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The Comment I’m Not Posting

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Department Of Why Am I Am Not Writing “Done” In The Comments

Dateline: Tuesday morning.  Moiself  sees in a friend’s Facebook feed one of these kinds of posts – if you’re on Facebook you’ve likely encountered them:

“This is food for thought.  You’re not the same again after cancer and treatments. With the side effects of chemo and radiation, you will never be 100% again because your immune system is weak. Ruins marriages, families, and relationships with friends. Because Ii the hardest moments you know who your real friends are or who the people are who appreciate you. Unfortunately, like with most friendships, Facebook friends will leave you in the middle of a story. They want a post to ‘like’ for the story, but they don’t really read your message when they see it is long. More than half have stopped reading. Someone may have already gone to the next post in their newsfeed….”

 

(There was a lot more, including a request to comment “done” if you read the post all the way through.)

 

Here was my comment.  [1]

OK, here goes: I have read this all the way through, but I am not writing “done” in the comments, nor am I copying and reposting the post.
Here’s why.

Most of us on FB have seen these posts of awareness (for cancer, other diseases/injuries/afflictions, those facing economic hardship, etc.). And while I’ve no doubt that they are well-meant, I consider them to be the emotional equivalent of chain letters.

The writers of the original posts (whom I know is not you) include implied threats and “digs” (against the reader’s character and empathy) in these pleas for “awareness” –  implications that how one responds to these posts is a litmus test of who is a real/true friend.
Here are some of the ones this post includes:

“… A little test, just to see who reads and shares without reading… I would like to know who I can count on and who takes the time to read this… So I’m going to make a bet, without being pessimistic. I know my friends and family will put it on their wall. You just have to copy….”

If the writers of the post truly “know” your friends and family will “put it on their wall,” why do they have to prod them to do so?

Whether or not you can count on someone in times of need has *nothing* to do with what they will or will not copy or post (or even read) on a Facebook feed.  This is just another form of virtue signaling.

And the implication that people will read and not repost – “Unfortunately, like with most friendships, Facebook friends will leave you in the middle of a story. They want a post to “like” for the story, but they don’t really read your message when they see it is long” – is virtue-shaming.

Actually, the awareness post I refer to was mild, in the shaming factor, as compared with others I’ve read, which practically scream, “Oy vey, I’ll just sit here posting in the dark, knowing that few people will actually read all the way through because nobody cares….”

Now, I’ve nothing against someone advocating for cancer (or any other) awareness.  But, why the emotional extortion?  Why not just post whatever info you want to convey?  Then, as with other social media posts that people like and/or find significant  – from cat videos to political screeds – people can repost it if they deem it repost-worthy.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of What I Did Not Post In The Comments Section

One prays for rain, one prays for sun;
they kneel in church together.
Which of them, do you suppose

will regulate the weather?   [2]

 

 

“I liked/reposted this.”

“I’m praying for you.”

Boys and girls, can you identify which of the above is the least effective action?

 

I knew you could.

 

That’s right; it’s both/either of them.

Pleas for reposts, and their responses (“I reposted this!”) remind me of, “I’ll pray for you!”  Reposting on social media, ala praying for something to happen, may get you to think nice things about yourself (or moiself,  if I say that I’m praying/posting for you), but is ultimately ineffectual.

My learning that you have been diagnosed with cancer and are beginning treatment, and then my responding with, “I’m praying for you,” or “I posted about cancer awareness,” is a way to make us both think that I am doing something when in fact I am doing next to nothing. How’s about actually *doing something* you will need help with –

* organizing a meal delivery service and/or contributing meals for you and your family during your treatment and recovery “downtimes”

* giving your kids rides to school and extracurricular events

* “babysitting” you so that your spouse and/or kids can get out of the house, or hosting a family game/ movie night at their or your house    [3]

* running errands (that you used to be able to do) for your elderly parent(s)

* being a “chemo” buddy (taking you to and from treatment appointments)

* taking you to medical and other appointments, and/or pick up prescriptions

* just sitting and talking with you, and, more importantly, listening…or spending companionate time in supportive silence

* taking you to or meeting you for movies or lunches or park walks or other outings, to get at least a temporary respite from the disease-takes-over-my-life mode

* arranging to mow your lawn/put out your recycling on trash pickup day, walking your dog, performing or helping with other household maintenance tasks

*running interference for you when well-meaning folks are driving you nuts….

