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I make no promises that I will be posting much more often. I seem to have needed a break. (I also pretty much entirely missed my “blogoversary” in June…how do you spell that, anyway? Oh, well.)

I wish I could say I’ve been tied up with (or by) a new lover, though surprising prospects are on the horizon, I suspect…we’ll see. More may be to follow on that; maybe not. I’ve been doing pretty much what I’ve been doing for the past year or so…family, occasional travel, work, gardening (which is amazing this summer…I love late summer!) These are heady days, indeed!

Garden View I

Snagged!

Please Note Tree Rat

I spent an scrumptious 9 days in the Bahamas last month.

My Private Bahamas Beach

I don’t think I’ll disclose the location of my private beach because I’d like to keep it that way, in case I want to return some day. If I mentioned the island before, you go dig it up; but the name of my beach will go with me to the crematorium! Now I’ve got my eye on Belize…and another Caribbean beach. Another cottage. I’m even wondering if I might be able to afford it in October of this year and still hit Memphis in November…

I’ve spent some wonderful days with my grandboy, who is an amazing little person. He’s very calm and peaceful and such a joy to play with. Toddlers have to be one of the greatest creations of all time. Can I bottle him up just like his little 16 month-old self is now and keep him that sugary forever? Don’t I wish! Though it might make it a little hard to take him to Europe when he’s a teenager.

Beach Boy

I’ve been doing some journaling in an undisclosed location and have done a lot of work in therapy, though I’ve only had a couple of sessions with my therapist in recent months. I mentioned this to her the other day and suggested maybe I should cut back and do some work on my own for a bit. She responded that she’d see me in two weeks.

I’m working on a journal post about things that I am passionate about. It will be a long list. I have a lot to go around.

The post itself is about Miss USA. I know it’s old news but, while I was tooling around YouTube today, I saw the video clip of the tumble Miss USA, Rachel Smith, took in June at the Miss Universe pagent in Mexico. Watch the MSNBC interview, as well. It’s worth it.

This is a woman with amazing grace and composure and I am proud to have her represent my country without reservation. The thing that made the greatest impression on me as I watched the video clip of her fall was that she immediately regained her composure and continued on with hardly a flicker. Look at her face 1.5 seconds after her butt hits the floor. She looks as if nothing ever happened. That is the spirit I’d like to see fostered in American women. Hell, in all women across the globe!

So what.

Fuck that.

I’m wonderful anyway.

Yeah!

P. S.  Either world’s loudest orgasm woman moved away or is having a very ‘dry’ summer.  I’m rooting for the former.

WALTER REED AND BEYOND: The War Inside

A great article, courtesy of the WaPo, which means it will soon fade away into that pay archive black hole. So here it is on the Free Internet Press. Just watch you don’t get squished by that pop-up!

I’m not in the least surprised that this administration, via the Defense department, is seeking to deny mental health services to returning soldiers by claiming they had a pre-existing condition. That’s the thanks our military can expect to receive. Kind of like Vietnam in reverse. The people are warm and welcoming. This time it’s the government spitting on them. Either way, seems like a good reason to burn a flag, now, doesn’t it?

(Yes, I do advocate the burning of the American flag as a form of free expression. It is not something I have ever done and I doubt I ever will. But, by God, we deserve the right to do it if we choose! Go ahead and blast me on that one, too. I also happen to believe it’s perfectly reasonable to declare that English is the official language of the United States. So there.)

Anyway, back to the point. The young man who spearheaded the rape of a fourteen year-old girl and murder of her and her family? Yeah, that is a personality disorder. The young men and women who cannot sleep without waking in terror following their deployment? That’s PTSD. Come on. This one’s a no-brainer.

But, there’s hope on the horizon in the person of our Defense Secretary, Robert Gates. Oh, wait. He’s the one in charge of this, isn’t he?

More recent news…

Pentagon May Drop Mental Health Question

DoD press release on receipt of the task force’s report.

Study Finds 1.8 Million Veterans are Uninsured (Is that on top of the 46 million?)

Here’s the same article, forever free.

George Walker Bush

‘Nuff ranting for one night.  Let’s get back to the good stuff…

 Ah, summertime!

