Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's that time again...

Happy Banned Books Week!

To celebrate, I've been reading Lysistrata, a comedy written by Aristophanes around 410 B.C. In this play, the women of Greece are tired of sleeping alone while their men are off fighting the Pelopennesian War. To secure peace, Lysistrata convinces the women of Athens that they should withhold their favors from the men until they stop the war. After much titilation and frustration, presumably a peace agreement is reached and the rest, as they say, is history.

I'm not so sure that sex is a viable weapon to secure an end to today's wars. Sometimes it seems like the interests behind current conflicts get their jollies more by figuratively screwing with people (and the planet), and so have little interest in making love, not war. Then again, there are those who would have us declare war on sex itself.

Sometimes it's awfully hard to believe in evolution.

(Illustration: Lysistrata Defending the Acropolis,
by Aubrey Beardsley)

Monday, September 27, 2010

monday meh

Today's meh, dating to 1858 and titled "She Never Told Her Love," is from the collections at the George Eastman House.

Oh, those were the good old days. I can remember way back in 1858 1998, when most cameras still used film. But I was seduced by digital photography's promise of immediate gratification around 2003, I think, when I bought a used Fuji FinePix something-or-other for less than $200. Ever since then, I've let my old Minolta SRT-200 sit idle. I've considered donating it to the university's art department, but in spite of the fact that I haven't shot a roll of film in almost 10 years, I'm not convinced that I'll never take another picture with that particular camera.

Friday, September 24, 2010

funky friday

I didn't forget. But if I'd have posted this tasty video earlier, nobody would've gotten any work done all day.


listening with my mouth full

What the ... ? Wednesday, as I was contributing once again to my dentist's children's college fund, I was the captive audience to my hygenist's subtle attempt to "help" me with my "weight problem." Oh, she didn't say so in so many words; rather, she told me the details of a television show she recently watched, wherein some doctor was attributing all of humanity's ills to fungus. Everything from hangnails to cancer is apparently caused by fungus, according to this program. And of course, the key to vital health is to follow this TV doctor's dietary recommendations. There's probably a book to buy, too, and a custom line of supplements that ensure the health of the doctor's bank account, if not of his followers.

Now, I won't argue that I'd be better off if I kept my hand out of the cookie jar more often, but being subjected to a thinly veiled critique of my size when I was unable to respond, well, that's just foul play! I suppose it could have been worse: The hygenist could have just as easily been telling me about the last episode of Glenn Beck that she watched (now there's a fungus that needs eradication!), could've told me that she'd pray for my receding gums, or could have tried to pitch a tooth-whitening treatment. And even if I didn't have my mouth full, who wants to argue with someone who's armed with sharp pointy metal things?

I suppose the incident will have at least one benefit. I'm going to brush and floss five times a day from now on, so that I have to spend as little time as possible in that woman's chair next visit!

Monday, September 20, 2010

maanantai meh*

(*Finnish for "monday meh.")
I have family ties to today's "meh." In this painting, "Symposion," by Finnish painter Aleksi Gallen-Kallela, you can see my great-great grandfather, Robert Kajanus (second from right). The Finnish-English translation of the painting's Wiki page is a bit hard to follow, but I have a feeling that the conversation depicted was rather hard to follow as the night's drinking and philosophising went on ... and on ... and on.

And I bet they all felt pretty "meh" the next day.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Norwegian Wood

Actually it's Swedish MDF, but I like it anyway. I probably would not want to sit on it while wearing shorts, though.

I have a moderate obsession with browsing Scandinavian design blogs, of which there are an amazing abundance! I'm sure that part of the attraction is due to my own semi-Scandinavian heritage. I only wish that I had also inherited whatever gene it is that predisposes one to living a simple, clutter-free life!

My sister seems to have lucked out in that regard -- even though her home bears little resemblance to an Ikea store, she is more successful than I at deflecting the material detritus that partners, pets, and progeny bring into one's life. I, on the other hand, have the potential to become one of those people whose loved ones resort to the intervention of professional organizers and therapeutic de-clutterers. But really, I'm not that bad: I do maintain more than minimal standards of sanitation in my dwelling, and I don't attach sentimental value to items whose rightful place is the garbage can.

Nevertheless, along my upstairs hallway there is a slowly growing lineup of things that are destined for the yard sale that I keep threatening to have. I don't know why I don't simply put the outdated clothes, outgrown toys, and unwatched VHS tapes into Hefty bags and tote it all off to the nearest charity store. I suppose I rationalize that, as long as I'm going to the trouble of hauling the stuff downstairs and out of the house, I might as well put price tags on it and see if there's a profit to be made.

And if I have a yard sale, I can put the money in a savings account toward a trip to see some genuine Norwegian wood (and glass, and pewter, and textiles), in Trondheim, where some of my roots are. Ok, so it will take more than one yard sale to make a downpayment for such a trip, but I've gotta start somewhere, ja?

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a 1999-vintage cordless phone (slightly smaller and lighter than a brick), a glass nativity set (made in China), or a half-dozen black hoodies (various sizes), e-mail me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

monday meh

Usually I feel pretty good when summer turns to fall. Not only is the relief from August's heat a pleasant change, but I've always anticipated the "clean slate" that is associated with the start of a new school year, a new season. The fruits of the year's labors have ripened on the vine and are ready for enjoying. But....but....but.....this September I'm just not "there." At least not yet.

I've resolved to get unstuck from these doldrums -- that means changing the way I think, acting instead of reacting, and perhaps most difficult of all, developing some goals and then figuring out how to achieve them. It means that I have to unpack more than the luggage I brought back from my Boston vacation; I have to unpack the accumulated stuff, psychic and actual, that I've had in storage for some time. I've avoided that task for too long. When it's time to move on (might be to a new job, a new town, I don't know yet...), I don't want to have to drag all that crap along. Again.

Meanwhile, it's Monday again. Meh.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It's rough getting back in the workday/blogday routine after my Boston trip. But now the laundry is done, the dog seems to have forgiven me for not bringing intellikid back, and I need to haul my rump to the office so I can finance my next trip...

I reconnected with a number of old friends along the way to & from Boston this time, and even met up with a new friend who traveled to the city. Doug's photos are better than anything I took, so check out the link at his blog if you're one of those visually-oriented folks. As soon as I have time, I'll post more wordy stuff for you literary types.