Friday, January 02, 2009
Items are often being left behind at our Sweat gatherings, etc. and I always send out email to the participants to find out who left what. Surprisingly, a lot of things never get claimed, in which case Fritz and I always hope they're in our sizes.
It was a somewhat low-key gathering this year, not dull or uneventful by any means, but very much about old friends getting together to catch up after some time without seeing each other, about good food and good talk.
There was a Sweat in some pretty deep snow, a couple of sessions of massage, a showing of the movie Shortbus that I had never seen and loved immediately, and a performance of a play in pantomime called “The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter” by five of us, narrated by Fritz.
TLKD dates to the 1930s and is dependent on the comic timing and improv skills of its cast. We elected to do it in silent movie style, which I think is just about right. Fritz cast it with some of the more antic among us; the two women’s parts were done in drag, of course, and the [obviously captive] audience declared it a triumph—which seems to me an appropriate response. A sense of the style of the performance may be gotten from the fact that as the young doctor, I administered an injection into the arm of one of the characters with a dildo.
We kissed the last of the guys good-bye Friday afternoon and spent a fairly quiet weekend here catching up on correspondence and winding down from the holidays.
A small but interesting debate grew up over the holidays on the identity of the world’s oldest living person. According to the Gerontology Research Group, Maria de Jesus, a Portugese lady who died at age 115 on January 2nd, had held the title for only five weeks since the death of a slightly older 115 year old in late November. The GRG says that American Gertrude Baines, born 6 April,1894, is now the oldest living person.
The Guinness Book of World Records has an entirely different take on the issue, and holds another person entirely to be the world’s oldest. Into the confusion steps an Isreali Muslim woman, 120 year-old Miriam Amash, who stakes her claim on birth certification issued to her parents by the Ottoman Empire which controlled Palestine, as the area then was. Madame Amash is reported to still be very physically active and mentally acute. Her family and numerous decendents through five generations fully support her claim. The good folk at Guinness say they just need to see the documents.
A striking building was recently built on the shore of Boston’s Charles River as a Community Rowing House. The Charles has a wide variety of rowing facilities, generally built and controlled by major colleges and Universities in the area. Harvard has a couple of rather grand boat houses on the Charles; Boston University, MIT, and several others have variously sized buildings, all in very traditional New England styles.
This boat shed is anything but traditional. Meant to be a people’s facility, the architects rejected any historical references in favor of a simple, modern structure with one very unusual feature—the walls split open mechanically on demand, allowing air to circulate freely and dry stored boat hulls much faster than an conventional facility.
Our Christmas tree, seen from outside at night, framed by four green glass hanging candle lamps that I found by lucky accident for $1 each at a thrift store. We cut it ourselves from a stand that we planted five or six years ago and it has remained so fresh that it might well last to Twelfth Night before we say goodbye to it.
Just wanted to wish you a great 2009 as well Will!