Monthly Archives: January 2010

Holden, you were screwed up, it’s true, just like many of us

There is a marvelous peace in not publishing,” … “Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure”

The foregoing quote pretty much captures why J.D. Salinger was the bane of publishers, and a public that was thirsty for more knowledge of the pathologically reclusive author.

I mention this because, in case it hadn’t caught your attention, Salinger just recently died at the age of 91. Fortunately Holden Caulfield survived and will continue to do so, as dated as the lad might be by now.

Salinger wrote a number of highly-regarded novels such as Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and so forth, but nothing quite captured the public’s imagination like 1951s The Catcher in the Rye.

It was with that book that the genuine postwar shit hit the fan – at least for young people. The novel was actually penned for an adult audience, but since the protagonist was a soul-tortured adolescent, it struck a huge chord with the young, most of whom believe that they too are tortured adolescents, even when they’re not.

So, if you are looking for something that set the tone for the late 1960s, say, look no further than C in the R. Elvis, James Dean and the Beatles were merely symptoms, Holden Caulfield was the prototype for disenchantment by the young, even though more active manifestations of that disenchantment weren’t to take place until a decade-and-a-half after Holden was spawned.

And, there were aspects of the rebellion of the 1960s that Holden would have detested He would have disliked not necessarily the counterculture leaders, but the pseuds and daytrippers that attached themselves to the ‘manifesto’, the crowd later excoriated by Tom Wolfe in Radical Chic. God save us from the Lee Radziwills of the world. Yes, subjects of Holden’s utter disdain was the ‘phonies’ of his postwar society. The phonies and the general phoniness of the American dream now that the war was over, the Depression fini, and the great wartime hero Ike was soon to be installed in the White House. This was to produce a decade that was anathema to sad and neurotic Holden who was desperately trying to hang on and was periodically slapped back to reality by kid sister, Phoebe.

This was the only person he genuinely loved and she is the metaphor for the title of the famous book, of course, as Holden will lie in the field of rye and attempt to save Phoebe from plummeting to her death.

Catcher in the Rye has had a hard go of it in the school system. That’s not surprising because the people whom young Caulfield detested the most are the very ones that tend to populate the halls of public secondary academe (such as it is) and especially schoolboards and PTAs.

“Can’t be having that sort of filth in our schools,” was the collective cry so often. “Can’t be encouraging dissent and the utterance of dirty words. That isn’t the sort of world we want our scrubbed kids to be aspiring towards.”

And, Catcher in the Rye contains some words about as dirty as one hears on network television these days, because Salinger had his young protagonist talk and muse in the way kids do, but not in the way teachers and parents want them to do. So, Catcher was out, darn it all.

I first read the book when I was about 15. I loved it. I loved it so much that I re-read it. And actually I read it about once a year until I was in my mid-20s. I really should read it again.

Yet, when I began teaching in my mid-20s, the book had still not passed muster. We were permitted to put it on a reading list, but it was not deemed suitable for classroom discussion. What we got in its lieu was a significantly inferior tome called A Separate Peace. Oh, I shouldn’t be unfair about that. It’s just that the prep-school snots didn’t really have the universal impact of Holden Caulfield, even though he was a prep-school brat, too.

Anyway, as fiercely neurotic as Salinger happened to be, I thank him for his revolutionary book. Not a bad legacy for any writer.


Feeling a little out-of-sorts today?

I lifted this from Warty Mammal and believe with all sincerity that on a morning replete with torrential rains and high winds, but a dog that still wants walking regardless, that it was the perfect fit.

In this meme, just gripe about anything you choose and post the results. Remember: negative attitudes are infectious! Mine may be infecting you even as you read these words. Then give it a shot yourself. It’s really good for the soul. So, let’s take a look at the bits of gravel in the shoe on the road-of-life:

Foods which disgust the crap out of me: Broccoli, with a capital B and that rhymes with T and that stands for tofu. Actually, I don’t ‘mind’ tofu as a small part of a larger dish, but otherwise I could live the rest of my life without it. Broccoli the same. I also dislike chickpeas, cottage cheese, yogurt (except for a couple of the flavored ones, the natural kind makes me want to gag), tofu wieners, and stewed prunes.

