Purity Rings, Schotz Beer, and Grass Stains

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“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

Yikes, so starts the third most obnoxious theme for a 1970’s TV sitcom. Bested only by “Three’s Company” and “The Price is Right”, “Ode to the Nocturnal LaVerne No.3” has a moment of tastefulness and gentility among the myriad slapstick, farcical, bodily functions, and Burlesque-esse moments that seem never able to bind.

If not in Hell or Purgatory, those themes surely are in heavy rotation in one of ten waiting rooms for the Apocalypse. Smoking of all types is encouraged.

I rarely think of these shows unless a CNN interview prompts a new search, rife with possibilities doomed to remain dusty and tarnished. Times were easier and arguably more wholesome back then.

Emily Litella had a field day with fresh material, as she taught us all the pitfalls and pithiness of a modern malapropism. What would she make of the Republican Party behavior behind closed doors? Boehner would stick his tongue out and just claim his corner of the Chamber’s grand entrance. Silliness.

And now, Mr Bush is making an issue out of that Promissory Parade of Party Principles and the collective vow for the losers to pledge support to the eventual nominee. Pledge! As I think of the concept more and more, it makes me chuckle.

All I can think of is a Pledge of Purity ring and all that one might represent. I imagine that there’ll be new politico buzzwords for 2016: chaste, virginal, hard, soft, moist, and countless others that are queued to become mainstreamed and sweet Merriam fodder.

Would Jeb accept a purity ring from Donald? Would Carly kick the ring trade up a notch or two? “Ankle bracelets for Purity”? Really?

Oy ve. I’ll be humming TV themes all night: “Welcome Back, Kotter” “Love Boat”, “Nanny and the Professor” and … Ya know! It’s amazing how quickly we recall so many forgettable songs.

That will provide me with an engaging Friday afternoon mission. I’ll putz and ponder the possibilities.

“And we’ll do it our way. Yes our way
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you.”

Jeb and his Purity rings. Just how big are all of these Republican fingers? Just curious.

Today’s Tomato Trivia, As if Tomatoes Could be Trivial!

060_1960_theredlistSupposedly (and we Southerners mostly agree), Chapel Hill’s Merritt Grill has the planet’s best BLTs and BLTAs. They need, however, both coat check and baggage claim procedures.

After all, One will certainly return. One prefers the Double BLT with avocado on artisan Rye bread. One is getting a stirring of “wee hour” munchies.

I have a local friend who cannot, for the life of her, determine what “T” represents. True, I exaggerate but her query has gone unanswered since 2005.

The best of both yellow and red tomatoes can and should be eaten as if it were a fruit. Take a meaty bite, as one might for a golden delicious apple.

Grandmother Dorothy used to say “to-mah-toes”, having convinced herself that she picked up the affectation while a schoolgirl in the Cotswolds.

She, in fact, was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1904. When she left home for studies at Oberlin, she didn’t look back. That is, not until the last moments of the cool and aloof Eisenhower years.

It is blasphemously and potentially dietarily incorrect to use a meat-free and, thus, vegetarian bacon substitute.

A veggie BLT should be eaten along side a lactose-free milkshake. My mouth is freakishly watering as I enjoy the tastiest of dreamy visions. But it becomes a small drip of colorless substitutions and lonely calories.

As for palette-pleasing and gastro-lubricating, mayonnaise is the only appropriate condiment. One might “stir in evenly” a diced jalapeño or favorite herbs. But the mixture blooms if chilled overnight in your icebox.

Oh how we love the homegrown summer tomato. We recall the years that our B and our L commingled with unusually superb Ts, yielding a king-worthy sandwich.

Here in the hinterlands, we may wait as many as 7 to 10 years for tomato perfection.

This season, we have been extremely lucky. My beloved and I each consume at least one tomato every day.

However, we first bow our heads in respect and gratitude to Saint Norma Jean, the patron saint of both safe harvest and ripe yield.

Vive les tomates beaux!

(Image: “Tomato, Something Unusual is Going on Here” by Milton Glaser, 1966.)

Blue on Blue

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Late night or early morning? I guess it really doesn’t matter.

In either case, I’ll probably sleep right through “Wait. Wait. Ask me Another” …  again.
Damn. That classic Saturday afternoon NPR show has become a staple of my Saturday afternoons.

Now, that would be a rather large “damn” compared to a tiny “damn” … like the one I screeched earlier this evening! Let’s just say that particular one involved Jon, a television, and Wanda, the remote control.

That episode led to a 45 minute long internet journey. Henry rolled the mouse, leaving the cursor prompting me to a page devoted to our ever-gilt guru, Gustav Klimt.

