Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I Am A Part of the Rhythm Nation

... I really NEED to get a copy of "Rhythm Nation" on CD.

I actually like 2Legit, but if you prefer to watch only the OUTSTANDING tribute to Miss Jackson if you're Nasty, it comes at exactly the 2:00 mark.

And if you prefer the lady herself (though, seriously, the lip synch is worth it if only for LL Cool J's reaction shots), here is the original. I loved this album from the moment it came out, it's been too long since I gave it a listen.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Ahhh, sweet memories of the rockin' 80s (and OH YES, I know precisely how cheesy that sounds; it's intentional, y'all). Turns out heavy metal attracts sharks. No surprises there!

One of the problems with my being slow to blog, and particularly with my lack of online presence recently, is that among other things I have been unforgiveably slow to congratulate Donna Everhart on her upcoming release! No excuses ... but felicitations, Donna!

After the fires in the state of Washington: growth. Mojourner Truth brings you BLOODY LUPINES. And don't miss the hauntingly beautiful juniper, too.

(C)alling Frenkel’s hypothesis “a highly controversial theory among other academics” is like saying that alchemy is a highly controversial theory among chemists...

What's this quote about, you ask? Only the beautifully bigoted idiocy certain media are only too happy to propogate carelessly ... or ... how Australians' accent is indeed NOT the product of national drunkenness. What people will buy into distressingly boggles the mind, but this is a glorious takedown and deconstruction. The Arrant Pedant is one of my favorite writers.

Now, you didn't think I was going to make it through a Collection post without linking to The History Blog, did you? Of course not. In closing, I give you: The HB's piece on NPRs Great Thanksgiving Listen.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Oh My Darlin'

I never bought them for years, but not so long ago my mom and I shared a clementine orange, and I realized what a great little snack these are. Mom eats the whole thing, peel and all; sometimes I do, sometimes I don't; but either way, this is a very MOM thing in my mind.

She used to always put one in the toe of our Christmas stockings. The present-frenzy of Christmas mornings always ended with a few in-the-shell nuts and a clementine, and so now when I begin to peel one, the scent takes me not to sunny summer thoughts, but to the holidays. The tradition began when *she* was a child, and getting an orange was a special holiday treat. Of course, when I was a kid, I half rolled my eyes but more just didn't care at all, about the old tales of family dorkiness born out of the backwash of The Depression.

This morning, The Friendly Neighborhood Coworker came by and offered me one. I had three on my desk and had just offered one to another teammate, who's been having a hard week. And she already had one (possibly courtesy of Friendly). Friendly and I agreed: that is Christmas.

They're also just yummy, a perfect serving size (with or without peel), pretty to have around, and the smell when you peel a clementine is wonderful.

This season, I've been feeling the holiday thing a bit - not necessarily possible every year, and not always a stress-free emotional state. Two years ago on the Friday before Thanskgiving, I was interviewing for my now-job. I remember sitting in the lobby beside the fire (we have a big 360-degree fireplace in our lobby), sweating because it was not cold yet, in my interview suit, talking with the HR executive I had known in a previous life. While I was sitting there, the coordinator who'd been working with my executives was calling my home to make the offer. I had not even left the building after my interviews.
I had two business days to make the decision, and had to beg for that much. They'd wanted to hear by Monday. The speed of the process concerned me; I was used to employers taking weeks, even a month or more, to get to decisions, never mind actual onboarding.

I announced to my friend Zuba, and my mom and stepfather, that I was leaving my old job AT Thanksgiving dinner.

Our family is not given to that kind of dramatics, but the timing was all to perfect. And I wanted it to be a reason *for* Thanksgiving.

Was it ever.

I hated to leave my last job. There are still things going on with my friends from that employer that break my heart, precisely because they have proven I did the right thing for myself. I was proud, working there, being a public servant, and I loved my team. I still do.

But I have been blessed again, and the work I do here is the best suited to me I have ever had, I think. Or maybe I am best suited to my job, after all these years. It helps that to some degree I have been able to create this job hand in glove with my executives; they had not had an admin before, so I have been able to "train" them, and use my career maturity to all our advantages.

There have been some pieces of good news and bad news from that world, of late. The woman I turned to for advice when I got this offer: is about to be a grandmother for the first time. Someone I loved working with is coming away from a long period of poor health. Someone else has had bad news. And in my world right now, there are those suffering because loved ones are in distress.

Like the holidays themselves, the days right now are light and darkness.

Last night, I stood in my boss's office, before the sun had entirely set, looking roughly eastward so the sun was not in sight ... but its light was, for the first time in days. The sky, thickly overcast all day long, had begun to clear just over my head, and out in front of me rose a thick, white cumulonimbus, painted golden by light I could not otherwise discern. Below the mound of cloud, it was still wet and grey, and to see the edge of blue sky above I had to lean over and look up.

Today, it is wet and clear and golden and bright. Cooling, at last (yesterday's rain was 70 degrees, dankly misty, and muggy and too-warm). It is Friday, and pay day, and next week I'll work three days. And there will be time for work and time for rest.

And, hopefully - reason for thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2015

"I Was Raised Literalist."

 Last week, Janet Reid gave her readers a quiz. She acknowledged that all offered answer choices were incorrect - but the idea was to choose the least-wrong answer, and to state why.

This turns out to be a surprisingly difficult proposition for many. For me, it was impossible:

(Edited for clarity)

In kindergarten, they gave us an aptitude test in which one of the questions was, "If a white cow gives regular milk, and a brown cow gives chocolate milk, does a pink cow give strawberry milk?" I toddled to the front of the room and explained to the teacher that I COULD NOT COMPLETE the question, persistent in my attempt to impart to her the knowledge, "There are no pink cows!" She kept trying to insist I answer the question on its own terms. I could not come to such terms, I was raised literalist.

This quiz has me sitting, paralyzed, in my little orange plastic chair, peering in squinting turns at the purple mimeograph ink before me, and at Mizz Reid, unable to explain to her the quiz is impossible to deal with, and dreaming wistfully of pink cows.

Image: Janet did it!!

Janet seems to have enjoyed this story (though, again, it needed editing!), and quoted it in her Week in Review post on Sunday. Aww!

Amusingly (to me, anyway), this post got some attention this week. It is much the same story, in a way (and as much in need of editing), but ends with a good point and question.

I may not be able to cope with the concept of an imaginary bovine, but I seem to have a smidge of imagination anyway.

Friday, November 6, 2015

New Hair?

My fifth grade teacher used to comment excitedly, when one of the kids came in after a haircut, "New hair! New hair!" It was one of her mildly unexpected turns of phrase that came off as comedic because it was nonconformist.

Miss A. never married, because she was a career woman, and her concentration on her job and her kids was such that there was not room for other such encompassing commitments. Miss A. wore polyester skirt and pants suits in purple, neon lime green, pink, and red. Miss A. had the blackest of black hair, and Snow White pale skin. Miss A. is, very likey, no small part of my own sense of style, even if I don't express it in Visa of Dacron double-knit polyester.  Miss A. had a post-retirement career in the movies, working as an extra in quite an array of Hollywood and independent productions; I shared the background with her once, in the 90s, and it was fun to see her after twenty years or so.

I can see her rocking this kind of thing (rocking its bobby sox off):

Thursday, November 5, 2015


We are all captives of the picture in our head — our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.
Walter Lippmann

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Happy Late Anniversary, Henry

I am too often late to observe anniversaries on the blog, but it's worth the blush and apology to share a 600-year-old hymn in tribute to Henry V's victory at Agincourt. Fascinating for many reasons, not least of which is just the sound of these rather wonderful human voices in song.