Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
- Put the logo on your blog or post.
- Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more).
- Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Link to this post and to the person you originally sent you your award.
Here are my nominations:
Skoog Farm Journal: Horses, Farm, Flowers, Garlic, Life Musings
Spartacus Jones: Horses, Music, Philosophy, World-View
Esther Garvi: Greetings for West Africa!
Windy Skies: Greetings from India
Just a Thought: Totally misleading. The writer has MANY thoughts.
Life with a View: Where Art and Life Intersect
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
As we sprint (or trudge, depending on your perspective) toward Election Day, it is easy to be carried off by the last manic gyrations of the Wild Dance. But – if you can – try to let it go by. The cults of personality, the hyperbole, the distractions, the lies and innuendo, the ugly attacks, the sexism and racism, all the dreadful tactics that have everything to do with winning an election, and nothing to do with solving the issues of our times. Let it all pass by, out of your sight line, because it’s YOUR job to keep your eye on YOUR ball.
What exactly do YOU care about?
What is it that YOU think needs addressing?
There’s got to be something.
Think about it.
And, please vote.
(You can turn off the music at the bottom of my blog.)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I have been studying the War for Independence, and just finished a book about slavery during the revolution. According to this book, the Southern war was a brutal competition between the British who wanted to maintain supremacy (read: economic benefits), the southern colonials who wanted to retain their property (read: slaves who facilitated economic benefits), and the slaves who wanted the freedom to pursue their own economic benefits – and walk down the road without a hall pass.
Then I read this article about a 106 year-old woman (she reminds me of my Great Aunt, Annie Belle Miller) who says, “I ain’t got time to die.” Ann Nixon Cooper is waiting to see Barack Obama elected to the Presidency. Mrs. Cooper remembers when neither women nor African Americans were permitted to vote, let alone run for office. She has taken advantage of early voting in Atlanta, and now waits.
I am reminded that a hundred years is not that far into the long ago. Less than a hundred years ago, women lived at the mercy of their husbands, fathers and brothers. Two hundred years is only a hair longer in the wide swathe of human history. Two hundred years ago, race was used as an excuse to enslave, chain, kidnap, and murder human beings. The lucky ones were merely exploited for economic gain, and told that servitude was their righteous part in God’s plan. Women, African Americans, Native Americans and anyone else who did not fit into the incredibly narrow definition of “citizen” were blatantly excluded from the pursuit of freedom. Rights? Certainly not! Voting? Get back to work!
Years roll by. The times have changed. We have changed. Through pain and love, through war and patience, we have changed.
Ann Nixon Cooper waits to see the day.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Let it be so ...
Rock, paper, scissors, rock, rock, finance, rock, rock, energy, rock, rock, campaign finances, rock, rock, lying, rock, rock, mean things, rock, rock, taxes, rock, rock, bad friends, rock, rock, bad community organization, rock, rumors, rock, rock, misrepresentations, rock, rock, rock, gimme my halo, rock, rock, Iraq, rock, rock, reform ...
Turn. Smile. Repeat. Turn. Frown. Repeat.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I stand in a perfect cross, where four roads converge, and I am disturbed. Here, the field is disrupted, and its distortion emanates from both the sources and destinations of these four roads.
The first road originates from a friend (yes, you know who you are) on the web who distributes theories (I won’t say “conspiracy” theories, because they relate to conspiracies as war relates to 4 AM cat fights) about the state of our nation and the forces seeking to subvert her. Think 9/11, signing statements, standing brigades on domestic turf, weak Congressional leaders that surrender the balance of power. They are dark puzzles, large and small, and their solution hides in the realization that we know not what beasts shuffle through the corridors of power.
Second, there is the road that runs from an economic crisis that looks like a random confluence of fate and poor choices, but is a much more shadowed thing. Nothing falls this quickly, nor fails so soundlessly. Nothing defies the action of minds-in-control so completely. Nothing swings around the world with such passion, except for the plans of men drunk with power and technology in the twenty-first century.
Third, there is the road that carries tales from history. It is a voice that shatters the patriotic, fulsome lessons of elementary school, the Civics of High School, and world events from Freshman Western Civilization 111. It lies in wait in dark alleys to assault the purity of American Motives. It rips the blindfold from Justice, and demands that Liberty raise her torch high enough to illuminate the huddled masses growing from her own shores. “Taxation without representation is tyranny”? “Give me your tired and poor”? “We are the Beacon of Light to a struggling world?” Nothing will ever be so simple again.
And fourth is, of course, the road to the 2008 election. Republican vs. Democrat. Hope vs. Experience. Racism vs. Ageism. Stupidity vs. Naiveté. Craven vs. Corrupt. We are lined up, side against side. We throw rocks at our brothers and sisters, on command. We shout epitaphs at our mothers. We cow those we are sworn to protect. We ignore our conscience, and repudiate our Bill of Rights in the name of safety. We read bumper stickers to identify our enemies, and trust our friends only as far as the next “crisis”.
Our world has become a game, and we are hell-bent on winning, though we no longer can read the rules. We are so wrapped up in the exercise of our competitive natures that we cannot see the marionette strings jerking the main characters of this American Passion Play for our distracted amusement. Worse, we cannot feel the stings trailing from our own joints and limbs. Tug. Tug. Tug.
