Friday, September 30, 2005


Every now and then I think maybe people like Monica are just a tad sensitive about racism. C'mon. It's JUST not that bad. And then I read stuff like this and I think maybe it's worse than that.

If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, you know, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.

--Bill Bennett

Yes, that's the Bill Bennett. The former Secretary of Education. One of the Guys Who Held a Buncha Power in this country... now he says he was trying on a bit of Jonathan Swift. Hmmm. I don't think he got the point of a Modest Proposal.

Update: NO, I don't think he was actually proposing the abortions, silly person. The part that misses the boat, that makes the remarks pure, dag nasty evil is equating black with crime. I haven't seen him deny that one.

* * *
So? Anyone coming up with any answers for Amy? She has ten days. . . .

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Somebody Else's Problems

1. My pal A, a single mom and visiting nurse, has a kid who needs medical help. He's got psychiatric problems that the average doctor can't handle. A's got the full-time job and insurance for her little family, but she may have to quit the job. Why? Because her work insurance coverage can't cover her kid's needs and if she gets supplemental, the cost will eat up the rest of her income. Naturally the care he needs costs more than she makes. If she quits her job, she'll be able to put him on Medicaid--which will cover the costs--and maybe take care of him at home. Of course she won't be able to get insurance for herself and she'll have to live on food stamps, but at least she won't have to worry as much about her kid.

UPDATE: Amy outted herself in my comments section. IF ANYONE has ANY ANSWERS....SPILL. Secret formulae? Special hotline numbers? Tell Amy.

2. After years of making a long commute to a group practice, my friend L the psychologist recently set up her own office. Many of her patients are insured by the state--they're foster kids and newly adopted former foster kids. Because she had to get a new license number, she can't keep seeing these old patients. Why?

The state isn't taking on new providers.

Never mind that she isn't really a new provider--she was seeing these people already. Forget the fact that because she cares about these kids and families she's willing to put up with the unpaid hours of filling out mind-numbing state paperwork and traveling to the kids' schools and then providing therapy sessions that pay her $20 an hour. Nope. The state only sees that new number and says forget it, never going to happen. And the kids she sees? No provider willing to take state pay has time for new patients. The kids are out of luck too.

Dozens of phone calls later and still no answers for either woman. What the hell are they supposed to do? Maybe they could call FEMA or the Red Cross, models of efficiency. Bugger bureaucrats and red tape that protects no one.

I listen to L talk about the acronyms she's called, the agencies she's contacted and I'm ready to stomp on the automated phone machines and every useless cog of the system. Stomp, stomp, stomp. Screw the people who can't or won't help because they have to follow the rules. Screw the rules that slowly kill people. Fuck the states that mess up kids' health just to save a few bucks. Fuck 'em all. Up against the wall with the acronyms.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Brenda Coulter Lends Me A Theme

She found it in an article.

The word of the week. Heads up, Doug--this one's for both of us:
Torschlusspanik, a word [not phrase, Independent online.] meaning "the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older".

other good ones from the book:
GRILAGEM Brazilian Portuguese
The practice of putting a live cricket into a box of newly faked documents, until the insect's excrement makes the paper look convincingly old.

Someone who spends time, but not money, at a café. (Would a woman be a Chatelaine-terrasse?)

LATAH Indonesian
Uncontrollable habit of saying embarrassing things.

DESUS Indonesia
The quiet, smooth sound of somebody farting but not very loudly.

The suppressed giggling and tittering of a group of women.

Happy banned book week!

I'm listening to Huckleberry Finn (#5) to celebrate--the kids got the tape from the library for lights out listening pleasure. Here's a list of 100 most frequently challenged books so you can celebrate too.
So ... anyone want to guess why Where's Waldo made that list?

Thanks for the link, Guanna.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The march and the books

I hear the bookfair was an interesting contrast to the peace march in DC. I need more details from the niece who works for a publisher.

But check this out--I'm being fashionable and none other than Tom Wolfe has declared this to be true. In that patronizing manner that makes any right thinking person ache to pour jello or worse over his head, he talked about EL Doctorow's decision to decline the honor of brekkies at the White House with Laura Bush, the big sponsor.

from the NYT:
Mr. Wolfe, the author of a presidential favorite, "I Am Charlotte Simmons," and a supporter of Mr. Bush, said that Mr. Doctorow, his Hamptons compatriot, was wrong. "Ed Doctorow is a great guy, a wonderful writer, great company - he's just being fashionable, that's all," Mr. Wolfe said in a brief conversation at the Library of Congress dinner on Friday night. "In this country, there's nothing daring about going against the government."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

still alive

here're reasons I feel gratitude:

1. we didn't do our sick act the night before last
2. we didn't do our sick act in New Orleans on Sept 1. I thought about how nice it was to have clean running water and paper towels (and a place to dump them) several times last night. **

3. My boys made me great cards.
A combo effort from boys 1 and 2:
Three Hundred Things We Love You More Than--with attached list that I wish I could copy and I might some day.

and from boy three a heart and the words:
Even if you die
your kindns
lives on in our
body mind and

I do wish they'd let me sleep past 7. I didn't get to sleep til 3:30 (and I wish that boy three hadn't inherited my spelling skills--it's clearer every day he has)

and later? I'm adding:

4. My long lost twin Doug's great list and his birthday images. Especially Ann. thank you, Doug. It fits perfectly. Too bad about the hobbity babies but I'm not doing Electra or whoever--even for you.


** Boys must find rugs or bedding on which to be sick. Bare floor? No. Toilet? Pshaw. In your dreams.


happy birthday to me
it's a quarter to three
my kid has been barfing
and I will I see

ha ha ha ...really bad doggerel but too true. We're sick. Might be the food--don't know, don't care. Just don't want to do any more sheets. and don' t wanna feel this grosssss

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I posted at the RU blog

and now I'm going get out the whip and chair and start the clean up of the astounding mess left by my party animal sons.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Out of The Area

Ferfe made an interesting point in the comments section below: The rest of the country's having a worse time adjusting to these hurricanes than her hurricane-prone neck of the woods. Pace yourself. I think that those of us getting slammed every week are handling the storms better than the rest of the nation.

So now I have a theory--Disasters are like visits to Sick Relative Land. If you're a grown up, you've likely been to that place, when something happens to someone you love. It's often far worse to be waiting for a phone call a thousand miles away, than to be right there, sitting in the hospital or nursing home room. Far away from the scene, you imagine the worst and can't do a damn thing about it.

There's the same "jump in the car and go" instinct at work too. You get the call when someone has had a stroke, a heart attack, an accident. Rather than waiting to find out if you're needed, you just get in the damn car and drive. See? The whole country is just like a bunch of relatives. They hear the bad news, expect the worst and just want to get there and see if everyone's all right. **

Here's the sad part. If the misery lasts too long, eventually they are going to stop jumping in the car. They'll burn out on those phone calls. They'll get impatient when the subject comes up. The call comes for yet another set back. "I'll get there when I can. I don't think it'll be today."

That's when the sick person dies--or that part of the country drops into the sea.

Okay, maybe my personal experience with chronically sick family members can't really be expanded to fit the Disaster in the USA scenerio, but dang, it fit better than I expected.


**It is so entirely based on some dim section of the lizard brain. Ever notice that when a relative dies, the instinct is to draw the pack together as soon as possible. Why? We can't bring the person back to life. What's the damn hurry? Doesn't matter. The urge is there. Maybe we're all Aunt Ada Doom. We need the countin' to keep us sane.

Rita's coming: the left wing armchair observer** response

I hope*** this is true but I remember the pre-Katrina word was that preparation was slick as could be.

Glad they figured out the pet thing.


**weird expression, huh? Makes it sound like we watch armchairs. Boring hobby.

***I admit I got some schadenfreude from Bush's team's incompetence. (It was a silver lining in a hideously dark cloud, okay?) But if they've managed to get their act together for Rita, it'll be a relief, not a disappointment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Publicity Photos For Peace

I did the Studio 16 thing the summer before last. For some reason I thought it would Enhance My Professional Image. Heh. Little did I know I'd be trashing that great image by getting all outraged and political in my Public Communications.

It did give me something to upload in place of myself this weekend--because I'm not going to D.C. for the big Sept 24 peace rally. Even if you don't have a glam picture of any kind, you can sign the photo petition. Here's what it says:

"Dear Representative,
It's clear that this war in Iraq is a mistake. A majority of America now agrees that we need to bring our troops home. While people of good faith can disagree on exactly how to do it, our leaders must begin to develop a real plan. I urge you to publicly support a concrete timeline for bringing our troops home."

I put in a bit about how I don't want my grandchildren paying for war and other disasters in our time. blahblahblah. Always sound more American to rant as a tax-payer. Ms. Jane Q Public.

I hope they paste my photo onto a papersack so my mouth moves when you waggle the bottom of the sack--ever seen those cute lil things kids make in preschool? Kind of like sock puppets but cheaper. Yes! I wanna be a puppet of the left!

my stomach hurts so now they'll suffer

I have one of those stupid syndromes that makes my stomach go wonky every now and then. That's when I get into writing scenes of pain, arguments, fighting or--on the really bad days--death. If I have to suffer, so do the characters.

For about three months I took medications that made me tired. During that time I wrote a book that consisted of characters looking for comfortable places to sleep. No one seems to want to publish it. . . Hmmmm.

Bleargh. I feel icky. Maybe it's time for that heroine to be humiliated.

update: At least Mistress Matisse has posted something worth feeling icky about. Yes, once again, our leaders have proved that they are on the ball, conquering the troubles plaguing our nation.

Here it is: "a top priority" for the FBI!

Wait, you have to guess.

No, wrong. It's not rooting out corrupt federal officials who screw up emergency response and then push through no-bid contracts with corporations (run by their pals) that make obscene and illegal profits from misery--usually by double- or over-billing the government (meaning us taxpayers, natch).

No, it's not even tracking terrorists. . . .

It's rooting out pornography--the consenting adult sorta porn..
From the 9/20 Washington Post article:

Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales . . .

The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.

"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage."

.... Gonzales endorses the rationale of predecessor Meese: that adult pornography is a threat to families and children.

Go, Roberto!

No, I mean it. GO. Think he'll make it to the Supreme Court any time soon? Bleargh. That's it. I'm going to go kill off a character now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Promotion Pushes Big Buttons

Amazing how many emails I'm getting about the promo 101 post.
People say either:

1. thank you for that fabu list--I needed it.
2. it's all bullshit. [I wish these people would give some numbers or somehow back up the AB position]

Not a single "yawn" in the crowd. Why do you suppose it's such an emotional topic? If nothing else good comes from it, the promo thing seems to have inspired PBW. **


**You know that old wheeze about spewing coffee? None came out of my nose, but I did have to allow the used coffee to fall from my mouth back into the cup for fear of choking. Eeewww.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Argh, tis Smart Bitches and Pirates Day

"avast, matey, Starbucks off ter port bow. Fetch me a mocha latte or I'll lash ye to the capstan and drub ye wi' broken bottles. 'N mark ye, plunder the CVS fer some wax. I be feelin' some stubble near me navel."

How in the name of Davy Jones's locker could I have missed it? My kids are getting older and have lost interest? Nah. They weren't the reason we dug Pirate Day around here. Our fourth annual Talk Like a Pirate day and we didn't noticed. Haven't scared the dog once today with a roaring "aaaaaarrrr".

I've always loved pirates, but not lurved them, if you get what I mean. I wanted to be the pirate, not fall for one. Stinky, mannerless, yelling "arrhh" at random times, aye, the pirate's life for me, matey!

When I was ten, I did a report on pirates. Back then, school warn't the life for me, nahhhrrg. That report marked the first time I put my heart and soul into a paper. Damn, I still recall reading how pirate captors used to pickle pirates' bodies (or head, if they were low on pickle juice or rum) so they could bring 'em home across the sea to collect the reward and hang 'em up fer the birds to peck at.

Arrrghh matey, I could tell ya what keelhauling entailed (actually navies used that punishment) and how ter control the stink aboard a small vessel.

Later on, I avoided romances with pirates because ... frankly...ewwwwww.

Then a person I met and liked had written a pirate romance (not Connie Mason). I read it. I gagged. This stink-free pretty boy with all his teeth? a pirate? and what was this garbage about a woman binding her breasts blah blah blah. There were women pirates, but they didn't try to fool the damn crew they sailed with, did they? On a boat that size? First time she tried to pee off the deck they'd laugh their asses off.

No, sorry. I'm not picking up any more pirate romances. Maybe space pirate. Or someone who doesn't pretend to go for hysterical accuracy--fantasy world is fine. Historical? No thanks. Except maybe Paula Reed. Her privateers (note, not pirates) aren't bored-with-the-ton noblemen.

Pirates for me are verging on Scottish romances for Maili. Find me a pirate romance with the tang of the tar, blood, old sweat, ignorance and filth.

Or then again, maybe not.
I was just bugging Sandy's when I remembered how my obsession with Pirates began a gazillion years ago: High Wind In Jamaica was on television. Now that's a good movie. Watch it. Aarrrr. And here's a Fun Fact: Martin Amis the novelist (and son of Kingsley) was one of the kids in that movie.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

and the best publicity?

Git yerself a title.

Publicity 101--Yeah, You Might Want to Do Some of This.

Monica inspired me to write this. I was over at her blog bugging her with the hey, did you do this? that? Most of this is for Romance print book publicity, but a lot can be adapted for ebook and other genres.

A lot of people say you MUST do this. I dunno. Publicity is a pain in the neck. I'll save the debate about whether or not it's fair to expect this from writers (or worth doing) for another blog entry. **

IMPORTANT: I'm only writing about what fits my experience. Your publisher may do all of this work for you. . .(but it's worth checking)

Several people have pointed out: You want to concentrate on marketing your name--it's more important than the individual book you're currently flogging. The book'll go away. You won't. . . you hope.

BEFORE THE BOOK GOES INTO EDITS (because the cover tends to be done fast):

1. See if your publisher will get a quote for your cover. If they won't, maybe you know someone famous? I mean REALLY famous? Okay, good. See if she'll give you a quote. Beth? Don't even bother with anyone the publisher digs up, even if it's Nora. Go straight to Laura. (personal bias showing time)

Run this stuff past your editor first. She's usually your connection to the rest of the company. (This advice comes from the woman who accidentally sent an email about publicity to the publisher and not a minion.)
If you have an agent, she'd do this kind of checking for you. Maybe.

If your publisher has a publicity department, make a friendly email/letter/call suggesting what you're willing to do for your book
I know Medallion Press actually asks its authors right up front what they'll do.

Find out where your publisher will send your book. Publishers tend to have a standard list (Romantic Times, Publisher's Weekly, and maybe a couple of the bigger online places) . . .YOU should send to the places if they don't--see if your publisher will make ARCs [advance reader copies] for you to send out (if you show your great list it might help).

If you have to make your own ARCs
I think they run at LEAST $5 a piece when you head to places like Staples. Mine were just loose paper (copies of the galley) with a coverflat on them. Where to send them? The list is below.
If you end up making your own ARCs, here's one method: I looked at this site and had to retire to my fainting couch with a vinaigrette and a stiff whiskey.

PBW and others argue that bookmarks/pens whatever aren't an effective use of publicity money. This is up for debate and I don't have a strong opinion because I couldn't afford the stuff and so I don't know if makes a difference.

You'll definitely need those Autographed by Author stickers.
Some booksellers have the stickers but they're often butt ugly. Most don't have anything for you to slap on the cover. And you need them for any other kind of signing, like conferences. You might as well get them from a fellow writer and all around nice person, like Su Kopil. . . . . that's Su's business's address. She has the pens and lots of other promo tools too.

You might get coverflats. They can be kind of cool and make neat bookmarks, but people like booksellers are often annoyed by them. ASK, don't dump anything in a bookstore without asking! Ever, ever, ever. Romancejunkies and other online sites seem to like signed coverflats. You can put them on tables or give them to friends to put on tables during conferences. Autograph them. Kensington and other publishers punch holes in the cover flats that don't go on books. Some people tie a little Hershey's kiss through the hole. If you give talks, put coverflats on the chairs. Write a number on one of them and whoever gets that number wins a doorprize. Susan Meier gave me that idea.

How about advertising? RWR is a good choice and cheaper than RT. as Jo-Ann Powers, a publicist, pointed out--you've got a definite reading audience of at least 9000. Also RWA has the quarterly thing they send out to libraries Romance Sells It's a lot of writers' first choice for ad dollars. Check out their schedule there.

If you're interested in RT-- advertising is the only way to make sure your book gets reviewed--see if you can get a group ad with others from your publisher (or with a writers's group [another marketing bushwa, to be addressed later]). If you contact the publicist for your publisher, they might help you contact other authors with books out at the same time. Ellora's Cave, bless them, coordinates all this for their authors.

Yeah, consider advertising online (you can get a banner cheeeep!! On a lot of sites. And you can make your own banner and use it all over the place. I think cataromance has a link to the banner making software there. )

Using your ARCS... A surprising number of people think that direct mailings to romance friendly BOOKSELLERS (not reviewers) are the best way to use your ARCs.
Hey, you want to get reviewers too, but check if a reviewer likes PDF file--that's the way to go if possible. Some reviewers even prefer them! Booksellers tend to want manuscripts over anything electronic.
I've never used this, but Deborah MacGillivray swears by this system to get your book into a PDF: The pdf995 Suite of products is a complete solution for your PDF creation and document publishing needs, offering ease of use, flexibility in format, and industry-standard security. And all at no cost to you. Pdf995 is the fast, affordable way to create professional-quality documents in the popular PDF file format. Its easy-to-use interface allows you to create PDF files by simply selecting the "print" command from any application. Combined with pdfEdit995 and Signature995, it offers numerous features. It's FREE and has many super tools that is as good as if not better than the very expensive Abode Acrobat.

You just download the driver to your computer, install. Then go to print out a document. Instead of letting the print program print, change it to PDF 995 on the printer software and it will make a PDF instead!Very easy to use and FREE.

Lorraine Heath has a list of Waldenbooks booksellers to send your ARCs to. Kind of obvious but worth stating DO NOT BOTHER SENDING IF YOUR BOOK IS NOT STOCKED BY WALDENBOOKS!! (she has a good article about the print publishing process here

AND here's her Waldenbooks romance experts list: These are the people to woo. Chocolates, flowers, Bosnian socks. They also tend to be lovely people, so it's easy to do. They like romance. They like books. What more do you want?

After you get the ARCs to booksellers--get them early as you can so they can preorder your book--hit the reviewers. About reviewers: Check with the coordinator about how long the lead time is for reviews****. You don't want to send them your ARC too early. People will write a review and post it. You want to make sure the review is up just when the book comes out for those impulse buyers. Cruise around the internet and look at sites to decide where to send your book.
There are review sites that are very popular but you might want to think twice about sending to them. I LOVE to read AAR, but they can be pretty tough. Those Smart Bitches Trashy Books people? Phew... [where is my title, dammit!]

A BIT BEFORE THE BOOK--see if you can be get interviewed. Sites like Romancejunkies and cataromance or ecataromance have great FREE (and paid) methods for authors to get their name out. But you guys know that already, right?

If you've got the bucks, consider hiring a publicist. Here's what to look for, written by Nancy Berland. If you hire a publicist then you don't have to deal with making the ARCs etc. My guess is you should look for a publicist right after you sell--she'll need to have time to set up the campaign.
Does someone like Ms Berland make a difference? My two friends who have used her services are into second printings for their first books and have gotten more contracts. Keep in mind a big name like her might cost more than your first advance.
There are plenty of other less pricey publicists out there (Dorine from Millenium and romancejunkies, for instance) but I don't know a thing about how effective they are because I haven't talked to their clients. Why do I mention Dorine, then? Because I like her.
UPDATE: Here's a message from Dorine, clarifying her services:

We are considered Internet Promoters and Nancy is a Publicist - I feel there is a difference. It may just be the future for author promotion that an author would actually use both, because we have different services to offer. Yes, we do have many cross-over services, but overall I think we're different, each offering valuable assistance to authors.

We don't actually have a rate sheet to be honest with you. Each client gets an assessment of their needs. . .For example, some of our clients have one or more books coming out per month, have 1-4 issues of a newsletter monthly and need online and print advertising. They may need website or graphic design, which is our specialty - from banners to promo items, including cafe press stores, etc... We keep adding more services monthly - most of them client requests . . .

The majority of our promotion is online promotion, with a little foray into print advertising as we can fit it in. This is an area we expect to grow in, but not something we advertise at the moment as something we do for each of our clients.


Some stores will let you do Shelf talkers (little ads about your book)
here are notes I found about them (from Kathy Baker, a Waldenbooks expert who's on Lorraine Heath's list)
Make them look professional.
Don't try to use them at Borders but you can submit yourself to Waldenbooks and independent booksellers. Borders won't take anything that doesn't come from the publisher (same company as Waldenbooks-but different policy).

Look for stores that have book groups. Send the coordinator a copy of your book. Somewhere I have a list of book group coordinators for the east coast. . I have no idea how up-to-date it is and it hardly matters since I can't find the damn thing. I do know that's how I found out about Elsie.

Booksignings? Everyone has An Opinion. I think they're a waste of time and energy unless it's a group event or at a conference. Then at least you have people to talk to. Also conventions (like a Women's Fair) can be great if a bookstore is coordinating the effort. Then you have a bookstore that is grateful to you (because you will show up with a huge bag of treats for the bookstore people and signees) and you get to go wandering around and look at the booths when you're not "On."

Drive-by booksignings? Sure! If you're pleasant (and not aggressive), stop by to see if you can sign the store's stock of your books. I have a horrible time asking for this, though. I always feel weird about it.
I think PBW had a point a few months back about how if you're not good with the public, don't try to sell your books yourself. YOU could always send your cutie-pie lisping 6-year-old to the front desk to ask for you. Hey she can't buy you beer and cigarettes these days. . .Okay, I think it's clear I'm losing focus here. . .Time to stop.
There are a lot of other thingies you're supposed to do: Join an author community, Create Websites, Keep a Blog blah blah blah. But I'm done with this list. For now.
** Best thing you can do for self promotion: write a book people want to read. duh.
****she'll say, "how the hell do I know? I'm not the reviewer. Ask her."

Friday, September 16, 2005

uh oh...they don't look so happy

One day in our care, and the Stupids plus Einstein are not looking so hot. We've added more water--there's a face cloth saturated with water, next to them, plus a dish of it in their aquarium. I think Mike got the water from the fish tank so it isn't tap water.

Despite the moisture, the guys are sluggish and not paying any attention to their worms (red wigglers, not earth worms). And when we come in the room, they don't go crazy the way they did when we got them.

Hey, why is one green and the others brown?

