Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Pack on the Pounds Cake

I was given a pound cake. It is a very large, very tasty, very, very heavy, large home made pound cake. Did I mention how large it is? I know why I was given the cake. Because I'm a very good friend. And . . . because my friend is in love and is trying hard to not pack on the pounds herself. Is that bitchy? Well, I really do like this friend, even if it is bitchy to give me a pound cake just because she doesn't want to be responsible for eating the whole thing. I hope she still likes me even if it is bitchy of me to think she had less than truly pure gifting intentions and to say so. Publicly.

I concede I could be wrong. Not about me being bitchy, that's a given, but about her intentions. I'm not wrong. But, I could be. Do you ever just know things? See straight through and know the truth? Ever been wrong about it? I have. So, I try to see through all the obvious whatevers and implications and just enjoy. I mean, it's a pound cake. What's not to like? It's got nuts, coconut, lemon, walnuts and something else I just can't yet identify. A pound of butter went into it. It's huge. It easily weighs way more than a pound. And it's delicious. The crust is just a tad crunchy and buttery. The inside is firm and soft all at the same time. The walnuts add a nice texture and truly ARE good for me.

AND I AM ON MY WAY INTO EATING THE WHOLE DAMN THING. Did I mention how big it is? I don't need to eat any of it, much less all of it. I could freeze it. I could take it to some senior center, to the physical therapy center, to church on Sunday (it's Wednesday and it and I will not last together until Sunday). There are a number of options. Top of my list is to go get some ice cream to go with it (because it just really doesn't taste good enough on its own??? NOT. but because I am indeed a HOGOHOLIC).

Webster has offered to take it off my hands, with rousing agreements by Savannah and Emmy to help. That's no solution. I could exert self restraint, freeze pieces, have some every now and then - but we all know how lame it is to try to thaw out a piece of pound cake in a hurry.

So, to make matters worse, my landlady/bff's cleaning lady (and fine friend herself) just brought me a present - home made cranberry relish. A HUGE container FULL of home made cranberry relish. It has orange, and nuts, and cranberries and I don't know what all. She's on a diet too. She made the relish and then met somebody and now she's trying not to pack on the holiday pounds. I am the beneficiary of the best made Christmas eating intentions gone awry. Guess I should have considered the gift receiving ramifications before publicly declaring myself a hogoholic.

Guess what? Cranberry relish on pound cake is really, really, really, really good. I bet that if I got some vanilla ice cream, put it on the pound cake, and warmed up the cranberry relish, then poured it over the top, it would take me six months to work off all the pounds, only if I never ate anything ever again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holder me Closer

"The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions [Wikileaks] that are, I believe, arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "We have a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature. I authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable... as they should be."

Pay very close attention to Holder's words here: "ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature." He doesn't say this is an investigation into a crime. He says that this is an investigation that is, itself, criminal. Now, it may be that he didn't mean to say that. It may only mean that Holder was waxing eloquent and went with obvious intent rather than express meaning. But, itt may mean that his Freudian slip is showing.

Consider the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg risked prosecution for treason simply for exposing treasonous actions of former American presidents. With the help of Senator Mike Gravel, the report exposing crimes by Presidents, was revealed in a way that allowed for publicity and shielded criminal liability under the Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution.

Assange, et al., could not rely on obtaining such protection. We the people can't either. The truth has been hijacked for political expediency and we are being fed a bill of goods intended to shred the bill of rights until it's unrecognizable. The wars we are mongering are not justified by our interests or our laws. The wars we are mongering are not going well for us. Our President is not telling us the truth.

That's information I want. I also want to know that our government officials are using this situation to bully corporations into shutting down his access to speech. The free speech rights in this country are based on the concept of the Lone Pamphleteer, that crusty old curmudgeon standing on the street corner handing out leaflets. If you deny Lone Pamphleteer either the paper, the ink or the street corner, you have wrongfully silenced the Lone Pamphleteer. It is illegal for government officials to wrongly deny a person his or her constitutional rights.

Since Assange is not a U.S. citizen,, does he have the same right? If he committed those acts while in the U.S., yes he would. Is there a magic American boundary where our responsibility to abide by our Constitutional laws and mandates ends? Good question.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back to Basics - Making of a Strong Middle Class

I read a book recently. The Americanization of Edward Bok, by Edward Bok. Edward wrote most of his autobiography in the third person, which was very strange. I don't recommend the book as a particularly good read. What I did find interesting was examining the thoughts of a very wealthy self made man living at the turn of the last century.

Ed is what I would describe as especially conservative politically. He was against women obtaining the vote. Now, where I would provide my typical knee jerk to the proverbial crotch for this sort of backward thinking, Ed expounded on that. Ed had reasons. Ed believed women were socially and politically unsophisticated; that women had not been prepared by virtue of their educational backgrounds to effectively make decisions on political issues. That having been said, Ed didn't just sit back, light a cigar (Ed believed smoking was bad even then) and leave it there. No, Ed set about recruiting some of the finest political minds in our nation to write articles in order to provide the sort of background and education they believed was needed for women to become sophisticated in the art of politics and voting. I have to think that if today Ed believed gay soldiers weren't fit to fight, he would go about doing whatever he believed it would take to make them fit. What does Ed teach us here? Ed teaches us that it's not enough to have an opinion. You have to do something about it.

Ed was also the sort to appreciate good music. To that end, Ed not only put up tens of thousands of dollars of his own money to fund and support a philharmonic orchestra, but he also convinced thousands of his friends to do the same. He set up civic organizations and funded them with his own money and double dog dared other rich people to do the same. And other rich people did the same. When the U.S. went to war in 1918, he ponied up his own cash into treasury bonds and he also ponied up the cash of other millionaires to pay for the war. That's how they paid for wars in the old days. Rich people gave money. Go figure.

