Sunday, October 30, 2011

Everything Looks Better in the Morning






Yeah, Right!
Honda Fit Last Night 10-29-11
Truck Roof
This Morning


This is probably the worst, most widespread weather event we've experienced in the Northeast ever.
In Connecticut nearly 800,000 homes without power and no light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.  The number of trees down is worst than a typical hurricane and with 12 to 24 inches of heavy concrete snow, cleanup and power restoration will take more than a week.  They are warning people that power will out for at least a week.

We have yet to go around the property to assess the damages.  Thankfully most of our leaves were down, so tree damage looks minimal.  We also have a small generator, thus my few minutes to do a post here.  We have propane for cooking and a small propane heater in the basement.  Because our well needs power and the generator can't service it, we put up some water for flushing and some for drinking, but I'm afraid we will be melting snow to supplement that fairly soon.

We are expecting record low temperatures tonight.  The night before Halloween - they call it hell night here-abouts - and this may live up to the name.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Welcome to New England

October 29, 2011.  It is snowing.  Not just a dusting.  Southern New England is expecting 6 to 18 inches of snow by tomorrow morning depending on location - we should get 8 to 12 inches here.  These pictures were taken at about 1:10pm Saturday after about 45 minutes of snow fall.


Even Benni isn't too thrilled with the prospect of winter snow.
video

We are hoping to have Indian Summer next week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Glee

Poster Circa 1966
The White Cardboard Stock
Has Long Since Yellowed
While so many of you were watching Glee on Fox, Leon and I were catching up on True Blood, Dexter, Drop Dead Diva, and several other past and current TV series.  When we finally discovered Glee on Netflix, we watched every episode.  It is cute, funny and smart.  The humor reminds me a bit of Psycho Beach Party with a bit of Fame mixed in.

My take on Glee is that the high school Glee Club has come a long way since 1966.  I was in our high school Glee Club even though I'm tone deaf and have a range of about three notes.  I would mouth the words when I couldn't reach the notes.  I'm not sure why they kept me - maybe the good sister felt I needed some extra curricular activity or that I fit in with the Glee Club crowd, or they needed bodies to fill up the stage.

I got dad to help me print up silk screen posters for our annual concert.  That was my major contribution.  God knows I couldn't carry a tune.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tick Magnet, Masonry and Leon's Fiftieth Birthday

It's been a busy few weeks so haven't been posting much.  Been to the airport more than I do in a year.  Thank goodness I'm retired!

      Friday - drag in the cacti for the winter and clear brush in the yard, get SIX ticks attached to various parts of my body which I only discover at 2 in the morning - even the dog doesn't get this many ticks
Some Of The Cacti That Get Dragged In For The Winter
     Saturday - Leon and I cap an old hand dug well on our property (that used to have a wooden well house over it) using 8 bags of concrete, rebar and rocks so that some little kid named Jessica doesn't fall in
A 3'x3' x 7" Slab of Concrete and Stone Over An Old Well
      Sunday - drive to Massachusetts to introduce Cressy, a potential buyer to Steve the potential seller of a large 5th wheel camper

     Monday - dinner at Mike and Paul's

     Tuesday - pick up Mom at the airport

     Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, entertain Mom at home and go to IKEA to buy a small $99 table which, when we get home turns out to be the wrong color wood

     Saturday - bring Mom to Massachusetts to meet up with her cousins from California so she can travel with them to Rhode Island, get a $100 speeding ticket for doing 30 miles per hour in a 20 mile per hour zone on a country road speed trap in New Boston, MA even though I was doing 49 miles per hour, and then we do a foliage tour of the area with the Californians while we're there
Foliage Tour
     Sunday - car club meeting at our house

     Monday - eye doc appointment

     Tuesday - make tomato sauce and manicotti for Thursday dinner

     Wednesday - pick up Mom at cousins' motel near airport and go to job interview

     Thursday - Leon picks up cousins at motel near airport and they tour Mark Twain and other museums while I make home made bread and sesame rolls, salad and manicotti and have them over for dinner
Salad And Home Made Bread
     Friday - go to New Haven, return table to IKEA so I can pay speeding ticket and dine at IKEA with Leon and two of my cousins, then go to a New Haven nightclub to see my niece perform (sing and play guitar)
My Niece Andrea Playing Guitar and Singing
     Saturday - Leon picks up brother from the airport, I throw a birthday party for Leon's big FIVE-O and forget to take pictures
Benni Watching Me Put The Cream Cheese Frosting on
Leon's Birthday Carrot Cake
     Sunday - Leon brings Mom half way to Maine where her Maine friends picked her up for a week of fun while I go for a long walk with Benni
A Walk In The Dog Park
     Monday - Pick up Leon from work, we take his brother to lunch, then we winterize the camper and bring in the strelizia nicolai for the winter
This Thing Is Getting Way Too Big
    Tuesday (tomorrow) 4:00 am bring Leon's brother to the airport for a 6:00 am flight.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy - Followup

An article about Occupy Wall Street appeared in a small local Newspaper which generally covers only local news, high school sports and obituaries, to which I responded with the following letter (annotations in brackets):

 I appreciated David F's column in the October 14 edition... Quite honestly, I was surprised that the topic (disparity between the super rich and the the rest of us) was broached - and so well put. I agree that "something is out of whack" and it has been for more than 10 years. When I worked for a homeless shelter several years ago the working poor had already begun falling into the growing abyss between the wealthy and the indigent. Foundations whose mission it is to fund charities began cutting back on grants because they were losing income on investments - as Wall Street moguls, bankers and financial gurus raked billions off the top.

When Obama ran on a platform that endorsed a return to previous tax rates on the wealthiest segment of our society, I had hope that things would turn around - that all Americans would have adequate health care, that seniors would be taken care of, that the quality of education would improve, that our infrastructure would be maintained. President Obama's every attempt to fix what's been "out of whack" has been met with obstructionist tactics by those who hold majority status in the Congress. What irks me is how they then blame Obama for lack of leadership, having no ideas and not getting anything done.
[When it is they who have prevented any and all of his policies from becoming law] How ludicrous!

Mr. F insightfully refers to owners of small businesses, who he wishes "would stop associating their success with the success of the big guys". These financially successful small business owners look foolish when they spout Ayn-Randian nonsense and denigrate those who are not financially successful by implying that all it takes is hard work and determination to succeed. For every moderately successful individual there are thousands of hard-working, determined, talented women and men who, despite every effort, "never make it" due to factors beyond their control. Successful business owners should be allying themselves with workers and the working poor, because they would not be where they are without them.
[Republicans and elitists continue to perpetuate the myth of financial success as a product of self-determination - and harbor a mean spirited refusal to recognize their and the government's responsibility for the welfare of those less privileged - and they deny that assuring everyone a basic level of human dignity could be in the best interest of the nation and their sacred capitalism]

Mr. F says the first step toward a such united stance "is to be honest about the origins of the problem". That, I'm afraid, is the real obstacle. [My pessimism regarding the nation's ability to come to terms seems realistic, in light of many years of growing divisiveness]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy

I just want to say a few words about Occupy Wall Street and the protests that are spreading around the country. (Listen to NPR - On Point with Tom Ashbrook)

I think its about time that a large-scale protest movement has been launched against the corporations, the Supreme Court's granting them personhood, and against the greed and corruption that is bringing this nation down.

(Really, it warms my heart to see young people with a cause other than their iPhones).

It is long past the point of trying to effect progressive changes through a corrupt, political process - because the process has been dysfunctional for years and is now being bought and sold by politicians and the highest corporate bidders.

But there is a danger for the movement to become fragmented by different, extreme ideologies and persons with destructive agendas.  It would be most unfortunate for this fledgling movement to implode before making a real impact.

As a "veteran" of the 60's and 70's idealism and the peace movement, etc.  I have seen how easily such calls for change and reform get amalgamated by the media, pop culture and political mainstreamers.  And how we are worse off in many ways today than we were then.

But I still think it is about time people take to the streets one again.  The teabaggers did it - can you believe conservatives protesting,? how un-American.  Conservatives sure didn't complain about teabaggers protesting.  But they are quick to call the Occupy Movement communist and socialist and anarchist.

Liberals and progressives are certainly better at protesting than the teabags.  And because it is a populist movement it will exhibit some extreme elements - after all, there are a lot of unhappy, frustrated people with different liberal and left-leaning ideologies making up the masses.

