Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our city ruined, and sorrow evermore to sorrow added

There are a couple of interesting articles in the NYT about the new museum in Athens that houses ancient art right at the base of the Acropolis - apparently it's amazing (Greece is near the top of the list of Places I Want To Go). Art critic Michael Kimmelman reviews the space and brings up the issue of the most glaring missing pieces - the Elgin Marbles - which have been in the British Museum since 1816. In case you're less aware of early 19th century British/Ottoman art history, Elgin stole them all those years ago, and then sold them to the British govt.

Blow-hard Christopher Hitchens (who I agree with on this account) rightly calls for the frieze pieces to be returned to Greece, especially now that they have an excellent facility to house them. (For a long time, the claim was that the marbles were better cared for in England - an imperialist argument if I ever heard one!).
I think it's great that the Acropolis museum is re-opening the conversation about the return of the pieces to their home. These are hard decisions and if it did happen, a great reshuffling might occur in museums all over the world, but I think people have only to look at the relative success of the policy on the return of Nazi looted art. While a museum or individual's return (no refunds/no exchanges) of a piece might be a momentary financial hardship - what it earns the individual or organization is a lot of respect for doing the right thing.

O my country, O unhappy land,
I weep for thee now left behind;
now dost thou behold thy piteous end;
and thee, my house, I weep, wherein I suffered travail.
O my children! reft of her city as your mother is, she now is losing you.
Oh, what mourning and what sorrow! oh, what endless streams of tears in our houses!
The dead alone forget their griefs and never shed a tear.

   The Trojan Women
   415 B.C.E

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the thing about my baby

Poor Michael Jackson hasn't been much more than a punch line the last few years, but his sudden death is reminding me of all the good times we had together. Like many people, Thriller was the first real album (I'm talking about a record) I ever owned (really was shared by me and brother and sister) - we would carefully place it on my parent's gigantic sterio and try to impress each other with our moonwalks. The truth is the guy had a real influence on my love of music, dancing, fashion (uh, as a kid), and even you know, being an invironmentalist and a good person... Sure, he was a wacky, but his music was joyful and innovative.

Go put your top fave songs by Michael Jackson on Top Five.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where you at?

Well, folks, all of a sudden, it got really hot 'round these parts. Chicago summers are all to brief and close to what I'd call unbearable. (I'm a spring person. And a fall person.) But, winter is so long and unbearable that we're all contractually obligated to squeeze what we can out of the summer whether we like it or not. If that means sitting outside in the blazing sun getting bitten to death by mosquitoes, that's just how it goes.

Last weekend M&I went to the local street fair. We went for the elephant ears but stayed for the heatstroke. A little girl looked covetously at my snowcone. Without thinking, I offered her some. Both her parents and I sort of died inside as she took a big bite.

Really excited about ma soeurs impending visit to the midwest AND a little time off work! It's been a long time (for both!)

Commenting at all time low - are you out there?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I like

A few things that made my day:

'ja ever see anyone rock gold lipstick like that?

and an awesome short story published on McSweeney's by my friend Liz!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a pox!

Went to see Drag Me To Hell. I was pretty cautious about going to see it because I don't like scary movies, but friends insisted it would not be scary-scary, but ridiculous and over-the-top, a-la-Evil Dead. It IS ridiculous, and it was fun to see it in the theater with a few drinks under our belts. Also it's very amusing to order tickets: Drag me to hell, please!

Despite the fact that its just a silly movie with some over-the-top "horror" gags, it nevertheless put me in mind of some serious thoughts, surely out of the purview of the film-makers (or, perhaps, exactly what they intended, who knows?)

My first reaction was (the Special K classic) a feminist reading. A young woman, on enacting the first rotten deed of her life - turning down an old gypsy woman for a loan - in an effort to make herself more appealing for the assistant manager position at her bank - gets damned... TO HELL! See, she gets punished for defying the cultural norms for women by exhibiting behavior both ambitious and not generous and kind. In the course of being cursed (to hell) by the gypsy, like, a gazillion things get pushed and thrown up into her mouth. Well, believe me, I could go on and on. Insert your own interpretation of the repeated image of the tortured young woman with all sorts of things forced into her mouth...

Second reaction was well, if you'll permit me a foray into religious talk - the movie is silly and ridiculous, mainly because the threat (that she's being, literally, dragged to hell) is not, presumably, pernicious, being, presumably, a myth. I have only recently decided that I don't believe in hell, and, honestly, used to take the whole thing fairly seriously, so, for me, it was actually quite interesting to see the subject (eternal damnation) treated lightly. Un-believing in something, it turns out, is a long process. Another subject on which I could go on and on, but maybe best not on the ol' blog.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oh My

Oh my, what a weekend... M.'s grandma, as I've mentioned, is in failing health and moved to an assisted-living-type apartment about 6 months ago. This weekend we went to her house to begin the process of cleaning it out, so that it might be sold. She was there to help go through things, but, it was a difficult process, because aside from being frail and old, it was fairly agonizing for her to look at the mass accumulation of stuff from her life and make a decision about what to do with it. I can also tell you that it sure ain't fun on the other side either - to shove an object in front of an old lady and say, "Keep it? Trash it? Sell it?"

The whole thing was fairly torturous and we barely made a dent in the stuff. I'm not sure how this is going to work out.

I have a pretty bad habit of taking a relatively small problem (ie. our society doesn't have great options for our elderly) and ending up at total apocalypse (ie. we're all going to end up living in caves, illiterate cannibals). But, honestly, after that, I wanted to come home, take everything we own to a local shelter and start a self-sustaining garden in our 10x20 backyard because we're all GOING TO BE LIVING IN CAVES AND EATING OUR OWN SHOES SOON.

If anyone has some advise on how to handle the moving of grannies (emotionally or otherwise), I would be interested to hear it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Up and The Fall

Saw a couple of great movies lately! Caught UP in 3D - absolutely gorgeous film and I highly suggest it. It has an unlikely plot, particularly for an animated film ostensibly for kids: it's about an older gentleman who's recently widowed and about to lose his home. Aside from awesome visuals, it's got a tight little plot and is sweet and heartwarming. The oldster, as you know from the trailers, attaches a bunch of balloons to his house and flies off, along with the local neighbor kid, who becomes, I don't think I'm ruining this, something of a surrogate child for him.We were there with our local neighbor kid, something of a surrogate child, who seemed a tad freaked out by some of the scenes and a bit overwhelmed by the 3D (she's one of those newfangled kids that hardly watches any television). Afterward she claimed to have "loved it". Auntie K may be a bit shy of inviting youngsters to the movie in the future, though.

Husband rented The Fall on blu-ray - it's another gorgeous film featuring The Pie Maker, which was alright by me. Reminded me of Alfonso CuarĂ³n's A Little Princess, which you really must see. My affection for the Pie Maker grows ever stronger. Oh, hello. His next movie also has Colin Firth. Thump. Thump. Thump.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


You know what never ceases to amaze me? How many people choose to live their lives like complete a-holes. It's like, no where in the path of life do certain people (you all know 'em!) slam on the brakes and, you know, turn around the jerk train.

*shakes it off*

I just watched the pilot of Glee and it's GD awesome. It's on hulu if you missed it. So what if they're totally ripping off Election? It's a really good movie.

I've also been listening to that Adele cd, 19, on permanent replay on my 'pod. My fave is "Best for Last" - OMG, that gal can sing! I also really love "Right as Rain".

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Change of plans

Well, we were meant to go to Devil's Lake this weekend for a camping trip, but rain in Wisconsin caused us to cancel our plans. I was sad about it, but I suppose it would have been miserable:
Quick about face and instead went out for some fine dining and, I'm telling you, the best gnocchi in the entire world. Do you ever stress out about the correct pronunciation of the word gnocchi? I do. Merriam-Webster helps us answer all things (I say it the second way.)

So, last night after dinner, we drove our friends back to their place in The City around 11:30 and all these people were outside, walking around as if they weren't completely exhausted, like me and M were. I guess that's proof that we are now officially old and officially suburbanites, just how shocked we were by all those people!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Ho, boy, the last few days M & I have been very anxious because our own special one, Miss Kaya, hasn't been eating very much. I bet in the last week, before yesterday, she ate maybe 1/3 cup of food. We took her to the vet and, thank the dear goddess in heaven, there's nothing seriously wrong with her. After two trips to the vet, and a couple of injections, she's finally starting to eat again. Whew! I seriously thought I was going to loose my mind, I was so worried! She's still not feeling herself, but I think she's getting better.

In other news, I submit a new list of top 4 over-rated things. In lame attempt at humor, I think I offended 80% of people I know with my first one. My new list:
  1. College degrees
  2. Big boobs
  3. Respecting one's elders
  4. Crap, I forgot the other one

what is wrong with me?

Monday, June 01, 2009


I was surprised to see another Pushing Daisies on my DRV last night - I thought we'd seen the last of that show. The best part was Kristin Chenoweth singing Hello. I've watched it like 6 times. I think this second season is really weak, esp. compared to the first, but I have to hand it to them with the costumes, the covers, and just plain being original.

Been very upset about the murder of Dr. George Tiller by what is nothing less than terrorism. What I find so hypocritical is how many anti-choice groups are condemning the murder, but, meanwhile, they promote this type of violence with their politics of hate. If they really condemned his murder they wouldn't stand for the everyday harassing and denigrating of the women and men who work, volunteer, support and fight for women's rights.

One of the many things I despise about the anti-choice extremists is that they don't give two shits about decreasing abortions. If they did, they'd actually support safe sex and organizations like Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health care in the US. What they're more interested in doing is degrading the rights of women and promoting a culture of fear and shame. The murder of Dr. Tiller, in his church, exposes them for what they are.