In the last couple of years I have become increasingly disenchanted with the political landscape here in the US and, to varying degrees, elsewhere in the world.

I am sickened by the inequalities in this country and, in the face of so much disparity, the astonishing greed of the Haves to expand that gulf rather than reach out to the Have Nots… or at the very least to pay their share of taxes (tax avoidance is at an all-time high at the moment among the rich).

Why is it in this astonishingly prosperous country do we have a minimum wage that in adjusted dollars doesn’t reach the level of the 1960s? Where is the progress in that?

I have been appalled by how co-opted the political process is by Big Business. Neither side of the political field seems able to stand up to them. We are now owned and run by the most powerful business interests in the world. No wonder our education, the environment, and healthcare sectors are all defunct….

It’s easy to understand why even those of us who are dismayed by what is going on also feel a tremendous apathy in the face of this David and Goliath battle to re-establish a sound democracy free of the current special-interest stranglehold.

This is why I love this new book of Ralph Nader’s  “Told You So”. He urges us to not give up, not to give in, but rather to get re-involved in the political process. If we collectively insist that our representatives in Washington hold our best interests ahead of corporations we can reverse the dismal political trends we see today.  After all, they are not only dependent of corporate financial support but ultimately they need our votes to get elected.

I don’t care what side of the political fence you are on, this book should be required reading.  To read it is to realize how blithely we as a nation have allowed ourselves to be bought and sold, to be used and discarded, by most of our political leaders whether Republican or Democrat.

I loved the line in the book that said, “If we are all doing well, we are all doing well.” Shocking how little that philosophy is applied to our current policies that consistently seem to punish the poor and disenfranchised and help the rich get richer.  And I am writing from the fortunate side of the fence!



By the way, Ralph Nader has been pushed out of the political discourse. He has to go abroad to places like Canada to receive any attention from the mainstream media. It would seem that no one who is part of our decaying system wants to take a good hard look in the mirror…

When Will I Get My Breakthrough? Making It Past “The Dip”


Is Kristen Lamb living inside my head?

Kristen Lamb's Blog

If you stick with writing long enough, you will make it to The Dip (thank you, Seth Godin). The Dip is that span of suck right before the big breakthrough. The Dip is a killer and it seems to go on and on and on, but The Dip serves a number of important purposes.

The Dip Weeds Out the Uncommitted

Writing is the best job in the world. I love what I do and, frankly it’s a huge reason I struggle with resting. My work rarely feels like work…unless I’m in The Dip, which I’m in now. We writers also call these “revisions.” I’ve read my new book so many times, I swear I could recite it from memory.

But there’s a missing comma. Oh, and where did that extra period come from? Wait, the subject and verb don’t agree in that sentence. Doesn’t that need a citation? All…

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Real-Life Curry Apple Pie



I’ve written before about how much I love the Times’ Vows section because, as a novelist, it offers an incredibly rich human interaction resource. It’s like being given a palette of colors to paint with.

Of course, some weeks are richer than others.

Today’s installment, yielded the motherlode.

A small,some would say indistinguishable, wedding announcement jumped out at me.

The bride’s name caught my eye: Amrita Ford. Indian first name and Western last. I had to know more.

Amrita, as it turns out, is the daughter of Alfred Brush Ford, heir of the Ford Motor Co., and notorious, in some circles, for having joined the Hare Krishna religion in the 70’s.


When I was growing up, Western Krishnas  would set up drumming and chanting circles, and distribute religious literature in crowded places like airports and town plazas. You almost couldn’t avoid them. Adults warned us that contact with these shaved-head, orange-robed, ‘weirdos’ was dangerous. Merely accepting a pamphlet could lead you down a dangerous path, like trying heroin instantly turned you into a dead-eyed, drooling zombie. Once in their grips you could never get out. At best, they were beggars, at worst, dangerous cult members, like Manson followers.


We literally would race across the street to avoid them, and then stare, from a safe distance, with fascinated horror at their ecstatic, twirling dances. Over the years, they started to disappear from the urban landscape. Where did the Krishnas go?


So imagine how my imagination fired up when I saw that this blue-blooded Hare Krishna’s very normal looking daughter was getting married to a Harvard-educated lawyer with the very Indian name of Hrishikesh Hari. His father runs a Best Western Hotel in Florida. C’mon, tell me you’re not intrigued as well about how all these pieces fit!

For Alfred Ford, his religious conversion may have been the product of youthful rebellion from his privileged upbringing, but he has stuck all these years to his convictions, made them his life purpose. How many of us can lay that claim that?


This is the kind of tiny window into a life that provokes in me a slew of other questions: like what was it like growing up the daughter of both a scion of an iconic American family and a Bengali woman? How is the interaction with her more traditional, white bread cousins? Was marrying an Indian man an accidental or a deliberate choice?

Bunkhouse Hotels


I just had to share this….

One of my favourite hotel groups in the world, Bunkhouse Hotels,  has a great room sale on right now. If you’ve never stayed in one of Liz Lambert’s Texas hotels, you don’t know what you are missing.

She really gets the idea that there is no way a small hotelier can compete, luxury-wise, with the big boys like Amman or Four Seasons. Instead, she offers unique, curated, ultra-cool and supremely comfortable hospitality experiences. What her places sometimes lack in over-the-top service they way make up for in personality.

Here’s the group’s website :

Brain Candy


Is there anything better than a rainy weekend afternoon and time to read the Sunday NY TImes?

When I travel I read the digital edition which, aside from the obvious environmental benefit, has the added pleasure of making Sunday’s articles available at least a day earlier.

I almost always find something in there that inspires, motivates, informs, puts into sharper focus, intrigues, or somehow helps me with my work, my kids, my life.

One of today’s nuggets was this charming and funny article by Joyce Wadler, an urban person with a romantic attachment to the idea of country life but for whom invariably rural reality  is a little too, well, rural.

Here’s the link: