Feeds:
Posts
Comments

A Climate of Fear

CLIMATE CHANGE RALLY MELBOURNE

Today is the People’s Climate March all over the World. My Twitter feed has been buzzing with all the climate scientists I follow, like Michael Mann, the ex-UVA prof who was actually sued by our AJ and WON his right to teach about the “hockey stick” stats of climate change http://mountainmornings.net/2012/01/14/baby-its-cold-outside/

Although 161 countries will participate, New York City will be action central today with thousands pouring into the streets (stay uptown Kay!) along with the United Nation’s Director, Ban Ki-moon. The UN will host a Climate Summit on Tuesday with 125 heads of state

He (Ban) will join thousands of people on the streets of Manhattan, including business leaders, environmentalists and celebrities. Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio will also attend, having been appointed as a UN representative on climate change last week. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29301969

But here in Cville, volunteer marchers/searchers are combing the area for the second day in a row for any clues to the disappearance of Hannah Graham. It’s been a confusing weekend. Our Police Chief gave an inspiring press conference, saying they have a “person of interest” in their scope, that they have searched his car and his apartment, but they have yet to make an arrest. People are wondering what he’s waiting for, did they ever question him, do they need more evidence, or is their suspect in the wind?

Also his name, Jesse Matthew, was leaked on Twitter yesterday by our local newspaper, the Daily Progress, and by our NBC affiliate, some commenters said he was a UVA employee. However, this morning on the Today Show, they refused to name him! So they have this “person of interest” the last person seen with Graham, stalking her on video, they have his car and the contents of his place, and they have a witness who saw him buying her a drink…http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2759584/UVA-student-Hannah-Graham-FIFTH-young-woman-five-years-vanish-Route-29-corridor-one-body-found.html

Bob searched the brush around our yard in town, and all he found was a soccer ball. If someone saw her getting into Matthew’s car, she could be anywhere. He has been described as “…a black male, 6ft., 250lbs. with dreadlocks.” My prayers are with Hannah Graham’s family this Sunday. Latest update – police have confirmed his name, still no arrest. http://www.insidenova.com/headlines/updated-police-confirm-jesse-lj-matthew-person-of-interest-in/article_865681c2-4040-11e4-a18b-0710e0693940.html

I wonder if they put dreads on the police sketch they have of Morgan Harrington’s killer? I wonder if Bob ever met him in the hospital, where he works as a nurse’s aide?

a familiar mystery gripped Central Virginia, where a string of young women have gone missing over the past five years, starting with Morgan Harrington in 2009.

When we first moved to this Southern enclave, the best place to retire/be happy/enjoy your golden years in a college town/ we loved it. The encircling, comforting Blue Ridge views, the non-stop cultural happenings, the historic homes and of course the weather wasn’t bad. Except for all the ice storms –  and so what if I had to learn to pump my own gas, I was still in my 50s, a mere youngster, anything was possible.

This is our tenth year in VA, it should be feeling like home about now. Seven years ago, on September 20,  we moved into our newly built house,

Niece Lucia came to visit

Niece Lucia came to visit

and yes it took us three years to find the land “with a view” and the contractor to make it happen………..

And today I’ve been invited to a Candlelight Vigil in town to “Bring Hannah Home.”

A Second Year UVA student, 18 year old Hannah went out to dinner last Friday night and was going to meet up with some friends at a party later. Her last text message was something about being lost in the very early hours of Saturday morning. More than 24 hours went by before her off-campus room mates noticed she was missing and her brother and parents notified the police on Sunday afternoon.

Before this summer came a string of cases involving young women, starting with Harrington, 20, the Virginia Tech student who disappeared outside the John Paul Jones Arena during a Metallica concert in October 2009. Her remains were discovered on an Albemarle farm three months later. No suspects have been named in that case.
Two 19-year-olds — Orange County’s Samantha Ann Clarke in September 2010 and Charlottesville’s DaShad “Sage” Smith in November 2012 — since have vanished. No suspects have been charged in their disappearances. In the spring, a jury convicted Randy Allen Taylor in the killing of Alexis Murphy, 17, a Nelson County High School student who went missing in August 2013. She never has been found.
Roberts said police do not believe there’s a connection between Graham’s case and the others.           http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/charlottesville-police-chief-landowners-should-check-downtown-properties-for-signs/article_9bd9be5e-3db3-11e4-9762-0017a43b2370.html

And now we are seeing video of her running past a gas station, and walking along the Historic Downtown Mall, with a man following her. This man told the police he was trying to “help” her and later he witnessed another man putting his arm around her. Bloodhounds are tracking her scent, the police have established a Tip Line, (434) 295-3851, and asked residents to check their property if they live within a certain radius of the Mall.

Our little four-square brick house, the 100 yr old home we lovingly restored to house medical students, is right down the road from that gas station, just two blocks off the Mall. Today I’ll check out the backyard. Tonight I’ll hold a candle.

When we first moved here, while I was looking for land with a view, the Cville police were looking for a serial rapist who was attacking young women in the university vicinity. Pictures of his face, drawn by a police artist, were hanging in the women’s bathrooms all over campus. It turned out he was working in the meat department of the Harris Teeter on Barrack’s Rd.

