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Rumilluminations May and June, 2015
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Fri, May 01 2015 - 6:29 pm

June 30, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Today we went across the Milton-Madison Bridge and were startled by a couple of piles of dead and dying mayflies on the pedestrian walkway.

My partner reported reading about a two-foot layer of mayflies on a much smaller bridge than ours that forced the bridge's closing. Do they mate, lay eggs and die? Research is in order.

Mayflies are of the dragonflies family and look it.

When I used to read a description in a novel that mentioned mayflies, I imagined something more like butterflies because of the bonny name. Now I'm wondering if the mention of mayflies was meant to evoke a nastier scene.

*Shun Li and the Poet �Beautiful film. No reservations.

June 29, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Why would the Texas Attorney General offer the county clerks of the state the reminder that they can break the law if they want by refusing to issue gay couples marriage licenses?

Almost all of us have the ability to break the law in some way as a matter of conscience. Long ago this kind of action was given a name: civil disobedience.

When a state official encourages that kind of behavior by bringing up its possibility, however, he is doing what my mother used to call, "putting ideas into their heads."

I used to have a clerical job in a pediatrics clinic. It would never have occurred to me to withhold any services on the basis of client behaviors or beliefs.

I imagine County Clerks have a more exaggerated sense of their own importance than I did, but for goodness' sake, it is a clerical job! Just put down your head and do it.

If Justice can wear a blindfold, so can you.

*A Little Sigh �French film with a love story and no dialogue. Not convincing to me - I became thoroughly tired of pregnant silences and closed-mouth kisses. (I hate yawning kisses, too, but I can just imagine the male lead saying to his wife, "But darling, I kept my lips clamped shut when I kissed her - I didn't yield one mm!)

*The Fruit Hunters � Documentary about dedicated people obsessed with eating fruit, finding rare fruits and preserving as many species as possible. If you want to try the largest variety of exotic new/old fruits Borneo might be the place. This film made with love.

June 28, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

How do you feel about crowds?

When I was young, I think I found them rather exciting. Who knows whom I might meet?

Now I don't like them. I have no interest in having a stranger change my life, even though my lifestyle is very much the same as the one I had as a child.

Should I feel sad about this change in me? I don't. It feels good.

My life seems to have a nice rounded form to it this way, like a fuzzy plump peach. So much hard stuff in the middle that I can't do much about any more is definitely in the past.

Hard stuff in the future? Oh, I'm sure there will be.

Even, I suppose, those much-to-be-avoided crowds.


*Advantageous� Psychological science fiction, I would call this, and well done, too!

*Night Falls on Manhattan �This is a classic, as far as I'm concerned. Youthful energy combined with worldly realism. Oh, too simplistic still, I'm sure, but it provides viewing satisfaction rarely obtained these days.


*We're The Best!� Basically a tween movie.

June 27, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Today we walked up the Heritage Trail and had a couple of unusual sightings. Before we even left the riverside park my partner spied a bald eagle at the top of a dead but still standing tree. Three crows and a couple of small �were harassing it, but it just shrugged them off - until we stopped staring and moved on. As I suspected might happen, the eagle moved when we did. We got to see him in flight with all three crows providing him with an off-the-premises escort.

The hilly part of our hike provided a different kind of entertainment. Perhaps because it is cool today we saw more hikers than usual. Two of them who were coming up the hill while we were going down, were wearing harnesses and dragging the kind of big round weights weightlifters use behind them.

We thought we were pretty good just dragging ourselves up that hill. We wondered what kind of event they were training for.

*Royal Affair �A little piece of Danish - history - and not sweet! Very affecting, though.

June 26, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

*Are You Here?� No big deal, but enjoyable with a few really good laughs.

June 25, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

If a person farts while he sneezing, are we absolved from saying God bless you?

*Night Train to Lisbon� Another film with a great story. This one is set in Lisbon, Portugal and the characters do it justice.

*Hot Girls Wanted �Documentary about the "amateur" pornography industry. What can I say? It is what it is.

June 24, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Okay, so I understand that almost everyone has smart phones these days. What I don't get is why they are called "phones" at all. If phones are phoney then smart phones should be some derivation of a word like "text" or "script" if the communication aspect of the device is to be emphasized.

But why should it be? Is a smart phone used more for communication between individuals or information-gathering? Maybe its name should convey its multiplicity of functions rather than any one of them.

