Monthly Archives: June 2014

Henry Miller – The Author Who Changed Pornographic Laws and Saved Freedom of Speech

“If at eighty you’re not a cripple or an invalid, if you have your health, if you still enjoy a good walk, a good meal (with all the trimmings), if you can sleep without first taking a pill, if birds and flowers, mountains and sea still inspire you, you are a most fortunate individual and you should get down on your knees morning and night and thank the good Lord for his savin’ and keepin’ power.”

After reading this portion of a quote by Henry Miller on Brain Pickings, a blog by Maria Popova, I became intrigued enough (after all, I’m not too far from that “magic” number and fortunately still enjoy good health) to search out the author and find out the history of the man.

Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American writer. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit language, sex, and always distinctly about, and expressive of, the real-life Henry Miller and yet also fictional. – [paraphrased from Wikipedia]

tropic

Due to charges of being pornographic, all of his novels were originally banned in the United States.  His Tropic of Cancer has been described as “notorious for its candid sexuality” and as responsible for the “free speech that we now take for granted in literature.”  It was first published in 1934 in Paris, France, but this edition was banned in the United States.  Its publication in 1961 in the U.S. led to obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography in the early 1960s. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the book non-obscene.  Tropic of Cancer is widely regarded as an important masterpiece of 20th Century literature.

I never read Tropic of Cancer, or any of Henry Miller’s books, but I’m still not that “intrigued enough” to tackle one right now.  I’ll have to think further about that.

 

[image from Goodreadsdotcom]

Memories of A Time Past: Part 3

On Hoarded Ordinaries,  Lorianne DiSabato writes about a landscape architect named  .  Lorianne found out about him in a PBS documentary.  I had never heard of Olmsted, but certainly should have.  Anyway, thank you, Lorianne; if you didn’t post this blog, I wouldn’t have had the following memories stirred up.

I was born and brought up in Brooklyn NY.

One of the landmarks that put Brooklyn on the map.

One of the landmarks that put Brooklyn on the map.

My parents took me to Prospect Park many times when I was a young child, and before my sister was born.  Prospect Park was one of Olmsted’s earlier creations after designing Central Park in Manhattan.

One of my old stomping grounds.

One of my old stomping grounds as a young girl.

I spent many happy hours in Prospect Park as a young girl with my parents, walking along the paths, enjoying the grassy areas.  I remember my father loved taking photographs (please see “Memories of a Time Past:  Part 1“), and he took many when we were in the park.  I remember one picture he took of me holding up a fish, attached to a fishing line.  I didn’t catch it.  I think he “borrowed” it from someone who actually did the “catching,” so that he could take a photo (I searched all my old family photo albums, but couldn’t find it, but did a great organizing of my photo albums in the meantime!).  There was at least one lake in the park, and, in memory, it seemed to be a large one.  My memory doesn’t recall if there were others.

Unfortunately, as the years passed, the park fell into disrepair, and it became a destination that was not very welcoming.  In time, the city saw fit to “resurrect” it, and, with the re-gentrification of the Park Slope and surrounding areas, it again beckoned to the “city” folks to come and experience the beauty of Olmsted’s design.

Many years later, I strolled along the same hexagon-shaped concrete tiled paths with my own young children, that I had walked on when I was a child!

Couldn't find that path, but this is similar.

Here is an excellent example of the hexagon-shaped  tile as I remember it.

 

[images from bingdotcom]

 

45 Life Lessons

What a wonderful list of life lessons. Just had to pass it along!

Kindness Blog

45 Life Lessons

by Regina Brett

life-lessons

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship…

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“This Illness Is Wicked” ~ Dr. Nancy Klimas

Dr. Nancy Klimas, who is an internationally-known expert and advocate for M.E. (Myalgic encephalomyelitis), is seen on this Youtube video.  She describes the multi-symptom disease as “Wicked.”  The video is only 1 minute and 30 seconds long, but in that short time, she gets to the “heart” of the symptoms – they are profound.

She also states that she and other experts regret that the name, “CFS” (Chronic fatigue syndrome) was ever given to the illness.

 

That Pesky Important Little STICKER!

One of my neighbors died last week, and I had made arrangements with my sister and brother-in-law to meet them at the widow’s house to pay a condolence call at 2 pm yesterday,.  I planned on taking my car, even though it was in walking distance, because my sister was going to accompany me on an errand afterwards.

As I walked around the back of my car to get to the driver side, something caught my eye.  I did the old “double take,” but this wasn’t a comedy.  This was serious.  The sticker on the upper right corner of my license plate showed, “05-14”!!  What?!?

Sample of the STICKER.

Sample of the STICKER.

I did a “triple take.”  Is there such a thing?  Yes.  I still couldn’t believe my eyes.  My birthday was May 28th, and here it was June 22nd.  I was sure I paid for the vehicle registration renewal, but now, I started doubting myself.  Could I have been so forgetful?  Don’t I get reminders in the mail?  Of course, I do.  But, maybe this year, I didn’t?  And if I did, did I go online to pay the fee?  And, if I did, and it came in the mail, did I misplace it?  All kinds of questioning thoughts were running through my head.

