Friday, May 29, 2009


Tripping the Light Fantastic

I loved the the film tribute to childhood and play, "Big," those many years ago. Today I read that Toys R Us just bought up FAO Schwartz, the toy store providing one of the film's most delightful moments: when Tom Hanks jumped on the floor piano for a little Chopsticks jig.

But these girls take play to new heights with Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
School of Performing Arts? Julliard brats, maybe? I'm glad TRU are keeping a store with such an ultimate toy right side up.

Ever'body dance!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Toasting Alice Munro

What a joy it was to read that Alice Munro was awarded the Booker International Prize for a lifetime of excellence in writing.

If you haven't heard of Alice Munro, chalk it up to readers' inclinations to novels over the short story. Alice Munro is to the short story today what Chekhov was in the 19th Century: deceptively simple, filled with rare insights into the human condition.

The next time you find yourself without a good read, check out Munro. Go to your local library (if you don't have a card, get one), and check out a copy of her collections of stories. It doesn't matter terribly which one; hers is a talent that doesn't flag. She is particularly good on women trapped in small towns, but they aren't the only focus of her vision. If you saw the movie "Away from Her" with Julie Christie, about a woman with Alzheimer's who goes into a care facility, you saw a film based on her story, "The Bear Went Over the Mountain."

My next post will no doubt return to the snarky world of all that I abhor in the world of politics. How nice it is to sit in this moment of celebration of a writer, so beautiful and complete, inside and out.

(photo of Alice Munro / copyright Derek Shapton)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


how to fly with a broken wing

actually, you don't fly, even if it sounds all spunky and inspirational and jonathan livingston seagull-y.

what about a busted wing don't you understand? and that red, swollen eye: it's not the best asset for taking to the skies.

if you're lucky you lie around in a snuggly place and allow yourself to be fed--
medicinal muffins or minced mousemeat-- whatever suits you. a friend brings you a helpful book, such as one-handed in a two-handed world with a special, glowing blurb by bob dole, and colleagues send a pretty hanging basket, and your spousie helps you wash your hair and makes you yummy salads, and suddenly, after having done a good deal of dashing around, you realize that you don't have to run at all:

now you can sit around and read --the abovementioned book and others. you can plan: where will the arugula go in the garden this year? did we buy too many tomato plants for the space we have alotted them? wherefore the fingerling potatoes? how green is my romaine?

you can ponder: did nancy polosi really believe the cia was't waterboarding under dubya? what was she thinking, anyway? you can remember that line from michener's hawaii: 'thou has gone whoring with a heathen' that made you giggle in high school, and you can giggle anew. nancy pelosi was whoring with a heathen! then you can read in crooks and liars that rush limbaugh thinks that nancy pelosi should resign as house speaker and wonder why anyone would care what rush l. thinks about anything... too tired for a culture war as you are...

then you can go back to your book-in-the-lap, after which you can snuggle in bed to a book on cd, and you can doze, knowing that deep sleep is the time when the body's repair shop throws open its doors and commences to take you on.

in the morning your eye is a little less red, and you say to anyone who wants to hear, yes, i'm a little better, thanks--clearly this is what i'm supposed to be doing.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Consider the Elbow

My ass isn't in a sling, but my elbow is.

I took an Ugly Duckling dive off the top step

of the local co-op Thursday evening, breaking my left elbow and a couple of bones in my otherwise flawless face. Surgery is Monday, since the tip of the radius broke off and lodged ever so conveniently in the joint.

Hence the surgery.

I broke my other about arm about 20 years ago, an event which underscored the many virtues of bilateralism. I am currently mourning my involuntary break from sewing and gardening and biking.

At the hospital I had to fill out a form with really subtle questions like, do you feel safe in your hime? Spousie and I looked at each other and laughed. My boss had suggested that I have a tee shirt made up that says, She didn't do it.

I have books on CD and DVDs from the library, courtesy of a colleague and friends. I have Percocet and the wariness that goes with my recovering alkie status on succumbing to too much of it.

What I want to discover is what I can do with just my right hand. (I'm a southpaw). My left eye is pretty much swollen shut, so forgive any typos.

No masturbation jokes, please. I did manage to photoshop this X-ray into some nice colors. There must bo other right-handed pursuits for lefties.

I really liked that elbow. It's going to have a metal plate that'll set off airport alarms for the rest of my life,

Sense of humor will return tomorrow.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Gonna Miss This Guy

The news of David Souter's retirement sure wasn't welcome.

He's been such a pleasant surprise.
Appointed by Bush I, he nonetheless voted against stopping the count in Florida that gave us the last 8 miserable years with Bush II.

I guess Bush Senior thought that Souter would go along, pretty much on party lines, especially where Junior was concerned. Whoops.

Souter has proved to be his own person. He voted to uphold Roe v Wade. He upheld the rights of detainees to habeas corpus. Rather than be the anticipated sidekick to Anton Scalia that Clarence Thomas was to become, Souter maintained his independence. As University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone observed,

In case after case, Souter parted company with Justices like Scalia, Rehnquist and Thomas, and made for himself a truly distinguished and surprisingly "liberal" record on such issues as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, due process, search and seizure, racial and gender equality, affirmative action, the rights of gays and lesbians, executive power, cruel and unusual punishment, abortion, and the rights of persons accused of crime. A man of deep civility and understatement, his opinions are soft-spoken and gentle, but they resonate with conviction. His opinions are precise, nuanced, and carefully reasoned. There is no bombast, sarcasm or disrespect in David Souter."

Souter, while cherishing the opportunity to serve on the Court, has never liked DC and has longed to return to climbing his beloved White Mountains.

He's certainly earned the rest. Thanks, Justice Souter, and may you enjoy the sun and breezes in equal measure. Bush I --and I-- sure had you wrong.

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