American police kill more people in one day than Norway cops have in 9 years

from tech insider


The above article on Norway police and their gun usage showed up on my facebook page a short time ago and I’ve been struggling with what to make of it. While I see non-violent, gun neutral Norway as close to utopian and a model to aspire to, I find the excerpt below regarding their homogenous population to be somewhat disturbing. And I’m not only disturbed by the excerpt, but also by the fact that I’m just now understanding the truth in the statement– the implications and connection between a peaceable nation and a single race society–what it means when everybody looks the same, when there is no diversity, when there is no threat from either the police or a criminal element.

“”Trust is an extremely powerful mechanism of informal social control,” Oddsson tells Tech Insider. In smaller, more ethnicanlly homogeneous countries like Norway, building that trust is easy. People feel a sense of togetherness for many reasons, including the fact that most people look similar and hold similar beliefs.”

Please read the piece in it’s entirety. Comments appreciated.


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the only list you will ever need



Just about every blog I look at has a list of some sort. Lists to make you happier, healthier, sexier, smarter, pain free, pimple free, lists of what to acquire, what will inspire, lists of what will shake us, make us, break us, the best of, the worst of, what to watch, what to eat, where to live, and where to die – yup, lots of lists on that.

Well, I’m a blogger, so here’s my list – for no good reason or purpose, a list of things I like and things you should like, too. It should be noted that there are many other things I like not mentioned here, and that this list is in no particular order–with the exception of pot at #1.


1) Pot – I don’t care if you tried it years ago and didn’t like it – try it again. Every person in every nursing home in America should be smoking pot. The only way to age.

2) Comedy – watch something funny every day. A movie, a sit-com, a stupid dog video, a stupid guy video, whatever. Laugh.

3) Girlfriends – get ‘em and keep ‘em.

4) Pizza – you can never go wrong with bread, tomato and cheese. Never.

5) Shopping – retail therapy is always a cure for something. Fuck buyers remorse – regret is not born in the mall.

6) Nature – plants, trees, mountains, lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, birds, beasts, all good (except snakes).

7) Dogs – the best that nature has to offer.

8) Sleep – good luck with that. A lofty and elusive pleasure.

9) Dancing – just dance.

10) Poetry – sweet or sour, tragic or euphoric, a window into ourselves and others.

11) Football – everything is better when it’s football season. Go Ravens.

12) My children – and you would like them, too, if you knew them. My world encapsulated in two bodies.


photo credit:

note: while searching for an illustration for this post, under the heading of “making a list,” Taylor Swift showed up a lot– obviously at the top of many “lists.” Ew. Where’s Brad Pitt, for cryin’ out loud?


13) Brad Pitt.


on self-pity

deviantart  snarkies copy


I dip into self-pity far more often than I like or care to admit. It’s rather obvious what’s not to like—it’s uncomfortable, debilitating, counter-productive. But what I don’t like to admit is that these frequent visits into the sweet and sour center of self-pity reveal of how terribly selfish I am.

On one hand, I believe that it’s perfectly fine to indulge your misery. Humans will not be free of misery any time soon, so embrace it, feel it, it’s merely the flip side of the happiness coin. Have a good cry, you are the victim of something, that’s for sure. And then I stop sobbing long enough to hear my words and I’m ashamed, for I know I am not the victim of anything. I’m a self-centered fool, schlepping off responsibility for choices and mistakes made. And if I am indeed slipping into self-pity more often that I like, it is perhaps because I’ve made a lot bad choices lately, or perhaps because I’m not making any choices at all—sitting and waiting for good fortune to fall into my lap just because I’m deserving. How selfish is that?

I’ve researched self-pity in the past and again for this post, and there is little I can add to what information is out there: it happens, it’s universal, it’s stupid, selfish, think of others, think of those less-fortunate, move on, get over it. But I recently found this excerpt from Tom Robbins’, Fierce Invalids from Hot Climate, that adds a bit of snark to the “poor me” conversation, and snarky, for me, always, always manages to keep things in perspective.


“… And that’s why when you’ve exhibited the slightest tendency toward self-importance, I’ve reminded you that you and me – you and I: excuse me – may be every bit as important as the president or the pope or the biggest prime-time icon in Hollywood, but none of us is much more than a pimple on the ass-end of creation, so let’s not get carried away with ourselves. Preventive medicine, boy. It’s preventive medicine.”

“But what about self-esteem?”

“Heh! Self-esteem is for sissies. Accept that you’re a pimple and try to keep a lively sense of humor about it. That way lies grace – and maybe even glory.”  – Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates



And if that doesn’t pull you away from the pity party, go back to my friend, James Brown:

GET UP OFFA THAT THING, and dance till you feel better


photo credit:    brooding by snarkies

car jar




Note: This piece was originally written on the side of the highway while waiting for road assistance and recently edited for blog purposes.


The term “car jar” is slang for car fanatic, a variant on the combined expressions “jar head” and “car head,” a term coined by a friend to describe my husband. I’m with the “car jar” now as he trailers his race car to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m to be dropped off at my son’s home in Atlanta, but we are currently parked alongside the on-ramp to interstate 85, somewhere south of Charlottesville. My husband just pumped twenty gallons of gasoline into our diesel truck and we are waiting for service. The irony of it all is keeping me from getting pissed.

