Today I offer a Reblog from the Wild and Wonderful Mind of the Bluebird of Bitterness !
“Blessed Are The Geeks”
New post on bluebird of bitterness
Today I offer a Reblog from the Wild and Wonderful Mind of the Bluebird of Bitterness !
“Blessed Are The Geeks”
New post on bluebird of bitterness
WHILE I DID MISS OUT ON SEEING THE NEW MARY POPPINS MOVIE while down in Texas recently I did manage to catch one of my all-time favorite films just the other night. Some people classify it as a “Chick Flick,” but I think that it is better thought of as a “Human Flick.”
“Shirley Valentine” was released in 1989 to less than raving reviews. Well, you can’t please everyone. The reviews may have been rather tepid, but Pauline Collins got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, along with a number of other awards. I guess that it was liked only by the people who saw it without any preconceived ideas.
Shirley (Played by Pauline Collins) is a British housewife mired in middle-age, and wondering where everything she hoped for has gone.
“I’ve led a very little life.”
— Shirley Valentine
Shirley feels that she has disappeared into a mind and soul numbing routine. Her husband is caught in
his own rut that has isolated them from each other. They share their house, but are living separate and unsatisfying lives.
Shirley’s life takes a remarkable twist when one of her “lady friends” wins a contest that offer a two week vacation trip to Greece and she asks Shirley to accompany her.
And now you need to download the movie.
Every year there are countless movies made that are “Coming of Age” films about the difficult and awkward transition from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. There is a big market for those. Less frequently does one find a different kind of “Coming of Age “ film – one about the transition from our prime adult years into “Middle-Age” when we begin to look back on our lives. We look at where we have been and where we are now, and what do we have ahead of us. And what are we going to do about it?
While the basic story is light and entertaining with other characters adding to Shirley’s mountain of things to think about there is an undertone that hits home easily. Life is a serious business.
I don’t often recommend movies – mainly because I don’t think most of them warrant any kind of recommendation. “Shirley Valentine” is thirty years old now, but it doesn’t look it or feel it. It has a freshness that makes it as pertinent as today.
That’s it. Short. Sweet and to the point today. Go get a snack.
GETTING OLDER IS NOT for sissies. It takes guts and imagination. But it also demands that, as Dirty Harry Callahan hissed in one of his films, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
I know that I can no longer play golf like I used to, and that is a blessing, because I was a terrible golfer. People always claim that it is such a sociable game. Well, the way I played it I was always off by myself somewhere. So – No more golf, no great loss.
A lot of the things that I can no longer do, I really don’t care about: golf, tennis, tap dancing (scratch that. That’s a lie. I never tap danced in my life).
I have had to use my imagination to add things into my life that give it spark and entertainment value while eliminating the need for special equipment – This blog being one of those things. Another being high-impact people watching.
Being a writer, in one way or another, I have always been a people watcher, but now I do it with the enthusiasm of Michael Phelps looking for a fresh bong.
This trip to Texas has presented me, the people watcher, with a target rich environment – The Airport!
Win! Win! Win!
St. Arbucks’ web site has all sorts of online games, based on purchases and/or “collecting game pieces” that promise to winners that they will get “Starbucks For Life!” If you purchase six million special coffees and a cookie you might be a winner! I just can’t keep up.
Points! Points! Points!
DESPITE MY CURMUDGEONLY REPUTATION I really do try to be a helpful sort of person. Like yesterday afternoon when a stranger asked me for directions. He was passing through town and wanted to have lunch at his favorite restaurant – “Chili’s” and he needed help finding it.
I was proud that I could give him simple and accurate directions. Follow my directions and an imbecile could find that restaurant.
“Just go down this road. When you get to the big courthouse-looking building, turn left. Keep going for a few minutes, then go under the Interstate. Keep going until you see their sign. It’ll be on your right.”
Simple, not too complicated, and absolutely accurate.
I’M GENERALLY PRETTY AGREEABLE. It’s easy to get along with me and I try not to be too grumpy. Unfortunately the world does not always cooperate.
For example: Stairs.
Stairs and I do not agree. I want them to not be there, but stairs demand that I go up or down. I end up just trying to avoid the situation altogether. I would prefer a one level world.
NOT LONG AGO WHILE KILLING TIME waiting for a plane in Houston we were seated near a family – Mommy, Daddy, and three Kids. The kids were glued to their phones, oblivious to anything else. Daddy was sitting there engrossed in a book, but Mommy was busy keeping an eye on her brood and doing her best to keep her Hubby looking civilized.
She was combing his eyebrows.
