Friday, August 31, 2007

Most Powerful Women

An article on "the most powerful Women in the world" today. My comments will come tonight.
"For the second year in a row, Angela Merkel, the first woman to become chancellor of Germany, ranks No. 1 on our list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women. She continued to impress the world with her cool leadership at two back-to-back summits.
"First, she stuck to her principles, getting G-8 leaders to agree to significant cuts in carbon emissions, among other things. She later corralled European Union countries into an agreement on a treaty to replace the E.U. constitution..."
Everything that I have read of this Woman (Chancelor Markel) adds to the esteem that I have for Her; She is neither a dreary, knee-jerk anti-American nor a puppet of Washington. She is a smart, no-nonsense leader -- a very good thing for Germany and for the world.
I pray that this 21st century will see dozens, even hundreds, of such leaders of nations -- Women changing the face of history, leading our world into a better era.
Why can't we have more people of such caliber in the running for president back in these United States?

Chase "sees it"

My long-time blog pal Chase March has written a great post (well, that's nothing unusual!) about the concept of seeing the natural beauty, beyond the mere physical aspects, though it may be present, of the Women in one's everyday life.

He acts as if it is a new experience for him, and as if I deserve some kind of credit. I say, Chase has always been enlightened this way: it was he who saw the beauty in Alexis (Rescue Me) and brought Her gifts to our attention, for example.

Chase is a gentleman and a gentle man and I hope that his days of feeling lonely and empty will end soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Great clothes shopping advice from Lyn

Lyn has given me permission to borrow this post from Her blog in its entirety, as I thought it might be helpful to the Women who visit here, some of whom may not be familiar with Her blog yet. I know my own precious Sweetie, though She is petite and cute, hates to go clothes shopping because a lot of the items just don't seem to be designed with individual Women of varying proportions in mind.

But I would urge you, if you find this post useful, to go to Lyn's blog in order to comment on it, not mine.

"Hey, this is way cool. There is a web-site where you can find the most flattering clothes for you~You give your measurements, and it creates a personal shop with clothes which are geared for your own unique shape. Go to My .

I do not see any charges for joining, but, they are geared towards selling you the clothes they recommend for your body type. But, it could be a useful and wonderful experience, especially if you are like me, and, don't like to try on clothes when you go shopping...

Intellifit Virtual Fitting Rooms has scanning booths which make a fit print of your body, which in turn will be matched with brand name pieces so that you can find the right size. Go and see if there is one in your area. The on-line service is free, but, there is a charge for being measured at a store in your locale, and, the virtual print of you.

I just looked at the list of locations, and, they are throughout the United States, but, far and few between. I am sure that they will be popping up all over, as, it does make shopping easier, all the way around.

There is another site Zafu which through a series of questions can help you to find a perfect fit for jeans in 3 minutes. I can use this, as, jeans are not as easy to fit the way I like them as they were once.Just some little tidbits I found interesting and thought I would share with you. The good thing about each of these sites, is that once you know how to dress your body, what your body type truly is, then, shopping on-line just got that much easier, and, we all know that there are some great, unique, and, to-die-for pieces on-line..."

She, of all people, doubted?

My local paper had a column today about the upcoming release of "Come be my Light," a collection of the late Mother Theresa's writings.

When devout and selfless come up in the minds of most people, She heads the list.

And yet, this book supposedly will reveal that for a period in Her life, Mother Theresa "felt a void in her heart and soul. She did not sense God's presence."

Perhaps there is hope for the rest of us struggling, desiring, to believe in God and yet feeling so empty.

The column does not make it clear that She regained Her faith, although at first glance that might seem obvious. Is it so obvious? I think it was Lance who told me about some aged rabbi who no longer believed but continued his religious work as he always had, because he did not wish to devastate his congregration.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I did a good thing tonight, I hope

I am behind on my blogging -- you wonderful people have piled up comments to which I have not yet responded; and I have several new post ideas; as well as a couple of friends to link; and a few new links that I have found this week that pertain to the central purpose of this blog, namely, resources for that divine being who condescends to grace the Earth with Her presence, Woman.

But tonight I was busy wandering through an old building. It's a long story as to why I was there. In this somewhat neglected old building in a very bad, scary part of town, it turns out that bats have made a home for themselves. We saw guano piles here and there, and a few dead ones on the floor.

Seems a bat that lands on flat, smooth ground cannot lift itself into the air and will eventually die, a miserable death. Kind of like one of those big beetles that can't right themselves.

One of us nudged one of the dead, floor-bound bats with his boot, only to discover, by its shudder and clicks, that it was still alive.

We kept on going. But I was bothered. I wouldn't like to die of thirst and starvation, helpless upon a floor somewhere.

But bats, although they do a good job eating up pestilent bugs, are infamous for carrying rabies. Would I be a fool to try to help this one? I didn't dare pick it up by hand.

My conscience tugged at me still. Finally I found a closet with a pile of junk in it -- no dustpan as I would have liked, but a small trash can would do, and part of a vacuum cleaner assembly in lieu of a broom.

I drafted a companion to nudge the little animal with the vacuum cleaner thingee into the wastebasket, then, with the sweat of fear starting to drip down my neck, for the bat was only a few inches from my bare hand, carried the creature hastily outside and set it in a leaf pile.

Memo to the world

A memo to the world:

Do not call my office until you have your children under control.

I realize that for some of you, that might involve waiting until they have grown up and joined the Peace Corps, or the police department has arrived to arrest them, but that is your problem, not mine.

Do not call me and then leave the phone hanging while you dash off to administer smacks or snacks to said children.

It is annoying. I do not like to be annoyed. I will probably hang up the phone and harbor some residual hatred for you.

If at all possible, turn off the television and lower the background noise down a decibel or two as well. I don’t like to have to repeat my responses to you because you apparently have Viking warriors pillaging your living room during our conversation. Please appease them or whatever and THEN call.

I am not one of those people who will give you a disgusted look or whisper under my breath if your brat -- er, child -- throws a tantrum in a store. I recognize that most children do throw tantrums in stores from time to time. I will, however, lose all respect for you if you try to end the tantrum by giving the little monster candy or some other bribe, because that just means that your child will be throwing tantrums in stores until he qualifies for a senior citizen’s discount. Sometimes you need to be a parent, not Chuck E. Cheese.

I will also think poorly of your intelligence if you try to blame other people for your child’s crappy behavior. Apparently, there are a lot of people like that in the world. Their children grow up to warm cots in prison, from which they write letters to local newspapers insisting that they are innocent and complaining about their prison meals being too cold and the number of cockroaches infesting the place.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Her ears -- the series continued

While I've hardly done justice in my previous post to that complex, beautiful miracle of the universe, the mind of a Woman, I will continue my happy little series -- knowing that I can go back and add more later if I want to.

So sensitive to the tender kiss of a lover, so delicately shaped to capture the sounds of Her world, perfect with or without the sparkle of earrings to accentuate them, men who love Women love Their ears right along with the rest of the miracle that is Her.

Here's a little scientific tidbit:

Women of all ages have better hearing at frequencies above 2000Hz than do men, with a difference of up to 20dB at 4000Hz.

The rate of decline in hearing sensitivity accelerates with age in both men and women, but men decline more than twice as fast as women at most ages and frequencies.
Photo credit goes to: That site features an abundance of fun jewelry such as the earrings depicted above.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More science

Tonight, I enjoyed a glass of cool water with my dinner. Every kid knows the formula for the liquid of life: H2O. Hydrogen plus oxygen. Hydrogen is ancient, ancient stuff.

About 300,000 years after the Big Bang, protons cobbled together from quarks began to snag electrons and hydrogen was born, joining helium in the universe.

Our sun is mainly composed of these two elements.

With the proper equipment, a scientist could take my glass of drinking water and separate the hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen gas would float freely again as it had in those earliest days of the universe, long before it married oxygen to form "water."

Because we living things are mostly water -- from a gooey jellyfish to a beautiful Woman, we transport this ancient element, this stuff of the stars, around with us everywhere we go.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

How we got here

"Science" literally means "knowledge."

