I’m ok!

Is your refrigerator running?

Yes…

You should vote for it!

Chm Chm had to call me this morning to ask if I was all right after my RNC Live Tweet. You’re a nice friend, Chm Chm. I’ll admit, finally having an epiphany about the doomed nature of partisan politics and the human inability to compromise and peacefully, productively coexist, did bum me out. However, I’m an optimist, and despite evidence that refutes the wisdom of the position, I am a humanist. I have faith in humanity. Faith, of course, is an intrinsic belief even in the face of evidence that seemingly negates it. So, yeah, I still have faith in people; for now, anyway.

I guess one of the reasons that I do is that people are smart, creative and funny. Did you guys see this?

Hilarium!

I think this is funny, too: Ben Carson 2016 Don’t you think this is a Create-A-Caption contest waiting to happen? Something like; “Neurosurgeon massages tiny dinosaur brain” or “Carson revives his role as Carnac the Magnificent” or “Keeping your eyes open is hard!”  Poor Ben Carson!

I wish I’d thought of including this yesterday…

Still funny!

Check out this cartoon: http://tucson.com/news/opinion/fitz/daily-fitz-cartoon-convention/image_e89e38eb-1abb-544b-8564-fd4a5d77d984.html

Anyhoo, before my meltdown, it was fun to write again. Thank you to Kari and Smurp for your comments – they are encouraging!- and thank you to all of you who are still reading these sporadic posts. Maybe I will start to write more again. Two in a row, so far! I’m on a roll!

Much love,

AVR

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RNC Live Tweet

I’ve wanted to write, really. It’s just that all my posts would be about sweat, vegetables and naps. I’m taking this summer vacation thing very seriously. Of course, I could write about the myriad things that are going on in the world, but the only way I can express it is in rants. I’m angry and sad about the state of our union, and the messed up things that are going on in the world; it’s all so disheartening!

Truthfully, I’ve been in a serious writing funk for a long time now. I start things, but they peter out; I take a walk to clear my head, or get inspired, and end up thinking about how much sweat I expend, or how I need to water my garden to attempt to get some vegetables out of it, or how walking makes me sleepy, and I need to take a nap. Nothing is coming to me, and I just can’t find the words. I think my brain is getting broiled. But, loyal readers, I’m not going down without a fight! This ought to cheer me up – for my re-entry into the blogosphere,  I’m going to do what all the cool kid bloggers are doing out there – I am going to live tweet the RNC, Make America Skate Again, 2016 edition! The only thing is, I can’t tweet, on account of I’m not on twitter, and it’s not live in the sense that you will read it in real time, but I’m eschewing grammar and spelling to make my observations appear spontaneous.

olivia_newton_john_roller_skating_cowgirl_mPFCdQB.sized I watched last night, and since the adorable and always super sweet Olivia Newton-John wasn’t there, it seemed a little more like the Make America Shake edition. There’s a lot of ‘hell in a hand basket’ rhetoric. (What a weird phrase that is! Aren’t most baskets supposed to be held in the hand? If things are so bad that we are all going to hell, wouldn’t the image be more like we were all hurtling chaotically to casa del diablo, instead of all gathered neatly in a hand basket, arguably one of the slower forms of transportation? Why do we say that? Is that even how the saying goes?) The RNC is convinced that we should be very, very scared, and that we are becoming a nation divided into “Us” (White people? People over 50? Christians? Duck Dynasty?) and “Them” (Anyone who doesn’t spit and cross himself when the name Clinton is dared to be breathed.) “Us” are normal, good people, and “Them” are coming for us. It is true that things are really scary out there. I hope that fire isn’t flamed into a holocaust. (See what I did there?)

It also could have been called the Make America Hate edition. So much fear leads to a seething hatred for that which is different, new, or unknown. I understand that. I hate many things about this political season. Readers, you may not have guessed this about me, but I am not completely unbiased. In fact, my own father calls me a “knee jerk liberal.” I hate that, too. I don’t like being reduced to a non-thinking stereotype…and yet, I find myself judging others that way. It’s wrong, but I think those who are pompous, blowhard braggarts, who have a blatant and unrepentant disregard for facts or truth, who are bullies,  misogynists, racists, and elitists, who are self-serving, crass, and lack integrity, and who have mouths like liver-spotted assholes, represent the very worst stereotypes of the truly ugly Americans. I hate that.

