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Rumilluminations October 2008
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Thu, October 02 2008 - 4:44 pm

October 31, 2008                               Valparaiso, IN

Something strange is happening in Valparaiso, Indiana.  After going for years seeing very few loose dogs here, we have seen four in two days.

One narrowly missed getting hit on Calumet, one of the busiest streets in town.  Walking home with ice cream, we did not chase that cute little innocent young one down.

Today, with more time on our hands, we decided to save a lovely young golden retriever who seemed equally oblivious to the dangers of traffic.  Why are so many obviously friendly, well-cared for, collarless dogs loose on the streets these days?

Are people residing in foreclosed homes turning their pets out? Are doors in homes getting left open as jack-o-lanterns are put on steps?  Are poltergeists running around in celebrity costumes leaving gates unlocked?

But even scarier is the number of what must be really stupid people masquerading as normal citizens.  How can anyone relate to Joe the Plumber?

He is a lying full-of-bull-ship con guy opportunist - most people's biggest contemporary boogie-man short of the serial killer.

Are we really like him? 

To me someone like that is about as "other" as could possibly be!

With someone like Joe the Plumber getting serious attention, I'm already scared.  And it's not even dark yet!  (At least, outside!)  

October 29, 2008                            Valparaiso, IN

Ah, Joseph Epstein, here's a snobbery for you!  I have heard a couple of pundits lately talking about the "chattering classes." 

Well, phellows, phuck you too.

If we people who don't "amount to much" (from the definition for "chattering classes" in Wikipedia) talk, we can only chatter.  If we do not voice our opinions, we are despised as part of a "silent majority" too unable or apathetic to express ourselves.

Well, we chattering classes have plenty to chatter about lately:

re Sarah Palin's "ship happens" P-shirt:  "Sarah Talin is full of bullship!  Loose lipsticks sink dipships, Sarah!"

Alan Greenspan has joined the disillusioned - finally, at his age!

President Bush has fallen - now I'm beginning to think he's not even a woody shrub!  This cold winter will finish off that frail herbaceous political plant!  Or maybe he will become a fumbleweed!

McCain is - well, McCain was.

Maybe if these folks had listened to some of the "chatter" around them they would not have made some of their mistakes - (oops, no, I didn't mean that - these people never make mistakes - they only make mispakes!)

October 28, 2008                             Valparaiso, IN

On Inside the Actors' Studio, actors are asked what their favorite words are.  Offhand, the only one I can remember is Tommy Lee Jones' word:  honor.

That impresses me, as long as it is not too fanatical, which in TLJ's case, it probably isn't.

My favorite word, I'm thinking lately, is "health."  Sure other things are important, like, say, "spirit."  But I think it takes a whole lot of spirit to make up for having very little health.

"Wealth" is a nice word, too.  But I'm thinking that part of wealth is health.  (Ha, ha!)  And "wealth" without spirit isn't worth much.  Wealth without health is worth even less.  (How much is a "w" worth these days?  (ha ha again)

I think the best word would be "wellth."  Maybe my new word is my new favorite worth.  Er, I mean word.  (I sure wish not so many of these jokes weren't originally just typos!)

Anyway, wealth isn't just about money.  Remember?

(Now there is an interesting word.  Think about it!) 

Ooctober 27, 2008                          Valparaiso, IN

Ooooo, "fear mongering!"  Isn't that a wonderfully rotund phrase?  How about "hate mail!"  Such wonderful assonance!  Ha ha - not to mention the pun possibilities in all of the above!

Well, Halloween is coming and Americans are all like a bunch of sub-teens gathered around a campfire telling ghost stories.  Not to mention dressing up in costumes and trying to get everybody else to do likewise!   Ooooo!  

Makes you wonder about the timing of the elections, doesn't it?  I suspect they were originally timed to merge as much as possible with the growing year.  In the spring people are too distracted by scraping together the money to plant,  determining what to plant, and deciding when to plant to pay good attention to politics, maybe.  (The gentleman farmers weren't exempt from these obsessions.) 

By early November, on the other hand, the harvest was in, but winter hadn't quite set in yet.  The candidates could be out stumping for their campaigns; then when the good weather was well over, everyone could vote.

