Wise Women Friday: Marcelene Cox

SuitcaseImage via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from the twentieth-century humorist Marcelene Cox:

A vacation frequently means
that the family goes away for a rest,
accompanied by a mother,
who see that the others get it.

Contents of my suitcase:

Children's Tylenol

Because ensuring that others get their rest is fraught with danger.
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Even More Bacon Mania

_MG_6364Image by j_hampton_photog via Flickr

Two words: Bacon Soap. Yes. It's really made from bacon. I'd say more but I'm surrounded by a pack of hungry dogs.

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Goddess of the Week: Santoshi

Cover art for the DVD release of the 1975 film...Image via Wikipedia

No doubt about it: We live in trying times. Worldwide recession. Rampant foreclosures. Increasing unemployment. And every time I go to the grocery store the cereal boxes look smaller and their prices creep higher. It's getting so I'll have to start eating my dandelion greens for breakfast.

If only there were a goddess to get us through such days....

Of course, there is. Say hello to Santoshi, the Hindu goddess of peace, patience, and prosperity. She is the daughter of Ganesh and, legend has it, if you pray to her faithfully for six days in a row your prayer will be answered.

While most goddesses date back thousands of years, Santoshi is not only a modern goddess, she is a Bollywood goddess. Her story was first told in the Indian movie Jal Santoshi Maa, a snippet of which appears here. Since that time, however, she has built up devoted followers in Northern India and Nepal. Surprising, yes, but when you think about it, haven't movies always made goddesses for us worship? For example:

Greta Garbo in 1932Image via Wikipedia

Marilyn MonroeImage via Wikipedia

Hannah Montana album coverImage via Wikipedia

Hmmm. I wonder if we are getting a bit uninspired?

The point is, we keep creating goddesses because we need to believe in them. Their temples may change, but their resonance does not.

Channel this goddess: when penny pinching leads to finger cramps; when your patience is as thread-bare as your ten-year-old sheets; when your only escape is a black any white celluloid beauty with moxie, spunk and great legs.

Christina: this goddess is for you.

Need a goddess: Tell me your desire, and I'll find the goddess to help you with it.

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Wise Women Friday: Madame Defarge

A Tale of Two Cities, issue 6.Image via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from the villainous Madame Defarge, knitter and score-keeper extraordinaire in Charles Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities:

Tell wind and fire where to stop...but don't tell me.

I am a bit late to Bastille Day, but I can never remember birthdays either so if this holiday is important to you I beg your forgiveness. I once knew things about the French Revolution. I once knew dates. I once knew names. Now my expertise is reduced to the following facts: Marie Antoinette never promised anyone cake and a revolution supporting the noblest of ideals ended up a terrifying blood bath. Although the details of the Revolution floated like ether out of my brain decades ago, what I do remember is A Tale of Two Cities. I remember Madame Defarge, whose knitting served as an abacus that kept track of all the people and all the sins she would avenge when the Revolution finally arrived. I remember that good-hearted bad boy Sydney Carton switching places with that boring Charles Darnay, and I remember wondering what was wrong with that crazy Lucie! I begged her to choose Sidney, but she'd chosen Charles so many thousands of times already that I just couldn't get through to her. Sigh. Poor Sydney. It was a far better thing he did than he had ever done. And I was just fourteen when I read about it. So, of course, it was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.

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Dangerous Kitties

Spooky, Flying Space-CatImage by Gail S via Flickr

While dogs may have their own goddess (see previous post), it turns out that Daisy is right. Cats don't need a goddess because they are a bit omnipotent. Scientists have discovered that cats possess a heretofore unreported purr that has an almost impossible to ignore or resist hidden cry embedded into it, which is why you do all those crazy things you do for your cat. Read about it here, and then slowly back away from the dangerous kitty. Can't do it? See? You're totally sucked in already.
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Goddess of the Week: Diana

This blog is going to the dogs. Seriously. Because as Daisy notes, even pups need a goddess, especially those canines who've lived on the streets, eaten from trash cans and spent time in the slammer. Like this beauty right here:

For dogs and the dog people who love them, the goddess to honor is Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.

The Diana of VersaillesImage via Wikipedia

Diana had a pack of fifty hounds and fifty fleet-footed nymphs to do her bidding and keep her company. Despite being an awesome hunter and killer archer, she was actually a very modest and private goddess. She never married and she tried not to get involved in the messy politics of Olympus. Diana was nobody's marshmallow, however. Just ask Acteon.

