If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Norma Desmond

Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard


Joe Gillis: “You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.” 
Norma Desmond: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” ~ From Sunset Boulevard

No post yesterday as I could think of absolutely nothing interesting to say.  Hate it when that happens.

A few bits and pieces for my Friday Leftovers:

One of my favorite bloggers has taken down her blog. I deleted it from my blogroll today and have to say that it gave me a pang of sadness to do so. She is a wonderful writer and has a great turn with words. I’m hoping that she will reconsider and come back with a new iteration. Although I must admit that I understand too well her comment about how she feels that her blog has become too whiney. I often feel that way myself, although, it doesn’t stop me from continuing to whine and post. Perhaps she has the right idea . . . Just a thought.

I’ve been reading the latest on what Junior Senator Al Franken of Minnesota is doing, and boy am I glad that he was finally sworn in. The man is incredibly intelligent and is working quickly to make a name for himself. In one article, Franken took to task conservative economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth for claiming that the Democrats’ healthcare reforms would increase the number of bankruptcies filed for medical reasons. As Franken pointed out, countries with national healthcare, such as Switzerland, Germany, and France had exactly zero bankruptcies due to medical crises last year. So nice when sweeping generalizations are countered with cold, hard facts.

Sunset Boulevard Movie Poster
Movie Poster for Sunset Boulevard

In my ongoing quest to add new titles to my music playlists, I have downloaded some songs from the movie Across the Universe, which features covers of Beatles’ songs. Even though the Beatles still rank as one of my favorite bands, I am not a Beatle elitist, and I really enjoy a good cover. I’m including one of my favorites at the end of this post. It’s by Fiona Apple, who has a wonderful voice. The song is actually not from the movie but from the television show “Smallville,” but it is a Beatles’ cover nonetheless.

I have asked Corey to go through the storage bins again and find me some new-old reading material. I haven’t read a book in almost two weeks, and I’m going through withdrawal. Of course, for most of those days, I couldn’t read because of the blasted migraine, but the pain has settled into just a general tight discomfort, so I want to read. In particular, I’m craving my Ann Rule books. If you like a tightly-written true crime novel, she is the best in her genre.

Speaking of migraines, I think that I’m clenching my teeth again. Actually, I’m sure of it. When I first wake up, my jaw is very tight, and it hurts, just like it used to years ago when I was clenching and grinding in my sleep. I actually had two jaw surgeries because of my TMJ. I hope that just by being aware of it now I can reteach myself not to clench. No more surgeries for me.

Last week this time it was about 46° F outside. Today it’s about 80° F. I love this area. It’s just a hotbed for extremes, which wreaks havoc on the sinuses. Common saying about Tidewater/Hampton Roads: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few hours.”

I glanced at the calendar today, and am completely mystified as to how it is October already, let alone almost Halloween. I am so not ready for the holidays. I hope to make it through November reasonably well this year, but I never know. November is such a horrible month for me—too many bad anniversaries. Here’s hoping that I don’t crash and burn like I did last November.

Norma Desmond: “There once was a time in this business when I had the eyes of the whole world! But that wasn’t good enough for them, oh no! They had to have the ears of the whole world too. So they opened their big mouths and out came talk. Talk! TALK!” ~ From Sunset Boulevard

Another political aside: Darth Dick Cheney received the Center for Security Policy’s Keeper of the Flame Award. Looking on and listening to Cheney were convicted felon Scooter Libby and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Great company. Essentially, the speech was filled with more of Cheney’s nonsensical commentary about how life was safe under Bush and Cheney (for, and I quote, “seven years, four months, and nine days”) and life is horrible now because . . . well . . . Obama hasn’t resolved the war in Afghanistan that Cheney started . . . This administration isn’t using the former administration’s review of the eight-year-old war. I believe the word dithering was used. Hmm, if Cheney had such a great plan to end the war, why didn’t he do it when he was in office? Why did requests for more troops sit unanswered for eight months? Why was Afghanistan clearly relegated to secondary status after Iraq? But most importantly, why is this man still speaking, and why are people still listening? “Keeper of the Flame”? More like perpetuator of flaming discord. Beh.

One more: When I mentioned earlier that I didn’t think that President Obama’s White House should openly engage in a fracas with Fox Noise, I said that the publicity would only encourage them. Boy was I right, and not in a good way. People: Calm Down. Some of you need to be reminded that the Bush administration regularly neglected to allow commentators and news people from networks and radio stations that were perceived to be too liberal or anti-Bush. Whenever W. invited talk radio hosts to the White House, liberal hosts were never included, but conservative braniacs like Glenn Beck were. In the last two years of the administration, NBC, and MSNBC were regularly left off lists. And dare I mention that little tidbit about how W.’s communications people paid journalists to ask questions? Remember Jeff Gannon of the questionable Talon News? ‘Nuff said.

Sending good luck wishes across the world to Australia for Maureen of White Orchid, who is waiting to hear about her new job, and her daughter Prue, who is scheduled for surgery. A stressful time for everyone. Hoping that everything turns out well.

