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It was a lovely sunset today, so I thought I would share it with you. The days are, little by little getting longer. DSCF0841 DSCF0844 DSCF0845

You may have heard about the legalization of marijuana in much of Colorado. As of yesterday, people could legally buy pot at the numerous “green dispensaries” that have popped up one to a block (at least) in downtown Denver. For the second day in a row, as I was heading for the bus for home, I saw a line wrapped around the block outside of a particular dispensary, and it gave me pause. I’m not opposed to pot. It’s fine. But it saddens me that people are standing in line to buy it. What happens to them next? Do they go home and get stoned? It just seems like a waster of time, life, and spirit. And money. One ounce of pot is selling for $400. I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of lasting things that I could spend $400 on. And I’d still remember them the next day. I hope the hype dies down shortly, and people realize that being present in the here and now is priceless.

Quote of the day: “The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations – all of them rearranging themselves so this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.” — David Levithan

Daily gratitudes:
How challenging a basic yoga class is – but I went (my new thing for the day)
MKL
Flowers from Kendra
Pigeons
Making my deadlines

Ah, Mel.

I used to like Mel (never fond of his hairy ass though, as seen in the first Lethal Weapon film).  But recent turns in his personal life, such as cheating on/divorcing his wife for a Russian whatever, racist comments, and then being allegedly abusive to his ex-Russian whatever, not to mention claiming to be such a staunch Catholic AND doing all of the above, PLUS having a baby out of wedlock, have made me dislike him, and hence, not care very much about his acting skills.  Or at least have no desire to see him on-screen, or in any way contribute to his livelihood.

Those of you who have a sense of me can probably tell that I’m pretty tolerant and liberal and understanding of people’s choices, even if I don’t agree with them.  In fact, it could be argued that my own moral compass doesn’t always point north.  But I can’t tolerate someone who holds themself up as a paragon of something they believe in (whether it’s a religion, a philosophy, or a political view) but then acts in ways that are diametrically opposed to that belief, all the while continuing to hold themselves up as a standard-bearer.  I suppose it could be called moral hypocrisy. 

And that’s Mel Gibson to a T. (Where did THAT expression come from?)

However, I tuned into his movie “Maverick” today as I was getting ready to go to class, and it occurred to me how well he plays crazy men.  In fact, he’s played crazy men in many, many of his films – if not outright crazy men, men who can go crazy and act crazy.  Think about it.  He’s done so in “Mad Max”, “Maverick”, all the “Lethal Weapon” films, “Braveheart”, that Revolutionary War movie with Heath Ledger…. I suspect the list goes on and on, but I can’t think of any more of his films right now.

So what I’m saying is that he’s probably not really acting.  He’s probably just being himself.  Very capable of crazy.

Because I’m such a fashion maven – nay, an icon in the fashion universe – I know you’ve been waiting with bated (or baited, if you’ve been waiting at a sushi bar) breath for my report on the fashion trends for Spring 2011.   Well, it’s time.  Fashion week in New York, London, Paris and Milan is over, and the hustle and rush has settled a bit.

I’ve already made good use of the insight I’ve gained into the looks for spring by advising a woman shopping next to me in a local resale store. 

Here’s what you can expect for Spring 2011:

– Color?  Fuggedaboutit.  Whites, creams, the dreaded beige, a few soft sand colors, gentle peach, dusty pale blue. silver-grey, gold.  That’s about it.  Some black, as is to be expected.  The only color that’s really showing is orange.  I guess we can all wear orange on days when we have our periods.  (Oops, TMI.) You’ll see the occasional lapis lazuli blue or mossy green thrown in just to wake up the eyes.  (Versace and Pucci are showing a little turquoise.)  However, the lack of a true single color for the Spring is balanced by an old trend unfortunately revived…

– Patchwork!  The hippie look is back, and patchwork patterns are more common than a church quilt sale in rural Iowa.  Makes me wish I’d kept my clothes from the late 1970s.  However, while the patterns are familiar, the styles, for the most part, are unfamiliar – and I, for one, wish they had stayed that way.  You’ll see some examples in the “Oh Dear God No” photo section of the slideshow below.

– Texture:  I have to say, I love what I’m seeing for texture this Spring.  It’s me.  It’s floaty, silken, soft, feminine, comfortable.  Beautiful.

– Shape:  For the garments that aren’t relying on texture to create their shape, the shape is – in a word – square.  If you don’t like the ethereal look, you will be relegated to a boxy shape that looks like a hospital gown with (I assume) a back – or else a doctor’s smock.  Not exactly the pinnacle of chic.

Interesting how we’re looking at a bit of a throwback to the 1970s and the 1920s in the same season.

And so, here’s the slideshow of Spring 2011 fashions, broken into two sections: the “You Look Mahvelous, Dahling” collection and the “Oh Dear God, No” collection.

Enjoy!

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In the 1987 film Wall Street, Gordon Gekko (no relation to the Geico Gekko), portrayed by Michael Douglas, intones the following line:

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

The line has been summarized as “Greed is good” and has been used by Australian prime ministers, Italian cardinals, and characters in Fallout 2.  While it meshed well with the strong economic times of the 1990s, it now represents the high price that our society has paid for the actions of a covert few over the last ten years.  The irony behind it seems to strike more and more people every day, like a dead fish in the face. 

In the 1990s, I made more than I was making when my job left me at the end of March.  I worked with ad agencies and pharmaceutical companies that had money to burn.  This was back in the days when Tyco executive Dennis Kozlowski was spending $6000 of the company’s money on a shower curtain.  Everyone seemed to be flying high on the proverbial hog.  And then it all fell down – literally.  September 11 changed things.  Our soft underbelly was exposed, our humanity, our faith, all shaken.  For an all-too-brief time, we put aside our differences, our desires, our classist distinctions, and acted like a bunch of good people.  People who put others before our selves and our own needs.  Do you remember? 

Our economy took a dive.  Executives like those at Tyco and Enron were exposed for who and what they were and shamed for the damage they did.  Their victims were never compensated, but at least there was national, if not worldwide shame.  Then came the War on Terror – GWB always made it sound like “the War on Tara”, as if we were attacking the plantation from Gone With the Wind – and like confused children, we were hoping that things would get back to normal, that our world would make sense again.  But alas, that world was also gone with the wind.

(Please note that the opinions expressed here are just that – opinions – and my own.)  Instead, we’ve been sucked into eight years of bloodsucking, fiscally exhausting conflict that has apparently done nothing but fill with impunity the pockets of a few very special cronies of the past administration.  We all know it.  We just can’t do a damn thing about it.  Those of us who aren’t in a position to benefit from someone else’s power plays are resentful.  In fact, we’re sitting here watching what little savings we have left rise and fall according to the temperament of the stock market.  I swear, if I didn’t need my “assets” to be liquid, I’d be invested in real estate.  Maybe that’s not a bad idea.  As liquid as they are now, they’re getting pissed away.

And so, the point of this post….greed.  It magnificently and unjustly benefits a few.  I had lunch today with a  friend who is going through a divorce (join the club.)  Her “wasband” is trying to take her for everything he can, because he’s angry that she wants a divorce.  Her lawyer says he’s never seen anything like it.  And because she made more money than he did, he’ll probably get it.  Is he deserving?  No.  It’s nothing but greed.  Greed.  One of the seven deadly sins.  The question is, deadly to whom?  To the one whose soul is consumed by it?  Who has deluded oneself into thinking that things, money, revenge will soothe any pain that exists in the depths of the heart?  To the one who is now rich is assets but poor in spirit?

I have committed some of the 7 Deadlies myself.  I’ve been able to rationalize my actions – to delude myself, just like people who are guided by nothing but greed, into thinking that what I was doing was okay.  I’ve suffered the consequences, justifiably, and come out the other side.

I now comfort myself with the knowledge that those who are consumed by materialism, covetousness, and selfishness, deserve my pity.  And I know that they’ll get their comeuppance.  Greed may be the new black, but it will go out of style again.  It always does.  The richest people are the ones with their love of life and others intact. 

He who dies with the most stuff doesn’t win – he still dies.  Maybe one day, the people who live their lives driven by greed, will see that.  But I’m not holding my breath.  Then again, thank heavens, I don’t have to.

No, I’m not talking about smelly babies.  I’m talking about us, our society, how we interact with each other and the world around us. 

Sitting in the coffee shop (Paul’s Coffee Shop this time – I like working in coffee shops), I’m listening to the general buzz of conversation.  Several people are talking about how with the stroke of a key, they access this factoid or that piece of gossip.  Look back 60 years.  60 years isn’t really that long – although at the age of 13, I would have said it was forever.  I guess that perception is another thing that changes with time.  (How many of you remember, at one point in your youth, calculating how old you would be at the unthinkable turn of the millennium and barely being able to imagine it?) 

60 years ago, the world got its’ news from radio and from the newspaper.  TV, while in existence, wasn’t common.  The internet wasn’t even dreamed of.  If you wanted to communicate with someone who lived across the state, you sent a letter.  If it was urgent – and usually bad news – you sent a telegram.  But the point is, you waited.  You kept living your life, and when the news came, you reacted to it.  You didn’t constantly check the news, because there was nothing new to check.  Durham had morning and afternoon newspapers (the Durham Morning Herald and the Durham Afternoon Sun) when I was growing up, so you could at least get that level of timely update.

But now?  We have access to facts that were only previously found in books at the library, theses, or encyclopedias.  In fact, I have to wonder a few things about the unbelievable amount of content on the internet:

  • Where did these facts live BEFORE the Internet?
  • Who found them to put them on the Internet?
  • How could anybody have the time to do the research it took to create the content on the Internet?

I’ve written content as part of my job.  I know how long it takes.  I know how long it takes to write one of my “Slightly Bizarre History” blogs, and those are somewhat tongue-in-cheek.  How did the Internet happen?  Are there bijillions of people out there taking obscure facts from documents and books and translating them to some page somewhere in cyberspace – and getting paid for it?  Really?

I wonder if we were not more content before we knew everything real-time.  While coffee shops per se did not exist 60 years ago (I think Captain Starbuck was still whaling back then), diners did, with white formica counters and dime cups of java served in thick porcelain mugs.  Men (and sometimes women) wearing hats, came in for a blue-plate special.  Sometimes they talked.  When they did, did they talk about themselves?  About the little known news of the world?  About where they came from, where they were going?  I am sure they didn’t discuss the various functionality of their Royal typewriters or the advantage of using a Remington versus an Underwood.

Were people more personal back then, because “personal” was the primary focus of society – not business, not money, not getting ahead?  Or am I just living in a dream world of old movies?  Are we afraid of being personal now?  Or are we just so out of touch with what’s important that we’ve forgotten what being personal means?

This is the first in a short series of posts about our society, its high times, its low standards, and the general romp of life.  Such topics have been at the forefront of my frontal lobe – must be a sign of my own changing times.

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