Monday, September 30, 2013

Government shutdown, redux

At left: The New Yorker's fascinating and educational map of exactly where the Republican "Suicide Caucus" is located.

As you can see, my congressional district is present and accounted for. (Is that depressing or what?)

In sordid political news: If the Republicans don't get their way, which they won't, they are threatening to shut down the government.

I can still remember the last time they pulled this childish stunt, under the auspices of awful Newt Gingrich, currently fattening himself up on the CNN dime... the very same evilll liberal media he used to make his living by trashing on the GOP-chicken-supper circuit.

How does that work exactly? You trash them and they gratefully respond with a high-profile, cushy, pricey gig? (And has that ever happened to you?) Becoming an elected politician seems to guarantee a lifelong livelihood for these no-talent hacks... and then they want to deny the rest of us the (government-sponsored, taxpayer-provided) health care they have always enjoyed.

Again, how does that work, exactly?

For comedy relief, Gingrich just appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan show, assuring us that this government-shutdown is no big deal. (Tell that to the military personnel, fire-fighters and others who won't get paid for risking their lives.) Newtie actually seems annoyed that anybody would get upset over this pesky little incident. (And if it's no big deal, why did NEWT HIMSELF use it as a weapon in 1995, unless he wanted it to HURT?!)

The blazing, horrific hypocrisy is as stomach-turning as it is brazen. (More here and here.)


I have been grossly negligent regarding our recent WOLI shows... and to provide a partial remedy, here are some links, with copious apologies for being so preoccupied:

Monday, September 23, 2013
Death of professor shows America values sports more than education

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Has Dusten Brown given up hope in custody fight for daughter?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Senator Lindsey Graham's opponents oppose his stance on Syria

Thursday, September 26, 2013
Senators proposing "real" reforms to NSA

Friday, September 27, 2013
Where does Senator Tim Scott stand on mass incarceration and racial disparities in South Carolina?

Monday, September 30, 2013 (today)
Is US government shutdown imminent?


Other interesting stuff:

:: Amanda Knox's retrial commences in Italy, without her presence. (CBS News)

:: I've written here a couple of times about Damien Echols, West Memphis Three Death Row inmate. Since his release, he has settled in Salem, Massachusetts (notorious for the historic witch trials) with his wife, Lorri. In a strange turn of events, Michael Blatty, son of famous Exorcist author William Peter Blatty (!), has made Damien's controversial presence in Salem his raison d'être.

It is a patently bizarre tale from Boston Magazine, which just adds to the continuing horror-story elements of Damien's life:
It’s hard to pinpoint when he lost his anonymity—when people started to notice, and talk—but very quickly he became part of Salem legend: Did you hear that Damien Echols moved to town? They whispered it, waiting to buy scratch tickets at 7-Eleven, in the locker room at the Y, over tea at Gulu-Gulu. Some in town were excited, fueled by stories in the local papers with headlines like “From Death Row to Witch City.” Of course, he had not expected to go entirely unnoticed. Not like he had in New York, where he’d first begun the walking as a way of burning through fear. In New York no one paid attention to anyone else, which meant he could walk the streets of Chinatown for hours and hours without interruption or incident, learning to reacclimate to humanity after 18 years in exile.

But in Salem, people took notice. They began coming up to him on the elliptical. Approaching him as he settled in with a pot of tea. Chronicling his every move. They were not always welcoming. At one point, someone etched a message into the side of a women’s bathroom stall in the East India Square Mall: “Murderers Walk Free.”
Read it all.

:: The Foo Fighters song, My Hero, kept running through my head as I read this one -- The Lie of Heroes: How Kerouac Almost Killed Me:
The lone wolf, right? That’s the image we get when we see some of our heroes, forsaking mediocrity or bureaucracy or blatant cowardice and heading off into the unknown, alone and full of purpose.

There aren’t any lone wolves; that’s another fiction, another lie. Wolves are pack animals, like humans, social creatures. The only ones who go off on their own are diseased or ostracized.

Lone wolves tend to die rather quickly.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Patriots Point: A photographic tour

Hey yall, time for your photographic tour of Patriots Point in coastal Mount Pleasant, SC... where my history-buff husband knows more than the plaques on display, and tells me all about war machinery I wish didn't even exist.

I have finally learned, after THIS rather mediocre attempt at historical photography, to take photos of the informational plaques as well... so when it comes time to blog about it, I will at least have some clue of what the photos are.

Admittedly, I am usually rather lukewarm about this kinda stuff, and then I always end up immensely enjoying it and getting into the whole historic vibe, deep in imagination about what it was like to live at sea. My grandfather served on the USS Arkansas (more about which in due course), and he talked about sailing the high seas, although not always in the best of terms.

