“Woman Shot, Killed After Saying No To A Man’s Advances, Detroit Police Say” ~ Headline on sexual harassment article

sexual harassment

For the complete long-form comic, click on the image.


80 Percent of Female Restaurant Workers Say They’ve Been Harassed by Customers ~ Headline on sexual harassment article

Wednesday, late afternoon. Sunny and 81 degrees.

my name is not

From “Stop Telling Women To Smile” by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

I came across this article in The Telegraph the other day and have been holding it, trying to decide how to approach it. I’ve finally decided that the best approach is the direct one: I’m posting the first half of the article with a link to the complete copy instead of just summarizing it.

Look, just from recent conversations with Corey it has been hammered home to me that the whole idea of sexual politics, sexual assault, sexual harassment will always be viewed differently by the sexes. Men can relate, but they cannot understand, not as a woman. And women can understand how precarious it is for men to be out there, walking on proverbial eggshells, but we may not sympathize.

While some men (most?) see catcalls as being flattering, most women (some?) find them anything but. Just because I put on something nice and I’m walking down this sidewalk, it doesn’t mean that I want complete strangers to hoot at me and tell me how they want to bend my body in weird ways. I didn’t get dressed with your approval in mind, and your admonition that I would look so much better if I smiled doesn’t matter one iota to me, and frankly, did I tell you that your polyester striped tie with the egg stain would look so much better in the trash?

Since I was a teenager I have walked to my car with my keys in my hand, parked beneath street lights whenever possible, etc. I know not to park between two vans or in a blind spot. Ask a male if he ever thinks about holding his keys as weapons in his hand. Ask a man if he ever wonders if someone is going to jump out from a dense hedge and attack him. Ask a man if his father ever gave him pepper spray as a gift.

not outside for your entertaiment Fazlalizadeh

From “Stop Telling Women To Smile” by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Conversely, what happens to the guy who is just doing his job, who has a female co-worker come on to him, and that same guy refuses her. What is his recourse when she reports him for harassment? Will the supervisor believe the man or the woman?

It’s all far too complex to whittle it down to a few pat phrases or to tackle in just one post. I could dedicate a blog to this topic, and there are countless ones out there already (take a look at just this one page of the Huffington Post on sexual harassment). I mean, just consider a few key news items from the past few months involving the NFL, American Apparel, the military, Congress, Tinder, Yahoo, and on and on and on . . .

I just know that I can never sleep with my doors unlocked or my windows open, at least not here, and maybe not anywhere. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve known women who have been victims of it, and I’ve been a victim, too—a victim of the groping and the hooting, the unwanted touches and the leers.

We tell our daughters just to ignore it, to be safe, to be aware. But what do we tell our sons?


Woman vows to confront ‘cowards’ after being punched for challenging groper ~ The Telegraph (27 August 2014)

Mary Brandon was left with horrific facial injuries after a man punched her in the face because she told him to stop groping her

The 22-year-old has shared images of her injuries on Facebook and claimed she would be punched again rather than let the

The 22-year-old has shared images of her injuries on Facebook and claimed she would be punched again rather than let the “coward” get away with it 
Photo: National News and Pictures

By Claire Carter

A woman who needed hospital treatment because a man punched her in the face after she told him to stop groping her has vowed not to let threats of violence stop her challenging sexual assaults.

Mary Brandon was dancing with friends when her bottom was groped by the man at Notting Hill Carnival in west London during the Bank Holiday weekend.

But when she told the man to stop and not repeat what he was doing, he punched her in the face with such force she had to be taken to hospital and was left with a swollen face and painful bruising.

The 22-year-old has shared images of her injuries on Facebook and claimed she would be punched again rather than let the “coward” get away with it. The image has been shared thousands of times.

Ms Brandon has thanked the NHS nurses and carnival officials who helped her on Monday after the attack.

She has also posted a message criticising her attacker and his sexist violence next to the photo. She described him groping her and said when she asked him to stop, he did the same again.

“I pushed him away, exercising my right to tell man to stop touching my body without permission, so he took a swing at me and punched me in the face,” she wrote.

The graphic image showed her right eye bloodied and bulging, with bruising across her face, which needed treatment at the carnival and in hospital.

She added: “Carnival is supposed to be about community and good vibes.

“I wanted to have a good time but instead I spent nine hours in A&E because of this coward.

“A woman should be able to leave the house without fear of being sexually assaulted.

“And she should be able to defend herself without being put in hospital.

“The saddest this about this for me was discussing with my friends afterward whether in future it would be best not to do anything at all.

“Maybe it would be safer to just ignore it when someone invades your space and body.”

Police said there were a number of assaults and sexual assaults reported to have taken place at the carnival.

Ms Brandon added: “I can honestly say I will always stand up to someone who thinks they can get away with this behaviour and I would take a punch again from this loser or any other loser who thinks it is ok to treat women like this.”

Read the rest of the article here.

                   

“Wednesday” by Olivia Cole

It’s that time again . . .

Banned Books Week September 21-27, 2014

“Our most basic freedom in a democratic society is our first amendment right of the freedom to read,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “Banned Books Week is an opportunity for all of us – community residents, librarians, authors and educators – to stand together protecting this fundamental right for everyone and for future generations. We can never take this precious right for granted.”

Monday night, late. No idea what the weather is like at this moment . . .

It’s Banned Books Week, and you know how I feel about that. I found the wonderful poem by Robert Morgan below, and it really touched a nerve for me. You see, I taught myself to read with Superman comic books. My dad got so tired of me wanting him to read to me all of the time that he told me that I should learn to read for myself. I was four.

