Thursday, April 30, 2009

The lovely weather turned not so lovely yesterday. Susan and I walked in cold rain and it continued dark and dreary until late afternoon. Stopped in on the "expo" at the community center; saw lots of neighbors and picked up handouts, including two plastic fireman helmets for the boys. Went to A.C. Moore to get plate holders, then spent the rest of the day trying to select which of my Dionne Quint collection to include in the display at the library. What a job! I can hardly believe I have so much. Think I'll just take a lot of the best stuff and put what will fit in a tasteful display.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Had a delightful lunch with Mary Ann and Lynn yesterday. We had intended to eat at Panini Bay, but it was closed so we ended up at Doyle's Pour House. Haven't been there for years and I had a delicious salmon burger with an icy cold beer--yum.
Lynn, a recent widow, is a nice person to know and the three of us had a great time. Mary Ann and I stopped across the street at B & B's where I picked up broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and an avocado. Got home about 3:30 after a very pleasant day.
I'm almost finished sorting my postcards and now must turn my attention to selecting and assembling my Dionne Quintuplet items for the library display window. I want to type out some explanatory notes to include, too.
Wider: Question: What has 30,534 members, including the FBI, and will stamp out any silly ideas of privacy and "innocent until proven guilty" in the U.S.? Answer: InfraGard.
"InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the United States."
If that doesn't scare the hell out of you, you're brain dead. Here's the link: http://www.infragard.net/

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gorgeous day again. Went to B.J.'s for supplies, then spent most of the day on domestic chores. Pat's brother Bill called to say hello and to tell us it was his birthday. I congratulated him and chatted, but Pat was still asleep. When he called him back later, the message machine was on, so he left his "happy returns of the day" on it.
Mary Ann Van O. called about 8:00 pm to to say she'd pick me up today. Pick me up? For what? She said we had arranged a lunch date with her and her friend, Lynn, whom I had met at the opera session two months ago. I remember meeting Lynn and suggesting lunch, but as I recall, we never set a date. Mary Ann thought we had and said she had arranged for Lynn to meet us at 1:00. Dunno, but okay, I'm always up for lunch--we decided on Panini Bay, where I just had lunch on Sunday. No prob and I'm looking forward to it.
Wider: From Anti-War.Com, an essay by Jeff Huber called "Brave New World Order":
--In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower warned America to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence” by the “military-industrial complex” for the same reason Machiavelli cautioned heads of state of his day to beware of advisers who “in times of peace, desire war because they are unable to live without it.” In ‘61, Eisenhower admonished that the “economic, political, even spiritual” influence of America’s new war industry was “felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government.” A decade into the new American century, militarism has woven itself into the very fiber of our society. Political careers and regional economies are wholly dependent upon it. The defense industry has transformed America into a warfare-welfare state, and it doesn’t bother making a secret of it.--
Chilling because it's true. How did we ever, ever sink into this quagmire that seems impossible to escape?
Widest Possible: To me, it is absolutely stunning--picture a flowerpot landing on my head--to understand what the phrase "manifest destiny" actually means. And to realize, finally and at long last, that this country has been pursuing it almost since its founding.
To its detriment--and to the world's sorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The show was terrific! It was a very warm, sunny day--my favorite kind--and we performed in one of the airy buildings on the "boardwalk." Everybody was in top form and it was great fun to be part of the production. My monologue--downbeat as it was--went over well; in fact, one of the other theatre members told me it brought tears to her eyes.
The only hitch was the sparsity of the audience. The Seaport had set this up as an "Arts and Music Weekend," but did absolutely nothing to publicize our show or to direct people to it. That meant that only visitors who happened to stroll our way even knew about it. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to be part of it and I hope to continue my show biz career.
Frank and Barbara invited me to go out to eat with them after, along with another member of the group, and I accepted with pleasure. We went to Panini Bay and sat on the porch overlooking the water--my favorite venue--and had a wonderful time hashing over the show, discussing the theatre company, and toasting the day with the White Zinfandel Frank so thoughtfully supplied. Their friend, Ellen, is a mature woman (older than I am, I think--good grief!) and I enjoyed getting acquainted with her. As it turns out, she lived in Ventnor as a child and her father was the manager of the Ventnor movie. She was active in a theatre group in Bordentown and Cherry Hill and told us horror stories of having an audience of eight for fully-produced plays--ouch!
Didn't get home until about five after a wonderful day. I hope to audition for the dinner mystery theatre coming up in June and after that--who knows?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gloriously sunny and warm yesterday. Did lots of stuff, but none worth mentioning. (Well, how come, the reader asks, have you "mentioned" your boring, mundane, everyday activities every day for several years in this blog?!?)
Today's the day for the show at the Tuckerton Seaport. I stopped there yesterday (yeah, you weren't going to mention anything) just to get an idea of the setup. Looks doable.
True confession session: Last night after my popcorn and wine, I suddenly snapped and scarfed down half a box of vanilla wafers, two Tastykakes, and handfuls of Dots. Wha' hoppen? I don't know myself, but every once in a while, I seem to get the craving. As long as it doesn't happen very often, I'll just move on.
