But not before demonstrating her awesome psychic powers:
Her book The Duchess of York - Uncensored (1996, co-written with the Daily Mirror journalist David Leigh), was based on tapes of confidential conversations over the six years when the Duchess had sought her advice and counsel. It presented her as an unhappy and foolish woman obsessed with sex, money and crystal balls. 
Mme Vasso's astonishing powers of prescience made her sense that her client was going through "a difficult stage" shortly after the Duchess told her that she was considering getting a divorce, and enabled her to predict that the famously globe-trotting Duchess would make two trips abroad. Most uncannily of all, she warned the Duchess that she would be double-crossed by an older woman who knew her secrets.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
But not before demonstrating her awesome psychic powers:
In these dark times, it is heartening to find a principled Christian who is publicly protesting about this. On his website, Peter Glover writes:
"Is there, I wonder, a better way for the modern Anglican Church to embarrass itself once more in terms of its international credibility and moral standing before the world? Off-hand I cannot think of one… If your home and family were continually threatened with murderous violence from angry neighbours who would see your point of view, hated you, demanded your land for themselves, and wanted to drive you and your loved ones 'into the sea', would you not think of building a fence to protect them? I would be out with the hammer and nails today.
"Now I realise fully that this is a caricature of the broader Palestinian position, many Palestinians just want a peace and a Palestinian state (which I support) on the land they already possess. But so to is this report a caricature of the true justice of the Palestinian problem. Remember, that Yasser Arafat was offered, by Ehud Barak, just about everything that fulfilled Palestinians aspirations at a Camp David meeting just a few years ago - and he walked away from the peace table. The Palestinian leader, not Israel, chose, at that high point when peace could well have been achieved, to continue the cycle of unremitting violence.
"The Anglican report reveals wholehearted prejudice against Israel which is typical of the Western liberal mindset and academic elites. While its findings do not bear close scrutiny it adopts the tone of the moral high ground. In truth however, the report is full of what this morning's Daily Telegraph op-ed rightly called 'sanctimonious claptrap'. Sadly, this is becoming the hallmark of the Anglican hierarchy. .. The Anglican Church is considering following the same highly controversial path trodden by the Presbyterian Church (USA) last year. But even the rather feeble Lord George Carey has warned that such a move would be "disastrous" for peace efforts in the region and another "knife in the back" for the Israelis.
"I am a Christian. I am also a Licensed Reader in the Anglican Church. Yet I have no compunction in talking about the amoral, often immoral, un-biblical liberal idiocy that motivates the rotting heart of modern Anglicanism, at least in the liberal heartland of the house of bishops. Let us not worry about God's insistence upon equity and justice and let's cut instead to the root of the Anglican problem: bigoted, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias. Idiocy born of blind leftwing, socialist ideology.’
The Christian church has played an absolutely central role in the long history of Jewish persecution. The Catholic church has publicly recanted its hatred of the Jews and painfully tried to make amends for its role in the Nazi Holocaust. The Church of England has never done so but instead has swept the issue under the carpet. Now we are seeing the immoral legacy of this unfinished business. Instead of supporting the Jews against those who use terror, hatred and lies to deny them the right to live in their own restored nation state, the Church of England is singling out the Jews as the one people in the world who do not have the right to defend themselves from being murdered.
I know there are many other decent Christians who are equally appalled. Now is the time for them to make their voices heard loud and clear against this moral corruption that has overtaken their church.
Hat tip to Melanie Phillips.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 10:44 AM
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I've figured it out. The Supreme Court has ruled that you can display the ten commandments if you ask "Mother May I?" first, or if you display the Code of Hammurabi next to it, or if you print them on realy lousy toilet paper and leave them out in the rain....or, or....
The hell with it. Just post one of those signs which used to be displayed at NYC beaches, with a big NO followed by: drinking, spitting, dogs, running, glass bottles, littering,etc.
That will keep people out of the courthouse, a very desirable end in itself. They're up to no good in there, I'll wager.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:53 PM
Cato the elder wouldn't shut up, and that started the Third Punic war:
A faction within the Senate, led by Cato the Elder, began to agitate against Carthage. Was it right, they asked, that Carthage should prosper while Romans toiled? Was Carthage's new prosperity not potentially dangerous? After all, the city had twice troubled Rome. And, in any case, Carthage was harming Roman mercantile interests.
Cato took the lead in these arguments. He was a prestigious statesman with a prestigious reputation. He was the classic virtuous Roman and he didn't mind that others knew it. His public career was spotless, his marriage was perfect, his oratory was compelling, his values were conservative, and all in all he got on some people's nerves.
Cato began to urge that the only sure defense against a resurgent Carthage was to destroy it. Rome would never be safe so long as Carthage stood. He made a campaign of it: Carthago delenda est! -- Carthage must be destroyed!
In the 150s this was Cato's slogan, repeated endlessly. At parties he would bring it up -- Carthago delenda est! In the Senate he might be speaking on any subject, but always found a way to work in his slogan: the harbor at Ostia should be expanded . . . and Carthage must be destroyed! the appointment of Gaius Gaius to provincial governor should be approved . . . and Carthage must be destroyed! A vote of thanks to a loyal tribal chieftain . . . and Carthage must be destroyed!
In the end, Cato got his wish. I might claim that Rome went to war simply to hush the old boy up....
Ted Kennedy and his boys are reading from Cato's songbook.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:26 PM
There is no consensus amongst men regarding what women want. The only consensus we seem to be able to reach is that women do not want what they say they want.
Example: (Taken from random (free) dating site.)
"I like a man to be sensitive, understanding and funny. A man who is not affraid to show his feminine side. A man who will laugh with me when I'm happy and who will cry with me when I am sad. A man who takes care of the way he looks. Maybe goes to a solarium once in a while."
Translation: "I want to date a goddamn homosexual."
One of my patients litterally went crazy trying to become what women want a man to be. He took the list of requirements that women always force on you litterally and tried incorporate all those qualities within himself. He became sensitive. He became understanding. He became sweet, not-just-interested-in-sex, athletic, articulate, cultured, an equal-opportunity-freak, a good conversationalist etc. The list is endless.
One morning he woke up and his testicles were gone.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 3:58 PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Ridgewood, New Jersey, the town where Fry grew up, names a street after him.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:05 PM
Posted by miriam sawyer at 7:51 PM
Way to go Bobcats!
Posted by miriam sawyer at 7:32 PM
Posted by miriam sawyer at 11:17 AM
Monday, June 27, 2005
Does your gas pump ever make you feel wet and sticky?
So I'm at the gas station the other day, and I grab the nozzle from the pump to put gas in my car, and the handle is wet and sticky.* What the fuck? If you read my blog, you know that I think people in general are scum, and this was no exception. Who would get shit all over the pump handle, and then not clean it off? 
That got me thinking. All things considered, a gas pump handle has to be one of the most "handled" things in the modern world, and EVERYONE who drives ANYTHING needs gas.
That garbageman who just spent 12 hours getting maggoty garbage juice all over his hands, the new guy working for the tree service company with the seeping blisters on his palms from running the chainsaw all day, that fat chick who just dug her week-old underwear out of her ass before she got out of her car, the Harley dude who is allergic to showers -- all of them need gas for their cars, trucks, busses and bikes.
So along comes you, and you grab the handle and drop 20 in the tank. Even if you pay at the pump, you're still hanging onto that hotbed of viral funk for upwards of at least 3 minutes.... Then you jump back in your car, grab the door handle, the seatbelt buckle and the steering wheel...before you know it, your car is basically a rolling petri dish.
Then all you have to do is inadvertently rub your eyes or bite a hangnail, and best case, suddenly you've got three weeks to live. Worst case, you just ate an antibiotic-resistant strain of group A streptococcus, and 6 hours from now you'll be a steaming puddle of goo.
Thank God in NJ, we're not allowed to pump our own gas. We're too stupid.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:24 PM
William Donaldson, who died on June 22 aged 70, was described by Kenneth Tynan as "an old Wykehamist who ended up as a moderately successful Chelsea pimp", which was true, though he was also a failed theatrical impresario, a crack-smoking serial adulterer and a writer of autobiographical novels; but it was under the nom de plume Henry Root that he became best known. 
The salient features about me are laziness, self-indulgence and sex addiction," he confessed, in his characteristic melancholy drawl. "I'm genuinely shocked by my own behaviour."
And that's the good part.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:10 PM
Sunday, June 26, 2005
'm always surprised by rock guys who are 1) smart 2) articulate 3) actually polite and nice-seeming. Dave Navarro is another guy like this. Actually, he's sickeningly nice, but still, likeable enough.
And now Alice Cooper, generous and interesting in his praise for other rock acts, says he enjoys the heavy metal thunder we're delivering to terrorists:
INTERVIEWER: A lot of people in rock and roll, it's very fashionable to despise George W. Bush. That's not a view you subscribe to, is it?
ALICE COOPER: Well, I think if you're in a war, you don't want a poodle in there, you want a pit bull. I don't think that you want a guy in there going, "Gee, I don't know. Maybe. Could be." I think you want a guy in there who's either going to win it or lose it.
INTERVIEWER: It doesn't worry you, the false connection that was made between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, all that stuff that's been shown?
ALICE COOPER: No. It doesn't bother me because I honestly think it's all connected.
INTERVIEWER: The one thing we do know about 9/11 is that nobody involved in it actually came from Iraq. That's probably the one thing we absolutely know.
ALICE COOPER: Well, it's probably true, but I can't see them going, "Oh, gosh." The guys in Iraq going, "Gee, how horrible for America." I think there's a general feeling in that world that if America falls they'll be in a much better state, so we have to view those people in the same boat. I don't see much difference between the al-Qaeda and Iraq - not the people, I'm talking about the governments. The people, the poor people, are the victims.
INTERVIEWER: Saddam and Osama bin Laden actually hated each other.
ALICE COOPER: Hated each other a lot, I'll bet. They traded Rolls Royces. You don't think there was a cigar going around when that happened at 9/11. I'll bet you there was.
For a dunderheaded genre of music, there seem to be a lot of fairly intelligent people in heavy metal/hard rock. (And an awful lot of ninnies in more "sophisticated" genres.)
Posted by miriam sawyer at 10:21 PM
I never liked shopping. For me, shopping had always been this tedious process....
But now, as we are living in the center of capitalism, things have changed drastically. To my utter and complete surprise I'm loving the whole idea of the shopping spree. I mean how can you not love it with all the great deals that are put in front of you? I couldn't believe what I was seeing when I first went shopping here. I could actually afford buying brands like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren among others.
How could you not love shopping here when you get up to a 70% discount on some of the most beautiful items you ever laid eyes on? Words like capitalism and consumerism really did not mean much to me before coming here. Now I understand. It is all about satisfying the consumer so the country’s economic gears keep churning. But really, give me a break. How can you not be an ardent consumer here with all the mind-boggling deals? Yes, I'm being sucked into it. But can I really help it? I'm a new immigrant after all.
On the other hand, seeing all of these great deals is making me somehow angry ... angry at all the time and loads of money I spent back in Jordan on mediocre products simply because I had no other alternative. Why is it in Jordan, where the minimum salary is 85 JD (about $119 US dollars) a month, people have to pay double -- even triple -- the price for the same products you find here. It is just so unfair. Think of it: Besides all of the political instability, social pressure and economic stagnation, the Jordanian consumer is always screwed. Okay, I'm very angry now. Gotta go do some shopping.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:50 PM
If politicians and pundits are really so desperate to understand the values of conservative America without leaving their living rooms, then they should start setting the TiVo to record another animated sitcom, ...which, despite its general policy of eschewing politics, somehow continues to offer the most subtle and complex portrayal of small-town voters on television: ''King of the Hill,'' on Fox. North Carolina's two-term Democratic governor, Mike Easley, is so obsessed with the show that he instructs his pollster to separate the state's voters into those who watch ''King of the Hill'' and those who don't so he can find out whether his arguments on social and economic issues are making sense to the sitcom's fans.
