Archive for April, 2013




searchenginebetterIs that better than yesterday?

(Sweden naked? Down sex? FAT LADY KRISPY KREME?)




good thing they have all those anti-oxidants

Many Celestial Seasonings Teas, despite their claims at being “all natural,” have been found to contain unacceptably high levels of pesticides.

celestialseasoningsOf course, this is reported by a company that has “shorted” the company that controls Celestial Seasonings, so their interests lie in Celestial Seasonings stock falling, so who knows if it’s even really mostly true.

Their disclaimer even includes this sentence: “This report and all statements contained therein are the opinion of Glaucus Research Group California LLC, and are not statements of fact.

Oh. I see. So maybe not even partially true.

How does a report quoting a violation of pesticide standards fall under “opinion”?

Caveat emptor all the way around I guess.


beach sex, aka why bother?

And no, I’m not referring to it being a waste of time, or too much sand, or ILLEGAL.

Why bother writing thoughtful, insightful posts, with embedded video and attributed photos? Why spend the time to write about The Things That Matter, when most of the people-who-are-not-already-followers who seem to show up at my blog are drawn by the results of their searches for:

There's one picture of a couple playing Scrabble at a nude beach. You can't see anything. Get over it!

There’s one picture of a couple playing Scrabble at a nude beach. You can’t see anything. Get over it!

I don’t write about, post pictures of, condone, nor encourage any of the following: sex on the beach, beach sex, sex on beach, sex in beach (wha?), or naked sunburn in Italy (wha? wha?)

I’m going right now and deleting that post. If there is anybody left tomorrow I’ll keep writing.



Which is worse?

This guy.

Or this guy:


Am starting to wonder if it’s redundant to have Politics and Stupid People as separate categories.



I guess it’s okay, as long as it’s only partially

partiallysubmergedAll I want to do is shake the hand of the person who wrote this caption.



little help?

Maybe it’s the limitations of my non-mathematical mind (I am “only” a musician, after all), but does the logic of this reveal itself to anyone out there?


Husband claims there’s some kind of complementary arrangement, as in, all of the days are covered. I think that the whole thing was created by some kind of a calendar-disabled sadist (a.k.a. administration). But maybe it’s just me.


THIS is beautiful

The man in the cowboy hat, Carlos Arredondo, immediately ran to the site of the first explosion at the Boston Marathon, leaping barricades to get to the injured.

He helped the man in the wheelchair shown below, Jeff, wrap tourniquets around his badly damaged legs (which have since been amputated), and didn’t leave his side until he absolutely had to.

The remarkable thing is that Carlos himself had tried to end his life in 2004 — when Marines came to his door to tell him that his son had been killed in Iraq, he barricaded himself in his car and set himself on fire. The Marines saved him. His other son, so distraught over and unable to recover from the emotional trauma of his brother’s death, eventually committed suicide. I imagine he has seen some dark hours. I can’t imagine how dark.

He spoke on NPR today with grace and humility. An awareness that if the Marines had not saved him in 2004 Jeff might not have survived on Monday.

Never mind thinness, or perfect features, or flawless skin. Never mind a perfectly honed body or shiny hair.

This man, and his heroic act, is beautiful.


The person or persons who planted the bombs, on the other hand, is the worst kind of coward.

Well, maybe not the worst — worst is someone who arms himself and shoots up a school full of children, and a Congress which refuses to act to try to prevent such a thing from happening again.

I’m almost too disheartened to write this. Am certainly too disheartened to try to make any sense of it all.

I am grateful to Carlos for his heroism, and to the paramedics who died rushing to the rescue at the fertilizer plant explosion, and to all who act in interests other than their own.

I only wish there were more of them, and many, many fewer of the cowards.


Are you more beautiful than you think you are?


So stop it.

Believe it.

(g: Watch it!)



why I hate Don Draper, and can’t stop watching

I’ll admit I’m kind of a latecomer as far as Mad Men is concerned.

Heard about it now and again for a while, but didn’t start watching it until about 6 months ago. Caught up through Season 4 on Netflix, and then waited, and waited, . . .  and waited. . . . . . . for Season 5. Just noticed a couple of weeks ago that it was available, I believe the day before Season 6 started airing on AMC, so have been playing a frantic game of catch-up.

Some of it is a bit overblown, although I wonder if it seems overblown in the “enlightened” two-thousand-teens  compared to what it was really like in the 60s. (ha!) I fear that maybe it’s not overblown at all.  I do especially love the depiction of Peggy and Joan in their efforts to be taken seriously as professional (women) while not really wanting to give up actually being perceived as actual women. Unfortunately some of their battles don’t seem all that different from battles still being fought.

But except for Henry, all of the men are pleasepardonmyFrench assholes. And of course, Henry, not being an asshole, is married to a woman who is so bored she’s gained 30 pounds. (Of course, within 2 episodes, she’s lost it all, despite the “half pound a week” or “maintaining” progress noted during her Weight Watcher’s meetings.)(No one said it was a true story.)


But Don. What’s to be done about Don.

The writers do a good job of, just when you have decided that Don has no redeeming qualities at all, re-humanizing him. He displayed great sympathy (albeit in retrospect) for Peggy when she unexpectedly  —  to her and everyone else (really? she didn’t know she was pregnant? this is a reasonably smart woman, how would you not know you were pregnant?) — had a baby, gave it up for adoption, and suffered some kind of breakdown afterwards. He displayed great empathy when he went to Joan to tell her not to sleep with a potential deal-maker-or-breaker for a new ad campaign (too late, but he didn’t know that at the time).

We get to see him wrestle with his demons — his dead-too-soon prostitute mother, his resentful, dishonest father, his disillusionment with his chosen career despite his virtuosity at it, his need to be taken care of and his refusal to be vulnerable. But he is newly married to a stunning woman, Megan, (who adores him), and still needs (?) to have an affair with the doctor’s wife downstairs. This is the wife of a doctor he has befriended; a woman who has offered understanding and sympathy to Megan despite the fact that she is SLEEPING WITH HER HUSBAND, and then humbly admits that she has no right to be jealous.

The fact that Don was faithful while Megan was working at the agency with him, and still when she was basically staying at home while pursuing an acting career at which he had no faith in her ever succeeding reveals his vulnerability. The fact that the day she acted in her first professional role he apparently (it was only implied) resumed his previous role as a five-star cheating sleazeball is also probably supposed to reveal this vulnerability. I wonder if it is the writer’s goal that this also seems to reveal his complete lack of maturity and character. Probably. Maybe this is the kind of nuance that keeps me watching. Or maybe I’m making more of it than there is.

I will also admit that I am still completely puzzled by the bizarre scene when Megan was upset with Don because he was unhappy about her throwing him a surprise party, so she begins cleaning up the apartment in her black, lacy bra and panties while scolding Don like a shrew. Don was oddly turned on, apparently as much by the scolding as by the attire. What he actually needs is his mother?

The depiction of the struggle of women to find their place both professionally and in the home is compellingly told. Many of the wives seem to know that their husbands are unfaithful — how could they not, really? — but don’t mind as long as they’re discrete. (Pete’s busted as of last night. What a whining sycophant he is. I still can’t figure out why Don brought him along when they began their new agency. He clearly loathes him, as do we all, and as we should, although he displayed a bit of humanity toward one of the women he had an affair with, but that hardly counts. I guess he’s good at what the agency needs him for — to be a sycophant.)

Joan could gain more of my sympathy if she didn’t use her feminine (ahem) qualities so blatantly — could her dress be any tighter? Could she sway her hips any more when she walks? She is a partner now (albeit for nefarious reasons, see paragraph 6 above), does she still have to wear that pen around her neck so it dangles right there between her quite ample bosoms? It reminds me of my post once about this “professional” outfit in Victoria’s Secret:


Nothing like a bandeau top to tell the world to take women seriously in the workplace.

I do love that she is a full-bodied, fearless, ambitious woman playing the role of a real person, living comfortably and happily in her skin and not wishing she were a stick. Maybe we should just focus on that.

CHRISTINA HENDRICKS at Promo Shoot for Mad Men Season 5

All part of the idiom I guess.

And I can’t stop watching.


(trying to) hold on

Some times it’s harder than others.

She gets it. (Ann Carson, I mean. Not the other version of me.)

Sometimes I do. Sometimes I forget.

I guess we all do.


more than one way to mourn (shaping, weighing, testing. . .)

Really struggling this week.

Don’t know if it’s the grass-is-always-greener syndrome, or something I should actually pay attention to, but am finding the seemingly constant and often frustrating nature of much of my professional life to be particularly difficult to deal with.

After mom died I quit most of my adjunct work (life’s too short to be an indentured servant), and have been all the happier for it. I don’t know if all of this is telling me I should reevaluate my professional choices thus far, the options I could pursue going forward; or if I should just sigh and realize that this is life and just deal with it.

Anyway, I have this beautiful book by Ann Carson called Nox that I find myself re-reading bits and pieces (or all of it — it only takes about 20 minutes) of over the past couple of years. It’s written as an elegy to her brother, who died mysteriously in Denmark after something like 20 years of estrangement from his family.

It’s very lovely.

Ann is a Greek scholar and author, of a particularly epigraphic and poetic bent.

