“Something new in the air today, perhaps the struggle of the bud to become a leaf. Nearly two weeks late it invaded the air but then what is two weeks to life herself?” ~ Jim Harrison, from “Spring”

Paper Whites by  kcentannial
Paper Whites by kcentannial

                   

Two for Tuesday: Moments in Time

From the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor:

Paper-White Narcissus

Strange, how they got their name—
a boy, barely a man,
looked into sunlit water
and saw himself so beautiful
he spent his life pursuing
that treacherous reflection.
There is no greater loneliness.

Here they are, risen
from the darkness of the pebbled pool
we have made for them in a dish—
risen and broken through
the long, green capsules
to show us their faces:

they are so delicate they invite
protection or violation,
and they are blind.

~ Lisel Mueller

                   

Moth Light by beinggreen
Moth Light by beinggreen

This Moment

A neighbourhood.
At dusk.

Things are getting ready
to happen
out of sight.

Stars and moths.
And rinds slanting around fruit.

But not yet.

One tree is black.
One window is yellow as butter.

A woman leans down to catch a child
who has run into her arms
this moment.

Stars rise.
Moths flutter.
Apples sweeten in the dark.

~ Eavan Boland

“nothing more beautiful [Beethoven’s 9th] . . . has ever been written for the symphony orchestra.” ~ Harvey Sachs, from Beethoven and the World in 1824

Gustav Klimt, Beethovenfries (Detail): Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt
“Kiss to the Whole World” (detail, 1902)
by Gustav Klimt
Based on Richard Wagner’s interpretation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, click on for article.

                   

Best. Flash. Mob. Ever……….

Seriously, though, it’s chilly and rainy, and the perfect day to listen to Beethoven’s 9th with the volume turned all the way up. Makes me wish I had a Bose.

For a nice write-up on the 9th, click here.

“And never have I felt so deeply at one and, at the same time, so detached from myself, and so present in the world.” ~ Albert Camus

Norman Smith, Landscape II, pastel on paper
“Landscape II” (nd, pastel on paper)
by Norman Smith

                   

“She was desperate and she was choosey at the same time and, in a way, beautiful, but she didn’t have quite enough going for her to become what she imagined herself to be.” ~ Charles Bukowski, from Factotum

Sunday afternoon. Cloudy and 68 degrees.

Norman Smith, Venice Impression pastel on paper
“Venice Impression” (nd, pastel on paper)
by Norman Smith

I still don’t feel that I can string together sentences in any meaningful way, especially since I am struggling for each and every word. I find myself staring at the screen until my eyes completely lose focus, and then I don’t remember where I was going with a train of thought. These phases are nothing new and I know that my inability to find the right words will be a reality that I will have to face again and again without every knowing why.

So, with that in mind, I think that I will just do a random thoughts post, well, because it seems to make the most sense right now . . .

  • I dreamed last night that the feral cats that live in the park bushes all came out at the same time and sat in a group in the entrance drive to the park. They were all black.
  • Brett finally got the radical hair cut he’s been pining for: shaved on the sides and longer on top. Now he’s going to bleach the tips and color them pink. It should be pretty wild once he’s finished.  I can’t wait to hear what my mother has to say about it.
  • Actually, I can wait.
  • The spring pollen is wicked at the moment. Everything has a nasty yellow sheen.
  • So far, I am disappointed in this new season of “Dr. Who.” Just saying . . .

“How fragile we are, between the few good moments.” ~ Jane Hirshfield, from “Vinegar and Oil”

  • A few days ago, I experienced something that I haven’t experienced in a very, very long time: I felt pretty. Not vapid pretty, not glossy print pretty, but pretty all over, inside and out.

    Norman Smith, Last Reflected Light, pastel
    “Last Reflected Light” (nd, pastel on paper)
    by Norman Smith
  • It must have been obvious because my PCP with whom I had my six-month check-up said to me a couple of time that I looked good, really good, better than she had seen me in a while.
  • Does that mean I look horrible the rest of the time?
  • What causes days like that? Is it an alignment of the stars?
  • The “I Feel Pretty” song from West Side Story kept running through my head, particularly the line “It’s a pity not every girl can feel this way.”
  • To be honest, I can’t recall a time in recent memory that I had this feeling, and that’s sad because it was a wonderful feeling.

“We are what suns and winds and waters make us.” ~ Walter Savage Lindor, from “An Invocation”

  • I finally went to a dermatologist to have the mole on my face looked at. It’s completely benign, on the surface of the skin. The doctor was pretty funny, using euphemisms for age and old, i.e. “wisdom,” “knowledge.” He said that it was what used to be called a beauty mark and that it brought out my eyes. What a character.
  • I like doctors who don’t take themselves so seriously. That whole god-complex attitude really breeds antipathy rather quickly.