Not Really Wider, Except in a Social Sense: Christopher Buckley has written an excellent, wonderfully readable memoir of his parents, Bill and Pat Buckley, both of whom died recently. It's not out yet, but is excerpted in The NYTimes today. Oh, yes, yes, I know Buckley pere's views were diametrically opposed to mine and to right-thinking people everywhere, but I still liked his prose style and his--well, style. The memoir is a treat to read, and it seems unfair to just pick out stuff here and there, so I'll just add a quote he used in referring to his father:
"Some years ago, I came across a Thomas Carlyle quote that could serve as the solipsist’s definitive credo: “Let me have my own way in exactly everything and a sunnier and pleasanter creature does not exist.”
Isn't that rich? But the whole thing is good, aside from the Times' title, the now cliched "Growing Up" thing ("Growing Up Buckley"). Here's the link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/magazine/26buckley-t.html?ref=magazine

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Drudge, drudge, drudge...I continued the postcard caper and have now completed the third box. I was pleased to find the cemetery part of my collection in the study closet; will add those. In the same place, I came across correspondence from a postcard pal of 13 and 14 years ago--Ann W., in Santa Fe, NM. Ann was "into" decorating with stamps and she sent me wonderful creations, all of which I saved. On impulse, I wrote her a letter (regular mail) and hope to hear back from her.
Got a phone call from the woman I might have driven with if I went to the Dionne Quint gathering at the end of May. (However, I've decided not to go.) Considering I had called her in February and never heard back, I was surprised. Understandably, she wanted to know if I would be going with her. I told her no, but she kept hanging on the phone. Finally, the real reason surfaced: she wanted me to list her items to sell on eBay! I'm happy to say I stood firm and, as courteously as possible, said I wouldn't be able to do that. After that, she hung up quickly.
That little exchange confirmed my first instinct that I would not be comfortable on such a long trip with her. She comes across as very brusque and somewhat combative.
Called my new Wellspouse friend, Mary, from Toms River and we made a date to meet for lunch on May 5. I'm looking forward to that.
Went to Manahawkin and got a new rug/seat cover set for the bathroom in a pretty shade of lavender. Hey, sprucin' up for spring!
Wider: Chris Floyd in his "Empire Burlesque" blog, has another strong, clear essay today. Here's the beginning:
"Could it really have ended any other way? As the New York Times reports, Barack Obama and the Democratic Establishment are coming down hard and fast to quell any incipient movement toward accountability for the Bush Regime's torture system."
He adds that one reason for this rejection is that torture was fully approved by the dems and, yes, indeed, they must CTAs. Then:
"The second reason why Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership are resisting, with all their might, a full investigation for the torture system is that they want to uphold what is perhaps the central principle of the American state today: the unaccountability of the ruling elite. [Glenn Greenwald speaks to this point here.] They want to retain the freedom of action to do "whatever it takes" (that tough-guy phrase so beloved by "savvy" insiders and their sycophants in the press) to maintain themselves and their cronies and their class in a position of dominance, wealth and privilege. The law is not for them; the law is for the rubes, the suckers, the rabble, the losers -- for you and me, in other words."
The emphasis is mine--I believe it's the whole crux of the matter.
Later: Went to Weight Watchers to be told I'm down .8 (no sneering out there; that's more than half a pound), bringing me just a smidgen over my permissable window of 125 to 130. I'm at 130.2 with a total loss of 69.4. Now to just nudge the first number down a tad and the second up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spent hours yesterday getting my postcard collection in better shape. I calculate I have between 1500 and 2000 and most are already categorized, but not all. I'm going through every one; have completed two boxes and have three to go, plus a pile of loose ones. Now that I have two possible buyers--the owner of Unshredded Nostalgia and the woman who contacted me via Craig's List--I may be able to hold out for the higher bidder.
Must also start assembling my Dionne Quintuplet display for the library. I understand I can go in next Friday to set it up.
Not much else going on.
Wider: This, by Tom Engelhardt in Anti-War.Com, rang a bell with me, considering I'm still absorbed in Columbine:
"Only this week, our media was filled with ceremonies and remembrances centered around the tenth anniversary of the slaughter at Columbine High School. Twelve kids and a teacher blown away in a mad rampage. Who has forgotten? On the other side of the planet, there are weekly Columbines."
But that's in the middle east and surely they don't love their children as much as people in Littleton, Colorado--do they?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Old George stopped in a little after 11:00, but Pat wasn't up yet. I was making a salad and G. accepted a bowl, which he ate with appreciative comments. Pat then emerged and enjoyed chatting with George while he had breakfast.
Did several loads of wash and other chores. Sat down for an hour to continue Columbine, the kind of book I just love. This is an exhaustive, minute-by-minute depiction of something that, at its core, is almost incomprehensible. How could two middle-class, seemingly completely "normal" boys plan and execute such a slaughter? According to the author, they were not the nerdy, friendless, picked-on, "Goth," types, brooding and solitary throughout their lives, as is commonly assumed. Rather, both had friends (besides each other) and were actually pretty popular. They seemed to have had (so far in the book) warm family lives and little in their backgrounds to "explain" their converging paths. Well, it's a terrific book.
Went to rehearsal last night. The show should be good, although I'm a little concerned that my monologue is so somber, although it again went over well with my fellow thespians (ha!). Well, it will be an experience.
Moreover, not a single news outlet mentioned Bush's five-year-old commitment.