On this front, still waiting to see if Social Security is going to approve my disability claim this time. Had to send them additional information. Have I mentioned before how much I love bureaucracies and paper work?

Someone please explain to me why it would be bad to have healthcare for everyone who needs it? I know that we aren’t going to get exactly what we need, but if we get nothing again this time, then I am going to work my butt off in the campaign to rescind healthcare for Congress at no cost. Why do they deserve healthcare, but everyone else does not? And don’t try to tell me that this statement and the one above contradict each other. I would gladly fill out forms if it meant that I was getting somewhere. It’s the constant completion of forms without any forward progress that irks me.

President Obama is coming to Virginia on Tuesday on behalf of Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds. About time, I say. I’m not really sure why Obama waited so long to get involved in this race as it’s a big one. Virginia almost always goes with a Republican governor when the President is a Democrat. This time, we had a chance to keep a Democrat, yet Obama has not done much in the way of supporting Deeds. You would think that he would have worked harder to retain a state that went blue for the first time since 1964.

Windows has come out with Windows 7. Excuse me, but I still can’t use this frigging Windows Vista without my computer locking up at least once a day. Windows XP was a wonderful operating system. I loved it, loved everything about it, considered it the best since Windows 95. What is it with Windows? I know, Macs are better, but who can afford a Mac? If they weren’t so blasted expensive, I’d say convert all of the PC’s to Macs, but of course, that is completely out of the question. Corey likes to remind me that he has no problems with Vista. Yep. Okay. Whatever.

Norma Desmond: “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.” ~ From Sunset Boulevard

Carol Burnett as Norma Desmond
Carol Burnett as Norma Desmond

When I proofed this post on Sunday, I realized that an entire paragraph was missing, the one that explains the whole Sunset Boulevard theme: In case you did not recognize the quote “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille,” it is taken from Sunset Boulevard, a classic movie starring Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, an aging, delusional movie star. That particular line comes at the end of the movie. Some of you may remember Carol Burnett’s hilarious turn as Norma Desmond on the old “Carol Burnett Show.”

Nothing yet on the job front for Corey. He did submit his application to Newport News Shipbuilding for their apprentice program, but we have no idea as to how long that process takes. If he gets in, it would be a great move. He would get a decent salary as an apprentice with full benefits, plus he would finish the program with an Associate’s Degree. I’m really hoping that this works out because the whole tug boat thing is at a standstill.

Mom decided not to replace her roof right now, this after weeks of calling us every couple of hours about what to do. My mother is decidedly single-minded once she is focused on something, and then, she turns on a dime. Not even trying to figure her out any more.

By the way, any more is technically supposed to be two words all of the time. Over time, anymore as one word has been substituted, but it is not preferred grammatically. The difference is that any more as two words signifies any longer. When used as one word, it is a colloquialism for nowadays: Not a day goes by without a headache anymore. Yuck.

Other than that, everything else is pretty much normal. Tillie is fine after her last episode. Brett is trying to stay caught up in school, and Eamonn is still working on his construction job until the new school semester. Not hearing a lot from Alexis these days. Not sure if she is in one of her moods, or just extraordinarily busy. Such is life when everyone is busy with their own things. Oh yes, the van is still running nicely, and the truck is still dead.  Good and bad, as usual.

Here’s hoping that nothing else too dramatic happens in the next few days. However, I’ve been on the phone (currently on hold) with my retirement fund for the past 20 minutes regarding a withdrawal, and I don’t think that I’m going to hear what I want to hear; this after speaking to three different people about this transaction and being told that everything was fine. Why oh why, I am whining to myself.


More later. Peace.


Just When You Think That It Can’t Possibly Get Any Worse . . .

People Falling Down by Maniac World 

This Is Why My Mother Did Not Name Me Grace

tortoise-on-its-back-by-joe-carroll-and-world-of-stock1My recent physical lows hit an all-time high today: I tripped down the stairs going into the garage and landed on one knee with my left foot twisted awkwardly beneath me. I’m blaming it on Tillie the lab as she was gamboling in front of me on the way down.

So I am currently sporting an ace bandage around my left ankle, and a wrist brace on my left wrist as that has begun to throb as well.

Corey’s first question was if I had hurt my back. Believe it or not, that’s the part of my body that hurts the least at the moment. Small favors.

“My friend, you are not graceful—not at all; your gait’s between a stagger and a sprawl” ~ Ambat Delaso about tortoises

yogaI was not always this clumsy. In fact, when I was a teenager, I cheered, which required a certain amount of grace and agility. I have practiced yoga, which gave me great flexibility. And as a youth, one of my favorite things to do was to climb trees. I swear that I never fell out of a tree.

I skied quite well and never took a major tumble, a few minor ones here and there. And believe it or not, I have never broken a bone, just a few sprains. I also studied ballet, granted not for long as it is one of those things that you can assess your natural abilities for fairly quickly. It was good exercise, but I was never going to dance Swan Lake.

So what’s up with my increasing stumbling in recent years? I’m assuming that it’s related to my back surgery and my other ailments. But I have to tell you, it’s not a very attractive trait to have.

“She was terrified of tripping and falling” (about Gloria Swanson playing Norma Desmond descending the stairs)

My fall today brought to mind some of the more famous clumsy people I have watched and known. I’ll never forget when Carol Burnett played Norma Desmond on her show. Burnett descended that curving staircase with such feigned grace that I was sure that she was going to make falling part of the act, but she did not.

chevy-chase-and-gerald-ford-by-david-hume-kennerlyAnother one of my favorite physical comics has to be Chevy Chase. His imitations of President Gerald Ford’s clumsiness are what skyrocketed Chase’s career. He carried that tripping and falling routine into his movie career, and few of his movies do not have Chase tripping at least once. 

John Belushi was an incredibly agile comedian. But because of his girth, most people did not expect his gracefulness. Belushi could do hand stands and acrobatics and land perfectly. He could also crash against walls and into furniture in ways that appeared had to cause him injury. But he would bounce back up, literally, unhurt. Of course, the cocaine could have kept him from feeling pain, but he was still great at his craft.

“In life as in dance: Grace glides on blistered feet” ~ Alice Abrams

My former sister-in-law Ann is also very accident prone. I remember that during a school talent show she was in a routine in which the players wore pillowcases over their arms crossed above their heads, giving them the appearance of having short legs. The pillowcases had no eye-holes, so everyone had to be very aware of where they were moving.

Ann finished the entire routine without any problem. However, when it came time to leave the stage, she walked forward instead of to the side. As a result, she landed in the orchestra pit below the stage. Major ouch. I can’t remember, but I think that she broke her arm.

slicing-tomatoesWhen the two of us are together, we tend to bring out the clumsiness in each other; it seems that one of us always ends up with an injury whenever we are in proximity of each other. Last summer during one of the outdoor family gatherings, we both tripped and fell on her deck (at different points during the day). I survived with only a minor bruise on one leg. Ann, on the other hand, ended up with a huge bruise, about six inches wide and eight inches long, on her thigh.

Another time, Ann was slicing something, tomatoes I think. She went right past the vegetable and proceeded to cut a deep slice into her hand that required stitches.

” . . . the great art of treading on the brink of the precipice without falling into it.” ~ Giacomo Casanova

For my part, I have had a few interesting accidents that required stitches and trips to the emergency room. Ever since I was a young child, I have hated to wear shoes. I walk barefoot outside most of the time, and when I was a teenager, I rarely went place with my feet clad in anything. One day I was riding my bike with Erica, and of course, I had no shoes on. My soles were so toughened that the rough pedals on the bike did not bother me.

That is, not until I crashed my bicycle into Erica and landed on the street with my bike on top of me. What I did not realize at first is that when I crashed, my foot dug into the peddle and scraped forward (makes me  shudder now to even think about it). This resulted in a very large flap of loose skin on the bottom of my foot.

Together, Erica and I walked the bicycles home, and when I walked in the door, I was bleeding everywhere. That was my first occasion with stitches.

old-diaper-pinAnother time that my disdain of shoes caused me pain was when I was playing tag with my cousins in Great Bridge. We were playing in the field behind my aunt’s house, which was covered with fallen leaves and sticks. I was wearing only a pair of flip flops.

As I was running, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in one foot. I lifted the foot and found an old, rusty diaper pin sticking out of the bottom of my foot. The pin had impaled the shoe and attached it to my foot. I adamantly refused to let anyone pull the pin out, my logic being that if it hurt that much going in, coming out had to be worse.

The diaper pin was pulled out, and I was driven to the doctor to get a tetanus shot.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ~ Albert Einstein

But undoubtedly one of the most doltish accidents I have ever had was one that I knew in my head was going to happen, but I did it anyway. This one occurred when I was teaching English at Old Dominion University.

I was putting away clean wine glasses on the top shelf of a cabinet, which required me to be on a step stool. A glass fell out of my hand and crashed to the floor, breaking into several large, very sharp-edged pieces.

btoken-glassHave you ever known that you were about to do something stupid, but you just couldn’t stop yourself? That’s what happened in this instance. I looked down at the glass and thought, “I could really cut myself badly if I stepped on that,” because of course, I was not wearing shoes. I then proceeded to step down from the stool right onto a huge piece of glass, cutting a deep, comma-shaped gash into the sole of my foot.

Luckily, by this time there was an urgent care facility fairly close to the house. I wrapped up my foot in a towel and drove to the center. More stitches, but some really good pain pills.

I went back to school with my injured foot in a bandage, and one shoe on. I still vividly remember going into my Technical Writing class and trying to teach the group of engineers that were enrolled in my class. They asked what had happened, and I told them. They were merciless in taunting me, especially after I tried to talk to them and couldn’t form coherent sentences because of the medication.

Of course, there are other incidents, but I think that I have revealed enough about this less than graceful side of myself for now. I think that I’ll go lie down and put some ice on my ankle. I can hardly wait to see what happens next . . .

More later. Peace.