Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Brave Hearts
Shelley Powers, Tom Shurgart, and stavrosthewonderchicken all have beat me to making this post acknowledging the uncanny talent that both RageBoy and Mike Golby have for peeling back their skin and letting you not only see, but feel what they're made of.

Chris Locke/RageBoy is a pioneer in publicly and purposefully dissolving the boundaries between his passions and the hearts of his readers:
For better or worse, I said, I am trying to live my life in public. Online. We've never had any channel for this. No models. And the models we need are not "model" lives but real ones. Uncertain and afraid, crippled, broken. Trying to make sense of our minds and our hearts and the world we encounter out here. Telling each other what it's like to be human. Making what we can with all we've got. Not shitting ourselves and each other with facile platitudes, easy formulas, empty slogans. A human life for all to see, for what it's worth. It may not be worth much, but that's what I'm doing here. Not a model life, but writing that shakes and shivers and burns and speaks for whatever life we have.

I have just finished reading both the Cluetrain Manifesto and Bombast Transcripts , which I promised Chris I would. Soon I will post my reactions to those texts, as I promised Chris I would.
Just Curious.
Who is Samuel Mcauley and why is he leaving very brief compliments in my Comments without indicating contact information?

I like tracking down people I don't know who leave comments because they usually have compelling blogs of their own. So, who are you and where are you hiding?

Monday, April 29, 2002

Lapham hits the mark, as usual
Jason of museunlimited pointed me to an article by Lewis Lapham in this month's Harper's which analyzes Ashcroft's and Bush's crusade mentality. There are two quotes from that article that particular grabbed me:

I happened to read "The Psychology of War," a study of the ways in which human beings adjust their interpretations of reality in order to recognize the mass murder of other human beings as glorious adventure and noble enterprise. First published in 1992 but fortunately brought back into print this year by the Helios Press, the book, written by Lawrence LeShan, draws a distinction between the sensory and the mythic perceptions of war. Let war become too much of a felt experience, as close at hand as the putrid smell of rotting flesh or the presence of a newly headless corpse seated in a nearby chair, and most people tend to forget to sing partiotic songs.


Because the civilian population finds itself drafted into service as the target of opportunity for terrorists armed with asymmetric waeapons, we're being asked to believe that we're opposed by Morgoth and the Corsairs of Umbar rather than by an incoherent diaspora of desperate human beings, most of them illiterate and many of them children, reduced to expressing their resentment in the impoverished vocabularies of violence. Best not to see our enemies as they are; better to go quietly into the caves of myth thoughtfully prepared by our news media and our schools, there to find, praise be to Allah, our comfort, our salvation, and our glory.

See also Jasons post on the Politics of Fear.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

There is a fraternity of us, the abyss walkers....
from Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddons

There is a fraternity of us, the abyss walkers. In our eyes, the world is divided by it, made up of those who walk frail, careening rope bridges over the abysses and those who do not. We know each other. I do not think it is a concsious thing with us, this knowing, at least not most of the time, or we would flee from each other as from montsers. It is an animal thing. It is only on that wild old neck-prickling level that we meet. It is only in our eyes that we acknowledge that our twin exhalations have touched and mingled. Sometimes, though not often, one of the others, the non-abyss people, will know us too. You may even know the feeling yourself; you may have met someone about whom otherness clings like miasma; you can feel it on your skin though you can't name it. When that happens, you have me one of us. You may even be one of us, down deep and in secret. The other half of the world, the solid, golden half, the non-abyssers...they feel nothing under their feet but solidity. They inherit the earth. We inherit the wind.

Anne Siddons is someone I read during those lazy summer days when I don't want to think too hard; I just want to be entertained. But the above quote is something that must have caught in my thoughts one summer because I found it typed up and lost among my many drafts of many poems. I like the notion of "abyss-walkers." It kind of goes along with my view of myself as a "rim-walker" -- definitely NOT one of the "solid golden half."

Saturday, April 27, 2002

A Sense of Scent
This afternoon, I walked over to check on my grave-sized garden. The parsley patch I planted last year was already up and dancing in the wind. In the corner, small green sprouts of new lavender peered through layers of winter-grayed spikes. I held one of the new lavender leaves up to my nose. I love the smell of lavender, only in part because one of the great romantic adventurers of my life loved it too. The scent lingering in my memory prompted me to unearth this poem I wrote in the early 90s.

The Sense of Scent

She thought she was done with him,
but one night the moon rose
clear and full-faced,
and an early autumn wind
swept the scent of lavender
through her open window.

Some times are harder than others
to sit silent,
hands clenched against
the lure of the pen,
mouth set against
the call of the phone,
thinking to oneself
that some things are better
left to silence,
to the slow decay of time,
the turning of moons
and lavender seasons.

But even in the darkest of corners
some things refuse to die –
some small husk still
riddled with seeds,
some insistent root
defying the dust,
some dormant dream
of a riotous clash of hearts,
curious clutch of minds,
a dance of hands that
hope and hold and, too soon,
let go.

She thought she was done with him,
except his voice
still pulls at her belly
like the insistent tides of the moon.
So when he calls
from places lush
with a thousand thriving things,
she sends him dewy lavender
wrapped in familiar black lace,
because, they say,
the sense of smell
is the most visceral,
holding even the darkening
memory of the dying.

Sigh. Spring.
What is happening to our children?
We give them birth, and most of us look forward to all that comes after. We do our best to teach their minds, touch their hearts, heal their bodies, guide their souls, keep their eyes clear and their butts clean. We frustrate them, we limit them, sometimes we embarrass them, but we always love them. Most of all, we love them. At least most of us most of all love them.

And yet we might never really know them -- especially the ones who one day walk out of a rest room dressed in black and coldly eliminate themselves as well as those who are not their enemies; the ones who one day walk into a crowded market and boldly explode themselves and those who are not their enemies; the ones who eliminate their bothersome sibling and bury him along with their dreams.

What happens to them between us and the rest of the world? What happens to how much we love them? What happens to how much they love? What is happening to our children? What is happening to us?

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." --Carl Sagan
This was a quote nestled among the blog posts of a lively and creative student, whose site is worth checking out.

I got fixated on the quote because of a link that b!X emailed me that offers a theory, based on information that the genome project has shared, about human ancestry.

The site begins with the following statement:
In whose image was The Adam – the prototype of modern humans, Homo sapiens – created? The Bible asserts that the Elohim said: “Let us fashion the Adam in our image and after our likeness.” But if one is to accept a tentative explanation for enigmatic genes that humans possess, offered when the deciphering of the human genome was announced in mid-February, the feat was decided upon by a group of bacteria!

