While We’ve Been Focused On Hobby Lobby, This Happened

From our great friend Richard Bready.


Note that the vote was unanimous. It seems clear that the Bill of Rights is now interpreted as legalizing attacks on women and the poor. Not to mention gun possession and electronic surveillance.

Say about us what you can,
We’re not as bad as the Taliban,
Nor has this country yet applied a
Rule as strict as does Al-Qaeda,
But NRA and NSA,
SCOTUS and POTUS, every day,
Enforce the law of living here:
The God we trust is God of Fear.

Best wishes from Philadelphia, where this country began as a tax revolt and no woman or black person was created equal.

Abortion waiting period

Original Date: 9/23/1992

Supreme Dissent

Yes, it’s clear that this decision makes one religious belief more important than another. This is not religious freedom, this is religious imposition. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Hobby Lobby dissent was already spot on, but when sung, it’s amazing. And for a written version, check out Mother Jones’ article.  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/best-lines-hobby-lobby-decision

Realistic, Miniature Clay Sculptures Of Food That Look Good Enough To Eat

My friend Nicole F. knows I like miniature stuff…you know food, dolls, furniture, scenes, rooms you name it, you tell me about it, I’ll look at it and report back to you.

Check out the photos at Designtaxi.com. http://pulse.me/s/1zUO73

Miniature foods Miniature foods 2

My Uterus Is Not On Your Payroll

Sometmes, with no explanation I get an email headed: “Daily Kos Recommended.” It’s always worth reading. I have read the first two bulleted articles, they were excellent. Will I read the others, or will I be distracted by the many things which distract me and us? Here are two to read for sure!



Here are few of the creative protest posters:

hobby lobby protest sign 1

Image from http://www.9news.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/25/hobbylobby/6878327/: (Photo: Tanner Spendley)

hobby lobby protest sign 3

Image from: http://www.slate.com/

hobby lobby protest sign 2

Image from: http://conservativecave.com/index.php?topic=95518.0

hobby lobby protest sign 4

Image from: http://newsbusters.org/

The Final Brain Frame

I met Lyra and Lilly through Lyra’s brilliant idea Brain Frame: a combination comics and performance. I was a performer.

I witnessed Lilly’s first foray into performance Saturday at Hubbard Street Lofts. The theme was the Apocalypse. She and her friend Tyler were dressed in white hazmat suits. Something had gone dreadfully wrong on their expedition. The outlook was dire. Lilly was discussing her feeling about Tyler: hated him! Food supplies were low: Should she eat him? They both expired before anyone did something they might be sorry for.

If you live in Chicago and would like to see the last ever performance of Brain Frame, it is Saturday, August 9.  http://thaliahallchicago.com/brain-frame/


lillie west comic No Second Chances

There’s something about New Jersey!

What is it about New Jersey? It’s a small state, right? Yet it seems to have more than its share of fascinating characters.

When I was newly married I lived in Princeton, New Jersey. My husband was in the PhD program at Princeton and I needed a job. I walked over to the Westminster Choir College and applied for a secretarial position. I became secretary to the Musical Director. There were virtually no duties. I had minimal secretarial skills, but I presented well. I had an arts degree. The director never appeared in the office. I think my only assignment was to match student names to a group photo, which I botched. He had an enormous collection of paperback mysteries, though not enormous enough, because after a month I was left with absolutely nothing to do. I did get to attend choir practice. The choir was world-renowned, and it was wonderful to hear them and to get out of that lonely office.

The other notable fact about the college was that they bragged that they had no Jews on the faculty. Yes, it’s odd that I was told that. How does a statement like that even come up in conversation? I was married to a Hungarian Jew who knew a secret. One of the VIPs at the college, higher than the musical director, was in fact a Jew. But of course it’s difficult to discern Jewishness in someone who has a heavy Hungarian accent and who, being a Jew from a country with a long history of Anti-Semitism, knows enough not to announce his affiliation. My husband told me that when he left Hungary he vowed that he would no longer be Jewish. He ended up in England, looked around and decided no one cared and so remained Jewish.

But I have wandered off the subject. I was going to write about “Jersey Boys,” the musical and the movie. I saw the musical years ago. I, who hate musicals, loved “Jersey Boys.” I loved the way it was written and staged, and of course the music was wonderful.

On Friday night I saw Clint Eastwood’s version of “Jersey Boys.” Every criticism of the film is true. Dead in the water, as far as writing, directing and acting, but I was in Heaven. John Lloyd Young, who plays Frankie Valli, is an enormously talented singer and whenever he and the Four Seasons are singing I defy you to sit quietly in your seat. He is not an actor. I am not a movie critic. Please read Richard Brody’s review of the film.


Still from Jersey Boys (2014)

There is one quote from Clint Eastwood (via a French journalist) which explains Clint Eastwood’s politics better than anything else. “I was outta synch with the sixties.” No kidding! That explains his infamous interview at the RNC with the empty chair.*

On Saturday I listened to Ira Glass, who replayed a piece by Gay Talese called “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold.”  Frank Sinatra came from the same background as Frankie Valli, he never traveled alone, he always brought his neighborhood and the attitudes of his neighborhood with him. And then there’s Chris Christie!

chris christie

Image from http://www.thenation.com/blog/176978/chris-christies-bully-politics-i-am-tired-you-people#

There’s no avoiding Chris Christie’s dynamic persona and the unending scandal and entertainment value of Tollgate. It makes listening to progressive news so much more lively and engrossing. It’s such a relief from the death and destruction played out in international politics. Thank you, New Jersey. For everything.

* Clint’s not from New Jersey, but he did direct “Jersey Boys,” so I figured I shouldn’t put in another link in a post which is already link heavy. But here it is anyhow.

Huguette Clark

A real-life heiress, as if out of The Grand Budapest Hotel, passed away. She left behind an amazing collectinon, including perfect-condition furniture from the 1800s and a Stradivarius. The auction has begun, as has the turning of one her mansions into an art museum.


Huguette Clark

Photo of Huguette Clark from the book “Empty Mansions.”

A self-portrait of Ms. Clark.



Just in case you missed any one of these films….


"Dead Again" written by Scott Frank and directed by Kenneth Branagh

“Dead Again” written by Scott Frank and directed by Kenneth Branagh

Family Feuds

For an enlightening, and twisted, look into the family life of our least favorite sibling: the Koch brothers.



Goldfinch Backlash

Everyone’s reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I couldn’t put it down. She’s sold a gazillion copies and won a Pulitzer. Here’s the backlash. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2014/07/goldfinch-donna-tartt-literary-criticism

Francine Prose, one of those literary experts who rip into Tartt, is among my favorite authors. I have read everything of hers. These writers are two different animals. I like them both. I have just finished Tartt’s first book and I can see many of her mannerisms and tics. One of the main characters is completely flat and unbelievable. “Bunny” might have been plucked from a different century. A very jarring mistake. I don’t remember “Little Friend.” I read it a long time ago. I will reread it.

In The Goldfinch and Secret History, Tartt takes a significant historical event and changes it to fit her story. The 9-11 attack becomes a terrorist bomb in the Met, and the killing of a child by two young students at U of Chicago becomes a group of students (six) who study Greek with a charismatic teacher at a tiny eastern college and think themselves incredibly special. Her writing, when I am being overcritical of her style, reminds me of a series I did in the Sylvia strip making fun of her kind of writing, “Had I but know that going to the 7-11 at midnight for a Snickers bar would lead me into your arms and on a trip through a barbaric hidden world of addicts and giant tsetse flies, looking for a sugar bowl to match your mother’s favorite pattern, I would have eaten the M&Ms instead.” Her main character is always reevaluating his actions, sensing doom and regretting the decisions he made and actions he took.

The Goldfinch is overblown, but as I say, I couldn’t put it down. It’s just such a compelling read. I highly recommend it even though the icons of literary criticism tremble in anger over its popularity.

I don’t think its success means the end of literature as we know it, but I might be living in a fool’s paradise. I feared reality shows meant the end of everything we hold dear, but now they’ve become less popular, so that was a false alarm and I can relax for a bit about most things, except of course The Koch Brothers Tea Party reactionaries and the acceptance of gun violence as the price we pay for freedom from government interference in our basic rights.