Anyone have any frog care advice?**


**My instinct is to let them loose near the creek or trade them in for a baby bunneeee, but no one around here has asked me.

This is a joke, right?

Australian man's synthetic jacket scorches the carpet.

Must have been pretty damn ugly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hey look! A Cock and Three Pussies

That's what Linda's brother said when he saw this. Linda, who took the picture, gave it the title of "kittens checking out pre-processed cat food."

Tomorrow I'll give you frogs. There are four of them. So far their names are Stupid, Stupider, Stupidest and Einstein.

Today's Good Blog

and another Katrina blog story. Evander Holyfield is in my Cool Person book now.

This is where I found the DeLay story from last week. . I keep trying to get people to say HOLY COW! WHAT KIND OF A MORON COULD SAY THIS TO SUVIVORS? ***

But so far, I'm the only one who's wondered what DeLay was drinking or smoking that day. He had to be on something. You try it. Go up to some kids you've never met but you know have very recently lived through a disaster, are displaced, have lost their homes and possessions and perhaps even family members. Now insist they admit they're having fun and 'it's like summer camp'. See? Can't do that sober, can you.

U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's visit to Reliant Park this morning offered him a glimpse of what it's like to be living in shelter.

While on the tour with top administration officials from Washington, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots.

The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"


***You didn't honestly think I could go this many days in a row without a spot of outrage, did you?

Today's Things To Do List

a Continue search for boy's missing shoes. They're less than a month old, and the only ones that fit him properly. They've been missing for nearly four days.

a Plan on going shoe shopping. Again.

a Write ten pages. Fall asleep at about page three. Blame medication and not rotten plot.

a Sleep too long and have to run (literally. . . good exercise!) to school to meet boy.

a Set up the tank for the frogs. The husband is bringing home 1-5 of them. We're not sure how many or what kind. "They're big ones. About the size of cupcakes" is our only description. Apparently live frogs only come in six packs, and the professor who ordered them only wanted one. No, I tell the husband. They are not going to live in our bedroom. Ha ha ha, I add because I want to assume he was joking.

a Raid the worm bin for food for the frogs. Yummy, yummy red wigglers. Decide that maybe buying crickets isn't such a bad idea.

a Do laundry so that the boy who had a growth spurt last week, and can only fit into two pairs of shorts, will be able to get dressed tomorrow. Will. Not. Buy. Shorts. In. September.

a Do more laundry, only this time check the pockets for candy. The Bosnians keep sneaking the boys ki ki candy.

a Go to the doctor to try out yet another type of high blood pressure medication.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oh. Listen. YOU might be able to help

I spent more than a minute looking at these pages and I get it. Sort of. I think. I'm talking about Else's friends' blogs.

You with the computer!
Pay attention.

YOU GET TO HELP people separated by Katrina reconnect. At least I think so. You do the legwork for the people who are out in the field.

Check out Grace's blog. Seriously.

Todays "Golly, Hon, Isn't the Web Amazing" Site

Mr. Tobias pointed it out, actually. All the newpaper front pages in a fun interactive sort of a page.
Hundreds Of Them. 47 Countries, 490 front pages. Wow.

LATER: found via Elsewhere. Yes, it is Katrina. But it's someone who's there and not just an armchair ranter like me. Elsewhere has other links but I have to run a kid off to something so I can't explore Dr Laura's Worst Nightmare again. She's the business, but there are too many good blogs, too little time.

Here's a bit from one entry from badgerbag (of course I pick one that's slightly about the government. Figures. At least I didn't pick the one about leadership.).

that fema office upstairs in the dome

You know, all last week i was sending people up to the FEMA office in 457. I never managed to get up there myself. But I was told they were registering people to get their FEMA numbers (which you need to do anything else significant...).

You know what that office is? Mark tells me they are 20 or so people at phones. They sit dialing the 800 FEMA number over and over until they get past the busy signal and get through and then they raise a hand for an evacuee to come over and do their own phone registration. Often by the time the evacuee who's been waiting in line gets to the phone, FEMA has hung up.

During part of the process the person often has to fax some kind of documents to FEMA. But, the FEMA office does not have a fax machine. They've been there over a week, and they don't have a fax! Or a computer! The FEMA employees up there are crying, they're enraged, they're pounding their fists on the desk, they don't know what to do. They're not supposed to leave their positions.

Read more Badgerbag: Messy, Surly, Full of Books.

Today's Fab Blog Find

thanks to Beth.

Tied to the Tracks, or Storytelling.
LOOK. It's not all Katrina all the time. Enter her contest so it'll run and then I can win it. Thank you.

Uh oh. The other one is now posted.

My crit for the Larissa fund is now up. That's only 99 cents, thank goodness--in case I have to bid on it for dignity's sake. I'd beg you guys to bid, but I've already done that once this week. Thanks, by the way.

I bid on a Teresa Bodwell book, but skipped the lunch with Julia Quinn. I wonder if Julia feels any kind of pressure when she sees someone's paying more than five hundred to eat with her. I mean for that kind of price she better scintillate like crazy, right? I'd be studying joke books just to make sure I had material to break awkward silences.

What's a cow's favorite place to go?
the moooooseum.

What kind of mouse doesn't eat cheese?
a computer mouse

(actual popsicle stick jokes)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Edith Layton's Son and Katrina

Man, I hope my kids grow up to be as funny and sharp as this guy.

Adam Felber. Some people know him as the guy from the radio show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. I know of him because he's the son of Ms. Layton, who's one of my favorite writers despite the fact that she's a Yankees fan.

From Felber's blog:
The Big Set-up

From MediacorpsNews

In June 2004, southern Louisiana’s emergency management chief Walter Maestri told the local Time Picayune newspaper that federal funds appeared to have been diverted instead of paying for repairs the state’s dykes, designed to protect the low-lying region from flooding.

“Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us,” he wrote at the time. “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay.”

Wow - I’ve been coming across dozens of things like this in the past week, partly from research, partly from your emails. And it’s outrageous. FEMA reports, articles in scientific journals and mainstream publications, interviews… it’s simply unbelievable. It seems that as far back as 2001, people in the bayou and around the coutry were already making their voices heard about the disaster preparedness in New Orleans just so in case something happened, they could blame the President.

Yes, that’s right, as early as the first Bush budget, there were people preparing to set the President up. Looking forward to the blame game, no doubt, should something terrible happen. A secret liberal-funded program of covert “public warnings” and “widely-circulated scientific reports” and “vociferous protests” was organized under the radar, ensuring that those documents would be sitting there in the archives like time bombs, waiting for the moment that something went wrong…

read the rest here.

* * * *

Now ferfe, before you post, keep in mind that this is a particulary wonderful example of number 8 on Mr. Sun's list.

What's the next stage? Sorrow?

I don't know. I read this and if I knew how, I'd pray for the caregivers who had to make this choice. Dang, it sounds just like war.

I wonder why this made it into a British paper and not my local rag.

now with a website

A couple of people have recently asked me about my agent, Emily Sylvan Kim, who left Writer's House to start her own agency.

Ta da! Here you go, Prospect Agency.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bosnian Crafts AGAIN

Okay, I did what the pros suggested. I borrowed a pretty good camera. I spread out a sheet. (Not white. We don't have any white ones)

And the colors still aren't right. GRRRRRR. The inside photo with Alex holding the rug is closer to the true values of rug B, BR.

The rugs all look somber in the photos. They're not. That blue is SKY blue. The dark rose is pretty dang rosey.

Hell. I give up.

You can go see the rugs and purses at flickr. I hope. I'm doing the socks another day because I'm sick of this.

Prices for the purses are about $12 or $15. The rugs start at $15 for the little square guys. and go up to $85 for the more intricate ones.

more photos coming, but first . . .(Beth--stripy socks alert)

my brother sent me this:

Bush declaring "Obviously! A town built by the French!"

