Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Sounds Like a Good Idea to Me
From Working Assets:
As governor of Enron’s home state, Texas, and then later as a candidate for the White House, President Bush was at the front of the line, both in terms of receiving political donations and dispensing political favors. Indeed, Enron and a number of its executives contributed more money to Bush over his political career than anybody else — over $550,000! Less than a year later, Enron’s bankruptcy and the final disintegration of its stock price wiped out the company retirement savings of hundreds, if not thousands, of Enron employees. Tell President Bush to donate his $550,000 to funds, such as the Enron Employee Transition Fund and REACH, that benefit the company’s former employees and provide relief to low-income consumers in California who can’t afford to pay for their basic energy needs.
Frightening Symbolism
This from bix:
In an act of symbolism that makes me positively woozy with cynical delight, Papa Ashcroft has ordered that the semi-naked statues of the Spirit of Justice and the Majesty of Law be covered with drapes.

If he doesn't want to be photographed in front of a statue of a semi-naked female form, why doesn't Ashcroft just stand somewhere else and make his speeches from somewhere else in that room?

The powerful symbolism of covering up/hiding/ignoring the Spirit of Justice and the Majesty of Law at this dark enough point in our government's history is truly frightening. The subconscious (or maybe not-so-subconscious) motives of our power-brokers are seeping through their tight disguises and warning us what they are really trying to do. The shroud of censorship is steadily being wrapped around the not-yet-cold body of American democracy.

(And yes. I'm managing to figure out how to type with nine fingers. You can't keep a dedicated blogger down!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

the look of one hand typing
well. the surgery on my right hand went fine, but i can't use it to type. i feel like archy.

using my mouse left-handed is also weird.

i'm freaked over my son's last bunch of blog posts about the gun shots. he's got to get out of there.

Sunday, January 27, 2002

Politicians as Scoundrels
An interesting site about politicians who have been in trouble or disgraced. It lists more than 300 politicians starting from the 1700s. Of course, these 300+ are only the ones who were caught. Makes me wonder if, to be a successful politician, one also has to have a bit of the scoundrel in one's personality. Having worked as a writer at the New York State Legislature for a couple of years in my youth, I would say that, from I have seen, that is usually the case.
Getting The Finger Fixed
Tomorrow I'm going to have some out-patient surgery on the middle finger of my right hand. I'm having a bone-spur and associated cyst removed. The doctor says I have to keep the finger raised for a while after, and I'm imagining driving home giving everyone the finger. I also imagine that it will be one-finger typing for a few days. That means short posts.
How Terrorists Are Made
Interesting column by Thomas Friedman in today's newspaper says:
Look at the biographies of many of the key hijackers or al-Qaida agents: Mohamed Atta, Ziad al-Jarrah, Marwan al-Shehhi, etc. It's the same story: He grew up in a middle-class family in the Arab world, was educated, went to Europe for more studies, lived on the fringes of a European society (many in Belgium), gravitated to a local prayer group or mosque, became radicalized there by Islamist elements, went off for training in Afghanistan and presto -- a terrorist was born. The personal encounter between these young men and Europe is the key to this story

The story seems to reinforce the importance of bringing up children to be curious about the big world around them, to help them learn how to seek out and analyze information, to appreciate diversity and the Golden Rule, and to truly seek to know their own minds and hearts. Bringing kids up in a narrow, restrictive, "protected" environment only makes them less able to deal with all of those things they never learned about when they find themselves lost among all of those "infidels" and "heathens" and "non-believers."

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Another Draft?
This is from the Center on Conscience and War --
New legislation, HR 3598, has been introduced by Rep. Smith (MI) and Rep. Weldon (PA) that would require all male citizens and residents to be conscripted into the military for a period of 6 - 12 months between their 18th and 22nd birthdays. There would be few deferments and exemptions. Conscientious Objectors would be required to go through basic training in the military, although they would be exempted from weapons training. After military training they could be reassigned to perform civilian service. See the Center's site for more details.

