Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Hunchback of Penn State

I recently saw a production of Phantom of the Opera and am currently reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Since I read about Jerry Sandusky over the weekend I keep seeing similarities. The men in Phantom and Hunchback are physically deformed and ugly. The Phantom says he was never kissed, never loved, even by his mother. Both men are heartbreaking.

I see Jerry Sandusky as another sort of human deformity only his ugliness is inside. I feel enormous sadness for him, along with revulsion. And for his victims, whose lives have been horribly altered--children raped and betrayed--I am angry on their behalf and sickened by their innocence laid waste.

But the real corruption is with the men who knew about this and chose Penn State over innocent children and by their choice, allowed this depravity to continue, destroying more lives of children who were tossed aside so the football games could continue.

The coach and all the Catholic priests who prey on children are sick, hideously sick. But the Penn State officials and all the bishops, cardinals and even the present pope of the Holy Roman Catholic Church are so beyond contempt I cannot summon the words to describe them. And they are the ones who should be prosecuted and prosecuted and prosecuted. They aren't sick, they are corrupt and corrupted, they are complicit in the rape and destruction of children.

I can't hate the sick clergy or Sandusky. They should be locked up, forever, never to be able to touch another child. But the bishops, cardinals and popes should be jailed and perhaps even have brands burned into their foreheads, setting an example for all who consider allowing pedophiles to continue their predations in order to preserve the outward appearance of respectability for churches and football teams.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So I said in a rash moment that I read all of Victor Hugo. Au contraire. After an extensive search on wikipedia and amazon.com I've come to the conclusion that it was a combination of Balzac, Hugo and Dickens I read, but not all of any.

I see a set of about 10 volumes and I'm thinking it must have been Balzac. I was 16 when we moved to Stockton, in June, right after school got out for the summer. I knew no one and my mother and I spent many hours and sometimes days in used bookstores and at my aunt Mildred's house which was close to downtown. I suspect my aunt had sets of Balzac and Dickens (people had them back in those days--this would have been in 1956) and I read them. I definitely remember reading Les Mis and The Hunchback of Notre Dame but sure as hell don't remember any of the rest. However, I do remember many Balzac and Dickens titles.

What's interesting to me is that I read so many books between ages 14 and 25 that I cannot force myself to read now and it's mainly being too impatient to spend the time wading through the dense description. Of Cabbages and Kings by O. Henry is one I remember fondly from about age 14. I just ordered it to see if it holds up at all. East of Eden held up and Hemingway's work, so far.

When I go to Bisbee I invariably end up reading something from my youth and somehow there, I can do it. In 2008 I reread Frances Parkinson Keyes. Marvelous novels and the descriptions go on for pages. Somehow, on vacation it's possible. I would say it's Hemingway who ruined me for Balzac and Dickens but I was reading him alongside B & D.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Had to laugh. Just saw a blurb for a Maher segment where he wonders what would happen if Jesus ran for president on the Republican ticket.

I've been saying for years that if Jesus showed up in NYC at 9 a.m., he would have been murdered by conservative Christians by noon for his socialist teachings. You know, the way they murder doctors who perform abortions because God (or someone disguised as God) told them to.

And I apologize. I stole that disguised as God bit from John Lennon from an interview of the Beatles about 30 years ago. Jeez, where was that? I think it was Playboy Magazine.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Am I crazy? A monster?

Already the headlines are about the lawsuits blossoming over the air race crash. Does no one accept that sometimes bad things happen? That we don't have to assign blame and make money off that blame? Yes, it's tough losing relatives and friends. And sometimes we are quite innocently in the wrong place at the wrong time. Does that mean we have to sue someone? Are all societies as litigious as the US public?

Those folks chose to be at the air races, in harm's way. Yes, someone should pay the medical bills and someone should help out the families who may have lost a breadwinner (not that there is much bread to be won these days) but does it have to be through ugly lawsuits that will go on for years, enriching mostly the attorneys?

We lost a contractor in Carson Valley who leaves behind a wife and children. A fund has been set up in the community for donations. Social Security, which the sociopaths in Congress are attempting to eliminate, will help out a bit and one hopes that he had life insurance. And perhaps the wife can find a job or already has one. Unfortunately, it will be hard for the kids to get work to help out since the jobs formerly held by kids are now held by men and women in their fifties, sixties and seventies who need to eat and feed their families.

What if we didn't have Republicans fighting to destroy Social Security? What if Republicans weren't fighting to eliminate the fledgling health care plan? What if Republicans weren't working against an economy that could support all of us?

Dream on, old lady Democrat.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What about my congress critters?

So, I have Representative Mark Amodei and Senator Dean Heller, two of the sheepiest of the sheep contingent in Congress. They have both signed Grover fucking Norquist's pledge to never vote for a raise in taxes, they are against everything moral, anything that might help the economy and they are brainwashed by being on the winning side in Nevada (this is a very depressing state) to think that what they've been taught to believe is upstanding Americanism at its finest. They are on the side of death-by-lack-of-insurance, joblessness, shoddy education, decaying infrastructure, and libertarianism light.

In my opinion, they should be tried for treason and when found guilty, executed. I don't believe in the death penalty so I shan't cheer when they are leaned against the wall and shot, but neither will I lament their passing. And they will lean, if they don't just outright fall to their knees shaking in terror, because they are disgusting cowards who think they are brave because they are with all the other sheep and the sheer numbers exhilarate them. Were they in the minority and expected to defend their positions in any sort of intelligent manner, they would mumble, choke and whine. And quite possibly, come to their senses and remember they were elected to govern, not obstruct.

Friday, September 16, 2011

“Do you believe seniors living in gutters is the future of ‘social security’?”

Rather than letting the Right frame the argument over Social Security by forcing the Left into a battle over semantics, the Left needs to refocus the issue to its core by asking the question, “Do you believe seniors living in gutters is the future of ‘social security’?”

I didn't say those things written above. Nicholas Wilbur on Muddy Politics wrote them and Angry Black Lady put them on Balloon Juice, my favorite blog.

His point is that we don't need to let the insane Republican presidential candidates frame this argument with their stupid Ponzi scheme bullshit.

"Social Security is a good program. It's not a retirement account, it's an anti-poverty program that provides some dignity to seniors."

Wilbur said that, too.

In other Republican insanity, Eric Cantor (gawd how I loathe him) tweeted: "While an all or nothing approach might make sense to some communicators, I hope the President realizes it would be better to work together."

As ABL wrote, you can't make this shit up. This, from the guy that runs the "No, by gawd, we won't" caucus?

I've already had to turn off my car radio. What's next? A nunnery?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good stuff I'm recently in love with

Watched "Last Orders" recently and it is a lovely, lovely movie with Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, Bob Hoskins, Tom Courtenay and two more British actors I didn't know. I recommend it.

Watched the entire season four of Mad Men in six evenings and now have to wait a year for season five. Sigh.

Am watching BBCs Hamish Macbeth series. A tad disappointing. Out of loyalty to the books I'll keep watching and the Scottish highlands are beautiful and make it worthwhile.

Am watching season three of "Burn Notice" and love, love, love it. Yes, it is violent. It is also a series where really evil guys have pretty awful things happen to them and I love it. I like to imagine similar endings for the truly awful and treasonous Republican members of Congress.
You know, folks like Inhofe and Coburn who are working (and praying together) to overthrow our government and replace it with a christianist theocracy. Doesn't that qualify as treason?

And finally, I have discovered Balloon Juice, a splendid blog written by several amazingly coherent and articulate people. John Cole owns the blog and he lives with two small dogs and a very large cat named Tunch. Tunch is shaped a lot like the Muffin and is all white. My readers all know that The Muffin is an obese white cat with one calico ear and a calico tail who has been on a diet for nearly three years. She has lost nine pounds and I've lost years off my life from listening to her scream for food twice a day.

Balloon Juice is marked by humor, intelligence, political savvy, and a bunch of other good stuff but it's late and I'm too tired to enumerate all its good qualities. Just read it and enjoy. Most of the commentors are worth reading. A few are tiresome or annoying, most are fun.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Living in a grain and sugar-free world

Almost impossible to make happen. My stevia even has rice maltodextrin in it. Maltodextrin is made from starch and whatever anyone wants to say, in the body it's sugar.

And that is so difficult to get across to people. They think when I say no sugar I mean that white granular stuff sold in bags labelled sugar. Um no. I mean that and honey, agave nectar, fructose, many starchy vegetables and many varieties of fruit. Whatever they are in person, once they hit my digestive tract they become sugar and are every bit as destructive as the white granular stuff.

The same with grains. I cannot eat any grains. Period. That is difficult for folks to wrap their heads around. A year ago it would have been for me.

Then I discovered primal living. But first, let me explain the "why" of this regime. I have osteoporosis and I'm pre-diabetic. The pre-diabetic is manifested by a hemoglobin A1C score of 5.7 and morning fasting numbers in the 90s and up to 113 one morning last week.The A1C should be 4 point something and the other number should be 83 to 85.

As I was doing research about osteoporosis I ran across many articles discussing phytic acid and its effect on bones. The phytates in grains grab minerals in your intestines, bind to them and carry them out of your body in your feces. My endocrinologist had told me (based on some tests he had me take) that I don't absorb calcium, that it just goes right through me.

