Thursday, December 29, 2011

Time Flies

Where ever does time go? It is Thursday in Oz. The date at the top of the previous post is Monday - boxing day in Australia and all the other British colonies.

Of course, it's entirely unimportant where time slips away unless one needs a lost element. Then, it's helpful to know precisely where the past now resides so one can go and find what is needed.

Silly, I know. What is really on my mind is an email I just received from a dear friend who wrote to share with me that her mother, age 94, died on Christmas Eve. A difficult time to say good-bye if one is Christian and my friend is.

To add to the emotional load of the holiday, her husband died on the first day of Kwanzaa, boxing day in Oz and all the other British colonies.

To lose one's mother and one's partner of more than 40 years in three days of what is usually festivities strikes me as an emotional load that would be very difficult to bear or is it bare? I mean, one's emotions are raw leaving one with a minimum of psychological cover behind which to hide. And then there is the whole expectation of community to manage one's self in an appropriate way—to bear up, if you will.

My temptation under these circumstances would be to tell everyone to go away. I'd want to take a long walk in the wilderness, to be left alone with beauty to remember whatever comes to mind about my life with the two loved ones who have departed this plane. I'm not sure my friend has that option, but certainly that is what I wish for her.

The greatest loss I recall in my life was the death of my sister on 4 December 1973. The funeral services took place in the midst of a Michigan winter storm—vicious wind swirling a silent snow through the night air. I walked out of the service, unable to cope with the Christian nonsense, and bundled my core with heavy wool scarves, hat, and coat and walked into that wind, tears streaming down my face - furious with my little sis for abandoning us, for abandoning me. The storm was my helpmate. It gave me something against which to rail, a barrier to penetrate with all the energy I possessed.

I suppose that's the gist of the issue, isn't it. Death leaves us with so little against which to push. It's final. I hate it when a battle is entirely finished and there is nothing in hand to prove that I have tried my utmost to solve the issue or win the day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Restoration/Renovations


Whatever you call this fix-it up phase of our lives, we're busy at it. Two new ceilings - one on the back veranda and one on the front. Paint, paint, paint. The house needs a new or seven new coats to freshen up the overall ambiance and we're fast at it. Back veranda is entirely repainted, even the railings which are buggars..if you know what I mean.

As soon as the Aussie spray-paints the front veranda ceiling and the surrounds, I'll do the koala green front of the house and the Stradbrook mustard beams and the red veranda railings.

In the meantime, staining all the veranda doors and there are (let's see) there are fifteen of those, has been my job. Tomorrow the stain will be dry and it will be time to apply the final coat of clear to keep all that work safe from critturs of which we have many in our subtropical paradise..and it is subtropical today.

Which reminds me, did you read about the lemon sized hailstones that covered the north end of Melbourne yesterday...a midsummer storm complete with tornado. Although the tunnel shaped cloud did not touch down, it was entirely visible in pictures I saw.

So far this has not been a summer to remember although it was the driest November on record in Queensland and the coolest Australian December in 48 years.

Why all this info on weather? Don't have much else to share with you and realized I have been out of contact for a few days - you know..holiday responsibilities like drinking wine and filling my plate with Christmas prawns on Di's back veranda for Christmas Eve lunch and then travelling 100 miles west to Toowoomba to have Christmas lunch with my sister and brother-in-law...lovely..Above are the three of us. Somehow we managed to let the Aussie take pictures instead of being in them..he's good at that: ;)

So to you all, may the holidays be full of laughter and good will; may your sleep be filled with dreams of the best kind of future; may you prosper in friendships and love; may you relax and releases stress to the cosmos that deals with it infinitely better than we do.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

In this holiday season that is often full of emotional crisis I offer you the advice of Sogyal Rinpoche, who instructs us in one way to awaken love and compassion:

Loving kindness: unsealing the spring.

When we believe that we don’t have enough love in us, there is a method for discovering and invoking it. Go back in your mind and recreate, almost visualize, a love that someone gave you that really moved you, perhaps in your childhood. Traditionally, you are taught to think of your mother and her lifelong devotion to you, but if you find that problematic, you could think of your grandmother or grandfather, or anyone who had been deeply kind to you in our life. Remember a particular instance when they really showed you love, and you felt their love vividly.

Now let that feeling arise again in your heart, and infuse you with gratitude. As you do so, your love will go out naturally to that person who evoked it. You will remember then that even through you may not always feel that you have been loved enough, you were loved genuinely once. Knowing that now will make you feel again that you are, as that person made you feel then, worthy of love and really lovable.

