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Rumilluminations Now
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Sat, October 01 2016 - 8:35 pm

October 25, 2016
Madison IN

Here comes another step downward into risk that begins with a seemingly innocent style - leisurely: low risk leisurely.

I must prepare you at this point. Not everyone should be exposed to the horrors of low risk leisurely behaviors.

These are characterized by flexibility and supportive and helpful behaviors.

Horrors! How can we avoid contact with characters imbued with these traits?

To tell the truth, I cannot think of a Halloween costume that would sufficiently express the darkness inherent in these qualities. To whom would such attributes cause even minor risk? I cannot envision them being a problem unless their possessor also failed to have a conscience or a brain.

Hmmm...a Halloween costume.... What is flexible and supportive and helpful? A rubber band, maybe. In the wrong hands a rubber band can deliver quite a sting. Trying to think of a costume that would convey the sinister nature of a low risk leisurely person as a personified rubber band is too much of a challenge for me, though.

Sorry. I have promised progressively darker subject matter in these days approaching Halloween and I fell kind of flat today.

Maybe a doormat would be an appropriate Halloween costume. On a porch with no light.

*Being Canadian  Let's see, maple syrup, Canadian bacon, and they have signs in English and French instead of English and Spanish. But that's me. Rob Cohen says some of that and a whole lot funny more. Lots of laughs.


*My Blueberry Nights  Introspective by contemporary standards - an entertaining pilgrimage to self-knowledge.

*Murphy's Romance  Good old-fashioned May-December romance. Well, at least it seems old-fashioned now. This earned James Garner an Oscar nomination.

October 24, 2016 
Madison IN

I'm kind of enjoying my descent into the dark side as Halloween approaches. It balances the giddy spring joy of April Fool's Day.

Whether I can really keep it up for another week remains to be seen, but since I am truly of a leisurely personality style, I will take my sweet time.

My subject for today is not very sinister: it involves the descent into personality disorder from the leisurely style. 

A website called describes this descent in four stages. The first stage is "no risk leisurely," characterised as "candid, cooperative, responsive."

Not even the trace of a shadow here, contrary to what my fellow gym workout conversationalist said. She told me, "If you really look at it, there is resistance there."

Well, no, I am studying it and I don't see resistance as one of the traits listed or even implied.

She must have been referring to resistance within me. In other words, I cannot put myself solidly in the "no-risk" category according to her.

Truth to tell, when I described dictionary synonyms for the l-word yesterday I did overlook a negative synonym listed in Collins English Thesaurus: indolently. See how similar, incidentally, the word indolent is to the word insolent! Surely they are kindred in spirit!

That sloppy unconscious omission must indeed propel me out of the harmless no-risk club of leisurely types. I am downward bound!

There go my plans to be a princess or a fairy godmother for Halloween.

Or even an April Fool!

October 23, 2016 
Madison IN

Oh, most of the dictionaries I looked at seemed to see "leisurely" the way I do: unhurried, without haste, relaxed, easy, deliberate. Slow or lazy might be mentioned - the closest they come to being really negative. Likewise, synonyms given are usually poetic or neutral in nature: comfortable, restful, understanding, laidback.

It is only when looking at the Merriam Webster dictionary that I encounter the negative view of the leisurely style. Oh, the definition is innocuous enough: "without haste; deliberately" - except why put only the word deliberately in (albeit small) capital letters and lurid red?

And the MW thesaurus shows how the dictionary really feels about "leisurely."

"Moving or proceeding at less than the normal, desirable, or required speed."

Wait a minute! The whole idea of leisure is about the lack of external pressure or requirements!

It is as if a wicked witch (or corporate psychopath, completely inhuman and unconcerned with any existence outside the workplace) has grabbed my poor word (of which I am now becoming very fond) and placed an evil nasty spell upon it, turning what was once beautiful into something as ugly as itself.

The "synonyms" MW chooses for leisurely prove this uncalled-for negativity: "Synonyms: crawling, creeping, dallying, dilatory, dillydallying, dragging, laggard, lagging, languid, slow, poking, pokey or pokey, sluggish, snaillike."

I ask you! There aren't more than two words in the lot that aren't insulting or critical.

"Dragging?" Leisurely never meant dragging or creeping or crawling! Did the editors of this thesaurus never read any literature?

Well, darkness is falling, but the darkest night of my poor word is yet to come. 

