Saturday, August 20, 2011

Up Close

A snail's pace

 An after-sunrise walk this morning along the dirt road near the house, revealed some beautiful wild flowers along the roadside.
Warming Up on a Cool Morning

Split Ends

Shades of Blue

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pow! Pow! Pow!

The View from Here
I live on a beautiful hilltop over looking a tree-covered mountain. I love to sit outside and surf the net or, as I've been doing lately, read Tim Winton books. I just finished Dirt Music and just started Cloudstreet. He paints with words -- an example from Cloudstreet: "All day they travel. Their bones brittle up with the jolts. Limestone dust flies into the trees. Out of Capel, the smoke from a brushfire comes downwind in a spiritous column, like a train passing. Past the emaciated glitter of creeks, into the heat ahead, the bluewhite nothing of distance, they travel."

It's like poetry written in prose.

These two books, and I expect his others, too, provide a glimpse into Australian life. Cloudstreet reminds me a bit of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath -- working class people struggling to feed their families in the years after the depression.

Winton is the second Australian writer I've read recently.

I was loaned a copy of Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap a few months ago and found it absolutely brilliant. Tsiolkas takes a domestic incident and describes it from eight different perspectives. The Slap is very much in your face -- in terms of the writing style. At times, it was shocking, particularly the language that some of the characters used, but not offensive. I think the "shock factor" was due mostly to the fact that my previous six or seven books had been works of classic literature -- Dostoyevsky,  Chekhov, Stefan Zweig, Adolfo Bioy Casres and Thomas Mann.

The Slap, which I enjoyed tremendously, takes a look at contemporary life in Australia. 

Anyway, so I am currently reading Cloudstreet -- sitting outside on the hillside -- overlooking these wonderful mountains and suddenly the calm is interrupted by -- POW POW POW. 

My neighbor, who lives a quarter of a mile away, is target practicing with his high-powered rifle. He pops off about a dozen rounds and he's done.

Having lived away from the states for a number of years -- the sound of a gun takes some getting used to...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Submission: A New Definition

Michele Bachmann, one of the eight or so GOP presidential hopefuls, has made up her own definition of the word "submissive."  According to Oxford it means: "the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person."  Bachmann's definition of submission is "respect."

It's yet another example of politicians creating their own truth and in this case their own definition of a word. 

It happened the other evening in Iowa when a conservative columnist asked Bachmann what she meant by her vow to be submissive to her husband.  The audience booed the question, then Bachmann replied "what submission means to me -- if that's what your question is -- it means respect."

She needs to look up the definition. 

Yet, what is more troubling than her answer is that the national press corps is letting her slide on it. No one, as far as I know, is calling her on it. It's really shameful. You'd think among the dozens of journalists following her campaign -- at least one would ask her the simple follow-up question: "if elected president, who will be making the decisions -- Bachmann or her husband?"

Bachmann, herself, created this whole situation -- recalling how she hated the idea of pursuing a degree in tax law and saying she did so only because her husband told her to.  "The Lord says, Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands," she explained.  That response begs the question -- who will be calling the shots at the White House if she is elected.

Bachmann is entitled to her religious beliefs, but she is not entitled to dodge a question about presidential power. She opened this discussion and the media have a duty to call her on it.

Come on colleagues -- step up and hold her accountable. For too long, politicians have been allowed to create their own truth and not be challenged by the media.