I have a new blog for 2012 – Assignment 35.
In honor of the 35th anniversary of my move to Denver, I’ve adopted a random set of assignments which involve the number 35.
See you over at the new place.
Posted in Blogging, Books, City, Culture, Current Events, Denver, General Suz-ness, Good things, Life and death, Movies, Music, Travel, tagged 2012, blog, blogging, books, Denver, Movies, music on January 7, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Another news story covered via twitter. See http://twitter.com/2drinksbehind. The saga starts with the tweet that reads “Holy f*g sh**t I wasbjust in a plane crash!”
HFS, that’s my airport. God, I am so glad everyone got out of the plane. (Continental flight 1404 from Denver (DEN) to Houston (IAH), went off runway into ravine on takeoff at 6:18 p.m. last night. Our local TV news is now giving us pictures of the plane sitting upright, covered with firefighters’ foam that looks like snow. But isn’t. DFD says the fire was intense but apparently didn’t get into cabin until everyone was out, nobody got burned.)
I was out there yesterday morning for my volunteer shift. Noticed it was windy as hell when I left, but that was six hours before the accident.
It’s bad enough that evil winter weather all over the rest of the country is messing up airline flight schedules. This accident has caused closure of half of DEN’s 6 runways for several hours, although I hear now that 1 or 2 of the 3 West airfield runways have been reopened, meaning that 4 or 5 of DEN’s 6 are again in operation.
Sorry, air-traveling people, looks like delays and cancellations all over the place this weekend.
I hate Christmas. Never was much on it and have come to dislike it more each year.
I once bought a big artificial tree (half price) because, well, if you’re a grownup with your own home you’re sort of supposed to. The happiest I have felt about Christmas in decades? Was when I dumped the tree and of all my Christmas decorations. Yesss!!
That’s one reason why I’m going to be very disappointed if my scheduled trip to Thailand doesn’t happen. I was so looking forward to escaping half of the horrible month of December, and I ain’t just talking about the weather in Denver. I wasn’t going to be gone on the day itself but happily absent during most of the pointless hoo-hah leading up to it.
Dayum, I had finally booked a December getaway, and now the Thais have hung out the “GO AWAY” sign. I am staying tuned to see if they can get the Bangkok airport opened for business next week and I can take my trip.
Maybe I can get a last-minute deal and go to Mexico instead.
Mary Winter’s column in today’s Rocky Mountain News explains it very well, although I don’t share her interest in changing a huge economic and cultural phenomenon. Or skiing. Entire column is below the fold if the link doesn’t work.
I’ve lost my mind. Next Saturday I am going to embark on an impractical, time-consuming and totally unnecessary project that will last for exactly one month. I am going to write a novel. OK, the first draft of a novel.
And the really scary thing?
I’m not in this alone. It’s been done by thousands of people, 9 times before this. This is the tenth time.
Seriously, run don’t walk to your bookstore or library and get hold of No Plot, No Problem. Which is fun and joyous and very well-written. Well, I’m sure the first half of it is anyway, because I’ve read it at least twice. The second half is to be read in installments corresponding to the weeks of November, and for once I’m not reading ahead in a book. Instead I’m making all kinds of notes in my little notebook, in anticipation of November 1.
Until November 30, my middle name is Exuberant Imperfection.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding is a short children’s book in which a little girl worries about “losing” her favorite Uncle Bobby because he’s getting married. It’s on the shelves of the Douglas County public libraries. Dougco is the southernmost county in the sprawling Denver Metro area, and at least until recently one of the fastest-growing (as to population) counties in the USA. It’s affluent, super-suburban, and deeply Republican.
Dougco’s public library system is headed by Jamie Larue, who also blogs at myliblog.
I found his blog today, and am just blown away by the wonderful, thoughtful letter – printed in full in this blog post – he wrote to a woman who objected to the library’s having Uncle Bobby’s Wedding on its shelves in the children’s section. She objected because Uncle Bobby’s marriage is to another man.
