Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jill Carroll released

Journalist Jill Carroll, kidnapped in Iraq back in January, has been released by her captors.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What do you take for granted?

I take good books for granted. I appreciate them--but frankly, I assume there will always be books I want to read.

I mean plain old fashioned books--words on paper, with a cover. Everytime someone starts speculating about books being out of date, ebooks being the wave of the future, yadda yadda...I cringe.

I don't think I'm in that much danger, though.

How 'bout you?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Folk Songs

Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament

Baloo, my boy, lie still and sleep
It grieves me sore to hear thee weep
If thou'lt be silent I'll be glad
Thy moaning makes my heart full sad.
Baloo, my boy, thy mother's joy
Thy father bred me great annoy
Baloo, baloo, baloo, baloo
Baloo, baloo, lu-li-li-lu.

O'er thee I keep my lonely watch
Intent thy lightest breath to catch
O, when thou wak'st to see thee smile
And thus my sorrow to beguile.
Baloo, my boy, thy mother's joy
Thy father bred me great annoy
Baloo, my boy, lie still and sleep
It grieves me sore to hear thee weep.

Twelve weary months have crept away
Since he, upon thy natal day
Left thee and me, to seek afar
A bloody fate in doubtful war.
Baloo, my boy, lie still and sleep
It grieves me sore to hear thee weep
If thou'lt be silent, I'll be glad
Thy moaning makes my heart full sad.

I dreamed a dream but yesternight
Thy father slain in foreign fight
He, wounded, stood beside my bed
His blood ran down upon thy head
He spoke no word, but looked on me
Bent low, and gave a kiss to thee!
Baloo, baloo, my darling boy
Thou'rt now alone thy mother's joy.

Ah--if I lived to be a thousand, I could never learn all the marvelous things I'd love to learn.

The historical Lady Bothwell's husband was killed in 1640--the song was also sometimes called Baloo, My Boy, though. Fragments of this song have been around since at least the mid sixteenth century, though. Like nearly all folk songs, its history is murky, because it might well have been sung for years, in different incarnations, before anyone thought to write it down.

This is a cool site.

This one is fun, too.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Thinking about:

The Lives of Saints. The murder of Becket. Giuseppe Desa and hair shirts. Henry II walking barefoot to Canterbury. The Children's Crusade.

You know how sometimes your brain wants to make a connection, and you can't quite tease it out?

They were just like us.

Just. Like. Us.

More later, after this stews a while.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Okay. I've finally realized no one really likes to run. Not at first, anyway. Maybe not ever. The jury is still out.

I had visions of loping easily along, like a wild animal; formidable, fast, a stunning picture of grace and power.

It's not like that. I loathe it.

No. Really. Loathe it. Always have. Even in the years before I started smoking, I was not a particularly good runner.

Running hasn't gotten any better in the intervening years, either. Plus, is it just me, or is gravity getting a lot stronger? I'm here to tell you. Gravity is strong. Damn strong. Especially when you're going up hills. It gets even stronger, then.

It hurts. I suck desperately for air, and fight to keep some rhythm between my feet and my breath, and I try very hard to ignore the fact that I can hear all the blood in my body roaring in my ears. I get all sweaty and red in the face. It's actually sort of awful.

Then I realized everyone I see out running looks the same way. I felt a bit better.

So then I started thinking about marathons. Those people never really look like they're having that much fun, after the beginning. Not until the finish line, when they get to stop. Right?

So I started looking around, checking out some of the training schedules helpful runners have posted for newbies. There are some nifty 20 week plans to train to peak for your first marathon.

They say things like "Week 12: Monday--Run an easy eight miles--you should be breathing too hard to sing, but still able to gasp your location into the cell phone for the ambulance guys. You know. Just in case. Come home and do wind sprints til you pass out. When you wake up, drink as much water as you can hold, walk out the charley-horses, then blend up raw eggs with almonds and drink that, too.


September, I think. I think I could be ready by September.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Okay--quick question

Who has an ipod or an mp3 player--which one, why, and so on? I'm not all that interested in what the salespeople have to tell me, yet. I'll ask those questions after I've already figured out what it is I need.

So most of you know I've recently quit smoking. Along with that, I'm running again. Both farther and longer than ever before.

The harder I push and the farther I go, the more I'm thinking it would be nice to hear something besides my own ragged, tearing gasps for air and leaden footfalls, especially after the first couple of miles when the rhythm falls all apart.

(Remind me, by the way, to tell y'all about the weirdest emotional baggage that comes up, quitting a habit you've carried for nearly twenty years. Just, you know, if you're interested.)

Tell me about your favorite portable music device.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Suck it up, Bitch--Marry your rapist, raise your baby...

See the video of Bill Napoli describing what sort of raped woman entitled to an abortion.

Edited to add another source for the video--thanks, TillyLost.

Digby covers the story pretty well.

BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.
But, you know, tough shit if you happen to be a woman who is only raped, but not sodomized (and WTF is that about, Napoli? Get a stiffy just thinking about it?)

Or, you know, if you're not a virgin. 'Cause if you wanted it once, it's obvious you want more.

Or, you know, if you're not religious and saving yourself for some nice rapist boy, to come along and knock you up and make a real woman of you, so you can get married whether you like it or not, like when Senator Napoli was a young man, growing up in the Wild West.

There's a deeply disturbing post about how this South Dakota law is not just about abortion, but also about rape, and about women's control over their own bodies at a very fundamental level, by Liza at BlogSheroes:

Digby covers all the major outrage points on the subject of how Napoli is basically signing onto the idea that forced childbirth is the proper punishment for being female and having a sexuality all at once, which is an argument that strikes me as no different in any substantial way than then argument that getting drunk or being 16 or whatever is reason enough to deserve to be raped and spat on. So I won’t bother with it, but I will say that what struck me about Napoli’s statement here is that he had to squeeze in “sodomized”, an act that actually can’t get you pregnant. I found it interesting that Napoli requires the sodomy before he’ll deem the Christian girl raped so badly that even he can’t imagine her deserving to be punished further for whatever the hell it is that women need to be punished for.

It takes a strong stomach, I promise you, to get all the way through the entry--it's primarily about a deeply depressing aquittal in an Illinois rape trial. That's why we all need to read it. And think about it. And talk about it.

From the linked article:
Reporters and other courtroom observers were not allowed to see the tape. Lawyers' descriptions indicate that it shows Missbrenner and codefendant Burim Bezeri having sex with the teen during the party in Missbrenner's home in the upscale suburb. The tape also shows the men and others spitting on the woman and writing on her naked body.

Defense attorney Patrick Campanelli relentlessly dissected the tape Friday, however, contending the accuser's actions indicated that she had not been coerced.
[emphasis added by me]
If this had happen to her in the great state of South Dakota, this kid would be unable to legally abort a pregnancy resulting from being gang-raped while she was drunk at a party. Yep, that's right--she would be required by South Dakota law to carry to term and raise the child of one of this gang of young men who raped her, spit on her, and scrawled obscenities on her naked body...then left her unconcious, missing her pants.

That's yer family values in action, there, eh?

A friend of mine observed earlier this week that I sounded angry, discussing this legislation and the issue of whether a woman is entitled to make her own decisions about whether or not to carry a child. That's a fair observation. Yep. I am angry. I'm furious, in fact, that there should even be any question of whether this topic belongs in the arena of public discussion.

This is why the pro-choice among us cannot afford to get tired and stop yelling about it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

For Dawno...

So , in the comments on my test thread with the jeep pic, my dear friend Dawno said:
I am studiously staying away from the blogging by mobile option. Ya'll do not want to see what weird things I'd blog about if I could do it anytime from anywhere.

"oh, look! That cloud looks like a bunny!"

or "This is what I'm having for lunch"

or "what kind of a bug is that?"

This is my coffee-mug that goes everywhere with me. I bought it at a gas station in Maine, on a road trip, thirteen years ago.

Now, this is not going to turn into one of those blogs...You know the ones. The blogger tells you all about every detail of every day, "So, like, OMG! I totally found the cutest shoes on sale, and..."

Not gonna happen.

I was thinking though, it's funny how small items lend a sense of continuity and flow to our lives. This mug has been all over the US and Canada, with me. It's lasted longer than any relationship I've ever had. It outlived my good dog, Grady, who was with me on that trip. We camped on Bar Harbor, and there was the most amazing thunderstorm late one night in Delaware in the campground on the beach, and my gf-at-the-time got so mad at me in Ann Arbor, I thought she was going to leave me there...

And all those complex memories and emotions are keyed for me by a silly coffee mug with a cartoon lobster. We attach sentimental value to these small things, for what they tether us to. There's something sweet about that.

So, Dawno, maybe we do want to hear about that cloud that looks like a bunny, or what you had for lunch. Not because lunch is that interesting--but because the first time you ever had tempura was the time you got sold to that white-slaver ring in Shanghai...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Testing . . .

Here we are again, in the middle of the night...

I've spent my entire adult life moving gradually west. Much further west, and I'll fall in the water, in fact.

I'm not sure why, either.

Looking at it, I'd be hard pressed to give an answer--any more than a salmon can explain its spawning behavior. While I'd like to think I'm a bit smarter than the average salmon, sometimes I've very little evidence to back that up.


We all do those things, though, don't we--things we can look at later, and exclaim about, when we see a pattern?

There are the obvious human physical motivators driving us all the time, of course: food, shelter, sex, pain. Then, though, there are also the invisible, non-physical motivators: honor, faith, superstition, sex, or fear.

The older I get, the harder a time I have separating those spheres from each other, in my version of reality.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Look at this!

I just brought home some of these things to put in the yard. And some of these, as well, for the horse pasture, most likely.

And some of these, which are beautiful.

See? Of course, they won't look like this until fall. In another year, or three.
Image hosting by Photobucket
It's Spring! It's Spring! We can plant things! The sun is coming back!

Actually, everything looks sort of like plain little sticks, just now. I see the potential, though. Like most things that matter, it just takes some vision and some blisters.

Gardening plans, everyone?