Monday, February 26, 2007

And the music winner is...........

Forget about the Oscars, okay? These are the coveted CFE winners from all time!!!!!

Rufus Wainwright's version of "Hallelujah" is fabulous. My dear friend Mark whose blog I read told me that Mark Cohen wrote this original tune, which I did NOT know but now I do and hats off to Cohen for it. I guess it was on the soundtrack of SHREK of all things, which I didn't watch and didn't know about. A much softer and less angry version than Jeff Buckley's but it grows on you. Go Rufus.

Obviously a much younger and less hip shot of Rufus, who is on my playlist twice and this time for ONE MAN GUY. I think it's a spinoff from his father Loudon Wainwright somehow and has to do with a heterosexual theme and it's a joke from Rufus to his father???? Dunno, actually, but I love the song.

Buster Poindexter and HOT HOT HOT. If this doesn't make you dance, there's something wrong with you.

U2 and BEAUTIFUL DAY. And you know what? They're right. Bono's got that sexy voice and the unsexy rest of him.

Stevie Wonder and SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED. That guitar opening gets me every time. Not to mention the lowdown nasty beat.

One more post and the next one will have the GIANT ALL TIME WINNER of Becky's Playlist Favorites!!!

Meanwhile, February is mincing, eking, drawing to an ignominious close. Good riddance. Papers coming in today so my life is over for now.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Sleeping Rhododendron

Not a bad book title, although I am constantly thinking of those. This rhodie will be alive and thriving in fewer than 90 days. Spring in New England is hesitant, pouty, precocious--something like a two-year-old.

NO, I will NOT be warm. Well, I won't be warm for two days in a row. So THERE.

NO, I will NOT stop with the freezing gusts of wind. They're GOOD for you. I will let the daffodils come up but I will BLOW them down again.

I don't LIKE daffodils. Or crocuses. Well, only sometimes.

It will NEVER be reliably warm. NYAH NYAH.

We who live here understand the juvenile nature of the weather. It's contrary and spoiled and you might as well accept that it wins. You never do. People are flinty and reticent in New England. In time you accept them and like them for it. Not many phoney types here. Not many "hey, howya doin', goodtoseeya" greetings in the grocery. You're lucky if they acknowledge you in the grocery. You have to make your own friends. They don't come over to your house to find you.

Mostly it's because it looks like this so much of the time.

In class now everyone comes in with a heavy ski parka, scarves, mittens, the works. It's hard to believe that when we part, they will all be wearing tank tops and shorts with words across the rear end. I have room to put MUSHY ZUCCHINI on mine should I choose to do so. But I won't. I want to maintain decorum, after all.

A bientot


Thursday, February 22, 2007

More Weirdness

You're made to go to confession in second grade, prior to receiving First Communion. What is one supposed to confess at that age?



I myself confessed to poor table manners on that occasion, using a fork incorrectly, and the kind priest told me that wasn't a sin. Well!!! A lot of people ought to be grateful for THAT, I'd say. And the ones who talk with their mouths full--good thing for THEM there's no penalty in the hereafter. If only parents had that to fall back on.

"Hold your fork the right way, Billy, or you will burn for three years."

"What, Mommy?"

"It says right here in the catechism, honey. And I wouldn't sit with your knee up on the chair either. That means a burning log falls on your head."

Some people must die with tremendous sentences attached, mustn't they? I mean a person with bad fork behavior and maybe a few impure thoughts--cough cough--could leave the earth with a very modest and do-able sentence, it seems to me.

"Impure thoughts? Is that it, lady? Go on down to the Hot and Humid area and check in with Louie. I got work to do. Yeah, the one with the Johnny Depp picture on the door."

Maybe the purgatory guidelines run very close to the US penal code. Three to five for this, eight to ten for that. That seems reasonable to me.
What about some of those serial killers or wicked bad criminals? Mustn't they have left this earth with insurmountable terms to serve in Purgatory? Like four life sentences? Of course it would be impossible to complete a sentence like that, which is the point here on earth. There must be "lifers" in purgatory. I wonder if they're given cigarettes.

Catholicism in my day was full of doodads and things you wore around your neck and carried secretly and fondled and prayed on all during the day and night. If you knew the right novenas, you were in. If you uttered the right little phrases (called "ejaculations" and that is no lie), you could lop off a month or two from the purg debt and there were even things called "mortifications" that could further bring your total down. A mortification would be possible if, say, you are comfortable with your elbows on the desk. It's easy. Just don't put your elbows there. Offer it up. Mortify yourself.

Just make yourself miserable. That was basically it.

Only my opinion, folks. And we all know where I'm going later.

