Last night on the flight home from Wisconsin I wrote an entry about some melancholic feelings I was having after my holiday. I went to post it this morning but I can’t find it. I frequently misplace things and I am forever taunted by the Car Key Gnomes and Cup Sprites moving my things around but this one has me nonplussed. Where is it? Did I write it only to erase it?  Who can say.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections in their latest board meeting suggested I ‘shake things up” but they didn’t give me guidance what this means. Once again I am to deduce what on earth I am supposed to do. It reminds me of  when Mother would tell me to ‘stop doing that’ without clarifying what I was doing wrong. TBDHSR are going to be mad as wet hens when they discover I’ve decided to revive my “Poetry” entries.

Oh the horror.

I like a good poem and I like to pass on the ones I find amusing, moving, and powerful. They are poison at the box office (hence the ire of the who-know-who) but there it is. I will try this on a regular basis for a while until they catch on what I am doing and threaten to use my nadgers for earrings.

In honor of the misplaced entry that ought to be here this morning:

Forgetfulness – Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Insanity

I’ve been wracking my brains for some time what would make a good entry. I suppose I could write one of those ‘what I did on my vacation’ entries. Today is Father’s Day, so I could drag him on stage and write about him. 16 June is Bloomsday which gives me the opportunity to write about James Joyce.  Alas none of these sound too interesting. I suspect I have done these before anyway. 

It’s rainy and rawther cold here this morning in Milwaukee WI. Brother #2 is asleep in the deep. He’s come off of a ten day night shift and valiantly trying to stay awake and entertain me but it’s no such luck. Until he wakes today about noon I am on my own. 

Being alone in an apartment with nothing do on a rainy day first sounds dull and  confining, but when was the last time you had nothing to do? I have books to read and as much cheese curds as I please. My flight isn’t until 5PM. I could spend the entire day here reading. I could even sleep the afternoon away.  

I’ve come to the conclusion being busy is a merit badge no longer worth pursuing as a sign of Eagle scout status. Somewhere is the past fifty years relaxation and indolence got dirty reputations. Nowadays if you are not continually running amok then there is something wrong with you. You must be a loser, a bum, or someone without inspiration. Last Friday at work I had several no-shows just timed I had nothing to do for two hours.  At first I felt bad I was just sitting there with nothing to do; something must be wrong. Word’s out I’m a quack or something. What will me boss say?  I used the opportunity to try some meditation and sitting still. It wasn’t too difficult and it was quite pleasant. Yesterday Brother #2 and I had no agenda but made it up as we went along. At one point he asked me what I wanted next to do and my answer was to go home and take a nap before dinner, which we did. 

“How are you?” is often responded to with a ‘Oh, I’ve been busy”. Rather than admire this, I am now shaking my head as if they has just announced their car has died and replying “Gee that’s too bad”.  Being busy strikes me as mere existing, an attempt to stay afloat rather than drowning.  I will let thems obsessed with being busy run by.  Now that I’ve had a taste of quiet stillness I will have another scoop soon and often. 

Solitude 1

I am presently at the Dallas airport waiting for my flight to the faraway kingdom of Wisconsin. It is a curious spectacle here at Gate A20: People are sitting in the waiting room in every other chair, all engrossed in their cellphones. They are oblivious to anything but their gadgets. I grew up with the belief staring at people is rude but I could do so without anyone noticing. The only one worth staring at has unfortunately just gotten up to attend to his ticket. I might as well join the chorus and stare into my laptop and scribble out a post. 

It will be nice visiting Brother #2. He recently moved to Milwaukee for a new job; his family remains in Michigan until they sell the house and move westward. It’s been several decades since I have had him all to myself as he’s always been in context of family mane with wife/children.  

As boys we preferred each other’s company to that of other children. We had friends of course, but we always got back to each other. We both had splendid imaginations with which we created all sorts of fantasy games and forts built from sofa cushions or cardboard boxes.  Sometimes at night we would get into the same bed and lie there talking. I don’t remember anymore what we spoke of but I do remember we would look out the window and wonder about the stars. 

