What’s your point?

I know I’ll never be a poet. For one thing, I rarely have any deep insights that would benefit from a pithy exploration of inner psychological details, historical events, or trees.

I am, however, particularly drawn to writing headlines, coming up with puns to make even the strongest editor cry, and cracking jokes. Which makes me the perfect writer for crafting misleading descriptions of popular works of literature which intentionally miss the point.

And so today, I offer you my list inspired by the supposedly true story of a description of The Wizard of Oz which once appeared in TV Guide. It is said to have read A young girl travels to a magical land where she kills the first person that she meets, then joins with others to kill again.

To Kill a Mockingbird — Recluse reluctantly drawn into community affairs.

Jurassic Park — Entrepreneur surprised when genetic experiments go awry.

The Bonfire of the Vanities — Arrogant bond salesman arrested for murder.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — New Yorker documents Southern bachelor’s protracted legal battle.

The Princess Bride — Improbable romance diverts recovering boy.

Of Mice and Men — Social interactions perplex mentally challenged farm worker.

Roots — Black author’s genealogy quest proves successful.

Lonesome Dove — Accidental shooting impacts Old West events. Lonesome Gus

Raising Arizona — Man finds ingenious solution to wife’s fertility problems.

The Crying Game — Romance blossoms between kindhearted IRA foot soldier and English free spirit.

A Simple Plan — Downed plane provides Minnesota couple with windfall.

My Left Foot — Handicap limits boy’s interactions with others.

The Stand — Altered virus proves remarkably efficient.

Amadeus — Institutionalized musician reflects upon colleague’s career.

The World According to Garp — Fatherless writer settles into domestic life, with mixed results.

Dangerous Liaisons — Complex coiffures, raiment provide little hindrance to promiscuity.

Cold Mountain — Walking home can take a really long time.

The Bridges of Madison CountyNational Geographic foots bill for randy photographer’s conquests.

O Brother Where Art Thou? — Latent musical ability discovered in trio of escaped convicts.

Girl With a Pearl Earring — Servant girl’s domestic duties interrupted by master’s whims.

I see blog people

The Sixth Sense — Hallucinations worrisome for Philadelphia youth.

Vanilla Sky — Man grapples with issues surrounding reconstructive surgery.

The Executioner’s Song — Ex-con struggles to re-enter society.

Mulan — Young Chinese girl discovers father’s armor fits her comfortably.

The Sound of Music — Austrian postulant revises career choice.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn — Arboreal nuisance achieves rapid growth in urban setting.

Back to the Future — Son seeks origin of parents’ romance.

Boogie Nights — Aspiring actor makes logical career choice.

Catch Me If You Can — Ambitious student explores several career options.

Coal Miner’s Daughter — Mountain lass marries young, moves far from home.

Escape from New York — Experimental penal colony established despite risk.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events — Orphans persevere despite custody issues.

Saturday Night Fever — Spare-time pursuits of paint-store employee documented.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians — Societal consequences of lack of spay/neuter policy explored.

Rear Window — Shut-in occupies time between girlfriend’s visits.

The Da Vinci Code — Man offers surprising interpretation of Biblical events.

An American Werewolf in London — Injured during a trip abroad, a college student finds romance with nurse.

A werewolf and his nurse

Back to the Future — Son seeks origin of parents’ romance.

Splash — Woman from overseas adjusts to American life.

A Few Good Men — Naval official surprised by consequences of his actions.

Alien — Space voyage diverted by unexpected event.

Apollo 13 — Astronauts struggle with home, work issues.

Beetlejuice — Young couple surprised by accident’s outcome.

Total Recall — Man struggles with realization of marital betrayal.

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A guilty woman’s tour of New York

There are lots of ways to see New York. As a tourist, you go to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park. If you’re an art lover, you head straight to the Metropolitan Museum and, especially if you like saying it out loud, MOMA.

If you’re me, you eat a lot, discover a whole lot of what you don’t know, and feel guilty about both.

Take this for example.

Wouldn't we all

Thanks a lot, David Barton Gym. This is supposed to be motivational, I know, and in a world where there are TV series featuring serial killers as heros and chemistry teachers making meth, I shouldn’t be surprised. The sign looks a bit strange because like a lot of New York buildings, it’s being renovated and the scaffolding protects passers-by. Who presumably have murder on their minds.

But of course, after a couple days taking huge, salt-and-butter laden bites out of the Big Apple, I was starting to think such ghoulish thoughts sounded good.

Visiting my sister Cara, chef of a darling restaurant, Cafe Ghia in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, means eating. A lot. She and our other sister, her twin Leah, are only 30 years old and ridiculously active. A few 1,000 calorie “starters” (what we in New York are now calling appetizers) sit lightly on their yoga-trimmed and cycle-pared thighs. Add 18 years and a lot of sitting around on your ass blogging, and such delights tend to drag down one’s derriere considerably.

So there’s that guilt trip: eat your way across New York and no matter how much walking up and down stairs to the subway you do, you still arrive back home in Kentucky with a newly minted double chin and a drawer full of jeans you can’t zip.

Chelsea HotelHere’s something else: The Hotel Chelsea. Heard of it? Maybe? Well, maybe I had too.

“It’s famous for something,” Leah allowed, as we walked past it to get to the Doughnut Plant next door. (Mmmm doughnuts. See above.)

“Well, it’s also closed,” I announced, seeing the sign on the door.

“Probably bedbugs,” was my mother’s Regis and Kelly-informed opinion.

