JE NE SAIS QUOI

Pointless, Incessant Barking

DOGS WITH BLOGS

Reminds me of me. But I’ll be back soon. The presidential campaigning has begun in America. Sixteen months till Election Day. While I’m sure it looks like a complete clusterfuck to the rest of the world, here’s the good news: The Republican Party is in the process of self-destructing. And they’re already putting on quite a show. 🙂

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Sideways

I began this great blogging adventure one year ago. 320 posts. More than 100,000 words. Random thoughts. Musings. Rants. Discoveries. Shiny objects. I called it The End because, well, I had to call it something… and I knew that one day, in the rear view mirror, it would seem prophetic.

That day is not today. We are not at the end of The End.

But we are at the end of the beginning of The End.

I’m taking a little break. Call it a hiatus. A sabbatical. A nap. With the dogs.

shadow selfie carbon beachThe truth is, I’ve only made three posts since the fire in mid-September that turned life-as-I-know-it upside down. And I’m fine and everyone’s fine and I’m still living on the lucky side of life’s ledger. We’re putting the jigsaw puzzle pieces back in place to match the picture on the box. Or, what we can remember of the picture – the box is long gone! Instead of being upside down, my life these days is merely sideways.

So, progress. But focus is not my strong suit in this season of lengthening shadows and shortening days… Though I do look forward to catching up with the actual following of the folks whose blogs I follow. What I didn’t know a year ago when I landed on planet WordPress: blogging’s rewards are only half in one’s own writing. The rest of the treasure is buried in the creations of others. That’s been my great discovery here. Terrific people sharing their stories: compelling, amusing, provocative, entertaining. In all the forms that words and pictures can take.

On occasion, someone you follow may have gone beyond the blogosphere. And I’m very much looking forward to reading Margaret Rose Stringer’s And Then Like My Dreams.

No rules to this. I may post again tomorrow, or not for another month. Photos may pop up here and there. Whatever else, I’ll see you soon, or before too long. – Steve

The End (so far)

In Praise of Whingers

This image of a brass plaque on a London park bench, and the story behind it, went viral about a year ago. I did not file this under ‘breaking news’. But I do find it amusing and someone else might, too. After all, the blogosphere is Roger Bucklesby’s natural habitat.

The story is here.

 

The End (so far)

 

Suggestion For The Folks Over At Evolutionary HQ

From the moment we humans hit the ground we are hellbent on velocity:
scampering, toddling, running, and we’re off!

Then we hit a certain age and age hits back.
Everything takes longer. We slow to a crawl.

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Why do we start out fast – when we’ve got all the time in the world…
and slow down just when we begin running out of time?

 

Here’s an idea:

We should start out slow as children, and then speed up in our golden years.

Little kids would be much easier to catch.

And down the road – we might forget where we’re going – but we’d get there sooner.

Just a thought.

What would you put in the evolutionary suggestion box?

 

 

 

Clever Sculptures out of Bent Wires and Everyday Objects

I rely on e-MORFES to show me the cool stuff that I’d otherwise miss. Like this: Artist Terry Border takes ordinary everyday objects and bits of wire and turns them into the most fabulous characters. He calls the project Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things.

It’ll put a smile on your face.

e MORFES

Artist  Terry Border takes ordinary everyday objects and bits of wire and turns them into the most fabulous characters. He calls the project  Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things.

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Pain

On Monday, I felt some discomfort…

On Tuesday, I drove one friend to the airport, and then sat with another in a crowded cafe filled with fans watching the USA-Belgium match. The sheer excitement of that game was, at times, a distraction from the increasingly awful stabbing pains in my abdomen…

On Tuesday night, I ended up in the Cedars-Sinai ER for IV painkillers and a CAT scan that revealed the source of my agony: a 4mm kidney stone…

On Wednesday, I discovered that Norco (narcotic-amped Tylenol) wasn’t cutting the mustard with my pain – or, maybe it was doing a good job of bending the pain curve down from “give me death” to “merely unbearable”?…

On Thursday, I woke up feeling pain free – for one glorious minute. Later that day, I took advantage of an ebb tide to go to the supermarket. I hadn’t eaten in more than two days and though I didn’t really have any appetite, I was starving! My “end times” shopping list? Corn chowder, a freshly baked loaf of french bread, and liverwurst…

On Thursday night, I made a meal of some corn chowder and bread with butter. Small victory! Then came a miserable night…

Today. Friday. The Fourth of July. I awoke, six hours ago, seemingly pain free. Still some discomfort. I haven’t felt the marauder pass yet (sorry), so I am technically not out of the woods… but I am about to feast on a liverwurst sandwich for lunch – and all the Michelin stars in the sky couldn’t possibly taste any better right now…

At some point in my delirium I wrote a haiku. It is my first, therefore my best, and likely my last. Because 17 syllables? Really?

Dancing through wildflowers

Unimaginable pain

Fuck you kidney stone!

I’ve read everything on the internet to do with kidney stones, especially the how-to-prevent-them bits. Much of it is confusing and contradictory (spinach is good. spinach is bad. chocolate is good. chocolate is bad). Here is what I’ve distilled from it:

1. Drink lots of water, all day long. 12 glasses a day, minimum.

2. Repeat 1.

3. See 2.

4. There are many lists of “don’t eats” and “do eats”. What they all seem to have in common is MAGNESIUM. So I am going to boost my magnesium intake to 500mg/day. Fortunately, some of my fave foods are rich in Mg. Here’s a good article with shopping list:

The 11 Best Sources of Magnesium

If you do nothing else,  just drink more water every day. Especially in summer. Becoming dehydrated, even mildly, is the key cause of kidney stones. And you never, ever want to get one of these little bastards.

The End (so far)

photo credit: thanks to Edvard Munch for his classic painting, The Kidney Stone
(aka The Scream)

UPDATE:

I won my freedom from this heinous pebble late into the night on Independence Day.
destroyerworlds

 

 

The One Who Got Away

babyboyAt the age of 10 weeks, I was adopted by Bill & Nancy Rosenberger. The first day of June 1962. By all accounts, that was the happiest day of their lives. I must have been at my most charming. Some would say my powers peaked in that moment… and they might be right. But I had other mad skills. For instance, I was apparently a fully functioning fertility idol. Within four years my fiefdom was invaded by three sisters – at 16-month intervals of the Vatican-approved rhythm method. After that, it all gets a little blurry…

Anyhoo, it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning here in Los Angeles. I was about to pick up the phone to check in with my mother in Connecticut, as one does. But then I saw the date – and the protocol of June 1st dictates that my mother calls me. To wish me a “happy anniversary”. My friends have always found this to be absolutely delightful. To be honest, it always made me squirm a bit. Even though I’ve known since I was a toddler that I was adopted. It was a story, like a fairy tale, Mom would tell me as she dried me after a bath. So, I grew up with this personal factoid fully integrated into my psyche, never a moment’s trouble with it. (Well played, Nancy.)

But the “anniversary” business was always a little awkward for me. I mean, we’d celebrate my birthday in March. We’d celebrate my sisters’ birthdays in June, September and December. Everything normal, A-OK. But then June 1st would roll around and there’d be a card and a little gift. It just seemed so… unnecessary. No one else had these ‘bonus’ anniversaries. Actually, it’s the only time in my life I ever felt self-conscious about being adopted. Oh well, I lived.

ckmemoI came to understand that it was important to my mother. This is a woman whose philosophy of life can be summed up in one word: Hallmark. If there is an occasion, she marks it with a card. The appropriate card. The card whose message agrees with the occasion and recipient(s) in gender and number. It may require a bit of editing, as “We” becomes “I”, or “You” becomes “You two”. Words like happy and love tend to get double underlined for emphasis, with exclamation points sprinkled liberally throughout. Lovely sentiments, even if penned by anonymous copywriters in Kansas City. As the cards kept coming through the years, I’ve smiled as I deposit the checks with memo notes like “have a drink” or “do something fun”.


But I digress… That wasn’t the story I intended to share when I fired up the blog machine this morning. This is what I thought you should know today:

I follow a blogger named Matthew who writes a blog called Gay Dinosaur Tales. (Click here to see why I’m a fan.) Every once in a while, I do a quick survey of the blogs that are followed by the bloggers I follow. (You follow?) On the theory that if A likes B and B likes C, then A just might also like C. (That’s algebra. Never trust anything requiring more advanced math than that.) Anyway, I recently came across another gem of a blog in Matthew’s horde, this one called Dawn 4 Dinosaurs – written under the nom de guerre of Jim McTrip. Here’s a guy who is my age, living in LA, whose recent life experiences (for better or worse) are tracking quite closely with my own. He’s slightly ahead of me on the trail. So when I realized he had already paid for the life coach, I decided to start at the beginning of his blog (last August) and piggyback. I figure, if he falls down an open manhole, maybe I can avoid that fate. His writer’s voice is also eerily similar to the (one, thankyouverymuch) voice inside my head. This may reflect some sort of profound narcissism on my part… but I’m hooked.

Jim McTrip’s April 15th blog post, Skating Through Life (<< that’s a link) recounts the unusual story of John Kitchin – which is captured so beautifully in Slomo, an award-winning 16-minute short film by San Francisco filmmaker Josh Izenberg. Whoever you are, you should watch it. Now would be a good time.

 

So if you hear that I was last seen rollerblading down the coast, blame any or all of the above-named people. I’m not there yet, but… After half a century of “happy anniversary” cards from my mother, I do think about the lump of clay I was in 1962, the state of that clay today – and the clay’s next play. Mr McTrip refers to our chronological circumstances as “mid-life”. But we are in all likelihood well past the midpoint. Tick tock.

The End (so far)

 

“What’ll It Be?”

BarCat

Professional stunt cat. Do not try this at home.

“I’m Going to Midland!”

“I’m going to Midland,” which I believe is Texan for “I’m gonna go get drunk in my Escalade and I hate you I hate you I hate you.”

The Broadcast is a tv chatfest, a local Dallas version of The View. Tom Boggioni (TBogg) recaps a discussion these ladies had about the NFL-draft-ESPN-Michael-Sam-and-boyfriend-KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS. If Texas has to exist at all, at least we have spirit guides like Tom to chop it into bite-size, tasty morsels of chocolate-covered WTF.

This post will make you laugh.

Watching the 9-minute video may liquefy your brain and cause it to run out your ears. Or not. But fair warning: once you hit play, no power on earth can tear your eyes away from this clusterfuck.

Here is the video clip and TBogg’s take on it. Enjoy.

CLICK >>> texas-mom-talker-doesnt-want-your-gay-shoved-in-her-face-takes-her-blonde-and-goes-home

 

P.S. The petrified dino turd (3rd from the left) is conclusive proof that the Earth is older than 6,000 years. Oh, the irony…

The End (so far)

And This Is How I Ruin Any Eventual Chance I Have For Grandchildren…

I’m no one’s mother. But this is the sort of mother I’d want to be.

Fisticuffs and Shenanigans

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In the wake of Mother’s Day, I’ve been contemplating the real lessons and sacrifices of what it takes to be a mother. Should someday, I lose my mind (read: get incredibly drunk) and tell my children the truth…I’m afraid that it’s going to sound painfully like the following list…

1. Kids, when you were babies, everything about your bodies was miraculous and beautiful, but now my biggest fear is that one of you will grow pubes, and that I might accidentally see them.  I’m pretty sure you harbor the same fear, so let’s all just be cool, and keep this from happening, okay?

2. Children…loves of my life…there is NOTHING I wouldn’t do for you…NOTHING…except let you drink out of my glass.  It’s fucking gross, and you’re old enough to get your own cup, so let’s make that happen, or I’m going to start backwashing on purpose.

3. The ten minute drive between your school…

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Rabbit Rabbit Redux

“Huh?” (then click here)

Catastrophic Ignorance

When asked a question we cannot answer, Americans find ourselves utterly incapable of giving the obvious and most accurate response: I don’t know. What is it about those three little words that we find so offensive or embarrassing or threatening? I don’t know. (There – see how easy that is?)

American pop culture has embraced the stupid. Half of what the media beams at us is unwatchable drivel. We call that “the news”. The other half of it somehow got mislabled “reality”. Typical specimen: Kardashians. Reality? Barbie dolls have truer physiques and more stimulating conversations. The third half (only 21% of you will catch 2013-07-23-cosmosthat) is a new show on Fox called ‘Cosmos’ featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson as a high priest of science in a reboot of Carl Sagan’s series from the 1980s. Call Rupert Murdoch all kinds of names, but the man is brilliant. The ‘entertainment’ side of his NewsCorp presents 14 billion years of astrophysical history from the Big Bang to quantum physics and multiverses… while his ‘news’ division serves up ‘journalists’ lamenting how the new movie ‘Noah’ gets it all wrong about how God destroyed the 6,000-year-old Earth with a flood and all of the tens of millions of species we have in the world today, including our own, hopped on a big wooden boat and survived the holy tsunami. (You do realize that I’m not making any of this up, right?) Yessirree, old Rupert gets us coming and going, like a midway carnival barker.

“We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.” – Carl Sagan

“Oh… how depressing…” – the Cosmos

Remember Jay Leno’s meant-to-be-amusing little segments called “Jaywalking”? Jay would take a camera crew and wander through beautiful downtown Burbank, randomly asking questions of people on the street. Questions so cunningly simple and with such glaringly obvious answers that you’d expect EVERYONE to get it right. But you would be wrong. The comic tragic genius of “Jaywalking” was how few people could answer the questions. And the real gold was mined in the guesses – when some dignity could have been salvaged with a sotto voce “I don’t know.”

Jay Leno: Who is the vice president of the United States?
Typical answers: blank stare…. Oh, wait… I know this… don’t tell me… Is it Hillary Clinton? … Michelle Obama? …That old guy. With the thing? …Is this a trick question?

Jay Leno: Who is the Speaker of the House of Reprentatives?
Only answer ever given: blank stare

Jay Leno: How many states make up the United States?
Typical answer: every number that isn’t 50.

Jay Leno: What two countries share a physical border with the United States?
Typical answer: Alaska and Hawaii? …Canada and Mexico – no! wait! Canada isn’t a country, is it? …England.

And so on. I never understood why Jay Leno thought any of this was funny. Why his giant head didn’t explode. Why he didn’t use the mic to bludgeon to death the vapid, gum-snapping ignorami. Or why any of it should ever have been aired. Unless he was trying to expose the glaring failures of this country’s education system. Hmmm. I could be wrong, but I am not aware of any Leno schools or Leno scholarships to help future “Jaywalkers” to be better informed. As I say, I could be wrong about that. I don’t know.

If you’re wondering what ignited this rant, I don’t blame you. But I do know. It was this story in today’s Washington Post. The link is below, and I hope you’ll read it. But here’s the gist of it. More than 2,000 Americans were asked, as part of a wider poll on foreign affairs, to pinpoint the nation of Ukraine on a world map with only the outlines of political borders. Here’s the result. Red dots hit the bull’s eye or got relatively close to Ukraine. Blue dots indicate a rather casual relationship with geography. Alarmingly casual.

Ukraine_Full

 

This map speaks for itself. One in six respondents put their dot in or near Ukraine. This sort of ignorance may or may not worry you much, if at all. But it’s the next bit that should strike fear in the hearts of “Ukrainians” who live in Canada, China, Argentina, South Africa, Iceland, India, Australia, Brazil, Alaska, Arkansas or Colorado:

Those who were most wrong about the location of Ukraine were also the most likely to advocate U.S. military action there. Said differently: The less Americans know about [any place or country], then the more supportive they are of making war there. That sort of ignorance is extraordinarily dangerous, and potentially catastrophic. I hope that from now on, when pollsters ask Americans whether they support a war in X, Y or Z, they follow up by asking those folks to find X, Y or Z on a map. Maybe teach them how to use the unused maps app in their smartphones? Maybe throw in a geography lesson here and there along with the abstinence and creationism classes? I don’t know.

You can click on the map above to embiggen it. Here’s the link to the WashPo article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/07/the-less-americans-know-about-ukraines-location-the-more-they-want-u-s-to-intervene/

 


The End (so far)