I figured it would drive me to curse or, at least, stir with some degree of distraction. My alter ego’s Id did share a tidbit: the beautifully and soulfully-executed patchwork of colors bore me just a little. (“She said …”)

I do enjoy Gustav Klimt’s murals, however. They stir my loins … this one especially. (That innocent lip-twixter refers to the mural not my loins.)

It would look great, albeit it dreadfully out of place, somewhere here at the humble home I share with my beloved. Frankly, I’d awaken each morning thinking “I’ve died and gone to Biltmore”.

Damn. Damn. Damn. We couldn’t even get it into the house to start in the first groggy place!

Ooops. There, I’ve said it again, Mr. Vinton. You too, Mr Carter. Please accept my untethered apology for my blasphemous lyric-sampling of your 1960’s gold records.

It’s late. That actually translates to: it is four o’clock without so much as a yawn.

(Image: Mural from Vienna’s Old Burgtheater, Gustave Klimt, 1889.)

Before We Had Friend Lists and Since

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I have four Facebook friends that date back to my elementary school years at St Pius X Elementary School.

Then with neither intent nor effort, my recall harkens back to junior and senior high school. There were about twenty students with whom I attended every class. Every one. Except, of course, Physical Education. We even all shared “les cours de Français” with the sad Monsieur Bright and the perky Mmes. Norris and Grady.

Of those, I have reconnected with maybe ten and, sadly, disconnected with another two or three.

And then there’s today. I can’t even fathom the number of folks who entered my life in the past forty years. Nor can I guess as to those who, just as quickly, left. I am just thankful that I was never lonely. I had good friends. I had good lovers. I had good partners, except for the anti-Christ.

Thank God, though, that my compulsion for statistics, data, and trivia orts has disappeared into a blur of age, medications, and ever-evolving and ever-dwindling priorities.

Today, on this very Tuesday, however, I can only think about kind and compassionate people. That’s all I have the energy for: in both my painfully ironic surreal “real” life and my social networking.

Further analysis scares me. It’s difficult to believe that I share the very same being with the fifth grader who read Statistical Abstracts before bed each night. Or read U.S. Census reports, for fun, the following year.

Conceptually, I keep coming back to those two grades and the few remaining relationships that I have from the Sixties. Henry suggests that, what once seemed infinite, now can only be readily managed at a meager count of four.

As an aside and on a terrifying level of social network mania, I have a Facebook buddy from my crayon days at Chapel Hill’s Little Red Schoolhouse.

When we were only five.

Fare Thee Well. Pip! Pip!

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My beloved and I love Fridays. It’s a tea and crumpets kinda day, at least this time of year when we are rather homebound. Our health restrictions and sorry symptoms demand such. We have grown to relish the stillness from being surrounded by woods of ancient pines. And never take for granted a precious perk of retirement.

Jon might have a vanilla mini-cupcake and Vernor’s Ginger Ale. I might have a frosted, puffy, and cake-ish cookie with my trademark “Uber” Iced Coffee, Jon’s special Java formula and preparation.

The confections would be carefully selected from Target’s bakery specials. The libations are a manifestation of both long-term habits and what our health regimens might strongly dictate.

The humorous part of the preparation deals with our opposing treatment of produce. In this case, that would suggest the season’s true booty: ripe and sweet cucumbers and tomatoes. We vary in how they are sliced and dressed:

Missourian Jon doesn’t both to skin cukes. He then simply slices them into wafers. He then fetches a chilled pomme de terre and slices “any which way.”

As a Southerner by default, I peel the tender cucumbers and then score them from end to end. The end result is a tender flower with refreshing summer tastes and textures.

If one lives South of Mr Mason and Mr Dixon’s legacy, one stores all tomatoes at room temperature. That goes for the German variety or any of the strains that most counties claim proudly as their own.

Here, we have neighboring Johnston County tomatoes. The county in which Jon and I reside seems to, instead, be growing Liberal Democrats. Verily, Miss Vera. Fertilizer is everywhere, dear.

The shape of the tomatoes can be round slices, half slices, or the ever popular wedges. Consistency is the key for teatime propriety. Let’s just say that it hints of the grandest of Southernisms: restrained creativity and creative restraint.

The tricky aspect of Marklewood Low Tea involves the pusses. Henry holds back and waits patiently for a nibble of cheese or a cracker. He’s even been known to snatch a Saltine from Jon’s plate, cocksurely struts to the doorway, and savors the cracker.

We have tried to determine how he actually can nibble in spite of the brittleness. Like most of modern feline applications, it appears to be all about licking, licking, and licking.

