Fortunately, we didn’t have to climb down the ladder

While watching TV the other night, we noticed flashing lights outside. Looking at the window, we found a fire truck raising its ladder… to our apartment. There were no alarms going off in the building or — I looked around the living room and kitchen for a second to see if we’d somehow lost our minds and missed a fire in progress — our apartment. The ladder stopped at the roof of the building, which is atop our apartment ceiling. We decided to put on our shoes and go outside.

(“We should put on our shoes” status has only occurred once previously in our home, during last year’s massive hailstorm. There are seven windows in our living room and one large skylight.)

Fortunately, as we exited the fireproof stairs to the first floor, we found neighbors with a not-scary explanation. One neighbor was cleaning her stove, which started a burning smell. An upstairs neighbor called 911. Good people, both, for doing what they did. The firefighters determined no other problems with stove, and their man on the ladder found no systems aflame on the roof. He came back down the ladder, past our living room, and we all went home.

I love weird old notes

Discovered this one from 10 years ago, when, apparently, we were thinking about how to bring certain USA Today health and wellness content to life.

How to live a long life

–your advice on how to live a long life
–world’s oldest people
–obituaries of people over 100

making choices
controlling the side effects of affluence
feeling in control of your destiny
balanced lifestyle — good news compsenating for the bad?
stress management
respond to challenges, effectively restore+sustain balance

–split wellness into categories
–let daylife create categories

destroy the body vs. keep it alive
–two columns of recommendations — why should he die, why should he live

a law, an offender, a target and a place = a crime

human map

I still like the idea of aggregating centenarian obituaries. I have no idea what “human map” means or why criminality came into play. I think “destroy the body vs. keep it alive” was some kind of game idea. Which is pretty weird.

Excited to be going here soon

To a town just a few miles away! Where Lori’s friend Mary, who lives there, reports the local library had an educational talk slash support session regarding sasquatches just last week.

From the Moscow-Pullman (Idaho) Daily News:

A 50-year-old Tensed woman driving south on U.S. Highway 95 reported seeing a sasquatch chasing a deer on the side of the road late Wednesday night near milepost 367 north of Potlatch, according to the Latah County Sheriff’s Office.

She told the sheriff’s office she checked one of her mirrors to take a second look at the 7- to 8-foot tall “shaggy” object. Just as she refocused her eyes on the road, the deer ran in front of her, and she struck it with her Subaru Forester, she told a deputy.

On a podcast! (And a good one)

During the past few weeks, I’ve helped the Hidden Brain bring an experiment to life — study guides based on their episodes. They had the idea, hired a terrific, education-focused intern to create the guides and wanted to do a minimum viable beta to test the concept. Colleague Dan and I assisted in squaring the goals with our site and CMS and getting the pages out the door. It was unexpected and so nice of them to mention us on the show.

Host Shankar explains the premise in the first minute, and we show up with about two minutes to go. (But you should listen to the whole episode because it’s always a fascinating listen.)

‘even the symphonic / wrecking of the antique locomotive’

For a spring time:

Cabbage Days” by Stephen Sandy. “Look how in heat waves the folding metal / chairs go slack in the sun / and their withered arms settle / waiting like ritual tongs to hold your body.”

Inventory for Spring” by Wendy Xu. “Feeling rich for one moment for using money as a bookmark / Feeling deceitful for making public some opinions while neglecting others….”

Invitation” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. “Come in, come in. The water’s fine! You can’t get lost / here. Even if you want to hide behind a clutch /of spiny oysters — I’ll find you.”

Amor Fati” by Jane Hirshfield. “Little soul, / you have wandered / lost a long time. / The woods are dark now, / birded and eyed. / Then a light, a cabin, a fire, a door standing open.”

For an unsettled time:

Capriccio of the Imaginary Prison” by Richard Garcia. “O hub of panopticon, each moment on display, / from the central monitor there is no escape. / This is all accomplished, even the symphonic / wrecking of the antique locomotive, in silence.”

If They Should Come for Us” by Fatimah Asghar. “my people I follow you like constellations / we hear the glass smashing the street / & the nights opening their dark / our names this country’s wood / for the fire my people my people….”

Devotion (“I Am on the Battlefield for My Lord”)” by Cortney Lamar Charleston. “I can’t help but believe our songs, to one another,
would be familiar, church family….”

Echo” by Raymond Antrobus. “My ear amps whistle like they are singing / to Echo, goddess of noise, / the raveled knot of tongues, / of blaring birds, consonant crumbs / of dull doorbells, sounds swamped / in my misty hearing aid tubes.

Semi-Splendid” by Tracy K. Smith. “You flinch. Something flickers, not fleeing your face. My / Heart hammers at the ceiling, telling my tongue / To turn it down. Too late.”

Ready for the season to start

“I was the best third baseman in baseball, young lady. I was as good a third baseman as you’re going to find anywhere. I could throw from here on a bunted ball, charge it, pick it up, boom, get it over to Joe Judge at first.

“I’d like to do it again,” he says. “Yessir. I’d like to do it again. There’s a time when you’re out there playing day in and day out and you wonder when the hell it’s going to end. You get a little tired.”

Here’s a find of Lori’s, when a call she got at the bookstore sent her Googling. Great baseball writer Jane Leavy — her Koufax book is sitting on my bookshelf — talks to former Washington Senators star Ossie Bluege in 1985 when he was 84 years old. I’d never heard before of Bluege. Couldn’t put the story down.

A little more about ‘Paterson’

In Commonweal, Richard Alleva finds the small stuff very well.

  • “The quotidian provides our bus-driving bard not only with his raw material but also with the steady emotional climate he needs in order to practice his art.”
  • “The act of noticing is at the heart of both our hero’s art and the filmmaker’s method.”
  • “If her husband is good at spotting variations within sameness, Laura, his complementary opposite, seems to see the same patterns in very different objects.”
  • “Instead of hungering for action, you start responding to whatever Paterson notices, quirks of speech as well as visual anomalies….”
  • “The other way this film avoids tedium is by showing us that, though its protagonist is a strictly no-drama guy… there is drama happening all around him.”

Previously in the blog — thoughts on Paterson. (Loved it.)

Losing and finding

Here’s one of the best articles I’ve read recently. It’s about losing and finding things, starting off with losing stuff and moving on to losing people. All in all, a funny, sad, beautiful meditation.

Passwords, passports, umbrellas, scarves, earrings, earbuds, musical instruments, W-2s, that letter you meant to answer, the permission slip for your daughter’s field trip, the can of paint you scrupulously set aside three years ago for the touch-up job you knew you’d someday need: the range of things we lose and the readiness with which we do so are staggering. Data from one insurance-company survey suggest that the average person misplaces up to nine objects a day, which means that, by the time we turn sixty, we will have lost up to two hundred thousand things. (These figures seem preposterous until you reflect on all those times you holler up the stairs to ask your partner if she’s seen your jacket, or on how often you search the couch cushions for the pen you were just using, or on that daily almost-out-the-door flurry when you can’t find your kid’s lunchbox or your car keys.) Granted, you’ll get many of those items back, but you’ll never get back the time you wasted looking for them.