A string of thoughts after Tucson

Herewith a string of disconnected thoughts and a litany of links to many things you likely already know, simply because at the moment there feels like so little else I’ve been able to do. Like so many of us, since about midday Saturday I’ve been off-and-on glued to my news sources of choice (in my case, various trusted journalists, bloggers, and Twitterers online), trying to first understand what happened in Arizona, and then why.

Like many left-leaning folk, when I learned the congresswoman was a democrat who’d been vandalized and targeted in the past (most notoriously by Sarah Palin’s PAC’s “gun sights” map, and by the congresswoman’s Tea Party opponent’s campaign imagery), I immediately assumed the gunman was a right-wing extremist.  Dr. Maddow rightly urged folks to hold off on the speculation before adequate information about him was in, and we all began to learn more about him.

In just a day or so, it has become clear only that he intended to shoot the congresswoman, he last registered to vote as an independent, and is obviously mentally unstable. As if planning to assassinate a congresswoman and everyone near her is anything but insane.  (This Mother Jones exclusive interview with a friend seems to confirm the free-form nature of that insanity.) Though he’d been suspended from his community college until he received certification that he was mentally stable and no threat to himself and others, he faced no barrier to buying his gun. Which, as it happens, was the same kind that Congresswoman Giffords —who supports “concealed carry” laws – said she owned.

Read moreA string of thoughts after Tucson

Copenhagen pictorial (3)

A pleached allé, on Hambros Alle

This here’s a pleached allé on Hambros Alle, in the  neighborhood we stayed in. It ends in the Øresund, the strait separating Denmark from Sweden.  We walked by this many days, and every time I wanted to stand in the crosswalk and stare and stare and stare, into eternity, or if not eternity, then at least the distant bump of Sweden.

Day Two roundup on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.


The beloved just closed her youth music theater company’s production of A Chorus Line, and with that the swing shift part of our family life is slowly, gratefully, opening back to normal. Two of us to do (and trade off doing) what drove a menopausal monotasking Baba half-way up a tree to do solo for too many weeks. With increasingly unhappy kids. Again, I have no idea how single parents do it.

I was already half-way up a tree in the first place, so being driven the rest of the way up it located me at the tippy-top, where the view might be pretty, but the balance is precarious.


Things aren’t been easy. Life-wise and blogularly, and particularly at the points — few, if significant — where those two lines converge. Those who write narrative nonfiction and draw heavily on autobiography are always in danger of writing themselves into a corner: it’s the Faustian bargain one strikes to gain access to the ever-present gold mine of material. But a corner of some sort is where I seem to find myself at the moment. At least until I can figure out how to turn it.

Read moreUntitled

Inaugural alpenglow


Yesterday was a day that defies hyperbole.  And I say this as a chronically hyperbolic person.  I left a crumb trail of disjointed remarks throughout the day on the Twitter thingie, which showed itself to be a phenomenally clever mechanism for enabling an open-ended number of people to talk at, and sometimes even with, other people.  In brief but fun spurts.

From the small clutch of voices I can manage to keep track of there, as well as perusing elsewhere, Aretha Franklin’s voice had most of us in tears, from the realness of it, the import of it all.  And, at least that day, and at least for me, it had the effect of a big ole Warren de-tox cleansing enema, a  Jedi mind trick.  “That was not the homophobe megapastor you were kvetching over,” her voice told us, as she passed a well-manicured index and middle finger in front of our mesmerized faces.  As I was saying to one of the preschool staff this morning, Warren sounded hollow and fake to my ears, and Franklin sounded real.  Likewise Rev. Lowery.  The preschool staffer, an African American woman old enough to know the both Franklin and Lowery and the history they’ve spanned, nodded emphatically.  When Rev. Lowery finished his closing benediction, I lept up to my feet and pretty much applauded my watch right off my wrist.  That.  Now that was the invocation for this event.  I went and grabbed a pen and paper when he got to the part:

And now, O Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance. And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.

Box Turtle Bulletin has both the text of the benediction and NBC’s feed of it.

So basically, Rick who?  from Saddle what? is my position on the matter right now, in the alpenglow of the inaugural day.  Most sane people will remember things like the look on Beyoncé’s face as she sang “At Last” to the President and Mrs. Obama [!] the First Lady.  Okay, or sane people like me will.


Read moreInaugural alpenglow