Saturday, October 31, 2009

Traveled to Manahawkin to get a Scrabble game--my old one is missing pieces--and a few other items. We meet at my house on Tuesday. Other than that, just poked around, scratching furiously at the chigger bites. Lucille B., who plays one of my daughters in Riders, stopped in and brought me some "Chigg-Away" a friend of hers had. The stuff does seem to work and I immediately ordered one for me, one for A. (you can get them only on-line).
Speaking of A., I was disappointed when I call her and she said she had left a message on both my home and cell phones, asking if I wanted to take a walk. I would have loved to, but the damn message machine is not registering correctly and I didn't hear the cell.
Today, to Toms River with the D.'s for the big Halloween parade.
Later: Darn, darn, darn: Went to Weight Watchers and I'm up another .2. Okay, that's only two tenths of a pound--two ounces and change?--but it adds up to 142.2. Pounds lost now total 57.4. I must remind myself that when I weighed 204 pounds, I would have been walking on air to be at 142.2. However, I want to, I need to, and I WILL get back to my ideal of 125 to 130. That's a promise.
Wider: I dip into the libertarian blog every once in a while, although there's a slew of stuff there I can't stomach. An example? This, by Pat Buchanan (yes, that Pat Buchanan), writing about the folly of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"While these two wars have cost 5,200 dead, a trillion dollars and a divided America facing an endless war, what have we won?"
That little sentence, those handful of words illustrate the immensity of American hubris. So the dead total 5,200. That's five thousand, plus two hundred. It's a bit more than half of 10,000. I think it's actually about the same as the total population of the small town where I grew up. That's a lot of people. Such a shame. How dreadful. Of course, that's the total, which isn't TOO bad, of human beings killed over there, right?
Wait, there are more? Men, women, and children? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Don't be silly, no such thing, that's just crazy, you're wrong, you got rocks in your head.
Well, if you're gonna count the animals who live there--!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The funeral yesterday was for the sister of a good friend of my twin's, and a casual friend of mine. The "viewing" was at 9, mass at 10, which is a common--and sensible, it seems to me--arrangement nowadays. (When I was a kid, the viewing or "wake" was almost invariably the night before the actual funeral.) I was taken aback to see there was no body to "view," only an attractive, vase-like urn on small table.
What you want to happen after you die--burial of whole body, cremation, tossed to the sharks, or whatever--is certainly an individual choice, but I just can't go with being reduced to little charred pieces myself. A book I read had characters discussing this and the cremation-favorer asked the other, "Do you prefer worms?" Other replied, "Yes, I do." I feel the same way.
Oh! I was just interrupted for a delightful reason: Precious Vivian called on the web cam to show me her Halloween costume. She looked adorable as "Tinkerbell," in gauzy pale green and pink, with tiny bells Mommy had sewed on to her wings. Violet came on for a cameo appearance and pointed to something, saying, "Bubble!" several times. Mike isn't sure what she saw.
Had rehearsal last night at director Kathy's. Play is shaping up well, I think. We'll meet again Monday and Wednesday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm getting more and more decadent by the day! Slept until EIGHT AM, then had to rush to go down to a funeral in Ventnor. Now it's almost 1:00 and I just got home. Here's why I was such a slug-a-bed:
Spent the afternoon with A. yesterday and showed her the horrid spots and told of the unbearable itching on my legs. She confirmed the dread diagnosis: chiggers! Acquired them, I'm sure, on the hike on Monday. I understand they're tiny, almost microscopic bugs that bite, then die (hey, they deserve to die!), but leave you with the rash and itch. Am using Benedryl for the itch, but I've been awakened at 3 am the last several night by the terrible itching. Decided to take some Nyquil, as that usually allows me to sleep during a cold. Well, it sure worked, in fact, knocked me for a loop, and I don't like to sleep so late. Won't take it again.
Rehearsal tonight at Kathy's on LBI.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ho, ho, there's more than one way to skin a cat! (What a perfectly horrible expression--and who would ever want to skin a cat?) I sat and watched Sorry, Wrong Number in the comfort of my own home and free of charge, thanks to YouTube. Yes, the whole thing (in segments) is free for the taking and boy, is it great. Barbara Stanwyck had a real face, not like the nipped and tucked and augmented and prettified the Barbie-doll "stars" with the big teeth have today. Her looks were striking and hey, she was a damn good actress. too.
The movie was so scary, although the secondary plot was inane, involving a gangster, a scientist, and very contrived nefarious plots. I understand it had originally been a half-hour radio show, so I guess it had to be fleshed out extensively. That didn't matter, though, as soon as the real draw came on the screen: Burt Lancaster, what a hunk! His acting style was maybe a tad wooden, but one simply doesn't care after a glimpse of those eyes, that mouth, that thick, tumbled hair, all attached to a tall, slim, lithe body--wow!
