Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This Just Out. . .

        Wouldn't you just KNOW IT.  On the most important evening at Hofstra U. in decades, things may not get off the ground.  This because - and no surprise, I daresay - of a traffic snarl on the infamous L.I.E. (Non-New Yorkers, that would be the Long Island Expressway, historically referenced as the East Coast's longest parking lot)
        Best we can tell, there seems to be a stalled (and 'tourist-sized') BUS which, perhaps in the process of changing lanes, came to an un-start able halt.  Local, state and transportation police at the scene resorted to a "Road Service" call - wisely.  But while waiting, some help-offering passerby-mechanics gave the predicament their best shot.
        It was during this Samaritan effort that the REAL problem has been isolated:  Said mechanics could not gain access to key areas of the bus underbelly due to the inordinate NUMBER OF BODIES crammed under the vehicle.  Seemingly of a variety of stripes/fields, the bodies appeared to have been thrown to their obstructive positions. 
        We are now hearing that these same Samaritans, noting that some bodies, conspicuous for their awkward/identical positions, had first fallen on what may be 'swords'.  In that their status cannot be properly evaluated poste haste, in deference to the trauma "Golden Hour", medical assistance - ground transport as well as chopper - has been summoned.
        One quick -thinking officer placed several calls to clergy as facial expressions of the 'thrown body group' range from puzzlement to flat-out fear/deep guilt.  Others are marked by an unusual red tinge to the facial skin suggesting, perhaps, embarrassment beyond that one would expect as attendant to discovery under a vehicle of this sort on an already newsworthy day in THE most public of arenas.
        It is hoped that every body is safe, of course.  Further, once blame/accountability can be sorted out, the bodies that may have been thrown in error or, at best, without 'just cause', will be returned to the safety of their pre-catapult environs; apologies made; atonement proffered if appropriate and then, to bed.
        Certainly we have the rapid response time of the emergency personnel on Long Island along with the gratifying show of good will on the part of voluntary ancillary personnel to THANK for averting a postponed/late Hofstra U. "event" as well as a history-making traffic snarl during rush hour on October 17, 2012 between six and eight A.M.
        The waters of Long Island Sound remain unruffled in the face of this evening's vehicular falderall.  It remains to be seen what, if any, tidal changes might be noted on the Potomac come the morn'.
Later, Lorane. . . .

Monday, October 15, 2012

And Some Other Things. . .

        You may recall that recently I've been musing about what seems to me to be a barrage of vapid television advertising content.  Having exceeded my rehab walking goal for today (AND snagged a StairMaster at a yard sale during Saturday's walk) I confess to feelings of minor smugness.  Indeed, I sit here, sipping berry tea from my favorite mug.  A gift from TR (hubby), it sports the slogan:  "I think, therefore we have nothing."
        But first, yesterday.   The guys herded themselves AND all male offspring into a 'Family Man Cave' for a day of patriotic Sunday football.  My younger daughter - a founding cast member of our local children's theatre, "The Hurrah Players" - and I treated her little just five year-old, pre-K, 'what's-everything-all-about' lady to lunch and a matinee performance of Disney's "Aladdin".

