Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What's In a Name?

Funny, isn't it, about Donald Trump.  I mean Donald Trump. He trumped everyone, all those other Republicans who started out running and those three Democrats too, and for no damn good reason apparently, at least based on what's gone on since he won. So I looked up the word "trump."  It means "To have superior power over. To surpass or outdo." Obviously names have inherent power. And don't get me started on Anthony Weiner...

I'm on this subject because my son has been toying with changing his last name, believing it to be a handicap: "Rouda makes me sound rude," he lamented. And maybe it sets up that expectation, poisoning the well, so to speak. My husband, born with the name, says that back in high school many of his teachers chided him with, "How do you spell your name: R-U-D-E?" (I'm guessing he was pretty rude back then.)

So then I started thinking, what with Trump trumping everyone, what if people are finding me rude just because of my name? Is that why they didn't hire me to sell duck boots to tourists at L. L. Bean? Because they worried I would be rude to the customers? So if my name were Andrea Kneiss, would I have gotten the job? Or perhaps Andrea Sweet? Heck, why beat around the bush, how about Andrea Goode? Who knows, maybe that one would help me sell paintings. 

So now I'm thinking of changing my name. It seems silly since I've had this one for 30 years, but hey, better late than never. And the best part is I can still be rude whenever I want, but it will come as a real surprise. (That could be fun to watch.)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Boo Hoo Democrats

That senator or congressman or representative or whatever he is, John Lewis, the one who looks exactly like a bulldog, is all over the place these days saying that Trump is not "legitimate" because the Russians did something or other and so he is not going to attend the Inauguration. Oh well, that will really put a damper on the proceedings, which I heard will cost upwards of 200 million bucks, some of which comes straight from MY TAXES!!!! (And yours, of course.) Now that's just plain silly, if you ask me. Why not just have the new president swear on a bible in some office inside the Capitol and then everyone go have lunch someplace nice?

Anyway, when I voted last November here in Freeport there was not a Russian in sight. In fact I worked at my local polling station for seven or eight hours and I never saw anybody who could even be mistaken for a Russian by someone with bad eyesight. I cast my vote and nobody stopped me or made any suggestions I do anything, so who knows what that's all about. And let's face it: people have hated Hillary Clinton for years, at least eight which is why she did not get the nomination last time.

It's so annoying. Come on Dems, man up. Trump won, Hillary lost. It may suck or it may not suck, but it's a done deal. Staying away from the Inauguration won't change a thing.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Truly Childhood's End

Face it: Life is hard. And these days that's true even for the kids, who grow up much faster than they did back in my youth. (I can still hear Lynn Rosenblatt asking in 8th grade Health class if it were true that you got pregnant when a boy and a girl both took a bite from the opposite ends of the same banana at the same time.) So it seems to me that every bit of respite from the anxieties of modern life is to be treasured, making the announcement by Ringling Bros. to shut down their circus in May, after 146 years of delighting families, a total and complete bummer.

Even though I haven't attended the circus in years, during my childhood it was a much-anticipated  annual event not to be missed. I have so many circus memories from so many years, starting at about age four. One special memory was my very first fainting experience, which happened inside the side show (a.k.a. "freak show") full of oddities where patrons wandered before entering the Big Top for the "Greatest Show on Earth." I passed out right in front of the Elephant Lady, finding the grey, wrinkled skin on her enormous body a tad too freaky, and hoping I hadn't hurt her feelings on my way down.

And speaking of elephants, they pretty much brought about the demise of the circus after animal rights activists sued over alleged mistreatment by their handlers. Hey, I am a huge proponent of not hurting or abusing or exploiting animals, but still, was it really so terrible to have them walk in a parade with pretty girls sitting on top of them, wearing fancy hats (the girls and the elephants), or balance themselves on those little striped stands and twirl around gracefully, or maybe link trunks in a line  Rockette-style and curtsy towards their adoring fans? It's not like they were getting whipped or beaten or starved, unless of course that's what they did to make them do all those things....

Anyway, all the elephants left in May of last year and retired to Florida. (No kidding.) Kenneth Feld, the owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, explained in a recent interview that their longest act is currently twelve minutes, and you can't get kids to sit through a 12-minute act, even if it is performing tigers. Funny, isn't it, how they can sit for hours watching virtual creatures on those dumb video games.

So now the real circus is gone, and the only one left is in Washington, D.C., and that's no fun at all. God help the children.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sick of Winter

The definition of unconsciousness is "processes in the mind which occur automatically and are not available to introspection, and include thought processes, memories, interests, and motivations." So  shouldn't it be called "stream of unconsciousness?"