I’d never seen anyone do that to another human being before. It must be something that they do a lot in that family. Mommy was combing Daddy’s eyebrows, but he never missed a beat with his book. He kept right on reading while she did her eyebrow thing.
WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. Some are pretty obvious from the outset. With others it can take some time before we realize that we have stuck our foot in it. I have been collecting a few examples of some wildly errant boo-boos that deserve retelling.
One of my favorites dates from 1959. The fine folks in Ottawa, Ontario were gathered to celebrate the grand opening of a new modern terminal at the Canadian Capital’s Airport. Everyone was having a great time…until it all fell apart.
Today’s blog is originally from the Koolkosherkitchen: A blog that is about both Food and Life. I am sure that you will enjoy it – even if you don’t take the recipe into your kitchen.
This story was shared by Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson, a fantastic public speaker with a great sense of humor. A renowned psychologist was giving a lecture on his theory of the flood. According to him, a myth about the flood of catastrophic magnitude has been present in every culture and religion in the world. He postulated that it was primitive people’s way of expressing their insecurities and fears for the future. He unequivocally stated that there has never been an actual flood. One of his listeners asked permission to comment.
“And what if there really was a flood? What if it isn’t a myth?” he asked.
A stunned silence enshrined the audience of professional, highly educated men. After a prolonged pause, the lecturer replied, “My teacher Zigmund Freud would ask who is stronger, elephants or polar bears. He would then answer that it is impossible to judge as they never meet; they exist in different climates. You and I, sir, are an elephant and a polar bear; we exist in different climates: you allow that the flood might have happened, and I don’t. We will never meet.”
There are several different locations where Noah, a righteous man in his time, supposedly parked the Ark when flood waters receded. Amateur archaeologist Ron Wyatt, among others, claimed that he found the remains of the Ark and some artifacts to prove the veracity of his findings. His discovery has been highly disputed, but the location is spot on: Mount Ararat, as it is identified in ParshasNoah (the view is from Armenian capital Yerevan). The following video is shot by a drone flying over Wyatt’s discovery.
Take it with a grain of salt, if you will, but today hardly anybody disputes the flood itself. “Now the earth was corrupt in G-d’s sight and was full of violence” (Genesis 6:11), He got outraged, and set out to obliterate everything. It was a total immersion: “The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth… and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered” (Genesis 7:18 and 7:19). We can’t help but reflect upon the Biblical flood as thousands of people in (sic) Huston are trying to cope with a disaster of the same nature, torrential rain that flooded the city, leaving its inhabitants, human and animal alike, homeless and in need of help.
Among many photographs of immersed buildings and drowned cars, there are quite a few of “modern Noahs,” righteous among the people of our times, boating four-legged friends to safety. As the waters are receding now in Huston, and relief is pouring in, this Immersion Pie might serve as a reminder to love and care for each other and all His creatures.
The idea is to imitate earth boiling under torrential water, so there is no crust. You mix spelt or gluten free flour with soy or almond milk, add some brown sugar and cinnamon, a little baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
You can immerse any berries or diced fruit, but blueberries are still in season, huge and juicy, so first I immersed them into a mix of vanilla extract and brown sugar. They should sit and contemplate their fate, while you are mixing the rest of the stuff. After all, Noah spent 120 years building the Ark, to give people a chance to abandon their corrupt ways and make corrections, so give your blueberries a chance for 10 – 15 minutes.
Since my first rule of dessert clearly states that it’s not a dessert if it doesn’t have chocolate, I also mix in unsweetened cocoa powder. It looks like mud already!
The process of immersion is about to start! Melt Smart Balance or any butter substitute of your choice and pour it into a pie baking form. Pour your mud – batter, that is! – into it and spread it evenly. Empty your blueberries, juice and all, on top of batter and also spread them evenly.
Let it bake at 350 F for an hour or so, and the immersion will occur naturally while you are not even looking – the batter will rise and cover most of the berries. There is another, much more positive meaning of the term total immersion. It is one of the most effective methods of language acquisition: drop a person into target language environment where nobody speaks his native language or any other language he knows, and, according to S. Krashen’s Natural Language Acquisition theory, he’ll start communicating in target language. It’s a sink-or-swim method, and Krashen is right: in about three months, give or take, they start swimming, i,e, talking. By the same token, I choose to believe that dropping a person into a loving environment full of kindness will force him to acquire the same behaviors. From there – Existence Precedes Essence! – is only one step from behaviors to attitudes, and from attitudes to values!
So sprinkle some more cocoa powder on top – the more chocolate, the better! – add some crushed walnuts, if you like, and cut yourself a nice juicy piece of the Immersion Pie – total immersion in love and kindness!