Anyway, it was a good way to forget the nasty rain coming down and go back to 1948...
Wider: Just a nibble of the incomparable Arthur Silber's post on his "Once Upon A Time..." blog:
"...if you want to stop this murderous madness [the criminal mayhem the U.S. inflicts on the world] -- and I dearly hope you do -- forget about what [the politicians] say their goals are (fostering "democratic" governments, “regional stability,” “security,” and all the associated claptrap), and focus on the real problem: the carefully chosen policy of U.S. geopolitical dominance over the entire globe. On the day Obama announces the scheduled closure of at least one-third of the U.S.'s worldwide empire of bases, I'll believe he's serious about altering any of this, and not a moment before. He never will, and you know he won't."
It's a long essay, as his tend to be, but for clarity, logic, and passion, I count Silber the best of the political--or maybe just human--bloggers. Go here and read the whole thing:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Didn't get home from the hike until after 1:00, then had lunch. It was a gorgeous day, but this morning, it's raining.
Went to the video store (or whatever they're called nowadays) and the library to see if they had Sorry, Wrong Number, the movie. Neither did, and for all I know, it was never done in home format (or whatever that's called ditto).
Had rehearsal last night--evening, actually, as it was 6 to 8, a very good time for me. It was just Kathy, the director, who also plays one of my daughters, and Lucille, the other daughter. We went through it and discussed various aspects. Will meet again Thursday at Kathy's on LBI.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Well, I fell down on the job this morning. Didn't get up until 7:00, then had a problem with Outlook Express receiving. Finally resolved it--I think--and realized it was time to leave for the hike this morning. Didn't have time to post an entry.
Just got back, and it was a terrifically good experience. We went at a fairly moderate pace for seven miles (walked from 9:30 to 12:30), starting at Pakim Pond and through the brilliantly colored woods on a glorious sunny fall day.
Yesterday, I went with Frank and Barbara to Rancocas Valley to see two one-acters, Sorry, Wrong Number and The Hitchhiker. Our mutual friend and fellow member of LETCO, Ellen V., directed the first and had small parts in both. They were wonderfully well done. The three of us are invited to Ellen's in Forked Rider, for dinner next Sunday.
After the plays, the D.'s had me over for dinner--I brought the salad--and I enjoyed vegetarian chili and generous libations of wine, plus--a special treat--some Bailey's Irish Creme to top it off. Yum, but that hardly fits in my weight-loss regime.
Have rehearsal for Riders tonight, then again on Thursday. I'm glad they're early--6 to 8 pm--as the second one is at Kathy's on LBI.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Little going on yesterday aside from the usual bustling around on errands. Went to the cemetery and was pleased to see the funeral director had put up a temporary marker with Pat's name and dates on it. I'll get the tombstone--oh, I forgot, "memorial" or whatever idiot euphemism we're using now--soon.
I'm not sure why, but marking his grave means something to me. I think my feeling is similar to those who lost people on 9/11. Many of them, I understand, gathered up as much as possible of their loved ones' remains to bury. Some, poor souls, could recover nothing, so buried things from home that were significant to those who died--a picture, a favorite sweater, souvenirs from a trip. I guess it's to have a focus for their grief, to feel that he or she is "there." That may be the reason I dislike the idea of cremation because--well, where are they?
Wider: There's a brand-new sensation in our sensation-crazed world: It seems that lines from a religious text show up periodically on the chubby leg of a baby in Russia. (Let's just skip over examining how this is possible from a biological or physiological point of view.) The "miracle" puts me in mind of the "Christ in the clouds" and "Blessed Virgin in a tree" phenomenon, not to mention images of the the deity on a taco chip, or whatever. Naturally, several citizens were interviewed to assure the world of what this means: that we must be better people and follow our Christian god more devoutly--.
Oops, wait a minute, hold the phone. These are Muslims and we're talking about the Koran here. Okay, "...that we be better people and follow our Islamic god more devoutly...." Wonder how that will fly with the fundamentalists in our country.
Now that balloon boy and his low-life parents have become last week's news, I guess we gotta have something to think about, aside from that pokey old war, and the dead-on-its-feet economy, and Mom's worrisome lump with no health insurance to cover it--.
You think this illustrates the old dumbing-down syndrome? Why,no, not all--why wouldn't Allah use his Magic Marker on a baby's leg?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eye doc said I have two things going on: blephitis, an infection of the eyelashes, and a red, swollen lid because when the car truck door fell on my head last week, the blood probably seeped down....
Oh, skip it; it's too long and boring to explain. Anyway, I didn't have to get pupil-enlarging drops, thank heavens, and I had a 7:50 appointment, and was home before 8:30. Did get a prescription which I'll fill today.
Went to hairdresser and she colored and trimmed the mop. It looks okay, but not the king's ransom it cost. Before dinner, I impulsively drove back to Manahawkin, went to Target, and bought a neat striped turtleneck and big pocketbook. It's been an age since I've bought any new duds, and this gave me a lift.
Later: Oh, boy, do I hate to write this, but I gotta: Just back from Weight Watchers, and I gained another two pounds. Am now at 142, which brings me down to a mere 57.6 lost. That means I'm a lousy 17 pounds higher than my lowest, which was recorded a month shy of a year ago. There's no kidding myself; not only am I going out a lot for lunch and dinner, but since Pat died, I haven't been moving around as much. That doesn't mean I sit around and stare at the wall all day, but I'm not in the almost-constant motion I was.
Okay, I can do this. It isn't insurmountable and starting right now, this instant, I'm clawing my way back up--or down--to size 8 petite.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Went to the Food Pantry in the afternoon with Barb D., after running a lot of errands earlier. We had quite a few "customers," many of them young mothers struggling to feed their children. What a country, where bombs instead of butter are the priorities.
When I got home, I was tickled to get a phone call from some bank or other--I think Chase--to inform me that I had won a $50 Visa gift certificate, a result of registering at that "Senior Expo" a few weeks ago. Can't wait to tell Mary, as we both complained about getting follow-up calls from sales reps--but hey, I didn't mind this one.
Got a call from Jack B., who's recently back from Florida and a cruise to the Bahamas. Heard from my little Mikey, who is having a portable crib shipped here from Amazon and asked me to ship it off to Singapore when it arrives. Bought a long grey wig for my "Maurya" role, which I may have to cut. It's ironic: I'm going today to get my hair colored. If I let it grow out, I wouldn't need a wig, but hell, no, I won't go--
grey, that is.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yet another dinner out! I just have to stop this, my favorite activity, I'm afraid, before I balloon up to 300 pounds.
It was, however, enjoyable as ever to be with my recently-recovered friend,* Peg last night. We ate at Sweet Jenny's which, unfortunately, was also the choice of what seemed to be 16,000 adolescent boys--sports teams or something--that turned the restaurant into bedlam. Had a good time, though. Peg leaves for Florida in the next few days and I'll miss seeing her.
After, went to Kathy's on Long Beach Island for our first meeting about Riders To The Sea. She lives in a huge house right on the beach (her mother-in-law's) and we had a productive session, though it was just the two of us.
Now I want to stick to my knitting, so to speak, and just simmer down with the eating out, in particular. That's after, of course, Sunday, when I go to a play, then dinner with the D.'s...
* Ho, ho, it just shows to go ya, you can't assume anything with this beloved, but oh so tricky language of ours! I didn't mean to suggest that Peg has recently recovered from an illness or addiction (!), only that we hadn't been in touch for years, then met up again, so I recovered her. Heh, heh, it is to laugh.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What a neat evening with Jen, J., and T.! After puttering around with this and that earlier in the day, I got up to their place about 4:00. We walked over to the little park nearby and while the boys played on the slides, Jen and I talked.
It's not always easy being a young mother--as I well remember--but Jen is managing with grace. She looks terrific, with her new, slender figure and luxurious hair. Her boys are just beautiful--J. bright, talkative, and full of growing boy energy, and T., who worships his big brother and tries to do everything J. does.
We went over to the Plum Tree (or whatever it's called--I can never remember) across the street for dinner. I'm always amazed at their complimentary appetizers: Last night, it was stuffed clams, filet mignon, and fresh fruit. Because I thought I fill up on them, I just ordered an omelet. However, that was huge, plus it came with two pieces of toast and enough hash browns for five people.
T. had chicken nuggets and was so adorable when I pretended to take some. He said, "no!" and "mine!" every time I put my hand out. He was laughing, though, and at one point, he fed me a French fry. What a charmer!
I wanted to start driving home before full dark--which comes, I'm sorry to say, earlier and earlier--so left after we ate, about 6:15. I hope to see
Jen and the precious little boys again before too long and we'll keep in touch.
Got my airline ticket, and also heard from Mike re their revised intinerary. Yoicks, that means I'm really going, I guess.
Tonight, I meet Peg for dinner at Sweet Jenny's, then drive to Beach Haven for our first rehearsal of Riders To The Sea.
I'm going to have to curtail all this eating out--or order smarter, or something, because there's no denying I'm gaining. Gotta get serious about this, and soon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guess this is Gay Week. Rented Brokeback Mountain yesterday, although--virtuous me--I didn't watch it until dinnertime. I'm determined not to get into the habit of watching television during daylight hours. If I go down that path, I'm afraid I'd find myself staying in my bathrobe all day with a glass of gin in my hand.
I was surprised that I liked the movie as much as I did. I had had the idea it was sensational and maybe slightly off-putting, considering the subject matter, but I didn't find it so. It was tender and moving, and even the somewhat--but only somewhat--graphic love scenes seemed simply like love scenes to me.