They should be called mini-mees, perhaps, or airs (as in something someone cannot live without.)�

Okay, okay, they already have a name and my suggestions aren't particularly clever. How about dropping just the "phone"?

How about calling your smartphone your "smarty" or your "brain"?

I like that! That reflects reality.

*The Man from London �This is possibly the

slowest- � � � � paced � � � � � � �film � � �I have ever seen in my life. Some good (no, great) acting in it and lots of visual interest, maybe, but if I were literally at the site I wouldn't spend so much time looking where this camera looks. Reading the book would have taken less time.

June 23, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Since the word-processing editor of my device seems to �be so all-knowing, I started wondering if anyone who uses one of these magical objects (e.g. me) could be considered a writer at all. I mean, we have so much presented to us!

I decided, therefore, to conduct an experiment immediately. I will feed my Kindle one word and see what kind of paragraph it can build.�
Here goes:

Sometimes you are still on my phone and it is not only the lake with their senescence cells in my eyes. Madison square feet in the morning so many things to make sure I can do that the young women who have been doing chores and the rest of our first day before yesterday I had no idea.

We are going to make sure that you have a great day today and tomorrow night if it is a few minutes and I'll give you a hint at all times in which the Cuban government has gotten a lot of our lives.

I don't want you to see if it doesn't seem right to see if the light of day before I didn't know you....

End of experiment.

I must admit to... certain manipulations. For instance, at times I chose the most interesting or unusual of the words presented. I also chose the moment for periods. This time I will faithfully choose the first option presented by my editor/writer, because presumably it is its first choice.

Let Experiment Two begin!

Artichokes are still on for me and you can do something else in my mind that the young men who are still in bed now I was just thinking of going on with it is the light and then I was just thinking of going on with it and the first place for me want you are so much more time with their children and orphans were going on with it and the first place for me of you have been a few years back in my head of our own site my eyes open to the light is not only...

End of experiment two.

My God that was positively exciting and seductive and all from the seed word artichokes.
But this editor is supposed to be writing so shouldn't it be self-starting as well?

Experiment Three will supply nothing. Just thumb taps on the first offered word all the way through.

The weather is not to the lake with their way too many times have been in my partner with a few minutes late to make sure I was the light is not to say no longer be a few minutes late for me and you can get it was the first day we were going on with it was the first to make sure I can see a few days and then you can get a few minutes late to make it was the lake and then you are not only do we need a few years back from my phone and it was the last few weeks back and forth with a great time at least

End of Experiment Three.

I must admit that I am surprised. This experiment, which I thought would be full of probabilities, is full of possibilities, the most probable of which is that editors and writers need each other.

In the word of my editor:


*A Most Wanted Man �This is a masterful film from a novel by a master. Great acting! We have no criticism to offer.

June 22, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

I'm so glad I went outside again yesterday evening. I got to see nine-foot rainbow-hued bubbles blown by the wind with the help of a man wielding what looked like two poles with a triangle of strings attached.

Summer has arrived and we are still cleaning and reorganizing! It sure looks good in here.

*Words and Pictures �We enjoyed a lot of the ideas in this movie, but honestly do all the male leads have to behave like angry little boys these days? Is this supposed to be cool?

*Cake �Chronic pain is a bitch. Interesting dialogue and characters.

June 21, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

I wasn't quite up at dawn on this longest day of the year but I want to honor it by enjoying the light along the river for at least a little while this evening.

I'm sad to see that the light is going to retreat from here now but at least I can celebrate with those south of the Equator the fact that for them the light is finally beginning to return.

Yay, day!

*Grace of Monaco� Interesting slice of events in Monaco that may have been overshadowed in our news by the Cuban missile crisis.� ��

*Before I Go to Sleep�takes a condition similar to one that inspired a comedy and uses it as the basis of an effective thriller.

June 20, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

The governor of South Carolina made a speech after the Charleston church shooting in which she said that in interviews with CEOs about possibly bringing business to her state there was never any mention (in other words, voiced objection) of the fact that there is a Confederate flag flying at the capitol building.

Is she kidding? Are corporations and CEOs of businesses now the only people whose opinions count? Are they the moral, political, and legal arbiters we refer to?

I am shocked and offended by all the Confederate flags I see displayed outside people's houses - let alone flying at a state capitol building.

