Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Great Gatsby

I re-read The Great Gatsby during my recent vacation. I'd originally read the book when I was an undergraduate in the 1970s (I still have the same copy of the book I read then; it cost $0.95!) and was inspired to read it again when one of my favorite NPR programs, Studio 360, devoted a whole show to the book and its related spinoffs a few months back.

The only part of the book that I could recall clearly was the justly famous image of the green light hanging on Daisy's dock across Egg Bay from Gatsby's mansion. When I began to re-read the novel, I found the first two pages of the book to be a confusing sort of preface and I regretted hauling the book along on vacation. But once past that introduction I was drawn in quickly and utterly. In places, the language is a bit dated, but in general, this is one helluva book (duh!). There's a great, compelling story, wonderful language and writing, engrossing characters and even some humor as Nick, the narrator, describes the life of the poseurs that are drawn to Gatsby like moths to a flame.

The book's not long, and it's a treat. It's more than worth a re-read (or a read, it you haven't already enjoyed it.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek, Azaleas, and New Mexico

We went to see the new Star Trek yesterday. A very good film. The story blends seamlessly with the television show and subsequent movies. The scene near the middle of the film in which two of the Star Trek characters engage in hand-to-hand combat with two Romulans perched on the edge of a gigantic electronic drill bit suspended thousands of meters above Vulcan was especially effective--talk about vertigo!

After the film, we strolled through an arboretum renowned for its display of azaleas and rhododendrons. The plants were at the absolute pinnacle of perfection yesterday, and the weather was cool and sunny--heavenly! Most of the plants are not native, but the arboretum has a nice collection of native azaleas, rhododendrons, and spring ephemerals, too.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 12) we're off for New Mexico for 13 days.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wisteria Reversed

Wisteria Reversed
Another manipulated (but striking) image from my artist/photographer friend. She calls this "Wisteria Reversed," taking advantage of the wisterias that are in full bloom right now. In addition a more straightforward rendering.


We went out for dinner for my birthday last evening. Our meal at Houlihan's on Sunday was so unsatisfying that I jumped at the chance to go out again when my wife suggested it. We went to one of our favorite local bistros--a place that specializes in Mediterranean-inspired dishes. We ordered a huge dinner salad (Pomegranate Chicken Salad) and a dish they call Drunken Chicken (chicken breast marinaded in beer, then broiled and finished with artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and a delicate sauce). We topped off the meal with a thick slice of a cappuccino torte. Yum!

When we got home, we watched an episode of the ABC show The Unusuals that I had recorded last Wednesday. We have both really come to love the show--which almost guarantees that it will be off the air next season. The lead guy's not a fabulous looker, but he's a good actor and he's got a sexy charm. Furthermore, he has appeared shirtless in two episodes so far, so I can't complain even though his hairless chest doesn't do much for me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


This poem by Oscar Wilde resonates with me.

They sit at ease, our Gods they sit at ease,
Strewing with leaves of rose their scented wine,
They sleep, they sleep, beneath the rocking trees
Where asphodel and yellow lotus twine,
Mourning the old glad days before they knew
What evil things the heart of man could dream,
and dreaming do.

Monday, May 4, 2009

High Spring

Saturday (May 2), I took an early morning walk in the local natural area preserve that I haunt. It was drizzly and foggy, which saturated the vegetation with lush color. I was particularly struck by the flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) in full bloom, especially those set against several non-native but beautiful European copper beeches (Fagus sylvatica). It's the height of spring here now.
Tomorrow's my birthday. To mark the occasion, my wife and I went to a Houlihan's for dinner last evening. I had jambalaya (which was supposed to have sausage, but which, alas, had none) and my wife had a serloin steak, which was a bit overdone. We went to Houlihan's because the restaurant gives me a free entre on my birthday, but it wasn't worth it. We eat better at home. The only thing good about it was that I didn't have to clean up afterward.