Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days

He is pretty damn smart, isn't he? And he doesn't seem devious.

By contrast, Bush was absolutely excruciating, at his one-per-term press conferences.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I once spent weeks, maybe months, putting together a set of mix tapes. This memory was triggered by a post about boomboxes on Flint Expats ( I had a great Panasonic boombox, btw.

I spent abundant time studying how each song ended, to make my segues invisible (e.g., if one song ended on a drumbeat, the next would start with a beat or note that followed logically, rhythmically, musically as the next sound). I mastered the input level knobs so that I could create a fadeout early; I studied fractions of a turn on the counter wheel to reduce dead air to nothing; I studied Trouser Press music guides to discover what could be posited as the absolute best music released in a given year.

I made these tapes for every year between, I think, 1977 and 1989. I gave a set to my husband-to-be when I met him in 1990. I mailed them out to everyone whom I considered a friend. The project took me enough time that, even now, I ask myself, "Would I include this song on a 2009 mix?" It was "a moment" (as in, validating all that time spent) when a friend (who tragically died in 2001) told me, ca. 1998, that he won a bet by knowing that a film-soundtrack song, which became a minor hit, was a re-release, because he'd loved it and played it often on one of my 80s mix tapes. (It was a Proclaimers song.)

What is your best boombox and/or mix tape memory?


Can I just say? I =hate= the new commercial for Verizon. It takes place in an ice cream shop, where the customer guy pours out a whole jar of jimmies onto the counter, and a clown in a white suit does a hideous pseudo-double take. It is the worst cell phone commercial EVER.

What commercial do you hate?


Tonight I went to the White House website,, to see about sending an email to the prez (or his team, of course). I found the words "Contact us" near the top right of the main page. I clicked, I provided my information, and I wrote my message.

What I said was that we need to preserve the Public Option in any health care reform package. If you could choose the benefits that are provided to the average recipient of Medicaid, at significantly less cost to yourself than whatever other insurance giant–based options are offered, would you not choose it?

The Public Option represents reduced cost—reduced by up to 30%—for health care. It is damn good health care (better than what I have right now).

Why would it be left out? Because insurance lobbyists are lobbying HARD. Don't let them win this one. It could not be more important. See Paragraph One for your instructions.


OK, so I haven't remarked yet on the whole torture business. I could still be in shock. One guy was waterboarded exactly how many times? ALL behavior is about choices. Who could make that choice, to repeatedly waterboard ANYone?

I'm with Shep: America doesn't f*cking torture. It matters to me that my country used to have a reputation, and that its reputation is now shredded, altered, perhaps permanently.

The thing is, torture does not produce intelligence. It produces lies. I know this like I know my name: just by existing. Doesn't everyone know this?

Recently there was a news item about research into police procedures. It found that the methods used in a standard police interrogation are prone to producing false confessions. Google it. It's so bloody basic. If we get lies out of standard procedure, what are we supposed to get out of torture?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Morning

And this is what my garden looks like today. Palest-yellow and orange daffodils, the ones I love, paired with grape hyacinth. Creeping phlox, I think in bloom early? Due to the heat!

The top pic shows a wisteria seed pod just under the stem of a hyacinth. I'll try to remember to photograph our whole wisteria vine, which is simply covered with seed pods.
The temps are supposed to plummet this evening and climb again by Tuesday. Such weird weather we're having, hint hint. Global warming should be thought of, should be renamed, as global weirdness.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Fond Bye to Bea

Bea Arthur died today. I was never a fan of the Golden Girls, and announcers announcing that she was "best-known" as Dorothy on that show disturb me. She was Maude, and she will always be Maude.

Honestly, there are days when I feel like =I= am Maude. Thinking of Bea helps me realize that women are supposed to be forceful when it is important to be so.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

["Old woman!"] "Man." ["Man?"] "I'm 47, I'm not old."

I'm 46, for the record. Forty-seven in five months.

Today my husband handed me an AARP card. He's 50 and got one around his birthday. Apparently I get one as The Spouse.

The letter with which it arrived asks me to 'try it' at Borders. I'm not anxious to do that. I will own ribbing Vic about his un-asked-for AARP membership. Now I get it. It's not so much fun to be included, having never requested to be in this particular club.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The Deadliest Catch started tonight. Love that show. Tough decisions faced about health and family, and we're only 20 minutes in to Episode 1. There are two episodes tonight.

Vic has been beaming about it since he realized tonight was the night. Turn your sets on, if you aren't watching! Discovery channel.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Get Busy

Now that I've turned in my 20-page paper on HIV in prisons (specifically, that we need to distribute condoms therein), I can turn to my REAL job this time of year... putting together my recipe spreadsheet. I'm going to try out a clafoutis aux cerises (25 cents if you can translate), a southern Italian ratatouille, and a Morroccan tomato salad. On the Outer Banks. In two weeks' time.

I feel very smiley.


Lobsta Land is open again, Lobsta Land is open! Vic and I love that place (it's like the equivalent of Passport's, but with a marsh view instead of a downtown view). We went last night. I had salmon, and he had a lobster and blue crab lasagna. Promise that you'll try it. It's on your right as you leave town.


See my garden of many colors. Sorry that the lungwort shot is a bit blurry!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Isn't that Ben Hamper, seeming hopeless?

I caution you all: pause the clip as soon as it starts, and don't even try to play it until it is fully downloaded. The whole awful thing.

Credit to the Flintexpats site and Gordie Young.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I really like this movie. It's on a non-cable channel and full of commercials tonight, but it's still good. And Alec Baldwin—good lord, it's hard to believe that this is what he used to look like. I love Anne Bancroft as the mom. And Nicole Kidman is absolutely a revelation in this role. See it, see Malice.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I finally called Vermont Country Store to order my Space Food Sticks. They said that the peanut butter ones are no longer available! I canceled my order. I am sad.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I just watched Bill Maher (late; forgot to watch on Friday). I wonder if he's been reading my blog. ;) Or maybe he just saw Wall-E.

Maher brought up both space junk and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The more publicity these horrors get, the more distressed human beings become about them, the better off we and the earth will be. Awareness and distress can change behaviors.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Above is a link for those of you who have an interest in dying cities.

Above is a link for those of you who would like to own property in a dying city.

Above is a link to a nice neighborhood in a dying city.

Necessity and Rockets

I'm still considering my opinions on the following two topics: unemployment in Michigan, and North Korea's missile launch.

I have been saying for years, for decades actually, that Flint (and, by extension, Detroit) needs to look outside GM for its future. Genius and business acumen exist in that town. It could be the location of the Next Big Thing.

But does necessity breed invention? I've been waiting for some creative bombshell to drop in Michigan for many years now. Has need been as sharply present over the past 25 years as it is right now? I suppose what I'm saying is that I =hope= that necessity breeds invention.

As to North Korea... I was thinking yesterday, driving north and home to Gloucester, that it wouldn't be such a bad thing if some agent sabotaged that rocket. I am ashamed to confess this—no fan of international meddling, I hoped that the agent would be Korean. But I am not sad to read (on BBC, anyway; not everywhere) that the launch failed.


The new CEO of GM was on Meet the Press this morning. (I know, I shouldn't watch Meet the Press. I received the new Vanity Fair yesterday, and I was most pleased to see that James Wolcott shares my feelings about the Sunday morning political shows: completely out of touch!)

Anyway, the new CEO never said what he needed to say: The company needs to take off the rose-colored glasses that it has worn for decades. It has to believe in transparency, to get it that a curtain of 'projections' and positive numbers cannot be drawn over its operations. It needs to understand that there is no more "what we want to hear" when what we need is the cold, hard truth. It is not only what we (US citizens) need, but also what he needs to look at.

Grinchie David Gregory posed an absurd question about whether Obama would ever really do anything to hurt the unions when he was elected with broad labor support. Hello? Obama/his administration has already made clear an expectation that money-losing brands within GM will be cut. In what world does cutting limbs from a company favor the work force?

I'm not saying that the Obama people were wrong in proposing to streamline GM. GM requires a surgical excision of both its bleeding units and its million-dollar, upper-level clones.

Friday, April 3, 2009


(Forgive the Facebook-like announcement of what I'm engaged in, but:) I'm watching, on VH1, serial episodes of One-Hit Wonders of the '80s. I am horrified that they include XTC's Dear God—one of the least catchy XTC songs e.v.e.r.

Did XTC really only have that one song on the charts? Where is Making Plans for Nigel? Where is Mayor of Simpleton? Generals and Majors, or Respectable Street?

And just this second they previewed Madness. And Devo. Come on, these are not one-hit acts.

I have to agree about Tom Tom Club.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I cried today watching the news. I cried over the impact of Michelle Obama, the bonus "value added" in our new administration.

She spoke at a girls' school in London. I can only imagine the impact she would have speaking at a girls' school in Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Did I mention that I have a mooring now in Gloucester Harbor? Shhh, don't tell anybody. I got it from my dad. He sold me his boat, then "passed" the mooring on to me. Officially—it's legal and everything. But I know there's quite a wait list.

The thing is, the motor was stolen from our boat (a 23' sailboat) while it was out on the mooring. We tried to replace it at low cost, and of course the replacement motor lost compression before we ever used it. It would cost much more serious money to get that motor up and running.

What to do? Does anyone know of a running, long-shaft outboard for less than $400? I'm saving for so many things, I can't spare more than that.


Here are the latest plants to sprout or bloom in my garden. I do feel foolish about not getting those bulbs in. Tulips and allium, it turns out. I also had a box full of bare-root phlox. No doubt they have expired, but I'll put them in the ground anyway before we leave (31 days).