the dance of the miscreants, a fairy-tale?

… and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

Chicken Little handed out cups with holes in the bottoms…
and urged everyone to please help themselves.

Uncle Paul smirked and grinned, and dreamed
when he slept, of clever tricks and double crosses.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, sent out engraved linen notes
that read: “Be here or else—but mind what you say.”

The Ice Queen giggled and tried to look cool,
as she whispered to the boss “you’re starting to melt.”

The King beamed and preened to adoring crowds
who cheered as he told them: “You all are invisible to me!”

The Witch of the Beltway cackled with glee:
“Listen to me!   What do I say?  What do I mean?”

…and the Tall Man looked down on everyone
until he tripped and came crashing down…

Topsy Turvey turned and spun… telling tales and amazing everyone.
“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”

Mr. Dowdy Pudding frumped and preened,
beady eyes glistening with malice and mildew.

It’s all a cruel joke intended to wound—impossible tricks every day:
the Media chatters and makes up titillating tales.

The Wise Women lecture and try to make sense
while the Old White Men tell them “sit down and shut up.”

The Lawyers, in turn get their say…don’t let facts in the way!
Believe nothing you hear—nor even what you say!

…and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

©Sometimes, 2017

 

let’s not over-react (yeah, right…)

Scary news out of Virginia.    Too bad the shooter is dead…why is this always the case?   These people who kill other people are always a mystery, and it would be interesting and helpful to be able to hear what they have to say.   Normally such comments are suppressed, except for a shouted out inanity in a courtroom, or incoherent suicide note.

My old Journalist Hat comes out of the closet when some of these events occur, and too often the questions that I would ask… if I were doing the asking…never get asked.       What would these shooters say?    One would think that a perpetrator of such a criminal act albeit stupid and cruel,  probably pointless, would have something to say.    Oh, right, it is more than likely that if left to speak without restrictions…or to explain their motivation or explanation.

What goes through one’s mind when actually taking a rifle and shooting into an area of innocent people?     Is it madness that drives the crime?   Are they making a statement?   Thinking that they are proving a point?     Attempting to set the stage for some kind of mad-crowd riot?   Calling for confiscation of guns that kill people—or emphasizing the “right to bear arms?”

Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will ever know the shooter’s rationale for what he did this morning.   What we will hear, is speculation, interpretation, opinionated points of view…over and over.   The original account of what happened will be related in sound-bites and rambled on and on in talk shows, CNN Commenters assisting the rhetoric by presenting assorted factions’ “talking points” for incessant rehashing.      Sadly—the whole incident is like a  made-for-TV political presentation—complete with Party Politics, and frought with grandstanding and posturing.

This can’t be allowed to warp into a distraction from the investigations unfolding in Washington now.     How could it be more obvious that the honest and honorable committee members must put the Russia investigation on the fast track NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illusions…

Politicians
the greatest magicians
Grandmasters in linguistics.
Perform tricknowledge techniques
create laws perceived
so many ways.

A chess game played with precision.
The goal check mate
corner the king.
divide the family structure
by any means.
Entrap entrepreneurs
eager to eat
trying to reach
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Throwing stones at the penitentiary.
Filing for evidentiary
hearings.
The only thing suppressed
the ring
of freedom.

They claim equality
for all men.
In actuality they meant
just them.
At the time of writing
A country divided
built on the backs of men.
Owned
by the authors
steadily filling their coffers.
Ingraining an industry
thriving for centuries
in the minds of the masses.
Without it our nation crashes.

Flashes
of blue and red
shined by the white
placing stars in a box
jammed tight.
Click the lock,
toss the key.

Land of the free
enterprise
Right before your eyes,
Freedom’s
reflection
flashes
…just an illusion.

©Charles Yonkings, 2016

the trouble with time limits

Every election, and whenever the subject comes up in between elections, there is a big
“thing” about term limits.

