Last evening, Stephen and I stumbled onto a recent Channel 4 documentary on PBS on the subject of Queen Elizabeth II’s mother-in-law, Princess Alice of Battenberg.  Find her history online here and here

Who knew that the royal consort’s mother was so über-eccentric and her life so labyrinthian?

At one point in the film, one of the royal relations is reported to have commented on Alice’s religious ecstasies with “I think she has anemia of the brain from too much contemplation”.

Remember the ‘eye-rolling’ from last post?  Sometimes just a sidelong glance from the person seated on the couch next to you is every bit enough.

Lest I continue to give you the wrong impression, Stephen is really quite fond of me.  And I him.  I’ll give you a status update on that when we return from two weeks on the road in September.



If you don’t know of them already, please investigate the ‘Humans of New York’.

When I showed this human to Stephen this morning, there was eye-rolling, meaning, ‘This is you all over’, which I knew already – which is, of course, why I showed it to him in the first place.  I am a sponge for Stephen’s disapproval.

Though I’m not suggesting that he actually did, Woody Allen could have written the text underneath the photo.  One of my very favorite movies — Top Ten, not just Woody Allen movies — is ‘Broadway Danny Rose’ from 1984.  Early in Allen’s standup comic career, he had a routine that began with his suggesting that inanimate objects were against him.  I personally subscribe to the notion that most objects in the inanimate world are against me.

But, not my famous rock from Crete.

And without your even having to ask, here’s another view of it.


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If you know Dave at all, you know that he is one of the gays, so you may be wondering why there is a photo of a semi-clad young woman posted here.

If you know Dave at all, you know that he will explain.

In 1981, Playboy came to town to interview young women who might be eager to appear on the pages of the magazine as part of a college football feature called ‘The Girls of the Southeastern Conference’.

Stephen had yet to begin his career in jewelry design in ’81 and was working advertising layout at the local newspaper.  A coworker of his at the paper interviewed with Playboy and was chosen, but then needed a location to be photographed, so she approached Stephen about using our house.

Playboy photographer David Chan scouted our living room, approved, then followed up with, “We shot one of the girls in a dorm room, and one in a journalism professor’s apartment, all chrome and glass – you know, a real ‘bachelor pad’ – so this is nice.”

I thanked him and added that I wouldn’t let it get back to Hugh Hefner that he had dissed ‘bachelor pads’.

So, this is a picture that made it into the magazine.  My spectacles are long gone, and the loveseat ‘Claire’ is stretched out on is in storage, but some of the artifacts in the photograph still remain about the house.  In particular, in the upper left-hand corner of the photo is a rock that I picked up on the beach on Crete in 1968, or ’69.  Wherever it was in the vicinity 3500 years prior, when the Thera volcanic eruption wiped out the Minoan civilization with a tidal wave, did my little paperweight ever imagine it would appear in Playboy magazine?

Stephen and I will be spending two weeks on Crete in September.  I’m looking forward, but I confess I’m a little nervous after 45 years.  I’m thinking about returning the rock, but I haven’t decided.  What do you think?

By the way – and I think I’ve got this right – a ‘conference’ is a collection of competing football teams.  I attended exactly one football game when I was a freshman in college here, and left at halftime.  Dave is one of the gays.

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I have another composition simmering on the back burner, but in the meantime, here is a garden-variety World’s-Going-to-Hell tale for your consideration.

Two weeks ago, we had the roof re-shingled to the tune of about $9000.  I mention this figure only because I’m old enough to muse that my parents’ first house cost about $10,000 to build from scratch.  I’m also old enough to recall that when I was sixteen years-old, my brand new Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ cost $1200; I just spent $1200 on a camera lens without batting an eye.  Actually, that’s not true.  There was in fact brief eye-batting.

ANYway, in the process of clearing the old shingles off the roof, the crew knocked down the TV cable, so I called the cable company to come take care of replacing it.  Three appointments and three no-shows later, I decided a drive to the cable company office was in order.

My brother said recently that he would hate to be on the receiving end of any displeasure I might have with a business.  And yet he is wrong.  I am the very picture of calm and straightforwardness, my manner marred by only the barest trace of chill and my declaration a bit over-detailed.  (Imagine that.)

Though the person at the cable office to whom I was relating my sad story maintained a look on her face throughout that said, ‘If it were possible for me to care any less about your issue, I would morph into a black hole before your very eyes’, my composure never varied.  And lo, that very afternoon, the cable got rehung.  And the drive across town got me out of the house.

One of my nephews frequently uses the expression ‘It’s all good’, and when he does, I want to strike him.

Next post will be more interesting.  How could it not be.

Best I can tell, Bored Panda got from my efforts (last post) two views they might otherwise not have gotten.  No use giving them any more than that, so here are the ‘answers’, so to speak.

– Tsundoku: the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books

All that in one word!  I remain in awe.

– Culaccino: the mark left on a table by a moist glass

‘Don’t you dare leave a culaccino on my Stickley!’

– Won: the reluctance on a person’s part to let go of an illusion

Does not apply to my concept of the popularity of this blog;-)

In the past, I’ve only posted with links to other websites sparingly.  Forget global warming, websites do disappear and then one has to worry that you’ve sent readers nowhere!  However, here’s ‘30 Untranslatable Words from Other Languages’ from the website Bored Panda.