Anyway, I don’t care what your background is, who you are, what color you are, what your country of origin is—reading is one of the most powerful tools in the world. Reading is knowledge, and the idea that there are books and comics that should not be read for whatever reason just slays me. You see, I have seen illiteracy up close. It’s ugly, very ugly.

So if I young child comes to you with a book or comic and asks you to read it, don’t say no. Never say no. It doesn’t matter if you like it. It doesn’t matter if you agree with it. Words can save us all. Do not deny anyone that access.

Read to your children. Read to your siblings. Read to your grandchildren, your nieces, your nephews, your neighbors. You want to make this a better world? Read to someone, and then, teach them to read for themselves.

More later. Peace.

Important Links:

                   

Funny Books

Because my parents had denied
me comic books as sordid and
salacious, I would sneak a look
at those of friends, the bold and bright
slick covers, pages rough as news
and inked in pinks and greens and blues
as cowboys shouted in balloons
and Indian yells were printed on
the clouds. I borrowed books and hid
them in the crib and under shoes
and under bed. The glories of
those hyperbolic zaps and screams
were my illuminated texts,
the chapbook prophets of forbidden
and secret art, the narratives
of quest and conquest in the West,
of Superman and Lash Larue.
The print and pictures cruder than
the catalog were sweeter than
the cake at Bible School. I crouched
in almost dark and swilled the words
that soared in their balloons and bulbs
of grainy breath into my pulse,
into the stratosphere of my
imagination, reaching Mach
and orbit speed, escape velocity
just at the edge of Sputnik’s age,
in stained glass windows of the page.

~ Robert Morgan

                    

Music by Greg Holden, “The Lost Boy”

“I’m up to my ears in unwritten words.” ~ J.D. Salinger, excerpt from a letter to Jean Miller

 


“I feel a stupefying pressure under my skin. I want to pierce everything and penetrate as far down as possible. I want to reach the depths of the earth. My love is there, in the place where seeds grow green and roots reach one another, and creation perpetuates itself amidst decay. It’s as if my body were a temporary and transient form of it. I want to reach its source. I want to hang my heart like a ripened fruit on all the branches of the trees.” ~ Forugh Farrokhzad, from Another Birth and Other Poems

 Wednesday evening. Hazy, hot and humid, 95 degrees.

I’m on day three of this prednizone run for this particular intractable migraine episode, and the pain had gotten better, but I fear the heat is going to muck things up.

It’s hot. It’s ungodly hot. It’s Hades hot. It’s volcanic hot (well, perhaps not quite). It’s so hot that when I look at the ground I see waves, bands of heat floating above the asphalt. We’ve been out in the heat for two days now, today in Brett’s car with its dying AC. So frigging hot. The driving test will have to be redone. Nerves. But we found a doggy companion for Brett to take with him, a good pick, a real sweetie of a dog at the Norfolk Animal Care center. I think a dog is just what he needs, for so many reasons, which I won’t go into now because it’s hot, and like that witch, I’m mellltttingggggggg……

Gah. It’s hot. No breeze. No storms. Just putrifying, paralyzing hotter than hot heat, and we haven’t even topped 100 yet (we always do).

Did I mention I don’t do hot well? Probably? Well, it bears repeating. The heat and the accompanying sun kill my head. The heat makes me nauseous, makes me not want to eat, only drink cold sweaty things in tall glasses. I feel like squirting my whole body with lemon juice, which for some reason seems that it would be cooling, but would probably just attract insects.

” . . . throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.’” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Behhhh. It’s too hot to get in the pool. Truly. The pool water is like bathwater, and the sun is well, sun, you know, bright, and all of that.

I don’t really have anything to say, other than my running commentary on the weather, my happiness for Brett’s canine adoption, my looming anxiety over the ensuing move, and a deep-seated desire for central air that I could set on 65 degrees. Also, I think/know that I’m sad about all of the doggies that I had to leave behind at the shelters because, well, another dog here? No, not quite. Have to wait until we have a place with some land, and trees, and goats . . . yep, rambling. Heat makes my mind turn to pudding and then shut down.

If I were alone, I would take off all of my clothes, lay atop my bed sheets, and just melt, well, perhaps alternately melt and hydrate.

On that note, I think I’ll stop. Oh, just one more thing:

It’s too damned hot to leave an animal in a car with the windows just slightly down, and I really shouldn’t have to tell you that you don’t leave children in hot cars, and if the sidewalk is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your animals.

People please, brains much?

More later. Peace.

All images reflect the state of my brain today.

Music by Nirvana, “Lake of Fire” (unplugged)

                   

The Ordinary Weather of Summer

In the ordinary weather of summer
with storms rumbling from west to east
like so many freight trains hauling
their cargo of heat and rain,
the dogs sprawl on the back steps, panting,
insects assemble at every window,
and we quarrel again, bombarding
each other with small grievances,
our tempers flashing on and off
in bursts of heat lightning.
In the cooler air of morning,
we drink our coffee amicably enough
and walk down to the sea
which seems to tremble with meaning
and into which we plunge again and again.
The days continue hot.
At dusk the shadows are as blue
as the lips of the children stained
with berries or with the chill
of too much swimming.
So we move another summer closer
to our last summer together—
a time as real and implacable as the sea
out of which we come walking
on wobbly legs as if for the first time,
drying ourselves with rough towels,
shaking the water out of our blinded eyes.

~ Linda Pastan


 

P.S.

“Contrary to what people may say, there’s no upper limit to stupidity. We can make everything stupider.” ~ Stephen Colbert

                   

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” ~ Albert Einstein

Saturday afternoon. Partly cloudy and not as hot, 79 degrees.

A different kind of post today . . .

Reblogged from Felicia’s Melange:

So there’s this awesome video of a 7 year old girl doing Karate AMAZINGLY, you have to watch, and literally I was so horrified at some of the TOP COMMENTS I had to pull some of them out.

Here is the video:

                   

John Cleese

You’re not deep. You’re not intellectual. You’re not an artist. You’re not a critic. You’re not a poet. You just have internet access.” ~ Unknown

When I came across the above screenshots on tumblr, I became intrigued, so much so that I actually went to the original YouTube video so that I could look at some of the comments. It was a mistake. I soon found myself clicking the “show more” button over and over. I couldn’t look away from the stupidity that was unfolding before my very eyes. I kept going and going and going.

I mean, I just didn’t understand. Why all the hate for a seven-year-old girl? So I decided that I’d tried to cull some of the more representative ones and share them with you here. To what end? I’m not exactly certain. I only know that once I post about something that’s bothering me, I can process it better, and with any luck, I can put this out of my mind for the rest of the day. So here goes . . .

Here are even more stupidly insulting comments:

video comments1

Notice how “Steve Rogers” ultimately resorts to calling the commenter the c word, because, you know, comparing someone to some part of female anatomy is the ultimate put down in this douche-bag’s world.

Here’s another in the same vein:

video comments6

or this:

video comments5

or this:

video comments7

Just have to love the ones who take the “I could do that” stance:

video comments9

or the ones who tried to argue the point that body strength is what it’s all about, completely ignoring the whole point of the kata.  I just loved all the comments about how she would get her ass kicked in a street fight, or how she’s wasting her time learning about karate because she couldn’t do MMA . . .

video comments11

video comments13

And of course you have the ones who think they have the right to judge her on her looks, because that’s totally what this video is about:

video comments12

Try to talk to people with this mindset about how inappropriate and hateful that is, and of course, they end up calling you a name, like bitch . . . The people on this forum who tried repeatedly to explain that this is a kata, that katas are not used for self defense were shut down. The naysayers still had to find fault with it. Try to point out that her exhibition is about mastery of breathing, form, movement, that it’s about precision. Not important. It must be ridiculed because it’s a little girl.

video comments10

 

Of course, the dumbasses making these comments will always fall back on the tired excuse: “I was only joking.” And that’s supposed to make it all just fine. Because joking about doing a child harm is perfectly acceptable because, ha ha, it’s all in good fun.

Until it’s not.

And I particularly loved the people who made comments like “she can’t possibly have a black belt at 7″ or “maybe it’s a kid blackbelt”, or “in my dojo, ya da ya da ya da. It makes me wonder where and by whom some of these jokers were taught. McDojo, anyone?

video comments8

There are the positives, of course, but the stupids cannot allow that, again resorting to the predictable name-calling because “Shut up bitch” always works when you have nothing intelligent to say:

video comments4

I also want to point out that there is a video of her 10-year-old brother, and the comments are almost all positive: “brilliant,” or “talented,” or “excellent.” Those posting want to know about his father, or his master, or what form is being presented. I didn’t find anyone who wanted to kick him in the head or kick him in the chest, or anything along those lines.

Why am I going on about this? Because once again, even in something as innocuous as a YouTube video about a young girl exhibiting remarkable control and talent, the males in the forum (of course not all, but a great many in this case) have to negate it, have to put it and her in its place.

Fortunately, I found one with which I absolutely agree:

video comments2

I could go on and on, but I realize that I’m allowing yet another open forum commentary to ruin my whole day, so I’ll stop now, or after just one more thing: Whoever Jack Call is in this forum, I could just hug him because unlike me and people like me who just can’t help but become ired by all of this stupidity, Jack Call just repeatedly says, “She’s 7,”w which is actually the point, right?

video comments14More later. Peace.

“I beg your pardon I didn’t recognize you—I’ve changed a lot.” ~ Oscar Wilde

When in doubt, Oscar Wilde’s words will always work . . .

 

Saturday afternoon. Partly cloudy and mild, 73 degrees.

Apparently, I have a new follower. And she loves to comment. And she thinks I’m someone else, because apparently anyone using the moniker Lola, must be the same individual. And apparently, I have lots of time with which to run multiple websites.

Cool.

Apparently, this is who I am:

lovelolaheart

I am a writer and have lived in Manhattan for most of my life. In addition to the random musings of my blog, I am presently working on a sci-fi novel, two mystery novels and a book on my saint squeeze, the Archangel Michael.

Man, I wish that I were this busy . . . and I wish that I had as many books in the works as this particular Lola claims to have. But what is up with the Kate Middleton fixation on both ends of this, er, um, dialogue?

Anyway, apparently, Gillian, my new best friend, thinks that I’ll take down her messages. Oh, my. Not for a million dollars would I delete any of this.

Although I have refrained from reverting to editor role and correcting grammar and syntax, I must admit that I just couldn’t help but respond here and there (emphasis and/or responses in italics mine). Oh and, feel free to comment. You guys (all three to five of you) know that I love to get comments.

Enjoy.

Gillian

I want you to post this to your Kate-Hate bitches too, see below:
Although I know you will take down my posts (not a chance) on this and your other crappy websites (would you mind terribly letting me know about these as I must be neglecting them from my dearth of knowledge as to their existence), I have spent – ie. wasted – enough time perusing your self-obsessed, ultimately self-hating whining against other women who have done you no harm. I will leave you to your shameful secret web-mining and hateful group-shaming and bullying posts against Kate Middleton  and other women you have never, and will never, meet. I have a backlog of Veep episodes (I’ve heard this is a really good show) to watch which is a far better use of my time. You will never make it as a legitimate published writer – also remember this crap is uploaded forever and will come back to bite you. You should have stuck to quilling! (what an interesting word, and it implies that I actually may have some artistic talent, which I don’t) You may big-time yourself (is big-time a verb? I’m confused) at Starbucks with your laptop (man, so my other self has a laptop? So jealous), but as you judge, remember most of those “little people” around you think good thoughts, including about a woman trying to do her best to bring good cheer to others. Face it, it is more than you do in your quotidian routine life (love this phrase, perhaps I’ll borrow it). She puts forward her best inner self and actively works on her outer health and beauty too. Since you don’t, you therefore choose to hate her for it. Gosh I’m glad I’m not you! Errhh, this whole web-interaction (were we interacting? Sorry, wasn’t paying attention) has left me feeling a bit depressed that the internet now gives unsuccessful writers, who would never have the talent or resilience to get past the junior editor or press cadetship, a chance to publish their rants. This is why fascism, racism and sexism exist, intolerant and judgemental people like you…(PS. If you can publish anonymously, (um, I don’t publish anonymously; anyone wanting to can see my identity) why can’t I? Hypocrite)

Gillian (I guess she wanted to make sure I really paid attention to this comment, so she posted it twice, but I think that it would be overkill if I were to make the same responses twice.)

Although I know you will take down my posts on this and your other crappy websites, I have spent – ie. wasted – enough time perusing your self-obsessed, ultimately self-hating whining against other women who have done you no harm. I will leave you to your shameful secret web-mining and hateful group-shaming and bullying posts against Kate Middleton and other women you have never, and will never, meet. I have a backlog of Veep episodes to watch which is a far better use of my time. You will never make it as a legitimate published writer – also remember this crap is uploaded forever and will come back to bite you. You should have stuck to quilling! You may big-time yourself at Starbucks with your laptop, but as you judge, remember most of those “little people” around you thing good thoughts, including about a woman trying to do her best to bring good cheer to others. Face it, it is more than you do in your quotidian routine life. She puts forward her best inner self and actively works on her outer health and beauty too. Since you don’t, you therefore choose to hate her for it. Gosh I’m glad I’m not you! Errhh, this whole web-interaction has left me feeling a bit depressed that the internet now gives unsuccessful writers, who would never have the talent or resilience to get past the junior editor or press cadetship, a chance to publish their rants. This is why fascism, racism and sexism exist, intolerant and judgemental people like you…(PS. If you can publish anonymously, why can’t I? Hypocrite)

(Let me pause here for a moment: Gillian, my dear, I have to agree with you on this one: Lola of lovelolaheart does seem to be obsessed with the Duchess. It’s kind of weird, isn’t it?)

Gillian

Anyone visiting this page, please refer to the bitchy envious attacks against someone this woman has never met at: lovelolaheart.com, (I have to admit that I am a bit torqued that this Lola is using the word musings in the title of her blog; that’s my word; I like the internal alliteration) then see if you want to keep reading this so-called “liberal” and “feminist”. She never got over being the unattractive little pudgy girl (um, pudgy now, yes, but in school, a bit too skinny, just saying) from an ethnic background (Filipino. Let’s be clear here) at school, rather than wanting to be the posh Anglo-Saxon prefect (Prefect? As in, you know, one of those students in charge at Hogwarts? Now that would be cool). Show ALL your posts to a psychiatrist and start drinking genuinely good coffee (I happen to like my coffee, Mayorga; it’s strong and tasty) (at the Grumpy Cafe for example where you will feel intimidated by genuinely creative people) rather than spending hours in Starbucks (If I did this, it would mean that I would a) have to leave the house, and b) have the money to hang out drinking Starbucks coffee) pretending to yourself that you are a writer, sneering at the little people.

Gillian

You and your other Kate-Hate friends are all a bunch of hypocrites (I have friends?).You profess to that you are not making envious attacks, that you are concerned Kate Middleton carries out insufficient royal duties, that she is undermining the institution of royalty, that you had to work full-time as well as raise children, that royalty is waste a money and irrelevant. Yet you all (fifteen of you) (wow, fifteen? Really? Are they all named Lola? Where are these fifteen duchess disparagers?) seem to spend hours trawling the internet and blogging comments that are misogynistic, indirectly aggressive (the psych term for bitchy), derogatory and highly critical – despite claiming that you are not at all jealous. (Now I must pause here and be serious for one moment: I’ve been called many things, but misogynistic is definitely not one of them. Perhaps, Gillian, you should look through my posts for the past six years, which, by the way, also serves as a direct indicator that I didn’t start this blog to excoriate the Duchess.) So why do you care? How does it negatively impact on your life? If it doesn’t, why are you wasting your time being a “Mean Girl” to someone you never met in such a cowardly way? You would never, ever say this to the woman’s face, or her husbands, were you by chance to meet her. If you say you would, then protest publicly in your real name with a real address by writing a letter to a UK newspaper – if you don’t have the guts, then why are you wasting your time on this. Maybe you should spend it constructively doing charitable works yourself at a local women’s shelter or playing/socialising with those kids that you had to raise part-time for the hours every week you spend on this drivel. If you are unwilling to show your writings to a colleague outside any posters on this page, then you are exhibiting shame and embarrassment about this activity.(Beg to differ with you on this particular point, only as regards my actual blog: I don’t share my writings with any colleagues because, well, I don’t have any of those any more, not since going out on disability, just my meager little audience here who can attest that I am actually not at all interested in the goings-on of any royals, anywhere.) I can’t believe there are adult women, many of whom have university educations, participating in this exercise in the group-shaming of a young woman who has never committed a crime, never abused a child, never purposefully behaved harmfully towards another human-being (You are absolutely spot on here, Gillian). She wears a thong because if she had a visible panty line, no doubt the press would pick on it (TMITMITMI). She wears off-the-rack accessible clothing and unfortunately, helicopter down-draft caused her skirt to flap for less than a second. She has been photographed behaving with goodwill in an appropriate manner millions of times by now. The travel agent amateur photographers is being ostracised by the local community in the Blue Mountains now because they consider her behaviour towards a young woman generously bringing funds and publicity towards their plight disgraceful. That’s reflects the way almost all people would respond to the comments on this and similar pages you all frequent. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, was what my mother used to quote. (I’ll just let this speak for itself, shall I?) I would say this to each of you to your face. If you can’t honestly say that you would post this garbage in your own name, in full knowledge of your family, friends and colleagues, then don’t waste the world’s and your own time. If you think you need psychological help because you recognise that it is odd to demonstrate so much ill-feeling towards a woman you actually don’t know or have any interaction with, then please get it (I will certainly address this with my therapist at my next appointment, but it will have to come right after my ongoing discussion regarding my response to recently losing my last parent. Priorities, don’t you know). Publish the Blue Mountains Mayor’s comments because they reflect what most people think, not your own mean-spirited musings…. Bet you don’t even have the guts to post this or his comments Lolita (Hooray! You got my name right!). I am going to refer you and other Kate-Hate middle-aged ranters (love this) to the Daily Mail as story material. Your self-obsessed and hateful behaviour is appalling – no wonder you also have a low opinion of yourself.

