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Posts Tagged ‘prisons’

In the cacophony of calls for impeachment yesterday, Bob found a small brown package tucked behind the pillow on our front porch. Surprise, it was the Parnassus Signed Edition book of the month, Emma Donoghue’s 12th novel, “Akin.” An unlikely pair, a retired NY professor and his great-nephew take a trip to the French Riviera to discover a family secret. The cover art is gorgeous “…. a 1930s shot of the Promenade des Anglais by Swiss photographer Martin Hürlimann.” I cannot wait to dig in!

Today I’m wondering if Mr T will actually ever end up in prison. Memes are exploding everywhere, blurring the lines of reality and news. Will he fly away in a helicopter only to be pardoned by our next madam president? Does the French Riviera suit him, like it did Wallace Simpson? Or maybe he’ll end up imprisoned in his very own hotel in Moscow, not quite a gentleman, but “Oh. Well.” Things could be worse.

After all, here in MAGA Land we have 2.2 Million people in prison and, according to the New York Times, their reading material is severely censored.

“A prison in Ohio blocked an inmate from receiving a biology textbook over concerns that it contained nudity. In Colorado, prison officials rejected Barack Obama’s memoirs because they were “potentially detrimental to national security.” And a prison in New York tried to ban a book of maps of the moon, saying it could “present risks of escape…. It is not possible to tally the total number of books banned because many restrictions are set in secret. But news reports have found that banned book lists totaled 20,000 in Florida, 10,000 in Texas and 7,000 in Kansas, according to the report.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/us/banned-books-week-prisons.html

Apparently, we have something called “Banned Books Week” https://bannedbooksweek.org/ this very week of all weeks – sponsored by the American Library Association, which was quite a surprise. The First Amendment protects our freedom to read and speak as we choose, so we should all try to read at least one banned book! Seems they don’t just ban books in schools anymore. I remember when the Rocker wrote an essay in middle school about how much he hated censorship. I was one proud mama.

Remember when we used to wait for President Obama’s reading list to be published? Now those were the good ole days (sigh). If Mr T takes time away from devouring Fox Network, he probably keeps track of his stock portfolio and skims trade and golf magazines. Maybe he checks out the latest fashion models from Hungary. He might benefit from some non-fiction about the Nixon years, or better yet, T would benefit from any presidential biography by Jon Meacham, my personal heartthrob. He wrote this on Twitter last night:

“Pretty straightforward calculation for Republicans: Do you want a President who seeks to use a foreign power in our elections, or do you want us to remain sovereign? That’s the heart of the matter. ” 

I’ve already lived through an impeachment of a president who lied to us about dangerous liaisons in the Oval, and parsed the meaning of “is.” I’m afraid the coming months will uncover many more high crimes and misdemeanors, more lies and false equivalences. Because Mr T is a master of the bait and switch and has shown us who he is over and over again.

In 2016 he asked Putin to help find Hillary’s emails – in 2019 he asks Zelensky to “Do us a favor” and dig up some dirt on Joe and his son. His minions tried to hide his calls in a top-secret electronic system for classified information; they held on to the information for TWO months. I doubt he will leave the office gallantly. 

Here are two beginning readers working on name bracelets, starting to devour chapter books on owls, nasty cats and dolls. The future is female!

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Since moving down South I’ve loved collecting Southern phrases, words that had no possibility of filling my Northern ears in the past. Lovely clerks will call me “Darlin” for no reason, and speak to a single person in the plural “Y’all” ALL the time. There’s calling a grocery cart a “Buggy” and “Directly” could mean soon or a month from now. You will hear me say that’s the “High Doller” restaurant, and I am partial to the word “Catawampus” but the funniest phrase I’ve heard is “Peckerwood Mayhem.”

Unlike Redneck mayhem, which if I watched that Duck Dynasty show I’d probably understand, Peckerwood Mayhem is in a class by itself. It found it’s way into our vocabulary by way of a Southern author, Julia Reed. She wrote “Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena.” http://www.gardendistrictbookshop.com/content/queen-turtle-derby-and-other-southern-phenomena In her book she talks about a shrimper in Louisiana who is trying to deal with an Austrailian giant jellyfish invasion that manages to eat the shrimp in his nets and yet elude capture. His theory for why this is happening in the Times Picayune is;

“They got some kinda sonar connected to ’em or somethin…that’s what I think anyway and it’s good enough for me.”

Anyway, she explains the difference between rednecks, who will “aspire” to things like nice watches and trucks and a house “…that looks like Tara” etc and “peckerwood.” The latter are people who are too pitiful to even aspire to much according to Reed. In her opinion, these are the people, direct descendants of the Celts, who leave their broken down washing machines and cars in their front yard. Makes me happy Bob finally fixed that John Deere tractor we had sitting out front for a week!

All this to explain my day at the hand therapy clinic yesterday. First of all, there’s a sign on the door that says “No Guns Allowed” and my first thought is “Nice” and of course my second thought is “What the #%*+ is wrong with Target?” Right? Then I realize that I’ve been in the South for almost ten years and the signs about guns no longer surprise me!

So they sit me down and stick my hand in a machine that blows hot corn husks at me. I’m sitting there pretending my hand is in some tropical HOT (really really HOT) Caribbean beach trying to catch sand blowing in a typhoon and I look over right next to me is a policewoman, with obvious guns and locks hanging all over her and she’s wearing a bullet-proof vest. Across the table from her is a policeman, decked out in much the same fashion. They are talking with the therapist about speeding tickets in a good ole Southern drawl. And right next to him is a nice looking man, quiet, in an orange jumpsuit with his hand in some painful contraption. And right out of my mouth loud and clear since all these machines are making noise I say,

“Are you a prisoner?” 

He smiles and says, “Yes,” and I say, “Well, orange is the new black!” And then we’re off to the races talking about that show which is my guilty pleasure on Netflix and those cops are totally oblivious since they don’t have Netflix and never heard of it. And I can tell they are uncomfortable… but the prisoner, he’s feeling good, like finally someone is talking to him, seeing him. Then he tells me they only have basic cable in prison and I could almost cry.

And in all my years on this earth I’ve never talked with a prisoner or been inside a prison, but now I feel like I want to know how this well spoken, thoughtful guy found himself there. I want to get all those non-violent criminals paroled and out of the feedback loop of our justice system, and get rid of “For Profit” private prisons which seem to be cropping up all over the South. Because we all know if you have money in America, you can OJ the system just fine.

Watching the woman cop place his handcuffs back on and sling a metal chain around his waist and shuffle the prisoner out of the hand clinic, I feel like I had a little taste of Peckerwood Mayhem, corn husks and all.

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