I urge you to read Jamie Larue’s letter to that woman if it’s all you read today. It’s a wonderful statement of what public libraries are about, among other things.
Sadly, he now reports more negative feedback. Which looks like an organized “ban the book” campaign. Some people just don’t get it.
Best wishes to Mr. Larue as he deals with this, and to the Dougco library board of trustees who no doubt will be pushed and lobbied and harangued by the bookburner fringe over this.
I know some nice people. Including the ones who called me Thursday to offer me their tickets to last night’s performance of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. And the friend who accepted my last-minute invitation to go with me.
Dinner beforehand was good. It was a lovely spring evening to be out and about. Downtown was bustling but not frantically crowded
Inside Boettcher Hall, our seats were primo. The program was Johann Sebastian Bach and Vivaldi; there’s nothing like baroque music to clean the cobwebs and clutter out of my brain for a few hours, and this program was a joy.
I could get a crush on Scott Yoo, the guest conductor and violinist. Who just about rocked the house with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. The podium was removed during intermission, and he fiddled away right on the same level as the musicians he was conducting. Vigorously, intensely, totally.
Thanks, everybody. That was fun!
In a sane society he would be showered with the big money now paid to US Major League Baseball players, drug-addicted rock stars, and CEOs of huge and soon-to-be-bankrupt corporations. He might be dogged by paparazzi when going to a movie. His statements would be lead items on teevee newscasts.
Thomas L. Friedman is, I hope, not starving, but I doubt the NY Times signed him up with a contract for tens of millions in compensation. He understands the Mideast, the oil and energy situation, and many other issues critical to our survival, and explains them in newspaper columns and books so that simple people like me can understand them.
He is a genius. We should listen to him.
But we’d rather obsess endlessly over Paris and Lindsey and Britney and the Thug of the Week in professional sports and American Idol.
Friedman’s columns are syndicated and I get to read them in The Denver Post. Today’s is a classic – even unto the title, “Dumb as we Wanna Be” – and I am going to reprint it right here because I devoutly hope that as many people as possible will read it and think. It is copyrighted and owned and possessed and controlled and whatever by the author and/or the New York Times and believe me when I cross my heart and look heavenward and swear and affirm that I have no designs, carnal or commercial, on this copy, and am only hoping to spread the message of a very wise man who walks among us.
In case you don’t read it all, here’s the last line, the money quote, amen:
And here’s the full column:
Dumb as We Wanna Be
It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer’s travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.
When the summer is over, we will have increased our debt to China, increased our transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit.
No, no, no, we’ll just get the money by taxing Big Oil, says Mrs. Clinton. Even if you could do that, what a terrible way to spend precious tax dollars — burning it up on the way to the beach rather than on innovation?
The McCain-Clinton gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: “Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most.” (more…)
Fightingwindmills asked a very good question yesterday: what’s the origin of “woot” – also spelled “w00t”?
After fooling around with irreverent responses to her question, I decided to act like the responsible educated adult I play in real life. And look it up.
The Urban Dictionary has several pages of definitions of Woot/W00t. The top one says:
Woot originated as a hacker term for root (or administrative) access to a computer. However, with the term as [sic] coincides with the gamer term, “w00t”.
“w00t”was originally [a truncated] expression common among players of Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role-playing game for “Wow, loot!” Thus the term passed into the net-culture where it thrived in video game communities and lost its original meaning and is used simply as a term of excitement.
I defeated the dark sorcerer! Woot!”
“woot! i r teh flagmastar!” (Think Tribes)
“Woot, I pwnzed this dude’s boxen!’
My fuddy-duddy old self was sad to see the garbled syntax in the second sentence, and that “truncated” was misspelled and preceded by “an.” Back when mastodons roamed the earth and dirt was young and you could buy nickel Cokes at the drugstore fountain counter, I was taught that dictionaries are created by the world’s pickiest fussiest most precise and inexhaustibly thorough wordsmiths. Dictionaries, I learned, are the last books in the universe in which typographical errors, misspellings, or grammatical mistakes could be found.