And here is a ten year old memory of just such a moment remembered during this holiday season I spend away from family here in Oz.

As I harken back to my childhood, there was only one person who treated me with that love, my Aunt Dorothy. There was one instance in particular that I could resurrect from my young childhood, but only one.

However, far more recently there was a person and a moment which seemed crystal clear, a moment when I was overwhelmed with the sense of being loved and of loving.

That moment occurred on my backpack with my Aussie, the late afternoon after you climbed the ridge line in search of the trail to Baxter Pass. I recall the enormous anxiety I felt about your safety, but more importantly, I remember your expression of concern to me in terms of a little incident..my handling a hot pot..as we were cooking our dinner. It was a fleeting moment, but somehow immensely important to my sense of feeling loved by you, of feeling valued and valuable.

As I recreated that moment just now, I once again feel the sense of being a lovable and loved entity. I simply wanted to thank you, not only for that moment, but for many others which culminated somehow in that instant.

Solstice

Good morning on the longest daylight of the southern hemisphere...

I wish all of you northerners a most intriguing shortest daylight of the year. To most Americans that wish comes for the morrow since we are, after all, a day ahead of you or more accurately eighteen hours ahead of California, Oregon, Washington, Las Vegas, and Arizona. Strange that one city somehow ranks with entire states :)

Slept in today. Seemed appropriate since it won't be dark here til quite late. My walk on Mt. Cooth-tha can wait til almost 7 tonight and I'll still have enough daylight to trip the fantastic rather than trip over the closest outcropping in the quarry through which my path moves downhill.

Please remember that this day is one the CHURCH stole from the pagans in an effort to make a buck. Seems Christ was born in the spring, but you go ahead and put him in a winter manger - why not! and hope for higher than normal temperatures so the little image doesn't freeze his tush.

Whatever it is you celebrate this time of year, I wish you a joyful holiday. We'll be at the beach enjoying some banana prawns while you munch on heavier fare. We'll be thinking of the rest of summer ahead of us while on holiday as you contemplate new winter booties and neck scarves to keep you warm..

A crispy merrimus to all...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Robert McCrum on Books

Don't miss this Guardian commentator. His column: Fifty things I've learned about the literary life is worth the time. Delightful.

My favourite item:
45. Writing can't be taught; better reading can.

All the teachers I know will probably echo this item. Happy week before Christmas to one and all. Cool with white puffys and a breeze from blue skies in the great green south

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Small but Very Important Holiday Story

The Silence of the Stars

"When Laurens van der Post one night
In the Kalihari Desert told the Bushmen
He couldn't hear the stars
Singing, they didn't believe him. They looked at him,
Half-smiling. They examined his face
To see whether he was joking
Or deceiving them. Then two of those small men
Who plant nothing, who have almost
Nothing to hunt, who live
On almost nothing, and with no one
But themselves, led him away
From the crackling thorn-scrub fire
And stood with him under the night sky
And listened. One of them whispered,
Do you not hear them now?
And van der Post listened, not wanting
To disbelieve, but had to answer,
No. They walked him slowly
Like a sick man to the small dim
Circle of firelight and told him
They were terribly sorry,
And he felt even sorrier
For himself and blamed his ancestors
For their strange loss of hearing,
Which was his loss now. On some clear nights
When nearby houses have turned off their televisions,
When the traffic dwindles, when through streets
Are between sirens and the jets overhead
Are between crossings, when the wind
Is hanging fire in the fir trees,
And the long-eared owl in the neighboring grove
Between calls is regarding his own darkness,
I look at the stars again as I first did
To school myself in the names of constellations
And remember my first sense of their terrible distance,
I can still hear what I thought
At the edge of silence where the inside jokes
Of my heartbeat, my arterial traffic,
The C above high C of my inner ear, myself
Tunelessly humming, but now I know what they are:
My fair share of the music of the spheres
And clusters of ripening stars,
Of the songs from the throats of the old gods
Still tending even tone-deaf creatures
Through their exiles in the desert."

~ David Wagoner ~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are Corps really People?

If you are as disgusted with the Citizens United case (making corporations people) as I am, Bernie Sanders has a petition to amend the Constitution overturning that case. Here's a link to the petition if you're interested:
http://sanders.senate.gov/petition/?uid=f1c2660f-54b9-4193-86a4-ec2c39342c6c

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sounds

'The tintinnabulation of the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells. . .' Poe had a penchant for creating mood. In The Bells he provides a word sonata that recreates the various pitches and tones of sled bells, wedding bells, fire bells, and finally the death knell. The poem resonates in my mind whenever I think of the effect of sound on my life.