Movies/TV shows I loathe: Any and all so-called ‘reality’ shows. Any and all so-called ‘idol’ shows. Sorry, idols have earned their stripes. Going on stage and being called one doesn’t make you one. Sex and the City. I tried to watch that because my girl Kim was in it. I found it crass and vulgar, and consisting of middle-aged women transporting themselves like 14-year-old girls of the most uninteresting sort. I wouldn’t have chosen any of them, even as a bedmate. Mystical shows, except for The Mentalist and Dead Like Me bore me senseless. They are aimed at 12-year-olds and that’s who should watch them.

Music genres I loathe: Very few when you get down to it. I love music and am pretty eclectic in my tastes. There are even C&W offerings I quite like, if I’m in the mood. So, if you get down to it, rap and hip-hop do nothing whatsoever for me. The offerings are vulgar, violent and utterly offensive to a guy who loves romance, as opposed to rough sex.

Magazine which annoys me: Not so much any magazine that particularly annoys me but sadness over the fact that the great era of magazines seems to have come to an end. I was once an inveterate mag buff. I’d spend ages perusing the stands, not just looking at the Playboy airbrushed babes, but also National Lampoon, Spy, Life, Time, Look, Newsweek, and Esquire back when it was still written for grownups rather than its current mode which seems to want to attract the testosterone-driven, always-hoping, rarely-lucky young bucks who move their lips when they peruse the ‘articles’ in Maxim. And, of course, I’ve never forgiven them for killing the annual ‘Dubious Achievement’ awards.
Makes me cranky: Little old ladies at the express checkout to insist on buying at least 20 lottery tickets, and also want their previous 20 checked by the clerk, even though they can run them through the reader and check them that way. “Oh, I never trust those machines,” says the old dear with a voice like Tweety-Bird’s granny. For God sake, you’re 92-years-old, why are you still gambling? What are you going to do with the money if you win?

Makes me cranky II: Television commercials for diarrhea medications and incontinence pads or treatments. Yes, we can all get the trots, and a fair number of people wet their pants on occasion. I suspect such people know what to do about those little misfortunes, so why do the rest of us have to be regaled by the commercials?
Pisses me off: Evil creeps like Pat Robertson having the right to express his brain-dead and bigoted opinions in any public forum. Constitutional law gives him and his ilk the right, I know, but it’s scary to think such people have followers and those followers are permitted to vote, and more importantly, to breed. I think God must be by now thoroughly pissed off by the vanities, insanities, and ultimate depravities of virtually all organized religions.

Pisses me off II: The fact that any ‘name’ in any field, and especially entertainment, and especially if the entertainer in question is guilty of the most despicable and depraved behavior, is guaranteed to get a book publishing contract. Tiger Woods (who’s more entertainer than athlete, if we’re honest) could write just one book – it doesn’t need to be honest, and it will be ghosted, anyway – and not worry if he should ever head out on the links again. He’ll be set for life via his memoirs. Meanwhile, thousands of talented and intelligent literary aspirants continue to pile up the rejection slips.
Makes me impatient: Drivers that seem unable to master the concept of flicking on a turn-signal, or they activate it when they are already in the turn. It’s an ‘indicator’, folks, designed to tell other drivers what you are going to do, not what you’re fucking already doing. Those are the same drivers that are utterly befuddled by 4-way stops.

Makes me impatient II: People who do not clean up after their dogs. There is absolutely no excuse for this other than laziness and irresponsibility.

Makes me impatient III: Litterers and graffiti artists. In both cases it represents pathetic egos and arrogance, combined with certifiable stupidity. But, I guess people who will never make any other impression in life have to leave some sort of calling-card. And don’t dare suggest that graffiti taggers are somehow ‘artists’. They’re vandals, pure and simple. If you want to express your art get a canvas or piece of paper and do so. If you want to be public, get good enough to put on a gallery show. Otherwise, bugger off and stop defiling public places.
People I hate: Bigots and racists; people that abuse animals; people that abuse children; panhandlers (yes, I know we’re supposed to be tolerant and have sympathy for the less fortunate, but many are in-your-face and I find I dislike them whether I do or don’t give them any money); the publicly profane; queue jumpers; political fanatics; cleanliness freaks; child-safety playground Gestapo members driven to kill all fun; bullies; political cowards; many judges; many defense lawyers; knee-jerk anti-Americans in Canada and Europe; knee-jerk xenophobes in the US. Oh, I could go on forever here.

