Friday, February 26, 2010
I think people aren't kidding about the midlife thing. I know, I am refusing to admit I am halfway there. Crap, there is still so much to do in this life, and as I get slower and slower, I realize it's going to take longer and longer. I do need to 100 for sure!
But on the one hand I think about how I have given myself the best birthday present I could give my own self, which is once again to get a lot of people I think so highly of in one place and watch them connect... but at the next moment sort of pining for something else, something insanely materialistic: a body that's elastic, skin that's elastic, so my back doesn't go out every time I lift weights with any commitment, and my neck doesn't look like that of a goddam chicken with its feathers yanked out. And a gutsack that's normal, that doesn't bloat when I think the word "bloat"... a metaboilism that allows me to drink the fine single malt scotch Bill sent for my birthday neat, as opposed to on ice so that it's cold...
Speaking of Bill, thanks to all the incredibly thoughtful people who surround me for all your generosity at birthday time: Bill for the VT care package- and the scotch!- even though the organic raspberry jam broke in the box; Jen for the flowers; the Queen for the pear candle that will likely never be lit, despite admonitions that is what it's for; Stevil for breakfast tomorrow; Lanbo for the sparkly earrings; Audrey and Vincent for the fine Chinese opera hanger; everyone for the cards, the packages I am not allowed to open yet, the well-wishers far away but online; and mostly to all the people who convene around me to have a good time, which is what life is about- at least part of the time, when things like neck skin sagging don't consume us.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
This morning I read in the local paper that several outside organizations requested City funding this week, and one of them was the private company the Laramie Trap Club. Now, I ask you, why would the Trap Club ask for money, and why would City Council consider ponying up? Since when has trap and skeet shooting been in the public interest?
Don't get me wrong; I love that there are all sorts of activities in town to meet a variety of interests, but where is the common welfare of the citizen taxpayers served by a private trap club?
And to add insult to injury, the request was for money to replace broken windows and make other repairs around the clubhouse. What?! I'd rather the City fund shooting lessons for these guys so they can avoid having to ask for money to replace windows in the future. (I know, there are girls who shoot skeet too. Sorry; didn't mean to leave you out.)
Anyway, here is my letter to the editor. Let me know if I am missing something here?
To the Editor:
In response to an article in the February 25 Boomerang, I am compelled to ask why private organizations like the Laramie Trap Club would request or be considered for City funding? The purpose of government is to care for the public interest, primarily providing services private companies can’t or don’t but that would benefit all, yes? I can understand the City assisting the Eppson Center, public library, or soup kitchen, which are available to all Laramie residents for use, and mostly for “free”, but a private company that serves such a specific population as skeet and trapshooters?
My intention in this letter is not to vilify the Trap Club; it’s nice that there are activities available in Laramie to meet a variety of interests. I would question even funding the Rifle Range (a non-profit organization operating for the public via volunteers) or Alpine Tennis, both of which have requested money, in these lean financial times, especially. Alpine Tennis has been successful in acquiring grant funding; perhaps fundraising efforts outside asking for City money is a more appropriate venue for solicitation. I like to bowl, but I wouldn’t want to know that Laramie City Council gave money to the local bowling alley to build new lanes. On the other hand, if someone from the Trap Club asked me to buy a raffle ticket, I’d hand over some money of my own accord.
I trust that the Laramie City Council members will make funding choices based on the public interest, but I really felt compelled to write proactively, as so often we wait for something to happen and then react to those circumstances.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
For example, yesterday I overheard a woman tell a guy who asked to interview her on a subject say that she doesn't "really know anything about it," just has her own experience, and that she will have to ask her sister, who is politically involved with the issue, if it is OK for her to speak.
And today in seminar we talked about how science and politics are so embroiled, how people in a university research setting rely on private funding and so are expected to get results that support that private company's message. But at the same time, people who work for a university are protected, so if they come up with a stance, based on facts they have gathered, that is not supported by the politicians with a certain monied constituency to consider, then those politicians will ask that the researcher be fired. Of course, said researcher is protected, but still...
Bottom line is the person doing the research, gathering the information, is expected to put it out in a way that supports someone's viewpoint, preferably someone with money or someone with a gun, or maybe both.
I don't even know if any of that makes sense, what I just said. I was there; I heard it- and talked about it, in the latter case. But it's just not reasonable!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Thanks to the FFM for further inspiring my confidence in our American government.
(Please pardon the type; it looks fine until published. Go figure.)
