Saturday, April 30, 2016


I received a letter from Alan Grayson, a missive that made such good sense, I thought I'd reprint it here. I'm a fan of his even though he is from Florida. They don't often make sense there, it seems to me, but Alan always does.

Dear Mary,
I think that LeBron James should pay the same percentage of his income in Social Security taxes as everyone else does.
He doesn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, not by a 90-footer.
Most Americans pay 6.20% of their incomes to Social Security taxes. LeBron James pays 0.03% of his income toward Social Security taxes. In fact, he is finished paying his Social Security taxes in the second quarter of his first game of his season. Then he’s done for the rest of the game, and the rest of the season – including the playoffs. Even the offseason.
“Wow,” you say. Yes, “wow” indeed.
I want to make this clear – this is nothing personal. I love to watch LeBron James play basketball. I forgive him for taking his talents to South Beach, but then taking them right back to Cleveland. I look forward to his becoming the all-time NBA scoring champion, during the 2021-22 season.
But I think that he should have to pay the same percentage in Social Security taxes as others do.
The Social Security tax applies only to the first $118,500 of income (the “cap”). As soon as LeBron and anyone else reaches that limit, they’re done for the year.
Which is precisely why some people fret about the system going broke. The solution is obvious. No cap, no problem. In addition to making our tax system more fair, scrapping the cap would make Social Security solvent forever and ever. And ever. So I have introduced a bill to do that, and the Social Security Administration has confirmed that it solves the problem once and for all. Sure, some Republicans would be sad -- they’d have no excuse to push sadistic cuts in Social Security benefits. But the rest of us would be thrilled.

Q. When does a teacher stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.
Q. When does a nurse stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.
Q. Why do only the rich get this huge tax break, threatening the solvency of the program? A. I wish I knew.
Grayson is pushing a bill through congress called Scrap the Cap. I hope it passes.

Friday, April 22, 2016


We have a party person in our neighborhood. I believe GHC is the active ingredient in marijuana, a hot subject in Calaveras County.  Thus the party about GHC on the 20th, the day the government made some kind of announcement?  Unsure.
Can't drive, can barely type, incapacitated by my surgery-told I have massive tears and if I don't follow the rules to the letter, I may never be well. So, I'm resting. Can't drive, must depend on others for just about everything. House looking like a junk yard. Jim took pictures. We didn't stay long though Jan provided a great fun event.

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I ate finger foods and wished there was MJ in the brownies. Maybe better than the oxcycotin they prescribed. I read where it is miracle drug for animals. Woof! Woof!

Friday, April 8, 2016


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Paul Moeller, a long time friend is temporarily in a convalescent home called Oak Terrace in Soulsbyville. He has had a series of physical set-backs, falls, broken bones. He has a lot of grit and he is working on his walking and physical therapy and determined to make it back to his home. For an 89-year-old, that is an optimistic goal.  I believe he is going to make it.
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On nice days, his personal caregiver, Nellie, assists him outside to spend time in the sun. In fact the sun was so bright yesterday, that he had to shut one eye to be able to look toward the camera.
It is a place that gives you pause as we all have end of life issues to think about and consider as we age. And, it is easy to see how a person can be very depressed and just give up. That isn't Paul's way and I have to admire his strength at this juncture to keep up the good fight for strength and a future of his own definition, which is home.

In the meantime, it behooves all of us to stop and smell the flowers. Intelligence for your life guru, John Tesh, reminds us that just touching a flower or seeing it can restore healing brain chemicals. Viewing nature from his terrace has a similar reaction.
A few flowers are in order.
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Lilacs fill my yard with fragrance.
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And, beauty.
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Monday, April 4, 2016


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A concert featuring cowboys, Gary Allegretto and Ian Espinosa both songwriters and musicians who love the blues and western music put on an outstanding show at the Arts Center in Angels Camp yesterday.  But the standout performer, Allegretto, is not a guitarist, but a harmonica virtuoso.  Never in my life could I have imagined the sounds and range of "vocals" that come out of a simple  carry-in-your-pocket, harmonica.  After the show, the duo sold and autographed CDs.
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A "people" person, Gary posed with a local admirer, Chris Doty. Some of the music he has written qualifies him as a comedian. His range of music from the foot stomping, "This Ain't My Last Rodeo," (number one on the charts for three years running) and a sing-a-long number, "But You Can't Stay Here", reflect his days as a bouncer in a Santa Fe bar. He reminds us that Santa Fe, when he worked there,  wasn't all "pinky boutique" but a pretty rough shod place full of hard drinkin', fists ready cowhands. His music is difficult to describe, a blusey-western mix; throw in an African American spiritual, and something akin to dance with Ian's singing and playing on a guitar older than anyone in the audience, and you have a rave collaboration.
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Allegretto is internationally known for his humanitarian work with children. He brings to kids- be it Indonesia, Africa or Wales-the universal language of music. He can talk through that harmonica and leaves each boy and girl with a harmonica of their own with which they can play four songs. Now that is peace making on a very basic level.
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Calaveras Arts Council Director, Mary Jane Genochio brought them to Angels Camp and then on stage, gave a tearful farewell. Her house was destroyed in the Butte Fire and she said, "I am building a house and I must turn this job over to another."  We will definitely miss her.
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Equally loved, former Director, Penny West, who held the reins for at least 20 years brought us Mary Jane. We in Calaveras County owe so much to the wonderful leadership provided by these two amazing women. Our Arts are strong, and we are so lucky and grateful.
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Another arts venue is involved in the simple act of story telling, poetry, writing and critiquing new writers. A powerful group also in Angels Camp under the Arts Council umbrella. Here Joy Roberts recruits wanna be writer, Lizz Emerson. The Arts Council begins its free music in the parks concerts in early June, just a mention here while I'm at it. But, back to Allegretto. You can listen to a sample of his music on this website: But more than that, this is one of the finest accolades I've ever seen:
"I cannot express enough gratitude for what you have done for the harmonica and for Hohner. 
Without you, we would be less of a brand."

~ Clay Edwards, CEO, Hohner Harmonicas Inc.

You gotta see this guy!

Sunday, April 3, 2016


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Imagine my surprise when I found out my best friend Jim is related to Donald Trump. The resemblance is pretty startling. And he has gone gung ho, preaching the merits of a Trump presidency.
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Personally, I think Trump decided to run as a lark and now he can't insult enough people to get himself out of the election. He's sort of stuck. This trumper doesn't agree.
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Jim is quite an actor himself. He's convinced the Trump hairstyle will become the rage as his popularity grows, so he did a pretty good imitation of the hair, the scowl, the whole persona. I get all these emails asking to sign petitions against Trump. I refuse to sign because I think Trump and Sanders have shaken up our corrupt establishment and I'm just cheering on the sidelines.  I hope he wins the Republican nomination since Kaisch doesn't have a chance. Then the party of obstruction can hold their noses to vote Republican.
Meanwhile, I'll vote for a sensible, sincere, non billionaire, Sanders, who has the heart of the people and started this whole revolution. Go Sanders. I hate the vilification of Hillary that is going on. She is no worse than most of the beltway wheelers and dealers, but they vilified her when she was a First Lady and they continue to do so now. It is ugly. We need someone clean, like Sanders.

And, just for the record, Jim is not really related to Donald Trump, but he is a supporter.