I could care less about: The forthcoming Winter Olympics. Olympics exist solely to serve the IOC thugs and assorted sponsors, and sometimes the governments that host the games. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dissing the keen and talented kids with stars-in-their-eyes that participate in an idealistic manner, I’m just voicing my detestation of the mob that runs a thing that has become vilely corrupted over the years. I will be so happy when our local version is finito in a few weeks.
Annoys the crap out of me: All of those who have conspired to render flying a nightmare rather than what was once an enjoyable experience. Of course it’s easy to blame the bad guys – who all should be shot if found out – but let’s not forget our pathetic and hideous overreaction that decrees no measure of human dignity must be allowed to remain if some pathetic moron at security thinks you ‘look suspicious.’

Annoys the crap out of me II: Public health officials who sent everybody into a worldwide panic over a ‘pandemic’ that never happened. Maybe be a little more effective in checking out the possibilities before you render the lives of the tiniest tots ones of stark terror: “Mommy, are we going to die? That was what the man said.”

As a final source of irritation: Christmas commercials seem to begin sometime after Labor Day these days, but has anybody else noticed that they’re continuing them into January this year? I have and it infuriates me more than it probably should. Any product or service commercial that utilizes Silent Night after Dec. 25 will not get my trade.

Yes-yes, a mon’s a mon for a’ that — OK?

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

Today, if you weren’t aware of it, and many likely weren’t, is Robbie Burns Day, so it seemed apt for me to open this with his immortal lines from To a Mouse.

I enter this blog with certain mixed emotions. It is true that I am a quarter Scots, and my middle name is Wallace (and we have a tartan), I guess the ‘Ian’ bit also originated north of Hadrian’s Wall as well. I’ve been to Scotland a couple of times over the years, and found Edinburgh to be a fine city, and I loved traveling through the Highlands.

At the same time, this whole Burns thing seems a bit excessive – especially in Canada with its surfeit of Scottish connections. But really, he was a colloquial poet of certain interest, and is probably best known universally for having written Auld Lang Syne. But why should there be a special day to commemorate him. Why not an English poet like Tennyson or Milton, a Welsh poet like Dylan Thomas, an Irish poet like Yeats, or an American poet like Frost? Are they not deserving to special days? Seems like an excess of Scottishness to me.

I can currently hear my Scots Presbyterian maternal grandmother, Jessie Wallace, turning in her grave at my blasphemies. C’mon Gran, with all his boozing and whoring you would nae have approved of Burns in real life at all.

But, you see, along with the French, there was a huge slew of Scots who opened up Canada and they also happily introduced our native brethren to booze and bannock, which natives now claim as their own.

This is getting around to the point that this time of year you find in cities and towns throughout the land a phenomenon known as Burns Night, which is an occasion for a goodly number of auld farts of both sexes to get blasted on scotch whisky and consume ungodly concoctions like haggis (a big sausage of sheep innards and oatmeal), neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) and listen to the wailing of the pipes. The pipes – a frightening instrument best appreciated from a distance – say 11 miles.

The name of all those festivities is to commemorate the rather brief life of Burns, and the whole occasion is highly ritualized, beginning with the Selkirk Prayer:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
   And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
   Sae let the Lord be thankit.

The process then continues with what is known as the Immortal Memory. This is an occasion for an invited speaker to hold forth according to the ritual. The speaker must offer a history of the life of Burns with smatterings of his poetry interspersed.

Once, a number of years ago, I was invited to offer the Immortal Memory at a local Burns Night. I really don’t know why. I guess it was because I was a fairly popular columnist at the time. Anyway, it was to their advantage that I have a natural ear for dialect. Set me down in Killarney and I’ll be Irish within hours. Plunk me in Georgia, and you-all won’t be able to tell I wasn’t born in Augusta. I’m not bragging, it’s just something I have. When I lived in England I was once challenged to converse with a stranger in what is known as ‘Broad Norfolk’, which isn’t an easy dialect to fake. I succeeded. But, that’s beside the point.

My Burns Night went OK and my Immortal Memory was praised, and I was given a Wallace Tartan necktie in gratitude. And then my wife and I had to sit through some dances by wee lassies and we longed for the evening to come to an end.

Thank God I didn’t need to don a kilt for the occasion.

And at least Gran would hae been proud. It wasn’t enough for her that I was stuck with her surname as my middle name.

The things we’re forced to do for the sake of our art

Yesterday circumstances beyond my control forced me to spend the entire afternoon in the company of a stark naked 22-year-old female of comely countenance – all over, as it happened.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I haven’t slipped the shackles of conformity or domesticity for the sake of a mad fling. In truth, I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit that the thought crossed my mind for a fraction of microsecond during the course of the afternoon, but I decided that it would be better for all if prudence prevailed.