The Center on Conscience and War sees the bill as very extreme and asks those of conscience to write to their legislators opposing the bill.
Town Web Site Censored and Closed Down
These are the first two sentences in an article in todays Albany Times Union newspaper:

A community Web site formed to advertise this town, famed for battles in the American Revolution, has evolved into a heated debate over free speech. The site,, was temporarily taken down Friday by Supervisor Paul "Butch'' Lilac, who objected to a public message board forum started up by the webmasters he appointed last year. The forum invited users to post their opinions on an array of issues.

I wonder how long it's going to take for the spirit of open communication and debate that is at the heart of the Web -- and of a true democracy -- to take its rightful place in the minds and hearts of the American people. It is soooo discouraging.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

My Current Free Will Astrology and how it fits

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Writing in the New York Times, Nick Gillespie praised the way cartoon rabbit Bugs Bunny teaches kids "powerful, subversive truths from which adults try to shield them." Among the lessons: "smart alecks have more fun. . . . mocking authority is often the right thing to do. . . . tortoises beat hares (especially when tortoises cheat) . . . and . . . a sense of humor is the only way to make it through. . . ." Bugs' approach to life will be especially useful for you between now and February 15, Pisces. It won't be enough, though. You'll need many other subversive truths as well. I'll even go so far as to say that this is the season of subversive truth.

Since over the next month or so I am making a major investment in helping my son set up a web design business (as well as a new life) for himself, trying to situate myself as an over-60 blogger (of which there are too, too few) in a world mostly populated by bloggers young enough to be my kids (and maybe even grandkids), and trying to keep my sense of humor as I deal with my 86-year-old mother, I will heed that advice.
I have just inserted a link so that readers can make comments on my posts. MUCH THANKS TO ANITA, again, for pointing me in the right direction!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Shedding Light on the Burrows of Blog
--for my nonblogger friends who might be checking this site:

There is a great article about Meg Hourihan who was one of the founders of what became This is how the article explains the original idea for a "weblog" or "blog":

A blog consists primarily of links to other Web sites and commentary about those links. Having a blog is rather like publishing your own, on-line version of Reader's Digest, with daily updates: you troll the Internet, and, when you find an article or a Web site that grabs you, you link to it -- or, in weblog parlance, you "blog" it. Then other people who have blogs -- they are known as bloggers -- read your blog, and if they like it they blog your blog on their own blog...... Most of the new blogs are, like Megnut, intimate narrative rather than digests of links and commentary; to read them is to enter a world in which the personal lives of participants have become a part of the public domain....

There also is a partial transcript of a panel "Journalisms New Life Forms" that provides answers to questions that many traditional news purveyors and news consumers ask about the value of using weblogs for disseminating news. One of the comments I like is one offered by Rusty Foster, founder of Kuro5hin: In the early American colonies...all the newspapers were essentially Weblogs -- paper Weblogs. They were one guy working in his basement and printing out new editions whenever he had something to say. There is a kind of full circle evolution going on here.

One nation, under blog.
These Young Whippersnappers!
Anita Bora posts a link to this interesting story about a young former CEO who takes a McDonald's counter job and then writes an essay about it that winds up being widely circulated on the web.

I find what all of these young techies are doing really unbelievable. They take risks that my generation would never even consider, and I am intrigued by all of their energy and daring. In many cases, they don't have families to support, so they can take the gambles of experimenting with the commercial possibilities of technology and then wandering off to do something like work at McDonald's. It's such a different world from my twenty-something era.

It is a brave new world, but in a much more exciting and positive way then that phrase originally meant. Now if only my son could find place in it that would pay his bills........

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Color me....what?
Here's another personality test for you: Colorgenics. I found it linked from the Fleeting Thoughts blog. This is how I came out:

You are trying to establish yourself and make an impact despite the fact that everything around you seems to be against you .. putting up barriers .., but don't be unduly concerned ... you have the right ideas and come what may, they will soon be manifested and appreciated.

