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Saturday, August 19, 2017

National Photography Day

Did you know today is National Photography Day?

As it happens, I captured - on this auspicious day - photographs of Annabelle snatching one of my bears.

As if she doesn't have enough toys of her own? !


And when confronted?

This . . . 

"it wasn't me, Mama . . . "


She is such a little con artist!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

tears and a Hymn

I've always been a person easily moved to tears. 

I'm the girl who cried during an Eric Clapton acapella encore just from the sheer beauty of it all.

I find myself shedding more tears than usual these days - they began the evening of November 8, 2016.

Donald and Harley and I were settled down in a little beach house at Topsail Island watching the returns.

Plans were made to walk down a quiet beach that we love, step into the ocean that soothes my heart and soul and say a silent "Thank You" once we heard the news I was sure we would hear.

When Hillary Clinton would step up on a stage as the President Elect of the United States of America and say her "thank you's" to a country that was smart enough, strong enough, to turn their backs on the likes of Donald Trump.

Instead, we turned off the TV and sat in dumb silence and went to bed.

I didn't cry that night.

I woke up the next morning thinking the story would have somehow changed during the night.

Well, we know that didn't happen.

And I cried.

And I feel like I've been crying ever since.

And the reasons vary from day to day - sometimes from hour to hour.

Sometimes they come because I am so SO angry.

Or I'm unbearably sad.

Or frustrated by the ignorance.

Or, once again, I'm moved to tears by the beauty of someone's words.

Or the strength they possess in order to write them.

Words such as these, written by Sherman Alexie -

Why do we measure people's capacity
To love by how well they love their progeny?
That kind of love is easy. Encoded.
Any lion can be devoted
To its cubs. Any insect, be it prey
Or predator, worships its own DNA.
Like the wolf, elephant, bear, and bees,
We humans are programmed to love what we conceive.
That's why it's so shocking when a neighbor
Drives his car into a pond and slaughter–
Drowns his children. And that's why we curse
The mother who leaves her kids—her hearth—
And never returns. That kind of betrayal
Rattles our souls. That shit is biblical.
So, yes, we should grieve an ocean
When we encounter a caretaker so broken.
But I'm not going to send you a card
For being a decent parent. It ain't that hard
To love somebody who resembles you.
If you want an ode then join the endless queue
Of people who are good to their next of kin—
Who somehow love people with the same chin
And skin and religion and accent and eyes.
So you love your sibling? Big fucking surprise.
But how much do you love the strange and stranger?
Hey, Caveman, do you see only danger
When you peer into the night? Are you afraid
Of the country that exists outside of your cave?
Hey, Caveman, when are you going to evolve?
Are you still baffled by the way the earth revolves
Around the sun and not the other way around?
Are you terrified by the ever-shifting ground?
Hey, Trump, I know you weren't loved enough
By your sandpaper father, who roughed and roughed
And roughed the world. I have some empathy
For the boy you were. But, damn, your incivility,
Your volcanic hostility, your lists
Of enemies, your moral apocalypse—
All of it makes you dumb and dangerous.
You are the Antichrist we need to antitrust.
Or maybe you're only a minor league
Dictator—temporary, small, and weak.
You've wounded our country. It might heal.
And yet, I think of what you've revealed
About the millions and millions of people
Who worship beneath your tarnished steeple.
Those folks admire your lack of compassion.
They think it's honest and wonderfully old-fashioned.
They call you traditional and Christian.
LOL! You've given them permission
To be callous. They have been rewarded
For being heavily armed and heavily guarded.
You've convinced them that their deadly sins
(Envy, wrath, greed) have transformed into wins.
Of course, I'm also fragile and finite and flawed.
I have yet to fully atone for the pain I've caused.
I'm an atheist who believes in grace if not in God.
I'm a humanist who thinks that we’re all not
Humane enough. I think of someone who loves me—
A friend I love back—and how he didn't believe
How much I grieved the death of Prince and his paisley.
My friend doubted that anyone could grieve so deeply
The death of any stranger, especially a star.
"It doesn't feel real," he said. If I could play guitar
And sing, I would have turned purple and roared
One hundred Prince songs—every lick and chord—
But I think my friend would have still doubted me.
And now, in the context of this poem, I can see
That my friend’s love was the kind that only burns
In expectation of a fire in return.
He’s no longer my friend. I mourn that loss.
But, in the Trump aftermath, I've measured the costs
And benefits of loving those who don't love
Strangers. After all, I'm often the odd one—
The strangest stranger—in any field or room.
"He was weird" will be carved into my tomb.
But it’s wrong to measure my family and friends
By where their love for me begins or ends.
It’s too easy to keep a domestic score.
This world demands more love than that. More.
So let me ask demanding questions: Will you be
Eyes for the blind? Will you become the feet
For the wounded? Will you protect the poor?
Will you welcome the lost to your shore?
Will you battle the blood-thieves
And rescue the powerless from their teeth?
Who will you be? Who will I become
As we gather in this terrible kingdom?
My friends, I'm not quite sure what I should do.
I'm as angry and afraid and disillusioned as you.
But I do know this: I will resist hate. I will resist.
I will stand and sing my love. I will use my fist
To drum and drum my love. I will write and read poems
That offer the warmth and shelter of any good home.
I will sing for people who might not sing for me.
I will sing for people who are not my family.
I will sing honor songs for the unfamilar and new.
I will visit a different church and pray in a different pew.
I will silently sit and carefully listen to new stories
About other people’s tragedies and glories.
I will not assume my pain and joy are better.
I will not claim my people invented gravity or weather.
And, oh, I know I will still feel my rage and rage and rage
But I won’t act like I’m the only person onstage.
I am one more citizen marching against hatred.
Alone, we are defenseless. Collected, we are sacred.
We will march by the millions. We will tremble and grieve.
We will praise and weep and laugh. We will believe.
We will be courageous with our love. We will risk danger
As we sing and sing and sing to welcome strangers.
©2017, Sherman Alexie

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Those statues

I'll be honest. 

I rarely ever look at war memorial statues when I'm playing tourist in the south (where I also live), so they have never, up until recently, meant anything to me one way or another. 

I'm betting I'm not the only one.

That does not, however, mean the history behind them and why they're there holds no meaning to me. 

But the're just there, for me - kinda like the big canons scattered all around southern parks. They sometimes make a cool prop for a photo. 

Again - I "get" it, I just don't dwell on it all. 

We're surrounded by it. 

Sorta like Christmas music in October - I try to tune it out. 

I guess it's shameful to some that unless they appeal to me aesthetically, I pretty much don't notice. 

I don't think it's because I'm totally disinterested, I suppose I just feel as though if you've seen one small town statue of a confederate "hero" or "anti-hero" you've pretty much seen 'em all. 

I live in the south. 

I live in a part of the country where there are people who make their lives completely about "The South." 

Some who embrace the whole Southern Belle thing. 

Some who embrace stereotypes and keep them growing and flourishing. Some which should have been allowed to die, IMO, a painless death many years ago. 

There are a lot of things about the south I deeply, deeply love. 

The fact that many in the rest of the country think we're the capital of ignorance and racism is not one of them. 

Put the ugly damn statues in a museum if you feel they harbor that much history. 

But for God's sake - there are plenty of 'em, can't we choose one or two instead of forming a cult of love for ugly confederate statues? 

For those who feel differently - I would really appreciate not catching any grief over this today. I've put up with more than my share already, okay? 

In the meantime, I love this quote regarding these now (in)famous statues. (thank you, Joyce Yarrow): "Equal parts myth and deception, they were the ‘alternative facts’ of their time — a false narrative etched in stone and bronze more than 100 years ago — not only to lionize the architects and defenders of slavery, but to perpetuate the tyranny and terror of Jim Crow and reassert a new era of white supremacy,” the Mayor of Richmond, a 35-year-old African-American who previously worked for Governor Terry McAuliffe, said in June.

I do believe that says it all.  Thank you, Mayor Stoney.

Truth be told, the statues may not be what some of you think they are. 

