Everything everything everything

28 09 2011

Over the hill. Pulled the plug but not yet circling the drain. Old broad. Over half a life gone.

No, I’m not old, nor do I feel old, but I ain’t young, either.

When I was young, I wanted everything. I wanted California and mountains and oceans and Hollywood and a cabin in the woods and nature and cities and people and space and I wanted to sing and dance and act and write and draw and paint and ride dirt bikes and horses and swim and sled and oh if only I could fly, wouldn’t it be lovely to fly?

Now, I am a ma’am with a Ph.D. and I don’t know what I want, don’t even know how to think about what I want. I was so open, then, to everything; how could I not want it?

And now? Ha: you know the answer.

But I still wonder.

“Dancing” from One! Hundred! Demons! By Lynda Barry

“Dancing” from One! Hundred! Demons! By Lynda Barry p. 2

Do you know Lynda J. Barry?

I started reading Ernie Pook’s Comeek in The Isthmus, the Madison alt-weekly, when I was in college. Marlys and Maybonne and Freddie and everyone in that weird little world made me laugh and wonder and sometimes, sometimes, they pierced me clean through.

I found Marlys Magazine again online, then it got stripped way bare, and now it’s back, in full splendor.

Lynda J. Barry draws what she wants, writes what she wants, lives how she wants.

I don’t know if she knows what she wants, but it doesn’t seem to matter.





Here kitty kitty

27 09 2011

Cat issues. Jasper-cat issues.

That’s why I haven’t posted.

Well, that and other (more mundane) issues.

I gots me some dem ideers, I do, but but but. . . excuses are easier than effort.

Oh, and the kitty-boy might be improving, so may be able to avoid vet.

Might. May. The night will tell.

 





And you will know us by the trail of our dead

23 09 2011

Posted this at TNC’s joint, worth reposting here—an excerpt from a recent New Yorker piece by Adam Gopnik:

. . . Americans are perfectly willing to sacrifice their comforts for their ideological convictions. We don’t have a better infrastructure or decent elementary education exactly because many people are willing to sacrifice faster movement between our great cities, or better informed children, in support of their belief that government should always be given as little money as possible.

The reasons for these feelings are, of course, complex, with a noble reason descending from the Revolutionary War, and its insistence on liberty at all costs, and an ignoble one descending from the Civil War and its creation of a permanent class of white men convinced that they are besieged by an underclass they regard as subsidized wards of the federal government. (Thus the curious belief that the worldwide real-estate crisis that hit the north of Spain and the east of Ireland as hard on the coast of Florida was the fault of money loaned by Washington to black people.) But the crucial point is that is the result of active choice, not passive indifference: people don’t want high-speed rail are not just indifferent to fast trains. The are offended by fast trains, as the New York Post is offended by bike lanes and open-air plazas: these things give too much pleasure to those they hate. [emph. in original]

One gent pushed back, arguing that Gopnik was holding a match to a straw man, but, y’know, I don’t think so.

This doesn’t explain everything, but it damned sure explains some things.





With liberty and justice for all, cont.

20 09 2011

This time, bitterly:

Georgia Pardons Board Denies Clemency for Death Row Inmate

By KIM SEVERSON
Published: September 20, 2011

ATLANTA — Troy Davis, whose death row case ignited an international campaign to save his life, has lost what appeared to be his last attempt to avoid death by lethal injection on Wednesday.

Rejecting pleas by Mr. Davis’s lawyers that shaky witness testimony and a lack of physical evidence presented enough doubt about his guilt to spare him death, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles ruled on Tuesday morning that Mr. Davis, 42, should die for killing Mark MacPhail, an off-duty police officer, in a Savannah parking lot in 1989.

Emily L. Hauser, among many, many others, has thrown herself into efforts to halt his execution, writing about him repeatedly on her blog, on the Team Commie/Golden Horde/Black Republican open threads at TNC’s place, and in two pieces for The Atlantic. (I did only the bare minimum, clicking through one of Emily’s posts to sign a petition.)

More than 630,000 letters asking the board to stay the execution were delivered by Amnesty International last Friday. The list of people asking that the Georgia parole board offer clemency included President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 51 members of Congress, entertainment figures like Cee Lo Green and death penalty supporters, including William S. Sessions, a former F.B.I. director.

Davis had faced his death three times previously, each execution stayed as courts ordered a reconsideration of the evidence.

But in June, a federal district court judge in Savannah said his legal team had failed to demonstrate his innocence, setting the stage for this latest execution date.

That’s right: he couldn’t prove his innocence.

I am opposed to the death penalty in all instances. If Davis were guilty, I would be opposed to his execution, but there is considerable evidence to suggest that his guilt is not beyond a reasonable doubt.

So tomorrow, when Georgia straps Troy Davis down and injects him with a lethal drug, there’s a good chance the state will be committing a double injustice: in killing one (likely innocent) man, and in not pursuing the man who really killed Officer MacPhail.

Anneliese MacPhail, the slain man’s mother, hopes Davis’s execution brings her peace.

For the rest of us, there will be no peace.





With liberty and justice for all

20 09 2011

Don’t ask, don’t tell has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Yes, there are those who like to rummage the bin for their political ideas, but, today, let’s applaud that gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers are able to claim their full selves while in uniform.

Yes, today, let’s celebrate that justice will did out.





Darling what you have is enough

19 09 2011

I am trying to find my way clear.

More prosaically, I am trying to rid my apartment of unnecessary and unwanted things, and consolidating the rest into ever smaller, more tightly packed, containers.

This is a years-long process, one aided by moving (which I am not) and abetted by restlessness (which I am), and constrained by the dimensions of my junior one bedroom in lovely Prospect-Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn.

I didn’t really start getting rid of stuff until I left Minneapolis for Montreal. And, christ, what a vast amount of crap I hauled from Madison to Minneapolis to Albuquerque and back, and through all my apartment moves within Minneapolis. My friends bitched about moving all my boxes of books, but the real waste of their efforts was in moving paper and files I’d never look at again, clothes I’d never wear again, and assorted other nonsense that I kept for. . . no reason whatsoever.

I got rid of a lot of that when I left for Montreal, but, alas, not enough, a fact hidden by my beautifully large and sunny 2 bedroom apartment in that feline city. All that I had couldn’t fill that space, which seduced me into believing that all that I had was not too much.

I shed a bit more on my move down to Somerville and another large apartment—this time with storage space in the basement. Granted, most of what I kept in the basement were storage containers for the things two floors above, but, again, I found clothes to donate and tables to sell and books to give away.

The move to New York was. . . problematic in 18 different ways, among which was not knowing when I’d get my own place and thus, not knowing what I truly needed. Paid storage, the bane which appears a blessing, kept me in excess lamps, extra chairs, and the Buddha knows what else. Once I moved into this junior one bedroom in lovely Prospect-Lefferts Garden, I determined that anything which I couldn’t fit I wouldn’t fit, and as a result, got rid of those excess lamps, extra chairs, and Buddha knows what else.

Still, I tire of my things, want fewer things. The problem, of course, is that my desire to trim down runs into the recognition that I have already shed the easy excess, and that what remains may just be necessary.

Are all these books necessary? To me, for now, yes. I may at some point decide they are more trouble—and they are trouble, seeing as how they appear to multiply out of their shelves—than they’re worth, but now, today, I would be cutting off limbs to cart them away. (Okay, yes, there are some I don’t want and have designated for removal, but those are the few which will make hardly a dent in the many.) And my 800 or so cds? Well, shit, I have them, and while I haven’t bought any new ones in years and may never buy any again, that I haven’t put them all on my hard drive (and have no plans in the immediate future to do so), and that I long ago discarded the jewel cases and reduced them to two-and-a-half boxes, means that any space I’d save would not be worth all that music I’d be giving up.

Pots, pans, dishes—necessary. Clothes, shoes, jackets, hats and mittens—necessary. And while I stopped buying t-shirts, flannel shirts, or any oversized men’s shirts over a decade ago, my disdain for waste and willingness to wear clothes until they fall apart, as well as the fact that I’m pretty much the same size I was half a lifetime ago, means that I still have some clothes from half a lifetime ago. And I won’t get rid of what few business suits I have because, well, I might need to wear those damned suits and I don’t want to have to buy all new stuff.

I shouldn’t be surprised by this. Clearing away the detritus of my undergraduate and graduate years was a pain in the ass, involving hours hunched over a shredder and multiple trips to the recycling bin, but akin to raking up thick layers of leaves on the ground. Then came the digging into the dirt, then the hauling up of stones and fill, and now, now I’m at the hard rock, chipping away, chipping away.

I need the rock, of course, can’t keep chiseling my way down to nothing—not yet. Someday I may be comfortable with nothing, but today I’m trying discern how much something is enough without being too much.





Hello hello

14 09 2011

I don’t usually read my comments.

I mean, I do, but as appended to posts, not in the dashboard. (No, I spend my time in the dashboard cleaning the gunk out of the Civil War page. All those links just attracts the spam like, um, flies to spam. Or something.)

Anyway, when I did happen to note that BJ was responding to some old posts, and was working her way through my archive, I was delighted.

BJonthegrid, you see, is a regular commenter on TNC’s site, and despite Miss Emily‘s best efforts (thanks, Emily, for the TNC blogroll and your many exhortations to check us out!), I don’t get many of those folks strolling through my site.

So here one was! Excellent.

Except.

Except there was that comment about saving her a ton of money on food. Huh? Maybe she has me confused with someone else, but, whatever. She’s here, she’s reading my blog, she’s reading my novel—it’s all good.

Except, well, why is she using BJonthegrid there and BJ here? Eh, maybe she’s more comfortable going with the short name over here, away from the main drag of the Atlantic site—kind of like slipping into flip-flops rather than bothering with real shoes.

And then there was the comment on my Sound of Music post about DW retiring. DW? Who? What?

OH! That DW! As in, D-Director, formerly of SmallTown’s high school theatre program. (She was also an English teacher, but, uh, let’s just say her talents were better served on the stage.)

How the hell would BJonthegrid know about DW? That would mean she’d have to know about SmallTown, and theatre, and one or three other things about me. Which would be strange, since as far as I know, we’ve never met.

Whooooo-oooooo, choo choo pulls into the station: This BJ is not, as I put it in a post at TNC’s place, that BJ.

No, this BJ is an old, old friend, one who I kept fed at Madison’s food service (don’t ask how), but haven’t seen since. I think I recall my sister telling me that he worked at SmallTown High School was her daughter’s volleyball coach; was that how he found me? Or is it that he now works in the same school district as that niece?

Back to whatever: it doesn’t matter.

I’ve stated repeatedly that I have no desire to set up shop on Facebook, grumping that I don’t particularly want to make it any easier than all this dad-gum technology already makes it for people to find me. And I’ll go on harrumphing about privacy and what’s past and whatnot.

Still, allow me my inconsistencies: I remember that BJ was a thoroughly decent guy, and I’m as delighted to have him here as I was to have that other BJ.