I ran into my office and got onto the Florida Highway and Motor Vehicle website.  I put in all the required info on the “go-renew” page, and it kept telling me that the info I was inputting was not recognized!  Ugh!  Maybe I’m too nervous, and I made a typo.  Tried again, got the same response.  I was starting to sweat.  What was happening?

I looked in my wallet – the registration from last year was there, but not a new one.  Great!

I was already a half hour late to meet sister at the widow’s house.  Called sister on her cell, and explained why I was late as best I could (and I probably wasn’t making too much sense because my words were getting all jumbled), and I’ll be there soon.  Had to go, so I drove the car there, anyway.

police car

You’re probably thinking this ended up with a police car passing by and the officer noticing my expired license sticker.  But, it didn’t happen.  It would have been a proper ending to this story, but that’s not it.  Ha.

No.  After searching frantically all over the house later in the day, and not finding any clue as to where I might have placed the renewal, if I did indeed receive it, I gave up.  I had to calm down and THINK.  I’m at a stage in life where it is easy to forget things, so you will have to understand that it is possible I may get CONFUSED, folks!

where am i

Aha!  My mind was working again.  Why don’t I go into my bank account online and see if I PAID for the renewal?  Good idea, Carol.  Voila!  Found it!  Paid on April 6th!!  OK, now I know my mind is working – I did pay the fee.

tallahassee

This morning, I got on the phone and called Tallahassee, FL.  After all, why not go to the source?

After spending over an hour waiting on hold, a lovely young voice asked me if she could help me.  After my explanation, she told me that yes, she has it on record I paid.  Well that’s good – it coincided with my records (which I printed out).  She told me she updated my records to show that the renewal was in force, so there wasn’t anything to worry about.  WORRY?  NAH!  But, I still don’t have something to prove my registration was current.  “Do you want me to mail it to you?  It will take up to 10 days to receive it in the mail.”   You can guess what my answer was.

So, I high-tailed it down to the county administration building, and after a full hour’s wait, finally got my renewal in hand along with the sticker to affix to my license plate.

Mission accomplished!

 

[images from bingdotcom]

He Looks Boring, But He’s Not

In case you are not aware, from reading previous blogs, I live in South Florida.  My house backs up to a lake (really small – some people call it a “pond”) and we have many different tropical birds that come to grace us with their presence. They seem to rotate with the change in weather and temperature.

One in particular, appears in the Spring and is still with us into the start of Summer.  It is called a “Limpkin.” I don’t know why; he doesn’t limp, but that is his official name.  He’s an interesting one.

The Limpkin

The Limpkin

He is a loner as a rule, but once in a while, he has a like kind “friend.”

Mr. and Mrs. Limpkin

Mr. and Mrs. Limpkin

His call is a shriek that will wake you up before dawn and continue nonstop for a long while, so that you cannot fall back asleep.  He seems to know when to do his dastardly deed.  We hardly ever hear him during the day; although, he can be seen around the lake.

Mr. Limpkin, wading in the lake.

Mr. Limpkin, shrieking and wading in the lake.

 

At times, he will flap his large wings a few times and sail onto someone’s rooftop.

LImpkin in flight toward someone's roof.

LImpkin in flight toward someone’s roof.

He isn’t a particularly beautiful tropical bird (some would say he’s boring as tropicals go):  his feathers are colored a medium brown, and some are spotted with white; however, when flying freely, he is so graceful.

So graceful when in free flight.

So graceful when in free flight.

 

Closeup of spotted feathers.

Closeup of spotted feathers.

Long legs allow him to wade in the water at the edge of the lake, looking for snails.  He is perfectly suited to look for snails along the edge of the lake where there is muddy, grassy areas in which to forage.  No, he’s not a snail shell collector in one sense, but is in another:  it’s his food of choice; rather, the snail that lodges in the shell.

His favorite (only) food.

His favorite (only) food.

It’s so interesting to watch him eat his food.  He really has to work hard for it.  It only starts with finding the snails.

He has a good hold on that snail.

He has a good hold on that snail.

Once the Limpkin grabs a snail in its long beak (only large snails will do),  it brings it up onto drier soil and pounds it onto the dirt like a jackhammer,  After only a few thrusts with the drill bit, it’s reward time!

Mama Limpkin is a good teacher for her young.

Mama Limpkin is a good teacher for her young.

We (myself and my neighbors) get our reward when he decides he has had enough of this neighborhood, flies off to “greener” pastures (er, lakes), and then we can awake on our own time!

 

[Images from bingdotcom]

A Word or Two on Autism

The following reblogged post is a beautiful commentary on what love is all about – love between mother and daughter who both suffer from different, daunting, problems. And yet, they find a common and loving ground on which to meet and share beautiful, rewarding moments.

kraftycatcreations

My daughter has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, along with depression and OCD. We did not learn until she was 21 about the Autism. (Thank you Reader’s Digest for the article that spelled it out for me.) By then, after being unsuccessfully treated for over ten years for anxiety and depression, she felt hopeless. As she stated to me, “None of the meds I have tried ever worked. Nothing changes and I will never be normal.”

Well she was right. She will never be “normal” (whatever that is), but she will always be herself! And that is perfect to me. I wish she could understand how much I love her and love herself just as much.

We work together with a therapist on life skills, and I believe I see glimpses of forward movement – or what the therapist and I see as such. To my daughter, it takes a lot of energy and…

View original post 282 more words

One Answer For Two Problems

Every year, many of us complain about the increasing cost of auto insurance, and about the inconsiderate, careless, and dangerous drivers on the roads.  Well, this class I attended today and religiously every three years is designed to help with both of these problems for only $12.00 and six hours out of a day!

Now, what kind of a class is that?  It’s called “Coaching the Mature Driver.”  Of course, there’s a catch.  You need to have passed the magic number of 55!

This wonderful course is taught by special people who have had to pass a strenuous, rigorous course of classes of their own.  They have to know the laws of the State of Florida pertaining to all wheeled vehicles that use our roads!  Not only that, they have to be well versed in all the situations and ways with which drivers may be possibly presented; also, what a driver can do to avert possible problems while traveling our roads and highways.

The most emphasized thrust of today’s course was “distractions.”  Thousands die needlessly each year because people continue to divert their attention from the primary task of driving.  All distractions endanger driver, passenger, pedestrian and bystander safety.  But, texting is by far the most alarming distraction because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver; thereby, taking attention away from the road.

Every time I have to call AT&T about my phone, internet or wireless service, one of the messages, besides what specials they are offering, is, “Don’t text and drive.”  An offshoot of the once (still) popular, “Don’t drink and drive.”  Actually, it was brought to our attention today, that the distraction of texting (and dialing and/or talking on the phone) was as distracting as being intoxicated (even after one drink – depending on a person’s alcohol threshold) by alcohol or some drug (addicting or prescribed medication).  Multi-tasking is an extreme distraction that occurs more times than you might have thought.

Multi-tasking - lipstick and phone.

Multi-tasking – lipstick and phone.

 

Multi-talking - phone and coffee.

Multi-talking – phone and coffee.

A distraction could also be listening to the radio, CD (or changing CD), or carrying on a conversation with someone in the vehicle.  It could be shouting at the children in the back seat, and reaching into the back for something, or to help a child who is fidgety –  things that many of us do or have done while driving, without thinking of the possible danger.

Much food for thought.

In addition to the above, we, of course, were briefed on many of the “rules of the road.”  All in all, along with a well-informed and astute instructor and the input of the attendees, and with the aid of several short, professional videos, it was a valuable time spent, in more ways than one.  (1) We refreshed our memories and learned some new ways to be responsible, safe drivers; and (2) We get a discount on our auto insurance each year for the next three years!!  Yaayy!

 

[Images from bingdotcom]

 

Amazing Eye Make Up Artistry

The art of Israeli artist, Tal Peleg is featured in this blog post. i’ve never seen makeup applied in this extraordinary way. Gorgeous! Enjoy!

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These amazing creations are by Israeli artist Tag Peleg who elevates a  simple daily routine carried out by roughly half the world into amazing artistry. Everything I love: imagination, artistry, skill and a bit of fun too!

Cool huh?

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The style directory for your home...

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Another WordPress Feature Learned

Inserting Sub-Headings Into My Blog

I subscribe to the “Daily Post” blog here on WordPress.

One day last week, I perused a section about changing “the default font size (and color) in a post.”  It stated, “you can use HTML in the Text Editor to adjust size and color.  One way of changing the size of font is by using the Heading tags like <h2>, and is best used to insert headings and sub-headings in your posts and pages, using the Text Editor.  (See above.)  I archived this particular Daily Post blog for future reference.

The main thrust of this section in the Daily Post was how to emphasize some text, without using bold for a whole paragraph.  It suggested instead, to use blockquotes to emphasize a passage only.  It was the mention about headings in that section, which caught my eye.

I clicked on the link relating to the headings and sub-headings and printed it out.  I followed the instructions when blogging on my Pussycats3 blog today, and was very satisfied with how it looked.  When I was in the Text Editor, on that blog, it was very easy and there were no other apparent coding inserts.  However, in the Text Editor on this blog, there were coding inserts referring to the placement (left, center, or right) of the sub-heading I wished to insert (see above sub-header).  It was easy enough to see where to place the header codes.  I’m assuming that the WordPress themes I use is the reason for the differences when Text Editor coding is used.

So, I have a feeling of accomplishment.  Having never used coding, I found it easy enough, if I have the printed codes right in front of me.

I am looking forward to experimenting with a change of color (if my theme allows) code the next time I feel like exploring.