My suspicious mind flirted briefly with the idea of this being a hoax until I spotted schadenfreude.  Unaware once that there was an actual term, I’d been schadenfreudeing for y e a r s thinking I was alone in my unwholesomeness.

My favorites are in the post title today.  Yours?  Don’t make me ask twice.

On a lark – almost entirely because we’d never been there before – Stephen and I spent the past weekend in Rome, Georgia.  Now, I’m already way ahead of you.

Though I have not held a copy of Esquire magazine in probably decades, light research this morning reveals that the magazine is still publishing their annual ‘Dubious Achievement Awards’ issue.  If you’re not familiar with the awards, they are titled ad hoc, sendup fashion, to suit whatever dubiousness is being spotlighted.

From a late Sixties collection, I recall two awards, one called ’Oxymoron I’, and the other, ’Oxymoron II’.  The first award went to ‘Athens, Georgia’.  (We live in Athens, Georgia.)  The second, to ‘Rome, Georgia’.  I should mention that they spared Oxford, Mississippi, I suppose out of respect for native William Faulkner.

As a Georgia native, I used to be very touchy about standard-issue media portrayals of the South.  For years, I was essentially a goodwill ambassador for Dixie, my mantra: ‘It’s not really like that’.  So naturally, those Athens/Rome bits got under my skin.

Though I cannot tell you when my Road-to-Damascus moment occurred, I finally realized that it was exactly like that.  Now snarky references roll right off my back.  Hold forth, if you are so inclined, I will not mind.

Rome, Georgia is situated on seven hills (!) in the north-west of the state.  Like so many small cities whose textile industries sailed off to Asia late last century, Rome is still in the process of reimagining itself.  Home to Berry College (click), founded in 1902, Berry’s original Gothic Revival campus (Henry Ford wrote the check for the buildings in the Twenties) could be mistaken for Hogwarts.

Anyway, our hotel was lovely, we ate well, we strolled — and out on one stroll, spotted a familiar statue, installed in front of City Hall.  A gift to the city, as it turns out, from Benito Mussolini in 1929.  What can one say.

When we happened upon City Hall Saturday evening, a children’s dance recital was forming up in the auditorium inside the building.  (Look closely.)


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Also, vide this photo Stephen snapped of me this weekend.  Obviously the camera loves me, even while blowing a raspberry.  That means… oh, never mind.

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Our friend Martin, who teaches high school in Santa Monica CA, sent us this image this morning.  Apart from the unsettling experience of receiving Buddhist sentiments on Easter Sunday, we now face a quandary over whether or not to contact the school administration, as the words themselves are clearly crazy-talk.


Click to enlarge.  I know already, don't say it.

Click to enlarge.  I know already, don’t say it.

Did you know that the word for ‘stamp collector’ is ‘philatelist’?

I knew that once upon a time, but forgot.  Yesterday, I reacquainted myself with the term on the occasion of learning that the country of Finland is issuing ‘Tom of Finland’ commemorative stamps.

The way I see it, at this juncture, stamp collectors now have stamps to match the sound of their name.  Really, ‘The American Philatelic Society’ makes the ‘North American Man/Boy Love Association’ sound positively chaste, don’t you think?

The other matter here at hand today has to do with the vagaries of fashion.

When a style winds its way through the chicer environs to finally end up at the fraternity house, it is surely time for the jeunesse dorée, or the pretenders thereto, to abandon it.  Hard to believe, but this look (below), though somewhat modified, has in fact been spotted around the keg hereabouts in town.

Now, you can of course shave the beard, grow/cut/dye your hair, and lose the bow tie and suspenders.  But the pretty pictures permanently covering your right arm?  Hmm…

Well, there is always hope that the opera glove will make a comeback, in which case you can keep the suspenders.  And add a ‘Tom of Finland’ biker cop cap!

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Our house turns 100 this year.  Built in 1914 and provided by parents as a dowery of sorts for a daughter, Miss Nola Mae Dunaway, who then never married.

Miss Dunaway was personal secretary to musician and educator Hugh Hodgson, for whom our School of Music, and state-of-the-art Concert Hall here on campus are named.  She also played pipe organ every Sunday, volunteer, for who knows how many years at the U. S. Navy Supply Corps school (now decommissioned) here in town.  Lucky girl.

In her will, she left the house to the university Alumni Association, which in turn auctioned it.  The interior was very much a 1914 museum, essentially untouched, when we took possession as only its second occupants.

Though I know in most parts of the world, 100 years isn’t squat, I had considered this centennial of the house something of a big deal as it was upcoming.  Then I realized that we ourselves have lived in it for 28 of those 100.

When we moved in in ’86, there were a couple of wisteria vines making their way fairly half-assedly onto an arched rose trellis that had been altogether awkwardly stuck next to the side leg of the front porch.  We had three metal angle supports fabricated, and installed them to tame and train the wisteria onto whatever you might call this feature.

Almost without fail, photographers show up in the neighborhood every year when this wisteria peaks.  I myself have never joined them before now.  I am one lazy so-and-so.

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give dave a break

Type 'Turn On, Tune In, Time Out' in the 'Search' field (just below) for a list of links to ten posts that might (maybe) lead you to believe that I can write a better post than the current one.
July 2014
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