Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bay By Day, Bay By Night

Christmas Day, 2007.....A view of the San Francisco Bay. If you look closely, a third of the way up on the right side of the photo, you can see a length of the San Mateo Bridge, which connects the East Bay with the Peninsula. The day was truly glorious, warm, sunny and sparkling...and matched beautifully by the sunset, pictured below. A California Christmas from the bounty of the Bay, surrounded by family and person, on the phone and via the internet.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

In Honor of the Writers & Bloggers of NaNoWriMo & NaBloPoMo

Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this), 30 November 2007 is the official end of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo 2007. Although I did not participate in this year's event, I want to congratulate all the writers and bloggers who completed their commitment to write a novel in a month or blog every day for a month---and even those who tried but dropped out at various points during the month, for as many reasons as there are people.

It seems to me that these two events (and the wonderful Young Writers Program) is, at its most basic, a vehicle for writers to prove to themselves that they can make a commitment, fulfill it and share the joys, pains and fruits of their labor with a large community of fellow writers, cheerleaders and even detractors.

Beyond that, though, or perhaps before that, the people who participate in events like this possess something very special. It's more than a trait, more than a habit, even more than a virtue. It's a belief that something about life can be good, can be accomplished, and can be achieved by any person.

You might be a runner in a marathon, a person who gets a 3o-day achievement chip for staying clean and sober for thirty days, a person who cares for a sick, elderly or disadvantaged person or pet for a month, a kid who shows up for school when it seems like bullies and math are everywhere and friends are hard to find, or just someone who gets up in the morning and puts one foot in front of the other for another month of days when depression, anxiety, panic and fear are so compelling that staying in bed seems preferable to another day of pursuing some vague, distant, amorphous sliver of hope that there is a purpose to all of this, and more specifically, a personal purpose---to everyone who does anything for a month that celebrates their efficacious relationship with the world, whether or not they feel it or know it, I say: I admire you, I celebrate your achievement, I am inspired by you, and I wish you the best.

From my own experiences, I know that if one can do something for 30 days, one can do many, many things for far longer. This post is just a little applause we give you, and applause you ought to give yourself. We've been watching you, we know what you've done. It's as magnificent as the sunset in the high desert this evening, to which no photo can ever quite do justice.

Still, as these events draw to a close, this celebratory picture is offered to all of you who finished the month-long commitment. And to all who started but didn't finish, and to all who never started for fear of not finishing, and to all who could not fathom a reason to start or's never too late to reconsider, regroup, rededicate and realize the dreams some dared to desire....and I'm not just talking about NaBloPoMo or NaNoWriMo. But you knew that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Birthday MaryBelles!!!

Laguna Beach, CA---Nov. 13, 2007

According to reliable, unnamed sources, today is the 59th birthday of Mary Todd (pictured on the right), seen elsewhere on this blog signing off as Belles. On at least two occasions, she has posted a Blog post when she meant to post a Comment. Inasmuch as she, at that time, didn't know the difference between a Blog and a Post, never mind a blog post and a Comment, it was decided to leave her blog posts intact as they were most amusing!

Although Miss Todd joined her sister, T.T. Thomas and sister-in-law Karyn Pierce in the high desert for high dessert over this past weekend, she is apparently joining her friend Cathy for lunch in Laguna Beach today as it is their mutual birthday week, although that could be just an excuse for more cake. Mary's other sister, Elizabeth, and her niece Danielle, are no doubt calling to wish her a Happy Birthday as we post.

For her birthday, Mary insisted on "something practical" if anyone insisted on a gift. After a celebratory dinner at one of the local gourmet seafood establishments, located about 75 miles from the nearest ocean, reports are that Mary and her two hostesses whipped through Gottchalks Department Store like three small tornadoes, 10 minutes before closing time, which the women had originally and erroneously estimated to be an hour later. Mary wanted pillows. Two down-topped feather pillows and one feather bed later, the three women were escorted out of the department store by a man holding a big key, and possibly a weapon. He was not laughing, but Mary was.

Back at her home-away-from home, her high-desert casita, as it were, Mary settled in for a good movie and a lovely chocolate caked baked for her by Karyn. From scratch. Oh wait, scratch that---from the ever-lovely Betty Crocker, another family friend.

Now, early indications are that Miss Todd had a lovely weekend, and forgot all about getting older. Indeed, we believe she may have had a jolly good time. In short, she got to have her cake and eat it too! Happy Birthday, Mary, and may you have many, many more!

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Finding Brenda Sue

It happened, more or less, like this: I left California and moved to New York, for the second time. I had lived on lst and 53rd in 1968-70, but neither that move nor the husband who came with it worked out so good. But I loved New York, and I was young enough and nuts enough to feel that I wasn't quite done doing the City thing. So I talked the owners of the public relations company I worked for into opening a New York office to serve a couple clients I had acquired for them, and, oh by the way, I'll run that office for you!

It's important to know that I had no friends in New York. I knew a few people---is two a few?---who I'd met at trade conventions (in Chicago) when they were working for trade papers and I was trying to get them to cover my various clients' products. I was a pretty good match for the reporters because I, too, had been a reporter and editor for a few trade papers, mostly covering the consumer electronics industry. I can't remember how it all happened, but one of the two people with whom I had a passing acquaintance knew somebody who knew somebody who had a friend who was looking for a roommate. It sounded less than ideal for someone who hadn't seriously called anyone I lived with a "roommate" for nearly 15 years. But this was to be a real roommate. I vaguely remember procrastinating about calling her, and as the time for my departure neared, I was more concerned with how to get my brand new white Corvette to Manhattan since I was flying. I got that sorted out with a friend in California who needed a free ride to New York and a Corvette sounded more than OK. I did worry about what condition the car would arrive in, but as time would prove, I should have had my head examined for bringing such a vehicle into that city.

And then my phone rang. She spoke with a drawl, but it wasn't quite Southern. It was that familiar twang/drawl that my relatives on my father's side talked with. My mother usually called them "them." Actually, the whole scenario would go like this: "He" (my father) came from "them" and "you" (me) came from "him," and "...quite frankly, you're all alike." I could never be certain, but I'd be hesitant to call it a compliment.

Anyway, I loved that drawl, and it belonged to someone who introduced herself by two names. Two first names. Just like all my cousins...the ones from "them."

"Hi there, it's Brenda Sue, how the hell you doing? I've heard all about you, and it's all good!"

Clearly, she had not heard all about me or she wouldn't sound so cheery. But I liked her enthusiasm.

A week later, I took the cab into the City from JFK airport and felt the growing excitement as we neared Brenda Sue's brownstone. Well, it wasn't hers, but she had two floors of it, and it was in a "good" neighborhood on 76th Street near Riverside Drive. The first thing I noticed was that all the cars were double parked, and it didn't look like "for just a minute" while the driver ran into one of the buildings to pick something up. These cars were lights-out-doors-locked-honk-if- you-need-to-get-out parked. The front of the brownstone, which was actually a red stone brick I think, was gorgeous. The owners, a young upwardly mobile couple who lived on the first floor, had renovated the building beautifully. On the outside. I got out of the cab, looked up the stoop at the handsome front door, and was still staring at the door when I realized the cabbie had driven away. That's when I realized the First Law of New York: Do not tip until your bags are inside the door.

I rang the bell and Brenda Sue answered back through the intercom. "I'll be right down!" she drawled. About 10 minutes later, she threw open the front door, gave me a big hug and said "Welcome, home!"

Somewhere on the landing of the third floor, after I had said, "How many more flights?" about three times, she smiled and said, "We have the whole fourth and fifth floor!" I'm sure my gratitude was more muted than I intended as I lugged two huge suitcases up the stairs. Brenda Sue was a half flight ahead of me with two more.

It was a great apartment, and I have many, many happy memories from that period in my life. Brenda was a great roommate, a wonderful person and just the best person to know in New York. She was a tall, willowy blonde with a perpetual grin. We had a few escapades together in New York and tore that town up pretty good on more than one occasion. Not that anyone can remember the details, mind you. Oh well, there is one story that would probably be better left in the underground morass of memories that ought not to be let loose, but it shows who Brenda was...and is.

I got it into my head that I liked my neighbor across the street, an Israeli woman with a live-in girlfriend. I had met them within a few weeks after moving in because everyone socializes from a starting point on one's stoop. If you don't have a stoop, you don't let it stop you. People without a stoop just wander into the streets and come over to your stoop to get to know you. So, anyway, against all my better judgment, better judgment not always having been my strong point, I decided that since this heartthrob was taken, I'd at least send her a Valentine, just something nice.

I can't recall when the brilliant idea hit me, but at some point I thought maybe sending a Valentine card in the mail wouldn't be the most discreet thing to do, so I came up with something more original. I went home and told Brenda. She looked at me like I was crazy, but the next day she materialized with the reference books I needed.

We made the sign, in Hebrew, and the only thing left was to convince the brownstone owners to hang this big banner outside their front window because our fourth and fifth floor walk up was in the back of the building, and Dafna (that was her name) was in the lower front of the building across the street. Everyday Dafna sat at that window and had coffee---no way would she miss the sentiment. Brenda said she'd handle the details about hanging the sign with the owners.

We spent the evening painting "Happy Valentine's Day to Someone Special" in Hebrew. The banner was some kind of white cloth, and the printing was, naturally, bright red. We didn't exactly find that greeting in one reference book, but we found all the words individually and just strung them together. I was so excited to imagine Dafna's complete look of surprise when she had her coffee the next morning. As soon as the paint dried, I was ready to take the banner to the owner's apartment. Brenda Sue said, "Uh, why don't I go talk to them first, for a minute."

Turns out she forgot to ask them if we could hang this big honking Hebrew sign outside their front window, but she didn't want to spoil my evening, so she hadn't said anything. Somehow, though, she did talk the owners into hanging the sign, but it was very windy that evening, so they said they'd hang it first thing in the morning. Where were the hooks? Hooks? All we had was masking tape.

"Well I don't know what this thing says," said the husband, "but if it's important, you better have some way of hanging it out our window. It's not going to cause a riot is it?"

Brenda looked at my face and said, "I have just the thing, upstairs. I'll bring it back down. C'mon, let's go, T., and thanks you guys. Let's go T!"

I backed out the door assuring him there'd be no riot. Boy was I wrong.

The next morning the sun was shining and the wind was blowing 50 m.p.h. I couldn't wait to get dressed, get ready for work and go outside to walk up to West End Avenue to catch my cab. My plan was to just casually wave and smile at the person in the window across the street. As I opened the front door, a gust of wind took my neck scarf and wrapped it around my head about three times. I couldn't see a thing, but as I stepped out the front door, I heard the flapping overhead. I pulled down the scarf, and there, hanging perpendicular to the window, instead of horizontally across the front of the building was my Hebrew handwriting. Well, it wasn't quite the presentation I had hoped for, but it was still neat. I walked down the stairs of the stoop, and when I got to the bottom, I couldn't resist. I looked across the street and into the window. I believe my eyes crossed and my knees buckled because there, standing at the window, holding a cup of coffee and bending her head sideways as if to read upside down was Dafna's "friend," the live in. Unbeknownst to me, Dafna had come down with the sniffles and didn't want to sit too close to the window for fear of catching the draft. So the bent neck was reading the banner to her. How could she read it? Easy---also unbeknownst to me, she was taking Hebrew classes.

I heard later tha Dafna spilled her hot coffee all over her nice warm cuddly pajamas while she was trying to come up with some reason the neighbors would hang a sign to "someone special" out their front window. "I thought that couple was married with a baby," the bent neck said to Dafna. "Who's the special person?" Evidently Dafna shrugged and muttered something about the mother-in-law. Dafna and bent neck broke up a couple years later, and I'm pretty sure my slapstick comedy of errors had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

And then I moved back to California, and later Brenda Sue moved to San Diego, and we talked on the phone quite a bit but we could never pull off that free couple days to go visit one another. Then Brenda moved back east, and I got some emails and I sent some. One day I got an email telling me that somewhere in her Fifties, she had finally graduated from college and got her degree. She also sent out an email to me and a half dozen others asking us not to send her any downloads because her computer was made in Jurassic Park. And thank g-d she sent that email.

