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May 31, 2004

Consumer Report from the Memorial Day Yard Sales


Hi there, I'm back, did you notice? Did you miss me?

I am sorry to report that I was unable to connect wirelessly over the weekend. except in the most fluttering way. I drove around the village with my laptop open on my lap, trying to keep my cursor steady, one eye on the road and the other on the screen, trying to spot potential hookups, to no avail. Since it was 5 AM, I did not hit any pedestrians. The Village Coffee Shop isn't wireless, although it does have an internet connection. I believe I know of one other possibility, the afficionatos at the end of the beach with a thriving family computer business. I'm sure they know enough to lock their wireless tight, but perhaps they will take pity on a blogger, and let me sit on their front lawn from time to time on summer weekends to do a post.

Yard Sailing as a clump on Saturday, we unearthed a pair of Jackie Onassis sunglasses, gradated with a warm brown tint from forehead to upper lip. A find for 50 cents. Their new owner, a Vogue devotee, says the large lens is back. Although she does feel that the glasses make her look like a bumble bee, she wore them all day, a slave to fashion. They make an excellent full face windscreeen when riding a bike.

We also purchased two paperback books. One, in perfect conditon, was dated 1950, and entitled "How to Survive an Atomic Bomb" by Richard Gerstell, Consultant, Civil Defense Office. It's terrifying in that hilarious way. Mr. Gerstell has chosen a question and answer format for this little tome, in which he optimistically answers questions like "What are my chances of surviving a nuclear bomb explosion?"

Answer: " Excellent! "

Regarding "rays", (one of the three components of a nuclear explosion outlined - heat, blast and radiation), we are told, "the rays will not necessarily make you have children who are freaks. Not one of over 12,000 carefully watched Japanese survivors has yet to have an abnormal child because of the rays. Not one of the many animals that lived through the atomic tests at Bikini has had an abnormal offspring. "

"The rays will not make you permanently bald. Some Japanese men and women lost some of the hair on their heads for awhile after the bombing, but even in the worst cases the hair returned in a few months. In no case did baldness remain."

Here's a chatty bit. "All right, let's say I've taken all the safety steps. I've gone down on my face with my head in my arms. The bomb has gone off, I've waited for the all clear, or at least I've waited for a good length of time after the explosion [no length is specified, but you get the feeling he's talking about 15 minutes, not fifteen weeks] after I get up, what do I do then?"

Answer: "The first thing is get set for a shock."

Question: "Why should I get set for a shock?"

Answer: "Because things are going to look different. ....Understand that beforehand. Then you won't get such a jolt when you come out later and see a lot of places that you knew very well, and find them damaged or destroyed.... this book doesn't kid you. It's trying to keep you from being hurt."

I could go on and on. Actually, I had the grim thought that we could use a revised edition of this little paperback, given how badly things have been stirred up by our bad behavior in the Middle East. And, of course there is one .

The second paperback purchased was "The 5-Minute Iliad, and Other Instant Classics: Great Books for the Short Attention Span", by Greg Nagan. Synchronicity, not only because it was tailored for my kind of attention span, but also because, in the evening, we went to see the epic, "Troy" , which is loosely based on The Iliad and spills over into The Odyssey. I. personally, never would have made this film selection, but mutual consensus was involved. This is an antiwar movie, if ever there was one. Lots of retaliation, missed opportunities for peace, gore, battle scenes, widows, warrior psychology, and, of course, the Trojan Horse, which is really from the Odyessy. Brad Pitt, as Achilles, the mighty warrior is quite buff, but too adorable to be ferocious in my book.

Most interesting was that we unknowingly had an, as yet unappreciated, Iliad/Odyssey scholar in our midst -two courses on the Joseph Campbell campus - who critiqued the movie expertly, and taught us much about the history and the literary nuances of the original. We were all disappointed that the director chose to skip entirely all the divine intervention -- the myriad difficulities and miracles in the original manipulated by goddish jealousies, rivalries and whims. Oh well. It was three hours too long anyway.

Finally, I got a new teapot for a dollar.

Photo note: My new teapot. I was a bit disappointed that it only whistles like an ordinary teapot. I had hoped that the bird would warble when the water boiled..

Posted by Dakota at May 31, 2004 07:37 PM