Ran across this last night:

He makes out of myrrh an egg as big as he can carry. Then he tests it to see if he can carry it. After that he hollows out the egg and lays his father inside and plugs up the hollow. With father inside the egg weighs the same as before. Having plugged it up he carries the egg to Egypt to the temple of the sun. (Hekataios)  

Hekataios is describing the sacred phoenix which lived in Arabia but came to Heliopolis in Egypt once every five hundred years to bury a father there. The phoenix mourns by shaping, weighing, testing, hollowing, plugging and carrying toward the light. He seems to take a clear view of necessity. And in the shadows that flash over him as he makes his way from Arabia to Egypt maybe he comes to see the immensity of the mechanism in which he is caught, the immense fragility of his own flying – composed as it is of these ceaselessly passing shadows carried backward by the very motion that devours them, his motion, his asking.

I can’t decide if I want to, or even can, carry anything “toward the light.”

I am trying very hard to take a clear view of necessity.

I feel very, very fragile.

I wish I could stop asking.


I posted this on our private family blog last night, and one of my sisters wrote a really nice note back (thanks, C). We are all feeling it (alas, I am not original; only sad), which I am sure helps. The world is so quick to forget what you’ve lost, or doesn’t have time to care all that much.

Your parents knew you first, so I think you will always feel that, in some ways, they loved you best. They may not have been the parents you thought you needed, but they were your parents, and knew you first. . .

I feel I’ve come unmoored, even though I have lots of people in my life who probably know me better than they did.

It’s so hard to explain — like I’m made of paper, and the strings that held me up have been cut, but I haven’t started to fall yet, but I know I will.

Or something.





Homeless and ______________

homelessAlmost every time I get off the highway when I drive into “my” city there is a person standing at the top of the off ramp holding a “Homeless and _____ “sign (Homeless Vet, Homeless and Hungry, Homeless with Children, Homeless and Unemployed). The other day 3 out of the 4 off ramps had someone standing there.

I hate this.

I used to give them a dollar or two, handed out the barely-opened window of my locked car door, until I was told (by someone who is fairly cynical, but also probably right) that these are usually people who are not actually homeless, but who do this as their “part time job,” and that there are plenty of services in Our Fair City designed to help them,  of which most of them do not avail themselves.

But even when I would give them money I hated it.

I would like to give them cards for the organizations that will help them find homes, or jobs. I would like to give them a sandwich and a bottle of water. I don’t believe they want these things from me.

And I hate it.

I hate being confronted by my guilt, and my luck, every single time I drive into town. I sit there in my nice car, drinking coffee from newly-roasted beans out of a well-made insulated coffee mug with a full belly and a nice coat around my shoulders and a house to come home to that has electricity and heat and running water. I know I’ve worked for all of this, but I also know that I have been amazingly lucky — born to good parents who fed and housed me and expected me to do well in school and an exceptional education and some natural talent that I had the good sense to utilize and a husband with a good job. Some of it I’ve earned, and some of it I’ve tripped and fallen over.

It’s even worse with Only Daughter in the car. She hates that she has so much and so many have so little (and by so much I mean a full belly and a coat around her shoulders and a house to come home to that has electricity and heat and running water; we’re not rich, unless you compare us to the rest of the world). She feels terribly guilty and sad every time we encounter someone on the street or on one of these off ramps. She hates the idea that people sleep on sidewalks or park benches and pee in doorways and eat the stuff they find in garbage cans. She sees them and lets out this short little groan of despair; and I tell her “don’t make eye contact.”

(I’m such a good mom.)(I never have kleenex in my purse, either.)

There was this homeless person in the town I used to live in in central Illinois. Everybody knew him — his family had money, he struggled with mental illness, he didn’t want to be hospitalized and couldn’t live with his family so he lived on the streets, wearing his tattered coat and pushing his little shopping cart around and mumbling to himself. He was gentle and completely harmless, and I used to try to bring him coffee and sandwiches when I saw him, but invariably by the time I returned with the coffee and sandwiches he would have moved on.

I’m not heartless, but you can’t help everyone, and some of what I do professionally raises money for these very agencies which are there to help these people, but I still hate it.

Is it just me? Are we being manipulated by these people, standing there on off ramps with their not-as-tattered-as-might-be-expected coats and their pathetic little cardboard signs? Are they using our guilt, and our awareness of our own luck, against us? Or is that just the cynical me talking?

Why do I hate this so much?


I used to love you. . .

I used to love you
With a kind of frantic breathlessness
Every hair follicle screaming

My hands would tremble when
I saw you on Fridays
I would lie

on my office floor in the
Dark feet on my chair
Talking to you on the phone for

My day ruined if I didn’t hear your voice
In my ear At least four times
Now the soles of my

Love you
I love you with the patient resilience
Of the seasons I

Love you even when I know I’m
Disappointing you
Or splitting my infinitives
Or when the world we imagined
Is not the world in which we find

It seems to be, really that I’ve always
Loved you. Al


you will be pretty ________________ (wait for it)


Marriage equality, and what any of us, no matter what our religious views, should have to say about it

What she said.

I can’t say it better myself.

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