I can't even tell you what, besides the living of life, happened, but one day I sent Brenda Sue an email, and it came back Unknown Name. I tried to call the last phone number I had, and, nothing. I knew that I had moved, that all my phone numbers had changed, and that Brenda didn't know where I was either. I got busy again, and another couple years passed, when I had another of my brilliant ideas. Hire a plane to fly over West Virginia with a banner that said "Brenda Sue Call Me!" In English of course. Just kidding. I decided to send an email to all the people Brenda had asked not to send her downloads. I apologized for the imposition and asked if any of them knew where Brenda was and how I could find her. Three or four wrote back and said they were trying to find her, too. It was decided that whoever heard from her first, let the others know.

The thing about Brenda is that she has this great, big, huge heart. When those fires erupted a couple weeks ago, she left a message with an old friend of hers in San Diego. Last night, that friend wrote to me, saying, "Brenda has been found! Phew!" She gave me her number, and I called Brenda today.

The last year or so, Brenda Sue has seen her share of difficulties, with both her and her Mom suffering some debilitating effects of a couple bad falls. Brenda is not able to work, and she is the original worker bee, so not being able to has been depressing and demoralizing for her. "Let's put it this way," she said, when I agreed she's had a tough year, "the whole last decade has pretty much sucked."

I've been there, too. When Brenda lived in San Diego, the highlight of my day was going to the grocery store. I was depressed. I was demoralized. I was diminished, and I couldn't tell you why. Oh I could have done he said/she said....but it was all so much more than that, and so much less. For me the cure came in the form of a very willful Pug named Charlie Girl.

No, I probably won't be shipping a Pug to Brenda, but I just want her to know that I've always thought of her as a survivor, I've always loved her happy countenance, her wry sense of humor, and that dimpled grin. I promised to entertain her with some pages from the book I'm writing because she's always been a great big fan and supporter of mine. But until I get some time to choose what I want to send her, I thought I'd just send her this post.

Everyone: Say hi to Brenda Sue---I found her, and I intend to keep track of her.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Driving Through the Smoke

So far, everyone here is OK. We're staying alert, and Fire Marshall Margaret is on the job! Count on it!

Still, it's very unnerving to have this much land up in flames and smoke. We live in an area that is known for it's almost daily strong winds---the wind usually comes up in the afternoon and stays around for a couple hours. But the Santa Ana condition that is tearing down the mountain passes and canyons is a ferocious, erratic and hot wind. It can calm down to nothing in the wink of an eye, then stir itself up to 80 m.p.h. swirls in the next blink. My windshield cracked from the force of small road debris being hurled at 75 m.p.h down the canyon I was travelling up at 70 m.p.h.

Santa Clarita is about 32 miles and across some 3200-foot mountains from the Antelope Valley where we live. The area that burned today near Stevenson Ranch and Magic Mountain is only about 20 miles from us.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mutts & Moms But No Moms with Kids Under 14: I'm So Mad About Iggy I Could Cry!

OK, I'll admit it right off the bat: I love dogs (and cats), I think Ellen DeGeneres is fabulous, and as Karyn and my sisters and some of my friends from 35 years ago can tell you, I am a MAJOR crybaby. I cry. I shed tears at the slightest thing, or, sometimes, it seems, for no reason at all. (Of course, there is, actually, always a reason.) ::shrug::

I saw the clip from Ellen's show today, Tuesday, 16 October. Then I did some more research on this Mutts & Moms group. Then I saw another clip with Ellen explaining how it all happened, and I got so mad I couldn't even cry, so I decided to write a letter to Mutts & Moms.

I don't know if the email address I have is correct. I certainly don't agree with anyone who makes death threats to anyone at Mutts & Moms, or does anything unlawful, or hurts their business, but I do think it's OK to express some absolute outrage. And OK, I did call them stupid. That wasn't nice. I'm sorry. Pretty much. So, here's my letter:

Hello, Mutts & Moms,

I wonder if you've considered the utter irony of a nonprofit organization called Mutts & Moms not allowing adoption by moms who have children under 14. Ellen DeGeneres acknowledged her mistake and apologized for it, on national TV, no less. And yet, Mutts & Moms, in a curiously astounding blast of poor judgment, really, really bad public relations and publicity, and a hard-line "following of policies" has (1) removed a well-taken care of puppy from a good home, (2) caused the children and parents in that family a great deal of grief, and (3) Mutts & Moms (its owner) has been unrelentingly unkind, inflexible and, may I say it, so stunningly righteous that you're going to show one of the most popular and beloved American icons, Ellen, that no good deed goes unpunished and no amount of her celebrity status is going to cause you to reverse your decision NO MATTER WHAT DOG IT SAVES!

So, yes, your policies are most curious, but your discriminatory double-standard is going to ensure that this State takes a much closer look at nonprofit organizations that claim humane treatment of animals while acting like blithering idiots to the very humans who were supporting your original cause. So she broke a part of the contract----can you not make an amendment, or make an exception, or better yet, review your policies about not letting families with children under 14 adopt a pet for which there previously HAD BEEN NO LOVING HOME! Is any of this getting through to you....anything at all? Or leave Ellen and her partner, Portia DeRossi, out of this completely (as they suggested), and re-give Iggy to Ruby and her family because they love that dog!

I'm afraid it's starting to sound as though you can't leave Ellen and her partner out of it, that your objections regarding Iggy are more personal, more related to other objections, but, really, I hope not. Let me say it differently: Given that you surely must know that thousands of dogs are dumped on roads, left in deserts, mistreated with neglect and indifference, unloved and abandoned to sickness, disease and usually death, then one has to ask: Based on what possible standard of ethics, humane treatment of animals and compassion, nevermind logic, could you possibly justify your actions?

I really want to know.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Checking in...

to say that I have been sooooo busy the past month, I've not blogged. My favorite real estate agent, excuse me, Realtor, has sent me five emails wailing and whining about nothing new to read on the blog. So now she's more addicted to me than Perez Hilton. (Did I win or lose?) Of course she could sign in under whatever name she wants (I'm thinking something like LocationLocationLocation). OK, well, maybe not.

I want to blog, really I do, but I'm writing an historical romance. Well, that's not exactly it, either. I mean I am writing a novel, but that's not really getting in the way of blogging. I just don't have the time to get into anything in depth...I mean if you want in depth, go to Robin's blog . Lately she's trying to drive me mad with a HUGE compilation of the stuff you need to know about what to do with a book when you finish writing it. Reading Robin, for me, is not unlike constantly chasing this great, big, orange carrot. I want Robin to be my agent...oh wait, I have to finish the book first. But really, if you're writing a book or know someone who is (besides me, I mean), send them to Robin's site for her 10-part series...maybe it's 12 parts. It's good. Right now Robin is serving as my all-volunteer editor. I got the newest version of MS Word, and I send her 75 pages and she sends them back all marked up in red and blue and green notations that say things like "I demand a rewrite," and "What, really, does this mean?" I cannot believe she makes me rewrite the passage until it sounds like the gorgeous thing I meant it to be. I'll tell ya, these volunteers are brutal. And commas....I am a comma addict, and Robin is allergic to them. I think they are elegant, she thinks they are preposterous dots with unseemly little tails. ::sigh:: I'm so lucky...and I love my life (and all the commas I can fit in it!)

Anyway, if things keep going as they are, I might even get a finished book out of this!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Testing 1, 2, 3...testing 1, 2, 3


I must say, I've lost my phone (usually out of my ever opened purse), I've left it behind (usually at one of my sister's) and once in an immature outburst of temper I broke one by deliberately throwing it on the floor)! But never, no, never, have I put it in my washer and/or dryer! I wish I'd been there to see the look on K's face!
As for your experience at AT&T, if I have to take up raising homing pigeons to reach out and touch someone, by God I'll do that before I ever enter an AT&T store again. It is the very definition of emotional trauma!!#&*@?!$ I don't think that's an actual website but isn't it precious how it came up in blue? So, I'm still somewhat confused (you doooo recall I'm the slow one) as to what "phone," if it can even be called that, you actually now possess and whether you can be reached at the same number -- or will I be greeted with music and movie download propositions which end with "To reach this party, YOU must use an iPhone too?!!!
So, my beloveds, there are untold numbers of topics I could write about today - Bush, health insurance, housing issues, the homeless, the helpless and Bush. But the digits on my upper extremities are reaching their limit, so instead I'll call you and give you all those numbers that were washed away in the rinse cycle!!!! You two are sooooooo darling.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wells, Cargo, and Person Voted Least Likely to Get an iPhone

The day began innocently enough: I was to run to Wells Fargo, make a deposit, get some cash and hand it over to Ms Karyn so she could do the shopping errands. I shudda known, I shudda known! She was casually listing the stops she would make, none of which I wished to visit (TJ Maxx, Ross, Trader Joe's, and maybe Tuesday Morning). Each of those places exist to make me carsick, I'm sure of it. In a casual gesture of what I was later to call "brilliance," she threw out the hook. "And maybe Barnes & Nobles, if there's time."

I love book stores. She knows it. It was hardly an even match. Suddenly I was interested in the errands, figuring, wrongly, that we would zoom through the worst of the retail establishments in record time, ending on that Barnes and Noble note I so covet. I threw on my cargo shorts, a shirt and some comfortable shoes. Because we were going to be gone a while, I turned on my phone and put it into one of the 34 pockets most cargo pants have.

Four hours later, bedraggled and bereft of anything resembling energy, I stripped off my clothing and took a much needed nap. Karyn, mysteriously energized by her shopping, decided to forego the nap and do a a few loads of laundry. A couple hours later I awoke all refreshed and reached for my cargo shorts. Gone. Hmmm. They only had four hours of tread wear---why not get some more mileage out of them? I'm flexible, though, so I put on some tennis shorts and went in search of my cell phone to make a few calls. Gone. I called out for help."Have you seen those shorts I had on when we went out?"

"What's wrong with the ones you're wearing?" she asked. "Nothing," I explained, "but they don't have my cell phone in the pocket."

You know the look: startled dear in the headlights. She ran to the laundry room, well, we both did, but she actually moved knobs and dials to stop the washer. (Why? Because I don't actually know how; not surprisingly, we never have arguments about the universal TV remote, either, because she's the only one who knows how it works.) She reached in, pulled out the cargo shorts and kept repeating the mantra, "I checked the pockets, I'm sure of it."

In pocket number 27, the thoroughly washed cellphone materialized. It was very clean, and very dead. Now this exact thing happened to her own phone--the free phone we got with the expensive one--several months earlier. She pulled hers out of the dryer, though, and it worked just fine. No such luck with my phone. Maybe we should have put it through the dryer.

I traipsed down to the one store I hate more than all others: AT&T phone center. I see the pretty pictures all over the wall for the new iPhone. I make a snap decision: I'll take one. Fire it up for me. Uh, no, sorry ma'am, no can do. To use the phone, one must plug it into the computer, activate it though iTunes, sync it with all the music we never figured out how to put on the iPod, attach one's bookmarks, integrate one's email addresses, assign special ringtones to special names, etc., etc. It's important to remember here that I am the one who doesn't know how to turn off the clothes washer, doesn't know how to use the TV remote and failed miserably at my earlier attempt to upload a movie onto this blog.

We had no success trying to activate the phone on my PC, but, fortunately, Karyn has an iMac. It was a breeze. ("Gee," she said, "this would be a neat phone for me, since everything I have is Apple.") [Oh, I really don't think so.] Anyway, we're still working out the finer points of this remarkable piece of technology. They "gave" me (price: $15, what a rip!) a flash thing with all my phone numbers, supposedly taken off the SIM card in my clean, dead old phone. We'll soon find out if I still have your phone number.

I mention all this because during the activation process, I was assured that if I had any old voicemail, it would be history, irretrievable, kaput, dead as the old phone. So, if you called me, any time after Thursday, I don't know it. If you don't hear from me, the flash card didn't work, and I don't have your phone number. If a year passes without word from me, check out the AT&T store. I'm there, in a long line, buying a cheap phone with two buttons: dial and answer. No Internet, no photos, no bookmarks, no voicemail, no email, no music, no YouTube problem.

Friday, September 07, 2007


So my sister (aka OPINIONHEAD) always has remarked about my remarkable slowness of movement re: ... well, nearly everything. I was horrified to discover this morning (Friday, 9-7-07) just exactly how RIGHT the DIRECTOR is. Here I thought I was being smart and clever in posting to this blog (more like sending an e-mail through this blog) about THE FIRE IN ACTON, seriously believing I was totally CURRENT in my affairs - hahahaha. Well, so today I get back on this blog (aka Lola's Lounge) and really start reading all postings going back to early this summer and, lo and behold, I realize THE FIRE she was most recently referring to was, for all intents and purposes, in her own back yard!!!!!!!!!!!!

