Friday, February 20, 2015


See web link below for a video sent to me by a dear friend--and now onward to all of you!

Neurologist Oliver Sacks

Neurologist Oliver Sacks has researched neurological anomalies, written many books, lectured widely, and, now, has written a soulful New York Times essay about his response to his current health crisis. 

Dr. Sacks' books: 
The man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat: And Other Clincal Tales
The Mind's Eye
The Island of the Colorbird
Awakenings (made into a movie starring Robin Williams and Robert Deniro)
An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales 
Seeing Voices
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
A Leg to Stand On
Oaxaca Journal
Phantoms of the Brain: Probing Mysteries of the Human Mind
On the Move: A Life
A Man Without Words

Friday, February 13, 2015


Walking this morn to a neighborhood 
Appointment; sun peaking through 
Westerly and southerly clouds
Which have dumped rain for weeks.

Refreshing and relieving to bask once more
In sun beams, to breathe deeply again, 
To feel lighter in my steps, to be outside
Sans cumbersome jacket and gloves.

Still in the depths of winter, yet 
Days elongating, flowers and trees
Budding, early blooms blossoming.
Glimpses of renewed hope on the way at last.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) February 12, 2015


When driving, I don't usually pay attention to advertisements along the roadways. Lately, odd billboard photos catch my attention, but fleetingly: One or more men wearing only briefs or boxers, in modestly lascivious poses, advertising all-manner of products and services: IT, hardware stores, or whatever.

The men are not particularly in good physical shape; their facial expressions are fairly blank--neither playful nor suggestive, just matter-of-fact--reminiscent of high-fashion models' blank stares.

I am puzzled by these billboards. What is the point? 
By contrast, bringing to consciousness the ongoing and overtly exploitive use of women's overly-sexy bodies/poses in advertising campaigns?
Lessening the sexist sting of objectification of women by objectifying men too?
Poking fun at the ridiculousness of using human bodies as a sales technique?
Decreasing Americans' prudish response to sexuality by flooding our awareness with non-sexual images of male near-nudity?
If body-related advertisements work for men, similar advertisements should work for women?

At least, maybe, the ad execs are finally attempting to include 64% of the US population in capitalism. Although these billboards catch my attention by their quirkiness, I am no more compelled to purchase their advertised products. Like billboards using female bodies (I assume), my attention goes to the bodies in the short amount of time I fly by in my car. I gather no information about the product/service and am no more compelled to buy their product/service than any other.

I am slightly curious, not offended, not titillated. But I am irritated by the marketing use of normal, ordinary, every-day male bodies in comparison to the use of only-the-most-voluptuous female bodies to sell products. Similar to using female bodies (I assume) in ads, I am distracted by the photos and only minimally, if at all, attentive to the actual service/product being sold. Effective marketing?

Ad execs get paid more money than I to create images and sounds that produce motivation and yearning and willingness to part with a buck. I am confused about the overall purpose and efficacy of such a seemingly distracting strategy.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) February 10, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015


In grey-skied, dimly-lit Western Washington,
You'd think people would wear bright coats
To help drivers see and avoid pedestrians,

As rain pours from skies, you'd think drivers
Would slow down to avoid sliding and skidding,
To be cautious, to put safety before schedule.

But pedestrians, including me, wear dark clothing;
But drivers, including me, are always in a hurry;
Walkers and drivers focus on individual goals.

Deferring individual wants to collective needs
Requires a level of discernment and maturity
That is rarely achieved and seldom plied.

At least for me, I will wear brighter colors;
At least for me, I will slow down, be more alert; 
At least for me, I will finally smell those roses.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) February 5, 2015


1-29-14, 7:59 am, message on my phone. Official-sounding woman's voice, very serious and practiced. "The IRS has been trying to contact you, and this is your final warning. The IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. Call (206) 855-5833." Call came from (725) 422-5667. After I checked on the Internet for IRS-related Fraud/Scam information, I erased the message. Danger avoided!