Raw powerless.

Alex said something in the previous post about idioms and language that gets lost between generations. Forte was his example, which became “Ford tape” in another’s ear/speech. It so happens I was editing a piece the other day and came across the phrase “like a broken record,” thought for a minute, and struck it. Who even knows what that means? How long has it been since vinyl records were in common enough use, and that particular defect well-known enough, to understand the reference?

Truth be told, when my records were scratched enough for it to be audible — and (she said modestly) I always took excellent care of my records, handling them by the edges and using that Discwasher stuff pretty often — the worst I heard was a pop or skip. The defect that makes them actually repeat, which is what the idiom refers to? I can’t even remember when that happened (although I’ve heard it). Must be a Victrola thing.

Once you start noticing them, you can’t stop. I had a boss who was obsessed with visual shorthand, like depicting a doctor wearing a head mirror. Is there a soul alive who has ever seen a doctor wearing a head mirror? (And yet, apparently they’re still a thing, maybe in places where they don’t have electricity or batteries.) Why is a cartoon dead person drawn with Xs for eyes?

These are Tuesday thoughts. Today it’s Wednesday. Sorry for two nights of no-show. Last night we went to an early screening of “Gimme Danger,” the Stooges documentary by Jim Jarmusch, with special guest Iggy Himself. It was good falling short of great, a touch over-long, but an otherwise enjoyable experience. Iggy walks as though his hip is bothering him. [Pause.] I wonder how many times I’ll write a version of that sentence before all these guys are planted.

Actually, I find his bandmate James Williamson’s story more interesting. Click that link and listen to the KQED podcast “The Leap,” about him.

So. Two more weeks to the election, and we seem to have entered a lull. After the rat-in-Skinner-box feeling of the last months, it’s a little strange. Well, there’s Newt Gingrich telling Megyn Kelly she’s “fascinated by sex,” which is simply too pot-kettle for words.

I cannot tell a lie: When this election season is over, I’ll be relieved, of course. But also kind of deflated. You?

Posted at 9:36 am in Current events, Movies |

59 responses to “Raw powerless.”

  1. Bitter Scribe said on October 26, 2016 at 9:40 am

    When this election season is over, I’ll be relieved if Clinton wins. Otherwise I’ll be in despair.

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  2. AndreaJ said on October 26, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Those outdated visual cues are still everywhere apparently. Just recently, my 9 yr old daughter drew a picture of a nurse wearing a cap with a red cross on it. I’m almost 45 and I don’t think I ever saw a nurse wearing a cap. When I asked her where she saw that, her answer: on TV!

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  3. brian stouder said on October 26, 2016 at 10:31 am

    When this election season is over, I’ll be relieved, of course. But also kind of deflated. You?

    – ‘deflated’, indeed, but in a good way! (assuming an HRC win)

    I’ve read about how people were apprehensive when Barry Goldwater was running for the presidency, and NOW – viscerally – I “get it”.

    One source of (fairly cold) comfort, in the event that the orange-haired narcissist prevails this year, is that I’ve also read that the National Command Authority very quietly added a few extra checks on the nuclear chain-of-command, as the Nixon presidency spiraled into the ground…so there’s that…

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  4. Icarus said on October 26, 2016 at 10:31 am

    to quote the latest meme, I’m very concern that someone is going to win this election.

    Also, I’m very concerned that link you have about the head mirror was three pages long with the option to read one page. That’s a thing on blogs now.

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  5. Sue said on October 26, 2016 at 10:57 am

    How I know the world is coming to an end:
    The Cubs are in the World Series, and my sister-in-law voted for Clinton. I am actually more astonished by the latter.

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  6. Connie said on October 26, 2016 at 10:58 am

    What Bitter Scribe said. Despair.

    My neck of the woods is full of Trump signs. My husband keeps reminding this county went for Wallace.

