"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra."
~Jimmy Johnson

Friday, October 9, 2015

F**K Hillary Clinton

Imagine if the headline above appeared in an article in a national publication with a circulation of 953,320 instead of just a personal blog with a few dozen regular readers. Heads would roll. (In fact, I wish Hillary's head would roll, right off her fat neck.) But somehow the churlish Democrats think it's fine to denigrate Republicans in the most outrageous ways, as is done to Dr. Ben Carson in the current GQ magazine by an author whose name I won't mention because, like all those crazy shooters, I wouldn't want to glorify him.

I wonder, can politics get any uglier (than Hillary's face)? Let's just wait and see.

Ask the Racial Ethicist

Big fat white pig: Never an appropriate moniker.

Dear Racial Ethicist:  Last week, a Democratic black professor at the University of Pennsylvania called Republican Dr. Ben Carson "a coon," and now everyone is in an uproar over her supposedly racist comment. But I thought that was allowed, since all those rap singers call each other "nigger" (or is it "nigga"), and they never get in any trouble and in fact usually get tons of Grammys and other awards. It's all so confusing. I read that the definition of coon is "an offensive term for a black person." Can't you ever say anything offensive about black people? Doesn't the,"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me," rule also apply to them? How should we handle this touchy situation? --Perplexed in Peoria

Dear Perplexed:  Apparently the rule goes like this: "When a white person calls someone a coon, they are slurring all black people, but within the black community, the term is not a racial slur, and it’s not interchangeable with the multi-purpose n-word." So says a Liberal watchdog website devoted to such matters. Since the female professor who tweeted the insult is black but is also fairly fat, I suggest that Dr. Carson retaliate by calling her a "fatty," or maybe even "a big fat pig." (See photo.) That should fix her wagon. After all, most women would choose to be a size 8 coon than a big fat white pig any day.--R.E.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Love My Mantra

Beatle George Harrison in guru attire.
I used to think it was all so complicated: Meditation and mantras and yoga and all that Eastern stuff. It seemed like it would require trips to India, something I refuse to do because of the long, uncomfortable flight packed inside a tiny tube high up in the sky. So I was doomed to never really "get it," not in the same way the Beatles "got it" after they hung out with their guru in India for awhile and George went all "Hare, Hare, Krishna, Krishna" on us.

I felt stuck as an American, with cruddy American ideals and habits filled with shopping malls and advertising and TV laugh tracks and celebrities and junk food and Starbucks and all that other crap that makes us the greatest nation in the word, ha ha ha.

But then I started reading books by certain people who made it easy for me to "get it," and after enough reading and enough practice, now I've "got it," and it's not complicated at all, not even a little. It's all just a way to stop thinking terrible thoughts or obsessive thoughts or any thoughts and just be, breathe and accept, without judgement or expectations.

The mantra is nothing more than a word or group of words to think over and over, instead of thinking, "I might have a brain tumor, he never called me back, that woman drives me nuts, I forgot to mail that check, that guy is a total asshole, am I wasting my life, is that a new mole, I need snow tires, these pants make me look fat, am I fat, could it be cancer." It's much nicer and calmer to think, "Om mani padme hum," over and over and over and over until all the bad thoughts are beaten down into a slimy pulp you can just wash down the drain in your shower.

The best part is you can do it right here in America. I love it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Messed Up, But Nice Nails

Admit it: Everywhere you look these days, things are messed up. In addition to Donald Trump leading in the Republican polls despite having the most "unfavorables," and Hillary Clinton leading among Democrats even though 60% of them find her "untrustworthy," I read about a nail polish manufacturer named Julep that earned $20 million last year. Or it might have been billion, I always get those two confused. The point is, you get my point. Nails are big business.

Refugees swarm the borders, people are hungry the world over, entire families are sleeping in their cars, random gun violence is up, and still women (and some men) are spending upwards of $14 a bottle for nail polish, and much more than that for professional manicures so they don't have to put the stuff on themselves. Pedicures are also rampant, which I find even more insulting. Your feet are utilitarian tools for walking and usually covered most of the time; must their tiny, little nails sport bright colors? To what end? Apparently, to be photographed for foot selfies that end up on Facebook.

So, feeling out of the loop, last week I gave myself a manicure using a bottle of nail polish I got at the CVS for $2.99. The color is called "Nervosa." (It spoke to me.) And here I am ten days later and it's all chipped. I haven't removed it yet because that nail polish remover smells so bad, so before I do I took a couple of my own selfies. Shown above is one of my right hand.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Beethoven's Fifth, Country Style

The following story takes place in Bryans Road, Maryland, a truly magical hamlet akin to the mythical Brigadoon. Here, where the Potomac River intersects with a tidal tributary called the Pomonkey Creek, anything can happen. It was written by Carrie Staples, a dear friend and accomplished author with an eye for the unusual and an ear for the unexpected.

Mr. Greene moved into a house down the road and almost immediately set up a chicken coop in a corner of his expansive driveway.  He bought hens and a rooster from Marcy and Rick, the local farmers who sell fabulous eggs and produce jams and jellies. I walk twice a day, so I pass Mr. Greene's house four times each day.  Soon after the hens arrived I was greeted with a fabulous rooster call unlike any I had ever heard. He called, "Ta, Da, Da, DUH!" It sounded just like the opening to Beethoven's Fifth (Symphony), so I named him that. 

I listened attentively for his call whenever I passed and smiled joyfully each time. Then one day, he didn't call. I heard a rooster but it wasn't the same dramatic crowing. First I assumed Beethoven's Fifth had a cold or a sore throat. But he never 'got better'. My uplifting morning and afternoon melodies were gone.  For many months I thought sadly of him as I walked past the Greenes' residence.
Meanwhile the Mustang collector, on the circle around the corner, built two chicken coops in an area much smaller than Mr. Greene's. And he has three tiny, yapping dogs. Added to the barking dog racket were the rooster crows, causing me to wonder how their poor hens could possibly lay eggs under such stress.  All this thinking about hens took up a large part of my walks.

Then one morning, out of the blue, the unmistakable sound of Beethoven's Fifth rang out once again, coming not from the Greenes' chicken coops but from those of the Mustang collector!  His song followed me around the circle and part of the way home. I was thrilled. I assumed the Greenes had returned the overly vocal Beethoven's Fifth to Marcy and Rick and eventually the Mustang collector acquired another rooster from Marcy and Rick. And while I wish his living conditions were more hospitable, still I celebrate the joy his song brings to my walks. "Ta, Da, Da, DUH!" 

I don't know if this is what happened. It is my fantasy.  I have never actually seen Beethoven's Fifth, the rooster, only the hen houses from a distance. And my husband says I need a hearing aid.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Looking to Fly A Little Higher

Wingsuiting seems too extreme.
On this beautiful October morning here in rural Maine, which is about as nice as life gets, at least my life, since I don't own a house in Provence or a villa on Lake Como, I am wondering if it's possible to get sick of yourself? Because if it is, I am, and utterly. Sick of my pesky medical problems that have no diagnosis, and especially sick of my boredom with things that many others find interesting. It's time to turn in my brain and get a new one. I wonder where and how one does that, short of having a lobotomy which I definitely do not want.

So, since common wisdom defines stupidity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, I guess I'll have to do some new things and see what happens. I am not going as far as wingsuiting, that relatively new sport that is becoming quite popular, but I may try to push my own envelope at least a little. Something's gotta give.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Film Review: THE MARTIAN

Here's what you need to know: Watching Ridley Scott's lates film, "The Martian," is tons of fun, and might even warrant a second viewing. (Next time I'm going with the 3-D version.) Except for a gruesome scene early on where he performs surgery on himself, actor Matt Damon is his usual cheery self despite horrible odds in this fairytale about an astronaut who mistakenly gets left behind and presumed dead on Mars.

Matt Damon channels Clint Eastwood as he surveys his new digs on pretend Mars.
As Mark Watney, a brilliant botanist facing four years alone on the red planet until the next scheduled NASA mission could possibly rescue him, his preposterous problem-solving abilities would put physicist Stephen Hawking to shame. In addition to his surgical skills, Watney figures out how to grow food and make water, thus staving off certain death. (Chances are if he had enough time he'd figure out how to remove a rib and make himself a woman.) And besides saying the F-word several times, he maintains a positive attitude throughout that is almost too hard to believe. But then so is the whole movie, where everything always works and if it doesn't, a little duct tape fixes it right up. (Smiley face!)

Never fear, there's more to this story than life on Mars. Back on Earth, a puffy-faced Jeff Daniels as the head of NASA leads a team of kooky, nerdy scientists bent on bringing Watney home after a random ping on a computer alerts them to the fact that he's still alive. And led by a dour Jessica Chastain as their boss, his original crew mates, now heading home on their super-cool Lego spaceship, scrappily jump at the chance to participate in Watney's rescue, even though it means another 500-plus days away from their families. But hey-- no problem, what with all the video chatting, time literally flies by.

There are lots of floating astronauts, giant computer screens at NASA headquarters and enormous panoramas of a desolate landscape that looks like a cross between certain parts of Utah and a video game. And despite an underlying feeling that something bad is about to befall our hero, it doesn't. Complicated equipment that has lain buried under the sand for years springs to life in minutes; all you gotta do is dust everything off and plug this tube here into that hole there, and voila--it's a Martian miracle! Nope, it's just Hollywood at its finest, and definitely worth the price of admission.