The Chemist's War
The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences.
By Deborah Blum, Posted Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, at 10:00 AM ET
It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City's Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.
Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.
Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.
Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.
Although mostly forgotten today, the "chemist's war of Prohibition" remains one of the strangest and most deadly decisions in American law-enforcement history. As one of its most outspoken opponents, Charles Norris, the chief medical examiner of New York City during the 1920s, liked to say, it was "our national experiment in extermination." Poisonous alcohol still kills—16 people died just this month after drinking lethal booze in Indonesia, where bootleggers make their own brews to avoid steep taxes—but that's due to unscrupulous businessmen rather than government order.
Monday, February 22, 2010
So, I have decided to comport myself a little better than that. And this revelation all comes on the heels of an experience via e-mail that I had with my ex-husband-like-character this morning. He spewed vicious and hateful language at me in writing, and I have replied by letting him know that I will no longer ever communicate with him again, and I also have filtered his e-mail address so that any incoming messages from him in the future will be deleted, automatically- sent to the trash. And I unfriended him on Facebook. I just cut off communication; I did not fall prey to a fight.
Early birthday present to self: I will never accept abuse again, from anyone, regardless of any sympathy or compassion I may feel for that person or his or her situation.
Yay. And it feels really good. Ironically, last week I was talking with the FFM and a couple friends about "regrets," and I said I still do not experience feelings of "regret" for dating or living with either of the exes who are now the only two people I have filtered so that their e-mails go directly to the trash.
I was thinking about this a little while ago, that I may be feeling a little embarrassed that I put up with their ill treatment for any time at all, but really, did I know who they were? Did I know who I was at the time? I feel pretty confident I do now, and that I learned my lesson a little late, but, hey, at least I learned. That's what life is about, eh? I suppose.
Really, I guess the next half or more of my life ought to be quite a bit more pleasant.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
It's not just that I am suddenly realizing things like I am too old to cry when I am yelled at, and I am reaching the halfway mark. Shite like this is enough to make even formerly optimistic little me throw off my rosy-colored glasses and stomp them to pieces until the broken glass makes me bleed to death bef0re someone else breaks me up enough that I don't get the chance to do it on my own.
Fuck you, people. You are all assholes- or at least keep your goddam heads up your asses and your eyes trained on your narrow little myopic view of the world. I hope someone spits in your face someday, in much the same way that I hope to give Bill Gates the finger in person.. (Is that properly defaming? Hellz, I may as well get in on the zero-tolerance game.)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I just had to say that.
Oh, and BILL GATES IS STILL A FAUX PHILANTHROPIST. Speaking of CHEATING.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I completed my tax documents this morning and went to the FAFSA site to file for financial aid for next year, and it always tickles me absolutely to death when I get to the part where I am asked to say "yes" or "no" to having been convicted on illegal drug charges. Why does this make me so happy?
It reminds me of the youth I worked with, for, at Spectrum back in Vermont, who wanted to go to college, just the local community college to start, and were unable to receive financial aid because of drug convictions. Bastards! Or, bitches, in most cases. They should never have been allowed out of jail, you know? Evil damn kids thinking they can screw up as young people and then go on to redeem themselves in American society? Get an education, maybe a decent job, and participate in civil society as adults?
Ha to them! We all know a person can't make a mistake as a young kid and then grow up to lead a productive life, contributing to the American economy, to their local economies, to the civic culture of our nation and of their respective communities. Those things just don't happen. People are simply not capable of making a mistake and correcting it and getting on with their lives. Hell, if they were, imagine the people who might have made it into careers in our legislative and executive branches of government. Holy crap!
Speaking of government, something else that I love: that Michelle Obama tries to use her position to inspire and encourage kids and their parents in this country to eat better and get more exercise and live healthier lives. Ha, Michelle! You caint tell us what to do!
I haven't figured out yet why people didn't blast Laura Bush the same way when she used to go into schools and read to kids. Who did she think she was, encouraging reading? Who do these First Ladies think they are, really? Well, I guess we'll tell them!
Gawd, I feel really good today now.
Friday, February 12, 2010
It's nice to hear on the radio, on national news, that people in Chicago are doing nice things like pushing each other out of where their vehicles are stuck in all the snow. It really does. That is definitely national news. I know that we do that here in Laramie (where only a couple of the main roads in the city are plowed when we get snow), and it makes the national news every time. Hellz, the FFM and I helped push a couple vehicles out, one from New Joisey and the other County 5, right here, a month or so ago after we got a huge dumping. Remember hearing about us? Maybe you even saw a video of us helping out on TV.