The RNC hates Hillary. That’s mostly what they hate.

Anyhoo, I watched most of last night’s convention; I had to turn it off when Chachi came on, because, like Joanie, I once loved him, and didn’t want my happy memories ruined. Not much was said about why I should like Donald, except by Melania, who apparently supports him just as much and for almost exactly the same reasons as Michelle Obama supports her husband. I Googled Melania after the speech, because I was impressed by her words. Here are some other words she wrote “with as little help as possible”.

“Call me Ishmael!” Melania Trump

“The bird, bird, bird, I said the bird is the word.” Melania Trump

“Nobody puts baby in a corner!” Melania Trump

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Melania Trump

That last one was really George Orwell. Gotcha! If I was to rewrite that quote, I’d make it more specific and less open to interpretation. My version goes, “all animals are equal, but seals more than otters, and snake head fish, nutria, and Monitor Lizards are not to be trusted, ever.”

But I digress.

Tonight:

7:08 – RNC to Alaska: Huh? What? Are you talking to me, Frosty? Zip it, Frozen Tundra!

7:12- Oooh, Mitch McConnell, booed! Yikes! bet he’s looking forward to making his big support speech in front of this crowd later on!

I’m ignoring the guy from the UFC, because what do I care what a guy from the UFC thinks about anything? It’s just like when Antonio Sabato, Jr. spoke. It made me think: who the hell is Antonio Sabato, Jr.?

update: He’s a soap opera actor who is “absolutely sure” Obama is a Muslim. yeah…hard to care about whatever he has to say.

7:30 -Mean blonde lady from Arkansas totes guns and hates Hillary. I don’t get it – what’s this thing all about? To make people who hate Hillary hate Hillary more?

8:08 – Trump makes his appearance for tonight and assures us he will be seen every night during the convention. Huzzah!

8:09 – McConnell booed again! he had polio as a child. I just found that out. He hates Hillary. I knew that already. He said “scandals follow the Clintons like flies.” That’s a good one. Fine imagery. McConnell speaks as though he knows stuff. He’s very pro-Republican. That makes sense, as he’s the Majority Leader of the Senate. I’ll bet they will not boo when he leaves. I think he just blamed the spread of Zika on Dems. He still seems reluctant to support the Donald, but party before country, people, party before country.

update: They liked him! They really liked him!

8:19 – oh, no! It’s Paul Ryan! I’m really angry at him. I think he’s smart, and he is doing something he knows is wrong, because he wants partisan power. He starts by thanking Cleveland (great city!), and pandering to police. He is going for a jocular, jovial tone, and then turns strong and firm in his support of Trump/Pence. what a puss! He knows better! He knows Trump is unfit, and he supports him anyway! But wait, that appears to be all he has to say about Trump. Now he’s saying how bad liberal progressives are. He calls the DNC a ‘four day infomercial” – “Hello, black pot, what color are you?” asks the kettle. He says we have worse poverty under Obama, but it was Bush who left us on the brink of an economic disaster unparalleled since the ’30’s! He says the dems are the ones who make group identity divisive! What the hell? How can I see things so differently from… 

uh-oh…you’re losing your objectivity…pull out, valiant newsgirl, pull out! Reportage with integrity! You can do this!

Excellent speech, Paul Ryan. Rousing, eloquent, passionate. I wish you stood for good and not evil. 

8:37- Chris Christie. Another bully. I wonder what job he will have in the Trump government. Prince? Name-caller? Wedgie-giver? Swirly Master? He got the crowd up and on their feet chanting “Lock her up! Lock her up!” Can you guess who he is talking about? Hillary is responsible for Libya and ISIS. Hillary fights for Al Quaeda in Nigeria and is responsible for the Boko Haram kidnappings, and is therefore the enemy of women world wide. Hillary prostituted herself for Chinese cash. She is responsible for 400,000 dead in Syria. She opened our country to nuclear disaster by dealing with Iran, virtually ensuring the destruction of Israel in the process.(The crowd goes wild! Evangelists love the Jews!). She is a Putin supporter. (Wait a minute! I thought Trump and Putin were BFF’s!) Hillary loves Castro and supports cop killers! She puts herself ahead of America with her lies and self-serving interests! She is guilty! She is guilty! Lock her up! BURN THE WITCH!!!!!

