Tuesday, September 2, 2014

thinking of kate...

a quick note to ask for good thoughts, vibes, prayers, and meditations for kate mcrae, her mom holly, dad aaron, brother and sister, will and olivia.  kate began having seizures a few weeks ago, and instead of things improving, the seizures have become more frequent.  they may be a result of the intensive radiation she received and that sent her into a remarkably long period of remission, or... cure.  they may also be signs of a recurrence of her cancer.  until now she's been doing remarkably well, balancing physical therapy and a triumphant return to school.  she is again walking a tightrope...


Kate Mcrae on CaringBridge

holly's entry on caringbridge just a little while ago:

Untitled

It's been unfortunately eventful. In short after an ambulance ride we are in the ER awaiting a transfer to CHLA for admission. They are hoping to repeat her EEG tomorrow while inpatient and hopefully do her brain MRI. There is much going on. Much to ask and pray for. Join us. Not least of all that cancer will not be present. And that they can stop these seizures for good. 



© 2013 L. Ryan

Friday, August 29, 2014

Schriftraum::Writing Room

Once upon a time, I had an amazing best friend.  That she no longer is even a friend is no one's fault but my own.

I suspect she reads this blog from time to time.  If history holds true, she probably already knows about this Iranian artist with whom I've just fallen in love.  If you can fall in love with photos of art work that are then digitally miniaturized to fit on computer screens.  I contend that this is possible.

So, Ramak, if you have not already met her, wined and dined her, hired her for an installation at The Institute, meet Parastou Forouhar.  Her site, written in English and German, is HERE.

Her parents, Dariush and Parwaneh Forouhar, "politicians of the opposition," were murdered in the Fall of 1998.  Wikipedia, Source of Unvarnished Truths, notes, in its entry for Dariush Forouhar that --
Forouhar and his wife, Parvaneh Eskandari Forouhar, were overt opponents of Velayet-e-faqih (Shia theocracy) and under continuous surveillance.[2] They were assassinated in their home in 1998. The murders, which are believed to have been politically motivated, remain unsolved, although the general belief is that the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence was involved and had ordered the killings.[3][4][5][6][7] It is thought that the murders were provoked by Forouhar's criticism of human rights abuses by the Islamic Republic in interviews with Western radio stations that beamed Persian-language programs to Iran. This "brought them to the attention of Iran's ubiquitous intelligence service."[8]
Under the public opinion pressure, the then Iranian president Mohammad Khatami formed a committee to follow up the case, which eventually asked for the resignation of theMinister of IntelligenceGhorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi. One of the main characters behind the case, Saeed Emami, reportedly committed suicide while in prison.
Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer of the Forouhars' relatives quoting Parastou says: "All evidence shows that my father was preparing himself to go to prison, because at the time of his slaying, his shoes had no laces, he did not wear his wrist watch and had his wallet emptied of its contents and papers except for some money."
Their murders brought to light a pattern known as the chain murders of Iran.

I bet you could clarify the entry.  If I were the betting sort.

The photo below is from "Women Museum, Bonn," and is dated 2001. The catalog for a later exhibition of the same (similar) work reads:


The Persian script is turned into an ornament. Covering the white walls of the museums, the characters serve Forouhar as “paper” for her own text. The room becomes a “writing room”. Whereas the white walls of the gallery room are raised to a universal norm and an unmarked instance, the Oriental ornament stands for difference or the deviating. The writing is also strange, if not alien, because it is illegible for Western visitors – as an “incomprehensible” text it becomes a pure ornament. In defying attempts by Western visitors to assign it meaning, the script remains locked into its irreducible pictorial graphicness and indissoluble representation. The meaning cannot be grasped; at best, the inscribed ping-pong balls, which cover the base of the installation, can be grasped in the tactual sense. The legibility is made even more difficult by the movement of the ping-pong balls, which due to their spherical form also offer no stable vertical or horizontal reading axes; they form new patterns over and over again, are always in motion, and become incoherently disjointed. Even if one has a command of Persian, the characters prove to be nothing more than word fragments and syllables, which are not subject to a linear order. The script ornamentation covers the whole room – the ceiling, the floor, and the walls. Viewers entering the rooms are surrounded by patterns, forcing them to give up their sovereign, distanced standpoint.

-- Dr. Alexandra Karentzos, Intersections, catalogue of the same named exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia, 2005




Parastou Forouhar
Schriftraum (written room) site-specific work


Well, kid, that's all.  I'm sure you know her, or of her, but I was happy to stumble upon her work today.





© 2013 L. Ryan

this path of discipline OR "don't burn the mustard seed!"

Exhortation to prayer rankles.  Order me, in reference to most anything, and you'll likely be treated to me, rankled.

So let's take a deep breath, shall we, and enjoy the origins of the verb "to rankle":
Middle English: from Old French rancler, from rancledraoncle ‘festering sore,’ from an alteration of medieval Latin dracunculus, diminutive of draco ‘serpent.’
And just to make sure that my snarky state is established beyond the realms of smarmy retort and sanctimonious dadaism, contemplate this very short list of synonyms for the good and faithful rankle, as used with a direct object: 
cause resentment to, annoy, upset, anger, irritate, offend, affront, displease, provoke, irk, vex, pique, nettle, gall; informalrile, miff, peeve, aggravate, tick off
There!  Now we're ready for the reproduction of what has thus far not rankled me this evening -- between bouts of interrupted reading, frequent "Yes, dear"s, and one Marmy Fluffy Butt permanently attached to my left pelvis (thereby adding immense heat and a one-half inch layer of long, white hairs).

It all began in a search for my lost mindfulness -- which is the closest I'll get to being your comedic straight-man... ever.  Well, at least, knowingly.  Ha!  See there!  An inadvertent mindfulness joke!

courtesy of The Mindfulness Method


It all began in a search for my lost mindfulness and ended, somehow, right where this catastrophic thinker needed to be.  Reading can be like that, even rudely interrupted reading bouts.  And "right where... needed" was here:

Kisagotami Theri
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION:  Kisa Gotami has two of the most heart-rending stories in the Buddhist tradition associated with her name. The Commentary to this verse tells that when her young child had died, she refused to believe it was dead. After asking many people — in vain — for medicine that would revive the child, she was finally directed to the Buddha. When she told him her story, he offered to provide medicine for the child, but he would need some mustard seed — the cheapest Indian spice — obtained from a family in which no one had died. She went from house to house asking for mustard seed, and no one refused to give it to her. But when she asked if anyone had died in the family, the universal response was always, "Oh, yes, of course." After a while, the message sunk in: Death is universal. On abandoning the child's body to a charnel ground, she returned to the Buddha and asked to be ordained as a nun, and afterwards became an arahant.