Sitting here in my castle keep, the back veranda of my hillside inner suburb colonial home, there are a variety of sounds that capture my attention. The children at play around their back yard pool three houses down the block, the grinding gears of the puddy-puddy cement mixer on its way to a renovation site up the hill, far away the air brakes of the city commuter train coming to a stop at Milton station, and just now the chortle of the Butcher Bird hunting for his breakfast lizard.


Behind all these sounds, nattering away inside my right ear is the tinnitus of my old age humming away like a high tension wire expressing it's turbid electricity. Only this electricity is inside my inner ear, keeping me aware that I indeed have a private song that no one else in the world shares. Oh, others may suffer the effects of tinnitus, but each of us has a particular brand.


In reality some sounds in daily life have a much greater impact than others. We each hear what matters even if the 'matter' is one of distaste rather than of delight.


One that currently grabs my attention is the high-pitched whine of the crosscut saw emanating from the front veranda where my husband renovates. Behind that whine is another, softer only because it comes from the building site down the block. Unexpectedly, every now and again, the scream signalling the contact between blade and Australian hard wood disturbs my concentration. The loud whine reminds me of Out. . . Out, a poem by Robert Frost about a young boy who loses his hand to a 'hungry' cross cut saw on a winter's morning


Closer, a mud wasp settles into the corner of my office windowsill looking for a cranny in which to build her nest and interrupts my reverie.


I shoo both of them away, the mechanical whine and the resonating soft whiz of the insect wings hoovering in search of a home to procreate. Both give my day form; frame it, if you will; one with the skills of a master craftsman, tall, strong, determined, patient and the other small, the size of my fingernail with diaphanous wings whirring to make the small but decipherable interruption of the air around her body, looking for a space into which her perfect self can safeguard the next generation. If I didn't know better, I'd think both were creations of a goddess.


All of this discussion reminds me of the short essay The Lives of a Cell from the book with the same title by Lewis Thomas in which he compares the planet itself to a living, procreating cell. The circuitry of the brain brings such unexpected connections.

But the sound that resets my circadian rhythm each day is the sound of my husband as he returns from his 5 a.m. bike ride along the Brisbane River cycle trail to Kangaroo Point where he climbs the wickedly steep stairs up the Cliff face from River Level to the park in front of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church. There is something holy, something spiritual, about a 63-year-old man who chooses to rise from his bed early on a summer's morning to cycle along the River in order to stay healthy.


And the sound of his return along with the knowledge that he has completed one more circuit through the earliest morning city traffic through the tunnel under Coronation Drive, a six lane thoroughfare along the River, along Railroad Terrace to the tunnel under Milton Road, the second entrance to the city proper, along Baroona Road and the massive five way intersection with Hague Road, up the steep hill the puddy-puddy will follow later in the day.


Our back door has an electronic lock with a keypad, an ironic addition, since the door itself is made of green steel rectangles plenty wide enough for a slender arm to reach through to press the switch on the inside to release the locking mechanism. Nonetheless, we dutifully play the keypad with appropriate numbers in order to open the door and bring groceries and bicycles into and to take trash bags and gardening tools out of.


As I lay in my bed, almost awake in the early morning, the slight electronic ring of the keyboard and the releasing sound of the chime slice through the quiet morning and alert me to his return. Stretching, I swing my legs out from the edge of the bed, slip into my clogs and move to gather my morning hug and kiss from the fellow who makes my day buzz with a sense of serenity and excitement all at the same time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

HELP..

Yep, time has come. I've sent the manuscript out a few times ( call that Aussie understatement) I'm not very good at understatement as many of you already know. I'm the 'F' personality type, the one that emotes all over the floor at the slightest scratch to my ego. Yeah, some of you already know.

So..anyhow, I've taken what for me is a pretty big step. I googled Wilderness Publications and pretty much found 'nada'!

And why am I so busy looking for wilderness sites?

I want to find a publisher or an agent who loves wilderness, loves mountain adventure, thinks that slopping through snow after the biggest snow fall in thirty years in the eastern Sierra in December is thoroughly 'fun' and wants to read about it.

New York City agents generally are NOT those folks. I fantasize that their size 3 shoes with 6 inches heels just wouldn't cut the five foot of snow through which we slipped and slid last Christmas.