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  7. Deborah said on October 26, 2016 at 11:05 am

    There’s a very slight increase in Trump’s poll numbers. Nate Silver says the undecideds are reinforcing almost precisely the divide of the country. This of course won’t make a difference in the presidential race but it probably puts taking the house out of reach. I’m done worrying about President Hillary Clinton, I’m focusing on the possibilities of the down ballots. Barring another Trump catastrophe, which I’m not ruling out, I’m speculating that we’re probably, unfortunately stuck with a do-nothing house of reps. I think taking the Senate is still a possibility.

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  8. brian stouder said on October 26, 2016 at 11:15 am

    …and taking the Senate means that HRC’s nominees for judicial slots and for her administration will at least get a fair hearing – as all the R’s know how to do anymore is obstruct/contest/oppose/sneer….which ain’t ‘governing’

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  9. nancy said on October 26, 2016 at 11:16 am

    The smartest poli sci dude I know just sent me his prediction, two weeks out:

    Prez: Clinton 50-45-5 PV, 322-210-6 EV

    Senate: Dems, 52-48

    House: GOP, 226-209

    I agree that the Senate will fall to the Dems, but not the House.

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  10. brian stouder said on October 26, 2016 at 11:34 am

    …and THAT’S why the truly-looney ‘tea party’ types always add that they’re opposed to the 17th Amendment – ie – they want the election of Senators to revert to state legislatures, where they can be gerrymandered!

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  11. Snarkworth said on October 26, 2016 at 11:45 am

    When I was a kid, we had an album (album!) of Christmas carols that we played so much it was almost transparent. It had a few good scratches on it. I still hear, “It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old/From angels bending-bending-bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold.”

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  12. Jeff Borden said on October 26, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I wonder if I’m alone in blaming Newt Gingrich for the kind of coarse, ugly, fact free political campaigns we are enduring these days. Wasn’t he the one who came up with a list of pejorative words with which to brand Dems? A way to not only disagree with their policies, but to openly paint them as dangerous traitors? Or maybe he used someone else’s list? Regardless, he’s a vile little bag of pus. And him talking about sex issues is just too precious given his record of adultery and cruel infidelity. How nice he became a Catholic so he could take his filthy soul through the car wash of confession, huh?

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  13. Walter Biggins said on October 26, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Nancy, you added another phrase to the mix yourself, perhaps unintentionally: “visual shorthand.” How many people under 50 even know what shorthand is…

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  14. brian stouder said on October 26, 2016 at 11:51 am

    I clearly recall when my dad or older brothers would play George Carlin comedy LPs (and, a little less clearly, Bob Newhart comedy albums, and Bill Cosby’s, too)

    Would they have purchased them from K-Mart? Maybe Murphy’s? Surely not Sears….

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  15. nancy said on October 26, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Excellent point, Walter. “Visual Bitly,” maybe. (Which my autocorrect just changed to “bigly.” ARGH.)

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  16. Peter said on October 26, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Jeff at #12 – “little” bag of pus? Other than sense of shame, I don’t think there’s anything on Newt that is little.

    The problem was that Newt was the wrong person at the right time. Anyone could have won a GOP majority in the ’94 elections, but they thought is was all due to Newt’s belligerence, and they’ve been copying that playbook ever since.

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  17. adrianne said on October 26, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    My God, that Newt interview with Megyn Kelly was bizarro world. All of the attempts to call Bill Clinton a sexual predator are going nowhere. The sexual predator at the time was Dennis Hastert, who became speaker of the house after Newt and who preyed on teenage boys while he was a high school wrestling coach back in Illinois. One of the reporters for my joint has been following the legal fallout from “Individual A,” as he’s identified in court papers, just one of Hastert’s victims. Creepy.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on October 26, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    From your dude’s lips to God’s ears, please.

    Whenever I bought a new album the first thing I did was make a cassette tape backup, then duplicated the tape. Today whenever I buy a CD, the first thing I do is rip it to my computer and then burn a car CD. OCD then, OCD now.

