Friday, May 31, 2002

Now there are three
Last fall, I started noticing a lone blue heron, standing watch in the evenings along the edge of a pond adjacent to the building where I live. He was always alone, holding his own on the shadowy water's edge. (Somehow I thought of the heron as a "he," although he could just as well have been a she.) Our eyes would follow each other as I slowed my usual brisk pace, and he willed himself even more invisible among the reeds. Once I must have done something to make him feel threatened, because suddenly he took low flight over the still pond and disappeared into the dense brush. I haven't seen him since.

Several weeks ago, instead, a lone turtle sunned herself on the partially submerged log where the heron used to stand. The other day, there were three. Three turtles, the color of murky earth, all facing east, waiting. They are there every day now, at least they are when the geese take themselves over to pond on the other side of the building.

My mother marvels at the strong goose-sense of family. I watch them, too, the six fuzzy goslings and their ever-watchful parents. When they walk, one parent is always in front and the other behind; when they rest, the adult geese bookend their offspring, watching sternly while the little ones sleep. "We could learn a lot from watching animals," my mother says.

I recently finished reading a lovely little book, Any Small Thing Can Save You: A Bestiary. As I learned on's review, "Medieval bestiaries were compendiums of animal lore particularly descriptions of exotic and fantastic beasts as well as anthologies of moral instruction." This anthology of 26 vignettes, one for each letter of the alphabet, is a series of eloquent snapshots of the appearance of animals at subtly relevant times in the lives of various humans. It's like my witnessing the appearance of the three turtles just after Jeneane Sessum, Halley Suitt, and I held virtual hands and tried to bend the universe for RageBoy.

There is great significance to the number three, which is filled with magic and power. Triple spirals ..... are interdimensional symbols capable of parting time from space and allowing us to venture into other worlds and dimensions. Brigit, goddess of the fire and home hearth, is also the triple goddess. " Third time lucky," is a phrase well known even in our modern, western society.

And as for turtles, in Iroquois mythology, the turtle holds the earth up while sky woman rides safely on the turtle's back; the turtle has been a symbol for Mother Earth, for longevity, and for the awakening of heightened sensibilities.

Three turtles facing east. Three Wyrd (Blog) Sisters living in the east. Toil and trouble. And magic.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Braz-Valentine's Open Letter is really a poem!
She responded to an email I sent her with the text of the actual poem, so you can go to Blog Sisters and read the correct version. I don't think it's recorded correctly anywhere else on the net, at least not that I could find. Ah. Another "first" for Blog Sisters.
The Boob in the Hall of Justice
Thanks to Esta, who posted info about this on BlogSisters.

Remember the drape that Ashcroft had put over the naked breasts of Justice? Read here an absolutely perfect open letter to Ashcroft by an amazing crone -- poet, playwright, and journalist Claire Braz-Valentine -- that she presented at this year's In Celebration of the Muse, Cabrillo College. You also can see her and hear her read it.

As I post this, in the background on my television, Ground Zero, the Last Day plays out with sad ceremony. It sit here feeling the incredible schizoid nature of this country. We are a people of great heart and open soul. And yet so many of our leaders are such boobs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Getting to Forgiveness
It’s not that I’m obsessed with AKMA, but he never fails to blog good stuff, and other articulate bloggers invariably pick up and run with his themes way before they start to gel in my own head. But I catch up, eventually.

“Forgiveness” is the current theme du jour.

Now, I don’t take issue with any of the thoughtful thoughts on this issue presented, for example, by David Weinberger or Halley Suitt or Marek.

But they all left out one step on the road that I need to take to get to Forgiveness so that I don’t simply suppress or repress my hurt and anger and then unwittingly find myself at the mercy of what happens when those feelings erupt and displace at some time in my (and probably some other innocent person's) future. I need catharsis. I need to purge the bad feelings. I need to vent. Let me give you an example. And this is the goddesses'-honest truth:

Several years ago, as I was ending a relationship with a man I had been living with for only a year, I realized that he had already begun seeing (and probably sleeping with) another woman before I even moved out. He didn’t even wait until, as they say, “the body was cold.” Even though I knew it was over between us, I was still devastated. Hell, I was mad. Furious. I mean, how would you feel?

But I knew that I needed to move on, forgive, put it all behind me – not repress it or harbor seething rage. I had put an awful lot of myself into trying to make the relationship work; I even spent a great deal of my own creative energies editing and re-writing the first mystery novel that he had ever tried to write. His total disregard of my feelings after all of that truly hit a nerve. I was hurt. I was mad. I felt betrayed. How was I going to get to Forgiveness? Hee hee, as the Crone says.

This is what I did after I moved out: I made a clay figure that looked pretty much like him. (This stuff called Fimo is great for this purpose because you use your toaster oven to harden it.) I took a tin box and decorated it so that it looked like a miniature sarcophagus and painted it with female power symbols. I invited my women friends over on the night of a full moon (they were used to my doing weird stuff like this, so they came) and had them help me tear up various photos of us, cards, notes he had written me etc. and put them in the box, along with the figure. I wrote a chant, which basically said that I take back all that I had given him, all the creative energies I brought into his life, and I leave him as he was before I met him – non-existent in my awareness. We lit some candles, burned some incense, I did my chant and then I put the piece of paper with the chant on it into the box and sealed it up. And then we all sat down and had some decaf coffee and tea and Pepperidge Farm cookies and spent some time venting a whole lot of other stuff that bothered us.

After they left, at midnight I drove over to his house and left the box on his porch. Yes, I could have gotten arrested for trespassing, I suppose. But I didn’t.

With the delivery of that box, not only was my anger gone, but I no longer felt victimized, and that alone was worth the risk of getting caught trespassing. After that, it was easy to forget and forgive.

Maybe that’s not the accepted way to find Forgiveness as far as traditional religions and spiritualities are concerned, but boy, did it feel good. And the strange thing is, he called me some time after, and we talked about the incident and the experience. He knew he did something wrong, and my little ritual somehow expunged his guilt as well as my anger. And now, when we run into each other, there’s no anger, no guilt, a little nostalgia, a few laughs, and all in a zone of comfort that we never would have had without the shared catharsis.

So, for me, Forgiveness is not a place I can get to from here without taking a little detour. Does the end justify the means? Works for me.
La Rouge et La Blonde
No, this is not a mis-remembering the titleof Stendhal’s classic.

Unlike AKMA*, who watched Moulin Rouge because others in his family wanted to and then didn’t like it although they did, I loved it. And so did my kids. Of course, we also loved Buffy: The Musical. Probably for the same reasons. It has something to do with moving beyond the accepted and expected, playing with anachronisms and somehow making them “play.” It has something to do with shuffling together assumedly dissimilar approaches to performance and coming up with a new genre. Moulin Rouge is also gaudy and baudy. I guess that’s another reason why I like it.

Legally Blonde is another movie I just rented and liked a lot – and not because I’ve opted for blondeness. Our society has a tendency to force women into narrow categories: beautiful and dumb or smart and plain, mother or mistress, good girl or slut, attractive woman or old lady. Any female can be any or all of these things at various times. It’s good to be reminded that sometimes she can be beautiful, smart, sexy, ethical, moral, assertive, free-spirited – in the parlance of the ‘40s and '50s movies (as Tom Shurgart reminds me), a real “stand-up broad.” And that’s a fine and fabulous thing to be as far as I’m concerned.

*I couldn't find the exact citation for AKMA' blog about Moulin Rouge, so if anyone knows what it is, would you please leave it in the Comments? Thanks.
So, Am I Brave or Just Plain Stupid?
I had such fun answering Frank Paynter's interview questions about how I got be be "Resident Crone of Blogdom" that I just kept on e-mailing him the stories of my life, including things some of my closest friends don't know. Well, now they know. Now everyone knows.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

I am totally "Older Than Dirt."
Older Than Dirt Quiz: Count all the ones that you remember -- not the ones you were told about! Ratings at the bottom.
1. Blackjack chewing gum
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
3. Candy cigarettes
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed bottle
5. Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
7. Party lines
8. Newsreels before the movie
9. P. F. Flyers
10. Butch wax
11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (Olive - 6933)
12. Peashooters
13. Howdy Doody
14. 45 RPM records
15. S&H Green Stamps
16. Hi-fi's.
17. Metal ice trays with lever
18. Mimeograph paper
19. Blue flashbulb
20. Packard's
21. Roller skate keys
22. Cork popguns
23. Drive-ins
24. Studebakers
25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered
0- 05 = You're still young
6-10 = You are getting older
11-15 = Don't tell your age,
16-25 = You're older than dirt!