The canonical verses associated with Kisa Gotami's name, however, tell a different story, which is identical to the story that the Commentary attributes to Patacara: Pregnant with her second child, she was returning to her parents' home, along with her husband and small firstborn child, to give birth. Along the way, a great storm blew up, and she asked her husband to provide shelter for the family. As he was cutting grass and sticks to build a shelter, a snake bit him and he died of the poison. Unsheltered, and wondering at her husband's long absence, Patacara gave birth and had to spend the night sheltering both her children against the rain and wind with nothing more than her body. The next morning, she found her husband dead. Distraught, she decided to return to her parents' home. However, a river — swollen from the rain of the previous night — ran across her way. Unable to carry both children across the river, she left her first-born on the near bank and waded through the raging current carrying her baby. Placing the baby on the far bank, she turned back to fetch her first-born. A hawk, seeing the baby, took it for a piece of flesh, and swooped down on it. Seeing this, Patacara raised her hands and tried to chase it away, but to no avail: The hawk picked up the baby and carried it off. Meanwhile, her first-born — seeing his mother raising her hands — took it for a signal to cross the river. As he jumped into the raging current, he was carried off to his death. Overwhelmed with grief, Patacara returned to her parents' home, only to learn that it had burned down from a lightning strike in the previous night's storm. Her parents and brother were at that moment being cremated on a single pyre. At this point, she went mad and began wandering around half-naked. Only on coming into the Buddha's presence did she recover her senses. He taught her the Dhamma, and eventually she ordained and became an arahant.

Why this story is attributed to Patacara in the Commentary when it is obviously Kisa Gotami's in the Canon, is hard to tell. Some scholars have suggested that the tales in the Pali commentaries were imported from other Buddhist traditions, such as the Mulasarvastivadin. Thus, the differences between the canonical verses and the commentarial tales stem from the fact that the different traditions attributed particular stories to different elder monks and nuns. For instance, the Pali Canon attributed the story of the woman whose family was destroyed in a single day to Kisa Gotami, while the tradition from which the Commentary drew attributed it to Patacara. If that's the case, it's interesting to note how the commentators who adopted these tales nevertheless remained faithful to their Canon. Instead of trying to change the Pali to fit with the commentarial source on which they drew, they allowed the discrepancies between the two sources to stand: one of many instances in which the discrepancies between the Canon and the commentaries suggest that the monks who handed down the Pali Canon tried to keep it intact even when they didn't agree with it.

Later Theravadin texts have tried to cover over the discrepancies between Kisa Gotami's verses and the Commentary to those verses by insisting that the passage in the verses beginning, "Going along, about to give birth," and ending, "my husband dead, I reached the Deathless," is actually Patacara speaking, but this seems unlikely: Why would one arahant butt in on another one's tale?

At any rate, regardless of which story is Patacara's, and which Kisa Gotami's, both speak to the universality of death, and the power of the path of practice: that in the midst of this human world with all its sorrows, there is still a way to find that which is free from grieving, aging, and illness: the Deathless.


Having admirable friends
has been praised by the Sage
with reference to the world.
Associating with an admirable friend
even a fool
becomes wise.
People of integrity
should be associated with.
In that way discernment grows.
Associating with people of integrity
one would be released from all suffering & stress,
would know stress,
the origination of stress,
cessation & the eightfold path:
the four noble truths.

Stressful, painful, is the woman's state:
so says the tamer of tamable people.
Being a co-wife is painful.
Some, on giving birth once,
slit their throats.
Others, of delicate constitution,
take poison.
In the midst of a breech-birth
both [mother & child] suffer destruction.

Going along, about to give birth,
I saw my husband dead.
Giving birth in the road,
I hadn't reached my own home.
Two children deceased,
my husband dead in the road
— miserable me!
My mother, father, & brother
were burning on a single pyre.

"Your family all gone, miserable,
you've suffered pain without measure.
Your tears have flowed
for many thousands of lives."[1] 

Then I saw,
In the midst of the charnel ground,
the muscles of sons being chewed.
With family killed,
despised by all,
my husband dead,
I reached the Deathless.
I've developed this path,
noble, eightfold,
going to the Deathless.
Having realized Unbinding,
I've gazed in the mirror of Dhamma.
I've cut out the arrow,
put down the burden,
done the task.
I, Kisa Gotami Theri,
my heart well-released,
have said this.


Notes

1.
According to the Commentary, this was the Buddha's message to Kisa Gotami.
-- "Kisagotami Theri" (Thig 10), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013.

If that does not go down well, rest yourself in the Parable of the Mustard Seed.  The mustard seed is an exalted vehicle in almost all "inspired" books of the major religions.  And I know my evening's roundabout journey has come to a good pausing point, because I am COMPELLED by the universe, or my own love of spicy life, to allow the mustard seed expansion beyond Parable Fodder, courtesy of Serious Eats:

Unless they're added to a pickle brine, mustard seeds need to fry and pop in hot oil to release their full potential. In quick stir fries, toss them in oil with finely minced aromatics like ginger and garlic. Just make sure your oil is hot when the seeds go in—if they heat up with the oil, they're likely to overcook and burn without popping. When the seeds start popping, I put on a lid till they down, then add more ingredients to cool down the pan. Don't keep the lid on too long though, as mustard seeds can burn quickly. If this happens to you, don't sweat it, but you may want to clean out your pan and start again. Burnt mustard seeds taste a little like motor oil.
With Indian curry-style dishes, I enjoy mustard seeds in concert with cumin, asafoetida, coriander, fennel, and curry leaf (though not all necessarily at once). You can fry these spices together before adding wet ingredients. Or, if making a lentil dish like daal, you can use mustard seeds as the foundation for a quick tarka. When the soup is just done, fry mustard seeds and some other spices in some hot oil, then spoon the mixture over the soup in bowls. It's like a finishing drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or a fresh pat of soft butter, but pungent and spicy. Don't limit this technique to Indian dishes, though: it's the best soup trick I know, hands-down.

Okay, all you sweet'ums out there, back to parable time for these precious little bits -- the traditional story of Gotami and the Blessèd Mustard Seed, unfettered by commentary (but still... a translation, and a reworking into verse):

Skinny Gotami & the Mustard Seed
by
Andrew Olendzki

After flowing-on for a hundred thousand ages,
she evolved in this Buddha-era among gods and men
in a poor family in Savatthi.
Her name was Gotami-tissa,
but because her body was very skinny
she was called 'Skinny Gotami.'
When she went to her husband's family,
she was scorned [and called] 'daughter of a poor family.'

Then she gave birth to a son,
and with the arrival of the son she was treated with respect.
But that son, running back and forth
and running all around, while playing met his end.
Because of this, sorrow-to-the-point-of-madness arose in her.
She thought: "Before I was one who received only scorn,
but starting from the time of the birth of my son I gained honor.
These [relatives] will now try to take my son,
in order to expose him outside [in the charnel ground]."

Under the influence of her sorrow-to-the-point-of-madness,
she took the dead corpse on her hip and
wandered in the city from the door of one house to another
[pleading]: "Give medicine to me for my son!"
People reviled her, [saying] "What good is medicine?"
She did not grasp what they were saying.

And then a certain wise man, thinking
"This woman has had her mind deranged by sorrow for her son;
the ten-powered [Buddha] will know the medicine for her,"
said: "Mother, having approached the fully awakened one,
ask about medicine for your son."

She went to the vihara
at the time of the teaching of dhamma and said,
"Blessed One, give medicine to me for my son!"
The master, seeing her situation, said,
"Go, having entered the city,
into whatever house has never before experienced any death,
and take from them a mustard seed."

"Very well, Sir." [she replied],
and glad of mind she entered the city and came to the first house:
"The master has called for a mustard seed
in order to make medicine for my son.
If this house has never before experienced any death,
give me a mustard seed."
"Who is able to count how many have died here?"
"Then keep it. What use is that mustard seed to me?"
And going to a second and a third house,
her madness left her and her right mind was established
 — thanks to the power of the Buddha.

She thought, "This is the way it will be in the entire city.
By means of the Blessed One's compassion for my welfare,
this will be what is seen."
And having gained a sense of spiritual urgency from that,
she went out and covered her son in the charnel ground.

She uttered this verse:
It's not just a truth for one village or town,
Nor is it a truth for a single family.
But for every world settled by gods [and men]
This indeed is what is true — impermanence.

And so saying, she went into the presence of the master.
Then the master said to her,
"Have you obtained, Gotami, the mustard seed?"
"Finished, sir, is the matter of the mustard seed" she said.
"You have indeed restored me."

And the master then uttered this verse:
A person with a mind that clings,
Deranged, to sons or possessions,
Is swept away by death that comes
 — Like mighty flood to sleeping town.

At the conclusion of this verse, confirmed in the fruit of stream-entry,
she asked the master [for permission] to go forth [into the homeless life].
The master allowed her to go forth.
She gave homage to the master by bowing three times,
went to join the community of nuns,
and having gone forth, received her ordination.

It was not long before, through the doing of deeds with careful attention,
she caused her insight to grow... and she became an arahant.

-- "Skinny Gotami & the Mustard Seed" (ThigA 10.1), by Andrew Olendzki. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013. .

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Obéissance: Protect the 'nads

The reason for this repost?  Franchement? The cartoon.  Because that's pretty much how I'm feeling these days.  For non-French speakers, it goes something like this:
"You can do anything you like...
So long as it's what I want you to do."

I particularly dislike having to display "obéissance" when it concerns my body, because that means it upsets Fred's status quo and his upset status quo can be Hell to live with.  It takes a lot of his time and most of his dwindling reserves of patience to ferry me back-and-forth to the doctor, sit in ER/ED waiting rooms, field frantic phone calls about forgotten rechargers for phones and other electronic devices.  [Don't tell me to go wifi unless you're willing to finance the endeavor.]  

I'm supposed to email by very nice HMO doctor tomorrow to report on the status of my infected foot. [Because no one, apparently, gives a good goddamn about my right hand turning into a swollen claw!] What to say, when facing a 3-day weekend and people more interested in getting to the various Folke Faires around Tête de Hergé than interested in butt-ugly hands and feet?  Truth be told (and that reserved just for you, Dear Readers!), the foot is bright red and the infection returning to its original volcano-like presentation (Is that good? Bad? Will it burst open and solve its own problem?)  Further truthes?  My right hand is swelling, hurting, and fast becoming useless.  Despite the difficulties in assessing temperature in a CRPS patient, to me, the offending middle knuckle, which began this hand boogerishousness is quite warm.

So "obéissance" is again in question.  Could this foot-and-hand disease be put off until next Tuesday, when the Force of the Medicos will again be at full power? Or should I submit to the standing offer to go back in the hearsepital for i.v. vancomycin, and a possible PICC line.  Let me elaborate on what may seem, to you, an easy choice.  Once the definitive switch back to vanco, it means Fred will make at least 4 trips a week to an infusion center, and probably for at least a month.  This at a time when we are sick to death of things dealing with sickness.  

There. That makes my rationale for posting this past pithiness from May 2009 clear as MUD!  You're welcome.  And it's your forebearance, Dearest of Dear Readers, that endears you so to me.  I think there will be another brief hiatus in posting... The Truth will out, after all -- because it is Truth which ought to drive all expressions of Obéissance.

*********************************************




A mélange, a mix.

That's all I am good for at the moment. But, as most of us are, I am open to suggestions.

It looks like Uncle Kitty Big Balls is going to be a cool member of The Family. A very poised little dude, ugly as sin with his fur shaved off, he saunters his maigre self around The Manor every few hours, shaking what little butt he has much in the manner of The Marmy Marmot. When the two of them vocalize, it's a hoot. She goes: "Ack-ack-ack!" He mumbles back: "Ark-ark-ark!" You'd think they were inveterate cigar smokers. Which, of coursed, is just impossible.

What's wrong with you?

It's a national day of prayer, privately. Some of my friends think there is an "issue" to visit in this; I do not. Unless it is an extremely slow news day -- something that the U.S. citizenry might well enjoy for a change.

ShoulderMan's PA, Bountiful Bob, was, as always, very kind yesterday. {I, feel, very, attracted, to, the, comma.} One of their techs alternates between freaking me out and being a regular intrigue. So it was highly uncharacteristic for him to greet me by saying, "Are you all right? You gave us quite a scare last week..." He kept saying it, bless his bones, reminding me that being near death is the easy job -- Attending to the situation should not be envied. On the other hand? The x-ray tech was unhappy with me when I refused to assume the position for one of the shoulder views, and therefore created something ex nihilo -- and five shots later, she still had not succeeded in her approximations. I had dollar signs flying by my eyes. Bob stood with furrowed brow and dark, unreadable films tucked in the lightbox. I pondered the probable extra heft of my bill and inwardly rejoiced at having my stitches out, the promise of a shower in my future, as soon as I can manoeuver my dainty dancing feet and sufficiently SaranWrap my PICC line. We've never been able to keep the line dry -- it is put in the non-operated arm, of course, meaning that it is in the only usable arm and is therefore subject to being hit with water.

Fascinating.

Okay, so I was browsing TW's blogs, and over on X, he posted this hilarious and touching family moment:





During the night, I was doing one of my favorite memory exercises: visualizing every house I have ever lived in, every school I ever attended. The various digressions that peel off these onions are wonderful, and exacting. This time, I ended up stuck in an elementary school in California, where I was the Undisputed Tether Ball Champion of the World. Second grade.

I remember the Second Grade primarily for two reasons -- beyond my sporting prowess:
1. I was punished for reading, and,
2. Our teacher kept sending us home with bags of guppies, which eventually pushed my stepmother over the edge of reason.

The reading punishment? We had finished some sort of in-class writing assignment, probably working on our "cursive," as I recall this teacher was a maniac for crap like the loops of one's els. When finished early, we were supposed to put our heads down on the desk on top of our folded arms. Well, yawn, y'know? So I had stashed a book -- and not just *any* book, but Harriet the Spy -- inside my desk. With my head down in obéissance+, I began a new chapter. Next thing I knew, this stellar educator was whacking my palm with a ruler. I don't recall if there ensued any sort of [parental] conference, or sustained punishment -- all I know is that I felt loved by my stepmother, herself a teacher, and that she defended me.

No, not so much like a lioness, more like a proper stepmother. You know? The roles felt well-defined, and that's a pretty rare thing in blended families.

Defended for reading. Punished for reading. Whacky.

A day later, my sentiment, like the worm, turned. At supper -- spaghetti and meatballs -- I swallowed a huge ice cube, and it went down the wrong way. I was choking. Unable to speak. She laughed at me. Then she laughed at my anger at being laughed at. One of those Mother::Daughter special moments. Like the day I first plucked my eyebrows -- at 13, I think -- and she, sipping on her drinkie-poo, reacted by saying, "Oh no! Your one good feature -- gone!"

She had this habit of coyly dipping her pinky-finger into her drinks, and sucking on it, making eyes.

+Obéissance: L'obéissance ou soumission à l'autorité est l'une des formes de l'influence sociale. En psychologie sociale, on parle d'obéissance quand une personne adopte un comportement différent parce qu'un autre individu, perçu comme une source d'autorité, le lui demande. L' individu dominé reconnait à une personne, ou à un gouvernement une valeur certaine. Lorsque cette reconnaissance est faite, l'individu passe alors un accord tacite, un consentement avec le supérieur qu'il a reconnu; Il échange sa liberté contre la volonté générale d'être assuré et sécurisé.

Les recherches les plus connues sur l'obéissance sont dues au psychologue américain Stanley Milgram. Dans son expérience de soumission à l'autorité, il amène des gens normaux à infliger des chocs électriques de plus en plus forts à un autre sujet (en fait un compère, c'est-à-dire un expérimentateur qui prétend être un sujet de l'expérience) qui supplie d'arrêter l'expérience puis crie et se tait, comme s'il était victime d'un malaise. Certains en prennent comptes mais d'autre ne la respecte pas car ce n'est pas une obligation.

A la suite de Milgram, l'expérience de Charles K. Hofling a montré que 21 infirmières expérimentées sur 22 était près à donner une surdose d'un médicament inconnu sur ordre d'un médecin inconnu au téléphone.

This schtuff is fascinating, no? Imagine. In Hofling's experiment, 21 of 22 nurses ready to give an overdose of a med unknown to them --"Astrofen" -- by order of a doctor, who was also unknown to them -- an order taken over the phone, no less! That was in 1966... Rank, in 1976, changed some of the parameters of the study [30 mg of Valium, IM -- and subjects were allowed to interact with colleagues] and stood the results on end: 16 of 18 nurses questioned the orders.

Shocking...













Obedience. Consent. Informed consent. Authority.

Our secret desires.

Obéissance:

A manifestation of obedience; an expression of difference or respect; homage; a bow; a courtesy.

Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance unto the king. --1 Kings i. 16.


I am not able to sleep more than two hours a night from pain that is amazingly straightforward. I have been encouraged to let so-and-so know, as if so-and-so were able to alter reality with a prescription pad.

Anyway, this lack of rest fuels the penchant for mélange.

The cultural anthropology of this cat group that teems around my swollen ankles would fascinate anyone. The wonders of family dynamics, the unexpected likenesses, and the quirky divergence --

Marmy is smug and happy to have her brother ark-ark-ing from beneath our bed; Dobby's brain is clearly spinning as he tries to figure the point of origin for his oddly familiar uncle; and Sammy is hissing and tucking his tail to protect the 'nads.

That's probably what I would be doing, too, were I he.

If I have learned nothing else of value in this life, it is that: For God's sake, protect the 'nads.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

REPOST: The Convention Made Me Do It

photo courtesy of Business Insider


Apparently, just about two years ago today, I published this post as my "end of hiatus" triumphant return to blogging.  Well, "yay" for that.  
But what's disturbing is that, looking about at the discussions going on today, the "dialogue" on race hasn't progressed.  As in: at all.
Yet we continue to feign surprise and haven't let up the speed in which we produce these precious, precious "teachable moments."

photo: Christian Science Monitor




***********************************************

The hiatus is officially ended.

