Monday, April 28, 2008


Making Irrelevance Unconstitutional

Since our current president believes that the Constitution is just a "goddamn piece of paper," I'm sure that he'll understand if some of us add an amendment or two.

I have always revered the Constitution, but in the past eight years I have found myself longing for a parliamentary form of government: you know, one in which a shadow government stands by should the people of a nation lose confidence in the current sideshow.

It's long overdue. Let's get parliamentary.

Just last week the estimable Princess Sparkle Pony posted a photo of some maimed soldiers who were posted on their recumbent bicycles before a Commander-in-Chief who ignored them while he squinted into an air horn he was holding. His underlings tittered at his antics.

If there were a shadow government worthy of the public trust, we could add these creeps to our high prison percentages.

Why isn't anyone speaking up on this war anymore? Hilary? Barack? Anyone? Does anyone have a plan? Anyone who remains, that is?

I know, I know. The chimp's irrelevant, but God, he's still with us, still so fuckin' toxic.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I Stand Corrected

If only I'd known... I'd not have hooted in derision at all the fuss about Obama's refusal to wear a flag pin on his lapel. Okay, so McCain doesn't wear one, either, but that's to be expected. He wants to distance himself from Dubya so that he can keep on championing his war. It's a small price to pay. But when I realized that the flag pin on the lapel is a proud tradition dating back to the very birth of the Republic, my cheeks burned in shame.

George is the only American icon with a lapel at Mt. Rushmore, so he was able to wear his in the customary place. Tom, Teddy, and Abe, having been deprived of lapels, placed them on their heads, second best to the heart.

If it was good enough for Millard Fillmore, it ought to be good enough for the current crop of candidates. Teddy Roosevelt sported one before he even became president, which probably greased the skids for his candidacy.

I can only warn the present candidates that both God and the Devil are in the details.

Wear the pin! Your nation depends on it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


If Only Ronnie'd Followed Through...

This came via an email from my friend Jacqueline. It's a passage from Reagan's diary:

'A moment I've been dreading. George brought his n'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida; the one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.'

Entry dated May 17, 1986.

Let's hear it for The Land of Opportunity!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Awakening to McEwan

I want my book back.

I thought I was done with it. I thought I wanted to share it. But now, as my spouse immerses herself in Ian McEwan's Amsterdam, it's all I can do not to snatch it from her hands.

McEwan fills me with longing--to learn from the depth of his understanding of how we elude ourselves and our moral imperatives through our indulgence in our obsessions, our moment-to-moment decisions in that we tell ourselves is key to our survival. I find myself pumped up to become more truthful in my own scribbling, less inclined to hit the pleaser note which is my personal cross to bear.

When I read McEwan, I hold a hope that I will become more observant, more truthful. His writing imparts wakefulness. Alerted and refreshed, I want to go back and see just how he does all that.

I first stumbled on McEwan in (where else?) the library when I was looking for a good book on CD to serve as my bedtime story. I plucked Saturday from the shelf and took it home.

It wasn't much of a bedtime story. I couldn't fall asleep to such insight and skill. I listened for a couple of nights, then returned to the stacks for the print copy of the book. Why hadn't I heard of him before?

I have since made my way through the library's other holdings: Enduring Love, On Chesil Beach, and now, Amsterdam. For some reason I have been holding back on Atonement, of current movie fame. I guess it's next.

But not till I reread Amsterdam. Too, too good. It won the Man Booker Prize some years ago, Britain's equivalent to the Pulitzer and the National Book Award rolled into one.

I like to see people of his quality recognized. I like to share outstanding writers with my amazing spouse.

But just now, I want my book back.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


In the Hour of Not Quite Spring

We're almost there, if May 1 is your idea of almost.

We are entering what locals call Vermont's Fifth Season, mud season. All the ice on our hundreds of miles of dirt roads combines with all the salt poured on them in the course of winter to make roads a knee-deep experience. It's when the sap runs, the syrup boils.

The snows have mostly receded to reveal the mess of winter underneath--the dead grass, broken branches, layered duffs and dusts. The other day I passed the complete skeleton of an animal, probably a deer, that had been hit by a car and then buried under the snow for the long winter. It was strangely beautiful, all that inner architecture.

Winter conceals more than skeletons.
When we can step back out into the street to chat leisurely and learn just what has been going on behind all those closed doors for the last several months, we learn that longtime neighbors and familiar pets down the street have died. We learn of folks who have withdrawn into the elusive and isolated reaches of old age. The seasons cycle through and whisper to us of our mortality.

We'll have rain and snow till May, more quickly melted by a seductive sun that tricks us into thinking that perhaps winter's over early. An up side of global warming, ha ha. Last year we threw the kayaks on the car on a particularly warm April day and blasted over to our favorite pond, only to find that it still was frozen solid. Made you look. Then the roads will swell with final frost heaves, and any pansies we bought in our impatience will wither on the porch from the frosts. We warned you that they weren't hardy. Too bad.

In my 18 years here I've learned to wait. Really, I say, the first day of spring in Vermont is May 1. Old timers tell me about snowstorms in May, frosts in July. March is forever. Eliot was almost right: April really is the second cruelest month. There are the jokes: if spring (or summer) falls on a Sunday, we take a picnic. If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.

It drizzled all day today. I opted for true Sunday afternoon decadence, watching The Crawling
Eye, through one eye. It was delightfully dismal, like the day. A day to waste.

These attempts at cynicism aside, soon we'll be out by the pond, pitching cracked corn to the ducks and marveling at the growth of the children who rode in carriages only last year. We'll squeeze as many flowers and fresh vegetables out of the soil as our short season will bear and hustle to keep up with the manic growth of the weeds.

Till then we throw another log on the fire, draw close together, and wait.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Ruthie Rave

There are lots of things out there to lampoon, but I can't, not yet.

I'm still recovering from another dynamite Ruthie Foster concert.

In an early blog I wrote about stumbling onto a Ruthie concert at a local outdoor venue one summer night and having my socks knocked off.

She came through again last year, touring with Bo Diddly, and she ended up stealing the goddam show. No shit. She tried to calm us down and allow the next two acts to proceed, the final one being Bo himself. The crowd wasn't having any of it. I felt sorry for anyone who had to follow her.

Y'all can have yer Amy Winehouse. To me she's empty beside this amazing woman out of Texas. Her voice soars and sustains. Her guitar playing is wicked good, as we say in the Northeast.

I'm glad I'm too old. Otherwise I'd turn into one of those fans who hops in the car and follows Ruthie up and down her tour, the way my niece followed John Denver up and down California many years ago.

Only Ruthie is more radiant--funny, wise, very savvy in the way she connects with her audience. Full of great impressions of the people she comes from.
If this woman comes to your neighborhood in the foreseeable future, get your tickets early. You fucking won't believe it. And all she does is get better and better.

Texas, I envy you.

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