Archive for October 2009

Fresh “News” Re Robsten

October 31, 2009


More “news” re Robsten, all out within the last 24 hours.

1.  They split up at the LA airport!
2.  Then met up at an LA hotel!  In a single room!  In a Chateau!  (A hotel called a “Chateau!”)
3.  Rob still can’t get a date!
4.  Maybe because he’s been asking Kristen to marry him.  (That’s why they split up!)
5.  But their chemistry is so good!
6.  But they’re actors!
7.  But they’re so hot!
8.  With such great hair!
9.  Who knows
10. Who cares?
11.  Many people apparently.  (Twenty-five million hits on the New Moon trailer this week;  twenty-one million the week before.)
12.  Whoa….


If you find this interesting, check out other posts re Robsten, RPatz, Kristen Stewart and Twilight, from my home page,

Further to Sheepish On Halloween – The Candy Thing

October 31, 2009

Since writing my last post – “Sheepish On Halloween” (, I have been told that I was a bit of a Halloween monster for allowing my 2-year old daughter to “lose” her pumpkin of Halloween candy.  (Okay, I added the “bit of.”  I was called a Halloween monster, plain and simple.)

I’ll admit it.  I was a macrobiotic for a couple of years in my life (whole years!)   Even after I softened that stance, I bought brown rice by the burlap sack full.  I ground some of my own wheat to make yeast-free bread.  (I guess you could call it bread.)   Seaweed was not unknown in our household.

This made the whole process of Halloween, especially in a traditionally Italian part of Brooklyn and not some new-agey PC rice syrup neighborhood, extremely trying.

I did give her candy to replace the lost pumpkin-full.   (Yes, my substitutes may have included carob.) However, life and children have a way of loosening even the tightest resolves, i.e. parents quickly lose control.

Here are some of the later rules I made regarding Halloween candy:

1.   You can eat all you want but ONLY on Halloween night. This has the disadvantage of turning your childen into bingers.  It has the advantage of limiting tooth damage to one night.

2.  After Halloween, you just have one piece a day until you run out (in our society, meaning into the next year.) This encourages restraint,  but keeps the candy in focus as a problematic treasure for a very long time.   Forget about teeth.

3.  I give up.

Last note–if you have canine family members, keep a close watch.   A lot of sorting of candy tends to take place on the floor;  bags are frequently left at bedside;  even the most loving kids are too excited to be truly careful; chocolate can be lethal for dogs.

Once more, Happy Halloween.

Sheepish About Halloween

October 31, 2009


I have a checkered history with Halloween.  It started when I was a little girl and my overworked mom took me to a late afternoon dental appointment at the end of October.  Unfortunately, this end-of-October date was “Beggar’s Night,” which, in my childhood state, was the traditional night for trick or treating.  Even more unfortunately, the late afternoon dental appointment turned into an evening dental appointment due to the discovery, during tooth cleaning, of one or more cavities.

As the clocked ticked, I slipped into despair.   I remember walking tearfully out to a cold empty parking lot, the day’s remaining light already slimmer than a dim yellow ribbon.   When we got home, and it turned out that all of my neighborhood friends had long since come and gone, my mother jumped into quick, guilty, action.  She pulled out one of her one of her favorite evening dresses (a black wool one with puffed fur sleeves), and converted some kind of round bin that my brother had once used as a Crusader’s helmet into a black cat’s head.

This unfortunate Halloween imprinted several resolutions into my brain which only blossomed fully in motherhood,when I was determined not to be the cause of similar angst:   (1) never make your child a dentist appointment in the month of October;  (2)  avoid cavities; (3)  make your kid’s costume in advance;  (4) make your kid’s costume; and  (5) if you don’t sew, convert other clothes.  (I never got over my admiration for the way that my mother threw together what turned out to be quite a glamorous black cat’s costume, once I took off that medieval helmet.)

