Sunday, September 30, 2007

All-American Apple Pie

We're not as young as we used to be. Seventy-six years or thereabouts was once considered "terribly old." My grandmother was 73 when she died and she seemed absolutely ancient, but she did understand that she couldn't do all the things she did when she was younger.

With today's science to help us, we live on and on......but if we expect (or are expected to) to do everything the same as we used to do there's no wonder women fall into their chairs in the evening and have a long nap.

Some spouses (not mine) on the other hand scale back if they feel like it and do the things they like to do best--even if it is sitting in a rocking chair most of the time. Or, if they are busy they often do the fun things--like writing that novel, painting that picture, or building something creative. Doing the laundry or serving up dinner doesn't appeal to them!

They still expect to have somebody else (little wifey) fix the breakfast, serve the coffee, come up with a tasty lunch, and finish off with a great dinner. When the little woman is finally carried off to the cemetery the neighbors rally round and help the helpless husband. My sister's husband can't even boil an egg! That's ridiculous. My cat could boil an egg.

When I purchased the other day a pair of frozen pie shells, spouse was shocked!!! "I like your home-made pie crust better," he said. But I said, okay, if you want a pie it will be made from these because making an apple pie takes time (peeling and cutting the apples, finding the spices, getting out the sugar, the rolling pin, etc. and making home-made pie crust takes even longer). He got my point. When the pie came out of the oven, the crust golden brown and tender, and the apples inside steaming away, it didn't take him long to cut a slice and declare it delicious.

So, we look for ways to give us more time to do the things we want to, like read a book, or write a letter, or take a walk.

Sometimes an old person has to make a decision between two loves-- baking bread and making jam, or making a painting. Not both. Well, you can buy jam and bread, but you can't buy your own original painting. And only the painting will remain for you to pass on to the next generation. (You can pass on recipes for bread and jam, but that's not the same!)

But if apple pie is what you do best and love to do, then do it. You will always be remembered and loved for it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Not So Hot on Hillary!

I'm not so hot on Hillary today! Shortly after I wrote my rave endorsement for her candidacy I watched the latest Democratic Candidates Debate on MSNBC. I kept in mind that she is preparing the ground for the time when she is the party's presidential candidate and will then have to present herself to the voters as the candidate of choice. In order to defeat her Republican opponent she will have to appear to be middle-of-the-road or even a bit rightist. In actuality, although her politics have no doubt mellowed since she was a flaming leftie student at Wellsley College, she remains a devoted Democrat.

But another problem haunts me, and that is her warlike stance--voting to allow George Bush to once again invade another country (Iran) if he feels like it. At least Hillary puts to rest the old saw that if women ran the world there would be no war. We have examples already of warlike women from Elizabeth I to Margaret Thatcher, in fact.

Friday, September 28, 2007

When Connie Schultz Came to Town

Connie Schultz came to town yesterday to talk about her new book. She wowed an audience of over 400 people --mostly women it must be admitted--but there was also a fair sprinkling of members of the the male persuasion on hand as well.

Connie's visit was sponsored by the Medina Branch of the American Association of University Women (of which I can proudly say I'm a member) and the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards our permanent endowment fund aimed at providing university scholarships for non-traditional women students. Very generously, she donated her time to the cause. Because of the turnout, our fund has been much enhanced.

Although Connie is an admitted liberal Democrat her audience came out regardless of party. She was a fearless speaker: fearless about being a feminist in a post-feminist age, and fiercely proud of her working class parents who literally gave their lives to helping move their four children out of poverty and into professional careers.

Connie shared with us the some of the details of how her life has changed since her husband Sherrod Brown went to Congress this January as Ohio's new Senator. It was during his campaign for election that the idea for her book came into being.

. . . . And His Lovely Wife recounts her adventures on the road in support of her husband. At hundreds of meetings around the state she was invariably introduced from the platform as the candidate's lovely wife. As far as her own identity and successful career were concerned, they didn't appear to exist. Fortunately, her lack of ego combined with a sharp sense of humor and irony, play to her advantage in in her very wise and funny book--which may earn her a second Pulitzer Prize.