Heh. I even have the distinction of having been on one of the earliest Howdy Doody shows as one of the kids in the Peanut Gallery. I remember being absolutely disillusioned by the fact that Clarabelle's breath smelled like whiskey and he was mean to us. Yes, I learned early the difference between fantasy and reality.
OK, so Ev went to another version of ProBlogger and it messed up my YACCS comments. So much for improvements. Now remember, I don't know how to do codes so I don't know how to fix mine. Can someone just give me the whole YACCS code that I now should put in to replace what I have now so that my comments will work in the new ProBlogger version? Dammit.

P.S., Addendum, Whatever
It pays to cultivate smart and helpful friends!! Thanks to Gary Turner, who told me what to do, my Comments are back. And my deepest apologies for thinking that Sean Connery was Welsh (where the hell did I get that?). He's Scottish. Of course, No wonder! Thanks, Gary.
Hands Across the Ocean...
---or rather voices across the ocean. Gary Turner in the UK is making a hobby of collecting the voices of bloggers leaving actual voice messages on his voice mail. So, not wanting to be left behind, I added my message to his collection, which you can hear, in all my allergic nasality, by linking from his blog. (I don't think I sound as dorky as I thought I would sound -- *sigh of relief*.) You can hear Jeneane, Sharon, Shelley and Marek if you go here. See if you don't just love Gary's Scottish brogue -- sounds a little like Sean Connery, who's Welsh, I know, but's the same rolling rrrrs, resonant tone. mmmm.

Monday, May 27, 2002

And for my next trick…..
So, now that the RageBoy ritual seems to have accomplished what it was intended to, my celebrity status is catching on. (No, that’s not what was intended.) Andrea is asking for my help winning the Mojo Jojo electric guitar so that she can achieve her rock star status dream.

Now, Andrea, the way Crone magic works is that we have to ask for what is “best” for you. I know that you promised that, if you get it, you
won't participate in or be the origin of any drug-ridden orgies that destroy hotel rooms. I will also give money to charity and be kind to small children. And I will go to church twice on Sunday and not swear when drivers cut me off on the freeway.

Well, we all know where good intentions lead.

However, since you write such great poetry and are such a model Geek Icon as well as a member of GEEK Force, and since you’re a BlogSister who actually posts on that weblog and also leaves nice Comments on mine, I will give it my best shot. Now, you gave me a very tight time frame – May 31. No time to find magical feathers and string beads and dig through my assorted paraphernalia for the other doodads that one needs in such situations. And not even a full moon to count on! This is going to be a tough one, so don’t get your hopes up too high. And, in the meanwhile, you’d better line up as many e-mail addresses as you can and make sure you play WinBall every day from each address. (Hey, I practice very practical magic.) And, while you're at it, make sure that you have your fave Sheryl Crowe (or other female guitar player of your choice) playing loud enough to disturb your neighbors. Oh, and buy a new guitar pick, drill a hole in it, and wear it around your neck for the rest of the week. Even better if you buy two and make them into earrings.

If you win it, of course, that was my doing. If you don’t, then I guess you just didn’t play enough WinBall. :-)
The Elixir of Life
According to the BBC News, NASA has confirmed early Odyssey data about water-ice on Mars. Water is essential for life, so the discovery enhances the belief that Mars could have had life in the past and perhaps in the present as well.
It's so good to hear your voice.
One would tend to think that, since it's so easy to communicate online these days, we wouldn't bother using a telephone to talk with other bloggers. But that's not so. Maybe we just get to the point where we want to match a voice to the "voice." Whatever it is, there have been a lot of phone calls going on lately. I even wound up leaving Gary Turner a voice mail message on his work phone. (Well, he DID invite us to do so on his weblog.) And, after all, Jeneane and Sharon and Shelley already got to Gary's voice mail before me, and I can't stand being left behind. Of course, I forgot that Gary makes our voice messages available to the world at large, and I'm sure that I sounded like a real dork. I knew that I should have written out what I wanted to say first!!

I also called Jeneane today because she's even got a worse sinus problem that I have right now (although I'm going to need surgery, so maybe mine really is worse; but she certainly sounds and feels worse). I guess our intra-national ritual took its toll on the poor thing. Not so with RageBoy, who sounded rather chipper on the telephone. (hee hee cackle cackle says the Crone). And then Marek J called me the other day, and we had just the kind of energizing conversation that one might expect to have with Marek.

The next step has to be some sort of face to face. Too bad we can't videoconference. Nah. We need to figure out how to all get together for a real messy group hug. :-)

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Let’s hear it for the grrrls.
Jeneane, Halley, and me stirring it up on the East Coast; Denise reflecting it back on the West Coast; RB center stage absorbing it all and finding himself buying a copy of Eve Ensler. Now try to tell me something hasn’t begun shifting in the universe!

The moon hid from my view last night, but she couldn’t hide her secrets. Denise saw a ring-‘round-the-moon. A portent if ever there was one. Jeneane and RB, ever in sync, paused to share the lucid moonlight.

This morning at about 8 a.m., which is when the moon was said to be most full-faced out this way, a brief, thunderous, and lightening-lit rainstorm. A little cosmic applause for the grrrls, Blogaria’s revisionist ladies of the nethernight.

Our part is over. But the rest isn’t.

If you believe in faeries, clap your hands.
It has begun.
It didn't rain, but the wind blew fiercely, except when I needed it not to. Alice Hoffman's kind of magic. The in-between time has begun. Watch. Wait. Witness.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Being between -- between two places, two worlds, two people, two states of consciousness, two hearts, two minds. Betweentwo. Betweentwo.

As Jeneane says Helene Cixous says:
Human beings are equipped for daily life, with its rites, with its closure, its commodities, its furniture. When an event arrives which evicts us from ourselves, we do not know how to 'live.' But we must. Thus, we are launched into a space-time whose coordinates are all different from those we have always been accustomed to.

Aha! Aha! Ahas happen because of entredeux journeys.

Rituals are meant to be catalysts for certain kinds of entredeux – to evict us, launch us – force us to alter our perceptions, perspectives, permissions. To force Ahas.

Soon, soon.

I am surprised that no one has emailed me and said, What are you weird? You don’t really believe that magic ritual stuff do you? Well, almost no one. Frank Paynter asked me. He asked me some other questions, too, and I wound up writing “The Story of My Life in 5 E-mails.” If he shares any of that on his blog, you will know if I believe in magic.

Meanwhile, I will share with you one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite magical novelists, Alice Hoffman. It’s from Turtle Moon.
Every May, when the sea turtles begin their migration across West Main Street, mistaking the glow of streetlights for the moon, people go a little bit crazy. At least one teenage boy comes close to slamming his car right into the gumbo-limbo tree that grows beside the Burger King. Girls run away from home, babies cry all night, ficus hedges explode into flame, and during one particularly awful May, half a dozen rattlesnakes set themselves up in the phone booth outside the 7-Eleven and refused to budge until June.

Magic is a way to view the world.

In another hour, I will leave and go outside, where three fir trees form a perfect triangle, where the roof of a strip of garages blocks the view of those trees from the windows of my elderly frightened neighbors, who, no doubt will call the cops if they see the flicker of candlelight, if they notice the subtle whirl of shadow and sage smoke.

The clouds obscure the gleam of the full moon, but I know where it is. The same moon that nestles above the cloud cover here in upstate NY is the same moon that watches over Boulder. The moon is entredeux.
It’s the thinking that counts
Periodically, over at AKMA and Himmer and Sanders, and often spilling over to other fiefdoms in Blogaria, are meandering meaningful conversations about religion, afterlife, and all of the associated dogmas, beliefs, wishes, and hopes.

