Design as art as function as wow

by Lorin Michel Monday, March 27, 2017 10:01 PM

Yesterday, I learned about a sofa from de Sede, a company based in Switzerland. I was reading the Sunday New York Times, which is nearly a day-long project. To submerse myself in intellect and art, in news and events and fear, is how I prefer to spend my Sunday mornings. Some people go to church. I gave that up when I was 15.

The New York Times Style Magazine is a thing to behold. It’s a weekly version of Architectural Digest and requires that one sit, preferably with a hot cup of coffee, and turn the pages slowly, savoring the images, reading about designers, discovering oddities that you’d never have in your house but are fascinating nonetheless. 

I’ve always loved Architectural Digest but I’ve always said that the houses they photograph, while stunning, never look as if anyone lives there. They’re stark, sterile even; distant. Still, it’s fun to live vicariously. 

Yesterday, I discovered something called the de Sede sofa by a designer named Ubald Klug. Born in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 1932, his childhood interests aren’t known though I wonder if he was fascinated with stairs and making them loungeable. From 1952 to 1955, he trained as an interior designer with Willy Guhl at the Kunstgewerbeschule. Following work placements with architects in Zurich and Helsinki, he joined sculptor François Stahly in Paris in 1958 for three years, and attended lectures by Jean Prouvé twice a half-year. He settled in Paris in 1966, and after a number of years as a designer in the Mafia agency, Klug started his own business as an interior architect and designer. His various activities in interior design include work on exhibitions, trade fair stands, showrooms, shops and restaurants in France, Germany and Switzerland. He has designed products for the furniture, watch, textiles, glass and ceramics industries. Ubald Klug has received various internationally prestigious design awards for his work, including the International Design Award of the State of Baden-Württemberg and the Swiss Design Prize. He has also received awards from the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen and Industrie Forum Design Hanover. 

To my knowledge, he’s still alive and perhaps still designing. I hope he is, because this sofa looks positively divine. 

It’s described like this: “Two sophisticated, strong design sofa elements form the perfect basis for implementing your own interior design and furnishing concepts. The single element is like a terraced hill with widths and depths that vary in tapering steps. The elements ‘left’ and ‘right’ constitute a welcoming two-seater sofa, a seating pyramid or a small range of upholstered hills. By adding extra elements, it is possible to create entire seating groups to match your ideas and requirements.” 

My home has no space for such a form. Even if it did, it doesn’t have the right personality. I’m not sure where a piece of furniture like this would fit. Maybe nowhere. Maybe that’s the point. As with much design, the idea is more that it’s interesting, fascinating; that it causes you to stop turning pages and to say, quietly, as you sip your coffee: Wow. 

"I believe that innovation is crucial," Ubald Klug said.

Like I said, divine. Much as you’d expect on a Sunday morning.

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Prickly

by Lorin Michel Sunday, March 26, 2017 10:43 PM

Spiny. Irritable. Cranky. Needle-y. Prickly. Of or capable of sticking, biting, piercing. The country is currently in the throws of a prick who becomes more irritable, biting and sticking every day. He cranks at people, in his own party, in the country, in the world. Some of us crank back. Prickly describes a person who is difficult, doesn’t like to compromise, won’t take yes for an answer; always seemingly spoiling for a fight. A person incapable of reason.

Our architect/builder fell into the prickly category. Every once in a while he’d be in a good mood and seem to enjoy what he was doing, almost liked interacting with the people – us – paying him. But not often. Mostly he was irritable and cranky, not liking any ideas that changed his preconceived notions of how it should be; how he wanted it to be. During our numerous challenges, he won some but so did we, which usually made him more prickly. 

But as I walk through my house, with its curved walls, its stone columns and tumbled Tuscan tile; with its endless glass overlooking the immediate desert and the city in the distance; with its stainless steel fixtures and appliances; with its nestled place in the hill. With its view of the hillside above and behind us, reaching toward the sky. I am softed. 

