October 30, 2017

This cost too much

Our city is doing sewer separation to keep the storm run-off from filling the sewer pipes and overwhelming the water treatment plant in the event of a large storm. The main sewer line runs down the center of our street so we were told to expect the mess and disruption of the street getting torn up.
In a good cause, of course, because naturally none of us wants the sewer to back up and cause problems for homeowners and potentially Lake Erie as well. All homes built after 1971 were required to separate waste water and storm water. Nearly no houses in our pocket neighborhood were built after 1971. Until recently, many homes had a ditch out front that the gutters and other rainwater drained to.  So, progress. Good for Lake Erie. Good for the community.

Unfortunately, our city chose to contract the job to the cheapest contractor who then subcontracted some work to an even cheaper outfit. As a result, the city -because that is who is ultimately responsible here, no matter what the city engineer suggests- is complicit in the destruction of no fewer than five trees over the age of 20 and at least two that were about 200.
Our neighbors' 200-year-old oak, older than the city itself, had withstood centuries of "progress" only to be deemed in the way by the lazy contractor and eliminated.
This tree had survived the founding of the village, the building of the little vacation beach houses all around it, the piping of sewers, water and gas lines. Electricity came in and worked around it. The houses it shaded were built respecting its presence, The street was paved, first with gravel, then with blacktop and the tree was undisturbed.
But somehow, the lazy corner-cutting shits that are replacing the sewer under that very road had to have that venerable 150 foot tall, 200-year-old oak which was perfectly healthy, cut down. That irreplaceable tree now lays in pieces at the side of the road, a testament to the expediency at the cost of long-term value.

Interestingly, there is a board of municipal utilities in my city. And they are elected. I wonder if that idiot city engineer is elected too... .

July 31, 2016

Hill Yes!

Something amazing happened this past week. For the first time in the history of our nation -240 years, 12 generations- a woman has been nominated by one of the two major political parties as a candidate for president. A woman has a serious chance at becoming the President of the United States.
A woman. Finally.

But as fantastic as the breeching of that barrier feels, we're not done yet. It is obvious from the incessant attempts to deligitimize Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House that sexism holds strong. Not just the overt misogynistic sexism of Trumpeteers who think calling women the C-word is acceptable political discourse or the memes that mock her clothes and looks. That is easy to spot and will likely always be with us. We can only hope to marginalize it as much as possible. I'm actually referring to a couple more insidious brands of sexism.

  1. The vague idea that Hillary is not qualified to be president. You see this from a remarkable number of women. "I don't really have a problem with her, but I don't think I can vote for her" A perfect example is Full Frontal's trip to the Mason Dixon county fair in which a female truck mechanic says that being told she can't do her job by a male truck driver is sexism, but cannot see that her refusal to vote for a female for president is sexism also. 
  2. The Hillary is a liar/criminal/corrupt mantra we hear from both the far right and the far left. This is also sexism. It is a documented actual real fact that Hillary is NOT a liar or a criminal. There is a whole website dedicated to fact-checking politicians' statements. Politifact says that Hillary is fundamentally honest. The attempt to turn her work as Secretary of State into a criminal enterprise in which she deliberately exposed all State Department secrets to cyberspies, willfully deleted millions of classified emails and caused the death of 4 Americans abroad would be dismissed out of hand had she been a man. In fact, when Bush's administration did the same, it was dismissed. The unending investigations are a concerted effort to deligitimize her work. Not a single investigation has turned up a single shred of evidence of corruption. 
All we have learned in decades of excruciating examination is that, like all the rest of us, Hillary Clinton is an imperfect human. Yet she is being crucified online for her alleged failings. She is being dismissed as "crooked" for no legitimate reason. The next time you think you might not vote for Hillary because she's a liar. Stop. Because the REAL reason is because she's a woman.

