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WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#124 April, 2012== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Quote for the Spring Month of April:
I'll take someone who asks good questions over someone who has easy answers any day.
— Bobby Matherne , Writer
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Editor: Bobby Matherne, Asst. Editor: Del Matherne
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DIGESTWORLDArchived DIGESTWORLD Issues
GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#124 for April 2012
Table of Contents
1. April's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for April
3. On a Personal Note
Flowers of Shanidar Poems
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Shrimp Creole
6. Poem from Colour:"What’s the Matter with Spirit?"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for April:
8. Commentary on the World
- ARJ2: Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje
- ARJ2: Don't Push the River (it flows by itself) by Barry Stevens
1. Padre Filius Cartoon
2. Comments from Readers
3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
4. POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
5. SUPPRESS COUGH SUPPRESSANTS
6. GE DIGITAL TIMER SNAFU
9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
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1. April Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to DIGESTWORLD, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.
The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.
This month Violet and Joey learn about Feel Test.
#1 "Feel Test" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/032012jv.gif
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2. HONORED READERS FOR April:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for April, 2012:
Mar Pavon in Mexico
John Harris Beck in Michigan
Congratulations, Mar and John!
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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:
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Out Our Way:
SAINTS AND SINNERS
Saint Augustine was the most prominent sinner of the early Roman Catholic Church. He left his home to travel across the Mediterranean Sea to live a life as a drunkard, carouser, and womanizer. His mother Monica prayed incessantly for her wayward son in faraway Rome. So hard and long she prayed that Augustine repented. He became a prominent Church Father, a famous Theologian, and eventually a Saint. The USA has a city named Saint Augustine in his honor on its Atlantic coast in Florida. His mother, for her part, became a saint also and has a city named after her on the Pacific Coast of California, Santa Monica.
Which brings me closer to home and this time, when our blessed Saints, the New Orleans NFL football team have been caught sinning. Some of the defensive players and the defensive coach have been accused of putting up money to encourage the defense to hit hard, cause fumbles, and even get an extra bonus if an opponent's player is carried off the field injured. That crossed the line of propriety and the Commissioner has come down hard on the Saints. When I was a kid, the oldest of four boys within 6 years of age of each, if one of us did something and nobody confessed to the deed, my dad would whip all four of us, one at a time. The Commissioner has decided to do something similar, but only to the coaches, players, and fans of the Saints, not other teams who may have done similar things and didn't get caught. Clearly the NFL is firing a shot across the bow of every other NFL team with its penalties imposed only on the Saints. In the NFL, the situation vis-a-vis bounties seemed to have been pinpointed by Walt Kelly who, in a 1960s Pogo comic strip, had the storekeeper, Miggle, say, "In this country yo' is innocent until caught!"
The Saints are like the adulterer in the Bible facing a crowd whose hands are filled with stones ready to pelt us, but to paraphrase the injunction of Jesus to the crowd, "Let any NFL team who has no sinners cast the first stone."
New Orleans has had doom fall upon it before, as recently as 2005, when the rest of the country was saying, "Let New Orleans die." The Crescent City recovered from the soggy federal floods of Katrina to rise like again in the light of day with a Super Bowl winner and a competitive NBA franchise. We will rise again from the bounty penalties and shine once more, perhaps in the next Super Bowl held in New Orleans.
CABIN ON A LAKE, LOST AND FOUND
Almost 30 years ago, we bought a week at a cabin on a lake in the hills of Hot Springs Village with the idea that we would be forced to take a vacation once a year. It has worked marvelously for us, and this year's vacation is an example. We went there and did nothing. Now, I know that sounds heretical: for an American couple to take a week's vacation to do nothing. But over the decades we have seen all the sights around Hot Springs and the surrounding region, and this year, we stayed close to our cabin. Sitting and reading looking at the lake, walking along its shore, playing Scrabble and Qwirkle together. We rarely find time to play Scrabble at home, so being in a place with little else to do, we always bring along our Scrabble board for Matherne's Rules Scrabble.For those of you who like to play Scrabble but don't like the time limits, the challenges to a word you play, and would like to re-use a Double or Triple Letter or Word tile or a Blank Tile, we have good news. In Matherne's Rules: NO TIME LIMITS (have a book to read for long decision times), NO CHALLENGES (you are allowed to use a dictionary to find a good word ahead of time, any size word in the dictionary is allowed on the board, no Proper nouns), BLANK Tiles may be reused (e. g. if Blank is used for a K, and you have a K in your rack, you can retrieve the Blank Tile to be reused and put the K from your rack on the board). The scores go higher and some excitement is added. If you play an S on the end of a singular noun to make it plural, you get full credit for any Double/Triples in the word, and the S can be the beginning or ending of a word itself. All other rules of Scrabble apply. Try it sometime.
On the way to our cabin, we stopped at Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales as I wanted another pair of Skecher slip-ons like the ones I've been wearing for several years. None were to be found. Seems like the style that I like was discontinued. Too bad — twice in this month, a stranger has commented on liking my shoes. Perhaps the store in Foley which we pass on the way to Orange Beach will have some.Later we stopped in Opelousas to visit my brother Paul and his wife Joyce. We went out to dinner with them at Stallion's Restaurant and then continued our trip up to our daughter Kim's house in Alexandria. She was alone for the weekend as her husband had taken their boys to Alabama to look at some wooded acreage belonging to the family. The MacArthur exit had some construction signs around it which caused us to miss it and we were stuck on I-49 going through Alexandria when it began to storm with lightning and heavy rain and we were lost. Gave the GPS of our Maxima a big test: get us to Kim's house, and it did.
We left the next morning to head up to Shreveport and took a pass through Natchitoches to get a PJ's and unfortunately, some low-cost imitation had taken PJ's place near the campus of NSU. I did get myself a couple of crawfish pies made in the Natchitoches meat pie fashion. Delish! Once more we got lost, this time following the GPS on the Maxima through Shreveport on the way to Texarkana. Was an easy loop around this time, and we were back on track. Had another problem returning home through Malvern, following the GPS, we missed some turn.
I finally discovered what the problem was. We rarely got lost following a paper map going through these same areas in previous years, but with the GPS it was harder to do. WHY? Because instead of having a paper map and my memory of the roads, the GPS added a second map which was oriented differently from the paper map.The paper map was always oriented with North at the top of the map. Once I figured that out, I stopped the car, re-oriented the Maxima's GPS to keep North at the top of the map, and everything was fine. In locations I'm familiar with, such as the roads to Hot Springs and back, nothing looked familiar until I oriented the GPS with North at the top. In completely unknown areas, such as our trip to Brenham, Texas last summer for a wedding, having the map oriented in the direction we were facing was fine because it became the only map to follow. Hope this information helps some of you who are learning to use these new GPS gadgets.
HOME WITH COMPANY
Thankfully, our week's vacation was restful and uneventful, because the rest of the month was very busy. On the night we got home, we had just barely unpacked when our son Rob came over with his three kids. We were expecting them and had their rooms ready at Chateau Matherne as Del likes to call our home. Rob and the kids stayed a couple of days before heading west to visit his other two sisters and make a business stop in Austin, Texas at the university.
I taught Rob and his boys to play Wave-Hide-n-Seek, and they seemed to enjoy it. In this game, you hide, and when found by being spotted by the person who's IT, you must remain at the base until someone who, still hiding, pops out long enough to wave at you. Then you can run to hide again. Works best at night, but the boys loved learning the new game. We also tossed my new football around. I decided to keep a full-sized NFL football around for when the grandkids come.Took Emerson with me to PJ's for my morning latte run and Breaux Mart for groceries. Later in the day while Rob and Walden worked on their plane, I taught Emmy how to drive the lawnmower. First to drive around the yard sitting on my lap, then in first gear, driving by himself. Learning how to use emergency stop, etc. Then with blade turning in position 1, then 2, and finally 3. He cut about 30% of west lawn for me and then grew bored and I finished the cutting myself. He even hefted a couple of clipping bags into mulch bed. Later while I was cutting, I enlisted Walden in doing one for me. He's getting near his teenage size already and Emmy hasn't started the puberty spurt yet.
Rob was able to get his new model plane constructed, installed with a tiny video camera, and fly over our home and the surrounding area. If you look at the You Tube video at the bottom of this Issue, you'll notice the "pregnant woman" looking structure which is a Spanish church built using one large geodesic dome and two smaller ones, which resides on the other side of the bayou which runs along Timberlane Drive.
Got Rob to help me cook the red beans étouffée for supper. Also sauteed the brussels sprouts I had picked that morning when I pulled up all but one of the plants which had been producing all fall and winter. I cooked the whole lot of brussels sprouts and they all went, gobbled up by teens and a pre-teen. The process of sauteeing the brussels sprouts until they char slightly gives up a delightful aroma which fills the house and adds a flavor which kids and adults seem to love. If you have not tried this, the recipe is on my Recipe page, and it's simplicity in itself. Try it, your kids will thank you. Heck, you might love them yourself!
Rob's daughter, Sierra, came over the last day with her Auntie Bean (Maureen) and we had our two Capricorns born on the same day five years apart together again. The next morning I fixed Buckwheat Pancakes for them before they left on their trip to Beaumont, Texas. It's the only time I get to fix and eat myself, so I'm delighted that all our grandkids love them. The stone-ground full wheat flour makes a delicious pancake and is good for their health. Del had a garden club meeting to go to and the kids left after she did. I took a photo of Rob's family (sans Kathryn, unfortunately whose job kept her in Sausalito, California). Gave them each a hug and walked to the street to give them the long goodbye as they drove towards Belle Chasse Hwy.
Our daughter Kim and her daughter Katie came over to spend the night after watching the Broadway musical The Lion King at our Theater for the Performing Arts and told us all about it. I have a NetFlix DVD in our queue for the movie of the same name and will watch it for the first time. I think after Bambi, I outgrew Disney cartoons, but figure I should get to know some of the characters of this movie which often appear in crosswords, such as Scar. Heck, I might even like the movie.
The next morning Katie was interested in the Cinnamon and Honey jam after reading my Tidbits page about its health benefits. She had already had a slice of it and liked it. As a thrifty college student, she wanted to experience making the cinnamon and honey herself and I let her take home the jam she made. After she was done, I decided to make some more jam while the mixer blade still had some sticky jam on it. While Katie was working earlier, I had smelled the motor windings oxidizing and told Katie what the smell was, predicting the mixer would soon break from the overload. Well, it broke during my batch, but I was luckily already done. Needed to buy a new mixer and I found a small hand mixer which was ideal at Target for only five dollars and change.
On the way across the Mississippi River bridge, Del and I were waiting for the traffic clog to dissipate at the toll plaza when Kim called to say that she and Katie had just passed over the top of the bridge earlier where they saw a very bad car wreck, two cars turned over and a guy all full of blood. He was just standing around and Kim said to Katie, "Why aren't they tending that poor man?" Well, they soon passed a man behind a large movie camera and discovered they were watching a movie been filmed, a very common occurrence on New Orleans streets these days. We passed the spot a few minutes later and saw two turned over cars and people still working on the movie scene.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY AND ST. JOSEPH'S DAY
It was on St. Patrick's Day that Del and I encountered the movie-making event and we were on our way to the Irish Channel, an historically Irish section of the city which hosts a parade through its midst on St. Patrick Day. We watched the parade pass in front of our friends Alan and Joan who own a lovely old home they have restored which is directly on the parade route. During a walk down the street we noticed a Schwinn bicycle which resembled a very popular bike in the 1950s. I asked the guy if he had restored it, but he said, "No, I just bought it from Target for $129." He obviously loved the bike, especially the large bicycle seat which is difficult to find these days. Del and I went to our local Target and bought a man's and woman's bike of the same kind on the same trip we bought a replacement hand mixer. We enjoy ending each day with a 5-mile ride on the black top path which runs through our neighborhood.
The next day was a Tween Day, the day between St. Patrick's parades and the St. Joseph's parades, a Sunday this year, and we joined our good friends John and Sandra Calender for brunch at Muriel's in the French Quarter, across the street from St. Louis Cathedral. We tried to have lunch there on Mardi Gras Day, but they were closed, so we decided to try it on a Sunday with our friends who live only a few blocks away from the restaurant. We got there at 10:25 am and it wasn't open for another five minutes. Most of the dining areas were already booked, but we got a nice table for 4 in an area that used to be an open air patio but was now enclosed. The place was busy, the food was great, and we could talk without being interrupted, thanks to a very attentive but not importunate waiter.
On St. Joseph's Day, we decided to go to High Mass at our local St. Joseph's Church in Gretna and visit the St. Joseph's Altar afterward. This day marked 12 years to the day that I attended a High Mass in Rome at St. Peter's on St. Joseph's Day. St. Joseph is the patron saint of all of Italy and Pope John Paul II was celebrating the Mass that day. It was the last day of my 12 day Rome tour and our guide, a native of Canada, was apparently unaware that St. Joseph's Day was a National Holiday and the Vatican Museum, which he had scheduled for us to visit on our last day would be closed. I recall walking past the plaza of St. Peter's with the pigeons flying into air and hundreds of bells tolling, wishing I were going to Mass instead into a dead museum. When we arrived at the entrance to the Vatican Museum to find it closed, I almost let out a cheer of jubilation and waved goodbye to my fellow tourists who were standing dazed wondering what to do with their day. I was able to walk directly into St. Peter's and find myself a spot at the base of a large column to sit down and I could see the heads of the Pope and the Cardinals, like a sea of red caps around the altar.
After the Mass at St. Joseph's this year, we walked into the cafeteria where the St. Joseph's Altar was set up and the ladies were preparing to serve a feast to everyone who came. The altar is a bit hard to describe, but it began in Sicily when St. Joseph saved the islanders and they promised in return to celebrate his feast day annually. That tradition was brought to New Orleans by the Italian immigrants and it is apparently the only place in the country where parades and altars are held and constructed in honor of the Italian patron saint. Much of the decorations on the Altar are edible: cakes, cookies, and especially the sculptured Italian breads.All of it in honor of St. Joseph and not eaten. The feast is prepared completely separate and the Altar remains until the next day when the ladies take it apart until next year, probably taking some of the Altar foods home for their family to enjoy.
New Orleans seems to have equally as many Irish descendants as Italians, and many descended from both Irish and Italian ancestors. During the day between St. Patrick's and St. Joseph's Day, there is at least one Irish-Italian parade in the metro area. What Mardi Gras is to February, the dual Saints' days are to March: a time of celebrations, parades, and feasts. All of which leads directly into the Spring Fiesta followed by the French Quarter Festival which now fills mid-April's four days of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and provides wall-to-wall live music with bands scattered through the narrow streets of the Quarter. All of which happens during the best weather of the year. Lent seems to be relegated primarily to Ash Wednesday and Holy Week in New Orleans.
DORIS AND DAN'S DAY
Del's mother, Doris, has been a visitor in our home, residing in a beautiful urn in the alcove between the dining room and living room since her death in October. Her interment in the Garden of Memories was delayed until the site next to Del's grandmother, her namesake Adele Bertel Richards, could be prepared and a covering plaque could be created. Everything was in place for the weekend after St. Patrick's Day and three of Del's four kids came to town for the event in Metairie.It was a beautiful clear and cool day after a week of stormy weather. The large American flag was waving straight out from the tall pole as we walked to the green covered canopy for the final rites for Doris. Del and Dan led off the short ceremony which concluded with a short toast to their wonderful mother with her favorite beverage. The rest of us said a few words, including Doris' remaining sibling, Bob Legendre, who talked about Doris as a wonderful sister. Then we adjourned to Timberlane for some food before everyone headed for their homes. Del had arranged a chocolate Doberge cake from Gambino's for Dan's birthday which was to follow the next week . He and Karen stayed in town and invited us to join them for dinner downtown on his birthday night.
Our neighbors Connie and Don have always talked about Harold's Nursery in Arabi and we decided it was time for us to go there together. We found a nice size gardenia for our Meditation Garden and a small artichoke plant to audition in a new spot. Turns out the previous spots I had chosen for artichoke plants were not well drained which artichoke plants require.Dan had also bought Del a new Japanese Maple tree and when we came home, we planted all of these, and even trimmed back our Pampas Grass and transplanted two pieces to the opposite side of the West Lawn which it will be an excellent background cover plant. While we were sitting outside on our porch that afternoon, we heard a sharp CRACK! coming from the leaning cypress which has been at a 45 degree angle since 2005 when Katrina bowed it. A few second later, a loud series of cracks and the tree came tumbling down to the ground. I let out a cheer because it means that the tree will finally be cleared.IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING, SO UNTIL NEXT MONTH
The past 31 days of March has been a month of Spring-like days, St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's celebrations, a couple of funerals, and visits from family and friends. The Spring flowering azaleas and pear trees in New Orleans were beautiful. No hail storm like last year so our citrus and fruit trees will have a great year. The loquat trees fruited well for the first time since we've been here at our new home. Enjoy the upcoming dry and cool days of April in New Orleans. If it's rainy where you live in April, come here for a visit. God Willing and the River Don't Rise, whatever you do, wherever in the world you and yours reside, till we visit again in May, Remember our slogan:
Take Care of Yourself in Twenty-Twelve ! ! !
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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:
- (SAMPLE) What frenzy has of late posssess'd the brain
Though few can write, yet fewer can refrain."
Samuel Garth ( 17th-century physician and poet ) US writer
New Stuff about Website:Five Flowers of Shanidar Poems, One from each Chapter:
These poems are from Bobby Matherne’s 1990 book of poetry, Flowers of Shanidar. and have never been published on the Internet before. Each month this section will have five poems, one from each Chapter of the book. (Flowers drawn by Artist Maureen Grace Matherne)
1. Chapter: Hollyhocks
Back to the Present
If you went back to the past
Do you think that it would last?
If you went back to the future
Do you know what it would do to you?
When I got back to the present
I found there nothing to resent.
The slights and apprehensions
Were only self-pretensions.
To be disappointed one must plan ahead.
You can't feel bad unless the future
Turns out differently than you said.
Spontaneity breeds impropriety.
Improvisation is for fools
Who trust their Higher Self so much
that they can disregard the rules.
"Be spontaneous" the parents say
And wipe out all delight,
Then they commiserate with you,
For how you think they got that way?
2. Chapter: Hyacinths
A poem is a crossword puzzle
that the poet poses himself,
mazes of meaning
him on the rack.
It stretches him till it breaks him
free from 'crustations of culture
The bucking bronco of rhythm
sends him mast over beam
Slam! Bam! into amazing realities
No man nor genie
3. Chapter: Rose Mallow
A Blinding Flash
and Stars were born
the Boom echoes
trailings of smoke
On Specks of Ashes
microbes form, leftovers
from the Cosmic Fireworks
They spy Red Wisps
of Celebration Day
and write of Infinitesimal
4. Chapter: ShamrocksHeartfelt
For easy speechgiving
Breathe through your heart —
5. Chapter: Violets
An Idea of GodAnybody got an idea?
I would like to fetch it here.
If one's out roaming in the quad
Bring it in — Yours Truly, God.
Add it to my warehouse today
Someone may need it right away.
Out there are souls all locked in step —
Each day brings another rep —
Novelty hasn't got a chance
Until they learn the Random Dance.
I speak to Man through ideas
Strewn upon etheric rivers.
The wise Man, ready with his net,
Scoops as much as he can get.
The foolish weave their net with maps
And rail at the paucity it traps.
Children weave their nets with wonder:
Ideas rumble in like thunder,
Each day is full of novelty,
And God's in everyone they see.
New Stuff on the Internet:
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Movies we watched this past month:Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix.“Don’t Look Back” (2009) or you might not like what you find, or you might find sanity, Jeanne, something in your past that's popping up will soon arrive as a full-blown cognitive memory as you do an unconscious doylic memory trace the long, tortuous way. What happened during the traumatic and stressful automobile wreck at age 8 that your mother is hiding from you? A DON'T MISS HIT !
“Anonymous” (2011) is a perfect bookend to “Romeo in Love” in which Will is portrayed as actor and writer while this one portrays him as an actor acting as a writer. It evokes the true spirit of Will in a tale written as if by his own hand. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Rebound” (2009) Catherine Zeta-Jones in her “Darling Buds of May” form again, this time falling in love with a younger man. Marvelous humor and fun makes this A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“Moneyball (2011) is like watching sausages being made in Baseball, how players are chosen and traded, not for the squeamish, and how a new formula involving on-base-percentage revolutionized baseball, leading to Oakland record win streak and to a Boston World Series win. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
“The Guard” (2011) is a local Irish Copper, Gerry Boyle, in Galway, Ireland who is the only one not on the take, but he caused us lots of laughter with his double takes on life and survival in his inimitable way. A sequel to this fun movie would be a boon to movie-goers everywhere many of whom missed this gem! Don’t you! A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! ! ! !
Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.What a LUCKY MONTH! No AAACs!
Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:“I Am Dina” (2011) a fiery young girl must raise herself after her mother dies in an accident and her father blames her. She finds solace only in music, growing into a shrewd business woman. Beautiful scenery, music, and unsatisfying ending.
“Pompeii: The Last Day” (2003) Carson from “Downton Abbey” stars as a leader of the doomed city.
“Topkapi” (1964) an early Ocean’s 11/Mission Impossible inspiration with Maxmilian Schell, Melina Mercouri (at her mercurial best), and Peter Ustinov in their heist of emerald covered knife from Istanbul’s premier museum. Silly at times, but enough humor and drama to hold attention.
“The Year of Getting to Know Us” (2009) took us nearly a year to get to know that Sharon Stone was the guy’s eccentric mother. Slow movie — only livened up by watching the hero’s father in a coma.
“I Am Number Four” (2011) is a retelling of the Superman story, this time of a teenage hunk we might call “Flashlight Hans” — nice superpower to have if your flashlight batteries die out. The rest of the story is even less interesting.
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ==Boudreaux was taking his wife to the big Knights of Columbus Fish Fry they do every Friday during Lent down in Breaux Bridge. Marie had spent an exceptionally long time getting ready, so Boudreaux went in to see if anything was wrong. He saw her standing in front of the mirror, just looking at herself.
"Marie, de Fish Fry is starting in a few minutes, let's go!" Marie didn't say anything. Boudreaux turned to go and Marie said, "Boo, do you like me?"
"Mais oui, beaucoup! Now, can we go?" Marie kept staring at the mirror and made no attempt to move.
"Bon Dieu, Marie! Is dere sumpin wrong?" Boudreaux said, exasperated.
"Boo, can Ah axe you a question?" Marie said.
"Anyt'ing, if we can just leave rat now!"
"What do you like most in me, my pretty face or my sexy body?"
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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for April, 2012 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =Shrimp Creole
Background on Shrimp Creole: Shrimp Creole seems to have disappeared from restaurants recently, so I wanted to give my Assistant Chefs out there in Cyberspace a chance to make and enjoy this classic seafood dish. It is light, tasty, and nutritious. Take only an hour or so to make. Enjoy it over our wild rice and long grain rice mixture!
1 lb Frozen Shrimp (41-50 count)
1 tsp Zatarain's Liquid Shrimp Boil
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 single stalks of celery
2 yellow onions
3 sprigs of Parsley
1 green bell pepper
2 green onions
1 tsp Shrimp Powder
Chop the yellowonions, parsley, celery, and green onions. Slice the bell pepper into about one inch slivers, a quarter inch wide to provide a colorful texture and contrast with chopped whole tomatoes.
Cover large saucepan with olive oil. Turn Heat on HIGH. Add all greens except bell peppers and saute till translucent. Add shrimp powder. Open and drain whole tomatoes. Slice up the tomatoes while in can and dump into saucepan. Continue with Heat on HIGH, stirring, scraping bottom of pot, and adding ingredients to keep from charring.
Add about 5 oz of water and 1 Tbsp of flour to make a blond gravy. Add bell peppers. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and enough water to barely cover the shrimp. Add two Bay leaves into the mixture. Reduce Heat to Medium-Low for five minutes, then to Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add a TBSP of Cornstarch to a cup of cold water and stir into mixture to thicken as desired. Looks like this when done.
Serve over wild rice and long grain rice mixture.
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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Colour:
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What’s the Matter with Spirit?What’s the matter with spirit?
What’s the matter with matter?
What’s the matter with materialism?
No spirit shines through materialism.
What’s the matter with the Materialist?
No Spirit shines through him.
He is afraid of his own shadow.
The Materialist dons blinders
and trots through the City
While the Spirit shines through the City
and the Materialist misses it completely.
What’s the Matter with Spirit?
What’s the City with Spirit?
A shining City on the Hill.
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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for April:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.
1.) ARJ2: Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje"Somebody say he heard Buddy Bolden play" — so goes a traditional song in New Orleans and represents just about all we know about the famous cornet player is that somebody heard him play. The few other things we know is that Buddy Bolden played loud! You could hear him from blocks away as he led a band down the street. Loudness was a prime attribute of a cornet player in pre-1907 days, and Buddy Bolden was by all accounts, few that we have, the loudest of all cornet players, always playing in B-flat. And yet, 105 years after he went crazy while leading a parade in 1907 and stopped playing, we have no recordings of his playing and no one alive who actually heard him play. We have only one photo of him, the one on the cover of this book. Michael Ondaatje, the author of The English Patient has done a masterful job of filling in for us the life of Buddy Bolden from his birth in 1856, his active jazz playing life from 1900 -1907 and his period of insanity from 1907 till his death in 1931.
What can we learn from the photograph? He was the only cornet and the only band member who was smiling, perhaps because his good friend Bellocq was taking the picture. We see a bass fiddle, a guitar, a valve trombone, and two clarinets accompanying Buddy's cornet. There are no music stands because, as Louis Jones said, Buddy's was a "strictly ear band." He added, "Later on Armstrong, Bunk Johnson, Freddie Keppard — they all knew he began the good jazz."
Buddy lived during the heyday of the Storyville brothel district in New Orleans, a district named after a councilman who wanted to confine prostitution to one section of town, the area of Basin Street and Rampart Street. Anyone who knows the sanitized and plain Basin Street today cannot imagine why anyone would write a song about it, especially "Basin Street Blues," a street where as Louis Armstrong sings is the only place he can lose his blues, his longing for the life and vitality of Basin Street, the main thoroughfare through Storyville. It was the most jumping place in the country at the time: jazz clubs playing all night, restaurants filled to capacity, and brothels offering every kind of entertainment a low tech world could conjure up. Take Olivia, the Oyster Dancer, as an example:[page 9, 10] Tom Anderson, 'The King of the District', lived between Rampart and Franklin. Each year he published a Blue Book which listed every whore in New Orleans. This was the guide to the sporting district, listing alphabetically the white and then the black girls, from Martha Alice at 1200 Customhouse to Louisa Walter at 210 North Basin, and then the octoroons. The Blue Book and similar guides listed everything, and at any of the mansions you could go in with money and come out broke. No matter how much you took with you, you would lose it all in paying for extras. Such as watching an Oyster Dance — where a naked woman on a small stage danced alone to piano music. The best was Olivia the Oyster Dancer who would place a raw oyster on her forehead and lean back and shimmy it down all over her body without ever dropping it. The oyster would crisscross and move finally down to her instep. Then she would kick it high into the air and would catch it on her forehead and begin again. Or at 335 Customhouse (later named Iberville), the street he went crazy on, you could try your luck with French Emma's '60 Second Plan'. Whoever could restrain his orgasm with her for a whole minute after penetration was excused the $2 payment. Emma allowed the odd success to encourage others but boasted privately that there was no man she couldn't win. So no matter how much you took in you came out broke. Grace Hayes even had a pet raccoon she had trained to pick the pockets of her customers.How did Buddy Bolden earn a living? Not by playing but by being a barber. He drank constantly so customers who wanted a shave made sure they got to his shop before noon while his hand was still steady with the straight razor. He spent his money on booze but rarely had to buy any for himself while he was working as he had a couple of patrons who kept him supplied with his favorite whiskeys and wine.[page 10] Anderson was the closest thing to a patron that Bolden had, giving him money for the family and sending him, via runner boys, two bottles of whisky a day. To the left of Canal Street was Dago Tony who, at the height of Bolden's popularity, sponsored him as well sending him Raleigh Rye and wine. And to the left of Canal are also the various homes of Bolden, still here today, away from the recorded history — the bleak washed out one-storey houses.Phillips, First, Gravier, Tassin's Food Store, taverns open all day but the doors closed tight to keep out heat and sunlight. Circle and wind back and forth in your car and at First and Liberty is a corner house with an overhang roof above the wooden pavement, barber stripes on the posts that hold up the overhang. This is N. Joseph's Shaving Parlor, the barber shop where Buddy Bolden worked.Buddy drank as he worked, but he rarely drank alone, as he shared his bottles with all the customers and visitors who frequented his shop. Here is a description of his work place on a typical day.[page 12] One large room with brothel wallpaper left over from Lula White's Mahogany Hall. Two sinks with barber chairs in front of them, and along the wall several old donated armchairs where customers or more often just visitors sat talking and drinking. Pausing and tense when the alcohol ran out and drinking from the wooden coke racks until the next runner from Anderson or Dago Tony arrived, the new bottle traveling round the room including the half-shaved customer and the working Bolden, the bottle sucked empty after a couple of journeys, Bolden opening his throat muscles and taking it in so he was sometimes drunk by noon and would cut hair more flamboyantly. Close friends who needed cuts and shaves would come in early, well before noon.In addition to being a barber and a jazz musician, Buddy was also a publisher of a daily news rag. With spiders used as a metaphor for search engine robots who roam through every nook and cranny of the world-wide internet today, it is interesting to see the metaphor's origin back in the early 20th Century when spiders were guys who came by his Parlor to share news to be put into The Cricket.
In New Orleans improvisational jazz, each musician is holding a musical conversation with three or four other players, vamping on a theme or composition they had played before with other players perhaps, so each time something fresh and exciting came out, even from old familiar pieces, especially from old familiar pieces. In Preservation Hall, the most asked for piece is "The Saints" and the players have done it so many times that they have to work twice as hard to play it again and so they charge 5x the usual price for a request for "When the Saints Go Marching In." Note in the next passage how Buddy Bolden typically held conversations with three or four other people — somehow that process worked its way into the music which later became known as jazz.[page 13] What he did too little of was sleep and what he did too much of was drink and many interpreted his later crack-up as a morality tale of a talent that debauched itself. But his life at this time had a fine and precise balance to it , with a careful allotment of hours. A barber, publisher of The Cricket, a cornet player, good husband and father, and an infamous man about town . When he opened up the shop he was usually without customers for an hour or so and if there were any there they were usually 'spiders' with news for The Cricket. All the information he was given put unedited into the broadsheet.[page 56] Buddy was a social dog, talked always to three or four people at once, a racer. He had no deceit but he roamed through conversations as if they were the countryside not listening carefully just picking up the moments.Talking to Robin as she laid on top of him, his clothes off hers on, kissing him, talking quietly, his eyes closed. She thought he was looking through to the sky above the ceiling, maybe he was, and he was also composing some music.[page 59] She was conscious that while they spoke his fingers had been pressing the flesh on her back as though he were plunging them into a cornet. She was sure he was quite unaware, she was sure his mind would not even remember. It was part of a conversation held with himself in his sleep. Even now as she lay against his body in her red sweater and skirt. But she was wrong. He had been improving on Cakewalking Babies.Dude Botley tells this story of following Buddy Bolden back to the barber shop where he no longer worked, about 8 pm. He sees Buddy comes out of the back with a bottle and a cornet, his eyes filled with tears. Here is Ondaatje's lyrical report of someone who heard Buddy Bolden play. . .[page 81] 'Then I hear Bolden's cornet, very quiet, and I move across the street, closer. There he is, relaxed back in a chair blowing that silver softly, just above a whisper and I see he's got the hat over the bell of the horn . . . Thought I knew his blues before, and the hymns at funerals, but what he is playing now is real strange and I listen careful for he's playing something that sounds like both. I cannot make out the tune and then I catch on. He's mixing them up. He's playing the blues and the hymn sadder than the blues and then the blues sadder than the hymn. That is the first time I ever heard hymns and blues cooked up together.'Like Elvis Presley would do with his singing later, Buddy Bolden was doing with his horn, mixing Gospel rhythms with deep soul blues, both angelic and devilish music coming out in one pure voice wafting through the night, dripping into Botley ears, releasing tears dripping from his eyes. Botley is befuddled and a bit scared.[page 81] '. . . a strange feeling comes over me. I'm sort of scared because I know the Lord don't like that mixing the Devil's music with His music. But I still listen because the music sounds so strange and I guess I'm hypnotized. When he blows blues I can see Lincoln Park with all the sinners and whores shaking and belly rubbing and the chicks getting way down and slapping themselves on the cheeks of their behind. Then when he blows the hymn I'm in my mother's church with everybody humming. The picture kept changing with the music. It sounded like a battle between the Good Lord and the Devil. Something tells me to listen and see who wins. If Bolden stops on the hymn, the Good Lord wins. If he stops on the blues, the Devil wins.'It's too soon to tell whether this music started by Buddy Bolden will end on hymns or blues, but some 50 years later, that same section of New Orleans where Buddy hung out, on Rampart Street, became the beginning of a music genre known as Rhythm & Blues which later morphed into Rock & Roll, and the beat goes on.
Webb is a cop, an old friend of Buddy's who searches for him when he disappeared for two years. Finding him in the bathroom at Robin's house, the woman he shared with her husband, Jaelin, Webb sits on the side of the bathtub and chides Buddy for not playing his music. Buddy wants to know how Webb found him. This episode highlights the wondrous way Ondaatje creates dramatic scenes throughout the book.[page 83] He sat on the edge of the tub where his friend was having a bath. At first Bolden was laughing. He couldn't get over it. He wanted to know how. Webb gave him all the names. Nora. Cornish. Pickett. Bellocq. Bellocq! Yes Bellocq's dead now, killed himself in a fire. What do you mean killed himself in a fire? He started a fire round himself.
They could hear Robin through the wall in the kitchen. And that's Robin Brewitt? Bolden nodded into the water. And Jaelin Brewitt comes and goes. Bolden nodded.And your music. Haven't played a note for nearly two years. Thought about it? A little. You could train in the Pontchartrain cabin. I don't want to go back, Webb. You want to go back Buddy, you want to go back. Webb on the edge of the enamel talking on and on, why did you do all this Buddy, why don't you come back, what good are you here, you're doing nothing, you're wasting, you're —
Till Bolden went underwater away from the noise, opening his eyes to look up through the liquid blur at the vague figure of Webb gazing down at him gesturing, till he could hardly breathe, his heart furious wanting to leap out and Bolden still holding himself down not wishing to come up gripping the side of the tub with his elbows to stop him to stop him o god jesus leave me alone his eyes staring up aching, if Webb reaches down and tries to pull him up he will never come up he knows that, air! his heart empty overpowers his arms and he breaks up showering Webb, gulping everything he possibly can in.
Breathing hard, yes ok Webb ok ok ok. Hunched and breathing hard looking at the taps while Webb on his right tried to brush the wetness off his suit beginning to talk again and Buddy hardly listening to him, listening past him to Robin and the morning kitchen noises that he knew he would lose soon.
Wonderful metaphors by Ondaatje, such as "giraffes of fame" and "the heat has fallen back into the lake and left air empty" Page 98), but his long metaphors are like luscious canapes which one doesn't want to run out. Here is Jaelin playing his piano, just playing his piano, but Buddy Bolden, listening, became the piano.[page 92] You didn't know me for instance when I was with the Brewitts, without Nora. Three of us played cards all evening and then Jaelin would stay downstairs and Robin and I would go to bed, me with his wife. He would be alone and silent downstairs. Then eventually he would sit down and press into the teeth of the piano. His practice reached us upstairs, each note a finger on our flesh. The unheard tap of his calloused fingers and the muscle reaching into the machine and plucking the note, the sound traveling up the stairs and through the door, touching her on the shoulder. The music was his dance in the auditorium of enemies. But I loved him downstairs as much as she loved the man downstairs. God, to sit down and play, to tip it over into music! To remove the anger and stuff it down the piano fresh every night. He would wait for half an hour as dogs wait for masters to go to sleep before they move into the garbage of the kitchen. The music was so uncertain it was heartbreaking and beautiful. Coming through the walls. The lost anger at her or me or himself. Bullets of music delivered onto the bed we were on.
Everybody's love in the air.
No one's ever described what it is like to dance to waltz music so succinctly before.[page 93] John Robichaux! Playing his waltzes. And I hate to admit it but I enjoyed listening to the clear forms. Every note part of the large curve, so carefully patterned that for the first time I appreciated the possibilities of a mind moving ahead of the instruments in time and waiting with pleasure for them to catch had never been aware of that mechanistic pleasure, that trust.When Buddy's friend Willy Cornish came back from up north bringing with him sheet music with new songs, Buddy and his friends who only played by ear took the music Willy played for them on his valve trombone and vamped it into their own music. He became as forgotten as a metronome to a jazz band.[page 112] Nothing ambitious on the valve trombone but being the only one able to read music he brought us new music from the north that we perverted cheerfully into our own style. . . . I had wanted to be the reservoir where engines and people drank, blood sperm music pouring out and getting hooked in someone's ear. The way flowers were still and fed bees. And we took from the others too this way, music that was nothing till Mumford and Lewis and Johnson and I joined Cornish and made him furious because we wouldn't let him even finish the song once before we changed it to our blood. Cornish who played the same note the same way every time who was our frame our diving board that we leapt off, the one we sacrificed so he could remain the overlooked metronome.This is Buddy Bolden's last song, his last march, down Iberville, when he grew crazed and went insane never to recover.[page 130, 131] March is slowing to a stop and as it floats down slow to a thump I take off and wail long notes jerking the squawk into the end of them to form a new beat, have to trust them all as I close my eyes, know the others are silent, throw the notes off the walls of people, the iron lines, so pure and sure bringing the howl down to the floor and letting in the light and the girl is alone now mirroring my throat in her lonely tired dance, the street silent but for us her tired breath I can hear for she's near me as I go round and round in the center of the Liberty-Iberville connect. Then silent. For something's fallen in my body and I can't hear the music as I play it . The notes more often now. She hitting each note with her body before it is even out so I know what I do through her. God this is what I wanted to play for, if no one else I always guessed there would be this, this mirror somewhere, she closer to me now and her eyes over mine tough and young and come from god knows where. Never seen her before but testing me taunting me to make it past her, old hero, old ego tested against one as cold and pure as himself, this tall bitch breasts jumping loose under the light shirt she wears that's wet from energy and me fixing them with the aimed horn tracing up to the throat. Half dead, can't take more, hardly hit the squawks anymore but when I do my body flicks at them as if I'm the dancer till the music is out there. Roar. It comes back now, so I can hear only in waves now and then, god the heat in the air, she is sliding round and round her thin hands snake up through her hair and do their own dance and she is seven foot tall with them and I aim at them to bring them down to my body and the music gets caught in her hair, this is what I wanted, always, loss of privacy in the playing, leaving the stage, the rectangle of band on the street, this hearer who can throw me in the direction and the speed she wishes like an angry shadow. Fluff and groan in my throat, roll of a bad throat as we begin to slow. Tired, She still covers my eyes with hers and sees it slow and allows the slowness for me her breasts black under the wet light shirt, sound and pain in my heart sure as death.All my body moves to my throat and I speed again and she speeds tired again, a river of sweat to her waist her head and hair back bending back to me, all the desire in me is cramp and hard, cocaine on my cock, eternal, for my heart is at my throat hitting slow pure notes into the shimmy dance of victory, hair toss victory, a local strut, eyes meeting sweat down her chin arms out in final exercise pain, take on the last long squawk and letting it cough and climb to spear her all those watching like a javelin through the brain and down into the stomach, feel the blood that is real move up bringing fresh energy in its suitcase, it comes up flooding past my heart in a mad parade, it is coming through my teeth, it is into the cornet, god can't stop god can't stop it can't stop the air the red force coming up can't remove it from my mouth, no intake gasp, so deep blooming it up god I can't choke it the music still pouring in a roughness I've never hit, watch it listen it listen it, can't see I CAN'T SEE. Air floating through the blood to the girl red hitting the blind spot I can feel others turning, the silence of the crowd, can't seeWilly Cornish catching him as he fell outward, covering him, seeing the red on the white shirt thinking it is torn and the red undershirt is showing and then lifting the horn sees the blood spill out from it as he finally lifts the metal from the hard kiss of the mouth.
Buddy Bolden never spoke nor played his cornet again. He was declared insane and shipped to the East Louisiana State Hospital (Insane Asylum), first by train to Baton Rouge and then on a horse-drawn cart the rest of the way. After coming through Slaughter, Louisiana his drivers stopped to take a swim. They walked him to the edge of the water, but Buddy chose to watch from the shore. He had already been baptized by blood on the streets of New Orleans.
Read the Review at:
2.) ARJ2: Don't Push the River (it flows by itself) by Barry Stevens
"Don't push the river" was the catchphrase of the 1960s and 70s — it was an epithet thrown at anyone who acted tense, anxious, and uptight in those hippie and post-hippie decades filled with pop therapies like Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy, and many others. It was certainly the guiding principle of Fritz Perls's Gestalt work: if someone in a group were working on a dream in which he was afraid of a river, he might be told, "Become the river" and encouraged to stand up and move around the room like the river, to feel how the river flows by itself. "There are no rules in Gestalt, only awareness," Fritz might tell him. Anything you fear or resist out in the world is part of you and inside you, and becoming aware of its presence and vitality will free you from pushing and move you into flowing.
Barry Stevens incorporated her experiences with Fritz Perls into this free-flowing book, so that anyone who was pushing against some part of herself could recognize what she was doing, release the pushing, and replace it with flowing. I heard "Don't push the river" so many times that I bought this book around 1977, and the $3.50 price in the lower right-hand corner of its cover recalls that pre-inflation time. Funny thing is I don't recall reading the book. It was on my shelf and I felt as though I had read it, but perhaps I absorbed it by osmosis from the time and the people with whom I lived and worked.
What triggered me to read the book was an email which arrived a month ago from Larry Chrispyn asking about the whereabouts of Barry Stevens' son, John Stevens. He said he wrote a poem called "The Wooden Bow" about a bowl given to him by Barry around 1980. I explained to him what I knew of John Stevens, that he had changed his name to Steve Andreas and was involved in Neuro-Linguistic Programming(1). His email led me to pull down this book and to begin to read it in earnest, recalling thirty-five years ago when I began allowing the river to flow by itself in my world.
One could assume that Barry's son John was led to Gestalt Therapy by her, but, surprisingly, the opposite is the case, as she reveals on the first page:
[page 1] In October 1967, my son sent me an application form and a letter saying, "Sign up! You won't forget it." I signed up, for a five-day week of mornings, 9 to 12, in San Francisco, with a man named Fritz Perls, at the Gestalt Institute. I had no idea what I was getting into.(2)
By the end of 1967, Barry had co-authored a book with Carl Rogers titled, Person to Person, and, surprisingly, once more, it was her son John who triggered Barry's relationship with Carl Rogers.
[page 74] When he was twenty-three, my son said, "Let's face it. You're a therapist to me and I'm a therapist to you."
It was he who brought me a paper by Carl Rogers, which led eventually to Person to Person.
If Gestalt is all awareness, what is there to be said about it? Not much — as a result Barry doesn't talk about Gestalt, only about her own awareness and how it grew through her interactions with Fritz along the way. Here's an example:
[page 2,3] Once, I told Fritz why I didn't want to do what he had told each of us, in turn, to do. Then I thought, maybe there's some value in this that I don't see, and asked him, "Do you want me to do it anyway?" He said nothing. Like an Indian, he said it altogether. There wasn't one part of him anywhere that was saying anything. It was up to me.
Another time, when I was about to take the hot seat, I noticed a folder containing some of his manuscript on the chair on which I was to sit. I said, "Am I supposed to sit on it, or take it off?" He said, "You are asking me. "
Both times, I had to decide for myself. I don't do so much asking now. This brings some of my power back into me.
A friend who teaches seventh and eighth grades in a school on the California desert switched from having her students say, "May I get my paper from your desk?" to "I'm coming to the desk and get my paper." The whole class livened up.
. . . When I say "Please may I?" I may think that I am ladylike and superior. At the same time, I feel inferior, weak, pleading, at the other person's mercy. The other has my life in his hands. I lose my sense of I, in bowing to you. When I just do it (not rudely), I feel strong. My power is in me. Where else should my power be?
Of course, I may get thrown out.
Gestalt is about getting livened up, about re-owning your power, which is important in a world of rules and expectations which strive to take away our power. Doing so may cause you to get thrown out of a group whose expectations you ignore. Fritz knew how to deal with such groups.
[page 3] Fritz was giving a demonstration in a high school auditorium. A fellow got up and made the usual announcement about no smoking, fire regulations, and so on. After the demonstration, a young woman asked Fritz, who had smoked all through, as usual, "What right do you have to go on smoking, when some of us have our tongues out for a cigarette?"
Fritz said, "I don't have the right to, and I don't have the right not to — I just do it."
Young woman: "But suppose you get thrown out?"
Fritz: "I get thrown out."
When we rely on rules instead of awareness, things happen that we don't like. People can die and we can feel blameless because we followed the rules and expectations of others. Barry would have died if her father had not ignored her doctors' prognosis.
[page 14] I was an incubator baby. The doctors in Manhattan gave me back to my father because I was dying anyway. (My mother was in the hospital for a long time, very sick.) My father didn't study books. He studied me, and discovered something. And here I am. (His discovery was later validated by the medical profession, when they changed their minds about how premature babies should be treated.)
One imagines that kids don't like to follow rules, but I was witness to a prominent exception, in which kids were horrified by adults who refused to follow the rules when it came to eating cake. I have been thinking of this episode following the recent death of Anne Teachworth, head of the New Orleans Gestalt Center back in the 1970s because she is the only person I could recall now of this group comprising adults who were into awareness instead of rules. They had brought their children and the following happened. For dessert someone had brought a chocolate doberge cake, a rich torte, 8 thin slices of yellow cake separated by chocolate pudding all covered with chocolate fudge. One of us decided to stick a finger into the icing and pull away a piece of cake. That looked like fun so the rest of us adults began doing the same thing. I remember Anne going, Yummy! when she licked her fingers and gave a big kid-like smile. After a few minutes, we called over the actual kids to join our fun, but they were literally grossed out from watching adults eating cake in a way they were taught not to do. Their rules kept them from having fun in a way that, absent any adults, they might have done on their own. But the adults in their heads were ever present.
This is an example of adults, who being into awareness through exposure to Gestalt training, had done something like the Navajo Indians Barry spent some time around. In this example, it was the non-Indian adults who were horrified by a non-rule-based eating of food.
[page 48] On the Navajo reservation, Beulah, the cook in the dormitory one morning gave the children fried eggs by putting the fried eggs in their hands. They carried them into the dining room, sat at the table and ate them out of their hands.
This was talked about over a hundred miles of reservation for two weeks — by the white folks.
An Indian is someone who does not say "Thank You" or "You're Welcome." Someone, who if they spill milk on a table, they reach over and lap it up. When Barry told a young boy to do exactly that after he spilled his milk, boy's mother who was watching said, "You are not like other white women. They say you must get the mop. By the time you get the mop the milk is on the floor." Barry said, "My living there felt so much more vital, and I so much more spontaneous and alive." (Page 49) Writing while the Vietnam War was still in progress:
[page 49] "Indian" is not skin-color. It is a way of living which does not lead to Vietnam.
"Indian" is a Navajo woman who told me that when she was in school, the white woman physical education instructor taught her how to cheat, how to stumble so that it would throw off another player and seem to be an accident, how to win. "And now," she said, "I have to work so hard to get that out of me."
In the 1970s, something called New Games became popular. What distinguished them from normal games was their focus on fun and lack of emphasis on winning. At a Radical Therapy Conference in Ames, Iowa, I joined a game of volleyball in which neither side kept score. I found the process freeing and fun. No one needed to keep score, and each side tried its best to make the next point, so there was competitive fun, but never any concern about winning the game, only playing one's best for the next point.
Gestalt is about process, about being in the moment and aware. Content is a description of some process, and therefore content must always come after the process described is completed. This created a paradox for Barry which she described like this: "I am in trouble. This book was going to be about Gestalt. The more I know Gestalt, the less there is that I can say." (Page 52)
Facts are content describing some process which has already happened. Since everyone has a different fantasy of what happened, facts, when written into content become fantasy or fiction.Barry Stevens was aware of the fluid nature of facts, that they resembled a river that one cannot step into twice because the river has changed between steps.
[page 57] "Fantasy!" says the man who reads Facts to the man who reads Fiction, unknowing that the facts are fantasy, or even if they weren't when written, they are by the time they're read.
In her story "Here and There" Barry imagines herself in Hawaii a hundred years in the future. She predicts a flat screen TV the size of a wall and notices a woman coming out of the screen into the room. She also imagines "silent" vehicles that people use for transport similar to our present day electric cars. Everyone seems to be fully aware and living in the present, until she hears that the Governor is coming the next day and she feels some anxiety, anxiety which proves to be unwarranted.
[Page 199] The Governor came over to us and sat on the grass, talking of the rainbows of that morning. It seemed they had been exceptionally good, and he was particularly fond of rainbows. He smiled in my direction and said, "They can't be collected, you know."
A Governor who collects rainbows instead of politicians and followers — a novel idea! I was inspired to write a poem about rainbows.
A Rainbow in Itself
You can't collect rainbows,
but you can remember them.
Like the brilliant morning rainbow
which greeted me on the day
I became different and
grabbed my life by the pen.
Like the daily rainbows
which graced every waterfall
on the rainy isle of Kauai.
Like the evening rainbow
which chased me
in my VW Bug and
helped me find the Pot O'Gold
was in my heart.
You can't collect rainbows
but you can re-collect them.
A poem can be a rainbow in itself.
No book which inspires me to write a poem is a waste of time to read, and Barry managed this twice so far, my second poem coming about page 267.But first, Mrs. Chumley gives instructions on how to play solitaire with a deck of cards. What is curious about this particular way of playing solitaire is that it appeared ten years later in the first edition of Windows operating system and became a very popular past-time for many people, among them my wife, my dad, and my uncle, among others. For many people it was this game called FREECELL which helped them to learn how to manipulate a mouse for the first time. (Page 207) The key innovation of the new game was parking places into which you could free cards that were otherwise blocked from a move. The parking places turned solitaire into a game in which strategy and tactics were added on top of luck. Any time you got stuck you could repeat the game from the beginning and find a path which led to success that you had not tried the previous time. This repeat process later appeared in the movie "Groundhog Day" in which Bill Murray woke up on Groundhog Day over and over again and the same set of events took place except for the things he chose to do. Given enough tries, he was able to get his co-worker to eventually fall in love with him during one long day of doing everything perfectly to woo her — he changing into a nicer person in the process.
[page 267] How simple life is. Live with awareness, not by rules or conditioning or thinking or shoulds or shouldn'ts. How difficult it is to see all the rules and conditioning and thinking and shoulds and shouldn'ts which come between I and Thou, and between I and me. Clearly this is not mankind, for all of them vary from place to place, from time to time, from culture to culture, from subculture to subculture. And when we try to break with this, we are likely to fall into another trap. Reaction to convention is still tied to the convention. Going from one opinion to another, I am still opinioned.
Opinioned, what a lovely word! It sounds like an exclamation O, followed by the transitive verb pinioned. It would be useful to look at the dictionary definition of pinion — to cut the wings to prevent flight, to fetter the arms, to bind fast to — a listing of the various bad things that an opinion does to one, whether it is someone else’s or one’s own, and mostly out of one's awareness.
O Pinion Me Not
O pinion me not on the grey prairie
O pinion me not in Cedarn Shoulds
O pinion me not with Great Expectations
O pinion me not in Black Forest woods
O pinion me not with politicians
O pinion me not with anxious ambitions
O pinion me not with opinions
Because that's all that we've got.
We cannot follow a map in life, because maps are dead objects, not living things. The Norwegian Boy Scout Handbook in the section on Map Reading gives the only sane advice to intrepid map-readers, "If the terrain differs from the map, Believe the terrain!" The same advice works for following the dead opinions of others, "If the terrain of life differs from the opinions you have introjected as fact, believe the terrain!"
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2. About twelve years later I met John Stevens and told him to sign up for the afternoon session where Eric Marcus would be talking about the new work of Richard Bandler and John Grinder. He resisted, so I probably told him something like "Sign up! You won't regret it" which advice was similar to that he gave his mother. He went and helped create the first neuro-linguistics book, Frogs into Princes.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
Read the Review at:
Here's flight footage taken by our son Rob as his model plane flew over Timberlane and its neighbors' houses.
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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.
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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.
Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.
This month the good Padre Passes the Front of the BLUE DOG CAFE.
2. Comments from Readers:
- EMAIL from Betty Chowning in Kentucky:
I don't think you two ever slow down! It seems you go from one thing to another, having fun but also honoring those loved ones who have left this ole earth.
Can you or Del tell me where the best place is to order the King Cakes? We couldn't find any on the web site and you sort of have to put the top on it when it gets here. We like to order them and share with friends but couldn't find the kind we used to order. The one we got did have the baby in it. Well, glad to hear from you both and that you are doing OK. Keep on having a wonderful time and enjoying life as you can.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REPLY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best place is Haydel's Bakery. Look them up on the Web. They started the craze of shipping King Cakes and still do it the best.
- EMAIL from Kevin Dann in NYC:
I was just about to turn off the laptop so I could finish this essay off, but just wanted to say thanks for your faithful friendship. I'd rather get a call from you than just about anyone on this planet.
- EMAIL from Daughter-in-Law Kathryn Yost in Sausalito:
Bobby and Del,
Thank you both for the lovely card and necklace! I'll have Rob take a picture of me with the necklace, as I think it is very becoming on me :) I really wish I could have joined him and the kids on their journey over spring break, as I would have enjoyed a good visit with you both! We're now busy making plans for our return to Indiana, all very good :)
Lots of love to you both and I look forward to seeing you soon!
3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:"Come On Weal"
Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:
Come On Weal
Should we follow Jefferson's advice —
For equality depends upon the common weal —
That only when both parties are satisfied
is there basis for a deal.
The cause of queues for food and stuff
Is price fixing by the state:
Equal prices for everyone
Equal merchandise for the masses
Creates not democracy
The official thief says,
"Keep the change in your pocket,"
While lifting bills from your wallet
By taxes and inflation.
Should we look at that silent thief inflation,
We would chase its guardians from our land
And go forth to the day
We lift our wallet with our own hand.
Abe Lincoln once asked a friend, "If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" The friend answered, "Abe, I guess that would be five." Abe said, "No, Charlie, only four. Calling a tail a leg does not make a tail into a leg." There is a lesson there about naming things. Calling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder an injury does not make the syndrome into an injury.. It remains a pattern or set of feelings and not a physical ailment. The syndrome may have come about from some accident or injury which left behind the set of feelings which beset the injured person, but with the science of doyletics, one is quickly able to remove the set of feelings which so upset the injured person.
As an example, consider the movie “Don’t Look Back” from 2009, in French and Italian. It stars a woman about 40 years old who had written a book about her life as she recalled it, but no one seemed to like or understand her book. Searching for clues, she goes from France to Italy and finds a woman in a restaurant who was in one of the photos she had been poring over. This leads her to uncover the secret of the automobile accident. The blond girl companion of her at 8 had died in the accident. The girl was French and named Jeanne. She insisted on being called Jeanne and on being adopted by the mother of the dead girl, and was said to have amnesia for the entire episode, the accident and the name change. The movie details how she systematically, over a long period of time (some 30 years of her life post-accident) and the dramatic events of the movie lasting perhaps a year which put her entire family, husband and two children, and her brother and mother(s) through incredible stress.
By means of the insights of the science of doyletics, it is possible to understand how Jeanne was able to uncover the hidden events of her life, and how it might have been possible for her to have done a simple Speed Trace and have avoided most of the traumatic events of the movie which nearly cost her life in addition to upsetting her family and friends greatly for over 30 years. Let us consider how PSTD works, that is, how the set of feelings associated with the syndrome are stored in the first place and then how it would be possible to remove them.
First, what is the mechanism in the brain which causes amnesia during a traumatic event? Amnesia means simply a-mnesia or no memory. The kind of memory referred to is cognitive memory or what we commonly call memory. For an event to be stored as a cognitive memory, it must be relayed by the hippocampus to the higher cortex. Once this process is done, the event can be remembered, i. e., recovered as a cognitive memory. Since the hippocampus and higher cortex is not fully developed and operational until the age of five years old (the age doyletics calls “the Memory Transition Age), few if any cognitive memories are stored in the cortex until that five. Five years old was the age referred to by Sigmund Freud as the age of childhood amnesia, by which he meant to say that all memories were forgotten below that age (or at least not retrievable except by his psychoanalytic method which could take two years or longer). Modern neurological studies (See Dr. Robert Sapolsky's lectures on neuroscience.) indicate that during traumatic events glutocorticoids flood the hippocampus and make it impossible for it to transfer memories to the higher cortex. This causes amnesia in the same way as when the brain is under-developed before five years old. This is the mechanism which is responsible for the lost of memory after traumatic events at any age in life, and explains the so-called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Second, doyletics reveals that although cognitive memories cannot be stored if the hippocampus-cortex connection is disabled (during pre-five and traumatic-event times), all doylic memories (bodily events) are stored during these times because they are stored in the root brain. These doylic memories are re-triggered later in life and cause all kinds of problems such as the discomforts that Jeanne felt and the flashbacks of the wrong kitchen table which sent her into a rage.
Third, doylic memories can be quickly removed by the simple expediency of holding the bodily states (or having them holding you) and placing one’s mind at time marks from one’s current age to below the age at which the bodily states (doyles) were stored. That age will be below five for childhood events and the age of any traumatic events at older than five ages. For Jeanne that age would be eight years old. The process for doing this Hold and Mark procedure is called the Speed Trace. If Jeanne had done a speed trace on one or more of the times when she felt some cognitive dissonance in her life (the wrong kind of kitchen table, e.g.), she could have removed the discomfort and possibly recovered the image of herself with the blond girl in the automobile during the wreck at eight by asking the Plausibility Question. That image may have given her the crucial information to understanding the double life she had been leading as both an Italian girl and a French girl and woman.
One can see that the science of doyletics is providing the technology to helping people recover from traumatic events at any age of their life in a quick and expeditious fashion. We at the Doyletics Foundation await word of the Speed Trace being used helping ailing war veterans to recover from the throes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Injury, whatever they call it, it is the same set of feelings and flashbacks. But there is no need to wait for confirmation when one suffering such a disorder can easily learn to do a Speed Trace and provide themselves immediate personal relief without need for other outside help.
This morning “Rose Is Rose” comic strip has Rose, an adult with a husband and small boy, down with a cold and her mother has brought her some chicken soup and cough syrup. The chicken soup she accepts gratefully, but the cough syrup she rejects. Finally her mother has to track her down hiding under her bed, which Rose admits doesn’t have as much room as it used to, in order to administer the unwanted cough suppressant medicine. Why does Rose’s little girl inside her so strenuously resist taking the cough medicine? We might better understand what was going on if we focus on the beneficial effects of coughing, and combine that with a look at the wisdom of our inner child.
Our diaphragm separates our body into two systems. Above is the respiratory/circulatory system and below is the digestive/elimination system. When we cough we make a connection between these two systems initiated by a reflex action of our diaphragm. This is a natural action and one that restores a balance to our body and is a necessary component of a healthy body. When we use cough suppressants, we artificially prevent the body from achieving the balance between the upper and lower systems and delay the body’s restoration to health.
In a society in which so much what passes for medical advice is provided by media advertisements paid for by medical companies who provide medicines such as cough suppressants, one would not be expecting these companies to discuss the beneficial aspects of coughing. Instead, we find a variety of new forms of cough medicines and cough suppressants being advertised with glowing praises for how they are beneficial to one’s health. What if these suppressants are, rightly understood, detrimental to one’s health?
Here is what I wrote in my review of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on Anthroposophical Medicine about coughing:This next passage could be titled, “Suppress Cough Suppressants”, because Steiner leads us to understand the importance of the cough reflex as a corrective action taken by the body, which otherwise might run into physical ailments. This is the first time I’ve read anyone explaining the benefits of coughing, and yet, I’ve avoided cough medicines and suppressants ever since the events of my twenties (back in the 1960s). In addition, I have noticed in many movies when a person is under pressure, they break into a nervous cough. It is a real cough by their cough reflex designed to keep certain things getting in to skew either their upper or lower region. It is best not to suppress this balancing reflex of the body by artificial cough syrups and suppressants.When one coughs, one re-balances one’s body to prevent access of even more harmful bacteria, viruses, and bodily states. If one takes a cough suppressant for a minor cold, one may extend its effect or trigger a deterioration into a more serious and long-lasting disease.[page 28] When a person's lower organization is such that it cannot be controlled by the upper organization, the cough reflex is a healthy reaction on the part of the body, an attempt to prevent certain things from getting in. Simply preventing coughing by direct means under any and all circumstances may cause damage, because harmful factors will then be able to enter. The body coughs because in its present condition it cannot tolerate these harmful factors and wants to eliminate them. The cough reflex is just a sign of something happening in the organism that makes it necessary to prevent the entry of invaders that could otherwise easily gain access.
As a parent for one's children and one's own inner child, one must avoid the reflex action of Rose’s mother which is to force her child (even an adult one) to take a cough suppressant for a simple cold. One does well to notice that one’s inner child does not reject medicines which are good for one.
Bought a General Electrical Digital Timer at Home Depot for about $15 dollars. I would have preferred an old fashioned mechanical timer as I only wanted it to come on for a half hour a day, but the mechanical timers were about $100 dollars each. I need two timers, so I bought one digital version with multiple programming and two outlets. After several minutes of playing with the digital screen and push buttons I finally got the infernal and completely illogical setup to set date and time, and then programmed one program to turn the relays on and off at a convenient time for the test on two lamps in the living room. Nothing happened. After two days of failed testing, I went back to the device and cycled it from On-Auto-Off and the lamps did not come on for On. Hmmm! The device has failed. Brand New, just out of the box, and it failed the simple test I set up. I retrieved the box and the receipt to return the broken device and as I grabbed hold of the timer to unplug it from the outlet, THE LAMPS CAME ON! I looked at the Digital Display and the On setting was displayed; I just happened to have left the timer in the On position earlier, after cycling through its On-Off-Auto to no avail. At the last possible moment for effective troubleshooting, I had found the problem: A likely loose connection somewhere in the device, and I didn't have to open the device and fix it, but simply return it. I had heard the faint click of the tiny relay activating when the lamps came on. I repeated the process several times: the relays did not work if the device was fully plugged in, but if I BENT the CASE slightly and HELD it bent, the relays worked! The timer was FUBAR!
I drove and returned it to Home Depot's RETURNS register. Christine, the gal at the register, explained politely that she could credit my card, but I would have to go get another timer and buy it. I suggested that this problem was caused by a defective product sold to me by Home Depot, and I would wait at the register until they replaced it for me. She acceded to my request, so I told her, "Oh, by the way, I want a second timer identical to the bad one." No way was I going to get a different timer and go through some other set of obscure set-up instructions. I knew this one's tricks and traps already! I need two timers, because I found out that the two outlets are slaved to one another and not separately programmable, which GE failed to give any details of this design feature on either the outside or inside of the box. So I needed two timers to activate two devices at different days and times. Christine called someone else named, coincidentally, Christine, who brought the two timers to the register and I was able to get the job done in just a few minutes without moving from the register and incurring only one credit card transaction: the purchse of the second timer.
I drove home and immediately tested each timer by plugging in lamp and cycling through On-Off-Auto and the lamps came On for On and went Off for Off! Then I entered the M-W-F time setting for one timer and the T-Th-Sa setting for the other one and the testing phase has been entered. If the lamps, as I expect they will, come on as programmed, I will move the timers into place for the devices I bought them for.
If some friend assures you that Home Depot will not simply replace a defective item, ignore their limited view of the world. Insist that the Returns Desk take care of it for you. Hold a good thought. Remember Matherne's Law: If Anything Can Go Right, It Will, and At The Best Possible Time. Arrive early in the morning, around 9 as I did, so you'll get there when the Returns Desk doesn't have a line, and hold your ground as a Customer. It's not like there isn't a Lowe's waiting a few minutes down the street, is it?
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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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