April 18, 2015

  • Farewell, Yoo-Hoo

    Farewell, Yoo-Hoo

    Today's a sad day.  Yoo-Hoo is my Jack Russell - rat terrier mix that I brought home from the Humane Society in August of 1998.  It was that month that I met my wife Barbara, when I took Yoo-Hoo in to meet the vets and techs at the Village Animal Clinic.  Barbara had just moved to Vero Beach, and when on our first meeting she addressed me as Mr. Lipton, I asked her nicely to call me Bob and she said, "OK, Mr. Lipton."  The rest is history.

    Yoo-Hoo is now 19, going on 20, and I don't want her to suffer a single day of infirmity and pain.  We've been watching her, and it's time.  She'll be going to Doggie Heaven on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, around 4 p.m. this afternoon.

    *********************

    There was a post I created on October 5, 2005.  If I have time, I'll try to repost it here.  But in the meantime, readers can use the calendar on the left side of this page to find that post.

    Ah!  Here 'tis:

     

    Five Songs That Knock Me Out

     

    Libby (Iby1014) has tagged me to list five songs that I am "currently passionate about."  I retitled the category in tribute to my friend Lionne, who uses that phrase -- "knock me out" -- in a way that, well, knocks me out.  Coincidentally, Libby tagged Lionne at the same time as she tagged me.

     

    In no particular order:

     

    "For Once in My Life."   The recording I most remember is by Tony Bennett, but Google emphasizes Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra.  Either my memory is whacked or Google is.  What is special about this song?  Here's the story.  There's this little Jack Russell Terrier/fox terrier mix at my house named Yoo-Hoo.  I fell in love with her during my five years of volunteering to work with the adoption dogs at our local Humane Society.  Yoo-Hoo had already flunked out of two homes.  I mean, she was adopted twice, and returned twice to the Humane Society as being incorrigible.  She had separation anxiety, and could not be left alone in a house.  She'd claw down the drapes, she'd howl till her people came home, she was impossible to live with.

     

    Because of some special talent I have, the Humane Society people asked me to work regularly with the difficult dogs.  I took personal charge of Yoo-Hoo for nine months, but every potential adopter was scared off by the stories of her previous behavior.  Finally, I couldn't stand the thought of her being put down eventually, so I took her home with me, even though I already had two dogs and two is the number of dogs I like to have.  (Ever since that day, there have been from three to five dogs in this house.  Someday it'll be two again.  I can only dream.)

     

    Anyway, I was taking Yoo-Hoo to a nursing home for a pet therapy visit.  She was in the passenger seat and that song came on the radio.  The lyrics so incredibly fit her situation.  For once in her desperately unhappy life, she had someone (me) who needed her and wouldn't desert her.  That song has knocked me out, ever since.  Yoo-Hoo is still intractable and difficult to live with, has to stay in a crate unless I'm home to supervise, and no matter how tired and busy I am, she gets her walkies twice a day.  But the love in her eyes, you have to see to appreciate.

     

    For once in my life I have someone who needs me,
    Someone I've needed so long.
    For once, unafraid, I can go where life leads me
    And somehow I know I'll be strong.

    For once I can touch what my heart used to dream of
    Long before I knew
    Someone warm like you
    Would make my dreams come true.

     

    For once in my life I won't let sorrow hurt me
    Not like it hurt me before.
    For once, I have someone I know won't desert me
    I'm not alone anymore.

    For once, I can say, this is mine, you can't take it.
    As long as I know I have love, I can make it
    For once in my life, I have someone who needs me.

     

    *********************************************

     

    "You Light Up My Life."  This has to be listed for two reasons, besides the fact that Debby Boone did such a wonderful job with it.  There's a music box on our bedstead that plays that song when you wind it up.  It was one of the first gifts I ever bought for Barbara, back when we were courting.  A glass bubble with snow that falls after you turn it upside down and back again, and a cat sitting on a throne, on the inside of the bubble.  At the base, outside the bubble, is a sleeping cat whose head is against a ball of yarn and its paws are entangled in two loose strings of the yarn.  And the second reason this song knocks me out is that it reminds me of my late wife Marvis.  One day when she was away from the house, she called home just to tell me to turn on the radio.  "Our song" was playing.

     

    So many nights, I'd sit by my window,
    Waiting for someone to sing me his song.
    So many dreams, I kept deep inside me,
    Alone in the dark, but now you've come along.

    And you light up my life,
    You give me hope, to carry on.
    You light up my days
    And fill my nights with song.

