuck you," and all of that, and I'd keep talking right back to him. He was amazed! He was punching me and saying, "You son of a bitch, you never talked to me like this!" I said, "That's right -- but I am now!" And then pow, he'd hit me again. And then he reached down and got his shoe off his foot and pow, pow, pow! But I kept fighting him. I didn't care what he did, because I was flying -- I knew I was gone.

...I put a cape over my bloody clothes -- didn't even change them. I had to leave my wig there because my head was too swollen to wear it, so I just tied one of these stretch wraps around my head. I figured he could get somebody else to wear that wig -- he could wear it himself, for all I cared. ...
--------------------------------- [end excerpt]
{I, Tina: My Life Story. Written by
Tina Turner, with Kurt Loder. Copyright
1986. AVON Books, New York, New York.}


Friday, July 22, 2011

always take fountain

In the January 2011 issue of Elle magazine, the "Creative Director" (what a wonderful thing to be), named Joe Zee, wrote an article talking about fashion from the point of view of -- what "women are wearing" in New York, and what they're wearing in Los Angeles. With photos.

He wrote,
Beyond the demands of work, I'm equally fascinated by both cities. New York is home -- I love its fast-paced insanity, 24-hour delis, and in-your-face chutzpah. L.A. is the calming, soothing antidote: beautiful weather, early nights. (I've even learned to beat the traffic; as Bette Davis once said, "Always take Fountain.")--------------------------

I wrote down that phrase and thought about it.
"Always take Fountain."
"Al-ways take Foun-tain."
It sounded somehow delicious.

Since I live in what they call a "fly-over state," not in Los Angeles, I "know not" of "Fountain." It evokes a dream image in my mind, and the thought of Bette Davis saying it: did she say it in a movie or in real-life conversation? I can hear her imperious, blasé tone: "Always take Fountain."

Fountain. From the context we can think -- street? avenue? what?
Fountain Street
Fountain Road
Fountain Avenue
Fountain Alley
Fountain Boulevard

When I read that last weekend, I was thinking -- I like the idea of "Fountain Alley" best; however, I'm betting it's "Boulevard."

Always take Fountain.
Fast-paced insanity.
Beyond the demands.
Beautiful weather, early nights.
Equally fascinated.
Beat the traffic.
24-hour delis.
Bette Davis once.
Calming, soothing.
Equally fascinated.
Always Take Fountain.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Roger Rosenblatt wrote, in an essay in NY Times:
"Since 9-year-olds didn't wear suit jackets, I had to carry my revolver in a jury-rigged shoulder holster under my polo shirt. The look was that of a kid who had just snitched a mango from a fruit stand, and was unsuccessfully trying to conceal it. The cap gun was cold against my chest, yet I maintained a grim, professional demeanor, lest my suspects spot any weakness and get the upper hand....I trailed them at short distances..."
I could relate to that -- from third grade to fifth grade I read all the Nancy Drew books and other mysteries, too -- Christine Noble Govan and Emmy West wrote some of my favorites. And once, inspired, I created advertising (writing on pieces of paper) offering to solve any mysteries that people might have, and including my name and phone number. Sort of -- going into business. I went around the neighborhood (in little town in Ohio about 10 miles from Kent) and left my paper flyers in people's front doors.

Responses rather desultory: At school in Band Class over in the high school, a high school girl spoke to me (ooooh, an honor): (cheerfully) -- "I've got a mystery for ya -- find my band hat!"

And on arriving home from school my father came to ask me something. He looked baffled and amused at same time: baff-mused. He asked me about my mystery-solving service, and I said, "Yes!" and told him I made up flyers and took them around. And he said, "Well, a lady called here and ..." A little uncomfortable, somehow. I knew something was up but didn't know what.
"Well, she just -- she's -- well -- er, she -- didn't-think-that-was-very-funny!"

"It wasn't sposta be funny."
Now I was baffled.
I never knew any more about that.
(Come to think of it, THAT is the only "mystery" which my enterprise yielded -- and I still haven't solved it! Unless -- "no matter what you do, somebody's ALWAYS bitching" is the Solution to the Mystery...!? ...maybe...

It occurred to me a few years ago that all stories are essentially "mysteries" even if they aren't categorized that way by publishers and booksellers. Every story is -- find out what happens...Any Jane Austen novel: Whom will the central character marry? is the mystery...

And Roger Rosenblatt said that in his nytimes essay, too! -- "All writers are mystery writers."

[excerpt, Rosenblatt essay]: Since 9-year-olds didn't wear suit jackets, I had to carry my revolver in a jury-rigged shoulder holster under my polo shirt. The look was that of a kid who had just snitched a mango from a fruit stand, and was unsuccessfully trying to conceal it. The cap gun was cold against my chest, yet I maintained a grim, professional demeanor, lest my suspects spot any weakness and get the upper hand. I trailed them among the secret stores and wholesale houses of New York's East 20s, a neither-here-nor-there area north of Gramercy park, where I lived. The place looked innocuous enough, but was clearly teeming with crime. The businessmen I shadowed also looked harmless, to anyone but me. I trailed them at short distances....I saw myself as acting simultaneously in real time and in a film noir, so I was both tracking my quarry and watching myself do it. For his part, the killer, sensing danger, would turn around from time to time, confused and annoyed at being pursued by a kid with a mango in his shirt.

