Saturday, November 22, 2014

Things Could Be Worse

Lately I have been in what can modestly be called "a funk." I'm not sure what started it, but a variety of thorny health issues have certainly not helped. All I know for sure is that being depressed is, well, depressing. That's the worst part about it. Weight loss is the one positive, and that's only if you're tubby to begin with. (Fortunately I was.)

Anyway, this morning I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that jolted me out of my funk, reminding me of why it's good to read the paper. It was all about a terrible situation regarding medical errors and how many women have died because of a bad practice involving a device called a morcellator that actually spreads uterine cancer while purporting to cure it. Reading the sad tale of a woman in the prime of her life who was basically murdered by her well-meaning gynecologist made me happy that things in my life are not worse, admittedly a state of affairs less desirable than being happy because things are all the way to good, but I'll take it.

So now, newly de-funked, I am committed to making every day as good as it can be. I truly believe this is a mind-over-matter skill that is enhanced by staying busy and not thinking too much. And most of all, keeping one's interaction with the medical community to a bare minimum.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Just in Time for Christmas

It's so obvious I am surprised nobody has made the connection, but it seems to me that the terrible snowstorm in Buffalo which has thus far dumped six feet of snow on that beleaguered city and caused the deaths of at least 13 people is all Bill Cosby's fault. That would explain this timely print by artist Justin Hager entitled "Buffalo Bill Cosby." One of a limited edition of 20, it can be yours for just $40.00, and would make a perfect gift for a friend or loved one on your gift list who was sexually assaulted by the famed comic. (Surely someone was.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

No Dead Bird

One week from today is the day we call Thanksgiving. Everyone who can afford to will eat the same meal, for some reason it's a roast turkey accompanied by all the usual suspects. But since this has been my year to rebel, and the first year that I did not purchase one lick of Halloween candy, I am going rogue. My husband and I reasoned that if we were going to eat thousands of calories worth of fattening foods, like gooey stuffing and gravy and yams and pie and all the rest, why not indulge in something we really crave and never enjoy? And so for our Thanksgiving dinner we shall have lasagna made with fresh pasta and grass-fed beef and organic cheeses of several varieties. And garlic bread, and lots of it. And cheesecake for dessert--screw the pumpkin pie.

Most important, there will be no dead bird on the table. I am pretty excited, and I bet I will be thankful too, since besides less guilt--there is still that grass-fed cow-- I won't have to spend half the day basting him and the other half dealing with his carcass.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No News is Good News

                       Gordon Studer
There is a brief time first thing in the morning, before the rest of the world is revealed, when things are just fine. This is that time.

I have walked out to the end of the driveway for the newspaper but have not yet opened it. It's a brisk fall day, cold and bracing but with no precipitation and a fair amount of red and gold leaves still adorning the trees. I've had my first cup of steaming black coffee and am about to have my second. Like me, both my cats have made it through the night, including the 19-year-old who is apparently still healthy, greedily gobbling breakfast and meowing for more.

Soon enough everything else will come flooding in: the bombings, the protests, the natural disasters, the hatred. Death and destruction, Man tormenting Man -- it's all out there, just a click away. That little red button on the TV remote will bring it inside. But until then, there is only coffee brewing and cats stretched out by the fire. I think I'll keep it that way for a while.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Expert Advice Isn't Always

About a month ago I happened across a short article--I forget where-- about the fact that the driver's airbag in my beautiful  new "Volcano Red" Audi A4 had been found to be deficient and was being recalled for repair. This was somewhat alarming, but since I've been driving for 52 years without an accident I figured I'd be okay, at least for awhile.

I next heard about the airbag recall about a week later, this time on the radio while I was driving the tainted auto, and started to wonder if maybe I should do something about it. Then yesterday I received a letter in the mail from the Audi people telling me that yes indeed, my car has an airbag problem and I should call the dealer right away and schedule a fix, free of charge. So I called the salesman at the dealership who had sold me the car to advise me as to my next step. Alas, he knew nothing about it and was all the way to "surprised" and even a tad doubtful that I had the straight poop.

I am frankly confused as to how it's possible to sell Audis five days a week for 18 years and yet remain unaware of a much-publicized Audi recall. Exactly what goes on at those car dealerships besides blowing up all those balloons? Anyway, my car will be repaired next week but now I'm worried about my appointment later today with the ophthalmologist who will determine if I need cataract surgery. I hope he knows what he's doing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bill Cosby Strikes Again

I'm not 100% positive, but I think I may have been raped by Bill Cosby. It was almost 40 years ago so the memory is naturally a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure it was a black guy and he was very funny. It was at a bar in Greenwich Village and I can't remember if he actually raped me or if he just tried to get me to sleep with him, but I think maybe he forced me to dance with him. Then he bought me a drink and we talked a lot about TV sitcoms. I told him I loved his show, "I Spy," and he acted like he never heard of it before, but I think he was just being modest, or maybe trying to hide his true identity. Or maybe he wasn't Bill Cosby after all.

Anyway, I never told anyone this before but now since all those other women are brave enough to come forward, I thought I should too, and maybe see if I could help ruin the guy's career and get some pocket change while I'm at it. The thing is, it may or may not have happened the way I remember; possibly it was just a dream. Which is odd, because if I were going to dream about having sex with a black man, you'd think it would be with someone more attractive than Bill Cosby, like Denzel or Gregory Hines, neither of whom ever laid a hand on me, sadly.

 Oh well, no harm done. Just try to forget you read this.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

American Idle

Last night I watched six strangers bravely get up on a stage and put themselves out there to be judged. The event was the 4th Annual Maine Songwriter's Association Contest. Held in a tiny theater in the back of a local restaurant, the "sold-out" crowd of about 85 attendees seemed mostly to be the friends and family of the performers. My husband and I had found our way there looking for a movie but suspecting this might be more compelling than any of the current choices playing nearby. Turns out we were right.

There was a lot of talking before the singing, mostly about the Association and its board of directors and their website and how to join the group. It was then explained that each contestant would sing a "warm-up" song followed by the contest entry that would matter. The three judges were introduced, all apparently known to the audience and one of whom was last year's contest winner. They stood and waved, then sat down in the front row.

First up was a bearded, folksy sort wearing a jaunty cap. You knew right away he had listened to a lot of James Taylor growing up. You also knew he would not win. He played the guitar and sang something instantly forgettable. Next came the Joni Mitchell of the night, a pale, young woman with long blond hair and a warbly voice who was all but hidden behind her enormous guitar. She was accompanied by a man playing the violin who stood right next to her for both songs, yet she did not introduce him or acknowledge his presence in any way. For that I instantly disliked her and so wrote her off in my mind. (I'm pretty sure her parents were sitting right next to us and her mother may have heard me say something disparaging about her, but I wasn't sure. I hoped not.)

The third contestant was a bit older than the others and more polished. He spent considerable time tuning his guitar, which made him seem more professional. Channeling Jim Croce, he sang two good songs, one of which really grabbed the heartstrings. That clearly would be the winner. Following him was another standout who played the keyboard as well as Billy Joel and sang two witty songs equal to Randy Newman's standard fare. He deserved to win the night but likely would not because he was fat and didn't look the part. (Quick, think of a fat singer besides Burl Ives.) Still, he was endearing and had a distinctive voice you wanted to hear again. (I bought his CD at intermission.)

The fifth contestant was another female, this one more Linda Ronstadt than Joni Mitchell. Her voice was lovely but her song was silly, and she made the fatal mistake of asking the audience to "sing it with me!" WTF? How could we sing a song we had never heard before? And who was she to think that we would want to? I mean Jackson Browne and "Take It Easy" you understand, but this lady's la-de-dah? No way. She definitely lost points for that.

Last was an earnest and soulful man who was pretty great in a deep, Leonard Cohen sort of way. He might have fared better if he had come on earlier, but by then everyone was pretty much full up with tunes and eager to move along. When he finished, the judges retired to the "green room" to deliberate and the crowd dispersed, milling about the bar in the restaurant, visiting the restrooms or chatting with the contestants huddled around a bridge table displaying their CDs for sale.

Jim Croce won and gave an encore performance of his winning song, which he sang with a lot more feeling this time, boosted as he was by his victory. Randy Newman and Leonard Cohen came in second and third, and the three winners met onstage and had their pictures taken together. Sadly, nobody paid any attention to the three losing contestants. Gathering our things to leave, we looked over and saw that Joni Mitchell's parents were already gone.