    Rollin' at sea, adrift on the waters
    Could it be finally, I'm turning for home
    Finally a chance to say, "hey, I love you."
    Never again to be all alone.

    And you light up my life,
    You give me hope, to carry on.
    You light up my days
    And fill my nights with song.

    You, you light up my life
    You give me hope to carry on
    You light up my days
    And fill my nights with song
    It can't be wrong, when it feels so right
    'cause you, you light up my life

     

    ********************************************

     

    "Slip Slidin' Away" Words & music by Paul Simon

     

    All of Simon's lyrics are amazing.  This is just one of many I can name.  What do these words mean to me?  They're about how elusive our goals are.  About how difficult it is to choose the right path.  About how after we get what we think we wanted, we realize we went down the wrong path in the first place, and have to start all over.  About how we're so afraid we'll actually achieve our goals, there might be nothing else to aim for, nothing else to aspire to, no reason to go on living.  These stanzas say all those things to me, and more.

     


    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    I know a man
    He came from my home town
    He wore his passion for his woman
    Like a thorny crown
    He said "Delores,
    I live in fear
    My love for you's so overpowering
    I'm afraid that I will disappear."

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    I know a woman
    Became a wife.
    These are the very words she uses
    To describe her life.
    She said a good day
    Ain't got no rain;
    She said a bad day's when I lie in bed
    And think of things that might have been.

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    And I know a father
    Who had a son.
    He longed to tell him all the reasons
    For the things he'd done.
    He came a long way
    Just to explain.
    He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
    Then he turned around and headed home again.

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    God only knows.
    God makes his plan.
    The information's unavailable
    To the mortal man.
    We work our jobs,
    Collect our pay,
    Believe we're gliding down the highway
    When in fact we're slip slidin' away.

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away
    Mmm...

     

    ********************************

     

    What am I up to?  Three songs?  Two left to choose?  Hell, I can't choose just one OR two from the many antiwar songs that move me.  Here's however many I feel like hunting up the lyrics for:

     

     

     

    "The Last Farewell"

     

    There's a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor
    Tomorrow for old England she sails
    Far away from your land of endless sunshine
    To my land full of rainy skies and gales

     

    And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow
    Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell
    For you are beautiful, and I
     have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell
    For you are beautiful, and I
     have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell

    I've heard there's a wicked war a-blazing
    And the taste of war I know so very well
    Even now I see the foreign flag a-raising
    Their guns on fire as we sail into hell
    I have no fear of death, it brings no sorrow
    But how bitter will be this last farewell.

    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell
    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell

    Though death and darkness gather all about me
    My ship be torn apart upon the seas
    I shall smell again the fragrance of these islands
    And the heaving waves that brought me once to thee

     

    And should I return home safe again to England
    I shall watch the English mist roll through the dale
    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell
    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell

     

    ***************************************

     

    "The White Cliffs of Dover"

     

    There'll be bluebirds over
    The white cliffs of Dover
    Tomorrow, just you wait and see
    There'll be love and laughter
    And peace ever after
    Tomorrow, when the world is free.

    The shepherd will tend his sheep
    The valley will bloom again
    And Johnny will go to sleep
    In his own little room again.

    There'll be bluebirds over
    The white cliffs of Dover
    Tomorrow, just you wait and see...!

     

    ***********

     

    And the next one you might not consider an antiwar song, but it always sounds that way to me, somehow:

     

     

     

    "Danny Boy" 

     

    Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
    From glen to glen and down the mountainside
    The summer's gone and all the roses falling,
    'tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
    But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
    Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
    'tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow,
    Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

     
    And when you come and all the flowers are dying,
    If I am dead - as dead as I well may be -
    Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying
    And kneel and say a prayer for me;
    And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
    And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be,
    And ye shall bend and tell me that you love me,
    And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.

     

    ****************

     

    And speaking of flowers, and antiwar, there is of course:

     

    "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

     

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Gone for husbands everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the husbands gone?
    Gone for soldiers everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards, everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Gone to flowers, everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

     

    **********************

     

    And the granddaddy of them all:

     

    "Blowin' in the Wind"

     

    How many roads must a man walk down
    Before they call him a man?
    How many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand?
    How many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they're forever banned?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    How many years must a mountain exist
    Before it is washed to the sea?
    How many years can some people exist
    Before they're allowed to be free?
    How many times can a man turn his head
    And pretend that he just doesn't see?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    How many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky?
    How many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry?
    How many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

     

    ********************

     

    Somebody please tell me it was Bob Dylan who wrote this song, or if he didn't, who did?

