Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Floppy Disk

I recently came across a box containing several unused 3.5 inch floppy disks, the old 1.44MB standard that began to disappear in the 90s. There was a time when I would not own a PC unless it had a 3.5 inch floppy drive and I recalled how much better they were than the old 8 and 5.25 inch disks.

I left them in the box at my workbench. I'll come back in 20 years and sell them on EBay.

Monday, December 28, 2009

from Sylvia Plath

"I love him to hell and back and heaven and back, and have and do and will." –Sylvia Plath, poet, writer (1932-1963)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Machines of Loving Grace

"All Watched over by Machines of Loving Grace"

title from Richard Brautigan

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Murder at Midnight

Forty years ago, two American MPs, Eugene Cox and James Workman, died in the Ivory Tower, a downtown Saigon bar, and the embers of anger and resentment still burn today.

Read the story at the link below.

Murder at Midnight


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Price of Service

In light of the shootings at Fort Hood today, it is time for America to realize the price its sons and daughters in the Armed Forces are paying for the constant deployment to combat zones. There are not enough people to go around, and plenty of young lives have been lost and new military families have seen their futures ruined. It is not just the regular forces, but the National Guard and Reserves get combat assignment after combat assignment.

Time to end it all or start the Draft again and make a commitment to finishing the struggle, or to finally say we don't want to go on with the war. The lies and deceit have gone on long enough. What would America say to constant war then, if it meant full mobilization and the drafting of its youth to serve in combat? Would they say yes to years of conflict or would they say end it now.

It seems to be a question with a great unknown answer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Love the Flag

It seems like the less a statesman amounts to the more he adores the flag. -Kin Hubbard, humorist (1868-1930)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dodgers Clinch the Division

(This poem is dedicated to Vin Scully who, during the division-clinching broadcast said, "Hong Chih Kuo throws hard don't you know.")

Dodgers Clinch the Division

Hong Chih Kuo
throws hard
don't you know,
but Chavez Ravine
is no Big Blue Machine,
Dodgers get strikeouts
and surfers
get wipeouts,
summer is over
and Torre can glower
at a defense now porous
and an offense
that's dolorous
while the boo-birds
sing the chorus,
5 losses a stench
hope 's riding
the bench,
no time to be cocky,
a Colorado Rocky
waits at the plate
to seal the fate
of Dodger blue
that has bled
on the diamond,
it's said.

A season unraveled,
Manny's dreadlocked
in battle
with a bat that
seems addled,
time for the death-knell
to rattle
when all of
a sudden
a wild seventh inning
sends my head spinning,
thunder is thudding
and balls are
now scudding
down lines and in alleys,
lightning cracks
in the valley
as the Dodgers
now rally.

Hope has returned
and the blackness now burns,
the crowd is aroaring,
the stadium soaring,
a singular vision,
Dodgers clinch
the division.

Laudizen King - October 3, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Marek Edelman

Today I honor the memory of Marek Edelman, the last living leader of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt against the Nazis in World War II, who recently passed away in Poland. He showed courage and honor in the face of unimaginable horror and cruelty, and I wonder how he felt about the rising tide of anti-semitism in Poland, Europe, and the world at the time of his death.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The 'New' Ocean House

Thanks to photographer Dick Jenkins, I have added a photo of the new 'Grand Lady' to my story about the Ocean House, the iconic hotel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The Ocean House, which is nearing completion, is being rebuilt as a luxury hotel and residence. Growing up in Connecticut, our favorite beach destination was always the area around Watch Hill and Misquamicut Beach. To read the story and see the photo, follow the link below.

The Ocean House


Hidden Springs Cafe

One of the great old jewels of the San Gabriel Mountains in California, the Hidden Springs Cafe, burned down as a result of the terrible Station Fire that swept the mountains recently (as of today the Station Fire is still burning in remote rugged canyon areas). It was a funky little family spot on the Angeles Forest Highway in Palmdale, and we would stop by for a cheeseburger and a soda when we found ourselves cruising the mountain roads. They had a funky and friendly cat named Pearl who greeted everyone in the same loving and trusting way for many years. Below is a link to some pictures (including a photo of Pearl) and links that will allow you to make a donation if you so desire.

