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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Unplanned Absence...

Due to circumstances beyond our control, I find myself on a brief vacance from writing. I just have too much real world stuff going on to find the headspace to compose anything more than another list.

Let me recommend some very good reading while I'm away (it won't be forever, just a few more days)- Nick Mason's autobio Inside Out, a history of Pink Floyd is hilarious and sympathetic and insightful.

The Westies, Inside Hell's Kitchen's Irish Mob by TJ English, is a pretty darn good little history about the real guys in "Goodfellas" who happen to have been my neighborhood locals back in the day.

AND our own Susan has her first book launching!!!!!
http://susan-swiderski.blogspot.com/
so definitely check her out.

I'm so sorry for this dereliction of duty, but there is a time for everything and right now is not a time to write. Thankfully my editor is alright with that, too.

Okay, see you soon!!! xo

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Windy Moon

So today is my 50-somethingeth birthday and everything has been hash from about 3 a.m. on. There is no time for anything because the Comcast guy got here an hour BEFORE schedule, which put the rest of the day in a tailspin. Celebrating birthday? No, because I have other things that have to be done that were going to be done earlier but got pushed back. The next 45 minutes are open. Whoopee.

Bright spot of the day- Niecely sent me a backup computer,. My Myrtle BeachSisInLaw directed them to send me her former laptop, so I'll have no excuse to not be online anymore. :) Nephew cleaned it up and put something in it so that if it goes haywire he can fix it. And Niecely cross stitched a portrait from the pic of Greg and me from last birthday. I don't even know how she did it, but it's utterly beautiful. It must've taken days and days to do. Absolutely love it. When Stevil gets a pic of it I'll post it.

Not to be entirely complaining, I had 81 emails with various happy birthday wishes. And then Facebook too. I managed to get the official FB notification wiped off but that didn't entirely work. One person wishes a HB, the crowd goes, "eh?" and there's a stampede of personal messages. :D It's lovely, really. Just overwhelming on a stressful day.

Anyway, yes, I'm alive. And another year's on the ageometer. And the internet/computer is mostly working, and the cable channels are back with my "free month" gone. I'm very grateful to my friends, especially Steve West of Fearless Computing (802 387 0058), for their support and for getting me a working computer after Sunny blew up, for next to nothing. I'm getting used to Windows XP and IE8, and all will be well after this full moon is over.

We also got notice that the BHA will be coming in here on the 2nd to measure the place for raising up the baseboard heaters, water heater, electric sockets and installing flood gates. When they do the actual work we'll be tossed out of our homes again. That's the morning after Strider and new puppy will be coming in late, too. The one damn morning we'll want to laze around and the first time I'll have seen her since Thanksgiving and the very first time I'll meet new puppy. Bastids. My life is so full of them.

Yes, and I blame this full moon for how things are and how I feel today. It's the Wind Moon. Everything is a rush, everything is a priority, everything will piss you off. In the old days, this is the work day from Hell that ended by going home with a "fat boy" bottle of wine and a liquid dinner that ended in an early bedtime.

Well, I have 12 minutes free until the next thing I have to do. Then something else at 6. About 7:30 I'll be free to have something to eat and then start working on my column that's due tomorrow. I figure by the time that's done I'll be a right bitch, and it'll be time to go to bed.

Meh, birthdays are overrated anyway.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cynicism Pisses Me Off

This is a re-post.
There are plenty of things to be pissed off about these days. But nothing, nothing pisses me off like cynicism. Because it kills everything good. Like self-pity, it destroys everything else but itself. And it does so smugly. Think about that. I'm not original in saying that. It's just true.

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

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

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Little Better All the Time

This is what we should see way more of on our streets

Ah, Spring. Part Deux

It's an icy mess out there this morning, with a steady downpour of sleet. It'll be nice out one of these days... this isn't one of them.

Since I promised Geo. I'd post when, my column for Vermont Views is up:
http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/Stones_of_Years.html

And aside from a litany of complaints and grouses, I got nothing. Maybe later. Think Spring-y thoughts!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Life In Extremis

For the past years, life has seemed to me to be dramatic as a Wagner piece. It's either merry and looking good or hell and shitstorm. There are few days that fall as neither anymore. For the very little that it matters, I protest! Dammit!

Once again I'm on my own damn nerves, which happens when there's been little sleep and lots of stupidity. Last night, the lights and shrill alarm of a SUV parked out back went off every time I was falling asleep, and this kept happening until 7:30 this morning. 6, 7 times? I lost count. Nobody came out to shut it off. It stopped after a while, each time. And as soon as I got to that slipping away point, BEEP BEEP BEEP again! There was a small gaggle of the offended out there, circling and cursing the offender, soon after the 7:30 a.m. show, but no driver/owner/asshole. When I emailed the manager to bitch, she said nobody had even mentioned it and this is what happens, the people here talk and bitch but nobody does anything.

And when I opened my email I learned that a young woman whom I'd known when she was a kid, had died of an opiate overdose. There are no words.

And will this sloggy weather stop!!!??? I can barely handle the pain. Shoot me now. Please.

The only solution to such rotten rot is very good stuff and the pursuit of very good stuff.

Like my friend Paul picking up a hitch hiker with a very sad life story, and not giving into the suspicion and cynicism we've accepted as normal. He just helped him, like a good person would. Thank you, Paul.

My brother has decided on the 3 wheeler, for which I'm so relieved I could plotz. It looks like he and Strider will both be here on the weekend of the 3rd-5th. And while they take off I'll have sheer puppy madness love to myself, a very healing thing.

And I'm in search of a car-singing pal. Someone who likes the same loud music I do, to drive around with and sing arena rock at the tops of our lungs and blow stress out. I'll put in for gas and have lots of music on cd. No 50s music, no bad hair metal, just 60s-70s-early 80s loudness. There has to be one person in town who's not an anal pseudo-musicologist or dreary old fart yet.

For total transporting goodness, there's this incredible performance at the Kennedy Center honoring Led Zep. Ann and Nancy Wilson and Jason Bonham take "Stairway" right on up:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK_DOJa99oo

There's Lewis Black's whole "In God We Rust" show:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELji4-TogMI

With music and laughter, we can carry on through most anything.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

How Do We Sleep While Our Beds Are Burning?

This evening, Stevil at http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/ sent me an article from the paper about the cuts to Section 8 Voucher Housing. Because of the Congress hijinks with the sequester and the defunding of so many things, those who've had affordable housing with government subsidies will lose all but ten percent and their rents will go to market value. What this means is that the retired, disabled and the poor will no longer be able to afford their apartments and will either have to pay 90% of market price somehow or be homeless.

In dollars, this means that the $750 one-bedroom apartments that are subsidized for half  the rent (low income tenant pays $375, subsidy pays $375) for a 750 dollar a month total, will now cost the tenant $675, with a subsidy of 75 dollars. In this area, rural and low-wage as it is, $750 per month is where rents start for a one-bedroom. The average retired person gets a Social Security pension of $15,000 per year. You can do the math.

This means that 6,800 households in Vermont are facing homelessness. The old, the sick, the poor of all ages and who knows how many souls. Because household doesn't just mean one person. It can mean an elderly couple, or a family with children. We could, in 3 months, have anywhere from 10-25 THOUSAND or more homeless people in our state. And all because of Congress' refusal to do right by us, their constituents, The People. Angry yet?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Heavy Metal Thunder

To my mixed delight and terror, my brother went thru the motorcycle licensing course and passed. In decades past, he had motorcycles, but never had a license. That was when the world was a bit more relaxed, shall we say? It helped that he was a cop, I'm sure. Nowadays you have to have a license to take a bike out of a dealership's lot. And to get the license you go thru 3 days of classes, 7a to 5p for the last 2. And they put you thru maneuvers Billy said he never had to do in all his years on bikes.

In any event, now we proceed to the purchase and the getting used to the particular bike he buys. I can't believe the price of bikes these days. A Honda Goldwing is 20 grand plus, now. For that money he could buy a beautiful Harley, but he can't take the vibration of a Harley anymore. So this may take a while. He's looking at 3 wheelers too, just because they're so stable and he's old. Secretly I'm praying that's what he gets.

He'll be coming thru here a couple times while the weather's good. This Summer he and Strider are going on a daytrip. That entire time, my heart will be in my throat. He's always been a good driver and in all these years there's never been an accident. That's all I'll keep telling myself, until it snows and the bike goes in the garage. It'll be fine. It'll be fine.

Entertainment, Please!

We've had neighbors leaving feet first this weekend (not the old bitty next door, but nice old ladies from across the way). It's rather grim to sit down with your evening meal and see a body being taken out. Or sit down with your morning cuppa, raise the shade and see what looks like a rerun with the same cast of police, fire dept., and ambulance sans lights and sirens only at a different door. For days like these, we have light British comedy and distracting mystery.

Stephen Fry can make my day, even when it starts with a dead neighbor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D87DN_15r5Q
"Have I Got News for You" is back with a fresh series
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbQEpMVe2HY

A favorite mystery series, "Jonathan Creek"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEoGd3UZlCY

Another fun panel show, "Would I Lie to You?"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvHR_5rI8NY

And a nice long (2 1/2 hour) mystery- the pilot of "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries" (and several younger, familiar faces in it, too)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyFymlXsJqs

There. That's better. Not lifting the shade for a while today.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tartan Day, The Boys and The New Babyfood Way

Today, April 6th, is Tartan Day. If you have a tartan, show it, wear it proudly. It wasn't all that long ago that they weren't allowed to be seen. Here's mine:


the Innes Modern tartan. (from the Kinloch-Anderson folks, fine tartan makers they are)

It's also the 39th anniversary of CalJam. Something like 250,000 people amassed for a huge rock festival. And The Boys were there.
Here's just the Greg alone songs:



And here's their whole set, with Keith's spinning piano and all:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agH-9rr7n54

Speaking of Keith, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orechestra played the entirety of "Tarkus" in salute to Takashi Yoshimatsu's 60th birthday and Keith attended. And the long-in-birthing documentary of Keith's life, "Pictures of an Exhibitionist" creeps slowly ahead. I'll keep you posted.

Carl Palmer keeps on playing, everywhere, with his own band, and with Asia, and put out an art project:
http://www.carlpalmer.com/

In an attempt to repair my poor stomach, I'm on a boil-everything-to-soft-and-take-vitamins-to-help diet. This is a part of the chronic pain circus that docs never even mention; that at some point the drugs are going to screw up your digestive system so badly that not only will you not be able to take any pain relief, you won't know what you can and can't eat until it's too late. Now stir in some stress over- just everything. And if you thought you were okay coping with the joints and nerves that were the ultimate in pain, here's a whole new arena. Add chest and gut pain so sharp that it makes you wonder if it's a heart attack, along with a closing throat. Now we're talking!

If you or anyone you know gets to this marvelous place, boil everything to mush and take it in liquid. Gravy, sauce, soup, stew. If it takes chewing, it'll cause pain. Bear in mind I'm still working this all out. So far, I can't seem to digest anything dry, or raw, or baked. Soft, mushy, wet. Not fibrous- oatmeal and split pea soup hurt. Maybe if I'd boiled them to paste or put them thru a food processor they'd be okay. I haven't tried that yet. Bread is bad. Applesauce is okay. Yogurt is the best of all. As I go along with this. I'll post here and there about it. Life is such a banquet.

Hey, it's a beautiful day in The Shire. Spring may not exactly here, but it's close. Let's enjoy these last days of hot comfort foods and snuggly sleeping. Soon enough we'll be sweltering in the heat and swatting bugs. Enjoy the day you're in.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weird is the Word for the World

The other day, Arleen at http://acceptingchanges-maybe.blogspot.com/ wrote that the news was too rotten and too much these days, and I agree. For years, I've been linking to news stories on this blog, but lately I just can't. Stories are either conflated to sound worse than the facts, or the facts are too awful to think much about. I must be losing my nerve as I age. Threats from some despot never used to bug me as they do now. Perhaps it's a cumulative effect? "After reading 1,276 threats of annihilation from some despot, the mind can stand no more for the rest of its natural life."

So for the foreseeable future, I'll be avoiding the big and horrible. Interesting things that don't entail the possible end of civilisation, weird things, big ideas? Yes. Crazy hotheads doing horribleness? No.

Nobody believes something simply because it's true:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-h-word/2013/mar/07/how-to-argue-with-sceptics-and-deniers

"Poetry is not an ornament"
http://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/poetry-is-not-an-ornament-its-at-the-center-of-our-being

One of the sweetest local stories I've read in a long time
http://ibrattleboro.com/sections/history/vandals-history-and-old-newspapers-death-and-poetry

Here's the Farmer's Almanac list of Full Moon names
http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/

We lost Richard Griffiths this week:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2013/mar/29/richard-griffiths-james-corden-rizzo

Well then I'm the biggest weirdo cuz I'd just give them the whole hundred to see the huge smile
http://bigthink.com/praxis/are-americans-the-weirdest-people-in-the-world

A very cool WW2 story
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/30/my-aunts-the-unlikely-spies

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Voices in My Head

When I'm first waking up and at random times throughout the day, the voices come. Most of the time they're from the 70s. One that's in my head a lot lately is Todd Rundgren's.

Todd made the big time 3 times that I can think of- with "Hello it's Me"


"I Saw the Light (in Your Eyes)"



and
"Can We Still Be Friends"


Todd was a bit strange, not marketably strange like David Bowie or Peter Gabriel, just a bit strange.

But if you listen to his albums and not just the hits, especially "Something/Anything"(1972), you get a sense of all that he's been in music. His music styles gave birth to bands like Queen and Todd's vocals were Daryl Hall before Daryl Hall was Daryl Hall. He played every part on "S/A" and sang every vocal on 3 of the 4 sides. He produced so many bands' albums that he'd probably be best known as a producer if he hadn't had hits of his own. The guy's a musical genius.

Lately, though, it's been his voice that won't leave me alone. The guy's gonna be 65 and his voice is as strong, clear, and in control as it was 40 years ago. Maybe even better, if truth be told. Here he is from a few weeks ago-


Yeah, that's a voice in my head that I won't be trying to shut up any time soon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

One Ring to Bring Them All

Speculation has risen that Tolkein himself was inspired by one ring,

(photo by the National Trust)
and the ring is linked to an ancient curse and mystery. A ring believed to be found by a farmer ploughing a field in Silchester in 1785. The 12 gram gold ring is so large that it fits on a gloved thumb and is inscribed with the words, "Senicianus live well in God".

And then, 100 miles away, a tablet is found some decades later, inscribed, "Among those who bear the name of Senicianus to none grant health until he bring back the ring to the temple of Nodens."

Curious, eh? The whole story is here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/02/hobbit-tolkien-ring-exhibition

Monday, April 1, 2013

Groovy Fool's Day

Another perk of quitting Fecebook has been the getting back in touch with friends in more than one-line quips. Today has been a lot of that, and since we've had 3 seasons today it was good to be indoors and avoiding movement as much as possible.

I'm also quite guilty in feeling so happy to have my brother back. All those years where I only ever spoke to Mac are gone. If we don't speak on the phone, we email several times a day. We have 2 schemes going right now. It's like old times and I'm over the moon about it. After the spouses are gone, we go back to being mischievous kids together. Yesterday, Stevil made a JibJab mini-movie-greeting-card of Billy and me dancing on Soul Train. I almost blew coffee through my nose. Billy is trying to figure out a payback... :)

April is my "fall back in love with all the guys I've ever been in love with" month, it seems. And so, here's Jimmy Page, one of the guys I've lusted after for decades, and who isn't too bad for rounding the corner to 70.

 
 
 
It may be 28 degrees F outside, but it's pretty hot in here.

Speaking of hotties, Greg's just done the cruise, and he's lost some weight and seems much more comfortable in his skin than he was last year. Still waiting to hear if he'll be touring the US this year at all... Here he is, last week.

 
 
Then there's Percy, just hanging out in the checkout like any mortal...


I can go on about wishing I was younger, but if it meant giving up the fountain of youth I've had by crushing on these guys all these years- or to miss them in their prime?- I'll take old cronedom and be happy. Woohoo for April!