Monthly Archives: June 2018

This is my second (experimental) month-end note about personal goings-on.  The idea is to communicate without either the filter of Facebook or the author-stance of a blog writer. I’m not going to work hard to make it interesting — the point is to share recent events and maintain connections.  (So long, casual readers!  I can hear your screen-taps from here.)

This week we went to see the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor about Fred Rogers. I was not a big Mister Rogers fan when I was young.  Frankly, I thought he was a bit weird. I watched his show, on a hit-or-miss basis, on the Pittsburgh educational channel WQED before it was broadcast nationally.  The clock and the castle and the characters all seemed pretty stark and low-key, through the black-and-white filter I viewed them at the time.

By the time Mister Rogers hit his stride, I had already reached the expressing-feelings-are-bad age.  I didn’t respond to Mister Rogers’ message until I became a father and I listened to his program along with my children — and I began to feel he was talking to me as much as he was to them.  There would be many days in my adult life that Mister Rogers was therapeutic for me, probably because he was connecting with the needy child in me.

Fred Rogers’ message, if I may distill it: love and acceptance are universal Goods.  Conflict is also universal, but it can be overcome or transcended by love and acceptance.  Only if we work to make it so.

Moving along.  I don’t really want to talk about the weather in this blog, but it has been a strange month.  We ended May with five inches of rain in one week.  This was followed by two weeks with almost no rain.  It led me to obsessively over-water several of my rhodos to the point where they got root-rot.  And now the rains have returned — we have had nearly four inches in the past week.  Tomorrow, I have to make up some of my super anti-root-rot solution to see if I can save those shrubs.

I think about my shrubs a lot more than they think about me.  It’s a one-sided relationship. I am very sad when I see their wilted leaves.  But do you think they feel any of my concern and disappointment?  No.  Because they’re plants.

We are enjoying listening to the tree-frogs outside our deck.  (I am doing so as they speak.) Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Frog, we now have several plump tadpoles in our little water pond, whom we hope will one day add to the chorus.


I am still spending more time on my research paper (about bidding strategy on The Price is Right showcase round) than any normal person would.  I have this crazy belief that my paper will be accepted and I will eventually be able to claim that an article of mine was published in a peer-reviewed journal.   If I had thought more carefully about my priorities and the amount of time my vanity effort would require, would I still have embarked upon this?  We will never know.  The ship has sailed.  I could have been painting.

I have been actively avoiding the news and TV.  It is no secret to anyone who visits here that I am sickened by our President and this political environment.  I want to be part of “The Resistance” but I have yet to figure out a way to do it — the power is so imbalanced.

For some reason, I have been having very annoying dreams lately, a recurrence of my old “I hate working here, my job is pointless, I need to retire” dreams.  (I retired years ago.) But how nice for me that I have worrisome dreams and then I wake up from them, and others have troubles that don’t go away when they wake up.

Last but not least.  We had to replace our refrigerator and we bought a GE.  I discovered that GE is not really GE anymore.  GE no longer makes refrigerators.  Some South Korean outfit churns them out and puts a GE emblem on them.  The appliance is cheaply made for the price we paid and does not measure up.  I have buyer’s remorse.

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I know.  Even the phrase “jumped the shark” has jumped the shark.  Nonetheless it is unquestionable that the Toni Collette horror film Hereditary jumped it, with abandon.  With about ten convoluted minutes remaining, the writers’ creative juices ran out, exposing a dry lake-bed of formula which the acting had up-to-then concealed.

For almost two hours, we enjoyed (if that is the right word) a very well-acted, suspenseful film.  But around the 1:55 mark, right after Collette got a sickened look on her face — as if her brain wanted to vomit — this smoldering-on-the-launch-pad thriller misfired and fell on its side, sending sparks one way and fear the other, but not much of substance in the direction of the viewer.  The film’s nearly-last gasp (spoiler and pun-alert) was Collette’s self-beheading, after she somehow hanged herself from the attic ceiling after she somehow chased her son into said attic, the better for him to observe her gruesome deed, we surmise, so to inspire his leap into the arms of death, taking the very promise/premise of the story along with him.

The final minutes of the film reminded me of some of the inexplicable endings to songs on the Beatles’ so-called White Album.  There was Glass Onion, a rocker that abruptly ended with a George Martin cello dirge inartfully tacked-on;  and Cry Baby Cry, a wistful poetic Lennon tune onto which someone (let’s blame Paul) thought it would be proper to append McCartney’s haunted ramble Can You Take Me Back; and the album itself ended with one of the top-three shlocky Beatles’ songs of all time, Ringo’s Good Night, which mopped up the shards from the avant-garde train-wreck called Revolution 9.

The Beatles’ bad endings will be remembered longer and regretted more deeply than the one that the producers of Heriditary indulgently grafted onto the end of their film.  Still.  What was that about?


* The other top-schlocky Beatles’ songs were She’s Leaving Home and The Long and Winding Road.
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Messrs. K’s and H’s first encounter with a horse, whose name probably was not Henry. That would have been too Sgt. Pepper, even for me.  (Photo Credit: Sue Ellen Collins)


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