To which my spontaneous INFP self responds, the Urban Dictionary is a wiki thing, an organic social creation. Mistakes happen. And English is a living language, always changing. So chill out and switch to decaf already, ’cause you know you love technology and the innernets and email and digital photography and all that stuff we didn’t have back then.
Even though the domesticated mastodons were kind of sweet, and handy as pack animals.
Last night I had dinner with friends at the new Limelight Supper Club. I had salmon; the meal was good and the service almost too enthusiastic – no doubt a reaction to a recent newspaper column slamming the Kevin Taylor restaurants, including the Limelight, for shoddy service.
The Limelight’s just opened in a space formerly occupied by a lackluster restaurant, and we hope the new operation keeps up to its current standards. It’s right there in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, steps away from the DCPA, the Ellie, the Buell Theatre, and Boettcher.
I’ve had DCPA season tickets for years now, and this is so far the most powerful, memorable season-kickoff lineup they’ve had. All three plays are winners, and I’m hoping the rest of the season can keep up this pace.
Our House – reviewed here - is playwright Theresa Rebeck’s brutal, dark, hilarious satire of reality TV and its effects on the people who watch it. As the Denver Post reviewer says:
What distinguishes “Our House” from lesser pop-culture satires is the writer’s sharp, unapologetic anger. One can imagine Rebeck writing this pointed diatribe in an inspired fury, skewering random targets like reality TV, media mergers, gun control and more. “Our House” is an absurd play, but it’s not a farce. It’s too close to real for that. Instead it’s a mind-bending activity that will send departing theatergoers off with synapses firing like so many sniper’s bullets.
That’s not to say “Our House,” now in its world premiere staging by the Denver Center Theatre Company, is fully satisfying just yet. It’s ferociously performed and ideologically compelling from start to lickety-split finish. But it’s also at times contradictory and always intentionally messy. . . .
But Rebeck doesn’t want you to love her play. She wants you to listen to what it has to say — if you can tear yourself away from “Celebrity Apprentice” long enough to hear it.
Rebeck’s unabashed triumph is her creation of two utterly original and somehow alluring lowlifes. There’s Merv, a St. Louis grad student and TV-obsessed narcissist who has reclined his way into $4,000 of debt, creating a powder keg of antagonism with a roommate who calls a house meeting to vote on his eviction (a brilliant machination that harkens “Big Brother”).
And there’s Wes (Danny Mastrogiorgio), the network boss obsessed with Jennifer (Molly Ward), an ambitious anchor beauty who pronounces “Shiite” as “shyte.” Wes plucks her from his news division to host a reality show because, sadly, it’ll give her greater exposure (they’re mercilessly patterned after real-life married CBS power couple Les Moonves and news anchor/”Big Brother” host Julie Chen).
Presented in a single 90-minute act, Our House was a little messy, a little shocking, horrendously funny in spots, and utterly fascinating. Although I’ve never watched any of the broadcast networks’ “reality” shows and barely recognized Julie Chen’s name, I surely thought twice about grabbing the remote to turn on the tube when I got home last night.
[T]he Denver Center Theatre Company’s massive world-premiere stage adaptation [by Eric Schmiedl] of [Kent] Haruf’s best-selling novel, a sweeping panorama about an unremarkable, fictional cattle-ranching town on the plains east of Denver.
. . . While “Plainsong” is an ultimately uplifting story about family, Haruf writes unflinchingly about harsher realities of small-town life, such as drunkenness, sexual abuse, adultery, violence and depression.
News of the novel didn’t reach me under whatever rock I was living beneath, back when it was a bestseller, so I haven’t yet read it. A friend said that’s probably best, because my experience of the play wasn’t colored by my memory of the novel. Thank goodness, I also missed the soppy Hallmark TV adaption of the novel, which Haruf said embodied every single thing he told the producers to avoid. Yeesh.
I liked the play so much I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. And if you don’t know how easily I get restless sitting in a theatre, you have no idea what a tribute that is.
The third new play is Lydia, which will probably be the most controversial play in this trio. By turns lyrical and brutal, realistic and mystical, it may have been the most thought-provoking for me. It had the most hard-to-watch moments. The play built skillfully to the climax but then, I thought, the playwright (Octavio Solis) failed to bring it as adeptly to a close.
Finally, on the book front, Patti Thorn at the Rocky published a thoughtful analysis of Our Mayor’s “One Book, One Denver” program which got off to a so-so start four years ago and has lost ground since then. Thorn writes:
Maybe you remember my recent column, headlined “One Book final event one snoozer.”
In it, I recapped what has to rank as one of the more dreadful evenings of recent memory: Sitting in a dark, cold high school auditorium, listening to author Nick Arvin read from his World War II novel to the unfortunate accompaniment of an electric guitar approximating the sound of bombs going off.
It was part of Denver’s 2007 community reading program, One Book, One Denver. And I have to admit, I was embarrassed for the city. The event was ill-conceived, poorly executed and uninspiring.
Far worse was the underlying sense, amid the discordant guitar riffs and drowned-out prose, that One Book, One Denver itself was bombing. Only 100 others joined me that night, a paltry showing if you consider the main author event has attracted as many as 800 in past years.
Indeed, the community reading series designed to encourage all Denverites to read and discuss the same book hit a participation low in 2007. Record-keeping has been irregular at best, but city staffers estimate that book sales and library circulation totalled around 16,000 in the program’s first year in 2004. This time, they plummeted to less than 5,000.
Any further drop and One Book, One Denver is in danger of earning the label one local writer gave it in jest: One Book, One Reader.
She interviewed the manager of the program in Seattle, which started the first citywide reading program, and compares key aspects of the two programs. Bottom line: Denver’s program is committee-driven, inconsistent, a victim of political correctness and fatally flawed by trying to be all things to all readers of all ages.
OK, enough of this writing about culture. The Super Bowl’s about to start. Not that I really care which team wins. And I may wait to change channels until this BBC America documentary that I have on, “My Big Breasts and Me,” is over.
It’s OK. I contained myself. No F-bombs in this post. Barely.
I am seriously pissed, after being at first incredulous.
The Recording Industry Association of America can kiss my grits. What a bunch of greedy power-crazed paranoid idiots they are.
They are suing a man for copying 2000 songs from CDs that he PURCHASED legally onto his own home computer. The RIAA’s going after him for copyright infringement and music stealing and maybe also for vagrancy, loitering with intent to creep, sedition, felony bad taste and illegal license plates.
I am not making this up – OK, except for the probable additional charges part. I wish I were. Story is here in the WaPo and all over the innernets by now too.
So the RIAA sez that I can buy CDs (as I did just last night, as it happens), but only listen to them in whatever inconvenient way the RIAA thinks best? Yep. I’m a criminal because I used my LEGALLY acquired iTunes software to copy my OWN LEGALLY PURCHASED CD music, for my OWN listening enjoyment (not for distribution) onto my OWN LEGALLY PURCHASED PC? According to the RIAA, I’m stealing every time I copy a song, even in those circumstances. (more…)
Luciano Pavarotti – O Holy Night
Peace and joy, everybody. Enjoy the music.
Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends – Joan Osborne
A favorite Kristofferson song, performed by Joan Osborne.
Dedicated, I suppose, to those Mr. Wrongs I met along my journey who were lots of fun for awhile.
I would give every damn blog post I’ve ever written, and almost anything else I have, in exchange for the ability to tell stories like Brenda Wooley’s.
Brenda shares some of her stories with us on her blog, One Kentucky Writer. She doesn’t post every day. But everything she posts is worth reading. Not scanning, not glancing, not skimming. If her stories were food, they would be low-glycemic: the stuff that gives your blood long-term nourishment. Not the slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am spike-plunge-vanish junk of empty calories.
Her latest blog story reminded me of how it felt to be a little kid in a big crowd, jostled and spilling my soft drink, and of looking down at my feet to admire a new pair of sandals.
Thank you, Brenda.
I have season tickets for a regional theater company here. The last several times I’ve queued up in the main floor ladies’ room there, no matter which stall I end up in, I have found that the stall no longer has either the fold-down purse shelf which each stall used to have, or the basic purse/coat hook which also used to be there. Which means that to use the facility as intended: I had to hang my purse around my neck or put it on the floor, and if I had an overcoat I had to lay it over the top of the door (and hope it didn’t slide off).
Bad enough, but we’ve attended plays there twice in two weeks this month and each time I used that restroom, I tried three different soap dispensers at the sinks, and they were all empty.
So I went online to their website and found an email link to someone under the heading “facilities.” A woman, to whom I sent a polite email of complaint about these experiences. I received a nice reply later that day, which besides noting that the soap dispenser situation would be remedied immediately, said this (I’ve added the bolding for emphasis):
Thank you for your email and I apologize that you have been dissatisfied with a small part of your theatre experience at the [major downtown theater complex whose initials are DCPA]. I have directed your inquiry to our Facilities Manager and he is making arrangements to add hooks to the stalls in the womens’ bathrooms. I learned that not having the hooks was the current choice, because there was a general consensus that hooks greaten the likelihood of purses and other personal items being left behind.
Yep, what that woman so tactfully related is that someone – I suspect a MALE someone – decided that the little ladies would be less likely to leave their purses and umbrellas and coats behind in the bathroom stalls, if they just had no way to let go of them while attending to calls of nature. Never mind how difficult it is for a female to use the toilet while clutching a handbag and wearing an overcoat; just think how more efficiently those guys can manage the facilities if there are fewer items left behind to end up in the lost and found.
Thank goodness a woman has been heard on the issue. I’m expecting to see purse hooks the next time I use that ladies’ room.
Yesterday I watched a documentary on MSNBC about McDonald’s. It was a repeat; the show was first aired last July. Hosted by Carl Quintanilla, the program featured some critics of McDonald’s who view it as the insidious purveyor of unhealthy food which it shamelessly markets to children.
It got me to wondering about the social history of the American hamburger. I’m old enough to remember the days when there wasn’t a McDonald’s on every corner in every town in the US. But we were all plenty familiar with hamburgers, fries and soft drinks. Also with drive-in hamburger joints. Maybe it was a regional thing, and they didn’t have such things in the Northeast until McDonald’s got there.
I’m wondering about this because some of the critics of McDonald’s food sound like they think McDonald’s invented hamburgers and fries. Like regular Americans were all happily eating whole grain bread, granola and fresh fruit for lunch until (cue the horror movie music) the crazed geniuses working for Ray Kroc invented hamburgers and fries and foisted them off on an unsuspecting innocent populace.
I’m no hard-core libertarian, and I don’t patronize Mickey D’s unless I’m on a road trip – they have clean bathrooms and good coffee – but listening to a few of those anti-Mac fanatics brought the phrase “nanny state” to mind. And “out to lunch.”
I almost always worked the day after Thanksgiving, because I almost always worked for state or local government agencies who do not observe the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday, and I saw no reason to burn a day of vacation leave on it.
On Thanksgiving Friday the office was quiet. It was the perfect time to catch up on work without a lot of interruptions from phone calls and other things. Like chatty co-workers, because most of them had taken the four-day weekend. I doubt that blessed quiet will survive the Blackberry culture, now that the boss and everybody else can generate annoying email traffic from offsite.
One of the most blessed things about working the day after Thanksgiving was NOT SHOPPING ON BLACK FRIDAY. I do not have the words for how much I hate shopping in crowded stores. For how my gut literally churns when I read the inevitable news stories about innocent kids trampled by sweaty fat adults rushing through the doors of Wal-mart to grab one of the loss leader color TVs.
But here’s another scary thing. According to this morning’s newspaper ads, the stores are opening so early tomorrow that determined shoppers can hit a few selected targets and still get to the office on time. If they aren’t injured in the earlybird frenzy.
In case anyone wants to plan their Black Friday shopping, here’s a schedule of retail store opening times for Friday, November 23:
OPENING AT 4:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 5:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 6:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 7:00 A.M.:
OPENING AT 8:00 A.M. OR REGULAR HOURS:
A few stores are opening this afternoon or tonight. I refuse to give them free publicity. They should let their employees have the day off. Grinches.
If you go shopping tomorrow, be careful out there.
An unsung writer of book jacket copy blew out some brain wiring over Rosie O’Donnell’s new book, Celebrity Detox. The jacket copy ends with a flourish:
Rosie O’Donnell illuminates not only what it’s like to be a celebrity, but also what it’s like to be a mother, a daughter, a leader, a friend, a sister, a wife…in short, a human being.
You know, isn’t it wonderful what these selfless celebrities will do for us poor clueless regular unfamous dregs of society? I mean, Rosie could be out walking her dogs or calling her hogs or otherwise living her exciting famous Hollywood star life. And instead she sat down at a computer and sweated out a WHOLE BOOK to tell us WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A HUMAN BEING.
And I for one am damn grateful for this sacrifice. Just the other day I was wondering about this human being business. I mean, do I really know what it’s like to be one?
I could have been doing it ALL WRONG, for all these years. And never known.
So I checked this critically important and helpful book out of the library last night, so that at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE (unless I keep it out too long and incur overdue fines) I can finally learn what it’s like to be a human being.
I’m sure I will want to take notes when I’m reading it.
I admitted here the other day that I’ve been watching too much TV. But over the weekend I didn’t watch much TV. Instead, when home (and I did go out and do things) I spent way too much time browsing the fora* over at Television without Pity, a site I found on Friday. I had much snarky fun reading and contributing to discussions of some of the obscure shows I watch on HGTV, BBC America, TLC and the various Discovery channels. And learned some things.
But with knowledge comes disillusionment.
Thus with the HGTV show Freestyle - which according to the network website is “a no-cost design show where professional re-arrangers de-clutter, reorganize and move furniture and accessories around in a room, to give homeowners a dramatic new look without spending a dime!”
Nice idea. But they lie.
Last year Freestyle was busted in a Washington Post article by Jill Barshay, one of their makeover subjects. The makeover cost her $1,000, thanks to a pre-show shopping trip with the show’s designer in which Barshay bought a daybed for $750. She also had some original artwork framed for another $250 - the producer nixed the pieces. Barshay muses: “Apparently a Rodin-like nude is considered pornography. Who owns HGTV, I wondered, John Ashcroft?”
Among other revelations: the TV crew rearranged Barshay’s furniture into a really bad layout before starting the shoot; the producer made Barshay repeatedly rehearse her “ad-libbed” introduction, then whined that it sounded too scripted; and:
The crew, meantime, was peeling off price tags and planting $1,000 worth of newly purchased furniture and accessories in other rooms. Then later, we could conveniently “find” them, exclaiming how great this lamp, those pillows and that bamboo mat would work in the living room.
The whole article cracked me up and confirmed my suspicions about the veracity of all those “redo a room or three in your home for free/$500/$1000/$2000″ shows. (Click on “continue reading” below if the WPost link doesn’t work and you want to read the story.)
*I know, they call them “forums.” But I took Latin in high school. I just can’t.
I’ve been watching too much TV lately. OK, I don’t literally sit in front of the tube holding the remote and staring at the screen. The TV is on a lot when I’m home. I’m usually absorbing the TV shows while I’m on the computer (as I’m doing right now), reading, twiddling around in the kitchen, or sorting laundry. I sometimes sit down and focus on the tube – for instance, to watch the excellent cable series Mad Men (AMC) and Saving Grace (TNT).
Among the TV content beaming into my living room most of the time: Court TV, other true crime and detection shows, a little Animal Planet, and some shows from Across the Pond on BBC America.
