Monday, April 24, 2006

Sojourn Comes to Fruition

A year-long effort paid off this last weekend --

It was with great fanfare (and a bustle) that I launched SOJOURN at the Ripper Convention in Baltimore. The books arrived on my doorstep (courtesy of the efforts of my publisher Gwen Gades) on Tuesday. We left for the convention on Wednesday. I grew a few more gray hairs over this one.

If you've never been to a Ripper gathering, they're great fun, always packed with intelligent folks, good booze and some interesting discussions. Speaking of greats, two premiere Ripperologists (as they're called) were there -- Robin Odell and Don Rumbelow. Others included Alan Sharp (who did wonders for a kilt,) Andy & Claudia Aliffe, Judy & Leroy Stock, Christopher-Michael DiGrazia (who did wonders for a white tux and lilac vest,) Stephen Ryder (founder of Casebook: Jack the Ripper)and the so-called Queen of Mean herself, Ally R.

The husband and I donned our Victorian garb for Saturday evening's banquet and blended right in. I bought bunches of books and stayed up way later than was prudent. But hey, it only happens every two years in the US. In 2007, it's the Brits' turn and I can't wait to make that one.

Who knows, maybe I'll have another book done by then.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Please, Not Again

Despite claims from our government, there is a slow and frightening move toward a confrontation (war) with Iran. We're treading the exact same ground, using the same rhetoric, playing all the games we did right before we entered Iraq.

Yes, Iran has their hands in various unsavory pies and will, most likely, have nuclear weapon capability in the next two years or so. Korea is a bigger threat, but no one in Washington seems too worried about them. The cynic in me is sure this has something to do with oil.

Invading (yes, folks, that's what we did) Iraq was the equivalent of kicking over a 4-story beehive. Lots of very angry bees. Iran will be nothing like Iraq. For the most part, they are a unified country, a DEMOCRACY, and if we attack, all hell will break loose. Do you expect that other Arab countries are going to stand by while we invade another of their neighbors? Won't they be wondering, "When's our turn?" We are already seen as the aggressors -- we'll become a rogue state.

Perhaps the Christians are right and Armageddon is just around the door, courtesy of Geo. Bush and his buddies. If we go into Iran, we'll have the opportunity to see just how bad things can get.

Now's the time to stop this nonsense. Contact your elected officials and demand we use diplomacy, not bunker busters. We don't have the money, the soldiers or the moral high ground to bomb or otherwise harass Iran. If we think we can win this one, we are beyond delusional.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Slippery Road

This from today's NY Times:

"Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggested on Thursday for the first time that the president might have the legal authority to order wiretapping without a warrant on communications between Americans that occur exclusively within the United States."

During the meeting, Rep. Adam Schiff stated that Mr. Gonzales' refusal to rule out domestic interceptions with a warrant, "represents a wholly unprecedented assertion of executive power. No one in Congress would deny the need to tap certain calls under court order, but if the administration believes it can tap purely domestic phone calls between Americans without court approval, there is no limit to executive power. This is contrary to settled law and the most basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers."

No matter the intentions of our president and his people, whether they honestly believe they are trying to keep us safe or they have a maniacal bent, the slow erosion of personal liberties scares the hell out of me. We are attempting to build a democracy in Iraq while we are dismanteling our own.

Our safety can be assured by using the framework of the Constitution. Our just laws are our beacon of light into an otherwise murky world. That light is being dimmed.

"Hey, children, what's that sound? Everybody look what's goin' down."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Can It Get Any Sillier?

Couldn't resist making a few comments about two subjects that rubbed me the wrong way --

First up -- Cynthia McKinney's run-in with a Capitol cop. If you didn't hear about this, members of Congress are allowed to go around the security check point and metal detector at the Capitol. They're supposed to be wearing a little pin that identifies them as PTB (Powers That Be). Cynthia doesn't wear hers and when a cop asked her stop (three times) she just kept on moving. He grabbed onto her and she hit him. End of story.

Here's a hint, hun. Wear your damned button. Striking a cop just isn't cool. He was doing his job. Do yours and help the poor schmuck. It's not his responsibility to recognize you out of the 500+ other members of Congress. His job is security. Your job is not to act like a spoiled brat. And please, drop the race card thing, will you? Yes, there is serious descrimination out there. But everytime you whine about something like this, it takes away from the real work that needs to be done.

Rant #2: Paris Hilton. Will this woman never go away? Why does her 15 minutes of fame feel like 10 centuries? So what's the latest, you ask? Some person wants to have Paris star in a movie. As you can see, we already have a problem here. But worse yet, he wants her to have the role of (are you ready for this?) Mother Theresa. Yup, the nun who spent her life working in the slums of Calcutta. The nun who owned two saris and damned little else.

You see why I'm annoyed. This is so asinine as to be offensive and I'm not even Catholic. Give me a break, will you? Paris Hilton should be embarrassed enough to say, "Uh, no thanks. That's not right."

Don't hold your breath waiting for that line. I'm still trying to figure out how they're going to work the teacup chihuahua into this one.

And now back to your regularly scheduled life. Thanks for allowing me to vent. It's cheaper than medication.