 

 

Ah, but all of these things, and the other Life Stuff a (temporary or otherwise) sick or disabled person may need help with – these things take time and effort, and entail emotional (and possibly financial) involvement.

Posting/praying takes a microsecond of hot air.

Let’s say I get sick, and you mow my lawn…and you also pray for me (in private, thank you very much), asking your deity to heal me, etc.    [4]  As for the latter, please understand that you are doing it for yourself; but, that’s fine – whatever floats your boat.

For anyone who believes in the efficacy of petitionary prayer,    [5]   let’s say that you and I are having lunch in a taqueria, and you begin choking on your chalupa – really choking, as in, you’ve aspirated it into your windpipe.  You cannot dislodge it, and you can’t breathe.

Would you rather I pray for you, or perform the Heimlich Maneuver on you?

 

I’ll pray that you learn to take smaller bites when you eat. Oh, and thanks for mowing my lawn!

 

Cheese and crackers; what a different place the world would be, if prayer “worked” ?!?! People pray for peace and healing all the time.

And when you examine the content of those prayers – particularly the ones for healing – it’s interesting to note the accommodations.  For example, re the child with horrific third degree burns over 90% of his body, no one prays for their god to cause new skin to grow overnight for the child (although they may pray that the skin grafts take). 

 

 

While many people of faith seem convinced that prayer can heal a wide variety of illnesses (despite what the best scientific research indicates), it is curious that prayer is only every believed to work for illnesses and injuries that can be self-limiting.  No one, for instance, ever seriously expects that prayer will cause an amputee to regrow a missing limb.
Why not?  Salamanders manage this routinely, presumable without prayers.
If God answers prayers – ever – why wouldn’t he occasionally heal a deserving amputee?  And why wouldn’t people of faith expect prayer to work in such cases?
(Sam Harris, “Letter to a Christian Nation“)

Why, in all of human history, there is no record of (anyone’s) god ever healing an amputee by regenerating a limb, or changing a Down syndrome child to one with a normal chromosomal profile? If a god is said to have intervened, it is only in situations that can be otherwise explained as natural phenomena.

( For more on this illuminating topic – which you should ponder if you haven’t previously, especially if you think you believe, in some way, that prayer “works” – check out https://whywontgodhealamputees.com/ . It’s a fun site delineating why petitionary prayer is superstition, and also raises other questions about religious tenets. )

Now, I’m not knocking all kinds of practices which come under the category of prayer.  As freethinkers wiser than moiself  have pointed out, if contemplative prayer focuses your mind and helps you establish objectives, then it can be a beneficial practice.  However, meditation is just as good if not superior for those goals; also, it has the added benefit of non-delusion – you don’t have to pretend that some supernatural being is paying attention.   [6]

“If you talked into your hair dryer and said you were communicating with someone in outer space, they’d put you away.
But take away the hair dryer, and you’re praying.”
( Sam Harris )

 

 

Coming back to the thing about petitionary prayer: moiself  thinks it is actually obstructive, in that is that it provides the illusion of having done something when in fact you’ve done next to nothing, other than mumble select phrases or entertain some thoughts.  And what might be called “secular prayer” – liking or posting on social media – can fall under that same category.

The following is from professor, author, educator and speaker Dale McGowan’s  (erstwhile) blog, The Meming of Life   [7]

When someone asked Humanist Rabbi Adam Chalom to pray for a friend who had breast cancer, Adam said, “I have a better idea — give me her phone number and I’ll call her. Talking to her to lift her spirits and make her feel less alone and more cared for will do much more for her than talking to anything else.

This was from a piece Adam wrote in the Chicago Tribune’s blog (“The Seeker“) a couple of years ago. And he went on to make an especially good point:

“The Humanist world has recently sponsored a counter-program – the National Day of Reason, which celebrates the power of the human mind to understand and improve the world. But I have an even better idea. While reason is certainly a worthy value to celebrate, the secular counterpart to ‘Prayer’ is not ‘Reason’ – it is Action. “

The counterpart to prayer is doing something.

 There are secular equivalents of prayer. Facebook is full of them. I’m sure there are people who “like” 50 humanitarian causes a day, achieving that same illusion of having done something. And like the prayer, I think that self-satisfied illusion often keeps the liker from actually doing something. It relieves the pressure, gives that little shot of dopamine, makes us feel ever so good about ourselves. Of course, there’s a whole neologism for it — slacktivism.

My take-home is that secular prayers, if they go no further, are no better than sacred ones. Action, real action, is still what matters.

 

 

*   *   *

 

*   *   *

Department Of A Really Frustrating Phenomenon

Dateline: Last Friday, driving to the coast.  I press the seek button on my car’s radio, and it lands on an oldies station.  After just a few seconds my brain recognizes the intro to a song moiself  hasn’t heard in *decades*:  Glen Campbell’s “Honey Come Back.”

Now, the late and sometimes great Glen Campbell recorded a lot of fine songs, but that insipid, self-pitying, talk/sing tale of lost love is not one of them.

 

 

See?    [8]

Here’s the thing that drove me bonkers after the song began playing (well, other than the song itself).  A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (freshman year, UC Davis) I got an A in my calculus class. Today, if you put a gun to my head – and I really hope you wouldn’t – with the idea of forcing me to solve the most basic calculus equation, I could not do so. But I can recognize the opening strains of Honey Come Back.  How pathetic is that?

*   *   *

Punz For The Day
Country Music Edition

Which country music singer’s name do you say
when you’re moving furniture past someone?
Dolly Pardon.

So, why does Keith Urban sing country music?

Why is country music is like a vacuum?
As soon as you turn it off it stops sucking.

Technically, aren’t all national anthems country music?

 

Y’all don’t have to answer that.

 

*   *   *

May your brain store memories of both higher mathematics *and* banal oldies;
May you avoid the temptations of slacktivism;
May you talk into your hairdryer, beseeching it for…whatever…just because you can;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

[1] As should be obvious, I have not included all of the post, although I reference certain portions of it which are not included in the beginning excerpt.

[2] Variously attributed to Anonymous.

[3] When one member of a family has cancer or another chronic or debilitating disease, *every* member of the family “has” that disease, to a lesser extent, and they’ll need to get out and have a break from it.

[4] Although, being all-knowing and such, this deity already knows the illness I have and what I need to recover from/deal with it – right? – and shouldn’t need you to beg about it.

[5] “Petitionary prayer is a specific form of prayer aimed at making requests of God….for answers to life’s questions and concerns….also pleas for God to be the sole responsible agent to act on behalf of the one who is praying. Petitionary prayers can be offered on a small and personal scale for oneself or for others, or they may involve requests on a larger scale that concern changing undesirable circumstances within society or, indeed, the world as a whole. ”   (Center for christogenesis)

“Traditional theists believe that there exists an all-knowing, all-powerful, perfectly loving, and perfectly good God. They also believe that God created the world, sustains it in being from moment to moment, and providentially guides all events, in accordance with a plan, towards a good ending. Historically, most traditional theists have believed that God sometimes answers prayers for particular things…..these prayers are referred to as ‘petitionary prayers’…. (Oxford Handbooks online, “Petitionary prayer” abstract introduction.)

[6] Nor will you have to deal with the cognitive dissonance which will arise when, despite knowing that Jesus is quoted as declaring (in Matthew 18:19), “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven,” and despite you and a friend agreeing that BillyBob should be cured of his Necrotizing Fasciitis and thus y’all consistently and sincerely pray for this to happen, BillyBob continues to suffer horribly, then dies.