Okay, now seriously, I cannot tell you how much this collection of comments has brightened my Saturday afternoon. It’s been a very long time since anyone paid any attention to my little blog, other than the few compatriots who lend me a bit of their time by commenting on my relatively inane ramblings. The last time this happened, it was the psycho stalker who was hanging about in the shadows wreaking havoc. That individual chose not to come forth and identify herself, so that makes this little interlude all the more special.

It’s funny, but whenever someone attempts to disparage me, I always think of Oscar Wilde, who, because of his lifestyle, was constantly harangued in the press, yet he chose to respond with wit and wisdom. I only wish that I could be so urbane, but as I am not, I decided to include some of Wilde’s more apropos words.

So I’m taking the following from Gillian’s (I’ve always loved that name) rather heated rant:

  • Lola (of the other site), stole my musings phraseology
  • Said Lola writes a lot about Kate Middleton, none of it very flattering
  • Somehow, that Lola, and my alter-ego Lola have merged to become one.
  • This rather unsettling intermix has resulted in a reality akin to that strange movie Inception.

For the record:

  • I happen to think that Kate Middleton is beautiful and stylish, and her son is adorable, but other than that, I don’t really spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating the Duchess or the royals in any significant fashion.
  • I may be a bitch, but I am never a misogynist, nor am I remotely fascist.
  • Intolerant? Me? Seriously?
  • My aggression is never indirect.
  • And yes, I can be very judgmental (just ask my family), but I am never ever racist.
  • I am in no way embarrassed by anything that I write in this blog.
  • I have never made any attempt to hide my identity, but I choose not to post my full name on here because I don’t want to show up on some pedophile’s Internet search for
    “lovely young Lolitas.”
  • Someone once asked my mother if I was malnourished because I was so skinny as a child. Would that it were so now.
  • Telling me that the Duchess wears a thong is too much information.
  • Who is the Blue Mountain mayor?
  • If I ever were to meet the Duchess (not that that is even remotely likely in this lifetime), I would do the polite thing and call her “Your Majesty.”
  • I have never been called a bully, and I would need to belong to a group in order to participate in group-shaming.
  • You are probably correct in saying that I will never make it as a published writer, except for that niggling little detail that I actually have published a few poems and essays, articles, and a retrospective booklet, just not the mysterious mystery, the plot of which continually bounces around in my brain.
  • Who are these little people of whom you speak?
  • And as far as not making it past a junior editor, well perhaps you are correct; although since I worked as a senior editor that assessment may be a bit off the mark.

Thank you, Gillian. Truly. It’s been lovely.

More later. Peace.

Music by The Kinks, “Lola” (what else?)

                  

Confessions

I once shoplifted
a tin of Vienna sausages.
Crouched in the aisle
as if to study the syllables
of preservatives, tore off the lid,
pulled out a wiener and sucked it down.

I’ve cheated on exams.
Made love to foldouts.
Walked my paper route in a snowstorm after dark,
so I could steal down a particular alley
where through her gauze curtains, a lady
lounged with her nightgown undone.

I’ve thrown sticks at stray dogs.
Ignored the cat scratching to come inside.
Even in the rain.
Sat for idle hours in front of the TV, and not two feet away
the philodendrons for lack of a glass of water
gasped and expired.

So many excuses I’ve concocted to get by.
Called in sick when I was not. Grabbed credit
for happy accidents I had no hand in.
Pointed fingers
to pin the innocent with crimes
unmistakably mine.

I have failed
to learn from grievous error.
Repeated gossip.
Invented gossip. Held hands
in a circle of friends to rejoice
over the misfortune of strangers.
Pushed over tombstones.
Danced the devil’s jig.

Once, when I was barely old enough
to walk home on my own, I hid
behind an abandoned garage.
Counted sixteen windows.
Needed only four handfuls of stones
to break every one.

 ~ Lowell Jaeger

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” ~ William Gibson

Lawren Harris Houses Group XXXIII

“Houses, Group XXXIII”
by Lawren Harris

                   

“It’s much easier to not know things sometimes. Things change and friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody.” ~ Stephen Chbosky, from The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Tuesday afternoon, New Year’s Eve. Partly cloudy and cold, 46 degrees.

So here we are, at the end of another year. How strange, how very, very strange. A part of me is still somewhere around 2005, and another part is in 1996. No particular reason. Those weren’t landmark years in any fashion, but still points in time, points in which I rested. But 2014?

