27 November 2006

Posting post-Thanksgiving

The election and Thanksgiving are over. I am thankful. I don’t anticipate a sea change in government policies, but at least the smug faces of the Republican administration and its lackies looks appropriately humbled. Even George, though I wonder if he has the intelligence to appreciate the rebuff he has suffered. Even conservative Democrats defeated liberal Republicans. To be a Republican was a kiss of death (KOD). Haven't heard much from Cheney. Maybe he's still clearing off the mud. Or hunting. It is hunting season here in Wisconsin. And if he misses his friends, maybe the VP can shoot a deer. The other thing for which I hope is that in the history texts yet to be written, Georgie Porgie and his corrupt, greedy, and mean administration will be adjudged the worst administration of the twentieth century and one of the worst in American history.

As for the turkey I helped consume on Thanksgiving, I apologize. I eat flesh once during the year, on Thanksgiving, because it is easier to live with the dinner hosts during the remainder of the year if I eat the bird on the third Thursday evening in November. They don't like my any better, but they do have something to converse about with me. "Isn't the bird good?"

Oh, it is good, do not mistake me, but I could make an entire meal of the vegetables and potatoes. I think I could eat mashed potatoes (and pizza) every day of my life. I’ve considered the idea of a mashed potato pizza!

Continue to listen toBob Dylan's Modern Times. It is the perfect album for this imperfect time of my life.

A silly post, really.

13 November 2006


What does one write about when having a cup of coffee at one of the several Caribous at the Mall of America. Of course, the simple answer is that I could write whatever I desire to write. But that avoids the larger topic of what there is in the Mall of America to inspire writing? Wordsworth would not have written The Prelude here, nor do I think Bloom’s odyssey would have been the same journey had he spent the twenty four hours meandering about this mega-mall. Writing may be a personal experience, but it takes place in a social world—albeit, even if that world is one of chosen (or even enforced!) solitude. The level of noise here astounds me; there is the general hum of conversation, of marching feet, of screaming children and scolding parents, of adolescent sexualities and adult lecheries. There are two locations of Victoria’s Secret where men ogle the merchandise wishing their women would wear them, or even that they could wear them, and where often they are content to watch the customers who do venture in and out—carrying their purchases in seductive bags. (Alas, I’ve said too much.) Here there is too much activity; downstairs there is a stage where entertainment occupies the weary shopper or the lonely traveler. Upstairs there are the movie theaters, and all about are stores—too many stores, so many stores. There is even a store to purchase souvenirs from the Mall Of America—to remember the spending of money. I feel that all that I should about here is about money, consumption, purchase and image.

I don’t know if the emptiness inside derives from my being here, or whether the reflections about here derive from a certain emptiness. Dylan’s line from “Ain’t Talking” loops through my consciousness: “I’m trying to love my neighbor and do good unto others, but oh mother, things ain’t going well.”

I’m not getting too personal here today. There’s too much leaking possible. Leaking is a term I use to refer to the willingness of people (myself and close companions) to let their neuroses be visible rather than to make the effort to hide them by trying to hold themselves together. It once crossed my mind that holding it together required too much energy for no or little effect. I leak myself frequently, and seek out people willing to leak. But sometimes, I’m aware that I could suffocate someone in my outflowings. There are a few who can tolerate the flooding, but not often—and certainly not many.

So I’m here finishing too much coffee waiting for my daughter to finish a scavenger hunt in the Mall of America—what could they seek out here that isn’t already in full view? But she’s with her friends and it doesn’t matter what is hidden here: her friends are all about her. We’ll soon begin the drive home.

02 November 2006

Into the grave endlessly rocking

I was walking with a colleague yesterday, and we were talking about our work. And he said gleefully that he had only a few years left before he would retire and get away from the storms and strife and slings of outrageous behaviors. Just this past week another dear friend announced that she would be retiring at the end of this year. She is only the latest in a swelling body of retirees—those who have paid their AARP dues and are prepared for elderhosteling.

But here is the point: when I was in my twenties, all we talked about was sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Then we moved into our thirties, and all we talked about was marriages and babies. Into our forties, mortgages were the central topic of conversation, and into our fifties, investments. Now, the primary topic seems to be retirement. I mean, retirement and its imminence enters every conversation in which I engage of late! And I began to consider as I yesterday walked with my colleague that for us the next major topic would be the acquisition of cemetery plots. Have you purchased one yet? Is it in a good location? a good neighborhood, may be I so bold?