My reasons for taking up the detective business were the usual ones. I was bored by my parents, my school, my respectable neighborhood, and by childhood....The more fundamental reason, however, was that I loved living in a mystery. Thus, though I hardly knew it at the time, I was becoming a writer, or to be more accurate, I was thinking and feeling like a writer. E.L. Doctorow likens his writing process to driving at night, when you can see only as far as the headlights illuminate (a film noir image if ever there was one). This method will take you only so far, since at some point in the act of writing, the ending will crook its siren finger and beckon you to leap into the light. Yet it is the darkness where the thrills occur, and the lurid pictures, and the base thoughts, and the strange words to describe them, and you giddily are lost among unseen and unheard-of things. Writers answer questions no one asks. Others tell what they know. Writers imagine what they know.

...As a writer, you create characters who act differently than you ever supposed, circumstances that change shape and direction, sentences that seem to emerge from a trance. Ideas occur to you that you never knew you had, opinions you never knew you held. Only reluctantly do you concede that the mystery must eventually get hold of itself, and come to order.

...All writers are mystery writers....We muck about in a world studded with clues, neck-deep in motives.

...I was still in the detective business, though my office had shifted location to a desk and a soft chair, and I wore a legal pad, not a cap gun, near my chest. Here I remain for as long as I am allowed, as the cloud-ghosts shroud the skull of the sky, and the air trembles, and the figure of a man, huge and obscure, turns to face ridiculous me. -----------------------
[end excerpt]
"The Writer as Detective." NY July 8, 2011


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

into a few things

Yesterday I was testing myself: could I recall a Dialogue Sequence from the movie "Body Heat" -- ?
Here's what I wrote, from memory:

"You can stand here with me if you want, but you'll have to agree not to talk about the heat."
She gives him a cool-distant once-over with her eyes, turns back to gazing out into the night:
"I'm a married woman."

"Meaning I'm not looking for company."
"You didn't say happily married."
"That's my business."
"How happy I am."
"And how happy is that?"

"You're not too smart, are you? -- I like that in a man. ..."

I was close but not right on: taking notes from the film, I got this --
"You can stand here with me if you want, but you'll have to agree not to talk about the heat."
"I'm a married woman."
"Meaning what?"
"Meaning I'm not looking for company."
"Then you should have said I'm a happily married woman."
"That's my business."
"How happy I am."
"And how happy is that?"
"You're not too smart, are you? -- I like that in a man."

"Darling! This is Mr. Racine. I'm sorry, I don't know your first name."
Matty says that when she bumps into Ned Racine in a restaurant in their Florida town. Matty's husband emerges from the darkness behind her -- "Darling! This is Mr. Racine...." "He's the lawyer I told you about, with the client who liked our house & wondered if we wanted to sell ..."

Ned is alone, so Matty's husband Edmund Walker invites Ned to join them.
"No, I don't want to impose ..."
"Don't be silly! We have room for three, don't we?"

They sit together at a table.
(Each time in the conversation when there's laughter, it's always the polite, social, controlled ha-ha-ha that people do sometimes -- like in church, if the minister says something funny, people laugh but in a gentle way because they don't want to seem too rowdy because it's church. More like obligatory chuckling, maybe ...)

Edmunds Walker: "I was a lawyer. Well I still am, I guess. But I don't practice. I went to Columbia. You?"


"Yeah -- good school. I got bored with it quick. I guess I didn't have the temperament for it. I wanted to make the money faster. Is there a living in it here?

"I can afford to -- send out my shirts -- and to eat here once a month. If I don't order an appetizer."
[laughter, ha-ha-ha]
Edmund Walker: "Yeah. Yeah, I figured honest lawyers didn't make very much, and the other kind were too slimy for me. No -- I'd rather be up front about shafting somebody."

Matty: "Edmund, really. It's Mr. Racine's profession."
Ned (in a casual, diffident tone): "No -- that's all right. I don't like it much. Call me Ned, will you?"
Edmund: "What's to like? That's the way of the world. Most people despise their jobs."

"Do you?"
"No. No, I love it. But it's not a job."
"What is it, exactly?"
Edmund Walker hesitates, with a cagey half-laugh.
"Oh -- various things. This and that. Here and there."

"You don't have to be specific."
[laughter -- heh-he], "No, finance, basically. Venture capital. Real estate. Investments. We're into a few things."
"Around here?"
"Some. We own some things here."

Matty: "Edmund's company owns The Breakers."
Ned: "Really?"
Edmund W.: "It's not that simple, really. We have an interest in a few places along the shore. For the land. Someday -- but (smiles and nods toward his wife) don't try and explain that to her. ..."