It would seem there is a serial killer in our midst, he may hide around gas stations, or he may live and work right next door. The FBI has been called in. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hannah’s family.

Hannah Graham

Hannah Graham

 

Medicine, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s face it, we’ve just about cured childhood leukemia and polio has almost been eradicated from the face of the earth. The bad news, besides Ebola, is sometimes the side effects of taking life lengthening drugs makes you want to die sooner, just ask any cancer survivor. And the ugly? It’s the business of big pharma and insurance companies in this country.

We’ve all heard about people up in Michigan, who travel across the border to Canada to buy their drugs. The medical community will usually give drug manufacturers a pass for the high costs, believing that the money it takes for research and development to bring a new drug to market offsets the limited time they can be marketed on their patent, before the patent expires and the drug goes generic.

A company must apply for a patent before they go into clinical trials with a new drug, so the usual profit-making time can be whittled down to seven or maybe ten years. Barely enough time to make back their investment, right?

Well Baby Boomers rejoice! There’s a new HepatitisC drug that has virtually erased this virus from the blood stream. And now you can fly to India, first class, purchase this drug and fly back, first class for less than it would cost you to take a course of this liver-saving drug in the good ole USA!

The drug is Sovaldi and it has a 94%+ cure rate, yes CURE…and it doesn’t have the horrible flu-like-side-effects of previous drugs. I know someone who was part of the test study in NC and she has been totally cured after carrying the diagnosis for over 30 years! The drug company, Gilead, just brought the drug to market this summer and so far the results are outstanding.

The problem is, Sovaldi is a thousand dollars a pill! It costs Americans $84,000 for a 12 week course to cure HepC – hence the flight to India scenario. And OK, if you have insurance, or your state has accepted Medicare expansion, well then maybe you can afford to take this drug. I wondered aloud why we haven’t seen a lot of breaking news about this breakthrough cure. After all, chronic HepC affects 150 million people worldwide. It is a slow, silent killer.

If a drug came along that cured 95% of cancers we’d be sure to hear about it.

“Sovaldi is already on track to be one of the world’s biggest-selling drugs, with sales in 2014 – its first full year on the market – set to exceed $11 billion, according to consensus forecasts compiled by Thomson Reuters Cortellis.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/15/us-gilead-sciences-india-idUSKBN0HA0TT20140915

Bob tells me another drug company is about to release another HepC drug, one that may prove 100% effective in curing HepC. So my cynical mind thinks the reason California-based Gilead is now offering its drug to the developing world at a fraction of the cost ($300 a month in India) is so that it can corner the market on the planet before this new drug is released…or maybe it’s because they are such an altruistic brand? http://blogs.hepmag.com/lucindakporter/2014/04/new_hepatitis_c_drug.html

If you are over 60 it’s probably a good time to ask your doctor for a HepC test. If you needed a blood transfusion during surgery. If you were a soldier in Vietnam, sharing blood with your brothers on the battlefield, or if you dabbled in drugs, sharing needles during a Love-In, you may have been infected. Medical workers who experienced a needle stick, before the advent of HIV-prevention methods, could also have contracted the blood-borne virus. If you had sex with someone who has the virus, at any time over the past 40-50 years. You may not even know it, or show any symptoms until it is too late.

Higher cure rates, fewer side-effects. Let’s hear it for American Big Pharma, and their gigantic profit margins. For me, I’m enjoying Ken Burns’ Roosevelt documentary – http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/films/the-roosevelts – and dreaming about a time when a President could wrangle banks and trusts and bend them to his will! When Teddy brokered peace between Japan and Russia and built a canal through Panama. I wonder what Teddy would do with Sovaldi and Syria?

Yellowstone National Park archives

Yellowstone National Park archives

Women United

I got my first hater the other day on Twitter, “Captain so and so” I forgot his made up, cowardly name. The problem was, I was just getting out of the shower, so I made the mistake of favoriting him and actually retweeted because I didn’t have my glasses on; and it never would have occurred to me  that someone might hate me?! Little old me? But hate he did, pasting a link to an article where some Kroger clerks got beat up outside their store. Threatening much?

Why? Because I had the audacity to take a picture of my lox and bagel lunch and post it with the hashtag,

#Groceries Not Guns.

I was thanking Panera Bread for their delish bagel and for instituting a sane gun policy in their stores, ie no open carry please. Leave your ammo at home! Then later I took a picture of my grocery cart at Whole Foods, filled with produce and such and said:IMG_1084

Love @WholeFoods #GroceriesNotGuns too bad @HarrisTeeter n Kroeger     

That’s Twitterspeak for let’s all boycott Kroger and Harris Teeter because they allow open-carry-gun-toting-zealots into their stores and I don’t want to bear witness to such foolishness.  This campaign by Moms Demand Action recently resulted in Target changing its gun policy, and I must admit I feel a little thrill each time I post something; like a revolutionary, I’m proud to join the ranks of Shannon Watts and these moms.

