Ramble #1

Wow, things change quickly in New York state! But I am glad we live in Rochester and not NYC. I like my green space. I have never talked about myself before, but I just feel like talking to…whoever wants to read. I don’t even know what to call it, so it’s a ramble, I guess (though I’ve considered calling it a mumble).

But I live in present,

not dwelling on the past,

nor conjecturing about the future.

not blaming any person or group,

not fearing the unknown, focusing energy on today.

Sanity is much easier that way.

 

My husband is still unemployed (next week exactly 2 years after the layoff), but he’s supposed to start a new manufacturing job on the 30th. So far we’ve heard nothing from the company, or any government entity, that would indicate he’s NOT going to start work. We are going on the cautious assumption that no news is good news. We’ve been through so much these 2 years that we are simply…waiting. We are ready to deal with whatever happens, because we no longer live at either extreme. That’s been shaken out of us. We’d be disappointed, but not like we would have been before.

My daughter’s coffee shop job at the hospital is “on hold” starting today. The company will rehire any employees when circumstances allow. She’s rather relieved, actually. It had been tense there with all the restrictions being instituted. She’s trying to come to terms with this “free time” in her own way. It’ll take her a week or so, I think.

I’m self-employed as an interpreter and my jobs are mostly evaporated. I’m supposed to work the Census starting in April, but….we’ll see. I really need to use my time well and catch up with paperwork quickly. I’m taking a class at our local community college (Arabic), but now we’re going online. THAT will be interesting. Especially doing an upcoming midterm. We’re supposed to be doing writing as part of the grade – how’s that going to work?

My son is the only one still working as the (PT) Cargo Lead at the airport – loading and unloading cargo from cargo planes. Not much people contact there, and plenty of fresh air. When he comes home he studies for four CLEP tests needed to finish his first two years of college. But he can’t take the exams until colleges open again, so he’s moving ahead with studies and will see how many he can do when the time comes. In general, he’s feeling the pressure.

They’re both still under 26, and it’s a good thing neither has moved out yet; it would be very hard on them right now. As now-former-homeschoolers, we know how to stick together and support each other. I grew up in places where I saw this modeled, and it has many benefits.

 

I changed to a (mostly) plant-based diet a few years ago for my health, and my family mostly follows. We all feel better. But if they want cheese or eggs or hot dogs, they buy them. Occasionally I have a small “celebration day” with them, but it doesn’t tempt me to go back. It’s also MUCH cheaper, even if I buy organic.

I’m getting better at it – I have more recipes, and I even bought a new cookbook that I am really enjoying because the recipes are simple and most are delicious. I’m glad, because I had started to get really bored and needed new inspiration. I have even some found good recipes using beans (dry or canned), which really pleases me. My favorite so far is a black-eyed salad, which is 5 Star! Nice change, because before this I had never found a way to eat them that didn’t make me want to just pass for that meal.

 

The garden is awaiting me. Sigh…I wish I could plant early vegetables, but I have invasive jumping worms, which is a disaster! The soil is like coffee grounds on the top, and the lawn is spongy. There is a possible control, though – I need to find someone with hungry chickens to bring them over and we’ll sit outside in the sun and breeze, drink hot beverages, and talk while watching them root through the mulch for those destructive monsters.

 

I am grateful that we are not sick, though we each have our own personal physical issues, but except for my son’s Type 1 diabetes, nothing seems acute. Now that my daughter is home for a while we may go for walks in the morning. I’d like that, and I definitely need to get some exercise.

 

That’s enough for now. Time to get some last minute things done before, like get some Duolingo time in (I’m doing Hindi and Arabic) before I lose my streak. I have, however, been putting in less time, recently. Of course. Been a little preoccupied.

 

An old hymn has been running at the edge of my mind, so I will share. It helps me, anyway, and I love Guy Penrod.

God sent his son, they called him Jesus,

He came to love, heal and forgive.

He  bled and died to buy our pardon,

an empty grave is there to prove our Savior lives, and

 

CHORUS

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

Because He lives, all fear is gone.

