Friday, September 30, 2016

WHAT Did You Say His Name Is?

This is the rooster of the downstairs flock -- Justin and Claui's . . . 

I couldn't remember his name so I called and asked Justin

"His name is what?" I said, not quite making sense of what Justin had said,

"Fustercluck," said Justin. "His name is Fustercluck."

Ah . . .  well, he'a a handsome lad  . . . a rose by any other name and all that . . .

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Addendum re Ms Undecided

Virginia Creeper

One of the other participants in Tuesday night's "discussion" e-mailed today to say he  had stayed behind to talk to Ms. U and she had told him she has Alzheimer's. 

Yikes! That made me feel really bad for arguing with her, even though it was done politely. It also made me wonder what she was doing there -- she seemed to be alone.

It also offered a possible solution to the mindset of some of the more irrational voices I've seen/heard during this political season. . .

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Two Minute Discussion


Blessed be the glorious rain that fell before the Monday night debate and put us all in a fine mood!

But as for that streamed discussion last night -- well, it wasn't what I was expecting. The nice person at Malaprop's who invited us was blindsided too. It turned out NOT to be an hour of four or five of us discussing the debate (with great wisdom and insight, no doubt,) but two minutes of input from two of our group which was added into a stream of two minuteses from other groups across the country. 

In the group, which turned out to be twelve or maybe fifteen, there were no Trump supporters (this WAS in Asheville and in a flamingly liberal bookstore to boot so not really surprising) and only one Undecided - a lady who was leaning toward Gary Johnson even though she professed to be 'afraid' of DT and felt HRC had won the debate.

I'm afraid she was ganged up on by the rest of us -- in a fairly polite sort of way -- as we were waiting for our two minutes of fame. What was wrong with HRC? she was asked. The answer, according to Ms. Undecided, was that HRC was too old. Ms. U said that she herself was seventy and she couldn't respond to situations quickly, therefore HRC wouldn't be able to either. Also Benghazi, which was, said Ms. U, caused by HRC's improper use of an email server. And finally, and most damning, HRC is a woman and wouldn't command respect in the rest of the world.

At this point, several of us had to exercise great forbearance and luckily it was almost time for the camera to go live. At which point Ms. U was asked if the debate had made her less undecided. A most tenacious, if ill-informed woman, Ms. U said no. Then another woman was given a chance to say she thought HRC did a good job. And that was it.

Kind of an exercise in futility. But I did recognize in one of the participants a woman who had come from the Tampa Tribune, some forty years ago, to interview John and me and write an article about our flight from Tampa back to the land. She lives in Asheville now and remembered the visit and we are planning for her to come out to see how things have changed and how they haven't. 

So that really made it all worthwhile. . . Ms. U., though, I'm still grinding my teeth and shaking my head. . .

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Post Debate

Of course we all see things through our own prisms -- Huffington Post says HRC crushed DT (Orange Crush) while Breitbart says DT won.

What I saw was HRC giving coherent positions on multiple topics while DT hammered a few broad points over and over, sometimes degenerating into word salad as the evening wore on. You can read the transcripts for the specifics -- it's late as I type this and I'm ready to go to bed.

 In any event, I doubt that folks watch the debates to learn the candidates' views on various issues -- those have been made clear over and over during the past months. I think that the whole point of the debates is to assess the candidates' demeanor in a stressful and challenging situation. How will he/she act and respond?

The big takeaway for me was that HRC acted like a rational, polite, and extremely well-prepared adult, answering the questions that were asked then listening attentively and almost expressionlessly when DT spoke. 

DT, on the other hand,  responded to the questions, when he did respond, in the vaguest way, with the empty assurances and superlatives that have come to typify his speeches. He let it be known that he cared about the situation in Charlotte  and crime in Chicago because he has property there and he talked about his new hotel and all his great business experience. When HRC spoke, he rolled his eyes, interrupted, made faces, drank water, interrupted (70 times, by one count,) and smirked. I suppose it is to his credit that he didn't actually call her Crooked Hillary.

 He told us how awful things are in our country and touted law and order, stop and frisk. He sold fear. 

She spoke to the strengths of our country while acknowledging problems and offering nuanced approaches for improvement. She sold hope.

I've known all along that I would support HRC as I would support any Democrat over a Republican but this debate made me an enthusiastic supporter. I thought she was terrific  -- one might even say presidential.  And she came across, to me, at least, as very likable. Funny, even, at times.

If you are one of my few readers who supports DT, your take is probably different.

I won't convince you -- and you have no chance at all of convincing me.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Debate

I can’t believe I’m going to spend an hour  90 minutes tonight watching the Presidential debate. We don’t watch any political stuff normally – I tend just to read the transcripts later. But the folks at Malaprop’s, Asheville’s iconic bookstore, asked me to participate in a televised post- debate discussion Tuesday evening. So I figured I ought to see the Real Thing in order to see body language, hear tone of voice, and absorb all those other nuances lost in reading the transcript.

This is not going to be easy as I have a visceral negative reaction to DT – he disgusts me with his smirks and posturing and name-calling. 

Yes, I’m carrying a lot of prejudice against him. But I doubt there are many Undecideds out there. I’m going to do my best to pay attention to how the two candidates present their plans for the future and what those plans are so that I can sound rational and intelligent and not use bad language.

Keep me in your thoughts . . .

The Tuesday night discussion will be streamed live 7-8 pm on WLOS  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Battle Continues . . .

In the never-ending battle against bunnies and Bambi, John has constructed these handy-dandy garden cages.

In the picture above, you can see how the deer have cropped off the tops of the peppers. 

I wanted some fall collards, kale, and broccoli, as well as some lettuce so John used PVC, netting, and plastic ties to construct these lightweight, two part covers for two of the box beds.

It's  an elegant solution (I hope) to the problem. The picture below shows some shade cloth added for the lettuce.

He says he can build taller ones for next year's peppers . . .

Luckily the deer don't seem to like the peppers themselves . . . maybe they tried one of the jalapenos. And, except for flea beetles earlier, no one messes with the eggplant.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Risen

A good blog friend sent me a copy of THE RISEN and I devoured it pretty much in one gulp. Set in nearby Sylva, it's the story of two brothers and the girl who changes their lives.

The writing is pure Rash -- thoughtful, crystalline prose, complex, self aware characters, and an eye (and pen) attuned to the smallest details of setting. And there's a complex moral issue to ponder -- can Evil be justified if Good results?

What threw me was that the book reads like a mystery -- a very, very good mystery -- and I found myself trying to solve it, to anticipate what was coming. This isn't a put down -- it was just a surprise.

Though as I tell my students, there's a mystery at the heart of every story -- will the protagonist get what he wants?

I loved the final pages of the book -- as the author played a bit with the fictional reality.

Ron is speaking tonight at UNCA -- tickets through Malaprop's. If only my class didn't meet then.

Go HERE for a NPR interview with the author.

Photo credit Ashley Jones