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

And now, a public service message from our sponsor:

GOP blocks equal pay

To continue my love of meerkats (from Head Like an Orange tumblr):

Meerkat Hello

An oldie but a goodie (from George Takei’s tumblr):

Eye candy:

Poor Norwegian inmate Anders Breivik has such a hard life . . .

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik has threatened to go on hunger strike for better video games to alleviate his “torture”-like living conditions, in a letter received by AFP Friday.

The right-wing extremist — who killed 77 people in a bomb and gun attack on July 22, 2011 — enclosed a typed list of 12 demands sent to prison authorities in November.

He described as “torture”-like his living conditions, in the high-security unit in Skien in southeast Norway where he serving out a 21-year sentence.

The demands include better conditions for his daily walk and the right to communicate more freely with the outside world, which he argues are in line with European rights legislation.

He also demanded that his PlayStation 2 games console be upgraded to a Playstation 3 “with access to more adult games that I get to choose myself”.

Held apart from other prisoners since 2011 for security reasons, Breivik argues that he has the right to a wider “selection of activities” than other inmates to compensate for his strict isolation.

Breivik also wants his standard weekly allowance of 300 kroner ($49, 36 euros) to be doubled, particularly to cover his postal charges from written correspondence.

Other demands include an end to daily physical searches, and access to a PC rather than to a “worthless typewriter with technology dating back to 1873”.

In the letter dated January 29 he said that since there has not been any real improvement in his prison conditions, a hunger strike would be “one of the only” options at his disposal.

“The hunger strike won’t end until the Minister of Justice (Anders) Anundsen and the head of the KDI (the Norwegian Correctional Services) stop treating me worse than an animal,” he said, adding that he would “soon” make public the starting date of his protest action.

On July 22, 2011, Breivik killed eight people in a bomb attack outside a government building in Oslo and later killed a further 69, most of them teenagers, when he opened fire at a Labour Youth camp on the island of Utoeya.

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

“Oh if we lived only in human society
with its cruelty and fear
its apathy and exhaustion
what a puny existence that would be” ~ Julie Cadwallader-Staub, from “Blackbirds”

Society is never happy . . .

The feminine ideal of underweight, rail-thin young women has not always been the case. The woman on the right in the ad above (you know, the good body) would be called “chunky,” “fleshy,” and “bovine” by today’s beauty standards. But whose standards, exactly?

Towit: the definition of beauty or how to be a beautiful woman is a social construct which today is largely perpetuated by the media. But there was always some kind of societal standard to which women were admonished to strive: Remember Rubenesque? That was way before social media, but look at the art of the period: fleshy women, replete in sensual splendor. How about Marilyn Monroe et al’s curves? That post-war definition carried over into the 60’s until it was replaced by one woman: Twiggy, a name that speaks for itself. A lot of young women today have never heard of Twiggy, but what her emergence as an icon did for/to women remains with us today, but in a much heightened form.

A prime example of this social insanity occurred last year when some twit on a blog called Skinny Gossip decided to critique Sports Illustrated cover model Kate Upton: “Skinny Gurl” (such a creative handle) described the leggy, 5-foot-10 Kate Upton as a “little piggie” with “huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs and terrible body definition.”

But this was not supposed to be a post about positive self image and the like, so I won’t go on and on and on even though I could. Anyway, such a post would be much better researched and put together . . . So people, puleez, for the love of gawd, shut your mouths about other people’s bodies. Yes, you, woman in South Dakota who handed out fat notes to kids on Halloween . . .

Meh . . .

I don’t have to imagine it . . .

Truer words were never spoken, Mr. Serling.

What happens when I unexpectedly land on a site with articles about animal abuse and make the unwise decision to peruse just a few . . .

image

I was trying to distract myself after looking for articles in which beautiful women whose rib cage bones were not all jutting angles were called “fat.” Perhaps I should have stayed on those sites because the animal site killed me, and because I can be kind, I’m not going to provide the link to the heartbreaking site or the stupid skinny site.

Thus Spock Zarathustra (from George Takei’s tumblr):

See Serling above . . .

as if I need yet another reason to love Jessica Lange:

This is a woman to be reckoned with under the best of circumstances (slapping Kathy Bates anyone?). I especially like her approach to power: “in charge everywhere.”

More later. Peace.

Music by Bob Schneider, “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)”

                   

The Fair

Before the gates opened, before popcorn
and cotton candy drifted down throats

like sweet and salty summer evenings
of childhood, before the townspeople

confessed to the music and lights,
the Ferris wheel baskets swung empty

in a slow arc, one by one, offering color
to the sky — red, yellow, orange, blue.

Just roving boys, what else could we do
but follow the sandaled feet of girls

out to the fair to buy them rides
until our pockets turned up penniless,

until we lost them in the dark
the way sparrows will fly from you,

until our last walk past the fun house
mirrors stretched our bodies like gum,

when we caught ourselves looking
back at ourselves for the first time.

~ Hank Hudepohl

“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Moonrise Long Key Florida by JJ

Moonrise on Long Key State Park, Florida by Janson Jones

“Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.” ~ Alice Walker 

Okay, so I’m back. Finally.

Brett’s last day of 11th grade was Friday. Eamonn’s graduation is tomorrow afternoon at 3. I am looking forward to Eamonn graduating, but I am not looking forward to the actual physical aspect of the ceremony. Huge crowd, people all together in the convocation center, hunting for parking. I can feel my claustrophobia setting in already. But it’s all for a good cause.

Brown Noddy Garden Key by JJ
Brown Noddy, Garden Key, Florida by Janson Jones

I told Eamonn that we wanted to take pictures of him in his cap and gown before we leave. Of course, he is not looking forward to that.  Trying to get Eamonn to stand still for five minutes to take a picture is almost impossible. He bitches the entire time. We did pick up his senior portraits, though, and he is quite handsome, if I do say so.

My niece graduates on Tuesday, and my old friend Chris’s son Gordon, who is the same age as Eamonn, graduates on Wednesday. May I just pause here to say how fricking old this makes me feel.

So in an effort to make myself feel a bit better, I gave myself a manicure and pedicure. I’m trying to keep myself from taking scissors to my hair again. One of these days, I’ll be able to visit Cathy so that she can fix the haircut I gave myself. Until then, I hide the flaws with the waves. It’s much harder to see an uneven cut when the hair is wavy and dark.

“Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed.” ~ Corita Kent 

All of the pictures in this blog are from Janson Jones’s Floridana Alaskiana blog. He spent several weeks back in Florida a few weeks ago, and he has been posting some wonderful pictures.

Crocodile Lake Nat Wildlife Refuge Key Largo by JJ
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Key Largo by Janson Jones

I thought that I would share some selections with you in tonight’s post. The images are from several areas of Florida, and include birds, toads, frogs, moonrise, sunset, and several other wonderful subjects. To see what Janson has posted so far, click on the link.

I love this picture to the left. Everything is so verdant and lush, and there is an air of mystery about the whole location—as if in walking down this path, you are walking back in time, into the wilderness.

Speaking of which, I had a horrible dream last night in which I took my camera and started beating it against a metal porch rail. It was horrible. Actually, the whole dream was horrible, full of betrayals, lies, violence and broken glass. Anyone want to interpret that one?

As always, I told Corey about my dream once I woke up, but it was one of those weird ones where you can wake up and then fall back to sleep, and the dream continues. I always think that when that happens the dream is more meaningful somehow. But how exactly? I have no idea. But I always end up feeling disconcerted for the whole day when I have a dream like that.

“Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.” ~ Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Star Trek: The Next Generation 

In helping Brett to get his work completed for the end of the year, I reread Macbeth and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. One of my graduate classes was a special seminar on Conrad. I don’t remember the exact reason why I needed three credits that I couldn’t get from the regular schedule, but I got approval to do an independent study.

