30 September 2008


or at least, that's my excuse for neglecting these entries all month. playing catch-up:

~ paeans and sorrow for the passing of paul newman, an actor and director who lived his political and philanthropic beliefs offscreen, and who brought intensity, wit and genuine talent to his roles onscreen. he could say more with a glance or a quirked smile than most actors can manage in a lifetime. of his movies, my personal favorites include The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Sometimes A Great Notion, The Sting, Nobody's Fool, and Road to Perdition.

~ praise and awe for the HBO series The Wire, which ran for five years. i just finished watching the last episode on DVD. though centered on baltimore homicide detectives, the show managed to vividly portray hundreds of characters, in layered settings ranging from the corridors of political power to crack corners in the ghetto, from the Sun newsroom to the waterfront. i loved the interwoven complexity and relevance of the issues presented, with grit and profanity and humor and violence and tenderness, and always a clear eye for the human frailties which drive us all to acts which we would hate to see on the evening news. no preaching to be found, but relentless insistence on authenticity and thought-provocation.

~ pleasure and a slower pace of life (I) in Conrad, MT, over the weekend. like many rural, agriculture-based towns, Conrad has shrunk by attrition as its youth have moved away, and local businesses have been forced to close or consolidate in response to the advent of big box stores in Great Falls. still, a core of energetic, determined and inventive residents has kept the community alive by creating an arts council, restoring to Art Deco glory the local movie theater, expanding the city library, and supporting local schools. i'm proud to call Conrad my home town (one of several, actually, but the one in which i lived the longest before adulthood.)

~ pleasure and a slower pace of life (II) in the countryside where i grew up, on the northern plains along the Rocky Mountain Front. the drive from Missoula along state route 200, over rogers pass and emerging through the foothills onto the great sea of prairie, never fails to take my breath away. it is here that you can understand that Montana's nickname, Big Sky Country, is literally true. only out on the open ocean can one view an expanse of sky so vast, through air so clear that you can see weather forming many miles away. i've lived all over this country of ours, and my heart dwells in many places, but the deepest of my taproots is here, where the stillness is so complete that you can hear birdsong half a mile away, and you would swear that you can feel and hear the earth breathe.

~ finally (as the reader heaves a sigh of relief), props and a big hug to my friend Jan in Casper, WY, with whom i've shared a number of long, wide-ranging phone conversations. she is a formidable scrabble player, as i've learned the hard way at an online site. she is also a viola player and general renaissance woman with a lively intellect and a sly talent for fun. Jan is a keeper on life's list of friendships, or relationships, or however we decide to fashion it.

cheers to one and all. welcome to fall ! !

08 September 2008


i'm an inveterate comic strip reader, dating from preschool days (i learned to read at a young age). these days when i scan the sunday washington post comics (a weekly ritual both sacred and irreverent), only a handful are on my must-read list. "get fuzzy" is one. like "the boondocks", the humor is sideways, provokes a little thought, and evokes an "uh-huh" along with a smile.

my favorite character is bucky, the acerbic, misanthropic iconoclast (not unlike myself in certain moments) ..... siamese cat. bucky takes no prisoners. consider the following exchange between bucky and his human, robert:

R - ok, so you don't like the summer olympics. what about the winter ones?

B - well...at least some of those sports can kill you...that's interesting. their names give 'em away...luge your life...slalom into a tree...and who invented ski jumping? dr. kervorkain? mental.

R - so you like the winter olympics?

B - robert...the winter olympics are like a liberal with a baseball bat: you may not like him, but you have to respect him.

there's a certain hunter s. thompson twisted logic going on there, deranged but still possessing substance. (this from a progressive liberal who owns a gun.)

many of my favorite comics are about animals ("mutts", "garfield") or about adolescence ("zitz", "foxtrot"), or take an unabashed liberal/radical view of the world ("doonesbury", "the boondocks"). it's an entertaing mix on a sunday morning.

07 September 2008


for the past year and a half, i've been looking for romance, variety (live's elusive spice), new friends, and possible a life partner, through two online dating services. my personal filters for even considering contacting someone are: a personal profile that shows originality, literacy, high intelligence, a variety of life experiences, an appreciation for the arts and the sensuous, and a sense of humor. it doesn't hurt to find someone who is facially or physically attractive (this is subjective, not identical with hollywood standards), but that comes second. not an all-inclusive list, but you get the idea.

it's been an interesting ride. one aspect of reading someone's online profile is that you get lots of ideas for books to read! another aspect is that over time, one becomes more adept at (a) reading between the lines in selective, self-promoting descriptions which make the writer sound like a renaissance woman; (b) spotting those with neurotic or psychotic tendencies; and (c) noticing those precious few who are genuine, interesting without having to proclaim "'i'm interesting", provocatively curious about the world, and have a clear range of ideas and experiences with which to enrich a conversation.

i'm probably too selective, but on the other hand, life is too short to waste time with shallow thinkers, or with those who exaggerate their finer qualities. in this rich world of ours, there is little excuse for dullness or lying.

soooo, my thanks to those whom i've been intrigued by and agreed to meet me, whether or not we hit it off. putting oneself out there, to be seen and evaluated, is a scary and courageous thing, for most of us. here's to courage, and to the thrill of the hunt, and to the very human need for closeness and love which drives us to take that first step.