Sunday, July 29, 2007



I am late in responding to Diva Jood's very kind bestowal of a Schmooze Award. Blame it on the inertia of high humidity here in the Northeast.

Diva Jood is right--I love to schmooze. My mother was from the Midwest, perhaps the chattiest region in the US. I am quite like her. I have found New Englanders less inclined to schmooze with the exception of the upwardly mobile types who sense that it is an advancement must. To me, it doesn't count when you use the schmooze. We Californians believe that the schmooze is its own reward (except for Hollywood, of course).

I find blog schmoozing more satisfying than real time schmoozing in New England. I find myself mentioning Diva Jood and Pursey Tutweiler and Sue Woo and Sister Nancy Beth Eczema to my spouse, talking about them as friends. This morning when we were out to breakfast, there was a little girl at the next table who reminded me of Jood's grandbaby. If I were to head out to Santa Cruz, I'd want to meet Sigrid Jardin for a Jamba Juice on the Pacific Garden Mall.

Karen Zipdrive and I actually did schmooze and otherwise hang out regularly about 30 years ago, when we both lived in California.
Zippie is the ultimate schmoozer. She can wade into any crowd and strike up a conversation. One night many years ago we and our partners at the time went to a bar and charged Zippie with the task of coming up with an attractive woman's phone number in the shortest possible time. She returned in under five minutes waving the contact info for the foxiest lady in the place. Did you ever notice how schmooze and cruise rhyme?

I am now too old to cruise. I do genuinely like those whose blogs I visit regularly. I therefore raise the glass of mountain champagne (that's cold, fresh water to non-backpackers) to the following, omitting Diva Jood only because she has already been celebrated:

Karen Zipdrive--longtime friend and proven schmoozer/cruiser;
Sue Woo--knitter, rose grower, Southern delight, and now author;

Pursey Tutweiler--already tapped by Jood, I think, but someone I feel real friendship for;
Lola Heatherton--an entertainer who does not schmooze has a very short career; she has actually schmoozed with Mother Teresa, as we saw not so long ago;
Sister Nancy Beth Eczema--she is perhaps too persecuted to schmooze, though I certainly hope that she finds her True Community away from the beauty palace. Perhaps a side career in Mary Kay products will help her to locate those who share her values--God, family, and cosmetics.
Dusty--impresses me mightily with her energetic pursuit of peace and justice. She not only maintains her own site, but she's been the driving force behind the creation of the women's blog, Sirens Chronicles, on which Jood and I also appear.

These are just a few. Thank you, fellow bloggers, for the sense of community you bring to my life. Cyber can be very real!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


This Year's Must-Have Fashion Statement

What an opportunity!

You, too, can add this fine chapeau to your wardrobe for just pennies a day.

Go to the link above and order yours.

It isn't perfect, I'll admit. I can't understand the need for the question mark.

Still, it will fit heads of all sizes and advance a worthy cause.

Get one today!

(Begonia not included.)

Friday, July 27, 2007


Is Half a Truth Better than None?

This season's Senate hearings aren't as satisfying as my all-time favorite summer soap, the Watergate hearings of the 70s, but then, I don't have TV anymore, anyway. I can only read the headlines and imagine. "Dems Accuse Gonzales of half-truths," says our own Valley News, relating the exploits of our own Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

More satisfying is the New York Times headline, "Gonzales Dealt Blow in Account by FBI Director," who apparently accompanied the then-White House Counsel to the hospital room of John Ashcroft, and finding the encounter so appalling (he said "unusual" to the committee), decided to take notes! He could see this incident arising from the muck to bite the White House in the hiney, eventually. Clearly he isn't of the same stature as Alfonso. Or is it Adolfo?

At any rate, Gonzales continues to provide us with solid entertainment value via Jon Stewart, and I guess Dick Cheney has stepped in and deputized anyone in his office to meddle in the affairs of the Justice Dept. as well. Let's see... is that within or without the Executive Branch, or is it the Executive Breach?

Cheney went into the hospital today to have a heart procedure. Perhaps they're inserting one in his chubby little chest, even as I write this.

It's become painfully apparent to me that we won't be enjoying impeachment hearings anytime soon, if we can't even get Repugnicans who have tried to disassociate themselves from the war to actually set a date for withdrawal from Iraq. Everybody's too busy dithering and denying health insurance to children and conducting Other Important Matters of State.

Nevertheless, the aforementioned cap will remain on my head through this long, hot summer.

Monday, July 23, 2007


You Read It Here First

What, ultimately, happens to Harry Potter? Does J.K. Rowling kill him off?

Don't be ridiculous. J.K. Rowling believes in the Sanctity of Life. She also cares deeply for her young readers, whom she would not traumatize the way that callous old Agatha Christie did when she bumped off Miss Marple many years ago.

No, Harry lives. And lives. Before you know it he's up to his eyeballs with a mortgage and car payments like the rest of us. He attempts to use his waning wizard-powers (the stuff of youth) to prop up his sagging libido. Failing that, he takes to the pub for a few pints each night with his mates. He enjoys a good game of cribbage, maybe a little whist, on a Saturday night, after he is asked not to compete in the karaoke contests anymore. He votes a straight Labor ticket till he flirts with the Tories while trying to make a comeback by creating a franchise for Hogwarts, setting up the curriculum in schools that have been boarded up because of declining enrollment. His idea bombs, and for a while he's on the dole until Daisy-love finds a job waiting tables in a local fish-n-chips place.

Harry knows not to be bitter. He is grateful for his glorious youth and remembers those days as fondly as his Bass Ale permits. He takes a passing interest in poetry and becomes something of a nuisance, reciting the one poem he has committed to memory, Wordworth's "Ode: On Intimations of Immortality." He mists over a little as he wheezes:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

Eventually, most of his friends avoid him. He and Daisy have no children.

Perhaps it would have been better to perish in a blaze of youthful glory. However, life holds no guarantees, and J.K. Rowling hopes that each phase of his life will prove to be instructive. Life does go on, and Harry accepts his lot with dignity and grace. Eventually he succumbs when he gags on a haddock-bone which has become entangled in cole slaw. He ends his time in this Mortal Coil bloated and blue.

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


We Make No Misteaks in America

Thank heavens the Republicans blocked the Senate's attempt to bring our troops home. Doing that would send the wrong message, you know?

I mean, we went into Iraq for all the Right Reasons: we needed to eradicate Saddam and his Weapons of Mass Destruction, and then there was our mandate to impose a neocon economic philosophy upon a country run on socialist principles. It hasn't been easy, but it was important to deprive all those Iraqis of all those government-sponsored jobs so that they could experience the Incentives for Employment, such as No Income Coming In, nothing to buy those pesky luxuries like food and housing. What motivation for an entrepreneurial, free market economy! I know they're all grateful, and it gives me such a warm feeling inside.

And you know, we're Almost There. All we need to do now is open a Free-Market Mosque, someplace to worship the almighty Petro-Buck, and we ought to be Home Free.

I'd hate for the rest of the world to misinterpret our Divine Mission in Iraq by our early withdrawal. God's Will can be such a mystery to the layperson. Our mission has been accomplished, and we need General Petraeus to say so, come about September, at which time we'll allow as how stupendous our success has been, and in order to accept the thanks of a Grateful Iraqi Nation, we should stick around and help them extract some of that there oil. I'd hate for them to feel all Seduced and Abandoned.

But we'd never make that mistake. That's the great thing about our great-hearted nation, especially under our current leader. We have no regrets, because we haven't done anything wrong.

Such are the benefits of doing the Work of the Lord.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Uh, Let's Talk About Those Tax Cuts Again...

Dear Dubya,

I know that I have railed against your tax cuts before, but now that I am about to become the proud winner of $10 million, I need to discuss them with you anew.

You see, I received an envelope crammed full of papers that tell me that I am the probable winner of the next Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. So, if I'm going to join our nation's millionaire pool, I need to anticipate the greedy gal I will become by lobbying for a reduction in the sweepstakes winner's tax bracket. I need to be in the best position possible to stimulate the economy for a stronger America.

How do I know I'm going to be the winner, you ask? Mock me not, Mister President. On the outside of the usual white envelope there was affixed a special yellow envelope with a note from Dave Sayer! Who is Dave Sayer, you ask? Only the most respected sender of yellow envelopes in the United States of America, that's who! Even as such he seldom sends out yellow envelopes, especially attached to white ones. So I am confident that he has sent this notice to only about 20 million of his closest, most intimate friends.

Dave also told me that my village in Vermont is up for some heavy duty action this August, and it would not be impossible for the Prize Patrol to stride up my walk to award me with a five-foot long check for 10 million Big Ones, just in time for NBC News Tonight with Brian Williams. It's a sure thing, since the initials of the winner are my very own. I will be expected to swoon and tear at my tired old house dress without vomiting or doing anything else untelegenic while weeping tears of joy.

So you can see that with all the demands about to be placed on me, I'm clearly going to need to see some tax cuts in my soon-to-be status in order to secure myself in the large, heaving, yet entirely moral bosom of the Republican Party.

If you are reluctant to advocate for the nouveau riche stepping into the fold, consider the tasks that lie before me. I will have to find the tiny stamp with my initials on it and affix it to its corresponding place in my official entry form. I must agonize over the little stamps of the magazines offered at drastically cut subscription rates. There will be tiny stickers buried deep in the advertising copy of the Tater Mitt or the Forearm Forklift that will need to be spotted, lifted, and pasted into their proper places. Just thinking about it exhausts me.

What will it be that catapults me to my new financial bracket? Perhaps O: the Oprah magazine, for its assurance that the stimulation of negative ions will lead to positive thinking and the attendant animal magnetism for money and prestige. Or maybe I'll subscribe to Us, knowing that soon I will grace its cover, showing Paris Hilton that I can be twice the brat that she is. I might be best served by a subscription to Money, in order to manage the manna that should soon rain down upon me.
Since money is soon to be no object, I may as well subscribe to all three... and treat myself to the Pewter Angel Visor Clip that will watch over me for the rest of my natural days.

Now, Mister President, I must close. I have a great deal to do--the Winner Search Authorization Entry-Order Document demands my full attention. I can only hope that you will see the wisdom of having a winner like me in a party like yours. Remember: my campaign contributions to the candidates of your party are riding on your consideration of my upcoming circumstances.

Very truly,
Lulu Maude

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Men of Science

What's not to like about James Holsinger? At last a Man of God, very much like Our Dear Leader, is nominated to be the Surgeon General of the United States of Jehovah, or the USJ, as I've come to call it. If selected, I pray that he continues the administration's science policies, which keep the American People from Sin. I'd hate to see him kick our Intelligent Designer and His helpmeet, the Republican Party, out of the examining room.

Should he choose to accept the challenge, he'd have a lot to live up to. He'll need to be tough, and let's be clear, Compassionately Conservative. There have been some bitter disappoints to the administration recently, and I'd hate to see them sustain more heartache.

Consider the case of Elizabeth Blackburn, a cell biologist named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She's a winner of the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and an expert on the impact of the diseases of aging on the biochemical changes in cells.

To the administration's credit, she was appointed to the Presiden'ts Council on Bioethics. Then came the interview: the first question she was asked: who did you vote for?

Well! I'm glad they got that key consideration out of the way quickly; then they began the serious work of The Council, addressing such questions as, You don't need any of those pesky embryonic stem cells because everything is wonderful with adult stem cells. When she asked, "Where's the evidence?" they'd say, "Somebody wrote a review article about adult stem cells." Bitch that she was, she'd tell them that a review wasn't the same as primary data. The nerve!

Well! They straightened her out by not appointing her to a second term. Hah! Which reminds me of that whining ex-Surgeon General, Richard H. Carmona, who complained that the administration would not allow him to speak or issue reports about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education or prison mental and global health issues. He was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches.

I never heard such whining! How does the President bear it? It would be easy to mention President Bush three times per page. Allow me to demonstrate. "Last night, as I sat belonely in my lab, I had a vision of (1)George W. Bush in the form of an adult stem cell, which is, of course, the cells the Lord has given us for the pursuit of knowledge." Or this: "Studies by the Focus on the Family show that virgins, as (2)President Bush has pointed out so many times, have yet to become sexually active." Try another! "Our President,(3) George W. Bush, has teamed up with the Lord in providing adult stem cells from Iraqi war victims for scientific research."

All this in a single paragraph! Surely, three mentions on a page should be a cakewalk for any serious scientist.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Boogey Man-in-Chief

If nothing else, 9/11 handed George W. Bush just the excuse he needed to suspend civil liberties and assert American military power for political purposes: we need to fight the terrorists in Afghanistan/Guantanimo/Iraq/locations to be determined, he told us then and tells us yet, so that we won't have to fight them at home.

Whenever the American people become exasperated by Dubya's latest misadventure, he hauls the old terrorist boogeyman out of the closet. Once again he abuses his powers and subverts the Constitution for Little Ol' Us--so that we won't have another 9/11. We're all supposed to cease complaining and to sacrifice a few more of our kids "for freedom." After all, the dumb bumperstickers remind us, Freedom isn't free!