On a day or two after All Saints Day, as it happens.  Is that a coincidence?  (Not a rhetorical question - I'm really wondering.  Were we all supposed to be uplifted by consideration of the lives of the saints before we chose our leader?  Even though Protestants don't believe in saints per se, they have their versions of them, don't they?)

Then, the elections over, everyone can hunker down to work on and enjoy the holidays.

Come on, kids!  Play nice!  Tomorrow the spooky night will have passed and the sun will rise like any other day!

(Which reminds me of the acerbic comment of a friend, "Well, technically the earth is turning...."

Gee, maybe that's why modern man is famous for so much angst!  Instead of lounging around comfortably in bed while the sun is doing all the work rising, it is actually we who are in the middle of a spinning whirling tornado of sorts!

Hmmm.... I wonder when the real first intimations in science came out about the true relation between sun and earth?  In the Middle East, which was usually ahead of the West in astronomy?  Right around the time that the Whirling Dervishes emerged, maybe.

That is what I will be for Halloween!  A Whirling Dervish!

Hah!  Better than a wolverine!

Wooo!  Feeling dizzy!  Better crawl back to my spinning bed so it can rotate me toward the unrising sun!) 

October 26, 2008                      Valparaiso, IN

I just finished reading Christopher Smith's blog at about voters in Indiana.  I was surprised at how many former military men are voting for McCain, chiefly, it would seem, because of his military and POW experience.

It is understandable that so many people become truly obsessed with their military time, because it must be some of the most dramatic years of their lives.  Ordinary life is just not as vividly dramatic, and especially for those with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, is subject to being invaded by a re-experience of war's trauma on the part of war's victims (among them the soldiers).

(That's an idea - probably a "duh" one - maybe that is why some enlistees chose to become career soldiers.  The old adrenaline addiction kicks in and - well, like I said, "Duh.")

Anyway, except for religious fanatics like al Qaida, who supposedly want us all dead (except themselves - oh, that's right, they are even killing themselves to make others dead!), it is not likely that the middle eastern countries really want to destroy us all.  They are too busy selling us oil.  Even if we manage to rid ourselves of much of our dependence on them for oil, they will still be selling lots of oil to us.  It doesn't make much sense for them to kill off their market!

On the other hand, it doesn't make financial sense for middle and lower class people to vote for McCain, and they are still doing it, evidently!  McCain's military service may be admirable, but I don't think it is necessarily the best training for being President.

And I certainly am not going to let pity for the multi-millionaire McCain influence my vote!  What on Earth is wrong with "Spreading the wealth?"  I don't get it!  You would think "generosity" is a dirty word!

Are you retired?  Not much worried about your economic future?  Then have mercy on the younger folks who still have households to maintain and children to support!  Please, help them and vote for Obama!

If Obama had been President eight years ago, we would not be in this messy war.  Vote for the person smart enough to help us avoid trouble in the first place!

And as for "them... coming here," we have lost thousands more going over there than we lost here on 9/ll/01.  Going after Saddam Hussein was a mistake.  Why do people keep forgetting that?  Or conversely, why do they discount it and dismiss it and NOT CARE?

Are we that ego-ridden, that we can't admit we made a mistake?  Oh, wait!  I understand - we, too, are willing to kill off many of ourselves to make them dead! 

October 25, 2008                          Valparaiso, IN

Here I confess I must call attention to a blunder I made yesterday in a criticism against AARP Bulletin.  So if you read my Rumilluminations yesterday please know that I made a big blundering mistake and am abjectly sorry.  Not being a notably "reliable" news source, I guess I'm just par for the irresponsible internet course, but I really do not intentionally repeat (or invent!) falsehoods.  Not to excuse myself, but didn't yesterday seem to be a day for such errors of judgment?

Speaking of which my daughter forwarded to me an email of such an evil nature, such scurrilous attacks against Obama and his supposed black magic out-of-Africa curses, that I didn't even read it all.  She says the scary thing is that the people who are promulgating it really believe it.  Or they hope it's true... or they are delusional....