Hell, I still have a frost bite scar on my left cheek just below my eye.

You're right.

The Aussie had to insist I get up after I fell the twentieth time. I just wanted to lie there and go to sleep. (in the middle of the lunar eclipse) I am convinced, by the way, that death by freezing is absolutely the best way to go. Just get tired enough and it's a done deal.

Anyhow..off topic again..story of my life.

So, I'm sending out emails to those who publish wilderness, adventure literature of any kind and asking them to recommend publishers/agents who love this sort of FICTION. You just know I can't tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is essential to label my stories FICTION -

I remember that the USA is populated by a corp of legal beavers..and who knows who might be offended by truth or by lack thereof.

So..enough for this day. Love you all..looking forward to some answers to my QUERY...

Who love wilderness fiction?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Farmers and Occupy Wall Street

Put the Fat Cats on a Diet: Stop Buying Tainted Food From Billion Dollar Corporations

It’s time for the Great Boycott of Big Food Inc.

by Ronnie Cummins, a veteran activist, author, and organizer. He is the International Director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica. http://www.organicconsumers.org; http://www.viaorganica.org

Check it out. Click on the title to today's blog. Having lived even a short time in North Dakota, the oat and wheat capital of Nordamerica, I can attest that Cummins has a valid point.

“I have not spoken to one farmer who doesn’t understand the message of Occupy Wall Street, the message that so many people keep saying is nebulous. It’s very clear. Because of business and corporate participation in agriculture, farmers are losing their livelihoods… And if it goes on like this, all we’re going to have to eat in this country is unregulated, imported, genetically modified produce. That’s not a healthy food system.” Jim Gerritsen, a Maine organic farmer.

“A Farmer Speaks to Wall Street,” The New York Times, December 5, 2011



Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Sheltering Sky

Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky is one of my favorite African novels - descriptions of North Africa that compare well to those in Ondaatje's The English Patient. Both have commentary on the social milieu similar to Alan Paton's Too Late the Phalarope about the other end of the continent, South Africa.

Here is a quote by William S Burroughs that could well be the prologue to all three novels.

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” —William S. Burroughs

Don't you just know that Burroughs is absolutely correct in every instance!

Occupy Wall Street is on this road; they just haven't reached the junction where the ultimate decision has to be made, but they will reach that point and America will be better off as a result.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Home Alone

Always a psychological event for me - I'm home alone! That's supposed to be the mantra of the very young; but I must admit that the older I grow the more I realize I have in common with the young. Who would've thot it?

Raining in this corner of Oz and it's a tad cold for summer..mid 70s F. Queenslanders are not particularly happy about this turn of events..the coldest December days on record..but for those of us who wintered in Nordacotah, it's pretty damned comfy. Just rug up with a good book and a bottle of wine and all's well.

The good book today is Midnight Across the Equator: A Wilderness Tale, a transpacific love story full of wilderness, ex pat adventure, stunning central Oz, Great Barrier Reef, and Tasmanian wilderness as well as the most beautiful corner of America - The Sierra Nevada of California.

Doing the spelling and punctuation check today. Details - yep details.

be well...catch you on the morrow..and if it's cool or raining in your world..stay dry and do a couple sets of jumping jacks..works wonders :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Mornin

Ah, 7:30 Brisbane time: 1:30 California time and I'm a happy camper.

First cuppa of the day reveals that it is -12F in my prairie house's corner of North Dakota this morning.

Brekkie of oatmeal and rubbarb enjoyed on the back veranda in temps about 74 F. surrounded by bird song - the Magpies are attacking the Fig Bird nests this morning in the huge forest surrounding my back garden - that I am pleased to be enjoying summer over winter for the time being.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Night Time - I'm Crabby

I just don't do night time well.

By the way did you realize that the Aussies spell it nighttime...how awkward is that?

And double by the way, it's time for me to go to bed. I'm hungry and I'll eat if I stay up any longer or worse yet, I'll have another glass of the grape. Neither of which is a good idea tonight.

Double urgh! All is well; I'm just tired. Worked all day on Midnight Across the Equator: A Wilderness Tale.

Now if I could just find a publisher. I do have five wonderful Aussie women, members of a book group, who have volunteered to read it for me. How lucky is that? I just got back from Office Works where the six copies are being printed..single spaced double paged to save money..still costs $12 each. Still, it's worth the cost and effort to have some feed back from disinterested readers.

