Saturday, September 30, 2006

Please Don't Eat The Scenery

After performing my devotions at the Book Sale, we rode our bikes to a hostel on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. It was time for another pass at the blackberry thickets nearby, which yielded a few quarts of luscious, juicy berries.

I looked like an ax murderer, or the victim of one, before long. My hands and all my clothes were stained a nice, deep red blood color, but berry picking is a lot like eating Cracker Jacks -- there's always yet another perfect one waiting to be chosen.

I made a pie. A BIG one. Blackberry and apple. It was ambrosia. The ancient gods would have fought over it had they been here. The best foods are those we grow or find ourselves. Wild berries have no additives, no artificial color or flavor, no middlemen. The fewer people who handle what I eat, the better I like it. Even though I'm still plucking thorns out of my scratched flesh. Because a mere few hours ago, those berries were a part of the landscape. Now they're a part of us.

You should have been here.


"But Officer, I COULDN'T have been speeding... I'm listening to Classical Music on the radio. See?"

The Further Adventures of Material Girl

Today is Day 3 of the Annual Friends of the SF Library Book Sale. I am always one of the first 10 people inside the door on the first day. This requires waiting in line for over an hour, chatting with other lunatics. But it also ensures that I will find a parking space. And there is the walking-on-new-snow aspect that is not lost on me -- a building the size of an airplane hangar with over 200, 000 books. Cheap books.

On Sunday, everything is $1.00 or less. On the other three days, I buy items that I seriously cannot do without. I hide others. I hide them among books of other subjects on the theory that people who like science fiction won't have any interest in say, poetry. And if they're neatly arranged as if they belonged there, the volunteers who police the sale, constantly restoring order to the many tables, may not notice them. I usually get about 2/3 of my hidden ones. It's a gamble, but since I've stopped playing the Lottery (I got tired of never winning,) I need some excitement in my life.

I have a Master List of about 40 typed pages of books I own in most categories so I won't duplicate them. It's impossible to remember whether I have owned a book before and donated it, borrowed it from the library, or actually own it now. I could not function without my list.

My husband reminds me that we have no more shelf space, but that has never stopped me before. We bought more bookcases last year right before the sale; they're stuffed now. And our apartment has no more room for bookcases. We should move. I think on some level my addiction is an attempt to make myself whole. My first husband made me keep my books in the garage.

"It isn't nice to have them in the living room," he said. They all rotted. But at least when I moved out, I didn't have that much to carry.

When Flip and I left our house in Tennessee, I donated about 2,000 books to the local library. Even my large collection of Japanese novels, (in translation) was sacrificed for the U-Haul gods. We gave away large bookcases. It was like cutting off limbs.

I clearly had my work ahead of me. And I must say, I've done well. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oh My God!

Could I be a girl after all?

BLOOMINGDALE'S opened its flagship West Coast store in San Francisco yesterday. We went over today to look around. I don't like crowds or loud music, but I think I could make an exception if the Bloomingdale gods allowed me to live there.

I would sleep on a different gorgeously appointed bed every night, and have a limitless array of truly divine clothes to wear. I would never get them cleaned or laundered, just replaced, or look at price tags. There would be shoes. Tall ones, flat ones, happy shoes, cruel shoes.

I would play house with thousand-dollar pots, and try out every brand of skin care known to woman. I would ride the escalators up and down all night, after the intruders left. My nourishment would come from Godiva chocolate, my favorite food group. There would be whole days when I wore nothing but cashmere. I would be dripping in diamonds at all hours and use The Good Crystal every day. I would patrol the floors to make sure no one bought anything good in my size. I would be a force to be reckoned with. The Phantom of the Department Store.

And when I died, my ashes would be scattered over the perfume counter. And I would dwell in the House of Bloomingdale forever.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Attack of the Killer Squirrels

Squirrels around the world are getting well, squirrelly. There have been reports of numerous fluffy rodent attacks in Mountain View, California during the past week, injuring several humans and stealing a bag of cookies from a baby stroller. The town has decided to take action and will be setting traps, as well they should. Stealing Oreos must not be tolerated.