Of course, I’d take Sadie. She’d probably beat me down the stairs or trip me trying to!

My laptop would be next to go simply because it’s the only repository of all my grandboy photos. The laptop is the new photo album.

But I also couldn’t bear to part with this:

Land’s End Big Shirt

(Damn, my picture is too big to fit here.)

This little beauty has been my constant summer companion for the last few years. It’s my cover-up cover-up on the beach, my lightweight jacket, my robe when walking the dog in my jammies (in summer, tank top or skimpy tee) and loungers.

The other possession it would break my heart to leave behind is this:

Cheryl’s Red Pot

I can’t even recall where I picked this pot up. In my travels, I tend to buy two things…jewelry and pottery. Earrings are a favorite souvenir. I have dozens of pairs I’ve bought on vacations…Key West, Chicago, San Fransisco, San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico. My souvenir from my Barbados trip last summer was a lovely tanzanite ring in a white gold setting. I wear it almost every day.

I also enjoy pottery, especially if it is unusual. This small pot (probably measures 5 1/2 inches from lip to base…sorry, but that is small!) is smooth as silk, made of the clearest white porcelain. The thickness is remarkably consistent, all the way to the base. And the glaze…the glaze is to die for! Good reds are hard to come up with, something with the chemicals. My favorite part of pottery in college was mixing the glazes. I was able to let the inner chemist in me play. But red was always so tough to achieve.

See, I really am a very simple person, with minimal materialistic needs, though I do like my car! I am just so damned pleased with the simplest of things.

I’m glad all the brouhaha has died down around here. You know, I will not be able to read my blog stats for a month now that I had 11,000 views in two days! I’m doing a lot of thinking about all that and hope to craft a follow-up, though that will probably wait until over the weekend, after I’ve had a little more time to mull it over.

I stand by my conviction, however, that the better choice would be to to selectively reduce the number of fetuses in a very multiple gestation pregnancy to allow a reasonable chance for long-term survival with quality of life for the survivors. To me, this is the moral, ethical, logical, smartest and “right” thing to do. I do, however, respect the right of others to have a differing opinion. I just wish it could be accompanied with a little less venom on the part of some.

(Addendum to “Things to Take in Case of Fire”: How could I forget? My vibrator.  While you’re there, check out the rest of MORGASM.)

Jeffrey Marsalis, sexual assaulterI was sitting in my local diner this afternoon, eating breakfast and reading my paper. The first story to draw my attention was that about the verdict in a Philadelphia rape case involving one Jeffrey Marsalis. I’ll post the whole article here, since it will disappear into archives in a week or so. If Philly Inq lawyers read this, I’m doing this for the purposes of education and elucidation.

No rape on dates, hoaxer’s jury says

It convicted Jeffrey Marsalis, 34, of two counts of sexual assault. Seven women had accused him.

By Robert Moran

Inquirer Staff Writer

A Philadelphia jury yesterday found Jeffrey Marsalis – accused of drugging and raping seven women, six of whom he met on Match.com – guilty of two counts of sexual assault but acquitted him of a slew of rape charges involving all the accusers. The jurors failed to reach a verdict on one rape count against Marsalis, who pretended to be a doctor, a CIA agent and an astronaut to persuade women to date him.

Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.

Marsalis will remain held without bail until sentencing Sept. 18. He also faces a drugging and rape case in Idaho.

Prosecutor Joseph Khan said a federal investigation of Marsalis continued, and urged anyone with information about other possible crimes to contact the FBI at 215-418-4000.

One of the accusers threw up after learning about the verdict and “felt like someone kicked me in the gut,” the woman said in an interview.

“I feel like the Goldmans,” she said, referring to the family of Ron Goldman, whom O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering.

The jury informed the court that it had reached a verdict after 11/2 hours of deliberation yesterday. It was the fifth day of deliberations, which on Monday had erupted into angry shouting.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the jury foreman was read a list of 35 counts, including 25 rape counts, such as forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, and rape by substantial impairment.

When the foreman announced the first “not guilty,” Marsalis, dressed in an olive-green suit, looked up. After the third “not guilty,” he began to blink rapidly. But when the foreman announced the first “guilty” for sexual assault, Marsalis gulped.

