Friday, August 31, 2007

Summer's End

Yes, today begins the Labor Day Weekend, which is considered by many to be the “end” of the summer season. Well, what with global warming, kids back in school and most tourists gone next week, we have a few more weeks of the ocean and beaches all to ourselves. We have to get through three-more-days!

Living in a resort town we locals plan our daily schedules around the hours most likely to be, as we say, tourist-heavy. Oh, it’s not that we don’t like having them around, (well, most of them, that is) it’s just that we need to continue our lives as well - - and that’s not something they usually take into consideration.

So, we shop and run errands at ungodly hours then disappear when they begin their day on roads or beaches.

Some shopping was necessary after work today and I dreaded it in advance. There was no need. Most tourists were still jamming the roads and the market parking lot was less than half full. I was in and out in less than a half hour. It is sometimes nice to expect the worse and then be surprised at how wrong you can be.

This weekend would also have marked an anniversary in my previous life, but tomorrow I am going to pick up a bottle of champagne and pop the cork to this new life on Monday evening.

In any event, the weather is glorious here this week – and weekend forecast calls for more of the same – with daytime temps in the 80s and in the 60s overnight. Could we ask for better?

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

More later.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Craig and Tearoom Trade

Very funny Op-Ed piece by David Ehrenstein in today's LA Times:

Gentle reader, by now you've probably read more than you ever nightmared you'd want to know about the latest Republican gay-sex scandal. The revelation that Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was caught allegedly trolling for sex in a Minnesota airport men's room in June comes on the heels of Florida state Rep. Robert Allen's July restroom arrest, making it reasonable to suspect that yet another GOP bathroom bust may burst forth by the time this Op-Ed article goes to press.

But barring further white-tiled tragedy, the all-too-obvious question remains, "What in the Sam Hill is going on here?" The answer rests on what can safely be described as bipartisan grounds.

To get there, let's climb into the Wayback Machine and return to Oct. 7, 1964. That's when Walter Jenkins, one of the most senior aides in President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, was arrested for soliciting sex in the men's room of a Washington YMCA. Being that it was three weeks before the election, LBJ suspected some kind of Republican foul play, but the GOP chose not to exploit the incident.

Read it all here.

More later.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Full Moon & Empty Heads

I am well aware that the “experts” pooh-pooh the idea that the full moon has any effect on human behavior, but that doesn’t mean they’re right. As anyone who has worked in any service industry (especially restaurants/bars) will tell you – there is a definite change in people during a full moon. I would even venture to add that these changes occur leading up to and immediately following the event. A waxing and waning, of emotions, if you will.

Monday was a strange day to interact with people here – mostly tourists – as they seemed to be at times incomprehensible and way too giddy. Drivers were more distracted than usual, and the idle chatter was at an all time high. When I finally left work I was completely worn out and drove home dodging a crazy bunch of impulse drivers who couldn’t maintain the speed limit (cell phones?) and who kept weaving from one lane to another, and usually cutting off the driver behind them…sometimes that driver was me.

Safely in the apartment and changed out of the drag of the day, I enjoyed cooking a light dinner as I sipped on a Martini and listened to a bit of music.

By the time I finished dinner and cleaned up the kitchen night had fallen and I decided to watch a video on the teevee. That’s when I first saw the enormous and beautiful full moon rising just outside my window. That’s when it hit me. It all fell into place. Thankfully I didn’t have to work yesterday, so I was home all day and spared any possible negative interaction, or accident.

Well, it’s just about over now. I shot the picture above this morning in town as the sun was rising and the moon as setting and wanted to post it as a reminder that the crazies had ample reason to rave.

More later.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"WE - ARE - NOT - OK"

Remembering New Orleans and the Gulf Coast on the eve of the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

In solidarity with the residents of NOLA who, today will be out to meet Bush with the flags flying upside down in the international sign of distress. Showing him that things are not OK in NOLA.

The image above from Suspect Device.

More later

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Challenges to Mind and Body

While the spirit is doing well in the healing department, the old Mind and Body aren't holding up so well lately. In an effort to bring home more money, oh say for things like rent, food, doctor bills, and the like, it's taking a toll on my arthritic hands and my worrying mind. I missed church last Sunday because I had to work. I know there's nothing I can do about the current situation and worrying isn't going to make anything better. I know that very well.

