May 8th, 2002



First time in a long time. The feeling started last night. I took some Excedrin migraine tablets. I don't think the headache will last long.

NY Times editorial

This came out today:

Ladies, Sing the Blues

May 8, 2002

WASHINGTON - I was feeling pretty happy, in a guilty-pleasure sort of way. It was a banner week for schadenfreude.

First the tumble of the arrogant colossus, AOL Time Warner; then the unraveling of the imperious Hollywood Svengali Michael Ovitz; finally the news that the batrachian Enron
executives may do time for manipulating energy markets in California.

As in Greek myths: Hubris gets its just deserts. AOL Time Warner was the humongous beast that got a stomachache trying to gobble up everything in sight. The Internet crowd was in the throes of a narcissistic and economic explosion two years ago. It treated its partners - such as Time, People, InStyle, Fortune, HBO and CNN - contemptuously, even though they provide most of the conglomerate's products. The dot-com cabal dismissed content as the vestige of an obsolete universe.

But now that the company has lost $54 billion in the first quarter, we must ask: What is AOL, anyhow? Isn't it just cyberspace tin cans strung together?

AOL placed a losing bet that the bottle was more important than the wine. The universe is not so easy to master, after all.

Maybe Mike Ovitz and the hotshots of AOL and Enron, all those emperors of etherea, those peddlers of pseudo-services, will have to get real jobs now.

I was reading the paper, gloating that the puffed-up were not prospering, when I learned that my glee could kill me. Happiness could be unhealthy.

Articles detailed new research indicating that a pale shade of the blues may actually be good for women's longevity. A Duke University study showed that women with mild
depression were 40 percent less likely to die prematurely than women who were not depressed, or than those with severe depression.

This was going to require some tricky calibrations in our personal lives.

Single women can now call off the exhausting and maddening hunt for Mr. Right. Mr. Right would bring bliss - and an early grave.

But women will also have to try harder to avoid Mr. Wrong. Mr. Wrong, or a series of Mr. Wrongs, would lead to a slough of despond - and an early grave.

For the sake of our health, women will now have to look for Mr. Slightly Wrong, someone a little annoying, a man who can modify, qualify, deflect and overturn our happiness just enough so that we wake up not happy and not sad. We must find men who leave us with a sense of malaise, but who don't leave us.

O.K., I thought, I'll find Mr. Slightly Wrong and live very long.

But then I read about the Attack of the Killer Potatoes. Swedish researchers found out that frying spuds spurs the formation of a carcinogenic molecule.

French fries and potato chips are my major food group. I've downed enough Pringles to shingle Versailles.

Now I was really depressed. My life was rapidly growing shorter.

I pondered psychopharmacology: I could lift my unhealthy deep depression to a restorative mild one by taking an itty bit of Prozac.

But then I spied the front page of The Washington Post, which reported that sugar pills may work just as well as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.

So maybe I'll just put sugar in my tea, a beverage that dramatically reduces the chance of death following a heart attack, according to another new study this week.

Besides, the Duke research implied that anti-depressants would lull me into not fixing the problems in my life, and thereby shorten my life by making me too happy.

My imperative was clear: I had to dwell on the sad things with silver linings, at least if I wanted to stick around to keep being moderately saddened by them.

The new research sounds like the old Catskills joke: Restaurant-goers complain that the food is awful - and the portions are too small.

As much as boomers cherish age-attenuating measures, maybe it's better just to be happy, quickly. In the opera "The Makropoulos Case" a 16-year-old is given a magic elixir by her father that allows her to live for three centuries. When we meet her she is a ravishing 337-year-old opera singer, bored with fawning men and perpetual reruns.

That is when she realizes: Brevity is the soul of life.

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Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

Monsoon Wedding

Set in India, starring many Indians, in both English and Indian (? - is that the name of their language?). Mostly English.

Story of an arranged marriage between two young adults who had not met before (I believe), both of whom want the marriage. The young woman, whose huge wide-set eyes seemed strange to me, who is nicely rounded and, it seems, even tall, is ending a secret affair with a television talk show host. She keeps thinking of him while the wedding preparations continue. She even meets with him the night before the wedding.

The wedding is "organized" by a guy known as..Putey? Dutey, I think. Very funny part. He feels he is not getting paid enough so does not exactly snap-to when the father of the bride upbraids him for his lack of attention. During the course of the movie Dutey finds himself attracted to a young woman in the family. There is yet a third liaison that blossoms during this time, and all find a kind of resolution at the end.

A dark side story is the discovery of an apparent child molester in the family.

I felt the story centered less on the bride than on the bride's father, who has to face financial difficulties, the loss of his daughter, the "unmanly" pursuits of his young son, and the brother-in-law who disgraces his family. There are multiple stories circulating, with the wedding the connection between them all.

What most amazed me was the westernization of the culture. While the wedding plans and ceremonies are clearly traditional, the speech, manners, even some hairstyles, and electronic devices are strongly western and particularly American. I loved the preservation of the old and the beautiful in the face of this onslaught (funny though it often is, in the movie) and hope it means that our culture, which is fine for us, does not completely trample theirs.

I had a strong urge to visit India, to stay there a while, after seeing this film. It had really not occurred to me before, and now I am thinking about it. How?
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

stomach this time

My stomach, my digestive system?, is bothering me today. I am spending too much time in the bathroom. Was it the excedrin? The grapenuts? Something else? I hope it settles enough to allow the bowling hour to go well, without incident.

There are way too many little problems with my body. Nothing like what some people handle, I know, but they do make living a bit difficult and embarrassing at times.


I have been relaxing more deliberately this afternoon. I don't have any place to go tonight and I got home early because I had an appointment at the podiatrist's to pick up my new orthotics. These guys are cool! They are not large, actually fit and stay all right in my lighter shoes. I am wearing them in my athletic shoes right now and am about to do an exercise video in them. See if my balance is better.

Tracie and more

I made it through the tape all right with my new orthotics. They take adjustment. The instructions say wear them one hour the first day, two the second, and so on, and adjust according to how well you do with them. So I have done an hour or more already and feel fine.

I was interrupted about 2/3 of the way through by the neighbor boy, wondering if I had any more screens to replace. I did, and he's doing the last of them now. I don't have the money in case so will have to ask him if a check is okay. I can keep my windows open a lot more now, which is good considering summer is encroaching.

I vacuumed my kitchen rug, picked up loose stuff on the exposed vinyl, vacuumed the living room floor. I feel better already.
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished