I’m a Material Girl

It’s countdown to Christmas. Yes, I’m using the word Christmas.

The stores are twinkling with lights.

The bell ringers are waving. Ringing is against the law now.

That was one of the sounds of Christmas that just departed. photo(161)

The beggars are begging, the singers are singing, and the fiddlers are fiddling.

I wonder what they’ll outlaw next.

But the shoppers aren’t shopping. They’re just looking. And buying online.

That’s what I did this year.

It made it so much simpler. But boring.

I go into overdrive when pushing into a mob of women to get to the cosmetic counter.  Or ripping a pair of shoes out of another woman’s hands and buying them. The word glee comes to mind.

Let’s not forget the parking lot assaults for a parking space. That’s all out war.

And the juggling of bags, boxes and purses draped from your arms and shoulders that make you look like a shopping cart without wheels.

It’s the sights and sounds of Christmas.

It’s the festive delights of materialism.

Don’t go shopping without it.

Calvin says, “Christmas shopping. Just the thought makes me want to snarl my teeth and bite a Santa leg.” beagle

Conversations on the Run11

I can age anything. How old do you want to be?

Personally I collect magazines instead of bugs.

Monday I come here, Tuesday I go there, Wednesday I go around, Thursday I stay put, and Friday, I’m out of here.

With all this social media, is there any time to be yourself?

He looks like the collective of the dead inhabitants of the club.

Personal umbrella insurance is surprisingly expensive.

Pastor Boss.

Q: What do you get if you become a knight?

A: You get diplomatic immunity in your own country.

Shofar lessons can be expensive. First you need a ram and he may not have a musical ear.

Now that the elections are over, we can all get back to the business of complaining.

Calvin says, “Do people really talk like this? I thought only rabbits had these habits.”

Addicted to Orange and Black

Yesterday was Game 1 of the World Series.

Since I live in San Francisco, I couldn’t help but notice.

The city was dressed in orange and black.

The fans donned the team colors, the hats, the beads, and the mitts.

Even kids wore SF Giants earrings and band-aids under each eye in honor of Venezuelan Marco Scutaro. 

I was at AT&T Park as an observer. That’s all I could afford.

The ticket prices were enough to pay off the nation’s debt.

And I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay the $400 price tag for standing room only.

Baseball fever is an addiction.

As the fans streamed by me, I noticed the classic symptoms. Glassy eyes. Flushed cheeks. Hooting and hollering.

There wasn’t a soul in regular clothes.

Orange was de rigueur. Even police officers wore tokens of it on their uniforms.

Beer was the drink of preference.

Boozy breath was the stand-out body odor.

Oh, and the F-16 fly-by timed with the fireworks at the commencement ceremonies was stunning.

Even if I didn’t go in, I still felt part of history.

Calvin says, “Boozy breaths? Now that’s my kind of people.”

A Private Showing

This weekend was Fleet Week in San Francisco. It was also the Final of the America’s Cup World Series.

While skippers navigated the Pacific waters, Madonna rehearsed her tunes for her evening performance in San Jose, and heart-throb Justin Bieber practiced giving teen girls liver shivers for his show at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. The Giants played their first game as division champs, the 49ers had a game as well, and there was even a Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco was hopping!

But nothing tops the Blue Angels show.  

I missed seeing the Delta formation, the diamond roll, the Fleur de Lis and the many other heart-in-your-throat maneuvers, but I’m happy anyway. I had my private showing at Baker Beach while I organized a picnic. While grilling salmon and keeping the tablecloths from blowing away in the wind, I was serenaded with supersonic booms from those blue and yellow F/A-18 Hornets. They were so low I could see the pilots screaming their way across the Pacific, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and then disappear into a fog bank only to return a few minutes later and do it all over again.

They practiced right in front of me. I waved. I clapped. I ran after them. “Take me with you!” I yelled.

The tablecloths took flight. The salmon got charred. The nude sunbathers flipped over.

Another roar and soar across the ocean.

This time was the last, and the gulls returned to the beach.

I came back to tablecloths wrapped around tree trunks, crispy salmon, and potato salad with a new crunch from the sand.

Calvin says, “You hate heights. You’d white knuckle it with your eyes closed. Now me, I would bay my way across the city and fog up the windshield.”

