Friday, July 31, 2009

Met Betty at the Parkway rest stop and gave her the portrait of Norman Schwartzkopf, Sr., then had a cup of coffee together. Later, she came to our place for lunch and to leave Pat's car, bringing a bag of--yum!--Sacco subs. (If you're ever on Absecon Island (A.C., Ventnor, Margate, Longport, that's the only place to get subs; they're the best on the planet.) Suzanne got here a bit later and we had a great lunch. A. then popped in and almost immediately, Ellen called on the web cam, so we had a real girl fest. All too soon, Betty and Suzanne left. Don't know when I'll see her again and it's always a wrench to say goodbye, but we had a great time while she was here. Now I want to relax and stick close to home for a time.
Wider: On Common Dreams.org, Catherine Lutz writes about "Obama's (military) Empire...," a mind-boggling essay that includes these incredible statistics:
"The global reach of the US military today is unprecedented and unparalleled. Officially, more than 190,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees are massed in approximately 900 military facilities in 46 countries and territories (the unofficial figure is far greater). The US military owns or rents 795,000 acres of land, with 26,000 buildings and structures, valued at $146bn (£89bn). The bases bristle with an inventory of weapons whose worth is measured in the trillions and whose killing power could wipe out all life on earth several times over."
And there's haggling by our Godforsaken "leaders" over money for education, health care, home ownership, and any other spending from which we underlings might derive a slight benefit! Even more blood-chilling, note the last sentence: "...and inventory of weapons...whose killing power could wipe out all life on earth several times over."
Insanity! How in the world did we come to this? And how do we get out of it?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peggy got here about 1:30, and we drove to Romanelli's Garden Cafe to meet Betty. I had the same grilled shrimp with fresh fruit I did last week and so did Peg. Yummy, yum, yum, although we remarked that only three shrimp were included.
After good talk, we parted from Betty and Peg and I went back to my house to stay for another 20 minutes or so. After she left, it was almost 5:00 and I went next door to ask Frank to come in to see the general's picture for "Hedda Gabbler." I was surprised to hear the play has been scrapped. It seems two of the main male actors withdrew; the rest of the cast was reassigned to "Deathtrap." Frank and Barbara came over to see the portrait anyway, and to chat with Pat. F. thought it would have been perfect for "Hedda" and took pictures. I don't want to be responsible for it, though, so called Betty and we agreed to meet at Jimmy Leeds Road and exchange it. Also, she'll be here today later to return Pat's car, then meet up with Suzanne, who will take her home so she can get the Rapid Rover to the airport tomorrow.
Got Pat dinner, then left with Frank for a murder mystery script session at Mary Ellen's in far off Barneget Light. Didn't get home until almost 10:00 and to bed until 11:00.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yesterday was so exciting, I can barely remember it. I know I straightened up a little. Went over to feed Susan's cat and parrot. Ran into Mary Ann Van O. in the morning; Bart's in rehab.* Retrieved A.'s watch from the park nearby.
Today should be more interesting, as Peg N. is stopping here, then we'll meet Betty for lunch at Romanelli's Garden Cafe. Tonight, I have a murder mystery script meeting; will go with Frank.
* Not that kind of rehab: He's recovering from another bout of pneumonia after a hospital stay.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So-so day. Nothing going on except the usual--interminable--care giving and housekeeping chores, aside from the following:
Late in the afternoon, husband Pat was watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Now, I always loved that movie, so I sat down to watch it. It was just as enjoyable as ever, especially the big crowd scene when everybody follows Matthew Broderick in a rousing rendition of "Twist and Shout." I always thought Mia Sara, the young actress who plays his girlfriend had a unearthly beauty. Now she's 42 years old and, judging from her pictures on Internet sites, is not particularly striking.
Watching television in the daytime always seems to me the height--or depth--of a sad existence and intellectual depravity. Geez, it was sunny and hot--I should have been at the pool, or gardening, or at least putting in a load of wash! Well, so what--I pretty much toe the line most days and it's one of my favorite movies. Why? I have to admit the whole premise--defying convention and walking away from your obligations--appeals to me, even if I rarely have the guts to follow the idea.