Lawren Harris Little House oil on paperboard 1911

“Little House” (1911, oil on paperboard)
by Lawren Harris

That’s a very strange year, for some reason. I still have such vivid memories of the turning hour between 1999 and 2000, how we had to have one person stay at work to make sure the systems didn’t collapse at 12:01; I never thought they would, never held much stock in that whole end of days scenario. But that was fourteen years ago.

How very strange.

I spent New Year’s Eve of 1999 on a boat with friends and a person who wanted to be more than friends, and the entire situation was more than a bit surreal. I think that was the last end of the year celebration I attended. Corey and I have always preferred a quiet evening at home together rather than risking the roads and the drunks. But I’m fairly certain this is might be one of only two New Year’s Eve nights that I have been away from Corey.

How very strange.

“It’s a lot easier to say when something ended rather than when it began. Most of us can recognize the end from a mile away, but the beginning always slips up on us, lulling us into thinking what we’re living through is yet another moment, in yet another day.” ~ Steve Yarbrough, from Safe from the Neighbors

We are still in limbo as to when exactly Corey will be home. At first it was going to be on January 2, then January 5, then January 2 again, now? Maybe January 20? That’s if they decide to keep him on this particular ship a bit longer and then to throw him into some more training. I’m really hoping that it’s not this particular scenario, but something tells me that it will be. And after all, it’s not exactly as if he can say no, is it?

Lawren Harris Red House, Winter 1925

“Red House, Winter” (1925)
by Lawren Harris

First hitch with a new company, you do whatever you have to do to make it work. I understand that, but understanding and liking are miles apart. And I’m wondering if it’s going to work out that Corey never even sees this year’s Christmas tree. The other time he wasn’t home for Christmas day, he was home a few days later, which made it much easier. This?

Not so much.

So . . . here we are. Getting ready to count down the minutes until this year is over and next year begins.

I know. I cannot continue to remark on the strangeness for the entire blog, so I will make an honest attempt to stop.

“You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. ~ Pablo Neruda, from “A Song of Despair”

Anyway, I should know more about Corey’s schedule later today, and I’ll have le bébé by this evening, so my part plans are firm. How about yours?

I’m also hoping that Bailey’s stomach starts to feel better as she has been making the whole house stink. I’m pretty sure her stomach problems have arisen from trying to eat one of the puppy toys that I bought for the dogs’ Christmas. Tillie had loved a ball that Jake had (Jake being Corey’s parents’ dog), and I found one while shopping that I thought would be pretty dog-proof as far as chewing.

Not so much. I started to see little pink pieces of rubber around the house a few days ago. I finally found what was left of the ball and threw it in the garbage, but not before Bailey deposited several nasty leavings of her dinner around the house, one, unfortunately, on the bed.

Lawren Harris Houses, Winter, City Painting V 1920

“Winter, City Painting V” (1920, oil)
by Lawren Harris

Yep. Pretty gross. Anyway, she never seemed sick, except for the gas and occasional vomiting, as she was as playful as ever. I suppose I’ll just have to remember that not every dog has a Labrador’s constitution. I still remember reading about a Lab who ate locks, as in locks from lockers. When her owners finally found out, she had eaten about five of them and had to have an operation. Labs will eat anything . . .

By the way, when I chose the quote for this section, I honestly did not have that little story in mind.

“Everything has started in such sharp detail, each aspect pronounced and clear. Obviously, endings were different. Harder to see, full of shapes that could be one thing or another, with all the things that you were once so sure of suddenly not familiar, if they were even recognizable at all.” ~  Sarah Dessen, from The Moon and More

As I said, later this afternoon I will have Olivia, which is a very good thing, something to take my mind off everything else. She’s such a funny little person, already saying so many words, already expressing so many facets of a personality in flux. One of her presents from us this year was this wild-looking stuffed monkey, and she loves it. She makes monkey sounds, too.

One of her Baby Einstein books has lots of animals in it, and when I read it to her, I make all of the animal sounds, except for a ladybug. What kind of sound does a ladybug make?

When I think about anyone hurting her, it makes me crazy. It was the same with my children. The very idea that anyone might ever harm them filled me with such a blind rage. But they’re out there. Not just the pervs, the ones everyone fears, but the people who believe in beating a young child, beating a baby, as if inflicting pain will stop the crying, as if repeated strikes will somehow bend a child to conform.

Lawren Harris, Pine Tree and Red House, Winter, City Painting II 1924

“Pine Tree and Red House, Winter, City Painting II” (1924)
by Lawren Harris

That has always just blown my mind—those ignoramuses out their who believe that shaking a baby or beating a toddler is okay, is the way to handle a situation. Where does that mindset come from? I have a vague memory of the police being in the parents’ waiting room at the hospital where Caitlin was a patient, there to question some parents about how their child came to be hurt. I remember feeling that blind rage again—all of the parents who were there just begging for their childrens’ lives, and these two had thrown theirs away.

Sorry, really didn’t mean to go there. I’ll try to regroup.

“Everything comes to an end. A good bottle of wine, a summer’s day, a long-running sitcom, one’s life, and eventually our species. The question for many of us is not that everything will come to an end but when. And can we do anything vaguely useful until it does?” ~ Jasper Fforde, from The Woman Who Died a Lot

And now for something completely different . . . here’s a bit of history for you:

The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days.

