Tuesday, September 30

Grist for the Mill

"Everybody has their part in the drama and no part is any better than any other part. They are just parts in the drama." - Ram Dass

A few nights ago, I watched a haunting movie, "Killer of Sheep," about the day to day life of a black family in the Watts section of Los Angeles. I knew very little about this movie other than it contained beautiful black and white film photography and was a classic.

The most striking aspect of the film is the unbiased view of neighborhood - the hood. It shows kids throwing rocks at each other, scampering over hills of debris, building forts, playing, destroying, wrestling, teasing - childhood reality both funny and cruel. My husband and I began to talk about our childhood and the adventures and misadventures we shared with the children in this film. Neither of us were raised in affluence and I suppose we were just steps away from this gut shot community of unemployed, subsistence employed people.

It is a film that shows us how to survive without a safety net, without extras, without a happy future. It is a film that shows the cost of resilience.

Friday, September 26

Strangest Presidential Campaign.. Ever!

Squirrels aren't the only ones going nuts these days....

Now - McCain Decides to Participate in Debate - Then - McCain wants joint town halls, Obama receptive to idea Hey, McCain! Your buddy GWB can handle the economic meltdown without you sitting on his desk. Go... Campaign... Debate.... WTF!!

Here's an interesting take on the US presidential campaign, "The Politics of Pettiness." Shama has written what I've been feeling - We all know that the cult of personality has taken over the leadership debate. The Palin distraction has run its media gauntlet and the Inquirer-obsessed reality show junkies would like to move on to another personality assassination, please!! Someone "hotter" or "dirtier" than Palin will pop up soon - I feel it in my well-honed scandal bones (sigh - Larry Flynt where is that scandal hotline when we need it).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Bush Corporation and its minions (Congress) are circling the wagons and getting ready to blast out of their "Little Big Horn" of economic catastrophe. Scandal, bickering, nonsense really need to be the first casualties in this battle - time is wasting and real issues and problems need to be addressed... Now.

When personalities are removed from the decision process, it gets down to issues and the differences between what republicans stand for and what democrats stand for are clear. I'm voting Democrat.

Last week, a friend of mine went to her bank sporting a "Vote Obama" button.

"You're not really gonna vote for that black muslim are you?" said Mr. Piggy.

"Don't talk to me, please," said Selma.

"I'll talk to whoever I damn well want to talk to and especially to someone about to destroy America," he ranted. He was escorted from the bank by the security guard and Selma decided it was time to volunteer for the Obama campaign headquarters down the street.

Despite the fact that Obama is half-white as well as half black, all "middle of the road," smart, articulate, of good character, and will make a fine President, all this man can see is a darker skin color and a non existant religious affiliation. He and those like him, listen to the king/queens of pettiness, LimbaughCoulterMalkin, lapping up their wet kibbles and bits of manufactured knowledge and embedding ferocious hatred in their hardened arteries and oxygen starved brains. They feel that they have a right to be crude, hateful and ignorant. They can't handle opposing opinions. Logic, reason, facts do not penetrate their shields of religious bigotry, prejudice, blind patriotism and victimhood. They are missionaries at heart and their mission is to convert unbelievers to the cult of personality - and only to the cult of their own choosing. Right now, it's Palin, really. McCain's "maverickness" didn't really pan out so his handlers have foisted Palin on the rest of us.

The McCain campaign cannot seem to rise above non-issues, stunts and "surprises" designed to confuse and distract the voters from a growing accumulation of policy flip flops and outright lies. I am just so grateful that I do not live in a "battleground" state where his special brand of "hard sell" personality attacks and reckless posturing dominate the airwaves. I am tired of being jerked around by this man and I welcome a return to sanity when Obama wins. I wonder when my "absentee ballot" will arrive so I can vote and move on.

Sunday, September 14

A Moment, Please

It's been a rough week. Hurricanes, train wrecks, political idiocy, Russian saber rattling, Latin American saber rattling, Bank of America saber rattling and no end in sight.

So, be quiet for a minute or two and let your mind and heart embrace your homeless, hungry and desperate neighbors. Say prayers, give blood and donate money/time to help end the suffering. Be grateful and count your blessings. Scoop up a brownie, wash it down with an unadulterated classic coca cola, put your feet up and listen to James Taylor and Alison Kraus. That's right. It's time for something sweet and slightly melancholy without an edge.

Here goes...

Saturday, September 6

When White is Black

"What did you think of McCain's presidential acceptance speech?" asked Jo.

'I could not get past his intro of Palin when he said to the..," old, big spending, do nothing, me first, country second Washington crowd: (that) change is coming."'

"What cool aid are these people drinking. They are the Washington establishment!" We both shook our heads and commented that republicans couldn't even develop their own campaign theme, they had to steal it from the democrats.

I think that McCain/Palin/ Bush/Cheney/Kristol/Rove will say anything to win the presidency and then unleash another four more years of relentless white-is-black, Big Brother, propaganda to distract us from the damage they will inflict on our remaining civil rights and opportunities. There is still a little money in the US treasury to siphon off and with some skillful manipulating, more Americans can lose jobs and houses, run up debt and be imprisoned/controlled while they sell the country to the Chinese or anyone with a big wallet who wants to pick over the carcass of US democracy.

Thursday, September 4

Chinese Junk

"Should we keep these?" Reggie asked. She was sorting through a new donation of children's items and was about to open a sealed box containing toy soldiers and helicopters.

"Where was it made?" asked Jo, our store manager.

"China," Reggie replied as she threw the box into the trash.

Last year, our store headquarters gave us a list of products manufactured in China that are recalled/banned and not available for resale in our thrift store. It is about ten pages long and has not been updated lately, so rather than read through the list and check online updates constantly, we don't resell any toys manufactured in China. On this particular day, we figured out that whoever donated the children's items to us must have known of the military toy ban - yet donated the unopened package to us to pass on to some other kid. Even with government intervention, people persist in hurting themselves and others.

I recall (hehe) this moment in time right now because I cannot get a light fixture we just bought to work properly. It's supposed to be light and motion sensitive so that the outside light goes on after dark for a few hours and then it goes off until motion triggers it. It doesn't work. Sometimes it goes on after dark, sometimes not, and the motion sensor doesn't work at all. It was made in China. So I checked the US Product Safety Commission recall list online and am relieved to know that while the product doesn't work as advertised, it won't blow up or start a fire. While I on this site, I noticed that the majority of recall items are made in China.

When was the last time you or I saw a product label that says "Made in the USA?" We're monster consumers of cheap goods produced somewhere else, and wonder why America's economy is shyte. I wish I could say this is bad and beat the drum for buying "American" but my last very painful experience with GM cars (e.g., Chevette with a leaking gas tank, Pontiac with defective electric windows) has made me cautious about buying big ticket items from American manufacturers. It appears that our Chinese trading "partners" are embracing the American model that has destroyed the US auto industry - make crap until you get caught, then fix the crap until it works and continue to make more crap. This is the "global economy" approach and it's all about the corporate bottom line and very little to do with quality, repeat buying, good word of mouth, customer satisfaction and loyalty - all old fashioned concepts in this wacky and dangerous global economy.

Maybe the Chinese should look at the Japanese manufacturing model which was admittedly deficient in the early 1960s and has blossomed into a manufacturing juggernaut known for quality, value and innovation. America and Japan have become partners over the years, with many of the Toyota/Nissan/Honda cars assembled in the USA, bringing the product cycle full circle.

Meanwhile, how do I disconnect this faulty light fixture and get my money back!!