Wider: From Jon Schwartz on "A Tiny Revolution," this reminder: in 2004, on "Sixty Minutes," President Bush assured Jordan's King Abdullah and the world that those responsible for Abu Ghraib would be prosecuted. In 2009, President Obama trots out the tired old "we want to move on" mantra--and there isn't a peep in the ever-compliant media to protest:
"President Bush pledges to Abdullah in front of the world that the wrongdoers will be brought to justice. Almost exactly five years later, when the wrongdoers are known to have included the highest levels of the Bush administration, Abdullah visits the White House again, and no one anywhere in the media remembers it ever happened. Success!"
Jon means the success of the memory hole, down which so many inconvenient past events are neutralized. Lucky us--we don't have to bother our pretty little heads about them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Got the tulips and daffs planted; so easy to dig after all the rain. After being made aware of the tenth anniversary of the shootings at Columbine, I developed an interest and went to Borders to buy the new book of the same name. Started it last night and it's absorbing. A. stopped in and we chatted with neighbors, then walked to the clubhouse so I could vote for the school board election and, most important, on the budget questions.
Stopped at the library and discussed my showcase display of Dionne Quint stuff, which I'll arrange for May. I made the--very reluctant--decision not to attend the "Quinvention" at the end of May. Pat's condition and the logistics are just too onerous; I simply can't see my way clear to go. I'm sorry, but at least someday I might be able to get up to Callander on my own.
Beautiful warmth and sunshine, which makes my day, so it was a good one.
Wider: From my hero, Chris Floyd, on the disgusting torture cover-up:
"Obama is simply trying to uphold this New Democrat tradition of ass-covering for the other side. But too much of the torture cat has slipped out of the bag to shove it back in quietly. And so on Tuesday, he sought to appease the growing pressure by saying that he was open to the possibility of maybe potentially putting together some kind of commission or something somewhere down the line that could look into whether or not some of these charges might need to be, er, looked into a little further -- although he was quick to add that he was "not suggesting" that such a thing should be done. You mustn't get that idea! But he was, magnanimously, willing to say that he would not immediately put the imperial kibosh on the process if and when it ever cranked up."
Chris goes on to say--surprise!--that if anything like this should happen, some of the lower flunkies will be sacrificed and everyone will swoon with amazed adoration that The Dear Leader was so daring.
This is why, when the boot-licking media praises "bi-partisanship," we should run for the hills--or at least understand that there is no "loyal opposition" because there is no opposition. The ruling class arranges some trifling little "differences" to sway the electorate, then continues to trade off every few years the White House and the country.
Wider Two: Here's a deceptively simply, but utterly profound, quote by Frederick Douglas, who died 124 years ago:
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Could that possibly still hold true? Hmm, guess we'll have to ponder it for awhile.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boy, did it rain. During a lull--ever the eternal optimist (ha!), I thought it had stopped--I drove to Santori's, then Shop-Rite. Wouldn't you know, after I was thoroughly committed, it came down in sheets and torrents. No matter, though, I replenished my veggie supply, then stayed snug and dry in our cozy home. Had a good long talk with Pat's niece, Donna; I had dropped off at her place dups of the family pictures we received from Pat's cousin.
I finally started looking through my postcard collection, which Joel had kindly gotten from the attic for me. What a chore--there are so many of the thousands I have that aren't sorted, it will take me an age to get them in order. However, I'm determined to try to sell them and it has to be done. Trouble is, I have no idea what a fair price is and I doubt if the guy with at "Unshredded Nostalgia" does either. Will try to get some advice from the Washington Crossing Postcard Collectors' Club, where I had belonged for many years.

Monday, April 20, 2009

After a good breakfast with the Reeds and the Wessels, I said goodbye about 10:30. Got home without incident before 2:00, relaxed and rejuvenated. Called Betty to give her a full report on the great weekend, and talked to Ellen later. Sent the pictures I had taken at the party to Dave, Joan, and others, but Dave's came back. Must ask him thorugh Facebook for a different e-mail address. Resumed my normal popcorn-and-wine regime before bed and slept deeply. What an outing--oh, it was fine.
Special Note: I just received a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime gift from my ever-so-generous son, Mike, something I've been yearning after for ever so long. It's a strikingly handsome--well, attractive--well, interesting-- 2009 CALENDAR FROM THE MONGOLIA ENERGY CORPORATION!!!!! Each and every month features lovely pictures of oil tanks, metal scaffolding, bull-dozers, and/or hard-hatted workers laying pipe. What's more, it lists months, days, and other information in both English and--uh, I guess Mongolian--so if I get tired of reading English, I can switch to Mongolian. (I always intended to sign up for that course in the Mongolian language at Pinelands Regional High School.)
Now I must close so I can call my insurance company to cover this priceless gift. Wow, am I a lucky woman!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Here I am in Rockville, MD. Had a great, terrific, fun time at the party yesterday. David and Polly threw it in their suite, so it was comfortable, but cozy, and they served up a terrific array of goodies, including sandwiches in pita bread, fresh veggies, and various kinds of pound cake. Naturally, we also enjoyed lots of drinks: several kinds of beer (some from Denmark, as that's where the lucky couple will be stationed), red and white wine, and soft drinks. I skipped the latter--after all, why waste swallowing time?