My husband’s passion for cars is nothing new. When I met him, he was driving a purple Porsche, his second or third or fourth sports car. He watched car tv, read car magazines, taught our sons how to change the oil in a car before their feet reached the pedals. And then one Christmas, generous and tolerant wife that I am, I gave my husband a fantasy-race-car-driver-experience and his demon emerged from under smoldering tires. My husband races cars on the club level up and down the East coast and has done very well in his class. This is the real-deal racing, road tracks, not ovals, with souped-up, stripped down, fast-assed cars. I’m not a big fan of the sport, frankly, I’m not a fan at all. The race season runs for about 7 months and I’ve come to love the weekends that I’m home alone, but massaging the car in the garage eats up the rest of the year, and that can be problematic. Racetracks are hot and loud, races are short, downtime is long, and an hours worth of watching is about all I’m interested in. And it’s dangerous and expensive, and while my husband has been doing this for some time and I have (for the most part) reconciled with the danger element, I continue to struggle with the cost.

I’ve only been to 2 races—one at Road Atlanta and one at Watkins Glen in Upstate New York. The Road Atlanta racetrack was 500 degrees or more and while I did get to visit with my son and daughter-in-law, it was too hot to even converse. At iconic Watkins Glen, I did get a ride around the track with another driver and it was absolutely a thrill, but an entire weekend of car racing is long and boring. I just don’t care enough about cars or competition, and the drivers, the participants in this madness, are very competitive—and the most interesting element of club racing. They are typically older men, fifty plus, and a handful of women, most with the means to support this expensive habit, but many putting up whatever money they can to stay in the game. There are a lot of doctor, lawyer, investment type drivers, of course, but the majority that I have met are engineers, including my husband—geeks with guts who fantasize about taking home some enormous silver cup, who fantasize about becoming master mechanics or perhaps the driver that gets the girl. I understand fantasies, but mine do not include cars. They are all risk takers and all of them going for gold, and yet there is tremendous camaraderie and a team spirit in the paddock not evident on the track.

Car jar and I will be back on the road soon. The very nice young man who sucked the gasoline out of the truck, changed the fuel filter, filled the truck with diesel, is sitting in his truck writing up the bill. This will surely turn out to be an expensive pit stop. It has already added 2 hours to a very long ride. I’m being very good, not gloating, not bitching, my poor husband is very embarrassed and the young man tells us it happens all the time. Car jar thinks there might be something going on between the gas people and this young mechanic who just happens to be up the road from the station, and he wants to go back and take a look at the offending pump. Good God, no, just drive.


Postscript – My husband’s race car died on the track in Birmingham, Alabama, one day after the gasoline incident. The engine block blew a hole, or something like that. It has been out of commission since that trip but hopefully will be back on the road for Labor Day weekend.


photo credit:


going deep


orange and yellow


I just read this in Elle Decor magazine–Christopher Rothko on his father, artist Mark Rothko, for an exhibition catalog: “He was not a colorist. Even his most brilliant hues were simply a means to an end. And that end was not about mood; it was not about self-expression; it was about engaging fully with the essences of human existence, be they ecstasy or doom.”

Good Lord. Don’t you just hate the gobbly-gook language that is often used when talking about art, art in all mediums? What on earth does that mean? I’ve been trying to figure out that quote for about an hour now, and I’m still stumped. What are the essences of existence and when is art not about self-expression? I guess it means Rothko went deep, really deep. Is that a sports metaphor? I’m not sure.

art: orange and yellow by mark rothko






FUNERAL by Wislawa Szymborska

“so suddenly, who could have seen it coming”
“stress and smoking, I kept telling him”
“not bad, thanks, and you”
“these flowers need to be unwrapped”
“his brother’s heart gave out, too, it runs in the family”
“I’d never know you in that beard”
“he was asking for it, always mixed up in something”
“that new guy was going to make a speech, I don’t see him”
“Kazek’s in Warsaw, Tadek has gone abroad”
“you were smart, you brought the only umbrella”
“so what if he was more talented than they were”
“no, it’s a walk-through room, Barbara won’t take it”
“of course, he was right, but that’s no excuse”
“with body work and paint, just guess how much”
“two egg yolks and a tablespoon of sugar”
“none of his business, what was in it for him”
“only in blue and just small sizes”
“five times and never any answer”
“all right, so I could have, but you could have, too”
“good thing that at least she still had a job”
“don’t know, relatives, I guess”
“that priest looks like Belmondo”
“I’ve never been in this part of the grounds”
“I dreamed about him last week, I had a feeling”
“his daughter’s not bad-looking”
“the way of all flesh”
“give my best to the widow, I’ve got to run”
“it all sounded so much more solemn in Latin”
“what’s gone is gone”
“I could sure use a drink”
“give me a call”
“which bus goes downtown”
“I’m going this way”
“we’re not”


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Specifically, vacation jealousy. I do not covet your home, your husband, your handbag wardrobe–just your vacation. I do vacation, but certainly not as often as I like and typically not in the summer (I do have a vacation booked for November). Summer in my household is car racing season, and my husband (club racer) spends every weekend that he can trailering up and down rt. 95 to a variety of tracks–which, in my estimation, does not resemble a vacation in any way. And that’s okay–I will gladly skip the hot and crowed highway, not to mention the steaming, screaming race track, for the beauty and peace of a solitary staycation.

But then the facebook pictures start pouring in. England, Italy, Norway, the desert Southwest, and I am ripe with green and insidious envy. So many beautiful, interesting places, so many happy, smiling, faces, so many people in Maine. What is up with Maine? If I’ve seen one shot of a Maine harbor, I’ve seen them all. I was there once, lovely, crunchy, lobstery–a long way from Maryland and for what? You can’t even go in the water!  But all the facebook faces are there, or in Paris, Vancouver, wherever, and I am not.

If I had an income I would certainly travel a lot more, with or without a husband or girlfriend. I’ve got lots of spots picked out and lots I want to see. But until you all buy my book, I’m vacationing vicariously on my computer, no sun screen necessary.


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