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Rumilluminations June 2009
By: Esther Powell
Posted on: Mon, June 01 2009 - 2:09 pm

June 30, 2009                                  Valparaiso, IN

We've been watching a DVD movie from the library almost every day.  I haven't been writing about them regularly because it doesn't seem fair to a judge big movie seen on a small screen.

But yesterday we saw Meet John Doe (a Frank Capra film starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck) and its theme (very like It's a Wonderful Life) emphasizing the power of the common man got me to thinking.

I'm all for laws requiring us to change our rotten, environmentally damaging ways.

But if the laws don't get passed or fail, why should that stop the rest of us?

Enough people of good will altering our behavior could go far toward mitigating the damage done by those (such as, at times, corporations and other businesses) who have to be forced to do the right thing.

Even people who do not believe in global warming could modify their behavior out of consideration for those of us who do.

Why not?  I observe all sorts of what I consider silly restrictions for the comfort of others.  (Not as much as I should, probably.)

Why not use less energy just in case?  Hedge your bets!  It might make us all healthier and help the environment, too.

P.S.  Of course, that didn't keep me from renewing my driver's license today!

June 29, 2009                                   Valparaiso, IN

I have to laugh when people complain about Congress.  It's too slow, they can't get anything done, they're too partisan.

We live in a country where two people can't get along well enough to stay married fifty percent of the time!

If two people can't get along without arguing interminably, why do people expect any better from our representatives?

I think it's amazing they can get anything done at all.

Celebrate this minor miracle!

June 28, 2009                                   Valparaiso, IN

Of course I was as shocked as anyone by Michael Jackson's death.  He is way younger than me!  I was in college when I first heard the little kid singing and thought of his performance, amazing as it was, more as an oddity than the beginning of a fabulous career.

It was his mind-bending moonwalk that first made me sit up and take notice of Michael Jackson.  I could not believe my eyes, and richly appreciated his ability and creativity.  The way he could move!  Of course I thought of him as young.

But the more I condider his life, the more I realize than the man who wanted to be Peter Pan, "I am Peter Pan," was really in ways an old man.

In his career starting at age five, Michael at fifty had already spent as much time in "productive occupation" as many a much older man. 

He went through lifetimes of emotional pain and stress, physical activity and injury.  He went through hundreds of lifetimes' worth of legal battles.

And as a person obviously intent at changing into a white man (though he probably could have had equal success as a black man (but maybe not - who knows how much his bizarre personal presentation kept the public piqued and interested!)) he was outdated.

When a black man could become the President of the United States, how would a (through no fault of his own, self-hating) individual like Michael Jackson feel?

Of course I don't know how Jackson's mind worked or the thoughts that ran through him.

But as an entertainer who got beaten and treated as a slave trying to reach perfection in his father's eyes, seeing a black man attain the highest honor of the land must have made him feel like a Moses who had lived long enough to move among and speak with the survivors in the Promised Land.

His new face was no longer the face of power, and as the veteran of much experience and much hard work, maybe the prospect of this new tour was just too exhausting.

Maybe at some level Peter Pan just felt too damn old.  


June 27, 2009                                   Valparaiso, IN

It's time to get our products back on track.  Back on train tracks, that is.

A whole family of five was killed on I65 at 4:05 in the morning yesterday.  It was one of those unfortunate chains of events which lead to disaster, but the final blow for them was a semi with two trailers crushing them from behind further into a semi that they had already hit.

My worst highway nightmare, being crushed like a beetle between these machines which are so big they simply cannot stop in time.

We regular people with our ordinary automobiles pay taxes that build highways, too.  Why are we so often treated like second-class citizens on public roads?

How about spending some major money building and reviving railroads to carry our products long distances?

Have trailers that can be transported via semi or train been invented yet?

I want vacationers to be able to take back the highways!

"Florida or bust" shouldn't be "Florida or squashed".

June 26, 2009                                   Valparaiso, IN

What's going on with Governors these days?  Have they always been so much in the nude, er I mean news?

Maybe they are getting too big for their britches, ha ha.  Their constituents are too many and they are getting too powerful.

How about splitting up some states into two or three pieces?  Threaten to secede, will you?  Take that, and that!  What was one shall be five!  How about the panhandle State of Noklahoma?  The State of Rio Grande?  Or maybe a State of No Mexico?  Louisiana could have a neighbor called Thelmiana!  How about making San Antonio the capital of Alamo State?

How about if Sarah Palin's State were called the State of Yertle the Turtle, comprised only of what she can see?  Alaska's big enough for several governors, it seems to me.

And those are just two geographically big states.  How about dividing up densely-populated states?  Upstate New York could be a whole state!  So could Brooklyn or the Bronx!  What resident of Chicago or St. Louis would mind turning New York City into several states?  I think it would be a great idea!

How about turning California into three or four states?  The populations of these states could get more appropriate representation in the Senate than they do now.

The Fourth of July is coming up.  Let's put more stars on the flag!  More jobs for flagmakers!

Oh well, I have gotten far afield from Governorship.  Is it just my impression, or has this office become a ship of fools?


June 25, 2009                                  Valparaiso, IN

I'm sure that when I got married I thought that infidelity was a terrible thing.

I don't really think of forgiveness when it come to people's sexual peccadilloes.  Who knows what drives them (over and above testosterone, that is, which turns out to be a mitigating factor for some of us big-chinned, hairy women as well as men, which I think is very amusing!  Ha, ha!)

What really bugged me about the South Carolina Governor's behavior over the past week was his irresponsibility towards his job (equals towards his state) and the way he seemed to blow off Fathers' Day.

Okay, so there are kids' birthdays, wife's birthday, anniversary, holidays, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day.  That still leaves many weekends of the year to take off.  Even when the Guv said he was going away "to write" I was very hard on him (in spite of all my best intentions.)  What kind of father makes himself unavailable to his children on Fathers' Day?

Now, of course we know that his wife kicked him out before Fathers' Day, so who knows what power struggles were going on or who decided what?

Just goes to show you.  You can laugh at a person using a power mower on a postage-sized, sparse front yard (as we did in Madison, Indiana, last week) but 'most everybody has a back yard, too.

And we can't see it.

Anyway, all moral judgment aside, I wouldn't want him for my President, even if he were smarter and a Democrat!

June 24, 2009                                  Valparaiso, IN

People don't understand why I would want to have a website and write - for nothing!

Well, I like to write.  Always wanted to be a writer, but when I was young I tended to think in terms of ambitious projects that came to nothing.

Now that I am older, I take myself a little less seriously.  And having spent a good portion of my life doing menial or at least lowly work for next to nothing, doing something I enjoy for nothing doesn't seem to be a step down at all.  It's a step up!

As to why I have a website, I think I had an insight today as to why I enjoy it so much.  I'm expressing myself and getting my ideas out there!  Even if only ten people read my website in a day, that is way better than nothing.

I have a hell of a time spitting out a complex sentence in real life without interruption.  I have read that not being listened to is sometimes a compliment, .

But it is frustrating.  If someone reads my website and doesn't respond to a question, I can figure it doesn't move them to response.  If they hit on my few paragraphs for the day and get bored before they finish my rant or joke of the day, I won't know it.

If I can lighten anyone's day or provoke a new idea in anyone's head or open a window in someone else's world, this fun labor is worth the little time I give it.  I believe I have an original thought to offer now and then.

The only thing that discourages me a little is a day with no hits.

If you enjoy the site, keep visiting!  You are very welcome to browse here.

I am more grateful than you can imagine for the attention I can imagine you are giving my random observations!

June 23, 2009                                  Valparaiso, IN

The boom box.  That way to wake up in the middle of the night is one of my friends' pet peeves.

I myself will never forget forget the incredible yell of the whippoorwill at Girl Scout Camp at Tippecanoe State Park.  It came a pretty close second to the loudest thunderclap I had experienced in my life up to that time.  I wouldn't be surprised if settlers considered after the whippoorwill finished to be the only time worth trying to sleep!

A common sleep-disturber here in Valparaiso is the train.  Sometimes I experience the whistle from a distance as a musical chord in a dream.  Usually I don't wake up at all.

But a few nights before we left for Madison Indiana, my body arched and stiffened as if I had been shot in the back when the train whistle blasted from the closest point from the track to our house.  It woke me up very suddenly.  I don't know why the engineer did that.  They don't usually blast that loud that close to the center of town.

When we got to the Riverboat Inn in Madison, I looked at the serene Ohio River with satisfaction.  There wouldn't be any train whistles here, I thought, and there weren't.

But the third morning there I heard a mind-blowing horn sounding from the river.  I jumped up to see what the imminent disaster could possibly be, and saw - nothing.  The fog was so dense I couldn't see the river at all.

The booming foghorn sounded from the left, then in front of us, then downstream to the right.  No disaster, just a heavy fog that kept us from seeing the barge at all.  Oh well, the dim light tricked us.  It was time to get up anyway. 

Wherever you are, you can practically count on a mufflerless motorcycle to rip up the night air and your otherwise seamless sleep.

Last night it was cats.  My partner says at first he thought he was at the Wailing Wall.  It was cat-erWalling, and those cats didn't consummate their love-hate encounter for some time.

It has almost come to be an adventure.  What in the smorgasboard of sleep deprivation will be on offer tonight? 


June 22, 2009                                  Valparaiso, IN

I used to read self-help stuff a lot.  Now I find myself less likely to subject myself to it.  What used to be an aid or a compulsion is now a bore.

I think that's a good sign.  I'm obviously feeling happier, stronger, and all-around better than in the days when I would read anything of that nature I could get my hands on.

No, I don't think I'm perfect now.  But I've learned how to take better care of myself with, I hope, the objective knowledge of how to behave to avoid stepping on the toes of others.

No offense intended to anyone, but here's fair warning:  all you folks out there better know how to say "Ouch!"

Even the best-intentioned souls are clumsy sometimes.

June 21, 2009                                 Valparaiso, IN

One afternoon in Madison we decided to walk on the Heritage Trail that begins at the corner of Vaughn (the river road) and Vernon.  We took a lovely walk with birdlife galore that ended with a quite steep ascent which ended at Hanover College.

Er, no.  Those buildings made of beautiful golden stone with red-tiled roofs were surrounded by twelve-foot wire fences surmounted by rolls of barbed wire!

Well, that's odd, I mused aloud.  Hanover College must have shrunk and then they sold part of their property to the Indiana Department of Corrections!?  How weird was that?  I wouldn't want to send my kids to a college directly abutting a state penitentiary!

Well, no again.  The buildings not surrounded by barbed wire ranged from a mental institution to a Head Start location!  (At least there were little Head Start buses parked there.)  We followed what was now a road that I was sure would turn back into a path and meander through town to end up at an inn on the east side of town.

No, and no again.  I had hastily misread the path's description and we ended up walking alongside busy winding Highway 7 for a mile or so back into the west side of town.  There was no shoulder at all.  Sometimes we walked outside the guard rail (holding on to it for balance where the ground dropped off too steeply.)  This was not reassuring, since the guard rail had occasional dents and curves where cars had smashed into it!

The next day when we passed a cross by the side of the road on our way out of town, my partner said he was sure glad I hadn't noticed it the previous afternoon.  Me, too.

Since in the morning we had walked from our hotel into town and back before spending our afternoon experiencing the cultural gamut from woods to institutions to heavily driven highways (a total of at least six miles, I bet!) we were staggering when we turned onto Main Street and went to wash our faces at the public library.

Refreshed and slightly sunburned, we rewarded ourselves for our marathon by eating at the Broadway Hotel downtown.  Great meal, especially the cole slaw and the dessert chocolate cake!

Just remember:  when you come to the end of the Heritage Trail, make a U-turn and head back down the way you came!

June 20, 2009                                 Valparaiso, IN

We already miss magical Madison.  There is something about those big hills and that broad river that just grabs you and keeps you.

The imposing central fountain worthy of a much bigger city:  another fountain of the young woman with her foot on a fish in a garden setting that reminds me of Key West across the street from the public library (where there was a book club meeting scheduled to discuss The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison on Wednesday night, but I got too shy or lazy and missed it):  the high water mark on Brown Gymnasium commemorating the 1937 flood;  the history of this very old community is to be seen everywhere.

While we were in Madison wooden sculptures made of driftwood, some evocative of fish or a horse and some abstract, began to appear along the river park.  What was the occasion for them?  Were they an annual arts event or were they scheduled to be burned during a meaning-laden ceremony?  We ended up leaving before we remembered to ask someone to explain their mysterious appearance.

We will be returning to Madison another day to try a stay at the Broadway Hotel, which I'm told rents rooms for $200 a week and serves good dinners.

Hopefully I can still recognize the hotel by the time we get back to Madison, so I won't think I've been dreaming!