The hill rolls up with natural gneiss rock formations. It’s alive right now, swimming in yellow flowers atop brittle bush, the pink of Regal Mist, the creosote bush, the coyote bush, the wild juniper, the errant bougainvillea, barberry; the apache plume. Atop the ocotillos, blood orange flowers tower. The prickly pear, the flat paddled, low to the ground cactus, are beginning to bud. Soon, their fruit will appear in deep red and pink. You can make ice cream or gelato from prickly pear fruit. You can drink a prickly pear margarita. There’s prickly pear licorice. 

The saguaros stand majestic, tall and thin and numbering in the hundreds, thousands. Most have spires, or arms. These are what give them the look everyone knows from the old Spaghetti westerns. Cactus that look like they could hug you, but don’t be fooled. They’re beautiful, rarely angry, but prickly nevertheless. The saguaros are the definitive plant of this Sonoran desert. It makes sense, since this is the land of the Native American and legend says that: 

Quehualliu was the most handsome Indian of the tribe. He was always picking up flowers for Pasancana, the beautiful daughter of the chief. Together they learned how to walk and to play, in the most beautiful places of the mountain.        

One day when they were older, they fell in love. But Pasancana's father wanted his daughter to marry another boy in the tribe. When Pasancana and Quehualliu heard this, they decided to escape.        

The next day they were walking in the hills and they made a plan: on the following day when the first star came out they would run away to the mountains..         

When the chief found out that his daughter had defied him, he called together a group of men and started looking for the couple.          

Pasancana and Quehualliu were tired, so they sat down to rest. Thanks to the light of the full moon they saw the men coming and asked the Pachamama, the goddess of the land, to hide them. She took pity on the young lovers and opened a hole in the mountain and hid them there. The chief shouted "They can’t hide forever!" and he and his men stayed there all that night. The next day the lovers had changed into a cactus, Quehualliu, protected by Pasancana. 

Definitely a prickly situation.

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A guy and a girl walk into a bar

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:21 PM

There used to be a place in Woodland Hills called Yankee Doodle. It was ostensibly a pool hall but I didn’t know that 22 years ago when I made arrangements to meet someone there for a drink. He was coming down from Chatsworth; I was already working in Woodland Hills and since he lived in Woodland Hills, it seems the perfect city if not an OK place to meet. 

I got there just after the pre-determined time of six because a lady likes to make an entrance. I was wearing a long skirt and a turtleneck sweater; boots. I was still thin then and I could actually tuck the sweater into the skirt and not look bulky. I had purposely dressed this way. I looked nice but not like I was trying too hard to be dressed up for a date. Truth be told, I didn’t really care much about going. It was more out of curiosity that I was there.

I parked my Mazda MX-6, a car I had already come to hate and I’d only had it for about three months, in the Yankee Doodle parking lot at Canoga and Victory, sighed heavily, and walked up to the front door. Opening it, I recognized him immediately. He was already there, waiting. Still tall and thin, still with very dark hair, almost black. I don’t remember if we shook hands, or exchanged an awkward hug. We already knew each other vaguely so it wouldn’t have been out of the question. More likely, we simple acknowledged each other’s presence. Quickly deducing that the place was not conducive to having a drink and talking, he suggested Monty’s on the Boulevard. We drove there in his truck. 

In those days, I was a divorcee and rather enjoying my single-hood after so many years with one who turned out to be wrong. I dated a lot, but no one for very long. The longest ended up being a very nice guy named David. We were together for four, maybe five months. We had even talked about him traveling with me at Christmas to visit my family. I broke up with him in early December. 

At the time of my date 22 years ago, I was actually seeing someone else. Obviously it wasn’t serious since I was open to going out with someone else. I knew the guy I was dating wasn’t right. We’d been friend for years, and he’d taken me to Cabo San Lucas at the end of January for a getaway that was supposed to be wonderful but turned out to be miserable. I had developed a reputation of not dating anyone for very long and losing interest quickly. But what could possibly go wrong with meeting someone I’d known peripherally years earlier for a cocktail? 

Monty’s on the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Topanga Canyon was and remains a steak house with a terrific bar. It’s been there forever and while I’d never visited, he had. I was fine with the choice. I was only going to have one drink anyway. It didn’t much matter where we went a long as there was a comfortable bar stool. 

