Certainty of death, no chance for survival

Thanksgiving night we watched the final episode of the Lord of the Rings as we ate the crab and potato salad.  When the trilogy first debuted, our home was where stockings were opened Christmas morning and then we all walked down to the Art Deco theater at the bottom of the hill to watch whatever had just released.  

We began this Xmas tradition in 1983 with The Christmas Story, a low budget picture that was not expected to do well at the box office and is now a holiday classic. We’d had a rough year and that movie was the perfect distraction.

The next year was even worse.  After a failed attempt at merriment, we hiked down the hill to watch Ghostbusters. 

I can’t remember all the movies we saw in the ensuing years. Generally silly flicks. None were able to make us laugh until we cried. None were as cathartic as the first two. 

By the way, who’s your favorite character in Ghostbusters?  Mine’s the wise-cracking receptionist played by Annie Potts. I love that gal.

To my teenage friends and I, the book The Lord of The Rings was the holy gospel of Middle Earth. It was where we were meant to be and not the Reno High School biology lab dissecting frogs. We’d heard about the analogies to WWII and the Nazis, but had no real understanding of the horrors of concentration camps or the ability of power to leech the soul from a human being. We just wanted to escape the mundanity of our lives.

Now LOTR seems like a warning and is too close to comfort to exit the theater refreshed.  I think we’ll see a comedy instead.  Any suggestions?

Giant Turkey Caravan Headed For US Border

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

Thanksgiving, turkeys, caravan, humor, Modern PhilosopherI don’t want to be a fear monger, Modern Philosophers, but I need to warn you that there is another huge caravan headed towards the U.S. border.

This one, however, is heading north through Maine on its way to Canada.

And this caravan is not made up of migrants fleeing persecution, criminals fleeing prosecution, or terrorists looking to enter the country without detection.

In fact, there are no humans at all in this caravan.

It’s made up entirely of turkeys.

Thousands of them.

The caravan crossed into Maine yesterday, and is making a bee line for the border with Canada.  When asked about the parade of northbound turkeys, Maine Governor Paul LePage stated: “As long as they aren’t hurting anyone, I could care less.  My term is almost over, and I don’t need the headache.”

Maine State Police and the Maine Warden Service have been monitoring the caravan’s progress, and…

View original post 453 more words

In Flander’s Fields

Today is the 11th day of the 11th month on which we celebrate the ending of the war to end all wars. I don’t think a lot of people really understand how that war (WWI) began. I certainly don’t.  Something about the assassination of an archduke. Today it honors all veterans from all those other wars that weren’t supposed to happen.

Armistice Day means red poppies. If you’re out and about you may run into a veteran selling them. This traditional started with a poem.

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

McCrae was a Canadian doctor who, legend has it, wrote the poem from the back of an ambulance. Poppies leech the blood from battlefields and in the spring, cover the ground with a sea of red. A sight to see indeed, if not such a stark reminder.

My grandfather did not die in France; he returned to his family and lived a long life.The wounds he suffered were not visible to the naked eye. And he didn’t talk about them.

I’m actually quite mortified that a bit of rain has kept a president of the United States from attending ceremonies honoring the fallen of WWI.  It didn’t stop the troops from fighting and losing their lives. Shame on him. 

 

Voting from the Great Beyond

I haven’t been posting lately because I’ve been trying to finish the latest incarnation of Flipka into which I’ve rolled a sequel. Will the sequel answer many reader questions? I don’t know.  Will it be less wacky than the first of which one reviewer wrote:

 

The wacky, utterly unbelievable plot is, however, merely the vehicle for JT Twissel to demonstrate her enviable skill set.

All I can say is, I tried. But how can I write “believable” plots set in a state that elects dead pimps to govern? By a landslide, I might add. 

 

Meet your new legislature Nevada!

Was the other candidate so terrible that the fine citizens of Pahrump are going dig up a corpse and send it to the Nevada legislature?

 

According to this tweet, Dennis Hof, who wrote The Art of the Pimp and was known as the Trump of Pahrump, is going to vote from the “great beyond.”

I know Republicans in Nevada got massacred tonight, but my man Dennis Hof crushed his opponent from the great beyond in AD-36 & we crushed the anti-brothel initiative in Lyon County by about 80%. So pardon me, but I’m celebrating.

Fictional whores celebrating their dead pimp’s glorious victory!

I know those tea party folks have a few wacky ideas, like believing that Donald Trump is the second coming of Jesus Christ, but do they really think the Nevada legislature is going to allow a ghost to vote?  And, how am I going to fit this twist into one of the unbelievable plots of which I am so enviably skilled?

 

Waiting at the End

tin hats

There are no heroes here, in the dark place, upon the black crust.  Walk you say.  Walk where you cannot walk.  Strive for the slope and hope to get above it all.  Fly to a safe clean vantage point, float in your mind, but you are stone, and there is no escape, no home, no warm bed and you have chosen this and there is nothing to be done but turn inward and make the best of a fucked up situation: be alone, be alive.  Deep into your body you grasp for cynical humor and bastardized love.  You stand upon the absurdity of how the world rips apart and causes great pain. All of this you feel as if you are in love with terror and you have dressed it in a kind of light that glows and shows you the way and so you begin to walk along the…

View original post 120 more words

Montreal, c’est si bon!

When I was a vain young woman, light years ago, a man once said to me “you’re not the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen but there’s something about you.” I was, of course, hurt because I was too stupid to recognize a true compliment.

I feel that way about Montreal. There are cities with more impressive skylines, grandiose monuments, luxuriant gardens, and iconic bridges but there’s just something about Montreal.

Take its namesake, Mt. Royal. It’s not really a mountain; it’s a hill. But what a peaceful way to spend an afternoon, climbing to the top on a gently winding path.

Of course, when I was eighteen and hungry for adventure, I’d bounded to the top on a series of steep stairs and listened to the musician, song-writer whose beautiful face now smiles down upon the campus of McGill University.

After leaving Mt. Royal, we walked down to the river through Vieux Montreal. There, in honor of that great Quebecer and photographer extraordinaire, Norm Frampton, I found a door.

And here is the plaque outside the door.

Across from the bank is Notre Dame Basilica:

We didn’t go inside because there was a line and we had a cruise to catch. But I did manage to catch a shot of the side door.

Besides being known as the city of a hundred bells, Montreal is also famous for its assortment of “quirky” buildings.

Most were built for Expos, World Fairs and Olympics. I should have been paying more attention to the tour guide but I was drinking this lovely Canadian ale and getting a sunburn.  Seriously, a sunburn in early October in Montreal? This apartment complex, called Habitat 67, was designed by a young architect as a part of his master’s thesis. Joel thought it was a little too quirky for his tastes but that’s Montreal.  Perhaps not the most beautiful city but an original.

Who the hell cares?

Apologies for my quietude.  I’ve fallen into one of those rare moments of clarity, one might say “my muse hath come my way,” and I have been trying to make use of each moment she deigns to stick around. But I had to weigh in on a current controversy.

In 1994, an American writer by the name of Ethan Canin published a short story collection titled after its most famous story, The Palace Thief.  In this story, Mr. Hundert is a classics instructor at an elite prep school outside of Washington DC who encounters a student (Sedgewick Bell) who has no ethics. Bell mocks Mr. Hundert and the other boys in the class who are there to learn.

When Mr. Hundert catches him cheating at their annual Mr. Julius Caesar Contest, he calls the boy out. Twenty-five years later Bell gets his chance at vindication when, as a candidate for Senate, he lures Mr. Hundert and his former classmates to a campaign fundraiser at his estate and convinces them to recreate the Mr. Julius Caesar Contest. Again Bell cheats and Mr. Hundert calls him out.  But not in front of Bell’s audience of wealthy campaign donors. Instead, he lectures him in private.

The book was made into a movie titled The Emperor’s Club.  It’s a very good movie, however in the book Mr. Hundret is a far more complicated character than Kevin Kline’s portrayal. His commitment to teaching and to ethics borders on prissiness and inflexibility. He’s accused of being detached from the “real” world and his dedication is unappreciated by his peers. So, when he realizes he’s devoted his entire adult life to creating honorable men and has failed miserably with a man who might one day be in a position of great power, he falls off the cliff and into an ocean of self-doubt.  Is he mourning the decline of ethics in the modern world or the futility of his own life?  It’s hard to tell.

I thought about the Emperor’s Club this week as the Senate moves to approve the nomination of someone like Bell to the Supreme Court.  I’m not saying that  Kavanaugh would be the first unethical prep school boy in a position of power,  but the alarm has been sounded. Are the words of writers and the efforts of movie makers in vain in this our new reality, the real world? As Bell says, who the hell cares?