You are a true extrovert, frivolous and outgoing. You need to feel in control of any situation. If matters are not proceeding according to plan you tend to get extremely irritable and perhaps become difficult to live with.

You are a rather inhibited sort of person. This could be the result of your upbringing or of your schooling, whatever. You are able to obtain satisfaction from various forms of physical or emotional activity ...but all in all- you are inclined to be emotionally withdrawn. As a consequence of this you find it difficult to sustain any deep involvement.

Whatever you strive to do, something always seems to be holding you back. There is no subterfuge in you. You are a clear thinker and all you demand from life, in a relationship, is a partner whom you can trust and with whom you can, together, develop a foundation of trust based on understanding. You are your own person... and you demand freedom of thought follow your own convictions. You have no interest in "two-timing" and all you seek is sincerity and "straight-dealing".

You are trying to build up your own position and you resist all external influences. You insist that you are your own person and you will not tolerate any outside interference. Decisive and proud, you are true managerial material...

Yeah, pretty close.

Food for One
Since I temporarily don't have to cook a nutritious dinner every day because my mother is out of town visiting my brother, I can revert to my eclectic eating habits. Yesterday, I had guacamole and corn chips for dinner and some Pepperidge Farm Geneva cookies -- the rest of which I am munching while I check out my fav blogs. Maybe I'll just add some stir-fried peppers and onions to leftover rice and make that today's dinner. Then I'll open the Milano cookies. I think that if I didn't have to cook well-balanced meals for my mom, I might lose the weight I would like to lose. On the other hand, given the Pepperidge Farm cookies, maybe not. I wrote the following last summer, before I discovered the shadowy burrows of the blog.

Two Kinds of Days

She reports each day
on the color of her feces,
the progress of microscopic eruptions
along her thinning skin.

Each day she revels again
In the sad injustices of her past,
re-tells her ragged history
with the same unhappy endings.

I know that the pain in her spine is real.
Each day it infuses her memories --
reminding, rehearsing, repeating
the cycles of a life lived
too empty at its core
to ignore life’s chance miseries.

A chubby woodchuck
in the middle of an empty parking lot
stops to watch me walk in circles
around a June afternoon
awash in dandelion seeds
and gently dappled sunlight.

He twitches his nose,
ambles a few more steps
sits on his haunches,
rests his paws on his full belly –
a curious and patient and satisfied

“The soul needs its burrow,”
the woodchuck says,
“a warren to wend a way
through the solitary earth,
some private ground to hog,
a place safe to spend
that deep season of wonder.”

And, with a fanciful last twitch,
Buddha leaves the spotlight,
his coat a slow and sensuous shimmer
along the grave pavement.
Without looking back,
he disappears into the grasses
under a sprawling sycamore,
leaving me to search the shadows.
Changing Realities
I'm copying this from Anita Bora's site because it relates, in a way, to how one might change the reality one lives in. What if you believe that you CAN live in two realities at the same time -- switch in and out like we do with email identities? Seems to me like that's a good survival skill.

By changing your belief, you change your expectations
By changing your expectations, you change your attitude
By changing your attitude, you change you behaviour
By changing your behaviour, you change your performance
By changing your performance, you change your life

Sunday, January 20, 2002

A Little Freedom!
I took my mother down to my brother in New Paltz, where she will stay for a few days and give me a break. So, last night I took a long soak in sea salt and lavender and today I'm going over to have dinner with a friend and help her set up her computer.

She and I went to see A Beautiful Mind the other night. Both the movie and the story are exceptional. It made me wonder how many schizophrenic people there might be out there with all kinds of potential, but they are lost in this other reality. It's amazing to me how John Nash was able to find a way to separate his two realities even though he continued with an awareness of both of them. It also brought to mind something Daniela Bouneva Elza from emailed me last week. She said:
There is this idea I wrote about on my weblog some time ago, that reality is consensual. If enough people believe something to be true it becomes so. So again I wonder where and who defines reality for us, because I do not see people getting together to do it for themselves?.

