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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sneaky Summer Staycation...

Oh yes I'm in absolute FTW mode. Blog? What's a blog? Email? There's email? Oh, right, and phone messages when people call and I'm supposed to call back..... Well I'll get to it all, yes I will. Soon.

But first, Staycation. I've been trying to do this, but things happen and people come by and before I know it the treadmill or carousel or rollercoaster of Things Going On That Must Be Addressed is running. On Saturday things calmed down and yesterday and today have been blessedly quiet. So I'm laying low, feeling sneaky with a sort of trepidation that I'll have a payback for ignoring the world for a week. The thing is my Gal Friday's off til Friday so I'm free to do sod tout until then and I'm going to do so. This is my Staycation week, though I didn't know it. And the ELP "Beyond the Beginning" 2 disc set has finally arrived (that only took a month), and I wanted to re-watch all the discs my Niecely sent me and do some artsy-fartsy things (I'm in my second teenhood). This is my week to drop the protest signs, indulge in all things bad for body and soul and generally not give a fying fluck. I'm recklessly deleting all informative emails, ignoring all news and won't be answering anything at all unless there's an emergency (Real Emergencies Only, not dramas). Friday will be here soon enough. Carry on, world.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It Is Known, But Nothing Changes

There seems a disconnection somewhere. Perhaps the planet's synapses aren't firing right these days, but I'm noticing a lot of more of the same crapola keeps happening yet is posted as if it was a new development.

Like this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/26/walmart-accused-firing-union-organizers

Now, it wasn't that long ago that Walmart closed a whole store in Canada, and then one of their Tire & Lube garages in Canada, because the workers had organized.
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=acefdd5e-8203-40e6-a618-e674e4ca1aaa

And before that, Waldemort (as I like to call them) was found guilty of numerous violations perpetrated on their employees- which still goes on
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/03/against-wal-mart

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/may/01/usnews.supermarkets

Years before that, Waldemort took out life insurance policies on their employees. Doesn't anyone remember that scandal?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/666837/posts

So many people know that Waldemort has wiped out Mom & Pop stores in towns and driven down the GNP that I can't believe this is still a surprise. Their model of employment has set the new, lower standard of living for all workers, as others copycat the bottom-dwelling model. That they discriminate and encourage their US employees to go on Medicaid, well, I thought everyone knew all that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhCtDI2pOLs

And yes, most people still go shopping there regularly, supporting Waldemort on a weekly basis, ignoring how this one very powerful chain store has brought us all down. Doesn't everyone know?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Weatherbees Who Cried Tornado

Every other freakin day this entire humid miserable hot Summer the weather people have been throwing high alerts at us for Severe Thunderstorms With Damaging Winds and Large Hail that could do Property Damage. High Winds that could Knock Down Tree limbs causing Power Failure. And several times they've broadcasted Tornado Watch! Tornado Watch! because they say the way the warm and cool hit each other could by God kill us all! Watch your skies! Be afraid! Take shelter! Grab the children and head for the root cellar! We're gonna die!

And Every Single Time we've had nothing. A couple of flashes, some rumbles from over the hills and far away, maybe a weak brief shower. This whole season we've had rain three times. Not even enough to keep the tomato plants alive if I didn't water them. But the air has plenty of water. Enough humidity to make every non-cloth surface schloopy. Today I had to towel down the kitchen walls after boiling water for my coffee.

Today we've had the full treatment, including Tornado Watch! and again, it's dank, sauna-like and disgusting. We're on the "Expect Thunderstorms" stage now, where every two hours they say we'll Really Get It in another two hours. This is the pattern of this Summer. It was also the pattern of the Spring.

Well, that's just great. We've heard all these false alarms for so long now that I'm ready to ignore it entirely. If there's ever a real weather issue coming nobody will believe it. And then it'll be drama's fault because they inured us with BS for months and months. Pffft.

Today's Mindless Joy

There are very few things I love more than laughter. The funniest of funnies come from truth and anger, and a great source of  both is in talking about where one lives, or grew up. Especially when it's a soul-sucking or confusingly awful place. And so it is with watery eyes and that bubbly inside feeling that I pass on today's source of mindless joy:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jul/25/thurrock-capital-misery?

The comments are priceless, as the UK's citizenry go at it in Four Yorkshiremen style. Stuck in my head is, "Even the dog turds are gray." Which put me in mind of my own home town:
 
http://www.theonion.com/articles/84-million-new-yorkers-suddenly-realize-new-york-c,18003/

And in the Guardian comments was also a recommendation to a delightful site where I found
http://craptowns.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/glastonbury/

Reading this description of Glastonbury, I expect nods of recognition from those of us in Brattleboro who remember when this town was eerily similar. And also those who've spent many years among the Pagan communities.

Humor is truth and truth humor. That is all we know and all we need to know. May your day be full of it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

From the "Now I've Seen it All" Files

There's something about hipsters that cracks me up. I don't know what it is... maybe it's just the fashions they wear or the attitude. For the past few years seeing hipsters just tickles me. We have a lot of them in Brattleboro. It's only sad when someone does it (or keeps doing it) as an older person, because they take themselves very deadly seriously.

Here is a hipster definition
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hipster

If you really want to be a hipster, here's a step-by-step guide
http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Hipster

Hipsters think themselves more "authentic" and "valid" than the hippies did. I don't personally remember any hippies worrying about such things. Hipsters like "retro" and "vintage" and "ironic" things. They have the certainty of being correct that only happens when you're young.

So it's an absolute delight to see hipsters having fun wth their own culture in the Hipster Olympics
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/gallery/2012/jul/24/festivals-germany#/?picture=393515472&index=0

How can you not like hipsters? They're "pretty much" "awesome", they like poetry, coffee, smoking and vodka, and love deep meaningful one-liners and quotes.

Still don't "get" hipsters? Look through here (warning: Hipsters curse a lot)
http://fuckyeahhipsterquotes.tumblr.com/archive

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bull Of Heaven is Published!

After eight and a half years of hard work, piecing together bits of history and recollections, Michael Lloyd's book is finally out. Bull of Heaven: The Mythic Life of Eddie Buczynski and the Rise of the New York Pagan is printed and available as a paperback or as a pdf here.

. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Garandu

I never knew Eddie personally but I worked for his lover Herman for several years after they'd split up. Eddie was the co-founder of much of what became the Pagan scene in NYC. Lots of people knew and loved him, yet he's been virtually unknown and unsung until now. Michael has poured his heart and soul into this book, tracking down the many, many people (some of whom have passed on while the writing continued) who'd been involved in the early days of the occult movement of the 60s and 70s. There is a rich untold history there, and I can't wait to read this book. And I'm tickled that I got to put my two cents worth in it.

Congratulations Michael, I hope it makes bestseller!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Some Velvet Morning

It's a soft Summer day here, not hot, little breezes tease the windchimes. The sky is clear and the kind of blue I've only ever seen in the eyes of a man I used to know. Squirrels chitter and birds chirp and it's hard to believe anything bad could happen. Peace is good.

And then there are things to ponder in the bright sunshine...
Heat makes Hotheads
http://phys.org/news/2012-07-crime-earth-temperatures.html

Change Your Head, Change Your Life
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/02/how-to-make-optimism-work-for-you-2/

The Glacier that Left Greenland Behind
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/ice-island-twice-as-big-as-manhattan-breaks-off-greenland-glacier/2012/07/17/gJQAJApbrW_blog.html

4 Myths about Government Spending
http://www.alternet.org/news/156365/4_dangerous_myths_about_government_spending?page=entire

Codependent Buildings Coming?
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120717-bringing-buildings-to-life

Free Online Courses Offered!
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/education/consortium-of-colleges-takes-online-education-to-new-level.html?_

OOBEs, Dissociation and You
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/07/out-of-body-experience-highlig.html

Where Have All the Intelligent Conservatives Gone?
http://chronicle.com/article/Dreaming-of-a-World-Without/132813/

Doing it for Dad
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jul/21/doing-it-for-dad-dementia

This just in from my friend Tad
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=GBaHPND2QJg

Friday, July 20, 2012

Well.

The news this morning was horrifying. A crazed man went into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and shot some 40-50 people, killing 12.

It's taken a few hours for this to sink in. Instantly I was angry. Very angry. Even with the people who'd brought small children to a midnight show. Now seven hours after hearing about it, I'm sickened and sad. This kind of seemingly random killing spree is becoming a shockingly regular occurrence. WTF is going on? Why? How could anyone do such evil? I don't understand. I can't understand.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jill Stein for President

After 4 years of the same old from the Obama administration and all the lifers on Capital Hill, I've had it with the parties in power. I've had it with not ever seeing campaign promises happen, I've had it with the suits getting everything from their paid-for candidates, I've had it with fearmongering while our freedoms disappear, I've had it with a spineless, toadying Old Boys Club. I'm done.

I refuse to listen to the chicken chorus of "but a bad guy will win" BS. The Electoral College assures us that our individual votes don't really matter anyway. So this year I'm voting my conscience. And my conscience is with the Green Party. I'm voting for Jill Stein.

http://www.jillstein.org/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_Stein

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why Not the Scandihoovians?

Full disclosure: from what I know of my family tree I'm nearly entirely Northern. There was one Mohawk and a half-French guy back a few gens. The rest were entirely bad-tempered but hilarious people of Sweden and Very Northern Europe. I know how Scottish I am, and also how Scandinavian I am. I don't tan. I have the lifelong hammy arms of the Viking Woman, the sudden red-eyed rage, sarcasm and the bouts of ennui. There's duty drilled into my head and I don't understand irresponsibility, especially when it concerns money. Yes, we had to eat lutefisk. No, I only wore one of those ridiculous costumes once. And I laugh at Bergman movies. Not just laugh, guffaw. It's how I was raised. My father hurt himself when we saw "The Seventh Seal". Which in my neighborhood was not unusual. I didn't know Bergman was taken as drama by all non-Scandinavian-Americans until HS. Ibsen, too. Freshman year, I recommended "A Doll's House" for the drama class' comedy production. Boy did I get looks.

Recently I came across an old book I've had for years, Scandinavian Humor and Other Myths, and found copies online for a couple of friends who are Scandinavian. If you're puzzled by or have a Viking heritage, it explains so much. We're weird people. The only people who really "get" any Scandinavians are other Scandinavians. Even then, we're off the mark half the time.

So when I came across John Cleese's "Norway- Home of the Giants", I didn't know where it would go. Could the great Jack Cheese pull it off? See it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc4oAdiS6UE

And if you are or are not Scandinavian, please leave your opinion of it. I'm interested.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Book in the Shade

Okay, it's hot and tomorrow is supposed to be hotter. My friend Cam called, worried that I'm going to melt or faint or something. But ya know, I grew up without AC. And Brooklyn in August is damn hot. High 90s wasn't unusual. and we never lived on a ground floor. Believe it or not, somehow we survived before AC. Whenever I start thinking about how hot it is, I think of my grandmother's house or those years in kitchens where Summer made things only a bit warmer than always and immediately I feel cooler.

There are lots of ways to be a bit cooler when it's a scorcher. A cool wet towel around the neck and drinking icy lemon water do wonders. The luxury of being able to take a shower in the worst heat of the day (here that's around 3-4 p.m.) is lovely. An exhaust fan on low pulls the humidity out and if you've an opposing window in the shade it'll draw a lovely breeze through when set on high. On the nights when it cools I open all the windows and then close them in the morning. Shades stay down. The small investment I made in light-blocking and thermo-insulated drapes for the bedroom help too (each pair was $12 USD on Amazon). Any physical work gets done in the cool morning hours and as the temp rises I slow down to a snail's pace. The heat does make my legs and feet swell to balloons. Which inevitably leads to a lying down with legs up and a good read. Fortunately there's no want of books right now.

Having finished Eric Clapton's autobiography and Beard's Latin for All Occasions I moved on to GRR Martin's latest ASOI&F installment, A Dance with Dragons. Martin's books are like cheesecake. Yummy and dense, but they aren't books I can take in in one sitting. He writes them in viewpoint chapters, and there are so many characters that it's easy to get lost in what is going on and even lost in general. This volume is running in tandem with the preceding book, too, and on starting it I thought I'd had a stroke or something because parts of the story had advanced in the prior book and here we were back in time. Half a dozen chapters in it's still a wondrous story but so far, not the best of them.

Then Strider sent me two books as a surprise. Atwood's The Tent, which is another fantastic collection of shorts. I duno about you, but to me, Atwood's writing is like a favorite pair of socks. You don't always need them, but there are times when nothing else will do. I've already read the collection through twice. And they bring interesting dreams if you read them before sleep. The second is Irving's Til I Find You. When reading Irving I need to give him my full attention. I tend to fall into his books for the duration, the same goes for Tom Robbins and Audrey Niffenegger. So he'll wait til after ADwD is done. Meanwhile, to supplement my Summer afternoons, I have a pile of incidental reads, like Harnessing Your Dark Side and a couple of unearthed Led Zep bios that I don't recall ever reading. My niece also sent me many books that are waiting in my computer... when it's not so painy I'll be able to sit and read all those too. Somehow I've been indulged with books and I'm not complaining!

It's 1:30 p now and it's getting "close" in here. The Beest has lain down on the desk shelf in front of the exhaust fan, heavy eyes glancing up through the spinning blades now and then. The Shire's maintenance crew is cutting the lawns, but why bother- it's all brown and hasn't grown at all. The tomato plants are hanging on but even the hostas are wilting and the marigolds have burned in the sun. There may be rain tomorrow night. We're all hoping. I worry that the crops are going to fail, making farmers even poorer and our food prices go skyhigh. As Diana Hamilton says, "We'll just wait and see what happens."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Words of Wisdom From the World Outside

So says Joe Jackson in "Sunday Papers".and who am I to disagree? Before I launch into a New Wave reverie, let's take a look at that world outside.

Today my friend Wayne is giving one of his books away with any Kindle purchase of his new title. Details:
 http://wayneingmoments.blogspot.com/2012/07/game-return-to-elan-school-release-and.html

My SIL in Joisey and I were wondering if this is taught in school anymore:
http://homeworktips.about.com/od/englishhomework/ss/diagram.htm

I can't believe I like Marilyn Manson
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jul/15/marilyn-manson-this-much-i-know

Synthetic Life...isn't that what you get in Hollywood?
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0712/breaking36.html

Happy 100, Woody
http://bigthink.com/think-tank/woody-guthrie-versus-the-one-percent?

It's like yawning
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=is-a-bad-mood-contagious

This is reassuring
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303830204577445392792605360.html

So they're saying ignorance is bliss?
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/opinion/sunday/conservatives-are-happier-and-extremists-are-happiest-of-all.html?

Here we go: The Thought Police Really Are Coming
http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/diagnostics/the-mindreading-machine

Projection isn't just for vomit
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120628-playing-the-brains-blame-game

Oy. Have a cuppa tea and think. Is it so hard?
http://bigthink.com/postcards-from-zizek/the-more-it-rots-the-more-it-thrives-slavoj-zizek-on-capitalism?

It's very moist and the days are miserably hot with no rain.Sleeping patterns have changed entirely. The Shire is home to some new people and they're not like the pre-existing population. There is noise late at night. The Fire Dept was here a couple hours ago. I don't agree with mixed population housing.

However, it's still Summer (holy crap July 4th is a week and a half gone by already) so I can't really give a manticore's scrote.

And Welcome Kick! You found me, sistah!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summering on Low

I am Summering out. My niece has gifted me with the first 2 seasons of True Blood and wow, I had no idea. I assumed it was another vampire sex saga. It is, but not done in a crappy way, and with lots of other stories going on. And it's just entertainment, no thinking, no subtexts with meaning. As Strider and I were saying last night, Summer is dear to us in New England. You don't want to be serious. You don't want things to do that have meaning. It's the time of year we have long lazy days and there's life all around. I can't hike anymore or go jump in water somewhere but I can hang out with the best of them. You only get so many Summers and I plan to waste every moment of every one I get.

Sorry my posting's been so erratic. You understand, I'm sure. It's tough to gather thoughts when you lose yourself watching the Brandywine run by. Or when a friend comes by with a pizza and you put on some Sly & the Family Stone. Or when some engrossing and entirely useless stuff entertains. However, it's great for writing fiction, and that's where all my writing time goes when I do anything constructive.

But Summer won't last. Soon enough I'll be back here posting more than once a day and I'll jump on here when I can and post news stories every few days until then. I'm not bailing, I'm just sailing. Go out and eat up some Summer. Stay in and waste some time. Let your eyes fill up on greenery, on the Earth and its many small miracles.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Bounty of News

Very remiss in keeping up with news stories. There's all kinds of caca hitting fans everywhere. And lots of things going on...

More than 144 dead in floods in Russia
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/08/putin-flood-russia-death-toll

More than 24 dead in heat in the US
http://www.guardian.co.uk/weather/2012/jul/08/heat-wave-bakes-us-death

Malware Monday
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/malware-put-internet-offline-thousands-monday-dns-changer-harm-article-1.1108522

Watch them meatballs
http://news.yahoo.com/meatball-company-recalls-300-000-pounds-meat-over-013219593.html

They should know:
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680125/genetic-engineers-explain-why-genetically-modified-food-is-dangerous

Humans aren't enough
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428402/automate-or-perish/

The God Particle
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/science/cern-physicists-may-have-discovered-higgs-boson-particle.html

The Real Great Divide
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/06/robert-putnam-class-now-trumps-race-as-the-great-divide-in-america/259256/

What we say, what dogs hear
http://bigthink.com/think-tank/do-dogs-speak-human?

Using your "dark side"
http://www.algalves.com/html/ten_tips.1.HTM

30 accents in the English language, for your entertainment
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtB1W8zkY5A

I'm off to fix the tomato plants and water plants. Hope for rain!

Wipeout

It's taken 3 days of laying low (not that I could've done much in this heat) to recover from the party. All went well, much eating and drinking and yakkety yak. The last stray limp potato chip has been found and trashed. Things are mostly back in place. I love our gang gatherings. Kinda sweet to look around and see the same faces as years go by. We all know each other so well and will still hang out together. Which doesn't mean we don't take shots, we do. Just not anything that will draw blood. And then a friend stayed over Friday on his way back north. So yeah, just a little fried.

Richard Davis of the Heat Fund has started a fund to help the Diamondstones, who lost their uninsured house to fire last week. Info here
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120704211547937

There's a ridiculous amount of bad going on but I won't go into it now, it's much too late at night. As for the news that's usually on here, it'll be back to it in the morning. Droughts, floods, all the wild rides our fellow babies are taking these days.

I hope everyone getting soaked is keeping safe and dry. I hope everyone in the heat and drought is safe and has enough water. Catch up in the morning.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day 2012

I'm not going to say much about the holiday, because my friend Stevil has said about all that needs saying.
http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/2012/07/mama-look-sharp.html
He's good that way.

It's a busy morning of cooking and prepping ahead. The nearly no sleep and new and noisy neighbors made me a crispy critter at half-function today so I'm going to try to go to sleep again. But in case I don't make it back here tomorrow I wanted to wish a Happy Independence Day to those who still remember what it's about. And leave a bit of music to ponder if you aren't in a rush to anywhere.

Katie Herzig
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwadgSm50WE

Nina Simone
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyCn8IC5RpE

Woody Guthrie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwcKwGS7OSQ

"In the name of Vermont, we defy all the world"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4KcJTP8nW8

Remember the tyranny we shook off once.

Parade May Poop Out

The organizers of our July 4th town parade have announced that due to severe weather forecasts there may not be a parade. They hope to have an announcement by 7:30 a.m. tomorrow to head off the mustering at 9.

Further info at:
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120703123906387

However, the Post-Parade Party will carry on, parade or no.
And as Radar said, "That is all."

Never a Dull Moment

Some time around 10 p.m. last night I smelled wood burning. Not unusual around here, It's Summer and people have bonfires in their backyards. Then I heard a firetruck sirens and it was pretty close. This wasn't a bonfire. It was a house on fire and it was right around the corner on the main drag, Route 9. I got an email from Chris and Lise of the local citizen news site, iBrattleboro, asking if I was okay, that the fire was 3 alarms and evacuations were planned but we couldn't find out exactly what was burning.

At 11:15 our power went out. The flashing lights were visible through the trees just to the south of us. The smell was acrid and I could barely make out the smoke against the overcast sky. Traffic was diverted off Route 9 through the Shire where drivers promptly got lost. I called Lise (thank gods for good old-fashioned corded phones) to report what I knew and from info said over their scanner we figured out whose house it was and that nobody was hurt. The homeowners had been flooded out last year and now this. But at least everyone- animals included- were out of the house.

Neighbors were coming out onto the street with flashlights, standing around speculating and redirecting the drivers out of our deadend and back through to where they could rejoin Route 9.

With no power and no live local radio to tune in I took my flashlight and went to bed to read. There was too much going on to sleep; trucks and cars and people on foot were going past my window out back. At 2:15 the power came back on. Sometime around 3 I finally fell asleep.

This morning the reports say it was the Diamondstones' home. What a terrible loss after all they went through last year with Irene's flooding.

And boyo, our Fire Dept. has been kept busy this last year and some.

The best that can be said is that nobody's hurt. Physically, anyway.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sundry Sunday

Bits and pieces of things that have accumulated in my inbox this week. Enjoy some Sunday distractions.

I always keep one eye on what the UK's doing cuz the US does it next
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/30/david-cameron-work-firms-benefits

The Monthly Wins for June- and the last 2 1/2 minutes are stunning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njsPkwef8Q8

The movie of Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjH5Hj9xgHY

Sunday kinda reads
http://www.thesunmagazine.org/

Clara's Kitchen
http://www.greatdepressioncooking.com/Depression_Cooking/Welcome.html

The Flying Duchess
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Russell,_Duchess_of_Bedford

Bresny's Astrology
http://freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/