FYI about the Khan Sheikoun affair for open-minders, from the Huffington Post

Even for readers who already have their minds made up owe it to themselves to read this detailed Huffington Post article by Scott Ritter, and to add it to all available sources of information.     Here is a great example of “Alternate Facts,” in a logical sense of being mixed information from different sources, that as a whole may lead to knowledge of what really happened in Khan Sheikoun.

There is a creditable “trail of misinformation” under the smug expressions of media reporters.   We can’t believe selectively here…this situation is important enough for followers to be informed and alert…research, research, research!

It really makes me wonder why many of the same pundits who daily attack Donald Trump as a liar and self-advantage seeker suddenly hail him as a hero—are we really a people who judge our presidents by their bully-characteristics?   Are we understanding the “America First” thing to mean “America As Boss of the World…Richer and Stronger and Meaner than any other nation?”

Cure for lagging respect and trust—bomb somebody.


a primer of selective History

Please open your books to page twenty-four
the teacher instructed, one morning …
look at the  ladies’ dressed in their finery,
feel free to smile at feathers and bustles,
and laugh out loud at the shoes!

Now let’s skip ahead to Chapter Seven,
where more ladies are seen at their work,
the clothing they wear is of buckskin,
embellished with feathers and beads (and pride,)
their raven hair in long silken braids.

Now the section titled “The Roaring Twenties.”
Days and years of lovely short-skirted ladies,
with bobbed hair and feathered  hats, called cloches.
They dance the Charleston, ducking the hit-men
who are ducking the likes of Elliot Ness.

The 1930s, when poverty reigned,
until saved by the richness and horrors of War.
The rich and beautiful, such as they were,
held on to their baubles and feathered their nests
as well as they could under the circumstances.

So now, we turn to the aftermath of The War
to the fiction-like era called The Cold War,
when living in spy novels was the norm…
and the games and palace intrigue surpassed
even the earlier times of the Kings…and Queens.

Now that we have closed the book of History
…a somewhat truncated collection of tales
that range from maybe to crazy-but-true…
we start or a new era which marvels
Alice’s Wonderland in scope and Fantasy.

In today’s time of making history…
a knowledge of the past is imperative.
If something of importance happens today,
it does not happen in a vacuum  at all
but is based on centuries of History!

So I leave you, boys and girls, with a note-worthy
suggestion….nay, a proclamation…
study your History from classical sources—
don’t depend on Twitter-twatter from pundits
who think History started last month.

© Sometimes, 2017




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…”





My answer to a question in the Washington Post this morning.

HERE’S THE THING FOLKS—this is how it works in a society such as ours here in the United States.       There is no need to “apologize” for our system to our children or anyone else.

This is it—this is US, We the People.

We are not a “banana republic,” as the historians and pundits like to call the countries that were literally run by fruit companies…American fruit countries, of course.   This was common in Central American countries back in the last century: massive corporations set up shop in a given country, bought or intimidated the government, and proceeded to recruit the local workers…who really had no other choice of jobs.     At least whacking banana bunches provided opportunities for employment.

Remember the old song by Harry Belafonte?    Here are the lyrics, sung to a calypso beat with a Jamaican accent.       It is one of those cute, entertaining songs that contain a sickening reality.


Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and he wan’ go home
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and he wan’ go home

Work all night on a drink a’rum
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Stack banana till thee morning come
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Day, he say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
A beautiful bunch a’ripe banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Hide thee deadly black tarantula
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot, BUNCH!
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Day, he say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and he wan’ go home)

© Alfred, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind


SO, enough of that — BACK TO THE BLOG POST, and the question “what do we tell our kids?”

  1.  The USA is a nation governed by laws.
  2.  Government OF the People, By the People, and FOR the People.
  3.  “WE” are the People—I am a person, the reader here is a person, etc.
  4.   We all—citizens—get to vote.
  5.    We have represenatives at various levels, which is a whole other story—and  since   this isn’t a History or Government course per se we won’t go into that.
  6.   On election day we go to the polls (or absentee ballot, whatever…) and VOTE for our choice of candidates.      YOU vote for your choice; I vote for my choice.
  7.  After the votes are cast, they are counted.
  8.  The winner is declared.
  9.   We all cheer…or not.      If MY guy gets more votes than YOUR guy, I cheer!