Hidden Springs Cafe


Guerrilla Drummer

I was recently watching some footage of Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones, as he plied his trade on that old basic drum set. It reminded me of a description I once heard about the Viet Cong, the guerrilla fighters from the Vietnam War who were so adept at doing so much with so little. It was said the Viet Cong could do more damage with one round than an American could with 100 rounds. What a sound Charlie has, the true engine of the band, he provides such a solid and powerful foundation out of a drum style that features such an economy of motion.

Not flashy enough for those that value vaudeville and large gaudy drum sets over talent and substance.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remembering the Ocean House

This Labor Day, I recalled attending a special end of the summer-season party back in 1973; it was held at the famous "Grand Lady", the iconic Ocean House hotel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Growing up in Connecticut, our favorite beach destination was always the area around Watch Hill and Misquamicut Beach. Those were special times. To read the story, follow the link below.

The Ocean House


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Freedom of Speech

I was looking at the painting 'Freedom of Speech' by Norman Rockwell today, and contrasting it with the meanness and bile so evident in the town hall meetings and the debates over health care, where shouting and hysterical threats seemed to rule the day. What a sad commentary on what some have become.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Manchurian Candidate

In the 1962 political thriller, the film 'The Manchurian Candidate', James Gregory gave a brilliant performance when he played the Senator and hate-monger John Yerkes Iselin, husband to the evil Angela Lansbury. I was watching and listening to it this morning in Los Angeles as I worked at my desk at home, and it really struck me how timely it is in regards to the political climate of the day. There is one scene where Senator Iselin's head appears on the TV as he is railing about the treason of his political opponents and threatening impeachment and trials. It struck me how much he looked and sounded like Bill O'Reilly of Fox News. Same condescending look, same frightening sound, same hysteria-driven message.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Maizie, a dog lover's story

To read the story of Maizie, follow the link below.



Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vincent Bugliosi on George W. Bush

The following excerpts are from an interview with Vincent Bugliosi by Patt Morrison and appeared in the Los Angeles Times on August 8, 2009

"The Betrayal of America," attacking the 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the disputed 2000 presidential election -- not at first blush a case for a criminal prosecutor. I'm not a political activist. But whenever something is so egregious, I jump in. Even many Republican scholars [said], "The court should be ashamed of itself; we've lost respect for the court." And I kept saying, "That's all? You lost respect?" These five [justices] are among the biggest criminals in American history. How dare these people have the audacity to do what they did? I think I made my case pretty well that these people deliberately tried to steal the election.

And now your latest book, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," published in May, makes a murder case against Bush for waging war unnecessarily and shows how he could be prosecuted for it.
Bush [told] unsuspecting Americans the exact opposite of what his own federal intelligence agencies told him. What could be more criminal than the Bush administration keeping the all-important conclusion from Congress and the American people, with the lives of millions in the balance?

Every day, I think of those people in their graves now -- no one is fighting for them. You can see that I'm upset. I don't like to see anyone get away with murder. O.J. Simpson got away with two, and I wrote the book "Outrage." If I can get that angry over one or two murders, you can imagine the way I feel about Bush.

Some people must have said, "Bugliosi's gone off the deep end on this one."
Jerry Brown called me: "I understand you have a book out about Bush, about impeachment," and I said, "No, Jerry, it's about murder."

My first challenge was to see if a president taking the nation to war on a lie fell within the conventional principles of criminal law, and I've come up with very solid evidence that it does. There are many sophisticated issues, but here's the main issue. I've established jurisdiction, federal and local. If a prosecutor could prove that Bush took this nation to war under false pretenses, then these killings of American soldiers in Iraq would become unlawful and therefore murder.

Sonia Sotomayor - what nobody said

Sonia Sotomayor is now a Justice of the Supreme Court. It was disheartening to see how she was vilified by the right for being, by all serious accounts, a center of the road and moderate jurist. When John Roberts deflected probing questions during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee he was praised for displaying a 'judicial temperament'; Sotomayor was criticized for being secretive and dismissive. What really got me, though, was the way they rolled out the fireman from New Haven, Ricci, like he was a smoking gun. First of all, no matter how you feel about the issue, the entire Supreme Court overruled by a scant 5-4 so there seems to be plenty of play in both the issues and the underpinning of the law.