        Emma was familiar with the story.  For her, the hero was an Ahab, "grand-ungodly-god-like-man".  We had perfect aisle, ORCHESTRA seats.  Perched on a riser, Emma had the best of views - of the entire theater.  Larger-than-life sets magically changed;  performers FLEW on and off stage;  glittering, colorfully-costumed 'harem girls' swayed and sang.  By contrast, the crowded marketplace, realistically energized by buyers and sellers of all ages and sizes invited her close scrutiny.
        Then, Director Hugh R. Copeland staged several impressive, follow-spotted entrances from the rear of the theater.  Performers walked, danced, ran and were royally carried to the stage, accompanied by musical fanfare and confettied fireworks. 
        The audience greeted each with enthusiastic waving and clapping.  UNTIL.  Two groups of fierce-looking 'palace guards' - clad in turbans, billowing trousers, bulging muscles and menacing brows and wielding four foot-long, curved, metallic sabres - charged down two aisles (one of which was immediately to our right).
        Emma froze.  A keenly-observant child, she had seen a sultan, heard of Arabian Nights, watched harem dancing and peered at poverty-driven crowds.  THEN, we took her to the theatre.  Emma, for a split-screened second, thought these guards could be taking over or "invading" her make-believe, magic cosmos.
        Blue-green saucer eyes stared out from her white, spot-lit little face.  Gratefully, the wonder and amusement of the child-filled audience plus a light hug brought her back to our make-believe reality.  S-L-O-W-L-Y, she smiled - a tentative, guarded grin.  Finally, her Sunday-best-dressed-body relaxed and she 'got back into it.'
        On the way home, as she chattered on about her favorites, I thought of how vigilant we must be - everywhere - regarding exposure to our senses.  So today, friends, I must encourage watchfulness.  By this I mean be sure to be looking at your screen when what passes for commentary or advertisement dalliance is holding forth.
        You see, if you don't (see), you may be exposed to unbridled warning from a bombastic announcer whose 'PSA' is aimed at post-operative female patients.  The class in question - women who underwent surgery to correct incontinence.  The specific procedure apparently involves the insertion of a corrective/helpful 'device'.
        IF you are using ONLY auditory plus imaginative skills, this rapid-fire, elided delivery COULD lead you to believe the culprit about which you are warned is an implanted 'device'.  Reported, catastrophic side effects are such that ANY potential 'victim' of the procedure/device implantation would demand to know whether she now wanders around dry but with "IT" embedded in her body.
        I refer, of course, to the presumably eponymous "Herr/Doktor Mescherslink".  If, indeed, said 'device' has a familiar ring to the casual, post-operative listener, she will call her surgeon STAT, inquiring, "Where's the label on that thing you put in or do I have to call the hospital and request my medical records.  What's the deal here?"
        And so on.  ALL such potential histrionics could have been averted by insisting on proper elocution.  The 'warning' is related to a "mesh or sling" that may have been implanted to correct this unfortunate condition.  My warning is related to "CAUTION: the following may not be appropriate/comprehensible for all audiences.  Parental (or papal or rabbinic or la mic) guidance is suggested."
Later, Lorane. . . .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PSA - for William DeVane

        Perhaps you've heard former ? actor, William De Vane peddle the purchase of gold on TV.  Or not.  It's of no moment.  He does and I have.  Today, I'd like him to listen and I'll 'peddle' this info just for him.

        I would submit to Mr. De Vane - with a modicum of caution as 1)  I know nothing about the integrity of his cardiovascular system and 2) I know less about his comprehension capacity.  (But taking a wild guess, I'd venture he's probably NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer.) - that things are presently on the 'glum chum' side in our Homeland (Please see gas prices in CA, national unemployment numbers, the rising costs of quality medical care delivery - just for openers.).  And on the international scene, well, Sheldon Harnick said it well in the 50's and things haven't changed that much.

        By way of background info, Mr. Harnick had been described as a "cranky misanthrope"   who was rather upset with the rest of the world's ingratitude for the beneficence of the USA.  So, he groused, "They all hate us anyhow so let's just drop the big one now."  Shortly thereafter, The Kingston Trio - a profoundly popular and clever folk group of the era that had large influence with collegiate audiences - performed something of a commentary on this droll, apocalyptic fantasy-comedy.  Their 'satirical social analysis' was far more accurate an evaluation of the 'international scene' and was titled (tongue-in-cheek) "Merry Minuet."

        Now then, Mr. De Vane of "protect-yourself-from-the-problems-of-the-world" messaging, please sit down and get comfy.  You may want to shut that wall safe door.  This won't take long and should you become upset, you can always open it and toy with your shiny gold coins.  Promise.  We know how you love the way they feel.  You may even recall  the words of that Kingston Trio song but this is to be a serious read so pu-leez, no humming or dancing.  Just thinking and CARING.  Give it your best shot, Bill.  This PSA is for you:

They're rioting in Africa,
They're starving in Spain.
There's hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering
with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs,
South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don't like anybody very much.
We can be grateful and thankful
and proud
For man's been endowed
with a mushroom-shaped cloud.
And we know for certain
that one happy day
Someone will set the spark off;
and we will all be blown away.
They're rioting in Africa,
What nature doesn't do to us
will be done by OUR FELLOW MAN!
        (Copyright Alley Music Corp. and True Music Co., Inc.)
        So in 1958, Sheldon Harnick independently and Dave Guard of The Kingston Trio were very publicly bleeding from the "problems of the world".  (I don't recall what you were doing, Mr. De Vane - perhaps your Dad's bidding, "Buy land.")  We Americans were collectively searching for enough alpaca clothing to withstand the Cold War's Big Bear threat.  Today, again, as a nation, we pray we shan't be the "last flag flying, the last target on" the Taliban's list. 
        That's it.  You can get up now Mr. . . .  Mr. De Vane?  You'll never fit your entire 'self' inside that wall safe.   You're fine.  The "world's problems" won't hurt you.  You've got that plane.  And you have your horse.  I'll bet he's a speedy steed, too.  This was a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT, anyway.  You don't even have to listen, let alone do anything.  Mr. De Vane?
        Have a 'good one',
Later, Lorane. . . .

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Flavor of the Day

        The writers' conference of which I recently wrote, was, unfortunately not an 'only child' in the 'intimidation family'.  Several weeks prior, I had received a submission - sent by me to a publisher - which was plastered with yellow post-its filled with condemnation.  The piece was non-fiction, limited in length and 'pre-titled', "The Butterfly Experience".  The handwriting of the person critiquing was illegible - thankfully - but the last note, printed, concluded, "This is Awful!".

        I have alluded to this subject matter in the past on this blog; I don't recall there being a spillage of printed outrage when the song "Tears of a Clown" was released; followers who know me - both of you - are quite familiar with my enjoyment of/dabbling in things dramatic.  I concluded regarding that final comment that in the words of my favorite T-shirt, "Writer's block: when the people in your head stop talking to you."

        Morbid curiosity compels me today to share the unabridged object of professional derision of which I spoke.  Perhaps, if moved, you'd add your own commentary.  Don't hold back.

The Emancipated Butterfly
                It is said that just when a caterpillar was about to die, thinking it was all over, he morphed into a beautiful butterfly.  Often, a seemingly minor event, word, daunting experience - or an emancipating one - 'happens' that alters our lives, perhaps even defines our lives, forever.  For me, "The Words" - out of nowhere/sans provocation - effected for me an emancipating change.
        Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life - in my case, one lived in shabby gentility - "words" suddenly come along and interrupt and there is the birth of . . . well, given the setting and circumstances, a 'fairy tale'.  I believe/ed in magic; that fairy tales did/do come true.  Seeing is believing.  (Indeed that statement - as pretext - is my reality, my 'way of being in the world'.)  I became/am living proof of that maxim because I found lasting, unadulterated good in the one others called/call "YOU".
        The Words in question were, "What if I'm Not Me?"  They had/have had a relentless hold on my life.  They made me doubt, experience fear, question reality as I knew it, wonder what it would be like to know success unbridled, failure, rejection - an olio of potentials that could not be contained - then or now.  What if I'm not me?  Who makes the call if I'm not?  Can I return to being me after being someone else for awhile?  Have I done so already?  Then, smothering under a blanket of guilt, I shook as animals do to rid fur of unwanted, excess water.
        Once 'dry' enough, I apologized to my Creator, asked forgiveness, 'willed' that demons be gone and steadied my station in life:  five or six year-old female child, forging ahead in this experience called life.  But 'ahead' came up "ERROR" on my 'mapquest'.  Seemed I wasn't going to be getting there.  So I took every opportunity to investigate/interpret "The Words" which had become/continue to be my director.  This is why lasting, ongoing good really had its beginning on an extraordinary day, while I was shabbily gentle, receptive to, if not in pursuit of, a fairy tale.
        Beginnings are often unhappy times. I've come to realize this must be so if they are to lead to something better;  bring about change that shuns an inferior past.  As a dissatisfied, wilting cherub, little 'Miss Poutiness' extraordinaire, I was more than ready to stop maintaining the fiction of obedient-social-behavior-befitting-my-station-in-life.  And what ho!  Dawns the light - disguised as "the words".  This beginning-born-of-unhappiness was hackneyed and it had to be so.  Steeped as I was in a nubile form of arrogance, an unhappy beginning was necessary to fulfill the requirements of change.
        I had been looking around - more often than not - at my environs and thinking, "Is this it?"  Then these simple words, "What if I'm not Me?" caused the tiny balls inside the lock to cascade down until poof!  All was open.  I would no longer be sentenced to be 'just me'.  Rather, the cast of 'THOSE' who would come to be called 'ME' was endless.  Without relinquishing an iota of familial, legal, christened identity, I would simultaneously assume the roles of each character - waiting in the wings of the greatest stories ever told.  The costumes - a perfect fit;  the talents - already honed to perfection;  the casting - brilliant.
        I recall one glorious, shining autumn day in the 1960's.  I was working in the Coronary Care Unit at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.  It was my one day off and, thanks to the generosity of the Ambassador from Bahrain who had the good taste to succumb to his heart attack while giving a speech at the UN and become my patient, I was in a buoyant frame of mind wearing his gift of "Ramu" perfume (none of the other nurses like it so I had seven bottles) and a tres chic tailored beige suit avec tres short pencil skirt.  Having attended a runway show at Bergdoff's (another gift from his Bahrainianship) I squandered an entire extra duty shift's paycheck on a floppy felt hat and sauntered down Fifth, stopping to drool over the china in the window at Ginori.  (Having sold china at Macy's for two years, two nights/week and all day Saturday, I knew from Ginori.)
        I became aware of a tall, tweedy presence behind me - also admiring the china.  Turning to continue what I knew looked like an 'I-belong-on-Fifth-and-live on Park' stroll, the gentleman politely asked a question about the window display.  Smiling abashedly enough, I feigned an Italian accent, miming in shards of 'Itanglish', "Scuzzi. . .no speak. . Ciao!"  and and sauntered, sidewalk south.  Such fun!  I believed me and just knew he'd be telling the chaps about the 'Eyetalyan Countiss' he met  at Ginori over lunch at The Pierre.
        Recalling days like that, I bless that unhappy day in that ordinary life, interrupted by a seemingly hackneyed phrase.  You see, in the realm of the apocryphal, that day gave me the relish for people of thunder and lightening who have a distaste for the humdrum.  In the world of theater, of 'being someone else', these people have a compelling force that sets them apart for life.  They are said to be indifferent because they can so easily puncture pretense and bombast.  But they are said to be passionate performers because they can portray these same unpleasant qualities with spark.  And this seeming indifference is in fact a protective coloring - like a costume - of a temperament whose secret, innermost recesses contain a deep reservoir of emotion.  Thus, the 'contradictiction' is resolved!
        Absent this gift, I could not be in the world as a duality.  With it, one personage is always available - on a variety of photo IDs.  Meanwhile, the other is telling a myriad of otherwise untold tales, using a 'universal Equity Card' without which coveted roles are denied, the curtain never goes up.  The magic, the fairy tales, the true 'happily-ever-afters' - all happen with the constancy and regularity of a perfectly contrived world of good.  They happen because once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, "words" are not only permitted but invited to interrupt.  The sad ending becomes a 'sad' beginning - over and over and over again.  Do not die, fly. . .
Later, Lorane

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Never Promised You a Bell Jar

        Today's humble missive is brought to you by the emotion "intimidation".  I attended a three-day conference hosted by the Hampton Roads Writers.  The speakers/workshop leaders - stellar all - left me emotionally and psychically eviscerated.
        Inspiring, experienced and talented people addressed us and remained totally approachable and helpful throughout.  I purchased a different book for each of my six grandchildren and the authors graciously wrote personal notes to each child.  The children are avidly enjoying their treasures.
        I, on the other hand, have been reduced to a non-writing (nary a word in ten days until this drivel), ex-aspiring creator of interesting prose who now titles perfunctory entries in her blog with blatantly mixed metaphors and meandering ramblings.
        What can I say, dears, after I've said, "I'm sorry.".
Later, Lorane. . . .