Monthly Archives: September 2010

The unlikely orphans

When my mother died, my parents’ home, their furnishings (much of it family antiques), their photos, memorabilia, books, china, everything . . . remained in place because my father survived. But now he too is gone.

Yesterday my brothers and I spent many hours going through it all. We had to empty his unit at assisted living. We had to move it all into the as yet unsold condo that was their last home and was still fully furnished. Since it now must be sold, everything in it must be disbursed one way or another. We would love to keep some of the antiques in the family but shipping a piece of furniture to another state is remarkably costly. Furniture,  no matter how valuable, doesn’t sell for much anymore. The market is glutted since all the foreclosures. So what to sell? What to try to keep? What to donate? (Actually, this is how most of it will go.) Making these decisions elicits a vague sense of betrayal.

But we got a lot done, made long lists of what must be dealt with from cancelling pensions to returning ‘talking books’ equipment to – and this was the hardest – sorting through photos and letters etc. (I ended up taking most of that home to do when there’s more time.) We’ve given ourselves a month to get the place ready for a realtor. Need to have it carpeted and painted and deeply cleaned. And everything must be out of there.

Yesterday, we moved a lot of the furniture around to prepare for what had to be brought in. We disposed of all clothes, most of the kitchen and bathrooms and lots of other miscellaneous detritus of a lifetime. And now – with empty drawers, no pictures on the tables,no paintings on the walls,not even a telephone or TV remote – the things of their lives no longer seem familiar.

They look forlorn. Lost. Unattached to any person or function. Orphans.

Damn them Bushies

New York has been ordered to replace all its street signs!! By bureaucrats! And it’s going to cost $27 million tax payer dollars! It’s an outrage for sure, so listen for this to talk radio today for this latest infringement on our liberties. Betcha FOX News picks it up tonight.

The order came down in 2003. Cities were given till 2018 to get the job done and that sounds like 15 years. Here’s the ‘rest of the story‘ (buried of course at the very end of the NY Daily News article). . .

Although the city did not begin replacing the signs until earlier this year, [city Transportation Commissioner Janet] Sadik-Khan said they will have no trouble meeting the deadline, as some 8,000 signs a year are replaced annually simply due to wear and tear.

While I’m orbiting a different sun . . .

Listen up and stop yer whinnin'!!

(It appears the world goes on even as I take time off. Hmmmm. )

Here’s a terrific article by Frank Schaeffer for those of us who aren’t sufficiently enthusiastic about the mid terms and about our President:

Obama Will Triumph – So Will America By Frank Schaeffer

“Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President. Why?– because he is succeeding.

“We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us. “

Much more here.

A life in full

My Dad died this afternoon. He was 98 years old, was healthy until this weekend, was married to his Peggy for 69 years (she died in ’08), and had three of his four children at his side when his time came. (And he was 6’3″, the exact height as the day he was married in 1939!)

Dad with his Peg in Atlantic City in 1939

 Dad was born Irish in New York City in 1912, when the ‘Irish need not apply’ signs were still seen on the streets.

His father was a barkeep; when Prohibition came he converted his establishment into a speakeasy. (Gramps often told us that cops and politicians were among his best customers in those days.) In later years he moved the business uptown next to CBS and when I was a kid I saw many a famous face sitting at that long mahogany bar.

Dad’s mother worked for the Strauss family in their ‘ready made dry goods’ store before her marriage. She remained close to the original members of the Strauss family for many years, even after they renamed their store Macy’s. 

Dad was one of two sons (his brother Jack was the first chiropractic in New York opening his practice in the 1930’s). He attended Xavier School in NYC (all little Irish Catholic boys), Holy Cross College and Fordham Law School. (He was bursting with pride when his granddaughter graduated from Fordham Law as well.) Dad had a photographic memory and still remembered all of his teachers and professors from those days.

He became a corporate counsel at MONY, Mutual of New York, where he worked for many years. When I was a kid, he’d bring us to his office where the windows opened on Broadway and we hung out and watched the Thanksgiving Day parade (we always called it the ‘Macy’s Day Parade’).

He spent decades as a member of the Representative Town Meeting in Connecticut where we lived growing up, an astonishing committment for a man who commuted to work in NY every day and had four children. Later, he served as Chairman of the Board of Education, the chair of the Ethics commission and the Charter Review Board. In those days, no one got paid for these offices. Just being a good citizen.

But my father will be remembered for something else entirely – he had a nearly perfect tenor voice and loved to sing. He’d burst into song often and everywhere. Six months ago, a younger friend asked him to sing at her wedding. He did – flawlessly. And it was the most treasured of his moments in this last year of his life.

So, as always must be, a good man has died. He had a full life and got to every grandchild’s wedding and met and held all seven of his great grandchildren.

We’ll sing at your memorial Dad. Requiem in pace.

The beat goes on

The continuing medical adventures of my too-old-to-be-alive father opened a new chapter Sunday night.  He was rushed to the hospital, had four hours of surgery to clear a colon blockage and is now in intensive care.

He has an ‘advance directive’, has had it for many years, which one would expect to clarify decisions, but is in fact quite fluid and is subject to various opinions of different medical personnel. First, having surgery or not (in which case he would have been gone in a matter of days) was his decision which is the right thing since he has his full facilities. (Not a choice I would make, especially since life after this surgery is going to be compromised and his somewhat independent living arrangement will be over. But it’s what he wanted to do.)

At first he came out of the surgery in good shape, but complications set in pretty quickly. So it’s unknown right now how this plays out. He’s quite ill. I think any reader of this blog knows his choice is not the choice I would have made -for me or for him. But, as I said, the beat goes on.

For me, everything is on hold while this plays itself out so blogging will be very light.

I forgot the oldie!

The least distraction and my life runs off the rails – if forgetting Friday Night Oldies qualifies as ‘running off the rails’. Nevertheless, it’s a very good day when I find a Platters number that I haven’t posted before.

Blogging will be light

Painting and affiliated projects forced me off line for nearly two days but I’m happily plugged in again at home.  (Blogging on alien wi fi didn’t work for me.) While I do have the plugs in the wall now, my brain isn’t back in gear and blogging will be light for a while. Furniture continues to move,  shelves need to be filled, possessions need to be retrieved from friend’s garage, an office has to be reimagined and reassembled.

Silly boys, try something new

This is funny. The GOP has now published their much heralded Pledge to America. They named it a ‘Pledge’, see, to make it different from the Contract with America. Which worked out so well that Newt Gingrich had to flee ahead of the ethics cops, but not before being celebrated as the new James Madison.

Glory days

(The full document draft is at the above link. I tried to link to the full PDF at the House Republican’s web site but it’s too slow and will crash your computer and your children will cry and blame you.)

Commentary is in full flower on both sides of course. I just stopped over to Red State, where uber-conservative rabble rouser and former trouble maker Eric Erickson (no doubt now reclassified as a RINO since he’s appeared on CNN) calls it Perhaps the Most Ridiculous Thing to Come Out of Washington Since George McClellan“. He goes on:

“It is dreck — dreck with some stuff I like, but like Brussels sprouts in butter. I like the butter, not the Brussels sprouts. Overall, this grand illusion of an agenda that will never happen is best spoken of today and then never again as if it did not happen. It is best forgotten.”

As for the original ‘contract’?

“A November 13, 2000 article by Edward H. Crane, president of the libertarian Cato Institute, stated, “… the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%.” [3] However, since the Contract only promised to “bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny” [4], the Contract did accomplish its promises, even if some bills failed in votes or fell to presidential vetoes.”

So they kept their promise sort of. But the result was pretty empty because trying to turn high blown rhetoric into legislation doesn’t work. It didn’t then and it won’t now. Co-operation and compromise work, that’s what works. Oh, and change is incremental, which is something Progressives would be advised to remember as well (me included).

Run Charlie, run! Faster! Harder!

My gov, Charlie Crist isn’t running well now that all the free publicity from the oil spill has receded. As a long time opponent of off shore drilling, he looked pretty good to Floridians then. Kendrick Meek would be a terrific Dem candidate in a normal election but this one isn’t normal. Meek and Crist are competing for the same voters.  I was sure some months ago that Crist would make it because he’s been so well liked as Governor. But damn if the GOP isn’t just fucking with Florida brains . . . GOP candidate, and Tea Party darling, Marco Rubio is opening up a real lead.

I spent a hundred gajillion dollars and noboby knows my name.


My concern is the influence of early voting. Here in Florida, given our demographic, a lot of people vote early. And that means that we don’t have till November to close the sale. We are running out of time here and I’m very afraid of the split vote putting Rubio into the US Senate.

I still think Charlie has a better shot than Meek. For Dems, liberals, progressives and many independents, this election needs to be less about getting Crist or Meek in office, than keeping Rubio out. So whoever of the competition is running stronger on November 2 (and I still think it will be Crist), he gets my vote. And maybe Marco Rubio can go the way of failed Dem, Jeff Greene.


CNN bad, ABC good

Just saw the trailer for ABC new series “THe Whole Truth”. Female lead is not ‘tarted up’ – short hair, hardly any makeup. ABC good.

Other than Fareed Zacharia, I cannot think of a single thing CNN does that I’d call ‘good’. Just now, reporting on the C.R.E.W. investigation of Christine O’Donnell the Blitzer said (paraphrased): “The campaign says CREW is a left wing organization that only goes after conservatives. CREW denies that.”

That was it. It would take a few minutes on teh google or at CREW’s web site to see who in fact they’ve gone after over the years. I’ve no idea myself, but then I’m not CNN. They are supposed to find out and then tell me. CNN bad..

