I am endlessly fascinated and amused by the mysteries of the cosmos and my tiny place in it. Enjoy my explorations of my inner and outer worlds.
It started with a drip. A delicate but nevertheless relentless Chinese torture, steady and eternal, from the bathroom sink. As people who like to think that we have better things to do with our time, we ignored it. It became a companion, a little tick, tick, tick...read more
I was going to call this the year of the spider. When we lived in NJ, we had spiders crawl into forgotten corners, spin webs in light fixtures and occasionally venture onto the kitchen floor. But nothing prepared us for North Carolina, where brazen representatives...read more
My sister and I were recently wondering whether our grasp of the continuously evolving vocabulary of the English language would help us prevent dementia: terabyte, download, netiquette, malware, neuroplasticity, acid-reflux, bromance, bingeable, biohack, microbiome....read more
There is a Chinese belief called the Red Thread, or the Red String. The gods tie a red string that connects a person to a destiny, usually in the form of a soulmate. No matter what happens, the string can be pulled, tangled, knotted, but it never breaks. All of us are connected via a complex tapestry of these threads.read more
For twenty five years, at least twice a week, I put on white face as a professional mime, and then “set” the make-up by smacking myself all over the face with a sock filled with cornstarch. It gave my whiteface a kind of china doll look, smooth, porcelain like, no pores, no greasy dribble. Whiteface was a love/hate relationship: there was romance and fantasy upon donning the white mask, as well as an embarrassing corniness in the cliché of the white faced mime. I stopped performing regularly in 1999, and almost all concerts after that did not involve whiteface And yet, I held on to the sock.read more
Now that Ringling Bros. have announced their final season, I find myself reflecting on the word circus. What will happen to it, if there is no more circus? Will it re-boot itself to mean something new? After all, the original "circus" was simply the arena Romans used...read more
When asked what surprised him about humanity the most, the Dalai Lama replied: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. “ Nothing is more important than your health….except for your money –...read more
“A person who smiles a lot is either a fool or an American.” Russian saying Gray skies are gonna clear up Put on a happy face. Brush off that frown and cheer up Put on a happy face. From Bye Bye Birdie I...read more
The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. The Tempest Act 4, scene...read more
Years ago, I went to Hayden Planetarium for their sky show, which was a trip through the universe, and a lesson on scale. For the finale, the camera began to pull back from our conveniently located position at the center of the universe, to its furthest edges, and...read more
Lavinia Plonka weaves together 33 autobiographical stories with weighty philosophical questions in her uniquely hilarious way: Are aliens stealing our time? Can one find enlightenment at Sam’s Club? Are nail salons a galactic conspiracy?
These essays originally appeared as Lavinia’s monthly column, “CosmiComedy,” in Western North Carolina Woman Magazine.
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