Broad Headed Skink Blackwater Creek Florida
Broad Headed Skink, Blackwater creek, Florida by Janson Jones

The advisor they gave me was J. J. McNalley. He was a character, spoke in quotes all of the time. I liked the man tremendously, but would have preferred someone else for my advisor. J. J. thought that it would be splendid if I did research on Joseph Conrad. I would have preferred Virgina Woolf.

But I digress . . .

“Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life.” ~ George Sand

After I reread Heart of Darkness I started to think about Apocalypse Now. So I rewatched the movie. Although, the movie itself is still hard to watch. It is so full of violence and disillusionment. Just like the real Viet Nam war.

My favorite part is still the air cav guy played by Robert Duvall. I think that the Lt. Colonel Kilgore is probably my favorite Duvall role. He plays it to perfection.

Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz is written to mirror Conrad’s Kurtz, but instead of ivory, the movie’s Kurtz is collecting people, souls. The movie plays Kurtz as having a mesmerizing voice, just like the Kurtz in the book. Brandon’s voice is perfect. The epic line, “The horror. The horror,” resonates.

“Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eastern Six-Lined Racerunner Bahia Honda Key by JJ
Eastern Six-Lined Racerunner, Honda Key, Florida by Janson Jones

Other than that, Brett and I have watched Harry Potter 5 and 4 in anticipation of the release of The Half-Blood Prince. Yes, I like Harry Potter, and yes, I’ve read all of the books, at least three times. I’m actually quite sad that there won’t be any more additions to the series. The characters in the books grew up with each new book in the series, and I really admire the way Rowling made each successive book darker, keeping in mind that her audience was getting older, and the story necessitated moving from 11-year-old concerns to encounters with truly foul individuals, like Dolores Umbridge.

Yes, the basic story is about good versus evil, but characters like Umbridge are perfect antagonists for students: the teacher with the treacly sweet voice and the imperviousness to common decency. The one who addresses a room full of teenagers as “boys and girls.” Blech! Just thinking about this character makes my skin crawl.

That being said, I’m looking forward to the next installment of the movie version, even though we all know that it has an incredibly sad ending.

Other movies that I’m looking forward to are Inglorious Basterds, with Brad Pitt, and Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp. No. It’s not for the eye candy. Quentin Tarantino directed Basterds (yes, with an e), and Michael Mann directed Public Enemies. I love both directors and am hoping for a couple of good action movies that don’t involve large robots.

I know. It seems that I like both ends of the spectrum, but really, I’m pretty much at the action end unless it involves Tolkien, Star Trek, or something to do with literature. And no, I haven’t had a chance to see the new Star Trek. I’m still debating over that one. It’s hard to let go of the originals, even though I hear that the update is pretty solid.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Mediterranean Gecko Mt Dora Florida JJ
Mediterranean Gecko, Mt Dora, Florida by Janson Jones

And just let me finish by saying that I don’t have anything to wear to my son’s graduation. Oh, I have a closet full of clothes, but I feel like a sausage in everything that I own, which reminds me of a post that I read on Zirgar’s Fresh New Brain Squeezin’s. Zirgar delved into that sensitive area of being overweight.

Perhaps delve isn’t the correct word choice. It was more like broached the subject with a sledgehammer. It did remind me of the fact that I live in an area that is replete with woman in stretch pants, and shall we just say that stretch pants are not the most flattering attire for their body shapes?

Why do people do that? Seriously, why, or even how does a very large woman push herself into purple stretch capris with a cropped top? Now before you get riled, this is not an indictment on people who are overweight. I have no room to speak on this particular issue as I am carrying around more poundage than I like. What I’m talking about are people who choose to wear clothes that are too tight, too revealing, too skanky, too young, and too fugly for words.