A drink turned into appetizers turned into a pizza turned into closing the place The piano player in the bar was every bit the loungy player one would expect in a bar, though Monty’s is by no means a dive bar. It’s very upscale. By midnight, as the place was shutting down, the piano player started playing MacArthur’s Park and my date and I sang along, laughing that we both knew the words. Enjoying the hell out of ourselves.

That night was 22 years ago. The guy was Kevin. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Tonight we’re celebrating our first date anniversary. It’s corny, we know, but we do it every year. We may even break out in song, and I don’t think that I can take it….

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The hills are alive

by Lorin Michel Sunday, March 19, 2017 10:38 PM

Tonight is the annual Sound of Music Sing-a-long-to-the-movie at The Loft Cinema here in Tucson. I heard a commercial the other day when I was driving and in a brief moment of insanity, turned on a local radio station. I smiled. I can’t seem to get away from this movie and neither can anyone else it seems. The film was released in 1965. More than 52 years ago. And yet it’s popularity endures. Each year, the Hollywood Bowl does a live sing-a-long. Two years ago, NBC did a live broadcast of it with Carrie Underwood turning in an underwhelming performance. Or so I heard. The only good thing about that NBC show, again from what I heard, was Audra McDonald. I love her.

Unfortunately she wasn’t in the original film. Probably because she wasn’t born until 1970.

So there it was and there it is. Another sing-a-long. We didn’t go. Even though Kevin likes it, I – well, you know. 

As I type this, I find myself smiling, not because I’m getting all buttery about the idea of the Sound of Music – I’m not. But rather because for someone who can’t stand this movie, I tend to write about it a lot. I wonder what that says about me. 

Maybe I don’t actually hate it. 

Maybe the spectacle of Julie Andrews spinning around on top of a mountain in the nun version of lederhosen doesn’t make me want to vomit. 

Maybe I find the idea of people spontaneously bursting into song a perfectly normal way to live life. 

Maybe. 

But no. 

I do hate it, I almost throw up every time, and most people I know can’t carry a tune if it had a handle, your humble blogger included. 

But damned if today, the hills weren’t alive. All the rain we received this winter, coupled with the unseasonable heat we’ve had for the past week, have caused the desert to explode in color. The hillside behind us is alive with yellow flowers. The tips of the ocotillos have blossomed into orange buds. The lower, small cacti have sprouted buds, and this morning, as we were cooking breakfast, Kevin glanced out the kitchen window onto the driveway. The house steps down from the drive so we’re almost level with it from that vantage. In the center of the driveway stands a saguaro that’s at least 20 feet tall, maybe taller. It’s surrounded by smaller saguaros, but it’s the one that commands the space. 

“Look,” Kevin said, pointing. “It’s already sprouting.” 

Sure enough, the top of that saguaro is starting to bud. It seems early this year. Usually it’s April before we see buds. Soon the top of it and all of the saguaros will sprout big, fluffy white flowers. 

They’ll be alive. They are alive. And the hills are, too. 

Maybe I should have gone to The Loft after all.  

 

Nah.

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A total toad ban

by Lorin Michel Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:08 PM

I have a pronouncement to make. As of this day, in the month of March in the year of 2017, I have declared a total toad ban. I’ll be signing an executive order soon but in the meantime, I thought I’d pronounce my pronouncement. I fully admit to being prejudiced. I am proud to say I will not tolerate any of them, not on my driveway, not in my portico, not at the door – no, they all have to go. 

I’m sorry. I was channeling a bit of Theodor Geisel there for a minute. 

I never used to harbor such ill will and bad thoughts about toads. Or frogs for that matter. I’ve never particularly liked them. Frogs are slimy and I’m not big into slimy. I had to dissect one in biology in junior high school which I remember thinking was cruel and disgusting, but I had disliked them long before that. Toads never bothered me much, maybe because there isn’t the slime factor. They’re dry. 

Which explains why they love the desert so much in the spring and summer. I didn’t even dislike them when I first realized that they were, well, everywhere. No, when I first started to dislike them was when I heard a report on the local news on the local NPR station saying they were poisonous to dogs. 

Anything that’s poisonous to dogs is cause for extreme dislike, prejudice even. 

