Life and Life Only Writers and Writing

Blog Weirdness…. All is Fixed


For those of you who might have had the unfortunate experience
of logging into WitnessLA today with certain browsers, and finding yourselves getting unwanted file downloads for no apparent reason, all is fixed. (But for WLA to load properly you may have to clear your browser cache.)

Sorry about that. (No harm was done to animals or your computer with this glitch.)

Okay, over and out again from Bennington, Vermont—where I just watched former Poet Laureate Donald Hall, who is now in his 80’s, read some stupendous new poems about death, life, baseball, old dogs and meatloaf (but not necessarily all together) and had the privilege of introducing my friend, the entirely wonderful memoirist/biographer Susan Cheever, for her reading.)

Now back to your regularly scheduled (and very smart) Alan Mittelstaedt.


  • Very funny again once more Mr. Woody. You remind all us of Shecky Greene… Celeste blog numbers up because you supplying free laughs.

  • I’m not sure a Vermont poetry seminar is the place to find a wife for a race-baiting homophobe who spend his time at watching ballgames and making online enemies. But then, maybe he likes good cheese.

  • I don’t know about that, Mavis, Vermont has quite a few idiosyncratic character Woody might fit in with. I have some old college friends who moved to a village in VT a decade ago to get away from the city (NYC) and bought 160 acres, built themselves a house from scratch, got goats to clear the land, all but wove their own clothes (I think they did make cheese), you get the idea, figuring it couldn’t get more peaceful than that.

    Well, their nearest neighbor decided to build his own expansion and after a disagreement involving splitting the costs of ploughing their shared road in winter, put the workers’ outhouses right on the property line closest to my friends’ house so that the odor would blow upwind. Sad to say my friend (the male half) sank to the bait and I can’t repeat what happened next. They all own shotguns and swear that if any bodies are buried no one will ever find them.
    I think Woody could easily find a wife up there somewhere.

    One thing that surprised me visiting VT: they’re among the most impatient people I’ve ever met, won’t wait in line and push past you if you’re not fast enough. I’d have thought all that space and peacefulness would rub off on them in a positive way but my friends say it’s because they’re not used to waiting for anything, so when they have to they can’t deal with it. What do you find, Celeste? (Of course, being a poetry festival you’ll likely get a skewed demographic. No wifely prospects for Woody there, I suspect.)

  • Part II – An example of why California is a lost cause:

    …Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said legislative leaders are going to need fortitude to solve California’s $24.3 billion budget shortfall with deep cuts to cherished programs.

    To help with that, the Republican governor sent Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg a metal sculpture of bull testicles, intended as a gag gift.

    According to the sources, Schwarzenegger’s gift was in response to an earlier gag gift he had received from Steinberg: a package of mushrooms after the governor called Democrats’ budget proposals, which included tax increases, “hallucinatory.” ….

  • Totally, but the chair has wheels.

    On a more serious note, this blog needs a post on the court rejecting a prisoner’s access to DNA evidence. Very sad. It really feels like if these guys wrote the constitution there would be no right to a jury trial at all.

  • Part II – example of why California is a lost cause:
    …Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said legislative leaders are going to need fortitude to solve California’s $24.3 billion budget shortfall with deep cuts to cherished programs.

    Calm down; have some dip.

  • Part III – An example of why California is a lost cause:

    State Income Tax Revenues Plummet

    The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government reports that state individual income tax revenues fell 26.0% in January – April 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

    The 10 states with the biggest declines are:

    01 – Arizona: -54.9%
    02 – South Carolina: -38.6%
    03 – Michigan: -34.4%
    04 – California: -33.8%
    05 – Vermont: -33.1%
    06 – New York: -31.8%
    07 – Rhode Island: -30.4%
    08 – New Jersey: -30.1%
    09 – Massachusetts: -28.5%
    10 – Idaho: -28.3%

    Only three states reported an increase in income tax revenues:

    01 – North Dakota: +15.5%
    02 – Alabama: +11.1%
    03 – Utah: +4.4%

    At least there are some steps in the right direction:

    U. of California Faculty and Staff Members Could Face 8% Pay Cut

  • An example of why California MAY NOT BE a lost cause:

    To Save Money, California Plans to Deport Illegal Immigrant Inmates

    With California slipping into a financial sinkhole, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to save more than $180 million by cutting short the sentences of thousands of immigrants in the state’s prisons and turning them over to federal authorities for deportation. The state’s plan would involve as many as 19,000 inmates. …Those among them who committed sex offenses or violent crimes would not be eligible for early release…. …Since more than 70 percent of California’s immigrant inmates are from Mexico, deporting them would typically involve putting them on a bus. …Schwarzenegger’s proposal was prompted in part by President Barack Obama’s May budget proposal to end the $400 million program that pays states and counties for holding illegal immigrants behind bars – a program that California officials say reimburses only about 12 percent of the state’s costs. ….

  • Part IV – An example of why California is a lost cause:

    To help balance its budget, California has reduced the state tax credit for dependents.

    The change will increase a family’s California taxes for 2009 by about $210 per dependent compared with 2008.

    A family with one dependent that normally gets a state-tax refund will get back $210 less when they file their 2009 return next year. A family that normally owes money will have to pay $210 more. Multiply that by two or more dependents, and it really adds up. ….

    It’s for the children.

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