Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bethany ___ Politics with a ___, and then ___, Quickly

Normally, I don't like to touch politics—the same way I don't like to touch rotting zombie flesh. But last night I watched the State of the Union address like the good civic-minded person I pretend to be. (This does eventually have a connection to language; I promise.)

I've watched a fair number of State of the Union addresses, over several administrations. And I find myself wondering, Can we all just agree—not as Republicans or Democrats or too-cool-for-your-party Independents—but as Americans, that State of the Union addresses are boring?

They're basically recap. We're really just watching to see if the President is going to sneak in something awesome (i.e. Our New Inalienable Right to Chocolate) or horrifying (i.e. Selling Idaho to China Will Help Us Balance the Budget). And because all the good TV shows have been postponed.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, do you remember Mad Libs? I sure do. As a kid, I learned the difference between adverbs and adjectives from those crazy fill-in-the-blank stories.

Well, kindly gives us State of the Union Mad Libs. There's more to the article, but the Mad Libs made my night.

(Heads up: The rest of the article contains some swearing—as is typical of articles.)

P.S. Thanks, Caitie, for pointing this out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Last Library Book Sale in Kentucky (for me)

It snowed yesterday, which is just rare enough an occurrence in western Kentucky to be noteworthy.

Yesterday was also the opening day of the McCracken County Friends of the Library winter book sale. Practicality tells me that the last thing I need is another box of books to drag across the country, but to paraphrase my mom, "Neither rain, nor snow, nor heat... nor common sense shall keep the Brengans from the library book sale."

I spent almost as much time talking to people as I did buying books this year. And I was reminded that high on the list of things I'm going to miss when I move are the bi-annual book sales, the Friends of the Library volunteers, the McCracken County (and the Graves County) Library's book club, and the library staff.

As you can see, I was more restrained than usual.

But I'm pleased with my purchases. This was one of those years where it seemed like I had a future self/reading-doppelganger who had read the books I wanted and then donated them to the sale. I'm still floating on my "great book buys" high.

On another note, I wanted some photos of our cardinals against the snow, but the local wildlife all fled from the photographer in squeaky snow boots.

I had to settle for other signs of life.

The neighbor's cat.

A rabbit.

A dog. (And my hand, for scale.)

Lots of birds.

Is it just me, or does that last set of bird footprints look a like a tiny pair of human hands?

There's probably a poem in that somewhere.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Year, New Home, New Blog Post...

Confession: I want to become famous.

I want to be well-known and a perfect enigma.

I want to be loved by the reading public without anyone knowing anything as personal as my favorite brand of mustard.

I want people to wander around bookstores saying, "Bethany Brengan—we know nothing about her, except that she's brilliant!"

Apparently, I want to be Marilynne Robinson.

Blogging probably isn't the way to achieve this goal, but a good friend who I rarely see* recently told me that I should update my blog and "include stuff that's, you know, actually about you. And add some photos."


For those of you who haven't heard, I've been (and am still) struggling with some exhausting health issues. And I will soon be moving from western Kentucky to Washington state.

Illness and the general instability of life have made it difficult to keep up with friends. Moving halfway across the country isn't going to make this any simpler.

So I'm reviving my "letter to the world," even though my friends are the only ones who read it. The majority of my posts will still be about reading. (How could it be my blog otherwise?) But I'll try to work in some news about moving and adjustments to my new home state. Maybe I'll even mention my favorite brand of mustard.

Also, here's a photo of Cadfael, my cat.

(He's a very smart cat, but I should admit that this photo was staged. He wasn't actually reading Joyce.)

*You know who you are.