Send a thank-you note

November 10th, 2016

We can send Hillary a thank-you card for all the hard work she’s done on our behalf:

Hillary Clinton
Post Office Box 5256
New York, NY 10185-5256

Thank you, Hillary

November 9th, 2016

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Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2016

halloweencattoy

The cost of education

September 23rd, 2016

Occupy-Posters

THEM

August 25th, 2016

I may be beginning to understand the incomprehensible.

First, Donald Trump is an unacceptable candidate for president. Whatever one thinks of his opponents, they are not this bad.

Second, anyone is allowed to be a jerk. It’s our right. He is one, and he keeps proving he is one, and he has a right to his jerkness.

Third (this is the part I can’t quite get my head around), knowing he’s an unacceptable loose cannon, a jerk, an intolerant bully, who would support him for arguably the most powerful office in the world?

Here’s the answer: THEM. This is where the problem lies.

They’ve been forgotten. Nobody has worked as hard as they have. Foreigners have taken all their jobs. The government is taking all their money and giving it to lazy people who won’t work. The government is coming for their guns. They aren’t going to be pushed out of their own bathrooms by perverts.

They want the country run by a Christian version of sharia law.

Electing Trump would be a giant middle finger in the face of liberals who have forced THEM to accept people they don’t believe are their equals. It’s also a middle finger to the conservatives who have been force-feeding them platitudes they didn’t really agree with for decades. Trump is their weapon, their loaded gun, aimed at all the rest of us, throwing political correctness back at us like spit in our faces.
They don’t care how outrageous Trump is. They love it. The more outraged we feel and the crazier it makes us, the more they are thrilled.

Diplomacy? Tact? Nuance? Fairness? It escapes them. Trump appeals to the lowest human qualities: racism, sexism, intolerance, hate, greed, selfishness, lack of compassion. Khyzir Khan said “He is a black soul.” He’s a total egoist, a narcissist, but with charisma. Dangerous.

ALL the media are responsible for jumping to his constant bait, giving him free airtime over all other candidates. The media’s finding fault with him just makes THEM, who hate the media, love him even more.

Of course, he’s a pro. He knows how to work the camera, how to work an audience, how to get his name and image on the front page and in TV’s “breaking news” every day. It’s all a reality TV show, a game with a giant prize. But he has no — NO — knowledge of what the job requires.

But THEY don’t care about this. They aren’t the ones who will have to sit in the oval office in the wee hours of the night during a crisis. I doubt they ever think about the awesome responsibilities inherent in that position.
And, if he’s elected, as soon as he screws up, they’ll probably wash their hands of him. “It isn’t our fault. We trusted him.”

The new Beatlemania?

July 6th, 2016

Political pundits are falling all over themselves trying to figure out the sudden attraction of Donald Trump. It reminds me of the 1960s when psychologists tried to define the causes of Beatlemania, coming up with a lot of bizarre theories we fans knew were wrong. The guys were cute, had interesting hair, were fresh and exciting, played good music, were different and exotic. (Trump isn’t pretty, but his face does glow.) And mob mentality is exciting.

Look — he’s FAMOUS. See also Schwarzenegger and Reagan. Which brings me to my controversial idea: conservatisim. Did Independents and Democrats vote for Reagan because he was a great conservative? They say they did now, but no. Then they just wanted him because he was famous He looked good. He had that good hair and an adoring wife. Did they understand his lofty conservative ideals? No. But they signed on to him and his party for the long run and the party went further and further right and claimed that was the new center and where most Americans stood.

For a long time now there hasn’t been any room in the Republican party for moderates. The people have been going along with the label without knowing what it stood for. I think most of Trump’s followers are probably Libertarians at heart. Some may even have liberal views but would refuse the label because of the onus thrust upon it by Republicans (starting with Reagan).

This IS a revolution of sorts.

