Leave Me Alone

I trust that the title is explanation enough. Sometimes the only thing that helps is put a song on repeat, and if that doesn’t work at first, turn it up until the volume penetrates the din and brings clarity. Then turn it down and get back to work.

I love the way the restless rhythm, yet so disciplined, marches on aimlessly, and the singer’s calm voice conveys regret and anomie, all the more effective for how polite he sings. The spiraling riffs are calming and relieve the anxiety that motivates the singer’s lament.

On a thousand islands in the sea
I see a thousand people just like me
A hundred unions in the snow
I watch them walking, falling in a row
We live always underground
It’s going to be so quiet in here tonight
A thousand islands in the sea
It’s a shame

And a hundred years ago
A sailor trod this ground I stood upon
Take me away everyone
When it hurts thou

From my head to my toes
From the words in the book
I see a vision that would bring me luck
From my head to my toes
To my teeth, through my nose
You get these words wrong
You get these words wrong
You get these words wrong
I just smile

But from my head to my toes
From my knees to my eyes
Everytime I watch the sky
For these last few days leave me alone
But for these last few days leave me alone
Leave me alone
Leave me alone


When I Fall in Love

I heard this song on our jazz satellite TV music station the other day and was instantly enchanted by it again. When it came on, I scooped up the baby and slow-danced with her. It was a moment’s blessed reprieve from the drudgery of washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen; the never-ending toil lit up and warmed and cheered by a classic jazz tune…music that stops time even as it plays. This song echoed through my head and my heart for the rest of the day, and I listened to it again today. It echoed there all day today too. It brought me some peace. What a wonderful song.


It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this word in print, but it’s intriguing and I like it. I’ll have to work it into my everyday conversation. Say it out loud — it sounds neat. Looks to be useful.
realiaAudio Pronunciation\ree-AL-ee-uh\
noun plural
objects or activities used to relate classroom teaching to the real life especially of peoples studied
Among the realia used for the class’s lesson on World War II was a helmet and canteen that had belonged to one student’s great-grandfather.
“It’s common knowledge that eighth grade is one of life’s low points. Here, it literally makes Ginny Davis sick. Photo-collages of poems, notes, text and chat messages, comics, realia of all sorts and, especially, food document the descent of Ginny’s school year.” — From a book review in Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2012
“Realia,” as defined above, was first used in the late 19th century, and is still mostly used in the classroom by teachers, especially foreign language teachers. It is also used in library cataloguing (in reference to such bizarre things as an author’s hair and teeth donated posthumously) and occasionally finds its way into other contexts as well. You might, for example, hear of someone putting “realia”—objects that represent present-day life—in a time capsule. “Realia” is also sometimes used philosophically to distinguish real things from the theories about them—a meaning that dates to the early 19th century. “Realia” is one of those plural formations without a corresponding singular form. Like “memorabilia” (“memorable things” or “mementos”), “juvenilia” (“works produced in an artist’s or author’s youth”), and “marginalia” (“marginal notes or embellishments”), it incorporates the Latin plural ending “-ia.”

The Books I Finished in 2012

I decided to track what I read during 2012, just for curiosity’s sake. Note well that word “finished” in the title; some books were started prior to 2012 (e.g. City of God), and other books I started I never finished (e.g. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest –what a piece of dreck. I felt no need to finish it.) I took it easy on myself, in a sense, with the books on this list because many of them were re-reads from previous years. I didn’t feel like the discipline to make myself only read books new to me was useful or  fun (no fun not done, that’s my motto), so I didn’t. I alternated, more or less, and it turned out pretty enjoyably. I made more of a conscious effort to read for pleasure this past year, and it was fruitful and enjoyable for me. I know it improved my mind. I’d gotten away from reading for myself, because of the press of my duties, but that was tiring, so I decided to work back to reading for myself & I’m glad I did. Perhaps when you peruse this list, you can gain some insight into my likes, my interests, my temperament, and my outlook on life. Or just insight on what books I happened to devour.

What did you read in 2012? What are you planning on for 2013?

1)     Ernest Hemingway, a Life Story, Carlos Baker

2)     Angels Flight, Michael Connolly

3)     The Last Days of Adolph Hitler, H. Trevor Rope

4)     White Jazz, James Ellroy

5)     City of God, St. Augustine

6)     The Road, Cormac McCarthy

7)     Speaking the Truth in Love to Muslims, Roland Cap Elhke

8)     Moby Dick, Herman Melville

9)    The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

10)  The Angel of Darkness, Caleb Carr

11)  Religion on Trial, Craig Parton

12)  A Man in Full, Tom Wolfe

13) Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti, Bill & Pam Farrel

14) The New Testament in His Blood, Burnell Eckhardt

15) Berlin Noir, Philip Kerr

16) Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer

17) Cell, Stephen King

18) The Secret History, Donna Tartt

19) The Stripping of the Altars, Eamon Duffy

20) The Scarab Murder Case, S.S. Van Dine

21) Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne

22) Forewords and Afterwords, W.H. Auden

23) Birch Coulie, John Christgau

24) The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

25) The High Window, Raymond Chandler

26) The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler

27) Gentlemen, Bob Gendron (from the 33 1/3 series)

28) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby

30) No Easy Day, Mark Owen

31) Imitation of Christ, Thomas a’ Kempis

32) Lost Christianity, Jacob Needleman

33) Strong, Loving, and Wise, Robert Hovda

34) The Mission Song, John Le Carre

35) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne

I never thought….

Recently I’ve started doing something I never thought I’d do: in the mornings, I empty the last of yesterday’s coffee into a mug, reheat it, and drink it while the fresh stuff is brewing. I’d heard of others doing it (a good buddy told me he does it sometimes), but it had never seemed appealing to me. Who wants to drink yesterday’s reheated coffee first thing in the morning? Yet I’ve started doing it, and it’s actually…not that bad.

Why the change? I realized that I drink reheated coffee all day long (and sometimes into the evening) and it tastes just fine. Why should reheated coffee first thing in the morning be any different? Really, the only difference is my attitude about the time of day — reheated coffee can be just as good, or not good, at that hour of the day as at any other. Part of it, too, is that it helps get me going. Many times when I get up in the morning, the girls demand much attention and energy expended on their behalf, which leaves less to make coffee. The net result is I gut it out for a half hour or hour until things slow down, everybody’s fed and dressed, and I can tend to myself. That feels too long to wait, because if I am that tired in the morning, I NEED the coffee. A reheated cup is like glow plugs for a diesel — it helps me get my motor running when conditions are less than optimal. It’s a comfort and it helps me rally right out of the blocks. Plus, it’s less wasteful, because I’m not pouring coffee I could drink down the drain, and oftentimes the coffee I made the day before was actually really good and strong (e.g. what I find in the pot on a Monday morning.) After I thought about it for a while, the first reheat of the day doesn’t seem so bad. Many times I even welcome it. Who knew?