Anyway, yesterday's post got tons of clicks, probably because it had the word racism in the title. Racism is very big these days. If you want to really cut someone down, you call them a racist. Or a hater, same thing. Like hating is so bad? Personally, I hate a lot of things, including but not limited to spiders, rare diseases, cancer in children (not that I love it in adults but in kids it is especially heinous), calamari, jellyfish, getting stung by jellyfish, sunburn, being constipated, scotch, bourbon, in fact all whiskey of any sort, men in Speedos, fat women in bikinis, thin towels, rubber flip-flops like they sell at Target and Target.

I guess people were hoping they would find some really juicy stuff they could get worked up about, like I hate blacks or all Jews are pushy or I voted for Trump and I think the wall is a great idea. But none of those things are true and if they were I would surely not admit to them. That's what's so great about lying, you can just say anything you want! I read somewhere last week that the average adult lies about twenty times a day or more, who knows, I might be lying about that.

This morning when I woke up there were just seven degrees here in Freeport. I imagine them floating around the town, darting here and there, hovering above people's houses for just a second before moving on, trying to be fair and heat the whole town up. No wonder it's so cold. It's a little better now, there are fourteen of them.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Call Me Racist

Right now, here in Maine, a mini-controversy is brewing over the name of a major boulevard leading into the city of Portland's downtown area, the part where all the tourists go. It is being suggested that the current Franklin Street be changed to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just like all those other Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards in all those other cities that did it. Today, despite the more than 900 streets in America named after Dr. King, blacks still get pulled over for little provocation by police officers and are incarcerated more often than white law-breakers, so perhaps that whole street-naming thing might be falling short of the mark.

Oy, there's even one in Jerusalem!

I guess I could be called "a racist." I know these days we are all supposed to be "color blind," but I am not -- I actually see the color of people's skin. I try hard not to, but it keeps happening.  Further proof that I am a racist is that I don't automatically drop to the ground and kiss the feet of every person of color for no reason beyond skin tone. I actually wait to see if they are kind, or smart or have good qualities of any kind before I draw any conclusions about their character. This is apparently wrong behavior.

True, Maine has a complex about this whole subject since African-Americans make up about 0.7% of its population, making it our country's "whitest state." But does anyone (besides those die-hard, non-thinking, knee-jerking liberals) really believe that naming a big street after a dead black leader will fix anything?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Doctors Say the Darndest Things

I think we can all agree that fainting in public, which I happened to do last week, is not to be taken lightly. (Heck, fainting in private isn't all that great either.) So being proactive, which is very in these days, I decided to seek the cause. The day after it happened I went to see my regular doctor, the one with all the diplomas on the wall and the stethoscope around his neck and the huge malpractice insurance policy. After careful consideration and an EKG he said, "People faint all the time, it's nothing to worry about." I left feeling about 1% better.

Upon further reflection once I got home and poured myself a stiff drink (not really but it seemed to fit nicely right there), I realized that his statement rivaled my orthopedic surgeon's declaration last June: Closely examining the X-ray of my deteriorating hip, he turned to me and said, "Someone would have to be retarded not to get this fixed." Not being retarded, at least at the time, I opted to fix it, simultaneously forgiving the surgeon for his political incorrectness, and all is well. But still, since you rarely see people dropping like flies in the streets, I decided to look elsewhere for an explanation of my recent fainting spell and made an appointment with my acupuncturist.

I hadn't seen him in months, what with being so busy getting a new hip, and in all that time a lot could happen."Maybe my Qi is clogged," I suggested to my husband. His thoughtful reply, "You never know, could be," sealed the deal, and so I went in earlier today to get needles stuck all over my body in hopes of releasing the stalled "energy flow" and "life force" that might be gumming up the works. It's too early to tell if it worked, but at least the guy didn't say anything stupid.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Loss of Innocence

Please don't tell me, please don't tell me.......
In my younger days I always believed everything I read in the newspaper. In fact I had so much respect for newspapers I spent my career working for more than a few of them, either as an art director, graphic designer or writer, on staff or freelance. But then a few cracks in the armor appeared, revealing glimpses of how the executives at the top (and some of the reporters at the bottom) were manipulating things to sell more papers, thus rake in more advertising. My awakening was gradual, until one day I finally understood that newspapers are a for-profit business, not a public service. I consider that moment, somewhere in my mid-thirties, as my true loss of innocence.

Since then my habit is to remain skeptical of everything I haven't witnessed personally, which makes the act of reading a daily paper little more than a diversion to accompany breakfast. I do this despite knowing that it's far healthier to eat a meal without any distractions but rather to give full attention to what you're putting in your body. So it makes sense that one should give as much attention, if not more, to what goes into your mind, which means I can no longer read the daily paper. It's too risky, what with me being slightly nuts already, and even more so in the current climate of "fake news" being dispensed everywhere, even by the once respectable but now fallen CNN and New York Times.

So with all this free time I'm hoping to make more art. Shown above is my latest oil painting of South Freeport Road, a lovely backwoods road I travel several times each day. Seen here it is a late afternoon in early autumn when a big moon hung in the sky, even though it was not yet night.