Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Project 2025

 Educate yourself on Project 2025, 
funded and promoted 
by the "Heritage Foundation" 
and make sure it fails.


"Project 2025 has a lot of different moving parts, which means that one way to begin understanding it is to scroll down through the table of contents and pick the chapter that interests you the most, starting there. There’s an entire chapter on plans for the Justice Department, a section on the military, and one, that has been discussed a lot, about the plan to cheapen the independence of federal civil servants. That move is more significant than you might think at first glance. Last November, I wrote about that plan:

“In October of 2020, before the last election, Trump was already taking steps in this direction. Trump signed an executive order making a change in civil service rules that made it possible to fire employees in policy positions ‘at will’—for no reason at all. Civil Service regulations are full of ‘schedules’ for different types of personnel and classifications like ‘exempted service’ that don’t mean much unless you’ve lived in the arcane world of federal employment. That made it difficult to understand what the executive order was about. More importantly, it was just too far in the weeds to resonate with folks at that time, when everyone was focused on more important matters like the upcoming election. But the order was characterized by people in the knows as a ‘stunning attempt to politicize the civil service and undermine more than a century of laws aimed at preventing corruption and cronyism in the federal government.’ It was the logical outcome of Trump’s obsession with a ‘deep state’ that he believed was out to get him.

The point of having a protected cadre of career civil service employees is to preserve expertise within government. But Trump’s executive order meant that any government employee involved in policymaking could be placed into a new Schedule F classification, a classification which left them vulnerable to evaluation based on their politics not their performance, and to dismissal for any reason. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but coming this late in the administration, the order could only be read as an effort to make sure Trump, in his next term (which thankfully didn’t materialize), could swiftly dispose of career employees he believed weren’t loyal to him. The order undid the pesky civil service protections that made it impossible to fire FBI agents who were investigating him or government lawyers who insisted he play by the rules. It was a harbinger of what Trump’s plans for 2025 would look like.

One of the first steps Joe Biden took after being sworn in was to rescind Trump’s executive order.”

This gives you a good sense of what Project 2025 is about. It doesn’t go off with a bang. It’s written in the banal language of federal agencies and the bureaucracy. You have to pay attention to understand it. It’s not a summer beach read, but this may be the most important book club selection you ever take up."

Joyce Vance's article is only one of many.

Google Project 2025 to choose articles and opinions on your own to educate yourself on how it would change our county.  You may think you know what this is all about, but you may find surprises that you will find upsetting.  If you're not familiar with Project 2025, please educate yourself.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Poetry - Recommended -

 Buy it - Read it 

Released Today

Magic Enuff by Tara M. Stringfellow

"Each poem asks how we can heal and sustain relationships with people, systems, and ourselves. How to reach for the kind of real love that allows for the truth of anger, disappointment, and grief. Unapologetic, unafraid, and glorious in its nuance, this collection argues that when it comes to living in our full humanity, we have—and we are—magic enough."


and I had made everyone lemonade
they sipped, offered pleasantries
my house, the antiques
how could they see I asked
with only those tiny slits
for eyes and we all laughed

after a bit, it got quiet
so I broke the silence with
what I thought my mom
and my grandma and hers
would've wanted me to say -

I poisoned y'all lemonade

        - - - Tara M. Stringfellow

Monday, June 24, 2024



This person as President of the United States  ? ? ?

People have lost their frigging minds

Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Day lilies wave us in like a plane approaching its gate.

 Big bossy peonies greet us at the end of the drive.

The creek trickles by singing "Welcome Home!"

Peepers around the pond add their loud squeaky salutations.

A soft light in a window. 

Beat up leather recliner, dusty baker's rack filled with dustier old crystal.


. . . and more books

Old quilts hanging on the walls

along with photographs, art work, needlework, old mismatched dishes and hats, not a blank space to be found.

Ducks painted by Donald, age 8, awaiting our return from its place of honor at the top of the stairs.


. . . and a few more books

Shelves scattered with stuff - fine china and hand thrown pottery, seashells, candles, ironstone pitchers, mama's old imari, wise old owls, funny little bunny with a broken ear, heart shaped rocks, a mix of old and new, the good and the not so good but no less cherished.

