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Friday Book Review: Tiny Bible Tales — “Daniel in the Lions’ Den” & “Miriam and Pharaoh’s Daughter,” by W.C. Bauers & Marta Costa; Loryn Brantz’s “Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice!”; plus Maria Shriver’s “I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life”

June 2nd, 2018

All photos by moi, Nancy Ellen Row Rawley, and are not for steal.

“The Girls, Strutting”

More from Tiny Bible Tales… “Daniel in the Lions’ Den,” and “Miriam and Pharaoh’s Daughter,” both written by W.C. Bauers and illustrated by Marta Costa (Grosset & Dunlap, 2018, ages 3-5, $7.99). More from this series of board books. Daniel is trapped in the lions’ den, but an angel and God watch over him and he is free. Miriam and her mother save their brother and son, Moses, by setting him adrift in a basket, where Pharaoh’s daughter finds him. Sweet illustrations and rhyming words make for an easy introduction to these Bible stories.


“Feminist Baby Finds her Voice!” by Loryn Brantz. (Disney-Hyperion, 2018, all ages, but especially 2-5, $9.99.) This crazy series… The naked baby girls are back, fighting for their rights to milk, equality, love, flair, the right to speak and all the rest. Really good fun, and the lettering and illustrations are lively.

“My Boy”

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” — Ann Landers, quoted in Maria Shriver’s new book, “I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life.” (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, 2018, 225 pages, $20.)

This latest collection of essays, prayers and affirmations is a solid little self-help book. Shriver has been through a lot, to put it mildly, and so has her family. Self-inflicted? Sure. A mess they landed in? That, too. Bad decisions? Often. Bad luck? Some of it. It’s inspiring to see what she’s made to help fight her demons. Her books are useful, and that’s all we’re looking for sometimes, and in need of.


Spring garden — Corvallis

All for now. Bon appetit, darlings.


Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo: Why Admission Should Not Be Raised (or, another smackdown of Krista Swan)

December 6th, 2015

Steve & I had to do a major smackdown of Krista Swan awhile back. We had to. She’s a friend of child rapist Neil Goldschmidt, and was trying to rally support for him.


No, no, no, no, no.

So when I saw that the Oregon Zoo has decided to raise the (already too high) prices for its annual Zoo Lights festival, I said two words. No, four.

“No, no, Krista Swan again.” OK, that’s five.

Sure enough, she’s quoted in the article, blah, blah, too many people! The lines are too long! So we’ll raise the prices and fewer people (ie — the hoi polloi) won’t show up.

You’re talking about my crowd now, baby. Because there are a lot of working poor, and poor, and kids who are impoverished on the west side, and the east side (the south side, the north side)… And part of their taxes? Paying for the Metro bond that is keeping the elephants enclosed. And sick. On exhibit. (Not in a sanctuary, as promised by the Oregon Zoo when they floated the bond.) Did you stop to think, maybe Zoo Lights was just barely affordable for some families, as it was? It’s a tradition. People like it. That’s why it’s crowded. So why not do timed tickets or something like that? Not oversell tickets. (Where’s the fire marshall when you need him? This venue is over capacity!)

It makes no difference to me, per se (rich people’s phrase) cuz I frickin’ boycott (poor people’s words) the zoo. (See: “elephant sanctuary” bond measure. See: “Free all the animals from their cages!/No matter how new or modern!” — Raffi) (also, see: Krista Swan, zoo publicity flack, Neil Goldschidt fan, etc.)

I want all community events (and Zoo Lights is a community event, in a public facility, largely taxpayer-funded, not just for rich people) to be open to all, not just those with money.



Let’s end with a quote, shall we? Wise words, from the film “Pretty in Pink”:

Blaine, to Stef: “You couldn’t buy her, though, that’s what’s killing you, isn’t it? Stef? That’s it, Stef. She thinks you’re shit. And deep down, you know she’s right.”

Open letter to Seth MacFarlane and the Onion

February 25th, 2013

Hey smarmy Seth MacFarlane and idiots from the Onion,

You want to fight? Sure. How about you go out in the street and practice falling down for awhile, first.

Like we used to say in my old neighborhood: Two hits. Me hitting you and you hitting the floor. It wouldn’t even take a hit. I could tap you with my finger and you’d fall down go boom. Or you’d call me a name, let’s say, the “c” word.

Abby: Did you call me?
Roy: What?
Abby: I heard dumb bitch. I assumed you were talking to me.
Roy: I was talking to her.
Abby: Your name is dumb bitch TOO? No wonder I keep getting all of your mail! You know, we could be related. There are a lot of us dumb bitches here in LA.

— “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”

You’d be all, “C word!” and I’d turn around and say, Perdon? and you would… dissipate. Spontaneously combust, or maybe just implode. There would be a little pile of lint, that’s all that would be left of you.

You’re wussies, that’s why. Not just those garden-variety wussies, either. You’re the next level of wuss, my friends. Remember that trucker from “Thelma and Louise”? Now, he was your garden-variety wussie boy.

Thelma: I mean really! That business with your tongue. What is that? That’s disgusting!

Louise: And, oh my God, that other thing, that pointing to your lap? What’s that supposed to mean exactly? Does that mean pull over, I want to show you what a big fat slob I am or…

Thelma: Does that mean suck my dick?

Trucker: You women are crazy!

Louise: You got that right.

You’re the kind of wussies who make certain people (moms, women, little girls, men who aren’t wussies) totally lose their shit. “Oh, what, you don’t have a sense of humor?”

Yeah, I like jokes.

When they’re funny.

1) You guys aren’t funny. You’re assholes and…

2) You can run, son, but you can’t hide.

Here’s a New Yorker article, because it’s all on the damn record now, isn’t it?

And then the Culture Vulture weighs in.

Also, a thoughtful post from Happy (or whatever).

On the one hand, I would like to pretend, like I have so very many times before, that this was just another bad date. You called me a slut, I went on my way, but you know what? We need to have this conversation, right here, right now. On the record. Because I’m not going anywhere.

But you are.

You guys said what you said, and acted like you acted, and it was bullshit. Old boys’ network and bwah-ha-ha and jokes about Jack Nicholson’s house and women’s “boobs” and calling a sweet little girl a horrible name… And really? Fucking really? More of this shit?

The difference this time is…

Everyone knows. And your way (the old way) is on the way out.

And that gives me, and my sisters, and our daughters, and all of those guys who aren’t wussies like you, a really good gift…


And a big smile.

So head on out to the street now, would you?



Don’t vote Jefferson Smith for Portland Mayor

October 9th, 2012

Dear All of My Friends Who are Campaigning for Jefferson Smith,

Please stop. Because I didn’t appreciate having to have a talk — again — with my teenage daughter about how it’s still a man’s man’s man’s world and our daughters (sisters, mothers, friends and lovers) deserve so much more. As my late, great friend Frank would say, Men like that hate women. “Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed!”

Jefferson Smith, you need to get the hell out of the race. Now. Here’s a song, dedicated just to you, sir.

“You add insult to injury/what do you get?/you get a bus stop full of honkeys that don’t ever forget”



PS — This, this and this. For starters.

PSS — No, Charlie Hales didn’t pay me to say this. We don’t even live in Portland anymore. It’s that I am still, deep inside, a 12-year-old girl whose mama’s best friend was murdered by her abusive husband. What did the cops say, when she called them and said, “He’s threatening to kill me” ? They said, He hasn’t killed you yet.

Yeah there’s this, too.

PPSS — How is this my business? Oh, you know. I heard someone say “stupid bitch” and I assumed he was talking to me.

Edited 10/11/12 to say — Fox 12 Oregon just tweeted: Portland police and firefighters unions have withdrawn their endorsements of Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith. And thank you, Mother PAC. Good.

Yeah, and along comes the 1:32 a.m. e-mail.

Edited on 10/22/12 to add: Next, we have One Ron Buel trying to smooth things over. “Character assassination” my ass. Jefferson Smith keeps shooting himself in the foot repeatedly, like Yosemite Sam gone completely berserk, and somehow the rest of us are to blame?

Look, Smith blames his victims all the time — the woman he punched, the people he assaulted and freaked out on during sports league, probably that mean ol’ traffic court for his driving record. So it’s really no surprise he is reeling, lashing out and looking for someone to blame since it doesn’t look like he’s going to be Mayor. Of anywhere. Ever. He can go be Mayor in his own head, that should work.

Yes, Ron Buel was Neil Goldschmidt’s go-to guy, for those of you who are keeping track of this crap. (Past posts we’ve written: one, two and three. And there’s this one, too.)

You know, the sociopaths, sex abusers, murderers and all the rest of the freaks in the world don’t bother me so much. There truly are more of us than there are of them. What bothers me are all the other people — the grandmas who cry, Not my boy! Not him! He’d never!; the girlfriends, wives and hangers-on who say, You don’t know him like I do, etc.; the co-workers who say, Well, that never happened to me, therefore it never happened to you…

Because those people? They just might outnumber the rest of us.

Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Dave Moore, the beautiful Ms. Iris DeMent and the lovely Pieta Brown

October 6th, 2012

We went to hear Bo Ramsey and Greg Brown at the Aladdin last night. The guys were great; the audience was not. Steve: “Portland audiences may be obnoxious, but at least they’re enthusiastic.” How diplomatic of him. Here’s a song for you, and it kinda sums it all up for me:


“Where’s your wife?” one heckler yelled. Greg Brown’s wife being the beautiful and talented singer, Iris DeMent. “She’s at home cooking!” Brown yelled back.


“Get her out here to sing with you!” the same guy yells.

“She won’t sing with me. She’ll only sing with… John Prine.”

It’s true. Or maybe if you’re Josh Turner, she’ll sing with you.


Can’t blame her there.

Also, i’m in love with Pieta Brown, Greg’s daughter:

Now, since this is basically a love letter to Iowa and all the good musicians I’d never heard of ’til I married Steve:

And I don’t want to overlook Bo, so here he is, too.

Love you all, thanks for the music.

— nancy

bumperstickers on some old man’s truck, as i drove out of parking lot at doctor’s office today:

October 4th, 2012

It’s a Child, Not a Choice

Romney/Ryan 2012

Keep Portland Beered!

Yeah, Gramps. I’ll go ahead and stay preggers, barefoot and in the kitchen, and you go on to the bar. Jeez, no wonder white men are having issues in this country right now.

“But we liked it the way it was!”


go read this

March 22nd, 2012

broken clouds

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Girl’s Gone Child, alright. i love the hell out of that post.

sex strike, or, stop calling us sluts

March 1st, 2012

re: Rush Limbaugh’s statements (that only sluts use/want birth control, do I have that about right?)… I think maybe American women need to go on a sex strike until the men who need to shut up, STFU. And the brothers who aren’t speaking up, speak up for us. Whaddya say?

Heteros only — lesbians, sister power, get a pass.

“The Help” — movie is not really “helping”

August 17th, 2011

Here’s another point of view.


— wm

RIP Amy Winehouse, or “what kind of fuckery is this?”

July 26th, 2011

(“Tears Dry on Their Own” is my favorite song of hers, but I like them all.)

So… so, so, so. Better to write about something bad that happens right after it happens? When you’re all raw and miserable? And you maybe can’t find the words to express what you’re really saying.

Or wait until it’s dulled a little, and you don’t look like some kind of Johnny-Come-Lately? And you can be maybe a little more eloquent?

Who knows.

Russell Brand wrote a really moving piece about the (late) great Amy Winehouse. That one says it all. He’s a talented writer, in addition to being an extremely funny dude.

“Suchawaste” and “whatdidyouexpect?” and “hahashebombedonstageherlastshow” and all kinds of unkindness out there, especially now that we’re all connected with our stupid Facebook accounts, Internet, Iphones and Ipads and blah blah blah. People who would have never had access to you before can tear you apart now, from thousands of miles away. I’ve had a little taste of that myself, but nothing on the scale that Ms. Winehouse faced. I have been guilty, myself, of calling names and pointing fingers.

Being kind is easier, I have found.

The most recent concert and movie I went to, at both shows I couldn’t even see properly because everyone had their fucking phones and devices out and were recording away, sending text messages, thumbing through family photos because they were bored. At the concert, no one stood up to dance. They would have dropped their phones, I guess.

“Am recording myself dancing! Look!”

If you want to watch TV, talk on your phone or surf the web, stay home. I have also had the sad experience of sitting/waiting next to someone (at coffee, once, and waiting for the kids to get out of class, several times), “Oh, hello, how’s your day?” (I’m sociable. Yeah, that’s a bad thing) and they have looked at me like I was going to rob them. Serious looks of horror. Then they pull out the Device and click, click, click:

“Crazy lady just sat next to me. Apparently wants to make conversation WTF???”

We’re nasty with each other, in public and in private. With people we know; with people we don’t know. People don’t introduce themselves anymore, either, have you noticed? We’d rather look at gossip columns on the Internet than turn to someone before the show starts and say hey. “I’ve been looking forward to this show for a long time, I can’t believe we got tickets!” or “It isn’t really my thing, but my kids wanted to come” or “Nice shoes.”

Anything. Anything that doesn’t involve turning away.

I’ve got a lot of sadness in my heart right now because one of the most talented women in the world is dead. You know how I found out? I was surfing the web, and my homepage is a news page. Up pops Amy Winehouse’s photo, and right away I snapped, Why doesn’t the media leave her the hell alone? and I flipped to another site as fast as I could.

Steve says, She’s dead. She died today.

And that’s how I found out.

So. The world is not kind to the addicted, the mentally ill, to those of us who are wired differently. To those of us who say, “Hello, my name is…” Here’s what I learned from my late Daddy, who was schizophrenic: Compassion.

I’m a hell of a long way from being an angel. But every time I see the media going after people, running crappy, ugly photos, making fun of them (“Here she is! Back in court again, are we surprised?” “He lost custody! And it’s about time…” etc.) I just… flinch. Times when people have asked me (and I’ve been asked these kinds of questions, and had to listen to this bullshit many, many, many goddamn times, believe me) re: my Dad:

“Why didn’t he…?”
“Couldn’t he have just…?”
“I would never kill myself, would you? It’s just selfish…”

My favorite is when they use the words “coward” or “weak.” That thrills me all to pieces. Argh.

What I finally came up with (decades too late, but it will serve me for the rest of my life) is this: “Pretend he had brain cancer. Would you still say that?”

Mental illness and addiction and other so-called “weaknesses” need to be treated the same way as any other medical conditions.

Please, don’t ever feel that you have the right to accuse anyone else of not being “strong” enough.

“Well, I would never…”
“She should just…”

Don’t ever feel that it’s okay to make a laughingstock out of someone, because you just don’t know, do you, how it feels to be inside their skin?


— WM

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