Thursday, October 31, 2013

771. Hallowe'en past

Growing up trick-or-treating always ended up with 25 kids and a weenie roast in our back yard. The fire-pit was toward the back of the yard, a 1/2 plot of land which seemed as big as an enchanted forest on Hallowe'en, with a section behind the garage which then, as now, was never cut.
And there were two reliable pranksters - my grandfather and Vic Gutermuth who lived next door. They'd sneak down in Vic's yard, then crossover into the high weeds, waving sheets around on a broomstick, scaring everyone at the party. My mother would end up walking half the kids home, all of whom lived within two blocks.

Friday, October 25, 2013

770. Predictions - one year and one week away

Playing with national numbers tonight trying to find enough House seats to switch the chamber from Reverse to Drive.  Assuming - [the worst possible word to begin any sentence] - no Democrats lose to a Republican and that each of the following Republicans has a well-financed Democratic challenger, alas, I can only come up with thirteen so far.

But, it is early.

Here are the Republican losers, the first predictions from me for 2014, again with assumptions made.  Mica (FL-7), Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Barr (KY-6), Upton (MI-6), Rogers (MI-8), LoBiondo (NJ-2), King (NY-2), Turner (OH-10), Gerlach (PA-6), Wolf (VA-10), Beutler (WA-3), Reichert (WA-8), and, my favorite, the charming Mr. Ryan (WI-1).  The election is one year and one week away.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

769. The Republican-created shutdown is shutdown

285-144, 3 not voting, 3 vacancies.

All 144 against were Republicans.

The president will sign the bill.

The Republican Senate deserves some kudos in this as does, to a far lesser extent, the Republican House. But I am confident Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party will not survive in 2014.

By the way, I've never before thought the Tea Party would not survive. But they dealt themselves a suicide blow by forcing the Speaker to hold out to this point. Once McConnell relented and then Boehner relented, the death knell began for the Tea Party.  It will ring loud in November 2014.

And what did the Republicans get for their shutdown?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.

Thanks Be To God.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The following were the Prayers of the People written for Advent Parish for July 24, 2011 - the ninth in a series.  This particular date was special for me marking to the day the 20th Anniversary of Rob's death.  
See Entry #736 for a full explanation.
July 24, 2011

O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will.

READER:  By these prayers, we seek an understanding mind and the ability to discern between good and evil in serving your will and one another calling upon you saying, O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

1)  We pray for all people throughout the world, asking that you make steady their footsteps, find them rescue from their oppressors, and help them in their weaknesses, praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

2)  We know that all things work together for good for those who love God and as a community we pray for the needs of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth, South Africa in the Anglican Communion.  We pray also for Saint George’s Community Center in the Diocese of Kentucky, and for our neighbors at Highland Baptist Church in the Highland Community Ministries.  We pray for all those who believe in your commandments and have been welcomed into the family of faith by you who sent Jesus to us, praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will.

3)  We pray in particular for our city and its people.  We pray for our mayor Greg and all those charged with governance here, and in Frankfort, and in Washington.  We pray for those in our midst in need of proper housing, sufficient employment, encouraging health, and the support of friends and families as they walk through the paths of their lives, asking that your countenance shine upon them, making them whole, praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

4)  We pray for those whose needs have not been met, whether by their own actions or the inactions of others.  We pray they may find the talent, time, and desire to help themselves even as we assist them by our Advent ministries.  We pray knowing that even the least among us are to you as important as the highest of angels, of rulers, and powers.  For those who are infirm of mind, body, or spirit, especially [sick-list names], we ask that you restore them to the innocence and vigor of a child of God praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

5)  We pray always for those who travelled before us the paths of life and suffering, of devotion and friendship, of support and concern, no longer in our presence; and for those families, friends, and they have others left behind, knowing that by clinging to your commandments in this life we will know and work with them together in eternity.  We ask especial prayers for [names of deceased go here], praying O God who searches our hearts, Teach us your will. 

CELEBRANT:  O God of Solomon and David, your words go forth giving us light and understanding.  Hear our prayers this day and always, for we know that neither death nor life, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from your love and understanding; we ask these prayers in your name.  AMEN.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

768. Theater review gets an "AA"

Last night, with my friend Linton Hauss, I attended the second-night's performance of Auctioning The Ainsleys, as part - the final entry - of Theatre [502]'s third season. The play was performed at Actors Theatre in the intimacy of the Victor Jory Theatre, under the direction of Amy Attaway, who is a founding co-artistic director of Theatre [502] and a graduate of the University of Evansville.  It was written by Laura Schellhardt, a professor of playwriting at Northwestern University, where she received her undergraduate degrees.  She also holds a Masters from Brown University.

The story concerns the family of a deceased auctioneer, leaving behind the dying mother delightfully played by former YPAS teacher Pat Allison, and four children, three of which have remained in their home (or carriage house which is ten feet away).  The oldest child, a rather independent woman and the only one not still at home has led the life of a roaming small-town auctioneer, selling off estates all with a story and a bit of fast-talking and a cute wink.  The role is skillfully played by veteran actor Leah Roberts, a YPAS and Bellarmine grad.  Her two sisters are played by Cara Hicks and Erica McClure, both of whom have performed in numerous productions locally and elsewhere.  The former plays the bookkeeper who has missed out on life keeping the memories of the past estates alive in a bizarre filing system - thoughts of my favorite childhood book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, briefly permeated my soul for a moment; the latter daughter, living in the carriage house ten feet away, is a matchmaker in a failed marriage who insists on proper arrangements down to the silverware.  The only son in the family is an uptight, unattached, and unadorned gay male who is particular about the image the family must portray to the community, continually cleaning and polishing the relics of the auction house.  The role of Aiden is played by Neill Robertson, a graduate of the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York.
 [I must add at this point, as I did in a much longer entry dated March 19, 2012, that of all the actors I have seen play the role of Ernest "Jack" Worthing in one of my two favorite plays, The Importance of Being Earnest, Neill's was simply the best.  I wrote in that entry, "Robertson was absolutely delightful to watch in every way and I look forward to seeing him again. His was the worthiest Jack Worthing I've had the pleasure to watch."].  But, I digress.  
 They are all catalogued in a fashion by the man "the agency sent over" at the mother's request, the actor Lucas W. Adams in the role of Arthur, to record her life as it is slipping from her, memory-by-memory and, with a little sleight-of-hand, piece-by-piece from the curio shelves which adorn her third floor room, away from the family problems, physically and emotionally.  Arthur with his pen and notebook dutifully records the life and times of the family and in doing so intermingles and insinuates himself into it, eventually falling in love with Aiden, as Arthur has a collection of things and Aiden has a room of empty shelves.

One-by-one we learn the values and the misfortunes of each child, their personal alliances with each other, despite the separation from the older sister for a period of fifteen years.  And we see the matriarch, Alice, failing with each passing scene bringing the four children along with Arthur to a final summons on the intercom, the system which provided communication between them but also by which they had avoided each other.  Using the leit-motif of some snap-crackle-and pop, Alice dies and like the pieces in the curio, disappears from sight.

The story concludes with the ultimate auction, that of the auction house itself.

Something should be said about the floor layout into quarters, allowing each character their own "room" in the house, while Alice's suite is raised and to the rear, arrived at by a short series of stairs.  There are several scenes where an auction is taking place and Robert's acute performance of a fast-talking, auctioneer is worthy of a job in some small-town auction agencies, but then that would be life-imitating-art.

I was delighted by the play and my friend seemed pleased as well.

Now, having said all this I hesitate to add these next paragraphs but will.  You've read my review of the story line above of this wonderfully performed play by Theatre [502]'s troupe.  Earlier this year in the Humana Festival of New American Plays, performed in the larger Pamela Brown Theatre, I saw another play called Appropriate.  That night, although I had planned (I thought) to be with someone, I was alone.  I loved the play and mentioned to Linton last night the similarity between the two.  Here is the advert for it and while they were remarkably different, I find them peculiarly similar.

When the Lafayettes descend upon a crumbling Arkansan plantation to liquidate their dead patriarch’s estate, his three adult children collide over clutter, debt, and a contentious family history. But after a disturbing discovery surfaces among their father’s possessions, the reunion takes a turn for the explosive, unleashing a series of crackling surprises and confrontations. A play about the trouble with inheritance, memory loss, and the art of repression.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

767. Day Five of the Republican-created so-called Shutdown

Day Five of the Republican-planned so-called shutdown and a little has changed. In order to understand this post, you have to had previously read my post of October 2nd which begins "So the second day . . . " The gist of that entry is two fold - 1) this isn't a shutdown but a selective slowdown, and 2) unless everyone participates, it really doesn't matter.

Yes, I have friends suffering the financial effects of the shutdown and if I were in their shoes, it'd only take a few paychecks and I'd be in trouble but for some friends and family who might help me one way or another. And those same families may already be like me helping out their own family and friends who are already out of work. I've read today that the House has voted unanimously to pay them. Well, that's good and they need it but it defeats the purpose. It honestly isn't good economics but it is good PR and that is something in short supply in the Federal City. Similarly, there's a bill to open some of the National Parks as if this makes a dint in the $17,000,000,000,000.00 debt. It won't and it is silly. It will allow some Republican members of Congress the opportunity to beat their chests showing their approval while going unanswered will be the systematic cuts those same members have been making to veterans for years. Again, it is really for show. While I am on that topic, I'm trying to imagine some company owner who decides for whatever reason to take a two-week vacation, furloughing their employees, and closing all of their facilities. Imagine their reaction if some overzealous politicians showed up at their plant, rushed the gates, and opened the doors for all the world to see since they made sure a camera was close-by recording their heroic efforts. How would the owner feel? Just a thought. The counter-argument is the parks are public property and I have a place in my property rights-oriented heart for that idea. Still, someone has to clean up after the invasion, emptying the trash, and paying the water, light, and gas bills which were supposed to be at a minimum during the shutdown. But, I digress.

The previous diatribe mostly asked the question "how does the Republican-created so-called shutdown do anything about the $17,000,000,000,000.00 debt?" No one answered that one. Since that time, I've ventured further into the idea that no one on the Republican side of the aisle has answered because they have no answer. Their intention has little to do with Obamacare or the debt or even the deficit, although some of their followers may not realize this or may not acknowledge they are being used. It is all really about a handful of Tea Partiers threatening their caucus and its leader, Speaker Boehner, with primaries in the 2014 cycle, such as the Kentucky kind which elected Senator Rand Paul to office in 2010 and Congressman Tom Massie in 2012. Moderate and even conservatives Republicans are demonstrably concerned about losing their asses in 2014. Wait, I mean losing the congressional seats. Sorry. Or, is that the reason?

Maybe it is simply a desire on the part of the Republican Party to close down the government. I came across an article in the Republican-leaning website Politico from September 10, 2010, a little over three years ago. In the article Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, R-GA3 (SW Atlanta suburbs southwest to Columbus) predicts the current shutdown as part of plan should the Republicans regain the House, as they did in the 2010 elections. The other part of the plan was the recall of Obamacare, something they tried and failed at 42 times (so far). I don't often cite to certain sources in my research, concerned about their political bias. In this case, the site's bias is to the Republicans so I feel a little more at ease in using it. And I feel a little better in calling the so-called shutdown solely a creation of the Republican Party, and not just a creation but part of a plan according to one of its own members.

Here is a link to the story:


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

766. The so-called federal shutdown

So the second day of the Republican-created so-called shutdown winds to a close. I have learned today that some of my friends have been affected by it in different ways and they are having to make do. But that's the problem with a partial shutdown and, let's face it, that's all this is. Until everyone - that means me, you, our parents, your kids - feels some of the pain, there will always be people calling for more cuts and an end to the "rampant socialism" in Washington DC. Parting with nearly all in my Party, I supported "going over the Fiscal Cliff" back in December and supported the Sequestration, both of which were mere baby steps in addressing a number of spending problems. But addressing spending isn't enough - not at all. And if we are going to "shutdown" then let's really shutdown. Start with the air-controllers thus closing the airports. Shut down Amtrak, especially on the east coast [although have it open by November 10 when I take my train ride to Seattle]. And close the Federal Reserve Banks' overnight borrowing and lending. Next, cease Medicare and Medicaid payments, sending all those parents and grandparents in nursing homes back to their middle aged children's suburban streets. Then de-guarantee the federal student loans of all the college kids and watch the universities send them home as well to share the bedrooms with their grandparents. There's lots more I'd do if I were the American god, but I'm not and we don't have one. Again, let's be honest. We're 17 Trillion dollars in debt, 68% of which was on the books when Obama took office, and a great deal of it is owed to Americans, not to China as some would have you think although we owe them as well. All of these clowns in legislative leadership on both sides are responsible for it - they all voted on it, including the 68% of it amassed before Obama was elected. No amount of cutting "waste, fraud, and abuse" will get us out of that debt - $17,000,000,000,000.00. Our annual budget is about 3.5 Trillion. Do the math - 17 divided by 3.5. It would take almost 5 years of a complete shutdown - ZERO spending on ANYTHING for FIVE YEARS - just to get us to ZERO. That's the problem with the "waste, fraud, and abuse" cry. It's rhetoric and nothing more. While there is no doubt it takes place, eliminating all of it doesn't begin to address the problem. In fact, it does little other than offer a few photo ops like some in the Congress did today at the WW2 Memorial. And if you are truly interested in addressing the problem - our collective problem, then you need to shout something more than "waste, fraud, and abuse" or you're just a part of the problem and not the solution. The only way out is cutting spending and raising taxes. It has taken us 35 years of tax cutting to get into this situation. It might take that long to get out. But, if you want America to continuing being America, then pay for it. Either be willing to pay for it, maybe for 35 years, or shut up and get out of the way as you are part of the problem. The other way is anarchy and anti-American, and perhaps even treasonous.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.