Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quotes for the Week: Bookstores

"Alas!  When is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?"
                         Henry Ward Beecher

"When I visit a new bookstore, I demand cleanliness, computer monitors and rigorous alphabetization.  When I visit a second-hand bookstore, I prefer indifferent housekeeping, sleeping cats and sufficient organizational chaos to fuel my fantasies."
                          Anne Fadiman

"There is nothing like the smell of a bookstore.  If you ask me, it's actually a combination of smells:  part library, part new-book smell and part expectation for what you might find."
                           Kathryn Fitzmaurice

"Even an ice cream parlor--a definite advantage--the sorrow I feel for a town lacking a bookstore."
                          Natalie Goldberg

"I love bookstores.  A bookstore is one of the only pieces of physical evidence we have that people are still thinking."
                          Jerry Seinfeld

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl LI

I love football.  I grew up in Austin, Texas so I guess it's genetic. I love football on any Sunday but especially on Super Sunday. All the hype, the introduction of the players, the National Anthem--it's an American tradition and I love to watch the game.  Of course, this year was special because the game was in Houston.  The city had been getting ready for, it seems like a century.  Everything was spruced up and set to go.

The temporary building that holds 9,000 people was ready for Taylor Swift's performance.  Oh, excuse me--not quite ready.  They didn't have an occupancy permit for the building until Wednesday night.  Imagine if they'd had to cancel the show.

I loved seeing the joy on George H.W. Bush's face when he was wheeled onto the field to do the coin toss.  Barbara was on the field, too, and looked equally happy.  You know the Bushes love football.  He was barely out of the hospital, but he was determined to be there for the game.
Of course the Patriots won even though they were 25 points down at the half.  I thought it was time for a new team to win and was rooting for Atlanta, but, alas, Tom Brady was his usual self and the Patriots won in overtime.  Maybe next year, Falcon fans.

Lady Gaga was amazing.  Who else can move like that?  The halftime show was one of the best I've seen.  Of course, Houston's last Super Bowl featured Janet Jackson and her wardrobe malfunction, so I guess in its own way it was more memorable.

And who doesn't love the commercials?  My favorites were Coca Cola and the secret society of avocado lovers.

Added note:  Someone stole Tom Brady's game shirt.  The Houston police are investigating, but Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has also sent out the Texas Rangers.  Be very afraid, Jersey Thief.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Quotes for the Week

The quotes below are from the book Metaphors Be With You, which contains quotes on 250 different subjects from A-Z. These are about computers.  (Sorry, nothing about IPads.)

A computer terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it.  It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about
                           Douglas Adams

What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with.  It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.
                           Steve Jobs

The PC is the LSD of the Nineties.
                           Timothy Leary

With the internet, a computer is a door rather than a box.
                           Clay Shirky

Terrified of being alone, yet afraid of intimacy, we experience
widespread feelings of emptiness, of disconnection, of the unreality of self.  And here the computer, a companion without emotional demands offers a compromise.  You can be a loner but never alone.
                           Sherry Turkle

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Books of December

The Art of Rivalry focuses on four pairs of artists, their relationships, their rivalries, their influence on one another.  Very interesting.  I especially enjoyed the chapter on DeKooning and Pollock.

This book was recommended in a column in the Houston Chronicle of recent great books to read, so I read it, so I read it.  Great?  More like bizarre.  I recommended it to my book club, so I'll see what they think later today.  For now...waste of time.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Field Trip: The National Museum of Funeral History

  1. The week before last several members of my widows' group joined a tour to the National Museum of Funeral History.   Funeral history? A field trip for widows? Yep, and it was a great experience. The only museum in the country devoted to funerals, this place isn't depressing or ghoulish; it's fascinating.

To start with, we watched a video from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The military men and women who guard the tomb day and night perform a precise ritual--21 steps, stand for 21 seconds, meet and transfer rifles.  Those chosen for this prestigious post must promise not to smoke, drink or curse FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!  We learned that during Hurricane Sandy, the guards were dismissed from duty, but refused to leave, standing guard through the storm.

The museum has an amazing collection of hearses.  Below is the one used for Princess Diana.  We also saw the one that carried both Presidents Ford and Reagan.  
There was a Japanese hearse that could have doubled as a carnival wagon, it was so extravagantly decorated.  There was a child's hearse (see below) and a funeral "bus" large enough to carry the casket and all the mourners.  Unfortunately, something was wrong with the axles and it overturned so it was a once-in-a-lifetime (or death-time) experience.
We saw elaborate caskets, some with bizarre stories.  One was a casket made for three.  The family's only child died and the parents planed that when the casket was ready, the father would shoot the mother and then kill himself so they could all be buried together.  By the time the casket was done, they had changed their minds, never claimed it, and even tried to get their money back.  We saw a glass casket (!) and one constructed for a trade show and plastered with coins and bills to get customers' attention--not so they would purchase a casket but so they would pay attention to the finish on it.

We learned about Victorian mourning practices.  When a husband died, the widow was supposed to, mourn for three years.  The first year she was to wear nothing but black, no color at all; the next two years she could gradually add a little color, but not much.  If a wife died, however, the widower was supposed to mourn for only three months!

We saw an exhibit about the life and death of a Pope, one about Egyptian burial practices and one about Lincoln's funeral.  On the train carrying his body to Illinois was also the body of his beloved son, Willie, who was removed from his crypt and buried next to his father.

If you're in Houston for the Super Bowl, take an afternoon off and visit the museum.  It's fascinating.  And if you live in Houston, be sure to drive out to see it.  It's one of Houston's unexpected treasures.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Quote for the Week...and for the New Year

May the path you take during this new year be one that takes you farther than ever before.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Saying Goodbye to 2016

Happy New Year, everyone!
As I look back on 2016, all I can say is it's been a crazy year.

Most memorable event/s/ of my life:  I moved three times, but I'm finally settled in my new two-bedroom apartment at Brazos Towers.  I'm on the 4th floor.  No more worrying about floods!

Most memorable national event:  The election--enough said.

Best sports event:  The Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

Best movie I saw:  Remember

Favorite TV:  Designated Survivor and The Voice

Best museum visit:  The Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta

Best play/s/:  Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies 

Best book:  Not many this year, but The Train to Crystal City was my favorite.

Weirdest book:  I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Best new restaurant I tried:  Weights and Measures

May 2017 bring peace, health and love.

Best wishes,

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