Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Aerial Silks Body Work

The first time I saw an aerial silks performance was Mam Smith in the American Repertory Theatre’s production of Wings of Desire.  I was mesmerized by her graceful fluid movements and the bold simplicity of a single, strong body meeting simple, flowing fabric to create a sort of high-flying physical poetry. If you’ve never heard of aerial silks, you’ve probably seen it associated with Cirque du Soleil or other sensory-assaulting performances. 

I prefer the quiet performances such as this one.
[Two things about this performer: I’m curious as to why she’s wearing a bra and panties to perform in front of an audience.  Well, maybe if you can move like her, you can wear whatever you want. Secondly, I can’t help but think of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie. She was a fascinating heroine, and possibly part of why I like this performance so much. Not to be confused with any of this, however, is the fact that this post is about me and my body, such as it is.]

About a month ago when my burlesque class sharing friend asked if anyone was interested in joining her in an aerial silks class, I was quite intrigued.  When I found out it was about a mile from my house, my waffling over the decision ended. In fact, you might say, I was pushed right over the edge. Last night, my friend, my daughter, and I started our aerial silks class. 
First, let me state that in no way did I expect, do I expect, have I ever expected to be able to do anything remotely close to what that young woman does in the video above.  So given that, and the fact that I was one of the two out of the five in the class who did not make it to the top of the silks by the end of the night, I am quite satisfied with my first foray into fabric flying.
Sadly, after a few successful but brief attempts at basic silk climbing, what I would have considered my strong limbs became more like noodle-ly appendages. Rather than risk getting hurt from fatigue, I opted out of some of the more adventurous poses. I need serious work not only in the pull-up department, but also in the back stretching, leg stretching, and folding-my-body-in-half department (yes, there is a folding-my-body-in-half department, and apparently, mine has been left unstaffed for years).  My daughter, the dancer, can totally fold in half, but still needs major arm, shoulder, and lat work.  She and I dragged in the rear of the class (ba da bum), but we’re committed to getting better because it's so damn cool.
My friend, who is my age (we topped off the age bracket in the class), was able to make it to the top of the silk, try some of the harder poses and easily conquered the mid-air foot lock. Perhaps it was the double helix tattoo surrounding her biceps brachii or having just come from tae kwon do class, but wherever she got the inspirational power – she did it!  She is one kick-ass chick. 
I, on the other hand, managed the foot lock from a standing position because my arms were too tired by that point to be relied upon for the necessary mid-air support.  From that position I attempted two of the four poses which required my back to be so arched that I feared it would snap in half causing the base of my skull to bounce off of my heels possibly slowed only by the structure of my skin and a cumbersome organ or two. It didn’t – this time.
In addition to the expected pains of trying to teach an old body new tricks, my fingers ached from grabbing the silks (desperation will do that), my foot turned white (think foot-lock position = tourniquet), and I discovered previously unused muscles that must have insertion points somewhere in the middle of my ribcage (internal obliques?).  After having been ignored for so long, these muscles revolted by delivering a sharp pain at least twice during the “hang with your shoulders engaged, not dislocated” portion of the evening.
While I’ve been making efforts in the past ten years to improve the way my body works in general, I’m going to continue to experiment with what I can train it to do.  I’m not interested in winning races, or stuffing a ball down someone’s throat. Being able to move with strength and grace is my continued motivation. Having fun, creating a little physical art, or simply working toward being at the greatest of ease with my body is my inspiration.

Aerial silks provides an opportunity for me to satisfy all three of these conditions.

I'll be sure to update you with any breakthroughs (hopefully not breaks). 

In the meantime, remember to include in your 4th of July activities some ruminations on why and what it means to celebrate Independence Day in America.

I'll talk to y'all in a week!

Update: The woman in the first video is probably wearing the bra and panties as a costume. Her performance is called "The Abandoned Bride," and both performers have on what we affectionately refer to in this house as nude-tards.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Morning Numbers

0600 Time for bike ride
  100 Red-winged blackbirds
   20 Crazy baby bunnies (happily, not as indecisive as chipmunks)
   10 Quick miles
     2 Friends
     1 Deer 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Jungle Thing: It Runs in the Family

So what'd y'all do this weekend?

(I'm practicing for when I hit Georgia.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Has He Been Getting My Emails?

-leopard print
-calf hair
-peep toe
-menswear Oxford styling details
-signature C.L. red sole

You'd think that these shoes were made for me! 

