DAY ONE

Quote

WELCOME, writers, editors, and publishers! Come on in! WELCOME readers!

A note is a trace, a word, a drawing that in a gentle flash becomes part of the thinking process.  It is a flexible mental move generating space for the possible.

“Notetaking encompasses witnessing, drawing, writing, and a diagrammatic thinking; it is speculative, manifests a preliminary moment, a passage, and acts as a memory aid.”

Source for the above:  I found the quote, and that above (paraphrased) in a catalogue for architects, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Spring 2011, in reference to dOCUMENTA (13) EXHIBITION: June 9–Sept. 16, 2012.

 

 


Review of THE LONE RANGER (Director Gore Verbinski, 2013)

As an eight-year-old, I watched The Lone Ranger on the early, small TV screen. From the big screen, the “silver” screen, fifty-seven years later, comes Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as John Reid, the masked man.

Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger

The reviews were right– this is a crazy pieced-toether quilt of a film. It is easy to become restless watching it for its lack of a clearly told narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. But looking back on my viewing experience, I feel that this film, a comedy, contained all the humor anybody involved in the making of it could muster. Crew and actors obviously had a great time with this piece. It had plenty of scenes resembling slapstick. “Slapstick” stresses farce (satirical/patently ridiculous events) and horseplay. Believe me, with the white Spirit Horse who communicated truths to Tonto, and launched the career of lawyer John Reid as The Lone Ranger, brother and son of Texas Rangers, you will see plenty of “horseplay.” The white horse told Tonto John was back from the land of spirit and could not be killed.

"Hi ho Silver, away!"

“Silver,” Mount of the Masked Man

Johnny Depp, of Edward Scissorhands, Whatever Happened to Gilbert Grape, Pirates of Penzance, Chocolate, Nick of Time, and much more, must have had a great time in the role of Tonto. And Armie Hammer must have as well in the role of Lone Ranger. Their vibe was terrific as partners, both reluctant heroes. If not for “Spirit Horse’s” ability to discern a man, a good man, come back from the other side of existence (satire), neither would have had his job of riding for justice and fighting for law and order in the Wild West. Their attempts take place in the early part of the 1900s when railroad barons dreamed of an iron-horse empire. Moreover, the precious metal silver, transported in trainloads of nuggets, is a character in this film. ”Silver,” as we who watched the show in the 1950s know, is the horse’s name, given the white Spirit Horse at the end of the film. Comanches and US Cavalry fight in this film. Tonto is long ago an outcast Comanche, a boy who made a fatal error and caused great destruction to his tribe. The raven-carcass headpiece he wears, quite dead (more satire), signifies “spirit.” Tonto feeds it corn kernels. I didn’t get this during the screening, but I came home and wrote down themes, one regarding the raven-carcass headpiece, and now I understand:

A person must feed his/her spirit. At times, the spirit may appear to be dead. Jerk its head up. With consistent feeding, the spirit does cover your thinking.

What follows are a number of other themes that erupted as I continued to think about how  such a crazy piece of work could get produced. Thus, you could say I came a bit late to the fan club of the producers’ and director Verbinski’s THE LONE RANGER of 2013.

Themes Treated in the Movie– Even an Indian tribe can term one of its own a mental case. (The Comanches ousted Tonto and laugh at him.)

If someone chooses a partner for self-gain, the choosing partner behaves loyally, looking after the chosen mate. (Tonto has no hope of survival but for the Spirit Man he teams up with.)

Trading objects can solve worry and alleviate uncertainty between two individuals. (Tonto believes this down to his marrow and never fails to give back when he takes, even while holding on under a moving train.)

Nature out of balance can produce cannibalistic rabbits, that same kind of bad, murdering gunslinger, and a cursed silver nugget. (Attack scene by rabbits, and human eating human organ, thankfully off screen)

Truth and justice are more often than not traded for empire building. (Outlaws, those of good spirit, do better for the world than corrupted big-wigs.)

A woman with a big gun determined to shoot straight, living in community with gunslingers, may have lost a leg in the process. (She saved the day with just the right angle on her shooting leg.)

A woman can love two brothers, and timing determines which one she marries. (A tiny touch of romance is included, and the lady is a gentle mother of a young boy.)

A young boy does not know what to do if receiving conflicting instructions (while pointing a gun). To shed increasing tension and avoid a catastrophic wrong choice, he turns and cries out to mama. The child did some good acting.

 

A Dead Raven On His Head and Black Streaks Drawn Down Cheeks Reminded Tonto of His Catastrophic Decision He Made As a Boy

Stuck in my mind is the strange beginning of this film. We meet a lovely brown-eyed boy dressed in a white hat and black mask. In sharp contrast, he, alone, spectating among the exhibits of a museum of natural history, meets a hugely wrinkled, ancient-looking Indian in a diorama. The diorama is titled “The Noble Savage.” This unexpected approach to the story of the Lone Ranger (you understand the old Indian better at the end), contributes to the montage effect of this film’s style, separate scenes cut apart and strung like diverse  beads on a strand of wire.

In addition, the tough-to-look-at early characters in the first filmic images are bad, bad  gunslingers with greasy complexions, tarter-tainted teeth, sliced and scarred upper lip, long, unruly scruff, filthy-looking heads of hair, and flasks of whiskey. Later, a couple of them seem to be transvestites. I don’t really get this, so I guess it was one of the many jollies or increasing ironies the producers enjoyed in the making of this pieced-together quilt of a long film (about two and a half hours).

In closing, THE LONE RANGER may have every joke that everyone involved in the work thought of, a definite overplaying of humor. An example is Tonto wearing a birdcage over his crow headpiece to protect against the cat that has gone missing. Tonto is departing from the saloon girl’s salon. She has a noteworthy leg, an ivory, rifle-shooting leg with scrimshaw work all over it. Her leg is excruciatingly sexy to soldiers in the cavalry who do not know about the rifle inside. They want to touch her leg. Did I explain the strangeness? Can you see how this is one of the craziest movies you will ever see? No wonder movie-goers held back on this one, based on critical review. I wonder . . . would I be able to make it through a second screening? I loved the Dolby sound. I can hear the trumpet call and galloping strands of “The William Tell Overture” as a great-looking guy in a form-fitting black leather mask atop an amazing white horse ride down the desert slope . . . “Da da dum, da da dum, da da dum dum dum . . .”

2ND-TERM INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, BARACK H. OBAMA

President Obama has increased in wisdom, from insights that disappointments bring, after four years in office.

President Barack Obama is one of seventeen presidents of the United States elected to a second term. January 21st is a holiday designated to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968. The eloquence and passionate grain of voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. created discourse and action for civil rights. He will never be forgotten. Many Americans felt it apropros that our first black president be inaugurated for his second term on this day, January 21st, 2013. President Barack Obama is only half black, the offspring of Barack Hussein Obama of Kenya and Stanley Ann Dunham of Seattle, Washington who met at the University of Hawaii. His parents are obvious factors in the president’s commitment to the equality, dignity, and civil rights of every individual. In his inaugural speech, Barack

emphasized the old values of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” for each citizen. He emphasized that his oath of office is not that different from each citizen’s civil duty to country, that of serving country responsibly.

Merlie Evers Williams, widow of Medgar Evers, read a very long prayer enriching listeners’ thoughts

Merlie Evers Williams opened Inaugural Events with prayer.

toward the new administration spanning 2013 to 2016 under the leadership of Barack Obama. She is a gifted writer who without a doubt can speak from a heart of her race’s loss, through her husband’s assassination in Mississippi.

An openly gay young poet, Richard Blanco, read his original poetry that simply and warmly carried listeners’ thoughts to today’s ordinary concerns, commonplace concerns of people at work, notice of small elements of nature, horror of our country’s recent mass shooting in an elementary school, and more.

A hispanic clergyman of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Rev. Luis Leon, pronouncing the benediction, perfectly captured the positivity and possibilities of this inaugural moment for Barack’s second term.

Columnist Mark Shields speaking to Gwen Ifel on the evening news of PBS described Barack’s inaugural-day demeanor as “a happy warrior.” Mark’s cohort, columnist David Brooks, said Barack as a politician may be more associated with openness, progressivism, or a new liberalism for the 21st century, and yet by his personal makeup and character, he is a most traditional man, a family man, and the personalities of his two daughters, particularly how they conduct themselves in public, is admirable and noteworthy, manifesting good parenting (and likely influence by their grandmother, Mrs. Robinson, who lives upstairs). Commentators say that Barack, not having a traditional early family life, found “home” by marrying Michelle Robinson.

Michelle Robinson, First Lady, with her husband, the 44th President of the United States.

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"Retired"

Beautiful earrings, now retired, that evoke compliments

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Divorce Our President? Will We Be Better Off Four Years From Now?

Journalists are writing many articles about the coming presidential election, just a few  weeks away. For many weeks, The New York Times writers have captured perceptions about the two presidential candidates. Journalists think of metaphors to use that help readers advance their thinking about the subject of voting for the president. This type of writing, objective writing, is not supposed to reveal which way the journalist would vote. Jim Rutenberg (presumably a journalist) filed one such nonpartisan article in The New York Timeson August 31, 2012 from Tampa, Florida, the Republican National Convention in Tampa having closed the night of August 30th. His article had a good hook: if Mitt Romney wins, we have divorced our president, a serious matter worth some reflection.

Former Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama

The term “divorce” used in the sense of making President Barack Obama a one-termer got my attention, because I have never experienced divorce, having worked to keep my marriage, wanting very much to see the big picture of things. I compromised when I could not get what I wanted, and prayed hard for evolving integrity to endure together with the husband of my youth.

I believe my party has the better candidate in the big picture. A difference in me and many others who follow politics is that I entertain the idea that I may be wrong. It would be really nice to go back to a more familiar American economy in which the word “jobs” did not dominate the media. A good job is so important (that’s why I do not hold one; no goodjob available). Mr. Romney is smart and religious. He has done a lot of business over more than two decades.

After the last debate between presidential candidates finished, the wives and other family members congratulated the two men.

Governor Romney got to do some business in our most culturally advanced state:  Massachusetts. It is a Democratic state, for the most part. He may have a short-term fix. But I like Barack and I trust my party right now more than I trust the Republicans (I once voted Republican). I am not afraid of Barack’s motto:  Forward.

It is a big world. I have read a book cover-to-cover, scanned others, and read several articles about Barack’s parents and other influences. I am proud of what Barack Obama brings to the presidency: exceptionally high intelligence; devotion to father role; charisma; life experiences in Indonesia, Pakistan, Kenya; in problem-solving style an introvert, confident, and patient; and last but not least, moderate in party politics. I want to see him at work for our country another four years. I want him to be a two-termer, and we need to hold steady.

Barack greets his wife lovingly after his last debate with his opponent.

President Obama reveals tenderness for Michelle, his wife. I snapped this photo off of the TV screen as the last debate between presidential candidates went off the air.

Holding steady in a relationship can bring reward. In regard to the marriage metaphor, I have received what I ultimately sought in a life partner. In regard to electing Mitt Romney, let’s read Jim Rutenberg of the above-mentioned article “A Suitor Seeking Acceptance Must Make a Case for Divorce.” Consider this line he wrote:

“And, Republican strategists acknowledge, they have to contend with a general sense in polls of swing voters that Mr. Obama inherited an economy in dire shape, and that his policies could improve the economy more substantially if given time.” Reading this, I thought it was the best way to look at whom to elect.

 

This blog being designed for my writerly self, especially love of the essay, I am posting a recent lightweight one dealing with a strong emotion about wanting a change. I wanted to change where I live. The reason? Too many trees and wildlife. I wrote this shortly after returning from a Brooklyn and New York City vacation. I do not really want to move right now, but it was Spring 2012, I am primarily a city-slicker, and the dozens of grey squirrels and red chipmunks were madly traversing our property, worrying us, and putting some plantings at risk. But I am over it. The spring lushness and fully developed families of squirrels are not so much in my face now at the end of summer.

The essay may serve to demonstrate that desire for change can pull at our minds and hearts and feel like extremely strong pressure. I say take a deep breath and give feelings time to level out. As the British say, “Keep calm and carry on.” The good, bright things hidden behind strong, dark emotions, when one is faced with major decisions such as buying and selling a piece of property, or electing a president, may come back to awareness with calm breathing.

 

Who Wants To Live In A Forest? Not Me!

Printed on notecards. Published by Chronicle Books, 2010.

Forest, light, by Lisa Congdon

During Memorial Day holiday weekend, still thinking about the week-long Brooklyn and Manhattan vacation my husband and I had in mid-May, a gentle time of year for travel, I walked in my Memphis neighborhood. I  realized, while tuned in to my local environment, that I am sick of all the tall trees full of grey squirrels,

Sciurus carolinensis, Familiar Eastern Grey Squirrel

Sciurus carolinensis is a wild animal with few natural enemies that self-regulates to the natural food source. The squirrel is especially dependent on the supply of acorns.

Forest on notecards by Lisa Congdon; Chronicle Books 2010

Forest, dark, by Lisa Congdon, published on notecards by Chronicle Books

jittery critters that clatter down the tree trunks and scamper about yards fearlessly.