The site goes on to explain, in somewhat scientific detail, the composition of human DNA, beginning with this statement:
Moreover, there was hardly any uniqueness to the human genes. They are comparative to not the presumed 95 percent but to almost 99 percent of the chimpanzees, and 70 percent of the mouse. Human genes, with the same functions, were found to be identical to genes of other vertebrates, as well as invertebrates, plants, fungi, even yeast. The findings not only confirmed that there was one source of DNA for all life on Earth, but also enabled the scientists to trace the evolutionary process – how more complex organisms evolved, genetically, from simpler ones, adopting at each stage the genes of a lower life form to create a more complex higher life form – culminating with Homo sapiens.

It was here, in tracing the vertical evolutionary record contained in the human and the other analyzed genomes, that the scientists ran into an enigma. The “head-scratching discovery by the public consortium,” as Science termed it, was that the human genome contains 223 genes that do not have the required predecessors on the genomic evolutionary tree.

How did Man acquire such a bunch of enigmatic genes?

The site offers the same answer that many others have regarding "ancient astronauts." I find it as believable an explanation as any put forth by more traditional spiritualities.
Can we move from "feminism" to "humanism?"
Halley Suitt has several blog posts that cite various books and other blog posts about the struggle women still have achieving careers success on an equal basis with men -- a definition of "equal basis" that includes the sharing of family responsibilities. She hopes we are moving into a new era of "humanism" in contrast to "feminism."

I hope that she's right, although it was the feminst movement that gave women like me the personal confidence to go out and make our way in the "man's" world of work. Oddly enough, however, both the best boss and the worst boss I have ever had were both women. And, while "feminism" had nothing to do with their management styles, I must say that "humanism" did.

However, mine is a feminist success story. I was a teenager in the 50s, rebelled against those values in college, and married someone who seemed to accept me as an equal. That is, until I got pregnant immediately; then I was expected to become the wife/mother/homemaker. He made it impossible for me to pursue a career, but after we divorced, I had no problem doing that successfully and raising my kids myself as well. I have found that, in my generation, husbands often made it very difficult for their wives to have a careers while raising children. The husband expected that he would work outside the home; but if the woman did so, she was also expected to do the work inside the home as well. No wonder we succumbed to either anger or depression, and no wonder so many of us embraced the feminist movement.

It's much different for my pregnant 30-something daughter, whose husband has shared homemaking with her from the very beginning of their relationship.. He also intends to share the child care. While they haven't yet worked out how they will share the bread-winning, he is open to doing whatever will work best for the family -- from one of them staying home with the child, to their each working part-time, to one of them working full time and the other part time. That kind of equality of responsibility was rare in my generation. Perhaps many of us "feminist" women who struggled so hard have it all and realized that we couldn't, have raised sons who are aware that having it all means sharing it all.

Creating workplaces that are flexible enough to accommodate this more humanistic family unit, however, is another story. My last job (with the best boss) allowed for a great deal of flexibility for both men and women who had childen, including telecommuting, bringing kids into the office, taking emergency time off etc. etc. And she wound up with an incredibly loyal and productive staff as a result. So it can be done. But I wonder how likely it is to be done by many male managers/bosses.
Linda Lovelace died yesterday.
She died in a car accident. But that's not my point. Linda Lovelace's most famous and most degrading movie, Deep Throatwas the first porno movie I ever saw. It was on a double bill with The Devil in Miss Jones in the only movie theater in Gloucester, Maine.

One summer weekend in the mid-seventies, a female elementary school teacher friend of mine and I left our husbands with our kids and took off for a weekend on our own. We wound up in Cape Anne, Massachusetts, where we did some sightseeing, including discovering that Harry Chapin's song about "Dogtown" was based on real and really weird stuff. On our first night there we were so tired that we crashed after dinner (and wine, of course) and then set out the next day for Gloucester. Well, what can two married women do in the evening after dinner in a town where they don't know anyone? Heh. Go to the movies, of course. We had a choice of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or a double porno bill. Neither one of us had ever seen a porno movie, and no one in town knew who we were. It was a chance we couldn't pass up.

Years after, Linda Lovelace revealed the horrors that she endured as her (then) husband proceeded to get her hooked on drugs and caught in a spiral of prostitution and personal brutality. That was the reality. But for two young naive married women off on a weekend away from their every day real worlds, the fantasy was too intriguing to pass up.

It is important to know the difference between fantasy and reality.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Today, I sat in my dentist’s chair for a couple of hours while he “fit me in” to make an adjustment on a bridge. But that’s not my point. My point is that all of the chairs in his rooms face a perennial garden that includes a birdbath and eight bird feeders. The large trees behind the garden are hosts to various birdhouses. So, while you sit there waiting and waiting, you can watch a colorful wildlife pageant, and you can even do so through a pair of binoculars that you find on the windowsill, along with a bird watching book.

Having grown up in a large city, I have always thought that all pigeons are gray and dirty. Today, I discovered that some have the most stunning iridescent green and purple markings, and their pewter hued feathers actually shine in sunlight. As the pigeons came and went on some sort of agreed-upon schedule, blue jays darted among the branches, and an elegant male cardinal shared the platform of a feeder with a insatiable squirrel, while a lone chipmunk and another squirrel danced around each other and the birdseed falling below. I identified a nuthatch and a downy woodpecker, and just as I was sure that the chubby robin -- who seemed to be watching me watching him -- was going to hop up and tap on the glass, I had to turn my attention to the reason why I was sitting in that chair in the first place. The bridge still isn’t right, and it’s going to take several visits, I’m sure, to fix it to my satisfaction. In the meanwhile, the garden will grow lush, and I will learn more about birds and the peaceful coexistence of the various species that mingle and mix in my thoughtful dentist’s perennial garden.

Today, the news on my local TV station reported on a local twenty-something father who shook his 2 month old daughter to death; a local thirty-something mother who purposely drowned her 4-year-old son and wanted to drown her 5-year old but he got away; and a track coach at a local high school accused of having sex with a 16 year old male student (who might not be the only kid he sodomized). And that’s just within a 30 mile radius of where I live.

