I have an added Christmas t-shirt saying thanks to my daughter Jeri: “Baroque—when you’re out of Monet.” And we all may be baroque and out of Monet when this Christmas is over.
Monday, November 26
“Listen” and “Silent” have the same letters. Coincidence?
I dream of a society where a chicken can cross the road without its motive questioned.
To save time, let’s assume I know everything.
I don’t expect everything to be handed to me. Just set it down anywhere.
If it moves, it’s biology. If it stinks, it’s chemistry. If it doesn’t work, it’s physics.
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
“Let’s eat Grandma.” “Let’s eat, Grandma.” Commas save lives.
Grammar Police: to correct and to serve.
“Their,” “There,” They’re not the same.
Sarcasm is the mind’s natural defense against stupidity.
“Quondo omni, flunkus mortati” (“When all else fails, play dead.”)
“Irony,” the opposite of “wrinkly.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I don’t know when or where I got this, but it seems relevant today, as it must have seemed to Bill Gates, who gave a speech at a high school, about eleven things the students did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically-correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.
Rule 1 – Life is not fair, get used to it.
Rule 2 – The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3 – You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you can earn both.
Rule 4 – If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5 – Flipping burgers is NOT beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping, they called it opportunity.
Rule 6 – If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So, before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8 – Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9 – Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interest in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10 – Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11 – Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
Thursday, November 22
Funny how "Petraeus" sounds so much like “betray us.” Funny how so many men in positions of power can’t seem to keep it in their pants. Is a momentary dalliance really worth it? Are we all still so obsessed with carnal desire that we’re willing to destroy our lives and the lives of those who love us for that momentary physical pleasure? Maybe someday it won’t be so—no more pedophiles or rapists or prostitutes . . . or generals or politicians or coaches or priests who can’t seem to keep it in their pants. I’d like to squash them all, to quash their plans for that midnight rendezvous.
Here it is, Thanksgiving, and it seems to me we have much to be thankful for . . . besides the cornucopia of sports events that will crowd the tv programming, that is. We should be thankful for the ease of living we have today. Even the poorest of the poor have it better today than the poor of the past. We should be thankful for the bounty of our tables on this day and for nearly every other day of the year. We should be thankful for the easing of the terrorist threats here and around the world. Maybe I’ll live long enough to see the end of such silliness, see the beginning of world peace and prosperity for all the peoples of the world, see the hand of friendship extend across all national borders. I hope so. And I hope that any of you reading this have a wonderful day of giving thanks for all we have.
Wednesday, November 21
Sunday, November 18
Friday, November 16
Thursday, November 15
Here's some more cat truth from Pickles:
Monday, November 12
We have a starling that sits on our eastern neighbor’s antennae every evening just before sundown, cooing and gurgling as only happy starlings can do. He or she seems so overjoyed to see another day end with no calamities, sort of like me in my November days. Starlings are such funny little creatures, ugly yet beautiful, awkward little bodies, short tails, sharp little yellow beaks. But oh how they can coo and gurgle and chirp. I remember our little starling family back in New York, living in a hole in our garage roof. Living there whenever they could take occupancy ahead of the squirrel that also wanted to call it home. Every spring, they’d return to clean it out before having their little starling babies. The female would sit in a nearby pine and simply sing her heart out before laying the eggs and then sitting on them until the little gluttons appeared. Then she and her husband would spend all day going back and forth catching bugs and worms to give to the tiny heads sticking out from the hole. And then, one day in late spring, they would all be gone, the parents off to wherever starlings went after the child rearing was over, the children off to raise their own families. We never saw them leave. Maybe they made their exits in the dead of night. Maybe the squirrel finally shooed them away. Or maybe they all joined the others in their amazing starling flights when thousand of them would all get together to perform for groundlings. If you’ve ever seen this amazing sight, you know what I mean by a performance—thousand of starlings cascading back and forth, in intricate sheets of flight, like smoke billowing and swerving and twirling. Better than talking about it, why not just look at it in this video on YouTube.
Sunday, November 11
Saturday, November 10
Wednesday, November 7
Speaking of which, at last it’s over and President Barack Obama can now get back to attempting to pull us out of the financial hole we’re in. He won’t be able to do it in his final four years, but if we exhibit patience, he’ll get us started on the road to recovery. And Obamacare is here to stay, causing needless heartache in all the conservative Republicans who keep telling us it will drive us to rack and ruin instead of national health. If it does what it’s set out to do—bring down ridiculous hospital, doctor, and pharmaceutical costs, allow medical help to all—it will be well worth it. All right, folks, just sit back and watch the value of the dollar go up, unemployment go down, the reputation of the U.S. as a world leader go up, heinous acts of terrorism go down . . . and down. We won’t achieve peace throughout the world in my lifetime, but it looks possible somewhere down the road.
Tuesday, November 6
I remember Ray Milland on his Lost Weekend binge. I remember Frank Sinatra as the Man with the Golden Arm. And I will always remember Denzel Washington, the drunken coke shooter, as he fled from himself in Flight. What an amazing performance. I think tour de force applies here. Although it’s not a one-man show—John Goodman plays the cocaine supplier for Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) and plays him very well, Kelly Reilly plays the addict Whip meets in the hospital and later brings to his farm to live with him, and Don Cheadle plays the lawyer who defends Whip, even though he doesn’t much care for Whip and his addictions—it may as well be. Washington brings it all to this role and his audience is fascinated to watch him create this cocky, arrogant, deceitful alcoholic airline pilot who manages to save most of his passengers when the plane he’s flying goes into a dive. This scene, the flight and subsequent crash landing, takes place early in the movie. But it’s easily the most realistic and frightening plane crash ever filmed. The rest of the movie shows us Whip, the bad alcoholic as well as the good person he might be. If alcoholism is both genetic as well as environmental, we see it in the apparently recently dead father who not only taught Whip how to fly but also how to drink. We never get to see exactly how Whip became what he is, now middle-aged and divorced from a wife who could no longer take his drinking, estranged from a son who hates him for what Whip has done to his mother. Yes, tour de force is appropriate. And I’d be very surprised if he isn’t nominated for best actor, surprised again if he doesn’t win it.
Saturday, November 3
Another step in the process, straightening out the mess in the garage. Had to put into kitty litter containers all the books by authors I wanted to keep. Had to put away all the extra golf clubs. Had to sweep and sweep and sweep. Finally, it looks like a garage again. I don’t know what else I’ll have to do to finish this putting-my-house-in-order. It seems like it’s now pretty orderly. Maybe in another three or four years I’ll feel obligated to get rid of more stuff. Amazing how we all spend our entire lives accumulating stuff, only to try to get rid of it as we get old. And, oh my, does my back ever tell me I’m old.
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