Again, b!X inadvertently reassures me that, somewhere along the line, I miraculously managed not to damage his soul. In his “In Heaven, Everything is Fine” post, he speculates on what if there were a Heaven in which everyone gets to spend eternity. In this thought experiment, he says:

It presents us with a profound choice: To live our lives however selfishly or destructively as we desire, since there will be no repercussions. Or to derive from this complete separation of worlds a deep sense of our own individual and collective power.

We and we alone would be responsible for making the world. We and we alone get to decide just what sort of world we wish to have.

I do believe that if b!X and Marek J. got together to join politically active forces, the universe definitely would bend a little in the right direction.

Now, whether it bends tonight when I conduct my Ritual for RageBoy is yet to be seen.

The crows already gathered in force at exactly 3 p.m. to begin cawing down the moon. Their insistent chant filled the circle of trees at the far end of the new park behind my building. It has begun, I thought, as I sat beside my re-planted garden, worshiping the drifting sun, offering the threads of my mind to Apollo, begging the beneficence of Pan with the new proliferation of basil bowing to his wanton will.

I hope it doesn’t rain before midnight.

I am thinking that, perhaps, for the Summer Solstice, when I will be on the coast of Maine, I will create a ritual for b!X – another Scorpio struggling to find a loving place in this world. Sounds about right to me.

Friday, May 24, 2002

I’m not kidding, really.
I’m ready for the full moon – ritual objects representative of roots and wings: a feather that appeared before me on a path in the woods, to which I attached a tail made of fabric strips imprinted with RB’s words; a stick of wood inscribed with ancient symbols, wrapped in a double helix of golden glass, three rose quartz circles and various “milogras.” Abalone inserted into the tip. Don’t believe me? Here they are:

Selene, Diana, Hecate. Pan, Cernnunos.
Eagle, Bear, Raven, Buffalo.
Lilith, Lamia, Innana.

We are ready to rock and roll.
"Anthurian" is the word!
Actually, it's a new blog worth reading. He's a collegue of Jeneane's, and the way that they discovered that they each are bloggers is wonderful. Check out her story and his blog. And then send him an email and tell him the Crone sent ya'.
Countdown to the Full Moon
On Sunday, May 26 at about 8 a.m. on the East Coast, the moon will be at it’s fullest. This is the time of the Full Flower Moon, the Full Milk Moon. Somewhere between midnight and midnight, RageBoy will know.

The words are ready. RageBoy gave us the words. The objects are almost ready. Feather, stick, beads, crystals, sacred images. We are waiting for the moon. Full, it magnifies any energies generated. A full moon on Sun-day. The yin with the yang. Opposites superimposed. The ultimate connectedness.

If you’re so inclined, when the moon hangs full in your night sky on Sunday, say the words, feel the universe bend just enough.
Truth Telling
I'm stealing this directly from Tom Tomorrow's site, This Modern World, which is quoting the following from from Media Whores Online (but Tom's link doesn't get you to the Whore's post). Thanks to b!X who pointed me to it in an email. (Why the hell isn't he posting this himself????)

"Don't miss this story in this morning's Times. I'm going to steal a summary from Media Whores Online, because they understand what the Times seems to be overlooking:

In a stunning revelation, the New York Times has reported that among the two FBI office counterterrorism chiefs who received the now famously neglected Phoenix memorandum last July was none other than John O'Neill -- then the top counterterrorist officer in the FBI's New York City's office, and the FBI's leading expert on Osama bin Laden.

O'Neill knew perfectly well what Al Qaeda was up to, and had been knocking on doors (and, at times, heads) for years to get his colleagues and superiors to understand what he did.

The last straw came in July 2001, when (as he told the French authors Guillaume Dasquié and Jean-Charles Brisard in an interview), O'Neill became fully aware that the Bush administration, anxious over negotiations for a Caspian Sea oil pipe line, had decided to back off of tracking bin Laden and opposing the Taliban, lest it risk alienating powerful Saudi families. Instead of going after the Taliban and bin Laden, the Bush Administration decided to negotiate and try to buy off the Taliban and bin Laden.

Unfortunately for the Administration, the pipe-line negotiations broke down in August.

And on September 11, bin Laden struck.

What no one has known until now is that at the very moment that O'Neill was finally giving up, in July, he was being apprised of the Phoenix memorandum -- a memo, it seems, that practically nobody inside the Bush Administration was willing to treat seriously other than himself.

At the end of August, in disgust, O'Neill left the FBI to take what he somewhat ruefully regarded as his "retirement" job --as head of security at the World Trade Center. There, on September 11, John O'Neill died at the hands of his arch-enemy bin Laden's fiendish followers.

Connect the dots? Well, duh! O'Neill got the Phoenix message. No one would listen. No one. The Bushies had backed off bin Laden. So O'Neill changed jobs -- and went on to die a martyr's death. While all the people who ignored him, on up the chain to the Oval Office, live on -- ghoulishly making political hay out of his sacrifice and their own incompetence -- and, in a sense, their own perfidy.

But here's the really amazing thing -- having unearthed this blockbuster, the New York Times reporters David Johnston and Don Van Natta, Jr., simply bury it in their story.

They report, incredibly, that O'Neill simply "retired" back in August -- ignoring the well-known background, leaving the dots unconnected!!

What did O'Neill know back in July? Whom did he try to warn? What happened when he did so? What did his "retirement" -- and its tragic consequences -- have to do with his frustrated efforts to get Bush's people to listen to him about the Phoenix memo, and/or about everything else he knew about Osama bin Laden's clear and present danger to American lives?

Here are some questions that the Bush people don't want asked, by the New York Times, by a National Board of Investigation, or by anyone else.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Frank Paynter resurrects my AHA!
Back in the early feminist seventies, we were all having AHAs! -- that was how one woman writer back then (who, of course, I can't remember where or when) described the moment when we realized what had been holding us back, what had been making us angry. In the course of his e-mail interviews with me, Frank Paynter unearths the Ms. Magazine article that changed my life. My AHA! Read it here.

I had a chance to actually meet Lilly Rivlin, who wrote the article, several years ago when some of us who had contributed to Which Lilith: Feminists Writers Re-Create the First Woman -- including the editors -- gathered in a theater in Kinderhook, NY to read our pieces. What a phenomenal woman! We hugged a lot, cried a little, she gave me her card and then we each went off in our own direction to follow our chosen paths. But I've never forgotten her or how her words changed my life.
I have always had a thing for Spike
If you’re not a Buffy fan, then you probably don’t know who Spike is. If you read my poem about Tin Men and Fallen Angels, then you now why I’ve always had a thing for Spike. Either way or no way, you should still read this, (found via this emailed to me by b!X, who is finally back doing some good political postings). I’m not even going to try to add anything. Salon's Stephanie Zacharek gets it good.
RageBoy knows the words.
Powerful words. Words of power. Uncontained power that need to be embraced. RageBoy gave me the words to draw down the moon. Wait. Wait. It’s almost time. Unplug yourself, Halley. It’s almost time.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Does Rob Breszny know about my planned virtual ritual?
This is my Free-Will Astrology reading for this week:
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The fork did not quickly gain acceptance as an everyday eating utensil. Though introduced to Europe in the eleventh century, it was regarded as an upper class affectation for hundreds of years. "Instead of eating with her fingers like other people," a medieval clergyman wrote of a Venetian noblewoman, "the princess cuts up her food into small pieces and eats them by means of little golden forks with two prongs." I invoke this historical fact, Pisces, to draw a comparison to your life. The innovation you're now in the midst of making may be ignored and even ridiculed at first, but ultimately it will become indispensable.
GEEK Force needs you before July 4
You can go to the site and read this, or read it here:

Global Effort to Eradicate Know-nothings
We have gone through many incarnations over the years. What are we now? Your guess is as good as ours. Perhaps we've (d)evolved into pure brand. You'll notice that the only link currently offered here is our logo to the left -- which links to our CafePress store. Is this all that has become of us? Does the path end here? Your guess is as good as ours. We've been resurrected in the past, and maybe we will be again. Well, we do have something of an idea brewing for the Fourth of July, but that's strictly hush-hush right now. All we're free to say right now is that we need pro-corporate quotes, preferably from people inside corporate America. Specifically, we need quotes that illustrate anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-public interest viewpoints etc. Quotes which illustrate corporate disdain for greater social justice. Quotes which demonstrate their desire for control over the rest of us. If you've got any, email them to us, preferably with specific attribution and source citation so we can confirm them. And let us be perfectly clear: We are looking for statements defending corporatism, but that clearly imply the threats of corporatism. They could be quotes against attempts at organizing a union. They could be quotes about how environmental laws interfere with the free market. They could be quotes which illustrate a regard only for stockholders, and to Hell with anyone else. We are not looking for anti-corporate quotes. The reasons for this will become clear once this project goes public.