Well, I certainly hope not, 'cause I don't like 'em!  I simply had to post this picture, though. It's interesting that the sum of this shoe's fabulous parts strikes me as so incredibly hideous.

I think it's the mass of tailored cheetah (leopard? some big cat). If it were a hint, or if the vamp were black . . . maybe. I'll have to think about it more.

3 Good Things (club edition)

club: A group of people organized for a common purpose, especially a group that meets regularly.
But really.  What is it about a club that’s so darn appealing?

1.  Culture Club

“You cannot keep a roomful of Anglo-Saxons waiting for cake this long! They start to form more clubs.”
--Gilmore Girls, Season 4, Cousin Marilyn at the Gilmore’s vow renewal ceremony.

2.  Strength in Numbers

3.  Learn About Yourself and Others

What’s more important to you: taking a shower before or after sex?

This deceptively simple, but fundamentally sense of life revealing question, formulated during one my neighborhood book club meetings, ought to be a real eye-opener for those of you who thought all we did was drink wine and kvetch.  While I love the wine, I require the reading – or at least a very good reason one refuses to complete the reading – and strongly discourage off-topic whining. This means the question above somehow dovetailed nicely with the reading.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Entry of the Gladiators

I wanted to take this opportunity to clear up a little potential confusion.

The weekly collection of posts by Objectivists, a blog carnival as defined by Blog Carnival (in fact, if you go there right now, you'll find that last week's collection is today's featured carnival), is named the Objectivist Round Up. While Round Up conjures not unwelcome images of cowboys on the range, Carnival instantly brings this music, this scary, circus-freak music to my mind.

Entry of the Gladiators by Julius Fucik (1872-1916)

Be that as it may, today's Objectivist Round Up can be found under the name Objectivist Blogger's Carnival #154, and may be read at Trey Givens: A Blog About a Hero. 

Go there. Read. Think. 

And don't be afraid of the scary music. It's only in my head.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Day in the Life

Amy did this little exercise a few days ago and I found it rather irresistible reading. I had a similar reaction to Trey Givens’ walk to work video he posted some time ago.  It’s plain fun read about or see the normal activities of someone’s day in a brief format or encapsulation. What my day lacks in action, it more than makes up for in extraordinary attention to lack of household cleanliness.

- Woke up, drank cold, black coffee on my bedside table (it was hot when delivered 2 hours earlier)
- Went through emails, read some newspaper articles, filed some as “to be read.”
- Spied new coffee stains on freshly scrubbed bedroom carpet. [Not typical: the “freshly scrubbed” part.  Seriously, white carpeting?  What were they thinking?] Feeling like Lady Macbeth, I scrub the spots again.
- Heard, “What’s for breakfast?” voiced in my general direction. Smile at the hope springs eternal attitude of my youngest.
- Was repulsed by “fish smell” that greeted me in kitchen, especially since we hadn’t had fish in a week. This prompted a cleaning frenzy beginning with dishes and ending with a scrub down of stainless steel stove (never fun – but the smell is gone). [This is part of Stephen’s Big Lie, “Let’s get the stainless steel appliances – I’ll keep them clean,” which, I believe, is simply payback for mine, “You won’t have to change diapers.” Not sure who got the worse end of that deal. The diapers only lasted 3-4 years.]
- Read in glorious morning sun on back deck, 50 pages of fiction, while eating Fage yogurt, blueberries, and crushed pecans, drinking reheated coffee.
- Interrupted by soon-to-be 12 year-old’s attempts at planning sleepover with 12-year-old today twin friends.  Adult intervention needed for plans.
- Do pull-up to impress doubting son. Go Mom! [Wait until next week when I tell you why I must be able to do a pull-up.]
- Leave house. Alone! Listening to Jem, run to bank drive-through (life is good), Staples for paper and ink. Trapped in parking space by man who parked his car perpendicular to, and directly behind, mine. When I say, “I’m leaving now,” man outside the car on phone gives me the one-minute sign (truck next to me hit his car as it was backing up, but there was no sign of damage on his car and NO reason to block me in!). I do a 112-point turn and leave via the empty handicap space next to me. I give him A Very Dirty Look as I drive off.  That’ll teach him to be so inconsiderate, huh?
- Return home to find SIL & kids at house w/b-day presents for soon-to-be 12 year-old.
- “Entertain” surprise visitors by spilling 7 out of 11 servings of cocoa almonds on floor! Everyone scrambles to floor to pick them up only to find that the cocoa almonds were by no means the only foodstuffs on the floor.
- Realize scummy downstairs tub on display during guest bathroom visit. Ick.
- Contemplate the pitfalls of bad housekeeping; decide that beside the occasional loss of important things among the rubble, the remaining risk is only of others’ disapproval. I can live with that. No one really gets diseases from dirty houses, right?
- Make wilted spinach salad with oldest daughter. Main ingredients: Bacon and bacon fat. Eat it up. Yum.
- Watch Gilmore Girls with my girls. Sure I could have been scrubbing the tub, but why bother? Gilmore Girls is full of wit and timeless wisdom. Scrubbing the tub will get me only a clean tub. Until next week.
- Clean and put away pots, pans, and utensils from bacon and spinach salad, etc.
- Convince girls to help with trip to dump by appending trip to library at the end of it.
- Return Season 3 Burn Notice to library – now all caught up and no late fees!
- Chat with daughters about Spanish books, songs, straps, and other “S” things.
- Run downstairs when dog sounds like she’s about to have a heart attack from barking so furiously. Find daughter telling friend that she is not going out bike riding today.
- Check email, revisit 3 or 4 draft posts, decide to post none of them.
- Do my Honey’s Home Happy Dance.
- Help put air conditioner in window of East Wing (previously known as school room). Clean East Wing floor after having not been up there in a while. When you can write your name in the layer of pollen, it’s time – even by my standards.
- Temporarily forget how to read and put on rerun of Law & Order: SVU. 20 minutes pass unnoticed. (WTF?) Despite the fact that it seems like I’ve done a lot of cleaning this day, which I can assure you is not typical, this turning on the television to watch a segment of Law & Order is by far the oddest thing I did today – and I’m including the plunging incident (which I’ve left out for your personal reading comfort).
- Eat dinner, NY strip steak, beautifully red, asparagus, and fauxtatoes (mashed cauliflower).
- Rush to air conditioned room.
- Type in remaining things I’ve done today.
- Another dog fit. Time to greet more guests (these, expected).
- Leave 12 year-old to entertain her guests (children are famously forgiving about less than perfect housekeeping practices).
- Tell husband about rude Volvo driver in Staples parking lot.  He gets a little animated about it.  He makes me laugh.
- Look over what I’ve done and notice through this exercise that I’ve done no exercise.
- 30 minutes walk/run on treadmill, switch with Stephen for 15 minutes of arms. 
- Watch Dream for an Insomniac while working out.  Remember how much I like Jennifer Aniston and this movie.
- Rehydrate!
- Make up pull-out couch for guests.
-Chat with son who returned from work, took a shower, and went out for the night.
- Wake up husband who falls asleep with his finger on the “enter” key. [really]
- Shower
- Tuck in all the children (even guests) and turn off lights.
- Return to the sanctuary.
- Read 20 more pages of fiction.

Day is Done.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Midsummer's Eve

One of my favorites. It's as lovely as it is magical and adorns one wall of my daughter's room.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

My father, 1957

Of course, I wasn't around when this photo was taken on my parents' wedding day, but I think he's one handsome guy.  Sadly, when I had the thought to post a photo of my father today, I couldn't find the one of him weightlifting on base in Alaska (probably taken the following month). 

In addition to musical instruments salesman, Boone's Farm Apple wine representative, barbershop quartet singer, ad man, and sign painter, my father can add hang-glider, scuba diver, private plane pilot, piano player, drummer, trumpet player, braille-reader, photographer, and artist to his autodidactic curriculum vitae. 

Life with my father has never - and I mean never - been boring.   Just ask my mother.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. 
Thanks for teaching me about art, and music, and learning, and living life.

(And thanks for reading my blog, too!)

While you're online, check out Stephen's post on my terrific father-in-law, too. 
We were so very lucky to spend all afternoon with all four of our fabulous parents today!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

3 Good Things (Weekend edition)

Friday Night Festivities
After more than a fortnight of self-imposed privation, I’m finally pleased.
Enough, at least to restore our quotidian celebration with wine and cheese.

Fab picture, no? Every month at iStockPhoto there
is a free image, vector image, video, and sound file.

Recipe for an Idyllic Saturday Morning

Matching cups of hot cappuccino burning in one hand,
Some “sidewalk sale” kitchen gadgets turning in the other.

What the email notice lacks in good design, the store
more than makes up for in awesome kitchen stuff!