Because I know, He holds the future.

And Life is worth the living, just because He lives.

 

And then one day, I’ll cross the river

And I’ll fight Life’s final war with pain.

And then as death gives way to victory,

I’ll see the lights of glory and and I’ll know he reigns.   (chorus)

Three Little Pigs – like you’ve not heard it before

If you need a laugh (and who doesn’t these days?) listen to John Branyan regale you with the account of the porcine trio in a manner most unaccustomed.

Video

“One Night in Bangkok” – video, back story and lyrics

One of my favorite music videos is “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head. The title might raise eyebrows, but it’s not what you think. It is a tale about a world chess tournament in Bangkok and the speaker’s opinion about the location and what goes on outside of the tournament. I am fond of music that tells a story, and this video does it well. (If there are any problems with the video here, just leave a comment and I will do my best to fix it.)

HISTORY / BACK STORY:
The song was originally sung by the British actor and pop-dance singer Murray Head (verses) and Swedish singer and songwriter Anders Glenmark (choruses) on the 1984 concept album for the musical “Chess.” Its music was composed by former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn K. Ulvaeus, and its lyrics were written by Tim Rice and Ulvaeus.

In the musical for which it was written, it is sung by the former American champion, who lost the previous year to the Russian. He is now in Bangkok as a TV commentator on (some say the referee for) the tournament between the defending Russian champion and a new Russian contender.

Tim Rice was interviewed about “Chess” and they asked about the location. He replied that he had noticed that other major world competitions were held in either the great capitols of the world or big cultural centers, while world chess tournaments seemed to be set in fairly unfashionable places or, at least on first glance, slightly odd places for events of such importance.

His aim was to contrast highbrow intellectual chess culture with the distinctly lowbrow attractions of Bangkok. Thus the American actor mocks those who only come to Bangkok for the sexploitative nightlife and other mundane attractions, looking down on what goes on, for he is there for the beauty of the game. This is shown by at least one double-entendre about Chess compared to the Bangkok nightlife -“I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you.” After all, it does seem a rather unusual place to have such a tournament if you understand that, at the time, chess was seen as a metaphor for the Cold War superpower struggle.

LYRICS:
Bangkok, Oriental setting,
and the city don’t know what the city is getting –
the crème de la crème of the chess world,
in a show with everything but Yul Brynner!

Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
since the Tirolean Spa had the chess boys in it.
All change, don’t you know that when you
play at this level, there’s no ordinary venue.

It’s Iceland,
or the Philippines,
or Hastings,
or, or this place!

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster,
the bars are temples, but the pearls ain’t free.
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister,
and if you’re lucky then the god’s a “she.”
I can feel an angel sliding up to me.

One town’s very like another
when your head’s down over your pieces, brother.

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity,
to be looking at the board, not looking at the city!

Whaddya mean?!
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town…

Tea girls, warm and sweet, (warm, sweet)
some are set up in the Somerset Maugham Suite.

“Get Thai’d!” You’re talking to a tourist
whose every moves are among the purest.
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble;
not much between despair and ecstasy.
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble;
can’t be too careful with your company.
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

Siam’s gonna be the witness
to the ultimate test of cerebral fitness.
This grips me more than would
a muddy old river or reclining Buddha!

But thank God, I’m only watching the game, controlling it.

I don’t see you guys rating
the kind of mate I’m contemplating.
I’d let you watch, I would invite you,
but the queens we use would not excite you.

So you’d better go back to your bars…
your temples…your massage parlors…

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster.
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free.
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister,
a little flesh, a little history.
I can feel an angel sliding up to me.

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble;
not much between despair and ecstasy.
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble,
can’t be too careful with your company.
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

========

For anyone who is interested, here is a link to the Musical: Chess, the original recording (audio, not videos, and has more storyline). A different production from the next link.)

This link is to a playlist which is just the music (the Broadway version is different than the original): Chess – Original Broadway Cast

And finally, here is a link to a review of the musical: AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Mathematical Limerick

I found this outrageous poem and had such a chuckle (whooped and hollered, actually) that I had to share it!