Conservatives are right about one thing - they SHOULD be worried about the Occupy Movement - they are all likely to loose their jobs and a good chunk of their wealth if the Movement has the influence it seeks to have.  But they are desperately trying to dismiss this movement by using whatever scare-tactics they can muster.  And they are so good at using scare tactics.


The protests' initial focus on Wall Street was logical, but the focus needs to widen, as I think it has.  I should think that an "Occupy the Republican Convention" might be a future step for the bravest members the movement.

And I can see pickets in every state through the 2012 elections calling attention to the selling of democracy.

I think things are just getting started.

NOTE: See comments for more on this.

Tribute to Frank Kameny, Gay Rights Pioneer

See a nice tribute to Frank Kameny, one of the earliest Gay Rights pioneers, who died yesterday: links at I Should Be Laughing and at Pam's Houseblend and at Towleroad, among others.

It is important for us to keep our history alive and pass it on to the young ones.

Also, it is the 13th year since Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered because he was gay.  The above mentioned blogs have posts on this as well.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Audio Book Report - Mississippi Sissy

Picked up this Audio Book, an abridged version of Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums at the local discount store.  The story is a memoir of a sissy boy growing up in a small town in the Deep South during the 1960's.  Sessums' mastery of language and the fact that he reads the story with full dramatic effect easily makes a movie in your mind as you listen.

Kevin was one of three children.  His father, an athlete and a coach was frightened by his boy's "in-your-face" and unabashed sissy behavior, while his mother always encouraged him to be himself and nourished him with literature and the arts.  Both parents died within a short time when he was just a child.

His recollections draw vivid pictures of life in the South, with colorful, interesting, and sometimes frightening characters taking the stage.  Sessums skillfully weaves intriguing details into the narrative and returns to those very details when their significance is fully revealed and they will have the greatest impact on the reader/listener.

Kevin Sessums, in Mississippi Sissy, lays it all out for everyone to see.  It is a life revealed with brutal honesty and told with an underlying compassion and love that makes even the most horrific events palatable.

I listened to this on the car's CD player over the course of a few days while doing short errands and often sat in the parking lot or driveway because I hated to "put the book down" so to speak.  Highly recommended.

The subject of this book dovetails nicely with my last post about the website "Born This Way", see below.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Born This Way

Check out this website - "BORN THIS WAY" - a place for GLBT folks to tell their childhood stories of how they knew they were "different" at an early age.

Russ from Blue Truck, Red State posted about this one back some months ago, but it's worth another mention.

Steve Jobs



In Memoriam

Steve Jobs

1955-2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Report - Last Summer by Michael Thomas Ford

I almost put this book down after reading six pages.  Not another story about some thirty-something drama queen in a tizzy because his boyfriend cheated on him.  But I decided to give Last Summer by Michael Thomas Ford a chance.  After all I was I in PTown and this was my one unread book on the shelf I picked for beach-reading.  (As we know, I don't read with much speed, so am now just finished - weeks from when I last sat on the beach.)

The initial scene with Josh's angst and indignation about his boyfriend cheating with a guy at the gym was just too familiar - it hurt.  I was reluctant to keep reading, but, thankfully both the writing and the story line improved in subsequent chapters.

Josh, the storyteller, heads to PTown for a few days to clear his head and emotions after learning about his boyfriend's infidelity.  The few days becomes an entire summer of new friends and assorted characters:  there's Ted and Ben, the owners of a guest house where Josh lands and who made me think of the Hat Sisters; Jackie, the dyke who owns a restaurant, and wants to have a baby; Toby, the gay teenage runaway; Emmeline, the Southern born M to F transsexual nightclub singer who wants to make her transition complete; Reilly, the butch townie carpenter who is engaged to be married to his childhood sweetheart; Ty, the hot new Hollywood star who is in the closet but in love with his producer and a cast of other more or less interesting characters.

Michael Thomas Ford draws his characters with adequate depth and personality and they are able to tap the appropriate emotions to keep the reader engaged in the unfolding events.   Last Summer may not be the great American Gay Novel but it is rather quintessential; it is light, humorous and entertaining.  The style is almost too conspicuously similar to Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, with the characters weaving in and out of one another's lives in short, fast moving chapters that keep the reader wondering what will happen next.

Grab this book and a lawn chair , pour a gin and tonic and put an ocean soundtrack on your iPod.  You'll enjoy a trip to a somewhat surreal Provincetown.

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