(Hey! WordPress has color now.)

Whoops! Tivo un-alert

I posted earlier that Jon Stewart would be on O’Reilly Factor tonight. WRONG. He’ll be on tomorrow night. Stewart/O’Reilly Wednesday night. (Sorry.)

Excellent news!

The Emperor of Democratic de-regulation is moving along. Bye bye Larry Summers. Maybe Paul Voelker could get his pass key back?

This cartoon is from 1983

I think it costs a bit more to raise a kid today. ( I framed this one and gave it to my father back when,)

You mean Obama isn’t a socialist, gay Kenyan Muslim?

Andrew Sullivan today:

“I think the notion that this administration is ideological is bizarre. Did it nationalize the banks when it could have? Nope. Did it withdraw troops immediately from Iraq and Afghanistan? Nope. It followed Bush’s timetable on Iraq and has massively – and foolishly – doubled down on counter-insurgency in Afghanistan. Did it prosecute the war criminals of the last administration? Nope; it has covered for them. Has it raised taxes on anyone? Nope. It merely wants the already-sunsetted Bush tax cuts on the wealthy to expire on schedule. Did it provide a Krugman-style stimulus? Ask Krugman. Is Obama a peacenik? I suppose we have forgotten that he used the Nobel ceremony to defend Reinhold Niebuhr, has retained extraordinary rendition, and ramped up the troop-levels in Afghanistan to far beyond anything Bush ever contemplated. Has the president publicly backed marriage equality or pot-decriminalization? Au contraire. Has he even risked an iota of political capital to end the ban on gays in the military? No. In fact, it is now more likely than not that gays will still be persecuted by their own country by the end of Obama’s first term.”

No matter what FOX News says. Or Mr. Bouncy-Bouncy. (By the way, Sullivan was reponding to a column by the adored conservative intellectual and Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer.)

Inauguration entertainment 2012?

Shall we dance dum-dum-dum, shall we dance – on a bright cloud of music, shall we fly, dum-dum-dum . . .

Tivo alert

Jon Stewart on O’Reilly Factor tonight. Oh my goodness this will be entertaining. 8pm Fox News channel.

UPDATE: Whoops – tomorrow night, not tonight.

Like Israel?

“Well, those [countries] that do [allow gays to serve openly], they’re the ones that participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the nation and the world free,”Tony Perkins, at the Value Voters Summit. (h/t Balloon Juice )

Well. That ought to earn him a place on Meet the Press this week.

Logan, I love ya’

A theatre friend of many years was just moved into hospice. Six year old Logan – who has appeared in this blog more than once – has known David all his young life and tonight his mom explained why he wouldn’t see David any more. So Logan wrote David a letter. On his own. His mom added her signature when he finished.

A quickie

I love charts – especially the ones I can understand without a PhD in economics. Like this one.  Here’s how many small buisnesses will not be paying higher taxes if the Bush tax cuts for the richest are allowed to lapse. As the original bill, signed by George W. Bush, specified. (via  TPM)

98.1% of filers with small business incomes will not be impacted if we extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Got that? Ninety eight point one friggin’ percent. And that is why Obama is a Kenyan Marxist Muslim.

My lonely blog

Big and busy week here as painting is happening throughout house except for bathroom. Today is prep by me, and the painter comes tomorrow morning – at some ungodly hour which makes me very unhappy but so it is in the world of busy people, of which he is one.

Just did a few hours with local teenager and his truck moving artwork, books and other small stuff out of the way and into a friend’s garage for the duration. The books – which I’ve been stuffing everywhere since my current bookshelves filled up a few years ago – were a bit of a shock since I thought I’d kept it under control by regularly carting books to Goodwill. Perhaps what’s happening is I take a book to Goodwill, forget I ever owned it, and a year later thrill upon finding it, this book I wanted to own. I have no better explanation so now Ken must be engaged to install more bookcases.

And when he is done, it all comes back into the house. Friends Ed and Steve will assist with the rehanging of artwork and mirrors and anything that goes on walls.

And meanwhile, my blog time is falling victim to the project. I’ll post pictures when it’s all done!


Yup, unbloggy.

But I nevertheless feel compelled to ask: why are the big networks reporting – with onsite reporters – on a Category I hurricane in Bermuda? And that 35,000 people are without power?

They are well and truly over.

Let’s noodle this

Question: Has Christine O’Donnell, new GOP nominee for the US Senate, ever held an actual job. A real one, with a paycheck and everything. And also, where do her funds come from? What’s she been living on in recent years?

Friday night oldie: the real one

A minute+ before the song. The Association.

Early oldie – because I can

Doesn’t get a lot better than this

Rally to Restore Sanity

Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are cooking up some funny. October 30, 2010 – the National Mall in Washington DC. It’s apparently real. Stewart showed some of the signs that will be avilalbe for waving. 

MY FAVORITE: “I’m not afraid of Muslims, socialists, immigrants, gays . . . (flip over) but I am kinda scared of spiders”

Ahh, Colbert is on now . . . we will apparently have dueling rallies.

Rally to Restore Sanity: Knock it down a notch for America

Keep Fear Alive Rally: Freak out for Freedom

Josh Marshall wouldn’t have made it without me!

A screenshot of the early TPM

Dr. Joshua Micah Marshall (the PhD is in colonial American history) started his little blog Talking Points Memo in 2000 during the recount. A lot of bloggers showed up for the first time in that year. But Josh (we’re old buds, so I call him Josh) was special from the beginning. Well reported stories, thoughtful commentary from someone who knew his history and brought that patina to his work. After a few years – while he was completing his PhD and beginning a family he put out a ‘bleg’ (request for contributions to sustain the blog). He specifically wanted to fund a salaried first employee.

I responded (only time I ever did for a blog) and sent $25. Best contribution I ever made. Josh was just on Hardball  with Chris Matthews and that’s what reminded me of our history – me and Josh that is.  He hasn’t got as much hair now but he’s just as smart as ever.

So now he’s got a few kids, a thriving company – TPM Media LLC – offices, employees, interns and a decade of solid work. Good for you Josh. I’m proud that I can claim a tiny bit of the glory.

Christine O’Donnell: Do as I say, not as I did

Christine O’Donnell, newly anointed tea party star, when not running for the Senate (three times a charm!) has spent a good deal of her life lecturing others about the virtues of chastity and the horrors of sex before marriage. And masturbation is wrong. Also.

But maybe you didn’t know why she came to be so vocal about other people’s morals – it was because she had an evangelical awakening while in college where she was “drinking too much and having sex with guys with whom there wasn’t a strong emotional connection.”

Glad she got a little in when she was able. At least she’ll have the memories.

Those Dems never had to meet a payroll!

I heard that tired old talking point, a charge leveled against Rep. Mike Castle (who lost the  Delaware primary) – heard it on one of the talking head shows – to make the case that Christine O’Donnell was the  better candidate. Did the Dem challenge it? Of course not. But it would have been so easy – a cursory google or wikipedia check reveals that while O’Donnell listed herself as a self-employed marketing consultant there’s no evidence of that. All of her jobs, whether paid or unpaid (could have involved marketing activity as nebulous as that phrase is) have been with political organizations or conservative advocacy groups. Can’t find a single private sector (or for profit) job in her resume.

Here are some other Republicans who have never had to meet a payroll:

GOP presidential candidate 2008: John McCain  – never had to buy health insurance either. Grew up in military, served in military, went to Congress. Public tit all the way. Never had a private sector job or met a payroll.

Former Speaker of the House: Newt Gingrich – grew up military, taught at state college, went to Congress. After Congress, it’s all non-profit advocacy organizations along with ‘fellow’ status at conservative think tanks to pay the bill. He is lately peddling Newt Inc, so that’s private I guess. But government tit till he was bounced by his party from the leadership for being a bad, bad boy.

Senator from Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader: Mitch McConnell – military and Congress all the way. No private sector. No payrolls. Solid government tit.

There are no doubt plenty of Dems with the same resume. But they’re not accusing their opponents of ‘never having met a payroll.”

A whimsey for y’all*

Andrew Sullivan must have an intern trolling you tube and vimeo 24/7 to find fresh and original stuff. This one is also just delightful. Hold on for 20 or so seconds.

More from these two here.


Michelle Malkin doesn’t heart Karl Rove anymore

How does a Republican go from his superhero-of-myth status to RINO? By speaking ill of the Delaware primary winner who will now cost the GOP a Senate seat – one that would have been a certainty with the establishment GOP candidate. And so for Karl Rove – the uber Party man – it’s bye bye and don’t let my boot hit you on the way out. I suppose William F. Buckley is next for the chopping block, dead or not.

From the shrillest of the Fox News babes today (on her influential blog):

I just finished watching Karl Rove trashing GOP Senate primary winner Christine O’Donnell. It was on Sean Hannity’s FNC show. Might as well have been Olbermann on MSNBC. The establishment Beltway strategist couldn’t even bother with an obligatory word of congratulations for O’Donnell. He criticized her “character” and “rectitude” and claimed she hadn’t answered questions about her financial woes. She did so here. Rove mocked her security concerns as “nutty.” Yet, her concerns have been more than justified. See here (second video clip).

Rove came across as an effete sore loser instead of the supposedly brilliant and grounded GOP strategist that he’s supposed to be. Expect more Washington Republicans to start sounding like Tea Party-bashing libs as their entrenched incumbent friends go down. (Hot Air has the Rove/Hannity video.)

Sorry Karl, you are so yesterday.