June 19, 2009                               Valparaiso, IN

I'm not done writing about Madison, Indiana yet.  Getting into a new environment is so stimulating!

But not this evening.  I have been so struck by all the demonstrations in Iran by citizens who feel their votes did not mean anything.

Maybe their demonstrations will come to nothing, but I can't help but compare their turnout to ours in 2000, when the popular vote for Al Gore was stymied.

Would that election theft have succeeded if we had turned out in numbers like the Iranians have?

Do our citizens believe any more that it really doesn't matter which of the two major candidates gets elected?

If we had demonstrated in great numbers back then, would we have gone to war or gotten so deeply into debt?

Did we get too complacent?

If we did, boy are we paying for that complacence now!

Let's follow the leader we have selected.  Let's have the courage of our convictions last November.  Support national health care!  Help our leaders help get us out of this recession by trusting in the wisdom of necessary spending now.

It is really discouraging to see people frightened by the leaders who have failed us so deeply in the recent past.

They are mean little dogs snapping at the heels of the tiger, to paraphrase an I Ching image.

Shake them off! 

June 18, 2009                              Madison, IN

The last time I was in Madison a few years ago, my mom and I stayed only one or two nights - at the Holiday Inn Express, I believe.  When I was leaving the public library I met a townsman who told me about a hotel with a view of the river that the visitors' center hadn't mentioned.  The friendly stranger said this hotel didn't rent to outsiders much, but if I went there I might be able to get a room cheap.

It was an old place, I found when I dropped by.  There was an older (than I, even!) woman mopping the lobby who seemed vague about the whereabouts of anyone who could give me room rates.  At her invitation I walked through the lobby to the veranda and was instantly sold.  There was a wonderful view of the Ohio River.  The next time I came to Madison, I resolved, I would get a room at this place.

Well, the next time I came to Madison was Monday of this week.  I tried to navigate by my memory of the positioning and location of the hotel, but the only place I could find with a close riverview couldn't possibly be the same place.  It was too bright and shiny and decorated.  It was farther from the center of town than I remembered.  Even after the owner told me it was the only place with a veranda view of the river, I didn't think it could possibly be the same place.  The old place must have been torn down, I thought.

We got a room there at twice my hoped-for rate, and spent a lot of time looking at the view of a serene Ohio River from the Riverboat Inn.  We enjoyed it very much, especially the Baltimore oriole and swallows and swifts and, in following days, the mockingbird which liked to hang out and brag about all the other birds it had met.

The morning after our first night on the second floor of the inn we were walking downtown and a resident named Rocky, a very friendly and informative guy, approached us and asked us where we came from.  Taking advantage of the mental data-base of a long-time resident of Madison, I asked him about the hotel I had seen before.  I was beginning to think I had entered some kind of time-warp back there in that conversation three years ago!

Rocky said, yes, the Presidential was the hotel I had seen before.  It was sold a couple of years ago and completely made over.  It seems the only thing I remembered correctly was the side of the street it could be reached from, and that memorable view from the veranda.

(Even that view I had edited pretty thoroughly.  I completely forgot about the bridge to Kentucky which dates from 1929!  And there are some big trees there!  How could they have grown so much in such a short time?)

In a way I have experienced an extreme dislocation in time.  The hotel as it was is gone for good.  I'm not staying there - not really.  And from what the locals say, that may be a good thing.  In fact, from the assertions about drug addicts and other ne'er-do-wells that used to hang out there I can imagine that maybe the guy who told me about the hotel three years ago was not being helpful at all.  Maybe he was trying to set me up for theft, or even something worse!  Eeeeek!

Nah, that fantasy can go the way of the old hotel.

Clean, bright and healthy is better than old, moldy and bug-infested any day!

And so what if I am like a variation on Christopher Columbus, not knowing where I was going and not knowing I had found it after I had been there?  If you want to go to the hotel with the best view of the river in town, you will at least know its name!  (And the rooms on the first floor are cheaper.)

June 17, 2009                               Madison, IN

Today we crawled (or rather, what with all the boardwalks and stairs, strolled and ascended and descended) all over Clifty Falls State Park.  We found it gorgeous.  Saw goldfinches, a wood thrush, cowbirds, mourning doves, woodpeckers, many more common birds, and a few other uncertainties (orchard orioles? phoebes?) which will remain a mystery because I lost my old bird book.  It was in terrible shape because I dropped it into the Willamette River in Oregon once, but I hope someone keeps it and uses it anyway!

