Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007

The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don't Worry; Be Happy!

Maybe baby Molly is smiling because she's an Obama supporter, and it looks like he may be the nominee.
Maybe Molly's smiling because the Democrats have two good candidates from which to choose.
Maybe it's just because she's having a bath.
(Or maybe this is just an excuse for her grandmama to post a cute picture.)
But whatever the reason, she wants you to know that every once in awhile, life is good.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Goodbye, Aunt Gertrude

My oldest living relative died yesterday. She was 105, the last relative of my grandparents' generation, and my grandfather's sister. Aunt Gertrude was doing quite well until she was 102 or so, and had been quite confused since then.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hardware woes

A while back, I posted about my neighborhood. I was worried about its future, and upset that my hardware store was possibly closing. The update is that it is, indeed, going to close permanently. There's a sign up saying that they're going to have to sell off the last bits of stock, because Berkeley is unrelenting in its zoning bullshit. The sign also said that "Wells Fargo dealt the final blow." I don't know if this means WF the corporation not approving a loan or something, or if it means that WF the neighbor somehow lobbied the city against the hardware store.
I'm hoping to find out more, including whether any sort of campaign can be launched in support of Elmwood Hardware. I'm really upset, but feel totally impotent and unable to do anything....

I'll keep you all posted if anything happens, but I'm not too optimistic.....


Monday, February 11, 2008

One Hundred and Eleven

That’s how many Democrats showed up for my precinct caucus here in Seattle on February 9 at the Oddfellows Hall in Ballard. Four years ago we had thirty-six, and thought it was a big turnout. And this time, I was attending as Precinct Committee Officer and had to chair the meeting. I came armed with a large rubber mallet from my tool box to use as a gavel. I needed it.

But more important than a big stick was the help of my fellow caucus-goers. One elderly man (older than me, anyway) took the initiative to help pass out sign-up sheets and pens to the crowd, and ended up taking over most of the task. Another collected the sheets and checked that everyone had marked a presidential preference. The precinct captain for Obama at first came across as a bit over-assertive, but soon became an invaluable assistant to me and the tally clerk. Chairs were at a premium; I gave mine up to the secretary.

(The photo above shows a different precinct caucus at the Oddfellows Hall. They had 132.)

Counting took some time. With the tally clerk, secretary, and two assistants working at it, each vote was counted twice by two people. Then came the one-minute speeches (without timer) for each candidate. Captain Anne stood on a chair and gave a prepared speech for Obama. A volunteer spoke impromptu for Hillary. And I gave an impassioned oration in favor of “Uncommitted” as our only hope of leveraging some genuine progressive promises from the two corporate hotshots. Needless to say, I was wearing my John Edwards button, no longer for the man but for his program.

On second ballot, I don’t think anyone on the H & O Railroad changed votes. Obama made a big splash with four delegates to Hillary’s two. This turned out to be fairly typical of the 36th District, where Obama was more heavily favored than even in the rest of Washington State. On a national scale, of course, H & O are still in a dead heat for delegates. It ain’t over yet.

And what did I do? To begin with, I had been assiduous in reminding people as they signed in that “Uncommitted” is a perfectly valid choice. A fair number of people took it, and I am now the official uncommitted delegate from my precinct to the Legislative District caucus in April. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a brokered convention in August.

I have to say my inexperience showed. The Obama captain might well have done a better job of running the meeting, but I managed to get all the important things done. Now that I’ve gotten involved, I really like caucuses better than primaries. I met 110 of my neighbors (including at least four from my condo building whom I already knew), and we spent the afternoon doing real politics together. And caucuses, unlike primaries, let you vote for “none of the above,” as I did. It was a wild afternoon, and I wouldn’t have missed it. I say with good old Tommy J: I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending to too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.


Presidents Day song

I know it's not factually accurate.

to the tune of "Happy Birthday":

Happy Presidents Day!
Honest Abe freed the slaves.
George could not tel a li-ie,
So go buy a car!


Thursday, February 7, 2008

good grief

Here I am, horning in again, but I just finished David Michaelis' weighty tome "Schulz and Peanuts", and I am bursting at the seams to write about it. As a cartoon afficienado, I was eager to read the book, but found myself quite suprised in discovering how complex Michaelis' subject was. I always figured Charlie Brown was Schulz's alter-ego, but who knew that much of Lucy's character was based on his first wife, Joyce? Not to mention the acrimonious relationship of charlie Brown/Lucy Van Pelt was a reflection of the Schulz's long and troubled marraige.
Schulz, or "Sparky " as he was known to his friends, would undoubtably be called "depressed" by you or I, but Sparky eschewed this description in favor of the more romantic adjective of "melancholy". When his wife suggested he see a psychiatrist, he refused. "If I do that, I'll lose my talent," he reasoned.
Sparky instead worked out his issues in his strip. His insecurities were obviously, fodder for his art, but he also used the strip to process religious conflicts, family and business problems, even writing about an extramaital affair through the character of Snoopy, for Chrissakes! And all these years, people thought he was just making wry little comments on society...
Schulz could be warm and generous; he was suprisingly competitive, at times to the point of being bitter and vindictive. He eventually found a loving partner and a happy relationship, but his No. 1 partner, was the strip, to the exclusion of children, wives, friends and others. He did not "die well": although he had a deep religous faith, he stated he was angry at God for "taking this all away from me." "I wasn't ready", he said. "It's not fair"
All said, I found it absolutely fascinating. And the chapter on his death moved me to tears. Recycled strips from earlier decades still run each morning in my daily paper, 8 years after his death. Maybe it wasn't fair, after all. We're still not ready for a world without "Peanuts".


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Election Results Are In...

Molly's so happy!

Hillary won in Missouri!

Barack won in Kansas!

But wait....

Maybe not..,

Huckabee's winning in Missouri too!

Somebody please write a biting political essay, and help us figure this out!


Monday, February 4, 2008

Calling all Divas....

It has been 12 days since out last post. I realize many of us are busy with our own creative activities, but I'm taking this opportunity to implore my sister and brother divas (and divo) to add something new to the conversation.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, and Mardi Gras. There are no good excuses regarding nothing to write about---these two subjects alone should provide plenty of grist for the mill.

Unless we move forward, I am prepared to post boring grandma stuff every day until a new post appears. I have baby pictures and I am not afraid to use them!