So I am here today to tell you that I will actively work to ban all toads great and small, of all colors and spots, but especially those that evidently hale from the Colorado River. These toads emit poison when dogs pounce on them and bite them, which dogs will do because dogs love things that move, and toads do a lot of hopping. 

We are dispensing with any extreme vetting. It’s not necessary. Instead they are immediately placed into the toad relocation program that’s in full effect. This program is operated by my husband, whom some of you may remember as the great toad launcher of 2016. He long ago signed onto the program and is a big fan. 

This morning, when we left for our walk, there was a toad in the portico. Luckily Riley was on a leash though he pulled and twisted and lunged as the toad hopped away. We walked, and when we returned, we didn’t see it; nor did Riley though it wasn’t for lack of trying. Dog has a mind like an elephant. He forgets nothing. 

But shortly after we returned, we heard the telling whine and huff coming from the front door. It’s a whine and huff and squeal, actually, and he only seems to do it when there’s a toad, which means we haven’t heard it for months. Because there are no toads in the fall and winter. We heard it big time at about 8:30. Kevin grabbed his relocation gear – his broom and extended dustpan. He captured the thing, and then climbed out of the portico, disappearing into the desert morning. It would have been ominous if it wasn’t such a pretty day. 

So the total toad ban has been instituted. The first toad of the season has been banned. Relocated. 

I can’t help but wonder, though, if it will hold up under constitutional scrutiny. You know, sort of like moose lambs.

via GIPHY

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An occasional look into the television habits of your blogger

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:46 PM

The last few years have produced some exceptional television, some of it on networks and others on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. For Kevin and I, the great era of TV started with the first episode of The West Wing. It remains a favorite in this household and still holds up well. It’s more aspirational now than ever. We were also fans of The X-Files, and later 24. We loved ER, and Grey’s Anatomy; earlier there was Thirtysomething and then Once and Again. On pay channels, we fell in love with Homeland and The Newsroom. We found Longmire one Memorial Day weekend when A & E was running a marathon. We liked The Killing which started on AMC and then moved to Netflix. Recently, we’ve found House of Cards and The Fall also on Netflix. We have in the cue Bloodline, Narco and others I can’t remember right now.

Network TV takes a beating with pay channels and streaming, but in the past years they’ve put out some decent stuff. The Good Wife comes to mind, as does Parenthood. I loved Parenthood, which is interesting because I didn’t ever love the film on which it was loosely based. I think I started watching it because I loved Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. I didn’t think she was great in Parenthood, but the show was phenomenal. I remember crying like a baby at the incredible finale.

This year, my favorite new show has been This Is Us. I know I’m not alone in this. It is, evidently, quite the phenomenon. We watched the first episode because it was so hyped. We liked it; didn’t absolutely love it. Though interestingly we both thought it deserved at least another episode or two before making the ultimate decision. For no reason that I can think of, we never watched that other episode or two.

I’m online all day every day. I work, crafting whatever I need to craft for whichever client is screaming the loudest. And once I email said craft, I tend to surf through some of my favorite news sites to check on what’s happening and to clear my head. I write for different industries and it can be difficult to go from health care to asphalt paving to makeup without taking a brief interlude. One of the consistent stories I’ve seen, in addition to the horror that is the toddler in chief, is This Is Us and how phenomenal it is.

Last week while I was working on a big content upload project that required little creative brain power, I pulled the show up on Hulu. Hulu, like Netflix, is set for autoplay so as soon as one episode is over, it automatically starts the next and so it continues until I manually stop it. And I became completely hooked. Totally in love with the dysfunction and love and wonder of the Pearson clan, much like how I fell in love with the Parenthood Bravermans. Completely flawed individuals, people who are simply living their lives with no more or less drama than the rest of us. It’s incredibly written, beautifully acted, and very believable. 

Last night was the season finale. I watched it today while I was checking and answering emails. Nobody died even though everyone expected at least one of the characters to bite the dust. I guess we’ll have to wait until next season. 