“Throw ’em all out…ALL of them.”      This seems like a good idea…on the face of it…except that it would almost always be a disaster.     This point of view is often described as “clear the swamp.”      I like my clichés to have literal meaning, so when someone says that I picture a real swamp, with hanging moss, fragrant jungle flowers, glass-bottomed tour boats, and alligators sunning themselves in mis-leading innocence.    Yeah, this is all very picturesque.    The thing to “clear out” of the actual swamp/jungle, presumeably is the alligators, and other creatures that will eat you if they get a chance.   In the metaphorical  swamp, to which the plotters and pundits refer,… is of course Washington D.C.   The best allusions may be to the alligators, standing in for elected members of Congress.     (No aspersions cast on the alligators.)

Depending on the speaker, there is usually no consensus of exactly WHOM to throw out.     The “commenters” are not very specific either….they mostly just advocate getting rid of “ALL of them,” and starting over with an all-new brand-spanking lot of Congress people and their respective entourages.

“Don’t throw out MY Congresspeople though!”    Ah-ha, therein lies the rub…the Dems want their own representatives, and Republicans back theirs (most of the time…moreorless.)     That could be called the “Your Rep is a crook…Mine isn’t” theory of political adequacy.

Yes, I DO have an allegorical illustration for my point…which is that it is basically impossible to start over completely, from scratch, at a grass-roots level.     Once…back in the proverbial day…a would-be entrepreneur presented to our City Council a plan to open a new restaurant.    He said he intended to hire ALL NEW staff—new cooks, new waitresses/waiters, now known as “Servers.”      New hostesses, new managers, new bartender…even new dishwasher/busboys.     By “new” was meant workers who had NO experience in any of the positions.   They would be trained “to order” by the owner, in his own expectations for how to do their jobs.    In other words, no one would have even a clue of what they were supposed to do.    Needless to say, if the restaurant ever had materialized as planned it could have been named “The Fiasco Diner.”

That’s what would happen in Washington if there was a law that all new politicians had to be completely inexperienced.    Wow!     As if the atmosphere there is not already terrifying!     Actually the current experiment in Foggy Bottom threatens to loom menacingly as The PEOTUS seems to be introducing a concept of “let’s just see what happens!”     Maybe its a principle of “…keeping one’s friends close and enemies closer.”

Here’s a scary one: “let’s call up all our enemies and suggest we all play nice.”

 

STILL GOT YOUR SOCKS ON? THIS WILL SCARE THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF MOST ANYONE! (from the Washington Post)

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/president-elect-donald-trump-is-about-to-learn-the-nations-deep-secrets/2016/11/12/8bf9bc40-a847-11e6-8fc0-7be8f848c492_story.html?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

 

OK….I admit it…I’m scared!

There are people that I know very well, family members, friends, acquaintenaces from various times of my life who snicker or sneer at my fears.    They say I am of the “old school”—the “Cold War era”—afraid of bogies and ghosts of the past, as gifted us from the best selling authors of Spy Fiction.    You know—Tom Clancey et al.

I have been told in so many words that the old Cold War politics are passé.   I have been told, that  being an old woman— one having studied matters of the World, and especially the United States, of which I am an informed citizen and Historian—my views are left over from the bad old days when Russia was not our friend.

In the recent past I have been accused of “hating” my country.    WRONG…as our new president elect would say.    I have always likened this theory of un-Americanism to the case of a loving and devoted Great-Grandmother who accepts and loves all family members the same no matter what they do or how they live…or what they do.        She (ok… I….) love my country but not necessarily everything they do.

“My country right or wrong” was the slogan of a more patriotic time when we the people were psyched up for war, or invasion, or over-throwing sovereign governments, or killing world leaders that we don’t like.

Demonization…a process by which a leader/country/nationality/situation by which the citizenry is often known to fall in with a given idea at a proverbial snap of the fingers by whoever is  in charge.     Pick up the morning paper…or sign onto Yahoo…or flick the radio switch.   Chances are there will be a brand new name of someone that we as citizens need to oppose.   We are expected to absorb and believe in whatever truths and half-truths spew forth from the powers-that-be.

