Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let's, Indeed, Get This Party Started

Dear Pink,

I have been enjoying a rendition of your already famous song, Let's Get The Party Started. And, as you might imagine, I am struggling over the existential nature of the lyrics. Our vocalist, Anne GG, with her associates, Early GG and Margaret GG, have well interpreted the pathos, I think.

I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started

[Here immediately, we see the plight of the self, searching to affirm that there can be no, never be no party starting, unless that self comes up. And of course it begins with "up" not down. We don't hear the artist say that the integrated self goes down, hence starting the party, but up. That is a clever trick you pull right here at the beginning.]

Get this party started,
on a saturday night,
everybody's waiting for me to arrive
Sending out the message to all of my friends
we'll be looking flashy in my Mercedes Benz
I got lots of style with my gold diamond rings
I can go for miles if you know what I mean

["If you know what I mean." Friends, of course we know, our hearts pump with the rhythm of this desperate cry for release from the materialism of the age that equates the essence of the "me" we are waiting for with the arrival of gaudy, insubstantial replacements, a.k.a. a Mercedes Benz, gold, and diamonds. We surely do know what you mean, Pink my friend. You have sent us that message and we understand.]

I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started

Pumpin up the volume,
breaking down to the beat
cruisin' through the west side
I'll be checkin' the scene
Boulevard is freaking as I'm coming fast
I'll be burning rubber,
you'll be kissin my ass
Pull up to the bumper get out of the car
License plate says
Number One Superstar

[The heartbreak of this realization, that the present experience of soulishness is so very fleeting--"Boulevard is freaking as I'm coming fast," "burning rubber," et al--is pronounced here and particularly in this rendition of the song. Our 15 minutes of, not just fame, Number One Superstar, but existence at all, symbolized with the kiss of death and, of course the picture of the Gates of Hades itself, "Pull up to the bumper get out of the car," creates or, perhaps, reveals a rising angst that cannot be overstated.]

I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started

(get this party started)

Making my connection as I enter the room
everybody is chillin'

[Funeral parloresque, we see not just the self in this existential predicament, but everybody facing the same chillin' dilemna!]

as I set up the groove
Pumpin up the volume
with this brand new beat
everybody's dancin'
and they're dancin' for me
I'm the operator
you can call anytime
I'll be your connection to
the party line

[Finally, we see the Danse Macabre begin,

and our selves face the dance of death, not with the elegance we had hoped for, but a new uncertain beat, hammering. We turn in hopes of finding salvation from the other dancers, but see that they are all dancin' for me, with the only connection busy, because it is, after all a "party" line.]

I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started

(get this party started)

(ooooh, get this party started right now)

(get this party started)

(get this party started, right now)

[Ending, of course, not with a bang, but a whimper.]

You have certainly "brought us down" with this one!



Monday, November 19, 2007

Survey: Do Raccoons Like Cheese Nips?

The question being investigated in this blog is one that has plagued the minds of humans since the rise of the raccoon in the United States and Germany.

Do Raccoons like Cheese Nips? And, if so, what brand do they prefer?

Some visual evidence is presented below.

However, other evidence is available. One female from British Columbia reports that:
"The raccoons came and took food from my hand with their weird hands and I had the squirrels climbing up my LEG to come get cheese nips."

Another Canadian (from Quebec) named Ross indicates that his research points to the fact that raccoons prefer American brand cheese nips.

A raccoon by the name of Higgins, who keeps a journal of these things, has reportedly been somewhat hostile when presented with cheese and nips.

If you do not believe the veracity of this research, please, check it for yourself. It is on the internet!

Any further evidence would be greatly appreciated.

brd (Wildlife Investigator)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Art Museum of Western Virginia

Dear Art and Architecture Lovers,

I was driving down the road in Roanoke, Va., minding my own business, just trying to find the Wonju exit so I could go see my dear friend from West Virginia days. Then, wow, I wanted to drive right off the road and see what was going on!

This my friends is the visual definition of supercalifragalisticexpialidocious. (sp?) I did not, due to the rush of traffic and an equivalent acceleration of good sense jump the concrete banister and land like a bundle of dropped groceries on Market Street, but I did, after a brief consort on Colonial Ave., demand a tour of the downtown construction.

I was photographically unarmed and disappointedly so. However, I have since discovered that both the city itself and other travelers have made the imagery quite available. The city has set up a delightful web cam, delivering desktop updates at intervals. I have set the one linked to my shortcut at 10 seconds so I can watch constructioneers do specific tasks and can be a traffic voyeur.

The source of a great tour, though, is Jennifer's Picasa site. She was obviously as enamoured as I was but armed, and with a photo weapon and skill unavailable to me anyway. Her site has a goodly number of tours, from New York City to Robin's wedding, but this one is stellar.

If you visit the web site of The Art Museum of Western Virginia, you will find that: "The Art Museum’s new 81,000 square foot facility has been designed by emerging Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, principal of Randall Stout Architects, Inc. and an internationally admired proponent of sustainable “green” architecture. The building is a dramatic composition of flowing, layered forms in steel, patinated zinc and high performance glass that pay sculptural tribute to the famous mountains that provide the city’s backdrop and shape the region's spirit. The new facility will be constructed on Salem Avenue, between Market Street and Williamson Road, at one of the most visible intersections in downtown Roanoke."

If you visit the web site of Randall Stout Architects, you'll find that the group is: "Known for its evocative design aesthetic, Randall Stout Architects consistently challenges architectural conventions, while transforming light, shadow, form and material into dynamic architecture." For those of Tennessee connection, they also designed Hunter Museum in Chattanooga.

Did I ever tell you that in my next life I want to be an architect?


Friday, November 09, 2007

Analogies, Metaphors, and Typos

Dear Editors,

We are an odd breed. We care about the delicacies of spelling, grammar, and usage. Why? We don't know. It has something to do with our mothers and our second grade teacher I think.

My mother is a founding member of WIGS. That is the acronym for the Word Improvement Game Society. She and her best friend spend hours discussing the proper pronunciation of the word naive and whether the word adroit should be given full scoring credit in Boggle because it is closely derived from French.

No wonder I edit. I am still working through linguistic psychological neuroses developed in childhood, like the impulse to correct extraneous punctuation, bipolar adjectival disorder, and psychotic run-on delusions marked by paragraph anhedonia and feelings of excessive adverbial depression, accompanied by a lump in the throat and frequency of urination.

And no wonder we suffer. From the typographical error to the surfeit of metaphor, our lives are crowded with that which needs to be corrected.

For instance, who was responsible for editing the government publication delivered to private schools in the State of West Virginia, a bulletin for: "Non-Pubic Schools." Or, who could have interceded for that college freshman whose biographical paragraph claimed that: "In high school I was a baseball."

The following collection of analogies and metaphors from high school essays cry for red pen. I just cry.

—Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

—He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

—She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

—She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

—Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

—He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

—The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

—The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

—From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

—Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

—John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

—He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

—He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

—The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

—He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

—It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.



Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Our Raccoon Friends

Important Update, with medium level believability due to bluriness of photo. A fox came to visit last night!!! I think we'll name him Xerox, no, Zerox.

Dear Zorro,

We are sorry you are no longer around. I fear the worst, but am glad I have not seen any raccoon tails flying from the bicycle bars of biking children or the from the seats of bandana bedecked motorcyclists in the neighborhood.

How nice that your son or daughter takes after you in friendliness and spirit. We call her/him Zero.

The mom and sibling are still around too, but a bit shyer, though they will pose for quick snaps.

Missing you,

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Survey: What Should I Do in Budapest?

*Note: Results of My Tour Posted Here!!!

Dear Experienced Traveler,

I am finally doing it. I'm going with my husband to Budapest. My husband has been to Budapest and it's environs (i.e. little places in Central Europe) many times. Every time he has said, "Please come with me." I have never said, "Wow, yes!"

"What is wrong with you?" you say. And that is the question I put to myself. What is wrong with me? Why haven't I started packing my bags at the very opportunity, throwing financial responsibilities and well tended calendars to the winds, and climbed aboard the appropriate jumbo jet headed for Budapest Ferihegy International. I finally admitted the dirty truth. I'm a scared traveler. I don't want to go anywhere. I don't want to pack my bags and decide in advance what I will be wearing on Day 6. I don't want to get lost in a major metropolitan airport where no one speaks English as their heart language (although I have been to Memphis).

I don't want to think about comfortable walking shoes or what if I get a deep cut in the bathroom while shaving in a foreign city, I don't want to decide who to ask to feed the animals while I'm gone or how to change dollars into fandangos or whatever money they use over there. These are scary things for me.

However, it is wrong for me to be this scared little self. I know it is wrong and I loved it when my husband forced me onto the plane to go to London and Paris. So perhaps I will love it when I go to Budapest.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was scared like this. I didn't want to have a human subset grow inside me. My only hope in that situation was advanced knowledge, so I got a book by Lennart Nilsson, called A Child is Born and read. The description might scare those of you who do not have children and do not want to. . . as well as the accompanying high resolution photographs. A blurb like, "Nilsson zooms in on sperm racing towards the egg, the brand-new zygote, the embryo clinging to the lining of the uterus, a tadpole-like fetus and the remarkably developed ear of a 18-week old fetus, among other moments in the process of human reproduction," is not necessarily comforting to someone whose breath has been knocked out of them by the news that they are impregnated. However, for me, knowledge is always curative, and by the time I'd reach the last picture in A Child is Born, I was ready to pant-pant-breathe.

So I'm hoping that is what will happen here. If I just learn enough about Buda + Pesh, maybe I'll be able to appreciate the glow of the sun on the Danube. I mean, that castle is pretty cool!

When I went to Paris, I studied. I read at least six travel books, studied pictures and maps. I had a list of 100 places to see in Paris (in 5 days.) I divided the city up into sectors and started each morning at the farthest point, coming back toward the hotel through tourist spots like the grave of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, the Louvre, the Big Thumb Statue by the Grande Arche, and so forth.

I can do this!

So, survey is. . . what are the best sites to see in Budapest? I need your help. We leave in February and I'm just on my first travel guide!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Read Classic Literature: #5 of Ten Things for a Young Person to Do

Dear Stevie,

#5 is read classic literature. We talked about this, I know, but how can I write #6 here without including #5. So, let me 'splain, no, there is too much, let me sum up.

When I was your age, I think that I missed an opportunity. I did some good things and I read some good things, but I missed some good things too. I read non-fiction. Your father warned me. "Why don't you read fiction?" he said. I failed to heed his warning for quite a while, but he was right.

So, I pass along to you this recommendation. Read fiction, but read good fiction. And I'm not quite sure how one might define that. I think it must be different for different people. I think it should be fun but not necessarily easy. I think you should train your reading eyes with books that are recognized by many as classics. However, when you look at the lists of 100 best books of all time, of which there are many, you will be surprised that they are each horrifyingly unique, which can only mean that no one agrees about "best" in books.

Random House
NY Times

Here are my ten starter novels and maybe I'm saying they are my ten starter authors. They are not top ten because I don't think I know the top ten yet.

Adam Bede by George Eliot
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hamlet by Shakespeare
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
The Plague by Albert Camus
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy

You might say, "hey there, ho there, this is more than ten!" But one is a play and one is a short story, so I can get away with it. I would include The Living by Annie Dillard, but her best writing really falls into the non-fiction category.

So, that's it.

MOM aka brd

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot