When You Grow Up

It was my least favorite question in school. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

On one occasion, I remember being forced (forced!) to draw (draw!) what my life would look like … in … the … few … cher-er-er. (Echoes.) If I had had the sense of humor I now claim to have, I would have drawn someone who was capable of drawing. Maybe I would have drawn someone holding a board with many colors on it. The person would be wearing a smock. And a beret. (That was how Mr. V—, our art teacher in elementary school, actually dressed. It was almost a parody of a cliché of someone’s parodied cliché of what an artist is supposed to look like.) The caption to my drawing would have stated that I hoped I would be able to draw when I was a grown-up.
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‘A Conversation with Cary Grant’

Mark Aldrich:

Cary Grant died 29 years ago today. Here is one movie fan’s memory of an encounter …

Originally posted on The Gad About Town:

(Cary Grant died 29 years ago today in Davenport, Iowa, while on tour with his Q&A show, “A Conversation with Cary Grant.”)
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Starting in the mid-1980s, Grant toured in a one-man question-and-answer show, “A Conversation with Cary Grant,” in which he spent ninety minutes or so answering questions from audience members. Several other movie stars and celebrities have since taken on similar productions in which they and their fans bask in an accepted and reflected adoration? Gregory Peck, for one?but Grant was the first. The show was an extended, and deserved, curtain call from beginning to end.

One cool feature to Grant’s tour was that it visited theaters in which he had performed during his vaudeville years in the 1920s. Thus it was that in April 1985 I found myself sitting in the balcony of the small (1500 seat) Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston…

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Raif Badawi: Is an End in Sight?

Yves Rossier, Switzerland’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, told a Swiss newspaper, La Liberté, yesterday that Saudi blogger Raif Badawi’s sentence has been suspended.

“A royal pardon is in the works thanks to the head of state, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” Rossier added.
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Donald Trump’s Disability

Donald Trump’s disability is a terrible one, one that I would not wish on anyone: There is little that is more disabling than a mean spirit.

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“Four eyes!”

The elementary school bullies used to yell that. I hated the plastic tortoise-shell glasses for their book-thickness, their weight, but most of all, I hated them for the taunts. There were other kids who wore glasses in our school, so I could not have been the only one who was taunted, but my glasses truly were thicker than anyone else’s. By high school I took up the affectation of not needing them, because, as a near-sighted person, I could see light and dark and shapes and so I could negotiate my way from classroom to classroom. I stopped the affectation one day when I did not recognize my own sister among the shapes and colors of our high school halls.
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Thanksgiving’s Mother

In most of her portraits, Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving, looks stern. Gentle, but stern. She was an editor, but befitting a woman of her era, she employed the term, “editress.” From age 33 until her death at age 90, she wore black, which designated her as a widow in mourning from the day her husband died until the day she was to join him.
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Saudi Arabia’s Next Terrible Move

Two reports in local Saudi Arabian media reveal that a mass execution is planned to take place in that nation in a few days. The prisoners are not named, but one report states that more than 50 individuals are to be executed and that all of them are from the eastern part of the country, and another explains that all of the prisoners have been charged with terrorism.

Both of these statements describe Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, the young man who was arrested when he was a teen; his uncle, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr; and Ali Saed Al-rebeh, Mohammed Faisal al-shyookh, Dawood al-Marhoon, Abed allahhassan al-Zaher, Ali Mohammad al-Nimr, and Mohammad Suwaymil. Each was charged with terrorism and they all are from the east.
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“Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender.” That’s in a book somewhere. Resentments are a form of schadenfreude, one of its many flavors.

The term schadenfreude literally means damage-joy. When one enjoys the news that a rival is encountering trouble, one is experiencing a sense of schadenfreude. Most of us have experienced this feeling at some point in our lives, but most of us also have been jerks at some point in our lives, and the two sometimes come at the same time.

There is no real-world term for its opposite, so some people have begun to use a made-up word, freudenschade, to describe the distress one feels when a friend or rival is doing well or has had a success.
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Rainy Days and Mondays

I am as awkward around famous people as I am around people people. Even the clunkiness of that sentence captures my general social clunkiness.

It is entirely likely that anyone within reading distance of this blog has him or herself met more famous people (and more-famous people) than I have. A well-balanced person treats the waiter like a prince and talks with royalty like they’re the next-door neighbors; I am well-balanced, but not in a good way: I treat everyone like they are a teacher who has announced a pop quiz that I have not studied for.
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