In 2005 Connie received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her first book, Life Happens : And Other Unavoidable Truths, a compilation of columns she had written over the years for The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Pulitzer not only confers enormous prestige on the winner, but also on the paper she works for. Not many papers in the U.S. can field a Pulitzer winner, but here in Northeastern Ohio we benefit from her columns that tackle with wit and compassion the issues that beset us in today's difficult world.

In her talk Connie discussed many concerns including women and families, jobs, racism, health, and the war. She encouraged audience members to raise questions, and what ensued was a lengthy conversation between those in the seats and Connie on the stage.

These days, Connie's not so much a local girl. She travels abroad, participates in national conferences on journalism, and spends time in Washington, D.C. often mixing with the likes of Hilary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and other knowns and lesser knowns. (But come to think of it, in the question and answer period, no one asked her about Senator Larry Craig. Just as well, I guess).

Even Borders Bookstores benefited because afterward many people lined up to buy personally signed copies of Connie Schultz's books for permanent keepsakes of an evening well spent.

Stephanie Grant Duke

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I will vote for Hillary and I'll tell you why

I've made up my mind about Hillary. She's my choice. Why? I'll tell you:

First, I'm not swayed at all by skeletons in her closets like taking money from a guy who turns out to be a loony tunes ponzie schemer. Which one of the candidates is unflawed? I'm also unswayed because she's changed (or felt she had to change to be elected) her politics from idealistic left to pragmatic center Democrat. (She has to be in the center to get the votes.) And Ill be unmoved by any other flaws that may or may not come down her pike.

It's my last chance before leaving this earth to see the possibility of a woman president. It will take decades for another one to grasp the brass ring.

I want a woman president to represent me and all the sisters in this nation--black, brown, white, gay, young, old. I want to see a woman stand in front of the convention next summer and receive the cheers from an overflow gathering of Democrats. I want to hear her acceptance speech. I want to see her take the Presidential oath and then walk down Constitution Avenue in Washington with Bill beside her, or a teeney bit behind her. I want to see her send George W. Bush on his way out of the White House to oblivion or better still, to a trial in the World Court along with his cronies. I want to see the generals salute a woman as their Commander-in-Chief and I want to witness her walking into the Congress amid huge cheers that won't be quelled and getting up there on the podium for her first State of the Union address (followed over time by seven others).

Not much to ask, is it?

Interesting essay:

Is It Last Call Tonight For Obama And Edwards?

Monday, September 24, 2007


On a cat blog the other day I saw some ocicats. So lovely.

They cost $500, and that makes me think their owners would be averse to letting them go outside for strolls. Sweet though they are, I won't be springing for an ocicat anytime soon. And anyway, our three commoners are just as precious even though they lack aristocratic lines. So we keep them inside, protected from hawks, traffic, coyotes, and anything else that would do them in.

James Wolcott, a lively intellect, began a blog post last week this way:

Chill descended on Cape May last evening, the pre-dawn morning so nippy that our youngest ocicat, the personality-plus Veronica, batted at the covers until they were lifted, allowing her to scoot under them and bank herself against my back for warmth. I give off a lot of heat even when inert. We--"we" being my wife and I, Veronica and her two ocimates preferring to "sleep in"--rose early, the drop in temp coupled with northern winds indicating an auspicious morning for fall migration. Yesterday at the hawk watch there were merlins lancing the sky, an American bald eagle, cedar waxwings, etc., along with the scrappy advance scouts of the monarch butterfly migration set to arrive in legion force."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Birds, Turner, and Diana

This Saturday morning I'm looking at beautiful birds online and my favorite (I think) is the red-throated parrot finch, but they are all so beautiful. These photos are beyond beautiful. I think my favorite is the red-throated parrot finch, but it's really hard to choose.The article has orange-colored links to other bird watcher sites if you have the time. Oh, the miracle of the internet! I haven't learned yet the art of including links into my posts. In the meantime, you can copy and post links into Google.

