Archive for the tag 'Sarah Palin'

10 July 2011: Your Summer Fiction Rereading List

July 10th, 2011

New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has just listed ten books which are on his summr rereading list because they’re “triumphs of fiction, both fun to read and significant for literary or historical reasons, relating to social justice at a time when inequality in America has soared to historic levels.”

Here’s Kristof’s list of Best Beach Reading Ever—“Germinal” by Emile Zola, “Pale Fire” by Vladimir Nabokov, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, “Our Man in Havana” by Graham Greene, “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, “Les Miserables” by Victory Hugo, “The Mysterious Stranger” by Mark Twain, and “Scoop” by Evelyn Waugh.

Assuming that anyone even vaguely connected to the University of Kansas is now rereading (or perhaps reading for the first time) the novels of science-fiction giant Theodore Sturgeon because of the recent acquisition of his books, papers, manuscripts and correspondence by the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, thanks to retired English professor James Gunn, himself a giant in the field, one might have time to read just three more non-Sturgeon novels for what’s left of the summer.

My three would be— “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin, because it would make right-wing conservative Christians fall down on their knees in perpetual prayer, and maybe also for occasional inappropriate sex with members of their own sex; “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren, which firmly advocates that, if you dig deep enough, you can find dirt on anyone, Republicans as well as Democrats; and “The Transposed Heads” by Thomas Mann, because I keep fantasizing about what it would look like to graft the heads of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor on the bodies respectively of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Mary Matalin. Or, truer to the spirit and theme of Mann’s novel, perhaps the heads of Hillary Clinton, Claire McCaskill and Elizabeth Warren on the torsos of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor.

So, those are my three summer rereads. What are yours?

15 December 2010: What Makes You Cry?

December 15th, 2010

We’re all familiar with Sarah Palin’s mantra that leaders in Washington need to “man-up.”  I wonder what the swaggering gun-toting ex-governor of Alaska thinks of all the press and television coverage that GOP Weeper of the House John Boehner has been getting by precisely ignoring her dick-tum, and daring to open up the floodgates of his emotions.

Since it’s okay now for men to cry in public, I’d like to admit that I sob every time I hear “Drive” by The Cars, and Eva Cassidy’s rendition of “Fields of Gold” by Sting.  I’m also an absolute wreck, a total babbling incoherent mess, even just thinking about the last scene of Robert Bresson’s 1966 film, Au Hasard Balthazar.  But, most embarrassing of all, is how I start crying these days when I see pictures of John Boehner with Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor , and they are all smiling, not crying.

That said, what makes you cry?

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4 November 2010: Me-sogynist?

November 4th, 2010

I’ve always admired Hillary Clinton, but there’s no denying that, once the Republicans saw the handwriting on the wall and the glass ceiling breaking, our Hillary gave birth to their Sarah Palin, who then spawned such shrews as Sharron Angle, Carly Fiorina, Linda McMahon, Christine O’Donnell and Meg Whitman.

I don’t want to sound misogynistic, but if Louisa May Alcott were writing Little Women today, Sarah Palin would be the new Marmee Grizzly trying to raise her unruly cubs.  And in this new reality show, Marmee will eat her own young as she turns into Lady Macbeth. Barack Obama could stop all these weird sisters in their tracks by running with Hillary Clinton as his vice-president in 2012.

19 September 2010: Christine (Sarah, Monica, Sally) O’Donnell

September 19th, 2010

Yes, Delaware Republican nominee Christine O’Donnell seems to be a Sarah Palin clone, but am I the only one who also sees a facial resemblance to Monica Lewinsky?  That is, until Christine opens her mouth, and then she sounds just like Sally Field gushing over her anatomically-incorrect Oscar back in 1980:  “You like me, you really like me!”

And where are they now?  Monica is peddling handbags on the internet, Sally is reversing her bone loss with Boniva, and Sarah will soon be replaced by all the Smegmama Grizzlies she seems to have spawned.

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I Write Like…Who???

July 17th, 2010

Having read about the new website “I Write Like” (, which matches samples of one’s own prose with those of famous authors, I decided to have the site analyze some of the longer entries from my “memoir in flux,” and here are the results.

My recollection of the one time I met Arthur Miller was likened to the prose of Vladimir Nabokov. This was very flattering indeed.  I’ve read and admired everything Nabokov has ever written, most especially the novel Lolita; and, of course, his wondrous autobiography, Speak, Memory!

My account of the brief encounter I had with Kurt Vonnegut was said to be reminiscent of none other than…Kurt Vonnegut!  I’m not sure what to think about this comparison, since I am definitely not a Vonnegut fan, except perhaps for a couple of short pieces in Welcome to the Monkey House.

My story about Robert Anderson’s reply to a letter I wrote him when I was a teenager in the Philippines, asking him about possible interpretations of  his play Tea and Sympathy, was tagged as something William Gibson might have written.  Only problem is, there are at least two William Gibsons who are writers.  There’s William Gibson, the cyberpunk novelist; and there’s William Gibson, the playwright who wrote The Miracle Worker.  Surely, it must be the latter, because I’ve seen many of his plays, and because I know the former only by reputation.

One of my many entries about Sarah Palin was decoded and identified with Dan Brown, whom I’ve never read.  I did see the movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, which bored me to death, so I’m baffled by the link.  But, now that I’m thinking about it, I do see some similarity between Sarah Palin’s self-satisfied smirk of a smile with that of Mona Lisa. I may be the only person in the world who thinks that Ms. Lisa looks like a balding, overweight man in drag.  I’m sure this is what Sarah Palin will look like after the 2012 election.

My retelling of what happened the night I got the long-distance telephone call from Manila that my father had died, was, to my surprise, compared to the work of Stephen King.  In truth, though, my father did have a dog once who had rabies and was Cujo-like before it had to be put down.  And, I do like Stand by Me–the novel, the movie adaptation with River Phoenix, and also the song written and originally performed by  Ben E. King.

I tried three more entries from my website—one about my mother’s laughter, and two about my various encounters with William S. Burroughs.  Remarkably, all three entries identified me as another David Foster Wallace. Unfortunately, I had no idea who David Foster Wallace was, nor what he might have written. So I looked him up on the internet.

It turns out that David Foster Wallace was a novelist, short story writer, and essayist who was also a creative writing professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California.  He was the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.  The Los Angeles Times named him “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last twenty years,” and his 1996 novel Infinite Jest was included by Time magazine in its All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list (covering the period 1923-2006).

This is great.  It’ll give me a good excuse to catch up on contemporary fiction. I’ve been immersed too long in theatre and dramatic literature.

By way of trivia, I also learned that David Foster Wallace was close to his two dogs, Bella and Warner, and that he had talked frequently about opening a dog shelter.  His friends said that “he had a special predilection for dogs who had been abused and were unlikely to find other owners who were going to be patient enough for them”

It gets better and better.  I really like this guy.  I’m going to buy and read all his books, see if we really view life and approach writing the same way. And then, suddenly, his name rang a bell.

According to a September 14, 2008 article in The New York Times, David Foster Wallace “died on Friday at his home in Claremont, Calif.  He was 46.  A spokeswoman for the Claremont police said Mr. Wallace’s wife, Karen Green, returned home to find that her husband had hanged himself. Mr. Wallace’s father, James Donald Wallace, said in an interview on Sunday that his son had been severely depressed for a number of months.”

Oh, God.  Now I’m depressed.

10 July 2010: Shapeshifting With Sarah Palin!

July 10th, 2010

Sarah Palin has done it again!  Although she was born in The Year of the Dragon (1964), she is not content being a mere Dragon Lady.  Through the years, she has, by her own account, been a barracuda on the basketball court, an attack dog on the campaign trail for the GOP, a pitbull with lipstick.  And now, in her latest television commercial, she wants to be identified as a feminist Ursus arctos horribilis, the grizzliest of the Mama Grizzlies.

Keith Olbermann has already pointed out  on MSNBC that grizzlies eat their own young.  To that, I’d like to add the following information which I found on the internet:  “Grizzlies are subject to fragmentation, a form of population segregation. Fragmentation causes inbreeding depression, which leads to a decrease in genetic variability in the grizzly bear species.  This decreases the fitness of the population for several reasons.  First, inbreeding forces competition with relatives, which decreases the evolutionary fitness of the species.  Secondly, the decrease in genetic variability causes an increased possibility that a lethal homozygous recessive trait may be expressed; this decreases the average litter size reproduced, indirectly decreasing the population.”

How Sarah Palin identifies with all this, I’m not sure.  But, wait.  At the end of her new television commercial, Sarah shapeshifts yet again.  “Look out Washington,” she warns, “cause there’s a whole stampede of pink elephants crossing the line, and the E.T.A. for them stampeding through is November 2, 2010.”

So what happens after November 2, 2010?  What specious subspecies is Sarah turning into next?

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19 June 2010: Women Beware Women!

June 19th, 2010

It boggles my mind how, in recent years at the University of Kansas, so many of the young women in my classes do not want to be identified as feminists.  They seem to want all the benefits, and actually take all the benefits for granted, but would rather not be identified with the cause, or the history of the struggle.  Back in the 60s and 70s, life seemed so much simpler when opposing forces like Germaine Greer and Phyllis Schlafly were at least civil with one another.  These days, temperate and well-mannered people in politics like Hillary Clinton, Claire McCaskill and Maxine Waters seem to be horribly outnumbered by the likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, Sue Lowden, Liz Cheney, ad nauseam.  So can we blame young women today if they would rather not be identified with these shrieking shrews?  What hath feminism wrought?  Perhaps Jacobean playwright John Middleton said it best, back in 1657, in the title of his play, Women Beware Women.

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5 May 2010: Ted Nugent on Sarah Palin

May 5th, 2010

Writing on Sarah Palin in Time magazine’s double-issue on The 100 Most Influential People In The World, conservative gun-toting sexagenarian rock guitarist Ted Nugent asserts that “the independent patriotic spirit, attitude and soul of our forefathers are alive and well in Sarah.  In the way she lives, what she says and how she dedicates herself to make America better in these interesting times, she represents the good, while exposing the bad and ugly.”  I think it’s time to get rid of all my old Ted Nugent records, except that I’ve never bought or owned any.

26 March 2010: Guess Who’s on The Learning Channel?

March 26th, 2010

Sarah Palin is going to get $1 million for every episode of her proposed travelogue about the State of Alaska.  The series will air, not on the Fox Channel, not on the Sci-Fi Channel, not even on the Cartoon Network, but on…THE LEARNING CHANNEL!  Wanna go for a drive on the Bridge to Nowhere with Sarah?  You betcha!  Wanna see Russia from Sarah’s house?  Only if you don’t wink.  And such, I’m afraid, is the state of learning in America these days.

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25 February 2010: Sarah Palin’s Curiosity Case

February 25th, 2010

According to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a recent interview with Newsmax, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin lacks “the depth of understanding of the complexity of life that we’re living in today.”  He also thinks that she has no political legs in 2012 because “public leaders need to have intellectual curiosity.”  I beg to differ with the thoughtful Bush on the latter point.  In my opinion, Sarah Palin is herself the biggest curiosity of all, intellectual or otherwise, that we’ve ever encountered in politics in this country.  As to whether or not she has legs, not being into dismemberment issues, I must admit I’m stumped.

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