Friday, May 27, 2005

um, a bit of a dilemma

so off i went to the supermarket this afternoon ... hang on, just noticed a rainbow outside ... sorry, but i had to go out and look at it.

o yes ... the supermarket. outside the exit (which i had to pass to get to the entrance), two young women in matching sweatshirts were collecting for something. they saw me trying to read their sign (am trying hard not to accept that it may already be time for a new pair of glasses. what kind of life is this where chocolate, good english milk chocolate, can make you go blind?!). we began to chat, and as i listened to a story of rehabilitation from cocaine and alcohol abuse, i reached into my pocket thinking i should drop a dollar in the glass jar and go buy my hummus. as i am hearing about the 80k job and the lexus she used to have, i am realising that these are the edge-of-recycling jeans that are nicely frayed, not quite indecent, and have holes in all the pockets. as i am hearing that finding jesus christ has filled the emptiness in her heart i reach into my back pocket and discover that my wallet is still at home in the back pocket of the black jeans i just threw into the laundry basket. i apologise to the women and drive home to get money for groceries.

while i drove i thought about what i'd heard. on the one hand, a programme to get women off drugs that worked - what could be wrong with that? on the other hand, if that programme also promoted such things as the importance of persuading others who already had a religious allegiance that the love of christ is superior ... and/or intolerance of other diversity such as sexual orientation - then why should i give it any kind of financial support?

i returned with my wallet, and returned to the conversation. as the woman spoke, i felt like she had replaced one addiction with another. i decided to ask her my questions from the car. she told me that god loves everyone no matter what choices they have made. i asked her if she was comparing homosexuality to a cocaine habit and she said oh no, and her cousin is a lesbian and she adores her. as we spoke, i began to feel that her avowed tolerance was sincere. she told me she is now going to bible college to become a minister. i asked her if she had considered the possibility that others in her programme might not be as tolerant as she is, and she replied that she is very new at it all.

long story short - i asked for more to read about the programme, and was given a book written by its founder. i sat in the car park for about 30 minutes reading it. homosexuality is referred to as perverse and a sin. when i got to the bit where the author is praising god for saving a ftm transexual and turning her into a good xian woman i put the book down.

so i didn't give them any money. but i have been thinking this afternoon about what feels to me like a dilemma. is it simply a question of do the ends justify the means? is an addiction to religion any healthier than any other? ok, of course it doesn't lead you into the criminal activities of the world of drugs ... but why should damage to the soul be any less heinous than damage to the body? good luck to her that she turned her life around, but do i want her on a college campus targetting the questioning and the insecure (and the questioning and insecure jews)?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

piglet at the plaza

plaza piglet
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
i cannot remember if i have ever been inside the plaza hotel. i think i may have walked through it once, just to say i had been there. this piglet picture was from a day in new york when i decided i could only take pictures if i asked people first. not only that, but i had to ask them to hold the pig too. o it was hard to do. the hardest was the man on stilts outside fao schwarz - but that was more to do with trying to hand piglet to him. this is my favourite. as is the rote grutze the 2nd link notes will be served in the hotel at the end of the summer. mmmmm.

Monday, May 23, 2005

pyramid piglet

pyramid piglet
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
this is one of the few pix not taken by me. it exists courtesy of my sister m., who is the one who's been to egypt. i tried to go to egypt once, but it was the week israel was giving back the sinai and some right-wing extremist students had cemented themselves into a bunker in the desert protesting the handover so the border guards wouldn't let us in despite our hippy looks and smell.

NB piglet is sitting on top of the camel

10 things i've never done

apostablog tells us this is the blogging game of the week, and i'd rather have a go than get dressed and drive to white plains, so here are my first ten thoughts:

1. owned a pair of birkenstocks
2. paid to get into stamford bridge
3. eaten lobster
4. finished reading moby dick
5. slept outdoors overnight in a tent
6. voted republican
7. made a meringue from scratch
8. worn anything the colour mauve
9. changed a flat tyre
10. been in a mosh pit

alas, time to get dressed and drive to white plains.

Friday, May 20, 2005

delphine marcus z"l

cannot believe it - i was so excited to hear her again on the radio on wednesday evening. here is the obituary from wmnr:

Delphine Marcus, one of WMNR's most well-known and beloved broadcasters, died on Wednesday, May 18, 2005, after a long illness.

Remembering Delphine Marcus

Some of us knew her as a friend, some of us knew her as the soft, English-accented voice that came over the air waves on Wednesday and Friday evenings; but all of us felt her zest for life and her joy in bringing the music to her listeners. She was indeed a beautiful, vibrant, warm, funny, candid, and courageous woman, who fought long and hard against the awful disease that finally took her, and her spirit never wavered.

"We now have 14 minutes before 8 o'clock, and I do have tickets to give away." Delphine Marcus was a broadcaster at WMNR for more than 20 years. Her programs were heard every week, beginning with the inception of the classical format on Fine Arts Radio, and over the years she became very dear to her many admirers. So intimate and so personal were her style and presentation that many people felt a deep kinship with her, and her mailbox was always stuffed with fan letters.

With a highly diverse background that included having been raised among the gentry in England, and educated in France, Germany, and the Middle East, Delphine brought to her programming a unique variety of musical styles. But her adventurous and exotic life experiences add up to what many people only dream of doing.

At a very young age, Delphine Costelloe Scott-Young began dancing lessons that eventually led to an engagement with a ballet company in her native England. Acting was also an early pursuit which resulted in some minor roles in movies, and an exciting trip to Rome to act as stand-in for Elizabeth Taylor in the barge scene in Cleopatra.

Then it was on to study at the Sorbonne and at Heidelberg University, and eventually to Iran where she received a degree in Islamic art. While she was in the Middle East, there was an opportunity to spend a brief time living and traveling with the band of nomadic Arab tribespeople called Bedou. But this was only the beginning! Amid many other unusual and exciting adventures, Delphine took a glamorous job as an emissary for a large Western oil company in Libya. When the company offered her a sabbatical to America, she ended up settling here and marrying cartoonist Jerry Marcus, with whom she had two children. There are now three grandchildren who were indeed the center of her world.

Among the musical memories that Delphine Marcus shared with us, there are many worth sharing again:

"My first real musical memory was when I was about 5 years old--it was Christmas Day in England--a grey, sullen winter's day with a weak sun struggling unsuccessfully to shine. I was gazing out the window at the leafless trees and listening to my grandfather's recording of Beethoven's 7th Symphony (we always listened to music after dinner). Wagner called this symphony the 'Apotheosis of the dance.' I loved its joyfulness and as a child I would dance to it."

"It was my grandmother who introduced me to the movies. She was an ardent fan and would take me with her on different occasions. Her favorites were Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh, and Clark Gable. I remember seeing Jeannette Macdonald and Nelson Eddy in Maytime with her and loving the music. My grandfather always said that if the film made my grandmother cry, then he was certain she had enjoyed it! It was my mother who took me to see Dangerous Moonlight, and I remember that day in London every time I hear Richard Addinsell's "Warsaw Concerto" (which was part of the score for the film), because when we came out of the cinema the air raid siren wailed its warning and we had to seek shelter from the bombs."

"I have the great luxury of being able to share my musical loves with you, the listener here at WMNR. What pleasure it brings me when you tell me how much you enjoyed a certain piece of music that you have just heard. I think we all can remember some event when music has played an important role in our lives. What would life be without music, and, of course, WMNR!"

Well-known and deeply admired by her listeners, Delphine presented programs that were always spontaneous, done without script or notes, and peppered with many of the recordings from her personal collection. Because she was such a world traveler, her fascination with music of all cultures permeated her programs and made them exciting and interesting. Many people looked forward to the mystery voice quiz and other special features that made her broadcasts so much more than just concerts.

Delphine Marcus will be greatly missed by those of us who knew her and those who knew only her voice, and although that voice is silent now, it won't be forgotten.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

w.c. whimsy

i don't know what you read when you're on the toilet. i cannot assume that you do read at those times. for those of us who do, however, there are the things we are already reading that we may bring in with us, e.g., a newspaper, a book we can't put down, something that must be studied for work or a test. there are also reading materials that stay in the bathroom for a while. i'm not so interested in the old magazines, although what they are may give new insight about one's host. i'm wondering what you think are good books to leave in there on purpose - for one's guests, and for oneself.

my current offerings:

Poems on the Underground
(a selection of the poems posted in london underground trains amid the ads in the carriages)

The Rough Guide to the Da Vinci Code

Tragically I was an Only Twin
(a collection of sketches from the career of peter cook. gut-wrenchingly funny, which seems kind of appropriate ... )

somebody left The Dance of Anger in there, but i think i should put it back on a shelf asap :-)

a favourite story about my father: one year for my birthday treat the whole family went to see victoria wood live, at the aldwych theatre. there were five of us - the four women, and my father, who was also possibly the only heterosexual male in the auditorium. the first-half monologue was a story wound around a tampon, and at the interval my little sister said, "poor daddy - i bet you didn't understand a word of that." "nonsense!" he replied stoutly, "when i am in the bathroom, I read everything!"

graceland piglet

graceland piglet
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
piglet fits right in here, doesn't he?! after taking this picture, i picked him up, put him back in my pocket, and headed back to the place where the bus picked people up to take them back to the car park. i was chased down the road by a security guard, who thought i had stolen piglet from the group at the grave. i had to show some of the pics in my digicam to prove i'd possessed him previously. her favourite was piglet rushmore.

back in the ussa

it's been a while, but i no longer have the excuse of jet-lag to stop me writing again. the visit to london ended as it began, with a memorial service. the second one was at the german embassy. my first time as a guest in an embassy. i was coming down with a cold, and when we got there my mother mentioned it to someone. a few minutes later, a butler appeared with a silver tray, upon which was a glass of hot (skimmed) milk, and a lovely china pot full of honey with a matching china spoon. it was delicious, and when i had finished, i put the glass down on a side table, whence it vanished not long afterwards. it's good to be a guest in an embassy.

now i am back, and need to find a new home to go with the new job. i have, therefore, been procrastinating magnificently. my genealogy research is coming along nicely, i have been scaring myself by reading political blogs and listening to air america radio, and i've bought the new su doko book put out by the london times. it is taboo for me to write in a book, even a paperback, but the lure of the logic is breaking me down. i tell myself it is important to exercise my brain, that mental fitness is as much of an antibody to aging as is physical fitness. now if someone will just invent a su doko equivalent for my heart ...