Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

 I usually write about frivolous subjects, but I can’t do that today after reading about the abduction, torture and execution of 36-year-old Maria Santos Gorrostieta, the mother of 3 children and the former mayor of the small town of Tiquicheo, Mexico.

She was living in Morelia, Mexico on November 12 and was driving her daughter to school when her van was blocked by another car. Attackers pulled her out and began beating her in front of passers-by.  She begged the attackers to spare her daughter and went willingly into their vehicle so that they’d leave the girl alone.  Five days later farm workers found her body in a roadside ditch.  She had been tortured, beaten and burned.

This was the third assassination attempt on Maria—the first two happened while she was the mayor of Tiquicheo and defied the drug family, “La Familia Michoacana” which controls this area of Mexico.  The current drug wars account for at least 50,000 deaths so far—some say it’s double that.   Headless, mutilated bodies turn up in the state of Michoacan almost weekly.  This past weekend 19 bodies were found in the northern border state of Chihuahua.

Maria Gorrostieta was a doctor who studied medicine in Morelia.  She was elected mayor of Tiquicheo as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in 2008.  In October 2009, her car was attacked by gunmen and her husband, José Sanchez, died.  Maria was seriously wounded, but defiantly returned to work. Three months later, she was attacked again on the way to a meeting.  The gunmen fired 30 bullets, which wounded Maria’s brother and a reporter.  The  three bullets that hit Maria caused serious wounds that left her in constant pain and forced her to wear a colostomy bag.  In the photo above, she bared her scars to the cameras and said, “I wanted to show them my wounded, mutilated, humiliated body because I’m not ashamed of it, because it is the product of the great misfortunes that have scarred my life, that of my children and my family.” (Like the US press, I cropped out the wounds to her stomach, because they were so grisly.)

After the second attack, she considered quitting but did not.  “It is not possible for me to surrender when I have three children whom I have to educate by setting an example,” she said, “and also because of the memory of the man of my life, the father of my three little ones, the one who was able to teach me the value of things and to fight for them.”

During her time as mayor of Tiquicheo, Maria had a police escort, assigned to her by the government, but her protection was pulled after she left office.

As the press reported after her death, two dozen mayors have been murdered in Mexico since the government’s war on the drug cartels began six years ago. Not surprisingly, few men are willing to run for office, but  Maria Gorrostieta was one of seven women who dared to serve as mayors or police chiefs because no man could be found for the office.  Two of these women were assassinated, a third was kidnapped and is feared dead, and a fourth left her job and fled to the United States.   Now Maria Santos Gorrostieta has joined the list of martyrs, as she knew she would.

Morelia, where she died, was the town where I stayed in February of 2011 while touring with author and chef Susana Trilling of “Seasons of My Heart” to meet indigenous chefs  of the Purepecha Indians and to visit the nearby nature reserve of the Monarch butterflies at La Rosita

Morelia, at the very center of the drug war, is a beautiful city with fascinating history but it was nearly empty of tourists when I was there, even though we students of Susanna Trilling  never felt in danger (because we weren’t.)  But the signs of the drug war—armed citizens and conspicuous groups of armed Federal police—were everywhere.   People of means hired body guards, changed their route to work daily and feared constantly that their children would be kidnapped and held for ransom.

It breaks my heart to see Mexico-- where I have traveled so often, seen so much beauty and fallen in love with the people--suffering from this cruel war which the government seems unable to  stop, but it breaks my hear even more to see women like Maria die horribly and leave their children orphaned every day while the country and its people suffer terribly and the drug lords just get richer.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Amalia Accessorizes

Always precocious, Granddaughter Amalía, almost 15 months old, announced her early entrance into the Terrible Twos with a complete melt-down screaming tantrum while riding in rush-hour traffic through downtown Miami several nights ago.  The reason for the tantrum: she hated the shoes her Mommy had put on her (black Mary Janes.)  The only solution was to hide the offending shoes and let her go barefoot for the rest of the night, since alternate shoes were not available.

After three children and one grandchild, I realize that a baby’s personality is the result of nature, not nurture.  Just as my daughter Eleni got blue eyes from her mother and the won’t-eat-cream-sauces-but-loves-spicy-foods gene from her father, Amalía was born with the expert-at-accessorizing, crazy-about-shoes gene from her Mommy. 
 As soon as she started walking, around ten months old, she insisted on having a purse slung over her arm every time she went out.  If there was no purse handy that coordinated with her outfit, anything that resembled a purse—say a spare shopping bag with handles—would be drafted into use.
 Another essential accessory, one that didn’t even exist when my kids were young, was the cell phone.  Toy cell phones didn’t entertain Amalía for long—she quickly learned how to snatch Mommy’s phone when she wasn’t looking to call Yiayia and Papou.  If they didn’t answer, she’d leave a voice mail (“Hola!  Hola!”)
 But THE accessory, the one that fascinates Amalía wherever she goes, is shoes (which she calls “patos” for “zapatos” since she’s speaking more Spanish than English at the moment.) Even at eleven months old, as we sat in the airport to fly to Greece for summer vacation, Amalia walked around to fellow passengers checking out everyone’s footwear.  This man on the left below offered to trade shoes with her, but she realized her shoes wouldn’t fit him.  The silver pair in the middle photo served well throughout Greece and the pink ones with flowers are the ones she wanted to wear in Florida instead of the solemn black ones that brought on the fearful tantrum,
 Below you see her in the late, lamented “Hello Kitty” sparkly silver shoes that were such a hit in Nicaragua, but one of the pair went AWOL in the new H&M store in South Beach Miami.  The lone survivor will be decking my “shoe tree” come Christmas.
 Halloween, when she wore a ladybug costume, posed a perplexing accessorizing challenge.  You can see that she’s not sure the black cat purse was the right thing for a ladybug ensemble, but the ladybug shoes (sent by her honorary Yiayia Eleni)  were perfect.  The distressed look on Amalía’s face is because  she HATED the antennae on the ladybug costume, (Why do my parents want to dress me like a bug?), but her cooperation was won when baby-sitter Maria José bribed her with a cookie.

 One day in Miami Beach, when one of her Mommy’s strappy green flowered espadrilles broke,  there was an emergency stop at a Parade of Shoes store and Amalía thought she’d died and gone to heaven.  Aisles of shoes, and most of them within reach!  She raced up and down, dragging shoes to show Mommy, sure she would buy them all, but in the end, everything was returned to its spot in the display.
At Thanksgiving at Yiayia and Papou’s house in Grafton, MA, Amalia got her first taste of frosty days and Mommy-and-me knitted dresses and tights from Hanna Andersson.  She made up for the lack of a matching bag with a little yoyo that came out of her holiday cracker, and she even  seemed happy with the afore-mentioned black Mary Jane shoes, because they looked like Mommy’s. 
 Next accessorizing challenge: Christmas.  I have a feeling she’s not going to agree to the reindeer horns.  But she did see some gold, fur-lined boots at Target...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pie Panic and Sneaky Shortcuts for Thanksgiving

Just got back from Miami last night with daughter Eleni and granddaughter Amalía in tow.  Now it's Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, and I'm already a day behind in my annual pie-baking marathon  (The pies pictured above are from LAST Thanksgiving, when I was much more organized.)
For 42 years I’ve been doing Thanksgiving—streamlining the procedure drastically every year because I’m lazy, and my Greek relatives still don’t realize that my special cornbread stuffing comes out of a package (slightly doctored up.)  They spend days making their Greek stuffing, which includes chestnuts, hamburger and a lot of other things.  Amalia's honorary Grandma, "Yiayia Eleni Nikolaides, will be making it for our table this year.  Of course everyone prefers the Greek stuffing, but I still make my cornbread stuffing, because it’s “tradition.”  

Every Thanksgiving I try a different apple pie recipe in the hopes of finding the prize-winning Apple Pie that will bring tears (of joy, not sorrow)  to my family’s eyes.  This year, because I'm back at Weight Watchers' meetings, I'm doing apple pie with a lattice crust and the low-cal Apple Pie Filling I got off Weight Watcher's web site.  You can serve it with no-cal frozen whipped topping (which has no ingredients that ever came near a cow) or, for the more reckless, with vanilla ice cream.

For those who say "calories be damned",  a fabulous Chocolate-Kahlua pie has somehow become a staple of our Thanksgiving. It, too, can be made way ahead. When I make a pumpkin pie—which is really fast and easy…(just take the recipe off the pumpkin can)—I decorate the top with a circle of candy corn left from Halloween. Or Cinnamon Praline Pecans.This year I'm trying a recipe for "Maple Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon-Maple Whipped Cream" that I cut out of the local paper.  Don't tell Weight Watchers.