Perhaps first the Dems should stop calling them names, and saying they are evil. I remember FDR being quoted by someone as saying, (and I paraphrase) "Dn't say mean things about Republicans. Some people are Republicans because their family has always voted Republican, or because of where they live. But they are fine people, and if you make your case, they will vote for you."
Hat tip to Tinkerty Tonk.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 6:41 PM
I hope that someday technology improves to the point where I can blog naked from the bathtub without electrocuting myself.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 6:35 PM
This is Steyn, as usual brilliant, and I urge you to read the whole thing:
...in the words of one reader, ''it's not possible to 'torture' an inanimate object.''
That alone is a perfectly good reason to object to a law forbidding the "desecration" of the flag. For my own part, I believe that, if someone wishes to burn a flag, he should be free to do so. In the same way, if Democrat senators want to make speeches comparing the U.S. military to Nazis and the Khmer Rouge, they should be free to do so. It's always useful to know what people really believe.
I'm ambivalent on this topic. I respect the flag, I love the flag, every day as a school child I pledged allegiance to the flag, but I don't think Congress should be wasting their time on this.
But wait! What about Barbara Frietchie, who, when the Rebels marched into, I believe it was Frederick, MD (don't quote me on that) and shot down all the flags, waved her own flag and said:
"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag," she said.
I sort of admired the old biddy. She reminded me of a third grade teacher I once had.
I understand the sacredness of symbolic objects which shoould be treated reverently, such as the flag, the Torah--remember Hitler burning these?--and the Koran.
Still, I believe people have the right to burn flags. And I have the right to despise them.
And Congress should get busy about the people's business and stop showing off.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 2:28 PM
There's been a cover-up at the New York Times!
I cannot link to this article, believe it or not! It is not in the NYT index, and
New Jersey's summer officially began on Tuesday, causing we at the Jersey column to wonder....
At that point, both the librarian and the English major in me started to scream, and searched for the link.
Didn't find it. i'm not surprised.
The article is by Neil Genzlinger, in today's (June 26, 2005) Times. Of course it's only the New Jersey section, and we in New Jersey are presumed to be either dolts or gangsters. Anything is good enough for us!
But I knew how to use a pronoun when I was 10--and I wasn't the smartest kid in the class either.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 11:26 AM
Saturday, June 25, 2005
She's a children's book author, and she ought to know.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 1:12 PM
Friday, June 24, 2005
Nekkid, or if you are a librarian, Naked, Bloggers Day was a big success, I see.
However, if it is to become institutionalized, we will need to enforce compliance. How do we know these people alluded to in Lone Tree were really nude? Some of them no doubt surreptitiously wrapped the towel, thoughtfully provided to prevent painfully sticking to the chair, around their bodies, thus hiding all or part of themselves. Not cricket, I'm sure you'll agree.
Naked means naked. No clothing, not even a towel wrapped around your more interesting parts. So next year there will be a spot check and penalties to those who try to evade the rules.
We at the Naked (or Nekkid) Bloggers Association International take this very seriously, indeed.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 10:51 PM
Nothing in the world unites humanity more than,
Well, more than the desire to get nekkid. Let's face it folks; it's summer and it's hot outside. It's time to shed some layers, all of 'em if need be, and cool.
... Today, June 24, has been declared Blog Nekkid Day.
Now just so you don't go thinking this is a minor going on, let me be clear. This is International with a capitol I. Bloggers, beginning in New Zealand (where it's winter but the hot tub is apparently up to snuff) and circling the globe through the Middle East, Europe, Great Britain, and all across the US, are getting nekkid. Why? Because, Miriam claims it's a darn comfortable thing to do. And if you can't believe a sensible librarian in New Jersey, who can you believe?
Thanks for the kind words. Nobody in my family would ever call me sensible. And actually, I am a recovering librarian.
Okay, off with the clothes. Must keep the faith.
However, after a certain age, I notice, my appearance improves with every item of clothing I put on, not take off. I look best in a long coat with the hood pulled up.
But this is about comfort--and liberation!
Posted by miriam sawyer at 10:08 AM
How African leaders spend our money
‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz,’ prayed Janis Joplin, and the Lord obliged. With or without divine intervention, the late Pope had one. So does the Queen. Erich Honecker hunted at night by dazzling the deer in his Mercedes jeep’s headlights until he got close enough to blow them away. Mao Tse-tung had 23 Mercs. Today Kim Jong Il owns dozens, all filled to the gunwales with imported Hennessy’s cognac. Hitler, Franco, Hirohito, Tito, the Shah, Ceausescu, Pinochet, Somoza — they all swore by Mercedes. Saddam Hussein liked them so much he probably had shares in the company.
Today, though, there is one man who is doing more than the Lord himself to buy a Mercedes-Benz for the leading creeps of the world. That man is of course Bob Geldof, the spur to our global conscience. Africa’s leaders cannot wait for the G8 leaders — hectored by Bob and Live 8 into bracelet-wearing submission — to double aid and forgive the continent’s debts. They know that such acts of generosity will finance their future purchases of very swish, customised Mercedes-Benz cars, while 315 million poor Africans stay without shoes and Western taxpayers get by with Hondas. This is the way it goes with the WaBenzi, a Swahili term for the Big Men of Africa.