And our current knowledge tells us that our entire universe was once a super-dense point that exploded into the Big Bang. I marveled over that in a previous post, a long time ago.

Following this incredible event, sparked by who knows what -- God if you are a believer -- there was still nothing recognizable in the universe, not even the basic atoms that underlie all that we now see and experience. There were only tiny particles (is that the correct term?) which we call quarks. And then they began to bind to form neutrons and protons ... which would eventually lead to the formation of atoms.

So is anything smaller than a quark? This sort of thing is fascinating to me.

No frenzy here

Double disappointments yesterday:

I went by Barnes and Noble to search for Plutarch's "Moralia." I wanted a hefty, aesthetically-pleasing version, something with gravitas, not the fifty-year-old, paperback, excerpts-only version that I grabbed from some second-hand sale a decade ago. (I hate excerpt books -- let me choose what parts of a great work I want to read, don't decide for me!)

Of course they didn't have it. Never do. I have to special-order every book that I ever want to read.


On the way out, I saw a stack of CDs by some up-and-coming singer. She titles Herself "A Fine Frenzy." The CDs were complimentary. Since Interview Magazine, according to the CD liner, bills Her music as haunting, I was eager to listen to it.

No dice. Wouldn't play in my CD player. Defective disk. Easy come, easy go, I suppose.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My book list

A while back, Ms. Trisia expressed interest in my so-called book list.

Here's the first entry:

"LE-01-1. Ancient Egyptian Poetry and Prose
Collection of texts dating from 2800-1100 B.C. Ed. by Adolf Erman. Acq. May 6, 2000, from W&M Bookstore, $6 EV$5
(Consists of: Portions of the Pyramid Texts; Hymn to the Crowns; Morning Hymns; Story of Sinuhe; Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor; Story of the Herdsman; King Kheops and the Magicians; Deliverance of Mankind; Founding of a Temple; War of King Kamose (against the Hyksos); Wisdom Instructions of Ptahhotep, Kagemni, Duauf, Amennemhet, Merikeri, Sehetepibre; Dispute with the Soul; Admonitions of a Prophet; Complaint of Khekheperre-sonbu; Prophecy of Neferrohu; Complaints of the Peasant; Various Secular Songs; Various Hymns; The tale of Two Brothers; The Enchanted Prince, King Apophis and Sekenenre; Capture of Joppa; Concerning Astarte; A Ghost Story; Concerning a King and a Goddess; Quarrel of the Body and the Head; Voyage of Unamun: Exhortations to and letters of Schoolboys; Various Love Songs: Great Hymn to Amun; Hymns to Other gods.)
Reviewed: May-July 2001, Notes on Ancient Egyptian Literature."

In other words, I class it as LE(Egyptian literature), 01 for being the first in its genre, and the second 1 for being the first entry on the list. I bought it during a trip to the College of William and Mary in Virginia -- that was where Thomas Jefferson went to college.

I bought the book in 2000 and read it a year later, with the notes from that reading inscribed in a certain notebook devoted to Egyptian literature.

Not all that interesting of a post, IMHO, but there you have it. If it intrigues some of you, I'll keep going.

What I've done

This post is inspired by Lovely Adena, who has done much in Her life and is contemplating what is yet left to do:

What I have done:

Eaten squirrel, pheasant, shark, porcupine, goat, pork brain, lychee fruit, acorns and hurka (Hungarian blood sausage).

Traveled to Panama, Hungary (duh), Canada and Hawaii, and across the entire United States by car.

Seen in person the late John Denver, Vice President Dick Cheney and former presidential candidate Mark Warner.

Written a book (it ain't published yet, sorry).

Read every extant book from the beginning of time up through the Roman Plutarch, as well as the Quran, the Ramayana, the Book of Mormon and the Pseudepigrapha.

Visited a monastery, downtown Chicago, an Indiana corn field, London and the Hawaiian jungle.

Attended a Catholic Mass and a scattering of Protestant services, a synagogue, and visited an ancient Hawaiian haiu (temple, probably spelled wrong).

Had lunch with a famous author.

Learned to identify wild plants in my locale. Eaten some of them (the non-poisonous ones).

Been stung by wasps, jellyfish, bees, nettle and the words of former friends.

Visited an orphanage and Washington DC, Monticello, Seattle, Los Angeles, Honolulu, St. Louis and Denver.

Wet my fingers in the Mississipi, James, Danube, Susquehanna and Columbia rivers.

Ridden in a plane, a train and a boat. Set foot in a sub and the replicas of the Jamestown ships.

Sampled the cuisines of Jamaica, India, Germany, Hungary, the Southern US, Hawaii, Mexico, Vietnam, China, Japan, England and Greece.

That's probably enough for now.

Claudia explores our weakness

Claudia's blogging more about evil food this morning. A poll of sorts about our personal favorites, those foods we know are crap for our arteries, ambrosia for our mouths.



-- "Windmill, Windmill," Gorillaz.

Last night my dream self drove alone on the outskirts of a huge city, to the edge of a great and terrifying mess of multiple freeway exits. I was lost -- which DOES NOT happen to me in real life. I had a map in the car but instead of consulting said map, I got out of my car and began to walk, apparently in search of someone to ask for directions.

Though moments ago I had been on the edge of a hulking metropolis, now I was in a quiet, leafy suburb. The first building that I saw was an odd little structure, almost overgrown by trees and shrubbery. I could see on its facade the familiar "M" of McDonalds. I could ascertain that there were children inside, which made me very angry, as I somehow realized that this was a sweatshop for child labor in service of McDonalds.

But as I entered, I saw shelves of medicine and personal supplies and realized that this was no sweatshop. It was one of those Ronald McDonald charity house places.

I walked on through without commenting to anyone and out the other door, back up the long hill towards my car. I passed a hickory tree covered with nuts, then another tree loaded with fruit. It took me a second to realize that it was an apple tree.

Set back behind it in the undergrowth was a house. I contemplated knocking on the door and asking permission to eat the apples.

Then I awoke.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Of Rome, Plutarch, Judaism and Christianity

It is from the later Roman writers such as Tacitus that our almost universal modern disgust for the Empire derives -- for they wrote of the Eternal City as a cesspool of blood, filth and horror the likes of which the world had never seen.

Thus writes Edith Hamilton, famed Classical scholar -- then She drops the bombshell: One man was different. One revealed that not all Rome was lechers, leeches and lunatics. That one was Plutarch.

I shall of course learn more of this man as I wade into his "Moralia."

But instead tonight, I read another chapter in "Constantine's Sword, the Church and the Jews," by James Carroll.

Interestingly enough, both of my choices in reading tonight touched upon the same subject: Rome.

Rome, Carroll writes, may have been the world's first true totalitarian state -- and in the century-long war it fought against the Jews, it may have killed nearly an equal percentage of them per capita as Hitler's Final Solution.

Rome's political genius was to exploit the existing tensions within a conquered people -- a strategy used millenia later by the British Empire. Carroll blames modern inter-Irish tension, Pakistani-Muslim tension and even the Arab-Israeli tension upon this strategy. (I might add the Sunni-Shiite hatred in Iraq.)

This Rome did within the religious-political landscape of the land of Israel, in which Essenes, Saducees, Pharisees and Zealots -- Jews all -- contended against each other.

Into this mix was born another Jewish sect, the followers of Christ. The apparent anti-Semitic slant of their early writings, the Gospels, is actually, Carroll says, anything but. It is simply Jews contending against a different faction of their fellow Jews, as Pharisees might have written against Saduccees. From that seething kettle stirred by Rome to its own advantage, two groups have survived -- and they are, Carroll says, siblings, of the same womb: today's Judaism and Christianity.

After the Christian-Jewish breach was complete, and these facts were forgotten, the consequences would be tragic.

New book

I've finished Babrius/Phaedrus.

I couldn't get into them too much; just a collection of fables, mostly reworked from Aesop.

Now I leave behind these relative obscure writers and embrace a classic giant, Plutarch. His two great works were "Lives" and "Moralia."

More about this later tonight. I can't blog during the day, remember?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A doggy fable

I read this in Babrius tonight and thought of Dawn:

"A man about to go on a journey said to his dog standing by:

'Why are you gaping? Get everything ready; you are going with me.'

The dog wagged his tail, fawning on his master, and said: 'I've got everything; it's you who are delaying.'"

What Laura learned

A recent thought from the blog of Laura Stamps, posted with Her permission:

"I truly believe an overdeveloped sense of responsibility can cripple your life. Yet it’s a tough habit to break when as loving, giving women our lives are full of so many needy people.

"One way to gain a right sense of responsibility is to realize you are not responsible for anyone’s emotional happiness but your own. Simply, happiness comes from within, and there’s no way around that.

"Knowing this will loosen the bonds many emotionally needy friends and family members place upon generous women. Even our children are ultimately responsible for their own emotional happiness, and it is our responsibility to gently empower them with this teaching."

Kat's quoting Edna tonight

Kat's blog tonight features one of my favorite poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay -- a terse verse on the end of a friendship.

Highly recommend a visit.

Stupid Person Number 3,423,455

Dude comes blazing by me this morning in a red Mustang like I was Granny Go-slow and he was fresh off the NASCAR track.

I'm doing my usual 70-75 miles per hour or so (I guess that's about 160 km or whatever), keeping my eyes out for the cops that love this stretch of the freeway. Yeah, it's 55 mph for no reason that I can understand and I hate it myself.

So I know Hotshot Harry had to be nearing triple digits.

Like the fade-out dot on an old tv, he vanishes down the road ahead of me, leaving behind the roaring of his engine.

Couple minutes later, I see him stopped on the shoulder with Smokey getting out to write up the ticket.

What an idiot. If you are going to drive that damn fast, you'd be better be sure you have a radar detector AND a radar jammer in your car.

Didn't look so cool any more sitting there while everybody else rolled on by.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dawn speaks!

Unfortunately, lovely red-headed Dawn is having blog trouble again and so I am honored to allow Her to use this blog to post an update for Her fans until She gets it straightened out:

"Dawntraveling fool

And so I'm back, yet again, trying to catch up on everything at the moment and have beyond very little free time. Not terribly surprising for my life. :) I had a great time in New Jersey with my friends. :) It's always good to hang out with dog people and talk dog stuff while surrounded by dogs. I really wanted to take home a 10 year old mix that Susan was boarding. He was so damn sweet! But, thankfully they wouldn't let me - Millie gave me about 3 1/2 inches of the bed last night and I'm not sure I could handle another large dog in the bed!

Work is *crazy*. The next few months for me are going to be incredibly hectic. I know I'll have to work from home for about half of that time so I can actually get shit done. I'll stay up real late working (after homework I suppose) and work super long days in the hopes of hitting my deadlines.

I have a book of sayings that Ellin gave me for Xmas last year. Currently it's set to "I love deadlines.... especially the sound they make as they go whizzing by." That's my life right about now. Work - crazy.Homework - 1 week behind.

Social life - far too busy even though I don't have the time for it

Family - Haven't seen in weeks

Dogs - they've been dragged along with me but will need to be content having me here but not playing all the time

Flyball - still holding on to number 5 :)

Friends - they only see me on myspace

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not complaining! :] I'm just busy, like normal.

Someday: I need to make an appt with the dentist, get me and Millie back to the chiropractor, make an appt with my eye doctor, poly the bookshelf, have the railings on the deck replaced, and clean the pool (which is a nice green color due to 2 weeks of total neglect.)

Did I mention I'm having a cookout Labor Day weekend? You're more than welcome to attend. :)Did I also mention I've had a few dates? No? Sorry, but I don't have the time to go into details! On to homework. >:


God's fruit

"Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?"
-- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

T.S. Eliot was born in Missouri but spent most of his life in Europe. Obviously, he never tasted a Georgia peach or his character Alfred would never have asked such a stupid question.

The ambrosia that floods your mouth upon biting into such a fruit, fresh from a farmer's market, almost makes up for these hellish summers of ours that are required to create peach perfection.

No syrupy, soggy has-been from a can and no hard, crunchy pseudo-peach from some other state, can compare to the real thing.

You know it's real when you don't even have to chew it, you just sort of compress it with your tongue and it squirts its heaven all over your tastebuds.

Peaches came from China, via Persia. Obviously, some ancient Chinese person made God very happy somehow and was rewarded with the world's first peach tree.

I have had a very long, very exhausting day. I had every right to reward myself tonight with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and slices of the most exquisite fruit known on the planet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Urgent safety questions

The majority of the people who post to this blog are adults. But a few members of this blog community are a little younger. We treat them with the respect that they deserve and I don't believe that any of the regulars in this blog circle would ever seek to hurt them.

However, let me tell you about an experience I had a while ago. I have a youthful friend in Oregon, not a member of this blog circle. Just by knowing Her name and Her town, in all of about five minutes --- and I'm no tech expert -- I was able to Google up a map right to Her front door. Of course, I was just testing out the theory that it could be done -- most computer literate people have heard about such a thing by now. I've done it with myself and even my grandfather. But what if I had been someone else, with dark intentions?

I visited a certain blog recently and someone had filled out a survey there that revealed quite a lot of personal information about themselves. Information that might be useful to a a person of malicious intent.

It got me to thinking -- I would never want anyone in my blog circle -- well, any human being for that matter -- to be hurt, especially by someone who lurked on this blog of mine and then followed it up to somewhere else.

I recently posted a laudatory link to a young writer's work in this blog circle and She received well-deserved applause. But I am questioning my wisdom now in having done that. Have I increased the chances that someone -- not one of you but a lurker, a sick person -- might stalk Her or some such thing? Should I refrain from mentioning any of Her future posts and erase the one that I put up? But if I do, then Her work remains known only to Her immediate friends and people lucky enough to stumble upon Her blog.

What are your thoughts, dear readers?

Your purse/handbag/pocketbook

A random blog I encountered today, mused that small purses are back in fashion for Ladies this year.

Of course, there are pros and cons to that.

This could be a fun little subject. I'll add to it tonight.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Death by blogging

The "delirium tremors" have set in. Pink elephants dance before my eyes. But I will add two more fine bloggers to the roll tonight, Melanie and Laura.

Melanie is one of those rare bloggers who keeps more than one blog going at a time. She loves Her camera -- isn't that obvious? -- and Her family and the world of dreams.

Laura Stamps is an accomplished writer and a devotee of the mystic world. She's another who came to my blog first -- and I always appreciate that.

I realize that the gender balance on my blog list is seriously tilted -- can I help it if Women are just better bloggers?

Alexis on Fire

"Breathe life into me, as you take my breath away.
Never has vulgarity seemed so pure,
never has something so bitter tasted so sweet."

That is the first stanza of a poignant verse by none other than our Alexis, who clearly has the gift of poetry at quite a youthful age. The poem is entitled "Fire" and it's worth a visit to Her "writing blog" to enjoy the entire thing.

Linking Claudia

Claudia is a master essayist who likes to live out on a limb, blogging about breast implants, naked neighbors and guys in their underwear. Lots of fun and then again, surprisingly poignant -- catch Her blog post about a terrible accident that She witnessed. She lives in an old Victorian house and likes to talk about music and magazine articles.

Now officially linked.

Minds in motion

Across the world in Her respective "today," from America to Australia, a bite of bagel, a bowl of cereal, a hot cup of coffee or a spoonful of yogurt, crossed the tongues of certain very special Women, journeyed into Her depths and passed its vital energy into Her divine system -- Nirvana for nutrition.

She went about Her daily business -- showering, brushing Her hair, perhaps exercising, perhaps tending children, or maybe attending a college lecture or reporting to an office.

At some point, each of Them sat down before a keyboard and put Her optics to work attempting to decipher distant dispatches from a certain ECD -- a would-be writer who was warned in high school about his choppy prose but never got better.

And within the holy cathedral of Her superior Woman's mind, the vital energy borrowed from Her breakfast coasted along cerebral synapses to form Beautiful Thoughts, which Her fingers tapped out, clickety-clack, upon a keyboard and launched into cyberspace.