The whole notion of us each living in our own reality is something I've been wrestling with for some time. How does someone who does not live in the majority reality survive? I'm not just talking about schizophrenics. There are lots of people who just see things differently. They wind up unemployed/able and spend their lives wondering why they are locked out. Does that mean that they will continue not to thrive unless they buy into the majority reality? And what if they can't seem to do that, even though they are on the verge of being homeless and starving? Should they be getting therapy? Take meds? It seems that for survival, one must somehow be able to survive in the majority reality. It's very upsetting.

I remember once reading that, as an astrological Capricorn rising, I have my feet on the ground and my head in the sky. In some way, it often seems like living in two realities at the same time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

My Free Will Astrology Horoscope
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Alice finds her way to Wonderland by falling down a rabbit hole. Dorothy rides to Oz on a tornado. In C.S. Lewis's *The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,* Lucy stumbles into Narnia via a portal in the back of a large clothes cabinet. In the sequels to all these adventures, however, the heroes must find different ways to access their exotic dreamlands. Alice slips hrough a mirror next time. Dorothy uses a Magic Belt. Lucy leaps into a painting of a schooner that becomes real. Take heed of these precedents, Pisces. A threshold will soon open into a fascinating alternative reality you've enjoyed in the past, but it will not resemble the doorways you've used before.

Well, I'm ready!

Monday, January 14, 2002

The Ongoing Battle for Delilah
I have to say that my daugher Melissa is a real scrapper. She's taking on Highbridge Press for cancelling the publication of her book for a very lame reason and has a lawyer on their tail. They are getting uncomfortable, and if she keeps it up, I'll bet they have no choice but to come around. (Or pay her off; either way, it's OK.) You go, grrl.
Well, I've launched myself into the world of seniors online by hosting a page at on "Being the Filler in the Sandwich Generation." Doing so is forcing me to learn some HTML, which I never knew before. So, that's good. And I'm thinking that if the experiment goes and I get some interesting stories, maybe I can collect them for some bigger publication. Ya' never know.

Friday, January 11, 2002

Why Are There Are No Women
Now, I'm new to this blogging thing, but as I link around to check out the Alphas in the various philosophical discussions going on the functioning of the internet in general, and blogging in particular, it seems to me that there are no females pack leaders. I read somewhere (?) that there are even more females than males using the internet, but apparently we don't do it for the same reasons. I see lots of female-founded blogs, but I haven't run across any (yet) that get into the kinds of heavy discussions as Doc Searls or Christopher Locke. Half the time I don't even know what these guys are talking about.

But I am fascinated with how this blogging thing works. And so my next task is going to be to add to my Blogs of Note some of the cool sites that I've stumbled on in my blogworld travels. But that's for tomorrow. The Nyquil is kicking in.

Well, I guess I really don't know why there aren't more women taking the lead in all of the technical, economic, and philosophical discussions about internet issues. I know that I don't because it often seems like so much mental masturbation. I'd rather be doing some creative cooking or knitting or sewing. Or reading. Or ballroom dancing. Or even just freeform blogging. Or maybe, with the time I have left in my life, I don't want to spend it trying to understand and analyze the incredible complexities of those issues, important as they are to how our society of communicators is going to continue to evolve.

But, You go, guys! Boop oop a doop.
Friday Nite Funk
Figured I'd touch base before my Nyquil kicks in. Another January, another sinus infection.

Watched "Dark Angel" and am realizing how much I miss "Nikita," although "Alias" at least tries. But "Nikita" had everything -- dark exotic music, a female lead who really was the equal of the men, including getting beat up periodically -- to say nothing of those sensuously disturbing "Michael" eyes.

So, what's an aging feminist like me doing fantasizing about such cartoon characters? Well, back in the forties and fifties, all there was were Wonder Woman comics. I mean, granted, Brenda Starr and Katie Keane were smart and had careers and all that, but only Diana Prince got a chance to kick ass, well sort of. There must be a part of me that stayed stuck in adolescent arrested development.

