Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweet memories: Things that go barf in the night

My brother was a few years older than me (and still is) so of course he didn’t want his little 7-or 8-year-old brother tagging along with him and his friends on Halloween, but my mom made him take me.

It gets pretty cold in Michigan in late October and I can remember being all bundled up like little Randy in Christmas Story, to where I could hardly move my arms. But my cold fingers fiercely gripped the big brown grocery bag I hoped to see filled with candy before the night was over.

We set out at twilight, before it was even fully dark yet, working our own neighborhood first. My trick or treat bag was half full before we even got to the more distant neighborhoods.

I was half running to keep up with the older boys, and I soon was sweating profusely. My hot breath condensed against the inside of the cold rubber mask, making it wet against my face, and it soon slipped down so I could only see out of one eye hole and had to tilt my head back until my neck ached just to get the one eye.

Our town was small, so even the distant neighborhoods were less than a mile from our house, but as my bag got heavier and heavier, it began to be an ordeal rather than great fun. I was happy when the porch lights started to go out and we headed back home.

The first thing we used to do was dump our bags of booty out on our beds and separate the candy into piles. Candy bars in one pile, bubble gum in another, suckers in another, and so forth. Why? I don’t know. It all soon got mixed up again anyway.

I don’t know if it was the sweating in the cold night, or simply the ingestion of so much sugar over a period of a few days, but even now I associate Halloween with sickness. Or at least with throwing up.

An odd holiday, Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Something you may not have known-2

9/11 wasn't the first time New York City has experienced an airplane-skyscraper disaster.

On July 28, 1945, at 9:45 a.m., a B-25 bomber struck the 78th and 79th floors of the Empire State Building, in the fog, from the 34th Street side, at 300 mph. The impact separated one of the engines, which plummeted down an elevator shaft, starting a fire in the basement. (The two women inside the elevator car survived, as automatic emergency safety brakes slowed the dropping car before impact, the flaming engine on top of the car.)

The crash sent fiery debris clear through the building, igniting another building across the street. The plane itself exploded within the building.

Though it was a Saturday, WWII had caused a shift to a 6-day work week, and the building was still occupied by many workers. The crash killed 14 people (11 office workers and the 3 crewmen.) 26 others were injured.

Oddly, the last radio transmission from LaGuardia tower to the plane's pilot was, "From where I'm sitting, I can't see the top of the Empire State Building."

A need for speed

(Click to enlarge)

Ettarose emptied her piggybank a few days ago and went to satellite broadband. I have always teased her mercilessly about her dialup (she lives out in the sticks and I know her feelings were hurt when I teased her. That's mostly why I teased her.)

Anyway, now the shoe may be on the other foot. I don't think so because I am paying an arm and leg for 7mbs DSL upgrade (the above picture of my desktop a few minutes ago proves I am not getting what I am paying for, of course. The rip-off phone company says it is in my wiring, not theirs. A likely story.) and I live out in the sticks too.

Let's see what you've got Ettarose. Lay your cards on the table.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I know it's pretty lazy to get blogging subjects from the daily news. So call me lazy.

On the TV behind me right now, one of Fox News' opinion shows is debating a news item that happened recently. In Florida.

This neighbor/friend of the family/whatever guy molested a little girl and the father and a friend beat him into a coma. Instead of calling the cops. So of course they are in jail right now. The thing is, according to Florida law (the Fox guys and girls are saying) the perp could have gotten five years in prison for molesting the little girl, and her father is now looking at 15 years to life for the beating. So the debate (on Fox) is that the little girl's assault is not as important in the eyes of the state of Florida.

Now, we just can't have this terrible vigilante justice being meted out, right? What say you?

I am a writer (of sorts) and I collect similes. I collect interesting quotes, too, but that is another post. Similes and metaphors. You know the difference, right? Of course you do. Anyway, a simile has to have "like" or "as" in it somewhere, and a metaphor just substitutes unreal stuff to illustrate something or other. Ummm. Like "The moon was a ghostly galleon, tossed upon cloudy seas." Like that. But a simile has to have "like" or "as". Poets are the best source of both, of course, and Carl Sandburg is better than most:

1. "Mamie beat her head against the bars of a little Indiana town..." (Metaphor, see?)
2. "...a voice like a north wind blowing over corn stubble in January." (Simile, right?)

Anyway, I came across a couple from (supposedly) modern college freshmen journalism majors. Not quite Sandburg, but poetic in their own way:

1. "He was a plate of room-temperature pork, and she was growing on him like an E. Coli colony."
2. "Her vocabulary was as limited as, like, ... whatever."

Don't leave yet. This post may still be salvageable.

Did you know that Persis Khambatta had died? I didn't know that. She died a long time ago, in 1998. I was sad when I finally found out about it today. She was Miss India when she was 15 years old, in 1965. I didn't know that either. I only knew about her from the Star Trek movie about Veeger (Voyager). Rest in peace Ilia.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yearning to breathe free

I don’t want to be a conservative or a traditionalist. At least not in the sense that I resist change or am even wary of change.

I don’t want to be a liberal, either, though, if that means seeking and embracing change just because it is different. Change should happen for a valid reason.

Change needs to happen whenever the old way of doing things isn’t getting us where we want to go. But we must be careful to select a correct new course, and not just a different course.

The point is to show continual progress towards goals. In that sense, I am a progressive - though not in the sense that word is often used by liberals.

The whole fuss and fight, then, is about defining goals. We can’t seem to agree on our direction. Everyone has a different idea and is convinced his way is “obviously” best.

The two primary political parties in the U.S. have been fighting and obstructing each other for a long time now. It is no longer a case of two differing sets of values struggling to rise to the surface. Instead, the only thing that is important, it seems, is to block the other party from looking good in the eyes of this or that bloc of voters.

Is this really how we want to run our country? Is it not possible to sit down and find common ground on a handful of general goals? Or have we finally become just like the Israelis and Palestinians? Surely, if the goals were general enough, we could find consensus.

The general goals we set for our country should not be different than the general goals of individual citizens, should they? If individual citizens want the same general things - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - then it should be their government’s goal to secure those things for the citizens. That’s simple enough.

It’s not that simple, though, is it? For, whenever you give the government such a broad mandate, you leave it up to the government to come up with its own list of specific things it believes would make your life better, things that would make you happy. Soon, the government is sculpting out a whole life, or way of life, for you - for your own good and your own happiness, of course. Why? Because what you have really done is tell the government, “Take care of me.”

I think I would be telling the truth if I boasted that I think I have cultivated some of the most thoughtful, educated and intelligent readers a blogster has ever attracted. Right about here is where you exceptional people will begin to remind me that I am not an island; I live in a society. Living in a society brings obligations and limits to personal freedom.

I know. I have no desire to live off in the woods by myself like Thoreau. Not even if me mum brought me pies and sweets and clean shirts on the weekends. I freely admit that I like and want things like paved roads and grocery stores and fire departments and schools and good health care. I also admit I want these things for others and not just for myself. I do understand that having these things, and many others, requires that I subordinate a good deal of my free spirit to the common good. “Common Good” in this case being pretty much run by the government.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us exactly where we are today: haggling over what we want the government to provide. Each of us has a list of things we want. Some of your lists are very much longer than my own list. Obama’s list is very much longer than my list.

Okay, here’s the point (you just KNEW there was going to be a point, right?): Government doesn’t provide ANYTHING. Government doesn’t SOLVE problems. Government, in and of itself, is NEVER the answer. Only PEOPLE can build roads and hospitals and schools and take compassionate care of their neighbors. Government is only a VEHICLE for getting things done. A mechanism. A tool. The actual planning is still up to us. The actual DOING is still up to us.

It is a great mistake to assign some sort of actual “life” to the government and expect “it” to get things done for us.