"I'm too dumb. (stands up) A woman, you know.
[ha-ha...] Well -- I'll be right back. Then -- maybe we can talk about pantyhose, or something interesting."
The men chuckle in a good-natured way as she exits the shot.
"She's something, isn't she?"
"Oh! -- she is a lovely lady."

"Yes, she is.
And I'm crazy aobut her. If I thought she was seeing another guy, I -- don't know. Oh, I could understand how it could happen, her being the way she is -- I could understand it, but I think I'd kill the guy with my bare hands."

"That's understanding."
[polite chuckling)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

agree not to talk

You can stand here with me if you want, but you'll have to agree not to talk about the heat.

Where I live it's very hot this week, with humidity mixed in, off and on.
At least today there's breeze.

A person tries not to talk about it -- it's like so boring and obvious, and a person wants to seem stoic and strong and not engage in gratuitous complaining. Be cheerful! Concentrate on what you're doing! Ignore it! (And then...) Oh my gosh, it's just so darned HOT!!
Everyone feels like they are in an oven, or in a blast furnace (whatever that is).

That's why I thought of the film noir, Body Heat:
Ned Racine (William Hurt) walks over to Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), in the dark during an outdoor concert on a hot Florida night. She's standing by a fence, leaning against it, (smoking, maybe), waiting for a nice breeze in the dark,
and he says,

"You can stand here with me if you want, but you'll have to agree not to talk about the heat."
She gives him a cool-distant once-over with her eyes, turns back to gazing out into the night:
"I'm a married woman."

"Meaning I'm not looking for company."
"You didn't say happily married."
"That's my business."
"How happy I am."
"And how happy is that?"

"You're not too smart, are you? -- I like that in a man. ..."

I and the people I know are just like that.
Self-possessed. Casually attractive, skeptical, witty.
And waiting on a cool breeze.

I took that dialogue out of my head: tonight will go home and put on disc and check to see if I got it right. ...


Monday, July 18, 2011

state of mystery

"The Mothman Prophecies" is a movie I may want to watch again.
It's subversively scary.
One of those where you say,
"It just
you wonder."

When you watch it you allow yourself to be floated away on a cloud of Not-Knowing and being apprehensive about phones ringing. (The caller isn't anyone who wants to kill the guy. It's just somebody who Knows Things ... )

And makes you wonder about whether gaps could occur in time and space -- Richard Gere drives, and then he doesn't know how he got to the place he winds up in.



Friday, July 15, 2011

attractive, subtle and formidable

And as was considering the difference between the
impression of
health and strength
the reality
of pain, illnesses, and disorders
in the physical condition of President John F. Kennedy,
I thought about this:

Imagine the difference between a person like that, who minimizes his own suffering and refuses to dramatize, and on the other hand, the people you've known who use their constant and continuing illnesses, both real & imagined, to
a) get attention, and
b) control other people.
(How's the Health Care Plan going to deal with those?? They should have to pay in more ...)

We've all heard, "Oh well, she / he is sick, you know" to excuse inexcusable acts.

(Yes, well, officer -- I have a heart murmur, and so -- I just really needed to beat that guy up. ...)

Of course there's a continuum of degrees of that tactic; just read this anecdote which shows Lyndon Johnson applying it, only momentarily before veering on with some of the rest of his Schtick.

Reading the following excerpt, we must keep in mind it was published in 1965, when Lyndon Johnson was president.

{from A Thousand Days}------ Early in 1957 Lyndon Johnson wrote me that he understood I was critical of the congressional leadership and suggested that I call on him when next in Washington. Accordingly I dropped by the majority leader's office on a Saturday noon late in March. Johnson was affable and expansive. He began by saying that he was a sick man (his heart attack had taken place in 1955) with no political future of his own. His main desire, he said, was to live. He had no interest at all in the presidential nomination. He did not even mean to run again for the Senate. He planned only to serve out his present term. Being entirely disinterested, he wanted only to do the best he could for his party and his nation in the three, or two, or one year remaining to him.

He then poured out his stream-of-consciousness on the problems of leadership in the Senate. He described the difficulties of keeping the conservative southerners, whom he called the Confederates, and the liberal northerners in the same harness; he analyzed a number of seemingly insoluble parliamentary situations which he had mastered through unlimited perseverance and craft; and he gave a virtuoso's account of the role which timing, persuasion and parliamentary tactics played in getting bills through. Saying, "I want you to know the kind of material I have to work with," he ran down the list of forty-eight Democratic Senators, with a brilliant thumbnail sketch of each -- strength and weakness, openness to persuasion, capacity for teamwork, prejudices, vices. In some cases he amplified the sketch by devastating dashes of mimicry. (My notes report him "highly favorable about Kennedy, but no special excitement.")

He went on to express his annoyance over the unwillingness of the organized liberals to accept him as one of their own. "Look at Americans for Democratic Action," he said. "They regard me as a southern reactionary, but they love Cliff Case. Have you ever compared my voting record with Cliff Case's?" Thereupon he pulled out of a desk drawer a comparison of his voting record with those of five liberal Republicans on fifteen issues. On each, he had voted on the liberal side and Case on the conservative. "And yet they look on me as some kind of southern bigot." He added that maybe he was showing undue sensitivity to liberal criticism. "But what a sad day it will be for the Democratic party when its Senate leader is not sensitive to liberal criticism."

He talked for an hour and a half without interruption. I had carefully thought out in advance the arguments to make when asked to justify my doubts about his leadership; but in the course of this picturesque and lavish discourse Johnson met in advance almost all the points I had in mind. When he finally paused, I found I had little to say. It was my first exposure to the Johnson treatment, and I found him a good deal more attractive, more subtle and more formidable than I expected. After nearly two hours under hypnosis, I staggered away in a condition of exhaustion. Later I gathered that this was part of a broader Johnson campaign to explain himself to the liberal intellectuals. In a few weeks, when Kenneth Galbraith visited him on his Texas ranch, Johnson told him, "I had a good meeting with Schlesinger. I found him quite easy to get along with. The only trouble was that he talked too much." ----------------- {end excerpt}

{A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House,
by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.}


Thursday, July 14, 2011 his life

Of her brother Pres. Kennedy, Eunice Shriver said she could "never remember Jack being sad in his life."

Jack Kennedy rarely had a pain-free day in his life.


Those two sentences were in my mind, and when I put one together with the other, I thought, "That's kind of striking." ...When one considers those two observations together and in relation to each other. ...

Various philosophers, psychologists, self-improvement gurus tell us to empower ourselves by choosing how we are going to think about things. Like -- select your viewpoint. Proactively make the choice to have a positive attitude.

The two sentences at the top, describing the same person, seem to illustrate that point.

When you read about Kennedy, or watch a TV program, & you hear about the health problems he had, it's pretty overwhelming. Addison's Disease -- some kind of autoimmune something-or-other, and other things too. He needed a rocking chair -- that helped the back pain -- and a special mattress, and on and on. And yet, opposite of all the symptoms and discomfort, he mostly left an impression of "vigor" -- energy, power, and strength.

Whereas people thought they were seeing an example of physical health and fitness -- what they were actually witnessing was maybe, more, the results of inner (mental) enthusiasm and determination.


Jack Kennedy "rarely had a pain-free day in his life."

Eunice Shriver: She could "never remember Jack being sad in his life."


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

storm upon storm

"The shittrain began on November 22nd, 1963..." wrote Hunter Thompson in his 1973 book about the 1972 presidential campaign.
{excerpt}--------------- Back in 1960 most Americans still believed that whoever lived in the White House was naturally a righteous and upstanding man. Otherwise he wouldn't be there. . . .

This was after 28 years of Roosevelt and Eisenhower, who were very close to God. Harry Truman, who had lived a little closer to the Devil, was viewed more as an accident than a Real President.

{space in the text}
The shittrain began on November 22nd, 1963, in Dallas...

...When the Great Scorer comes to list the main downers of our time, the Nixon Inauguration [in 1969] will have to be ranked Number One. Altamont was a nightmare, Chicago was worse, Kent State was so bad that it's still hard to find the right words for it . . . but there was at least a brief flash of hope in those scenes, a wild kind of momentary high, before the shroud came down.

The Nixon Inauguration is the only public spectacle I've ever dealt with that was a king-hell bummer from start to finish. There was a stench of bedrock finality about it.
------------------------------- {end excerpt}

And when he refers to a "shittrain," he isn't even talking about Watergate!! Seriously. When this account was written Watergate hadn't -- well it had happened, but it wasn't widely known; the writing of this book, or keeping of this diary and these notes ran parallel to the unfolding of facts and situations surrounding the break-in at the Watergate -- little did this wired-up, "gonzo" journalist know, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, et. al. were adding boxcars to the shittrain, behind the scenes (if I can mix megaphors).

Too much. Too much. Stop the train. Pull the cord.

And what I want -- what I want is, I want to know, to discover, or more fully imagine What Was Happening before the -- shittrain, as it were -- "left the station." ...

{excerpt, Dallek - Lone Star Rising}----------------- [1960 Dem. Convention] The next day, before delivering their acceptance speeches, Kennedy and Johnson met with black delegates at the Biltmore Hotel. Although the Kennedys had encouraged the convention to approve the most liberal civil rights plank in Democratic party history, liberals saw Johnson's selection as evidence of backtracking or an intention to accommodate the South. To dispel the belief that Kennedy was adopting a "Southern strategy," Lyndon assured black delegates that he was "going to run on the platform that this convention adopted. . . . I assure you from the bottom of my heart that I have done my dead-level best to make progress in the field of civil rights -- that I have done it against great odds, both in the Senate and at home, at times." He promised that if they were elected in November, "you will find . . . that you have made more progress in 4 years than you have made in the last 104 years. . . . I want to campaign from coast to coast on the platform of this convention."

Liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr told Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., that if the Democrats had nominated a northern liberal for Vice President after adopting so strong a civil rights plank, it would have "confirmed the South in its sense of isolation and persecution. But the nomination of a southern candidate who accepted the platform, including the civil rights plank, restored the Democrats as a national party and associated the South with the pursuit of national goals."