So later today, on what will most likely be a sweltering gust into the weekend, my beloved and I will enjoy our time together on this crazy clock of ours.

After teatime, we will seamlessly ease into a mandatory Jeopardy fest and then the longstanding SciFi Friday. Jon will fetch a glass of Silk and perhaps fix a salad which he would prepare much differently than I. I would switch from coffee to iced tea and perhaps fix a salad … my way.

Conceptually our supper “snacks” will usually appear and taste quite differently. I guess it’s a Missouri/North Carolina kinda thing.

It’s 2am and Jon and I are almost safely cruising through Thursday’s denouement. Our lives may be askew, but it’s the communion of spirits that stays with us. That very teatime nourishes our weary souls just a little and delicately quenches Love’s thirst.

Cheerio, Gentle Readers. Keep that pinky raised with pride whilst thy sippeth!

(Image: “Tea With He and Me” by Ray Caesar, 2012.)

The Flagship Evelyn’s Furniture Uber-Emporium

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For Shirley, Esmerelda, Evelyn,
& Nancy

Veni, Vidi, Visa

“Offering fresh, appropriate, and


Extremely tasteful designs
for you and all of your personas.”

Specializing in Fine
Mid-Century Gothic,
Neo-Classical Art Deco, &
Nouveau-Moderne Furniture
Since 1983.

“No job is ever too big
for our team of
Eager and solicitous
Design ambassadors but,
Unfortunately,
Some are simply
Too small and bothersome.”

Evelyn’s Furniture Uber-Emporium
Has always been a leader in
Design, fashion, and jest.
Ids and alter egos
are billed separately.

A Rainbow Wrapped in a Sigh

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Yesterday was a cerulean day that became the sum of exceptional and precious moments:

I had another great hour with my rarely-mentioned therapist. Where Drs. Chase and Hoffman had failed years ago, she succeeds every other Thursday. With neither pretense nor pretext, we simply talk.

My life appears woven from tattered, faded strips of a Persian blue Fortuny silk with some moth-eaten chartreuse Dupioni. Like many of the Universe’s twists and turns, a trade discount does a metaphor proud.

My sister and I swapped stories from Life’s grand “tea party”, with at least a few bites of both earned and learned leftover scones of carefully portioned nostalgia. We talked of the sins of our parents — the ones that we inevitably repeat. And we imagined life in our doting 80’s. As if!

Finally, there were many, many random laughs. My Tom Bergeron pick would be when I was chatting with a dear friend. Ben Carson’s name came up. With no hesitation, I responded:

“Republican, African-American, Johns Hopkins educated, Detroit physician in 2015! What was God thinking?” The party is over; it’s now a raft of fools, as it were.

Lastly, I had a manly salad with blue cheese dressing for dinner, neither of which I can have post-transplant. It’s an unfortunate trifecta of bacteria, virus, and mold issues.

And now? I want candy. Pink candy smelling of clove and tasting of midnight.

Henry indeed loves his wee hour music references. Yes. Such a puss has his Bow Wow Wows. He’s the Candy Man and he certainly can!

(Image: “La Houppa” by R. Choppy, 1926.)

Thank God I’m a City Boy!

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This afternoon on the way home from our separate physical therapy sessions, a familiar tune started playing on some erstwhile Sirius radio station. With neither thought nor realization, the lyrics stated rolling off my mind’s tongue. I know better than to ever sing aloud in front of another person or, especially, myself.

Trust me. Freedom from such torturous screeching is well worth the tolerance of a weak, if not awful metaphor. Jon had not even an inkling of what I was thinking, nor was he aware of his bliss.

Surprisingly, I remained a stanza ahead of the radio and missed ne’r a beat nor a lyric. The song was clearly etched into my sub-conscious. Its title and the chanteuse’s name, however, both escaped me.

Anxiously, I remained a rather still passenger. I know better than to ask Jon a “music trivia” question. Hell, he couldn’t even identify a Madonna hit, let alone have success with this pop singer.

I’d like to blame my heart’s ejection fraction for my loss. Nonetheless, it could have simply been an unprompted mid-dotage moment. The song reminded me of my teenage years so my assumption was that it scored on Billboard in the early 70’s.

The disc jockey’s voice grew and I stopped just short of breathing. I had been reliving an Anne Murray song.

It was plain but complex: an unlikely, in fact unlinked, song was toward the middle of my life’s ever-evolving soundtrack.

There’s that dreaded rub. Was I becoming my parents? Would I start humming “The Last Farewell” or some Tony Orlando and Dawn tune?