Stop bitching. Get involved.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Something you may not have known

Part two (electricity was part one) (or maybe coffee was part one) of posts which talk about strange and wonderful things you kids may not have learned properly in elementary school. Little Canuck has left and gone away to another school (he had to be set back a grade), but there are still many of you left to abuse. :)

Did you know there is a huge salt mine under the city of Detroit? Detroit is located at the western end of Lake Erie. Can you find Lake Erie, little Sage? No? Well, it's not on the map of Cornwall, dear. Let me show you. :) [click to enlarge map]

There is too! Don't be shaking your head, little Sheila!

• The mine has been operating over 100 years
• It covers 1500 acres
• There are over 100 miles of "roads" down there
• The mine shaft opening is at 12841 Sanders Street
• No more tours currently
• Provides winter rock salt for the roads in Michigan (and other places)
• Salt deposited millions of years ago
[click to enlarge image]

It is truly a city beneath a city, 1,100 feet down, though many Detroiters aren't aware it is down there. But now YOU know!

Credit where credit is due. This post was inspired by a post (partly about salt) from the eminently more interesting blog of the Travelling Spouse.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The World Series is about to begin. The October Classic would not be complete without a tribute to the sweet-natured patron saint of baseball, pictured above. Like my other pictures lately, he needs no introduction. Help me pay homage to this great man.

In other sports news, in about 24 hours, give or take a few minutes, the Yankees will again become the American League's representative to the World Series. They will play some team from the National League. This will make their 11,006th appearance in the World Series.

On this day in baseball history, October 21, 1975, a catcher by the name of Carlton "Pudge" Fisk homers in the 12th inning to hand Cincinnati a 7-6 loss and force a 7th game in the World Series. Although the Sox went on to lose the next game and the Big Red Machine would finally prevail, the 1975 series will go down as one of the most exciting. In fact, ESPN ranked it as the second greatest series of all time.

Johnny Bench
Dave Conception
George Foster
Cesar Geronimo
Ken Griffey
Joe Morgan
Tony Perez
Pete Rose
(Don Gullet)
::Sparky Anderson::

Rick Burleson
Cecil Cooper
Denny Doyle
Dwight Evans
Carlton Fisk
Fred Lynn
Rico Petrocelli
Carl Yastrzemski
(Bill Lee)
::Darrell Johnson::

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Top Ten Photo Captions

Captioning unusual photos is still pretty big across the blogosphere. Two of my favorite bloggers who regularly run photo-captioning contests are Chica and Ettarose.

I am no good at humorously captioning photos. I don't know why, but I can't seem to come up with anything remotely funny for these contests. But I am a pretty good thief. I went through 2 years worth of captions - about 500 or so, and I only found 10 that I thought were funny. These were all stolen from and they appear below in my personal arbitrary order of funniest. The funniest is shown last, at the very bottom. I admit to changing most of the captions at least a little, because they still weren't funny enough. I am good at that - after someone else comes up with the original idea.

Since it is a top-10 list, I guess I am also stealing from David Letterman. If you care. Without further ado, here is my top 10 stolen list of reader-captioned photos.

Number 10:
"Katrina II: Obama doesn't care about white people."

Number 9:
"An awkward silence of the lambs."

Number 8:
"Charlie sensed a pyramid scheme in the making."

Number 7:

Number 6:
"Never pop wheelies if your passenger has narcolepsy."

Number 5:
"Not thinking his 3 wishes through, Ed asked the Genie to give him a dick that reached the ground."

Number 4:
"Michael Jackson petting zoo."

Number 3:
"Ned began to suspect the auto companies were wasting their bailout money."

Number 2:
"Winner of the best costume contest: The Invisible Woman (center)."

And the number one captioned photo:
"Lesbian about to get nailed."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why do people collect things?

Stamps. Coins. Butterflies. Porcelain figurines. Old cars. Barbie dolls. Autographs. Nazi flags. You name it.

Some psychologists say it has to do with our "hunter-gatherer" instincts from our ancestors. I don't buy that. Perhaps that accounts for "pack rats" who collect everything. Or maybe that just stems from a fear of poverty. But pack-ratting is not collecting, the way I mean it here.

Whole books have been written on the subject, though. Did you know 66% of us collect something or other? That's almost half of us, right?

Here's what one expert says the reasons are:

1. Knowledge and learning
2. Relaxation and stress reduction
3. Personal pleasure (including appreciation of beauty, and pride of ownership)
4. Social interaction with fellow collectors and others (i.e. the sharing of pleasure and knowledge)
5. Competitive challenge
6. Recognition by fellow collectors and perhaps even non-collectors
7. Altruism (since many great collections are ultimately donated to museums and learning institutions)
8. The desire to control, possess and bring order to a small (or even a massive) part of the world
9. Nostalgia and/or a connection to history
10. Accumulation and diversification of wealth (which can ultimately provide a measure of security and freedom)

Very often, more than one of these apply. Or several. One, three and nine would apply to me, I think. Maybe eight as well.

I don't think I am collecting anything right now. No more coins, baseball cards, old cars.

I have a sizable library, but I don't collect books. I buy books to read. I have always been interested in photography and I have several old cameras, some are valuable. But I don't have enough old cameras to call it a collection.

The more I think about it, the less sure I am any of the above really applies to me. I collect simply to have examples which document something or other. Old souvenirs or photographs are capable of evoking memories. But is that really collecting? Probably not.

Why do YOU think people collect things?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Home is where the heart is

I have a penchant for collecting odd facts - for trying to learn the inside story about people and things. Over the years I have amassed enough useless trivia to tie up a good part of my cerebral cortex which I realize could have been put to better use but which makes for rather quirky blog posts from time to time when some of that flotsam drifts to the surface. This is probably one of those posts.

One time I was curious about what musical instruments were actually played by famous classical composers. I don't know why I was curious; I should have been content to simply listen to their beautiful music.

Most of them shared the piano as the instrument they were most proficient on. That's probably no surprise to any of you. There were exceptions. And most played other keyboard instruments, too.

Beethoven was very hot stuff on the piano before he went deaf - enough, when he was young, to impress the famous Mozart, who himself knew a thing or two about keyboards. Both men also played the violin of course, but did you know they were both quite proficient on the viola as well? A viola is different enough from a violin to count as a separate instrument - more different than a piano vs. an organ, for example. (A viola, a bit larger than a violin, is tuned like a cello, both using the odd C clef.)

Mozart hated the flute, loved the clarinet. Beethoven probably loved and hated things as well.

This (of course) turns one's mind to pianos in general and other people (besides Mozart and Beethoven) who did most of their composing for (and sometimes performing upon) that instrument. Brahms. Schumann. Mendelsohn (although Felix was a violin virtuoso.) And, of course, Liszt and Chopin.

This post is really about Chopin, I guess, although I don't think he played any other instruments except organ, which isn't really a stretch for a virtuoso piano player like Chopin. And I can only find where he played organ once. I digress.

Frederic Chopin was, quite simply, the greatest piano composer and piano player who ever walked the earth. Devotees of Franz Liszt will disagree, but they know nothing. Chopin was even better than Billy Joel.

Like all geniuses of the period, Chopin caught TB and died at age 39. Mozart died at 36 but not of TB. Never mind.

All of these boys were pretty quirky. I could choose any of them to write a quirky post about, but you already know about the quirks of Mozart and Beethoven. And perhaps even Liszt. But you probably didn't know how demented and off-center Chopin was. Well, perhaps "demented" is a bit much. You may have even thought him shy and polite. Should you want to continue believing this about him, you need to stop reading here.

Chopin's mother, the former Justyna Krzyżanowska, (I forgot to mention Chopin was Polish) was the aunt of a boy who would later become American Civil War General Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski. I suppose that would have made the general and the Polish composer cousins, come to think of it. Ah, well, Chopin died in 1849, so no matter - they obviously didn't hang out together. Some of you are probably amazed at my Polish spelling and diacritical abilities. It is a gift.