At home in an Indianapolis suburb the morning following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Shannon Watts, a 41-year-old former public relations executive and mother of five, created a Facebook page calling for a march on the nation’s capital: “Change will require action by angry Americans outside of Washington, D.C. Join us—we will need strength in numbers against a resourceful, powerful and intransigent gun lobby.” The seed for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America—today a national organization backed by nearly 200,000 members and millions of dollars—had been planted. “I started this page because, as a mom, I can no longer sit on the sidelines. I am too sad and too angry,” Watts wrote. “Don’t let anyone tell you we can’t talk about this tragedy now—they said the same after Virginia Tech, Gabby Giffords, and Aurora. The time is now.” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/moms-demand-action-guns-madd-shannon-watts-nra

Using social media in a way that MADD could never have dreamed – which one doesn’t belong? -10635909_879992738677881_2827510542402008695_nto change the culture of drunk driving, this movement is winning hearts and minds of people who own guns, and have permits, and store them securely, and would never in a million years carry an AK47 into a grocery store! Pointing out the absurdity of the NRA’s policy is one goal, changing our wild west culture and getting the NRA out of the pockets of lobbyists is another.

It’s about time we women fought back. The Violence Against Women Act celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday. If you’d like to learn more, this article is for you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/50-actual-facts-about-dom_b_2193904.html

“Number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,614:
Number of women, in the same period, killed as the result of domestic violence in the US: 11,766″

I blocked my hater on Twitter, haters gonna hate. I refuse to be intimidated. Three women a day are killed in this country by an intimate partner. It’s not just the NFL that has a problem. Teach your children well.

“Nothing comes from violence”

On this day, we remember the fallen.

On this day, we remember the innocent.

On this day, we will never forget.

We remember our neighbors from Rumson and Middletown, NJ

We remember Michael Patrick Tucker

We remember…

“Lest we forget how fragile we are”

 

 

The First Guitar

10659405_10152866799009316_3210077423863677822_n

I was always a Stones girl. The Beatles did catch my attention in high school, and the boys all cut their hair into Beatles’ bobs. But they were too upbeat in the beginning, too melodic. My first memory of being moved, really moved by a song was hearing “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” over the loudspeakers, echoing across the lake at Camp St Joseph for Girls. Yeah, preteen girls and boys separated all summer by a lake. It became an anthem for our generation. One of the highlights of my adult life was seeing the Stones perform at the Meadowlands for my 50th birthday.

So of course I’m going to rush right out and buy (or maybe I’ll just click and send on my laptop?) the Love Bug Keith Richards’ new children’s book, Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar. Richards’ daughter Theodora, named after her Great Grandfather Augustus Theodore, did the illustrations.

The characters and story required no embellishment. Theodore Augustus “Gus” Dupree, Richards’ maternal grandpa…was a big-band jazz musician who had seven daughters and owned and played a number of instruments. And he often took grandson Keith, also the name of the boy in the book, on outings like Gus & Me’s journey through London’s streets and a music store. http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2014/09/08/keith-richards-keeps-it-all-in-the-family-for-kids-book/15121597/

It’s that eight year old brain that can determine a life’s work. Richards loved the singing cowboy, Roy Rogers, he was the super hero in his life, and it took a real hero like Gus to show him that he didn’t need the horse or a gun to have fun.

I remember putting the Rocker’s first guitar in his hands at that age, after enduring two years of violin lessons. Listening to him practice with his Corgi howling beside him.

The Music Corner of our Family Room

The Music Corner of our Family Room

This Thursday, September 11, the Parlor Mob will play in NYC at the Gramercy. The Rocker will be stage right again, playing the guitar and the keyboards. I know he remembers his first guitar and I hope he likes these old pictures from middle school. 9/11 is always a sacred day for me, a day to sit quietly and reflect. But my son’s soul was forged during that heartbreaking time; he ditched high school to watch the Towers burn across the shipping lanes from Sandy Hook with his friends. Playing in the City is a love song from our boys. We will never forget.

His First Guitar

His First Guitar

 

 

Book Club

My Ivy Farms Book Club dined on delicious crab soup, salad, and yummy bread. The scene through Virginia’s (yes, our host has the same name as our state) window was Arcadian, rolling pastures dotted with hay bales. Poetry was read aloud with alacrity; local poets, dead poets and poet laureates. And while driving home I realized I’d forgotten my sweater…

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.
Billy Collins

Of course I read Billy Collins, not the “Forgetfulness” poem, although someone else did, but one about Birds, and another about a House. I must have left my sweater where my spleen used to be. This was Virginia’s group email:

A lovely sweater was found on the back of a kitchen chair.

Does it belong to you?

If read properly, does this sound a little like Emily Dickinson?

This is how the poetry readings affected me.

I feel so sorry for Charles Wright.

But Billy, you were the Hero of the Night.

And so I replied:

At the last minute I threw it over my shoulder

Never knowing, always needing

To cover or contain my errant arms

Wide hips and sunkissed neck from light

To warm me in the chill of an air-conditoned night

To forget on the back of your chair

Late Summer Herbs

Late Summer Herbs

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 518 other followers

%d bloggers like this: