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The Vacation I’m Not Quite Taking

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quickie

Anyone for a quickie?

 

 

 

 

 

Department   [1] Of Were The Go-Gos Prophetic, Or What?  [2]

 

Why say it your way  [3] when you can have The Go-Gos to say it for you?  [4]

 

 

I am on holiday  [5] – see y’all in a couple of weeks.

 

*   *   *

 

 

May you listen to The Go-Gos whenever and wherever you can;
May you savor the semantic sensibilities arising from declaring you are
taking a vacation vs. saying you’re going on holiday;
May you enjoy the occasional – make that regular – rest from your routine,
no matter what you call it;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] How can I find excuses for footnotes in such a short post?

[2] Nope; no legitimate footnote here.

[3] Same here. I got nothin.’

[4] Move along, folks; nothing here to see.

[5] Makes me sound Irish or British, doesn’t it?  Hey – this is a legit footnote!

The Routines I’m Not Going Back To

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There is something different for me this year, about this time of the year – this particular end of August. I couldn’t put my finger on it, until I realized that Belle’s graduation from college in May means that for the first time in twenty years, there is no Back to School ® component to my life. The end of summer/resumption of school, the preparation and routine and rhythm of such, it was not so all-encompassing – for both my personal and the family’s schedules – when the kids were in college.  Still, it was…there.   [1]

 

 

 

parents.schooljpg

 

 

 

I’ve noticed how “out of it” I’ve sometimes felt, during the past four years, with regards to schedules of other families – including even the approaching of holidays – by not having at least one child with a public school schedule. There was no compelling reason for me to keep track of certain things, and so I didn’t…and then I found myself frequently (and sometimes sheepishly) surprised by the mundane.

Why is there less traffic these past couple of morning? Why are there so many kids wandering around in the early afternoon…oh..yeah….it’s probably a teacher conference/grading/”staff development day” off for the schools….”

 

 

DUH

 

 

 

Friends would ask MH and I what we were doing for, say, Spring Break or the President’s Day holiday weekend, and we’d be caught by the question...uh, just when is spring break this year? Did we miss it?

And what’s with all the aisles of boxes of crayons and notebooks and Transformers backpacks front and center at Fred Meyer stores – it’s only August!?  Ahem, you mean, it’s already the end of August, and school starts the day after Labor Day, remember?

 

 

teachers

 

 

*   *   *

Department of Yet Another Podcast Promo

Arguably my favorite podcast of the past week was the Hidden Brain episode Originals, in which the show’s host, NPR’s social scientist correspondent host Shankar Vedantam interviewed Wharton School of Business professor Adam Grant. Grant’s book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World,  “investigates who comes up with great ideas, how, and what we can do to have more of them.”

In the latter portion of the interview the host asked Grant about “who gets the chance to be original and how parents can foster this quality in their kids.” This led to a brief discussion between host and guest about a parenting-style dichotomy which has always fascinated moiself: those who parent by emphasizing values-based advice vs. those who instill rules-based behavior.

 

 

newrule

 

 

 

Vedantam: Why is it that rules-based behavior doesn’t produce the same thing as values-based advice?

Grant: When you focus on rules in the family a lot of times kids learn to follow it, which means accepting the status quo and essentially becoming an excellent sheep. When you go to values, kids actually have to think for themselves.

Grant admitted that as a parent it’s easy to find yourself barking, “new rule” every time your children misbehave, when instead you should be talking about the value behind the rule. When asked for an example, he provided a scenario familiar to most families:

We’re sitting at dinner, and one of our family values is respect, so we (the parents)  like for them (the children) not to get up from the dinner table until every is done eating. And they start to get up and it’s, “No, you must sit in your seat.” And then I realize what I need to say is why this is important to us.  It’s not about having the rule, it’s about – look, the reason we all like to sit at our seats is we like to have a family meal and it’s a great way to show respect for each other.

 

 

 

dinnertable

And who wouldn’t want to extend such heart-warming family moments?

 

 

 

K and Belle, MH’s and my two children, are young adults now.  The vast majority of our “active parenting” opportunities, re trying to influence their developing values and behavior, are in the past.  Back when MH and I were doing the heavy lifting in that department, we didn’t didn’t have a name for it – i.e., the particular label the differing parenting styles was given in the podcast – but I’m fairly certain MH and I followed the values-based advice model. As per author/educator/philanthropist Dale McGowan’s excellent series of books, Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers, we thought that teaching our children (and, hopefully, modeling for them) values-based advice seemed the best way to enable their moral, emotional and intellectual development based on reason, vs. unquestioning acquiescence to authority.  [2]

 

 

pbbjpg

 

RF

 

 

 

In the past few days, since listening to that podcast, I’ve found moiself thinking back to my own upbringing, and in particular, where my parents would have fallen on the values-based advice vs. rules-based behavior spectrum.  I think my parents, like most of their peers, employed (deliberately and sometimes unintentionally) a combination of the two styles. However, my memories  [3] reinforce my notion that, given many factors, including my parents’ generation, their adherence to religious doctrine, their own respective upbringings and temperaments – the latter which included an almost total lack of introspection and valuing consideration of “big” and/or existential questions of Life ® –  their parenting methods tilted most heavily to the rules-based behavior end of the scale.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Happy To Have Slept Through It, Thank You Very Much

An earthquake and aftershock have been reported off the coast of south-central Oregon.
The United States Geological Survey says an initial quake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 struck just after 1:30 a.m., more than 170 miles (264 kilometers) west of Coos Bay, about 220 miles southwest of Portland.
Robert Sanders of the USGS says there is no tsunami threat associated with the quake. He says people as far away as Portland reported feeling the temblor.
(8-22-18 Oregon Public Broadcasting)

 

*   *   *

 

Department Of More Musings Sparked By Podcast Listening
Sub-Department Of Morning Walks Are Time For Reflection…
Or Sometimes Just Snickering

Dateline: yesterday, 7 am. Listening to a Freakonomics podcast, Two (Totally Opposite) Ways To Save The Planet (episode 346) , in which the host (Stephen Dubner) interviews Charles Mann, a journalist who “…writes big books about the history of science.” Mann speaks about the decades-old debate between environmentalists (“we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption”) and  technologists (“human ingenuity can solve just about any problem”). Mann titled his latest book The Wizard and the Prophet, which are his embodiments of those two respective worldviews. The book’s subtitle is Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World.

It was a misty morning at the coast. My mind was wandering as I walked on the pathway heading toward Nehalem Bay State Park; I was thinking more of blackberry-picking than the “prophets vs. wizards” presentation coming through my earbuds,  [4] and wasn’t paying the closest of attention to Mann’s comments about “the prophet” of his book, WilliamVogt, “the progenitor of the modern environmental movement,”  and Vogt’s influential (in 1948) but now largely forgotten book, The Road to Survival:

MANN: “Much of (The Road to Survival) is a passionate screed for population control, sometimes written in language that makes you cringe….”

DUBNER: “So when you say that his discussion about population growth makes you cringe, was it from a classist perspective…or racist — how would you describe it?”

MANN: “… it’s hard to avoid noticing that although he was very, very hard on rich, white people being wasteful and destructive and so forth…the brunt of the population-reduction stuff he’s talking about are on poor, brown people…And he sometimes described them in language that is really kind of appalling — he talks about Indians breeding with the irresponsibility of codfish….”

That certainly got my attention.  Codfish – any cold-blooded aquatic vertebrate, for that matter – have never come to my mind as exemplars of anything other than being codfish., and certainly not as examples of human traits, particularly those related to responsibility.

Are not codfish merely yet profoundly the gold standard for being codfish? And why shouldn’t codfish breed prolifically? Considering that they are a highly-preyed-upon species, it would be irresponsible of them not to breed like…codfish.

 

 

codfish

It’s none of your business what we’re doing. Besides, it’s not like we can get a room.

 

 

 

 

I thought about this for a lot longer than perhaps I should have. Then I thought about my thinking about it: is this an example of my propensities for both being easily amused (read: distracted)  and easily stimulated to ponder the existential questions of life? And what would a codfish think of such drawn out deliberations  – would she consider them to be a responsible use of my intellect? Or would she use me as an exemplar to her fellow codfish of how warm-blooded, land-going bipedal vertebrates waste valuable mental energy that could be used to devise strategies to convince people to eat less codfish?

 

*   *   *

 

 

May you rarely cast metaphors of irresponsibility upon species other than your own;
May you find ways to value the routines you may one day forget to miss;
May you treasure those incidents you are Happy To Have Slept Through;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Son K graduated three years earlier.

[2] Sure, we had rules, but it was never, “Because this is a family rule, that’s why, and we are the parents/authority and you therefore must respect us and obey our rules.” We explained the “whys” behind the “rules” – the values behind the guidelines.

[3] Which include years of fruitless attempts to get them to engage in healthy discussions (or so I viewed them, as an optimistic if not yet out-of-the-closet freethinker teenager and young adult) about the basis for living ethically in this world.

[4] The prophet (environmentalist) sounds the alarm and wants us to reduce consumption, population growth, and habitat destruction. The wizard (technologist) pushes for us to keep going and invent/use even more, believing that history shows us that technology will solve our problems.

The Baby I’m Not Head-Banding

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Department Of Things That Make Me Want To Alternatively Weep For And Scream At Humanity And/Or Get A Lobotomy And Join A Polygamous Cult
Because There Is No Hope For Humanity If People Think This Is Cute

 

 

Background info: IMHO, pink baby headbands should be outlawed as child abuse.

 

 

babybow

Also, if your baby is this furry you might want an outward marker denoting its species, not its gender.

 

 

MH wrote this about her “vitals,” on the announcement we sent to friends and family after the birth of our daughter, Belle:

…weighing 7 lbs 1 ½ ounces
stretching 20 inches from head to heel
Known allergies: pastels and headbands

When those baby headbands became a thing, I can’t remember. I just know that it wasn’t always like that – people either let their babies go bare-headed, or put a knit cap on them when the weather was chilly.  When I began to see infants with the headbands    [1]   I would ask the parent(s) variations on,  What’s up with that? And the parental unit(s) would inevitably spew variations on the following justification    [2] :

 

Babies are so androgynous-looking; this way, people know she’s a girl!

 

To which moiself would reply:

And it is important for strangers to know a three month old baby’s gender because….?

Are you shocked to hear that I didn’t get invited to many Mommy-Baby groups?

 

 

 

Kandbelle

K was confused by his baby sister: “Sure, they *say* it’s a girl, but where’s the strap of female identification?”

 

 

 

 

Once again, I digress.

The cause of my most recent early a.m. rage against the machine ( aka yet-another-reason-not-to-check-Facebook-while-getting-dressed) was something I saw on a friend-of-a-friend’s post: a picture of a baby girl, with the caption, “If I had a daughter I would want to do this picture.

 Yeah, well, I *have* a daughter, and I left skidmarks deleting the picture, which I found nauseating…and now, of course, I can’t find it to share with y’all. Basic description: it is of a female infant, dressed in a billowy satiny prom dress-type-gown-thingy (which is composed of four times as much fabric as the baby has skin). The baby, whose forehead is wrapped with one of those frilly bow headbands, is sitting partially atop a mirror. The shot is taken at such an angle that you see the picture of the baby looking at her reflection in the mirror, and also the reflection itself.  It looked something like this:

 

 

babytutu

 

 

 

Note the choking hazard, knotted several times around her neck. Welcome to the feminine noose, babe.

 

*   *   *

Department Of And Then, There Is That Which Makes Everything Worthwhile….

Sub-Department Of Random Moments Of Petty Defiance

When I go for morning constitutionals at the coast I love walking up a cul-de-sac which has this sign at its entrance. I walk to the end of the street…and…can you guess what I do, boys and girls?

Yep. I turn around.

Cosmic chaos ensues.

 

noturnaround

 

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

Department Of Saved By The Spirit Of America

I am a notorious parade-loather. I find parades, at both the conceptual and practical levels, to be…absurd, at best. Thus, unless a parade’s entrants and/or organizers acknowledge  the inanity of it all [3]  and try to be deliberately silly – anyone seen Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade?   [4] – you can count me out, as either a spectator or participant.

However….

The Oregon beach town of my dreams and my heart, Manzanita, has a yearly July 4th parade, which, I have been told, is just so low tech and small-towny cutesy that even a parade-hater such as moiself would find it adorable (or at least tolerable).  So, I had an idea for my participation in this year’s parade I had a banner made, and began gathering the beginnings of my parade “uniform, much to the consternation of MH, who wondered aloud if he would attend the parade (or would need to leave town afterward), should I be a participant, wearing and doing…whatever it was I was going to wear and do.

I checked the Manzanita City hall website where, I was told, parade entry info would be posted the first week in June. And it was, and…

Damn you, Foul Crushers of Aspirations!

 

 

brokendreamsjpg

 

 

 

Manzanita’s parade apparently has a theme, which varies from year to year. This year’s theme is, The Spirit of America. My planned getup could be – very, very, verrrrrrrrry loosely – attributed to a certain, uh, independence of spirit, but it definitely ain’t yer red white and blue/flag-waving, lovin’ that good ole country of mine. What I have in mind holds no disparagement toward my country nor toward the concept of patriotism, but it would be a non sequitur, given the theme, as per this description from the parade’s participant registration form (which has a picture of a very serious-looking bald eagle, ready to pluck the eyes out of anyone who would mock its usage as a symbol of American Greatness ® ) :

Decorations required: All entries including autos must be decorated in a patriotic theme and/or in the theme of the parade. The theme is “The Spirit of America”.

Last week I visited the city hall, to try and clarify the parade registration form information. The clerk told me she thought that the requirement to dress as per the parade’s theme might be only for entrants “who want to be judged.”