Chopin, it has been written, was an artistic and social snob; an impeccably dressed dandy who hated contact with the rest of the human race.

But the music transcends the social shortcomings of the man. Like no other piano music you have ever heard. Unearthly, almost. And yet...

Andras Shiff: "A very strange person, very hard to like. An anti-semite."

Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz: "A moral vampire."

Of course, Mickiewicz and another Polish exile called on Chopin and he wouldn't even answer the door, so there is that bit of resentful baggage bugging him.

"His addiction to solitude went hand-in-hand with a fanatical dandyism, but his need for exquisitely tailored waistcoats, gloves, and boots was probably dictated by something deeper and darker than mere vanity."

For musician/biographer Schiff, the freshly laundered white gloves that Chopin put on each day signaled Chopin's horror of human contact.

Chopin treated Schumann almost sadistically, ridiculing his music as "no music at all." Liszt and Chopin had shared an apartment together, but Chopin soon came to despise and envy Liszt's talents, calling them vulgar. (Liszt was a very showy and animated piano player. The ladies liked him. A lot.)

Chopin himself had more than his share of fainting females, but not much is known of his sex life before his famous affair with George Sand. The two were together 10 years and she definitely got the best of him, leaving him devastated. He was, by all accounts, devoted to her, but she dumped him when he was 37, as death was approaching.

He hated crowds, performed only in small venues, gave probably only about 30 truly public performances in his whole life. Some say his playing was so quiet and personal that a large auditorium was out of the question anyway. He was happiest performing for only a small gathering of intimate friends - and he did have friends.

His music is intricate and difficult to play (though not as hard as Franz Liszt's - who was accused of composing music only 3 or 4 people in the whole world could play) but at the same time has a captivating subtlety to it. My own favorite Chopin piano composition is his Fantasie Impromptu (he mostly only named his compositions by genre) which demonstrates both the incredible complexity of fingering, as well as the sweet simplicity of the theme. Listening to this piece makes you forget the social shortcomings of the man himself.

And the title of this post? What's up with that? A final Chopin quirk was that he was afraid of being buried alive. So, by prior arrangement, his heart was removed after his death and his body buried without the heart. (He is buried in Paris.) His heart went home to Poland and is still today entombed in a pillar in a church in Warsaw.

His heart is still trapped in his music, too. Listen to my favorite piece if you have 4 minutes and 33 seconds to spare.
Astonishingly, because it was in the infancy of photography, there exists an actual photograph of Frederic Chopin from 1849, the year of his death. Here it is.

"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I am Kreativ

Thank you to Sage at WiseHerb's Random Jottings for this Kreative (and very pretty) Blogger award. :)

Now I am supposed to tell you 7 things about myself that you would never suspect.

First, I nominate 7 bloggers who deserve this award more than I do, because they are more creative. Much more.

1. Alison at Beloved-Eleanor, for her Victorian collections.
2. Sheila at A postcard a day, the most Kreativ Kollector I know.
3. Ettarose at Sanity on edge, for Kreativ photos and phun.
4. Janet at Adventures in the 32-Aker Wood, for her acting and for her Kreativ fingers.
5. Angelika at Angelika, for inspiration.
6. Chica at Lady Sarcasm, because nobody makes web pages better.
7. Soubriquet at Grit in the gears, not for his logic, but for his beautiful pottery.

These are all some of the most creative bloggers I know.

Please be sure and stop by Angelika's blog and pick up your MS ribbon. Thanks.
7 things you would never guess about me:

1. I write bad poetry
2. I don't really like country music
3. I am a registered Democrat
4. I have never set foot in Egypt
5. I am not really a little dog (I am a cat person)
6. I once played a Sousaphone in an NFL halftime show
7. I can name all the state capitols

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"However measured and far away..."

Do they still teach Henry David Thoreau in American Literature in high school?

God, I hope not. Talk about the emperor with no clothes. What a fraud. Leech. Commie. I never liked him when he was force-fed to me back then and my esteem for him over the years has only plummeted.

He did succeed in persuading a genuine writing talent, Ralph Waldo Emerson, into being his friend. Lucky for him. That meant a place to live and food and someone to pay his fines while he practiced being an unemployed free spirit.

He did come up with some sayings that are on all the "famous quotation" websites. Like marching to the beat of a different drummer (no shit, Hank) and "Simplify, simplify, simplyfy." Or was it only two simplifies? I can't remember any more.

An actual good American author by the name of Nathaniel Hawthorne had this to say about Thoreau:

"Mr. Thoreau dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character - a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in a way and method of his own. He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and rustic, though courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty. He was educated, I believe, at Cambridge, and formerly kept school in this town; but for two or three years back, he has repudiated all regular modes of getting a living, and seems inclined to lead a sort of Indian life among civilized men - an Indian life, I mean, as respects the absence of any systematic effort for a livelihood."

He was a bum, Nat.

A Scottish writer across the pond by the name of Robert Louis Stevenson was even less kind:

"THOREAU'S thin, penetrating, big-nosed face, even in a bad woodcut, conveys some hint of the limitations of his mind and character. With his almost acid sharpness of insight, with his almost animal dexterity in act, there went none of that large, unconscious geniality of the world's heroes. He was not easy, not ample, not urbane, not even kind; his enjoyment was hardly smiling, or the smile was not broad enough to be convincing; he had no waste lands nor kitchen-midden in his nature, but was all improved and sharpened to a point. "He was bred to no profession," says Emerson; "he never married; he lived alone; he never went to church; he never voted; he refused to pay a tax to the State; he ate no flesh, he drank no wine, he never knew the use of tobacco and, though a naturalist, he used neither trap nor gun. When asked at dinner what dish he preferred, he answered, 'the nearest.' " So many negative superiorities begin to smack a little of the prig."

You tell 'em Bobbie. The only thing Thoreau and Stevenson had in common was that they both died of tuberculosis at age 44.

Thoreau did indeed go to Harvard, as Hawthorne said. As a result of all that liberal education, he became a pencil-maker like his father. And sometime surveyor with his brother. Shades of George Washington.

Before he leeched off Emerson, he leeched off his brother. Unfortunately, his brother cut himself shaving one morning and subsequently died of lockjaw in Henry's arms. How the hell does one die of lockjaw in another's arms? A weird family, all around. A moral? I don't know. "If you drop your straight razor in the toilet, wash it off?"

But he lived off the land (and Emerson's purse) at Waldon Pond for something like two years and two months, living off...what? bark and grubs?... and became a famous author for writing a book by the same name or something close to it. I refuse to look it up.

Do me a favor? If you ever find yourself reading a book of classical literature and run across a chapter by Thoreau, rip it out for me, eh? You'll be doing the next reader a favor.

No offense.

"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away. "

(feel free to use the above at will or change it if you like - it's in the public domain and he wouldn't have known what to do with the money anyway.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chasing down the rabbit

A lot about Roman Polanski in the news lately. Recently arrested in Switzerland after 30-something years on the lam from U.S. jurisdiction on a statutory rape charge. Jumped bail. Not returned to U.S. by Switzerland yet, but the fix was in or else why would they have bothered to arrest him after all these years of roaming free in Europe? He was born in France, is a French citizen, France doesn't do the extradition thing with the U.S. (the perfecters of the guillotine sniff at our barbaric criminal penalties.)

Hollywood seems to think the law should leave him alone. The far right media is tearing him up. Foxboy Sean Hannity has REALLY been indignant, acting as if he knows the score. Says Polanski raped and sodomized a little girl after "pumping her full of drugs." Seems to be getting out of hand. Veteran newswoman Cokie Roberts says he should be killed. Polanski, not Hannity.

Anyone interested in a little Clarity here?

In 1977, Roman Polanski was a famous movie director. He became prominent with the success of his 1968 hit "Rosemary's Baby". His greatest film achievement (my opinon, of course) was Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. He is still a famous movie director and has an impressive body of work over his lifetime, though not in the U.S. anymore, of course. His most recent big picture that I liked was "The Pianist" (2002) which earned its star Adrien Brody an Oscar for Best Actor. Roman Polanski won an Oscar for Best Director, but, as you might imagine, didn't show to pick it up.

August of 1969 found Polanski married to the beautiful "Valley of the Dolls" actress Sharon Tate. They had a rented home in a remote area of Beverly hills, off Beverly Glen. While Polanski was across the pond working on a film, his 9-months pregnant wife Sharon was living in the house with Polanski's Polish friend, Voytek Frykowski and Frykowski's girlfriend, coffee heiress Abigail Folger. Polanski had planned to fly home in time for the birth of the baby. Also visiting at the home the night of August 9 was famed hair salon guy Jay Sebring, a former boyfriend of Sharon's who, oddly, was condoned by Polanski as a frequent visitor. Or so the story goes.

Then the Charles Manson death fiends from hell descended on the house and killed everyone that night. The rest is history. (Coincidentally to this post, Susan Atkins, one of the Manson fiends that night who actually did the stabbing of Sharon Tate Polanski and her unborn baby, died a few days ago [September 25] in prison of brain cancer. This wouldn't have happened had Susan been imprisoned in Scotland.)

In 1977, Roman Polanski met a young (aspiring) model at actor Jack Nicholson's house, for a photo shoot, while Nicholson was away. Nicholson and Polanski were friends. During the course of the evening, he took pictures, gave her champagne and a quaalude. He became aware that she was only 13 years old but didn't stop. Her mother was aware she was there with the great director. Not sure if taking a quaalude is the same as "pumping her full of drugs", but he sure did give her one. And even if he didn't know her correct age, he knew she wasn't 18.

I'm not saying she participated, or cooperated. She didn't want it to happen. Doesn't matter. California law said she wasn't qualified from an age standpoint to give informed consent. Statutory rape. Often those things are worked out without going to prison. Money. Probation. Not this time.

Read the details of what happened yourself, if you want to know the truth instead of listening to the hysterical American press and broadcast media. You can read the girl's play by play (or blow by blow, if you wish) account in her testimony here in the grand jury transcript.

My opinion? He needs to spend some time in jail, if only for the running away part. The girl, now 30-some years older, couldn't care less. Again, doesn't matter. The victim in the eyes of the law is "The People of California," not the girl. The girl doesn't have to "press charges." Same like in any crime.

Most of the Hollywood establishment have their sensibilities pretty offended, that one of their own, of such artistic bent (who has probably suffered much already from being forced to live in France all these years) should be called to account like a common criminal.

Oh. He IS a common criminal.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Windmills of my mind

[click to enlarge photo]

Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle in your head;
Why did summer go so quickly? Was it something that I said?
Lovers walk along a shore and leave their footprints in the sand;
Is the sound of distant drumming just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway and the fragments of a song,
Half-remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over, were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning to the color of her hair?
Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel,
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel,
As the images unwind, like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

War crimes

Recently Canucklehead had a post listing oxymorons. He had some good ones. I offered "Bagpipe Music". Today I offer, as my own post, "War Crimes".

Why? Because I think, deep down, ALL of war is a crime.

The dictionary:
War crime: "An action carried out during the conduct of a war that violates accepted international rules of war."


But do you not think it rather ridiculous that something as chaotic and all-destructive as war, to say it must be conducted under certain rules? How does one order chaos? Is that in itself not simply another oxymoron?

No matter how justified, or even "necessary," war is always a crime.

Warmaking doesn't stop warmaking. If it did, our problems would have stopped millennia ago. — Colman McCarthy

If we are going to stop wars on this earth, we are going to have to make war on hunger our number one priority. — David W. Brooks

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? — Eleanor Roosevelt

A self-respecting nation is ready for anything except for a renunciation of its option to make war. — Simone Weil

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together we have to talk. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Please don't buy Nike products or patronize the Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick was a highly-paid football player for the Phildelphia Eagles.

Michael Vick had a lucrative celebrity endorsement deal with NIKE.

Michael Vick was sent to prison for running a dog-fighting and gambling operation.

Court documents show Vick participated in the torture and execution (by hanging with wires) of “underperforming” dogs.

Sportstalk 610 reported Vick’s gang stole family pets, knocked their teeth out with a hammer, and allowed the fight dogs to tear apart the family pets as practice.

According to this USDA report, Vick thought it was fun for his fight dogs to kill and injure family pets.

Jeffrey Lurie’s Eagles now want to make Vick a muti-millionaire within weeks of leaving federal prison as part of what they call a “second chance”. They
now expect fans to cheer for Michael Vick.

In the news today it said NIKE was striking another endorsement deal with Michael Vick.

Please don't go to football games involving the Philadelphia Eagles team.

If the Philadelphia Eagles are playing on TV, please change the channel and watch a different game.


This last hurts me to say, for personal reasons, but I hope you don't patronize NIKE anymore.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The devil just couldn't wait

Florida, 9-30-09: Convicted child killer Couey dies (of cancer) in prison; cheats the executioner.

For those of you who don't remember, here's what he did: (Excerpted from a 7-2-08 Relax Max post on Yummy Biscuits)

Jessica was 9 years old. She was a delightful 3rd grader. One night she went to sleep with her stuffed animal. During the night, a man with a long criminal record and a history of abducting and raping little girls, broke into her house and took her and her stuffed animal away. Over the next several days, in between rapings, the little girl was kept in a closet at the man's house. When her emaciated bloody little body was no longer sexually attractive to him, he put her in a garbage bag, like a piece of shit, and buried her alive. When little Jessica couldn't claw her way out of the ground, she ran out of air and died. When police found her killer, the man confessed to what he had done, and even led police to her grave so they could recover her body. Later, after he had been properly lawyered up at public expense, the long-time pedophile recanted his confession. He still couldn't explain how he knew where Jessica's body was buried. The State of Florida wants to take this man's life, and he has been sentenced to die. The sentence is currently on appeal, of course, and, if things go as usual, the appeals process will go on for another 12-19 years. This length of time is needed to insure that the man was not mistreated or wrongfully convicted on any of a long list of possible technicalities, despite his tearful confession and description of how he raped her and kept her beside him in his bed the first night.

God forbid that, during his execution, this poor man might feel a burning sensation or even outright brief pain as the chemicals flow through his veins to stop his heart. God forbid that, as he loses consciousness for the last time, he might very well experience a feeling of impending suffocation. These are the things that lawyers use to stop executions on the grounds that they are briefly painful, and therefore "cruel and unusual" and so, unconstitutional. Oddly, no one is thinking too much about Jessica's feelings during this, and whether or not SHE may have been mistreated or how she felt during her own suffocation.

Please write me your comments and tell me why you think he deserves to live. I promise to forward your comments to Jessica's parents, and I am sure they will be of great comfort to them. Thank you.

So, Couey is in hell right now as you read this. If there is a God, he is in hell right now.

And Jessica finally has her justice.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Folk Festival in Kent

[Click to enlarge]

Kent is the place to be this weekend if you are in the area. Above, a group of Morris dancers gather in preparation for this weekend's festivities. Over 1,000 Morris and folk dancers/performers are expected.

Who can tell us the history of Morris dancers?

My sources didn't say exactly where, but I am guessing Tenterden, since Broadstairs is in the middle of August.

In other news of Kent (Festivals-wise) There is a big postcard and collector's fair Saturday 10 October in Canterbury. And that's the truth, too - I wouldn't be guilty of telling Canterbury tales...

And much more -- October is the time to be in Kent. If you can't be in Munich. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails