Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why Comedians Love Republicans

Because they're an endless source of zany humor. Try these Republican quotations on for size:

  1. Armed rebellion is a viable alternative to elections: ”Our nation was founded on violence. The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should ever remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms.” —Tea Party-backed Texas GOP congressional candidate Stephen Broden, suggesting the violent overthrow of the U.S. government if Republicans don’t win at the ballot box, interview with Dallas’s WFAA-TV, Oct. 21, 2010
  2. Banning abortions for high-risk pregnancies can be a positive experience for women: “I have been in the situation of counseling young girls… who have had very at risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made WHAT WAS REALLY A LEMON SITUATION INTO LEMONADE.” — Sharron Angle on abortion
  3. Bringing your gun to crowded public events is normal: “It’s not unusual in political rallies, it’s not unusual in parades, to see that type of thing.” — Joe Miller on guns at his rallies
  4. Carbon Dioxide is safe: ”Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.” —Rep. Michelle Bachmann
  5. Climate change is a myth: “I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change. It’s not proven by any stretch of the imagination…It’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ‘gets sucked down by trees and helps the trees grow.”’ – Ron Johnson
  6. Corporations are people: ”Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.” —GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney
  7. Discrimination on the basis of race is desirable: “I don’t want to be associated with those people, but I also don’t want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that’s one of the things freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn’t mean we approve of it.” —Rand Paul, taking issue with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 while arguing that government should not prevent private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race
  8. Evolution is a myth: “You know what, evolution is a myth….Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?” —Christine O’Donnell
  9. Geography is not important: ”I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know. Do you know?” —Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain
  10. Government has no role in job creation: “People ask me, ‘What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?’ Well, that’s not my job as a U.S. senator.”—Sharron Angle
  11. Higher education is elitist: “President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob … Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.” –Rick Santorum
  12. Hitler coined the phrase “separation of church and state”: “The exact phrase ‘separation of Church and State’ came out of Adolph HItler’s mouth, that’s where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ASK THEM WHY THEY’RE NAZIS.” — Glen Urquhart
  13. Inciting violence is acceptable: “I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” —Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, floating the possibility of armed insurrection in a radio interview
  14. Intelligent Design is a viable scientific theory: “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” – Michele Bachmann
  15. Lawyers are Un-American: “the ABA is about as far left as the Communist Party, so those who usually get those awards are lawyers committed to socialism, not freedom.” – Tea Party Nation Founder Judson Phillips
  16. Marriage is related to national security: ”Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?” —Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), on congressional efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (July 2004)
  17. The media is a threat to national security: “The greatest threat to America is not necessarily a recession or even another terrorist attack. The greatest threat to America is a LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS.” — Lamar Smith
  18. Minimum Wage created unemployment: “If we took away the minimum wage-if conceivably it was gone-we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” —Michele Bachmann
  19. Most Americans cannot accept gay marriage: “Gay marriage is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the next, at least, thirty years. I AM NOT UNDERSTATING THAT.” — Michelle Bachmann
  20. Obama is the enemy: “He has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an ENEMY OF HUMANITY.” — Trent Franks on Obama
  21. The rise of the Soviet Union is cause for concern among Americans:”What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward.” —Michele Bachmann (R-MN), unaware that the Soviet Union collapsed more than two decades ago (August 2011)
  22. Sexual Revolution created AIDS: “We had the 60s sexual revolution, and now people are dying of AIDS.” —Christine O’Donnell, Politically Incorrect. August 1998
  23. Trees have a proper height: ”I love this state. The trees are the right height.” —Mitt Romney, campaigning in Michigan (February 2012)
  24. We should use prisons for low-income housing: “THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL PROPERTIES with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of cities” — Carl Paladino on housing poor people in prisons
  25. Women are disposable: ”She’s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of a President. And besides, she has cancer.”’ —future House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), reportedly speaking to a friend in 1980 about why he was divorcing his first wife.
OK, so... question: How can such ignorant people have acquired so much money and public space?

Ans: Because W made ignorance a badge of honor.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Smart Guy Digs Plants

If everyone thought this sensibly, what a world we'd have!! The obvious (to some of us) answer to urban "blight".

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Things/ New Moon

field of buttercups near Lincolnville

Well, First of all, let's hear it for the Egyptians! Cheers, Ya'll!  It sort of makes sense that one of the most ancient of civilizations might get the whole democracy thing right before anyone else on the planet does. You know, of the people, by the people, FOR the people, etc. Thirty MILLION people in the street with the collective thought that the group of hooyahs attempting to govern them are, well, hooyahs, and they want them GONE. BTW, the largest gathering of human beings in history, I'm told. And I hope they hang on to El Baradei, cause he was one of the few brave enough to publicly, and, admirably, in a very gentlemanly manner, buck Bush's lies and state emphatically there were NO weapons of mass discussion in Iraq WAY before we went in there and hammered them for no sane reason on earth.

miles of buttercups

So, GOOD for the Ballsy Egyptians. (Unlike, as many posts on the news sites have noted, the lazy Americans, who "tweet their complaints and then go back to me-me-meing." Begging the question: when are Americans gonna grow a pair and stop complaining about Congress and take to the streets with fekkin pitchforks?
Answer: As long as the cable's still working, not anytime soon.

SO! a BIG HOO- RAY! for that Texas Dynamo, that intrepid Wendy Davis, for standing up to the hideous Texas tyrants in that legislature who insist they have a right to tell us gals what we can and cannot do with our own uteri. (You like that little Latin thing there? Plural and all? Oh never mind.) I needed a new pair of sneaks and went onto and PROMPTLY ordered a pair of those very same sneaks (Mizuno Wave Rider 16) she stood up in to filibuster those assholes for, what? HOURS ON END! .....
Wendy for President.

Ju-ly. Stretch that word out when you say it, accent on the first syllable. Mid-summer and hot as Hades pretty much everywhere on the East Coast. Even the place we here in the midcoast fondly refer to as "the island" is too hot to bear without a fan blowing on you as you try to sleep through GLOBAL WARMING.

Whatever. It's here and it's queer.

We've made it through Wimbledon. US Open can't come soon enough. It was interesting without Serena and Rafa, got to see more of the field stepping up. Sorry to see Joko lose it in the final, tho I'm a Federer fan, but maybe now the Brits will have their Champion and get over it. (No offense to darling Brit pals.) Admittedly, Murray worked hard and earned it. I was hoping for Del Potro in the final, (something about his Eeyoresque, hangdog demeanor I just luv) but you can't always get what you want, as the Stones (Ron Wood among them, watching the final and looking rather ghostly in his, I presume, died black hair and zombiesque pallor) are wont to remind us.

I celebrate without you (:(... not really. tee

Speaking of not always getting what you want: I wish I could be in Carolina this week to celebrate the birthday of my AWESOMELY FABULOUS SISTER,  who is, perhaps, the most gorgeous gal on earth, with a dynamite sense of humor, lilting voice, and delightful personality to match. (Yes, nothing like me, I admit.) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TEE, AND MANY HAPPY RERUNS!!! May your troubles be small this year and your joys boundless. muah! muah! muah! *Something arriving in the MAIL so keep an eye out. *

barnes exterior, very asian and cool. (My daughter tells me i'm not allowed to say "oriental" anymore. hmph.

June was The Month of The Amazing Buttercup Proliferation here in Maine. Just vast fields of the things, waving in the breeze and defiantly refusing to succumb to the world's onslaught of bad news. Some hope there in Egypt tho, AND Turkey, and I do like Christine LaGarde's chastising the US for its austerity measures. She may turn out to be an asset for the have-nots in the long run. Who knew? She's always so tan and doesn't die her gorgeous white hair. sigh.

I headed south in mid-June to Philly, a visit to the Barnes Museum collection (I wept confronted with Matisse at such close range and in such VOLUME) and my awesome son of musical giftedness. My heart sighs with missing him. Reading Terminal Market was soooo Jersey/Philly, felt like home, and Chinatown provided me with the best straw hat I've found in a few years and a teeny, weeny painted paper umbrella for a friend's female and soon-to-arrive bun-in-oven.  A copy of Eloise must accompany such a gift, don't you think? Then on to a wedding in North Jersey, a cousin I love, and seeing cousins I miss and adore. You walk into a room and past and present collide as you see your own face in nearly everyone there. And plenty of Humor and wit from fellow descendants of the British Isles and Ireland. (Those stuffy Scottish Presbyterians came from the other side of the family, but that didn't seem to stop them from causing a lot of embarrassing trouble. Which they like to deny.) Heart cockles warmed indeed.

entrance to Chinatown

barnes entrance, note tranquil pools of h20.

I have a summer gig "Driving Miss Daisy", une femme charmante, providing thoughtful grist for the writer's mill and delightful hours spent with a lovely individual. Chez moi, I've made what barely passes for a petit jardin, mostly in pots and boxes; it's....well,  enough. .. I guess.. Evenings are taken up, lazily, with a couple episodes of MI-5, going through the whole series on Netflix. It never gets old, and is smart and fun watching if you haven't seen it in a few years.

if it quacks like a duck?

Books: I'm reading like someone on death row in a reading contest with a pardon the prize, seeking kindred spirits on the page, exemplars of inspired writing. So far: (as I can recall) I've plowed through

Clay by Melissa Harrison unbelievably amazing writing by a seriously gifted British gal, a story that will stay with you. DO treat yourself to this one. (She has a garden blog (click here) as well, but don't let that fool you. She's serious business.

Lit: the third in a trilogy of memoirs by Mary Karr, writer of The Liars Club, a wonderful poet and writer. (This is turning out to be Memoir Summer for me, reading-wise.) Thanks to Sukeee for putting me onto her.

Must recommend THE FUNNIEST BOOK in the WORLD! Oh PLEASE read this if you can get your hands on it. Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened. OMG, tears running down my face. Reading this in public places VERY disturbing as everyone stops to ask what I'm reading after pausing to regard me skeptically first (thinking: is it safe to talk to this nutcase?)  I am talking Riotously funny book by the woman known online as The Bloggess. I owe my librarian a drink for that one. Maybe two.

Do NOT bother reading the memoir "A Girl's Guide to Homelessness." I think it's actually Young Adult fiction I picked up by mistake. A case of serious misfiling at the library. Was looking forward to homeless peoples' stories. NOT. Just a long drawn out lesson in how not to pick the right guy. Seriously? I think that's a story we ALL could write on quaaludes in a hot tub without much effort.

And The Glass Castle by, um... oh  i forget. A really wonderful memoir of a truly bizarre childhood. Talk about making lemons out of lemonade. As crazy and nearly abusive as her household is you somehow manage to end up envying her.. and counting your blessings. I'm now reading another of hers, something about Horses in the title.

Am considering reading George Orwell's new one. well I KNOW he's dead, but they just published, i forget, either his autobiography or his letters. Either way, 'sposed to be good, so that's on my list.

Reading in the sultry heat, a fan, and a cool drink. Precious off-duty languor. Nothing better, is there?


and lots of love love love love love out there to anyone who's bothered to stop by here.

Stay cool.

PS --- and the next person who addresses me as "you guys" is getting slammed with a pair of tits.

my fave camden garden, it's a total mess!
moss roof!

long view with buttercups

Friday, June 14, 2013

Feeling Depressed?

This gal, Laurie Penny, reputed to be one of the most important people in the UK, is here to tell you why your get up and go has got up and went, your outlook lacks that certain joie! you just don't feel like doing... whatever.   Be patient with this video, she has some refreshingly insightful things to say once she really gets going. More bio info on Laurie below. Cheers.

The Daily Telegraph ranked Penny as the 55th most influential left winger in Britain, reporting that she is “without doubt the loudest and most controversial female voice on the radical left.”
Penny’s blog, “Penny Red”, was launched in 2007[9] and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2010.[10] (The name Penny Red refers to a Victorian stamp.) She began her career as a staff writer at One in Four magazine and then worked as a reporter and sub-editor for the socialist newspaper Morning Star. She has written columns and features for several publications,[11] and is a columnist for the New Statesman[12] and regular contributor to The Guardian.[13] Penny is the author of Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism (Zero Books, 2011).[3] In it she mounts an attack on liberal feminism, which she characterises as embracing the consumer choice offered by capitalism as the path to female emancipation.[14]
In April 2011, Penny presented the Channel 4 Dispatches programme “Cashing In on Degrees”, and appeared on the same channel’s satirical current affairs programme 10 O’Clock Live.[15] and BBC Two’s Newsnight.

Read more at 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Guide to Life for Graduates and Others

This may be my last blog at this location. If I start another one, I'll post a link, but I feel a break from this is in order just now. Other fish to fry, etc. The recent paucity of posts a clear sign of lack of oomph for the task.

I thought it appropriate to post a wonderful piece written by someone else, one often incorrectly attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, composed by a then unknown columnist at the Tribune in 1997. Her words of advice, if adhered to by us all, would make for a happier planet. So here they are:

Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who'd rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there's no reason we can't entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.

I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt. 

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

  • Mary Schmich
Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

After a solid week of nonstop rain I finally found something to cheer me up. It's Cynthia Scott's 1984 oscar award-winning short film, Flamenco at 5:15. Memories of Sevilla and wonderful friends there who took me to see the famous flamenco dancer in a standing room only bar in the old district, 1 a.m. An experience I will never forget...

Why I adore Spain? Flamenco! The sheer vivacity of it, life affirming and intense.

  Having my own little dance party, right here at home. Screw the rain.

And if you get a chance to watch Scott's  Strangers in Good Company (1990), (I saw it on netflix) check it out. She's bril. Just bril..  GREAT film. Done with almost no script and no professional actresses. The ultimate over 50 chick flick.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Have You Seen This?

Just Say No! South America's answer  to corporate hegemony. Here's to Oliver Stone for taking the time to find out what's really going on down there and who's running the show so we can actually know. This is a must watch for anyone interested in what's really happening in South America and why it matters to us and the future of democracy, that much misused word here in the states. One can only hope theirs is a model for the planet's future, a nice thought when you feel like "they", the banksters and corporate governors, are just too powerful to bring to heel. (And, oh, do enjoy Fox's dumb blonde's unbelievable ignorance. I mean, really, it's just embarrassing.)

This is really worth watching. It's enough to make you wanna pack it in and move south, waaay south.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

plus ca change...

Came across this thought-provoking composite on Jesse's Cafe Americain today.

Also on the site was this timely piece:

"When in any country the small-farmer class is being squeezed off the land; when its labourers are slaves or serfs; when huge tracts are kept waste to minister to pleasure; when the shibboleth of art is on every man's lips, but ideas of true beauty in very few men's souls; when the business-sharper is the greatest man in the city, and lords it even in the law courts; when class-magistrates, bidding for high office, deal out justice according to the rank of the criminal; when exchanges are turned into great gambling-houses, and senators and men of title are the chief gamblers; when, in short, 'corruption is universal, when there is increasing audacity, increasing greed, increasing fraud, increasing impurity, and these are fed by increasing indulgence and ostentation; when a considerable number of trials in the courts of law bring out the fact that the country in general is now regarded as a prey, upon which any number of vultures, scenting it from afar, may safely light and securely gorge themselves; when the foul tribe is amply replenished by its congeners at home, and foreign invaders find any number of men, bearing good names, ready to assist them in robberies far more cruel and sweeping than those of the footpad or burglar'--when such is the tone of society, and such the idols before which it bends, a nation must be fast going down hill.

A more repulsive picture can hardly be imagined. A mob, a moneyed class, and an aristocracy almost equally worthless, hating each other, and hated by the rest of the world; Italians bitterly jealous of Romans, and only in better plight than the provinces beyond the sea;  more miserable than either, swarms of slaves beginning to brood over revenge as a solace to their sufferings; the land going out of cultivation; native industry swamped by slave-grown imports; the population decreasing; the army degenerating; wars waged as a speculation, but only against the weak; provinces subjected to organized pillage; in the metropolis childish superstition, whole sale luxury, and monstrous vice. 

The hour for reform was surely come. Who was to be the man?"

A.H. Beesley, The Gracchi Marius and Sulla, 1921

(Note the date.)  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rodent Mendacity!

Spring in Maine is a reluctant cuss, but this year it's unbearable.

 Rain again today. This about sums it up:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ding, Dong, the *itch is Dead


I've just finished reading Joan Didion's Political Fictions, and WOW, what a masterful collection of essays; the real story of the origins of what one writer has named as The Age Of Cruelty: 1980-2008, in the new Harper's. (pdf link, pass it on, svp)  For those who recall how destructive the Reagan-Thathcher menace really was, Didion's book is one of those Even Worse Than We Thought accounts, an excellent, factual, thoroughly researched history of what went on behind the scenes during the Reagan-Thatcher Show of Shows. I have to say I've never read a more disturbing account, and so superbly written, than Ms. Didion's, infuriating but refreshing in this age of limp Bob Woodward style panderering to the power elite. I couldn't put it down, yet I already knew how it ended (or didn't?) It's mindbending what they got away with selling the US and British population. I found the Grenada accounts particularly infuriating, but there's so much more. Joan's account clearly describes how they managed the whole show and alerts the reader to the continuing present practice of  the same Wag-The-Dog theatrics. Of course there have always been those voices in the wilderness who saw what was going on then and tried to speak out, but to little avail. Joan was one of them. I notice many of these journos have moved to Europe. And if you think Clinton and Obama are an improvement, well.... just read Ms. Didion's little book ...

And while we're on the subject of "leaders", all the hoopla about Hillary running for Pres in 2014? Well, unless she basically disavows every stupid thing her husband did, from signing Bush One's Nafta to deregulating the banks, she can kiss my ass. She hasn't "earned" anything, she's been well-paid for the jobs she sought. I'll never vote for a woman again just cause she's a woman. Learned that lesson with Susan Collins. I plan on writing in Senator Elizabeth Warren for President in 2014. Now there's change I can believe in. I can only hope all the disgusted Americans who feel the way I do will do the same.

Here's a bit (and video below) of what Senator Warren had to say to the "regulatory" folks at a recent Senate hearing on why HSBC hasn't been investigated for laundering drug cartel money. Folks, this is a gal who knows shyte from shinola and isn't afraid to say so.

You wanna see a real leader, a gal with real values and smarts, check these youtubes.  She's like a female Paul Wellstone, only better. That's right, you right wing nutjobs,  you can take 'em out, but they just keep coming back.

So, dearest Glenda, thanks for speaking up for those of us still able to see the forest.

And by the way, if, when you've finished Political Fictions, you need a gorgeous bit of Fresh, New literature to enliven your soul, I highly recommend Clay, a perfect first novel by one of the best writers I've ever read: a Brit named Melissa Harrison.

Thanks to Gil for the Glenda vid.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wild and Crazy Pope

This is from a witty Facebook post someone sent me, and I could not resist reposting it.

The picture included the following commentary:

  "The Pope, wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame gown
over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress,
accessorized with a three-foot House of Whoville hat and
the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz, on his way to tell us it's Wrong to be Gay."

This guy could slide right into any Mummers' parade and no one would notice!

One cannot but wonder what Jesus would have to say about all this nonsense, given the opportunity. Oh, I forgot, he's already expressed an opinion on rich men and the eyes of needles. It was in no uncertain terms, as I recall. Quite definitive, yes....

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Escaping the Cold

Last weekend, 

cooking when the power goes out

just no end to snow
    And after:     Quel weekend! "New York New York, a toddlin town, the Bronx is up and the Battery's down, the people ride in a hole in the ground..."

Yay! I'm finally have something "travelley" to write about again.  Not many travel posts lately, weather keeping me staying put. Enough with the mountains of snow that surround the house! Let us escape the mid-winter Maine blues and sloppyy igloos and travel (by car) to the Big Apple for a little, how you say, cultchah infusion. Specifically, the mindblowingly magic Matisse show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, (runs through next Sunday, 3/17, so hurry!) Mind you,  getting there was no picnic. What was predicted as "light rain and snow, no more than an inch" (pdp for New Englanders) developed into something of an unexpected whiteout from Portsmouth, NH all the way through Mass., beyond Boston all the way to the junction of 90 and 84. White knuckle driving, cars off the road, miles and hours of unplowed roadway.  Thank god P's an experienced snow driver, so there was that, but a few hairy moments for sure. We had one rather sketchy near miss that, unfortunately for the other guy, turned into a small spin of a disaster. (He failed to look before changing lanes.) But we made it to the wonderful Pod39 hotel by cocktail hour, but not before getting lost in Queens near La Guardia, finally managing to ooze our way onto the Queensboro bridge with the rest of the rush hour crowd (I'm a decent co pilot, after all) and land in Manhattan. It was actually kinda cool.

entrance to Grand central and what used to be PanAm bldg, now Snoopy's company
Note: they now have Euro style reloadable Metro tickets for the subway! no more tokens, so I guess I'll toss the ones I've been saving for years. Use them for I Ching maybe. Convenient, yes, but if you lose your card, you lose mo moneyStill, it was a little taste of the days in Seville and Paris.

You ask me,  Matisse is The Man, his work gets me where I live, and I've seen bloody little of it up close, so Saturday morning as I walked up Fifth to the museum (tickets bought in advance online) my heart was afflutter. It felt like I was actually headed to a meeting with the man himself, truly. Off season midwinter tourist travel is great: crowds are limited, even on weekends. As I wandered through the exhibit, reading the info posts, all studious and everything, like you do, I unexpectedly found myself in Matisse's large paintings of "Nice" (as in Nice, France), sudden tears filled my eyes as I confronted that gorgeous work, the view from his hotel window, overlooking the Sea, the palm trees, the classic swirl of wrought iron French railing a la fenetre. And the light! The color! Hysteria loomed. I actually thought for a moment I might lose it entirely, no tissue handy, so moved was I by it all. By the passion, the sheer intensity, that shone in the work. What a treat.

It's completely insane to think you can see anything of what the Met really has to offer in a day, so we  breezed through of a few other galleries, some of our faves. I was briefly taken with some Faberge eggs, (and don't we all wish we had one of those cunning little babies to get us though difficult times? Clearly the czars were onto something there).

faberge eggs: oo la la
Later we both wished we could have walked through the Matisse again, to calmly set it in our minds, as it were. But instead took a diagonal wander through Central Park on a warm, sunny day (is there anything more enchanting in the middle of a big city?), pausing to rest on a bench to people and doggie watch. Then off to – surprise! – pick up tickets for the opera that night. The Metropolitan at Lincoln Center. P's first time and my, oh, fourth maybe? We were to see (thanks for the tickets, T!) a rarely performed opera written by what ended up being a Puccini wannabe (not just my opinion), Francesca da Rimini.  After the third act (of four, and, mind you, the three intermissions were nearly as long as the opera acts themselves) we went outside and fell into conversation with a couple of opera buffs from the UK from whom  I learned this opera is in the versimo style. Think the new season of Dallas and you've got it just about right. I'm talkin overdone melo-drama. Although hardly mellow. Lots of fire and flutter and useless dialog that moves the story – loosely based on a bit from Dante's Inferno – forward not one iota.

the Met: shades of Moonstruck?
According to my program Puccini (who can do no wrong in my book) didn't think much of the librettist who was at the time (a hundred or so years ago) the big kahuna of the "Decadent Movement". And decadent it was, grand music and ridiculous lyrics that related to the music not a bit. A good deal of the performance P and I were in stitches – doing our best to muffle our hilarity and maintain proper decorum as the Italians in the  row ahead of us were cheering the whole shebang and the man next to me prattled on authoritatively about... whatever.  I don't know when I've had so much fun.  A blast to laugh that hard. Naughty fun.

Sunny day, central park looking north
We made some sweet discoveries over the weekend. Breakfast at the Central Cafe just across from the south entrance to Grand central was really good. Service excellent. Our weekend was literally made by friend Kate, manager of the wonderful Salvation Taco in the Pod 39 hotel. Don't let anyone tell you the rooms are tiny. They're super cool, clean, and comfortable. We stayed in swanky places in Rome that were smaller... altho pretty cool. It was a great time, meeting family and friends that feel like family, and a million thanks to Kate for the VIP treatment and gracious treats.

interior central cafe
upstairs @ Pod hotel, charmante!
Sunday we decided to hit the MOMA, haven't been there in decades, and an amazing show (sixth floor) depicting the birth and rise of Abstraction as it developed simultaneously in all the arts from 1905 or so to 1925. I thought I was fairly art knowledgeable until I saw that. We take abstraction for granted today, but where did it really begin? MOMA has it wired for you. It was one of the most thought provoking exhibits I've ever seen. And the free phones they give you to accompany your tour are most helpful.  The synergy amongst various creative types worldwide during that period was astounding, and it's documented brilliantly at the MOMA show in a giant world map of "like minds". Show runs through April 15 of this year. If you are near NY, don't miss it. It occurred to me later that period had a lot to do with the evolution of the 60s. Connected...

@ MOMA a work of hand-collected pollen

Lively eateries worthy of mention: The Breslin (best Caesar salad I've ever had) and the John Dory Oyster bar (I finally got to sample urchin roe, and fermet). And once more thanks to Kate and her buddies for making those evenings so special for us.