HOORAY FOR ME! I’m getting the chance to be a loving and supportive husband tonight. I’m going with my wife, the lovely and involved, Dawn, to a “Meet the Candidate Night” here in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Vote for me. I can smile.”)
My wife trusts me. She knows that I will behave myself in public and not truthfully answer any questions asked of me by the candidates.
We have gone to events like this before. I smile and I shake hands with people I wouldn’t ordinarily touch without wearing a Hazmat Suit. I quietly sip at my plastic cup of Diet Coke.
I’m a good husband.
TODAY’S POSTING IS A BIT OF A DETOUR from the usual stretch of pavement that is this blog. On most days I just write about the speed bumps in my life and my encounters with people who either fascinate, entertain, or appall me. Today I am going to talk about a book I am reading. How exciting, No? A book that really doesn’t rely on pictures, Super heroes, or the secret to quick elimination of Belly Fat. It is a book filled with and about Words. I love it.
To oversimplify it “Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries” by Kory Stamper is about how Dictionaries are written and it is not as simple as one would think. I would classify this book as a Love Letter to Language.
WE HAVE BEEN SPENDING A FEW DAYS OUT IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. It is a lovely city with a great climate. I was, however, feeling a serious lack that needed filling.
My wife, the lovely and actively involved, Dawn, and I have been attending an annual church meeting/conference. While she is working hard I am here mainly to serve as “Arm Candy.” I can handle that.
Because my function is not really needed in Meetings, Seminars, and Committee sessions I have a fair amount of time on my hands. That is when things began to go south in a figurative sense. I needed some coffee and I was a stranger in a strange land.
Google Mars told me that there were several oases of coffee nearby – one of them a scant 0.2 miles away. One of the other conference attendees said that she walked there in 9 minutes – and she uses a cane.
I stopped at the front desk of the Marriott Something Hotel and asked for directions. The young lady on duty smiled constantly as she gave me specific instruction to steer me to the 0.2 miles away Starbucks.
“Just go out of the front door here and turn left. It is about a 10 minute walk. Would you like a cup of coffee right now?”
She must have had one of those Yeti gizmos stashed behind her desk. I took a raincheck on her offer. I wanted the real thing. All I had to do was to remember to “Go out of the front door here and turn left.” I could do that. I am a college graduate.
Those were the words that greeted me this morning when I went for my usual coffee transfusion.
One of the Usual Suspects spent ten minutes bemoaning the fact that the day before he had jumped into a swimming pool with his cellphone on his hip. Goodbye cellphone.
It is a sure thing that ten minutes in the pool will kill your cellphone. Putting it in a bag of rice won’t do anything except suggest what to have for lunch.
WELL, I STARTED OFF TODAY IN FINE FORM. No sooner did I set my coffee down on my sacred corner table than I hit the straw and flipped the whole thing into the air and created Lake Starbucks on the floor.
What a dump.
I guess I’m off the Bomb Squad.
The Barista who had handled my transaction was quite pleasant, jovial even – not an easy trick at 6:30 AM. Her twinkling eyes and lilting voice disappeared when she was pushing that mop around trying to clean up my mess. So much for good customer relations. The look she shot in my direction when she finished mopping up my coffee could have melted plastic. I have a feeling that I am now on her “Spit in his coffee” list.
THE PLANE LANDS AND WE GO HOME. Our luggage arrives the next day. That seems to be part of a more frequently occurring pattern lately.
Yup, this is a follow-up to a post from last week.
Sometimes it is our fault. Sometimes it is the airline’s fault. Sometimes it is beyond anyone’s control. It is Fate, Kismet, Dumb Luck.
Being mere human beings, we are flying around in defiance of the laws of physics, gravity, and some guy named Murphy things are bound to go wrong every so often. All we can do is to try to prepare to sidestep the inevitable.
This brings us to why I have underwear in my carry-on computer bag.
WE HAVE BEEN WATCHING A LOT OF THE OLYMPICS LATELY. Well, not a lot – “some” would be more accurate. “Some” of the Olympics, the part that involves watching people slip, slide, and fall over. I can do that, but nobody offers to give me a Gold Medal.
I’m lucky if I can get a helping hand to get up from the ground. When I slip, slide, and fall over people either laugh and point or pretend to ignore me. I have yet to hear anyone say, “That will cost him at least one and a half points.” I’m just thankful it doesn’t cost me a broken hip. At my age when you break a hip the world starts to measure you for a pine box. Maybe I’d get more respect if I started to wear some Spandex and too much Make-up.
Maybe a little glitter.