What about the Chief Justice John Roberts, does he legislate from the bench, you bet he does. As Jeffery Toobin noted in the 'New Yorker', "After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Pyrite Literary Review

The submission guidelines and requirements of the Pyrite Literary Review for inclusion and publication in their magazine and ezine mirror the state of the written word in America today.

Please read the information located at the link below before submiiting any original unsolicited work.

The Pyrite Literary Review


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Grilled Cheese and Tomato

We are enjoying our first ripe tomatoes from the plant on our deck here in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, and to us that means grilled cheese sandwiches on Oatnut bread, thick with Boar's Head sliced white American cheese surrounding slices of ripe tomato.

Life is good.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a wise Latina woman and a wise Anglo woman

Two wise women have a meeting of the minds in California.

Sonia Sotomayor said "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Here in California, my wife recently came to paraphrase those words while discussing the legislature in Sacramento and its failure to handle the California budget crisis.

Said Shirley, "I would hope that a wise Anglo woman with the richness of her experience would tell them all to go f**k themselves."

Ah, the politics of change.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Southern Sequoia National Forest

Below are links that display two images from the Southern Sequoia National Forest in California.

The first image is taken from the Western Divide Highway looking southeast back in the general direction of Lake Isabella.

Above the Kern River

The second is of the Needles rock formation.

The Needles

Ron Artest

I, for one, do not see Ron Artest fitting in with the Los Angeles Lakers. I see him more in the role of a Terrell Owens, talented but hard to stomach and endure. I hope I'm wrong.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Woodstock Redux, the worst it has ever been

The wife and I were reading in bed the other night and when she turned out her light I decided to watch some TV. One of the VH1 channels was showing the old movie ‘Woodstock’, so I decided to spend a few moments and see if I could catch any of the old acts that had my attention back then. It is hard to fathom the degree of disregard that a channel like that can foist onto a paying cable audience. First of all they did not show it in letterbox. If you remember, that movie often has 2 or 3 frames of active images going at any one time during the film so the whole presentation is degraded and continuity does not exist. Especially when they had 2 frames going, you saw the line in the middle and half of 2 sets of images. Really disgusting and annoying. And to top it off were the constant commercials. Almost 4 minutes of commercials would buy you 9 to 13 minutes of movie time. What nerve! I quickly left VH1 for a movie channel.

I know just the payback these idiot execs deserve; they should be publicly shackled into the stocks and forced to watch their own content for hours on end until they scream for mercy, and then they get more. Perhaps then they would care about the shit they disseminate on the airways and the rudeness and disregard they show to the hapless consumer.

The 48 peaks over 4000' in New Hampshire

We seem to be a country of ‘lists’ and that trend made its way to the hiking community of the northeast as well. The White Mountains of New Hampshire have 48 peaks above 4000’ of elevation as compiled by the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Four Thousand Footer Committee (FTFC), a group formed in 1957 to establish the official criteria and maintain the list of peaks. In addition to the 4000’ of elevation requirement, each official peak must be at least 200’ above the low point of a connecting ridge leading to a higher neighbor. A hiker must climb all the peaks on the official list to request membership in the ‘club’. There are many other lists and clubs associated with the mountains of the northeast: the New England 4000 footers and the Northeast 111 to name two. The Northeast 111 includes the 4000 foot peaks of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, as well as the 46 peaks over 4000’ in the Adirondacks and the 2 peaks over 4000’ in the Catskills (there are 115 peaks in this list but they have kept the original name). There are also those clubs that, by the very nature of their lists, will always have just a few select members. There is the 4000 footer grid club, whose members have climbed all 48 four thousand foot peaks once in each month of the year (a total of 576 climbs), and there is the 48 in 1 winter club, where membership is gained by climbing all 48 four thousand foot peaks in one winter season.