This morning, on The New Yorker Online, there's a terrific slide show of some of the paintings of J.M.W Turner (article discussing them and others by Simon Schama is there too). They are being exhibited at the moment at the National Gallery. One of the paintings is from the Cleveland Museum of Art--The Burning of the Houses of Commons and Lords. Turner did two versions. Both are in the show. What he did with color and light is out of this world.

I've just read The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown. It's a fantastic read because Brown has incredible access into the highest levels of the aristocracy. With all her insights plus her considerable intellect, her humor, and her advanced university degrees, and her wicked writing skills honed as editor of The New Yorker among others, she has produced a book that probably puts the others on the subject in the shade. I'm not a Diana fan, or a Royals fan, but the characters in the book and the events are part of British history now and that's what makes it interesting to me. Diana comes off in a much better light than Camilla (it's obvious Tina doesn't like her very much). One appealing aspect of Diana was her liking for being with the people who worked "downstairs." She loved to iron! Was never happier than when she was ironing friends' dresses or shirts, or washing their dishes, or tidying up. Tina's not too thrilled with Charles. The Queen she treats with respect, but the woman comes across as so entrenched in her role that all humanity seems to be absent. Anne's not a favorite either. Surprisingly, Paul Burrell comes off quite well in the book, but that may be because he dished stuff to Brown that hasn't appeared in his books.

Truth be told, because Brown renders all the characters in full dimensional detail, none of them come across as villains or saints. Other interesting "characters" are the stately homes of all the friends and relatives of Diana each of whom apparently lives in a country mansion each set upon thousands of acres of ground.

No wonder the rest of the British live in pokey flats or houses clustered close together on handkerchief-sized lots. The aristocracy still owns most of Engllish soil and many of them open them up to ticket-paying tourists. There's Althorp House, her family home, now a tourist attraction run by Diana's brother the Earl Spencer. It has a gorgeous website. Camilla has a nice country retreat at Raymill in Wilsthire. Pictures online show that it's a huge, castelated palace. Controversy surrounds it because British taxpayers have assumed its restoration.. To list the houses lived in by all the royals would be too exhausting. Suffice it to say that beyond Buckingham Palace there's Windsor for the weekends, Sandringham for Christmas, Balmoral for the summer, Clarence House for Charles and Camilla, Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh for Scottish official visits, and Kensington Palace with apartments for the "lesser" royals. . Anne has a home in the Cotswolds, Gatscombe Park. The lands surrounding it are so beautiful you would think she would wear a smile every day. Most of these places can be visited online.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Domestic Manners of Americans

If you haven't read Fanny Trollope's Domestic Manners of the Americans by all means do so. Fanny arrived in Cincinnati by riverboat in 1829 and stayed three years creating the city's first department store and keeping a journal. She brought three children, a starving artist, and two servants with her and was astonished when the servants preferred to stay in Ohio rather than return to London. The book was a best seller at home and here. Americans wanted to find out for themselves the extent of her waspish criticisms of their crude ways, and of course the English wanted confirmation that America was indeed that rough and rude country across the pond.

What's most important about the book are descriptions of Ohio when it was basically frontier country--all forests and streams, her means of travel (before the railroad), Washington, D.C., slavery, and the beautiful Niagara Falls--pristine and untouched by commerce (certainly no casinos). She raved about them. The thing she hated most about American society was that common, ordinary people were in charge. That was not the case in England where aristocracy ruled and everyone knew and stayed in their pre-ordained place.

From Amazon reviews
> Fanny spent most of her time in the U.S. in Cincinnati and in her book is very hard on the city and its inhabitants. She especially objected to the pigs' role as garbage collectors. (In those days, pigs roamed the streets freely, like sheep grazing.) Fanny felt most of the people she encountered were loud, dirty, vulgar, and fanatically patriotic. It is her vivid descriptions of the physical conditions and the people that give this book its historical and entertainment value.
> While she was living in Cinci, she opened a retail emporium and filled it with rather shoddy merchandise sent from England by her husband. She also attempted to bring culture to the inhabitants. Not surprisingly, both ventures failed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thank you Senator Sherrod Brown for voting against the resolution that targets and muzzles dissenting voices against the Iraq War. Stay strong for your Ohio Democrats. Move.on has a perfect right to speak its mind in behalf of the millions of Americans who are against the Iraq War.

