Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
On one of the Sunday Fox talking heads shows, Juan Williams opined that the mullahs are "even more conservative" than Ahmenwhatshisface. You know, the Iran Prime Minister, who regales us with the latest message which Allah has just communicated to him.
Since when is a religious nut "conservative"? Did Bill Buckley advocate burying women up to the waist and pelting stones at them? Did I miss the column in which he discussed this practice? Has Charles Krauthammer come out for burqas lately? Does Sarah Palin believe in police shooting down protesters in the street?
Conservatism is a noun that means something specific. Consult a dictionary if you don't understand the meaning of this word. It is not a term of obloquy for everything that is reprehensible. Yet it used interchangeably with "Nazi" and "fascist," terms which, as now used, to label people liberals don't agree with, are essentially meaningless.
Muddled speaking leads to muddled thinking.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
People occasionally e-mail me that they are following me on Twitter. I am flattered, but I don't know why. Yes, I have a Twitter account, also a Facebook page. Also a Myspace page. I suggest you avoid all of them. They are extremely boring.
I am a boring person, with a life that would be extremely boring to others, although I find it interesting enough. Once in a while, I paint a picture or take a photograph. I usually post these on my blog.
Often, I read a book I enjoy. When I do, I usually finish it up and give it to someone else who I believe would like it. Occasionally I will mention a book I have read. Writing reviews requires some effort, which I am not willing to expend on reviewing a forgettable book. if I review a book, it is because I find it valuable, charming, or interesting. Most of them I read and forget.
If you are interested in what I have to say, follow me on blogger or my atom feed (whatever that is) or Google reader.
Did I mention that I enjoy getting comments?
Posted by miriam at 10:41 PM
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Taconic State Parkway used to be a major road leading from the Massachusetts border to New York City. Years ago, when the New York State Thruway was built, traffic was diverted, and hardly anyone takes the Taconic any more, preferring a modern highway with tolls and heavy traffic. Don't ask me why--can the people who voted for Eliot Spitzer have their reasons?
So I am driving down the Taconic State Parkway, zipping along nicely at 70 miles per hour. There is one vehicle in sight, ahead of me, and no-one coming in the opposite direction as far as the eye can see. Long story short, a state trooper stops me and issues an expensive ticket, and I have to send a certified check for a lot of money to some jerkwater town in Upstate New York.
I am appalled by the witlessness of this entire transaction. I was not drunk, I was not on drugs, I was in total control of the car, I was not endangering myself or others. If I had hit somebody at 55 mph they would be just as dead as if I had been going 70.
So what's the rationale? The State trooper is paid a lot of money to stop people like me, so the State can get enough money to pay the trooper, who then has to stop more people like me so that State will have enough money to pay his salary.
Okay, I figured it out. It's a jobs program! All these people--the trooper, the clerk who sends out the notice, the judge who presides over the court, the bank which issues the certified check, and the mailman who delivers it, and goodness knows who else--are productively employed.
I'm proud I could do my part! Otherwise, unemployment might be at, oh, 50 percent, maybe, instead of 9.6.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
not to offer degrees in "creative writing" at all?
That noise you hear is their little pea brains rattling around in their heads. I can't believe that the students learn anything worth knowing in this atmosphere. But then, I don't believe you can teach illiterates "creative writing."
It's a jobs program, like the WPA.
Posted by miriam at 11:37 PM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
First, let me make clear that I am not up on Delaware's partisan political scene. I voted once--once--in a Republican primary before yesterday, because a very nice man came to my house and asked for my vote. (He lost.) Often primary day came and went without my participation. I didn't bother to vote because I am more concerned with the Great Issues and ignorant about local issues. Why just pull a lever for someone I know nothing about? So I let the primaries pass me by.
This time I wanted to vote because it seemed that Mike Castle had a chance of winning the seat away from the Democrats. He was pretty wishy-washy, but we in Delaware like them that way. If we want entertainment, we can listen to Joe Biden make a fool of himself. Castle was bland and soothing.
When I got to the polls there was quite a crowd, or what passes for a crowd in Delaware: a smallish assembly of well-behaved quiet people. But though they wouldn't raise eyebrows in New Jersey,it was a crowd by Delaware standards. I counted at least eight people, besides the election officials. That was seven more than the turnout last time I voted in the primary.
I got the feeling that these people were stirred up, in their courteous and civilized way, and I was sure that most of them did not turn up to vote for Mike Castle. I got a sense that they showed up to vote against Mike Castle. I figured he would lose, and he did.I had a feeling that many more people turned up
because they wanted to vote against anybody.
My support of Castle was pretty lukewarm, but I was surprised by the victory of O'Donnell, who has been a perennial candidate ever since I moved to Delaware, running for anything and everything. Well, this time she won the lottery.
Castle's reaction was very surprising, though. I thought he would act the gentleman and vow to support the winner. That's how professionals do it. Better men than he have conceded defeat. But he chose to act like a sorehead. That kind of behavior is just plain mean.
So maybe the voice of the people is the voice of God?