My personal history of hiking in New Hampshire covered eighteen years, from 1972 through 1990, and it took me the first fifteen of those years to climb all of the 48 peaks over 4000’ in the White Mountains. The summits vary greatly both in elevation and terrain; the lowest peak is the wooded summit of Mt Tecumseh at 4002' and the highest point is the rocky summit cone of Mt Washington at 6288', a place famous for the highest wind ever recorded and home to the world's worst weather. When my days of hiking in the White Mountains were over, Mt Moosilauke stood as the one 4000’ summit most visited by me, having climbed that peak 20 times.

So begins my personal history with the 48 peaks over 4000'in New Hampshire. To read the complete story, follow the link below.

The 48 Summits


Friday, June 19, 2009

Kobe Bryant

With the Lakers winning the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles media has been awash with coverage of victory celebrations and interviews with the team's stars. One thing I haven't heard that seems so evident to me is this: the Olympics made Kobe a better player and a better person.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Visited with Richard Brautigan this Morning

I Visited with Richard Brautigan this Morning

Read the poem at the link below.



Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Sheltering Sky

The Sheltering Sky The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Paul Bowles was a writer, composer, traveler, translator, icon, historical figure, friend and destination to many around the world. I had just finished reading “The Sheltering Sky” several years ago, and my paperback showed many turned-over corners that I used to mark interesting passages or prose. On everyone’s list of the 100 Greatest English Novels, it is an engaging and hypnotizing view of the edge of civilization in North Africa, set in the period just after World War II, as seen through the eyes of a world-weary and disenchanted American couple and their friend. That period in Europe and North Africa following World War II is such fertile ground for expression; the post-war despair amid the growing tide of nihilism in regards to all things human, that is rich soil to plant a seed in. There is the life we know, and the life out there in the desert, just beyond our horizon and experience, the one in which all things are possible. As for the life out there, (in which we may find the meaning of ourselves, or in which we may lose everything), that life awaits us if we seek it. As for the life we know, that is moving inexorably to its end, along with us and our possibilities.

“How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Paul Bowles

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jay Leno

Jay Leno is a class act. He called his successor on the Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien, a "very decent guy". Theses days in Holloywood, that is about the highest complement a person can receive. Good luck to both of them.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Republican Party

It is almost fun to watch the Republican Party these days. They are filled with such vitriol and hate that they want America itself to fail because someone they despise is at the controls. Filled with such hate, they consume themselves and reveal to all what they really are.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vietnam Memorial Wall

Below is a link to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Take the time and remember a fallen soldier, be it an old friend or family member, this Memorial Day Weekend.

Vietnam Memorial Wall


Friday, May 22, 2009

Charles Barkley, Old School

Has anyone else noticed that in the Basketball commercial with Charles Barkley, Doctor J, and Magic Johnson, the "Old School" commercial, that ESPN shows an edited version that doesn't have Doctor J's rounded ass sticking out of his long johns. TBS shows the original.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rock-Hard Lesson

RC Herman, noted 2-wheel tour director and global motorcycle aficionado has published another great motorcycle story, along with photos, on the 2 Wheel Muse. Fatigue and a subsequent momentary loss of concentration almost results in an ominous ending.

Check out the story at the link below.

Rock-Hard Lesson


The Book Carriage and Coffee Shop

Laudizen sends out a big tip of my hat to Larry and Angie Granados of Roanoke, Texas, owners of the Book Carriage and Coffee Shop, because of their support for my book, Signposts and Junctions.

Visit their site at the link below.

The Book Carriage and Coffee Shop

For information about my book, follow the link below.

Signposts and Junctions


The Preakness and Rachel Alexandra

I was remembering my father yesterday as my wife and I watched the Preakness Stakes and saw the great filly, Rachel Alexandra, win against the boys. My dad always loved the horses, and he would have loved to have seen that beautiful animal win.

I guess that I appreciated that win for my Dad, and felt his absence in doing so.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Signposts and Junctions

I am pleased to announce that a collection of my memoirs and travels, 'Signposts and Junctions', is now available for sale in print. Follow the link below for a description of the book, to view the cover, and to make a purchase

Signposts and Junctions

Thank you, Laudizen

Summer '08 and Spring '09 in Georgia

Elaine Morris of Dacula, Georgia has written a fine story about motorcycling in the South. Follow the link below to join the grandmother as she celebrates tattoos, her granddaughter, and the 2 wheel life in the South.