July 8, 2016

Black Lives Matter

I haven't posted in ages. And I'm posting now, not because I have something profound to say, and not because others have not articulated this better or more thoroughly, but because I feel like if I don't post something, I'll explode.
I ache to see these men (mostly) being executed based on racism and fear alone. But I feel so helpless to stop it. What can I do? Someone tell me, because all the letters and vigils and blog posts don't seem to be helping.I want this FIXED. NOW. I want to DO SOMETHING to make it stop. Philando Castile was killed in front of a child! For NO REASON. Just railing against the world seems so futile. 
I used these words last night before I went to bed. Then I woke up to news that five police officers were murdered while providing security for Black Lives Matter protests in Dallas. That is NOT the "DO SOMETHING" I had in mind. Violence begets more violence. Always. And it is an infinitely sadder world that we live in because of it.
The institutionalized racism in America needs to be addressed in a massive nationwide education campaign that will teach all of us (especially white men in positions of power) to see it. Because there are too many Americans who are unwilling to accept that the system is still rigged against people of color. It is. And we need to be told. Over and over again until we finally understand that poverty and racism are linked. And prisons and racism are linked. And extrajudicial murders and racism are linked. And the whole chain is holding all of America prisoner.

May 15, 2016

cough cough

I caught this chest cold crap that is going around. (Why do we say "caught"? I have to work pretty hard to catch a ball or a frisbee, I can assure you I didn't make any effort at all to "catch" this cold. We should say tripped or ambushed. Caught implies intent.)
Anyway, I'm pretty much over it now, but it sucked for a few days. When I was a young girl I got chest colds all the time. I remember mom smearing Vicks Vaporub all over my chest and neck, propping pillows under my chest so the mucus could "drain" --where, I don't know-- and putting on the steam humidifier so that in the morning the windows were coated in moisture.
Surprisingly (to me) when I was smoking, I never got chest colds. not once. Now that I've quit, they are back. This is the second nasty one in the 6 years since I've quit.
And 35 years later, the cough medicine tastes the same.

April 29, 2016

Notes from a Cis

For those of you trying to "understand" transgender:

  1. You don't need to understand it. It's a real thing that exists. You don't need to understand starfish or lawnmowers either. 
  2. Complaining that biological gender needs to "match" a person's appearance is as stupid as complaining that females no longer just breed children. Gender roles have been redefined innumerable times in human history. Redefining them again will not lead to the collapse of civilization. 
  3. Just because you have a penis and have always liked playing with trucks doesn't mean everyone is like you. Those girls you know who like sports? 40 years ago that was non-gender-normative. 
  4. No one's gender identity makes them more or less likely to be a creep. I would trust my child with Chaz Bono or Laverne Cox a billion times more than a random heterosexual cis-gendered man.
  5. A guy wearing a dress is not transgender the same way a woman wearing pants isn't. An M-to-F trans person will likely wear dresses, but just because a guy puts on a skirt, or even pantyhose, doesn't make him trans. 
I hope this helps.

April 9, 2016

I'm not going to post about politics... yet.

I think Mother Nature made snow so beautiful so we wouldn't get so pissed off when it falls in April. 

March 12, 2016

It's not okay

So with the protests and violence spilling over in Chicago and actually canceling a Trump rally there, Rachel Maddow did a piece (non-autoplay video link here) on Trump's escalating rhetoric and the relationship it has to this violence that we see at his rallies and no other candidate's.
"Anybody who tells you that there is no connection between the behavior of the mob at these events and the behavior of the man at the podium leading the mob at these events is not actually watching he's been saying from the podium. What he has been saying, and the way he has been egging it on, it has been escalating," Maddow said.
Back in Reconstruction South, the KKK exploited the fears of the poor white sharecroppers who were seeing freed slaves competing to take their jobs. The race-baiting led thousands of Southern (and some Northern) whites to lash out at blacks and institute Jim Crow laws in an attempt to maintain what they perceived as their superiority.
Hitler did a similar thing with the Jews of Germany (and later all of Europe) in convincing the poor, uneducated electorate that their economic predicament was due to "terrible" Jewish business practices.
Now we are seeing it with Donald Trump. He's whipping up fear of Mexicans and Muslims and dismissing blacks. He's tarring all protesters as thugs and encouraging (wink wink) his rabid followers to treat them as such. He offers to pay legal fees for anyone who "accidentally" roughs one up. He laments the era of "political correctness" which requires him to treat fellow human beings as human beings. He notes that back in the old days, it was okay to beat a protester and in the next breath expresses a wish to return to those halcyon days when white folks got to beat black folks at a whim.
And then he blames the protesters. And the media. And Bernie Sanders. And the Trumpbots parrot all that and add Obama and Bill Ayers and George Soros. In 1963 a lot of uneducated poor white people were saying it was all Martin Luther King, Jr.'s fault that 1200 Birmingham, Ala, students were arrested and hundreds injured when the police used water cannon and attack dogs to disperse the peaceful marchers. At Kristallnacht, many Germans believed the destruction of Jewish-owned businesses was something that the Jews had brought on themselves.
I don't know if Donald Trump believes even half the crap that comes out of his orange-tinted lips as he waves his stubby fingers about while ranting from his podium, but even if he doesn't, he's making it implicitly okay for others to act on their fear with violence and that will Make American Hate Again.