    Norman Smith, Norfolk Marsh, pastel on paper
    “Norfolk Marsh” (nd, pastel on paper)
    by Norman Smith
  • My mother’s doctor said that the shadow that was on her kidneys has almost disappeared; apparently, the heavy-duty antibiotic they prescribed for the diverticulitis has taken care of everything, which makes me wonder why she was told that there was a “mass” on her kidneys.
  • So why am I so consumed lately with an intense yearning to have my flabby arms fixed? she asked, apropos of nothing.
  • The dermatologist remarked that I didn’t have crow’s feet, and I thought to myself that you have to smile and laugh a lot to get crow’s feet.
  • I go back in two weeks to get the bump on the sole of my left foot removed. It’s been there for years and years, and it, too, is benign, but I’m really tired of it.

“One got the impression that she was following phantoms; she was consumed by shivering sensations of eternally pursuing something unattainable. Something about her was tear-streaming; she existed in the midst of unconsciousness. And she could only be seen not by those who ceased looking but rather by those who absolutely exhausted it.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, The Collected Stories Of Katherine Mansfield

  • I finally got the paperwork back from the living will registry, and guess what? They misspelled my last name. People always put a y where the g goes, which makes no sense to me.
  • If my name is misspelled on my living will, does that mean that it is applicable to someone other than me?
  • If your name is misspelled on your birth certificate, does that mean that you don’t exist?

    Norman Smith, Marsh Sunrise, Pastel on Paper
    “Marsh Sunrise” (nd, pastel on paper)
    by Norman Smith
  • I had students in my 6th grade class who couldn’t spell their names. What does that tell you?
  • My last name has the same number of letters as Smith or Jones, so how do people manage to screw it up so badly?
  • “Lo-lee-ta: the tip of my tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.” Man, Nabokov made even the pronunciation of my first name sound sexual.
  • Have I ever mentioned how much I hate that my first name is associated with young girls, with jailbait, with dirty old men? It is a short poem, but society has turned it into a blasphemy.

“She walked roads no one else could see, and it made her music wild and strange and free.” ~ Patrick Rothfuss, from The Wise Man’s Fear

  • I am so glad that Brett’s spring semester is almost over because I’m exhausted.
  • I really am, exhausted, that is. Bone-weary. I don’t know if the lack of energy is allergy-related, tied in with my fibromyalgia, a reflection of my dour mood, or a combination. I just know that I’m damned tired.

    Norman Smith, One Tuscan Evening
    “One Tuscan Evening” (nd, pastel on paper)
    by Norman Smith
  • A couple of days ago I pulled all of my purses out of my closet—not intentionally, but I couldn’t find the one that I wanted to use. Then my bedroom flood was covered with purses, and I was too tired to put them away, so I stepped over them for two days. Pathetic.
  • When I finish this sham of a post, I have two baskets of clothes to put away. I may read instead.
  • I love having Olivia over here, but I’m so tired when she goes home, especially if she spends the night.
  • Corey is supposed to be home around May 10, just in time for our anniversary. He’s probably getting off the ship at that time because they are going deep-sea for 45 days after that, and he doesn’t want to do that. I’m glad, but of course, I’m worried.
  • The dermatologist said that I have worry lines. I refrained from retorting, “No. Really?”

More later. Peace.

All images are by British artist Norman Smith.

Music by Adaline, “Keep Me High”

                   

Today

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

~ Mary Oliver

I tried to write a post today. I really did. But after I put in my opening line, there was nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Sorry . . . So here’s some POTUS humor instead:

Obama’s one-liners during his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner

********************

Picking the right guy to play Obama, that was the challenge, I mean, who is Obama really? We don’t know. We never got his transcripts and they say he’s kinda aloof. So I needed someone who could really dive in and really become Barack Obama and as it turns out, the answer was right in front of me all along: Daniel Day Lewis. He becomes his characters – Hawkeye from ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ and Bill the Butcher from ‘Gangs of New York’ and Abraham Lincoln in, ‘Lincoln’. And you know what? He nailed it.  ~ Steven Spielberg (x)

 

“Let me keep my mind on what matters . . . which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” ~ Mary Oliver

Childe Hassam Peach Blossoms, Villiers-le-Bel 1887-89
“Villiers-le-Bel” (Peach Blossoms), (ca. 1887-89, oil on canvas)
by Childe Hassam

                    

“But I know some part of me is always busy with some part of the landscape . . . ” ~ Orhan Pamuk

Friday leftovers: making a path through nature . . .

The Meadow

As we walk into words that have waited for us to enter them, so
the meadow, muddy with dreams, is gathering itself together

and trying, with difficulty, to remember how to make wildflowers.
Imperceptibly heaving with the old impatience, it knows

for certain that two horses walk upon it, weary of hay.
The horses, sway-backed and self important, cannot design

how the small white pony mysteriously escapes the fence every day.
This is the miracle just beyond their heavy-headed grasp,

and they turn from his nuzzling with irritation. Everything
is crying out. Two crows, rising from the hill, fight

and caw-cry in mid-flight, then fall and light on the meadow grass
bewildered by their weight. A dozen wasps drone, tiny prop planes,

sputtering into a field the farmer has not yet plowed,
and what I thought was a phone, turned down and ringing,

is the knock of a woodpecker for food or warning, I can’t say.
I want to add my cry to those who would speak for the sound alone.

But in this world, where something is always listening, even
murmuring has meaning, as in the next room you moan

in your sleep, turning into late morning. My love, this might be
all we know of forgiveness, this small time when you can forget

what you are. There will come a day when the meadow will think
suddenly, water, root, blossom, through no fault of its own,
and the horses will lie down in daisies and clover. Bedeviled,
human, your plight, in waking, is to choose from the words

that even now sleep on your tongue, and to know that tangled
among them and terribly new is the sentence that could change your life.

~ Marie Howe

Music by The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, “Cosmic Blues”

Diamond Dust

Found something very cool about artist Judith Ann Braun on my tumblr dash and wanted to share.

Aside note: The Chrysler Museum of Art is the museum where I worked as publications manager back in the 90’s. Loved it.

If only I were making this stuff up . . .

Jon Stewart Trashes Fox News For Throwing Out The Constitution: The Law Is ‘No Match For Freedom Math’

by Josh Feldman | Mediaite

Jon Stewart took on one of his favorite punching bags, Fox News, in a segment calling the network out for always praising the wisdom of the Founders in creating the Constitution, only to discard over half of the Bill of Rights when talking about the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. Stewart noticed every amendment seemed negotiable to people at Fox News except the second, and any legal arguments to the contrary were “no match for freedom math.”

Stewart likened terrorists hating the U.S. for its freedoms to Anne Hathaway: “you hate us, only because you can’t get with this!” He ran clip after clip of Fox News hosts praising the Constitution, only to then show them throwing out the Constitution in talking about the case of the Boston Marathon bombers. On their questioning of whether or not the alive suspect should have been read his Miranda rights, Stewart pointed out he still has them even if they don’t read them, because “you don’t have to say them out loud for them to become real.”

Stewart ran the gamut from treating the suspect as an enemy combatant to calls for torture to even suggesting that the FBI should wiretap all mosques to show how amendments are just being dumped like wildfire. Stewart was particularly struck by Ann Coulter saying the dead suspect’s wife should be jailed for wearing a hijab, remarking “she wants a fashion police state.”

Of course, in the interest of fairness, Stewart showed some Fox News personalities injecting their legal perspective into the mix, but as far as the rest of the network is concerned, the law is “no match for freedom math.” Of course, Stewart noticed the only amendment not being discarded willy-nilly is the second, and wondered what would happen if terrorists decided to establish a well-regulated militia of their own.

                   

Full transcript of April 24 The Daily Show segment below:

But we begin tonight with a celebration of what makes America the home of the brave and the land of the awesome, and why our enemies don’t get it.

BRIAN KILMEADE (1/4/2013): Hey, the Constitution founded our great country.ERIC BOLLING (7/6/2011): The American Constitution, the blueprints for our way of life…

SEAN HANNITY (7/2/2012): I really worry if we have lost an understanding of our Constitution, our founding principles, an understanding of what makes us strong.

LAURA INGRAHAM (8/27/2009): They hate our freedom, they hate our way of life, they hate who we are, they hate our liberty.

It is like we are the Anne Hathaway of countries.  (audience laughter)  You hate us, but only cuz you can’t get with this!  (Jon finger snaps)

Why do you hate America?  Is it that we’re too nice, that we sing too well, or that we’re too hot?  ♫  “I dreamed a dream….”

And that’s why how we handle Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is so important.  For the strength of our system lies in how durable it is, even for our most heinous citizens.

SEAN HANNITY (4/22/2013): I’m a little bit concerned because now he’s, you know, he’s got his Miranda rights, the right to remain silent.ERIC BOLLING (4/24/2013): Miranda.  Mirandize the guy or not?

GREG GUTFIELD (4/24/2013): I don’t understand the point.

BRIAN KILMEADE (4/23/2013): First thing you gotta tell him is, you have the right to remain silent.  Fantastic.  So the bombs that could be exploding and the plots that could be unfolding, we can’t ask him.

OK, first of all, not reading someone their Miranda rights doesn’t mean they don’t have their Miranda rights.  (audience laughter)  You have Miranda rights under the Constitution.  You don’t have to say them out loud for them to become real.  You’re thinking of Beetlejuice.  (audience laughter and applause)

Now the only reason you have to read them is so that whatever the suspect has done or did, whatever they do say, is admissible at their trial.  It’s another hallmark of our constitutionally guaranteed right to due process.

4/22/2013:SEAN HANNITY: I think it’s a mistake not to treat him as an enemy combatant.

ANN COULTER: We ought to look at him as an enemy combatant, and moving him toward a military tribunal.

Yes, civilian trial for a terrorist, not gonna work!  It’s why Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, Ramzi Yousef, and the Blind Sheikh roam our fair country in a bus, going city to city singing medleys of original hits and….  (listens to earpiece)  What’s that?  Really?  They’re dead or in prison, huh?  Well, who am I thinking of?  Is it… oh, the Muppets.  Oh, all right.  I get it.  Well, to be fair, they both tried to take Manhattan.

So in the wake of an assault on our freedom and way of life, we have quickly jettisoned the Sixth Amendment’s right to a fair trial and speedy trial, and the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination!  What’s next?

SEAN HANNITY (4/22/2013): This guy ought to be, right now, being interrogated in a very intense way. … I’d waterboard him.  I don’t believe enhanced interrogation is torture.  I don’t.

You don’t believe enhanced interrogation is torture?  Because torture, like Tinkerbell, depends on if we believe?  So there goes the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  Any freedom lovers want to take a crack at some of the lower ones, your Thirds, your Fourths?

4/22/2013:ERIC BOLLING: Should the FBI be allowed to now go into mosques and wiretap and surveil? … I think this is a great case for opening up that.

BRIAN KILMEADE: I think that we should be able to put in listening devices in there.

Sure, illegal search and seizure, done!  The freedom lovers at Fox are jettisoning Amendments like Han Solo dumping cargo to make the jump to light speed at the first sign of Imperial Cruisers, right Chewie?

But you know what?  Anybody can toss away the lesser-known Amendments.  Only a true patriot can set a course straight for the First.

BOB BECKEL (4/23/2013): We really have to consider, that given the fact so many people hate us, that we’re going to have to cut off Muslim students from coming to this country for some period of time.

Yes, a religious litmus test for school enrollment!, says Fox’s most prominent liberal voice.  Holy shit, what’s left?  A prohibition on the unmentioned personal rights in the Constitution that are designated to the people?

ANN COULTER (4/22/2013): I want to know about this wife as well. … I don’t care if she knew about this.  She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab.

(shocked and disgusted audience response)

AND DOWN GOES THE NINTH AMENDMENT!!!  DOWN GOES THE NINTH AMENDMENT!!!

Ann Coulter doesn’t just want a police state, she wants a fashion police state!

Now of course, to their credit, any of the Fox contributors or anchors who have studied law, have a somewhat different take on this subject.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO (4/23/2013): To try him as an enemy combatant … the government can’t just willy-nilly do that.MEGYN KELLY (4/23/2013): I think now you’re getting into a dangerous place.

4/22/2013:BRIAN KILMEADE: Is that possible?

PETER JOHNSON, JR.: No.

But of course, these types of legal arguments are no match for freedom math.

ERIC BOLLING (4/23/2013): How many Muslims in the world, anybody? … 1.57 billion … Let’s just say 10% dislike us or hate us. … That means 157 million Muslims hate us.  If 5%, 10%, 1% are radicalized and would kill us, you know how much that is?  That’s one and a half million people who are radicalized to the point where they would want to kill you, kill us Americans.

Wow, that’s interesting.  Can I see a footnote citation for those figures?

Oh, that’s where he got them.  All right, I wasn’t sure.  (wild audience cheering and applause)

Well, hey, I have an idea.  Since we’re just throwing Amendments away willy-nilly, what if we wanted to, I dunno, track the weapons that any of these America-haters bought, or maybe do a background check, if any of them tried to purchase weapons here in America?  (audience applause)

ERIC BOLLING (7/19/2011): The right to bear arms is protected in the Constitution.SEAN HANNITY (6/28/2010): There’s no ambiguity here.  The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Oh, no ambiguity there.  You know, since, in the last few decades, there’s been 3,400 deaths from terrorism, Islamic and otherwise, and in that same period, we’ve had nearly, I dunno, a million deaths from gun violence, 30 to 40,000 a year, every year, is there anything we can do about that?

BRIAN KILMEADE (1/10/2013: What Constitution?  Vice President Joe Biden says the President may crack down on guns by executive order.ERIC BOLLING (4/3/2013): a.k.a., taking our right to bear arms away.

Yes, it turns out there’s only one Amendment in our Constitution’s pantheon that is exempt from statistical analysis or emotional freak-out-itude.  And it is the Second.  So God help us if the Muslims ever decide to form a well-regulated militia.

We’ll have no way to stop them.  We’ll be right back.