And now I'm dealing with a Summer cold and sore throat on top of the rest. I missed church again today because I didn't want to chance infecting anyone else with the cold. I know life is getting a little better every day, but it's hard to focus on that when faced with the reality of what needs to be done and how it is going to get done.

Still I am much better off than I was this time last year and I've begun to count my blessings on a daily basis. I do it once in the morning after morning prayer and once again before bed after evening prayer. It's interesting how even small things are cropping up and get included in the mix. I am blessed.

More later.

Dying On The Vine

I know I have been posting a lot lately about post-Katrina NOLA and Gulf Coast news, but you see, that's just because the media has awakened to find that two years out, little has been done to fix the problems and bring the city back to life. I have family and friends there. What I hear from them is life as it is and not life as gussied up by the Bush administration.

Todays Washington Post has a wonderful story about New Orleans that is spot on, except for one glaringly obvious conclusion that I, and many others have come to, and that is that Bush wants the city to die, and that his real goal is to create a GOP voting population and that means getting rid of the black and poor folks who almost always vote Democratic.

Some of you may find this cynical, but the GOP is ruthless on this issue and since the states with GOP governors have received more aid and faster cleanup than Louisiana, I think my conclusion has merit.

From WaPo:

Over the past two years since Hurricane Katrina, I’ve seen waves of hardworking volunteers from nonprofits, faith-based groups and college campuses descend on New Orleans, full of compassion and hope.

They arrive in the city’s Ninth Ward to painstakingly gut houses one by one. Their jaws drop as they wander around afflicted zones, gazing at the towering mounds of debris and uprooted infrastructure.

After weeks of grueling labor, they realize that they are running in place, toiling in a surreal vacuum.

Two full years after the hurricane, the Big Easy is barely limping along, unable to make truly meaningful reconstruction progress. The most important issues concerning the city’s long-term survival are still up in the air. Why is no Herculean clean-up effort underway? Why hasn’t President Bush named a high-profile czar such as Colin Powell or James Baker to oversee the ongoing disaster? Where is the U.S. government’s participation in the rebuilding?

And why are volunteers practically the only ones working to reconstruct homes in communities that may never again have sewage service, garbage collection or electricity?

Eventually, the volunteers’ altruism turns to bewilderment and finally to outrage. They’ve been hoodwinked. The stalled recovery can’t be blamed on bureaucratic inertia or red tape alone. Many volunteers come to understand what I’ve concluded is the heartless reality: The Bush administration actually wants these neighborhoods below sea level to die on the vine.

Please go and read the whole thing here.

More later.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Say It Ain't So!

Please. Say it ain't so! I spoke to my sister and a few friends in NOLA last weekend and things are not much better than last year at this time. In fact, some neighborhoods are being reclaimed by nature and are virtually untouched. They're still finding the occasional decaying body here and there. There isn't one full scale hospital open yet. Now this?

Bush to Commemorate Katrina Anniversary

Haven't these people suffered enough.

The little man has no shame. What f**king nerve. He'll spend an hour or two swaggering around telling Nagin what a heckofajob he's doing, promise to send more money to "get the job done", hug a few black people for a photo op, and be gone. No questions. no answers. And the press will follow him around recording everything as if it's news. Geez! From the Guardian:

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - President Bush will return to the Gulf Coast next week, where hard times and resentment linger two years after Hurricane Katrina's massive strike.

Bush will fly into New Orleans on Tuesday after giving a speech about the Iraq war to the American Legion convention in Reno, Nev. On Wednesday, the anniversary of the storm, he is expected to examine recovery efforts in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The monster hurricane was the most destructive natural disaster in U.S. history. It swamped a beloved city, killed 1,800 people across the Gulf Coast, destroyed or severely damaged more than 200,000 homes and made more than 800,000 people homeless overnight.

In New Orleans today, despite progress, signs of a shattered city abound. Neighborhoods are in ruins. Crime, inadequate health care and faulty infrastructure are pervasive.

The Bush administration is still dogged by charges of an inadequate response - first, for the way it handled the crisis, and more recently, for not spending more time on it.

Read it all here.

More later.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Plan Foiled!

An attempt to leave work early and stop off for a few necessities was thwarted when my relief arrived later than scheduled.

The plan was to pick up the items, summer comfort foods, then race home and watch the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring, which I have not seen in a very long time. OK, I am suffering from LOTR withdrawal.

