Saturday, December 31, 2011

MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's New Year's Eve. If you're in the same situation I'm in, then you're not invited to a party; you don't have a significant other to tolerate you; you're at home with your dogs, or maybe your cats; and you prefer the company of your dogs or cats to other human beings, not that there are any human beings who would toast the New Year with you anyway.

Just in case you haven't figured out what to do tonight, or if you want something to do tomorrow when you're hungover, I can recommend a couple of movies.

The first is Crazy, Stupid,  Love. Steve Carell stars as Cal, along with Julianne Moore as Emily. Cal and Emily go out to dinner one night, they've enjoyed a delicious meal, Cal suggests they share a dessert, and when he tells Emily, Let's say what we want at the same time, Cal say creme brulee, while Emily says she wants a divorce. Dessert? Divorce? What's the difference? Cal's out; Emily's boyfriend is in.

This movie is amusing, and it has two stand out performances. The first is Cal and Emily's son, Robbie --played by Jonah Bobo -- who gives his dad excellent advice, and is heartbreakingly sweet because he's in love with his teenage babysitter.

The second performance comes from the great Ryan Gosling as Jacob, a suave bachelor who teaches Cal never-fail tricks to get a woman into bed. Gosling is hilarious, but ultimately, touching and personable. I've had a bit of a thing for Ryan Gosling since I saw the indie film Lars and the Real Girl. Gosling = Great

An even better movie, whether or not you've read the book, is The Help. It's well made and every performance is excellent. I thought it was rushed into production after the novel became a success and that it wouldn't be very good. I am pleased to say I was wrong.

It's the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, and Skeeter, a recent graduate of Ole Miss, convinces the local black maids to tell their stories to her for a book about the work they do for white people. Of course, the book is called The Help. The black women have some pretty wild stories to tell, and a few sweet ones.

Hilly Holbrook, a.k.a. Two-Slice Hillie (Bryce Dallas Howard), is the Queen Bitch of the Jackson Junior League, and she makes the most of her part.

Viola Davis's quiet dignity as Aibileen Clark absolutely glows.

I certainly hope I see some award nominations for this film

So if you want to look at TV on Demand tonight for something to watch, or if you're still in the mood to pop out to a Red Box so you can pick up beer and popcorn at the same time, Crazy, Stupid, Love. and The Help are my two recommendations.

Infinities of love,

Lola, who is really sick of people shooting off fireworks and guns and it's not even close to midnight.

Happy New Year!

POETRY TUTORIAL

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Those of you who are regular readers have no doubt seen me mention that you should never confuse the speaker in the poem with the poet. Just because I write about something in a poem, it doesn't mean it happened to me. Let's consider the two poems I wrote for my children: "Mama Zeus and Katrina Athena" and "Boy" at http://dumpedfirstwife.blogspot.com/2011/12/boy.html ."

Am I the poet? Yes. Did I write these poems for MY children? Yes. Am I the speaker in the poem? No. My daughter did not spring from my head to be born as a fully-grown goddess. My son did not have to fly away from an island on wings made of wax and feathers by his father.

I learned to conduct the critical analysis of literature through the use of New Criticism (not really new -- it started in the 1930s and is coming back into vogue). Try thinking of New Criticism as placing a poem or a short story or a novel in a bell jar and studying the text from all angles. Don't compare it to other poems; don't consider the poet's experiences; don't concern yourself with the time period in which it was written unless it's relevant to the text.

New Criticism = Close Textual Analysis

As for poetry, poetry does not make statements. Poetry suggests; poetry indicates. Although the sound of the poetry achieved through the words I use is important to me, I am more concerned with the images I present by putting the words together. And I don't care if the words rhyme.

I appreciate the many kind comments you have made on my poems, but I want to make sure we're on the same page. When Yeats wrote "Leda and the Swan," I assure you he was not present when Zeus turned himself into a swan to rape Leda, a young woman. I can suggest all sorts of things in poetry, but it doesn't make them true.

Normally, my poetry and my fiction come from a kernel of truth in my life -- but that's all.

