Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

More presents

September 11, 2020

This time from two of the three Burlingham sisters, Kathryn and Ann. Kathryn’s was probably not intended as a birthday present, but it arrived at the right time, and it was certainly a present. Ann sent a koala surf rescue birthday card (from the La La Land company in Australia) saying nice things about me, and then separately a package of three raw milk cheeses from the East Hill Creamery in Perry NY (Ann gets around).

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The post-celebratory day

September 7, 2020

The fourth installment in the story of my 80th birthday. The core of the story:

The day itself was quiet but pleasant (though I refused to go out of the house for any purpose, since it was a goddamn oven out there). Kim Darnell brought me a large assortment of salmon-based sushi, plus a collection of tartlets, mostly with fruit — enough for two substantial meals, the second of which was my breakfast today. Mostly I spent yesterday responding to birthday wishes, of which there were many hundreds. I know an awful lot of people.

A surprising development was that for this birthday I got not one, but three (different) Jacquie Lawson ecards (charming brief animations developing a scene or story, accompanied by music, usually classical music). Details below.

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Celebratory day

September 6, 2020

Today, September 6th, is both National Coffee Ice Cream Day — my favorite flavor — and also Lafayette’s birthday (1757), a most satisfying confluence of occasions. Meanwhile, it has brought me some extraordinarily warming good wishes from people appreciating things I have said and written over the past roughly 60 years, on my own celebratory day. Today I become an old man.

(Is there a ceremony for this? Would I have to do it in Hebrew? That would make it a deeply serious ritual, but totally out of my range, as a lapsed Episcopalian, formerly Lutheran. The Book of Common Prayer, alas, lacks a rite for this occasion. On the other hand, the Lutherans and Anglicans (and many other Christian denominations) have music for it; see below.)

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More for the birds

September 5, 2020

Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky arrived this morning with a collection of astonishing bird-related birthday presents for me: a ground-hugging bird bath, a Water Wiggler for the bird bath, and a hanging metal mesh bird feeder in the shape of a penguin. (There’s always something penguin-related.)

None of these is a standard item for the yard or patio, but Elizabeth has been cultivating birds in her own backyard and now knows a lot about bird gear. (Oddly, though she lives only about six blocks from me, she has bird visitors I do not: hummingbirds, chickadees, and parakeets, in particular).

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The rainbow party dog

September 5, 2020

Arrived yesterday, from Rose Cart Florist in Sunnyvale CA, a rainbow variant of their Another Year Rover floral arrangement, as a present for my 80th birthday (tomorrow). Their basic item:


(#1) Their ad copy: “Turning another year older is a lot more fun with our signature birthday a-DOG-able®! This party pooch arrives wearing a festive hat, surrounded by a mix of colorful blooms to liven up their celebration. A great gift idea for any age, he’s here to deliver your best wishes in truly original style.”

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The police

August 30, 2020

Yesterday on Facebook, Jeff Shaumeyer with a currently hot meme:

Inexplicably, there are still people in America who believe this is always true!

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED
THE POLICE LEAVE YOU ALONE IF YOU
AREN’T DOING ANYTHING ILLEGAL

A chain of responses followed (including a long unhappy response by me). Highlights below (reproduced here with permission).

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Take me, please

August 29, 2020

(All about men’s bodies and mansex, described in street language, so utterly inappropriate for kids or the sexually modest. As usual, I have more general points to make about sex, gender, and sexuality, but there’s no getting around the flagrant raunchiness of the content.)

An e-mail ad yesterday for a Daily Jocks sale, promoting their DJX fetishwear, specifically their very handsome harnesses and jockstraps, that comes as close to being flat-out gay porn as possible. A beautifully (but not extravagantly) muscled male body, lying prone on the silky sheets of a bed — simultaneously tough and high-masculine and also sumptuously queer — with his knees drawn up to offer his very muscular male buttocks for sex.

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Creature log in the smoke times

August 25, 2020

On the temperature front, we’re into a period of highs in the 80-85F range, which is merely hot, not drastically hot. The air quality index is down to 127, merely Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (like me); it was noticeably worse in the morning. The lightning strikes that lit up the night sky seem to have stopped for the moment, at least here. There haven’t been power outages here, and no ash is falling from the sky. So all of this counts as locally, and possibly temporarily, improved, and I judge that to be a blessing, even though it still hurts for me to breathe.

Meanwhile, my creatures — the birds and squirrels — are back to merely feeding, instead of eating ravenously as if the world were coming to an end. I now have two transparent bird feeders attached to the big windows by my work table; the birds that eat from feeders quickly became familiar with the new one, and they now come to the two of them about equally.

Thanks to Kim Darnell and to Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, I’m now stocked up on a large assortment of foods for wild creatures (details to come), and I’m increasingly intrigued by the complexities of squirrel behavior — also challenged by the task of keeping the squirrels happy (they provide me with a giant circus of activity to watch) but out of the way of the birds.

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One more book

August 12, 2020

A Frank Cotham cartoon from the New Yorker on 3/2/20:

(#1)

In my unfortunately frail old age, I’m not exactly doing research, and I’m certainly not going to get it in a book. But I collect stuff — ideas, images, experiences — and turn them into daily essays on my blog, much quirkier even than the stuff I used to publish. It’s a new kind of life.

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August flora and fauna

August 9, 2020

… mostly fauna, the birds and creatures, squirrels especially. From the little world that I see in my long confinement (now into its sixth month), on the narrow patio outside the big window by my work table. The view from that window on 6/27:


(#1) From the inside of the house: the bird feeder, attached to the outside of the window; in the foreground, succulents (notably a silver Echevaria); a planter with tall-standing calla plants; and an assortment of cymbidium orchid plants; with an ivy-covered wall in the background

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