The story appears on the 2 wheel muse website at ''

Summer '08 and Spring '09 in Georgia


Saturday, April 25, 2009

In the Whale-Lines

All men live enveloped in the whale-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life.

Moby Dick
Herman Melville

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The New Orange Juice

There is a new orange juice being advertised today. A female actress dances around the room singing with wooden spoons as microphones and doing splits on the floor. Why? The new OJ has 50 percent less sugar.

It is only 42 percent juice.

Memo to wife: let's get the 100 percent OJ and you can pour water into your glass and dilute yours by half.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Diminish your wants

There are two ways of being happy: We may either diminish our wants or augment our means - either will do - the result in the same; and it is for each man to decide for himself, and do that which happens to be the easiest. If you are idle or sick or poor, however hard it may be to diminish your wants, it will be harder to augment your means. If you are active and prosperous or young and in good health, it may be easier for you to augment your means than to diminish your wants. But if you are wise, you will do both at the same time, young or old, rich or poor, sick or well; and if you are very wise you will do both in such a way as to augment the general happiness of society. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)

Death Valley - Latest Images

Death Valley is such a beautiful and rugged place, my wife and I never tire of it. In addition to publishing a recent story, I thought I would include three links to my latest large format images, including two taken at dusk.

Here is the pass on rte 190 between the Panamint Valley and Death Valley.

Townes Pass - Death Valley

This is a beautiful image taken with very little light. Telescope Peak is the highest point in Death Valley.

Telescope Peak at Dusk

If you have not been there you can not appreciate the distance and scope of the land in this image.

Death Valley at Dusk from Beatty Cutoff


Friday, April 3, 2009

Death Valley Wind

Death Valley remains one of my favorite destinations in the West. Here is a story about my first trip there, a memorable one in several ways.

Death Valley Wind


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Linda Kilcrease and AIG

Linda Kilcrease was my manager when we worked together at AIG in the late 1980s in New Hampshire. In the early 1990s, she testified before Congress about the outsourcing of IT jobs by AIG management, and of the dangers laying in wait for the American middle-class. She was way ahead of her time, since many of the benefits of eliminating jobs in the US just went into the obscene bonuses reaped by the AIG corporate henchmen.

Linda Kilcrease, I remember you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds. -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Right America: Feeling Wronged

I'm watching this film and, after 8 years of Bush and Cheney, it is hard to stomach the vile rhetoric and falsehoods that masquerade for patriotism in this underhanded assault at anything centric in America. Oh the vile left-wing media, keep saying it, somewhere poorly educated people believe it. What is Fox, the paragon of honor and virtue? What a gauntlet they present to pure and even presentation of the news. That will be the day. How quickly they forget what the Republican Party did to McCain in 2000, to one of their honored own, a war hero.

This film even has Arnold in it, and what a mess he has made out of California.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Jonas Brothers

I am looking at an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times for the new Jonas Brothers 3-D movie. The central image of the ad features the 3 brothers close on stage. The singer holds the mike ala Rod Stewart. To the right on the image is a guitar playing Jonas brother, curly hair, head back, caught stepping out in a moment of musical joy Angus Young-like. To the left of the image is another guitar playing Jonas brother, head farther back, legs spread, caught in a moment of pure Rock and Roll orgasm.

Underneath the image is the Walt Disney logo.

If only the logo police or reality enforcers could come and beat the tar and snot out of these three posers and usurpers for what they are so desperately trying to do: achieve legitimacy on the back of all of those that have come before, even though they profess to disagree with the stereotype. What a charade.

I condemn the American Idol mentality that makes this type of nothing band so trendy and current, and the Jonas Brothers themselves for being hollow shells of something they know not, only the management company knows for sure.

From archetype to cliche.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


How embarrassing and empty is TMZ? Its nice of Fox to prop it up in the evening between the 'Simpsons' and 'Malcolm in the Middle'. What is it with the host, Harvey Levin, writing notes in grease pencil on the plexi-glass as if he is Charlie Watts jotting down the set list of the Stones for the eager road crew? What a shallow vehicle.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The World is in alignment here in Little Tokyo

My wife went out for a walk today; it was a sunny afternoon in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. When she came back she told me, "The boys are out in force today, sitting around on the benches and ogling and hitting on the girls."

Thank our lucky stars! The World is alignment here in Little Tokyo.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shut up, you Teutonic Twat

In honor of Mel Brooks, and the 35th anniversary of 'Blazing Saddles'

Who knows for Certain

Only the madman is absolutely sure. -Robert Anton Wilson, novelist (1932-2007)

The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop

The story below is one of those only-in-America stories. A guy in Maine starts a topless coffee shop, including a topless waiter for the ladies, in an attempt to make it in a tough economic climate and 'backwoods' area.

The name of the woman who spoke out opposed to the shop: Paula Furbush

A furbush being anti-topless?

You can't make this stuff up.

The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, a topless cafe in Maine, gives neighbors the jitters

By Rich Schapiro

Thursday, February 26th 2009, 10:35 PM

At this coffee shop in central Maine, the cups runneth over - and not just with coffee.

The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop has opened for business in the tiny town of Vassalboro, offering cups of Joe, donuts and quite a view.

Half-naked waitresses and a bare-chested waiter serve up the morning treats. Rules are strict: there's no touching and only adults are allowed into the log-cabin style shop.

Dozens of residents protested its opening last month, but town officials said they could do nothing to stop owner Donald Crabtree.

"I've lived here 47 years, and we've never had anything like this before," said Paula Furbush, 47, a massage therapist. Customers have been streaming into the shop this week despite a snowstorm.

"It adds a new spice to around here that we desperately need," said Jason Bibeau, 27. "We're backwoods people. We need some entertainment."


It seems like the less a statesman amounts to the more he adores the flag. -Kin Hubbard, humorist (1868-1930)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Octo-Mom, Nadya Suleman

Octo-Mom, Nadya Suleman, is still making waves in the Los Angeles media every day since the birth of her octuplets. TMZ has reported that she has been offered a million dollars to do a porno. There are phone calls and rumors surrounding secret conferences with Dr Phil. And the true cost of her ill-planned adventure is just coming into focus.

She lives on public assistance, already has six young kids (three of them apparently have developmental issues), and the odds are not good for the new young 8. She lives with her mother and the mother's house is in danger of foreclosure.

Legally, one has to wonder about her basic intellectual stability. And the doctor who was a party to this IVF charade should, at the very least, face legal penalties (perhaps incarceration) and be held in some way financially liable.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rush in Modesto

I come back to Modesto, California after a long absence and find the editorial page of the Bee dominated by comments about Rush Limbaugh. I wonder if this is how the Bee deals with the real problems of the day, how it wants to direct thought and opinion. It is particularly sad, seeing that what is now going on in the States and in the world calls for less of a demonic voice than what passes for wisdom from the oracle of the Right. Angry old white men; I don't see much difference between Rush and the madrassas of Pakistan except that the god is different. The same hate and vitriol spewed out against all who do not think in lock-step with the oracle. There is no room for individual thought or critical thinking, and no respect for consensus, for the vision of the center, or for commonality of thought and desire as it applies to civilization as a whole.

What and where is Modesto, and what does it stand for? These tough economic times are certainly going to hold up a mirror to the heart and soul of this Valley community, to us as individuals, and to the Modesto Bee.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I love him to hell and back...

I love him to hell and back and heaven and back, and have and do and will. –Sylvia Plath, poet, writer (1932-1963)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the Sabbath

Some keep the Sabbath going to church, I keep it staying at home, with a bobolink for a chorister, and an orchard for a dome. -Emily Dickinson, poet (1830-1886)


I scrub the long floorboards in the kitchen, repeating the motions of other women who have lived in this house. And when I find a long gray hair floating in the pail, I feel my life added to theirs. -Jane Kenyon, poet (1947-1995)


The blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it. –Sylvia Plath, poet, writer (1932-1963)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book Banning in Newman, California

The celebrated book "Bless Me, Ultima" by Rodolfo Anaya, has been removed from the sophmore selected reading list at Orestimba High School in Newman, Stanislaus County, California. The book, on Laura Bush's "must-read list" and a literature selection for this years high school Academic Decathlon, has been removed from the required reading list after a parent complained that the book was sexually explicit and anti-Catholic. Rick Fauss, Supt. of Schools, said the book contained "excessive vulgarity or profanity" and the school board voted 4 to 1 to remove the coming-of-age novel from the reading list.