 I’ve streamlined the Thanksgiving-cooking process so much that it’s embarrassing. Nowadays magazines and ads on TV make much of the young wife and mother terrified by the complexities of roasting a turkey and serving Thanksgiving dinner to a crowd. I think the whole thing has been vastly over-complicated by the media.So I’m going to share some sneaky shortcuts for a super-easy Thanksgiving, including how to keep children amused (although my children are all grown up now—but still coming home for the holiday.)

The Turkey—don’t stuff it!
 A turkey roasted with the stuffing inside takes much longer and then you have all those risks of food poisoning if you leave the turkey & stuffing un-refrigerated long after taking it out of the oven. Stuffing baked in the turkey comes out soggy. I prepare my stuffing on top of the stove and serve it in a covered casserole. And if you have vegetarian guests, as I often do, you can serve them vegetarian stuffing. 

The directions are on the back of the Pepperidge Farm Corn Bread Stuffing package—Melt 6 TBSP butter in a saucepan, add a cup of chopped celery and a cup of chopped onions, cook for 3 minutes. (Then I throw in sliced mushrooms and maybe this year chopped apples and cook some more. You could also add chopped chestnuts or pecans and crumbled bacon or sausage.)

When everything is softened, you throw in 2 1/2 cups water or broth (if you’re not going for vegetarian) and stir and you’re all done.

As for the turkey—I always get a fresh turkey, even though it costs more, so as not to have to defrost it for days and then find it still frozen in the middle on Turkey Day.  I get my turkey from a local butcher called Sir Loin's and I always quiz them when I pick it up to make sure that the turkey had a happy, cage-free childhood and adolescence and was dispatched in the most humanitarian way--not that that  frees me from the annual lecture from any vegetarian guests. I generally cut an onion and a couple oranges in half and put them in the cavity before putting the turkey in the oven. Put a tent of aluminum foil over it as soon as it gets brown. Every half hour you should baste it with pan juices (You poured broth into the roasting pan at the beginning.) . For the last 15 minutes I baste it with Maple Bourbon Glaze which also gives a nice color.

Green Bean Casserole and Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows: I don’t make them. I came to realize that nobody eats them. What I do make is: Parmesan Potato Casserole which is mashed potatoes in a casserole dish with a lot of butter and cheese, cream and eggs stirred in and then you bake it with some cheese and parsley on top. I cook Wild Rice mix straight out of the Uncle Ben box. Artichoke hearts alla Polita with peas and dill. Corn and red pepper casserole. Brown and serve rolls –cook them in the oven after the turkey comes out. (Don’t forget, the turkey needs to sit for a half hour to soak up the juices.) Stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer.

Gravy—open a can.
 I’ve tried about a million “No fail turkey gravy” recipes over the years and I manage to fail every time. Gravy is a big nuisance right at the end of the cooking while everyone’s waiting to eat. What I do is open a couple cans of store-bought turkey gravy, chop up some of the neck and liver of the turkey (which have cooked in the roasting pan alongside the turkey), add a nice splash of some liquor—like sherry—or you can throw in some of the pan juices. Who’s going to know that it came out of a can?

Orange-cranberry relish—you can make this up to a month ahead and keep it in the refrigerator. Everybody loves it and it makes even the driest turkey taste better. Pick over and grind in the blender a one pound bag of cranberries. Grind up a couple oranges—pulp and rind. Mix together with two cups sugar or more. Chill in the refrigerator--the longer it sits the better it tastes. I always make a double recipe.

When the kids were little I would have them cut with scissors a jagged edge for hollowed-out orange halves to make little baskets to hold the cranberry relish—I’d put the baskets surrounding the turkey. Or nowadays I surround the turkey on its platter with green and purple bunches of grapes. 

Pie dough—Pillsbury refrigerated. I don’t have the magic touch for “from scratch” pie crust that grandmas always brag about, and I’ve never had any complaints. When I do some clever crimping around the edge, the pie crust looks completely homemade and tastes fine.

