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Sunday, July 31, 2011

No Matter What

I'll never be as stupid as Cameron:

Small solaces are good.

and- First they came for the Anarchists:

Watch for it in a neighborhood near you!

Why Unions Need to Re-Organize

Years back, a few of us tried to organize the coop. For almost 2 years it was a campaign from Hell. We were complete novices and fatally naive. This cozy community-owned food coop hired the biggest union-busting law firm in New England with a long list of victorious anti-worker wars behind them. It took a while, but we were crushed at the end. Entirely exhausted, worn out and slandered about, we fell. But we all learned a lot, just too late.

The first wrong thing was being open about it. I danced up to the board president and waved the pamphlets saying, "Isn't this a great idea?" Yeah, stupid asshole doesn't even cover it. But we'd already said, in the Meat Dept., we should go straightforwardly with it from the start. It was a nest of gossip. If we'd tried to keep it secret it wouldn't have been anyway. There are no secrets in this town. I thought we might gain a hippie-consciousness support, it being a coop. And to some degree we did. The hippest of the membership started an ad hoc committee in support of us. There was much controversy. While we were gathering union cards, management was learning what to say and who to rope in for their side. The contension went on and on. Art was done. Rallies were held. Movie nights. Many, many radio shows. Meetings upon meetings. Hours on the phone every night. A friend parodied "Union Maid" about trying to call me,"Oh you can't reach me I'm talking to the union, I'm working on a union, I'm speaking to the union." Friends gave me union-related gifts. We worked like dogs. I got to speak and introduce Bernie at the Labor Day Parade and Picnic in Burlington. It felt just like being in politics again. We were also older warriors now. It'd been 35 years since the protest heydays. Our skills were rusty here. The evilness gene went ahead replicating while we were trying to find a grip and stay together because people were falling away. We lost. We all learned a lot. It broke our hearts. But it was a helluva ride, too.

Now, I see the mistakes. We should have vetted the idea of a union and then shopped for one. There was a huge culture clash between the union rep from Massachusetts and the coop workers here. We should've gone for the same union that workers in coops up north were organizing with. It was a better type of union for our store than the giant who'd billeted our mailboxes. Our workers and that union were mismatched. Big mistake.

Also, when some of us were harassed in private meetings and run-ins with management and one of us was whispered a fairly unfunny death threat we shouldn't have dragged our feet. The NLRB (quite right-wing then, too) said we had a good case but we'd waited 10 days too long to file the complaint. Again, we were being nice. We'd wanted this to be peaceful and constructive. Foolish and naive.

And we learned about unions. Not little real locals, but the big guys. The state presidents and such of the initialled. We sat in meetings with them. We worked together. We had no say in anything. To this day one of my eyebrows is permanently up in a "Fuck you." stare. That's what's wrong with unions today. The big ones are just another form of the corporations existing to keep itself existing. Little, self-governing unions, that's the key.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat. With a good regular union that gives your local total control of what you want it to be, like the UE would have. I had no idea there were all kinds of unions. I've watched unions thrive and rubbed out since I've been paying attention. I've seen a lot of the slithery tactics of management in several places. They wouldn't want me back in the work force now. I've been to scary poverty and homelessness and sickness and drug addiction and cold turkey twice. Scary makes me laugh now. It'd be worth the fight this time, 'cuz I know how to win..

Godzilla Vs. Mothra

Okay, google has started google plus, which is yet another "Hey Look At Me, I'm Having Lunch!" way to waste your life, fecebook is in a lather. And so the giant monsters of Capitalism will duke it out. This is the only thing Capitalism in extremis is good for- they go like Japanese monster movies of the 60s, which I loved. I feel like one of those fairy-twin-weird girls who sang for Mothra to come. This is high-level wrestling without the spandex. Grab the popcorn.

Finally! ELP HiVolt DVD Soon!

ELP played the High Voltage Festival last July in London. Some have posted parts on YT, a song or two. But it was obviously filmed via the trolley you see running across people's iPhone screens. A year later it's been announced it'll be finally released, on August 23rd.

With Keith's health problems, it may be their last concert ever. I hope not, but it's possible. Hell, none of them are under 60 now, and they've been at this for 5 decades. I'm glad for seeing them when I did, and we'll always have the albums and DVDs. Really, who among us in the 70s thought any of us would still be here in 2011?

Well, that's another off my Armageddon List. Read & saw all the LOTR and Harry Potters. Now the world can't end until The Hobbit movies are seen. Then the meteor- or Tarkus- can get me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake and Palmer!
...ooops almost forgot the link...

Drumming At the Edge of Magic

That's not an original title, it's a book by former Dead drummer Mickey Hart that we sold at the Magickal Childe. But it's certainly an experience, if you drum long enough. Right from the beginning, drumming flipped my head over. I don't know if everybody has that experience, but I know what he meant. There's a point where you're so inside the music that drumming alters your head if you're in one pattern for a long time. It's tough to explain. I try not to go there and change out enough to avoid it.

It's looking like I'm gonna have to go to hand drumming. I just can't hold the sticks for long enough, and if I do I pay for it. Since I'm not that much of a masochist, time to change the plan. Who knows, my hands may get good some day but that's not now. So the Ludwigs stay in the Wish List and I'm scoping for a couple of djembes. There was a band rehearsing in one of the houses up behind my house yesterday, and I listened to them for hours. They were damn hot. Not a falter in rhythm, not a missed cue, not a bad note, and they did so many classics- Floyd, Zep, Skynyrd, The Who...och I was a happy mama. And the singer wailed. Sounded like Eddie Vedder. Auralize Vedder doing "Comfortably Numb" instead of Waters and Gilmour. Yeah, it was good. I've no idea who they are, how old they are or even what garage they were in. They just rocked. I hope they're there every Saturday. A free rock band in my backyard, dude. Things like that make life good. I'm sure it pissed off the Dusties around here, but tough.

And I'm watching drummers a lot.. Carl Palmer has always blown my hair back, but the guy's in his 60s and still superhuman. Bruford, too. Their multiple time changes are seamless and they're nastier now. That poncy anal-precision is deepened with age. Damn I wish Bonzo was still alive.

Anyway, this weekend has been blessedly low key and that's good because I seem to have gotten a mild case of food poisoning. Looks like the seafood was a day too old. Meh, I had seafood poisoning so often in restaurant school (we ate what the students cooked) that we called lunch Staff Infection. This too shall pass. ;)

Bernie Sanders and the 14th Amendment

Bernie has come out swinging following the Teabaggers' victory in the House, barely passing their "I Hate the Working People, Veterans, Soldiers, the Sick and the Poor" agenda. The vote came down 218-210 and Boner cried. But it ain't over til the fat lady sings and my mouth is shut so y'all can hear what Bernie has to say:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Perfect Explanation

The other day the repair guy got here early, really nice guy. Pretty young, maybe 25.  I'm sitting at my desk, fitting photos in frames (part of the Hanging Things Project)- a b&w one of Strider and Ems. He's watching my computer restart several times, standing here by me. He remarks what a sweet dog, I say, yeah, he's my daughter's Wonderdog. He looks back at my screen waiting for the info (wallpaper is a b&w pic of  Greg Lake, circa 1974) and says, "She looks just like you and your husband." I stop. I couldn't laugh, didn't want to make him feel goofy, so go, "Yeah," but tears are coming to my eyes and I'm choking up. And he says, very sincerely, "Sorry, I didn't mean to upset you." That was it. I laaaauughed... then I explained, he was red as a lobster, and finally he laughed too. Strider is Greg Lake's and my love child. Perfect. Not true at all, but perfect.

My brother didn't find this funny. Maybe ya had to be there.

Ya Learn Something New Every Day

Satire about the government is banned in many places. You kinda expect it in the Arabic states and other hamfisted governments. But what the hell with the UK Parliament being held above derision?

Of course in these Youtubian times and with all the other choices on the intertubes it's easily gotten around, I think...I hope. But still, it's strange to me. Even in our Puritanical country, the doings in Congress are up for anyone's poking. There's a lot to be said for Freedom of the Press. Don't take it for granted.

Bernie Explains the Budget Proposals

I had no idea that the Dems had caved in so much in the past few days:

And a Wayne-ing Moment

My old friend Wayne has his second book out! Go Wayne! It's available as a real book,  Nook and Kindle and it's explained on his blog, with proceeds going to fight for the  rights of children in programs:
Good job, Wayneo. I'm proud to know you.

It Ain't Necessarily So

Tonight was movie night. I have a backlog of movies to watch, some from last Christmas that I still haven't seen. Some that I haven't found since moving. And then there are things I see so cheaply available that I'll pry my wallet open and buy. So it was with Russell Brand in "Arthur" with Helen Mirren as John Gielgud. It's no great art film, breaks no barriers, makes no allegorical or political statement. It's just sweet. No, it's not Dudley Moore, it's Russell Brand and this is 35 years later, in the year 2011 CE. I rather liked it. A nice little comedy, and everyone does a good job. Is there something wrong with that? Oh, right, I should be watching something meaningful. Balls to that!

When the hell did things become so damn tight assed? These days everything is snubbed by somebody or other. I feel like I've just woken up from a coma (well, that's 4 years of opiates for you) and everyone's gone nuts. People spend hours upon hours arguing over meaningless nonsense online, even invent other sock puppets to argue with themselves in public- how crazy is that? And there's this huge pressure to define yourself- are you a Christian? Are you a Liberal? Are you a vegetarian? Do you smoke? And behind all these definitions are adjectives for everyone; who you are is soneone else's construct. And then the final judgment. You're either good or bad. You are acceptable or to be shot. This has become such a black & white, Us vs. Them society in the past few years that I hardly recognize my own country. It's malodorous prejudice in all its encapsulating glory. I swear we're rowing backwards in time. We're nearly at pre-All In The Family levels of bigotry.

Except now there are new acceptable prejudices. And there's a reason behind them, just like there always were. Here's a partial list (in no particular order) of the "New Niggers of 2011"

Fat People
Skinny People
White People
Arabic People
Right wingers
Left wingers
Poor People
Sick People
Educated People
Uneducated People
Meat Eaters
Gun Owners

But these are the currently-sanctioned hatreds.

Just add the old-fashioned but still alive hatreds of
Non-English Speakers
Any Non-Christian

And we've got a really wonderful community, eh?

It's really time we look at what's going on among us and stop behaving like children. Did you ever see the smart kid in the family set up a fight so they could get a big piece of dessert or run off to watch TV while everyone was having at each other?

Nobody, nobody is ever all one thing or another. I'm very Liberal in societal views and personally pretty conservative when it comes to money. You can't paint a person in all one color, because it's not true rendering. We're all fighting our own wars through life, why do we make it worse by alienating each other?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dazed and Confused

Waking up to some pundit on NPR yapping about the economy and how it's all Obama's fault isn't good. Follow that with news about "Smartmeters" and what's going on with them in Californicate:
and the brain doesn't settle in. Then watch the short film my friend Rory made:
and I think my head's caved in.
And the day hasn't even started.

I'm gonna have another cuppa, put on some Patti Smith, and hit the reset button. Hope my brain will sort itself out. Right now it's kinda like in post-concussion mode.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

And Now a Word From My Senator

All things stop in my life when Bernie Sanders talks. He's the only Truthteller in Congress.

The Persecuted Right Wingers

I knew it wouldn't last. Lala land is wonderful but at some point I always get sucked in by something, and that something today is The Daily Show.

Luckily, it needs no explaining and I can let it go and go scampering back to Lala again:

Just One Day Out of Life

Today, just today, when I'm not doing things that have to be done (one meeting down, one to go) I'm flaking out. No news, no important thoughts, not a serious thing will happen. I need that every now and then.

It's not hot right now, and doesn't seem humid to my bare feet on the tile floors, but it's quite painy, which is always a good time to say, "Screw it!" and do nothing but enjoy. I'm grateful I have time these days. If pain and immobility is the price, oh well. That's life.

Delores over at The Feathered Nest posted a bit about Stevie Nicks

that started me off this morning. Stevie's 63 (how the hell'd that happen?) and still has That Voice. Still looks great, too. Anyway, that launched me off into YT land and the oh-so many Fleetwood Mac songs that take me back, which are perfect for a summer day. Thanks for the kickstart, Delores!

It's important to recharge the batteries. For me, music is the juice. I have phone calls to return and emails too, and I'll get to them. But for now it's a beautiful day. If I close my eyes and visualize sitting in a field in tall grass, I'm 21 again. It's that young Austan (who wasn't even an Austan then) that recharges me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This is Rich

Boehner's big plan which the Repos are unwilling to give up, is wrong on so many levels. However, the biggest wrong is that they can't add sums. Their plan runs $350 Billion short of what they'd added up the first time. How can you even pay attention to people who go through so many meetings, so much devising and hoopla and fail at ordinary addition?

This would be hilarious if it wasn't so staggeringly stupid and scary. And just imagine what a feeding frenzy there would be if a lefty did it. Glenn Beck would be calling us Nazis. Oh wait, that was what he called the Norwegian youth that were killed by a right-wing madman. Must be accurate, you know.

UPDATE: House Dems are encouraging Obama to use the 14th Amendment to pass the budget and bypass the impasse:

Piers Morgan's a Murdoch employee; Of Course He Lies

Reading Fry on Twitter again. I should just marry the man if that were not entirely impossible. And he links to:

Fry's comment: "Well well well big surprise. Not." I've heard these kinds of comments about Piers Morgan from many people I kinda admire. They know things. Like when Randi Rhodes said John Edwards is not who anyone thinks he is. If you pay attention, you catch things. Like anyone remember John Kerry saying he'd never seen such evil people when talking about his opponent, W.? Truth does out, if you're listening.

And here's a truth. People usually don't get successful without selling out in some way these days. Especially in politics and among anyone like a Murdoch. You cannot be honest and happily work for people like that. If you are honest and work for someone like that you'll
A) become an alcoholic immediately
B) turn into a piece of filth yourself
C) find yourself on the street, or worse

If you choose option B, you will eventually progress through A and C as well. Because you know it's wrong and you made the choice to participate. If for no other reason, no humanitarianism, no better world philosophy, you should never step into a position with unscrupled people, that's the reason. No, no a part of you won't die; a part of you will fester and eat at any happiness you'd have and live to remind you that you did what you did. No matter how you justify it, that part of you knows better, and will hate you for it.

So we shouldn't be surprised when someone who's worked successfully for years with and under a Murdoch is proved a liar. Our openmindedness has wiped away common sense and left a void in thinking. They've used our good qualities to take advantage. Terrible lying bastards are running things and we're getting screwed and a bunch of folks are falling for the lies. Really, big surprise? Not if you're paying attention.

Aunt Muriel's Hot Potato Salad

Aunt Muriel was my stepfather's sister. She was one of the old guard NYC office workers with that lovely New York- British- Hollywood accent of the 1940s. A stubborn character, pretty tactless, often scary, with a humor that would stun you in unsuspecting moments. In the rare times I ate her cooking I was impressed and the last time I saw her she made a hot potato salad for my brother and me that I couldn't forget. With a little cajoling she sent it to me and here it is.

Hot Potato Salad

6 small potatoes, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 c. cider vinegar

Boil potatoes, sprinkle with onion. Fry bacon til crisp. Add a few drops of vinegar to egg and beat. Add egg mix to pan. When this begins to thicken remove from heat at once. Stir well and pour over potatoes and onion. Cover. Let sit about 1/2 hour and stir once before serving.

She signed the recipe card, "Good luck." How very typical.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Waste Development

For a few years now our town has had a lot of bickering over rubbish. Real rubbish, not nonsense. We are running out of dump space (called "landfill area" now). Dumping fees have skyrocketed and until recently there hasn't been much recycling available. The recycling has gotten better and easier, accepting more types of items being the most important issue. Personally I throw out one kitchen trashcan-sized bag every 2 weeks and recycle 4 times that much, at least. But now I buy with an eye to what waste things will generate and reuse containers whenever I can. It gets to be second nature after a while.

But what seems to be glaringly obvious to me is that some smarty smartster should be turning all that trash into money. Why not chemically analyze what's in all this trash that's mouldering on our lands and invent some things that could run on them? We're running out of fuels for the old contraptions and whoever took the time and effort to make all garbage valuable would probably get a Nobel Prize as well as rich.

In Vermont, there's a program to get energy from cow manure that the electric company sponsors. Great idea. There are businesses that reclaim building parts and features to be reused in new construction. In these tough economic times it's a thriving business. Brilliant. But think of all the garbage worldwide (and don't forget the island of garbage in the Pacific) and what an unending resource it is. Is anyone thinking about this? Surely if I'm thinking along these lines others are. People say, "But there's nothing that uses (whatever substance) as fuel." Well for Christsakes, work it out. Invent things that do. There are brainiacs around, get them working on it.

It's high time we stop working with adapting outdated models and make new things altogether anyway. The population keeps growing and making more waste. We need to stop doing waste management and work toward waste development.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Love For Norway

While reading Stephen Fry's Tweets, I saw a rec to go to here:

The sweetest thing I think I've ever seen. Thank you, Mr. Adel.

Update on Norway Tragedy

Officials have now revised the number of people killed to 76, with 68 being shot on Utoya and 8 now dead from the bomb blast in Oslo.

Breivik, the killer, has had a court appearance during which he claimed there were two additional cells in his "organization", and he pleaded not guilty. Though he admitted to the murders he claimed he was trying to save Norway from multi-culturalism. He will be held in total isolation for 4 weeks while the investigation continues.


Inspired by "Regular Ordinary Swedish Mealtime":
I decided to create an easy dish for summertime.

1 unsliced loaf of your favorite bread

1/2 # each of:
cooked shrimp
cooked bay scallops
boiled ham, sliced thin
swiss cheese, in 1/2' strips

4 hard boiled eggs, sliced

for the salad layer, use judgment in proportion of:
romaine lettuce
tomato, sliced
carrot, shredded
peppers, mushrooms, etc., or any variety of veggies you'd like

for the sauces:
1 c. mayonnaise (It's good for you)
1 heaping TBL prepared horseradish
1 TBL ketchup

Butter, softened (Smor!)

Divide mayo into 2 bowls; add horseradish to one and ketchup to the other; blend well.

Slice bread in thirds horizontally. Place top slice of bread, crust side down, in appropriate bowl or on a plate. Spread with mayo-horseradish. Cover with shrimp and scallops. Add next layer of bread. Spread with mayo-ketchup. Cover with salad. Add final bread slice bottom side up on top. Butter well. Arrange strips of cheese and rolled ham alternately in a design around to edges. Place a slice of tomato in the center. Decorate with slices of hard boiled egg, and anything you'd like to add (red pepper, olives, cucumber, lox, shrimp, etc.). Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately.

This Smorgastrata is a model. Build your own according to your likes and what you have on hand. There are no rules. It's not fancy. This is Regular! ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Addiction, Madness and Death

If there's anything that fits the Euripides line, "Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad", it's addiction. My oldest brother died of it. My husband died in it. Many friends died with it. Addiction is madness, a spiral of justification and want. The mind craves, then the body craves, then insanity digs in deeper and deeper and there are only 2 choices- fight or die. If one has the capability to rise above the madness and get clean, there may be survival. If not, there's just a ticking clock. It's terribly unfortunate that many don't have that capability.

The horrible truth is that nobody can save an addict. An addict has to save themself. It reminds me of when a friend tried to kill herself and her mother said to me, "Why don't the mentally ill take their drugs?" Well, because they're mentally ill. And a part of every addict, whether addicted to substances or behaviors, likes their addiction. If they can get to where they truly don't like their addiction, there's hope of recovery. But as long as there's that fancy for the fix, that glimmer in the mind's eye, there will be insanity.

It was painful to witness my brother drinking himself to death but I was done with trying to change him. He'd made up his mind and we both knew it. Four months before he died I told him I'd never mention it again; that I knew he was done with life. He didn't deny it. He'd chosen his way out. In 1995 he'd drunk himself into laying unconscious on the kitchen floor for 2 weeks and a biker brother broke his door down and found him. He spent nearly a year in a nursing home, then a halfway house. Eventually he got an apartment and seemed to be doing well. He didn't drink for 5 years. But he didn't get support, or a recovery plan or even a counselor. He carried grudges from decades ago. He felt desperately sorry for himself. He was resentful and soured on the world. He let his madness eat at him. One day he said to hell with it and started drinking again, 5 years later he was dead. Many musicians he'd worked with showed up at his funeral. They knew a man we never met. "Was that our brother they were talking about?" said Billy afterward in the car. As close as we were, we never really knew him; he never really knew himself. His insanity fed his addictions, his addictions fed his insanity. He was incapable of rising up.

A friend is going through this with his brother right now. There doesn't seem much hope there. Those who loved Amy Winehouse are going through the inevitable end of one who couldn't get over it. Addiction is a terrible mental disease, one that lives to destroy. Funny that there is no "God of Addiction". There should be someone to blame.

The Ultra Violence

It's occurred to me that the younger generation is experiencing violence so much more personally than mine did. We had the Vietnam War and assassinations, crazy people like Son of Sam and other serial killers. But these kids are seeing their friends killed in front of them at school, at camp, in the street. It's quite different.

How can anyone process that? I lost dozens of friends in the AIDS epidemic. Though the experience and number of deaths took its toll on we who survived it wasn't like watching people being murdered by a gunman. Let alone a classmate holding the gun.

And in what happened in Norway, the murderer dressed to imply authority and safety and beckoned the kids to him, whereupon he massacred them. That's a kind of psycho that shocks me. That's the kind of psycho I would kill, myself. The restraint the Norwegian police showed in bringing him in is remarkable. I don't think he would've been taken alive in this country, and that's not to say it's to our credit.

We are in a new arena of personally witnessed violence, much more commonplace and likely to happen than in a few past generations. Makes me wish I could talk to the elders, the great-great grandparents, those who saw so much...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Tragedy in Norway

I've put off saying anything about the horrendous acts of one maniac in Norway. There is nothing to say that hasn't been said. 92 people are confirmed dead, dozens of them just kids beginning their lives.

My first thought was of a friend who works in the building bombed in Oslo. He's all right, he'd already left for his weekend when it happened. Reports confirm that seven people were killed in the blast.

So far, eighty-five people are known dead in the massacre on the island of Utoya.

My thoughts are with the Norwegians today. I send love.

September 17th, Wall St. Occupation

Found this in my inbox this morning; a plan for The People to kick corporate influence out of out government...
From Adbusters:

Alright you 90,000 redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,
A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future. The spirit of this fresh tactic, a fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain, is captured in this quote:
"The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people."
— Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra UniversityBarcelona, Spain
The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people's assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.
The time has come to deploy this emerging stratagem against the greatest corrupter of our democracy: Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.
On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices. Tahrir succeeded in large part because the people of Egypt made a straightforward ultimatum – that Mubarak must go – over and over again until they won. Following this model, what is our equally uncomplicated demand?
The most exciting candidate that we've heard so far is one that gets at the core of why the American political establishment is currently unworthy of being called a democracy: we demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It's time for DEMOCRACY NOT CORPORATOCRACY, we're doomed without it.
This demand seems to capture the current national mood because cleaning up corruption in Washington is something all Americans, right and left, yearn for and can stand behind. If we hang in there, 20,000-strong, week after week against every police and National Guard effort to expel us from Wall Street, it would be impossible for Obama to ignore us. Our government would be forced to choose publicly between the will of the people and the lucre of the corporations.
This could be the beginning of a whole new social dynamic in America, a step beyond the Tea Party movement, where, instead of being caught helpless by the current power structure, we the people start getting what we want whether it be the dismantling of half the 1,000 military bases America has around the world to the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act or a three strikes and you're out law for corporate criminals. Beginning from one simple demand – a presidential commission to separate money from politics – we start setting the agenda for a new America.
Post a comment and help each other zero in on what our one demand will be. And then let's screw up our courage, pack our tents and head to Wall Street with a vengeance September 17.

Go to and sign up to do what you can.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Boehner, You Bastard

I can't even believe the insane Republican defense of the rich. It's so in your face obvious that these jerkoffs are the puppets of the corporations and the rich elite scumbags who finance their quests for power that nobody can ignore this anymore. This kind of scumbaggery from the Repos is nothing new, but at least they used to pretend to be paying attention to the other 99% of us. Now it's as if the only thing that matters is that 1% of moneybags they call Bossman.

Boehner, you're a piece of filth. You're a stooge for your owners. That's fine as long as you don't make anyone else suffer for your poor judgment and lack of ethics. But you are. You're causing stress and worry for the people who least deserve it. I hope the day your God sees you he kicks you in the teeth and shits in your mouth, you inhuman waste of flesh. And I hope that day isn't far away.

News Corp Being Subpoenaed in US

While we stew in the heat and humidity, good news this morning!

Paul Owen writes in tne Guardian: "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the US department of justice is "preparing subpoenas as part of preliminary investigations" into Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. The subpoenas relate to alleged foreign bribery – presumably News International's alleged payments to police in Britain, the subject of the Metropolitan police's Operation Elveden – and alleged hacking of the answerphone messages of 9/11 victims, a story reported by the Daily Mirror which has not been confirmed elsewhere."

And the NY Daily News reports: "Separately, the FBI was probing whether employees of Rupert Murdoch's media empire hacked into voice mails of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to The Wall St. Journal. The paper also speculated that the SEC might probe News Corp., as well, because the company did not alert shareholders in financial disclosures to the potential of litigation related to the hacking scandal."

This is a gift that keeps on giving.

I just can't think too hard on this right now. It's too hot for thought.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jon Stewart: In the Year of Our Murdoch

In the insanity of modern life, we have The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to poke at the hot air balloons of power and give us reason to laugh and fight on:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Be Cool, Boy...

The weather people weren't joking or wrong this time. This is really uncalled-for, and we aren't halfway thru this humid heat wave. Running from Wednesday thru Monday next, we in New England are melting, melting... Right now, at 10:25 p.m. EDSFT, it's 80'F, with 66% humidity, and a heat index of 83'F. A "Heat Advisory" is in effect. Which means tomorrow will actually be dangerously hot. This has already been brutal and we're only in the middle of summer.

August used to be the real scale of disgust. In August in NYC, the garbage reeked whether there was a strike or not, the subway platforms exuded a thick tang of urine that you could all but taste, and people lost their minds. But everyone who'd lived thru one NY August knew it was ten days or so of Hell and then over. That's not the case anymore, in NY or anywhere else in the northeast US. Now we have four or five days every couple of weeks that make you wish you could take off your skin and rattle around in your bones.

There are tricks if you don't have AC. Start by drinking a lot of fluids but avoid too much of caffeine. Take an aspirin. Let the cooler night air in and shut the house up in the morning, pulling shades and drapes closed to keep it dark. If you can, shower at midday. Wear as little clothing as possible and use baby powder. Don't exert yourself. Coordinate fans. If you can, mount an exhaust fan in the upper part of a window and let it pull a breeze through your house (this kept my family home cool in the worst dog days, before everyone had AC). If you must cook, do it at night when it's coolest and if you have an outdoor grill, use it. Hot foods and spicy foods will make you sweat, which can make you feel cooler. I'm not a great fan of sweating, myself. A wet towel around the neck is a good coolant and periodically splashing water on your skin helps, especially if you're sunburned. Use a mist bottle if you want. Stay out of the sun unless you absolutely have to be in it and wear a hat. These days are when sunstroke happens too easily. If your home becomes unbearable go to a cooling center; most towns offer them now. The library, stores, community centers, even municipal buildings and some churches offer an air-conditioned oasis. Use them. If you feel ill at all, seek a cooler shelter. And if you feel very ill, call for help. Don't play with the Heat Miser. He means business.

Former NoW Reporters Speak

And what they have to say is pretty disgusting, about how they were treated and expectations of behavior. Misogyny ruled, using adjectives for women that are more appropriate to a 1950s Playboy than a 21st century newspaper. One guy changed his name to Harry Potter and was expected to wear the costume, even on September 11th:

Republican Phrases of the Week

Every couple of weeks the Repos come out with catchphrases and have every media whore they pay repeat it and repeat it until their programming takes and their brainwashed followers walk around saying them to each other, who smugly reenforce the brainwashing.

The catchphrases of the last few days:

1. Obama is "obsessed with raising taxes" (obsessed? Hysteria much?)

2. The rich are now "job creators" (don't call them rich- and so where are these jobs?)

3. Americans "don't want the debt ceiling raised" (rich Americans, they mean)

Know when you're being brainwashed.

Breakfast is Served!

I am mocked for my breakfasts. For years my breakfasts consisted of several cups of coffee and many cigarettes and nobody mocked me. But now when I open, say, a box of frozen spinach or a can of mackeral, the laughter is long and loud.

They don't understand being brought up in Swedish and Scottish cuisines. My cultural heritages have no finite limits on when a food must be eaten except for its expiration date, and that may be negotiable.

We don't waste. We don't even waste waste. Look at Surstromming. Or lutefisk. Or haggis. We have the most creative cooking on Earth! Not to mention the satisfaction of thrift- which is, I'm convinced, genetic. My roommates were always amazed at my ability to make a full dinner from the smallest bits of food, which I thank my Father for teaching me. There are few who can take a can of sardines, a cup of leftover rice and some marmalade and feed 4 people.

And who made these rules that you can't break fast with a liverwurst sandwich? I say eat what you feel like eating, and if that's roast beef and horseradish at 6 a.m., to hell with everyone and eat it. Let them laugh with their miserable bowls of cereal. See how far that gets them.

Bad News is Good Business

Roger Taylor has updated his 1994 song, "Dear Mr. Murdoch", and it didn't need much tweaking at all:

Riiiight....I BeLIEve You

Sean Hoare's death is not suspicious, say the police. The police - who've been taking graft, who've helped the bad guys in the phone-hacking scandal, that Sean Hoare whistleblew on just last Tuesday- say there was no third party involved in his death. And that maybe it was suicide, though there was no suicide note and people he dined with last week said he was, "ailing but defiant and funny. And no regrets. All-courage." Sounds so suicidal, doesn't it?

Oh wait, he was in failing health, though nobody who knew him has said what deadly disease he had, nor was any sickness mentioned until he was found dead. He had a drinking and drug problem. Who of my generation didn't? I knew only one- the unfortunate ugly virgin with an over-protective mother.

There are many undetectable ways to kill someone nowadays. And many ways to make it look like a suicide, or even natural causes. But nobody would do that. And I am Marie of Romania.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baiting For The Sun

The shaving-cream-pie-in-the-face was a glorious moment in the court jester tradition today, but it doesn't even touch the stupendous shenanigan of yesterday.

You see, there's a renegade group calling themselves Lulz Security, or LulzSec for short. They are a collective of hackers. And while some of their stunts haven't been very funny, this one was. Because they got into The Sun's site and redirected traffic to a page that reported that Rupert Murdoch had been found dead (following Sean Hoare's death, I take a deep, terrible satisfaction in this).

Not only had they hacked the tabloid's website, they claimed to be holding The Sun's emails, but said they would release the emails today. They tweeted what they claimed was Rebekkah Brooks' email addy to the world and said they had her password. Twitter was abuzz with excitement over this stunt. "This is only the beginning. Fuck you Murdoch. You are next," LulzSec said.

Despite the jungle-like summer, the regular pain and a really annoying toothache, it was a great day. Humble? You ain't seen nothing yet, Rupie.

Here's a little celebratory song:

More of the Great Nothing

Well, Rebekkah is polishing her halo very nicely but not being very forthcoming to direct questions. She seems to have been schooled by the same folks that instructed the Murdochs... a lot of saying nothing, a lot of denying any knowledge of anything, a lot of saying it's other people's faults, without saying whose.

And her personal bid for sainthood goes on, saying that everything she did was for the children. What a gal. She's a victim, you know.

This is making me sick. I can't. Here. Watch the martyrdom live:

One thing that's been bugging me- WTF is in that fancy bottle that Satan's minions keep drinking from? Virgins' tears? They can't drink city water like the rest of us?

If you're catching up later, here's the Guardian's coverage:

And We're Back

Rupie, sans creamed up suit jacket, and James are taking questions from the last MP asking them. They continue to ply sideways denials of knowing anything. And these questions are more fitting from a People magazine interviewer than an MP investigating transgressions in the press. Shameful.

So Rupie says it's everybody else's fault and he's the best guy to straighten the mess out.

Wehehehell, Ms. Mensch starts showing claws... she's posing the admissions of Murdoch employees using phone-hacking (such as Piers Morgan has written in his book)... and curiously, the transmission loops and repeats itself. And James answers for his father, with much Ralph Cramdenlike "homina homina homina"-ing all over again.

Next up, after much blahblah about the piethrower: Rebekkah of Scummybrook Farm.

Why So Soft?

The initial direct questioning has dissolved into some namby-pambyness and if the MPs don't hitch up their pants and start badgering, they're gonna let the Murderdochs skip happily away.

James often steps in for his daddy; daddy in turn says to ask his son. They should've questioned them separately. Why are they being questioned together anyway? They're both of legal age, and supposedly of sound mind, though that's highly questionable itself.

Now they're being asked about Brooks. And how much people have been paid off. And the Murdochs sidestep it all.

The single thing of note in all this is the psychopathic styles of two generations. While Rupie is emphatic and unyielding, James runs his mouth into nonsensical mad hattery. There was little else revealed in the last 2 hours.

Why the kid gloves? These people are professional politicians; I could have grilled them better.

Some scuffle happened and everything's been halted for ten minutes. It looked to me like someone headed for Rupie and people jumped up to stop it.

Wow! Some guy yelled, "Greedy!" and tried to pie ol' Rupie! God I love humanity some days!

Could be the end of today's proceedings.

Classic Manipulation Tactics

Deny, diminish, deflect, distract... as the Murdochs, pere et fils, take the center stage some of the best evasion and manipulation moves are on. James does a great verbal tap dance around everything. Rupie slaps the table with every verb he utters. Neither of them want to speak off-script. Rupie repeatedly makes as if to not hear, defers questions to his son, says he didn't know or can't remember. He takes pauses to consider his responses. For all his wanting to seem pitiful, as soon as an MP brings up "endemic" "criminality" he rises to the occasion. And he fully engages once he realizes the MPs aren't cutting him slack. Slapping the table, he goes forth in justification.

The game is on.

Made me blow pretzels on my keyboard- Murdoch blames his "competitors" for "this hysteria"! Wow! What a psychopath!

A Circular Firing Squad

I've been watching for an hour and a half, the testimonies of Stephenson, Fedorcio and now Yates, and all I hear so far is "I don't remember" (the Reagan defense), and all kinds of passing the buck. Nobody has thrown anyone entirely under the bus, but nobody has taken any responsibility and all have exhibited a load of self-pity. There is enough evasion to play dodgeball. The MPs are damn good. They aren't, to a one, backing down or backing off. Good for them!

And Away We Go

This is it. They're all converging at the Houses of Parliament- the Murdochs, Brooks, even former top cop Stephenson. Fox itself is there, along with rival media. It's all happening. But of course, it's far from over, and there are no guarantees that justice will be done.

But it counts for something that the world is watching. And somewhere in the mix is a kind of poetic justice that the filthy asshat who created so much scandal hunger and slathering maws of self-righteousness is the blue plate special today.

I love the smell of karma in the morning.

Oh, and if you want to follow, they're updating continuously here:

And yes! you can watch it here:

Monday, July 18, 2011

As the Late Psycho Billy said, "Save It."

The recently-resigned Metropolitan Police chief, Sir Paul Stephenson, has crafted an explanatory bye-bye letter, which the Guardian has decrypted- definitely worth the read:

The fish rots from the head, they say.

Brooks' Trash

We have a story that Rebekah Brooks' computer, phone and some paperwork were found in a garbage bag thrown in the trash and that her husband tried to get it back, most of which he denies. "Charlie has a bag which contains a laptop and papers which were private to him. They were nothing to do with Rebekah or the [phone-hacking] case," said his "spokesperson". But good ol' Charlie was unable to prove the items were his, and the security people wouldn't release it to him. They handed it all over to the police, who are also viewing the CCTV tapes to see who threw it there.

Move Along, Nothing To See Here...

While I took a nap, Stevil caught an AP story and fwd'd it to me. I don't want to write about this. I don't want to think about it, either. It's a lot like a thousand other deaths that came at very "convenient" times, and were said by the police to "not be suspicious".

Sean Hoare, former News of the World reporter who blew the whistle, is dead.


Taking the Temperature

Here and there I get emails from readers. Usually it's a greeting with some kind words, or a note over a particular post. Once in a while it's strong disagreement. And from these I get a feeling of the collective zeitgeist in the minds of the readers of this little blog.

It seems to me there's an upswing to a more positive outlook lately. The "Cynicism Sucks" post has continued to get lots of hits, and is the single post that brought the most response via email in a long time.

This really heartens me. Not just that somehow I got to strike a nerve (which always tickles me) but that people are sick of apathy and the Can't Do attitude. If it really is a turning point toward positive engagement, we can do anything. I have to think that part of the whole turnaround is the Arab Spring; a series of uprisings that prove that it can still be done, even with much turmoil and horror, it can still be done.

Maybe all we needed was to see that, to have some people care again so much that they'd put their lives on the line. Many have died for freedom in this past year.

Maybe we're looking for things that enforce our reasons to hope more. I certainly do, and celebrate the small victories these days too.

Maybe it's just time, and we're finally seeing that ignorance, apathy and cynicism are a waste of time in life. Life is short, what a despicable barren one creates by one's own negative willful impotence.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not So Much...

Like a total jackass, I listened to Stephen Fry reading Deathly Hallows yesterday and this morning. I am an asshole. Because when the original story is heard, it brings up the mind pictures you'd created. At one point when he was telling the part about Snape in the Shrieking Shack, I truly thought to myself, "Wait, I've already seen this scene." The whole thing was visually implanted in my head. So once again, Austan ruins it for herself. They always make them crappier than what Rowling's imagination coupled with your own create.

Halfway through the movie, I thought, "Well, I'm going to have to see this a couple more times before I like it." I brought a hankie, but only used it once to blow my nose, when Sirius spoke and I choked up. Rickman I'm sure did a better job than I even noticed, because it was SO not the scene in my mind. I couldn't suspend disbelief. The fight scenes at the Battle of Hogwarts were very game-like and automatonish. Again, not what I'd had in my mind movie.

But the changes that really put me off were the hundred little things. Snape's tears, not ever in the book- it's his memories, the silvery strands just like all the other friggin memories for the pensieve; the omission of Luna bucking Harry up; Harry telling Neville to kill Nagini (not Ron & Hermione); Fred's death scene totally gone. He's just laying dead in the Great Hall, and then a cold shot of Tonks and Lupin nearby. Hermione kisses Ron when he says they can't ask the house elfs to die for them, not the insipid throwaway kiss they did. It's like the heart was taken out. All the touching, human scenes. Which is basically my complaint about all the HP movies since PoA.

And the final insult? They made Harry's son Albus look like Justin frigginass Beiber.

I want remakes, remakes that are the book stories. I'll volunteer all my life to whoever will do it and do it right. The HP books are better than this, they deserve, the fans deserve, better than this.

I know why my nephew didn't like it now. Neither do I. Dammit.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The End is Near


Well, my niece, nephew and greatniece saw the Deathly Hallows 2 last night and my niece emailed me when they got home. My nephew didn't like it. Don't know why. Yes, there are things left out. There always are. She said Alan Rickman should be up for an Oscar and that she cried, which means she really cried. And I'm sure I will too, then. Just reading her email I got butterflies. How ridiculous to get upset over the approaching end of a movie series... but it isn't just the end of some movie series, this is the death of Snape, which I never wanted to see. When I read it in the book, I remember saying out loud, "Oh no!" and then looking around as if someone was there to catch me being foolish. And then crying.

Snape wasn't my most cherished character- that was Sirius, and he's been dead since OOTP (I was really pissed at how they changed that in the film). But Snape is the pivot pin of the whole damn saga. He's the one whose loyalties were in question all along, and what he does pretty much determines how things will shake out. In the end, he's a sacrificial hero- which makes it awful to lose him. Dumbledore was right all along, we were silly to doubt, and it's too late to apologize. A lot like life, that.

So tomorrow, Stevil and Paul and I will catch the matinee. I'm smuggling in candy. And stuffing tissues up my sleeve. I'm going to try to avoid being a real weepy mess but you never know. I hope the guys don't mind. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

A few hours ago Strider calls. I go answer and ask if she's still at work. She's been working long hours. She says, "Hell no." "Good," I say. She says, "Is your back door open? Do you have clothes on?" And she laughs. Yes, she's parked out back. I can't count the number of times I did that to my mother. Except there weren't cell phones then, and maybe I'd stop along the way and call, but mostly not. Another difference, I'd usually have laundry to do. And be hungry. Strider is much more self-sufficient, and older than I was when I did that, too.

So Strider, Ems the Wonderdog and her nicely tattooed guy friend hung out for a couple hours here. They're on the way to a music festival in Massachusetts (I'd forgotten all about it). No, not staying here, they're staying down there at a friend's farm. It was well-timed, as I got to give her the things I was meaning to mail and keep forgetting, and she took a look at the Greg portrait and I immediately saw what was wrong. Now I can fix and finish it. I love that. She brought me presents too! Good ones! Now I'll move ahead in turning the storage room door into the Tardis. We told the old stories, laughed like the loonies we are, caught up on some gossip. I got to mush up Ems a little. He was tired from the long hot trip in the car. But he looks great.
And then they had to go.

She's only been gone an hour and I miss her already. When she walks out the door, my heart and hopes follow her. She's the best daughter I could've ever found.

Science Fiction, Not Syence Fyction

When the SciFi channel became the "Syfy" channel, I felt a subtle nausea. There was wrongness. Like when you bite into something and it's bad. Not bad as in you don't like it, bad as in rotten, as in pre-born maggots are waiting, as in if you let that linger in your mouth you're gonna hurl.

Sure enough, this feeling was justified.

Where there were once fun and campy and even occasionally good things to watch, "Syfy" now makes National Enquirer level trash. Pseudo-reality series that are worse than reality. Like "Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files" and "Legend Quest" and "Haunted Collector", one more vapid and vomitous than the last.

There are a few good series still going: "Warehouse 13", "Eureka" and the new series, "Alphas" are all fun and good entertainment. I'll probably keep watching "Ghosthunters" just for the jeering outlet. But Syfy has taken the science fiction out of their modus operandi in more ways than one. What the hell is "Marcel's Quantum Kitchen" or wrestling doing there? It's bad enough we get Hollywood types faking pathetic investigations, now we have inane people doing mindbogglingly bad cooking to prove nothing, and a bunch of posturing loudmouths in spandex on what used to be my favorite channel. Oh and let's not forget the greed questing in things like "Hollywood Treasure" or "The Haunted Collector", the latter of which goes around relieving people of valuable items after declaring them the source of hauntings.

What the hell? Science fiction is and always has been the refuge of the nerds, the brainiacs and the reclusive. This programming is not for us anymore. It's for National Enquirer readers. Maybe that's why they changed the name to something easier to spell.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rupert and James In Da House!

I try to not have schadenfraude. Really, I do. I don't watch or laugh at "AFV" or when horrible accidents happen to people. But when you're a piece of filth and you get called on the carpet by the Houses of Parliament, I'm beside myself.

Next Tuesday I'm getting up super early and gonna be a media hound to hear what ol' Rupie, James and Rebekah Brooks have to say for themselves. If it weren't so damn early I'd throw a party so we could heckle and cheer from my sitting room.

And it gets better- the FBI is investigating Murdoch's minions for hacking the phones of 9/11 victims, AND for giving $1 MILLION bucks to the US Chamber of Commerce:

"News Corporation contributed $1m to the US Chamber of Commerce last summer. In October the chamber put forward a six-point programme for amending the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, a law that punishes US-based companies for engaging in the bribery of foreign officials."- (from the Guardian UK- )

We citizens who've been awake for the past few years have been bitching about the USCoC for a long time. This is almost better than sex. I could cry. There is hope.

In my head and heart I'm doing the Snoopy dance.


The cable guy got here early, switched out my modem, and presto!

It's a beeeeeautiful day. Just right, 75'F, puffy clouds in a blue blue sky, nice breezes (!) blowing windchimes. Sly & the Family Stone playing. I don't hate summer today.

Makes me think of all the years at school or work, staring out windows and longing for the end of the day so I could join my friends and, "Get some beers and do some shit." Wait- we still do that! We just don't walk everywhere and end up standing in a park...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Houston, We Have a Transmission Problem

Until sometime before 5 p.m. EDSFT tomorrow I won't be able to blog. This is because the modem I've leased from Comcast is in its death throes and they are coming to replace it. A modem's life is about 2 years; this is 4 years old under my ownership. For the past week it's been throwing me off line and today it was shutting me down every 2 hours. I ain't losing another post! So until then, bye-bye and buy bonds. And Rory where are you?

Midweek Update

Cryin' out loud, so much goes on that I can't keep up. Where to start?

First, the no-news bits. There's been nothing said about the guy who got himself arrested to get his medical problems addressed. Greg's angel pendant still eludes me. We still haven't straightened out the soup kitchen's larder. And I still haven't finished the book- which is my own damn fault.

Then the real news- The ongoing mindblowing breadth of the Murdoch empire scandal, which gets more Holy Shit!-like everyday. And as I was hoping, Jon Stewart came through:

And the insanity of Washington DC, where the Repos won't let the rich be taxed and are threatening to let the whole country default to make their toddler tantrum complete. Assholes, all of them. I hope Obama doesn't cave. It's a game of nerves. I'm sick of Republicans, especially Boehner (BONER!). As an old lady I knew used to say, "I'd like to slap his face!"

Troubles have come back to Belfast. Israel and Palestine continue hating each other. The Arab Spring continues with all the birthing labor it takes. I find myself having the same eyebrows- raised- glazed- eyes- of- world-weariness look my Father wore while reading the news in the morning. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

The last few days I've been thinking through how best to deal with pain. Ignoring it does indeed work, but it's the limitations that are created by it that can drag you down. I won't bore you.

The summer reading goes on, but I've made myself go back to one at a time. My gods, the Oscar Wilde bio by Richard Ellmann was heartbreaking. Brave New World induced a low-level anxiety that strangely edified me. When Stephen Fry's Moab is My Washpot arrived, I threw all the others over to plow through his autobiography, part one. Fantastic, and as he is always, brave. Then I abruptly and unfairly turned to Russell Brand's My Booky Wook. Quite a change of head there. I'm not done reading it. Brand isn't everyone's cup of tea, but his honesty is quite flooring. Honesty and bravery make up for a lot of faults. Not sure they have to always go together, but it's good when they do. I have 6 books with bookmarks in them, waiting my return. And Fry's second autobiography on its way.

My family is well. My friends who need to heal are coping and slowly mending. At the moment there are no fresh hells going on that I'm aware of, anyway. I am concerned about Rory, who's been having physical problems and has been unusually silent. I hope he's okay. And I'm kinda pissed that someone has apparently lost a piece of artwork I mailed out. Art is a bit of your soul, and careless disregard of it hurts. I worked very hard on that piece during my detox. It meant something to me. Ah well, you live and learn, as they say. The heat is more tolerable today, not nearly as awful as it has been. I have food and drink, I have a home, I have people I love. I have little to be unhappy about.

Monday, July 11, 2011

In the Hot Seat

We're still melting in our town. It's reminding me of that Twilight Zone episode where Lois Nettleton is painting the sun, only...well, if you haven't seen it I won't spoil it. I'm on my 3rd half-gallon of water since 7 a.m. It's 93'F in my sitting room. After posting the happy story below I checked my pal Stevil's blog and am now very hot under the collar- well, dress, over what's happened downtown today. But I won't spoil that either, you can read it yourself:

Miracles Happen

Just had a 2 hour phone call with Kick and I'm stunned. After 28 years, she was found on Facebook by her first love, a guy she never forgot. And on July 5th, they married. It all happened very fast, but it's nothing short of a miracle.

Since we hadn't talked in about 2 months and things were not great then, I stopped several times during the call and said, "Am I awake? Is this a dream?" Because it's that wonderful and surreal. I've known her a few years, and she's been through it all. Bad men, abuse, self-abuse, craziness, poverty, getting drunk too much, gaining a lot of weight, you name it she's done it. Her life was insanity embodied at one point. Then she went back to work, lost weight, had her house put in her name only, found a guy...but it still wasn't a happy life. Just a few weeks ago it wasn't good at all. She told her then-boyfriend that if he told her he loved her and would marry her someday she'd stay. He couldn't. So she went to New Jersey to see her HS sweetheart and they fell madly in love again. Hell, they've known each others' families since they were teenagers so it was like going home, to her. And then he proposed on both knees. I've never heard her saner or more happy. And from all said, he really is The Guy. Probably always was. They just had other things to do before it could work. She's moving to the Jersey Shore, bitch! They seem to already have all the luck in the world so I'll just wish them to be as happy as they are right now for the rest of their lives.

Life turns on a dime, it really does. Miracles happen. Never lose faith.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shufflin Triplets, Batman!

Oh, do I suck!!! I'll cut myself some slack in that this little tiny set truuuuuuuuuly sucks, but it's been what, more than 20 years since I last drummed and OH DO I SUUUUUHHUUUCK!! I can pull off "Angie" or any standard 4/4, but I am so in the weeds otherwise. This is gonna take a long while to get back. And if it comes down to buying a closer-to- decent kit or an air condish, guess who's gonna be sweating all summer?

This teeny tabletop thingy ain't gonna last. There's no bass, so my foot and I are getting very frustrated very quickly. And the damn thing doesn't have but one spot on each head, with no variation at all. It comes with a bajillion settings but most of them are the exact same set-up sound when you play. I can see that already I've put dents in the heads. I'll have this thing beaten to electronic purgatory in no time. Part of the joy in drumming is physical, and this dinkmachine is damn restrictive. Yes, I'll work on getting patterns back, and honing timing again, but first chance I have- bye bye.

Oh my god I miss my Ludwigs!!!

Hugh Grant, An Unlikely Hero

With the scandals of Murdoch's NIG, and News of the World's fan thoroughly splattered, I have gained new respect for actor Hugh Grant. Grant wired himself and caught the confession of former deputy editor Paul McMullan who said of the phone hacking, " was quite routine." That may be the truest thing McMullan has ever said.

Grant has been right out there swinging this past week, and I say hats off to him. Yesterday's Guardian has a good piece:

And a whole channel on YouTube is devoted to following all of this, with much of Grant's appearance on BBC 1's Question Time:

Go Hugh, baby. I'm a fan of who you are. Well done.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cynicism Sucks

There are plenty of things to be pissed off about these days. But nothing, nothing pisses me off like cynicism. Because it kills everything good. Like self-pity, it destroys everything else but itself. And it does so smugly.

Oh it's all so grand and easy to sit back like a know it all and proclaim actions worthless. And declare all the cowardly spineless reasons why one shouldn't be bothered. "That's the way it is; they have all the control," "Nothing will come of it, it'll be covered up and the corruption will go on." Yes it will, if that's all you have to say. It takes effort to change things, in case you hadn't noticed. But it's so much easier to be a fucking do-nothing, isn't it? Just tut-tut and throw out some meek half-wittiness and sit back in your own complacent, superior enabling.

Well I'm not having it. I'm sick to hell of my generation's excuses. If you don't want a fight and are willing to let things stay in the shitty shape they are, have at it. But not me. And don't bring me down with your hopeless demoralizing diaper-dipping, either. I'll rip a new one for you. Lead, follow or get out of the way. I'm no leader but I'll be damned before I join the wallowing bunch of nay-saying lazy shits who shake their heads with a smirk and give up before there's even a fight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

In the Sultry Gully

Cheese Louise it's soggy here. Not a breeze, the air hangs miserably inert. Oh, sure the trees and plants love it. It couldn't be greener. But every breath is like when you were sick as a child and your mother made you lean over a basin of boiling water with a towel over your head. The single long-stemmed rose that only opened on Monday is already dead! It's too wet.

I'd really hoped I could do without an air conditioner. It is pretty countrified here in Moist Meadows. Usually that's enough to keep it cool, but no. This is a gully. Maybe they get the winds up on the hills behind us or across the way. We get stagnation. And mold. This reminds me of a little house of a guy I knew in Florida. His cement shower was black with mold. I bleached the hell out of it before I'd set foot in there. And 2 weeks later it was all back. Yuk. I've been keeping it at bay here, with a can of trusty Lysol. But with all this beyond uncomfortable humidity I may have to break down and buy an AC. Dammit.

Air conditioners are, I suppose, not all that horrible. Yes, they emit nasties, use a lot of electricity, harbor icky spores that blast out into your upholstery... but is my single unit gonna make much of a difference to the ozone layer? Wouldn't it be better to be somewhat drier, breathing easier, not inhaling Lysol and not bitching on my blog about how friggin clammy this place is? Well, I've argued myself closer to it, anyway.

No Need To Speak

Rowan Atkinson says it all for the Conservatives...

And for Strider, My Fearsome Daughter

In case she doesn't go thru her email.

Are ya blushing? :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

25 damn years ago tonight

On a sweet summer night, Roger pushed us together and we stuck.

Across the ether and cyber and whatever, to you Boobah, like a dj in The Tunnel that night...

Re-enters the Love of My Life

Over and above all the relationships, the tsuris, even the writing, has been one enduring love. Drumming. I've lost so many drums over the years, through stupid people borrowing them, or lending them, and finally selling the decent Ludwigs I had... Today a new-fangled electronic little tabletop drum kit arrived. It sucks, but it's a start. And I'm crap. I have so far to go to even regain what I had.

But christ. It's like magick. I just spent an hour trying to keep up with Bonham on "Stairway" and though I suck, I'm so damn happy I could friggin cry.

Find your loves and never, ever, let them go.

The Angels of Avalon Are Here?

Reality is good today. Rupert Murdoch has had to close his big newspaper. I'm sad for the workers, the folks who put the thing together, but really. It was scum

Rory's done a great summary:

I'm going to party some.