Supposedly, the first time the new year was celebrated on January 1st was “in Rome in 153 B.C. (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 B.C., when the second king of Rome, Numa Pontilius, added the months of January and February.)” But it was in 46 B.C.E. that Julius Caesar who made January 1st the official start of a new year with the introduction of the Julian calendar, which was solar based:

Lawren Harris Toronto Houses 1919

“Toronto Houses” (c1919, oil on beaverboard)
by Lawren Harris

Janus was the Roman god of doors and gates, and had two faces, one looking forward and one back.  Caesar felt that the month named after this god (“January”) would be the appropriate “door” to the year . . . In later years, Roman pagans observed the New Year by engaging in drunken orgies—a ritual they believed constituted a personal re-enacting of the chaotic world that existed before the cosmos was ordered by the gods.

During the Middle Ages, this practice was abolished because of its pagan roots and did not return until 1582, when the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as new year’s day.

So how was that for a complete 180? Whiplash?

I hope you have a lovely safe evening, and best wishes for the coming year.

More later. Peace.

All images are by Canadian artist Lawren Harris (1885 – 1970), a key figure in the Group of Seven. I don’t know which I like better, his houses with the splashes of red, or his lakes, with various shades of blue.

Music by Gregory Alan Isakov, “That Moon Song”

                   

Moth; or how I came to be with you again

— I remember when I touched my
sleeping mother’s hair, it sparked in
my hands and I thought she was
inhuman, but I was young, and only
years later would I understand she
was under the spell of an erotic
dream — I remember a white door
emboldened with a laurel wreath
leading into a basement where we
retreated frequently in the tornado
season — I remember how day after
day would pass while nothing
happened and how without mercy
time would gather weight, accrete a
green patina on the locket I chipped
with a long fingernail — I remember
the swaying firs made a whanging of
rusted girders I thought would
collapse — I remember sitting at my
desk before my most precious
things, sheets of graph paper,
diagrams, folders, waterlogged and
moulded charts, and then
unannounced he would come to me,
moving my hand automatically
across these pages — I remember
the gathering darkness of a thousand
incidents I never witnessed, and yet
bird by bird they separated
themselves into moments of bright
singularity — I remember that I
possess no real memory of my
mother and only know at all she even
existed by evidence of my own pale
skin and the double-helix twisted
under it into an X — I remember
blurry light, rain on an awning, and
then being lifted and placed into a red
wagon — I remember when the
earth was for me, for the last time in
its history, still elastic as cartilage,
had not fully solidified into the
obstacle of the known, the terrible,
stubborn thing called fact — I
remember it was the hibiscus winter,
because she said so — I remember
writing these words, but only barely,
but one after another stone-like in
their materiality they are undeniable
— I remember remembering a
dream, under a low ceiling of
illuminated clouds swirling in a
tarantella, I rode weeping along the
boulevard of an empty city newly in
ruins where each crumbling
museum was my hidden and
sumptuous destitution — I
remember someone informed me he
had once hanged himself from his
swing set, then the memory infected
me, became my own — I remember
a small, A-frame house, and
watching the hawthorn wasting in an
emollient sea wind —  I remember a
white door —  I remember it was the
hibiscus winter — I remember
thinking I had been comatose a
thousand years, though this is surely
false, and in my uncorroborated
absence the whole fungible world in
a moment of chemical agony had
changed in irreversible ways — I
remember how everything tasted
dark —  I remember things I’ve never
felt — a seagull feather brushing my
lips, a turquoise shell, my shoulders
festooned with flowers — I
remember thinking what was in my
mind was put there by others, by
books I read, by objects I looked at
but did not own — I remember
wondering if other memories
remained in the twilight regions of my
mind where my failed loves were
soil, and if soon someone would
enlighten me to things I had done
and then, years later, I would
remember them as real — I
remember tender hands covered in
snow — I remember the city, the
flames immanent as flowers,  patient
to burst forth — I remember my
favourite word once was —

~ Thomas Heise

 

“I think my life is of great importance, but I also think it is meaningless.” ~ Albert Camus

George Bellows Churn and Break oil on panel 1913

“Churn and Break” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

                    

“Why walk in the eye of a private tornado,
looking as if your life depended on taking cover
sooner rather than later?” ~ Rachel Wetzsteon, from “Questions and Answers”

Wednesday afternoon. Cloudy and mild, sixty-two degrees.

A very bad night, restless, a creeping headache. Then this morning the pain medication caught up with me, and my body began to itch all over. Why am I telling you this? Who knows. A preamble to what is to come? Perhaps.

George Bellows Tang of the Sea 1913

“Tang of the Sea” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Burrows

You see, my mother is driving me crazy. For the past few weeks she has been calling me, nearly hysterical over her car. Right after she broke her leg she bought a new Honda. I tried to talk her out of it, but she would not hear of it. I think she felt she needed a new Honda mostly because Lex and Mike had bought one. Anyway, I was not involved in the financing of it; why would I be? But she had a balloon payment at the end of three years. Ever since the Honda finance people contacted her about said payment and her options my world has turned to crap.

At one point I intervened and spoke with the general manager of the dealership that sold her the car. We had things straightened out. Then my mother got back on the phone, and chaos ensued again. Now she is calling me, telling me that the stress of this is making her heart race, saying that she just can’t take it.

Which leads me to this: Does the woman ever stop to think that perhaps someone else is having a really bad day? That the person on the other end of the telephone my be a tad overwhelmed with stress?

Short answer: No. Never.

“And somewhat as in blind night, on a mild sea, a sailor may be made aware of an iceberg, fanged and mortal, bearing invisibly near, by the unwarned charm of its breath, nothingness now revealed itself . . . that darkness in which eternity lies bent and pale, a dead snake in a jar, and infinity is the sparkling of a wren blown out to sea; that inconceivable chasm of invulnerable silence in which cataclysms of galaxies rave mute as amber.” ~ James Agee, from A Death in the Family

So today there have been at least two calls and two messages, during which she yells at me and tells me not to argue with her. This when I am only trying to get a telephone number from her.