Incidentally, I checked and found out Ferris Bueller came out twenty-three year ago! At my age, that seems if not yesterday, maybe the day before yesterday, but still, it was a long time ago. No matter, it was a mildly enjoyable interlude and I need all of those I can get.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What an enjoyable evening at the Surf City Hotel! Went with Susan and Walter after receiving instructions on feeding their cat ("Cherise") and African Grey parrot ("Alex"). I'm caring for them while S. and W. are in Connecticut for a few days.
There were 12 at dinner and we had a great time. After a cool glass of Chardonnay at the bar, we repaired to a semi-private dining room and I ordered broiled flounder. Washed it down with Miller Lite, then topped off the meal with "Bailey's Irish coffee"--yum! The food was superb, the company rollicking, and it was a fun night.
I was invited to join the Dine-Around group again next month and am looking forward to it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Enjoyed first P. and N., then the Singapore contingent on web cam calls yesterday. Other than that and the usual, it was pretty tame, so I'm going to devote this post to injustice.
Wider: At the supermarket nearby, there's a young woman cashier who caught my eye some time ago. I guess she's in her twenties or early thirties. She has a pretty, big-eyed face, but personifies the expressions "painfully thin" and "painfully shy." She's about my height--5'4"--and I doubt if she weighs over 90 pounds. I've rarely met anyone so introverted. When she rings up purchases, she glances at customers only occasionally and speaks in such a low voice, it's difficult to hear her. Not wanting to join the leagues of snap-judgementers, I'm not going to speculate on whether she could be identified as someone with Asberger's Syndrome, but it seems possible.
A few months ago, I saw her standing on Center Street and asked if I could drive her somewhere, but she declined politely, saying she was waiting for someone. Since then, we've exchanged a few words when I go in the store, as I did the other day.
After my years in HR, I retain an interest in employment and I asked about her work. I found that the store isn't unionized and a lot of the cashiers are high school or college kids, but she works full-time. However, she's paid hourly and gets no benefits at all--no paid sick days, no paid holidays, no paid vacation time, no retirement--and, naturally, no medical insurance. She remarked as so many people must, that she "can't afford to go to the doctor."
I wonder how much the owners or stock holders of Shop 'N' Bag receive. It seems so wrong and bad that this young woman is in such a precarious position and very likely she's doomed to remain there. I suppose that with a lot of drive and ambition, she could work to improve her situation--maybe go to school, or try to be promoted (to what?), or find another job (how?)--but that's not going to happen. If she had a lot of drive and ambition, she wouldn't be a cashier at that supermarket to begin with. And considering her extreme shyness, it's hard to believe she'll ever be able to move up or out. She may work there until she's unable to work, and then what?
Yet we see the pompous, arrogant, ever-so-well-fixed politicians in Washington spewing out their garbage to reject universal health care, then awarding trillions to banks and corporations and funding mayhem and murder around the world. How can this be right? How can it be fair? Why does such injustice exist?
Old questions become new when they acquire a face and the face for me is the shy young woman in Shop 'N' Bag.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One of the many things I love about summer--my favorite season--is the comings and goings and getting togethers. Yesterday, after settling Pat, I tooled down to Ventnor to Betty's. She, her friend Suzanne, and her friend, Reinie, and I went to the Greenhouse in Margate for lunch. Interestingly, this is where Reinie met her husband of 30 years, whom she lost just a few months ago.
This spot has a long history. When we were at that after-high- school,-before-marriage age, we used to frequent the downshore bars, the purpose being to meet new guys and/or hang out with ones we knew. We often got thoroughly sloshed and the Greenhouse, along with the Beach Club--long gone--was one of the favored venues for that activity. In those days, it was pretty much a dive, dark and dank, but now it has a terrific big deck overlooking the beach.
Oh, what a pleasure to sit under an umbrella--the sun was fierce, but so welcome--washing down a deliciously rare hamburger with Miller Lite! We were there for several hours, talking and laughing, then I had to leave for home. Good, good day that raised my spirits several notches.

