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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Have You Walked on the Stones of Years?

Despite the snow, Spring is coming. I know this because I've been listening to "Tarkus" and that's a sure sign of Spring. And indeed we are having a snow event. It stopped for an hour then restarted where it left off, a lunchbreak I guess. Must be union workers.
Anyway, here's some Tarkus for you

There's a big stone in the news.
I'd love to see how this pans out but I don't want to be that old.

If you do want to live forever, follow the worm:

And a new theory of how all of these rocks in space formed from science guys

Speaking of Science Guys

Bugs in rock

Just for Strider:

Okay, I'm going to put on a fireplace video and watch the snow. It's a rare scene this year. I want to remember it in case there's no snow at all next Winter.

Sugar Sugar

It's about 3:00 p.m. and we're definitely frosted. Looks like one of the Kincaid (sp.) light and fluffy scenes. There's very little on the road, just the airbrushed sides are white. Still far from what it normally looks like here in February. We'll see.

The coffee ran out so I made tea. And added sugar, white processed sugar, making this the first straight up white sugar I've had since January 1st. It sucks. One teaspoon in a cup from a pot of rather strong tea, and it grossed me out. I'm beginning to think my lifelong love of sweets is over. Dark dark chocolate I still love, and it tastes sweet to me, just not too sweet. Makes me wonder how much sugar I was eating before without even noticing. The old people in my family rarely ate desserts now that I think of it. Pie, "but not too sweet," they'd eat. Lemon things. Maybe tastebuds change as you age. I now eat things that made me nauseous to look at when I was young. Like mushrooms. Sometime in my 30s mushrooms moved into my favorites list. Now I can take or leave them. Sugar, I'm pretty sure, is now a leave it.

Speaking of Sugar, the woman who writes Dear Sugar broke her anonymity when she published a book:
Strider let me know about that, it's one of those things she does.

My niece just left a comment saying Davy Jones died. I know some people who'll be very bummed out to hear this news.
A heart attack in his sleep, the press is saying. He wasn't that old. 66 isn't very old to me anymore. 80 is the new 60 to me. I was young enough to be a Monkees fan but I was fixated on Ringo at the time. Still, good memories.
So long, Davy.

Day of the Leapers

The weatherbees are wound up again. Though it's just at the freezing point, our forecast is for a regular New England snowstorm. Remember them? It's supposed to start later today and go on through tomorrow. And we're due to get 8-10 inches by the time it ends, Thursday night or Friday morning. I'm not holding my breath. How many times have we heard this before this winter, only to get a little frost?

However, the midwest has had a terrible night.

And what are we leaping for?

Murdoch junior steps away from NI:

Maybe it's good they didn't give me a new hip:

World Book Day is tomorrow!

Anyone know about Sadie Hawkins Day?

There's much ado going on, including the Eeyore's Balloon of our local election. But I have a lot to catch up on now that I'm not so sore. Things to be done! People to talk to! Obladi, oblada, life goes on...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Raising Cane

After nearly 5 years of Wally the Walker, a cane isn't cutting it. It makes carrying anything- like a cup of coffee- difficult. It has a single point on which to balance, not so great when one gimps as hard as I do. And forget carrying a dish or bowl. At least I won't be thinking about dieting, because making food with one hand as I hold myself up with the other is nearly impossible. I don't have a kitchen table and chairs, this place is too small for them. And Gal Friday left before I remembered to ask her a second time to borrow a chair through the office. So this is it until Friday when I borrow a chair. Meh. Another opportunity to fast.

Using a cane reminds me of Pop, our mother's fosterfather who lived with us when we were young. He had a cane for every occasion. Bamboo for the summer, carved chestnut for formals, one with a whistle for night strolls, he must've had a dozen. We'd watch him, in his 80s then, jaywalk across the street right through Brooklyn traffic, waving his cane in the air, threatening the drivers. My mother would clutch her throat and she'd mutter a string of obscenities until he reached the sidewalk. There was no stopping him, no changing him. Pop was a force. It's a miracle he was never killed but this was in the early 60s, before road rage became common. Americans didn't shoot each other every day back then. I think if he tried it now he'd be waving that cane at St. Peter and never see the sidewalk again.

So yeah, the cane isn't a sure thing. I even have my doubts about it going to the Greg concert. It's great in a pinch and I'm thankful I have it or I wouldn't even make it to the sitting room, but my body seems too twisted for just a cane's support. I'm still getting used to it, and having to lean on an injured arm colors the venture, so that opinion may change. We'll see.

Happily, the walker I'm ordering is lighter than the last one. Though the delivery time says "2-4 weeks", the comments from those who've reviewed it say they received theirs in 2-6 days. I sincerely hope it's no more than a week.

I've screwed myself up more than I thought, and this is going to need real rest to recover. The falls I learned in Karate class a thousand years ago do save one from grave injury, but what they don't tell you is that after you've used them a hundred times, you get hurt by reinjuring the arm you use to break the fall.. There's a limit to what an arm will take no matter how "correct" the fall is. So my advice is, "Don't fall."

And as for Old Wally, he did go to the Community Room today, where he was snapped up right away by a woman who said she could rehab him. Good luck to her. And Wally. Long may he roll. Elsewhere.

Our Town

This little town has had a rough year, starting with the big fire last April. The latest bit of Hell to fall our way has been a series of car vs. pedestrian accidents on main arteries. There have been 3 lately, resulting in 2 deaths so far. The third victim, hit last night, was in serious condition last we heard. The two people killed were good people, known and loved by many. I don't know who the third victim is yet, but he's an 82 year old man who was walking his dog when they were both hit. He was airlifted to Dartmouth, so he must be very hurt.

And, the director of our food pantry who's coordinated just about everything having to do with the needy and homeless for the last 20 years or so had a massive heart attack this past weekend. She's in CICU and not in good shape at all.

Our town has been hanging on through these crises for nearly a year now. A guy named Dave Eisenstadter is writing a book about Brattleboro's year from Hell and he has plenty of material. We're a pretty resilient bunch but all of this- fire, murders, flood, killed pedestrians, Melinda's shattering heart attack- is stretching it. I'm hoping the curse lifts soon.

Some of it could have been prevented. I still insist that the pedestrian deaths are a direct result of the low lighting we have. 5 years ago the town began turning off streetlights
and the remaining lights were replaced with energy efficient bulbs. I don't know how many lights were actually removed but I do know how dark our roads are now. Are the lives lost and changed forever worth the few thousand bucks in savings? I don't think so.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fall Down, Go Boom!

The Walker's dead; long live the Walker. Yes, Wally the Walker gave up the ghost, dumping me ass over teakettle this afternoon. It happened in a fortunate way, at least. In the middle of feeding the cat I bent sideways while sitting on it and it threw me like a horse. My head didn't hit anything on the way down and the only real injury seems to be to the right shoulder it dislocated the first time that wheel bent some years back. That time it threw me forward, this time backward. I'm done with Wally. Hurt me twice, get outta my house.

Scared the cat, too.

It was expected anyway. Even after having it professionally repaired it was never straight again, and throughout the Irene excursions it was bending more and more. Wally and I have been together for nearly 5 years. One of us had to get dumped.

So Gal Friday will take Wally to the Community Room tomorrow and maybe someone who tinkers can fix it for someone who needs one. I already found a replacement on Amazon and it and all the cat supplies will be ordered on Thursday. Funny thing, ordering the same damn walker now through them will cost me less than what I paid 4 years ago; I paid 125 bucks then, with Medicare paying the other half. The new walker is $118, shipping included. Of course, it'll have to be assembled. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Til it gets here, I'm on the pretty butterfly cane I got for Greg Night. Not so comfortable with leaning on a sore shoulder but that's life. Who knows, maybe I'll get used to having a cane by Thursday and my walker days will be over. I kinda doubt that, but stranger things have happened...

Hildie and the Angry Itch

Hildebeest still itches. I have changed almost everything in the house and her life. Even the floorwash. Now it's time for direct action.

Since getting a pill down her throat is a life-risking manouevre and she won't eat if it's in her food, there are two options. A steroid shot that may turn into a series, or going topical. The shot is, in my opinion, a last resort. I really hate steroids. So now it's the question of how to soak her in good ol' plain Listerine. Yes, Listerine.

Without sounding like an advertisement, Listerine has a bajillion uses, one of them being ending dandruff and itch. I learned that back when I worked on a farm. It's non-toxic, and its nasty taste is a deterrent to the biting and chewing, just in case that's a neuroses she's developed (they do, the vet said, it becomes a habit).

How to get it on her, especially in the spots she chews (the back of her hind legs, her tail) and scratches obsessively (her ears) is the problem. This cat has a good memory and doesn't give many chances for repeat performances. I don't want to trap her under a milkcrate and pour it on (which is what the farmer did and the vet okayed) though that seems the safest way to avoid those fingerknives and get her covered in it. Somehow that just seems cruel to me. I could soak a towel and wrap her in it but she's a squirrely thing and there's no telling how much would get on her while I'm getting my arms shredded. Maybe I could put it in a squirt bottle and zap her, but that's her nemesis and only used when she's doing something wrong. Though I suppose chewing herself comes under the heading of wrongdoing.

Suggestions are welcome. How would you soak a cat down with Listerine?

Morning Headlines

Anonymous strikes again

Bradley Manning nominated for Nobel

Murdock launches a new Sun on Sunday

While the Leveson Inquiry goes on

A family needs help to bury their heroic son

Americans are shooting each other again, or as usual

Much to get done today. Happy Monday!!

Oh, to remove the search history from your YT account:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Things to Know

How to opt out of a certain web service prying into your business starting March 1st:

Will this debate ever end?


Cognitive self-braintraining

Blogger is playing spacial randomness again. This post may look screwy, again.

GMO Garden Pests

In the last few days I've gotten several emails concerning the labelling of GMO foods. Here in VT a few years ago, Monsanto won a lawsuit against an organic farmer after their GMO seeds had blown into his field, where their seeds grew and his organic field was ruined. By the time it was discovered what had happened and the farmer moved to do something, Monsanto sued him for patent infringement and won. And he had to start over. This has happened multiple times with Monsanto.

If you're planting a garden this year, be aware of what are Monsanto's own:

If you want more info on what's going on, give a look around

The Bolour Supplement

Sorry, I think only Pythoners will get the title...

Remember the comic section on Sunday?

Oh good night Hannah!

The Occupy Baby

This is a joke, right? Please tell me it's a joke.

The 2 Things you should know about everything

The Oscars are tonight; I'll wait for the worst moments compilation

If you're published, you should enter this; Stephen Fry's a judge:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ubiquitous Allergies

This may sound like an old lady bitching about how things aren't as they used to be. When I was young that's how I took this sort of thing. But with age I've found out what they meant. Changes go on over a lifetime, some big, some small, some individual, some collective. Unless you choose complete ignorance you can't help but notice them.

Something I've noticed is the pandemic of allergies. Everyone has allergies now, even pets. In my parents' generation, the only allergy I remember any of them having was to Pennicillin. I inherited that one. But I seem to have developed a few that originate in my generation. Mold, dust, some foods, some cleaning products, some fragrances, several drugs. We live in a different world to the one my parents and grandparents came up in.

For one thing, we are the Guinea Pig generation. We got vaccines, food additives, fake foods, drugs, pollution, asbestos, lead, mercury, refined mixed cleaning solvents all over our homes and clothes- the full chemical age from the time we were young. Prior generations had some of these things but not to such a degree and not for their whole lives.

My grandmother Nana called doctors, "Pill pushers." That's truer these days than ever. In the last decade I've never left my doc's office without a prescription in hand. Everyone I know who goes to a doctor has at least one script, if not several. What the hell? It used to be that only shrinks prescribed psych meds, not anymore. It took a big deal to get a script for anything until the late 80s. Then they became Monopoly money. Now even children are on several meds at once from an early age. Who knows what that will do to them, and their descendants.

These are just things I've noticed. Correlation doesn't prove causation, but is grounds for investigation. Somebody ought to be studying this. Of course it probably won't happen because it could screw with profits. And in this world, it's profits before people, unto the seventh generation.

Friday, February 24, 2012

57 Days to Greg!

This is an adventure. Doing test runs, choosing things to wear, trying out hairdos...even the diet change, all adventures in themselves. It's gotten bigger than meeting Greg, as I've found most things I embark on do. You start out with a certain purpose in mind with one motivation and find yourself in changes you didn't expect.

The diet change is tremendous. I look healthier than I have in years. It's still an experiment, balancing veggies and meat, taking plenty of fluids. But my outlook on food is almost a 180. Instead of "what I feel like having" it's about what'd be best for me. Food is the fuel that runs the engine. That's all. After 50+ years of eating disorders (and I've had every one of them) and too many years as a cook, this is peaceful. Which doesn't mean it's easy. It isn't, at times. But the rewards are astounding. All my clothing is baggy on me. I feel better, sleep better. Can't say the pain's any less but that's life. Perhaps as I thin down it will be, perhaps not. It's a different issue. The main thing is that my feet and legs don't swell up anymore, I smile when I look in the mirror and I have way more energy. This works for me. And I don't "feel deprived". What arrogance, what entitlement, when there are people starving, to say that one "feels deprived" while being able to choose what one eats. If you even have a choice you're not deprived.

It's a minor miracle to watch your body morph. Though it's not all miracles and wonderment. I have concerns about how saggy my skin will be in the end. But that's not right now. I'll figure that out when I get there. Right now I'm happy to see my leg muscles standing out, my bones reemerging, my shape coming back. It won't be a thirty-something body when I'm done, if I'm ever done. But it'll be the best fifty-something body I can manage.

Really, the best part is to not have food issues anymore. 7 1/2 weeks in (I have to stop and count it now), and in that short time it's been quite the turnabout. Yet another thing to thank Greg and Strider for. Because if he wasn't touring, if she hadn't gotten the tickets, this may never have happened. For all this and much, much more, may the Gods make me truly thankful.

Touchy Subject, Anyone?

There is a purpose.. well, lots of purposes for religion. Religion serves as the continuity- of- culture maven, dietician, clothing critic, guilt thrower, source of reassurance, fate decider, mercurial justifier of actions, hypocritical hipster and absolver of wrong for the human psyche. It's a useful set of rules backed by what some call the manipulation of young minds and others call faith and grace. Touchy subject, anyone?

Religion was prevalent in my family. Not one single religion, but with many common rules. Eat this on this day, fast on this day, sing songs, wear certain clothes, behave this way, always be afraid of something. And always plead to your invisible boss who may or may not deem to help you or could condemn you, and may do that just to play with you. Oh, and if you don't do what you're told, everyone will at best be nasty to you and at worst will turn their backs on you and pretend you're dead.

But it had its upside. It was nice to be part of a group of people, to belong somewhere, even though it was so conditional. We had some very funny times. I always loved the singing and we made good music. I took away from it a pretty good moral sense and knowing right from wrong.

But it also divided my neighborhood. Strangely, religion wasn't an issue when you were on your own block, but if those same kids and you were on a different block, you and they were likely with fellow religious clan, and it was little kid street war. Propaganda abounded about the other religions and their followers. Even parents and siblings promulgated it. I remember going to the movies with junior choir kids and getting in a sort of gang fight with kids from another church. And we were all Christians.

The fact is that religion has power. People will use that power. That's why I no longer belong and will never again join an organized religion (funny, considering I think my purpose in life is to agitate). The fault lies not in our Gods but in ourselves.

Not Quite

After a bit of Barnum pledges about a snowstorm, we had a short snow this morning. It was done in a half hour, and the sky hung over and brooded the rest of the day. Now it's raining. Not even a heavy rain. More the splattery Spring rains we walked to school in.

Many of the activities planned for our town's Winter Carnival are shot to hell. No sledding days, no dogsled show, no sugar on snow, no ice fishing. No snow. The Harris Jump went off, thanks to snowmakers. My front yard is trying to green up. It's a good thing we had a wet summer and fall, I suppose, since making snow takes a lot of water and they'd be SOL if we were in drought conditions.

Ah, the rain's put a little more effort in. I used to love the rain. Not so much anymore. This would've been a decent snow. It's looking like the Winter that never was.


This week has ripped right by. I haven't had the time to sit and think to write a real post. That should change this weekend, or next week. I hate to just throw a bunch of links on and run but I'm juggling fast as I can. Please bear with.

And Blogger is putting enormous spaces between paragraphs today. I've tried reformatting, deleting...we'll just see how this looks when posted.

The Girl Scouts, of all things, is a new target for a dim bulb in Indiana:

Everybody loves a hero

It was Wilson's when I went there

It's been 25 years?!

Even in the hellhole of marketing, fun things can happen.From VW

Okay, more coffee and things to do!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Future Shocks

Oh brother, here comes the future and ya can't run from it. A couple of these blew my mind clear away. Things that were in sci-fi tales are coming into reality. Things even sci-fi hadn't thought up are happening.

Google Goggles

Computer creationism

Wasn't this a movie first? ;)

This crowds my brain too much, especially after the above

And this explains why they want to give it more power:

Melange du Jour

This is hopeful, and faithful

DOMA is unConstitutional, but you knew that.

What kind of stupid, ignorant jackasses do this?

Caveat Emptor

Comic relief,27371/

Wish I could, I bet Fry's going...

Treasures of antiquity:

New fuel source?

How language matters

Ian, Remembered

It's 17 years Ian's been gone. Can't really get my head around that. It's been 17 years since that phone call, since I sank to that kitchen floor. Later that day, Mark told me I was now "the young widow Austan".

That night I called my little brother Seth to give him the news and we stayed up together til the sun rose, laughing at memories and crying together. Ian was one of his best friends. Seth's gone almost 6 years now. People die and your shared memories die with them.

And your life goes on. You make more memories with other people. Which doesn't mean you ever stop missing who's absent.

About 11 years ago I was behind the counter in the coop when a woman walked up and stood looking at me. I acknowledged her and waited on the next person. It was the middle of the rush and my boss was working beside me, and this woman was smiling and staring at me -then I suddenly recognized her. It was Peggy. Being married, becoming a mother and several years of not seeing her changed the Courtney Cox lookalike I knew, but those eyes -it was Peggy. She'd acted with Ian in his last performances. They were close pals. She'd carried me through the first few months I lived here alone. She took me across the coop to see her husband and meet her son. Her husband Tim looked just the same. But happier. And then they introduced me to their lively toddler, Quinn Ian.

Nobody ever really dies as long as they're remembered.

Bang Your Head

I really have to stop reading the news first thing in the morning. It's become a sort of self-flagellating.

Now Trump's telling Scotland what to do?

Where comedy and horror meet:

They'll all be buds again after the RNC:

The John Birch Society still lives, in Pat Buchanan

How dare they?

What SuperPACS are and how they got that way

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Twice in One Year?!!!

Just read an interview Bill Kopp did with Greg Lake, via

Greg's going to come back touring in the Fall after a double-book is published, one volume his autobiography and the other a photo book (he calls it a coffee table book). Holy crap as soon as I come down from the April concert I'll be back in prep for the Fall! Strider get ready, the second round's on me!

Meanwhile, tickets are on sale for the Spring tour in Canada and the US:

Twice in one year? I hope my heart can take it, but what a way to go. :)

Gimme Shelter

There's too much to fit into my virtually shrunken head today so here's the fallout:


Obama sings with BB King and Mick Jagger

Real sugar or nothing!

I've got an instrument I could use on them...

Another issue I thought was settled 40 years ago:

I feel sorry for the Repos if this is all they have

Totally jealous of this guy:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jiggity Jig!

Had an incredibly good time at Lawless' party for Gary today. Everyone was there, just everyone! The food, the drinks, the music! Buddy Rich came back from the dead for it. I got him to show me a few time changes I'd always wondered about. And of course Greg was my date, and we had a ball. Ahem. There was a slight problem at one point but Arleen helped me get him up and he came to, eventually. And apologized! What a gentleman.

We parted at the fireplace and he floo back to London, I to Vermont. At some point I'd lost my shoes, and as the nearest fireplace is a few houses away, I floo in and started walking home. I didn't realize I was walking barefoot in the snow til I was steps from my front door. I'm a bit old for walking barefoot in the snow. My feet are soaking in a pail of hot water. It's a bit late for Winter, Old Man! If you'd wanted to do it, you should've done it over a month ago. So get the hell out!

I'm very tired and must get wrapped up and go to bed. What a wonderful day. Thank you again, Lawless, and congratulations, Gary.

Hooray for Things!

Finally able to post, though I've no idea how this will look because the font size won't change and it looks enormous. I don't care- I can post! All it took was dropping the new editor and going back to the old editor, as I saw other bloggers suggest.

Today is a day of many things. It's Gary's 5th Blogaversary Party over at Lawless' house:

It's Mardi Gras everywhere, so eat up all the meat and get those pancakes on the griddle

It's Day 50 of the Operation Greg Diet, which means I can eat off-plan. So I have. Bread! Though it's laying in my stomach like a lead zeppelin, it was nice to have a sandwich. The effects are such that I won't have an issue with being back on-plan tomorrow. In fact, I may go back on plan right now. It's recommended to break a diet every 7 weeks for a full day, to reset your system so you don't get stuck on a plateau. Eat how you did before the diet, eat things you haven't eaten since starting the diet, etc. Though I broke the diet for Special K's birthday, and indulged in a little dark chocolate a few days ago, I've been on-plan for a long time now. Once you've cleared your house of the inedibles and just don't have them around, it's pretty simple to get used to eating differently. Then when you start feeling and looking better, you don't want to go backwards. So though it was nice to have a sandwich and I'm sure it's changing up my system (judging by my unhappy tummy), I'll be glad to get back to normal. The new normal, that is.

And as for the Beest's neurotic scratching, the vet said she'll give her a shot if necessary, but she wants me to groom her a lot first and give her cod liver oil. It's true, Hildebeest has been shedding like crazy. Every time I comb her, handfuls of fuzz come off. It seems winter coats weren't necessary this year and so there's a whole lotta shedding going on. I could spend the entire day grooming her and still get more fur. She's been beside me on her shelf all day today, I must've combed her a dozen times. Every time she's looked like she was gonna start in, I've gone over her. So far, so good. Though she looks a bit lost and puzzled.

Well, I'm heading back to the party. Come join us and wish Gary a Happy!

What's Up with Blogger? I can only post titles!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Funday

After all the heaviness of the last few days.. few weeks.. few months I think we can all use some yuks. So here

Wherein I Give Up

The Beest can go ahead and scratch herself bald for all I care. After tonight's battle I'm done. She went into full hellcat mode, scratching and biting. She fought her way half out of the laprug. I still managed to get the pill in but my left hand is shredded. She ran off to the back of the house and licked the blood off her claws. My left thumb is the size of a zucchini. We are ignoring each other at present.

Susan sent me the funniest damn email about giving a cat a pill. If you'd like it, shoot me an email and I'll forward it. I went to read it again after the fur settled and I staunched the flow. I felt much better. It wasn't that bad.

But still, I'm done with these battles. It's not worth the trauma to either of us and I don't want to be scarred up when I meet Greg. Go ahead and be a neurotic biting scratching patchily-furred cat, Beest. I'm not gonna intervene anymore. I wash my hands of it. With disinfectant.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

But What to Call It?

Scientists are cloning and growing muscle tissue in lab dishes. They have many reasons to, of course. Meat from animals isn't highly profitable and it's very labor intensive. The feed, the drugs, the 2-3 years of growing and tending, are costly. Animals put out methane, too, and when a big joint like ConAgra has tens of thousands of beef cattle in one place (as they do), clouds of methane rise and help climate change happen. After ten years in the meat business, I know these things are true. It's in every issue of every meat industry publication. The industry is looking for a miracle. Scientists may have it.

They are currently growing lab dishes of it in very small bits. The plan is to have these produced in sheets that will be ground and made into burger.

Technically, it's not meat. So what to call it? Sceat? Dishbeef? Labeef? 

Whatever it gets called, I'll pass.

Around the World

There's been a lot going on and I've been busy with it. The world's been busy too, so it's a bit of a catch up time this morning.

No crude for you, says Iran to France and the UK

A new Stonehenge theory

The Russians aren't taking it anymore:

No end in sight to Syria's troubles

Detained without formal charges or trial, Palestinian man hunger strikes in Israel

"Personhood" bills being pushed by right-wingnuts in Congress:

Tommy Sheridan's mother gives an interview:

And finally, it's Carnival time- eat yer meat!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Newark Sends Her Home

Deaths of prominent people give me pause to reflect. We have all lost someone we love along the way. To have to go through that with the prying eyes and ears of the entire world on you, well, I can't imagine.

Today Newark, New Jersey sent home their well-loved girl. It was a beautiful memorial. We've lost another legendary voice, someone whose music gave comfort and joy to many, many people. I have some friends who are taking her death hard. We each have our icons and there's no doubt Ms. Houston was one to a lot of people. Her talent was singular and outstanding. Her music will last. It's a shame we won't get to see what more she would have done. But she has better things to do now.

RIP, Whitney Houston.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Big Think's Big Idea -Story Competition

I don't know if I'll have the time to do this, there are so many things going on, but I thought I'd pass it around. Big Think is sponsoring a short story competition. You have 72 hours to write a 1000 word story. Details follow here:

On your mark, get set...Go!

Richard Gottlieb

Only got the news this morning that Richard Gottlieb has died. He died Wednesday night at the age of 76. Richard was a local character and a leader in solar technology.

He also had a vast collection of bad jokes and we'd save jokes for each other. He brightened countless workdays for me. I hadn't seen Richard in a couple of years but he was the kind of person you never forget and always remember with a smile. I will miss him. My sympathies to his wife Carol and his family. He was one of a kind.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nurse! Where's My Medication?!

After all this time of hating reality shows (apart from the occasional "Jersey Shore", something I'm still trying to work out from being a teenager on Staten Island, I guess), I've gotten hooked on one. It's called "Full Metal Jousting". On the History Channel.

Yep, you heard it right. Jousting. As in lances and horses and armor. These are men I can understand.  And I already know it's a program my brother Billy and I will be fixated on. Two older guys (my age) are training two teams of young guys (hubba hubba) and it's a competition to find the best among them. I am so all over this. 

Now if it'd just snow... it's awfully warm in here.

Griffes de Grands Félins

Hildebeest Purrpetua is still itchy. I've changed her litter, changed her foods, and am combing copious amounts of fur from her daily. And still, she itches. And scratches and bites herself. There are no signs of bugs, no rash, nada. The vet says she may just be feeling dry skin, to boil water... and give her benadryl to stop her developing the habit of scratching and biting.

Being the devil-may-care, daring type who lives on the edge and fears nothing, I ambushed her with my furry lap rug. For a hot second she looked like Vanessa Redgrave in "Camelot", a little face in a mountain of fake fur. In that brief moment when she was surprised I stuck the 1/4 of a pill down her gullet and she swallowed it.  Then the bloody battle began. It happened so fast that I can't remember the details. All I know is one minute I had her wrapped up in my left arm and the next I had a lap rug over my head and was bleeding in several places.

My right side got the worst of it, as she propelled herself to freedom via my skin. From the knee down I look like I've been thru a raspberry patch. She got my face and hand, too. Nobody touches the face and gets away with it. Nobody.

She is now comfortably sprawled out on the table in the front window (still haven't gotten my plants back from Plague), sleeping.

But wait til 4 o'clock, my pretty. If you thought a little bloodletting would keep me from doing it again, you don't know me. Huge friggin claws won't stop me. You're gonna spend a few days in a benadryl dreamworld until you stop scratching. Resistance is futile.

Homina Homina

Reading the news when you're not even fully awake may be the best way to take it. Rarely is there good. And a really excellent piece, like Noam Chomsky's analysis of the decline and fall of the US Empire
can sink in without your mind rattling down the tracks on its own. Or Maya Angelou's, a woman who's seen a lot, talking about Obama, the upcoming election and the Repos "pulling the sheets off"

Zelda Kaplan has died with her heels on

GM has posted record profits. Guess those horrific unions aren't so bad, eh?

We can call off the Steve Jobs worship:

God forbid we have gun control:

Walmart is planning to direct-buy Monsanto's GMO corn. I signed a petition to tell Waldemort to not buy it, and not sell it- unlabeled of course- to unsuspecting eaters:

Okay, I'm awake now. Lots to do today.

Wait! Had to add this, just got it from Dodododedo: made me cry:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Now, This is Sad

From our community calendar...

"Community Sledding Party -Cancelled

Saturday February 18th 2012  1:00PM- 3:00

The sledding party has been cancelled due to lack of snow. Next year!"

Can't sled in February in Vermont? That's not right. I suppose there'll be no Sugar on Snow suppers either.

67 Days to Greg

All systems are go. The Sharpie fine points came today, ready for Greg's siggy. I'm still thinking about where to have it, and I'll start looking for a tattooist next month. The guy who used to tat in town is gone, but I heard of a woman over in NH who's as good. I'm gonna clear it with Eileen before I go. If he has an aversion to such things I don't want to put him on the spot.

I think I'm on a diet high. 6 weeks and a day in and I'm diggin it. Haven't weighed in since the end of January but I'm wearing clothes I couldn't wear at Christmas and I'm seeing bones I haven't seen in a while. We'll see what shape I am in April- it may be the upper thigh after all!

The Harris Hill Ski Jump right here in town is this coming weekend. It's been so warm and we've had so little snow that the resorts are helping make snow and getting the run ready. The weatherfolk are calling for rain. If my Achy Breaky Hip is any barometer, I'd say we're getting rain for sure. A rain hip is different from a snow hip. The snow hip hurts but it doesn't throbby hurt. Throbby means rain. I hope the temp drops and it snows. Rain won't stop the jumping, but it'll put a damper on the whole thing and less people will show up for it. Who wants to stand in the rain to watch ski jumps?

Another thing that's going on is that our power company is installing "smartmeters", these meters they can read remotely without using a human being going around. But it's going to cost us more one way or another. If you don't want the radiowaves running around you'll have to pay an additional fee. If you take the radiowaves you'll have to pay for its installation. This is causing kerfluffle. An additional 10 bucks a month may not seem a lot, but these days, it really is. Everything- food, oil, gas, is damned expensive. Everything but the crappiest quality foods are so pricey. When American cheese is almost 7 bucks a pound, things are bad.

So yeah, no end to the issues we're facing. On it goes... 

The Little Things

In my town we can get caught up in a lot of issues. The location of a skatepark has been unbelievably contentious and I feared for some peoples' sanity in it all. Our formerly-local daily newspaper is dying a slow death and plenty of people are all pissed off about it. There are almost as many issues in Bratt as there are people. It can get boggy. Especially now, in the pre-Town Meeting agita.

Then a question like this, about a really free-ranging chicken, lightens everything up.

February is a heavy month. Much ado about decisions for the next year go on. There are changes going on in many lives around me. The whole country is nuts. But really, here and there it's good to have a break and only worry about an escaped chicken or two.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Schmalentines

Another overrated holiday is upon us. I've never understood how a martyred saint's feast day turned into a lovers' holy day of obligation. But it has and is, and we must bear with it or try to ignore it. Not that I'm a total cynic when it comes to romance. Let's just say the banana truck of romance has run me over too many times for me to get very psyched at its appearance and I run like hell to get out of its way.

It's fine for other people. But not for me.

So Happy Valentine's if you like that sort of thing. If you don't, please join me in ignoring the hype and getting on with your day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Changes II

Things have been way better since eating veggies again, not the least of which is eating soup. I think I could live on soup. Since I live alone, I make just enough to fill up my tank for the day. I also eat midday now, and not at all at night. When I eat soup I don't usually get hungry later, and if I do, a bit of cheese or a glass of milk does it. I'll still cook some meat every couple of days and eat a regular meal. It's a good way to have some meat for instant soup.

Here's my Instant Soup recipe
1 1/2 c. stock or broth or bouillion
1/4 lb. frozen mixed vegetables
some leftover cooked meat, diced
Bring all to a boil, simmer 3 minutes. Done.
It's that simple, and is warm, nourishing and feels healthy to eat.

Through this process I've realized there are some things I've never liked but was trained to eat. The Clean Plate Club was enforced in our house. If it was served, you ate it. And so I grew up having to eat a lot of things I never would've willingly eaten. I'm thinking that's good programming for eating disorders, which I and my brothers have had all our lives. Starches abounded in a house with 7 or more mouths to feed. They're the norm of American food and are often a conveyor of good things. Potatoes, rice, pasta, pancakes. I never liked them. Now I don't eat them.  I'll take the good things we put on them- butter, cheese, veggies, meats- without the starchy stuff I never wanted in the first place. So this is a kind of new freedom I've discovered in all this.

Of course, it wasn't so easy to give up some things. I still miss bread now and then, but not much. Bread was too often a filler. We'd go through a whole big loaf or more at dinner. Again, stretching things to feed that many people. So yeah, I've had enough bread for a lifetime. And I always loved sweets. Suddenly sugar seems much too sweet to me. I had a few little baking chocolate chips today- semi-sweet at that- and they were cloyingly, unstandably sweet. Guess it's just the Midnight Ghirardelli from now on, if I get a chocolate fit. Tastes change, like anything else. These are just healthier changes.

Random Bits of News and Observations

As I enjoyed a weekend and ignored much of what was going on, things went on.

InSanetorum accuses Romney of rigging things with $ (This is news? I thought that's what politicians usually do)

Just read this blog:
And good god it's so true. Along with the inability to spell, we have an epidemic of quotation marks. I thought they were meant for sarcasm in a written form, but they're everywhere these days.

What a terrible tragedy:

I hope Obama and the Dems don't cave again:

Signs of things to come in the US, if we don't nip it-

Syria's conflict goes on

It's sincerely trying to snow here, little more than flurries, but it's trying. I'm thinking it's the effort that counts most.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

If the Improbable Happened

A conversation today veered into what would you do if you were suddenly rich. Everyone's watching Downton Abbey, it seems. Lots of my friends, like me, are the grandchildren of the once wealthy. I think coming from a family fallen to troubles molds one's character as much as those who get and are raised rich in one generation. In different ways, of course.

But back to what we'd do if suddenly we had no monetary limits.
My list:
Travel everywhere I've ever been curious about.
Buy the old brownstone in Brooklyn.
Have a staff. Make them unionize.
Buy up space and have everyone interred in Greenwood.
Buy a farm here and run it as a training ground for new farmers.
And I'll train cooks there. Not friggin chefs, real cooks.
Set up my family and friends.

It's remarkable what everyone had on their lists. Businesses. Everyone wanted to have their dream business, and work. Not one wanted to invest and lay back. And just as interesting was what nobody named. Education. I guess we're at the age beyond considering school? All would help their families and friends. All had charities to mind.

And if you had limitless funds, what would you do? I'd like to hear.

But the Wind Goes Right Through Ya!

Holy cow is it cold out there. I thought I was out there for a couple of hours but it wasn't even a full hour and despite being in full sun, it's coooooold! I've been back inside more than an hour and I'm still chilled like fresh produce. That wind is more than bracing; it's pushy!

I put on full battle face before going outside. The new makeups are a charm. With eyes watering from the wind and blowing dust, no mascara smudge. No streaking from the tears running down my cheeks, a miracle in itself. I found some quality products at great prices. Small victory, but a good test run for Greg night too.

Onto the day's projects. I was going to pickle smelts (herring is much too difficult to deal with these days- even getting them is near impossible) but they're not ready to salt yet. Think I'll make a pot of chicken vegetable soup. There are good scary movies on, the Beest is crashed out, and it's a lovely quiet day in The Shire. The kind of day to do next to nothing and not think too much.

I am thinking of Rory, who's having his long-awaited surgery today. Let's hope this fixes what's wrong and we'll have our old rabblerouser back in form soon.

Yes, it's good to let the world spin on its own, make yourself happy and revel in peace and gratitude for all one has, and has had.

Sunday in the Park with Poppa

It's seasonably cold and quite windy today. There's something about the light today that reminds me of Sundays with my father. In the sixties and early seventies Sundays were spent with him, like most kids after divorce. We had adventures in New York City. Out in all kinds of weather, on all sorts of public transport. We went to movies in the worst weather, but on days like this I think of lunch in Central Park.

Poppa was an avid picnicker. He'd pack up a jar of his "Health Salad" (basically shredded carrots in vinegar), some cheese and cole slaw sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, and off we'd go. There is one big rock formation in the southern part of the Park that was our unspoken destination. For a guy in his sixties (he was 53 when I was born) he was very agile, and he'd climb up those rocks in his suit and hat and overcoat like a goat. We'd get to the top and just sit for a minute, surveying the people and the Park like gods on Olympus. I can't remember any sandwiches tasting better than those soggy, falling-apart ones, as the wind whipped my hair around and the sun's warmth came up from the boulders we sat on. 