["New Orleans under water"]

from: Nouvel Observateur

I'm unloading the photos from the camera. Again.

First day of school pix!

(They wanted to express despair, happiness etc.)

School started September 1. Boy 3 wearing favorite tee-shirt. Oops. Unintentional tacky time. Can we see what it is?
And what's written there? (The back is covered with the same stylized skulls)


Okay, we come to the stripey socks, Beth.
CLICK on the photo to see it better. The pink in the real striped sox is more like peach (flesh tone). Those are the very vivid ones. Very. Vivid.

The green and red stripe ones are slightly larger than the other pairs. See anything you want? The yellow and white toothy striped ones have the same pattern all around. The black and tan ones (soft!) have two pattern. Most socks have one pattern on the bottom and another on the top.
There is also the big pair of tall socks that probably would fit my size ten tootsies--their picture is in the blog somewhere. You remember them? If you don't, you'll have to go through archives to find them because I have to go outside. It's gorgeous out there.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I'm not a nurse or a doctor or a soldier or a cop or a firefighter

or a billionaire.
What can I do?

Hey, I have skills. I can give people SHIT ABOUT THEIR WRITING! And I've figured out how I can help Katrina victims with this amazing, life-saving skill.

I think I'm going to adopt the Monica Jackson method, pick your favorite style of critiquing. Her critique is going for big bucks.

Can you say overexposure? Because sometime this week another auction is going to show up with a critique from me. Here's the first. It's being run by Amy. You can find my print books at this auction too.

It's for a good cause, benefitting author Inga Mahn, who lost almost everything in the flood (she saved kids, pets and computer).

I'm not too proud to use pathos and, after months of running contests, I know how.

Think Jerry Lewis at the end of one of those telethons, back when he had what it took. Tears, trembling hands, big white handkerchief.

It's painful for all of us.

Please, don't make me look bad. Bid on this. Or this. Or this.

Letters to Editors

Over at NOLA.COM, the locals are getting support from a nation that mourns thousands of lost lives with them and helps figure out what went wrong with the total response scolding letters from out-of-towners.

My personal favorite--Posted Friday, Sept. 9, 2005, at 2:28 p.m.

Media arrogance of the grandest scale was displayed The Times-Picayune's editorial, "An open letter to the president."

New Orleans -- a city of political corruption, debauchery, drunkenness, fornication, crime and welfare recipients -- was a nightmare before, during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina because city, parish and state emergency plans were woefully inadequate to begin with, then poorly implemented. So, when things go badly, as it clearly did in New Orleans, local government officials immediately look to Washington -- first to blame and then for a bailout.

When your foul-mouth bully of a mayor points his finger of blame at President Bush, he should remember that he has three fingers pointing back at himself**. If anyone is removed from office, the mayor should be the first to go. And the governor of Louisiana should be next.

Also, how much effort was but forth by the Times-Picayune and its employees to rescue, feed and house the poor evacuees of New Orleans? If this was so easy to do, as you suggest in your open letter to the president, if the city was so accessible to your reporters and others, then help should have -- could have -- first come from them.

Be careful with your demands. The American people are generous, but they won't give if they feel bullied or, in my case, if my president is unfairly attacked.

Joe Braddy Winter Haven, Fla.

Those NOLA types clearly need a good scolding because there are plenty of other letters like this one:
Your Opinions
Posted Sept. 9, 2004, at 2:21 p.m.
BLAMING THE INNOCENT (got to love that title)

The Times-Picayune is blaming FEMA and President Bush for the failure to meet the needs of the citizens of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. I don't know what gets into you folks, that you always blame the feds. The city and state governments are responsible for citizen safety. These two governments should evacuate the citizens, care for the citizens and set up medical facilities. They should provide transportation. They should provide food and water. They bear responsibility, but you just go nuts blaming President Bush.

Your residents are dying but you want to blame the innocent. You liberals take the cake.

George B. Williams Manassas, Va.

One wonders if GBW actually understands the scope of the disaster? If he's actually hunting around the internet (like Obsessive Kate) enough to find and read NOLA.COM how could he not also see that this was beyond any locality or state that didn't have Superman as a resident? And I think some Mississippi**** and 'Bama residents might be annoyed that he ignored them in his ire.

I wish the editors would hire Jed (not my brother) to answer the letters. He did a few from the NY Daily News. (found through crooks and liars)

Had the same effort and organization put forth in sending our troops into Iraq was carried out with Hurricane Katrina, maybe less suffering and loss of life would have occurred.– Curtis Izen, Merrick, L.I.

I see your point Curtis, however it does appear as though the same amount planning did go into Katrina relief efforts as went into Iraq, only with more body armor.

My newspaper was late yesterday; I blame President Bush. My soup for lunch was cold; I blame Bush. Our cat missed the litter box; I blame Bush. And as why I have yet to win the lottery, I blame Bush. To the angry left and Michael Moores of he world, a little advice: Hate consumes you, not those you hate.– Dan Otto, Wyoming, Minn.

Hey Dan, when your cold soup and cat pee unnecessarily kill scores of civilians, let me know. . ....


**I hadn't heard that one in years. Brought me right back to middle school when I went to a teacher because I was the target of a bully. Took me hours to figure out he was blaming me for being bullied.

**** From another out-of-towner to NOLA.COM
People dying in Moss Point, Miss.
Sharon Andrews from 33025 writes
Now, the eleventh day into the Katrina disaster, the destroyed town of Moss Point, Mississippi has received no help from any relief effort or organization. The town is north of Pascagoula. The town people are trying to get word out that there is no help and people are dying. Can someone on your staff call authorities and get some aid to these people, please? The government is essentially worthless.And God bless all of you at NOLA! Without you New Orleans would have been completely lost. Many, many people owe you their lives.

and this one from a local...
Update on Injured woman in Kenner
Name: Laurie Crowe
Home: phone number and email removed by Kate (don't want her to get any hate mail. After all, she almost blames the authorities for not responding)

Subject: My Hurricane Story -- Update on Injured woman in Kenner. I wanted to thank those who responded to my posting if all goes as planned she currently has transportation outof Kenner and a flight to Calif. (Thanks to Center for Missing and Exploited Children).

Beside people on NOLA.COM, they are the only agency that has helped.The replies from NOLA.COM has been a blessing, being so far away we were getting low on options. My prayers go out to everyone affected by this hurricane especially to those who are still trapped.

Friday, September 09, 2005

All dressed up and nowhere to go

Hot nookie follows. Then they run. Then they nook some more. Nook, nook,
nook. Run some more. Nook. Revelations happen. Nook. Oh, hey, HEA

--Smart Bitches Trashy Books review.

Candy reviewed my ebook and I don't have to do any kind of visualization. Damn! I was geared up and ready to be Mature and Forgiving (I have great role models from SBTB), and the bitch goes and gives me a good review.

Phew. I can breathe again.

This amiable schtick isn't all my fault, Kate whines.

For instance . . . my second book Somebody to Love. I tried to make the hero a rat-bastard, but my editor said he was too cold and even borderline psycho. I had to rewrite him from scratch. If anyone thinks Griffin is too nice, it's not entirely my doing.

Buck Passing...Not just for politicians anymore.

Today's Fab Website.

Mr. Sun..
Mr. Sun is a mysterious figure, a blinding light. Do not look directly at Mr. Sun. Bask in him. Although 93 million miles away, Mr. Sun uses this Blog to share his warmth with others.

He has a way with graphics that gets to the heart of a matter.
A couple of posts:

1. Louisianans who are not looting.

2. Not political. Just too right and too funny. I thought of ferfelabat when I read it.

Today's Inspiration

I want you to go read this. Now.

