About Me

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, May 31, 2013

Frances Ha

Is a recently filmed black and white saga
Of the travails of a single twenty something
Who ricochets from place to place, attempting
To pursue her dream vocation in Manhattan.

In the early scenes, she appears to be a flake,
Engaging in mindless conversation with her peers.
Her actions are erratic, her intents unfathomable,
Until we see some unfolding of her past.

She spends Christmas with her parents
Who must have paid her fare to Sacramento.
She works during a summer at Vassar College,
Wherefrom she must have graduated.

Then things begin to fall into order,
Which you will have to see yourself.
Suffice to say that she may always be broke,
But her college expenses must have been paid.

She is, then, from a good family
Who support her in all her doings.
They welcome her brief return to the nest,
And bid her an affectionate goodbye.

This then, is a realistic portrayal of the
Recent college graduates who are just getting by.
Avenue Q painted the same picture in 2002,
Won the Toni award and played for seven years.

That musical is great fun to watch, but like
All good comedy, has a touch of heartbreak.
A critical element for examining the situation
Of young graduates is the yoke of student loans.

I have never written about my grandchildren
But their individual circumstances are representative
Of those fortunate graduates who have had their
College tuition, room, and board paid by their parents.

The oldest is a teacher in a private school in New York.
She has a master's degree in teaching ESL.
Her brother has spent four years in a seminary, is
Now looking for a non-profit position in NYC.

Both live at home, with no marital impediments.
The older child of another of my children's families
Is an assistant coach of track and field at a college in Maine,
Following pursuit of a master's in sports psychology.

Both she and her brother have ongoing relationships.
Whether and when that will become permanent is undetermined.
He attended a prestigious university to study business,
But is now an IT manager for a software firm in Chicago.

Their younger sister was Phi Beta Kappa,
At a large state university in the South.
Studying foreign relations led her to Washington
And to a succession of jobs for the government.

There are two other grandchildren in California.
One is a year from college, and will begin looking soon.
His sister has been accepted at a high school for the arts,
Being a devoted apprentice to American Musical Theater.

One wonders how life will turn out for these youngsters.
I will have to keep an eye on them from another venue.
Chances are that they will wind up in situations no one
Could possibly identify at this juncture.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cruise to Bermuda

(See photos in two albums at:



The ship got there in a hurry, in order to claim a docking space.  As it was, we were only
able to walk off on the first day.  The first two photos are of the Norwegian Dawn, at
dockside.  From there, we walked around the Royal Naval Dockyard, now strictly a
pleasure boat marina.  Shopped at the Clock Tower Mall.  All the stone.buildings were
built in the early nineteenth century, to house sailors and marines.

The scene then changes abruptly to pictures we were able to take the next day as we were
driven around the entire island.  Stops were infrequent, so some shots are from inside the
bus.  Too brief a time in Hamilton.  St. George looked inviting; I remember that we
explored it on the 1970 trip with the girls.  The pink cottage colony that we stayed in then
is long gone, replaced by new homes situated closely on every inch of space.

On the third day, we explored the new National Museum, situated in the dockyard forti-
fications.  The exhibits in one of the old buildings gave a fascinating history of the island
from 1609 to the present.  Many artifacts recovered on land and sea illustrate that the
principal industry was salvaging shipwrecks!   Bermuda is simply the rim of a volcano
surrounded and protected by coral reefs, thus inviting many crashes through the years.
You also see photos of a small beach, which is as close as we got to tourist heaven.

The final two days of the cruise were at a leisurely speed, interrupted by a small storm,
and a halt to stand by for rescue of a lone sailor.  You see a lot of pictures of the Art
Deco interior, some a little fuzzy, and the close quarters of our cabin.  Naturally, we
got out of the cabin as much as possible to enjoy whatever amusements the ship had
to offer.  It was a mixed blessing.  Obviously, the objective was to appeal to what
might be termed contemporary tastes.

This seemed to require very loud music, either live or canned, played in every venue
on board except the library.  The lounge, the central atrium. all the bars and restaurants,
and the pool deck were entertained nonstop.  No dance band, no string quartet, no soft
piano.  We are still recovering our hearing.  The theater featured a comedian who made
members of the audience do silly stunts. a stunning acrobatic duo, a transplanted Irishman,
a Second City troupe, and an imitation Bollywood musical.

Speaking of the Irishman, he told a tasteless joke about an 85 year old couple who had
to share a set of false teeth to eat at McDonald's.  The joke earned only a snigger from
the audience.  I caught up with him after another gig, and said:  "O'Malley! (not his real
name). I'm 85, my name is Patrick, and I have my own teeth.  That was not a good joke!"
Startled, he shook my hand, and said "Thank you."

We were overwhelmed by the people.  Unlike other cruises we have been on, there was
always a sea of people moving from one place to another.  Most were entirely
undistinguished by attire.  They paid a lot to go on the cruise, but they didn't look like
they could afford it.  We plead guilty to snobbery, but it was dismaying to see the
obesity epidemic writ large. Apparently, many came just to eat, others to gamble
at all hours the casino was open.   The staff, mostly Filipinos, were unfailingly gracious.

But we did accomplish our objective.  We saw the entire island of Bermuda and learned
its history and place in the world.  Bermuda is the insurance capital of the world, home
to three thousand insurance companies.  It is also a tourist destination, sort of like a
compressed Cape Cod.  We are very glad we live on Cape Cod.