Insomnia

After finally falling into a light sleep around 1:30 this morning, I awoke less than two hours later from a screaming nightmare. You know the kind, adrenaline-rush, heart-racing, gut-wrenching fright that makes you sit straight up in bed and scare the bejesus out of your beloved.

I blame the rattlesnakes.

Of course, when an ophidiophobiac wakes from the mother of all snake dreams, she’s not going back to sleep anytime soon. And beyond that, my mind decided it was the perfect time to solve the problems of the world. Well one problem. Ad nauseum . . . or perhaps that should be ad insomnium. Anyway, no rest for the weary last night.

Which brings us to today. And the necessity to make it through the day with no appreciable sleep.

Damn rattlesnakes.

Quick and Easy Chicken

So you’ve got some frozen chicken breasts hanging out in the freezer, and you need to use them up before the frostbite does.

Well, thaw them out super fast in a sink of cool water. Spray on olive oil and grind some fresh pepper over them. Saute on medium heat till cooked through.

Dig through the freezer again, because frostbite does not care what it eats. Grab those artichoke hearts and asparagus spears. Oh, and pull those mushrooms from the bottom crisper in the fridge. Saute all those yummy veggies in some butter until tender. Maybe throw in some basil or garlic. And salt. Don’t forget to add a little salt.

Boil some pasta, whatever is in the pantry. Cavatappi or bowties or shells, whatever.

Toss it all together and serve with fresh parmesan. And a glass of chilled white wine.

Delicious.

Scathing Critique

So much popular music—almost all of it—is specifically designed not to say anything, or mean anything; not to carry any heartfelt message through passionate playing and singing, but simply to be liked.

Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that, for those who do indeed “like” it, but it’s the fraud that offends me. The pretend “rebels” who dance on the strings of sleazy producers; the shallow divas who simply do what they’re told, sing the notes and words put in front of them, and pretend they mean it.

And it’s not just music, and it’s not just the creators: it’s the audience. Readers of formulaic novels don’t care that those books have been shaped, paragraph by paragraph, to appeal to a particular reader, and thus they—the readers—are nothing more or less than the “lowest common denominator.” People who line up for blockbuster movies merely trust that their shallower desires will be properly catered to—mild titillation and a few fights and car chases. TV viewers don’t care that they are being “marketed to”—pandered to, not forgetting that the definition of “pander” is “pimp”—not only in the commercials, but in the cheap, cynical content.

The Roman satirist Juvenal described the social decline of his people with a memorable phrase, “Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt.”

– Neil Peart, Bubba’s Book Club, Issue 13

Reverie

The dark side of Luna
a ghost of her former self

Her face reflecting the sun
a reminder of her maker

Cloaked in darkness she moves
cold and lonely

Watching the waters from afar
a blue marble on asphalt

(c) 2009 Jennifer J. Knighton