February 24, 2016

A nation of idiots

I am so disheartened by the "yuge" numbers of people supporting Donald Trump that I haven't had the heart to post anything much lately.
Am I the only one who is both revolted and depressed by the thousands of our fellow Americans who actually think this belligerent bellicose boorish bullying buffoon can be anything more than a failed celebrity? He has declared bankruptcy four times. He speaks less coherently than most 9-year-olds. His speeches all consist of him calling people he doesn't like (which is anyone who doesn't vote for him) variations of "loser" -or in the case of women "bimbo"- and taunting his competition. He has insulted every possible demographic in this country. He has absolutely ZERO clue how to run a company, let alone a nation.
And yet...

God help us all. We are certainly our own worst enemy.

February 17, 2016

We forego the candles to prevent the buttercream from melting in the heat.

Last year on this day, I reminded you of all the spectacular things that happened on February 17th in history. This year, I'll just remind you of the important one. (hint: it's not the Battle of Rudau)


(It's good to have goals.)

February 16, 2016


You know what's fun?
     Seeing people I knew way-back-when become successful. Nice job to Dave Hansen on his bazillionth successful play. Who knew you'd be good at this writing stuff? I am very happy for you.

February 15, 2016

Another feminist rant

Here's a tidbit of American history for you: black men got the Constitutional right to vote a full FIFTY YEARS before women (of any color). It took a half-century for women to convince old white men that we were as competent and intelligent as a race of people they (at that time still) described in revoltingly sub-human terms.
(We immediately followed-up this victory by electing the handsome and charming Warren Harding who was a complete incompetent and sleezeball philanderer. --Nice job, ladies.) But this 50-year discrepancy has me speculating about what the hell our collective problem is with women in politics. Really, women in positions of power in any sphere. The media, especially social media, has taken great pains to paint the female front-runner in the presidential race as a political insider who will, if elected, serve bankers and millionaires, but not the "average American." She is branded as a liar and weakling by the opposition. Tens of thousands of women will not support her, saying, "I can't vote for someone just because of their gender." I say why not? Keeping in mind her abilities at least equal that of any other candidate (and surpass most), why not vote for the woman based solely on her gender.
It's about fucking time we had a woman President, and I for one will not wait another 50 years.

February 11, 2016

My case for HRC

I've read more than a few opinions in the past few days from other feminists defending their support for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. Especially in the wake of comments made by Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright. (Although, in Albright's defense, she was just repeating a catchphrase that she's used for years -with awkward timing- that we, who haven't been paying attention, had not heard.)

Where I get annoyed is when the feminists try to argue that Bernie is a better feminist. Or that, feminism is not so important to them that they will support "just any" woman (as if Hillary Clinton is the same as any other woman off the street). I love the ones who argue that feminism gives them the right to choose. Yes. It does. But, and this is where women my age tend to differ from the younger generation, the gen-X feminist or Boomer feminist will look at two qualified candidates and choose the woman. Because she's a woman.

Yep. I said it. If there are two people applying for a job who are equally qualified --and no matter what your feelings personally, you have to agree that of all the candidates' job experience, Hillary Clinton is singularly qualified, but let's just say two people are equally qualified-- a feminist will always choose the woman. We need all the help we can get to even out the playing field. I fully admit to doing this on every ballot I've ever cast. All else-being equal, I always select the woman. For every job from city council to Supreme Court judge.

Alternately, feminist Bernie supporters argue how similar their positions are to Bernie's and how terrible Hillary is ("Corporate shill" they rant while sipping on their Starbucks macchiatos.)
But they fail to note two things.

First, Hillary's positions are not drastically different from Bernie's; they are just more modest. Hillary wants to subsidize college education to make it more affordable. Bernie wants to make it free. Hillary wants to improve on the framework of Obamacare to move it more toward a single-payer gradually. Bernie wants to overturn it with single-payer.
And all that corporate money collected by the DNC? Does Bernie give it back if he gets the nomination? Will it sully his candidacy? No? Only Hillary's? Hmm.

