Review Of Klobuchar Application

Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, is running as a moderate, a centrist, a “nice” candidate who can find common ground and bring us together to meet in the middle.

Background. Klobachar is a white woman from Minnesota, 58 years old, and married with a 23 year old daughter. She has been a prosecutor and an attorney in private practice, and was the first female senator elected in Minnesota.

Positions. Klobuchar’s views correspond to her identity as a liberal centrist. She supports the right to abortion and LGBTQ rights, and she was critical of the war in Iraq. Klobuchar is generally in favor of gun control, a higher minimum wage, and increasing taxes on the rich. She opposes the death penalty and gerrymandering.

Klobuchar is slightly to the right of some othet camdidates. She considers Medicare for all to be an unattainable “aspiration” (although every other western industrialized country manages somehow to achieve this), but supports expanded access to health care. She does not support the Green New Deal, but she would rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Klobuchar wants to reduce student debt but does not support free higher education.

Klobuchar’s views on current issues are traditional liberal positions. The perception of her as a moderate or centrist arises from the fact that other candidates (Sanders, Harris, and Warren) have moved the Democratic party to the left.

Here is a useful summary of Klobuchar’s stances on a number of issues. Management concludes that Klobuchar’s positions are acceptable, if cautious. The Atlantic has an interesting article about her identity as a Heartland Midwesterner.

The latest polls show 2% of those surveyed are presently planning to vote for her.

Mean Boss? There have been reports that Klobuchar is a Bad Boss. If true, this is a significant shortcoming, both because it indicates emotional immaturity and also because the ability to play well wth others is central to an effective presidency. The only data that supports these rumors is the fact that Klobuchar has the highest staff turnover of any senator.

A Google search for “is Klobuchar a mean boss” returns numerous articles in reputable publications describing her tendency to be demeaning, angry, and even abusive towards her staff, who are described as working in a state of panic and anxiety. All of these reports are anonymous, so there is no way to verify them; moreover, other employee have publicly supported Klobuchar.

This is the best article I’ve found on the subject. Management concludes that Klobuchar’s alleged nasty treatment of her staff is concerning, but not necessarily a deal breaker.

Electability. The biggest question about Klobuchar is whether there is an opening for her to succeed. Why would a voter prefer her over any of the others? What does she offer that is unique?

It seems possible that many people who might otherwise vote for Klobuchar would instead choose one of the others – maybe Biden (another centrist, but a former vice president with a good reputation), Harris (flashier, more progressive positions, and a woman of color), Sanders (long record of progressive values, bolder proposals), Pete Buttegieg (another competent, workmanlike Midwesterner gay, which makes him seem edgier somehow), or one of the other 4 or 5 competitive candidates. It is just not clear where her niche is.

The Democrats have lost in the past when they ran competent compromise candidates, even those who might have been very good presidents. Hi there Kerry, Dukakis, McGovern, Humphrey, and even Clinton.

Preliminary Determination. Klobuchar has been a competent, effective senator, and her positions are likely compatible with those of many moderate Democrats. Management will not discard her application.

The problem for Klobuchar is that the centrist label also fits Biden, O’Rourke, Gillibrand, and Buttigieg, among others. Management has decided to set aside her application for the present. However, if one or more of the other middle-of-the-road applicants withdraws their application, or if new developments improve Klobuchar’s standing in the polls, we will call Klobuchar in for a second interview.

#Klobuchar2020 #AmyKlobuchar #Klobucharforpresident #candidateKlobuchar

Review of Kamala Harris Application

For background, see Job Opening and Sanders Application

Management has reviewed the application from Kamala Harris, currently a Senator from California.

Positions. Kamala is a liberal with progressive views on subjects that are in the public eye. She supports Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, criminal justice reform, legalization of marijuana, a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, increased pay for teachers, and a moratorium on the death penalty. Her views are similar to most of the serious applicants for President, who also espouse progressive positions. A recent article discusses her stance on a variety of issues.

Background. The daughter of immigrants, Harris has an ethnic and personal profile different from the typical white candidate. Wikipedia offers this summary of her background:

Kamala has shared her personal history with voters throughout her career. As this article notes, her family background has shaped her life and her views. She is a living rebuttal to Trump’s xenophobic view of immigration.

Former Prosecutor. Before running for the Senate, Harris was the District Attorney of San Francisco and then the Attorney General of California. Her record as a prosecutor has been criticized from both the right (she declined to pursue the death penalty for a gang member charged with multiple murders) and the left (she prosecuted the parents of truant students and fought to uphold convictions that were tainted by official misconduct).

Management has two observations. First, the record shows only that when Harris was a prosecutor her approach was prosecutorial. Her job was to seek convictions and to argue that they should be upheld despite evidence of official wrongdoing. Management finds the criticisms of her record to be the flip side of attempts to smear criminal defense attorneys for advocating on behalf of notorious criminals, or seeking to “free a murderer on a technicality.”

Secondly, to the extent that Kamala was charged with making difficult discretionary judgment calls, that was excellent practice for the daily duties of a President.

Fierce Critic of Trump. Harris sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and on several occasions she has questioned witnesses for the Trump administration. It is a joy to watch Kamala Harris cross examine a weasely government witness.

The witness’s plan may be to run out the clock with irrelevant speechifying to avoid answering the question. Kamala does not allow him to get away with it, and is prepared to cut off a meandering non-response with “It’s a yes or no question, sir; did you bring a hula hoop to this hearing, yes or no?” “That isn’t what I asked. It’s a simple question sir, did you or did you not, yes or no, take the cookie from the cookie jar?” “Excuse me, sir, I’ve moved on to a different subject.” One can be forgiven for exclaiming “Yes!” or “Zing!” while watching her fearlessly tackle a foe.

For the most recent example, here is a Kamala evicerating William Barr:

and here she is, gently questioning Kavanaugh:

Foreign Policy. Harris voted in favor of the US ceasing its involvement in the war Yemen, against the appointments of Tillerson and later Pompeo as Secretary of State, and has said that she won’t “conduct foreign policy by tweet.” She opposes Trump’s policies on immigration and has argued that we need to be careful to distinguish between the religion of Islam and the actions of Muslim terrorists. Can’t argue with any of that.

Israel. There exists a tension between America’s historical and ongoing support for Israel and the criticisms of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, it’s incursions into the West Bank, the viability of a two-state solution, etc. Harris has been criticized from the left for, as best management can discern, being insufficiently critical of Israel. On the other hand, any public official who criticises Israel is immediately branded anti-Semitic.

Disclaimer. Darned if I know how to solve The Middle East. Management’s position is that of course we should oppose anti-Semitism and support Israel, and that of course Palestinians have rights and that of course Israel needs to find some solution to the issues associated with its Palestinian population, maybe two states, I don’t know, sounds good but I’m not Secretary of State. Management concludes that Harris’s foreign policy positions are acceptable.

Demographics. Management confesses to lingering bitterness about the appointment of Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, and to a resulting conviction that it was past time for a President who is not a straight white man. Elections are won in the margins and it is likely that Harris’s name on the 2020 ticket would increase turnout among all non-Caucasian population sectors, including African-American, Indians and other Asians, and probably Hispanic voters. On balance, her ethnic background is a plus.

Preliminary Conclusion. Kamala Harris is a strong candidate. Her positions on a variety of issues, her focus on the problems faced by groups that are under attack by the current administration, and her fearless confrontation of opponents all recommend her. Management has decided to invite Harris for a second interview.

#KamalaHarris2020 #Kamala #KamalaHarris #2020KamalaHarris #KamalaHarrisforPresident

Review Of Sanders Application

For a description of the position please see Job Opening

Management’s preliminary review of the application of Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator, was born on 8 September 1941. That makes him about 77 years old and a Virgo. He ran in 2016 and surprised the pundits with his success, but Hillary was the eventual candidate and lost to Trump.

Consistent and Sincere. For more than 50 years, Sanders has supported progressive causes, from civil rights in the 1960s to Medicare for All in the present. His votes in the Senate reflect this and he has often been on the right (that is, left) side of history. He voted against the war in Iraq, the Defense of Marriage Act, and NAFTA.

(Do any of my fictional readers know whether NAFTA was good or bad? I don’t know anything about global economics.)

Consistency, continued. Sanders votes his conscience without regard to political fallout. His positions have always been in favor of helping the poor, fighting for racial justice, taxing the rich, avoiding war, and generally leveling the playing field.

Democratic Socialist. Sanders is to the left of the Democratic Party establishment and is a Democratic Socialist. Despite the scary (to some) Socialist label, this primarily means that he wants higher taxes (especially on the very rich) to pay for things that people currently struggle with, notably college tuition and medical expenses.

Colin Woodard’s book, American Character frames the fundamental divide in the USA as the tension between the common good and the rights of the “individual” (actually the individual exploiter, be it a nobleman, plantation owner, or corporation), to do whatever they want. Bernie has always been on the side of the good of society, rather than the Overlords.

Unafraid to Challenge Root Causes. As a Democratic Socialist, Sanders is not afraid to identify and challenge the fundamental causes of our current banana-republic-esque income inequality, or to propose Big Ideas that leap over the incremental changes supported by more moderate Democrats. Not sure how else to say this, but he cuts through the bullshit, tells it like it is, gets mad, and argues for global change to government’s allocation of resources.

Demographics. Sanders is a white male running in a year when there is a hunger for a President of a different demographic category. His idealism and proposals have proven very appealing to younger white voters, in addition to traditional white progressives. To date, Sanders has not achieved a similarly high level of support from African Americans or other racial minorities, despite his history of fighting for civil rights and the fact that his policy proposals would benefit the disadvantaged.

Foreign Policy. Most of Sanders most publicized proposals are focused on domestic issues. He has a history of being willing to challenge military intervention; for example, he voted against the invasion of Iraq. The Atlantic has an interesting article about Sanders foreign policy positions.

Oppositional? In Sanders long history (of good ideas), he has always positioned himself as misunderstood, too pure for the rest of us, fighting The Man, ahead of his time, taking the purer less traveled road, etc. Management agrees with most of Sanders positions. However, even if he is right about It All, there is something adolescent about all this. For example, he is too righteous to be a Democrat.

The President will govern a country of more than 328,000,000 people, whose backgrounds, ideologies, and viewpoints often vary wildly. To be successful, the President must be able to identify common ground with others, negotiate compromises, and accept the good instead of the perfect. Too much compromise results in the ultimately harmful triangulation that characterized Clinton’s presidency. But, a rigid refusal to sully one’s principals is also counter productive.

This is a matter of temperament rather than one’s position on a scale of left to right. Management is concerned that even if every member of Congress were a Democratic Socialist with a philosophy similar to Sanders, his posture would still be that of The Proud Righteous Loner who won’t demean himself with the horse trading and bargaining of politics. In short, the ability to govern effectively is quite different from the ability to rally supporters at a protest rally.

Age. As noted in the job description, the position of President is uniquely demanding, intellectually, emotionally, and physically. For this reason, management has a concern about the effect of these demands on any candidate over 65 years old. On the other hand, Sanders appears to be vigorous and his young supporters do not seem to be worried that he is too old.

Preliminary Conclusion. Sanders has several positive qualities, including a long history of voting his conscience, and his consistent support for improving the lives of the poor, the sick, racial minorities, and others whose fortunes are neglected by other applicants. Management has concerns about his appetite for the nitty gritty of governing and about his relatively advanced age.

On balance, management would like to invite Sanders back for a second interview.

#BernieSanders #Sanders2020 #Sanderscampaign #2020election #2020Sanders

Job Opening

From: Management

Re: Position open 20 January 2021

Please post the following online and in all appropriate publications.

Job Title: President, United States of America.

General Description: We are currently accepting applications for the position of President. The successful candidate must be prepared to manage a wide array of sensitive and demanding challenges, to delegate responsibility where appropriate, and to formulate both long term plans and responses to immediate situations.

The president will serve as Commander in chief of the world’s largest military force, will develop and implement policies guiding the foreign policy of one of the world’s super powers, and will apply the country’s foreign policies both to ongoing international situations and to new conflicts, crises, and events as they arise.

For this reason, management prefers applicants with demonstrated interest in and experience with international and geopolitical matters, including prior military service, relevant government or diplomatic service, and academic credentials.

The president will also play a leading role in the development and implementation of domestic policies, and in the federal government’s response to events affecting the people of the USA.

A complete listing of the matters for which the President will have some responsibility is beyond the scope of this announcement. However, for purposes of illustration and not intended as an exhaustive list, the President will be closely engaged in the following matters:

1. Budget. The president is responsible for developing a proposed budget which is submitted to Congress each year.

2. Infrastructure. The President will be responsible for addressing infrastructure problems neglected by previous administrations, including roads, bridges, water pipes, railroads, and government buildings. Some of these matters, such as the provision of water in Flint, Michigan, are urgent.

3. Immigration. The President will work with Congress to develop solutions to issues arising from immigration.

4. Health Care. Millions of citizens cannot afford necessary medical care. The President will work with Congress to address this problem.

5. Climate change. The President must be prepared to immediately take aggressive steps to mitigate the effects of climate change. This will require working with Congress and the leaders of other countries.

6. Domestic policies. The population of the USA is divided on an array of issues, including the legality of abortion, gun control, criminal justice, the proper scope of federal authority, educational policies, gender-related issues, voting rights, racial disparities, the role of money in our elections, regulation of industry and banking, the proper scope of environmental regulation, the appropriate role of federal government in redress of the impact of prior policies on non white populations, and the proper balance between the rights of the individual citizen of corporation and the best interests of society as a whole (examples of this tension might include whether to require vaccinations and OSHA regulations governing workplace safety).

The President should be prepared to use the power of the office to seek compromise where appropriate, to resist any erosion of basic rights, to balance competing interests, and to work with Congress on appropriate legislation.

Specific skills. The successful candidate will be well educated, with a broad general understanding of government and history, both American and international.

In addition, the President must possess the following abilities:

Physical stamina. The job of President places extraordinary demands upon the person in this position. For example, the President should be prepared to travel across many time zones and to undertake matters of great significance on arrival, regardless of the difference between the perceived time (Washington D.C.) and local time. The President must be able to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week. During a crisis, the President may need to function at the highest level on just 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night.

Intellectual ability. All of the applicants receiving consideration by management will be intelligent and educated. However, the winning candidate should possess the ability to quickly learn and synthesize new information on any possible subject. This will include the ability to quickly read and understand 50 to 100 pages of factual information on a matter that might be new to the President and to apply our foreign or domestic policies to issues arising from this subject. For example, it is possible that an unexpected international incident would require the President to rapidly absorb the history and culture of a nation to which the President had previously paid little attention; similarly, an unusual natural disaster could require the President to immediately learn the rudiments of a scientific or natural subject, such as the factors involved in the rupture of a dam, a wildfire, or the dangers arising from a hurricane. As mentioned above, management expects all serious applicants to be able to study and learn new material – it is the ability to do this quickly, in response to an emergency, that will distinguish the successful candidate.

Personal traits. Character is perhaps the most important criteria for the successful candidate. The President must have a proven track record of successfully working with a variety of people, including those of different background and beliefs. He or she will have a reputation for honesty, integrity, compassion, and tact, and a demonstrated ability to exhibit grace under pressure and empathy. At the same time, the President must be capable of making hard decisions and taking appropriate risks. He or she must be skilled at delegating to others while retaining responsibility for a decision, must be adept at compromise and negotiation. It is essential that the President be a person with a mature, even temperament, who can maintain equilibrium and good humor under stress.

Please submit all applications to management (me, the Empress of the Universe). We will consider all applications without regard to sex, race, gender orientation or preference, ethnic or religious background, or any other suspect classification.

#president2020 #2020 #jobofpresident #2020candidates

Letter to Mayor Pete!

Hi Pete,

I don’t know who, if anyone, reads your email, but here goes:

I’ve been donating to your campaign since it was a wee little exploratory committee. Your pedigree is impeccable and, unlike your cohort, you actually have some military experience. You are off to a great start and, with suggestions from your favorite North Carolina grandma (me), you could go all the way!

There is an issue that you need to tackle. This is a big year for demographics and you are, sorry to point it out, a white male. Not only that, but Kamala has been practically living in SC and has endorsements from Important People.

You cannot win without support from African American voters, so how do we get there? (Note: I’m ignoring the “black churches are socially conservative” thing because if they don’t like that you’re gay, they can bite me, so to speak.)

I’d say face it directly. Let’s pretend you are in Manning, SC –

“I cannot do this without you.”

“We all want the same things – a loving family, a good job, a safe community, and the freedom to enjoy these things.”

