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small gray square Yesterday I dined at the nearby Sizzler. (I hear this is an international chain now, so I needn't describe it.) I think the last time I ate at one was a group-from-work lunch five years ago - it's rather mediocre. As I walked in FaaB was playing on the in-house speakers - later on I heard the "Titanic" song by Celine Dion. She really bends a lot of younger people out of shape, I can't say why - I find her rather innocuous (unlike her peer Tori Amos, whom I find gratingly unpleasant <1>). As for the song, I don't mind it - reminds me of the film, which I thought a splendid entertainment. My waiter (or however you describe the food-wrangler at a place where you order & pay first) resembled the John Turturro character in "The Big Lebowski". I went in with the intent to order the crab special but instead got the Fisherman's Platter, a bunch of fried stuff which, along with the ravioli I had (instead of my usual healthy salad bar veggies) for lunch, made the day a total nutritional mistake. I thought I could detect some slight initial sluggishness because of at the gym this morning, but I completed my workout anyway. There were a bunch of Navy guys getting ready in the locker room as I was leaving, and they'd all been instructed to add a certain nautical motif to their exercise garb which made 'em look ridiculous - they each wore one red sock (port) and one green sock (starboard), like they were little boats with running lights. Reminded me of my own similar fashion faux pax a couple weeks back - I have two pairs of running shoes currently (Asics GT-2020 and Puma Cell) and somehow I showed up wearing one of each - they're both essentially white but with very different trim and styling.

small red square Last night I was listening to a radio interview with Susan Sontag and she made an astute observation about many American movies and especially television programs, that there's something very condescending about them, about how they're engineered to make the viewer feel superior in that ironic, sarcastic way that's become so commonplace in our end-of-the-20th-century culture. She also described her joy at re-reading books, the awareness that she didn't get them the first time through - I share this feeling now: I started Philip K. Dick's The Man In The High Castle yesterday, and my impression of the world he creates (of a 1962 America where we'd lost WWII) is that it's so rich, something I don't recall from the first time I read it a dozen years ago. For example, now I understand the references made to pre-war historical and Bay Area geographical details. Today at lunch I discovered that it contains a haiku which mentions temari:

Harusame ni nuretsutsu yane no temari kana.
As the spring rains fall, soaking in them, on the roof, is a child's rag ball. <2>
I may not finish the book this time; it peters out with an ambiguous ending many dislike. However, another reading of the similar C.M. Kornbluth short story "Two Dooms" may be necessary, just to recall the differences between the two tales.

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small cyan square Celebrity gossip courtesy of today's "Pop Notes" in the "Washington Post": "Eric Burdon, formerly with the Animals, writes in his memoirs, House of the Rising Sun, that he's got proof that Jimi Hendrix committed suicide. An inquest fixed the rocker's death as an accidental drug OD. But Burdon says he found a poem by Hendrix's bed indicating otherwise"...the hell was Eric Burdon doing snooping around Jimi's deathbed? And who was he to withhold this "suicide note" for almost thirty years?

small yellow square Brenda Ueland <3> said that she "...was born in a happier time, before automobiles." I'd customize this to my own background and sensibilities as: I grew up in a more pleasant time, before car alarms.

FaaB - Free As A Bird
OD - Overdose
WWII - World War 2
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<1> A younger woman I worked with back when I was launching rockets (in my NASA glory days) referred to Joni Mitchell once as that "screechy singer", a description I found offensively inaccurate, but quite applicable to Tori Amos.

<2>My understanding is the translation of temari is more accurately hand, not rag ball. And the latter is too close to a song by the Four Seasons.

<3>...who wrote If You Want To Write (1938)