The legacy of colonialism is a continent carved up by arbitrary frontiers into 50-odd states. But the WaBenzi are a transcontinental tribe who have been committing grand theft auto on the dusty, potholed roads of Africa ever since they hijacked freedom in the 1960s. After joyriding their way through six Marshall Plans’ worth of aid Africa is poorer today than 25 years ago; and now the WaBenzi want more.
Let us take Zimbabwe, where millions of people are starving, 3,000 die weekly of Aids and life expectancy has fallen to 35 years. In 2005 Britain will give Zimbabwe £30 million in aid, making it one of the three biggest donors. The government will say this money funds emergency relief. Try telling that to the hordes of people whose homes have been burned down and bulldozed in recent weeks. Giving corrupt governments money frees up budgets to squander on cars.
As an example of hypocrisy, it is hard to beat the call for ‘clean leadership’ in Comrade Robert Mugabe’s recent address to Zanu-PF’s Central Committee. The old dictator condemns:
‘Arrogant flamboyance and wastefulness: a dozen Mercedes-Benz cars to one life, hideously huge residences, strange appetites that can only be appeased by foreign dishes; runaway taste for foreign lifestyles, including sporting fixtures, add to it high immorality and lust.’
He is clearly talking about the WaBenzi, and their preferred version of the marque, the S600L, a long-wheelbase limo with a monstrous 7.3-litre V12 twin-turbo-charged engine. It’s as powerful as a Ferrari and 21 feet long. Basic price £93,090, but extras could be £250,000 more.
There's more. Read the whole thing. And weep.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:12 AM
Thursday, June 23, 2005
From NBC4 via drunksex:
SAN FRANCISCO -- An attorney for a woman who says she was fired from a bartending job for refusing to wear makeup said the dismissal is an affront to female employees.
The case is being heard by a federal appeals court in San Francisco. The sex-discrimination case was rejected by a three-judge panel last December.
An attorney for Harrah's Entertainment argued that the makeup policy is necessary to "create a professional image."
Posted by miriam sawyer at 2:48 PM
From Untimely Death, by Cyril Hare:
He had brought plenty of books with him....He picked up successively a historical work which he was very anxious to read, a neglected classic which he had always intended to read and a cheap thriller which he had brought along because Eleanor [his wife] liked that sort of stuff.
One hour, eight chapters, and 120 pages later, he was contemplating the predicament of a heroine who owed her perilous state entirely to her pig-headed refusal to inform the proper authorities that in chapter I she had found a dead body....
That's my MO, all right, the worthwhile book, the neglected classic, and finally, curl up with the trashy detective story.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 2:28 PM
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
You've put me on the map!
I'm sitting on my pillow and blogging (nude), this time waiting for the stuff that removes hair from your legs to do its dirty work. These chemicals get all over a person's clothes.
Remember, Friday is the day!
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:16 PM
Monday, June 20, 2005
Sunday, June 19, 2005
BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Perhaps the oddest piece of work at Art Basel is a bar of soap, displayed on a square of black velvet, purportedly made from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's fat, removed during liposuction.
Gianni Monti's work called 'Clean Hands' -- the title is a play on the name of an anti-Mafia group -- sold in less than an hour for 15,000 euros ($18,000) to a private Swiss collector, according to Monti's Galerie Nicola von Senger of Zurich.
A bit revolting, isn't it?
Posted by miriam sawyer at 10:31 PM
How inconvenient for the whole template of "Americans are torturers" storyline that we have uncovered a true torture chamber in Iraq. For those who are working themselves into knots trying to find a new historical parallel for supposed American evil now that Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot are so last week, perhaps they could read this story and think a minute about true evil.
The men said they told the marines, from Company K, Third Marines, Second Division, that they had been tortured with shocks and flogged with a strip of rubber for more than two weeks, unseen behind the windows of black glass. One of them, Ahmed Isa Fathil, 19, a former member of the new Iraqi Army, said he had been held and tortured there for 22 days. All the while, he said, his face was almost entirely taped over and his hands were cuffed
The gentleman from Illinois could read the NYTimes article, quoted here from Betsy's page, aloud on the senate floor.
Do you think he will?
Posted by miriam sawyer at 5:34 PM
The prisoners at Gitmo are not people who robbed a 7-11 to get money for the baby's formula. Some of them were undoubtedly in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I understand 100 or so have been released and repatriated. Many of these have again taken up arms against us.
Let's prioritize: Here's my list of important concerns:
1 through 10: Winning the War on Terror.
2-25 Getting the bastards before they get us.
In the interests of brevity, let's skip a few hundred.
Moving down, then, we find:
2497; Touching up my roots.
2498: I need a pedicure.
2499: Deploring the state of present-day television programming.
2500: Worrying about the abuse of terrorists at Gitmo;
2551. Giving a brass farthing about the treatment of the Holy Book.
Where were the bastards when Hitler was persecuting Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals, making bonfires of books? Explaining that boys will be boys? And anyway, Hitler was the leader and we had no right to interfere?
Posted by miriam sawyer at 11:04 AM
Saturday, June 18, 2005
First, my grandson, who is visiting, installs music downloading software so he can burn a CD. The computer slows to a crawl. David, my computer guru, takes it off.
On my next visit, my grandson installs Google on my home page. David takes it off the next time he comes to see why the printer doesn't work.
My daughter installs game software so she can play games online. It takes a lot of memory. David takes it off.
I install Mozilla Firefox because all the bloggers love it. I love it. David takes it off. He also goes into my program files and deletes a load of cookies.
He goes away. I reinstall Firefox. I am a blogger. He can't mess with me.
The printer goes again. I figure out that the wrong printer is installed as the default printer. I try to delete the old printer from the printer file. It won't go, but the printer works again.
The printer stops printing, says it is not communicating. That's the trouble with modern life--too little communication. If only we could communicate. The printer refuses to cooperate.
Google adsense goes away. I reinstall it, but I must have done something funny. Also, my links do not work.