Four paths converging from separate spaces. Four paths steeped in human nature, corrupted. Four paths birthed in “No one would do that here!” and “Why would they betray us here?” Four paths geometrically disposed to run off the end of the Earth. Gone. So soon gone. Unless we stand together here in this crossroads, and force the immoral and ignorant traffic to halt, turn around and scatter to the dark corners from whence they came.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
It’s a series of cycles. Or circles. Doors and windows. Mazes and puzzles. Pitfalls, pratfalls, and unexpected sunshine after rain.
Life presents a lesson. We attempt it, after own fashion. We dive in, or hold back and observe. We march stoically forward, or stand trembling, ready to bolt. We look for hidden traps or waltz barefoot, oblivious to the rocks and glass strewn amongst the wildflowers. We try or don’t. We succeed or fail. We learn, or travel the same cycle again and again until we do. And, all along the way, opportunity lies in wait, for good or evil.
But when it’s done, it’s done. If you have successfully navigated the lesson, you go on. If you have failed, or failed to try, you must wait for the next cycle, and try again. But, when the lesson ends, really ends, it's just not possible to hold on.
The need for a proper conclusion to lessons is a popular spiritual topic. Astrologers consider the planet Saturn the harbinger of Lesson’s End. Time to move on. Best get going. If you don’t, Neptune and Uranus will s-l-o-w-l-y drift by, sweeping away the books and chalk and construction paper-clippings.
If you believe in that sort of thing.
The Tarot shuffles you through the deck for your lesson. At some point, you find yourself swinging around on the Wheel of Fortune. Good times, bad times, good times, bad times. Up and down with the changes of life. Round and round go the lessons. But, hang onto a rung of the wheel too long, and Death (no, not really Death!) appears as the agent of change.
If you believe in that sort of thing.
The lesson’s the same. Embrace life. Take advantage of the lesson. Absorb. Share. Live.
But, when it is time to move on, pack up your knapsack, and look up for the new lesson. Don’t think of it as losing, and don’t throw away all you have gained in an effort to brace for the new.
Just waltz forward.
And, watch the glass.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
The assignment required that I create a face collage, and then reproduce it in charcoal.
I started with this photo because I found it interesting (I mean, who does stuff like this)?:
I thought these eyes – and the face-paint – compelling.
While looking for an interesting nose, I began thinking of the fairy tale Penelope:
Everyone needs a hat:
This is the result:
It wasn't until I had constructed the collage and started drawing that I realized that my piece contained a rather odd message.
What do you think?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I caught Bill Maher’s new documentary, Religulous, with two friends tonight. If you have a chance to see it (and if you appreciate Bill Maher) I think you’ll be entertained. I am not a movie reviewer, nor do I play one anywhere, but I will say that Bill, while not quite successful in his attempts to be "objective", does manage to capture a variety of interesting viewpoints. I do not think his interviewees will appreciate being the butt of his creative editing and "explanatory" captions. To the offended, I can only ask, “What were you thinking when you agreed to the interview?”
At dinner, I started thinking of George Bush, his sliding popularity rating (can I still say “sliding” when it drops below twenty?) and his last 100+ days in office. One would think he would quietly go about the remainder of his term, avoiding trouble, and savor the popularity bump for not doing anything particularly stupid.
But, no. No no no no no.
He felt compelled to conduct one more treasure hunt for his “base”. Exploiting the august powers of his Presidency, he has constructed a solid gold trough for his friends in the military-industrial complex, and de-fanged regulations that kept the greed of every sector in check. With the one hand, he has avenged the Mid-East insults visited upon his father with war, while creating unimaginable oil profits for his Mid-East “friendlies” with the other. Now, he has facilitated the biggest cash grab in this nation’s history with a bailout scheme that has more arms than the love child of a hydra and an octopus. And, he will ride unopposed and unpunished into the sunset. Can't he just cash in his chips and go now? Well, why should he?
Finally, shout-outs to Maryanne the artist, instructor and movie buff, and Bonnie-Ann (who Maryanne introduced me to tonight). Bonnie-Ann, I look forward to sharing writing with you! Also, I am so impressed to hear that your sending the Don’t Vote video to two people was instrumental in their registering. Your fortune cookie is right!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
History says, “Hell No!”
I can think of a lot of reasons why people don’t vote, but these reasons can be reduced to two things: (1) a lack of interest or (2) a lack of faith. Why toddle down to the local fire house in the rain if you don’t care about the state of the country and who runs it, or don’t believe it would matter if you did? Besides, your entire day is taken up by a bunch of things you do that have an immediate and evident impact on the lives of you and yours: work, play, study, advocacy, relationship-building, charities, sports playoffs – tangible, immediate things you know about, not hear about through the filter of jaded politicians and pundits.
But your world – your “me-ocosm” – is nestled in the body of a town, a state, a country, a world. Your life is the smallest character at the center of a good ol’ American nesting doll. Whether you like it or not, whether you want it or not, you are enveloped by our government, our economy, or energy plans, our social structures, our religious dogmas, our prejudices, our wars, our fears, our hopes and our dreams.
As you read this, there are people messing with the architecture of your dreams. There are people making decisions that matter to you and yours. Think about it. All those things you call your life are impacted, in ways small and large, by the people with whom we entrust the leadership of our country.
The good news? You have the power to determine who these people are, how much power they hold, and how long they hold it.
And, all you have to do is three things:
Vote: Choose the best person for the job.
Observe: See if they are performing their job with competency and honor.
React: Vote them in, or vote them out.
And, if you haven’t registered, time is running out this very week. So, please register.
Here. I’ll help: http://www.declareyourself.com/