The Fountain of Youth Is In The Grocery Store

I shopped for food this week, lots of it. Most everything I bought was in a package of some sort – plastic, paper, glass or aluminum. The only area of the store without packaging was in the produce section, but even there, I wasn’t so sure I was getting fresh. Everything looked perfect, shiny, and blemish-free.

There’s a scandal in the news about our genetically modified corn. It seems Russia has refused to import it, citing it’s dangerous to the health of Russians and can cause cancer.

Good for Americans but not so good for foreigners? Hmm. 

This GMO food thing is scary.

Have you bought a tomato lately? It tastes like corrugated paper, but it’s oh so pretty to look at.

How about grapes? They’re getting plumper every year. And not a blemish anywhere.

I bought a bag of shredded cabbage a month ago, threw it into the cold drawer of my refrigerator and forgot it. I discovered it a month later buried under a bag of carrots.

“There’s something fishy about the cabbage,” I told Alf.

“Oh yea, what?”

“It’s bright and perky. If should be rotten by now if it was real.”

“Let’s give it to Calvin and find out,” Alf said.

“If he starts to smolder, we run for cover,” I said.

Calvin says, “I don’t smolder. Fart, that’s another story.” 

Are Museums For Americans Too?

In his book Priceless, author Robert Wittman says that more Americans visit museums than go to ball games.

Hmm.

I was recently at the MoMA in New York on a Friday night when you can get in for free. There were hordes of people waiting in line, more crowds already inside the building, and there were ten people deep by almost every painting hanging on the walls.

All of them were speaking a foreign language. French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, you name it, I heard it.

And the Americans?

There were two. My friend, Elle and me. We didn’t speak much because we were craning our necks to see the Picassos, Van Goghs, and Monets in the room.  

There was a group of Italians occupying the middle of the room listening with rapt attention to their guide. He was a tall man, with greying hair at the temples, immaculately dressed in a European-cut suit and a yellow ascot. He was pointing out historical details about the artists with a flourish of hand gestures. This all in Italian, of course. And without a textbook.

Behind me were people of all ages, jostling for position, photographing Van Gogh’s Starry Night on their iPads. They spoke Russian.

Even the guards, in their blue uniforms, whose job was to make sure visitors kept a respectable distance from the masterpieces, looked foreign-born.

So where were the Americans?

In the Architecture and Design exhibit? No.

Viewing the current exhibit? No.

In the contemporary galleries? No.

When I rounded the corner by the Painting and Sculpture Galleries, that’s where I spotted them.

In line waiting to get into the restaurant.

Does that count as a museum visit?

Calvin says, “Only if you snap a few pics on the way to the bathroom.” 

A Smart Swap

The Republican National Convention is over and now we’re hearing from the Dems.

Is there an empty chair in the house?

I have to admit that was a masterful stunt by Clint Eastwood. Without a teleprompter no less.

Did he memorize the script? Was there one?

He knew his message so well all he had to do was speak knowing he had a receptive audience. Even if the only thing he said was, “Make my day” he would have been received well.

Wait. He did do that.

To be fair he said a lot more than that, in a halting sort of way.

The trouble with these political rallies is that right now it’s all hoopla and applause, but in a year’s time disappointment will reign again. For Republicans and Democrats alike. That’s a guarantee.

There isn’t enough collective wisdom, money, or services to get the job done.

Government is no savior.

“We own this country,” Clint said. “Politicians are our employees and when somebody doesn’t do the job, it’s time to let him go.”

That’s a good point.

Thomas Jefferson was a supporter of term limits. In his view, it would “prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office the members of the Continental Congress…”

Are we ready to fire the whole lot? Senators, congressmen, governors, and mayors?

It used to be an honor to serve your country. You’d leave the farm for a period of time, go to Washington, do your duty as your state’s representative, and then come home and continue milking the cows.

A career politico was unheard of.

Nowadays that’s all we have. We’re saddled with the decent ones, the mediocre, and the messes.

Why do we keep voting them back in to office?

I say let’s send all the politicos home and replace them with the cows.

Calvin says, “The dairy lobbyists would love that! Finally their day in the hay.”