Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Monday, January 30, 2012

What of Art? What of Longing? Where Is My Head?




































Okay, so I remember when I was posing for this sculpture...(nah, just kidding.  I have never had, nor will I ever have, rippling abs.  I also have my head, and all extremities too, as of this writing.)

Anyhoo, this sculpture lives in my yard. About seven years ago I was in a garden shop and I saw this sculpture and I said to myself, "You know what, Self?  You have three sons and a husband - you are drowning in playoff games, fart noises, and Axe deodorant. The last intellectual thing that went on in your house was a game of online Solitaire.  But what of Art?  What of Culture?  What of Man's Longing for that Which Is Indefinable Yet For That Which Is Still a Part of the Search for That Which...oh, never mind, Self.  Just grab that statue and let's go."

Well, my sons, at that time, ages 5, 15 and 18, were horrified when I put my statue in our old backyard.  They immediately wrapped her in a beach towel, and begged me to throw her away.  (I privately named her Clothilde; classy, mait non?)  For boys that snickered endlessly about "boobs," when presented with two plaster breasts, they had precious little to say, but did a lot of blushing.

Oh, I forgot to mention - she had a head back then - a cute Greek head with those precious short Greek curls; one can imagine the subject of the sculpture gently sawing off her curls by the Aegean Sea with a seashell when they became too long.  Anyway, she moved with us to our new house (I remember she was hanging out of my husband's window, looking expectantly down the highway) and recently I glanced up into the garden to the side of the driveway and noticed that dear Clothilde was...headless.  What?  I stormed in and demanded, "Where is the head of my statue?"

My youngest son James, who is 12, and has been vehemently opposed to Clothilde since she came, said, "Oooh,  about that, Mom.  I, well, I accidentally kicked a soccer ball when I was out with the guys, and it knocked her head off."  I was distressed; Clothilde did not remind me of all that is pure and fine and desirable in Society with no head; instead she reminded me of...well, she just wasn't herself.

And yet, she was herself.  I do still like to look up in the garden and see Clothilde turned gracefully to look out to sea.  I still like how her plaster has aged, and how she reminds me of that day's persistent internal response to a piece of plaster gracefully rendered.  And as any friend would, I've looked for her head, but it was apparently thrown away in fear; right into the back of the trash truck as it rumbled away.

Ah, Clothilde, together we still search for that which is nameless and yet pursues us like wind as we walk...ah, forget it.  But rest assured; headless and ever beautiful Clothilde knows just what I mean.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not By My Chinny-Chin...chilla?

This cute little fella, pictured at left, is a chinchilla.  Basically, a very large mouse with a squirrel's tail and the attributes of a superhero - chinchillas can run off walls, never touching the floor, they can move at lightning speeds, and they jump pretty fiercely, reaching some pretty surprising heights.  And I am putting all my efforts into not becoming attached to one.

We are chinchilla-sitting right now; my husband, my 12 year old and myself.  My college son's girlfriend has been away, so the job of chinchilla-sitting fell to him...which means now it has fallen to me.  And I love animals, and this animal presents a whole new world of excitement: chinchillas take dust baths!  (You buy dust at the pet store - no kidding - and they roll around in it!  Seriously!)  Chinchillas are soft!  (They used to make fur coats out of them.)  Chinchillas often like people, and bond with them!

So, I have been instructed to avoid this chinchilla's adoring gaze, ignore his soft fur, and turn away when he is jumping around appealingly, inviting me to observe his antics.  You would think it would be my 12 year old my husband is worried about - it's me, instead.  "Peanut has to go home soon," he said gently last night, as I was gazing into (our) chinchilla's little red eyes while I cleaning his cage.  "He has a real mommy.  We are just baby-sitting.  This is not a forever pet, just a visitor."  (Then he hands me my binky and my blanky and I toddle off to bed.  Come on; I'm a grown-up.  A grown-up that has to have a chinchilla or I'll just die!)

I know, I know.  You would think 2 dogs, a tortoise and a horse would be enough.  But...is there ever enough cute jumping softness in one's life, I ask?

P.S.  These cuties live a long time, so if his real mommy takes more trips or needs a sittter...Aunty is waiting!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Iowa Primary Results...Veddy Interesting

Wednesday AM, Post-Iowa Caucus:

Such an interesting race to the GOP nomination this year!

I stayed up as long as I could to watch the results in Iowa, and ended up hanging off the couch almost upside-down (which makes the cadidates' faces look very long, in an interesting optical-illusion aside.)  The rest of the fam had long gone to bed, and after 11 PM it was clearly shaping up to be Santorum's night, a tie being a win in this case. (I think Romney was 3 votes ahead in the end.)  Who would have guessed just a week before, when it looked like Newt Gingrich would be the big opponent for Romney?  Newt is now calling people liars and looking utterly exhausted.

I think that Romney is vulnerable to Santorum in a way he has not been vulnerable to the others because a) Santorum has no baggage, like the other contenders (Cain, Newt, Perry's early debate flubs), and b) Santorum is truly conservative in a narrowing field.  Mitt has had to play the game by switching positions to move ahead, which I don't entirely oppose - views do change, and you must be pliable, let's call it, to move forward in politics.  But Santorum is who he is, or seems to be who he is (does that even make sense?)

This election is so important, that in the end, the candidate must be able to beat President Obama.  Period.  If the jobs numbers look up, the President will gain swift traction, even though he is currently boasting Carter-like numbers of the approval-type.  Yikes!  The Republican nominee must be a good debater, have no "buzz-phrase" weaknesses (Romneycare), and must be able to connect with independents (I think this ultimately goes to Mitt, with his business experience.  It will be a JOBS referendum.)

There is something seemingly made of steel about Romney - he just presses forward, from election to election, debate to debate, and now primary to primary.  There is a forced-jovial doggedness to him that is both impressive and scary.  Remember the scene in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" where Butch and Sundance are being chased through the plains, and they keep looking back, and then at each other, and saying "Who IS that guy?"  His name is Mitt Romney, boys.

The next two debates will tell so much; buckle your seat belts and grab your score cards!

**I am assuming this is goodbye for Bachmann; good job, girl.  Good effort.**