Kevin Fallon who writes for The Daily Beast wrote this: “That’s been This Is Us’s strength all season, creating emotionally huge moments that should be manipulative and off-puttingly earnest, yet pinpointing their universality, no matter how ugly or devastating, and playing them in ways that we relate to in our lives. It’s why we can’t help but cry along. It was wonderful. But we still would have rather watched him die.”

We never watch television shows when they’re actually on for two reasons: we’re on Central Time which means shows start an hour earlier than they do on the east or west coast; and we don’t know when anything is actually on. We record a couple of things to watch later (Madam Secretary, SVU, Shades of Blue) but mostly we just watch on Hulu. This is one of the reasons we can get rid of satellite. We don’t need it. Television viewership has changed. Even ratings factor in both live watching as well as those on DVD or streaming. We’re part of the new way of watching, or not watching. We find what we like, we watch it when we want. And I like it. A lot.

Fiction. Now more than ever.

by Lorin Michel Friday, March 10, 2017 9:23 PM

I saw an article headline today on Slate about why writing fiction is so hard in the toddler error. It was entitled The Urgency of Writing Fiction in the Trump Era and in it, writers Ben Winters and Hector Tobar talked about … actually I have no idea because the article was behind the pay wall and while I pay for some online content, I have not subscribed to Slate Plus. I did a quick google search and came up with a tone of articles about much the same topic. The majority talked about having a new sense of urgency in addition to a responsibility. Ernest Hemingway said “The writer’s job is to tell the truth.” A hard job to be sure in this error of time.

Interestingly, the professor of the current class I’m taking says nearly the opposite of what Hemingway said. In one of our lectures, he informed us that we were all about to become expert liars. However, the current stories we’re working on all stemmed from something that actually happened to us or to someone we know. So I suppose both Hemingway and McNeely (my current prof) are correct. 

I have always loved the escape of fiction. When I was young, a long time before there was Amazon or BN.com, I used to go to the town library where I would check out two or three books at a time. My reading for the week. It wasn’t uncommon for me to polish off a book over the course of 24 hours. I never read non-fiction, other than for school, preferring to immerse myself in the lives of people I imagined to be real rather than those who actually were. Fictional people are just deeper, more nuanced and infinitely prone to situations, sometimes of their own making, sometimes not, where they have to change. Maybe they change for the better, maybe for the worse, but they are forced by circumstance to do something in keeping with who they are.

After I became a professional writer, my reading time dropped, especially after I went out on my own. The hours I work are long, though worthwhile financially, and I often don’t have the energy to do much of anything, including read. In this new error of time, I find myself reading too much non-fiction and it makes my heart ache for a good work of fiction wherein the bullying, amoral antagonist gets just what he deserves. I remain hopeful. 

Only for the briefest time when I was young did I dream, as most young girls, of being either a famous singer or a famous actress. Staying truer to my more introverted ways, what I really wanted to be was a writer, an author. If I became famous for that, all the better. But being able to create worlds and populate those worlds with characters both good and bad, and then escorting them toward their logical end is what gives me hope still, even today. It’s why I’m taking classes. 

My first class was in the fall and didn’t end until after the election. I had a story due and I found myself almost unable to concentrate, both before and after November 8. I was terrified of what would happen and then it did. Reality was too much to bear. The idea of trying to channel my anger and disappointment, my fear and loathing, my sheer terror into something fictional just seemed beyond me especially since I don’t write horror stories.

Perhaps I should try. 

The class I’m taking now has existed entirely while the toddler has been first the elect and now the official. Somehow I’ve been able to write much more clearly, and I actually think better since … him. I don’t know why. But this quote by Kurt Vonnegut pretty much sums it up: “The reason we write fiction is because it’s so much easier to exist spending part of each day in an imaginary world.”

It’s the escape, and that alone is worth celebrating.

An early spring

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, March 8, 2017 7:16 PM

It seems that there are several groundhogs with differing opinions. On February 2 of this year, Phil, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania fame, rose from his hole in the ground to see his shadow and casually predict that we were in for at least six more weeks of cold and snow, of bluster and blow, a prediction that is actually decided upon prior to Phil by the powers that be. Who knew? However, there are two other furry predictors, both from a more northern capacity, who offered contradictory opinions on the same date. 