Now I am glad weather drove us to Hot Springs, Arkansas instead of South Carolina to spend our camping vacation.

Governor Haley, tear down that flag!

*Gone Girl�This thriller is a good one. It has more plot twists and turns than the characters have flaws.

*The Raven Investigation that highlights Edgar Allen Poe and his stories. It leaves nothing to the imagination, so if you don't want to see it, don't see it. Frankly, I could have done without it.


*Bottle Shock�Based on a true story that will make you glad and proud - as long as you're not a tee-totaller.

June 18, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

We've been doing some last-minute productive work of spring-cleaning, revamping, sorting and organizing. In between movies, of course.

*The Blue Room �Mystery to be solved by the viewer - at least my partner and I had different ideas about it. Makes me want to read the book. Simenon is almost always a good read.

*Jurassic World� Roller coaster ride, fun house, blood and gore aplenty for those who despise the real thing. 3D! Whoopee!

June 17, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

On our last day of vacation we took a spontaneous turn-off to visit Alley Mill and Spring, part of the Ozark Scenic Riverways in Southern Missouri.

The aqua waters, green vegetation and wide-winged velvety black dragonflies would provide an intense idyllic setting even without the dramatically carved brookside rocks.

This place is a little gem.

*All About Me �beyond bizarre but I was interested, in an impatient kind of way.

June 16, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Once it became clear it was probably time to head home, we made our first day of travel more interesting by visiting Mystic Caverns on the highway between Russellville and Harrison in northern Arkansas.

We went on both tours offered by the caverns with a student named Joey guiding. I was impressed both with those taking the tours and our guide. I've taken several cave tours and never heard so many good questions - all of which Joey answered.

The really impressive happening on the tours, though - besides the caves themselves - came about when Joey asked for a volunteer to sing from an underground balcony. The woman who volunteered sang a Creek song with energy, verve, confidence and beauty. It seemed most appropriate. I think Joey should write an account of the songs and singers on his tours. I bet it would be fascinating reading.

A cave tour, by the way, is a perfect break on a hot, muggy day.

*The Others �Simply endurable and maybe even a shade ho-hum and then...!!!

*Wild �As I recall true to the text of the book but I was especially looking forward to an event early in the book that didn't make the movie. Not surprisingly - it might have been difficult to stage. Other scenes didn't have the emotional impact of the text. Almost predictable, that.

June 15, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Our second morning at Cove Lake I woke up Jos with a stunned "Omigod omigod Oh My God!" because the sky and the lake were a fiery red-orange. This sunrise preceded the six a.m. end of the official quiet time that starts at ten p.m. - which is completely unfair. How is one supposed to be silent in the light of the most colorfully splendid sunrise of a lifetime? (and I lived in New Mexico for thirty years. I've witnessed a plethora of fabulous dusks and dawns.)

So even though I am mostly writing about birds today, I had to mention the powerful sunrise which most of the campers probably slept through.

Birds: bluebirds winging through the campground, our best-yet sighting of a pileated woodpecker foraging for insects in a nearby tree, nuthatches showing off their voice-throwing skills.

When we first chose the campsite my partner went off to gather wood and while he was gone a goose came calling with her two growing goslings. I spoke a friendly hello but they didn't even look at me.

If they expected food litter there wasn't any, but upon his return to the site my mate gave them bread. I was surprised they didn't come back the next day, but another camping family got a visit. Maybe Mother Goose was just checking on the neighborhood. (Maybe that's why Mother Goose rhymes are so named!)

A bluejay dad was especially active bullying smaller birds to make them drop their catches. He reminded me of predatory subteen males on Halloween.

Walking along the edge of the lake on our second full day I encountered the goose family again. Mama seemed disinclined to let me pass - so much so that I wondered if she had another brood coming along.

But no, it seems she was just being as good a neighbor as she is a mom. After standing still on the path for a while I finally moved on - and a gray duck with a super soft-looking ducktail on the back of her head swam out. Another few steps and scramble of underbrush! Emerged eleven ducklings. Mom and the kids swam halfway across the lake to escape scary me.

Our last afternoon we spotted a heron roosting in a branch across the lake. We kept what we decided was a Great Egret under surveillance for a couple of hours and got to see it unfurl its wings and fly once or twice - an impressive sight even from 500 feet away.