“We may all want the same things, but for 400 years African Americans have had to battle the vicious scourge of racism and white supremacy before they can even try to obtain their dreams.
“This is wrong, it’s immoral, and we must dismantle white supremacy. To do this, I need your help.” (Trust me here, saying ‘dismantle white supremacy is exactly right.) “I need your help, not just your vote. Our lives may have been different, but the dreams in our hearts are the same.”

Intermission: to attract African American voters, which you need to do, you need an Issue that resonates. I’ve chosen one that fits with your “talkin-bout-my- generation” persona.

I’ve decided (*giggle*) that you will make a big push for assisted (read: tax supported) opportunities for young people. Young people in South Carolina have basically no opportunities. They never even had factories like South Bend.

So, I don’t know, figure out some kind of WPA type thing, infrastructure work, tax- funded internships. Just about all the municipal water pipes in the country need to be replaced. Your proposed program needs to help underserved young people get help launching a career or learning job skills.

You figure out the details, but your issue is that people who are 15 – 25 need some way to get started. This may also include child care. People want to see a path forward for their children and grandchildren.
When this has been tried before, it’s been more of a thing for rich white kids to do for a year. Your plan will put disadvantaged young people on a career path.
I have a lot more advice, but that’s enough for today. Carry on and give Chasten my regards.
P.S. I’m going to put this in a blog.
P.P.S. I truly hope that I don’t get a form email back. Who else you got in North Carolina to give you advice?

Are Some 2020 Candidates Too Old For the Demands of the Presidency?

The job of President is grueling if done properly (of course, it’s pretty easy if you just sit around tweeting and not reading or thinking).  The extraordinary demands of the position include the ability to nimbly travel across time zones, to function effectively on 4 hours sleep when necessary, and to quickly read, digest, and synthesize many pages of dense writing on complex subjects.   I’m in my 60s and am pretty healthy and pretty smart, but there’s no way I’m perky enough to do a good job of Leading the Free World.

From the Washington Post: “Research says septuagenarians struggle with new tasks. That’s bad news for several 2020 candidates.”

Just my opinion here, but I think the president should be younger than 60.  Your mileage may vary.


Andrews NC

If only I knew what I was doing with this. But it’s still fun.

Creek in Spring

The Widow – watch it!!

How to review The Widow without any spoilers?

The Widow is airing on Amazon. The premise is this: Will Mason is in the Democratic Republic of Congo when a plane crashes. His wife, Georgia, is told that Will died in the crash. Three years later, she becomes convinced that he is alive and sets out to discover the truth. There. That may spoil the first 5 minutes, but no more.

The series is set in Africa, with some scenes in Rotterdam, and Wales. The acting is outstanding. The plot twists and turns are twisty and turny. It’s great.

I encourage you to watch it, nonexistent readers.

#TheWidow #Africa

The View From Here

Fundamentally Rural

My husband is shopping for a vehicle, specifically one that can “haul things” or “tow something.” We are in our 60s and live in the suburbs. The only things we haul are garbage cans once a week and the odd piece of lumber maybe twice a year. We don’t tow anything. I gave up on this issue when I realized that part of why I fell in love with him is that, like me, he has a rural underpinning.

These days I hang out a lot, reading, painting, knitting. But I grew up in the country and have, in the past, worked on the roof, helped dig a homemade septic tank, fed chickens, weeded, mowed, sanded, and slept outside without a tent.

Years ago I was visiting a friend who said he had hired someone to run a wire from the stereo into the next room, in order to mount a speaker on the wall. Put “hired” in italics please. I was, to use the trendy word, gobsmacked. One characteristic of fundamentally rural people is figuring out how to fix things, improvise, do it yourself.

Another rural trait is, apparently, the urge to own a vehicle that can do rough work.

I’ve never lived in an apartment, even in a city. I would never be able to get my husband to take off his shoes inside. There are stacks of this and that in the (very small) yard. I’m interested in silk, so he planted a white mulberry tree to feed the silkworms I will eventually raise.

One more thing – I think projects are part of our rural framework. My husband and I, and both our adult children, always have projects going, whether it’s picture framing, welding, spinning and knitting yarn, weaving, building, or organizing.

So, fine, we can get a pick up just in case we need to haul or tow something.

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates

Sites that discuss the Democratic candidates for president and their positions. I will try to keep this updated.


