Great Answers to Claptrap in the NYT

From Diary of a Creep comments:

P. Stuart

It’s your attitude, not your condition. One of the most beautiful women I ever met had burns over 60% of her body. Everyone thought she was gorgeous. Her “scars” did not diminish her beauty. I’m sure if she acted less beautiful, people would have thought her less beautiful. Beauty really does radiate from within. Such is human psychology. Quit focusing on your physical self and start believing in your own inner beauty. The rest will take care of itself.
Jan. 7, 2013 at 5:38 p.m.


No, please, I’m sorry, but you’re saying that if you’re in any way “ugly,” you have a constant added job of performance art to function in the real world at all.

You have no idea how wearing that is for anyone. For someone whose income and life depends on being internally focused, or focused on information not social performance, it’s screaming h*ll: like insisting someone simultaneously listen to heavy metal while singing light opera. Or like trying to do complex math while talking to teenagers about pizza and movies.

Worse, it’s another way of blaming the victim: If he were only good enough, performed well enough, faked beauty convincingly enough, why no one would have any problem with him!


It’s NOT his attitude, it’s his condition. You blame the writer for not having the exceptional strength of a single person you met. Where’s your empathy? Oh, it’s lost in blaming the writer for his bad attitude.


The snow’s been melting, from the right to the left side of the back yard. Could be the January thaw before winter takes a step back and wallops us again.

Last Sunday’s NY Times ran their annual temperature/precipitation chart. We picked up a tide calendar at the Mid Cape Home Center in Dennis. So, we are all set for keeping track of days in 2013.

Emme came over for a visit last Sunday. We made some far too-sweet banana/white chocolate bread pudding. I tried another recipe for mushroom/barley soup that was a disaster until I added chicken broth and the ham bone. The result was very good, and I brought the bone to Remy.

I looked into volunteer opportunities and decided that I don’t have the heart. I bailed out of Falmouth Eats Together as well. For one thing, I need to get caught up with work, and for another, I just don’t think it would be much fun now that Paul is no longer involved.

Three Bones

120164Uncle Frank’s funeral was today. His two eldest grandsons, Bill Allen (Jr.) and David Valzania, gave the eulogy.

Bill Allen recounted how his grandfather told him that he needed three bones to be successful: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funnybone. In fact, this is a quote from Kobi Yamada, President/CEO of the Seattle-based company Compendium, a producer of books, cards and gifts with “inspirational” messages.

I don’t know if Frank really said that, but it sounds like pretty good advice to share with a young person. Then again, it depends on the person: I can see Emme taking it to heart but our grandsons shrugging it off.

Bill also mentioned a fourth item, a heart. There was more than one reference to Frank’s generosity to his family, for which he was legendary.

David told my favorite Frank story about the time he cut his neighbor’s lawn when he lived in Milton.

Uncle Frank was the consummate family man and a good fellow all the way around. And so is Ron, who patiently looked at all the photos at the funeral home and has been listening appreciatively to my Uncle Frank memories for the past two days.

New Year’s Resolutions

I will try to rein in my temper with Ron.
He will try to express himself more explicitly to me.
We’d like to finish siding the house.
We want to pay off the Home Depot account.
I will (as last year) send cards for each birthday and anniversary.
We will lower our relative expectations.
Now that he’s been repaired and rehabbed, Ron wants to get more exercise and maybe bring home some bacon.

Uncle Frank passed away this morning. He was 96 and lived at home until the last 5 days. He had by my reckoning 45 immediate family members, including in-laws.

House, on New Year’s Eve


This was the worst case: rain followed by freezing followed by heavy, wet snow. We cut down a Russian olive bush that had uprooted and big grasses that were crushed. Filled up the truck and brought it all to the transfer station. New Year’s Eve was quite pleasant, though, not too cold and no wind.

Sandwich First Night

Bell ringing at First Church, pickup jazz combo at the Glass Museum and hot chowder at St. John’s. Pastry from the Dunbar Tea Room. Giant puppets.

As we were walking down the street, Ron started talking in his duck voice.
Ron (loudly) “You didn’t know you married a duck, did you? Well, now you do.”
Me “And so does everyone else”.
Sympathetic woman bystander “That’s okay.”