Growing up, I was a dedicated fan of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. If I didnt’ have an egg and bacon breakfast, usually prepared by my mother, I had a bowl of Corn Flakes. I never tired of it. I looked for the gimmicks inside the box. I saved the box tops so I could order magic rings, etc. Even when I was in the Navy, I frequently picked up a box of Corn Flakes from the chow line. However, when Frosted Flakes entered the scene, I began to opt for them instead of the to-be-sweetened Corn Flakes. I gradually became accustomed to the sweet taste and, since they were made by the same company, I didn’t feel as though my loyalty had been compromised. However, for the last couple of years, I have betrayed the Kellogg’s company and have been purchasing from General Mills. The reason: Honey Nut Cheerios. I don’t remember how I was first indoctrinated into this breakfast cereal, but whatever the draw, it was compelling. I now watch for the coupons for this cereal and wish, like my assistant pastor who told the story, that Cheerios were really doughnut seeds and planted would bear doughnuts.
I stopped drinking soft drinks a long time ago. I had grown up a big soft drink imbiber as my dad was a Pepsi Cola salesman. We used to have a crate of Pepsis sitting on the back porch. However, as an adult, I gradually learned to do without soft drinks. First of all, I knew they were not good for me, and I also knew that they added considerable cost to a meal when I ate out. I therefore switched to water unless lemonade was available. I love lemonade and always have. Certainly the lemonade provided by restaurants is sweetened to the point where any health benefit has been overcome by the amount of sugar. Still, a refreshing glass of lemonade must be more beneficial than a soft drink. That’s why I was so upset when I went to Taco Bell for my Mexican pizza and found that there was no lemonade listed on the roster of beverages. If it’s deletion is permanent, I guess I will revert to drinking just plain water, but it surely will be a disappointment not to get my free senior drink.
I have a decision to make: do I or do I not need a new air conditioner? The one I have is probably at least twelve years old, and the fellow who came to do routine maintenance on it said that it may not last through the summer as the head pressure is now 250 with the compressor amperage at 10.9, whatever that means. When the house was built, I opted to have an extension of my living room in order to have room for my grand piano. The additional living room space came from using the space that would have been a garage. I opted for a car port in the rear of my house in place of the garage that would have been in the front. I love the larger living room but have had trouble heating and cooling it as the house was not provided with ducts pointing to that area that would have been garage. My maintenance guy suggested that I replace the air conditioning unit and have the old ducts re-sealed while adding a new duct aimed at the neglected living room area. The cost: nearly $5000.00. Of course he threw in another couple of incentives: a 12 year warranty, financing with no interest if paid off in one year and a UV purification system. Weighing the pros and cons, I’m leaning toward hanging onto the present system for one more year. My electric bill does not indicate that I’m in trouble yet. Reader, I’ll let you know.
According to what I was taught in college, Coleridge defined drama as “the willing suspension of disbelief.” I love that definition as it twists and turns in several directions, defined by what it is not as well as what it is. To suspend something is to temporarily keep it from being in effect. When we go to a movie or sit as a spectator in a play, we do agree to believe, at least temporarily, that what we are seeing is real, regardless of how extraordinary it is. What we have suspended is our knowledge that it is not actual reality but a presentation of reality in a form that entertains or sometimes even teaches. With the Oscars coming up this weekend, we are reminded of the number of movies we’ve watched this past year that took us into the land of unreality without insulting our intelligence.
Here I am in Athens, GREECE, looking at a chicken gyro that I brought home in a doggie bag when my partner insisted that I order two as “they are small.” I requested and received instructions from him as to how to operate the oven so I could warm up the uneaten gyro. Concerned about over-heating, I set my timer for ten minutes. I set the temperature on the oven and turned the switch to “on.” When the Red indicator light did not come on, I decided it would light up when the temperature reached the point which I had set. When, after five minutes no Red light had come on, I renegotiated, wondering what I had not done properly. Then I remembered that, in this flat, nothing is allowed to remain plugged in. When I plugged the stove into the outlet, voila! Red light and warmed up gyro.
Before last Saturday night, I had never heard of Andrew von Oeyen. He came into my view for the first time when I attended the symphony concert at Mahaffey Theater. He was second on the program and was scheduled to play Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” one of my favorites and evidently a favorite with the audience. As Mr. von Oeyen began to play, the audience sat in reverent silence, watching his hands cover the keys almost by magic while the sounds from the piano folded into the orchestral accompaniment seamlessly. When he finished the piece, he stood and received accolades long enough to encourage him to play an encore, the “Moonlight Sonata.” I had taken a friend, Matthew Russell, to the concert, and he too was impressed with this pianist’s performance. In fact, he was so taken with him that he found his Facebook page and wrote him a very complimentary note. Expecting that to be the end of it, he was pleasantly surprised a short time later to get a response from Mr. Oeyen, thanking him graciously for the compliment. One might call it a rhapsody on a theme of Matthew Russell.
I must confess that I have frequently derided those cell phone “addicts” and have bragged about my cell phone “living” in my car. The world survived very well without phones in our pockets until just a few years ago. Why is the availability of a telephone so integral to happiness now? A few days ago, my partner’s laptop went kaflooie. It would not accept the password that allows the Windows 7 programs to load. The diagnosis was that it might be a virus. The important point here is that the only way I could recharge my iPod Touch was by using a USB attachment that I plug into his computer. That meant that I would not be able to access the Internet or my e-mails or Text Plus once my iPod battery ran down. Suddenly I was in the same category as the cell phone “addict.” Can I survive? I must.