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

Enough said:

How is it I never made this word picture myself?

 

In 1994, Homer did that thing:

The Simpsons predicted the future many times over their 25-year history. Go here to see a bunch of these bizarre but true predictions, but the following is my favorite:

21 Times "The Simpsons" Bizarrely Predicted The Future

Season 6, Episode 5, “Sideshow Bob Roberts”

This penguin has more energy than I do:

R2D2 does Michael Jackson:

I hate when that happens . . .

And in this week’s edition: Immigration Reform, brought to you by the intolerant:

41,232 notes

“Blue as the evening sky, blue as cranesbill flowers, blue as the lips of drowned men and the heart of a blaze burning with too hot a flame.” ~ Cornelia Funke

“Iris,” by George Lawrence Bulleid (date unknown, watercolor)

    

“Blue oblivion, largely lit, smiled and smiled at me.” ~ William R. Benet
Blue Flowers by bencrowe (Flckr Creative Commons)

What a strange, strange day. I slept about an hour during the night, then another hour around 8 this morning. The migraine began around 4 a.m., creeping behind my eyes then gradually exploding in my head.

I tried to go back to sleep but became distracted in trying to find a replacement cpu cooling fan for my computer. Had a fruitless conversation with an HP representative who told me that he couldn’t tell me how much the part would be unless I bought a new service contract or a new computer . . . Right . . .

Slept again from about 2 to 4 this afternoon. Ah, the rich pageantry of that is my life. The sweet, sweet irony of being me: I need to see my pain doctor to get something to sleep, but I cannot see my pain doctor until I can pay out-of-pocket for a visit since my insurance situation is more convoluted than ever, but we don’t have the money for an out-of-pocket visit, so I will continue to be at the mercy of my insomnia, which exacerbates my migraines, which means that I need to see my pain doctor.

On the other hand, Corey is scheduled for 74 hours this work week. He will be lucky to work half of that. Such is the reality of depending upon boat schedules.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” ~ Jack Kerouac

 So here are some random musings:

  • “We the people” seems to be pretty straightforward. It doesn’t say “we, the white people.” It doesn’t say “we, the rich people.” It doesn’t say “we. the religious people,” and it sure as hell does not say “we, the straight people.
  • Blue Flower by Rev Stan (Flckr Creative Commons)
  • The Dems really need to grow a spine, and it needs to be soon. Being the party of passivity is just as bad as being the party of no.
  • Majority rule does not necessarily equate to the best rule. Often, the majority comes from a place of racism (separate but equal), sexism (women do not need to vote), and fear (all Muslims are terrorists).
  • Tradition does not truth make. For example, a traditional marriage in this country used to be between opposite sexes of the same race. Anything else was seen as straying from the norm. Caucasians married Caucasians, and persons of color married persons of color, and never the twain shall meet. If this tradition had remained unchanged, I never would have been born.
“They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.” ~ Donald Miller

A few tidbits from the outrageous:

  • A woman in Cleveland, Ohio discovered that her husband married another woman by viewing a FaceBook page that featured over 200 photographs from his other wedding. The husband, John France, claims that his marriage to Lynn France was “never valid” so he was not cheating. Whether or not Lynn France already knew about the marriage before the FaceBook discovery as John France claims is moot: He filed married with the IRS . . . My guess is that Lynn France does not want to play Farmville with her husband’s wife.
  • Blue & White Monsoon Season in Arizona, by kevindooley (Flckr Creative Commons)
  • A man in Atlanta,  Georgia called a Wendy’s to complain, not about the food but about the small take in the cash drawer. Seems he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of his robbery.
  • A woman in Gaithersburg, Maryland was sprayed with human semen. Police have since learned that more people were attacked.  Things that make you cringe and say eww . . .
  • Shanon Marketik, 38, is a former Miss USA who, it seems, has fallen on hard times. So hard that she had to steal over $90 in Oil of Olay beauty products from a Texas Target. I think that it’s all of that aerosol hairspray that pageant queens use: It eats their brains.
  • In Snohomish, Washington, a teen found a wallet beneath the cushions of a couch when he was searching for his cell phone. The wallet, which contained $650, belonged to a woman who had lost the wallet during a 2005 party. The woman was found via FaceBook, so maybe that cancels out the bigamist.
“The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music . . . The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
 