In Russia, a pack of crazed squirrels attacked a large dog and bit him to death within seconds. The attack was witnessed by several people who said the animals skittered off, carrying hunks of dog flesh, when they realized they were being observed. The squirrels have since met with their lawyers and are cooking up their alibi. Some commentators feel they really screwed the pooch, but the dog tartar is no longer in evidence. The incident has been attributed to a lack of pine cones in the forest.

In yet another frightening development, park rangers found the gutted carcass of a large animal thought to be a moose. A rabid squirrel in aviator goggles was apprehended fleeing the scene.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Woo Hooo!!!

"I'm the very beautiful Little Richard from Macon, Georgia," he said, and we all went wild. He proclaimed himself The Originator, which he certainly was. He said, "People think - (in hushed tones) somebody else- invented Rock & Roll, but we all know that's not true." We screamed and stomped and whistled.

It must have been painful for Little Richard to witness Elvis Presley's phenomenal success bringing HIS music to a wider (read that white) audience, to be considered an "also ran" by so many who idolized Elvis.

It was the 34th Annual San Francisco Blues Festival. The amazing Ruth Brown, 76, preceded Richard on the program. She still has everything she needs to hold an audience spellbound. The lady has pipes and a laugh that could cure anyone's blues. To hear her sing is to love her madly.

Little Richard was the closing act, and at 74, he still sounds like the young man he used to be. He is a mischievous charmer who knows how to make a thousand people eat out of his hand. He's funny, eccentric, and holds nothing back. We were all ready to receive it like communion wafers. We sat there with our mouths hanging open. He owned us all.

You know, I can't write anything about these two that doesn't sound like promotional publicity stuff or liner notes. It was just an incredible thrill to hear two legendary performers in person, and to know that they are still at the top of their game.

We should all be that good at something at their ages, or ever.

The Meme Challenge

Katrice has tagged me to tell 10 secrets about myself.

I didn't know what "meme" meant. I understand the concept as used here, but wanted to know the exact definition.

The term "meme" refers to a unit of cultural information that can be transmitted from one mind to another, such as tunes, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches.

Sounds like a BLOG to me.

Okay, I'm glad we cleared that up.

1. I love to pop bubble wrap. It reminds me of kelp on beaches, which I also relish stomping.

2. I like animals better than I like most people.

3. I've had a couple of relationships that I'm deeply ashamed of. Okay, more than a couple.

4. I'm a book junkie.

5. When I was about four, I somehow acquired the shocking knowledge that boys urinate standing up, and waited for a chance to try it. I was barely tall enough to straddle the toilet with only one foot touching the floor. Once in position, I let go and to my dismay, my peepee didn’t go into the toilet at all but ran down my leg and puddled on my shoe just as my mother came into the bathroom to check on me. She was livid but didn’t spank me because she didn’t want to get her hand all wet.

6. My mother had several evening gowns which she never wore. I loved to sneak into her closet and lie down under them. They smelled like her perfume, and sometimes I draped their long skirts around my head and played dress-up without taking them off their hangers, which was forbidden. The most beautiful one was black silk with tiny flowers on it. It had spaghetti straps and a little matching bolero jacket.

I loved it so much that I cut a tiny square out of the skirt to make a dress for my doll. The scrap turned out to be too small so I cut out another, larger one from the other side. I tried to drape the skirt around the holes so they wouldn’t show.

I’m sorry I ruined her dress because I would have liked to inherit it.

7. My friend, Bruce, and I started a 5-alarm fire when we were 11. Long Island had a drought that summer and by August, the abandoned golf course behind his house had yellow hay which was taller than we were. We sneaked out there with a pack of his mother’s Lucky Strikes, he lit one and dropped the match. The hay at our feet burst into flame and instantly, the whole golf course was burning with a loud hissing sound.