Brother #2 is a radiologist.* He is working today.  I’m to get a cab and go to his apartment and left myself in until he comes home tonight from his work shift. He’s left instructions I can help myself to whatever is in the fridge. He’s encouraged me to go out prowling as the water is nearby.  I think I will take a nap rather until he comes home.  He’s promised to take me to a proper German restaurant no rubbish with proper schnitzel and noodles and a bottle of Rheinish.**

Tomorrow we have no firm plans. Isn’t that the most splendid way to spend a Saturday? We may go to the art museum or The Mars Cheese Castle (I want some curds!). We may just stay home and watch Dark Shadows reruns, something he has just discovered. “Can you imagine?!” he calls me after he watches some. Someone thinks it a bit odd for me fly cross country only to just sit and watch TV, but I can think of nothing better than to look out the window again with my brother and wonder about the stars, still there after all these years. 

IMG_1004

Brother #2 The Beautiful Baby. Some say he looks like George Clooney. 

*He is known in family by two nicknames: The Proper Doctor and The Beautiful Baby. Whenever my parents have an ailment they call him not me with their medical questions. I used to be a bit annoyed by this; now I am relieved.  The BB sobriquet arises from the fact as an infant I had horrible colic. In contrast he slept quietly for three years.  

**Sister-in-law #2 likes that Brother #2 still confides in me. “Go call your brother and have a talk”  she sometimes suggests to him when he’s vexed.  He does, I listen for about a minute then tell him he needs to chill. Then we talk Monty Python or The Goodies or Firesign Theatre for an hour which always makes him laugh. I don’t charge for this. 

Seasoned Spo-fans know I regularly pepper my prose with certain expressions. Novice Spo-fans find these puzzling. One of the innocents recently wrote to me asking me to explain them how I made them up.

First of all I should elucidate I do not make them up.* I am like the English language that borrows, adopts, and in a few instances hijacks sources far and wide in order to create a colorful lexicon.

Here is a exordium of some of my favorites ejaculations along with their origins. If I have forgotten some of them please let me know in the comment section so I may add to the roster.

Alas Babylon!  This interjection is the title of a work of science fiction from the 60s about nuclear war. A set of brothers use the expression (from the Old Testament) as code to alert each other of a pending bomb drop. I use it prior to dropping a disappointment.

An it please you. This one derives from Dickens. I forget what character who adds this to the beginning of her conversations. It means ‘That is how it is and I hope you are OK with it but frankly if you are not OK with it I don’t care as it is what it is so lump it’.

And yes I said yes I will Yes. This is the last line of “Ulysses”  It is a lovely expression to convey an agreement of much fervor.

An orchestra of scorched cats. Another one from my pal Dickens. “Can you deny when this juicy little scandal is made public the next meeting of the stockholders will resemble an orchestra of scorched cats?”  Charles wrote some good ones!

Avoid curried snacks. I recall reading this one in a travel guidebook. I didn’t understand it then nor now. It sounds like good advice though so I pass it on whenever people are traveling.

Can you imagine?   Was used by Mark at his blog. He used it lieu of ‘Can you believe this stuff?”  I borrowed it after he closed his blog; I think of him whenever I use it.

Dear me! More Dickens.  It’s sprinkled throughout his omnibus.

The dear!  The Best Friend adds this when he is talking about someone especially when he is about to deliver a major dish or tongue lashing on said dear.

Holy Gus!  Grandmother used this as a substitute for Holy G-d!

Hot puppies!  Taken from a Harvard Lampoon rendition of the Hobbit books “Bored of the Rings”. I remember howling out loud with laughter at this satire. Hot puppies! is the interjection/ejaculation of the Halflings whenever they realize food is pending. Thanks AM!!

Keep it sweet!  My brothers and I still use this  to tell each other to stop saying being naughty or uncouth or to can the gossip. It is short for ‘Now you keep it sweet, beet!” which is taken from an argument among singing vegetables on the “I think we are all bozos on this bus” album by the Firesign Theatre.

Like my men.  In the movie ‘Airplane!’  a boy tries to flirt with a young girl. He offers her coffee. He asks if she would like cream. She replies no she likes her coffee black – like her men.  It is near impossible for me now to list three adjectives without adding ‘like my men”.

No rubbish!  I confess I don’t remember where I got this one – and it’s one of my favorites!  – Something British that’s certain. I remember reading a letter in ‘The Screwtape Letters”:

“My dear Wormwood when I told you not to fill your letters with rubbish about the war I meant of course your rather infantile rhapsodies on the destruction of cities..”  

May that’s where I got it.

Obviously I am behind on my drinking.  This is another movie quote although I forget what movie. It takes place in Restoration England when women on stage were played by men. Some wicked old screw (more Dickens!) isn’t sure if the ‘ladies’ before him are truly women. They dick him about. He finally concludes in his confusion “Obviously I am behind in my drinking”.  I use it to convey I haven’t the foggiest what is happening or what I am reading.

Oh the pain!  This is NOT from Lost in Space as some imagine but from The Rubyann Boxcar Recipe books. In them her dotty grandmother has added terrible recipes.  It means how embarrassing something is.

Patience above!  More Ulysses.  This is Molly’s explanation when her menses suddenly start. I use it as substitute fir ‘Heavens!” or “Oh lord!” or “what the f-k!”

Please don’t feed them buns and things.  This is another piece of advice from the same travel book. I think this  refers to feeding the local animals but it may be a reference to the locals?

Sooner I’d eat Rats at Tewkesbury. If there was one Spo-expression to take to the desert island it is this one.  It is from “Shakespeare’s Dog”. William Shakespeare says it as he would rather do that than change a diaper.

Well darling you go on thinking that if it comforts you.  Noel Coward said this in a play to his lady friend who had the belief their mutual friend (obviously gay) had true bond with her.

Well over four feet. Groucho Marx was one of the most funny men of the twentieth century. Do not dare to question this (Judy Tenuta!). He added this to his tales. “Last week I ran into Greta Garbo in the elevator. She was well over four feet.”

Why, you’re no fun you fall right over!  Another expression from the Firesign Theatre. It is often said when someone is deemed a disappointment or a fuddy-duddy. Sometimes it is used when someone is actually falling over. 🙂

 

 

*The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections thought it a good idea I fess up right away lest there is a copyright lawsuit. I thought this a slim chance as Joyce and Dickens are quite dead but you can not be too careful.

Patience above! The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections is breathing down my neck to put out an entry even though I have nothing to write. My mind is as dry as the desert. This explanation does not move them to tears. They’ve learned when the locals lament there is no more Danegeld to fork over more is somehow always found when rapine therapy is applied.

I came to work to find there was no UPS delivery for me while I was away at the other office. This is a disappointment. I was hoping a box of sweeties had arrived. Alas Babylon! No such luck.

The Wonder Receptionist has a yellow bowl outside her window. From time to time staff members contribute sweeties to the smiling bowl for patients to take while they wait at her window to conduct business. “Staff” is rather wishful thinking on my part.  As far as I can tell only three people actually buy the bon-bons: The Wonder Receptionist; The Boss Woman; Urs Truly.  I actually do most of the purchasing possibly because I eat a sizeable amount of the candy. It seems the doctor A.K.A the great provider is looked upon as the one to put out the most bounty. On the other hand, people know I bring really good sweets – no rubbish indeed! Others buy common sweeties like Jolly Ranchers or Life Savers while I order exotics like Blue Ice Mints and Lemonheads.

Sweeties destined for public consumption need to be individually wrapped. A bulky bowl of M&Ms looks good but then everyone puts their grubby fingers into the pile to dig out their favorite colors which upsets the more delicate devotees of dextrose and the OCD patients with germ issues.