Tomorrow, perhaps.

October 22, 2016 
Madison IN

Yesterday I had a strange conversation about the word "leisurely."

What could possibly be so strange about such an innocuous word, you might wonder.

Leisurely is relaxed. Leisurely is comfortable. Leisurely is a man in a suit and hat strolling down the avenue, using his unneeded cane as a fashion accessory.

Leisurely is innocent and joyful and harmless.

But no, according to the psychologists (at least the amateur one I talked to yesterday) leisurely has a dark element. It can lead on the slippery slope of continuum to passive aggression. She told me I should study more, so I did.

Oh, the darkness! Halloween is surely approaching!

More tomorrow.

*The Lady from Shanghai  An old (1948) black and white film mystery noir. It's funny - these old movies are so often so much less than you expect them to be, and this one is so much more! Orson Welles is the reason, wielding his cinematographic magic wand.

The other day

*Carol  Very visual film about two lovely characters, and at least one not so lovely. We enjoyed this story very much.  No details! Will not spoil!

October 21, 2016
Madison, IN

*Schindler's List  Of course this movie should be on everyone's must-see list. I thought that it would be hard to watch in one day here at home (not only emotionally upsetting but three hours long) but it was just so well done! As much emotionally engaging as upsetting. 

October 20, 2016 
Madison, IN

Words words words swords swards orders borders
Boarders broader brooders brothers supporters terse
Verse erstwhile wily island landfall awful fully lying ying/
Yang tang anger germane manifold folderol oldsters
Sternum um... stern... um numb umber beryl Erroll
Rolling lingering ringtones bonehead effort fortress
Tresses stresses esters terse verse all words   

October 19, 2016 
Madison, IN

Some people are making a big deal about the fact that there are deceased citizens who are still on the registration rolls of their county election boards.

That does not mean there is anyone voting in their names.

Maybe another requirement for the executor of an estate to perform could be the delivery of a death certificate to the election board of the deceased. These copies only cost a dollar or two. If there is no will this could be accomplished by the member of the family who lived the closest.

Maybe expecting the election boards to keep their lists up to date as far as the deceased is a little too much to expect. After all, social security can't even manage to keep its lists current!

Which, of course, begs the question: why not?

October 17, 2016 
Madison, IN

A big junk boat was out here along the river shore for days. It had a huge pile of rusting stuff on it, I guess dredged from the river. I meant to take a picture of it because the amount of detritus it was displaying was impressive, but I kept putting it off.

Now the big trash heap is gone, and a pleasure boat, the Queen of Louisville, is here. She isn't a huge wedding cake steamboat; she's more birthday cake boat, with a blue ornament on the top. I don't know how long she is staying.

Walking along Main Street I heard major twittering in the ornamental pear trees but couldn't see any birds except vultures flying far above. Vultures don't twitter. Finally I caught a glimpse or two of gray and white disappearing into the leaves. Small, seemingly very communal birds partying, evidently.

My partner is camping, determined to make himself some Brunswick stew. Well, he has a big bright and beautiful Hunters Moon as a fine aspect for his project.

As for me, Sleep has already caught me while I've been writing this.

Not a good omen for what this passage will do to you!

Unless, of course, you want zzzzzs yourself!

October 16, 2016
Madison, IN

This morning I woke up and started moving books preparatory to doing some cleaning. I came across a diary I was keeping in high school.

Reading it is a little painful for me because I come off as very self-important (hopefully a common teen-age trait) and petty. It's really embarrassing. No shades of Anne Frank there!

What stunned me this time I sampled its pages, though, was how much I remembered wrong. I thought I liked school pretty well, but these pages show otherwise. On the contrary, I longed passionately for vacations.

Now I always say I slept well, and I think it is true. Thought, that is, because it is not true. I had to read myself to sleep, as now, and often read into the wee hours. It is more usual for me these nights to nod off early and wake in the wee hours to read.

Reading descriptions of my moods it is obvious to me now what nobody seemed to notice then. I was definitely bipolar, though evidently not clinically so.

When John Kennedy was assassinated, I was stunned. I thought the human race had evolved beyond that. Silly me! Fifty years later I still find myself surprised and discouraged by our collective behavior.

Some people never learn, I guess.

Me, for one. I don't.

*Sullivan's Travels  Unusual for a comedy, this one has very disparate elements and settings. Set when times were still hard for many in 1941, the film does have some relevance today. Lots of physical comedy involved.

