I’m sitting here and my mind is blank. Is it too early to think literary thoughts? Or maybe I need much more coffee?

Whatever it is, all I can think is that sure enough, it’s Halloween. Eerie is probably a good word for the day. And how much eerie, aerie, and airy sound alike but mean such different things.

dark cemetary


Osprey returning home to the aerie

Osprey returning home to the aerie

Airy afternoon at the marina

Airy afternoon at the marina

Oh, you mean I should post something about Halloween and it being eerie, even though it’s bright and sunny and delightfully warm?

jack o lanterns halloween

Hope that’s eerie enough for’ya 🙂 Whatever it is you do today, make sure it’s very eerie, but keep the space airy near the aerie!



Witchy Women

I thought this was a great Halloween cartoon, so here it is, in honor of Day of the Dead, Samhain, All Soul’s Day … and … well, the last day of the best month of the year.

Evil Squirrel's Nest


Some of you (OK, one of you) have noticed that I let my Tuesday “Draw Me A Picture” series kinda slack while Bashful’s adventures were hijacking my blog.  While I can’t promise draw me a pictureDMAP will be anything other than hit or miss for the remainder of the year… I will eventually draw all of the ideas you guys have submitted to me, so don’t worry if you thought I’d forgotten about you (If you even remembered you sent me something yourself!)…

This week’s drawing was requested by longtime friend of The Nest Juliette, the Vampire Maman (I hear she shares a birthday with yesterday’s DVA honoree).  She wanted to see “vintage Halloween pinups of Hottie and her girlfriends.”  I’m not sure this directly qualifies, but it’s the best I got.  Hottie and her friends MBRS and Hooly going all bubble bubble toil and trouble on poor Buster.  Hottie’s a little…

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I just read several articles about the recent outpouring of anti-Semitic vitriol on Twitter from Trump supporters and white “nationalists.”

I am Jewish. My parents were both born in the U.S., but my grandparents were born in Russia or the Ukraine. I grew up on stories from my maternal grandmother about living in a Shtetl, where murderous, anti-Semitic rampages by the Cossacks were commonplace. Jews were not allowed to socialize freely with the gentile population, let alone intermarry. My great-grandfather was a respected Rabbi and one of the rare Jews who was allowed to do business with the Gentiles in the big town of Minsk.

racist-signs-and-protestersIn addition to these stories, I heard a lot about the plight of the Jews in Germany and Eastern Europe as the Nazis came to power. As a child, I used to think about what I would take with me if that ‘knock on the door’ came one night to take me away from my home and my life. I often wondered if I would be the kind of person in a Concentration Camp who shared my bread and tried to help others, or if I would do whatever I had to do to protect myself.

Today, I am terrified when I read some of the anti-Semitic stereotypes and accusations that are used online. They sound just like the propaganda used against Jews, not just in the 30’s and 40’s but all the way back to the Middle Ages in Europe. Romans probably also used similar rhetoric against Jews even before they started hating Christians as well.

Overt and virulent antisemitism has been relatively dormant in America for decades. Jews seemed to have assimilated into the mainstream to the point of almost becoming invisible. Or so I thought. Antisemitism has clearly not been socially acceptable for a while. So it wasn’t expressed openly very often, and I didn’t have to think about it or experience it directly.

I always knew it was still ‘out there,’ but I assumed it was less prevalent, less vicious and irrelevant. Now, I have to face the facts. Large segments of America’s population still hold to the same hatred and stereotypes which have plagued Jews for centuries. Americans are more tolerant and enlightened overall today, but apparently, some things won’t die out.


An anti-Jewish sign posted on a street in Bavaria reads “Jews are not wanted here.” Germany, 1937. – US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Julien Bryan

For now, it’s ‘just words’. My family is testament to the fact that words morph into accepted — even prevailing — attitudes, then actions. Finally into social norms and policies. I don’t think we are poised to become a fascist state. I don’t believe anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican or anti-Semitic language and behavior will be tolerated by most Americans. I certainly want and need to believe that.

Nonetheless, it’s still uncomfortable for me. Having to deal with the hatred I know is there for me because of my lineage or the religion I don’t even practice is disturbing on so many levels. It was better when the haters had to hide under a rocks and were afraid to come out in the open. That’s where they belong. Under rocks.

I hope we can send them back to a place where they are afraid of us instead of us having to fear them.



Citgo1It is a peculiar, beloved symbol. It’s an old friend for anyone who follows baseball. It’s a landmark to everyone who lives in or around Boston.

You can see it from miles away and follow it to the park.

Visitors recognize it no matter where they come from. Yet it’s nothing more than a giant neon advertisement for a gasoline product you can’t actually find in the area anymore.

The product may have left town, but no one is moving the giant Citgo sign over Fenway Park.It has been an important — dare I say iconic and bizarrely beloved — part of the Boston skyline since 1940.


It is held in particularly high regard by Boston sports fans. Red Sox sluggers are enticed by the so-called “C-IT-GO” sign as they blast home runs over the left-field wall. Runners in the Boston Marathon welcome its sight as the 20th mile marker. Its pulsing flash in the night sky has been used by mothers-to-be at nearby Beth Israel to time contractions.


It is an important piece of navigating the twisting roads of Boston. When you see the Citgo sign, you know you’ve found Kenmore Square. And Fenway Park. As soon as it comes into view, you are no longer lost. If you are on any of the high points of land looking towards midtown, you can see it, that bright red triangle.

Kenmore is a particularly Byzantine area of the city, so while you may see Fenway Park, actually getting to it can be surprisingly tricky. But no problem, really … if you just follow the giant red and white sign.


They tried to take it down some years back. Bostonians and baseball fans erupted in protest. What in any other city might be an eyesore is a beloved symbol in Boston. Maybe you just have to live here to get it.


If, perchance, you’re on your way to see the Red Sox, you’re home.



The Pierce Brosnan Years, by Rich Paschall

Although Timothy Dalton had a six-year, 3 film deal to play the famous secret agent, James Bond, only two films were made.  The third was delayed by a protracted legal fight between Danjaq, holder of the Bond copyright, and a variety of parties, including mega studio MGM.  When the six years expired, Dalton walked away.  He felt it might not just be the end for him as Bond, but the series itself may be over.  Sixteen films had been made by 1989 which is a good run for any series.

While the legal battles went on, EON Studios planned to go ahead with the Bond legacy.  With Dalton dropping out, the producers called on Pierce Brosnan who had actually been considered as the one to replace Roger Moore.  His contractual agreement to a revived Remington Steele television series kept Brosnan from agreeing years earlier to the super sleuth.  In 1994 he went into production on his first Bond film, Goldeneye.

The initial Brosnan movie was the first Bond film not to take the title from an Ian Fleming story.  The original work did pay homage to the Bond creator by taking its name from Operation Goldeneye.  This was a project Fleming was a part of when he was a Lieutenant Commander in British Naval Intelligence.  Years later, after the success of the Bond stories, Fleming named his Jamaica estate, Goldeneye.  The book Goldeneye is actually a novelization of the movie.

The story finds Bond investigating the theft of a helicopter, and the attack on a Russian outpost that controlled a satellite with the “Goldeneye” weapon.  Was Goldeneye real?  Was it capable of destroying London’s financial district?  Could anyone save the day?  Pierce Brosnan brings charm back to Bond with plenty of opportunity for the double entendre.  Judi Dench now becomes M, head of MI6.  Some regulars are recast but Desmond Llewelyn returns as Q, having played the part since the beginning of the Bond films.  It is a good effort by Brosnan and he revives the series with the 1995 release after the long hiatus.  The stunts and special effects are over the top as usual, and they will again ask you to accept the improbable (if not impossible) as fact.


For the second film, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), can you imagine a media mogul who tries to manipulate the news to improve on ratings?  If this seems a bit more modern, perhaps it is meant to be so.  A British ship is sunk near China, a Chinese plane is shot down and the resulting tension seems to be pushing the world toward World War III and one cable news outlet is always on hand to catch the disasters as they happen.  Jonathan Pryce plays the media mogul and Teri Hatcher is his trophy wife.  Bond teams up with a Chinese agent (girl, of course) to find out what is really going on and the world will once again be saved.  Despite script disputes with studios and also with actors, the final product was a success at the box office.

The World Is Not Enough (1999) for the evil villains that populate this story.  There is no brief summary for this tale of a former KGB agent who is now a terrorist and has to be stopped after he gets weapons-grade plutonium.  Is the daughter of an assassinated businessman, who had been kidnapped but later set free, still safe?  Can Bond protect her?  Is she sympathetic to her former captors?What about M who is later kidnapped?  What about the pipeline to save a poor country?  What about Istanbul?  If you can stay with the interconnected storylines it is an engaging, if somewhat long, Bond affair.  Denise Richards is the “Bond girl.”  After many years with United Artists, MGM becomes the distributor of the Bond films.  The business dealings of MGM and it various holdings, United Artists, Danjaq, EON Productions and others has become more complicated than this Bond film.  MGM will count on Bond not just to save the world, but the studio too.

A sad and ironic side note to The World Is Not Enough involves actor Desmond Llewelyn.  In the film he seems to be training John Cleese to be his successor of Q division for gadgets.  He indicates he is not retiring and there was no intention of replacing the aging performer in the role.  Aside from continuity, he was a beloved character in the series.  Soon after the première, Llewelyn was killed in an automobile accident.  Cleese will indeed move up in the next film.

No one can kill James Bond, not even the North Koreans.  While investigating a North Korean Colonel and the sale of diamonds for weapons, Bond is captured and imprisoned but he lives to Die Another Day (2002).  Brought home through a prisoner swap after 14 months, Bond is suspended from duty but will that stop our hero?  Of course not.  Soon he teams up with an American Agent, Halle Barry, to follow the trail of diamonds and weapons from London to Cuba to Iceland.  Like some other Bond films, the climactic fight takes place on a plane and who is flying the craft?  Cleese is now Q.  Madonna has a small part and performs the title tune.  The film marks the 40th anniversary of the first feature when Sean Connery told us he was “Bond, James Bond.”

Brosnan had an option on a fifth film.  In fact he had once mentioned he thought he might like to do six films.  But he was already 50 and recalling the criticism Roger Moore took for staying too long in the role.  He decided to decline the option and move on.  This gave EON the opportunity to restart the series and go back to the first James Bond story and make the movie that had eluded them all along, Casino Royale.

Related:  Bond, James Bond
Never Say Never Again
Moore Bond
For You Eyes Only
Bond Is Back


I heard these lines recently in a movie. I laughed.

“Isn’t it too early to be drinking?” he said.
“No,” she said. ” I’m awake.”

The line stayed with me after the laughter faded, replaced by work memories.

As a reporter, I covered Presidential politics from 1962 to 2001. From JFK to Bush, Jr. As a newbie reporter, I saw veteran correspondents fueling up with multiple Bloody Marys as we began our day on the political or campaign trail. I was impressed.

During my rookie year, I summoned up enough courage to question one famous reporter who began his career working with Edward R. Murrow. He was on his third Bloody Mary in one 10-minute period.

“Isn’t it too early to be drinking?” I asked, slowly and politely. The veteran reporter who’d covered FDR,  World War Two in the trenches and the McCarthy Hearings, among other assignments. He looked at me for a long moment, then finished his drink.

“Is it too early to be drinking?” he repeated my question and ordered another Bloody. “No, I’m awake!”

I shook my head in amazement and admiration. He was clearly fortifying himself for the day to come. It would be another long day on the road. Cold, dreary, and filled by interviews with people from pompous to angry to clueless when asked about election issues and the candidates.

I remember one fellow decked out in a hunting outfit, cradling a shotgun. He sneered when answering my questions. When finished, he said “Figures the media is not tellin’ the truth. A Negro askin’ me stuff about that Catholic in the White House. That’s what’s wrong with our country.”

The veteran reporter overheard the conversation and gave me a wry smile.


Years later, I shared the story with “Tip” O’Neill, Speaker of the House and a personal friend. He laughed so hard the bar seemed to shake. Then he looked angry for a moment, patting me on the shoulder with a huge sigh.

“Garry, here’s looking at you, kid!” The Political Legend smiled as we clinked glasses. “Some days, it’s never too early to start drinking,” O’Neill concluded. And ordered one more round.

I wonder about “eye-openers” for those covering this year’s Presidential race. In 2016, it’s never too early.

I want to thank Sue Vincent at Daily Echo. She got Marilyn into this challenge, and by default, me too. It’s a good one and fun. Thanks Sue! I’m not going to nominate anyone because I’m not comfortable doing it. But please, if you like words and quotes, jump right in. You can hook to Sue Vincent or me — or one of Marilyn’s posts. Welcome one and all!


Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Here is a great piece of dialogue from The Glass Key, 1942. Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy.  It’s based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name. This was the remake of the original movie, The Glass Key, released in 1935. It starred George Raft.


They just don’t write great dialogue like this anymore.


The challenge is three quotes as posts on three separate days. Your quotes don’t have to be posted on consecutive days or immediately. A quote can come from any source: movies, history, politics, television … and from anyone, anywhere, any time.

I want to thank Sue Vincent at Daily Echo. She got Marilyn into this challenge, and by default, me too. It’s a good one and fun. Thanks Sue! I’m not going to nominate anyone because I’m not comfortable doing it. But please, if you like words and quotes, jump right in. You can hook to Sue Vincent or me — or one of Marilyn’s posts. Welcome one and all!

And check out PHOTOS BY EMILIO for his take on the quote of the day.


Bridge. It’s a crossing, a passage, something to tide you over until your phantom ship comes in. A link between places, times, people. The way to cross the river or the chasm. Symbolic and real, it’s a word of many meanings.

Bridge is a concept. It lives in English as a verb, noun, and sometimes, adjective. It’s also a great subject for a photographer.




Bonnie is a dog with her own nest. The big wire crate near the fireplace is her place. The door is always open, It’s a huge crate, big enough for three dogs at least. Inside, it’s piled with old blankets, towels, one of my worn-out flannel nightgowns. I don’t remember what else, but whenever something soft is at the point where we would usually throw it away, it becomes part of Bonnie’s’ Big Bed and Living Room Suite.


Several times a week, she’s in there, moving all the stuff around. Digging. Dragging various pieces to a new locations in the crate. Sometimes she drags each piece out of the crate, eyes the space critically, then drags each item back in. It looks the same to us, but apparently not to her more discerning eye.


A couple of weeks ago, we dragged everything out. Garry washed and dried it, then put it neatly back into the crate. After which Bonnie tore it apart and rearranged everything.

Humans never get it right.

Did I mention that’s Gibbs’ nest is our sofa? He will let Bonnie sleep with him on the sofa, but she will not let him into her crate. I’m sure that means something.



This challenge was made for me. I collect quotes. I keep the computer open so when I hear something new, I pop the words into an email and send it to myself and Garry. In this case, he sent it to me, but you get the idea I’m sure. I know many (most?) people look for inspiring quotes from the pens of the great and wannabe greats of our world. Around here, most quotes get picked up from television shows and movies. And Garry doesn’t even have to watch the movies since he already knows all the lines.

This quotation has been sitting in my email since August 29th when Garry sent it to me. I knew I’d be using it one day:


“We’re all carrying pre-historic genes in a post modern world.” Think about the concept. We are not only what we are, we are all our ancestors were. We carry DNA from our Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon forebears and our children carry it too. Maybe it partly explains so much otherwise inexplicable behavior.

 He was talking about a particularly brutal murder and one of his crew asked  how anyone could do such a horrible thing. That was his answer. It was a bit of a show stopper for me. It made me think. It’s still making me think.

For my first three victims, I choose:
  • Evil (aka Bill Brown) at Evil Squirrel’s Nest. I’m pretty sure he can take — and make — a joke and probably won’t send one of his critters to bite me on the ankle.
  • Emilio Pasquale (Photos by Emilio) or as he is more familiarly known, 007) because he lives too far away to come and get me … and I totally love both his photography and his sense of humor.
  • Leslie Martel, my pal in Montreal at swo8 – MUSIC MEANS SOMETHING. We talk a lot. And I, Though we have done a couple of projects together, I’ve never tapped her for a challenge. I think (hope) she’ll enjoy this one.

There’s no time pressure here. You don’t have to do all three posts in a week. Put them up whenever you have time to do it and space to fill.
I want to thank Sue Vincent at Daily Echo. She knows how to take a hint and run with it! She got me into this — this time — but, I’d have happily done it anyway. I enjoy word play.
Now, all the rest of you blogging buddies — don’t think you’re off the hook just cause I didn’t tag you. There are two more days of tagging and if you’d like to play, let me know. Also, I don’t want to impose. If you’re overloaded, or just don’t want to do it, tell me and I’ll find someone else. If I didn’t tag you and you DO want to play, I’ll be delighted to add you. Games are more fun if everyone playing is happy to be there.


I wasn’t going to bother to write this because you’ve heard it before. And you’ll hear it again. The same old sad story. Dell makes some amazing computers — yet they have what must be the worst customer service on the planet. I do not see how it could be worse. It is so bad on so many different levels, it’s hard to know where to start. But then, I realized I might as well write it. Writing it could make me feel better. Eventually, I will also find it funny. I’m nearly ready to begin laughing. One more cuppa coffee and I’m there. Laughing.

This problem — not a huge problem, mind you — was whoever put my machine together forgot to install the Adobe software I bought with the computer. Or leave a link — or give me an unlock key to download it myself. Knowing Dell as I do, I considered just forgetting it. Let them keep the money and move on. But it’s $80. A bit too much to let slide.


The thing about Dell Customer Disservice, other than its general suckiness, is that they never connect you to the right department. They repeatedly ask for the same information, but whoever you talk to next won’t have the information and you’ll have to provide it again. If you ask for the number to which they are supposedly transferring you because you fear they will disconnect you, you can be sure the phone number is either no longer in service, or is completely wrong. The ones they gave me were either: (1) disconnected, (2) A cruise scam organization (you know, free cruise if you give us all your personal information?), and (3) Direct-TV. What I wanted? Sales Support for Alienware.


Any agent to whom you talk will never read what (if anything) a previous agent wrote — so you are always back on square one. No one ever calls you back or can provide you with a number to get you to the same person again.

They put you on hold and forget about you. Or disconnect you. They transform minor problems that could be dealt with by any normal company in a couple of minutes, into a week-long crises.

The first two agents I spoke to insisted I really had the software and was too inexperienced with computers to find it. Both agents went poking around INSIDE my computer (remotely). Each independently ascertained that the software isn’t there, nor is there any download link for me to acquire it. So, finally, after I got a bit strident about it, they connected me with a supervisor (this identical scenario played out twice). Both of whom informed me that they would not be able to deliver it. The first said it would be another five days. What? A download?


I was in “patience is my middle name” mode, so I waited. Five days later with no further contact from Dell, I called again. The first agent told me I would have to wait ten days more and disconnected me. I hit redial. When finally I got an agent, I shouted: “I WANT MY MONEY BACK.” I felt I needed to get his attention before he disconnected me again.

The agent (aka idiot) explained he could escalate “my issue” and maybe (only maybe) I would get my money back. He would “send a request” up to whoever were slightly more in charge than he was, but he could not guarantee they would comply. Because, he said, I probably already have the software and simply can’t find it.

I started to say something, but choked on my own words. Several deep, cleansing breaths later, I pointed out Dell had failed to deliver something for which I had paid. They do not get to NOT give me the product OR return my money. That’s theft. But my idiot said those were the “rules” and I said “we have other rules in this country and I want to talk to a supervisor. NOW.” My idiot assured me a supervisor would say exactly the same idiotic thing. I said that, were this to prove true, then I would keep going up the ladder to the damned president of the company if I had to, so put the supervisor ON the phone NOW.” I think I may have been yelling by then.

Got the supervisor. After he too explained that the software was ON the machine and I explained he should read the notes on this case number (yes, I had a case number) and he would see that no, I don’t have it and no, I’m apparently not going to get it, and frankly, I’m sorry I ever ordered it, and now give me my money back before I call the Attorney General and report the company (I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first) for Felony Stupidity and Customer Malfeasance.


Eventually he said he couldn’t give me the $82.95 Dell owed me, but would $100 be okay? I said yeah, fine. He was still talking when I hung up. I’d been on the phone for three hours and the dogs needed feeding, Garry wanted help unloading the groceries and my ear was getting sore.

Yesterday, I was issued a refund for $82.95. Can I sue for emotional distress?

I still don’t understand why there is any problem. It’s a download. I could download the software on the spot from Adobe. I’d only bought it from Dell because it was much cheaper.

This is supposed to be (wait for it, wait for it) PREMIUM CUSTOMER SERVICE. I hesitate to imagine the standard shit they are dishing out these days to regular, non-premium customers.

I buy Dell computers in spite of Dell. The computers are great, but oh-lord-give-me-strength to deal with their “customer disservice.” This morning, they sent me a “customer satisfaction” survey. I didn’t bother to fill it out.



It was August. Gibbs, our rescued boy Scottish Terrier had been with us a scant 5 months, but he seemed to be fitting in well. We were happy with him. He seemed happy with us.

Gibbs is quirky. Funny quirky. Among his more amusing idiosyncrasies was how much he loves his water bowl. It’s a big bowl, probably 5 or 6 quarts. He drinks and when he’s finished quaffing, he puts his front paws in the bowl and paddles.

Garry and I though he might have an unfulfilled desire to spend time in water. Most terriers aren’t big on water, but our first Scottie, Mac-a-Dog liked to wallow in shallow water. He couldn’t swim. Too short-legged and long-bodied, but wherever the water was shallow, he liked to cool down on a warm summer’s day.

So I thought we could get Gibbs (Bonnie is not interested in water except as a drink between snakes) a little doggy wading pool. But they turned out to be too expensive and too big. Overkill. Finally, I thought … how about a tub? When my brother and I were toddlers, my mother used to give us tubs of cool water to play in. I have pictures (somewhere) of Matthew and me in our tubs. Chilling in the summer heat. I found a nice tub at a modest price. It looks exactly like the tubs in the pictures from my childhood.

Garry put about three inches of water in it and set it out on the front stoop for Gibbs to discover.

After a couple of weeks, it was obvious he was not going to discover it on his own. Garry decided to introduce Gibbs to the tub. Although he didn’t freak out, he also was obviously expecting, as someone so well stated it, “a follow-up soap event.” He stood there with that patient, put-upon look dogs get when their people are making them do stuff.

Gibbs has never wanted anything to do with the tub, but he still likes to paddle in the water bowl. Another great idea gone awry.