Saturday, January 28, 2012

Leon Leonwood Bean, You Always Did Good By Me

Growing up in New England, the old-money world educated in prep schools was always within a few minutes' drive away.  When The Official Preppy Handbook came out in 1980 when I was not even yet a preteen, I read with great interest its various humor essays and studied its diagrams about WASP culture.  

If I wanted to see a 65 year-old bluish gray haired, elegant woman sporting navy blue slacks covered in green embroidered whales, all I had to do was head down to the local A&P supermarket.  A Preppy Yuppie could easily be seen coming off the 5:07, Burberry coat in one hand, Prince racket in another. These type of folks were never part of my family's social network, but there is one thing that we definitely had in common.  The L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag.

Here's what I have done with our L.L. Bean Boat & Tote Bag.  Our Shoe repair shop sewed on each patch for $5.  Should I fully cover with patches?  Might be overkill.  It really needs a Hotchkiss or Andover patch to round out the look.  

We took ours to the swim club and to the beach at my grandparents' (which was most definitely not down in Cape May or up in Newport).  The annual display of fireworks was a common place we brought our boat bag.  We took it on a trip to Nantucket.  I saw many in Tanglewood.  My dad took it on his fishing trips with his buddy Donny.  There were only a few colors and it was only available with an open top.  I don't even recall too many sizes.  We always had a big bag, the size of the one above.  And we had it for years.  Many, many years.  Until the handles unraveled.

It didn't really matter who you were or where you came from.  The bag itself was durable, affordable, and well-designed.  It still is.  LL Bean's boat bag was always a go-to reliable.  Nowadays you can get a zippered-top bag.  What an innovation!  And the varied sizes and colors!  And now, there is free shipping!

Oh, L.L. Bean How I Love Thee.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Age of Miracles...Before You Go To Sleep, Say a Little Prayer

Do Western people think of overt miracles happening on a daily basis in their very own lives?  Certainly, the types of miracles that appear in The Bible which detail discussions between man and God do not happen in our day.  Plagues such as blood on the Nile River are of the past.  No sea is going to split open and an oppressed people will just prance on through to the Promised Land.  These grandiose, larger-than-life miracles are difficult for some to believe, and yet.

My esteemed teacher Rabbanit Chana Henkin taught me a few lessons about everyday miracles for which we should be grateful.  The daily sunrise at a beautiful shoreline.  Waking up after a night's slumber.  The first flowers of a fruit bearing tree.  The appearance of a rainbow serves as a reminder of the covenant between God and Noah that the world will never again be destroyed, as was the case after the Great Flood.

TV On The Radio is a Brooklyn-based band which came out with the song "Golden Age" a few years ago.  Only today did I watch the video.

I presume the use of symbols connected to no organized religion was purposeful:  I like it.  I love their glasses, too.  The white-clad-angelic figures versus the dark-clad-law enforcement-evil figures set the stage in a place somewhere between heaven and earth.  Except that eventually the presumed bad guys (the fuzz) end up turning good, grooving and sending out love-hearts.  The angels send their symbols of peace upward.  Are they turning into animals that will be ultimately used, in a positive way if you can believe it, for animal sacrifice (korbanot)?  I don't purport to fully understand the genius behind that one, but it is there.

Everyone loves a rainbow, but do viewers realize its symbolism with regard to the promise of world peace, unity, and ultimate redemption?  This video got a lotta rainbows coming down from the heavens.  It's all good.

Thank you to TV on the Radio for an artful, insightful interpretation of the world's state of affairs.  Let's hope it keeps getting better and better.

This is not a spiritual blog.  Just in case you thought that.