Well, as it turns out, it too was being renovated, as a group of pretty good-looking guys rolling giant iron carts to the curb told me. Their accents were as thick as the iron too. I felt like I was in On the Waterfront. They couldda been contendas!

As it was, they approved of my photographing the building, wisely acknowledging its fame. I snapped away, wondering, what for?

Leonard Cohen! I know right?Ah, how good of the Chelsea, to provide historical-markeresque plaques for the rubes from the hinterlands. Reading along, I learned this was the famous hotel where writers would go to write, holed up in their New York-fueled frenzy, churning out Pulitzer Prize winning novels and one Great American Novel after another.

Welcome to the ChelseaGuess what? Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while at the Chelsea and oh, who else stayed there? Just a few nobodies like Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, who wrote On the Road there.

Good stuff! Why then, the guilt? Oh, because I majored in LITERATURE for Pete’s sake! Literature of the English language! The literature written by people like Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac. You’d think the name “Chelsea” might have penetrated my consciousness at some point. Not to mention all the musicians who flopped, dropped acid, or were murdered within its walls (Nancy, girlfriend of the Sex Pistols’ Sid Viscious was found murdered there.) I SAW SID AND NANCY!

Ah well, I’m an older, wiser, and more well-traveled woman of the world now. I may have to slap on the Spanx and hold my breath for 15 minutes to get into my jeans now —  but by golly, I’ve eaten octopus and rabbit in Brooklyn and consumed pizza and fried dough in Manhattan. And I’ve stood on the sidewalk before the buildings where John Lennon died (the Dakota) and Nancy Spungen expired (the Chelsea).

Maybe it’s not necessary to do any killing to look better naked. Hanging around  New York literary hotspots might just make me thin by association.

In the high hide

In the movie The Lost World, the sequel to Jurassic Park, something called a High Hide is prominently featured. Because I recall the book by Michael Crichton better than the movie, I’ll describe what I remember from it, not the movie … but if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s this tall platform that animal researchers can use to observe dangerous predators, like lions, in their natural habitats without danger to themselves. They were not designed for dinosaur observation and thus we have forward momentum of the plot.

But at any rate, the term has been on my mind for the last several weeks, as Tras completes his array of high hides in the garage.

Not that we have any predators to observe. We just have a garage with a high ceiling, a vast open space that screams “potential storage area” to my handyman (and pack-rat) husband.

Ok that, wasn’t exactly fair. Yes, he is a pack-rat, but he’s not the only one. When you combine households, as we did six years ago, you get a lot of duplication (and triplication: at one point we had three sets of washers and dryers). That duplication also comes in the form of stuff — he and I both had boxes and boxes of college textbooks, files, and the various flotsam and jetsam of life we couldn’t part with, not to mention  all the paraphernalia, equipment, toys and clutter associated with the children I had then so far produced.

So this was his solution: affix to the high ceiling, and walls, various shelving units which could store all the things that probably would be best off out of the attic (fragile, melty stuff among them) and leave up in the attic what could be stored there (bunk beds, other furniture, suitcases).

It’s an exciting project for me because, in order to affix these various high hides to the garage ceiling,  they had to be bolted to the floor above … a space otherwise known as the attic. And to accomplish the delicate task of finding the right stud to mount [stop: this is a G-rated blog] the bracket to, the attic had to be cleared of most of the things previously stored therein.

So we’ve had some boxes sitting around for a while while this project unfolded. And soon, they will go back into storage. But in the meantime let us celebrate: Tras was justifiably proud of his handiwork, once finished, and couldn’t resist demonstrating its cargo-lifting capabilities with young Trasimond, who enjoyed his trip into the high hide thoroughly. So much so that he couldn’t resist a goofy expression or two.

So now, should any prehistoric creatures threaten, we know we’ve got built-in safety measures already in place. I guess all that storage it can provide was just incidental.

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I hope I dream of Boulder tonight

Wow, I’ve got a terrific headache. My son Christopher got back from the doctor a couple hours ago. The diagnosis? H1N1. The flu. He’s upstairs right now, slurping down rice and broth and a nice smoothie I whipped up for him, as I do for every one of my family members who get sick.

Except, right now, it seems like everyone is sick. And I can’t get that song, “Baby Can You Dig Your Man?” out of my head. It’s like something from a dream …

… or maybe a Stephen King novel. It’s a real Captain Trips.

The poor lamb arrived home yesterday evening after spending the weekend in Virginia attending the wedding of his father’s cousin. He and his sister, Claire, had a great time; it was their first formal event as adolescents/teens and were dressed suitably for the occasion, and drilled diligently on their manners prior to their departure. Since I wasn’t going to be around for helpful correction to their behavior, I had to trust God, baseball and the American Way to pull them through.

What I didn’t expect, through, was them to return with the flu.

It’s probably not the fault of the weekend trip, though; Christopher could have contracted this now hysteria-producing virus sometime in the previous week at school. And since he spent the entire weekend with his sister, either in the close quarters of a hotel room or on the eight-hour drive (each way), she’s likely to come down with it too.

We’ve got our own little quarantine going around here now; Christopher relegated to his end of the hall upstairs, Claire to hers, with some freedom of movement, and me trying to keep the little one segregated downstairs with the two of us.

Ooogh. I’m getting tired. These typing fingers are slowing down. The words before me are starting to swim a little on the screen. What? What’s that you say? No, I don’t know any old black ladies, but geez I seem to be imagining things. I swear I just heard the sweetest little old lady said something about Boulder. Huh. I’ve never been there. I bet it’s really pretty this time of year.

Baby, can you dig your man?

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