Tuesday, September 29, 2009

cloths of heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

~ William Butler Yeats ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

let the wild rumpus continue!

drawing by Maurice Sendak, from Where the Wild Things Are

The big debate over health care reform has turned into a wild rumpus. Republicans (yeah, I'm talking about you, Sarah Palin) are whipping the easily-led masses into a frightened frenzy with crazy talk about "death panels," and painting melodramatic scenes that could have come straight out of a cheesy 1970s sci fi flick.

But seriously, everyone I talk to in this country has a story about receiving bad health care or has experienced insurance company nightmares, or knows someone who went broke trying to pay medical bills, or died because they couldn't afford treatment. So why are we only hearing stories about problems in other countries, like England and Canada? It's because those countries, along with most others in the developed world, have some sort of universal health coverage for all their citizens. Things are out of control here, and we need to take drastic measures to ensure equitable and affordable medical care for all, not just those who can afford it.

Yesterday, I heard an interview with former presidential candidate, Ron Paul, (a doctor himself) in which he commented that he did not believe that medical care is a right. I'm guessing he believes in the survival of the richest fittest. Those are some reassuring bedside manners you've got there, Dr. Paul.

I'm getting tired of listening to tirades against everything President Obama is trying to do to fix long-broken and corrupt programs and institutions in this country. We need to initiate genuine and necessary change. What we don't need is to waste our time wading through a smoke screen of knee-jerk opposition based on idiotic rhetoric, and listening to bozos call the president a liar. (I'm talking about you, Joe Wilson)

This is a free country. Everyone's entitled to an opinion. We just need to make sure our opinions are well-reasoned ones based on facts, and not on fear, half-truths and innuendo. There's a lot at stake here...let's not screw it up by being too lazy to check our facts before we open our mouths, okay?

Otherwise, we may end up living in a Groucho Marxist state instead of a Democracy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

invisible horses

Way back in the dark ages when I was little, kids used to play outside after school. My little sister Kathy and I were no exception. We had a TV, but we weren't allowed to watch it if the weather was good enough for our mom or grandmother to shove us out the door to get some "exercise" and "fresh air." (We lived in NYC...there was no fresh air) In fact, it didn't even matter if the weather was good, we often found ourselves roller skating in the garage on rainy afternoons with our friends, going around and around in tight circles until we were dizzy and giggling and falling down.

In the winter, when the snowdrifts blocked the garage door or Mom didn't feel like cleaning up wet muddy clothing, I'd sit in the breakfast room for hours, wearing down crayon after crayon drawing pictures of horses.

Horses! I was crazy about 'em. I fell head over heels the first time I was put on the back of a little pinto in the pony ring at Kissena Park in Queens. I planned and schemed and measured the garage to see if we could build a stall big enough for a small horse. I was a realist. I knew how big thoroughbreds were, having seen them at Belmont racetrack, but I was pretty sure a feisty little mustang would be quite cozy in there. I lobbied for most of my childhood, I think, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. The parents were not gonna budge.

My best friend Jenny, who lived two doors down from us, had a wild imagination. We made up new games almost every day. Some were based on television shows, but most came straight out of our crazy little eight year old heads.

One day, we were sitting on my stoop discussing our love of horses and lamenting our parents' shortsightedness. (They just didn't seem to get how useful horses could be: they were easy to park, and I would be happy to run any sort of errand on my trusty steed, Dad wouldn't have to pay for train fare on the Long Island RR to Times Square, we'd never have to mow the lawn again, I could ride for help in an emergency, etc.)

Anyway, Jenny and I decided right then and there, that if we couldn't have visible horses, we'd just have to get some invisible ones that our parents couldn't see.
I decided my horse would be named Chocolate Pudding. He was a dark brown bay mustang with a long, flowing mane and tail the color of whipped cream. I think Jenny's may have been a pinto. The stables we kept them in (Cloud Nine Stables) were located (yep, you guessed it) on Cloud Nine.

Over the next couple of years, Jenny and I, her sister Lisa, and my sister Kathy formed the Invisible Horse Club of America, and held shows in our backyards. We held jumping events, steeplechases, and races, and endlessly debated the differences between a trot, a gallop and a canter. We set up viewing stands, and led stuffed animal parades down the block on our trusty steeds.

It was a great time to be a kid. No video games, or internet. TV was in black and white (ours was, anyway) and there wasn't much on in the afternoons except soap operas. Our parents expected us to amuse ourselves, so that's what we did.

I miss Chocolate Pudding. I just might have to get myself another invisible horse...this time, I think maybe it'll be a Palomino named Butterscotch. She won't be any trouble at all, really!
I'll just go measure the garage.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

clippings from the bathroom floor

AP Photo/Guiness World Records Book Launch, Ronald Mackechnie

Here's a photo of Melvin Boothe and Lee Redmond, who were the man and woman with the worlds longest fingernails. Unfortunately, Ms. Redmond, a 68 year old great-grandmother from Salt Lake City, who last cut her fingernails in 1979, tragically lost hers when she was injured in a four car pile-up in February.

This raises a few questions:
  • Was she driving?
  • How did she brush her teeth?
  • Did the nails come in handy for raking leaves?
  • How many times in thirty years did she poke herself in the eye?
  • To put it delicately, (admit it, you're dying to know) did she need one of these?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

this is just too strange.

My horoscope for today...(click on it to enlarge)

Yesterday, I wrote about having disturbing and strange dreams, and how I was consumed by worry. But this is just too strange. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this post about my horoscope. I'm beginning to think that the Yahoo astrologer is spying on me!