A bientot

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


CHINA DOLLS is the newest Girlfriends' pick and looks like a terrific read. Here's a little something:

With the traditions and family closeness of The Joy Luck Club and the sass, girl friendships and humor of Sex and the City, comes a novel about three Asian-American women balancing life, love and one another in New York City.

M.J. has dreamt her whole life about breaking the glass ceiling and becoming the first Asian female sportscaster on ESPN, but will her need to become an insider blind her to the potential prospects right in front of her?

Fiery Alex owes her success as an attorney to her toughness, but will her need to control everything and her overprotectiveness drive everyone away from her?

Beautiful, reckless Lin has made her mark on Wall Street because of her willingness to roll the dice, but will she lose it all when she risks everything for Mr. Dangerous?

Through their ups and downs, their family pressures, and their personal and professional heartbreaks, these three women know that they can always count on one thing: each other.

Bio: Michelle Yu is currently an on-air sports reporter. A Manhattan College graduate, she resides in New York City. Blossom Kan is an attorney in New York City. She graduated from Yale University where she majored in English. They are not just co-writers-- they're cousins!

You can read more about them at their website. Be sure to read the Q and A or check out their cool blog.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Some songs are good but totally unintelligible. Some singers are wonderfully talented, but their words indecipherable. At least to me. I asked Maeve about this and she doesn't understand them either. She so loves the big screen TV, though, that it won't be long before she understands all that and I still don't. I hope she doesn't wear one of those weird sci fi things in her ear.

I adore Rufus Wainwright,but I have to stand there and go "What?" over and over.

"I'm looking for
The ta of Lun bin
I'm looking for
The copious faw":


A friend of mine used to think the Beach Boys hit "Good Vibrations" was actually "Goodbye Braces."

"Good, good, gooooood bye braces!!!!" Not a bad title.

"Day Tripper" by the Beatles became "State Trooper."

"He was a staaa-aaa-te trooper! State Trooper, yeah!!"

"Round John Virgin" from Silent Night is a well known fat guy who doesn't get any action, geesh, even at the holidays.

Also misinterpretable were various religous statements from my youth, mostly in Latin.

"Debitoribus nostris" was in my ears "Baby thought it was nasty."

I really hated the Kiss of Peace, which became the "leap and greet" handshaking event in the middle of Mass. "Peace be with you, sir, and is that your Corolla out there with the slight dent in the fender? Because you cut off me off most mercilessly at the corner of University, you bastard!"

Maybe the Kiss of Peace would work at car accidents. If it were a law, a real enforceable law, that everyone who stepped out of their cars at the scene of an accident had to first shake the other person's hand and say "Peace be with you" before giving insurance information, we might have less road rage. I don't know, though. If it involves men, I don't think it will work.

Let's all Be Here Now, even though life seems drab and meaningless and the weather is terrible and we wish we had more money and people were nicer.

A bientot
p.s. Can somebody tell me how to get rid of these horrible spammers on the comment section? A while ago, I thought I had it solved and it was deleting ALL comments. HELP!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Which View Does Becky See From Her Kitchen Door?

Possibly I've never mentioned the Soviet era statuary that I got for a song a while back. It's a fun spot for picnics in the summer too (We like to get way up on that guy's shoulders and throw watermelons at the neighbors)!!!

This is a snow sculpture that a few of the neighbors got together and did in my driveway (bunch of engineers, dontcha know). We like to stay busy.

Just your basic natural beauty here, not much to say. Sure is a pleasure to look at when I leave the house every day. I ski to work and wear lederhosen.

I love a covered bridge and I had this one built right outside our back door. We like to throw canteloupes from it. They're a little more challenging than watermelons, but you get that greater dexterity because they're smaller. It's a little more difficult to hit pedestrians with them on the first try.

This Aisle of Lanterns is really spectacular at night. I usually have valet parking right behind this area so guests don't have to walk so far after a soiree. Some of them get a little intoxicated, but don't say I said that.

If you held out to the end, dear reader, you were smart. This is the view from the service entrance of my house. The help hasn't shown up for a few days, actually. You can see the rather paltry snow amount we got yesterday (although it was enough for me to get a most welcome DAY OFF).

Hope you're staying warm and cozy, dear reader.

Although cozy is better than warm.

And notwithstanding the fact that cozy requires warm.

At least in most cases.

A bientot

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bye, Kitties!!!!!

Oh, they're gone, sniff sniff. I do miss them, but I must say I slept peacefully last night in harmony with my surroundings [mostly books, papers, and puzzles--every time I move, something crackles]. Once I woke up and thought I heard a cat jumping somewhere and then tensed up, knowing I could now go back to fearing the appearance of the Virgin Mary.

Doesn't every Catholic child imagine that Mary will appear to her, as she did to Bernadette and some other kids in Europe somewhere? I did. I prayed every night that she would decide NOT to honor me in that way.

"Becky!!! Wake up!!! It's me, Mary!!"

"Oh, no. Please."

"You must tell the world I was here, Becky. We must pray for Russia."

"Oh, but Mary, you have to understand. People already think I'm a little cuckoo. What would it do to my chick lit career?"

"Your what?"

"Never mind. I'm doing women's fiction now."

"I don't understand, Becky."

"That's all right. I don't think I do either. And don't worry about Russia. We already conquered them, I think. Sort of. They're all drinking themselves to death with vodka."

"Pardon me, my child?"

"Mary, I googled Bernadette the other day and noticed that she has beautiful manicured nails in her coffin. What's that all about?"

"Becky, you must have faith and not ask so many questions."

"That's what my agent keeps saying, Mary. And the produce guy at Hannaford's--he says it all the time. I got other situations too, Mary, can we talk about those? Mary? Where are you?"

This will not be me if I can help it.

A bientot

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Music Faves

Continued from my own list of 19 and I'm sorry to say I have nothing from Elvis. I do think he is HOT, though. Don't you?

My father once made my brother and me come into a room to look at a television screen where Elvis was gyrating.

"Look at that!" my father cried. "Howling to the moon!" That's how appalling it seemed to him.

I always try to think of that when I see rap performers....that's my reaction to THEM. I guess the generations just keep going forward, right?

My apologies for not linking these tunes, but it's beyond my capabilities just now.

Okay, so Phil Collins is next on my playlist performing "You'll Be In My Heart." A true blue kind of LOYAL song, I think. I used to think if I ever got married, I would want this played, but now I don't think so. It says too much about how different the two people are and I don't think I'm going to go off with someone THAT different. A beagle? Another species? Nah. Not at this point in my life. But hats off to Phil anyway.

"Morning Glow" from PIPPIN is a great song. If any group of words stands for the sixties and all its idealism, this tune does. You really feel that morning glow as it shines through the tent walls at dawn. Sorry, but this picture is from another song in the show, I think the love song, which is good but not on my list. PIPPIN was the very first Broadway show I saw and I was mesmerized. Can't they come back out and do one more number, I thought?

REO Speedwagon next performs "Can't Fight This Feeling" and who hasn't felt that way? You're friends with someone, you're friends, you're friends, and OH MAN, you want to be something else. REO was a college band in Champaign, Illinois, where I went to college so I have a special fondness for them. Not that I knew them there or that they knew me or anything. They were big time. I was just a dorm kid.

REO goes again with "Keep On Loving You." What's to be said? A great song and I don't think they played with that many instruments, did they? They have a distinctive sound. They used to play at Chances R in Champaign, otherwise called just "the R."

And third time's the charm once again for REO SPEEDWAGON, ladies and gentlemen! This time for "Time For Me To Fly," a great song of freedom. Oh yeah, baby!!!!
I'm so happy to honor this tremendous group. Wonder where they are.....

To Be Continued

A bientot

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Know What You did to the Cat Box

This is the view of a guest at midnight. Stepping over you, on top, walking around, licking your face. I suggested to Dahlia that she looked quite like a raccoon in the moonlight, but she scoffed at that. That was as she stepped over onto the night table and began going through my notes for class. She had a few suggestions and I may take them.

Speaking of the cat box, here it is. Intimidating, isn't it? It is a two-story affair and looks something like R2D2. It plugs in. How scary is that? I wonder if I could dry my clothes in it. Or monitor air traffic control. I can't remember the first thing my daughter told me about how to maintain this thing. It has a hydraulic lift inside and makes a tremendous noise throughout the house, especially at night when I can quite picture Freddy Kreuger coming up the stairs. I am going to have to deal with this problem today.

I used to joke with my old obstetrician that true courage is displayed by any woman who makes an appointment with a gynecologist and actually shows up. But I may have to revise that statement to include something about robotic cat boxes.

Here they are on their way out, ready to pack this bag and ditch this joint. No, not really. They were a little huffy about the dry food in their bowls this morning, but that was soon resolved. Their servant quickly capitulated.

Right now they are opening my mail and sorting through it.

Meanwhile, I am about to finish grading the last of 60 essays just in time to take in 40 new ones this afternoon.

I'm working on my old lady story and enjoying it. She doesn't have any pets.

A bientot

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cat Etiquette: or How to be a Groveling Slave in your Own House

This is Dahlia. She prefers canned food to dry, if you don't mind, and tuna or salmon to either of those. If you would kindly try to remember that, many problems could be solved. As a matter of fact, Dahlia will try leaping into the refrigerator to get some of these items if you don't provide them.

Dahlia would like you to sit still for prolonged periods so she can get comfortable on top of you. And if it's not too much trouble, she'd rather not be disturbed once she finds a comfy spot, such as with her rear end in your face.

During the night, Dahlia will get cozy and it really isn't polite if you need to turn over or move your leg. Dahlia is disturbed by that and doesn't like it.

Dahlia and her sister Violet maintain a schedule of activities. If their servant is sitting at the computer, they do sometimes go into another room and it sounds as though they are packing up to go somewhere. One can hear plastic bags being rustled, items dropping to the floor, occasional breakage, boxes being assembled.

Occasionally they join their servant at the computer, where they claw their way up the back of the brand new office chair to perch on top of it and lick the servant.
The licking is very sweet but it's a sandpapery little tongue and in the end comical and causes extensive servant laughter.

You don't want your servants laughing at you, do you?

As I write this, the two of them are rewiring the upstairs electrical system, so I may be kicked offline very soon.

Very very cold in central Mass. today. Stay warm, dear reader.

A bientot

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I Haven't Got Money on This Game, Do I?

Yeesh, the Super Bowl--even if it rains and becomes comical--isn't nearly as interesting when your team isn't in it. We are so used to having the Pats in these big games that it's a real yawner when they're not there.

Ads? I like the cashier lady flirting with the guy who's buying the Doritos. That was the best one I saw. Office on the moon? So-so. Despondent suicidal robot dream? So-so. Some of the others I didn't get. The one where the non-English speakers learn how to say Bud Lite seemed stupid and possibly xenophobic, though friends said I should "get over it."

I'm over it totally.

I will ask my students tomorrow for their analysis of the game and the ads.

I don't think Peyton Manning can go home tonight if he doesn't win. [Looks like he will, though. Manningburgers all around at the Mannings!!]

Meanwhile, Dahlia and Violet have really helped me with Sunday NYT crosswords (when they're not zooming back and forth under my feet). They take a rest sometimes, their preferred site being in the bathroom sink. It is so relaxing there. Here you can see them about to tackle a tough puzzle. I do prefer anacrostics, but still haven't gotten a new book of those. These I found left over somewhere in the cyclonic abyss of my room. The kittens are supposed to be making the beds--I mean it's not like I ask much from them and they ARE guests, couldn't they do SOMEthing?

Oh well. Off for another work week.

A bientot


Friday, February 02, 2007

Music Faves

If we are what we eat, and that makes me one big grape, then aren't we also, at least partially, what we listen to? And if each person went through her music list, either from an ipod or on the computer, she would have to admit to certain qualities, would she not? Maybe those qualities would show that the person is well balanced and highly erudite and scholarly.

Possibly she should be president.

Or maybe the selections would indicate deep disturbances and problems, and possibly she should be locked up.

Possibly some presidents have shown both qualities.

And so I am going to grit my teeth and divulge the contents of my download list, none illegal of course, in alphabetical order. Some I have a hard time admitting to, but they are on there and I will share them with you. Because there are only 19 (I'm deleting one right now and I'm not saying what), they --in their entirety--must indicate something. For today I will include the first five.

Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" counts as one stupendous tearjerker. It's soft, only piano behind the voice, and poignant with emotion. Okay then. BECKY THE BLUBBERING IDIOT.

Broadway's Miss Saigon, specifically the tune about the slow saxophone, can't think of the name of it. But a hot HOT love song. I can and have played this one over and over again. BECKY LOVES BROADWAY AND ALWAYS WILL.

James Taylor's "Mexico" is next on the playlist and has always been one of my favorites. It's probably considered somewhat of a white bread sanitized version of real Mexican music, but the beat gets me swaying. Pets run. SHE TRIES TO DANCE.

Jeff Buckley is entirely HOT. He is also entirely dead, I'm afraid, and has been for a number of years. His song "Hallelujah" is one of my very favorites. It's a love song but not a joyous one as its title suggests. It's very very sad and has anger in it too.

Michael Ball is more what you would call a "sensitive guy" and his rendition of "Love Changes Everything" is treacly ickily sweet. It's from Aspects of Love, another Broadway show, based on a book by David Garnett, one of the Bloomsbury group (I LOVE them!!!!) I used to love this song and now I don't really. I may get rid of this one, but for now it hangs in there. It's true, love does change everything, and maybe that's why I let it stay.

To Be Continued.....

Violet and Dahlia are visiting me. Please don't tell them that the garbage is under the sink, okay?


A bientot

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