Saturday, November 14, 2009

Artists Plead for Charles Manson's Freedom

The music and arts communities were stunned by the arrest of Charles Manson in Switzerland upon his arrival to pick up a lifetime achievement award. Manson's close personal friend and assistant stated, "If we had known Charlie would be arrested, he never would have gone."

Charles Manson was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of Sharon Tate, who was 8-1/2 months pregnant at the time, Polanski's friend Wojciech Frykowski, friend and former lover, Jay Sebring, noted hairstylist, and Frykowski's friend and lover, Abigail Folger,the Folger coffee heiress. On the following night, Manson's friends, dubbed the "Manson Family," brutally murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home.

Thousands of artists, writers and those in the music industry have rallied to Manson's defense, calling his extradition to the United States a miscarriage of justice. "He has suffered over the past 38 years. His genius has illuminated the world and it is a travesty that he must be treated in this fashion," said Virgin Records founder Richard Branson. The outpouring of support includes the creative artists from every country, including the United States. Whoopi Goldberg said, "It wasn't murder-murder."

During an interview, Gore Vidal was quoted as saying, "Those were different times. The drugs, the alcohol, and Sharon Tate parading nude in movies were all part of a deadly emotional Molotov cocktail. Charlie wasn't even there that night."

In 1971 while awaiting sentence, Charles Manson fled the United States. Since that time, he has written songs for some of the most celebrated groups and singers in the world, living an exemplary life and donating millions to charities to end world hunger and repeal the death penalty.

Polanski, Sharon Tate's husband, said he doesn't want to rake up the past. "The past is the past. I have moved on with my life and would prefer not to have to relive those days again."

In 1995, Manson paid Polanski one million dollars and offered Polanski an apology for the murders done in his name.

Manson awaits extradition in neutral Switzerland and his appeals to be set free on bond have been denied as he is considered a flight risk. His lawyer's appeals on the strength of Manson's record of public service and the body of his work, acknowledged by most as genius, have also been denied.

Although Manson was to have received the Swiss award for lifetime achievement, the Swiss government refuses to set him free. In response, the artistic community have gathered to demand Manson's freedom and many have pleaded with the U.S. government to vacate the extradition order, to no avail, and in spite of Polanski's plea that Manson be set free.

Manson's plight continues to be an emotional issue for those for and against his return to the United States to face sentencing and the outpouring of support from the artistic community continues.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bouquets of yellow cactus flowers

First, I'd like to say 'thank you' to all the military veterans who have kept our country and most of the world safe, often giving their lives. My father was a veteran as were many of my relatives. One cousin even survived the Bataan Death March during World War II. On this day of all days, I honor and thank you.

Today is my oldest son's birthday. He's 36 today. Happy birthday, David Scott. Tom 's son, whose 11th birthday is today, happy birthday to you, too.

Today is also my best friend Chili Bob's birthday. He got his card, but I'd like to add a Happy Birthday and thank you for being you wish for his 62nd anniversary on this planet. Chili Bob is an amazing man and it turns out we are related distantly by Princess Nopee who was an Algonquin and lived during the days of Puritans coming to this country. Chili Bob is also related to the Bourbons, the family that ruled France right up to the end when King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were beheaded. Their children survived, as did many of the rest of the family, and Chili Bob is a direct descendant. Since he and I are distantly related that makes me related to the kings of France. Pretty cool when you get right down to it.

One more item up on the calendar today is my interview with Lisa Haselton. It has gone live and is waiting to be read.

This is a morning of contrasts. I'm sitting here eating fresh organic strawberries that taste better than any I've had in a long time, simply delicious, and I'm looking at a gift for my aunt. She loves to garden and has a beautiful back yard garden in which she says she cannot place a single flower or plant, so I'm looking at flowering plants to send her for the holidays and I find Christmas cacti and it takes me back to a Christmas cactus my father loved.

That Christmas cactus had beautiful yellow flowers and he was very proud of it. My middle son Eddie was about two years old and he was entranced by the flowers, drawn to them, and he stared at them for minutes at a time, which is amazing when you consider his age. One afternoon all the beautiful yellow flowers disappeared from the cactus and reappeared in a dirty little hand held out to me to make me smile. Dad wasn't amused and he never let me forget that my son destroyed his cactus. Eddie was devastated and cried his broken little heart out. He wanted to give the pretty flowers to his mom. To him, they were flowers like the daisies and clover he often picked for me.  He didn't know they might not grow back.  They were the only flowers he could find. Snow covered the ground outside and no green poked up through the icy and dirty frozen crust. He wanted flowers to brighten my morning so it made sense to pick the flowers from the cactus. It made sense to him. Dad's house was a jungle of plants and he knew better than to pluck the African violets, but no one told him the Christmas cactus flowers were off limits too. It made sense to him. It didn't make sense to Dad.

The cactus bloomed again the following Christmas. Dad tended the cactus like a sick child, never forgetting -- or letting me forget -- the year Eddie plucked its flowers--nor have I. Of all the bouquets and flowers I've received, those golden cactus blooms are my favorites. Not because they were pretty (they were) or because they were given with my son's smiles and pride at having found flowers for me in the midst of winter. Because the price he paid was in the tears of a child's broken heart for a sin he never realized he had committed.