Five Thirty Eight

PBS Candidates & Positions

Public Integrity


I Side With

Talking Points Memo

Rolling Stone


#2020 #2020democrats #2020election


“Racism for Dummies” Meme

There is a meme going around about how “we’re all the same.”

It is invariably posted by a white friend who has a loving heart, means well, sincerely believes that “we’re all the same underneath,” and lives in a mostly white town.

What to do? It’s awkward to challenge someone, I’m pathologically averse to conflict, and I don’t want to start a fight. And yet . . . this meme is fundamentally inaccurate and represents a classic example of white fragility.

First, this frames racism as a bad personality trait of some bad individuals with bad ideas. Thus, if you “don’t care if someone is black, white, or purple,” then *presto* you’re not a racist.

But what if racism is defined differently, as a pervasive system of white advantage (see, even here, I’m afraid to say “white supremacy” because I don’t want friends to take umbrage). What if racism is more than a character flaw that is especially common in Alabama?  And isn’t the option of defining racism in a way that excludes you and then putting race out of your mind the quintessential example of white privilege?  You think African Americans ever get to not notice race?

Secondly, it’s factually inaccurate. A person who has experienced job discrimination, police harassment, being followed in a store on the assumption that they might steal, being assumed to be dumb, dishonest, or lazy, having people assume that they owe their position to affirmative action, rather than hard work — this person is most assuredly NOT the same inside as someone like me who has never had to deal with any of these awful stresses.

If a person is actually interested at all in race or racism, then a great place to start is the book White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo.

Let’s just say this – I can pretty much guarantee that when a white person says “I don’t see color,” “We are all the human race, that’s what matters,” or “I was raised to treat everyone the same,” that the people of color in the room are mentally rolling their eyes.

#race #racism #whitefragility

Losing Weight, Part Five.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


Exercise.  Every medical study agrees that exercise is important for good health and longevity.   What about exercise and weight loss?

I believe walking 30 to 45 minutes every day is a key part of losing weight.  You don’t need to jog, lift weights, or swim a mile to lose weight.  But a good walk is very helpful.  I think it helps metabolism or blood pressure or the immune system, maybe all of them, I’m not a doctor.  Just walk at least 30 minutes a day. Even if it’s hot or cold or damp.

Portions.  You will quickly discover that restaurants serve huge portions and that hostesses nag you to have second helpings. Not your problem.  You don’t have to “eat everything on your plate” like a little kid, and you can just pat your rapidly shrinking tummy and assure the host that you’re stuffed.

Sticking With It.  Not going to lie, it’s easy to backslide. Remember I said I’d lost 50 pounds?  Yeah, actually I did it twice, after I fell off the low carb wagon.  Do whatever helps you stick with something. Shopping for clothes a size smaller is fun, that might work.

That’s all for today!



Losing Weight, Part Four. Nuts and Bolts

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

What to expect: You’ve bought whatever combination of fruits, vegetables, cheese, eggs, meat, spices, fish, fowl, and coffee or tea makes sense to you. If so inclined, you’ve found recipes for grain-free substitutes for ingredients. You’ve maybe read the labels if you have processed food around. Time to take the plunge.

1. First Two Days. You might feel weird the first two days, because your body is used to the sugar high from cereal, bread, and so on. You might feel a little shaky or have a slight headache. Feel free to gripe. I’ll bet that on the third morning you wake up feeling more energetic than you have in ages. I’ll also bet that you will have lost a pound by now.

2. Dining with Friends. I don’t know about you, nonexistent reader, but I hate calling attention to myself. I hate the idea of everyone at the table wrinkling their brows over my “weird diet” or of a host feeling anxious about “what can you eat?” I try to keep it brief and simple. I urge people to make whatever they normally would and say that I’ll skip anything not on my list. This isn’t a perfect solution. Sometimes people put you on the spot or have Strong Opinions to share. Sometimes the hostess serves bread, a rice casserole, candied yams, and chocolate cake. If that happens, just eat a little bit of everything (a LITTLE), decline the cake on the grounds that you’re full, and don’t worry about it.

3. Restaurants. It’s easier in a restaurant, because you aren’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings or get them in a tizzy. If you order a burger without a bun, they will often set it in a bed if lettuce and tomatoes. If the meal comes with fries or the salad has croutons, push them aside.