The spell, somehow, broke around 10 pm last evening, during a ventriloquist failure at the Republican Convention, as a broken and weird-haired Clint Eastwood opened network coverage of the circus, basically introducing former Governor Mitt Romney with a routine that I'd bet a bazillion dollars wasn't... vetted.

So much of our troubles are due to this vetting obsession, so much of the loss of our fun.  What should have been the guiding light of my life is this seussian bit of wisdom:  “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”

And then there is the iconic Seuss, meant for my gravestone:  “Being crazy isn't enough.” 

Back to vetting, the idea that we can know it all by what all we can dig up in the peaty dirt, the dirt old enough to get peaty rich, that old, old dirt.  Like an imaginary President Obama perched on what looked to me to be an insultingly uncomfortable folding chair, mouthing off at Clint with a big old "Go fuck yourself." 


Presumably, Obama was pretty lit, having had to be forcibly removed from Boehner's bar.


Yes, I suspected that the Republican Convention would end my blogging hiatus.


The balance, the scale, isn't just the symbol of justice, blind.  Balance and scale are needed to make it safely head-to-pillow each and every day -- provided head-to-pillow denotes, for you, day's end.  What people consistently fail to point out is the grin on Lady Justice's pocked and bruised face.  And she's not *blind*, people, she's blind-folded.  Big difference.  I think she peeks.  And I think she joneses for Seuss as much as I do.



She-Hulk #1


“I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.” 

― Dr. Seuss, Yertle the Turtle and Gertrude McFuzz

“The words in this book are all phooey. When you say them, your lips will make slips and back flips and your tongue may end up in Saint Looey!” 
― Dr. Seuss

In addition to vetting, I propose ciphering, or coded words, as enemies to my political fun, at least. I would like "Chicago" to reference a city in Illinois and not become the millionth Other Word to mean "a gathering of people of color," "black," or "African American."  What was so wrong with "urban"?

The day has come, O Jehovah, in which I quote with approbation the inimitable Michelle Malkin, from her half-assed researched and cent pour cent aware articlette, entitled "The Condensed Liberal Handbook Of Racial Code Words."  Oh, and it was published in the... Patriot Post.  Quick!  If you are a J. K. Rowling fan, eat chocolate!  If not, if you're the lazy sort:  "You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." 

As Malkin slipslides her way down, she writes this graffito in the slime accumulated on her ill-kept rodent burrow, and it *is* a good one:



--Kitchen cabinet. Radio talk-show host Mark Thompson jumped on Romney for using this phrase -- coined to describe Andrew Jackson's administration in the 1800s -- at the NAACP convention in July. Romney was referring to a close member of his staff during his tenure as Massachusetts governor. 
"To talk about being in the kitchen and not talk about an African-American actually being in your cabinet is really not a good metaphor to use with African-Americans," Thompson blasted. Is it racist to ask: Huh?



I'm so fully aware of racist speech and racist code words in political speech, in particular, that I've developed linguistic bulimia, polysemic purging.  As Lee Atwater, Malkin's godfather put it:

You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968, you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."[9][10]
You all know that I am an expert in everything, being something of a specialist in 16th century French Literature, although, through circumstances completely out of my control, I ended up writing a thesis concentrated on the eighteenth -- which explains my real and actual fascination with the relationship between word and image, the whole ut pictura poesis thang.  If you're with me, then you'll understand that simply seeing a fleeting image of Jan Brewer is cathartic for someone with my predilections.  She simply makes me spew -- and go into a five-minute routine of poking people with a witchy index finger.

Thank goodness there are not too many occasions for using that old chestnut of a phrase, "blah people." 


"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." asserted Neil Newhouse.
Now, there you go!  It's not exactly MY take on the Good Seussian Life, but I can stomach such an open-armed hug to fun... I mean, it's not quite ipecac, and that's progress.  So thank you, Neil Newhouse!  I'm laughing and so far, lunch is staying down.

The lower you go, reading-wise, down, down, where the hard work, the hard digging is done, the more ano-friendly the texts.  There are no codes in use.  The First Lady is called a "fat black cow."  This same author pondered summore and came up with:  "id like to take obamas big fat black lips and make them kiss his own buttox." 

One of my favorite writers on the interwebs is a frequent tweeter of Our President and his First Family, excitedly anticipating their love of a spicy African soup, and frequently deciding that Michelle Obama must be pregnant.  She's a fan of those who are fans of her, and so I pray and frequently beg my friend, The President, to send her a letter full of praise of some of her original ideas -- you know, how sex is solely intended for those intending procreation, and acknowledging the incredible guilt of newborns, in general, and in specifics -- from unemployment to shady welfare suck-ups.


I HAD to come out of sabbatical.  The world was going to Hell and being led there by people blaming climate change on Hell itself.


Captain Haddock may, however, need to extend my FMLA job-protected and unpaid loafing, that invitation to sloth so obligingly enacted by that impeached bum Bill Clinton, who stole it from the blessed founding father of the free lands west of the Lone Alp, now known as the Tête de Hergé.

"You can only take so much Colonel Angus..."

I've no excuse except a resurgence of my natural depravity.

Nothing to see here, move along...


video



Colonel Angus

Written by: Tina Fey

Melinda.....Amy Poehler
Daddy.....Chris Parnell
Miss Anabelle.....Rachel Dratch
Farm Boy.....Jeff Richards
Bedelia.....Maya Rudolph
Colonel Angus.....Christopher Walken


[ open on exterior, Civil War-era plantation home, as members of a Southern family sit on the porch and reflect. A banner above the eaves reads: "Welcome Home, Colonel Angus!" ]

Melinda: [ sitting on the steps ] When's he gonna get here, Mama?

Miss Anabelle: [ setting on her rocker ] Anytime now, child.. be patient.

Melinda: Is he very handsome?

Miss Anabelle: [ chuckles ] He's been away at war so long, I don't rightly remember.

Melinda: Mama! Look! There's a carriage on the horizon!

Miss Anabelle: Oh? [ looking about ] Well, where, dear child?

