Tuesday, December 12
In Ireland, a Christmas candle is lit as a symbol of hospitality and welcome of the Holy Family, especially the Baby Jesus. In Finland, it is a tradition of some families to place a candle on the grave of their loved ones during Christmas celebrations. A Christmas candle represents the birth of Christ, the light of the world, in many holiday celebrations.
The holidays celebrate light, abundance and happiness in the darkness of the cold winter, a welcome and beautiful antidote for times like these.
Light and love to all life everywhere.
Thursday, December 7
Read the Iraq Study Group report and blog comments if you haven't already done so! How could our government make so many horrendous mistakes and when will it stop making them?
Now, dry your eyes. Grab a cranberry juice and listen to an interview with Ian Lustick who tries to explain why America is "Trapped in the War on Terror" and how we can escape the trap.
"Everyone understands that al Qaeda hijacked American planes using the best transportation system in the world against us to knock down the Twin Towers and to hit the Pentagon, and so on. What they don't understand is the reaction to that that I've been describing, which I analyze in the book: what al Qaeda has done is hijack our Madisonian system of government and direct its enormous power -- namely the self-interested activity of millions of Americans, corporations, institutions, lobbying organizations -- and set it against our society. And that has shoved us into misappropriations, waste, and into policies in Iraq and elsewhere that have cut the ground out from underneath American foreign policy and opened vast opportunities of expansion and success for al Qaeda and its clones."
- Ian Lustick, Professor of Political Science, author and consultant
See a webcast of this interview:
Time for damage control and honesty.
Friday, November 24
Thursday, November 9
Sunday, November 5
I voted via abstentee ballot over a week ago, before the John Kerry blabbergaffe and ahead of most of the pre-election drama (e.g., Congressional pedophilia, drug abusing preachers and Saddam's guilty verdict). I would hope voters have already made up their minds to put a stop to one-party rule. For those that want to live under a monarchy, there's space available on the next flight to Monaco. Better do it before January 2007, that's when Homeland Security will let you know if you may travel out of the USA.
Meanwhile, I've discovered jazz, Goodnight Burbank and Bill Mahr are antidotes to the pre-election poison. (So glad I don't live in New Hampshire!)
Saturday, October 28
I visited Griffith Park yesterday and was glad to see so many mothers with their children using this gracious place. I wanted to grab a photo of the park's Merry-Go-Round, but it was closed. While I was there, I found out how to visit the newly renovated Observatory and am disappointed that the park will use a "reservation only" approach. Eventually, this approach will prove to deter rather than encourage visitors and then I'll take a peek at what 93 million dollars can do to spiff up an LA icon. Exciting stuff.
I noticed a few good links about green spaces and those committed to keeping them alive and well. Check it out.
1. Keep America Beautiful - results of 2006 "Great American Clean up" event.
2. Whole Foods To Sell Wind Power Cards - on November 1.
3. Inc.'s Green Top 50 - Do good, get rich, the eco advantage .
4. Scorecard - the pollution indication site.
Monday, October 23
-A souvenir refrigerator magnet for Mom - best gift ever!
My son and his girlfriend just returned from a seven day cruise to the Mexican Riviera. He won this trip in a company raffle, a wonderful surprise out of the blue. Or was it?
Two years ago, I would not have dreamed he would be so happy. He has changed his life from the desperation of an active drug addict, to the life of a hard working, happy and sober man. He has worked every day on gaining maturity, control and faith and we are all grateful for this miracle in our lives. I think this cruise is his reward for his sobriety and an encouragement to him and his family to keep faith, hope and progress alive in our lives.
Today is a good day!
Thursday, October 12
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. There should be a campaign every month to create awareness of all cancers in each of its many deadly forms. Every person I know has a cancer story, some filled with hope and lessons learned and others filled with loss and sadness.
Update: October 14: Last night a friend of mine and I went to a great play called Booby Trap - the breast show in town at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood, CA.
It's a ".. collection of personal monologues and songs all dealing with a woman's relationship with her breast." Many of the stories really connected with me.
Proceeds from the play will go to weSpark, Cancer Support Center, which offers free services to breast cancer patients and families. I bought a tee shirt, too, and am glad to contribute to this effort and have some fun too!
More updates throughout the month!!
Sunday, October 1
I Was Looking a Long While
by Walt Whitman
I was looking a long while for Intentions,
For a clew to the history of the past for myself, and for these chants -and now I have found it,
It is not in those paged fables in the libraries, (them I neither accept nor reject,)
It is no more in the legends than in all else,
It is in the present -it is this earth today,
It is in Democracy -(the purport and aim of all the past,)
It is the life of one man or one woman today -the average man of today,
It is in the languages, social customs, literature, arts,
It is in the broad show of artificial things, ships, machinery, politics, creeds, modern improvements, and the interchange of nations,
All for the modern -all for the average man of today.
Thursday, September 28
Before the Republican Congress takes a break, they have given President Bush and many of his minions their own break.
"..,Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error." (Good analysis of the "free pass" better known as the "detainee interrogation bill.")
This bill "..., simply removes a suspect's right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That pretty much leaves the barn door open."
I asked myself if this law effects ordinary US citizens, like me. Then I remembered that I actually know someone who has been "detained" without being charged for a crime, and the answer is, "yes." A close family member was jailed before 9/11's "war on terror" while riding in a car that contained illegal drugs. Law enforcement "detained" this person for three days of questioning and then let the person go after they had gotten the information they needed, I assume. So, when the President and his republican minions beat their chests about "terrorists" and war, we need to keep in mind that "detainees" can and will be us and those we know and love.
btw, this bill does not deliver a NEW weapon into our terror warrior hands. It just relieves them of any accountability. Remember Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, secret torture "facilities" in other countries? This "weapon" has been in use since 2001 and has delivered (???) - the Bushites ain't talkin about what it's delivered. They just say "trust us" while we throw up some barbed wire to keep you sheep in line.
Torture and the suspension of basic human rights have not delivered the information to capture Osama bin Laden. It has cloned more Osamas. These terror wars and their torture tactics are increasing terror according to recent findings by the the National Intelligence Estimate, a report from U.S. intelligence agencies. Common sense would hint that torture produces more harm than good and the repugnatans should try something different - Instead....
Our elected representatives presented a slightly diluted version of what Bush has been doing all along - backdating it so he can't be prosecuted for war crimes - Bush modifies the bill to be exactly what he's doing now via his infamous "signing statements or technical clarifications" and Americans are stripped of their rights.