I know that ordinary people do not have extraordinary loads of cash to spend on clothes when they are just trying to get by. But I shop in Target. I know that you can look on the 50 percent off rack and find a nice shirt for $7, a nice skirt for $8, a t-shirt that actually fits for $4. If you are going to buy clothes anyway, could you at least buy clothes that fit, or that are flattering, or cover up most of the private parts of your body?

Am I being too harsh? I don’t mean to be. I suppose I just don’t understand certain mindsets. Of course, if you are perfectly comfortable with your body, that’s great. If you are overweight, no one is saying that you have to hide in the house. I have worked with a few overweight people who dress to the nines and have wardrobes that made me salivate.

For me, the issue is not the weight or the body shape. The issue is fugly, ill-fitting clothes. Unless you are Rush Limbaugh . . .

Then the issue is not bouncing on your toes and making your egg-shaped body look like a Weeble (as in “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”).

Great Egret Lower Matecumbe Key Fl by JJ
Great Egret, Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida by Janson Jones

Aren’t you glad that I used this beautiful picture instead of a picture of Rush?

And with that, I shall close. More later. Peace.

The Endless Cycle of the Domino Effect

These Are The Words I Never Said 

blue-domino-effectOne of my earlier entries was entitled “The Domino Effect of Small Things,” and apparently this entry struck home with many people because it has been one of my more popular entries; however, I tend to think that’s because I mentioned “event horizon” in the entry, which in and of itself is an interesting topic for an entry. But I have already begun to digress from today’s topic: The Endless Cycle of the Domino Effect.

I was trying to classify the effect as eternal, but then I found myself delving into the whole realm of eternal time as ontological versus the entire nature of time as a space-time continuum and the entire aspect of physics and linear versus cyclical versus simultaneous, and it was beginning to make me dizzy, so I just decided to classify domino effects as being endless cycles and hope that you would allow me this little liberty and go with it.

What actually took me back to the whole idea of Domino Effects were two very disparate things, well more actually, but I’ll begin with the two main things: the thirtieth anniversary of Jonestown, and Annie Lennox’s song “Why.” I’ll try to break it down for you.

Why Don’t You Ever Learn To Keep Your Big Mouth Shut

I had honestly forgotten what it was like to grow up in a daily newsroom when real, earth-shattering news happened. I mean, I learned so much about what it is to write at The Ledger-Star. I learned how to hone, how to write on a deadline, how to discard, how to listen, how to edit. But I was also there for the beginning of a few great careers and for a few truly momentous new stories. Jonestown in Guyana was one of them.

When the number of bodies first started to come over the wire (and it was still wire then), we were all horrified. No one left the newsroom. The numbers kept getting higher. The details came in. There were sick jokes about Kool-ade at first. Then we heard about the children, the infants, the gunshots to the heads. There were no more jokes. It was one of the first times in my life when I was there as new was truly breaking; I was still a teenager, but I did my job like everyone else, with the gravity and respect that the news deserved. And then I cried all of the way home.

The other night I watched the special on MSNBC. I heard the words of the survivors, and then I heard something I had never heard before: Jim Jones’ laugh. I swear if you have never heard his laugh, don’t. It isn’t human. It is like a hyena, almost. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and this was a recording from thirty years ago.

What does this have to do with the Domino Effect? People like Jim Jones are still collecting people and still effecting people. Still amassing people and still getting them to do their will, all over the world. We have cults, and we have people all over the world who are convincing people to give their lives for insane causes. They fall like dominoes, as if they are nothing more than playing pieces in some madman’s game.

Why Can’t You See This Boat Is Sinking?

“I may be mad
I may be blind
I may be viciously unkind
But I can still read what you’re thinking
And I’ve heard it said too many times
That you’d be better off
Besides…
Why can’t you see this boat is sinking . . .”

Someone once told me that Annie Lennox’s song “Why” was written for me. Now some of you out there might think that I would have been insulted by this, but actually, I knew that they were right. I chose this particular passage of the song because this is the passage that was playing when he told me that the song was a perfect description of me, and I actually had to agree with him.