     

    ********************

     

    [Thursday edit]  I forgot the rules, I think.  Am I supposed to tag somebody?  Some have tagged five, some have tagged two, I'll tag three:

     

    MyKiWhatzerface
    raguslil
    baldmike2004

April 14, 2015

  • Job Hunting.  Music.  Golf.

    The same old same old keeps getting samer and older.  But since it's a good life, I'm not complaining.  It could be gooder -- I mean better -- if I could be gainfully employed again.  Retirement would suit me -- I'm old enough -- but being underfoot at home tends to annoy my dear wife -- and extra spending money plus the FUN of working, not to mention the feeling of being needed, being productive, having structure -- means I really do wish a bookstore will summon me already.

    Concerts.  I was at a couple over the weekend.  They were between OK and good, but not great enough to make me regret I didn't see every single stroke of Jordan Spieth's sensational win at the Masters.  First up was Friday night when we heard the visiting BBC Concert Orchestra in a performance of mostly British music -- my least favorite source of classical works.  I don't mean to offend anyone, and I do especially love Edward Elgar's pieces (of which we heard only a bit, an encore whose title I don't remember).  And I have to admit, conductor Keith Lockhart chose well.  William Walton's March Crown Imperial was a rousing opener of the second half of the program, and even more rousing was the finale, Benjamin Britten's Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, better known as "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra."  I always love it when the percussion section is featured.  More about that later when I talk about Sunday's afternoon concert.  Oh, and I almost forgot to say.  My favorite performance from Friday night was that of pianist Charlie Albright, who was featured soloist for Ravel's Concerto in G Major.  He awesome.

    On to Sunday, when I gave up the first few hours of the Masters' TV coverage to take Barbara to an afternoon concert offered by our wonderful Space Coast Symphony Orchestra.  A fine reading of Barber's Adagio for Strings, followed by a concerto for oboe and strings composed by Kevin Puts.  Soloist was Kristin Naigus, who can be researched at www.field-of-reeds.net.  After intermission came the featured work, the Carmen Suite for Strings & Percussion, composed by Rodio Shchedrin for his wife, ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.  Fantastic imaginative coloring of sounds from instruments you don't normally hear together.  The music was familiar, but the sound was not.  Highly enjoyable and well-performed.

    Welcome to greatness, Jordan Spieth.

    What's in the future, no one knows.  Either a rivalry between Spieth and Rory McIlroy to rival the old rivalry between Arnie and Jack, or will we have a whole host of champions from young guns like Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, and Daniel Berger (not to mention the usual suspects Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott)?

    Right now, it looks as if Spieth and McIlroy are a few cuts above the others.

    Seems I segued from music to golf without warning you.  The great thing about blogging is that I can do whatever I want, without an editor breathing down my neck.

April 7, 2015

  • Why Work in a Bookstore?

    Why Do I Want To Work in a Bookstore?

    It's been a lifelong dream, for one thing.  Bucket-list.

    Experience in dealing with the public -- careers in university public relations, Las Vegas gaming tables, hospital security -- have created both a desire and ability to help people.  Combine this with knowledge in a wide variety of subjects -- I have New York Times crossword puzzles to thank for that -- and if you're a bookstore owner, you really do want to at least give me an interview.

    Haven't read a whole lot of books.  Wanna know why?  As an accomplished tournament Scrabble player -- I was the only U.S. competitor to vie in all six world championship tournaments between 1993 and 2003 -- most of my reading needed to be focused on words deemed valid in Scrabble.  Like "wanna."  Not valid in the U.S., but OK in international events.

    Besides averaging more than 10 years apiece in the three careers cited above, I've had a penchant for volunteering, which has widened my knowledge in areas as diverse as music (radio announcer in KNPR Las Vegas), dog obedience and pet therapy (Indian River Humane Society), computers (the now defunct Senior Net in Vero Beach, which helped seniors learn to get more value out of their computers), and library science (currently volunteering at the Indian River County Library).

    I can get to work on time!   You laugh.  But 16 years of working the 4 a.m. to noon shift at Las Vegas's Horseshoe Casino makes me an early riser, so no worries.

    Consider my key strengths:  Intelligence, Friendliness, Honesty, Compassion.  Here's anecdotal "proof" of honesty:

    1.  At the Horseshoe, I survived three outright purges.  "Fire all the dealers," said the boss.  "Somebody's been stealing."  But they couldn't fire too many at one time.  At the end of all three purges, I was still there.  They just knew it wasn't me they were after.

