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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Surprise, Surprise!

In a puzzling show of intelligence and justice, a couple hours ago, the Supreme Court defeated DOMA and cleared the way for marriage for all. I'm cheered and more than a little surprised, and The Untrusting One in my head says there's something else coming. They only did this so what they did before and do after it won't seem so bad. It's an "at least" for the SCOTUS. "At least they sanctioned gay marriage, so they aren't that bad," can now be said. Times are hard when what should be a celebratory moment inspires suspicion in me. Congratulations to all who fought so long and hard for what should be a basic human friggin right- to marry who you want to marry.

And all hats are off to Senator Wendy Davis, who filibustered the Texas abortion restrictive bill for 11 hours, standing and speaking without even a bathroom break. Here's the story, but it's everywhere:
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/25/19140887-texas-abortion-bill-fails-to-pass-after-epic-filibuster?

Which goes to show that giving up isn't an option. As much as the bourgeois attitude of having a revolution while playing by rules and not offending anyone sincerely drives me out of my mind, there are ways to make the system work for you. Yes, it means stooping to "their" level. Yes, it means suffering and being victimized. No, it's not what I'll do. But it takes all kinds. I can rest assured that if we all do what we can, things won't go to hell entirely.

Speaking of people doing what they can to change things, I've always admired Mrs. Jane Elliot, who segregated her 3rd grade class in 1972 so they'd know what it was like to be discriminated against:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeK759FF84s

Mrs. Elliot is still teaching this, though it was pretty clear to me that white people don't think racism exists anymore and it goes right over their heads, cuz they dismiss it. Racism still exists, it's just changed flavours:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAv8JA_9uKI

So the beat goes on. At the moment my friend Cam is on the air with her tribute to Richard Rodgers and Mel Brooks at
http://wvew.org/
You can stream their programming anytime.

There's some fun television to be had- Stephen King's "Under the Dome" has started and there are 12 more parts to come, and "Perception" has returned with a new series for the Summer. Give them a lookie.

Thankfully it's not so damned hot today, still humid, but it's out of the 90s. We had some rain last night, though not nearly the storm that NJ, Maine and others had. I hope everyone gets their power back, the trees off their houses, their cars fixed... this happens all the time now, it seems. Or is it that we hear about everything these days?

Well, I'm off to do some housecleaning, then make a pizza for dinner and meanwhile wait for the HUD inspectors. Haven't seen hide nor hair of them yet...

Run and play- it's Summer!

Monday, June 24, 2013

SEVERE STUPIDITY ALERT

I have only myself to blame. I actually participated on Fecebook today, actually read the news feed until one story too many made me physically gag. Time to go away from FB for a while again.



You see, today was a Severely Stupid Day, even by American standards. When my fellow countrymen shine, they shine big and draw attention to it. Our Supreme Court may now hold the largest amount of stupid people that it's ever held. And Texas? Oh, Texas.

Is it the Full Rose Moon that's inspired the sudden precipitous drop in IQ points? Have they tampered with the water again? WTH happened that so much complete ignorance blanketed our nation today? Is this new low the way it'll stay now, or was this just a wobble in the usual execrable trudge to a selfish Idiocracy?



It certainly didn't help that it was 34'C here today. 96'F, for those of us using the old system. Damn hot and miserably humid, too. We just got some rain, but the weatherbees say we'll have hot and humid for the week. Oh joy! Still, weather is no excuse for idiocy.

And we have HUD inspection Weds & Thurs. And then the flood mitigation construction will start in our apartments.

Add to that -I don't know if it's Comcast or my computer but things are loading soooooooooooo slowly -if they load at all. If the pages don't freeze, if Windows doesn't say that I don't seem to be online, or if I don't have to reboot altogether, which I've done 6 times today in order to get into my email.

So yeah, I'm a bit on the fed up side. I want to leave. I want to live somewhere reasonable. Where kindness, fairness and science are more important than money and beliefs. Some place where you don't dread what tomorrow may bring because today was crap and the people in charge are what made it crap and they'll still be there tomorrow.



Well. Tomorrow is another day. And maybe it won't be so stupid.

Friday, June 21, 2013

'Cause It's Summer, Summertime is Here....

And a beautiful day it is. The last 3 days have been really lovely, not too hot, not humid. My front garden is full of life and color. Birds and bees are everywhere,  the tea rose bush has resurrected, putting out deep red blooms and there's one extraordinary long-stemmed pink and pale yellow rose that's been photographed 3 times that I've seen. Surprising volunteers too, kale- which a friend offhandedly planted before the flood 2 years ago but which never appeared last year- has grown in 3 spots. The wildflower seeds Strider planted in May are thriving (though not blooming yet), the hostas have shot up and Summer is just barely 14 hours old.

Days like this, you can almost forget the destruction the flood brought. But it's never far from mind:
http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/Stones_of_Years.html

My publisher, Phil Innes (yes, we're related somehow) sent me a rose from his garden today:


Friends are planning camping trips, and I came across this handy bunch of tips (though the Mountain Dew lantern is wrong, seek the formula elsewhere)
http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/camping-hacks-that-are-borderline-genius

Black Sabbath put out a new album, but if you don't know from Sabbath, here's a cheat sheet
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2013/jun/21/black-sabbath-beginners-guide

Here are some investment tips for those who'd like to make some $ from the obesity epidemic
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/16/the-top-5-diseases-caused-by-obesity.aspx

We've got great uprisings in Brazil- in every city people fill the streets. It's heartening.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323893504578557772354195716.html

And in our town... well, our Town Manager is leaving to run a town in Missouri. She's seen a lot here, and I'm sure she'll do well. This will leave her successor to be appointed by the current Selectboard, which I'm sworn to ignore because the locals didn't bother to vote in the last election and we have another roster of the good old boys there now. Well, we'll see what happens...

I'm quite content myself because I finally wrote Graham Kerr a fan email with my thanks for all his influence. To my now-forever-kvelling-over-it surprise he wrote back:

"My Dear Laura. You have a great gift of encouragement...keep it up when you
feel the prompt, there are many folks, who, like us, are so grateful for a
kind word in season. My love to your family, keep enjoying the kitchen!!
Graham."
Graham! I can call him Graham!
If by some strange fate you've never seen Graham in action, here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prhsJR8hEq8
He is a healthy cooking advocate nowadays and does good work, but I'd never have gone into cooking if he hadn't made it look so much fun.

So Happy Summer, fellow babies of the northern hemisphere. Happy Winter to our southern hemisphere family. I'm sure there's more but I've got people to go and places to see.



Rock on.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Man of the Year

By now I'm sure you've heard about the NSA, the mindblowing scope of surveillance being set up on We the People and the guy who blew the whistle.

Here's the guy who blew the whistle


His name is Ed Snowden.
Here's his explanation
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jun/09/nsa-whistleblower-edward-snowden-interview-video

And here's the surrounding story
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance?

He's given up everything he's ever had, to tell you the truth. Because he doesn't want to live in that kind of a world. Nor do I. Do you? And what should we do about it?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Moooovement

A friend keeps saying we're "middle age". Middle? I suppose if you plan to live to 115, we're middle age. Me, I believe (and since both my parents died at 72 and the oldest-lived of my siblings is 63 now, I think it's right) that I passed middle age sometime in my 30s and am firmly in the winding up age. Not that it matters all that much. The middles I am in are the writing and the projects that never end around here. Everything in life has become that can of soda story now, and so nothing is ever done. Things get moved, things get added to or subtracted from, goals change, sometimes everything changes all at once, and nothing is ever finished. Personally, I think that's cause to lighten up. Because none of it matters anyway. All that matters is the ride. We all wind up at the same station and it doesn't end there either. We just move on. One thing leads to another.

Last night I saw this article,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jun/06/black-sabbath-cocaine-private-plane
which made me think of  the "Absolutely Fabulous" episode where Patsy says, "Who dies choking on their own vomit these days, darling?!!" Which led me to look up the old AbFab clips on YouTube, which led me to Joanna Lumley (Patsy) going in search of Noah's Ark.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTAre7EcW9I

Which then led me to Rosslyn Chapel,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KKhOAghLeE

and from there to the Story of God
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zBakH-6uiU
after which I sat and stared into space, thinking.
And suddenly it was 4 a.m.
That's how things go these days.


Our town once again turned out for the heifers, or as we call it, "the Cow Parade". http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/Home.html

While I'm overcome with pride, let me slip in what my old grammar school has done. It's come a long way from the very very very white school it was in the '60s. Good on them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgEBpAL2ieA

Oh- I want to recommend this site for Amy's pennypinching smartness. She's a girl after my own thrifty heart. Skip among the product endorsements and find "How to make peanut butter" or "How to make cream cheese" or any number of make-it-yourself items for the household from fabric softener to cheese crackers to face toner..
http://pounds4pennies.com/

And if you're in the mood for some uplifting, "carry on" inspiration,
http://www.upworthy.com/stop-being-perfect-practice-gratitude-love-wholeheartedly-youll-be-so-glad-you-did-4?c=ufb1

There. That much is done. On to the next.




Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Dorkic Column

After a mix up involving 2 Lauras writing for the same magazine and a publisher who's annoyed and distracted today, things have straightened out. Here is this week's column, about Stephen Fry and bipolar disorder.

http://www.vermontviews.org/vermontviews.org/Stones_of_Years.html

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Cows are Coming

This is the big weekend in Bratt, the Strolling of the Heifers. I worked on the first one, back in the Dark Ages. That was a simple sweet parade of little cows and their proud, mostly child age, handlers. Now it's a huge deal with promotions and corporate sponsors and thousands of people showing up to eat dairy products. I'll watch the highlights on our community tv station.
http://www.strollingoftheheifers.com/

Speaking of dairy products, my old pal Wendy has gotten her cheese shop back up and running! Yay! She does do mail oder, and has the most incredible knowledge and selection of cheeses (local Vermont cheeses and worldwide). She's an old-fashioned cheesemonger:
http://www.brattleborocheese.com/

And my friend Susan's book is in paperback at last!
http://www.amazon.com/Flashes-Lemonade-Susan-Flett-Swiderski/dp/148489071X/ref=la_B00CX8191G_1_1_title_0_main?ie=UTF8&qid=1370313827&sr=1-1

In other news, there's a wondrous bunch of photos of the universe here:
http://www.rmg.co.uk/visit/events/visions-of-the-universe

If you click on the site button, you can feed a shelter animal here:
http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/ars/home
and you can go click that every day!

It's Bilderberg Week
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/02/week-ahead-bilderberg-2013-watford

Here's proof that the more things change the more they stay the same, in a musical way
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwqPBlSxb-0

How come there are so few Maryanns and Donalds these days?
http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/610-would-smell-as-sweet-geo-popularity-of-given-names

I'm going to go nurse away the rest of this headcold. Please hold a thought for us that we don't get the flood they're threatening us with again, this weekend. The cows are waterproof, but they'll throw us out of here if there's any flooding at all and I'm just not up for all that again. Fingers and hooves crossed.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

And It Makes Me Wonder...

A judge rules something unConstitutional. Then turns about-face and orders it be done. I'd love to know the whole story...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jun/01/google-ordered-hand-over-data-fbi

...but we never will.

Life in the Swamp

Since Wednesday, we went from living in the Shire to living in the Swamp. This is just disgusting. It's been over 90 for the last 2 days and 75% humidity. The walls are sweating. The Beest has done nothing but sleep and eat and I've done little more. I have got to get the fans out; there just wasn't Gal Friday time this week. Perhaps this will break with thunderstorms promised tomorrow. But I've heard that too many times to believe it. Bratt is a wet gully along the Connnecticut. What makes it somewhat sheltered and so green is what makes it a still steamtable room in Summer. The best I can say is that the wet has cut down on the allergies. I only sneezed a couple times today and the Beest hasn't sneezed at all.

Still, this is doodly compared to what the weather's doing out west.

Well, I hope it's comfortable where you are. Settle in and surf.

Maybe it's the wind?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/31/ikaria-greece-longevity-secrets-age

Goodnight, Edith
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/jean-stapleton-tvs-beloved-edith-bunker-from-all-in-the-family-dies-at-90-in-nyc/2013/06/01/

If only we had a news program like this in the States
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oKxCDYgZIw

I agree with Bill Hicks, again
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZqYV9KKOZQ

Meanwhile you're running out of places to smoke, even outdoors
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/starbucks-bans-smoking-june-1_n_3365544.html

"You would think the experience of seing your own penis on a movie screen might render you impervious to anything life might throw at you. But apparently not."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2013/may/31/robert-webb-after-peep-show

Adrian Paul (The Highlander!) is asking everyone to chip in one dollar to the Peace Fund.
http://www.thepeacefund.org/donations.html

Stay safe, Amanda..
http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20130601/US--Western.Wildfires/

A serious bit about Monsanto and your garden
http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-four-steps-required-to-keep-monsanto-out-of-your-garden/

I never saw this Beatles video before
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfQbDFMO9aA

Exponential Expansion and the Big Bang
http://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/what-the-big-bang-can-teach-us-about-human-exponential-expansion