One of the accusers gazed down with a sad expression when Marsalis was found not guilty of everything involving her. The woman, a lawyer, later sobbed quietly as the jury’s decision was repeated.

One juror, a young man, repeatedly looked at the woman and seemed distressed. The jury was composed of eight women and four men.

Afterward, jurors declined to comment as they rushed from the Criminal Justice Center near City Hall.

The sexual-assault counts involved a New Jersey woman and a woman who lived in Marsalis’ Center City apartment building. It wasn’t clear why the jurors had determined that those women were sexually assaulted rather than raped, or why they believed those two but not the other women.

In those cases, the circumstances differed wildly. One woman had only one contact – a phone call – with Marsalis after the alleged rape. The second woman befriended Marsalis after an alleged rape, and said he had raped her again several months later – the basis for the sexual-assault conviction.

“This is a 100 percent victory,” defense attorney Kathleen Martin said outside the courthouse, answering questions with cocounsel Kevin Hexstall before a media throng.

Martin said the jury had rejected the prosecution’s theory that Marsalis was a sexual predator who sought vulnerable woman and then drugged and raped them.

Hexstall said the convictions involved lesser charges that the District Attorney’s Office almost always threw into a case if rape charges didn’t hold up. “I think he was wrongly convicted, but I respect the jury’s decision,” Hexstall said.

Martin said Marsalis “was pleased with the jury’s hard work.”

Khan said the prosecution was “pleased that the jury recognized that Mr. Marsalis is a criminal, a sexual offender.”

He praised the seven accusers for “courageously” coming forward to testify.

Each count of sexual assault carries a maximum of 10 years in state prison, Khan said. Marsalis will be assessed to determine whether he is a sexually violent predator and will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The jury began deliberating Thursday after 21/2 weeks of testimony highlighted by the appearances of the seven women, who accused Marsalis of drugging and raping them between 2003 and 2005.

At that time, the women were young professionals or obtaining advanced degrees or certifications.

One was a resident in the Metropolitan apartments near Hahnemann University Hospital, where Marsalis frequently roamed the halls in scrubs and a white lab coat with a phony ID.

Hexstall said the prosecution had employed “character assassination” by dwelling on the phony claims, the fake badges and manipulated photos, including one of Marsalis in an astronaut suit, “in order to get the jury to hate him.”

The women did not immediately report the alleged rapes or go to a hospital to be examined, but all did confide to someone later that they had been raped.

Those corroborating witnesses and the similar accounts provided by the women, who did not know one another, were the key elements of the prosecution.

But the women’s continued contacts with Marsalis – one befriended him, another had dinner with him, one called to recommend he go to a self-improvement seminar she was attending – had some trial followers believing the defense’s contention that the women had consensual sex with him and regretted it after authorities told them that he was a fraud.

An official of Women Organized Against Rape, which monitored the trial, said she was pleased that the jury had held Marsalis “accountable for his actions,” but was disappointed it had acquitted him of the most serious charges.

“We had hoped that he would be found guilty of all the charges,” said Kathryn Fidler, the group’s legal services director, who was in court each day of the trial.

“But our primary focus was, first and foremost, on the well-being of the victims in the case,” she said. “It is very difficult to come into an open courtroom and have to talk about the worst experiences of your life. We really respect the women for doing that.”

Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.

Okay.

So this man meets accomplished professional women over Match.com and gets together with them. He lies about everything in his life, claiming to be a doctor, a CIA agent, a Secret Service agent with direct access to the current president of the United States (as if that’s impressive!), a flight surgeon, an astronaut.

Here is a list of what he was then accused of doing to the women:

A summary of the charges against Jeffrey Marsalis

Prosecutors had contended that Jeffrey Marsalis drugged and raped the seven plaintiffs after they had drinks with him or shared food with him. In most cases, the women had left their drinks with Marsalis when they went to the restroom. The defense argued that the women consented to sex after drinking heavily and there was no evidence of drugging.

Jurors considered three definitions of rape in most cases: rape by forcible compulsion, rape of an unconscious victim and rape by causing substantial impairment.

*** Woman No. 1: Nov 30, of New Jersey. Drank a few beer samplers, then one or two beers at the Independence Brew Pub in January 2003.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Guilty on sexual assault.

