Monday, August 6, 2007

Dyed Hair Not Always a Picnic

Dear Diary:

I dropped into the hairdresser's this morning to give Lori my stylist the photo of the wedding dress crocheted by Alex. in 1971. As I walked though the door with yesterday's brassy orange-red-gold hair gleaming in the sun, Lori gaped in horror from across the room "Give me five minutes and we'll do something," she said as she finished up a man in the chair. I sent Paul over to McDonald's to have a coffee and Lori got to work. She applied a toner--blue and violet she said--and after it cooked for a while she shampooed it away and behold, my head was almost back to normal--not quite--but so much better it seemed a miracle. I asked her to cut it shorter and that helped by ,removing some of it. Then she told me that the entire staff had gone on a picnic yesterday to a local private park. They had won first prize in their Presidential (Bet Cuts) contest for best salon of the year. A substitute staff was working in their place, culled from other Best Cuts locations, . No wonder I didn't recognize any of them including the woman who tinted my hair--and she did try to her best to rectify the problem. Trouble was it didn't make much difference. The effect looked as if a bright reddish-brown feather duster had landed on my head. Lori, however, knew what to do. Moral of the story is, don't jump impulsively into a situation that could easily backfire on you.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Disaster

Dear Diary:

Such a horrifying disaster in Minneapolis. When I heard about it I thought, oh no, not another bridge disaster. They seem to happen once in a generation. It's the realization of bad dreams experienced by many of us who never feel comfortable crossing large spans.

I've been impressed by the city's very competent officials as they discuss the latest details on television, and we're also hearing about how much help they're getting from volunteers. They all exhibit the right Minnesota stuff as exemplified in the writings of Garrison Keillor.

There's a bridge in Canada that gives me the willies every time we cross it. It's the Burlington Bridge and goes way high over water near Hamilton. Here it is and it is a beauty, but to cross it you have to drive up a very high and long ramp--like climbing up into the sky.

I found a good picture of the Burlington but I don't yet know how to insert photos here. Must learn.

Bridge disasters have taken on a mythology of their own. One of the most famous is the Tay Bridge Disaster near Dundee in Scotland in 1879. The bridge fell during a violent hurricane and an entire train fell into the river Tay estuary taking 90 victims to their deaths still in their railway cars. This was a new bridge, over two miles long, and was opened with lots of hoopla as one of the great structures of the Victorian age. It lasted about a year

Oddles of websites. The attached shows how the media told the story in 1880. Surprisingly similar in spite of having to use drawings instead of photography/. Here's the link:

A bad poet wrote an epic poem. Here are the first lines:

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

Then there's The Bridge at St. Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. But that's fiction.

Alas! I am very sorry to say

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Poem I Liked Today


She peels cod fillets off the slab,
dips them in batter, drops them
one by one into the storm of hot fat.
I watch her scrubbed hands,
elegant at the work,

and think of the hands of the midwife,
stroking wet hair from my face as I sobbed and cursed,
calling me sweetheart and wheelling in more gas,
hauling out at last my slippery fish of a son.
He was all silence and milky blue. She took him away
and brought him back breathing,
wrapped in a white sheet. By then
I loved her like my own mother.

I stand here speechless in the steam and batter,
as she makes hospital corners of my hot paper parcel..

Jean Sprackland
The New Yorker, July 9 & 16, 2007

I turned to Poetry for information about Sprackland and and learned this:
Born 1962, she is the author of two books of poems and a collection of short stories, and has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Whitbread Prize and the T. S. Eliot prize. She was chosen as a Next Generation Poet in 2004.

There is an attention through Sprackland's work to the spark of mystery left in what we have allowed to seem domestic or ordinary.

She is a native of Burton on Trent, England.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Horrible Bush/Brown Press Conference

Horrors. I just watched a YouTube playback of yesterday's Bush /Brown press conference. Downright embarrassing--Brown answering questions directly and crisply and that fool Bush looking for all the world like an unprepared high school student trying to answer an oral exam question with reams of B.S. and ending by charmingly asking, "What was the question?" Everyone, including Brown and the press ignored once again the lack of the Emperor's new clothes. Bush in his rambling answers once again made up his own words (eg. suiciders), lectured us that his job is "hard work," managed to insult the Scottish people with stupid Scots jokes, and picked on one newsman for having a bald head. Ha. Ha. Very funny.
You can see this travesty on
But have a barf bowl at the ready.