Wednesday, September 24, 2008
My best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) has this idea about nature photography. She thinks it's best to do it au naturelle. So, since the weather was real cool last night, meaning there were no mosquitoes about, Starr Ann got our camera equipment out and took her clothes off.
She said, "Come on, Assistant Margo, let's go trap some photons."
And yes, the Chief Photographer does require her assistant to undress as well. So, there we were, feeling fresh, feeling natural, tromping around at the edge of the woods behind our barn, looking for wildlife. Even though it was dusk and everything, the baby deer were nowhere in sight. And even though we'd just an hour earlier put out critter food, neither the possums, nor skunks, nor raccoons had shown up yet.
The only ones cooperating last night were Oatmeal (who said geldings don't have fun?) up there at the top and Chappy, one of the barn cats.
Here's Chappy practicing one of his interpretive dance routines. He calls this one, I Ain't The Daddy.
So, just when we were about ready to call it quits and headed back up to the house, we spotted this lovely bit of wildlife sitting on the back of our truck.
Yep. That's Erin, from the airport. We met her about a year ago on Starr Ann's birthday. Dang. I still don't even know whether she's straight or not, and she makes me real nervous, so my heart kinda got going when we spotted her there waiting for us. So nervous, I forgot Starr Ann and I were in our photography outfits, until Starr Ann whispered, "There's a leaf stuck in the sweat on your right nipple, Margo. Brush it off before we get close enough for Erin to see it."
There was nothing to do but try to act normal. Which I think I could have done better if Jody hadn't shown up about then. She said hi to Erin and me and then whisked Starr Ann into the house and prolly upstairs for Goddess knows what. So there I was, naked and trapped alone with this woman who's been intriguing me for almost a year now. What an ice breaker.
I started us walking back toward the run-in shed at the other edge of the woods and said, "Wanna see the baby deer?"
Erin very pointedly looked down at my whole self and smiled. "Is 'baby deer' a euphemism I'm not familiar with?"
Right as she said that, I snapped this smug, evil look on her face.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Notice how nearly every mainstream media news article about the administration's economic bailout has the word "speedy," or "immediate," or "quickly?" There's a reason for that.
This bunch of thugs the American voters let slip through the White House doors eight years ago aren't surprised by what's happened on Wall Street. They knew it was coming.
Just as surely as Bush and company standing in the ashes of the World Trade Center vowing to protect America was a prelude to demolishing our constitutional rights, they now stand atop the ruins of Wall Street vowing to protect America as a prelude to dealing the final blow to America as it could have been. The bailout is being rushed past us for one reason only: It gives unprecedented power to the Executive Branch.
If we allow the worst administration in the history of the United States to hurry this world-changing reorganization of the American economy past us, the neocons will have accomplished every single atrocity on their agenda.
Regardless of what the headlines are screaming, there's enough time to allow Congress to fight against the economic coup underway. Only thing is, with the election so close, everybody's running too scared to speak truth to popularity.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Power's back on! At least part of the day. We think they're rotating the grid around.
The wind storm remnants of Hurricane Ike did a real number on our part of Kentucky. We just aren't used to 60 mph winds that last for hours and hours. Starr Ann and I couldn't stop going outside, just to feel the rush.
Soon as it was over, we assessed the damage. No power, coupla big trees down, debris all over the place. Not too bad. We could have opted to go off to one of Starr Ann's bunkers, which have their own power sources, hot water, etc., but there wasn't any real need for that.
So we mobilized. Starr Ann grabbed her chainsaw and got busy on those trees, while I hopped in the pickup (which we barely ever use, so it was sitting there full of dirt-cheap $3 gas) and went out looking for ice. Found all the ice we needed in the next town over. Then, I stopped by the nursing facility to make sure Opal Mountain was okay, as she doesn't have any family in town to look after. Turned out, they were working off generators over there, and were real glad I offered to bring Opal home with us until things get back to normal. Opal was pretty happy about it, too, because she's been a little trouble lately - something about her climbing up and removing smoke alarms in the middle of the night, hiding them in her dresser drawers. I'll have to expand on that in another post.
Anyway, within three hours of the end of that storm, we were all secure and about to sit down to a beautiful lunch, when we heard this real loud engine outside. It was Randy Sneed. On his monster tractor. Right outside our house.
Opal finished setting the table while Starr Ann and I went to see what was up with Randy. There he was, sitting about ten feet up in the air, smiling like a fool. And Randy, who happens to live by himself, said, "Thought I'd ride over here and check on ya'll, what with you being two women alone."
Well, I thought for sure Starr Ann was gonna jump all over that "two women alone," but she just smiled up and said, "Thank you, Randy, but I think we'll struggle through." Then she glanced at his hand resting on the stick of that huge thrumming machine he was straddling, and added, "But if this feeling lasts more than four hours, contact your doctor."
I don't think Randy heard that last part, because he just smiled bigger and gunned his engine a few times before roaring off.
When the fumes and noise died down, Starr Ann put her arm through mine and started us back toward the front porch. "Come on, Margo, let's go eat lunch. Just us three women alone."
Monday, September 15, 2008
Well, Hurricane Ike stopped by to say hello yesterday. All the way up here in Kentucky!
Two-thirds of area power is disrupted and half of our electric company crews are in Texas helping out. Bottom line, Happy Hands Ranch may be without power for a week - or more. Which isn't all that bad, considering we have no business being inside on the Internet with all the trees and mess that need cleaning up outside.
So, friends, take care and have a loverly week.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
This is why Starr Ann and I can't bring ourselves to abandon horseracing. This is why we still hold out hope that, at least in this small corner of human dominance over the rest of ... well, of everything natural, some equity and honor may at last emerge. All we humans have to do is follow the lead, and pay attention to the animals.
For anyone who actually knew what they were looking at, today's Monmouth Stakes was a once in a lifetime sight to behold. Big Brown, a three-year-old with a fantastic resume, but a three-year-old nonetheless, beat a seasoned field of multiple Grade I stakes winners, on the second turf race of his life. The boy not only won, but - and I cannot emphasize this too much - he wired the field (meaning he broke on the lead and never relinquished it through the entire race) under a hand ride from Kent Desormeaux, his jockey.
Let me tell you why this is so exciting. This race was like throwing an extremely talented college basketball player in with a bunch of the best the NBA can offer, and having him come out as most valuable player.
Now let me tell what this means to all of us who love racing but hate what the racing industry often does to horses. Kent Desormeaux, to his great credit, did not hit Big Brown when he was tested in the stretch run of today's race. He urged, he pushed, he used everything his body had to tell the colt there were competitors breathing down on their necks, but he didn't go to the whip to secure a spectacular daylight win. Instead, Desormeaux let Big Brown's natural desire to stay out front win the race. BB dug in, and would be damned if a another horse would pass him today. That's greatness. That's the difference between the kind of creature that's merely satisfied to ride the Earth for one more revolution each day, and the kind that shows up to excel at what his instincts tell him he's good at.
Horseracing has a long way to go, but steroids are on their way out, the use of whips is being severely challenged, and trainers who've shown themselves to be less than honest are having horses jerked from their barns by owners who are finally waking up.
Today, Big Brown gave a glimpse of what racing could be - no whips, pure love of running. And you know, vision is the first step to reality. If you're innerested, the race is at:
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sitting out on the back porch with my best friend Starr Ann last night, feeling awful spent from two weeks worth of raging over politics, we'd both pretty much run out of things to say, or even thoughts to think.
After a long silence, and right when I thought Starr Ann was going to suggest we check on the horses one last time before packing it in for the night, she took a luxuriously deep breath and said, "The air smells like stars, Margo. Let's do some observing."
I could hardly believe it. Starr Ann hadn't used that expression since before The Astronomy Incident.
The Astronomy Incident happened way back last winter, not long after Jodie gave Starr Ann a telescope for her birthday. Well, Starr Ann fell chaps over boots in love with the night sky because of that telescope. She even joined our local astronomy club. That's where Starr Ann met Rosa, who was more than an amateur, she was halfway through her doctorate in astrophysics. Yep. But she still loved to do plain old visual observing, still loved to treat her eyes to those billion-year-old photons.
Anyway, we got to be pretty good friends with Rosa, and one day she came by Happy Hands Ranch to invite us to this seminar that the university was sponsoring. She said a lot of the presentations would be technical, but the main topic was a pretty innerestin' one. All these physicists were coming to give talks on their work with something called hohlraums. Hohlraums are these thick-walled chambers made out of gold, where scientists try to mimic certain phases of star formation. Well, once we saw the lights go on in Rosa's eyes when she started talking about this field she loved so much, we wanted to go to the conference with her no matter how far over our heads the whole thing was.
The conference started on a Wednesday night, and Starr Ann and I showed up in our dress chaps and cleanest hats, which could have made us feel kinda overdressed, because the scientists mainly wore jeans and linty shirts, but they were so gracious we didn't feel at all out of place.
So, we sat through a few talks that were real fascinating, even without us having any idea what the graphs or the math meant, but still, the pictures of the hohlraums, and the way the physicists got all sparkly about their work, just like Rosa had, just made us feel like part of something special.
Then they introduced this guy from the Department of Energy, and he got all puffed up and started consulting his notes. He didn't have any slides or anything, so Starr Ann and I kinda lost the thread of his whole speech. At the end of his talk, during the question and answer part, we still must not have been listening too closely, because we didn't really hear the exact question somebody asked him, but all of a sudden the mood in the whole place took a turn. And this DOE guy looked out at the audience for several seconds with this real uncharitable look on his face before saying, "Why do you think the government bothers to fund you people, anyway? Do you think it's to satisfy intellectual curiosity? I've got news for you. You get funded because to the government, a star is basically a great big fusion bomb."
Well, we didn't see Rosa again, and from that night on, Starr Ann hadn't been to a star party or even taken her telescope out one single time. So, that's why I was real surprised when Starr Ann said that about the air smelling like stars.
And in answer to her, I said, "Heck, yeah!" But when we got right down to setting up the telescope and deciding what to look at, we realized the waxing gibbous moon was really too bright for good seeing.
Only thing is, once Starr Ann gets herself an idea, she hangs on for all she's worth. She said, "How about we situate the truck so the moon's at our backs and bundle up in a sleeping bag on the hood all cozy to watch for shooting stars?"
So, I pulled the truck around to a little dark spot at the bottom of a hill and Starr Ann fixed our nest. We climbed up onto the hood and leaned our backs against two chair cushions spread across the windshield. The whole setup was comfortable as could be and put us in a perfect position for gazing upward.
About thirty seconds after we got settled, Starr Ann threw the sleeping bag off us and jumped down, saying, "Wrong angle. We need to point the truck a little bit eastward."
Dang. I was just getting warm.
This time she was the one who maneuvered the truck and once she got it the way she wanted it, we fluffed the sleeping bag again and crawled back in.
Took about ten seconds this time. Starr Ann just popped right off that truck hood again.
I said, "Dangnation, Starr Ann!"
She said, "Almost. It doesn't feel right yet. Just a little bit back toward the west."
I kid you not, that happened about five times before that girl finally decided our view was perfect.
Finally, once we were tucked way back in the blue shadow of that hill and facing just a little to the left of Cassiopeia, Starr Ann wiggled in beside me and didn't budge again until we saw a long bright streak silently trace itself all the way from underneath Cepheus across Ursa Minor and on through Draco. Starr Ann took another one of those deep, satisfying breaths, and I could hear the smile in her voice when she said, "Help me remember, Margo, that it's all in finding the right way to look at things. And nobody's allowed to take the stars from our eyes."
There's still time to resurrect what this flag means to people across the globe. We still have time to choose the nature of the phoenix that ultimately rises from the ashes of Ground Zero.
Today, Starr Ann challenged me to find someone whose values, or lifestyle or beliefs are diametrically opposed to my own, and then to sincerely extend myself to that person, create an inroad, no matter how small, toward bridging the differences between us.
She's going to do the same.
I think that's a real nice idea, and a perfect way to honor all those who've suffered at the hand of misunderstanding and intolerance.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
So Hillary diehards decide to vote for McCain, based on his woefully irresponsible choice for VP? How does that translate to anything but a slap in Hillary Clinton's face?
We highly recommend Lori Hahn's post on the topic, titled "WTF? Goose-Stepping Barbie VP Candidate?"
And if you're a Hillary supporter who hasn't deserted her, or if you just plain old see through the Republican ruse, please head on over to Lesbiatopia to check out the winners of The Sarah Palin Caption Contest, and while you're at it, pick up a LOLsarahz wowzio widget (you can't miss it at the bottom of the page).
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
We might just put up one of these every day, because it sickens us to think of all the women who've worked their whole life through getting bypassed by this power-abusing extremist who shares the Bush-Cheney ideology.
Of course it's time for a woman in high office. But please, Goddess, not this one.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Man or woman, gay or straight or bi or trans, rich or poor, pretty or ugly, any person who enjoys taking life (and sharing that taking with her children) has earned our promise to work hard in opposing her election.
Starr Ann and I found a new Web site that resists the Republican packaging of Sarah Palin. If you want to help counter the peddling of an oil drilling, creationist, no-choice candidate with wafer thin credentials as a maverick who's going to break the marble ceiling, go to LOL sarahz
and grab an image.
We live in a soundbite society, so let's put out some visual soundbites of our own.
Speak truth to hype.