Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yeah, the apple was tempting too...

I have an uneasy fondness for the memoir as the three or so readers of this blog know.

While I don't miss a chance to knock on yet another I/my mother/father/sister/very famous relative was an alcoholic/domestic abuser(ee)/manic depressive/depressive/fan of performing the song "Maniac" in lipsync competitions book I will almost invariably, when asked what I am reading, respond with the title of a memoir or stunt memoir.

Since starting this blog I've also begun to understand the lure of the confessional blog.

What is it about "writing it out?" Why is it so tempting to throw one's problems out on the page or out into the blogosphere when, for most, odds are better than average that what you will get back is some kind of trouble.

Maybe from a stranger who has thinks that you have no idea what real problems are. And could very well be right.

Maybe from a friend or colleague who realizes the insufferable idiot you're writing about is them.

Maybe from the reader who wonders how it is you remember every incident and conversation with perfect clarity despite the fact that your memoir is about your highly entertaining substance abuse problem.

Maybe from yourself when you realize that you just put something out into the world that--even if deleted--may reappear at any time virtually anywhere.

But that urge still exists for some. An urge that is scratched by some and fought against by others.

For now, I think I'm going to just reapply some ointment.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mamma Mia! All I can promise you...

...is a madcap musical adventure...fun...

Sometimes, the best things in life do not occur between two hard covers.

Not all the time...but sometimes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another in our occasional series [cue music]...

It's time for another in our occasional series "Life Lessons from Classic Literature." Today's classic? Great Expectations and, specifically, the character Magwitch.

I can tell...you're excited.

If your brain is straining just a bit...Magwitch is the convict who Pip helps who later becomes his secret benefactor.

Sure, we could say that if you do good things, good things come back to you.

But we could also say that if you've done bad things in your past it's never too late to turn your life around and help someone else achieve their goals and dreams.

As in, and I'm picking an example at random here, if you're a council person in a major metropolitan city (1) and your past (2) includes tax evasion, drug abuse and spending time hanging out in motels with prostitutes you might want to reflect on the path your own life has taken before stepping up and asserting that allowing same-sex couples to marry is something that offends your moral compass.

[Closing music.]

1. Perhaps even the nation's capital...
2. Actually your present too.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Battle of Bull Run! Woo-Hoo!!!

While this conversation was already scooped by The Freelancer's new found love of Twitter I'm still using it here.

Why?

Because not only do I kind of feel like the joke was mine and, as is often the case because I write for a weekly, I was scooped by someone with access to a more frequent publication schedule...the misunderstanding of Cinco de Mayo has always kind of bugged me.

See, there are very few moments where the "Latino-ness" of my family jumps out.

First, there is the fact that my grandfather sounded like Ricky Ricardo (1) and the men on my father's side of the family all appear to be getting darker as they age.

Second is the fact that, growing up, there was always masa harina in our kitchen and tortillas were homemade.

Third, there was the cartoon that my dad circulated when the fight over Elian was taking place. It was of an emaciated Mexican woman pushing a baby over the US-Mexican border with the text: "Tell them you're Cuban...(2)"

And finally, that we were given the knowledge early on that Cinco de Mayo wasn't what everyone thought it was...Mexican Independence Day. Maybe it was the whole number in the name that confused folks into thinking it was like Fourth of July. But it's not. In fact, in Mexico, it's more a regional holiday when it's celebrated at all.

Cinco de Mayo is the day when the Battle of Puebla took place (1862) and the Mexicans defeated the French. This fact inspired the following conversation between me and The Freelancer.

Me: Blah blah blah Battle of Puebla. Which is interesting because we don't really do that for American battles. There's not a lot of drinking to commemorate the Battle of Bull Run.

The Freelancer: Or the Second Battle of Manassas...

Me: Or to remember the sinking of the Maine.

The Freelancer: I'm going to Tweet this.

In case you're wondering, yes. These are the kinds of conversations that make me laugh out loud. I mean, c'mon. Second Battle of Manassas?

That's comedy.

1. My grandfather was Mexican though...not Cuban. And he didn't play the drums.
2. Seriously...my dad got really worked up about the Elian thing. Though not as worked up as the time a group of Mexican migrant workers were caught picking lettuce back home and they were all deported. To Acapulco...a city my cousins describe as "The place we built to keep the tourists out of the good parts of the country." My dad spent a good number of years after that trying to get deported.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Another in our occasional series...

It could be my imagination but it seems that NPR has gotten really into the idea of the occasional series. To the point that sometimes, when they note that they are about to air "another in their occassional series" I don't really recall the series at all...

But, this morning I started to think about my last couple of posts. For Free Comic Book Day I talked about the words I learned from reading comic books.

Yesterday I had that whole Animal Farm as a life lesson thing.

So, I'm thinking of my own occasional series...which I will now properly introduce.

This post is another in our occasional series "Life Lessons from Classic Literature." Today's book is William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

Okay. That's as far as I got with that idea. But you have to admit, it has legs...don't you think?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Four legs really can be good...

A really smart blogger who includes positive and uplifting items on her site about things that she's grateful for and rules to live by inspired today's post.

Mind you, I said "inspired by."

It's been a rough week so I don't know that I can do a list of things I'm grateful for...though those things certainly do exist.

And, I don't know that anything that involves thoughts about George Orwell's Animal Farm can be considered "uplifting." but, if you've spent any time on this blog you pretty much know how I roll (1).

But here's what I've been thinking a lot about.

I think that four legs really can be good...figuratively speaking. I guess it's the lit classic version of walking before you learn how to run. If you're walking into the farmer's house, and you've never been there before, don't hop up on two legs and throw on his suit.

Sometimes you need to take the time to really see things on those four figurative legs, and not from the unsteady blur of going bipedal.

1. I know...but I can't help myself. It's really fun to say.