Do it or the Crone with zap you with zits.
Do you believe in magic?
i'll tell you about the magic
it can free your soul
but it's like trying to
tell a stranger bout
rock and roll

--- the Lovin' Spoonfulls

I'm sure a believer in the magic of the web. My young Polish friend Marek J. is going to telephone me; I've already spoken by phone several times with Jeneane; Frank Paynter is interviewing me for his blog; I get personal emails from the legendary RageBoy.... what more could a cybercrone want?

For now, maybe to make her debut doing a long-distance virtual ritual. So I've decided that on the full moon, this Sunday, I'm going to perform a ritual on behalf of RageBoy. I'm not going to tell you what it is intended to do, but if you feel the earth move and the universe shift a little, you know that it's working. Do I believe in magic? I believe that there is a significant overlap between the processes of magic and the unconscious workings of the mind. And so, I am in the process of creating a ritual object and ritual words, which, combined with the "right" intention, might just work.

Those of you Buffy fans who saw the very last scene of the series finale last night might have a vague idea of the direction I'm going. So, on Sunday, May 26, when the moon rises full over your heart, think of RageBoy. I will be.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Today I’m going to blog about a bunch of “Bs” that I know. No, they’re not Bastards, although there are some who might hold that opinion of them.

I’ll start with rageBoy, whose life (you know if you track him on EGR) reads like one long acidy, usually libidinous, trip. Even though my GEEKforce son (another B I’ll get to later) tried to get me to subscribe to EGR’s Topica list for years, an early skim of rBoy’s assumedly skewed-brain ramblings gave me pause. A long pause. A few years pause. But somehow, here I am, not only subscribed to EGR but linked there as well. Go figure. Bs in my bonnet.

Recently rBoy discovered rob Breszny, who’s the strange brain behind Free Will Astrology. Until recently , I subscribed to a weekly astrological newsletter from Breszny, who also writes from a lopsided right brain. His bizarre readings were often strangely relevant, and I used to post them on my blog. I discovered Breszny through my B-son, as I also discovered rBoy. From what I can assume, Breszny and rBoy tripped through their coming of age in at about the same time. As did my Brother, whose brain, however, took a sharp turn to the left instead of the right. Except when he writes his music. Oddly enough, I unsubscribed to Breszny just before I decided to subscribe to rBoy. That was lucky, since I'm sure that my brain certainly would have had a major misfire trying to absorb all of that eclectic bombast. Bs in my brain.

Which leads me to b!X, my Scorpio son, of another generation than the other Bs, and, as far as I can tell since I live across the country from him, pretty much drug-free (except for nicotine and alcohol and caffeine; but I think those count too). I just discovered that both rBoy and b!X are Scorpios. (Well, I always knew b!X was; did I ever tell you that he was yelling at the world before he was all the way out of my beautiful vagina?) My Brother is also a Scorpio. Not that that’s important, but it is coincidentally interesting. There’s something fundamentally similar about b!X and rBoy. Something about having a distinct voice and the urge to use it. Only b!X has been too silent lately. That worries me. Blog b!X! Blog!! Bs in my family.

Believing in the importance of coming full circle, I’m back to rBoy and his continuing saga of self-instruction. Yes, I said Instruction not Destruction. Like the magician, the jester, the fool, -- Loki, Coyote -- with misdirection and sad reflection, his virtual antics hold a mirror to both his own complex truths and even some of our own. Blog, rBoy. Blog. Be. Be. Be.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Best Blogroll I've Ever Seen!
Got this from stavrosthewonderchicken. Start with this homepage and then check out the blogroll. Love it.
Big Picture, Little Picture
Little picture: RIP Basil. And tomatoes. A couple of inches of snow and two nights of frost will do it. As in life, timing is everything.

Big Picture: Madeline Albright rightfully calls the Bush administration “bi-polar.” I was pointed to this from b!X, who is finally posting again, which makes me happy because I rely on him to keep the big picture in front of my nose. (The struggle of libraries to maintain their strong support of intellectual freedom is another important issue dear to my heart that he recently posted about.)

"They talk about the importance of the rule of law, but seem allergic to treaties designed to strengthen the rule of law in areas such as money-laundering, biological weapons, crimes against humanity, and the environment," Albright said in a commencement speech at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

I don’t agree with all of Albright’s positions, but in this case, “You go, sister crone!”
OK. Here’s the thing…..
I’m obsessing over what really is a compliment about my writing from Mike Golby (see previous post). I’m not sure why I’m obsessing. I think it has something to do with my really wanting to be a female version of RageBoy but not having the balls. (heh)

It’s got something to do with being super-sensitive to the privacy issues of the others in my life. For example, I’ve never blogged about my brother. You don’t even know I have a brother-who-makes-me-crazy, right? And I rarely say anything about my ex-husband. He guards his privacy jealously. And I don’t use my last name very often because it’s my ex-husband’s last name and I don’t want to infringe upon his privacy. B!X reads this blog; but he’s a remarkably accepting guy and has never even suggested that I censor what I write.

Last night I dreamed about blogging, and I woke up wondering if Mike Golby’s wife reads his blog and if so what she thinks. I think we all know what RageBoy’s heart’s desire thinks. I doubt if Jeneane’s family (other than her husband) reads her blog. If they do, what do they think? Does she care?

I never wrote about my father until after he died. My mother’s still here, and I only write the most general things about my life these days with her, even though there’s an awful lot of frustration and sorrow and even anger that my gut would probably like to spill out on these pages. I don’t know why I don’t do that. Maybe those are the in-the-world details that I choose to omit. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? (Am I a good witch or a bad witch?)

Maybe my blogging reticence does have something to do with my need to keep a balance, not fall off the edge and take anyone with me. Maybe it’s because I have done that in the past and don’t want to do it here. Maybe it does have something to do with the “wisdom” of age.

Well, Mike, I’ll bet you never thought that your insightful words would cause such a stir in my psyche. And, you see, that’s what I really like about blogging – the interchange, the stirring up of ideas and perspectives and feelings and ideologies. The interchange. The Comments.

It occurs to me here that Shelley and Halley write beautifully and personally and balanced, and they get lots of Comments anyway. They spark interchange.

The question for me still remains: Do I want to stir things up or do I just want to write the kinds of “personal essays” with which I seem to be most comfortable. Sometimes too much comfort gets stale and boring. Just something for me to think about.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Golby Explains Why My Blog Has So Few Comments
(Actually, I had been wondering about that.)
He says:
Unlike, as Nithia and I were discussing, our friend and resident crone of the blogs, Elaine , I am not an 'holistic' blogger. Sorry, Elaine, we were talking male / female, yin / yang, and you came up as the perfect example of the complete blogger. You're open to the Web in a private way, you give all sides of yourself while retaining those in-the-world details you choose to omit. You are, or have become, extremely difficult to comment on because you generally paint a full picture without compromising yourself.

Hmmm.. Hmmmmmmmm. Mike Golby makes me think about that. He’s right. I don’t compromise myself.

Hmm. I guess that’s true. I write my blog like a newspaper commentary. I omit details that would compromise me. Hmmm. Because my kids read my blog? Because non-blogger friends read my blog? Because I am manipulating what you think of me? Because I am inventing myself as I want to be rather than presenting myself as I am? Because I really am balanced and holistic?

So, this is what I Commented back to Golby:
Heh. Balance? I've been through depression, divorce, deaths.... just like so many others. I spent several crazy years drinking and disco-ing and "dating" (that's a euphemism) even a little toking -- and this while trying to raise my two incredible kids. I've come a long way, baby, and if I seem more balanced now it's because I had a lot of professional help getting through my dark night of the soul. But don't put me on any pedestal yet. I've got a few more wild dances in me to set the scales askew.

These days, however, my life is constrained by the fact that I live in a small one-bedroom apartment across the hall from my mother so that I can do what needs to be done for her. (Imagine living across the hall from your mother; it’s very inhibiting in any number of ways.) To make room for my sewing machine and the various artsy/craftsy stuff I do, I only have one twin bed in my bedroom. And there’s no one around here with whom I’m likely to have a relationship that would necessitate a bigger bed. I’ve sort of taken a hiatus from ballroom dancing because I can’t find anyone to dance with who’s really fun and sexy and worth spending time with. My thirty-something attitudes and energies have nowhere to go in this confined lifestyle. I miss the passionate life that I once led . And so I keep as my mantra lines from Theordore Roethke’s “The Lost Son” – A lively understandable spirit / once entertained you. / It will come again. / Be still. / Wait.

Balance. Yes. That’s the one thing that “aging” (god, I hate that word) has helped me to better understand. But just to throw things off balance for a minute, let me share some “poetry” I wrote not that long ago in response to a challenge from an distinctly unbalanced poet/colleague/friend to do an erotic poetry chapbook in collaboration with him. Here were some of my contributions to “Eating Disorders and Other Mastications,” which is what I titled the chapbook.

something about turkey necks,
gizzards nestled in palm of hand
stroked with oil
moist heated,
until firm, juice-laden,
ready for needing,
nibbling, gnawing --
fine night dining,
giving thanks.

no skinny men, please,
unless they’re hairy
from their necks down
(so that I have to hunt
for distinguishing features)
even on their backs,
like beasts to groom
with taming tongue,
or stroke against --
sweet skin on fur
smelling of caves, leaves,
banked fires.

My mother’s words
were words of fear:
stay away from dark
eyes, streets, corners, bars,
skin, moons, hearts –
things that lurk, lure, linger.
And so, of course,
I conjure shadows,
wait at crossroads,
shrive the stranger
of a heart gone wild.

unsatisfied still after
too much plum wine,
steamy rice,
bold-faced fortunes,
I let you (lead you
bring you)
stave my hunger
with your limpid kumquat,
leave me dripping
with the dredges
of those hot green teas.

Saturday Night Fevers

Those were the nights!
tho’ I never did the coke
in the shadows behind the bar
where the blue-eyed bouncer
(strategically sun-bronzed and bleached,
macho-hot in open shirt gleaming gold)
found new places for fast hands.
But I’d arrive gone already
from toking on the road,
primed for fast stepping,
skirt hiked high on thigh,
smile that said ready
to hustle me dizzy,
spinning close and low,
dropping now --
all arms
and sweat
and bass-booming blood
binding me to the heat
of those gone dancing nights.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose. Now is the time for balance. At least most of the time. Sigh.
I'm Going Where Bob Dylan Went
That's up to the Caffe Lena in Saratoga, which is the oldest continuously run coffeehouse in America. According to its history page, Bob Dylan played there on his first tour of the East. Don McLean first played "American Pie" on the Caffè Lena Stage. Arlo Guthrie sang there long before the rest of the world heard his music.

I'm heading up this evening with some friends to hear a friend of theirs, Joan Taub, whose unique and powerful alto voice has been featured recently with the Four Fabulous Females. Her vocal style has been described as a smokey Patsy Cline, crossed with the strength and sweetness of Georgia Brown. This is her first solo performance, featuring warm love ballads and breezy boppin' blues.

Of course, I'm taping the series finale of X-Files, even though I haven't watched it much since Duchovny left. But, hey, this is IT, folks.
Rage on, Mick.

Mick Jagger, now 60 years old, is going on tour with his Rolling Stones. Some think that he’s too old. I agree with Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin, who had this to say in a recent article:

Years from now, if the Stones need walkers to dance across stage, perhaps even I’ll admit it’s time. But if you can still play the game, there’s room in this culture for those who choose not to retire gracefully from it.

Tina Turner and Mick Jagger, my esteemed contemporaries. Maybe I shouldn’t look to rock stars as role models, but they are the ones who are push the envelope on the stereotypes of "older" people. That’s what I like about their personas. That and they’re not afraid of getting in the faces of their critics. They’ve still got it and they flaunt it. Flaunt. Flaunt.

Yes, indeed, rock, roll, and rage on.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

What it means to be a Crone.
When God was a woman, she was worshipped in three aspects: Maiden, Mother/Warrior, Crone – the original Holy Trinity. Over the millennia, just as older women became less and less honored and respected, so did the image of the Crone-as-Wise-Woman become tarnished.

To be a Crone is to no longer be either maiden or mother; to have moved past those female roles into a place of personal freedom, self-knowledge, and deep experience; to understand the dark places, the dream places. The archetype of the Crone brings death so that there can be rebirth.

What does a Crone look like? She can look like Margaret Thatcher, Bella Abzug, or Janet Reno. She can look like your favorite grandmother or your little blue-haired neighbor. And, in this day and age, she can also look like Tina Turner or Judy Dench, Julie Christie or Blythe Danner, Jacqueline Bissett -- or even me. (I was going to mention Marlo Thomas, Jane Fonda, and Dyan Cannon --Cannon is the same age as Janet Reno and me --, but they’ve had too much surgical enhancement to qualify as authentic.)

So, when I promote myself as the Resident Crone of Blogdom, please don’t imagine the patriarchal stereotype of the “old hag.”

And, as Halley Suitt continues to cast her version of Anything Goes, I’m auditioning for the part Mitzi Gaynor* played in the movie. I am a dancer, after all.

*In 1989, when she was just about my age, Mitzi Gaynor embarked on a 36-city, 11-month tour with Anything Goes.
It's Snowing on My Tomatoes!!
Forty years ago, by early May, we would throw on our shorts and tank tops, take our books and Coca-Colas out to the quad and start working on our tans and cramming for finals. As I sit here deciding whether to turn the heat on or not, it's snowing on my six beefsteak tomato plants, eighteen basil plants and assorted other herbs. The parsley will make it; it made it through the entire winter. I did mulch. In Jeneane's world it will never snow on tomato plants.

Last night, I had one of my recurring dreams: I parked my car (white 2001 Subaru outback sedan, loaded) in some parking lot and then couldn't find it. At one point I was walking down to the parking lot after work in very high heels and slouch socks which kept falling down. I saw my reflection in a store window and was embarrassed at how tacky it looked. And then when I got to the huge parking lot, it was dark and I knew that I had to change my shoes so that I could walk around and look for my car. I spent the entire rest of the dream trying to change my shoes. I never did find my car.

I have had frequent dreams about my car ever since I was married and we lived out in the country and only had one car -- which never seemed to be available for me. I used to dream that my husband would pack up the car into a briefcase size and leave with it. Heh.

Elsewhere in cyberspace, Halley Suitt and Chris Locke attempt to exchange brains. Personally, I think the only way it will work is if we do a massive cyber-ritual where we all get online and chant Boy George lyrics.
Ain't nobody's business
How I live my life
I learnt my lesson
Whether it's wrong or right
Ain't nobody baby
Gonna tell me how
I should live my life
Do live my way now

Satisfaction can be hard to find
I go crazy keeping it all inside

Funny. I've never wanted to be Chris Locke. At various times, I've wanted to be Tina Turner or Erica Jong. Today, I like being a blonde, sassy, sexy Crone -- a dancing Coyote Woman (I saw a t-shirt with an image of that and now wish I had bought it) and, mostly, today, I just want it to stop snowing on my tomato plants.

And, personally, if we're going to use technology to create the kind of male mate all of us (well, almost all of us) heterosexual females wish we had, I opt for the cyborg in Marge Piercy's He, She, It. Drool.

