Kellyanne and the issue of Feminism

March 7, 2017

I am an old time feminist.

And I believe that Kellyanne deserves this and only this: to be treated like any other idiot. She should be called out on her lies, on her inappropriate use of the office of the President to shill for Ivanka, and any other ridiculous or outrageous crap that seems completely inappropriate for an advisor to the President of the United States. It matters not a whit to me whether she's female or male.

I do not believe that we should comment on her clothing or her hair or make-up or looks.I was taken aback by her posture in the Oval Office during the visit with the HBCU. As I would have been if a man had been sitting with his legs underneath him, shoes off, for the purpose of taking pictures. It seemed completely disrespectful of the office and the visitors.

But that has nothing to do with her gender.I think there's way too much ado about Kellyanne and her crap. She sold her soul to work for DJT. As did Sean Spicer, and Reince Priebus. Trump rewards those who are loyal to him. As for Steve Bannon and the cabinet members, it isn't clear they had souls to sell. Only time will tell.

Deer Season in Harbert

November 7, 2015


This morning I took a walk in the woods. It was particularly beautiful, a crisp and colorful autumn day. The water ran high in the streams; the sun warmed my back. I wore earphones and sang off-key to the Rolling Stones, pumped my arms, and enjoyed my day off. I knew that overflowing gutters awaited me.

I don't mind cleaning gutters. I have a long hook that I use to scrape the schmootz out of them. Typically a lot of it lands on my head and clothing, so I have to take a hot shower when I'm finished. Occasionally, I find ticks on my arms. Best to get those off sooner rather than later to avoid Lyme disease. Ah, life in the woods.Unfortunately, there was a dead deer lying next to my front door. I'm not sure how I missed him when I went out, and last night it was dark when I arrived. But when I arrived back home after my walk, there he was, lying in the midst of the gorgeous blanket of red leaves dropped by the Japanese maple. Dead. I screamed a little. This was a large deer. Quite large.

I went into the kitchen and paced a bit. Hyperventilated. Did a few laps around the island. Then I made a plan.I would remain calm.

First I called the Chikaming Township office. The nice lady there didn't know how to help, but referred me to the Harbert Police Department. The Police Department answering machine took my message. They have not yet returned my call.

Then I sat down at my desk and studied the situation through the window. The deer died not far from the bait houses that Franklin Pest Control left outdoors to try and control the mouse population that makes its way indoors into my home each year. Naturally, my first thought was that the deer had died because I'd okayed the mouse bait, and the deer ate the mouse bait, and now I'm a deer killer. I'm okay with being a mouse killer. But that's pretty much where I draw the line. Guilt crept in.

I emailed my neighbor Liz for the name of a different exterminator. Perhaps one that is more humane. One whose mouse extermination program has fewer unintended consequences and doesn't make me feel like I've killed Bambi.

Then I called another neighbor. Mike. Blessed Mike. I told him my situation. Or rather, our situation. He asked if the deer was still warm. AS IF I'D CHECKED!!! He said he would be happy to take care of it. He was out shopping, but he would stop by and remove the deer from my front yard. And if the deer was fresh, he would butcher it. I told him he was welcome to all the venison he could eat.

Then I went and had a massage. My TMJ is so bad I can barely open my mouth.

When I got home, the deer was gone.  Mike had already dealt with it.

Mike stopped by shortly after and showed me where he'd taken the deer, into the woods across the road. I could still see him. He said the animal had been shot in the hind leg. He'd been dead 36-48 hours; he was already "gassy". Which explains why he appeared so big around. The poor thing was a 6-point buck that Mike knew; he used to feed him in his back yard. Whoever shot him didn't bother to track him. So the animal not only suffered, but his meat also went to waste.Mike also mentioned that deer season doesn't start for another week.  So shooting this buck had been illegal, perhaps the reason it wasn't tracked.

Liz called and told me that deer don't eat what's in those bait houses. They only eat green things.  I think I actually knew that.

