Sunday, March 25, 2012

image: Duane Michals

One, two, three are me.
How will I keep them all straight?
Duane on Sundays!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I awoke fat and discombobulated.

OK, I wake up fat everyday.  Not obese,  too fat, but I'm uncomfortably used to that state of affairs.
Certainly I've been discombobulated before, but this time it seems more pronounced.....
Let me explain;  I spent the better part of last week at the on call apartment (frat house ;)), 5 out of 7 days.  Which is not new but not a regular occurrence - 5 out-of 7 days, that is.

Yesterday afternoon I laid down to take a nap.  Twenty minutes later the phone rang and shocked me awake with intermingled thoughts of: I'm being called in, where's the phone, where am I and then the slow realization that; I'm home, not on call and the phone is not for me.  And now I can't doze off again because now I've got an ache in my left hip.  (Yeah, getting old and arthritic fits in there with fat and discombobulated too).
This morning one of the rarest of rares happened: I was aroused form a deep dream state at 0330.  Yes 0330 is my normal time to get up but almost never do I get wakened by the alarm.  I'm usually awake by 0315 and down stairs in the kitchen by 0325 drinking coffee.

When the alarm buzzed this AM, I again, came-to slowly and disoriented as to time and place.  WTH?

Everyday brings a new thought to blog about.  Isn't being human a great thing?
That double picture?  Yes, I did that on purpose.  I knew you were dying to ask.


A while back, I picked up a lovely date at her parents' home.
I'd scraped together some money to take her to a fancy restaurant.
She ordered the most expensive items on the menu. Shrimp cocktail. Lobster
Patron. Champagne .
I asked her, "Does your mother feed you like that when you eat at home?"
"No," she replied, "but my mother's not expecting a blow job tonight."
I said, "Would you care for dessert?"


Monday, March 19, 2012

I think, sometimes, we analyze the joy out of reading stories.

Every critique of Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” that I’ve read expresses the opinion that this is a story about Elisa Allen, her failed marriage, and her sexual frustrations. Maybe it is. Steinbeck was, himself, married three times, so maybe he was writing from personal experience. If so, then so-be-it and I bow to the expert critics.

Elisa Allen is the main character in this story, but it’s about “the man,” the traveling salesman, and his ability to read people and establish a report with a stranger after only a short acquaintance. He’s been at this game quite awhile and obviously has survived, made enough to support himself, his team, and his dog. He quickly picks up on her deftness with flowers and plays to that and she, like most of us do when someone shows an interest in our hobbies or such, brightens and shines under the attention. He is adept at pattering her behavior and verbalizations and therefore gains her trust. His appearance and apparent vagabond life appeals to her in direct contrast to the mundaneness of everyday married life that afflicts most folks who have been married for any length of time. This is not to say she does appreciate or love her husband or in fact have a satisfying if somewhat boring existence. This is simply a grass is greener scenario. Elisa then becomes the vehicle by which we see the effect of “the man’s” manipulations and the devastating effect that occurs when she sees her chrysanthemums discarded by the wayside and she realizes that she has been played.

I prefer to read stories for their face value, and this tale stands alone as a story of everyday life of those times. Steinbeck is a master story teller and displays his talent here well, like Garrison Keillor does in his tales from Lake Wobegon.

Sometimes a story is just a story, and assigning deeper motives and meanings only serves to make it a different story or a vehicle to foster literary debate.

I wonder what kind of wine Henry and Elisa had with dinner.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mag # 108

Uzengia Aleksander Nedic

Hazy memory:
Espy grandma's garden path.
Watermelon patch.

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Mag. # 107
The Art of Hungarian Photographer/Artist Sarolta Ban

Hungarian stare__
Onyx eyed jewels watching.
Buddha hypnotized.


Saturday, March 03, 2012

     Who’s your favorite author?  What book is your favorite?  And so on.  It’s difficult if not impossible to give justice by choosing to answer these questions.  This past two weeks reading works in module four of so many erudite poets and playwrights was fulfilling.  For the moment though, I want to single out one of those authors for comment.

     Susan Glaspell’s (Pgs 916-917) one act play “Trifles” grabbed my attention from the opening scene (917) to Mrs. Hale’s, “we call it ___ knot it, Mr. Henderson. (927) at the end, and left me wanting more.  In fact, so much so that I went looking for as much info as I could find about her and her work.

     (Isn’t it curious how researching a subject you like makes the hours seem like minutes and leaves you feeling rewarded rather than researching a subject, Marianne Moore for instance, for an hour or so leaves you wondering; why did I waste my time.)

     In the brief biographical sketch of Glaspell (Pgs 916, 917) we learn that her play “Trifles” was” based on an actual murder that she remembered from her days as a reporter in Iowa.”

     (Was it just a coincidence that we learn of the 1916 play on page 916?  Probably.

     Wanting to expand upon that nugget of information, a Google search leads me to this site,, where I read Glaspell’s reportage of the murder of John Hossack on December 1st, 1900.  Glaspell, at the beginning of the trial, is very “Joe Friday” like in her reportage:  “all we want are the facts ma’am.”[1]  But by the end of the trial sympathy for the accused, the victim’s wife is hard to miss.  Also, reading the actual account gives a level of credence to Glaspell’s fictional play that was missing on my first reading of the play.

Another tidbit that I was reminded of in my research is the fact that at the time of writing of the play or even the murder for which it is based on, women couldn’t vote, nor serve on juries.  The 1920 right to vote is listed in the Timeline on pg. 825.  Not until 1975 were women allowed to serve on juries.  The Supreme Court case in 1975 was probably the reason why the feminist movement of the time rediscovered Susan Glaspell.  A short story of Glaspell, “A Jury of Her Peers” (1917) was really pretty much a verbatim prose version of “Trifles.”  Both became prominent in the start-up of women’s studies in universities around that same period of time.  It’s interesting to note at this point that in 1980 the story was made into a movie and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Dramatic Live Action short.

     For an author and playwright of high acclaim, such as Glaspell, I am surprised to find the bulk of her work out-of-print.  This from a person who’s three act play, “Alison’s House” (1930) (pg917) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1931.  Although there is some blight on that award that warrants further investigation.

     Her “The Glory of the Conquered” (1909) (pg 916) became a national best seller, drawing rave reviews in the New York Times.

     In the end Susan Glaspell’s engaging style of storytelling/playwrighting has left me craving more, and will send me to the local library to find her works if Amazon fails me.

One piece of irony to mention in light of Glaspell’s personal feminist leanings and her impact on the twentieth century’s feminist movement is the fact that she carried on an affair with her husband while he was still married to his second wife and stayed with him despite his numerous illicit affairs after their marriage.[2]

And it is interesting to note that the character Minnie Wright in “Trifles” is probably a characterization of Susan Glaspell herself.


References: The American Tradition in Literature. Twelfth Edition.  George Perkins / Barbara Perkins.  Volume 2 © 2009 McGraw-Hill, Inc.


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Friday, March 02, 2012

Glaspell, like Kate Chopin, wants to highlight women's under valued place in society. She does it very effectively in her Play "Trifles." It's interesting to note that Glaspell bases this story on a real life event which adds more realism to her play in relation to how it displays gender disparities.

Early on, on page 920, we get our first glimpse of how the men in the play under-value the women when the county attorney says: " I guess before we're through she may have something more serious than preserves to worry about." And Mr. Hale adds: "well, women are used to worrying over trifles." Following closely, the attorney, by making a disparaging remark about Mrs. Wright's housekeeping traits, sets the stage for gender conflict. The two women find a common bond and band together emotionally to oppose helping with the investigation and, infact, hindering it. Not that the men would notice! They, the men, would never stoop to ask a mere woman, although valued, for their input concerning anything they've seen.

The women actually unravel the mystery by noticing the little things , while the men clomp about, feigning importance, looking for glaring evidence of motive, yet not finding any. On page 922 when the sheriff disparages Mrs. Hales remark: "I wonder if she was goin' to quilt it or just knot it" referring to the quilt, the resentment builds.

The hiding of what would be a key piece of evidence, the canary, (Pg. 927) from the men seals the pact between the women: Mrs. Hale, Mrs Peters, and the unseen Mrs. Wright. They'll not help the law that ridicules them.