Yikes. Remembering that familiar sound bite scared me right into a Casey Kasem stupor. I “reached the stars” just like he always urged his passionate listeners.

Unfortunately, At least for the time being, I did not “spread my tiny wings and fly away.”

I was far too busy reciting to myself a new mantra: I will not sing along nor aloud to any John Denver song. Let Wolfman Jack bear witness.

That is, unless my senses are “filled up”.

(Image: “Working as One” by Chris Buzelli, 2015.)

Loosening the Restraints on Prometheus Unposted

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There are Thursday nights on which I believe that the Universe is toying with me. Ha. You’re right, my friend. It is indeed the norm to teeter in my weeklong struggle between Herr Hope and Frau Frustration. But tonight is Thursday and I can only resolve this one day.

Granted, five years of daily episodes is surely a bit much, even in this zombie-ridden anti-apocalyptic world. Since the powers that “be” and doctors that “prescribe” are all in agreement, it seems that I shall be admitted to UNC’s Memorial Hospital in six weeks.

There, for some unpredictable and unknown duration, my privacy, home comforts, and companionship will be replaced with a marathon series of monitoring. Don’t get me started, at least not until the first Tuesday in June.

After the horror and dread subsided a bit, my game plan became clear. The tine could be wisely spent with audio books and a change in my social networking habits.

Less time on Facebook would create an opportunity to explore Pinterest and Twitter. Besides, posting images on Facebook has actually become exhausting and stressful. My image archive, then, could actually be housed in the dim and smoky back rooms of Pinterest.

I plan to spend those quiet days and even quieter nights becoming one with the Universe’s modern stratagem for successful networking.

And I will try to ascertain how, after four years of decent readership statistics, I can revamp this very blog, the object of Our Dear Prometheus’s compulsions.

It’s difficult to believe that a few of my friends scolded me recently. They assured me that I am not the least bit obsessive!

Have you evuh?

Her New Collection at Miss Nell’s Olde Bi-Curiosity Shoppe

Once a Favored Gallic designer, Edith Head-less is still centuries away from becoming the fashion icon of her inevitable, future legacy. Neither has she any knowledge of the many Golden Orbs and Pantomine Guild Awards she will accrue, the latter fondly referred to as the Panties.

Absolutely no other 16th or 17th century tailor-type could surpass her edgy vision, impeccable seamstry, and joust-stopping details on sleeves, epaulets, anywhere that could flash a bauble or bibble.

The drama of her legendary run-ins with the British monarchy made her name famous throughout the shires, at least until the glory days of Restoration glamour were long gone.

The casual reference to Headless’s surname has led to a great deal of Olde English slang as well as modern paraphernalia in Miss Nell’s Olde Bi-Curiosity Shoppe. Local Merchant Ambassador, Mrs Lovett, is working on new promotions to lease the remaining retail space.

The merchantress offers a great many styles of hoods, initially marketed by Miss Edie as Head Cozies for “men on the go”. They cleverly even doubled as overnight bags and/or modern skivvies for a proper Renaissance man.

We present the latest in men’s dress R-T-W fashion from the Renaissance era, including a humbolt of German, Italian, Gallic, Finnish, and French designs.

The collection includes daywear, evening clothes, and fashionable battle attire: exuding elegance in every situation. That Miss Head-less is a crackerjack business woman.

Lean back and let the boys do their thing. I, no doubt, shall be involved in yet another silly or whimsical venture. I bet you sense a pattern, Dear Friend. And please don’t chastise me for century-hopping.

I’ll simply let it be.

Such are the Days of Our Lilies

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As spring sneaks into the yard from the brambly woods in the back, one thing is certain. We will have flowers soon, probably of some new cross-bred curiosities of Roses, Lilies, Impatiens, as well as Henry’s and my favorites, Lobelia and Nasturtia. The Lilies, of course, are of the garden or glade varieties, not what we in these genteel parts call “Ditch-lilies”.

I have lived out here in the hinterlands of outer Raleighwood for almost thirteen years. I had two dozen peony bushes in the back yard, mostly white and yellow, and a few black ones to confuse folks when we had outdoor parties. They would’ve survived neither the drive nor a new home. I never even confessed to my perennial confidants that the dirt at Marklewood is actually NC Red Clay, with a smattering of added topsoil where needed.

Thank God for the invincible 4′ Cast Iron plants I bought, perhaps fifteen years ago, from my dear friend Peggy. She was my plant guru and wholesale contact, but she passed away the season immediately before both my father and a close lifelong friend had passed away. I shall stop with that as to keep any melancholia sealed until another day … except that despite neglect and drought, they still thrive. Perhaps, if I’m not having health coverage issues in April, I shall quarter them. The yield would be a majestic overstatement of twenty-four plants that would span just shy of 100 feet.

I am rambling I know. It is late and I’m overwhelmed with thoughts and words and artwork tonight. Some hot tea while I decompress would be perfect.

The image I included here is of a painting by the iconic French actress Leslie Caron of “GiGi” and “Lily” fame. I always found her to be lovely and shy and genteel and compassionate and … Oh I wish I could find a better word that sweet! I like the almost childlike innocence of the flowers and the torch-like hand holding them, as well as the blue hues.

Tonight I shall think about my Columbine and roses that now dress their beauty for a family of four.

“I sit at the window and watch the rain,
Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo.
Tomorrow I’ll probably love again,
Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili. Hi-Lo”.

Spilling Some Thoughts Regarding Clever Inkings

Austrian artist Paul Flora (1922-2009) is known for his clever, whimsical, caustic, and occasionally colored black-ink line drawings. I’d guess even more so than I am for my over indulgent and undiagramable run-on sentences, “ad infinitum” as it were.

How can either the serious bookworm or light fluff-browser not like Flora’s work. I find his art amusing, intimate and sensitive when the subject touches on the bleak. It is always psychologically accessible. After forty years in the literary desert known as the Bible Belt of the Southern U.S., His marionettes, birds, and fez-donners all make me smile and stop to reminisce.

Flora’s unmistakeable style at once can take me to the nostalgia of my schoolboy years, surpassed by only Sir Elton’s “Good-Bye, Yellow Brick Road”. While the hour may now be later, the details a bit sketchy, and the sweetness mellowed with time, my cloudy mind’s eye recollections exaggerate the enjoyment in thumbing through German books and Illustrated journals.

I only knew two or three words and always had to imagine the narrative, keeping “mum” as to details. Eavesdroppers probably thought I was either mute or schizophrenic. I never let on. Besides, my homework was certainly waiting and I could always “talk my way” back home before I was made by my friends Damian or Mark..

I was still on the cusp of puberty with years ahead to mull over and hone my persnickety view toward art and its glorious forms.

Shalom.

Graffiti on the Wall of Sir H. Alistair Dumpty

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Little is known about Sir Humpty until he moved to the United States, finally settling in the “Big Over Easy” in 1891. He has enjoyed a colorful and proud tradition in politics, nursery rhymes, theater, and local military skirmishes.

He was married to both Mitzi Gaynor and Angie Dickinson, the latter having taken acting classes from our ovoid buddy. The group would normally meet after breakfast at his exclusive and private mansion in Brentwood, once the home of superstar Karen Valentine. He is, of course, famous for having pioneered the Hump Your Method Theory of different levels acting.

He has been the subject of many biopics for Merchant-Ivory, and regularly appears on TVLand. His story is highly sought after by many distinguished biographers, from Jacqueline Susann and Jackie Collins to the less intellectual, yet mature Readers Digest.

Humpty appeared in the Buffalo stage presentation of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1872). He was in all his glory, mesmerizing the audience and sctors alike. In this scene in Act I we find the celebrity he discussing semantics and pragmatics with Alice:

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously.

“Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master? That’s all.”

Alice was far too puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”
Les Massages et ménages débridées sont disponibles, peut-être, les Ménages aux dixieme.

Quelle que soit la saveur.. Je préfère les œufs pochés herbes des agriculteurs avec quelques herbes sacrificielles, principalement de noix de muscade, et certains Garlique finement hachée.

Sir Alistair is remarkable: well-educated, distinguished, talented, skilled in carpentry, and fluent in Esperanto. But he does get a bit riled if a fan is rude and improper.

It is ever so rare but that is the only time you’ll ever hear him say, yet oh quite sternly: “Eat me!”

I tremble.

The Evolution of Resolution or the Deconstruction of Dissolution

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Sometimes, the well-mannered, politically correct, and logical response pales in comparison to the alternatives, all of which at once appear unseemly and unthinkable.

It can even be proactive to be obnoxiously aggressive, overtly manipulative, or even illogically wired like a Trans Am in Daytona. It is funny, though, that it is the unshakeable and ever-mediocre establishment that chases after us with its cattle prodder of rhetoric. If not cautious, that alone may define the State of Our Reunion.

We only see results when the event chain is spiraling out of reasonable control. It is at that very moment that resolution starts a forward stride with behemoth steps. And we realize that “said” prodder is already in a shirt pocket, along with some extra batteries.