We humans are supposed to be the most intelligent species on this planet. I guess intelligence has nothing to do with compassion, empathy, consideration, or love. And, looking at what’s going on in the Middle East, it certainly doesn’t seem to have much to do with respect, tolerance, cooperation, and patience either. We could learn a lot from observing life in my dentist’s perennial garden.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

How to learn from the past and then let it go.
I don't have the answer to that. If I did, maybe I could get my mother to stop dwelling on all the injustices that have been done to her, personally, and to her Polish ancestry, generally, so that she might find a way to make something more positive of her own present life. She is wasting what time she has left letting her past control the way she sees her present -- which she winds up often mis-perceiving as being full of continuing personal affronts as well. I see that same pattern in certain other peoples who use past injustices as an excuse to continue feeling victimized. Sometimes the past has to be let go, or else we just continue to set up self-fulfilling destructive situations.
Drawing Lines in the Sand
There's a lot of drawing lines in the sand these days. Lines between war and peace, between intellectual and emotional, between head and heart, between ally and enemy. Add "blogger" to the end of every one of those words and the lines are apt to get razor sharp. I ponder why we draw these lines. Why do we need to carve out the borders of our territories so clearly? Nations do it and it leads to war. Religions do it and it leads to intolerance. I do it, too. I draw a line around myself and say "I am a peaceblogger or I am a female chavinsit or I am a irreverent non-believer." But, in truth,I do not mean these lines to separate me completely from those on the other side of the line; rather they are meant to define the place/s in which I prefer to stand -- the places where I take a stand and affirm and aver and assert, sometimes pretty loudly.

I prefer reading weblogs that reflect how the personal relates to larger issues (or the other way around), that focus more on feelings than facts. But I also read the more intellectual, personally detached blogs because they often trigger feelings in me that I then take back to my own site to explore. While I am rooted in Self, I am still fascinated by all of the Others. That's the dilemma: there will always be Self and Others. How do you keep the line you draw strong without having to build a barricade between yourself and your neighbors so that they don't trample it. it's a dilemma.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

The Earth Quakes on Earth Day
Somewhere around 7 a.m. this morning, my cat began meowing inconsolably. And then my dresser mirror began rattling for no apparent reason. No, not ghosts, but rather an earthquake at more than 5 on the Richter Scale, centered way upstate but felt here in Albany, all of these hundreds of miles away. I heard from my daughter outside of Boston that they could feel it there as well. An earthquake on Earth Day, and I have 111 unread messages in my main in-box and 1 unread in a sub-mail box. That's 1111. Yesterday, as I walked into my bedroom the digital clock read 11:11. (Here we go again.) What next?
Nithia is a relatively new blogger from South Africa. Nithia writes with savvy voice, graceful style, and strong soul. Nithia 's piece on growing up as a victim of Apartheid is worth leaving my blog and linking here right now. And after you read that, read a little more of Nithia's posts and then be sure to link to The Onion piece about a new Microsoft patent.

Friday, April 19, 2002

The Chthonic Challenge
While I was quoting to death Camille’s obsession with the chthonic, Tom Shugart was considering Jeneane’s challenge to blog “Not the outside stuff. The *inside* stuff” -- to write from the depths of the heart, from the chthonian netherworld of our deepest fears, angers, hurts -- and not just from the heights of the head.

I couldn’t help notice that when Tom mentions some of the bloggers who, he thinks, do write from that messy and fertile place, the names he offers are all female. Which brings me back to Camille Paglia’s assertion that it is the “female” that embodies the chthonian in our human natures. That disturbing, emotional, chaotic stuff makes many men uncomfortable (RageBoy notwithstanding.) So most men continue to blog from an emotionally protected distance.

So, Tom takes a step closer to accepting Jeneane’s challenge and looks at an emptiness he feels, despite a full and loving life. He admits: And yet….. there's a big hole somewhere in the middle of me.

I believe that that’s the “hole” into which the Shaman willingly strides, the rabbit hole into which Alice falls; that is the messy chthonian chaos of our unconscious that, if we traverse and survive, we come out much wiser for the journey.

I found this poem on an aptly entitled site:

Chthonic Rising
Many things rise from the earth --
the steam of ancient whispers,
seeds that fall like a vast blanket.
howls too playful to be lonely.

But these days ground yields only ash
and yellowed grass must
blink away the smell of blood.

Those that are wise
will walk with toes bared
to feel the rocks loosen

before they take to the air
proclaiming the return
of a red-eyed mother

Tom’s blog quotes Jean Shinoda Bolen's directive: "Show up, and pay attention." I believe she means that we should show up at the empty entrance to our own chthonian netherworld and pay close attention to all of those rocks that we loosen on the way down.

Have I made the journey? Yes, when I needed to confront my shadow self in relation to my failed marriage. It was a lengthy and eventful journey, and eventually I was able to “take to the air, proclaiming the return of a red-eyed mother.” And then this is what I wrote, based on the synchronistic discovery and purchase of a disturbing art work depicting Eve wrenching herself from Adam’s side as he lay, spectral and spread-eagled, upside down, with red raining down on both of them:

The Real Birth of Eve
Don’t fail me now, Adam.
I did not choose this path,
this pain.
He woke you slowly.
With care he molded your form,
stroked your face to smile,
sang your ears to sound,
shaded your new wide eyes
from all but his vision of paradise.

He gave you a place, a name,
a chance to lie
with the fullness of earth
before his restless breath
stirred the question on your tongue.

But I --
I had no time,
no sure sense of shape,
no songs of promised lands
to free the reach of eager arms.

I have only had the quest,
the question
that has grown into this pain
--your pain—
and the pain of my knowing
that my only way out
is through you,
through the final rending
of heart and mind and will,
of the fabric of our common sky
that rains fire and blood
upon this sacred and willfull act.

Forgive me, Adam.
I can no longer be both self and other.
I need my own breath, my own blood.
He left me no choice
but to tear from you what belongs to me –
my sex, my soul, my song.

Forgive me, Adam,
for making my Word
from your flesh and bone,
for forcing you to share this eternal exile,
for taking it anyway –
my only way out.

So, yes, Tom. I agree that the emptiness is a gift, an invitation to take a journey where no one has ever gone before. As Jeneane said, “Not the outside stuff. The *inside* stuff.” Deep. Messy. Chthonic. True. And there are those who believe that not only daemons [not “demons”] live in that place, but also god.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

For my mom; for moms everywhere.
Today, my mother was talking about how Poland was betrayed by the West as they struggled to refuse Hitler's tyranny.
Today, Marek blogs:
There are still people in Poland who lived during the War who are bitter and angry that Western Coalition, mainly France and Great Britain didn't do anything when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. Polish people said NO to Hitler. Great Britain and France promised to attack Nazis, they didn't. They didn't stand up for freedom. They didn't stand up for us. And now in Warsaw there are thousands of places marked by plaques where people were killed because somebody didn't stand up for them.

What about the Palestinians? Is somebody standing up for them? I know some of them blow themselves up and murder people but what about Palestinians who love their children? What about Israelis? Is somebody standing up for them? I know some of them just want to kill all Palestinians but what about Israelis who love their children?

Maybe, instead of talking cease-fire, Palestinians and Israelis could start talking about how much they love their children
It’s time for some Camille.
I don’t remember where I first heard Camille Paglia speak. I think it was on the old Phil Donahue show. What I do remember is being totally enthralled by her perspectives on just about everything. Hated by both radical feminists as well as right-wing “fascinating womanhood” females, dismissed by most men because of her intense, confrontational, opinionated style, and shunned by many of her peers because of her controversial convictions about sexuality and morality, Camille is just the kind of woman that gets my attention.

As a bi-sexual, a serious scholar of contemporary culture, and a pretty much humorless conversationalist, Paglia is my opposite. Where my mind crosses hers, however, is in the belief that it is our chthonian natures that truly rule our actions, however much we have consciously or unconsciously tried to deny them. That is the “darkness” that we must acknowledge and learn to both embrace and “enlighten” if we, as a species, are to move beyond the periodic inclination toward mutual murder – both physical and psychological.

Here, for example, are some random quotes from her book Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. I have never been able to finish reading the whole book: it’s just too dense and too scholarly. However, I periodically go back and re-read her first chapter, which is where she articulates her larger perspective. She pushes the envelope in how we view ourselves in relation to the world we live in. Some quotes:

We cannot hope to understand sex and gender until we clarify our attitude toward nature. Sex is a subset to nature. Sex is the natural in man.

Society is an artificial construction, a defense against nature’s power.

Human life began in flight and fear. Religion rose from the ritual of propitiation, spells to lull the punishing elements.

Civilized life requires a state of illusion. The idea of the ultimate benevolence of nature and God is the most potent of man’s survival mechanisms. Without it, culture would revert to fear and despair.

Aggression comes from nature; it is what Nietzsche is to call the will-to-power….society is not the criminal but the force which keeps crime in check.

Sex is power. Identity is power. In western culture, there are no nonexploitative relationships…. Each generation drives its plow over the bones of the dead.

Sex is a far darker power than the feminist has admitted. Behaviorist sex therapies believe guiltless, no-fault sex is possible. But sex had always been girt round with taboo, irrespective of culture. Sex is the point of contact between man and nature, where morality and good intentions fall to primitive urges. I called it an intersection. This intersection is the uncanny crossroads of Hecate, where all things return in the night. Eroticism is a realm stalked by ghosts. It is the place beyond the pale, both cursed and enchanted.

Sex is daemonic. This term....derives from the Greek "daimon"..... meaning a spirit of lower divinity than the Olympian gods.... The word came to mean a man's guardian shadow. Christianity turned the daemonic into the demonic. The Greek daemons were not evil – or rather they were both good and evil, like nature itself, in which they dwelled. Freud’s unconscious is a daemonic realm.

The daemonism of chthonian nature is the west’s dirty secret.

The identification of woman with nature was universal in prehistory. In hunting or agrarian societies dependent upon nature, femaleness was honored as an immanent principle of fertility.

Judeo-Christianity, like Greek worship of the Olympian gods, is a sky-cult. It is an advanced stage in the history of religion, which everywhere began as earth-cult, veneration of fruitful nature.

In every premenstrual woman struggling to govern her temper, sky-cult wars again with earth-cult.

Daemonic archtypes of woman, filling world mythology, represent the uncontrollable nearness of nature.

Evenutally Paglia posits that if women ruled the world, we'd still be living in grass huts. That's where my mind takes a left turn as hers takes a right. I don't think we would disregard the accomplishments of men (to Camille, those sky-cult skyscrapers, power grids, space shuttles, fast cars, are both the actual results as well as the metaphorical symbols of the accomplishments of the male gender). Rather, I think we would so a better job of integrating the sky-cult mentality with the earth-cult heart, soul, and shadow. But that's just my un-scholarly, heterosexual, female chauvinist opinion.
Or maybe I'll just keep linking to Rushkoff
Thanks to AKMA, I've discovered the newly minted blog of David Rushkoff, who according to his bio, analyzes the way people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other's values. He sees "media" as the landscape where this interaction takes place, and "literacy" as the ability to participate consciously in it.

From I've been able to read so far, he articulates what I perceive and believe in the way that I wish I could.

So, please link here for the best I've read so far on the Middle East situation, where he concludes with a paragraph that I wish with all my heart I had written:
In my reality tunnel, the Palestinians and Israelis are basically looking in the mirror. The religions are quite quite similar, and the false notions of state-hood imported from Europe have the people acting out insanely unfounded mythologies of national identity. These people don't have national identities, because nations aren't real. And God certainly has no idea what they are.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

What's the opposite of "warblogger?"
Doc Searls posts: In fact, I believe the war blog movement may be a more powerful political force in the long run than all of conservative talk radio and print journalism rolled together. He also says that we could use some peace bloggers.

I echo Shelley Powers' question: Doc, what do you want? People have been speaking out for peace -- they just aren't in your sphere. You just haven't been paying attention.

I hadn't intended my blog to become a political soap box. But neither do I intend to let the warbloggers take up all the blogspace. So I will continue to speak out against the murders committed by both sides; I will continue to insist that Israel is definitely not the good guy here. And I urge other bloggers to read Shelley's posts for peace and let her know in her comments that she should not stop -- despite all of the messages that she gets denigrating her eloquent efforts to hold the mirror of truth up the the hypocisies of the thugs who are keeping this war going for the most inhuman of purposes. We peace bloggers need to blog even louder, methinks. All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke)

Heh. And in checking for the author of the above quote, I came across this very appropriate Chinese proverb:
If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Religious Leaders Offer Solutions to War, But No One Cares
I am posting the following as copied directly from an email I got asking for my support in sharing this information. I am posting the following because several people who left comments on burnigbird's blog said that they wish someone would make some positive suggestions for solutions instead of pointing fingers. Well, what if the world's religious leaders got together and vowed to take a unified stand on dealing with world violence, but nobody cared? Apparently they did, and nobody does.

by David Waters, a columnist for the syndicated Memphis, Tennessee Commercial Appeal

What if leaders of the world's major religions got together one day and denounced all religious violence? What if they unanimously agreed to make this plain, clear and bold statement to the world?

"Violence and terrorism are opposed to all true religious spirit and we condemn all recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion." It could change the world. At the very least, it would be big news, wouldn't it? Apparently not.

More than 200 leaders of the world's dozen major religions did get together Jan. 24 in Assisi, Italy. Maybe you missed the story about it the next day. Most newspapers didn't carry it. And it was hidden inside many of those that did. There was a lot of other news that day. The Enron hearings opened in Washington. John Walker Lindh made his first court appearance.