I was happy to meet Bongsu, Geoffrey's wife. She's a lovely young woman, warm and friendly, and speaks English well. Of course, being with all the Wessels was a treat. Polly has lost a lot of weight; unlike yours truly, she looks ten years younger. David also has lost and is fit and trim.
As it always is, it was great to be with darling Joanie and Jim. Their boy, Jeremy--dashing and handsome in a short beard--is just adorable, so friendly and funny, it's a pleasure to talk to him. I was happy to see Mary Ann come in with her daughter, Diane, and little granddaughter, Emerson, whose mommy, Allison, is awaiting the birth of twin boys, due any day now. I had an odd sense of unreality when it suddenly occurred to me that, of course, four-year-old Emerson is Ken's granddaughter. Ken was killed 26 years ago--how long and how short a time that is.
Mark, Mary Ann's son and Allison's twin, was there. He's a young lawyer in NYC and boy, what a dreamboat! Tall, handsome, and very personable, I'm amazed he hasn't been snatched up yet by some model or socialite.
After the party--crowded with friends of Geoffrey fom UNC,too--we went back to our rooms for an hour or so, then reassembled for dinner. The Reed threesome, Tim and girlfriend, Tori, Dave, and I went across to the street to a high-end seafood place (Polly opted out, understandably pooped). We had drinks at the bar (Long Island iced tea for me) first, then dinner; the crab cakes I had were delicious.
After much talk, many laughs, and that warm sense of belonging you can only get with family, we went back to the Hilton to bed. I got up about 7:00, went for a long walk, and will now meet the gang for breakfast.
Jim remarked that Carolyn's Easter gathering last week was the west coast reunion (Ellen and the other Reed son and wife were there) and this was the east coast one. Yes, and what a great party and a great family!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Zipped over to Manahawkin early to run various errands and was back before Pat got up. Received a message from brother Jim to the effect that he had put Mom's name in Missingmoney.com and she had over $600 owed her from the sale of some stocks, so we're rich, rich, RICH! Okay, we each get a C-note and a five, but hey, it's found money.
Was pleased to get a call from cousin Bob in California. I wanted to ask him when our mutual grandfather was born, but he wasn't able to tell me. However, we had a good phone visit.
Must concentrate on getting ready for my trip. I may not add to this blog for a day or two.
Wider: Chris Floyd has a hard-hitting essay in his usual lucid prose on O.'s intention to sweep the former administration's torture crimes under the rug. It includes:
"It is clear in the context of his (Obama's) statement that 'the forces that would divide us' refers to those who are calling for the instigators and perpetrators to be prosecuted. They are the ones insisting on the disturbing, disunifying course of 'laying blame for the past.' But what, in the name of God, are America's 'core values,' if they do not include prosecuting people who order and commit the high crime of torture?"
Chris quotes memos from house lawyers of the time that assures its readers of the legality of this horror, so those who move it along can argue they were only following orders. This, of course, is the Nuremberg defense. We've sunk low, haven't we?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The rain continued all day yesterday, but today is sunny, thank heavens. Rehearsal went well last night and I was pleased--and maybe a bit surprised--to receive rapt attention, then applause when I did my monologue for the Seaport show. I went with Frank, who will read a poem or two by Robert Masefield and there'll be lots of sea shanties and other songs.
The next rehearsal is on Sunday at 1:00, but I may not be back from my weekend. Desi said that was okay and besides, we're meeting again on Wednesday evening, so I won't have to rush back.
Wider: From Justin Raimondo at "Anti-War.Com":
"The big truth is that the antiwar movement has largely collapsed in the face of Barack Obama’s victory: the massive antiwar marches that were a feature of the Bush years are a thing of the past. Those ostensibly antiwar organizations that did so much to agitate against the Iraq War have now fallen into line behind their commander in chief and are simply awaiting orders."
File this in the "So What Else Is New?" drawer. The movement is dead in the water and we might as well kiss any semblance of peace goodbye. The Long War is being plotted and it will define our century and our world.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Had a delightful day yesterday. Meeting Marilyn for lunch is always a treat and we had a great time, as ever. Had a wonderful cheeseburger, just as I like it: very rare and topped with Swiss cheese and lots of greasy fried onions. That and a cold Coors Light made the perfect meal in my estimation. Of course, being in Marilyn's company is every more enjoyable.
After, I cruised to Quakerbridge Mall, shopped around, bought myself a blouse, had a coffee and enjoyed just watching the passing parade. Drove to Ewing to our old neighborhood, but didn't get out of the car, with the rain coming down in sheets (as it did all day and so far, has today, also).
Got to J. and J.'s a little before five and we bundled up all three of the kiddies (she's taking care of her two-month-old nephew, Shane, in addition to her own boys) to go to dinner across the street at the Plum Tree. It was great fun, as it always is with them--and what a joy to see J. and T. playing together like real brothers, even with the 6 year age difference. Went back to their place for just a few minutes, long enough to greet the Daddy home from work, then left and got home about 7:15. Neat day, lousy weather or not and I'm feeling happy and satisfied.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Got an interesting message from someone called "capnosha." She left a comment on my other blog, "Domino Lane," in which I recorded my uncles' and aunt's memoirs. (I'm now in the process of adding my cousin, Judy's, manuscript on caring for the disabled.)
The person who wrote said her husband's grandfather was Charles Wood, the stepson of my Uncle Frank's employer, Mr. Bornot. She's trying to trace his ancestry, but, presumably, has little information from the grandfather, who is deceased. I wrote back to her to ask if she wanted me to get in touch with Mr. Bornot's daughter. I actually wrote the entry to which she referred three years ago, but she must have Googled the unusual name of Bornot and found it that way.
Had a good day yesterday. Had a long talk with sister Betty, catching up on our Easter doings, then ran a lot of errands. Of course, my actual activities don't really matter when it comes to my emotional equilibrium and that held steady. Looking forward to lunch with friend Marilyn, then will hang out here and there at my old stompin' grounds until I meet the gang for J.'s baseball game.
We did have a scary incident at dinnertime: Pat suddenly started sweating and was somewhat confused before we ate. No wonder--his sugar was down to 41. I gave him orange juice, then actually fed him the dinner--leftover ham, potato salad, baked beans, and so on--and after a time, he was able to take over. He recovered and is okay (okay for him, that is).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nice, low-key Easter with just the four of us and Lu. Got a gorgeous pot of white tulips from A. and M., along with one filled with pretty little Narcissus from Susan. The lilies and delphiniums are opening beautifully, so spring is pushing out all over--yay!
Enjoyed web call from first, P. and N., then Ellen. She went to her cousin, Carolyn's, on Saturday and ill enjoy a week off for Spring Break. Looking forward to lunch with Marilyn tomorrow.
I really overindulged yesterday, scarfing down the ham, baked beans, potato salad, rolls and sides with abandon. However, I'm not too regretful as long as I'm firm on such wildness only occasionally.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Susan and I took our walk in heavy, wind-driven rain. Wore my long raincoat, but my slacks were soaked at the bottom; had to change them and my socks before WW. Stopped at Acme after, then spent the rest of the day snug at home.
We got not one, but two, incredibly beautiful Easter gifts from Mike, Paula, and the little girls: A tall blue and white ceramic vase filled with lilies and delphiniums, and a "bulb garden," with hyacinths and crocuses just poking through the moss. Lovely spring flowers that fill me with pleasure. They are, of course, from Calyx Flowers, which seem to me, about the best-run company there is. Their flowers always arrive perfectly packed and they last a long time, plus their customer service is superb.
Had just barely enough mayo to make the potato salad, but I think it's okay. Put a bottle of white zinfandel in the refrig and otherwise prepared for today's dinner. With only the four of us, it will be low-key, but nice.
Got a call from the owner of Unshredded Nostalgia, a shop in Barnegat for buying and selling paper "collectibles" (one of those idiotic, commercially coined words that helps debase our language). I had e-mailed him and will show him my postcards, of which I have several thousand. Somewhat regretfully, I've decided to end this hobby. There are no postcard clubs near here that I know of, and mine have been stored in the crawlspace since we moved here. Will keep my Dionne quintuplet ones, though.
Wider: From that constant source of beautifully articulated truth, Chris Floyd, at "Empire Burlesque":
"Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six per cent...."
So, as Chris goes on:
"Now there's change you can believe in (to coin a phrase)! In just a few months in office, Obama has managed to raise the average kill rate achieved by Bush from 32 to 38 per month. And who can doubt that this young, capable, charismatic president will not increase that civilian slaughter rate even further as he ratchets up the drone war in the months -- and years and years -- to come?"
What in the WORLD can we be thinking? How in the name of justice can we continue to pretend this is an "anti-war president?" Well, I've been called cynical, so maybe it's me.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good, good day yesterday. Got a cam call from P. and N.--so much more satisfying to see them as well as hear them. (Guess this is how people reacted to long distance phone calls after centuries of relying on written communication. And before that, letters through the mail were often the occasion of great excitement and pleasure--and sometimes anguish. What's next, teleporting?)
Got the tires put on. Made two batches of corn relish; will give one to Susan for Easter (she's having six for dinner). Talked to A., who will go on a walking tour of Brooklyn today (16 miles!)--hope the weather holds. Called Horizon for a list of therapists in the area. After my Thursday meltdown, this is a avenue I want to explore. Slept very deeply last night and woke up well refreshed.
Anyway, I'm back, I'm better, and I'm looking forward to a quiet Easter with just the four of us.
Later: Went to Weight Watchers in the driving rain. Am up 1.4, so I'm at 131--not so good, as I want to keep between 125 and 130, but not horrible, either. Will go down again, I'm confident.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm so boiling I had to insert another post. I HATE COMCAST!!!!! I hate the corporate criminals who spawned it and I hate the craven government that lets it gets away with any nefarious deed it chooses to inflict on the public!
Here's the scenario: Got a bill from this instrument of the devil for $123.78 for cable and computer charges. Gee, that's funny, I've been paying $107.43 a month for the past year or more. Why should it suddenly be $16,35 higher? Called and after the usual innumerable questions ("Name?" "Address?" "Phone?" "Date of Birth?" "SS number?" "Fingers on your right hand?" "Breed of your childhood dog?"), finally got through to somebody who said the "promotion," of which I'd been a recipient, had expired.
