TWO SIGNS OF THE TIMES
A Sign on the Grocery Story Door. “DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN OR PETS IN A HOT CAR” [I wondered why this sign would ever be needed.]
A Cartoon Caption in The New Yorker, August 3, 2015. “After a hard day at the office, all Barry wants to do is put his feet up and listen to somebody tell him what to think.” [One woman is talking with another at a doorway. Barry sits in a room, watching television News.]
Growth. Summer is a time for growth. Grass needs mowing once a week, weeds in borders provide me much meditation time, trees in the front yard (Song, Sanders, and Erik) have grown greatly, and the two Chinese chestnuts, the winter honeysuckle, and the holly taken from the woods in Iredell County have shown much growth. The annuals and perennials that I planted in the early summer, those that did not die, are doing well. I wonder why my own growth should be harder to discern.
In the Almanac. Source: The Old Farmer’s 2015 Almanac by Robert B. Thomas. July was a month wrapped by full moons. On the first was the Full Moon of July, the Buck Moon. On the thirty-first was the second full moon of a month, thus called the Blue Moon, and named the Thunder Moon. August 1 marked the day that summer is half over. The length of day for today, August 5, is 14 hours, 19 minutes; June 19, two days before the Summer Solstice, the length was 15 hours, 18 minutes. I like to note the cycles of time and season.
Viewing. Documentary, “The Came To Play,” directed by Alex Rataru, 2008. This entertaining and inspirational documentary features interviews with participants in the 2007 International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in Fort Worth, Texas. Participants include a dental assistant, a jewelry dealer, a lawyer, an ophthalmologist, an internal medicine physician, a disabled AIDS victim, and a professional tennis player. They have various reason for wanting to participate: the need for competition, the desire to give back a God-given gift, the love of achievement, and the need to share their love of music with an audience which appreciates their work. We enjoy snippets of their playing, mostly well-known masterworks of composers such as Scriabin, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Bach, Liszt, Schumann, Debussy, Schubert, Mozart, Gershwin. The documentary celebrates the dedication, achievements, and joys of those who pursue a worthy avocation.
Reading. Nonfiction. Ben Yagoda, The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song. Riverhead, 2015. This book traces the history of American popular song, showing how popular influences of the 1950’s, such as country and western, rock and roll, were not able to extinguish the traditions of earlier decades. The reader gets a comprehensive overview of the composers and lyricists, technologies for transmitting music, legal battles of publishers and broadcasting, and social forces influencing music taste. The index is thorough and serves as a handy tool for review and reference.
Reading. Fiction. D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). Barnes & Noble Classics, 2005. I was familiar with Lawrence as a poet, the first British poet to use free verse successfully. This novel shocked the readers of the time, resulting in its banning and its undergoing obscenity trials. The scandalous love affair of an aristocratic woman and a game-keeper on her husband’s estate explores ideas of social class, concepts of masculinity and femininity, and social, psychological, and sexual relationships between men and women. The erotic writing is intense, with realistic treatment of sex, showings its passion and power and fulfillment. Lawrence is deft in his use of omniscient point of view to describe and to show each character’s thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. The Barnes and Noble edition includes end notes for each chapter, explaining allusions, notes on the history of the book and on obscenity trials, its appearance on television and film, and the influence of the novel on world literature. There are questions and comments for consideration and an interesting introduction by Susan Ostrov Weisser, professor of English at Adelphi University.
Quotation of the Week. This is one of the many things D. H. Lawrence got right:
“It’s no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You’ve got to stick to it all your life. Only at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times. . . Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they’ve got to come. You can’t force them.” (Lady Chatterley’s Lover)