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Showing posts from March, 2017

The Valley of Dry Bones

A recent NPR article about the possibility of moving the remains of U.S. President James K Polk reminded me what an odd concept the grave is. A descendant of our 11th president, dead now these 168 years, is quoted as saying how much Polk wanted to remain in Nashville. This was apparently requested in his will, as though his corpse, obscured underground, might enjoy its time more in Music City than elsewhere.
It is true that cemeteries/graveyards served a useful purpose at one time, as they stand as historical records during a period when such records weren't always well kept via other methods (paper, digitally, etc.) In today's age, we have much better ways of keeping track of who has come and gone on this earth. Putting a body into the ground and marking it with a headstone simply isn't necessary.

Pic of the Week

Our latest Pic of the Week is British diver Matty Lee, who seems like an all around good bloke. Enjoy.

When You're 64, Minus 12

Twenty years ago today, my father turned 52 years of age. It would be his last birthday. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late in the preceding year, Lewis likely knew there wouldn't be many more (if any) birthdays, though he kept up a fairly good facade. Oh there were times it cracked, certainly, but then I've never understood why we seem to demand stoicism from the terminally ill.
Too ill from chemotherapy treatments to do much celebrating on March 21st, we actually celebrated dad's birthday on Sunday, the 23rd. Truthfully, the entire event was somewhat up in the air, depending on how Lewis felt at the time. I was working at Garcia's Pizza, and had a boss who would bend your ear at the slightest query about how her mom died of cancer. When I made the request to take-off that Sunday for what would likely be my father's final birthday, the manager gave me grief. So it goes.

Sweet Tooth

Having brunch at a local restaurant recently, I took notice of the music being piped-in through the discreetly positioned speakers while we dined. The songs were predominantly from the 1950s and '60s. Oldies, if you will. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, though it reinforced an opinion I have about modern society, that we are, for better or worse, wrapped-up in nostalgia.
"If we were sitting in a restaurant in the 1960s, do you think they would have been playing music from 1910?" I asked my brunch companion. Ashley responded that it would have been less likely, though he countered with the fact that the curation of things (not just music) in recent decades has led to easy access to older material. It simply wouldn't have been as easy during the 1960s to have access to a recording from 1910.
Perhaps accessibility is the driving force behind the lingering presence of what is, frankly, old culture? If so, is that a good, bad, or neutral set of circumstances?…

The Wearing of the Green

Margaret Elligham lay sprawled across the parquet floor of her house's grand living room, a look of terror upon her face. The Shamrock Charlatan (as he or she had been dubbed by the press) had struck again. This time, however, there had been a twist. Someone had died. The wealthy victim not only lost her jewelry, but her life.
For months the thief had carefully broken into houses in the wealthy part of town, stolen several items of valuable jewelry, and left without a trace. The residents were none the wiser until they found their belongings missing, and the police were baffled. Unfortunately, for Ms. Ellingham, she must have caught them in the act, and the burglary had escalated to murder.
"What's been taken?" sniffed Detective O'Malley, peering over the corpse with his hands clasped behind his back.
A bald, upper-middle-aged man stepped forward, clearing his throat. "Madame's necklace, sir. It was her prized possession. It was so beautiful, too... &qu…

How Long Have You Been Together?

We all mark time in different ways. Anniversaries and celebrations for this or that event, or a particular occasion. Relationships are often top of the list. Growing up, wedding anniversaries were often the major milestone I witnessed people took the most note of. There are even particular gifts designated for each year of wedded bliss.
Unfortunately, society was to erect roadblocks to marrying the person of my choice, at least for several years. Same-sex marriage was something done piecemeal for awhile, before finally being legalized nationwide by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. And let's not forget the precursor to same-sex marriage, civil unions. Those were also done haphazardly, on a state-by-state basis.
What the aforementioned scattershot approach has meant for same-sex couples across the nation is that there are often several different anniversary dates, and not borne of choice. Ashley & I alone have four anniversary dates (when we met, a commitment ceremony, civil uni…

The Classic Syndrome

This year's TCM Classic Film Festival will feature, among other things, a Q&A with actor Michael Douglas, following a screening of his 1979 film The China Syndrome. Also scheduled are interviews with the casts of Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and Best In Show (2000). Now, I haven't seen Kentucky Fried Movie, but China Syndrome and Best In Show are fine films. But are they classics? Eh...
The Oxford English dictionary defines 'classic' as "judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind." The phrase "period of time" is meaningless. It can be stretched to mean anywhere from five years to fifty. The three films mentioned in regards to the TCM festival range from 17 to 40 years in age. 17 years seems, at least to my mind, a tad too recent to consider classic status, though 40 years would seem to be long enough ago.

Evolving Door

My late, maternal grandmother, Gummy, whom I loved very deeply and still miss to this day, was a bit of a conservative. On the one hand, that isn't so odd, since she grew up and lived most of her life in rural Illinois, during a time (she was born in 1928) that was already more traditionalist than the world we live in today. She also believed in life after death, reincarnation and alien visitations, so conversations with her ran the gamut, and that's one of the things I liked about her. I mention Gummy because film aficionado and TCM host Robert Osborne passed away yesterday, aged 84. That may seem like a non sequitur, but the one made me think of the other because the two came from the same generation, and it has come to (public) light that Osborne was gay, and I remember how my grandmother treated the subject of homosexuality on occasion.

Pic of the Week

It's pop singer Justin Bieber's 23rd birthday today, so we'll celebrate by having him be our pic of the week! Enjoy.