***No. 2: Now 26, met Marsalis in the Metropolitan Apartments, where both lived.

1) October 2003: She went out with him to Fado pub. Had about two gin and tonics.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

2) January 2004: Marsalis came to her apartment after she got out of the hospital. No drinks. The woman testified that he forced himself on her. In this case, prosecutors did not contend she was first drugged.

– Jury hung on a charge of rape by forcible compulsion

– Guilty on sexual assault.

*** No. 3: Lived in Bethlehem, Pa. Was 26 when Marsalis allegedly got her pregnant. Testified she had about half a glass of red wine at a restaurant. At her condo, Marsalis later poured her another glass of red wine, of which she drank some.

After she told him she was pregnant and wanted him to pay to end the pregnancy, she said he threatened her with his “CIA connections” if she were to report anything to police.

– Not guilty on the three counts rape

– Not guilty sexual assault

– Not guilty of impersonating a public servant

*** No. 4: Single mother and nurse from New Jersey, now 36. Testified that she had three glasses of merlot and a kamikaze shot with Marsalis at Tir Na Nog on Nov. 12, 2004.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 5: Now 32, was a law-school student when she met Marsalis on Dec. 30, 2004. She had three beers at Fado. After, at Tir Na Nog, she had ordered a white wine, but didn’t remember drinking it. She recalled parts of her night with Marsalis.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 6: now 36, of Exeter, Pa., spent a weekend in Marsalis’ apartment, in June 2004. On the first night, they went to Tir Na Nog, where she had two beers and a mixed-drink shot. She said she blacked out. The next day, she said she drank iced tea in Marsalis’ apartment, and sometime after having lunch with him, blacked out again.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 7: Now 30, public accountant, lived in Downingtown, had medical problems that affected her memory, concentration and word fluency.

1) Feb. 26, 2005: She had one draft beer each at World Cafe Live and later at Continental Midtown. Afterward, they went to Striped Bass, where Marsalis ordered them each a glass of white wine. She said she had a few sips. The only time she testified going to the restroom was at Striped Bass. Shortly after, she said she blacked out.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

2) March 1, 2005: She said she agreed to meet Marsalis again. She wanted to confront him with having raped her on their first date, she testified. They went to a Chinatown restaurant, where Marsalis served them food from platters and she had a Coke. She did not go to the restroom.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

Is it possible, I suppose, that these women had consensual sex with Marsalis and later pressed their claims due to embarrassment at having been duped by this asshole. That was the contention of his defense team, though, perhaps, not in those exact words.

I suppose it’s possible that these women, who did not know each other, came up, independently, with scenarios that are remarkably similar in modus operandi.

I imagine it’s possible that other women…

(“Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.”)

in Philadelphia, or even in another state,…

(“If he is found not guilty, he faces another drugging and rape case in Sun Valley, Idaho. He is alleged to have assaulted a woman in October 2005 while he was awaiting trial here in a similar drugging and rape case. He was later found not guilty in the previous Philadelphia case.

While in the ski-resort town of Sun Valley, he joined the local fire department as a probationary firefighter in the summer of 2005, said Fire Chief Jeffrey Carnes. Marsalis’ mother, Darlene Jevne, owns several condominiums in Sun Valley and a nearby 400-acre ranch.

“He said he was going to be living here,” Carnes recalled.

At that time, he was out on bail in Philadelphia.

“He disappeared shortly after August,” said Carnes.

Marsalis remained in Sun Valley until he was arrested in the alleged rape there and then returned to Philadelphia to face rape charges here.”)

have had the same unfortunate type of encounter with this man. I guess there is some possibility that the Idaho woman could have had the same regrets about having fallen for his bullshit and chosen to falsely accuse him in that case, as well.

I suppose it’s also possible that it may snow overnight here in suburban Philly on June 14th or that Bill Clinton will really be able to keep it zipped for 4-8 years if Hillary manages to get into the White House. Feel free to insert whatever definition of “it” you like.

I am sitting here in my 62-degree F apartment in ski socks, fuzzy slippers, Polartec sweats and a velour sweater on June 14th, after all.

Possible.

Not likely.

But here’s what I really don’t get.

“Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.”

According to this passage, the law in Pennsylvania defines “rape” as involving some sort of aggravating factor, such as force. Since when is drugging someone to the point of rendering them incapable of giving consent not “force?” I know that the verdict was more about believing the defense attorneys’ contention that there was no drugging and that the women merely later regretted an incredible lapse of judgment in having consented to fuck the loser. I simply don’t understand how a reporter could not come to the conclusion that doping does not constitute the use of “force.”

In my browsing this afternoon, I happened upon the definition of “rape” at the website of a district justice in Chester County. (Another thing I don’t get is the whole “District Justice” thing in PA, or judges running for the office at all, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.) That website was the closest I could come to finding the criminal code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania online, despite the name of this site. What’s up with that? Do I not, as a resident of PA, have the right to ready access to the laws governing the commonwealth in which I live? Where’s that ACLU phone number again?…

I don’t understand the tendency of our species to perpetually denigrate the female. Women in some Muslim countries are not allowed to attend school, read books, drive cars or leave the house without head-to-toe coverage or male escort. Women here in America may be lied to and deceived, drugged and sexually penetrated without significant penalty, without calling it what it is, without defining it as “rape?” Somebody please remind me how these things benefit the species from an evolutionary standpoint? How, again, does this make sense?

I suppose a world of mutual love and respect is possible.

But not likely.

(Another tidbit I offer for your perusal is a stunning letter from the Women’s Law Project to then-FBI director Robert Mueller about the definition of “rape” in the Uniform Crime Report.)

Oh, one more thing I can’t understand is how any woman could represent this man but; as a woman, a feminist, a Christian, a mother and grandmother, a liberal/progressive/libertarian/borderline socialist; I respect and defend Kathleen Martin’s right to make her own mistakes.

What if you were told you had to give up three of your five senses? Which could you stand to do without. Which two would you rather die than never experience again?

I’ve given this a lot of thought this evening, for lack of anything better to do while I do laundry and listen to The World on NPR. I know I could easily do without vision and taste. I’ve come to the conclusion that both are highly overrated, overstimulated and derive far more emphasis than they deserve. Besides, I’ve had my fill of both of them. I don’t mean I’d prefer never to see a beautiful vista or piece of art again but I’ve seen enough sculpture and valleys to have memories aplenty.

And taste? Hasn’t our American gluttony gotten us into enough trouble? Greed for oil. Hunger for more, more and ever more food and the obesity that results from it. I’ve eaten enough succulent strawberries and pumpkin pie with whipped cream to last a lifetime. I sure would miss ice cream but it’s a sacrifice I could make.

So I’m left with three sense and have to unload one more. Which one?

Music. Voices. Babbling creeks. Crickets and katydids. My son. My grandboy. Hmmm.

The silkiness of a bubble bath. The sting of salt water on my calves. The feel of my skin after I’ve had an Indulgence Day.” Clean, crisp, line-dried cotton sheets on a well-made bed. I don’t know.

The scent of a bakery or pizzeria. The aroma of my lover as we simmer against each other. An old-fashioned rose. A summer rain after a dry spell. Lily of the valley. An infant. What to do?

I just got back from putting my next load of laundry. The rain has come to the Delaware Valley. Thank God, because it put out the fire in the New Jersey Pinelands! It rained hard last evening and a cool front moved in. Today was about perfect, in my opinion…high about 69 F, mostly sunny, clouded over a bit and cooled off nicely as the sun set. I have new hostas and ferns freshly planted and getting a nice, easy drink.

I walked back up from the basement laundry room. The rain was steady but quite light. The ground smelled of gratitude. The rain wasn’t yet heavy enough to penetrate the canopy of the maple tree that shades the walkway to my home. I stood and felt the rain on my face, listened to it gently splatter on the jewel green leaves and breathed deep the scent of the earth as she accepted the first of the offering from the sky.

I would give up sounds, I think. I couldn’t conceive of walking in the world and not feeling that on my skin or to never smell freshly-baked bread. To never feel the sensation of butter melting on my tongue, smell a deep, old forest or feel my grandson kiss my cheek? That would be more than I could bear.

Hell, I’m going to spellcheck and link this post up later. Right now I need to go eat something!

So, what would you choose?

Cheers!