Ontario, Canada’s Wiarton Willie and Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam emerged from their no doubt cozier holes in the ground to proclaim, via their lack of visible shadows, that spring was on the way. 

Sam was the first to make his bold, and it turns out true, prediction before scurrying off into a snowy yard to hide. “Soon we shall see the many colours of green,” a town crier bellowed in Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park. Really.

Willie evidently made his prediction by whispering in the mayor’s ear. “Wiarton Willie sees no shadow in sight. He says early spring. Will his prediction be right?” warbled another town crier. Honest. 

Turns out Willie and Sam may have indeed overshadowed poor Phil down here in the states. According to a report in that bastion of fake news, The New York Times, in an article published today, “Spring came early. Scientists say climate change is a culprit.” At least they didn’t say that it was the culprit, leaving room for the possibility that there are additional causes. 

The article, by Jeremy White and Henry Fountain (don’t you love that a guy named “fountain” is writing about weather science?), says that contrary to the three rodents, February’s temperatures were abnormally high and that traditional spring weather arrived more than three weeks earlier than usual in many places. Spring’s official first day is March 20, but some places in the southern US evidently had leaves springing out by mid-January. Fruit trees are budding everywhere. Here in the desert, the ocotillos are blooming, and alternating between brilliant green and an autumnal gold. 

And wouldn’t you know it: that pesky thing called climate change is definitely sort of probably involved as new research shows a strong link between global warming and the very warm February we all experienced. In fact, February was the second warmest February on record with temperatures as much as 11º higher than normal. 

All I know is that it was in the 80s today. It will be in the 80s tomorrow and for as far as the weather app on my iPhone shows which is a week from Friday, with almost all sun and absolutely no rain. My husband has been running around in shorts and while I haven’t gotten that brave yet, I have put on flip flops with my sweatpants. It’s my own little proclamation of spring. For wence cometh the flip flops, then cometh the heat and vice versa.

I’ve taken the blankets off the bed. The windows are open and the ceiling fan has been on while we sleep. Last night there were crickets, and today there was a gila monster crossing the driveway. I’ve heard bees buzzing in the flowering trees. It’s definitely spring, and today, I’ll celebrate that.

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In darkness light

by Lorin Michel Saturday, March 4, 2017 7:08 PM

I took Riley for a long walk this morning as is our custom on a Saturday when the world is lazier and not so demanding of my time. It was 8 o’clock and there was still a layer of cool under the sun. It would be gone by the time we returned. As he trotted along, I let my mind go blank as I often do on these walks. It’s an opportunity to just be, be with the dog, be with the desert, be with the day. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have worn black, but by the time I realized that, it was too late. The day warmed faster than I anticipated. Riley was panting, and we stopped for some water. Just beyond the front gate, about a mile and a quarter from the house, we encountered one of our neighbors. She was just returning from a walk. Evidently she’d gone with her husband but she only got so far and then she was done so she turned around while he kept going. 

Riley seemed grateful for the pause. He laid down on the pavement to pant in relative silence while Alexis and I chatted for a bit. She looked great considering she was out exercising. Cute short leggings and a lace t-shirt. The women in my small neighborhood always look good, never leaving the house without makeup, never looking too schlubby. Except for me. I’ve come to terms with it; I’m fine was long as I’m comfortable. 

She and her husband are thinking about moving to Scottsdale. She’ll be cleaning out closets today. Somehow we started chatting about working outside, that I’d left Kevin working in the rocks around the house, how he’s never happier than when he’s playing in the dirt. Her husband is the same. She said one of the things he is absolutely obsessed with is cutting the grass. They have a tiny piece of grass but he’s committed to it. Soon enough, Mike, her husband, came back. Somewhere along the way his walk had turned to a jog. We said our goodbyes and have a nice days and Riley and I continued on while they went through the gate. 

When we came back, I could hear the lawnmower and I smiled. 

 

For once this morning, I didn’t check the news or my email before I left on my walk. It was freeing. I’ve become numb to the daily torrent of news and conspiracies. It’s infuriating and nauseating and sad. SAD! I think the country is becoming numb, too. It’s not that we’re not outraged. It’s that the outrage has become normal. I wonder if this is how the virulent right felt about Obama for eight years. I wonder how they were able to sustain their fury. My fury hasn’t subsided. It has just become part of me, the new normal. It’s no way to live but here we are. 

I was of course treated to the latest tweet storm as soon as I turned on my computer. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so dangerous. 

When will we awaken from this nightmare?

 

In the pre-Watergate era, a judge by the name of Damon J. Keith of the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that governments couldn’t wiretap individuals without a warrant. In his decision, Keith wrote, among other things, that “democracy dies in the dark.” Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, one of the reporters who “followed the money” in the Watergate case along with his partner Carl Bernstein, has used a similar phrase in several of his books including one of the most recent “The Last of the President’s Men.” That phrase – Democracy Dies in Darkness – now appears under the masthead of the Washington Post. 

According to Woodward it’s “about the dangers of secrecy in government;” about institutions shining a light into a darkness that could otherwise consume us. Retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter said in 2012: “That is the way democracy dies. And if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about at night.”

Something to think about.

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Finding a decent Chinese restaurant and other stuff

by Lorin Michel Friday, March 3, 2017 9:34 PM

It’s Friday. I wondered aloud today how much longer I can continue to run at this ridiculous pace. I wasn’t speaking to anyone in particular and the only person within earshot was the husband unit. Riley was in my office but he was sleeping and didn’t care much. The answer to my wonder was and is, of course, as long as necessary. For weeks, I have been slammed. I start work early in the morning; I work until late into the evening. And school. Every day is like this, and if I take any time off, meaning, like, Saturday, I don’t sleep because I have too much to do and I’m behind, and so I wonder. 

I have a big assignment due for school on Monday. I am not close to being done. I have essentially two more days. I am nervous, but I will get something done that will hopefully be OK. I am not doing well in this class though, partly because it’s a harder class and mostly because my work load is so over the top that there simply isn’t much time for anything else. I’m trying. I’m also failing, I hope not literally. 

I have neglected my blog. I was so strict for so long about writing and posting daily, but because of the work and school and the current state of our country, I have let that slide. Some days I’m busy; some I just can’t find anything good to write about. It’s not a good habit to get into. I remember not too long ago when there would be a technical issue prohibiting me from posting and I would be apoplectic. That doesn’t happen now. I don’t like it and need to get back to it. I will be better. 

My kid is coming home soon. He’ll be here for a month or so, then he’s off to Australia. I’m looking forward to him being here – we all are. It’s going to be interesting to see what he and Kelsey decide to do. After Australia, which is only about a six week gig, he’ll be off again. He’ll need to think about the future, about changing jobs, changing tours, or getting a more staid and stagnant job. Hmmmm. 

April is going to be a very busy month here at Il Sogno. Justin will be here. Roy and Bobbi are thinking of coming for a weekend. Jeff and Chris (Kevin’s brother and sister-in-law) may come, too. My sister and her family are thinking about a trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and then to see us.

Riley is having skin issues. Spring brings out his allergies. On top of all of his anxiety, once the weather changes, he starts to itch. He’s been itching badly. I wonder if it’s a metaphor. 

Kevin fixed the brakes on his Classic. The independent dealership wanted $1500; he did it for about $325. We took it out tonight and Kevin had me drive. I have to admit to a bit of nervousness as we pulled out of the driveway and started down the very steep Falcon Crest. We took Riley. Destination: China Bamboo.

China Bamboo is a Chinese restaurant we’ve only gotten food from once. Tonight marks the second time. Shrimp egg rolls, vegetable egg rolls, vegetable lo mein, Szechuan shrimp. 

The truck rattled and rolled down Catalina Highway, across Tanque Verde, and into the parking lot. Kevin jumped out, got the food, climbed back in and off we went again. The brakes were good, the truck was good, the food once we got home was also good.

It’s Friday. I’m still working, taking just a few minutes to dash off a ridiculous post because I’m feeling guilty and running at a ridiculous pace that shows no sign of abatement. But it’s not bad; it’s all good. Being busy, being in school, having good Chinese food, and that Justin is coming home soon… it’s all worth celebrating.

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