Archive / September, 2014

Stop! In The Name of the Law!

jerry brownAs I compose this post, I feel it’s necessary to say I’m not intentionally picking on Governor Jerry Brown. It may seem so to some readers who read yesterday’s post, but honestly, the things that go on in California are so removed from my life as to be superficial … though not inconsequential, since the wacky legislation passed on the coasts often migrates over time to the middle of the country.

Still, I’ve been hearing so much about recent pieces of legislation (besides the Yes means Yes law) over the last couple days … statements repeatedly prefaced by Governor Jerry Brown of California just signed into law … He has been a very busy man!! Maybe it’s just a handful of the bills he’s signed, but from the news reports, it seems like he’s been doing nothing from 9 to 5 but fixing his John Hancock to legislation! Continue Reading →

Affirma-confusion

The news is out … and it’s good, really, really good! The state of California has passed and the Governor (Jerry “Moon-Beam” Brown) has signed legislation declaring that “Yes Means Yes.” MensResp

Wow. For myself, I am greatly relieved, because I have been operating under the ridiculous notion that yes might mean no or yes might mean maybe or yes might mean whatever I choose it to mean at any particular point in time … subject to immediate change at any particular point in time!

But I now know and understand that Yes is what the dictionary says it is:  affirmation, assent or approval. This has taken a huge load off my mind!

As I understand this specific piece of legislation, it will apply to all post-secondary institutions (public and private) within the state of California. These institutions will be required to follow certain guidelines when dealing with sexual assaults.

This includes training faculty and staff in proper interview techniques so as to avoid asking questions (certain questions deemed inappropriate) whenever sexual assaults are reported. The UC system will also be establishing an independent network of advocates to support sexual assault victims on its campuses. Continue Reading →

Sesqui-brations

As someone who loves words and finds them endlessly fascinating, I enjoy sounds and word length and the playful ways in which I can use words. Looking through some older books, I came across a poem I had written in 1986 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arkansas statehood. I remember this celebration was a significant event for the state of Arkansas and encompassed a year-long schedule of events.SesquicentennialSeal_f

I’m told there are also events going on currently (that carry through the year 2015) to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This was news to me, though there’s a website to keep one clued in on the latest events and information. Though I don’t think I’d qualify as a Civil War expert, this period of our nation’s history holds great interest for me. Still, I’m not sure whether Americans feel entirely comfortable in celebrating this unfortunate conflict. Maybe that’s why the anniversary has gone unpublicized (or maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know about it?). Continue Reading →

Radicalized

Horrific things don’t happen in the middle of the country … at least that’s what we who live in the middle of the country have believed for as long as I can recall. Life is usually quiet and laid back and mostly carefree.tornado6

Don’t get me wrong. I know bad things do sometimes happen. Parts of this region are known as tornado alley. I would never minimize the horror of a tornado, but storm shelters and weather warnings have helped us prepare for such events. We’ve learned to look at and read the sky.

But then one day, something almost insignificant happens and everything changes. A troubled man gets fired from his job. This happens almost every day in dozens of places across the middle of the country. Individuals are let go because they can’t quite do the job or the boss no longer needs them or there’s a personality conflict that can’t be resolved or for lots of other reasons. Usually, when a person’s fired, he or she is miffed, slams file cabinets on his or her way out the door and that’s the end of it. Sometimes, they choose to file lawsuits for wrongful termination. Continue Reading →

A Placed Called Hope

There’s a town in Arkansas called Hope, the town from which both former President Bill Clinton and former Governor Mike Huckabee hail. Like many towns in Arkansas, Hope’s a small town, intersected by Interstate 30 and within easy reach of Texarkana and the Texas/Arkansas line. It’s home to the annual Watermelon Festival.

Hope,_AR_(MoPac)_train_stationWith his characteristically folksy manner, Clinton coined (and often used) the phrase, I still believe in a place called Hope. This nostalgic tip-of-the-hat reference to his home town endeared him to many Arkansans long after he’d left the state. In that phrase, he wasn’t just honoring his roots (though he was doing that) but he also intended to evoke a heartwarming image of dreams and vision, the essence of what we understand about hope (small H). Continue Reading →

P. M. S.

There will be no PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome) this weekend. Instead, we will listen to the recognizable rumble of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the liquid roar of Honda sport bikes and the impatient screams of Suzuki power bikes. These sounds are mingling in the air and reverberating across the hills of northwest Arkansas this weekend as the Fifteenth Annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally has arrived in town for another year. This annual event features music at numerous stages across the region, lots of stunningly good food and the beautiful fall weather for taking long, pleasant rides over roads that snake and meander through the Ozark hills.