Yesterday we went to the Lanier House, where Jim, our guide, told about James Lanier helping out the state of Indiana twice.  Once he wrote a check for a few hundred thousand dollars to help out with the Civil War effort.  On another occasion the governor asked him for help paying off a debt that the State of Indiana had incurred.  (International bonds, I think, which took a $600,000 check to pay off!  This was in the 1800s!)

Lanier was eventually paid back in full, but what private citizen today has done such a thing?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if people of astronomical means would help the U.S. Government (or even - what the hell - the State of California!) with its (OUR) national deficit?

I'll bet a few really rich people could make a really significant difference.  Since when has the government of our wonderful free country become such an enemy?  Why do we not want to at least keep it solvent, even if we don't support all of its actions?


June 16, 2009                               Madison, IN

Here I am in the Public Library of Madison, Indiana, which has lots of computers, all of them now in use.

Madison is as beautiful as it was the last time I visited, and my partner is mourning the fact that my dad didn't teach at a college in Madison so we would be living here now!

Sadly, the top of the courthouse, tower and all, burned about a month ago, so there is a certain amount of mourning going on here.

The courthouses of Indiana counties could be made the subject of a movie to rival the Bridges of Madison County.  We saw at least half a dozen courthouses on the way here.  Although many of them were built in the same century and they almost all have the traditional dome tower on them, they are all different.  The counties seem to have been rivalling each other in the interest and novelty of their ornamentation, at least.

(Valparaiso's courthouse lost its tower to fire long before I was born in the first half of the twentieth century, so it has a more modern look.  (It is the old courthouse I am talking about, not the even newer building a block west which is the courthouse now.))

It's worth going by the courthouse here in Madison to see what remains of the old tower.  How often do you get to see the structure and surface of a county courthouse tower from a few feet away?  Even sad stories can be educational.

We probably won't be camping much here - it is raining as I write.  That's all right - more time to explore the town!

June 15, 2009                                 Valparaiso, IN

Top o' the morning to you!

For that is what it is.  Six o'clock.  When I got up I thought it was 6:30.  It was only 5:30.

We are leaving for our camping trip today.  It's just a few days and I don't even know how much we will be camping, because the weather reports are redolent of rain and storms.

It is a trip I have been wanting to take for some time - to Clifty Falls State Park and Madison, Indiana!  Fancy fountains, spiral staircases, serene views of barges on the Ohio River, good pant-inducing hiking, here we come!

Maybe in raincoats.

I'll try to write every day but it means using public access to the internet, so I don't know... as far as that kind of access, to me the Indiana territory is the Great Unknown! 

June 14, 2009                                Valparaiso, IN

We slept all night with the windows open as wide as possible and didn't get cold.

Waking up in the damp dawn, it felt as if we were already camping out.  Cool fresh air.

It was a Saturday night last night, and amazingly we were only awakened by the train whistle, which was blowing louder than I have ever heard it before.  Did the engineer forget to blow it further out of town?

Today is Sunday, and my homily for the day is:  Jesus said to attain the kingdom of heaven you have to become as a little child.

He did not say you have to be a big baby!

Thus sayeth Esther, the Queen of Introspection!

June 13, 2009                               Valparaiso, IN

What do you do with a ninety-year-old mother who cooks rotten meat and refuses not to eat it?

Older people often have their checkbooks and driver's licenses taken away from them, but how do you take away the kitchen privileges of an old woman in her own home?

This is not a recent problem and it is not going away, it is getting worse.

Remonstrations about health and charming offers from a professional chef to cook dinner have not done the trick.

What to do?  What to do? 

June 12, 2009                                Valparaiso, IN

So Sarah Palin draws crowds - I think it is mostly horrid fascination!

So the haters and anti-whatever-human-is-different-from-them have marches with police protection.  (For one thing, this is irrational. Everyone is different from everyone else!  And we are all the same!)

How do we counteract the evil influences of those unfortunates who seem so negatively energized by hard times?

I think maybe it is time for the return of the hippies!  Flower marches!  Love-ins!  Peace-love-dove times where everyone is welcome except those carrying guns and brass knuckles!

God knows, at our age, my generation could use the exercise!