Now, Bush and the Congress will tell you and me, "hey, knuckleheads, these provisions are only for "illegal combatants!" Here's the new law's definition of this term:
".., By writing into law for the first time the definition of an 'unlawful enemy combatant,' the bill empowers the executive branch to detain indefinitely anyone it determines to have 'purposefully and materially' supported anti-U.S. hostilities. Only foreign nationals among those detainees can be tried by the military commissions, as they are known, and sentenced to decades in jail or put to death."
Remember attorney Brandon Mayfield, 37, a convert to Islam, who was jailed by federal authorities in Portland under the material witness statute for a flimsy fingerprint connection to the Madrid bombings. His only "purposeful and material support" was his legal work on a custody issue for Jeffrey Leon Battle, a Portland man who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for conspiring to fight against U.S. troops in Afghanistan . The Madrid police had to finally step in and tell our FBI that the print belonged to an Algerian man, not Mayfield. If not for their intervention, Mayfield might still be rotting in a detention cell. I'm sure our executive branch can use its imagination to come up with many more creative "terror ties" and protect us from, erm.... ourselves.
Meanwhile, GWB continues to blame everyone but himself for his failure to contain and eliminate terrorists. He has been given everything he's requested. (Hello - an entire Homeland Security Department, a billion US/China/Japan dollars a week, a free pass to destroy two countries, countless no bid "war" contracts for his favorite corporations) AND HE STILL CAN'T GET IT RIGHT. America is owned by the Republican party and guided by Bush-Cheney-Rummy-Frist -De Lay.... So, taking cheap shots at the minority party or the judiciary for being.... well, a minority and a judiciary is insane and bodes ill for our U.S. Constitution. This election season is going downhill fast along with America's Bill of Rights.
P.S. Get ready for the gutless Congress to rubber stamp illegal wiretaps of U.S. citizens which the Bushites have been doing for years, it seems. Our rights will be whisked away to protect these people from prosecution. Why bother? We all know the chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General, Alberto Gonsales, would never enforce the law if it impacts his boss.
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
Wednesday, September 27
“How much is that small couch over there,” he asked.
I turned around to see if one of us would answer him and saw that I was closest to him. I walked toward him and noticed that he was about my height. He was older than me and I immediately knew he was gay. His white hat, casually but carefully draped sweater and his small leather bag hinted that he was a bit vain and when he spoke, he confirmed my assessment.
“It’s a nice size. Perfect for my bedroom, I think. What do you think? How much is it and does the store deliver?” he remarked as he bounced on the couch cushions.
“Hi. Let me see. The price is marked right here and it is $125. The larger couch is $175. Did you want to buy it?” I asked him. For the next fifteen minutes he talked about how he had finally cleaned out his apartment after the death of his partner in January. He had donated his friend’s clothing and other items to the shop in January. He said he was ready to donate his furniture and move to a smaller place and asked whether the store would pick up his items.
“He had aids but I don’t, he said. I almost died when he died in January, but now I’m starting to be able to function again. We were together for fourteen years. He was the art director at Bullocks in Westwood for many years and had so many nice clothes. Whatever happened to the red velvet shoes I donated? Do you know if anyone bought them because I’d like them back if they weren’t sold,” he said.
He spoke with the store manager about the red shoes, took another look at the sofa and then introduced himself to me. I shook his hand and as much as I felt empathy and a connection to him, I did not like his touch. His hand was damp and surprisingly small. I thought of his comments about how his partner had died. As if on autopilot, I walked to the employees’ bathroom and washed my hands.
I feel strange about my reaction, but just as I won't judge this man, I realize I won't judge my reaction to his touch. It is what it is, I guess.
Wednesday, September 13
I've been thinking about Mother Earth today and how I can do more to take care of her.
I found this link today and it makes me want to ration my internet/computing time. The Breathing Earth site provides a fascinating visual of energy use.
Another good link is Your Carbon Footprint.
Our household is borderline low energy consumers, probably because we have opted to use "green energy" which we pay a surcharge for. Here's a list of cities that also give customers a green energy choice.
I think I'll turn off my computer now and go mulch some flower beds.
Monday, September 11
"It's Not What Happens to You, It's What You Do About It"
is a book written by a remarkable survivor, W Mitchell. Many years ago I attended a Realtor convention in Anaheim, California, and wandered into a small conference room thinking I'd kill some time in between meetings. After a minute or so, a man in a wheelchair came into the space and it seemed like everything got brighter. I looked a bit closer and noticed that he was horribly burned and disfigured, yet his disabilities did not prevent him from directing his assistant to set up the riser and podium and his sound system quickly and efficiently. He then took command of the room, including me and the forty or so others who were fascinated and transformed by his story of personal disaster and unrelenting determination to be a better person in spite of his adversity. I was moved then and think of him often, especially today.
I've lived long enough to experience disaster and the bewildering aftermath of uncontrollable events. There is a period of numbness that allows us to "carry on" and move through the rubble, putting one foot in front of the other until we are able to rest. During this period, we are on autopilot. We automatically make those decisions that keep us alive and fight like hell to avoid deep feeling and consequently, deep thinking.
Once we are able to rest, though, a thousand knives slice our guts as we sort out the whys and hows of the event and our part in it. Fear and the survival instinct that kept us going, now morphs into anger. Rage jumps on our backs and soon we've got guilt, shame, blame, and panic joining the fray. This is when I feel the most pain, and when I must wake up and make choices.
At this painful crossroad, I will often over-think the problems and solutions and wind up running in circles. An old trick is to fall back on the fear and numbness and hope some survival adrenalin will kick in to boot me out of the pit. This only makes me more destructive and prolongs the painful healing process.
When faced with this crossroads, W Mitchell is a strong proponent of the "Just Do It" philosophy:
"The key for all of us who want to make a difference is to act. To do something. Anything. That's the key that will unlock the door to a future unimagined by so many people. Sometimes...we feel powerless, unable to do anything. Just one act, anything you can think of, can restart your engine."
"Just because you're out of work doesn't mean you can't begin a physical fitness program. Just because you're out of love doesn't mean you can't improve your job skills. By getting better in one area, you'll help your self-esteem, which may unlock the door to new relationships, and perhaps point yourself in a new direction. Is it easy? Perhaps not. But as someone has said, 'Easy doesn't do it.'"
The first time I saw W Mitchell, he was his wheelchair. The first time I heard W. Mitchell, he was the embodiment of mind over matter. His disability does not define his life. The actions he has taken to transcend his disability defines his life.
In the past week or so, I have been reluctant to turn on the television. Every station has a program about the horrific attacks against America on September 11, 2001. Footage of the death and destruction is shown over and over reinforcing the helplessness and horror of that day. Today, I realized that what this country must do is not recreate and perpetuate the horror and destruction, but transcend this tragedy. 9/11 is not America. What America has done to transcend 9/11 is the real America.