I have been accused of being vicious once or twice, but I have mellowed considerably in recent years. I used to abide by the rule that “revenge was a dish best served cold,” and for those of you who think that Khan made up that line in the second Star Trek movie, sorry, it’s from Moby Dick. And I’ve never denied that I’m madder than I god damned hatter, but that’s what gives me my je ne sais quois. Comprends tu?

So when I am feeling terribly down, put upon and just plain as if “Some things [would have been] better left unsaid/But they still turn[ed] me inside out, I wail out “Why,” either at home or at karaoke, although not at karaoke so much any more since our favorite place has changed so much and doesn’t feel like home any more.

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid, But They Still Turn Me Inside Out

So in the past two weeks, I have experienced an unparalleled nirvana on November 4th when Barack Obama took Virginia and won the election to the highest office in the land. And then I hit reality smack in the face when I found out the tickets to the inauguration speech were unobtainable and not a single hotel anywhere within 50 miles had an available room. Every single newspaper was sold out by 10 a.m. I knew that the week wasn’t going to get any better.

“This is the path I’ll never tread
These are the dreams I’ll dream instead . . .”

circular-domino-effectI spent the twentieth anniversary of my daughter’s death in a hospital because I had to take my mother for an outpatient surgery, which only reinforces the cyclical patterns of life. Then I came home and had a major crash only to have a disastrous encounter with my eldest son who seems to have lost any kind of ability to feel anything for anyone besides himself, and I’m not sure if I can continue to chalk it all up to the fact that he is 17 or if he has become so self-absorbed and egocentric that I truly don’t know him any more. Said son informed me on this day that I am one of the most selfish people that he knows for divorcing his father. Thank you for that information. I’ll file it away with the hairshirt that I’ve been wearing for the past nine years. Thank you very much. There is not nearly enough guilt in my life, and feeling like a failure as a parent hasn’t entered my head in oh, nearly at least a day.

“How many times do I have to try to tell you
That I’m sorry for the things I’ve done . . .”

My health insurance will be completely restored once I manage to go out in the backyard and grow $1200 and pay it all by the end of January, only to start the whole cycle all over again, not to take into account the increase in premiums that will begin in the new year, which I have not been informed of, but have read about on the website. I have not been informed of this increase because I cannot get anyone from the oxymoronic entitled Human Resources department to return my calls.

They are playing Christmas music in the stores and Christmas commercials on television. I haven’t made it through Thanksgiving yet, which is a tremendously hard holiday for me because it is the anniversary of my father’s death. I have to go out in the backyard and dig up the buried treasure for holiday money because that’s the only way there’s going to be any ho ho ho in this house house house. I told Corey that I’d be happy with some new Christmas socks, and I meant it. That’s another thing that I’m addicted to like black boots: socks with penguins and snowmen on them. I’ll wear them all winter. Matters not to me. A box with a few new pairs of Christmas/holiday socks, and I’m good.

Can we skip Thanksgiving this year?

“This is the joy that’s seldom spread
These are the tears…
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread . . .”

These Are the Contents of My Head

I looked in several places for a picture of glass panes that had been lined up like dominocolored-glass-paneses because that’s really the kind of domino effect that I’m feeling: one little push, and everything doesn’t just fall over, it falls over and explodes, shatters. I thought that colored glass panes would be more effective. A different color to represent each heartache, each trouble, each worry, each thing that consumes me, that tears at my soul, that keeps me up at night, that causes Corey to spend more and more time of each and every day fretting—a color for each of those things—and then, possibly, as they fell and shattered, the curse that each bore would be broken and carried away with the wind.

But that only happens in the movies, or in songs.

“And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel
’cause i don’t think you know how I feel
I don’t think you know what I feel
I don’t think you know what I fear
You don’t know what I fear.”

There will be more later. There always is. Peace.