Melinda: There! [ points ] Traveling down the road! Darting in and out of the cotton!

Miss Anabelle: Oh.. oh! Well, that must be the Colonel! Colonel Angus!

Melinda: [ excited ] Could it really be, Mama? Could it really be Colonel Angus?

Miss Anabelle: ..I don't know, uh.. We haven't seen Colonel Angus around these parts for years..

[ Daddy steps onto the porch, from inside the plantation ]

Daddy: Are you ladies out here talking about Colonel Angus?

Melinda: Yes, Daddy! I can't wait to meet him!

Daddy: Oh, watch out, Melinda! Once a woman is introduced to Colonel Angus, she'll settle for nothing less.

Melinda: Daddy, they say all the womenfolk just love Colonel Angus!

Daddy: Hmm.. I don't know why people make such a big fuss over Colonel Angus!

Miss Anabelle: I myself never much cared for Colonel Angus! He rubs me the wrong way. I'm not sure why.. can't put my finger on it..

Daddy: Colonel Angus is an acquired taste! Bedelia!

[ Bedelia, the maid, comes running onto the porch ]

Bedelia: Yes, Sir?

Miss Anabelle: Break out some fresh linens, Bedilia! We're gonna have Colonel Angus here tonight!

Bedelia: Colonel Angus? I don't know nothin' about no Colonel Angus!

Daddy: Well, get ready, Bedelia. If I remember correctly, Colonel Angus can be very messy!

[ at last, Colonel Angus steps onto the porch ]

Daddy: As I live and breath! Colonel Angus!

Miss Anabelle: Oh, Colonel Angus! You old Carpetbagger!

Colonel Angus: Anabelle! I fear my visit.. is an inconvenience.

Miss Anabelle: [ laughing ] Nonsense, Colonel Angus! We're always happy to see your shiny face!

Daddy: Colonel Angus! What brings you to these parts?

Colonel Angus: I'm headed.. down South!

Daddy: Hmm. Of course!

Miss Anabelle: Uh.. how far south are you headed, Colonel Angus?

Colonel Angus: T'ain't really sure. I prefer the Deep South.. I like the heat.. the humidity..

Daddy: Hmmm.. sir, I do not!

Colonel Angus: [ ] And who is this.. little rosebud?

Daddy: This is our daughter, Melinda.

Melinda: Colonel Angus. The pleasure is all mine. I've heard so much about you.

Colonel Angus: Well, my dear.. don't believe everything you hear.. about ol' Colonel Angus. Colonel Angus might be rough.. Colonel Angus might not smell like a bed of roses.. but, deep down.. Colonel Angus is very sweet.

Miss Anabelle: Well, we hope you'll spend the night with us.

Colonel Angus: Well, thank you, Miss Anabelle. And if I overstay my welcome.. just tap me on the head.

Melinda: I always dreamnt of the day.. Colonel Angus would rest his head at Shady Thicket. I always begged my Daddy: "Tell me stories about you and Colonel Angus!" But he never will.

Daddy: [ chuckling ] Well, that's because all of my experiences with Colonel Angus end in embarrassment!

[ they all share a hearty laugh ]

Daddy: Colonel Angus.. I hear rumors.

Colonel Angus: [ sighs ] The incident.. at Big Beaver..

Daddy: Yes?

Colonel Angus: It's true, I'm afraid.. ten men were lost.. and I suffered a great injury.. to my jaw.

Daddy: Is it true you've been stripped of your rank?

Colonel Angus: Yes! It is. There'll be no more "Colonel Angus", ladies. Call me by my given name.

Miss Anabelle: Oh, Anal..

Melinda: I so love the sound of "Colonel Angus".. but I guess I could give Anal Angus a try.

Colonel Angus: [ to a passing farm boy ] You there, Boy! ride into town and tell the Postmaster.. that if anyone is looking for Anal Angus.. to come knockin' at the rear entrance.. of Shady Thicket.

Farm Boy: Euuuggghhh..

Colonel Angus: If you'll excuse me.. I'd like to freshen up.

[ Colonel Angus turns, and enters the plantation home ]

Miss Anabelle: Of course! We'll call you when it's time to eat, Anal! Bedelia lays out quite a spread.

Melinda: Well, I think Colonel Angus is delightful!

Daddy & Miss Anabelle: Hmmm....

Miss Anabelle: You won't.. after forty-five minutes.

Daddy: No-o-o.. you can only take so much of Colonel Angus.

[ fade ]


Sunday, August 24, 2014

"he was no cream puff..."



good night, sweet readers.  just finished the perpetual recharging, have my enduring mp3 player all queued up for the first 90-minutes of night -- and this is my first "scrambled" song offering.  a favorite for all the dehydrated out there...

the break-out (with panache)

good sunday evening, my dearest, darling readers.

i just organized one of the slickest, coolest ev-er hospital escapes, ev-er (worth repeating the annoying ev-er] -- and i am world-famous for my slick and cool hospital departures.

i simply played my FAMILY card, whilst weeping from the glaucoma drops placed stealthily in mine eyeballs.  my world-class, one-of-a-kind, uber-compassionate professor of a brother has been stricken with the universally unjust plague of c-word curses, metastatic renal cell carcinoma, and i must be by his brave side, pronto!  that was my first missile volley aimed at the almost english-speaking hospitalist in charge of deciding whether i could be discharged or not.  as she did not immediately begin writing discharge orders, i loaded volley number two:  my blessèd 86 year-old sweetheart of a stepmom, weighing only 81 pounds, has three [3] wretched bedsores, and my truly saintèd sister had been forced to remove her from her idyllic beachside cottage to an ugly institution of a rehab center for wound care and for fattening-up!  clearly, what this saintèd woman needs is fugly me, spoon-feeding her peaches and cream!

i glanced at the hospitalist, who still was staring laser-eyed at my feigned tears, and was, most importantly, still NOT writing orders for discharge, sighed, and played my final card in my deadman's hand of aces-over-eights.

the FRED card, i played the FRED card!  "my poor partner of some 24-odd-years, Fred, is completely lost without me..." poor fred couldn't handle the sassy-mouthed Marlinspike Hall staff, and running a medieval Haddock-family owned manor is no easy business, letmetellyou!"  then i slowly added on his never-ending battle with the militant lesbian feminist existentialists at his church, emphasizing his christian and druid tendencies.  i may also have leaked a few details about life with Bianca Castafiore, the Milanese Nightingale who treats us to unending, unerring iterations of Gounod's Air des Bijoux...