I am proud of those who survived that day and carry on, despite their nightmares and depression. I am proud of those leaders who support the positive, life affirming actions that protect us from terrorists, and also wish to protect us from natural disasters, like Katrina, global warming, air and water pollutants, grinding poverty and disease. These are the policies and actions that perpetuate "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
I do not support the one-party rule that allows our President to selectively enforce laws or change laws that he has violated. I do not support the Bush administration's faulty reasons or actions in launching a never ending "war on terror" at the expense of our weakest and most vulnerable citizens. I am sickened at the Bush administration's "ends justifies the means" mentality that actually gloats that because of this "war", there have been no attacks on American soil in five years. This fact does not justify the sacrifice of ten to fifteen American lives a day, nor the death and mutilation of innocent citizens in Afghanistan, Iraq, Britain, Spain, and other places worldwide. It does not justify the expenditure of one billion dollars a week on war - money that we must borrow from Japan and China. Those that feel the terror wars are a success because we are "safe" at the expense of others remind me of the Aztecs that thought nothing of appeasing the gods with human sacrifices.
Our nation is at a crossroads. As overwhelmed and powerless as I feel when it comes to my role as an American citizen, I have to take action. Mid-term elections are coming up, and the propaganda machine is working overtime (e.g., ABC's "Path to 9/11"). It would be so easy to say my vote doesn't count and why care anyway, but that is one weakness I can't afford. My vote does count and the checks and balances of a working democracy must be restored. One party rule is wrong and allows leaders to ignore the Constitution and disdain minority opinions. So, I'll vote and keep informed of the issues. There are worthwhile volunteer opportunites I can add to help myself and others; and there are personal choices I can make each day to support the environment, energy conservation and the community.
I am with this nation, at another cross roads and I am hopeful that tragedy and terror will not define our country. I am hopeful that there are enough people like me to affirm life and take those constructive actions to stay alive and reject the fear-mongers who want to take us down a "war on terror" road that never ends.
May all beings know love and peace.
Monday, August 21
"The Divine Image"
To Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is God our father dear:
And Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is Man his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine
Love Mercy Pity Peace.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk or jew.
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.
Friday, August 11
"What a Machiavellian cast of characters populate the Bush II presidency. It's like witnessing a circus where the ringleader is behind closed doors."- anonymous liberal
There is one Bush administration ambition that has never been hidden or obscured: it is the overthrow of the "liberal" American government and the institutions that support it. The federal judiciary has been a huge target for the old Bush 1-2 kidney punch as we have witnessed in his recess appointments of Charles Pickering and William Pryor to lifetime federal judgeships. There are many other such appointments and while the use of the "recess appointment" is common, no other President has used this temporary procedure as often as Bush. His overuse of this convenience shows his disdain and mistrust of Congress, in my opinion. Rather than slog through confirmation hearings and lobby for his picks, he'd rather appoint them and thumb his nose at the process.
Speaking of thumbing noses, hundreds of laws made by duly elected representatives have hit der Bushmeister's desk. Whatever Bush does not like, he (or Bush's Brain) simply picks it apart and then issues a "signing statement" indicating which parts of each law he will enforce, leaving the other parts of the law in limbo. His minion, Senator Arlen Specter, has introduced a Trojan Horse of a bill to the same legislators Bush ignores which is supposed to reign (pun intended) Bush in so he's marginally constitutional, especially as it relates to domestic spying.
...Let's make this long story short, the Specter Bill will exclude cell phones and the internet from privacy protections and open the door for the govt. to monitor cell phone and internet traffic. It may slap a few wrists with laws against presidents rewriting laws, but old GWB, can simply ignore this latest legislation with a "signing statement" allowing enforcement of the cell phone and email surveillance while not enforcing any restrictions on his activities.
In the past couple of days, Bush and his legal guy, have drafted legislation designed to protect themselves from prosecution for breaking Geneva war crimes laws. Even though Bush changed the balance of liberal/conservative bias of the U.S. Supreme Court by appointing two conservative judges (Chief Justice, John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito) he cannot change the function of the Court which is to provide a check and balance on lawmakers. Instead of abiding by the law of the land against torture as it is defined and redefined by the Court, he is circumventing and subverting its power and authority by presenting legislation to Congress which he can later enforce or ignore with his convenient "signing statements."
I find it painfully ironic that Bush and his followers force countries living under dictators to embrace democracy while he uses recess appointments, signing statements and disgraceful electioneering tactics to keep himself and his supporters in power.
"It will consequently be exceedingly rare that a good man should be found to employ wicked means to become prince, even though his final object be good; or that a bad man, after having become prince, should be willing to labor for good ends, and that it should enter his mind to use for good purpose that authority which he has acquired by evil means." - Niccoló Machiavelli, The Discourses. 1517
Thursday, August 3
Big news today!
French fries are back on the menu in the US House of Representatives, three years after the name was ditched in favour of "freedom fries".
Thank heavens the BBC is not caught up in the Mel Gibson non-issue and is able to keep us informed of this Republican flip flop. History will show that the "freedom fries" protest supported by these deep thinkers is more of a diplomatic flop, at best.
Saturday, July 29
My friend, Salpy, gave me a book titled, "The Herbal Yearbook." I was waiting for her to cut my hair a while back, and was browsing through this cool, slim book of delicious looking herbs.
"Do you like gardening, Kathy?" she asked as she swept up after her last client.
"Well, erm, not really," I stammered, "but, this book makes it look fun and easy."
Salpy wrinkled her tiny nose, "I kill houseplants, so I doubt that I'd have time or luck with stuff in a garden. Do you want this book? One of my customers left it behind, I think, and it's been here a long time."
"I'll take it and thanks." I said.
She smiled, snipped and we drifted into conversation about kids, home improvement projects and the weather.
My tomatoes are green now and whether that is supposed to be their final color or not, I'm grateful that they are alive and thriving.
According to "The Herbal Yearbook," I should also be growing chives for two reasons: 1) to create a delicious sounding lemon-and-chive-butter for the hot tomatoes I'll be serving soon; and 2) to improve the health of apple trees by growing them around the roots.
Hmmm, where am I going to get an apple tree in July?
May all beings know love and peace!!
Sunday, July 23
Yes!! It is hot outside. Yesterday it was 119 degrees in parts of the San Fernando Valley - planes can't land or take off in heat like this. I keep thinking about my childhood in the Arizona desert and all of the heat survival tips have come back to me. It helps!
I also think of people living in war-torn Middle East, including our soldiers. It would be a hellish summer in peace time, but now it is truly hell. Bottom line, though, is survival. Staying alive and my prayers are for those who are weak, too old, too young and too unlucky. I pray they get a little grace and survive.
