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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wallace's Well

Fellow Blogger "The Scottish Scribbler" reports that the well that William Wallace took his last drink from is planned for destruction. This is beyond disgrace and actually makes me stomach-sick. Wallace is practically a saint in my book. Too many people only know the "Braveheart" Wallace, a fiction. The real man was far braver, much smarter and a good deal taller than Hollywood depicted. And the story they wrote may make a good movie but it has no more truth to it than Sarah Palin has intelligence. Even Jane Porter's book The Scottish Kings has more factual history about him, and that's fiction.

How very typical that some simpering politicians would turn their backs on a national historic site that doesn't make them money. For widening a roadway. A fucking road.

This is when I wish I had money...which I would have, had the English courts not ripped off my family for a puppet they declared the inheritor.

God this pisses me off.

Read Rory's account here:

Germany Will Ditch Nuke Power

This is almost unbelievable news. Somebody smack me; I must be sleeping or very, very stoned.

There's a really good force pushing in the world. Maybe things won't suck forever afterall:

Good news is always welcome.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hot Off the Intertubes

My darling Strider just put me onto an advice column that is so full of wisdom, love, straight talk and general kickass righteousness that I hadda come back and tell y'all to go read here:

All I can say is Holy Shit.

Memorial Day

Here we are at the unofficial start of Summer. Springs seem shorter lately. If judged by weather, I'd say it's been July for the past two weeks. Too suddenly warm, too humid, too languid for May. It's not normal for temps to be in the 80s in May in New England. I remember camping in the Berkshires on Memorial Day weekend and waking up to snow. That was 1994- christ! 17 years ago?!- and here we are with a forecasted high of 88'F today. It's just wrong.

Our town does Memorial Day. The Legion and VFW drive around to the cemeteries and various memorial sites giving homage to the vets and all those killed in battle. There's a gathering on the town commons at the War Memorial. I used to always go; it's a lovely tribute. I just wish it wasn't necessary.

In other matters, the Blogger fuck ups continue. Still can't comment anywhere, though so far I haven't lost Blogs I Follow or Followers myself, others have. Blogger peep may be on vacation and that's why it's gone on so long... who knows. There's been no update on the Help page in a week.

And the good news is very good. My SIL has made a full and miraculous recovery after a really scary episode of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Friends are bouncing back, however slowly, from all sorts of crappy situations. This place is settling in, also slowly. The projected three-month hiatus to finish the book will have to be pushed back. I've got other things going on that need to be done before I can step back and focus on it. With the amount of material I keep generating I don't think it'll take two months to finish it off. But I want the completed first draft (everything is in stages of development) done so a trusted editor can read it this fall. I keep getting myself involved in things, and need to stop doing that. The only thing I intend to stay with is the Heat Fund... well, and the universal healthcare campaign, and a few incidental events for charities. I need to manage my time better. I'm working on it. It's all good.

The Congo Church bells just rang ten, and I'm still sitting here. Gotta go.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Error Code bX-x81odo

Well, I still can't comment anywhere, and it seems I'm not alone. Blogger Help has quite a few complaints listed around this. Today when I tried to log in it just bounced and a comment suggested deleting your cookies. So I did. After that I could log in but it still bounces me out when I change pages.

I'm hoping Blogger gets this fixed soon. Or even responds to all the complaints.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Minor Glitch

Something has happened and I can't post comments to anyone's blogs, including my own. There's no time to sort it out right now, perhaps over the weekend...

Meanwhile, Rory, thank you & I have about 6 comments to post on your blog. Congrats on finding The One!

OK, that's it. Hope I'll have time to blog tomorrow. There's lots of good things going on.

Why Western Medicine Fails

As medical treatment goes, one would think that the idea is to treat the problem. Western medicine, whenever the problem is not an emergency and/or life threatening, is more focused on treating the effects of the problem than the problem itself. I've seen this and experienced this too many times to recount.

The flaw is obvious. Treating effects instead of causes doesn't solve anything. Most of the time, the treatment of effects (drugs) cause more effects. And then you're in a downward spiral. The problem itself remains untreated and therefore exacerbates. More effects emerge or the original effects worsen and are complicated by still more treatment of effects. This is insanity. This is Western medicine.

Oh, and let's not forget the damage some diagnostics do. In 2005 I had an EMG done on my legs and back that's left me with chronic sciatica, which I'd never suffered with for more than a day or two before the EMG. There's nothing like an electric needle piercing your nerves to wake you up. They'll never get near me with that hell torture shit again.

When the nerve damage report came in, no solution was offered, just drugs. I tried the drugs. I couldn't live in the fog that neurontin created. Then the doc suggested cymbalta, which led to 2 years of zombiedom that finally crashed in a huge depression at which point I weaned myself off of it. I'm not thrilled with the trend of pill-taking. Call me crazy, but I prefer getting to the root of the problem and solving it. If that had happened in my life, I'd still be working. It's not that the problem wasn't identified; in my case, I was told I was too young for the surgeries. Now, nearly 10 years later, surgery isn't an option. The damage is done.

The root causes of not getting problems solved in this country seem to be that drugs are profitable and eliminating the problem is not, and being poor puts you at the bottom of the priority list. I wasn't always poor. When my husband was alive and we both worked we were quite comfortable. We had top-shelf insurance, too. So now that I've seen the issue from two financial circumstances, the difference is very apparent. Profit-driven medical care sucks in general, but it really sucks when you don't have the deep pockets they like. Which is why I believe that healthcare should be universal and equal for all.

Happy Birthday, Men of My Nightmares

As a child I spent a lot of time at the Dyker Heights movie theatre. It was one of those old theatres that you don't see nowadays... a balcony, sculptures, frescoes... I loved that place. A matinee double feature and a bucket of popcorn and a soda for a buck. Jesus I'm old.