Placecards and menus—Making the placecards or favors is a great way to keep children busy and out of your hair. I used to have mine make favors/place cards that were turkeys fashioned out of (store bought) popcorn balls with a ladyfinger for the head and neck, three toothpick legs to stand, red or orange cellophane tied around the popcorn ball and gathered for a tail.—The three-legged turkey was then stuck in a large flat cookie, where the name would be written using those cake-decorating tubes. The kids really got into making these “resemble’ the person it was for. Now we have creative young guests, Sophie and Natasha Butler-Rahman, making the place cards for Thursday  (Last year they even made those holiday crackers that pop open to reveal goodies inside.)

The centerpiece is always the same—I have a basket shaped like a cornucopia, filled with various fruits, nuts and some fall flowers that have survived in the garden. Couldn’t be easier. Candles in candleholders.  Also I've acquired a bunch of rubber turkey finger puppets which Amalia has already commandeered.  And yes, everyone has to tell what they're thankful for.

I always print out on the computer a small decorative menu for each plate so people know what they’re eating. What they won’t know is how easy it was, unless you tell them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Mystery of the Monarchs in a Novel

Last Sunday, in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, one of my favorite bloggers, Dominique Browning, wrote a rave review of a “majestic and brave” new novel by Barbara Kingsolver called “Flight Behavior”.

According to the review, it is the story of a woman from a small town whose life is upended, not by a tryst but by an insect. She is stopped in her tracks by a valley blazing ‘with its own internal flame.’”  Browning writes,  “As she gazes in frightened awe, words of Scripture come to mind. Whatever else it is — and, naturally, she isn’t wearing her glasses — it’s a miracle of ‘unearthly beauty.’ In fact, it looks to Dellarobia ‘like the inside of joy’.

What this woman has stumbled upon is the miraculous arrival of a colony of migrating monarch butterflies, its flight plan, evolved over centuries, thrown off by the chaotic weather patterns of a warming Earth. Now nothing is on firm ground...Dellarobia has learned to be wary of the subject of climate change; she doesn’t “believe” in it… Before too long, though, she’s forced to sort out matters of faith — and science.”
Reading this took me back to my own life-altering encounter with millions of migrating Monarch butterflies—blanketing a mountaintop in Michoacan, Mexico on their annual journey in the winter of 2011.  As I described in my blog post of Feb.20,  2011, it was the kind of experience that makes a person believe in miracles, one that you can never forget ,(but in the novel “Flight Behavior”, the arrival of the Monarchs in the wrong place, because of climate warming, tears the town apart as the people develop warring beliefs about why they came and what to do about it.  (Naturally I've ordered the book and can't wait to read it.)

For those who didn’t see it the first time around, I’m re-posting the story of my encounter with the butterflies below.  Click on the video to get a glimpse of the experience of being surrounded by the butterflies.

The Mystery of the Monarch Butterflies of Michoacan, Mexico

They are one of the great mysteries—and beauties—of nature. No one knew where the migrating Monarch butterflies spent the winter until 1975, when the mountaintop in Michoacan, Mexico was discovered by an American named Ken Brugger and his wife Catalina Aguada. The Bruggers had answered an ad in a Mexican newspaper  asking for volunteers, placed by Dr. Frederick Urquhart who had been trying to find the Monarchs’ wintering place since1937.

    The discovery of the Monarchs’ winter hiding place, according to another scientist, was “Like discovering the eighth wonder of the world.”
     For the native Purépecha Indians, the place of the Monarchs had never been a secret.  At the beginning of November every year, the church bells rang, signaling the arrival of millions of butterflies (which had flown all the way from the United State and Canada.)  The Purépechas believed that the mariposas were the souls of dead children, and the annual arrival frightened them, so they did not speak of it to outsiders.
     One of Mexico’s most celebrated poets, Homer Aridjis, who was born in a small village near the hibernation site, had known about the butterflies all his life, since he first discovered them while exploring near his home.  Here is what Christine Potters, an American fellow blogger, whom I met during my recent trip to Morelia, wrote about Aridjis in her excellent blog “Mexico Cooks”
        "In the town of Contepec, Michoacán, a small boy, Homero Aridjis, born in 1940 as the youngest of five Greek/Mexican brothers--used to climb Cerro Altamirano near his home to look at the monarch butterflies that flooded the forests for almost four months in the winter before they left again, heading north. No one living in his area knew where the butterflies came from or where they went. "When I began to write poems," Aridjis said, "I used to climb the hill that dominated the memory of my childhood. Its slopes, gullies, and streams were full of animal voices--owls, hummingbirds, mocking birds, coyotes, deer, armadillo. The natural world stimulated my poetry." But of all of these animals, he says the monarch butterflies were his "first love." Aridjis won Mexico's very prestigious Xavier Villarrutia Award at age 24 and years later, monarchs were still making their appearance in his writing. His 1971 book, El poeta niño, includes a beautiful poem that goes like this: "You travel/by day/ like a winged tiger/ burning yourself/ in your flight/ Tell me/ what supernatural/ life is/painted on your wings...."**"

      Early on, after the discovery of the hibernation site, Aridjis became an activist trying to protect the butterflies’ hibernation place and to prevent the deforestation of the fir trees on which they depend for their survival in the winter.

     When I entered the butterfly sanctuary at El Rosaria, in the Mexican state of Michoachan, on Valentine’s day, last week, as part of the first tour to the area sponsored by Susana Trilling, a chef who is based in Oaxaca, (  the people of El Rosario were still digging out from a tragic storm, exactly a year earlier, which  caused mud slides and floods that buried homes and people and washed away cars, homes and animals, leaving 30,000 homeless and at least 45 people dead. We could see the construction to rebuild roads and bridges as we approached Rosario.
 Nevertheless the path up the mountain to the butterfly sanctuary was clean and paved with cement and stairs, punctuated by frequent benches.  Once inside the gates, our group was assigned a local guide, Guadalupe, (men named Guadalupe  are called “Jose”, we learned) but he scarcely said a word during our climb—it seems his only function was to watch us to make sure we didn’t harm the vegetation and the butterflies and didn’t get lost.  We had brought our own guide from Morelia—Raymundo Solorio Vargas (email: ) who gave us a moving account of the deadly storm a year before.

In our itineraries for the trip, Susana had quoted an account of a  storm in 2002 that killed a majority of the wintering Monarchs.  It turns out that the butterflies, who don’t move, but cling to the fir trees when the weather gets cold, can survive temperatures well below zero, if they have little liquid in their bodies, but if they are wet, as they were in 2002, they freeze.  On the day after the storm, acording to Lincoln Brower, an entomologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia,  “We were wading in (dead) butterflies up to our knees.”  He and his colleagues estimated that 500 million monarchs had died from the storm—five times more than they thought had even existed in the colony.
The scientists feared that only a fraction of the usual number of butterflies would return the next year, but to their delight, they found that the devastated Monarch population had returned to normal.
In my visit last week to the butterfly sanctuary at El Rosario, I learned a lot, including how to tell a male butterfly from a female.  A male has the two dots that you see below on the back part of his wings.   The dark veins on a female are wider

The butterflies that flock to Mexico from the U.S. and Canada to spend the winter are the fourth generation, the “Methuselah Generation” of their breed.
An adult butterfly lives only about four to five weeks, The eggs are left on the milkweed plant, three or four days later the brightly striped caterpillars emerge, and during the next nine to 14 days they shed their skin five times.   On the sixth molting, the caterpillar transforms into a chrysalis, and after eight to 13 days, the adult butterfly emerges. (This is illustrated by a five minute film in Spanish for visitors at a theater inside the Rosario sanctuary.) 

Three days after emerging, the adult butterflies develop sex organs and, five days later begin to reproduce. This cycle occurs three times during spring and summer as the butterflies travel north into the US and Canada until, in the fall, the fourth or “Methuselah” generation is born.  This fourth generation will survive seven or eight months, will  perform the astounding feat of traveling from Canada and the United States to Mexico, and after mating, the females will return back north again to the United States. (The male Monarchs in Mexico after enjoying the 72-hour mating season in February, during which they will mate with numerous females, will then drop dead—their work is done.  Only the females fly back north to lay their eggs.) 
                                      photo of butterflies mating
On the day we walked up the mountain to the most butterfly-crowded sections of the forest, what our guide Raymundo called “The Nucleus”, it was a warm day and the beginning of the mating season, and the air around us was alive with butterflies, while millions more hung on the trees like orange autumn leaves.   We were very lucky, because in the early part of the winter—November and December-- the butterflie tend not to fly, but just to hang still on the trees, and on cold days they’ll do the same.
Our guide told us that only one day in ten will provide the optimum conditions that we saw on Valentine’s Day. As we started up the steps toward the apex of the walk it became clear this was a harder trek than I expected.  (We walked 2008 meters up and 2008 meters back for a total of 6 kilometers, our guide told us—And when we started at Rosario we were already 1850 meters above sea level.)

It looked easy at the start, but only about 100 feet up I was gasping for breath  I quickly realized that the altitude was a major factor in whether or not I was going to make it all the way.  As it turned out, half of our group of six—most in their thirties or early forties—had little trouble making the ascent but the other three of us—with me at 70 being the oldest—had to stop at nearly every bench to catch our breath, while marveling at the scenery around us. (For those not able to make the ascent, horses can be rented, but the last 300 feet up still has to be on foot.)
The butterflies were a constant commotion all around us.  As one book said, the miracle is that they never collide.  In spots where there was water, like a small stream over the road, they clustered. 

The view of the sky, of the laden fir trees, the beauty all around us was indescribable.  When I sat down to catch my breath, the silence was complete-- almost eerie.  But then, as I sat there and my heart stopped raced and my breath returned to normal, I could hearing, ever so faintly, the rustle of thousands—millions—of butterfly wings.
It was a transcendent experience, even for those who have no religion.  No wonder the Purépecha Indians thought the butterflies were the souls of their dead children.
We all took photos and then we realized, as one of the women in our group remarked—there is no way a still photo could give any idea of the indescribable experience we had.  So I tried for the first time to take some videos with my camera, and I’m attaching below a link to one of those videos.  It lasts 55 seconds and if you watch it to the end, you will see some of the members of our group.

This trip to Michoacan, Mexico was a gift from my husband for my 70th birthday—and I can’t think of a better way to mark a milestone in life.  It was something I’ve always wanted to do before I die, and I wish you an equality miraculous and moving experience, to mark a landmark birthday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Donald Trump and Diane Sawyer--Post Election Fun and Games

Much more fun than following the pre-election debates (yawn!) and the election night results is reading today's after- election commentary and Monday-morning quarterbacking on the internet.

Trending now as number one topic on Yahoo is not a search for the breakdown of electoral votes, but the burning question: Was Diane Sawyer drunk?  Evidently ABC and her colleagues are saying she was merely exhausted from staying up night after night memorizing election facts and figures. I say, never mind if she was celebrating Obama's win off camera; she still did a great job.  I think Diane Sawyer's wicked smart and gorgeous to boot.

Salon has listed the 20 top sore losers after the election results came in and Donald Trump has won first and second place in this race for two tweets , one of which he has deleted after cooling down a little.  This is what Salon said about Trump:

The 20 biggest sore losers of election night(Credit: Salon/Benjamin Wheelock)
As election night wore on and an Obama victory became more and more likely, conservatives began explaining away the loss for Mitt Romney and other Republicans. On Fox, Bill O’Reilly kicked it off on a sour note, predicting on Fox News: “Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.” Then it deteriorated.
The sorest losers, ranked in order:
1). Donald J. Trump, for his tweet:
He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!
Trump has since deleted this tweet, maybe after he learned Obama would not lose the popular vote.
I think the painting of Trump on Salon (above, by Benjamin Wheelock)  is probably adding to the mogul's anger and disappointment over Romney's loss, so I thought I'd repost a portrait of Trump which hangs in his estate Mar-a-Lago,  which is now a private club.  This is the way Trump prefers to see himself portrayed:

I first posted my photograph of this painting after a lunch at Mar-a-Lago in April 2011 when the Donald and his family passed through and greeted us visitors.  This is what I posted about it:

Lunch at Mar-a-Lago with the Donald

Someone passed this self-aggrandizing photo on to political blogger Andrew Sullivan, whose blog is Goliath to "A Rolling Crone's" David.  When Sullivan posted it, hilarity ensued, but no one knew where the photo came from in the first place until another political blogger, Michael Shaw, traced it back to my humble blog and my pocket digital camera.    Suddenly I was getting 3,000 hits an hour--a heady experience for  a novice blogger.  If you want to read more about the brouhaha, click on

"Somebody's Playing my Trump Card"

Meanwhile I'm going back to search the internet for more sour-grapes tweets from Trump and explanations of Diane Sawyer's slurring.  It takes my mind off the rain, sleet and snow in the nor'easter which is fast heading our way.  (Now where did I store that snow shovel?)