Archive for January, 2010

THANK YOU, MR. SALINGER!

I’ve just learned that J.D. Salinger has died.  I’ve read Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey.  But my favorite is, of course, The Catcher in the Rye.  It was recommended to me by Dr. Duffy, one of my therapists, when I was in my early twenties.  I snubbed it, because it was about a teenager.  Dr. Duffy agreed, but said I ought to read it anyway, since I had practically missed my teenage years, and was still so much like a teenager.

Almost twenty years later, I bought The Catcher in the Rye, and read it.  And I did indeed regret that I hadn’t read it in my twenties.  Second only to The Friar’s Club Encyclopedia of Jokes, it is the funniest book I’ve ever read!  In fact, I had difficulty putting it down, before finishing–which is very unusual for me.  And maybe it was better that I read it as an older adult.  Peers of mine say they read it in high school, and found it depressing.  I can understand why.  The Catcher in the Rye is not really a kid’s book.  Kids take it too seriously, because they take themselves too seriously.  As a grownup, I can relate to Holden Caulfield’s teenage experiences more objectively.  In other words, I am aware that such troubles as his are temporary, while a teenager might see them as permanent.

I’m grateful to Mr. Salinger for his books–especially The Catcher in the Rye.  My last post was about legacy, and his is an example of a most generous legacy.  Even in my late thirties, I found The Catcher in the Rye therapeutic reading, and will probably find it even more therapeutic the next time I read it.  If you’ve never read The Catcher in the Rye, I hope you will.  And it’s never too late–the older you are, the better!

INSIGHT-OUTSIGHT #6

The legacy you leave after death is as important as the life you lead before death.

WHY SARAH PALIN GETS HOTTER EVERY DAY

I can’t get enough of Sarah Palin, and obviously there are alot of other men who can’t either.  In fact, I recall reading that she is the most googled person in the world–primarily for her photographs.  I’ve always been especially attracted to powerful women, probably because they’re so beyond my reach!  And though she’s not as powerful as Margaret Thatcher was–or even Laura Bush or Hillary Clinton, she’s powerful enough.

It’s obvious why McCain chose her as his running-mate–she would have been the first woman Vice-President, had he been elected.  But she was too beautiful, a former beauty queen in fact.  And since the U.S. media is mostly Democratic–it tore into her like a wild boar.  Honestly, if Biden’s daughter would have been pregnant out-of-wedlock, and had decided to keep her baby, she would have been elevated to a saintly status.  But that was just the start.  The media used the old stereotype that beautiful women are stupid.  Also, it attacked everything about her record that it could find–and probably made-up some stuff that it couldn’t.  Does this mean she would have made a good Vice-President?  Not necessarily.  But how could any American know, since our sources of information (with the  exception of PBS and NPR) could not be trusted–and never can be?  Even Katie Couric’s interview of Sarah Palin was more like an interrogation.

But Sarah Palin is probably the best known American celebrity in the world now.  By targeting her, from the beginning, the media inadvertently made her a superstar.  She may even have a better chance, politically, in future elections.

Sarah Palin has done the same thing Michael Jackson did.  The American media has used her to such a degree, that she has turned the tables, and is now using the American media!  Thus she’s more powerful and influential than ever before!  I understand Oprah Winfrey (who has a ridiculously gullible following–she’s just a daytime talk show host, people) interviewed her.  Pretty soon Sarah Palin might be bigger than Oprah!

And I say, good for her!  When the Democrat-controlled mass media of the United States attacks any public figure to excess–that public figure becomes a martyr.  This is why Michael Jackson became so unbelievably popular, and why Sarah Palin is becoming the same.

Here’s a tip:  If you want reliable, truthful, reasonably unbiased news, watch PBS and listen to NPR.  Also, watch and/or listen to broadcasts of foreign nations–such as Deusche Welle (Germany), Radio Australia, and especially the BBC (Britain).