Anyway, my strange little friends and I would go as often as possible but always when the double bill was horror. Hammer horror, more precisely. Nothing of the slasher psycho killers of today; this was gothic, dark, velvet-lined somewhat sexy horror. Vampires, mad scientists, husbands out to kill their wives, monsters of the night. Still love them.

The stars were always gentlemen with a sick side to them, even if they were heroes, and became the stars of my nightmares from about age 8: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Vincent Price. The only one still living (and still acting) is Sir Christopher Lee.

By coincidence all three were born within 36 hours; Mr. Cushing on this date in 1913, Mr. Price (1911) and Mr. Lee (1922) sharing tomorrow, May 27th.

Happy Birthday, gentlemen of horror. Thank you all for such vivid and "exquisite agony."

A fan's tribute to all three:

Remembered on QI with love and laughter:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Randiness in the Older Woman

It's not as though older women are thought of as still sexy, as men have been. Some of that's changed; men in the public eye are often criticized now for "letting themselves go"; it wasn't always so. But women have been traditionally given a shelf life at which point they no longer exist, even if they still breathe another 35 years. Look at Hollywood.

Yes, change has happened. Now, older women are labeled "Cougars" if they go for young men. The only terms I recall being used on men who ran with young women were bemused expressions, like "Sugar Daddy" or the sly "Cradlerobber." Old men are admired for snagging younger women; it's the atta-boy syndrome. There is no atta-girl syndrome. It's still viewed as seedy.

Face it, the Helen Mirrens among us are few. She looks better at her age than I have since hitting 41. Well, few age well. I recently looked up online some of the boys I used to know and they're no better looking for the years. Every time I see Robert Redford these days I get depressed.

But I gotta admit, a fine looking young man still turns my head and makes me look in the mirror to check I'm not a mess. I may be over the hill, but I ain't under the dirt. There's been summer weather this week; young men are outside doing manual labor. There are perks in life. And spring is definitely in the air...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Blame "Country Music"

Since there's no rest to be had because they've chosen today to sledgehammer outside my bedroom window, I'm back to bitch. There's no better time to bitch than when you're sick. You really don't care and you're already pissed off in general. You can't concentrate and everything elicits a "Goddammit!" Perfect moment to pick a subject and go at it.

My family would play some country music when I was a kid, but those were the days of Hank Williams, not friggin Billy Ray Cyrus. What these Stetson-wearing southern-accented mulletheads produce is not country music, it's shit. It's today's inane pop crap, written more to be background sound for a redneck truck tv ad than to say anything heartfelt or god forbid, intelligent. As long as it's stompable, goes boing-boing regularly with a stop in it and rhymes, it passes.

It's no wonder the literacy level and intelligence quotient of this nation has plummeted. If Cole Porter came along today he'd be called "elitist" and "so gay" and never be heard. Unless you're a Waldemort shopper who "loves your country" and "the American Way" you're a despicable snob. How the fuck did thinking become shameful? How the fuck did being somewhat educated become contemptuous? A younger person (20-something) actually said to me, "I don't know why people read books. What's the use of knowing so much?" AAAAAAAGGGHHHHHH! If that's what home schooling does, it should be outlawed.

So yes, I blame "country music" and the entire nose-picking, beer-swilling, ignorance-loving culture that's grown around it for the ills of today's society.

Death on a Cracker

That's what 'Smilton used to say he felt like when he was sick, and I'm sick. I didn't even realize it. But that's why I'm throwing up, coughing, sneezing, sweating and freezing. And paining. Everywhere. I was chalking it up to almost any other reason; plain old fluish stuff wasn't on the radar. Funny how you don't recognize things, how you carry on til you can't. Maybe that's why single people don't live as long as partnered peep. There's nobody to say, "You look like shit, what's wrong with you? You oughta go to bed." Nope, when you're alone you don't have an outside observer. So you chalk things up to whatever (must be allergies, must be PMS, must be something I ate...) and instead of catching it early and heading it off, you end up full-blown sick.

Well, I'm not caring much about anything except going back to bed. So I think I will. Later.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Forgive and Forget

That old axiom has haunted me for years. Most of the time forgiving isn't all that hard. I mean, really, what is unforgiveable is the incredibly terrible stuff and fortunately to me, that's pretty rare. Of the thousands of people I've known, only 4 or 5 are unforgiveable.

But forgetting? That's a very different deal. Minor nonsense is always forgettable. The sheer number of stupid mistakes would make it impossible to remember all that. There are understandable deeds, too. So throw away the minor infractions- money unrepaid, slights, asinine fights, careless losses, the things we all do while trying to get to the grave- and there's the middle ground offenses (middle ground to me that is. We all have different scales) that get an "I dunno if I can get past that" response. Things like caustic lies and gossip, being kicked when down, planned and purposeful hurts. When put in context, much of those can be understood... no one is innocent, as they used to say. People do wrong things when their lives suck. But that stuff's harder to forget.

Then there are the Unforgiveables. People who are so unrelentingly nasty, so cold-hearted, so irredeemably happy in their evilness that there's nothing to do but boot them away. It's self-defense to get them out of your life, really. And yet I'll still feel guilty for doing it. Must be a masochist or a martyr- or both- lurking inside me.

Then there have also been people who were no good to anyone else, even dangers to society, who were good to me. This confused me, because I'm a pack animal and seek to keep everyone okay around me. If somebody is a great friend to me but antisocial to the world it just doesn't compute. Those relationships are the moral dilemmas I hate most. I don't ever want to leave someone alone who's been my proven friend. No matter what. But you can't ever change somebody else and if they can't fit comfortably into your life, they'll go, one way or another.