Secondly, all of the arguments against Hillary are based on over two decades of sexism played out in the media. We have a psychic image of Hillary as sleazy, or underhanded, or vicious, or Machiavellian all because of public partisan attacks that have added up to a giant NOTHING of wrongdoing but have somehow sullied her in our eyes. The people that supported Hillary back in 1993, still support her. Because she's smart and competent and not the evil incarnate that some people in the past have suggested. But unfortunately, because she is a woman who was subjected to endless media scrutiny from the time Bill entered the presidential race in 1992, we have no collective memory of her as a decent, remarkable person.

As and example, we see her time on the Board of Directors for Walmart as a black mark because of the pariah Walmart has become but fail to remember that 25 years ago, Walmart was not seen as an evil empire and Hillary's work on their board forced them to promote women to management positions that those women would not have gotten without her advocacy.

Most of the millennial women who are so fervently supporting Bernie Sanders are aware of Hillary Clinton only through the lens of the sexism and politics she's been forced to wade through. She has a sheen of grime from all she had endured and that is being held against her still. She didn't come to the race with only a voting record in the Senate and a strong tenure as Secretary of State. Those alone qualify her for the job of president. The fact that she mastered them as a woman makes her the better choice for feminists.

If you consider yourself a feminist, but prefer to support Bernie, that's fine. I can understand voters of either gender finding his message appealing and feminists come in all stripes and colors. But if you want to argue that feminism is very important to you, that it defines you, you ought to put your ballot where your mouth is. You can't purport to be a hard-core feminist and dismiss a candidate as competent and intelligent as Hillary Clinton.

February 9, 2016

Let the good times roll

Yesterday was the first day of the Lunar New Year (fire monkey, for those of you keeping score at home).
Today is Fat Tuesday. Between the Hunan Chicken and the red beans with rice and andouille sausage followed by paczki. I'm feeling a little too fat.
But we are supposed to be whooping it up with one last drunken revel before lent begins. So if you didn't get your pancakes or your paczkis, perhaps the Garden of Earthly Delights [note: link has audio] will suffice.

January 21, 2016

What have I missed?

19 days later...

I was away on a fact-finding mission. I've been trying to find someone who actually thinks Donald Trump would be a good president. A real person, not Crazy Ann Coulter or Word-Salad Palin. Someone I might work with. Or have gone to school with. (Although --full disclosure-- if we're Facebook friends, I will unfriend you because I don't need that kind of lunatic bigotry on my wall.)
So far no one has admitted it formally. I can see that 4 of my Facebook friends "like" the Donald, but I can't see who they are. I can also see a horrifying 5.4 million people "like" him (on Facebook). I am fervently hoping (and I've never hoped for this before) that 5 million of those are fans of The Apprentice and Miss Universe. Please.

January 12, 2016

January 11, 2016


David Bowie and his wife married in 1992 and have one daughter. Just like LSH and I. We have SO MUCH in common!!

RIP, Mr. Jones. You will be missed.

January 6, 2016


Why is it so easy to binge? I don't mean due to access, although we are lucky enough to have at our fingertips, access to entire TV shows, movies, book series, and even need to make little effort for chocolate ice cream or family-sized bags of potato chips. I mean, is there a human disposition to bingeing (how odd that the e stays on that spelling) or is it a peculiarly American thing? If we gave every Bangladeshi access to the complete Breaking Bad series, would half the nation binge on Walter White? Do twenty-somethings in England watch all 9 Harry Potter movies in one sitting? I have to force myself to borrow only ONE book in a series on each library visit or I would gorge on them all and find myself waiting and wanting.
I have most recently become obsessed with the Phryne Fisher television series from Australia. 34 episodes based on the wonderful books of Kerry Greenwood who I have blogged about before. The series is not quite faithful to the books in that it creates a more complex relationship with the two main characters than what exists in the novels, but that is understandable for the medium. The costumes and music more than make up for any flaws in the adaption.

I am currently searching for a new fixation. And taking suggestions.

January 5, 2016

On the 12th day of Christmas

Did your true love give you 12 drummers today?
"XRF 12days" by Xavier Romero-Frias - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons 
Quite an impractical gift anyway. I'd rather have a pear tree. And I know LSH would prefer the nine ladies dancing.

January 4, 2016


Happy New Year!
I resolve this year to figure out a way to get Bingu kitty to chew his treats instead of swallowing them whole.