* The Commitments  Fun until the band started... but no, don't let me ruin it for you. Lots of songs in this one - maybe it does last a little too long.


*The Messenger  Those beautiful glass buildings are death to birds. So are a lot of other structures that create power and conveniences to us. See this video to see what can be done to improve the situation. I have noticed many fewer birds myself in the last few years. This is so depressing but a must-see.

October 14, 2016
Madison, IN

Isn't it too bad that synonyms aren't?

I'll run a random test here and see what happens. Bear with me, I'll be going back and forth. First I'm going to pick a word from a book with my eyes closed.

Good Lord. First I got "had". That is really not the kind of word I had in mind and I wasn't going to use it. I will, though. Be right back.

Whew! That proved my statement better than I expected. The word "had" has many meanings, of course, with many synonyms - I'm sure at least fifty in the Google response to my request. Among these meanings: possess, nurse, devour, fool, comprise.

All of these are verbs, of course, but just think: some of these verb words are also nouns. If you used some of them as nouns, you could construct whole sentences comprised almost entirely of synonyms for "had."

The nurse entertained an exhibit comprised of fool-devouring swindles.

A little farfetched, maybe, but that tends to prove my point. What do the words nurse and swindles have in common?

One thing: they are both synonyms for "had".

The next word I picked was "death" - randomly, I promise! I shall return... I think.

This was a little simpler, but still. The words scrolled out innocuously enough at first: demise, ending. Passing could be what you do with a car, but yeah, life passes too.

But murder and execution? Whoa, there!

I've gone on long enough. I think I've proved my point.

Like the Jabberwock, the Thesaurus is something to beware!

So much so that I am inclined to believe they are synonyms.

October 13, 2016 
Madison, IN

We voted yesterday. I guess that made more work for the clerical staff, but less crush on the official day might help them. We are happily helped by early voting, too.

We are also now proofed against those who would proselytize or campaign.

We are election lame ducks!

*L'Asphyxie or, in loose translation, In the Prison of her Skin. Whatever. It is a rather lengthy but involving film about Violette LeDuc, a French novelist of striking imagery and sensuality much encouraged and supported by Simone de Beauvoir.

October 12, 2016 
Madison IN

This morning I realized why love (ultimately) triumphs over hate:

Hate is idiosyncratic; love is universal and global.

Hmmm... I wonder which lights up the brain's neurons more. Do scientists have a way of differentiating between the emotions?

Are individuals different? Do some people light up more with hate, others with love?

*No Escape  This film, an expose of corporate behavior abroad, is also a terrifying thriller. It took a year off my life! I'm sure of it.

*Audrie and Daisy  Documentary about and by teenage date rape and society's victim blaming. Outrageous ignorance (or pretence of ignorance and confusion) about the existing law relating to consent and intoxication and/or age of the victim is no excuse. Sorry, in the case of law-enforcement officers, criminal negligence of their duty. For shame!

October 11, 2016 
Madison IN

The other day I was looking at the results of a Google search for tessellated quilts (?) when I saw my name and website as a go-to for more information (or at least that is the impression I thought it gave.)

There are pictures in my Quiltpics article of a quilt I made after an Escher lizard design which is tesselated, although I didn't use the word in that spot.

The Escher design I copied was from a drawing Escher made of interlocking lizards based on hexagons. I decided to piece together hexagons to create a quilt. I mean, how cool is that? Gigantic lizards crawling around on your bed. Eeeew! Way cool.

There was a hitch, however. I made a drafting mistake which resulted in the tails being imperfect when the hexagons were sewn together. They were all cut already (had to do it that way so the lizards would each be one fabric) so the imperfection is repeated through the whole quilt. Hence the name Lightning Lizards for the quilt.

Ha, ha, I am not one of those craftspeople who have to intentionally make mistakes in order to assure the gods I am not too perfect. Appeasement is unnecessary on my part!

On the other hand, when one of my daughters also wanted a lizard quilt, I wasn't too inclined to suffer another piecemaking graphics nightmare. This time I decided to cut the lizards whole and piece them together entirely by hand. Unlike the hexagon technique which allowed me to machine quilt hexagonal blocks together, this technique required all the piecing to be done by hand.