I showed it to my son, for whom math has not been coming easily and has been working on polynomials and quadratic equations this summer in preparation for college. His comment? “I don’t like that. No. I don’t like that.”

Yes, I know, poetry was not meant to be used this way. 😉

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The ORIGINAL version of the Serenity Prayer

This famous bit of poetry was first written by the theologian Reinhold Neibuhr. He was a powerful influence on the German Pastor and Nazi resister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Our world is violent and hurting, and people are anxious and angry. Dietrich also lived in a time of great trouble that, in many ways, was worse, but it is easy to lose perspective through our institutionalized ignorance of history. You see, His convictions cost him his life. The Nazis hung him on April 14, 1945, less than a month before the end of the war.  

Many are familiar with this prayer in its shortened form through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), although it has since become popular with many others. However, it is well that we also know it as written, for there is great wisdom there, especially considering its original context.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

jesus-the-good-shepherd

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The “Woman in the Window”

This isn’t a tale of fiction, or about the 1944 Edward G. Robinson “film noir,” but an explanation of Elizabeth, the woman who watches.

She’s familiar to neighbors, delivery people, the mailman, many who come up our driveway and (especially) the local kids, but they mostly just call her creepy. That’s fair enough because you can usually see her in the window even from across the street. It’s what she does, but not exactly why she came to be here.

We have a two-story, two-car garage, which is our only “attic” since the house has none. Built in the early 1900’s, it once stabled a few horses but was never finished up or downstairs. When we bought our house the garage windows facing the driveway looked sad and naked, so I put up curtains, added silk flowers in vases and, voilà! It looks proper enough from outside that most people think it’s functional space or even an apartment, though I tell all who ask that it’s just storage.

And so I unknowingly set the stage for the entrance of our unplanned “tenant,” the watching woman.

Time passed. One day I wanted to put away a dress form I wasn’t using, so I took it to the attic. I decided to put an old dress on it, and then added a cape, stabilizing its wobbly light wire structure, reducing its chances of being knocked over, and making it look more respectable. I was pleased with the result, and that was that. Then, some months later, it all came to a head.

When my daughter was young a neighbor gave her a beauty school practice head. She had a lovely time with it, but as she grew older she lost interest but still wanted to keep it, so when I took it to the “attic” I affixed it to the form because it seemed the logical place, Elizabeth came into being, and I became a kind of accidental Dr. Frankenstein.

Halloween came around, and on a whim I put her in a window facing the driveway–not so close to the front that she was completely obvious, but not too far back because most people don’t look up often. The effect was pretty much what I had hoped – she startled some and alarmed others. Even when they came up close and I explained her, she was still disturbing.

Part of the effect is the dark blue eye shadow that enhances her large eyes. Light and shadows of the passing day also change how well you see her. Then we have a solar-cell spotlight inside the window that shines up at her at night (it’s the only place we could physically put it), so the shadows cast look very spooky!

(If your computer can play it, set the video’s resolution to HD 1080)

Halloween came and went, and she was left to watch people come and go. However, time and familiarity hasn’t tempered her unsettling influence. In fact, in the last two weeks four people have mentioned her to me with nervous laughs as they glance furtively at her window.

Elizabeth’s debut was gratifying, but I never intended to make our neighbors wonder about us; I just didn’t move her because I got busy. But her continued presence provided unexpected benefits we didn’t want to give up. We have a security system, but that won’t prevent kids (and some adults!) from running up our drive, cutting through our yard and hopping the fence to get to the private street that abuts our back fence. Most of the time stopping them and politely asking them not to do that kept things fairly well in check, but you can’t very well sit in the drive all day! After she took up residence (so to speak) I pointed her out to some of the local boys and how it looked like she was “watching them.” The word got around, and shortcuts dropped dramatically!

I could share amusing stories about people’s reactions, but one was particularly dramatic. One evening our daughter rode home with a friend. They pulled up the drive, she got out, and as she walked in front of the car to the door her friend looked up, noticed Elizabeth in the window behind her, and screamed! My daughter says she doesn’t remember the specifics beyond that since “a lot of people…are scared of her,” but that one was most memorable.

A neighbor suggested putting up a second sign, next to the ADT sign, saying “Watch for Elizabeth, she’s always there,” but that could be a bit heavy-handed, so our “creepy” tenant is now a part of our security system.

You know, if it weren’t for her, I would mount our bat house on the wall facing the drive. It’s not only the best side for mosquito control, but also because it gets the hot afternoon sun that brown bats like. It’s true!

But…then we might have fewer guests, and the newspaper man might refuse to deliver to our door, so for the time being she retains the exclusive status of being our most interesting, if rather unsettling, topic of conversation.

She’s really not that bad. Come visit sometime and I will introduce you.

(Am I enjoying all this just a little too much?)

Moonlight Serenade

(My son wrote this)
fullmoon
~~~~~
What a night…what a glistening, glittery night…
Oh you snow-white jewel of radiance that looks down on the earth
with a stare that covers the ground,
with a soft focused ray of pixie dust that surely transforms the clouds to cotton candy
as it passes through them.
~
You reflect the sun as my life should in the dark.
In a world that is bleak, I don’t dare hide my spark.
~
Conjure up stories for my mind to play out.
Tickle my senses like
daisies around,
fields,
rolling feathers,
the cottonwood trees,
the scent of these petals…
I’m brought to my knees!
~
A lone light in the sky for the world to all see,
you’re just a pinch of the magic and heavenly majesty…
– Josiah Lloyd, 6/19/16

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If George Orwell wasn’t a prophet, what would you call him?

Do any schools still require students to read 1984, or is that too dangerous to those who seek to gain power by dumbing us down?

Bloggers, never:

  • lower your standards and use the too-easy profanity,
  • forget how to use logic and thought,
  • use ad hominem and straw man attacks, or
  • cave into “political correctness,”

…lest you become a mindless slave of the system.

Keep learning, expand your vocabulary, and continue honing your literary skills, even when people don’t understand you and mock you for it.

“I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!”

Image

Animal Farm – the original 1954 movie

I read the book in junior high school, but didn’t know there was a movie. However it does make sense that there is one. Since one of the candidates in the upcoming American election is a socialist, it is worth sharing for people to watch and consider what the author was trying to say.

For those who care, the comments on the Youtube video I found explain a little about the production. I quote it here for your information.

Published on Oct 28, 2014

Animal Farm is a 1955 British animated film by Halas and Batchelor, based on the book Animal Farm by George Orwell. It was the first British animated feature to be released. The C.I.A. paid for the filming, part of the U.S. cultural offensive during the Cold War, and influenced how Orwell’s ideas were to be presented.

The “financial backers” impacted on the development of the film – the altered ending, and that the message should be that, “Stalin’s regime is not only as bad as Jones’s, but worse and more cynical”, and Napoleon “not only as bad as JONES but vastly worse “. And the “investors” were greatly concerned that Snowball (the Trotsky figure) was presented too sympathetically in early script treatments and that Batchelor’s script implied Snowball was “intelligent, dynamic, courageous”. This implication could not be permitted. A memo declared that Snowball must be presented as a “fanatic intellectual whose plans if carried through would have led to disaster no less complete than under Napoleon.” de Rochemont accepted this suggestion.

In Orwell’s original book, the animals simply look on in dismay as they come to realise that the pigs have become nothing better than the human masters of old.

In a stark departure from Orwell’s book, the film ends immediately after this iconic image with the animals revolting against the pigs.

“Punch, Brothers, Punch!”

twainFor those who read widely, those words may have a familiar (even ominous?) ring. Mark Twain was a gifted writer, but this short “story,” if you will, is intended (as much great literature is) to be read aloud. It’s not long,  but it is…entertaining, and worth the unaccustomed effort of loosening up your jaws and tongue to speak someone else’ words and inhabit his tale.

But as you do, please speak “with care,”
for you may become another “passenjare.”

Source: Punch, Brothers, Punch by Mark Twain

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