Promotion? What promotion? I don't remember any such thing, but was assured that when I signed up for Comcast, I must have been told.
Well, after I ranted and raved, then stopped for breath, the Comcast person said she'd connect me to someone in a department that could "do something" about the charge. Various static, screeches, and other noises ensued and--I KNOW THIS WAS PLANNED--the call was dropped.
Called back, went through the same third degree, got to the other department and was given a sales pitch to add my phone service to my "package" at some sum, plus installation, plus it's a promotion for a year, then it goes up, and so on and so forth--NO!
Finally, after I treated the rep to more histrionics, she gave me a "promotion" that brought my monthly charge to $108.01. Mind you, that's a fifty-eight cent increase and, incidentally, is for six months only. When I asked what it would be after that, she naturally didn't know. Hey, maybe a hundred and fifty, maybe two hundred--whatever they decide in their corporate majesty.
May those sons of bitches be condemned to watch afternoon soaps in hell for eternity. No, even worse: They'll be forced to watch "American Idol" in a continuous loop--forever.
That'll show 'em.
Got an oil change in the morning and was going to have the tires rotated. Didn't, however, because they looked and said all four have dry rot and two are bald. Am going to get new tires--to the tune of $436--put on today.
The rest of the day was terrible. No point in elaborating, but I'm going to have to find better ways to cope. Talked to Mike, then A.; will look into some kind of counseling.
Wider: As ever, Justin Raimondo in Anti-War.Com, hits the nail on the head in his "Suicide of the West." Aren't we all sick and tired of hearing the incessant "war on..." rhetoric? An excerpt from his essay:
"A reflexively warlike mentality has infected the national psyche since September 11, 2001, and now permeates every aspect of life, including discussions of economics. The inauguration of Barack Obama as President changes this not one iota: indeed, it suits the purposes of this administration, which is fighting a “war on recession” as well as the Long War on the Af-Pak front."
But that's later on; he starts out with the amusing:
"I had to laugh when I saw the headline blaring from one end of the Huffington Post to the other: “Pentagon Preps For Global Economic Warfare“!...Yikes! Man the battlements! Deploy the credit cards! Unleash the default credit swaps! And for the love of God speed up those printing presses at the Federal Reserve!"
Sure, Justin--laugh on the way to the gallows. But darn, he always manages to cut through the crap.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The doctor came in the morning; nothing much new with Pat's condition, of course. Bob S. came later to turn on our outside water and clear the sprinkler system. He has to come back, as there's a broken one and he'll fix it. Talked to Pat's niece, Donna, who will stop over when I'm in Maryland and Jen's here. Ho-hum...
Wider: I understand that there's opposition to Notre Dame's invitation to Obama to speak there:
"The members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, which helps run the university, asked the Rev. John Jenkins, the Holy Cross priest who is Notre Dame's president, and the university's board of fellows to reconsider the invitation to Obama because he supports abortion rights."
The fact that he also supports the wanton slaughter of children in other countries seems never to enter the consciousness--or conscience--of Catholic "leaders" of this type. BTW, I just signed a petition in support of Father Jenkins' invitation.
As I've remarked before, the day the church is as vehement against war as it is against abortion, is the day I rejoin. Guess I won't get out my rosary anytime soon.
Wider Still: Chris Floyd's post today is incredibly close to what I thought when I saw the picture yesterday of O. being worshipped by American soldiers in Iraq. It's about the so-called "liberals" jumping on the murder bandwagon, now that their saviour is in. The entire essay must be read, but here's a piece of it:
"(When Bush was cheered by the military in Iraq)...such brief, emotional scenes did not change the fact that the war was a murderous, criminal enterprise, and that the soldiers in Iraq were not (and are not) "fighting and dying for their country" but were (and are) instead being used as cannon fodder in an unprovoked act of aggression that had been deeply harmful to their country, and to the entire world as well. But this sort kind of incisive, cold-eyed analysis is no longer wanted, now that one of 'ours' is in the White House."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A. stopped over yesterday, as she had conferences in the evening. Talked to sister Betty and a few others. Dr. Hottie called and will come in this morning for his usual monthly call. There'll be just the four of us for Easter, but will get some kind of ham and have a spring meal with devilled eggs, potato salad, and so on. A. will bring dessert.
Wider: Here's yet another mind-boggling piece from "A Tiny Revolution," quoting the original essay by Dean Baker in USA Today:
"In effect, the cutters are proposing that the government default on the bonds held by the Social Security trust fund: U.S. government bonds that were purchased with money raised through the designated Social Security tax.
It is truly incredible, and unbelievably galling, that anyone in a position of responsibility would suggest defaulting on the government bonds held by the Social Security trust fund at the precise moment that the government is honoring trillions of dollars of bonds issued by private banks.
While the government has no legal or moral obligations to pay off the banks' debts to wealthy investors (who presumably understood the risks they were taking), the Social Security bonds carry the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
It is understandable that people are angry. We have a government and an elite that never stop looking for ways to take money from ordinary workers and redistribute it upward to the richest people in the country."
Beyond belief! But come to think of it, I guess no nefarious scheme by our overlords is beyond belief.