I've read the books many times for 37 years and am a huge fan of the films, especially the extended versions and, of course, all the extras and behind the scenes material. But, since I have to be at work tomorrow at 7 am, there is no way that a viewing will happen tonight.

Sadly, this obsession must be put off until tomorrow when I can leave work earlier, do the shopping and hightail it back and settle in.

There is no big screen TeeVee, no surround sound, but I can, and will, enjoy myself all the same.

To relax and indulge…sounds good to me.

More later.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

FDL: Mutts Against Mitt

Kobe is a standard poodle and one of Jane Hamsher's children. Kobe has some interesting observations about, well, the dog stories and the selective attention of our media when it comes to candidates vs. sports figures. Part of Kobe's rant:

Okay let’s just get this out of the way up front. Nobody has peed on more bushes, sniffed more dog butt or chased more squirrels than me hollering “screw Michael Vick.” I don’t get the guy. Who gets off watching dogs tear each other apart, and then hangs them if they underperform? He’s got some serious problems.

But in light of the NAACP’s call today that after Michael Vick has paid his debt he ought to be allowed to return to football, I thought I would add my two cents. And I think the whole thing needs to be put in context.

Michael Vick is a football player. Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are running for President. Mitt Romney blithely tortured his dog by tying it to the top of his car for 12 hours until it defecated down the back window under the stress, then thought of himself as a real smart feller because he grabbed a hose and washed it off. That particular incident of cruelty and callousness towards animals barely even charted with Our Elite Media.

Kobe nails it. Read it all here.
More later.

That Reader Survey

I find this hard to believe. By the results, one has to wonder how the five bookstores in my small town remain open. In the past year I haven't read as many books as in the previous year, but crisis, both health and life, were the culprits. I have read two of the three books I assigned myself for the summer and I've almost finished the third. I'm reading this one slowly, savoring every page.

And I wonder what "religious" books they're talking about here...would they be the wingnut "Left Behind" series, or the serious theological thought from the likes of Carter Hayward or Matthew Fox? I'm just sayin'.

AP: One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year -- half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.

Read the whole thing here.
More later.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Former Friends - a Previous Life.

Off work today and had to run a few errands around town, including Laundromat, Home Depot, Supermarket, and post office and I wanted to get it all done before the beach-goers clogged the roadways in all directions. So, I left at 7:30.

No one was mad enough to be doing their laundry at 8 am on a Monday and I got to read one of the three books I’ve assigned myself for the summer for the two hours it took to wash, dry and fold my clothes.

While strolling the aisles of Home Depot I saw a person who was a “friend” in my previous life who, when he saw me, turned on his heels and bolted in the opposite direction. Hmmm. Odd.

At the supermarket, I almost literally ran into a couple of gals who used to pal around with my X and me. We had known them for about seven years. They said “hello” and made a giant sucking sound as they continued right passed me without making small talk, or asking how things were going. I thought about starting a conversation, but intuition said they wanted no part of me now.

A similar incident occurred in the drug store with two guys we had known socially from parties and fundraisers.

However, at the post office the person who recognized me waited as I exited the car to give me a hug and ask how life was going these days. I had known her from my previous church and she wanted to know where I was worshipping now. I told her and we had a nice chat before we had to go our separate ways. She gave me another hug as we parted. She headed for the boardwalk to meet a friend, and I did my thing at the post office and went on my way.

Driving back I thought about these incidents. I wondered why 3 of the 4 encounters were negative, distant, and even unfriendly. That’s 75%!!! Are these people simply uncomfortable because of the break up? Are they unwilling to be friends now that I am single? Am I now persona non grata? Stranger things have happened and people can be very bizarre and irrational in their thinking.

Interestingly, I suppose it takes a life-changing event to find out who really are your friends. It’s sad, really, but that’s where it is.

More later.


Who Won the ABC Debate?

Oh. My. God. Could this be true? While I love the results, could this be just a blip, or are folks finally "getting it?" Having watched a tape of the LOGO/HRC forum last week I thought that Kucinich did better than the others.

I wonder what this will mean for him financially, and if these results will generate more volunteers for his campaign. One can only hope.

More later.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I saw this yesterday in the comments section of one of the NOLA blogs:

Solutions .......

Everyone concentrates on the problems we're having in this country lately; illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, wild animals attacking humans in Florida. Not me. I concentrate on solutions for the problems.

The result is a win-win-win situation.

Such as:

~ Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.
~ Send the dirt to New Orleans to raise the level of the levees.
~ Put the Florida alligators in the moat along the Mexican border.

Are there any other problems you would like for me to solve today?

More later.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summer Storms

Friday morning at about 3 am, I had a wake up call from Mother Nature herself. She didn't arrive at that hour to tuck me in, but to throw me out of bed. Thunderstorms hit the area with great force; enough to shake one out of bed, rattle windows and force one to sit up and take notice.

The lightening was intense and almost strobe-like at times and the rain was swept by the wind in waves. I couldn’t sleep and as the house shook decided to put on clothes and prepare for the possibility of having to evacuate the area.

Remember, I live on the marshes – wetlands – that can flood and retreat in the natural cycle, but this was no natural cycle. These were potentially destructive storms. They had moved through Virginia earlier in the night flooding areas and knocking out power as they moved through.

I was afraid but I noted the beauty and majesty of the lightening and thunder and that we have little power to fend them off. I watched the spectacle through my large window as if it was a film shot in Cinerama with a broad picture and sound coming from seemingly everywhere. I stood there mesmerized. It was all over by the time I left for work.

Yesterday I learned that there were more than 20, 000 lightening strikes locally associated with the storms. Power was out for many residents, and the roadways were partially closed to morning travelers due to downed power lines. Amazing.

More later.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Katrina Ice Being Melted

Finally! Been hearing about this for the past week. Heck-of-a job, Brownie.

Thousands of pounds of ice originally sent to hurricane Katrina relief efforts are being melted after being stored in Gloucester for two years.

A federal emergency management agency spokeswoman told the Gloucester daily times that the ice held at Americold Logistics and at 22 similar facilities nationwide is being melted to dispose of it for health reasons. The cost of storing the ice at all the facilities since Katrina is $12.5 million. -

Monday, August 13, 2007

Accountability and Exploding Heads

I've been given the royal finger. Oh, but not from someone on high, but someone really low. Small, in fact, very small. Let me explain...

On Saturday, June 23rd at 5:30 a.m. I left my rented room to help my (then) landlord set up for a community yard sale. Something he had been looking forward to for months.

When I reached the garage and asked what I could do to help set up he began hyperventilating and said, “I don’t know how to put this, but…” and then proceeded to rip me a new one saying that I had betrayed some confidentiality and ordered me to vacate the premises as soon as possible. So much for integrity and the gentlemen’s agreement to allow 30 days if things didn’t work out.

First thing that bothered me was that “one of his friends” read something on this blog, and while too rattled to process that info at the time, later I asked myself if I knew any of his friends, if any of them knew about this blog, and why they would be so inclined. NO, was the answer. Why would any of his friends read an anonymous blog about a subject in which they had no vested interest?

And then, at least for me, it all fell into place. I won’t dignify the troll with an identity, but this one lurks everywhere, and I know, still on this blog. Whatever the reason, it is an unhealthy one. But, that’s what this troll is all about.


On July 2 this note was taped to my monitor:

please be all moved out by July 15th and I will leave a check for the remainder of the month’s rent.

I wish you well.

Take care, Thank you,”

“I wish you well”??? – “Take Care”???

You decipher that part. I haven’t the energy nor will to do so. My first impression was – you wish no such thing. You can’t make this up and I still have the original paper note, so don’t call me on this, or I will scan it and send it to you.

You know, I actually believed him. In fact, my things were out by July 12th and, while he was at the house when I left the key and a forwarding address, he cowered behind his closed bedroom door and didn’t want to face me or produce a check; and as of this date I haven’t received one by mail, nor an explanation as to why it has not been forthcoming.

Is he acting (reacting?) like a spiteful 16 year-old girl? I think that’s part of it. He did remain true to his promise, when during the head-exploding incident he said he would never speak to me or look at me again. Not. One. Word. And that was quite bizarre to live through. Creepy, even. There is a pattern of behavior, and I’m just sayin’.

I won’t dignify his pettiness with a phone call, since he doesn’t answer his phone and never responded to, nor answered voicemail questions regarding any issue I addressed. I felt bad for him and sorry that he got into such a difficult and precarious situation, but you see, that’s just it…and it took me a while to admit this to myself…HE got HIMSELF into his current situation, through poor choices, or bad planning and there is no one else to blame.