Amy is someone I know, as in I've actually met her and even forced her to have dinner with me. Yup. And I'm so proud to know her, I could bust a gut. Forget movie actors and other famous types--ha! I know AMY.

Today's Outrage

from various news sources: Rep. Richard Baker of Baton Rouge (a Democrat) is overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

Baker explains later he didn't intend flippancy but has long wanted to improve low-income housing.

I can imagine a guy making this sort of doofus remark in, say, ten years, when the pain has subsided. One week later? While they're still collecting the dead?

Family Tradition

Did I ever mention my family has a history of political activism? (I didn't really forget...I just don't know the details. They didn't talk about it). Hey, my mother knew I. F. Stone. **(She dragged me to his funeral, anyway.)

Turns out that there's also a family tradition of avoiding the Red Cross. I was talking to my older sister this morning and she told me that she'd once planned to go volunteer for the Red Cross. Our aunt had said, "Go work for someone else. Not them."

Could be urban legend, and the people who were involved are dead now. . .but back in the fifties, the Red Cross fingered our mother as a commie. Red Cross workers were encouraged to turn in lists of the other kind of Reds. I suppose upper management pushed it in a big way or the family wouldn't have boycotted the whole organization.

My mother, a liberal who didn't mince words, had also worked in the US Embassy in Moscow during World War Two. Add that to her tendency to say something along the lines of, "Nonsense, and you're idiots"**** when people pointed to her friends and associates as commies, and no wonder she got in trouble. She was supposed to show up at the witch hunt but had a baby (my older sister) instead.

The murky past wouldn't stop me from giving the RC money if I thought it was the best use of funds for Katrina victims. The murky present would. My friend June said that when she lived through a recent hurricane in Florida, the Red Cross did show up--but they charged her, a victim, for coffee. Lots of ex-military men don't donate because the RC charged for sandwiches and coffee while in the field. And then there's that video link below.

The RC volunteers are amazing, wonderful people. The upper management and rules they enforce? Meh, at best. Or at least that's the picture I'm getting.

I've looked around to find the group's overhead and it seems to be about twenty percent--sort of high, especially since management apparently doesn't manage well--or to the vicims' best interests. Hey while I was looking, I noticed that Bernadine Healy resigned after 9/11 because of accusations that the Red Cross screwed up. Wonder if any RC heads are going to roll or if the FEMA Horseman will be sacrifice enough for our anger. Will Brown go down? It's probably just a matter of time..

Okay, who would I have given the money instead--if I'd known this RC wheeze?

Habitat for Humanity

Second Harvest. ("100 percent of your donation will go directly to Hurricane Katerina relief efforts" Talk about low overhead.)

Salvation Army ("A $100 donation to The Salvation Army will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household clean-up kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets, and cleaning supplies") Dang. I hope LA people aren't trying to sweep or mop up that mud!

Hey, have you read about how NO people are suffering from chemical burns on their feet when they touch the water and that dogs that drink water fall over dead less than ten minutes later? Rumors, I hope? Please? But that water's nasty for sure. Where is it and the contaminated buildings/dirt/etc gonna go? Environmental disaster time in a big way. Gargghgg.

Catholic Charities

And if I didn't like any of them, I'd check out the
review of charitable organizations.

Notice all those religious organizations? Yup. God and Allah and Buddha worshippers can come through in a big way.


**And in a journalism class I learned about Stone's insistence that good journalists remain Washington outsiders. From a Molly Irvin story about Stone: on the Washington press corps "You can sit on your rear end in the Press Club and write from press releases. You can be a pet and a sucker for the Establishment....But you cannot get intimate with officials and maintain your independence. No matter whether they are good guys or bad guys." Many of us agree in principle but still yearn for recognition and acceptance. Stone was never in much danger of sitting around the Press Club. They threw him out in 1941 for bringing a black judge to lunch there. "They took me back in 1981, 40 years after they let me out," Stone says. "The town was filled with such cowards then."

**** POLITELY. She'd say "eff you" POLITELY. My mother was a very couth person. Loaded to the gills with culture.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Here's One Answer to my question

Erika wrote: Hello Kate Rothwell, I was going to buy your books-you were a new to me author but I won't because your Howard(I hate Republicans-Republicans are Evil)Dean-DailyKos like comments have alienated me.


Okay, so there's one reader I lost. . .

But of course now I'm going to explain myself.

I don't hate Republicans. In general, I don't despise anyone. This enormous wrath is unusual for me. I certainly don't hate anyone because of their political beliefs. And I only feel rage about inaction or indifference or blindness (I don't think an opposing opinion is blindness. Only an opposing opinion that's not based on fact).

Know Brenda Coulter? I admire the heck out of that woman and I think we barely EVER agree on politics. She's smart and interesting. I love Jennsylvania, a Bushie--come to think of it, I ought to check in with her and see what she's saying--later: nothing much as it turns out. She's on a trip.

And come on, SandyO, here's your chance to show yourself. "So... See?" (Kate points at SandyO and then hauls out her neighbor Greg, another Republican**--grabbing him by his conservative tie and accidently scuffing his Gucci loafers) "Some of My Best Friends are Republicans."

It's just that this whole Katrina has me in a rage that has overflowed into occasional bitterness and also into someone I can barely recognise. . .and I'm not sure I want to let go of her or the anger. Being tenacious about this event seems too important to me and my country.

It is true, I like the Kos. Some of those people are nutcakes who only succeed in appalling or amusing me, but that's true of any political blog of any persuasion.

BTW, I'm grateful to Erika for giving her name. I think that's why I'd bother to answer--turns out anonymous hostile posts are more annoying than spam. I've deleted a couple of nasty ones for that reason.


** Actually I named a seedy character in my second book after Greg G. He thought it would amuse his insurance company coworkers. This area is filled with Republicans--insurance people are conservative. I'd be sort of lonely if I told them all to go to hell.

Katrina again?

Yup, this is a great blog.

I just had to turn the radio off when I started screaming again. What do you MEAN there's no central communication system to find missing family members? And not even one for just the stupid astrodome? What the HELL? While I cook, I'm going to listen to Georgette Heyer's Cotillion instead. Phyllida Nash is a fantastic reader.

rambling about authorship sailing around

Well, heavens. ARLENE had to go and make me think about another subject. Sheesh.

She's pre-published and has a plan. You can read part of it in the comments section here. I hope she comes back and tells us what else she's considered for her published career. It seems worth thinking about.

Probably too late for me.

I've been a writer for-flipping-ever, an author for a bit more than a year. I didn't plan on making any changes when I published and I have never, ever felt like an Author. Okay, maybe when I went to a booksigning for the first time. But now when I sign those books, it's odd, because they don't even feel like mine anymore.

I remember asking Edith Layton (God, I love that woman. Her writing's great too.) about a character in a book and she just gave me a puzzled look. She'd left those characters behind. I, a member of her reading public, still connected them to her, but she'd let them drift away from her.

I and my books are not connected to one another except when I'm working on them. The rest of the time, I'm Kate: Citizen, Slob and Mother, and they're just at the back of my brain and on the computer.

For months after The Call, I floated around on the ceiling and thought about being author. I worried ENDLESSLY about how my books would be received gawd, I worried about EVERYTHING. But now...I'm back to just being a writer again.

I've sold two more books since then, and selling's still a high, and so's getting a fan letter. But the rest of those initial amazing, strong sensations are just about gone. There are advantages to this. It means I can focus on the books and characters and not worry (and believe me, it is a worry) about the rest of it. I suppose when I get my first real drubbing in a public review--Candy?--the authorship will come home to roost again.

The disadvantages? This blog could be considered one. I forget that there are books out there whose sales might be connected to me. I wish people who were turned off by my ranting would tell me about it so I could start to keep track.

I really have been a writer for a long-ass time. Back in my old hometown, a fair number of people knew my name and face because I'd written hundreds of articles--it should be mentioned that those articles were not escapist fiction. (Some might have been, but never mind that.) I actually did avoid going out in sweats and teeshirts with holes because I was bordering on the very edge of possibly being something similar to a public citizen. But that whole time I was a writer NOT an author.

Now that I write HEA books--which I love to read, love to write-- this is a whole new ballgame.

So well? Ought you make sure your public persona is part of that world you create? I'm thinking either that or create a good fiction of a persona (new name etc) to fit role of author. It's not so much a matter of Owing Your Public, it's well.........ummmmmmmm..........making more money.

Selling more books!

Does a more glamorous, commercial (and less of an OUT THERE in YOUR FACE with strong OPINIONS that have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BOOKS blah blah blah) author sell more? Or is it just a matter of having written a Good Book and having a good marketing plan (that may or may not involve the author)? I wonder if anyone's managed to test the waters as both--a more glamorous image and a Regular Ranting Person--and if they can see which persona works better.

Just when I get back to work

I'm sure it's just a matter of trying to keep track of people. But this is The. Wrong. Way. To. Treat. Citizens. These are evacuees, not criminals.


With computers and fun devices like bar codes capable of shoving out fast little ID cards, there is NO WAY these people should be kept from walking the streets of their own country or going to church.
Link one is a blogger (always suspect.)
Link two is a newspaper article--the Denver Post (less suspect)
Both links came from a comment board.

Bureaucracy strikes again?

I've been doing it again, reading the news, blogs etc. AND I've seen a fair chunk of grumbling that's growing. Today's bushwa: Sounds like the Red Cross might not be doing a great job ...

The link to a video** has the best way to describe it--FEMA, Red Cross etc are acting like rival gangs of bureaucrats. I wish I hadn't sent them money. Apparently the PR department is on the ball because they're doing a fabulous job on advertising. I see their ads EVERY-DAMN-WHERE. Everywhere. I'm not kidding. Lots of photos of flood victims. Hmmm....Another organization to scrutinize when this is over. Don't blast me because I sure am NOT talking about the volunteers-- no way, not them.

I wonder what the answer is. Could it be [Kate, the daughter of bureaucrats, gulps] big organizations aren't the way to run relief operations? How in the world does it get done well? Locals and local governments can't handle it on their own. What does a country do?


** Cognitive dissonance! I think these guys are right wing cranks. Hard to take, agreeing with them. And I remain sort of suspicious of all the "churches are the answer" implications, but then I would. Even though I flipping work for Catholic Charities, and have for more than 6 years, I don't trust religious organizations to keep their particular god out of the matter. ( Funny thing is on the tiny level of my involvement, I've only seen volunteers bring up the Catholic God with the refugees.)

refugee helping evacuee

Hurija wanted to know if the people in the flood wanted slipper socks. She's making some especially for them.

Which reminds me, Beth. I have a few more stripey pairs. The stripes are ....vivid, however.


Three years old again, or, It is TOO all about me.

I was lying in bed last night and realized that I've been worried--if I stop fretting and raging, it's a sign that everyone else has, too. The people who need to be watched will get off the hook; another disaster might occur.

I've spent a lot of my life believing that other people will do the fighting and I could remain happily....not indifferent... but not activist. It's startling to see how wrong that is. On the other hand, I'm teetering close to the crazy edge of magical thinking (that I can control the world with my thoughts). That's supposed to end at about age seven, right?

If I'm going to operate like a child, I ought to track down my friend the child psychologist for some colorful blocks or quacking exercises.

UPDATE: When newspapers print editorials like this one in the Minneappolis Star-Tribune

" . . .No state, no locality can take the lead in dealing with an emergency like Katrina. That's why FEMA was created. That is why Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency on Friday, Aug. 26, when Katrina was a Category 2 hurricane. It is why the Gulf Coast states requested help from the Pentagon that same day.

Exactly what went wrong, in both the planning and the response, must be assessed in short order. The ability of the United States to prepare for and respond to disaster -- whatever the origin -- is vital to its security. No less, it is critical to America's ability to honor its shared values, which include attending to the poor, the sick, the vulnerable -- the very people who suffered most from the government's incompetence last week. Yet the White House delays the reckoning while pointing fingers at others.

Incompetence is bad enough; not taking responsibility for it is shameful. Blaming it on others is a national disgrace."

I feel better.

Someone's watching so I can go write my happy escapist fiction.

Except now the military has ordered the media out of New Orleans. Hmmm. And there're no attempts to estimate body counts? Don't TPTB ALWAYS put out some sort of estimate? Post-tsunami I remember all sorts of numbers flying around.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Oh noooooo!

Those blonde ones are out to get me. They want me to be outraged so I drive off potential readers. Fine, now it's your turn. Navy pilots reprimanded for rescuing people.

You have to do the free registration, but it's the NYTimes, people. You want to be registered there.

and now for some local news

Unlike Shannon's new used wheels**, our new-to-us car has the pick up and oomph of an elderly dyspeptic chiuahua.

Back to work again to retake photos of rugs. . . I had to come home to get the camera. Again.



** Eventually her car will have what it takes to be great, except perhaps good gas mileage.

but one more thing Really. THE LAST ONE

If I hear the phrase "blame game" one more time, I'm gonna barf. And, as someone somewhere pointed out, hurricane season isn't over yet. There has to be a thorough understanding of what happened ASAP before another one hits. Did you know that TWO DAYS after Pearl Harbor, a commission was set up to investigate the attack? I didn't.

And I admit I'm a hypocrit: I wish Clinton was the one to conduct his own investigation into Monica-gate** but I don't trust Bush to conduct a fair and thorough investigation into Katrina. I haven't seen proof that:

1. His administration can find its butt with both hands.
2. The civilians at risk rate higher than his own reputation.


**Come to think of it, I don't. That guy, bless his heart, is a schmuck.

after walking Boy 3 to school.

At the playground waiting for the first bell to ring:

One first grader to another-- "Yeah well, Mrs. F's butt is bigger than Mrs H's." Proving that males' examination of females starts at an early age, Doug.

and it's true . . .

I'd rather read entries that tell us about the great news of how regular Americans (and the rest of the world, by gum. That Fidel dictator has his moments, eh?) are stepping up to the plate.

I'm getting a high blood pressure headache from sites like mine.

yeah, okay, hush

Monica worried about her blog (Jordan addressed the issue of having a welcoming blog) Does rantage would drag a writer down? Actually we don't mean the writing part of the job, only the Author and The Public Image part. We're dependent on readers, and if we alienate them, we're not doing ourselves any favors.

A friend pointed out that that my last post (that basically accuses the administration of neglect bordering on genocide) could be mite too inflammatory. She has a point, I think. Not only because it would put my readers off, but because when people are too shrill, they're impossible to hear.

I still think that the potato famine thang isn't such a bad example. The English didn't consider the Irish entirely human**, and from the various threads I've read, today the "let them shoot each other" theme is common. Am I the only one who sees that people who write that are demonstrating the attitude that African Americans or perhaps the poor in general are:
1. looters or destructive at heart
2. certainly not as valuable as the neighbors and associates the writer knows. (not said, but implied)
3. therefore not entirely human.

I wish someone would convince me I'm wrong, because it scares me.

Anyway, back to the The Irish--when they landed in the US they faced the same kind of discrimination they encountered in England--lucky for them, future generations lost the tell-tale accent and blended in just fine. You don't often hear that Irish-Americans are not like the rest of us.

Actually, it makes sense that people would villify the poor or make them "different from us". If their poverty is all the fault of poor people themselves (or because of that pesky welfare state) then we don't have to feel guilt or expend our own energy or resources to aide them. Peasants are born and bred to be poor. They have always been with us and always will be. It's natural and therefore we can't do a thing about it. Much easier.

Okay, okay, I'll stop. I don't want to lose my passion, but I think the Marie Antoinette farm example (and by the way she did NOT say that cake line) might be over-the-top. Not as dopey as the poor Bush comment by anonymous in that thread. *****

Sheesh. The last person for whom I feel a drop of pity is George Bush. No matter what happens, he's going to come out of this fine. He'll have his gazillions of dollars, the support of family members who are all still alive and .....uh oh. Heading towards shrilldom again*******. I really truly have to shake some of this unattractive self-righteous anger. A writer's blog is supposed to attract readers, or at least not drive them off.


**Where's Jonathan Swift when we need him? We need a Modest Proposal!

***** In fact the more I read about Bush's photo ops the angrier I get. Click here. Read the last paragraph. Weep for us all.

the photo is from Reuters.

and then this bit from here. I didn't write it so you can't accuse me of ranting. Ha.

"This is a clear signal of the depravity of this administration, where everything is political and nothing can be real. Nothing can be done simply because it's the right thing to do, or it's the best thing for America. There is a 'real' America, and then there's Rove's America, where firemen serve the Republican Party and their leader, not people in distress . . .."

*******note to self: dammit. . .SHUT UP all ready.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

chilling thought--thank god for those news dudes

So what do you suppose would have happened if the press had been as lacksidasical as FEMA? Because I honestly think that without pictures like this.

and stories like this prodding the administration into action. . . .the response would have been even slower. Potato famine slow.

random links

I may not get tax deductions but I get pictures when I sent money to the blonde ones. How can she survive in a red state with those bumperstickers?

Did you all see this before the waters rose? I missed it. Rock, paper, Saddam!


Ahhhhhh....thank you, Doug, for the which-would-you-screw pairs. I can't comment yet because I have to think about my choices carefully. Abbott or Costello? Chip or Dale?

I think he should have made it easier. Herman Munster or Gomez Addams? (I dunno though. They each have their own appeal.) OR which of the two Darrens? (Answer: neither. I'm not bi, but I'd much rather have had Endora.)

I'm going to work any second now. Only three hours of hunting news stories. Heh, not bad.

And my agent, bless her, has given me a homework assigment. Someone had to drop-kick me back into a life.

from the site

I liked this letter

Dear America,

I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.

We have arrived on your doorstep on short notice and we apologize for that, but we never were much for waiting around for invitations. We're not much on formalities like that.

And we might be staying around your town for a while, enrolling in your schools and looking for jobs, so we wanted to tell you a few things about us. We know you didn't ask for this and neither did we, so we're just going to have to make the best of it.

First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue.

We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it. And right now, we need it.

Just don't get carried away. For instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters.

We're not going to listen. We're stubborn that way.

You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard.

We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't.

But we'll try not to judge you while we're in your town.Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts.

Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if we could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state - why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots?

We can't really explain that. It is what it is.

You've probably heard that many of us stayed behind. As bad as it is, many of us cannot fathom a life outside of our border, out in that place we call Elsewhere.

The only way you could understand that is if you have been there, and so many of you have. So you realize that when you strip away all the craziness and bars and parades and music and architecture and all that hooey, really, the best thing about where we come from is us.

We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time.

When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces. But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.

OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times.

But what the hell.

And one more thing: In our part of the country, we're used to having visitors. It's our way of life.

So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair.

That is our promise. That is our faith.

From Chris Rose, who can be reached at

Monday, September 05, 2005

oh my lord. I was wrong again.

I thought:

1. I was getting through this anger stage (part of mourning as Candy says)

I was wrong.

2. I thought that those amusing blondes were having fun with their readers. This had to be a spoof.

I was wrong.

God, maybe someone made it up. Maybe it's a lie. I didn't hear it after all. Could anyone be this clueless?


Accompanying her husband, former President George H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them."

The former First Lady's remarks were aired this evening on National Public Radio's "Marketplace" program. She was part of a group in Houston today at the Astrodome that included her husband and former President Bill Clinton, who were chosen by her son, the current president, to head fundraising efforts for the recovery. Sen. Hilary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama were also present.

In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost everyone I’ve talked to says we're going to move to Houston."

Then she added: "What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary,** is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (chuckles slightly)--this is working very well for them."


Maybe it sounds better in some sort of context? Maybe? I don't see how. Working out very well? Hello???


** Salon had that little bit added that makes her words even a bit more repugnant.

I'm STILL not shutting up

another update: Okay, another reason I can stop and eat cake: these women have it covered.
AND I did a bit more digging about the Gore "event" (I'm now registered with about a thousand newspaper websites all over the country) You can see details about it in the entry below this one.

Damn I wish that man was our president. Do you suppose this will show up in the big media?

Alaskan Pete from a comment board:

They claim on one hand. "This is the worst natural disaster to hit our country, on a scale we've never seen"

and the conclusion?

"The city and state should have been able to handle it".

One or the other wingnuts, you can't have both.

Later on: I can do it now, shut down the needless yammering. I read this blog and felt much better.

I'm baking a cake for a party we're going to in a couple of hours. I've given permission to my family to slap me longside the head if I start to Go On About It Again. I'm counting on my friend L to talk about shaving fabric and lizard health conditions to pull me back to the world I occupy. Phew.

I must have missed that press conference that announce his offer to help

From an LA Times article. about the emails on NOLA . . .

Missing and disabled at 2113 Munster in Meraux
From: Pam Gilchrist Necasie
[When] I last spoke to my brother, they had water coming into their home from the roof vents. Next call, they had water rapidly rising from the ground up. My father is disabled and 65 years old. He has long black hair, usually in a ponytail, missing front teeth. He is diabetic, has high blood pressure and other health issues.

Update: On Sunday, Necasie finally heard from her father, who said he had been airlifted from the roof of his home last Monday along with Necasie's brother and her brother's girlfriend. They spent five days in the New Orleans Superdome. When her father became sick, he was flown to a hospital in Tennessee. "He told me they flew in Al Gore's private plane, which was donated for the evacuation," Necasie said. "He told me they were dirty, like they just walked out of a Tarzan movie. I'm crying now. I just want to hold my dad."

Imagine. Offering to help without making it a photo op or issuing a press release! hmmm

There really was no press conference. And it wasn't HIS plane. He just arranged it and paid for the Charter. This is from the Knoxville newspaper where the plane landed. The local mayor's quoted all over the article. Not a peep from Gore.

A couple of days ago Al Gore was down there but he refused interviews because he was down there to help. Gore chartered a plane and flew NO hospital patients to Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Saturday. He rode on the plane himself but wouldn't leave the plane because he didn't want it to be a political thing. Word that he was behind the flights came from the patients themselves. This was from the local paper where the plane landed.

About 140 people - mostly elderly and infirm - arrived Saturday at McGhee Tyson Airport on a chartered mercy flight from hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, welcomed to East Tennessee by a bright sun and a host of medical professionals straining at the reins to help their fellow human beings without regard to whether they were on the clock.

The displaced hurricane victims came to Tennessee on a hastily arranged flight, accompanied by doctors and carrying whatever they had in boxes, bags or, in one case, an old suitcase tied up with rope.

Former Vice President Al Gore arranged the flight and was on board, but he declined to take credit for the airlift, fearing it would be "politicized." One of the doctors on board the flight was Dr. Anderson Spickard of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, who said he had a "personal and professional" relationship with Gore. Spickard said Gore called him about 11 p.m. Friday to ask him to participate in the flight.

"The jet was chartered," he said. "It was a private effort."

Gore chartered the plane, but, Spickard said, "we'll decide who pays for it later."