4. Weaknesses and Mental Tricks. I have a weakness for desserts, yours may be different. What if you feel resentful and deprived because everyone else is slathering butter on warm sourdough bread, sipping wine, and groaning in ecstasy over the double fudge chocolate torte? Some ideas –

First, this isn’t forever, unless you have a metabolic or medical condition (in which case, I am not a doctor, etc.). This is about losing weight, simply and briskly, without joining a group, keeping a notebook, etc. If you are walking 35 minutes a day (more on that in a minute) and are not eating second helpings, you can lose 40 pounds in 2 or 3 months. Then you can OCCASIONALLY have chocolate cake.

2. At restaurants I sometimes just get up and walk away when the waiter is taking dessert orders. I come back in a minute when the danger is past.

3. Just make it a rule, so you aren’t having will-power battles 50 times a day.

4. Dissociate a little, just don’t think about the presence of whatever tempts you.

5. Just do it. You don’t have to like it, just do it.

#diet #weight

Losing Weight, Part Three, How To.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three: Not Eating Grains and Sugar

We eat so many grains and so much sugar because they’re cheap and filling, give you a quick (if metabolically unhealthy) boost, (did I spell metabolically right?), heck, they may be subsidized by the government for all I know.

Grains are a big part of most of the common things we cook and love – lasagna, pizza, spanikopita, tacos, granola, cereal, rice, corn fritters, not to mention key lime pie and chocolate chip cookies.

So, how do you give them up? I prefer cold turkey – just do it. When you lose a pound in 2 days, it’s encouraging.

Tips and tricks.

1. Prepare. Think of ways to make changes and go buy that stuff. Buy celery if you’re going to put peanut butter on celery instead of bread.

2. New rituals. I had a nightly habit of red wine, corn chips, and ice cream. I devised a new ritual involving herbal tea. I know that sounds lame, but I use a lovely pottery mug, add spices, and play it up.

3. Be sure to include fat in your diet. Apple chunks and cheese is filling. Fat keeps you from feeling hungry.

4. Drink lots of water, tea, etc., which will help you feel full.

5. If you want, explore new vegetables, and ways of making grain free pie crust, spaghetti squash spaghetti, things with nut flour. The internet is probably full of that stuff.

Next up: pitfalls and challenges.

#diet #weight

Losing Weight, Part Two.

Part One

Part Two: One Weird Trick.

To lose weight rapidly and safely, stop eating grains and sugar. There it is, the only important thing you need to do. The rest is just discussion of what that means, how to do it and why, and what to expect.

People are fat because they eat grains and sugar, period, the end. If you stop eating grains and refined sugar, you lose weight. Once you lose enough weight, you can resume eating grains and sugar (unless there is a metabolic reason not to, such as type 2 diabetes), but if you aren’t restrained, you will gain it all back.

Yep, this is the low carb thing, with a few twists and tips.

Sugar is sugar.

“Grains” unfortunately includes bread (yes, even multigrain whole wheat bread), pizza, pasta, wine, beer, bagels, pita bread, tortillas, muffins, buns, rolls, pie crust, crackers, cookies, and yes, even artisinally curated dry crackers. It also includes corn, corn syrup, potato chips and fries.
Avoiding sugars also means giving up fruit juice and being careful about fruit. Six dried apricots is pretty carbalacious.

The Good News – You do NOT have to have a fat free, or low fat diet, unless there is some other medical reason for it, I’m-not-a-doctor disclaimer goes here.

Fat does not make you fat any more than tomatoes make you red. You need fat! Fat is what makes you feel not hungry. Go ahead, add a spoonful of whipping cream to your coffee and a pat of butter to the broccoli.

#diet #weight #weightloss

How to Lose Weight, A Symphony in Several Parts. Part One

Part One: Introduction.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or other health care professional, and this is not medical advice. In other words, I know I’m right, but don’t take my word for it. I am not a doctor and do not rely on this or any blog instead of consulting your doctor.

How I know that I’m right about how to lose weight: I was always skinny until my 40s, when I put on some weight. I participated in a university study in which participants did a LOT of exercise but were told to eat whatever they wanted. I gained more weight and my blood sugar went way up. I read books, especially those by Richard Bernstein. I lost 50 pounds in 4 months. You probably can too, and here is how.

Losing weight is not as complicated as the books and articles make it seem.