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

where power goes

{excerpt, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson And His Times, 1908 - 1960.}------------------------ Meanwhile, Lyndon also had to convince some political allies that he should take the vice presidency. ..."We can't carry this boy [Kennedy]," Daniel said. Anderson told Lyndon: "You're young. You'll be elected some day yourself. Don't take a chance on getting messed up now." Warned not to trade the powers of the Majority Leader for the emptiness of the vice presidency, Lyndon replied: "Power is where power goes." {stop Excerpt}----------------

The phrase (statement) "Power is where power goes" has a curious, familiar ring to it: I can remember my father saying, "Pretty is as pretty does." A memory that seems familiar and distant at the same time.
Pretty is as pretty does.
Power is where power goes.
The title of the book I'm quoting from may seem strange -- "1908 - 1960" -- Why stop at 1960, right? This mightily diligent and enthusiastic biographer couldn't contain the life and times of Lyndon Johnson in one gigantic (591 pages) book: there's a second volume out there that covers 1960 - 1973...years of being vice president, then president, etc. (!! that's alotta Lyndon Johnson...well--he did alotta-stuff...)

----------------{Excerpt, Lone Star}: Johnson in fact had good reason to want the vice presidential nomination. In Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s view, Johnson had "a deep sense of responsibility about the future of the South in the American political system. He used to lament the fact that so much southern political energy was diverted from constructive political channels to the defense of the past . . . fighting for lost causes. If the Democratic party did not give a southerner a place on the ticket in 1960, it would drive the South even further back on itself and into self-pity, bitterness and futility. He may well have seen in the Vice-Presidency a means of leading the South back into the Democratic party and the national consensus.

...Tommy Corcoran also urged Kennedy to take Johnson as his running mate. Catching Jack in an elevator, Corcoran said it was the best way to bring the party together, win the South in November, and avoid being beaten on the "Catholic issue," which would rule out another Catholic candidate "for generations." After the day's events, in which Lyndon had attacked Joe Kennedy and struck out in his debate with Jack, Kennedy doubted that Lyndon would run with him. While Corcoran held open the elevator door, "which was spastically trying to close on my foot," Jack said, "'Stop kidding, Tommy. Johnson will turn me down.'" When Corcoran asked Kennedy to "let me see if he'll take it," Jack "smiled, nodded and said, 'Tommy you have peculiar abilities.'" {stop Excerpt}----------------------

(Why do I want to know about John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson? Main two reasons I can think of: 1) in our time, I feel like people's image of "President Kennedy" is sort of "taken over" by the knowledge of the assassination. The shock provoked by that has a sort of reductive power -- it takes over. But -- all people die. Yes, President Kennedy died, but he did other things too -- I want to know things he did and said while he was alive!

And -- 2) some people used to say, & some still speculate, Things would have been different, would have not gone the way they did, with Vietnam and the other assassinations, and riots, if it hadn't been for the murder of Pres. Kennedy. [Hunter Thompson wrote, "The shittrain began November 22, 1963, in Dallas. ..."])

...In a last-ditch effort to turn the tide against Kennedy, Johnson challenged him to a debate before the Massachusetts and Texas delegations on the afternoon of July 12. Confident of winning the nomination and eager to show his regard for Johnson, whom he saw as a potential running mate, Kennedy accepted. Lyndon used the occasion to attack Kennedy's voting record on farm legislation and civil rights. Johnson noted that Kennedy had voted six out of eight times for Eisenhower's stingy farm support programs, and pointed out that "some Senators" had missed all fifty quorum calls and voted on only eleven of the forty-five roll call votes on the 1960 civil rights bill.

Kennedy deftly turned aside Johnson's attack, saying he didn't see any need for a debate with Lyndon "because I don't think that Senator Johnson and I disagree on the great issues that face us." His answer to Lyndon's recounting of Senate attendance records amused the audience and defused the issue.

Since Lyndon was not specific about what senators were absent, "I assume that he was talking about some of the other candidates and not about me." Kennedy praised Lyndon's "wonderful record in answering those quorum calls," and declared himself "strongly in support of him for majority leader and . . . confident that in that position we are all going to be able to work together."

It was also clear to Johnson that he could no longer control the Senate as he had in 1955 - 58. In 1959 and 1960, party liberals and Eisenhower's assertiveness had undermined Johnson's effectiveness as Leader. "Johnson felt he had lost control," Janeway says. "He had lost emotional control of the Senate."...Theodore F. Green of Rhode Island told Tommy Corcoran that "Lyndon was finished as an effective majority leader. . . . If he went back, Green said, they might give him the title again but they wouldn't follow him." Lyndon didn't need Janeway or Green or Corcoran to tell him what he already knew.
...If he ran with Kennedy and they lost, he could still go back to the Senate and be in a stronger position than ever to seek the presidential nomination. Should Kennedy and he win, Lyndon might...convert the vice presidency, as with the Senate Leadership, into something more than it had been before.--------------------{end Excerpt.}
{Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and his Times, 1908 - 1960.
by Robert Dallek. Copyright 1991. Oxford
University Press. New York, New York.}


Monday, July 11, 2011

not so simple; not so complicated

{excerpt, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and his Times, 1908 - 1960. Robert Dallek}------------ [Richard] Russell had a reputation as a staunch conservative, but he had helped create the Rural Electrification Administration and the Farmers Home Administration. "I'm a reactionary when times are good," Russell once said. "In a depression, I'm a liberal." Although Russell was much more southern and committed to racial segregation than Johnson, they both opposed Federal activism in behalf of civil rights in the early fifties. More important, they both worked for the fuller integration of the South and the West into the nation's economic and political life. They wanted both regions to gain a larger share of the national wealth and power than they had controlled during the first half of the century.

Johnson got close to Russell, but he consciously strove to avoid becoming "a professional Southerner" like Russell. Hubert Humphrey remembered Russell as "smarter than others, shrewd in the ways of the Senate, brilliant in tactics and parliamentary maneuver, and . . . constructive on most matters of foreign policy and on many domestic issues." But "his tremendous ability was weakened and corroded by his unalterable opposition to the passage of any legislation that would alleviate the plight of the black man throughout the nation. He was the victim of his region, the victim of a heritage of the past, unable to break out of the bonds of his own slavery." Russell himself told Harry McPherson, he "just let the twentieth century pass him by."

Johnson wouldn't let that happen to him. As a liberal nationalist who wanted to rise above a regional identification, Lyndon put some distance between himself and Russell. Their relationship "intrigued" Hubert Humphrey. Johnson "was a close friend of Dick Russell's; a close associate of Walter George, who was a powerful senator from Georgia; he had good working relationships with every southerner, but he wasn't quite southern. He was a different cut. ..."
---------------{end excerpt}
{Copyright, 1991. Oxford University Press, Inc.
New York, New York}

"I'm a reactionary when times are good. In a depression, I'm a liberal."
The time frame being written about there is 1949 - 1954.
Here's a time-line:

*** 1949 - 1954. U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson "opposed federal activism on behalf of civil rights."

*** 1964. President Lyndon Johnson signs Civil Rights Act.


Friday, July 8, 2011

evil empire

Reading / Rupert Murdoch's media ethics scandal.

Oh my goodness. It's like Watergate.

The things that induces most fear and loathing, I was thinking, is the monopoly, by one guy, of American public discourse.

But there are different (various) levels, and items, and side-effects:
this has bothered (frightened) me for a long time.
Keep thinking am going to write down -- to make sense of. ...

I feel a list coming on.

("And you know something is happening here,
but you don't know what it is.
Do you -- Mr Jones? ..."
-- Bob Dylan


Thursday, July 7, 2011

up a -- creek, or something

Was surprised today to see in the news, the hacking, paying police, all-rest-of-it that "Fox News" impresario Rupert Murdoch's media corporation has enmeshed itself in. (The more cynical sorts would say, shouldn't be "surprised" ...)

I was writing, Monday the 4th, about other topics, and unintentionally wandered over to a place where I mentioned R. Murdoch. (Thought, later, why am I beating up on him? Didn't even start out to mention him at all...)

Then today, appears he up a -- shall we say, lagoon -- without a paddle.
Oh well. Perhaps has boots.

Those problems are being reported out of England.
Here in America, we need to put back in place the Fairness Doctrine, to recognize a standard that news has to be actually news, and can't be all one-sided, for either side. (Because as I was saying Monday there really aren't liberals and conservatives, it's just meaningless labels for some pols to rally their troops and some of us citizens to try to organize our beliefs around, but we mustn't be fooled. The real issue is the Work To Be Done, not mindless "our guy is better than your guy, you suck" sort of stuff.

Throwing out the Fairness Doctrine was as unfaithful to America's most basic values, and as corrupt, as it would be if they threw out the Constitution.

(I shouldn't even SAY that, that's probably next. Don't want to have to go looking for Fairness Doctrine AND Constitution in that same lagoon, while trying not to be mowed down by Murdoch if he gets people to row for him ....)


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

champagne and the fox trot

But I question some of that, from the book about Kennedy admin.: Lyndon Baines Johnson's "loss of influence was agonizingly conspicuous. After running the Senate, now he could only carry out orders..." -- Hold the phone, folks! Lyndon Johnson knew what a Vice President does, and doesn't do -- he would have known the "background, supportive" nature of that role -- for heaven's sake, he had been in politics since the FDR days. You don't live and work in that atmosphere for a gazillion years and succeed as well as Johnson did, and not know that a Veep is
a) not the star of the show, and
b) there to help the president. Period.

If he thought it would be too frustrating, or stifling, to go in every day and serve the president instead of running the Senate, Johnson wouldn't have accepted the position, surely.