No, what happened was I signed up for an art class. Or, more precisely, I signed on with a life-drawing group consisting of a half-dozen or so artists (and me) who had gathered together, along with an instructor, to hire said live model. It was cool, and it was something I’d wanted to do for many years. Not so much that I could spend afternoons in the company of lovely naked girls, though that was OK in itself, but so I could improve my artistry.

Seriously, in a smaller community it’s not so easy to find respectable females who might disrobe for a price. Unrespectable, yes, but they charge a whole lot more than artist models. So, we were deemed most fortunate to have found one who was excellent at a demanding and highly-disciplined calling. Don’t believe me? Strike a pose and hold it, stark still, for 20 minutes. Not so easy. Now, do it for an hour at a stretch, which is what ours was called on to do.

Anyway, I have fooled around in the art world since I was a kid. I took art in high school, but otherwise have had no formal training. Even in this case it’s not actual training per se, just access. But I have always drawn and I also paint. But I’ve never actually worked with a real person as a subject.

I was a cartoonist for a number of years, and was a newspaper editorial cartoonist as my first gig in the ink-stained wretch trade. Eventually being a scribe trumped my drawing endeavors, although I continued as a cartoonist until the early 1990s.

So, there were indeed people in my cartoons, including comely maidens and less comely matrons, but they were cartoon folks and they were products of my imagination. They were pretty well honed, I must say, and I was quite good at what I did, but they were still cartoons – exaggerated representations.

As for my paintings. Well, they are largely scenics, and hence rarely populated. In fact, of all the paintings I’ve done over the years, there is only one that is inhabited. It’s a back view, from the distance, of Wendy sitting under a palm tree on the island of Rarotonga. But, it’s taken from a photograph, not from life. That’s a different process, somehow.

So, I’ve decided that I want to have some people in my paintings. And I wanted to learn how to do it. It’s not – for me at least – as easy as it might seem to get human proportions to look exactly as they do. The body is more complex in its twists and turns, and light and shadow, than one might think.

At the end of the first day (there are still many sessions to go) I completed a couple of rather decent, I thought, representations of the young lady in question and in so doing got to know her probably better than her mother does – at least in context of her contours. I’m mildly pleased with my pencil and pastel representations, although I think they still look a little like the cartoon girls I formerly drew. But, at least the proportions are generally true to form.

The program continues on a weekly basis until mid-April and the quest is to put on a gallery show at the end of it. This is a highly intimidating prospect for me, but I’ll wait and see how I feel by the conclusion of the sessions. At the very least, I might be able to populate some new paintings. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What are ya — some kinda wisenheimers?

The English language is an ever-changing vehicle of expression, like, y’know, and this changeability and growth offers a distinct linguistic advantage to the practitioner of the tongue because that means that he or she should never be at a loss for words.

Any decent, progressive language should grow with the times; otherwise it loses vitality as a tool and can end up in the verbal dustbin, much as Latin did. Latin refused to change, and look what happened. Even the Catholic Church got rid of it and the only practitioners in a mild way today are doctors, pharmacists, classical students, animal species categorizers, and the truly pretentious. The French should take heed, considering that nation’s unpreparedness to allow their language to move with the times. Of course, the French are unprepared to do anything the moment they hear somebody else (most notably the English speaking part of the world) is doing it. They also think Jerry Lewis is funny, I’m told.

So, it’s a good thing that English has been prepared and willing to let new usages into the lexicon.

Yet, as is the case with most good things, there is also a downside to this openness. For what happens is that, as new words are added, perfectly good old ones fall into disuse. In most cases this does not matter. Few are those whose lives have lost significant meaning now that such terms and expressions as ‘daddy-o, go-man-go, hepcat, 23-skiddoo,’ and ‘bully-beef’ are no longer de rigueur. In fact, I doubt if de rigueur is still de rigueur. 

Note how in that last sentence I snuck in a French expression. That shows that we are secure in our language and are prepared to add foreign terms, unlike the speakers of some languages I could name.

What is unfortunate is that there were other words and expressions in the popular idiom that should have been kept because they are yet to be replaced by something preferable and more apt. The old terms were, in themselves, the bees-knees, possibly even the cat’s pajamas. Alternatives, you see, should always be vivid, because what is a language if it doesn’t have color? Monochromatic rhetoric is as boring as Stephen Harper’s diary.