In any event, I'm cursed with a very retentive memory. And I keep journals for the day when my memory fails. I may never read them, there's a lot I'd like to forget. But I find that pain + time does often = humor. Once things are funny it's much easier to let go. I guess that's the way to get through it, just let time heal all wounds and wound all heels. Everything fades eventually.

Alas, Be Toque-less

The chef worship that made me wanna puke for the last ten years seems to be finally dying down. I cooked for twenty years, went to school, and ran kitchens...technically I am a chef, but always had an issue with claiming the title "Chef". That's because those I knew who called themselves chefs and demanded others called them "Chef" were without exception, class A assholes. Chefs modeled a sample of the world by making a successful career out of sheer egotistical amorality. I never wanted to be like them so I called myself a Cook and still do.

To my mind, it's much more honorable to be a cook. It's honest and has no pretentious panache. And it puts the focus on the creation, not the creator. A chef will make an inedible food and defend it for his own originality. A cook would rather die than make anything inedible. A chef will steal recipes from others. A cook will roll a flavor around in mind until it gels into an original recipe. A chef feels free to abuse and bully co-workers. A cook doesn't tolerate hissy fits in the kitchen, even from themselves. A chef wants to be a star. A cook wants to make really good food.

I'll chalk up the last decade's chef worship to symbolizing the death throes of the 80s culture that brought us greed, ignorance and cults of personality. Though I'll admit to enjoying Bourdain's humor and slogginess, the likes of Ramsay keep me sure that I'll always be toque-less.

This, however, is my all-time favorite cooking show, Regular Ordinary Swedish Mealtime:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture Fails

It's reported in parts of the world where 6 p.m. May 21st has come and gone that the Rapture has failed to happen.

More's the pity for the rest of the world. Maybe next year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Unintended Consequences: the Honeybee Effect

Consequences aren't always bad. Sometimes something you did once a long time ago brings a really lovely consequence down the road. People remember, and sometimes I think the Powers That Be do too, when you do something good.

Then there are unintended results. Like when I kicked the opiates because I was outraged at the way getting pain meds was becoming criminal treatment. It was a protest. Now on the ex-addict side, I'm so happy to my ass that they're gone and I see what Hell they'd made of my life, body and brain. Not what I'd set out doing; much better consequence than planned.

It's kind of a Butterfly Effect thingy but I call it a Honeybee Effect. They're out gathering food but they're pollinating things in the process. And bonus points- they're making honey, which we love. From which comes mead, which I reeeeally love.

The thing that makes humans confused and pissy is that you never know what will come from anything you do. Sometimes you do good and get a broken heart. Sometimes you do bad and get rewarded. Life isn't fair. It shouldn't be. It makes us better people to have to fight for fairness. Besides when things turn out fairly, you can really enjoy it. If that was a given there'd be a lot less celebrating in the world. And I'm all for celebrating.

So I do good when I can and try not to do too much bad. Good comes back way more often as good in kind. Just doing it is the first rush of good you get back. And that's one dependable consequence.

Dangerous Old Women

Very good news. My SIL has miraculously recovered and is gonna be all right. That's one on the mend.

My friend Brian gave me an old wooden teacher's desk for my birthday. It's huge and heavy, has all the old features of many drawers and pull-out shelves. He thought I should have a real desk to write The Book, so he and my long-ago boss Jeff showed up here bringing this and taking away the old tiny one. I love this desk. It's the most perfect desk I could ever have. This stays with me til death us do part. I've named her Clarissa.

Today is my friend Lise's birthday. We're having a teatime get-together here, our group of "11ers", and I'm sure she's gonna like what surprises I have for her.

Just heard that Chelsy made it to Tanzania and is full of joy! Yay!

It's foggy and rainy this morning, crows cawing and squirrels scampering. Tanagers have eaten most of the dandelions gone to seed in the front yard. It's so vividly green it almost hurts your eyes...the cherry blossoms are dropping, apple blossoms too. Summer is a-comin' in, sing ta-loo, ta-loo.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Non-Update on Greg's Angel

I've spent a few hours here and there rooting around on the intertubes looking for Greg Lake's long-lost angel pendant. So far, no luck. But that doesn't mean I'll give up or it won't be found. Much stranger things have happened in my life than finding lost jewelry; sometimes it takes a while. It's only the start. Somebody out there knows its whereabouts. If nothing else, perhaps a guilty conscience will want to be cleared. The search goes on...

Please Let it Be True

My niece told me about this last week but I hadn't seen it in the press til today. The Rapture is imminent, and all I can say is, why'd it take so long? I've been waiting for at least ten years to see this happen so the rest of us can get on with life and fix the world. We can't even begin until we get free of the fundies so it can't be soon enough for me.

Hurry up Saturday! We have a chance to see freedom & solve unemployment if it happens!

Future Reads

More a note to remind me, because I'm certain I'll forget. This coming winter, if it's not too dreary or endless, I'm going to finally read Recherche des Temps Perdu and finishing it. Dammit. Maybe 6th time's the charm. This is all QI's fault.

If It Keeps on Rainin'...

When the hell was the last day it wasn't raining? I can't remember.

It's also figuratively raining on people I care about. And though the fault lies directly on their own shoulders for the messes they're in, everyone in their lives is getting figuratively soaked, too. Including me.

How much should/can one stand before doing the Wrong Thing, like losing all patience and telling said rainmakers what assholes they're being? And is that really wrong? It seems like since the disease paradigm came along, we're supposed to be supportive and understanding 24/7, and deal with insanity as if said rainmakers can't help it. What a load. Only in extreme cases. Personally I think most rainmakers make the choice to be irresponsible thinking they'll always have a soft place to land, and they usually do. Even if that's on other people, which it usually is. How incredibly selfish.