10.   If your guy wins…well….


Once the voting is over and the votes are counted, WE are faced with a situation whereby we have a candidate who has become an Elected Official.

Except in special circumstances, which won’t be covered here, once the election is over and the winner declared—that’s it.

Yes, I’m talking about Donald Trump—President Elect Donald Trump.


SO the question becomes—IF I don’t like the outcome—-What do I tell my kids?

…that this is how our system works

…we don’t throw stuff, destroy anything,  or go all berserk and get ourselves arrested or … worse …

…we just sit back and say “OK, Let’s see what he’s Got.”

…recognize that “WE” the People have spoken.    OK, so we can grumble that it was more accurately “THEY” the Other People.   That is beside the point, which is that we must abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the majority of our fellow citizens.

…or, in the vernacular “shut up and suck it up.”





childhood memories of war

Perhaps the most vivid memories of nursery tales were not of bunnies or bantering fairies…but of War and its aftermath.     We here in the United States did not suffer the horrors that children in other countries did, the bombings and air raids and worse.   But such accounts were very much vicariously present.    And directly following the Hot War followed the Cold War, with its insidious psychological terror.

I was eleven when World War II ended in 1945.    What I write here are my impressions as a child.

Here in the Cleveland, Ohio area we had three major daily newspapers in Cleveland,
in the 1940s-1950s.    Subtlety was not a virtue to our dueling newspapers, bent on gathering new and worse  predictions and statistics to entertain and scare the heck out of the readership.     Everyone read the papers…there was no television in the vast majority  of our homes, and except for newsreel productions in the movie theaters,  the newspapers were the major source for information about the “doomsday bullseye” which so impressed us as kids!   We lay on the floor with the front page of the paper spread out before us,   especially the issues with the giant bulleye dominating the front page…we traced the maps and figured out the implications for us personally…we lived  roughly 30 miles from the epicenter, which was presumeably down-town Cleveland.      In those days the  Cleveland area was a major producer of steel and—I was very proud to say—the twelfth largest city in the United States.

…tales of missile silos that later became parks
where ducks paddled in glistening ponds
surrounded by Lilies and Begonias
casting their colors in pinwheel flashes

This  was all a  grim and grotesque point of pride for me (for many of us kids) in the knowledge of having—within our own perimeter—huge metal monsters capable of unspeakable destruction.   This perverse, but prevailing situation had the effect of providing bragging points in discussing the relative extent of our living areas from the Bullseye Center at the heart of the city.   The really spooky thing is that my peers and I understood (mostly) the implications.  We discussed it in school, and excitedly and conspiratorially mapped our own possible destruction and theoretical  survival rather matter-of-factly, if not with particular sophistication.

The encouraging news—such as it was— lay in the conjecture that relative safety
existed outside of a radius of thirty miles… outside of the “immediate blast” area.
After that was a series of concentric rings, inside of which various stages of non-annihilation “might” exist.   This included various degrees of exposure to radiation,
and theoretical projected life-expectancy.

But comfort came in the form of experts’ advice on preparing our underground shelters and keeping them stocked with water and food… supplies sufficient for about two years.    Then came the horror of realization of implications that under the category of “supplies” would have to come stores of ammunition to arm the guns that would be necessary to guard our family stores  against neighbors and friends—and planning for continued survival AFTER the theoretical “all-clear” sirens sounded and we could come out of our shelters and return to — What?

Even us children understood that if the GOOD news was that survival from an atomic blast would (or might) be possible—this was also the BAD news.





My Favorite Novels

The Name of the Rose, Humberto Eco.    (I love this book, have read it at least three times, its about a monastery library in the 12th Century.)

Snow Treasure, Marie McSwigan (All-time favorite.   My third grade Christmas present.  About some Norwegian kids and German soldiers.)

The Last Juror, Robert Grisham  (I like Grisham, this is my favorite novel of his.)

Wake of the Red Witch, Robert Rourk (My late husband’s favorite, he read it I don’t know how many times…I read it once, and it is the kind of novel that I didn’t want to end.)

Bad Spell in Yurt, C. Dale Brittain (series)   (I love her fantasy tales, I’ve read the series except for the last couple.)

The Queen’s Fool, Phillipa Gregory   (I enjoy this because although its fiction about Henry the VIII and his carryings-on, there is enough historical fact to justify reading romance fiction so avidly 🙂

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy  (I love this book, intriguing and romantic.)

The Sahir, Paulo Coelho  (Coehlo…anything he writes is wonderful.)

Mistress  of the Morning Star, Elizabeth Lane  (The plot is the very first account of the Aztec empire, Hernan Cortes, and his lady La Malinche.   This is fiction…but it is also my top influence for choosing Latin American Studies as my field.  I tried to use it for a reference once, but that was not well-received by my mentor 🙂

Fahrenheit 911, Ray Bradbury    (All the things I like: firemen, the future, books, crooked governments, and Science Fiction at its best.)

The First Eagle, Tony Hillerman (I have all of Hillerman’s books, and I want to read them again.   I like Navajos, indigenous people in general, Arizona, the Desert, and cops.)

She Who Remembers, Linda Lay Shuler.  (Historical romance again…about native society and a female head-of-state…and Kokopelli! )

These titles are all novels that I have read at least once, have some kind of personal attachment, and plan to read again.

So which are YOUR Top Ten Fiction Novels?

Please take out pencil and a piece of paper.      Number from one to 10.   (It doesn’t matter what kind of paper, and the numbers should be 1-10 in a vertical column.)     You are to list (not necessarily in order) YOUR  top ten Greatest Fiction Books Ever Written.      You have 30 minutes to complete the list.

Wow!      Moments ago I read a page on selling books on eBay.    I actually do sell books on eBay, but mostly on other venues, mainly Amazon.     The list, which the author of the article noted was A list, not intended to be THE LIST of the all-time great books.

Here is the eBay writer’s list:

Top 10 Books of All Time Photo from the eBay page.  I am duly impressed!

I believe I have now on my shelves ALL of the ten works on the list.     I would like to say that I have read and studied every single one of these books…but since I am a very truthful person, I can’t make that claim.

I did read part of  Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which I enjoyed.    The other classics are so much discussed and made into movies, and snippets (or pages) have appeared in various sources, that they are impressed upon my mind having read the novels  per se or not.

OK, in my defense, English and American Literature HAVE been included in my curriculum,  but during my college career the only course I remember that specifically dealt with “classic great modern literature” was a University of Akron  graduate seminar on Latin American Fiction.    That course, I recall, came as I was overwhelmed (pretty much) with heavy-duty studying and reading…so much so that I was   reading non-fiction textbooks on the History of all sorts of times and places—and did not have time for the luxury of reading my favorite “lawyer-books” and Sci-Fi, and light bedtime reading…I would fall asleep with a huge textbook, not a little paperback.     Reading those Latin American novels (Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Garcia Lorca,)…was almost like cheating on the curriculum…a real treat.

Another seminar at Cleveland State dealt with Karl Marx and his assorted works.  Now this may sound stupid, but I was a tad shy at the time with my Essential Karl Marx paperback and reams of print-outs from reference books.   I mention that because one of the eBay writer’s TOP TEN GREAT BOOKS is the classic Vladimir Nabovosky book Lolita.    Well!  at the time I was in college ten-twenty years ago I would have kept THAT book in my book bag.      I have the book now for sale (I think.)   No, I haven’t been so inclined to read it.

While on that general subject, it always amuses me to recall that when I was a girl THE banned book (really…banned!) was Forever Amber,   by Kathleen Winsor.    Well, let me tell you…that book was not very interesting to me when I tried to read it years and years ago…and I never did find the titillating parts that I thought were hiding within the book.     Recently, like last year, I finally found out that the book was banned for political reasons…not for…well, you know…sexy stuff.  😉

So…good luck with those lists!

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?


Lament for lost words…or where did that #$%^* Post GO?

Once when I was a grad student taking a mandatory Historiography class I lost my final exam essay. It was written and ready to print for handing it in to the professor the next morning. It was late at night (isn’t it always?) and I was too tired to take the time involved in dealing with the printer, all bleary-eyed from cramming for finals.