These resolutions had mixed results for my own children, especially for my oldest daughter.  (Oldest children often get the fullest brunt of parental ideology.)    I don’t really need to go into the cavities part other than to say that I allowed that child on her first Halloween (at age 2) to conveniently lose her pumpkin of Halloween candy.  (Yes, this was horrible horrible horrible and I have since tried to make it up to her with a great deal of Swiss chocolate.)

The costume part is better. I believed that children, even very young children,  should participate in the making of their costumes.   The strangest example was the sheep, a costume that my oldest daughter “decided” on when she was 3.  (I think it may have started as a lamb, and I say “decided” in quotes, because I suspect that I had some hand in the idea since the sheep costume had a puffiness suspiciously reminiscent of my black cat fur sleeves.)

Our/my brilliant conception was a huge white sweat shirt upon which my very small daughter glued cotton balls.  Many many many cotton balls.  I made a hat, with ears, out of white cropped panty hose, also covered by my daughter with cotton balls.

It made for a very cute, very “woolly” sheep (if wool were cotton.)   Of course, it’s true that  “sheep” was probably not the first thing that came to people’s minds seeing her.  Halloween does not generally bring sheep to mind.

The sheep outfit was intended to be comfortable.  Unfortunately, instead of that cold Beggar’s Night of my youth, it was an unseasonably warm, drizzly afternoon.  Cotton balls get very very heavy when drizzled on.  And hot.

It’s hard to be the oldest child.

Happy Halloween.

In between tricking and treating, check out 1 Mississippi, by Karin Gustafson, on Amazon or at link on this homepage.  (Thanks.)

Friday Night End Of Long Week Poem

October 30, 2009

Please, love

Please, love, summon some zing.
Famished for faith; belief in self
would fill that belly.
So I think.
But in the meantime, head teams,
heart empties, pen rambles, the part moon
fails to inspire.
Please love, summon some hope.
We enter this life for a purpose, rarely met.
In the meantime, life force puddles.
Please sweet, summon treasure
from this mean time.
Make it worthwhile in the having and
not simply in its loss;
please, love.

All rights reserved.  Karin Gustafson


October 29, 2009

The great thing about Mariano Rivera is the way he manages to be both human and super-human at the same time.    Pretty amazing.


All that said–

October 29, 2009

Despite all that said in previous blog re Yankee Stadium and materialism–good luck to the Yankees!


Elephant Baseball

Go Yankees!

All rights reserved.  Karin Gustafson

Speaking Out on the Number 4 Train – Greed, Girls, Yankees

October 29, 2009

Writing a daily blog can do strange things to you.  One of the more dangerous is that it strengthens the propensity (already outsized in most bloggers) to openly speak your mind.

This was brought to my attention last night when I  was jammed on the Number 4 train heading for Game 1 of the World Series.  The guy squeezed next to me had a slightly pudgy face that was decorated by half-there facial hair (some form of beard or goatee, probably intended to better define his face shape.)

He noticed, in the mass of people clumped around the  subway pole, a tall pale guy, whom he recognized.  The tall guy held the hand, knotted around the pole, of a young woman who looked up at him with eyes thick with make-up, shiny with adoration. (It turned out these two had only been married for a month.)  But I digress.

The pudgy guy, clearly hoping to impress the tall guy, told him about that big things had been happening in his life.  He’d gotten married the previous year; his business, four years old, was doing great; he was employing his brother; his wife was expecting.

After asking the tall guy where he lived, he revealed that he’d “closed” on a place in mid-town Manhattan last week.

Finding out that the couple had just married, he asked the tall guy where they’d honeymooned.  “Nice,” he said appraisingly.

They talked of a mutual friend who was also doing great, the pudgy guy said.  This friend had had a student loan business which he sold for $150 million dollars last year, then, “two weeks later,” the pudgy guy went on, “the government changed the regulations for, you know, student loans, and the place literally closed its doors.  Busted.”  He grinned widely.

(For government “changing regulations”, the blogger in me thinks “cracked down on corrupt business practices.”)

“Beautiful,” a third guy said.  I don’t know if this third guy, young, short, bristly, was a stranger or friend.  It’s hard when everyone is cheek by jowl, arm by guy, to know who’s with whom.

Who was going to the Yankees’ game and who was just headed up to the Bronx was a bit clearer.  For example, a very slight Hispanic girl, just opposite me, who had worried eyes, a  worried complexion, a small stud below her lower lip, and a large rumpled SAT prep book under one arm, looked like she was probably not going to the game.  (In fact, she got off in the Bronx, but before the stadium.)

“Well, you must be doing okay,” the pudgy guy said to the tall guy, “if you can buy Yankees tickets.”  He rubbed middle finger to thumb, moola-style.  (He had season tickets himself.)

(I should note here–yes, to make myself look virtuous–that my ticket, the most expensive single ticket, other than for a flight, that I’ve ever held in my hand, was given to me.)

Trying, I think, to change the subject, the tall guy at the pole asked the pudgy guy when his baby was due.  The pudgy guy pulled out a cell phone and directed it to an image of the baby’s sonogram, which he pressed across multiple limbs to his friend’s face.

This might have been a touching gesture.  But he kept saying, “you can see he’s a boy, right?  I mean you can’t miss it, right?”

The tall guy tried to say something about how amazing it was that the pudgy guy had a sonogram on his cell, but the pudgy guy wouldn’t let go of the fetus’s penis. “Look at the size of that.  You know what that is right?  I mean, how can you not see it?”

The tall guy said that he knew what it was.   “You’re happy then, with the baby coming?”

“Oh yeah, sure.  I’m just so glad it’s not a girl.  I’d just hate to have a girl.”

The blogger in me could suddenly no longer control myself.  “I think you’re horrible for not wanting a girl,” I said loudly.  “And I think your friend who made the 150 million for selling his worthless company was horrible too.”

As silence descended over the car, I was glad I had not added anything about the guy’s obsessing over the size of his son-to-be”s genitalia.

No one looked at me, except the third guy, who sneered.  “No, it wasn’t horrible.  I don’t want girls either.  And what that guy did was great.  That’s what capitalism is all about.  That’s what the Yankees are all about too, that’s why we’re all here.  To beat these guys from the start.”

I, thought about the incident repeatedly during the game.  It was a game in which one had a lot of time to think about things (such as, will anyone ever hit one of Cliff Lee’s pitches?)

I really do like the Yankees.  Despite their ridiculous pay scale.  But when you go to the new stadium, when you sit in a large crowd many of whom have paid hundreds of dollars for this ticket (and have a season of them) , beneath the bright lights, in the freezing cold,  surrounded by $10 special hot chocolate cups,  $8 beers, and small private suites which have crowded full bars, big TVs and a real Las Vegas feel, you become conscious of a few things which are both obvious and, to me, unpleasant;  (i) sports is a big, greedy,  business; (ii) the players are highly-paid, highly-skilled entertainers, and (iii) many fans, particularly now that the prices have gotten so high, are demanding consumers, some of whom look to the highly-paid, highly-skilled players to act out their own (slightly impotent) macho instincts.

You can’t blame the players for the business aspect, and you really can’t blame them for taking advantage of the big bucks.  Many of them grew up in poor or working class families and have worked incredibly hard to hone their skills.  (Mariano Rivera apparently practiced pitching rocks as a child.)   In fact, it’s amazing to me that so many players are so genuinely devoted to the game, so genuinely excited by their victories, so seemingly tolerant of their team members.

You can’t blame the fans (or at least some of them) for acting like consumers, getting irritated not just when their team is losing, but because the show is not up to the high admission price.

But because the amounts of money involved are so large, something  has gotten very out of whack.  And strangely enough, it almost makes the TV experience feel like the truer sport experience, simply because the audience there hasn’t paid hundreds of dollars for its seat and doesn’t have to look at signs that say things like “Make Noise,” and “Win It For the Boss” (meaning George Steinbrenner.)

The game can also be watched on TV even by those folks getting off in the Bronx, before the stadium is reached.