June 11, 2009                              Valparaiso, IN

Conan O'Brien is trying to grow up.  His live audience seems unwilling to go along with him.

Conan's popularity used to be a mystery to me.  Sure, he is funny, in a juvenile kind of way, but how do you explain his con-genX-ion with the young?  Older folks than I mostly seem (as his skit Tuesday night showed) to find him definitely unfunny.

The other morning I had an epiphany.  I know why he is so popular among the young!

To them, Conan is Beavis.

Hey, audience, stop being Buttheads!

June 10, 2009                               Valparaiso, IN

What is your mission in life?

Is it to give ulcers, not get them?

Is it to make everybody else feel as crummy as possible so you can feel smart?

I wrote negative comments about a book today, so do I fit in that category?

I don't think so, but there I was being negative.

Which is more important, being positive or being truthful?

Do they have to be mutually exclusive?

The I Ching says not to point out what is wrong with something, but to point out how it might be better.

But isn't that really the same thing?

Well, no.  I guess not.  Emphasis is everything.

But I'm not going to rewrite my paragraphs about that book, dammit!

June 9, 2009                                Valparaiso, IN

I love it when the Republicans start talking about "going back to what made America great."

What made America "great?"  The landing on the shores of desperate Europeans in a huge land with tons of resources that were not being exploited by the indigenous populations to the extent that the newcomers wanted and intended.  By the time the Native Americans realized the dangers the newcomers posed to their way of life, they did not have populations and technology great enough to overwhelm and repel them.

These things happen in life.  And what happens in older countries and governments is that they become socially stratified and ossified and "taken over" enough that resources and power are not just there for the taking anymore.

This continent is not the same as it was three hundred years ago.  The United States of America is not what it was two hundred years ago or even one hundred years ago.

If conservative means fossilized, unable to deal with the actual reality of what this country is today, conservatives are doomed indeed.  The country will have to get a new party to make the U.S. a two-party system.  The Grand Old Party will be the Grand Lame Old Party - GLOP.  Hard, former feces fossilized!

Ha, ha, ha, ha!  What's so bad about where we are today?  Sure, we are in a time of crisis!  But I wouldn't trade our present situation for a hard-scrabble farm in the middle of a blizzard or a job blasting a tunnel through mountains to make a railroad, either!

Grow up,along with the country, you harkers back to the good old days!  Or at least start cracking the history books so you know how "good" they were!

June 8, 2009                                 Valparaiso, IN

Go to the Happy Hunting Grounds?  I'd rather go to the Happy Found Grounds!

Watermelons are bumptious and scrumptious and munchious!

It's a beautiful day.  The robins are a-bobbin' and my partner is punning. 

He says when a woman puts a man off, she's using detergent!

And bad press for the Pope is a Papacy smear!

June 7, 2009                                   Valparaiso, IN

Yesterday was an amazing day on the Ten Mile Road near (at?) the Kankakee Wildlife Refuge.

We saw a fisherman but otherwise it was just us and the wildlife.

Mysterious standing marshes with warblers in the trees and snapping turtles (big ones! over a foot long!) sunning on the silt islands.

For the first time in my life I saw pileated woodpeckers (a pair of them!)  They are one species of the uncommon woodpeckers with skinny necks.

I glimpsed a great blue heron which disappeared with an abruptness unmatched by the herons in more frequented lakes and rivers.  I didn't know they could move that fast!

An adolescent deer gave us a good look at him before turning his knobby head in a U-turn, instantly followed by the rest of him into the brush.

A stop at a strawberry stand off highway 421 selling fresh-picked fruit helped us survive until we ate our late lunch at home.  The best strawberries I have tasted in years!

To come home from such an exciting outing in nature to watch the televised Belmont Stakes and see Mine That Bird's brother Summer Bird win!

Too strange and wonderful.

June 6, 2009                                     Valparaiso, IN

It is a commonly accepted viewpoint that women are better at relationship than men.

But is this really true?  Maybe women just learn the skill of getting along with others because society expects them (according to Freud) to transfer their libidos from their original love (mom, a woman) to the male sex.

Maybe doing this teaches the woman a different way of relating than the "natural" which would be to love another woman.

Maybe that is why gay men seem to relate so well to women, and why they seem (again perhaps part of a stereotype) to relate to people better than heterosexual men have a reputation for doing.

Gay men also, for whatever reason, have transferred their original love from women to men.

(This is all extremely hypothetical.  I think Freud considered people's first loves to be Mom because she fed them.)

June 5, 2009                                       Valparaiso, IN

I didn't watch the first few Tonight shows with Jay Leno.  I was in the throes of divorce and working for a living and rarely stayed up late enough.  Once I did acquire the habit of enjoying Jay's monologues, I still as often as not fell asleep and slept through them.  Usually the sight of Conan O'Brien's face meant, "Oh my God go to bed!"

Now poor Conan is trying to fill Jay's shoes, and well, let's say he is not trying to.  Good thing.  Conan has goofy shoes, and as my partner says, he's best out in the world doing goofy things.  (He showed us this quite literally last night!)  I hope Conan-out-in-the-world is a regular part of his "monologue", if his Tonight Show is to be a success.

I remember seeing Paula Poundstone in person in Albuquerque and she was very funny.  I don't remember what channel gave her a spot on Saturday night (was it?) TV, but it didn't work.  I think it could have worked, but she just didn't have the interaction with the audience she needed for her particular talents.  Too bad.  She had perfectly good shoes (or boots, if I recall correctly - casual, anyway) but they just weren't polished to Paula's best advantage.

This summer we might watch Letterman some, right before bed. We might toggle between O'Brien and Letterman.

But, oh, am I looking forward to Jay Leno's return in the Fall at an hour when I might actually be wakeful!

Meanwhile, maybe I'll try my hand at taking the news and making a joke out of it!  (I just had this idea!  Don't take it too seriously!  Just kidding!) 

June 4, 2009                                        Valparaiso, IN

The robins that were eggs not long ago are hanging around in the yard now, practicing their flying.

Mom or Dad (I sure can't tell who) is still feeding the spotty-breasted young'uns in between practice flights.  While a parent is feeding one, another zooms (if you can call it that!) into the low branch of a pine.

A second flies up to the porch roof, near where their vacant nest, fast being overtaken by entropic disorganization, sags.

When the young get nervous, their first instinct is still to scurry into the daylily patch where they have been hiding out for the last couple of weeks.

A black cat from the next block is getting a little too close for comfort the last couple of days.

Fly, robins, fly!

June 3, 2009                                         Valparaiso, IN

Many religions and philosophies say that love is the highest good.  Then their practitioners, obsessed with one issue or another, or one hatred or another, go out - spend a great deal of time, energy, and money to go out - and kill other human beings.

We are not really told by these religions why love is the highest good.  But as some religions say explicitly, hate destroys itself.  Evil, ultimately, destroys itself.

Why?  Because it is so exhausting.  And, ultimately, boring.

Deadly boredom, deathly boring.

June 2, 2009                                         Valparaiso, IN

Oh, by the way.  I have to admit that my "Rows are rows are rows" is flippant and not true.  Low rows of flowers are not stately rows of trees are not rows of armed soldiers.

I was going to write, "A rose is a wild rose is a floribunda is a strawberry is a hip," but Robert Frost's poem "The Rose Family" kind of does it for me.  (Oh, the dangers of internet research!  It might rob you of anything to say!)

The hell it has.  I have something to add which nobody has said before, maybe.

"A rose is a rose is a rose" is an American Beauty is a black raspberry is cinquefoil is Jesus...

Good lord.  You would think I were a Christian.  Well I were, once.

Now I'm just a rose!

June 1, 2009                                          Valparaiso, IN

Today the irony of life struck me in a new way.

Usually the job of caring for my elderly mother, who is still ambulatory, requires me to move very slowly.

Today at the supermarket, I was hopping to pack groceries quickly while she waited, and it reminded me of how I used to be pressured to move faster at work.

When you are a little kid, it is "Hurry up, hurry up!  Don't dawdle!"  Moms like sergeants cracking the whip.

When you get a little older, it is "Slow down - don't be in such a hurry!"  Whether it be driving the family car or impatience for adult privileges and independence.

When you are in the workforce, you will rarely be told to slow down.  Strike that - never, in my experience!

Now that I am caring for my mom, things tend to be all about sloww motion.

Have trouble moving quickly enough for your employers?  I advise a job in elder care!  (Not in serving them, though, as pouring drinks for them.  They are a very impatient lot!)

Oh, the irony!

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