Well.  I proved yesterday that I am capable of a certain amount of unreal delusion myself, so I won't throw stones.  But if you have gotten this voodoo email about Obama, I'll say one thing:  I laughed at it, and I hope you can, too!

Helpless laughter, maybe.... 

October 24, 2008                          Valparaiso, IN

As Gore Vidal said to Eric Segal, "You are either a knave or a fool" (because he wrote Love Story.)  When Segal replied that he believed in Love Story, Gore pronounced:  "So you have elected to play the fool."

So now we can all say that to Sarah Palin, who was quoted yesterday as protesting, "If you only knew how frugal we are!"

Personally, Sarah Palin, I have been inclined to believe you are a knave.  Using your political office to enforce personal vendettas (then lying in our faces about it), using Alaska's money to turn official visits into family vacations, criticizing opponents for "elitism" and then spending $150,000 on clothes within two months - this is definitely knavish behavior.

But now, I guess I have done you a grave injustice, for you have decided to play the fool.  Maybe your parental family was frugal.  Maybe you and your husband have been known to pinch pennies in the past.  But no, you "are" not frugal.

Stewart made fun of you last night, saying that "$150,00 is more than most Americans make in two years!"  Now I can make fun of John!  Goodie!  I think the most I ever made in a year was $24,000, John, and that was working 45-hour weeks at well above the minimum wage.  Even at that peak of my money-making career, it would take me SIX YEARS to earn the amount of money Sarah Palin spent on clothes in two months.

Maybe Sarah Palin thinks that "frugal" means, "fru-fru gal!"

So you, Palin, are not bad, just delusional?  Unfortunately, delusional people in positions of power get a reputation of being "bad!"  Sorry!

You remind me of the multiple rapist in Houstin who was taped (and aired on television) as saying, "I am not a bad person."

That may be true.  But unfortunately for him (and VP would-be Palin) our society cannot judge people by what they would have been had they not done what they have done.

Your soul's state is between you and your God (whether that be a spiritual comfort or Power.)

Too bad all we, your fellow citizens, have to go on is your actions.  And we don't like 'em!

P.S.  CORRECTION  Here I must put in a mea culpa to AARP bulletin for reporting something right here in this spot in error.  Blame it on my mom!  (Heh, heh it was really a combination of errors.)  You know that ad that says, "Don't trust anyone over ninety!"?  Well, my mom won't be ninety for four months, but I guess she's precocious!  Anyway, I corrected my mistake as soon as possible.  Mea culpa!  Mea culpa!  (She and I must both suffer from that face blindness thing....)


October 23, 2008                          Valparaiso, IN

Well, Mom and I voted early today.  I was very surprised to find a line!  (Part of the reason we voted early was so my mom wouldn't have to stand for a long time in line.)  Since our regular voting place is just a block away I will probably drop by there on the actual election day to see how long the lines are.

I also felt like voting today.  What if I am really grouchy on election day, or worse, sick?  What if my mom gets sick and can't go?  What if it is icy out and I have to drive my mother the one block to the polling place and I get stuck in snow?

Another reason for voting early was that I saw on TV it might help avoid election fraud.  Since I am voting for Obama in a state where McCain still has a slight lead, I am concerned about my vote not counting.  No possibly rigged computer voting for me!  I used a paper ballot.

But what I forgot about (and always have trouble getting myself to study for) are all the lesser decisions to be made with regards to local and state governments.  We voted today almost on impulse, so while I feel I voted intelligently for the President and VP, I deserve an abject F for my knowledge of other people and issues.

I took the lazy way out and voted a straight ticket.  I already know what my next New Year's Resolution will have to be!

Meanwhile, on that chilly - possibly ice-rainy! - November day when half the country will be out voting, I'll make myself a hot chocolate and congratulate myself that my citizen's chore (er, privilege!) is already done!

P.S.  I don't know about your county, but here in Porter County, Indiana, the voter registration office will be open on two Saturdays for early voting!  No tearing away from your work-place and racing around town in busy traffic! 


October 22, 2008                          Valparaiso, IN

When I was in Santa Fe, I met with an old friend who, although a Obama supporter, went to a McCain rally just "out of curiosity."

