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and more on gun control-

I wanted to say just a bit more on Orlando. I think our love affair with guns in this country is obscene. I really do. Yet I got a couple of petitions for gun control that I could not in good conscience sign. Among other things, they are insisting that anyone who is "suspected of terrorism" should be forbidden to buy a gun. And here's the thing:

A Republican lawmaker -- I forget who -- explained why he could not support this law. He said he couldn't agree that people on some secret list should be penalized. I thought about that, and I actually agree with him. We have no idea what could cause you to get on that list. Advocating for equal rights for Palestinians? Supporting BDS? Dr. Sami Al Arian did those things, and there are those who called him a terrorist. He was actually jailed. So far as I know, he never did, nor threatened, any violence to anyone.

So this Republican is right. I don't agree with barring people from exercising their second amendment rights because they somehow got on some secret list. Editing to add that neither doctor Al Arian, nor any of the activists I know, would ever try to buy an assault rifle. Here is what I would like to see.Read more...Collapse )

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On love and hate

Three things that are on my mind. Except for the first quote, I mention no names. I have no intention of violating anyone's privacy.

1. Poor, battered Rodney King, all those years ago, pleading "Can't we all just get along?"

2. Some years before that, my sister told me a lovely story. She was walking one way; a handsome young Black man (is it still okay to say "Black" in this context?) was walking the other. As they passed each other, he smiled at my blonde, blue-eyed sister and said, "You're beautiful." She smiled back and they each went on their way.

3. Yesterday, one of "my kids" came to visit me at the library. She came with her girlfriend/partner.Read more...Collapse )

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Soemthing we did together in writing club - I had fun with this one! Enjoy.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Sturm und Drang. Yet again Sturm und Drang, thought the man sitting on the floor in front of the legless piano. "God Damn!" he muttered to himself. "I just saw lighting, but I can't even hear the thunder. No, not even that."

But then a sharp crack and a sound like tearing filled the room. The man smiled. He wasn't deaf, after all. Not quite.

Ludwig turned to the piano and began playing the storm.

On Bullying, and violence in politics

Fair warning, everyone - I am a Bernie fan. I think he's great! But not perfect. That said, I fail to understand why the man is being blamed for the (apparent) acts of a few of his supporters. He said, quite clearly, that he does not support violence and that nobody ought to be threatened. Could he have offered more sympathy to that poor woman in Nevada? Yes, I think he could. She by no means deserved this horrible treatment. No one does. Still, Bernie has never advocated violence against anyone, unlike the other two candidates. Which brings me to my main point.

The Donald, Heaven help us! How did we ever get to this point? Well. Here is one way. He's a bully. And-

We live in a country in which bullying is not only acceptable, but effective.Read more...Collapse )

The Transit of Mercury

Today, by great good luck, I saw something remarkable. The local astronomy club in CT had set up telescopes for viewing the transit of Mercury across the sun. After a solid week of raw, rainy weather, we had a brilliant day. There was a strong wind – the guys told me the wind had actually played havoc with the telescopes – and scarcely a cloud in the sky. I got to the field about a half hour before the viewing period ended and got to look at or through three of the scopes.


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Steering the Craft

I am now reading Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft, and have shared a couple of the writing exercises with my creative writing club at the library. One of them was to write something completely without punctuation. This is what I came up with.Read more...Collapse )
Warning - this is a bit of a rant. And I'm sure others have said similar things, and gone into greater depth than I do here. But it's been on my mind.

How to Silence Marginalized Voices-
a Brief Instruction Manual


1. Discount oral histories, because they are only memories of old people, not facts.
2. Dismiss memoirs, also. They are personal, not scholarly.
3. Insist that the marginalized people should produce scholarship that is up to your standards, despite being denied your sort of education. Feel free to change the standards if someone actually manages to be scholarly. For example:
4. Dismiss scholarship produced by expatriates, because they are expatriates.
5. Also, dismiss arguments you don’t like as opinions, not facts.Read more...Collapse )

Mulled Ale - another Telakan recipe

This one is adapted from the recipe for Glühwein. I am going to try it again this weekend with orange juice and non-alcoholic beer. Here it is!

Mulled Ale


Ingredients: Water, juice of one lemon or equivalent amount of orange juice*, 1 to two tablespoons sugar, 3 or 4 cloves, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, one 12 oz. bottle of beer.
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Here's a picture of the actual stew, which I cooked during the blizzard. The recipe follows:

Kassin Harbor Bean Stew

Ingredients:
1 lb (about 400 grams) dried beans, or two large cans.
4 shallots, 2 sweet red peppers, I yam or sweet potato, ½ to 1 bulb fennel.
4-8 oz (100 to 250 grams) salt fish (I’ve used both pollock and cod.)
1-2 tablespoons olive, canola, or good quality oil. 3 or 4 teaspoons curry powder, at least 2 teaspoons cumin, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, a clove or two, hot red pepper, salt, and black pepper to taste. You may substitute an onion for the shallots, green pepper or celery for the fennel, and you may add 1-4 cloves garlic if you like it. The fish is optional, too; you can substitute ground meat or simply make a vegetarian version. Read more...Collapse )

Merry Christmas!

To all who celebrate, and happy New Year to my friends who don't. I'm learning this for one of my choirs,and it's truly a prayer for peace. In this video, the composer is conducting in Belfast Cathedral. May we have peace and may we help to bring it!

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