And in light of the fact Johnson --
a) was 9 years older than Kennedy, and
b) had longer (and more successful) congressional experience than Kennedy --
his strategy of saying, "I agree with the President" in meetings where other people were prseent was correct, I'd think. He could still offer Pres. Kennedy a different viewpoint in private, later -- just not when there's an "audience." (Look at how people quote and describe and postulate and weave yarns and analyze years later, anyway! Think how much more "drama" they could create if Johnson had disagreed with anything during those meetings!)

It seems like when you read history or bio, sometimes the people talking about things and recalling things are creating a "narrative," a story-line: it's a natural tendency to do that because part of human nature is, we want (need) to impose order on experience. We want to make sense of things.

And the part about "I can't stand Johnson's damn long face," a quote attributed to Pres. K.: that's just the way Lyndon Johnson looked! That's -- his Face. (To me, it sort of sounds like the president was showing a little insecurity, or feeling a little guilty, maybe because some of these other folks around him are whispering in his ear and telling him, Johnson used to be such a big shot in the Senate and now he feels marginalized in this new position as vice pres. ...)

I think other pundits and commentators may have characterized Johnson as being in a "political wilderness," but they were dramatizing -- story-lining....I think Lyndon Johnson knew the opportunities AND the limitations of the vice presidency before he accepted -- I don't think he was worried about any damn "wilderness"...

And -- where Schlesinger worte, "self-effacement was unnatural" to Johnson: well, in the course of trying to accomplish something in life most of us have to do some things, some times, which may not come as naturally to us, but we do them anyway.
Come to work.
Do your homework.
Be polite.
"I agree with the President."
Have a nice day.

----------------------- {excerpt}: The black-tie candlelit dinner dance for eighty on Saturday, November 11 [1961]...Lester Lanin played, adn Oleg Cassini introduced the twist, the hip-gyrating dance sensation that was sweeping the country. The twist, which originated at New York's Peppermint Lounge, was considered so improperly suggestive that Pierre Salinger [press secretary] denied it had been part of the evening's festivities. Charley Bartlett [Washington journalist], a self-confessed prude, afterwards urged JFK to ban the dance at the White House. "That crowd has been getting along for years on champagne and the fox trot, and they won't need the twist to keep them stirred up," Bartlett wrote. "It's bound to get out, and it doesn't seem to me to be worth the price however small."

The champagne flowed until 4 a.m....
{end excerpt}--------------------
{Grace and Power,
by Sally Bedell Smith. Copyright,
2004. Random House, New York.}


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

took to the floor

Politicians, journalists, and scholars often wonder what might have happened if Kennedy had turned over his congressional operations to Johnson. Galbraith observed that Kennedy "always used less power than he had in dealing with the Congress and dealing with the public; Lyndon Johnson, in contrast, with a better understanding of power, always used slightly more than he had." But for all Johnson's legislative talents, Kennedy felt he had to keep the Vice President in check. If Johnson had been unleashed, "he would have found it hard to refrain from running the whole show," said his aide Harry McPherson.

Instead, Johnson entered the political wilderness, a "frustrated force of nature," in Joe Alsop's words, whose loss of influence was agonizingly conspicuous. After running the Senate, now he could only carry out orders....Johnson was "a proud and imperious man of towering energies and passions," wrote Schlesinger. "Self-effacement" was "unnatural."

...LBJ's demeanor in meetings only exacerbated the situation. "I can't stand Johnson's damn long face," Kennedy told George Smathers. "He just comes in...with his face all screwed up, never says anything. He looks so sad." Whenever Johnson was asked his opinion, he would say, "I agree with the President." "I know he didn't do that when the President called him privately," said Joe Alsop, but "he didn't want anyone to hear him disagree with the President."

...Like her husband, Jackie flinched at Johnson's crudity; she was shocked when she heard that LBJ described [Adlai] Stevenson as a man who "squats to piss." But she was also tickled by Johnson's colorful mannerisms and extravagant gestures, and touched by his contribution to her restoration project. Responding to her pleas, he cut red tape to arrange the transfer of a crystal chandelier from the Senate to the White House, where she installed it in the upstairs Treaty Room.

Jackie had fun with Johnson. Since her husband disliked dancing, she often took to the floor with LBJ.

...In small doses JFK seemed to enjoy LBJ's company, "poking fun at him in a gentle way," recalled Ros Gilpatric. During a visit in Palm Beach, the President invited his Vice President for a cruise, where Gilpatric observed them sitting on the fantail as JFK "spent two or three hours going from state to state and just dredging out of Johnson every bit of the latest political gossip and lore he could elicit."
---------------- {end excerpt}
{Grace And Power. S.B. Smith.
2004. Random House. New York.}


Monday, July 4, 2011

lumber on over

The Fourth of July! (Just remember, if it hadn't been for that War of Independence -- we'd all be speakin' English right now!)

--------------[excerpt, Grace and Power]--------------- Kennedy and Johnson were by nearly every measure opposites. In his appearance, Johnson surpassed Kennedy only with his sheer size; four inches taller, he could stretch himself to a seemingly even greater height. His arms were disproportionately long, his hands like baseball mitts. Compared to the handsome President-elect, LBJ's face was powerful but irregular, with droopy dark eyes, a large nose, prominent ears, and a strong cleft chin.

