By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Tue, July 24 2007 - 3:22 pm
August 25, 2007
There have sure been a lot of artistic treatments of going back in time. (The first one I can think of is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.)
But the idea of changing forms (the word "protean" comes from Proteus, who could change his form to get away from a would-be captor) has been around a long, long time. We contemporaries tend to dismiss this sort of "nonsense." But psychologically the Metamorphoses of the Roman poet Ovid have inspired me ever since I read some of them in high school Latin.
Works of art inspire us in ways that we are unconscious of. When I was going through a particularly rough time as a young mother (well, I was young compared to how mature I "should" have been) I read a children's book that changed my attitude and behavior.
I can't remember the title or the author. I can't remember any of the characters, although I do have a vague recollection of maybe a little bird, or some other little creature in it.
I can't recommend it for reading because of this. But somehow something in me gave way when I read it, and my attitude changed. It touched me, it changed my behavior for the better, and I can't begin to tell you why.
August 24, 2007
How many fairy tales (and real-life stories) start out with the richest and/or most powerful family in the country (county, nation, world!) The daughter is the loveliest, most beautiful and wise, etc. etc. etc.
My guess is, if this is so, she is pretty relaxed. (They say that the most relaxed dancer in the troupe is the one you tend to watch.) And a most worthy (read comic) "mystery" I am reading right now has a masseuse shutting up her client/questioner by saying, "No negative thoughts. Otherwise, you won't be totally relaxed."
So am I wondering, does beauty have a lot to do with being relaxed? I would think a relaxed, secure person might be much more attractive than one who is not.
If you feel relaxed and secure, you are more easy-going, nicer. Right? Then there is more room for love to enter and beam out at the world.
Oh, then there are the fairy stories that say the same about the poor girl or lad with the same effect on people. So much beauty and virtue resides in the person that she is lifted out of her circumstances into a different sphere.
Why aren't there so many fairy stories like that about people of the middle class? Is it because they are more full of strife and tension, always trying to avoid falling, always wanting to rise higher and have more?
Or is it because in a country with a greater middle class, there is less need for such fairy tales?
August 23, 2007
There are people who believe their own cup of coffee (or tea, or wine!) is the best in the whole world, and they will try to sell it to you. "Hmmm, have some!" What's more, it's all they ever want to drink!
I have a favorite kind of beverage within each category, maybe. I will like different drinks of different temperatures in different places in different weather.
My spiritual goal (which I am not even sure I want to attain, but feel I should want):
My favorite drink in the whole world is the one you are offering me right now.
(Except I already know I don't like beer, overly-sweet sodas (as defined by me, of course.) I don't like slimey stuff, bitter stuff, harsh stuff. What if you are offering me poisonous stuff, like anything, even if I like it, that gives me heartburn?)
No, Confucius I ain't. Maybe I won't be able to accept your drink.
Hmmm.... but I'll still offer you mine!
Hey, what do you think of this guy who calls himself Jesus! I think it is funny - hey I know he's Jesus - me too! I mean, I'm Jesus too! We all have Jesus within us, (in fact we literally do have an atom or two! (a quadrillion more or less!))
But what I don't understand is why all these other Jesuses are giving Jesus the conman money to go spend gambling and drinking and smoking! (Talk about nourishing yourself with inferior stuff! - I Ching.)
Don't the Jesuses in all the people who are giving him money have their own miracles they want to perform? (And no, I don't mean "miracles" like the one in my maybemurderlet (see "Murders of a Flower Child".))
Maybe he, by gambling, is trying to raise money for good works.
Maybe he's got a Mother Theresa in the wings, waiting for her grant. Yeah, sure.
That's a good question. If a new Mother Theresa were trying to get money to pursue her good works, would anyone give her a grant? (I mean besides a religious institution. Just a grant to be merciful to people and take care of them.)
As for the latter-day "Jesus," well boy doesn't he have it made! He's even managed to con-vert himself! I am sooo grateful to him - he makes me laugh and laugh and laugh!
But I won't send him any of my money! And I don't think you should, either!
And that's my drink-of-water offer for today! I love you!
August 22, 2007
Corporations are trying to pretend they are family. Trying to act like family. Well, I say - disfunctional family! Leno was talking the other night (maybe a rerun!) about a telecommunications corporation (net-something, I think) that drops customers for asking too many questions. (!?) Don't they have contracts that bind them (just as their customers are bound!?)
Then he went on to say, their customers had to go to Verizon, which (he shrugs) doesn't return their calls! Ha! So I'm not the only one whose calls Verizon doesn't return!
Corporations act like family, all right. Bad family!
Corporations are treated like individuals under the law, and I commented before you can't put corporations in jail. Fine them, yes, but when they get big and powerful enough they can afford that - they don't care!
Since we can't literally put a corporation in jail, what can we do to it that will effectively imprison it? Maybe put it in economic isolation somehow? Keep it from doing business? Close it down? We as people could put it out of business by not patronizing it, but Americans seem to put short-term advantage over long-term benefit. (Often mistakenly, spending $1.00 on gas to save 25 cents at the store!)
Well, maybe I will have to rethink that last one. Could we in this country put MacDonald's out of business if we wanted to? Maybe not - it is selling fat all around the world now!
I guess everybody else wants to look like the average U.S. citizen: in great shape should famine hit!
August 21, 2007
Time stands still. I hope. I am seeing the first shadows I have seen in days and that means - you got it! The sun is shining!
It is kind of fun to realize that at this moment scribblers all over the world are doing their thing. Children are coloring, poets are writing long-hand, computer writer/publishers like me are tapping, people in more inaccessible places, maybe, still pounding away on typewriters. The Chinese and Japanese practicing ancient arts are using brushes.
Anyone anywhere using a quill pen? In Williamsburg, Virginia, maybe?
Of course, as soon as I use the words "at this moment," "ancient" and "still" the illusion of time, that pesky bad habit of ours, sneaks in. On the other side of the world, I hope (for their sakes) that most everybody is getting his/her beauty sleep!
(And in dreams we open up a whole new chapter of "time"....)
August 20, 2007
Astrology, it would appear, has its limitations. (Oh, spare me the "Yeah, like it has nothing to do with reality!" line.) But in a way that's what I'm saying, too.
The great Brezsny quoted Yeats at us Geminis this week, talking about two trees, one full of sweet breezes, green leaves, and ripe fruit, the other with blackened, dead branches, and said, basically "Take your choice. The stars aren't saying anything one way or the other."
Well, yeah, but how about the weather? Does the weather have anything to say about it? Upon the injury of the seasonal waning of the light (which definitely has to do with the sun, our closest star) is heaped the insult of a long succession of rainy days! Grumpiness upon depression!
Oh, and how about life itself, which Yeats is describing so beautifully, (and dualistically). I beg to differ. No matter what we do, we will be getting plenty of both kinds of trees! There I go again! Both/and!) Besides, what Keats calls unresting thought - isn't that in its own way beautiful, too?
Oh, yeah, I know. We should not be oppressed by season and weather. I'm not. I'm aggressed by it!
I will recite the mantra, August rains bring fruitful plains!
Time stands still.
(You know, that sentence is ambiguous! See the blooming tree in that?)
August 19, 2007
Time stands still. It is raining hard and steadily in a way I rarely if ever saw in three years of Willamette Valley Oregon weather.
Oops I've already lapsed back into the belief that time doesn't stand still. How silly of me!
Well, I'll continue my August foolish pursuit for a while longer. Capturing the instant with any interest is a little difficult on a rainy Sunday in a messy upstairs room! (Does the word "messy" help any? You want me to tell how, give some sordid details? Hell, no!)
This morning I was writhing around in bed, laughing. Something was very funny. But I went back to sleep.... Sorry.
They say that laughter in dreams (which I had just emerged from) is connected to issues that cause pain, so maybe it is just as well I have forgotten.
Do you think laughter in dreams is linked to pain, and laughter in "real" life is linked to complain?
August 18, 2007
Time stands still. Cloudy graygraygray day with trainwhistles still blowing and car engines idling and my mood sunken from lack of light and the ignominy of being stumped not by the New York Times crossword, but our regional daily's Saturday Stumper.
Be here now means cold feet and life-saving dark chocolate on my tongue (and teeth!) Be here now means empty sidewalks and neighbors returning from vacations to I-want-to-turn-around-and-go-right-back! weather.
But the chill is good. That means I'll be able to sit in front of this little heat-generating laptop writing and playing games longer than usual. It also means I'll be able to pick up the quilting that I have afraid of sweating profusely on, and maybe have it done by Christmas!
Oops, it certainly does seem as if time is moving again, after all!
August 17, 2007
Time stands still. I can't tell if the cicadas I am hearing are inside my head or outdoors in the trees.
The sun is shining, the leaves are greengreengreen from the recent rains, and people are out and about dressed in white t-shirts and red shorts, walking their dogs.
A whistling train makes me wonder if diesel trains have a whistle that simulates the sound of the steam engine's, and if that would interfere with the doppler effect. (Not the actual physical Doppler effect, our perception of it.)
At least two cabbage worms the same color as the kale leaves are at this very moment chomping away at those same leaves, protective coloration and dinner in turn.
Hmmm... maybe time is passing. A breeze is stirring the leaves, and I am beginning to feel a twinge of appetite.
August 16, 2007
Maybe some people shun relationships because they are really relay-shun-ships! Same goes for relay-shuns!
Maybe some potentially really wonderful people become hypocrites because they think it's really hip! (Or maybe they are only one-der-full!)
Maybe children throw toys down the toilet because they think it's just another little toy! (Or are they just kidding?)
Maybe English-speaking peoples love Rumi because he is so roomy!
Maybe Americans voted for Bush cause they were just too tired to figure out who to vote for, or because, lacking a tree, they thought it was the best way to get some son-shade.
But if that's true, how come Kerry couldn't carry it off? Maybe because Americans have had it up to hear with karaoke!
And don't task me if I spelled that rite! I don't no!
(And don't take that too literally!)
What am I doing sitting here at five a.m.? Winning, I dream! Not slipping, I hope!
(And if you thought that last meant anything at all, you are slipinger than I am!)
August 15, 2007
That TV "wife-swap" show displays some really loony-toon, unbalanced family behavior. Now, I know abuses can exist in a family. I am not holding myself up as an example of perfect wife and mother. Far from it. But I never dreamt that people who engaged in such abusive and using behavior would think themselves justified in it.
In fact, that show is so off the wall, I don't watch it.
The other day, my mom saw a lecture on one of the public broadcasting channels, she thinks, in which the lecturer (Wayne Dyer on Lao Tse and the I Ching) recounts something he did to his son.
If I am reporting this incorrectly, someone let me know - I'm getting it second hand! But even if it is not real, it is still illustrative of the point I'm going to make.
The son came home one day from a shopping trip with some T-shirts he had bought with his own money. He showed them to his dad, and picked out one as his favorite. The dad said, "I want it." The son said no, but the dad persisted. Finally, to get his dad off his back he said his dad could borrow it.
Well, Dad wore his son's favorite shirt day in and day out, washing it himself so that his son couldn't get his hands on it, until his son no longer cared about the shirt. (I bet partly because it was beginning to look gray and had grease spots on it!)
Suppose this story is true. In that case, I am shocked and appalled. Supposedly this "holy man" was trying to teach his son nonattachment.
But if his son was under eighteen, I call it child abuse and robbery.
The I Ching (to speak to this jerk in a language he is supposed to understand) itself says, "the student must approach the teacher." The teacher waits for the student to voluntarily come to him, he does not force himself on the student.
A student who comes to a spiritual teacher is voluntarily (in the free world, anyway) asking to be taught, and therefore voluntarily letting himself in for a certain amount of (gee, is there another word for it besides shit? Mind games? Manipulation? Education that takes some unpleasant forms? Testing?)
But a child living in your household is not a free agent. He is not an appropriate subject for that brand of spiritual teaching.
Don Juan of Carlos Castaneda fame said subjection to a petty tyrant is great for spiritual development.
That may be, but if the subject is a child or spouse, the petty tyranny is inappropriate and abusive.
This guy literally robs his son of his brand-new clothing to teach him a lesson (to put it as generously as possible) and then brags about it on a so-called educational program.
