Tag Archives: Shakespeare

My annual Christmas Eve Light Ride tradition is in jeopardy

Greetings, readers. With Zipcar no longer an option for me, my Christmas Eve Light Ride tradition may be coming to an end. Since I was a little boy, I’ve only missed one year and that was due to an ice storm. Rebecca and I were just on the Hertz car rental site and discovered that though it would be easy and convenient (the office is down the street from me) the cost would make the one night event outrageously stupid, even by my standards. You know me, readers, I never like to cancel anything that is traditional.

This past year I have just not made that much money. My books have not been selling and my other sources of income have come in a trickle. I always tell myself that things will work out somehow, but this year I just don’t see it being economically feasible.

To rent a car for three days, they are probably closed Christmas Eve, will cost approximately $400.00, according to our research on their website. One passenger who wants to go with me said that she’ll chip in for the cost. At least one other passenger would have to do the same to make that price tag possible. Right now, dear readers, I give my traditional Christmas Eve Light Ride chances only at 20%.

Now, on Christmas Eve, the buses still run at least to a certain time. It may very well be that my friends and I will ride CATA’s W bus and let it drive us around Park Forest and surrounding areas. I will be sure to let the bus driver know that is what we are doing so he doesn’t look at us and ask if we have missed our stop. The only other alternative, which I will tell you just dawned on my this very second, is to see if anyone else made a YouTube video of the same kind of ride, or walk around their neighborhood. It’s been said that besides porn, you can find almost anything on YouTube.

On to a different topic. Guess what I’m doing tonight, dear readers? I’m going to my first Shakespearean play experience, a movie playing at the State Theatre, called A Winter’s Tale. I really don’t have a good idea what it is about, but I am intrigued because it is a Shakespearean dramedy. I am not much into Shakespeare though at my age I should be. Hell, with me being a writer, I should have been into all the classic authors. It’s ironic that I am a writer that doesn’t read other people’s material. I think I just solved my problem!

I am starting to change that. On Spotify music I found a delightful version in an audio book of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. I have seen two movie adaptations of this story and love it. It is one of my favorites … probably second to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is read by an unnamed younger woman I’m estimating is in her late 20s to early 30s with a delightful voice and she is able to bring all the characters to life. I would love to find out her name, then go to Google images so I can take a peek at who is reading to me. So far, no such luck. It is the unabridged version of the story and I’m listening to it, as I said, through Spotify, which is now connected to my brand new Alexa. Oh, what great sound. It sounds like there is a human being right here in the room with me.

Yesterday, again on the internet news page, I saw such headlines as shootings, the stock market is tumbling, and plane crash kills nine. I stopped right there. My therapist told me to stay away from depressing news topics. I realize it is kind of hard to keep up tp date without reading the news. I would love to see a news broadcast that gives as much equal time to good honest heartwarming stories which raise peoples spirits as it does to the bad news stories which tend to depress people. I remember one time, I think I mentioned this before, I was watching a newscast on a New York channel which consisted literally of 50 minutes of bad news, a few minutes of sports, about three minutes for the weather, and then a oh, yes, by the way, nice story to close out the broadcast. I had to wait the whole hour to get the two minute final story that perked me up for the evening. Blech. Fortunately that channel is off our cable system and I don’t watch much news from any other source. Some people say I’m uneducated or not in the loop. Well, readers, I know what I know. I shan’t be bombarded with one bad news story after another. Maybe one day this world will learn that violence and revenge is not the answer. Okay, I’m done with my mini-sermon.

Well, readers, only two more blog entries with Rebecca until our nine-year stint comes to an end. 😦 But as mentioned before, my blog will stay open for you, my readers, to peruse and enjoy, and I shall strive to put a new one up either every Wednesday or every other Wednesday. I can’t lose the few steady readers I have, and I am blessed to have you.

Until next Wednesday, have a wonderful week, love one another, if you are thinking about hatred-give peace a chance, take care and happy reading.

From Rebecca: The Ides of April

Last Wednesday Joe wrote about events he liked in April, mentioning warmer weather and the start of baseball season. My post is about April too; we thought it would be interesting for us to both write about the month in one week. To me, April is a mixed bag of bad and good.

The saying goes that April showers bring May flowers and every year it is borne out that it rains a lot in April. The weather alternates between cold, warm, hot, and cold again. Last week we had a few days where it was warm enough not to need a coat, and then this week it went below freezing again. It is the true transition from winter to spring.

It is also the month when taxes are due in the United States, usually on April 15th. This is a good day if you filed before that date or if you receive a refund, but it is a bad day if you owe money to either the federal government, your state, or your local area.

To me, this month also means the Ides of April, a term I started using in the 1990s. I know that traditionally it is the Ides of March, which was the day Julius Caesar was killed, and was used in a Shakespeare play. I know that it was a bad omen; a cursed time. And that is April. A lot of bad events have happened in this month.

In 1912, the Titanic sank, as most of the world knows. It hit an iceberg on April 14 and finished sinking early in the morning of April 15. Over 1,500 people died in the freezing water or trapped on board, and we still remember the day over a hundred years later.

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was bombed, killing 168 people, including 19 children, and injured many others. On the site of the building is now standing the memorial to all those killed and all the survivors. The murderer said that he did it in revenge for the deaths on April 19, 1993 in Waco, Texas. On that day, agents of the F.B.I. sent tear gas into the home of a religious group in an attempt to force them out, after a long stand-off. At some point after that a fire started, and the house burned down, killing 76 people, including children.

On April 20, 1999, the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado killed 13 people and injured 23 more. The murderers said in materials before that day that they chose the date because it was Hitler’s birthday. There were a lot of school shootings around the country in that ten-year period, but this was the worst one. Until on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech University, when 32 people were killed by a student.

Now, we have the Boston Marathon bombing last year, on April 15, where 3 people were killed and hundreds were injured. Many of the injured are missing limbs because of the metal put into the two bombs.

An example of the Ides of April from central Pennsylvania is the mysterious disappearance of District Attorney Ray Gricar on April 15, 2005. He took a personal day, talked to a couple of people by phone, and then never returned home. His car was found parked by some shops in a nearby town, and pieces of his laptop were later found in a river. The police followed up on a few sightings and tips, but no one knows what happened to him. He was declared legally dead on July 25, 2011. Was he killed? Did he leave his family, job and former life on purpose? Did he commit suicide? Your guess is as good as mine.

Beware the Ides of April.

It is easy to find disasters through history in this month. What I want to remember is that I would find a lot of disasters in any month, if I looked. I just keep track of the ones in April, because I feel some interest in them, some emotional stake. I remember in 1993 watching a soap opera with my mom, when the network broke in with the news of the fire at Waco. We watched on live TV as the huge house burned to the ground, and we were horrified. In 1995, my father and I were traveling back from Kansas when the Oklahoma City bombing happened, and we didn’t learn about the attack until we got to a motel for the night. Maybe that is what got me fixated on April.

I also know that good things happen in this month. I always think of Easter as being an April holiday. It was April of 2002 that I met Darren, who is now my husband, and we first exchanged phone numbers. And one of my relatives who lives in this area has a birthday in this month, which makes April glorious. I am so blessed to have both of these people in my life, and they have always outshone any tragedy the month carries.

Long live April.