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Desert Rose

Star of the Desert

The Meanderings of Mazal HaMidbar

A Wrinkle in Time
Desert Rose
My ladies' spirituality bookclub has been reading YA fantasy over the summer on the theory that it will be easier on our hot, humidified brains. First was The Little Prince, then A Wrinkle in Time (both re-reads for me) and currently the first Harry Potter novel (so that I now will no longer be among the few in the developed world never to have read it).

I just re-read A Wrinkle in Time this morning, and it still captured my interest. I was able to look at it this time with my adult, writer's eye, and I noticed a few interesting things.

One, L'Engle gets away with things that no literary agent would tolerate today, all of them in the beginning of the first chapter: Beginning with an awakening, focusing immediately on the weather and having the protagonist view herself in a mirror as a means to describe her appearance to the reader. That, of course, is in addition to the cringe-worthy first line: "It was a dark and stormy night."

Second, the New Testament roots are much more obvious to me than when I first read it. This is not a criticism in any way, merely an observation.

Third, it is a classic coming-of-age novel in the sense that the young heroine is forced to realize that her idealized dad is merely human, as are we all . . . and said girl gets her first, presumably quite innocent, kiss from a boy.

Fourth, the influences of Brave New World, 1984, A Little Princess and The Wizard of Oz are all clear.

Still, it was a great re-read, and I am looking forward to March 9 when the big-budget Disney feature-film version, with the trio of witches/Fates/Norns/fairies being played by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey.

Desert Rose
I sm trying to reclaim some (but but by no means all) of my teenaged interests, and that includes reading: speculative ficton, classics, history snd the like. I recrntly read Piratica. by the late, great #TanithLee, and enjoyed it immensely. I was pleased to learn that she will be memorial guest of honor at the annual ReaderCon, scheduled next month in a nearby suburb. #NaomiNovik is appearing, and many others including the young, newish, well regarded and local #N.S.Dolkart. This will finally be the year I attend.

Get ready for the new Hunger Games ...
Desert Rose
Virtually everyone from media superstars to Average Joes on FaceBook are trumpeting their reasons for the unexpected (to them) Nov, 8, 2016, win of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, so why not me?

Here are my explanations, most of which others have suggested as well ... but I am saving my final and most devastating one, which I have not so far read elsewhere, for last.

1. Disaffection with "the system" and the search for an "outsider" to shake things up. Personally, I have never understood just how a robber-baron-capitalist is an outsider, but, hey, that's just me. What we DO have now is someone who has never served in any governmental capacity, is of dubious mental health and appears to have less notion than the average fifth-grader of how it works at even the most basic civics level.

2. Frustration with an American economy that, in many ways, never recovered from the hit it took nearly a decade ago and has genuinely left many folks behind. It has been recently reported that some 10 million able-bodied men of typical working age are not working and not even actively seeking to do so.

3. An immense desire among many to roll back the progress Western society has made over the past 100 years, especially abortion rights. This is what it may mean to our new overlord to "make America great again" if that is understood to take us back a century, with no regulation of food or drug safety, no provision for health care or financial support for seniors, no meaningful labor laws, no safe reproductive rights, and voting again restricted to straight rich white Christian men.

4. A public-radio program analyzed the upcoming election quite elegantly several weeks ago in terms of the major candidates being television programs. Hillary Clinton could, in that paradigm, be viewed as a show that has been on since 1992 and should have gone off the air years ago, whereas Trump is still-popular reality TV.

5. Slowly building backlash due to sexism, racism and classicism ... until 2008, virtually every president was been a rich white Christian man. Many U.S. citizens just never accepted a Black president and were damn sure not going to accept a female one. Someone I know terms this "the Tom Bradley effect." Bradley was the very popular Black mayor of Los Angeles in the 1970s who eventually ran for California governor. Poll after poll predicted his statewide win. He lost, definitively. The concept is that, long before the phrase "politically correct" was invented, people knew that "they should" seem to support a qualified person of color for governor, but, ultimately, they declined to do so.

6. And my final and perhaps saddest reason has to do with the 11th-hour revelations of our new POTUS' sexual attitudes and actions, which many observers saw as the end to his political ambitions. As is undisputed, Trump about a decade ago was recorded stating that someone with his wealth and power could simply assault anyone with no negative repercussions. Moreover, some dozen women have come forward to say that to differing extents he has actually done almost just that. Even worse, there have been allegations that some true victims were not even women but little girls in their early teens.