 

I’m also sick of the burrowing chipmunks who make a subuniverse of connectedness in the yards of my neighborhood, especially my own! If we say Brooklyn has an underground system, meaning the subway trains, then I say Memphis has an underground system– a separate communication system created and maintained by four-inch-small, reddish-brown chipmunks that hollow out perfect tubes four inches under any yard or garden, visiting with their reproducing relatives in nearby green acres.

Having been away from my property on vacation for a week, a week when the sun shone in Memphis and beckoned the chipmunks to come out and expand their subterranean subdivision, I feel I am fighting a losing battle. The holes in our backyard are too numerous to count. The small critters have multiplied, and the scary part is that they seem to be more intelligent than the tree squirrels. The ground-skittering pests seem to taunt us by running across the deck when we are inside looking out through the glass doors, run across the driveway when we come out the back door, run everywhere. They could actually set up house in the storerooms of the carport  by running under the doors, if they so chose!

What can be done about it? Not much. Now and then a stray cat walks through the yards, which we like. A sticky glue trap brand-named “Tom Cat” has been strong enough to hold one or two of these dozens of pests that dig up the yard, and it seems a bit cruel, if you stop and think about dying from exhaustion. A “flood ‘em out” with water spray wedged into one of their main encampments was a recent strategy. Then, two large chipmunks ran out at me, gave me a fright!, and then disappeared. Strategy failed. The chipmunks still dig and disturb. The Memphis soaking rains quell the little rascals’ activity, but when things dry out, here come the invaders! I need a yard professional, it seems.

In spring in Memphis, give me a hotel-type abode. Free me from life in the renown hardwood forest of the mid-South. Give me concrete and open sky. Brooklyn, bring me to you! May I live among your high buildings, narrow flats (barely affordable even with just a few hundred square feet), streets full of purposeful walkers and bikers, and honking traffic? May my daily life experience not be dominated by worry over yard maintenance and repair of damage done by pesky wildlife?

 

Fashion Jewelry by: B E T S E Y .

At the beginning of fall season, some predictable things start going on in my girly self: I buy a Vogue Magazine, pull garments from my “tired of” closet, and go shopping at Macy’s, Dillards, TJMaxx, and small, locally owned dress shops. In the Macy’s fashion-jewelry area at the Betsey Johnson counter, a jewelry counter that has made me smile for ages, but a place that seemed wild, I finally sprang for my first pair of Betsey earrings to be worn by me, not someone younger.

I was prompted by having lost not one but two valuable stud earrings on two different occasions close together. Swearing off valuable

stud earrings, preferring instead leverback earrings, not as likely to fly away when you pull a top over your head or use the shower and hair dryer at the fitness center, I chose the gold-toned leopard-print hearts accented with tiny enameled black bows. They were under $40, half as expensive as the single amethyst stud that went missing. I had no idea how happy that Betsey purchase would make me. The Betseys were comfortable, played up my complexion, and provided a feeling of pride of ownership because they seemed well made. Within a few days, I had also bought two other pair of earrings, a watch, three necklaces, a tote bag, and a wallet, all sporting the hot pink sales tag with Betsey’s hand-printed first and last names, followed by a period.

With every purchase, I chatted to whoever was at the counter and learned that Betsey is seventy years old. Reading about New York Fashion Week, I learned that, although seventy, she continued her tradition of turning a cartwheel at the finish of her runway designs each year. I learned that she is a grandmother like me, but that her daughter does not wish to continue the company, now that her mother is retiring or selling. Rumor has it that Liz Claiborne Company has bought Betsey Johnson. I would not be surprised if this is true, as the Liz Company owns the Juicy Couture and Lucky Brands, both with some sass like Betsy Johnson’s merchandise.

The happy feeling continues every time I put on Betsey Johnson items, or even thinking of what she represents gives me a happy kick: fun with fashion, courage to dress for oneself, and a kind of Andy Warhol freshness in understanding semiotics and iconography. Let this essay bring tribute to the youngest-feeling seventy-year-old grandmother I’ve ever encountered. Betsey Johnson, I really appreciate the work you have done in costume jewelry, bags, wallets, and totes. I am a happier older person for having met your designs.

 

BROOKLYN VACATION IN MAY, YEAR 2012

The Brooklyn Bridge was begun in 1869 and completed in 1883.

