Highly Recommended

September 14, 2023

With the current wave of women’s speech suppressed by gender activists, it is essential to see this in context of patriarchal silencing of women. This problem is about 5,000 years old.

This talk goes live Friday September 15 at 3pm Eastern Time.

Sinead O’Connor 1966-2013: Woman of Integrity

July 28, 2023
Sinead O’Connor. Photo: Grussworte

Like the rest of the world, I am digesting the news of the death of Irish singer Sinead O’Connor, although unlike many of her fans, I know her mainly for one thing: tearing up the picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live.

And everybody knows about that. I remember coming to work the next day and hearing the young Catholic women rage and rage about it. I hadn’t watched SNL the night before – I heard it for the first time from the ragers – but I remember thinking, “Get a grip. It’s just this woman’s opinion and she has a right to it.”

But they wouldn’t get a grip. It spawned a pearl clutch in the shallow US news media, who, bobbleheads that they are, slavered over this public relations savvy pope like he had granted them absolution from thinking. Up to this time, Sinead had a meteoric rise in her career as a singer-songwriter, and I never heard her name again except in connection with the pope incident.

But I have thought about Sinead every day for the past dozen years or so. She was the first person I remember being cancelled for her view. Singular. For one opinion, though of course she had many others. Even the Smothers Brothers survived controversy after controversy. And the cancellation was swift, complete, and irrevocable – even after she had been shown to be right.

And she was so right. She was so so right. The horrific extent of sexual abuse by priests and the extent of coverups by the higher clergy, including the pope, eventually did become widely known, although it took years of work by dedicated survivors to make the crimes visible. That work had already started when Sinead gave her infamous performance, but certain segments of the population – including the wealthy elites who guard the gates of fame – were not willing to contemplate uncomfortable truths.

So the reason I have been thinking about Sinead has to do with the current cancel culture around gender identity, though the gender critical movement has too many martyrs to iterate in a short blog post. There are lessons from the church sexual abuse scandals that can be applied here. The first is that the more correct, and the more urgent, the criticism of a powerful authority, the more unforgiving will be the backlash. The second is that reckoning takes a very long time. The third is that the US media and entertainment industry is more fucked up than the Catholic Church.

There has never been any doubt in my mind that the gender industry will one day be universally acknowledged as the sex abuse scandal that it is. From the musty halls of Berkeley’s sociopathic sociology department  to the antiseptic surgical units of Mayo Clinic, it will be aired and flushed. The question is when. Truth is a bitch, and many people hate her. The truth – other people’s reception of the truth – came too late for Sinead. If other women of integrity are waiting for a mea culpa from the craven cheerleaders of elitest decadence, we’ll have to wait for our own funeral.

Marking Me Safe

July 13, 2023

So I wasn’t going to blog about this, but people have been calling me today so I should post something. We had quite a flood in the Adirondack village where I live on Monday night. All roads to the outside were blocked for a full day. Bridges out, roads in tatters, mudslides, dams washed away. Some people had substantial damage to their homes, and some people still haven’t been able to leave their homes. I didn’t take pictures; a photo doesn’t do the scene justice.

I was perfectly safe. My apartment building was water tight and undamaged. I didn’t even lose electricity. I slept fitfully that night, but in retrospect I was silly to try to sleep, knowing that the area was potentially flooding. I should have been up and trying to stay awake.

Today people have been calling to see if I’m okay. Yes, I’m fine. One road was cleared by Wednesday morning, so I even went to work. The state has been sending a lot of road construction crews to dig us out. Lots of places are closed and won’t be open for awhile, but I’m amazed at how quickly the village has rallied.

Somebody asked me if I was upset that Vermont is getting all the attention. Media has been focused there, and it took a few days for news about my village to reach people outside the area who know me. I would have marked myself “safe” on Facebook, but I couldn’t find my disaster listed. But of course Vermont is getting the attention. For one thing, the flooding there covered a larger area. Also, a more populated area. The human scope of the Vermont flood is huge. Here, the impact of nature is impressive but in human terms less costly.

Garter’s Point

June 2, 2023

Last Saturday, I hiked to Kelley’s Point, a stopping point on Long Lake along the 136 mile Northville-Placid Trail. I traveled about ten miles of it, and it was a difficult hike due to the frequent blow-down, which was irritating but not impassable.

Kelley’s Point is the site of an old hotel, and the stone steps leading down to the lake still remain. There were several campers there Saturday, who evidently paddled in.

I was resting on a rocky outcropping at the Point when a huge Garter Snake slid onto the rock. It had the characteristic green stripe, but it was so big that I doubled checked to make sure there was no rattle. It came straight for me, and I had to move or it would have been on my lap.

An unusual encounter with an animal such as this is always an important sign. This snake was making sure I got the message. Snakes to me are about change. I have been spending more time outdoors, vowing to get back in shape after the life problems that distracted me the past few years. The snake coming to me at that particular point was telling me that my efforts would be well rewarded.

In my first book, Invoking Animal Magic, I have a whole chapter the significance of the snake.

It’s only temporary….

March 2, 2023

So I’ve been busy since the start of the year getting ready for my social work license renewal.

I haven’t been practicing in the field for a few years, so there’s lots of catch up to do. I don’t mind the continuing education, as far as it goes, but it is keeping me from my writing and keeping me inside quite a bit.

Fortunately, it’s been a terrible year for outdoor activities, swinging from bitter cold to rain and back again for many weeks. This is the kind of weather I grew up with in Ohio, and it makes even an outdoor winter person want to stay indoors. So I’m not missing too much. If you HAVE to do 101 continuing education hours in five months, on top of your job, this is the time to do it.

The job is very part time, so I’m not working and studying all the time. But there’s only so much time I can spend in front of the computer, with my pain issues, so the writing is taking a back seat. Temporarily.

The Train

February 17, 2023

I feel like I should say something about the toxic chemical spill from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, but I don’t know what to say. Is it bad or is it really bad or is it really really bad? The reports of people in the area continue to be at variance to what public officials are saying.

On February 3rd, during the night, a train carrying vinyl chloride and other chemicals derailed, causing a toxic spill in a rural area of northeastern Ohio. People within a mile of the derailment were evacuated immediately. Then a few days later, the evacuation area was three miles.

Toxic gases were intentionally released into the air soon after the spill, and a few days later a “controlled burn” of the chemicals was executed. This released a mushroom cloud of toxins. The purported justification of the burn was to avoid an explosion. Now some have suggested that it was done to open the railroad as soon as possible.

Two days after the burn, residents were told they could return home, with local officials warning them not to drink the water for a day. They returned to an apocalyptic landscape, with thousands of dead fish in the water. The fumes burned their throats and their stock animals were sick or dying or dead. Wildlife also died, and the birds left. Residents were told a few days later that the water was safe to drink and no chemicals were detected in the air. But the smell, the dead animals, and the nausea they experienced have made the public mistrusting of officials.

While sympathies go out to the communities near East Palestine, the proximity of the spill to the Ohio River is the bigger concern. Vinyl Chloride is a chemical that takes a very very very long time to degrade. Like, not in your or my lifetime. How this will affect the health and ecology of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana is unknown. The biggest unknown is what chemicals exactly were released during the burn.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Biden administration, the EPA, and the corporate media offer reassurances that the area of the spill is safe and so is the Ohio River watershed. The reports of people on the ground, including journalists who have traveled to the area, differ.

Here is Erin Brockovich talking about the spill. Listen to the first seven minutes or so at least.

With Good Intentions….

January 6, 2023

Well, I started to write a longish blogpost for today, tentatively titled “A Brief History of Magic,” but I got some bad news and couldn’t finish writing it. Nothing that, probably, won’t be fixed, but of the bureaucratic nightmare variety. Today I have a flat tire and I’m waiting (and waiting and waiting) for roadside service to call back.

What is going on in my stars? I don’t know for sure, but something. It’s difficult to read your own chart sometimes. I’ve been getting mired in one agency flub-up after another, all threatening my livelihood and none from mistakes on my part (which is the good news–bureaucracies are not very forgiving). Mercury is retrograde, but there’s probably more going on, since this has been a theme for a year now.

About this time last year, I got thrust into the exorbitant housing market as my landlord (a church that prides itself on liberal politics) decided to cash in on a housing shortage caused by AirBnB and COVID. Also de facto lost my job at the same time. Had to come up with another job and another deposit and $800+ in moving fees plus other nickel-and-dime expenses associated with a move. Then I had to hire a lawyer to get my deposit back from the church. (Keene Valley Congregational. Terrible people. The whole village has become filled with rich woke mean assholes. The kind of people who put signs in their yard declaring how progressive they are, while not returning your rent deposit.)

I don’t know how I survived, in retrospect. I suppose I’ll get through this bump too, but I’m getting tired of these punches to the gut. I do have a better job now. I also have a place to live, one that’s far far away from the job, and too small, and too expensive, but I know I was damn lucky to find any place that would let me keep the cat.

I have an optimistic Aries nature, but I’m not a happy camper right now. In a week or two I’ll either get back to magical history or share what went haywire with my stars.