I loved the class, don’t get me wrong. The history of History and Historians is very interesting. My favorites were Herodotus, The Beards, and of course The Venerable Bede, who wrote the first non-Church-based histories about secular matters—such as War.

The assignment for the writing portion of the final exam was to expound on the following proposition: “You are in your coffin, and ten of your favorite Historians stop, in turn, to pay their respects. Who are they and what do they say?”  If anyone really wants to read it I intend to load it into position from its current state (on paper) and post it on this site. This is my all-time favorite paper which I wrote at university, and is even more remarkable because of circumstances.

Well, by the time of the incident, the excuse that “my computer lost the paper” was already old, in a category with “the dog ate my homework” in legitimacy.
So I knew that there were NO saving graces here, no Fail Safe protocol to fall back on, and there would be no possibility of an A for a late paper. SO, I had no choice but to re-create the paper from scratch—in about an hour.

Fortunately, thanks to my annoying and anal study practices, I was writing my paper from note cards. Known as the “Note Card Queen” among some of my professors, I had a stack of more-than-ten [smug smirk] note cards out-lining in great detail of Historians through the ages.    An aside: to me, study habits that most consider busy-work were as important to me as the finished product, so my obsession was something of a life-saver.

The finished paper was finished in time, handed in at the zero-hour, and produced an A on the graded paper. I was pleased as punch, and to this day that is my favorite all-time work of writing.

I admit that it is pretty localized in readership…only students who REALLY like History (and not even a lot of them) would be chomping at the bit to get their hands on a term paper about the lives of people who wrote History over the years…most of them quite dead. I rather think that it might be like a gathering of Mathematicians…hanging out at a Math convention chatting brightly and with animation about Pythagoras and other Math greats. (Sorry, I am not up on Math history.)

SO…yes, there is a point here! Today I lost a post that was all ready to go…in fact it was posted on my site…but the CONTENT was all missing: the poem, a haibun, a picture of a tree, and a poem about the tree, which I wrote last year.   All my formatting, capitalization, clever title, indents and centering—gone. I searched and searched…but that post is GONE!!! I do have the haiku poem itself, written in my notebook. But I pooh-pooed the Muse when she whispered that I should write the prose part of the Haibun in my notebook also, and I just winged it and composed the thing right into the machine.

Alas! ….no notecards! I am just becoming too complacent…

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.”

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?

My favorite all-time book: Snow Treasure

When I was about eight years old, our teacher read a book to us in class.   Teachers did that often in those days, and I suppose they still do.  I hope so!    The book was Snow Treasure: A story of courage and adventure, written by Marie McSwigan, published in 1942.     Here’s the back cover blurb:

Now every sled ride was a matter of life and death

Peter Lundstrom never thought he would become a hero.   But that bleak winter of 1940 was like no other.   Nazi troops parachuted into Peter’s tiny village and held it captive.  Nobody thought they could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children of the village could fool the enemy.

It was a dangerous plan.   Peter and his friends had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds.  It meant risking their country’s treasure—and their lives.

This book was the ONE thing I wanted for Christmas that year.   My mother, broke as a churchmouse, but determined to do what she could to make our holiday wishes.     There was a small stack under the tree…some undies, and socks, maybe some school supplies like pencils or notebooks…and I opened all of the packages as politely as possible, all the time anticipating the gift that I really wanted.    Finally there was one present left for me, and when I opened it, I found a box of TIDE soap powder.   My poor little heart sank until I realized that the package was not what it appeared to be.  My book!   My book!

Throughout the decades Snow Treasure has been my favorite book.  Until about ten years ago it was only a memory…and I found a copy at a used book sale at the library.  Actually the book has an ISBN number, so apparently it is still available, though no longer in print.     The copy I have was published in the 1980s.

At the time that I was eight years old, World War II was very prominent in our lives, and indeed influences everything, everywhere, for every one.  I have written other blog accounts about the War and my personal experiences as a school child living in Cleveland, Ohio.