I also remember that "The Snow Queen" fairy tale was my favorite. Gerda (I think that was her name) actually was the hero of the story and got to have the adventures and save her little male friend. Not like that wimpy Cinderella. Or at least not like the traditional wimpy Cinderella. My former husband, a writer of the well-produced A Tale of Cinderella created one with a lot more spunk, but she's still not tough enough for my taste.

I was also a big fan of Xena, at least early in the series. I wanted to be her a few Halloweens ago, but decided that, while I'm not in bad shape for someone my age, I'd be better off as Betty Boop -- who, I believe was way ahead of her time. She flew airplanes, lived alone, had a career, ran for president, dressed sexy, had all kinds of adventures etc. etc. back in the forties before no more than a handful of women were doing those things. Boop oop a doop.

Saturday, January 05, 2002

I Disagree
Bix has responded to my perspective on journalism with And I think the dictionary is wrong. The idea that any presentation of "facts" can be without interpretation is one of the dangerous myths of journalism.

Well, then, let me explain my position further: I think then, that those who are using certain words need to come to an agreement about how they define these words.

The pages of any newspaper contain any number of stories that are objective and simply-put-forward facts. That's also true of radio and tv news programs. Perhaps this should be called "reporting."

Then, perhaps, there's another level that can be called "journalism" that contains the perspective of the reporter.

And then, again, there's still another level that is "commentary," and that is where the writer conjectures, supposes, opinionates etc.

It seems to me various people are calling it "journalism" when they really mean one of the other two categories.

I find that discussions that don't lead to any conclusions go in circles because the discussees are using their personal definitions for the words they are using. I ran into this a lot in the field of education. Until there are accepted definitions of terms (and that's why we have dictionaries), while discussions are always interesting exercises in writing and thinking -- they aren't really productive. I remember that when I used to write "white papers" for the State Ed Department, I often began with a definition of terms, so that when discussions ensued, the real issues would be addressed and we wouldn't be stuck with each person arguing about something different based on his/her own definition of a certain word. It's amazing how much time was wasted because there were so many conceptions of what "arts-in-education" means. Once we stated what definitions we were using for specific terms, it was easier to move forward with discussions of the real issues.

For deep communication and change to happen, eveyone has to be using the same language -- or at least agree on the meaning of the fundamental terms being discussed.

Thursday, January 03, 2002

Now, This Is Too Much Fun
I don't know how I got to this guy's site, but if you click on his site map and go to his Playthings, be prepared to lose track of a good deal of time. You can spend all day exploring this incredible site. Love it!
Journalism vs Commentary
Hmm. I haven't read all of the discussions filling up lots of blogspace lately (I follow some of them from bix's Blog Roll), but I think maybe there needs to be some clarification of what "journalism" is in contrast to "commentary."

The dictionary defines journalism as writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation . That requires objective and fair reporting of facts and events. Now, granted, we don't have enough of that these days, but that's a different and the more substantial issue.

Commentary, on the other hand -- which is what most of the blogs and (I think) too many supposed journalists provide -- is personal reflection and comment on what has been put forth by what is supposed to be good, honest "journalism." Personally, I tend to read the editorial/commentary/perspective pages of a newspaper immediately after I read the puported facts on the front page. First I want to know what's going on. Then I want to know what others think about what's going on. And finally, I can go off and think about all of that myself and come to my own conclusions or speculations.

So, good thoughtful and/or creative and/or critical and/or riotous commentary is what people like me need to mentally gnaw, to viscerally digest, and eventually, to turn into commentary of our own. (No shit.)
Love Those Arts
This evening I went with some friends to an exhibit at the Arts Center that

...brings together cutting-edge contemporary art and the industrial heritage of New York State’s Capital Region in a conceptual Call-and-Response based on the premise that both art and industry involve invention and problem-solving as a means of getting from initial idea to final product..