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  19. Alan Stamm said on October 26, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I see what you did there (I think) by dropping “the rat-in-Skinner-box feeling” near to end to see if any recovering former copy editor would detect the anachronistic bookend to broken record.

    Reminds me of a tweet last Saturday by the University of Denver’s political science chair, Seth Masket (@smotus):

    “Me describing Clinton’s debate strategy to my students:

    “Me: ‘You remember in the Roadrunner cartoons how . . .’

    “Students: ‘No.’ “

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  20. Deborah said on October 26, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    OMG, this asshole is tangentially related to my husband http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/31/trolls-for-trump. My husband’s cousin who lives in Kewanee is this guy’s ex-aunt, her ex-husband was the guy’s uncle. Small world, and creepy too.

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  21. Scout said on October 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I alternate between being totally sick to death of Trump’s utter nonsense, and wondering what I’ll do with myself when I no longer feel the need to obsessively check Twitter to see, ‘WHAT NOW?’.

    My daughter’s in-laws are full-throated Trumpeters. I have made the decision to avoid any holiday gatherings for which they will be present until I get over the loathing I feel for them. I’m thinking Easter at the earliest. What disgusts me the most is that they are 2nd generation Mexicans who are smug about how ‘our family did it right’ and want to deny access to anyone else and think the wall is actually doable. So, they’re not only mean, but evidently a bit stupid.

    I took great care of my albums too. I got rid of the album stacker and played each disc individually after using the discwasher, and they were always immediately placed back in their sleeves, which were then put into the album cover turned 90 degrees so they couldn’t accidentally roll out… and now they are all gone except my Beatles collection. Which I will never part with and intend to leave to my children as a yuuuuuuuge part of my estate. I’m only partly kidding.

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  22. Sherri said on October 26, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    What makes you think the election will be over? https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-republicans-are-already-preparing-for-years-of-investigations-of-clinton/2016/10/26/e153a714-9ac3-11e6-9980-50913d68eacb_story.html

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  23. Dave said on October 26, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Julie Robinson, from yesterday’s last comment, we received voter postcards also, not too long after we registered to vote in Florida, asking if we no longer were Indiana residents. Our son, who now resides in Virginia, also received one. We filled them out and sent them back and gave our son his. When we did go vote in Indiana, our son was still on the registry there, although he moved away in 2008. We would point it out to the poll workers, one of them once told us that her son had been away from Indiana far longer than that but his name still showed up.

    We can’t decide whether to go vote early or wait until election day. I suspect there are numerous Trump fans in the neighborhood we live in. The lady next door has a Trump sign in her yard, she’s 80-something, she told me last spring that she really liked Trump. She also has a sign for a local county commissioner candidate and I’m tempted to vote against him because of her Trump sign, that’s poor reasoning, I know, but I’ve been reading about him and that reinforces my thoughts.

    I took good care of my albums, although some of them got damaged in a basement flood. When we moved, I parted with nearly all of them, including my Beatles albums, Scout, something that my younger self would have never thought would happen. It just wasn’t practical and now they’re gone, Wooden Nickel in Fort Wayne bought most of them.

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  24. Jakash said on October 26, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    “The defect that makes them actually repeat, which is what the idiom refers to? I can’t even remember when that happened (although I’ve heard it). Must be a Victrola thing.”

    That was part of the adventure of visiting used record stores, back in the day. I’d buy a record that LOOKED pretty good, but until I actually gave it a full run-through, I’d never know if there were a depth charge embedded therein, depending on how much of a stoner the previous owner had been! (Does depth charge count as an anachronism, BTW?) Those are where I became most familiar with such flaws. Though I wasn’t nearly as careful with my records as you folks evidently were, I still have them all and the vast majority are still quite listenable, FWIW.

    Agree that, as much as I’ve hated this campaign, it will be weird to not have the daily deluge of Drumpf deplorableness to stew about.

    Tweet from “Adam P.” making the rounds:

    “CLEVELAND: We want a championship.
    DEVIL: ok, but you’ll have to host the Republicans.
    CLE: …Fine.
    DEVIL: Trump’s the guy.
    CLE: We want 2.”

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  25. LAMary said on October 26, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Yay University of Denver poli sci department shout out. My alma mater. Madeline Albright’s father taught there and Condoleeza Rice’s dad was a dean. She did grad school there. We didn’t hang out together.

    I had a room mate who had a copy of Tapestry (everyone had that album that year) with a skip in one song. She would lock her door if her boyfriend was visiting and they would get busy. I hear the word snow over and over. Like a broken record.

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  26. Jakash said on October 26, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Neil Steinberg is featuring his post from 3 years ago today in the margins of his blog. It concerns people’s favorite passages in literature and, lo and behold, Nancy’s choice is among 4 contributions to make the cut. Plus, Jeff (tmmo)’s selection is posted in the comments:


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  27. Deborah said on October 26, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Very cool, Nancy and Jeff tmmo, has Neil Steinberg ever commented on nn.c?

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I thought he had a couple of times.

    Clinton looks to me like she’s heading for 340 EV, but what do I know?

    My ENT does still have a head-mirror for looking down at my vocal cords with the mirror on a stick and pointing the light down with it. But he says the fiber-optic scope is much, much easier — except when you have “hard to intubate” people, folks who are very heavy or have jaw injuries, that sort of thing. He’s old enough he finds the mirror and head-mirror (it’s got a name, I forget) easy enough to use, “but not the younger docs.”

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 26, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I almost wished I’d picked the pithier quote from Norman MacLean, but I’m not Presbyterian. 😉

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  30. alex said on October 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    He who shits where he eats sits in his own Pugh.

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  31. susan said on October 26, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I’ve heard it as, “When you fart in church, you sit in your own pew.”

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  32. David C. said on October 26, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    My older brother died in 1978 and his name was still on the voter rolls when I last voted in the township we grew up in. That was 1988. When I asked about it, they told me they purged inactives after 12 years. Seems about right. What are they going to do, look up every obituary?

    I actually drove the getaway car for my Republican, former township clerk, grandfather as he committed voter fraud. He asked for an absentee ballot for my grandmother who was in a nursing home after having a stroke. I started driving to the home, and grandpa asked where I was going. I said to have grandma fill out her ballot. He said “no drive home”. So we went to his house, he filled out her ballot, rubber stamped her name, and we brought it back to the township offices. So my direct experience is that only Republicans commit voter fraud, and Democrats are only very unwilling accomplices, acting under familial duress.

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  33. beb said on October 26, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Who would have thought that a waste management company with an Italian sounding name would be guilty of bribing politicians?

    Speaking of phrases and concepts whose meaning eludes the younger generation, the icon for saving a computer file is that of a 3.5″ floppy disk. When was the last time you save a floppy disk?

    One of the funniest episodes of “Steven Universe” a cartoon show aimed at one kids was an homage to the Roadrunner cartoons. I think the producers of the show fully expected their audience to recognize what they were doing, partly because snippets of the Roadrunner cartoons often show up in ads, re-runs on TV, and on-line services. I think some cultural references will persist long after records are gone.

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  34. Scout said on October 26, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    David C. FTW.

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  35. Sherri said on October 26, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Read all the way to the end of this article: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/the-city-of-brotherly-love-has-little-for-trump/505343/

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  36. basset said on October 26, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Good one!

    When I first looked at nn.c just now, today’s post was right where it shoukd be but the previous day’s entry was from April sometime and the one before that was from February. Refreshed and all was back in order. No idea what happened there.

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  37. basset said on October 26, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    And now I have something to look forward to… one of these is almost on my way to work:


    that link should work, I cut all the tracking stuff off the end.

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  38. A.Riley said on October 26, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Here in Cook County and in Chicago (separate fiefdoms, different election boards), they mail out those little postcards telling you where your polling place is. If the post office returns the card, the election officials figure you’ve either died or moved away, so you get purged.

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  39. Suzanne said on October 27, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Jakash @26, you’ve got me wondering about my favorite quotes from books. There are so many! I’ve become a huge fan of Alice McDermott & Jhumpa Lahiri. Excellent writers. I’ve come to love the writing more than the plot and can hardly finish a book with an interesting plot but poor writing.

    As to voter fraud, ugh. My mother insists that my father will fill out his ballot as usual, except that he’s had a stroke and doesn’t know what he did yesterday or even what day it is. “We just vote straight Republican”, she says, although she admits she doesn’t like Trump. But then, I still have not been able to convince her that Obama was not born in Africa…

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  40. Dorothy said on October 27, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Since there’s no new topic here today, I’m hoping you won’t mind if I do a shameless plug for my journalist daughter – she wrote this article and it was posted last night at her paper’s website.


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  41. Jakash said on October 27, 2016 at 11:15 am

    “… can hardly finish a book with an interesting plot but poor writing.” That’s the same way my wife feels, Suzanne. She’s a much more nuanced judge of writing than I am. Though I have my own issues with whether or not I will like something. For instance, I recently finished the Pulitzer-Prize-winning “Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” and wondered the whole time why I kept reading it. It was interesting enough, I suppose, and he’s a good writer (I’ve read 2 of his other books, too), but I just don’t get why that was so highly regarded.

    I could never pick a favorite literary quote, myself. Too many to choose from, and I don’t really like ranking things, anyway. Though I’d give the Statue of Liberty more than a 4 or 5, if she’d just smile once in a while! ; )

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  42. Deborah said on October 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Suzanne, I’m with you, I love the way good writers string words together, even if the plot is so so. My favorite writers change from time to time, right now it’s Alice Munro. I went through a serious Faulkner phase when I was in my late teens/early 20s. I’m thinking I’d like to return to him again to remind myself why I was so enamored. Because of the Internet, I’m not reading nearly as much as I used to. Well, I take that back, I’m technically reading as much maybe more when you count up the hours reading off of a screen but it’s not great literature. That’s troubling to me, as it is to many who have said the same here about themselves. I find myself interrupting my book reading to go check my emails or Facebook. I’m hoping that spending more time in the Abiquiu cabin will correct that because we have no wifi there and phone service is spotty at best.

    I think I’ve done it again. I’m pretty sure I’ve stress fractured my second metatarsal. I have a swollen, sore right foot again, this time it’s on the bottom of my foot, I think it’s the long bone that connects to my second toe. Damn, I hate this about getting old. I love walking, it’s my only form of exercise but I’m going to have to cut back on the mileage.

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  43. brian stouder said on October 27, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Dorothy, thanks for sharing the link. Easy jokes aside, I betcha at least a few people who read that will go ahead and do the test, and grasp that it is a genuinely good thing

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  44. FDChief said on October 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

    The very notion of linking “Newt Gingrich” and “sex” makes my skin crawl. The moment I read that bit the mental image of that grotty munchkin wallowing atop his latest concubine popped into my head like the memory of a bad meal and I can’t scrub it out. The death’s-head grin on Callista’s mug as the little rascal does his business is just a specially horrific bonus. Eeeewwww, thanks for THAT picture…

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  45. Connie said on October 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    My neck of the woods is filled with Trump signs. Yesterday we drove to and through Lansing and East Lansing and saw nothing but Clinton signs. It made me feel a tiny bit better.

    My work life is a mess. Got a nasty personnel issue about to blow up. Start moving to new library in December, opens January 17. This week I ordered $459,887 of furniture and shelving. While I always have a million dollar plus operating budget, spending that much money at one time always makes me stop and think. Thought, signed, mailed.

    Want to see construction pictures? Go to http://www.commercelibrary.info/new_library , the picture at the bottom will scroll through a couple more.