June 14, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

After coffee and cereal the next morning in Charleton we took a little stroll around another loop of the campground that was on higher ground and more conifers.

My third night on the lightingbug walk I startled something in my path so I turned on the flashlight and saw a possum. My next impression, though, was of a plated scaley critter.

So which was it? Based on the basis of roadkill seen in the forest highways the next few days, I would have to guess my sighting was an armadillo.

We literally pulled up our stakes the next morning and headed north. After a laundry stop and overnighter in a motel in Booneville, Arkansas, we found a great lakeview campsite at Cove Lake.

The same day we had time for a long walk halfway around the lake. The walk featured six old wooden bridges and lots of muddy unbridged portions, one of which featured a print big enough to belong to a bear - or maybe a Great Dane.

Our first full day we drove to Mount Magazine to visit the high point of Arkansas, the summit of the same mountain. That was such a wimpy walk, though, that after a late second breakfast at the lodge we walked the North Ridge Trail. That walk (and the drive the day before) provided the views the summit lacked. The vistas these three days exceed in grandeur any that we have seen outside the far West in recent years.

The ridge hike, though, was otherwise pure Arkansas: heat, humidity, and bugs. Every day we had to pull off ticks and slap mosquitos.

By the next day we could tell our run of great weather was almost over. We just took it easy around the campground, enjoying a little breeze that gave us periods of relief from the flies and mosquitos. Unfortunately that same wind was going to bring rain the next day, and what's more, the storm predictions covered almost the middle two-thirds of the country.

Next morning it would be time to head for home. Cove Lake had the bird life that Charleton seemed to lack; I'll write about that tomorrow.

June 13, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Ozark, MO

After the firefly night we got up and went on a hike to Crystal Spring, another campground with water, which was a good thing, because we only had so much and the walk was 4.3 miles each way. Poison ivy everywhere! but also some cool lavender wildflowers, coral fungus and some quartz rocks that repeated the motif of the fungus.�

We left early enough to escape the worst heat of the day and we wondered at the dearth of birds. We did see a turkey along the edge of a cut, including seeing him actually fly a ways, but precious few others. There was a crow that hung around the campground sounding as if he was trying to imitate a duck. I'd see a small dark glimpse of bird occasionally, and we saw a bluejay on our hike. Maybe half a dozen total during our stay.

We figured lightning bugs must have very few predators or there would be more birds.�

The second night we lay on our cots listening to the large group of school friends from Dallas singing quietly by their fire. I wondered what they were singing because none of it sounded like the many songs we knew. It wasn't complicated and didn't have much tonal range but didn't exactly sound like chanting, either. A mystery.

That night my partner and I repeated the night walk through firefly lights and stars.

June 12, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Ozark, Missouri

Whew! Connected at last! The last time I tried to write was from the lodge stop Mt. Magazine, where I could connect to Facebook but not get the best writing mode for my blahg. (Yes, that is the way to spell what this is.)

So, it's beginning to be catch-up time.

On June 5 we drove the short distance from Hot Springs to Charleton camp in the Ouachita National Forest which had flash flood warnings posted all around due to tragic deaths a few years ago at another national forest campground. Since there was no rain predicted in the state for tens of miles around, we figured we were safe enough.

The first night we crashed early so I woke up needing to pee when others in the tent area when other campers were newly asleep. The moon hadn't even risen yet. It was fortunate my partner had packed a good flashlight, because without it I would have stumbled off the road to the bathroom about the equivalent of a small-town block away.

This felt very odd, because it was by no means pitch-black out. The fireflies glowed abundantly - but they cast no light! The stars were bigger and brighter than I had seen in decades, but the tall black trees on either side of the road kept them from defining the contours of the landscape. Every ten steps or so I would have to flash the light, instantly emasculating all the poor lightning bugs around, just so I could center myself on the road.

I imagine there are still female lightning bugs at Charleton spurning perfectly adequate males because they, sadly, became fixated on the godlike Firefly they saw one magical night in early June.

I am fixated on the experience, myself.�

June 8, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Booneville, AR

It has been a wonderful week! (not in Madison, unfortunately. I just saw that a car drove into the Downtowner restaurant. Literally! In the picture the car is all the way inside. I can't imagine how it could have happened. This is about two blocks from home.)