One Hot Minute
-Red Hot Chilli Peppers
I was riding
Riding on my bike
Me with my friend
We're so alike
Am I all alone
She said all we
Have is this
We just had to stop
And share a kiss
Am I all alone
One hot minute
And I'm in it come and get it
If I chase it
Am I all alone
Close your eyes
And click your heels
Can you believe
How good it feels
Am I all alone
One hot minute
And I'm in it come and get it
If I chase it
I might waste it
Come and get it
I might waste it
Come and get it
Am I all alone
Sitting in the fire
Get along and have some fun
Floating to be higher
Maybe I'm your special one
Breathe the moon
And eat the sun
Sitting in the fire
A tiny wink is all
All we have
No it's not much more
But don't get mad
Am I all alone
Three lbs. of love
Inside my skull
A million more lives
It's never dull
Just a few times spun
Spun around the sun
A couple more or less
And then were done
May all beings know love and peace.
Monday, July 10
"..,Let us assume that man is on the road to self-discovery. What is he to discover?--That he is really free, but that, in order to be free, he must first go through experiences which will teach him how to use his freedom properly; and, after the lesson is learned, he will be free indeed." - Ernest Holmes from "Science of Mind"
Today, I remember my friends. I am grateful for their interest in me and for my interest in them. We are better people because of these connections.
One special friend has made her transition to pure spirit this morning after months of physical pain, mental confusion and the chaos of cancer. She used all of her strength and endurance in this journey and now she rests. Her husband, children, family and friends rest. We miss her physical presence and remember her loving essence and after this dust settles, our friendship and connections will be stronger. She will always be remembered.
"Be open to your dreams, people. Embrace that distant shore. Because our mortal journey is over all too soon." - Chris Stevens, Northern Exposure, It Happened in Juneau, 1992
Monday, July 3
Sunday, July 2
It's Rocket Science!!!
My adventurous and intrepid cousin, Pete, and his ship mates just completed an ocean voyage from Providence, Rhode Island, USA, to Cork, Ireland, in thirteen days! Amazing!
Check out the Rocket Science website and their "ship's daily log." Great and inspiring stuff.
Thursday, June 29
Good News - Bad News
I ate an apple this morning and thought about my mother. She was born on this day under the astrological sign of Cancer - the crab. She died seventy-five years later of ovarian cancer. I think of her every day and feel blessed to have known her.
The good news is that science has discovered many things about cancer and one of the most important findings is that cervical cancer is caused by the virus HPV. Today,...
"The National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that the vaccine, called Gardasil, be administered to girls as young as 9, at the provider's discretion, and for women up to age 26 who have not previously been vaccinated against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV)." Over 3,000 women die each year from this cancer, and this new, immunization program is wonderful news in winning back lives and beating cancer.
The bad news is that my good friend, Janet, is not expected to survive the ovarian cancer she has been fighting for over a year. He husband called this morning to tell me this sad news.
Mama said there'd be days like this.
Saturday, June 24
The Eagle is Worried.. Part I
2 + 2 = 5
"..,In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy."
-from"1984" by George Orwell
"..,In November 2001, a secretive Pentagon directorate took shape within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, known as SOLIC, whose purview includes aspects of military information operations. Headed by an Air Force brigadier general, Simon “Pete” Worden, an astrophysicist and the former deputy director of operations for the U.S. Space Command, its role was to harness a variety of informational activities to sway public opinion in the Middle East in favor of the administration’s war on terror. It was called the Office of Strategic Influence."
- from "Mind Games" by Daniel Schulman
The Bush propaganda machine is currently working overtime in the "run up" to the 2006 mid-term elections. Most current public opinion polls reflect my negative views on the Bush "war against terror." So..., now is the time for Bush republicans to convince us that three years of monstrous war is justified because .... 1) Al-Zarqawi is dead, 2) there were/are a bunch of useless bombs laying around Iraq and 3) a bunch of disgruntled Americans talked about bombing buildings and killing people in America . Over the next few months, many more "press" releases will tell us to be afraid of everything. I predict an increase in "terror" alerts, more immigrant and gay bashing and a push to restrict access to unpolluted information sources.
The ultimate goal is to keep me and over 20 million Americans quaking in our running shoes while we clutch our American flags, gobble up "truth based" reassurances, and vote the Bush republicans back into power because they can protect us from ourselves better. The most deadly reassurance is that we don't have to know much about anything because big Daddy WarbucksBush is in control and protecting his corporate contributors' interests. (Notice I did not say my interests. A true Bush patriot considers Bush interests as primary - overriding all others, including free speech, free assembly, privacy and ... you get the picture. It's an ugly one!)
So the war for our hearts and minds has begun. I do not look forward to dodging mass quantities of slimy poo tossed by propaganda monkeys over the next five months. Each wad of loosely packed vitriol will try to convince me that:
2 (corporate interests) + 2 (in control of our government) = 5 (a free country for all citizens).
Hmmm, now where did I put that 2004 Propaganda Poo Shield?
Sunday, June 11
Something Soothing and Vacation-like
It's time. That annual urge to drive to beautiful far places is upon me My camera is charged up, bills are paid, "to do" lists and other check lists completed or purposely ignored. Go, go, go...
move fast through air untouched by any of my friends or neighbors. Go far away and live in the moment. Feels good already.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
the first annual color awards are announced!
Here is why language can be so confusing!
And, something tricky for the eyes when cubes collide.
Wednesday, June 7
Don't That Beat All?!!
The results of yesterday's California primary are not surprising, except for the election of Republican Brian Billbray to the US House of Representatives for the 50th District (North San Diego). He ran against Democrat Francine Busby, Cardiff School Board member. Billbray's last job was a lobbyist!!! He belongs to the same "good ol boy" club as his recently indicted predecessor, Duke Cunningham.
Both of these career politicians sold out their constituents to developers/corporations for personal gain. Cunningham was such a successful employee of any corporation or group willing to bribe him, he could not be ignored. Just let your eyes rest on any paragraph in his bio link above and prepare to be amazed that he lasted this long without doing jail time.
Billbray started his political career as:
"...Mayor was marked by his attempt to build a yacht marina in the Tijuana Estuary and build a 1.5 mile breakwater off of the beach of Imperial Beach. Both projects were stopped by the opposition of local environmentalists and surfers. The Tijuana River Estuary is now a National Estuarine Research Reserve and California State Park. The breakwater project was halted with the help of the then fledgling Surfrider Foundation."
He continues to represent his corporate backers to the detriment of his constituents until they booted him. He should continue to be a lobbyist and work openly for those that pay him, but he gets to go to Washington instead and pretend to care about District 50
(btw, he's not even a resident of this place.