Remember a few years ago when we were all expected to be mad at France—because they declined leaping happily at invading or bombing or otherwise harassing another country?   Sort of a “We are having a War, and you are cordially invited (expected) to participate…or else we will make French Fry jokes and remarks about your manly prowess…”

 

 

 

 

Nursery Rhyme commentary

 

Remember the Maiden All Forlorn?
Who kissed the cow with the crumpled horn?
Ever wonder what was her problem?

Was it the Man All Tattered and Torn?
Did our Maiden prefer the Cow
to the advances of the passerby?

The saddest dilemma the poor Maiden faced
was that to report the bad man was out of place
for a mere milkmaid with a pretty face.

Now she is old and has Maidens of her own,
and tries to forget the horrible Man with the
slobbering kiss—but he calls her a Crone

“Never happened,” says He, with a straight face,
“How could it….look at her!   There’s no way
she would have have had any appeal!”

Now the Maiden is famous throughout the land
and has forfeited her anonymity to critics
who scoff and sneer…just another statistic!

©Sometimes, 2016

the maiden all forlorn

http://www.comicbookreligion.com/?c=29941&maiden_all_forlorn

Taco Trucks…what a great idea!

The idea of “Taco Trucks on every corner” is not a bad idea.     Food trucks, in general, are popular in areas such as college campuses, factories, various community events.  At the University of Akron, when I was there ten years ago, there was a guy with his food truck selling Gyros.   For anyone who has been asleep for years, Gyros are yummy sandwich sort of “wrap” things, special meat, sautéed onions and peppers, maybe some tomatoes, and delicious cucumber/sour cream sauce.   ooooh, I’m hungry now.   The Gyro truck was located in a more strategic location than the school food court/cafeteria/snack bar…and always had a booming business of hungry students and professors.   The price was affordable. the food fresh and good tasting.

SO, when I first heard it, I was favorably impressed with the prospect of this “Taco Truck” business  in spite of it being  a denigrating nickname intended as an insult to Hillary Clinton’s campaign—presumeably a warning by a Donald Trump Surrogate apparently opining that Tacos were somehow gauche, and trucks selling Tacos was somehow a bad thing that Mrs. Clinton would force upon us when she becomes POTUS.

Aside from the obvious…having good food readily available at a reasonable price…there is an even better advantage—  Tacos are inherently NUTRITIOUS food!

As one of my professors pointed out once in a class about indigenous health habits, the the general diet has always included basic substinence items of Corn, Beans, Rice, and   vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce or other greens, onions, some peppers, and meat—what could be more nutrious than that?   Besides, serving is easy…just fill up a Taco shell (corn,) or wrap up the good stuff in a soft flour tortilla.   OK technically that’s a Burrito…but specific terminology is optional at a Taco Truck.

The government could even subsidize Taco Trucks–and do a double purpose of encouraging good nutrition for the masses in the bargain.    Could be a boon to vegetable farmers, too.

WHO doesn’t like Tacos?

 

Are critics just mean?

Is it necessary, when a skinny but gorgeous fashion model is sauntering down the runway in her painful stillettos, for a critic to find something negative to say?    The girl’s hair is perfect to the last tousled curl, her figure exquisite in its proportions and invisible twekes of past imperfection.     Her patent leather bag may be a tad too plain for the somewhat “frilly” ruffles at the neckline…which. by the way, could be slightly higher so as to allude to more fullness in the bodice area?     Her make-up could not be more appropriate to enhance her naturally somewhat sallow complexion…do you think a touch toward-primrose blush?   Those earrings are beautiful!…could be slightly less elongated…her ears seem large for her face, don’t you think?    What a pity that now she is pregnant— why in the world would she want a child now at the peak of her career?

When is it appropriate to make an “informed comment” without being requested to do so?

This post is in response to a re-blog that I did a few days ago, about “responsible self-promotion.” https://genderate.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/responsible-self-promotion

One of the countless things my children find annoying about me is that I so easily slip into “Lecture Mode,” as they call it.    I admit it, and add that I often want to butt-in to random conversations at times…in restaurants, at the Mall, in grocery store check-out lines, holiday dinners, on airplanes, in waiting rooms.

I know in my heart that when I over-hear someone say “I wonder where these bluejeans REALLY come from?”   or “Why is there a U. S. military base on Guantanamo?”     The asker does not really want to know the answers to those questions.    They don’t want a stranger sharing information about Cuba being part of the spoils in the Spanish American War,  or that there was a lease ending in 1999 that would have returned the land to the Cubans.    They don’t want to hear about the Cuban Missile Crisis and how my husband was in the army at the time and how scared I was that the crisis would end in a war with the Soviet Union.   They especially don’t want to hear about how I was waiting in the car at a convenience store when the news broadcast announced the start of the Cuban Revolution.

Back to the bluejean question…they don’t want to hear about the maquiladora (factory in Chiapas, Mexico where workers stand on tile floors for hours on end, manufacturing sweaters and other garments for the likes of Tommy Hilfeger, The Gap, and other high-end manufacturers who employ cheap labor at horrendous conditions.    They especially don’t care that I actually saw those people in that factory with my own eyes.—and have photos of them.

“Is that poison ivy?” They don’t want to hear about the agonies of poison ivy, how it is contacted by humans, how long it lasts, or that it isn’t contagious per se.   They don’t care that I had it so bad I almost rubbed my skin raw because of the itching …but my baby daughter didn’t get it at all.      I hear them asking other people, who shrug and say “I don’t know…but don’t toucth ME!”

My favorite is the wide-spread use of photos of the MAYA pyramid at Chichen Itza, mis-identified as AZTEC.    No matter how many times this error is committed…it is never corrected.     Ditto that the Aztec Sun Stone, or Aztec Calendar, is NOT the “Mayan Calendar.”    They don’t give two hoots or a holler that the Ancient Maya and the Aztecs were not contemporaries, lived in different locations, or that they were separate and not-even-close in culture.

So what?   It just seemed appropriate to discuss “informed comments.”

Is it ever proper to interrupt a conversation between strangers (or anyone) to correct some non-fact: “Look! There’s Bob Dole!”      NO, it’s Jeb Bush!

What are the moral implications of not correcting two women who walk by you, arguing loudly about something that supposedly happened at a school board meeting, and YOU were there and know exactly what happened, and YOU were personally involved?

Does being informed about something give the right (or obligation) to interject information without being asked?     (Not counting the implied moral responsibility to warn of an impending car crash!)

If stranger is talking to someone—not ME—and asks a direct question, should I butt-in without being asked?   In fact—does the stranger have a moral obligation to heed contributed conversation?

Endless chatter can be good…

The thought occurs often, as my fingers move on to the right keys and begin a new post—“hello?  Is anyone there?”    The latest of writings (should it be “typings?) might be about anything.  (Well, almost anything…even I have limits.)    Sometimes a little nagging whisper asks “who really reads this stuff?”   Since my newspaper writer days, occasional  comments or letters-to-the-editor, or angry phone calls have provided answers to my idle questions.

Once a student handed me a copy of a newspaper article about typewriters.  “Our instructor gave us this to read…I thought you might like it.”    Indeed—I was the author of the piece, several years previously.   Instead of being insulted at the preproduction of my original work, I took the incident in a positive light.   The by-line on the article was my former name, before I re-married.

In those days of writing features about all sorts of subjects—from Jim Beam bottle collections, to travel articles, on to stuff about the County Health Department and the “float” of written paper checks as they were flown by airplane between bank transactions (known fondly as “beating the check to the bank”…a time-honored practice which was ended by electronic systems.)

In the early days of my newspaper career my  position was as a Correspondent.  As such I did everything that I would later do as a salaried full-time Reporter. I duly collected and saved every news clippings of everything I wrote in those days…but modesty dictates that the reason for such paperwork was not vanity at all, but was actually for the purpose of getting paid.   Feature articles were worth a few dollars, photographs and news reports of meetings or traffic accidents…announcements of Girl Scout bake sales brought varying per-item pay.    As for preserving that body of writing over a period of eighteen years…I hasten to add that only Feature stories of some lasting interest were retained in my folders.