Now I'm contemplating giving a Christmas cactus to my aunt and I wonder if I should give her the gardenias or something else and give the cactus to Beanie who is so much like Dad. She has most of his plants and she doubtless remembers the story of Eddie's bouquet. It will mean more to her than to my aunt even though my aunt is Dad's sister.

As I eat my warming strawberries and look at flowering gifts to send to a cherished aunt, I can't help wishing for another bouquet of yellow cactus flowers from my son.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The morning of surprising adventurers

Surprises first thing in the morning are the best and I had a great surprise this morning. However, I'm not going to tell you what it is, except to say that I haven't smiled this big this early in the morning since I couldn't tell you when. About the only morning surprise that would be better . . . well, best not to go there in order to keep this work safe and me from going completely berserk.

For some unknown reason I have the best dreams in the morning after I've been up for a while and gone back to sleep, like this morning, and also the strangest. I cannot understand how I can get into REM so quickly and so completely.

This morning was visiting day in jail, although it was an unusual jail since men were allowed to visit for short periods of time and actually come into the area with the rest of the inmates. I had three visitors, all men, one of whom was so worried when he heard what happened to me that he came without putting on a shirt and wore only a wife beater. His arms were full of books, my favorite gift, and the other two visitors were a little jealous when I hugged him and fussed over him because it was the dead of winter and 20 degrees outside and he'd gone to the store to buy the books for me without getting dressed. I don't know how, but I saw him shaving and then rushing out half dressed when he heard I was in jail. I smoothed the others' ruffled feathers by hugging them, too, but I was still worried over the first one.

One of the deputies, dressed in a nurse's uniform, brought over a tray with something that turned out to be a pitcher full of red juice and a stack of dirty cups. It was the "good stuff". I went to ask about clean cups and noticed that the door to our section of jail was open and the nurse was the only one about. She said there were no clean cups and that I'd have to wash them and one of my visitors insisted that he wouldn't drink out of anything that had just been washed and the staff would just have to provide clean china or crystal for us to use.

Then the matron came back in and she said she was surprised I had not joined the rest of the group outside in the sunshine where, she intimated, fraternization was allowed as long as we were discreet when we went into the woods to fetch the animals we had shot. Guns were involved. I felt quite left out because no one let me know and because I had the whole area to myself and could have indulged in a few kisses and caresses without any problems, except choosing which one.

I was quite drawn to my half-dressed visitor who looked remarkably like Josh Hartnett, but my heart belonged to the one who looked like Indiana Jones and I was quite fond of Indy's very proper dad, Henry Jones, Sr., aka Sean Connery.

I don't know what woke me, but I do know that I'm not very happy about it since this dream is now lost to me and the REM window is closed. Chalk it up to a weekend of watching The Black Dahlia and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Sexy, strong, adventuring men do it for me every time.

And, no, that wasn't the surprise this morning. The surprise was better than a dream.

That is all. Disperse.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The week in review and reviews

This morning's email contained a notice that my interview with Lisa Haselton will go live on Wednesday, November 11th, otherwise known as Veteran's Day and my best friend Chili Bob's birthday. Lisa called my answers fantastic. That remains to be seen. I was, as always, just being myself, but I'd be interested in what you all think, especially you, , because your name came up.

Wow. The sky outside my window looks like a layered blue and white parfait with a mile of whipped cream on the top. Probably means snow, although I haven't checked the forecast in a few days. I've been buried in work and Alzheimer's disease of the early onset variety.

Did you know that there are specific tests available to detect Alzheimer's in utero and by a simple blood test? There are. It's only for the early onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) because that is as a result of faulty genes that are passed on. Offspring have a 50% chance of getting EOAD. They say drowning is pleasant when you quit struggling and from what I read in Lisa Genova's Still Alice Alzheimer's is very much like drowning. Sad, haunting, devastating and touching, although I don't care for Alice's husband who loves his work more than he loves his wife. I suppose life must go on even when one's partner is there and not there.

Finally got a box of books out to Aunt Anne and right this moment she is giving Jaye her autographed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family. Jaye will be "over the moon" according to Aunt Anne because a contributing author sent her a signed copy. At least she is easy to please. Timmy will give my fan his copy of the book this weekend, but I sure hope he reads On Esther Time because in the future it may well be him.

Aunt Anne told me as soon as she opened the box and took out the book she had to read it and she loved the story, and the signed copy of Past Imperfect I sent, which she will not loan out to Jaye. That one stays in Aunt Anne's possession.

I just finished Ted Dekker's new book, and the final book of a four-book cycle, Green. It's really good and I have to get the other three books, Black, Red, and White. This is strange fare but it's also fascinating. The characters and world created are amazing and although there is a strong good and evil element to the book, it's not overwhelming. The story takes precedence over the religious themes. If the other three books are as good as this one, I may have to check out more of Dekker's writing. I haven't been that engrossed in a very long time.

Well, breakfast is almost over and I need to get back to the work of editing and laundry, so arrivaderci, au revoir, bye-bye.

That is all. Disperse.