Archive for January, 2013

January 18, 2013

A fan, I hope, ANDY, a reader of my posts on the Garden Island discussion site, so labeled me. I loved it. Hope all of you will pop in, once awhile. It can get lively. And don’t forget to check out KIMO ROSEN’S darling blog, Dakine talk.

If by any chance you’ve been visiting me and my column and scrolling around, you will  know that I love books-just above or slightly below animals -depending on the day, the hour, or the mood I’m in-and am convinced we are all the product of our past experiences. I grew up happy. I grew up small. I grew up and got here. Eighty two is a long long got here, and, though built low to the ground for speed, I think I grew up with the best animals and the best writers  in America.

Animals aside, this is writer’s day. A book day. A sly, demented writer book day.

The New Yorker was aways a busy bedside buddy. Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, James Thurber. Thurber was my favorite. His humor was beyond compare-I used to laugh my tummy sore- and his use of the English language suburb. Can anyone who’s read it possible forget  The Night the Bed Broke? The Dog That Bit People? I have the most battered edition of  The Thurber Carnival you’ve ever seen. It’s held together with chewing gum, paper clips and long-in-the-tooth sticky worn out  scotch tape. I wouldn’t part with it for all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

All those incredible cartoons are indelibly tattooed in whatever part  of my mind laughter is indelibly tattooed.  The Complete Cartoons of  The New Yorker-1925-2004- is taking center stage on my cluttered desk top this morning. You wanna talk about sly, demented humor?

I just opened a page. Remember Peter Arno?  Nightclub scene. Rich fat cat seated at a table while a bevy of practically bare assed chorus girls dance around him. One turns her head and says. “Valerie won’t be around for several days. She backed into a sizzling platter.”

I also have all the covers from 1925-1989 and plenty of them are delightfully demented. William Steig. Steinberg. Chas Addams.

I think satire, it’s an art form you know, is pretty sly and demented. The American satirists-old and new-Mark Twain,  O’Henry, Will Rogers, Kurt Vonnegutt. H.L Mencken: The Devil’s Dictionary, “Diplomacy, n. The patriotic art of lying for one’s country.” Come on, beat that.

…and the beat goes on. Ogden Nash. Andy Rooney. George Carlin. Robert Benchley. Jim Hightower. Isaac Asimov. Walt Kelly, “When you starves with a tiger, the tiger starves last.”

Got back on- digression is a funny- on a cutesy animal cartoon kick: two llamas with background Andes scribbled  high- 1945-he says to the shy, sweet furry thing over whom he towers,”I llove you.”

Hopping around, scratching my belly and grinning like  a baboon, I dare you to forget, “A Modest Proposal Proposed for Preventing the Children of he Poor from Being a Burdon”, Jonathan Swift. Leave it to the Anglo/Irish.


Now that’s pretty sly and demented.


January 4, 2013

Let us think for a moment of our worthy ancestors who studied the sky. They lived with a night sky unriddled by the  brilliant lights of so many of present day earth’s enormous cities. Pictures of the earth today taken by satellites that circle overhead show huge patches of artificial light. Most  of the dark, unlighted patches in the sky are over water. No floating, exorbitantly lit up, over- population there.

I have a theory that human beings who live, or spend much time in these great unlit patches on the planet-deserts and mountainous areas, too- are more closely tied to nature than city dwellers, many of whom have never seen the stars or constellations. Imagine kids- adults, too- who have never seen the Milky Way,  Orion, or the Big Dipper!!!

Maybe there should be a law passed that forced cities to turn off the lights for at least a couple of hours a night and allow a noisy crush of unwashed students, young and old, to sit in darkened parks,  beaches, roofs and back yards and use their eyes to gaze in upward wonder.

Lucky me, I still live in old Hawaii.  No bright lights here and the moon and Orion, setting in the winter sky, swing with splendor through my life. My husband, the sailor, taught me to love the naked  sky of darkness and I’ve witnessed  so many unusual nocturnal events my senses-all five of them- come alive with wonder.

We are so special today.  We have lived through the Great Year when our planet, out on the edge of a long sweeping galactic arm,  completed the 260,000 year journey around the center of our galaxy-the black hole- the scary central energy that drives our spinning spiral.

After both hurricanes, Ewa and Iniki, when we had no power-there were no manmade  lights at night-in a sky as clear as crystal- to spoil the celestial view. I’ve watched in awe this awesome sight and think of the ancients who- for thousands and thousands of years- studied and measured and watched and passed along the knowledge they gleaned from this natural wonder show.

So, since we are now entering the constellation Aquarius, and beginning a whole new cycle, I think we might  take a moment to respect and admire and be in awe of our marvelous human mind. Our brain. Our intellect. Our curiosity. Our insight. Our need to learn and share. From the ancient Babylonians to the Mayans-to all the more humble humans-seafarers, shepherds, camel drivers- who led the way, we need bow our human heads in thanks for this grand adventure.

We’ve had  a plethora of brave brilliant minds-astronemers, mathematicians, scientists-who moved us forward out of the dark age of Pisces. Because of them we have Hubble…

…Hubble! Have you seen pictures of the Horse Head Nebula in Orion’s Belt? Take a modern-day high-tech journey to The Thought Stash and catch a glimpse of this glory in the sky. Don’t you wish we could share this view with those who came before? With those great minds who sacrificed and struggled-and benefitted, too-that got us here.

We’ve come a long way, baby. And we still have a long way to go.