Michael's old fire screen.

My dad's favorite sweater.

. . . and a few more books

Antique dressers topped with more stuff; Aunt Belle's Waterford sits next to Earl's tiny yellow school bus

Small lamps to light the dark corners; the better to see the dust bunnies.

Quilts and throws and pillows tossed onto chairs, baskets filled with old magazines and travel guides, a partially knitted scarf (10 years in the making).

Another basket filled with doggie toys to be randomly rediscovered with joy and jubilation by Annabelle, Queen of the Corgis.

A big old bowl, cracked but still beautiful, filled with fun sized Butterfingers, Heath Bars, Kisses and Truffles and Jelly Beans.

Coffee that tastes like home.

A kitchen that guarantees cookies for peeps and doggos. (read bag carefully).

Lotions and potions, creams and conditioners, capsules and tablets and pills and prescriptions right where they should be in a bathroom that's too small but somehow just right.

A welcoming bed with soft linen sheets, old feather pillows, and a faded old quilt.

Nightstand topped with a steno pad and a pen, a phone we rarely answer, tissues and floss and eye drops and lip balm and just a few books; Pat Conroy, Billy Collins and Mary Oliver to wish me sweet dreams.


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father's Day With the Barleys


Father's Day

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
        ― Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

Alan W. Wilkinson

Miss you, dad.

Kaye Alan

Monday, June 10, 2024



And as you stand there
Arms crossed
Managing to look both infinitely patient and impatient at the same time
Trying not to roll your eyes and wonder how much longer all this will take

Let us now praise you.

You: the grumpy, the grouchy, the grumbling.
You: the beleaguered and the put-upon.
You: our hidden hero.

Because while you are
Short-tempered with the witless
Furious with the shallow and
Yelling at the television

It is only because you are so thoughtful
That everyone else seems so thoughtless.

And while you insist that you do not care about
What anyone is wearing or
What anyone said or did or
What so-and-so said or did back,
Nor do you give two figs about
The disenfranchised urban-dweller of today or
The illiterate or
The underprivileged of some foreign land or
Whomever it is we're supposed to be caring about today and that

You will not, under any circumstances,
Attend the choir concert or
The holiday party or
The 12-step meeting or
The neighborhood street fair or
The fancy dress ball or
The class reunion - for God's sake especially not the reunion - and that

You mustn't be relied upon for
Donations or
A ride home or
Free advice or
Help moving in to your new townhouse or a
Damn birthday present or
Whatever it is that all those people with all those
Outstretched hands
Seem to want

You must know that we all know
That you do, indeed, care and that
You will, if pressed, attend and that
We all do rely
On you.

We can tell that you care,
Because you so assiduously refuse to conform to
Some greeting-card version of caring
And instead insist on caring about us as individuals.

You remember the conversation we had about
Ry Cooder's guitar playing, and
Six weeks later you slip us a
Homemade cassette tape with no label.

You shun the collection plate, and yet
You shove a hundred dollars into the Youth Group's coffee can
(A check, of course - no sense missing out on the tax deduction just because you had a weak moment.)

And when you go to greet us,
You look us in the eye and take our full measure
And if you should
Notice that we look a bit sad,
You will grab our hand and
Kiss us roughly on the cheek and say,
"You OK, darlin'?"

You might grouse about Christmas Eve,
But you do love Christmas morning.

And while you would never voluntarily look at a
Photo album,
You forever hold a picture in your mind of
How we looked in
That Halloween costume
That prom dress
That uniform.

And we know you will attend
(Quit squirming - this poem isn't that much longer)
Because underneath your self-proclaimed
Disdain for all humanity
You are curious.
Intensely, insatiably, incorruptibly curious
And while you act repulsed
I suspect you are truly fascinated by us -
This clamoring horde of strangers you are compelled to share the planet with.

OK, OK: with whom this planet you are compelled to share.
Good grief you can be a pain sometimes.

And oh, how we rely on you.

And finally,
While you have largely succeeded in getting yourself off of
The phone tree
(That tactic you had about boring everybody silly with the excruciating details of your latest Water Filtration Project did wonders for removing you from any thinking hostess' guest list)
We do still rely on you.

Oh how we rely on you.

Oh how we rely on you.

You are our voice of sanity
Our comrade-in-arms
Our truth-telling ally in a world of endless bullshit.

You are our hidden hero
Deceptively chivalrous with
Your tender heart clad in dented armor.

And you must know that
When you are gone
We miss you.

So go ahead and
Sneak out at intermission and
Have an extra drink to get you through the reception and
Just turn and walk away from the
Over-gesticulating and the infuriatingly self-righteous.

Save yourself from these petty cruelties so that
When the world becomes just too much for us poor mortals to bear
We can rely on you to save us.

Oh how we rely on you.
Oh how we rely on you.

Oh how we rely on you.

Now stand still, because we're going to give you a nice, big hug. 

Samantha Bennett
© 2009 

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Some days you get what you need . . .



Did we lift our glasses in a toast to the judge, the jury, the Manhattan DA and the American justice system just after 5:00 p.m. the afternoon of May 30, 2024.

Damn right we did.

Drank a little, smiled a little, even danced a little, while watching MSNBC.

Because that guy is a criminal, a crook, a thug, a racist and a rapist.   And a felon.  A convicted felon.

A disgrace.

(Feel free to enter your own word of choice:  _________________________________ )

And dangerous to our country.

It took only minutes for the headlines to start shouting the news

And then came memes, and political cartoons, and the political columnists having their say.

And I participated.  

Watched the interviews and applauded.  

Shouted "Oh, hell yeah," at the TV.

Posted and shared more than my share of vitriol and contempt in regard to a man who deserves every insult, curse, gesture, and stream of invective thrown his way.

But still, even with a celebratory glass of bubbly in hand, there was sadness.  So much sadness for this country.  

Those 12 brave men and women were in agreement regarding all 34 counts.  

I wish I could tell each of them how much I appreciate them and what they did.


As you well know, we have some very tough days ahead.

The Republican party has lost its collective heart and soul along with its spine.  This is NOT our parents' Grand Old Party.

And we know for sure that the Supreme Court won't be any help in the days ahead, quite the opposite. (Yet another huge concern that needs tackling).

It's up to us.

And I am hopeful.


You all know all of of this.  I am preaching to the choir.

Once again, I forgot one of my goals in writing this post (imagine that).

Where I was going with all this before all my detours was to say that after hitting a wall today and needing to back away from the disgust of seeing that monster's face and reading the garbage he spews and exhausting myself by reacting, a little bit of serendipity found its way into my path.

In the words of The Great Rolling Stones . . .

"You can’t always get what you want

But if try sometimes, you just might find

You get what you need,

You get what you need."


Poetry is, for me, an escape.

An entirely different sort of escape than immersing myself in a novel.

And it was just what my tired old self needed today.

And, thanks to NetGalley, I have been able to put my mind at rest, and my heart in a soft place to focus on the joy of the words of Billy Collins.

And was able to remember that, by golly, Life is good.

Description from NetGalley

From the former Poet Laureate of the United States and New York Times bestselling author of Aimless Love comes a wondrous new collection of poems focused on the joys and mysteries of daily life.

"[Billy] Collins remains the most companionable of poetic companions." —The New York Times

In this collection of sixty new poems, Billy Collins writes about the beauties and ironies of everyday experience. A poem is best, he feels, when it begins in clarity but ends with a whiff of mystery. In Water, Water, Collins combines his vigilant attention and respect for the peripheral to create moments of delight. Common and uncommon events are captured here with equal fascination, be it a cat leaning to drink from a swimming pool, a nurse calling a name in a waiting room, or an astronaut reciting Emily Dickinson from outer space. With his trademark lyrical informality, Collins asks us to slow down and glimpse the elevated in the ordinary, the odd in the familiar. It’s no surprise that The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both call Collins one of America’s favorite poets.

The Monet Conundrum

Is every one of these poems
different from the others
he asked himself,
as the rain quieted down,

or are they all the same poem,
haystack after haystack
at different times of day,
different shadows and shades of hay?

May serendipity do the same for you.  ❤

In the meantime . . .

A Toast