I didn't get to pick up my cheesecake on 8th ave. : ( Probably best since I got the first (in months) full length glimpse of my derriere in our hotel room.   Nothing walking the city all day wouldn't cure in time .. that is until I got the pastry shops wired.

New York New York,  so nice they named it twice!

a bientot

East River view from the excellent POD39 roof
til next time, up on the roof

post script: back home, it's rainy and cold out . No doubt one of those Fabere-zhay eggs would warm me up a bit....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Boob Crusader

A saint: this woman: her mission – to save our breasts.. and our lives. Do NOT miss this one, please, and be sure and pass it on to everyone, I mean everyone, you know. We need a groundswell of national indignation to put this at the top of women's health agenda – to lobby the insurance companies, congress, and probably our own medical providers.

So, what's your breast density? If you don't know, someone should have told you along the way, even if you've never had a mammo. It really pisses me off they don't just tell us this shit without our having to go looking for it under rocks, in this case the boulders of the medical-industrial complex.

Are the medical men and their corporate buddies (insurance companies, medical equipment manufacturers, Big Pharma, for-profit hospitals, and the politicians they elect) just bitter that we live longer than they do? It's not like we don't try (and try and try) to get men to eat a friggin carrot now and then, to include them in the 'health building- disease prevention' scheme.  Read some of the blogs associated with this issue. They'll balow your mind. I called my (female) gyno examiner immediately to ask her about this. She'd never heard of it. And it's been around for years now. I sent her this link, we'll talk.

And then there's


And for those of you who still think fracking (short for hydrolic fracturing, and since when is a fracture a good thing?) is the way to 'clean cheap energy independence', cheap natural gas, ("Yes, You don't have to change your greedy energy sucking lifestyle one iota!") and all that hooey, read this astonishing article from a recent Harper's on the Baaken project.

This baloney on TV ads from oil companies touting "new sources of clean energy" would be pathetic if it wasn't such a blatant dangerous lie. (Smacks of that same PR crap that had folks believing Saddam and Osama were pals, like we're that dumb) Yet I hear intelligent people pontificate about fracking like it was the Second Coming. They know better. Things in this country are getting so bad folks are beginning to sense that Ben Franklin's skepticism that we could "keep" our Republic had merit. Everyone's playing duck and cover, no one wants to hear that we must put a stop to the corruption that has infected the nation or die tryin. It's the 'die tryin' no one wants to hear, apathy has infected us and we know it. It's why we overdo "honoring the solders". We know damn well the only thing left we might lay our lives on the line for is our own little piece o heaven, our kids, our home, (equipped with the appropriate weapon of course). I often wonder what workers of the thirties who fought for fair treatment and a liveable wage would think of us today, all leaning back on the couch, developing our pre-diabetic bellies, too lazy and discouraged to even reach for the remote, much less do anything to change things. We "sigh and settle", as one friend put it.

 Consider this, by 2023 when the oil frackers have mastered sucking the oil from North Dakota, we will have surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world's foremost oil supplier. We'll be the new Saudi Arabia of oil.  That is the plan, the oil corporations' plan. But, you argue,  I thought ya'll were about cutting pollution now! I thought the energy companies were going green! Silly me. And, oh, btw, they'll need to drain those already imperiled acquifers dry to get that oil out, to process it, and then that oil's gonna get used, sold somewhere, and that means, well, let's just say our concept of seasons might be changing drastically by then what with everyone, those BRICS and all, owning cars and SUVs trying to look like American success stories. This state of affairs is projected to be a mere ten years away, that is the plan, the oil companies' plan. There's no "go green, move into green technology" save the planet agenda. There is money to be made, externalities notwithstanding and unpaid for, except by you. Fracking is the devil..  An extreme statement? Read the article and decide for yourself.

Cui bono? – not me, that's for sure, and likely not you or your descendants either.

It's enough to make me wanna get a gun.

(like that's a solution...)

Monday, January 28, 2013

God bless Jimmy Carter, and you know she will.

Losing my religion for equality

Jimmy Carter July 15, 2009
Illustration: Dyson
Illustration: Dyson
Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.
I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.
The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.
In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.
The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.
It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.
I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.
The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."
We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.
The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.
I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.
The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.
Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.