“Trust me,” I told her, “I’m judged all the time, whether or not I’m an official entrant of anything.”

She flashed me that I-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about smile, and we bid each other a good afternoon.

Later that day, when I returned home (to Hillsboro), I reassured MH that he’d been saved by the (Liberty) bell, so to speak. My parade accoutrements will remain in my closet, in a bag protected by a sentiment dear to the heart of every perennial loser underdog sports team’s fans:

 

 

wait

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of I Can Guarantee You Will Win A Double Nobel Prize
– For Both Peace And Medicine – If You Can Cure This

The mystery of why a person‘s immune system decides to treat a benign substance as a toxic invader…It’s just not right.

Yep, I’m talking Pollen. Or as I refer to it during the months of February through August here, in the Willamette Valley,  aka the Grass Seed growing Capital of the USA:

#!?&*% flora sperm.

Life as we know it would be impossible without the powdery, wind-and-insect borne gametes that fertilize vegetation ovules; I get that. But why do plants think it’s okay to try to get it on in my nose?

 

 

pollendeathstar

 

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of How Long Will I Be Able To Get Away With This?   [5]

I found this magnetic bumper sticker, a relic of when K and Belle were student drivers, in the garage, and put it on the back of MH’s car.

 

 

prankbumper

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

 

 

May you never be too old or indifferent to enjoy pranking your spouse’s car;
May you win many Nobel Prizes for your cure for seasonal allergies;
May you realize that society will put enough pressure on the female members of your family to be ornamental beings without you forcing it upon them when they are infants;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Which were always pink…ah…is there a pattern, Sherlock?

[2] After the tenth time receiving the same answer, I stopped asking the question.

[3] As bunch of people sitting on street curbs, watching another bunch of people walk past them, or watching cars drive by slowly and horses poop while they are walking and then other people following behind scooping the poop.

[4] How could I not love a parade which introduced the world to the following Drill Teams:

* Synchronized Precision Marching Briefcase Drill Team

* Lawn Mower Drill Team

* The BBQ & Hibachi Marching Grill Team

* The Shopping Cart Drill Team

* The Men of Leisure Synchronized Nap Team

* The Marching Lumberjacks

* Claude Rains & the 20-Man Memorial Invisible Man Marching Drill Team

* The Committee for the Right to Bear Arms, which marches while carrying mannequin arms.

[5] The answer was, a little over 24 hours…but it was a glorious 24 house, including him driving to work, not knowing it was there, heh heh heh.

The Resolutions I’m Not Dissing

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I’ve come full circle, and perhaps another 45 degrees, on the whole New Year’s Resolutions Thing ®. As an adolescent I was intrigued by the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions – or at least I was the first time I heard an adult talking about it. Then in young adulthood  [1] I though, oh puhleeeease, what a crock. Whenever I was asked about my NYR’s I’d reply that I had already, several years ago, made the only resolution I’d ever kept: to never make another NYR.  [2]

 

 

 

NYR

 

 

Now, I think NYR are a fine idea. Yeah, resolve to “do better,” however and whenever you can and whatever that entails for you. Of course, you don’t have to wait for the start of a new year to do so, but after all, the world is full of arbitrary limits, guidelines and restrictions,   [3]   so what the heck.

Some of my resolutions for this year are more profound than others;  all shall remain private….

My New Year’s resolutions
(1) stop making lists
(B) aim for consistency
(4-C.7) review basic mathematics

 

…but for this seemingly hackneyed one which, if kept, has a good chance of turning out to be the most nourishing to body and psyche:

Have more fun.

 

 

 

fun

*   *   *

Department Of Foodie Segue

 

☼  Roasted bell pepper and black-eyed pea fritters
☼  Corn muffins
☼  Mediterranean spiced collard greens

 

My New Year’s Day menu once again included a dish featuring black-eyed peas. I have done this for…decades, I guess. I do this in honor of my father and his heritage: specifically, his family’s tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day –  an act of culinary optimism which was supposed to bring good luck for the coming year.

 

 

BEPjpg

 

 

Despite consuming black-eyed peas every New Year’s day, my father’s family remained dirt poor sharecroppers.  [4]   Every year, as I bring whatever black-eyed pea dish I’m making to my family table, I can’t help but wonder: just once, did a brave soul in my father’s family– possibly his adored, spunky younger sister, Lucille – when presented with yet another bowl of black-eyed peas and the directive to, Eat up, y’all, it’ll bring us good luck in the coming year!, look around at the ramshackle farmhouse and her barefooted siblings  [5] and mutter, It still ain’t workin.’