So I began to wonder if all the grains I was eating (for good health) were causing my osteoporosis. I could never get a definitive answer out of the good doctor but he did say research had shown that a REALLY REALLY low-carb diet and no sugar did not harm health.

Then I discovered Mark Sisson and read the articles on his website and decided his information made sense and that it couldn't hurt to begin eating like our paleolithic ancestors.

A tidbit: agriculture began about 10,000 (give or take a few) years ago. We were hunter-gatherers for about a million years and our genes think we still are. Our teeth and our digestive tracts are designed for a diet of meat, green vegetables and a few berries, in season. Basically, if we can kill it or pick, we can healthily eat it.

Well, what about all that science we've been drowned in for the last 60 years? You know, eat a low-fat, high-carb diet to be healthy. Well, it's basically bad science, much of it paid for by Conagra, the soy, corn and wheat growers, all the processed food giants--you know, all those folks who have a reason we should eat lots of grains, sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup mostly), and processed food.

Anyway, Mark Sisson wrote a book titled Primal Blueprint which I bought and read and it just made sense. Then I bought The Evolutionary Diet, Primal Body--Primal Mind, Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Solution. Lots of science and in a couple of the books, lots of anecdotal information. Basically, for all our advances, we're still genetically darned close to the folks who ran down giant beasts for food and got their exercise trying not to be devoured by large tigers.

My fervent wish is to live to be 100 so I can tell all the climate change disbelievers and the libertarians who are living in a savage world of people killing for food because the seas have risen and extreme weather conditions have interfered with crop production, so I can give the Bronx cheer and yell, at the top of my lungs, "I told you so." I'm pretty certain living primally can help make that happen. I will have to figure out a way to keep from being killed by the marauding hordes. The old folks will be easy game.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Sea We Swim In

When I read about the shooting in Arizona my first thought was along the lines of "The gun folks win again." I'm not a fan of the National Rifle Association because of the way they have set the argument in such a way that somehow I'm not a patriot if I don't own an arsenal.

Then we started to hear about rhetoric and how the hateful rhetoric of the right caused the shooting and somehow it was presented as a cause and effect argument. I present that it's not cause and effect; it's the sea we swim in, as fish for whom it's the total environment, not as humans who bounce along on top of the waves.

I'm as guilty as everyone else. When I talk about Republicans it's usually in terms of my loathing, disgust, my wish for them to quietly disappear. Changing my attitude will never help me to love John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter. And yes, I do see these folks as the enemy and the cause of everything wrong with this country.

Well no, they are not. A reading of history tells us that Americans have always been violent and intemperate. Read the books, the old newspapers. Study our real history, not the one we learn in textbooks which is bad fiction.

Arianna Huffington says it all so beautifuuly here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/arizona-shootings-our-mom_b_807104.html?ref=tw

I really have to learn how to post links the way all the other bloggers do.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

750 words

I wrote 750 words today on the site 750 words. It's fun. Someone set up this place we can go to daily and write. I discovered today that somehow it even measures your mood, I'm guessing based on the words you use. It even showed me which words I used the most. For anyone who wants to write daily, in a private place, I recommend 750 words.

I did not make resolutions this year. I have a list of 12 habits I intend to develop. At the end of each month I will pick the habit to work on next month. This month the habit is to write daily.

I also picked a word that I want to guide me during 2011. Christine Kane (wonderful singer/songwriter) suggested this. My word is release. When I'm driving myself crazy which I do a lot, I can examine the craziness through release. "Can I release this attitude, prejudice, anger, resentment, possession, need to buy, whatever?"

Not certain exactly how this will work--it will be a work in progress. The most important part of the exercise is remembering to use it.

I've given up grains and sugar as an experiment to see if I can build bone without the help of some godawful drug. Not that I would take any of the drugs on the market because of the possible side effects. However, I do have osteoporosis and I want to see what I can do to change that.

I've read many articles and four books recently that suggest grains and sugar are the problem. The books include Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, Primal Blueprint, The New Evolution Diet, and The Paleo Solution.

The first is about the bad science which has guided the USDA, doctors, nutritionists and many of the folks who write books and articles about nutrition. The other three are about the health of the hunter-gatherers of 40,000 years ago. According to some of the research, people were more likely to die from trauma and infection than disease.

I'm keeping an open mind. Rather than assume True Believer status, I'm looking upon this as a year long experiment. I started in September and haven't been strict about it (December is difficult), however, I will have a Dexa-scan and lots of blood work in August to see if I'm building bone and to check cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar.

So I am now being strict. It's only difficult when I eat at potlucks or dinner parties. Pretty amazing how much sugar and how many grains show up in almost everything. Restaurants can be easy if the menu includes steak or fish and salad. That pretty much rules out ethnic restaurants, pasta restaurants, pancake houses--well, you get my drift.

As Katherine White would say, "Onward and upward."