Aww, peeps! It’s only 8:50, and I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m too biased, too partisan to report with humor and without vitriol. Plus, this whole scene is depressing me. The U.S. is so polarized. We see things so differently. I don’t know what will become of us. when Rodney King asked, “Can’t we all just get along?” he was mocked and maligned, and I didn’t understand why. Isn’t getting along the goal? I get it now. We won’t get along. We don’t have it in us.We are not evolving; we are just repeating patterns.

Also, I think this post will have to be deleted. It’s unprofessional. You’re bored, aren’t you? Bet you’re ready for a post about cucumbers, huh?

WOW! Update! Sleepy Tyrannosaurus Ben Carson pleads for reason to rule the minds of voters, and then, I kid you not, links Hillary Clinton to Lucifer, marking her as a disciple of Satan, and explaining how God will turn his back on those who support the Anti-Christ! Yowza!

Rites of Spring

I am finally on Spring Break! Hooray! Of course, I have made a million plans, but mostly I have spent a lot of time looking out the window. Everything is so beautiful and green! Here are some of the things I have seen, either from the window or around the hood.Robin's egg 2016Here is the first robin’s egg I saw this year. I’m seeing a lot of birds, because a cardinal built her nest in a bush by my garage. It’s right at eye level, which is really cool, except that every time I get close to it, which is often, because I have to in order to get to my car, the cardinal mama gets freaked out and comes at me with her talons all sharped and her pointy beak aimed at my third eye. She hasn’t even laid her eggs yet. Can’t we all just get along?

IMG_3005Saw this on a walk. Sometimes it pays to leave the couch. Not only did I see natural beauty, I also got the opportunity to see the beauty in human nature.

I saw a little natural booty opportunity between two frisky squirrels in a tree in my backyard. I know this happens all the time, but think about it – have you ever actually seen those furry fellows fornicating? I thought not. The foreplay lasted forever! They did this squirrel dance that looked like a lot of roughhousing and shenanigans, and then chasing, high jinx and tail flipping, and then one of the squirrels hopped up on the other one’s back, and then…well, come to think of it, then not much happened. The man squirrel just sort of looked around and then hopped off for more whackadoodely-doo antics. Maybe he weren’t mating. Maybe he was just storing his nuts for awhile.

IMG_3006 This was in an alley. My eye was first caught by the weird kid size gold pompom. Go, glam! Then I noticed the woman’s business shoe – just the one, and standing at attention like it was guarding the pompom, perhaps protecting it from the puddle of urine that is just out of frame.Lots of stories here, non? I think this is a metaphor for all those happy, glitter-lovin’ kids who grow up to buy sensible shoes from Target and end up working a dead-end alley of a job, just a’pissin’ their lives away.

Of course, every spring, I’m compelled to get out into the garden, and this year is no different, except that I’m getting older and weaker. It’s getting increasingly taxing for me to haul the huge bags of organic composted soil up the slope that is my yard, and turning the red clay based dirt takes so long these days that I get frustrated and cranky. I love going to the nursery and buying all kinds of seeds and seedlings, plants and plantlets, vegetables and herbs and flowers that will come back every year or bloom brilliantly for just a short season. I buy way more than I can ever hope to get in the ground. This year: okra, 4 different kinds of eggplant, lots of different peppers (mostly hot and sassy, but some sweet or sexy, like shishito…just saying shishito is sexy…shishito…) tomato varieties, asparagus, radishes, chard, herbs, two kinds of beans, and lots of flowers. Hooray!

Congratulations to the lovely Kari on her latest flick, on to Edie for her Tony nominations!

More soon!

Buy This Book!!!

The Bones of Time

For more information, go here: http://www.wisdomhousebooks.com/#!liliane-richman/d3pnd

Look at these great reviews on Amazon!

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase

This poignant memoir tells the story of how a young Parisian Jewish family almost miraculously survived the Holocaust–damaged and traumatized, to be sure–but intact. While her father was languishing in a German POW camp, 2 1/2-year-old Liliane and her 7-year-old brother Fred were sent to southwestern France, supposedly for a summer of fresh air and country living. That summer would end up lasting several years. While the children were away, their mother was arrested, held at the Drancy internment camp, and then deported to Bergen-Belsen, where she almost succumbed to typhus and malnutrition. This account of the unspeakable cruelty of the Nazis and their French collaborators is counterbalanced by the portrayal of the loving and compassionate French family that cherished Liliane as their foster daughter and to whom she remained close for the rest of their lives. Richman’s clear-eyed, unsentimental account of her family’s story is at once sobering and inspirational.
By Bonnie McClellan-Broussard on April 25, 2016
It’s not only the story not only of her own astonishing life but how it intertwined with the lives of her family. Much of the narrative takes place over the course of the the turbulent 1930s and 40s which was deeply marked by the war and, for Liliane herself, by her sojourn in southwestern France where she was sent to safety as a small child. When she returned to post-war Paris, and against all odds the family was reunited, Richman recounts in crystalline detail the difficult dynamics of a city and a family working out how to go on living. Full of the same resonant, clear-eyed imagery that I love in her poetry, Liliane’s book is full of memorable landscapes and portraits that convey the essence of the people and the times that formed the ‘bones’ of the woman and the writer she has become.

I’m telling you, ya gotta buy this book!

 

P-p-p-p-p-p- Pages! Turn and face the strange p-p-p-Pages!

I’m always surprised whenever I read or write something. Even though I enjoy both, I wonder if each time will be the last time. Do I still have the patience, the willingness, the ability to become totally absorbed, swept up, completely alone with the voice in my head? Will I be smart enough, can I understand, will I be able to feel? It’s hard to concentrate, to narrow focus, to pay attention in a world that pushes and pulls. I wonder when I’ll find the time. I wonder if I’ll make the time.If I do, if I can, I know I’ll be rewarded, and I’ll be proud that I bothered.

Right now I’m reading three books, so I’m beaming. I like them all. They’re healing, like soup on the couch after the fever’s broke. (I’ve been laid up lately.) They’re rich and hearty, white butter on black bread. They make me talk like this. They keep me up at night. I think I want to marry them. (The doctor gave me some drugs. They didn’t do much for pain, but I think perhaps the doors of perception are opening. That reminds me: “When life shuts a door, open it. It’s a door. That’s how they work.” I think Ted said that in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Ted’s the smart one. http://variety.com/2015/film/news/frank-zappa-documentary-alex-winter-1201546906/ )

The first book was Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s a group of stories about familial relationship, be they blood born or chosen. I like it, especially Part II, which has a trilogy of stories about interwoven families that span time and place. Critics love Lahiri’s work; the NYT Book Review chose Unaccustomed Earth as one of the best books of the year in 2008,  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/books/review/10Best-t.html as did The Washington Post, the LA Times, Time, Newsday and People, and she won a Pullitzer Prize for another book, The Namesake. I like how she spends a lot of time on character development, and that they defy stereotypes. Many of them are Indian or Indian- American, and I like the cultural background that infuses the stories. They are all about real life, and so the stories are kind of quiet and easy to relate to. However, I think I must be missing something; the reviews say things like “shimmering”, “revelatory” and “ferociously good” –  I don’t see it. She gives meticulous, detailed back-story, which I appreciate, but sometimes it’s a slog to get through, and after reading the book, I barely remember some of the stories. I enjoyed reading it, but I don’t have any urge to revisit it. Revisit it I will, though, as I read it for a class that I’m about to take, so maybe I’ll get a different perspective on it.

The next book I read is Colum McCann’s new collection of stories, Thirteen Ways of Looking. I tell you what, I love me some McCann! Come on, Colum! The title piece and first novella of three in this grouping just blew me away.McCann really lets the reader get to know the characters; you live with and even inhabit them, as much of the story is a stream of conscious narrative from the protagonist’s point of view. I loved the protagonist, a retired judge in his nineties – so smart, so witty, so unique, so human! It is the story of just one of his days, and I was sad when it ended…and happy when I realized I still had more stories to go. 

The plots held me and sometimes baffled me with their content and construction. They are imaginative and well-wrought, each different and compelling  I remember them all, and I think about them unexpectedly. And the way he writes! I found myself reading, then rereading, then getting up compulsively in the middle of the night to get a pen to underline words, sentences, whole passages. McCann is the opposite of small and simple. His prose is lush, extravagant and musical, fat and chewy with images, sounds and rhythms. For example…

“Curious thing, the snow, They say the Eskimos have eighty words for it. An articulate lot. Slush and sleet and firn and grain. Hoar and rime. Crust crystal vapor blizzard graupel. Pendular permeable planar. Striated shear supercooled. Brittle glazed clustered coarse broken. An insult of snow, a slur of snow, a taunt of snow, a Walt Whitman snow, a bestiary snow, a calliope snow, it’s snowing in Morse code, three longs, a short, a long again, it’s snowing like the ancient art of newspaper, it’s snowing like September dust coming down, it’s snowing like a Yankees Day parade, it’s snowing like an Eskimo song.” (p.56)

I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but just the way the words swirl around you, how some of them go by in a blur, until, unexpectedly, your eye catches on one or two of them, a phrase, and you see it for what it is – so specific, evocative, pure – they way the words grow from flake to storm –  dare I say ‘shimmering’? Damn, McCann, you kill me!

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/12/books/review-colum-mccanns-thirteen-ways-of-looking-stories-linked-by-unease.html

So, yeah, I loved that one. My mom gave it to me. She knows how to pick them!

The last book I’m reading is The Devil In the White City, by Erik Larson. I’m pretty sure I’ve started this one before and never finished it. I’m into the subject matter – clever serial killer uses Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair to lure hapless victims to their death; what’s not to like, right? It’s got history, mystery and a Ferris Wheel. Still, I’m finding it hard to get into, again, so more on this as it develops, if it develops.

Since I started this post, David Bowie died. Like so many, I loved him. He was so brave, dramatic and bold. He was never content to be just one thing, and he welcomed transformation and evolution. He spoke to us all, and we all thought he was talking just to us. He was magnificent and artistic. The way that he orchestrated his death, commingling it with the day of his birth, and the birthday of his latest album in a genre that refuses to be defined, all kept under wraps until the glorious, shocking, tragic reveal – life and death as art. There’s this word, ekphrasis, which means visual art transformed into verbal form. Bowie was fantastic ekphrastic.

Here is one of my favorite Bowie songs, though there are so many great ones it’s hard to choose. I love the opening lyrics in this; they’re like a movie, and the double meaning of “pull” pleases me. It takes you from sort of melancholy nostalgia tinged with regret to anthemic triumph –  also, it has one of my favorite two word phrases of all times in it – “religiously unkind”. I can’t say I understand it all, but I sure do love how it makes me feel.

My Death

By Jacques Brel

My death waits like an old “roué”
So confident i’ll go his way
Whistle to him and the passing time…

My death waits like a bible truth
At the funeral of my youth
We drank for that – and the passing time…

My death waits like a witch at night
As surely as our love is bright
Let’s not think of that or the passing time…

But whatever lies behind the door
There is nothing much to do…
Angel or devil, I don’t care
For in front of that door…there is you.

My death waits like a beggar blind
Who sees the world through an unlit mind
Throw him a dime for the passing time…

My death waits to allow my friends
A few good times before it ends
Let’s not think about the passing time

My death waits there between your thighs
Your cool fingers will close my eyes
Let’s not think about the passing time…

But what ever lies behind the door,
There is nothing much to do
Angel or devil I don’t care
For in front of that door… There is you

My death waits there among the leaves
In magician’s mysterious sleeves
Rabbits and dogs and the passing time…

My death waits there among the flowers
Where the blackest shadow cowers
Let’s pick lilacs for the passing time…

My death waits there, in a double bed
Sails of oblivion at my head
Let’s not think about the passing time…

But whatever lies behind the door
There is nothing much to do
Angel or devil…I don’t care
For in front of that door
There is…me

Must…pay…attention!

Twice today, I have hurt the feelings of people I care about. This does not include the little girl I made cry yesterday. I was not being mean or malicious – I’m a real nice girl, you know. I was so intent on being sure that they understood what I was saying that I didn’t notice that they were misconstruing my meaning or misjudging my intent. It;s not so much the words I said; it;s that I didn’t notice their effect. When you talk,if you want ot be understood, you have an obligation to listen closely to whomever you are talking to, so closely that you can hear what they are saying, even if they are not using words. That’s how conversations work. You have to listen. Both times today the people reacted with anger and went off on me, and I didn’t understand what had happened. I didn’t see the signs. I wasn’t paying attention. I was just trying to be right. At first, my feelings were hurt. Now I’m ashamed.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll try harder, and I’ll be better.