Now don’t get me wrong. I won’t be rollin’ down those highways, nor will I be working my way through all the downtown clubs and outdoor stages to listen to the loud, thunderous music. Not me.

When I do venture out (going to the grocery store or to pick up my mail), I’ll be thinking of alternate routes in order to avoid the roads clogged by thousands of bikers. With as many as 500,000 visitors in town for the event, the city and county streets are pretty much overwhelmed. As luck would have it, I must venture downtown tomorrow afternoon; I’m dreading that trip and will probably have to leave home early in order to reach my meeting on time.

Continue Reading →

Beauty Treatment

Anointed by Newsweek as the “most beautiful film actress of all time,” Jacqueline Bisset’s career has spanned almost fifty years. With her fresh-faced appeal and elegant British manner, she enjoyed early film roles opposite Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen. Subsequent roles paired her with many of Hollywood’s leading men. Today at 70 years of age, she remains active in roles on television and in film.jacqueline-bisset-the-deep

She’s also making waves in the news, speaking up about beauty and aging. The actress suggests women today are more obsessed with being “hot” rather than being “charming, romantic or beautiful.” As the actress freely admits, “I never felt beautiful.” Bisset also asserts she has always liked men “… but I didn’t feel that my looks were what they found most attractive in me.

These comments were gratifying to read. It’s also heartening to know Bisset has chosen the path of growing older gracefully, eschewing the surgeries and Botox that have disfigured (my opinion) so many others. Continue Reading →

Blessed Are the Poor

Several weeks ago, my brother-in-law emailed an opinion piece from The New York Times titled What Makes People Poor? by Thomas B. Edsall. Considering my post about our current economy, the Edsall piece has provoked added reflection for me.beggar2

A simple Google search on “poverty” produces websites and articles in abundance. At least one offers mind-numbing statistics on worldwide poverty. Those facts alone are enough to depress anyone. But Professor Edsall’s thoughts don’t bog down with stats. He attempts to present the “discussion of poverty as a technical problem, not a moral one.

The kernel of Edsall’s piece (as I understand it) is to call for “ideological convergence [that] could produce a more empirically grounded understanding of the causes of poverty and of social and economic inequality as well.” Even though analysis (on both left and right) tends to be somewhat complementary, he blames “political polarization” for preventing a desired synthesis. Continue Reading →

Where’s Wilbur?

Autumn is definitely in the air. As I’ve grown older, my appreciation for the season has increased. Several weeks ago, I spied a spider outside one of my office windows. It was large … and scary. Then last week, I noticed the web was there but the spider had disappeared. (My first hope was it hadn’t sought shelter and managed to come inside my house!)

Today, I peered out a second office window to discover a similar spider ensconced directly at (my) eye level! The creature has spun a beautiful, wide-ranging web just four inches from the window glass. I snapped this photo through the glass with my iPhone, so the quality isn’t great, but sufficient for my example.2014-09-22 15.16.48Naturally, I decided to learn more about this particular spider and come to find out, one of its common names is Writer Spider! The species name is Argiope aurantia and there are other common names:  black and yellow garden spider (how descriptively original!), corn spider, and golden garden spider. I, however, will stick with the name Writer Spider. Continue Reading →

Down On PBS

The new season of Downton Abbey airs tonight! I’m so excited to have another peek into the lives of the ever-changing upstairs Crawley family and their downstairs professional assistants! Can’t wait! Wandering around the internet, I found a link that brought me to this web page and of course, I began looking forward to this evening to resume my weekly diversion into this family’s interactions with each other as well as their lives within the historic context … and (admittedly) the soap opera nature of their existence.

Downton-ITV2
But alas! My hopes have been dashed! Dashed, I tell you! Absolutely and positively crushed beneath the caprice of faceless, nameless television schedulers who’ve dangled this carrot before my eyes only to yank it away! Continue Reading →

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