As for Senator Voinovich, I will work as hard as I can here in Ohio to help replace you when it's your time for re-election. Your vote today in favor of the resolution was craven and shameful. Where were the voices and votes in the Senate when the Swiftboat team declared open season on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and when Max Cleland was viciously attacked by Republicans in his home state of George? It's time for all good Americans to wake up and repudiate the anti-democratic senators--twenty-two of whom were cowardly Democrats--who voted for this scurrilous resolution today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Free at Last

Tomorrow we can read Frank Rich again for free.

Today The New York Times corrected a gross error--the one they made two years ago when they put their columnists and other reporters behind a wall they called TimesSelect and slapped an annual charge of over fifty dollars for the privilege of reading them. Well, they've discovered that the money they made from subscribers doesn't equal the money they've lost from advertisers.

So tonight at midnight (Septemner 19, 2007), the entire Times will be free.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Betray-Us, Betray-Us

So much righteous steam steam has blown out of the media's outlets after Move-On had the nerve to suggest that General Petraeus has been "cooking the books" and is "at war with the facts." With their corporate blinders on the media criticizes Move-On for "embarrassing" the good general. But in truth, our cowardly media is betraying us just as surely as Petraeus and his Commander in Chief.

Petraeus the panderer, by saying what Bush wanted him to say or ordered him to say, has betrayed Americans at home and in Iraq. What his testimony last week basically told us is that he intends to keep our troops in Iraq for an indefinite future. We've devastated their country, killed and wounded over a million Iraqi people, and scattered millions more to the four winds. Displaced Iraqi young women are now working as prostitutes in Syria just to earn enough to keep families alive. Most Americans don't even know this because they don't like reading or hearing "unpleasant" news. We've planted dozens of huge military bases across Iraq and have just completed an obscenely humongous multi-billion-dollar American Embassy in Baghdad. With all that in place, of course we don't plan on leaving anytime soon. The billions of dollars going down the Iraqi drain could fund a universal health system here at home twice times over. We are horribly betrayed.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The International Association of Turtles

Yesterday I bought a new wallet. Well, not quite new, but it's in fine condition, and I'm happy to have it. Its supple black leather gleamed at me from the shelf of our local hospice's thrift shop and when I picked it up it felt soft and buttery. It's a Rolf--once the aristocrat of wallets. They don't seem to make them like that any more. I like a wallet to have plenty of credit card pockets, a roomy section to keep my huge pile of dollar bills in, and an attached change purse, When my last one --found ten yeas ago at an Akron tag sale-- fell apart I was forced to replace it with a shoddy little plastic and environmentally harmful one from Target. Lacking pockets and having a mingy little change purse it still cost $8.00. So when I found the Rolf at the Medina hospice shop I speedily paid the $1 they asked for it, brought it home, got out some saddle soap and cleaned it up. It looks divine now.

Then I made a little discovery . I found the name of the previous owner on cards she'd tucked way inside. One is her certificate of voter registration for 1987, and the other, dated 1964, is a membership card for the International Association of Turtles, signed by the Imperial Turtle. This card carried the following command:

We assume all prospective turtles own a Jack Ass. On this assumption is the reason for the password. This password must be given if you are ever asked by a new member, "Are you a Turtle?" You MUST THEN REPLY, "You bet your sweet ass I am." If you do not give the password in full because of embarrassment or some other reason, you forfeit a beverage of his choice. So always remember the password.

listed are several riddles that are part of a member's initiation and all of them are surprisingly risque for 1964. I'll include them in another posting.

The name of the previous owner I'll keep to myself. She may be still living, and I'd hate to embarrass her. But the first name is Ruth. .


