Sunday, September 30, 2012

Your Sunday Poem

This from "Late Wife," by Claudia Emerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. 

Buying the Painted Turtle

Two boys, not quite men, pretended to let it go
only to catch it again and again.  And the turtle,
equally determined, each time gave
its heart to escape them.  We were near
the base of the old dam where the river
became a translucent, hissing wall, fixed
in falling, where, by the size of it, the turtle
had long trusted its defense, the streaming

algae, green, black, red -- the garden of its spine --
not to fail it.  They held it upside down,
the yellow plantron exposed; they hoisted it
over their heads like a trophy.  I left it
to you to do the bargaining, exchange
the money for us to save it, let it go;

fast, it disappered into deeper
water, returning to another present,
where the boulders cut the current to cast
safer shadows of motionlessness. 
We were already forgotten, then, like most gods
after floods recede, after fevers break.

We did not talk about what we had bought --
an hour, an afternoon, a later death,
worth whatever we had to give for it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bill 'Em, Dano

The bar fight trial of John Ryan Mason, accused of beating the crap out of his friend Jory Brigham in the men's room of Pappy McGregor's Bar & Grill in SLOTown ended in a mistrial.  8-4 in favor of an acquittal for Mason, which is a complete miscarriage of justice since both men are guilty of Walking While Drunk & Stupid and should have been punished accordingly.

On the other hand, maybe justice was served after all.  There they were, forced to go public with their ridiculous cranks, their petty squabbles, their messy sex lives and infidelities and childish behaviors spilling into the courtroom and splashed all over the headlines day after day. Complete fools, one of whom -- a SLO firefighter, no less -- clearly has serious alcohol, self-control and anger management issues. (Anybody what that guy on the line in a crisis situation when your house is burning down?)

All of which has cost the taxpayers of this fair burg a bundle.  It's not known if the DA will refile or let the verdict stand.  What I do know needs to be done is that both men should be billed for all the court costs of this trial, fired from their day jobs (You want those guys working for ya?) and sent on their merry way.


There's a Word for That

For years, first in stealth mode, carefully planned, then loudly public, Republicans have been pushing through legislation in states throughout the US that were disguised as "secure, Voter ID registration laws" in order to stop massive voter fraud!! that nobody could find when they bothered to look. It was a solution in search of a nonexistent problem, but did, in practice, end up having the (intended) result of disenfranchising the poor, the young and people of color. You know, "democrats."

Slowly, some of the back-room beans were leaked out and people started to pay attention to what was going on and many of the new Voter ID laws were derailed into the courts for the the smell test, which many of them are failing to pass.  Then, not content with the laws they had put into place, some folks took it to another level.  A group of tea party members calling itself the Ohio Voter Integrity Project started actively removing 2,100 names from voter rolls in that swing state. Including one woman who had lived at the same residence for seven years.  They yanked her off the rolls because her home was listed as a commercial property, not a residential building.  I guess to tea party officials, living in a commercial property now disenfranchises one?  Especially if one is black and might vote Democratic?

And then, the Republican National Committee abruptly dropped their ties to a get-out-the-vote company in Florida which has been repeatedly suspected in all kinds of  voter fraud in the past.  Sproul & Associates has had a long smelly history, yet the RNC keeps hiring the company -- a company which has been operating under different shell-corp names so people wouldn't get suspicious until the damage had been done.

All the while hollering at the top of their lungs, Voter Fraud!  

There's a word for that kind of behavior:  Projection. It's Karl Rove's signature political tactic.  And so far it doesn't seem to be working too well in these cases, though it's not for want of trying.  Poor Karl and the GOP; when you're bankrupt of both morals and ideas, I guess projection, misdirection and flat-out stealing the vote is about all that's left.  We'll see if it works like it did last time.

Uh, Ya Wanna 'Splain That To Me Again?

O.K, so PG&E is going to conduct high-energy seismic studies off our coast which is supposed to find unknown earthquake faults and damage an unknown amount of marine life while doing it. I get that.  But what I don't get is this:  Nuclear power plants are basically insured, past a certain point, by the taxpayer.  I mean, if there's a minor problem (a small melt-down, let say) the PG&E stock holders will get the bill.  But if there's a major problem (a big melt-down and tsunami and a meteor strike all at once) then the taxpayer is left to clean up the mess.  So nuclear power plants are never required to be built to absolute fail-safe standards, only fail-sorta-safe.  Which Diablo Canyon is.  Sorta-fail safe.

But now, for some reason, PG&E is getting antsy about its liability and it's fail-safeness and apparently suspects that maybe it's not up to snuff against an unknown fault that could cause X amount of damage.  So it's going to blast a lot of critters out of the water to see if it can get better risk-assessment info, after which it will do . . . . what?

Is Diablo seriously considering shutting down?  Why should it?  Even if they find some one-in-a-gazillion fault, I find it improbable that that would cause a shut down.  After all, NO nuke is 100% fail-safe, so why should Diablo be?

If PG&E thinks they could add some things to the plant to buffer the effects of some unknown one-in-a-gazillion fault, they can do that now without testing, since nukes need only be sorta-fail safe.  And Diablo can be made that right now.  No need to test. 

So, tell me again why a bunch of sea critters have to die or be terrorized or harmed when the end result will be zip or something that can be done now without the sonic blasting?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Upcoming Events

Do yourself a favor and trot down to the Melodrama Theatre in Oceano ( and check out their new presentation, a hilarious musical spoof of "Sheer-Luck Holmes."  They've got some new talent in town and a very clever writer on this one, all of which makes for a really enjoyable evening.  The Melodrama is a unique central coast theatre gem, a kind of salt-water marsh nursery that offers a great opportunity for young performers to practice demanding comedy repertory work while the public gets the benefit of their talents.

Then, check out the Chumash 17th Annual Intertribal Pow-wow
 ( ) Oct. 6 , 10 - 10, and Oct 7, 10 - 6 at the Live Oak Campground near the san Marcos golf course, on Hwy 154 east of Santa Ynez.  The Pow-wow is free, with $5 parking.  (No alcohol, no guns, no dogs, and mind your manners when you're on sovereign tribal lands.) There'll be dancing and drumming competitions, traditional arts, crafts, jewelry,  as well as traditional foods.  Pow-wow's can be an amazing experience.  If you've never attended one, here's your chance.

Or, if gardening is your thing, go to the pow-wow on Sunday and on Saturday head over to the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, in El Chorro Regional Park on Highway 1 across from Cuesta College.  ( for their Annual Fall Fund Raising Plant Sale, October 6th.  Members can enter at 9 a.m., the general public at 10 a.m.  There's a plant sale list on the website, there will be expert advice on hand for your questions, and great plants to buy, the sale of which helps support the botanical gardens.  And while there, visit the new "clubhouse" and see all the new landscaping they've added.  El Chorro Park is really a beautiful place and another "best kept" secret in the county. It's got a great campground, ball fields, hiking trails, picnic areas, the best dog park in the world and the unique and amazing botanical gardens.  Well worth a visit.

Life is short.  Winter's coming.  Time to get out into October's bright blue weather and do something new, interesting and fun.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hooray for Peleg Top

Yesterday's L.A. times featured a story on Silver Lake resident Peleg Top who put a real estate flier dispenser out in front of his home and filled it with 30 copies of a poem he had written.  Before long, his neighbors, out for a morning's stroll, were stopping by and taking a copy.  Then he'd put out another one, sometimes one of his own, other times some other poet's work.  Now about 100 copies of poems get taken every week.  Here's the first poem Peleg Top put out for the taking. So, be a Peleg Top yourself: go buy a book of poetry, read it, maybe copy out a poem in an email to share with your friends.  Or better yet, send them a book of poetry for Christmas or their birthday.  

