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“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

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English: Steacie Science and Engineering Libra...

Yes, I’ve shared a kiss between the stacks. But only because the library holds such seductive associations for me. Walking into a building full of books with endless choices, knowing that I can take home a variety of books and am under no compulsion to finish them. Because…drum roll, please…they’re free! Unbelievable! The thing I love to do most – read – costs me not one red cent. I’m always amazed that the library isn’t busier. How do people not get that there is a store full of endless books that you don’t have to pay for?

Not that I don’t love buying books. I have way too many. But books that I buy can disappoint me. When I pay for them, I want them to be really good. I mean really, really, seriously wonderful. I want to love that book. I feel obligated to finish it. I’ve made a commitment. My preference is to buy a book with which I already have a relationship. I’ve read it and fallen deeply in love. Our first encounter? At the library, of course.

Bookstores are lovely places. But the library, ah, the library. Like a casual flirtation. Something catches my eye, I bring him home for awhile, knowing that I may or may not fall in love. It’s okay. I can read a few chapters and if I get bored, no big deal. I’m onto the next one. No hard feelings, no guilt. It’s understood. We don’t own each other, we’re just sharing space for a few weeks.

I’m a promiscuous reader. I read books from the library for which I would never pay money. Travel guides for destinations I have no intention of visiting, Persian poetry, shallow celebrity biographies, history textbooks, landscaping. There is no end of topics to explore and because there is no cost, I pull books on a whim. Just because.

I’m happy to keep this secret treasure trove to myself. If the masses don’t use the library, then my library remains quiet and delightful, just for me. I don’t know whether the library will become obsolete because of the internet. It seems to be an old-fashioned habit, borrowing books. But still my second favorite activity on a Saturday afternoon.

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Summer!

flip is higher than flop

flip is higher than flop

Summer! Time to pull my flip-flops out of storage. Hah! As if flip-flops are only for summer. What a quaint notion. Flip-flops, like jeans, are worn every day and for every occasion. What used to be bought at the dime store (now, that’s a quaint concept) for less than a quarter, is now a fashion item that can cost upwards of $100.00. How did the humble flip-flop transform herself from peasant to princess?

After WWII, American soldiers returned from Japan, bringing the zori with them. California surf culture elevated the status of those rubber thongs (yes, Ms. Millenial, a thong used to be footwear, not underwear). Zories, thongs, slaps, slippers, holo-holos, flip-flops – whatever you call them, they’re here to stay.

What has the Culture Vulture enthralled is the way that entrepreneurs have suckered us into paying so much for those rubber flip-flops. I’m not talking about the molded-arch, heavy-duty versions. I’m talking about the most basic rubber style. (you know who you are, Haviana) $25.00 is the average price and believe it or not, there are $200.00 versions adorned with Swarovski crystal elements (what used to be called rhinestones; i.e. cheap, fake jewels…but that’s a topic for another day). Apparently there are brides out there who want to wear bedazzled flip-flops on their special day but can’t find their way to Wal-Mart and don’t own a glue gun.

The Culture Vulture actually admires Haviana for having the audacity to market their product as more than just a shower shoe. Their full-spread ads in Vogue magazine are proof of the power of branding. Flip-flops as fashion statement. As P.T. Barnum famously said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” The capitalist spirit is alive and well. Kudos.

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Happy Mother’s Day! Don’t be fooled by appearances. This furry mom’s guilt is eating her up inside.

Cats, Kitten

Cats, Kitten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In spite of what your children tell their friends, therapists and parole officers, you are not the worst mother in the world. In honor of mothers everywhere, squirming with guilt and wondering what went wrong, the Culture Vulture has compiled a list of bad moms.

1. Ma Barker. This mom raised four outlaw sons and travelled with them on their violent crime sprees. Because local television news had yet to be invented, the country never got to hear this now-common refrain: “But, really, he was a good boy.”

2. Joan Crawford. Movie-star mom, whose most famous line does not come from any of her films. “No more wire hangers!”

3. Britney Spears. When you lose custody of your kids to Kevin Federline, you know you’ve hit rock bottom as a mom.

4. Gertrude, Hamlet’s mom. The Queen of Denial, she married the man who murdered her husband, Hamlet’s father.

5. Octomom. After giving birth to a litter, some said a cat is a better mother than this mom, but the Culture Vulture thinks that is an insult to cats everywhere.

6. Burnt Marshmallow Mom. This tanning-bed addict makes a Toddlers and Tiaras mom look downright June Cleaverish.

7. Herodias. The original Dance Mom. Her talented daughter, Salome, could have taken home a gigantic trophy. Instead, at the urging of her mom, Salome requested the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

8. Jenny McCarthy. Playboy model, self-appointed expert and spokeswoman for the autism/vaccination connection. Only in America.

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Happy Secretary’s Day! Oops, I mean Happy Administrative Assistant’s Day. Shucks, just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? When did secretary become a dirty word? Long before television’s Madmen hit the airwaves, female clerical support staffers decided that secretary was a demeaning title. George Orwell wouldn’t have been surprised. When retail clerks and cashiers become ‘associates’, we know that Thinkspeak has overtaken English as the language of today. Maybe that explains why I can’t find ‘Gal Friday’ in the help wanted section of Craigslist.

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The Culture Vulture finds herself downtown, near the homeless shelter. Most wear bright green T-shirts. A jolly woman, who seems to know everyone, is the unofficial party hostess. She calls out greetings to others mingling in a weedy vacant lot. She wears a green felt fedora (the type found at party supply stores just before St. Patrick’s Day). Another fellow, with glazed eyes, searches for stubbed-out cigarettes in the gutter. He pauses long enough for me to read the slogan on his shirt: “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” Tempting, but, no. A quick mental check confirms the date: April 20, not March 17. What’s going on? Then, it all becomes clear. Every business or charity-event that issues T-shirts to promote their cause, has donated the leftovers to the homeless shelter. What a brilliant advertising scheme! Brand messaging taken to the streets. The wearin’ o’ the green t’isn’t just for those snobs who drink green beer and vomit outside of upscale nightclubs, no sir. St. Patrick’s Day is for everyone: rich, poor, drug-addled or sober. Top o’ the mornin’ to ye.

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Call Me Bob

Chief Sitting Bull

Daddy!

For the umpteenth time this month, I’ve come across yet another white anglo-saxon claiming to have the blood of Native Americans running through their veins. The blood is always mentioned in vague terms, the ancestor never actually identified. The one commonality is that  these pale-faced wannabes are always adamant concerning the actual tribe from which they originate. They may not know if it was a great-granny or a second-cousin-twice-removed, but there is no hesitation that they are of solid Cree/Cherokee/Navajo/etc. stock. For the sake of full disclosure, I must confess that I, too, have made the claim of bearing the blood of some long-lost Cherokee relative.  I can’t help but wonder if there is some kind of reverse racism going on here. Are we caucasions so sensitive about having taken over this continent that we somehow harbor a hidden need to prove our right to be here? If everyone I knew who claims to be part-Sioux really were part-Sioux, it is hard to imagine that there would not be Indian casinos sprouting up like weeds on reservations in every valley of this country. Oh, that’s right. Never mind.

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universal potting soil
Tulip, 2005 Floriade, Canberra

From such humble origins, a tulip bursts into life.

What do we, as humans, share with those bulbs?

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Hidden Strength

Hand in hand

Image by Images by John 'K' via Flickr

Babies are full of potential. It takes time to reveal their talents.

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The two paths (m)

Somewhere along the road to self-love, the Boomers

were annointed with the sacred title of Teenager. Up

until that time, they were considered child or adult.

The age at which this mysterious transformation took

place occurred at some point during those so-called

teen years, but occur, it did. With the advent of the

Holy Teen, something new was created. Neither child,

woman or man, this creature became an entity unto

itself, with norms that allowed it to behave in ways

previously unthinkable. Rebellion, experimentation

and self-destruction became an acceptable way of life.

Not for children, not for adults, but for the Teen, of

course! The Culture Vulture thinks the Teen has

outlived its usefulness. The time has come to do away

with the entire concept of the Teenager. Children must

defer to the adult and the adult must assume full

responsibility for the choices he or she makes. No more

excuses, no more delayed maturation and above all, no

more crappy music, crappy movies and crappy fashion.

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