I always believed that the story of Snow Treasure was true.  The preface of the copy of the book that I have, published by Scholastic, Inc a couple of decades ago, qualifies the story with details that I presume are true.       To paraphrase:  On June 28, 1940, the Norwegian freighter Bomma arrived in Baltimore with about nine million dollars in gold bullion.    According to the story, the gold “had been slipped past Nazi sentries by Norwegian boys and girls!  Under the very eyes of the enemy, the story went, these children had pulled the gold on their sleds to a freighter hidden in a fiord off Norway’s coast.”      There is no proof, of course….I still believe that the tale is at least possible, but I am a dreamer and believer in all sorts of things.   To me veracity of any given account or story depends not only on proving something happened…but also proving that it did not happen.

*0590425374     There are several editions of this book on Amazon, and on other book seller sites.  The book has been published periodically in paper and hardback  for years.   I’m glad to know that, its like finding an old friend still alive!

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. 


‘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

“Many Say”—the new “THEY”

Well, one thing I’ll grudgingly give Donald Trump is that when he says “many say” he actually isn’t exaggerating===every word he says is diligently (and selectively) repeated on the television, in newspapers…on-line magazines, even Facebook.   Since he never takes credit (responsibility) for what he says  no matter how many times the video footage is repeated.

One wonders…[uh, as for the use of “One” in place of saying something more direct such as “I wonder”,  “the Generals wonder,” “Hillary Clinton wonders,”   or the  generic “some of us wonder”, “women wonder” …. the word “One” in the context of “all of us” or “we” conveys the message without specifics.]     Any way, One wonders if anyone hears what The Donald is really saying?

What ever happened to the laws against inciting public unrest…the old yelling “fire!” in a crowded room,  slander laws, legislation designed to identify and earmark threats to other people?     If I picked up my phone and called city hall and threatened the Mayor, there would be so many police cars in my driveway it would look like their parking lot.   There I would be….in the slammer….waiting to appear before a court on charges of making a telephone threat, maligning (or worse) a public official, insanity, and sedition.       (whee doggies…as Jeb Clampett used to say!)





  1. conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

    synonyms: rabble-rousing · incitement to rebel · subversion ·



late Middle English (in the sense ‘violent strife’): from Old French, or from Latin seditio(n-), from sed- ‘apart’ + itio(n-) ‘going’ (from the verb ire).


sedition (noun)
seditions (plural noun)
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when the Muse keeps quiet

One of the things I love about blogging is the great bloggers…all kinds of people, all over the world, young and old (is that politically correct?) and all political and religious persuasions.   I like that.   How boring life would be if we never got out of our particular little niche.     I DO care about all my … uh…blogging acquaintances…and their opinions and points of view…even the ones that don’t think like I do.   That’s OK, feel free to say what ya want and I’ll deal with it.    My best friends usually don’t agree with me on everything…some don’t agree on anything…

Blogging is fun because there aren’t many rules, and when it isn’t fun there is always the unfollow button.

This post is supposed to be about My Muse.    She stays out of the way, mostly, and pops out with a brainstorm of an idea, or nags me to comment on World Affairs, or Cats, or  to expound on my opinions or ideas.       Right from the beginning I established my blog as “Eclectic” in nature.   That means I am right on topic no matter what my subject of the day happens to be.

Some days I publish three or four posts, which may deal with anything or everything.   Maybe I’ll write about my childhood, playing mumblety-peg with my brother, or learning to read, or skipping through an airport on my way to…wherever.    I am a Historian by education, and sometimes write about a topic dear to my heart—Aztec flower wars, the view from the top of an ancient pyramid in the Yucatan Jungle, the art work of Diego Rivera, slavery in the Caribbean, miscellaneous wars…obscene houses of worship with walls painted in real Gold.

Other days something more mundane, like expounding on the coming election…or discussing the Soviet Union and why I really love watching James Bond movies…or maybe even a commentary about the various James Bond actors.

Poetry is a form of writing which I only very recently discovered.  Oh sure, I had creative writing in English classes here and there, copied Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven into notebooks along with some Shakespeare, and a selection of my early poetry, which remains in my notebooks, and I sit and read occasionally to marvel at my flowing words and flowery handwriting.   All that with a real ink-pen…a fountain pen which was filled with real ink.

Last year I participated in a WordPress Poetry Writing class.  I loved it…learning new forms which I had not really considered before, like Haiku, Villanelle, limericks, and my favorite Free-Form Poetry.   Which to me means nice words that fit nicely together to form rhyme and prose lines  that are palpable to the ear and lend themselves to foot-tapping and rhythym.

The poetry forms are fascinating.   The act of rhyming, and counting syllables to achieve a certain “beat” to the poem…meter, actually.     Instead of being tedious, as it might be to physically craft a poem following specific rules in a Freshman poetry-writing class, I find the mechanics of Poetry to be interesting, educational, and instructive.

When my Muse seems to be taking a day off, and I want to write a poem, I like to scribble a line and then build on it, in the rough draft using words that will not necessarily make it to the final rhyme.   I hasten to say that I have finally learned that poems do not have to necessarily rhyme…as in the Cat in the Hat being true blue…that kind of rhyme.

Sometimes these methods pay off in producing a quick and succinct poem, but other times it is months that a “rough draft” languishes in the notebook, occasionally having an update that consists of a tweke here and there, polishing a word, scratching it out.   Some efforts never work for me,   especially  forced or manufactured lines of poetry that just stink…or are stupid.

Writing prose articles is different.  I won’t bore everybody with long lists of examples of such posts.       I try hard to avoid  writing that tends to be presumptious…self-serving…holier-than-thou…or in lecture mode.    Above all my goal is to entertain and inform, and to interact with other bloggers who have similar interests or common experiences.


Conjuring McCarthyism

WOW!!!   This stuff about the Russians hacking the DNC email is SO COOL!   It makes me think of the old days when the McCarthy hearings were on the television every day for what seemed forever.   That was back in 1950.

I was a kid then, in high school,   interested primarily in hanging out and dancing and all that stuff.    But I LOVED the McCarthy hearings.  In black and white, on the small screen TV, the congressional hearings presided over by Senator Joseph McCarthy were dramatic, gripping—TRUE drama.   Frightening!

Endlessly, it seemed, Senator McCarthy hammered away at hapless people of all walks of life who were accused or suspected of being Communists—spies of the Soviet Union.      These people were largely Movie Stars and other Hollywood bigwigs, and all levels of United States Government workers…from the lowliest clerks to people in high positions.

I, being a 16-year-old girl, working at a dry goods/grill/hardware store…making ice-cream sodas and hotfudge sundaes, and hamburgers.    I worked the soda counter, and was forbidden by the owner of the store to wander off into other areas.  I stayed in my brightly lit corner, minded my ice-cream soda bar and grill, and chatted with my friends.

Although I was a reasonably good kid, minded my own business and did my work, then went home and did my homework, watched some TV (sometimes,) hung out with my friends…my best friend was the Head Majorette with the high school marching band, which provided me with considerable “reflected glory.”

Also—I watched Senator McCarthy as he brought down his best Inquisitioner techniques on the suspected Communists.

I was scared to death that somehow I could be mistaken for a Communist.  Not sure how such a thing could be, I nonetheless watched what I read, who I talked to, and what I said.     I was fully aware that if I didn’t toe the mark, it would be ME up against the  virtual rack….the one that the Spanish Inquisition used to great infamy back in the sixteenth century.

It still gives me the shudders, remembering the wild-eyed fury of the Senator…who in his best lawyer-fashion, ranted and raved at his “suspects,” who sat and squirmed with presperation dripping down their faces under the hot lights of the television studio.     I suppose if I really wanted to I could research the history of those Senate Hearings and list names of the unfortunate “Communist Sympathizers” and the details of their dastardly deeds.

SO—all this comes to mind when watching IN AWE—Donald Trump nonchalantly shrugging his shoulders and raving about the Russians, saying dumb stuff such as he “hopes the Russians” hack into some more American e-mails.   Heck, why not?   Dig into the State Department secrets.   Let us read all those juicy emails of Hillary Clinton discussing bridesmaids dresses and menu decisions…hmmm, beef or chicken?

Where is all the outrage?   If Donald Trump were to suddenly be transported back in time to 1950, and was seated at that torture chamber table being harangued by Senator McCarthy—WOW!!!—HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE???   He must have a souped-up DeLorean in his garage…fit it out for time-travel, and…there he goes.

(Sorry…please forgive the punctuation and capital letters.)