Monday, June 28, 2010

The Farm Report

Two tomato plants (one yellow grape, one an heirloom irresistibly named Mr. Stripey)
One zucchini and one summer squash
Two basil plants, one Thai and one regular
Packets of bean and spinach seeds
Marigolds for a border and to keep bugs at bay

Ok, so it's a little late. But with the way the summer's shaping up, it shouldn't be a problem. For our next trick, we turn the soil over and stick them into the ground.

We also bought shrubs, small ones that will complement the house but won't compete with the foundation. Oh, don't forget the flowers. A deeply discounted planter of Gerbera daisies and some random geraniums corralled into pots with lobelia welcome visitors to the front. n the back step we have petunias, geraniums, begonias, and moss roses.

It was good to get out, to reconnect with the earth that way. We slept better, indeed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can We Take A Hint, People?

This 5. 5 quake, some 37 miles north of Ottawa, Ontario, shook that city as well as Montreal and Toronto. The tremors reverberated as far south as Virginia and as far west as Chicago. This is the--oh, feh, I lost count. It's definitely been the year of the earthquake.

We also have the oil spill. One of the robots knocked the cap off the well and in turn the whole process back to square one.

Is this the year when we get our final warning about reversing environmental degradation? People? Are you listening? The earth is telling us she's really p.o.'d and I don't blame her at all. We are no further with ending our oil addiction, we have made no progress implementing green technologies. What's it going to take?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Obama's Chernobyl, or Can You Say Criminal Negligence?

   That, my friends, is what this mess in the Gulf of Mexico is turning into.
   Today, reports that a worker did so see a leak in the blowout preventer (BOP), reported it to his supervisor, who in turn sent it up the chain of command. All that needed to be done was to switch over to a secondary BOP. No interruptions in production. Just hit a switch, and none of this would have happened.
    But no. Someone dropped the ball, and now BP, Transocean, and Halliburton are pointing fingers at one another in a circle blame game. President Obama is doing what he can, even if it's as a result of the foot of the opinion polls in his pants (are there no candidates who decline contributions from the oil companies? Like Ralph Nader? Or why I am likely to change my party affiliation to Green.)
    So while the rhetoric floats like so many tar balls, we are faced with two very real, very possible problems: that the oil will ride currents to many other shores, and that the rapidly emptying well could become a sinkhole.
      I've added my prayers and visualizations. Is there anything that can stop this and clean it up?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Would This Have Happened Had She Been a Man?

I don't friggin' think so.

Helen Thomas announced her retirement effective immediately today. After almost 50 years working at the White House for UPI, she abruptly retired. Why? On May 27, someone asked her about her feelings on Israel and Palestine. She responded that Israel should get out of Palestine and strongly suggested that the citizens should go back to Poland and Germany.

I don't know about the latter half of the remark, but the first half reflects the growing frustration many people feel about the Middle East, and the deeper frustration of being labeled anti-Semetic if you disagree with the Israeli government as well as the US government's role as enabler.

Ms. Thomas, I am so sorry that things ended for you this way at UPI. You told the truth and voiced the frustrations of a lot of people. Not in the most tactful terms, granted, but that is the job of a journalist. Thank you for inspiring me as a junior high reporter, and now as I do my own e-mag. May this be a stepping stone to something bigger and better.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Is It Just Me, or is TV Going Backwards? Or, "Mooshy, Mooshy"

Today's entry is dedicated to two of my role models, Bea Arthur, who passed nearly a year ago, and Rue McClanahan, who passed yesterday morning. Thanks, ladies.

    My tastes these days run more towards the classics. Some of it is a function of (cough, cough) age and nostalgia. A lot of it is delayed rebellion safely tucked into the corner of my psyche until safe to let it out, or why I look forward to my second cup of coffee with "Maude" in the morning. Mostly it's from a critical standpoint, both artistically and socially.
    I came of age in the 1970's, when feminism and social reforms seemed to point the way to a world based on progressive values. Shows like "Maude" and "Mary Tyler Moore" portrayed strongly drawn female leads. "Barney Miller" had a diverse cast in terms of race and age. "All in the Family" used humor to force viewers to look at racism.
     Except for Saturday nights at my sister's house, rare evenings at my grandparents', or when I snuck in episodes of the above with an ear peeled for my father's footsteps signaling his return from the neighborhood bar, I didn't get to watch those very often. Dad took any and everything about women finding their voices as a threat, and went berserk over anything remotely disrespectful to law enforcement officers. Anyone (read: me) who felt differently was horrible, disrespectful, disloyal and deserved to get dumped on other relatives. Never mind that his own father had been a cop with a record of, shall we say, not being as respectful towards suspects as some might think he should've been, even in the 1930's in a small New England town.
     We watched a lot of sports. All of the teams out of Detroit had a less than stellar decade, and no disagreement was to be had.
     Fast forward to today. As in this morning.  I watched "Maude." The episode moved briskly, had fantastic dialog, and a good balance of wit and plausible absurdity. Maude's and Viviane's husbands had taken off on a fishing trip. Did they mope or sit around waiting? Hell, no. They got out the whipped cream and doughnuts while Walter and Arthur dealt with a rural New England sheriff who'd pulled them over for speeding, and the consequences of its escalation. They also fired off a few lines regarding racism (their cell mate was African-American).
     My question is what happened? Most shows are predominantly white and male, and female characters have reverted to a level of triviality and silliness not seen since the '60's. The reality genre disturbs me to no end because of it. "America's Next Top Model" makes it seem all about looks and little about hard work. "The Bachelor/ette" reinforces the old pattern that you're a loser if not married and gorgeous. There are more reality shows that glorify cute little sociopaths, and a psychologist interviewed on "Today" said that it made mean the new black. "Cougar Town" trivializes mature (allegedly) women. I could never watch "Sex and the City" or "Friends"because it seemed so geared towards shoes and who was coupled with whom that I just couldn't relate. "The Office" recently disappointed me because Pam abandoned her artistic aspirations to become just another victim of the mommy trap.
     "Roseanne" and "The Golden Girls" were two of the last sitcoms I really enjoyed watching. Strong, independent women with full lives took the leads, addressing social issues with their unique humor. Even though "Barney Miller" had all male detectives, the squad pointed to signs of progress through diversity. Linda Lavin was a detective for a few very early shows. But the women on there were treated respectfully.
    But now we have too many shows where women are sexualized and used as props. It's really sad when you look at "Star Trek: OS" and realize that even with the miniskirts and coffee toting and rubbing Captain Kirk's shoulders, it was a hint of what we hoped would come.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hey, It's My 100th Post and We Come Full Circle

    Yep. When I started this a year ago last winter, I wrote about ex-governor Rod Blagojevich. So, in the interest of completing the circle, let's put Palestine and BP aside for a moment and write about he who started it all.
     Jury selection started today. The judge is questioning the potential jurors one by one to see how badly  the media blitz of the last year plus contaminated influenced them. Hopefully, the judge and the attorneys can agree on a total of eighteen (12 plus 6 alternates) to sit for the next four or so months.
      My big question: through the widespread protesting of his innocence to anyone who will listen, or can't get the remote to work fast enough, did he plant enough seeds of doubt to avoid a conviction, or did he make himself look like a bigger clown hat than he would have otherwise? David Letterman told the good ex-Gov. B. that when he saw him on other appearances, all he could think was "guilty, guilty, guilty."
     In this case, I'm inclined to agree.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

These Things Bug Me, Tuesday Edition

   (Stands up, brushes off mourning weeds.) So where do I start? Israel attacking a humanitarian supply ship with paratroopers and commandos, or the oil leak in the Gulf?
   Hmm. Both are just...what's the word? Wrong, wrong, WRONG.
   Well, let me start with the oil leak. What is BP getting out of this? And why hasn't President Obama taken any action? Attorney General Eric Holder should've been there at the start, not today. I'm not willing to buy the excuses for delays in making it stop. The relief wells could have been drilled by now instead of August. The really sad part is that it will be the franchised station owners and employees who suffer along with the people who rely on the Gulf for their livelihoods, not the suits who want punishment for this. I'm doubly p.o.'d at the administration--the word was "change." The word was "green." We've had more of the same.
    Even worse is the US supporting Israel and trying to sound neutral about yesterday's attack on a ship delivering humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip. How does Israel treating the Palistinians as the Nazis treated the Jews during WWII even things out? I'm out of patience with Israel. And still the US government supports them.
     I sent a comment to President Obama and told him he'd broken my heart. It seemed the most logical thing to do.