Thursday, May 26, 2016

How to be Republican

I changed my party registration when I lived in New Jersey and someone I knew was running in the primary for some office.  Later I tried to change it back to Democrat but for some reason that option was not open to me on this particular day.  So I stayed a Republlican--it was easier. There were so few republicans in the district that I was asked to be a district leader, not because I had any value to anyone but simply because I was living and breathing.

This happened around the time Jimmy Carter was president.  I actually started disliking Jimmy when he decided to carry his own suitcase into the White House. What a tiresome person he was, chock full of false humility!   Him and his sweaters!  He was such a loser that I voted Republican in the next election and Ronald Reagan won.  Ron wore a suit and tie, not a cardigan like a Man of the People.  Good enough for me.

I became a staunch Republican.  At every subsequent election I voted for the republican candidate. Some of them were not so hot, I admit.  But probably no worse than their opponents.

This brings me to Donald Trump.  I plan to vote for him because he won the nomination fair and square.  I would rather vote for Abraham Lincoln, but he is not on the ballot.. I have two choices, and all the finely reasoned objections to him by highly educated intellectuals are so much hot air.  There is not going to be a Third Party candidate.  When I get in the voting booth there will be two names on the ballot and I am a Republican.

Vox populi vox dei, I always say.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Handling charges

I've noticed for a long time that when you order tickets for a concert or play over the Internet you don't pay just the ticket price.  Something else is added:  a "handling charge," presumably for the insult of ordering tickets or the inconvenience of the organization having to maintain a website for dolts like you, or possibly to cover the cost of the oxygen you are likely to consume at the venue.

So I ordered two $20 tickets for Tanglewood, and received a $17 handling charge.  Why not just charge $57 in the first place?  There are no good tickets for sitting in the shed, since there is no way you could actually watch the orchestra play because of the configuration of the shed.  You actually watch the live performance on enormous television monitors, which is much better.  The camera or cameras zoom in on the performers, shifting the focus from time to time: first the violinists sawing away, then the horns perhaps, then the soloist.  It's a wonderful experience:  the coolness of a breeze,  the clarity of the music heard in the night air, and of course the excellence of the performers and the beauty of the music.  I've never heard a bad performance, although the weather is not always clement. Sometimes umbrellas, raincoats, or even blankets come in handy.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The curse of electronics

When e-mail started to be accepted by everyone, I was thrilled.  I could keep up with my friends without writing letters or even calling them on the phone.  When someone died, I just had to post regrets on the funeral home's website instead of struggling to write a letter which is really hard to write and takes you half a morning to compose and then you have to look for a stamp and an envelope and put it in the mailbox, not forgetting to write your return address in the upper left hand corner.

So I was happy to have e-mail.  Until I started to get hundreds of e-mail messages every day from every retailer I had ever bought anything from and many I had never bought anything from, not to mention begging letters from Nigeria.

When I got stuck in California for 8 weeks I came home to find 7,000 e-mail messages on my server.  It took me quite a while just to erase them and I've been grumpy about it ever since.

But e-mail is not nearly as intrusive as the ads on my iPhone that keep popping up with gross pictures of women with black stuff on their upper lip or big fat stomachs or ads for first, second, and third mortgages.  I'm getting to hate my phone as it takes me half an hour to read a paragraph or two.

Facebook was a nice alternative for a while, until cute cat videos started popping up.  I don't want anyone to send me pictures of their cats, dogs, or even horses.  I'm also tired of elephants.  If you are a Facebook friend of mine, please no Fauna of any description.  Flora yes, fauna no.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Correction, and explanation

In a previous post, I stated that I had been doing this for 11 years.  Wrong!  It's more like 12 years.  I started in 2004, when I purchased my first computer with my first royalty check.  Of course I had been using computers at work, but this one was mine, and I wanted to take it around the block and see how it worked.  So I started blogging.

I was a lot more cheerful then, and so were the few readers I accumulated.  I have become more moribund, and the readers more reticent.  Hardly anyone comments any more.

I have an excuse.  I was very sick in 2015, of an unspecified disease.  So dire was my condition, that I actually believed that the angel of death had come for me.  This was an unusual event, since I am dubious about things spiritual.  I must have inherited a superstitious gene from Bubbe, my maternal grandmother.

When you are sick, you get very weak.  I could barely get out of bed and really thought I would die in California.  So I got out of CA, and have been spending time with doctors and physical therapists.  I decided to go back to the gym and see if I could recover my strength.  I'm still not up to standard, but getting better.

I've had a bit of good luck.  I won a place in a juried art show, and was just informed by Amazon that I had recieved royalties on my book for the first time in five years.  So I plan to resume my more than occasional posts here and be a little more regular about it.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Good God!

I have been doing this for over 11 years.  Is that depressing, or what?  You be the judge.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Slacking

My impulse toward self-improvement, never very strong, has been waning at present.  I got myself a copy of the Federalist Papers and sat down to read it, but I realized that what I really wanted was not to read it, but to have read it.  In short, I wished to have ti transferred to my brain without having spent any time with it.

Instead, I did what I always do when I don't want to edify myself:  I re-read Anna Karenina, one of my favorite books.  Every time I read it, I find more in it.  I see it differently.  In my youth, Anna seemed like a tragic heroine, but now  I am more inclined to side with the cuckolded husband.  I direct your attention to the part where Anna has just given birth to a baby girl fathered by Vronsky.  Everyone is weeping and lamenting at the top of their voices.--Are all Russians opera fans?--at the tragedy of it all, but everyone behaves in a surprisingly modern manner.  She is allowed to choose her own fate, and both Vronsky and Karenin are  supportive.

Imagine what Dickens would do with a scene like that!  Anna and the child would have been thrown out in the snow in a New York minute, and there is plenty of snow in Tsarist Russia.  Or at the very least, exiled to Australia.

Instead, Anna and Vronsky set up housekeeping together.  Everyone in their world snubs her, but not him.  He even offers to marry her, but she refuses to get a divorce--oh these Russian women!  More tragic weeping and wailing from all hands, eventually resulting in her suicide, under the wheels of the same train she arrived on.

Meanwhile, she takes little interest in baby Anna, nor does Vronsky.  She laments losing her son by Karenin, whom she is not allowed to see.  What is up with Anna? She's a tragic heroine, that's what.

I won't even get into the subsidiary characters, like Pierre and Kitty.  And Darya, Anna's brother's wife, very sympathetic and real.  Stiva, the philandering husband and lazy bureacrat.

Luckily, I don't mind reading long books, and Tolstoy apparently enjoyed writing them.

Anyway, I love this stuff.  All the characters are so real.