And Even Wider: There's a remarkably well-written--and chilling--piece about drone warfare on Anti-War.Com; a must read:
http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2009/04/07/filling-the-skies-with-assassins/

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Rained all day and I ventured out only to get my hair cut. I'm not nuts about it, but I despair of ever having a becoming, let alone stylish, do. It's okay, I guess.
Got a Skype message from nephew Tim and called him. It was fun to see his studio in Vermont.
Wore my new shoes around the house for a while. Guess I'll keep them, as I bought them for a song (Just an expression! If I actually "sang," shoes would be thrown at me).
Other than that, nothing going on.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Got to Target and Kohl's in the afternoon. Am looking for a blouse--I want some kind of print--to wear with my new butter-yellow blazer and a black skirt. Found nothing, as all tops seem to be made for pregnant teenagers, dropping from the neck and billowy. Did buy a pair of Vera Wang shoes, but may return them. They sold for a song, but they have high heels and I'm debating whether it's worth breaking an ankle to wear them.
Hey, it might be. They're so pretty and so--well, sexy. I've modestly mentioned before that I have nice legs and they make those nice legs look great. All straps in bands of black and silver, they're what we used to call "f-- me shoes." I described them that way to daughter Ellen last night--and was able to show them on Skype--and we had a good laugh.
Wider: From the ever reliable and even insightful Justin Raimondo on O.;s European trip:
"Like Americans, the Europeans want to believe – but they see the two faces of Barack Obama too clearly, and the contrast is too apparent to be denied. The gullible Americans, who take things at face value, still believe their new president represents a real change, a challenge to the status quo, while the more sophisticated Europeans are quick to pick up on Obama’s inconsistencies – made all the more glaring by his habit of pairing two mutually contradictory stances on the same issue."
Oh, yes, "gullible" is our middle name. Over and over, we fall for the carefully crafted lies and call those who don't cynical malcontents. If a politician appeals to us, either as a "regular guy" (the slimy Bush) or as a paragon of silver-tongued frankness (O.), we'll fight to the death our right to follow him, even in the face of obvious falsehood.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A fine day, including contacts with both friends and people I love. In the first category, I saw several when I stopped at our clubhouse to view an AIDS quilt, each section of which was made by South Jersey parents of AIDS victims. Jack and Kathy D. sponsored it and contributed a square dedicated to their only child, Tim, who died of the disease. His was in the form of a crossword puzzle; others were just as imaginative and beautiful. Several neighbors were there and in a subdued and sorrowful way, it was an enjoyable experience.
Zipped up (down? sideways?) to B.J.'s for supplies, then puttered around until I got a welcome call from much-loved niece, Joan. We had a good long talk and are looking forward to seeing each other on the 18th.
After dinner, we finally got a Skype call from Mike and saw adorable 9-month-old Violet and beautiful Vivian, 4 1/2. What precious children and wonderful grandchildren! I ache to hold Violet, whom I've never seen in the flesh (although she's such a live wire, it might be hard to corral her). And darling Vivian is so bright and pretty. Wish I could take her out on an excursion, just the two of us. Well, someday.
Of course, A. made her daily call, too, and I always look forward to that.
Susan called to say she couldn't walk today, so I skipped it, too. Stayed up late and slept until almost seven!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Susan and I got our walk in before the heaviest rain, although we were pretty wet and windblown by the time we got home. Pleasant, unremarkable day otherwise. (Come to think of it, how many of my days are "remarkable"?) I planted the rest of the pansies around the tree in front. Also put in three primroses, although they may have expired through neglect, I'm afraid.
We were delighted to receive a lovely Easter present from Patrick and Natsue: a painting, by our beautiful and talented daughter-in-law, of two bluebirds on a tree branch. She included a darling handmade Easter card. They called on Skype later and we were able to express our thanks for such unique presents. Lucky Patrick and lucky us!
Wider: I got two interesting e-mail messages in the last 24 hours. They both have a frankly religious slant, but they couldn't be more different. The first was from, Gerri B., whom I've known almost my entire life, and concerns her friend's daughter, Theresa Cusimano. This young attorney is incarcerated in a Georgia jail after daring to protest the SOA. What is SOA? It's the former School of the Americas, at which representatives of our wretched country teach people from South America to torture and kill their compatriots. Theresa and several nuns and priests peacefully demonstrated and, when they stepped onto what seems to be sacred ground (!), were arrested. When tried, they were clapped in jail for two months. Here's an excerpt:
"We are at day #24 with 34 days to go of this extreme sentence leveled on Theresa, which is disproportionate to the act of peaceful protest she engaged in by walking up to the visitor's center at Ft. Benning, Georgia. She did this in the same spirit of the civil rights activists of the 60's, conscientious objectors in several wars, the Quakers and the Moravians, who refused to participate in the Revolutionary War but willingly cared for the wounded, and those who smuggled the slaves out of the South via the underground railroad. These were brave, noble American acts of conscience and in the spirit of our national character. Theresa chose to stand up against the antecedents of the practice of our fellow citizens engaging in torture by saying that this place, the former School of the Americas, where South American military and mercenaries were taught by Americans how to torture and hurt their countrymen, should be closed to remove this blight on our American character. The SOA taught the behaviors that directly led to the killing of Jesuit priests, sisters, the Bishop of El Salvador and thousands of people in South American countries, where these mercenaries took their newly learned skills after "graduating" from the SOA."