[7] As best as I can remember (apologies for any misattributions).

[8] Kudos for those of you who made it past the first verse.

The S-Words I’m Not Mispronouncing

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Department Of Starting The New Year With A Memory Of Teacher Appreciation

Someone once lost an argument with me….

 

 

No; really.

Someone once lost an argument with me….

 

Who does she think she is, ME ?!?

(hint: this is called, foreshadowing)

I’ll try again.

Someone once lost an argument with me re the correct the answer to the question, “What is the USA’s ‘National Pastime’?'”  Someone said the answer was baseball; moiself  pointed out that our national pastime is criticizing other people’s parenting skills.  [1]  Someone began his rebuttal, then quickly conceded.

Another easy target for critique is K-12 schoolteachers. I recently ran across some grousing about teachers, which caused me to reflect upon how it is so easy – too easy – to look back and criticize schools and teachers, to parse what they neglected to do, or what they did do, but did wrongly or inadequately.    [2]   I wanted to take a different tack, to start the new year.  And so, here is A Good Thing ® which happened to me, when I was in grade 3, courtesy of select staff members of Wilson Elementary School.

 

“I have to have that Parnell girl in my class?  Give me a minute while I check my Valium supply….”

 

Background info (as in, a memory spark):  Dateline: a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (college, late 1970s).  I was out to dinner with my Boyfriend. In a tender moment ® and apropos of something I cannot now recall, BF reached across the table, used his index finger to brush a strand hair off of my forehead, and said he’d noticed that, sometimes when I was tired and/or had something cold to drink  (I was drinking a glass of ice water at the time   [3]  ), I spoke with a soft lisp. BF said he found that little tic of mine to be “adorable.”

I thought he was nucking futs, and told him so.

 

 

What was he talking about – nobody had ever said anything like that to me?!  For some reason, moiself  was…not pleased. But I asked a couple of close friends, who confirmed BF’s observation.  The next night I telephoned my parents, and my mother filled me in.

“Oh, I haven’t thought of that in years – don’t you remember?” she began.

Up until age eight or nine I apparently spoke with a slight lisp. I say “apparently” because I have no recollection of having done so.  But after the afore-mentioned memory spark inspired me to phone home, my mother confirmed that, yes, I’d spoken with a “minor” lisp as a child.  Mom said that they (my parents) had consulted with my early teachers (grades K-2), who advised *against* giving me any speech treatment or therapy. Their reasoning was that I was an early and confident reader, a “social leader” among the other students,   [4]  and a straight A student. In other words, my lisp did not seem to be an impediment in my life. It was barely obvious to adults, and I wasn’t teased about it by other children.  Why risk singling me out and making me feel like there was something wrong with me?

However, my third-grade teacher advocated for speech therapy, which my parents agreed to. Thus, for a couple of months I got excused from class, twice a week in the afternoon, to go to a special group therapy meeting, with other kids in the school who also lisped.

Wait a minute, Mom, seriously? Wouldn’t I remember this?

It took me a moment, and then I had the face-palming realization:

Holy Misarticulated sibilants –THAT was speech therapy?!?!?

 

 

I had completely forgotten about that group.

Indeed, for a period of a little less than two months, third-grader moiself  got to leave class a couple of times a week, during afternoon reading sessions, to join a group of four or five other kids (all of them younger than I and in the first or second grades), and we got to play board games.

As the memory came back, I recalled thinking at the time that the games were somewhat childish – but, hey, it got me out of class and doing something different.  Also, my teacher and the nice young woman (the speech therapist, although I didn’t know that that’s what she was) who ran the games acted like it was an honor to be chosen for the group.

The games consisted of the participant students rolling dice and hopping their game tokens around a game board.  When you landed on certain squares you had to draw a card from the pile of cards next to that square, and pronounce the words or describe the pictures and/or actions being depicted on the cards – all of which…hmmm…started with an S, or sometimes a Z or Th  (“Three sealions are serving seaweed soup and sandwiches to Sally.“)   The speech therapist looking on would make some comments about pronunciation, but after the first few sessions she mostly hung back, as the students began to correct one another.  And then we’d get candy, or some kind of prize.

 

 

Here is where the Teachers  [5]  Doing Their Job Right ® comes in.

I’ve heard other adults tell of how they (or their children) were embarrassed for needing special help in school – whether for speech or physical or academic impediments – in part because of how they were singled out and/or removed from class to receive the tutoring they needed.  Not only did I have no shame whatsoever in going to (what I did not realize was) speech therapy, I thought it was yet another privilege I was given, like being able to go to The Back Of The Class without asking for my teacher’s permission.

The Back Of The Class, consisting of a table and two bookshelves, was the class’s mini-library.  Those students who finished their work early during individual project times (and who had been deemed by the teacher to be mature enough to self-monitor their behavior) could get up from their desks, quietly go to the back of the room, and take whatever book they wanted from the library back to their desk.

 

 

I consistently finished my in-class assignments earlier than the other students. My teacher noted this early on in the school year; she also noted how I got easily bored (and prone to mischief involving distracting my peers) when I had nothing to do.  She wisely instituted the “class library policy,” and so I got to read Kon Tiki (for what seemed like 20 times) and other adventure stories, instead of just sitting in my seat fidgeting while my classmates finished their math worksheets, handwriting practice, etc.

My teacher had already enlisted me in helping other students with their multiplication tables and spelling lists; it was an easy leap for moiself  to think that the speech therapy board games were yet another way in which I was being recruited to help Other Kids ®.  The teacher’s and therapist’s deft handling of the situation – aided in part by my own cluelessness – had me thinking that I was getting rewarded for academic success by being able to leave class –  *not* having to stay after class, or miss part of recess or lunch break – and go play games (even if it was with other kids who talked funny).

 

*   *   *

Departments Of One Of The Word’s Cruelest Ironies

BTW: Whose brilliant idea was it, for the word lisp to have an s in it?

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Keeping The Relationship Fresh,
Chapter 198 In A Never-Ending Series

Dateline: January 2; MH and I go for a “Second Day”   hike  [6]  at the newly opened Chehalem Ridge Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to upland forests, oak woodlands wetlands and other habits, and its ten miles of intersecting trails offers several lovely views of the Tualatin Valley, Mt. Hood, and other Willamette Valley/Portland Metro area sights.  The area’s recent snowfalls were an added hiking bonus (read: a challenge, re icy trails), and were a good backdrop for other kinds of nature observations, such as this picture MH took, and posted on FB:

 

MH’s caption: “Can anyone identify this scat with a size 13 shoe for scale?”

 

MH received comments, ranging from helpful to guffaw-worthy, in response to his question.  The science/biology-minded folks got into comments re color and texture, while others just enjoyed the possibility for thinly-disguised poop jokes.

Moiself’s contributions included:

– It’s slightly greenish, with the striations that may be… Plant matter?… Fur? But it’s not pellets so it’s not a deer or other ungulate
– Our biology-trained daughter (who has also worked with big cats) thinks it’s bobcat scat, and that the striations are fur, not plant matter.

 Other scoops on the (presumed) poop:

– The tapered end and size makes me think Coyote.
The green is odd, was it near a wetland?
-To me it looks like a cat’s fur ball hack…
which would explain the fur and greenish liquid oozing.

Then, this past Monday morning, I saw that MH had made an addition to his post:

“I tried googling for bobcat hair balls. There’s a video of a bobcat bringing one up, but I didn’t come across any good pictures. There was this lengthy page that includes stories of domestic vs bobcat….”

To which moiself  had to reply:

“I tried googling for bobcat hair balls.”
Now, there’s an afternoon well spent.

I have heard that *gentle* teasing can keep a relationship young.   [7]  That may be debatable, but surely one of the more fulfilling aspects of a decades-long relationship is discovering something that you are surprised to know about your partner. Never would I have predicted, as a new bride over thirty-some years ago, that a sentence containing the phrase “…googling for bobcat hairballs” would ever be used by my beloved.

 

 

*   *   *

Punz For The Day
Scat Edition

Did you hear about the monkey who was arrested for throwing its feces at zoo patrons?
She was charged with Turd debris assault.

Why did the Packy the elephant bring toilet paper to the zebra’s birthday bash?
Because Packy was a party pooper.

Remember, dog owners, when you walk the dog you have to pick up its poop.
It’s your doo diligence.

Why is Chuck Norris’s dog trained to pick up its own poop?
Because Chuck Norris doesn’t take shit from any one.

Chuck Norris doesn’t flush the toilet.
He scares the shit out of it.

Yeah, I know, scat is typically used to denote animal feces, but I’ve heard that making at least one Chuck Norris Joke ®  – aka, reciting a Chuck Norris “fact” – at the beginning of the year is a guarantee of good fortune in the weeks to come.   [8]

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of The Bonus Round Of You-Know-Who Jokes

(Happy New Year to son K, who once brought me to helpless tears of stomach-cramping, snotty-nosed laughter when he loaned me his Chuck Norris Factbook to read while we were seated in a booth in a restaurant, waiting for our lunch to arrive).

* Chuck Norris doesn’t read books.
He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

* The flu gets a Chuck Norris shot every year.

* When Chuck Norris plays dodgeball, the balls dodge him.

* Chuck Norris doesn’t worry about high gas prices. His vehicles run on fear.

* The Dead Sea was alive before Chuck Norris swam there.

* When Chuck Norris was born, he drove his mom home from the hospital.

* There is no theory of evolution, just a list of animals Chuck Norris allows to live.

 

* Death once had a near-Chuck-Norris experience.

* There is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard. There is only another fist.

* MC Hammer learned the hard way that Chuck Norris can touch this.

* Chuck Norris has been to Mars. That’s why there are no signs of life there.

* Chuck Norris can strangle you with a cordless phone.

* If Chuck Norris traveled to an alternate dimension in which there was another
Chuck Norris and they both fought, they would both win.

* Chuck Norris’ farts smell like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

*   *   *

Okay; I gotta get control here.  Seriously; somebody stop me; this could go on forever.

* Chuck Norris counted to infinity — twice.

 

 

*   *   *

May you have a legitimate reason for “googling hairballs;”
May you cherish memories of a really good teacher;
May you read a series of Chuck Norris jokes that makes you laugh so hard
you fear a proverbial pants-wetting session may ensue;

 

Chuck Norris peed here.

 

…and may the (continent) hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

[1] All together now: specifically, mothers.

[2] I am not in anyway implying that teachers should be immune from critique…and I have *plenty* of I-can’t-believe-they-did-this examples from my own life as a student, who had to deal with massive teacher fails.

[3] His theory was that the ice numbed my tongue, making it easy for my mouth and tongue to slip back into my former lisp, which I was subconsciously controlling…or something like that.

[4] Is that teacher-speak for, “bossy?”

[5] I include the speech therapist in that category.

[6]  “First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors.  On New Year’s Day, hundreds of free, guided hikes will be organized in all 50 states….” (from “First Day Hikes,” American Hiking Society )

[7] That, and appreciation – or at least toleration – of fart jokes.  And, this should go without saying (so I’ll type it,) farts.

[8] That is something I just made up.  But it makes as much sense as any of the “Doing _____ will guarantee good luck in the new year!” prescriptions I’ve ever heard.

The Date I’m Not Commemorating

Comments Off on The Date I’m Not Commemorating

That would be yesterday, January 6. 

Why do I keep hearing Chopin’s Funeral March (Piano Sonata No 2) playing in my head, when I even think of the events of one year ago?

Department of Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum!

“The wheels of justice turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine.”

Or so the old saw says.  Moiself  can only hope the wheels will speed up when it comes to grinding the bones of the USA’s most recent, grievous traitor, whose name shall not sully this space, but which can be fittingly acronymed as Damn Turd Pol.

Speaking of acronyms for the names of treasonous snakes, Donald Be Cretin = Benedict Arnold.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of See You Next Year    [1]

Christmas cleanup.

 

Before.

 

After.

 

*    *   *

Department Of It Was The Best Of Times; It Was The Worst Of Times

Well, *that* was a bit hyperbolic.  Still, going through the file cabinets in my office – MH and I determined to whittle down the various stored documents from eight to four file drawers – proved to be more draining than I anticipated.

Dateline: Monday afternoon…which soon turned into Monday evening. Sorting through most of the files’ contents was surprisingly easy (decision-wise, when it came to what to keep and what to shred), if tedious.  It turns out we really don’t need the receipt and owner’s manual for a big ass TV we had 20 years ago… and given our own experiences of going through our respective parents’ files,  it is safe to assume we won’t have any interest in neither our offspring’s old report cards nor the seemingly 10,000 colored pen drawings they did of the same spaceship.   [2] 

 

But K’s early attempts at comics – definitely keepers.

 

It was also a somewhat educational experience.  Or, rather re-educational.  As in, re-learning the dangers of having too much storage space – yes, that’s a thing – which we did last year when we went through the attics.    [3]   If you’ve a big attic and lots of file cabinets, you can just throw stuff in there and say, I’ll deal with it later, instead of making the decision on the spot.  What with online access to almost everything these days, we don’t need to hang onto back copies of utility bills or checking account statements or maps from our various travels, or copies of every veterinary visit summary, or even user’s manuals for appliances.  With a few Important Financial Stuff ® exceptions,   [4]  most of what we kept are papers that have sentimental value.

We checked with our offspring; indeed, they’ve no interest in their K-12 report cards, projects, etc.  But perusing the kid’s folders, from old artwork, letters, school files (special projects; grades; awards; certificates; teacher’s conference notes; school pix and other memorabilia) – ay yi yi. 

 

This ominously labeled envelope contained a very young but determined Belle’s letter to MH and moiself, detailing the reasons why she should be allowed to have a pet tarantula.

 

Even the “fun stuff” was occasionally challenging to go through (read: emotionally sapping).  More than one letter or other document triggered moiself  into reliving times when one child or the other was being picked on (and in a couple of cases, outright bullied) and/or having a hard time socially. There were also a couple of hilarious-in-hindsight teacher evaluation reports, from our son K’s teachers, on K’s beneficial – and problematic– traits and tendencies, some of which MH and moiself  still see today, in how K approaches and reacts to certain situations.

The reminders of our offspring’s’ social dilemmas   [5]  were the most heart-tugging.  How did we all get through that? I found moiself  wondering.  And yet, we did.

On the plus side, moiself  got to relive the pride I’d had in my daughter’s tenacity, intelligence, and gumption, when I came across a letter Belle wrote in the sixth grade, to her teacher.  In the letter Belle stated her case on why she should be allowed to bring her cat to the class show-and-tell pets day. Tamping down her anger over the unfairness of a classmate’s (false, as it turned out) claims as to why Belle’s pet should be excluded, Belle managed to compose a calm, clear-eyed statement of the facts.  Using kick-ass deductive reasoning skills any district attorney would be proud of, Belle listed objective evidence to show that Belle’s classmate Cruella   [6]  was not in fact deathly (nor even mildly) allergic to cats, as Cruella had claimed.   [7]

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of I Still Miss Siskel & Ebert

Movie theaters in Oregon began reopening on a limited basis in late April-early May 2021.  Starting in May, moiself  did my best to see a movie in a theater, at least once a week.  The following is a chronological list of these movies.  My favorites are starred.