Infinities of love,

Lola

PROOF

It wouldn't be New Year's if I didn't have regrets.  ~William Thomas

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Happy New Year! I guess.

When Someone I Love was a senior in high school, of course the time arrived for her to apply to colleges. She was extremely fortunate because every senior at the prep school had a college adviser to help with creating the list of colleges to which the student would apply. Plus, the adviser would look over applications and make suggestions for improvements.

At one college where Someone I Love applied, rather than writing an essay, she was asked to prove that something intangible exists. I am posting her proof because it continues to awe and astonish me. She wrote it at the age of 17 without any assistance, demonstrating the talent she already had when she was in high school. Writing a proof was the perfect requirement for someone who would eventually immerse herself in geometric algebra. And I'm very pleased that I was able to teach my children how to write because they certainly didn't learn in school.

It also moves me because she writes about our blind sheep dog mix, Kesey (named after Ken Kesey and pronounced Kee-zee). Kesey died during the fall of Someone I Love's freshman year in college. It was horrible. It was heartbreakingly horrible. She was several hours away from us -- no time to come home for a goodbye.

So I love it that this proof also commemorates Kesey. Here it is:

This proof explains love through commonly accepted axioms:

1. God is love. However, as any dyslexic atheist with a sense of humor involving anagrams, or slightly extreme canine fancier can tell you, God and dog are roughly equivalent. Thus, dog is love.

2. Love is blind. If love is both a dog, and blind, then love could be my blind dog, Kesey. Other evidence confirming this involves hours observing said subject, Kesey. Kesey's rotundity suggests Cupid (though not cupidity) and, if any humans feel depressed, they immediately feel much improved upon being within 10 meters of his presence. His presence alone is necessary for these healing effects, thus confirming Lennon's postulate, "All you need is love."

3. Assuming then, based upon presented evidence, that Kesey the sheepdog mix is, in fact, the physical embodiment of love, we come to the axiom "love conquers all." This axiom suggests that Kesey is capable of conquest, an idea confirmed, to some degree, by his Napoleonic stature. Additionally, his administrative skills are honed to perfection. These skills include Insurance of Proper Biscuit Flow, Observation of Neighbors, and Supervision of All Beings in His Residence. Such proficiency in the areas of Economics, Intelligence, and Administration, respectively, will lead to his success as a future world power. 

4. By the logic of causality, every leader has some initial minority of supporters before coming to power. In many such instances, as evidenced by history, the followers in said minority use a code word or phrase to identify themselves to one another. What better word for the followers of Kesey to use than "love," which keeps Kesey's identity unknown to the majority of the hominid populace, who seem largely skeptical about being subjects of a medium-sized white dog, no matter how jovial said dog may be.

Many contend that love her something to do with relationships between beings. This is partially true; all of this love is encompassed by the Buddha nature that is Kesey, and any human ideals about "love" fall short of the world as we know it have come to use this term in its proper sense, referring solely to one fabulous little white dog, whom I am in my dorm room missing.
Q.E.D.

Someone I Love received a very nice note from the admissions office at the university that required the writing. The person who wrote the note said it was one of the best proofs they had seen in a long time.

Ultimately, however, that university did not provide Someone I Love with a scholarship, so she attended and graduated from a college where she was truly wanted and appreciated.

I wish I could show you a photo of Kesey, but I don't seem to have any. When I left Illinois, I tried to keep moving costs down because I wasn't paying them myself. My soon to be ex-husband paid for my move, as was appropriate because I had to move to escape from him. Thus, I left behind items I felt I could do without or that were very heavy, such as most of the photo albums I had compiled over the years.

How I regret doing anything that I thought would help Voldemort, for he ended up accusing me (in settlement papers) of taking everything I wanted from the house and only leaving behind that which I did not want. So untrue.

So untrue.

But I wish you great blessings in 2012. If you have someone with whom you can share at midnight a glass of champagne or sparkling cider or diet coke, then you are blessed. The dogs and I will probably be in our lonely bed.