Be well..I'm on my way to bed.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

National Geographic Photo Contest

Stunning photos for your enjoyment. Varied photos to spark your interest on this lovely Sunday morning. Try em; I'm betting you will enjoy.

You can click on the title to today's blog entry or copy and paste the addy below.

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/11/national-geographic-photo-contest-2011/100187/

Hope your day is full and delightful.

Catch you laters....oh, and can't find the Australian report of Israel bombing Iran nuclear facility in any other news source. One wonders about the accuracy of Rupert Murdoch's news outlets.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Israel Bombs Iran ??? Maybe..take a look...

The Australian quotes their reporter based in Israel to note the following:

Update, December 2, While this story has not been caught by any of the major wires, The Australian’s Jerusalem correspondent Sheera Frankel reports something quite disturbing: “All eyes on Israel after second Iranian blast. CLOUDS of smoke billowed above the city of Isfahan – evidence that the latest strike against Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program had hit its target.” (Source: ZeroHedge.com)

Click on the title to today's blog for more info.

I surely hope that it is not true. China threatens WWIII in support of her primary oil supplier.
trouble in paradise, I guess!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

PICCSY

Incredible, creative, fun, thoughtful, beautiful, ironic, truthful, delightful —

click on the title to today's blog or use the addy below..promise you'll be glad you did..:)

http://piccsy.com/?popular=month

The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy

Didn't I wonder what Obama was doing in Australia a week ago? Certainly he didn't have to come here to woo the Parliament about his sending 1500 American G.I.s to train in the Northern Territory. He was headed for Bali...and while he was away he sent the WOLF - Department of Homeland Security - to teach the American Nation's mayors how to 'clean up' the OWS Sit Ins. While he was gone, of course so that he could deny culpability....

Do you realize that HE is part of the program of denying that Wall Street and their compatriots in the Federal Legislature are in cahoots with one another to defraud American citizens of their financial welfare?

Do you realize that the 'buck stops at HIS desk when it comes to the actions of the Department of Homeland Security?

How could you even consider voting for a man whose second obvious move to support the military-industrial complex comes on the tails of his refusal to honor his commitment to the U.S. Constitution when he ordered the death of an American citizen who was living in Yeman and then bragged that the deed was done.

In case you missed the connection to the Constitution. The 4th Amendment guarantees 'due process' for all American citizens. The President does not have the right to order the death of any American citizen without 'due process.'

Maybe someone ought to give Obama a civic's lesson.

Below is a small part of Naomi Watts excellent article on The Shocking Truth About OWS. Click on the title to today's blog if you wish to read the entire article.


"The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, "we are going after these scruffy hippies". Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women's wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time)."

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Tasmanian Coastline

On the second day of our visit to the great green south, we drove out to the ruins of the most infamous penal colony in Tasmania. Port Arthur was established in 1834 as a convict readjustment center by the Brits. Later this same geographical location was the scene of a 1996 one man massacre of 35 people that lead the federal government of Australia to limit the private ownership of handguns and rifles.

I respond strongly to the ambiance of 'place' and so decided not to visit the scene of the atrocities.



However, the coastline of this part of Tasmania is invigorating and calming all at the same moment. The seas were reflective, the sun brilliant ( ozone layer here is limited) and our walk from the car park full of spring blooms.

This part of Tasmania reminds me of California's Big Sur coast line - wild, untamed, serene and at the same time utterly dramatic.

On this particular day the waters were an exquisite blue, but on days when the winds whip across the island from the open Antarctic Seas, I'm sure wildness reigns. A blanket of storm clouds would change this place from a haven into the hell of convict life if one had been transported by the Brits to this antipodean land.

Later that evening, we were dining at Ciuco, a busy Italian restaurant in the middle of Salamanca Square in Hobart. Delicious duck tagliatelle, superb Tasmanian wine, welcoming friends, and the loveliest pearl necklace - a birthday gift from the jeweler.

Indeed, life is good!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

MONA 2


One more entry on MONA, please, before we venture into the beauty of the countryside of Australia's southernmost state. Here's a view from the forecourt of MONA out over Claremont, Tasmania, on the Derwent River. Mt. Wellington, the high plateau in the background, protects Hobart from the blustery antarctic weather as it blows north across the Antarctic ocean towards the Bass Strait and mainland Australia.


Turning to the right, one stands immediately in front of the museum. Polished stainless steel reflects the scene - Claremont and Graham with me tucked in beside him as he takes a picture of the two of us in the forecourt. Isn't it delightful ?






And then also located in the forecourt is this nifty putty putty cement mixer - a delight of steel in an entirely different manner..Filigree rusted by the marine climate into a most amazing and absolutely playful full sized vehicle with the polished stainless steel reflecting wall in the background.

It is this sort of juxtaposition that continued throughout the museum and made the journey there not only amusing, but thought provoking in the extreme.

For instance, one chocolate sculpture was a finely detailed upper torso, arms, shoulders, and head of a handsome young man in a puddle of his chocolate entrails.

The terrorist - heaven and hell.

Having just blown a portion of his world into hell, this suicide bomber looks onto the heaven promised by those who convinced him that his life was worth the possibility of an eternal heaven. In chocolate!

Sigh.

The Monthly has done a superb article on Walsh and MONA. You can find it here or click on the title to this blog post.
http://www.themonthly.com.au/arts-letters-amanda-lohrey-high-priest-david-walsh-and-tasmania-s-museum-old-and-new-art-2918

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tasmania - an endangered jewel


Virgin Australia flew us home to rather muggy and very warm Brisbane on Wednesday afternoon. It is now Friday - rather muggy, but not so warm. It is good to return to our cozy cottage on the fringes of the Big City.

This introvert had the opportunity to visit the cocktail hour of rather bustling Hobart on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Gladly, we were back to open country or the wheat fields and vineyards of central/north Tasmania when the real crowds descended on Salamanca Square near the Hobart Harbour.

While enmeshed with people, I took a good long look at what 'fashion' includes in this most southern isle. The crowds were copesetic and we managed for most of the evening to be outside sipping good Tassie wines, both red and white. Then we trundled into a busy Italian restaurant for subtle but very tasty duck sauce over wide noodles - superb.

MONA was our next stop. Just enter my email addy in Oz to see a portion of my tour at this web addy: http://mona.net.au/theo/

For some reason the entire tour didn't make it on line. No worries. It was a joyful endeavour in the underworld. The museum is three stories deep, dug into the sandstone of the Derwent River bank. Stunning is insufficient to describe this edifice.

The 'Fat Car' is the first of many exhibits. Picture at the top of the post.

One of the perks of visiting MONA is that one is given an IPOD complete with GPS so that as one stands before an exhibit with ear phones on, the artist or some commentary on the art work can be listened to or read. Then, one can vote LOVE or HATE...Meyer-Briggs P personalities hate this option, but folks like me, strong J, love on the spot decision making - and one can't be wrong when all that is expected is that one react. No one around to question or debate the issue.

My fav exhibit is not pictured. I must not have selected it on my Ipod..darn!..the private collection of Walsh, the owner of MONA, is a tad nilistic, but never boring.

Go - Hobart will welcome you; the museum will delight; the wine will soften the jet lag; the food will please; the people in Australia's safest capital city will entertain.

Tomorrow I will share more of our tour of Tasmania. Be well until then..

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Ok, Ok, So I've Been Missing in Action




'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this . . .'

Nah - Tomorrow we fly to Hobart in Tasmania - the not so sunny southernmost capital in Australia. Life is moving very swiftly.

And, pray why do you travel there, you might ask?

Because, dear reader, this week is my birthday and the stalwart Aussie bloke is giving me a trip to MONA as a present.

Yes, I am a lucky ex pat.

Do click on the title to today's blog entry if you want to know more about this most unusual private art museum.

This afternoon I will have a pedicure and a waxing of the brows. One cannot visit a most unusual private art museum without preparing properly. Oh, and late last week, I went shopping - not just shopping, but MaggieT shopping - which is a very different phenomena. You can check out this link to see what I mean. And consider as you look at the fashion, should you choose to do so, that I prefer timeless structures rather than rash current stylista stuff.

http://www.maggiet.com.au/

Oh and should you also wonder - We are flying Virgin Australia - not Qantas. What Australian or ex pat Amerikan would ever consider flying the Irishman's airline again. What a loser he has turned out to be - little Jack Sprat - CEO extraordinaire...

So..not that you will be surprised, but I will be absent for the next week and will return with photos galore to entertain you. Do enjoy what would be election week for the Americans if it were 2012. And on 11-11-11 remember that it is not just a computer schemata, but it's also my 71 birthday...love you all

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Qantas - The Flying Kangaroo - Is Grounded

What kind of crazy, self-centered, egotistical CEO would agree to be the spokesperson for a Corporate Board of Directors who would call a wildcat strike of one of the most successful airlines on the planet?