The only thing that should be removed is Rick Fauss himself for the total abrogation of his duty and responsibility. What a role model he turns out to be.

A parent complained. Well, let us reduce the community to the lowest common denominator by insuring we abuse the rights of all to cater to an ignorant few.

Anti-Catholic? Has anyone taken a close look lately. The church seems to be more like a cult of uncles who cannot be left alone with children; why shouldn't some stones be thrown at them. Let alone the whole anti-Semetic side of the church that has recently been revealed in the holocaust denial controversy.

I also wonder if the dark secret of this controversy lies in the fact that this is a Latino coming-of-age story, and would be treated differently if it was about a freckled red-headed Opie finding his way to adulthood.

Keeping important books out of the schools is a terrible thing. We should remember the words and thought of one of America's greatest writers.

"The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book." -Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)

Shame on you, Newman.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I am Large

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. -Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)

Favorite Repast

For some reason my thoughts drift towards the enjoyment of a meal down at the shore.

My favorite repast is:

A Bombay Sapphire Martini, dry, up, twist
A club soda back
A cup of clam chowder, New England style, with oyster crackers
Two dozen small raw oysters, opened correctly so they sit in their briny liquid
A glass of Sauvignon Blanc
A French Baguette and butter

It doesn't get any better than that, especially if enjoyed with my wife at a cafe by the side of the ocean.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Republican Stimulus Package - Part 2

John McCain told us that the Republicans are going to come up with their own stimulus package. Soon.

Oh, really. Gee, don't you think they should?

Perhaps Mike Huckabee or Pat Robertson could help America in some basic way, but I don't think that a crusade against gay marriage is what the country needs right now.

They could always make a name for themselves by carping continuously about the money that the Democrats want to spend.

But if they do, people might want to know about the massive amounts of cash that the Republican Administration spent on illegal wars, on torture, or in propping up foreign governments. Better yet, how about the money that they pumped into the VP's old corporation.

What a bunch of self-serving and empty shells these people are: old, angry, white Christian men.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sarah Palin Studies

Sarah is in an advanced course of study. She is attempting to raise her public speaking abilities from the level of inane blather to an advanced endless prattle.

Republican Stimulus Package

Republican Party Ideas to Stimulate and Invigorate the Country


Teach Creationism

Gay Marriage Bans

Attack on Science


Ban Stem-Cell Research

More Sarah Palin Prattle


Eliminate the Wilderness

Eliminate Wilderness Advocates

Speak loud and long about despising government while trying to get elected

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Pope and Anti-Semitism

Pope Welcomes Anti-Semitic Bishops Back To The Fold

I watched a Catholic journalist respond to this development on the TV news tonight on NPR, about the Pope welcoming back into the fold the Bishops that denied the Holocaust. The journalist said he felt that the Pontiff and the Vatican were surprised by the negative reaction to the Pope's actions, and that the Pontiff was not aware of many of the quotes associated with the most militant Bishop.

Lies, all lies.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

on the day after the inauguration

O Captain! my Captain!
Our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack,
The prize we sought is won. -Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)

with warm wishes for Barack Obama on his inauguration as President

On approaching danger

One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. –Winston Churchill, British statesman (1874-1965)

On giving in to war.....

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. –Winston Churchill, British statesman (1874-1965)

Patriotism vs Nationalism

Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest", but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is. -Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Very Scary

The other morning I enjoyed a pre-work interview with Sarah Palin on the ‘Today’ show. Always ready to interview someone over the latest Columbine or Casey Anthony type-tragedy, this morning it was Palin. When Sarah said that the media coverage of her was ‘very scary’, it turned my good cup of morning coffee bad.

She is promoting a DVD made by John Ziegler, a conservative talk show host turned filmmaker, called ‘Media Malpractice: How Obama got Elected’. The purpose of this work of art is to educate everyone about how the liberal media assassinated her character and savaged her and her family.

She uses examples like the Katie Couric interview. Let’s face it, she didn’t do a good job answering the questions posed to her, especially about what she read, and now it seems she misunderstood the question anyway. I’m glad she has an answer now, several months on. How astute.

Palin wonders if Caroline Kennedy's quest for the Senate "will be handled with kid gloves," and if "we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here". I think there is a big difference between a senator from New York and being a Vice President to an old man, and Kennedy has been taking her lumps as well. Palin is not qualified to be the Vice President; if the people of Alaska want her to be Governor, then they can live with it.

As far as Tina Fey’s dead-on impersonation goes, Palin sure enjoyed the limelight when she had a chance to be in it, and she believed in the old adage “any publicity is good publicity”.

But Savaged? No one savages like a Republican. Just ask John McCain about the character assassination foisted on him by the Republicans in 2000. Savaged? How about enduring the slings and arrows of Bill O’Reilly, Hannity and Colmes, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, that gauntlet will give a person pause. Little problems like truth, honesty, and integrity never got in the way when that pack smelled blood.

When it comes to Sarah Palin, it is not the media coverage of her that is frightening, it is Sarah herself.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Virgin Parking Lot Construction Company

This is Chesterman Dullard, world-correspondent for the Mentone California Telegraph and Bee, here at the World Headquarters of the Virgin Parking Lot Construction Company in the little-Sunni section of Baghdad, where I have the honor of interviewing Nassir Assassan, founder and chief operating officer of the Virgin Parking Lot Construction Company, the small minority-owned business that is the talk of the town.

CD: Mr Assassan, can you tell us about the genesis of your operation, the inspiration that led to the creation of the Virgin Parking Lot Construction Company.

NA: What with the closing of so many Islamic-charities, I felt I must do something for my people, something to give our children hope for the future. Creating parking lots out of unused pieces of ground seemed an untapped opportunity.

CD: A noble cause to be sure. Tell us about your workforce and the skills you need to succeed in your business.

NA: First, I must clear the lot. For that, I need men with a slight-build for tree removal. By wearing a small suicide-vest, they can wrap their arms around a tree and effectively remove it from existence, quickly and economically.

CD: How much does that job pay?

NA: Nothing. You are rewarded in heaven with virgins that will service you for all eternity in celebration of your tree-martyrdom.

CD: What other skill-sets are required.

NA: I need big men for large rock removal. For this, I have devised a specially constructed suicide-trouser. A big man needs to but sit on the rock and salaam, the rock is gone.

CD: And the pay-rate for this stone removal?

NA: Again, nothing. You are rewarded in heaven with virgins to service you for all eternity in celebration of your rock-martyrdom.

CD: Do you have any other staffing needs?

NA: Yes. At the present time I am searching for good god-fearing females, for women who wear the burqa.

CD: And what task will they perform?

NA: They will do the final grading on the site. For that, I have devised a small suicide-sandal that does an excellent job of smoothing the ground in preparation for paving. And the burqa keeps the dust down to a minimum during this process as well.

CD: What does that job pay?

NA: Nothing.

CD: Are the women feted by virgins for all eternity in celebration of their martyrdom as the men are?

NA: No.

CD: That doesn’t seem fair to me.

NA: They are but women, it matters not.

CD: Do any family members work for the firm?

NA: No, they live in Miami.

CD: Is it hard to keep good workers on the payroll?

NA: Not really. Every few months we stage a loud demonstration and complain about the Jewish rocks and trees that are infecting the land, and our hiring offices are soon overflowing with potential martyrs eager to win their way into heaven. Allah be praised.

CD: How is business?

NA: Booming.

CD: And the long-term outlook?

NA: Not bad. And I hear that there is a new start-up company in the little-Tehran section of the city that is going to come out with a state-of-the-art nuclear device that will quickly and completely prepare the lot for paving. When that happens, there can really be progress.

CD: Allah be praised indeed.

The Power of Laughter

I would only believe in a god who could dance. And when I saw my devil I found him serious, thorough, profound, and solemn: it was the spirit of gravity, through him all things fall. Not by wrath does one kill but by laughter. Come, let us kill the spirit of gravity!

-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)