"Because Imperial Beach is outside the 50th Congressional District, Bilbray listed his mother's address in Carlsbad, California when filing his candidacy papers, as Carlsbad is in the 50th Congressional District.")
No wonder the Bush Republicans are jubilant. It's 2004 all over again. Simply unfurl some unsubstantiated and/or "misspoken" bullshyte about the opposition, say "gay marriage" and win the election - no need to even pretend to be ethical, caring or competent. What does that say about American voters?!
Saturday, June 3
What A Long Strange Trip It's Been
"A foolish heart will call on you to toss your dreams away, then turn around and blame you for the way you went astray." - Grateful Dead, Foolish Heart
I heard the news today... Oh boy.
The item that really hits home is the death of Vince Welnick, the last keyboard player for the Grateful Dead. His cousin was one of my best friends when I was growing up in Phoenix, Arizona. At that time, Phoenix had a small town mentality even as it surged past the half-million population marker. Everyone knew everyone and the "grapevine" communication system was extensive, quick and accurate. Debbie and I would find out where Vince and/or other favorite musicians were playing and try to get in without being carded - often we would get in or we would wait for the non-alcoholic after hours sessions and dance or hang out.
There were so many really good players back in those days and not just rock players, but jazz, folk, and country western musicians too. Many of them migrated to Los Angeles for a shot at the big time, and Vince hit the bulls eye. Today's news item speculates that his success was not enough to make him happy, but what do press agents and reporters really know about anything. I hope he found as much happiness as he deserved and passed some of it on.
Thursday, May 25
No More Smoke and Mirrors
HOUSTON - Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted of conspiracy and fraud Thursday by a federal jury that laid blame for one of the biggest business scandals in U.S. history squarely on Enron Corp.'s two former top executives.
"I firmly believe I'm innocent of the charges against me," Lay said following the hearing. "We believe that God in fact is in control and indeed he does work all things for good for those who love the lord." - AP release on May 25, 2006
I normally feel a twinge of sympathy for people under duress, but I feel nothing for these two. Jail time is the least punishment for the harm they did to millions of people here in California and in Texas and, well, nationwide. Their prison sentences will not bring back jobs, pensions, investments, businesses, but at least the government sent a clear message to clueless bozos who are responsible for allowing or encouraging graft, corruption and greed to overrun their companies. Cooking the books, reaming the public, bankrupting your shareholders and employees will not be tolerated in corporate America.
Not to be bleak, but does this same standard apply to our government? And so it goes...
Saturday, May 20
First on the Beach
There is something lonely yet exhilarating about being the first person to throw down a blanket on a public beach. Before marriages, child, mortgages, and fear of skin cancer, I thought nothing about grabbing a towel, a newspaper and a coffee and spending a morning on the beach. "Things" are more complicated these days and I find that I cannot travel light. Thinking about it right now, I am alarmed at the thought of traveling at all!
When I get in this dull mood, I know I'm ready for a road trip - hmmm...
Meanwhile, here are some wacky beach inventions for those who want to travel light and be spontaneous, but really can't do it!
- The World's Smartest Beach Bag
- Trangle Ball
- Solar Polar Rock and Roller
Wednesday, May 17
A Prayer for Healing
Help me to realize, O God,
That though healing and curing
Are not necessarily the same,
It is healing that makes me whole.
Heal me, then, O Lord.
Breathe into me, Your peace.
Comfort me with Your love
And help me to know that
You are always with me.
Janet, my lovely friend in the horizontal stripes above, is very ill. She is battling cancer and has become very weak from almost a year of radiation and chemo therapy. She has the love and support of her husband, Tim, and of her children and friends, and she is so easy to love.
She is a long time Los Angeles Dodgers fan. I remember one ball game that we attended a few years ago. KC and the Sunshine Band and the Commodores played in the Stadium after the game. I don't remember who the Dodgers played or if they won or lost, I just remember Janet dancing in the aisles and generating happiness with each laugh. She loved to organize wonderful "brunches" and get togethers after work and would be doing her thing right now if she felt better. She's so much fun.
I pray that she is cured of her cancer and she regains her zest and laughter. I pray that she is healed and made whole in body and spirit regardless of where this illness takes her. She is living love and a blessing.
Update on July 10, 2006: My beloved friend, Janet, passed away at 6 am this morning. Her husband was with her. I miss her physical presence already but her laughter, love and friendship will always be a part of me.
Monday, May 8
Guile vs. Muscle
"The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities...It is best to win without fighting. "
-Sun-tzu Chinese general & military strategist (~400 BC)
The Coyote and the Turtle,
as told by Guanyanum Sacknumptewa
"A long time ago, there were many turtles living in the Little Colorado River near Homolovi, southeast of Winslow, where Hopi used to live. And there was a coyote living there too, and of course, he was always hungry.
"Now one day the turtles decided they would climb out of the river and go hunt some food, for there was a kind of cactus around there that they like very much. But one of the turtles had a baby and she didn't like to wake it up and take it with her because it was sleeping so nicely. So they just went along and left the baby asleep.
"After a while the little turtle woke up and he said, 'Where is my mother? She must have gone somewhere and left me. O, I must go and find her!'
"So the baby turtle saw that the others had crawled up the bank, and he followed their tracks for a little way. But he soon got tired and just stopped under a bush and began to cry.
"Now the coyote was coming along and he heard the poor little turtle crying. So he came up and said, 'That's a pretty song; now go on and sing for me.'
"But the baby turtle said, I'm not singing, I'm crying.'
"'Go on and sing,' said the coyote, 'I want to hear you sing.'
"'I can't sing,' said the poor baby, 'I'm crying and I want my mother.'
"'You'd better sing for me, or I'll eat you up,' said the big hungry coyote.
"'O, I can't sing—I just can't stop crying,' said the baby, and he cried harder and harder.
"'Well,' the big coyote said, 'if you don't sing for me I'm going to eat you right up.' The coyote was mad, and he was very hungry. 'All right, then, I'll just eat you,' he said.
Now the little turtle thought of something. So he said, 'Well, I can't sing, so I guess you'll have to eat me. But that's all right, for it won't hurt me any; here inside of my shell I'll go right on living inside of you.'
"Now the coyote thought about this a little bit and didn't like the idea very well.
"Then the baby turtle said, 'You can do anything you want with me, just so you don't throw me into the river, for I don't want to drown.'
"Now the old coyote was pretty mad and he wanted to be as mean as possible. So he just picked that baby up in his mouth and carried him over to the river and threw him in.
"Then the baby turtle was very happy; he stuck his little head out of his shell and stretched out his feet and started swimming off toward the middle of the river. And he said, 'Goodbye, Mr. Coyote, and thank you very much for bringing me back to my house so that I didn't have to walk back.' And the little turtle laughed at the old coyote, who got madder and madder because he had let the little turtle go. But he couldn't get him now, so he just went home.
And the baby turtle was still laughing when his mother got home, and she laughed too. And those turtles are still living in that water.
- From The Unwritten Literature of the Hopi
By Hattie Greene Lockett
Sunday, April 9
"Tens of thousands of people banged drums, waved U.S. flags and marched in a protest Sunday urging federal lawmakers to pass immigration reform that would legalize an estimated 11 million undocumented workers." - Yahoo News (AP)
Five years ago, my husband and I took a short trip through Arizona, Utah and back to California. Our first stop was Wupatki National Monument which is the location of some of the most well preserved Indian ruins in Arizona. A main component of this abandoned city is the round "playing field" where people played ballgames. This area is very large and well constructed and the guide explained that over 800 years ago, players came from as far away as Mexico and Colorado to compete. He also explained that this site was on a well established trading route where shells from Mexico and California were exchanged for turquoise and other gemstones found in Arizona.
I realized that people had been traveling from Mexico to Colorado for thousands of years in search of trade, new technologies, and social interchange and would continue to do so for thousands of more years.
Here is a good analysis of the issue and its relationship to Los Angeles. It seems reasonable to enforce current immigration laws and ensure an orderly, legal and safe method for people to move into and out of America. It also seems unfair to expect people who have entered the USA without following procedure to leave when corporations and governments have turned a blind eye to this migration for decades.
Maybe it's time to examine and redefine the term "border." Is this an archaic notion? What happened to "free trade" among the citizens of North and Central America? Doesn't free trade imply freedom of employment?
It seems to me that the United States of corporate America pushed the "free trade" idea and neglected to work out the socio economic issues for both native born Americans and immigrants. I'm not sure the current Republican Congress will do either party justice, but I am sure that these reps will find a way to support the interests of multinational corporations regardless of the millions of people who demonstrate.
Wednesday, March 22
“..,next time you take a mouthful of bread, remember -- that's history you're chewing on.”
– Alan Alda as host of PBS series, “American Frontiers”
I’m an obsessive/compulsive list maniac and this month’s most intriguing list is compiled by Forbes magazine, titled, “The 20 Most Important Tools Ever.” Why did they limit the selections to twenty? I would think “ever” deserves more than twenty selections.
The twenty selections they list are interesting and important, but missing something. (My input, of course!!!) What should be added, I wondered. Then, I remembered the excellent Public Television program, hosted by Alan Alda which discussed the different properties of three foods we consume today: wheat, corn and soybeans. Over the centuries food chemistry and the tools used in food preparation have altered human history for the better.
The variety of meals that we take for granted today were devised via trial and error over centuries and the successful results were organized and passed on in the form of recipes. Every family prides itself on a special "dish" or a miraculous remedy that is made by following a set of these verbal or written instructions. The illustration above lists three of my family's favorite foods and there are other "secret" recipes that I'll share with interested family members, only. As mundane and simple as these recipes seem, they are powerful, everyday tools, indeed!
I’m adding, “the recipe” to this list and moving it ahead of the rifle and sword as one of mankind’s most useful and enduring survival tools. I’d also expand this list … hmmm, what other things should be on it?
Edit on 3/23/06: Add the measuring cup/spoon, the thermometer, the oven... to be continued.
Thursday, March 16
6H2O + 6CO2 ----------> C6H12O6+ 6O2
“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”
I love nature. When I think about love, when I analyze the feelings that surround love, I revert back to my first and most profound feelings about the sky, about sunrise and sunset, about rain, about a fresh wind, about the shade of a tree, about the brilliance of a flower, about the work of a bee. I feel good to see, feel, smell, taste, touch and hear these things. This good feeling is the yardstick by which I measure experiences and whether they feel good or do not feel good.
I trust nature. The four seasons are the foundation upon which I build my system of time and order. I am linked biologically to the phases of the moon. I am a creature of the sun and its gift of photosynthesis upon which all life depends. I learn to know the truth about myself and others in observing cause and effect. I know that nature’s workings are not judgmental or personal but eternal and enduring. So, a tsunami, or a hurricane or an earthquake or the bite of a snake is an effect and not evil or spawned by demons.
I respect nature. Last year, our well ran dry. There was not enough snow and rain to replenish the underground rivers from which our water is supplied. We drilled a new, deeper well and prayed for rain. It has finally come and we have water again. The process by which water is produced is complex and interdependent upon the health of the world’s oceans, atmosphere and land. I know about this process and I’ve see enough drought cycles in my life to experience this process. I respect and accept the simplicity and beauty of these natural processes which are so vital for life on the planet.
I am disturbed that so many of our elected officials do not love, trust and respect nature. It is clear that they embrace former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, James G. Watt’s view of nature:
"My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns." -- James G. Watt, The Washington Post, May 24, 1981
To the Gail Nortons, James G. Watts, George W. Bushes of our modern world, we are “occupiers.” The unruly and untamed wilderness must submit and produce according to their arbitrary rules of engagement. They do not recognize that nature is the essence of productivity and benefits us by existing – period – end of story. I want nature to exist for all time and for all life – even if humans extinguish themselves through war and stupidity and even if ..”Jesus returns.”
Earth Day celebrations are coming up when we are reminded to love our Mother Earth by holding our government officials accountable for the quality of our air, water and forests. I’m glad environmentalists are not giving up or giving in and that’s the truest way to show our love. Wade through the lies of our corporate controlled government as they try to divert us from the truth with political bias, fear and greed. Rely on your inner voice and you’ll know that nature is our first love and our sustaining love and deserving of our continued support.
Friday, March 3
What You Wish For
One of my resolutions for this year is to improve, beautify, and/or enhance the furnishing in our house. We've lived with the same hide-a-bed living room sofa for over ten years and have noticed over the past few months, that the hard, pokey springs of this bed make sitting on the sofa painful. So, after much debate, we bought a new couch without a hidden bed as well as a sleek, leather recliner. After six weeks of waiting, they came yesterday and are functional, comfortable and beautiful!
While we were waiting for our new living room furniture and arranging to dispose of the old stuff, my eye kept squinting at my thrift store bedroom furniture. A couple of weeks ago, I wished for a new, elegant bedroom with more storage and something pretty to look at in the mornings and evenings and in between. And ... my wish came true!
My grandmother's antique bedroom set, used by my parents and lately by my younger brother, became available. In one day, we travelled to San Francisco, loaded up the armoire, chest of drawers, and dressing table and drove back to Burbank before the rains came. It worked out that we had help loading and unloading these pieces and "presto chango" our bedroom is filled with beautiful furniture and wonderful memories!
The mind manifests in wonderful ways! We are so grateful!
Wednesday, March 1
“ban1 (b?n) tr.v., banned, ban·ning, bans.
To prohibit, especially by official decree: The city council banned billboards on most streets. See synonyms at forbid.
South African. Under the former system of apartheid, to deprive (a person suspected of illegal activity) of the right of free movement and association with others.
Archaic. To curse.
An excommunication or condemnation by church officials.
A prohibition imposed by law or official decree: a ban on cigarette smoking on airplanes.
Censure, condemnation, or disapproval expressed especially by public opinion.
A curse; an imprecation.
A summons to arms in feudal times.
[Middle English bannen, to summon, banish, curse, from Old English bannan, to summon, and from Old Norse banna, to prohibit, curse.]”
Last Monday, I received this hotmail message: “You've been sent a Flickr Mail titled: You have been banned from the TAKE FIVE! Group.”
I went to flickr and got the bad news that I was banned from this group. There was no explanation or admonishment, just a terse “ask a remaining member of the group for a reason why.” There is something so bloodless and cold about a virtual banning. I’ve never been banned from anywhere before and while I am not heartbroken to eliminate one group from my list, I am strangely effected. There is a mystery yet I’m too lazy to find the member that invited me into the group in the first place and I’m relieved that I don’t have to make a decision whether to post something to it. I’ve learned over a year spent on this site, that group rules are arbitrary, changing and tedious. So, I generally post my images to groups that either have no rules or do not have nazi administrators. The later condition is hard to determine.
I am not alone, however, in feeling the outrage of being banned. My beloved, boing boing has posted an entire article about this virtual phenomena and the unfairness of it. I also recall that the flickr site itself has been banned in the UAE and probably other Middle Eastern nations due to nudity and other virtual transgressions. Maybe virtual banning is the wave of the future?
I will just have to suck it up and move on. Maybe I’ll meditate on the concept of virtual feelings.
Tuesday, February 21
Gift of the Lizard King
"Whoever controls the media, controls the mind."
- Jim Morrison
I was discussing the latest incomprehensible decision of the Bush Administration with my sister-in-law yesterday. She comes from a long line of conservative Republicans, is a firm believer in less-government is good government, and voted for Gore in 2004. The elitist, Bush brand of republicanism with its blatant disregard for the "barely making it" working middle class and the working poor disgusts her. She has switched political parties to the "lesser of two evils." We both expressed shock and sadness that over 37 million Americans barely survive the grind of living below the poverty line. The health care crisis in America has hit our own homes recently as we, "older workers", face early retirement without medical benefits. We must also wait until we're 65++ before Medicare benefits kick in and now have to pay $300- $500 per month in insurance premiums to bridge the gap.
"It's a conspiracy and our government is lying to us," she insists.
I disagree with the conspiracy part. None of the facts are hidden. The US Census Bureau, the Office of Management and Budget, and almost every government agency compiles and publishes statistics which show the decline of the American quality of life. There are so many canaries in our polluted coal mines chirping the truth about Republican successes in weakening environmental laws, worker safety laws, air and water quality laws, that the noise is deafening!
We both wonder why, then, do people still believe that Bush can "protect" us and that the economy is improving and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary, and that Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are not serious, and on and on....?????
I do think Jim Morrison was right, as well as many others. The Bush administration is not hiding anything. They simply make sure corporate media machines spin the truth so that we believe that bad is good. I am not part of the "we" and I have learned to view the Los Angeles Times, CBS, NBC, ABC news as vehicles to sell products, only. If I want to know when Mervyns Department Stores are having a sale, or if there is a new beer, or if Toyota is having a sale, I turn on the TV. Otherwise, I do something else with my time and explore the truths of meditation, nature, art, science and local public affairs.
The hippies were right... Don't believe the lies. Spinning facts and dressing them up as "truth" is lying.
Meanwhile, Think Peace!
Saturday, February 18
Thick as a Brick
"Really don't mind if you sit this one out."
"My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT.
I may make you feel but I can't make you think.
Your sperm's in the gutter -- your love's in the sink.
So you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick.
And the sand-castle virtues are all swept away in
the tidal destruction
the moral melee.
The elastic retreat rings the close of play as the last wave uncovers
the newfangled way.
But your new shoes are worn at the heels and
your suntan does rapidly peel and
your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick.
And the love that I feel is so far away:
I'm a bad dream that I just had today -- and you
shake your head and
say it's a shame...."
Saturday, February 11
The Meaning of Tulips
"..,The Victorians used the color of the petals to convey love messages. Red petaled tulips signified a declaration of love, but yellow ones meant that the love was, alas, quite hopeless. Lucky girls who received striped or variegated tulips know that someone felt that they had beautiful eyes."
Maybe I was a Victorian florist in a past life because I've always loved tulips. Something pretty to contemplate today!
Wednesday, February 8
Extremists drive passenger planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center Twin Towers. The Bush Administration declared war on terror and pointed its finger of condemnation at Afghanistan, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.
-Blam - we drop bombs on Afghanistan.
Extremists drive passenger planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center Twin Towers. The Bush Administration declared war on terror and pointed its finger of condemnation at the axis of evil, Iraq, Iran, North Korea.
-Blam - we drop bombs on Iraq.
Today, Secretary of State Rice, pointed the finger at Syria and Iran. Blam.....??
At some point, the finger needs to get busy fixing things closer to home, like Katrina's homeless, US citizens without health care, over a quarter of American children living below the poverty line, and the nomination of John Bolton for the Nobel Peace Prize - just threw that one in for shock value!
Monday, January 30
6000 Years Ago, Today....
Sinagua Indians inhabited the majestic red rocks of Northern Arizona. Their pictographs are still vibrant after years of neglect. Art endures and a recent reference in Metafilter sheds a little light on the purpose of these creative artifacts.
Friday, January 27
LA Times - Beastmaster for the Corporate Shills!
Well, I am glad to report that the Los Angeles Times newspaper did not come today. I am praying that this non-delivery continues forever but there is a niggling doubt that I am not so lucky. This persistent anxiety is probably because the Times has ignored my requests until today and I am paranoid this soggy rag will appear on my doorstep tomorrow. I won't regurgitate my earlier blog entry on this issue. I'm completely bored with it myself. I do have another bone to pick with this news source though.
Here's the latest headline, "Bush's Ratings Sink, but Trust Remains." Apparently, the Times conducted a telephone survey of 1,555 adults last Sunday through Wednesday. Fine, the LA Times surveyed Los Angeles people, right? Wrong.....
How the poll was conducted:
"The Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll contacted 1,555 adults nationwide by telephone Sunday through Wednesday. Telephone numbers were chosen from a list of all exchanges in the nation, and random-digit dialing techniques allowed listed and unlisted numbers to be contacted. Multiple attempts were made to contact each number. Results were weighted slightly to conform with census figures for sex, race, age, education and region. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For certain subgroups, the error margin may be somewhat higher. Poll results may also be affected by factors such as question wording and the order in which questions were presented."....Blah, Blah, Blah... they lost me at the word, "nationwide." So, we can't know the demographics of this telephone survey, except that the respondants are adults.
Ummm, okay, so the LA Times polled America. From the headline, you'd assume that one of the big questions in this telephone survey is "Do you trust President Bush." That's what I assumed and in looking at the survey questions themselves, there is nothing quite so blatant, but many questions were asked about whether he fulfilled his campaign and anti-terrorist promises and in each case a sizeable majority of the respondants say he did not.
Skip the Times lame and biased "analyses" and "opinions" and go to page three of this article. Here is the real deal:
Highlights from the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll:
54% - Disapprove of President Bush's job performance.
62% - Think the country needs to move in a new direction.
45% - Trust Bush to protect the nation against terrorism.
46% - Intend to vote for Democrats in the November elections
I guess the LA Times thinks it is significant that anyone trusts the Bush administration and extrapolates this nugget of positivity into the misleading headline above. The headline makes no sense!! How many people do you disapprove of and will not support and yet trust? The numbers above do not convince me that "trust" remains for ol GWB! Why would this "news" paper push this misconception? Bush has admitted that he doesn't read newspapers and is not a big supporter of them, so why must the LA Times sell out and become just another corporate propaganda machine? Dumb question, I tell myself. Because wars, graft, greed, corruption, sell papers. It's all about the Benjamins and 45 percent of Americans surveyed apparently want to perpetuate the Benjaminian principles of, erm... well, graft, greed and corruption. *sigh*
I am still reeling from the horror of the re-election of this group of corporate shills. The LA Times and the other corporate newletter publishers want us to believe that Bush & Co. can be trusted with our health, our children, our environment, our economy, our future even when their own surveys tell them we don't believe the lie. Well, most of us don't believe it. The 45 percent who think the Bush administration has any redeeming value belong in Orwell's "Animal Farm" lined up like good little piggies, ready for the slaughter. Unfortunately, they're taking the rest of us along for the boxcar ride.
Monday, January 16
A Bright Spot
“Is that you whistling, Mom?” Nick’s voice held a boy-shimmer of hope and wonder. His small question sent a dart of youthful joy into my weary heart. I listened for a laugh or a smiling response and heard nothing.
“Oh,” he responded to what must have been a lackluster comment from “Mom.” He gave a cosmic shrug and resumed scraping his skateboard across the concrete patio. I had been holding my breath as I shamelessly listened in to this family interaction.
“Interaction,” is an odd, modern-day, psychobabble word, but very descriptive of their rather sterile mode of communication. They are the next door neighbors and the “next door” part of the description is not quite accurate. Our houses are separated by a swatch of patchy grass, a hedge and their driveway. On rare occasions they cut down their towering hedge before it topples and then I can sometimes look into their kitchen and watch their lips move as they mumble their dour and passionless requests and responses.
This morning’s whistling episode is noteworthy because it was cheerful. It was an expression of human warmth and feeling. Whoever created the whistled song transcended the normal interaction and pulled us all into a realm of color and light. For a about thirty seconds, the sun was brighter this morning.
Wednesday, January 4
Finding the Truth...
At the end of November, two neighborhood teenagers rang my doorbell. They were peddling a community service program sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. I signed up for the paper so they would get extra class credits and I would get the news, delivered to my doorstep on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for fifteen weeks.
While I was writing out my check to these girls, a small, hysterical voice in my head screamed, "You idiot!"
For five weeks, my husband and I have tried to find some value in this chunk of murdered trees. The first three papers taught us to avoid the front pages unless we hankered for useless articles about uninteresting subjects. We sifted through the "world" news section once in a while and found a nugget or two of information. The "local" section was decent, especially since much of the information is not available on the internet. The nation, business, calendar, sports sections were disappointing. Finally, we had to find a new car and tried to glean something useful from the classified section, and found out that Toyota and Nissan were having sales - a redundant and less flashy advertising alternative than the relentless and loud TV ads.
The paper sucks. It's recently been bought by the Chicago Sun Times, ferchrilstaches, and revenues are declining. Maybe they are trying to save money. I've notice that the front page is peddling generic fluff instead of highlighting city specific articles about important things - a recent front page headline on bottled water!!!! comes to mind. Hey! Where are the facts we need to figure out what is going on in the real world. If they are authorizing articles on water, how about on the corporations that are buying up this resource and selling it in third world nations. What about water quality, pollution, availability, conservation and other things we need to know about to live. Too boring? Not enough sizzle to sell this steak? No money in it?
And now we briefly examine the great Virginian mining journalism disaster. The "ooops" did-we-say-twelve-miners-survived-we-really-meant-to-say-they-died. And, to add insult to horrendous injury, the media now focuses on the reporting mistake and has kicked the deaths of the miners to the curb. Why? Too depressing? Blame sells? Or, no one really understands the basics of information dissemination: who, what, when, where and why. The facts, please. Let me sizzle my own steak - I don't need some airbrushed repugnatan groupie doing it for me.
Well, I shudder to think what new generic news items I have to look forward to on Friday. I've already bought another recycle bin for this mass of soggy, grey and black pulp. I want it to stop! (Please, God. Make it stop and I promise to never, ever cave in and subscribe again!) I've called twice to stop delivery or reroute it to some other poor, unsuspecting citizen - don't start with the guilt trips, please, I'm desperate - and it still shows up in the middle of my dew drenched lawn. I guess no one else wants this loser. Why should we pay for a generic newspaper when we can get the same crap for free on Channel 13's nightly, news-o-tainment program. I refuse to watch it, btw.
I realize that there are more important issues to get worked-up about, but right now I'm concerned about the quality and truthfulness of America's information sources. I find the internet a good place to gather the facts and form an opinion. Three websites I check once in a while to glean facts from journalism fiction are factcheck.org, cursor, mediawatch and Information Clearinghouse. Ironic that these are "progressive" sites.
I've tried to be non-partisan when it comes to checking facts and I used to take a look at the National Review Online and the Cato Institute to keep up with the latest right-wing, Libertarian spinnage, but any GWB supporter has a serious problem with truth and reality, in my opinion.