When I had my marathon Milk experience on Friday, and witnessed Sean Penn kissing another man, it was slightly unsettling. I don't mean it was distasteful; rather, I felt a minor sense of unease. I didn't react to Brokeback that way, and I'm not sure why. I know all three of the major stars involved are heterosexual (don't know about the one Penn kissed), so maybe that was it. Not sure, but I enjoyed the movie.
Earlier, I did a lot of domestic chores, then went to the thrift store and found a shawl I can wear as Maurya in Riders To The Sea. First rehearsal tomorrow night, before which I'm meeting Peg for dinner in Barnegat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Went to Sunday Afternoon At The Opera and saw Otello, with Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming. It was darn good--wonderful sets, costumes, and staging (being a musical illiterate, I consider the singing a minor part of the production) and I enjoyed it.
Got a nice phone call from niece Joan and talked to Ellen about Christmas plans, then just had time to change and get ready for the "Dine-Around" group. Went with Susan and Walter, but sat with others. Good dinner--I had a tuna steak--then a lively political "discussion"--more like a knock-down, drag-out fight--ensued with some neighbors. Of course, I was arguing from a sound premise and air-tight facts, whereas they were just flailing around with flimsy and wildly unsubstantiated claims. I'm continually amazed by the wrong-headed idiocy of people who disagree with me and damned if they didn't seem to feel the same about me!
The fact is, one should never argue politics. Nobody is ever convinced to change their opinion and it can lead to disliking "the other" because he or she doesn't agree with you.
Wider: I elaborated on the preceding topic on the "Dead Horse," blog, courtesy of my friends, Jon and Rob. Here's the link:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Got my wheels back--yay! I was stunned, however, that the tune-up cost an incredible $504 and now I have the impression it wasn't even necessary. Oh, the hell with it--it's done, it's paid for, and with any luck, my little home from home will be healthy for another ten years at least.
Icy rain continued to fall--as it still is now--and I spent most of the day inside. Before I got the car back, I thoroughly cleaned my bedroom, changed the sheets, vacumned, and even switched tables and things around. It looks great and gave me a lift.
Didn't do a whole lot the rest of the day but putter around. Had a telephone talk with sister Betty and got a welcome e-mail from friend Mary, with whom I'll lunch* soon. Going to dinner with the Dine-Around-Gang tonight.
*Using "lunch" as a verb always seems so--well, worldly and adult to me. I used to think "we'll do lunch" was the ultimate New York-y sophisticates' construct, but it seems dated now. Of course, hayseeds like me tend to be oblivious to new quirks of the language and for all I know, it's "in" again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Remember the movie The Lost Weekend, with Ray Milland? (Remember Ray Milland?) Yesterday was The Lost Friday for me, sans the booze.
It was harrowing. I needed an oil change and tune-up and was told by Mastercraft to leave the car before 9 am. I did. Susan took me home and I impatiently puttered around--had lots of errands to run, wouldn't you know--until TWO P.M. before I was called. Was told the thing would cost four hundred and some dollars before taxes--so call it $500--and he'd "try to get it done today."
He didn't. I was without transportation all day in this lousy, icy rain weather. Don't know why I didn't tackle anything constructive, like the hundreds of tasks that are always waiting, but I didn't. Just alternated between reciting my part for "Riders," reading the bio of Julia Child, Appetite For Life, and gnashing my teeth. Now it's Saturday and I'm still car-less. Surely Mastercraft will have pity on me and do mine first. Surely--oh, good grief--my baby Buick won't be kept over another night, which means two nights because they're not open on Sunday.
Isn't it incredible how all this seems to matter in the face of the horrors of the world? Humans can't seem to help the "me first" thing--at least, it seems I can't.
Wider: If you don't remember The Lost Weekend and Ray Milland, how about Afghanistan? Maybe this'll refresh your memory:
I guess it could be called "The Lost Vestiges of Sanity In The U.S."
Wider and Maybe Deeper: Well, hell, I still have time to kill, so here's a bit from "The Beast" blog:
"Perhaps this explains Obama’s complete failure to actually describe the plan, aside from painfully vague references to 'reform.' It’s suspicious that a group of people with the kind of supernatural message discipline they exhibited during the presidential campaign can’t muster any kind of reasonable explanation of what the plan is. Why is opposition to the health care bill rising? Not because conservatives don’t want it; they never did. It’s because liberals are starting to smell the bullshit, and recognize that what they’re trying to foist on us is not reform, but a massive boondoggle, just another way to funnel cash to donors. And make no mistake, all of the interested parties in this disgusting extortion racket we call a health care system have thrown mountains of cash at all of the important Democrats involved."
But it's gotta be read in its entirety. Here's the link:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Yesterday was Harvey Milk Day. It was rainy and dark and I decided to stay in and--gasp!--watch something on the tube. Since I'm afraid of what's on regular T.V., considering it rots the mind, I rented "Milk." (I can never remember if you use italics or quotes for movies, so I used both.)
I found it oddly unsatisfying. Although the themes (homosexuality, murder, civil rights, and prejudice) interest me, and I've read a book about the incident (Milk, Moscone, White, and San Francisco politics), and Sean Penn was suitably energetic and noble (I know he won an Academy Award for the role), it left me cold. I watched the whole thing, although I found myself wishing it would speed up.
A glutton for punishment, I then found a television documentary on YouTube made shortly after the murders. Didn't realize at first it was so long--88 minutes--and watched all of it, putting dinner off until 7:30 (you can do that when you're a widow).
Now, THAT was enthralling. Just as I prefer non-fiction to fiction in books, I was deeply interested in this sad drama. The movie followed the real-life version so slavishly that the characters even resembled the real people involved, down to Milk's clothing in various scenes. Rather than making the movie seem authentic, it struck me more like a cheap imitation. I guess my reaction was along the lines of my dislike of "docu-dramas." They're fiction disguised as fact, I think, and and they're phony. Why not present honest portrayals of either fiction or fact? Well, that's just my individual quirk.
Yes, I spent the whole day passively watching glowing boxes and, believe me, it's tiring.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Had a ball yesterday. Peg got here at 10:00 and we left shortly after. I drove, which I was glad to do. It's a two-hour trip to Lambertville, but it was a pleasure in such a beautiful, sunshiny fall day. On Route 539 the leaves are just starting to turn and even with roadwork, it was enjoyable. Got there about 12:15 and had lunch at Lambertville Station. When we lived in Ewing, we ate there fairly often, and I was glad to be back. I had a vegetarian pasta dish and a Coors Light, Peg a black-bean burger.
We then went to Elva's art gallery and the three of us had a great time reminiscing over long-ago days at St. James, speculating on where fellow grads might be, and laughing over silly things. Peg and I admired the art Elva carries and we were charmed at her knowledge of, and love for, the art and the artists.
Left an hour or so later and got home in plenty of time to eat a quick bite, then go to my last acting class. I was glad to put Porch behind me, frankly, as I want to go on to bigger and better things (Broadway, maybe?).
Tara annouced that we will, indeed, be preforming the full play, Riders To The Sea, at the library on November 24. That was news to me, as the last Desi told me, I was just going to do an extended monologue. Kathy will direct and we'll at her place on LBI on Wednesday, I'd better get crackin' on learning my lines, as I have the pivitol role of Maurya, the old Irish woman who loses husband and sons to the sea.
Wider: From, citing an article in a British newspaper:
Report: Obama Poised to Announce 45,000 Troop Escalation in Afghanistan
Oh, yes, this from the Prince of Peace. As ever, insanity reigns.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Enjoyed the day, first with the Scrabble group at Barbara's after lunch. I was invited to dinner, as the H's son, John, is a chef and was going to cook a great one. I had to decline, though, as I already had a dinner date with the D.'s.
Said D.'s and I went to Sco-Jo's at the Tuckerton Seaport. I had salmon and brought a bottle of wine for Frank and me. We then drove to Toms River to hear a professor from Rutgers lecture on "Lincoln And The Constitution." After him, a woman dressed in 1860-ish style (loved her costume) talked about Lincoln's favorite foods and Mary's hard life. She had made and brought with her corn bread and two luscious looking cakes; I had only a small piece of the former, and admired the others from afar.
Today, Peg and I go up to Lambertville and tonight, I have my last acting class. Oh, the dizzying social whirl--!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The big news today is that Vivian got her ears pierced! Many of her little friends and classmates in Singapore are Indian and customarily have theirs done at birth, so her parents finally gave in to her pleas. She's delighted and so is her Nana.
It would be nice if the major news of the world were about 5-year-olds getting their ears pierced, instead of 5-year-olds getting their limbs pierced and their lives ended with drone bombers.
Nothing much went on yesterday except I enjoyed a call from sister Betty re the reunion. It's always great--if guilty--fun to be catty. Today, I have my Scrabble group at 1:00 (at Barbara H.'s, two doors down), then will go in the evening with the the D.'s to a talk on "The Gettysburg Address & Constitutional Interpretation" in Toms River.
Wider: From "A Distant Ocean," here's John Caruso arguing that Obama is more dangerous than his predecessor:
"...George Bush catalyzed dissent—both domestically and internationally—but Obama euthanizes it. I can't think of any better evidence for that than Obama's ability to win the Nobel Peace Prize while he's simultaneously increasing the military budget, presiding over an expansion of the U.S. role as the top arms merchant to the world, and waging two wars. Thanks to the Idea of Obama, the actual Obama will be able to spend the coming years pursuing the same policies as Bush with only a tiny fraction of the level of opposition—and the effects will be just that much worse as a result."