Johnson had been born dirt poor nine years before Jack Kennedy; as a young man LBJ had picked cotton and worked in harness with mules on a road gang. While the serenely cerebral Kennedy was graceful and discerning, Johnson was moody, lumbering, and coarse. "Lyndon was a powerhouse who filled a room," said Ben Bradlee [Washington Post]. "Jack was more demure." Johnson was overwhelmingly physical in his behavior: poking chests, grasping shoulders, leaning close. "He'd suck your guts out," said Orville Freeman, the governor of Minnesota who became Kennedy's secretary of agriculture.

...Kennedy and Johnson were as different in speech as they were in manner. Kennedy was casually terse, sometimes stopping short of a finished sentence when he had made his point; Johnson was legendarily loquacious, repeating something a dozen different ways to make sure he was understood. It was, in a sense, a generational difference between speaking for television and addressing the crowds in a dusty Texas courthouse square. Johnson was a gifted storyteller who rarely read a book and tended to get his information from men he trusted. While many of Kennedy's acolytes underestimated LBJ's intelligence, JFK recognized the mental agility behind LBJ's simple words and colorful locutions. Like Kennedy, Johnson had an impressive memory -- for facts, names, and situations.

Kennedy...admired Johnson's drive, cunning, and dedication, viewing him as a talented workhorse deeply knowledgeable about the intricacies of legislative politics. Since his election to Congress in 1936 at age twenty-eight as an ardent New Dealer, Johnson had been building his base, cultivating allies, accumulating IOUs, flattering, and trading favors... .

Kennedy's selection of Johnson as vice president had been crucial to the Democratic victory. While LBJ did not actively oppose Kennedy for the presidency in 1960, he maneuvered behind the scenes to gather delegates and strike alliances to deny Kennedy a first-ballot victory and emerge as a compromise candidate at the convention. The strategy failed, but Johnson still logged the second highest tally of votes by a significant margin. As liberals [protested] that an old-fashioned conservative southerner besmirched Kennedy's message of youth and vigor, Kennedy told his aides that Johnson could deliver the South and take "the Catholic flavor off me." Joe Kennedy, the ultimate pragmatist, endorsed the choice as "the smartest thing" JFK ever did.
---------------- [end excerpt]
{Grace And Power, by Sally Bedell Smith.
Copyright, 2004. Random House, New York.}

I was thinking I disagree with that, where it says that John Kennedy's speaking style was "speaking for television" -- from what I've read, that was just JFK's speaking style, in life, not just "for TV." TV was still brand new (less than a decade, in most households); and John Fitzgerald Kennedy had learned to speak long before 1952! (But that's a small point; I love that book, the author's research and telling....)

The other question (a.k.a. What??!) is where it says "liberals" looked upon Lyndon Johnson as an "old-fashioned conservative southerner" ...Mmh.

We just said LBJ got elected as a "New Dealer": plenty of anti-Roosevelt Republicans would have thought any New Dealer was liberal, not conservative.

When Johnson ran in the 1964 election, Republican Barry Goldwater was "conservative"; does that make incumbent President Johnson a "liberal"?

But yet jumping back to 1960, Johnson is seen as a "conservative" by Kennedy supporters.

Reading this, shows us -- so much of the labeling, categorizing, and pigeon-holing of political leaders is incorrect, because their positions are fluid, changeable. Every politician, even the president, is just a guy "hired" (by our votes) to do a job.
Doing the job is what's important. The real world issues should be our concern.
"Positions on the political spectrum" are gratuitous; and
name-calling is worse than a waste of time.
The sneering, snotty way many people spit out the word, "liberal" these days -- that's Rupert Murdoch pretend-"news" playtime-hour entertainment: I don't take what they say seriously any more than I would take a comic strip seriously.


Friday, July 1, 2011

loyal opposition

Thinking, this week:
as maintenance men enjoy tools,
I enjoy pens and paper.
Had two inexpensive (cheap) pens purchased at WalMart; "gel" pens -- leaked and made a mess, first time writing, BOTH of them. So -- not so inexpensive, as I purchased them & couldn't use them at all.

A man at work said, As much as you write, you should buy better pens, the kind where you can get re-fills.
I have a couple of (or no, three) good pens. One has re-fills, and I like using it. The other two have no re-fills. Felt the re-fills were "expensive": trying not to purchase Anything.
But maybe re-fills are not expensive if you can write with the pen, unlike the "bargain" pens which are no good for writing -- (maybe could still use bargain pens as cat toys: Chess likes to get up on a chair & reach to a pen lying on the table, or desk, and swiftly, suddenly, whack-whack-tap with his long, dexterous, cloud-gray paw, hitting the pen to move it a little, a little, a little, on the desk, then -- whoof!-PLOP, pen falls to the floor.
Cat - 1.
Pen - 0.)

Was also thinking, this week -- that when media pundits and politicians tantrum against a topic, or person, the more I will be in favor of that topic, or person.
Moratorium on bullying.
Moratorium on negativity.
Perhaps General Moratorium.