Our two full days in Hot Springs, Arkansas were great. We stayed in the Gulpha Gulch Campground for $5.00 per night thanks to the Golden Pass issued by the National Parks to seniors for $10. This park, called primitive for lack of showers, has spherical streetlights! There are places to bathe in town.

One fine thing about the setup is that an hour's walk through the woods puts you right in the center of downtown Hot Springs, a town of much interest: a main boulevard lined with magnolia trees with flowers as big as dinner plates, an amazing store called Crystal Spring where we saw a magnificent tourmaline cluster with the modest price tag of $36,000, and some fine restaurants. The best in city camping.

Our most magical experience there, though, was sitting at our campsite along the creek one evening and watching a whole family of what we determined were minks running back and forth along the water's far edge. We enjoyed trying to figure out what they were up to.

The charming little critters were my first sighting of members of the weasel family in the wild.

June 2, 2015 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Hot Springs, Arkansas

I meant to tell you that we would be going on a road trip. We left yesterday and are hailing from the Lotus Vietnamese restaurant, which has choices both vegetarian and non-. Plus free wi-fi!

We just finished our first meal here and we will return. It was delicious.

Now we go scout out a campsite and hopefully set up camp for two or three nights.

After this, we are heading for the nearby National Forest and hopefully will not see an Interstate Highway for a week!

May 30, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

Engineers have figured out how to make glass break into relatively harmless little cubes when submitted to pressures it cannot withstand.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have building materials designed and assembled like Leggos?

An earthquake might reduce such a building to an almost harmless pile of air-accessible rubble.

The only difficulty in extracting oneself would be gaining the traction to get yourself the hell out of there!

*Shadow Dancer �No falling asleep during this one! Not always easy to watch but definitely absorbing. Loved it.

*Inherent Vice �Funky, silly, made me laugh out loud. The narrator's little girl voice irritated me mightily. Assistant DA my eye. I just have to assume that is just what the director wanted, since it was Reese Witherspoon.

May 29, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

Now that my partner is off work for the summer we are going on longer walks. Today we saw a handsome box turtle, good sightings of flickers, bluejays, red-headed woodpeckers and turkeys in addition to the ubiquitous black vultures. I used to kind of dislike jays for their aggressive natures but robins do seem to be rivaling them these days.

Or are the robins succeeding by sheer nonviolent power of numbers?

*The Prince A movie with more bullets than words.

*Buck �Documentary about one gentle man who helped Redford with The Horse Whispered. Real treat for horse lovers and lovers of humanity, too.

*Girlhood �but in French it sure looked like Girl Gang to me. Not a nice life to visit, even. Power-hunger with no point and no resolution that I could perceive.

May 28, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Here's another superstition with a practical reason for existing:�

Whoever eats the last item remaining on a serving plate will be an old maid.

I know this hardly qualifies as a superstition. Some of its rationale is just too obvious.�

Since it obviously doesn't apply to males, the observance of it by young women would leave any bachelors around assured that they wouldn't have to compete with any of these potential mates for food.

The morning news brought us another reason for the rule, though, that never crossed my mind: if you go for that last barbecued pork rib on the grill you might get stabbed in the eye by a rival rib-eater.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Last night two women got into a physical fight over the last portion that ended with one woman stabbing the other in the eye with a fork.

Let's hope those two never focus their desires on the same man!

*Mr. Pip �Imaginative teenager interprets Dickens character against a tragic time in the copper-producing island of Bougainvilla. Colorful and emotionally affecting.

May 27, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

Every morning I make coffee from whole beans and every morning at least one bean spills out onto the floor no matter how careful I try to be.

No big deal, right? It's only one bean.

But it occurred to me this morning, that equals three hundred and sixty-five a year not even counting the occasional disaster when I spill even more!

That amounts to a potful of coffee per year, at least.

My partner says, well at least you haven't lost your marbles.

Oh, really? I'm standing here ruing the loss of a coffee bean.

Sounds like I've lost at least one marble, and if I lose one every day for a year that equals-

You know what?

Just forget it.

*Iron Lady �Meryl Streep in an Oscar-winning performance and a review of British history in the seventies and eighties, too - what's not to like? Besides the lady herself, that is.

*Yves Saint Laurent �Biopic about the great designer that leaves you wondering if the industry isn't really just as superficial as you always thought it was in your idealistic youth. Laurent's a wild one and if he didn't die wild the film kept it a secret. Both interesting and entertaining, though.

