Beignets, chichi, Esquimaux!


Sample post to manufacturer

I applied Vextra 4x to my dog and only days later he is still covered with fleas, and now has ticks, termites, army ants, scorpions, a small beehive, and a colony of evil fairies.  And also I think he’s dead or possibly just in a coma. Because he’s not moving but something is eating the dog food.

Should I wash it off?


The only thing we dare be judgmental about anymore is food, and we’re draconian about that. But TV for example? There’s better and worse, but to say it’s all crap? Nobody dares. However fundamentally it is crap, and it IS better to do than to watch. Reading by comparison IS doing. You are decoding, you are imagining because the images are not thrown in front of you. It’s assisted creating. TV is not. No matter how good.

hour of the wolf

Belief has always been a puzzle to me. I just don’t understand how people are able to do it. And the afterlife. Of course your parents are alive in your memories and dreams (and how nice that the dreams are good ones, that’s got to mean something). But that’s hardly the same as an actual continuing spiritual existence. And how often I’ve wished my mom and stepmom were able to “see” my kids somehow. Funny, I love the writing of C.S. Lewis but how an intelligent man could think all that imaginary stuff (I mean God, of course, not Narnia) was real? And yet many very intelligent men and women have believed it and do believe it. Have we got a part missing, or are we atheists just more realistic about the universe?

After I came back from dropping kids off at school in the rain, I suddenly really felt like reading this. It doesn’t help, but at least it’s a beautiful expression of our inability to comfort ourselves.

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

shining moment

I just remembered this.
Many many many many years ago I was sitting on the subway with a copy of Barchester Towers in my lap. I dropped it and the man sitting next to me handed it back. He asked “is that Thackeray?” and I said “no, it’s just a little Trollope”

It’s absolutely true, it really happened. It’s not something I could make up!

Blame It on Mr. Rogers: Why Young Adults Feel So Entitled (WSJ article)

It’s not fair to target Mr. Rogers. He encouraged kids to do their best. Kids should definitely be encouraged to accept themselves the way they are, because there are some things you can’t change. No-one should be made miserable for not being pretty enough or smart enough whatever the decreed enough is.  And once you accept who you are, it’s important to go as far as you can with what you have,  which takes effort and discipline. At the same time, kids are kids and need to play.

We’re a self-centered, self-indulgent culture anyway, and Mr.Rogers didn’t cause that. The focus is on feeling good, from self-help books to spas to pills to surgery; and lawsuits when something goes wrong because it just has to be someone else’s fault. We’re obsessed with personal happiness as if it’s a goal and not a by-product. Kids see that. If the kid doesn’t get an A he doesn’t feel good, and that’s the professor’s fault so the professor has to fix it. In fact I think there’s some sort of maturity problem with our whole society. Adults should be responsible and do their duty, and from that comes satisfaction and happiness. But adults in our society just want to feel good without “earning” it by doing right. Feeling good without having to achieve anything is something kids should always have. But once you’re an adult, I don’t think you should spend too much of your time engaged in activities solely to feel good, not that you can’t feel good as the result of an activity.

I always introduce myself to kids as Mrs., — there should be a little distance. At the same time I don’t think there’s any need for a big backlash, kids are kids and should get to enjoy being kids. Of course they have to meet standards, but the standards have to leave room for being kids, you only get to do that once.