Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Cycling Clowns

bikesToday’s prompt from the WordPress Daily Post wants us to take an object, activity, or phenomenon that we hate and make it the “best thing ever.”   Here’s my response:

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First, let me just say that I don’t wish to offend any bike riders out there. Some of my best friends ride bicycles.

But I am going to say here what I would say to any of my friends:   if you are going to ride your bikes on city streets, stop being so monumentally inconsiderate.

I shall explain:

First, unless you are going to keep up with the speed of traffic, then do NOT drive in the middle of the same lane as I’m in. If the speed limit is 40 miles an hour, then you better figure out a way to make your bike go that fast or get out of my way.

Second, you know those red lights and signs? These are not mere suggestions that maybe you should stop. Stop blowing through the intersections and then giving me the stink-eye when I almost slam into you.

Third, if you are going to ride with other people, keep up with the pack. Don’t straggle behind and make me wait to finish my left turn while you catch up.

Fourth, what’s with the Italian clown outfits? You guys look ridiculous. You are not in the Tour de France. It’s Westchester on a Wednesday morning.   So what?, you say.  You may be indignantly wondering how what you’re wearing affects me. How can I delicately state this? When you finally get off your bike and start parading in front of me (and I am speaking to the guys here), be mindful of how that spandex makes you look in the front.   The good Lord did not intend for me to see certain aspects of your physiology while I am sipping my morning cuppa.

Finally, we have these things in my city called “Ciclavias” where miles of city streets are shut down on a Sunday afternoon for a “car-free” day and hundreds of cyclists take over.  It utterly screws up any car driver’s attempt to get from one side of town to another. In writing this post, I did a quick look at their website and to my horror I see that NEXT week there is a Ciclavia one block from where I am going to be that Sunday afternoon. Now I’m really miffed. If I were a conspiracy-theorist, I would say that this is just another attempt by  oppressive governmental powers-that-be to curtail the average citizen’s freedom of movement by car.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top.  But still……

So how can I spin inconsiderate cycling into the “best thing ever”?   Well, I can’t really.  What I can say is that interacting with stupid cyclists has made me a more patient person and helped me develop a sense of humor about such things.   For example, I give you this video.  It explains it all quite nicely:

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NASA, Cecil, and Deep-Fried Candy Bars

saturn nasa 2The Daily Post’s daily prompt: “NASA is building a new Voyager spacecraft that will carry the best of modern human culture. What belongs onboard?”

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Seriously? You’re asking me that? I mean, I did give this some thought, and I truly cannot see that there is any part of our modern culture — either Eastern or Western– that I would be proud to show off to the rest of the galaxy.

I know that sounds harsh, but all you need to do is look around you.   Look what our “culture” has done to this planet and its creatures. The same culture that produced a man that could kill a magnificent creature like Cecil for vanity’s sake is the same culture that produces people who rage more about the death of that lion than it does about the deaths of millions of children each year from war, famine, disease, family violence, abortion, and neglect.

We have a culture that sexualizes little girls to the point where five-year-olds look like prostitutes. We have a culture that teaches its young men that it is okay to have sex with as many people as possible.

Do we really want to parade to the galaxy such cultural icons as insert-name-of-current-pop-tart-musical-artist-favorite, shows like Swamp People, and deep-fried candy bars?   Really? You do?

I know that some folks might say we should put our decadent, morally-bereft culture out there so that some superior intelligence from the other side of the Delta Quadrant will swoop in and rescue us.   Be careful what you wish for.

They may just come with a giant can of Raid.

ljgloyd (c) 2015


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Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

the moon by me -- ljgHere is my response to this prompt at the WordPress Daily Post: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

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Dreams should not be taken literally — at least that is what I used to tell myself.

At one time I was big into symbolism. I used to think that images in dreams were the detritus of my mind, the bits and pieces of real-life issues that I had left unattended during my waking hours which would then float up to nag me during my sleep. These realities of my day would take on fantastical or striking forms in my dreams in order to get my attention. ALL dreams were like that. Yeah, that’s what I used to tell myself.

But then that changed.

A number of years ago I had a dream. Actually, it was an honest-to-gosh nightmare. It started out pleasant enough. I found myself in a backyard garden in Manhattan Beach. How I knew it was MB, I don’t know. I just knew. I was surrounded by people I did not know. They were obviously wealthy people dressed in fine party clothing — suits and cocktail dresses. Someone was grilling steaks and fish on a barbeque. Tables were laid with fancy appetizers and other dainties. Beer and wine freely flowed. The sun was shining and a salty breeze came off the ocean. I don’t recall any music but then sound has never been prominent in my dreams, but everyone was smiling, laughing, and having a good time.

Then I looked up and saw the sky turn color. From a bright cerulean it morphed into a puss-yellow. The party-goers looked up too. Some set down their glasses and plates, and they all stopped chatting and laughing. They, like me, were frozen in place. With our eyes fixed on the western sky, we saw them coming — at first dark specks, then growing into the silhouettes of planes. I felt my stomach tighten and my heart start to pound. I knew — we all knew — they were coming for us. If you have ever seen any movies about Pearl Harbor, you know the scene: the planes swooping in on defenseless people. You knew what was coming.

Just as the planes were nearly to us, everyone began to scream, including me. That’s when I woke up. It was the classic bolt-upright-in-bed type of nightmare response. I don’t know if I really screamed, but I was sweating and trembling in fear. I sat there for a moment and as I realized that I was at home, safe in my bedroom, and that it was only a dream, I calmed down. Then I began to analyze it.

Yes, I had been busy at work. Stress, that was probably it. Yes, I was worried about some family issues too. Yeah, that’s had to be it. Worry working itself out in the dream. Oh, maybe it was my health. That could be it too: my body telling me to take care of myself. Maybe I should make a doctor’s appointment. That’s it, that’s what I’ll do.

With it all figured out, I felt relieved and ready to go back to sleep. Just as I settled back down, I turned to look at the digital display on my nightstand:

2:15 a.m., September 11, 2001.

 

 

 

ljgloyd (c) 2015


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Review: Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman”

gsaw

***Spoiler Alert***
I tried not to go into too much detail, but if you really don’t want to know anything about the plot of the novel, don’t read this.


My initial reaction to Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is:

I cannot hate it.

The negative hype leading up to the release of this “sequel/prequel” of To Kill a Mockingbird had me almost not reading this book.  However, because of my love for Scout and Atticus,  I felt compelled to find out what happens to them.

Yes, the novel has technical problems.  It IS clearly a work that needed more polishing before it was published.  There are long, monotonous sequences of Scout recalling her childhood that needed to be heavily redacted or excised altogether.  So tedious were these sequences that I found myself asking  “…and the point of her telling me all this is….?”   In addition, about a third of the way into the novel the suggestion that there would be another emotionally charged trial was introduced.  However, this plot line was not developed.    It made me wonder if the author had changed her mind about including this plot line but forgot to remove the mention of it.   Overall, the novel does not have the same clean, Spartan directional clarity of To Kill a Mockingbird.   This novel’s flow is muddy and complicated.

That being said, there is much to laud about this novel.   The strength of this novel is in the author’s sensitive and skillful handling of Scout’s emotional and psychic meltdown when she learns that Atticus is not man she thought she knew.    I found myself tearing up as she struggles not to hate her beloved father.   Scout’s Uncle Jack, a new character not seen in To Kill a Mockingbird, tries to make her understand her father and the people who think like him.    He fails for the most part, but the reader sees Scout slowly and painfully shedding off the skin of her childhood perceptions.  Uncle Jack explains to her something the reader already knows but, like Scout, doesn’t want to acknowledge:  the world and the people in it are extraordinarily complicated.    The author’s rendering of this fact of life through Scout’s turmoil is both painful and inspiring to see.   For me, the key to understanding and embracing this novel is to remember that To Kill a Mockingbird was told the point of view of a child who practically deified her father.  The author tells us, through Uncle Jack, not to make Atticus a hero or a god.  He is just a man, flawed and imperfect, as we all are.

The title of the novel comes from the words of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament:  “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.”  Isaiah 21:6   Uncle Jack implores Scout not to leave Maycomb, but to live there and become a “watchman,”  a much-needed moral compass for the town.  Her people need her.

Many reviewers have stated how much they hate what the author has done to the character of Atticus.  I would say that those readers need to become like Scout:  to put away their childhood perceptions and see the world as a complicated and flawed place.  Only then can changes begin to be made.    Many readers like myself find that reading To Kill a Mockingbird to be a  satisfying experience, but reading Go Set a Watchman an unsettling one.

But then, that’s the point of the novel, I think.

ljg (c) 2015

Required legal doo-doo:  This review is based on a copy of the book that I bought with my own money.  It was NOT a freebie from the publisher.