    2.  And then there was the time a larcenous visitor came to the hospital, lied about falling out of a courtesy cart, and was proved to be lying when the free Emergency Room examination found no indication, internal or external.  Still looking to win a frivolous lawsuit, she accused me of stealing drugs out of her purse when, at her request, I placed a copy of the Visitor Fall report inside said purse.  Three different hospital executives said to me, and I paraphrase:  -- Of all people to accuse, she picked the wrong person.

    Yes, gratifying.

March 31, 2015

  • Publishing again

    So.  I was writing an email to my dear friend Zakiah @zsa_md (does that trick really work?  I've never used the at sign to link before) thanking her and Eugenia at Xanga for letting me publish again.  It appears as if some of my options have changed, with regard to making a hyperlink.  I see something over there on the right, under the Format heading, I obviously need more education.  

    Wish I had time for experimenting.  Millions of thoughts I want to share.

    It's kind of ironic that my last published post before this (back in September) was about my attempt to quit watching football.  Didn't QUITE work, but I kind of loved that being the last post, especially when one of my San Francisco 49er heroes, Chris Borland, publicly retired after his rookie season because of his concerns for his health -- still good and he wants it to stay that way so he's removed himself from the field of combat, which has been analogized, not unreasonably, to what the Roman gladiators had to go through just to please the leering masses who took pleasure from watching men fight to their death in the gladiatorial ring.  

    But now that the 49er squad has been decimated by a mass of defections, maybe I can separate myself from watching NEXT season.  We'll see.

    In other news, only two or three of my most loyal readers even know that I got fired from the wonderful job I had at Indian River Medical Center.  What they did was, they outsourced Security to a company that agreed to supply them with armed officers, and I don't do guns.  I was supposed to keep working for them anyway, but after eight weeks of treating me rather obnoxiously, they up and told me to get out even though I did nothing to deserve being separated from a job I loved and was good at and was needed at.

    So one of the reasons I have to cut this short (well, ok, it's not short but it's shorter than I want it to be) is that I have to go to the reemployment office for a workshop that counts as five job searches so that I can get my unemployment check while I continue to look for work.  There ARE some good prospects out there for me, but I just don't have time to go into everything right now.  Maybe another day.

    Meanwhile, I continue to keep up with the news.  I'm proud of the North American Scrabble Players Association for deciding to cancel their contract to stage their 2016 National Championship in Fort Wayne, IN, by way of making a statement that they oppose SB101, a bill recently signed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence which gives businesspeople license, under cover of religious freedom, to refuse service to individuals whose religions or lifestyles or skin colors offend them.  I DO understand that there's a benign way of looking at the bill, but I'm persuaded that it's a bad law regardless of the possibility of benign intent (which I kind of doubt).

    And then there's the plane crash.  Andreas Lubitz, it appears, deliberately locked the captain out of the cockpit and crashed a plane filled with 150 passengers into the French Alps, killing them all.  Lubitz was a copilot, 1/2 of the cockpit crew, and there's strong evidence that he was mentally ill, suffered from depression and suicidal tendencies, and the main reason he was able to get away with what he did is that he was able to barricade himself in the cockpit and THAT's because of what happened on 9/11/01.

    Well, I know we have to do something about 9/11-style terrorism, but there are two OTHER courses of action that need to be taken:

    (1)  Repeal that stupid HIPPA law and instead of hassling people who reveal sensitive health information that needs to be kept private for the protection of patients, INSTEAD of that, hassle insurance companies and employers who discriminate against sick people.  (Not going to happen, I know.  I'm just dreaming here.)

    (2) And destigmatize mental illness.  Had Lubitz felt free to come clean, 149 more people would be alive today.  Of course, he might have had to give up his dream to be a pilot, but he needed to be talked out of living that dream anyway, didn't he?

September 20, 2014

  • Quitting Football

    I'm on the brink of quitting watching football.  Really!  It's not just about Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson or Roger Goodell.  That's kind of the last straw.  Frank DeFord offered an editorial on NPR's Morning Edition that reminded me of the concussion problem, and that fully a third of retired players are mentally impaired because of the repeated blows to the brain as that soft, delicate tissue keeps getting bounced into the skull.

    I'm kind of an addict.  Boss Tom reminds me that I shouldn't claim addiction, because the REAL addicts watch eight games at a time on Sundays and bet on all the games and yadda yadda yadda.  I'm not that sick, but I'm sick enough to tape more than one pre-game talk show so I can hear what Chris Carter and Terry Bradshaw both have to say about things.

    xx
    xx
    xx
    If those hyperlinks work, it's because I've learned the trick of emailing the links to myself and cut and pasting here.  If they don't work, you can probably find George Dohrmann's article through Google.  He has a link to the Rick Reilly article.
    I was actually "on the brink" before reading Dohrmann or being reminded of Reilly.  I said as much to Stefan Fatsis in an email just the other day.  Stefan hasn't replied yet.  My point to him, and to readers here, is that if I'M on the brink, then how many other fans are?
    The jury's still out, but if I follow through and quit watching, and I'm just one of many, then maybe just maybe the sport of football will pay dearly for what's been going on -- regarding domestic abuse, and brain concussions.
    We'll see.

September 14, 2014

  • "Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt?"

    I was surprised, and delighted, to find that "Atlas Shrugged, Part III:  Who Is John Galt?" was an immensely enjoyable film.

    For me, that is, and any other Ayn Rand-head, a term I've coined to represent anyone taken with the life and works of author-philosopher Ayn Rand, a controversial person if there ever was one. 

    But for viewers who have not read her magnum opus, "Atlas Shrugged," the film is a yawner that you would be well-advised to skip.  Pity, because the film has a message worth being heard.  But that message is complicated.  In this horribly polarized world we're living in, it's hard to reconcile the liberal-conservative dichotomy.  If solutions were easy, we wouldn't be dichotomized in the first place.  So there's no point in arguing economics or politics in this blog entry.  The purpose here is simply to report that the critics, who are unanimously panning AS, Part III, are, due to their bias, completely wrong.  The film is well-written, well-acted, well-photographed, well-scored.  Not at all like the critics say.

    But as we all know, haters gonna hate.  Ayn Rand was a hater, too.  Of Karl Marx.  And of communism.  And of the slogan, "From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needs."  And, although I call myself a liberal these days, that doesn't mean I'm in favor of over-regulation and governmental red tape and all the other things that conservatives hate.

    On the other hand, I found myself grinning and agreeing and being charmed and amused to see Rand's heroes and villains being brought to life on the silver screen.  Laura Regan was just as perfect a Dagny Taggart as Taylor Schlling was in Part I, and Kristoffer Polaha was an equally perfect depiction of John Galt.  All of Rand's characters are larger than life, romanticized and one-dimensional, and that makes her easy to criticize.  But that's what Rand was, a romanticist.  As passionate a one as has ever lived.

    And I was also pleased with the performances of the villains -- particularly Peter Mackenzie as Mr. Thompson and Tony Denison as Cuffy Meigs. 

    Now for the flaws.  Yes there were some, which the Rand-haters were eager to jump on.  There was the silliness of the antepenultimate torture scenes that forced the viewer to think of John Galt as a modern-day Jesus Christ being crucified.  And the whole ending was kind of weak, reflecting the puniness of the small budget the film makers had to work with in the first place.  And it was somewhat annoying to see an obligatory reference to the Cherryl Taggart character.  I'm speaking of the poor shopgirl who married villainous James Taggart (played ably by Greg Germann of "Ally McBeal" fame).  Cherryl had been rescued from poverty by the pompous brother of Dagny, and was deluded enough to think first that James was the good guy and Dagny was the bad one, but then she realized the truth and that whole subplot and subcharacter proved to be one of the most touching parts of the original novel.  So apparently it was decided to satisfy us Rand-heads by throwing her story into the movie, but they spent a whole 30 seconds on it, succeeding only in confusing whatever non-Rand-heads might be in the audience.  Pointless. 

    But it's also pointless to harp on the flaws, because if you're a Rand-head, you'll love the film.  If you're either neutral or a Rand-hater, you'll be either confused or bored or both.

September 13, 2014

  • I'll Be Seeing "Atlas Shrugged, Part 3" Today

    Atlas Shrugged, Part 3

    Sorry I'm too cheap to pay Xanga another fifty bucks for graphic privileges, but I'm still annoyed that my "lifetime premium" was canceled.   I'd love to make the type bigger, but it appears I no longer have that capability.  But thank you, Xanga, for allowing me to continue to post.