I'm feeling a little better now, and particularly lucky to have such wonderful neighbors.  It seems odd that the buck chose my front yard as his final resting place, but perhaps he'd been here before.  Perhaps he's the one who's been eating my hydrangeas all summer.  After all, he died right beside them.  If so, then this must have felt like home.

The gutters can wait until tomorrow.

Best of 2014!

December 31, 2014

Chicago Book Review included Good in a Crisis in its list of best books of 2014!See the whole article...

Chicago Book Review

November 27, 2014

Good In a Crisis is listed in the 2014 Holiday Reading Guide of the Chicago Book Review!

This Isn't Funny

September 4, 2014

I love comedians and comedy, the late night talk show hosts. First Carson, then Letterman. I catch occasional snippets of Fallon. I was never a Leno fan; Conan bored me after a few episodes. I don’t stay up late enough for Craig or Kimmel but I'll watch them in bits and pieces on YouTube.I think a sense of humor is an essential skill for living, much like reading, writing, knowing basic math, having empathy, and being able to swim. For the last few years I’ve regularly watched Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Just recently I’ve gotten hooked on John Oliver’s new show, Last Week Tonight.But over the course of the past five months or so, I’ve stopped watching The Daily Show and Colbert Nation. Because those talented men cannot make the bleak state of our world into something funny, even while riffing off the buffoons at Fox News. Irony only takes you so far.Stewart is spitting mad most nights. And his anger feels entirely appropriate. He points out insanity wherever he sees it. But we don’t need to have it pointed it out; it is staring us in the face. Open any newspaper, print or online. There’s nothing but undigestible horror, and it is everywhere. Colbert basks in his faux celebrity, which has, ironically, become real as we anticipate his position as the new Letterman. But the glow wore off in short order. And his satire grows thin as the state of the world grows relentlessly more tragic. There’s no balance anymore. We’ve reached that point: there’s nothing funny or even hopeful to offset the Gaza strip, Ferguson, the Ukraine, ISIS, or Ebola. When ISIS beheads journalists—Foley attended my alma mater and Sotloff was a friend of a friend—as if for the pure murderous sport of it, because surely there’s no logic behind such lunacy, we have moved into a realm well beyond laughter, far beyond lightness. We can only shake our heads at the madness and wonder when we’ll be able to laugh again, and at what. We certainly won't be laughing at a nine year old girl with an Uzi.John Oliver’s show is, of the three, angrier. I respect that. He seems less driven by a desire to find humor, more driven by true and well-researched outrage. Moral outrage. Justifiable moral outrage. There’s courage there. It might be hard to recognize because we see so little of it in the context of American broadcast journalism. But every week he wants to make a point. And his points are diverse and in your face, as well as giving you tips for how to get in the faces of others. Hooray for John.It occurred to me today that while humor might seem like a survival skill, it is also, perhaps, a luxury. Because it requires some distance. Distance from pain and suffering. We don’t have that right now. Imagine what it’s like to be living in Gaza or Israel or Liberia or Ferguson or Syria or Iraq or any of those places that we read about fearfully, that cause us to lose our collective sense of humor. Imagine being those people and trying to laugh. I suspect it is more than difficult.People tell me I’m good at humor so I want to find something funny to write about. But apparently I’m not good enough.In my yard, there are turkey vultures; they’re big and ugly and incredibly uncoordinated. They land on my roof with a thud; they galumph across the grass. I don’t see anything dead and have no idea what they’re doing in my neighborhood. I would like them to go away; they are terrifying. I preferred the hummingbirds and goldfinches from summers past. But I realize that perhaps they are simply a metaphor for something larger, something I prefer not to acknowledge. We are living through dark days. Those of us who live without Ebola, without marauding murderers on our doorstep, who have roofs above our heads, who aren’t worrying about bombs or beheadings have much to be thankful for. There is nothing funny about gratitude. A moment of silence seems more in order.