Eclipsing small minds and hands


picture by Steven Greenberg 2017

Sorry ‘bout last week.

AGMA really does try to post every week. But sometimes life gets in the way or I do a really sucky job at time management. Most of the time it’s the latter.

You’re probably sick of hearing about it, but how many saw the total eclipse last Monday?

Let me put it another way… Those of you in the US who didn’t get the opportunity to see the total eclipse are probably sick of hearing about it.

Those of us who experienced it can’t stop talking about it.

When it comes time for AGMA to say goodbye to this early life, I’m pretty sure that this eclipse will be on my top ten list of life events. It’ll probably be right above the tRump impeachment…

I started out feeling ambivalent about it. Eclipse, smeclipse – what’s the big deal?

In Atlanta, we were going to have a 98% eclipse. 98% is good enough right? Get the glasses, step outside at 2:30 or so, ooooh and ahhhh, and that’s it.

Surely it wasn’t worth 2% more to fight the “soul crushing” (as one article I read put it) traffic to and from the path of totality in Tennessee or South Carolina.

But some little voice inside of AGMA told me that I needed to have my soul crushed in traffic. Hubs was always on board with 100%. I gave in.

But where to go? So many people I know booked hotels in North Georgia or South Carolina months in advance. Not really a great idea if you have the luxury to travel to multiple areas of totality in 3 to 4 hours. The “experts” advised to wait until the day of to decide based on weather reports.

Luckily, in Atlanta, we could travel to a plethora of totality areas easily within 3 to 4 hours. If we left early enough in the morning that is….

So Monday morning we check the weather in Toccoa, GA, Greenville, SC, and Athens, TN. Athens won out with clear skies forecast for the day.

We left at 6:30 AM and three hours later, we were parked in a lovely shady spot in Athens Regional Park to watch the eclipse with 10,000 close friends.

We whiled away the 3.5 hours until the start of the eclipse in our little part of the park visiting with the lovely people around us. There were a few Indian families, an Aisian family, a Hispanic family, several African American families and lots of pasty, pale folks like Hubs and AGMA. And they came from all over – Ohio, Florida, Georgia, DC. And Tennessee. And nobody mentioned politics once.

We had a great time!

The excitement really started to build when somebody announced the eclipse was starting in Oregon. OMG OMG OMG! People were buzzing.

At 1:03 PM, we all threw on our glasses and looked up. And waited. And waited.

Eclipses are slow to develop.

Over the next nearly hour and a half, we watched as the moon slowly swallowed the sun.

It was very hot that day – 93 degrees – and even hotter in the sun. AGMA got all gross and sweaty when I was in the sun watching the early stages of the eclipse. TMI? Luckily we had plenty of shade to step back into when the heat got too intense.

But at some point in the eclipse, I stepped out into the sun and it wasn’t hot. Huh? The air felt as cool as the air in the shade. Freaky… At some point, the automatic lights on the highway went on. The daylight looked strange.

As AGMA watched the last sliver of the sun get gobbled up, cheers started.. Lots of whooping and hollering. We all took off our glasses to total darkness around us. The night critters started singing their night songs.

And I looked up to the most spectacular heavenly sight I’ve ever seen. There are no words that AGMA can use to describe the power and beauty of a total eclipse. But I felt like I was standing in liminal space and was being showered by ancient stardust from the beginning of time.

There was gasping and cheering and laughing. Some folks were crying.

It was a solar orgasm.

It lasted for a magical 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

When when the first sliver of the sun appeared again, there was a YUGE cheer.

I wanted a cigarette. I don’t smoke.

Getting home was more of a challenge than getting to Athens. It took an hour to get out of the park. And another 5 hours to get back to Atlanta on I-75. Not quite soul crushing, but pretty bad.

But it was totally, completely, without question worth it. AGMA’d do it again in a heart beat.

Everybody who traveled to this specific place on this specific day for this specific time experienced something very special together. For 2 minutes and 35 seconds, we were a unified in wonder and amazement. We were all equal in our place in the universe. We experience joy and happiness together.

After the hell of the Nazi/white supremacist hate in Charlottesville, this wonderful group experience of the total eclipse was heaven. Literally. And isn’t this how life should look in these good old United States? Everybody together in equality sharing a common experience of wonder and unity.

It totally eclipsed the small minds and hands that seek to tear us apart.

That’s why AGMA is (drum roll) starting a petition to have a TOTAL ECLIPSE EVERY WEEK!

We need an eclipse every week. Desperately.

I wonder who I would send it to? Neil deGrasse Tyson? Stephen Hawking? Bill Nye? Raj Koothrappali?

Surely one of those guys can arrange it.

If not, we’ll have to figure out this unity stuff some other way. Quickly. Please.

Only 7 years until the next total eclipse.

April 8, 2024. Meet me in Dallas.

I’ll bring the chips.

My big fat Lucy and Ethel idea


Did any of you see the movie Joy?  Released in late 2015 and starring Jennifer Lawrence, it tells the semi-true rags to riches story about Joy Mangano.  Essentially, Joy is a creative thinker who’s a cross between an engineer and an inventor.

The movie is set in the late 80‘s, and right out of the chute, she’s shown struggling to emotionally and financially supporting her unbelievably dysfunctional family.  And that struggle pretty much continues throughout the whole movie.  They’re pretty clueless about everything.

In the midst of her family struggles, she invents a “no hands” mop – the Miracle Mop. Then she proceeds to struggle with that whole inventing/patenting/marketing process.

So now she’s struggling  with her family, her finances and her mop.  Get the picture? Struggling…  The movie is filled to the brim with Joy struggling.  Like for 122 of the 124 minutes.

And angst.  OMG, was there angst…  Lots and lots of angst.  Jennifer Lawrence must have needed a few tucks to her forehead after the filming was done because of all of the frowning.

I was exhausted just sitting in the theater watching the movie.

The 86 year old mother of a friend of mine summed it up pretty well. “I just got sick and tired of seeing that damn mop!”

Turns out that Joy was the golden girl of the fledgling QVC and then the Home Shopping Network (HSN), and ultimately made millions.  After the Miracle Mop, she went on to obtain 100 patents on other “must have” products we absolutely couldn’t live without.   She’s the fairy godmother of the “As seen on TV” cult.

Look in your basement – I bet you have some of her crap…eh, I mean, inventions.

Which brings me to AGMA.

AGMA is thinking of becoming a business mogul herself.  I’m thinking that I have a good brain and can advise myself.  Just like Donald “small hands” Trump.   I’m thinking the sky’s the limit.

Within limits.

Unfortunately, I’m not an engineer or an inventor or a innovative thinker.  At all.  Just like Mr. Small Hands.

I remember reading an article in The Wall Street Journal around 1980 about a company that was going to produce wireless, portable telephones to use a new localized “cellular” communication technology allowing phone calls from virtually anywhere.  I sniffed, “Who would ever be interested in that?”

Duh…just like every person on the planet, AGMA.  Epic out-of-the-box-thinking fail.

And I’m cautious.  I’m not generally an early adopter.  I learned my lesson after buying that Sony Betamax video player back in the mid-80’s.  Shrewd move.

But now I waited the requisite twenty years to make sure it wasn’t a flash in the pan.  I’ve done my YouTube tutorial viewing.  I’ve done my thrift shop bargain hunting.  And I’ve opened my PayPal account.

I am ready to take the business mogul plunge even though my nickname in massage school was “Man Hands”.

And now for the big announcement.. (drum roll)

I’m going to start selling crap…eh…treasures on eBay!

I figure there’s nothing like waiting until the market is totally saturated.  There’s something like a million people selling on eBay now.  My timing has always been so spot on…

But I was inspired by a woman I met on our South Africa tour.  She’s been selling on eBay for 16 years.  She sells lots of stuff, but evidently she really sells the snot out of very large bras that she buys in thrift stores.

“Hey”, I thought, “I’ve been buying big bras all my life. And I’m really good at picking good stuff out at thrift stores. I can do that!”

It’ll be Lucy and Ethel in Paris all over again.

So look for my eBay listings for burlap sacks, feed buckets, extra large women’s gloves, a Beta version of Ghostbusters, and gigundo bras.

And possibly a damn mop or two.

P.S.  Happy Easter to those of you who, like me, will be glad Lent is over and I can get all sugared up again!