Sunday, February 19, 2017

Singing the Illinois Blues

No, I'm not talking about the sorry state of the Bulls and the Bears.  Their ownership deserves our contempt.  It's just so sad to be a fan.  I'm talking about other "ownership" deserving of our contempt -- the politicians.

It was good "pol-watching" at Gibson's a few weeks ago.  George Ryan looked fit and happy.  I guess a few years out of jail gets your bounce back.  The Illinois Blues goes like this:  first we vote for them, then we hate them, then we jail them.  And they just keep their big fat pensions through it all.

Jesse Jackson stopped by to schmooze with George.  Everyone's a pal at Gibson's.  And, we're around to pick up the check.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Who will Survive?

One of my favorite experiences was when Bill, Natalie and I went from Melbourne to Phillip Island.  The lure was the arrival every evening at sunset of hundreds of penguins.  They would emerge from the ocean, cross the beach and climb the slopes to their natural nesting place.

The Australia tourism people -- always in good taste --had erected stands where we could watch the penguin parade but not interfere.  We were instructed politely to maintain quiet and no cameras.  It was magical.

The recent article in The New Yorker about the survivalist billionaires reminded me of my "back to nature" moment.  Despairing of our institutions, or maybe fearing a revolt, they are "getting away from it all" by burrowing down in bunkers in Kansas.  Or, buying up property in remote New Zealand at such a rapid pace that the natives are feeling invaded by nervous Yanks.

I don't know if there are penguins in New Zealand.  But I'm sure there are other sea creatures who eye the shore.  Maybe they see the panicky humans searching for a nesting place. Making sure "I've got mine."  Maybe they just turn around and return to the sea.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What a Day

Oh yes.  It got to him.  It got to him good.  On a day when every inch of space was occupied by people expressing their disgust (no more dismay!) he noticed.  So he sent his little underling out to have a tantrum for him.  He sent him out to squeak: "The media is to blame!" None of this is happening.  Women?  Oceans of women?  We don't have to see them.  They don't exist.

What next? When one woman in Hawaii can start a global stampede,  there is going to be a "next."
People don't turn off these feelings when they put their signs down.  So yes, it got to me.  As my friend Marilyn said yesterday: "Doesn't this feel good again?"

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Medal for my Freedom

When President Obama presented the Medal of Freedom to Joe Biden yesterday it seemed a uniquely personal act.  More like a precious gift from the family vault than a bow to history or the gold watch at the retirement party.

The President, in his final days in office, has been emphasizing how much he loves his Vice-President.  "I found a brother,"  he says.  I was reminded of Ta-Nehisi Coates' insightful essay My President was Black.  He looks at Obama's "audacity" and success by looking at the boy raised by loving whites rather than by the history of the whip or fear of the uniform.

So, maybe Joe Biden, the scandal-touched politician, visited by early tragedy, was again the improbable white presence that gave us this special time.

When it's over next week, I wonder if Barack Obama and Joe Biden will stay close or go their separate ways.  In either case, the connection belongs to history.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hidden Feelings

President Obama is giving his Farewell Speech here tonight.  I saw the movie Hidden Figures yesterday.  Deep feelings of astonishment are welling up in me.  Of course I knew all along that Obama was a "once in a lifetime" presence.  But now it is getting to me.

When I was a young girl and my mother was away working, we had black maids who took care of us.  They looked and acted just like the computer programmer in the film.  Comfortable in her heavy set body and always nurturing.  Competent.  We were safe.

One scene in the film was especially powerful.  The blond department head says something like "We don't mean any disrespect."  The reply?  "I'm sure you believe that is true."

Could one of those loving women who helped get me through my childhood taken us to the moon?  I'll never know . . . and neither will they.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Being Girls

I heard via my wonderful alumnae news chronicler that a high school classmate has died.  I remember her so vividly.  She was the pretty, petite, popular one.  The ultimate wannabe of the ungainly girls like me.  The girl who kept us in a perpetual state of longing.

She wasn't my first.  There was another one in fourth or fifth grade. Several years ago I was at a business event.  I was chatting with a woman and when she told me she grew up in Detroit, I knew.  I expected if she opened her coat I would see her smartly starched dress.  The frilly one that dazzled me then and still appears in my dreams.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My Listening Tour (Part Two)

When you invite comments you should be ready for whatever may come your way.  My favorite doorperson is a funny, friendly pro.  We've been chatting for years.  When I asked her how she was greeting the Trump presidency, she spouted some pretty strong racist stuff while embracing Trump.  When I asked her if she worried about eventually losing medicare or social security, she said:"Oh, that will never happen."

I thought about the literature surrounding domestic violence.  There's a lot of false optimism among those who choose to stay.