Infinities of love,

Lola

The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel.  Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears.  ~W.H. Auden 


 
New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot.  Unless, of course, those tests come back positive.  ~Jay Leno



 I made no resolutions for the New Year.  The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.  ~Ana├»s Nin

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NAME GAME

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I am appalled by all the weird names floating around today. I wrote a post recently about one unusual name of which I heartily approve, that of Apple, but in the comments section, Julianna of Surviving Boys mentioned the following:

We knew people with the last name of Coffin. Fine right? They named their daughters Oak and Maple. No joke. And then there were the Tanners. They named their daughter Fawn.

I think Oak and Maple Coffin are particularly cruel monikers.

When I lived in Illinois, the Horneys were in the neighborhood. And haven't we all known someone with Dick as a first or last name?

Having one name that provokes teasing is bad enough. Parents, don't make it worse by naming your kid Maple Coffin.

Here are some "interesting" designations for you to check out at http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/WolfFiles/story?id=116513&page=1,

And for some rather unusual names celebrities have given to their kids, including Kal-El Cage (son of Nic), have a look at
http://www.cracked.com/article_15765_the-20-most-bizarre-celebrity-baby-names.html.  

However, the cracked.com article includes two names that, in my not at all humble opinion, don't belong on the list: the aforementioned Apple (child of Gwyneth Paltrow and the guy from Cold Play), and Coco (child of Courteney Cox and David Arquette). What's wrong with Coco? As in Chanel?

But some of these other names. Oi! My friend Mr. Fox said some celebrity parents should just plain send their kids to school with KICK ME signs on their backs. Mr. Fox chided Penn Jillette and wife in particular for naming their child Moxie Crimefighter Jillette.

TantrumAccording to the article: "Apparently, Jillette's wife had no middle name, and their theory was that you never use the middle name anyway so why not have some fun with it. This does not explain the "Moxie" part."

I certainly don't understand Moxie or Crimefighter. I'm glad to be plain old

Lola

P.S. I worked part-time at a department store for a while when I lived in Illinois. One day I helped a very nice lady fill out a credit card application. Her last name was long and complicated and I do not remember what it was. After spelling it for me, she said with a smile, No matter how tough that name is, it's better than my maiden name: Buttkiss.
I said, I bet you would have married just about anyone to get rid of that. 
custom smiley

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

CONNIVING CANINE

I've posted this story before, but it makes me so happy I decided to share it again.
Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell.

On a cold winter evening I like to have a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.

The first winter that Faulkner consented to live with us, he was a little more than a year old, and the first evening that was chilly enough to send me to the kitchen for cocoa, I returned to the family room with it, sat down in a comfy green chair, and placed my cocoa, complete with marshmallows, on a tea table.

As luck would have it, Faulkner chose that moment to announce that he wanted to go out to his fenced-in yard. He did this by standing at the door to the garage, which was in the family room.

So I got up to let him out. When I reached the door, he made a mad dash for my cocoa and ate the marshmallows off the top.

And I have to admit that the very next night he fooled me in exactly the same way.

That's how Faulkner taught me not to leave my cocoa and marshmallows.

Faulkner's middle name was Boo for Boo Dogley, a play on Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. Boo evolved into numerous nicknames such as Boodles, and he answered to every nickname, including Sir. His name was Joe when we adopted him. He wasn't a Joe, and he paid absolutely no attention to that name.

Faulkner was the King of Collies.

What a dog. Every time Favorite Young Woman and I talk about him, we end up at the marshmallow story, laughing and missing him.

Infinities of love,

Lola

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GOD AND DOG

 I've posted this link before, but I like it so much, here it is a second time in case some of you haven't seen it.


Gentle Readers . . .  and Maxwell,

Click and feel good.  http://www.andiesisle.com/GoD_and_DoG.html


Infinities of love,

Lola




Monday, December 26, 2011

WHAT? MONDAY

Gentle Readers . . .  and Maxwell,

Today's question should be an easy one.

What did you do for Christmas? Or tell us what you did for Hanukkahor any other celebration you care to discuss.




We're waiting.

Infinities of love,

Lola

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY, MERRY


Happy, Happy Christmas 
to you all.
May God bless you each and every
day during 2012.
Et a
Someone I Love,
Joyeux Noel.