Reactions to the candy contents is a curious spectacle. TWR has been chastised for not providing sugar free candies. She’s been remonstrated for not having ‘any good stuff’.  Some preach we shouldn’t be providing sweeties at all and they go into a diatribe on the poisonous aspects of sugar. In contrast there are greedy gannets who are like bold children at Hallowe’en who reach with for the candies with all of their handies; limits and structure are needed lest they abscond with the entire bowl.

As I go back and forth from my office to the waiting room I monitor the popularity of the pastelles.  Some go quick as quarter notes while others linger for days.  I won’t buy more until the bowl is cleared.

It is hoped Oldtimecandy.com arrives today to alleviate the howl of sharpened famine that presently echoes throughout the clinic from the lack of sweeties. I believe the pending package are Blue Ice Mints and Root beer barrels, which is one of my favorites. I hope these appease.

Sometimes I think patients do better with lollipops than Lexapro.

Update: it arrived! The photo below is proof!

IMG_1463

Spo-fans: please tell me if you have a candy bowl at work and what do you hope to find therein? 

Someone is recovering well from last week’s knee surgery. He’s had hardly any pain and there was enough rebound he went to work on Saturday. In a way it’s a disappointment. I anticipated he would be quite hobbled (poor thing) with Urs Truly playing nurse – and he needed no help. He’s like the rocks at Stonehenge nothing knocks him down. 

Last night we went to “Show Tunes”  at our favorite liquor lyceum which is jolly good fun for Kat was tending bar. Kat is my future ex-wife and well over four feet and she likes to use me as her guinea pig for the cocktails she is working on. One of them indeed tasted like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which was the point. I prefer my libations to be sour, dark, and butch, like my men. She hit home last week with some sort of melon-infused vodka made with some sort of juice perhaps kiwi which we christened “Mike’s fuzzy balls.” I am honored so. 

I spent the afternoon making Andalusian gazpacho.* I sliced my finger badly while chopping the tomatoes. I really ought to take a cooking course on basics which should include the proper use of kitchen knives. I some how managed to not bleed into the soup; now it has to chill overnight. The prodromal soup looks promising, which is good for I could feed all of Iberia on it. I’ve made heaps.

In a few minutes we sit down to watch The Tonys. I haven’t the foggiest what it up for an award.  It is impossible to sit and watch TV without doing something else, so I will read blogs and do some sewing and ironing.  This drives Someone to distraction who can’t fathom why on earth I can’t just sit there. Poor thing. He should have asked a few logical questions when he met me and now it is too late. At least the shirts will be pressed. 

Finally, tomorrow I meet my new dentist. He has been advertising in the gay rags for ages and I see him every time I go to happy hour. I am much looking forward to meeting him.  I’ve tried to attend the local dental school but this hasn’t not worked out at all. The consequence is I’ve not had a good teeth cleaning in many years. I am sure to write on this anon. 

 

kat

My future ex-wife

iu

My future non-ex dentist 

*I am not certain what makes it Andalusian as the ingredient are about the same as I have seen in other types of gazpacho.

Svmer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu
Groweþ sed
and bloweþ med
and springþ þe wde nu
Sing cuccu

It’s getting hot here in Arizona. Temperatures are regularly over body temperature; the AC is on and will stay so for the next three months. The crepuscular dips in the cement pond are no longer bit too chilly but pleasantly refreshing. Spring’s viridity has burned off taking with it (good riddance!) the pollen.  Summer is here.

The main activity for in a summer in PHX is scheming how to get out of town as often as possible. Next weekend I fly to Wisconsin Land of Cheese to visit Brother #2. He now lives and works in Milwaukee. It will be nice to see him and the lake. I hope to get a proper German dinner no rubbish and perhaps some beer.

In July Someone and I go on our annual holiday to Santa Fe to hear the opera (two of them) at the fabulous Santa Fe Opera House and to imbibe in SW cuisine and local liquors.*

Normally we have a week-long holiday in August to Canada but not this year. Patience above! Our Canadian chums and fellow blogger buddies Laurent and Will have enticed us to join them on their September cruise to Norway. My soul swoons at this ultimate bucket-list achievement. I get to see Norway and the northern lights. Traveling by boat with our buddies: I can think of no better arrangement.  I hope this works out. There are several challenges to make it so; let us hope so.

On the immediate future: not much. Someone had arthroscopic surgery yesterday to remove the torn ACL which has been driving him to distraction. He’s literally laid up for the weekend while I take on the the role of Tina from “Diary of a Mad Housewife”. **    Perhaps in the relatively quiet time that is the weekend I will learn some basic Norwegian phrases and practice my makeup.

Viking horns

“Jeg vil ha en Grandiosa Pizza

*In a recent taste test of seven to eight whiskies my friend Richard declared the hooch made in Santa Fe with its mesquite nuances the best of the bunch. I gave him the bottle; this gives me an excuse to go get a new one.

 

**The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections took great umbrage after reading this. Someone is doing quite well actually in surprisingly little pain. He is not in need of any real assistance. I make one or two equivocations to amuse the Spo-fans. Please don’t write in.

This morning while walking the dog I listened to podcasts, which is my wont.  Today’s episode at “You’re making it worse” the three hosts (fine fellows all well over four feet) were discussing makeup for men. I was not aware such products existed let alone I might need them. They talked among themselves whether or not men (and women) really ‘need’ makeup and if makeup was gender bias (like shoes for instance).   Makeup for men usually has butch names and camouflage approach – is this necessary?

Growing up with brothers and no sisters I am ignorant of the feminine mysteries of cosmetics. Once in a while someone at work leaves her make up bag open in the kitchen area and I stare at these things as if from outer space. I hope ‘make up for men’ does not catch on as I haven’t a clue what I would do or need. I imagine sitting uncomfortably at the counter at Macy’s in front of some young twink hell-bent on selling me “Summer Rain”. I suspect the situation would resemble the scene from “Young Frankenstein” where the doctor is trying to convince Igor he can fix his hump and Igor replies ‘what hump’?
“Oh sir, we can do something about those lines!”
“What lines? I’m 56 years old. What’s the matter with my lines?”
That sort of dialogue.

Perhaps I am too old to learn about bronzers and foundations*. Maybe I feel OK enough about my  looks I do not to see a need to cover-up my impediments and so-called deficiencies. The application of makeup (let alone the time to learn) sounds rawther time-consuming and I got enough to do as it is.
On the other hand if there is a makeup product for the dark bags under my eyes that could stave up surgery a few years I would speed-dial Mary Kay or (in this case) her brother Stanley.

I am curious to hear from Spo-fans of all persuasions if they use make up and when and why.

Mistress Borghese! Help!

iuZU7WVZQO

 

*I haven’t the foggiest what these things are but the podcast boys were discussing them. They seemed to know about them and one admitted he used such to cover up his large pores.  It sounded shocking.

It’s that time of the year: I see headlines about the bigwigs saying something silly or sad at graduation ceremonies. Urs Truly did not give my high school graduation speech; I was not valediction.  I have vague memory I was 13rd in my class. [1] I think we had two valedictorians, male and female. Mary Anne gave the speech to a rousing ovation while Kenneth D. did not speak. [2]

Speeches for graduates are made to inspire starry-eyed graduates to go out and be good – or something. I don’t know if anyone really listens let alone retains what is said at their graduation. [3]  Every year when I see another batch of these things I again wonder what I would have said if I had been top-gay at Grosse Pointe North or what I would say if some great academic institution asks me. [4]

Hey, I write a blog! I can write one here! So here it goes…..

Graduates, friends, and bored relations obliged to be here: I have been paid to say a few words to inspire you towards love, life, and work. I suppose I could be succinct and just say ‘42’ and let’s get home to the parties, but The Board of Directors where I work dictate I write more than that.

Let’s start with the bad news and get it out of the way. Some of you will succeed in life but the vast majority of you will not; you will have to live with disappointment. You will be dismayed and also comforted by the truism how well Life turns out is mostly chance and dumb luck and not the product of your talents or bungles. If you are fortunate you will do well enough and be content with this. Don’t focus on fame, money, and celebrity as few get these bagatelles. Thems who get them admit it’s better than not but they aren’t as fulfilling as we imagine them to be.

The good news is ‘happiness’ in life is achievable and it has little to do with the diploma you now have in your hands. Having a good social support network is the key, as well as good living habits. You don’t have to take turmeric or run marathons – just get enough sleep and eat mostly vegetables. Also, take time off regularly to chill.  There. It isn’t bedazzling but it’s real.

Some of you may be wanting me to tell you the meaning of life. I will do so: there is no meaning. Happily this allows you to make it up as you go along. So long as your life has meaning you will be well off.

Now I will stop. I’m tired and your.. well you are tired. It’s a terrible death to be talked to death so I stop occasionally to allow some of you to escape and this is your first opportunity.

HorseFeathers-Groucho.jpg

 

[1] How on earth that was determined is anyone’s guess. I suppose it was based on grade point average ranked in order. I’ve often wondered if there is any correlation of high school GPAs and late in life ‘success’. I suspect there is little if any or perhaps even an inverse correlation.

[2]  Kenneth had a brain the size of a planet. Alas he did not fare so well. When I met him at a H.S. reunion he looked haggard as someone who has had a disappointing life. I read on FB he died a few years ago on his birthday. I suspect but can not confirm he committed suicide.  It’s a sad story no matter which way.

[3] My college graduation had Dan Rather I recall. I don’t remember a word he said. What I remember there was a sizeable amount of protestors who stood up and turned their backs on him while he spoke. I had to look around or stare through a woman’s thighs to see him.

[4] Fat chance of that.

Back when I was smaller and people were taller the ability to change your mind was considered a sign of maturity and wisdom. If you connected the dots you were wrong about something you were adamant was ‘true’ you were either sheepishly or  matter of fact admitted you were wrong.  Either way you moved on with your new and improved state of being.  If your hypothesis was incorrect you discarded it for something better – and you were looked upon as good for doing so.  I’ve been trained in the scientific way to test hypothesis and if they fall flat to reject them even if “I really wanted them to be true.”

Or so I remember.

Perhaps this openness and plasticity of the past wasn’t so stellar as I remember. My recollection is probably colored by the human propensity to make the past a more ‘golden age’. All the same the 180-opposite direction approach people have these days is refusing to admit they were wrong and let alone change. Presented with data that challenges paradigms makes people dig further into their convictions. Changing your mind is looked upon as a sign of weakness.* What was once considered a sign you were being pig-headed is now admired as a sign of strength. Oh the horror.

In my profession (medicine) new stuff comes up all the time. There is a continuous parade of “Everything you know is wrong” findings that oblige me to discard cherished beliefs to what work with what the data actually supports.  My specialty has so many turnovers it makes my eyes cross. Public Opinion may say this is a bad sign but I see it as quite good – and proper.  I want to throw out the rubbish. Otherwise I’d still be prescribing psychoanalysis for the treatment of OCD (which is caused by suppressed anger towards your parents) and sending ‘perverts’ to conversion therapy.  Oh the embarrassment.

You will be shocked shocked shocked to hear doctors are no better than anyone else that when confronted with data telling them to think and do differently they often than not just keep doing what they have always done.  “Time-honored treatments’ don’t bow readily to ‘evidence-based medicine” I am sorry to say.

And of course, thems who want things to stay status quo don’t take kindly to thems who challenge things  Just think of Galileo, Corpunicus, Darwin to name a few.

I will continue to be open and welcome changing my mind as needs arise and see this as a virtue not a sign of spinelessness. Thems who are recalcitrant in their beliefs in are not ‘strong’.

“You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.”
Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

 

 

*I have a vague memory of a candidate running for public office being ridiculed on TV for changing his mind on something. The ad conveyed he was therefore not to be trusted and he was ‘weak’ for being so. I recall thinking he ought to be elected as a sensible fellow open to new ideas and self-correction.  I believe he lost.

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