That's child abuse (or in an over-eighteen-year-old, abuse of a dependent adult) and abuse of power. It is intolerable, and just as likely to breed anger as non-attachment.
I'll go farther than that. I would love to warn this son that his father's behavior is hostile.
My advice to you, kiddo: Never introduce one of your girlfriends to dear old Dad!
August 14, 2007
Last week my daughter saved a life. She saved someone from drowning (with a little help from her friends.) It is the second time she has done this.
She has been trained as a lifeguard (years ago) but didn't do it on the job.
I find myself wanting to give a little lecture. "Why kill people stupidly, wastefully?" I want to ask. Why kill four teenagers who did you no harm? Why kill people just because they have different beliefs or a different color of skin?
It's just dumb!
I want to say, "Maybe the person you just killed is the one who, allowed to live, would be the one saving you from drowning in ten years time. Maybe she is the person who, allowed to live, might develop a medicine that would cure you of a disease that is now considered fatal. Maybe he is the person who would make it possible, somehow, for you to have a life worth living.
Because that's the really sad thing. People who hold life so cheaply probably have a crappy, hopeless life themselves.
If you feel that way about your life, imagine this: Maybe someday, if you don't set yourself up for death or prison, you might come to appreciate your own life. Maybe even enjoy it!
Just a possibility!
August 13, 2007
Our culture is big on tracking people and defining them, too. As people who perform clerical functions are being squeezed out by computers and even service corporations treat people like pretty machines, only valued for speed and "output" (thus allowing anything or anyone that takes more time or causes a snag in the flow to fall through the cracks) more and more people are being labeled "disabled."
If you aren't physically quick, there is something "wrong" with you. If you don't recognize people the second time you see them, there is something "wrong" with you. If you are sick more than a certain number of days in the year, there is something "wrong" with you. If you have bad luck in your childhood that interferes with your ability to "focus" there is something "wrong" with you.
More and more, corporations are defining who is employable (partly by computerized psychological tests designed to weed out anyone different or difficult! (including those able and willing to think!))
Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" segment shows us some of the people our society considers competent to be students and hold jobs!
Now I realize that the spotlight is not the most flattering place to be, and I'm not going to deflect myself from my main point by wondering how the hell this country is going to function if we are seeing on Jaywalking the average man on the street.
Well, no, come to think of it, that is my main point. "Disability" often goes along with great creativity. In another time the person presently labeled "disabled" would be appreciated for some of the very qualities and insights caused by his "disability."
The time it takes to think "outside the box" is going to be taken at the cost of time spent "focusing" on whatever external dictator (whether domestic or governmental or corporate or religious) wants you to focus on.
Well, you read it here first: There is no disability that is as disabling as arrogance and ignorance. None.
And if you are not considered employable by corporations and tyrannical bosses, consider this possibility: the worst tyrants of the past (I would have said "yore" - more efficient, after all, but "who uses words like that anymore?") just may have been more tolerant of individual differences and styles than your average corporation!
But of course, this is a good case for neither/nor.
Don't want personal tyrants, don't want corporate tyrants, don't want religious tyrants.
According to them, Galileo was bad, and he was put to death.
According to them (and in his own sphere, he was one at times!) Einstein would be considered disabled.
According to them, Jesus Christ himself would be put to death (oh, yeah, that's right, he was!)
So, can't get work? Good, you can't be the slave of corporate and business bullies and tyrants! (Unless you buy into their myths (otherwise known as advertisement.)
Labeled "disabled?" Good, that's the new job title for people for whom freedom of thought is like air, who get upset when injustice is committed right in front of their faces, for whom the truth is not "whatever you say, sir."
Consider yourself employed - paid for your time and energy! And use it creatively! What do you value? What do you think is important? What turns you on or makes you angry or begs you to change it/yourself?
I mean, the real you! The one that isn't into addiction, excessive frivolity, disfunction and destruction! Yeah, you are in there somewhere! Consider yourself encouraged!
Don't know how to find yourself? Go out into the world and help with a community project or read a good book or go listen to people with different ideas or try to make something or...
and blah blah blah I'm talking to EVERYBODY including myself blah blah blah I've worn myself out with this rant I'm going back to bed....sorry.....maybe I'll edit it later.....