And that is why I have 17 delicious comments to savor in this blog tonight, as soon as my own dinner is out of the way and I have the time to do so!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Aardvark awareness

Thanks to the Dutch propensity for double vowels, the first page of most dictionaries and encyclopedias includes a description of an odd little African mammal called an aardvark.

The real thing is utterly unlike the charming hero of the "Arthur" books for children. It lives its life in darkness, being absolutely nocturnal. It eats termites and little else.

Africans eat the poor thing, whose only defense are its sharp claws. It rolls onto its back and slashes at its attacker -- or digs its way to safety at amazing speed.

They also string its little peg teeth into bracelets to ward off evil. The logic of that escapes me. (Then again, people in my culture think that the severed foot of a rabbit brings them good luck.)

Millions of years ago, aardvarks ranged across Europe and Asia, apparently at a time when huge termite mounds could still be found there. Now it lives only in the dry lands from Ethiopia to South Africa, and there is only one species of it in its family.

Our world abounds in fascinating creatures -- from the stick insects of Malaysia to the lemurs of Madagascar to the grizzly bears of Alaska. I never get tired of learning about them.

Her Mind ...

This is the second post in a series I envisioned for this blog -- of focusing on and revering each and every aspect of Woman from head to toe; as well as Her other attributes and qualities.

We started with hair. Quite naturally. It's at the top. Beneath these strands of brown, gold, black, red or white lies the greatest -- and most tragically underappreciated -- resource in the universe, the brain (mind) of Woman.

From Sappho to Debbie Gibson, Emily Dickenson to Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Marie Curie to the legions of smart young Female scientists today (and yes, I am thinking of Your great mind, Adena), the genius of Woman is an incontrovertable fact -- and imagine our world today if every Woman ever born had been encouraged, not discouraged, from using Her mind.

Some studies suggest that men and Women compliment each other intellectually -- that the one is strong in the specific areas that the other is weaker. Perhaps.

Other studies assert that Women are simply smarter than men -- that Girls as a whole outperform boys on intelligence tests, and only start to fall back as They get older, specifically because of the poisonous attitudes of our society towards Women who are smart and assertive.

As modern Women become more assertive, less willing to step back and let men do all the thinking, the evidence of Their intelligence becomes as obvious as your nearest college campus, where the number of Women attending is beginning to, and in many cases already has, become greater than that of men.

Ashley Montagu devotes a whole chapter in his classic book, The Natural Superiority of Women, to the amazing Female mind and to scientific evidence for its superiority. Montagu, I would note, was not some lusty bachelor but a happily married man, who said in the dedication of his book:

"To my wife, I owe deepest thanks for being all that a naturally superior person should be."

If Montagu sincerely meant those words, if he listened eagerly to the words of that Woman, with deepest respect and appreciation; if he appreciated Her mind as much as he did Her body; if he showed in deed what he said in words, what a glorious marriage that couple must have had!

Unfinished business

There are still a handful of occassional commenters to this blog whom I have not linked yet -- I get behind during the week.

Morinn, Bloggrl, Odat and Open Grove Claudia spring immediately to mind. Just let me know if I have permission to link Your blogs and I will.

My idea of a link is someone who's commented here at least twice and seems likely to plan a return visit, as well as being someone whose blog I have visited and found interesting. And of course, I won't do it without your specific permission.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm dangerous tonight

While running the vacuum through the living room today, I sucked up a decorative hanging cloth which nearly pulled down a big plant and which did cause a figurine to take a swan dive onto the ground. I keep the Superglue company in business.

Before I could shut the machine off, the damn thing had almost eaten the whole cloth. Horrible, acrid smoke started pouring out of it and I soon discovered that I had burned up the belt on the machine.

Attempting to extricate it, I spattered the carpet with soot which repeated applications of Woolite have done nothing to resolve.

Attempting to light a candle to clear out some of the burnt-rubber stench, I dropped the lit match into a pile of plastic grocery bags, which could have been a real disaster.

I need to give up and go to bed.

A new blog link from Nepal

The newest friend in our blog circle is Madhav Rosyara, who lives in Nepal. He's happy to be linked and as soon as I get back from a certain errand this morning, I will do so. Meanwhile, from the Naturetrek website:

"Nepal is one of the most spectacular countries on earth, inhabited by the most friendly and endearing people. For a country that lies 800 kilometres from the sea, it has a scenic and altitudinal variety that is quite unrivalled.

It contains the highest mountains in the world, thundering rivers, magical montane forests and dense lowland jungles. The Kathmandu Valley - once the bed of a large and ancient lake - is now a colourful mosaic of rice paddies and quaint farmhouses surrounded by high forested hills supporting a fabulous range of exotic bird and mammal species including monkeys, Muntjac, Jungle Cat, Leopard and even Tiger.

The bustling capital city combines medieval and modern in unique fashion and visitors will be fascinated by the beautiful pagoda-style Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas and elaborate royal palaces.

Friday, August 17, 2007

madhav Rosyara

Way back buried in a pile of comments that I am just getting around to answering tonight, I found a warm and welcoming one from madhav Rosyara, in Nepal.

What a thrill! He is welcome to post here anytime and share details of life in his country with us. And I am waiting his permission to link his blog.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have at least one link from every country in the world?

Bread of an evening

I am baking bread tonight, using an old German recipe that has never failed me. It starts with 2 cups of scalded milk ...

... When I am done, when it has been kneaded 50 times and left to rise, I have a plethora of your comments to answer, from the last two days.

Ophelia Part 1

Polly’s story:

Dr. Pipher opens Her book with “Polly’s story” – Her childhood remembrance of a vibrant, tomboyish, outspoken, take-no-prisoners Girl who hit the invisible brick wall of puberty and found that that role, though tolerable for a Girl, was not acceptable for a Woman.

So after some struggle, Polly became what society expected – fashion-conscious, demure, watching from the sidelines as the boys did the thinking and speaking -- a different person entirely.
“I was the only one who mourned the loss of our town’s most dynamic citizen,” Pipher writes.

Saving the world

Our world is very sick – full of angry men and damaged Women.

Never before in the history of humanity has it been this bad. Look at the number of people on anti-depressants; look at the number of suicides, of people rotting in prison; of anorexics and self-cutters and fractured families.

Some of our problems are as old as humanity. Some old evils have, if not vanished, at least subsided, such as the slave trade and the denial of Women’s suffrage. But always before, there has been an escape valve. There has always been a frontier, whether Qumran, Plymouth, the Canadian border or the Wild West, a place to which misfits and oppressed people could escape the evils and the perceived evils of their old world and start over, with room to breathe and self-governance far from the oppressor’s legions.

No more. The world has become a very small place and there are no more frontiers. For the first time in history, we can’t escape the stench of our social sewage. We have to deal with it and we are doing a terrible job.

This is mirrored in the lives of our children, who once had “frontiers” of their own – fields and forests to which they could escape when the pressures of adults upon them became too great. Those Norman Rockwell days have gone, too, and the children suffer. Boys squirm all day in school, with no recess; squirm some more in day care centers and well-intentioned after-school programs; and get no relief, and find their only solace in video games and acting out.

Something must be done.

And what of Girls?

I have begun to read a very important book: Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls.

I would like to share what I learn here and discuss it with you all – how this author believes we can help the Girls in our world to escape the poisons of our society and grow up confident and happy.

If we – both Women and men – are to be part of the solution to save our common humanity – then saving the selves of adolescent Girls is vital. Girls grow to be Women and unhappy, self-hating Girls logically grow up to become unhappy, self-hating Women.

And the boys and men who love them, suffer too, seeing their pain and feeling helpless to cure it.

And in turn, Women who are miserable and hurt, are in no position to help the men in Their lives to deal with their own male doubts, insecurities and frustrations – and so the vicious cycle worsens.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Three more treasures to read!

A buck fifty bought me three more books tonight to soothe my addiction -- I mean, to enjoy:

Five Plays of the English Renaissance (including Marlowe's Doctor Faustus)

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam, edited by Bernard Edelman

and Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, by Mary Pipher.

Meanwhile tonight I read a little more from Babrius, while thunder and lightning raged outside and our parched land finally had some rain. Plutarch, mighty Plutarch is next.

Girls and math

Yahoo has an interesting video right now about former Wonder Years star Dana Keller trying to help Girls become more interested in math:

Another side effect of burying Women under burqas

According to a recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Mid-Eastern Women who spend Their lives covered up as if the beauty that God gave them was shameful, may have significant vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight.

Welcome, Nadiyya!

Nadiyya, who lives in Egypt, has joined this blog community recently. I haven't had the chance to read much of Her blog yet but I'm going to link Her anyway, because I have certainly enjoyed the posts that I have read.

She cares deeply about children and that is beautiful. We shall get along quite well.

Some self-revelation

My blog friends:

I have been very vague on this blog about who I am, my real name, where I live, what I do -- anything that might pin down who I am in the real world.

It's mostly because my earliest posts were a catharsis, a way to express certain feelings that I had kept to myself for many years. Lately, I have seen my blog move in other directions, rerhaps permanently, and I'm almost inclined just to go back and erase the oldest posts, so that I can put my real name and other things like that to this blog.

Lyn asked me something today that no one else here has yet. I do not hesitate to answer: Yes, I am married, happily married, to a beautiful Woman with a heart of gold, who cares about animals and the simple pleasures of life. She has very little interest in the Internet and not much interest in this blog, although She has glanced at it from time to time and I've shown Her some of Your more interesting posts.

Of course She knows how much I adore Womankind -- like so many wonderful Women, She says She doesn't understand why.

She is deeply concerned about identity theft and such and has asked me not to say much about Her online. I will respect that, although I fill Her living ears daily with reminders of Her beauty, which She doesn't generally accept; and I talk about Her often with my acquaintances.

Perhaps it is a good thing that Lyn asked. It is the reason why (except in the case of Dawn, who is my designated trustee for this blog in case of my sudden death) I have not asked for any of your emails or taken the steps to go beyond the friendships that we have all developed here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Recommending Lyn

Call me biased, but I strongly urge every guy who reads these words to visit Lyn's blog (It's a Woman's World) and comment on Her delightful post today about men who adore Women.

Let your feelings be known. Even if you are not quite as obsessive about the subject as I am.

The sun never sets ...

It began with Adena, beautiful, brilliant Adena.

I was fooling around online and for some reason I think I typed "squishing ants." Up came Her blog. I barely knew the meaning of the word at the time.

She hooked me immediately; I recognized a rapier wit and a beautiful soul beneath it.

I created my own blog, probably in order to be able to respond to Hers, little realizing what would happen. I still read Her words every day and I respect Her more than She will ever know.

Then came Lance. And then, one by one, the rest of you.

Today, I commune with your beautiful minds and rejoice in a plethora of your insightful comments every time I refresh my browser.

Morinn in Mauritius, Rebecca in New York, Susan in San Francisco, Chase in Canada Trisia in Romania and now Nadiyya in Egypt -- the sun never sets on this little circle in blog world.

It is intoxicating, addictive and wonderful -- wine that enriches, never debilitates.

I see your personalities unfolding, such as the compassion of Jeane and the conflict resolutions of Alexis. I see the sweetness in the heart of Adena, who would kick me good and hard if I knelt to kiss Her feet -- but I'd do it anyway. She insists on equality but I insist on Her superiority and we will have to agree to disagree. I see the heroism behind the playfulness of Dawn; and a certain squirrel's love for literature.

You are all at once like my children, my siblings and my friends. It would be impossible but entirely delightful to hold a grand get-together someday.

We are animal lovers and people lovers; scientists, teachers and parents, single and married, men and Women.

You Ladies are of course my favorite visitors and friends. I thrill to think that on the winds, the traces of the billion breaths You have exhaled since Your birth might still ride, might be carried to me, inhaled into my being. Perhaps we have passed in an airport somewhere, perhaps I caught a whiff of Your perfume or the scent of Your cigarette smoke or heard the tap, tap, tap of Your heels clicking upon the walkway.

Or perhaps we've had no contact, ever, save for this blog -- and yet You are living, breathing, real and wonderful, all of You.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

When in Rome ...

In the September issue of Food and Wine magazine, columnist Elizabeth Gilbert considers the modern Roman mindset, in a piece entitled "Sidewalk Rage."

While others in the West have a "Cartesian mind," she says -- they go from point A to point B and get enraged at anything in their way -- the denizens of Rome are different.

"The classical Italian mindset .... meanders, pauses, stretches out its legs in the sun and takes the long route," Gilbert says.

She gives for example Her Italian friend, who felt perfectly comfortable one warm Roman day in pushing his chair into the middle of a sidewalk the better to enjoy his repast of fried asparagus. No passing Italian pedestrians minded or said anything -- only a German tourist.

I wonder how this mindset -- quirky, romantic, leisurely - fits with the ancient Rome I have been studying -- the drilled and disciplined Imperial legions, the code of laws, the great machine of Roman civilization that once stretched from Britain to the hills of Hungary.

Can a people change so much, a whole cultural mindset shift like that?

Billboard blog post

The beautiful billboard looms above the traffic jam -- a lovely Lady wearing a strand of jewelry.

With due respect to the jewelry company who paid for the ad, far more wonderful in my eyes is the Woman who is wearing their product - whoever She is, wherever She lives.

Jewelry is but glossy stones. Its beauty is limited. She has life. She thinks, walks, speaks and Her beauty is limitless.

True, time will change Her living loveliness, draw lines upon that complexion and at the edges of those pretty eyes, while that jewelry might glimmer unchanged a thousand years from now.

But it is also possible, in that distant day that those stones could lie lost in a drawer or a garbage dump, while Her beauty lives on in words well written; in some aspect of science that Her mind spurred forward; or in the eyes of a great grandchild.

Stones are helpless in the matter of destiny -- the Hope diamond could not stop the hands that trimmed it from its original magnificence -- but She, She lives and She has power to change the world.

Audrey Hepburn's dress sold for nearly $500,000, not because of the cut of the cloth or the fabric from which it was made, but because of the legend who once wore it.

What does it mean to be "effeminate"

I'm off from work today, so don't worry, I'm not going to get fired for these posts.

I saw Richard Simmons on the Today Show this morning -- and I respect that guy so much. He just seems like so much fun -- and he has devoted his life to helping people feel better about themselves.

He is, however, one of those types of guys who tend to get the title "effeminate."

Human personality is a fascinating subject. What makes one man deep in voice, broad in shoulder and rough-and-tumble in his habits, and another high-pitched, somewhat lispy and an aficianado of things typically considered to belong to a Woman's world, such as high fashion and dieting?

The irony is that both men could be gay or they could both be straight, or the "masculine" man might be gay and the other a father of three -- you can't predict such a characteristic based on apparent "manliness" or being "effeminate."

It takes all kinds of people to make up our world and I am glad for the Richard Simmons' in it.


The news reports today that global warming is expected to melt the entire polar icecap within a few decades.

This is sparking an international rush to, of all things, assert claim to the North Pole, where the melting ice will free up a huge amount of oil to be exploited.

Anyone else find this news a little horrifying? Insane?

Ever had ...?

Ever had a day like this?

(Souptonutz, from

Linking to Lizza

Monsoons and poetry,
Memory lane and Pinocchio's, um, protuberance,
this is Lizza, who declares: I am Woman, see me blog.

I am happy to link Her -- yes, I've decided I can't beat my blog addiction, so I will embrace it instead, linking like a madman, albeit still not at work.

What beautiful minds congregate here! I speak of you all, not of me -- I am merely the conference hall where your delightful voices are heard. And that includes the guys, too, Lance, Chase, Squirrel and Anandi.

Another Woman to Inspire Us

"Rowing alone across the Atlantic Ocean might be enough of a feat for some people to retire on. But not Roz Savage. This irrepressible adventurer (and blogger, speaker, and writer) now has her sights set on a Pacific triumph, too.
Over the next several years, Roz plans to row her boat, the Brocade, from San Francisco to Australia, by way of Hawaii and Tuvalu."

Her blogsite:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dawn's down!