It's no wonder the largest meeting of world religious leaders in history couldn't even make the front page. Pope John Paul II and a number of cardinals were at the meeting. So was Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians. So were a dozen Jewish rabbis, including some from Israel. So were 30 Muslim imams from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. So were dozens of ministers representing Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Disciples of Christ, Mennonites, Quakers, Moravians, The Salvation Army and the World Council of Churches.

So were dozens of monks, gurus and others representing Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Zoroastrians and native African religions. They ignored the personal and political risk of attending such a high-profile gathering.

They convened and talked and prayed. They unanimously agreed to condemn "every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion." They also said, "No religious goal can possibly justify the use of violence by man against man." And that "Whoever uses religion to foment violence contradicts religion's deepest and truest inspiration." They called their statement the Assisi Decalogue for Peace. It consists of 10 mutual commitments to work for peace and justice in the world, including this one:

"We commit ourselves to stand at the side of those who suffer poverty and abandonment, speaking out for those who have no voice, and to working effectively to change these situations." On March 4, the Pope sent a copy of the to all of the world's heads of state.

Maybe you missed the story. It didn't even make the newspapers the next day, hidden inside or not. There was a lot of other news that day. Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Israeli troops killed 17 people in the West Bank. Mike Tyson got a license to box.

What if leaders of the world's major religions got together one and denounced all religious violence---and no one cared?

1. We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of rreligion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or of religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.

2. We commit ourselves to educating people to mutual respect and esteem, in order to help bring about a peaceful and fraternal coexistence between people of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions.

3. We commit ourselves to fostering the culture of dialogue, so that there will be an increase of understanding and mutual trust between individuals and among peoples, for these are the premise of authentic peace.

4. We commit ourselves to defending the right of everyone to live a decent life in accordance with their own cultural identity, and to form freely a family of his own.

5. We commit ourselves to frank and patient dialogue, refusing to consider our differences as an insurmountable barrier, but recognizing instead that to encounter the diversity of others can become an opportunity for greater reciprocal understanding.

6. We commit ourselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort both to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.

7. We commit ourselves to taking the side of the poor and the helpless, to speaking out for those who have no voice and to working effectively to change these situations, out of the conviction that no one can be happy alone.

8. We commit ourselves to taking up the cry of those who refuse to be resigned to violence and evil, and we are desire to make every effort possible to offer the men and women of our time real hope for justice and peace.

9. We commit ourselves to encouraging all efforts to promote friendship between peoples, for we are convinced that, in the absence of solidarity and understanding between peoples, technological progress exposes the world to a growing risk of destruction and death.

10. We commit ourselves to urging leaders of nations to make every effort to create and consolidate, on the national and international levels, a world of solidarity and peace based on justice.

Please share this with all those who, as far as you know, yearn for peace and freedom from terrorism of all kinds.

And, for a really far-out plan to end violence, check out this site on How to stop terrorism without resorting to military action.

Monday, April 15, 2002

Eavesdropping on the Pro-Israel Rally
The Jerusalem Post reports on the Pro-Israel rally that took place in Washington D.C. today and includes the following, which I find very disturbing:
When House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Missouri) said the US is committed to preserving and strengthening Israel's security, the crowd erupted in wild applause. But when he spoke about securing a just and lasting peace for all, the crowd fell silent. [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz, a staunch supporter of Israel, was heckled nonetheless when he said Israelis are not the only victims of violence in the Middle East and that the majority of Palestinians want peace.

When he started a sentence, "The people of Israel and Palestine..." some in the crowd started screaming "What Palestine?" Another, appearing dismayed, said, "This is Wolfowitz?" "No double standards," people chanted as Wolfowitz spoke.
The chanting was so distracting that Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Presidents Conference, asked people at the end of his remarks to stay silent until after the speakers were completed.

I'm not given to prayer, but I think it's time that even I start praying for peace. It doesn't sound like the Pro-Israel people are.
History in Song and Shadow
In Googling for the lyrics of the song "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" to cite in the post below, I found it on a site called History in Song, which chronicles history-related songs from the American revolution through the Viet Nam War -- a war which I protested with all of my small voice and big mouth. In surfing that site, I found this entry related to the massacre, by our American soldiers, of the inhabitants of the village of My Lai:

According to accounts that suddenly appeared on TV and in the world press …, a cam-company of 60 or 70 U.S. infantrymen had entered My Lai early one morning and destroyed its houses, its livestock and all the inhabitants that they could find in a brutal operation that took less than 20 minutes. When it was over, the Vietnamese dead totaled at least 100 men, women and children, and perhaps many more. Only 25 or so escaped, because they lay hidden under the fallen bodies of relatives and neighbors.

The America GIs raced from house to house, setting the wooden ones ablaze and dynamiting the brick structures. Others routed the inhabitants out of their bunkers and herded them into groups....

Few were spared. Stragglers were shot down as they fled from their burning huts. One soldier fired his M-79 grenade launcher into a clump of bodies in which some Vietnamese were still alive. One chilling incident was observed by Ronald L. Haeberle, 28, the Army combat photographer who had been assigned to C Company. He saw "two small children, maybe four or five years old. A guy with an M-16 fired at the first boy, and the older boy fell over to protect the smaller one. Then they fired six more shots. It was done very businesslike."

The site shares this disturbing satirical song, sung to the tune of a popular romantic piece, "Wake the Town and Tell the People”
Strafe the town and kill the people
Let's declare a massacre.
Lay napalm in the square,
So you'll know that Jake was there,
Drop the candy in the courtyard,
Let the kiddies gather 'round.
Crank your twenty-millimeter,
Gun the little bastards down.
Come 'round early Sunday morning,
Catch the village unaware.
Drop a bunch of cluster bomblets,
Get 'em while they kneel in prayer.

As a species, we humans keep denying our shadow side, and in doing so, we allow our demons to rule our souls.

It is just this type of mother image that Kali represents. Starck and Stern say "Kali-Ma, the Dark Mother, holds the two edge sword; she has the power to slay the demons as well as the ability to be compassionate. At a certain point it becomes necessary to take Kali's sword and cut through the illusions that protect us from seeing and acting on the truth."
We, who do not learn from history.....
When an open war is impossible, oppression can continue quietly behind the scenes. Terrorism. Guerrilla warfare, violence, prisons, concentration camps..... And those who want peace in the world should remove not only war from the world but also violence. If there is no open war but there is still violence. That is not peace.....We are approaching a major turning point in world history, in the history of civilization. It has already been noted by specialists in various areas. I could compare it only with the turning from the Middle Ages to the modern era, a shift in our civilization. It is a juncture at which settled concepts suddenly become hazy, lose their precise contours, at which our familiar and commonly used words lose their meaning, become empty shells, and methods which have been reliable for many centuries no longer work. It's the sort of turning point where the hierarchy of values which we have venerated, and which we use to determine what is important to us and what causes our hearts to beat, is starting to rock and may collapse.