I follow "The Orwell Prize blog, " in which Orwell's entries of 1939 are listed exactly 70 years later. A few days ago, I commented that the peace prize for Obama was Orwellian. Incredibly, later commentors seemed to believe I was a neo-con! Goes to show, I guess, how far the liberal/progressive/pacifist movement has fallen.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Slept very late--until 6:45--and had to rush to pick up Susan for our walk. That's because I stayed up late watching, believe it or not, television. I stumbled on a new program about JFK's assassination and believe me, it's a classic example of what the medium can be, and so seldom is.
It is enthralling, as it consists solely of movies, news clips, and commentary made 46 years ago. The only reminders of the present day are "time insertions" along with just a few explanatory words, such as "9:45 am/motorcade approaches overpass" and so on. I had never seen most of this footage and, I understand, neither have the rest of the general public. It is very skillfully put together, alternating black-and-white and color film, and including programs that were interrupted with news bulletins (a soap opera, a commercial).
What a range of emotions go through the viewers! Even considering the most cynical of us, even for those who think it was a conspiracy (I have yet to be convinced), even for the most rabid reactionary and progressive peace lover, there are breath-catching moments that unite us all.
His handsome, lithe frame (we didn't know then about his maladies), his luxurious chestnut hair, his casual, graceful gestures! And Jackie: her queenly posture, her fixed smile, her (now we think we see it) slightly uncomfortable persona. Her pink suit. That pillbox hat
The fact that we know and they don't make us like gods, I guess--but ineffectual ones, helpless to change the future. The program is incredible and I want to see it again and again.
To remember. And to ponder. And to look back in disbelief.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Went to the Holy Spirit High School reunion last night--no, not one of the big ones--and have come to the conclusion it was better left unattended, at least by me. It's been only five years since a more significant one and that's too soon to meet again. Sure, it was mildly enjoyable, but so is settling down at home with a good book and a glass of wine.
Not sure why "the committee" (which, incidentally, is comprised of the same people every year; no fresh ideas for them) chose the venue, as it was up a narrow flight of stairs on the second floor. I have no problem with that, but several others did. The food was nothing special: the usual pasta dishes, chicken, and salad, plus ordinary bakery cookies for dessert, so the menu was on the low end of cost for the restaurant. With the cash bar, it makes you wonder what the forty bucks we shelled out was for. It wasn't as if there was a program or anything extra at all, so why would it be that much?
As for my fellow grads, it finally dawned on me that with just a few exceptions, I found them either obnoxious or boring. Yes, that's a bitchy thing to say, but there it is. There seemed so many "types": the former cheerleader who never got over it; the pious who love to discuss their devotion to the church; the flirt who thinks she's still a 16-year-old in the back seat of a Chevvy; the feeble (one guy is blind, another can barely walk); the pathetic, including those who have lost their spouses--hey, that's me, folks! Lots of people expressed their condolences, and all of them, without exception, referred to Pat's death with stomach-churning euphemisms: "passed away" or just plain "passed" were most popular, and one actually intoned that he's now "at rest."
There was no program aside from a letter John G. read from a grad who became a priest. A few of us took pictures--I took several, but haven't transferred them yet--then the thing broke up and I was home by 9:30.
Hey, Mary, you were right all along.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Don't know where I got the idea we were going to an Italian street festival yesterday; it was actually a performance by a singing and dancing group called "Arlecchino" ("Harlequin"), performing in the Toms River Library auditorium. It was fun to be there after the first 45 minutes of the program, which was devoted to hordes of freeholders, assemblypersons, and assorted other black-hearted politicians, all trumpeting their own virtues and running for reelection. Scum of the earth.
I went with the D.'s and the R.'s and after, we chatted over coffee in the converted church next door. Had a lively discussion about ethnicity, race, and the various sorrowful ways we all seem to discriminate against fellow humans. Leslie pointed out the "angel food" and "devil's food" cake designations, along with innumerable other indications that white (fair, Caucasian) is good and dark (pigmented, African) is bad. We didn't solve any global problems, but it was refreshing to talk to serious-minded people who don't automatically follow the mindless, cliche-ridden mores of so many. (Hey, talk about your prejudices!)
Wider: Just a taste of Justin Raimondo's comment Obama on the recent prize given our kind, gentle, peaceful president:
"...So, naturally, as a reward for all your strenuous efforts on behalf of keeping the world a place that is less safe, less stable, and less worth living in than at any time since the outbreak of World War II, you are bestowed with – yes, that’s right, the Nobel Peace Prize. This, however, isn’t just any Nobel Peace Prize – oh no It’s a Bizarro Peace Prize – the natural result of us having slipped through a crack in the space-time continuum, and landed in a world where up is down, right is left, and war is peace – Bizarro World!"