If You are out there somewhere in cyberspace, red-headed Dawn, check in, for Your blog appears to have vanished. )0:

Go visit Leslie!

Leslie's telling a camp story tonight on Her blog. No severed hands or spooky sounds are involved but it does include one terribly hungry little child and a mysterious disappearance.

Girl or Woman?

Which are You?

Does it depend upon Your mood, upon the circumstances, upon the person speaking to You?

A few years ago, I read a beautiful column in which the author explained how She had enjoyed being a Girl, but was a Girl no longer but a Woman and expected to be thusly addressed.

Today, I read a column in which the author explained that She liked being called a Girl and found the term Woman to be bland. She longed for days when it was normal and acceptable to call an adult a Girl.

And as I write this, of course Neil Diamond is playing in my head:

"Girl, you'll be a Woman soon..."

An angry ark

"And they of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark and rejoiced to see it." -- 1 Samuel 6:13.

With this beautiful and descriptive passage, the Bible narrates the return of theArk of the Covenant to Israel after its kidnapping by Philistines.

But those happy wheat farmers might not have been so eager to get the thing back had they known what was coming:

"And [God] smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter."

50,070 people? Did they die all at once, in some explosive burst of divine wrath? Get zapped one by one like ants being squished by an invisible hand? Or go home and have dinner and go to bed, never to awaken in the morning? And that is sure a lot of people for one little city in that day and age, seems to me.

Other cultures have had their holy relics, even protected them with taboos and such, but none have had such an odd treasure, with such deadly and delicate sensibilities.

And then, after being so potent for so many years, the ark just mysteriously vanished, never to be seen again, except in the mind of a Hollywood filmmaker.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Kat and Her camera

Kat's got fiery skippers and hairstreaks on Her blog tonight. Amazing, how beautiful these speedy little butterflies can be. Check it out, folks -- wrap up your weekend with something beautiful.

A literary milestone

Last night, I read the last words of Phaedrus, a Latin fable writer. Tonight, I have opened the pages of Babrius, a poster boy for ancient diversity if there ever was one. He is believed to have been born in Italy, but spent his life in Syria, writing his magnum opus in Greek, dedicated to a great grandson of King Herod, an Idumean Jew. Yes, that nasty Herod you read about in the Bible.

It's a milestone for me. After ten years of reading all the extant literature of ancient Egypt, Babylon and Israel, all the extant writings of classical Greece and all the authors of early Rome -- from Plautus through Seneca -- I have reached, in Babrius, the second century of the Common/Christian Era.

Why do this? Because each book in the library of humanity builds upon the books and the culture that has gone before. Shakespeare in literature and the US Founding Fathers, built upon the Rennaisance, which built upon the Greek and Roman world, which built upon earlier worlds in the East.

As I move further into history, eventually I shall reach a wonderful point where music and art is much better preserved, to add to the learning ambience. Why not read Shakespeare with music of his era playing in the background, art from his time period fresh on my mind or displayed (cheap computer printed copies, of course) on my study room walls; and a menu typical of his era on my kitchen table?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A simple Saturday night

We've had no rain for the longest time. So I wandered slowly through the yard tonight watering the plants that seemed to need it the most: my apple trees, the linden, the tomatoes. I love my little piece of ground, happily shared with a chipmunk, moles, butterflies, dragonflies, squirrels, birds and the occasional toad; grudgingly shared with a groundhog; shared against my will with mosquitoes and yellow jackets.

I'm spending a quiet evening surrounded by my books, enjoying the memory of a simple meal tonight; a salad of carrots, basil and tomatoes, all fresh from the garden; and white rice blended with minced fish, tiny hot peppers -- also from the garden -- and fragrant garam masala for seasoning.

My art museum

I walked through the galleries of my local fine arts museum yesterday. I looked at Chinese pots dating back 8,ooo years and British watercolors only a century old. I gazed upon glossy silver and coins from the Byzantine Empire.

And I thought about how everything in the place was so stripped of context, trapped in those sterile glass boxes with only little placards to explain what it was.

In my art museum, it would be different. If I were going to display Medieval English stained glass from a church, you would walk into a darkened room with worn brick beneath your feet and the smell of incense in the air. The glass would be upon the wall with sunlight or at least faux sunlight shining through it. And you would sit upon a wooden pew with period church music softly playing, and thus experience it the way the artist intended.

If I were going to display Russian items, I would turn the thermostat in the room down until it was almost frigid. And you would walk a few steps through some artificial snow to get to the exhibit and you'd hear murmurs of authentic Russian conversation and maybe have to pay with a ruble to get inside.

If I were going to display ancient pots excavated from a Chinese burial chamber, I would recreate the very ambience of that chamber, as if my visitors were the archaeologists who discovered it.

Space Holiday

They're building a hotel in space.

What a neat idea.

I won't be able to afford it, not at $4 million a trip. But if these folks go first and make a profit, it will ultimately become more of a possibility for the rest of us.

Space fascinates me. We belong out there, visiting new worlds.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Stealing from humanity

Tyranny is hateful not merely because it abridges the inalienable rights of man, but also because it cheats humanity of what might have been, what should have been our common gift.

How many artists, inventors and authors must surely have perished in the Holocaust!

How many great minds live and die unknown today in lands ruled by criminals – in Byelorus, in North Korea – for only rarely in history does the genius of a Solzhenitsyn survive in spite of oppression and his work slip across the border into free lands!

Caesar Augustus, whose month this is, had a freedman in his employ, one Phaedrus, who apparently suffered no ill at his hands, and whose fables are extant today, though barely known.

From Phaedrus we get the brilliant observation:

“Homo doctus in se simper divitias habet.” (A man of learning always has riches within himself.)

But this same Augustus also banished Ovid, one of the greatest poets of the Roman Empire, to what was then the edge of nowhere (a settlement in today’s Romania) over some outrage that no one has ever quite diagnosed with certainty.

And so he who gave us the beautiful Metamorphoses and Love Poems, died in that place, bitter and unhappy – and humanity must always wonder, what might have been.

Jocks versus Nerds

I read somewhere, a while ago, that we never really outgrow our high school roles -- the two labels that separate us there.

Jocks grow up to be conservative, CEO or Archie Bunker types -- they seal big deals or drive bulldozers, smoke cigars, slap backs and scorn literature and the fine arts.

Nerds grow up to be liberal -- professors, protestors and such.

Granted, it is a sweeping generalization.

But I thought about it yesterday. A big guy, a former sports writer who used to work where I used to work, caught up with me. He remembered me but I had no clue, no memory of him at all.

Seems he's applying for work within the organization where I work. He wanted to come into my office and against my better judgment, I let him. Whereupon he told a "dirty joke" about a former coworker and then proceeded, during the course of an hour of largely solo speech, to chuckle and guffaw his way through some mildly racist commentary -- how he thinks he's going to survive with that attitude in a city that is 90 percent black, I don't know -- while I sat there very uncomfortable.

He wasn't trying to be mean. He was just being himself -- a big, hearty, crude, slap-on-the-back jock. I wasn't trying to be cold or prudish, just myself, a bite-my-tongue nerd.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Last link of the week -- Marvelous Molly

I have perhaps reached the limit of bloggers for my link list -- I simply can't keep up with any more. For me, a link represents a friend and I try to visit each of their blogs everyday, to keep up with their thoughts in their world, and to comment. And if a week goes by without my visiting a certain blog, I feel as if we begin to drift apart. Already I find myself having to visit half the list one day, the other half the next.

If Princess Banter is interested, I may link Her blog tomorrow, but then it really, really has to be "quits." Geez, I sound like an addict. I am an addict. But what better kind of an addict to be?

Anyway, Molly is another wonderful Lady who enjoys words, life and the great outdoors. I seem to gravitate towards people like that!

When I feel inclined to moan ...

I've blogged about work misery this week and it's got me thinking about an old memory.

Down by the buggy, muggy, swampy edge of a certain river near my city, stand the ruins of an old factory, a textile mill. Nothing but blackflies and cottonmouths inhabit the place now, with its roof long away crumbled away.

