Friday, April 10, 2009

Random biopsies

Yes, it's me again. I have a little extra time this morning since I worked last night until nine. I've been working over time to increase my income, but that means I don't have a lot of time for writing or posting or much of anything else. Right now, I'm skimming emails and even deleting things unread because I just do not have the time. Too many people wanting/needing my attention and I just don't have it to give. That does not mean, however, that I don't answer my phone or talk to people when I take quick breaks or just need to exercise another part of my brain, the verbal part, that only gets exercised when I yell at idiot doctors. And to think these people are charged with protecting life with their surgical skills. They can barely string two coherent sentences together and those that can end up detailing every single second of a four-hour surgery in minute and excruciating detail. Fun, fun.

Okay, I'm done complaining about work. It puts a roof over my head and keeps the lights and phone and Internet on and it provides the occasional treat, like fresh strawberries and blackberries, but sometimes I wonder whether it's worth it. Like now.

I haven't been able to put in the hours needed to finish the edits on my novel or write the submissions for fast looming deadlines, but at least my nervous energy, born of feeling like I'm chained to my office desk, has resulted in frantic bouts of cleaning in the kitchen. All the scorch marks on my cookware are gone and the refrigerator is getting close to pristine. It's helps that there isn't much food in it to move around so I can get into the corners. The dishes are all clean and put away (gasp!) and the counters are clear. Today I tackle the inside of the microwave with a bowl of water and lemon juice to see if it works and I'll probably do the laundry today after I finished slaving in the transcription mines.

When I talked to Mom last night she told me that Jimmy's youngest daughter, Alex (short for Alexandria like the city in Egypt), is bright and quite serious, very unlike Alisha, her older sister, who is more interested in getting married next year. Alisha is very girly and giggly and, for a time at least, was very into dark poetry full of pain and angst and cutting and suicide. Alex is more like me at her age (12). But I could not dispossess Mom of the idea that you cannot have better than a 4.0 grade point average. You can't be better than perfect. She still insists that Alex's GPA is 4.1 or 4.2. I changed the subject. There is nothing but frustration and madness down the avenues Mom travels in her sharply oblique path to logic.

It's hard to tell the time on weekends, other than by the passage of the sun overhead, because there are no children talking and laughing and grumbling on their way to school. It's a raucous sound, a little mellower than a flock of crows, that bursts full voice through the sounds of the furnace kicking on and my fingers tapping the keyboard, a sound full of life that runs the emotional gamut like a concert pianist practicing scales before launching into Rachmaninoff's crashing crescendos. And it always makes me smile.

For some reason, I'm craving a grilled cheese sandwich with olive tapenade for breakfast this morning, but I'm out of bread and it will take hours before I can mix, knead, proof, rise, shape and bake a loaf. Even pita bread would take time and I need to get a shower and jump back into the surgical fray to wrestle with foreign doctors mangling English while breaking the sound barrier -- and my nerves -- and either chewing gum or eating food while yelling at underlings to check breathing and or to remind them what kind of anesthesia, suture or instrument they left in the patient.

Aah, life in a medium-sized city under pewter skies with an arctic wind whistling through the cracks in the doorway.

That is all. Disperse.

History Lesson

What is it that you do not understand?

In his continuing campaign to be liked around the world, Obamessiah has not only thrown America under the bus but history and facts. His muddled understanding of history may be nothing more than a pose and it is obvious that he has read, understood and is now practicing Machiavellian tactics.

"And now, the Saudi King’s petrodollar, along with other 56 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are pressuring the United Nations to pass a universal law prescribing imprisonment for criticizing Islam, an ideology of terror. The Cairo declaration states “that all rights are subject to Shari’a law, and makes Shari’a law the only source of reference for human rights.”

Only a person who was not born in the United States would commit such a fatuous act. Only a person who considers himself a citizen of the world willfully attempts to demolish the greatest republic and democracy in the world, America, as fast as he can. Apparently, this president is familiar with Niccolò Machiavelli’s work:

“When seeking office, the aspirant must pretend to be what he is not. After seizing power, he should impose his agenda quickly and ruthlessly before his subjects realize what he is doing and have time to react.”

President Obama, making his first visit to a Muslim nation as president, declared Monday “The United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical … in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.”

Mr. President, first and foremost, you made a fool out of yourself again. Your ill-advised coziness with the Muslim nations will bring down our nation faster than any foreign enemy. America has never been at war with Islam. On the contrary, it is Islam that has waged a war with the infidels and wants to conquer the world. Below are some quotes from Islamists and academic or educational sources:

That is all. Disperse.

The elephant: It's for jackasses Democrats, too

Another Constitutional Law professor joins the ranks of the internationalists on Capitol Hill and the news ain't good.

Let's set aside Koh's disputed comments about the possible application of Sharia law in American jurisprudence. The pick is alarming for more fundamental reasons having to do with national sovereignty and constitutional self-governance.

What is indisputable is that Koh calls himself a "transnationalist." He believes U.S. courts "must look beyond national interest to the mutual interests of all nations in a smoothly functioning international legal regime. ..." He thinks the courts have "a central role to play in domesticating international law into U.S. law" and should "use their interpretive powers to promote the development of a global legal system."

Koh's "transnationalism" stands in contrast to good, old-fashioned notions of national sovereignty, in which our Constitution is the highest law of the land. In the traditional view, controversial matters, whatever they may be, are subject to democratic debate here. They should be resolved by the American people and their representatives, not "internationalized." What Holland or Belgium or Kenya or any other nation or coalition of nations thinks has no bearing on our exercise of executive, legislative, or judicial power.

Koh disagrees. He would decide such matters based on the views of other countries or transnational organizations - or, rather, those entities' elites.

Time to kiss your (jack)ass goodbye.

That is all. Disperse.

Cassandra speaks

Chili Bob, a very good and dear friend, and I chat about all kinds of things, the kinds of things you're not supposed to chat about: money, sex, religion and politics. Of course, without those subjects, there isn't much else to talk about except the weather and the obituaries. While the weather is interesting for at least two minutes, after that, it's just repetitive and boring.

True to form, we have been discussing Obamessiah and the recent claim from a White House aide that, "I did not bow to that man." However, at the press conference at the White House, the aide was unable to cover his (or Obamessiah's) hindquarters when the reporters pointed out the mistakes in his spin.

Aide: The President was taking the king's hand in both his hands and he's taller than the king.
Reporter: The President's left hand is at his side.
Aide: The President was just being gracious and following protocol
Reporter: For 200 years, the protocol is that American leaders bow to no one. Remember how Clinton was thrashed for bowing a little too deeply when he met Emperor Akihito from Japan or when Bush held the Saudi king's hand?
Aide: Moving on.

Chili Bob felt my take on the situation was interesting and that I should post it all over the net. In deference to his older and wiser take on things, Cassandra (that's me) speaks.

Have you heard that Obamessiah was not really making a deep obeisance to the Saudi king, but just leaning a little to grasp both his hands since he's so much taller than the king? The apologists are out in full force trying to spin Obamessiah very deep bow to the king (the bow of a servant to his lord) as just a mistaken impression. One person even told me that it's protocol and that the President would be expected to do the same thing with the emperor of China or Japan. Uh, no. Only those people offering their service and fealty to a ruler do that, not the head of a country and certainly not the President of the United States. Obamessiah didn't even bow to the Queen of England, even though that is the protocol. He slightly inclined his head. If the Obamessiahs were so interested in protocol then Michelle wouldn't have neglected to curtsy and would not have touched the Queen without her permission. Just another whitewash job. At this rate, Obamessiah will soon be as white as Michael Jackson.

Cassandra has spoken but no one believes. She was cursed by Apollo to prophesy the truth but never be believed. If you're not sure who Cassandra is, check mythology. Remember Troy? Cassandra prophesied it's destruction.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Nurturing a viper

When Kevin Costner was at the top of the Hollywood heap, before he made Waterworld he was Lt. Commander Tom Farrell caught in the midst of a murder investigation that would uncover his true identity as a Soviet spy (KGB mole) raised in America to bring the United States down from within. The movie, No Way Out was based on the idea that during the Cold War with Russia they would stop at nothing to infiltrate American society and bring about communism and the death of the American dream.

The premise of the movie -- that a Russian spy could live in the midst of America and be indistinguishable from any other American, one of America's homegrown sons or daughters -- was everything Senator Joseph McCarthy believed was happening in the 1950s when hearings were conducted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Many of us over 50 know it as the Red Scare and we still cringe at how McCarthy's paranoia destroyed the lives of many Americans whose only crimes were being creative and curious about communism and the equalities it seemed to offer. What's not to like about having enough food and shelter and working together for the common good? I guess those very intelligent and creative people hadn't read George Orwell's Animal Farm and didn't realize that there is no such thing as a Utopian paradise of equality as long as there are humans involved.

Most people want Utopia. They want to believe that somewhere in human nature is a spark of human decency that keeps us from destroying our fellow man and working for the common good. Unfortunately, as much as we want to believe in the basic humanity of people, it's not there. We are wired to survive at any cost, to battle against nature and each other to secure the immortality of our genes. It's a biological imperative. The fact that biology has nothing to do with ideology doesn't figure into the equation.

