Monday, May 6, 2019

more retrograde mumblings

Practice a little. Try going a whole -- or perhaps just a half -- a day without using the word "so" at the beginning of a sentence. In these times, "so" is the new "uhh," a space-maker and an invitation to find room for some sort of agreement, a stall tactic.

In my retrograde times yesterday, I rewatched the original "Blade Runner," a strangely evocative movie from the shelves of director Ridley Scott.

And then, to check my original enthusiasms for the book, a re-reading of "Plainsong," by Kent Haruf ... was it really as good as an initial reading insisted it was? The answer is yes. It still rocks me like a baby who has a colicky moment or two. I'll finish it in a day or so.

Scrubbed from the reading docket was T.E. Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" and James Jones' "Whistle." The former was too ornate and intelligent and antique for me.

The latter attacked the topic of wounded soldiers returned from battle. Their fate ... the fate that every combat vet faces with a sense of helplessness. Who will care for and heal the wounded rither within or without? Answer: No one. It's a lost cause trying to ease what can never be easy. What civilian, of however loving a heart, can connect and relieve and hug and erase? A lost cause. Sometimes horror remains what it always was: horror.  Easier to run around labeling the "heroes" -- those poor damned bastards.

Dry tears do not get "dry-er."

The rubbery scars go bumpity-bump over flesh that was once smooth but is no longer.

I think I will go back to "Plainsong" and its slow, swinging lullabies.

Things are happening in the world. Israel is putting a good face on its latest rocket attack against Gaza ... a bad face would be "anti-semitic" and thus not allowed... the anti-semitism of the Jews is not open for discussion. Brexit is tussling. Various locations are licking their storm-borne wounds. The U.S. is looking for a war (in Venezuela? or Iran?) that will rally us round an ill-defined flag.

Wouldn't it be nice to "win one for the Gipper?"


  1. “Wouldn't it be nice to ‘win one for the Gipper?’”


    Neither Trump nor any of his Sycophantic Muppet’s can muster a glimmer of George Gipp’s enthusiasm, dedication and competence to inspire the willingness to go to war in both FoxNews World _and_ most of the rest of America.

    But intense emotionalism is no longer needed to wage wars in a world where battles are fought with drones, paid volunteers, and mercenaries.

    Further we have a Congress which has difficulties in doing anything near a competent job.

  2. I had a colleague who was going to graduate school where she was specializing in literature. She fancied herself a poet and an advocate of Italian American Pride (culture, and accomplishments).

    So was the only person I know who actually began ever conversation and almost every sentence in a conversation with the world “so”.

    At first it was weird and annoying but sort of acceptable as she was in her twenties. Later on I began to appreciate the richness of the word and why someone would get stuck using it so often.


    Using “so” can change one’s perception and cognition of reality from a string of discreet events to a flow of events.

    But she struck me as very bright and on some level had an appreciation of words if not a mastery of the spoken word.

    But, yes, I have heard folks (almost exclusively girls) use “so” like a teenaged gum chewer in grade B movies of the 1950’s.