Friday, March 30, 2007

Blogging for Kathy Sierra

Kathy Sierra, my local news reports tonight, is a blogger who has received death threats, for exercising her freedom of speech online. Read about it at as well.

I have no time to make this post--not that anyone much reads me anyway! -- but as today is a national day for solidarity with her, I want to say that, though I've never read a single word she's written, no-one should receive death threats for exercising their freedom of speech. People who make such threats are not men.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wife saves husband, clubs mountain lion

I have fond memories of journeys to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a beautiful park on California's far north coast, with gorgeous redwoods (natch), ferns, fungi, and wildlife. reports that Nell Hamm saved her husband Jim (70)'s life, when a mountain lion attacked him and wouldn't let go. She tried jabbing a pen in the puma's eye, but ended up repeatedly clubbing it until it finally let go. When it stared at her and released her husband, she stood up and yelled at it until it went away (they say you should do this, making yourself look as big as possible). I love it!

Many kudos to Nell Hamm for her intestinal fortitude (that's guts), and of course, best wishes to Jim for a speedy and happy recovery, and many more lion-free years.

UPDATE: The TV news reported yesterday that Mr. Hamm has "taken a turn for the worse" with his head wound. They interviewed his wife, who seemed genuinely embarrassed at hearing the word "hero" applied to herself. I would bet that, even if she doesn't think that this incident made her a hero, there are probably a lot of family members and friends of hers who have observed her doing countless kindnesses over the years, which, taken together, would make her a hero in my book. You could tell.

Again, praying for her husband's health and quick recovery.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Desperately Wishful Songs

"Give Me Just a Little More Time," by the Chairmen of the Board. Great soul standard. "Give me just a little more time!/And our love will surely grow", the lyrics say. Why was this song written, though? Plainly, because some poor guy had a relationship that had no spark in it. Sometimes two people have no real need to be together. The woman, sensing this fact and panicking about it, obviously became agitated and snapped, "WELL?!?? WHERE'S THE PASSION!?", prompting the indecisive guy to say, "whoa!" "Give me just a little more time! What's the hurry? I just met you! These things have to build!" But, of course, they probably didn't build, because if there's going to be magnetism, it's there from the start. If not, well--you're lucky, at least you got a great classic song from it.

Similarly, the Vanessa Williams song, "Save the Best for Last." There is no way in hell that a woman as fine and beautiful as Vanessa Williams, who I consider to be one of the most beautiful women in the world (well, she was Miss America, so I guess someone else agreed), would EVER have to write a song about how she chased some ambivalent guy around, while he went off with other women.

(Checking) Hey, I was right! She wasn't one of the writers. The language of this song always tweaked me:

I see the passion in your eyes
Sometimes its all a big surprise
cause there was a time when all I did was wish
Youd tell me this was love
Its not the way I hoped or how I planned
But somehow its enough

And now were standing face to face
Isnt this world a crazy place
Just when I thought our chance had passed
You go and save the best for last

All of the nights you came to me
When some silly girl had set you free
You wondered how youd make it through
I wondered what was wrong with you

cause how could you give your love to someone else
And share your dreams with me
Sometimes the very thing youre looking for
Is the one thing you cant see

And now were standing face to face
Isnt this world a crazy place
Just when I thought our chance had passed
You go and save the best for last

Sometimes the very thing youre looking for
Is the one thing you cant see

Written by waldman/lind/galdston

"It's all a big surprise..." "dreams..." Isn't it all "crazy"? "...the one thing you can't see..."

This is the language of those who are used to deluding themselves. Wh-wha? Why, it's Vanessa Williams! I never noticed... how beautiful you are!

I love this song, but it's bullshit. Complete bullshit. Please! Has anyone ever said anything like this in front of Vanessa Williams? If she looked at me sideways for two seconds, I swear to you, I wouldn't let much grass grow under my feet before tripping over them to bring flowers. Note to women: if your guy friend has been around for longer than a month or three getting to know you, and hasn't made some move to be alone with you, or to make that aloneness equate to making out instead of cuddling and safeness, then either: 1) he sees some flaw in you that he can't hack, and knowing guys, it's probably something superficial about your looks, or 2) he's petrified and will _never_ make a move. I mean never, never ever. He's either petrified or not into it. So you'd better get it over with and make the move yourself. Then at least you'll know. But you knew this.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Ancient Ice Shelf Breaks Free