His name is Alan Joyce. He's an Irishman, a leprachan of the worst sort; a fellow who sends comely women out to report his dirty work with the media. He's a man who grounded six planes in Melbourne last week because he was in the midst of selling them to another airline and then blamed the grounding on the airline mechanics union. Grounding the planes was not an issue; canceling the transportation of thousands of Australians without any forewarning was.


Doesn't he sound a bit like his fellow countrymen who almost devastated Ireland's economic underpinnings by cheating those with savings deposits in their banks?

Actually, he sounds very American; corporate governance is NOT good for anyone except those who serve on corporate boards and are paid NOT to guard the investments of stock holders, but to make billions for themselves.

We'll see how it plays out. The Australian government is now engaged in the fray...not a good sign, I promise you.

btw..always a laugh behind every dark cloud. Check out this link....to the famous Qantas advert
http://youtu.be/6WSJop5sG2c


If you want to read the journo's point of view, click on the title to today's blog entry.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Overcast - Two Days in a Row !!!

The weather goddess..Jennie, in my world, needs to pull the plug on all this cloud cover.

Doesn't she realize I'm southern California raised. Not precisely a positive image, is it?

I know, I know. There were daily repetitions of smog in that crowded land, but the sun managed to sneak through more often than it has in the past two days here in Brizzie.

The low ceiling is beginning to create that hemmed in feeling. As a back drop all it lets me see are the shrubs growing right outside my window. I mean I can see them grow, extend their tendrils reaching for my office window - bridges on which ants travel to once again invade my computer screen.

Remember when we came home after being gone for a year, the damned ants had set up a colony inside my computer screen. Warm and cozy, dry and dark. Perfect for all those little white eggs.

To top it all off, I had the circular dizzies yesterday. The world swirled round behind my eyes, keeping me in a prone position most of the day. My tummy thought we were aboard a ship at sea in a cyclone.

Took my Boiron Oscilliccocconum and am better today, but it was a wild ride beneath the cloudy skies, I tell you.

Just thought I'd fill you in on what's most important today which includes my morning two kilometre walk back from Fundies, our local whole foods store, where I bought some non laural sulfate tooth paste.

I refuse to put industrial solvents in my mouth. Found a Kiwi brand, lemon-myrtle, botanical oral care toothpaste to use instead. Absolutely nothing without laural sulfates was available in my local pharmacy and my local supermarket.

Be well..I hope to join you in that happy state very soon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Who Are YOU

David Brooks column in the New York Times today is worth your attention - that is, if you think your rational self controls who you are and what you do.

Brooks comments on Daniel Kahneman's new book Thinking, Fast and Slow, an intellectual memoir. Kahneman, according to Brooks, shares evidence of something I have thought to be true for quite some time. My subconscious is far more important than my conscious mind in determining my actions and positions on just about everything.

For this 'J' Personality, that's tough. I used to think I had the whole world in my hands..you know the song - However, in the past ten years I have discovered indisputably that I have very little if any conscious control over my world or the people in it, including myself. URGH!!

Check out the link. I'm gonna see if I can buy the book on my Kindle..my fav reading platform these days.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/opinion/brooks-who-you-are.html

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rules for Everyday Senseless Joy

*1. *After all clumsy, embarrassing moments, you must curtsy.

*2. *Call up your best friend once a month—and play her favorite song,
anonymously without one word—making sure that you hear her rustle,
sit-dancing in her office chair.

*3. *Close your eyes when you drink orange juice. It makes it taste better.

*4.* Make up a lovable name for your least favorite body part. Like Irene.
Nobody hates a thigh named Irene.

*5.* While you're driving behind a school bus with kids at the windows
waving to everyone in cars, you must wave back—and honk three times.

*6.* When in doubt, add extra garlic, extra butter or extra bubble bath.

*7. *Always scan your dimes for the date. Dimes, unlike pennies and
quarters, do not tarnish. One that's three times your age gives you a whole
new perspective on how to get older—without losing your shine.

*8. *To-do lists and angry letters to the phone or electric company must be
written in silver glitter ink.

*9.* You may not leave the house without smelling the top of the head of
your child, partner or pet. Inhale their scent (even if it's unwashed) for
at least two breaths.

*10. *Once a year, take yourself out for a mandatory lunch at a restaurant
with fancy waiters. Sit at a table for four. Order three courses, including
wine and a dish that must be set on fire.

*11.* If you're watching a comedy, laugh. If you're watching a tearjerker,
cry. If you're watching a ballroom dance show, dance—preferably in some kind
of spangled, neon, rhinestone-bedazzled, midriff-baring outfit.