I also like what I heard a couple nights ago at dinner. I was sitting at the Rialto Cafe (big thumbsies up for the chicken piccata) reading "Uranium" (more big thumbsies up for Tom Zoellner and this interesting read) on the 16th Street Mall in Denver, a pedestrian venue. It's right downtown, where all sorts of name hotels sit, and at that time, I'd heard, there were 4 different conferences happening in the area. Anyway, this middle aged woman and man were sitting at the table next to mine talking, obviously acquaintances who had caught up for dinner after a day of attending whichever event they'd gone to Denver to attend. And the woman said to the man something to the effect that she had heard there is a really good mall in Denver (remember, she was sitting on the 16th Street MALL, but I imagine she was talking about Cherry Creek), and that she wished she had her car with her so she could drive around and see things. Not only is the 16th Street Mall right downtown, offering shops, restaurants and pubs, even a big movie theatre, but there are also, within walking distance, several excellent museums, including the Denver Art Museum, the Mint and other pretty cool places to visit. And if one is especially lazy or hobbled, he or she can ride the free mall shuttle to the top and bottom of 16th Street, to get to one end or the other for its proximity to particular places of interest (like Coors Field, of course, which was looking cold and lonely when I left town yesterday morning.)
But, off I go again like Faulkner, so let me just wrap this up by saying that the exchange between the woman and the man, regarding having a vehicle and driving, made me happy to note that with so many people like this out there, I am assured of a long career in reclaiming lands disturbed by energy development. As my Dad would say: "Sweet!"
So many other little happenings like these make me happy, but right now I have to go to Soil Physics class, so I won't go into them now. I will leave you all mired in suspense, waiting for me to kindly push you out.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
It's just weird and sad, and I get really depressed.
But it's all OK. Really, because I was listening to Denver Progressive Radio AM 760 on the way home today, as usual, and was excited to hear that people are gearing up for a March on Washington. (Guarantee they will wait until it's a little warmer and clearer of snow there.) But, what a great idea! A march on DC will so take care of the 40% premium increase in health insurance in California, and the 100% increase in Pennsylvania and will help the Dems grow spines and the Republicans to quit playing dirty politics, and all the other problems in between. Probably even the march will convince the SCOTUS to reverse that decision about corporations being individuals, too.
In fact, I wager that all those Americans who don't clip teabags to their ball caps and go out there and march will definitely remind themselves, and the rest of America, including the party pols, that there are more than Democrats and Republicans in this country when it comes to talking political party, and that in the end, really, we are all just people with values, wants and needs, and one of those needs is not for there to be a marked two party division in this democratic republic splitting us up and riling us up and making us all look like whining crying fighting goddam babies.
I cannot wait to participate in this march; it will be the cure-all for our ills.
Whoever says that just refusing to elect the selfish, rich, money-and-power-mongering people we keep electing is the answer is simply an idealist. That would never work. heheh
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Here is an OpEd by Joe Klein from last week's Time magazine, speaking to the folly of our teachers unions in this country, and particularly in New York.
Monday, February 8, 2010
So, peeps, that said, I will have sporadic internet access, at best, for the next few days, at one or the other hotels because Bill Gates is still a twit and my laptop hard drive is still dead- actually, they both are- and the laptop the department loaned me doesn't even have a wireless card, it's so old. That'll be left behind.
Here I go... into the unknown...
Saturday, February 6, 2010
"It puts a lot of things in perspective……animated county by county change in unemployment since April 2007"
Check it out; what perspective does it lend to all the whiners who whined that President Obama was whining and carrying on in his SOTUA about the previous administration when he should just shut up about it?
I wonder how long people will bitch and moan about this administration after the fact.
Hellz, it takes a long time to set things up and let them fall, but putting Humpty Dumpty back together again? That's quick and easy!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Here's a good one from The Onion, courtesy of mi hermano, who says it seems I haven't been having a good time with the ole blog lately. Well, I guess I've been good at ranting, and that's about all. So here is something funny:
Monday, February 1, 2010
I have just about enough to say, yay; tonight is Imbolc, and no atter whether Phil sees his shadow tomorrow, we will be halfway to spring. Light your candles and relax; that's my plan.
And that I am pretty excited to hear just what it is about No Child Left Behind that will be overhauled in Obama's budget plan.