George Bellows The Gulls, Monhegan

“The Gulls, Monhegan” (c1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

In the meanwhile, I’m stressed beyond belief over Corey leaving Sunday for his training. The trip is open-ended. He may or may not be back at the end of the week. He may or may not go straight to a ship. He may or may not be here for Christmas . . .

Unfortunately, at the moment we are existing on two paychecks from Louisiana unemployment, which is at least $100 less/week than Virginia unemployment, and we just had to drop almost all of that on the plane ticket for him to attend new hire orientation and training. I’m stressed because I hate for him to leave without having sufficient money in the bank for him to fall back on. Who knows what circumstances may arise. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to pay the utilities, phone, cable, etc. with imaginary money.

“My stoic, unconvinced world,
world of the paper heart,
is it that you don’t know grief
or haven’t had enough of it
that you let yourself
be governed so?” ~ Katie Ford, from “Overture”

Now that everything is set, and Corey is definitely going to begin a new job next week, it’s time for me to worry. While he was worrying about his medical tests, I was fine. I mean, I wasn’t worried because I just knew that everything was fine (I had that feeling, you know?), and it was. The urine test showed a false positive on his bilirubin levels, but the blood test showed that it was fine. That being said, now that he’s beginning to allow himself to become adjusted to this new phase in our lives, I am becoming less adjusted.

George Bellows Sunlit Surf, 1913

“Sunlit Surf” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Bellows

It’s the yin/yang thing, I suppose.

Mostly, though, it’s worry over bills. With the transition to any new job there is always a hiccup in income, waiting for the new pay period to kick in. For him, the first one is going to be December 20. My disability comes in at the middle of the month, but that is always spent before it ever hits the bank.

Add to this the fact that I am completely unprepared for the holidays, have done absolutely no shopping, and I’m getting that sinking feeling. So let’s just make this state of affairs completely unmanageable by adding my mother’s drama because, gee, why not?

“My soul is so heavy that no thought can carry it any longer, no wing beat can lift it up into the ether any more. If it is moved, it merely skims along the ground, just as birds fly low when a thunderstorm is blowing up. Over my inner being broods an oppressiveness, an anxiety, that forebodes an earthquake.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard, from Either/Or, Part I: Kierkegaard’s Writings, vol. 3

I feel the need to scream, silently, of course because of the head thing. Loud noise = migraine . . . (by the way, did you know that sensitivity to smells is called osmophobia? I didn’t until my pain doctor used the term, but I digress . . .) And then whenever I think about screaming, I think about Edvard Munch, and then I forget because the painting is too good.

George Bellows Rock Bound 1913

“Rock Bound” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

Nevertheless, a scream might release some of this pent up anxiety, or barring a scream pounding my fist into something, but it would do nothing about my mother, and I would be left with more stupid pain.

In the back of my mind I have a song refrain playing: “Leave me alone, oh leave me alone, oh leave me alone, oh leave me alone. Won’t you leave me, leave me alone?” So of course I had to hunt it down. It’s an old Helen Redding song called “Ruby Red Dress” (that’s Redding of the “I Am Woman” song), and the actual lyrics are these:

Leave me alone, won’t you leave me alone
Please leave me alone, now leave me alone
Oh leave me alone, please leave me alone, yes leave me
Leave me alone, won’t you leave me alone
Please leave me alone, now leave me alone
God leave me alone, just leave me alone, oh leave me . . .

But while I was looking that up, my mother called again, yelled a lot more, and then ended the conversation by saying to me, “I can’t talk to you. You’re just like your father.”
Have I ever mentioned that my mother has perfected the art of hanging up on people? It’s quite obnoxious.

“This is what it feels like to split the shell of a woman.
Shards of her everywhere. Animal light spread across

the walls.” ~ Raven Jackson, from “My First Lover Speaks to Me as I Sleep With Her”

Sorry this whole post has been a rant. I actually do not feel as if I am in rant mode. Rather, I feel particularly heavy—heavy heart, heavy mind. All of my thoughts feel too heavy for my head. The air feels too heavy to breathe. My neck feels to heavy to hold up my head, and my eyelids are too heavy for consciousness.

George Bellows Green Breaker 1913

“Green Breaker” (1913, oil on panel)
by George Wesley Bellows

At times like these, I wish that I could breathe under water. How wonderful it must be to dwell beneath the sea—stippled sunlight, brilliant colors, muted sound, as dark as you care to go deep, or as light as the space just beneath the surface.

Unfortunately, not a possibility, gill-less that I am. Still, it’s my whole love affair with the sea that holds sway with my thoughts. To that end, today’s images are by American Realist George Wesley Bellows (August 12 or August 19, 1882 – January 8, 1925), who died at the age of 42 from  ruptured appendix. Bellows was well known for his boxing paintings, but I prefer his land and seascapes, particularly the churning sea depictions as they match my mood today. As a bonus, I created a gallery to go along with this post. (Playing with art soothes me.)

I need a vacation from my life.

More later. Peace.

                    

Music by Lucie Silvas, “Cry a Little More”

                   

Untitled

Van Gogh writing his brother for paints
Hemingway testing his shotgun
Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine
the impossibility of being human
Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief
Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town
the impossibility of being human
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Maupassant going mad in a rowboat
Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller
the impossibility
Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato
Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun
Lorca murdered in the road by Spanish troops
the impossibility
Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench
Chatterton drinking rat poison
Shakespeare a plagiarist
Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness
the impossibility the impossibility
Nietzsche gone totally mad
the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out and in
these punks
these cowards
these champions
these mad dogs of glory
moving this little bit of light toward us
impossibly.

~ Charles Bukowski