We ran until we got across the dried-up creek bed and all the way to my house where we crouched beside the living room bookcases and listened to the fire engines. The fire was so big that five different fire departments answered the call.

We expected to get arrested and go to jail for the rest of our lives, but no one ever questioned us. The neighborhood smelled like smoke for weeks.

8. I had a friend named Brenda in junior high. Brenda was large and big-breasted with hooded eyes and chewed gum constantly, which emphasized her bovine features. She smoked and shoplifted and boasted that she had gone all the way with several boys. Nobody who knew her doubted this.

The one time I slept over at her house, her father fixed himself a bowl of strawberry ice cream, two scoops, on which he had arranged chocolate sprinkles and a cherry. He brandished his dessert in my face and leered, “This is what you look like down there,” licking his lips at me.

I was terrified but didn't call my father to come get me because he’d be angry if he had to go out, and I didn’t know what to tell him, anyway. Brenda didn’t even seem embarrassed. There was no lock on her door and I lay awake all night with a full bladder, afraid to go to the bathroom down the hall.

9. I loved rhythm and blues and tried to write songs as a teenager. The problem was, all the songs I listened to were ungrammatical. While I understood that grammar was being sacrificed for the rhythm, I couldn’t bring myself to write “ain’t” or especially, double negatives. I hated that about myself but on a deep level I was afraid of sounding illiterate, so my brilliant songwriting career never happened.

10. I found a book called The Story of a Hundred Operas in our bookcase and read all of them. The most romantic was Aida, who loved her boyfriend so much that as he was sealed into his tomb alive, she jumped in to die with him.

Years later, I got to relive this fantasy when I married my first husband. The marriage ended due to a lack of necrophilia on my part.

Bonus Secret: The worst thing I ever did as a child was persuade my younger cousin, Jane, to poop behind the oil burner in our basement. She didn't want to but she worshiped me, and eventually managed to produce a small, hard turd.

I don't know why I did this. I'm not sure I even knew at the time.

I tag Odat and The Law Fairy.

Friday, September 22, 2006

It Takes a Village

Jessica Durham of Montana was sentenced to five years for unlawful marijuana distribution after she gave her 18-month old daughter, Michala, a water pipe to inhale.

She said that smoking improved the baby's appetite and made her lethargic and mellow, the same effects she noted in herself when she smoked pot. Is that lethargic as in "brain dead?" Couldn't she just have given her a pacifier or something? What's wrong with this picture?

She appealed the conviction and the sentence. The Court upheld her conviction, but found that the sentence exceeded relevant Federal law which allows no more than two years in prison for this offense.

There's actually a precedent for this? I wonder how often it comes up. And will the trendy children's boutiques begin carrying baby bongs now? Presumably, her daughter is going to rehab.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian woman, now 23, who was "forgotten" by her parents and raised by dogs until she was discovered at age 8, was interviewed recently.

Oxana Malaya, one of about 100 known feral children, has the tested mental age of six, stilted speech and an uncoordinated gait. She buries any gifts she receives and runs into the woods when she's upset. She still knows how to bark, run on all fours, pant with her tongue out, and dry herself off by shaking.

She may actually be better off than the bong baby, but what I want to know is, what kind of dogs were they? And how on earth do you forget your child for eight years? Seriously.

Mr. Watson, Come Here!

Try holding THAT to your ear while driving.

Imagine: If Alexander Graham Bell's assistant had been a dog, the first words uttered over telephone wires would have been, "Here, boy."

Bell was born in 1847 to a family involved in elocution. His father taught deaf-mutes to speak by watching the motions of other peoples' lips, a system that came to be known as lip reading.

Bell developed an early interest in creating a machine to ameliorate his mother's deafness. He designed a piano that could transmit music over large distances electrically, and sought to produce an instrument that would articulate speech as well.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. It makes you wonder where we would be if his mother had not been deaf. We are constantly advised to make lemonade when life hands us lemons, and I think this is good advice, although I don't always appreciate it at the time. Adversity helps us to realize our full potential, if it doesn't kill us first. When the livin' is easy, I tend to just enjoy, and stagnate. I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I know that most of my own growth has resulted from pain and hardship. Which is sad, because I so prefer pleasure and comfort.

Bell married Mabel Hubbard, who was also a deaf-mute, and many of his inventions resulted from his attempts to communicate with her. I'm guessing she didn't nag him. It's unlikely he would have accomplished all he did if his muse had been gifted with speech.

He invented the photophone, transmission of sound on a beam of light, a precursor of today's fiber optics and laser communications. His patents include 14 for the telephone and telegraph, 4 for the photophone, 1 for the phonograph, 5 for aerial vehicles, 4 for hydroairplanes, and 2 for a selenium cell which was itself utilized in many later designs.

My husband wants to know if he also invented the Phone Bill. "That was a real lousy one," he says. I told him that's the price you pay for a wife who can talk.

Here, boy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

Not really. I just like the song.

If you don't mind, we're going to try something different today. The following is a couple of related excerpts from a childhood memoir I've been writing, tentatively titled No Place For a Girl Like Me. It has to do with boats, and a whole lot more. This is my first draft, so be gentle with me.
The summer I turned seven, my father bought a cabin cruiser, a 32 foot Verity Skiff with lapstrake hull, built in Baldwin on Long Island. My parents took a Safety & Navigation course given by the Power Squadron, and my father bought a Captain's hat for himself and a First Mate's hat for my brother. I demanded to have a hat, too, because I sensed the status involved, so he got me a sailor's cap. I knew that cap bestowed no status at all, but it was all I could get. We joined a yacht club and went on long trips to Nantucket, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, and the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

We were on Lake Champlain in Vermont as the golden dawn broke, anchored on the still water, the smooth surface broken only by small silver fish leaping out of the silvery ripples. I was alone on deck, too excited to sleep, and everywhere I looked was gold and silver, like a fairy tale.

After breakfast, we fished from the deck. My father baited my hook with thick, lumpy bloodworms.

"Fish are sentient beings and we don't want to hurt them," he said.

I didn't know what "sentient" meant but I was glad we didn't have to hurt them. I didn't even want to eat them. I wondered why it was okay to hurt the worms, though.

When I get the hook caught in my lower lip, my father removed it by pushing it slowly backward so it would do the least damage. I knew that my father could fix anything because he always said so, and it was a good, safe feeling. Later I caught three tiny perch, which he strung for me while I posed for a picture. Then we threw them back because they were too small to keep. I hoped he wouldn't notice how small I was.


One day we left our boat slip in Freeport and cruised through the Woodcleft Canal out to sea. It was a beautiful August day and my brother and I were sitting in the fore cockpit with our dog, Patty. Our perch in the bow of the boat had no access to the cabin below; to get there, you had to walk around the catwalk holding onto a rail along the edge of the upper deck, above my reach. The sun sparkled on the waves as we plowed through them, and soon there was no land in any direction.

We cruised through this glorious wonderland for a couple of dreamy hours until suddenly Richie and I heard a loud explosion. Turning, we saw the cabin in flames. My brother, a good swimmer, tossed our dog into the ocean and jumped in after her. I was afraid she'd drown but didn't know what to do about it. I didn't know what to do at all, so I waited. The flames leaped higher into the blue sky. The heat was intense and the air looked wavy. It would have been beautiful if I weren't so scared.

After several minutes, my father eased his way around the catwalk with an adult life jacket in his hand. He tried to drape it around me, but his hands were burned and it fell on his new Sperry Topsiders and bounced into the water.

"Should I jump?" I asked.

"I'm afraid you'll have to," he said.

He seemed apologetic, which I noted because I had never known my father to evince any kind of remorse before.

I held his pinkie for a second and jumped into the cold water. I didn't know how to swim so I paddled as fast as I could to get away from the flames leaping off the boat as it burned down to the waterline. Within minutes, there was almost nothing left of it, just flames and smoke, black wood hull that got smaller so fast it looked as if something was eating it.

The water was freezing and dark.

An hour later, three men in an open fishing boat came along and held a long pole with a hook on the end for me to grab. They pulled me into their boat and wrapped me in a gray blanket. I was shaking violently and burst into tears.

"Why are you crying now?" chided one of the men. "You're safe now."

I stopped crying immediately, gulping and snuffling, ashamed of my Childish-Emotional-Display because I forgot I wasn't allowed to cry. They took me into port, shaking and holding in my tears, and handed me off to a policeman on the dock. My family was nowhere around.

The next thing I remember is visiting my mother in the hospital where she was being treated for third degree burns on both her legs. She was standing above the hatch when it blew up. Her legs were slathered in vaseline and covered with white gauze bandages.

She noticed that I had washed only my face for several days, the part I could see, and all around it my skin was grey and grungy. She asked a nurse for a washcloth and rubbed my neck hard until it was sore while the water dripped down my back.

Many years later, I ponder why my father, an excellent swimmer, didn't put me on his back and keep my mother afloat, too, instead of consigning a seven-year old child to the deep, to literally sink or swim.

I swam.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Day, Another Sand Dollar

I walked on the beach looking for rogue waves and lost toys. A rogue wave is an unusually large wave that comes up suddenly for no apparent reason and can sink ships. I've heard of such monster waves taking people off beaches in an instant, so of course, I wanted to see one for myself. Alas, there weren't any to be had today, but there were many happy dogs chasing tennis balls, especially a German Shepherd named Lulu who was my best friend for about a half-hour.

I have a large collection of small plastic toys found on beaches over the years. My newest acquisition is a crocodile about 6 inches long, baring his teeth in anticipation of a nice piece of leg. He's lovely! Beaches have given me many matchbox cars, action heroes, and a cheetah on wheels. I'm very fond of wind-up and antique toys, too, but those never turn up trailing kelp and covered in sand.

California beaches have few shells, but I have found a number of beautiful stones. I learned the hard way not to hand my treasures to Flip for his pleasure because his pleasure consists of hefting them and hurling them into the ocean.

"Oh, look at this, honey."

Wham!! The arm goes up and the stone slams into the nearest wave. Sometimes they skip if they're flat enough.

Is this some weird convolution of male DNA or something? Why do guys do this? Are they really incapable of just looking at a pretty object without having an overwhelming compulsion to disappear it forever?

Why can't they just act like the rest of us?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Slow Turtle

Years ago when my life was more complicated and difficult than it is now, I went to see my friend, Slow Turtle, Supreme Medicine Man of the Wampanoag Nation of Cape Cod. I was sure he knew everything there was to know, and in his wisdom and spiritual ascendancy, he would help me to solve my problem.

He was also the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs with offices in Boston. So I made an appointment and bought some Kinikinik tobacco to take him as you never ask a Native American spiritual leader for help without offering something in return. Tobacco has sacred qualities and is the preferred offering because it opens the door to the Creator.

Some elders say that tobacco is used to connect the worlds since the plant’s roots go deep into the earth and its smoke rises high into the sky. Ceremonies using tobacco invoke a relationship between the energies of the universe and the Creator, and the bond forged between earthly and spiritual realms is not to be broken.

On the appointed day, I sat across from Slow Turtle, feeling a little shy because I had only seen him at pow-wows and a mountaintop retreat in Vermont before. Never in an office, over a desk with a polished glass top.

We talked of this and that, matters of no importance, because you don't just blurt out your request to a medicine man until he indicates that he is receptive. Finally, he reached for the pouch of tobacco I had placed on the desk between us and moved it in front of him.

That was my cue. He was ready to hear me. I could ask him what I needed to know.


"Slow Turtle," I said softly. "What do men really want?"