Confession: the list includes three movies (marked with a zzz) which I did not watch all the way through. Translation: the movies I walked out of – not in disgust (that hasn’t happened in years), but in disappointment.  To bastardize a book title of long ago, those are movies which I put in the category,  *I’m Just Not That Into You.*   Yep, moiself  paid for the tickets, but my hours and even minutes are important, and if I’m disappointed and don’t feel like sitting through it to See If It Gets Better ®, I’m outta there.

Pig gets my vote for picture of the year.  Despite its WTF/why-is-this-in-here?  “fight club” scene, I found the movie remarkable, and kept thinking about it days later.   Will the critics remember to think of it, come awards time ( movies released early in the year always seem to be at a disadvantage)?  Plus, all the recognizable Portland area settings – delightful.

 

 

– Those Who Wish Me Dead

– A Quiet Place II

– Cruella

– Dream Horse

– In The Heights    ( zzz )    [8]

– Queen Bees

– Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

– Black Widow

– Pig  ****

– Joe Bell

– Green Knight

– Stillwater

– Free Guy

– Chang Chi and…the very long title, something about rings.

– The Alpinist   ****

– Queenpins

– Dear Evan Hansen

– No Time To Die  ****

– The Last Duel

– Dune

– Spencer

– Belfast ****

– The French Dispatch

– Ghostbusters: Afterlife    ( zzz )     [9] 

– House of Gucci   ( zzz )   

– C’mon C’mon  ****

– West Side Story  ****

– Don’t Look Up  ****

– Licorice Pizza  ****   [10]

 

House of Gucci was one of the zzzs. Given the subject matter, and the dynamic actors – Lady Gaga and Adam Driver could hold my attention reading electric can opener instructions – it should’ve been more interesting.  But Jared Leto, playing whatever role he was playing (some Gucci brother)….eeeeeewwwww.  I’m not sure whether to hold him or the director responsible for Leto’s channeling of so many cringeworthy Italian stereotypes.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Because, Why Not?

There is a yoga pose   [11]  for, and named after, just about anything.  And, especially at the beginning of a new year, why wouldn’t you want to try “… a whimsical lateral bend that stretches and balances superficial and deep back muscles to simultaneously improve shoulder mobility and address one of the most common causes of lower back pain. “

Especially when it’s nicknamed, Banana Pose.

 

*   *   *

 

Punz For The Day
Banana Edition

Did you hear that a banana tried her first case as a district attorney?
She won the conviction but slipped up on the appeal.    [12]

Q.  Why do plantains never slip when they walk down the stairs?
A. 
They hold on to the bananaister.

My husband asked for a pair of slippers for Christmas,
so the kids and I tied banana peels around the soles of his feet.

Q.  Where do bananas go to learn about religion?
A. 
Sundae school.

Q.  What do you call a plantain who gets all the girls?
A.  A banana smoothie.

 

*   *   *

May you try to see a movie every week, in a theater;
May you feel liberated by a files purge;
May your heart be warmed by that which you find in the files
and decide to keep forever;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

[1] Eleven months, actually.

[2] If you are a well-adjusted adult, IMHO.

[3] Unfortunately, we have two.

[4] Taxes, insurance and mortgage vitals.

[5] Read; being picked on, snubbed and/or bullied by classmates.

[6] Not the classmate’s real name, however fitting it seems in retrospect.

[7]  Rather, Cruella, who disliked and was jealous of Belle,  was using that claim to have power over Belle.

[8] I was surprised at how…boring…I found this movie, despite (or maybe due to?) all of its frenetic song-and-dance routines. 

[9] The juvenile actors were appealing, but the nostalgia was not enough for me to excuse the retread, reed- thin story/plot.  The return of the same slime ghosts – wow!….NOT.  Been there.

[10] Tried to see it in a theatre, but not playing around here…until the day after MH and I found it on a streaming service. Loved the movie; still don’t get the title.

[11] That phrase could be followed by, “…for truckers who like to sing to hamsters.”  There is a yoga pose for everything.

[12] Moiself  thinks there should be thirteen footnotes, but I only made it to twelve.