All I Can Understand About Time Travel

Some months ago, I briefly became pregnant with the child of a Ph.D. in quantum physics, and for a few seconds I understood the nature of time:It was a small sphere, a compressed rubber band. The band was one long path, but its folds and loops touched one another in myriad places. A mite travelling  along the band would experience it as linear, but by hopping one milifraction of a milllimetre it could cross to a section metres from its starting point. The sphere was tennis-ball-size, yet I knew it was infinite…

It is easy to time travel, the physicist says – we do it every day. Travelling backward is the problem. If a man goes backward, it is likely that he’ll do something that would prevent his birth, such a s kill his father. Time travel backwards is impossible unless, the physicist says, you dispense with causality, the belief that one thing can cause another, and embrace a world in which – as in Borges’s garden- there are many forking paths, and anything that can happen does. But if you do that, the physicist says, life becomes random and meaningless.

– Rebecca Curtis,”Morlocks and Eloi”

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/08/morlocks-and-eloi

That makes perfect sense to me. There’s more to this story, but I don’t get it. I also didn’t understand Borges’ story “The Garden of the Forking Paths”, but to be fair, even though it was short, I didn’t read it all.

http://wsblog.iash.unibe.ch/wp-content/uploads/Borges_The-Garden-of-Forking-Paths.pdf

I wonder if I were to travel in time, either backwards or forwards, if I would develop the capacity to figure things out better. In some ways, I think I would; after all, I had no concept of geography until I drove across the country, and now when I envision some of the states through which I’ve traveled in my mind, they form themselves into the same colored-box patterns any 8th grade map of the US would. But it seems like if you were jumping around in time you’d  begin each adventure as the same dumb-ass you were at the starting point, because you would not have the time to evolve from your experiences, because you kept messing with your own developmental continuum.

Really, for as much as I like the time-space-memory-experience thing, I don’t understand any of it. The most I get is that all those things exist, but that they are only understood through a personal, individual lens, which warps their meanings and makes them impossible to define in a way that is uniform and universally understood.

I guess you knew that already, huh? I wear glasses and all, but sometimes I suspect I’m a dummy.

I read another story by Rebecca Curtis, just to see if I could understand it. This one was LONG – but I liked it, and totally get it. Actually, it was pretty simple. Hooray! I can read! I’m only kinda stewpid!

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/30/the-pink-house

 

Pepitas, El Papa y Papas

pumpkin-seeds

Hooray! It’s feelin’ kinda Fall out there, am I right, or am I right, peeps?! I do love me a change of season. I was thinking about this just the other day, when I was staring out of the window instead of doing my grading, eating a pound of pumpkin seeds. I love pumpkin seeds, or “pepitas”, and my gorging on them is not just a seasonal thing. Year round I’ll get me a bag, chose a big fatty, lick off all the salt, and then crunch through the shell to to delicately flavored, almost buttery “nut” inside. Yum. Unfortunately, I have no self control, so I usually eat so many in one sitting that I make myself sick. I have also struggled with excessive blueberry gratification, but a particularly nasty reaction to a pint and a half indulgence pretty much cured me of that addiction. Anyhoo, I think that soon I’m going to have to cut back on the pepitas, even though I am loving them. My jaw hurts, and the sharp shells make shrapnel shards in my stomach, causing some unpleasant adventures in Pottyland. (Betcha didn’t think that’s where I was going with this little tidbit, did ya? Sadly, no matter where I set out, the toilet is where I usually end up.)

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016890-pumpkin-soup-with-ancho-and-apple

So anyway, I was eating my way through a small mountain of pepitas, staring out the window, thinking about fall harvest, and the harvest moon, and Neil Young, and the organization Young Life, which is an group that preaches Jesus to teenagers on public school campuses, and how Billy Ray was a preacher’s son, and how Billy Ray Cyrus’s son is a daughter named Miley, and that she don’t wear no clothes, and that it is weird that in the last couple of weeks, she’s been all over the tv, getting lots of coverage (ironic, considering her disdain for covering up), second only to the Pope.

I bring up the Pope as more than just a segue between one small, spicy, Latin American treat to another. I am confused by the Papacy. I don’t understand what the different hats signify, or why if there is a “Holy See”, and a touch from the Pope is holy and healing, why are most powerful smells the work of the devil. I don’t understand if the Pope’s word is supposed to be from God’s mouth, or if the Pope just studies and studies, and then tells everybody what he believes is the Truth. I don’t understand the Vatican, and why it gets to have special laws that exempt it from all sorts of other laws. I don’t have anything against Papa himself; he seems like an extraordinary man, and I think he does a lot of good, even though I don’t agree with all of his policies. I was surprised to see how revered he is in this country. I just didn’t know he was so popular – or should I say “popeular”?

In Spanish, they call the Pope “El Papa”, which means ‘the father’. “La Papa”, however, does not mean ‘lady father’, as one might infer. It means ‘the potato’.

Pope Potato el_papa_potato_pope_900355-215x300

Potatoes are delicious, but they can also be scary. The whole idea of Mr. Potato Head is frightening – nobody wants a potato for a head. It’s not as bad if you have a body like a tuber – check out my own tubular torso, circa yesterday – swimsuit spud – but there are problems that remain unforeseen until you actually become a potato. potato-problem And that’s just the beginning of the potato problem -the ‘tater tot’, if you will. Imagine the horror that would befall you if you ended up in a potato nightmare…papas Kafka-esque. Imagine being trapped in that particular potato vine, unable to escape, running in circles like a yamster on a wheel…

Checkout this pre-Halloween Super Scary Spud Story, “Subsoil”, by Nicholas Baker, below. It’s the third story, and it begins at 29.27. I know I’m asking you to work a little for this… but it’s worth it. The story “Cretan Love Song”, by Jim Shepard, which precedes this story is great, too, and is a really wonderful example of effective use of the tricky second person point of view, making this short a trick and a treat, but it didn’t exactly fit into the theme of my post, so I won’t mention it.*

https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/454811

*If, however, you were just so intrigued by the subtle way I worked that story into this post, and you were curious to see what it would relate to, check this out: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/world/europe/scientists-hope-to-learn-how-pompeians-lived-before-the-big-day.html?_r=0  Fascinating, non?

Happy almost Fall!

Fall TV 2015

The last movies I have watched were Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Do The Right Thing (1989). Today, I found myself humming a song from Singin’ in the Rain (1952).The last book I read was The Crucible. An oldie but a goldie, published in 1953. All meritorious selctions, but not exactly au courant,.. I would hate to think that my zeal for the new is blunted by my innate indolence, so I decided I should watch some of the more talked about (what those in biz call “buzzworthy”, a phrase coined in the 80’s) shows of the Fall TV season. To find out what was hot, I went to the New York Times (established in 1851), and watched this: http://www.nytimes.com/?WT.z_jog=1&hF=t&vS=undefined.

The first thing I watched was Scream Queens on Fox. It’s terrible. Just awful. Stupid, stereo-type enforcing, gratuitous, racist and misogynist. Way to bust my fully warranted expectations, Fox. Truly bad. Don’t watch it. It will make you hate yourself.

scream queens Also, don’t judge me because I watched it. I’ve suffered enough.

The other thing I viewed was The Muppets. It’s the NEW Muppets, though. The Muppets were first  created in 1955, but these are new. Very 2015.

I’ve gotta say, it started out pretty damn sadly. First of all, why are The Muppets always so down on their luck? Kermit’s depressed -feeling kinda ‘green’ if you will – on account of he married a pig. I think they got divorced, though. Either that or Kermie’s porking a sassy, younger piglet, and nobody cares about the pain of animal adultery. I guess you can’t teach an old frog new tricks.Members of the band are in rehab, and Fozzie’s not funny. Truthfully, he never has been, not since he was created in 1976 – a bicentennial bear. Elizabeth Banks (apparently she’s famous) threw Scooter off of a moving vehicle twice, and there was all this rampant puppet neurosis that made me think about rejection and the loneliness of the latchkey child in the turbulent 70’s. And also macrame planters, but that’s unrelated.

Ah, muppet babies! I’m sorry your show wasn’t funny! Hang in there, little frog man! I just hope he doesn’t Kermit suicide.Coked up Kermie

Yep. Just hope he doesn’t croak.

So, anyway, looks like my oldest, dearest friend and I – me and the ol’ T & V – ain’t gonna be seeing all that much of each other for awhile.

Except…wait! There’s always Turner Classic Movies, PBS documentaries and Teen Mom! And CBS Sunday Morning and reruns of That 70’s show and Jeopardy! Hooray! I’m back, Telesweetie! I can’t quit you!