Bless This Journey

I look ahead and see no destination
I look behind and see thousands of questions
I look down and hear my heart
I look forward and take a deep
The next step could be the one
that drowns me
that drops me into my abyss
The next step could be the one
that leads me into my unknown
my bliss
my glee
my truth
are no longer in charge
I bless this journey
with moments of delights
where time disappears
and truth emerges
I bless this journey
with new insights
that steer me
to the place
where I regain
my power, my spirit, my joy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No Merit Badge for You!

Remember a few months ago when the Boy Scouts announced that No Gays Allowed was now their official policy.  No gay kids, no gay scout leaders or employees.  No gay need apply.  And they declared they were doing this to "protect the children."  So some fabulous young scouts were out on their keisters, along with some fabulous scouting leaders.

Then the L.A. Times comes out with an exhaustive report after "examining 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 [and] found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign -- and helped many cover their tracks."  [that] "Volunteers and employees suspected of abuse were allowed to leave citing bogus reasons such as business demands, 'chronic brain dysfunction' [???] and duties at a Shakespeare festival."  And that "The details are contained in the organization's confidential 'perversion files,' a blacklist of alleged molesters, that the Scouts have used internally since 1919.  Scouts' lawyers around the country have been fighting in court to keep the files from public view."  And, "In about 400 of [500] of those cases -- 80 percent -- there is no record of Scouting officials reporting the allegations to police.  In more than 100 of the cases, officials actively sought to conceal the alleged abuse or allowed the suspects to hide it, The Times found."

Well, sure.  I can see the problem.  When you're getting a merit badge in wilderness tracking, for example, the first thing you learn is you must correctly identify the right footprint.  No good rushing off on a deer track if you're hunting a panther.  So, listen carefully, Scout leaders:

1.  There's gay people.  2.  There's straight people.  3.  There's pedophiles.
You can be a gay pedophile.  You can be a straight pedophile.  But the key word there is:  pedophile.  That's who you're supposed to be looking for, not gay people. HUGE difference.. 

So, no merit badges for you.  You've been tracking the wrong people. 

Oh, America, Get Over Yourself!

Thanks to the media and America's generalized narcissism, a whole lot of us are getting all riled up over those crazy Muslims, wringing our hands and saying, O, O, why do they hate us?

Well, first of all, many of them actually have a long, long list of perfectly valid reasons and if Americans bothered to read much history, they'd understand the list very well.  But, secondly, a whole lot of the DeathToAmerica! foofarrah in the streets, the "Arab Street," isn't about America at all; it's about local politics -- who's going to prevail in a newly liberated country.  Will it be the conservative Salafists?  A more moderate group? Secularists?  Another dictator?

And, as any political organizer knows, having a great hot-button trigger that's easily understood is a great way to get a good turnout. Remember in New York when a group of Muslims wanted to build a mosque near Ground Zero?  That was a perfectly legal, proper thing to do in the Land of  Freedom of Religion, right?  Remember how perfectly decent people suddenly lost their marbles and turned into raging, ugly, racist bigots, snarling and hissing about "muslim murderers", and etc.  Shameful.  Disgraceful.  But there it was: Americans coming unglued, having an irrational, emotional, ugly, bigoted flare up over . . . what?  Another group of Americans who just wanted to build a house of worship.

And Americans are now having a fit over another group of people having an irrational, emotional, ugly flare up over . . . what?  A crappy, ridiculous film.

This is what a certain percentage of people always do. Including Americans. So, get over yourself.  You're also no better than you ought to be either.

Awwww, Mitt.  You don't love us freeloading bums anymore, do you? 

So Mitt finally spilled the beans of his heart:  He thinks 47% of us lazy, good for nothing citizens, are a bunch of tax-shirking freeloaders who want to loaf around all day eating bon-bons and waiting for our government checks.  That we "pay no income taxes," are "dependent upon government." and we're all food-stamp black welfare queens who are going to vote for Barack Obama no matter what Romney has to say.

Well, first of all, Mitt clearly didn't see last week's Time Magazine's cover story on "Subsidy Nation," a brilliant exploration of how everyone in the country is on the mooch -- farm subsidies, energy subsidies, infrastructure subsidies, tax breaks -- subsidized everything that touches our lives. (That electric bill you just paid doesn't begin to cover the real cost of getting that power to you.  Ditto your water bill. Fill your gas tank?  Take off the gas/oil subsidies/tax-breaks and you'd have heart seizure watching the pump ratchet up the real (unsubsidized) price per gallon. Hospitals, public health, streets, airline safety, schools, public safety, you name it, every bit of it is communally subsidized by all of us.  Which will come as a shock, no doubt, to privitizing Ayn Randers of all stripes, including Paul Ryan, bless his heart.)

True, Mitt forgot to note that all us 47% moochers were paying payroll and sales tax, something The Mitt might have overlooked since he may not be familiar with getting an actual "payroll check" as opposed to a "dividend check."  And I'm sure he forgot the fact that those moochers who did pay income tax were taxed at a higher rate for their income than he was.  And, yes, he likely overlooked that, according to the Tax Policy Center, over half of those moochers who paid no taxes, "more than half were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had income under $20,000.  Which means that "about half of those were off the rolls because they had low incomes."

So, in MittWorld, people who are so poor they don't hit the income tax threshold are moochers.  Noted one wag on the New York Times comment page, "He's talking about the 47% who clean his toilets, do his laundry, drive him around, clean the hotels, pick the fruit and vegetables.  Maybe if Mitt and his snobby pals paid a living wage, the working poor wouldn't need food stamps.  He really does look down his nose at the rest of us."

Ya think?      

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Simple Prayer

Calhouns Cannons for September 15, 2012

Dear God, creator of Heaven and Earth, please, enough already with the Fundamentalists.  We got too many of them.
And they’re all running amok.  Political fundies who want to rule instead of serve.  They love thy rules, but as for loving thy people, eh, not so much.  Pinch-faced, purse-lipped, they forgot to read the part about eye’s of camels and loaves and fishes and doing unto the least of thy children. Instead we get tax breaks for the rich and food-stamp cuts for the poor. 

And Christian fundies?  Don’t get me started.  Take prayer.  Didn’t you have something in your Book about making a big phony show of public prayer?  Well, I don’t think they were listening and it looks like these, thy good children, will never rest until loud, public prayers to Jesus are mandatory in every square inch of the public square.  At supermarket openings, in the halls of justice, in schoolrooms, in city council meetings, with crosses or thy commandments manifesting anywhere there’s a smidge of space on a public building or on small and tall hillocks in the wilderness, until the only place to escape the Jesus flak will be to flee into a Jewish temple or a Buddhist retreat. And even there, don’t be too sure. The cross carpenter’s are constantly at work.

And what’s with their obsession with women’s private parts, anyway?  Instead of political debates we now have politicians competing to see how many forced vaginal probes they can stick into their state laws.  This isn’t governance, it’s obsession.  And sick obsession at that.  I mean, since the history of the world, Lord, did you ever think you’d see the topic of girls holding an aspirin between their knees served up during a Republican primary campaign?  Fundamentalists and now apparently Republicans are now all about the aspirin and tight knees. That’s a bad, bad combination.   

And don’t get me started on Muslim fundies.  They’re the perfect of example of fundamentalism squared, fundamentalism to the nth degree: unquestioning and rule-riddled, bound-up, blinkered, death-loving, women-hating, sex-fearing, life-denying, sad,  furious, frightened souls that even Mohammed (Blessings and peace be upon him) and his successful businesswoman wife (You go, girl!) would gape at in utter disbelief.

And there, Lord, is the problem.  You created a complex, fluid, ever-changing, beautiful, profoundly unknowable world.  And then you created humans with an overwhelming need to create what they think are safe, secure square boxes out of a non-squared, inherently unstable, constantly changing “reality.”  The result is human-created fundamentalism of all kinds – big, hard-edged, square, stick-in-the-mud boxes in the middle of a flowing river.  Then we hide in the boxes and delude ourselves into thinking they will offer us permanence and safety.

But instead of safety, those boxes turn into prisons.  Or worse: platforms of death.

So, enough, O Lord.  Time for thee to calleth thy own back home to thy loving bosom.  And don’t worry.  They won’t mind.  They have spent centuries making up stories about their wished-for, longed-for, blessed fiery ends – Armageddon! Tribulation! Rapture!  Holy Jihad! Paradise and Virgins!  So, you’ll be doing them all a huge favor.

And then maybe the rest of us can settle down into a saner world, a world of softer edges, kinder boxes filled with imperfect, more forgiving bunglers – human beings who have enough give in their world-view to know that the magic of the world is ultimately unknowable.  So there is no need to force ourselves and others into life-limiting made-up boxes.

Instead, I’m sure God won’t mind if, from time to time, we take off our new too-tight dress shoes and dance on the grass.  Or lie in the meadow to listen to the bees, smell the sweet clover and give thanks for the warm sun pouring down on us from heaven.  



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Duck and Cover!

Holy cow!  Better get under the desk.  Mitt Romney's got a gun and he's just shot himself in the foot while aiming at Obama.  Luckily, it's Mitt, so the President's unharmed.  But the blackboard sure took a beating. 

Yes, it's the Goon Show.  Funny, except for this:  Imagine candidate Mitt's muddled facts, shoot first propensity transformed into President Mitt with his finger on the nuclear button.  Not so funny.

But seriously unfunny is the average American's ignorance and unwillingness to come to terms with its own imperial history in the Middle East. There is a reason why the "Arab street" so often breaks out in rage against the US and it's this:  For generations, the US has backed theocratic/kleptocratic thugs who tortured, murdered, "disappeared" their own people, kept 'em barefoot and ignorant while the country's wealth (oil) went to benefit the oligarchs and the countries of the west.  When Iran, for example, revolted in the 1950s and elected a candidate of their choice, the CIA helped overthrow him and installed and backed the Shah, who went on with his dreaded Savak secret police to tyrannize  the Iranian people for years. And you wonder why, when the Iranian people and the mullah's revolted again, they took Americans hostage?  No surprise there.  We got history in too many of those countries and the history is often not good. So, enough with the Republican meme of "apologies."  We got much to apologize for and help set right.

And can we get a grip about "Islam."  The problem isn't "Islam," it's fundamentalism.  All fundamentalism. A literal mind-set can too easily make suckers and fools out of believers, whether Christian, Muslim or Jew, because it makes the true believers vulnerable to exploitation by cold-eyed sociopaths who would use these sorry naifs for their own ends. Combine years of civil/social injustice and anger, mix with ignorant fundamentalism and you have the making of street riots -- add al Qaida operatives or local political/militia organizations manipulating public sentiment for their own ends, and stir.  Whooppee, Death to America!  Wave the Black Banners.

And while we're at it, can we grow up about our place and role in the world?  Too many Americans (and their pandering politicians) have this third-grade notion of American exceptionalism (God has graced our nation alone, the best nation in the world!) and America's role as the light and beacon of the world.  Pluuueeze, people.  Get a grip. Yes, America is an amazing place, but so are other countries.  No country has cornered the market on God's grace.  Nations rise and fall, empires come and go, societies change and transform.  We're all involved in an ongoing process of figuring out ways to live on this earth.  It's an old, old process.

And carries with it, a large dollop of humility and irony:  When you encourage and support the transition of a country from dictatorship to "democracy," you have to be ready to accept the "democracy" that shows up.  If you give people the right to vote to govern themselves, you've got to be ready to deal with the governors they select. And deal with the blowback that may ensue.  Especially if you've had a "history" with the country you're helping towards self-governance.

Happily, we have a president who's calm and cool and waits to get the facts straight before shooting.  What he needs is a country that's equally calm and cool.  Unfortunately, what he's stuck with is an "American street" that's not that different from the "Arab street;" a mix of angry, ignorant fundamentalist crazies waving flags and crying, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." 

Better hide under the desk after all. 


Sunday, September 09, 2012

Your Sunday Poem

This, by Arthur Smith, from his collection, "The Late World," published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2002.  He's a wonderful poet and I'm sure would be very happy if you did yourself a favor went to your local bookstore and bought this paperback, thank you. 

More Lines On a Shield Abandoned During Battle 

The one time I said something
Awful to someone
I didn't know the meaning of,
It hardly mattered to him how empty
My head was
As his three younger brothers jumped
Down from the barn loft they slept in
And closed ranks behind him.

The hen he'd been about to kill
Rejoined a few others feeding
Near the stump.

--Are you talking to me? he said.

And it's true --
As you and anyone who's ever scattered knows,
And usually sooner -- someone or something
Will ask what you mean --
The quicker
The world lives in a person,
The earlier he learns
To ask.

I'm trying
To imagine racing over
Someone's countryside, and making off with its riches --
As you and your brief nation did --
Then coming up
Face to face
With one of them better armed.

I'm glad we ran, both of us, having
Straddled that line
Beyond which
There are only dogs' jaws
About the river of death,
And how there are no limits to its length,
And how someone had better live
To tell the others. 

Friday, September 07, 2012

Alice in Demo Land

Calhoun’s Cannons for Sept 7, 2012

            Three days of the Republican convention.  Three days of the Democratic convention.  And I have just one question:  What the hell happened to this country?
            Really.  How did the ethos of work hard, help your neighbor raise his barn and he’ll help with yours, build for the future so your kids will have it better than you,  get transmuted into the ethos of Ayn Rand:  Money equals success, taxes are theft, go raise your own damned barn, and the next generation can look out for themselves?
            When did we stop being a nation of hard-headed pragmatists – pay your bills, grow your business, invest in the future – and turn into air-heads willing to believe voodoo economics, the “trickle-down” fake theories of David Stockman who later admitted that he made it all up?  In a consumer/capitalist society, trickles go upward, not down.  Henry Ford figured that out years ago.  He paid an unheard-of living wage so his workers had enough money to buy his product.  No salaries, no buyers; no buyers, no factory; no factory, no Henry Ford.
            When did companies move out of what economists call “the virtuous circle of growth?”  Back in the day, Frank W. Abrams, chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey, wrote, “The job of management is to maintain an equitable and working balance among the claims of the various directly affected interests groups . . .”  i.e. stockholders, employees, the community, the public, the nation as a whole.
            The Virtuous Circle resulted in and sustained the middle class, encouraged ongoing prosperity for the maximum number of people, ensured stability, kept Ayn Randian greed in check.  How quaint it seems now.  In its stead, we have Gordon Gekko, the rapacious Bainer whose overriding goal is to maximize profits for a small number of stakeholders, push all value to the first-quarter bottom line, loot the company and scamper for the Cayman Islands, with all that rapacious, short-sighted behavior rewarded by hefty bonuses and favorable back-room-written tax laws.
            How could anyone think that such behavior wouldn’t lead to bubbles and theft and corruption and crash?  Did the average American somehow think that he would be exempt from the destruction that was heading his way?  Is that why he kept voting into office wholly-owned Corporate Pols who would promise him pie then vote into law policies that would actually deliver dead flies to the working and middle class? 
            Was it because the Kool Aide the Ayn Randers were delivering was a slow acting poison?  A drug that dulled the mind so nobody noticed until it was too late? Or was it because The Big Lie always works? 
            And when did we become a country that decided Big Lies were acceptable? Lie about war, lie about Wall Street, lie about anything, since winning and holding power at any cost was the only thing that counted.  And if you were rich,  famous and brazen enough, you could get away with anything.  Who would stop you? After all, as a Republican operative once famously said, “We create our own reality.”  Is that what turned the old Republican party of fiscal responsibility and prudent conservatism into math-challenged Neo Know-Nothings waving vaginal probes? 
            So here we are, Battered Wife Nation, a country poisoned by fake reality – trickle-down “job creators,” my ass -- hammered into believing that the majority of us don’t deserve anything – no decent health care, no decent wages, no decent schools, or roads or bridges.  We were told that all that mattered were the stock market numbers and we believed that lie.  We were told that unions were to blame for our jobs being shipped overseas, so we hated unions.  We were told that teachers and firemen and government workers were blood-sucking leeches, so we kicked them into the street.  We were told that black people and brown people were either the enemy who would steal our outsourced, non-existent jobs or were “welfare queens” stealing our taxes, and we believed that.  We were told that more tax breaks for the wealthy took priority over helping our unemployed neighbor, helping the poor and the old and the sick, and we believed that, too.
            We forgot our civics lessons; if you want a better congress you have to vote in better congressmen.  Instead, we elected clueless monkey-wrenchers, ideological hacks and wing nuts, then wondered why nothing reasonable got done.  And when outrage and blunt honesty was the only sane response to the disaster our apathy and inattention had called down on upon our heads, we were told we should shut up and accept our downsized serfdom with a smiley face and grab our own bootstraps.  Pluckiness was demanded, not fierce, righteous anger.  It was Mr. Mcawber over Madame Defarge.
            So, here we sit, sick, hurting, and befuddled at the corner of Battered Wife Nation and Enough Already! with the hour late, real economics (arithmetic, not theory) and real Mother Nature (hot enough for you?) bearing down on us – two actual real realities that do not deal in lies, care nothing about ideology and take no prisoners.
            Happily, one antidote arrived at the convention.  Former President Clinton, the Big Dawg himself, got down off the porch to call out and fact- check the Republican’s false narratives with the cheerful exactitude of a finger-waving schoolmarm. So now we’ll see how many people were tuned in and paying attention and how many were watching football on another channel.
            Which, come to think of it, is pretty much how and why we got into this mess in the first place.      

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Your Sunday Recipe

     Before summer's sweet watermelons go the way of all flesh and fade into memory when the cold October winds blow, there's still time for this amazing Tomato and Watermelon Salad.  The recipe comes from a wonderful website

     Do yourself a favor, check out the website, check out the recipes, sign up for Betsy's newsletter, attend a few of her monthly demonstrations at New Frontiers, check out the other links for foodie meet-ups, etc. Betsy focuses on raw food only, but even if you're not that much of a veggie-ite, you'll find some amazing recipes that will add some wonderful variety to your diet.
     Like all recipes, have fun varying it to suit your taste.  Like, if you're not a fan of cilantro, try watercress for some green bite.  Or vary the spices to suit your taste.  Enjoy!

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
4-6 cups watermelon cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 avacados, peeled, pitted and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In large mixing bowl, combine cut up ingredients, sprinkle on coriander and toss gently.  In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper.  Pour dressing over the salad and toss again to coat.  Serve chilled.


Saturday, September 01, 2012

Wonderland Redux

     There were two critical events at the RNC Convention that made sitting through those three days of  Down the Rabbit Hole hideosity worthwhile. 
     First, I'm so glad I was present in real time, in full context, to see Clint Eastwood's bizarre performance of the Cranky Old White Guy Yelling At An Empty Chair.  It was priceless and if you want a brilliant explication of the meaning and subtext of that odd comic bit in the context of the Republican "message" over the last 3 years, please watch Jon Stewart's take on his August 31, Daily Show clip on his website:  (most recent show)
     But second, and most important was the eye opening moment when Mitt Romney, the Presidential nominee, the newly minted leader of the RNC, the standard bearer of all things Republican, snidely said, "President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. . . . "  (eye-roll, who does he think he is, anyway, King Canute? Snicker, snicker) AT THE EXACT MOMENT when thousands of Americans were up to their necks in the . . . RISING OCEAN . . .  of the gulf coast.
     Every American who lives near any coast or near any river or river bottom or floodplain or downstream from any dam or anywhere near the Mississippi River valleys needs to pay attention.  To Republicans, those rising seas are a joke.  But to millions who are in growing danger of losing their homes and communities, those same rising seas  are a glimpse of the future bearing down on all of us, hard.
     Remember that.