The Beans versus the Cheese Steaks

This should be Philly’s mascot

While watching the Superbowl last night I began to wonder how teams come up with their mascots. For example, the Patriots.  I’m sure the people in Philadelphia are every bit as patriotic as Bostonians so how come they get that name? 

Not to mention that there are probably as many eagles in Philly as there are bears wandering the suburbs of Chicago.  And let’s face it: New Orleans is hardly full of saints.

So why don’t cities rebrand their teams to promote what they’re famous for?  Chicago could become the Pizzas; Tampa could become the Prunes, and Los Angeles, the Diet Pills. 

This would lead to all sorts of tasty matchups, like the Portland Granolas versus the Seattle Oysters or the Milwaukee Pretzels versus the Minneapolis Cheddars.

How about your local teams?  What would they promote?  Me, I would be rooting for the San Francisco Sourdoughs as they battle Atlanta Peaches.

Licking wounds that won’t heal is called being a writer

For over a year now, I’ve licked wounds that refuse to heal. I’m a failure. My books, despite kind reviews from friends and colleagues, didn’t sell well and so my publisher went out of business.

Okay, perhaps it wasn’t totally my fault.

Many Booktrope writers immediately republished after being kicked to the curb. But I thought it was a good opportunity to address the confusion some readers had over the ending of my great masterpiece, Flipka. My plan was re-introduce sections the original editor suggested I remove. They were my precious little babies, so beautifully written and funny and close to my heart. But she killed them.

Well, y’all can probably guess the folly of that sort of thinking.  Yes, according to not one but two editors, reintroducing those sections resulted in an even smeller pile of dog shit. Total and complete manure, not worthy of dirtying your boots on.

Those of you who are writers, I can feel you cringing in sympathy and I thank you for it.

Anyway, it would have felt good to quit. Stamped the whole effort with a Failure, get over it label and burnt all copies of Flipka past and present in the fireplace.  I could have invited all of my friends over for KFC (who am I kidding, I don’t have any friends) to witness the celebration of my failure and they could have said things to me like “I could write a great story” or “Why did you ever want to be a writer in the first place?” and fed greasy chicken bones to the insatiable flames of failure. Probably a few of my imaginary friends would not have survived that particular party.

But I’m haunted by the characters I created. I can’t leave them in a simmering pot of pooh, now can I?  So back I go to writing. I may return now and then if I have something I think worthy of your time to read but otherwise, it’s back to the agonies for me.

I do plan to keep up with those bloggers who have been so supportive of me.  Thanks, thanks and thanks again.

 

Today I declare 2018 has begun, said no one sane

I’ve packed away the ornaments and washed and stored the Christmas plates, thus I declare that today, January 15th, the holidays are over and the new year may begin. The last of my extended family has been feted and fattened and now, with no more excuses at my disposal, I will attempt to get back on track. 

It used to take me a full day to decorate for the holidays and a full day to pack everything away. Not any more.  These days I hang a few treasured memories on a plastic birch tree. 

The cheery group below from Finland remind me of the many times they saved me from mountain trolls dwelling in impenetrable forests around my castle.  A gift from a family friend, they’re as old as they look.

This snowman, made from shell, was sent to my children from Hong Kong.

This tin spiral is a toddler magnet.  I bought it at a country store in New Hampshire.

My dining table centerpiece is a gold foil wrapped cardboard star which hangs from an archaic candelabra.

Sometimes I jazz my sculptures up with scarves and tams.  Below are busts of my children done before my wrist weakened and I could no longer handle clay. 

So, everything’s back to normal and it’s time to get back to work. But not today.  Not because I’m honoring Dr. Martin Luther King but because it’s my father’s birthday and he’s been gone for over a decade now. They may have shared the same birthday but Dad would have joined a nudist colony before he’d have joined a protest march.   

Tomorrow, yes, tomorrow I’ll get back to work. Any advice as to how I’ll accomplish this miracle?

A Door You Don’t Want to Open

From my junior high school yearbook.

By high school I’d decided that I wanted no trinkets (such as yearbooks) to remind me of the four miserable years I’d spent in high school. Truth be told, I probably brought on my own misery by telling my classmates that everything they held dear was stupid.  Football – stupid.  Proms – stupid.  Cheerleading – really, really stupid. And what was smart?  Protesting senseless wars, archaic dress codes and, well, just about anything. It’s a miracle my classmates didn’t drown me in PE, which I probably also protested. 

However, before I became such a sanctimonious nincompoop, I was an insecure junior high schooler desperate to fit in.  Not only did I buy yearbooks, but I had everyone I ran into sign the darn things, even the teachers!

Recently I cracked open my junior high school yearbook. I was looking for a name mentioned by a friend that sounded familiar.  I didn’t find the name but I was opening a door that should have remained forever closed.

First to the good memories: Above  is my favorite science teacher.  He was young, red-haired and fool-hardy enough to lead an astronomy club full of thirteen-year- olds up to the shingled rooftop of a four-story building where there was nothing to stop anyone of us from rolling off the edge.  

My German teacher insisted we call him Herr Assmus. I guess he figured that if he was going to be teased for his name by students, he might as well go along with the gag.  However he had his limits. One day, after being forced to teach German in a room also used for Sex Education, he erupted in a fury: “I cannot teach German with a penis staring at me!”  Then he proceeded to rip a diagram of a  penis off the wall while we all cracked up. 

This teacher hated me.  I had absolutely no homemaking skills and practically burnt down her kitchen.

My art teacher reminded me of Tony Randall from the Odd Couple.  Fastidious and neat but always smiling. 

Our custodian was always on the spot when we forgot the combinations to our locker but never scolded us.  I guess that’s why he got a special place in the yearbook.

 Nori had it all:  Looks, athletic ability, and a stable family. He was also an alcoholic. I went out with him once in high school; he picked me up drunk and took me to a party with other football players and their girlfriends.  There he proceeded to get even drunker and wandered off to a bedroom where the school’s “easy” girl serviced the boys while their prim girlfriends sat together and gossiped. One of the other football players became disgusted with the game and took me home. Not long after, Nori drove off a cliff up at Tahoe.

After his death, we found our his other “shameful” secret:  he was Jewish.

Blake took one psychedelic too many and ended up in the state mental institute. When we went to see him, he claimed to be Jesus. Not long after, he also died.

Dee was so cute and bubbly that all the boys had crushes on her, even the ones from out in the sticks where she would have been called “colored” or worse.  She disappeared from school one day without a word.  Months later we found out from our sex education teacher that she’d bled to death in an alley in Oakland, California after an illegal abortion.  I often think about her. Fourteen years old. 

My mother tried to set me up with this guy because his father was a self-made millionaire. He had a Trump-like personality and actually shot someone he’d never met in the back thinking he’d get away with it. Pretty boy didn’t last long in jail. 

Above is the James Dean of our class. His rebellious streak got him slapped around (and worse) by the male teachers (hey – this was a different time).He’s probably in jail but I liked him.

 This gal actually murdered someone and got away with it. But it was okay because he was a Piute Indian and she was the daughter of a prominent socialite. On her picture she wrote “Nancy is a queer.”  As far as I know, she is still alive.

Okay – we didn’t all turn out to be murderers or drug addicts or dead in an alley somewhere. Jon, who was a neighbor of mine, is a lawyer who worked in the Obama administration. The last time I saw Johanna and Lucille was at the premiere of their art show at the De Young Museum. Steve was Mr. Popular all through school because he was kind and thoughtful to everyone.  He’s a basketball coach out in Winnemucca.  

Oh and I found a picture of my ex-husband as a thirteen year old which you don’t get to see  because I want you to have some respect for me!

My advice to you all is stay away from those old yearbooks.  Reopening them is often  like playing the game Jumanji.   

To see legitimate doors, check out Norm Frampton’s ThursdayDoors challenge. 

Bakers White with Flour

tin hats

She is gone now into the shadowlands of my tearful breakdown and I follow encased in a poor recollection, one of denial and regret.  I will see her at play and in the way she held her hands just so around her face.  Pirates sailed across her wake and the water rose through our house floating the pots and pans into the neighbor’s hands.  Oh, I can hear the other kids chasing down her name.  We are all the same in those dark halls, where mirrors abound, yet I know not what to do and I feel so alone, so ashamed.  I never protected her from the demons in the sand, the ones squeezing her form and I  left her there in the room somewhere circling a distant star, like a million pieces of a shattered, cold moon.  Please deliver me if you can.  Take me as a spirit, a…

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Me and Jane and the Zombies

My Jane Austen dolly

It has become evident that I’m not going to get any serious writing or editing done before the end of the year so I’ve decided to rift on the most boring thing about me: I’m obsessed with Jane Austen and will watch just about any production inspired by her work. Especially when I’m not feeling well. She can always squeeze a happy tear out of me.

In my defense, I’m not quite as looney as many so-called Janeites who dress in bonnets and empire waist dresses and have tea parties in the garden. 

But I did watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies all the way through. Actually, other than the fact that the Bennett sisters are zombie killers, the plot is fairly close to the original.

That’s not always the case with P & P.  In the first film version (1940), the producers changed the time period to the late 1800s so that Greer Garson could dress and act more like Scarlett O’Hara and less like, well, Elizabeth Bennett. Then they compounded their tomfoolery by casting that obnoxious gasbag Sir Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. But it could have been worse. They originally tried to cast Clark Gable in the part. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy cannot be played by just any actor.  He or she has to be able to capture a character who is beyond stinky rich and prickly as a cactus but also kind and generous. Not to mention sensitive. But not too sensitive. In the 2003 version of P & P a little known Scottish actor plays opposite Kiera Knightley. She does a decent job as Elizabeth but he looks at times like he’s going to cry.  No, no, no.  Darcy is a Englishman gentleman and they do not cry!  Stiff upper lip and all that!

I also do not want to see Elizabeth and Darcy as a bickering married couple, as in the 2013 film Death Comes to Pemberley.  Even if Wickham is accused of murder and Darcy is forced to defend him for reasons that make no sense, Darcy and Elizabeth do not bicker.  They all out fight. Then they make up. Darcy gets wet, and, well, you know.

Speaking of wet Darcys, in the 1995 PBS miniseries, Colin Firth did the impossible. He pulled off Darcy. And for his efforts, look what they did to the poor guy.

They turned him into a swamp monster.

Happy New Years everyone!