Friday, July 24, 2009

It rained heavily all day. Got to Acme early, then stayed in aside from a late afternoon chat at Marge's. Actually, it was cozy and snug; I read on the couch while Pat followed his present occupation: watching television. Poor guy, he simply can't do anything else physically. Exchanged more phone calls with Visiting Physicians and Community Surgical, which is getting to be my occupation.
Made a date with Peg and Betty for lunch on Wednesday. Betty leaves on Friday--all too short a time to have my sister near.
Jen e-mailed to say she has strepped (? I don't know how to spell it and neither does Blogspot) throat and she and the boys can't be here today. I'm disappointed, but it may be just as well because it remains cloudy and chilly, so not a good day for the pool.
Wider: My brother recently sent around an e-mail about a soldier killed in Iraq. The gist was that it's unseemly to pay so much attention to celebrity deaths (Michael, Farah, Walter), but so little to those "fighting for our freedom." (If I hear that one more time, I'll stick a fork in my eye.) My brother is a good and decent man and certainly, the celebrity worship we constantly see is disgusting. At the same time, I can't help but wonder at what he and others hold in such reverence. Regardless of what else they are--and most human beings are complex creatures--aren't members of the military hired killers? Isn't the reason for their existence to kill? And in our time, don't they often kill not for defense, but aggressively? So what is being promoted here?
These are dreadful questions. I wonder if, in their grief, those who loved the young man in the e-mail ask them. My heart aches for them, but still--don't the questions need to be asked?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wonderful lunch with my twin yesterday. We both had a grilled shrimp and fresh fruit salad, dressed with balsamic and oil--oh, so yummy--and good sisterly talk. She gave me the portrait of Norman Schwartzkopf's father, which I'll show Jim H., our stage manager, one of these days, in case it can be used in "Hedda Gabler."
Story of the portrait as I understand it: It had been painted by the artist mother of Betty's friend, Dottie (the one whose hair style I copied). Betty acquired it years ago after she borrowed it from Dottie (don't ask why) and Dottie later gave it to her. It looks remarkably like a sturdier Hitler and shows Swartzkopf, who was in both world wars, in full military regalia. He was the first commander of the New Jersey State Police, and was closely involved with the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Unfortunately, a lot of the paint on one side is flaking off, but maybe Jim and crew can repair it. Anyway, I'll show it to him and if it can be used, fine; otherwise, I'll just cart it back.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yesterday was a frustrating dealing-for-dollars (medical expenses) day. I spoke to people at Community Surgical, Visiting Physicians, and the V.A. (I should get a medal for valor). Had to FAX documents here and there and heard from the V.A. that they won't pay for the recent EMT visit--or any other when Pat wasn't taken to the hospital. That means we owe the parent outfit--Monmouth Something Or Other--a cool thou. I told Pat that next time, I don't care if he has a stubbed toe, he's going.
Dr. Z., the podiatrist, came and worked on Pat's feet. The nails do look better, so something went right.
The bright spot was a web cam call from D.D. Ellen. We commiserated together over various woes and I felt better after. Today I meet sister Betty for lunch in Galloway and I'm looking forward to that.
Wider: Anti-War.com carries a long and chilling article called "America's Wars" by David Bromwich. In it, he emphasizes an ominous shift in thinking: Throughout U.S. history,war had been considered an aberration, but now it's beginning to seem in the natural order of things and is being planned for, far into the future:
"Robert Gates put the latest thinking into conventional form...(saying) 'I wanted a department that frankly could walk and chew gum at the same time, that could wage war as we are doing now, at the same time we plan and prepare for tomorrow’s wars.' The weird prospect that this usage – 'tomorrow’s wars' – renders routine is that we anticipate a good many wars in the near future. We are the ascendant democracy, the exceptional nation in the world of nations. To fight wars is our destiny and our duty. Thus the word “wars” – increasingly in the plural – is becoming the common way we identify not just the wars we are fighting now but all the wars we expect to fight."
The import of this is overwhelming. "Tomorrow's wars"--and the day after tomorrow, and next year, and in two decades, and the twenty-second century...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Met Mary Ellen for dinner at Applebee's last night and had an enjoyable time getting to know her. Had a hamburger, which I was annoyed they didn't cook rare, as I had asked, but what they called "medium rare," meaning overdone. The cute little waitress solemnly informed me that Applebee's "has to" do meat that way for reasons of safety. (Oh, gimme a break.)
ME and I had a nice "getting to know you" session, along with white zin and Corona with lime. Got home a bit after 9:00 and had a bowl of ice cream with Pat. Then another bowl. Then some chocolate chip cookies.
Now I must start back on the straight and narrow, food wise. I haven't gotten weighed lately, but think I've put on a few and I want to nip it in the bud.
Earlier, I got a very welcome call from J., who suggested she come down with the boys on Friday--yay! Hope it doesn't rain, although it's supposed to, I'm afraid. Must plan something else other than the pool.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Went to "Sunday At The Opera," run by my friend, Mary Ann Van O. at our clubhouse. It was the 1949 movie (set in the 1890s), Midnight Kiss, starring that talented tub of lard, Mario Lanza, and big-boobed Kathryn Grayson. It wasn't an actual opera, of course, but included arias and songs stuck into an incredibly contrived "plot"--I use the word advisedly--that from first word to last embrace, was predictable as the sunrise.
However, I liked it. True, I regard the era of the fifties (this was heading into them) as the most rigid, stilted, conformist, and least conducive to creativity possible. If you were at all "different"--handicapped, African-American, old, poor, or whatever--you were made to feel a lesser human. Yes, for all the present stupidity and excesses, I'm happier now than I was then. (The shrinks can chew on that if they want.)
I guess it's perverse, but what I enjoyed about this movie was its artifice. The eyelashes on Miss Grayson--three inches long and curly! Her shape--nineteen-inch waist and 36-D+ bust! The singing must have been pre-recorded, as it looked as if she could barely breathe, let along rev up for those ten-second trills. I'm pretty sure Mario was encorseted, too, and his perfect, over-all tan was surely sprayed on. David Niven was about the only one who seemed un-robotic. He was so elegant and his acting was so effortless and right, you wished Grayson had chosen him instead of the mugging meatball she--predictably--did.
Anyway, if I had to be inside, it was a reasonably pleasant way to spend a summer Sunday.
Of course, I'd rather be basking on the French Riviara.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Enjoying a surprise visit from sister Betty, on her way back from viewing her property in upstate New York. She got here about 6:30 and stayed over, so is sleeping peacefully in the guest room.
Other than that, an ordinary day: Did lots of wash, re-stocked my veggie supply by visiting B & B, and generally stuck to my knitting. Was glad to get a web cam call from P. and N. Got a (phone) call from Mary Ann Van O., whose husband has the same lousy malady as Pat, and will try to get to her monthly opera session today. We also made a date for lunch on Monday, the 26th.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hey, things are looking up. Went to Kohl's early and got a pair of walking shoes (sneaks) with the 30 % off coupon. Pat okay after the early low blood sugar scare and I got him situated, then went off for my hair appointment.
For years, I've believed I had to fight against my hair's natural Indian-straight characteristics and that I needed height on top. Well, Eileen, my new guru, cut it in a short bob and it looks great. She also colored it slightly lighter than I usually do, and added blondish streaks. It was pricey, and she said we had to "work with" the fact other hairdressers had layered it, but I like it a lot. After dinner, called Ellen on the web cam so she could see it and she emphatically agreed it looks great. The salon is all the way over in Linwood, about 45 minutes away, but I can live with that and will go every six weeks. The real test, of course, is to see if I can restore it after I wash it, but right now, I'm thrilled over it.
Wider: On AntiWar.Com, Joe Calloway has a strong, well-reasoned piece called "A Lesson From Vietnam For Obama's War in Afghanistan." He describes the men--mostly men--from privileged backgrounds and Ivy League colleges who advise presidents:
"Presidents right up to today’s like to surround themselves with such self-assured and certain men, men whose eagerness to find war the answer to most problems often grows in direct proportion to their lack of experience in uniform or combat."
Galloway outlines the steps that could have been followed to end or shorten the war in Vietnam--but weren't--then writes:
"This small history lesson can be read as a cautionary tale to President Barack Obama’s team as they oversee an excruciating slow-motion end of one war, Iraq, and a pell-mell rush to wade ever deeper into another one in the mountains and deserts of remote and tribal Afghanistan."
But do our leaders ever learn from history and decide to lay down their swords? Hey, here are more questions: What was the Vietnam war all about? Why did more than 58,000 Americans and countless other humans die?
And the best question, from a song, no less, that I'm afraid will never be answered: When will we ever learn?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Enjoyed several hours of glorious free time yesterday. A. took Pat to the primary doctor at the V.A. and I took a shower, then simply sat in the living room and read my book. It was so refreshing.
Walter came over to fix the garage door, which keeps going up again when it's closed. Unfortunately, it isn't fixed. Ray came over to look at it and gave me the name of the company that replaced his. Then Dennis came over and, having had experience, said he thought the motherboard (or whatever) needs to be replaced. All agreed the mechanism doesn't last long and is pretty much a crappy one. Okay, I'll look into replacement.
Went with Frank to the production meeting for Hedda Gabler; Frank is "producer." Agreed to help with various things and enjoyed being back in the game, although I'm still licking my wounds after not getting the aunt role for which I auditioned.
Scary happening early this morning. A little before 2:00 am, I was awakened by Pat thrashing around and making puffing sounds. Got up and he wasn't responsive. Quickly poured him orange juice with sugar in it, but couldn't get him to sit up to drink it. Put more in a squeeze bottle and he was able to drink that. Then made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which he ate and finally came out of the low blood sugar thing. Cleaned up and went back to bed.
What a life.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good fun yesterday at Smithville Inn during lunch with Peggy, Hazel, and Betty. Didn't get home until 5:30 and had to quickly start Pat's dinner before I went out for a mystery theatre script meeting at Mary Ellen's. It takes at least 45 minutes to get there--she lives in Barneget Light--a real drag, but the evening was fun. I left at 9:00, so after popcorn and wine, didn't get to bed until 11:00, an ungodly hour for me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Still layin' low, but pretty okay. Bought two pairs of white slacks, but will take both back; I didn't want to take the time to try them on and neither are what I want. The heck with it--I'll wear what I have.
Ran into Betty H. at the supermarket. She lost her husband last year and told me another neighbor I know slightly just did, also.
Meeting Betty, Hazel, and former schoolmate, Peggy, today for lunch. I also said I'd go to the mystery theatre meeting tonight; hope Frank goes, too. I had e-mailed him to the effect I'll help backstage with the "Hedda Gabler" (maybe that should be in italics--can't remember) production and that meeting is tomorrow night.
Wider: The subject of some of my loudest yammerings is television and here's just a hint of good old Ralph's opinion:
"Television today—over the air and cable—with the usual exceptions, could empty the dictionary of disparaging adjectives. Some times slots—such as daily afternoon talk-entertainment shows—are so bad, so sadomasochistic and exploitive, that they escape the media critics. Why would Tom Shales—the insightful Washington Post critic who writes like a dream—want to apply his talented eye to shows that invoke the Latin phrase “res ipsa louitur”: the thing speaks for itself?"
But he has so much more that's pertinent in the full essay on that topic at at http://nader.org/.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Not a good day yesterday. Problems ranged from a malfunction in the garage door to Pat running out of "N" insulin. Luckily, I spoke to darling daughter, Ellen, and she suggested it could be bought over the counter. I didn't think so, but found it can be. Get this: Walgreens's gave me of price of FIFTY-ONE DOLLARS for the tiny vial (holds about a half teaspoon) and I got it at Wal-Mart for twenty three.
Pat was able to tell me what to do about the garage door and the other problems--oh, yes, there were others--more or less resolved themselves. I'm coming up out of my slump now and feeling better.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Got all my gear washed, dried, and put away (I'm compulsive) and pulled together a summer meal after tidying up the house. Betty and Jim arrived shortly before 6:00, when we sat down for dinner.
Hey, it wasn't half bad, if I say it myself. I asked Jim to pick a wine from our diminishing "cellar" (a six-bottle rack in the dining room) and he and I enjoyed a few glasses through the evening. After a pleasant, convivial visit and a stop-over from Susan and Walter, the sibs left and I cleared the kitchen and settled down with my Taylor Country Red.
The phone rang about 8:30 and I heard a voice I haven't heard since I graduated from eighth grade at St. James Grammar School in 1896. It was Elva G., now B., responding to my message of the other day. We talked for 20 minutes or so and discovered we had been living and/or working about 15 miles apart for many years. That was when I was in Ewing and she already had the art gallery in Lamberville. Great fun talking with her.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm back from a wonderful, wonderful respite outing, thanks to darling A. and twin sister, Betty. We saw lots of old friends--Mary, Connie, Muckie, Hazel, Dottie, and George--yes, even those we knew as FIRST GRADERS. Ate plenty of fatty, sugary, bad for you, utterly divine food, went out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, walked on the boardwalk, sat on the porch, and talked, talked, talked--so good. I drank my share of wine and beer, but with the effect only of enhancing my sense of warm, convivial enjoyment. I got there about 4:30 on Thursday, and returned home today at 10:00. We didn't turn the television or radio on even once, and Betty doesn't have a computer there, so aside from cell phones, we were free of our electronic bondage.
Okay, back to reality, but that's okay. I'm rejuvenated, re-charged, and reinvigorated. Am having for dinner tonight the same sis and my brother, Jim, who will come up from Virginia to stay overnight at Betty's. A.'s friends, who raise chickens (!) gave her a dozen fresh eggs and I have them at the boil; will devil them, then add to the ham, baked beans, salad, and whatever else I have around. I was wondering on the way home what I could whip up for dessert and--lo!--A. had made two blueberry cobblers, leaving one for us!
I must remember: I am so lucky to have been born into a big family in a small town. Life is good.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Didn't do a whole heck of a lot yesterday, aside from the usual. Went to the library and got a new book on Ted Kennedy (why? I dunno.) and impulsively picked up Swimsuit by Thomas Patterson. Aside from official government releases, I seldom read fiction, but I can see why he's so popular. He grabs you immediately with a gory, sexy situation and makes the protagonist a suave, brilliantly intelligent, handsome, master of disguises--you'd practically consider it a privilege to be offed by him. Anyway, it's light summer reading, I guess.
Will leave today for Betty's, so won't be posting for a few days. Must pack, do wash, and prepare for my respite weekend.
Wider: At "Common Dreams," there's an eye-opening piece by Derrick Jensen called "Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change." Here's a bit:
"Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance...All of the solutions presented (have) to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and have nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet..."
But read it all, and don't bother walking to work:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/08

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Buzzed around being busy. Went to The Home Depot and got bug spray (for me, not the house) and the Miracle-Gro you attach to the hose. Dropped some things off at the thrift store. Made a loaf of banana bread. Washed several loads of clothes. Stripped and re-made our bed. Mopped the master bath and washed and replaced the rugs. Vacuumed the living room and our bedroom. Washed Pat's hair and gave him a sponge bath. After dinner, I attached the hose thing and watered my poor little yellow flowers on the side. Of course, all this was aside from my everyday caregiver chores, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment--I ain't just spinning my wheels here, folks.
Talked to Betty to try and arrange a meet-up with old friends from elementary school. Talked to A., who will give me another "respite weekend" shortly.
Wider: My rant for the day: I wouldn't dream of watching the "memorials" to Michael Jackson, but saw on my home page a video of his 11-year-old daughter saying he was "the best father in the world." I'm not suggesting he wasn't a good father--who the hell knows?--but the stomach-turning idea of coaching a child to "pay tribute" for an audience, then break down in tears, can be described as nothing but "unseemly." She was surrounded by her aunts and uncles, all of them decked out in the most somber of black clothes, looking remarkably like African-American Mafia. She was encouraged (oh, of course, she was encouraged) to cry, then turn to Auntie Janet (I guess it was) to be photogenically embraced while the others assumed the doleful, zombie-like expressions the artistic director must have thought appropriate.
