Thursday, August 23, 2012

And Then I Read IN UMBRIA


Last week I received in the mail from the United States District Court a Summons For Jury Service. After reading the complete two pages of information and instructions, I filled out the enclosed Juror Qualification Questionnaire and included a request to be excused. The information page stated that such a request can be made by a potential juror aged 70 or over, which, of course, I am. I mailed the form in the postage-paid self-addressed envelope supplied.

Since the information sheet told me that being excused (even for those over 70) is not automatic and I should check my status, I today went to the U.S. Federal Court website and clicked the Juror Reporting Status, entered my juror number and zip code as instructed, and received the following message:

"You have been excused from jury duty for your scheduled term of service and do not need to continue checking this message."

Which suits me just fine.


Yesterday, attempting to 'beat the heat' and despite the threatening dark clouds amassed above, I began my daily walk at 7:45 a.m. and did not dally long on the gossiper bench outside Fry's Supermarket, which is the halfway point of the two mile walk. Even so, I  did not get back home until about five minutes till nine. At nine-fifteen the sky  opened up and a deluge of rain fell outside my window.

A bit of good luck indeed.


Although I realized long ago that even though I occasionally write some broken-line statements of emotional upheaval, I am not, and never have been, a poet. In fact, I seldom appreciate, understand, or enjoy reading the intentionally obscure poems so highly acclaimed by those modern scholars who are supposedly 'in the know'.

There are a few poems, though, that I stumble across and immediately recognize as being, in my opinion, an extremely fine poem.

Such as:

In Umbria

Once upon a time I was sitting outside the cafe
watching twilight in Umbria when a girl came
out of the bakery with the bread her mother wanted.
She did not know what to do. Already bewildered
by being thirteen and just that summer a woman,
she now had to walk past the American.
But she did fine. Went by and around the corner
with style, not noticing me. Almost perfect.
At the last instant could not resist darting a look
down at her new breasts. Often I go back
to that dip of her head when people talk
about this one or that one of the great beauties.

The poem, In Umbria, was written by Jack Gilbert

Read the above and other poems written by Jack Gilbert HERE.



phlogiston [floh-JIS-ton]
A nonexistent chemical that, prior to the discovery of oxygen, was thought to be released during combustion.

Wikipedia states -- The phlogiston theory, first stated in 1667 by Johann Joachim Becher, is an obsolete scientific theory that postulated the existence of a fire-like element called "phlogiston", which was contained within combustible bodies and released during combustion. The theory was an attempt to explain processes of burning such as combustion and the rusting of metals, which are now collectively known as oxidation.



Barbara Eden

Born Aug 23, 1934
Age: 77 years old.

Barbara Eden is an American film and television actress and singer who is best known for starring as the title role in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

She made featured appearances on television shows such as The Johnny Carson Show, The West Point Story, Highway Patrol, Private Secretary, I Love Lucy, The Millionaire, Target: The Corruptors!, Crossroads, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, December Bride, Bachelor Father, Father Knows Best, Adventures in Paradise, The Andy Griffith Show, Cain's Hundred, Saints and Sinners, The Virginian, Slattery's People, The Rogues, and the series finale of Route 66 playing the role of Margo.

Born Aug 23, 1912
Died: Feb 2, 1996.

Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director and producer, and choreographer. Kelly was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the likable characters that he played on screen. Although he is known today for his performances in Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris, he was a dominant force in Hollywood musical films from the mid 1940s until this art form fell out of fashion in the late 1950s.

Shelley Long

Born Aug 23, 1949
Age: 62 years old.

Shelley Lee Long is an American actress best known for her role as Diane Chambers on the sitcom Cheers, for which she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress and two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress. She has also starred in several motion pictures throughout her career like Night Shift (1982), her Golden Globe nominated role in Irreconcilable Differences (1984), The Money Pit (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), Hello Again (1987), Troop Beverly Hills (1989), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), and Dr. T & the Women (2000). Most recently she has had a recurring role as DeDe Pritchett on the ABC comedy series Modern Family.


 Vera Miles

Born Aug 23, 1930
Age: 81 years old.

Vera Miles is an American actress who worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock, notably in Psycho, playing the sister of the Janet Leigh character, which she reprised in Psycho II. Her other films included The Wrong Man, The Searchers, Follow Me Boys! and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.


“Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.”

--Terry Pratchett, Jingo

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