The true crime detection shows often feature either criminal profilers or psychic detectives. In this week’s New Yorker, [Glen Baxter's illustration is at left] Malcolm Gladwell concludes that FBI profilers are about as effective as psychic detectives when you get right down to predicting the identity of the actual perpetrators of crimes. Gladwell cites a researcher’s review of an FBI profiler’s case analysis: “when he broke down the rooftop-killer analysis, sentence by sentence, he found that it was so full of unverifiable and contradictory and ambiguous language that it could support virtually any interpretation.”
Citing a book I now want to read, Ian Rowland’s The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading, Gladwell lists the types of statements which are used in combination by psychics and astrologers to “convince even the most skeptical observer that he or she is in the presence of real insight:” the Rainbow Ruse, the Jacques Statement, the Greener Grass technique, the Diverted Question, Sugar Lumps, Forking (!!?), and the Good Chance Guess. Quoting the profile created by FBI profilers and given to Wichita, Kansas, cops who were looking for the BTK Killer, Gladwell points out:
If you’re keeping score, that’s a Jacques Statement, two Barnum Statements, four Rainbow Ruses, a Good Chance Guess, two predictions that aren’t really predictions because they could never be verified—and nothing even close to the salient fact that BTK was a pillar of his community, the president of his church and the married father of two.
On BBC America, I enjoy the camped-up reality show “How Clean is Your House?” on weekdays.
Which is how I happened to see the show that follows HCIYH, an exercise in pseudo-science and public bullying called “You Are What You Eat.” It stars a skinny acidulated bleached blonde female who enthuses over the flavor of strange food concoctions, scolds the overweight junk-food-addicted subjects, acts perplexed when some of them nearly gag on exotic concoctions of health food, diagnoses their health quite specifically by inspecting their tongues and (yes!) their poo, (more…)
Sometimes things aren’t what they seem at first glance. My current life, for instance.
A casual observer – although I don’t see anybody else around here – would look at my life these days and say I am lazing around. Goofing off. Maybe even (and chills run down my arms as I type this) Letting Myself Go.
After all, Casual Observer would say if asked, I’m not working at any job or scheduled volunteer activities. I’m not earning money; I’m living on a modest retirement income. I sit up late reading books and magazines with the TV on. I sleep later than I ever did when I had a job, then take my sweet time about getting dressed and leaving the condo. I spend lots of time online, and have devoted untold hours to editing my digital photos – and wandering around town taking even more photos, which I then sit down and edit. I go to movies and plays with friends, dine out with friends, hang out with family. I’ve taken two serious trips to foreign lands and a few road trips in the USA. And so on.
But our C.O. is – besides being hypothetical – not getting the whole picture. (more…)
I’m considering a road trip this fall, to see some places here in the US. After the price of gasoline and finding decent hotel rooms, I will be concerned about finding the authentic things – the local things - in those places.
Because I know that just driving into any US town means passing strips of chain sameness. McDonald’s. Walgreen’s. W*l-mart. Not so many Sears and Penneys stores as there used to be. Chili’s. Love’s. On and on.
You have to dig to find the local places to eat, to shop, to visit. Thank goodness for those AAA travel books, although they probably can’t cover everything.
Last night I enjoyed local pleasures: dinner at the Handle Bar & Grill, and a play at Germinal Stage Denver. If you’re in Denver and looking for dinner and a play, please don’t be put off by their websites, which are inferior (HB&G) and annoyingly bad (GSD).
The Handle Bar should have its logo on its site, but I didn’t see it there. It’s an eatery inspired by the sport of bicycling. It’s motto: “We ain’t no chain.” The noise from the bar last night drifted clear over to our table, but the food was, as usual, good. And we could hear ourselves think, and talk.
The theater pros at Germinal Stage Denver work their magic on a tiny stage. You won’t find the GSD experience anywhere else. But you may have a small professional theater in your town. If you’ve been meaning to get tickets, this might be a good time to do that. For an authentic, local, experience.
You have to love Niecy Nash on Clean House. Always turned out bandbox-spiffy from head to toe. Just the right sass and attitude. Never at a loss for a well-turned phrase. Strict as a spinster schoolmarm with those homeowners drowning in their clutter and mess who cling to their junk – even after they’ve let a TV CREW in because they want help.
Yep. A whole damn TV network crew. Poking their cameras into the nasty garage and junk-littered bedrooms. And still these people can’t part with their precious “collectible” crap. But I digress.
Niecy gave me my favorite phrase this week: Mayhem and foolishness. (Used by bizzy, better than I’ve done, but still.)
So much mayhem and foolishness in the news today, I don’t know where to start.
Seriously. I’m rethinking my longtime early morning routine - reading the daily newspaper with the TV or radio news on in the background while sipping my coffee and scarfing down breakfast. I could get crazy if I pay too much attention. If this trend continues, I’m going to start using words which really don’t add much to informed civil discourse on any subject.
WordPress.com blogs have all been blocked in Turkey. By lawyers representing a nutcase activist (see this blog post for some information). Who seems to threaten slander against anyone who dares write about him in an unflattering light.
I hope WordPress gets un-blocked soon.
Update: An article about it all here.
Have any states yet legalized marriage between human beings and TV shows? If so, I’m going to throw a few things in a bag and run off with “Mad Men,” the new drama on AMC set in the world of advertising at the dawn of the sixties—and encompassing New York life, and marriage, and sex, and repression, and what America was and was not. It is gorgeous in every way. As it should be—it’s the spawn of all those handsome, stylish office movies that were made in the fifties. Like those movies, “Mad Men” is smart and tremendously attractive, and it stirs you more than it probably should. It may not be deep, but if you’re a certain age and have a certain sensibility and certain fantasies of what New York used to be like (thanks to those movies) it hits a deep place in you, like a straight-up Martini made of memory and desire.
And of course, Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Gorgeous indeed.
Read any good books lately? Well, I have. Two, in fact. And I’ll tell you about them.
First, Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. A memoir of childhood in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, in the 1950′s. Bryson is in fine and funny form, showing us his own eccentric family in the context of the prosperous, confident, happy, and long-vanished society that was the United States of America in the 1950′s.
If you don’t like messing up your books, then don’t read this one while eating or drinking. Because I guarantee you will start laughing helplessly at some point when your mouth is full. At which time you will have to choose between choking or showering the open pages with at least a few drops of that diet Coke or beer or bite of burger. (Don’t tell me that in your case it would be Chardonnay or Chivas, and a light salad – I doubt anybody with refined taste would be reading this blog to start with. And anyway, you just don’t read this book while eating exotic foods, such as yogurt, which were unknown to folks in Mid-America in 1957. It just wouldn’t be right.)
Bill Bryson’s love for Australia (more…)
As if I had nothing better to do tonight - such as pack for the week-long trip that starts tomorrow – I decided to check some of the links in my blogroll. While I was away in May, there were some changes for:
I’ve clicked on some of the other links tonight to see if any are dead yet. So far I haven’t found any dead ones but I didn’t have time to check them all. Maybe next week. What I have learned tonight:
When I was a little girl, the dime store in town was called “Woolworth’s.” It was one of the huge F. W. Woolworth chain of stores – which have all disappeared now. Wikipedia says the company evolved into Foot Locker.
Last month in Australia I saw “Woolworths” signs on stores. They are a grocery chain, and that company has no connection at all to the old American F. W. Woolworth Company.
I got used to remembering that “Woolworths” means “groceries” and “supermarket” there, but I wasn’t there long enough to make the connection seamlessly. The old brain still recognized the two different retail chains when the eyes or ears registered the word.
I bought one of their $.99 reusable shopping bags at the Cairns store, and used it today for my grocery shopping at King Soopers.
Neither of our two large grocery chains – King Soopers and Safeway – offer bags like this in this area, although they have sold some canvas bags at a higher price. However, our local Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers featured similar bags, also priced at $.99, in their recent newspaper ad.