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Saturday, February 13, 2016

In the News

The headline: Quincy woman found sitting naked
A Quincy woman was reportedly arrested Thursday morning after she was found naked at a New Hampshire Welcome Center performing lewd acts.
I just want to point out here that this was not me. Having said that, don’t lewd acts in front of a roaring fire sound cozy? Also, fer Bast’s sake—it was a Welcome Center—what could be more welcoming?

The headline: 80 Year Old Senior Citizen/Marijuana Kingpin To Receive Sentencing This Week
Marshal Dion, an 80-year-old marijuana kingpin, is set to receive his sentence this week for his decades-log-involvement with what has turned out to be a massive marijuana distribution network.
Ah but the poor dude's sentencing's been delayed:
US District Court Judge Denise Casper did not accept the plea agreement with federal prosecutors, under which Dion would have served five to seven years in federal prison, saying that sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 360 months, or 30 years. Casper asked attorneys for both sides to file written arguments by Feb. 26 explaining why she should sentence Dion to less. The sentencing was rescheduled for March 10.
Jeez, this is a successful, respectable business man. He’s jobs creator. And WHY should Judge Casper sentence him to less time? It's motherfucking obvs! Dion's fucking 80 years old, nonviolent AND this is weed not meth or junk we're talkin' about!!!!

It's legal now, even just for fun times in:
Alaska
Colorado
Oregon
Washington

And legal here for medicinal use:
Arizona
California
Connecticut
Delaware
Hawaii
Illinois
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Montana
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island
Vermont

And, did I mention, he’s nonviolent AND 80 fer fuck’s sake! Total waste of taxpayer money.

In gun news—it seems that shooting deaths, killings, only make the BIG news lately when 10 or more people have been murdered OR when a child is involved.

Last Sunday, on February 7th:
In Orlando, Florida:
Police have not determined whether Brull-Lopez was one of three gunmen who fired into the crowd of 300 party goers just before 1 a.m., killing two and injuring nine others. He is the only person arrested in the case so far.
In Pass Christian, Mississippi:
A crowd stands behind police tape as a body is removed from the scene after a shooting on Davis Avenue after the St. Paul Carnival Association Mardi Gras parade on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Two people were killed and four were taken to the hospital
In Rochester, NY:
One person is dead and seven others hurt following a shooting early Sunday morning in Rochester.
That's all—just felt like sharing. Yur welcome!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Interpersonal Cloddishness

Have you ever said just the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time? You know, you just didn't first think Will this be helpful or supportive or is this gonna come off as unfeeling and possibly insulting?

Ummmmmm, if blunderingly poor judgement in this regard were an Olympic sport, I’d certainly medal.

When a very close friend was having colossal problems in his marriage, I was, more often than not, sympathetic but, at the same time, painfully blunt. To my mind, he would've been much happier dumping the clearly—to me anyway—extraordinarily, self obsessed wife-y poo.  He didn't. They've been together for 30 years now and it's, often as not, been rocky. Why'd he stay? Why'd she stay? Dunno. I think some folks, like my parents, thrive on conflict. Mebbe. Who knows? Maybe he just wanted to blow off steam and wasn't looking for my well meaning but harsh solutions. I wish I'd sussed that out before giving my ultra bumbling advice.

In any case, over the long years, I've seen that, JUST like me, my friend's not socially smooth. He's been, unintentionally (like me!) big time insensitive at times. And yet, we're still friends. Cool!

I've been fortunate—extra special, supercalifragalistic fortunate. The Amazing Bob. has put up with my interpersonal cloddishness for 30 years now and has helped me to become less of a blockhead—a somewhat nicer, more considerate person.
OK, Jen, Janice , Lily and a bunch of other folks are to blame for that too.

Why’s this come up today? Eh, I’ve felt, at turns, unappreciated and insulted by a couple of my pals lately. We’re all caught up in mondo work pressures and the major agitata of the primaries. It’s far too easy to forget that we’re all in this together.
Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.
~Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
Think before you act or speak. Also too, the fable of the ant and the dove is good to keep in mind. What goes around comes around so try to make it all nice and mitzveh-y, eh?
Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.
~Socrates

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I've a bone to pick with a certain poet

FUCK T.S. Eliot with his April is the cruelest month horseshit!

From the The Waste Land:
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding   
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing   
Memory and desire, stirring   
Dull roots with spring rain.    
and blah, blah, blah.

No. No, it’s not. February is the most callous and barbarous of months, thenkyewveddymuch. This last, fattest, full calendar page of winter is, with it’s ferocious blizzards, coldest temps, streets and sidewalks piled with dirty, crusted, icebound snow. We’re already worn out from the cold, bleak days of November, December and January and then February just hauls off and pummels us while we’re down. The fucker.

Yeah, it may be the shortest but it’s the most sadistically ruthless of months.

And yes I do know that, if I was a skier, if I lived for snowboarding or ice skaing, I’d be ALL about February. Man, any sad that would creep in would be entirely due to these being the final weeks for my frozen fun.

That ain’t me. I’ll take those Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Now please!

I am SO ready for spring,

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mannered

Good manners are:
    The treatment of other people with courtesy, politeness and showing correct public behaviour.
Good manners are also:
    Polite or well-bred social behavior.
    "it's nice to meet a young man with such good manners”
And they are:
    The prevailing customs, ways of living, and habits of a people, class, period, etc.; mores:
 
Who decides what specifically constitutes courtesy, politeness and correct public behaviour?

Emily Post simplifies the matter.
Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.
Having good manners/being well mannered is relative. Depends on the temperament of your community basically. The rules of conduct for a formal luncheon at Buckingham Palace would be odd and insane at the Brighton Music Hall on a Saturday night.

Still, there are some general, basic manners that should always be employed. Such as:
  • Saying please and thank you
  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Holding doors open for other people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman—if someone’s relatively close behind you and about to pass through the very same door, stop and keep it open for them too.
  • Speak politely That is, unless you really know your audience, avoid slang and swears. Also, no shouting unless of course you’re downstairs at the Middle East on a weekend night and the band’s cranked up to 11.
  • Don’t interrupt the person who’s speaking and stay away from hot topics (unless you honestly know that your listener will be fine with talk of religion, politics, farts, poops and vomit)
  •  Give up your seat on public transportation. You know, to the old, infirm, pregnant and, of course, ME.
Emily Post: Etiquette Queen
Manners are, in general, about respect and consideration for others. There are, of course, more rules for a civilized person to live by but, in my less than humble opinion, it all comes down to the golden rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Politeness [is] a sign of dignity, not subservience.
~Theodore Roosevelt
A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.
~Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter--an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”
~Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life and Counsels and Maxims

Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.
~Elsie De Wolfe

A hat should be taken off when greeting a lady, and left off the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.
~P.J. O'Rourke, Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People 
In addition to the books named above,  I believe it makes absolute shitloads of sense for me to pick up, and possibly provide to my niece and grands, Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon.

LA Weekly calls her Miss Manners with Fangs. Yes, sounds like precisely my brand of etiquette!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hope Chests

My friend Michal wrote me, bemoaning the passing of this custom.
From about 15 on you collected things that you would need when you set up housekeeping.  Nice table cloths, place mats you embroidered yourself or pillow cases.   You picked out your China, stem ware and silver pattern so you could set a beautiful table on special occasions.   I have all of those things.  Place settings for 12 and Fostoria stemware and my "good" stainless silverware (as opposed to my Mother who had sterling silver silverware—well she did get it from her mother/my Grandmother). The tradition lives on with my niece who presents a full table at Christmas.  But so few of the so called millennial generation do. 
I’d read about the custom, maybe in Little Women or Jane Eyre or some such. I thought it was something women did back when there were dowries and women, on marriage, became their new husband's responsibility or, horrifically, their property. You know, the days of coverture.

 But no, I was wrong.

From Chronically Vintage:
As recently as a few decades ago (and especially prior to the twentieth century) it was exceeding common - virtually de rigueur, actually - for all young, unmarried women to put together a trousseau of household items that would serve her well later on in her married life (or, much less commonly, if a woman set up a house on her own, away from the family home).

In use for centuries, the hope chest (also known as a dowry box, or in the UK and Australia, a glory box) was a means by which women could help contribute to the home they'd one day share with their husband.
This was def not a thing, a custom, in our home. Clearly I was raised on an alien planet or, at least, BY aliens...or something.

I recall the topic coming up while I was visiting my Aunt Mary Ann, a very proper person, in Manhattan. We were shopping and lunching near the Met one day when she asked me if I’d begun mine yet. First I had to ask her to remind me what this Hope Chest thingy was. She was excited about helping me start mine.

I didn’t want to tell her that I couldn’t see myself marrying and being all Suzy Homemaker-ish. Children? NOPE, they were DEF not in my pic. I’d envisioned living in Berlin squats, painting and dancing until dawn to raggedy ass punk bands along with great big clots of my artsy chums. Husband? Ah, no—I felt slightly allergic to the concept.

I was afraid, possibly, that she wouldn’t approve. At 21, I wasn’t hiding who I was or concealing the person I felt myself becoming. No, I just wasn’t ready to wave my freak flag. Not yet anyway.

Besides, wandering around the Upper East Side, looking at China together was fun.

Monday, February 8, 2016

We're in for nasty weather

I bring you literary and musical weather commentary on this stormy Monday morn. You're welcome.

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, (Act 2, Scene 1) Titania and Oberon (the fairy queen and king) are having a killah argument. Oberon’s being wickedly unfair and Titania artfully lets him know what’s what:
As a consequence of this bad weather and these bad moods the seasons have started to change. A cold frost spread over the red roses, and the icy winter wears a crown of sweet summer flowers as some sick joke. Spring summer, fertile autumn and angry winter has changed places, and now the confused world doesn’t know which is which. And this is because of out arguments. We are responsible for this.
Imagine this—The Amazing Bob rooting for Denver and me for Carolina. Our squabble's getting intense. The cats hide. The weather patterns make a seriously nasty shift—the earth's off its axis. And that's what brings us the heinous gales and blowing snow that we’re IN FACT experiencing right now.
Em no. TAB and I didn’t argue about last night's game. He watched while I read in bed with Rocco. We’ve a fine division on labor on this count. You can’t pin this storm on us.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark also had something to say about the weather conditions:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
Yup, what Hammie said.

As did King Henry VI:
I, that did never weep, now melt with woe
That winter should cut off our spring-time so.
I’m with King Hank—I was really digging the warmer temps, the no-snow scene. Ah well, it IS February and all.

Not exactly Shakespeare but Talking Heads had some ideas here. Also, love this tune. My aural memory, after 11 years of deafness, isn't as sharp as it was but, mega happily, I can still hear this in my head. Yea me!
Watch out, you might get what you're after
Cool babies, strange but not a stranger
I'm an ordinary guy
Burning down the house

Hold tight
Wait 'til the party's over
Hold tight
We're in for nasty weather
There has got to be a way
Burning down the house

Talking HeadsBurning Down the House
And then there's Creedence with another of my fav tunes:

Well don't go around tonight,
Well it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to die.
Looks like we're in for nasty weather.
One eye is taken for an eye.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Bad Moon Rising 
After seeing An American Werewolf in London, this scene always come to mind  when the song pops into my head. Followed immediately by this massively brill piece. Of course. Damn, I loved that flick!

Happy Nasty Weather Monday!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Why I don’t watch football

I’m a chick—I don’t need a reason. Right?

It seems that many of my female friends watch and not just to keep their husbands, beaus and friends of the penis persuasion company. Even Jen enjoys tuning in to the games. OK, she tends to only watch the big ones—playoffs and super bowls but still...

I asked her why. She says it’s fun and exciting. She enjoys it. Yeah, I don’t get it but, ya know, I’ve got a few years under my belt now so I’m used to being in the minority in this regard. I’m cool with that.

My sports watching aversion, particularly football, began because watching an horrifically violent, war game-ish event, played by a bunch of oversize steroidal freaks just skeeved me right out. Isn’t life filled with too much aggression and violence already?

Plus, the scantily clad cheerleaders were offensive. How could these women allow themselves to be turned into nothing more than jiggling, ornamental tits and ass? Yes cheerleading is athletic but, c’mon now, the fans aren’t watching for the pyramids, arabesques and tumbling moves.

For all their efforts, their work, the women aren't making the big, respectable athlete-type bucks either.
But while NFL Cheerleaders bring in as much as $1 million dollars each season for their teams in merchandising and promotions, many get paid as little as $150 per game.

In fact, while NFL Cheerleaders do have some opportunities for outside appearances, many of these skilled athletes make less than $1000 per year. Comparatively, an NFL Mascot can make as much as $65,000 per season; and while some NFL teams have recently moved in the direction of paying Cheerleaders minimum wage ($9 per hour), the NFL pays Concession Stand Workers $12-$18 per hour. 
 Change.Org has a petition going. It's to the 26 NFL teams with cheerleader squads (yes I signed it). The cheerleaders want a wage that they can live on. OF, FUCKING, COURSE!

They could all easily make more as pole dancers in strip joints but those gigs don’t come with society's approval.

Anyway, over the years my reasons for not watching have become less impassioned and more calmly banal. I don’t find football at all interesting. Bored now. I totally get that the game is fun and exciting for most others and that I’m in a teeny tiny minority. No prob. I have a new sci fi book that I’m eager to start—Jonathan Wood’s No Hero.

So, ‘scuze me, while everyone’s watching the big game, I’m gonna go curl up with cat and book.

Road Queen

Stumbled over while lost—what is this cool shit!?
Yesterday I motored up to Salem for an afternoon of movies and great food with my pal Joe. He made this aMAZing shrimp scampi and I brought the chocolate. We watched Revenge of the Sith which Jen assured me we’d seen already—I just didn’t remember. Loved it and now, of course, we have to watch Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

My only what’s-up-with-that moment was wondering how Obi Wan got from Ewan McGregor young and vigorous to Alec Guinness old in just 19 years (the time between action in Revenge of the Sith and New Hope). I guess life on Tatooine must be really harsh, huh?

In any case, I got horrifically lost in both getting to Joe’s AND getting home. It’s a talent of mine. My super power actually. If I drove more I’d def invest in a GPS. For now I rely on my iPad and Google maps. Oh wait, it just occurred to me that there’s probably an iPad GPS app. Yup, before I make another road trip I'll def find and download.

Here’s the thing—going off course at 11AM was no biggie. In fact it was fun. The sun was high in the sky, the roads were clear and traffic was light. Plus, I really like Salem—it’s a place that, in warmer weather, I’d like to spend a day exploring on foot.

Misplacing myself late in the afternoon is a whole different, extra rat-fuckery special kettle of sando aqua monsters. The sun was low in sky and, with my not so keen night vision, I felt pressed to quickly find my way back out to the big, main highways. Unsurprisingly, I missed just about every possible turn and exit. Hey, you try driving on such a beautiful day in such an interesting place! See how you fare.

I finally found my way to 128 South and needed to catch Route 1 from there. Didn’t happen. Nope. Warum? The sun was amazingly bright and right at eye level. Lowering the visors, donning my sunglasses and holding one palm in front of that glowing, killer orb made the road, but not the signs, visible.

Figuring that I was, at the very least, headed south—the right direction, I didn’t worry. And then I hit heavy traffic. Not only that, visibility had turned to utter shit. The setting sun was so brilliantly incandescent, it was like staring into an inferno. Yup, for me and everybody else. We crawled along at a safe 5MPH. I was desperate to find an exit, any exit, HAD to get off that road before disaster struck (or I struck it). Honestly, I could barely see the car directly in front of me.

The worst of the phosphorescence passed and I was finally able to make out a sign or two. Yea me. The next road, 93 South, was blessedly NOT running straight into the sun. The rest of the trip was uneventful—practically tranquil even!

My nerves were ragged and horrifically fried. Of course. I believe extra dry Sapphire martinis and Black Forest cakes are made for hard commutes like this.

Don't you?