Both techniques work. Too bad I don't have my daughter's quilt pictured here on I will try to do something about getting up some of my last quilts into an article. They are scattered, though, and in the possession of various family members, so don't hold your breath!

M.C. Escher was such a wonderful graphics artist that there are a multitude of directions in which he can inspire you. In addition to his tessellated designs I have used his interlocking tetrahedrons. Others have designed quilts based on shifting perspective and directionality.

In fact, I enjoy the visual play that Escher has started so much, I think I'll go look at more of these creations by other quiltmakers myself!

October 10, 2016 
Madison, IN

I don wanna write anymore. I only wanna write on FACEBOOK!

I don wanna go outside anymore. I'm flyin with the drones on FACEBOOK!

I don need pets. Gotta lotsa horsies on FACEBOOK.

Don wanna eat. Pretty pretty pictures food yum yum yum on FACEBOOK.

FACEBOOK give friends, food, pets, trips. Laughs. Where's my money?

FACEBOOK! FACEBOOK! Give me money!

October 8, 2016 
Madison, IN

Reading a book last night, all lively with interesting detail of life almost a hundred years ago in China, when war came along.

Oh. War. The great spoiler. In this case, the Great Spoiler II.

Now, I admit, there are other events in the book that are spoilers. Let's face it - there are many experiences in "ordinary" life that are spoilers.

But what equals war? Disease? Influenza and the Plague cost millions of lives, for sure, but everybody runs away from disease except caregivers.

For some reason, scores of people run towards war - even voluntarily leaving a country itself at peace.

I wonder if so many people would do it if we called it "spoiler" instead.

"Oh, he's gone off to spoil." Or, "He's gone off to rot."

Now I'll be accused of disrespect.

Okay, but honestly: how many vets would have gone if they had known how it was going to be?

Instead of calling World War II Great, how about Nasty? 

Oh, well, war is always with us, like the poor.

Hmmmm... how come we don't say the Great Poor? Their numbers, at least, are the greatest of all.

October 7, 2016 
Madison, IN

If I had written this day, I would have written about a non-starter movie or two. One was 

*Hello, My Name is Doris which was - sorry - over the top, even for a comedy. Or not funny. Or maybe just too stupid and irresponsible - even for a comedy! We could no longer stomach it when the lead and her - but no, I wouldn't want to spoil it for you! I'll let the movie do that.


October 6, 2016 
Madison, IN

Price gouging in the face of a hurricane? What kind of person would do that?

Hang around in spite of a mandatory order to evacuate, putting not only herself and her family at risk but also anyone in emergency services unfortunate enough to risk his life to save hers? What kind of person would do that?

People don't believe that bad things can happen to them, I guess. Or they believe their welfare is in the hands of God or Fate.

Some people will take horrible advantage of others before catastrophe. Others will procrastinate and passively await a positively disastrous outcome. Later they will all rhapsodize about how their community "came together in the aftermath of the catastrophe."

Here's a suggestion: in the future, how about helping one another and being supportive and co-operative with each other BEFORE tragedy strikes?

What a novel idea!

*A Man to Remember  Doctor story kind of reminiscent of Ibsen's Enemy of the People, only softer and much happier.


*A Hologram for the King  Strange and kind of sweet film set in a very strange place - Saudi Arabia. 

October 4, 2016 
Madison, IN

Yesterday morning we did walk, as closely as possible, the seven-mile proposed Heritage Trail route.

We left home at about 7:20 and reached the cemetery early enough to see eight or ten deer among the tombstones. Unfortunately we interrupted their breakfast so they left. One big one jumped the wall and ran across the road in front, presumably to check on family while the others, not so sanguine about the smaller folks being able to scale the wall, kind of semi-anxiously milled around for a while before turning and crossing the road yards behind us.

You could just imagine them saying, "Thanks, hubby! Taking off and leaving us with the kids!" although the deserter had no rack and might not have been a male at all.

Hatcher Hill Road was a revelation. It's been paved! It, of course, bends to the left to join Michigan Drive.

After walking along Michigan we turned on Hooten and meandered through - a neighborhood. Okay. It was at this point my partner said he enjoyed taking this walk with me but would never do it again.


Reaching Cragmont uptown, we went through a park with a lake that we didn't even know existed. (Score one for the Heritage Trail!)

We had a little difficulty finding the point at which we should leave the lake path to cross the railroad tracks and Highway 7 to find Orchard Street, but that was okay: we had a beautiful sighting of a big red-tailed hawk fully illuminated by the morning sun. Spectacular!