Whether I see the money again or not, as a friend’s grandmother used to say; “it’s on his soul.”

More Later.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Two Years, and Counting...

Our National Shame Continues. This from BagNewsNotes:

I'm all alone -- down here in this depression. I can only imagine (and now, can't stop obsessing about) what's coming from the other side. It's blue, but maybe it's starting to cloud over. Is it? Or are my eyes playing tricks on me?

And while I'm waiting, waiting for the catastrophe, I'm thinking just how pathetic this is. Pathetic. Pathetic. How often do you see that on a news cover?

They ransacked the landscape and killed the coast. And now we are going to pay -- again. Interesting, there is not a New Orleanian in sight, but put this picture in front of me, stick me way down here, and suddenly I'm feeling like one. I've got to get up. I've got to get over that wall and get some handle on the issue.

(image: Kadir Van Lohuizen. TIME. August 13, 2007)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

FEMA $$ for MS, but not LA

Marine debris removed with FEMA money in Mississippi, but not in Louisiana. Two years on and this is still a major issue, at least to some. I guess FEMA money is available for states with Republican Governors, not so much for those with a Democrat in the governor's mansion.

From the Times Picayune:

At the eastern edge of Lake Pontchartrain, a half-mile out from Chef Menteur Highway, a half-dozen white buoys mark an unseen hazard resting on the mud bottom.

It's a pickup truck, fishers say, catapulted into the lake by Hurricane Katrina's 15-foot surges. The mast of a 42-foot sailboat pokes out of the murky waters a mile away. A marooned shrimp trawler, rusted and covered in barnacles, rises from the 30-foot-deep Chef Pass channel.

Nearly two years after Katrina and Hurricane Rita, scattered bits of houses, boats, cars and appliances still lurk in the marshes and lakes of coastal Louisiana.

With state officials and FEMA still haggling over reimbursement for the cleanup, no comprehensive program is in place to remove the underwater debris. Meanwhile, since last fall, crews in Mississippi have been using FEMA money to pick up marine debris and are set to finish the project by the end of the year.

Enbelievable. Read the whole thing HERE

More later.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Collectors: Another “AHA!” Moment.

Walking back to the car the other evening I felt the warmth of the huge orange sun on my neck as it was setting slowly in the western sky. Although it is a warm night the heat of the sun felt strangely welcome and I felt alive as I have not in a long time.

I played volunteer bartender for a preview evening of the upcoming Antiques Show and Sale and it was quite a party. The huge crowd consumed catered foods from various restaurants in town and top-shelf booze in copious amounts. They sure kept us bar folks hopping. Antiques lovers can really knock back the gin, vodka, and scotch, not to mention white wine.

There were more gay folks there than you could count and yes, even quite a few lesbians. Collectors all.

It was interesting – as I am in the process of pondering the future my “collection of things” - to observe the items on display and how they were coveted and drooled over by collectors. A few years ago, I would have been one of them. Not anymore. While beautiful, curious, and interesting, I prefer to enjoy them in someone else’s home. The evening proved to be another one of the many “aha!” moments I’ve experienced in the past few weeks.

A very good feeling.

It is rumored that I will have phone service this weekend. We’ll see. I’ll believe it when I hear a dial tone.

More later.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Update:Same Old, Same Old!

Still no phone at home, so no way to get online there. I spent another 2 hours with the phone company customer service, repair, and billing departments yesterday. The line was suppose to be opened by Verizon by yesterday, at least that's what they claimed. So, I took a phone out to the box and connected it to see if there was indeed a live line outside that only needed to be run into the building. Nothing. Dead!

So, I will spend another hour or more on the phone with the damned company again today. Just what I need on a Friday. Three weeks of dealing with their mistakes, attitude, and stupidity is really getting old.

ALSO, To those of you who have asked; No, I have not yet received the half month's rent check promised by my previous landlord when I moved out by the 15th of July. (Actually, I was out by the 12th, but no matter.) More on this subject when I get connected again.

More later.
Update on the Update: Spent another two hours on the phone with the crazies and after copious amounts of stupid was offered in the way of excuses the clod had the nerve to ask if I would like to upgrade to DSL. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. I asked if he was kidding. They haven't been able to supply simple telephone service in over three weeks and they think I would give them another order for an additional service? Unfortunately, he was completely serious. These people couldn't locate their ass with two hands and a map of directions. Jebus!
You just can't make this stuff up.
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