The Brooklyn Bridge is 129 years old, construction having been begun in 1869 and finished in 1883 (for the literary-minded– 1869 is the year Tolstoy published War and Peace). The bridge’s towers, dark grey stone rectangles, heavy in demeanor, march strongly upward as though wearing heavy boots to their vertical lookout. They are topped with caps. Two arches were built into the rectangular design, from a distance giving a hint of carving. The effect is similar to the crowning arches with keystones of gothic cathedrals. The tower tops sling lighter-colored cables down creating a lacy effect. Tan lamps on tall poles add to the complexity. There are so many cables attached to the towers that observing them, one might think of a giant loom spinning wool threads. At the tip top center, the American flag waves in the breezes.

On the pedestrian walkway/bikeway, a bronze plaque reads: Erected by the cities of New York and Brooklyn, MDCCCLXIX — MDCCCLXXXIII. It lists TRUSTEES of the project, too numerous to mention, and these ENGINEERS: John A Roebling, 1869, Washington A.  Roebling, Charles C. Martin, William H. Paine, Francis Collingwood, Wilhelm Hildenbrand, George W. McNulty, Samuel R. Probasco, E. F. Farrington — Master Mechanic. A second plaque reads BROOKLYN BRIDGE RECONSTRUCTION 1954, Design and construction supervised by the Department of Public Works.

Good views of the Manhattan Bridge and the new Frank Gehry-designed skyscraper can be had walking the span of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as distant views of the Statue of Liberty. Walking here was a truly international-feeling activity– so many languages could be heard, so many styles of wearing apparel, shoes, and purses, bags,

Brooklyn Bridge as seen from the DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area of Brooklyn.

and totes could be seen. A light mood was shared by all who walked across a great American landmark.

In my post describing Memphis, Tennessee, home for the last twenty-six years, I mention “supremely urban” New Yorkers, in the context of whether they desire more contact with grass, tall trees, plantlife, and wildlife, or if they have made their peace with soot on the bottom of their shoes and buildings and skyscrapers dominating the landscape. Of course a recent surge in incidences of bedbugs in hotels, offices, and private residences could be counted as contact with wildlife, but . . . not really, just kidding! Having spent a week in Brooklyn visiting our son and staying at the nu hotel on Smith Street, not doing blatant touristy activities, but rather enjoying the unpretentious vibe of the borough, trying to adapt our Southernness to a neutral “don’t look or smile” while passing people in miles of street walking, I can say resoundingly that I like Brooklyn!  I liked choosing interesting spots for lunch and dinner. I like that there are bars and corner grocers with fresh flowers at every turn. I liked having a chat with a butcher in a prime red meat shop in the Cobble Hill neighborhood.

Even with riding the subway trains and hailing high-cost rides from taxi drivers, I could live in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the largest borough of New York City. So many people work in Manhattan, but can better afford to live in the middle-class borough. The neighborhood I prefer is Park Slope, but Cobble Hill, south downtown, and Carroll Gardens also had that comfortable vibe of the working middle class, those people on the street who seemed purposeful, sturdy in health, honest, and alert to creative possibilities. Young mothers stroll babies and young toddlers into the corner grocery for the few items that can be managed, while carrying an umbrella or jacket to accommodate weather changes. There seems to be an acceptance of casual dress in Brooklyn. Casual dress would contribute to energy savings through the day.

Our son, who lives in the Park Slope neighborhood, said that functioning in Brooklyn is hard. Feeling tired with sore feet when I heard it, I took it to mean that the barage of people wanting the same things you want means that a state of constant alertness must be carried in the mind to succeed in the day’s goals. The exception?  Working-class subway patrons after quitting time:   trains are loaded with exhausted workers, sleeping with head on lap, or head tilted against the seatback.

Next in this essay, having heralded the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, I want to depict the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens of Prospect Park and the Manhattan High Line,

An artist's rendering of birdhouses accents this section of the High Line.

Delightful for over a mile, maybe two, surprises crop up every block or so. Close inhabitants create humor with cardboard statues. Small sculptures are tucked in with shrubs.

places noteworthy for the international flavor of their visitors. Walking in these places, one can hear three or four languages or more spoken by patrons. I enjoy the idea that visitors from Europe, South America, and other parts of the world are sharing the experience I am having.

