Delaware Top Blogs

Friday, August 29, 2014

Is it okay to steal soap from hotel rooms?

Apparently, it is if you're British.

One of my relatives who travels extensively  has not bought soap in 20 years.  Apparently the complimentary soaps he takes from  hotel rooms fulfill the sanitary needs of his entire family.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer reading for young people

One of my young relatives was assigned this book for summer reading.
It tells the maudlin story of a young girl in the 1930's.  Not our happiest decade by a long shot, but this kid is doubly, no triply, unfortunate:  her mom died in childbirth, her dad is a drunk, and she accidentally pour kerosene on her hands, losing parts of her fingers--don't you hate when that happens?  Of course, this is particularly sad for her, as she is a talented pianist.  And to make matters worse, the book is written in blank verse, or free verse.  I can't tell the difference.  Here's a clue--it doesn't rhyme.
Young adult literature used to be clean and cheerful.  The kids went to the malt shop and attended sock hops at school.  They worried about being popular.  The trend in recent years is all the other way.  No subject is too gloomy to serve as the subject of a young adult book:  incest, rape, child abuse, gangs, poverty, criminality--all are the topics of young adult books these days.
I can't understand why kids have to read this drivel.  If you want to teach them about the seamy side of life, why not have them read "Crime and Punishment."?  There's all the poverty and crime you could wish for, and in addition it's a masterpiece.  Why is the Dust Bowl a fitting setting for teenagers rather than Raskolnikov's garret? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Where's Teddy Roosevelt when you need him?

What the kidnapping and murder of James Foley means. Teddy's response to the kidnapping of an American was a bit different.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Retail therapy

Went shopping with a friend yesterday--she spent $72 and got six garments. That's a little more than 11 dollars per garment and she was happy and gratified. Clothing is so cheap nowadays. For instance, Macy's keeps sending me coupons worth $20 off a $50 purchase. With this coupon I get three or four nice things to wear from the 65 percent off rack. I already have closets filled with nice things to wear, but I can't hurt Macy's feelings, can I? I think they might be going out of business, anyway.
Why am I posting this? Who cares what I wear? Nobody, actually. But I have a point to make. Here are all these cheap clothes and next door are all these people buying large screen televisions at Best Buy. They are dressed like they purchased their clothes from a car wash, after the car wash had used them for a while. On their feet they wear cheap rubber flipflops. Ugh.
Why must everybody look so plebian? So proletarian? If they are broke, why are they buying enormous television sets? It's one of the mysteries of modern life. And why do they have such elaborately painted fingernails? Look at the people rioting in Ferguson, MO. Clearly they are desperately broke, but with nice fingernails. If you are going to riot in the streets and get your picture on the evening news, can't you even dress decently?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stupid stuff, and plenty of it

I completely concur that "Don't do stupid stuff" is not a viable foreign policy. I hate these slogans that denigrate the intellect of the American public, don't you? Like, "It's the economy,stupid."--oh wait!
Seriously, I hate the lowdown argot of politicians nowadays. They seem to think they are in a pool hall, and not a nice one, either. Both parties are guilty. I personally don't like to be addressed or described as "folks," like some backwoodsman from Andrew Jackson's day. I don't care for the expression "shout out." I don't like to be told, "Read my lips." I'm sure you can think of others.
As for clothing,if I never see another President of the United States dressed in shorts, it will be too soon. Put on your big boy pants, guys! Big boy pants are those that descend to the ankle.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Museum fatigue

I suppose it was a bit of overkill to attempt to visit three museums in one day, but we did it. I loved the Berkshire Musseum in Pittsfield, which has improved immensely over the last three or four years. The second Museum was the Clark, in Willliamstown, which has undergone a rockemsockem renovation and is now a massive, unadorned, inhuman institution which would not have been out of place in Soviet downtown Moscow.
If you admire cinder blocks, this is the museum for you. In the public, non-gallery spaces, there is not a single painting or sculpture. A large shallow pool full of rocks adds an austere beauty, but fails to warm things up.
We did not have time to visit the permanent collection, but a collection of geometric shapes by David Smith was colorful and playful.

Paying kids to lose weight

Where can I sign up?

Saturday, August 02, 2014


I was recently informed by a website called that someone I went to high school with had looked at my profile--how exciting that ought to be for me! Au contraire, I say, using one of the few bits of knowledge I learned at the damn place.
I was two years younger than my classmates in high school and thoroughly hated and feared all of them.
My parents were going through a rather nasty divorce at the time, and these kids, in typical "Lord of the Flies" manner sensed vulnerability in me and behaved accordingly.
Every day I attended school was a day of agony for me; when I was a senior I had nightmares in which my diploma was somehow denied and I had to stick around the horrible place for another year.
Academic standards were somewhat relaxed at the time, so despite the unpleasantness of the experience. I learned little and my parents would have made better use of my time if they had gotten me a job picking cotton or mining coal. I learned a bit of geometry and a smattering of French and that was all. Anything I learned while an inmate of the damn place I already knew or taught myself, except for the French and geometry.

What I did on my Summer vacation

The highlight of my visit to Lenox is always Tanglewood. Sometimes it's freezing, sometimes rainy, sometimes so sweaty you can see the perspiration on the performers. But when everything is right, Tanglewood is magic.
The soloist was Paul Lewis. To my eternal shame, I can't remember what he played--it was by Mozart, and Mozart numbered his compositions. I tried to look it up on the BSO website, but they are mute about past performances.
This was one of the most beautiful performances I have ever heard. I was transported. At Tanglewood, the performers are invisible except as tiny figures seen through glimpses through the audience. But for the last few years, they have very artfully videotaped the performances and display them on enormous screens to the seated audience. I don't know how those seated on the grass see anything--but who cares?
The weather was perfect, music rang out in the evening darkness, there was perhaps a little breeze. Magic!