Maybe being responsible for your actions has to be drummed into people like the ABCs. Maybe the nuns really were right and self-centeredness leads to insanity. The fallout certainly makes the lives of everyone else around a lot worse, so how much do the rainmakers care about anybody else? Are they just incapable of feeling anything for other people? Is that the root of it all? Endless capacity for self-pity?

Ach, this rain.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Momentary Lapse of Reagan

Recent media products have airbrushed Reagan as a saint. I contend that he was horrible. He encouraged extravagance. He gutted unions. He oversaw the beginning of the end for the middle class. He lied. He was a traitor to his own People. He ran us into terrible debt, which has become a new norm. The best that can be said for him was that he was a conscienceless puppet. And because of all this, I owe him thanks for making me do 30+ years of lefty activism.

Yes, it was Ronald Reagan that made me the lefty I am today. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. That is the real legacy of his presidency.

This is a post from the wayback machine. It's relevant to how we got where we are and I don't want to repeat myself:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Left's Struggles

It just doesn't make sense to me that the poor and working people will support the rich. But they do. Part of that comes from the easy access of the neocon soundbites and part of it comes from the "American Dream" that some people still believe exists.

The Left encourages thought and education. This is bad on 2 fronts; thinking and commiting to learning is not popular among a portion of the public. Give them a "gotcha line" that makes little sense and they're happy. And the Lefty world suffers from the very thing that makes it good- a lot of thought and education fosters many different viewpoints. As Jim Hightower says, getting the Left to agree is like "herding frogs into a wheelbarrow."

Let us not forget that much of the current generations were raised on Greed as a creed. And bad education policies. And not much upward mobility, but just enough Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Dallas, Dynasty, etc. to create a hero worship of wealth. Not to mention the chronic touting of living on credit, where people gave up living within their means to wear someone else's name on their chest or ass or sleeve. We're still not over that. Label culture sucks. (I still imagine asking my parents for hundred-dollar sneakers and their hysterical laughter as a response.)

But reality will sink in, and I have faith that people will catch a clue and the pendulum will swing back to compassion and equal rights. I have to have that faith. The alternative is Hell on earth.

The Monopoly Man Always Wins

Ya know the Monopoly guy? Rich white-mustachioed top-hatted guy with the cigar? He's winning, as usual. My friend Dora sent me an article that made my head cave in:

So we're selling our houses, hotels and land to the winning player to try to stay in the game. Anyone who's ever played Monopoly can tell you that's the worst move you can make. I can't believe how collossally stupid our elected officials think we are. How long will we put up with this bullshit? Throw the bums out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Some Conspiracies are True

So now it comes to light what the plan has been for the NHS in the UK for many years; to privatize as much as possible, and leave the messes created for the NHS to clean up:

This is exactly what we must guard against in the US. The greed of the rich has no limit.

Ugandan Bill Dropped

It's official; the death for homosexuality bill in Uganda's parliament has been shelved. At least for now:

We done good.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Things That Go Bump in the Night

To paraphrase Shakespeare, be not afraid of ghosts; some are born with ghosts, some achieve manufacturing ghosts, and others have ghosts thrust upon them.

There are an enormous number of ghosthunting-paranormal "investigating" television shows these days. I watch them now and then with a very skeptical eye. Not that I don't believe in the paranormal; quite the contrary. It's just that the vast majority of them seem full of hype and conjecture. Which reminds me of the hundreds of "seances" I was dragged to as a child. My family, both of the older generations living then, had deep interests in the occult sciences. And so every psychic fair, every psi study group, every storefront Spiritualist church, were our family outings for the first dozen years of my life. There were other kids whose parents dragged them around to these things and I thought it was normal. I had nothing to compare it to, it's just the way it was.

Witnessing so much of the medium acts gave me a jaded eye at a young age. The techniques became apparent to me but seemed to be unnoticed by most of the adults. Maybe because I had no emotional investment in what was going on and was often bored to tears by the hours of sitting silent in darkness while these "mediums" plied their trade. And if I made any noise of protest or derision I was reprimanded for not believing. Which served to make me think these adults were gullible fools.

But here and there the real thing happened. Just enough to keep me openminded and intrigued. The real things stood out a mile. And were rare. And just as obviously real as the mediumistic tricks were fake.

There is so much that we don't know, can't perceive with our limited senses, that it's plain arrogance to dismiss all of what we term paranormal. But it's also foolish and ignorant to believe that anything that goes bump in the night must be a ghost. Where there is money to be made, there are cons and suckers.

Yet even cons and suckers can stumble into true phenomena. The real thing is real, and doesn't perform on command. When you deal with unseen energies, you're not at the top of the food chain anymore. After all these years I still have no idea how it works and have grave doubts that anyone else does either. Its subjectiveness is both the barrier and the key.

Have to add: the best prediction a reader ever said to me (at a psychic fair in 1971) was, "You'll achieve self-actualization, but it'll be a miserable and bizarre trip." What did I know of self-actualization (still don't, I've never researched what it's about but it sounds good) at 12? She was a hippie woman from Mystic, Connecticut. That's not to say it's accurate, either. I've had scarily accurate readings. From Cliff Bias, in particular.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rereading Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury is still one of my favorite writers. We were required to read some of his short stories when I was in HS- The Illustrated Man collection. After that I read Fahrenheit 451 and then almost everything he ever wrote. But Fahrenheit remains what I consider his best.

Now, 37 years since I first read it, it not only holds up but is frighteningly premonitive in the ways that 1984 is. Enough dreams of science fiction writers have come to pass that what was once scary fiction is now scary reality.

Without giving much away, the story centers around Guy Montag, a fireman of the future. A future where everything has been made inflammable and firemen exist to burn books. Happily, that hasn't happened yet, but much of the accoutrements of that society has. And it was first written in 1951.

Read this book if you've never read it, and reread it if you have. It's an eye-opener.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Well, That was Weird

Something happened with Blogger and it was down for a day. Looks like they've fixed it cuz here we are. It was strange but it's over, thankfully.

The neighbor war escalates. I finally said something to the manager. For the last 2 evenings when I've been trying to get to sleep at 6-7 to get up at 1-2 a.m. to work in peace, the blabbermouth has taken to sitting on her back stoop and holding forth, which means I can't get away from it even in my own bed. Since I was in for a penny anyway, I mentioned all the Xianity around here being offensive. Our manager is a reasonable and fair person. I leave it to her to deal with it. But I'm sure the blabber is going to be a big bitch- I heard her yakking at the manager over the headphones when she went to ask her to keep it down. It takes a big mouth to overpower Robert Plant at 50% volume in headphones. She was highly offended that I didn't appreciate her cross in the hallway. Whoever gave out the grandiose entitlement rights? I must've been standing behind the door when they were handed out.

I'm also way behind in things, and probably won't be blogging much this weekend. Feel free to read back blogs, they're all listed on the right.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why I Take Diphenhydramine

The old building I used to live in gave me severe allergic reactions. Mold and dust were big problems. So I started taking diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) and I felt better for it. It doesn't make me sleepy or edgy, just a little dried out. Back when I depended on opiates, I would sometimes run out a day or two ahead of refill day or couldn't get my prescription done on time. Just as an experiment on myself I tried taking a higher dose of diphen along with naproxen sodium, and my joints felt better. In the post-opiate life, I depend on both to give me relief and they do. But this isn't a recognized pain therapy. However, I just came across this:

Though my arthritis and arthrosis are inflammatory, not rheumatic, it works for me. Again, what I found by accident has helped when standard western med treatments failed. I do hope they continue studying the arthritis-histamine link and work toward a useful treatment protocol.

A Musical Feast

From the days when I began writing at about 12, I've always played music while I write. When the Muse takes earned time, like tonight, it's music alone. A wealth of music awaits following the birthday past thanks to Strider, Jim and others who wish to remain nameless. And I broke down and bought Pictures at an Exhibition and ELP at Montreux for a beggar's price from Amazon. Strider burned 60 cds for me while she was here; the collection of 70s rock is 6 discs which range from the silly to the sublime. Just like the 70s were in real life. I can't help but grin when I hear Frampton and Skynyrd, remembering summer nights on Shore Road getting high with friends, all of us young and free, before life became serious and the police state happened.

Without the Muse I can't go anywhere writing, so I'm just gonna turn up the music and sink back into this old armchair. Go find a musical feast today. Feed your spirit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ugandan Death Policy for Homosexuals

This is so insane I feel like I'm in a parallel universe. Uganda has put forth a bill allowing the government to kill homosexuals. I can't even, but Saint Fletcher has:

There's a link to a petition below the video.


If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. The best way to deal with this living situation, so I can get my book written, is to simply flip my hours. Go to bed while the sun's still shining, get up at 1 or 2 in the morning and write. It's quiet, no aggravation- she's a good neighbor when she's asleep- and it works for me. The fact is, she's a fishwife. We had one on every block growing up. Half the time they were men. Hanging out the window all day, leaning on a pillow, yelling to people and minding everyone else's business. Or sitting on the stoop or porch, usually drunk, the neighborhood critic holding forth. Some people are assholes and there's nothing to be done about it.

This schedule flip happened by accident, like a lot of good ideas in life do. Just being damn tired by 5 p.m. and going in for a nap, which turned into a sleep of 7 hours. I can do this.

This has extra perks. Not being awake at primetime drunk and drugged phone calls, for one. I've come to dread the evening because of the increased crazy quotient. There's a lot of crazy going on right now, much more than normal. And I've become the unlikely matriarch of my family, by deaths and default. It's not easy in a family of boys. I don't know about a family of girls but it's probably no better, just different. Gives me a new perspective on my mother. With all she had against her, I dunno how she stood it.

And I'm still awake for business hours, in fact a bit more together; having been up for hours before the rest of the world has its advantages. It's good today, let's see how it's working a week from now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


President Obama spoke about immigration reform this afternoon in El Paso, Texas. Having worked in a lot of restaurants, I worked with a lot of immigrants. All but one of my great grandparents either emigrated here or were the descendants of immigrants. Short form, if you're white or anything else but a full-blooded Tribe member in this country, you're an immigrant.

One of the songs I learned in grammar school for Assembly was based on part of the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore;
send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

To be anti-immigrant in this nation is to be a hypocrite.

Detox- 3 Months Later

It's been 3 months since kicking the opiates. Finally, my stomach is good. Indigestion only happens for a good reason, it's been several weeks since I spent a whole morning in the bathroom and so far it seems my whole digestive tract has healed. All the effects are gone. Even the leg cramps. I do get headaches now, which I hadn't had for years but that's normal.

The pain is, well, painful. A couple of Aleve doesn't do much and I don't expect miracles. My joints are bad; bad enough to put me outta the work force so it would be stupid to think I won't have huge pain. I've been thru the "pain management" route and that's useless. I've had all the shots, tests and meds I'm ever going to take; it's just dealing with it in a sane way now. I had a "counselor" once who suggested orange dots be stuck up around my apartment as focus points. Oh yeah, how freakin useful. Nerves are on fire and bones are grinding but orange dots will help. Why aren't people who actually have pain in the pain business? I'm not talking about "support groups" (kill me now)- I'm talking about people who've done it all already and have experience and tools to share beyond Western med standard treatment. I'm totally sure I'm not unique and I could use a mentor. But that's not what we get in this country. You're left to go blindly forward alone. If you want anything beyond the usual, you'd better have a bankroll.

I am lucky to have Physical & Occupational Therapists in my family. I can't afford one of my own but as I see weakness or problems I ask them for recommendations and get exercises to help. But a lot of poor people aren't that lucky. Healthcare in this country, for the most part, sucks. Unless you're rich.

It seemed to take a long time to get to full pain; I suppose the long term drug use and the effects of going cold turkey held off some of it until it was all out of my system. For a few days a couple weeks back the pain was enormous and I gritted my teeth so hard I broke a tooth. I'm thinking I'm at full pain now.

But if this is as bad as it gets I'll deal. I'll still take the pain over being a zombie.

How Lovely To Be a Woman...

Now in the 40th year of having menstrual cycles, I'm quite an old hand at it and I'm thoroughly sick of it. The insomnia, swelling up, controlling myself thru the mood swings, ovaries jumping like marracas, zits, every bit of it is suckage. It's tiring, disgusting, expensive, painful, inconvenient to the nth degree. And you never know when it'll end. I have friends my age who are done with it, why is mine still like clockwork? Seems I have an inexhaustible supply of ova and I'm starting to think I'll be one of those who keeps going into her 70s!!

Oh sure, they say it keeps you looking young and people tell me I don't show my age, but really I don't care. I want it done. 40 years of anything is enough. There's no family history to go by- there are too few women and my mother was "hysterectomied" at the age of 41. Judging by how friends' cycles ebbed slowly into the sunset, I have no sign of slowing down.

What the hell is nature playing at? I'm too old to have kids, even if I ever could; it's useless to keep the 28 day descent to the 9th Circle going, so WTF?

If I ever catch the ass who wrote that insipid song, he's dead.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Irritation War

Without particulars, this was a highly irritating day. The bitty across the hall has declared a passive-aggressive war and oh yes, I can do that. In my sleep with my feet, as we used to say. I was trained by the best- hardened drag queens of NYC. She thinks she can be loud, she ain't heard nothing yet. She hates the English, it's 24/7 British everything here. She hates rock, good! She hates Obama and everything lefty... don't even start me up. She hates other religions, up go the horse flags. She hates other languages, well I've thought it's time I learn Russian. And I'll do it all to the letter of the law. One of us is going and it ain't gonna be me. I didn't fire the first shot. I'll wave as she leaves. I'm nice that way.

bitch, bitch bitch bitch...

Even living in the heart of NYC during the crack epidemic of the 80s, with hookers turning tricks in the hallways and lounging on front stoops, I've never had a neighbor who bitches as much as this one. Loudly. To anyone who says hello to her. About everything but especially about me. It's almost a phenomenon. She bitches on the front porch, she bitches in the hallway (which she seems to think is hers exclusively), she bitches from her back stoop- and she's so loud I can't get away from it. My only escape is in headphones. Which is when I miss phone calls, because the volume is turned down because she also lurks and listens at my door.

The irony isn't lost on me, that I'm bitching about someone bitching. But this isn't fun and there's nowhere to go with it. She's a bully and I'm going to have to take her down a peg at some point. She drove the last people who lived here out but she's not getting away with her shit with me. I just haven't figured out how to do it.

Meanwhile, I've already done everything possible to accommodate her. Perhaps that's the key. Just stop being nice. Instead of headphones, turn the volume up over her mouth. Take the draft roll away from the door so she gets full incense and tobacco smells. Really give her something to bitch about. She's bitching anyway; what have I got to lose?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

One Nurse in Japan

While we've been going on with our lives and situations, the people of Japan continue to deal with the effects of the tsunami and earthquakes. An anonymous nurse has been blogging about her experiences at the "front line" of this catastrophe. Words fail me in saying much more; her reality is faithfully rendered and translated here:

May all the gods and all we humans give the help these people need.

Happy Mother's Day

Here in the states it's Mother's Day. Across the country, mothers will be brought out to brunch, cooked for by small children, given flowers and cards. Like most commercial holidays, it's a nice compulsory gesture.

There are mothers who aren't Mothers, too. I have a lot of friends who have no children but mother all sorts of living things. I've had a lot of mothers in my life and still do. I'll be making phone calls today.

And there are those who are just mothers to deal with. We're all of us mothers in some sense of the word. Funny how almost every nasty name you can call someone in the English language is related to women.

To everyone who cares for, protects, feeds, encourages, clothes, disciplines, bails out, loves and nags others, I wish a Happy Mother's Day. It's a very small thank you for all the amazing work and heart you put into doing what you do.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Traveler of Both Time and Space

Glory hallelujah! What a treat to spend a night in concerts. Last night I visited 4 decades and several countries with ELP, the Who and Page & Plant. And thanks to Irish coffee, continued on to Greg Lake and his band in England in 2005. If one could OD on great music, I'd be dead. It's now possible to simulate the concert experience in your own home. This morning I woke up with ringing ears, a partial hangover and a big smile. And that wanna-do-it-again feeling. All this without the travel, crowds, security hassle and group high that comes in going to a concert. It's not the same but it's a reasonable facsimile. I don't want to spoil the mood with analysis. I feel like I've been music-ed up and I want to stay with it for the whole weekend.

But I do want to make a few notes about Deathly Hallows Pt 1 that I neglected to mention before. Emma Watson has learned a bit of acting. Snape washed his hair and Alan Rickman is a hottie. Dan Radcliffe and Rupert Grint can't pass for 17 year-olds in any stretch of the imagination. Everyone did a good job, though I wish they'd left the deleted scenes in. And I cried when Dobby died, just as I did reading the book.

OK, that's it for now. I'm heading back to the rock Tardis, where time and space are immaterial and all that matters is landing in the music.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Oh Yes! Yes!

The week's work is done and now it's Miller Time! So to speak.

Here comes my weekend.

The sign is on the door, everyone knows I'm cloistering for at least 24 hours, and hallelujah sweet uninterrupted freedom here I come.

Headphones on, substances at is good.

Pictures of a City

Really this isn't a city, it's a town. But I like to give a nod to good music when it can relate to what I'm writing about. And this weekend is full of pix. Someone is going to project photos and videos of the fire that consumed my old apartment building against the building itself. The downtown group is promoting a "This Place Matters" community photo for the National Historic Trust's competition. Andrea wrote: " We are asking downtown supporters to gather in front of the Brooks House Friday night during Gallery Walk between 6:30 and 6:45 to join together as a group to be photographed." That should be an amazing shot. Tonight is Gallery Walk, our town's monthly get-out-and-into-art promo, but there are too many things going on all weekend to name. Go to
and check out the blurbs, calendar and comments.

As for me, I'm hiding. Time to rest and replenish energy. I'm tapped like a maple tree.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sweet Joy From Sorrow

My HS friend Becky gave me a poster in Sophomore year. The photo is of tiny white flowers growing out of cracks between rocks. The text says, "There is a sweet joy that comes to us through sorrow." Yes, I still have it.

I saw this happen with my brother and his wife yesterday. They have had a few weeks of true Hell, but it's better now, and out of it they've fallen back in love again. Next month will be their 29th wedding anniversary, and they're all sweet and giggly again. It's really heartening to see. I've been hearing both sides since they first got together. Now, all these years later, they're happy best friends cooing together.

Life is never what you expect but sometimes surprisingly sweet, even in sorrow. Thanks Becky. I hope wherever you are, you're happy too.

Kochs Buy US Government

Here's something to give you indigestion. The Koch brothers are a set of amoral moneylovers who are spending bajillions of their tax-dodged money to strip all social programs from the nation's struggling people. They are behind the Teabaggers and many congresspeople, seeking to legislate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps et al into oblivion.

There's a short film here
featuring regular Americans who've done what they were supposed to- worked, saved, invested, all the things the neocons espoused- only to find their investments tank and end up as marginalized scrimpers in retirement. Of course, the Kochs won't talk to anyone. They're too busy scheming.

Just when I thought that bin Laden's death left me nobody living to hate so much. I'm gonna go make some bicarbonate.

Gang Oft Agley

Well I tried. Right after getting offline I settled in to watch a night of good stuff. 2 movies, 3 concert vids. "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part One" was first, since I've seen all the HP movies and read all the books and heard it was good. It was. Then came "Bright Lights, Big City", a movie dear to my heart...and the last thing I remember is Michael J. Fox out on the street in front of the Palladium. I woke up at 1:30 a.m., turned everything off and went to bed. So much for fun. But I must've needed the sleep.

As we used to say when we heard car crashes in NYC, "Back up and try again." Though today is pre-scheduled until probably 7, I'm determined to finish my mission.

Among today's agenda items is making the prototype for the sandwich competition that Snootch Granger and I are collaborating on; he's making the bread and I'm making the filling. It's for a Great New England sandwich, and so far 6 of the 7 ingredients are local; if I decide to go with butter (instead of olive oil) it'll be all 7. I'm pretty sure it'll work as I have it in my head. He and Greenbriar are coming over around dinnertime and we'll see what tweaking needs to be done. If we win (and that's a BIG if) he's going to Australia, not me. I'll be happy to Place or Show and donate the prize to a local food pantry. If you live in NE and want to give it a go, look up

There's still plenty to get done around here. It's not raining today...yet... but it's damp and chilly, so it'll be slow going. Better get my ass in gear.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Just a couple of minutes ago I got word that things are off for this afternoon and tonight- I'm freeeeee! I'm making a night of it. Popcorn, refreshments, movies and finally, my birthday videos!!!! I'm psyched. Probably won't be back online today, but maybe. I'll have to email Jim and review the concerts. But everything else is going in the tomorrow file. Woohoo!

Stop the Press-es

This morning I decided to do a few things before going online. I had a really good sleep, fun dreams and woke up in a great headset. So I put on an ELP vid that Jim sent me for my birthday (I love how he digs up these rare live performances) and went about unpacking more books. All good. Very good, as a matter of fact. Slow stretches ease the body into functioning and if you can do that while accomplishing something so much the better.

After the vid was done I thought, "Oh, put on the radio and see what's up with the world." Bad plan. Around here, in the early morning, we get the Bill Press Show. He's a lefty, but he's an hysterical lefty. Sort of a lefty Limpbag. And he was belicosely whinging and ranting about Faux News and some idiot named Napolitano and how awful they are. Really? Faux News is all BS and hype? Some righty-tighty is calling Obama the AntiChrist? I thought Dubya was?! Well, goddamn, stop the presses! This is news! No, it's not. It's the same crap that the asses on the dimly lit other side of the street do, and it just publicizes their crazy fearmongering.

Whose bright idea was it to create a lefty Limpbag show? Well, fire them. What we don't need is to answer insanity with insanity. Jesus Christ where have all the journalists gone? Why do we only get raving hysterical pundits now? Will someone please un-commercialize broadcast news?

And that's how you ruin a perfectly good morning.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love Blind

Had a long meeting/chat with Plague tonight. It's been four years since I saw her last. She looks better than I've ever seen her look. And together we're gonna straighten out the disfunctions of the soup kitchen she's volunteering in.

And we talked about men and love and how when you fall in love you go insane. Love is blind. If you're a hopeless romantic you can't avoid the loss of reason. When I was young I was in love with love. It took a string of broken hearts and disenchantments to cure it. Now, in my 50s, it would take a house falling on my head to turn it.