"The High Line Zoo"

 

The month of May lent itself to sunshine and cool mornings and evenings. My husband and I happily walked tens of blocks carrying stuff, he a big Canon camera with a bag of lenses and a subway map, I a flat travel purse over one shoulder stuffed with a Lumix camera, bottle of water, Cocoon sunglasses (large enough to fit over eyeglasses), moleskin blank notebook and pen, lipstick, and of course our iPhones. I also tended to carry that third piece, so as not to feel chilled if a breeze came up. By the third morning starting out, I decided to wear Naot cork-footbed sandals instead of sturdy, black athletic shoes with SmartWool socks. The flatter, cooler shoe provided temporary relief, but the fact remained that older feet need horizontal rest in addition to orthotic insoles. It was during this middle part of our vacation that our son, a year-long Brooklyn resident, gave us that previously mentioned believable theme for us,  ”It’s hard to live in Brooklyn.” He made breakfast for us in his flat, and we continued our walking as a threesome, which was our preference over the trains and cabs.

Off across Prospect Park and onto one of its trails we went, coming upon the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. We had a stroke of good luck– free admission for seniors on Friday. Our first stop was the array of cacti in the Desert Garden, and it  was exquisite, as were the Bonsai trees in another part of the gardens.

Having visited these lovely, well-cared-for plants, I realized that keeping my own gardens, front and back of my own property in Memphis, was indeed something that matters.

In closing this writing highlighting our Brooklyn and Manhattan vacation of May 2012, here are some last images. We went to New Haven, Connecticut after the vacation, in support of a very special friend who was receiving her MArch from Yale University. I heard an influential professor of architecture at Yale University say this in his address to the graduates:  Architecture opens people’s minds. An architect must be positive and open-minded. In all that it takes to get a building built, there is only one of all those doing the work that “loves” the building– it is the architect. I include some favorite skyscrapers of Manhattan:

Frank Gehry has built many buildings, and this is one of his latest. It seems to have twists in it.

 

 

GO TO www.createspace.com/3693096 TO ORDER MY MEMOIR

T I T L E   O F   P A T R I C I A ‘ S   M E M O I R   I S :
Ann, Patricia, Zelma, Beulah: Our 42,224 Days

Zelma Louise (upper) and Older Sister Eunice, 1941

The company providing me publishing/order-fulfillment service is CreateSpace Independent Publishing.
Hello, Readers,
I T   I S   F E B R U A R Y 18,   2 0 1 2.  An order placed today will arrive on February 29th (Leap Year).
MY MEMOIR,  A n n,  P a t r i c i a,  Z e l m a,  B e u  l a h: O u r  4 2, 2 2 4   D a y s,             WRITTEN BETWEEN THE
                                                YEARS 2006 and 2010
                                     HAS  LAUNCHED.  
                 The journey is the reward.  FINISHING A BOOK TO BRING IT TO MARKET TOOK TIME, FIVE MONTHS, and all of the time required has been put in.  
MY PUBLISHER HAS GIVEN ME AN  e-STORE  URL  FOR THE FASTEST ORDERING OF  Ann, Patricia, Zelma, Beulah: Our 42,224 Days, 170-pages, a trade paperback with thirty-nine black-and-white images, priced at $14.95.  To order:  copy and paste this into your search engine’s bar and hit the return key.
  •  http://www.createspace.com/3693096
You will then see the cover of the book and some verbiage.
All you need to do is hit “Add to Cart.”
Amazon will sell my memoir in about two weeks.

STEVE JOBS CAUGHT A TRAIN TO A STAR AT AGE 56

LOOK FOR STEVE JOBS’ (d. 10/05/11) MEMOIR in about two weeks, October 24, 2011.  The title of the book is Steve Jobs. The previous title was iSteve: The Book of Jobs. His biographer is Walter Isaacson, an author who has written a biography of Benjamin Franklin. The publisher is Simon & Schuster, and they accelerated the release date from the previous November 21st. I am sensitive to this publishing acceleration concept, in that I have a memoir on file with CreateSpace Publishing, and I am waiting for editors to release my proofs. Deadline is Friday, October 14th.

According to an article in last Friday’s New York Times, October 7, 2011, Section B (Business), Steve’s biographer asked him why he, so private a man, had consented to the questions of someone writing the memoir. The article said he gave forty interviews.  Steve’s reply was, “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

Steve Jobs With Apple II Personal Computer in 1977

That’s pretty much it– an individual desires to leave an account of the life lived as best the individual could figure out how to live. We can’t even be sure that our children, our spouse, our siblings, our cousins will read the book of our life slanted our way. But we know that a few friends will, and that if the promotional writing on Amazon.com is effective, some strangers will. That is the job before me– to post some marketing verbiage on the CreateSpace site that will at the appropriate time transfer to Amazon.com. I look forward to holding my first book, approximately 5-1/4 inches by 8 inches, more than a couple of hundred pages, in my hand, a memoir entitled Ann, Patricia, Zelma, Beulah: Our 42,224 Days, and imagining loved ones and strangers alike reading it.

I am interested in the fact that Walter Isaacson, Mr. Jobs’ memoirist, chose to write a book about Benjamin Franklin. My book in two volumes about the life of Ben Franklin is entitled Benjamin Franklin: A Biography in His Own Words. It was published in 1972 by Yale University Press. Thomas Fleming and Editors of the Newsweek Book Division finished the writing Ben Franklin began. In the front of the book there is some interesting reading. The legend is that in 1788, friends urged Ben to complete the task of his famous Autobiography, begun a quarter of a century earlier. Ben’s writing was interrupted by the Revoution. Ben told his friends he was too busy living his life to write about it. (This cuts close to home!)  Ben Franklin died in 1790 having written about only the first half of his extraordinarily long and active career. He bequeathed his papers to his grandson William Temple Franklin. More than a quarter of a century passed before he produced Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin in three volumes in London in 1817. I must share a fascinating anecdote found in the Introduction of my Volume 1:  As was already mentioned, Ben laid aside his writing that was begun in 1771. It was in the form of a long letter to his son William, and it was autographed. The British occupied Philadelphia in 1777, and they requisitioned the house that Ben (arch-rebel) owned, for officers’ quarters. In the confusion of the time, the manuscript was thrown out, but rescued from the street by the sheerest chance– an old friend of Ben’s saw it lying in the gutter and recognized the handwriting. Encouraged by friends who read the manuscript, Ben resumed writing at Passy, France in 1784, where he showed portions of it to his French friends, among them M. Le Villard, mayor of the village. Not giving you all the details of the trading of manuscripts between Le Villard and Ben’s son, I will close with the fascinating fact that our American patriot, our founding father’s memoir was first published in French in 1791! It was promptly translated into English.

Many thousands of letters and other papers had been given by Ben’s grandson to a friend, Dr. George Fox of the Philadelphia area. Those manuscripts descended to his son, who stored them in a stable, and from time to time would extract samples to give to his housequests. Eventually he gave the entire collection to the American Philosophical Society. Finishing the tangental interest in an American hero of the past, I return to write more about a hero of today, the late Steve Jobs of Palo Alto, California, CEO and co-founder of Apple, Inc., home based in Cupertino, California, producer of the iPhone, iPod, iMac, and iPad.

MY FIRST CELLPHONE: Nokia Handset

The iPhone 4S, released October 4, 2011, the day before Steve Jobs died, is the newest of the Apple frequent-product-cycle refreshers. It is a smartphone I want to own. I am eligible for an upgrade, and have completed research comparing the Android Galaxy 2 at the Sprint retail store with the iPhone I really want, being a MacBook Pro satisfied user, and being the only one in my family who has not owned one. I hope to have the 4S in my hand on Friday, October 14th, the same watershed day my memoir proofs are promised from CreateSpace Independent Publishing Company. Taking my time to consider this phone in comparison to the best-selling worldwide Android on Google’s operating system (ironically, I am a Google stockholder), I settled on the choice of elegant design with which Apple is associated. Steve Jobs in the 1970s emerged as a rescuer of our culture’s design possibilities that were termed “boring” by architectural minds. Steve said that the technology the public was being presented with (by Microsoft) lacked good taste. Perhaps Jonathan Ive, Apple industrial design chief since 1996, should be acknowledged. He is said to be a background worker who revitalized the line of Apple products and is known for attention to detail.

From what I understand, the new iPhone 4S has a faster microprocessor than the 4. Time will tell if I get interested in apps. If so, my new phone will run them at high speed. I know already that I want the app that measures decibels of sound. Now, can I get a heart-rate monitor on this smartphone? A feature I definitely am into is photography by phone handset, and the 4S has a more powerful camera than the 4. Otherwise, this new edition is the 4, a great phone, say retail people. I enjoyed selecting a red case, and it wasn’t easy, considering the large selection of protective boxes and covers, and then I exchanged it for white. Soon I will enter a bright new world, kissing goodbye my Sprint Instinct of four or more years, a great little handset.

STEVE JOBS GOT HIS LIVER TRANSPLANT IN MEMPHIS IN 2009. His hospital was Methodist University Hospital and his surgeon was Dr. James Eason. Steve moved into a stately house to live in on Morningside Drive of midtown, remodeled to lessen noise of traffic from East Parkway and FedEx jet noise from the overhead flight pattern. The new liver gave him thirty more months of life, and Steve spoke so highly of his children that we imagine him back in Palo Alto at home talking with them and exchanging hugs in those last months. Steve was quoted as saying that having four children was 10,000 times better than anything he had ever done.

Any readers out there buying memoirs on Amazon.com this fall and winter– Steve’s, or mine? It would be so nice if you posted a comment! Thank you for considering the idea.

MY MOTHER, LOUISE, A 1940s BEAUTY

For some photo buffs of old photographs, good-looking, fashion-conscious women who came of age in 1940 hold a mystique.  In my mother’s case, south-central Texas girls finished high school at age seventeen, and knew they could attract an ambitious man, even if war service had to be factored in to a marriage.  This was a time in American history when young ladies pulled up their nylons that were not pantyhose and fastened them to restraining undergarments (girdles and garter belts).  Slim ankles did not go unnoticed, accented by pumps and gracefully hanging skirts that graced the tops of calves.  And who wouldn’t appreciate the cascades of curls or waves swept back with bobby pins?  My mother’s face, fascinating for its hazel eyes, skin tone, and countenance, resembled the young Katharine Hepburn (b. 1907, d. 2003), Hollywood star, recipient of four Academy Awards.

Young Women of Early 1940s: Inez, Mary, Dorothy, Louise

Postage Stamp of Katharine Hepburn (Date of Issue 05/12/2010)


President Obama’s American Jobs Act

New York Times Drawing By Paul Sahre & Erik Carter, June 19, 2011

Severe Bipartisan Disagreement

On television this evening at 6 PM Central Time, viewers heard President Barack Obama address a joint session of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The speech was not a state of the union address, but rather an urgent dealing with a stagnant economy in a time of severe partisan disagreement, a “political circus,” to use Mr. Obama’s words.   The first such speech, in the past, was about health care.  The purpose of tonight’s speech was stated by Mr. Obama to be “Put people back to work; put money in their pockets.” He also stated that our economic recovery will be “driven by business and workers.”  He asked, “Can we actually do something to help the economy?”  His plan is titled American Jobs Act.

Unfolding the specifics of the American Jobs Act legislation tonight, and it incudes writing by Republicans, the president said he will give a tax cut to small businesses if they hire, and also if they give raises to employees.  A comment by a political analyst after the speech put a damper on that– reminding that businesses hire based on business rather than tax relief; i.e., if businesses get more business, they hire.  However, Representative Eric Cantor, R, VA, Majority Leader, stated to CBS’s Bob Schieffer that he could agree with the president on small business tax relief.

Other specifics Mr. Obama mentioned were getting teachers back to work and hiring veterans.  Also, that young people need the hope and dignity of a summer job.  Middle-class taxpayers will again receive a $1,500 tax cut, if Congress passes this legislation right away, which they should do, Mr. Obama repeated many times.  He stated that he will release a debt plan one week from Monday September 12th, saying, “We have to reform Medicare/Medicaid to strengthen it.”

The anecdote about Warren Buffet added interest, in that he asked the government to fix the unfairness of his paying taxes at a lower level than his secretary, attributable to tax breaks and loopholes.  Mr. Obama stated that government should not give an advantage to big corporations who can afford lobbyists.  Instead, give an advantage to companies who put people to work.  ”Keep loopholes for the wealthiest? he asked, “or help the middle class?  We can’t afford to do both.”

Talk of returning manufacturing to the United States had the sound of the ring of truth, an idea whose time has come (back).  The president wants to speed up the patent process for inventors.  He wants South Koreans to drive Fords, Chevys, and Chryslers.  He has brought together a Jobs Council for developing ideas, such as training ten thousand engineers per year so that we are competitive with China and Europe for the long haul. Just as Abraham Lincoln, in the middle of the Civil War, initiated construction of transcontinental railroads, created the National Academy of Science, and thought up land-grant colleges, so must we now let go of a rigid idea of government and look farther down the road.

Mr. Obama closed with the assurance to big business that although he will allow deregulation if the regulation does not pass a common sense test, he will not wipe out basic protections Americans have counted on for decades.  He is a definite “NO,” to stripping away collective bargaining rights.  It was an effective half-hour speech wherein the president said what needed to be said.  Some of his closing words were “Let’s meet the moment!”, and “Let’s get to work!” Bob Schieffer’s last comment was that in regard to President Obama’s tone, Mr. Obama believes the people are with him.