These are the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, from a yellowed Monday February 28, 1977 newspaper article that my mother unearthed this morning in cleaning out her stack of old newspaper clippings. He was writing about communism back then, but he could be writing our world situations today. When will we ever learn; when will we ever learn.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

This is from a letter to the Editor...
...in today's Times Union:
To avoid the continuation of the unacceptable status quo, Israel has only two choices: to accept the creation of a Palestinian state and a reasonable resettling of the refugees, or to drive out or kill all the Palestinians in theWest Bank and Gaza Strip, an act akin to the Nazi Holocaust.

Let us hope that the assertion "never again" applies to everyone.
We have been here before, you and I, in our lifetimes.
Read b!X's concise chronicling of reports on current atrocities in the Middle East.

Friday, April 12, 2002

I will not take sides
I resent being prodded to take sides in the Middle East conflict. I have said before in these words, that I don’t support “the weary dreams of men reduced to war,” no matter what side they’re on. I don’t pretend to understand what drives the MEN who are the leaders in these conflicts to so willingly march their people to destruction. As a woman, I don’t share their testosterone dreams.

However, despite the fact that I protest war, if I found myself, my family, my community being systematically persecuted and destroyed, if I found myself facing a future of cultural and national annihilation, I might, indeed, resort to violence. I might, indeed, strap explosives to my body. BUT, I wouldn’t go and kill innocent people in a marketplace or bus stop. What I might do is enlist myself as a Mata Hari type and do what is necessary to get close to the murdering tyrannical bastards, and then I’d blow THEM up, sacrificing myself if I had to. (I guess you could call those estrogen nightmares.) Desperate people are driven to desperate, even self-destructive actions. It’s not right, it’s not moral. But if it’s war, that’s the way it is. Waging war has consequences. Suicide bombings are one of them.

I am monumentally grateful that I have never found myself in the position to make that choice and don’t believe I ever will. And I am profoundly disappointed that those who have never personally experienced the personal horrors of what is going on in the holy land are so willing both to take sides and to condemn someone like me for not.

Killing innocent people is wrong. It's wrong for the Palestinians and it's wrong for the Israelis. But if neither side doesn't want to deal with the consequences of warring on their neighbors, then they should simply stop making war and resolve to negotiate.

Personally, I think they should do what b!X suggests and put all the guys who want to fight in a big Thunderdome and let them wipe each other out. The proceeds from the tickets to watch the Final War to End All Wars can be used to help those Middle Easterners who want to live peacefully side by side to do so.
Voices from behind the front lines
I call your attention to the web diaries of the The Electronic Intifada Presents: Live From Palestine site.

When journalists can’t get in, local residents take over.

Most of the writers posting here are not professional journalists and their ability to confirm information in a warzone is often very limited. Despite this they represent a vital link to the beseiged towns that is almost entirely absent from the commercial media.

Residents of the occupied Palestinian territories are invited to submit accounts of developments on the ground to diaries@electronicIntifada.net.


Thursday, April 11, 2002

Encounter with a poet from my past.

Our paths cross every decade or so. Today it was in the lobby of the college where she was giving a reading. She was coming out of the ladies’ room; I was coming in the front door. The first thing I noticed was that we had both become blonde.

I first met Lyn Lifshin in the mid-seventies, when she had just begun having her poetry published and was giving writing workshops locally. (One of the other -- at the time -- young women in our workshop has since gone on to win writing awards from both the MacArthur and Guggenheim Foundations. I envied Alice Fulton even back then. She was beautiful, an amazing writer, younger than I, and unmarried. She’s now a Professor of English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and she continues to write and publish. I don’t know if she ever married.)

But that summer in Albany, New York we were poets, each struggling to find her own voice. And we couldn’t have had a better workshop leader than Lyn, who had – and still has – a poetic voice as sharp and distinct and irreverent as her arresting face.

Her face today is the same as I remember: jutting cheek bones, dark eyes rimmed with kohl, long hair – once dark, now blonde – parted in the middle and falling across her stare with purpose and precision. She is dressed in black – a leather micro-mini skirt, tights and boots. Over her black leather jacket she wears a purposefully fake vintage leopard-look coat. I can’t help noticing that she is even thinner than ever, her hands clutching her bag of books are gnarled and claw-like. She is the millennium’s Hecate incarnate. Crone of Crones. She is who I once thought I might be. We walk together into the classroom, two blondes of similar age and obviously dissimilar inclinations.

I take my seat among the scattered audience – many of whom could be, well, under certain circumstances, my grandchildren. Even in jeans and a sweater, I feel too coiffed, too ordinary. Not looking exotic enough to ever be taken for a real poet. Real poets look like Lyn – live like Lyn – certainly, write like Lyn.

She reads poems that I hadn’t heard – or read -- before, talks about her choice to have cats instead of kids, her choice to love men often and well, her choice to open her wounds into her words and stare daringly into the faces of those who made them, even as she tosses those loaded words out to the whims of the world. She accompanies each poem with sinuous leanings of torso and hands, carefully placed intakes of breath, pauses to hold attention. She is who I once thought I might be.

One of her poems makes me think of Meryl Yourish and her anguished blogposts about the Holocaust. I Remember Haifa Being Lovely But ends with
once you become a
mother, blue numbers
appeared mysteriously
tattooed on your arm.

Lyn’s book the Blue Tattoo focuses on images related to the Holocaust.

As I leave, I buy her new book and she signs it for me. She says that she and her male partner (she uses his name, but I have forgotten it) will be moving back up into her house that is not too far from where I live. She needs to buy a new refrigerator. Where’s the best place to go for that? Sears, I say. I’ve always found good appliances in Sears. Well, she says, someone mentioned Home Depot. Yeah, I say. You should check them out too.

When I get home I take my mother outside to sit and snooze in the sun while I sit next to her and read from Lyn’s new book, Before It’s Light. The title of the first section makes me smile: “Blonde to the Bone.”

I’ve got the kids, you’ve got the cats, I think, as I get to her poem, “Cat Women.” I think of Anita Bora and her blogger cats project.

And then I get to its end:
……………..We’re mystical
about cats because some nights
we become one, slither away from
a lover’s side, wild to explore what
we sense in darkness, starved for
the prowl, the chase, the leap
from a life so domestic some of
us need to regrow claws, survive
on prey, give up safeness

Well, I, too, have a cat. And once I had a most remarkable growl. I'm sure it's still in there, somewhere.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

It's a toss-up
Check out b!X's two satiric extreme solutions to the extreme satanic situation in what was once a holy land. In case you can't get to the whole post (there's some problem with getting his new system working consistently), here's the gist of it:

Option one: Give the land back to God.
It's quite clear that neither side in this age-old conflict is behaving like anything resembling God's children. If they're all so damned certain that this is Holy Land, and that God cares about who lives there, then perhaps we should just clear them all out and let God live there by himself.
Alternatively, we could give just it to Buddhists.
Option two: Build a dome over the entire region and sell tickets.
AOL Time Warner, in conjunction with Walt Disney, presents Holy Land. Two religions enter, no man leaves. Let them fight it out as intensely as they please, while the world pays $50 a head for dome-side seats and watches the carnage from within a disposable comfort zone of hotdogs and beer.

Honestly, I no longer know if I'm kidding or not. I'm simply unsure if either side deserves anything other than scorn, contempt, and a major international shunning.

Everyone over there is full of holy shit.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Our fathers, who art in heaven…
My condolences go out to Halley Suitt, whose father passed away today. My posting of my poem about my own father’s death was unfortunately prescient. But for today, I offer this for Halley.

Let Evening Come
--by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
Let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Monday, April 08, 2002

In response to Mike’s request for support for Meryl, I offer this litany:
I will do everything in my power to make sure that there are
no more holocausts
no more racism
no more bigotry
no more ethnic cleansing
no more genocide
no more economic slavery
no more religious persecution
no more terrorism
no more dogmatism
no more sexism
no more national chauvinism
and most of all
no more holocausts
Voices from The Blog:
For some reason, during the past week there have been a series of eloquent and loving tributes to parents and grandparents as they age and begin to leave us behind. I linked to Jeneane’s below, and there are others that I was so glad I found, posted by Halley and Heather and Barbara and Lisanne.

And Esta posted some touching verbal family snapshots taken from a younger, brighter perspective. Here are two that I particularly liked:
-- Mastering the chain stitch, and feeling the instincts of several generations awakening in my fingers.
--The two women after whom I was named running all over my house and exclaiming with delight over it.

And I found this ingenious way of sharing books and connections as a result of linking over to Willa’s site. She got it from Tish. Love that blogrolling.!

Sunday, April 07, 2002

April: the month for poets.
In an article in today's local newspaper, columnist Diane Cameron, again, shines her own unque light on a blurry issue: National Poetry Month. She quotes William Carlos Williams:

It is difficult
to get the news from poems.
Yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found here.

And she ends with :"...poems can help and they can heal, and sometimes they can communicate what no treatise or speech ever will."

Setting death ablaze.
Writer Helen Cixous says "The only book that is worth writing is the one we don't have the courage or strength to write. The book that hurts us (we who are writing), that makes us tremble, redden, bleed."

With both skill and courage, Jeneane Sessum posts about her father, about death. She stirs up memories of my father's death and inspires me to stir around my stashed pile of poetry until I unearth this:

I will bury the tuber of an arrowroot
at the head of my father’s grave,
where my brother enshrined
a cluster of quartz,
where my mother stands, each time,
wondering aloud about
what he looks like, now.

“There were signs, ” she says,
her words muffled in the upturned collar
of the coat I have outgrown
and she has shrunk to fit.

Above her breath, four crows
defile the lacework
of a snowy sycamore.

“One day I saw three small doves
flying above his car.
And then there were the crows.”

A nervous rustle. A shift of feathers.

“They gathered in the trees behind our house
on the day he came home the first time.
Thousands, like charred leaves.
like black snow.
He had gone alone to the back porch
to face the sun.
Suddenly, he was in the doorway,
his face dark with anger.
He said the noise was killing him."

From the snow, a frozen sigh.
The cold of the grave
claws at my boots.

And when they folded him neatly,
barefoot and grim
into that final silence,
there was no space left to tuck a cry.
We fed him to winter,
to the honest needs of roots.

On Easter Sunday,
her bread wouldn’t rise.
She stood at the window
and stared at the crows.

She set the prayer plant
from his hospital room
beside his empty chair.
If the crows saw the leaves
turning dark and silent
they never said.

I will bury the tuber of an arrowroot
near the stone of my father’s grave.
And hairs of the tuber
will twine with his hair,
beckon the rain
and dance with the worm.
And the tuber eyes
will watch in his place
for the message of the great crows
who keep vigil in all seasons
from the crotch of a crooked bough.

And I will buy her a new maranta
to pray in the tuber-mind.

And I will lie on my father’s grave
and listen.

copyright 1987 Elaine

Saturday, April 06, 2002

The innate poetry of the blog.
in my ongoing quest for "olderwiser" bloggers, periodicallly I check the Ageless Project just to see if there are any new registrants. In linking to someone in NYC who's even older than I am, I discovered a link from that blog to Ron’s amazing poem generator, which uses a software program to make a poem out of anyone's web site. So here's what Ron's cyberpoet did for kalilily time:

kalilily time I were
born on is to make an
Easter Sunday sermon years
older than enough, technology optimism”
to us, the original
post? for you live in.
a chance to buy Hess gas anyway,
since been wrong,
turn on my regular
work on me at least
get that from the
online adult population that poverty But an
Easter people. His methodology is also
honest, open, LETTER
TO a new hip
and stems2000: roughage1970: popping joints1970: our neighbors. As
we live in 1969.That when the
voices and adventuresome will have enough.”

Click here and get a "poem" spun from your blog. I hope it's better than mine.
A money-saving idea that just might work.
I don't know who Phillip Hollsworth is, but an email I got pointed me to a creative idea he posted on how Americans might band together to stop escalating gasoline prices. Read his post for the whole campaign, but here's his basic point:

For the rest of this year, DON"T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do!! Now, don't whimp out on me at this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

His methodology is one with which most e-mailers are familiar. I figure if I put his link on my blog, I'll have met my requirement to share this call to arms with ten other people. (Ten, huh? I wonder....)

I tend to buy Hess gas anyway, since it's just down the block from me. I'd be curious to know where Hess gets its gas from.
I have only this to say to Dorkvak:
READ MY BLOGLIPS! Or at least get a blog of your own so that we can deconstruct yours. In the meanwhile, keep writing about us. Even without your linking to us, the curious and adventuresome will track us down. We win anyway.

What a weenie!
"Dorkvak" -- another winner from Jeneane of BlogSisters.
We forget that we are on the far side of the Divide.
The Digital Divide is loosely defined as the disparity between those who have access to Internet technology and those who have not.

If you live in America and have access to technology that makes it possible for you to be reading this blog (using statistics reported in a survey I read about on alternet.org but for which I lost the actual page link) you are:
--in the 38 percent of the poorest Americans, those earning less than $30,000, or
--in the 82 percent of Americans in households earning $75,000 or more, or
--in the 15 percent of the 65-and-up group, or
--in the 75 percent of the 18-29 age bracket.