But all of it MUST be read at

Friday, October 09, 2009

Went to the Senior Expo with Mary and we cornered the market on ballpoint pens, note pads, and those grippers that open jars. It was jammed and we had a good time picking up tons of useful, semi-useful, and useless items along the way. I guess a hundred or more organizations were there, all intent on extracting money from geezers in any way possible, but it was great fun. I was struck by the fact that in the "snacks" section, what was handed out (all free, of course) were bagels, cream cheese, cheesecake, cookies, sugary drinks, and other stuff in the high-fat, high-sugar, guaranteed-to raise-your-blood-pressure-and-cholesterol-if-not-kill-you-outright category. There was a guy giving out bananas and clementines--which I virtuously accepted--but not a broccoli stalk in sight.
After, we went to Gino's for salads. Mine was delicious, and so were our long conversations on a variety of topics. Mary had an appointment, so I dropped her off about 2:30, then drove back onto the island on a gloriously sunny fall day. On impulse, I stopped at the old homestead on Rosborough Avenue and rang the bell. Dee answered and we fell on each other, then settled down with a cup of tea and exchanged widow stories (she hadn't known of Pat's death) and otherwise caught up with each other. She again has the house up for sale--it's much too big for her--and is staying in the downstairs apartment. We spent the rest of the afternoon together and had a delightful time.
A sunny day with friends is a very sunny day.
Wider: I just saw on the news that Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Here's how Robert Sheer put it:
"The Nobel Committee has interrupted the president’s meditations on whether to escalate the war in Afghanistan by awarding him the Peace Prize...” I thought this was mildly amusing, and looked for the reference to "The Onion" or some other satirical publication. Didn't find it. Hey, were the editors asleep? What was the joke?
Then I clicked on The NYTimes.
Okay, it's official: There's no reason in the world to ever think for a fleeting second that there's hope for this planet. I just wonder who was reached at the Prize committee and how the deal was made. It had to be more than money offered--maybe an ambassadorship--but no, these aren't Americans. Well, no matter.
Flash! George W. Bush has been named a member of Mensa, the society that recognizes superior intellects.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Aside from acting class last night, nothing of note went on. My fellow actor, Sandi, is in Vegas and won't be back for the last session next week, so another class member filled in. Christine is a lovely young woman, a singer; she and I took the monologue workshop together last year.
Called cousin Marifran after getting an e-mail thanking me for sending Pat's obituary. Sent e-mail to Darlene at Holy Spirit concerning the write-up on Pat. Today, I'll meet Mary H. and we'll go the the "Senior Expo" in Margate, then to lunch.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Had such an enjoyable day. In the morning, I went to Holy Spirit, Pat's and my alma mater, and met with the principal to set up a scholarship in Pat's name. She was very cordial and we had a good chat. She knows some of the nuns who taught me in high school in the long-ago days when Holy Spirit was in Atlantic City. I also met a woman in the alumni office and gave her Pat's obit and "Legacies" article, plus some vintage pictures of him. She's going to put a piece in the alumni magazine about him.
After, I went to a fabric store and got some black material for the library showcase I reserved for the month of November. In the first half of the month, I'll display info on "Deathtrap" and in the second, the "Riders To The Sea" presentation. I then went to the movies--yes, by myself--and saw "Capitalism, A Love Story."
It seems to me that all Moore's films tend to be spotty. There's some great stuff in this one, but it seemed hastily put together although, considering the ten minutes of credits at the end, all of which I stayed to read, maybe that's calculated. Anyway, it was sad and funny and outrageous, and overdone, as many of his movies are. I thought the most effective parts were about the Moore family when he was a boy. He included home movies and emphasized the pathos of his family, which was thoroughly middle-class and expected to stay that way. They didn't, however, as is well known, and that led to Moore's career and, I guess, his mission in life. His father worked at the automobile plant in Flint and he appeared late in the movie, now an old man, pointing out to his son the vast vacant areas that used to be filled with factories.
I was disturbed, however, that Moore portrayed Bush as the villain--and a ridiculous one, at that--and gave Obama the role as the saint who will lead us out of the wilderness of economic collapse. He seems to think O. is the great white hope--well, half-white hope--of the country, and not the obvious pol he's proving to be.
That's the thing that worries me about Moore: I think he's bought into the illusion that the two parties are actually different and in opposition, rather than two fingers of the same iron fist.
However, it was a good way to spend the day and, all in all, I enjoyed the movie.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sunny, funny, money day!
Well, okay, not the last and by "funny," I mean it was fun--just couldn't resist rhyming.