We last visited Patriots Point in 1993 (as I briefly mentioned here, when I stupidly mixed up the cruiser Yorktown and the USS Yorktown), and I can honestly report that my ability to climb steep, skinny steps has most definitely declined in 20 years. In fact, we didn't even notice how steep/skinny the steps were before, and now we are like... yighhhh! In fact, I declined some of the more narrow passages and exited the USS Clamagore submarine altogether after a few photos, as claustrophobia beckoned. (I can't imagine how Jimmy Carter or anybody else ever lived in one of those things!!!)

As always, you can click all photos to enlarge. Hope you find at least something you enjoy!


First up, you cross the purty and awesome Ravenel bridge, aka the Cooper River bridge... yes, named after THOSE Ravenels. This includes famous ex-SC treasurer/world-class cokehead Thomas Ravenel, who was arrested over the summer for drunken driving up in the Hamptons. Despite this, Ravenel will be the star of a spanking new reality show called SOUTHERN CHARM.

When you're poor, you go to jail, directly to jail, do not pass GO... but when you're rich, you get to be on BRAVO network. Moral of the story: being rich means never having to say you're sorry and having very cool, big-ass bridges named after your family!

First photos, what it looks like when you are ON it, then from afar.


Welcome to Charleston Harbor and Patriots Point! Meet the star of our tour, the USS YORKTOWN, the aircraft carrier that kicked all kinds of ass during the WWII Battle of Midway. (She was known as "The Fighting Lady"--also the name of the famous propaganda film about her.)

The smaller ship next to it (last photo) is the USS Laffey, a destroyer. The Laffey was known as "The Ship that Would not Die" at the Battle of Okinawa, where she was hit with 4 bombs and 6 kamikazes and stayed afloat.

The Yorktown is stuffed with antique war machinery and military memorabilia. I tried to match up the machinery with the correct plaque. Yes, that poster really does say (at bottom) "Get em up for your navy!" (I knew you'd never believe me unless I had the photo to prove it.)


Self-explanatory...that last photo is a kamikaze aircraft, which is surprisingly small. I'd be scared to death to fly in that flimsy plane, but I guess by then, fear wasn't exactly an issue, and well beside the point. (And as tiny as it was, you certainly wouldn't want to see one of those things headed straight for you.)


I was thrilled to see the FRIENDSHIP 7 on display at the Yorktown!

It's SO itty-bitty... again, you just shake your head: seriously?!? David Bowie's famous lyric, "sitting in a tin can/far above the world" comes to mind. I would be utterly terrified! John Glenn probably didn't even break a sweat. (IMPORTANT CINEMATIC NOTE: I highly recommend the excellent and entertaining movie, THE RIGHT STUFF, to any young folks who have never seen it. It deserved much wider fame, but Tom Wolfe's irony probably kept it from becoming an iconic American film. It's long, but well worth your time.)

The first two photos below are the interior of the Friendship 7, which is way smaller than a porta-potty.


Assorted photos from the Yorktown... Doolittle Raid map, torpedo room... and see those skinny, steep steps? Helm (Sulu), Captain's deck (Kirk), engineering (Scotty) and operating room (Dr McCoy).


Living arrangements: a bit close for comfort. I think the latrine (boys only!) is aboard the Laffey. And if you weren't Christian, well, tough shit. No other religious symbols displayed anywhere onboard.


As stated above, my grandfather served aboard the USS Arkansas. Basically, he wanted to get out of West Virginia and lied about his age (16) to enlist, at a time when lying about one's age was relatively easy to do and virtually impossible to check. By my estimation, this was circa 1925. He became extremely seasick, homesick, claustrophobic and all the rest of it... and the first chance he got, off he went. He stayed gone for awhile--I never did find out how long he was AWOL from the Navy.

Upon his return (he DID like the money, after all), they took him to the brig. Accounts vary, but he was there between 3-6 months. So, I took photos of the brig, that nasty place he never talked about.

Looks pretty unpleasant; speaking of claustrophobia, that last one was taken with my lens inside the cell. Not too much room. :(

My poor granddaddy... no wonder he never talked to us about it.


Assorted stuff, including enlistment posters... and in the last photo, what do you suppose the airplane-art meant? (LOL)


Here is where I got MY advanced case of claustrophobia, aboard the USS Clamagore submarine... Second photo: they actually slept right under the torpedoes. (I assume they all died of radiation poisoning if they managed to survive the war.)

The passageways were very narrow, and I took photos of all of them.


I hope you have enjoyed your tour!