In April of 2000, Forrester Research issued a study on the digital divide that said that income is the determining factor for engaging with the Internet, followed by age, education and "technology optimism."

The Pew Internet & American Life Project, which tracks Internet usage and habits, indicates that the online adult population has hit 56 percent, totaling 104 million adults.

So, we are the lucky ones, right? We belong to that better-than-half of the American population that has enough money, enough education, enough youth (heh -- except for me and a few others) and/or enough “technology optimism” to be wired enough into the Google universe. And because of all those things we have enough of, every day brings us closer to understanding how we are the same as, and how we are different from, and how much we can learn from our intra-planetary neighbors. As bloggers, every day gives us a chance to learn how important it is to be humane in a world of governments that seems to be increasingly lacking in humanity.

We don’t only have “enough.” We have more than enough – more than enough, certainly, than those other Americans who don’t have the money because they don’t have decent jobs because they didn’t get a good education because they went to schools in urban neighborhoods where school budgets were too low to support good teachers, and good libraries= and well-equipped science labs and up-to-date computer labs…….

No, access to computers and the Internet will not solve the problems caused by poverty. But computers and web access in every school located in areas of poverty might be able to give children whose lives are confined by that poverty a chance to better understand the choices and the chances that exist in the larger world -- a better chance to understand the cultures of their neighbors, both in the next block and on the next continent. As they learn to journey the web, they would have a unique chance to hear the heart and humanity in the voices of the people of this planet, a chance that exists no where else. And they even might have a chance to develop their own voices and to discover that there are people out there who will listen to what they have to say.

Now, maybe that isn’t enough. But it sure could be something really good!

I think that Weblogs in Education is on the right track. And the kids' version of Small Pieces that David Weinberger is working on is also on the right track. I wish I could figure out how to get them into the main education station.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

The Quick and the Deadly
My mother always tells me that I’m too quick to make decisions, move on things. When a friend of mind came over this afternoon to see if he could fix whatever it was I did to screw up my computer, he made the same sort of comment. After he worked his magic on my computer and left, I started to work on several things at once and almost messed it up again.

I’m trying to remember if I’ve always been too quick and too close to deadly. I know that when I used to write poetry, I would spend slow, easy hours sitting, doodling, ruminating, incubating. Time. I took the time.

I think I began picking up the pace when I started the job from which I recently retired. That was more than twenty years ago. I stayed that much longer than my originally-intended five years because my boss, a woman only a couple of years older than I, gave me plenty of room to innovate, create – as long as I got my regular deadline-sensitive work done. So I learned to juggle many completely unrelated tasks at the same time – each with its own set of deadlines. I had to work quickly, think quickly, decide quickly. I developed a range of unrelated skills. I was good in a crisis, and I loved push-the-envelope kinds of challenges.

I don’t have to be that quick anymore. I can’t function well at that pace anymore. But 20-year old habits are hard to break. As a result, I screw up my computer, among other things.

And I transferred that break-neck pace at which I used to work to blogging. Like I still have something to prove. I don’t have to prove anything. I don’t have to prove anything. I don’t have to prove anything. That’s my new mantra (well, I didn’t really have an old one). I don’t have to prove anything.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Burn the Floor
I'm leaving shortly to meet some friends to see a production of Burn the Floor. That should psych me up to get some dancing of my own in this weekend.
Why is being wrong so hard to admit?
b!X posted something yesterday related to a specific incident of someone pulling a post because he was wrong about something. bIX says: Much is made about how one of the strengths of weblogs is the direct access they give us to a vast expanse of voice. But it's not voice if it's not authentic. And it's not authentic if disdains responsibility.

Why it so hard for most of us to admit that we have been wrong, interpreted something incorrectly, made a assertion based on insufficient thought or evidence. Sometimes we shoot from the hip and totally miss the point. When this happens in our blog, why don't we just write another post that explains what happened rather than "pull" the original post? We are all fallible; we are all human; we all make mistakes every day. Personally, I prefer an "Oops, did I goof!" or a "Wow, I took a wrong turn on that one!" rather than denying, or, just as bad, ignoring that it ever happened or ever was said. Admitting we made a mistake and explaining the turn of mind we took to get that wrong place demonstrates that the sky doesn't fall if we make an effort to create a little more honesty between ourselves and the rest of the world.

"Voice" continues to be a topic of rich discussion on any number of weblogs these days, and I especially was drawn into Sessum's recent post on BlogSisters. Strong, authentic blog voices are potent models for those still struggling to find their own voice, to discover, through writing, who they are at their cores. Some of these strong, authentic blog voices are also honest, open, and responsible. Now that's something we should all strive for -- on and off the Blog.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

bIX and the internet: born on the same day
On b!X's newly redesigned blog What Planet Is This, he cites dates that ought to be considered holidays for this new world we live in. One of these is when the first network connection was made. He says:
...the Computer History Museum says:
"After installation in September, handwritten logs from UCLA show the first host-to-host connection, from UCLA to SRI, is made on October 25, 1969. The first ‘Log-In’ crashes the IMPs, but the next one works!"

In short: The Internet and I were born on the same day in 1969.

That wasn't my due date for b!X. I was in low-level labor, so the decision was made to induce. That decision must have sealed his fate, since he's been inextricably bound to the net since they discovered each other.

Things like this are what make life so mysteriously magical.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Just a little chuckle for April Fool's Day.
What a difference 30 years makes! (Of course, I don't identify with ALL of the 1970 references!)

1970: long hair
2000: longing for hair

1970: the perfect high
2000: the perfect high mutual fund

1970: keg
2000: ekg

1970: acid rock
2000: acid reflux

1970: moving to California because it’s cool
2000: moving to California because it’s warm

1970: growing pot
2000: growing pot belly

1970: watching John Glenn’s historic space flight with your parents
2000: watching John Glenn’s historic space flight with your children

1970: trying to look like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor
2000: trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor

1970: seeds and stems
2000: roughage

1970: popping pills, smoking joints
2000: popping joints

1970: our president’s struggle with Fidel
2000: our president’s struggle with fidelity

1970: Paar
2000: AARP

1970: killer weed
2000: weed killer

1970: hoping for a BMW
2000: hoping for a BM

1970: the Grateful Dead
2000: Dr. Kevorkian

1970: getting out to a new hip joint
2000: getting a new hip joint

1970: Rolling Stones
2000: kidney stones

1970: screw the system
2000: upgrade the system

1970: passing the driver’s test
2000: passing the vision test

970: "Whatever…"
2000: "Depends"