Saturday, January 11, 2014

I'll just read the damn thing

My friend in the Keys is writing a book. Historic fiction based on many of the legends of Key West. Months ago I read his manuscript and corrected his grammar and some of the clumsier turns of phrase. It's to be expected, I suppose, since English is not his native tongue. Also, I pointed out that his character names are distracting. "Victor Borge" and "Keir Dullea" were real people, celebrities whose names would ring a bell with any Baby Boomer. In an infinite universe, there is no reason to take character names from the C-list.

When I was down there last Christmas -- just two weeks ago -- he told me that he ignored the changes he solicited from everyone, including me. Since he's having the manuscript self published, he doesn't have to listen to anyone. But I was annoyed. Why ask me … and his friend and his writers' group … for input if he was just going to ignore it?

It's really annoyed me. Like a pebble in my shoe.

Then it occurred to me: he doesn't want input, he wants praise. And isn't that just human nature?

And this book is never going to happen. It costs thousands of dollars to get a vanity project off the ground and he doesn't have it.

Plus, he loves me. I should be sweeter to him, and less judgmental.

So I'll just read the damn thing, shoot him some comments just detailed enough so that he'll know I'm familiar with the content, and let it go.

Saturday 9

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) In this song, our hero offers to take his girl down to the river to catch a catfish dinner. What is your favorite seafood? I prefer shellfish -- lobster, crab, shrimp.

2) Luke Bryan went to Georgia State University, home of the Panthers. What was

your school mascot? This reminds me that our grade school team was also the Panthers ... the mighty-mighty Panthers … everywhere we go … people wanna know … who we are … so we tell 'em …

3) Have you ever tried acupuncture? Nope

4) Just last night, Crazy Sam threw away a jar of Miracle Whip because it expired in September 2013. Is your refrigerator neat and organized? Or is it a disaster area, like Sam's? There's some salad dressing and booze way in the back that I have no recollection of purchasing. I suppose I should reach back and dispose of them one of these days.

5) Which is more important to you -- saving time or saving money? Money.

6) Sam's next door neighbor is named Jim. He's retired, smokes a pipe and drives a red Corolla. Tell us about one of your neighbors. Walt is my neighbor at the end of the hall. He must be in his 80s now. I suspect he's lonely and I'd reach out to him more if he wasn't so annoying. He derives great entertainment from keeping tabs on me. Also, he watches Fox News incessantly and handwrites letters to Sean Hannity. I know because for some reason he leaves his early drafts in the laundry room. I have no idea why he does this -- to find out would require a conversation and I promise you, no good would come of that. On the plus side (and it's an important plus), Walt often gives to charity and gets a lot of free calendars in return, which he leaves in the hall for anyone who wants them. For someone on a fixed income to support so many good causes ... well, I think that inspiring.
7) What's the most recent magazine you flipped through? The new PEOPLE. With Kate Gosselin and the twins on the cover. I wish it was something higher tone, but there you go.

8)  Could your vehicle use a trip to the car wash right now? No vehicle.

9) Did you hit the snooze button this morning?

The impact of life in Chi-beria

"Chi-beria" is what people are calling home during this past week's historic cold snap. I hear the technical term for the snow followed by the cold is "polar vortex." I continue to think of it as, "not so bad."

 The cold brought about two unexpected results ...

•  My Sporto boots -- which retailed for less than $50 more than five years ago -- have begun to crack over the toes. The fake leather just couldn't take the extreme cold. I'm looking for another pair. I think they were a terrific bargain.

•  My health club suffered a water main break yesterday. Day after day of running all that hot water through frozen pipes finally took its toll. I was halfway over there to workout when I got word. I compensated by having a salad for lunch and felt quite virtuous.

It'll be in the 30's today. Life is back to normal.

Here's what I learned this week

A Thali is a necklace, given from groom to bride in Indian marriage ceremonies, and worn like a wedding ring.

One of my coworkers, an amazingly adorable girl, got married last month in India and she showed me hers. She wears it on a cord with three knots -- one symbolizing her respect for the marriage, another for her parents, and one her allegiance to God. The Thali design is unique, like a coat of arms. If she has a son, my coworker and her husband will reproduce the pendant for her son to give his bride some day. (The pendant shown here is merely representative, not hers specifically.)

Because she and her husband live in Chicagoland, they both also wear rings. Hers is a tiny diamond chip, his is a simple band. At first he was resistant because he's not comfortable with jewelry, not even a watch. But she said she doesn't want other women looking at him like he's available. I think it's charming that she thinks he's so hot.

It's also important to note that of all of us, she complains the least of this week's record-setting cold. Growing up in a hot climate, she things -15º is exotic and exciting.

I have enjoyed talking wedding with her. This is one of things that makes us lucky to be Americans -- all different cultures in this together, and the opportunity to learn about the rest of the world, all at the same time!