He also gave money to support a program that sent home economists around the country teaching very young married women about sex, nutrition, childbirth, child rearing and health safety. Other money went into amking sure those very young women had pre and post natal care for themselves and their children. Then he set about making sure there was food on the tables for those children. Still, that wasn't enough. He bitched so long and loud that snake oils (then called patent medicines) were made illegal, but only after he had educated people on their ills enough so that they weren't profitable anymore. How did he do that? This is the amazing part. He was editor of a magazine that relied on advertisers, ninety percent of whom were patent medicine companies. He refused their advertising money. Yes, you heard me. Refused it outright. His magazine became the biggest money maker ever, the first to earn a million subscribers, the first to invent the Living Room: The Ladies' Home Journal.

This country is a better place because Edward Bok lived. We are better Americans because Edward Bok lived here. Unlike current billionaires today who pledge money to funds and charitable institutions that advocate and proliferate and so far haven't fixed a good damn thing, Edward Bok actually helped people on a national scale. Every millionaire in America needs to learn from Edward Bok, a man who immigrated to America as a child, how to be a truly wealthy man. First clue: To whom much is given, much is expected in return.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Any other day, I would be sitting here, doing something less productive, less interesting, less fulfilling. Today, however, I wish I could be doing something else. It's only because I can't that I wish to be doing otherwise. Yes, I'm a contrarian. We know from yesterday I'm a hogoholic. Well, I'm also a contrarian. Whatever it is that I am doing, I wish I were doing something else.

For decades, I wished for the time and opportunity to not work a 'real' job and be able to write. Once I'd inadvertently achieved that, I began painting. I rarely write anymore. In fact, I only feel like writing when I have art commissions awaiting completion (a reality that can only be achieved after starting). So, I suddenly am relentlessly eager to express myself in the written word. Contrarian.

I rarely venture out of my mountaintop lakeside world before noon. I have my routine and schedule which includes sleeping late, checking Facebook, drinking lots of coffee and watching the fog roll around on the lake.

You can see the compelling reasons to spend mornings at home. I live in heaven. Still, I walk, I breathe, I laugh and I actually am unhappy from time to time. It's the contrarian.

I have to accept this aspect of myself and keep enough interests going in enough areas so that whenever one dominates, I can procrastinate by enjoying yet another. Of all the problems I could possibly have on this earth, I am so grateful and blessed to have my own silly little ones.

Monday, December 13, 2010


New word. What does it mean? I eat, therefore I am. I have reached that point in my life where I simply must admit (I can't deny) that I achieve all my gratification from food. It's more than just a foodoholic. Nice word, but not even close. It's the difference between having all you can eat pancakes at IHOP and having AYCEP plus hashbrowns, bacon AND sausage (because you just can't choose between the two) and then actually wondering what's on the dessert menu. I stop before I go there. I can fathom only so much sugar before I'm done in.

I don't just have breakfast, lunch, dinner. I have all that with multiple courses and in between meal snacks. To my credit, I did quit smoking. Food tastes better and at least for the first year it's an excellent excuse for all manner of culinary indulgence. I love Christmas simply because it provides so many excuses to eat without apology. Bourbon balls, cheese balls, balls, balls, balls. YUM. It's a little disappointing that you don't find the holiday barbecue or the Christmas lobster, but fudge, nuts and pie more than make up for it.

I'm facing a dilemna. It's eleven days until Christmas and I'm tired of eating. I'm eat up with it, so to speak. I have refrigerator full of food, party plans and numerous events planned and I'm just not hungry. My clothes don't fit and I find myself skipping meals, not even caring that ice cream is calling my name repeatedly. Not even caring that it's Strawberry Cheesecake that flinging itself at me every time the freezer door opens.

It's a brave new feeling.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Best Thanksgiving (repeated from last year)

It was twenty-five years ago that I started my new tradition of actually being grateful. That year was set to be a good year. I had just bought my first house. My sister was sharing it with me. A group of her 'friends' were staying with us for the holiday feasting. I don't know exactly when things started to go south, but sometime during the night before Thanksgiving one of Deb's psychotic episodes took hold. She left the house. Sometime around 3 a.m., I was awakened by someone who said she just took off. Naked. Down the street.

My house was not in a particularly good neighborhood. It was mixed residential - commercial, with the residential part being borderline vagrant. The 'friends' had been especially vocal in their displeasure about that. One woman angrily admonished me for not warning her that I lived in an integrated neighborhood. I told her that if it weren't for me, it wouldn't be integrated (bitch!). At any rate, it wasn't an area to walk around at night. Or naked. I set out find Deb, but had no luck. Sometime around daylight Deb came home. She had found her way to the tattoo parlor nearby. She was with a group of very rough looking men and women. She had on scruffy clothes. By the mercy of whatever gods protect us, the tattoo parlor just so happened to also be home to an all night AA/NA biker group. They knew why she was there. They took care of her. They had seen her before. Knew where she lived. Safe.

Since she was in a full blown psychosis, I took her to the local facility for dealing with that. They took her in. They sent me home. Her 'friends' were gone by then.

There I was with a twenty pound turkey and all the fixins. I had taken out my grandmothers 100 year old Haviland china. The old silver made by my great grandfather. The good stuff. So, in the great pretense of having some higher purpose, I started cooking. Mostly, I was angry, frustrated, afraid for Deb and what life trying to care for her would be. I cooked that turkey. Stuffing. Dressing. Sweet potatoes. Two kinds of pie. Ambrosia. Green beans. Asparagus. Ice cream for the pie. By the time it was done, I didn't even want to eat it.

