Archive for Mary Monahan

The Mighty Ducks

In a storm south of the Aleutian Islands a cargo ship lost a container causing nearly 29,000 bath toys including 7,500 yellow rubber duckies to spill into the ocean. Author Donovan Hohn came across this story and embarked on a journey to determine where these brave little bath toys landed. His book about this adventure, Moby Duck, takes us to Chinese factories where the ducks are made, to the infamous Garbage Patch–a floating island of plastic trash north of Hawaii estimated to be at least the size of Texas and the coast of Maine where there were sightings.
Keep in mind the author was an English teacher whose fondness for Mellville’s Moby Dick is tied into this quest. A crew member on one of the ships would greet the author with “Hast seen the white whale?.” The author’s reply–”Hast seen the yellow duck?.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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A wee bit of Irish wit and wisdom:
A wise woman is better than a foolish doctor.
If you want praise, die, if you want blame, marry.
The old person is a child twice.
Men are like bagpipes–no sound comes from them until they’re full.
Neither a lawbreaker nor a lawmaker be. There is naught but unease in either occcupation.
A heart should always be big enough to safely enfold all of one’s friends and family; a house should be too small to hold them all.
For more Irish proverbs consult Of Irish Ways or The Book of Celtic Wisdom.

Why I Love Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart came into my life in the seventies and never left. I’ve watched The Maltese Falcon (the greatest detective movie ever made) probably more than 50 times. It’s my go to movie if I’m snowed in, bummed out or just because. The movie always gives me an ‘all’s right with the world feeling’ because of the kind of man Bogie was and the kind of characters he portrayed.
A new book, Tough without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart explores the mystique of this actor who died in 1957. The NY Times review says it best: “Bogart’s appeal was and remains completely adult — so adult that it’s hard to believe he was ever young. If men who take responsibility are hard to come by in films these days, it’s because they’re hard to come by, period, in an era when being a kid for life is the ultimate achievement”. They just don’t make ‘em like Bogie anymore. Pity.

The Winter of Our Discontent

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Forget about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)-I’m calling our current affliction SNOAD (Snow Affective Disorder). If you’re spending time at home listening for creaking noises that could indicate the imminent collapse of your roof/house–you’re in the throes of SNOAD.
Psychiatrist John Sharp touches upon the effects of weather events in The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences to Become Happier, More Fulfilled, and in Control of Your Life. He advises us to “enjoy what we can of what winter has to offer”. Right. As an alternative to embracing your inner snowman, I recommend checking out movies like Lawrence of Arabia–watching over three hours of mostly blistering, desert heat does have a warming effect –plus it’s a great movie.