Trump tossed a coin to pick the party he’s run on. He saw that Hillary was too popular to defeat her in the Democratic party, so he picked the other one. He’s NOT a conservative. He’s not really a Republican. He’s perpetrating a myth that he’s a “good” Christian when he clearly knows little about Christianity. (He’s not the first politician to pander to the evangelicals — again, look at Reagan.)

The wildest extremist “nut job” has the same number of votes as the loftiest conservative — one.

The moderates who still call themselves Republicans finally have somebody to vote for. He’s done the hardest part, getting people who support him to go to the polls and vote. My advice: Republicans should use that. He got them there. Tell them to vote for all the R’s.

A fictional diary

June 17th, 2016

“One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd” by Jim Fergus is fiction that reads like a true-life diary. It is at times funny, sad, frightening, and always interesting.

In 1875, May was in an insane asylum because she wouldn’t toe the line with her family. “I have never had much interest in the church. Perhaps the hypocrisy inherent in Father’s position as a church elder, while remaining one of the least Christ-like men I’ve ever known, has something to do with my general cynicism toward organized religion of all kinds,” she writes.

An opportunity arose to volunteer in the Brides for Indians program, and off she went.

She gives advice to her inexperienced friend about how to make a man happy: “Wait on them hand and foot, cook for them, have sexual congress whenever and wherever they desire — but never initiate the act yourself and do not demonstrate any forwardness or longings of your own; this appears to frighten men — most of whom are merely little boys pretending to be men. And, perhaps most importantly, just as most men fear women who express their physical longings, so they dislike women who express opinions — of any sort and on any subject. … Thus I would recommend that you agree unequivocably with everything your new husband says … oh, yes, one final thing — let him believe that he is extremely well endowed, even if, especially if, he is not.”

On the way west, she meets other women in the program and talks about their motivations. “On this train all are equal.” They are “volunteers in an important social and political experiment.” She says, “Frankly, from the way I have been treated by the so-called ‘civilized’ people in my life, I rather look forward to residency among the savages. I should hope that at the very least they might appreciate us.”

At the Indian camp she observes, “Perhaps our cultures are not so different after all: the women do all the real work while the men do all the talking.” “I am already a fly in the ointment of savage society, already rocking the conventional boat, already considered to be something of a scandal.” “The savage life, it strikes me, and particularly a woman’s life among them, is one of nearly constant physical effort. There is little time for leisure.”

It’s a fascinating read. It was recommended to me by a book club.

A fun mystery series

May 10th, 2016

I found a fun murder-mystery series featuring a female amateur sleuth in today’s world. In her Italian Kitchen mysteries, Rosie Genova introduces us to Victoria “Vic” Rienzi (age 33) and her Italian-American family.

It starts in “Murder and Marinara.” Victoria writes mysteries under the name of Vick Reed. She wants to take a little time away from mystery-writing and work on a historical novel based on her family, which owns and runs the Casa Lido restaurant, set near the Atlantic beach in Oceanside Park, New Jersey.

Her family members are all lovable characters, and the world of the Casa Lido is a comfy place for the reader to inhabit, like having a nice, hot plate of spaghetti. Her big brother Danny is a cop, so he and she are in conflict whenever a crime happens. Her former boyfriend is still on the scene, and she’s disconcerted by how she feels whenever he’s around. But oh, there’s also a new guy to bring butterflies to her stomach.

I don’t want to go into the plots because there are surprises. The first book was so good I ran right out and got the next two: “The Wedding Soup Murder” and “A Dish Best Served Cold.” The books, which should be read in order, remind me of the Stephanie Plum series: funny, sexy, well-written.

Looking back at the Kent State shootings

May 4th, 2016

67shotsaHere’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on Looking back at the Kent State shootings.

What [women think] men should read

April 6th, 2016

From HuffPost Books: 22 books women think men should read

Compassion

March 31st, 2016

“When we encounter human suffering, it is important to respond with compassion rather than to question the politics of those we help.”

— His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet in
“Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness & the Meaning of Life”

A teacher’s responsibility

February 24th, 2016

“If a teacher not only imparts academic education but also assumes responsibility for preparing students for life, his or her pupils will feel trust and respect and what has been taught will leave an indelible impression on their minds.”

— His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet in
“Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness & the Meaning of Life”

Dalai Lama wisdom

January 27th, 2016

“We can never obtain peace in our outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

— His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet in
“Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness & the Meaning of Life”

You mean there’s more?

December 3rd, 2015

From Buzzfeed: The emotional stages of waiting to read the next book in a series

Optical illusions: Two tables

November 20th, 2015

optical2tables

Which table is longer? They’re the same! See link.

Optical illusions: Horizontal lines

October 21st, 2015

opticalhorizlines

Believe it or not, the horizontal lines are parallel.

Optical illusions: Young or old?

September 22nd, 2015

opticalhag

What do you see? A young girl or an old woman? Or both?

Luck

August 31st, 2015

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

– His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet in “Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness & the Meaning of Life”

Optical illusions: Margaret Thatcher

May 29th, 2015

opticalmargthatcherLooks like Margaret Thatcher. But turn it upside down! Click on the image for the explanation.

Optical illusions: Leaning towers

May 28th, 2015

opticalleaningtowers

You think one is leaning more than the other, don’t you? But they’re identical! Click the image for the explanation.

Optical illusions: Albert or Marilyn?

May 27th, 2015

opticaleinsteinmarilynUp close you think you’re looking at Albert Einstein. Now, step back away from the screen a bit and what do you see? Marilyn Monroe! Click the image for the explanation.

Optical illusions: Duck or rabbit?

May 26th, 2015

opticalduckrabbit

Are you looking at a duck? or a rabbit? Click the image for an explanation.

Memorial Day

May 25th, 2015

Stars and stripes

Have a blessed Memorial Day.

Conan Doyle

May 22nd, 2015

From Goodreads: Little known facts about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Inspirations to Rowling

May 21st, 2015

ICaptureTheCastleFrom Goodreads: 16 books that inspired J.K. Rowling

Why liberal?

May 20th, 2015

The Charlotte Observer gives a fantastic response to the question “Why do you support such a liberal agenda?” Makes ya feel good all over. (Thanks to Daily KOS for the link.)

No gender break in good kids’ books

May 19th, 2015

From entertainment news: Hey, let the boys read books with girls in them. Girls read books with boys in them, don’t they?

Comics are books, after all

May 18th, 2015

From the “Duh” file: Kids love comics, and they introduce them to other books.

Author has new 3-book deal

May 15th, 2015

From Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — The author of the best-selling “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” fantasy trilogy has a new three-book deal.

Laini Taylor has signed with publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to write three young-adult novels.

The publisher announced Thursday the first book will be called “The Muse of Nightmares” and is scheduled for fall 2016. It says the book is a “high fantasy” work about a clash between humans and the offspring of gods.

Taylor’s “Lips Touch: Three Times” was a National Book Award finalist in 2009. Two years later she began the “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” series, which ended last year with “Dreams of Gods & Monsters.”

Film rights to the trilogy have been acquired by Universal Pictures.

PEN/John Galbraith Award

May 14th, 2015

From Associated Press:

Book on hospital after Hurricane Katrina wins $10,000 award

NEW YORK (AP) — An author whose book “Five Days at Memorial” tells of a New Orleans hospital after Hurricane Katrina has won a $10,000 prize for nonfiction.

The literary and human rights organization PEN announced Wednesday that Sheri Fink had won the PEN/John Galbraith Award for a book of “notable literary merit” that highlights an important contemporary issue.

Joshua Horwitz’s “War of the Whales” won the $10,000 PEN/E.O. Wilson prize for science writing. John Branch’s “Boy On Ice” won the $5,000 PEN/ESPN award for sports writing.

Anna Whitelock’s “The Queen’s Bed” received a $5,000 prize for biography. And Saeed Jones’ “Prelude to Bruise” won the $5,000 PEN award for poetry.