Sounds like a logline for an Edwardian drama of manners, doesn't it? The "Breaks Free" part sounds hopeful, at least. But no, it's a development in Global Climate Change. You know, the kind right-wing cranks and industry shills keep grousing has nothing to do with human activity, nor could be changed in any way by moderating our creature comforts (or, in the case of the Hummer, Beastly Comforts). The Ayles Ice Shelf, about the size of Manhattan, has broken away from its position of the last several millenia. Anyway, I hope those right-wing-nuts enjoy their climate change, because they've gotten almost all their wishes: our President has renounced the Kyoto agreement, our industry will not change its habits one meaningful whit, and whether for comfort or to spite environmentalists, who they see as unmanly and controlling, the private right-wing individual (though I suppose there are left-wing anti-environmentalists and right-wing environmentalists here) won't change his or her piggy habits either.

The only wish they won't get is that the environmentalists should like it and beam happily about it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor Survivors

This article on the AP wires says that many of the survivors of Pearl Harbor, who have been reuniting every five years since the war, expect December 7, 2006, to be the last reunion. 65 years on, most of the survivors are in their 80s or 90s, many wheelchair-bound.

There are survivors who still feel that there can be more reunions:

...some veterans don't believe, or refuse to accept, that this will be the last major gathering.

"They claimed the 60th was going to be the last one. Now they have the 65th. When they have the 70th, then they'll be claiming, 'This will be the last one,'" Hyland said. "They've been crying wolf too many times."

Hyland does accept the fact that their numbers are falling fast.

"We all have our turn and our turn is getting closer," he said.


The bond is so strong that some ask to have their ashes interred inside the Arizona, laid to rest with shipmates who were not so fortunate as to survive Dec. 7, 1941.

"They're coming home," Middlesworth said. "They feel they're coming home."

My parents had me late. My mother survived a Japanese internment camp. I often felt, while she still lived, that the world she grew up in was so distinct from ours, that to talk to her about it was to travel to another time, completely alien but completely familiar. This other era, this other Britain. The other America, where she and my father later met, after my father served in the Pacific. It's so very long ago.

Anyone with grandparents or parents who were alive during that war should talk to them tomorrow.

Monday, November 27, 2006


This ridiculous story says that a southern Colorado homeowners' association is trying to get a woman to remove a peace-sign Christmas wreath decoration; among the ridiculous reasons offered, you can pick your own (the last is my favorite)

First, some say it could be construed as an anti-Iraq war protest;

Second--yes--some people actually think the peace sign is a symbol of satan;

Third, my favorite, her homeowners' association feels the peace sign could be "divisive."

Modern America is often considered Orwellian. You heard it here, L's and G's: Peace is divisive.

Lisa Jensen said she wasn’t thinking of the war when she hung the wreath. She said, “Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing.”


“Now that it has come to this I feel I can’t get bullied,” she said. “What if they don’t like my Santa Claus.”

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Serge Gainsbourg Graverobbed

My head shot up in astonishment today to hear Serge Gainsbourg's "Bonnie and Clyde" issuing from the television today. It wasn't his original version, I don't think, and certainly not the sample in the MC Solaar rap "Le Nouveau Western." It was apparently a remake. Before my astonishment could give way to rapturous delight, however, I saw what it was advertising: the Cadillac Escalade.

Gainsbourg did do advertisements during his life. However, there is something revolting about this defier of convention being used to sell Escalades, ultimate symbol of selling out.

Interesting to find out that Gainsbourg, whose family apparently had fled Bolshevik Russia, and later had to wear the Jewish yellow star and flee Nazi-occupied Paris, was last involved with a relative of Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich von Paulus (the wikipedia entry doesn't say "von," but I think he was a "von"), who was ground down at Stalingrad until he surrendered to the USSR, and ended up working for them. Paulus had rebuked Admiral Canaris for suggesting that the Nazis were committing war crimes (wikipedia's entry on Canaris contains a misstatement or two--Himmler had actually protected Canaris from his rival Heydrich, who reported to Himmler, until the July 20, 1944 plot made it impossible any longer to do so).

I'm glad things worked out better for Gainsbourg in the last half of the 20th century than they did in the first.