McCarthy looked at liberal Hollywood and the breakdown of American morals and mores in the face of Rock and Roll, divorce and the disappearing American dream and he decided that communism was at the root of the national rot. Yes, that is a simplification of what happened, but it's no less true. Communism was Satan and Satan openly attacking the American way of life.

Nature abhors a vacuum -- or that's what we are told to believe. It seems to me that physicists would dispute that claim, especially since space is a giant vacuum that Nature doesn't abhor. That's another post for another time. At least on this planet, Nature abhors a vacuum and seeks to fill it.

In the vacuum that followed the Red Scare of the 1950s, came tolerance and the Love generation of the 1960s, the Age of Aquarius when all men would live as brothers and sisters and be able to cooperate and get along for the good of all mankind. Anything that hinted at McCarthyism was shunned and feared. The pendulum was swinging the other way. We're still not at the high arc of the swing yet, but we're getting there and it's going to cost us when we realize that Sen. Joseph McCarthy may have been paranoid, but he may also have been right. There are spies in our midst and they are determined to destroy the American dream and our way of life.

They are the same spies that are being recognized in nearly every country in the world and their intent is to force the world to choose death or conversion.

Kim Stanley Robinson envisioned that world in The Years of Rice and Salt where the only remaining religions are Buddhism and Islam. But even Robinson didn't see the coming of Shari'a law. We have. We saw it in the news when a man murdered his wife and cut off her head in his television studio offices and claimed he found her that way. We see it throughout Europe where Muslim communities are growing at phenomenal rates, insulated and separate from the countries to which they emigrated, and where their host governments bow to their demands and requests for understanding. It's happening here in America and we don't recognize it for what it is because we're afraid McCarthyism is back with a new agenda since the Berlin Wall came down and Russia is no longer the Big Red Threat. The Cold War with communism is over. We have peace -- or do we?

Rod Dreher, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News sees it differently. He knows our government is nurturing a viper at its breast. The article is long, but it is worth reading.

You can be paranoid and still be right.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Love for sale

Is it really only Wednesday? It feels like it should be Friday already, but that's what happens when spending all available time on work and spring cleaning and more work. At least the bills are paid and I have a couple of dollars left over for something really decadent, like a small ice cream cone at Dairy Queen up the street, or maybe a sour cream and chive potato or Caesar side salad at Wendy's. It's been a tough week, but a productive week, and I even managed to pull together a team for the ham radio exams on Saturday without resorting to begging and offering money.

One thing working all these extra hours provides is less time to waste on things like watching DVDs and taking long walks. I have backed off both and am now taking short walks just to get outside and feel the sun on my skin because it's been a nice couple of days. I also have to be more selective about what I do with time left after working. That put a big hole in many decadent and frivolous activities. But it's all a matter of choice. More money means getting that much closer to buying my own place instead of renting and being able to afford to keep said place from falling down around my ears. It's just like rent that way, a constant drain on the bank account. There are worse things in this world. Like . . . give me a minute . . . like . . . Okay, so it will hit me in the wee hours of the morning, sending me bolt upright in bed from a sound sleep and probably a really good and very salacious dream. Everything changes.

Like Beanie. I talked to her yesterday and she told me she quit smoking three days ago. I asked why. She's doing it for her doctor. He must be a real hunk because nothing I've said to her over the years of her on-again off-again smoking ever made a difference. She wouldn't even do it for her kids, although I don't think they asked, but she's doing it for her doctor. Really! What is this world coming to when family can't guilt you into doing something for your own good? At least she's quitting and that's what's important. Or maybe it's love.

Then there's a close friend who has finally given up on the man of her dreams. She finally got tired of waiting around for him to slot her into his schedule ahead of his various hobbies and projects. She decided that even though he is the only man for her, if he couldn't put her on his schedule on a regular basis she was wasting her time. Instead, she walked quietly away and so far he hasn't noticed. If he's like most men of my acquaintance, it will take him a while to figure out that she's not just busy, she's tired of always coming last. She did consider sending him a bill because he pays more attention to the "friends" he pays. They get top priority on his schedule. The idea of billing him for time spent and services rendered seemed a little too much like prostitution, but then again maybe not.

When Dad was stationed at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, there was a family that lived across the street from us. Mr. Alexander was stationed at Langley AFB and Mrs. Alexander was a stay at home mom. I remember hearing Mrs. Alexander tell my mom and Mrs. Palmentera how she earned her Xmas money. Her husband paid her every time they had sex. They must have had sex all the time because the Alexander kids, and there were four of them, got some very expensive and really nice gifts every year. Mom laughed but she told Mrs. Palmentera that Mrs. Alexander was like a prostitute.