    On to "Atlas Shrugged."  Steve Almond has written a wonderful piece at salon.com -- here's the site:

     

    http://www.salon.com/2014/09/11/sean_hannity_and_glenn_beck_in_a_bizarre_ayn_rand_fever_dream/

    (Sorry, I'm having trouble showing that address to where you can highlight it and paste it into your browser.  It really is worth reading.  Maybe you can google Steve Almond/Salon, or something like that, and find it that way.)

     

    Yes, I'm sure it's going to be awful, but I have to see it.  I know the story backwards and forwards, but when you have a favorite book -- and "Atlas Shrugged" is mine -- you just want to see the characters brought to life on the big screen.  

    Too bad the production values, which were bad to begin with (Part 1 of the trilogy) and have gotten steadily worse.  Too bad they didn't find a way to let Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do the pic.  It wouldabeen great.  I have no doubt of that.  

    But alas.  We have what we have.  I'm fairly sure, the only way to enjoy Part 3 is to go back to my age 20's-30's mindset and pretend again that I am a Ronald Reagan Republican.  I even once used to listen to Rush Limbaugh spout his nonsense.  Damn the welfare queens who milk the system out of dough by having babies and demanding they be supported by the guvvamint.

    I can do it.  I can pretend I agree with Paul Ryan.  And I intend to enjoy "Atlas Shrugged, Part 3," whose official title, I believe, is "Atlas Shrugged:  Who is John Galt" but I'm too lazy to look it up.

    Barbara and I are going to drive 30 miles south later today (the movie's not playing yet in Vero Beach and I'm afraid it's so bad that no theater will want to book it after this week) but I'm not going to twist her arm to sit through the flic with me.  The multiplex is also offering "Chef" and "The 100-Foot Journey," both of which are reported to be excellent, but I think Barbara's already seen them without me.  Unfortunately, most of the other offerings seem like sci-fi junk that Barbara won't like.  I think her best bet is to resee one of the two good films that are showing.  

     

     

     

August 24, 2014

  • Rest in Peace, Jean Redpath

    I don't know how many of you remember Jean Redpath, the singer of Scottish folk songs who passed away three days ago at the age of 77.  Go to YouTube and type in her name and listen to just about anything.  And don't miss her duet with Garrison Keillor, singing about tuna casseroles.

August 23, 2014

  • The Wisdom of Carl Sagan

    The Wisdom of Carl Sagan

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

    I seem to have lost the ability to create hyperlinks.  Is it because I haven't paid Xanga any money since June 2013?  Oh, well.

    Here's what's been happening lately.  Life, as usual, has been busy and fun.  Spare time has always been a problem, but now it's a bigger problem because circumstances have forced me to move from a 4-day workweek to 5, but I refuse to stop being interested in attending concerts and lectures and watching golf tournaments and football games on TV and paying attention to Barbara, my five dogs, and a billion other things.

    Including:  following the news.

    And doing crossword puzzles.  Like, for example, today's amazing New York Times puzzle that first made me want to say:  why should I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out the gimmick when all I need to do is go to the Times crossword blog for the hint that I need?  Which is what I did.

    And speaking of word games, there's a new Scrabble dictionary out, and it's a very long-term project assimilating the new words onto my word list.

    Anyway.  Back to the Tmes puzzle.  The one entry that puzzled me the most was the answer SETI to the clue, "Program that asks 'Are we  aloe?,' for short."  Obviously, there needs to be an n in the word "aloe" for the clue to make any sense, and that was the gimmick.  The answers to 17A, 32A, 46A, and 62A were, respectively:  "EACH CLUE IN," "THE PUZZLE," "IS MISSING," and "THELETTERN."

    And now it turns out that instead of being an impossible puzzle to solve, it's actually fairly easy.  Some of the clues/answers are still very tricky, but find what word in the definition is missing one or more n's, and go from there.

    And now back to the wisdom of Carl Sagan.  I looked up SETI and found out it stands for "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence," listened to a charming interview of SETI founder Jill Tarter, an astronomer/cosmologist whom I fell in love with after listening to her for 30 seconds, then drifted over to the Wikipedia entry for Carl Sagan, and found a page of Sagan quotes that I'd love to share with my Xanga readers, so just go to http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan and enjoy!

August 12, 2014

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    Robin Williams
    1951-2014

    Sorry I haven't posted in so long.  Supremely busy, as always.

    Barbara (who first met Robin Williams when they were high school students in Detroit) and I were shocked at the news yesterday.

    Here is A. O. Scott's remembrance, which may or may not ever appear in my national edition of the New York Times.

     

    (Link not working yet.  Maybe I'll try again later.)