On Gratitude

There is an ancient myth that the world is carried aloft on the shell of a great, cosmic turtle.

I thank the turtle that holds the world aloft.


Chef Boyardee: Wheat Girl

An ad campaign from Chef Boyardee
A photograph of the archetypal farm girl getting intimate with her "amber waves of grain" is so totally interesting to me  even without the Chef Boyardee ad copy (that would normally be pasted over this warped gesture to Norman Rockwell).
The original ad copy reads:
Oh look, a mother's daydream.It'll never be a reality. So serve them Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Beefaroni, now with whole grain pasta. Just don't tell them.Obviously Delicious. Secretly Nutritious.
Image Source: Zachary Scott


On a Sunday Trip Over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge

Verrazano Bridge
The Verrazano Bridge that connects Brooklyn to Staten Island celebrates fifty years this week. The bridge spans the Narrows, a strip of the waterway that divides Upper and Lower New York Bay.
It is often visible when I'm out and about walking around my neighborhood. Even though I live about fifty blocks away.

It's an impressive bridge. But too bad there ain't pedestrian walkways or a bike path. Only once a year, for the NYC marathon are its gates open for peeps.

Lately, I've had to make trips across the Narrows for work. So I get to see the bridge up close.

I feel like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.


Why "All Souls Day" Has a Special Place in My Heart

Poets in Limbo (1890), Gustav Doré
All Souls Day gets little attention compared with yesterday's feast of All Saints and the eve prior to All Saints popularly called Halloween.

As a secular Catholic — or whichever epithet you prefer to call me (I prefer "Cajun Queen") — there is a special place in my heart for All Souls Day.

I think All Souls Day must have a place for me.


Art Motif: "The Sitting Pose"

Homme noir nu assis recroquevillé (2007)
I think I fell in love with the nude sitting pose in art when first I saw Hypolite Flandrin's version at the Louvre.

Image Courtesy: Camille


Reading Is Not A Career Skill: Or Is It?

Young Person Reading

I noticed that I had “reading” as a skill on my Linkedin profile. Who puts reading as a skill on Linkedin? Seriously, the last time I told a prospective employer that I liked to read I think I lost the bid for the job.

Curious about reading as a marketable job skill, I punched in "reading as a skill" in the Linkedin search engine, and I got 3,987,983 hits. Certainly, most of these hits correlate to “Reading Teacher” or “Reading Stories” and not necessarily to barebones reading.

Lots of ink has been spilled about reading. And most of it good. PSA's love talking about reading! Hey, frigging Harry Potter loves to read. And I think there is a wonderful PSA of Meryl Streep reading a book.

But I guarantee you if you walk into a workplace and see a guy reading a book I bet you a million bucks his supervisor’s going to think: “that guy’s not doing his job.”

Hell, when I was a high school English teacher, I think when I brought a book to lunch or was caught reading during my planning period, I could swear I got the suspicious eyes from my principal.

Maybe I should have been grading papers. Or, something.

I never realized reading as a skill until I started to write for money.

See. Reading is good when you’re a writer. One of my clients needed some copy on the recent Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney so I wrote a five hundred word blurb so he could paste it to his blog. Simple.

I think he was impressed. I guess reading the Arts section of the Times paid off.

I like to think there is a special part of my brain that I like to call the Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations catch pan of useless but fun tidbits gleaned from years of idle reading.

I swear there must be a part of my unconscious that tags quotable quotes when I am reading.

It’s weird because I’ll be writing something and an appropriate quote that matches what I’m writing triggers in my Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations catch pan. It’s uncanny.

Now, these are the days before making notes on a Kindle.

Now all my memorable quotes are memorized for me by Amazon’s cloud service.

But it takes years of reading to build this skill set.

And I am not sure it is a skill set.

Until I get paid for reading, I am thinking of deleting “reading” from my list of attributes. It’s like one of those secret skills. You tell someone you’re reading, and they look at you like you’re from the get-go critiquing their non-reading.

There’s all this garbage circulating that the Internet squashes reading and replaces it with information pawing.

Now, I have a Feedly, bookmarks, and I paw the Web just like any other troll, but I also take time to fucking read. I mean sustained reading. Like reading for more than forty-five minutes without clicking backspace.

I honestly don’t understand all these Internet cleanse people. They complain they don’t have time to read, and they are all nostalgic for those days when they curled up with a book.

Maybe it’s easy for me because I take frequent local commutes on the New York City Subway System.

Until they install wireless access — that they have been doing in the nicer Manhattan parts — I will be content with reading unmolested.

Image Courtesy:  distinctdisciples


A Twelve Year Old Boy's Answer to Conflict

"No more fights, just books." 
— Boy, 12, New York City