It wasn't at all what I expected, and, as I expected, it reminded me of how exciting it is to stretch one's awareness outside the box. For example, one installation, based on the artist's exploration of the Watervliet Armory (which, I believe, is the oldest continually functioning armory in the country), is a metal two-dimensional topographical construction of Tolkein's Middle Earth, with a street map of 1940s Berlin sort of etched into the surfaces of that construction. It's all suspended upside down from the ceiling, with arcs of chains hanging down that are supposed to simulate the trajectories of bombs.

While, intellectually, I barely "understood" many of the other installations (even when I read the artists' explanations) I certainly responded to them on a totally non-analytical level. Each visually deconstructed the essence of its "industrial partner" and, through the alchemy of art, rendered it mythic. The magic of art. Love it!

Getting the Hang of It
So, OK, I can't import images into a Blogger blog. If I ever get my web site done, I can play with them there. So it goes.

I found a site based in Portland, Maine for cyber seniors. I'm trying to figure out how I can get involved with them somehow. Except I also have been checking in on various blogs listed on the schoolblogs site, and I'm remembering just how stimulating it is to be involved with the learning of young people. Actually, I remembering when b!X lived at home and all of the information I used to absorb just from being around his world of constant exploration. I'm going to do some of my own further reading into those current blogs and then get in contact with some of those people. For example, Laura Shefler, whose sketches -- and more -- are full of such creative energy.

But first I have to go and have my All One vitamin shake for seniors and then take my 85 year old mother out grocery shopping. And then I'm going to iron on some "embellishments" on the black t-shirts I wear for non-formal ballroom dancing .

Meanwhile, I'm waiting to hear how my newly pregnant daughter, who lives outside of Boston is doing, 'cause she's been so nauseous that we haven't been able to get together for the holidays. So, as soon as she's up to it, my mom and I will drive out to Jamaica Plain to visit her (and her husband, of course; he's a mother-in-law's dream).

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

I'm Psyched
I remembered how to insert a new link in Blogs of Note. Now that's progress.

So my next challenge is figuring out how to insert an image. I guess that means I have to bug bix again. Hey, that's one of the things geeksons are for, right?

I started to put together a web page a while ago (altho' I never finished it), since I learned the basics of FrontPage at my former job. I even designed and maintained an internal staff web page and took the first shot at a web page for my former department, the New York State Office of Cultural Education. It's been redesigned since, but at least I had the experience of getting them online for the first time. I like to take on new projects that force me to learn. Hence, blogging. I just wish I could find other cyber-curious sandwich-generation retired people to link up with. Who knows. I'm still new at this.
So This Is How It Works!
Well, thanks to, I'm getting the hang of how this blogging is supposed to work. They link to me; I link to them. That's a start. Now I have to go in and figure out (again) how to add a link in my Blogs of Note list. I'm finally on a learning curve, slow that it is.

Tuesday, January 01, 2002

Just Another Day
So, with Leonard Cohen's new CD in the background, I scroll through hundreds of blogs in the Blogger directory, scanning for any that might deal with a life in process for more than five decades. This seems to be a world populated by the young and the infantile. There are exceptions, and while many of these seem to be involved in dense and worthy online bloggersations about the process and worthiness of blogging, I'm still convinced it all needs to be a lot more ubiquitous than it is to be important. There are a whole lot of us older folks out here who find it hard to get the hang of it all.

But it all takes up so much time!! Don't these people sleep? Don't they have to take care of anyone but themselves? Do they read anything that's not up on a monitor? Do they live on take-out?

Leonard Cohen is getting old. But he still writes great lyrics. So, where's his place in all of this? Where's mine? And does it matter anyway?

Can't find my Jennifer Warne's "Famous Blue Raincoat" album, speaking of great lyrics. Damn. This year I have to organize all of my stuff. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff.

May the lights in the Land of Plenty, shine on the turth some day. -- Leonard Cohen