July 10, 2013

Lamentations and Exaggerations


Perhaps too few blogs complain about the weather, so I'm here to exploit the niche. 

This just in: we are officially getting ripped off weather-wise. The overcast and chill'd showers of July 3rd and 4th were tolerable, even if the weather from the 6/23 to 7/3 was likewise lame. This feels like weather we're never really going to get back; we've effectively shortened summer.  It's rending the fabric of what makes summer so special: that series, seemingly unending, of beautiful sunny days, one after another which coax one into a beautiful sense of denial that bad things, or bad weather, happen.

It's always the cumulative effect that tries one's patience, and the cumulative effect has really been effective in this case. It was bad enough to spend Memorial Day weekend in the 50 degree rains but then to have July 4th weekend destroyed by chill & rains?

The killer, as always, is a sense of feeling entitled. And in July, hell yes I feel entitled to good weather.

Back to Work
Grunting at sleep's descent
the bear brunt of gravity's fall
shaking the remnants of ashy dreams
before the mirror of thankless tasks:
shave, floss, shower, brush,
rinse and repeat,
the overhead costs of civilization.
Motivation spare, I pick up Inspiration
Song of Songs chapter three
tryin' to get that feeling again
to borrow from Barry.


Colonoscopies are kind of interesting. Not the procedure itself, which looks from the outside to be hideously invasive, but the risk/reward ratio.  The chances of getting colon cancer are about 4%, and the chances of a colonoscopy "working" is about 50%.  So the 2% effective rate is an interesting over/under line - how much pain and inconvenience is worth avoiding a 2% risk? I've heard the procedure involves something like a 24-hour liquid fast and the downing laxatives like they were hotdogs at a hotdog eating contest.  Even the Church doesn't require any fasting for those over, what 55?  I kind of wonder if folks would put up with this back in the 1940s or '50s.


They drank more back then. And speaking of alcohol, some fun quotes from Kingsley Amis:
THE FIRST, INDEED the only, requirement of a diet is that it should lose you weight without reducing your alcoholic intake by the smallest degree. Well, and it should be simple: no charts, tables, menus, recipes. None of those pages of fusspottery which normally end—end, after you have wasted minutes ploughing your way through—“and, of course, no alcohol” in tones of fatuous apology for laying tongue to something so pikestaff-plain. Of course? No alcohol? What kind of people do they think we are?
Nearly all diets start with the exclusion of bread, potatoes and sugar. This one goes on to exclude vegetables and fruit as well, or nearly. But remember, remember that drink is in.
Alcohol science is full of crap. It will tell you, for instance, that drink does not really warm you up, it only makes you feel warm—oh, I see; and it will go on about alcohol being not a stimulant but a depressant, which turns out to mean that it depresses qualities like shyness and self-criticism, and so makes you behave as if you had been stimulated—thanks.
          Alcohol gives you energy, or, what is hard to distinguish from it, the illusion of energy. 

          Such power hath Beer.
The heart which grief hath canker’d
Hath one unfailing remedy—the Tankard.



I felt connected, in communion, with my fellow Americans via communal rituals of parades and fireworks on Thursday. This was magnified by the thought of so many soldiers having given their lives for the freedom we now enjoy. I don't normally feel this way on Memorial Day, when there are no public, communal rituals. Some patriotic souls go to cemeteries to remember the fallen in battle, but July the 4th seems different because of the spectacle, the ritual.

And I thought of how wise it was for Jesus to institute a ritual, the Eucharist, in which we might feel similarly connected, and also via a sacrifice, in this case His on the Cross.

3-year old Sam memorably got up close and personal and asked if that was hair I had in my nose and I said yes and he wanted to “get it for me”. “Not necessary Sam”, ha! Reminds me I ought groom better before he comes over. We enjoyed the early afternoon in the hottub and little kiddie pool, then the eye-pad in the later afternoon (it rained again;  the sun is starting to feel revelatory). Sam watched cartoons and we rented Scooby Doo. Will was charming as the day is long, fascinated by my remote controls and a happy-go-lucky fellow who can go under in the pool and still not be afraid of the water. Nice quality to have!


My brother-in-law's nephew Luke and his retiring Japanese wife were at the party on the Fourth. An odd-seeming match, this blue collar worker at the beer plant and this rail-thin, shy but friendly Asian. Stereotypes usually have some bit of truth to them and the stereotype of Asian women as being very compliant seems to hold in this case.  She's pregnant, but offered her chair (the last available) to her husband! He laughed and said something like only she would offer her chair despite being pregnant.

I forget how they met, but their wedding in Japan a couple years ago turned into a mini-disaster. He noticed symptoms of H1N1 flu just as he arrived in the country and at a pre-wedding party ended up giving the flu to one of her co-workers. Japanese government workers locked him into quarantine, forbidding he leave where they were staying and following up with visits to check on compliance and symptoms.

At the party I asked what Japan was like and he was at a loss until saying, "lots of Japanese people" which sounds similar to how I described Mexico City ("lots of Mexicans").  It's impossible to get the feel of a country or a people when you're there a short time and you don't understand the language. So sounds like he didn't spend a lot of time indulging in Japanese cultural activities, ha.  Something tells me I'd be really bored in Japan. None of the cultural tropes interest me, not sushi or samurais or sumo wrestling. Not their art or music or sports, with the exception of baseball. The language barrier wouldn't help and I don't know that people go to Japan for the scenery or the sights too much, though I could be mistaken.  Countries I would like to visit come in one of two flavors: either they are industrially modernized but are culturally similar enough to America for me to be able to grasp, or they are in not quite fully modernized (China, old Soviet republics) and thus are interesting even with the language barrier and lack of a shared culture.   It still feels crazy I haven't been to Germany yet, a land of half my forebears.

More Kingsley Amis:
Reading must be combined with as much drinking experience as pocket and liver will allow.

It is the unbroken testimony of all history that alcoholic liquors have been used by the strongest, wisest, handomest, and in every way best races of all times.’ George Saintsbury.

I think Saintsbury must've been sloshed when he wrote that.

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