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  46. LAMary said on October 27, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    FDChief, all the GOP far right guys who are on third marriages creep me out. Gingrich, Giuliani, Trump, Limbaugh all find it very easy to be holier than thou. Love Gingrich’s excuse for being unfaithful. He was so passionate about politics he lost his way morally.

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  47. Scout said on October 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    The Yale Record does not endorse Hillary Clinton.


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  48. Suzanne said on October 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    For all the talk of what will happen to Trumpistas if they are on the losing side, remember that here in Indiana, where he has yuuge support, people are still ticked about the whole deflate-gate fracas although it’s been how many years? So, they won’t forget about a Trump loss easily.

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  49. Judybusy said on October 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Esquire article on a behind-the-scenes-at-Trump. All about voter suppression by dissemination of crap information.

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  50. Judybusy said on October 27, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Live feed with Michelle and Hillary now on FB

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  51. Sherri said on October 27, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    It’s interesting to see some conservatives figure out what liberals have been telling them for a while, that too much of your conservatism has been about trying to piss of liberals than about any conservative vision: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/the-nasty-rise-and-fall-of-donald-trump/505118/

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  52. Mark P said on October 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    An Atlanta TV news report yesterday told about several investigations started by the secretary of state’s office regarding voting irregulars. I thought, “Sure, right, all kinds of voter fraud going on.” But no. No dead people or illegal immigrants voting. All the “voting irregularities” involved people who had trouble voting, a clear result of the Republican strategy of making it harder for people to vote. One guy said his request for an absentee ballot was rejected because some local jerk thought the signature on his request didn’t match the signature on his registration. I’m sure it was a coincidence that his name sounded Hispanic.

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  53. garmoore2 said on October 27, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Deborah @ 42:

    If you’re breaking bones without some trauma as the cause, you might consider getting a bone density test. I went through one several years ago after x-rays showed several fractures I didn’t know I had (old fractures, found when I was x-rayed for more recent injuries). I was tested and found to have a bit of a problem, correctable with calcium/vitamin D pills. No problems since, and it’s not because I’m getting younger. You might want to ask your doctor about testing bone density if you haven’t done that already.

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  54. Deborah said on October 27, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    garmoore2, I get the bone density test regularly. I’m borderline for osteoporosis. I had a stress fracture in my heel bone about 6 years ago probably caused by the fact that I walk about 6 miles a day on hard city pavement. I’ve spent a lot of money on good walking shoes, so it’s probably my brittle old bones. I take calcium regularly too. My Dr said I should be using ankle weights when I walk, which I don’t do, that’s supposed to help strengthen bones. I was using weights while leg lifting for awhile, and I still do it when I think about it, I’m sporadic about it which is obviously not helping. I had X-rays this afternoon, my Dr is supposed to call me in the morning with the results. What a pain.

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  55. Jean Shaw said on October 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Deborah, what a bummer for someone who’s so accustomed to walking.

    Frankly, leg weights would bore the hell out of me, so I wouldn’t be compliant…fortunately, I do yoga, and per Loren Fishman’s research on yoga and osteoporosis, that can be quite effective.

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  56. Deborah said on October 27, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks for the advice, Jean Shaw. I googled it and I’m getting a book about yoga for osteoporosis by Fishman from Amazon. I’ve tried yoga classes a few times, it’s been years, I was so far behind compared to everyone else in the class, I didn’t get much out of it. Maybe if I try it on my own first I can work myself up to it.

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  57. Sherri said on October 27, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Gary Johnson is all about marijuana legalization and don’t you forget it!


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  58. Jean Shaw said on October 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Welcome, Deborah. Fishman is well regarded in the yoga world, and I’m happy to see him doing the needed research. Any reputable Iyengar-trained teacher should be able to help you with the fine points, if you’re inspired to take a class.

    Bet you can’t tell I’m a true believer……

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  59. Suzanne said on October 27, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Well, my oh my! Gov My Pants’ plane slid off the runway at LaGuardia! Maybe God is trying to tell him something…

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