I was about to cry when there was a knock on the door. The local yard man, Deacon Eddie. "Ma'am. If it wouldn't bother you none, could you please spare me a plate of food? It smelled so good." I invited him to come in and join me, but he didn't want to do that. Just the plate of food please, ma'am. So, I grabbed one of Nana's extra large fine antique china plates, loaded it up with turkey and fixins. Then I loaded up another plate with pie. Covered it all with foil. Deacon Eddie left with quite a smile on his face and gave me his eternal gratitude.

I started to find the tupperware to put it all away, when there was a knock on the door. I didn't know the man, but he looked thin and harmless enough. "Ma'am. Could I have a plate of food, too, please, ma'am?" You bet. I loaded him up. He walked off down the street smiling.

Pretty soon there was a line going out the gate and down the road. All twelve place settings were filled up, covered up and sent off. I put away the tupperware. I was tired. I fell asleep. I slept all night. When I went outside the next day, there by the door, was a box. In the box, cleaned and neatly packed were all twelve place settings. Not a nick. Not a scratch on a one of them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

True Art

I volunteered recently to provide art for a book that is being published. Today, I received an email about this venture which said that, because there were so many volunteers, the publisher would do a random drawing to determine who will be included. This is so very wrong on so many levels. Poor art. She sits alone at the end of the dark bar quietly sipping her chardonnay just praying to meet someone, praying that bands of heavenly angels will descend from on high singing choirs of Some Enchanted Evening and she will be chosen as the true love to hang on that wall. But no. That is not to be. Instead, she finds herself an unwilling contestant as an ersatz Bachelorette - the Artistette! Good God, could anything be more humiliating?

I've complained bitterly on several occasions with what I consider to be HGTV's slapdash treatment of art as a second thought, color on a wall, something to draw your eye in that direction. Art is not a decoration, people. It's not a theme. Art is that face across a crowded room that drops your jaw and reels you in. Art is alive. She's the wayward child of some wayward child who would rather create beauty than earn a good living. She is the cherished prize of a vivid imagination that will not be stilled by the grind of the every day or thwarted by the lack of cash.

Art is also incredibly egotistical. She doesn't want to be second best. She doesn't want to hang on your wall unless you really intend to caress her with your eyes and let her play with your heart and soul.

There are artists in this world who every day put their soul on paper using water color, acrylic, oil, wood, concrete, spray paint - anything and everything they can find. In German prison camps, artists used burned sticks to draw on scraps of cloth and paper because the simple fact is that if you are a painter, you must paint. A painter doesn't one decide "Hmmm! I think I'll try this." An artist is compelled, not to try, but to do. Some larger universal force commands it be done.

All art asks in return is to be engaged. "Look at me, see me, FEEL me" and yes, the ultimate, "TAKE ME HOME AND NEVER, EVER PART WITH ME!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well, Goodbye, Dolly

She introduced herself as Dolly. Dressed in a colorful, just this side of flashy but still tasteful, skirt and sweater, she was a gorgeous. Her eyes danced with merriment and I wanted to dance with her. We were at the Mountain Light UU flea market. Mary was running things and being the ultimate OCD salesman, totally focused on 'are you spending money or not' attitude. Dolly and I rummaged around, chatting the whole time about this and that, finding fun things to laugh about.

We were looking at my paintings when she leaned over, looked around for potential eavesdroppers, and whispered to me "I was a Ziegfield Girl." "GET OUT," I screamed. She was with a younger woman who rolled her eyes and confided that I didn't have to listen to her, and suggested maybe Dolly didn't want to talk about that, but I was all ears. I couldn't get enough. You can read the biographies slamming the internet today and learn a lot. It sounded better coming from Dolly.

I've met some great people in my life. I'm not going to name them all here, but really an amazing array of famous and infamous, movie stars, celebrities, rock stars, assholes. Dolly was the most charming, the most vivacious, the most star quality I have ever seen or heard of. She went to college at 76 and graduated at 88. She was the youngest show girl ever, dropping out of school at about age 10, in a time when it was not that odd for girl to do so. She never worked a day in her life - it was always just the greatest fun - waking up and seeing what this day might bring you. Those days are gone forever now.

Well, Goodbye, Dolly. I'm so glad I met you. That laughter and sunshine you brought into my life is still rollicking along. I promise to kick up my heals today in your honor. And to laugh. (Say "Hey" to Lena for me).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Healthcare NOW

England has provided government run health care since 1948. For the most part, it seems that people like it over there. Only 8% of the population has private health insurance.

If Stephen Hawking were an American he'd be a dead nobody. He wouldn't have earned a Ph.D. in physics. He wouldn't have been able to achieve it, even if he would have been allowed. Whatever insurance he had when he diagnosed with ALS would have dumped him, sooner rather than later. Disability health care would have fought him in court. He would get medicaid and social security disability. It's doubtful his disease would have gone into remission with the disparity in and availability of treatment here, as opposed to there.

What a loss to the world that would have been. How many others have we lost? Does any one out there really want another human being to suffer and die needlessly?

I know, and we do have to pay for it somehow. Here's the perfect solution. Legalize pot. Strictly limit who can grow it - land and loans to the chronically unemployed will be paid back ten fold in taxes. Then there's all the job growth. Entire industries will spring up. Stores to sell, chefs to cook it up, waiters to serve it. The taxi industry will be thriving. Restaurants can have smoking rooms, thereby greatly increasing their food sales. We'd be out of debt in no time.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wisdom Keeper

I'm writing a story that incorporates much of the ancient wisdom so prevalent in my part of the world. Ancient Native American, Celtic, African and other teachings came together here and worked to help the people survive. More than religion, these ancient customs joined people not just to one another, but to all of their ancestors through time immemorial.

I read and collected the wonderful Foxfire books produced by students in the 1970s. I still feel a sadness to know now the price so many of the children paid in the production. The teacher was honored with much recognition for his achievements, but ultimately spends the remainder of his life isolated alone in a prison cell for crimes he committed against his students. He is but one of the many sad reminders of other legacies this land of isolation and poverty foments.

For that reason, my research strayed away from those reliable sources of the old ways. Besides, I wanted older, weirder ways for my stories. I wandered into several local libraries and started conversations with the ladies there. Having been directed to a particular area with a number of potential references, I settled at a desk and began perusing.

"Excuse me," a tiny little voice whispered. I looked up, shaking myself from the delight of the reading material. It seems someone in Gilmer County once upon a time found half of a petrified woman's body. I was eager to learn what became of it, where was the other half, which half was it? I was riveted and a bit consternatious for having been interrupted.

A small, well aged woman stood before me. She had sparkling eyes. She could have passed for Betty White. In a look alike contest, I would have picked her.

"Are you the lady looking for the old stories," she asked?

"I am."

"I have some you might want. I've been collecting them my whole life and just haven't really known what to do with them. My children could care less."

As it turns out, she is what she calls the local Wisdom Keeper. Her mothers before her were the healers, the story tellers, the conjure women of days of old. From the time she could read and write, she followed her mother, grandmother and great grandmother around the mountains while they gathered, prepared, healed and conjured. Whatever they did, she wrote down in her little book. Whenever she could get them to explain the logic behind it, she wrote that down too.

"Would you like to have them?"

Holy hallelujah, would I? Shezam! I just hit the mother lode. The next day, I followed her carefully written directions to a quaint cabin. Her notebooks had been kept safe and tidy, if not a little faded and damp in placed. I am only now taking a break from my reading. Now I know what to do just in case a haint follows me home. I can call the wind. Dance in the rain and smoke it away any time I like. I know what the birds really mean when they appear to just be doing ordinary every day bird things.

For the honor of this gift, I had to agree to certain things. I am not allowed to reveal the identity of this woman to anyone ever. "Lord, God, the folks at my church would burn me at the stake if they knew I was an old conjure woman!" I can do that. I am not allowed to use any of the spells to harm any living thing - only to heal. I doubt I'll use the spells at all, since they seem primarily silly to me so far, except for the ones about sending away death and ending floods, droughts and tornadoes, which still seem a little silly, but what the hey. Also, I must find some young girl to whom I must pass on the ancient wisdom (I'm taking nominations). Finally, I must visit my new friend to let her know how my learning is going and to let her answer any questions I may have. Consider it done.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Think For Yourself

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I can't help myself today. This week's political insanity has me reeling. What is the purpose of government anyway? Government serves the public good. In order to do that, government must deal in probabilities, not possibilities. That which is likely to happen that would harm innocent people.

It's easy to see that if a fire starts at my house, then the fire could spread to other houses. Other lives will then be put at risk. Maybe it won't. Maybe it will. Let's not wait and see. Let's all put out the fire. Government is good at that. Private enterprise is not. I don't want to be waiting next door while the fire department attempts to run the credit card. I want to be safe.

Likewise, I don't want to be walking down the street among people who are sick with horrible disease. I want them to get health care. I want them to live, be well, happy, healthy. I don't want to be waiting next door while the health care business runs the insurance and credit card. I want to be safe.

In all good altruism, I want you to be healthy. I want to be healthy. I want less stress and drama in my world. Private enterprise health care is not working. Tort reform won't fix it. Requiring me to buy into insurance run health care is not working. I don't want an insurance company telling me what health care I need. I want a physician telling me that. But I do want a ticket to the physician.

There are no jobs. The money has all been stolen and most of America is scraping by on a wing and prayer. Sure, we'll make it. If we live long enough. If we don't get sick. If we don't get hit by an uninsured motorist. If we don't get apoplexy from listening to all the health care debate.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's Your Passion?

I'm tired of this expression, this use of the word 'passion'. Whenever I'm asked "What's your passion?" I'm tempted - profoundly, deeply, shall I say it - oh yes - PASSIONATELY - inclined to respond "Well, I like a strapping young cowboy and wild crazy monkey sex in a barn with the cows and pigs watching me this time." I don't say it. But every fiber of my being cries out to do so. I want to see the shocked expressions on those faces. I want to drive home the fact that passion is not something so commonplace that everybody has one they can publicly expound upon while chatting at Starbucks.

For example, I love tulips. I would have a gazillion tulips sprouting in my yard, in vases around the house, in my car, in my hair. This is not a passion. I do not suffer, endure, stake my very life and being on tulips. Even if I did indulge my desire for everything tulip, it would only be, at best, an obsession, at worst OCD. Never would it arise to the level of a passion. Bubba Tyrone, who wistfully shares that he has a 'passion for music' is misguided - listening to everything Cher is merely an obsession.

Passion is something more. According to Merriam-Webster, passion is a state of being acted upon by external forces, it is ungovernable emotion, an intense, overmastering conviction. Passion takes to you the very heights - and depths - of all that makes life glorious and sacred. Beethoven, writing symphonies while his own ears couldn't hear the notes, had a passion. Mother Teresa, slogging through the disease and pathetic prejudice of a caste system in order to bring comfort and love to those deemed universally vile, had a passion. Anyone willing to risk suffering the depths of pain and despair to bring love and beauty to an otherwise cruel and vicious world has passion.

