I’d like to touch upon a few subjects today.
- Is there anything left to say about the government shutdown? Probably not but I’m going to step into it anyway. Just one paragraph:
20th century British ambassador to the U.S., James Bryce, suggested that our national parks were “the best idea America ever had.” They are, in truth, pretty awesome. I’ve been to several and, as I like to say, “they never disappoint”. As we all know – unless you live under a rock, probably not one in Yosemite – they’re closed now thanks to a bunch of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, puppy-eating Republicans in the House of Representatives. That’s unfortunate to anyone with plans to visit Yellowstone or the Lincoln Memorial or the Grand Canyon, but it’s a dire situation for the tourist trade. There is only one hotel inside Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, so visitors rely on restaurants, hotels, and convenience stores just outside the park, whose proprietors rely on the visitors for their livelihood. Bottom line: no customers, no money to pay the bills to support their families. I’ll bet your bottom dollar many of these same individuals were among the first to seek out assistance from the Affordable Care Act on the day the government shut down due to the toe-cheese-picking House Republicans’ need to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. The nimrods have no imagination or empathy to understand that actual human beings are adversely affected by their witless actions. These congressional representatives are not leaders. They are bad people, making those who have little more than they need, if that much, suffer unnecessary strife. May the gods of karma mete out punitive measures appropriately. Open the damn government!
- Since late last week and early this one, I’ve been reluctant to leave my house for fear of getting caught in a “Breaking Bad” discussion. I walk around with my head held low because I am one of those. I’ve only seen the first two episodes of Season 1. When it first began, we had a new hi-def television and “Breaking Bad” wasn’t broadcast in hi-def. It looked fuzzy and I wasn’t in the mood. Five seasons later, I’ve been un-friended for my lack of pop culture currency. If I ever was cool, I am no longer. The husband and I tried to commit early on in the summer to some binge-viewing but got nowhere. I’d try and wait for him to have a free evening, to no avail. Have I ever mentioned that I’m an optimistic procrastinator? It’s a terrible combination. I’m still confident I can buckle down and watch all 62 episodes before Christmas, not because I necessarily want to but because I want my friends back.
- My book this past week was Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. It won the Man Booker Prize in 1997 and over the years, the title has come up on several ‘best’ lists, accompanied by great reviews. Set in India during the late 1960s and then later when a main character returns home, the action centers around a well-off family of several generations anticipating the arrival of Uncles Chacko’s young daughter, Sophie Mol, who’s been living with Chacko’s ex-wife, Sophie’s mother, in England. We experience the story in different, non-linear chapters, through Sophie’s cousins, Estha and Rahel, and their mother Ammu. It took dozens of pages to get everyone straight, but once I relaxed, confident in my grasp of whom was who, I settled into the story and anticipated the drama and the bad thing that was going to happen because Roy forces it upon the reader, over and over and over. Suspense can be a wonderful page-turner, but when the writer bogs down the narrative with heavy, extensive atmospheric descriptions, this reader was anxious to put the book down and go play with the dogs, or eat chocolate. And similes? There must be ten thousand in this novel. Once in a while, if you want to describe something as “crazy like a fox”, go ahead. Better still, “Raindrops slid across the curved bottom of the rusted gutter on the edge of the roof, like shining beads on an abacus” (p. 86) – but holy cow, don’t then do that again three sentences later, and then another four sentences after that! I can’t believe I’m telling anyone how to write, especially using a Booker Prize novelist as an example. But there you go. Good story when you’re in it, but mostly I felt out of it. Coffee cups? Yikes, just two and a half.
– And hey, I mentioned optimistic procrastination. My site is finally getting that facelift I spoke of many weeks ago. My buddy Glenn and I (but again, mostly Glenn) will be ‘migrating’ this template into another, more updated, more tech-friendly, better-looking theme in the next few days so be prepared. The site will probably be down over the weekend and then up again Monday or Tuesday looking completely different. Don’t freak out. I know change is hard – but it’s also good and I’m going to take care of you all during the transition. I’m enthusiastically optimistic that together, you and I can take Daily Cup of Jo to new heights. I’ll write (more, I pinky swear), you read and comment, and then we’ll all share with our friends. Somehow, in ways probably smaller than big, we’ll make a difference. Don’t ask me how. I don’t know yet. Like me, this site is a work in progress.