By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Tue, May 03 2016 - 7:40 pm
May 23, 2016
Life very strange lately. Illnesses, fatigue, night-time wakefulness and daytime dozing. Lively energy, enjoyable conversations and gorgeous weather intermittent with rainy drainy soul-slogging cloudy outdoor and mental obfuscation.
When I was young I could tell if what I had was contagious. Now I cannot tell what is ordinary internal dysfunction.
Anyone who says that age is just a number is not paying attention. Maybe that is the same kind of person as one who is surprised by the birth of a child out of her own body. "I didn't know I was pregnant."
I always knew and now I know age is not just a number.
At my age it is a series of questions and second thoughts and second guesses.
A real tightrope walk.
Balance. Balance. Balance.
*Shiralee Old Australian film about a little girl and her wandering worker father. Gritty and naturalistic.
*The House on Telegraph Hill Thriller set in a concentration camp, then post-war San Francisco. Typical Hollywood but entertaining.
May 21, 2016
We're going to watch the Preakness, but two horses have already died at Pimlico today. Strange.
It's a muddy track and Nyquist, the favorite, has never run in the mud. Exaggerator, who acted as if he could have beat Nyquist given a little more time, might start his final push sooner.
We didn't want to buy the alcohol necessary to make a black-eyed Susan (which is the flower that will garland the winner this evening) this year. Maybe next year.
Where's my big floppy race hat?
Later - ha! What do you know? Exaggerator won. Too bad about the triple crown. No horse is getting it this year.
*Sugar Coated The sugar industry is just as cynical as the tobacco companies. See this documentary if you think sugar is okay.
*Remember This one blew us away. So well done!
May 20, 2016
I wonder why hospitals have become such dangerous places. Have our practitioners become complacent about sterilization procedures? The recent uncovering of a watering down of fluids meant for sterilization in an Eastern European country that resulted in thousands of deaths makes me tremble.
Are doctors to blame? Are they in the medical field for the wrong reasons?
If bacteria are evolving so quickly as to render ineffective our antibiotic cures, maybe they are surviving our sterilization techniques also. I have wondered lately how often the effectiveness of autoclaves is tested.
Years ago I read in a book by a doctor that you shouldn't have surgery unless it's a case of life and death.
That just isn't practical. Too bad it is turning out that just being in a hospital makes your health become a matter of life and death.
(Kept falling asleep while I was trying to write this. Pitiful.)
*Win Win Loved this family film that I never heard of before reading it mentioned in The Week. Wrestling is featured but is not by any means the whole story.
*Paycheck Thriller that was a heap of unlikely improbable fun. I loved it.
May 19, 2016
We were on a little walk today and we went through the will-be River Fest area along the riverwalk.
Passing a whole row of porto potties, Joseph gestured. "The original party pooper."
*The Grifters I saw this in the theater when it came out and loved it with a guilty pleasure. So why oh why did I remember it in black and white and not remember a single specific thing that happened in the whole film? Jim Thompson at his mildest.
*Love Letters This 1945 film I remembered scenes from, but could have sworn those scenes came from a movie with a different story line. No, I didn't see it in 1945. Please.
May 18, 2016
*Creed I sure don't like boxing but this was an okay film. PG? I'm not so sure.
May 17, 2016
No, but AAACK nor no no no either! Negative to nothing neither nada nor zero.
Minus vacuum imaginary umemi nothings space Space nano rooms opposite-of-infinite nonentity.
Unicorns pie and mansions in the sky nihilistic ribaldry dragons griffins centaurs fairies myths falsehoods anarchy dreamless nothing coma sleep.
Nada nothing zero zzz o zzz zzzzzz o o
*Glassland Stark raving heroic protagonist saves everyone but maybe himself. Oh, two of those adjectives don't really describe him.
*Wonderful World Well, I liked it. Hmmm...it's kind of interesting to imagine the lead men in these two movies transposed.
May 16, 2016
*Tom and Viv Story of T. S. Eliot and his wife. Not a pretty one.
May 14, 2016
Here's one for you budding brain scientists:
Last night I woke up with some dead fingers and some problem using my hand - for only a minute or so. I suspected I might have had a nano stroke but everything seemed okay (i.e. when I stuck my tongue out it was straight and I could talk and my face wasn't sagging) so I went back to sleep.
Early this morning I saw a stranger putting a cardboard box into the dumpster and he didn't come into one of our buildings. Not only that, but he acted kind of self-conscious and guilty.
At ten o'clock I left for a hike up Hatcher Hill Road. I walked through town and along 421 under skies threatening rain and then as I approached the little old cemetery the sky turned blue and the sun came out. Perfect! Just in time for the good part of the hike - along an abandoned woodsy road with river, cliffs, and (after a rain) multiple little waterfalls.
Heading towards the part of the road that borders the cemetery, though, I saw two men standing in the middle. They made me feel a little nervous, but I was going to just plough on. But while the one watching me put on some gloves the other turned his back and adjusted something over his face.
That was too much for me. I did an about-face and marched in the other direction. Worse, when I looked back they had gotten into their car and were starting the engine. There was only one way out and that was by me.
I headed for the public area where unauthorized admission was forbidden. Dang! It's Saturday. Offices closed, so I struck out at an angle into people's overgrown back yards invisible from the street. Normally that is something I would not have done.
I lost them whether I needed to or not, but my question to you students of the brain: can uncertainty and insecurity (in short, suspicion) about your own health make you more jumpy and untrusting in other situations? Can suspicion take over more and more of your brain the way pain can?
Well, duh. Obviously I have answered my own question.
Nevertheless, I think most women I know would think twice about walking Hatcher Hill Road alone. It's good to hear the Heritage Trail folks are planning an extension in just that location. That is, as long as they don't weed-whack it.
Oh, dear. There I go again.
*If You Don't, I Will French romantic comedy that's not romantic and not comedy, but hell, what do I want out of film? Well, something that is at least interesting to watch and it wasn't. Oh, Film Movement, Film Movement. So inconsistent!
May 13, 2016
You all probably lying know what doggerel is. If not, read some of the poetry of Ogden Nash.
I shared a poster on Facebook a few days ago that had a very spiritual example of chickerel. Surprising - who would ever suspect that a chicken could have a deeply interior life? It was a splendid example of the poetic style, I guess. It's the only one I've seen. I would share it here but I can't remember who offered it up for public consumption. It's probably protected by copyright. I'm the one that named the form chickerel, so don't try to Google that word. The cartoon which includes the sample is titled "Chicken Poetry Reading."
What would catterel be like, I wonder?
*Secret in Their Eyes Creepily gray morally. Definitely not sleep-inducing with some stunning acting. But is the film really worth all this acting expertise? Lucky film.
*Backtrack Pretty good movie in a genre I normally wouldn't watch. You might like it.
*Trumbo Film about a blacklisted screenwriter's fight for survival in the McCarthy era of Communist-busting. This is a really admirable film - I'm tempted to say fabulous. The hero is flawed, maybe, but pretty stunningly fabulous.
May 10, 2016
The human psyche is a very strange creature.
Take dreams, for instance.
Ever known a person who liked to tease? One who would give you a glimpse of something he knows you would want (like, say, a candy bar or some popcorn) and then hide it again? It's an experience many of us have probably had as children, but some adults indulge in it as well.
Adults who play this way with affection or sex are probably considered especially perverse by their victims.
Let's be honest: don't your dreams do that to you? You wake up with a little glimpse of some dream image that seems like a promising lead into, well, SOMETHING. Your feelings? The reality of a relationship? Your own behavior or your purpose in life? Or something equally portentous.
But when you try to recall the nocturnal drama, your psyche goes, "Well, but that wasn't meant for YOU!" What the fuck? I created that dream! If it wasn't meant for me, who was it meant for?
Or perhaps your psyche is in a different kind of mood. It has a message for you and it DELIVERS IT TO YOU the way a professional boxer delivers punches. The only trouble is, the message is transmitted in the wrong language or you don't know how to box. Perhaps because of the brutality of your inner self, you're a runner not a fighter.
One thing I do know. When my dreams get too fraught I am not paying attention to a matter to which I should be attending.
Either too subtle or too brutish, that's the producer of my nightly dramas.
Why, by comparison, all external critters (human and otherwise) are highly rational and easy to deal with.
Er, or not. Especially dogs. I don't get dogs.
*Steve Jobs Interestingly enough, this film might be more understanding of Jobs than the documentary. Not a man to doubt himself, for sure!
*Sounder Life as a black family of sharecroppers experiences it. It has a lot of heart and good acting, too - especially Cecily Tyson as the mom.
May 9, 2016
My partner tells how a food cooperative he worked for took lessons from corporate America, and one business expectation was that profits should increase by 10% every year.
Ha, ha! It reminds me of pyramid schemes. Growth may be able to hold to that pattern for a while, but it's just not in the nature of things for such growth to continue indefinitely. Expectations like that lead to expectorations of employees.
Of course someone has to be blamed when the fantasy growth curve collapses.
Don't get the idea that I'm recounting this tale because my partner suffered this fate. He did not.
It doesn't matter, though, on whom the boom falls. It could have more to do with market saturation and external financial conditions than the current manager.
It's bad enough being a wage slave for the sake of production. How must it feel to be slave to a graph?
*Requiem for the American Dream Noam Chomsky telling-it-like-it-is interviews and cool money graphics. Required documentary viewing.
*Another Man's Poison This one is a delight of emotional ugliness. Lots of grim fun.
May 8, 2016
One of my three Kentucky Derbyshire post numbers actually was on the winning Powerball number. Too funny. It was the only one, though, so our ticket is worth a big fat zero.
The Preakness is in two weeks. I wonder what the Preakness beverage is - if there is one. We might have to look up another recipe. Any excuse for a party!
Mph. I just looked it up and there are at least three different recipes for the Black-eyed Susan, the official Preakness drink (along with the Preakness Cocktail. We shall see.
Meanwhile, a chunk of Alberta, Canada as big as half of Rhode Island is burning. This must be the year of the refugee.
I always felt if I couldn't get work I would come up with something - some other way of making money. But how do you do that if you have no home base and nothing to work with? It boggles the mind.
*Things We Lost in the Fire We were totally drawn in by the great performances in this film. Well, 99%.
May 7, 2016
Today was a day of hard work for both of us starting early, then ease and celebration of the Kentucky Derbyshire with food from the Hong Kong Kitchen (two two blocks away) and home-made mint juleps. We made ours with spearmint, although my first foraging efforts yielded lemon balm. Lemon balm is a mint also - I kind of wondered how that would have tasted.
I had the bright idea of buying a Powerball lottery ticket using three numbers of favorite runners in the Derby. Nyquist was the favorite since he had won seven of the seven races he'd entered. His post position was thirteen. The other race-related numbers I chose were eleven and five. Well, if I had bet on the Derby I could have won the trifecta.
As it is, I took those three numbers figuring if those horses won the numbers might be lucky in themselves. Completely irrational, of course, but relatively innocent fun. The Powerball costs two dollars. We won't find out if the magic numbers won until later.
On Saturdays and Sundays we get up at four a.m. during the school year, so like a little kid, I am going to bed while it is still light.
*Beware, My Lovely Creepy thriller with a less than resourceful heroine. My, how women have changed - in film, at least.
May 6, 2016
*Lady in the Van Actually, I was kind of disappointed. The previews made the film look like more fun than it was. And it was nasty! What kind of person would allow that kind of filth in their front yard? I am talking about the inanimate not the inanimate, although who knows, there might have been rats around.
*Begin Again Very lively and inspiring. Thoughts outside the box!
May 4, 2016
The message we got from the sermon Sunday was about how hard it is to take the love and joy we experience in church out into the real world.
In reality, I'm thinking trouble is largely situational.
If people endure long-term financial hardship stress levels are high and sickness and/or ill-temper are inevitable.
If people are driving in a car for ten hours in one day, tempers will fray and fights will ensue. That's what we did the second day of May. The human animal is not designed for inactivity and confinement, any more than tigers are.
Happy people are not prone to quarreling. Why do our churches and society in general always want to try to control people's behavior rather than the conditions that lead to undesirable outcomes?
Do whatever innocent activities you need to make your life tolerable and better yet, enjoyable.
Magically, I think you'll become a person you can love!
Meanwhile I am giving myself a dose of my own medicine. I do not get much joy out of time in the gym, so I am giving myself equal time outdoors.
*The Beauty Within South Korean film which gave a lot of actors jobs! Plus it is a cool movie. Very entertaining and fun to watch - if just a smidgen too long.
*Son of Saul Concentration camp Antigone. Well done but hard to watch.
May 3, 2016
I meant to celebrate May Day at least verbally.
Flowers! There were plenty of blooms around suburban Pittsburgh. Balmy weather! (Er, but not exactly.)
Even a church service during which a relative sang beautifully and a minister talked about the significance of purple fabric in Biblical times did nothing to remind me that it was the first of May.
We left for home on May Day, and my realization that April had somehow dissolved into May did not translate into MAY DAY until the next day. We saw blooming trees in town and countryside, but no damsels garlanded in blossoms dancing around Maypoles.
That night, in a very inexpensive motel in New Philadelphia, Ohio, we were awakened by a hailstorm in the wee hours. Fortunately most of the hail was the size of marbles, maybe with a few shooters.
The notable event of our day had been the sighting of a green heron flying low in a state park. The same park offered up bevies of birdsong (sorry, I couldn't resist using alliteration in this season of excessive poetry!) but those songbirds hid themselves very well.
Ah well, it's springtime. "Sweet lovers love the Spring!"
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