Thursday, June 30

Here We Go Again....

"Esposito: You have a chance to die for freedom.
Fielding Mellish: Yes, well, freedom is wonderful. On the other hand, if you're dead, it's a tremendous drawback to your sex life."
-quote from
"Bananas" - a film written and directed by Woody Allen

I love, "Bananas", Woody Allen's second movie. It is wacky and silly and serious. The serious part is that this film reflects a time when Americans thought of Central American countries as "banana republics" owned by Dole and other meglo-agobusinesses.

Times have not changed, obviously. The lack of public discussion and debate about the administration's Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is almost as sparse for this monumental undertaking as it was in ramming the Patriot Act through our Congress. At least the Patriot Act has a "sunset" provision which requires Congress to re-approve or eliminate provisions of the Act this year. CAFTA does not have it. In fact....

"..,A free trade agreement would be reciprocal, and without a limited term, unlike current statutory trade preference laws, assuring all partners of a long-term outlook that will strengthen North American cooperation with Central America," says President Bush in this White House press release from 2002.

I would hope (erm..make that pray) that Congress includes a sunset provision in this Agreement to protect us from endless corporate greed and exploitation. How does Central America feel about this "agreement?" It is hard to find any news about Central America in the American press, but this article suggests that people in some of those countries do not want to go back to the status of a "banana republic."

Wonder if Woody Allen is considering a "remake" of his 1971 film. That might be the only information the American public gets on this issue.

May all beings know love and peace.

Tuesday, June 28

Her Love is Here To Stay...

One of my earliest musical memories is of my Mother singing, "When Sunny Gets Blue," along with Johnny Mathis. I think we had a turntable, or it could have been on the radio. Either way, she loved that song and sang it beautifully.

She also liked George Shearing. Once or twice, during the hot Phoenix, Arizona, summers, our family would head north toward our cabin in Sedona for a little break from the oven called, "the valley of the sun." It was a hot, cramped car ride of two or three hours with no stops unless someone was desperate to pee. In those days, there were few gas stations and cafes on the way up and using them was always a challenge. Once the car pulled up to our little "A" frame cabin near Red Rock Crossing, we'd fling the doors open, and disappear until dinner time.

After dinner, the parents would break out the turntable and play Johnny Mathis, George Shearing, and a few other records while we played cards or board games like "Life" or "Monopoly." There was no television reception and barely any radio reception either. I remember really loving the song, "Canadian Sunset," played by the George Shearing quintet. It seemed filled with color and depth and my mother's beautiful voice.

She made life special with her compassion, style, grace and love. Her life was a love song.

"May all beings know love and peace."

Sunday, June 26

This is Good!

It's been over a week since I saw "Batman Begins." It was a wild and wonderful ride at the time, and I'm still experiencing flashbacks! I won't rehash the reviews. Moviegoer, Jarrod, and I pretty much agree on the pros and cons of this movie with the main con being Katie Holmes. Nice, girl-next-door personae, but zero romatic vibe.

Have some fun. Go see Batman!


Wednesday, June 22

Respect The American Flag!

The Republican Congress is at it again. They passed this bill to protect Americans from those vicious flag-burners. Apparently, we must bow down and worship the flag instead of what it represents.

Do you think George Washington or Benjamin Franklin would approve of displaying the flag on a man's dick and then turn around and condemn protesters for burning the flag? This bill is just another corporate brick in the wall separating citizens from a government by the people and for the people. Why don't these corporate Congressmen simply replace the flag's stars with the Texaco symbol and update those boring stripes with curvy golden arches. At least it would put an end to the hypocrisy.

Update: Here's an interesting angle on this non-issue from Scalzi!

"But, today I weep for my country." - US Senator Robert Byrd, March 19, 2003

Sunday, June 19

Forget Me Not

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell

My husband and I finally decided to get our passports after procrastinating for months. I called a passport application number and they told me to make an appointment at our local post office and to complete the new passport application that is available on-line. One part of the application asks for the birth dates, birthplaces, middle names, etc., of our parents. Fortunately, I have personal information about my folks handy, but Jay had to call his mother and get the information directly from her. He is lucky his Mom is in good physical and mental health and she gave him the personal information about her and her ex husband without blinking an eye!

She is our only living parent. Both my parents have passed away and his Father passed away from an asthma attack in the mid 1980s. Many more of the amazing people who were born during the first few decades of the Twentieth Century are passing on. It is a sad privilege to witness their passing. I've noticed that they have one thing in common: the desire to tell their stories before they leave the planet.

The "pre-boomers" were born at the end of the the Industrial Revolution. Their parents lived in a time when people farmed, rode horses, sailed ships and made things by hand. Assembly lines, trains, electricity, telephones were new and, though these things were available, our parents and grandparents lived in a time when many people still used kerosene lanterns, rode horses, and communicated by letter and word of mouth. Jay's parents had relatives who served in America's Civil War, most of my ancestors immigrated from Ireland or Germany and were part of the cheap labor pool that built this nation. Our parents and grandparents witnessed and survived the economic collapse of America during the late 1920s and 1930s and they participated in two world wars. They were very familiar with self-sacrifice, making do with less, and being grateful for blessings that many people take for granted today.

Each experienced these wrenching and unprecedented changes, and each has a different and fascinating story to tell. My Mother's childhood was bitter and her life with my Father was hard but sweet. She shared her secrets with me and told of early days filled with bootleggers, artists, a horrible accident and survival. My Father's childhood was more secure but filled with families in the street, union organizing and strife, religious bigotry, music and survival.

There is a reason why some historians call these survivors “The Greatest Generation.” A common thread that runs throughout each of their lives is their devotion to family and their willingness to sacrifice to keep their families going during the hard times and the good times. The personal stories of Geraldine and Vincent are filled with challenges, failures, successes, love, spirit, music, education, children, friends, travel, and much more. I will not forget them.

Love each other - "Vincent Ryan"

Thursday, June 16

(Thank you , GWH, for this amazing Bday Greeting! )

You Say It's Your Birthday....

...It’s my birthday too yeah!
They say it’s your birthday.
We’re gonna have a good time.
I’m glad it’s your birthday.
Happy birthday to you!!

Yes we’re going to a party party
Yes we’re going to a party party
Yes we’re going to a party party
I would like you to dance! (birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance! (birthday)
I would like you to dance! (birthday)

...and so on"
- Beatles - The White Album

There is something about birthdays! Today, Southern California was rocked by a 4.9 earthquake (Big Whup :-p). We got a bill from our tax accountant for our March tax preparations - how did I forget to pay that bill?? And, I am speechless (yes, GWH, a rarity) with happiness and so grateful for the family and friends who remembered my birth today!

I lift my tumbler of Jack Daniels and 7Up to you all and in honor of my Irish roots (heritage that is, buddda boom) I salute you: "May you live as long as you want, And never want as long as you live." - A Celtic Blessing

With that thought in mind, let's party! Here's a funkadelic groove, "Empire Funk", courtesy of DJ ebot at eclectivision guaranteed to make you shake your money maker :-))

(Hint: If you want to listen while browsing other links, click on the "open links in new window" box in the upper right hand column - Enjoy!)

Wednesday, June 15

One Free Minute

Just found an interesting link. It's a communications "sculpture" called One Free Minute. The idea of this mobile performance art piece is to allow anyone who can dial a phone to give a one minute speech on any topic. I listened to the most recent speeches and they are fascinating. There are many who voice political objections to the war, the administration and repression in general. The ones that bypass the brain and go straight to the heart are those expressing true human emotion: love, confusion, loss. Very powerful stuff. Maybe I'll make a phone call!

May all beings know love and peace!

Saturday, June 11

June Gloom

It's here again with a vengeance. It's the dreaded June gloom, a marine layer of cool, cloudy air that clashes with the heat of Southern California's dry land. Everyone talks about it as if this weather pattern is new and alarming. We Angelenos have a very short memory when it comes to dreary weather until about the second week of this phenomena and then we remember that the same thing happened last year. Why didn't we schedule our Hawaiian vacation in June!

Well, later this afternoon, the weather cleared a bit and we decided to see how Pasadena's doing lately. Just got back from having dinner at Parkway Grill in Pasadena - excellent seafood tonight. Colorado Street was busy but not packed. Ahem, not packed with people, that is! It was packed with obnoxious Hummers. Watching these behemoths parallel park was pretty funny until we got behind one! What a nightmare.

On the way back home, we passed by the old Colorado Street Bridge! What a gorgeous place and one of the few well-preserved historical sites in the area. A fundraiser is scheduled for July 16, and I'll miss it. One of these days, I'm going to find a place to photograph this bridge and maybe nearby Eagle Rock, too. I'm so glad someone had the foresight to preserve these great places.

May all beings know love and peace - even the Humvee owners!

Monday, June 6

It's Legal to Swill Alcohol, Smoke Cancer Sticks...

...consume genetically altered produce, breathe toxic fumes in our polluted air, drink water from our polluted lakes, purchase and use semi-automatic weapons and handguns that are designed to kill and injure people, but we cannot use unregulated, untaxed and non-profit marijuana for our own, personal medical use. Link to latest senseless idiocy.

Why? As I've pointed out above, Americans are constantly subjected to health hazards more damaging than the minor toxicity of marijuana smoke, so I have ruled out any concern for the health of Americans. I had thought that the legal aspects of this issue were a "no brainer" where the feds would continue the ban but states could regulate the substance as they see fit. The "interstate commerce" element that the feds might have a leg to stand on isn't even part of this particular case.

I realize that there are many things banned by the feds and allowed by states and vice versa and somehow these issues are resolved reasonably. Why, then, is the right to grow your own medical marijuana in a category by itself? Or is it?

If you or someone you love.... might have an answer or opinion, I'd welcome a bit more info on this one.

Edit and Update: Hmmm, not much blogbuzz on this issue right now. Here's a link to an old article written by Jonathan Adler. I bet he's disappointed with this decision. Here's a rant from Digby which is similar to my own, but much more understandable.

Probably the most in-depth and interesting commentary is on MetaFilter . Some of the commenters stress that pot is not what this decision is all about. It's about the mysterious "Commerce Clause" in the US Constitution. Here's an example:

"..,The ruling had little or nothing to do with weed. Ruling in favor of the medical marijuana in this case would also have had the effect of undermining the Civil Rights Act and other good laws where the federal government regulates things that "affect" interstate commerce. The feds bust medical growers under the same provisions that force businesses to admit black people."

More to come....

May all beings know love and peace... especially the poor women who filed the medical marijuana case with the US Supreme Court!

Saturday, June 4

Blue Orchids

Inspired by The White Stripes latest CD adventures!

May all beings know love and peace and interesting music!