Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Stole this from a blog. Just thought it was pretty. I don't know who to give credit to.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Hurricane Sandy ravaged the northeast last night leaving behind a lot of flooding and snow in the mountains. I wonder how bad the flooding will be as the water makes its way back to the sea. I know New York is in a bit of a disarray, but I suspect the Con Ed people will get things righted quickly, as well will the transportation engineers. A few deaths thus far. The replica BOUNTY sank off the coast North Carolina, apparently with the loss of two lives. I know my brother, niece, and sister-in-law (all of whom are in some level of law enforcement) have their hands full. Haven't heard much out of Virginia Beach. Seems Connecticut got a good punch. No doubt they are busier than they ever imagined. Such a huge storm enforces the belief of people such as myself that government is still very important, preparation is a necessity, and that Republicans simply don't have a clue. Romney showed while he was in the governor's mansion that his policies were not up to the task in handling such disasters. I hope the rest of the country gets the message before next Tuesday. It was nice that Christie praised Obama's efforts.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Just finished Creole Belle. James Lee Burke, one of my favorite writers and responsible for nearly twenty volumes in the Dave Robicheaux series, still commands a wonderful array of descriptive language and usually tells a good story and people who love his characters probably don’t quibble about his prose, but he seems to be aging in style and power somewhat, now unable to avoid repetition both from previous volumes and even within these pages. In fact, I think it is time to wrap up the series, perhaps. There was a part of me that kept saying that he simply doesn’t have that much more to explore, even if new characters are added. And OMG, the “ands” rush by like a heard of deer in front of a firestorm (in one sentence I counted six). I suspect the publisher, knowing any new Burke would have good built-in sales, forgoed assigning an editor to his best-selling producer, and no one apparently calls Burke to account. Sometimes the infractions are minor, such as having two characters include “over the hurdles” just pages apart to more egregious problems of retelling information the reader should be able to retain on their own. Sometimes characters, not directly connected and at varied points, bring up the same historical events or remembrances (door gunner who couldn’t wait to get back to a free-fire zone). He is consistent with his former novels in the series (and outside as well) in his toilet and scatalogical references (someone always seems to be killed or beaten in a bathroom and something---often repeatedly--will be referenced going up a rear or spit in someone’s mouth or an item will be needed to be removed from a mouth). His dialogue is almost always angry: hardly ever can two characters, no matter when in the book, have a peaceful or genuine conversation, as they seem to be bitter and distrustful and dishonest and hateful and (wait, I’m sounding too much like JLB). And they all talk the same. Burke simply is unable to give characters unique tone (with the exception of some of the minor characters with local color). Still, I liked the story. I actually thought a favored character might be headed for his demise, but no. I am thinking about not reading any more of his books, but I would be willing to bet I’ll be first in line when another comes out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


First, there is Akin, with his rape fantasies, followed by a host of other kookie comments from anti-abortion candidates, but the craziness needs to stop. (Not to mention Coulter using the "retard" word several times to describe President Obama, and getting mad support on Twitter).

Now we have Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for Senate from Indiana, who this week asserted: "The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen."

God does not sanction rape. Full Stop. It is shameful that anyone who calls themselves a Christian would make such a statement. I am appalled. I know some people get overheated over this subject, and they can misspeak, but clearly he has thought about this, and he is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Although some have attacked Romney for having cut an ad in support of Mourdock, I can't believe he would support the Indianan's view and I hope he publicly repudiates it.

Friday, October 19, 2012


A really funny, sarcastic, and cutting commentary, lifted from (by Ellie Robins of MobyLives), which I reproduce here, and hopefully no one decides to put me in a legal bind, HA!

"As a woman, I’m not adept at making decisions that concern me. So when I need the right choice, I turn to the presidential candidate that KNOWS. One with prideful experience in this department. I don’t want to be filed away in an inferior & confusing electronic doohickey that I couldn’t possibly understand. Or heaven forbid, have a man ask for & listen to my ideas! I’d much rather rely on this top of the line, 1980s style, Avery Durable binder. It’s the choice America can trust. My education, my ideas, my opinions, my choices, please PLEASE keep them safely stored away here and far away from the men that might fear them (I mean, want to use them to hire me somedaynever). I’d write more about this most useful product, but it’s time I hurry home to make dinner. . .

Maybe it’s just my women, but they don’t seem to want to fit into the space I’ve designated for them in this binder. They keep sticking out over the edges, even getting away in some cases. I thought using clear, glass-ceiling page protectors would help, but it doesn’t seem to slow them down anymore.

I’m going to have to resort to more severe three-hole punching, to keep my women in line. And maybe switch to the Trap Her, Keep Her.

I have recently discovered that my small six-ring binder, especially when I remove all the people from it, works as a great defense against both legitimate and illegitimate rape. I carry it with me at all times–it’s so small that no one can tell that the little metal rings are actually left open (or “cocked” as it were). When jumped by friend or foe, I just snap those little suckers shut. The whole clamp/pinch action…talk about shutting that whole thing down. And the six little holes are always good for the lineup later. Cannot recommend enough."

Thursday, October 18, 2012


From NH speech by President Obama, from today's campaigning, some lines I liked:

"Four years ago, I said in this great country of ours, nobody should go bankrupt when they get sick, and so we passed health reform--yes, I like the name “Obamacare”--so your insurance companies can’t jerk you around anymore. So young people can stay on their parent’s plans till they’re 26. So women can’t be charged more than men for their insurance--being a woman is not a preexisting condition. . .

And, by the way, we want our sons to thrive in math and science and engineering, but we also want our daughters to thrive in those fields, too. See, we don’t have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women who can learn and excel in these fields right now. And when these young women graduate, I want them to receive equal pay for equal work. I don’t know why this is so complicated. Governor Romney still won’t say whether or not he supported a law to protect that right, no matter how many times he’s asked. This is not -- this is not that hard. I’ve got two daughters. I want to make sure they get paid the same as somebody’s sons for doing the same job. Pretty straightforward. Any confusion there? . . .

You know where I stand. Look, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, this was the first bill I signed into law. And I know you want the same thing for your daughters, or sisters, or moms, or grandmas as I do. And this is not--as I said in the debate, this is not just a women’s issue, this is a family issue, this is an economic issue.
I also believe women should make their own health care decisions. I know you’ve got -- and it’s not just Washington that sometimes deals with this issue. You’ve got a state legislature up here that sometimes acts like it knows better than women when it comes to women’s own health care decisions. My opponent has got the same approach. Governor Romney said he’d end funding for Planned Parenthood, despite all the work it does to provide women with mammograms and breast cancer screenings. . .

We made sure that insurance companies are providing women with contraception. He supported legislation that would turn those decisions over to a woman's employer. Think about that. Do you think, like, your boss, or your insurance company, or some politician in Concord or Washington should get control of your health care choices?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I cannot watch; I closed my eyes, this debate process I do despise.
Who cares what they look like on screen, I’d rather hear their thoughts on green.
Who saved the jobs and fed the small, kept the country from hitting a stall?
Passed some laws for gays and poor, let immigrant kids stay on our shore.
Made women’s pay an equal thing, despite reaction caterwauling?
Promoted art, education too, as any civilized would do.
Made sure some money trickled down to people closest to the ground.
Helped some others keep their homes, unlike those giant greedy gnomes,
who’d let folks fail after rigging world, their narrow views fully unfurled.
Now people with existing woes, or assaulted by economic blows,
and college kids in sick despair, are sure to get decent health care.
Four solid years of no attacks, so who has really had our backs?
Osama’s dead, a whole lot more, bad guys knock on Allah’s door.
One war is ended though much pain, I hope we don’t do that again,
Another, slowly, winds its way down, I’d rather have our troops in town,
enjoying life and working hard, hopefully with their Union card.
Car companies allowed to live, the wealthy a little more won't give.
I could go on and list some more, don’t want an escape from this door,
So let women decide their fates, no matter their private health states,
I know there’s some who’ll wring their hands, but they’re acting like they’re Talibans.
In less than month we’ll right this boat, so don’t forget to go and vote.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

LAST DAYS (Brian Evenson)

There were times while reading this novella that I entertained notions of severing my hand so that I couldn't pick up the book again, but like a spectator frozen in a crowd at a French execution, my eyes remained riveted to the stilled guillotine, waiting for it to slice flesh and bone. Ahhh, can you imagine if people felt inspiration at a sight such as this and then made lopping off body parts a fetish, and then for it to morph into a religious experience with a fellowship turned cultish and schismatic, who in their ecstatic frenzy turned to murder and mayhem to promote and protect extreme ideas? (No, not the Taliban) Well, Brian Evenson has. Methinks this is one story that people have to go into with their eyes firmly attached to their sockets, because as riveting as it is (kudos to the author), its carnage and violence may not be suited to everyone's taste. I kept telling myself that it was a satire on religious extremism, and I might be right, or it was just a noir detective romp designed purposely to shock. Either way, it works. Don't judge me! I couldn't help if I, like Kline, pined for answers to the mysteries of cutters gone wild. Like prey caught in a giant spider's web, he struggles to understand his plight while feverishly trying to extricate himself. Some will really enjoy this tale, but take cautionary heed and tread lightly. . .or you might lose something.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Luckily they didn't fall with a thud,
as so many critics thought they would,
they fought hard and came really near
to putting the conference on its ear
I hope next week they eat Gator meat
and in Atlanta the Tide they greet,
so for now I'll just grin and bear it,
they're still great, this I swear it,
so get ready for the Gamecock storms,
I hope they wear their old uniforms!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Last night patrons of the arts were gifted with the Indian-themed ballet La Bayadere (or, if you followed the first act, also to be forever known as La Bayaderriere. Of course, I am being "cheeky," as there was a lot of posterior flashing going on), performed by the excellent company of the Columbia Classical Ballet. And although I jest, this was really a wonderfully lavish and colorful ballet performed by a talented group of dancers, many new to our state. Radenko Pavlovich is a master at attracting superior international talent, mixing it with young local dancers, and topping it off with the vibrant athletic power of our most-popular star, Brooklyn Mack (freshly awarded several gold medals in world competitions this past summer). I owe the opportunity to see this ballet (the first time) to Brooklyn's mother Lucretia (via Katherine Macedon). Thanks.

Columbia often waits with baited breath for Brooklyn to take the stage and wow us with his soaring leaps and captivating presence, but this time we got him for the entire length of the production (which is truly a great pleasure), as he became Solor, bedecked in white and sparkles. Anyone who follows ballet locally is aware of his growing international fame and primary position with the Washington Ballet. He danced wonderfully, as he always does, and it was a great performance. I enjoy watching him dance and look forward to every time he is here.

As great as Brooklyn is, he was accompanied by a sterling group of dancers. While there have been many additions to the CCB company, with a large contingent coming from Asian locales (especially Japan), there are many wonderful holdovers from past years, too. My friend Zoltan Boros was great as the High Brahmin, though it was more an acting than dancing role. Wonderful costume! Five-year professional Oleksandr Vykhrest danced in several roles, principally as the slave Ali, and bravely, I must add. The tall, lithe, Lauren Frere, who has been with us since 2008, had several lead roles. A host of second and third year performers added to the show, including Edward Persondek, Maggie Hegarty, Matthew Waters, David Greenberg, and Nations Wilkes-Davis.

[Somehow the printed program insert seemed to have messed up the names of some dancers with their roles, so if I missattribute, please forgive me, because many faces were unfamiliar.] The new dancers were lovely and wonderful to watch. Nana Yamatani was impressive and excellent as Nikiya, and she was delightful in her pairing with Brooklyn. Also spectacular was Tamako Miyazaki as Gamzatti. I really adore the Japanese ballerinas. Yukihiro Tamura may have stolen the show with his golden turn as the Bronze Idol (I really hope this is attributed correctly, because he seemed to float in his dance). Tae Seok Kim was very good also. There were quite a few new dancers in the corps, and I especially liked their Shade dance.

My favorite part of the show was act III, with wild dancing and lots of activity. I thought the costumes were very nice overall and the scenery generally pretty good. There wasn't as much humor as in some of the productions, and no swordplay (odd, isn't there always swordplay?) I really enjoyed the dancing and pageantry. A good night. We are lucky to have this group.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Pray for Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old Pakistani girl who since the age of eleven has written a blog advocating for education and freedom for girls and women in that blood-soaked and religiously reactionary corner of the world. Taliban members ambushed a van she and two other girls were riding to school in and sprayed them with machine-gun fire. She was hit in the neck and throat. Luckily she survived and has undergone several surgeries to repair the damage and remove the bullets (one, I think, is still lodged in the neck). No doubt the assholes will try again. Although Pakistan needs more females (and men) to stand up against advocates of darkness, intolerance, and anti-feminism, I hope someone in the United States can help get her out of that country, help her recover, enroll her into a great school, and then let her continue her fight. The world needs more brave people such as her. Especially in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia. . .do I need to mention them all? Of course, we need advocates for progress and education and common sense throughout the world (even in the United States), but some areas need it far more than others. I grow sicker with every report of a girls' school attacked, schoolgirls doused with acid, minors forced into marriages (especially with aged men), women excluded from many courses of education (as is currently happening in Iran), women kept down economically and socially, women snatched and traded as slaves on the sex market, and a whole host of crimes carried out against women while officials and men turn blind eyes. It is time for these travesties to end. Sad to say that the world would be a much better place if the Talabani and their ilk simply disappeared, died off. Efforts must be made to protect the truthsayers (such as Yoani Sanchez in Cuba), the rabble rousers.

UPDATE: Apparently three of the Taliban attempted assassins have been detained and have revealed the individual who set up the hit. Malala seems to be doing better and was moved to a better facility. She still has a ways to go. And opinion in Pakistan has opened even more debate on the role of the Taliban in their country. I would love to see some violent push-back against these religious reactionaries.

UPDATE II: Little Malala has been airlifted to Britain and reports are she is responding well. I hope they keep her out of Taliban clutches and she gets to continue her education and crusade.

UPDATE III: Reports are she is standing and communicating, much very good news.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I am delighted with this past weekend and the start of a new week, especially because of a dominating performance by the whole Gamecock team over our rivals---the Dawgs of Gawga! And it really was a domination. Sure, they had a few chances and we had a little luck when we needed it, but the defensive line really looked good (especially stoning them on the goal line), and the offensive played within itself, didn't make too many mistakes, garnered a few exciting plays, and again our special teams did pretty well (Ace was great). So why am I not dancing around? Because these are still our beloved Gamecocks, and there is plenty of room for disaster. I know, I sound like a worrywort, but I am also a realist and have had my heart crushed before. Like losing Lattimore last year and letting Auburn slip past us. I teasingly and cheekily have remarked that our current mantra might be, "Who are We Afraid of? Wofford!" True Gamecocks know the linger doubt that Navy caused us so many years back. And we have often played down to our opponents. So it is prudent to remain calm, not overly excited, and hope for the best. Still, I think USC has a great team, possibly even championship-caliber, if they can play like they have over the last six quarters, stay focused, and do their job (and not have an crushing unexpected turn). USC still has really challenging games ahead, and a few potential traps to face. But unlike some years in the past, I think we have a team capable of handling these hurdles, and I really hope they can. At least the Gamecocks are in the national title discussion (and that hasn't happened often). Anyone in the nation who watched the game saw the enthusiasm the fans here have always had for our boys in garnet and black, and no doubt a few aspiring gridiron stars thought, "Hmmmm, I'd like to play there." I hope so. We have suffered for a long time, and yet have never failed to support our team, and it would really be nice to have a fabulous season (which it has been thus far). Defeated a strong rival; now greater goals are there for the team. Good luck to them.

Friday, October 5, 2012


I like this imagined speech put into the mouth of Obama in response to Romney by SLATE contributor Eliot Spitzer:

"Quite frankly sir, from the comfort of the economic recovery my policies have begun to create, you are now second-guessing the tough choices I made that have brought this nation back from the precipice of economic collapse—an economic collapse that was created by the very policies you want to embrace once again, a precipice that was far deeper than anyone appreciated when I entered the door of the White House, an economic threat that was the direct result of the disregard my predecessor showed for the warnings he was given by those who understood the cataclysm that would result from his policies—and from your policies. So, sir, while I will not claim that your comments about 47 percent of the American public merely wanting to be dependent upon government reflects a callous disregard for these folks on your part, I do suggest that it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the American people, of how our nation was built, of how we have all reached for a helping hand at some point, how we all strive to succeed, how we are not all born with the financial wherewithal to find that success, and how those who have succeeded have always recognized the mutuality of our obligations to one another. We see the world very differently—and the choice we present to the American public could not be more dramatic."