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Perfect Symmetry

Really something! Perfect symmetry. Al Qaeda assassinates today Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, the leader of the Anbar Province Sunnis --on the very day that Bush is going to tell the nation that things are improving in Iraq! Those cunning Iraqi insurgents. Bush has been touting this leader as a prime example of the new U.S. and Anbar Sunni truce. As a reward we've given them tons of money and guns. Somebody evidently didn't go for that kind of collaboration. and now the Sunni sheik is dust. This killing also happened a day after General Betray-us went to Congress and a day after a day after the memorials to Sept. 11. Oh those fiendish followers of Bin Ladin!
Every day a ghastly new chapter unfolds. When are Americans going to snap out of their perpetual snooze and demand a stop to all this and an impeachment of the president?.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Listen to Joe Biden

"The truth of the matter," said Biden today, who just returned from Iraq, "is that this administration's policy and the surge are a failure."

Listen to Joe Biden. Just returned from another tour of Iraq the Delaware senator is telling it like it is, unlike all the other senators and representatives who've come home from Baghdad mindlessly burbling on about the "progress" being made there. Biden, in his small state, is more able to meet with ordinary people on the street and get an earful from them. He's not isolated in Washington, as so many of our Congress people are.

Even with the Great Decider and our censored media keeping the whole truth from us, and Bush still, even today, connecting untruthfully 9/11 to Iraq, we know we have sentenced Iraq to unremitting chaos, from Baghdad to Basra and all the way over to Anbar Province. You can tell by Biden's face on Meet the Press today that he's shocked by what he has seen in Iraq. We've failed, he said in so many words, and he says the only kind of government in Iraq that has a chance is de-centralized, local-controlled government, town by town, village by village--under a very loose federal umbrella.

I believe Doomsday will come before the secretarian leaders in Baghdad will accept some kind of rule by unity or cohesion. They are the spawn of 900 plus years of religious separation and hatred and are unable to change.

Dame Mickey

Imagine Hollywood star Mickey Rooney, 86, cavorting onstage at the Sunderland Empire in Britain as a pantomime dame in Cinderella!

Londoners who want to see Mickey as an ugly sister will have a long distance journey ahead of them because the city of Sunderland is in the wildest, coldest, most windblown part of northeast England. . It should be worth it though because the Empire is historic and has been restored and is now in state-of-the-art.condition.

Rooney will be making his panto debut at the Empire beginning early December. His wife Jan will play the fairy godmother. Hope he stays in good health and wows those usually taciturn northerners.

From Wiki:

The dome on the 90ft tower featured a revolving sphere bearing the statue of Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of dance and choral song. These were removed during World War II for safety reasons, after a bomb which had fallen nearby rocked the building. The original statue is now located at the top of the main staircase, with a replica on the dome itself. The dome and tower have recently been refitted with a state-of-the-art LED and floodlight system that illuminates the main entrance in the evening.

For more information including description of the unique auditorium, go to Wikipedia
Sunderland Empire Theatre
Shown here are the Main Doors, with the secondary Stalls entrance to the left. The Box Office is located 20 yards down the street.
Country United Kingdom
Owned by City of Sunderland Council
Capacity 2000
Opened 1 July 1907
Previous names The Empire Palace

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Richardson Stumbles

Wonder how critiques like these will look when the primaries begin early next year. How many faux pas can a candidate make and still be considered viable? Here's Markos himself writing on Richardson's remarks yesterday.

More on Richardson

Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:02:41 AM PDT

In short, an RNN reporter asked Richardson if he would vote for the Iraq Supplemental that was about to come to a vote and had been dominating the news for days (if not weeks). His answer:

I'm just not familiar with the supplemental. Which one is that?

It was particularly unfortunate given that his overall answer to the question focused on a complete pullout from Iraq. Yet with that quote above he betrayed a shocking ignorance of the war debate and how it was playing out in DC, and the sort of weak political instincts that are mocked in this video. It's this ignorance of the current political climate that could explain why he's still using obsolete 90's-era, DLC-style, Democratic Party-bashing language when just about everyone else outside of the Bush Dogs has moved on. Perhaps that political tone deafness explains why his campaign's top aide has no problem going on Fox News to yuk it up with Ann Coulter.

Richardson is clearly a man of great accomplishment, the "CV candidate" of this election. But it's amazing how skills that have served him well at the congressional and state level, as well as on diplomatic missions, have served him so poorly on a national presidential stage.

Update: The campaign responds to Richardson's dreadful remarks about the Iowa caucuses (they're Constitutionally and Scripturally mandated), claiming it was a "bad joke".

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Democratic Candidate: Who Shall I Choose?

I'm still working on making up my mind on who to support among the Democratic presidential candidates. As a woman I would like to see a woman in the White House before I shuffle off this mortal coil, but that's not my whole consideration. I don't think the blogger jct on Daily Kos will mind my passing along his/her post today --not if it can assist voters as they study all the reasons why they should support one Democratic candidate over another. Some of these reasons are fluffy, and 3 and 10 are practically the same, but nevertheless a call to consider Edwards seriously is worth thinking about.

Top ten reasons I support Edwards

Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 05:57:21 AM PDT

For me it always comes back to Edwards, none of the other candidates come close. Here are my top 10 reasons for supporting him (in no particular order):

  1. He is out front and strongly pro-labor. He mentions the need to strengthen unions in every speech at every stop. Bonior, a great friend of labor, is his campaign manager. Who a candidate surrounds him or herself with shows who they are.
  1. He is out front and strongly against corporate power. He doesn't tiptoe around the issue by talking about how we have to tweak the rules, he calls it like it is.

[The system is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it's perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don't stand a chance.

  1. His personal history shows he has always held these values. Coming out of law school he must have had his choice of jobs. In law school students are heavily steered towards corporate law. Instead, he chose to challenge the corporations on behalf of the average person.
  1. He is personally very appealing and this counts big time. In the studies cited in "The Political Brain" by Drew Westen it is one of the top reasons voters choose a candidate.
  1. He speaks to my heart when he talks about how America can be a leader in the world to help people. It answers a longing for the end of this nightmare of horrors being done in our name.
  1. He is working harder than anyone to get the nomination, as shown by his much more frequent appearances in the early primary states than the other candidates.
  1. His health care plan offers a government program that gives people the option to have health care run for people not profit. Sure, I'd prefer single payer, but, this is the best being offered by anyone but Kucinich (who has a truckload of other problems).
  1. He comes from a working class background.
  1. Elizabeth Edwards. It tells you a lot about a man who he chooses as his wife.
  1. Hey, if we have to look at someone's face for the next 4 (let's hope 8) years, let's have it be a handsome one.

So why do you all support Edwards?

Tags: John Edwards, 2008 elections, president, primaries, labor, unions, Recommended (all tags)

View Comments | 335 comments

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Royal Ballet's Cinderella

My goodness, August over and only one entry! How fast the month flew. Will September be better? Last night we watched Cinderella from Netflix, made in 1957 during the Royal Ballet's cross-country tour. . This was the late, great Frederick Ashton's version. Music distinctly Prokofiev. Ashton did the choreography and danced one of the ugly sisters--the short, shy one. Kenneth MacMillen did the tall skinny skapstick one. Both were glorious pantomime dames. NBC commissioned this special TV version to show off color, but it was preserved only in black and white, and grainy at that. But its quite the artifact now, accompanied by quaint commercials of the time period and a narrator's ghostly fifties voice. Margot Fonteyn looked so young and beautiful, but Michael Somes as Prince Charming showed how dull male dancers were pre-Nureyev.

Liked it so much I returned to the Netflix index for more Ashton and found his Tales of Beatrix Potter, which I've put at the top of my queue. In addition, there are loads of ballet films at Netflix.

Netflix description of The Tales of Beatrix Potter:

With Frederick Ashton's choreography, John Lanchbery's music and Reginald Mills' direction, the Royal Ballet Company brings the fascinating Beatrix Potter characters and stories to life. Jemima Puddle-Duck (Ann Howard), Hunca Munca (Lesley Collier), Squirrel Nutkin (Wayne Sleep), Jeremy Fisher (Michael Coleman), Peter Rabbit (Alexander Grant) and others grace the stage in this engaging collection of children's tales.