Friday, November 27, 2009

Poetry Friday

Because My Students Asked Me

what i would want them to do
at my funeral, i told them:

write & perform a collective poem
in which each of you says a line
about what i was like as a teacher,
about how i made you reach for stars
until you became them,
about how much you loved
to pretend
you hated me.

You mean even after you die
you're going to make us do work?

- Taylor Mali

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our "Evening with Anthony Bourdain" Ruined by Some Drunks Who Couldn't Keep Their Mouths Shut

For my husband's birthday back in August I purchased tickets to see "An Evening with Anthony Bourdain" at the Palace Theater in Columbus. My husband has family near Columbus so I thought that would be a perfect opportunity to go visit them for the weekend while also seeing a presentation by one of our favorite TV personalities.

I have mentioned Tony Bourdain's name several times here on this blog because the opening line to his show No Reservations is what inspired me to create this blog in the first place. My husband and I watch his show religiously whenever a new season of it rolls around on The Travel Channel.

I had absolutely zero expectations for the evening and just went into it hoping to gain more respect and insight into The Travel Channel's Bad Boy of Globe-Trotting. Tony by himself on stage for two hours was extremely entertaining and I have to hand it to him for being so articulate, poignant, and humorous all rolled into one. Part Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Dee Dee Ramone, and Gordon Ramsay, he manages to get you to ponder the meaning of life while laughing hysterically at the trials, misfortunes, and obscenities of his travel stories.

But all the laughter and life lessons were drowned out by the incessant gum flapping of the drunkards sitting next to us. They spent over half the show talking to each other rather than listening to Tony. All of the people around them, including me, had steam coming out of our ears we were so angry. Now I am not a confrontational person in the least. In fact, when it comes to fight or flight responses, 99.9% of the time I choose flight. But I was so incredibly upset at these fools ruining my evening, I found myself on several occasions, blurting out expletives in their direction and confronted them twice by telling them to shut up. As the show progressed, their behavior got so erratic and bizarre that we moved over to the two empty seats beside us. During the Q & A portion of the evening, the lady blurted out a question without being called on and then wouldn't let Tony move on to the next person. Many of the people around her told her to shut up and I actually found myself yelling at Tony, "There are actually people over here in line who are WAITING to ask you questions. Why don't you call on them?"

Well apparently Tony's response to her question wasn't good enough because she wanted to ask him another question. So she actually followed protocol and got in line this time to do so... but she was so drunk (or high, I'm not sure which) that she went and sat back down and got back up on three different occasions - presumably because she couldn't remain upright long enough to wait to ask her question.

I am so disappointed with the turn of the events of the evening because I really did enjoy what I could hear of his presentation (even the Rachael Ray jokes). I'm even contemplating purchasing tickets to his April show in Chicago because I felt like I missed so much from his talk last night. My husband and I have never been to Chicago before and we've always wanted to go, so this might be our excuse to do so. Maybe the next time I might be able to see past my cloud of anger long enough to think of a question to ask him. On the drive home this morning I thought of a really great question I would have loved to ask him but of course I was too upset last night to think of anything other than how some drunk people ruined my evening.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Martha, Why You Gotta Be Such a Hater?

Martha Stewart has just given me one more reason to never aspire to be like her. Martha recently appeared on the Rachael Ray Show all nicey-nicey, claiming there was no feud between the two domestic divas. Then, she appears on Nightline this week, slamming Rachael for not being "good enough" for her, saying she's an entertainer and not a chef.

Martha you witch, Rachael is constantly telling everyone and even said to YOUR FACE that she has never claimed to be a chef. She helps families make practical meals using wholesome ingredients.

I know that not everyone is a fan of Rachael's but you have got to give her props for helping so many Americans get back in the kitchen and make meals using quality ingredients (e.g. making your own cream sauce rather than slathering something in Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup). She makes cooking easy and ACCESSIBLE for everyone. Martha Stewart makes absolutely nothing accessible. Her style is uppity, snobbish perfection that no working mother has the time or energy to ever attain.

So suck all the botox out of your face Martha and swallow that pill because you're just bitter that Rachael is now more popular than you.

Poetry Friday

The Question Mark

Poor Thing. Poor crippled measure
of punctuation. Who would know,
who could imagine you used to be
an exclamation point?
What force bent you over?
Age, time and the vices
of this century?
Did you not once evoke,
call out and stress?
But you got weary of it all
got wise, and turned like this.

-Gevorg Emin

Friday, November 13, 2009

Poetry Friday

The Pen

Take a pen in your uncertain fingers.
Trust, and be assured
That the whole world is a sky-blue butterfly
And words are the nets to capture it.

-Muhammed al-Ghuzzi

Monday, November 9, 2009

Remember, Remember the 9th of November

Twenty years ago today the world watched the Iron Curtain unravel when The Wall came down in Berlin. On the eve of my tenth birthday, I wasn't old enough to understand why there was a wall coming down, but I did know that whatever the reason, this was a big moment in the history of the world.

Fast forward fifteen years later, I was living in Germany with my husband when we visited Berlin for the first time. I couldn't believe what a youthful, vibrant spirit this city possessed given its oppressive past. There is an interesting dichotomy of lifestyle in Berlin. People have moved forward while still being reminded on every corner what happened from 1961-1989.

Those first few minutes in Berlin began a new phase of my life. It was there that I realized how little I actually learned in school. I didn't understand the significance of studying history until I walked the streets of a city that skitters on the border of the past and the present. Textbooks can never make you feel history; in an attempt to be objective and non-biased, they take away any sort of feeling of desire and urgency to understand WHY. When you go to Berlin, you can't help but understand because the WHY is everywhere.

Berlin quickly became my favorite city on earth. I've been there three times, and each time I go I learn something new. It's been extremely difficult for me to explain and pinpoint my love for this city, but I think I can now attempt to do so.

When boys in my social studies classes talk about loving history, for most of them it's because they love learning about wars, especially World War II. But to me, The Cold War is more exciting to study because it was all about the suspense, the possibility of going to war. Here you had these two superpowers, two differing ideals, ready to go to battle to fight for their honor.

But the near 30 year showdown in Berlin didn't end in war. The people of East Germany and all of the communist puppet states of Europe could see past the propaganda and understand that their government was oppressive. And instead of a war, the Iron Curtain unraveled by the will of the people to tear it down. People power, not weapons, is what caused that wall to fall.

So twenty years later, Berlin thrives and progresses while still managing to hold hands with the past. You never have to worry about people forgetting to remember what happened on the 9th of November. And despite not being there today in body, I am there in spirit. Even though I've never lived in Berlin, I still feel like I, along with John F. Kennedy can say, "Ich bin ein Berliner."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Poetry Friday

The Meaning of Simplicity

I hide behind simple things so you'll find me;
if you don't find me, you'll find the things,
you'll touch what my hand has touched,
our hand-prints will merge.

The August moon glitters in the kitchen
like a tin-plated pot (it gets that way
because of what I'm saying to you),
it lights up the empty house and
the house's kneeling silence --
always the silence remains kneeling.

Every word is a doorway
to a meeting, one often canceled,
and that's when a word is true:
when it insists on the meeting.

- Yannis Ritsos

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #2)

Chills. The last sentence of this book literally gave me chills up my arms and down my spine. And then tears began to fall.

I have never been so shocked by an ending as I was with this one. In fact, I was so startled by the ending that my husband, who was sitting near me on the couch, looked over at me and asked me what was wrong when I put my hand to my mouth and stifled an, "Oh my God."

While I did not love this book as much as the first one, I have to commend Suzanne Collins for writing such gripping, unpredictable plots.

If you have not read this book or the first one of the series, I'm telling you that you must read it NOW.

Let me just say that the cliffhanger of an ending is going to make it torturous to have to wait for the next installment. Anyone know when book three is supposed to come out?