NOT EXACTLY WHAT WAS MEANT

I get alot of my news from AOL, simply because I see it every day.  Of course the important news is always presented in a manner biased toward the political left,  and almost everything else is just sensationalized tabloid talk.  So I read it with healthy scepticism.

Anyway, there’s a headline on AOL right now, which reads: Rapper Wants Mom to Delete Her Twitter (Now).  Is it just me, or does that come across as a bit sexual–thus hilarious–to anyone who reads it?  (Hey Dad, what’s a twitter?)  Reminds me of a billboard I once saw, here in Pensacola, advertising a concrete company: FIRST IT’S EASY, THEN IT’S HARD.  I only saw it once or twice–it was obviously replaced, for obvious reasons!  And my favorite is this: When Chevrolet advertised the Nova on billboards in Mexico, executives wondered why there was almost no response.  It took them a while to learn that No va, in Spanish, meant, It doesn’t go!     

So these misunderstandings are often unintentional, but occasionally they’re not.  The best example I can remember is this:  According to Guinness, the top-selling postcard of all time was published in the 1920’s (postcards were as popular as letters in those days, and they weren’t just for vacation spots).  On this postcard was this cartoon: A young man sits at the base of a tree, reading a book, while a young woman looks on, admiringly.  He glances at her, and asks, “Do you like Kipling?”  She replies, “I don’t know, you naughty boy, I’ve never kippled!”

Corny to us, of course.  But obviously hilarious to our ancestors!

IT REALLY IS JUST A GAME!

Earlier tonight, as I waited in line for the drive-up at my pharmacy, I noticed the huge truck in front of me had a decal with a menacing elephant, and ALABAMA beneath it.  It also had an ALABAMA ROLL TIDE license-tag frame, but with a Florida tag.  Odds are the man in the truck was not an alumnus of the University of Alabama. 

Being an Auburn alumnus (I attended Auburn University my first year), I considered shouting “War Eagle” to the man, just for fun.   The fact is that the Alabama and Auburn football teams have always been equally worthy opponents of one another–as proven by the fame of their rivalry.  Yet I respect both universities, not for their athletics, but their academics. 

Still, so many people consider football games as if they were wars–and this is what’s ridiculous.  There’s a wonderful essay on this subject entitled, The Decline of Sport, by E.B. White–in which White jocularly predicts a future when sports become more important than politics.  And somewhat disturbingly, some of his fantasies are becoming realities.

The fatal stampedes and riots at sporting events around the world illustrate the shift from fandom to fanaticism.  So do the fights between parents of child athletes. 

I remember a church singles activity once, in which we were watching a college football game on television.  The camera panned to the gorgeous cheerleaders for a moment–and when it panned back, I jokingly said, “No, no–go back to the girls!”  Then one of the guys looked at me with utter severity, and said, “You’ve got your priorities all mixed up!”  And arguably I had.

But so do those who take sports more seriously than wars and catastrophes.  And there are alot of people who do.  I want Auburn to beat Alabama next year, get back on that winning streak.  However, this is not nearly as important to me as the real life-and-death struggles around the world.

DARK-CYCLING

It’s 4:55 am, and I’m still active–typical.  Ever since Thanksgiving Day, I’ve been struggling to get my sleep cycle back to normal.  But normal for me is eating breakfast just after 2:00 pm! 

When I was a kid, I was definitely a morning person.  In fact, I always awoke before my parents.  I’d go into their room, and wake my mom to fix me breakfast (I must have been a king, in a previous life).  Then I’d watch Captain Kangaroo at 8:00 am, on Channel 5.  I kept this first-awake cycle until 1982.  That fall, I switched from Mobile Christian to Murphy High School for my junior year.  And my sleep cycle began to shift.  I don’t know if this was triggered by changing schools or changes in my body; but it became difficult to wake up in the morning, and easy to stay up till midnight.  And I’ve been a night person ever since.

I’ve just remembered a book, on this subject, and taken it off the shelf: The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal (1988), by Susan Perry and Jim Dawson.  I’ve never read it–perhaps it’s time I do.

Off the subject, that’s one thing I love about books–I don’t have to turn them on and get online for information.  In fact, I never look up a word’s definition online, unless it’s not in the dictionary or encyclopedia.

So what’s your sleep cycle?  Has it ever shifted, like mine?

A COUGAR IS A CAT, NOT A WOMAN!

I notice there’s now a ring for cougars.  I’ve looked at it, and I find it trashy, like a bad tattoo–as if  cougars (women who date younger men) are promiscuous.  In fact, most older women dating younger men are quite selective.  Almost every woman with whom I’ve had a relationship, at all, has been ten to twenty years older than I.  I don’t prefer older women or younger women–I just attract older women more easily.  When I lived in Mobile, I never had a problem finding an older woman to date.  But the older women in Pensacola seem far more inhibited about this–which is one reason I have no luck here. 

Pensacolians are generally not as open minded as Mobilians.  For one thing, they’re far more radical, religiously.  That’s why this town is called the Buckle of the Bible Belt.   And this is probably the main reason older women here are so different–they regard dating younger men as shameful, even sinful.  There is absolutely nothing in the Bible forbidding such relationships.  But there is at least one incident in which a young man takes on a much older concubine of his deceased father.  At any rate, most of the radical, evangelical Christians in this town (or any other) probably know less about the Bible than more moderate, sincere Christians.  There seems to be more ignorance in Pensacola than in any other place I’ve ever lived, or visited.  Pensacola was once a thriving seaport, what went wrong? 

Yet I digress.  It’s possible that this cougar term will come to be something of which older women are proud.  But more likely it will make them even more leary of dating younger men–which is not good for me, at all.

You may wonder why I don’t leave Pensacola, since I dislike it.  The reason is simple–I have nowhere else to go.  In March, I will have lived in this house twelve years.  Since I’ve inherited this home, and don’t have to pay any mortgage, taxes, insurance, or rent, it would be pointless to move.  Still, some things are going better for me here, particularly my writers’ groups (now there are two).  And I hope to God that if I live to be eighty-six (eighty-eight after March 24), the second half of my life will be the happy one.

GOOD FOR “GLAMOUR”, GOOD FOR US

Crystal Renn is hot as hell!  I realize there’s some skepticism about Glamour‘s agenda.  But I think it will prove to be legitimate–and I hope all the fashion magazines and men’s magazines will soon feature women as they’re made to be!  Women are evolutionarily designed to have more body fat than men.  And this trend of emaciated female celebrities is sick, beyond words! 

I may have mentioned this before, but the average American woman is 5’ 3″ tall, and weighs 153 lbs.  And 60 percent of American women are size 12 or over.  Also, the majority of American men actually prefer size-10 women–not 3, not even 6, but 10!  And I’m definitely in that majority–though I can be attracted to size-12 (which Crystal Renn’s is), or higher–depending on whether a woman’s weight is evenly distributed.

The emaciated look has been the trend since I was born, in 1966.  It has been harmful (and often fatal) to women, and confusing to men.

We men want healthy women–give us more pics of them!

WHAT IS LOVE–WHAT IS LIFE?

Wednesday, I had my first date in over a year.  It was with Cathy–a woman I met several years ago, through a telephone dating service.  After that first time, she found a boyfriend, though I stayed in contact with her via email.  This time, she didn’t mention a boyfriend.  But she acted the same way, on this date, that she had before.  She was friendly, but didn’t indicate any attraction toward me.  She said we’d get together again, but I haven’t heard from her since.  Women frustrate the hell out of me, because they always leave me wondering where I stand, with them.  They never do what they say they will. 

I tend to believe this is just an American thing–that women in other cultures are more straightforward and sincere.  But I’ll not likely ever have enough money to find out.

I wish I could give up on women–they can sense my desperation, and this is why I’m still alone.   But of course, how can I not be desperate–I haven’t had a relationship in over five years.  Most people my age have lasting relationships, so they have no idea how agonizing it is for people like me.

I’ll be 44 in March, I’m far too old to be alone.


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