Boy, it makes you wonder--yet again--where we're headed and raises lots of questions: Is there no honest emotion left that's experienced behind closed doors and that doesn't rely for its authenticity on hordes of witnesses? Is there such a thing as GOOD TASTE, anymore? Is there any rock-bottom low that television won't explore? How many people actually watched that garbage? How many children took concious or unconcious notes on "how to act when your daddy dies?"
Okay, I'll stop. I'll go out and get the newspaper, which will cover the whole charade at length, I'm sure, and will surely list some of the most prominent celebs at the "memorial." Just one more question:
How much did the ever-so-bereaved family realize from the television rights? A bundle, huh?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Met sister Betty at Santori's and we stocked up on our veggies. We then took a melancholy trip to the cemetery. Other than that, it was a day like any other day--they're beginning to all seem the same. Guess that means I'm in a rut, but how do I get out of it?
Haven't heard yet if I got the part in "Hedda Gabler," but saw on Facebook Andrea was picked for the title role. I thought she, Tara, and Lucille were all good at the reading.
Wider: I was confused for a minute when I read that Michael Jackson's "memorial" will be held at "the Staples Center." Wha? A ceremony at an office supply store? Then it dawned: This, of course, is another in a long list of sell-outs to corporate America. Presumably, Staples paid a coupla mil to L.A. so now sports fans and others have to say their name every time they refer to the stadium. Same as what used to be Veterans' Stadium in Philly, and Shea, and, I guess, practically every other large gathering place in the country. It's not quite as disgusting as pushing fast food in elementary school,* but it's close.
The fact that a man--well, a person--who was almost surely a drug addict and a pedophile will be the object of sloppily expressed adulation is now just routine. Hey, at least, Jackson may not have been quite as revolting as the recently dead McNamara. Good 'ol boy Robert Strange will be praised to the skies by statesmen and dignitaries, all dressed in dark suits so the rivers of blood that flow around them doesn't show.
* Of course, this particular rape of innocence is now routine. If you question it, you're greeted with indignation at worst and puzzled faces at best: "But they gave the school new laptops and a copy machine."
Later: As it turned out, I didn't get the role in "Hedda Gabler." I'm slightly disappointed, but not terribly so. Will try for something else the next time. Am still involved with the murder mystery group.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Lent my car to the K's, who have a houseful of company from Massachusetts; their car broke down on the way and was left at Pep Boys in North Jersey somewhere. Judy and Roman have only one themselves so I offered and was glad to help out. As these things happen, grandson Joel asked if I'd drive him home to get the extra key for his motorcycle. He lost his after a barbecue on the fourth at Redmen's Hall in Tuckerton. Finally, his friend picked him up and brought the other key, but we enjoyed his visit.
Had another visit after dinner from little Brooke and her Mommy. Brooke is so cute--has black, curly hair, big dark eyes, and weighs only seven pounds. Yes, a miniature poodle. I, who fervently believe a good dog is a stuffed dog, have said that if I should ever be so misguided (or drunk, or rendered insane) to get one, I'd want it to be like Brooke.
Had a nice talk and look-see with Ellen and A. called, back from their vacation. Oddly enough, it was a pleasant day.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Had a great time at the H.'s party yesterday. I went over about 5:00, was happy to be greeted with enthusiastic hugs, and sat down immediately with a Corona and lime. The food was terrific--I'm afraid I over indulged to the extent of about 6,000,000,000 calories--and the company even better. After an hour, I filled a platter for Pat (ribs, potato salad, baked beans, and several sides) and brought it two doors down to him. I then went back and got my own dinner. Besides the above, there were lots of other goodies, of course, and I was diligent about enjoying most of them. Went home again to bring Pat a big portion of delectable apple cake, then back to have myself a mound of the wonderful trifle Susan had made.
Sounds as if the eating part was paramount, doesn't it? But no--I enjoyed most being at a party. I've been sticking close to home for a long time now and oh, how I miss the laughter and the fun in being with so many good friends. Anyway, I left about 7:00, happily refreshed and passed the rest of the evening quietly with Pat.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Went to Staples early and had the script bound into a "lie flat" spiral book. This is a terrific service and it cost me only $3.20.
I again viewed the 1963 T.V. version of "Hedda Gabler" on YouTube. Ingrid Bergman and the others are so good, although it's the third translation I've found.
Got a very welcome cam call from the Singapore contingent. Son Mike is recovering from a hernia operation and adorable granddaughters are adorable as ever. Vivian, soon to be five, showed me lots of things, including a toe ring, for heaven's sake. (Next it'll be tattoos.) Little Violet, one next week, was cooing and laughing and precious as ever.
Frank D. stopped in for a few minutes last night to tell Pat the Mets were losing (again!) to the Phillies, which cheered us considerably, but left Frank in the deepest despair. (A joke; he's not that superficial.)
Wider: Today is the fourth of July. I have such conflicted feelings about this holiday. On the one hand, I love my family and the people in my neighborhood and I feel a kind of diffused warmth for compatriots in general. I speak no other languages and have never lived anywhere except New Jersey. I'm as stirred as anyone with "patriotic" music and fireworks and I think I'm luckier than some to have been born an American.
And yet...I believe it's blind patriotism that has people parroting the "this is the best country in the world" tripe. That's the king of cliches, it seems to me, utterly mindless and almost indistinguishable from nationalism. And that's what allows otherwise good and gentle people to accept the horrors we've unleashed on the world.
I subscribe to The New Yorker and am reading an investigative article on a U.S. platoon in Iraq that seems to be overly enthusiastic--or something--with killing "the enemy" instead of taking prisoners. (No fear that there'll be a groundswell of revulsion against this. You'll never, in a million years, see an indepth report on network T.V. where the majority of the populace seems to get its information.)
The whole thing is surreal when you consider that some killing is supposed to be perfectly okay, even laudable. Combatants get medals if they kill in the approved or "legal" ways, but are punished if they--oops!--decide to murder their adversaries otherwise. It's absolute insanity and when we display the red, white, and blue, we indicate our support for the madness.
Hey, everybody knows what the red stands for.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Saw Betty off to Toms River, then got to B.J.'s early and stocked up on popcorn, cottage cheese, and the usual. Found "Hedda Gabler" on-line and printed out the whole 163 pages of the original English translation, the one we'll be following. Betty called to say she's home and she found the library book I carelessly left at her place.
Otherwise, did a lot of laundry and not much else. Actually took a short nap on the couch--unusual for me--but had not a bad day. I'm up out of my slump and feeling a lot better.
Wider: Rob Payne, in "Dead Horse," has a strong and sensible entry today (commonplace for him). Here's his opening:
"It seems to me that when people become embroiled in Democrat vs. Republican arguments all the participants in said argument have succumbed to that age old temptation to argue about the wrong thing. It is as pointless as arguing which is better – vanilla ice-cream or chocolate. They taste a little different but they’re essentially identical, they are both ice-cream."
Read the rest at http://deadhorse1995.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Betty and Suzanne arrived on schedule and we had a nice lunch. I served the delicious ham Mike had sent, plus green salad, chicken salad, baked onions, crystal pickles, corn relish, iced tea, with rolls and pumpernickel bread. Topped it off with the scrumptious blueberry buckle I had just made and if I say it myself, it wasn't half bad.
After Suzanne left, Betty and I had a good time together, talking on the porch and so on. Had to leave after dinner for my audition, but got home before 9:00, after which we viewed some of the "one-minute cinema" pieces while enjoying my popcorn and wine.
Audition went well, although Desi won't announce his choices for another week.
Betty will go back to her house in Ventnor (Pat's lending her his car), but will be there for the whole month so we'll get together often--yay!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Decided not to go to Mary Ellen's after all. It's all the way at the end of Long Beach Island and I just didn't want to be that far. I haven't worked much on my own script, which needs extensive re-writing, but will try to get back to that. Aside from our morning walk and going out to get Pat more Hershey Bars, I stayed around home.
Betty called once from Vegas and once from Suzanne's. They'll be here today about 1:30 for lunch, then Betty will stay over.