Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bad Combo

Santa asked for a Wish List from me this year, and I was happy to comply. One of the best pleasures of the season is figuring out what to get my friends for gifts, but in the end, the known preference is probably better than the unknown.

For instance, when my buddy Mike, who shall remain nameless, asked about gifts for his sister, I asked if she'd read the Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. She had not, declared my friend. Excellent! There's the gift!

Alas, sister Liz had in fact read at least part of the series. Mike went to the bookstore after Christmas and returned the book. He came back out with a gift card, since Liz doesn't remember if she was at #3 or #4 in the series.

So you see that a list can be very important, if less creative and romantic.

It's like the naming of the streets in St. Petersburg. I was so disappointed when I moved here on July 13, 1985, to discover that, with a sprinkling of exceptions, the streets and avenues are simply named numbers. Here I was in an exotic land with palm trees (They're not trees! They're pithy plants!) and draw bridges and tourists and the most amazing storms and the biggest birds ... and the most mundane street names, er, numbers.

But when I discovered how easy navigation was, I was delighted. You could tell me you lived at 5711 21st Avenue South, and I'd actually know how to get there. I lived on East Main in Rochester, but if you didn't know where that was, you just didn't know, and let's not talk about Monroe Avenue or Genesee Street.

So yay for numbered street grids and yay for Wish Lists!

I wanted a day-by-day calendar of quotes from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. There's one in the bathroom at The Longhouse ( and I always feel better -- uplifted -- when I read it. The wisdom, peace, and compassion that seep into me might last all the way to my car, so imagine how nice I'd be if I had my own daily dose of holiness.

Well, Santa brought it to me. Yay, Santa! Alas, it's from a strange publisher, indeed, a publisher who clearly wanted to give his customers a little something in addition to sacred words of His Holiness, a publisher named Andrews McMeel Publishing, at 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64106. This bonus is in the form of THE DAILY EXTRA on the back of each of three hundred and sixty-five pages. Oh wait. That can't be the right number, because Saturday and Sunday share a page. What the heck?

Okay. Let's skip the numbers and just get down to the problem. Here's the Dalai Lama for Friday, July 16: Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

Fine. That's not so very very profound, but it's okay. But what ho! on the back of the page is THE DAILY EXTRA: Match the Artist with the Song.

  1. Summer Breeze
  2. Summer Wind
  3. Summer in the City
  4. Boys of Summer
  5. Girls in Their Summer Clothes

  1. Lovin' Spoonful
  2. Bruce Springsteen
  3. Seals and Crofts
  4. Frank Sinatra
  5. Don Henley

Still thinking about that honorable life, are you?

Here's October 6, with apologies to David Rogachefsky and Olga, born on that day: Mistakenly apprehending inherent existence in all phenomena serves as the root of all other delusions. And THE DAILY EXTRA: Cool But Disgusting Fact. "Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour -- about 1.5 pounds a year. By 70 years of age, an average person will have lost 105 pounds of skin."

Okay. Maybe thinking about rogue skin is easier than trying to understand what the heck was going on with that quote, but you get my point.

One more and I swear I'll quit. Says His Holiness: If you fulfill the value of a human lifetime through engaging in religious practice, then there is no point in worrying about death. THE DAILY EXTRA: Household Hint. "Old nylon stockings, cut lengthwise, make great ties for tomato plants. They won't cut into the stalk, are weather resistant, and are very strong."

Have mercy!


gwuf said...

And I thought all those loose particles I can see floating around in the air through the bright sunlight were only dust particles. And..... if you ever have company, tiny little pieces of their skin will be left behind too. Ahhhhh.... the wonderment of it all. (now.... how do I go about getting all those left-over skin particles from people I never wanted in the house to begin with?)

flahoos said...

Don't worry, gwuf, the billions of dust mites living in your air ducts and mattresses eat most of the skin flakes. Ah the circle of life...
BN, your mention of the #1 Detective Agency confirms that this series must be put on my list. A good friend who has traveled to Ghana with the Heifer Project is reading this now and loves it.