Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday cat blogging--farewell edition

We're all packed and ready to go to our new home at Women Who Serve, and we're even taking those pesky kittens with us. We hope you continue to visit us on Fridays, and who knows? Maybe you'll even get into women's pro tennis--it's exciting! We loved blogging for you at The Dees Diversion, and we hope to see you at least once a week at our new place.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It is time to say goodbye

I have been publishing The Dees Diversion (formerly known as DED Space) for four years and ten months--five years, for all practical purposes. I have also been blogging for Mother Jones' MoJo Blog for over a year and nine months. That is a lot of blogging, and the time has come for me to cut back. After this week, The Dees Diversion will no longer be published. There are several reasons I made this decision:

I have never succeeded in marketing this blog the way I wanted to, despite doing everything I could think of to market it.

I am tired, not so much of the hoardes of ignorant conservatives in the blogosphere, but of the hoardes of so-called liberals who do not support women's rights, LGBT rights and the liberation of non-humans, as well as the liberals who are not interested in looking at facts and making rational arguments.

But mostly, I have neglected creative writing to the extent that it has been a long, long time since I have written a short story, and I am often too tired to work on my poetry. This drain on my time and energy is the main reason I am giving up intensive blogging.

Publishing The Dees Diversion has been a great experience, however. If I had not decided to blog, I would never have met ae of arse poetica, or Kathy of What Do I Know?, both of whom I now count as friends. This blog was featured on CNN's "Inside the Blogs," and even though I do not care for CNN, I have to admit it was nice to be showcased. It was through writing this blog that I was invited to blog for Mother Jones, which has also been a great experience.

Meeting my two blogging friends (I have met with Kathy a couple of times) was certainly the highlight of my blogging experience, but I also cannot forget the intensive, non-stop blogging (I got an arm injury from it) I did when we evacuated to get out of the way of Katrina. The nights I spent at Lefty's Lounge with The Heretik helped get me through the hurricane. Joe, Catherine, Matt, Agi, Melissa, handdrummer, and all of you who were there to talk to me and wish me well really made the experience easier...and who can forget the karaoke?!

There are other bloggers I also feel like I know to some extent: delagar, Helen Wheels, Pinky, Ann Bartow, Amanda, Ken, and others, some of whom no longer blog.

There were few bad experiences. Being verbally abused by the Koufax Awards coordinator stands out (my crime was that I and some of my readers wondered why I had been left off the list after being nominated several times). Most of the attacks I've received, however, have come from a few impolite MoJo readers, not readers of The Dees Diversion (there were never enough readers to draw too bad of a crowd).

I don't know how long I will leave The Dees Diversion in cyberspace--maybe a long time. I certainly encourage everyone to read some of the blogs in my links list. I have always kept it updated, and all of the blogs are worth reading.

In a week or so, I'll get rid of the email address associated with The Dees Diversion. A few of you have my "real" email address; if you do not have it and would like it, drop me a line at the blog email address while it is still active, or just post a comment asking for it, and I'll send it to you at your blog email address.

Will I ever blog again? Well, since you ask...the one thing I'm not tired of blogging about is the WTA, so I have launched Women Who Serve, a blog about the Sony Ericisson WTA Tour. If you are not into women's tennis, I urge you to give it a try. But even if you have no interest whatever in the WTA, rest assured that Friday cat blogging will go on! If you want to see Roxie and Velma and their pesky friends, Ziggy Stardust and Tarzan, they will still appear every Friday on Women Who Serve, and they would love to have you drop in and admire them.

I will also continue to blog at the MoJo Blog, but on a weekly (rather than daily) basis, so you can still visit me there, too. And I'll continue to visit your blogs, of course.

Thanks to everyone who read this blog and supported my efforts on behalf of truth, decency, sanity, and the rights of women and girls, people of color, LGBT citizens, and non-humans.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

God Bless America and you stay in your seat

Before September 11, 2001, the song "God Bless America" was played in Yankee Stadium only on holidays. But since mid-October of 2001, it has been played before the bottom of the seventh inning at every game. It seems like that would be punishment enough, but George Steinbrenner has taken the punishment a step further: While the song is being played, fans are not allowed to leave their seats.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Talk about snakes on a plane...

Six customs inspectors at Orlando Sanford International Airpot say that, in 2005, they were told by their supervisors to falsify information they were supposed to have gathered during an inspection for plant and animal contraband. The passengers in question were never stopped and their bags were not inspected. The inspectors said they were told to lie because the airport was "busy."

Welcome to the War on Terror.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

The spring garden

C. 'En Evant' is a French antique canna that dates back to 1914. It is just the sort of canna that the Victorians were crazy for, and I like it too.

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The French Open!

Svetlana Kuznetsova--can she finally win the French Open?

Jelena Jankovic may have burned herself out of a chance to beat Henin and win at Roland Garros

Qualifying for the French Open is currently in progress, and, as always, my favorite Grand Slam is the most puzzling to figure out. That's because it is played on red clay, and red clay tends to diffuse power. Or, as I like to put it, people play real tennis on clay.

Sadly, both Tatiana Golovin and Peng Shuai have withdrawn from the event because of injuries. Golovin, who injured one of her very vulnerable ankles yet again in Charleston, could even have been considered a dark horse to win the event. Saddest of all, Martina Hingis had to withdraw because of her hip injury. Hingis is a wonderful clay player--clay is the perfect surface for her game--yet the French Open remains the only Grand Slam she has never won.

Defending champion Justine Henin is still probably the top favorite to win; it is very hard to beat Henin on clay, and she performs well at big moments. The other contenders:

Svetlana Kuznetsova--an outstanding clay player and last year's finalist, but a bit short on the mental side. Kuznetsova has been in four finals this year, and has won none of them.

Serena Williams--She has won the French Open before, she is playing very well, and she has to be seen as a threat to take the whole thing.

Nicole Vaidisova--She made it to the semifinals last year, but Vaidisova had to pull out of the tournament in Strasbourg this week, where she was the defending champion, because of a wrist injury. She had already withdrawn from the German Open and the Italian Open because of the injury. There is no word yet as to whether Vaidisova will even be able to participate in the French Open, and if she does, she will do so without playing any of the warmup events.

(Note on Vaidisova: After making a fool of herself a little over a week ago by saying that women players looking "cute" contributes to professional tennis, now Vaidisova has outdone herself and officially come out against equal prize money.)

Jelena Jankovic--The Grand Slam victory is coming; I don't have any doubt. But there are a couple of problems about this French Open. One is Justine Henin, whom Jankovic has never beaten (including recently, when she was up 4-0, 30-0 in the third set). Jankovic just won the Italian Open, and said candidly that she won it "because Henin didn't come." She will have to beat Henin at some point if she is to win at Roland Garros. The other problem is that Jankovic has foolishly over-played this season, getting little rest and making herself vulnerable to injury. She just gave her semifinal opponent a walkover in Strasbourg because of an intestinal illness; something had to give.

Ana Ivanovic--I really wasn't expecting to put Ivanovic on a list of contenders for the French Open; I don't really consider her a clay player. But she just won the German Open, and that changes my opinion. I now make her a contender.

The dark horses:

Amelie Mauresmo--France's number one player has never gotten past the quarterfinals at the French Open, despite the fact that she is a really good clay player. The pressure has always just been too much for her. On top of that, Mauresmo has been out most of the clay season because of appendicitis and a long recovery. She has struggled since her return, though she has made it to the final this week at Strasbourg. I put her here as a dark horse precisely because, right now, no one is expecting anything from her at all, and that may ease some of the mental pressure.

Patty Schnyder--I know some people may laugh, but, despite a poor start, Schnyder is playing some of her very best tennis this season. She is vulnerable in damp weather, but if the courts stay dry, she can go far. Now the bad news: After taking out Serena Wiliams, Schnyder got to the semifinals in Rome (she was a finalist in 2005) and had to retire because of breathing problems. She had been playing all week with a cold, but it got much worse, and the trainer did not have any nasal spray (how crazy is that?). On top of that, she withdrew from the tournament in Istambul this week because of a right quadriceps injury. Schnyder rarely gets injured, but she has had really bad luck the past couple of weeks, just when she was playing extremely well. As of this writing, she has not withdrawn from Roland Garros, and is indicating that she will play.

Nadia Petrova--This is as dark as a horse gets. Last year, many of us thought Petrova would win the French Open; she had made an impressive sweep of the clay court season. Then her luck turned very bad--she sustained an injury during pre-tournament practice in Paris, and was taken out in the first round. Since then she has struggled to return to form, and she is not likely to find that form at Roland Garros. But you never know.


1/3 of Americans take Bible literally

Once again, a poll shows that almost one-third of Americans believe that the Bible is the word of God and that every word is to be taken literally. Of those who do not believe the Bible's contents are to be taken literally, the majority believe that the book is nevertheless the actual word of God. Not surprisingly, belief in the literal meaning of the Bible is highest among those with the lowest education.

What is frustrating, of course, is that the same people who believe that the Bible is to be taken literally are almost always the ones who push the Bible's so-called teachings down the throats of the rest of us, yet they would kill themselves if they ever attempted to follow the literal mandates of the book.


Friday cat blogging--late show edition

Sometimes Ziggy just can't watch the whole movie.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Adolescents play pranks..."

Last November, someone set fire to the central wing of a high school in Jena, Louisiana. Then white students beat up a black student because he went to their party. Soon after that, a white adolescent pulled a shotgun on three black adolescents in a convenience store, and then four black students jumped a white student as he came out of the school gym. Following that incident, in which the student received minor injuries, six black students were expelled and were charged with attempted second-degree murder. They face up to a hundred years in prison.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)


The power of denial

A few days ago, George W. Bush referred to the investigation of Attorney General Gonzales as "the reason the American people lose faith in the system" (not an exact quote). What he was saying was that the evil people calling out Gonzales for possible (likely) wrong-doing have stirred things up and caused Americans to doubt their own government.

From a moral standpoint, his statement is outrageous. From a logical standpoint, it is ridiculous. But Bush did not say anything that does not reflect business as usual in this culture. Not only do we blame the victim for crimes and horrors, we also blame those who call out criminals for disturbing the equilibrium. Think of how many whistle-blowers have been threatened, and how many have been chastised because they "ruined the local economy," "caused people to lose their jobs," etc.

This denial and reversal begins in the family unit. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this pattern with regard to child abuse, and especially child sexual abuse by a family member: First the family does not believe the abuse occurred, and calls the victim a liar. Then, when presented with undeniable evidence--sometimes even a confession--the family turns against the victim with statements like "It happened so long ago, you had to go and stir it up," and "You are ripping this family apart."

I also hear people who have been victimized say of the perpetrator, "I don't want to get him into trouble." And I routinely see parents who do not bother to seek justice for a child who has been threatened, beaten up or sexually assaulted.

For all our blather about "law and order," we do not want it. People were horrified when the Watergate investigation took place because Nixon was a "hero." No matter how many times you tell people that Reagan was a racist, sexist, imperialist nightmare, they will tell you he was the best president in history. That woman who went off on me in the K-Mart parking lot a few years ago was outraged because I was opposed to some of the country's "honored" institutions--the Boy Scouts, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Never mind that the first one is bigoted and has been under constant investigation for financial hanky-panky. Never mind that the second one murdered several people in the 80s with tained blood and then was part of several major embezzlement scandals. Never mind that the third one is run by bigots. These are institutions that "do good."

Bush's statement is an accurate reflection of the American way of looking at problems: Do nothing, say nothing. And if you must say something, blame the victim, or blame those who expose the perpetrator.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fred Thompson shuts down his PAC--and there goes his son's income

Former Tennessee senator, stunningly bad actor and possible presidential candidate Fred Thompson has seen fit to shut down his political action committee. The PAC in question has raised $66,700 for election campaigns and committees in the four years it has been in existence. It has also paid $178,000 in consulting fees to Daniel Thompson Associates.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)


Alleged gang rapists go unprosecuted

It doesn't really surprise me that much that a state that would elect a sex criminal to be its governor would also decline to prosecute gang-rapists. A group of college baseball players in San Jose took turns raping a drunk 17-year girl. DNA samples have been obtained. There is an eyewitness. But the Santa Clara DA's office says there isn't enough evidence to charge the perpetrators.

"From the beginning, I kind of felt like it was a witch hunt and the De Anza players were victims, and not really this girl," pitcher Chris Knopf said. That is, of course, Duke-speak, and probably has something to do with the prosecutors' reluctance to do anything. That is, of course, about as obscene a miscarriage of justice imaginable. But then, California, as I said in my opening sentence, doesn't seem to care much at all these days about crimes against women and girls.