He picked up the pouch and turned it in his hands. He looked out the window for so long that I wondered if he had heard me. He opened the pouch and dipped his fingers in the tobacco for several minutes. Finally, he turned back and looked deeply into my eyes. His own were filled with sadness. The tension was unbearable.

And then he spoke.

"Nobody knows," he said.

Slow Turtle led his people with great kindness, humor, and humility, and inspired all who knew him to live better lives. He never aspired to be a saint as he believed that the Creator gave us bodies to enjoy as well as souls to elevate us.

One of my fondest memories is watching him frolic in the surf with 3 or 4 small children riding on his shoulders, back, and under his arms, all shrieking ecstatically at the crashing waves.

Slow Turtle walked the Spirit Trail on October 27, 1997. His ashes were put to sea near his home at Mashpee, Massachusetts. He will always be missed by those whose lives he touched, however briefly, including mine.

Playing Tag With Cops

I heard sirens and pulled over. A motorcycle cop positioned himself so I couldn't get back into the road as more than 2 dozen wailing police motorcycles and about 10 police cars whizzed by, a black limo in the middle.

I gave chase to try to find out who was in the limo, but they whipped around a corner and disappeared so fast I wondered if I'd imagined the whole thing.

I looked everywhere, but they had completely dematerialized. I don't think it was the president because I didn't see any Secret Service personnel, just a million police officers. Maybe it was Arnold. He probably gets a police escort.

Or maybe I just look so scary with my chainsaw hairdo that I activated some mythical police force that protects citizens from anything unsightly. There really are no ugly zones in San Francisco.

But I still believe. I believe that any day now, those agents from my home planet will remember where they left me so long ago and come back to get me. They WILL. I'm sure of it. Maybe tonight.

Self-Inflicted Wound

I cut my hair today. Myself. I hate it when I do that. Pulling sections from the back under my armpit to the front to prune them with office shears is probably not the best way to go. I hacked off about 5 inches, more in places, but there's still enough for a professional to work with if I want to pass for a little boy in drag. Or Grace Jones. Hey, there's an idea! Scalpel, please. With my luck, I'd look more like Ghandi or Elmer Fudd.

My bathroom garbage basket seems to have a small, dead animal in it. Maybe a cat. Or a wombat. With no discernible head or tail, just a lot of hair. Ex-hair. Brown. Unhappy. This hair has been disconnected. Would you like to make a call?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Have Eyes, Will Travel

Is it possible to become indifferent to beauty? Even worse, does familiarity breed contempt? I hope not.

The city was posing for postcards today. We rode our bicycles up and down hills by the bay, marveling at the many views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sailboats in gorgeous colors dotted the deep blue-green water and gulls soared and dipped, scanning for fish and generous tourists with food scraps.

We always bring them bread, more for the pleasure of seeing them catch large crumbs in mid-air than for charity. Seagulls are not polite birds; they lack the most rudimentary concept of sharing, but I admire them for their colossal survival skills and the breathtaking beauty of their flight.

I've been watching several patches of ripening wild blackberries for weeks, and my vigilance was finally rewarded. I have the scratches to prove it.

The Community Gardens were bursting with flowers, fruits and vegetables. I made friends with other peoples' dahlias, purple beans and giant sunflowers as well as tomatoes, nasturtiums, late-blooming wisteria and small green apples. This wondrous place offers plots of various sizes but demands proof of ones devotion by way of a 5-year waiting list. We come here often to admire and meditate, to inhale and exhale in exquisite surroundings.

My other favorite hangout, the Friends of the Library Book Bay, had changed their New Arrivals shelves since my last recent visit and I found a couple of goodies. Since I ride my bike in my oldest, rattiest jeans and sport road dust and helmet hair, I'm sure the volunteers think I'm a literate bag lady who bathes.

We're expecting El Nino soon, a yearly phenomenon, more or less, which brings fierce winds and heavy rains from Mexico. So far, we're batting 500 as it's not raining, but we had a powerful tailwind going one way and a headwind that required very low gear and the promise of hot chocolate to get home.

Such exercise is great in retrospect, the kind of thing you sometimes enjoy having done more than the doing itself. I feel tired and virtuous and swollen with all the beautiful sights I ingested. (And the berries.) I am rebuilding myself, a scene at a time. I had to come home. I couldn't hold any more splendor today.

I fear becoming jaded and taking life's wonders for granted. It would be awful to reach some point of diminishing returns and be unable to appreciate all this anymore. Beauty nourishes and sustains me.

"As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's Gotta Be a Sign

While passing the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind today, I noticed gigantic braille symbols on the front of the concrete building at third story level. They looked like a bas relief frieze.

Who, exactly, is able to read this? A blind person the size of Goliath on a scaffold? I don't want to think about it.

This is the kind of logic that makes clothing stores arrange their smallest sizes on the highest racks where short people can't reach them.

A few blocks further, at Bush Street, there was a stop sign which, from a certain delicious angle, spelled out "Stop Bush." I think it could catch on.

I'm thinking of going out with a sign that says "Will work for shoes." I'm still wearing flip flops due to a recent incident with a gas pump nozzle, but I love shoes. And someday I may be able to wear them again. I can wear ONE right now. My glass is half-full.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

There Are No Words

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Can You Say Nazi, Children?

I knew you could.

There is supposedly a raging debate as to whether or not California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was insensitive when he referred to Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia as "very hot." What's to debate? The guy is a lewd, crude, disgusting gold-plated troglodyte with a long history of groping women and otherwise offending common decency.

(Stage direction: Enter drooling.) "They all are very hot," Schwarzenegger said of Puerto Ricans and Cubans. "They have it, you know, part of the Black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it."

Makes it what, exactly? He's been in the United States for a long time. He is, inexplicably, the Governor of a large state. Can't he at least learn to speak the language? And why is he reinforcing stereotypes like these, that all Black and Latina women are indiscriminately "hot blooded?" I'm not sure that's a compliment, especially if he thinks it is.

Excuse me but um, shouldn't he be concerning himself with issues that affect the people of California instead of leching after women every chance he gets? Are we going to cut this creep slack forever because he's married to a Kennedy? He needs to be put out of my misery.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fly To The Moon On Gossamer Wings

This afternoon while watering my herb garden, I was visited by two dragonflies which continually buzzed and zipped closer and closer to me until finally, one landed on my shoulder. Its mate immediately claimed the other shoulder, and they fluttered there for several seconds while I stood as still as possible, enchanted.

Dragonflies are large, predatory insects with wingspans up to 5.5 inches. They fly at speeds up to 30 mph, snatching smaller insects from the air by means of their basket-like arrangement of legs. Fossil dragonflies of 250 million years ago had wingspans up to 31.5 inches, and were the largest insects known.

My visitors seemed to be attracted by the fine spray from my nozzle. They mate while flying and lay their eggs on water plants, so they may have been trying to determine whether my herbs and rose bushes qualified.

Then again, the personal contact made me wonder if perhaps they were the spirits of people close to me who had whimsically taken this form for the occasion. I may have just been visited by my mother and father, both long "dead," whatever that means. How clever of them to find me here since I still lived in New York when my father passed away, and in NC when I lost my mother.

My father had many talents, spoke 6 or 7 languages fluently, and could do anything. Shape shifting would be no challenge for him. He was God all my life.

My mother realized her dream of graduating from college at 79 (with honors) and was pursuing an advanced degree in Women's Studies when she died suddenly a year later. I have no argument with the way she died; I just thought we'd have her longer.

I don't know why they chose to visit me today as Sept. 7th is not a family anniversary of any kind. Or perhaps they visit me often, but I never noticed before. I will have to be more observant with my heart and not just my eyes from now on.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mr. Anus Goes A-Riding

Why are guys in fancy bicycle outfits such pugnacious bullies? They zoom toward you like suicide bombers at 90 mph in the wrong lane with big, cheesy grins just because they can, because nobody gives tickets to belligerent thugs for moving violations on bikes.

