Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This is one of those weird things. An ad has been running for Glade air fresheners in "holiday" scents, presumably cinnamon and sage and things (and booze breath? Quiet, Margaret.) It has the most sprightly, droll, silly, sweet music, and so oddly familiar! But I couldn't have told you where it came from.
Thank God for the internet, for it took me about thirty seconds to find out what it was (a lot of people wanted to know). Delius isn't my first choice, as he can be almost bland in my estimation, but this piece (the Winter Night or Sleigh Ride from Three Small Tone Poems) is twinkly and lovely and oh, so seasonal. Break out the nutmeg candles!
(Like most YouTube videos, this has its technical limitations. Somebody vastly cranked up the volume during the jaunty opening flute bit, probably thinking, "Oh, that's too quiet", just before the whole orchestra comes in, forte).
Monday, November 29, 2010
I don't know if it's the time of year (or maybe it's the time of man). Looking out my window at my layered, cedar-branched view, I see ribbons and streams of grey, a relentless killjoy rain that falls sideways so that an umbrella does no good at all. Killjoy weather that snatches all the light away.
I like-and-hate Christmas, lovehate what it does to me. I do all the shopping and arrangements, and lately I've felt like I get no acknowledgement for this (or anything else) from anyone. Even the grandkids soon get bored with what I buy for them.
It'd be different, maybe, if my work were going well. I'm walking in place, soon to go backwards. I haven't posted much about Harold Lloyd, and maybe I should to "get it out there", but it's like a sore place in my soul. If I talk about it too much, nothing will happen. Meantime, Lloyd synchronicity continues to happen daily, with a peak of five times in one day.
What does it mean?
I at least want to return some of the Build-a-Bear stuff I bought, because I overbought, but that's un-shopping, isn't it? At least some money flows the other way, but it was supposedly mine to begin with. So I stay in the same place.
This isn't related, maybe, except under the category of frustration: but recently I ordered a boxed set of Season 4 of Mad Men. This was incredibly stupid, because Season 4 just ended and the DVD set won't come out until March 2011. And it was ridiculously cheap, I won't even tell you how cheap because it'll make me look very gullible and dumb.
Sooooooo. . . what did I think I'd get? So far all I've got is two emails from this outfit, one saying their web site was "under construction" and that you could use This Link to Their UK Site; then, a couple days later, another "hmmmmmm" one, about how they'd changed their email address.
Just a coincidence? I don't think so. Something was up, and it smelled like fish.
I don't know how or why, but today I clicked on the original link I'd saved, and found the following message, with three intimidating and very official-looking crests at the top (Department of Justice; National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center; Homeland Security Investigations):
"This domain name has been SEIZED by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court under the authority of 18 USC (symbol, symbol - ? Is THIS a hoax, I wonder?) 981 and 2323."
They then laid out the penalties for being such bad girls and boys as to pirate copyrighted material. Up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (not sure what that is, but boy, I wouldn't want to have to do it). "Intentionally and knowingly trafficking in counterfeit goods is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to ten years in federal prison, a $2,000,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (squiggle, squiggle)".
I can just see these poor guys (from Taiwan or somewhere) in DVD-bootlegging solitary confinement, tied to a chair and forced to watch endless back-to-back pirated episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men: "God! No, no. . . nooooooooo. . . not Charlie Sheen. . . "
Yes! Charlie Sheen, the guy who had "one bad day", shoved up your nose along with the stale bread and water. They deserve it, don't they? Violating intellectual property rights (and who says ancient repeats of Married With Children aren't intellectual?) is a crime more heinous than sexual assault or child molesting (which often rates no more than a few months' probation).
Fine. This was a surprise, and a way to liven up an otherwise totally wretched, depressing, dull Monday. But I only care about one thing. Will I still get my Mad Men Season 4 boxed set? It may be boxed in old kleenex cardboard - hey, a so called bona fide set I ordered from somewhere else surprised me when I opened the packaging and all four discs popped out onto the floor. It may bear an AMC logo in the corner, or even promos for Breaking Bad and, what's that new one, Revenge of the Really Scary Walking Dead Vampires from Hell?
Did some guy point his old Super 8 movie camera at the TV? Will the picture even be recognizable, and will there be sound? Or did they just get together and act out all the parts themselves?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I don't know what to say about John Lennon. I don't know what to say about Christmas, except that it's coming at me like a freight train through a tunnel. I don't know what to say about any of it.
