Saturday, May 25, 2013


We don't run out to recreate on a holiday weekend since being retired means we can do that any other day and not have to fight traffic and crowds. Thus we have no plans for the holiday weekend although Himself has already programmed the TV for hours of Indy race coverage. We aren't racing fans but the Indy is an institution. As Himself says "It feels un-American not to watch."

I will likely fire the race with one eye, choosing to either snooze or read in-between crashes and commercials featuring busty, semi-clad girl-children shaking their booty for the testosterone laden race fans.

Oooh! Do I sound like an rasty old poop? You betcha! How about a few muscle-bound fellas in Speedos waving their assets for the ladies who watch racing? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm Fluffy!

My life at this time of the year is  dominated by cat hair. Every piece of clothing I own is festooned with cat hair. The furniture in my house is coated with it. My meals are spiced with it. It wafts in clouds wherever I go.  To tell the truth it is like this all year long but especially in the spring when kitty divests herself of her winter coat. The shed hair wafts through the household, sticks to everything, and gathers into piles in the corners.

If you are owned by a cat you know what I mean. Cat hair is the decorative item attached to your life. That little black dress? That white sweater? Those jeans, socks, slippers, and even your underwear are dotted with cast off fur. Interesting stuff, by the way. The guard hairs are long and variously colored along their length while the undercoat consists of multiple wavy strands gathered into a bunch at the base. I've had plenty of chance to study it as it floats around my eyes and drifts into my nose and mouth.

Remember that kid from the Peanuts cartoons who always walked around in a dusty cloud? That's me and the cloud is pale yellow feline fuzz.

This isn't a complaint. I love my cat and happily put up with the felinity which translates to following her imperious demands and bowing to her refusal to do anything or go anywhere not of her choosing. Cat people are subjects. We obey.

And we wear the signs of our servitude… like a hair shirt.

Friday, May 10, 2013

When Good Authors Go Bad

What is it about books written in a series? The first couple often start out with wonderful promise but gradually the plotting seems to wither and leave a hastily sketched outline filled in with drivel. If the writer is competent the language and grammar will remain but the storyline looks pressed out with a cookie cutter, quickly baked, and never quite done.

I'm one of those readers who will get entranced with characters and absorbed into their world, start at number one and work my way through volume by volume. I will wait expectantly for the next in a series, ready to spend time with people who seem like friends. It is a great letdown when the creator of those books succumbs to "gotta publish" pressure and starts taking short-cuts.

I've probably written about this before but here I am again struggling to decide whether to continue reading a mystery series I started earlier this year. It held up well through the first nine books, faltered at ten, and stumbled badly at eleven. The writing stayed good but the plot suddenly took on the aspect of a one-hour television crime show: introduce all the characters then go trotting doggedly after one, only to drag out the earliest met and least explored as the culprit. Very dismaying.

So, one more chance for this author. Today number twelve in the list will get broached and my hope is that the last one was a temporary lapse.

(Names have been avoided to protect the guilty!)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Think deeper, Deep Thinker.

It was suggested to me, in the not so distant past, that blogging is not writing. At least not REAL writing. Real writing wasn't defined at the time but I inferred that it had to be in a form that the speaker of that opinion accepted and understood: fiction, biography, memoir, preferably somewhat extended, and this above all, on paper. Since I was publicly sharing a blogpost at the time and not inclined to argue the point I chose silence and crept away chastened. I seem to have been licking the wound I received by the remark ever since.

I wonder if the speaker would re-consider. Members of the writing group I sometimes attend blog, have published electronically, or write very short humorous pieces. Some have published on paper, others not at all. Every one of them considers what they do to be writing.

So what defines "writing"? My dictionary defines it as marking coherent words on paper and composing text. That seems dated in the electronic world we now inhabit. Paper… does this mean that in the computer and the webby world many of us now haunt writing will no longer exist? Or are both the definition and the speaker above failing to keep up? Is the crux of the definition "on paper" or is it "composing text"?

I think what was meant in the original remark was that blogging was too ephemeral for that person. It doesn't provide a lasting platform. It is too fleeting. But writing has always been about the exchange of ideas and writers have, like all artists, been the movers and the consciences of civilization. Blogging certainly can be about sharing ideas and nudging at society. Yes, it can also be banal and boring. So can books on paper.