*Yesterday we saw Turner�which was static and beautiful like a landscape. The musical score was contemporary - unusual for a period piece - and really effective. The opening portions, though, were earsplitting and if I were attending this film in the theater I would sit in the far back.

May 26, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

Of course normal soldiers cannot match the frenzy of religious fanatics in battle. Nor can they match the coolness of psychopaths or the enthusiasm of violence addicts.

All the rest of us have fighting for us is reason, compassion and, hopefully, numbers. Oh, and we'd better have some wile.

Definitely a big helping of wile.

In the last few days we've watched several films:

*Still Mine Mind-boggling Canadian bureaucracy meets persistence and character in this modern tale taken from life. A wonderful film but marred for me by the portrayal of the wife of sixty-one years and the mother of seven. Maybe the character is scripted this way but I flatly disbelieve her softness - and I'm not talking about soft-in-the-head forgetfulness.

*Remembrance There are horrors here but this is an amazing and exciting love story. We both loved it.

*We Were Soldiers Ugh. I hate war films, especially canting ones. I have promised, though, to see at least one a year - on Memorial Day weekend. That humans have to endure it is almost beyond comprehension. My partner thinks it a good film.

May 24, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

I want to celebrate Memorial Day not by mourning the deaths of millions of souls in wars but by rejoicing in the laying to rest of war itself.

I'm looking forward to that day in my mind. I'm aware that's the only place I'll ever see it.

The Greek in the movie Truce (and perhaps also in Primo Levi's book about escaping Auschwitz?) says, War is always.

Great numbers of people have come to give at least lip service to the principle that peace is a good thing and that there will be no peace without justice.

It is a pity that so many people still espouse war not only as a "necessary evil" but as an instrument of personal advancement or religious warfare.

Stanley Baldwin said, "War would end if the dead could return."

Imagining the return of the departed comforts those who have lost their loved ones in battle.

Imagining the death of War is what comforts me.

I would dance on the grave of War!

May 23, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

This weekend is a lively one in Madison. There are booths on Second Street south of the county courthouse with people selling arts and crafts - this sale is called Old Court Days.

That is a couple of blocks east of us. A block to the west of us is a car show with all kinds of makes and eras of automobiles. We haven't strolled through yet this year but last year some of the cars were for sale. At both venues there were food booths selling mostly, it seemed, deep-fried foods like blooming onions and (also deep fried!) PopTarts and Oreos. Oh, the horror!

Last weekend was even livelier. River Roots, a folk and music festival, kept us aware of what they were playing even while we were in our living and bed rooms. I haven't been to that celebration because it is pricey.�

The Friends of the Library had a big sale last weekend also. I volunteered for a couple of hours Saturday morning and they were already pleased with the proceeds from the day before.

*The Truce �A narration from the viewpoint of an Italian chemist (Yes! the same Primo Levi who wrote The Periodic Table) about liberation from Auschwitz and subsequent travels back to Turin. Not a simple or easy journey.

May 22, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

While on our walk the other day we saw the kingbirds again, just beating on a crow. If it's possible they were even more aggressive than the mockingbirds are and there were two of them. Eventually the crow got away but not before suffering a good, hard peck on the crown of its head.

The next day I saw a large bird (probably a vulture) flying overhead with very ragged wings and missing tailfeathers - the most visibly damaged bird I've ever seen actually on the wing.

Heh. I wonder who he�had a run-in with.

*Sirens� Lush, sensual and the only conflict between individuals is verbal. What's not to like? Oh, don't be so puritanical!

*With a Friend Like Harry �Not a physically ugly film, it is surprisingly, one of the creepiest I have ever seen.

May 20, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

If I had any shame I would be mighty embarrassed by the sloppiness of my entries lately. I certainly did not keyboard Morden instead of Mirren when writing my commentaries. The devil made me do it - in this case, yes, the word-processing program.

I know, I know, I am supposed to take responsibility for everything that goes wrong before I hit the save button, but how can I when the mistakes show a cultural bias and presumably generational knowledge that I simply do not possess.

Am I really to be blamed because my text says Morden when I accurately typed Mirren and my processor without a "by your leave" or any kind of auditory signal (such as, say, a raspberry) arbitrarily changes it to a name that I have never even heard?

Of course the answer is yes, so herewith I tender my humble apielogies but oh, it is tough!

*Leviathon �Grim in the extreme but oh, the beauty of the landscape and the visual fascination of the local relics!

*Silver Linings Playbook �Who says they're not making any good romantic comedies any more? This refutes them - or is five years ago not recent enough?

May 19, 2015
� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN � ��

I wrote yesterday about some adult geese and young goslings but somehow it got lost. Dang.

I saw them swimming in the river yesterday at dawn, a feral goose in the lead, two wild geese on the sides and one bringing up the rear of the single line of ten or so offspring.�� �

They came ashore to feed, and two of the little guys chased and scared off a starling that was a little too close. In competition for the same grub, maybe, but the goslings acted like little kids chasing pigeons in the park.

Yesterday and today I saw kingbirds, an easily identifiable flycatcher which is not an everyday sight here.

Unfortunately herons, which used to be a part of our daily walk along the river, are nowhere to be seen.

Cliff swallows have built nests on the sides of the new bridge. The nests aren't visible from the pedestrian walkway, but the adults come very close while they are feeding their young'uns. Go on a walk from the Milton side toward the water and you'll see their mud
nests with their tiny round entrances.

*Heavenly Pursuits Simply silly, though it was kind of fun seeing Helen Mirren.

*Ed's Next Move �Some aspects of the portrayal of a young Wisconsin native in NYC didn't ring true to this Midwesterner but the dialogue was for the most part lively and entertaining.

May 17, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

I've been rethinking how we treat the old. We want to control their behavior mostly, I think for our own convenience and comfort - especially for the comfort of our consciences.

When my mom couldn't navigate the basement stairs safely the visiting nurses who came for a while every week or two after her surgery for cancer said she couldn't go down there, we complied. She sure wouldn't, though so we locked it up high where she couldn't reach it.

We have seen movies in which the elderly literally escaped from care so they could do something they wanted to do or go where they wanted to go. The beach, say.

Now don't get me wrong. If my mother wanted to do something I tried to make it happen for her. Usually. I did not spare her, however, the occasional accusation of irresponsibility for being careless of her own well-being.

Now that I myself am a little closer (only two years!) to the time when I will be subject to the kind of oversight my mom endured what do you know?

I'm rethinking the issue.

*Living is Easy with Eyes Closed �Slender sweet slice of Spanish serendipity.

May 16, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

I think that "contemplating one's navel" has gotten a bad rap. When you think about it, your navel leads everywhere. Most obviously, to curiosity: "What is this strange thing on my body that doesn't seem to do anything?" Obviously also to all kinds of introspection from physical bodily concerns to emotional considerations. "This no longer connects me to Mom. What does?"

The navel, though, also leads to the outside world. It is a scar that represents our first setting out into the world. And the big wide world encompasses everything from the study of inanimate nature and other animals with and without belly buttons to all the creations of those like and unlike us.

Contemplating one's navel can lead anywhere because it is a gateway to everywhere including, of course, Rome.

*In the past week

*Love Serenade Quirky, almost surrealistic. Not for everyone, including me since for me it was the second time around - probably about twenty years later.

*The Dancer Upstairs�Investigation in Lima, Peru which makes the political climate very different from a comparable situation in the states. We enjoyed it, especially (me) the impossibly good-looking Javier Bardem. John Malkovitch's directorial debut - a strong one!

*Still Alice Oscar-winning performance about a woman with early onset Alzheimer's, but still probably a good deal prettier than the reality, because the film doesn't follow the character to the bitter end. Definitely worthwhile.

May 8, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

Before I went on a good walk up Hatcher Hill Road this morning I was feeling my years a little. (Well, truth to tell, there were staggering moments when I wouldn't have blamed someone for thinking I was drunk!)

I started wondering about my dad's aging timetable. When did he have cataract surgery? When did he really start losing it mentally?

I know he tried to stay healthy. When I was growing up he took great care of his teeth and after he retired he rode his bike and swam.

My parents were not much interested in communicating with us kids, though. When it came to keeping us up with their health issues or expressing their innermost desires and feelings my parents were a still pond.

*The Departed� I'm sick of gangster films, but this might be the gangster film to end all games gangster films. If we had seen this in a movie theater I probably would have died of a heart attack. Intricate. Practically the whole cast - but no, I don't want to ruin it for you!