I'd like to be a joyful person. Sometimes I am a joyful person. But people who are joyful all the time - or at least never unhappy - or never seem unhappy - they seem to me to be -
Our emotional thermostats are set very differently, obviously. Is this something that's present at our birth, or even before that? Some genetic quirk? Can some people overlook the obvious more easily than others?
Or overlook pain, and even disaster, pretend it isn't there or doesn't hurt or doesn't matter?
The great Nobel-winning novelist Doris Lessing once wrote in her memoirs, "I was born minus several layers of skin." Though she seems tough and durable, life has never been easy for her. She is porous. She feels, turns like the weather vane she is.
Some "deal with" all this by drinking, drugging, gambling, overworking, oversexing, overshopping, or whatever other "over-" there is. In other words, they have trained themselves not to feel.
It goes down well. That's the general rule.
One can use pure logic. "Well, there's nothing I can do about these tragic situations. So why let it bother me?"
This is along the lines of saying to a person in agony, "Crying won't bring him back."
We live in a roll-up-your-sleeves, up-and-at-'em sort of culture. We don't stop to feel. We "move on". Sitting around and feeling things isn't acceptable. And it doesn't bring them back, does it?
Hear your plangent voice forever saying
(like you when you died)
John, I -
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
When I started noodling around this morning trying to find news sites, I hit on the New York Times. I follow Dick Cavett's blog, always backward-looking and dropping names with audible clunks, but somehow as compulsive as celebrity-watching itself.
But on the same page, I saw the link to the food section: "Pies to Die For".
I wonder if anyone else gets the irony.
We hear, constantly, about how unhealthy it is to be obese, about how it strains the health care system almost beyond the breaking point, and about how it's still escalating. It has oozed into the lives of innocent children, kids raised on McDonald's and almost complete inactivity until their arteries are plaqued-up as severely as a 75-year-old's.
Cheek-by-jowl (pun intended) with these alarms are blaring ads for family restaurants serving ever more grotesque portions of really-bad-for-you food. Fast food chains keep upping the ante, with KFC serving up these horrible things made of two deep-fried chicken patties instead of bread (and who knows what the filling is. A pound of deep-fried peanut butter?)
Blecccchhhh! But people are buying it. People are eating it.
Fat is the new thin.
I can't remember a time when the culture wasn't obsessed with thinness. Models and actresses have that translucent look, as if they'd disappear if they turned sideways. Their pictures are splashed all over the women's magazines, their bony chests sticking out like a chicken's, often with weird globular bolted-on breasts that clearly display the join. These space-alien versions of womanhood appear cheek-by-quivering-jowl with recipes for mouthwatering, saliva-gushing, quintuple-chocolate indulgence cake (the recipe always containing at least a cup of butter) and other scrumptious heart-attacks-waiting-to-happen.
Maybe that pie really is to die for.
Oh, I'm a great one to lecture. I've been a shape shifter all my life. Recently, after a major weight loss, I've begun to creep upward again. I'm just hungry all the time. There are certain intractible family stresses that take a constant toll. Or so I tell myself.
The thing is, all that scrumptiousness won't particularly appeal to a naturally thin person. They will take one taste and go, "mmmmmmmmmm!" - meaning, "bleccccccchhhhhhh". It's kind of like a non-drinker trying to get through a cocktail, finally leaving 2/3 of it sitting on top of the piano. (Sick, eh?) So how come so many people have seemingly had their "blecccccchhhhh" mechanism disabled?
It's NOT heredity, folks. You don't "inherit" fat in a couple of decades. Heredity doesn't suddenly jump out at you like a jack-in-the-box, no matter how convenient it is as an excuse.
It's not just the ready availability of four-patty cheeseburgers (Faster! Higher! Greasier! There's a recession on, and we need those obese people's bucks!). Who actually does anything any more? Who walks? Men drop their wives off at the door of the mall, thinking they are doing them a favor so they don't have to walk the one minute or so from the car.
I walk all the time, and quite frankly, I'm a freak. People stare at me strangely, constantly offer me rides because they assume I'm too impoverished or too weird to drive (maybe so!), or offer false congratulations. "Good for you! I should be doing the same thing" (but I'm not, because I don't want to be stared at and considered weird).
When my daughter-in-law, a keen observer of social trends, was looking through her Home Outfitters flyer, she saw an ad for an egg cracker. "So we don't even crack our own eggs any more?" What next, I wonder - some sort of device you attach to the toilet paper roll?
I have tried to swear off those super-hyper-morbidly-obese shows on TLC, because it's hard to look at anyone whose body has become that grotesquely misshapen. They hardly look like a human bodies any more. Like the gargantuan Mr. Creosote of Monty Python, these patients (usually in for bariatric surgery) look like they're on the verge of exploding. They usually say they don't eat very much, and have "feeders" (often wives, though husbands will do) bringing food to them all the time. What kind of food, and how much, we can only imagine, but like a stash of porn, it's kept secret.
For a while, there was a ludicrous series about an obesity clinic in the States which allowed its patients to order in pizza which was delivered right to their rooms.
There's a certain strange term that has cropped up on these shows, and it sounds like the evil scientist in some low-budget 1950s horror flick: panniculus. What happens is, when a person exceeds, say, 500 pounds and keeps gaining, the fat gets confused and doesn't know where to go. Everything is maxed out, so to speak. So, instead of exploding, the body provides a sanctuary for the excess fat: a sort of circular blob, often attached to the abdomen or inner thigh. It lives there, expanding 'til it's full-up and another one pops out somewhere. Dr. Panniculus, the evil wizard of fat, has taken over the body completely.
People in this situation sometimes do lose weight, but they end up looking like deflated balloons, the stretched skin flopping around and making life miserable. It's usually removed, but we often hear that over 90% of people with major weight loss gain it back again, and more.
What would happen then? Would you become a sort of living Mr. Creosote? How much can skin stretch, anyway?
More to the point: where did this plague come from? When I was growing up, we had a neighbor who weighed, maybe, 280 pounds. She was socially shunned and had very few friends, so my mother took her on as a project. (She had caseloads, not friends.) Though it reeked of pity, this at least got her out a little. Otherwise she would have stayed in the house, hidden from sight.
Dick Cavett posted a blog about obesity, and wondered if the circus fat lady of his youth might be considered relatively thin now, or at least unremarkable, not even large enough to qualify for something like gastric bypass.
Will this just keep on going? Where does it stop? I think obesity is affecting about a third of the population now. If something becomes that prevalent, it gradually becomes more acceptable. Or maybe we just don't see it any more.
I recently tried on some clothes, just cheap little tops, grabbing for a Size Large because my ass is so big right now (and the store so tacky). They nearly fell off me. But the Medium slid all over me too. Finally I resorted to a Small, and it was still pretty generous. I wasn't in the Women's(i.e., "plus") section either, just the average range.
I'm not huge, but no way am I small either. I just have a big butt. It has always been a fitting problem. Until now.
Is this size manipulation just an adjustment to the burgeoning bodies of consumers, or a way to make women feel better about themselves? Or just buy more? Is all this a sort of weird rebellion against the imperative to be thin, thinner, thinnest? (If so, the boomerang is about to smack us all on the back of the head.)
Years ago, it used to be considered bizarre and daring for women to wear pants. In the early '60s, long hair meant that you were a pansy. When I was a kid, nobody but sailors wore tattoos, and women never did unless they were in the circus.
We get used to things. They become normal, or at least standard and unremarkable.
Type II diabetes is so common now, people almost expect it. You manage it, but don't try to cure it. Just take your meds, and go on eating.
Food as a cheap, ready drug? Escalating stress levels? Environmental chaos, pessimism and doom? Economic recession? Nature's way of tipping the board and sending us the way of the dinosaurs, as yet another experiment that either failed or just ran its disastrous course?
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I'm not going to drink! I'm not. I don't even know where all this is coming from. I'm having a better week, I really am. I'm not so hopeless about the work.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Hey, y'all. I don't know quite whas'sup with Oprah these days, but it seems her "farewell season" has to trumpet "a Very Special Oprah" every damn day now.
Monday, November 15, 2010
By the waters of Babylon
by the waters of Babylon
we sat down and wept
for thee Zion
We sat down and wept we sat down and wept we sat down and wept. . .
A shadow of a miracle of a particle of a shone of a show of a shadow of a song
Reflected backwards from the silver backing of a mirrored dream
we sat down and wept and wept and wept for thee Zion
We sat down and wept
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
"Tear it down," they cried,