Here are some things that you do NOT need to do to lose weight:

1. Join a gym, have a complicated workout plan, or run 5 miles a day.

2. Pay to join a group in real life or online.

3. Make your life into a big science project. You do NOT need to write down everything you eat, including the calories, carb content, glycemic index, etc.

Go ahead and do these things if you want. Running every day and lifting weights is healthy, some folks like support groups, and others like keeping detailed records of what they eat. But none of this is necessary, so if you don’t have time to keep a food log or can’t afford a gym membership, don’t worry.

I am breaking this into bite sized blog entries because I hate reading long scrolly blogs and my nonexistent readers might feel the same way.

#diet #weight #losing weight

One Last Job

How many movies have you seen, nonexistent readers, in which a criminal decides to go straight, only to be lured into One Last Job?

See, for example, Thief, Heist, Getaway, Sexy Beast, and Unforgiven.

But it’s not just criminals! Sometimes legal writers are coaxed back for one last job after retirement! Maybe a 2 or 3 month 29 hour a week gig?

Stay tuned, NRs!

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

A crime that is committed between midnight and 6:00 a.m. may feel late at night but is technically the next day. The district attorney describes the events as occurring “during the early morning hours of March 11.”

During these early morning hours I think about all the things. Ancient history mixes with ideas for knitting a cardigan, which fades to a detailed political speech about whatever flickers into view, which leads to a plan for how to sketch a rock sitting on a plate . . . to anxiety about It All . . . an idea for soup . . . what should I do with the collection of every issue of The Knitter? . . . are young people having fewer children? . . . can the Democrats win in 2020? . . . and what is wrong with people who like that repulsive man? . . . I bet there are some good trails in Briar Chapel . . . my mother would have been 92 today . . . I miss her . . . Will anyone miss me? . . . can UNC get to the final four this year? . . . which would be more fun, Rhinebeck or Stitches South? . . . need to look up Gate One tours and find a good trip for Staples and me . . . he hates the idea of a cruise . . . but maybe . . .

The warm little cat stretches out a paw with that saltine smell of a healthy cat. At 2:00 a neighbor leaves for a night shift job and shadows pass across the wall and I keep thinking about all the things.

#darkness #insomnia #earlymorning

View From the Steps


This is a watercolor of the view from the steps behind the W_____ house.  Too much green I think, too much yellow-green, but the mountains are nice.

A thing! I did a thing!

Blogs are so boring when the bloggers blog about themselves. Who cares if you’ve been thinking precious thoughts about X or reconsidering Y?

And yet, I can’t resist telling the world that I did a thing about which I am proud, even though no one cares. The thing was that I figured out how to add an icon to my website, which is another thing, like a blog, that no one cares about but me.

An icon! The thrill comes from the fact that I have zero training or education in coding, etc.


Aw heck, the icon didn’t show there. But when I googled on my phone and clicked “add to my home screen” it was right there.


See?  It’s the pink thing!


Cloud Macchiato!

The Washington Post just reviewed a new coffee drink –

“Starbucks’s Cloud Macchiato is like a cozy, coffee-flavored bubble bath”

Can’t Wait!

The Times They Are etc.

A few years ago someone suggested that I watch the Key & Peele “Substitute Teacher” videos and enjoy a good laugh. I watched and I laughed. You can Google them if you want – Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The humor seemed harmless, even edgy, at the time, and reviewers wrote that Key & Peele were breaking down stereotypes and “exposing systemic racism.” Huh?

The premise of these videos is that a veteran teacher from an “inner city” (read: black) school is substituting at a white middle class school. The “humor” arises from the fact that the teacher (1) has developed a furious loud demeanor, presumably as a survival mechanism in “the inner city”; (2) is so used to “black” names like “D’Angelo” that he cannot pronounce names like Aaron or Denise; (3) thinks that a student who wants to go to a chess club meeting is referring to a downtown club, and; (4) assumes that he is in a battle with lying lawbreakers, again presumably based on his previous experience in a largely African American school.

What the hell? Why did I laugh? How did I not see how racist this is?

Boy have things changed since then. No one would get away with those videos now.

It reminds me of the recent scandal over yearbook photos of white students in blackface makeup. I guess they thought it was good clean fun at the time. It wasn’t. What do you think, nonexistent readers?

#Key & Peele #race #racism