 

*   *   *

Department Of The Benefits Of Getting Up And Out Early In The Morning

At any time of the year, but especially in the winter, if you start walking before sunrise and pay attention,  [6] you are occasionally rewarded with a sight like the top (and only the top) leaves of a tree aglow as they are backlit by the rays of the rising sun.

 

 

amtreelights

 

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of The Coop Is On The Loose

Another unforeseen benefit of an early morning constitutional: earlier this week I saw eleven hens (not all in range in this shot), in someone’s front yard at 7:15 am.  Were the chickens let out on purpose, or was it a jail corral break?

Either way, if I may anthropomorphize for a moment, they seemed tremendously excited to have new territory to scratch and new bugs to hunt. That particular homeowner (who may or may not be the urban chicken “rancher”) was getting their lawn aerated, whether they wanted it or not.

 

 

chickens

*   *   *

Department Of Why The #$!?* Is This Necessary?

 

This advice, printed on the “anti-mold sticker” in the box that held my new rain boots:

 

 

sticker

*   *   *

 

Department Of Benign Neglect

 

I think my sourdough starter is active. It may even have the pastry equivalent of ADHD.

 

 

starter

 

 

Were this crock of starter to be erupting on the White House kitchen counter, the crock who currently occupies the White House would likely be tweeting to North Korea about how MY STARTER IS UUUUUUUGE, BIGGER THAN YOURS AND THE MOST ACTIVE ON THE PLANET.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Do I Get A Girl Scout Badge For This?

Yesterday afternoon I was in the sodas aisle of the grocery store, looking for ginger ale for daughter Belle. An elderly woman was ahead of me, hunched over her cart, peering intently at the dizzying variety of Coca-Cola products. She suddenly announced in frustration and disappointment, “There’s no Cherry Coke!”

I wasn’t sure if she was addressing moiself, or beseeching the soft drink deities. In case it was the former, I pointed out a case of Cherry 7-Up to her. She said she’d tried Cherry 7-Up,  and it was okay, but she wanted Cherry Coke to go with her pizza (she had a frozen cheese pizza in her cart).  I pushed my cart up the aisle, looking for ginger ale and also checking every level of the soft drinks. At the far end of the aisle, away from the other Coke products, I found a case of Cherry Coke…and also found, much to my surprise, how excited I was to have done so.

“I found it!” I exclaimed, waving to the woman. Her watery blue eyes beamed as she  pushed her cart toward me. She thanked me profusely and said, at least three times, “You’re a good helper,” as if I were ten years old (or her beloved Labrador who’d just fetched her newspaper).

 

 

badge

*   *   *

 

 

 

 

May your sourdough starter be the envy of the world’s small-handed despots;
May the new year favor you with an abundance of glowing treetop experiences;
May you be appreciated for being a good helper;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

*   *   *

 

 

[1] I think that should encompasse ages 20 – 56.

[2] Past failed resolutions include, “Be taller,” and “Do not engage in audible eye-rolling when someone mentions their detox cleanse.”

[3] E.g. you are no more capable of making discerning political choices the day before your 18th birthday than you are the day of your 18th birthday; still, you can’t register to vote when you are age 17 years 364 days….

[4] Excuse me, make that “tenant farmers,” as sharecroppers was considered a pejorative label.

[5] My father’s parents couldn’t afford shoes for all six of their children, so as the elder kids got shoes they handed them down to the younger siblings. You got to wear shoes if there were a pair that happened to fit you. My father went to his proverbial grave not knowing that my mother had shared the story, with my sisters and I, of how our dad was embarrassed as a child when he showed up barefoot at school and was teased by the townie kids, who called him a dumb barefoot farm boy.

[6] In other words, are not looking down at YOUR FUCKING CELLPHONE.

The Year I’m Not Rating

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Department of the In Between

Happy In-Between Week. ®    [1]

New Year’s Eve has always held both the threat and promise of merriment. And by threat I mean the anxiety arising from the suspicion that expectations can never be met, and the pressure that comes with the knowledge – actually, of course, the astoundingly incorrect assumption – that everyone else but me is having soooooooo much fun….

I’ve had some very enjoyable NYE’s, and some that really sucked.  Most have been satisfactory if not at least tolerable but, frankly, closer to the zenith of what I call the Lame-o-meter. (it goes by other names, too).

 

crap

 

One of the lamest of the lame occurred many years ago when I was living in The Bay Area. I’d received less than zero  [2] invitations to NYE’s events and I’d neither the time, money nor inclination to organize even the smallest of gatherings moiself.  All things considered, why not wallow in it? What might be one of the lamest things to do on a night generally considered to be full of promise and anticipation of exciting times to come?  I stayed home, polished an old chair (not even my chair;  [3] it belonged to the landlord) and watched that fucking ball drop in Times Square on one of those insipid, Wearisome Rockin’ New Year’s Eve shows.

That night has proven to be a shining beacon  [4] — a light leading to improvement in the years to come. Every year, no matter what lackluster plans I have or lack for NYE, I reminded myself, at least you’re not at home polishing someone else’s butt ugly furniture.

 

 

NYE

What time is it? Have I had fun yet?

*   *   *

Department Of Pubic Service Announcements

Thanks to my alert cousin and Idaho resident, DF, for passing along this vital information:

Please, take care of yourself out on the roads this New Year’s Eve.
A recent joint study conducted by the Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that 23% of traffic accidents are alcohol related.
This means that the remaining 77% are caused by assholes who drink bottled water, coffee, soda, juice, energy drinks, and stuff like that.
So beware of those who do not drink alcohol – they cause three times as many accidents.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Sudden Realizations

This is my last post for 2017.  Can’t decide if that’s worthy of this

 

sob

 

Or this

 

 

happyfacespider

 

 

Hint: when in doubt, always choose the Hawaiian happy face spider.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Righting Wrongs At The Last Minute

Can it be that I have almost let 2017 pass without having posted a single link to a screaming goat video?

 

 

 

 

You are so, so welcome.

*   *   *

May your New Year’s Eve activities be the envy of 1950’s valium-addicted housewives;
May your New Year’s resolutions be amusing if not attainable;
May you always appreciate the synergy of Bon Jovi hair music and screaming goats;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy New Year, y’all, and Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day.

[2] Not possible, yethinks? Oh you of little mathematical imagination. I’d received one invitation, which was later rescinded (don’t feel too sorry for me – the event was cancelled.  Or so I was told…hmmmm….)

[3] And polishing furniture, even my own? Something I Just. Don’t. Do.

[4] Or anemic bathroom night light, depending on my disposition.

The Sign I’m Not Posting

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Department Of Not Sure What To Call This

Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be regular fixtures at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair?
99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.

MH, alert husband that he is, sent me this email on Tuesday:

I think you might enjoy this.  Cameos by Grace Slick and Linda Ronstadt.
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/700-foot-mountain-whipped-cream/

The link was to the podcast 99 percent invisible, episode #286 “A Seven Hundred Foot Mountain of Whipped Cream.” This particular episode, hosted by radio advertising producer, writer and composer Clive Desmond,  features “forgotten nuggets of radio history” via “Madison Avenue’s radiophonic collision with the counterculture,” wherein (future) icons of the subversive and/or acid rock music genres performed in radio advertisements.

I listened to a lot of radio back then, and can’t remember any of the ads featured in the episode. It’s beyond bizarre (both the ads, and the guy who’s obsessed with interested in them). The era of acid rock also had Frank Zappa recording the voiceover  [1] (with a young Linda Ronstadt contributing background vocals) for a men’s shaving commercial, and the Jefferson Airplane, whose White Rabbit was arguably the definitive psychedelic rock hit, doing a jingle for White Levi’s?

I would recommend being sober, very sober, if you listen to either of those ads. 

As for those who did listen, at the time (late 1960’s), I’m trying to picture the kind of people who would have been the target audience for the Jefferson Airplane commercial, which was obviously aimed at those who…how you say…appreciated mind-altering substances. Anyone attracted to that ad would likely have been so stoned that the purpose of the ad – to sell a certain brand/style of jeans – would have been defeated.  “Oh wow, like…man…that is so far out…as soon as I remember where I left my my arms I’m gonna go buy me some….what is it I want to buy? Jell-o? Lava lamps? Alka-Seltzer….”

It’s almost unimaginable to me that Zappa and other musicians, whose disdain for “straight” and/or consumer culture was legendary, agreed to do the commercials.  Almo$$$$t. I’ll assume Zappa was laughing all the way to the bank; no doubt the members of Jefferson Airplane were tripping all the way to the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*   *   *

 

Believe it or not, the following sign was *not* posted on my lawn  [2]  during last year’s election cycle.

 

 

trumpsignjpg

 

 

I have this thing about political yard signs – and by political signs I mean those posters and such which publicize one’s support for, e.g., a particular governor  [3] or school board candidate.  In my never-you-mind-how-many years of being old enough to vote, I’ve put up yard signs maybe, twice. I’ve never missed voting in an election. Sometimes I am quite passionate about the issues and/or my choices for public office; sometimes, I’m just picking what I hope are the cream of a rather rancid crop. Either way, I figure if people want to know my opinion they can ask me. If they don’t care to hear from me personally, do they really want to hear from my yard?  [4]

You’ve seen this sign.

 

 

inouramerica

 

Or, one of its variants.

 

 

inthishouse

 

 

 

I agree with many if not most of the signs’ sentiments or opinions. However, the signs allude to, without fully (or even partially) addressing, a myriad of complicated and important issues….

 

 

DUH

 

Well, of course they do – what else can they do? They’re essentially sound bites for your yard (or porch or window or….);  I get it. Still, I hate to see such complicated, vital issues reduced to a collection of three to seven word declarations on a yard poster.  And I wonder: other than serving as a kind of code between like-minded persons, do they foster, or stifle, anything resembling meaningful dialogue?

To moiself, the signs are a left-wing version of, “I’ll pray for you/about this issue,” and other wimpy statements —  I care! I really care! signifiers. Easy to say, jackshit to be done. Ineffectual, unless backed up by action.

Of course, there are plenty of right-wing variants, such as the sign that graces one of my neighbor’s windows — a sign you’d see if you were approaching their front door with a plate of holiday cookies: big bold letters proclaiming the equivalent of

IN THIS HOME WE
Say Merry Christmas
Say God Bless America
Support Our Troops
Have A Personal, Intimate, Lubricant-Requiring Relationship With Firearms
AND IF YOU DON”T LIKE IT YOU CAN GO THE FUCK AWAY
(And you know what you can do with those cookies?)

 

 

 

 

mrrogers

Not exactly the warmest welcome to the neighborhood.

 

 

 

Once again, I digress.

It’s just too damn easy to show support for something without actually doing anything about it.  Now, I’m sure there are people who post those signs who are out there, supporting their causes. I’d like to think that people who put up signs proclaiming, Black Lives Matter, and Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, are also and actively involved in constructive ways to end systemic and personal racism and misogyny, including examining the ways they inadvertently walk with privilege in this world. But I’ve no way of knowing if their commitment begins and ends at their lawn, with the decision to purchase (or accept from another person: “Hey, Concerned Looking Citizen ®,  would you like one of these for your house?” “Oh, uh, maybe, what does it say – yeah, sure, I support all that, you can tape it to my window….”) such a sign.

Also, the signs make declarations on more than one issue (and, usually, quite a few.) Which, again, reduces complex issues into one blanket statement, implying that: if you support (issue A) then you also must support (issues B through G).  Few of the dedicated, reflective, trying-to-to-the-right-thing kind of people I know would accurately and comfortable fit all of their opinions under one such blanket.  [5] Moiself included, if I may be so bold as to include moiself in the afore-mentioned category (and I just did).

For example: I think it’s insulting, or just plain degrading and mean-spirited, to refer to any human being as illegal. I also know that there are people who commit illegal acts re how they enter or/or stay in a country of which they are not citizens. And I don’t think that the way to become a good citizen of any nation is to, in your initial act of entry, knowingly and deliberately break that nation’s laws.

Perhaps this – those signs – is yet another subject about which I think too much. Most likely, no one (except fellow sign posters) even pays attention to them.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Looking Underneath The Tinsel  [6]

From what will be the opening to my portion of our family’s year-end letter:

Last year’s letter ended with my love ’em while you got ’em story of my mother’s 2016 Christmas eve death.
As the landmark, one-year-since her passing anniversary approaches, I’m realizing that the winter holidays will, from now on, have a bittersweet connection for me

I am far from alone in having the above-mentioned connection. They – “the holidays” – already have that kind of association, for many people

Deaths and disasters happen year-round; it’s a little different, a little more difficult, when the anniversary for, say, the day your beloved win brother died of leukemia was on the 4th of July and what will always feel like a private day of remembrance for you is being raucously celebrated by seemingly everyone else.

I’ve known many a person who’s confided to me about how certain sincere or innocuous holiday greetings or inquiries (“Happy Valentine’s Day!” “So, what does your family do for the Labor Day Weekend?)  have felt like a punch to the gut, when the well-wishers either don’t know or have forgotten that last Valentine’s Day is when you found out your husband was leaving you for your son’s kindergarten teacher, or Labor Day weekend was when your father was killed in an automobile accident during your family’s annual trip to the lake…or that the time between Christmas and New Year’s is, for you, something to be endured rather than celebrated because it was the time when, as a lonely, confused child, you were shuttled back and forth between angry, bitterly divorced parents who used you, for years, as a tool to hurt their ex-spouse….

Time helps and heals – most of us know this, from either experience or observation. Without having been asked to do so, I’ll venture that we all need a reminder now and then to be mindful of people’s hearts, of their perceptions and experiences that may differ from ours, during any time of year.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Before I Go Any Further….

 

Happy Winter Solstice, y’all.