He saw a lot not likely to be reported by a McCain supporter.  For one thing, the Republican Party was just passing out tickets to anybody.  If I heard correctly, the person who gave my friend his ticket wasn't a supporter of McCain either.

There were about 3,000 people in the bleachers behind McCain, where my friend was seated.  He and the others could not hear one word of McCain's speech.  Cries from this group that they could hear nothing were ignored, so my friend went down around front.

He told me a long story about a man out of view of TV cameras who was telling a bunch of genuine McCain supporters how to react when with signs.  (Like that time we went to a TV recorded jazz group in Chicago, I interjected, and he said yes.)  (It sounded as if this cheerleading guy started with a kind of Pavlovian training session first, but that part of my friend's description was a little unclear to me.)  He told the group to wave their McCain/Palen signs around a lot.  This group of McCain supporters were surrounded by barriers, thus holding them close together and making them appear to be part of a huge, jostling crowd.

My friend told me that police estimated about 6,000 - 7,000 people in attendance (including the papered crowd out behind McCain.)  The campaign and the local papers (evidently quoting the campaign) said that McCain spoke in front of 20,000 loyal supporters.

Heard the latest about the number of our votes that are being thrown out for bogus reasons?  (To give an example, if you have an address in one state and a driver's license from another (lots of people don't get around to switching driver's licenses within a month or two after a move!) you may not be allowed to vote, or unbeknownst to you, your vote might simply be thrown out!

We should fear that Obama may not be victorious in this election!  We have to get so many votes out that we can still win in spite of Republican shenanigans - which John McCain, typically, is trying to distract us from by bringing up spurious voter fraud charges against ACORN!


October 20, 2008                   Valparaiso, IN

My friends all know I'm paranoid.  Not severely so, usually.  Usually I know when my latest paranoia trip is unrealistic.

One of my friends consoled me the other day with his opinion, which is that the whole country tends towards paranoia.  For instance, he says, look at Rush Lindbaugh, who thinks Colin Powell is supporting Obama because he is black (or better yet, presumably - half-black!)  I say, well yeah, but are we sure that that isn't just projection?  After all, Rush supports McCain and they are both white!

Also, the nation is so terrified of terrorist pedophilic arsonists that one would think they are a large percent of the population!  Let's face it: although newsworthy, the unfortunate incidents caused by the irregulars (ha!  I love that!  Or should I call them the "seconds"?) among us are not at all common!  Why I myself have gone through sixty-one years without once tripping over a dead body!  (Knock on wood, knock on wood!)

But paranoia is common.  My personal theory is that, after watching sitcoms all their lives, people think that routine lying is normal behavior.  Since being lied to as children causes paranoia (according to at least one psychiatrist I have read) more and more of us are going to become paranoid - only, of course, if we model our behavior on sitcoms.

I'm afraid I think too many of us do.  (What a paranoid idea!)

Of course, the sad thing about paranoia is that it takes away our freedom.  (As Jesus said, "Perfect love casts out fear."  I went to a sermon once in which the preacher turned it around.  "Perfect fear casts out love.")

What we as a nation (and I as an individual) need is a big dose of love of the compassionate variety.

Er, oh no!  Is not being paranoid now considered anti-American?  Paratriotnoia!

Awesome!  A truly paranoid thought!

(Or is it?  Quick!  Hide!)     

October 19, 2008                               Valparaiso, IN

When I was in Oregon, the Family Dept. (whatever it was called) would have paid 90% of a health insurance policy for me.  One year of that insurance would have cost $4800 dollars if paid in full by me.

Gee, that is what I would get (supposedly under McCain's) insurance program!  Except that was four years ago - who knows what that policy would cost now.

Oh - and except for the fact (I have written about this before) that Blue Cross Blue Shield considered me uninsurable.  Under McCain's plan, would you get the money if no one would insure you?  Would that check have to be written to an insurance company?  Under McCain's plan, I might get no check and no insurance, either.

And if the check is written to individuals, what is to stop an individual from gambling away his family's insurance money?  (Ha, ha, I wasn't thinking on the insurance companies, but what the hell, that too!)