This is the DSM-IV diagnosis my therapist assigned to me a few years ago:

Dysthymia.

(I found that information on Internet Mental Health, which I haven’t explored enough yet to endorse, though methinks it has potential.)

And this is the most amazing description of my condition I could have ever imagined:

Mental Water Torture.

“If we think of major depression as a spectacular brain crash, milder depression can be compared to a form of mind-wearing water torture. Day in and day out it grinds us down, robbing us of our will to succeed in life, to interact with others, and to enjoy the things that others take for granted. The gloom that is generated in our tortured brains spills outward into the space that surrounds us and warns away all those who might otherwise be our friends and associates and loved ones. All too frequently we find ourselves alone, shunned by the world around us and lacking the strength to make our presence felt.

The symptoms are similar to major depression, with feelings of despair and hopelessness, and low self-esteem, often accompanied by chronic fatigue. This can go on for years, day in, day out.

Still, we are able to function, a sort of death-in-life existence that gets us out into the world and to work and the duties of staying alive then back to our homes and the blessed relief of flopping into our unmade beds.”

(from Suite 101…anybody ever heard of it before?)

Is it any wonder we turn to drugs?

Good thing I have an appointment on Thursday. After reading that, I am so much more depressed! ; )

Remember when I said I would be glad to fuck this man? At the time I said that, I even said I’d go so far as to marry him. Well, that was before I found out that Bill just quit drinking. Sorry, but given my family history, the last thing I need is a drunk man for a husband (or a drunk woman for a wife, for that matter, though the “Dad connection” is much greater with a man).

If you’ve just now shown up for the first time, welcome and a little backstory: my dad died a year ago and he was an alcoholic all my life, though a dry drunk for the last dozen years of his. I imbibe a bit but am very conscious not to overdo. I’ve always lived with the fear of developing a dependency (other than the nicotine addiction). I lived with the fear of becoming mentally ill, too, but that’s another post…

So, Bill, I’m in for a weekend (even a long one) but not a lifetime, Hon. Too risky.

Below is one of the reasons I’d fuck the man.

Here is where you can listen to and buy it.

These Cold Fingers

Gina left town with the first snow of the year
He drove her to the airport in his Ford
And he tried to propose as he ordered one more beer
but the PA drowned out his words and it was time for her to board.

So he walked her to the gate
He took his hat off as he kissed her
He needed one more drink to take the chill out of his soul
He said a quick goodbye then spent two hours in the bar
Finally paid his tab and kept a dollar for the toll

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

It’s four o’clock and the sun’s gone down the drain
It’s still late winter but they say it’s early spring
Louis reads the gas pumps, Rossi counts the oils
But me I’m done so punch the clock and see you in the morning

There’s nothing back at home that ain’t gone greasy from the stove
I never laughed so hard as when that typewriter broke
Think I’ll stop along the river road for a half pint and some beer
Well everything would be ok if those old dreams would disappear

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

The dog can’t move no more, surprised he made it till the spring
His pain won’t go away and the pills don’t do a thing
You’ve known that old hound longer than you’ve known any of your friends
And no matter how you let him down he’d always take you back again

So it’s one tall glass of whiskey, one last drink for old times’ sake
The dog just lays in bed and watches every move you make
Wrap him up in his blanket, hold him once more close to you
Lead him out behind the barn with a borrowed .22

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

Bill Morrissey‘s These Cold Fingers, released on Standing Eight in 1989 on Philo Records. Available now on Rounder Records.

The raw emotion in that song, the heart-rending sorrow. Anyone with the ability to tap into that much pain in the world and keep on moving is a person of interest. Mind you, I had no idea he was speaking from personal experience about the booze. I assumed it was metaphor. Though from the raspy voice, I probably should have suspected…

Congrats on the sobriety, Bill! May it stay with you always!

 

I’m an amateur US Constitution and Supreme Court buff. I was quite happy, therefore, to find a couple of great feeds for news on the court.

Okay, okay, I’ll share.

Here’s the other.

While I was on Medill’s On the Docket site, I happened upon a decision from Monday, April 2. It is fitting that on Earth Day I should find “Court sides with environmental interests in landmark car emissions case.” Of course, environmental non-activist that I am, I found it necessary to go read the original case, Massachusetts v. EPA, which dates to 1999.

Our wonderful Environmental Protection Agency declared in 2003 that it did not have jurisdiction over the regulation of greenhouse gases and that, even if it were within its power, it would opt not to regulate them.

Here’s an excerpt of the article on On the Docket that I found particularly compelling:

…in 1999, environmental groups unsatisfied with the federal government’s response to global warming filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles. They said greenhouse gases should be considered air pollutants and thus, regulated under the federal Clean Air Act.

The petitioners cited Section 202 of the act, which states that the federal government is to regulate “any air pollutant” that can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”

The EPA denied the petition in August 2003, saying that the act does not authorize the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and, even if it did, the EPA would not exercise such authority.

The agency cited a study by the National Research Council that concluded that “a causal linkage” between greenhouse gases emissions and global warming “cannot be unequivocally established.” EPA said it was inappropriate for the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions without more understanding about the causes of global warming.

Again, Section 202 of the act “states that the federal government is to regulate “any air pollutant” that can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” Can we not make a fair assumption that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming which is likely to have devastating effects on American citizens in the nearer rather than distant future. I fully expect to see horrible global consequences within my lifetime, don’t you?

What better US agency, you may ask, to regulate an air pollutant which can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare” than the Environmental Protection Agency?

Oh, I guess I’m just one of those ill-informed, bleeding-heart liberals who’s screaming that the sky is falling for no good reason!

I smile sardonically at the irony of all this. The things today’s “noted scientists” are now proclaiming as truths are all the things the rowdy, smelly environmentalists were ranting about back in 1970, on the first Earth Day. Now the whole world is up in arms over something the tree-huggers were being irrational and extremist over way back when and still the money grubbers don’t want to give an inch.

Record profits for any US company…ever.

Redux.

Happy Earth Day, all!

Did I happen to mention that I turned fifty last month?

Please help me celebrate, at its advent, my mid-life crisis? In honor of the occasion I present Bill Morrissey’s Fifty: (These frigging lyrics are hand-typed, too, so appreciate the fuckers!…I couldn’t find them on a Google search. Will somebody get busy on that out there?)

Fifty

I turned fifty on an autumn (winter) day
The grass was brown and the sky was gray
But I never felt so strong
I turned fifty
So, come on, world, bring it on.

I can’t round the bases like I could
But I’m still in the game, so knock on wood
I get the jump on the pitch and I catch one more
I turned fifty
I quit keeping score

Hey you kids, this ain’t no jive
But I’ve seen the Beatles [Pink Floyd /David Bowie /Chick Corea (Why Scientology, Chick???) ] perform live
My new guitar (garden) is all hand-crafted
I turned fifty
Best of all, I can’t get drafted (I never could get drafted but that a whole ‘nother, long post!)

I don’t get carded in a bar
I (could) own my house and I (do) own my car
I can’t believe I made it this far
I turned fifty
And I still wish upon a star

Once life was a race and I had to run it
Now I know what not to do because I’ve done it
Well, there’s too much anger and too much crap
I turned fifty
I think I’ll take a nap

Sometimes I think about the days back then
But there’s no return in the way-back-when
I loved them all but those days are gone
I turned fifty
So, come on, world, bring it on!

Well, the days are gone, for me, of lovin’ them all back then but I’m still bankin’ on the loving of them in the future. Thanks, Bill.

Come on, world. Bring it on…

P. S. For those of you looking for that perfect gift(yellow, please?…)

This is a smattering of the stuff I’ve been dealing with over the winter; hence, my hibernation. I doubt I’ll be back much soon, though I do have a draft about what I’ve been up to.

You know, therapy’s got to end eventually, doesn’t it? It does. Doesn’t it?

Posted on an anonymous, private journal of mine, which I’m using as a therapy journal.

  • My garden is now my self, and my child.

All the diligence I put in to cultivating Michael to be a man of integrity, sincerity, hope is paying off now. He is a fabulous man and a fabulous father. He seems to have my instinct for how to nurture his son while fostering his intellect and his ultimate independence.

I really was very adept at encouraging Michael to be all he can, learn as much as he’s able, investigate as much as he desires. I also taught him, as best as I was able, to respect others, to be open to the world around him. I tried to encourage him to be open to his feelings; he denied any desire at the time but I see how open he is in his relationship with Jen and with his son.

I really did a good job nurturing and cultivating my fledgling to become a real man, a good man. Mostly I listened to my heart telling me all the things I wished I’d received as a child…unconditional love and acceptance, encouragement of my unusual bents, interests and proclivities, exposure to many different things and experiences in the world, being there and (mostly) paying attention to him.

Now he’s done. Not only have I gotten him through college, seen him married and a father, I now see him as a man considering and planning a future with his family. His emotional separation is complete. I have done a good job; no, I have created a masterpiece.

His honesty in our talk following the birthday party. The way he opens his eyes to the 600-pound gorilla, just like his mama, and deals effectively with it, unlike his mama, historically. He’s self-assured enough to be vulnerable, to assert what he wants or needs, to work on an issue pro-actively. What a man!

So, I wash my hands of that task. Except for getting him interested in politics (which might be more successful after he’s done grad school) there’s nothing more to be done there. Now, on to the next project.

  • My garden.

I’m communing with the earth this spring. I’m listening to her and taking instruction about what she needs here, how I can help there. I’m now talking about putting in a drainage system which will create a (sometimes) water feature through my terraced cut flower and rock gardens. That diversion would meet up with the primary diversion below the ivy-covered stump then trickle down along the half-buried drainage pipe that is (now, thanks to my efforts) carrying the water from the downspout to the creek.

I’m dreaming big and wild this year and the work will be backbreaking but when I’m done, there will be an environment that could be beautifully tended by another special soul or allowed to be swallowed back into nature with lovely surprises springing up in unexpected places at unexpected times.

Gnome Glen, Rock Garden (terraced), Cut-flower Garden, Perennial Bed, Annual Beds, screened seating area, vegetable garden, Wind Chime Tree, creek bank recovery project, creating a self-sustaining wildlife-friendly habitat.

Dad’s Black Willow.

  • Dad. Lisa. Death. Grief.

So, Lisa, who was my salvation, was cut off in the prime of her life and just prior to the start of my own. Lisa the Savior. Lisa, my Out!

I paid my dues…over and over again. I danced the dance like a marionette! Just who did I do the dance for, though? Yes, it was Mom and Dad’s dance, their song, but which was the one I must support?

The weakling. Dad.

  • Dad’s dead now.

The one I was allied with, the one with whose care I was charged. That one is dead.

The one that was my responsibility is dead.

The other? Is it my duty to save my mother? My brother? Or should the allies continue to dance the dance they choose.

I listen to my own drummer. I dance to my own music. I cannot dance that way any more.

I now dance much more in tune with my child’s music. Well, not his actual music, mind you, but emotionally…you know. Metaphor.

  • My Garden-Redux

Now I am allowing that incredible capacity I have for nurturing to flow where it will right now and all flow is toward the garden! (Well, there’s a little stuff going on inside too but that’s for another time.)

I speak with the garden, with the water that runs through it, with the perennials I or others before me have planted, encouraging them. I listen to the creek and the earth and the trees and plants as they tell me what they need then I provide it.

I believe I am turning into a serious gardener.

And it’s the yummiest thing I’ve felt yet!

I think I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a woman who gardens. Either tends veggie patches or designs and builds wonderful habitats and stunning masses of natural beauty. I’d love to do any of this professionally but will content myself with being a nurse while I develop into a Master Gardener. Once I retire, all bets are off! I could be an entrepreneur…South Jersey native plant nursery lady. It’s about time!

Something to think about.

Of course, I could adapt that to being the Rochester-area native plant nursery lady if my grandson is growing up in the Syracuse vicinity.

Okay, is the lesson you’ve been waiting for…the one about knowing I don’t have to save the world, I only have to do what I can to make it a better place and I already do that? Oh that happened months ago.

Let’s move back to sex, shall we?

And hypnosis.

; )

So, there’s been a lot on my mind and a lot I’ve been dealing with as well as planning out my fabulous garden and doing random acts of gardening kindness in my community.

I’m getting to know some of the neighbors a bit better. : )

All in all, life is very good this spring.

Before that she bitched about: