Thursday, June 02, 2011


There are some movies I can watch hundreds of times. Some books I will read and reread on a regular basis. And some where once is enough.

It's not even a question of quality. My favorite fiction book ever is Possession by A.S. Byatt. I've only read it once and have no intention of picking up again. Perhaps I'm afraid it won't hold up or that my opinion will change. So maybe that's a bad example. But you know what I mean.

What is that elusive quality that makes something worth revisiting? Why is it whenever The Philadelphia Story is on I have to watch it, in spite of the fact that I can probably quote the entire movie? And yet I have to be in the mood to watch the delightful Hepburn-Tracy comedy Woman of the Year. I can pick up the Dorothy L. Sayers novel Gaudy Night on any day and happily open it an random and be entertained. And yet her equally good book Strong Poison requires the right frame of mind.

My "endless watch" list of movies is practically endless. Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, On the Town, To Have and Have Not, and any of the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or James Bond movies. And about a dozen more, now that I think about it. There are even nights when I should be sleeping (or at least trying to sleep) and yet I'm staying up because I just have to see the end of a movie I've watched innumerable times. A few weeks ago I stayed up because The Big Sleep was on and I'm genetically incapable of turning off that particular Bogart classic.

And when I'm prowling around looking for something to read, my hand naturally goes to the old favorites. I might pick up something I haven't read for a while and, without fail, I'll put it down and pick up Murder on the Orient Express for the hundredth time. Why is that?

There is certainly comfort with an old favorite. A level of brainless relaxation that is, at times, necessary. But it's still odd how often I go with the familiar rather than the different.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo of the day: 10

Yeah, on a cute scale this little guy rates a 10 in my book.

Sorry I have nothing but kitten photos lately. Tis the season...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why didn't they all die?

By which I mean the pioneers. I'm re-reading the Little House on the Prairie books, which I haven't read since I was a kid. Back then I was just interested in them as a story and I think I viewed them rather like fairy tales. But now I'm reading about how hard their lives were and I am astounded that the entire generation didn't just curl up and die. Or freeze to death. Or starve. Or collapse from exhaustion.

I remember back when I was employed (well, employed for money) how I'd come home from working all day in front of a computer and feel tired. But these people slaved away at manual labor from before dawn until after dark. They plowed and planted, hoed and weeded, harvested, chopped, butchered, trapped, baked, scrubbed, you name it. And they were happy at the end of the day with a little fiddle music and some dried plums. Christmas meant a tin cup and two pieces of Christmas candy and they were thrilled.

How spoiled we've become. I was just feeling tired about doing laundry. Oh yes, how hard it is to carry a basket from the bedroom to the garage. How in the world would I have managed filling a tub from a well, scrubbing with my cold hands, hanging heavy woolen clothing on a line to freeze in the winter chill and then spending the entire next day ironing? The answer is, I wouldn't. I'm a wimp, I admit it. I am so thankful to be living in a world with dishwashers and central heating, TV and grocery stores.

When I read the accounts of how the Ingalls family lived I cannot help but shake my head. It all seems impossibly hard to my spoiled 21st century self. I suppose if that's all you know it seems normal but the amount of work involved in just getting from day to day boggles the mind.

So how about you? Would you have made it as a pioneer?