Thursday, March 22

A Change of Scene

Spring is in the Southern California air and it's time for a short trip up north. The coast highway should be a riot of blooming poppies, ice plants and wildflowers. So pretty.

Here's some music for the road by The National.

Thursday, March 15

Scratching the Itch

I remember reading a USA Today article a few years ago which reported a steep decline in the sexual activities of the Japanese. Apparently, things have not improved over the years.

"..,A record 39.7 percent of Japanese citizens ages 16-to-49 have not had sex for more than a month."

This is perilous news for the island nation, and reminds me of one of my favorite books and movies, "Children of Men" by P.D. James. The movie has disappeared from theaters despite it's warm reception at the box office. It's definitely on my DVD rental list. That's right, I'd watch it again - maybe buy it!

I read this novel in the early 1990s. It presents a world ruled by fear and violence in which women are unable to give birth. The pervading sense of hopelessness in both the book and movie make it hard to keep reading and watching, until one pregnant woman is discovered. What struck me when I read the book was how I never thought of a world without children, a sterile world. I developed a slight anxiety and fascination for such a fictional world, a pointless and dying scifi world.

And, like many great scifi novels, some kernels of truth in this book seems to be manifesting. Survival of the species and all urges to create, live and thrive will overcome this aberration. I'm not even going to "hope" but I'm going to know it to be true. *sigh*

May all beings know love, peace and satisfying sex.

Wednesday, March 14

I Don't Know Why

"Hi, Sandy! How are you, today?" I continued steaming the shirt in front of me while my mind supplied the words I expected and normally received from her. She surprised me.

"Not so good, today. I am so pissed off and I don't know why," she said.

I turned and touched her arm and took a good look. She looked great, put together, sunny with her natural-blond, blue-eyed prettiness. When I was much younger, well not that much younger, really, I would have waded into her shit and tried to fix whatever was bothering her and consequently, me. I would have nervously asked about the whys, whens, hows of her discontent and filled in every blank with comfort-cliches, verbal band aids, and I'd have felt better. She would be no nearer to airing her grief or anger or any other corrosive feeling, but I'd feel better. I'm a fixer. Years ago I realized that I'm not a very good one and I've learned to just listen.

"I'm so glad to come to the store today. I had to get away from that house. All of those repairs, workers, and now there's a problem with the plumbing permits, or something crazy, and my husband lets it all go over his head. He acts like he doesn't understand and why should he when I jump in and take care of crap like this. " She looked down, aware that she'd revealed more than she wanted to and when she looked up at me, she smiled.

"Feels good to get away and just vent, you know?" she murmured.

We laughed and shared the common bond or bondage of fixers everywhere and felt the rare relief of losing control, of letting the mask slip, of being flawed humans living on a flawed but wonderful planet.

Thursday, March 8

Three Faces of Eve

(Assemblage/collage created by Claudia Galvan)

Today is International Women's Day, a global celebration of the achievements of women and an opportunity to encourage equality for women everywhere.

There is little or no recognition of this day in the USA, probably because it has its origins in the socialist/communist worker movement. Hmmm, I would guess most people are like me and never imagined it was started by socialists, communists, suffragettes, or anyone other than advertising agencies who want to penetrate the global market with "mother's day" consumer guilt purchases. I'm sure savvy entrepreneurs will find a way to make a buck on today's festivities.

Enough of these cynical musings! Today is a good day to recognize the achievements of the women's movement and recognize that work continues to encourage education, economic choices, and a better life for women, especially in developing nations. It's good to count blessings and make room for more.

Wednesday, March 7

Identity Crisis!

There are some people who shop every day. I welcome them like a member of my family every time they come into the shop. If I see something new that one of my favorite shoppers might like, I'll put it aside or hide it for them. They always look, regularly buy, and are sad when they can't find something to take home.

I'm intrigued with this compulsion. For me, shopping of any kind, including shopping for groceries, is an unsatisfying bore. Unless I need something desperately (shoes!!! purses!!!), I avoid rubbing elbows or bumping carts with my fellow shoppers. I've tried on-line shopping and was pretty happy with it, until identity theft became so popular.

Well, here's a nifty ID reality check, StolenID. I read the FAQs, the privacy info, everything, and then entered the info. This application checks to see if my info matches reported identity theft info. So far so good. Someone suggested using one credit card for on-line purchases only - preferably American Express - is best because only one card will need to be monitored or cancelled. I've also noticed that bank and credit cards are more closely monitored by the banks and they will call to make sure I'm the one using the card(s) more often than is usual.

Well, time to break down and get a new purse and shoes. I think I'll pay cash!

Thursday, March 1

Pigs on Parade

"WASHINGTON - Democrats are moving to compel some of the eight U.S. attorneys who have been ousted to tell their stories publicly, under oath, after a federal prosecutor claimed he was fired for political reasons. " - Laurie Kellman, AP article on Yahoo News

I have been trying to ignore the latest maneuvering of the Bush administration and its relentless quest to control the US judicial system. I've skimmed news items, blogs and commentary mentioning the firing of federal prosecutors and have been able to look the other way so I can enjoy re-runs of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Housewives of Orange County," but today... *sigh*... I read the Yahoo news link, "Dems Seek Testimony from Fired Attorneys." The article mentions the names of the eight fired attorneys and talks about New Mexico prosecutor, David Iglesias, but what really hit me in the gut is the name Carol Lam!!

This is the woman who is in the process of unraveling the Randy "Duke" Cunningham graft and corruption case in San Diego and much, much, more.

"Former CIA executive director Kyle Dusty Foggo and defense contractor Brent Wilkes were charged this week with conspiracy, fraud and money laundering in the largest corruption case in congressional history. Foggo is accused of using his post at the agency to steer contracts to his longtime friend Wilkes in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in gifts, meals and trips including a $60,000 trip to a Scottish castle. The indictments are a last hurrah of sorts for San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam. She served her last day this week."
- KPBS reporter Amita Sharma

I guess it's clear that when hard working and successful civil servants invade the pigsty and try to take away the billion-dollar-trough, the pigs get angry. Lam was fired because she wasn't doing enough to prosecute illegal aliens?? Geee! Wonder who is a bigger threat to the health and welfare of our nation: Brent Wilkes or Julio Garcia?

Glad the Dems are hammering Bush on this travesty - Dianne Feinstein got in her licks, bless her.