For those of us who are rationally compelled to anger and joy in the realms of politics, fashion, music, charity, religion, and, yes, sex, these are - for most of us - merely interests. However motivated we may feel, we rarely rise (or sink) to the extreme levels of passion. I exhort us all to delve into those various interests and to give them our all when necessary. But I must caution us all to avoid like the plague the extremes of passion - of being controlled by some uncontrollable emotion so fierce it might take all we hold dear.

I don't know how we got to the place where everyone must have a passion and is thereby compelled to discuss them over cocktails, coffee or on early morning newsertainment shows. Perhaps we just don't want to feel that we are run of the mill. We want to feel special, to highlight that which defines and motivates us. To hold ourselves out as something more than the every day, with qualities that are unique and special. In doing so, we only manage to express our similarities.

Similarities are still good things. A friend who lay dying expressed that it wasn't the glories of her life that she would miss. It wasn't the celebrity parties, the best seller lists, the hobbnobbing with the great and the wannabes. It was the every day, the little moments listening to her children fight, her husband grumble, the sunlight through the kitchen window while the coffee brewed. To which I say, touche. Go forth, people. Dare to be ordinary.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Republicans Support Abortion

Okay, I know that's a bit of a stretch, but work with me here. RNC Chairman Michael Steele is quoted as saying "Republicans oppose any new government entity overruling a doctor's decision about how to treat his or her patient." I found this quote while snarking around on For those who have never actually read Roe v. Wade, the ultimate basis for the Court's opinion that a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion is the right to privacy that a patient has in making important medical decisions with her physician.

This illustrates my fundamental difficulty with Republican discourse. Statements are made without thought or reason. There is a failure to follow thought to its logical conclusion. What is essentially the basis of democratic principles is turned into a rhetorical malapropism.

No one, American, Republican or Iranian wants a doctor's decision about how to treat a patient to be sacred. My doctor doesn't get to decide what is done to me. My doctor gets to tell me what the problem is and what options are available to fix it and what the likely consequences of failure to fix it will be. I get to decide how I will be treated.

Oops. No, I don't. I don't have health insurance. I don't get to decide diddly squat. A physician would likely treat me except that our government allows corporations to only guard the bottom line. Because the law requires corporations to only make money, and not engage in things like free services to the indigent, the government's policy stands between me and my physician's decisions on how I should be treated.

Damn. Does this mean I'm a Republican?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

I don't like Valentine's Day. Never have. Being a lifelong commitment phobe, it's just one of those days that does not relate to me any way, shape or form. It occurred to me last night that I'm basically just jealous. It's something in which I can't participate. It's silly (and lots of even ruder things) to resent the celebration of romantic love by others. I'm notoriously silly.

VD has its roots in ancient times, as do most of our celebrations, in the holiday of Lupercalia. It is alleged that ancient Romans slaughtered goats, dipped strips of goat skin in blood and then whipped women with the strips to guarantee fertility. One web site went so far as to state emphatically that women liked this. The rest of the history I found was speculative and boring. Suffice it say that this festival has been around for a very long time and likely has its roots in laws of nature. Spring is coming and with all that reproduction in the air, we are all prone to succomb. Might as well secure that partnership now, especially when it's so cold and a good time to snuggle.

Romantic love didn't really come into fashion until the Victorian era. Prior to that, most marriages were either arranged or the result of capture during tribal raids. The most ancient formal marriages I know of are jewish, the requirement being an actual written contract (which for the most part, all the husband need do to end it is tear it up). Over time, customs became laws and laws became money delivery systems to lawyers. If that isn't the death of romantic love, I don't know what is.

Once upon a time, it did bother me to not get flowers delivered to the office so all my world would know that someone considered me important. Not having that candlelit dinner at my favorite restaurant was a drag, as was no one with whom to cuddle, snuggle and be silly. After living quite some time and seeing my friends marry, divorce, remarry, redivorce, reremarry, and so on, I think I'm starting to get over it. I may have missed some of the public recognition once a year, but I certainly had my share of candlelight, flowers, chocolates and cuddles. So, I'll just learn to be grateful on this day that there is no one to fight with.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crimes and Punishments

Why are people (Republicans) arguing that Obama should be holding a military trial for the panties bomber? Does anyone know the reason behind this argument? I'd ask for the rationality of this argument but they're republicans, ergo, not rational.

What benefit is obtained by conducting a military trial over a civilian trial? Well, there aren’t any of those pesky little civil rights thingies to worry about. No lawyer, no grand jury, no right to not incriminate yourself, etc., etc., etc. Not much of a right to appeal. Just enough to get it over turned in case you aren’t an enemy engaged in warfare.

Why is a civilian trial is mandated by American law? Well, there are those pesky little civil rights thingies, various statutes, countless Supreme Court opinions and The Posse Comitatus Act (1987) all of which forbid assertion of military jurisdiction over a civilian. Even in war zones. Even on military property. And, yes, even on military property in a war zone.

But, you may ask, is the panties bomber a civilian? Indubitably. Only Congress can declare war. After 9/11, Congress only enacted an Authorization for Military Use of Force. It did not enact a Declaration of War. Without a Declaration of War, a person (even an ‘enemy combatant’) can’t be tried in a military court, because military jurisdiction only attaches upon a violation of any rule of war. No war, no rules. No rules, no violation. Without a war declared by Congress, we have no enemies.