For all who don't know me yet, all seven of you, I truly am a turtle. I really, really believe I was a turtle in my past life, I'm merely a turtle living in human form in this life, and will most likely continue to be a turtle forever. But that I was so far behind that I didn't even know the beautiful desert hillside I once hiked (slooooooooooowly), looking for rocks (yes, rocks) for Ms. Pierce's garden had gone up in smoke -- well, it's so god-awful humiliating that I must lay myself down on the hopefully merciful pages of this fabulous blog and beg for forgiveness for my slooooooooowness.

Bless sweet Ruby for getting the Pugs out so fast - so very like her. But just a reminder, K, you have not been released for duty as volunteer firewoman yet, so take her easy, girl.

And as for D, hope that's anonymous enough, tell her I said hello, or I'll tell her hello myself if she checks into Opinionhead, and gently remind her that while she IS part of Lola's extended family (30 years, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada), I WAS THERE FIRST!!!! Just kidding, D, I would not want you to put the safety of you and your family in the hands of anyone OTHER THAN MY WONDERFUL OPINIONHEAD.

So with all good intentions in mind, and realizing Robin probably has no clue what I'm talking about, I'll slooooooooooooooowly say good-bye, good-bye, good-bye, hugs and kisses, bye, see 'ya soon, I'll call, call, bouyi Ruby, miss you, bye, talk soon (er or later.) Bye.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Location, Location: My Real Estate Agent

A person who has been my friend for over 30 years recently sent me an email from her vacation quarters in Maui. The headline on the email was “Blog This.” She sent a picture of herself enjoying the tropical paradise and ended on a note that sounded alarmingly like “You have a blahhhhhg? Get a life!”

Anyway, I can’t mention her name ‘cause she’s this big deal real estate person in town (estates, celebrity properties and other hovels starting at about $2 Million, although, given the current state of real estate in Southern California, she’ll probably write and ask me to mention her name).

So, long story short, she wants a deal on a couple Mercedes. Regrettably, she realized that after she sent the ‘blog this’ missive, or was it dismissive? First thing she does upon returning to the Mainland is call and ask me for my blog link, which she ‘lost.’ (I wish to point out here that while I did come to this country on the grand ship Queen Mary, it was not yesterday). But I sent her the link, again, anyway. 30 years, yada, yada, yada.

I get another call. “You’re the funniest person in the world,” says she. Uh huh. Then the third call comes in. After blatantly using appeals to my ego and her grown son, his wife and even their new baby, Dylan, as bait (safety for the kids, safety for the grandkid, you’re the only one we trust, my god has it really been 30 years, how’s your Princess? Teddy the Pug is absolutely adorable, blah, blah, blah) she wants to know could she have the “family” deal on a couple a sleds. (Uh, it's called the Employee Program, but she knows the power of family in my world.) “We” wanna keep the payment low, “we” need extra miles on the lease, can “we” get in for less than zero, and oh by the way, what colors do you have for “us.”

I got your basic wee wee yellow and dog poo brown. Will that work?

HAHAHAHA…just kidding. 30 years, blah, blah, blah. I did, however, take a certain perverse satisfaction when Ms. BlogThis called me today and started talking tornados, fire, and wind storms. I’m telling you---you get people talking about the weather and next thing you know they’re driving a Mercedes!

My favorite Realtor, who happens to be one of my best friends, can have anything I'm selling, for below wholesale, and she knows it. 30 years is a long time---heck I remember when the 'kid' with her grandkid was in diapers. Or was that his sister who was in diapers? I loved Ms. BlogThis' parents, bless their souls, I know her brothers and their families, her partner and all her children. I love 'em all, and they are a big part of what makes up what I call my family. It's all good.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We're not in Peoria, anymore, Toto!

(Antelope Valley) 2 September 2007

According to the National Weather Service, two small tornadoes touched down briefly, yesterday, a few miles from this writer's residence. It was, however, old news to Karyn R. Pierce, Weather Deputy. (Although I am known by the earlier mentioned Fire Marshall Margaret [a rarely used first name], I am also known as Weather Commander Margaret; obviously I was required to deputize Ms. Pierce so that she could assume full responsibility for recording the changes in weather when I am not around). She fulfilled her duties admirably, yesterday, and tried to capture the events on the video herein. (Not herein)

As Ms. Pierce tells it, she was on her way to the screen room in our backyard with a big glass of iced tea and the portable telephone. Planning to cool off and call me at the same time, she reached up to unlock the screen room doors, when a sudden and powerful series of short gusts of wind blew the entire contents of the desert into her glass of iced tea, or so it seemed. The gusts ended as quickly as they had begun, Ms. Pierce fed her tea to the thirsty Lobelia, and turned to go back in the house to get a fresh glass of tea.

As she looked toward the east, she could see that a dark and threatening sky had materialized, a rainbow was lying sideways in the sky and two dark plumes of swirling clouds appeared on the horizon. Pierce grabbed her camera, shooed the dogs indoors, forgot about the tea and recorded about a minute and a half of what turned out to be two small tornadoes, that touched down about 5 miles from our home. Unfortunately, I'm unable to upload the video. When I get that figured out, you'll see a couple flashes of lightening and two down shafts of dark clouds. As Ms. Pierce had no script, and certainly didn't expect to see her efforts uploaded to the world-wide web (as if more than 7 people even read this blog!), she has requested that readers try to ignore her play-by-play during this dramatic event, which shouldn't be hard for you as you won't be seeing her movie.

Shortly after this film that you can't see was shot, Director Pierce noticed that the television had gone off, as had the air conditioner and all other appliances. She put the portable phone down, fired up her cell phone and called this writer to give her the official weather report. This is the director's first video, and she reluctantly allowed me to post it here, despite serious misgivings about its quality. What she ought to have had misgivings about was my inability to get the thing on the blog! Nevertheless, I applaud her effort and encourage Deputy Pierce to "keep up the good work" with her, Canon.

Although I grew up in Illinois...Peoria, actually, tornadoes were a seasonal fact of life on the prairies. But, regrettably, I never actually saw one as they were always landing in nearby places like Galesburg and Farmington and other towns where I had relatives I rarely saw either. Still, I envied them their weather experiences.

Meanwhile, as exciting as the tornadoes were yesterday, on a local basis, I read about an odd one recently. A tornedo-warmed, bat-eating supercell over an area in South Texas caught some free-tailed bats by surprise as they took their evening constitution, March 19, 2006. About a 100 million bats live in the limestone condo caves on the Edwards plateau. Every late afternoon and evening they swarm in the skies for a massive insect buffet.

On this particular evening, they apparently did not realize a severe thunderstorm had formed in Mexico, about 60 nautical miles to the Southwest. As the weather crossed the Rio Grande, it struck rich soil and instability and began to rotate. It then made a right turn and headed precisely toward the lower end of the bat swarm. Radar from Del Rio documented both the storm and the bat swirl. Bats on radar appear as expanding rings or donuts in the sky as the tiny mammals fly straight up and then outward from their caves.

As the NOAA Storm Prediction Center observed, it's hard to imagine many thousands of bats didn't fail to return home that night. For those that were lucky enough to escape the vortex of the storm, they probably went to bed car sick and hungry. But what a tale to tell the grandkids!See this neat radar image and more details of the story from the Storm Prediction Center .

Whether or not you enjoy weather stories, you have to admit, the weather is definitely changing on this planet. While many of us have experienced our own personal global warming, from time to time, the changes taking place on earth are clearly momentous and deserving of our attention and best efforts.

Oh, and we had an earthquake this morning. It was only a 4.7, and it was nearly 50 miles from where we live, but it does nothing to ameliorate my recently acquired case of "bridge anxiety,"--a hopefully temporary condition in which one is scared to death to cross bridges and go over or under freeway passes that rival the Micky D arches for vertigo-inspiring panic. Or is it panic-inspired vertigo?

And finally, tonight, the mountainous terrain in the Angeles National Forest, not far from the small ranch community of Acton, was up in flames again. This area is about 10 miles from us, but the smoke blew into our Valley with a vengeance. I could see 50-foot flames from the freeway. Nearby Soledad Canyon Road, at the bottom of the Soledad Canyon was the detour route a few weeks ago when the Agua Dulce Fire closed the Antelope Valley Freeway.

I have to ask my friend Robin about that videoblog stuff, and see if she notices how terribly calm I remained upon realizing that the video, for which this entire entry was written, then re-rewritten, then really re-written, was, at the end of a very long day, unseen by all who read here. I'd like to thank all seven of you for your patience. (*;#=+%$#&*).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Too Close for Comfort

QUICK WORK by Antelope Valley's Best

The photo on the left was published in yesterday's Antelope Valley News, and then Rancho Vista area homeowner, and my better half, Karyn Pierce got a shot of the cleanup crew, on the right. I was at work, so I missed the entire thing. Still, my frequent fire drill training (Karyn has been known to call me Fire Marshall Margaret, a rarely used first name) for my family, although ultimately not needed, was enacted with nearly 100% fulfillment. Karyn rushed both Pugs into her car (not an easy task), drove down the street a ways, and left the dogs in the car (with plenty of air) while she ran back to the house to see how she could help. Our garden hoses were not necessary, as the fire crew quickly got control of the 30-ft. high flames, which burned less than half an acre. What you can't see is that another 25 acres of the same terrain run up and across the hills next to our house, which is the last house before the desert. The wrought iron fence you see in the picture on the right separates our back yard from the neighbor's yard. Early reports indicate the cause was kids playing with matches. Ms. Pierce was in the house, on the phone with her Mother, when she saw the smoke wafting across our back yard. She had to get off the phone from Mom to call 911, throw on some clothes, and get the dogs and herself out of the house. Happily, no one was hurt, the wild desert animals appeared to have made it to higher ground, and the fire was kept small by an outstanding Fire Department.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Too Stupid: Putting Your New Shoes in Your Own Mouth (and later deciding they aren't very tasty: Update at the end)

The notion of murder and madness as entertainment and murder and madness in the name of religious furor, fever and foment is nothing new. So it should come as no surprise that this guy considers dog fighting to the death a sport and Michael Vick a victim...of running with the wrong crowd. Americans spend billions to watch millionaire sports figures pursue their fame and infamy on and off the courts, the fields, the tracks and the high seas. We watch them maim and kill one another, and some of them watch dogs maul each other to death. Does seeing horrific injuries and death as a sport depend on where one is, or thinks one is, on the food chain? This is not a new problem in the history of man. The Romans threw Christians to the lions, and thousands cheered. Was it sport or religion or both? A masked man in Iraq poured gasoline on a child, and created this in the name of religion.

As America continues to open the doors to a global economy, a global culture clash becomes more clear, and we are witness to the lines between good and evil and right and wrong becoming blurrier. Dog fighting in this country has been taking place "behind closed doors." The Taliban was terrorizing women behind closed doors, too. Our political leadership in this country has made some huge decisions, on our behalf, behind closed doors. It's not the closed doors that make something intrinsically good or evil, right or wrong; it is, in fact, the act itself that is taking place behind closed doors. Killing dogs, maiming children, dying from so-called friendly fire or perishing when your helicopter falls out of the sky from either enemy fire or electro-mechanical malfunctioning all have something in common: dead is dead and maiming is maiming. All are happening in the name of sport, entertainment, religion, power and money.

An athlete with everything to lose, who is out hawking his new line of sneakers, takes the side of the wrong crowd---the crowd that includes Michael Vick. What can we as individuals do? Boycott his sneakers? Shout out our indignation at his position? Call for his early retirement? He simply has a different opinion, right? Guess what: sometimes the other guy's opinion becomes morally and ethically reprehensible and unsupportable when he decides to put that new shoe in his own mouth.

A President, who barely edged out his competition (or not), spends his entire time in office forcing democracy (why yes, yes it is a contradiction in terms!) down other people's throats, while his country's bridges are falling, his highways are crumbling and his people are starving for health, education and safety from terrorists within and without. Am I talking about President George W. Bush or Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki? You tell me.

UPDATE: And a little later in the day, Marbury starts to take it all back...almost.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Please pass the Spam

Don't blame me. Mike started this game:

Name four jobs you’ve had.

Name four favorite foods.

Name four places you’ve lived.

Name four places you’d rather be right now.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Rousing Good Discussion

A good discussion on the subject of Compassion is taking place over on my friend Robin Mizell's blog, and I jumped right in. Go take a look. I think it's an important topic because somewhere between caring and caring and helping is a territory we suspect has landmines because we've all almost lost a foot going through the territory...except when the result was that we were able to lend a hand. Go take a look, post something, or just enjoy the read.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vents, Fans and Hot Air Ducts

A place for my readers to express themselves on any subject not included in the semi-regular blogposts.

Desert Sage and Venus.
Photo by T.T. Thomas

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Prince of Pugs

His name is Teddy Valentine, because February 14 was when he came to live with us. Born on Christmas, Teddy was a heartthrob the minute we laid eyes on him. Full of personality, a soft, cute muzzle, big, brown beautiful eyes and a, um, less than perfect pug tail, he came with a fully sharpened complement of baby teeth, an ability to sleep when everyone else does, and a deliciously sensuous languidness that makes you want to invade his space and hug and kiss him and cuddle coo him like the little prince he was born to be.......until, in a burst of energetic ha-ha-ha-HAH, he runs behind you, pell-mell, takes a flying leap and bites you in the a...ah, yes, there. He receives numerous timeouts toward the end of the day, as being overtired apparently causes his ungracious behavior. The timeouts seem not to work. Treats will assuage his rambunctiousness, but won't cure it. He does what he wants, this Prince of Pugs. It's a dog's life, as well it should be!

Photo By Karyn R. Pierce

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tangerine Sky in the High Desert...California

The Antelope Valley, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles has some of the most beautiful topography and skies in the West. A valley surrounded by two mountain ranges, The San Gabriels and The Tehachapi, the Antelope Valley has clear skies, warm winds and breathtaking vistas.
Although a politically uber-conservative enclave for many years, the two main cities of Palmdale and Lancaster are embracing diversity with both a yelp and a whimper. The bumper crop of savvy and sophisticated transplants from "down below" (the very smoggy Los Angeles basin) are doing their part to persuade by example, and the result is that Palmdale, especially, offers a growing upscale quality of life, recreation, jobs, and shopping---with all the freedom and privacy normally associated with a more rural locale.
A national publication recently named Palmdale the Top Place to Retire in the country. Homes and land are still affordable, the shuttle can land at nearby Edwards AFB, and word has it that Palmdale International Airport will ultimately become the favored alternative to the busy and overcrowded Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Ok, so, with United Airlines currently the only airline (but, offering flights to many destinations) could take a while for Palmdale to become the departures and arrivals airport of choice for the beautiful people. So? Even Paradise has its growth pains.

Photo By T.T. Thomas

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Talk About Your Loose Canon (sic)!!!

I was amused to read that Cardinal Renato Martino, a kind of General Peter Pace of the Pope's Posse, has issued a 10 Commandments for Drivers, officially called "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road." Martino heads up the Vatican office of migrants and itinerants, most of whom, one could argue, probably don't drive much, so the Pastoral Care guidelines the very least, a bit out of Martino's daily bailiwick. But those kinds of details never stopped The Church from issuing proclamations.

You can read the whole story here, but what caught my eye, immediately was Commandment Number 5.

"Cars shall not be used for an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin."

Obviously, there could be some muddling of the new and old Commandments. Number 5 of the original 10 Commandments for ye who have lapsed or otherwise forgot is "Thou Shalt Not Kill," for Catholics and Lutherans, although for Jews Number 5 is "Honor Thy Mother and Father," with murder being relegated to Number 6. Not surprisingly, Number 6 for Catholics is "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery"---but all that is no doubt another subject for another day.

Although I am a big fan of the original Commandment Number 5, I am thinking that it's far too late for me to adhere to the New Number 5, noted above. And the issuance of a whole new 10 Commandments for Driving may be just a bit disingenuous on the part of the Vatican---not, mind you, that this would ever preclude Vatican equivocation on any subject. I submit two facts of history to support my contention.

First, Pope John Paul's PopeMobile was a Mercedes ML, retrofitted a bit for the protective bubble, of course; I have a Mercedes too; I'm sure his was not meant to be an expression of power and domination, and, naturally, neither is mine. I drive my Turbo VW Bug for that. (::eyeroll:: as my niece says).

Secondly, if the automobile were not an historically significant "occasion of sin" none of us would know much Certainly those of us who were raised Catholic, as I was, wouldn't know much. But...I do! First kiss? 1954 Mercury 2-door hardtop coupe in Parklane Green with Turquoise Blue/Arctic White interior. First, significant petting? 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS hardtop, burgundy. First, uh, advance party exploratory mission? 1963 Mustang, coupe, sunrise yellow with black interior. First Time in a car....I beg your pardon! I had a little more discretion than that when the big day arrived. By the way, does anyone remember: was it Howard Johnson's Motor Lodges that had the brown and orange color scheme, or was that....?

Martino also suggested prayer while driving and even pointed to the rosary as a good past time because its "rhythm and gentle repetition does not distract the driver's attention." I beg to differ! The Rosary, if said properly, is fifty, count 'em, Hail Marys and a few other prayers that will lead even the holiest among us to fall asleep at the droning "rhythm and gentle repetition," thus causing us to crash our cars and create all manner of havoc.

The thing is, if you grew up in the Midwest, in the '50's and '60's, as I did, you are going to be into and know your cars, generally speaking. Although your first driving experience may have been on your grandparent's farm, on a John Deere, your second driving experience was probably with your dad in the parking lot of the local high school on Sunday afternoon when no one was around. You had to pretend you hadn't already done the basics with your boyfriend two months earlier. The basics of driving , that is.

I think the Vatican needs to stay out of issuing edicts on driving, but, given the church's lingering presence in the bedroom, the car was inevitable, I suppose. Also, the PopeMobile link provides a fascinating historical overview of the relationship between the Vatican and Mercedes Benz. Disclosure: I happen to work for a Mercedes Benz dealer. I just know there's a Papal edict coming about blogging.

Well, actually, I did think there was one new Driving Commandment that had merit. I believe it's number 8, which states that those who are too young or too old should be charitably told not to drive.

So, when you charitably suggest that I give up my beloved wheels, and you will, be kind.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Great Escape

Photo by T.T. Thomas, Venice 2006

Venice: The Bridge of Sighs, completed in 1602, was built to connect a new prison building to the Doge Palace. It was called the Bridge of Sighs because it afforded prisoners their last look at their beloved Venice, and that event caused some heavy sighing. But the actual name was attached by 19th-century Romantic writers long after the bridge was built. Although known more for his lusty romantic endeavors, Giacomo Casanova escaped from the prison on October 31, 1756. He wrote about his daring escape in a book that was read all over Europe. Perhaps...perhaps he was an early blogger, of sorts. He crossed the Bridge of Sighs, as do we all, metaphorically speaking, in our own way, sighing, and blogging, about our great escape.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

We'll Always Have....Napoleon?

My friend Robin said she wouldn't touch the Paris Hilton story (stories) with a 10-ft pole. My feeling is that if you can guarantee me a pole of at least 10 feet, I'll take it on. And I swear, what you are about to read has nothing whatsoever to do with having spent a night, Fajita Friday I believe it was called, in the Albuquerque Hilton last July. Like so many of the Hilton Hotels, this one was a privately owned franchise. A true half-star hotel. Nevertheless, I think we all need to step back a pace and put our Fairness Caps on. I think we need to put it all in perspective. I think...well, here's a place to start: Paris Hilton is 26 years old.

By the age of 26, the following people had achieved the following:

American anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote her famous dissertation, Coming of Age in Samoa, which claimed that in some societies adolescence is not a particularly difficult time.

Albert Einstein published five major research papers in a German physics journal, fundamentally changing man's view of the universe and leading to such inventions as television and the atomic bomb.

Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of Poor Richard's Almanac, which was to play a large role in molding the diverse American character.

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Chereshkova became the first woman to travel in space.

College dropout Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer.

Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, revolutionizing the economies of the United States and Britain.

Antoine Joseph Sax invented the brass saxophone.

"Johnny Appleseed" brought apple seeds to the Ohio Valley.

Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy.

British ethologist Jane Goodall set up camp in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve on Lake Tanganyika and began studying the lives of chimpanzees.

Ken Kesey published his first novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Thomas Pynchon published V., for which he won the William Faulkner First Novel Award.

I found this list, called Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age, and the neat thing about this little widget is you can put in your age. I don't actually know what Mz. Hilton has accomplished, but I was amused to read she told Barbara Walters that she was going to "stop acting dumb." I'm telling you: Once you get the "act as if" thing down, there's nothing you can't do.

I'm not sure what the list says about Mz. Hilton, but it sure was depressing to me about me! Somewhere on that same site there's a link to a similar widget called Late Starters. The one I recall is something about Harlan Sanders turning a greasy spoon into Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 65. That should make everyone, including Hilton, feel bettah.

But, let's be honest here. Paris is no longer the story: Her sister Nicki is. Yes she is. The papparotters follow her to and from the Los Angeles county lockup when she goes to visit her favorite felon. They click their cameras, and they scream at her. "How's Paris, Nicki?" they yell in unison, or, alternately, staccato-like, verbal Gatling guns rat-tat-tatting one after the other.

But Nicki is Paris' sister, let there be no doubt. "She's being strong," she answered to all the yells, clicks, catcalls and rat tats.

Hmmm. Being strong. Although I'm not entirely sure I remember being 26, I think "being strong" is probably a lot better than I was doing at that age. And neither of my sisters were ever any good at spin.

"What is wrong with you? Get a grip," they would say.

Thanks, Mary, thanks Liz. Better to have a sister who tells you the truth than handlers who don't. By the way, I don't know what was wrong with me, but I got a grip and proceeded forward as if I had one---a grip, I mean. By the time I actually got a grip, why I hadn't got one sooner no longer really mattered. I don't know if Nicki should tell (or has told) Paris to get a grip....I'm just saying.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I lied to Robin Mizell

Honestly, when Robin kept suggesting I start a blog, I completely forgot that at some distant point in the past, I did start one. I was mad at CNN for something the then evening anchor called "The Whip." It was like a 10-second video headline from the reporters in the field, followed by a half-hour wait for the full story. Quite annoying. Anderson Cooper was still covering hurricanes, and really, my CNN dedication all came down to watching Christiane Amanpour, and, when she was on, Judy Woodruff. They were the only two people worth listening to. Anderson was OK, and he's certainly improved, but Aaron Brown, who got the play of a lifetime by starting his CNN anchor gig on 9/11---yes, that 9/11---was starting to bug me with his sardonic smirk. But I digress.

So, I played around with this blog thing, wrote a couple posts back in 2006 that I've deleted today at the request of my audience of one, Weird Harold, my partner. (Another story, another time).

"Too dated, not really worth archiving and not really your best," she said.

The thought occured to me that I need a friend besides Harold. That could prove difficult as I've already told Robin a whopper, and while she didn't exactly think I walked on water, I believe I had her pretty well convinced I invented it, and that could all be in the, uh, drink, now, as it were. I'm not proud to be such an illusion buster, but there you have it. (Robin and are are really fond of the nautical metaphors, and we'll extend to Naval militaria metaphors, but only when desperate or completely out of ideas).

But, at the end of the day, I think she'll forgive me for my momentary lapse in memory, because the real point of this blog thing still escapes me, and Robin seems absolutely determined to prove to me that blogging is, if not de rigeur for the efficacious living of life, then certainly certainly a basic necessity for a life well lived. I met Robin when we worked on the Assignment Zero...thing. Met a few super people there. Had a generally uneasy experience. Here's Robin's 'take' on it on how we got to know one another.

Blogs. Yes, I read them; yes, I enjoy many of them; no, I don't really "get" them. As a vehicle, I mean. As a medium, or is it media? What really, is the point of my providing you with my point? And yet, here I am. No, that's not apologia---let's not forget I barely know what I'm doing, so, I'm reluctant to apologize for it just yet. That could happen, though.

As it says up top, this is all opinion, but not all my opinion. I'm going to invite some guest writers, and naturally, one always hopes people will post a comment now and then. All topics are fair game.

Anyway, I'm sorry Robin. Please post on my blog. Please show me how this thing works. How do I link to something with just one word? Thanks. You're going to be sorry you got me started on this.