Which worries me. Our Aunt Mimi was single all her life and everyone said she was just too picky. She didn't need a man. She was a successful woman in her own right. Personally, I never thought much about it, but after she'd been to our house it was my Mom's hot topic of discussion. Mimi was critical of men. She wouldn't take chances. She had no patience. She'd end up bitter. Her standards were much too high. You just can't expect men to be that good. "Well, hell, you're supposed to go for any schlep on the street?!" I thought. So I cut lots of slack for the boys I was with and was often treated like crap. And here I am, all these years later, and I'm sure my mother (if she were still around) would give me the Mimi lecture.

Yeah, it kind of sucks to lose the love blinders. I sometimes really wonder if I could ever fall again. Yet I also know if the right guy came along, I would. I don't care about looks or age anymore; it's the mind and heart that matches mine that would do it. Maybe I'm not as invulnerable as I think I am.

Touch and Go

It's been busy. I haven't had a night- nor day- to myself in weeks and this week is full right thru til Saturday. Even stealing an hour or half hour after 8 a.m. and until I fall out at 8 p.m. has become a dream. Like Roseanne Roseannadanna said, "It's always something."

What makes me pissy is that I can't get anything done. I can't watch the vids or listen to the music or even get a full box unpacked, without interruption. And without fail, as soon as I get a precious few minutes to blog my old bitty neighbor gets loud and my concentration goes.

Well, when this week is done, that's it. By June I intend to be unpacked, comfortable and ready to write full time. Everything and everyone will just have to deal. As I get more stretched I turn into a real beaut, so it has to stop. I'm very happy for peep who have hours to blab on the phone but I don't. Functioning time ticks away fast. And in my condition, the functioning clock starts ticking the minute I get out of bed. Healthy peep can hang on the couch and yap and it's downtime to them but it's not to me. I have huge pain and it drains off my energy. It's really been a tradeoff in kicking the opiates. The difference comes down to being half-awake and unable to function with less pain or defyingly half-functioning at top speed with full pain. Since I chose the latter, so be it.

That's better. Nothing like a good bitching to re-energize!
Maybe I'll get back later...

For Cryin' Out Loud

It's good to question authority; I'm all for that. But I'm getting sick of the Conspiracy Theorists. It's become a mental disorder. A mindset of automatically jumping to paranoia in the face of any news. Weird thing is, it now encompasses all facets of the political spectrum, from the extreme right to the extreme left.

As soon as the news of OBL's killing was out, the paranoia started. Come now, in this age of video manipulation, does anyone think a film of his burial or the shootout will satisfy the obsessed? Conspiracy beliefs are a self-fulfilling spiral of unreasoned half-thoughts. There will always be a "But" to any evidence presented; that's the essence of the obsession.

So fine, release the films. But don't expect the CTs to shut up. Whatever you do, they'll search for whatever they think proves their point, like a bad lawyer or a paranoid schizophrenic, logic and fact be damned.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lost in Thoughts and Feelings

I met someone online today who was right there on September 11th, and watched the WTC fall. We shared our feelings about it all, and bin Laden's death. This was my last reply to him. I can't write anymore today.

Reading your piece brings it all back. The 2 days of terror as I waited and watched NY1 every moment I wasn't at work, unable to call home. Lifelong friends and family were there at the WTC. My brother's best friend had gone downstairs for a cigarette and was on the concourse when the first plane hit. He froze in place. When the firefighters got to him he'd been burned over 60% of his body. RIP, Pat.

A family member was among those white dust-covered walkers. As she left the WTC a man who'd jumped landed in front of her. His blood covered her, then the dust as she walked home to Brooklyn in shock.

My old neighbor, a teacher at CAS, went to the site to help. He's still fugue-ing.

A friend was late getting out and turned the corner on Church just as the second plane hit. For weeks, she said, the city smelled like a crematorium on fire.

Every morning the NY ex-pats at my workplace pored over the Times, searching for names we hoped wouldn't be listed. It was about a week later that I found Paul Talty's name. He was a PA guy, a friend's brother. They had lost another brother, a NJ cop, in a shooting a couple of years earlier.

My Dad took me to see the WTC being built in 1973. I have photos. As NYers we were so proud of it, reaching the sky while the city was in such turmoil. I'm glad my parents weren't alive to see September 11th. My Mom was a Marine working at the Pentagon in WW2; that day would've killed her.

I hated bin Laden. Yes, I'm glad he's dead, though it makes me sick at heart to admit it. I hate death. But I hated bin Laden more.

Ding Dong....

bin Laden's dead. It's taken about an hour for it to sink in and it's hard to believe it. With all the lies, false hopes and damned lies that have followed September 11th, 2001, it's hard to believe anything.

It's said the body was buried at sea. While I wonder why we aren't flooded with pix of the corpse, it's better to not venerate the man. Honestly, if I'd been among those who killed him, I'm sorry to admit it would've been tough to not do terrible things to his body. It's because of him that Pat Carr and Paul Talty and thousands and thousands of other good people aren't among us anymore. I don't think I could've stopped myself.

George the 2nd said he didn't "spend much time worrying about" bin Laden.
It took Obama to get Osama.
I think Obama just got re-elected.

This is a considered vlog from a good guy, well worth watching:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1st, the Holiday of Holidays

Today is Beltane, a big day in the Pagan calendar. It's also May Day, the real Labor Day for the whole world and a day of commemorating the Haymarket Martyrs in US history. If you don't know about the Haymarket, start reading with this, it's mostly correct and you can take it from there:

To think that about half a million workers of this country went on strike all at the same time is an inspiration to me. And as always in this country, a successful protest movement resulted in the deaths of citizens by the State. Anyone remember Kent State?

Celebrate, remember, don't mourn. Organize.