Time to get a life.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 12:28 PM
Friday, June 17, 2005
On my recent post about children's books, I made a very grave omission--Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. How could I? To quote another New Englander, it is seared--seared in my memory.
The book was so riveting because the girls were real live people who formed a real family--with their jokes, squabbles, problems and vanities. Every girl who ever read the book identified with Jo, the impetuous, warm-hearted yet hasty-tempered heroine. I don't know anyone who read it who didn't shed a tear at the death of Beth. Yet it seemed right and fitting for Beth to die--you sensed she was too good to live.
It did not seem right or natural for Jo to turn down the proposal from her childhood friend, Laurie. He had everything: they were soulmates, he had money, he adored her--what was not to like? I'm still mad at Louisa May Alcott for that.
But maybe Louisa had her reasons. She had seen enough of marriage, perhaps. Her father, Bronson Alcott, a true idealist, never met a principle he would not sacrifice his comfort and that of his family for. As a traditional nineteenth century husband and father, he was a dud. Louisa had to earn her own living and provide for the rest of her family as well, much of the time.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 5:19 PM
We librarians believe in free speech. We defend our First Amendment Rights. We are in the forefront of the fight for freedom.
Well, in my grubby little life, the issue only came up once. A man stuck his head into my office door, followed by a hand holding a book. "This book is the filthiest thing I have ever read!"
"Would you like to fill out a formal complaint in writing?"
"No. But it's filthy. Absolutely filthy. I'm surprised the library allows such books."
He left, taking his Great Dudgeon with him. I looked at the book, which was the Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy.
This was my only skirmish as a soldier in the Global War against Censorship.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 2:37 AM
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Somewhere along the gulf coast of Florida, between Fort Myers and Naples. a strange sect had a compound, back in the 1930's. They believed that the earth was round, all right, but people lived on the inside nstead of the outside surface of it--like living inside an orange. It was all country back then, and they didn't bother anybody, so they were left alone, inside their orange.They collected many books in support of their theories, and being a librarian, I met their librarian at a county-wide meeting. But by that time, nothing was left except the library.
The end came when their leader died. He was supposed to resurrect himself, you see, and didn't. They left his body for a few days to give him an honest chance to come back to life, as promised. Finally, the Lee County sheriff had to intervene--you know the weather in sub-tropical climates. The group lost faith and shortly after disbanded.
Those still left alive probably believe hat the World Trade Center was demollished from within.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:20 PM
In college, I reread a number of children's books that I loved as a kid for an independent study on children's literature. Then I reread them again to my son, which was great. The ones I loved have held up:
# The Chronicles of Narnia
# The Wind in the Willows
# The Little House series
# Mary Poppins
Okay, I agree with all of Tinkerty's choices, so that's four.
As a kid, I loved the books of Maud Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy, Betsy-Tacy & Tib; Betsy-Tacy and the Jewish problem--you know the drill. Amazon lists more than a dozen of them and I read all I could get my hands on. The school library had most of them. I loved that they were about another time, when a little girl had two dresses, one for everyday and one for church; I loved the small town atmosphere.
When I was 9 or 10, I started to read the novels of Janet Lambert. They were all about girls of 15, 16 or 17, their families and friends, and the careers they decided upon. They made me aware of all the choices out there: I could be an artist, a photographer, an actress, a flight attendant, etc. They opened the world to my eager eyes.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables--all were series, and I loved them all, particularly Anne of Green Gables, set in the exotic (to me) venue of Prince Edward Island.
Unlike modern young adult novels, which are about your mother having a fatal disease or your stepfather raping you or being a 200-lb. outcast at school, they were about normal kids suffering from normal problems.
I would probably not re-read any of these, except the ones mentioned by Tinkerty.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 3:47 PM
Librarians are never happier than when they are defending some lofty privilege or "right." It's to show everyone how important and professional we are. When we look at our shabby paychecks and the lack of respect from university officials and local politicians (collectively the scum of the earth) it gives us a warm feeling inside to know that we hold high the torch of liberty.
Meanwhile the government has never invoked the Patriot Act to obtain a library's records. Never, in almost four years. Does this reasonable statement of fact calm our fears? Of course not. We prefer the high road of principle over rationality.
That's why our professional organization, the American Library Association, will defend to the death the right of anyone, any time, to access porn on library internet computers. Never mind the miserable working conditions and lousy hours of librarians in the field or our (shockingly low) pay scale.
According to the librarian quoted by Tinkerty Tonk,
I try to explain to people why I stay in a state with difficult technology access and a lot of teeny tiny libraries that don’t pay very well [and only a few that do]. One of the main reasons is that all three of my national-level representatives are not disagreeable to me. Today Bernie Sanders managed to pass legislation in the House which would amend section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and prohibit government agents from using FISA warrants to obtain records from libraries and bookstores. My two senators are trying to pass similar legislation in the Senate. Of course keep in mind that one of the reasons, according to Alberto Gonzales, that the Department of Justice hasn’t had to use the USAPA more is because they have been getting “voluntary co-operation from librarians” which is a different sort of problem.
Low salary, lousy libraries, never mind. I'm above all that. I'm too high-minded. Bring on the Internet porn.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:38 AM
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I'm sick of politics--how about some bictching, moaning and whining about my own private life for a refreshing change of pace?
Monday morning--root canal. Not one of your ordinary, virginal root canals. This was a do-over, which costs more. It must be harder, too--I heard the dentist muttering under his breath. He finally had had enough and left the thing open, to see if it would heal.
The next morning--it didn't heal, the woound is still open, but my attention was somewhat diverted by the cellar being flooded. The plumber finally came and declared the hot water heater unfixable and left us here in a pool of our own sweat.
Today he came with the new hot water heater. Showers all around. Whoopie!
I got a bill to renew the registration of two cars I don't think I own any more.
I called the IRS because I had lost the copy of my tax return. The automated voice mail said 2004 was unavailable. I finally located a live person who told me that the people who were owed money were entered into the computer first. The people who owed the government weren't entered yet, althought their checks were cashed.
My printer went into one of its fits and won't print.
My new fax machine isn't installed yet.
I got a bill from a doctor unknown to me.
I can't eat solid food.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 3:13 PM
The reasons for the popularity of genital makeovers should be familiar to regular readers of Sexploration. As we’ve seen, pubic hair grooming has become practically a must. When all that hair gets shaved or waxed off, the naughty bits become much more obvious. We can see what’s up down there. And men and women are watching more porn these days, looking at the newly visible private parts, and comparing. Just as women clamored for the Jennifer Aniston hairdo during the early “Friends” era, men and women want to be as pretty down there as the people they see on their TV screen or in magazines.
“People have suggested they’ve looked at Playboy or Penthouse,” confirms Dr. Ronald Blatt, medical director of the Manhattan Center for Vaginal Surgery. “They come in and say, ‘Make it look like that.’”
via Pam Meister.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 3:00 PM
Barack Obama is raising money for him now.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:34 AM
Monday, June 13, 2005
Remember Henny Penny, who declared: The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Well, Frank Rich has ably taken her place.
I have a question for Frank Rich, and I'm quite serious: in what way is the Bush Administration comparable to that of Nixon? Has Bush broken into any offices? Has he ordered retaliatory IRS audits against his enemies? Are there any charges that he has bugged the home telephones of journalists he doesn't care for? Has he obstructed federal investigations? I'm not joking, Frank...your whole column is an infuriating insinuation...put up or shut up, pal, 'cause your brand of garbage is starting to smell...
Posted by miriam sawyer at 11:13 AM
Sunday, June 12, 2005
LONDON: Hundreds of naked cyclists staged demonstrations in London and Madrid yesterday in protest against the West's dependence on gas-guzzling cars.
The organisers of World Naked Bike Ride 2005 said protests were expected in a number of countries, including Canada, the US, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Israel.
In London, crowds gathered as 100 cyclists left Hyde Park Corner.
Most of the riders had stripped naked for the 10km ride past Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Covent Garden, Oxford St and the US Embassy.
Some bikes carried banners reading "Oil is not a bare necessity but a crude obsession" and "Support the trade justice movement".
In Madrid, dozens of nude cyclists pedalled past famous landmarks, drawing surprised looks.
Most were men, naked except for shoes and helmets, or caps for the sun.
The bicycle helmets were a nice touch.
But why nude? Why not in space suits, or business suits, or monkey suits? What did the nudity signify?
Oh, I get it--they wanted to make the observers suffer.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 5:21 PM
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Islamic countries apply a double standard when it comes to the treatment of "holy books" and people who differ in faith and practice from Islamic dogma. While Islamic groups in the United States are engaged in "sensitivity training" sessions for non-Muslims that have included federal workers, the Ohio National Guard and U.S. Air Force Academy, there are no such training sessions directed at Muslims to teach them tolerance for non-Islamic faiths. Quite the contrary.
While the slightest verbal or physical slight of any Muslim in America is immediately condemned by activist groups and sometimes the U.S. government, the denigration of Jews and Christians throughout much of the Islamic world is theological and political business as usual. Jews are regularly referred to as "apes and pigs," mostly because that is what the Koran calls them.
According to the MEMRI-TV Monitor Project, which observes the way Jews, especially, are portrayed throughout the Middle East, a Jordanian produced program titled "Stories From Before the Verses Came Down" was aired in February on Saudi Iqra TV. The soap opera contained familiar anti-Semitic stuff, including blaming ancient Jews for distorting their own Torah to make it seem like Mohammad could not be the "true prophet" and portraying a Jewish character saying, "We are the slayers of prophets, and we live off their blood! We live for destroying them"
According to a report authored by former CIA Director James Woolsey for Freedom House, the government of Saudi Arabia has made it a practice to disseminate propaganda about Jews, Christians and America through mosques in the U.S. and through schools, many of which are funded by the extremist Wahhabi Islamic sect.
The 89-page report titled, "Saudi publications on hate ideology fill American mosques," concludes that propaganda collected from U.S. mosques shows a "totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence." The report also says such mosques are in the minority, but how many are needed to train terrorists who might attack the U.S. with biological, chemical or nuclear weapons?
I guess not.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:17 PM
One thing I never understood about the Flintstones world is their obsession with stone. They have wood. They have plenty of sharp stones. Why would they have spoons and bowls made of stone? Is the concept of basic woodworking so elusive to them?
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:13 PM
Friday, June 10, 2005
[M]ilitary investigators delved into allegations that recruiters were engaged in sexual misconduct at the Ukiah office.... 
The investigation into misconduct by North Coast recruiters surfaced this week when a Ukiah high school student told reporters that three male recruiters had sex with young women, some of them poolees, at a Feb. 17 sleepover in the Ukiah office.
The girl, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she had sex with one recruiter two previous times at the office after he told her it was a requirement to join the Marines.
Excuse me? Sleepovers? Sleepovers?
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:48 PM
Thursday, June 09, 2005
I am selling a house for $314 K and buying one for $280 K. That means a profit of 34 thousand dollars. Right? Do the math.
Wrong. To sell house #1 I must pay the attorney, the realtor, and a transfer tax of $1.5%. Chump change. To buy house #2, I have to pay a deposit of $3,000, 1.5 % transfer fee, house inspector, termite inspector, attorney, title search, and for some reason the mortgage banker extracted a check for $795 from me, I forget for what.
That puts me at minus $5,000. I get to keep my car, a 1995 Taurus with 110,000 miles.
Oh, right. I have to pay the movers.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:28 PM
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
What was Watergate really about? At the time, I read the papers diligently, but I could never figure out what started the downward spiral. The break-in to Democratic headquarters? What was the purpose of that? Instead of winning the election 60-40, he wanted to win it 61-39?
After the initial break-in, Nixon did everything wrong. Taping himself in his office--what a bright idea--to preserve for posterity every foul=mouthed or anti-Semitic remark. Not destroying the tapes. The 18 minute break in the tapes. Making a speech announcing, "I am not a crook," a truly cringe-worthy statement, which made me wince at the time.
Later, reading the self-serving memoirs of everyone concerned, I was even more puzzled, but one fact emerged: his aides, assistants and flunkies had way too much time on their hands, time they spent jockeying for position and prestige and stabbing each other in the back. They would have been better off mowing the White House lawn or watering the plants.
So who cares who Deep Throat is, or was? With so many idiots involved, the story was bound to come out. As the expression goes, "two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead."
Anyway, Nixon was a jerk and a lousy president, right up there (0r down there) with Jimmy Carter. He was wrong about just about everything, and felt sorry for himself to boot. We were well rid of him.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 8:24 AM
Sunday, June 05, 2005
... I'm inviting you to send me your favourite movie stars. Choose them how you like, whether for acting ability, star quality, looks, whatever. But you have a maximum of 10 votes to distribute over the two categories in the poll - that is, male movie stars and female movie stars - and you have a maximum of 7 votes in either category. This means, if I have to explain (and even if I don't), that should you use all of your 10 votes, you may distribute them between the men and the women, the guys and the dolls, the dudes and the broads, either 5 and 5, 6 and 4, or 7 and 3, or vice versa - which in the case of 5 and 5 is nothing to get your knickers in a twist about. No need to rank; each vote will only count for one.
Here are mine:
1. Fred Astaire. Fred has given me more pleasure than any other star--I marvel at his grace.
2. Audrey Hepburn--lovely without looking like anyone else.
3. Cary Grant--wonderful at playing urbane, harassed upper-middle class men. Handsome as all get-out to boot.
4. Gerard Depardieu: so versatile, he can do anything.
5. Marcello Mastroianni: top of his class in looks and charm. (I'm sure I spelled his name wrong.)
6. Sophia Loren-- gorgeous, voluptuous, and full of fire.
7. Clark Gable.
8. Claudette Colbert
9. Jimmy Stewart
10. Laurence Olivier
You can tell I'm living in the past, can't you? But, honestly, I can't tell any of today's stars apart. They're all cute. And indistinguishable.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 2:51 PM
Saturday, June 04, 2005
I haven't had many exotic experiences in my life, but I did make beer. Here's what you need to get started, accoording to Physicsgeek.
1 3-5 gallon brewing kettle
1 5 or 6 gallon glass carboy
1 6.5 to 7.5 gallon "food grade" plastic fermenter with airtight locking lid
1 6 foot length of 3/8-inch inside diameter clear plastic tubing
1 racking cane
1 fermentation lock
1 rubber stopper to fit the fermentation lock(It's bad form to not notice until you're pitching the yeast that they don't fit. Not that I know from experience or anything. I'm just saying.)1 2-3 foot length of 3/8-inch outside diameter tubing which should fit the next itemlarge plastic funnel
1 spring-loaded bottling wand
1 floating thermometer
1 bottle capper, for which you'll need lots of new bottle caps.
50-60 beer bottles, preferably the non-screwtop type. Brown glass is the best, but pretty much anything will work.
I forgot to mention how important proper sanitation is. Let's go the cheap route yet again and use unscented household bleach. You don't want your beer to taste lemony fresh. Ugh.
I don't remember all the ins and outs of it, but I do remember the five-gallon crock that sat in the corner of the kitchen, from which an occasional but somewhat sinister glug came once in a while, as thoough some monster was thinking of rising from the bottle and eating us..
I don't know the octane, but this stuff, while drinkable, had the kick of a mule. Two of these and you were out for the night. As he had classes to prepare for the next day, my husband couldn't drink the stuff. Since one regular beer makes me giddy, I couldn't either.
As it happened, we were living in an old mansion that was broken up into apartments. The other apartments housed old ladies with loud excitable dogs.
Anything that was being discarded had to be hauled up a steep driveway in the trunk of a car. Of course, the old ladies couldn't do it. So we did, not being old ladies.
But there wasa plenty of room in the attic. So we put the full bottles there. Every once in a while a loud pop would come from the attic, but we ignored it.
We left it there, and I like to think of the occasional loud pop spooking the old ladies and causing the excitable little dogs to bark wildly. It's a nice thought.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:53 PM
This is one case where the Biblical adage proves correct:, "To him who hath more shall be given, and to him who hath not, even what he hath shall be taken away." Link courtesy of drunksex. Quote, courtesy of Jesus.
Don't send me snarky comments, I didn't write the Bible.
I'm surprised they didn't take his undies.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:00 PM
Friday, June 03, 2005
Gov. Tim Pawlenty rejected a bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature that would have allowed him to appoint a poet laureate after receiving recommendations from the nonprofit Minnesota Humanities Commission.
The laureate would have been called on to provide verse for 'appropriate ceremonies and celebrations' of the state, such as the 2008 sesquicentennial. No state money would have gone with the job.
In a veto message signed Friday and announced Tuesday, however, Pawlenty said he saw no need for such a position.
'We can benefit from the richness and diversity of all of the poets in Minnesota and recognize and embrace their work as merit and circumstances warrant,' he said.
He also suggested that the measure could lead to "requests for a state mime, interpretive dancer or potter."
What an old meanie.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 4:21 PM
Posted by miriam sawyer at 1:34 PM
Trinity, Peyton and Brooklyn are up there, too. Also Kennedy and Kendall.
Why must people strain to be original and yet all be original in an identical way?
If I live long enough, my new doctor will be called Dr. Trinity Oppenheimer or Dr. Reagan Wu or Dr. Destiny Patel.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:48 AM
Thursday, June 02, 2005
This used to happen a lot when we lived in Brooklyn. Sometimes we wuld ride around for hours looking for a parking spot. On one occasion, we gave up and drove to Coney Island for hot dogs. But in California?
Every Thursday at 1:55 PM the south side of Leeward Ave. is packed with parked cars. Each and every car has a solitary person inside sitting in the driver's seat, staring straight ahead. Just one person, just sitting there. It's as if everyone's anticipating an atomic blast or an alien invasion and they're getting ready for a mass exodus. It's kind of creepy. It also has an army-of-aliens-posing-as-humans or Stepford Wives vibe. All these people sitting there, parked at the curb, staring straight ahead, one after the other. They, of course, are claiming their spots for when 2 PM rolls around and the street cleaning window ends.
I know this because lately I've had to learn how to cope with the miseries of street parking all over again. Having recently purchased a new vehicle while still being in possession of the old puts me in the position of having two automobiles. This is not a problem since my underground parking space (which I pay for) is fortuitously large and able to hold two vehicles in it comfortably, without causing any discomfort or inconvenience to anyone else. My building manager .... told me .... that I'm entitled to park one vehicle only and threatened to tow any others 
So I've had to put my old car out on in the world and do the street cleaning shuffle twice weekly. The problem with this is that everyone else in a half-mile radius is doing the same thing and all spots are taken by 2:01 PM. Last Friday night I got home at 5 in the morning after an 18-hour workday, pulled my old car out of my garage, put my new car in, then drove around for almost 40 minutes looking for a spot to park. I ended up finding a spot about ten blocks away, then made the half-mile walk home and slept for about 12 hours. Then someone ripped off (literally) the tags on my license plate and put them on their own vehicle. Then I got a ticket for not having those tags. Then about five different vendors shoved fliers under my windshield wipers. Then pigeons shit all over my car.
Who would ever live in Los Angeles by choice? Even the nice areas are awful. I'll bet this bs never happens in the SLC.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 9:50 PM
Decision 08 wants to save the outrage for, well, outrageous things;
Many outrageous things are going on in this world, and some outrages are bigger than others. Here's what I find outrageous:
* Terrorists are killing our soldiers in Iraq.
* Kim Jong-Il is running a Stalinist, countrywide gulag, while Amnesty International gets headlines criticizing the U.S. for some (admittedly disgusting, but isolated) regrettable lapses.
* The United Nations sex scandals and Oil-For-Food.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
By saying that, I'm not saying the judicial fight is not important. If that's what outrages you, then by all means get outraged. The rhetoric that flowed, though...my God, folks, it was a procedural compromise in an elected body. Nothing got set in stone, no one died, and we have the ability to throw the bums out, if we so choose.
To the list of things to get het up over, I could add:
* The wiseass, know-all MSM;
* Higher education in the US, where only 5% major in hard science and the rest are preparing themselves for careers either as lawyers or hash-slingers;
* The rest of the educational system-- shall we call it lower education?--which asks nothing from kids and gets it.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 1:06 PM
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
What a bore! I picked up Jane Juska's book, A Roundheeled Woman, to read about the amorous adventures of an older woman. But before I was well begun, I found the usual liberal tosh:
Behind me, the schizophrenic in his red beret roamed the young people's reading section, spinning the carousels and swearing at the books as the spun....
Fun for the young patrons, I'm sure. Are their mothers as compassionate as Jane Juska? Or do they keep their kids out of the library?
Across the table ...a homeless man snored softly....I sighed. It was the beginning of the winter, when the homeless came to the library....Not long from now, the smell...would come to be overwhelming. But none of the librarians objected to the seasonal takeover, nor did any of the patrons. We were bound together by guilt and frustration and an unutterable desire to feel the touch of another human being.
The library must be a fun place for those who come there to read, to contemplate, to think. Working there must be a real treat, too.
The people in my neighborhood...feel guilty and helpless and angry at the disgrace heaped upon our heads by a government...that chooses to ignore the poor and the sick.
Blame Bush! At this point, I would have thrown the book across the room, but it was a library book.
This kind of compassion on the cheap irritates the hell out of me.
The author mentions that she and her neighbors must keep their porch lights on (another thing they feel guilty about) to keep the homeless from sleeping on their porches. Turn off those lights! Provide blankets! A few sandwiches would come in handy. A keg of beer would be nice too. Do your little bit to make the homeless people's life a little better.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 10:17 PM
I always wondered where Bertie Wooster found this statement, which he made< I believe, about Aunt Agatha's country place: "Where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile."
What though the spicy breezes Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle; Though every prospect pleases, And only man is vile; In vain with lavish kindness The gifts of God are strown; The heathen in his blindness Bows down to wood and stone.
Author: Bishop Reginald Heber
Source: From Greenland's Icy Mountains--Missionary Hymn
Turns out it is, as they say, from a missionary hymn, by a Bishop, no less.
I don't know why I am surprised--Bertie did win a Scripture Prize (a statue of the Infant Samuel at prayer) when he was a boy. He waas obviously well informed about things ecclesiastical.
Posted by miriam sawyer at 3:55 PM
A lovely day. Perfect! Unmatched in its meteorological clemency! However could I consider leaving such a place? We sat outside without feeling the damp poke our joints; I pushed Gnat in the swing and watched her beam at the bright high sky. Opened the window and let the smell of summer – fresh mown grass mixed with gas and 2-stroke oil – waft into the house, driving out the old stale aroma of dog food and bygone fish. This is why we live here; this is why we stay. Because it’s lovely. Also because we are conditioned to turn over the Etch-A-Sketch and erase the memory of last week’s punishment as soon as the bluebirds peep.
I know how he feels--when I lived in upstate New York we almost went crazy when Spring came. It was so beautiful it made me giddy. So this is what we were waiting for!
Spring! Mudluscious! Time to dig in the garden!
Posted by miriam sawyer at 10:18 AM