That’s Entertainment: Father’s Day Style

Imagine my delight watching my daughters dance with joy and grace.
When the dads share the stage, I can’t wipe the smile from my face.

Where you see a bunch of random Dads and Daughters, I see
my youngest daughter with my husband, and my oldest daughter
with my ex-husband (picture taken at the dress rehearsal).  

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father-figures out there.

Friday, June 18, 2010

John the Valiant

Or, If You’re Going to Be on Hold It Could Be a Lot Worse. 
Yesterday morning while waiting on the results of my query about the availability of rhubarb at my local market, instead of Muzak, I was treated to the romantic, late 70s hit, Crazy Love by Poco. Because I am a romance junkie and because the produce manager was so quick in answering my question, I tried to find the song on YouTube so I could listen to it in its entirety.  This is what I found.
The accompanying animation was of a certain style and time, but the strange and grander-than-ordinary love story it presented was enough to pique my interest. I was delighted to find that the person who posted the video did so that she could find out more about the animation, and further, that she was successful.  The animation, from Hanna-Barbera, was based upon an old Hungarian folk epic poem, John the Hero.
In researching the poem, I found this announcement from last Friday! 
Poet John Ridland, who translated the 1480 line epic poem written by Sandor Petofi and originally published in 1844, recently received a prestigious, literary sword award for his translation of Janos Vitez (John the Valiant) from the Hungarian Consul-General.  There is a terrific interview with Ridland as part of the announcement, in which he not only explains the structure of the poem,

It’s 1480 lines of narrative, divided into 27 chapters, and it’s all rhymed in quatrains. It had been translated in iambic pentameter English couplets back in the 1920s, but that meter is all wrong for a folk epic. I took it back into four beat lines, basically anapestic, so that it rolls along the way it should.

and the intrigue of the story which prompted his study,

The girlfriend is held against her will by an evil stepmother, and the hero fights in several wars with the Turks and the Tartars. He wanders around in this weird geographical confusion that somehow puts him in India, and then India appears to be next to France. He acquires a companion, a silly old man, and then, due to his military prowess, he is offered the hand of the French princess. This gives Johnny an excuse to tell his life story as a way to explain that he must remain faithful and can’t marry the princess.


Janos goes beyond the seven seas, kills some big animals such as lions, and finally enters into a fairyland paradise of lovers. He can hardly stand it because he is alone, and he goes to a pond in the paradise to drown himself. He has a rose from his sweetheart’s garden that he throws into the pond, and it becomes her. He pulls her out of the pond and they become the king and queen of fairyland.

but also explores the similarities between the original poet and other contemporary, romantic poets,

The author, Petofi, had a sufficient education. I understand that he read the Odes of Horace. He’s later than Byron, but I don’t know for sure that he read him. It’s a similar kind of thing, insofar as Byron both wrote about these affairs and also became involved in the war of Greek liberation himself.

His first role in the national theater was the Fool in King Lear, but he was such a poor actor that he switched to writing poetry. He was prolific for someone who died at 26. He was a Romantic poet in the true sense, even dying young, like Keats.
Here is a sample of the original alongside of Ridland's translation. As of this morning, I could find Ridland’s entire translation only through uk.  Getting it might be worth the extra shipping costs and it gives me that final incentive to finish my collection of English Harry Potter books.

Rhubarb-locating and blackberrying: in one brief call, I achieved both!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Objectivist Round Up #153

Welcome to this 153rd issue of the Objectivist Round Up,blog carnival of posts written by individuals who are advocates of Objectivism: the philosophy developed and defined by Ayn Rand.

If you are new to Ayn Rand and would like to discover more about her "philosophy for living on earth", I recommend you read her two great novels,
Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. If you know her novels, I recommend her non-fiction starting with The Virtue of Selfishness, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. The Ayn Rand Institute and the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights provide relevant information and commentary.

Following, in the order in which they were received, are the posts for this Objectivist Round Up.

John Drake presents Value dense gardening posted at Try Reason!, saying, “I'm all about getting the most bang for the buck in all my activities - that includes gardening. Picking veggies for the garden is all about finding the greatest value with the least effort. Here are my choices.”

Boaz Arad presents The Sorcerer's Apprentice posted at Anochi, saying, “It will be nice to have some Israeli blog take part at round up.”

Paul Hsieh presents Hsieh OpEd: "Free Speech: Use It or Lose It" posted at We Stand FIRM, saying, “My latest OpEd was on new threats to bloggers' free speech, and how to fight back. This one got a nice Instapundit link!”

Ari Armstrong presents Past Time to Privatize the Post Office posted at Free Colorado, saying, “I review a personal experience with the Post Office and argue it would function better if placed in a competitive, free market.”

Jason Stotts presents Is Love a Zero-Sum Game? posted at Erosophia, saying, “A look at the idea that love is a zero-sum game and a short analysis of the limits of love.”

Rachel Miner presents Best Memory of my Life posted at The Playful Spirit, saying, “This post shares how I found a particular childhood memory to be formative of my character. I made some discoveries in writing which made the recollection even more rewarding.”

Jared Rhoads presents No change for Bush daughter posted at The Lucidicus Project, saying, “Both parties still accept the doctrine of altruism, so spare us the claim that they fundamentally differ on healthcare.”

Diana Hsieh presents Atlas Shrugged Movie Filming posted at NoodleFood, saying, “The Atlas Shrugged movie has begun filming... and I'm less than pleased.”

Daniel Casper presents The Spiritual Value of Work posted at Blog | The Undercurrent, saying, “Clearly, productive work can and ought to be personally fulfilling. But where does this put one’s career in comparison to one’s personal relationships?”

David Lewis presents Your Home Is Not An Investment: Life insurance | Precious Metals | Retirement Plans | Financial Planning | Investing | Saving Money posted at A Revolution In Financial Planning.

Shea presents Integration in Action: Frequency-Based Filters and Driving posted at Shea's Blog, saying, “A quick post in which I discuss a simple integration I made the other day.”

Stella Zawistowski presents Don't look to Rwanda for a model posted at ReasonPharm, saying, “The New York Times' paean to universal health care in Rwanda should not fool Americans into thinking their system is working.”

Kelly Elmore presents Yard Tour June 12, 2010 posted at Reepicheep's Coracle, saying, “Here's an update on my garden with loads of pictures.”

Rational Jenn presents Checking Premises, Part 1 posted at Rational Jenn, saying, “The first of a few planned posts about how my efforts at introspection regarding my ideas about eating have paid off in spades!”

Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore present Podcast #7: Siblings posted at Cultivating the Virtues, saying, “Our seventh podcast focuses on the wonderful world of siblings!”

Zip presents But We've Always Done it That Way posted at UNCOMMON SENSE, saying, “My first round up.”

Jane Eisenhart presents Glenn Beck on Fiction posted at Hometown Grotesque, saying, “Thoughts on Glenn Beck's interpretation of the importance of fiction writers, in particular Ayn Rand.”

Sandi Trixx presents Rwandans Living in Health Care Utopia? posted at Sandi Trixx, saying, “This is Obama's and the left's dream come true.”

Mike "Zemack" LaFerrara presents The BP Gulf Disaster: the Proximate vs. the Ultimate Cause posted at Principled Perspectives, saying, “The federal government's paltry $75 million liability cap distorted the insurance market and played a key role in the BP disaster.”

Beth Haynes presents Education and Coercive Funding posted at Wealth is not the Problem, saying, “This is a series of 3 LTE's in opposition to a local parcel tax which were published in my local paper, as well as a link to an on-line discussion which one of them prompted.”

Earl Parson presents My Letter in Opposition to AB48 posted at Creatures of Prometheus, saying, “I wrote this letter to my state reps in Sacramento, as well as Gov. Schwarzenegger, on a new regulatory regime that was sneaked into law, which will put many private flight schools out of business.”

Jeff Montgomery presents Green Mountain Drizzly Run posted at Fun With Gravity, saying, “This is another post for fun about a recent trail run, something I do a lot of :) ”

Stephen Bourque presents This Future posted at One Reality, saying, “The damage of the BP oil spill is a drop in the bucket compared to the destruction of the Obama administration.”

Happy Reading!

Next week’s round up will be hosted at Trey Givens.

Submit your posts using the carnival submission form.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Like Oil for Money

Let’s briefly compare the Wall St. financial crisis to the BP oil disaster:
Both occurred within HIGHLY regulated industries.  Both industries are an essential part of our economy and an indispensible part of our standard of living.  It is certain that individuals in both industries miscalculated the outcomes of their actions or inactions and that some individuals make an extraordinary living in these particular industries.  A stunning increase in regulatory oversight has been called for in both cases as part of the solution.
While this and the past administration sought to bolster failing financial companies through current and future taxpayer funds, BP, we are told, will be held responsible for its own mess.  This is, of course, as it should be, and should have been with the financial companies. But, tied to our President’s strongly worded claims that BP will pay for the damage caused by the oil spill accident, is the bait-and-switch solution that the government will make things better through its technology-forcing promise of “alternative energy.”
The key difference in the Gulf oil spill crisis is that we are already convinced that oil is dirty. We see with immediacy the oil-soaked sea birds and feel wrenching sadness in witnessing the accidental, slow destruction of life. We’re told, both implicitly and explicitly, that it is our insatiable appetite for gas, gadgets, and creature comforts that created this tragedy.  We’re told that it’s time to minimize our dependence on such a dirty substance. How?  By maximizing our dependence on government solutions.  
Do you wonder how long it will be before we’re equally convinced that our insatiable drive to make money comes from those same dirty, base desires, and that an “alternative exchange” forced by the government, is the answer?  
Sadly, that system, the redistribution of wealth, is already well underway and its potential destructive power rivals that of any other disaster, natural or man-made.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Speech: One to Watch

In a case of student/protesters (not all of them were students) disrupting a speech given by the Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, at the University of California at Irvine in February (see edited video of the event here), the following defenses of their actions were voiced immediately following the incident:
That statement followed one by Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which said: "These students had the courage and conscience to stand up against aggression, using peaceful means. We cannot allow our educational institutions to be used as a platform to threaten and discourage students who choose to practice their First Amendment right."
If you watch the video, you will see that students were not threatened from practicing their First Amendment rights.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, defended his group's defense of the interruptions at Irvine. He said that it was unfair to say that the students who interrupted were trying to shut down the talk because they voluntarily left the room after each interruption, and let the talk start again (until the next outburst at least) and eventually let it finish. "Let's put it in perspective. The speaker had an hour to speak, and they each had less than a minute."
Mr. Ayloush implies that “free speech” means we are not only free to coarsely and continuously interrupt speakers whose speech we do not agree with, but also, that the invited speaker must share the time of his audience and his stage with any uninvited speakers.  That line of reasoning lacks only two things: freedom and speech.

From today’s Inside Higher Ed:

Based on e-mail records and student testimony, the investigation found that the Muslim group organized a meeting to plan the interruptions, voted on the plan, distributed statements for protesters to read when shouting at the ambassador, and had plans in place for a variety of contingencies. The disruptions were "planned, orchestrated, and coordinated in advance" by the Muslim Student Union, the investigation found. Part of the plan, the university found, was for the members of the Muslim student union to tell anyone who asked that the event had not been coordinated by the group.
Here is the report of that investigation (redacted for the privacy of those accused).

After its investigation revealed organized obstruction and “dishonesty” on the part of the Muslim Student Union, the university decided to suspend the MSU for one year.  The MSU promptly appealed that decision.
The discussions, which are certain to ensue regarding what behaviors fall under free speech on college campuses, may help to define an issue which should be dear to every person who appreciates that fundamental freedom known as the First Amendment.  
It is an issue worth watching.

Update: I changed the "fountainhead of freedom" in my second to last line to the "fundamental freedom" because the nature of man is such that he must be free to act in order to pursue his values - this, not the government, is the source of his rights; the sole purpose of government is to protect those rights.

Monday, June 14, 2010

That Which Remains

When the air of freshly washed man
  fails to turn my nose in its direction,
When the shoulder shaking beat of drums
  begs not for dancing, but ear protection,
When the zest of spice irritates, rather than
  piques another taste from my tongue,
When a suggestive glance begets a squint,
  from eyes no longer so young,
I will not allow a sensual calm
  to preempt expectations of a passionate life,
As I trust the brush of your lips on my palm
  will still thrill: I remain, Your Wife.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Arugula Activism

As a sort of extension of my Join or Die post, and my never published post about why good people do bad things (aka: WTF was I thinking when I joined the government school PTA and town green committee?), I shall herein discuss being cured of my desire to attempt to change the world around me through proximal channels of opportunity I have heretofore misconstrued as open to me.
That’s a lot of hooey for “I quit.”
I quit. I quit. I throw dog-poopy on your shoe!
I can’t discuss the particulars, nor would anyone want to read about them (my husband will be canonized next week), however, I can discuss my rediscovered wisdom about spending my time exactly as I wish to.
Me, me, me.  Mine, mine, mine.  There. That feels better.
As my time volunteering in local groups (from a few months to three years!) and events dragged on, I became very, very bitter about the fact that I was somewhere I did not want to be doing something I did not want to do, for a cause I did not want to support.  How the hell I got there would be a mystery except that I did it to myself.  The mistake I made was in thinking that if I were somehow able to bodily volunteer my time and effort where I saw there was a problem, I might be able to become part of the solution.  
It didn’t work out that way.
At first, I was temporarily overwhelmed by the unquestioned convictions held by my kind, but wrong, neighbors.  In neither group did I find people who wanted to examine the principles involved so much as blindly follow our collectivist cultural ideology. These people who proudly proclaim “We could get some government money for that” and “Mandatory community service is a wonderful idea,” help to elect our leaders! As I watched and listened to these folks discuss the minute details of other specifically limited tasks, I could not keep in my head that it is exactly their acceptance of the wrong premises from which our cultural problems arise.  I allowed my reasons for volunteering, to combat such wrong-headedness, to be blunted by the earnestness and generosity with which these folks focused on the minute details.  They were simply wrong, not evil.
As time went on, I found that I could no longer participate in the particulars of group discussion, but sat mostly quiet until the opportunity to speak about principles arose.  In both groups, my rather frank statements (e.g. about the nature of government funds in one, and the morality of servitude in the other) were met with confused stares and silence. Despite my own earnest and generous efforts, the only thing I managed to persuade anyone of is that I did not belong among them.
Clearly, I was unprepared and had chosen the wrong forums for my activism.
Happily for me, though, in both cases the would-be leaders eventually showed their true colors during our time together landing an awakening slap across my face which cured me from my stumbling about. Had I not seen so clear a picture, literally, of the power-lust of the local administrator, or the overt ingratiation of the sycophant, I might have felt compelled to stay and try harder to steer the course of these volunteer ventures.
I see that each group is rather insignificant and will certainly remain ineffective under its own corruption.  I guess that's the best I can hope for.
Still, I’m left feeling like arugula in that while I’m bitter, my spiciness and pepper are still intact, perhaps even sharpened a bit.  I am wiser and will continue to fight a good fight, just no longer among the groups of folks whose foregone conclusions are that we have a duty to serve our community under the guidance of those who are happy to harness our efforts to further their goals of personal power. I have concluded that the only person who can waste my time now is me!  I will continue to fight the good fight in attempting to reach the minds of people regarding the virtue of selfishness, the morality of capitalism, and wisdom of individual rights—from home.
That is until the next time I think it’s a good idea to throw my body into the mix.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Scale Music

Now that I’ve gotten back to my normal weight,
I must remember it’s good, but it’s not yet great,
Unlike the point to which I fell, accidently, last year,
But when next at that goal, I will have earned the cheer.
And in doing so, I'll celebrate in any way I please.
Thus proving two points on having too much cheese!!!!                      

I’m sorry.  Were you expecting musical scales?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When Recycling Works for Me

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

But in this case, I think a link is worth more.

Guess who's hosting the Objectivist Round Up this week? That's right: Titanic Deck Chairs. Go there, relax, and enjoy. Don't worry about the icebergs. They've all melted due to global warming.

Okay. Now guess who's hosting next week?

Oui. C'est moi. Don't be late.

Made with 95% Post-Consumer Post.

For Me and My Gal

Today, we’re celebrating Judy Garland’s life. She would have been 88 today if she hadn’t died of a possibly-accidental overdose at the age of 47.  In addition to a general love of All Things Judy around here, my youngest has been writing an essay on the life of Judy Garland for a writing class.  Questions like,“Who’s Mel Torme,” come up quite often (perhaps I ought to show her some old videos so she’ll stop asking), but the killer questions are “What are barbiturates?” and “Why did the MGM studio guys think she was fat?”
I’ve watched several episodes of The Judy Garland Show, which ran in 1963-1964 (YouTube), and I while I like her spunk, I can’t help but think of how much she appeared to have been eaten alive by the world of entertainment.
In memory of Baby Gumm, a little girl with a big voice, I hope you enjoy the following snippets of Judy Garland.
For Me: An excellent polyphonic song with Barbra Streisand singing Happy Days are Here Again and Judy with Get Happy.
For My Gal: This one, In Between.

But these songs are my tween's favorites (not so with the videos which she had not seen before Tuesday).

And mine.