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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sweet Talkin' Woman

Still listening to the Electric Light Orchestra :) ...


Lucky Man


Saturday, June 29, 2019

The 80s

I've just started reading for the umpteenth time the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The book dwells on the 80s and as I read, I realized that a lot happened to me in that decade ...

1980: At this point, I'm pretty lonely because my sister has moved to southern CA and I'm between boyfriends. I have a part-time job at a hospital as a file clerk while I'm writing a thesis (for history MA) titled The History of the Ontological Argument, from Anselm to Whutehead (took me years to finally finish).

But more importantly, this was the year of Chuck Norris' The Octagon ;) Here's Chuck back in the day ...

That Chuck Norris movie inspired me to join a martial arts school, talking my mom into joining too. It was here that I met my future husband. Here's me at the dojo ...

1981: My sister and mom and grandma and I go to Hawaii on vacation. Here's us at the airport ...

And here's me with the Great Amida Buddha, Lahaina Jodo Mission, Maui ...

1982: I got married in the rose garden at a local park ...

1983: For a while, things seemed like they were going to be ok. I hadn't been able to find any job having to do with what I studied in college, and the eye disease diagnosis that I'd received just after graduating with my BA was looming, but I could still see well enough to act pretty normally and could still drive. And I really liked being married.

I got a full time job at the hospital, working in the surgery for the anesthesiologists. I even helped the husband get a job at the hospital too - day times we'd go to work, night times go to the martial arts school. Here's me in front of our first Christmas tree ...

1984: Of course it couldn't last. The ex had an affair and dumped me for the other person. The situation dragged on for quite a rime ... me figuring out what was going on, trying to repair things, moving for a couple of months to an apartment, moving to San Diego where my sister lived. I finally accepted nothing was going to fix the relationship - the ex just had no interest in doing that.

I tried to cheer up, went out with guy friends (saw The Terminator with someone named Rick) but it didn't work. On top of that, I had to see the ex almost every day at the hospital and at the martial arts school. I became so depressed that I considered suicide. I finally gave up and ...

1986: ... moved to Portland, Oregon, where my sister was then living. It took me a year and all my savings before I found another decent job, also at a hospital. I started feeling better. Here's me and my sister ...

1989: My job was alright, I had a work buddy I went to movies with, my apartment wasn't horrible. I thought maybe things were going to finally be ok.

But then my sister and her husband decided to move to Japan. I was incredibly lonely after they left. And my vision was getting worse - I couldn't drive anymore and there were things I couldn't see well enough to do at work - so I finally decided to quit and move to San Diego. I first flew back here to visit my mom and sent my stuff to San Diego by train.

My mom and I drove to San Diego. I hoped to find an apt and a job, but it was really expensive there and there didn't seem to be many jobs, much less jobs for a half blind person. When I went to collect my stuff at the train station, a lady asked me why I hadn't just brought everything by car ... I fell apart, breaking into tears. I gave up and came back here with my mom.

1990: I never left. I just felt too beaten up to keep trying to have a normal life. A stay car had three kittens in the garage and my mom said we could adopt them :) And despite my mom not being very happy about it, I decided I was here to stay, for better or worse.

Grendel and her babies ...

Goodbye to the 80s.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The 2nd Democratic debate

Watching Morning Joe this morning as the hosts critiqued last night's Democratic debate. Joe got so many things wrong, in my opinion .... he was scandalized that most (all?) of the candidates were for giving migrants health care, and he was also scandalized that most (all?) of the candidates were for Medicare for all.

1) Of course we would want health care given to migrants and illegal aliens. Should we instead watch sick migrant children suffer and die in their cages at the border, withholding any treatment? Should we let that portion of the population that is illegal in our cities and towns simply die in the streets instead of providing medical care? How do you think epidemics begin and thrive? Who do you think ends up paying when those without insurance can only get treated in emergency rooms? And really, wouldn't you hope you could have medical care if you were the person in need?

2) Please stop acting like it would be the end of life as we know it if everyone had Medicare. I've had Medicare most of my life because that is the insurance people with disabilities are given. Guess what - you certainly can have your choice of doctor and can actually keep that personal doctor when you have Medicare. Medicare-insured me had the doctor I really liked for over 30 years until he retired. Medicare isn't perfect right now, but if everyone, rich and poor, had exactly the same single health care option instead of what's possible with out present multi-tiered system, you can bet that we would all have good health care.

And Joe, stop worrying about that Trump bugaboo of "socialism" in the Democratic party. This McCarthy-ish paranoia is so out of date as to be irrelevant. When your house is burning down and the fire department comes to help, do you think of that as socialism? When you check a book out of the public library, is that socialism? When your child goes to public school - socialism? Almost all modern societies, including ours, have a mix of capitalism and socialism, and I'm not talking about Venezuela ... think the UK, the Scandinavian countries, Canada, etc. Government sponsored programs are not the enemy - we're a community, so let's start acting like one.

Thursday, June 27, 2019


Today my sister and I picked some of the little wild plums growing in the yard. Such pretty colors ...

The first debate

I just watched the 2020 Democratic debate, night #1. It was pretty interesting - everyone got to speak much more than I thought they would, given so many candidates being there. I learned more about some of the lesser knowns, like Tim Ryan. Oh, and people spoke Spanish .... Beto, Corey Booker, and Julian Castro. The debate was in Miami where many residents speak Spanish, plus the debate was being televised by Telemundo, so that makes sense. I could almost understand a bit of that with my high school Spanish :) I came away actually proud to be a Democrat - we have so many candidates to choose from who seem to be good people desiring to do good things.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Women: our Form

Reading an article in The Atlantic - The Real Meaning of Trump’s ‘She’s Not My Type’ Defense

There is, as always, a certain clarity to Trump’s cruelty. The president seems to understand, on some level, something profoundly true about the creaking mechanics of misogyny: Sexual abuse is not, ultimately, about sexual attraction. It is about power. It is about one person’s exertion of will over another. In this way, “She’s not my type” is deeply entangled with the president’s long-standing habit of dismissing unruly women through his negative assessments of their attractiveness: the women as the sexual commodities, Donald Trump as the discerning consumer.

This is just one example of the ways in which women are presently being reminded that it is not they who define their purpose, their function, and their worth - it is men. Other examples ...

The Equal Rights Amendment, designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex, was first introduced almost 100 years ago and still has not been ratified ... in the Catholic church, the pope has declared that women will never be priests and will not even allow them to be deacons, and meanwhile nuns are used as unpaid labor and sex objects for priests ... Republicans and religious conservatives work tirelessly to take away women's constitutionally guaranteed right to decide if they want to be a parent or not.

And it's not just here. Human Rights Watch ...

Despite great strides made by the international women’s rights movement over many years, women and girls around the world are still married as children or trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery. They are refused access to education and political participation, and some are trapped in conflicts where rape is perpetrated as a weapon of war. Around the world, deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are needlessly high, and women are prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives.

When Trump, the president of our country, assures us that he didn't rape E. Jean Carroll because she doesn't fall into the group of women he finds attractive enough to rape, and he not only gets away with it but is cheered on by his dead-head horde and supported by his craven Republican allies (Lindsey Graham: “He’s denied it. That’s all I needed to hear.”), the truth we all pretend not to know is reinforced .... we women have a Form and it is set by men. The Form of a fork, the perfect fork fulfilling it's God-given function, a worthwhile fork, is a fork that is really good at picking up food. The Form of a woman, a woman fulfilling her function, one who has worth, is one who is attractive enough to rape (and in default, is useful as a general dogsbody).

It's not fair and it just never seems to end.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Woe to you

Have we become numb to Trump’s loathsomeness? ...

I have no illusions that Republicans will ever face the accountability they deserve for their tireless service to Trump, any more than he will face accountability for his own actions. But we can’t ever stop saying it, crying it, shouting it: This is who you gave us. You are complicit in all he is and all he has done. I’d say you should be ashamed, were it not for the fact that you’ve proved you have no shame.

Republicans, voters and lawmakers, don't mind that Trump is a rapist. They will have their excuses, but really, they just don't care if he rapes people.

Why would they? They have not been bothered that Trump is basically torturing little kids at the border. They don't care that he cheated with Russian help to win the election and then tried to cover it up. They don't mind that he's committed election fraud by paying off women with whom he's had affairs. They are ok with all of his crooked financial schemes. They have no problem with his racism. They're fine with him being a liar. The list of what they don't care about goes on and on.

These are sanctimonious Christians like Sarah Sanders and Mike Pence. They belong to a political/religious lobby which has tried to force its holier-than-thou cultural biases on the rest of the country for decades. I think all this time they have really been, inside, just like Trump. He is horrible ... people, children, have died on his watch! ... but he couldn't do all this without the ongoing support of Republican voters and lawmakers. They are the ones responsible for the damage he has done and will continue to do.

"Woe to you ... you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The butler's genius peace plan

Corey Lewandowski called Jared the butler .... somehow both supercilious and obsequious. - Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

I see in the news that the roll-out of Jared's genius Middle East peace plan has hit a snag ...

Cut out of the process, Palestinians reject Trump's economic plan for Mideast peace

The problem with Jared and Trump is that they believe everyone and everything is like them ... for sale.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Where to Now St. Peter?

Where to Now St. Peter?
- Bernie Taupin / Elton John

I took myself a blue canoe
And I floated like a leaf
Dazzling, dancing
Half enchanted
In my Merlin sleep

Crazy was the feeling
Restless were my eyes
Insane they took the paddles
My arms they paralysed

So where to now St. Peter
If it's true I'm in your hands
I may not be a Christian
But I've done all one man can
I understand I'm on the road
Where all that was is gone
So where to now St. Peter
Show me which road I'm on
Which road I'm on

It took a sweet young foreign gun
This lazy life is short
Something for nothing always ending
With a bad report

Dirty was the daybreak
Sudden was the change
In such a silent place as this
Beyond the rifle range

So where to now St. Peter
If it's true I'm in your hands
I may not be a Christian
But I've done all one man can
I understand I'm on the road
Where all that was is gone
So where to now St. Peter
Show me which road I'm on
Which road I'm on

I took myself a blue canoe


Today on the PBS NewsHour, a story about genetically modified salmon (FDA allows genetically engineered 'Frankenfish' salmon to be imported to US). I'm a vegetarian and don't eat fish anyway, but I am against genetically modified animals and plants for a whole bunch of reasons, and I'm not alone ....

I had to laugh as I listened to a part of the video in which the producers of the modified salmon go on about how safe the process is ... how they can't escape into a nearby river and couldn't mate with normal salmon even if they did, etc. That is exactly the line of reasoning of the scientists who created the genetically modified dinosaurs in the novel Jurassic Park. If these salmon creators are mistaken, at least they probably won't have to worry about their creations eating them ;)

Friday, June 21, 2019

John Oliver: Equal Rights Amendment

Thursday, June 20, 2019

"It's like magic" :)

Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra, Wembley or Bust, 2017 ...


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Trump's muderous bud

Today the UN concluded that the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a state killing, not a "rouge" action as the Saudi's have portrayed it ...

Trump and Jared know this already, of course, and they don't give a poop, of course, as long as their good buddy MBS keeps lining their pockets with money.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Another wife-beater

Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn as Trump's Defense Secretary because of domestic violence, violence which the Trump administration has known of for months but did nothing about.

Shanahan is but the latest man in the Trump administration who has had to leave because of domestic violence. Others ... Rob Porter and Andrew Puzder and David Sorensen and Steve Bannon.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Poor People’s Campaign Presidential Forum

Here are some of the 2020 Democratic candidates speaking and answering questions at the Poor People's Campaign Forum today ...

And here's Rachel Maddow talking about it ...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Poor People’s Campaign

A few posts ago I lamented that no Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election had mentioned poverty or how to help people who are poor. I'm glad to say that that is going to change ...

Biden, Sanders and 8 other hopefuls to attend ‘Poor People’s’ forum

"The Poor People’s Campaign” next week is holding what the social justice group says is the largest 2020 presidential forum so far where candidates take questions, and front-runner Joe Biden has agreed to appear.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Michael Bennet, as well as Rep. Eric Swalwell, Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson and Wayne Messam, have also said they'll be at the June 17 event in Washington, according to the the organization.

The event has the potential be an adversarial setting for the 2020 candidates. Rev. William Barber, who co-leads the organization with Rev. Liz Theoharis, said the presidential candidates will take questions directly from them and low-income activists ...

The event will be shown on MSNBC.

Here's more from The New Yorker: William Barber Takes on Poverty and Race in the Age of Trump

And here is a C-SPAN video of the Rev. William Barber's speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention ...

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hasta la vista, liar

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is leaving the White House. Thank God. She was basically being paid for doing nothing, as press briefings have been thin on the ground lately. She is a religious nut who believes God wants Trump to be president, and an egregious liar who as Press Secretary blew smoke on a regular basis.

Here's MSNBC's Nicole Wallace with Former FBI Director Andy McCabe on this ...

Trump invites foreign meddling

Republicans, if you don't see a problem with this, you are cult members. The only reason this guy isn't in prison is because he has subverted halt the Congress and the Supreme Court ... oh, and because he is supported by voters who are untethered to any consideration other than self-interest.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Mental health break

This is me

I saw this article today at MPR and it's eerie how much my life resembles the life of the lady described. Here's a bit of the article ...

Rural Health: Financial Insecurity Plagues Many Who Live With Disability

Carol Burgos is worried her neighbors think she is bringing the neighborhood down. .... Burgos is in her early 50s. She can't mow her lawn herself because of pain and physical limits related to her osteoarthritis, degenerative disk disease and other health issues. She was deemed disabled in 1997 and lives on payments from Social Security Disability Insurance. She gets health coverage through Medicare.

She also can't afford to pay someone to mow the lawn for her. "I don't want another bill," she explains. "I don't want to be in more debt. I'm embarrassed. I don't know, who do you ask?"

Burgos estimates she is $30,000 in debt. That's a lot, especially with so little coming in. "Less than $1,500 a month," she says. "And that doesn't include [costs of] fuel; cooking gas; electric; water usage."

For food, she gets a bit of money in food stamps every month. Her income works out to about $18,000 a year — not too far off from what most people living on disability benefits make.

There's no way she could pay a $1,000 expense right away, Burgos says. According to a recent poll NPR conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 49% of rural Americans couldn't afford a sudden expense of that size.

The percentage was much higher — 70% — for people who, like Burgos, have disabilities ..... That cycle of poor health and poverty hits people with disabilities particularly hard. "Their poverty levels are over two times higher, compared to those without disabilities," says Bill Erickson of the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University ...

Like this lady, I have a disability too ... legal blindness ... for which I receive Social Security. The amount I receive is a little less than she gets. My medical insurance is Medicare and Medicaid. I have debt - credit card debt - that I could probably never pay off if I lived to be 1,000 years old. My yard and house also look dilapidated because I don't have the physical ability or the money to do all that need to be done. Thank God I can still mow the lawn.

I actually feel ashamed to post this. People like me are embarrassing. If only we had tried harder, been luckier, just been better, we wouldn't now be social parasites. Sorry - I get somewhat bitter at times ;) As I listen to the Democratic candidates for the 2020 elections, I hope in vain for one of them to talk about people like me. But they only mention the middle class, the working class. They believe we who are near poverty or in it don't vote. They believe the "real" voters will resent any talk of entitlements for the unfortunate, so they leave us out. So depressing - if the Democratic party won't help us, then who?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Priests sexually abusing nuns

It's not just children that Catholic priests have been sexually abusing - it's nuns as well. Nuns raped and also used as almost slave labor. This has been in the news for some time, at least in Catholic world (see this article at America magazine), but tonight there was a segment about it on the PBS NewsHour ...

The nuns have had the same problems as child sex abuse victims, which is that there is no real accountability within the church for priests who abuse or for those who cover it up. One nun in the above segment who was repeatedly raped by the same guy spoke of suicidal thoughts when her complaints to superiors went unheeded. I just wanted to yell at her, "Go to the efffing cops, lady!"

I will say it again for the millionth time: these problems would be stopped in their tracks if the pope would allow women to be priests and priests to marry. But he won't ... it's not that he can't ... it's that he won't.

It's hot

Hot here for the second day in a row and hot tomorrow too ...100+. My little window air conditioner is laboring mightily to keep me and Yoda from cooking, but the poor cats outside are not as lucky. At least there are lots of shady trees for them to lie under. On days like this, we need some music to distract us.

I still remember the first time I heard this song by the Electric Light Orchestra. I was driving through the fog on the Yolo Causeway to UC Davis where I was taking classes ...


Sunday, June 09, 2019


Rob Thomas sings with Santana the song for which they won three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

What made me think of this song was that tonight the PBS NewsHour had a segment on Carlos Santana and the recent work he's doing ...



Saturday, June 08, 2019

Forced pelvic exams

The Week: Missouri now forcing doctors to give women unnecessary pelvic exams before abortions

Last night Rachel Maddow had a couple of segments of her show on this (see videos below). The pro-life state government of Missouri is trying to close the last remaining women's clinic in the whole state, and at the same time, while it's still open (pending a judge's decision) they are punishing those women who do decide to use their constitutional right to an abortion.

I hope people will watch Rachel because I don't think most people want to actually delve into the abortion debate. They are perhaps content to accept stereotypical tropes on the subject because it's both so politically and emotionally charged and because it's kind of icky too. But real people are being affected and we shouldn't just look away.

Thursday, June 06, 2019


I had no idea what the Allied invasion of Normandy was actually like until I saw the opening scene from the film Saving Private Ryan. I warn you if you haven't seen it before - it's shocking ....

These kind of examples of how cheap life can be are why I'm pretty much a pacifist, but the sacrifice those real-life soldiers had the courage to make on D-Day should be remembered.

[...] Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach-clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs ...
- Normandy landings

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

More on migrant children

Republicans in Congress, Republican voters ... what the F is wrong with you?!

Monday, June 03, 2019

The Mueller report: #1

I'm still reading the Mueller report - I'm a very slow reader - but the PBS NewsHour is going to read a summery of it each night this week, so I'm going to post the pasts. Here's the first one ...

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Fox town hall: Kirsten Gillibrand

Democratic 2020 presidential contender Kirsten Gillibrand at a Fox town hall is asked about late term abortions. She points out the Trump lie that babies are killed after birth, and gets a positive response from the audience ...