Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Astoundingly bad idea?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not at Home

I wrote the following as a tip to the Seattle _stranger_, the local 'bloid that touts itself as Seattle's only newspaper. I have GOT to get this info out, and this is in an effort to let the _stranger_'s blog-reader hear the first-hand account. If you google 'allergan league of women voters' you'll find their blog post.


Through means that I cannot describe, I managed to be invited to a very odd event that occurred this evening at the EMP. It was so bizarre sounding from the get-go, I decided I had to attend, if only to report on it, elsewhere.

This event was called, somewhat poetically, 'freedom of expression through film', and involved keynote speakers from a rather, well, diverse group of women. For being almost exclusively white women and obviously fairly well off. They're touring nationally.

Most women attending, not 500, but over 400, I suppose, had been invited through either a their personal doctor or a friend, it seems. Most women were told they were attending a dinner and a presentation featuring a keynote speech by an actress of note. Well, this works on many, but not me, as I just don't pay attention to movie billings. Even seeing some footage before she spoke didn't ring any bells. When it comes to Hollywood movies I'm as dumb as a stump, but I find it useful to not be easily impressed.

We were fairly corralled into the EMP. Happily, as we were being corralled, appetizers were being offered by serving staff, on trays. This helped. Also, free alcohol seemed to be offered with good effect.

I noted that the crowd seemed both thinner, and more made-up, and more bottle-blonde than the general populous. Also, whiter. I met one asian woman in the crowd, also disappointed by what was going as 'dinner': the petit fours were in much greater quantity than the appetizers, and the lack of produce represented by the offerings was not what one would expect to be offered this room. Curious and curiouser.

I also noted the congregation of the fairly well improved didn't seem to tip well to the bartenders. I suppose some were tiffed that we were not at the dinner we expected, but instead a happy hour and then an hour-long presentation. Not a reasonable form of protest, still.

The League of Women Voters table at the top of the stairs leading to the Sky Church seemed a bit incongruous. No other such group was present. Also interesting. We were set straight on just what that was about soon enough.

You see, this event was an effort to present to those gathered the cosmetic use of botox. Somehow, we were to make the logical leap from celebrity, to non-celebrity use of botox, and its relevance to each of us in the room, obstensibly as a form of 'self expression', and voting, which was applauded as an ultimate act of 'self expression'.

Virginia Madsen spoke after a (unwittingly hilarious) woman plastic surgeon and exponent of botox. Viginia's mother spoke, too, as she'd been gifted with, and herself corralled into regular use of, botox, and indeed DOES have her own film projects. The League of Woman Voters representative spoke to an increasingly thinning crowd: woman were filling out forms, submitting them, and whisking out to the parking lot. We were made aware of their '411' voting site, which in principle sounds like a great good thing: but sponsored? By a pharmaceutical? Touting botox?

The swag-bags left on chairs offered us rhinestone emblazoned 'botox' t shirts which can't fit anyone under about a size 10, cosmetic bags (bereft of cosmetics: I suppose we won't need them?), single-use cameras with the 'self expression' theme emblazoned on the side with 'freedom of expression through film'. And hilarious, gut-busting picture frames: they are in the shape of a Hollywood clapperboard, and say 'scene: prod no: director take 1' a la a Hollywood and have the Allergan botox logo. Who would want their photo in a botox picture frame?

Good To Know that the League of Woman Voters now 'partners' with Allergan. The logical leaps of spin and public relations are enough to involve chiropractors and osteopaths, next.

Pretty funny, huh?

Even funnier, to me, was being presented with a possibly-exhaustive list of plastic surgeons/MDs, anyway, who are trained 'n in cahoots with providing Allergan's product. We were promised at our invitation to the event to be able to schedule a free consult and treatment with botox, but to do so, we had to pick a MD from a 4 page spread sheet handout *right then* from their list of a couple hundred throughout the Puget Sound. Not the way most informed woman make decisions. Happily I had my palm pilot there, and recognized a few names. My choice of MD, and body area, might prove to be a great follow up piece.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New House Concert Series: 313Presents

Through the suggesting of Del Ray and the national network created by Fran Snyder of Concerts in Your Home (see:, the venerable folkie retreat formally owned by Sandy Bradley is once again hosting local and visiting artists for our community's enjoyment. Inaugerating the series on June 7th is Jean Mann (, a singer-songwriters whose voice, intelligence of lyrics, and musical style remind me much of Jane Siberry.

Through the summer and into the fall we're got some amazing acts from far and wide: Bill Isles, a gifted storyteller-in-song of Duluth, MN joins us on 9 July (see: We are thrilled to have been approached by the new generation of bluegrass and will host Lonesome Traveller of Colorado on 9 August. If it's just too hot inside, we'll pick a porch and take the chairs outside. Learn more about the six travellers at:

The fall schoolbuses will be followed by Rachel Sedacca's schoolbus, and she will grace us with her artistry, remnicent of Bonnie Raitt on 21 Sept. Rachel and her schoolbus, named Patience can be learnt about at:
Other acts include Dana Cooper and Cosy Sheridan in November.

We will be pleased and tickled to see people at the door who have been to our house before, as well as those who haven't. If you'd like to be on our guest 'a' list, please write email to, and we'll send notice of the concerts to you. Reserving a seat can be donee at the same email address.

Welcome to 313.

7 JUNE - 313Presents Jean Mann - Jean Mann, local singer/songwriter inaugurates new house concert series at the historic and handicapped accessible home well known to the folk music community when owned by Sandy Bradley. Jean's lyrics are intelligent and moving, her singing lyrical yet lush, reminiscent of Jane Siberry. Reserve via email to 313presents@concerts in your, learn more of artist: Doors open at 7p, music approximately 7:30p.

9 JULY - 313Presents Bill Isles - Bill Isles, of Duluth, MN joins our house concert series at the historic and handicapped accessible home well frequented by the folk music community when owned by Sandy Bradley. Bill's excellent storytelling-in-song, in settings a little north of the proverbial Lake Wobegon come around to Seattle and our parlors. Reserve via email to 313presents@concerts in your, learn more of artist: Doors open at 7p, music approximately 7:30p.

9 AUGUST - 313Presents Lonesome Traveller - Lonesome Traveller, of the Front Range of Colorado, is a award-winning 6 piece bluegrass band of the latest generation. Compare favorably to Captain Gravel, our local darlings. It'll be hot, but they're hot. If we're all too hot, we'll be outside for some Serious Porchin'. Reserve via email to 313presents@concertsinyour, learn more of artist: Doors open at 7p, music approximately 7:30p.

21 SEPT - 313Presents Rachel Sedacca - Rachel of Ventura County, CA, drives in in her schoolbus named Patience, and joins our house concert series at the historic and handicapped accessible home well visited to the folk music community when owned by Sandy Bradley. Rachel's bluesy/folksy/country guitarwork and original songs are warm hearted yet muscular. Don't miss the bus! Reserve via email to 313presents@concertsinyour Learn more of artist: Doors open at 6p, potluck opportunity prior to music.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

gardening my way

Here's a little poem to explain to folks what happened to the nearly three story tall holly tree I removed over a year ago. It was like processing a whale in my front yard: even moreso in all the preparation -- and in the volunteer effort I somehow managed to elicit/solicit. So, here's a somewhat poetic retelling of The End of The Holly. And some more character exposition, on the way.

The day I first drove up, saw to this house
I saw it's shaggy green hippy-lambchops.
thought: 'ew'. The cypress, and the holly tree:
two reasons to not purchase, yet, I'm not
out of my car. Camouflage? Deterrent?
Would've worked on me, save motivation.

Two years later, (and a good deal of thought)
I began to peel the onion: no tears.
A dispassionate gardener at work.
A lot of things needed to go, must start.
One species, one free-ad, bit at a time.
Arum, day lilies, lilac suckers, more.

Poor sots came and dug out my frustrations.
The bamboo was the best, despite delay.
If only the feral feline had not
chose to birth in the thatch, a little more
evacuation of yard might've been
possible, then. regardless, great story --

A dunce decade decended, dug bamboo.
No sign left, but I dug out roots: full can,
forty gallons. Another ad: 'bamboo
roots, just add dirt!' Disappeared from the curb.
Amazing. Next, the cardboard, newspaper,
and a chance at freedom. Rested two weeks.

Then the real campaign began. Thanksgiving
approached, and thus, at least twice weekly, wrote
'free holly boughs!! decorate for christmas!'
A score came, subsequent. One, with friend, twice!
Got up 20 feet. Narrowed profile well.
The real benefit came along, nicely.

A half dozen woodworkers saw my ad!
Responded - 'taking holly down? I'm game'.
They wanted the timber, for lumber, crafts.
I didn't want to push it, ask them pay.
Removal of tree was my goal, not greed.
Two came, with chainsaw, inevitably.

For price of ball ticket, I bargained one
to join me in yard, days after dancing
He ran the chipper for me, all day long
I lopped, and lopped -- two days after, still, my
body rang with pain. I am good for my
word, though. New Years resolution fulfilled.

Craigslisted woodworkers; he and I; we
labored for hours together, contracted
on nothing but good will, neighborliness.
I am still impressed, tell this story like
others speak of fishing. Shaggy holly
leviathan, me Ahab, triumphant.

Not unlike processing a whale in one's
front yard. Ballsy. We stunk of single stroke
engines, sooty, covered in sawdust, dirt:
goggles, ear foam, gloves; rats nests, debris, chips.
The yard looked like a shocking white moonscape.
Makah have nothing over on me, now.

The whale was white, but on the inside - see.
Disappeared under chai, coffee compost.
My conquering, with co-opted crew just
foretelling of the year to come. I schemed
two years straight, willed its three stories come down.
Rented chipper, cart, only outlay made.

The stump still stands. The utility, gas,
lies below. We will burn it out, soon - scheme
some more - holly does not die easily.
It seeks to rise again, as do fungi
we enjoy view of: a sign of demise
feeding on the bright-white buried debris.

The holly felling was the first figure -
arbor choreography, last winter
is another tale, shorter to relate.
I enjoy garden-sagas, so restate.
The garden's bones have been re-set, and soon,
Hard labor's benefit be seen in bloom.

garbage 'n' karma

we somehow get all our crap into one
normal size can. usually, I need
to literally stomp it down. get in.
stand in the garbage, if bagged up, both feet.

what a great metaphor! get right in there!
so, again, last night. others got most all
of it out - my responsibility
is, still, quality control - buck stops here.

childhood training assists, I guess, on this.
like preparing for communion: inspect.
check the basement and neglected places,
get it all to the curb inside one can.

or, if it won't all fit, decisions make:
what can wait 'til next week, or delegate
to have another send off somewhere else
how much garbage can we now tolerate?

it's cheaper to dispose of by the can
if we needed a larger one we could.
somehow, we're managing, despite the fact
our household's double, triple other's size.

how odd to be proud of a garbage can.
silly, dumb in most respects, really, seems.
owning up to one's garbage: generate
as little possible - then, compress it.
House Concerts In Your Home

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

footnote on christmas tree source

While floating in the flotsam and jetsam
of craigslist, or dating, or similar,
many a strange tale may be come across.
Here's another one, for your perusal.

I am now acquainted, poorly, with one
MD-PhD. degree collector.
I am not impressed. No reason to be.
Though he does try, to do so, in his way.

He had responded to my post, titled
'this old house, episode one', he was charmed.
His brief note poorly edited - NB:
from now, avoid all types of 'word salad'.

His first line cannot be true: his claim was
'emotionally available'. huh.
doesn't describe subsequent behavior.
NB: actions speak louder, look at them.

We wrote a little. We were to attend
the potluck show reunion. I purchased
tickets, but, then, no show. No time to let
anyone redeem abandoned billet.

I found Harvey at the show. Draping arm
along my chair, he asked me how I was -
I replied 'stood up for date - how are you?'
Consoling friend. Lovely show, anyway.

Voice mail, heard later, made no reference
to his regret. Only offered he'd call
my other phone. No message. He has four
cell phones. impossible. next, is my fault.

NB: under this rubric, give up, now.
Conciliatory note is stupid.
Everything else I did, I guess only
can be for more story material.

We were to meet the next weekend, North Bend.
He was to help me get a christmas tree.
Sounds like fun date! My idea: not his.
NB: it was his move, not yours. watch out.

Not surprisingly, day-of, wants to change.
Offers to bring me a tree, instead. well.
I'm still learning about this character.
I decide to let it play out. Too far.

He must re-re-schedule delivery.
This is a set up for imminent doom.
That is what we got. It was so comic.
Toxicologist tree-deliverer.

After rush hour, here at the door is
a disheveled cowboy, rude to my hands,
demonstrates real lack of any horse sense
disperses stocks of graciousness, all coralled.

Maverick needs shave; rumpled shirt, stained slacks.
Toxicologist look: underslept, -kept.
He can't just set tree down, philistine.
Asks for money in front of both roommates.

At once, I summons full spinal column.
Shall I give him bills, show him door? Or, be
the person I prefer to be: let this
play out, have no fear that it will linger?

I serve him enchiladas made for the
previous night, when tree last expected.
Consumes in three minutes, flat. Then, showing
all the gall I can bear in my kitchen --

He actually asks to chew. This, after
an early note spoke of a "friend's" advice
on chewing tobacco, part of my post
What a piece of work. Amazing. Great Scot.

He had written that my house sounded like
the new Bob Newhart Show. Perhaps so. And,
perhaps, he's a walk-on character. We
do not have any further want of him.

He's from Moab, Utah. His drawl is, too?
Knew Edward Abbey, quakers, contradance.
What do we have in common, say again?
Forty-six, I understand. Such a mess.

Fare thee well: thanks for good will, lessons, tree.
Conflicted gauche gaucho, such memory
deserves to be recorded, and so is.
E would call you 'lumberjack' to your face.