Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remember Letters and Post Cards?




Amongst my prized possessions are letters and post cards sent from various places my parents travelled during summer holidays. Here are some from 1970. As a kid in Panama, finding these in the mail made my child's heart race. I did not know it at the time, but my parents planned to take me with them and did so in 1973. I have more post cards and will present them in future posts.
As a Third Culture Kid (A term I will explain fully in a later post as Blogger is giving me fits) I was always eager to explore new places, cultures and languages, something I retain in adulthood.
As a teen, I saw parts of the EU, Central and South America, Mexico and bits of the U.S. Ironically, though a citizen of the United States by birth, I've always felt more comfortable abroad than in the States.
The top card is of course the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France and the bottom is St. Edward's Crown, originally made for Charles II and used in coronations since. This last is both a nod to history and blogger Lettuce-eating's recent comments concerning the Royals.
Until Next Time...


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banned Books And Your Freedom To Read...

September 26-October 3, 2009 is Banned Books Week, a U.S. tradition honoring the right to access information, read and remember the importance of the First Amendment and the dangers of censorship, particularly with regard to books targeted for banning.

Examples of such books include but are not limited to: Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Darwin's Origin of the Species, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird, among many others.

Libraries in communities across the country commemorate Banned Books Week with displays and other activities. You may want to visit yours and find a once banned book to read.

This annual event is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers,and the National Association of College Stores. It is also endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Further information is available at your local library or by visiting the American Library Association website at : http://www.ala.org/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm.

There you'll find all sorts of interesting information regarding where and how books have been the targets of banning, events, activities and more. Celebrate your freedom to read.

Those of you who live outside the United States might be interested in finding out about the banned books in your part of the world. I invite you to post your discoveries in the Comments for this blog.

The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom at http://www.ala.org/template.cfm?Section=oif#what contains useful information about the Library Bill of Rights, the Patriot Act and other hot-button issues relative to intellectual freedom, including some suggestions how citizens and others can support both libraries and intellectual freedom.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

Until Next Time...


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Theme Thursday : Wild Thing...

I'm sure that today, someone in blogland is paying homage to The Troggs and their universally known version of Wild Thing...or Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side...


I'm also fairly certain that another enterprising individual or group has come up with an equally compelling post devoted to Maurice Sendak's long popular children's book, Where the Wild Things Are, and the release of its cinematic adaptation...


This brings to mind various sides of wildness...from the unforgettable bathtub scene between Kristin Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes in Anthony Minghella's film, The English Patient, to the "soft, wet kiss that went on for days," between Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner in Bull Durham, all of us can relate to desire and the explosive power behind a single kiss, the touch of a hand or the gentle stroke of the cheek.


Beyond eroticism, however, wildness is often reflected in a final eruption of frustration as seen in Network, when a memorable Peter Finch as Howard Beale bellows, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"


While we may leave, divorce, marry, date, move house or resort to radical antics in the vein of not taking it anymore, few of us have the luxury of simply quitting a job and heading for New York or some or some other mythologized location as did Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy. Fewer still pack a motor coach and travel the country sorting through the mistakes of our lives, as was done by Jack Nicholson's staid midwestern character in the 2002 film, About Schmidt.



Still, the allure of wildness, whether human or animal, facinates and beguiles...



When I think of wild things, memories of the sense of urgency dominating my youth, impulsivity and the desire to be anywhere but my own skin at that time, crowd my thoughts. The wildest, for me, has yet to occur.



What about you?

Wheelin' on the wild side...

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Disappointed...

A recent call from family in California revealed that stepsister, with whom I was to stay on the previously mentioned and long-anticipated trip, has ripped her meniscus and must have surgery around the time I was to have arrived.

Since recuperation and house guests are not a good mix, she asked that we postpone the visit until all is mended and she is able to get around.

I will, of course, do as she asks. However, I am deeply disappointed as well as a bit flustered at trying to communicate this to the airline involved...

I will assuage my feelings in the hospital gym. Those of you interested in future postings will be happy to know that two are planned as I write, and include photos and interesting links.


I also have another concerning films in the offing...

Until Later...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Theme Thursday: Over the Hill...And Other Fairy Tales...

Over The Hill...



A phrase commonly meaning, "Past one's prime," over-the-hill often denotes a person who is no longer young, attractive or alluring. It can also pertain to one's status in a job or career, but this is heard with less frequency.



While men can be termed over-the-hill, in a culture that idealises youth and beauty, women are unfortunately most often the victims of this detestable comment, as if we come with a sell-by-date that magically silently expires at midnight on a birthday whose number we've been taught to dread.



For some, this horiffic number is 35, while for others it may be 40 or 50...



Although women of my mother's generation regularly schemed and plotted against what they believed to be the physical aspects of over-the-hilliness, with make-up, curlers and the much-maligned girdle, I can happily say that I've never owned, let alone worn, this particular piece of lingerie.



While I don't look as I did at nineteen or twenty-five, I will never be over-the-hill, nor will anyone I know. Why? Because, although bodies change, we have the knowledge needed to stay healthy. Our perspectives also alter with time, if we're lucky, and we realise that life is about more than the way we look. I write this just as I will be leaving for the hospital gym to do weight training and other activities designed to keep me strong. I am also taking on a new project and completing another as I look for work, all after taking an advanced degree at midlife.

Over-the-hill?

Only if you're watching the dust clouds stirred by my wheels in the distance...

And my magic number? This will only occur in the unlikely event I win the state lottery...

Until Next Time...











Monday, September 14, 2009

A Librarian's Lament...

The Free Library of Philadelphia is on the chopping block and may be closing as of October 2, 2009. According to its website, all branches, regionals and central libraries operated as part of the Free Library are included. Services to cease include all inter library loans, holds for books and other materials, and classes for teens and adults, as well as all children's programmes. This includes visits to seniors, schools, daycare and community centers, ESL classes and GED preparation as well as computer and small business and other programmes, home bound services and those for persons with disabilities, among others.

With a collection of 6 million items, varied programmes and services, the shutting of this system of libraries neither bodes well for its diverse constituencies nor the legislators who have thus far failed to fund its continued existence. Those who care to can visit the Free Library of Philadelphia virtually at http://libwww.freelibrary.org/closing/ for more information. Its blog, together with links to legislators can be found at http://libwww.freelibrary.org/blog/.



Its political and financial landscape still rife with deregulation, as well as moral and fiscal bankruptcy, the U.S. may be years in dealing with the fallout of the current economic downturn and its effects on jobs, institutions and services at all levels.

Bailouts to banks, the auto industry and other entities, in the face of huge corporate bonuses, while municipal governments wrestle with closings, layoffs and cuts to already slim budgets is just the surface of an increasingly ugly and complex situation many struggle to understand even as attempted remedies fall short of expectations.

Against a backdrop of often vitriolic political in-fighting, basic needs and services go wanting. Americans have failed to answer some fundamental questions, including but not limited to: What kind of society are we? How can we bolster the working and civic lives and productivity of the people? Are our business and other models for institutions still effective? Do we need to re-evaluate our practises? Is capitalism as we have known it viable? What must we do, personally and collectively, to live within our means? If we want continued and better services, we must find ways of funding them, including raising revenue. How will this be done? Beyond these, I would ask why institutions such as libraries, which provide literacy, educational and other services to growing numbers of citizens, particularly during periods of economic downturn, find themselves always on the short end of budgets?

Sacrificing one library system in a city like Philadelphia may not matter to you unless you live there or visit regularly, but what does it say about our priorities as a people?

Until Next Time,





Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Theme Thursday: Rhythm






A Feline Acrostic...




Righteous indignation earns a well-recognised swish of the tail, back and forth, a steady thudding against just polished floor board;

How I dread the accompanying stare, as if to say:


You are falling down on the job, yet again!

Though, I must confess a certain lackadaisical approach to this constant need for feeding, the plump being jumping blithely atop the kitchen counter reminds me that no-one in this house is truly underfed;

However often voices plead otherwise, with the increasingly varied cadence punctuating...

MEOW...


















Note To All Bloggers...

A spammer has been loading my Blog's recent and older post comments with a potentially dangerous Bot. I am not the only one who has experienced this. Recently, I noticed that the trash can icon commonly found at the end of comments was missing. I searched Blogger's Help Section from my Dashboard and found a utility to resolve this problem but have been unable to use it properly. Until I have this situation sorted satisfactorily, I have deleted the entire post in which the Bot was found.

If you don't see my last posting on September 4, that is why and I ask your patience until the situation is resolved. I will be running my anti-viral utility and another specifically for Bot detection in the interim and may not post again for a couple of days.

Initially, the spammer used the name "disa" but in the latest version, only charaters were used. Should you see this on your Blog or someone else's, do not click on it as doing so is dangerous.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Theme Thursday: Beginning


Humidity wanes;
Days grow shorter as rains abate;
The air changes, its thick, stifling cloak replaced by the coolness of a loose shirt, the fabric slowly sweeping leaves, fallen from trees, along sidewalks and streets.
Piercing brightness becomes a watery gleam;
Shifting light dances;
Shadows brush the windows of homes along our lane, fingertips of darkness await;
Fall's beginning.
Poem By E. 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where's The Cat When You Need Him???

Baino's recent shed excavations brought to mind an adventure from my not-too-distant past...

While in graduate school, I worked as an assistant to various faculty. This involved sharing a cubicalled, windowless room with other students and toiling over whatever research and other tasks were at hand.

Allowed to bring food and other necessities in, our office always exuded the faint odor of microwave popcorn or drive thru delicacies. Though the trash bins were always emptied at end of day by custodial staff, we found it necessary to spray air freshener so often that one of us dubbed the place the Febreze suite.

One day, while sorting through shelving and boxes, I noted a particularly foul smell and following it, decided to shift my desk for a peek behind. This action dislodged a still empty waste paper basket hidden beneath the desk. Lined in plastic, the bin, which appeared empty, soon proved unamenable to our customary airborne remedy as well as tried and nearly true Lysol spray.

Flipping the bin on its side loosened its liner completely, revealing the malodorous and very skeletal remains of a rodent. Caught between the bottom of the liner and the outside basket, it had apparently gone unnoticed for sometime, surprising my colleagues and I so much that one of us screamed.

The one and only time I have ever smelled a rat...