After lunch we'd head for our day's amusement, or education. We went to every museum, place of worship, library, tourist trap, famous building and neighborhood in NYC. I knew the city and the subways before I knew long division. This would aid in my truancy, but that's another story.

I suddenly feel like packing sandwiches, bundling up, and going outside. Can't eat bread, climb rocks or go to a wondrous place like the Cloisters but the front porch and some cheese and carrots will do. It's mostly the light and wind I crave anyway. I think I will. See you later.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rumor: Kim Jong-Un Assassinated

Tomaidh of just reported a rumor he found online that Kim Jong-Un, son and inheritor of Kim Jong-Il's dictatorship has been assassinated. Read the original here:

Allergies and a War of Wills

Seems to me there are a boatload more allergies these days than there used to be. I about live on benadryl. It can be discouraging. Just got a fancy soap (part of Operation Greg, natch) and upon opening began sneezing. This was the scent I wore throughout the late 80s. I have a cologne of it on order. Hope it's just the soap does it.

And, the Beest is allergic to the cat litter. Over the past week I noticed she's been decidedly scratching and chewing at herself. So I combed her thoroughly, took off about a pound of fur and she seemed okayfor a day or so. However, I changed the litter again yesterday and she went at it furiously, scratching a bald spot on one ear.

The vet, when I called, asked right off if I'd used Tidy Cat, as lots of cats are allergic to it. Bingo. Unfortunately this all transpired after Gal Friday had left so getting new litter will have to wait a couple of days. The vet said give her half a benadryl. Erring on the side of caution I crushed up about a quarter in a mortar and pestle and mixed it into her wet food. She stuck her face right in and chowed a mouthful. And stopped. And made a face and stuck her tongue out.

Minutes later she was sprawled on the leaf of my desk, purring up a storm and the sweetest cat you ever saw. I had to watch and make sure she didn't fall off. She was adorable.

A couple hours later, however, she was back to chewing. Today she is wickedly stubborn. As I mixed her a fresh dish this morning she sat right there waiting. I put it down and she sniffs and walks away. She will not eat her food. I took up her dry food so that's what she has. This is now a battle of wills. I have that guilt of having to do the best thing for her whether she likes it or not. Getting even a bit of a pill down her throat would be a two-person operation. I still don't have gauntlets. Perhaps someone coming by today will risk their life and limbs to help out. Until then, I'm giving her the hairy eyeball and repeating, "Eat your food." And she's chewing and throwing me filthy looks. This is war.

Saturday Morning Musiclog

Well, whatever snow we have gotten overnight has left a partial residue like a cheap frosted flake. There's too much blue to the sky to expect more right now. If we get anything worth noting it won't be til later. I heard they're already sugaring, and that's not right.

Anyway, I've been listening to music this morning. It all started with a dream where someone was singing, "I've Heard that Song Before" which I needed to get rid of, and went to YT to erase. Came across "Begin the Beguine", my grandfather's favorite;

Which for inexplicable reasons took me to Petula Clark:

From there to Herman's Hermits

To Marianne Faithfull

Folowing logically to The Hollies

and ending with my second cuppa to The Troggs

What was that original head tune again? :D
Happy Saturday.

Weekend Headshakers

Right. And I'm The Highlander.

Good luck.

Ya mean ya can be too thin?

Space cowboy

Rubber baby buggy bumpers?

I can't get over this.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm Speechless

Trucks have been driven into buildings and taken out the movie house marquee by driving up on the sidewalk in my town, but this tops them all.

I really hope the car driver is okay, I know her sister. What the hell is wrong with the truck driver?

Gotta Get a Chicken

It's sure looking like we'll get some Winter this weekend. Every weather source I've checked says snow starting late tonight and on to tamari. Two sources say snow on Sunday. And lows for the next nights in the single digits.

It's a snow sky out there right now, a light gray hunkering-down sky. The white light of the sun is so mild you can look right at it and see branches in front of it. My Gal Friday said the supermarket was packed. That in itself isn't a sure sign, but it means people think we'll get it.

Every time snow was coming we couldn't put out the chicken fast enough. An unspoken primal urge came out in people: "It's gonna snow, gotta get a chicken." It was all hands on deck, drop what you're doing and get the chicken cases filled. 400 pounds at a time, til we'd run out. Then we'd go back to whatever we were doing- cooking in my case- and the disappointed customers would shuffle over to ask us for more. Like we were holding out on them? "Oh, we have lots of chicken, but we're not selling it to you."

There are times I don't miss the food business. Before a snow is one of them. I think I'll call the boys and ask them if they have chickens.


Don't know about you, but following the NDAA being signed in by Obama, I was damn upset and still am. Now I see this
and think, "It's over. We didn't get a chance"

Bye-bye Constitution. It was nice while it lasted. Soon enough my generation will be gone and nobody will remember what relative freedom was. Hello, Age of Big Brother.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wake Up and the Day is Over

It's been one of those days when time just slips by and I can't really point to anything getting done. Except Hildie is thoroughly combed. Rewrote a chapter of the book that I'm still not satisfied with and put it down for the day before I drove myself nuts. Seems like I woke up, did some things, saw and talked to a few people and now it's almost 8 p.m. Where the time goes on a day like this I don't know. Some days feel like extra hours are put in. I guess this was one that they borrow the time from.

It feels like Spring. Sunny, breezy, cold but not like other Februarys kind of coldness. Not to the bone, move fast, cover your face cold. I've always wanted a really long Spring, maybe this is it. Just feels off, not having a Winter.

Today is the 15th anniversary of my Mom's death, too. 15 years already. Impossible. As the years go by I try to remember her laughter, her singing... it fades a little. February is not a favorite month of mine. Too many deaths remembered. But if it all flies by like today, that's fine by me.

I'm glad to be eating healthy. I'm sleeping and everything is normal. Maybe the pounds won't magically disappear this way, but it's liveable. I don't even miss flour products anymore and more surprising, I crave veggies now. Go figure.

All's quiet in The Shire. The story of Beowulf is on H2, and I have books to read. Life is good. I hope everyone gets a peaceful day like this now and then. See ya tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Daily Theme Songs, Evil Head Tunes, Etc., Etc.

Repeating synchronicities weird me out. Like hearing a song three times in one day after not hearing it since an ex stole the cassette in 2000, leaving me a PIL tape. I guess to him it was a trade, but not to me. Anyway, here's the song I heard 3 times today in different places, by the Psychedelic Furs:

This happened a couple of days ago with this song by The Ramones:

But that's better than an evil head tune. I had this stuck in my mental 8-track mercilessly yesterday:
That should be registered as a weapon. Even the classic wiper of head tunes, Piano Man, didn't work. From now on, it's the song I will call, "The Song That Must Not Be Named". Because that's how it started. Trying to remember it. I once knew an old man who'd sing it all the time. He's dead now. The song goes on. And on and friggin on.

And then for over a week now, Oliver Reed keeps popping up. Not literally, he's still buried in Ireland, far as I know. But here and there, it's Oliver Reed. A friend sent me this today, not knowing about the Ollie thing:
Why Oliver Reed? Who knows? Is there a why?

What does it all mean? Not a damned thing. It portends nothing, has no hidden meaning, is naught but synchronicity. Which weirds me out a bit.

Daryl's Birthday and Jambalaya

What do Daryl Pillsbury's B'day and Jambalaya have in common? It's Heat Fund Recipe Day! Yay!

So last night I made a double batch of a simple jambalaya (no seafood- everyone's allergic these days) and let it sit and marry all the luscious flavors in the fridge overnight. This morning, bright and early Daryl came by and we sat and schmoozed for a while and he took it in to the radio station. He and Steve West, talk show host of our Live & Local show, are on the air drumming up donations for the Windham County Heat Fund.

I've stumped for this charity on this blog several times but this year there's a bigger need than ever. Despite the mild winter it's been, we still need heat. The temps have been dipping into the teens at night lately and the funding for LIHEAP and the state has been cut. This can be a deadly combo. So far this year I haven't heard of anyone freezing to death in their home, thank Gods, but it happened last year in a neighboring town. This is why we work to get donations, to help those in an emergency who have no heat and nowhere to turn for help.

Daryl handles the paperwork while I do the recipe and cooking. He is now sending the entire collection of recipes- about 15 he just said- for a single donation of any size. Even 5 bucks helps, and will get you all the recipes I've created over the last year and change.

You can help the heatless by sending a tax-deductible check to:

The Windham County Heat Fund
679 Weatherhead Hollow Road
Guilford, VT 05301

If you want the recipes, include a note saying so. Daryl will get them in the mail to you within a week. And wish Daryl a Happy Birthday. He's one of the good guys.

What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago I was kicking the opiates I'd taken for about 4 years. I started out Cold Turkey, but cooler heads prevailed (friends who happen to be nurses freaked out at me and my pharmacist Jim freaked out at my doc- who didn't care) and I withdrew a little more gradually, over 3 weeks. My daughter still laughs at the emails I was sending but doesn't tell me what was in them. I kinda live in dread that they'll surface some day but what the hell. Can't be any nuttier than what I was posting on my blog.

I don't remember a lot. So much has happened since then! But when I look back at a blogpost from a year ago
it comes back pretty clearly. Too clearly.

I don't endorse Cold Turkey. I've done it a couple of times now and it's never a good experience. Though I'm the type who laughs through a lot of it, there were horrors too. The severe physical withdrawals from being dopesick can kill. While I know that's how I do it and make it last, I don't recommend it. Somehow- unremembered exactly how, as I was alone most of the time- I broke my collarbone during it, which went untreated. I recall having to make several cups of coffee in succession all the time because my arm would jerk out and throw the cup, or my hand would just open and I'd drop it.

Many good things have come after. Living here and getting out of the "luxury downtown living" of the Brooks House. Overcoming pain without using drugs. The entire Oz trip that came with Irene. Bonding so closely with Strider again. My friends rallying to move me twice in six months. The joy of blogging, which really only started with detoxing a year ago. Until then I'd blog in a year what I now blog in a month. And getting Hildebeest, who's now more a part of me than black clothing. What's left of my brain is, well as Tim Minchin says, "It's not perfect but it's mine."

A year without dope is a year of real life. In Technicolor. It's good.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Moveable Beest

The Beest is less cantankerous than ever. She's been pretty friendly to everyone who's stopped in from the beginning, here. She adores and demands a lot of attention. She will bop you with a paw when she wants it. She will crawl onto you when you are sitting or lying down and hook her arms around your leg. However, she doesn't like being handled. The evening I tried clipping her claws is imprinted on my mind, and arms. I've been looking for gauntlets since.

And so I determined to socialize her.

Since she perches for a good deal of her time right beside me on my desk leaf I started picking her up and holding her. This was met with scrabbling for the edge of the leaf with every ounce of strength she has and hanging on for dear life. Luckily I can still outwit her, and use the old kung fu to push her forward off the leaf, a move she never expects. Once in my hands and with nothing but air to cling to, I zoom her to my chest, where, I've been told, the beating of my heart will calm her. This is a lie. Within a second she begins a low rumbling growl. I join her, growling right along. This probably doesn't help matters, but it feels right. I scratch the parts she loves scratched, her ears and chin. She continues growling. Her claws are in my flesh by now, and every muscle tensed in genetic jungle cat apprehension. I whisper in her ear. She hisses. I hiss back. Perhaps this is not working.

Not wanting to traumatize her or make her hate me and kill me in my sleep, I let her go. At first she'd jump down to the floor in a great leap of freedom and would sit licking herself, shooting me indignant and pissy looks from the kitchen. Now she scrabbles back onto the leaf from which I plucked her, has a full-body shiver and ignores my existence. Once she regains composure she nonchalantly tiptoes around my keyboard with one eye on my every move and goes on about her business.

This is now a nightly ritual. We are moving forward, little by little. 

Attention All Zombie Fans

Stevil at auto de fey has just posted some very important news. Read his post for more info:

"Probably be a lot more of em when they find out about us!"

75 Days... Greg. Plans continue, choices dance in my head, stomach flutters. And all so tiny in the grand scheme of things.

The circus of politics goes on in this country. I wish I could ignore it but it's ubiquitous. Never in my nightmares would I have thought Newt the Corrupt would be back in the headlines after the scum he proved himself to be in the 90s. And why oh why does anyone report what Trump or Palin says? Who cares?

Around the world, reality bites:
In Syria

In the Phillipines

In Iran

In Romania

In Egypt

In Zimbabwe

This is why I've been avoiding the news lately. And these are among the least horrifying stories, in the big picture. As my Mother would say, "It's very discouraging,"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guard Your Dreams and Visions

"We must have ideals and try to live up to them, even if we never quite succeed. Life would be a sorry business without them. With them it's grand and great."
Lucy Maud Montgomery

This was yesterday's quote, and has been on my mind since reading it.

Expectations are unreasonable wishes to my mind. Ideals, on the other hand, are necessary. We can hold ideals, and as Ms. Montgomery says, try to live up to them, but we rarely can live up to them 100%. Or expect anyone else to. And there, as they say, lies the rub.

Take this whole Operation Greg thing. The ideal was to stay on Atkins Induction for 3 months, as I did last time, and drop 50 pounds. As it turned out, that was impossible to keep. I made it one month and am now eating a sensible balanced and healthy way. A part of me is disappointed in myself to not be able to carry through the 3 months, even though I know it was an ideal, not to be expected. There are just too many things that happen in life to rely on- or expect- anything to work out exactly as planned. Any action can have a number of outcomes.

I believe that you never lose if you never give up. And that however many setbacks, changes in plan, changes in realizations you come across, you don't ever have to give up your ideals. Ideals have a bell curve, too. You may not reach the apogee (Hi Pearl!) but chances are you'll fall somewhere along the big portion of success, as long as you don't cave in to hopelessness and give up.

Which is way easier to say than to do. The same setbacks or changes mentioned can undermine your attitude and confidence to hugely damaging effect. Getting into a bad, hopeless and negative thoughtstream will drown you. It's much easier to give up, to cast blame and act out and justify your laziness. It's easier to not examine ourselves, our motives, our choices. And it's a sure way to be a loser and a cynic, if that's what your aim was. Life ain't easy.

Perhaps that's why I like and have kept the Catholic church's conviction that hopelessness is a Mortal Sin. It does kill your spirit, that elusive thing that is the wellspring of hopes and ideals.

And perhaps that's where the constructs of sin are based. The things that can trip you up and pull you down, ruin your happiness, that must be fought off. Of course, it's simpler to blame them on a Tempter, and every religion has at least one. But the real deal is that we all have a Tempter inside us, and it's how we keep it at bay that matters.

So guard your dreams and visions. Respect them, and you're respecting yourself. They are the most valuable things you can ever own. Only you can take them away from yourself.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Take Your Protein Pills and Put Your Helmet On

Welcome back, Rory! What a happy and huge relief!
We've all missed you and have worried.
But I think your spaceship knows which way to go.
And here's a little celebratory song to mark splashdown:


Ghost in the Machine Time Again

There are Blogger issues. I can't comment again. This has happened before and no doubt will again. I see Lawless' follow roll is screwy. Who knows what's up- these things happen. It's a blah day in Bratt but there's an AbFab marathon while I do some tidying so I'm not bovvered. :)

Tomorrow will be better. And with any luck this will be back to normal...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shades of the Times

Since  childhood, I've loved horror and monsters. Bring on the vampires, werewolves, ghouls, zombies, ghosts, mummies, atomically altered insects, I love them. These days, not so much. Vampires have turned into "sensitive glittery emo types"
( and zombies are funny.

This really stinks. I don't want to watch some simpering misunderstood romantic tragic vampire BS. I want the classic vampire; evil, killing, well-dressed, scary but charming creatures they are. I want werewolves that hide from society and have no conscience for killing when the moon is full. I want ghosts that ominously appear and give you nightmares. I want hordes of nearly unstoppable zombies that determinedly lurch on in search of brains. And mummies with unquenchable vengeance.

All my monsters have been vanilla-ed into mediocrity. What's called horror these days is sadistic gore. Humans are the monsters, humans that torture others. While I agree this is a much more realistic portrayal of evil in the world, it seems a sort of normalizing of psychopathy. We hear too many tales of people imprisoned for years or hacked to pieces by madmen. Watching the worst of human capabilities isn't horror to me, it's PTSD-inducing.

The magic of the horror genre was that it didn't and couldn't really happen. Dracula didn't live down the block for years running an antiques business. He didn't go to high school and suffer an interminable, pale adolescence. He was an abomination, a creature of the night, and yes, an allegory. But an evil that was vanquished in the end.

And that, in my humble opinion, is how it should be.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Billy Bragg's "Between the Wars"

One of Billy's best... timeless.

I was a miner
I was a docker
I was a railway man
Between the wars.
I raised a family
In times of austerity
With sweat at the foundry
Between the wars.

I paid the union and as times got harder
I looked to the government to help the working man
But they brought prosperity down at the armoury
"We're arming for peace me boys,
Between the wars."

I kept the faith and I kept voting
Not for the iron fist but for the helping hand,
For theirs is a land with a wall around it
And mine is a faith in my fellow man.

Theirs is a land of hope and glory
Mine is the green field and the factory floor.
Theirs are the skies all dark with bombers
And mine is the peace we knew
Between the wars.

Call up the craftsmen
Bring me the draughtsmen
Build me a path from cradle to grave,
And I'll give my consent
To any government
That does not deny a man a living wage.

Go find the young men never to fight again
Bring up the banners from the days gone by.
Sweet moderation,
Heart of this nation,
Desert us not, we are
Between the wars.

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Now We Are Four

Today is the 4th Anniversary of putting my first tentative fingers into blogging. I had almost no knowledge of the internet then, no expectations of where this would go. I did have opinions and stories and that's where I started. And seems to be where I've stayed.

Blogging has brought so many interesting and good people into my life. I maintain that writers are among the best humans possible. Writing daily has disciplined me, has made me more aware of what's going on in the world, and has made me get to know myself on a different level. It's been challenging, sometimes tough, sometimes a joy.
I'm very glad I do it, and very grateful for the people I've found in blogworld.

On to year 5.

The War on the Poor

This isn't funny anymore. They really mean it.
Of course, shaming the poor isn't new, it's part of our culture. But the GOP hasn't stopped this campaign against social programs since the 80s and is ramping it up by passing laws in individual states, state by state. Their forerunning candidates have all legislated and spoken toward eliminating "social safety nets" including Social Security.

Romney "isn't concerned about the very poor."

This is a good summation of how the Repos became the party of and for the rich:

Poor Republicans say their party doesn't help the poor enough (why are they still voting for them then?)

Pennsylvania is adding restrictions to Food Stamp recipients:

The Daily Show did a fabulous job on the FL law to force Welfare recipients to take drug tests- but the politicians won't pee in a cup:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oh What a Relief It Is

Hallelujah for a tummy that bounces back as soon as you give it veggies! Who knew that a basic bodily function - such as Susan pointed out in a comment about sleeping- could be so different as you age, and make life entirely awful if put out of kilter? Right now I don't care much that the world is going to Helena Handbasket (which it is). I'm not bloated out to here and have lost at least another 5 pounds today. :) Once we hit the speed limit ages, you have to do the sustainable. Or your body will make you as miserable as the little kid who won't go to sleep.

Thank you to everybody who pitched in with support and advice. I am a very stubborn git but that was an obvious body-in-revolt moment and I made it through relatively unscathed because of your cooler heads and reasoned thinking. For the one month it was okay, but at this age, it's intolerable to continue.

Besides, after a month of no sugar, veggies are incredibly sweet. Carrots? Like candy. This will probably wear off- we too soon grow accustomed to everything- now it's as if my tastebuds are reset. 

It's great to have a brave face, but if your butt's not happy, ain't nobody happy. I'm relieved that's over. And good things have come of it- I don't have starch and bread cravings anymore. I've grown to really like good coffee straight up. Having cleared the cabinets and fridge, my choices are clear too. And my head's a bit clearer, too. 

So it's on to sensible. The very last thing anyone who's ever known me would expect. But I'm perverse that way. Sleep well.

I'm Reviewing the Situation

While the full-on Atkins Induction/22 grams of carbs/meatfest was great for the first 4 weeks or so, this past week zoomed into a sharp attitudinal decline. A sort of PMS on steroids. Not good, not comfortable. All it took was a few common stresses to bring it to a boil. After some emails, talking to some pals and thinking on it, the diet has to change. I can't do what I did 15 years or even 7 years ago. My body has changed, my abilities have changed- which eliminated some key coping mechanisms- and I'm at "the change". Not a smart time to severely cut carbs for an extended period.

I am really tickled at having lost 18 pounds in the last month. But this diet isn't sustainable for the long run. Not for 3 more months, even. So I've decided to change tack, and do the dreaded "sensible" thing. No flours (that's out of my system at least), no sugar. More along the lines of a primal diet. Meats, fresh fruits and veggies. Which should help with the effects of high pro that aren't desirable. And will still be viable to drop the remaining weight. This is beyond seeing Greg in April; this is about regaining health and being able to keep it.

Funny how sometimes I start out on a project and its focus shifts to something else as it goes along. When I quit opiates, it was initially to give the finger to my doc and the new regulations that office had begun. It was a protest. A protest that took me far and away from how I'd been existing for 4 years. Guess that's how I am. I have to go drastic to make a big change. Eventually I settle into a new reality. It's all good.

80 days to Greg. :)   

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Do You Do?

When you're irritated, frustrated and agitated, what do you do?
Pitch a fit?
Twist and shout?
On innocent bystanders take it out?
Or on those who've had it coming?

When you're fed up, bursting with freefloating ire, what do you do?
Dance and sing?
Yell a bunch of curses and throw something?
Or just sit and let it fester?

When every last thing jumps on your last nerve, what do you do?

Love, Peace and Soul, Don Cornelius

Don Cornelius, velvety- voiced host and producer of "The Soul Train", is dead. "The Soul Train" was a part of every Saturday morning to me, playing as I cleaned house. I loved that show, learned dance moves and new songs from it. It was long before MTV and much cooler. I only stopped watching when they went entirely disco.

Mr. Cornelius was found dead this morning in his home, apparently of suicide. He was a pioneer in entertainment, a gracious show host and an icon. He was 75. He will be missed.