How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Friday, June 24, 2016

R.I.P. A Writerly Retirement. 2013-2016.

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The End

Having decided to archive this blog when I disappear into a retirement center, I see no reason to keep it going until then. This blog no longer has a purpose.

For new visitors, earlier posts share many thoughts about the writing life.

I haven't quit blogging or writing. But since I've lost all sense of having an audience, I don't see the point of remaining "in public."

Therefore, I disappear.

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Impossible dream

Getting the hell moved still feels like a task beyond our abilities. Talking to company that does this work for you.

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Trump on rise

US sees parallels with Donald Trump in Britain's decision to leave EU

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From Brexit to Trump

"Trump, if he is anything substantive, is a scream of defiance by white America — married, traditional, commercial — against the new multicultural and global country and world." Huffington Post

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R.I.P. Ralph Stanley

Bluegrass Pioneer Ralph Stanley Dies At 89

Spectacular vocal in O Brother Where Art Thou?

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Where's Harriet?

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Mariners collapse

Lost 8 of 10, 5 in a row, dropped to third.

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End in sight

When we move, I anticipate ending and archiving this blog. If I start another, it probably would be anonymously. I want to disappear.

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In order of importance ...

1. get Harriet resettled for the long run, where I can live with minimum stress.

2. complete my disappearing act by turning the new environment into the only environment, including localized projects.

3. Optional. A posthumous experimental fictional work of some kind, aimed at future generation. Would need energy rebirth in new environment.

4. Manage my death so I decide, not the medical establishment.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I've grown to the realization that European football is a superior game to American football. More intense and engaging to watch, requires more athletic ability to play.

What makes American football American are more opportunities for commercials.

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I have an intense memory of my first officemate at PSU: beat down, weary, depressed, a retiring literary scholar, a John Dos Passos scholar. We got along because I am a great Dos Passos fan myself. But this great American author is forgotten and ignored today, on the literary trash heap. Now joined by my officemate, bitter, angry, that philistines had taken over academia.

It would get worse. Small d democrats would rule, turning literature into a part of pop culture. Yes, brain surgeons needed specialized skills - but not poets.

And now it's my turn ...

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Slow motion

My life crawls at a snail's pace toward change.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I got $80!

Free credits in your Amazon account? Apple pays up after price-fixing suit

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Nice west coast jazz on Alexa, dinner prep activity, nice earlier talk re moving, and once we are resettled, I think we have a shot at a few really great years. For me, it's a disappearing act, going underground, maybe a few small localized projects. Would love to meet a few kindred souls.

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I have H's kids on my side, trying to get us out of here ASAP.

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Not yet

Really hoping to "win" something in my old age so I can address certain arts and culture issues without being accused of sour grapes. One opportunity gone, I just learned. Two more still possible.

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Headline of the day

Miramonte's Ionescu, all-star game MVP, commits to Oregon


Best HS lady in country chooses Ducks!

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Patterson's BookShots

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.

"And now the author of popular thrillers — and children’s books and young adult novels and romances and mysteries — has launched BookShots , a series of short, cheap, plot-propelled novels directed at an audience more prone to reading smartphones than print. (Naturally , there is an app for it.)

“In this day and age, when so many people have decided to spend so much of their lives not reading books, I think to create a new habit for them is a smart thing,” says Patterson, 69, perched in the summer study of his Hudson Valley home, the room dominated by a sleigh bed where he reads and edits.

The trick? “I’ve taken the fat out of commercial novels,” he says. “In an awful lot of novels, there’s more in them than there should be.”

Not in these books. The sentences are simple and declarative.

And frequently double as paragraphs."


I had similar idea several years ago, of course, novellas based on the screenplay. See CineFiction. He's rich and famous. I'm not.
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Salesman of the year

Indie retirement living a booming competitive industry. Our tour guide today got my attention with a gift: a collection of essays on aging by Donald Hall! Remarkable. Ends up she googled us, discovered I was a writer.

Not sure she made the sale, though it's definitely a finalist.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016


My late buddy Ger finally got the retirement situation he wanted and was so excited! He died 3 months later.

Hmm ...

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6 more to go

I've seen 2 I love, a bit far out for H but I'm working on her. 3 of 6 remaining great on paper. This can be done!

As impossible as it sounds, I'm shooting for October. Probably after first of year.

I'm going to turn into a film director living in a hotel! I need 2 actors, whom the camera loves. I'll find them.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Creative juices

... really flowing with ideas for projects at retirement center:

videos of personal stories of residents for youtube
make a movie there
readers theater, touring to other retirement communities

I'm assuming I can find a few kindred souls. One we saw yesterday already has theater group, done two plays.

Projects happening far out of the mainstream. Perfect!

Can't wait to get resettled.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Where's Harriet?

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Meat loaf

Great day! Found a place we both like ... Got tax return ... Nothing scheduled for tomorrow.

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Christmas at the Juniper Tavern

... will be performed in nearby Newberg in December. Great! Former grad student championed it.

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Monday, June 13, 2016


Hurting big time.

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Disappearing act

Man, I'm ready. The madness can get along without me.

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Trump is pathetic and dangerous

"...Suggests Obama May Be Sympathetic To Islamic Terrorism" -

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Quotation of the day

“Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex.”
Frank Zappa

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2 this week, 4 the following, 3 the next.

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Home sweet home

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The skin of our teeth optimism

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.

"“These findings suggest that we need to move away from a conservation paradigm of protecting the earth from change to a design paradigm of positively and proactively shaping the types of changes that are taking place,” said Oxford’s Nicole Boivin, the study’s lead author. “This sounds scary, and it sounds very self-serving. But the reality is that there are 7 billion people living on an already heavily altered planet. It is a pipe dream to think that we can go back to some sort of pristine past.”

Indeed, Erlandson said that while human impacts have only accelerated, the research has given him an optimism that humans will find a way to deal with climate change, in part because societies have risen to almost every quandary that has come before.

“There’s a story of ingenuity built into this deeper time perspective,” he said. “Humans have over and over again met challenges in different parts of the world, and they’ve found ways to meet those challenges. Every generation has its challenges. But we have found ways to solve them.”

“No matter how bad we screw things up,” he added, “if we can find the collective will, we can overcome them.”"

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Burns on Trump

"Ken Burns May Have Given The Best Donald Trump Takedown Yet" -

Shocking how many under-estimate disaster of Trump presidency.

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From the Chronicle:

No Milky Way at night for one-third of Earthlings Los Angeles Times | 368 words Across the globe, light pollution is making the night sky lighter and the stars harder to see, according to a study. In a paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances, researchers reveal that one-third of people worldwide are unable to see the Milky Way when they gaze up at the heavens at night in their hometown. In addition, a whopping 83 percent of the world's population lives under light-polluted skies.

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Extraordinary interview

Vanessa Redgrave on why she was ready to die: ‘Trying to live was getting too tiring’

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

How Trump wins

"If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can't afford to be politically correct anymore." --Donald Trump

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Old man with a push mower

Keeping ahead of the grass, barely. Will hire pro before house goes on market, in meantime doing best I can, which isn't much.

Man, downsizing will be monumental task.

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One pitch

Mariners at home, top of 9th, 2 outs, 3-2 count, 1-0 lead ... one pitch from victory over Rangers.


HR. Extra innings. Mariners lose in 11.

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Hear, hear!

Cooking is a simple route to joy

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The new West

From the Chronicle:

In Los Angeles, 48.5 percent of the population is Latino, 12 percent of Asian descent, and 9 percent black. Nearly two-thirds of the residents of Los Angeles speak languages other than English at home.
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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Up to them

Bernie Sanders' supporters vow the revolution will not be silenced

First, don't call it a revolution until something revolutionary happens. Political platitudes in the context of a two party system are impotent.
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Friday, June 10, 2016

Survival of species

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Elon Musk provides new details on his “mind blowing” mission to Mars

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Golden moment

The more I think about it, the more I believe it's the perfect time for a dynamic young progressive leader to come forward and lead the way to a future new party or coalition. Does one exist? Surely, somewhere.

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Another tour

...and free lunch. So so location but fanciest place we'll see in our budget range.

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I hope no one is shocked by the recent apparent shakeup in political allegiances. Textbook party politics. There's no revolution going on -- yet. There's a great opening for a Mario Savio clone to lead young people to a new party.

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Everybody loves a winner

From The Guardian:

Kunoor Ojha, Sanders’ national student organizing director, has jumped to rival Hillary Clinton’s team. Ojha is the first Sanders staffer to officially jump ship after the former secretary of state clinched the Democratic party’s nomination on Tuesday.


Pundits surprised it happened this quickly.

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And should be searing

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
‘We’re horrified’: At Stanford, the impact of a sexual assault is searing

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Ah, Bernie, how hard it is ...

"Bernie Sanders Gives A Speech Divorced From Reality" -

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Very interesting!

Elizabeth Warren declares herself ready to be Hillary Clinton's running mate

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And the band played on ...

Elizabeth Warren endorses Hillary Clinton: 'I'm ready to jump in this fight'

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Stressful day

Getting surgery date; reality check with realtor, reinforcing difficult details of downsizing. So much to do. But time is on our side.

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And now the news

Why am I not surprised?
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Done deal

'I'm with her': Barack Obama endorses Hillary Clinton for president

Apparently Sanders is on board, too, after meeting with Prez. No surprises, no revolution, but a more progressive platform, thanks to Sanders.

Corporations don't care.
Nature doesn't care.
Life goes on as before.

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Waiting room

H in consultation regarding cancer options.

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Friends and politics

TS has a good new piece at CounterPunch:

Years ago, when my best friend was alive, we constantly argued politics. I was an idealist, the older Dick a pragmatist. We got most heated in 1968, when I refused to back Humphrey, which Dick said would elect Nixon. He was right.

And now, 50 years later, I find myself ranting at idealists just like Dick ranted at me.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Brown said politics is pissing in public. I feel like I'm in a pissing contest.

TS is obsessed with his belief that I never criticize HC. Aside from the question why should he even give a fuck, my calling her a hawk, which I've done several times, apparently doesn't qualify. This only makes sense if he believes I'm a war-monger. Disappointing.

TS, I resign. "Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one."

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Quotation of the day

"The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.”
Charles Bukowski

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I think institutional sexism is more entrenched than institutional racism. It affects everyone. Beware of anyone who denies it.

Power changed Obama in a negative way. But power-driven change can happen in positive ways, too. We'll see what the women can do. Clinton is not alone.

In the long run, neither Democrats nor Republicans can stop Nature's rage. I suppose the party in power can influence who gets to escape to Mars.

Brown says the dynamics of power struggles are archetypal and repetitive, "an endless story," with the sons always turning into the very fathers who oppressed them, to oppress their own sons in return. Sounds about right to me.

Politicos take themselves too seriously.

"The Way is to the crematorium, " to quote my own play. "Life is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there," to quote my brother.

Breaths are finite. Marvel at them.

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Women who ran before Hillary Clinton: 'I cannot vote, but I can be voted for'

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"70 Years Later, Bikini Atoll May Still Be Too Radioactive For Resettlement" -

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Good days

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Quotation of the day

"There's shit everywhere, and it's all mine." Harriet, on the prospects of moving.


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Tick tock

Arctic sea ice fell to record low for May

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Corporate media

They greatly over-rated BS's numbers in California. Very interesting.

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TS blues

TS has the Calif blues. I don't. 2 reasons. I think she wants to get revenge on her hubby by being a better prez. More importantly, a large number of women will be watching her every move. This is the moment women have been waiting for. I really hope she picks a lady VP. This is about much more than the Clintons now. This is about American Women in power.

Bill's staff used to call Hillary Lady Bolshevik. Her unsuccessful health care bill as First Lady was close to what BS wants. I think on domestic stuff, she might be great. I hope Lady Bolshevik reemerges!

But foreign affairs? Bernie for Sec of State? No way. She's a hawk.

I'm giving her a chance. Men have fucked up everything for centuries. Let's give women a shot.

If the polls are close, I'll leave Greens to avoid Trump.

I feel good but concerned about H's cancer.
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H loved the place we saw yesterday: close in, diverse community incl ladies she knows from Unitarian church. Now the front runner. I have no issue with it.

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Ugly minority

Oregon senator switches to HC

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


An ugly night from BS supporters, the worst of delusional rage by a minority that refuses to accept this reality.


Happily, very wrong. BS gave speech setting up support of HC to beat Trump.
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What will BS say?

Everybody waiting. With 33% in, HC wiping floor with him. I'm surprised. Voters from both sides often stay home after a winner is announced. HC may get enough PLEDGED delegates tonight. Very decisive victory.

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Making history

37 Emotional Tweets From Women Who Just Watched Hillary Clinton Make History -

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Quotation of day

Harriet (in tears) listening to HC victory speech: "I waited for this moment my entire life. It's about fucking time."

And millions and millions of women feel the same way. I will say nothing to compromise their excitement and victory.

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Judge in Stanford sexual assault case faces recall effort over light sentence

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Political dilemma

You are a citizen. You want change. What do you do?

History is not encouraging. You kill the powerful or influential. That's the American model in my lifetime.

OK, you don't want to kill anyone. Now what?

First, you need to get an accurate bearing. Very likely you are a minority. Very likely you believe great silent support is out there. Your job is to activate it.

The early union movement saw how to do this. Through education. Show folks the reality of their situation. EDUCATION.

Modern progressive movements have forgotten this. Consider the Occupy movement. "We're the 99% percent!" Unfortunately 70% don't get it and so don't see it this way.

Wayne Morse put education as his #1 political priority. Without it, progressive change is hopeless. That's where we are today.

A meaningful progressive agenda would put education first, using earlier models like the early union movement, Berkeley's free speech movement, teach ins during the Vietnam era. Create an Education Corps and blanket the nation with free events.

Less masturbation and more fucking.

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The crowning

Big DNC event tomorrow, Prez will be there, sounds like a crowning party to me. THIS IS WHAT MAINSTREAM PARTIES DO! So in his predictable outrage, Bernie just demonstrates his ignorance of the game HE CHOSE TO ENTER.

I mean, imagine the arrogance of someone insulting the very people he wants to change support to him. Hilarious, in a dark comic way!

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Baking bread

Olive bread, TS's fav. Should give him a loaf as a peace token.

So the same old game was played the same old way (structure trumps content, McLuan) with the same old results. And some folks are outraged. Might as well be outraged by gravity.

H's cancer concerns me more than boring, predictable two party American politics. At least Sanders won't get shot, he's not dangerous enough.

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The Guardian

Clinton clinches Democratic nomination as Sanders vows to fight on

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R.I.P. Peter Shaffer

Peter Shaffer - playwright of 'Amadeus' and 'Equus' Associated Press | 442 words LONDON - British playwright Sir Peter Shaffer, whose durable, award-winning hits included "Equus" and "Amadeus," has died. He was 90.

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From The Chronicle

"Obama poised to stump for Clinton New York Times | 530 words WASHINGTON - President Obama, after months of sitting on the sidelines of the rancorous contest to succeed him, is now ready to aggressively campaign for Hillary Clinton, starting with a formal endorsement of her candidacy as early as this week."

How quickly it ends.

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Last chance, Bernie

You can boycott the Dem convention and send your army to the Greens ... Or you can do the knee jerk protest, yell a lot, and end up on the podium, grinning with HC.

I think we know which it will be.

What we have in America today are increased outlets for expressing opinion but a decrease in actual freedom, a consolidation of corporate power. BS's hot air about banks and inequality of income sound great but the remarks are impotent, just more political masturbation for progressives. Expressing opinion is not power unless you give it context that threatens the status quo. Sanders was never a threat among the Dem elite. The Dem party has never been a democracy.

Bernie, boycott the convention. Endorse the Greens and send your army there. Use the threat of Trump, which is real, to invite a coalition with Dems with an actual progressive platform. You'll get peanuts in the convention compared to what you'll get if you make the Dems shake in their Trump-fearing boots and come to you OUTSIDE THE CONVENTION.

But I fantasize. Hey, Bernie, smile for the camera!

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Reality is so hard

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
In San Francisco, Berniecrats lash out at press for calling nomination for Clinton

Pathetic. Of course she's anointed! How the fuck do you think the two party system works? Chris Hedges told you on day one but you didn't listen. There are no surprises here. There is no revolution here.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

AP says Clinton over top with new superdelegates

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.

"But according to the AP, Clinton continued to pick up commitments from superdelegates over the weekend, and on Monday, those gains effectively guaranteed her the nomination."

OK, it's over except for HC and BS grinning and waving together. Isn't American politics great?

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What a pleasant shock!

I just learned that issues really matter in popular American politics. Fantastic! What's next, that quality really matters in popular literature? What a wonderful culture.

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TS is not happy with CD

Whew, got that last book in just in time! Just kidding. TS is a pro.

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Gazpacho weather

Got to find some or make some.
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The Big C

What a scary fucking word!

My friend dying in N.D. started with skin cancer.
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Happy birthday?

H has skin cancer. Caught early via sore on leg, will operate to cut it out ... Sign regarding present trumping future?

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Family support

H's kids approve of our plans to move and would like it to happen sooner. We'll see. Nice to get their support. They worry about their mother.

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I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Crabbers use sex to catch naked soft-shell crabs

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June 6, 1966, 1968

RFK gave a speech in South Africa on this day in 1966. Driving back from the airport this morning, I heard it on NPR - and it brought tears to my eyes. The power of his words, soft spoken but passionate, poetic, inspirational! What a contrast to the shouted bombast of Sanders. How sad our "progressive reality" today.

And two years later to the day, RFK was dead.
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Tuesday's howling

I can hear the Bernie fanatics already, It's a conspiracy! We been robbed! Because with a victory somewhere Tuesday, probably NJ, HC will grab the 30 delegates she needs to go over the top and cinch the Dem nomination. Not officially but for all practical purposes.

If BS goes on to win Calif., the outrage will be deafening. However, not a majority outrage by any means. HC will retain her lead of millions (!) in the popular vote, which somehow doesn't count to a minority that believes their votes count for more just because they are right. Talk about special privilege!

My friends, no conspiracy is necessary. The citizenry is filled with ignorance. Q.E.D.

I want to be spared this farce and therefore hope HC wins in Calif. It won't shut them up but maybe it will make their self-delusion more obvious.

Back to the drawing boards, progressives. Find a strategy that begins with an understanding of American politics. Sanders was a joke from the very moment he decided to be a Democrat and at the same time insult the party leadership.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Progressives need to live in reality

Hey, we're a minority, and probably a growing one at that! We live in America, after all. Shouting and pretending we are "the people" are delusional bullshit!

King changed minds by taking the moral high ground, R Kennedy with quiet, passionate eloquence. Face facts: MILLIONS prefer Hillary to Bernie. Deal with it. Quit yelling and whining and find ways to change minds.

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Quotation of the day

"I'm ready to move tomorrow." Harriet

Motivation to downsize!

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Slow motion

I feel like life is in slow motion. I know what to do but it takes forever to do it.

I need a creative project so I don't go crazy waiting. Not writing! Belated ukulele jazz studies, I think.

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Read sample


Found a local company that specializes in helping seniors downsize and move. Definitely will check them out later.

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...during a heat spell. H wd have a fit, which is why I started early.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

My dad, 1976

Sent by cousin Robin.

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UCLA eliminated

Grand slam in 1st, couldn't hold it. No pitching.

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New favorite

Cracked wheat with grape nuts bread. Incredible toasted.

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Refugee athletes

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Rio’s ‘Symbol of hope': The incredible stories of the world’s first Olympic refugee team

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Ali's top 20

Muhammad Ali: the 20 best moments that made him The Greatest

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Ali's imagination

Muhammad Ali's best quotes: 'I'm so mean I make medicine sick'

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#80 birthday girl

A planned party this afternoon at which she'll discover 3 surprise guests.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

R.I.P. Muhammad Ali

Ali passed tonight.

When we faced trouble in the Army, we had a saying: "If only Cassius Clay were here!" Then we'd laugh like hell.

A fellow linguist's father was a Louisville businessman who was part owner of a young pro boxer. Cassius Clay. What a ridiculous name. This kid is going places, the father wrote the son. What a concept! We'd laugh some more. Yes, Cassius Clay kept us in stitches.
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Historic comeback

"The biggest comeback in Seattle Mariners history is what 710 ESPN’s Danny O’Neilcalls “absolutely unbelievable.”

The M’s rallied back from a 12-2 deficit Thursday night by scoring 14 straight runs to defeat the San Diego Padres 16-13."

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New TS at Counter Punch

How can there a counter-revolution if there's no revolution (in the U.S.) in the first place? I don't get it. Of course, I'm a cynic and believe BS changed nothing that will keep. I think it's all smoke and mirrors.

It's really good that TS found a home at CP. Writers need editors who dig their work. Keep it going, Terry.
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New world

Went to our neighborhood pot shop, Marijuana Paradise, to buy H a brownie for her birthday. What a place. I'm a dinosaur!

Back to baking bread.

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Dumb America

Oregon Senator Wayne Morse liked to call himself the education senator. Democracy depends on an educated citizenry. Everything in government depends on it.

How much we've failed in this regard is evident by the rise of Trump. Social media contribute by emphasizing the value of opinion over knowledge. So does the democratization of the arts. Mediocrity is celebrated.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Extraordinary comeback

Down 12-2, visiting Mariners now lead 16-12 in bottom of 7th in S.D. Far from over!

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A good thing?

Scientists launch proposal to create synthetic human genome

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2 months to live

An old friend, Eileen O'Connor, has terminal, aggressive lung and skin cancers. With family in North Dakota.

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Off to terrible start ... they hit 4 batters in first inning! Behind 7-0 and getting worse.

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Fine music!

"Alexa, play West Coast Jazz radio."

And she is indeed. Love the Amazon Echo.
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Writing is rewriting

Few writers would disagree with these comments on the process by TS:
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Watch me shuffle
And watch me twitch
Cause I'm one lucky
Son of a bitch

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Starting right

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Starts today at 9 a.m., 8 teams, including UCLA. 4 games today! Love it. They play like student athletes.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Found incredible place on paper. Very flexible regarding meals so we could afford 2 br and I do our cooking except when we pay per meal, less than going out. Ideal location in Raleigh Hills, walk to shopping, groceries. On public transportation. Almost walk to a fav Chinese restaurant. Shows movies, guest lectures and performers, trips, etc, the usual. But full kitchen instead of kitchenette, letting us afford 2 BR, 1 combined art studio, my office, esp attractive. And it is our last scheduled tour.

Knock on my wooden head.

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3 of 6

...sections of yard mowed, worst invading bberries cut ... Knocked me out. When we move, no yard work!
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Bases covered

I'm about as together and on top of things as possible in our unpredictable world. The living transition has more attractive options than I anticipated. First up, prep and sell the house.

Going to bbq ribs today. My reward after yard work.

Life is good on the small personal scale.

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Rewards of life

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Pleasures of life

Baking buttermilk rolls at 3 a.m. is high on my list.

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