I've found the third celebrity death!
I knew all I had to do was look around a bit to find the third person to fit into The Law of Threes. You know the law--the one that says all things happen in threes.
First, Caroll O'Connor died of a heart attack at the age of 76. Then, a couple of days later, Jack Lemmon died from complications due to cancer at the age of 76. So I knew it was only a matter of time before another TV/movie person, white, aged 76, died of something. I kept my eyes out. And finally, I found him!
According to the All TV column in the Star-Ledger, John Cannon, president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, died of a heart attack Friday morning at the age of 74.
But that's not 76, you're thinking. He was only 74. You're right, Sherlocks! Here's the kicker: Cannon became president of NATAS, which runs the daytime Emmy awards, news and documentary awards, sports awards, science and technology awards, community and public service awards, in 1976! There's the 76!
So you see, the Law of Threes has been fulfilled.
(Pssst. For anyone taking this too seriously, click here.)--MAY
The stupidity factor
I think I've figured it out. I watched Charmed tonight. I've seen it once or twice since it started, and thought it was essentially rather silly fluff. The premise is something about three sisters who are witches (good ones!) fighting the forces of darkness. I think it's supposed to be a kinder, gentler Buffy with lots more cleavage.
Tonight's episode was a rerun of their Halloween episode, wherein our fearless trio of witches are ported backward in time to Virginia in 1670, which explains why nobody was wearing coats on Halloween. So follow me here--the reason they had to go back in time was because the good witches of 1670 Virginia (they didn't say if it was Jamestown or Williamsburg, but my bet's Jamestown) were getting their asses kicked by the bad witch, who had the entire town convinced that she was not a witch, even though her house was surrounded by witchy talismans that kept the good witches from rescuing their buddy who was about to have a baby that was going to be THE most powerful good witch of all time. (Said baby turned out to be our three witches' ancestor, yet another badly written, stupid time travel story, but that's beside the point here.)
Okay. So here's the really dumb part. The good witch is filled with vapid sayings ("Blessed be!") and explains to our heroines things like, oh, the pointed hats enable witches to focus, and sweeping a broom from east to west creates some kind of contact to the power, and this herb does that and apples do this and blah, blah, blah, blah.
Which is why I realized that if you just take the witchy stuff for granted, as was done excellently in Practical Magic, you don't start laughing at how stupid it all is. But when you try to explain it, as in saying that goofy pointed hats are pointed for a logical reason, then everything goes to hell and you just have to laugh at it all. Especially when your head witch keeps on saying "Blessed be," a saying that reminds me of "So mote it be," which is another New Age witchy thing to say that I've been laughing at since Clarion '90.
I used to be a lot more tolerant of New Age witchy things, but I've lost my patience with it. It's part of what ruined the last couple of seasons of Xena, although I think what really ruined Xena was jumping the "subtext" to the foreground and the show taking itself far too seriously.
More importantly, so-called New Age is one of the more annoying things about living in America in 2001. New Age accoutrements are high on the quackery scale. Look in any health food store and you'll see overpriced herbs in the drug aisle that supposedly cure everything from warts to cancer. Almost none of these herbs has been scientifically proven to cure anything, and indeed, many of them can harm the ignorant, especially if taken in high doses. Crystals that should be nearly worthless are being sold for incredibly inflated prices to people who actually think that rocks will change their lives. Listen, if it's not a huge diamond on your ring finger, or a big boulder crashing down on you, a rock isn't going to change your life. People spend who knows how much money on so-called "doctors" who can cure their "aura" when it is sick, in spite of the fact that no one has ever scientifically proven that an aura exists. There are "massage" therapists who massage you without touching you--Reiki, they call it. Ripoff, I call it.
So I guess this riff is another one on how the media contributes to the dumbing-down of America. It isn't the so-called reality shows that are ruining American culture. It's the shows that pass along misinformation in the guise of entertainment, and uncritical information in the guise of news. Which is why we get frauds like John Edward getting their very own syndicated show where they claim to talk to your dead relatives.
Oh, come on--you knew I was going to get a bash in on Edward before I ended this.--MAY
Mirror, mirror, on the wall
We need a new word that means essentially the same thing as hubris. We could use it when we hear about things like this: Britney Spears is going to write her autobiography.
The first thing that comes to my mind is: Why? The second thing: Who cares?
For God's sake, how old is this moron? Is she even old enough to vote yet? Puh-leeze. An autobiography.
My cat's life is more interesting than Britney's.
Someone ought to tell her that you have to live first before you can write about your life.--MAY
Tonight was a hoot. There's a new store in town called The Soda Pop Shop. It's an ice cream parlor fashioned after the ice cream parlors of the fifties and sixties, or at least, the idealized version of those as seen on TV. In fact, As Seen On TV would probably be a better name for it.
Nevertheless, a friend and I went there tonight after running a few errands nearby. Well, Tuesday night is TV Theme Song Singalong night, and we were persuaded to go into the lounge, given a plastic binder filled with the lyrics to various television theme songs, and asked to sing along as well as volunteer for trivia questions and "name that tune" games, for prizes, of course.
It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I was rather frightened to realize I didn't need the cheat sheet for far too many theme songs (The Flintstones, Green Acres, The Brady Bunch, Underdog). My friend was the first prizewinner, for being the only one to recognize the first theme song of the night--no one had ever gotten it before. It was the theme from Let's Make a Deal. Yikes. I thought it was The Beer Barrel Polka. Her prize: A box of Dots. All of the prizes were also TV kitsch. They probably couldn't find Scooter Pies, but someone won a box of Little Debbie Marshmallow Pies, which are just Scooter Pie wannabes. I won a can of Pringles for correctly identifying (with help from the audience) Lucy Ricardo's maiden name. I also helped a little girl win a prize by stage whispering "Blue!" to her while the emcee's back was turned. The question was "What color was Huckleberry Hound?", and the child was only about eight, so I felt just fine helping her out. I think what also helped a lot is the entire cast of a local production of Godspell (I think they were high school students) was there. Good to have singers already present when trying to get people to sing, I think.
So yeah, it was fun, and I'll probably see if I can't shanghai Heidi and Sorena when they come to visit in a couple of weeks. Of course, they'll have to be coached on all of the questions, but we'll have fun.
It's just a cat, right?
I am so tired this morning. Gracie started having her asthma attacks around ten o'clock last night. They started getting more frequent, so I closed up the windows and turned on the AC, which I was loath to do until today, but never mind, it's done. The attacks started coming an hour apart, and I started calculating how long it would take me to get to the emergency vet's and how much it would cost me if I had to go there. Probably about $200. I called. It costs me $15 to get her a shot from my regulat vet. So I figured I'd wait it out. Then the attacks started coming two hours apart, then three, and I was feeling more relieved, sort of. Except by now it was 4:30 a.m., and I'd had maybe three hours sleep, and I was so worried that she was going to sieze like she did months ago that I just gave up and showered at 5 a.m. so I could be ready to take her to the vet's when they opened three hours later. I finally did catch maybe a half hour of sleep before 7:30. Then I had to pull her bodily out of her hiding place, since Gracie knew she was going to get a shot, and didn't want to go. She's a smart one. She started hiding after her second asthma attack.
You know, sometimes having a pet is as much work as having a child. Geez. I feel like I was up all night with the baby. And I haven't got one!--MAY
An elephant never forgets
You see what I mean? I just searched online for the below quote to make sure it was correct. The only thing I got wrong were the two articles before lightning and lightning bug. I've fixed them.--MAY
Lightning in miniature
The lightning bugs are out. I like calling them lightning bugs more than fireflies. I think it is a much better name.
Mark Twain's famous quote on lightning bugs: The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
The man absolutely knew how to put words together so you'd remember them.
Tigger is having a lot of fun with lightning bugs. He's never really seen them before, I think. I don't recall him getting a chance to play with them last summer, but he's had a couple to play with tonight. It's obvious that he's puzzled when they flash. They're not just bugs, you can see the thought going through his mind. Perhaps he thinks they're tiny flashlight beams, which he loves to chase. In any case, I feel guilty watching him play with them. I'm quite happy to let him eat all of the moths and flies and mosquitoes and yucky things that he can catch, but the lightning bug is special. You catch it, you watch it flash for a moment, and you let it go. Even when we were children, we'd catch a jarful and then let them go at the end of the night, or at the latest the next day. It bothers me to see Tig play with one, because inevitably, he kills the bugs that he plays with.
Ah, well. Darwinian evolution in progress. The fit survive.--MAY
What would Shirley do?
Wow. I went on a major housecleaning binge this afternoon, starting from the rear of my apartment out. So I cleaned off the balcony, fixed the thingamajig on the bottom of the door that stops the rain from coming in (like I know what that thing is called), swept the kitchen floor, cleaned the stove, cleaned the tiles around the stove, cleaned the windowsill next to the stove, cleaned the dishrack mat (which gets amazingly dirty considering all it ever does is hold clean, dripping wet dishes), washed the sink, washed all of the cat dishes, and even washed out the Tupperware container I keep the cat food in. I wanted to wash the kitchen floor, but then it was suppertime, so I'll wash the kitchen floor tomorrow. Then I'll tackle the living room and the bathroom. I've decided to pretend I'm moving so that when I DO move, I won't have much to clean up.
And while all of this housecleaning was going on, I realized how Shirley Jackson (author of, among other things, The Lottery) must have gotten so many of her great ideas. She had four children, and her husband taught college for much of their youth, and besides, she was a fifties housewife, and so was expected to do all of the housework and take care of her husband and children as well. She detailed her non-writing life hysterically in two autobiographical books, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons. I have them both--I got Raising Demons from the Scholastic Book Club, and found the other years later, having read it first in a hardcover Jackson collection in the Maplewood Library.
Anyway, the place I was going to with this: When doing housework, even heavy-duty housework, your mind is still pretty much disconnected to what you're doing, as it's rather mindless work. Which is why I think Shirley Jackson probably got her ideas while doing housework, then wrote them either in the evenings or when the kids were napping or in school. There's a lot of time to think.
Although your legs do get mighty tired after standing on them doing housework for a few hours.
Like a bat out of hell
So I finally got my brothers here today, and we switched tops on the Jeep so I can now ride topless on beautiful days. Of course, I'm now on the horns of a dilemma. Don't you love that expression? I sure do. Oh. The dilemma is that I know it's going to be 90s and humid by mid-week, so on that day, do I ride topless, or do I use the air conditioning? I'm still so new at this.
And the other dilemma: What to do, what to do: I have to make more driving tapes. I need some head-banging, heavy metal, Driving With The Top Down On The Highway tapes so I can annoy the hell out of people who usually annoy the hell out of me. Absolutely gonna tape Tool, and Meatloaf goes without saying.
I think I'll ride topless and if it's too hot, put the top back up and turn on the AC. Yeah. That'll do it.
I just realized something. Filtering software will now probably add my site to the forbidden lists, as I mentioned demons and will probably get flagged as a Satanic cult meeting place or something stupid like that. Oops, I did it again.
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.--MAY