Monet’s Pool by Ron Jones

    

Some parting words:  

  • I wish that I could peer into the future to see when (if) things will begin to get better. It seems that not only are our lives in perpetual chaos, but so are the lives of so many other people, and so is this country. It’s hard not to be disheartened.
  • Summer storms remind me of my father.
  • I spent yesterday searching online for temporary guardianship forms for Alexis. Her friend Jennifer is not getting better. Actually, she is getting worse. The prognosis is not good, and everyone feels absolutely helpless. None of the five tumors in her head and on her spine are operable. It’s such a sad, sad situation. Please keep good thoughts.
  • How does a young woman reconcile herself to the idea that she may not see her 30th birthday, that she may not see her son reach his teens, that she may never leave the hospital?
  • Situations like Jennifer’s remind me to cherish my children (who are no longer children). Life is so fleeting and unpredictable, much like the nature of water itself, which can appear blue and calm in one moment and then can turn into a churning black in the next. Nothing is certain. The only thing that is forseeable is the unpredictability of fate.

It is now three hours later than when I first began. Outside it is pouring. The words did not come easily today.

More later. Peace.

Eric Clapton Unplugged, “Tears in Heaven”: Beautifully heartbreaking

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. ” ~ Joss Whedon

Blue Tide of Dinoflagellates in Southern Australia by Phil Hart

        

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” ~ Milan Kundera
Bioluminescent Plankton Washed Ashore

I’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes staring at this blank page while cuddling with the smallest pup, Alfie. Inevitably, when I sit down at my desk, Alfie tries to get in my lap. I usually accommodate him for a few minutes of tummy rubbing and then put him down, but today he was especially cuddly, and my mind sort of drifted off as he lay in my arms and my songs played in the background.

Nana Mouskouri, Great Lake Swimmers, Jon McLaughlin—all made for a pretty mellow backdrop. The only reason I finally stopped my Alfie time was that my left hand went to sleep. Obvious sign that it’s time to move along.

Last night I had one of those convoluted dreams that involved my mother, driving, parking garages, and New York City. There was also an appearance from my friend Allen, my best friend from eighth grade, and boots. I was exhausted after that one. The good part was that I actually slept last night, pretty soundly. I really needed it.  I needed rest, and my body needed time to regroup. All day yesterday my joints were aching, and by late last night, my knee joint and leg muscles hurt so much that I felt like whimpering.

Unfortunately, I need a new heating pad. This last one didn’t last six months. But heat would have really helped my legs. Heat and some Blue Emu cream, which I am also in desperate need of replenishing. If you’ve never tried it Blue Emu is this wonderful cream for achiness, and it really works without making you smell like a grandmother with rheumatism. Of course something this wonderful does not come cheaply, so I have been waiting to buy more.

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ~ Bertrand Russell
Bioluminescence by Phil Hart

This Thursday night is Brett’s IB ceremony at school for graduating seniors enrolled in the IB  program at Granby High School. Currently, the IB (international baccalaureate) works with 2,946 schools in 139 countries to offer an academically-rigorous curriculum that stresses global understanding, cultural awareness, critical thinking, and community service. Of course, the program is not without its detractors: In 2008, Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the program, stating, “I don’t want to create ‘world citizens’ nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world.”

I understand Dayton’s stance, but I truly believe that students who are taught to think beyond their communities, beyond their borders become better citizens because they have a more diverse information base from which to draw. A 2006 article in Time magazine described the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) as “a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world.” That we have an IB school here in Norfolk is wonderful, and I am so glad that Brett was able to participate in this program because I know that he would have been bored to tears in regular curriculum.

Anyway, I’ll have to find something in my closet that won’t make me look like a sausage so that I can go out in public for this ceremony.