Friday, May 17, 2002

The World According to Jeneane

I had a good cry today – the kind of cry that you feel building inside your chest, rising up into your throat, linking the pain in your heart with the hurt in your head (the one that swells just behind your third eye when you try not to cry over what you don’t want to feel).

Jeneane blogged a world that made me cry like that, made feel forgotten yearnings for deep and safe connections. Made me remember how I thought those connections would be there with husband and family, how during the ‘60s we used to fantasize about gathering all of our kindred-spirit friends and seceding our little 1/3 acre of house and trees from the Union. How now my women friends and I sometimes imagine that we might someday find land and build places for ourselves around a central room so that none of us would have to grow old alone. And all of that time in between, trying not to think too much about just how far I had wandered from the kind of world that would give me a safe and connected place and yet not steal my soul.

The world according Jeneane is my dream too:
A real place, a magical place that nurtures the ebb and flow of bloggers, our dreams, a place of potions and remedies, a healing place, a place we could all come, give, take, then go—or maybe never leave.

Go and read Jeneane’s world-dream. And if the cry builds from your heart until it hurts your head and forces out the wet sobs you’ve been holding in for longer than you can remember, then you’re one of us, you have a place in this world too – a place in a magical connected world that not only doesn’t steal your soul -- it gives it space to soar. Welcome to Blogaria.
Hail Halley, Full of Grace
Halley Suitt begs my forgiveness missing my phone calls when I tried to reach her from my daughter’s in Boston. Hell, Halley, I’m disappointed, but not discouraged. We’ll get together yet. And with my forgiveness and AKMA’s blessings (they DID manage to get their families together in New Haven), thou art definitely blessed among women (bloggers).

Believe me, I know the way that six-year-olds have of stimulating an occasional need for a hide-under-the-covers afternoon. Heh. Just imagine what it was like trying to mother a 6-year old b!X.

Now, about your RageBoy wannabe urge. We might have a way………

Thursday, May 16, 2002

The Master's Voice
It's more Chris Locke than RageBoy, but it's still THE "voice" that we all know and love speaking the truth of the web. And you can even hear his actual mellow tones as he talks to Tess Vigeland on NPR's Morning Marketplace about the marvels of weblogging. According to Chris, the program's editors cut out a lot of his references to specific webloggers, but what they left in is his right-on take on what's really important about weblogging, and that's what matters most. It's worth the listen.
Vote for zefrank
When I first started blogging I stumbled on and spent a whole evening giggling and popping from one page of his to another. It's a virtual playground. His sections on "Annie" still make me laugh, and if you're a cat lover, be sure to check them out. And then go and vote for him in the webby awards. The instructions on how to do so are on the first page of his site.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The Vagina Knows It’s Beautiful

Do I have your attention? Today is “Turn Beauty Inside Out Day.”

As I drove out yesterday to visit my pregnant daughter in Boston, I listened, on NPR, to a presentation by Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues. You can access the whole presentation, either to read or listen to. She’s worth listening to.

Meanwhile, think about some of these things that she said:

I often hear women in the West talking about the terrible lot of women in Afghanistan, but are you aware that 700,000 women in America are raped every year? We all have different forms of enforced burqas. Every culture has it. Whether it's an idea or a fascist tyranny of what women are supposed to look like - so that women go to the extremes of liposuction, anorexia and bulemia to achieve it - or whether it's being covered in a burqa, we all have deep, profound, ongoing daily forms of oppression. If you're a 13-year-old girl in this country and there's an ideal of what you're supposed to look like, do you really have a choice to look like yourself? The pressure of capitalist consumer culture is more than any 13-year-old girl can bear.

The interviewer for a New York Times Magazine piece kept saying to me, "You're so dramatic." I finally realized what that means: You're really alive. Things really bother you. Things really move you and excite you. Look at teenage girls. They get crazy, excited, pissed off, and they do it all the time. Then the world comes along and shuts it down and clamps it and punishes it, makes it immoral or too sexy. Then we get to be good, contained, quiet, behaved, then disappear.

We have been trained as women to divide against each other, to fight for each other's space, to not believe there's enough for each other.

If you're jealous of your sister, if you think she's shinier, bigger or more fabulous than you, get over it. If you can do anything for a sister today, if you have a moment of jealousy or competition, give her something. If I feel competitive, I just give it away: Have it, take it. Otherwise, I'm saying there's only room for me to shine and not for you to shine - and we all have to shine right now. Remember that Afghanistan is everywhere and that all of us get to be big, so that we can take back the planet.

I don't think women should spend their time recovering and surviving. We have better things to do, like feeding the planet, nurturing, creating, envisioning. If we bang, beat, burn, mutilate and destroy women, we've destroyed everything. If we really put our attention on stopping violence toward women, it would be like bringing back the sun or earth. It's not coincidental that the earth is being destroyed as women are being destroyed.

Know and love thy vagina, and hold it sacred. Do not give it to anyone you do not want to give it to. I mean that as a metaphor. So much of what happens to girls is that we don't know our desires and bodies. We don't know what we want, so we enter the world in a haze. I love college students: They have cunt clubs and big vagina parades and balls, and they have speak-outs. They wear vagina pins. They're outrageous and they're fully here. I look at them and think, What happened to all of us? When did we lose this? Be as revolutionary and passionate as you are, and don't let anyone talk you out of it.

One of the last things Eve Ensler says is this:

In the process of doing "The Vagina Monologues" I have met so many tender, seeking, loving men who really want the world to be better for women and men. We have to allow them to find ways to embrace their own vulnerability and tenderness. We have to stop shaming them for not being these superheroes and power creatures that they're supposed to be.

My soon-to-be grandson has one of these exceptional men as his father. Somehow my son-in-law manages to be a “regular guy” who is tender and sweet and easy and beautiful inside. (And he’s cute, too.)

I spent the past day with my beautiful and pregnant daughter. I held my hand on her belly and felt my grandson respond to my touch. I looked at my daughter, no make-up, hair up in a straggly ponytail, sweat pants hanging below her incredible roundness, glasses sliding down her nose -- and my heart hurt from the beauty of it all -- and her spirit, her heart, her humor. Sprawled across the couch in gestating disarray, she looked more stunningly lovely than she ever has even during her years of modeling and acting and glamorous headshots (which, by the way, cost me a fortune!) And when my son-in-law came home at looked at her, put his hand on her belly, well, it still makes me want to cry from the sweet, sweet beauty of it all.

And that brings me to Chris Locke’s most recent Topica essay, in which he admits “God I do love women” and goes on to yearn for that as yet unmet “partner-in-crime” who will “cover his back,” knows how to be tough as well as tender, knows how to be his best friend.

She says, "You got that certain something..."

"What you give me," I say, "takes my breath away."

I check her eyes to see if she's lying. Gypsy woman. Girl that can tell my fortune, read my future.

Locke’s yearning narrative is seductive because it is what we all yearn for – someone to watch our backs; playfully go toe-to-toe with us; stand with us and by us and for us -- protect us and accept our protection – a partner, a best friend who shares our passions and understands our prisons. The key to our locks. The keys to Locke.

Cast the sticks, pick a card, read the runes, toss a coin. It’s such a crapshoot, isn’t it?

But if you win, it’s absolutely beautiful, inside and out.

Monday, May 13, 2002

The Blessings of Rain
It's pouring in Albany, NY today and it will rain for the next couple of days. Great for my garden. Not great for my trip to the Boston area tomorrow for an overnight to visit my 7-month pregnant daughter, probably for the last time before the big event. While I'm there, I'm going to call Halley Suitt, although I probably won't have time to see her in person. I also talked to Jeneane on the phone a little while ago. There is something special about the company of special women, even if it's virtual.

Which leads me to bring up a very interesting article I stumbled onto last week that I'm trying to wade through because, while pretty dense, has some exceptionally interesting things to suggest about the way women blend their virtual and real lives. I'd love to have some others read it and give me their opinions. In addition to including some good related links, Feminist Cybermaterialism: Gender and the Body in Cyberspace offers some fascinating theories, such as:

.... we have the feminist analysis of cyberspace which very clearly takes the point of view that the male in cyberspace is attempting to transcend the body whereas the female or the feminine is attempting to use the technology to bring the body into cyberspace and cyberspace to the body.

and the idea that cyberspace is liminal space -- a place that is neither here nor there -- and

...people in liminal space have no responsibilities; they are beholden to no one. They are completely outside of society. But what happens is that, when they come back, they have a renewed appreciation for the order of the society in which they live.

All of this is relevant to the conversation going on in the Comments on Shelley Power's blog.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Hooooo Hoooooo
Stay tuned for the “Mothers Day 2000” report from OWL (Older Women’s League), which will soon have, online, its analysis of how Bush’s hopes to privatize Social Security will devastate the financial stability of older women. From the OWL site:

Social Security Privatization and Women
As OWL members know, women are the face of Social Security, comprising 60 percent of beneficiaries over 65 and 72 percent of recipients over 85. Women depend on Social Security's guaranteed, lifetime benefits: 27 percent of women over 65 rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their retirement income. A comprehensive discussion of Social Security and its future cannot be had without women's realities, perspectives, and needs being made perfectly clear. OWL's 2002 Mother's Day report will prove instrumental in this discussion.

For those of you not versed in feminist mythology, the owl is associated with Lilith, the first “uppity woman,” whose identity merges with that of the Crone.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Blueprint for Children

Tonight, David Letterman begins his monologue with “Tomorrow is Mother’s Day – that’s the day we honor the person who we blame for all of our personal problems.”

I was one of those kids who felt as though she must be a changeling or else adopted. My dreams were never my mother’s dreams. My “otherness” confused her, angered her, frustrated her, disappointed her, made her cry. My mother seemed to see me as an appendage of hers; she couldn’t understand my independent will, my need to separate myself from my family’s strong conservative attitudes.

I couldn’t wait to go away to college, but as glad as I was to leave home, I still wished that my mother would somehow come to understand me and accept me for who I was. And so, my freshman year, I sent her a copy of Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet for Mother’s Day.

And on the book’s flyleaf, before my signature preceded by “Love,…” I copied the following from the section On Children:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable

Since my mother has always been a committed Catholic, I figured that Gibran’s language style and references to a capital He might make the passage have the ring of “sacred truth” for her. It didn’t work.

It didn’t work for her, but it worked for me and the way I have tried to view my own children.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

Today CNN reported that A U.N. summit approved a new blueprint late Friday to improve the world for children in the next 15 years. The agreement came after contentious negotiations between the United States and other nations on sex education, abortion and the death penalty.

Succumbing to conservative pressure, the United States stood in opposition to the180 nations that adopted – by consensus and with a round of applause -- the final summit document, "A World Fit For Children." However, at the insistence of the United States, the intent of the original document regarding "health and reproductive services" was diluted to skirt the issue of abortion counseling, and, in addition, the United States is excluded from a requirement barring the death penalty or life imprisonment for those under the age of 18.

"A World Fit for Children" – except if they live in the United States, where an adult minority of small minds and stagnant souls refuse to acknowledge that life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Friday, May 10, 2002

A Basil Reader

I planted my garden today. That’s the grave-sized garden that we who live in this hotel-sized, up-scale senior warehouse are allotted if we sign up before they’re all taken. (The only reason I I live here because I take care of my 86-year old mother, who lives across the hall from me. I try not to dwell on where I dwell.)

I planted my garden today, and that means that now I have an excuse to dig in dirt, sweat in sun, smell growing things -- parsley, that, having weathered the winter, already has claimed its place at the center of things – new lavender buds poking through old growth – melissa (lemon balm) that I plant in honor of my daughter – the usual rosemary, sage, and thyme – and most of all basil. Lots of basil. Basil for pesto. Basil for tomato sauces. Basil for cold chicken and pasta salad. Basil for herbed vinegar. Mostly basil. And tomatoes. Beef steak tomatoes to eat with the basil, fresh mozzarella, and olive oil.

I planted my garden today. It’s mostly basil. According to a website called Horsetail Heaven, In Italy, a pot of basil placed on a balcony signaled that a woman was ready to receive suitors…. In India holy basil is considered a sacred herb and at one time was used to protect the dead from evil. It is still found growing around temples ….Early Greeks and Romans believed that a good basil crop would only develop if the gardener shouted and cursed while sowing the seeds.

I neither sowed nor cursed; I went to the local greenhouse and bought a dozen basil plants. And six beefsteak tomato plants. That pretty much takes up most of a grave-sized garden.

Except for Pan (and a pink calla lily bulb that a friend of mine gave me). An infant Pan has reigned over my basil-laden herb gardens for the past five years, which seems appropriate, given his connections to the Mediterranean region from which basil mythology springs. Each year, I plant him to watch over my grave-sized garden. Perhaps, one day, someone will think to plant him on my garden-sized grave. Along with basil. Lots of basil. And maybe a pink calla lily.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Gonzo for the public sector?
Based on my experiences working with "public information and outreach" for a government education bureaucracy, I've been doing lot of thinking about how very appropriate Cluetrain's philosophy and the Gonzo Marketing approach is to the public sector. Does anyone one know if there's been any thought in that direction?
Macromedia sticks a toe in the Gonzo Marketing sea.

Well, they at least them seem to be trying to get the first part of what Chris Locke has been saying to businesses in Gonzo Marketing. An interview with Locke in the current online issue of The Guardian (which the Bombast guy calls the “best article on my checkered career to date") includes the following quote from Locke that pretty much sums up that first part.

What I'm telling them is: drop this invasive, intrusive advertising - it's not going to work any more - and build relationships around shared interests, and that will create good will towards your company. Instead of turning people off, you can turn them on by hooking them up and getting out of the way. And if this works, I see trillions of dollars shifting towards a bottom-up artistic web renaissance. What could come out of that is a cultural flowering that we can't imagine, just as the middle ages couldn't imagine the Renaissance. I don't think that's a whacked-out vision.

According to, Macromedia (the company that makes Flash and Shockwave) is going to use weblogs to provide a forum for the managers to discuss the new products, show developers how to use some of the new features and answer questions. Most importantly, the community managers would write like bloggers, with that casual, this-great-idea-just-occurred-to-me tone which sometimes makes weblogs so addictive…… Macromedia asks only that its bloggers keep their postings relevant -- no blogging about what they ate for breakfast, in other words. They're free to discuss any aspect of the software…

I think that it remains to be seen whether Macromedia will be successful in getting to the next level that Locke insists is of utmost importance – keeping the “voice” free. As reviewed online in Tom’s New Commonplace Book, On one level, Gonzo is a mythic tale of the reallocation of voice. The power to speak that the giants of mass marketing and mass media tore from us – the rape of voice – is envisioned restored to the multifarious intelligences of the Net.

One can’t help waiting to see just how much freedom Macromedia will allow its blog voices.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Tin Men and Fallen Angels
There are certain men that capture my attention and interest almost immediately. My women friends tell me that, from their perspective, it is the “arrogance” of these men that attracts me. And, for sure, on the surface, there is the appearance of arrogance. But is it only appearance.

Tin Men and Fallen Angels
She is drawn to the dramas
of Tin Men and Fallen Angels,
the loose threads of their dreams
tangling too easily
with the thickets of her own.

Their gestures hint at faded grace.
Their eyes belie the freedom of their stride.
Their touches fire the sun,
birthing shadows fierce as flame.

She flies into those shadows
like a bat
out for blood.

And so she cannot turn her hand
from the sweep of sky
that sheds his battered wings,
cannot hide from his shadow,
so dense it masks her senses,
stretches the edges of scars,
stirs her skin open
to the haunting lure
of a lone tin man,
a feckless

During the twenty-something years after my divorce, I managed to get entangled with two such men. I’ve lost track of one of them, although I believe he still spends the summers in the cabin that he remodeled into an elegant A-frame. He is the one who gave me the antlers. He is the one with whom I once spent April in Paris. We went dancing in a ballroom on the Champs Elysees after a day of window shopping among all of the best designers. Rode up the Eiffel Tower late at night, lost in the lights of the city, in the drama of the journey.

The other I keep track of on the web. He’s an ex-priest and astounding artist. He finally married the ex-nun who continued to love him through all of his various adventures, one of which was me. I run into them every once in a while. She looks at me coldly. But he and I still smile at the strange, short, and passionate time we spent together. I stirred his interest in non-Christian mythology, some of which he began to incorporate into his paintings. He paints big – I mean BIG. Canvases that cover walls. At least he used to. He lives big, open. At least he did. I don’t know how he lives now, and I haven’t been to one of his exhibits in a while. I only know how he still paints. And how he stirred my soul.

Pan Makes a Personal Appearance
To think it was you I summoned!
All those incantations,
those spells dispatched
to shift the stars,
returned as this immortal face,
this ancient tale.

To think the gods still answer prayers!
Make bright, deft-handed landings
right before my eyes,
fall haloed and goat-footed
deep into my mark,
breathing mischief and mayhem,
and bold, bewildering dreams.

Angel, satyr, shepherd,
your music stirs the skin.
Play your syrinx
now for me, my kin.

We will dance, dance,
to your tune.

Reading Chris Locke’s/Rage Boy’s Bombast Transcripts brought me eye to word with someone whose persona, at least, seems to define him as one of those men who, indeed, are so open to, in love with, entranced by, plagued by life, the world, people, contradictions, possibilities, ……..that their passion and energy pull like a magnet, make us want to know more about what’s under the next layer, and the next, and the next…..

On the oldies radio station I have on, Don McClean is singing “Vincent.” Poets and artists dancers and ranters. Tin Men and Fallen Angels. Can’t live with ‘em. Can’t live without ‘em.

(poetry copyrighted by Elaine Frankonis)

Monday, May 06, 2002

I’ll trade you a Foucault for two Erving Goffmans
The pop culturization of the international egghead class has begun. So begins an article in my local paper about (according to the site) free downloadable trading cards depicting theorists and concepts close to the hearts of people interested in social and cultural theory, gender and identity, and media studies.

Of course, I immediately thought of AKMA, Steve Himmer, and Mike Sanders, especially since Card # 5 is the “Postmodernity Card.” And, of course, there’s always Card #3, the “Michael Foucault” card. My favorites, of course, are # 11, the "bell hooks” card, and #22, the "" card, which includes – RageBoy take note – the word “fucknozzels!”

They’re looking for more cards, which you can design and send to them, using a format described on the site. Do you hear that, Gary Turner, creator of "blogstickers?" Oh, and “cards about people who are not old white men are encouraged!”

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Oh Yeah!
I love this quote, lifted from the site of the Heartless Bitches:

Here's the thing: If you ever get me, you wouldn't have a clue what to do with me." -- Maxine (in "Being John Malkovich")
Depth Charges
On Blogsisters, Jeneane Sessum posts about Helene Cixous, whose urgings and urges find their visceral marks in the writings of such as Chris Locke, Mike Golby, and Jeneane herself -- bloggers who careen headlong down those brambled, precipice-riddled paths of memory and desire, prodding our pulses with their raw prose and challenging our own emotional inhibitions with their soul-full honesty. What they mean is what they say. Unlike my word trips that have always tended to slide along within the protective cover of metaphor.

Take Spring, which always seems to put me in a funk; it always overwhelms me with its sweetness, its promise, its newness, its hope. Yet, despite the prolific stirrings of nature, I have never felt any kind of passion generated by that season. It offers me heavy pregnancy but not heady passion.

Waiting for the Fall
I was never one to yearn for spring,
the sky too full of eager wings,
the air a burden of song.
Even the ground swells, straining
under a yoke of seeds.

I wake with the winds of autumn,
when a cold sun
fades the trees to clarity,
when the line of the sky
cuts clean and sharp
above the leveled land,
when the earth is a slate
set for the poet’s chalk.

Leave me in spring
to wait for the season’s passing,
and look for me then,
when I turn with the leaves
and hold my mouth
to a hungry sky.

Maybe it’s that Spring is mating season, and, not having a mate at the moment, I’m out of synch with the season. Rather than feel fertile and rooted, I feel separate, untethered. There’s something major missing, something just beyond my grasp, something unspoken, some fundamental secret just beyond my ken.

The Hunter
On the rise beyond the stream
on Trout Mountain,
they say, he shot himself—
a still-young man
despaired of a world
too full of fear.

On the west wall of his cabin,
hang the antlers he tore
from some stalked fair game,
banging the nails bent
through thick bone,
clumsily shattered skull.

In the shifting summer light,
their shadows writhe
in fearsome memory.

(They say he loved the land,
the hunt, the kill.)

Some think the land is haunted, now.
They say they can feel the fear
in the heavy mountain mist,
hear it in the hollow scrape
of bone on stone.

(They say what he feared
he loved too much.)

When land was finally sold
(to someone starkly purged
of love and fear)
the new owner found a photo
face-down on a dusty shelf –
a stiff-faced young man
in an unforgiving setting,
sternly victorious over
his finally fearless prey.

And so I ask for the antlers,
chipped and weathered, now --
artifacts made unworthy
of either fear or love.

Is the answer hidden somewhere
in the pits of those old bones?
If I scrub them clean, soften the scars,
set them like icons on an altar
ringed with strings of stones,
will I dream one night
of some daring beast
who lifts me gently
on his gleaming horns
and tells me
the unspeakable secret?

Saturday, May 04, 2002

Speaking of "Deep Throat"
According to the SF Gate,
John Dean, the White House counsel whose revelations about the Nixon presidency were the first flames in the volcano of Watergate scandal, is about to turn up the heat again by revealing the identity of Deep Throat. .....At an L.A. Times book festival discussion of "Abuse of Power, Then & Now" -- including panelists Oliver Stone and Arianna Huffington, moderated by Chronicle Columnist Bob Scheer -- Dean said "The Deep Throat Brief" will be published online by on June 17

Nixon and Watergate: now there's a scenario that's really obscene.

Friday, May 03, 2002

Go Transgenics!
In the Dark Angel's season finale tonight, Joshua, the artist/transgenic who looks an awful lot like the "beast" in the old "Beauty and the Beast" TV series of several years ago, paints a red, white, and blue flag with a white dove that I wish would be published online as an image that could be copied. I'd love to have it in my site. They should promote it as a symbol around which all anti-violence "outsiders" could rally.
Hee Hee!
I just have to share this Comment that "Uncle Sam"left on my blog about Linda Lovelace's death .

You should be ashamed of yourself for likin pornography.
This is is the type of material that weaknes us so that the Muslims can take over.
-Uncle Sam

Now, what am I supposed to make of that? No email address; two misspellings in the two-line Comment; no "voice" and no Comment feature on his/her own site. I guess he/she is either (1) a terrorist posing as an American in order to undermine our democratic right to free speech, (2) a complete illiterate idiot and an embarrassment to the American educational system, or (3) someone trying, unsuccessfully, to demonstrate a sense of humor. No wonder he/she chooses to hide behind anonymity.

And just to make it perfectly clear, I never said that I liked pornography.
Even if it's not real, it's still true.
b!X emailed me the following, attributing it to Nazi monster Hermann Goering. I don't know if Goering ever really said it, but even if he didn't, he could have, and it's still true:

Why of course the people don't want war! Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.
Almost Famous
Thanks to my blogfriend Anita Bora, who writes for, Blog Sisters and Kalilily Time got some play in that online magazine this month. The article also links to Mike Golby, Gary Turner, Anita (of course), and b!X.

It always amazes and delights me how these loosely joined pieces keep constantly reconfiguring and reconnecting. The feature article, written by Nidhi Taparia Rathi, profiles the online experiences of three "older generation" netizens, including me. How cool is that!

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Inside Out and Upside Down
While Blogsisters readies its first ever monthly Burning Issues soapbox (Turn Beauty Inside Out), b!X finally gets around to finding something he thinks is worth posting, and it’s a glimpse into an alternate universe, where the assumptions of the corporation's mission are inverted. His post explains that the manner in which we have structured the entities known as "corporations" is not some sort of inherent natural law, but one we have deliberately created. And it is one that is in no sense the only way in which a free market "corporation" can be constructed.

The “inverted” version, as he quotes from The Divine Right of Capital , certainly gives one pause.