The Price Is Left

This is another rant-blog, about anything that strikes me, especially politics, film, news media and travel -- okay, and sometimes about my grandchildren, my husband and our cats.

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Former attorney and private investigator, always part-time writer, avid reader, film enthusiast, gardener and (primarily vegetarian) cook. Full-time wife (of a German Baker-Meister), grandma and herder of five cats. Love the internet and digital photograpy, travel, art.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Well, 'tis the New Year and time to shake off the dust of personal-blog inactivity and try to "get regular" - though with all that's been going on, it has been easy to get caught up in the fine blogs out there that already have everything covered (of course I'm talking about Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, all those sites you see in my links plus a few others, like European Tribune.)

But what's also fired me up, perhaps just because his writing style gives me such a thrill, is James Wolcott's blog, which has this wonderful entry that makes me mutter under my breath "Dennis Miller... P.J. O'Rourke... Dennis Miller... " - you get the idea. Someone should start a "Pathetic Pansy Page" for all those supposedly smart folk who think our liberties aren't worth fighting for if it means we might actually take a blow. Yeah, they fight the good fight, they think, when it means only taking up a pen or a place in the spotlight rather than a rifle or a spot in a tank. Please don't donate to the sperm bank, guys.

On a less angry note, may I point out that family from all over gathered at our home for Thanksgiving, that I still have both parents, all three siblings and the world's best husband, and that my daughter and grandchildren live within a 15 minute walk from my house, so what do I really have to complain about? Okay, I lost the city of my soul to the failure of the system to adequately protect her from storm surges, but that loss can't compare to the horrors endured by my friends and others who still lived in New Orleans. I'm crossing my fingers for the reconstruction. The photos above are of the two places where WE used to live in the Quarter (the upper floor of the top photo.)

That's all for today, lots to get done, but I resolve to post regularly. Hey, it's possible - I have begun sending letters and photos more regularly to my friend Andy in London (tell them, Andy.) And my office is all nicely organized, all my 12,000 photos organized in Picasa (download the free photo management program from Google if you haven't... it's super and includes some good photo editing and sharing features) and the laundry and dishes are done, so I get to ride off to fantasyland now (working on my next novel, a rather tricky one.)

Stay safe, but more importantly, stay free.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Why hasn't someone sued the President over those taxpayer-funded town meetings he's been having for social security propogandizing? Those are paid for by the taxpayers, but not open to the general public, only to Bush supporters. The costs should be recouped for the taxpayers and charged to the Republican Party. It's so damned obvious, why hasn't it been done?

Let's not even have a pope. The old one's dead now, and he did enough harm, let's stop having them at all and maybe things will get better. Then let's do away with the Royal Family in England. The "admiring crowds" waiting to get their little glimpse of the at-long-last-wedded couple reminded me entirely of the carefully screened Bush supporters mentioned above. (We have the Teflon President, Great Britain has the Tampon Prince. Both are douchebags, so.....)

Apology flowers look like real flowers in the same way that investment art looks like real art, but both are missing the ingredient that means the most to me, which is the awe. Loving-you flowers, missing-you flowers, art that takes your breath away as you suddenly come upon it in a museum, home or gallery or on a web page, these are things that have the awe factor going for them. Apology flowers remind you of the offense that inspired them, and investment art inspires thoughts of portfolios and security-in-your-old-age.... dreary. One other gripe re: investment art. It too frequently gets removed from public view, which prevents vast numbers of us from getting to enjoy it non-investmentwise.

My tomato plants had better produce this year, or the garden is going to learn the true meaning of "Garden Nazi." My canner is ready, my food dehydrator is ready, my jars and bottles and my cans of virgin olive oil. We've tilled and enhanced and composted and covered and staked and labeled and raised seedlings from heirloom seeds which we've brought in and out of the house a dozen times to protect from storms, sometimes in the middle of the night. PRODUCE, dammit! There are pizza crusts and pastas in many shapes awaiting your delights, not to mention soup bowls, salads, sandwiches and salsas. Enough tomatoes and I'll even make my own ketchup, get away from the stuff with that creepy high-fructose corn syrup in it. GIVE US TOMATOES! And also some okra, zucchini, green beans, lima beans, basil, cilantro and flowers. The peach tree should do okay this year, and we hope for lemons. Should get pecans this year, too, but it's too soon for the little fig tree or the artichokes or the grapes. If we just get enough tomatoes, I'll be happy.

