In the room the women come and go…

In the room the women come and go…

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

When I was seventeen I was very sincere about art and especially about literature. I was a girl in a small town who had grown up in the library. As someone said about Milton, I saw the world through the spectacle of books. I saw school and books as a life raft. My only escape.

So literature was a life or death subject to me. I memorized pieces of Shakespeare. A year later I would read The Sound and the Fury and halfway through the first section, the Benjy section, I would suddenly understand the mechanism of the narrative, that some was in present day and some was recollection and that Benjy was retarded and I would go back and re-read from the beginning again.

Prufrock was frightening. It started with an Italian quote. I had two years of high school Spanish and although I had heard of Dante’s Inferno, I had certainly never read it. Languages were the great opaque, the proof that I was an intellectual fraud. I spoke nothing but English and had rarely heard any other language spoken except Latin. In church. Where it did not resemble a language at all since no one actually spoke it to someone else.

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Air Guitar Nation

airguitar.jpgJust when you thought it couldn’t get any sillier, we have this new movie coming out. You’ll need to click on ‘Trailer’ to play the preview.

As someone who actually owns a guitar, and isn’t afraid to use it, I’m aghast at the whole air guitar phenomenon.

But I was deeply amused by this preview, and will likely go see the flick.





: Also, I think the video game ‘Guitar Hero’ is damn near the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. No caveats on that one.


Befuddled, Amused, Nauseated

IGN reported yesterday that Paramount was eyeing Matt Damon, Adrien Brody and Gary Sinise for the key roles of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy, respectively. With a director and start date now set, we’ll soon know for certain who will play the Big Three.

Abrams to Direct Star Trek Movie

I’m guessing that next we’re going to see Ian McKellen as Mr. Howell in the remake of Gilligan’s Island.

Doggie Downers (or: Better Living through Chemistry)

emscrip.jpgFor the last two weeks we have been dosing the dog with Xanax. This is not a matter of caprice on our part. Since the Em-dog broke her toe she’s been under virtual house-arrest: allowed out for functional walks, but no cavorting, no social life, no bounding about to examine the smells and textures of her world. So the vet prescribed the generic for Xanax, which scrip was filled at the local Walgreens. The scrip was filled for “Emily the Dog Robins,” which oddly tickles me. And I have to say that the stuff didn’t seem to be doing much to help the dog cope with her imprisonment–the first week Emily was reasonably good-humored about things, but this week she’s been a wreck (which means that the rest of us haven’t been having much fun either). Today I took her in for her checkup; while the bone is mending well, it looks like there’s going to be at least two to three more weeks of house arrest, a thought which chills my blood (and would likely chill Emily’s). The vet gave us a new and more intense Doggie Downer to help the dog get through the next couple of weeks, with instructions to try her on half a pill before we go whole hog.

I have mixed feelings about this; would I so quickly stuff my kid with drugs just to keep her from driving me nuts? And yet, I’m a consumer and a believer. In 1986 my mother, who was very ill–in part as a result of years of tobacco and alcohol abuse–was put on an early SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), so early it didn’t even have a brand name. For the last three months of her life she did not drink, and showed no signs of withdrawal; further, she became the person I remember from my childhood: funny, appreciative, charming. And about a year ago I went on a low-dose anti-depressant which has been immensely helpful to me, personally. So I truly do believe in the power of chemistry to help, sometimes life-savingly help.

On the other hand (and there’s always another hand, have you noticed?) I don’t love the way drugs are marketed for everything from restless legs to tearless eyes to sleepless nights. A few years ago I was at a friend’s house; said friend had a child who had some unspecified problems; his mother just knew that he had ADHD and needed Ritalin. When she found a doctor who agreed, the kid was prescribed Ritalin, and one of the most unsettling things I’ve seen is David taking his pill–all bouncy and goofy one minute, and the next, soft and boneless as the Ritalin kicked in. In the end, his mother decided that Ritalin wasn’t the answer and took him off the drugs.

Now, I am a bona fide Older Person and a Veteran of the milder skirmishes of the Drug Wars of the 60s and 70s. Back in the day, watching my peers get toasty on a couple of hits of pot, or a line of coke, or whatever, never bothered me particularly. But watching essentially the same thing happen to a kid who hasn’t opted for it himself, because his behavior made his mother worry troubles me. And I guess, in the same way, I feel a little guilty dosing the dog so that I can get a little something done.
Emily’s sleeping next to me as I type; the half pill has taken the edge off her anxiety and quieted the restless pacing and keening; she’s relaxed and comfortable. And I’m not having to play tug o’ war for hours on end. I should enjoy that, right? And I do. Sorta.

Pardon me: I’m gonna pet the dog.

Falling Down

So, I spent the weekend in Phoenix getting ground into a mat with about a hundred other guys and gals. Holding onto a seventh dan (7th degree black belt) aikidoist is a lot like holding onto a threshing machine. It doesn’t do much to the threshing machine but it’s all sorts of fun for you. I had fun, I got sore, I learned things, and I was promoted a rank.

However, I am getting into the evening and I find all my brilliant notions for my official post are being ground into a thick, greasy layer of fatigue and muscle soreness. Martial Arts in your fifties has some interesting drawbacks.


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Caption Monday: “Aren’t you a little young to be invading Earth?”

Raise all available limbs and surrender your fissionables!

Okay, guys, I’m starting a tradition not unlike Rory’s Sunday Video. I’ll post a picture, maybe even suggest a caption, but your mission is to also suggest captions in the comments section.

Today’s image features a younger Twilight Ninja Girl in aggressor mode.

(This is not meant to be my official Monday post. That will follow later.)

Put the Word Out

Clarion Call of Trumpets


Clarion 2007 is shaping up to be one of the best Clarions ever — our first on the beautiful oceanside campus at University of California San Diego, and featuring a powerhouse slate of instructors including Gregory Frost, Jeff VanderMeer, Karen Joy Fowler, Cory Doctorow, Ellen Kushner, and Delia Sherman. Plus we’re pleased to announce that Jeff VanderMeer’s wife, well-known editor Ann Kennedy, will accompany him to the workshop.

If you haven’t already attended a Clarion workshop, here’s your chance. Pull out your two best stories, grab the red pen, and give ’em a final polish. Submission stories should be between 2500 and 6000 words in length. Thanks to the generosity of everyone who has contributed to Clarion through regular donations, Clarion Circle memberships, and Virtual Clarion particiipation, we are able to offer many scholarships for those who need financial assistance, so please don’t let cost keep you from applying.

Full details are available at Applications will be accepted until April 1, 2006.

Resident Evil

YouTube link:  Real ID Act

Here’s a good wake-up call on the state—and threat—of Real ID.

Real ID requires states to issue national ID cards with embedded, radio-frequency identification chips in them. The act already been passed into law. States are required to put measures in place by May 2008.

The sheer volume of horrors we learn about these days is numbing. Iraq, Iran, vote fraud, reprisals against critics of administration policies, and on, and on. Under the onslaught, sometimes I just slump, slackmouth and stunned, as report after report tumbles out detailing the lies, manipulations, the brutal and callous evils being perpetrated by this administration.

But here is a case where if we don’t act, and soon, our privacy and our liberty are in grave peril. If we do act, we can have an effect. There is some momentum building against implementation of the Act. Some states are refusing to comply. More state governments will resist, too, if they know this expensive, invasive boondoggle is strongly opposed by their constituents. The Act can be repealed, if enough people push back.

So please. Take action. Contact your state and federal officials today. Urge them to fight this horrific invasion of privacy. (It’s strongly recommended that you send a fax, if at all possible; email is often ignored, and snail mail can take up to three months to reach the intended recipient.) Support the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Keef and Willie do ‘Dead Flowers’

williekeef.jpgAnd now, we bring you the latest installment in our on-going ‘Cultural Awareness’ series, where we present stuff that you really need to know about if you’re going to be One of Us.

Keef and Willie generously allowed Hank Williams III and Ryan Adams to sit in on this one, but you can ignore that part. It won’t be on the test.

As you may know, Two-Headed Baby also does this song.

We play it just as well as these guys do.

In my dreams.


Props to BooMan at BoomanTribune for surfacing this one.

Sweet Neocon

I had two different ideas for today’s blog entry. But I can’t work up a decent take on either of them, so I’m gonna be lazy and use the Dentonian method: Reprint.

Here’s a piece I wrote that was posted on Democratic Underground back in 2002. It still seems pretty damn relevant, but how naïve I was then I feel re-reading it now. I had no idea just how bad things were going to get…

It’s the Incompetence, Stupid!
June 4, 2002
By Caroline Spector

Back in the halcyon days of the early 1990s – before our Lives Were Changed Forever – a brash young Democrat went up against a sitting president who had recently won a “war” in the Middle East. Though flush with his victory and riding high poll numbers – the president had mismanaged things so badly at home that the young contender had a foothold to climb into the most powerful office in the land.

During Bill Clinton’s campaign against Poppy Bush, there was one thing that his campaign managers kept hammering away on: The moribund US economy. The “It’s the Economy, stupid” slogan was born and written in large letters in the campaign war room.

It’s time for a new slogan.

Personally, I think “It’s the Stupidity, stupid” has a nice alliterative ring to it, but since that might sound like too much of an ad hominem attack on the person currently occupying the White House, perhaps we should go with “It’s the Incompetence, stupid.”

After all, even the spokespeople for this administration keep telling us, there isn’t anything they can do.

Which, you have to admit, is a pretty amazing statement coming from the group who promoted themselves as “the adults,” as in, “The adults are back in charge.” This really begs the question, “In charge of what?”

As more and more revelations regarding information about the events leading up to September 11 in the possession of the various intelligence agencies and top administration officials comes to light, the Bush regime has trotted out a wide variety of excuses and “explanations” for why all these hints were missed, and as each one of the excuses were shown to be nonsensical, they’ve fallen back on the, “I dunno, boss” sword.

In short, “We screwed up, but anyone else would have done the same.”

Except that is utter nonsense.

In fact, numerous terrorist attacks were planned during the Clinton administration, especially plans for attacks during the 2000 millennium celebrations. These were all stopped.

Though there were terrorist attacks on American property around the world during the Clinton administration, and even a bombing of the WTC in 1993, on the whole, the losses on American soil were relatively minor. The losses at the American embassies in Africa in 1998 were another story. Of course, when Bill Clinton tried to go after terrorists at that time, he was accused of using this as a distraction from the Paula Jones matter and got no support from Congressional Republicans.

Now the Bush administration would have you believe that there are looming terrorist attacks about which they can do nothing.

This is an astounding statement.

This group of “adults” are saying they are too incompetent to do anything about terrorist violence to our people on our own soil.

Color me amazed.

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Ham Are What??… Me and My Tumor

So. I had minor surgery on Tuesday afternoon, to remove and biopsy a tumor growing against my chest wall (diagnosis: hamartoma–a benign lesion, 2.5×1.6×1.6 cm in size, consisting basically of normal but disorganized tissues). I wasn’t overly worried, since the needle biopsy done a few weeks ago came back negative. But it’s nice to have it confirmed.

Hamartoma, a benign tumor

I was confident I’d be back up and running by Friday. Man, was my confidence misplaced.

The pain from the incision is merely a dull, manageable ache at this point—I even quit the Vicodin last night. But I’m still trying to recover from the anesthesia. At least, I think that’s what it is. I have been sleeping quite a bit, but still if I let myself, I could go right back to bed and sleep more. (I’m resisting because I don’t want to end up awake at 3 in the morning.)

The anesthesia they used was only a sedative, not a general, but it really knocked me out. I was tasting the medication in my exhalations for 12 hours or more. Yesterday I had a bad bout of nausea, and lingering effects continue today.

So, for the squeamish, ‘scuse the bio-speak, but I wasn’t up to much more than this meager recounting of my experience…

Have a great weekend, y’all.

I Am the Resurrection and the Reprint

Barb returned home today after a week and a half in Japan . . . so I’m just going to post a reprint and a small bit of news (about another reprint) so I can spend some extra time with her.

Yes, it’s cheating.  But most of you probably haven’t seen either the reprint or the small bit of news (about another reprint).  And both fit in rather well this week at Eat Our Brains, since we’ve had posts about both religion and serial killers.

The reprint is from my website.  It’s a press release from last April:

Former Skeptic Rejects Rationalism,

Believes Everything

Denton: “I’m Priest of Whatever You Got”


     The Right Reverend Rabbi Imam Dalai Lama Denton  Continue reading