The Secret Revealed, Avocadally

There’s an old magicians’ dictum that if you want to hide the secret to a magic trick, print it in a book. That probably goes double for blogs. So after much thought, I’ve decided to reveal in this blog the secret of one of the world’s most perplexing problems. Probably no one else will ever bother to read this, so the secret’s safe just between the two of us.

As far as I know, I’m the first and only one to crack this particular code. It wasn’t as if it hadn’t been tackled before, Lord knows. There have been dozens of hare-brained schemes, some of which may have even sounded logical and promising at first. But none of them stood the acid test of successful experiment. All other solutions faded, like a mirage that shimmers on the desert’s dust. Only my solution remained.

I would like to claim that the answer came to me in a flash of blinding light, or in a dream, or perhaps was whispered to me by some Holy Man at the end of a long and perilous mountain climb. But I would be indulging in romantic fantasy were I to maintain such. No, the truth, as it so often is, was more mundane, grittier, sweatier. As Thomas Edison so aptly said, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. How true that was. So Herculean were my efforts, I could have used a whole barrelful of deodorant.

It would be, perhaps, foolish to proclaim myself a genius. The word is bandied about so freely and carelessly in this present slipshod generation, so much so, as to almost lose all sense and meaning of the word. And yet in this one instance, in this one happenstance, it would be, perhaps, false modesty and a dereliction of the historical record to downplay my achievement. Through constant toil, testing, tedious trial and error, sleepless nights, days when my bones cried out for rest, still I continued on, persevering against the greatest of odds, first trying this, then trying that. Over and over and over again.

All for the trivial avocado, you say? Nay, a thousand times nay. And no. For humankind I say, for our children, and our children’s children, and for their descendants everlasting. And perhaps, too, for the ancestors, who now smiling down upon us, may rest more easily, knowing that that which had tormented them in their all-too-brief sojourn on this mortal coil, could now, at long last, be put to bed. Rest, rest, perturbed spirits!

One cautiously cuts the avocado in half. Rather than greedily devouring the entire avocado, like the judicious ant and not the profligate grasshopper, one places but one half of Nature’s gift carefully on the plate to enjoy what Mother Earth hath given unto us: one hemisphere of verdant green to eat but then, one hemisphere, equally verdant, to carefully store in some manner.

And here is the crux of the matter: no matter in what way one stores that half globe of delight for a later meal, when one returns to it, it has turned into an unrecognizable foul thing, scarcely of this earth, marred with all manner of mold and rottenness, like a Cabinet member in office for more than two weeks. With the pit or without the pit; in a baggie or exposed to the winds; in the refrigerator or by the hearth; immersed in unnamed secret liquid potions or dried under the heat of diverse planetary suns, the sickening result is still the same: base, blight, decomposition, decay, and heart-rending waste. The Gods mock our pitiable efforts to stop the hands of withering time.

That is, until now. Listen up, guys. Here’s what you do.

Cut the avocado in half, vertically. The pit will be in one side of the avocado. That’s the half you’re going to store. Get yourself some Seventh Generation unbleached recycled paper towels. No, believe me, it’s not going to work with just white paper towels. Forget that Bounty crap. With one sheet, wrap up the half avocado with the pit. Put it in your refrigerator. Eat the other half. Now come back a day later, and if the avocado wasn’t too ripe to begin with, when you go back to your refrigerator and unwrap the half with the pit, you will have a very respectable looking half avocado. Yes, as Mama used to say, God never sends us a problem more than we can handle.

Now go, and godspeed. And wipe that green junk off your lips.

The Social Media Trap: The Social Dilemma

In the new documentary film, The Social Dilemma, a group of founding tech wizards warn of the dystopia awaiting us because of our fundamental misunderstanding of the true nature of the social media giants like Facebbok, Twitter, and Google. I was happy to be speaking with the director of The Social Dilemma, Jeff Orlowski, about how social media manipulates all of us.

To listen to my conversation with Orlowski, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation, click on the triangle or mp3 link above.

The Semicolon Song

A very silly, clever song. Make sure you stay for the end, if you don’t want to be completely confused. Language definitely not suitable for work or the easily offended.

More at thelonelyisland

Diana Rigg, 1938-2020

Diana Rigg died this week. A fine actress, the clip above shows her in a few of her famous roles.

But my favorite thing that Diana Rigg ever did as an artist was to write a book called No Turn Unstoned: The Worst Ever Theatrical Reviews. Stung by unkind reviews that she had received over the years, to cheer herself up, Rigg compiled a book of horrendous reviews that other celebrated actors had received over the years. If you can get a hold of a copy, it’s a fun read.

Thank you, Mrs. Peel.

Thanks to YouTuber Guardian News

Poetry by Pablo Neruda

https://jackshalomdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/neruda.mp3

For Arts Express, I helped produce this reading of a short poem by Pablo Neruda, performed by the incomparable Mary Murphy.

To listen click on the triangle or link above.

September Arts Express Newsletter is Here!

Another great issue! Highlights include:

*Prairie Miller talks with Mark Amin, director of the new film, Emperor, about Shields Green, John Brown’s African comrade at Harpers Ferry;

*Artist Tom Keough’s stunning paintings of trees at night and in day, along with his political drawings;

*Fall Binging: Listeners reveal what television series they’ve been watching and recommend;

*Culture critic Dennis Broe on a former industrial town in the process of transforming from manufacturing coal to manufacturing culture;

And much more!

To receive your free full-color email issue, send an email now to artsexpresslist@gmail.com and put the word “Subscribe” in the subject line.

Bully For You

https://jackshalomdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/elizabeth-englander-final-mix.mp3

As children are getting ready to go back to school this month,–either online or in person–one thing has not changed: some students are still subject to bullying, both online and off. What can be done to prevent bullying and how should parents and teachers handle it? I recently spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Englander, Professor of Psychology, whose research focuses on bullying. Her most recent book is titled 25 Myths of Bullying and Cyberbullying.

Click on the triangle or link above to hear my interview with Dr. Englander as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show on WBAI NY, WBAI.org and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Whose Garden Was This?: Tom Paxton

Dave Van Ronk claimed that it was really Tom Paxton of the NYC folk scene who first claimed the mantel of singer/songwriter among folkies, daring to sing mainly his own songs in the cafés, which led the way to Dylan and Ochs. Here’s a great Paxton song from fifty years ago that could have been written yesterday.

Monday morning, for all that’s been lost.

More at Tom Paxton – Topic