'Tis Christmas

Christmas Week. Which every year brings a weeping and a wailing and a gnashing of teeth over how to greet people - not to mention the whole idea of giving gifts, receiving gifts, and shopping for gifts - and leaving aside the entire issue of home decor. And rumbling in the basement, at the foundations, you might say, of the entire enterprise and bringing the general confusion to a boil - religion. Read more about 'Tis Christmas

Free Stuff

I don't like free stuff. I don't trust it.

Buy one, get one free. Why? What's wrong with it? If I only want one, do I have to take two? What if I don't want two? Should I take two and give one to the homeless guy outside the door? What message do I send to the world when I say, no thank you? I don't need two. I can afford to spend money that would buy me two, but I only need to take one. So look, everybody, how rich I am. Look and be grateful. That because I threw away my money on one, you may now have two. Read more about Free Stuff

Exceptional

It's Thankful Week.

There's lots of talk going around these days about American Exceptionalism. I agree we are exceptional. So is everyone else. The tiny list below betrays my own limitations - I have no idea of what makes Azerbaijan exceptional - but I do know that American Exceptionalism is composed of bits and pieces of all of these and more:

Shakespeare=English exceptionalism
Brie=French exceptionalism
Curry=Indian exceptionalism
Bach=German exceptionalism
Tango=Argentinian exceptionalism
Vodka=Russian exceptionalism
Fireworks=Chinese exceptionalism Read more about Exceptional

Getting On With It

Monday morning. My backyard is filling up with leaves. Behind me, a desk and table are piled high with stuff en route from the old backroom, now Caroline's bedroom, to the bookshelves in my bedroom, where I've piled all the books en route to new homes.

Somewhere in this machine is a nearly completed, but still unfinished - or is that nearly finished, but still incomplete? - novel.

My back - oh, we really will not go there. Read more about Getting On With It

Night of the ...

... noooooooo. Not going there.

I am not a zombie fan. The first time I tried to watch Night of the Living Dead was on a Halloween night 20 umpteen years ago. My boyfriend was busy tending to something that could be characterized as "illegal" and I was trying my best to be seasonally festive. Alone. I couldn't watch the end. Read more about Night of the ...

Heartfelt

Opera can be embarrassing. The music is wonderful, the poetry is 19th Century sentimentality. How can you listen to lines like "Oh sweet kisses, oh languid caresses and I, quivering, unveiled those beautiful shapes!!!" without wincing?

Placido Domingo, in a recent Great Performances production, talked about singing Tosca. Why he loved it. It's the emotion, he said. Lines like "languid caresses" bother him not at all. He gets it. He gets into it. Listen!

And the stars were shining… the earth Read more about Heartfelt