Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Junk Mail

I've started emptying my junk mail folders in my e-mail accounts everyday, sometimes multiple times a day, as spam tends to land frequently (Dearest One; Your Winning Lottery Number; Mrs. Aura Ortiz needs your urgent reply). It give me a fabulous, albeit fleeting, false sense of accomplishment, control and well being.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If a twittered, which I don't . . .

I would say, "Don't send a bull in to rearrange the china shop."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I am Sad

I am sad.
I am sad that people,
Old people,
Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters,
Uncles and aunts
Live out their dying days in nursing homes.
I am sad that
Mr. James walks up and down the corridors
Alarm attached to his ankle
Pushing on every door
Searching for a way out.
I am sad that
Muriel called her adult children too many times last night.
They called the nurse to complain.
I am sad that
Gretchen packs her bags each night and waits for her children to come to take her home.
And Dot wanders the halls for hours until a nurse orders up a sedative.
Dot is agitated she says
But really Dot is just an annoyance
Causing anxiety in her caretakers.
As their surrogate she'll take the sedative for them.
I am sad that
Marge died alone,
And Selma never gets to have a bread stick or a biscuit in the afternoon.
Mr. Powers sits in a chair on the far edge of the room while the young woman raises her arms up and down leading the exercises.
She hollers encouragement in a sing song voice
American patriotic music blaring
His eyes are closed tight, his face in anguish.
I am sad
That he is sad.

Monday, March 23, 2009

George Bilgere never ceases to amaze me.

The White Museum
by George Bilgere

My aunt was an organ donor
and so, the day she died,
her organs were harvested
for medical science.
I suppose there must be people
who list, under "Occupation,"
"Organ Harvester," people for whom
it is always harvest season,
each death bringing its bounty.
They spend their days
loading wagonloads of kidneys,
whole cornucopias of corneas,
burlap sacks groaning with hearts and lungs
and the pale green sprouts of gall bladders,
and even, from time to time,
the weighty cauliflower of a brain.

And perhaps today,
as I sit in this café, watching the snow
and thinking about my aunt,
a young medical student somewhere
is moving through the white museum
of her brain, making his way slowly
from one great room to the next.
Here is the gallery of her girlhood,
with that great canvas depicting her father
holding her on his lap in the backyard
of their bungalow in St. Louis.
And here is a sketch of her
the summer after her mother died,
walking down a street in Berlin
when the broken city was itself
a museum. And here
is a small, vivid oil of the two of us
sitting in a café in London
arguing over the work of Constable
or Turner, or Francis Bacon
after a visit to the Tate.

I want you to know, as you sit there
with your microscope and your slides,
there's no need to be reverent before these images.
That's the last thing she would have wanted.
But do be respectful. Speak quietly.
No flash photography. Tell your friends
you saw something beautiful.

From the ever-wonderful Writer's Almanac today, also never ceasing to amaze and delight me.
"The White Museum" by George Bilgere.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book Alert. OMG, I can't keep up with all the books I wanna read.

Egads. How will I ever be able to read all the books I'm interested in? I'm reading two excellent books, right now - "The Experience of Alzheimer's Disease", by Steven R. Sabat, wonderfully in depth, thoughtful, informative; and Parker Palmer's "A Hidden Wholeness", that I'm inching my way through.

I stopped by Changing Aging and much to my delight and dismay saw mention of "The Braindead Megaphone" by George Saunders in the same breath as talk of David Sedaris.

Then Stacey left the following comment on this blog in response to my post "No wonder Carl Dennis won a Pulitzer for Poetry":

"billy collins has a new book out called ballistics. it includes a poem called hippos on holiday. needless to say i'm ecstatic.

So now I'm faced with a quandary - (and for those of you who spent time in New York 40 years ago, and listened to the radio, the jingle "Are you in a quandary, about which is the better laundry? Then try Tribune, try Tribune, try Tribune soon" is now running through your head at the sight of the word quandary. A highly effective ad campaign, I'd say.) Do I go to amazon and order both books right now, using my free two-day shipping option? (Free only because I pay somewhere around $70 a year for the service that encourages me to go to amazon and order both books right now routinely.) Or do I wait until I have the time to drive to Border's, or in a more perfect world, walk to Border's as I would have in the past, when time was a more fluid commodity in my life, thereby doing my part to help keep this actual, not virtual, bookstore alive and well? It means paying more and using fuel and waiting longer and, who knows what else.

And then there's the issue of buying more books. It's okay to buy them, right, to support the authors and the industry of actual, rather than virtual books? And the issue of the other books that are in line, stacked up in my bookcase like planes at LaGuardia, awaiting their turn to be read.

Several years ago a friend of mine told me his theory with regard to spending money. It went something along the lines of, it's okay to have one spending vice - say buying books. Just allow yourself that one, give in to it, enjoy it guiltlessly, don't go too crazy, but don't let the buying spill into other areas. But then there's Reverend Billy's The Church of Stop Shopping and people all over the country, like the group in Berkeley, that have vowed not to buy anything new at all, existing to put me to shame.

A mountain out of a molehill, you say? Order the damn books and get on with your day, for chrissakes.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Julia's Bonsai has gone missing.

Cappy gave Julia a bonsai seed. Maggie decided to get one too so their bonsai trees could grow up together. Today, Julia's bonsai was getting a bit of sun and air in the lobby of her building and it went missing. Kidnapped, says, Julia. Julia joked that panic has set in. I say sadness has ensued.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No wonder Carl Dennis won a Pulitzer for Poetry

by Carl Dennis

If on your grandmother's birthday you burn a candle
To honor her memory, you might think of burning an extra
To honor the memory of someone who never met her,
A man who may have come to the town she lived in
Looking for work and never found it.
Picture him taking a stroll one morning,
After a month of grief with the want ads,
To refresh himself in the park before moving on.
Suppose he notices on the gravel path the shards
Of a green glass bottle that your grandmother,
Then still a girl, will be destined to step on
When she wanders barefoot away from her school picnic
If he doesn't stoop down and scoop the mess up
With the want-ad section and carry it to a trash can.

For you to burn a candle for him
You needn't suppose the cut would be a deep one,
Just deep enough to keep her at home
The night of the hay ride when she meets Helen,
Who is soon to become her dearest friend,
Whose brother George, thirty years later,
Helps your grandfather with a loan so his shoe store
Doesn't go under in the Great Depression
And his son, your father, is able to stay in school
Where his love of learning is fanned into flames,
A love he labors, later, to kindle in you.

How grateful you are for your father's efforts
Is shown by the candles you've burned for him.
But today, for a change, why not a candle
For the man whose name is unknown to you?
Take a moment to wonder whether he died at home
With friends and family or alone on the road,
On the look-out for no one to sit at his bedside
And hold his hand, the very hand
It's time for you to imagine holding.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Best quote I read today.

From the NY Times article about Nina Kuzma-Sapiejewska, a classical pianist who is an expert on Chopin - “We lived in a log cabin in Falls Church, Va.,” she said. “And then a dear friend crashed into my relationship and stole my husband, and the house became infested with bees and I had to move.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

What we need is more dancing.

When I checked my e-mail this morning, Chris had sent me a link to an article from the NYTimes, Get Outta the Way -- We're Dancing Here By Tony Hiss, published January 31, 1998. Here's a bit of it:

Walking is New York -- a defining characteristic that has kept us a step ahead of other cities. Today, a century after the first subway trains rattled into Grand Central Station and the first automobiles puttered down Fifth Avenue, two-thirds of the journeys around downtown and midtown Manhattan are still made on foot.

And at full charge. The heart-pumping, exhilarating pace of New York life is no mere metaphor: our purposeful, heel-lifting, almost-running street gait, which Dickens and Whitman noted 150 years ago, has been clocked by 20th-century researchers as ranging from three and a half to four miles an hour. (It zooms to five for passing.

What propels New Yorkers' high-speed feet? I think we rely on a kind of walker's high both to get through the day and to stay alert to the unfolding of our lives. Walking is certainly heart-healthy, so there may be a built-in endorphin reinforcement every time a New Yorker takes to the streets. It's also true that New York has always been a just-in-time city. People here leave themselves only the minimal number of minutes they've calculated as necessary for getting to work or running an errand.

This is not recklessness. People have learned that walking works. Walking in New York -- ''a great dance,'' as William H. Whyte, its greatest student, wrote -- is sustained by unending, intricately interwoven, tiny acts of cooperation: millions of ever-so-slight adjustments of tempo and direction that keep the flow on even the busiest sidewalks from grinding to a halt.

Such teamwork provides its own reward. It's a concrete reminder of all the human collaborations that endure in the city despite the worst disputes and the most bitter misunderstandings. A dash through New York is also like a fast-foward tour through much of the human condition. For 350 years, the city's streets have swarmed with people of every class and culture, and a New York-paced walk, as it scrolls rapidly past the changing scenery, can provide people with a bit of necessary perspective on their own lives.
The article goes on to mention Rudy Guiliani'a silly war on jaywalkers, but what of that. It's not about the war. It's about the dance.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Denver Butson is a great poet

What She Was Wearing
by Denver Butson

this is my suicide dress
she told him
I only wear it on days
when I'm afraid
I might kill myself
if I don't wear it

you've been wearing it
every day since we met
he said

and these are my arson gloves

so you don't set fire to something?

he asked


and this is my terrorism lipstick
my assault and battery eyeliner
my armed robbery boots

I'd like to undress you
he said
but would that make me an accomplice?

and today
she said I'm wearing
my infidelity underwear
so don't get any ideas

and she put on her nervous breakdown hat
and walked out the door

"What She Was Wearing" by Denver Butson from Illegible Address. © Luquer Street Press, 2004

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love Poem

Love Poem

When you fall in love,
you jockey your horse
into the flaming barn.

You hire a cabin
on the shiny Titanic.
You tease the black bear.

Reading the Monitor,
you scan the obituaries
looking for your name.

"Love Poem" by Donald Hall, from White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Falling in Love

Are you in love with her, I asked.
No, she said. She uses too many adjectives.
Superlatives or descriptors, I asked.
Both, she said.
Oh, I nodded. I see.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die
Jeri Ann called today and asked me what I thought of Prop 8 - The Musical. Er, I haven't seen it, I said. What I meant was, I haven't heard of it. So she sent me this link.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More from the Good Reverend Billy

For Buy Nothing Day:
The 10 Commandments Of Buylessness
As Revealed To Reverend Billy

Forgive people, yourself and everybody else. We all shop too much.

Know your Devil. Shoppers are only dancing in the land of ten thousand ads. Consumerism is the system. Corporations are the agents of the system.

Respect the micro-gesture. Magicalize the foreground. Fore-go the plastic bag and grab that bare banana – Amen!

Practice asking for Sweat-free, Fairly-traded and Locally Made products. That's the rude that's cool.

Buy less and give more. Giving is forceful, the beginning of fantastic new economies.

Buy local and think global. Love Your Neighbor (buy at independent shops) and Love The Earth (walk to, bike to, mass transit to – the things you need.)

Citizens can buy or not buy, produce or not produce. We can change to a sustainable personal economy. Then corporations and governments will change.

Envision the history of a product on a shelf. Workers and the earth made that thing. Resisting Consumerism is an act of imagination.

Complexify. Don't be so easy to figure out. Consumers tend to regularize.
Shopping at big boxes and chains makes us all the same. Viva la difference!

Respect heroes of the resistance. A small band of neighborhood-defenders who staved off a super mall with years of protests? Beautiful.

It's our turn now. CHANGE-A-LUJAH!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping

How will you be spending Buy Nothing Day? Perhaps with the Reverend Billy?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ladies, Man your plungers.

Kara sent me a link to this. Where are the crazy ladies of Arlington when I need them?

Monday, November 3, 2008


by Pat Schneider

I have learned
that life goes on,
or doesn't.
That days are measured out
in tiny increments
as a woman in a kitchen
measures teaspoons
of cinnamon, vanilla,
or half a cup of sugar
into a bowl.

I have learned
that moments are as precious as nutmeg,
and it has occurred to me
that busy interruptions
are like tiny grain moths,
or mice.
They nibble, pee, and poop,
or make their little worms and webs
until you have to throw out the good stuff
with the bad.

It took two deaths
and coming close myself
for me to learn
that there is not an infinite supply
of good things in the pantry.

"Lessons" by Pat Schneider from Another River: New and Selected Poems. © Amherst Writers and Artists Press, 2005

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mama got new shoes.

I finally got them. Converse. Will people think I'm as smart and cute as Rachel Maddow now?

Friday, October 24, 2008

How Mishra Got His Name

It was winter. Julia was six. She'd been climbing on snow mountains, flying down from the top with glee. Snow mountains, in case you're not from an urban area, are built by trucks sent out by the city at the hint of snow. Since it's Virginia and there's no threat of malingering snowbanks all winter long, the drivers scoop all the snow they can find into a huge pile at the end of the block. It will melt away soon enough but in the meantime, kids can climb and fly.

The next day Juia's leg began to hurt. I thought little of it at first but after nagging discomfort over the course of a week, long about the time when the snow mountain was a mere snow hill covered in black soot, I took her to see my orthopaedist, young Dr. Mishra. He and Julia took an immediate liking for one another. He took an x-ray and saw in it something ominous and terrifying - what he thought was a cancerous growth.

He ordered tests the next day. It was Friday and it was snowing again. The hospital was short staffed but also short of patients due to the weather. I sat with Julia for most of the day as she got a series of dyes injected, scans and x-rays. Since it was Friday, there'd be not results until Monday. We had the weekend to wait. A long weekend.

I think I spent every minute by Julia's side for those three days. I read to her. We watched favorite movies - White Christmas, A Chorus Line, Singin' in the Rain. I introduced her to some of my favorite foreign films, reading every word of the subtitles to her. She loved Babbette's Feast. I recommend it.

On Monday we returned to Dr. Mishra's office to the news that he'd been wrong, erring on the side of safety. What had looked like a lesion was probably the healing of a past injury.

A couple of weeks later the kitten we had chosen was finally ready to come home. In the interim between choosing him and getting him he got his name. Mishra. Julia proudly took Dr. Mishra a photograph of him.

Back to my visitor at the door, the one who demands that Mishra be kept inside. She said he comes when she calls. She didn't know his name before. I wonder how she's been calling him.

I'm reminded again of elders in nursing homes. Does anyone care about how they got their names - named for a great aunt; after a writer or movie star that their mother thought was special, in hope for enduring greatness for their child; for mother or father or long lost relative, generations removed?

What happens to a person's name when they enter a nursing home? Caretakers often take charge of it. They may address residents as "hon" or "sweetie". They may call them Mr. or Mrs. so and so. Will they call them by their first name? Unlikely. How often is the name of the person lying in bed in a hospital or nursing home accounced, not simply spoken? How can we know that elders, frail and unable to care for themselves, are comfortable, comforted by how they are addressed?

Dr. Mishra returned to Stanford before the year was up. I wonder if when he packed up his desk he put the picture of his namesake in the box with him. I sure hope so.

My Old Cat

I stopped blogging a while back. I had to. Not enough time. Although it was fun and a lovely way to keep in touch with friends and family, it began to feel self-indulgent. I had to get back to the work of work and job of life, etc. Until today.

Late afternoon. A knock at the door. Not a pushy knock, just a knock. I figured it must an Obama supporter with a clipboard to talk about the campaign. They've already come to the house twice - once for Julia and a second time for Kristara - the youth vote. Good.

It was a woman without a clipboard. She wanted to know if I was the owner of a long-haired calico cat. I thought for a moment. Mishra is long haired but he's no calico. He's a brown tabby Maine Coon cat. Calico? I asked. Yes, calico. I do have a brown tabby Maine Coon cat, I said. Oh no, she said, shaking her head. They're very large. She went on to describe my skinny, sometimes glassy-eyed, 14-year-old baby boy. He's gotten wobbly in his old age; skinny for sure, although he's always been thin. His fur is a bit matted in spots since he's not so much into grooming anymore and he is a bit demented, I'll admit. Yep, he's mine. She then proceeded to tell me that she proposed he be kept inside and/or be taken to the pound where he could be adopted by a family that would love him and provide for him appropriately. She indicated she'd be the one taking him if I didn't keep him inside.

Taken aback, I started out slowly. He is skinny, I said, because he has liver disease. He almost died a year ago. At the time the vet said he'd need a feeding tube for at least three months in order to save him, although there was little guarantee that it would work. Rather than leaving him at the animal hospital for several days to surgically implant the tube and begin his treatment I took him home. After much thought and family discussion we decided to love him and feed him. I talked him into a couple of bites, then a few more bites and soon enough the entire household was on 24/7 feed Mishra detail.

A year later he's out and about, visiting his friends in the neighborhood. Beth gives him treats daily. He scratches on Con and Ann's back door to ask for snacks. Teresa, when she lived next door, believed cats were some sort of reincarnation vehicle for dead loved ones. She sensed her mother in Mishra. I'm just saying. I figure Fran takes him inside to feed him. He sometimes comes home smelling like perfume. I know because every night at around midnight I call him. He usually comes home and I pick him up and bury my head in his fur while he purrs. I ask him about his day. He purrs some more.

I tried to share some of this with the cat lady. I told her I was glad that she cared but that clearly we had differing philosophies of care. Mishra has been going outside for at least a dozen years, I said. He hates to stay in. And yes he's thin, but who isn't when they are old and a little sickly. The more I spoke the more upset I became and much to my surprise I started to cry. Let me just say - I am not a crier. It's not something I'm proud of. It's just a fact. I do not cry easily. But there I was, standing on my front porch, wailing at this stranger who was threatening to take my old cat away because she disapproved of his care. I left her standing there and retreated into the privacy of my home. Door closed. Click of the deadbolt for effect.

I sat and I cried and I thought. I thought about Mishra. I thought about my mother who weighed all of 88 pounds when she died. Then I began to think about countless elders, caught in webs of both good and bad intentions. For their own good. Sitting in nursing homes in chairs equipped with alarms set to go off if they dare to try to stand up. Parents and grandparents removed from their own homes, sent to live in institutions far away from their beloved Mishras and all else that they hold familiar and dear. For their own good. I thought of countless adult children of elders who make decisions about their parents care based on what? Fear; judgement; love; greed; appearances; advice/coercion of "professionals"? How conflicted we can become when faced with drugs, equipment and procedures that are available. What child would feel right turning down a drug that might, and a stress might, slow down the course of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. How well does the drug work? What are the potential side effects? If it doesn't work how will we know and what will we do? In all likelihood, we will add more drugs on top of it if it doesn't work.

I cried about Mrs. Rehberg who spent her final days unable to talk, sustained by a ventilator, legs bound in intermittently squeezing "socks" to prevent clotting. She hated those socks and wanted them off. But they kept on squeezing as staff awaited the go ahead from her children to unplug the vent.

I cried about strangers I'll never meet.

I cried about Mishra.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In response,

Anonymous, aka, Kristara (I know it's you.) penned her description of our house in the following comment to my August 18 post.

Sweating bullets...
no breeze. no a.c.
balls of cat fur stick to fabric like velcro....
wafts of dirty dog dander.
kittie litter speckled socks.
chip and cookie crumbs...
overdue blockbuster movies.
half emptied deer parks...
blueberry boxes..
Bob calling a dog a precious angel through the window screen...
a maine coon with dreads in the sill considers not getting back up.
Awwww. She's just kidding.

I like this one.

"Untitled" by Henry Burns. From Creativity Explored!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I sit on my bed
The sounds of summer scream gently in the open window
A cat sleeps on the sill
Constant comforting background noise of bugs
Crickets or are they cicadas or something else entirely
A slight breeze comes in fits and starts
A dog yelps
A fork clinks on a plate
It's hard to work with such happiness surrounding me
Then again it's hard not to

Michael Phelps had the dreaded ADHD.

According to the article in The NY Times, as a child in school Michael Phelps was said by his teachers to have ADHD and was put on Ritalin by his doctor. One teacher is quoted by Michael's mother as having told her that Michael would never be able to focus on anything. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amazing Art. Just Amazing.

Julia sent me a link to this museum yesterday. She told me about it on the phone in Italian, the only language she's allowed to speak right now, so I didn't get it at all. (I did understand it when she told me that in Italy the number 13 is good luck rather than bad, and that studying the Italian mafia is really interesting.) Creativity Explored!
is a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art. It has some of the most amazing artwork I've ever seen. This picture, Favorite Foods, is by Camille Holvoet. There were so many images that I absolutely loved that it was hard to choose just one. Browse the on-line listings. Savour. I mean it.

Vindicated. Finally. Thanks to Fox.

I can't believe I'm quoting Fox. But I am. And I'm passing on the information because I think it's good, really good. I've been fighting a losing battle with my kids to rid the house of scented stuff for years. Scented candles; horrible smelling laundry detergents (I rue the day the kids started buying their own products to do their laundry.); fabric softeners (Forbidden - why on earth would one need a "fabric softener"? Is it like needing a Salton Bun Warmer or an electric knife? Or maybe it's like the broom that Poe brought home recently, unknowingly, fully equipped with an "air freshener" tucked into it's side.)

Fight no more. I've got science and Fox on my side. Vindicated. Phew. Take a look!

'Fresh Scent' Detergents and Air Fresheners Could be Toxic, Study Says
Thursday , July 24, 2008, Fox News

Your favorite laundry products and air fresheners could be emitting a lot more than just a ‘fresh scent’, according to a University of Washington study.

Researchers analyzed a range of top-selling products from plug-in oils to dryer sheets, fabric softeners and detergents. What they found was that all of them contained dozens of different chemicals. In fact, researchers said all six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws.

"I was surprised by both the number and the potential toxicity of the chemicals that were found," said Anne Steinemann, a University of Washington professor, in a news release. “Chemicals included acetone, the active ingredient in paint thinner and nail-polish remover; limonene, a molecule with a citrus scent; and acetaldehyde, chloromethane and 1, 4-dioxane.”

In the laboratory, each product was placed in an isolated space at room temperature and the surrounding air was analyzed for chemicals.

Results showed 58 different volatile organic compounds above a concentration of 300 micrograms per cubic meter. For example, a plug-in air freshener contained more than 20 different volatile organic compounds. Of these, seven are regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws.

Steinemann had this advice for consumers.

"Be careful if you buy products with fragrance, because you really don't know what's in them," she said. "I'd like to see better labeling. In the meantime, I'd recommend that instead of air fresheners people use ventilation, and with laundry products, choose fragrance-free versions."

The study is published online by the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk. Creativity.

TED Talks are always amazing. This one takes about twenty minutes. Worth it, IMHO.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ya learn something everyday.

Word of the Day for Friday, August 8, 2008
vexillology \vek-sil-AHL-uh-jee\, noun:

The study of flags.


Tony Hoagland Poem


This year Marie drives back and forth
from the hospital room of her dying friend
to the office of the adoption agency.

I bet sometimes she doesn't know
What threshold she is waiting at—

the hand of her sick friend, hot with fever;
the theoretical baby just a lot of paperwork so far.

But next year she might be standing by a grave,
wearing black with a splash of
banana vomit on it,

the little girl just starting to say Sesame Street
and Cappuccino latte grand Mommy.
The future ours for a while to hold, with its heaviness—

and hope moving from one location to another
like the holy ghost that it is.

"Migration" by Tony Hoagland from What Narcissism Means To Me © Graywolf Press, 2003.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's age got to do with it?

So I peeked in on Salon this morning, scrolling down the list of articles looking for something funny. Funny is a good idea these days in my view. Aha. Garrison Keillor is usually good for a heartfelt, mom-and-apple-pie kind of laugh. I quote from his piece "The trouble with John McCain" -

It's no surprise that Senator McCain likes to bring out his 96-year-old mother Roberta, I suppose. The problem is that she is a lot perkier than he. The gentleman has had a few bad weeks, thundering in a dithery way about America's enemies, looking vaguely purposeful campaigning up and down supermarket aisles as if he couldn't remember what kind of cheese he'd been sent to buy. He surely will hit his stride after the Republican convention, but at the moment he looks to be eight years too late. The brash Bull Moose independent of 2000 has made all sorts of accommodations since, abandoning common sense when necessary, and his unsteadiness the past couple weeks makes his age an unspoken issue: Anyone who remembers the Iran-Contra years and the president who couldn't remember is not anxious to see a genial oldster dithering in the Oval Office. There is more to the job than flashing a big grin. You do need to make sense now and then.
It's sometimes hard for me not to jump on the bandwagon that supports the notion that John McCain is too old to be president. I'm so horrified of the thought of him winning that any port in a storm . . . But it's just not necessary.

No one, Garrison, no one should be desirous of seeing another idiot dithering in the Oval Office, whether they be flashing a grin or ordering the invasion of another country and illegally imprisoning citizens of that country for what is turning from days into years.

But age has nothing to do with it. And hey, where's the laugh?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nameless Art, Untitled by Unknown

This just in from the MOBA (one of my favorite museums of "fine" art) newsletter: "The Museum of Bad Art is excited to offer one lucky person the title of "Official MOBA Guest Interpretator" in celebration of the new book release. Submit an inspired title for this work, along with an interpretation to enter. The winner will receive a free copy of the book as well as have the unequivocal honor of "interpretating" an official specimen of the MOBA gallery. The competition will run until September 30, 2008. Send your title and interpretation to:"

We all need more silly in our lives. I'm just sayin'.

Oh, and the titles I'm working on so far: "The Eyes Have It" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen."

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm just not sure what to think.

The New Yorker is right up there as one of my favorite publications. I've been reading it since I was a little kid. Okay, at least I've been reading the cartoons since I was a little kid. Many years ago my mother started a game of trying to guess the title of the cover each week. Jerzy and I do it to this day. That said, I don't know what to think about the cover of the next issue. I guess even one's favorite thing can let them down from time to time. I just don't know what to think.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A message from The Rev Billy

And I quote:
A headline in the papers said: Americans Stop Shopping. Can you believe this? It goes on to say: Discretionary retail spending is down six quarters in a row, big boxes in receivership, independent shops springing up...

So, the market is no longer a great shadow up in the elevator shaft that crashes down on us every time a rich person needs to leave home. The President told us that shopping was how we fight for our country - that we deserved this nationwide hypnosis - but then Americans Stop Shopping, and oh the freedom from that pain throws us forward into a delicious waltz of little everyday gestures, oh this feels good. Americans Stop Shopping, did anyone see this coming?

Yes, the corporations did. They were afraid we might stop at any moment but then we kept shopping for years and they started buying homes in the Hamptons, oh but feel that? Feel that shopping stop? Could we be fascinated again with the pharmacist couple that survived the chains? Were they Tony and Mary? Are the old first names returning to our shouts? Look at that! It’s a miracle. Our hands are changing - ungrabbing - returning to us from the credit cards and plastic-lid to-go cups...

Americans Stop Shopping and why does it make no sense to sit in traffic now - is it really just the gas? Because - see that? We are leaving our cars and trucks up on the interstate and wandering off across fields, suddenly I meet you after all these years! I remember you and I remember myself - from before all the shopping started. You know what? I’ve got a question for you.

Can you believe this headline? Americans Stop Shopping? We shopped too much because we were afraid of death but now that we stopped - the forests rise through the super mall roof and birds cry “I am here! I am here!” Americans Stop Shopping? Can we believe we are consuming less? - if we believe it then we can do it. Amen?

This has been a message from The Rev Billy Bulletin

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Friday, July 11, 2008

mc was a good fish.

mc was a good fish. He lived alone in a tank with a big hunk of wood and a device that made bubbles and he ate store-bought fish pellets twice a day. Baby liked to help feed him. She liked to eat his food and watch him swim. Sometimes she'd put her front leg (her arm, to me) into the tank up to the shoulder to try to reach him. She's our only cat that comes to the call, "Wanna feed the fish?" But mc died today. Jerzy and I put him in a tiny box and took him to the field tonight and dug a hole with a stick and buried him. We told him he was a good fish and we hoped he'd been happy. Jerzy said she'd get me another fish . . . a better fish, she said. What could be better than mc, I thought? Jerzy said my new fish will be blue. I'm gonna name him mc squared.