As an example, one such word was yegg. A yegg was a safecracker, and in the old days, safecrackers were invariably yeggs in newspaper headlines. ‘Yeggs crack safe at Federal Trust’, would scream a newspaper headline in 1927.

Safecracker, on the other hand, is not only long and cumbersome; it is also unimaginative and clinical. Yegg, on the other hand, gave the reader a gut-feeling about the character of the crook. I know nothing of yegg’s etymology, but it is sort of a ‘round’ word. Journalistically speaking, too, it seems a little less redundant to write “Yeggs cracked a safe yesterday,” than “Safecrackers cracked a safe yesterday.” Well, of course they did. That’s their job.

Another word widely used by journalists in an earlier day was scofflaw. This is a wonderful word. It says it all. ‘Criminal’ seems brutal and violent, ‘felon’ is legalistic and antiseptic, and ‘blackguard, villain’ and ‘knave’ seem archaic, even though villain is still widely used in Britain. But, scofflaw. Doesn’t it make you think of a James Cagney type leaping up in court, biting his thumb and screaming at the lawyers, judge and cops: “Hang me if you want! I ain’t afraid. I scoff at the law!”

While we are looking at elements of the underworld, what of their opposite numbers, the police? Modern pejorative terms like “fuzz, the Man,’ and ‘pig’ lack imagination. I want to see the term flatfoot come back for street cops, and gumshoe for detective. Sherlock Holmes was a detective. Columbo was a gumshoe.

Away from the seamy side of life, whatever happened to wags? Wags were individuals who were always overheard as they uttered trenchantly witty comments after some person of import had made a heavy-handed pronouncement. “Following President Bush’s speech a wag was heard to say …” This often added a nice finishing flourish to what otherwise might have been a boring news story.

Wags themselves still exist, though they have lost some of their acerbity since the death of Oscar Levant. Every meeting or gathering has a wag, and most offices do, too. Nowadays they’re called smartasses or the like, but that is less effective for me.

While wags were usually to be found in the upper echelons of society or business, at the lower end, but fulfilling the same function, you would find the wise-guy, the wiseacre, or the more cosmopolitan Wisenheimer, as in “What are ya, some kinda wisenheimer?”

For women of yore who were inclined to be generous with their charms – for money, or even just for fun – there are many less-than-flattering and hypocritically judgmental terms in common use today. More descriptive, slightly humorous and not altogether unkind was the latterly popular roundheels.

The male equivalent of such a female was the lounge lizard, which is quite an evocative term in its descriptiveness. Don’t get many lounge-lizards these days, although Roxy Music’s Brian Ferry, with his soigné (see, another French word) seeming loucheness, virtually qualifies. Or, maybe he’s more of a bounder, since he, at sixty, has a twenty-four-year-old hottie to share bed and board.

A final term for which no other will quite do is one that carries with it all the meaning needed to describe an oily and creepy politician, is slyboots. If George McGovern had hurled such an epithet at Richard Nixon back in 1972 – he still would have lost the election, but he would have been able to take solace in the knowledge that he had chosen the perfect descriptive term for Richard M, and would have also added a little color to his regrettable campaign.

Hardly anything you needed or wanted to know about me

So, I pilfered this meme from somebody (cannot recall whom) a while ago and sometimes, when my mind and imagination are not at their most fertile I get a kick out of doing one of them as a combination of self-analysis and laziness. So, for what it’s worth, here it is.

A – Allergies: Grass, pet dander (sorry Max), certain flowers, and many politicians.

B – Bed size: King size.

C – Chore you hate: dishes

D – Dad’s Name: George Wallace Lidster.

E – Essential start-your-day item: Coffee

F – Favorite actor(s): Varies according to what I’ve seen them in, but Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Alstair Sim, Jack Nicholson, John Cusack, John Garfield, Alan Rickman, Harry Dean Stanton.

G – Gold or silver: Gold – it’s worth more.

H – Height: 5’ 9”

I – Instruments you play(ed): Nada. One of my great regrets in life. I tortured a violin for a couple of years when I was a kid, but it never went anywhere. Just as well for all concerned.

J – Job title: Freelance writer and failed (so far) book-writer and general layabout.

K – Kid(s): Another of my life regrets other than not playing an instrument was not having had kids. I like children very much.

