Monday, February 8, 2016

Great White Hope



For the past few years I've been telling my friends (in a "say it isn't so" tone) that the next President should be a white man.  My reasoning is that we are living through an eight year nervous breakdown over having a black President and we cannot afford another breakdown over having a woman. It will spark another round of ugliness.  Ugh.

You know me.  Of course the white man has to be a Democrat.   At first,  I thought I might have to settle for old Joe Biden.  All the while dreaming the impossible dream of Gavin Newsom.

But no! Bernie Sanders is the one.  Wow.

Nothing is simple.  Do we now have another cause for nervous breakdowns?  Let's see:  black vs. woman vs. Jew.  My head spins.

As my friend Bonnie says:  "Oy."

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Celestial Surroundings


The urge to tout one's religious beliefs must be primal.  Or at least instinctual enough to overcome social norms of behavior in public.  I'm thinking of my "elevator preacher" who manages to deliver a sermon as we ride from the 26th floor down to the lobby.

Then there is my beautiful garage man Clement.  He has traces of an English accent via Africa.  On Sunday mornings I tease him about setting me "straight for the week."  I'm listening to his church music while waiting for my car.  (Yes, it's Sunday morning and I'm only going to the store.)

When I was living on the South Side and taking the El from 95th, it was a chorus of "praise Jesus" all the way into the Loop.

I don't get all of this worshipping.  And it makes me sad when I think of how religion keeps us at war.  But, I do know that we all look for ways to "get us through the night."  So, I am happy to smile and let the blessings fall where they may.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Good Place to Start



This is about the endurance of the written word.  As I was walking by the give-away book table at my senior center today, I stopped and smiled.  I had spotted Starting in the Middle by Judith Wax.  Judy and I were friends and neighbors when our children were teens.  Even as Betty Friedan loomed large, we did not yet have "careers."

I watched as Judy began her career in writing.   She wrote movingly about her experiences as a mother whose son had gone off to India to join a cult.  It was published in the New York Times.  Later, she comforted me as I worried about my daughter who was -- alone -- on a protracted trip around the world.

Her poem, The Lovesong of G. Gordon Liddy, made it into Time magazine during the Watergate frenzy.  The book followed.

I have no idea how many copies of Starting in the Middle ever sold.  It's life was cut short, as were the lives of Judy and her husband Shel.   Their plane crashed at O'Hare.  They were on their way to the Los Angeles Book Fair for interviews, readings and publicity.

I just took my copy off the shelf and I'm going to look at it again.  I hope some senior will pick it up too.  I remember it being a very good read.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Going the Distance



A good sub-title for the film 45 Years may be The Loneliness of the Long Distance Marriage.  (I'm borrowing from the star Tom Courtenay's previous -- and most famous -- role.)  This is a meditation on who we are as a couple and who we are as ourselves.  It explores the choices we make which can lead to happiness (maybe contentment or satisfaction are better words here) or unhappiness --  or if these are choices at all.

At first I thought the story was going to be about lost youth, lost love,  and the power of the past to invade the present.  And yes, these familiar themes are evident.  But the film gives us much more when it goes on to explore how and if we can ever know one another,  and how resilient we can be when coming to the inevitable realization that we face life with what is inside us and that has to be enough.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Walter Did It



I joined a book group where we each bring a favorite book to recommend to the others.  I just finished reading one of the selections and I loved it.  This is a good idea!

Now I'm thinking about what book to recommend at the nest meeting.  Which got me to remember that I still love Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley.  I'm going to pull it off the shelf and get ready to talk about it again.  I'm going to say it has a great plot.  And, what I got from the story is that dignity can occur in the most impossible ways and in the worst times and places.  I've tried to remember that.

Selecting this book is an act of forgiveness toward Mosley that doesn't come easily.  I'm still mad at him for killing off my favorite of his characters -- Easy Rawlins.  I'm not the only one who loved Easy.  He appeared in ten books.  Denzel played him in Devil in the White Dress.

I guess authors get to do whatever they want with their characters.  And readers get to react.  It's what keeps us connected.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Champ at any Age



If you hate boxing movies, move along.  But, if you could take a punch during Raging Bull or if you still remember The Harder They Fall, you won't be able to help yourself watching the latest great one -- Creed.    And no, you don't have to be able to recite the Rocky movies to enjoy this.  (Although the references and visual cues are everywhere.)  It's a contemporary take on the often told tale.

Ah, Sylvester Stallone.  He joins the many actors who are back for one more shot at the Title -- and he is perfect.  He just plays OLD so well.

This oldster was with him all the way.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

For the Rest of Us


I've been invited to a Festivus Party.  Festivus sounded familiar and the hosts included a link to the Seinfeld episode that explains it all.  In the spirit of Larry David's idea of merriment, guests are expected to get up and share their grievances for the year.

Since I would never expose the endless loop of grievances that comprise my inner dialogue; and in the spirit of parlor games and with my tongue placed firmly in my cheek, here goes:

My grievance is with the grown men who have decided to become women.  These "women-come-lately" are getting way too much attention and praise.  These are the former men who never waited to get asked to the prom, who never took a job as a secretary.  They never got pregnant, or worried about getting their period.  They never marched for the ERA amendment or for equal pay.  They were never invited to the casting couch.

But now that women are graduating from college at a higher rate than men, are going in big numbers to medical and law school, now it's okay to want to become a woman.

And when they do cross over, they want to slather on the makeup and go for the cleavage.  Enough of these nouveau femmes!