...and yes, i may have done a very garbled interpretation of my BFF Bianca.  because it was at that precise point that my chinese, tenderhearted hospitalist began scribbling orders into my chart.

while she was writing, i layed upon her distracted ears all the sob stories emanating from lincolnton, north carolina, site of the other wing of la familia -- or, more accurately la cosa nostra -- with exceptions being made for the innocent drug cartel mafiosi children under the age of 13, and for my bio-mom, of course, and her various rockin' and law-abiding POAs.  whether the hospitalist was actively listening or not, her writing speed advanced considerably.

then she paused to consult ms. prissy infectious disease doctor who was vacillating, irritatingly, between continuing i.v. vancomycin [boo!  hiss!] or clindamycin in pretty pink pill form, and sputtering about clostridium difficile at soul-decimating intervals.

so i launched into the ultimate deal-closer -- who will properly groom, entertain, and oversee the intricacies of feeding the Feline Triumvirate?  whom does Dobby truly trust with his most intimate secrets?  whom does Marmy Fluffy Butt allow to even touch her pristine long hairs?  and to whom does Buddy the Maine Coon whisper his sweet, babyish "gentle giant" heart's desires [just before declaring jihad].

***  please keep in mind that Buddy is not muslim, he is simply a confused, sweet, and gentle heart trapped inside a territorial, prey-oriented maine coon's body.  granted, he does take the following statement as his raison d'être --  but only if you substitute "feline" or "confused maine coon" for any war-like islamic statements -- which also are far less than true for most bona fide muslims, as well:
"But in a place where muslims [FELINES] are oppressed, tortured,  dishonored,  and targeted for their belief in Allah and His Messenger [THE MOST HOLY CONFUSED MAINE COON SPECIES],  the leadership [CONFUSED MAINE COON] of that place [MARLINSPIKE HALL] may declare a Jihaad [A CAT-WHOOPING] to defend themselves."
at this juncture of my speedy narrative, my darling chinese hospitalist slammed shut the chart, after flipping up the red "flag" denoting "urgent doctor's orders," and left me with these words of wisdom:
"you gotta take life easy, ms. profderien, you gotta take life easy. not good for body if you don't take life easy, got it?" 
she's a good'un, she is. and dr. chaya is her name-o.

There was a doc who had a patient,
And Chaya was her name-o.
C-H-A-Y-A
C-H-A-Y-A
C-H-A-Y-A
And Chaya was her name-o.
okay, enough of my silly stuff.  fred arrived, saved the day, got my wheelchair out of the bathroom (i could not figure out where the nursing staff had stashed it!), loaded me up, and off we went to the elevators, which led us to the 15-minute "patient loading zone," and my liberation.

before busting me out of hospital hell, fred was able to pick up the kick-ass antibiotic that dr. chaya browbeat our famously lazy local pharmacist into filling on an ASAP STAT status.  i noticed that her english suddenly and markedly improved when she was instructing said pharmacist in how rapidly she was going to fill that rx.

hmm.


© 2013 L. Ryan

Monday, August 18, 2014

balm

Cuando el sol no tiene calor para dar al mendigo --
a mi alma fría, a mi alma congelada --
una hermosa canción, una canción de calidez, de calor lento.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Touchstone: Robert Duncan

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,

that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein

that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.

Wherefrom fall all architectures I am
I say are likenesses of the First Beloved
whose flowers are flames lit to the Lady.

She it is Queen Under The Hill
whose hosts are a disturbance of words within words
that is a field folded.

It is only a dream of the grass blowing
east against the source of the sun
in an hour before the sun’s going down

whose secret we see in a children’s game
of ring a round of roses told.

Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,

that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.


--  Robert Duncan





Uploaded on Feb 6, 2011 by pennsound (One of the most remarkable treasures of literature, ever...)
to hear more, go to: http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/1960-Symposium.php
Ron Silliman on The Opening of the Field by Robert Duncan

"KWH Faculty Director Al Filreis curates a remarkable gathering of poets to present brief commentaries of books of poetry published in 1960 -- to help mark the 50th anniversary of each. Each poet will read his or her 500- to 750-word critical commentary or retrospective review, after which there will be a Q&A session and a celebratory reception. The poet's commentaries will later be published as a special feature on the poetry & poetics of 1960 in Jacket2."

Highly recommended:  Silliman's Blog

Sunday Phone Calls: When Even Death is Funny

It's been a rough week, the kind where the best communication turns out to be reminding the people whom you love that you do, indeed, love them.  It makes for a shorter phone call, a blink-of-an-eye visit, and calls for just a tiny greeting card, though the cost of postage does not change.

Growing up, Sunday was the day for obligatory phone calls to family members living far, far away.  Granted, it was usually my immediate family that bore the responsibility for the distance issue.  We tended to be overseas, or living somewhere inaccessible to even those relatives who enjoyed travel.  Or I could be honest and say that no one really gave a crap, and the Sunday telephone ritual was just another thing to check off the list.

I managed three calls today.

Those Dear Readers who've been with me a while know that my use of the telephone is, itself, miraculous, as I find it the least endearing mode of communication of the many modes we have in this technological age.

For instance, Grader Boob, one of my two beloved Brother-Units, is now so weak that his voice does not carry efficiently to the telephone receiver.  He prefers "Lumpy" now to GB, but that's just trivia.  And a lie. He has no sense of humor discernible any longer, cancer's gift, pain's offering.  As for his voice, part of it is also, I am guessing, change brought about by impingement of various nerves by those nefarious Lumps about which we so want to joke.

He could out grim the Grim Reaper, and will, I hope. Grumpy Lumpy seems to be so intensely in a snit because his life has been destroyed in what must feel like an overnight happening, despite what hindsight now reveals as a vine-like underground creep over a decade, culminating in Kudzu's blazing speed once that first tendril found the sun.

His pain is unimaginable, even to me, the Queen of Pain. His perennial lack of social graces, once endearing, now has the edge of a feudal samurai sword, his made to accommodate one-handed lunges. It's just a matter, really, of a shorter grip.  Maybe a tanto grip with a freaking 4-5 foot ōdachi blade.  I carry a small antique tanto in my obi, as do all my female friends.  Bianca Castafiore, we all know, is never without her 06 F.A.S.T. from Gerber.  She swears by the G-10 handle.  In a nod toward beauty, my dagger handle is a subtle, but distinctive, teal-green silk cord and black samé -- ray skin -- topped with a black iron tsuba bearing a dragonfly motif.

None of us bother with saya, or scabbards. Marlinspike Hall's women are famous for our mastery and obsession with fabrics of incredible tensile strength, and their artistic draping, which most men assume comes from a lurid obsession with shiny, metallic, decorative threading.  Yes, we live for the glint of reinforced brocade on a clear, hot summer day.

"The effect is elegant and rich without becoming fussy. "


Lumpy's issue is the same problem that turned the ōdachi into a ceremonial thing, a spiritual weapon.  The answer, I think, to the obstacle of how to carry his very particular sword, and successfully draw it, lies in providing him with a trusty steed, though that might attract undue attention as he canters about the hallways of higher learning. Better might be an unobtrusive trusty sidekick.  Like a dedicated sister in a wheelchair. I could pass off six feet of sword as a stylized assistive mobility device, no problem.  Who better to have his blessèd back?  Plus, I can help with any grading duties, and be the one to chuck chalk at any undergraduates who dare nap during class.

And here you thought a samurai sword reference was to end in its metaphorical stage! We are a knife-wielding clan, we are.  You should see some of Fred's knives. His nonchalant explanation for seemingly artless features -- a notch here, an odd finish to the metal, a strange blunt affect -- can chill my blood. He and Abbot Truffatore do not so much resemble Boy Scouts comparing five-tooled pocketknives as handy camping tools when they extricate their shiny toys from humble scabbards and lay them on felt-covered table tops as they seem men under the ancient enchantment of war.

So, though weak in body and voice, this Brother-Unit remains obstinately militarized, and determined to try teaching this semester -- two courses in person and one as an internet prof.  I want him to succeed;  I know he won't.  And so pardon my fantasy of squiring him à la Sancho Panza, ready, in the end, to do wheelies and behead the archaic administrators who failed him, impale the students who worked him into weakness, slash the desks and podia that his university maintained instead of providing health care for those who sat and leaned there.

I hate these Sunday calls.

And then there was the dear sister, caring for a waning mother, blindly navigating the end-of-life barriers thrown in their way by that same health care system that has failed the rest of this fucked-up family.  Mom is unaware of the obstacles she dodges, her memory gone, or maybe that stealthy faculty forces her to relive each trouble more than is useful.  The Sister-Unit has become a faithful nurse, tending three bed sores, feeding a weak 81-pound matriarch.  Her partner has leukemia -- that's some punchline, eh?  He is doing well, however, though they are smartly close-mouthed about it.  He's a Prince, a Peach, a Pear, which is the highest accolade of my people.

I did not even consider asking to speak to Mom.  In my mind, likely as confused as hers, I am an abstract construct to her.  The child who caused so much trouble.  The child who said "thanks, but no thanks" some 24 years ago, and by letter, not phone.  I'd had enough, enough doublespeak, enough lies, enough suppression, oppression.  I was careful to express my real gratitude for the raising, for the good times, for the afternoon on the sailboat, for the tea and toast, for the tips on dumping drinks into potted plants at cocktail parties, and the admonitions to stand up straight and be proud of my height.

She taught the art of thank-you notes, of indexing social debts (keeping a tit-for-tat list of Christmas card recipients and a neat list of who attended what party and what outfit she had worn to each). She taught the power of obligation, the complexities of generations.  She was, too, a teacher. Of little ones, but they are the most precious of all.  I did a brief stint as a substitute in a second grade classroom and was more terrified than when I faced a room full of savvy, educated, bright-as-the-moon, inquisitive young men and women.  It was Mom's influence that tainted my university teaching with the same urge to protect and defend that comes so naturally on behalf of six-year-olds.  (Sometimes that was a problem.)

I wished the Sister-Unit good courage and good luck, as she fights for some semblance of coordinated care, hires nurses, and deals with an overfed dog now prone to urinary incontinence.  Oh, and a doctor who opines only the glaringly obvious and does not return her polite phone calls.  It's not his mother, what does he care?  Oh, I take that back.  He's perfectly competent.  There's nothing to do but muddle through.

The other mother, the biological Mother-Unit?  I don't call, or not often, and cannot face it today.  She's likely to make a perfunctory inquiry about her first set of boys, and I cannot spit out the perfunctory lies, not today.  Maybe I should call, but have ready the most non-perfunctory of retorts.  "Lumpy? After winning Wimbledon, he took a brief rest in Monte Carlo -- you know what a gamer he is -- before sporting the yellow jersey on the Tour.  Right now, he's gearing up for a stint as Compositional Inquisitor.  He gets to wear flowing robes and a pouffy hat, Ma.  Isn't that grand?"

Of the other sweet Brother-Unit, I could just wow her with the truth, but her dementia, like her normal state, won't admit too much of the stuff.  So I'd say something like: "He still proudly marches to the beat of his own drum and radiates compassion and equanimity into the wavelengths of the universe, Ma, just like I told you last time."

The third call?  To an evangelical busybody who delights in telling me what to do and then, in undermining my efforts.  This week she taught me a valuable lesson about trust, as in:  Don't do it.  So the third call was harsh but easy. Her proselytizing had brought her no Godly approbation, just the stench of manure spread on burning sulfur. That may be overstating the matter.  I'll let you know.

How am I?  How do you think?  I'm in terrible physical pain, my right hand and foot have seceded from the union, I cannot eat, barely drink, sleep in fits, spasm at the whim of invisible cattle prods, and am returned to the days of fever and sweats, lethargy. Despite that, I take my cue from my siblings, a hardy bunch, smart enough to know that the only way through is through. That there is still music, and that even death is funny.

I cannot bear much more of this, but we all know I will.  My piddling troubles are as nothing. I still recognize beauty and humor -- but they must be either exquisite or of admirable kitsch.




© 2013 L. Ryan