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Remember the crazy house in MA, lived in by the friend of my friend, Eve? Well, the crazy house is no more. Eve's husband died, and Eve has Moved On. The house was sold to someone who wanted to tear it down, and did.
Eve was lucky. She sold the house at the top of the real estate boom and made a lot of money. With the proceeds she bought herself a very nice condo in a desirable neighborhood of Boston. My friend visited her shortly after she moved in and reported that the apartment was really nice. Eve apparently left the Jergens' lotion bottles, old clothes, and grand piano back in the teardown. She could hardly have fitted it all into the new condo, she would have had to purchase all 24 flats in the new building.
Peace and harmony reigned. But not for long. A cloud no bigger than a man's hand hovers over the new place. Our mutual friend visited recently and reported that Eve had begun to furnish her new home with large cartons in which she was storing everything that had come in the mail which she had not had time to look at.
She only had a few of these cartons last year. This year, a visit revealed that the number of cartons had increased. Eve is well on her way to recreating the ambiance of her old house, little by little.
A pity she had to get rid of the grand piano.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Up to and including the president.
President Obama starts pleading with that nutty Florida minister to knock off his idiotic plan to burn Qurans.So why are the President, Secretary Gates, and General Petraeus all pleading with this minister not to burn Korans--thus elevating this loony pastor to the status of the despicable Fred Phelps?
Obama said the act would incite terrorists "to blow themselves up."...
but... nobody burned Korans before 9/11, or the first World Trade Center attack in 93.
There was no Koran barbecue prior to terror attacks in Argentina, Kenya, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, London, Lebanon, Italy or Germany.
The victims there didn't ask for it.
The response to Rev Jones's unseemly plan is dignified silence. Petraeus, Gates, and Obama should treat him the way the media treats the tea party; not notice them for as long as possible, then heap them with contumely and scorn.
I am particularly annoyed at Petraeus behaving like an old lady who has spotted a mouse on her pillow. I can only say, in the words of Lady Macbeth: Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard?
Posted by miriam at 1:55 PM
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
I'm always writing about my mother's family, which is understandable because we lived near them and we saw more of them. Maybe a little too much.
But fair is fair, so I want to direct your attention to my father's side of the family. The cast of characters:
Grandma, who spent her final 40 years of life in bed;
Grandpa, rabbi and sometime streetcar conductor;
Helen, oldest child and only daughter, who took over the household when her mother went to bed;
Al, oldest brother, of whom I know nothing except that he had perfect pitch and played the drum;
Ed, next brother in line and the family black sheep;
and my dad, whom I will call Nat, the baby, continually striving to measure up to Ed.
Ed and N had a fairly fraught relationship. A lot of it was about sports--who could pitch better, who could hit the ball farther, who could beat who in tennis, and so forth. Nat was puny and small, and Ed picked on him, even breaking his arm in a dispute over a baseball game. When they grew up, they stopped plotting to kill each other--Nat got old enough and big enough to defend himself-- but still had a fairly intense relationship in which each tried to outdo the other.
When they visited each others' homes, they tried to outdo each other in hospitality. You were sure to get a good feed at Nat's house when Ed was in town. Upping the ante, Ed would take everybody out to a trendy restaurant, sparing no expense on food or wine. Ed's daughter got into a good college. Nat's son, who was about the same age, got into a better one.
When Nat was about 89 he had a heart attack and was hospitalized. He left the hospital against doctor's orders so he could host a party for Ed and show him what nice friends he had. After the party, he went back and had a bypass.
Ed lived to the age of 97. I knew Nat would never let that record stand. Undefeated, he has made it to 98. So Nat won.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Does this woman (from a sales flier for Spanx) have scoliosis, or has her picture been photoshopped? How in the world did she manage to twist herself into that amazing posture? And why is one of her arms longer than the other?
She looks as if she's been sculpted from some bendable material, not flesh. Creepy.
Monday, September 06, 2010
It depresses the hell out of me. Labor Day seems to have a kind of hammer and sickle motif, but it doesn't stand for anything, really. It doesn't invoke any historic events or major heroes, like Memorial Day or Martin Luther King Day--it just a made up holiday, a bone thrown to unions.
Also, it marks the end of summer and the onslaught of bad weather. Soon the leaves will fall from the trees. Dreary.
And there was Jerry Lewis--does anyone else remember his ghastly telethons in aid of some charity? And felt annoyed because it was for a good cause, so you felt guilty for hating him?
Posted by miriam at 11:07 PM
Thursday, September 02, 2010
The massive Beck rally makes me uneasy. It is uncomfortably close to a Christian revival meeting with a Come-to-Jesus sub-text.
Why must religion come into it? Our Founding Fathers were not literally Christians but deists. They believed in natural law, not messianic religion, whereby only Christians (or Muslims) can achieve salvation. In fact, our country is not about heavenly salvation, but about governance which respects the rights of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on this earth.
Whenever a strong Christian element enters the discourse, I think of the Crusades. Maybe the Crusades saved Christendom, but when it was all over and the infidels were vanquished, a lot of innocent Jews were dead.
Collateral damage? Well, yes, but I don't want me and mine to be collateral damage, even inadvertently.