Enough for now, back to The Daily Kos. Karen

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Oh, this article by Ryan Lizza was so good I was squirming in my chair like Tori Amos on a piano bench! If you hate the "smoke-filled room Democrats" and are a "reform Democrat," you will love it, too. Go see:
Off to Lake Charles, Louisiana (I know, I know, but I have a couple dear friends there, so it's worth the smell for a few days) for the Krewe of Illusions' Mardi Gras Ball. I'm pleased to say that they're the most Democratic of the Krewes -- the public is welcomed -- and have the most spectacular show to boot. And Carla Chrisco will be performing "There's No Business Like Show Business" and I'll be damned if I'm gonna miss THAT!

Which prompts me to share a little story about how I met Carla. I was clerking for the state judges in Calcasieu Parish in 1976 and I heard a woman talking to the receptionist out front. She was asked "How was your trip to New York City?" This immediately caught my attention. I LOVE NYC. Apparently she had taken the trip all alone. Now I was really interested, albeit a bit humbled. Next she was asked "Weren't you afraid there'd be a power failure?" Her reply got me up out of my chair -- I HAD to know this woman. She said:

"I'd rather be in New York in the dark than Lake Charles with the lights on."

Funny about that. When the lights all went out in New York City (help me here... a year ago? two years?) she was there with her teen-aged daughter, who was in an actors' workshop, I believe. How'd they do? They turned it into a party, of course.

Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Shame on me for being so lazy about posting. But I'm motivated now, thanks to Barbara Boxer and Kos and the wonderful world of blogging.

And I have to point out how truly chagrined I am that, despite Boxer's wonderful performance, no-one answered Condi's "I would hope you would refrain from impugning my integrity" by saying "one can't impugn what no longer exists." WHY OH WHY are Democrats so afraid to show the same contempt for the Republicans who deserve it as those Republicans show to them for no reason at all?

On a brighter note, it would seem that some, like Bayh and Dayton, for instance, have noticed that standing up to those folks and calling them out on their lies is a GOOD thing, and very popular with their support base. Seems like they'd already have figured out that it doesn't behoove them to make Republicans happy. I sure hope more Democrats catch on to this. The best way to do it would be to VOTE "NO" ON RICE AND GONZALES and on every other matter that doesn't comport with the rules of law, conscience and the constitution.

And as a final comment for now, may I suggest that the Democratic party give its members what they want and need, Howard Dean for Chairperson.

'nuff for now. Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. -- Beaumont & Fletcher

Saturday, November 27, 2004

It suddenly occurred to me that I have never posted one of my favorite sayings on my blog, and one should always share this, I think. It's a line from a Jacobean drama by Beaumont & Fletcher called "The Maid's Tragedy" and is spoken by the father of the titular maiden. In her time of distress, the maid's father cannot think what to do to help her and hasn't the courage to simply attack her offenders. Confronted with this realization, he observes "'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant."
I was about 21 when I first read this and it almost knocked me off my perch. You mean it won't come with age? It's something you actually have to WORK at? Or is it all predetermined by one's genes or innate characteristics? NO FAIR!!! I had always assumed I would just GROW old and wise and fearless (though not, perhaps, entirely moral, as I was also, as a kid, quite intrigued with the idea of being a pirate and, later, a spy with the CIA or Interpol. I pictured myself being very brave and obstinate under torture -- I, who can rationalize almost ANYTHING.)

So, thanks for the warning, Beaumont & Fletcher. I'll try to get cracking on that wisdom and valor thing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Some of today's Evangelicals leave me slack-jawed with amazement at their outright (what did the Daily Show call the Republican convention... the "utter gall"? ball or something?) gall -- I'm pretty sure many of them just think they're Christians 'cuz they throw so many stones (hey, I got purty good stats going on the stone casting front, I must be a Christian.) I know what these folks like about Christianity, though, and it's rather unfortuneately the same things they liked about it as children: it's simple and makes you feel self-righteous, takes up very little time for the protection it offers, and, after you've lived a life that would have whole villages across the world chasing you with torches and axes, lets you take a "king's X" at the last minute and still be saved so long as you can get yourself to muster up a bit of enthusiasm for the idea that Jesus was the son of God (heck, aren't we all!) and that's easy enough to do for people who are used to reconciling their Christianity with all sorts of behavior that would have Jesus' knickers in a twist in short order.