The second message was from Danielle V., the granddaughter of my (deceased) friend and neighbor. She sends as an attachment, a speech to the House Judiciary Committee by the father of one of the teenagers killed in the Columbine massacre ten years ago. His premise is that the tragedy happened because prayer, as a group exercise, is no longer permitted in public schools. This simplistic argument is, of course, buttressed by the idea that that he knows what's best for the general populace and can interpret God's will.
Danielle also mentions a book called Why The Left Hates America which she says she couldn't finish, but "I got up to the fourth chapter." Guess it was just too suspiciously intellectual and we all know that once you start exercising that spongy mass inside your skull and--gasp!--questioning the way things 'spose to be, you're the devil's playmate.
I'm going to write to Theresa to cheer her on. Guess I'll drop a reply to Danielle, too. Think I'm going to cheer her on?
Later: Went to Weight Watchers and was pleased at a 2. 6 loss. That brings me under the 130 mark (just barely; I'm at 129.6) and an even 70 pounds off.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The caregiver "thing"--I'm not sure what to call it--was about what I expected. It was in the huge auditorium of a brand new elementary school in Bayville and five people attended, including me. The director of "NJ Senior Services" talked about the thrilling benefits we should all be humbly grateful to get. However, for most of them, there's a means test and I doubt if we qualify. During the question period, I pointed out that the blurb on the agency's web site noted the session was for caregivers of "parents, grandparents, and neighbors." Nowhere did it mention spouses and the director's talk seemed aimed at the same group. That puzzled me and I mentioned it; it seemed to puzzle her, too. I also told her about Wellspouse and Visiting Physicians of South Jersey. Seems to me if you're trying to inform caregivers of resources, you could step out of the narrow "Ocean County only, realm" and have info on other helpful entities.
Well, hey, it was a few hours out in a new place and I enjoyed that. Got home before 4:00.
Wider: There's an excellent piece by William Pfaff on "Anti-War.Com," comparing the U.S. involvement in the middle east with Europe's long and bloody war of centuries ago. It concludes:
"The consequences of expanding this meaningless war will not be Taliban nuclear conquest of the world but, as in the case of the Thirty Years’ War, involvement of one group or country after another for goals of their own, having nothing to do with the governments or the issues that started it all. The only things that will stop this before it gets worse is simply to stop, or go bankrupt."
Words to ponder, but will anybody? Only you and me and I'm not so sure about you.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Well, I'm set to be in the Tuckerton show on April 26. Met with others last night, many of whom will sing. As far as I know now, only Frank D. and I will "recite"--he's going to do something by John Masefield. Seems to me Mansfield is kind of a pokey, not first rank, poet, but I'll keep my mouth shut.
Ordinary, low-key day otherwise. Am looking forward to the caregivers' gathering today in Bayville (about 35 minutes from here). However, it's run by the N.J. Dept. on Aging, so I have little expectation that it will be anything interesting, let alone useful. From my earlier experiences, they seem to be one of those government agencies that offer a lot of soulful advice ("Be sure to make time for yourself," "It's important to so this, that, and the other thing," and so on and cliche-ly on), and little practical help. Whaddya mean, I'm a cynic?!
Wider: Chris Floyd's latest piece on his blog, "Empire Burlesque," calmly, succinctly, and perfectly outlines the ways our government continues its imperialism and gets the electorate to believe its wars are legit. This is so well written, I don't want to quote or paraphrase, except to mention the gem he uses to remark that, in order to interpret the aims and purposes of the ruling class, we must act as our own Kremlinologists. What a phrase! What an intellect! The essay is called "Darkness Renewed: Terror As A Tool Of Empire." See it on http://www.chris-floyd.com/

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Enjoyed lunch with Mary Ann. We just went to reliable ol' Dynasty Diner for Caesar salad and a Coors Light. After, stopped at B & B for produce, then Acme, and finally to her house to sample her caramelized onion soup. I didn't realize I was gone so long, but it was almost 4:00 before I got home.
Earlier, I had assembled my costume for the rehearsal (audition) tonight. It looks pretty good; after borrowing no fewer than five shawls, I've decided to go with my fringed "throw." It's grey and a little ratty, similar to what Maurya, my character, would wear, I think.
Got a welcome phone call from Jack B., who said he was sorry he hadn't stopped in lately. It seems he's yet another old smoker who's been diagnosed with emphysema and now must use oxygen when sleeping. I think he's a bit shaken up over it, but I tried to put it in perspective. He''' probably have more stamina now and feel better generally.
Wider: I wish this were an April Fool's Day joke, but no such luck: Regardless of our insistence on believing what we want to believe, it's now crystal clear that O. is anything but the anti-war president. From "Neoconservatism: The Return," by Justin Raimondo on Anti-War. Com:
"The brain-dead Obamaites are shamelessly eager to grant their Glorious Leader a pass, no matter what he does. So far, there is not a peep out of Obama’s liberal supporters, except a few voices raised at the Nation, even as the president mounts a major escalation of the Long War. Not only that, but his supporters are rallying around their commander in chief, now that we’re fighting the "right" war in the "right" way. "
But the entire essay must be read. Raimondo calls it as it lays and is anybody listening? Doesn't seem so, least of all the oblivious dems.