IF you'd care to educate yourselves, I would recommend this article:

"A statue of Lee in uniform, mounted on a horse in a southern town square has only ever had one meaning: white supremacy. These statues didn’t come to be associated with racism and Jim Crow only after the Civil War had receded into memory. They were created, from the start, to mark and celebrate the foundations of Jim Crow, uncontested white rule. More mythically, but to the same end, they were built to glorify a vision of the South in which her black citizens had no place."

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Where will it end? How will it end? When??

just when I think i'm as angry as I can possibly be.

just when I think my heart has been broken as many times as it's possible to break.

then this.

I don't see how this can possibly ever come to an end, let alone a peaceful end.


An ending? 

What do you see as an ending to all this?

Does my generation die at war with racists and Nazis?

Do we leave it to our children to work it out? 

CAN they?

Our grandchildren?

For sure it's not going to be resolved by our government.

They're not even willing to speak up against a raving illiterate racist lunatic that we allowed to walk into our White House, and is now defiling by his very presence.

“I'm sorta glad that them people got hit and I'm glad that girl died,” Moore said in a voicemail to WBTV. 

“They were a bunch of Communists out there protesting against somebody’s freedom of speech, so it doesn't bother me that they got hurt at all.”

“I think we're going to see more stuff like this happening at white nationalist events,” Moore warned.

Monday, August 14, 2017


by Elisa Chavez

"Since you mention it, I think I will start that race war.
I could’ve swung either way? But now I’m definitely spending
the next 4 years converting your daughters to lesbianism;
I’m gonna eat all your guns. Swallow them lock stock and barrel
and spit bullet casings onto the dinner table;
I’ll give birth to an army of mixed-race babies.
With fathers from every continent and genders to outnumber the stars,
my legion of multiracial babies will be intersectional as fuck
and your swastikas will not be enough to save you,
because real talk, you didn’t stop the future from coming.
You just delayed our coronation.
We have the same deviant haircuts we had yesterday;
we are still getting gay-married like nobody’s business
because it’s still nobody’s business;
there’s a Muslim kid in Kansas who has already written the schematic
for the robot that will steal your job in manufacturing,
and that robot? Will also be gay, so get used to it:
we didn’t manifest the mountain by speaking its name,
the buildings here are not on your side just because
you make them spray-painted accomplices.
These walls do not have genders and they all think you suck.
Even the earth found common cause with us
the way you trample us both,
oh yeah: there will be signs, and rainbow-colored drum circles,
and folks arguing ideology until even I want to punch them
but I won’t, because they’re my family,
in that blood-of-the-covenant sense.
If you’ve never loved someone like that
you cannot outwaltz us, we have all the good dancers anyway.
I’ll confess I don’t know if I’m alive right now;
I haven’t heard my heart beat in days,
I keep holding my breath for the moment the plane goes down
and I have to save enough oxygen to get my friends through.
But I finally found the argument against suicide and it’s us.
We’re the effigies that haunt America’s nights harder
the longer they spend burning us,
we are scaring the shit out of people by spreading,
by refusing to die: what are we but a fire?
We know everything we do is so the kids after us
will be able to follow something towards safety;
what can I call us but lighthouse,
of course I’m terrified. Of course I’m a shroud.
And of course it’s not fair but rest assured,
anxious America, you brought your fists to a glitter fight.
This is a taco truck rally and all you have is cole slaw.
You cannot deport our minds; we won’t
hold funerals for our potential. We have always been
what makes America great."

A Mark of Resistance

Stone by stone I pile
this cairn of my intention
with the noon's weight on my back,
exposed and vulnerable
across the slanting fields
which I love but cannot save
from floods that are to come;
can only fasten down
with this work of my hands,
these painfully assembled
stones, in the shape of nothing
that has ever existed before.
A pile of stones: an assertion
that this piece of country matters
for large and simple reasons.
A mark of resistance, a sign.

 Photo by Ethan Welty

Saturday, August 12, 2017

White Nationalist Assholes

I do wish the news people would stop using the term "White Nationalists." 

It seems to validate, somehow, a group of ignorant racist attention whores. 

Call 'em what they are. 

Nazi wannabes. 


Trump tools. 

You know . . . Assholes.

Large Adult Goat (@JuliusGoat) on Twitter - - 
Imagine if these people ever faced actual oppression.
Nobody is trying to legislate away their right to marry.
Nobody is trying to make them buy insurance to pay for 'male health care.'
The law never Enslaved their great-grandparents
Robbed their grandparents
Imprisoned their parents
Shot them when unarmed
There is no massive effort at the state and local level to disenfranchise them of the vote.
There is no history of centuries of bad science devoted to 'proving' their intellectual inferiority.
There is no travel ban on them because of their religion.
There is no danger for them when they carry dangerous weaponry publicly.
Their churches were never burned.
Their lawns never decorated with burning crosses
Their ancestors never hung from trees
Their mothers aren't being torn away by ICE troopers and sent away forever.
They won't be forced to leave the only country they ever knew.
The president has not set up a hotline to report crime committed at their hands
They are chanting 'we will not be replaced.' Replaced as ... what?
I'll tell you.
Replaced as the only voice in public discussions.
Replaced as the only bodies in the public arena.
Replaced as the only life that matters.
THIS is 'white people' oppression: We used to be the only voice.
Now we hold the only microphone.
THIS is 'white man' oppression. We face criticism now.
We were free from it, because others feared the consequences.
THIS is 'oppression' of white Christians in this country.
Christmas used to be the only holiday acknowledged, now it's not.
I would so love to see these people get all the oppression they insist they receive, just for a year.
Just to see.
Give them a world where you ACTUALLY can't say Christmas.
A world where the name "Geoff" on a resume puts it in the trash.
Give them a world where they suddenly get a 20% pay cut, and then 70 women every day tell them to smile more.
Give them a world where their polo shirt makes people nervous, so they're kicked off the flight from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis.
Give them a world where they inherited nothing but a very real understanding of what oppression really fucking is.
Give them a world where if they pulled up on a campus with torches lit and started throwing hands, the cops would punch their eyes out.

Trump's Amerika
and Jesus weeps for who we've become

Don't look away.  Look.  Look hard.  THIS is called terrorism when it happens in another country.

When it happens here, the leader of our country says "all sides are to blame."

Bull  Shit.

An ignorant racist did this.

If our president can't say it - I can - AN IGNORANT RACIST DID THIS

David Duke (remember him?) -  tweeted to Donald Trump “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”

And if you're one of those people who think some of are over-playing the level of Nazism?  think again, Snowflake.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Annabelle Poses


Did you just take a picture of my bottom?!

I could die

Well.  What's done is done. 
But you should expect payback . . . 

All done.
Time to go

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Today "Oh, Kaye!" Day

Today, with Don Barley's help, I'm taking on a very serious issue at Jungle Red.. Here's a hint. Happy National Root Beer Float Day, kids! I hope you'll drop by and say "Hey!" 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Annabelle and Donald Barley - just 'cause

Donald is getting ready to head down the mountain to take a riding class in Greensboro, NC

But, first.

First he had a little walk-about around the back yard with Annabelle

Time to go.

No, Annabelle - you're staying here, honey!

Vroom Vroom!

Daddy!  Wait!  Where you goin'??!

Well, if I have to stay here with Mama, we'll take a few pictures . . . 

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Shame of It

Will the United States ever be able to recover the status we once proudly held around the world?

How much more of this ignorance do we have to endure?

How many times do we have to read about yet another "unhinged" speech or interview before it ends?

When did "hateful" become the attribute necessary to be part of today's leadership?

1.  Unhinged interview with Wall Street Journal

2.  Unhinged meeting with generals

3.  Unhinged statement regarding Russian sanctions

4.  The Boy Scouts say "he lied."

5.  Mexico says "he lied."

6.  Transcripts of calls with Mexico and Australia.

Lying is bad. It's tacky and it's not even smart. 

It's especially stupid when the person lying should certainly know by now that the whole world is going to know he's told yet anther whopper.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reading to Annabelle

Annabelle enjoys being read to, and always enjoys a good book.  But, her brother's book remains her favorite.

p.s. - we're raising her to be a Democrat. 

and an activist.

and a lover of classic rock . . . 