So can we please stop saying that the Right won because people voted for moral values? People who vote in FAVOR of attacking other nations without provocation, of raining death and destruction down on innocent civilians in the name of some larger cause, these people are declared to be the "values" voters? Because Jesus is more worked up about Janet Jackson's breast than the other body parts strewn obscenely across sidewalks, walls and intersections in Fallujah, right? Look, three things: They didn't really win; they don't really have moral values; and, most importantly (from a schadenfreude aspect), they're gonna be so surprised on the Big Day to find out that "King's X" is a man-made technicality that isn't binding on GOD, who has this sorta x-ray-vision-into-your-soul kinda thing that lets him see if you REALLY loved your neighbor as yourself and didn't cherish his wife's ass (or however it goes) and followed the golden rule. And if the Democrats want to "find religion" in order to find themselves, may I suggest that they become the "temple-toss" party, the one that goes on a crusade to toss the real evildoers out of the temples - of businesses, government, society - and to hold them accountable.

Oh, and the Republican Convention, as I recall now, was called the "Unmitigated Gall" something-or-other. Anyway, WWJS? He'd say "Don't carry my banner; adopt my manner."

Friday, September 03, 2004

If a head of a household squandered the family savings, ran up a huge debt, got in disputes with other residents all over town and lost their support, then failed to provide for the family's basic needs for health care and homeland security and school and a future career, no one would dream of suggesting that he had any right at all to be making the decisions for that family. Why is it okay for him to make the decisions for a whole country and, that country being who it is, the whole world? This isn't kindergarten and we didn't take little Georgie to raise or try to keep out of trouble. Sure, with a tot, you'd try to keep them at something and let them learn from their own mistakes, if the stakes were really low. But W isn't a tot, we don't let CEOs keep their jobs in this country when the company's going deep into the red with only the loss of international good will to show for it. Only rigged voting machines can help him now, or the same mindless, fearful blind faith in an obviously unsuitable leader that made other governments and groups in history take such deep dives. Oh tell me we won't have to endure W's stepping into line in history behind that band of little caesars with many more chapters to be endured in this international nightmare.

I'm thinking about how the candidates concentrate almost exclusively on "swing states" for their television advertising, etc., but I'm not sure this is a good idea. If the rest of us in the country -- many of whom are less "for" Kerry than "against" Bush -- if our ennui with Kerry becomes any greater, we'll be creating a massive, collective national mood that will taint the decision making process for the "swingers" - who, as so many have pointed out, are either a pretty shallow and uninvolved lot or they're head-in-the-sanders. Kerry needs to seriously work on building a national sense of emotion to his candidacy, a reason to champion him BESIDES that he was valiant, like the guy in Cold Mountain, and tender without being a wimp when he was a young man with dreams of PT109 in his head.

C'mon, Kerry, show us you REALLY have cojones -- say you'll seriously make bringing the troops home your highest priority, that it's time for the rich to stop siphoning out the public trough (we're not your insurance policy for bad bad self-interested or dubious business decisions, you S+Ls just for starters), that citizens' rights are to be honored above corporate rights, the latter being merely businesses, not humans, and that people don't commit to each other in their hearts based on what happens to be the law or the threat in their particular society in the particular era in which they happen to live. Rather, life has ways of alerting folks throughout their lives to the facts of who matters to them and who doesn't and it's a choice that, being so full of spirit, often seems to have a life of its own; it's a disrepecter of gender, race, age, economic profile and rate of variance from the norm in terms of "conventional" physical attractiveness.

Oh, and Guiliani and Arnold.... playing Pavlov's dogs to their own bell-ringing egos. If Arnold is the best they can do up against our Obama.... oh mama! ("I had to pose in a bikini and win big titles to get over my feelings of being a 'girly man' - do you think Nixon was a 'breath of fresh air' too? Tell me you don't see the vunderfuhl symbolism of my getting to fuck a Kennedy whenever I want and make a mockery of women/love/marriage throughout decades of my acting career and still be the guy the public votes to put in charge of their and their loved ones' futures in California.) It doesn't occur to him that one of his larger voting blocs was the "politics is a freak show anyway, let's make that message clear by voting for Ahhnold" contingent.

Dear Wisdoms of the Universe, if Bush gets re-elected, that sets up a viciously self-absorbed weight-lifter/actor from Austria to have a more spectacular political career than Obama.... doesn't it? I was afraid of that. That can't really happen, can it? One car accident for Obama and I'm gonna fall into the slough of despond for sure. I'd never know if he'd been killed, I'll never know about Wellstone. Obama really has it, though - he'll still have a brilliant career even if the Repugs are in office, just maybe a different sort of career. Well, depending on how long I live, it could be an interesting thing to observe.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Oh, I fear, I fear that this hostage thing in Iraq, especially if it results in televised live burnings and mutilations of hostages, could be the excuse this administration and military want to use nuclear weapons. Naw, you can't do that to an area where you're putting military bases. And we'd REALLY have people taking to the streets in that case. More later, now I'm less fretful.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Where are the political cartoons of Bush/Cheney being interviewed before the nine eleven committee.... the ones with Bush on Cheney's lap, the latter's hand up the former's bum? Where are those cartoons? I've had a bad chest cold, maybe I'm just out of the loop. More later.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Kerry's attack on the democratically-elected Chavez of Venezuela makes me consider voting for Nader. Of course I can't. But I won't be giving Kerry additional money this year (I've given to Dean, Edwards and Kerry, in that order; now I'll just keep giving to MoveOn and BuzzFlash, etc.) This easing-back-to-the-right thing of his is making me sick in my gut and my heart. ~

A greater threat to America than terrorism is Lies. That we can be fed lies and distortions and not hold the responsible parties accountable for them is evidence that we are not the same people who rode through the night screaming "the British are coming." No, that mantle has most publicly and definitively passed to the Spanish people, whose votes at the polls said "what part of the '90% of the Spanish people are against joining Bush's Coalition of the Willing' didn't you understand?" ~

Why didn't we have this 9/11 panel right AFTER 9/11? Weren't we concerned that it could happen again? Wouldn't it behoove us to figure out why, and to fire or retrain, at least, those responsible for the failure to predict and guard against such threats? Shouldn't we have a HUGE public discussion about what causes terrorism and what the best responses are, rather than, as Congress did, just abdicate all our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities and give the decision to a borderline non-verbal "C student from Yale" (as Kurt Vonnegut put it) who never took a trip out of the country prior to running for president, and proudly proclaimed that he doesn't read a newspaper? Gee, no wonder people in countries where more than 10% of the populations elect their leaders look at Americans as though they have green snakes growing out of their heads.

I have to figure that most of us must have had our heads stuck in the sand... just never ever thought it could happen here, and were so shocked when the towers fell that it left us numb to the idea that a loss of our civil rights is a loss of the principal things every soldier who ever died, died for. Maybe it's because I get my news from the internet and married a European and visit over there at least once a year that it was no surprise to me when 9/11 happened. My first thought was "oh, so this is how it's gonna go down," accompanied by an immense sense of shared anguish for those in harm's way. I wanted to be in NYC so badly I had to stop myself going to my car. I feel a personal attachment to NYC, I have so darn many memories there with so many family members and friends and nice or interesting strangers and a few celebrities. And like everyone else who loves New York, I have relationships with lots of buildings, and that included the World Trade Towers (and especially the observation deck and the Windows on the World restaurant) along with the skyline in general, now bearing that visible absence like a missing limb.

We handled that, we awakened to the risk, but our leaders didn't. We need to know WHY they didn't and what they propose to do about it. And we CAN handle the truth. But it goes beyond that. We CAN'T handle the lies; they will destroy our constitution and the foundations of our entire republic if we don't find a way to uncover and PUNISH the lies. It's time for all kinds of accountability in this country of ours.

More later.