Acteon was a hunter. One day, he was hunting in the woods with his own pack of dogs. He accidently spied Diana bathing in a nearby lake. Bad. Bad. Bad. You do not want to peek at a goddess in her skivvies. Nothing good will come of it. To avenge this assault on her privacy she turned Acteon into a stag, whereupon he was killed and devoured by his own dogs. The lesson here being: be careful what you train your dog to do. At my home, we're pretty content with "sit" and "stay."

Channel this goddess: When squirrels run by and when cats taunt you because they totally know you're on a leash. Damn felines. Or, if you, a mere person, have the privilege of caring for a dog, or even a pack of dogs. If you do have this honor, you no doubt know how lucky you already are. Just thank Diana.

Daisy: This one's for you.

Need a goddess? Tell me what your need is and I'll find the goddess for you to channel.


Wise Women Friday: Jane Austen

1869 engraving showing an idealized, young :en...Image via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from the English writer Jane Austen (1775-1817)

"Is not general incivility
the very essence of love?"

Could it be any more obvious: Jane Austen had siblings. Who more than siblings make general incivility not only a component of love but a dominant trait?

For her part, Austen must have been an expert at what we, in our happy home, call "too much love," which roughly translates into spending so much time together that one can't help but show affection by name calling, minor shoving, and purposeful irritation. Austen had seven siblings: one sister and six brothers (although a few of the brothers did not survive to adulthood). A writer of astute observation and perception, she must have been a very dangerous sister. She no doubt knew at a glance what seemingly innocuous turn of phrase, strange look or obnoxious sound would send the other little Austens over the edge, and she could probably tell without even thinking about it what one thing she could do that would turn one of her many brothers into a whining, crying ball of distressed energy.

Interestingly, my two children also possess these enviable gifts. They practice using them on one another all the time. Practically endlessly. And as their general incivility proves, they are just so full of LOVE for each other. They are just so full of LOVE for everyone. Naturally, I'm very proud and I have high hopes for their futures, as long as they end up living on different continents.
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In the News: Man Finds Piece of Windshield stuck in his chin for 30 years.

Ford Cortina Mk II in profileImage via Wikipedia

-- The Daily Telegraph

I always knew there was something special about me. I just never knew it had anything to do with the three foot piece of glass sticking out of my chin. I thought it was more of Joan of Arc thing -- or even a Lindsey Lohan sort of thing. I felt certain that my destiny was one of greatness -- that a life of celebrity and genius would sneak up on me when I least expected it, sort of like the way I'm always surprised to see my reflection every time I look into the sun, or the way passersby just naturally give me a wide berth. I used to think it was my charismatic presence that opened spaces for me in crowded sidewalks. Turns out people just didn't want to get whacked by the large piece of glass in my chin.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: How could a person not notice a windshield sticking out of his chin for thirty years? All I can say is that I thought it was one of those benign cysts people get. A little unseemly, yes, a little crocodilian perhaps, but nothing out of the ordinary. My grandmother had a mole the size of an unshelled peanut right on her neck. People used to pay her fifty cents just to touch it. The glass in my chin didn't seem much different. Just sharper.

And the fact is, the glass did have its advantages. I haven't used a knife in decades. I've never been mugged. It's easy to find a seat on the subway, and on Tuesdays I only pay half price at the car wash.

Of course, there have been challenges too. It hasn't always been easy to find dates, and sometimes the Windex stings my eyes.

The real question isn't how I missed noticing the giant piece of windshield sticking out of my chin. The real question is: How will I define myself now that it is gone? How can I reconcile myself to a normal life? How can adjust to a lack of reflective vision and the regular use of utensils. But I guess that's the life of extraordinary people in a nutshell. One minute you're clearing sidewalks, and the next minute you're just stuck with a bleeding sore on your face. And isn't that a lesson that even a Lindsay Lohan can relate to?
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Goddess of the Week: Aphrodite

Aphrodite of Soli, probably Roman ca. 100BC, A...Image via Wikipedia

Ah, love. What a messy business. It topples kings and governors. It inspires poems and pop songs and trips to Argentina. In its way, it is the great equalizer, for it is something to which we all aspire; it indiscriminately makes fools of high and low, rich and poor, male and female. Still, as Bridget Jones notes, it's better than dying alone and being eaten by an Alsatian.
If it is love that you are after, the goddess for you is the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Actually, there are many ancient love goddesses. The Egyptians had Isis, the Sumerians had Ishtar, the Norse had Freya, the Hindus had Radha, and the Romans had Venus, but they are all variations on a theme, proving that the quest for the perfect partner is both universal and timeless. That being the case, let's choose Aphrodite; she has so many good stories. For example:

Once there was a princess who wanted nothing to do with love. She was a career gal all the way. The kind you really want to hate: beautiful, wealthy, athletic, heir to the throne. She vowed never to marry. Her father, the king, was totally not cool with that idea.

"Atalanta, you're a princess, of course you must marry. I have a dynasty to think of."

Atalanta could not have cared less about dynasty, but her father was a bit of a hard-ass so she made him a deal. "Ok," she said, "I'll marry. I'll marry whoever can beat me in a foot race."

"Fine," said the king.

"But whoever I beat has to die," said Atalanta.

"Ok," said the king. "It's a deal."

Now, there are many fathers these days who are truly engaged with their daughters. These are the fathers who coach soccer and take their girls to lunch and show up for parent-teacher conferences. These are good fathers, and they truly know their children. Atalanta's father was not one of these. He was an old man who knew nothing about his daughter. He did not know, for example, that she was a Hellenistic Carl Lewis. She could run. Fast. She was unbeatable. And remorseless. Prince after hero after prince after hero came -- each one stupider than the one before him, each one convinced that even though every other suitor had lost the foot race and then lost his life to Atalanta, HE would be different. HE would win. Every time: HE lost.

Until Hippomenes. Hippomenes knew he would lose, but the minute he saw Atalanta he fell in love with her. So he did what the others suitors failed to do: he prayed to Aphrodite. "Help me," he said. "Help me because I love her."

Aphrodite helped. She gave Hippomenes three golden apples and told him what to do. The day of the race arrived. Atalanta took the lead. Hippomenes threw a golden apple in her path. She stopped to pick it up. Hippomenes edged ahead. Atalanta sprinted forward. Hippomenes threw another apple and, later, another. Hippomenes won. And because Aphrodite likes happy endings, Atalanta fell in love with Hippomenes.

And they lived happily ever after. Except they didn't. The thing is, if you ask a goddess for help, you need to show a little gratitude when you get it. It's basic courtesy. Hippomenes and Atalanta forgot to thank Aphrodite. They imagined that their perfect love was all because they were so perfect themselves. Big mistake. Aphrodite put a little jinx on them so that they felt compelled to make love in another goddess's temple, which was very bad form, very rude. The other goddess got so mad she turned Hippomenes and Atalanta into lions. To this day, they have to pull her around in a golden chariot. They are together and they love each other, which is good, but they are lions in the eternal servitude of a jet-setting, chariot-racing goddess, which is bad. That's the way it goes with goddesses. They are very particular. You must play your card rights at all times.

The lesson here is: If you ask her, Aphrodite will help you. Love is her business and her passion. But nothing is free. Not even love. If you find it, be grateful. Never take it for granted.

Channel this goddess: When the single life has you down, when searching for romance and love and candlelit dinners.

Laiza: This goddess is for you.

Need a goddess? Tell me what you need her for and I'll find the goddess you need.

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Wise Women Friday: Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams.Image via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from Abigail Adams, first lady, farmer, mother, intellectual and champion of women's rights:

I can not say that I think you are very generous to the Ladies, for whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to Men, Emancipating all Nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over Wives.

If you do not think that the American Declaration of Independence is a radical and revolutionary document then you have never read it. It changed the world. It is still changing the world. The Declaration of Independence not only proclaimed American freedom from Great Britain, but it provided the language and rationale for every major civil rights campaign in U.S. history. As Adams suggests, the Declaration's ink was barely dry before people denied the full rights of citizenship demanded their piece of the pie. Early abolitionists used the Declaration to highlight the injustice of slavery, and early women's rights advocates echoed the Declaration when they proclaimed that "all men AND WOMEN are created equal." Even today, when Americans talk about equality, when they proclaim it a right, they tie themselves to the language of the American Revolution, the language codified in the Declaration.

The Declaration represents America's highest ideals and promise. Long may it reign.

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Twitter Me This

Just making sure that no one missed these important Twitter updates:

Bo Obama: OMG! Ran into Pelosi while helping Prez snk cig. Looks like plastic; smells like glue stick. Scary. Peed on her shoe. Prez said "That's what I'm talking about."

Barbie: OMG! Ken is so totally gay! Found him in pool w/ Other Ken. Me: "What the --" Other Ken: showed me ring and said "Available in select locations only. Certain restrictions may apply."

Ken c.Image via Wikipedia

Nancy Pelosi: OMG! Ran into Bo Obama while sneaking Botox. Damn mutt peed on my Laboutins. Am SO sabotaging health care reform. Also wondering if can pass kibble tax.
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