Men and women are being killed and maimed to protect the very right – civilian trial by jury of our peers – that Republicans are now viciously attacking. Now, I’m not shy about my criticisms of the American system of justice. I have many. They are legion. That being said, I am fairly confident that a man who tries to set off a bomb in his underwear on a plane in front of 200 eyewitnesses is likely to be convicted, even if he is afforded each and every constitutional right imagined by the leftest, hippiest, socialistest, commie pinko fag of all time. Besides, what's life in prison, or even the death sentence, compared this: the dude set his dick on fire. Even a military tribunal can’t do that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


One day, a handsome young boxer showed up on the other side of my fence. I didn't see him at first, but heard a voice say "I was really having fun, but now I'm really not and would you please look on my collar and call my dad please?" I turned around and he sidled up to me.  I checked his collar and sure enough, there was a number. I called and his dad was driving around frantically looking for him. He had chased a deer and it seems went a little further than he realized.  Dogs are capable of telepathic communication when they want to. Most of us just don't listen.

One night, my dog, Webster, took off up the stairs while my landladies were eating dinner.  The door at the top of the stairs separates the basement apartment from the kitchen.  I called him back down so he wouldn't disturb their dining.  He harumphed loudly.  "But, Mom," he whined, "they NEEEEEED me."  I was in the futile effort of explaining to him that they did not need him, he just wanted their dinner when the door opened and a voice called out "Webster, we need you."  So, apparently dogs are also psychic.

I think psychic, or animal communication, is really a matter of perception. Heightened perception perhaps, but it may be nothing more than paying really close attention to the details around you. Birds in the yard chirping away won't rouse any concern, but if the entire neighborhood is silent, it feels disturbing.  Likewise, if they're all screeching and squawking like mad. Something is surely not right with the world and if you investigate enough, you'll probably figure it out.

I saw an HBO special last weekend about Temple Grandin, the esteemed scientist who has discovered humane ways of treating cattle. She was able to see the holding facilities the way the animals see them and design a system that kept them calm. By paying attention to what the cows said in their behaviors, she was able to understand what they needed and ultimately save time and money for the companies involved.

We all, animal, vegetable, mineral, communicate. Information about us is tossed out with our very breath. It leaks out of our pores. Blares from our minds and hearts throughout the universe. We don't pay attention to what we're saying except with words. It's just as well. Very few of us are listening. Most of the world is so busy screaming about what they want to say, they couldn't hear us anyway.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


It's a secret. Carefully guarded. I first learned of it a long time ago. I tried to stop it, but once the bullets started flying, I admit I high-tailed it out of there. I tell myself that I least made a difference in my small little area of the world and that some thirty-five children had a shot at life without that very real fear of what comes in the dark. It still doesn't feel like enough.

The secret?  Georgia leads the world in the crime of child prostitution. This is according to the FBI, Georgia DFACS, and numerous other sources from whom I can't obtain precise citation. That's because there is no precise citation on any record to give, at least that I can find. However, I have been told by those who should know that this is a fact.  Now, let me reiterate something. GEORGIA LEADS THE WHOLE WORLD IN THE CRIME OF CHILD PROSTITUTION.

Currently, Georgia law considers this a crime and dutifully arrests said prostitutes and throws them in jail. They are prosecuted. More often than not, the pimps are not thrown in jail and are not prosecuted. In any number of the juvenile facilities in which the girls are imprisoned upon conviction of guilt, they are then prostituted out of the very parking lots of said jails. And no, I can't give you a precise citation on that, either, but I watched it one day and was very nearly arrested for the flaming shit fit I threw. I bet if you stop by a girls juvenile jail and spend some time watching, you too can witness this atrocity. I can give citation to a PBS transcript on the issue:

Okay, sure, there are some savvy 16 year olds in that crowd - NOT - a 16 year old prostitute is too vulnerable and uneducated to be savvy.  GROW UP! For the most part, the girls range in ages any where from 4 to 16. (After 16, it isn't child abuse any more. Okay, I know, the law says it is, but we're talking about reality here. After 16, you're just another trouble maker kid nobody wants to hear about.)

Georgia has a proposal to fix this problem. It's actual pretty good legislation (except that like all other similar legislation it doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of ever being enforced). It proposes to change the law such that a child under the age of 16 isn't capable of committing the crime of prostitution, but instead is defined as a victim of a felony.  FINALLY!

Oops!  What's this?  Georgia Christian Alliance, the Georgia Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, and the Georgia Baptist Convention are vehemently OPPOSED to the passage of this act.  Why?  Well, in my humble opinion, it is because the act will prosecute the many members of these organizations who I believe are likely sexually abusing children for fun and profit. No, instead they argue that this law legalizes child prostitution.  It doesn't.  HB 582 and SB 304 absolutely do not legalize child prostitution. Instead, those bills clearly put the guilt on the pimps and the johns and provide at least a structure intended to help the children.

In 2001, the FBI arrested some 15 pimps involved in an organized conspiracy of selling children for sex. It was the first time in 30 years that anyone was sent to prison for pimping children in Georgia.  The average sentence was 6 years. This created such an uproar in Atlanta, that advocates got together and opened a model program for these girls called Angela's House.  It has 6 beds.  Let me reiterate something - there are thousands of child prostitutes in Georgia and the landmark, model program for them holds 6 beds.  Eight years later, after this landmark model program has opened, IT STILL ONLY HAS 6 BEDS.

So very much needs to be done to fix this problem, that I can't begin here to say what we can do now. We can do little things every day. When you watch the news and someone talks about an inappropriate relationship between a student and a teacher, contact that station and remind them that calling it a relationship validates the teacher, but calling it rape, which in fact it is under the legal definition, validates the child. Be careful to whom you give money as many who claim to be fixing the problem are the problem. Bitch. Go now to your representative, mayor, governor, police chief and complain bitterly, loudly and often.

Monday, February 1, 2010

If Rush Were A Woman

"Doris Kearns Goodwin is married to Richard Goodwin, who is a funny guy. If I were a woman, I wouldn't want to be married to him, but women look at men differently, I suppose."  Rush Limbaugh

Now, Rush isn't a guy I like to quote. But this one just struck me as so essentially Rush, that I had to share it.  Why, you may ask, do I consider it essentially Rush?  Well, because, in the first place, it doesn't say anything particularly relevant. And yet, it says so very much. About Rush.

I think well of both Goodwins, although DKG had her share of criticism for citation omissions (and, it is pretty easy to do). To her credit, she has admitted her own errors and gone on to do some fabulous work. RG, likewise, is a gifted writer, thinker and has numerous qualities women everywhere would find seductive. 

So, what is Rush's point?  "If I were a woman" is a curious thing for even Rush to say.  Can we imagine it?  No, we can't. In the first place, if Rush were a woman, he wouldn't have money.   No woman could ever be hired to do what he does. No woman could even pretend to be as monumentally stupid as Rush sounds. No woman could look in the mirror every day at that face and not do something about it. Rush could not be Rush and be a woman.

"I wouldn't want to be married to him" really insinuates more than just a small gender identity issue here.  Obviously, Rush has given some thought to the kind of man he would want to marry, at least enough to have identified qualities he would want and not want in a husband. It would appear, to my mind at least, that Richard Goodwin isn't quite the hot looking stud type Rush would go for, if he were a woman. Richard Goodwin is not what I would call handsome, in the strictly physical, superficial sense, although he does have really nice eyes. He's also 78, so hunk is pretty much not there for him any more, if it ever really was.  On the other hand, Richard Goodwin is funny and he is absolutely hands down a fucking genius.

Rush has been married - three times. And divorced three times.  I'm not sure what kind of woman would want to marry Rush, but it is clear that there is no kind of woman who want to remain married to him.  So, here's the kicker.  Rush is right about something - women do look at things differently, Rush. Indeed, we do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brave New Day

I've moved my blog to Google! Now I can "monetize" it - post ads that might just make some revenue for me. I can also add a Paypal link, so folks who feel so inclined and motivated by great wit and charm can send me money, just because they want to.  I do plan to import my old blogs, but I'm not sure yet how that works. I'll let you know. So, all that being said, I have something more profound to share today.

My favorite biblical character is Elijah. The very concept of some nice old Jewish man wandering the earth captivated my imagination long ago. Last night Elijah came to me in a dream. For those who know me, it's not at all unusual for spiritual figures to reach out to me in that fashion. It is very meaningful to me that this time Elijah did so. I fell touched to the depths my soul.  He took me wandering and we saw many wonderful, exciting, fabulous things. I was awestruck as he showed me events that were on the verge of occurring in my life, places I would go, things I would do.

What has me wondering, though, is that in each and every place, I encountered absolutely filthy bathrooms. I'm not sure if it was required of me, or if I simply felt compelled, but I did gladly clean to sparkling, each of those bathrooms. Finally, Elijah took me on my last visit to some friends, Pat and Jim Walker. I am pleased to say that the Walker's bathroom was spotless! I was thrilled. Not that I minded cleaning all the others (this is a dream, please don't choke on your laughter), but I was so happy that my good friends did not suffer with a worldwide problem.

So, what on earth can this dream possibly mean?  I'm open to suggestions. The overall feeling was of wish fulfillment, great joy, laughter, hard work, and relief when the work was finished. Maybe that's just a view of my life to be. Let's hope so.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Born Again Virgin

I just read that Bristol Palin has made a vow of chastity.  Isn't it just a little late for that?  I mean really?  I'm not one to ridicule or make light of another's profession of faith or good intentions (although I have often scoffed at any number of New Year's Resolutions), but this strikes me as just bizarre beyond belief. Bristol Palin is a teenager who has a child, born out of wedlock. Given the very basic meaning of the word chaste (in 5 out 5 dictionaries consulted, chaste was defined to mean "a virgin, a person who never had sexual intercourse"), she just doesn't qualify. How can she now vow to be something she can't ever be again?

She can't. It's just that simple. So why do we care?  We don't. Her mother cares. Her mother is running for financial improvement of her current circumstances and doing so on the conservative, religious right money train. Therefore, it matters much to the financial constituents of Sarah Palin that her daughter be pure. Or appear to be pure. Because Sarah, and her cohorts, exhort us all to be pure and to raise our daughters to be pure, because those are the terms for collecting the political pay check on the religious right money train. We are good and our daughters are pure. Virgins.  Or in Bristol's case, Born Again Virgin.

What is the big deal about virgins?  I agree that we do want our daughters to make good, informed decisions and to not have unplanned pregnancies, however wanted the offspring might be. But anybody with a brain and a memory knows full well that teenagers not having sex just isn't going to happen, no matter how hard we try to legislate otherwise. In fact, I would venture to say that the only parents in America who really don't have to worry TOO MUCH about their child having sex are Barrack and Michelle, and I say TOO MUCH because more often than not, their child is never alone, but is always, always, always shadowed by a secret service agent. Except for when she isn't. She could sneak away. She could manage it. I hope she's well informed, and careful, and uses safe sex practices (all of them, especially abstention), but the day will come. Even twenty-four hour secret service detail can't stop teenagers from getting a little wild on occasion (note the Bush girls, college years).

What bothers me the most is that Bristol Palin isn't notifying the world on her own and for herself of her intentions to make better choices. She didn't notify the press, her mother took her to the Oprah show and announced it there. I feel for Bristol. There is nothing I wanted more at her age than to keep my sex life (or lack thereof) private. I would have rather DIE (horribly, gouged, dragged, beaten, skinned, drawn and quartered) than to even hear to the word SEX, much less discuss it in regard to ME, ON OPRAH!

Truly, this is the smallest, pettiest, most meaningless of all my many objections to Sarah Palin. It is, however, a great glaring example of how absolutely stupid and fucking mean she really is.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yoki's Dadday

I moved to Atlanta in January of 1966. I left a world I knew intimately, but didn't always like very much. I was excited to move. A big city. A big world. After a small town childhood, it seemed like a dream.  I left Hampton, SC, a low country hovel of a town, where separate was anything but equal. I was constantly in trouble for drinking out of the Colored water fountain, playing on the wrong side of the tracks, and knowing songs by a guy named Hambone that no little white girl should know - at least not back then.

One of the first things I did to meet new friends was join an acting school. Actor's and Writer's Workshop, affectionately known just as Workshop, was a little school in an old Victorian house on Juniper Street. Most people would know it today as the school run by Julia Roberts' father. It was there I met Yoki, my first real Atlanta friend.

Yoki took me in as her friend. She saw a loneliness in me, that she was loathe to allow in her presence. Nobody was allowed to feel anything but wonderful when Yoki had anything to say about it, and Yoki always had lots to say about everything. Because of her, I was invited places, included in groups. It didn't take long to lose the loneliness.  It didn't take long either to realize what an extraordinary thing was happening to me. Yoki was Colored. In my old world, she would not have been my friend. I would not have invited her to my house. She would not have invited me to hers. But in this brave, new world, anything truly was possible.

Humor was the great equalizer at Workshop. We did a number of small, silly plays, often written by Mr. Roberts, and performed in the streets, parks and neighborhoods of Atlanta. At one such event, a man snarled about white children playing with black children - "Aren't you afraid that color will wear off on you?"  We all looked around at each other. I don't remember who started it, but someone pointed to a freckle and yelled "HELP! IT'S WEARING OFF! I'M CATCHING THE NEGRAS!"  Well, we all chimed in on that. It became standard fare any time racism popped its ugly head, we'd all chime, "HELP, I'M CATCHING THE NEGRAS!" Racism just can't hold a candle to taunting children.

At a party at Yoki's house once, I started to dive into a bowl of nuts when Yoki yelled out "Don't eat all the Nigger toes, girl!"  My eyes assumed the size of platters.  Surely to God, that was a word you simply could not say at Yoki's house.  I about wet myself. The whole room got quiet.  Yoki's daddy sat down with Yoki and me and began picking through the nuts. He picked out several Brazil nuts and handed us each some, and started eating his share. "Why you think folks call them that?" he asked.  "I don't know I said," gratefully munching away, starting to relax. "It never made any sense to me." Yoki added.  "Me either." He dug around the bowl for a few more.  "They always look more like white people toes to me."  Examing my nut, I had to agree.  "They're brown and all with skin on," he noted "but you rub them just a little bit and they're just as white as can be underneath."  He clearly was right, and had obviously given the matter some thought. "I think maybe it's just like people." he mused, while we all munched away. "Rub them a little bit and you'll find we're all pretty nice underneath."

After some recent reminiscence on the web about the old day term of Nigger toes, I shared this story with a friend. She was amazed and rather awestruck at the end of the telling, not so much by the story, as by the people in it. Yoki was Yolanda King, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s oldest child, and one of the finest people to ever breathe. I'm blessed to call her friend. I am richer by far for having known her at all, and richer still that she also called me friend. "Wow." my friend said. "You actually KNEW Martin Luther King, Jr."   "No." I said. "I didn't. I never once met the man. I knew Yoki's daddy."

Friday, January 8, 2010


I had a fight with a friend on Christmas Eve. It was, for me, pretty much the last straw. I won't say what the fight was about - in truth, it sounds petty, as most fights with friends sound after the fact. In truth, it isn't petty. It's pretty serious. I know she won't be reading this. Even if she had the link and knew I was blogging, she wouldn't look. Besides being entirely computer challenged, she's become entirely self absorbed. She's smart, fun, kind, compassionate. She was there for me many times when I needed her. I've been there for her as well. Only now, she's just not there anymore. Now, she's a drug addict and an alcoholic. There is no there there.

I know my friend is in there somewhere, buried underneath the beer, the wine, the pot, the hydrocodone and oxycontin. Somewhere in there. She might even be listening to me. She might even hear what I say. She might think she's powerless to do anything about it. The monsters may have such a hold on her she can't crawl out. She may not even see the need to do so.

It's not like I haven't tried to tell her. This was not even our first fight. It may not be our last, although I had pretty much steeled myself to that. She's the one who said she was out the door and wouldn't be back.  OK, fine, I said. Don't let Karma bite you on the ass on the way out, I yelled.  I regretted it immediately. I don't care how angry I am, I really don't wish harm to anyone. Every time I've used that clever little quip, harm has come, albeit pretty much in the form of Karma biting. Then, I always have that little glimmer of "I told you so" sanctimonious glee (no matter how hard I try not to) and then, of course, Karma bites me.

Christmas night my friend was pulled over, arrested, charged. Open container, DUI, possession.  Ouch.  And yes, a teeny, tiny, little glimmer of glee. I hate it, but there it is. I'm glad. She had a big, fat wake up call that will be a reminder to her every single day for quite a while. She will have to go do DUI school and may actually learn something. Her insurance premiums will sky rocket and she'll be reminded every time she pays that bill. She may lose her license, a serious concern since she needs her car for her work, a daily reminder of what she's up against. She didn't have a wreck. No one was hurt or killed. Maybe, just maybe, I still have a friend.