“No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it” ~ Fernando Pessoa

Image of Bioluminescence by Phil Hart at www.philhart.com

 

Let’s see, in the world of make believe and beyond,

  • Lindsay Lohan has to wear an alcohol bracelet, or something along those lines. I wonder if the device senses cocaine?
  • Kelly Bensimon claims that she didn’t have a breakdown but rather a “breakthrough.” Whatever . . .
  • A man involved in a home invasion in Colorado was nabbed by police because of his lip tattoo, “East Side.” Note to self: wear funny fake mustache to hide obvious tat when next committing crime .
  • In Reno, Nevada, chicken costumes will be banned at polling places. I’m not making this up. Apparently, Democrats have taken to showing up in chicken costumes at events held by Republican senate candidate Sue Lowden, who suggested that people barter with doctors for medical care, like when “our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor.” I wonder if Sponge Bob costumes are okay?
  • A new African-American Barbie in the Barbie Basic collection is dressed like a hoochie mama (plunging neckline) and has major boobie action. Are we at all surprised by this? I think that it’s just a natural progression in a long line of dolls that have never had realistic proportions.
  • In South Carolina, don’t get in the way of speeding grandmas having bad hair days. Apparently, one 72-year-old woman was clocked doing 102 mph. She was late for her hair appointment. Grandma claims that her doctor said that she has a kidney infection which may have caused her to act in an “abnormal manner.” Right . . .

And finally, the most recent images of the Gulf oil spill show the latest progress into the loop current. So depressing. I decided that in contrast to the awful pictures of the spill I would highlight some pictures of bioluminescence in the sea (such as plankton that glow when agitated) , which is visually awesome.

That’s it for today. More later. Peace.

Jon McLaughlin’s “Beautiful Disaster”

“Mi sopragiunse uno soave sonno” (Sweet sleep overcame me) ~ From Dante’s La Vita Nuova

Korean War Memorial in Snow, Washington, DC (image by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Vide cor tuum (See your heart)
E d’esto core ardendo (And of this burning heart)
Cor tuum (Your heart) ~ From Vide Cor Meum from Dante’s La Vita Nuova

U.S. Capitol in Snow (image by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Well, the snow has left the area, melted, gone, no more. We were lucky. Not much accumulation, but we did get icy roads on Saturday night. Apparently, those to the north of us in the state were hammered. Pretty much everything in the DC metropolitan area is closed today—federal agencies, local governments, schools, and forecasters are predicting more snow tomorrow. Flights have resumed at National Airport, where people have been stranded for days, and tens of thousands of people are without power, with no predictions as to when power might be restored. Amtrak has resumed train travel, which means long lines at Union Station filled with people who cannot get out of the area any other way. 

Cross country skiers made their way through the snow, while others were left digging out vehicles that were completely covered by the storm. I’m including pictures of DC/Northern Virginia to give you an idea of what it’s like there. Thankfully, none of that for our area. In fact, today it’s a whopping 39° F. That’s almost 20 degrees warmer than yesterday. I spent most of yesterday wrapped up in the blankets trying to keep my nose warm. Ah life. Always an adventure. 

So yesterday was the Super Bowl. I did not watch as I am completely uninterested in the NFL. That doesn’t make me un-American, just not interested in football. I did, however, peruse the Super Bowl commercials earlier today as these commercials tend to be a little more creative than most mainstream commercials. I’m including my two favorites, KGB’s I Surrender, and E-Trade’s Milkawhat. 

 

 

Io sono in pace (I am in peace)
Cor meum (My heart)
Io sono in pace (I am in peace)
Vide cor meum (See my heart) ~ From Vide Cor Meum from Dante’s La Vita Nuova

Downed Tree Branch in Alexandria, VA (Cliff Owen/AP)

I told Corey earlier that I didn’t really have any idea on what to post today. I mean, there are things going on: In Washington state, a 17-year-old boy crashed his parents’ car into his school and drove down the hall . . . In New York, a 61-year-old woman was cited for driving in the Plus-One lane with a mannequin, decked out in wig and sunglasses . . . And in tech news, Dante’s Inferno has been turned into a video game. 

You might think that with my background in literature I would be offended by gamers taking this classic and turning it into video fare, but I’m not. I’m all for anything that introduces the classics to people who might otherwise be uninterested, even if it is but a glimpse of the original. I don’t kid myself that the game will delve too deeply into the original, but if playing the game causes even one person to turn to the book, then something has been accomplished. 

The movie version of Beowulf that came out a few years ago took liberties with the Medieval tale, yet many of the original aspects were there. Of course, Grendel’s mother in the original did not look like a shimmering Angelina Jolie, but the original storyline of the warrior Beowulf slaying Grendel was kept, albeit embellished. 

The movie 1980s movie Excalibur still remains one of the best retellings of the Arthurian legend, including the betrayal of Lancelot and Guinevere and the search for the grail. Clive Owen’s King Arthur added new dimensions to the tale by incorporating the battle of Baden Hill, which is believed to be the actual battle fought by the Arthur on whom the legend is based.  

Robin in Snow (Jewel Samad/AFP Getty Images)

I’m not saying that I think that our youth should be getting their history lessons from games and movies; however, when a game or movie does present a relatively accurate depiction of history or a literary classic, I view it as a good thing, yet another way in which to teach those who under different circumstances, might never hear of Dante’s Inferno or be interested in reading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. 

I mean, think of all of the movies that have given viewers glimpses into actual events: Saving Private Ryan (veterans praised the accuracy of the beach-storming scene); Schindler’s List (Shoa survivors were gratified by Spielberg’s honest retelling of the Holocaust); Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 (depicted the fateful flight that almost didn’t make it home); Enemy at the Gates (the battle of Stalingrad); Mississippi Burning (the 1964 slaying of civil rights activists); The Killing Fields (Viet Nam under Pol Pot after the Americans pulled out). 

Of course, the list could be much longer. I just chose the ones that came to mind readily, those films that have stayed with me through the years, some of which my own children have seen and from which they have taken away pieces of history. 

Digging Out in Maryland (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

For every boatload of garbage that Hollywood produces, there is one gem. The same could be said of any medium—music, literature, television. So much is rehashed, redone, retooled, and not towards making something better but usually for lack of original thought. But those few that stand out are the ones from which we take away a sense of time or place or person. The ones that, at the end of the day, we gleaned something from and were made better because of it. 

Consider the movie version of Hannibal, based on the book by Thomas Harris. No. I’m not holding the movie up as a substitute history lesson. Rather, I am pointing out that even in the midst of one of the goriest movies around, great beauty exists—this time in the form of the aria “Vide Cor Meum,” which was written specifically for the movie by Patrick Cassidy. The aria is based on a sonnet from Dante’s La Vita Nuova, in which Dante professes his love for Beatrice. Of course, I could do an entire post on the use of classical music in movies, television, even Loony Tunes, but that’s for another time. 

More later. Peace. 

  

Katherine Jenkins performing “Vide Cor Meum.” Sublime. 

“No one grows old by living only by losing interest in living.” ~ Marie Beynon Ray

 

 Winter 1936, LIFE Magazine*

 

“You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need any more of that sound.” ~ Mary Oliver

Well, more mellow today. The day began inauspiciously: Our coffee maker died. Just died. No power button, no mellow gurgling, no sweet, sweet smell of the elixir. I was seriously put out. Luckily, I went online to cuisinart.com, found the number, and called customer service. Seems our coffee maker has a three-year limited warranty, and just dying for no reason seems to be covered.

Hooray . . . almost. That particular style, because it is so popular, is on backorder, and they won’t be able to ship it right away. I can live with that given the fact that I am getting my most favorite brewing system ever replaced at no charge. It’s a Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand, which means that the coffee does not drip into a carafe; instead, it is stored in the double-insulated well until you push the little lever that delivers the tasty brew to your cup. The rest of the coffee remains very fresh until you are ready for more.

The very nice man on the other end of the telephone offered to send me a different model that could be shipped right away, but it was a model with a carafe. I explained ever-so-nicely to him that I am very rough on carafes, having broken at least a dozen of those suckers over the years. I know for a fact, in my heart of hearts, that all coffee carafes have a sweet spot somewhere on one of the curves so that if you happen to tap that precise spot on the bottom of the sink, the entire thing shatters. No more carafes for me.

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” ~ Juan Ramon Jimenez 

Anyway, the lack of a fresh, hot cup of coffee threatened to make a very bad day, as did the realization that we do not have enough icicle lights to do the outside of the house. I like blue icicle lights. Blue lights remind me of my father for some reason, so for the past four or so years, we have put up blue outdoor lights. Brett saved the day by stringing plain blue lights along the rooftop.

I sat myself down and told myself to get over it, so I did. Good enough.

Corey’s cold isn’t getting better. In fact, I’m fairly certain that he feels much worse than he is letting on. With any luck, though, it won’t last too long. His colds don’t usually move into his chest the way that mine do, so here’s hoping.

We leave tomorrow afternoon for Ohio. Ironically, it’s supposed to snow here this weekend. Who knows what will happen. It is rather cold at the moment. We need to get the front tire fixed before we leave; it seems to have a slow leak. Other than that, I think that we will be good to go.

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.” ~ Rumi

I was reading the news and came across the most outlandish article: Apparently, a four-year-old boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee was found “roaming his neighborhood in the night, drinking beer and wearing a little girl’s dress taken from under a neighbor’s Christmas tree.” The boy’s mothers claims that the boy wants to go to jail because that’s where his daddy is.

Okay. So many things wrong with this story. First, where was his mom when the four-year-old left the house? How did this small child manage to break into his neighbor’s house to steal the dress? What’s with the beer?

I could go off on one of my curmudgeonly rants about kids having kids, lack of parental control, bad role models, ya da ya da ya da, but something else here is really bothering me, and it’s not the dress: Someone at some point taught this child how to open a beer bottle. Look, I have problems with screw top caps, granted, that’s probably a reflection of my own ineptitude, but please, a beer bottle?

The story does not detail why the father is in jail. The parents of this young boy are apparently in the midst of a divorce, and the mother, after speaking with child protective services, is going to be able to keep her son. No judgements here. Children all over the place figure out how to elude child-proof locks all of the time. If the mother is a sound sleeper, it’s entirely possible she didn’t even know that her son was out.  I’m just hoping that someone gets this child some help, if for no other reason than to teach him that it’s illegal to enter other people’s houses and steal things from under a Christmas tree.

“We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” ~ Anais Nin 

Okay, one other bit of random news. I know that I have said that I don’t watch most reality television because it makes my brain freeze, and I want to scream at the participants, but I do admit to watching “Project Runway,” (fierce), and “Real Housewives of Orange County” and “RH of New York.” Yes, those shows have their share of cluelessness, cattiness, and backstabbing, but such nice homes, such good jewelry, Tim Gunn for gosh’s sake.

Anyway, I’m reading this story that says that the Real Housewives are feeling the money crunch just like other Americans. Let us pause here to let this statement sink in. The housewives of Orange County live in the gated community of Cota in million-dollar homes. One housewife just received a seven-carat diamond necklace just because. They shop at La Perla for lingerie.

So Tamra has to clean her own house. OMIGAWD. Stop the presses. Life is so hard for these women. Look, they are publicity whores. They get paid a minimal stipend for appearing on the show, nothing to cover the cost of those mortgages. But they back-stab each other at the drop of a hat, talk trash constantly, and to boot, have overbearing, possessive, controlling husbands (with the exception of Don, who is just so laid back). So forgive me if my heart does not weep that Tamra must dust her furniture or Vicki cannot buy a yacht or Lynn’s husband is not doing well with his construction company. It didn’t stop her from getting a facelift and treating her daughter to a nose job.

But will I keep watching? You betcha. It’s my vicarious pleasure, and hey, I have to take them where I can find them.

“I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen—I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.” ~ Neil Gaiman

I need to stop now because I have to polish my furniture. Tamra’s plight made me feel so compassionate that in her honor, I am going to de-grime the piano and other various items. It does pain me to clean the cobwebs because they are rather splendid, and I have become so accustomed to seeing them there in the corners (kidding).

Actually, the deal was that if Brett put up the outside lights today, I would polish the furniture, which is usually his job. But I really don’t know how I can keep up this pace and still get my Botox (Tamra, Lynn, Alexis), fit in my spray tan (all of them), go to the gym five times a week (Lynn, Alexis), and still wear Jimmy Choo’s everywhere I go. And did I mention the diamond encrusted Rolexes? The Cristal?

In the meantime, those of us who are warming our tootsies with space heaters will continue to warm our cockles by watching our dogs sneak ornaments off the Christmas tree while enjoying a nice glass of Crystal Light.

More later. Peace.

And now, the weepiest, saddest Christmas song ever. I play it only to torture myself, and it seemed somehow appropriate in light of seven-carat necklaces: “Christmas Shoes”

 

 

*All pictures in post taken from 1936 issue of LIFE magazine.