 

 

 

 

winter

 

 

 

 

*   *   *

May you give yourself permission to eschew words like gubernatorial;
May your convictions go beyond your signage;
May you never be so stoned as to purchase white Levis;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] With all the barely hidden sarcasm he can muster…wondering why/how the ad executives let him get away with it?

[2] Or window or car bumper or….

[3] I refuse to use the word, gubernatorial.  Not only is it ridiculous-sounding, but I also find it somewhat…nasty. (Yes, this from a person who had had up to 37 bumper stickers on her car at one time.)

[4] This from a person (that would be, moiself) who had up to 37 bumper stickers on her car at one time.

[5] Okay; maybe it’s time for another metaphor.

[6] Do “young people” even know what tinsel is? Nobody uses tinsel anymore – I think it may even be banned.

The Hand I’m Not Raising

Comments Off on The Hand I’m Not Raising

Department Of Feeling Guilty In Yoga Class

The instructor began Monday’s class as she usually does – going around the studio room and having each student to give their name and briefly describe how they are feeling and/or list any pose requests or “anything that needs attention.”  (common responses include requests for core work, or poses targeting shoulders, or lower backs sore from weekend gardening sprees…)  One yogi  [1] requested something for “mood elevation.” As the instructor paused to consider the request, I could feel (in whatever part of my brain is responsible for involuntary movements) my arm beginning to rise. I quickly quashed my incipient pick me pick me hand-wave, because I realized I was about to blurt out, “I could tell you an elephant fart joke!”

Wisely, moiself kept that to myself. I didn’t want a fellow student to think I was mocking or in any way making light of her need for mood elevation…but I swear, that’s the first thing that came to my mind.

No doubt there are some exercises/yoga poses that might provide more long term mood ascension; still, when stuck in the here and now, how can you maintain a melancholy disposition when you hear an elephant fart joke?

 

 

elephantpose
This is “elephant’s trunk pose” (Eka Hasta Bhujasana).  Farting not necessary (but certainly appreciated).

 

 

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Thank You For That Image Which Is Now Seared In My Brain

Two yoga class stories in one post?

Dateline: same day, same class.  [2] Our instructor led the class into utkatasana, aka, “chair pose,” and offered us this tip as for how to your weight back toward your feels while moving into the pose:

“…imagine you’re in one of those Porta potty’s,
and you don’t want to touch the seat…”

 

 

chairpose

This is chair pose.

 

notchair

This is not chair pose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Baby’s First Christmas  [3]

Dateline: Manzanita, Oregon, last weekend. Yeah, I know it’s a dog friendly town but…

Walking on west on the town’s main street, heading for the beach, a young married couple  [4] approached me, slowly walking east. The women held the leash of an enthusiastic black Labrador, while the man held the hand of a toddling toddler, who – wait for it – toddled very slowly beside him. The woman was pointing to various holiday decorations adoring street lamps and shop windows, saying in a sing-song, high-pitched, kindergartner teacher voice, Oh look at the bright star! Do you see the bright star? And there’s a wreath – that’s a Christmas wreath of lights. The man joins in, saying “See the sparkly lights?!”

I think, awww, how cute…until, observing the woman’s and then the man’s eyes as they gaze down adoringly at the smaller being in their midst look, I realize they are pointing out these sites to their dog, and not their child.

 

 

 

dogbaby

*   *   *

Department Of Just What I Want To Hear Before My Birthday

 

Heretofore friendly/perky checkout clerk at the store:

“Would you like some out with your items?”

Moiself:

“No, thank you…well…
only if you have some cute box boys who need something to do…”

Clerk (unsmilingly):

 “Oh, I’m afraid they’re way too young for you.”

Moiself, audibly:

“Hahahahahah have a nice day….”

 

Moiself, for my ears only:

“And by have a nice day I mean….

 

 

 

vowel

I’d like to buy a vowel….

*   *   *

Department Of Doing Double Duty

So, you need a new wallet. Why settle for a run of the mill, small folding case to hold paper money, your photo id, credit cards et al when you can have that which also functions as a personal enhancement device?

Laugh, will you? As usual, the unvarnished truth can be found online, in this case via a description for a wallet with seemingly magical powers:

It helps you become more attractive and glamorous. The compact and elegant styles of this wallet make you outstanding and unique from others.

 

 

wallet

Tell me again how my wallet makes me glamorous.

*   *   *

May your natural glamour and attractiveness be independent from your wallet style;
May the spirit of the holiday season prevent you from bitch-slapping humorless, impudent store clerks into next week;
May you find an excuse to share an elephant fart joke in yoga class;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Someone who does yoga.

[2] But, alas, no footnote.

[3] Also no footnote here. Move along, folks.

[4] I assumed. Referring to being married, not young. I mean, the young part was obvious.

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