L – Living arrangements: Suburban fully-detached bungalow.

M – Mom’s name: Barbara.

N – Nicknames: None that others use within my earshot at least.

O – Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Severe viral infection back in the 1970s.

P – Pet peeve(s): Oh, more than I could list here. You read my blogs so you know what they are. Stupidity at any level earns the Oscar in that regard. And sometimes the Oscars earn the Oscar in the stupidity regard.

Q – Quotes you like: “If nothing changes, nothing changes..”

R – Right- or left-handed: Right. Does that make me a ‘north-paw?’

S – Sports you played: Ha! But I love swimming and snorkeling.

T – Time you wake up: 4:30 a.m.

U – Umbrellas: I grew up in Vancouver. Everybody used umbrellas. Here in the Comox Valley nobody does. What’s with that?

V – Vegetable you dislike: Brocolli, cauliflower, zucchini, parsnips.

W – Ways you run late: I am hardly ever late. Only a car breakdown or roadwork would keep me from being at a place on time. I’m really OC about being on time..

X – X-rays you’ve had: Damn near everything but limbs.

Y – Yummy food you make: Potato salad, split pea soup, among others. Hate to brag but I’m a great cook. No wait, I do like to brag about my culinary skills. Me’n Julia, lots of butter.

Z – Zodiac: Pisces, but I’m on the cusp with Aquarius, and I’m really more Aquarian, hence more functional than a lot of pathetic, insecure and hedonistic Pisceans.

So, there you have it. Give it a shot if you’re inclined. It’s kind of fun..

Sometimes it’s good to get grouchy

Back in the days when I was a-newspaperin’ as a full-time job, one of my official capacities was working as editorial page editor. That’s mainly because it gave me leave to write the editorials of the day. I was already a columnist and city editor, and to have the ‘privilege’ of being entitled to write editorials was like frosting on the metaphorical journalistic cake. 

I was in conversation with a colleague in the business the other day. She is a noted columnist, as well as being a blogger friend (you can check out Jody Paterson here) and personal friend, and she said being editorial writer at her daily was the best job she had in the business before she too ventured out to the world of freelancing. 

What I loved about it is that it gave me free-rein to vent. As you know, I periodically like to enter into a rant of sorts, and when I wrote editorials I could rant and get paid for it. I could set the world straight. I could expose injustices and I could be overweeningly opinionated. I was in the exalted position, as explained by Mark Twain of being able to refer to myself as a plural entity, which is ‘we’. The only other two elements of creation that can do that, Twain said, are monarchs and tapeworms. But, I had full-leave to say: “We believe this action by the government is despicable, and we etc. etc.”

And, as long as I wasn’t libelous, then I could get away with it. Not only did I have the privilege of unloading a lot of my stresses (venting is very good for maintaining mental balance, the shrinks will tell you) but also I’d get feedback. Either congratulatory letters and phone calls, or the same, dripping with spleen. Either was good because it meant I had struck a chord. If the call came from an irate politico, then so much the better. It meant I’d struck an even bigger chord.

I don’t suffer under the misapprehension that my editorials necessarily changed anybody’s thinking (anymore than I think my blogs would), but it least they gave folks something to think about, or they exposed them to a point-of-view they hadn’t really considered.

I also am not vain enough to believe that my editorials belonged up there with some of the superlative editorials that have been written down the centuries. I am no HL Mencken, for example, but I did win a couple of awards for them, and that is gratifying. Did my editorials bring about change? I honestly cannot remember.

Anyway, back to my premise for this entry. As some of you know, I periodically like to enter into a rant with my blog – just once in a while, y’unnerstan’ – come on, it is just once in a while. And those rants also serve the state of my mental health in a beneficial way. Others of you do it, too, so don’t pretend you don’t. We all get cranky and testy about things happening around us, like pea-brained and sinister preacher-man and charlatan Pat Robertson indicting the Haitians for bringing about their horrific earthquake due to the pact they made with Satan. I mean, he doesn’t even warrant comment so unspeakable is his evil, but blogger pal Jazz covered the issue very nicely in her rant last week, so there is worth in all of this.

Now, what I am about to suggest is that those of you reading this send me along your favorite rant-worthy issues so that we can expose them to others. You don’t need to write an entire rant, so a statement or so letter others know what really pisses you off. Be like Peter Finch’s character in Network and tell us what makes you “mad as hell” to the degree you’re “not going to take it any more.”