This character revelation obviously did not dissuade his supporters. They were not horrified. They were not shocked. In fact, for some, I believe that it was quite the opposite. They were titillated. They were envious. Far too many people in this world -- most, but not all, white, most, but not all, men, most, but not all, straight -- wish that this could be them. Their deepest, darkest, dearest desire is to be able to fuck anyone they wish, with absolutely no regard to any previous commitment of any party, age of majority, power imbalance or even consent.

We are a rape culture, and we have elected President Snow. Get ready for the Hunger Games.

valentine's day meal
Desert Rose
Korean short ribs (beef)

artichoke, beet, carrot, mushroom, parsnip, red onion, sweet-potato


vanilla whipped cream

chocolate-raspberry tamale

now with even more gratitude ...
Desert Rose
... I just ate my first full meal in a week. I'm still taking antibiotics (they seem almost always to be prescribed for 10 days) but feel completely back to normal after being struck hard by a "strep throat" bacterial infection. My temperature went nearly to 103 and I pretty much couldn't move during that time.

I am grateful to live in an age and a place where authorities understand the means of transmission of most infectious diseases and how to treat them effectively ... and can do so within affordability of the average resident.

And I am grateful to be back to my regular level of activity.

First post of the New Year, but, I hope, not the last ...
Desert Rose
For 2016, I am seriously considering -- for the first time in a very long time -- making formal, written New Year resolutions.

One is to post more frequently. It's getting ever harder to consider myself a writer when I don't even blog/post very often, here or elsewhere.

I am willing to work hard to make this as good a year as possible. Difficult things happen to so many of us, but, in many cases, we can change our circumstances or, at least, change our attitudes toward them for the better.

I like to say that when, uh, life happens, it may not be our fault -- but it often IS our responsibility to improve the situation if we possibly can.

I am proud to say that I did a lot of that in 2015, which has in fact improved my life, and I want to better that in this new year.

I am newly re-committed to living an active, healthy, productive life, and I hope that you are, as well.

missing my show
Desert Rose
So sorry that the showrunner decided to axe his own creation at the end of the 10-episode season one-and-done.

The show got better with each episode, the characters were great and I have never before found the villain (who ended up more of a frenemy) more attractive than the hero. (On Angel: The Series, I liked Angel and Lindsey about equally).

We can only hope for DVDs.

Bastard Executioner
Desert Rose
I continue to watch this show, though I don't love the violence (worse than GoT and SoA put together). I've always been a sucker for late-medieval British stuff ...

And ... I gotta wonder if anyone is writing slash (Wilkin/Milus) or femslash (LadyLove/Isabel).

Any ideas, or any other fans out there?

not too proud to post someone else's words ...
Desert Rose
This is by James L. Weil, one of his most famous poems. I've just learned that he died less than a decade ago. I could have met him (at least theoretically), but I didn't, and now I can't. It seems like a macabre form of poetic justice. Anyway, this poem has long resonated with me, and particularly so tonight ...

Having lived a Coney Island life
on roller coaster ups and downs
and seen my helium hopes
break skyward without me,
now arms filled with dolls
I threw so much for
I take perhaps my last ride
on this planet-carousel
and ask
how many more times round
I have
to catch that brass-ring-sun
before the game is up.

not all cartoons are meant for kids, even some that are ...
Desert Rose
My charges at my two newest nanny families are fans of the Cartoon Network show "Teen Titans Go!" which claims to be for those ages 7 and up.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I don't see anything beneficial for kids here ... no moral lessons, very little in the way of plot, and not much to identify with or sympathize with. Its humor is very adult, and I don't mean that there are two levels of meaning such as with classics, say, Rocky and Bullwinkle.

What bothers me most is how similar it seems in both set-up and character attributes to the very NSFW show "Drawn Together." In both cases, the characters appear to live together and are all obvious parodies of comic-book stock characters.

One plotline in particular disturbs me and seems drawn (pun intended) from Drawn Together. In the TTG episode "Meatball Party," a female character is relentlessly bullied into finally eating a meatball. Doing so causes huge black tentacles to grow out of her mouth and (temporarily) devour her colleagues. In an episode of Drawn Together (whose name I don't immediately recall), it is revealed that a female character's genitalia are similarly constructed; she had said her father had told her that her vagina was a monster and we see that it is literally true.

Am I just being over-sensitive here? The old-timey cartoons from the Sixties and Seventies seem less cynical, violent and misogynist to me.