It started off with a welcome Skype call from the Tokyo twosome. Simultaneously, Bob S. came to blow out the sprinkler pipes--or whatever mysterious thing he does--so that's off my mind. Had a pleasant chat and look-see with the lovebirds, then cleaned up a bit and dressed for my lunch date with Peg.
We went to Sweet Jenny's in Barnegat and greatly enjoyed the food and each other's company. Peg and I will drove to Elva G.'s art gallery in Lambertville next week, then she leaves for Florida on the 24th. We talked about the possibility that I'll visit brother Larry in Miami in the new year and might be able to drop in on her (although it's about 4 hours away).
A. came in the afternoon and did a few chores for me. Just a bit after, I went next door to tell Frank and Barb D. I had some packages that came for them. They both came over and brought information on several outings they're kind enough to ask me to go to with them. I enthusiastically accepted all four of them, starting with an Italian street festival in Toms River this weekend. Yipee!
Brother Jim called later in the day to thank me for sending him the article about Pat and we had a good talk. All's well in Virginia, I'm happy to say--and all's well here, too.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Was offered via e-mail the lead role in "Riders To The Sea" which the acting company (LETCO) will perform at the library in November. I had recited a monologue from the play at the Tuckerton Seaport in May, so I'm at least familiar with the piece and the character. It's a somber, one-act play set in the Aran Islands that revolves around an woman who loses all six of her sons, plus her husband and father-in-law to the sea. I'm a little nervous about that much memorization, and even more so about the Irish accent, but I accepted the part. "Riders" was written by J.M. Synge and was produced in 1911.
Bob S. called and will come this morning to turn off the sprinkler system. I want to stop at Wal-Mart to get my BP medication, then will meet Peggy N. for lunch in Barnegat. A. is coming at 3:30 to continue clearing out the garage, so I have to get back by then.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sent the "Legacies" piece on Pat to a lot of relatives and friends, both electronically and via hard copies. Spent a lot of the day on that, plus every-day domestic chores. Sent the little girls in Singapore Halloween gifts: a foam "haunted graveyard" scene for Vivian and orange and white pajamas for Violet with "So Cute It's Scary" on the front.
Had a nice dinner at A.'s. Joely was there, as well as Lindsay and Lucas. Other than that, was mostly involved with phone calls and e-mails.
Wider: Do you ever wonder what all the verbiage in Washington concerning healthcare is about? Here's Chris Floyd, in his "Empire Burlesque" blog, to tell you:
"One side is lying; the other side is not telling the truth. Or to put it another way: One side is pretending that a wildly reactionary plan to further enrich rapacious corporations is really hardcore, gutbucket socialism from the Bolshevik trenches, while the other side is pretending that its "reform" is not really a wildly reactionary plan to further enrich rapacious corporations but something that will somehow, in some way, be good for some people at some point way down the line."
Rings true, doesn't it? Now you know.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Well, here it is, almost one o'clock in the afternoon and I'm just getting to my blog. The "Legacies" piece on Pat came out this morning; here's the link:
I think it was good although I wish he had put in a bit more. I'm glad he talked to A., though. Went out and bought a bunch of papers and sent the piece to the kids, plus other relatives and friends.
Went to Bill's in Buena yesterday to bring the medications of Pat's that he can use. Had a nice visit with him and Regina, but it was hurtful to see how pale he is.
Later (or rather, earlier): Went to Weight Watchers and darn, I'm up 1.8 for a current weight of 140 and 59.6 pounds off in total. I MUST take off ten so I can go back to my ideal of "between 125 and 130." Hmm...could the fact that I'm going out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner so often have anything to do with it?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Reporter from The Press of Atlantic City was here for almost two hours. He's a very nice fellow and I had lots of anecdotes about Pat to tell him, plus showed him pictures and memorabilia. It was fun to talk and laugh about Pat in happier days.
Met Mary Ellen for dinner at The Plantation on Long Beach Island. Had a tuna steak with bok choy and a glass of wine. Considering how pricy the place is, I thought it was just okay. However, we had a good time talking, especially about acting.
Called Holy Spirit H.S. to discuss setting up a scholarship in Pat's name. Will meet with the principal soon. Talked to SIL Regina and told her I'd drive over today to bring the medications Bill can use.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Today, a reporter from The Press of Atlantic City is coming to interview me about Pat. He'll be featured in an upcoming piece called "Legacies," a series about area people recently deceased. I'm excited about this and have dug out all kinds of pictures and memorabilia to show him. Hope I can remember some of Pat's better anecdotes.
Had acting class last night. Sandi's and my piece went well and we got useful, mostly positive feedback. Artistic director Desi was there and we learned he's arranged with the library to have some kind of presentation there in November. He hasn't yet decided what, but he may select one or more of the scenes from the class. I'd like to perform for it, whether or not my piece is included, but we'll see.
Dinner with Mary Ellen M. tonight.