Downton Abbey Withdrawal: Not. Pretty.

When I first started watching Downton Abbey, it was an escape from all sorts of things: grading papers, organizing closets, reading books that are really hard and force you to google words that you don’t know.


You know: stuff you have to do.

Well, one of the first things I noticed was the presence of MAGGIE SMITH in her complete perfection, and she had a few ZINGERS, and they were so great, so funny, that you really did not wish her to stop after JUST ONE….(I have the same problem with tortilla chips and those toll house chocolate chip cookies that take only ELEVEN minutes to bake.  I know: a little TOO easy. Very. Dangerous.)

All she had to do was have some lines like this:

Violet: “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”
Matthew: “Isn’t she American?”
Violet: “Exactly.”

Or this:  “What is a WEEKEND?”  and of course you are laughing, and IT DOES NOT TAKE MUCH TO BE HOOKED.

I kid you not. Continue reading

Spring Fever

Doni M. Wilson:

A version of this appeared a year ago…thinking of my friend Joan Donaldson who lost her son this year…she is a wonderful person and writer, and I am so grateful that I know her.

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

For Joan Donaldson

Today, March 20th, is the first day of Spring.  If you are really in the know, you might call it the Vernal Equinox, and do that little experiment in which you test an egg and see if it shares the equilibrium that is supposed to infuse the day.  This winter was not any colder than usual in Texas, yet I have been longing for everything to warm up, even though I know friends from other parts of the country have had it much rougher.  My friends post messages that lament the snow, even if it does look beautiful.  Rarely have I had to deal with ice on my windshield in Houston, although it was freezing when I visited San Antonio in February. I hadn’t even thought about ice since I lived in North Carolina, but there, I just told everyone I was from Texas and stayed inside…

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Scarlet Letters, Waking Up, and Social Engineering

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

illu_237 “Don’t Worry. It’s just a fake baby.”

A version of this essay also appears today in the Gray Matters section of The Houston Chronicle, 5 February 2015.  You can read it here:

This essay was also published on 23 December 2013 in The Imaginative Conservative.

I have a friend, let’s call her Tancy, since that is her name, and she has a child attending school in Magnolia, Texas.  Now I cannot think of a more idyllic name for a Texas town, and it is absolutely beautiful and tree laden, but apparently small towns have their problems too.

They have rejected Rousseau and have public schools.

Anyway, her child has the following assignment: she can either carry a fake baby around for a few weeks, thus experiencing the perils of parenthood (it is hard to replicate the joys of parenthood with a fake baby), or, she can write a three page…

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“Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”: Lance Armstrong and the Art of Apology

Doni M. Wilson:

A version of this essay appears today, 4 February 2015, in the Gray Matters online section of the Houston Chronicle….Armstrong is in the news again, and it isn’t for cycling….

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

Lance+ArmstrongLance Armstrong had something to say this weekend:  he is really, really sorry.

But as he was confessing to Oprah Winfrey, the secular priestess of wayward celebrities, I couldn’t help but wonder for what exactly he was apologizing.  It wasn’t the doping itself:  he admitted to Ms. Winfrey that at the time he didn’t ever feel that he was doing anything wrong….that doping was so entrenched in the cycling world, it was just part of “pumping up the tires” and “filling up the water bottles.”  Really?  Because those other things don’t result in one being stripped of seven Tour de France titles as well as an Olympic medal.  Come now, Lance, are we really to take the predictable adolescent response of “everybody does it” as the rationale for years of fabrication in an intricate machine of doping, lying, bullying, and suing?

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