If the government insures people ala Obama, I don't know how that would work, but I bet I wouldn't be considered uninsurable!  (Me, who at age 61 have been in the hospital three times in my life - once when I was born, once when I had my first child, and once when I had appendicitis!  My second and third children were born at home.)

I'm one of the healthiest people I know.  I shouldn't be uninsured and uninsurable!

(Gee, at my age that seems worse than being unloved and unloveable!)

October 18, 2008                             Valparaiso, IN

When I was driving down to pick up my mother from my sister's place in Nashville, I saw a sign in big black bold letters that looked to be at least three feet high, "HELL IS REAL".

Well, the guy who put that up is either an awful, exploitive, sadistic bastard - or he believes it.

Now, in my mind anyone who believes in Hell is in Hell.

Even if I don't know for sure about the person who put up the sign, I do believe that there are people who believe in Hell.  (Unbelievable, huh?)

Therefore I, too, believe in Hell.

Of course, on my way back I saw the same sign (the other side?  A similar sign?) with bold white letters on a black background.  Now I am not sure what I saw.  I don't even know what I believe about what I saw.

Sigh.  It is so much easier to believe in something that NOBODY can see! 


October 17, 2008                              Valparaiso, IN

There is something about trees.  Everybody makes fun of Joyce Kilmer's poem about a tree, but I've never heard anyone mock the sentiment.

A man in the recent California fires refused to evacuate, saying while pointing to a pine tree near his home, "If that sucker goes, it's time for me to go!"

I hope he and his tree made it through the fire!

We have lost several trees along our street in the past few years.  The lady across the street stayed for years after her husband died, but as soon as she lost the only big tree on her property - a big maple tree in her front yard - she was out of there!  Went to live near her son in Michigan.

We lost a big old silver maple a few weeks ago.  Now our house has no big trees to the east to keep our house cool in the mornings.  It doesn't look as gracious, either.  I'm going to call the city to find out what trees we can plant as replacements.  Valparaiso won't permit anything that grows over twelve feet in their right-of-way now because of the telephone wires.  Well, at least a pedestrian (often, me!) will get some benefit from a twelve-foot high tree.  In a few years.

I met a woman raking leaves the other day who told me about some people she knows who chopped down two perfectly good trees because they didn't want to deal with the fall clean-up.

They must not be human!  They are going to roast in their now-unprotected abode!  Or maybe when they get to Hell they will have their own personal woodpile to provide their torture - made up of the trees they chopped down!

As the poster along highway 65 says, "HELL IS REAL."

(No, I'm not really ill-wishing them.  I don't believe in eternal hell, anyway, and the increase in their electric bill will be punishment enough!)

P.S.  I spent a lovely hour raking this morning, and enjoyed the light breeze that was bringing down more leaves on my newly raked lawn!

October 16, 2008                         Valparaiso, IN

Anybody notice how much of the time McCain wants the last word?  He got it after almost every question during the third debate last night.  I bet he really wished he had it at the very end last night, when Obama's final comments so compassionately overreached his own.

No chance to tell the "he will raise your taxes" lie one more time.  Dang!  Must have been frustrating!

I have never been so personally involved in a Presidential election before.  I cared, but did not spend time on the blow-by-blow ups and downs of the campaign.

Now I feel like I did when I was night months pregnant.  I just want this baby to be born already!

October 15, 2008                               Valparaiso, IN

Anybody else as puzzled as I am about the "bail-out" or as some like to call it, the "restructuring?"

Today I read an article on my yahoo messenger that said 2/3 of our economic prosperity comes from consumer spending.  So why did we give that big old chunk of money to the banks?

What was it?  700 billion dollars?  There are only 300 million people in the U.S.  I would divide 700 billion by 300 million and tell you how much each of us would get if I could only remember how many zeros are in a billion!

No, really, think about it.  The average American now has ten or twelve thousand dollars in credit card debt.  The nation has incurred, on our "behalf" a debt averaging $30,000 (that was months ago, more by now I'm sure!) per person.

I'm not too impressed by the record of my fellow Americans.  (My worst credit card debt ever was about $3000 and it took me years to get out of it.)  But compared to the Federal Government, we are circumspect!  There is no doubt in my mind that we have the government beaten all hollow when it comes to living within our means!

Obviously, given the economic climate, we as individuals cannot afford to incur more debt.  Which means we can't spend a lot more than we already have.  So if our spending is the single most important thing for the economy, how come the money isn't being given to us?

Hey, what do we care if the banks go down?  That would wipe out our credit card debt, wouldn't it?

Well, okay, I'm not really serious.  I've bought the company line that we need our financial institutions "stable."  I just can't figure out why we are supposed to care more than they do. 

(Oh, yeah, that's right, they are more cushioned with OUR MONEY than we are.)

So those of you who troll the web, explain this to me.  Why doesn't the government just give us all 700 billion divided by 300 million instead of giving it to the banks?  Even if we just used a lot of it to get out of debt, the banks will be getting it anyway -  via us!  Kill two birds with one stone!

I admit economic ignorance - explain it to me!  Why not?  Why give it to our banks, and not us?

The government is giving one of my banks 10 billion, is it?  I owe them $488.  (Don't worry guys, my check is in the mail!  Wouldn't want you to go hungry without it!)

October 14, 2008                            Valparaiso, IN

Well, here I am in that "gray place" - Valparaiso - which is right now both gray and wet.

I have missed more days writing here than ever since I started my Rumilluminations, and feel as if I have traveled too far from my inner center.

My two weeks in sunny New Mexico have been a strange admixture of high living and servitude, friendship and slavery, family reunion and voluntary trudgery.  (In some of the old days I walked around Santa Fe in self-imposed drudgery, car-less by choice and needing to do errands, heat or no.  This time I walked around mostly for fun.  And fun it was!  (Mostly!))

My personal family reunion epiphany came on a walk, too.  My kids wanted to walk up to the Cross of the Martyrs one night to see the city and the sparkly lights from above. I was a little hesitant, even though I knew it was now bricked instead of a very dusty rocky road.  Maybe memories of slogging it at the end of a very long day of motherhood on Good Friday with small children in tow slowed my steps towards the place.

I went along though, and as we neared the top, I was a little behind my children.  It had taken some doing to get us all together for this one evening, my last night in Santa Fe, and the three of them were forging ahead, talking about I did not know what.

It reminded me of when I was a child, walking behind my sister and her friends.  I was out of it, but it wasn't a terrible place to be.  I could contemplate the world - and them - in peace.

And peace is what that contemplation brought me, because for the first time I felt that my children were forging ahead into the future and really didn't need me any more.  There they were - strong and cheerful enough and friendly with each other.  And there I was, behind not because I was smaller exactly (although maybe that is part of it!) but because I am being left behind in time.

A strange feeling, but encouraging too.  I would like to hang around for a few more decades, enjoying what is beautiful and interesting about life and the world, but I no longer feel that I really need to for the sake of my children.  They are truly grown up!

(Well, not truly, we all have our moments and our little inner children, but you know what I mean!  They are grown up!  I am so happy for them!)

This was an unexpected reward for taking the trouble to get us all together!  May you all experience a similar wonder!

P.S.  It was an easy little climb!

October 8, 2008                                         Santa Fe, NM

So Obama spoke more to the people, probably would be better at foreign policy, and pretty much outrated John McCain in the debate last night.  Yet more people consider him unready to be President!

This just does not compute.

It reminds me of a news magazine show I watched on TV that illustrated age bias in hiring.  Two women, one young and one older, who had nearly identical resumes and clothes applied for a job in retail sales.

Surprise, surprise, the young woman got the job.  Conscious or unconscious, discrimination was probable.

In the case of the Presidency, age would tend to favor McCain if he were healthier and if he did not have Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential nominee.  But to say Obama is better qualified to do A,B,C,D and then say he is not "ready" for the job - well, I think I know what that is.

People just grasping for any nebulous reason not to vote for a black-and-white man.

And for silliness - how about Sarah Palin's genetic relationship to FDR and Princess Di?  Have they researched her possible blood relations to Charles Manson or Ted Bundy?

Or how about a randomly selected 100 citizens of the United States?  Maybe some of them would be Princess Di's seventh cousins!

This genetic stuff is way out of hand, but I bet there are bunches of Americans who will go gaga and vote for the royal connection!

But it will be just another excuse.  Really - they just love wolverine pups!

October 7, 2008                                 Santa Fe, NM

So Obama knows someone who used to be a terrorist forty years ago.  He sat on the board of a charitable organization with him.  Does the McCain/Palin ticket know anything about the history of the United States in the sixties?  I came of age then, and I remember feeling that people ten years my senior (like McCain) were more alien to me than my parents' generation.  These are people who came of age in the fifties, and boy, were they materialistic and complacent and conservative!  (At least I felt that way when I was twenty.)

I'm not saying that all seventy-somethings are like that now.  Presumably many of them have learned a thing or two in the last fifty years that might have loosened them up a little - if they were capable of spiritual growth!

People fifteen years younger than I (like Palin), on the other hand, are probably too young to have been much influenced by the sixties (except via their parents.  Anyway, did the sixties ever penetrate Alaska?)  Try to meet someone from my generation who hasn't tried illegal drugs or participated in a demonstration!  They exist, but they are probably in the minority!  So would Palin and McCain like to bar a whole generation from public office because of what we were like forty years ago?  (Obama is too young to be of my generation, also.)

As for forgiving someone for their past sins, I thought Palin claims to be a Christian!  The man she is focusing on was a "terrorist" forty years ago, by American standards.  What does that really mean?  What did he really do?  Did he actually injure anyone?  If society has forgiven him and given him a decent job (teaching!) why doesn't Palin follow her religion and forgive him?  Why doesn't she follow her own advice and look to the present and the future?

Does Palin want forgiveness for her own sins?

Oh, that's right.  Someone who won't admit to having an Achilles' heel probably has never ever actually sinned!

October 6, 2008                                  Santa Fe, NM

Every once in a while when I'm watching TV, I see clothing that somehow shimmers when the camera picks it up.  Jay Leno's tie with big wide stripes that aren't really there.  A suit with a shifting cross-hatch - stuff like that.

I could see how that might happen randomly sometimes, but I have seen it both on McCain's and Palin's clothing and cannot understand it.  Don't these seasoned TV "performers" test their clothing beforehand for weird effects, the way Hillary Clinton's pantsuits were tested for visual impact before her Democratic Convention speech?

And if politicos appearing on TV are aware of this optic illusion, is it intentional?  Is the idea to distract the viewer from what the speaker (or another speaker!) is saying?  My daughter thinks these rhythmic visual changes are hypnotizing.

Is that what they are for?  To hypnotize the viewer so that the message of the speaker sails right past his audience's critical faculties and embeds his message into its unconscious?  Sure, these folks "love" us and will "work for" us in Washington, unlike those other un-American, flawed, people whose clothes don't shimmy.

Mystical experiences are often connected with light.  Maybe these people hope that the connection of their clothing with light will light up their messages.

Or maybe it's all just coincidence.  (Is there anything about staging any political TV show that is left to chance?  That's hard to believe!)

Just a thought.

I do wish, though, that all TV types would check their spooky clothes backstage and stop distracting me from their performances and making me ga-ga!

October 4, 2008                                   Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe has an artists' market on West Alameda that I don't remember being here before I left.  There were several interesting exhibits there, but I got hooked on Britt Lee's photography.  Her stuff is beautiful with some really original takes!  (Hint - find a horse's mane!)  Take a look while you are over there shopping at the Co-op or getting your car fixed on the next block.  Take your checkbook if you don't have at least $10 on you.  She is there most Saturdays.

Went on a ride up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains yesterday to see the aspens and now is the time to go.  It's cloudy today but only supposed to get rainier tomorrow.  There is still a good deal of green up there, but I prefer yellow and green to yellow and brown when it comes to turning leaves!

Wherever you are, take a break from the depressing subject of a certain VP nominee.  Maybe there is an organization that idealistic, scrupulous you would like to help further in the role of Vice President!

Hmmm... refinement to my description of apache plumes - some are pale reddish like a red dogwood blossom; some pink; and some just plain old white or even dirty gray.  Keep looking until you find a beautiful specimen with flowers and plumes!  I'm sure as the days get shorter they will be rarer and rarer.

October 3, 2008                                 Santa Fe, NM

Years ago an attorney boss of mine said that while litigating it is important to act jaunty and wear a big smile even if something works against you during a trial, because the jury will think it was in your favor.  They are watching your body language more than they are listening to what is happening.

Last week we saw McCain smiling a lot.  Last night it was Palin, who stood up in front of the cameras and told the same old lie about our taxes increasing with Obama that their campaign has been telling all along. 

How was she so comfortable in front of the cameras?  I wondered.  I know how beady those camera eyes look (unless TV cameras are a lot bigger than the old video ones.)  Millions of people were watching her eyelashes bat her bangs!  Well, she is not new to professional TV, I found out.

Anyway, there she was, grimacing and winking, not answering questions she didn't want to answer and telling us she wasn't going to, and I guess we're supposed to think she is cool.  The majority of Americans are, I think, pretty law-abiding.  Are we really impressed with her flat-out refusal to play by the rules?

Her one big Freudian slip, that "John McCain is a good man to leave" - instead of "lead" has been pretty well overlooked by everyone.  I think it is a meaningful slip, though.  I think Sarah Palin, having ridden into national politics on her moose, does intend to leave John McCain as soon as possible in the wake of her moose poop!

And why are we so forgiving of Sarah Palin?  Governors have been forced to resign and Presidential nominees have lost all momentum when affairs were uncovered.  Sarah Palin had an affair with her husband's business partner, according to some reputable newspaper (was it The New York Times?) but there she is, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and eager to control our behavior.

Personally, I don't think peoples' personal lives should really affect their political ones.  I don't care whether Bill Clinton had affairs or not.  But why the double standard?  If the men get dragged through the mud for that kind of behavior, why not the women?

If a spunky attitude and how you look is everything, why do we call these public confrontations "debates?"  Debates are all about words, reason, facts, and reality.  If you get points for how you look and how confident you appear, why didn't Sarah Palin just come out in a swimsuit and save us 90 minutes apiece of our precious time?

I did not learn anything from her I didn't already know.

She reminded someone else (I forget who) of a wolverine, though.  He said she was like a wolverine grabbing onto Biden's pantleg.  Right on!  I think the wolverine must be her totem.

My teacher sister says that young people these days have trouble listening.  It's something they just don't do.  If people don't listen, or if they are incapable of listening critically and paying attention to what is not said, we are in big trouble.

I'm afraid we are in big trouble.

Quite frankly, quite a few people I know are scared to death.

Biden did great.  But last night again it was mostly about Sarah Palin.

The I Ching said about the greatest rulers that the people are barely aware of their existence.  The fact that our leaders are so much in the public eye these days, creating all these big moose-poop-sized messes, just shows what a lousy job they have been doing.

Vote for the low-profile candidates!  Vote for Obama and Biden!

(Sheesh.  I can't believe how political I'm being!)

October 2, 2008                                        Santa Fe, NM

Yesterday I spent the day in Albuquerque, and really wanted to write a piece from there (for the fun of having a different city rather than the "city different" - ha!) up there by the date, but it was not to be.

The weather has been glorious in both cities lately, but today I was especially struck by an apache plume shrub.  The apache plume, one of my local favorites, is a xerophyte in the rose family with 1/2 inch white wild-rose style flowers.  After the flowers die, small tufts of fuzzy  reddish "hair" - much like what you see on clematis - appear.  These little plumes are some of the softest things you will see in the wild here in New Mexico.

I saw a lot of bees, too.  Haven't seen many in the Midwest since I moved back there, though I hear their numbers are on the rebound.  Today I saw as many honey bees in front of the Co-op (heh - they know a good thing when they see it!) as I have seen in four years in Valpo.

It seems to me that I did hear that the hives of New Mexico were not as hard hit by the virus (?) that was killing the bees  as other parts of the country were - maybe because they are protected by natural low-moisture barriers (i.e. semi-arid country!)

Tonight are the vice-presidential debates.  I strongly suspect that tomorrow the Rabid Crank will reappear in these virtual pages!  If you object, speak up now!

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