*Yesterday The Homesman �A wild west film unlike any you have ever seen. Guaranteed.�

May 7, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Hmm... Sat down to write, got contemplative... and just woke up! Brisk spring turned into sleepy summer in very short order.

What happened?

No waxing philosophical or humorous for me these days, I fear, except to comment that contrary to my belief that I am a nonbeliever, I sure find myself engaging in internal prayer in an effort to - what? Control my environment? Center myself?

Years ago I was not consciously interested in having children but I surprised myself. Could it be that my unconscious is determined to buck my conscious intentions or am I just weak?

No wonder I seem sleep-prone!

*Love Documentary about looking abroad for love that doesn't seem much about love to us. An adventure, yes, but you are just as likely to find love abroad going to look at gardens, architecture or bridges. I'm just sayin'....

*Yesterday Dead Zone�This one is an oldie but goodie. Title sounds like zombie film which it is not.

May 6, 2015 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

*In the Electric Mist �Good old-fashioned detective films seem harder to find these days. This is a small-town Louisiana one. We do enjoy Tommy Lee Jones' laconic style.

*Island of Lemurs: Madagascar �Wow! Almost every indigenous species in Madagascar isn't found anywhere else. I had read that the ancestors of humans that lived during the dinosaur times were small mammals, but I didn't know they were lemurs! A little intro to our long-lost relatives.

May 4, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

The noise level in our neighborhood has risen impressively since the onset of genuinely warm weather. Early this afternoon a van was stopped by the park regaling not only its folks sitting at a picnic but also everyone else in the block.

A person can hardly blame people hanging out in the park for wanting music. They are used to it here. Every year there are at least three or four festivals held within a block or two of our apartment complex which feature involuntary musical entertainment for the inhabitants.

Loud squawking conversations segue from avian in the morning to human in the afternoon. Today it sounded like a (blessedly brief) dumpster diving competition was being held in the parking lot. Makes me wonder whether I should practice a little more verbal restraint while passing in front of other folks' apartments or hanging out on the balcony.

Just now car engines are competing with caroling church bells for auditory attention. In the USA we tend to ignore the importance of sound. I'm wondering what the consequences of our neglect will be.

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole by�Allan H. Topper and�Brian David Burrell �This book fascinates while it educates. I'm tempted to call it required reading. It's hard to believe there is a human alive who wouldn't find it interesting to learn more about the brain/body complex. Haha no pun intended. The authors deal with an assortment of issues and serious medical conditions.

Of especial interest to me was a paragraph on nomenclature old/new which raises more questions. Inspiration for further research.

May 3, 2015 � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Madison, IN

Yesterday I chose Gary Stevens on Firing Range to win the Kentucky Derby partly to support the senior rider (and because I know experience counts and he probably wouldn't ride an inadequate mount.) He came in second - not bad at all. Of course I wasn't there nor did I bet.

I also got lucky on my walk. The Pioneer Garden a few blocks from home have stunning peony trees in full glorious bloom. As it turned out, Madison in Bloom, the annual garden tour, was happening yesterday also.

Best possible weather for horse racing and garden strolling.

*Two Girls and a Guy�We loved it and the brilliant Robert Downey Jr. of course. This has all the earmarks of a stage play (although I haven't researched it) but I didn't develop the claustrophobia I usually feel when I see stage plays on the screen.

*The Man from Snow River�a horse pick for Kentucky Derby day. Watchable family film

May 1, 2015� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Madison, IN

Happy May Day! �I wonder if nations south of the equator have comparable holidays. Will have to look it up.

I'm reading a fascinating new book called Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole by Dr. Allan H. Hopper and Brian David Burrell.

I just realized how often these days authors have three names on their books. There are so many of us now, presumably, that we need all our names to distinguish us from others.

Anyway, from this book about brain disease I found out a word for what I've been doing occasionally for years - amphigory. It means nonsense speech. Why haven't I run across it before now?

Today since we don't have a garden I bought my love a May Day bouquet: delphinium, alstromeria, and two stunning yellow roses.
I was sorely tempted to add some irises from gardens on the way home but I resisted. Irises don't last long cut anyway.

Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby. Yay, May! The cruelest month was yesterday.

*Artificial Intelligence �Posed some interesting questions but my didn't it go on and on! In spite of this it did dredge up some emotions.

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