A few years ago, a resident of the nearby town shared some letters with me, written a century ago by a relative of his who once worked in that mill.

And when I think my job is tough, I remember what She endured.

She worked from dawn to dusk and often beyond, six days every week, in whatever uncomfortable clothes Ladies wore back then -- in a blazing hot hellhole of a factory where Her every breath, day in, day out, drew in lung-destroying bits of fiber and dust. Around Her, the satanic machines roared constantly -- and no one had any concept of hearing protection.

If She were to lose a finger or worse, they'd show Her the door.

I have naught of which to complain.

No time this morning

I usually try to answer comments in the evening and add a new post in the morning now, before I head off to work.

But last night sucked, if you will forgive the crude expression, and so I'm behind. Long, long meeting. I did try out what I read in the paper recently, to drink a Sprite beforehand -- apparently there is some chemical in lemons which stimulates alertness. That chemical or perhaps the distinct fear of being fired, kept me quite awake through the whole thing.

It's horribly hot here. I had a can of soda, unopened, in the car yesterday and it exploded as I was sitting at a stoplight. I lie not. It's that hot.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Another wonderful friend to enjoy

I am excited to introduce, for those of you who don't already know Her, Kat -- who also dwells upon my east coast, albeit deeper south, y'all.

Kat is a gifted photographer and a Woman who loves nature. When the two combine, the world is blessed. Enjoy!

Lucky me!

I did not have to spend today squirming under my boss' glare, for a change. Instead, I was part of a group of teams putting together a "mission statement."

By delightful chance, I was put together at the table with four Ladies, of varying age and backgrounds.

They worked with Feminine efficiency and precision. I contributed my thoughts now and then but it was beautiful to see Their synergy, Their intellects at work -- no cattiness, no pettiness, none of that stereotypical stuff, just smart Women thinking hard and being successful together.

I love it!

Mammary Meditations.

Not what you might think. Not a post about cup size or such things.

It is time that I add a new declaration to my blog: I believe firmly in a Woman's right to breastfeed Her child wherever She darn well pleases. I believe that exiling Her to a germy bathroom for that purpose is stupid, hypocritical, prudish and inexcusable. Time for us to all grow up!

I shake my head whenever I walk past the oversize Victoria's Secret posters in the mall with silicone-enhanced models leaving almost nothing to the imagination, and then consider that a Woman exposing that same amount of flesh nearby to feed Her child, would probably get a chiding by security, if not banishment.

This is one Western custom that needs to just die.

I remember a line from a book I read about Star Trek a long time ago (my parents were Trekkies) -- how the show's costumers wrestled with how much breast to show on the actresses. The producers said they could go low, low, low -- just no nipples and no underside of the breast.

"Maybe they were afraid moss grows there," the author mused.

Yes, I know the West has a breast fetish. I'm as much a guy as anyone else and a pretty set turns me on. I don't need to apologize for that. But I recognize that the mammary glands have a more important purpose which has nothing to do with me.

Feet turn some guys on, a whole lot of guys. Should we ban open-toed sandals? Forbid Women to walk?

Finally, the word, at least in English, is breast. Not boobs or worse. All parts of a Woman's body deserve to be spoken of with respect, not with playground grossness.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Discrimination against sleepy people

All my life, I have endured the persecution.

I have been jabbed with pencils, smacked with newspapers, pelted with erasers, and written up in my permanent record.

All because I get sleepy when people are boring.

Memo to dull people: The fault is yours, not mine.

I get a decent amount of sleep at night and I don't party till the wee hours. If you put a shovel or a hammer in my hand, I can work till the sweat runs in rivers from my skin. If I have a project to do in my office, I can work on it from dawn until long past dark -- and you will never, ever catch me sleeping in my office.

But if you force me to listen to you and you are boring, I will go to sleep. And I'm tired of being treated like a slacker because of your failure to learn basic speaking skills or how to get your message across in a reasonable amount of time.

Would you jab me if I was a Catholic? Throw erasers at me if I were mentally-challenged? Write me up for being Muslim?

It is absolutely agony to try to force myself to stay awake when my brain is not being stimulated. I went through college chewing lemon slices in order to cope.

And I am tired of it. Literally.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Life intrigues me

For one who loves to learn, the world is a vast and beautiful labyrinth. Each step into a new passageway reveals even more passageways ready to be explored, ad infinitum.

I have been studying the Philippines, that archipelago where I was almost born.

I have been studying India, which would take a hundred lifetimes to fully comprehend; and I have long been studying Egypt -- a cultural casserole of the famous but yet so little-known ancient society with its Pharoahs, its Osiris and Isis and ba-birds and pyramid texts; of the later Coptic Christian society; and of the current Islamic overlay.

And everytime that I visit your blogs, dear readers, I am reminded that each one of you is a universe yourself, a sentient being of indescribable worth and fascination, whether Woman or man.

Whether in the contemplations of Chase March or the wanderings of Scarlett, the DNA of a dandelion or the depiction of Re, life intrigues me.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

About a link

Mr. Bhatnagar has finally updated!

He had a good excuse for his absence.

Now we shall see new additions to his very interesting page on the culture and history of India, as well as photography. See his link at the bottom of this blog.

I'm glad I listened to those of you who advised me to be patient with bloggers who go quiet for a while.

Not a link

Some people just aren't much into making link lists or answering blog comments, but their blogs are still interesting. I found one a while ago that I didn't link to mine because I feel like a friendship should develop before one does so, but I'm going to "soft link" it here, just because it's unique. In other words, I'm going to recommend it in this post to any readers of my blog. If we do start to communicate, and with Her permission, I'll put up a permanent link.

Her name is Melanie, and She is all about dreams. Very intense and interesting dreams.

Check Her out at:

"Curry," continued

I am really enjoying this book -- so glad it caught my eye in an airport bookstore a few weeks ago. I didn't buy it there, just scribbled down the title, because everything in airports always costs much more than anywhere else. Bought the book at B&N a few days later.

So I have learned from the first chapter what I sort of knew already, but in greater detail: that speaking of India is like speaking of South America. Not a homogenous, stereotype-able bloc but a patchwork of languages and peoples, each cherishing their own customs and culture.

What was historic India is today several independent nations: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc. Scattered across this vast swath of geography are people of widely differing religious practices -- Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Christians, etc, each with their own cultural practices. And within these groups are subgroups with their own differences. And in some cases, groups have mixed to create new groups, such as the fusion of Hinduism and Islam that gave rise to the Sikhs.

India's caste system also determines who eats what and how: a Brahmin and an untouchable theoretically have different diets based on concepts of ritual purity.

Of course, "Curry'"s theme is food and author Collingham points out that despite the huge differences in cuisine from region to region, and the overlay and adaptions from India's various conquerors, all true Indian cuisine is inspired by ancient Ayurvedic principles:

"The idea of mixing hot and cold foods to achieve a sublime blend of the six essential tastes (pungent, acidic, salty, sweet, astringent and bitter) still lies at the heart of Indian cookery today."

August meditations

"Then the judges besought the deified Augustus that he would help them fulfill the obligation of their oaths since the intricacy of the case had perplexed them." -- Phaedrus III, 10.

"And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." -- Luke 2:1.

We are four days into one of the two months of the year (in the West) named for a Caesar of Rome.

In my part of the world, August is blazing hot. Of course, south of the equator, it is wintertime.

I steamed some carrots from the garden this week and drizzled them with honey. Augustus, I am told absolutely loved parsnips, a close cousin of carrots, served that way and ate them by the pound.

Thus in my small way, I commemorated this fascinating man. Not Julius Caesar, who was of course killed quite young, but Augustus, ensured that Rome would become and long remain an empire; that from Romania to Spain, some form of his language, Latin, would be spoken forevermore; that kaisers and czars would pay eponymous tribute to him; and that the laws and even the architecture of Europe would follow the Roman example.

Friday, August 3, 2007


In India, they serve a traditional drink called "lassi" to beat the heat.

It is a combination of yoghurt, honey and sometimes salt.

I first tasted it a few years ago at an Indian restaurant here on my east coast. Apparently the salt can be optional, perhaps in deference to Western tastes, but when I try something, I want it to be authentic, and so I had it that way.

Different. Definitely not Yoplait. But good.

Lizzie Collingham begins Her magnificent literary work on Indian cuisine, "Curry, a Tale of Cooks and Conquerors," with a brief ode to lassi:

"Its thick, velvety sweetness was seductive."

She provides a recipe in Her book, but you know as well as I do that not even the best book and the most earnest "cook" can quite replicate a native's culinary touch.

I know of an Indian restaurant or two near where I work. I think that during the remainder of this sticky, icky east coast summer, I shall enjoy a few lassis. Lassis, not Lassies!

A loaf of bread .... and thou!

Kumusta po kayo?

That's "hello, how are you," in Tagalog, the principal language of the Philippines.

It's the "formal" way to say it.

I find it fascinating that from England to Spain, Hungary to the aforementioned Philippines, pretty much all over the world, languages recognize a formal and an informal level of speaking. Spanish has tu and usted, Hungarian teged and on.

English has it, too. Or had it. In the old days, thou and thee were the informal, and you was formal. Eventually, all of us English speakers (except the Quakers, apparently) simply started speaking in the formal tense to each other and thee and thou became quaint, archaic, rarely used, its original intent forgotten, preserved and used only in ecclestiastical and scriptoral settings.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Library Jackpot

With my five dollar bill in my fist, I pushed through the door of the library tonight and hit the jackpot. Wedged among the worthless romances -- who actually reads those things? -- I found:

The Last Place on Earth, by Roland Huntford --- on Scott and Amundsen's Race to the South Pole.

Remembering CS Lewis -- Recollections of those who knew him.

A Sub Treasury of American Humor, from the 1940s, edited by EB White, the guy who wrote Charlotte's Web.

and Teach Yourself Tagalog.

On a rainy night when I am 167, I shall curl up in a soft chair if my old bones don't snap while doing so, and read these lovely books.

Darlene Part II

In my life, I’ve lost track of many good friends whom I’d give anything to see again – Scott Harlan, Eric O., Michael G – and Darlene Tsue, beautiful, long-lost Darlene.

Darlene, since I posted Your name on this blog, I see that it pops up second in the Google search engine, right after a listing about a memorial about a Woman with Your same name, who is probably and hopefully not You. I hope that You are alive and well and that someday, somehow, You’ll get this message.

I have thus given You a well-deserved bit of immortality, at least in cyber-space.

I wish I could tell You, somehow, just how much Your brief passage through my life changed it. You were the first Girl to ever take me seriously -- a scrawny, lonely boy-- and for that I cannot, I will not ever forget You.

I adored You. I worshipped You – every pretty black curl of hair upon Your head, Your angelic smile, Your sweet mannerisms. You were so beautiful it’s almost painful to try to explain. Beautiful – in body and in soul, from head to toe, in every breath You took, in every word You said.

Twenty years have passed. We could be thousands of miles apart or unknowing neighbors.

What would You think if I told You how that time that You – such a delightfully naughty Girl -- stashed Your half-empty orange soda can in a torn spot in the bus seat, I scooped it up like a holy relic and drank what was left, in childish desire just to sip what You had sipped?

What would You think if I told You how every time You crushed out a cigarette at the lonely bus stop we shared, I nudged it carefully into a safe place, until I could return in the afternoon to claim it? That I still remember how Your lip gloss glittered so prettily on the white filters of Your Kools? That I kept them for years until my Mother found them and threw them out?

What would You think if I told You that I still remember, right down to the music that You were playing, right down to the parking spot that I could still point out today, almost every detail of that day You offered me a ride home from school – and that it was such an incredible honor that I didn’t know how to react and that I didn’t snub Your invitation to ride with You again, I simply couldn’t cope with it?

I knew so little about Your life – Your own insecurities, fears and frustrations. I asked You once, in my clumsy, schoolboy way, if You realized that You were pretty. You responded that some people had said You were. I’m not sure if You believed it.

You were. Oh, You were. If You had come along a few years later, when my confused mind had begun to settle, I might have been better able to help You realize that.

To any other Girl out there who might read this, in school or beyond, there is a message for You in this wistful post. It is very likely, highly possible that some shy, stammering angst-ridden boy among Your acquaintances, looks right past whatever little flaws You have, that seem so huge to You, and sees You as the most beautiful being he has ever met. He might not know how to say it, he might not ever say it, but chances are, he’d fight a rabid dog barehanded to save Your life. Be good to him. Be patient with him.

Her name

When a Girl is born into the world, a new flower begins to bloom in beauty's garden.

Sacred and sublime is the chance that parents have to name this newest mortal Goddess entrusted to their care.

Whether Aisha or Zoey, a Woman's name is a jewel in and of itself. It should be spoken reverently, savored like sweet wine. As lovely Rebecca and I discussed here a little while ago, it should never be arbitrarily shortened.

When I have the chance to write a Woman's name, whether in a business letter or a blog post, I try to slow down and think about it and its bearer as I do so. If I am handwriting it, I try to write it as neatly as possible.

Women's names have meanings as lovely as Their recipients. Melissa is a bee, Susanna a lily, Sarah a Princess.

I think of Lisa, Emily, Christina, Gloria and Jennifer and I picture a classroom full of Girlish giggles or a procession of prom beauties or a seasoned Sorority of seniors sharing pictures of Their grandchildren over lunch.

I think of Adena, Amarpreet, Alexis, Carmen, Dawn, Heart (I don't know Your real name!), Ildiko, Jeane, Laura, Leslie, Lyn, Mara, Petraa, Rebecca, Scarlett and Trisia, and I hear again all the warm and wise words that You Daughters of heaven have posted on this blog.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Where I went

I picked up my old friend tonight and drove him to see his Wife at the convalescent center.

Can I tell you, I hate those places. I hate the smell of them and the sad sight of shriveled human beings waiting around to die or moaning in their misery.

Some old gentleman was fighting with a nurse:

"Take your hands off me! Are you crazy? I know where I'm going!"

Five years ago, he could have been the master gardener of his neighborhood, with an adoring grandson in tow as he strutted through his neighborhood. Twenty years ago, he could have been a football coach or a lawyer or the kindly clerk at the corner store. Now he is just a confused old man who thinks his nurse is the one with the messed-up head.

My friend walked into his Wife's room, past Her roommate who was babbling something incoherent. He sat beside Her and held Her hand and never let go for 45 minutes until She finally said, "Boys, I'm falling asleep." Our cue to go.

She will not be in this world much longer and then what will happen to him?

Someone once said, old age is not for sissies. I've got a while to go but I still think about it and dread it. I don't care about wrinkles or grey hair -- but I don't want to be so weak that I can't fight off some 16-year old mugger or open a pickle jar. I don't want to lose my mind and cry out for people who've been dead 3o years.

An old friend to visit

I have an old friend to visit tonight, who may pass away any day now.

After that, I need to come back home and visit all of your blogs, so sadly neglected this week. Leslie, Rebecca, Chase March, Alexis and Carmen in particular, I really want to see what you've written and post a half-decent comment or two.

And then maybe, if the night has not passed, I'll blog a little bit more myself.


I was listening today to a broadcast out of Haiti. Seems in many areas there, the bloody violence that sickened anyone with a heart not so long ago, has abated but the poverty remains.

We can do so many things, we human beings. Why can't we find a solution to this ancient misery? Why must the 200o year-old words from the Bible be so sadly prophetic: The poor ye have always with you."

Why is there poverty in Citie de Sol, Haiti? Because there are no jobs, the residents say.

No jobs. Why are there no jobs there? How can jobs be brought there?

The 21st Century is supposed to see a majority of humankind living for the first time in cities, and the phrase will be heard like a miserable mantra: no jobs, no jobs.

And as long as there are poor people, dictators and demagogues -- whether Latin American "caudillos" or insane fundamentalists -- will continue to thrive and survive.

You can't take from the rich to give to the poor. That ultimately renders everyone poor. But if the rich don't give to the poor, the poor will take from the rich, and it won't be pretty, as Steinbeck warned in Grapes of Wrath.