I never could figure out if Mom was jealous because she didn't think of the idea first or if she was worried she wouldn't get to spend as much money if she and Dad went over to the Alexander Xmas Club method.

Still, the idea has some merit. Maybe some men would treat their girlfriends and wives better if they had to pay for the favors they received. You don't see too many guys missing appointments with their therapists, masseuses, dentists, doctors or personal trainers. When there's money involved, there's suddenly room on their supposedly over crowded schedules that wasn't there before -- or at least not when their girlfriends asked about getting together. Yep, I think money is the answer. After all, isn't a girlfriend's time just as valuable as a masseuse's or doctor's or therapist's?

This is after all a capitalist society and there's no such thing as a free lunch. It may sound mercenary, but I prefer to think of it as just good money sense.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Roses and Australia

That old black magic has me in its spell, that old black magic that they weave so well.

Roses. Fragrant, beautiful, flourishing roses. I love them, but only if they smell good. Roses, or any flower, that has no fragrance is not for me and I am not for them. Nothing like mixing and mingling a little of the Bard of Avon with a bit of Frank Sinatra to start the day.

I want roses. I'm going to plant roses and dig up the evergreen hedge in the planters surrounding the front and side of my cottage. I'm also going to plant some perennials to encourage butterflies and hummingbirds on this little island of greenery in the sea of asphalt that surrounds me. A few vegetables and some herbs and maybe even a few planters to surround the deck and create a wall of color and beauty. I'm in a nesting phase and I will have a beautiful nest when I'm done, inside and out. I need the fragrance and color to combat the fumes of buses and trucks and traffic and the smell of hot asphalt under the summer sun that give me headaches. A little bit of faery in a land of machines and urban sprawl, not unlike the outback in Australia during the big wet. Now that was something to see. It's too bad the characters who peopled it were so one dimensional.

I'm talking about the movie, Australia with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, featuring a very brief cameo by Bryan Brown. Now that was a collage of beauty and mediocrity that didn't surprise me.

Nicole Kidman played Lady Sarah Ashley with all the sensitivity and talent of a fifth rate contract actress for Mack Sennett and her acting was little short of slapstick with brief -- very brief -- moments of ability that failed to transcend a stock portrayal of privileged English upper class deigning to set things right among the savages. Even the love scenes were barely believable and she had such wonderful material to work with. Who wouldn't want to kiss and be kissed by Hugh Jackman? Obviously not Kidman because she approached it with all the gusto of eating a slug sandwich.

Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, as Drover was marvelous. While Kidman was chewing the scenery, he was completely at home as the rootless wanderer questing the savage world with an ease and familiarity born partly of talent and mostly of being at home in the landscape and his own skin. He was surprising and had depth. The only depth Kidman seemed to find was in the collagen injected into her trout lips.

I'll never understand why women with perfectly natural lips insist on pumping them up with collagen and steroids so they look like Lisa Rinna or Angelina Jolie. It never works well and they only end up looking bizarre. /rant

The story of the movie is about the lost generation of half caste (white/aborigine) children who are taken from their aborigine mothers (who won't miss them ten minutes after they're gone because they don't have the feelings of a white mother) and forced to live on Missionary Island to be taught by priests how to be white, despite the fact that forcing them to be white doesn't make them white and won't better their lot in white society. They're called Creamies. Lady Ashley and Drover are just the vehicles to tell Nullah's story, a tale of adversity and prejudice and incredible depth and beauty that was marred by Kidman's performance. She was not, however, alone in her over acting and scenery chewing.

She was joined briefly by Bryan Brown as the rapacious cattle baron whose monopoly on providing beef to the military is only exceeded in the greed shown by his second-in-command, Neil Fletcher, played by David Wenham. Wenham's overly melodramatic villain was worse than Brown's greedy cattle baron only because he got more screen time. I'm certain Brown would have been up to the task to overplaying and phoning in his stereotypical drunk with power boss had he had just a few more lines. Brown's portrayal was lazy and uneven while Wenham only lacked a long black mustache to twirl while tying melodramatic Sarah to the railroad tracks. Good thing there were none or this movie could not have been saved by Jackman and the beautiful young boy playing Nullah, Brandon Walters.

Perhaps the most fascinating of all the characters was King George played by aboriginal actor David Gulpilil who was a sphinx of magic and mystery and heart.

A few minor characters managed to pull off their part of the film with workmanlike precision and a touch of talent, but it was hard to get past the awfulness that was Kidman, Brown and Wenham. I expected better of Brown and Wenham and was sadly disappointed.

Even so, the movie is worth seeing if you're depressed and need a laugh or if you just want to be awed by the cinematography that drinks in the stark and surprising beauty of the Australian outback. That is worth the price of the ticket, especially if you're not into seeing the buff and handsome figure of Hugh Jackman wet and half naked or just half naked. Even with a rough beard, he's what makes the Big Wet really wet.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The crime of Geert Wilders

Have you seen Fitna yet? You should take a look before Jordanian courts extradite Geert Wilders and execute him for blaspheming the Quran. And then you should take a look at the speech Wilders had intended to give to the Houses of Parliament in London about the freedom of speech and the allegations of thought crime using the words of the Quran to make his case.

Wilders quotes Winston Churchill who was ignored in the 1930s when he warned Parliament of Hitler's plans and also Ronald Reagan.

In 1982 President Reagan came to the House of Commons, where he did a speech very few people liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire’. Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote: If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.

What Reagan meant is that you cannot run away from history, you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option.

Communism was indeed left on the ash heap of history, just as Reagan predicted in his speech in the House of Commons. He lived to see the Berlin Wall coming down, just as Churchill witnessed the implosion of national-socialism.

In the land where George Orwell imagined the life of London in 1984 and the penalties for thought crimes, Geert Wilders was denied his chance to speak. In a land where men and women were guaranteed the freedom to voice their opposition, as well as their agreement, London, and indeed all of Britain, kowtow to the growing Muslim elements, nurturing a viper at their breasts that willfully segregate themselves from British citizens in their own communities while spreading fear like leprosy, reaching out into every aspect of British life.


Snow on Saturday and snow yesterday and nothing this morning from the dry blizzard driven swirl of white crystals. Dry snow doesn't last long in the spring and we haven't had a really good wet snow since the end of March when Denver airport, most of the cities and sections of I-25 were shut down. I want spring to burst out all over but I feel cheated without at least a good long snow to mark winter and it's part of the reason I long to move back up into the mountains where snow means acres of blinding white sparkling under the sun, piled up along the roadways and drifting in among the lodgepole pines where mule deer and elk step delicately or race about among the trees, white sprays fountaining from their passage. There's nothing more majestic than seeing a lone stag or bull at the top of a hill or looking over a bulky shoulder as I drive past to remind me of the wonder and marvels of living out beyond the reach of civilization where macadam covered roads and blacktopped parking lots glare hotly back at the snow and its rising waves of heat push the flying flakes beyond its reach and into the fringes to gather, clump and settle. I miss the snow.

You'd think I wouldn't have time to miss anything, including the snow, with the first round of edits on my novel demanding my attention and planning sessions with the videographer who is doing the book trailer in between working my regular job and reading and reviewing the most recent box of books. And yet I do miss those long silent hours of peace and calm where my only companions were the wildlife and having breakfast with hummingbirds.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy mingling with the rest of humanity but I need a rest from humanity after long exposure, and my exposure has been very long indeed as I get ready to celebrate four years living in town. If I could but take my little cottage and move it up into the higher peaks I would be happy. It's not exactly a cabin, but I could add a log surrounding to add insulation and depth to the walls and build a deck to surround the outside, as long as the landlord would agree to finally fix the leaking roof over my office. Of course, with a log wall at least a foot thick surrounding the outside, I am sure a new roof would be in order and the big window in my office would cease to be a waterfall when the snow melts or the wind drives the rain from the west and south. I think a high peaked roof would be in order and a greenhouse attached to the house to provide fruit and vegetables all year long.

Yes, I'm actually thinking about moving again. Due to a lot of networking and intensive marketing on my part, the novel will hopefully be a success and I can begin to put away the money it will take to buy my land and build my haven near the heavens so I can dip my toes in the flood of the social scene from time to time and cease to be surrounded by people all the time. The brain and the body need at rest from time to time, and I am long overdue. This autumn I might just take a few days and burrow into the mountains to get some untainted air in my lungs and feel the calming touch of silence far from the maddening crowd to recharge my psychic and physical batteries and feed my soul. The mountains are my cathedral and the silence my solace. Besides, I will have deserved it after the marketing push and circuit of lectures, talks and appearances coming up after the launch of the novel. With even more novels coming out, I will need the respite that much more, so a safe place to relax and recuperate will be a major priority. At least here in the cottage I'm halfway to silence most of the time and that's something.

How do you rejuvenate your mind and body?