Wearing brightly colored racing silks does not make you a Kentucky Derby jockey. It doesn't mean that you were in the Tour de France, and it certainly does not mean that you are Lance Armstrong or the other guy Brice Feillu.

It means you're an aggressive asshole.

My husband, Flip, had the grand idea of riding our bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge today. The sun was shining and the scenery undeniably world-class. Except for the fetchingly clad bike jockeys and hurricane force winds that tried hard to blow or scare me off my bike. My ears hurt as they have not since I lived in places where I had to scrape ice off my windshield every morning. I can't imagine jumping off that bridge even if I wanted to die because I HATE being cold. I would have to find some gentler way to go. Suicide for wusses.

As I rode abreast of Flip at one point, I yelled, "Just so you know, I'm not sending you loving thoughts right now." He grinned back. He can be astoundingly deaf at times. I think it's called "selective earshot."

We're back at home, I'm sniffling and grouchy, and somebody's gonna pay. Guess who that will be?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

There's Sharks in These Tanks

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has acquired a young Great White Shark, which it hopes will be "an ambassador from the deep." Its presence is intended to inspire visitors to support conservation of wild creatures.

How do they figure that capturing a wild creature and forcing it into an artificial life behind bars is conserving it?

Two years ago, the aquarium had another Great White, which was then the world's only one in captivity. She was part of an exhibit called "Vanishing Wildlife," an ironic title since she killed two other sharks in the exhibit.

She was returned to the ocean soon after. She was in captivity a record 198 days, grew more than a foot and a half and gained 100 pounds.

The new Great White Shark was caught in Santa Monica Bay and transported to Monterey, where he was placed in a million-gallon tank. He is presently 5 feet 8 inches long and 104 pounds, and will continue growing.

The aquarium hopes that people will begin to care about a magnificent species that is under threat around the world. And increase profits, of course.

Some of the most wretched-looking creatures I have ever seen were in zoos. Animals have feelings much as we do, and grieve when they are not free. What is more, the longer they're fed by humans, the less able they become to fend for themselves if they're eventually released again. Assuming they live long enough in captivity for that to be a possibility.

It isn't right. It simply is not right. Animals do not belong in zoos and aquariums for our entertainment. Sharks belong in the ocean, elephants and apes do not belong in cages, and locking up any of these creatures is an abomination which ultimately makes us less human.

It's something to think about, isn't it?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Oh, And Another Thing...

There is no limit to disturbing human behavior. It makes me proud.

The art world has just been gifted with several new works of note:

Martin Creed, who won the UK's prestigious Turner Prize in 2001, has announced that his latest work, "Sick Film," will open in London in October. It includes 19 scenes of people vomiting on camera.

He is also working on a similar project entitled "Shit Film," and has hired 15 "performers" in L.A, which he says "represents the extreme edge of the world." (My husband, who is from L.A., says the city is engaged in an illicit love affair with itself. Thankfully, he has no plans to film people purging themselves in any way. I hid his camera just in case.)

Meanwhile, Daniel Edwards, the sculptor who brought us his fantasy of Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug and a nude bust of Hillary Clinton, has created a new oeuvre, Suri's First Baby Poop.  In bronze. Well, there you have it, folks. Finally: Definitive proof that Tomkat's mystery baby exists.

The sculpture looks as if the model was something from his dog, and is on display at a gallery in NYC through September 9th, after which it will be auctioned off on eBay. 

But not to worry if you get outbid. A limited edition plaster reproduction will also be available so you can add Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' daughter's feces to your collection of treasured objects.

Have we gone completely full-bore batshit crazy? Is it really possible that life on earth has come to ...THIS?!! After millions of years spent perfecting ourselves, learning to walk upright, use forks, split atoms, build harpsichords, visit other planets, this crap passing for art is the best we can do?

I don't think so.