Nerding Out

There are many more important things going on than the end of the Harry Potter films. Real life trumps fiction. But the Potter series has a special place in my heart and always will. My family bonded over it and LOTR. The Order of the Phoenix came out at the moment of the union drive at my job and we lived through many of the tactics used by the corrupted Ministry in the books. My friend Stevil and I went to all the movies together save one, read all the books and talked about them. Yes, some say we're too old to be Potter fans. No, we're not. Nobody is.

It was more than a lovely bunch of books and movies. It touched something; the basic decency of humans that is tough to keep, the desire to be the people we want to be. There is a bit of us all in the characters Jo Rowling created. The books and movies will endure long after we're dead because it's an eternal struggle story. None of us is entirely good nor entirely evil. That simple truth is what will make the Potter stories live on. The battle we wage against whatever evil may be is a battle within ourselves as well.

Stevil and I may be joined by our friend Paul for this last film. This being the last, the end, I'll cry for sure. I cried at Sirius' death and at Dumbledore's in both the books and the movies. No big surprises, really, 'cause I read the book twice. I'm not reading it again before the film. Tried that the last 3 films and was way too disappointed by what was omitted. A film and a book are very different media, and should be taken as such. Deathly Hallows 1 was well done. I'm sure they've put their all into this last chapter. While I can't wait, I'm also dreading it. I don't want it to end.

At the London premiere today, Rowling said she may revisit the Potter universe again someday. I hope she does. I'd like to see them all as adults, still friends, still family, still fighting.

A Word About the Satanists' Views of the World

People have the wrong idea about what Satanists are. They aren't neo-Pagans. They're an offshoot of Christianity, a reactionary kinda anti-Church. Regular Pagan/Wiccan stuff is a whole other deal. But I'm talking about real Satanists here. The folks who follow Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan. Not the New Jersey metalhead disaffected teenagers who kill cats. The real Satanists.

Real Satanism is a philosophy of complete selfishness. It's about gettin it while you can and to hell with the other guy. Have no "confining morals". This is the material world and they're out to get theirs, screw you. It's everyone for themselves. Agape is for suckers. That's what real Satanists are about. Surprised? Don't believe me? Go read The Satanic Bible or The Satanic Witch and then we'll talk.

At The Childe we carried Satanist lit, including a local NYC paper called The Black Flame. I got a secret jolly out of them. It was almost always this one guy who delivered it, dressed in a black shirt, tie, suit and fedora. Kinda dapper. Damned if I can remember his name. But I always asked him what we owed him and he always answered honestly. Something about that made me happy. It was business; he made money from us and we made money from him. Pure Capitalism at its Free Market best.

If, say, Satanic types were to take control of big, big business, that would be bad. Because they would work together to go for all the power they could get. They'd get their industries declared people so they could buy more power from the politician pool, they'd have lobbyists telling politicians how to vote... they'd have so much power they could take over the country. They'd do anything to make a buck no matter how wrong it was. And they'd have hired really sharp but equally corrupt people to do the groundwork to make it all look good to the masses of people. Like media people. They'd make media stars out of other corrupt selfish shits but who have that "every guy" appeal, windbags who'd be willing to be the mouthpieces so they can be rich and powerful, too. And hand in hand, they'd all skip to the bank singing, "The hell with you, I've got mine."

I'm not saying, I'm just saying. It's never good to let any one like-minded people have so much control over the media. Not when they're the kind of people who have no regard for their fellow babies. Because bad things happen. People get hurt in a million ways. Knock down big media.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

But Will Justice Be Served?

In the wake of the phone hacking scandal becoming big news, much has come to light, including that police were on the take. And PM Cameron declared that the police will investigate this all fully. So we are to trust the corrupt? Not meaning just the police, but Cameron himself, whose own communications director was editor of News of the World when all this went on. Or are we to believe that Coulson and Cameron, two of the most informed men in the world, knew nothing of any of this the whole time?

It reeks. And much of the reekage begins and ends with Rupert Murdoch, who's given the world another reason to hate America.

If you'd like to sign a petition demanding a full inquiry into the phone hacking:

Oh Happy Day

As I end a productive middle of the night writing session, I go to bed smiling. Why? Because Murdoch and his scumbaggery are finally coming to light. And he's gonna take it where it hurts- his wallet.

You see, Murdoch's tabloids have gone too far. It was one thing to hack the phones of famous people, but hacking the phone of a murdered girl and deleting her messages so they could hear more, made people think the girl was alive. That's enough to bring this horrific business practice to worldwide attention.

And Ford Motors has pulled their advertising from News of the World, the yellowest of yellow journalism, and Murdoch's News International Group. Of course, Murdoch also owns Fox, the most truth-challenged of networks.

Read and gain:

And further:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tenement Life #1

In 1992 I was in grad school full time and separated from my husband. I'd moved to a 2 very-small bedroom railroad-tenement apartment with the toilet in the hall, a block away from where I'd spent my married years. It was a lovely 1800's tenement rowhouse, one of many brick buildings with the old wrought iron railings and bannisters. Each of the front apartments had a huge window facing the street and I could watch the traffic or the neighbors or the weather from my sofa. It was in the heart of Times Square, a NYC community called Hell's Kitchen. In the living room was a marble mantle where the blocked fireplace of someone's proud parlor still leaked sooty drafts. I knew the neighborhood and people well. I loved that place.

Monday thru Friday, I went from school to my full-time night job that I'd taken after my last argument with Herman. I was out of the house from 8 a.m. til 11:30 p.m., unless I went to a local bar to blow off steam after work.

One night I took the crosstown 42nd St bus, got off at 9th Ave and dragged my sorry ass the 3 blocks to home. As I arrived in front, keys in hand, I saw 2 Arabic looking men in my living room window. I stood in stunned anger for a second, "What the hell are you doing in there?!" I yelled at the top of my lungs. One looked disdainfully at me. He lifted a can of Pepsi to his lips. How dare the fucks? "And drinking my fucking Pepsis, you bastards!" They said something to each other and moved further away from the window. I wasn't sure of what to do. I thought of running to the corner and calling the cops. Or over to the Super's apartment and get witnesses. It was almost midnight. My blood was pounding, I couldn't think.

Then I noticed that the drapes hanging in that front window weren't mine. Nor were the walls painted like mine. I looked up at the number over the door. I was a building short.

Without another word, I walked away and dove into my proper building.

Hope & Glory

A mindful of sky,
a heart, full.
A centered peace.
all I asked,
and all I got.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Why I Love Stephen Fry

"If you meet someone who is an utter turd, and in life you will, don't do that thing they tell you which is imagine them all naked, and then you'll have contempt for them; that's not the point. Imagine the absolute truth of even the most aggressive, unpleasant, self-regarding, vain, unsympathetic person you could ever meet and remember that they are not only desperate to be loved, but to love. I've never met a human being of whom that isn't true. And it's so astonishing that we don't even bother to think about it because it's almost too much for our brains to take in, I think."

~Stephen Fry, Hay Festival, 2010

And here's a bonus, my favorite comic Lewis Black in "Red, White and Screwed."

What a Blast!

Without much of a hitch at all, the party came off and I'm really on my last legs now. It was soooo fine to see everyone and all be in the same spot, something we haven't done in years. As always, I made too much food, but that's a problem? No. People took things home. And I have more than enough food to last a week. I may have to give more away.

There was, like at every party, lots of chatter, catching up, laughing. Throwing a party is having a house of joy. And everybody made it save my old co-worker, no doubt drafted into doing something he didn't want to do. Even Chels, freshly back from Tanzania, skinny as a rail but radiant, made it in at the end. And yes, I had a Grinch moment. More than one.

I'm a tired but very happy camper. Tonight I'd probably be able to see the fireworks from my front porch but I doubt I'll make it to that time. Friends even cleaned up and put food away for me (good thing too cuz I've had a few beers and I'm not good for much right now). As soon as the Q-Bossy is cool it'll go in the fridge and it's nighty-night for little Austan.

I wish everyone the happiness and satisfaction I have right now. Ya gotta have friends.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ready For Liftoff!

Fireworks pop in the distance, people trying out one of everything they bought. A single long-stemmed rose, yellow and pink, has opened up outside my window. The fridge can't hold one more thing. I have vinegar stomach from tasting the salads. It's warm and sticky in here. Everything's about ready. Just have to stay up til 1 a.m. to put the kielbasa in the slow cooker. There's a Twilight Zone marathon on. Ah, July Fourth.

This is the first party here. I wonder how it will go, what will happen... but I don't get the night before party nerves like I used to. Once all the food's accounted for and things are set up, there's that time to relax, which is now. The morning will have a few chores but the stove does most of the work. I think I'll wear my khaki dress. I'm not the red-white-and-blue type. The only flags I own are the one from my Dad's funeral and a silk one from the 40s, and I haven't unpacked them; though there's one hanging off the back handrail that the last tenants left there. It'll do. It's not about symbols to me anyway. It's about my friends and all they do.

In the crowd will be the guy who founded the Heat Fund (and hopefully his daughter who just got back from Africa), who's been a State Rep and a Selectboard guy. Then there are the inventers of iBrattleboro, who just hit the 10 year mark of living here; the local heart of the Vermont Worker's Center, who's a teacher, too. And my close pals who've been long-time DJs at our community radio station. The editor who'll be helping me with my book, and her brother, my old co-worker who campaigned with me to unionize the co-op. Friends who helped me move here, some who barely knew me. There are a few who'll be missed, who are working or away or whose car is laid up. They're all good people and I'm very grateful they're in my life. They're also what this country was built on- hardworking regular folks, which to me are much more important than a symbol.

At some point while everyone's yakking and yukking it up I'll sit back & look around at all these peep who do so much and mean the world to me, and get that smile like when the Grinch's heart grew three sizes. That's what a holiday is all about. Happy Independence Day.

Personal Freedoms

Society at large is nowhere near as laid back as when I was young. You can't walk down the street smoking a joint these days. Cops wouldn't laugh if they caught you having sex in public. You'd never smuggle a bottle of Southern Comfort into a correctional facility. A large group of teenagers standing around in a public park on a Friday night would be arrested for something. We drew some looks in our patched jeans and embroidered army jackets, but not like we would now in this military-worshipping world.

Yet somehow, in a world of patrolled behavioural conformity, there is a personal freedom unheard of in our barefooted unshaven days. In the complex navigation of adolescence, teens will talk about sexuality in an open way these days. And bigotry too. What was a middle finger of defiance then is quite ordinary now. A boy in a flamboyant skirt on a summery day may get a few rolled eyes but wouldn't be pointed at and chased down a Manhattan street, an image burned into my brain as I stood there in my Catholic school uniform helplessly watching.

While there will always be an enclave of narrow-minded morons among us, there is much more diversity allowed nowadays. Children aren't forced into churches as we all were. Little boys can get their nails polished by little girls. Girls can wear pants- jeans!- to school. Children have rights just like regular people. Who knew?

We've come a long way. My father called my brother Billy "Sheepdog" for growing his hair over his ears. I wish he'd been alive to see me with a Mohawk and tattooes. Or even more, to see his 16 year-old great-granddaughter with tattoos and proclaiming Atheism. Billy has no hair at all now.

I take heart that there are entertainers like Lady Gaga and Antony & the Johnsons around. Yeah, we had Bowie and Iggy, The Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls. They broke the ground for Boy George to go multi-platinum. These days being "outrageous" is standard. And never, ever would a patriarchal literary hero like Dumbledore have been gay. Nor would a black guy have been President of the US.

So yeah, in some ways things are better. There is more freedom and protection to be who you are. It's a start.

Here's some performance freedom. Gods bless the arts:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sum, Sum, Summertime

Wow is it Summer. Today is just shy of uncomfortably warm, those balmy breezes blow but don't refresh. It's unapologetically sunny. I'd be out swimming in this weather. The roses in the front garden are about to burst, birds comb the lawn for bugs, the bleeding hearts are wilting and the hostas keep pushing forth more blossoms. The geri crew stroll by, their stark white legs lost in voluminous shorts. It smelled of cut grass in here until I made the tuna salad for the party. I hope that dissipates by Monday!

Today is the ninety-day mark of living here. Now, with my paintings and drawings up, drapes hanging in the bedroom, things more or less close to where they'll live, it's starting to feel like my home. The bookcases are almost full, knickknacks and little framed photos on the shelves too, looking as if they've been there all along. There are still lots of things to unpack and find places for but the majority is done. It's that point where "the bedroom" becomes "my bedroom". And finally, I'm beginning to relax. Just in time for the heat.

What a huge adjustment it is to move. In both space and time. Here in Vermont the seasons are dramatically different, may change on a whim, and time conspires with Mother Nature to do bizarre tricks on the senses. The day of the move we were worried about snow- all the forecasters called for it. Now just 12 weeks later it's nearly dog days. And in another 12 weeks it could be snowing again, then the temps may soar to the 70s. Being out of downtown and back among trees and grounds, the weather is much more pronounced. Perhaps it's just that seasons seem to speed up as I age. Or that I have time now to notice these things.

The summer will zoom past as it always does with its glories and discomforts. Watching plants grow to their full height is a time stamp, too. Like people, they come into full maturity, then slowly start to shrink. It seemed the summer was much longer when I was young.

Religion, Respect and Reality

If one must have a label, as most people demand these days, I guess I'm a Secular Humanist more than anything, though I reserve the right to honor Thor. Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tsu, Mohammed are all good examples of what humans should aspire to be. Honor, respect, yes, I can do that. Worship, join their cult, live by what men have hypocritically conscripted and give their cults money and power over me? Not so much. That's where they all lose me.

Though I love the old church music and spent many years in those vestments singing those music pieces, it was always for the beauty of the music, not for the worship. Worship is, to me, just stupid. From childhood I equated the construct of what the organized religions taught to be as the imaginary friend. The old man in the sky theory was always a fairy tale to me. On the level with the other heroes. Not to be taken verbatim. Not the boss of me. For one thing, I didn't want some being who was so mean but was supposed to be love as the center of my life. It eas just patently idiotic. Didn't go over well in Sunday School to say these things, but I couldn't take it seriously. And my Mother believed it all and I knew she was crazy, so that was my conclusion. Being religious= nuts.

As I grew older and read more, like Fr. Chinoquy's 50 Years in the Church of Rome, I became more dissuaded. The acts of the Christian empire sickened me. So did the acts of the Islamic empires, the various Pagan empires, and pretty much all of the organized religions. They all sucked and still do. Organized religions are all about power over people, and can go fuck themselves.

Which isn't to say I disrespect the philosophies they espouse. At the heart of most faiths is a desire to be a good person. That is the most laudable, most noble quest that humans can take on. If it all stopped there, without the dogmas and bullshit, I'd be one of the flock. But it doesn't. There's such a thing as evangelism, which is despicable and I'm sure the basis of all bad things. It leads to self-assured pompousity and the delusion of the right to persecute others, which are so anti-Christ, so anti-Muhammed, so anti-human, so damned wrong that nothing justifies it. Evangelism kills. I hate it.

I so wanted to be a nun as a child. The idea of devoting your life to others and to making the world a place of love so attracted me. And I loved the uniform! But no, there was all this Bride of Christ dogma you had to swear to, these church limitations, this patriarchal stagnant order of total mindless obedience. Couldn't do that. I tried at 19 and ran away. Not long ago I thought I could work around all that and subliminate things for the greater good- but they don't take gimps. How hypocritical is that? What would Jesus think of that? The organizations carrying his name reject people who can't walk? That ended my church thoughts for once and all.

For many years in the interim I was a practicing Pagan. But the organizations around that were also agenda-ridden. So I went solitary and kept Thor just because I like him. He protects humans, is truthful and is upfront undependable unless you meet his small demands, which don't include worship, just understanding and keeping your word. That's a God I can understand. You promise something, you carry through, he'll help. A good honest deal. If I have to have a God, and I seem to, Thor's the one.

I figure if it does no harm to anyone else and makes me happier, why not? I just want to live and let live without persecution from someone else's evangelism. I don't desire that they think what I think (though I think their beliefs may be dangerous), why should they give a rat's ass what I think? And what makes them think they're entitled to shove their beliefs down my throat? Oh don't get me started.

There are many Atheists now. That's fine. I don't really care cuz it's not my business. It just seems a bit sad to me that we've lost so much magick in the world already, and living in an only practical five-sensate world is a colourless place. But I could well be wrong. Maybe it will be better without our imaginary friends and unseeable forces.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blow It Off

Okay. I contributed my experience of having nearly every gay man I knew deny the existence of bisexuality to a thread. And was condescendingly and arrogantly responded to by someone who doesn't know me, nor know that I was in college when he was a fetus, and advised to get to know more gay men. The fucking nerve. I lost dozens of gay male friends and bosses in the AIDS epidemic. I was a GMHC volunteer when he was in diapers. I walked in the first AIDS Walk NY. I entertained at AIDS fundraisers. My adopted little brother was gay. The first book I tried to write was going to be titled "Diary of a Fag Hag", about the AIDS epidemic and what we did thru it. I couldn't finish it because of the constant nightmares. Who the hell does he think he's talking to?

And to top it, he misquoted me to make his point. Which is not a good sign for an elected official, especially one I voted for because there was an undercurrent of anti-gay sentiment in that election.

Nothing, nothing gets under my skin and on my last nerve like presumptive arrogance. I'm pissed. Time to get offline and seek distraction.

Right Here and Now

All the food is in the house awaiting my cooking. The paintings are hung. The whole place is clean. 30 beers chill and 30 more await fridge room. The lists are made, everything's accounted for and almost everyone's coming. With Annie's beer run and Alicia's shopping, I'm ready for the party. Almost.

Just waiting for the okay to borrow some chairs from the community room here...

And now I get to relax for the night. Can't cook this far ahead, everything's in place (but the chairs), I don't think I've ever been this organized in my life. Of course, part of me thinks I've forgotten something major or something terrible will happen. That's what party anxiety is all about. So staying in the right here and now is the way to go.

The older I get the more I see that if you borrow trouble you'll get it, that planning and organizing is the most important thing to do, and that you can handle anything if you think it through. And it really helps to have friends.

I think I may go polish the wheelchair. Maybe decorate the walker. Life's short. Celebrate any minute you can.