August 12, 2007
Many years ago I read about two French brothers, historically real figures as I recall, who indulged in a very nasty habit. They would set out to emotionally seduce married women away from their husbands. They would very consciously set about this, comparing notes as to their progress with each other, very much ala "Dangerous Liaisons."
Then, when they got the woman to the point where she was willing to be unfaithful, perhaps even leave her husband, those twisted blokes would drop her, cold.
The feminine equivalent (well, not equivalent, I think it mild by comparison!) is the woman who will bring a suitor to the point of proposing to her, then reward him with a "no." I have met two such ladies, who bragged of serially practicing such exploits. (As I recall, they each had attained seven turned-down proposals!) They make me shudder. Not as much as the evil men, but....
What is it about the human ego that it needs to prove its power to itself so ruthlessly? I have experienced the phenomenon above several times over the decades in various degrees of severity, and I still don't understand it.
Yes, this is an further offshoot of the rumilluminations of the last couple of days, an exploration of the intentional misleadings I mentioned. I'm telling you, girls and boys, this behavior is not nice.
And yes, I know it is a Sunday, and yes, I felt a sermon coming on, and I didn't even warn you! Sorry if I misled you!
August 11, 2007
At some point last night, when I was trying to find a cool spot of sheet to perch on, or this morning, when I was fuzzy-waking, it occurred to me that yesterday's rumillumination was a bit garbled, to say the least!
On reading it, I see that yes it is!
I didn't mean to say that shaking forearm trick was unintentional. No. And maybe it wasn't even meant to be sexual, although now I wonder.
No, I just meant that people say things that can be interpreted sexually or not, and that often people (like me!) are sexually misunderstood. Certain behaviors are seen by many to be improper now that I would never have considered improper in my youth. (For instance, an acquaintance of mine was angry with her husband for talking to a friend of hers (not me!) for twenty minutes on the phone. Is this considered inappropriate behavior these days? I would consider that okay, (or maybe it was the tone of voice that bothered her!))
Have the times changed? In a less innocent time, do we have stricter standards as far as what is considered a come-on? Or am I just more conscious of the possible misinterpretations of my actions than I used to be?
You tell me!
August 10, 2007
When I was in college, one of my male fellow students held out his hand for a handshake, and when I made to shake it, moved his arm forward quickly, so I found I was holding his forearm! At the time I put it up to what we commonly (and unusually, it seems) called "a pimp job" which seemed to be any kind of a practical joke. Who knows.
Now I look back at this and it seems an apt metaphor for a kind of miscommunication that happens often. It also seems like a perhaps not-so-innocent ploy to guage my innocence! (If I have already written about this, forgive me - if so, I'm taking it farther this time!)
Sometimes one person is being friendly, another has a hidden agenda, whether to fool, make laugh, trick, or even something more sinister. But in many cases I think it is possible that these actions are innocent. At least at the conscious level. Presuming upon these must be done at your own risk.
When I think I am going to be shaking your hand, I don't really want any surprises!
Going from the idea above that such a trick is designed to gain information about the subject of the trick, I started thinking about the chicken or turkey "wishbone." I have actually met some people who have never heard of this custom, but when I was young it seemed universal: two people grab two ends of the roasted bird's breastbone and pull. The one who gets the big piece gets his/her wish. The one who gets the small piece gets married first!
It didn't occur to me until years after I married that perhaps this was a message that marriage was the booby prize! It also never occurred to me to try to control the outcome! And I can't help but wonder if the first person to suggest this bizarre ritual wasn't using it as a way to get information about the contestants!
Or it could be a wiser person yet - seen in a larger context, whatever you want is a mere toy in the face of death!
August 8, 2007
Here we are, living in the middle of the Bible belt, with me wondering all the time how people can be so conservative. And so sure of themselves in all their beliefs.
I think the conventional wisdom is that the "heartland" of America (I sometimes think "lack of heart land," myself) is so isolated from the tides of immigrants that have washed through the country that it is rarely confronted with differing ideas and slow to change.
(When I was growing up here in Valparaiso, there were no blacks, no Asians at all unless they were associated with the university. Unlucky them, living here!)
But after the storm last night, I wonder. Last night we had the noisiest, for us the closest-hitting storm since I got back almost three years ago. For the first time in my life, I felt the house shake with the impact of the thunder!
Now, I remember being in thunderstorms as a child, including one outrageous one while I was at Girl Scout Camp at the Tippecanoe River State Park that might have been house-shaking if we had not been in a small relatively-hard-to-shake cabin.
My mother, however, had taught us not to fear storms. She treated them as an exciting event to be enjoyed rather than dreaded.
But what about those who do (perhaps rightly!) fear them? I can't imagine any ordinary phenomenon of nature so designed to put the fear of the Lord in you than a good old rousing thunderstorm. No other part of the country I have lived in has anything quite equal to it.
If this can happen, why not hell-fire and brimstone! Maybe the elders are right about everything after all!
Just a thought.
August 8, 2007
It's kind of ironical that people who love something a whole lot often are the ones who use it dreadfully. I love flowers, but I will pick them ruthlessly if I want to. Many breeds of animals that have outlived their traditional uses are still bred for their aesthetics or to make money. Horses, for instance, are still bred for racing (a risky life!) and all the old cattle-herding skills that used to be necessary are exploited in rodeos.
I've known people who are against rodeos, and have gone back and forth about it myself, but better racing and rodeos than fewer or no horses at all!
Few people can indulge a love for something so expensive without having it pay for itself a little!
What else is in this category? Rare chickens and goats? Venus fly-traps? Got any good examples?
August 7, 2007
Reading about the tremendous work required to build the railroads, and that only one man on the whole project (I think on both railroads!) had his wife living with him on site, makes me wonder about that song "I've been working on the railroad."
When I was little and learning the words to that song, "I've been working on the railroad... just to pass the time away" did I understand their irony? I think maybe I might have kind of guessed, but in a very fuzzy, nebulous kind of way.
Read about the real work that went on, and you realize that it is heavy irony! Then the song goes on to say, "Can't you hear the captain shouting"... and here is where my understanding really breaks down. Now, there weren't many women around there. From what I read in Ambrose's Nothing Like It in the World there weren't many kitchens for Dinah to be in.
Well, I just googled the song, and according to the number one listing today, (which plays it to you (ah, the wonders of the internet!)) Dinah might have been a locomotive. That makes sense. I like it.
This web site also says that the following verses were added later, (do you hear strains of "Good Night, Ladies"? One site suggests this part is a variation of that song.) The later additions include the words about Dinah in the kitchen and fee-fi-fiddly-i-o.
Now, as an adult, think about it. Think about those lyrics and how they do go on....
In grade school, did they teach me a dirty song?
P.S. Later same day. In response to my own question, maybe so. One web-site attributes the repeated "Dinah won't you blow" section to a bunch of college students. Oh, and a list of names of trains I read in Ambrose's work does not have a single one that sounds feminine. For what that is worth.
Here's perhaps a more important question. If you are writing a school paper and get information from the internet, how do you document such a shifting source? Are you required to list a hard copy source that you have actually seen for yourself?
What is the contemporary protocol?
Oh, and what about that old folk song, "I gave my love a cherry..."? Is that a dirty song, too?
August 6, 2007
Lately I have been reading about the building of the transcontinental railroad, and boy, I'd like to ride it! I have ridden the Santa Fe Railroad from Chicago to Albuquerque or Lamy several times, and it has been a magnificent trip, even as seen through dirty windows, but I have never gone West from Albuquerque.
The descriptions of the tunnels and bridges on the railroad going straight across the country make me want to try that one all the way across the country! Going up north along that track would be cool, too.
Too bad it is so expensive. Years ago I priced a trip to Portland and back from Lamy (as close as that train ran regularly to Santa Fe - pretty funny, huh, the Santa Fe Railroad doesn't go to Santa Fe!) It would have cost me $800 for train fare alone. Several years later two of us moved lock stock and barrel (after a veritable potlatch of giveaway!) to Oregon. Grand total?
(Too bad we had to stay in hotels, though! We planned to camp, but after shutting those U-Haul doors on all our stuff, we were afraid to open them again!)
What with the airlines getting big on reneging on their deals and committing what I consider false imprisonment it is obvious they think they are the only game in town.
Teletransporter inventors! Where are you? We need you!
August 5, 2007
This morning I had an amazing, powerful, beautiful dream. By 7:00 am I had written a Piglet story. My day has gone fine!
But then for some reason I get gritchy. Well, I felt damp and rainy almost all morning. For the first time in my life the toilet seat sticks to me when I get up! (No, I'm nowhere near grubby.)
Then, after my usual nutritious lunch I eat dark chocolate. Too much dark chocolate. I have second thoughts about what I was going to write here in my blahg and can't think of anything else.
It gets gorgeous and sunny outside and I am still gritchy. Wasn't I supposed to walk with someone today? No one has called. Now it is too hot! So I don't go for a walk. Try to nap, can't, got heartburn or spleenburn or something!
Get up, gritchy. Haven't slept much. Realize I'm hungry. Start some spaghetti squash on a hotplate that seems to go on and off randomly no matter what the setting, making me no less gritchy.
Then. Taste the squash, even though it isn't done.
Hmmmm! Sweet! Tasty! Much more interesting than the stuff I buy at the supermarket!
Where do you think I got it? Farmer's market!
That's right! Save the environment and do your taste buds a great big favor! Buy local!
Feeling a little better. Think I know what has been making me - well, you know!
August 4, 2007
One of my sisters, who did a stint with H&R Block, said "incompetence obfuscates embezzlement."
Actually, I know she didn't say "obfuscates" and she may not have used the word "embezzlement." It would be better if she said "incompetence covers the criminal" for alliteration or something.
But the point, at least, should be clear: confusion creates cover for criminal concerns. Ha!
I'm wondering about the burka. I can't imagine a tyrannical government succeeding where so many of its citizens run around all covered up! Men could be running around disguised as women EASILY! I bet it happens all the time! On the other hand, maybe it is ONLY a tyrannical government that could survive in such a cultural environment!
Here in the states a woman can dress in a burka if she wants to. I have seen a few. But to certain extent, freedom demands openess, I think. How can you give people the benefit of the doubt and demand evidence (including witnesses, who though they may be unreliable and/or fooled by disguise, can tell more about an individual if he/she is NOT swathed in cloth from head to foot!) if half the population runs around covered up all the time?
If I am guilty of a run-on sentence there, I apologize. But actually, I know it is grammatically (more or less) correct. But if the real purpose is to communicate maybe I failed and then I have to plead guilty.
Goes to show, though, that there is more than one way to run around covered up! You can only hold so much cover-up as illegal.
In a free society, women who are completely covered up might not be able to attract a mate as easily, so I doubt burkas will really come into fashion here. Where women are "free" (that is, slaves to a different set of cultural phenomena) they won't wear burkas.
(Actually, I kind of wish a face veil would come in style! Protect ourselves from the sun! We could go ten years longer without a face-lift. (Except, knowing me, it would go the same way as the watch, eyeglasses and hats when I get uncomfortable. Unconsciously removed and cast aside! Better not try that in Iran!))
Ahem. To return to my subject. (Did I have one? - I - forget!) Why, with our freedom of choice, do we sign contracts with companies (e.g. insurance) that snow their essential terms under pages and pages of garbage that NOBODY would voluntarily read?
We don't wear burkas, so why do we sign and submit ourselves to covered-up contracts? Social pressure?
You know, when I started this, I didn't know I would end up here. I guess I'll have to reread it to see if it flows or makes any sense at all.
If I can stand to!
August 3, 2007
The profit motive. I understand it, usually, I think. I need to eat, I want shelter, so I work for it. I go to a job, work 8 to 5, earn money, pay for what I want. Simple.
But when it comes to doing creative work, I just can't get my head around the profit motive.
When I was in Brooklyn, New York, I met an artist named Michael Bannern who said "I paint when I damn well want to."
I admired that attitude. Maybe it has unduly colored my view of the creative process.
But I don't think so. I think it is a law of nature.
So how does one harness that and put it to work for money? Every time I have tried to do something creative for money it has failed. As soon as I start to think about the amount of time I put into something in relation to what I need to support myself, the "product" goes down a notch in quality - whether it is a quilt or a piece of writing.
