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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