It is difficult for me to analyze my blog readership.     The WordPress stats page does a good job of keeping track of posts and statistics, although at times the numbers mysteriously change.    My readership was greater and more wide-spread in the day, what with city council meetings, school board meetings, township trustee meetings, and feature stories from all over the area as an all-purpose staff reporter.     News accounts tend to be more thoroughly scrutinized for details, correctly spelled names, and quotations….or more accurately mis-quotations.

Writing a blog post is less demanding, to me anyway, because most readers either like it, don’t like it, or ignore it.

 

 

Finally! Some good news for pizza lovers…in New Zealand

yes indeed….looking over the Washington Post offering this morning, there is actually some good news.   Alas, though…not for me here in Ohio, but if ya live in New Zealand—go for it!   And please let me know how it works!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/08/25/hungry-your-pizza-drone-will-be-there-in-30-minutes/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

 

Now, if anyone asks me, pizza delivery is a great innovation.   The pizza arrives in good time, with a two-litre of Pepsi, and for a twenty dollar bill including a lavish tip for the delivery person—presto!   Dinner!

New Zealanders can just call their local shop, and a drone (imagine that!) will shortly swoop out of the sky…scaring heck out of the dog…who might attack the drone, eat the pizza, and no one will ever know until they send another drone to check.      That scenario is pretty far-fetched, I’ll admit…most of the dogs I have ever known were too smart to attack an unknown thing.  (Maybe whine a bit from inside their dog house.)

Drones may be the latest thing in wonderful inventions, but as far as I’m concerned, and I admit I’m an old Luddite…hmmm, I wonder what those guys that smashed up the machines would have done it they had their pizza delivered by drone?  Yikes, it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Sending machines that look like a cross between a mosquito and a sci-fi-helicopter is bad enough…just one of the creations could wipe out an apartment building from across the world with explosives.   Or, on the other hand, they could help to end starvation by sending pizzas to destitute families in war torn areas.     Maybe after the killer-strike drone dust settles down, a pizza delivery drone could be sent to help the survivors.

It just boggles the mind!

Responsible self-promotion: negotiating the relationships between self and Other, myself and ‘my’ work RE-BLOGGED!

This excellent article by Alison Phipps, is re-blogged from her site: genders, bodies, and politics.    The topic is one that I find interesting, so I will refer to it in my own post on the subject.

 

 

genders, bodies, politics

This is the text of a talk I was invited to give at Sussex university on February 18th 2016, to a group of PhD students and early-career researchers. 

publicintellectual

‘Responsible self promotion’. I think that is probably an oxymoron. Responsibility implies being accountable to something other than the self: the act of promoting the self is by definition, selfish. Is it possible to both promote the self and be accountable to the Other? I think the answer is ‘probably not’. But self-promotion is increasingly part of academic life: our readerships and research ‘impact’ are metricised by systems of reward and punishment like funding streams, league tables, and the REF. For early career researchers, precarious employment depends on being able to narrate the self in a marketable fashion. For those in mid- to late-career stages, promotion is reliant on self-promotion: rising up the ranks means evidencing, usually for a committee, our intellectual…

View original post 1,306 more words

The Beggar

There was a beggar
who sometimes plied his talent
if hungry or not.

Good morning, I said
always when I passed him by
and handed a dollar.

He mumbled something,
with a nod of his grey beard
maybe thanks…or not.

My friend disapproved,
why encourage him, she said.
Why give a hand-out?

He’s richer than us…
thanks to the people like you
who forfeit good sense!

So they said, indeed…
and for all I knew…it’s true,
always a fixture…

If he ever worked
no one knew…most didn’t care;.
tossed a coin—or not.

Did he need to beg
to support his existence?
Was he a con man?

It doesn’t matter…
not for me to determine…
I know just one thing:

Better him than me,
in the cold rain and hot sun,
on the street—for alms.

Risking self esteem,
damaging reputation,
takes audacity

The truth, I suppose,
(if there must be a reason,)
— “Just because he asked!”

©Sometimes, 2016