Well, to be honest, I only noticed it in relation to piecing fabric and quilting. I can't even begin to imagine getting paid for what I write, and everywhere I look, there is advice on what you can write that will sell and what you can't say if you want to get published by so-and-so. And if you are paid by the word and are very succinct - well - you see the dilemma.
Plus, I agree that limits sometimes help in the creative process, but, well...
There's a limit.
No, what sells is what people want now.
Maybe I'm a lazy salesperson. Maybe my product is not quite good enough. Maybe I'm out of step or ahead of my time. But succeed at making money via creative work? Some people do it.
I just can't get my head around it.
August 2, 2007
Sounds in the early morning... 4:00 engines idling, doors slamming, mourning doves, (it's still dark), robins beginning to burble.... I'm thinking I'm going to hear and write about a whole succession of birds, but I fall back to sleep.
I don't know why, but I keep imagining going back 90 years in time, when probably the neighbors would complain about the snick snick of my hand lawn mower early in the morning. I can only wonder how quiet it must have been, although I don't remember it being this noisy fifty years ago!
I was probably just a better sleeper.
In Mexico near the Pacific Ocean, we heard raking sounds as hotel employees cleaned up the grounds' sandy surface. (My first introduction to rake marks in sand, seen since in Zen gardens!) That was an okay sound to wake up to, once you knew what the hell it was!
Ever hear sounds that you can't identify as inner or outer? I have seen a few signs of cicadas outside - empty shells and whole insects.
Is this insect-like buzz I hear the cicadas? Or only me?
August 1, 2007
Just saw a bumper sticker. "God is not a Republican." This was in caps. Underneath, in smaller letters, something to the effect that he is not a Democrat either.
It's interesting that both our major political parties are named after forms of government that we are no longer. And the Libertarian Party might find itself misnamed in a country where our civil liberties are being eroded. (Yeah, I know, that is what you, from your minority position, are fighting against!) And the Green Party? I'm all for the greening of America, but the fact that it is an issue gave rise to the Green Party.
I propose a party, the Oligarchan Party. All members of the Oligarchy would have to be a member of that party, because that is who they represent! After all, they would be named after our present form of government, so why should they object?
Got another party proposal? The Fiesta Party? The Coolie (me incooluded!) Party? The Triplespeak Party?
Me, I could obviously use a party!
July 31, 2007
Update on Japanese Beetles getting eaten by wildlife! I'm sure that it happened night before last (although the diner didn't eat them all (there weren't many to begin with!) Maybe he only wants fresher ones. Hey, we humans aren't the only ones who are picky. I was watching a butterfly moth the other night, sipping out of impatiens flowers, and only a few were worthy of his attention.
A friend of mine thinks maybe it must be birds who are eating them. At night? What nocturnal birds are around here? Owls? Nighthawks? I haven't heard either in this neighborhood this year.
Luckily, the Japanese Beetle numbers are declining. I'll have to try more nocturnal dining experiments (for the beasties, not me!) next year. (I can't believe I have found a reason to look forward to Japanese Beetle infestation!)
July 30, 2007
I had a dream last night, about my father. It wasn't a visitation dream. It was a dream about the tone of voice we use with each other.
I feel I get a lot of judgment for my tone of voice. My mom says I lecture (well, duh!) In my dream I was criticized for the tone of voice I was using to my father. (Who in "real" life is gone, and I never used that tone of voice to him anyway. He was really a sweetie in his old age!) In the dream I responded (or someone else responded for me, I forget which), "Well, where do you think that came from?"
My point? That what we grow up with determines to a great extent what we consider "normal." And if what a kid learns from his parents is "normal," for most impressionable babes it is a short step to "okay." If a person thinks it is normal to marry a 14-year-old or go through an open window and take stuff from someone else's house (as they, perhaps, were instructed to do by a loving mother from age three!) it will be very hard to change that point of view.
That's why I think that one of the greatest teachings of Christianity (and Islam from what I have read) is humility. Even as adults, there are things we have to learn. There are habits, attitudes, and tones of voice we really should un-learn.
I'll try not to lecture. (Unless I'm getting paid!)
(Ha ha. I don't mean here, of course!)
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