I guess after entering the neighborhood next to the State Hospital and penitentiary grounds we are just supposed to walk along the main drive employees take to work. Will the ultimate route have a separate path? We hope so.

From there we passed the veteran's cemetery and the penitentiary to head down the already established Heritage Trail.

We sighted only one outhouse on the whole loop in addition to the big public bathroom on West and Vaughn. We figure that's about five miles (and 2.5 hours) with no amenities at all, so take enough water! (We didn't see any bathrooms in the uptown lake park.)

To be fair, the public will be officially introduced to this trail October 15th. I may walk it again to see what progress has been made by then.

"That is, if the weather be good!"

*Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead  Well, what a meaningless, disappointing star-studded dud that was!

October 3, 2016 
Madison, IN

Too bad it's not Sunday. I feel another sermon about sins of commission and omission coming on.

I would like to see a graph or depiction of disability and social security fraud against the government by the poor (sins of commission) compared to the perhaps legal but unconscionable and even immoral failure on the part of many of the super-rich to pay a fair share (sometimes any at all!) of taxes.

That latter uncharitable behavior is definitely a sin of omission - I'm willing to bet a towering log on a graph or a mountain of dollars spent heartlessly on self-gratification that would dwarf all the petty fraud of the lower classes.

It would take a lot of judgment to create such a graphic accounting. It would take a lot of fairness and maybe decision-making. How about using rates of taxation of the rich in a year from the decade around 1960 or so when the middle class was strong to create a standard by which to judge current two-percenters? Or maybe the upper five percent.

I bet, though, that the sin of the "taking" lower classes is a hillock compared to the mountain of money ungenerously withheld from society by the disproportionately rich.

Oh, I would love to see such a graph! The omissions would be like the vacuum in space as compared to the stars!

*All This and Heaven Too  Wonderful acting of this basically true(!) story doesn't quite make up for the length and overly repetitious masochism of the film. The production may, however. I'm glad we watched it.

October 2, 2016 
Madison, IN

Cooler weather energizes me, and it is about time!

I began organizing the papers on my desk for the first time in four months! I'm shocked at myself. I knew it was bad, but it was worse than I knew.

Why, I am feeling so energized I think I'll challenge a Trump supporter to a duel.

Maybe I'll walk the new seven-mile plan for the Heritage Trail on the day we, the community, have been invited - October 15, 1 to 5 p.m. Maybe I'll hike it tomorrow!

The idea is that the new trail will help connect "on the hill" Madison with "historic" Madison down along the Ohio River. Well, I don't know. I've been wanting to take a walk that is a truncated version of the proposed route, and haven't managed it for months. I'm lucky to get to the top of the hill and back down on one leg of the grand loop trail.

But, wait! Come to think of it, it's been hot. Summertime hot. Humid hot. Melt mushy in your tracks hot.

Now it's no longer hot! It's cool October and all things are possible.

*The Strange Lady in Town  Weird 1955 movie about a nonliberated supposedly liberated female doctor in non-Santa Fe, New Mexico replete with saguaro and ocotillo (which don't grow within 200 miles of Santa Fe) and without cathedral not to mention any other recognizable location. Acting not good, either. As my partner grumbled, "Why does TCM call this a classic movie? There's nothing classic about it." I could mention a Zozobra featured thirty years before its invention - but I wouldn't want to ruin this film for you! 

October 1, 2016 
Madison IN

Today when I bathed I still had sandal tan patches on my feet.

When has that ever happened in October before?

I had to listen to more reports of a Presidential candidate using foul language towards others, especially women. When has that happened in an election-year October before?

A lot of the trees on the other side of the Ohio seem to have dropped their leaves, but I didn't see them turn color. Is salt runoff from Highway 421 finally getting to them?

This year I have twice inadvertently invited hostile males (not counting Trump) into my home via Facebook - you know, like TV is in my living room - onscreen except this is textual commentary. So much anger! Frisson!

Halloween is coming!

*Hesher  Strange movie. I don't really want to say it's derivative but it reminds me of some of the half-psychopathic characters of film and stage decades ago. Of course, those works were thought-provoking and so was this. By the way, is there such a thing as an anti-villain? I say yes, and then what's the difference between an anti-hero and an anti-villain? I ask you.

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