Hogwash. Iraq isn't about self-determination for Iraqis; it's about the administration's doling out governmental functions --and the tax dollars that support them-- to crony corporations. It's about co-opting the resources of one country for exploitation by a larger power. It used to be called imperialism. Actually, it still is, and our exercise of it has never been more obvious, more outrageous.

So don't tell us that you're keeping the terrorists at bay by ripping off the Iraqis, Dubya. As recent events in Britain show, there are always plenty of terrorists to go around, and you are fueling their passions with your crappy policies. If we sustain another attack here at home, it won't be because we didn't Stay The Course in Iraq. It'll be because the US, like Britain before it, has helped itself to the Middle East's destiny in pursuit of its own ends.

The more I read about the history of the Middle East, the easier it is to understand why these folks hate us so. And it isn't our freedom they detest--it's our blindness to their right to create their own path.

Myth-ter President: Stop terrorizing the American people with terrorism.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


All About Lulu

My treasured sister in Christ, Nancy Beth Eczema, tagged me about a week ago for some self-disclosure. Though I don't fancy writing about myself, I am far too fond of Sister Nancy to blow her off. Ritualistically, it starts off like this. I'll have to work at this off and on today, since I have a hard time thinking about my own facts and habits.

1. All right, here are the rules. 2. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 3. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 4. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 5. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. Although I don't like to think about my own 'facts and habits,' I had to give a lot of thought to a former habit, drinking. I'd dealt with a long string of stresses entirely the wrong way. I joined AA over two years ago and am happily sober. I must have inadvertently given myself aversion therapy leading up to that decision, because drinking truly sounds awful to me now. I don't go around like a half-cocked convert, but I am very, very thankful to be sober. Best decision I ever made.

2. My real and enduring addiction is the garden. I like growing food, but I am insane about flowers, both annuals and perennials. It is hard for me to stay out of the garden during the spring and summer months.

3. I love very nearly everybody. You who come to this blog know the notable exceptions, both by name and kind. I am otherwise extremely fond of most folks and am disgustingly upbeat. To me, most folks are just fine until they prove otherwise.

4. I'm pretty spiritual. I have never been able to get the teachings of Jesus out of my head. I'm not too fond of his very loud followers, who see "following" him a sort of religious one-upsmanship. I don't find it necessary to believe the usual Christian dogma in order to find the teachings and actions of Jesus worthy of my respect. I just like the guy, okay?

5. My mother had Alzheimer's disease, and I took care of her at home. My spouse was enormously helpful. What's interesting about this experience is how sweet and funny my mother remained. She was wonderful. If someone you love gets this disease, don't assume that he or she will turn into somebody scary. And if you ever need to check in with somebody on this disease, just let me know in a comment line. I'll get back to you. My experiences taught me a lot, and I'm happy to share.

6. I was asked to leave a meeting of the Teen-Age Republicans at age 16 for "asking too many questions." I was raised in Orange County, California, and my high school had a member of the John Birch Society on the board.

7. I find it very easy to develop crushes on the people I admire. However, I don't see them as a reason for pursuing a relationship or a jump in the sack. To me, they are an expression of sensibility. As an outgrowth of this approach, most of my crushes remain intact for years.

8. Musical instruments make me salivate. I used to own 8 guitars, even though I have but two hands. I gave a few away, but still have probably too many. I do play.

Goodness! That wasn't so hard! I don't kn
ow why I procrastinated so. Actually, if I had had to do 9 facts/habits, procrastinating would probably have been number 9.

Okay, let's tag:

1. Dusty
2. Karen Zipdrive
3. Pursey Tutweiler
4. Lola Heatherton
5. Bobby Bittman
6. Woody Tobias
7. Sue Woo
8. Sigrid Jardin

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Why Is This Li'l Feller Smiling?

Why shouldn't you smile?

You're the envy of all. Successful. Recognized. Above the law. In with the In Crowd.

No matter what you do. No matter to whom you do it. You have the whisper-soft confidence of knowing that you won't be touched. Not a hair on your head. Not for a minute.

You're protected from embarrassing accidents. Your world is absorbent. You can rest in hygienic comfort, with no revealing outlines. Your back is covered.

The law is for losers. You're a winner.

You've got a lot to smile about.

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