Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
He was great. I'll miss him.
"There will never be another like Christopher. A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar," said Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. "Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls."
Thursday, December 15, 2011
An alert and faithful reader reports that the writer Susan Orlean tweeted today that she was up:
“to all hours last night trying to sort out the plot of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Failed.”
My alert reader alerted me to this tweet because she knew it would make me feel absolutely OK with abandoning Salman Rushdie and his beautiful but way too complicated for me book Midnight's Children. Thank you alert reader.
And now I've seen one example of why Twitter is worth the effort. I have an account but I never check it and lord knows I've never tweeted.
Picture of sweet daughter and sweet future son-in-law at the pond next to our house the day after Thanksgiving. Don't they look like they're lost and a little uneasy? They're used to the streets of Brooklyn.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I try hard to be open-minded, especially in matters of taste and style and personal preferences. But can anyone think this looks good? It's only barely less hideous at night, and some days I think I like it better during the day when everything is puddle-like. If you have one or two of these items in your yard, maybe because you have small children who find it charming, then I'm happy for you. But if you live in the house across the street or next door, you have my sympathies.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I'd worked my way through 93 pages of Midnight's Children and this chart shows why I stopped at page 94. Way too much work. But I really do want to read something about Pakistan so I've got a couple of books on hold at the library, both nonfiction.
And I read this delightful little book about Starbucks today. Cleansed the palate. Thanks for the suggestion Shannon!
Friday, December 9, 2011
Don't they look content? Lucy (all white below the eyes) and Georgette (the other one) were very pleased with my acquisition. I got it from an interesting lady whose cats died 3 years ago but she's been unable, for sentimental reasons, to get rid of this used-but-sturdy piece of kitty furniture.
I decided to use Freecycle to find good homes for:
1. 36 copies of Fine Gardening magazine donated to me by Gardener Susan -- about 4 years ago. If I haven't read them in 4 years I'm never going to.
2. 24 small cans of cat food that my picky kitties wouldn't eat.
3. 11 containers of partially used cleaning products that my neighbor no longer wants in her house. Toxic! says she, and she's right. I told her that I could find a good home for the stuff on Freecycle. Then I had to wrestle with the following question: is it better to find a toxic waste dump for such stuff or just pass it along to someone else who will breathe in the fumes while cleaning? I went with the latter of course, mostly because* I don't really believe that there are SAFE toxic waste dumps. All that crap we put in so-called safe dumps eventually ends up in the soil anyway (in my not-so-humble but ever-so-skeptical opinion). If not, why is there so much ruckus about Yucca Mountain? Back to the subject at hand. (But if you're interested in a discussion of toxic gardening products check out the comments on this blog post. Most of these people are so optimistic and trustful of what we're told about disposing of toxic products. I wish I could be so optimistic and trustful. But not in this lifetime, baby. Maybe the next.)
4. a couple of 2-way radios that belonged to Marv. I still have boxes of his books around here that I told his daughter I would either sell or find good homes for. I found the radios in the bottom of one of the boxes. Which is a good sign. It means that I at least opened the box and took something out. I give my buddies Anne and Susan credit for that. They're both in major cleaning modes and that led me to be in a minor cleaning mode.
*A more honest reason? Lazy.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I bought a couple of nicotiana plants in the spring and left them up close to the house, under an awning, where they were very happy. I do this every year. This plant doesn't like to have any direct sun, at least not under my care, and it blooms profusely all summer long. This year, the sweet little plant really thrived, and it's still green with buds trying so hard to open. I wonder if it would bloom if I set up grow lights on the front porch to give it a longer day?
I know this is a lame and boring post but I just had to remove that newt from the top of my posts.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
You know you're in for a long ride when the novel you're reading has a Wikipedia entry for the characters alone. I've printed it out, along with two other study guides to the book, so reading is a physical challenge too -- keeping all those papers handy and flipping through them to find the exact piece of info you need to understand what's going on in the story. (Like whose sister married which brother of what main character?)
The characters' names aren't identifiably male or female, nor are they identifiably first or last names; a son's name doesn't always have anything in common with his father's or mother's names (ditto for daughters of course); married people don't always share a name. Plus the narrator moves back and forth between decades, talking about his grandfather as a young man (about 1919 in Kashmir and other places in India) in one paragraph and his father as a young man in the next (1940s India). I think. I'm determined to finish it, but I know I'm missing a lot.
The guides and cheat-sheets for the characters are helpful but even they are confusing. One of them tells the story and keeps referring to "Pakistan." But the main action takes place when there was no official Pakistan, which kind of sets my teeth on edge. Did you know that the name Pakistan was created in 1933? I didn't.
The name was coined by Cambridge student and Muslim nationalist Choudhary Rahmat Ali, and was published on January 28, 1933 in the pamphlet Now or Never. He saw it as an acronym formed from the names of the "homelands" of Muslims in northwest India — P for Punjab, A for the Afghan areas of the region, K for Kashmir, S for Sindh and tan for Balochistan, thus forming "Pakstan". An i was later added to the English rendition of the name to ease pronunciation, producing "Pakistan"