Friday, July 28, 2017

Time to take back OUR country

Usually when I see tears, I shed some tears of my own. 

It doesn't matter if I know the person crying or not. 

I might see a stranger in an airport crying - who knows why - and I'll have tears rolling down my face. 

I've been known to cry during Coke, McDonald's and Hallmark commercials on TV. 

I cry when I'm hurt, I cry harder when I'm angry. 

But I did not cry when I saw those big alligator tears of Mitch McConnell's. 

The man has no true heart, so I wasn't the least bit concerned it might be breaking. 

His only goal, as well as most of the Congressional Republicans, has been to wreck anything and everything President Barack Obama did FOR this country. 

To continue their governance by obstructionism that they embraced during Obama's presidency. 

This new administration, led by a crazy, uninformed, mean idiot of a human being, does not give one whit about you or me. 

These people are doing well for themselves at our expense. 

They're paid well for doing not much. 

Their retirement is secure. 

They, and their families, won't ever have to worry about the possibility of losing their homes because of an illness that will leave them bankrupt. 

If you think this can't happen, enjoy your stay in Never Never Land. 

Is it too much to hope that perhaps now the people who were elected (maybe) to represent this country will get over seeing their Republicans versus Democrats as a sport?

 Perhaps get over their pissing contest and actually start doing the work they're honor bound (maybe) to do? 

Is it too much to hope that those who insist on continuing the ol' party line before country will get voted out of office and replaced by true statesmen and women who want to live in a country they're proud to serve? 

I hope not, and I pledge to help make that happen. 

I want to see more women like the strong and brave women, Democrat AND Republican, who have stood tough and strong and have shown us what it means to be an elected official of the United States. 

I want to see more women like The Notorious RBG on the Supreme Court, and on every other court of this land. 

I want to see the people who have turned The White House into some trashy parody of itself OUT. And in a lot of cases - in prison where they belong. 

And no, I don't feel the teeniest bit sorry sorry for any of them - they're all just trash. 

Liars and power hungry sycophants. 

The lack of truth,honesty, ethics, empathy and patriotism in our own government is turning us into a banana republic now being laughed at around the world. 

And some areas of this country don't look any better than some Third World Countries. 

Look at health ranking compared to other countries - it's shameful. 

Look at our country-wide level of poverty compared to other countries. 

Hell, just hop on a train in Europe and then hop on a train in the United States to see how far we've fallen. 


It's OUR country. 

Time to bring jobs back. 

We should not have homeless veterans living on the streets. 

We should not have homeless women sleeping in their cars with their kids. 

We should not have working people working 3 or more jobs to make ends meet because companies like WalMart won't pay a living wage, or give their employees enough hours to claim benefits. 


It is way past time to fix the roads and bridges before we all end up disappearing into some huge sinkhole on our way to work some morning. 

Time to speak out LOUDLY against the bigotry.

Children aren't born knowing hate. 

Sadly, there are parents who find it to be a badge of honor to teach their babies to hate people who are different. 

I wish I knew how to make it stop. 

God, how I wish I knew how to make it stop. 

But I do know this; together good people can take this country back from the corrupt. 

It's not going to be easy, but it IS possible. 

Get rid of the special interest groups who line the pockets. 

Get big money out of our government.

Get rid of gerrymandering.

Keep doing the things YOU do to help - march, make phone calls, write letters, sign petitions, send emails and faxes and do not let anyone tell you it's not doing any good. Bull Shit. 

WRITE WRITE WRITE. The pen is STILL a mighty weapon. Use it. 

If I sound naive and idealistic, oh well, whatever it takes to keep me moving, keep me fighting, keep me working and keep me hopeful. 

Time to take our country back. 

And oh yeah, don't forget to vote. 

Vote in every grassroots election you're eligible to vote in. 

Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." 

Believe it.

Today is National Milk Chocolate Day

I'd like to offer John McCain (Arizona), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Susan Collins (Maine) a kiss to celebrate the occasion.

And, for doing the right thing.

Thank you.