*12. *Keep your cat, childhood teddy bear or even one of those microfiber
cleaning cloths (which, by the way, do work better than plain old rags) in
reach at all times. Studies have proven that soft, fuzzy objects defeat the
blues.<http://www.oprah.com/blogs/Why-Sadness-Makes-Us-Susceptible-to-Shag-Carpets>

*13. *Prior to visiting your parents, you are required to watch Bruce and
Esther Huffman from McMinnville, Oregon, test out their new
webcam<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcN08Tg3PWw&feature=player_embedded&noredirect=1>
.

*14. *All stickers offered to you by someone under the age of 13 must be
accepted, slapped on and worn for at least one hour. Preferably on your
cheek.

*15. *Never delete accidentally dialed voice messages from family. Listening
to your nieces and nephews sing "Jingle Bells" as they walk to school, for
example—complete with thumps and breathing and indecipherable muttering
about haircuts—turns a boring afternoon at work into a visit home.

*16.* Saying no to cotton candy 'fairy flosss' is strictly forbidden.

*17. *If you hear a person crying in the bathroom, pass them a wad of tissue
under the stall—without a word.

*18.* Each time you pass a street musician playing the instrument that you
quit as a child, place one crisp, full dollar in the cup and wait until the
absolute end of the song to applaud.

*19. *Always note how the foam on a cappuccino magically parts when you add
sugar, then closes right back up.

*20. *At least once in your life, pour a bottle of dish soap into a bubbling
outdoor public fountain.

*21.* Never go to bed without looking up at the ceiling and thanking it for
keeping out the rain.

-- Leigh Newman

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Whom Does Government Serve?


Written by, Ian, an Aussie of considerable acumen.


In the Arthurian cycle, there is the myth of the Fisher King who lies in bed, maimed by a wound that cannot be healed.


The land outside is blasted, the archetypal Waste Land.


The King will only be healed, and the Waste Land regenerated, by a knight who shall ask the question "whom does the Grail serve?"


In our context, the question needs to be "whom does the government serve?"


We know the answer that Lincoln gave - I've quoted it previously.

'If government is to serve any purpose it is to do for others what they are unable to do for themselves.'


Let's try "there shall be no exercise of government without the consent of the governed " - it's a paraphrase of thoughts going back to John Locke, to the rebellion that saw King John forced to sign the Magna Carta, and - noting that women were not allowed a voice - to the democratic nature of Athens.


Does the government act for the people?


To the extent that government allies itself with powerful sectional interests, no, it does not.


As Dwight Eisenhower pointed out in his famous speech, we see a shadowy alliance between the military and industry - his "Military-Industrial Complex". Eisenhower was speaking of America, but the Japanese Zaibatsu (including Mitsubishi) were instrumental in the 1920~30 industrial colonisation of Korea/China, and were very ready to demand that the Japanese Imperial Forces invade to protect Zaibatsu assets.


Even before that, Cecil Rhodes had manufactured a conflict with the Boer government in South Africa, and was able to call on the British Army to support him, leading to the Boer War.


C. Wright Mills, in his seminal "The Power Elite" describes how easy it is for powerful figures to journey between government, the military and industry. Mills spoke of America, but we see the same phenomenon in Australia.


To Mills' observations, we can add the Fourth Estate, giving us a cosy, shadowy society of military, industry, government and media. Australia has a former Labor power broker, Graham Richardson, occupying media as a political commentator, and with his own radio show.


Mining companies and timber companies here in Australia have done - and are continuing to do - great and long-lasting damage to farmlands and to ancient native forests. When they are shown to be clearly in breach of our weak laws, they are either exonerated, or slapped on the wrist with minor penalties.


At the local level, we hear stories of political parties "stacking" branches with their favoured type of member. Meanwhile, the politics of negative campaigning cause us to become more and more cynical about politics, and more and more unashamed about our voting for the least bad of a pack of bastards.


Idealism and vision are absent from Australian politics, and the notion of government acting for the people has been transformed into doing what is possible.


One of our large hospitals has an emergency department running at about 180% of capacity, treating people sitting in chairs due to lack of beds.


The hospital needs only about 30 million dollars to extent facilities. This money cannot be found, but we will blow some 50 million (the figure is never disclosed!) on a car race - the Australian Grand Prix.


I think the Occupy Wall Street movement is one part of that grand question, also being asked by Arab Spring protesters" "Whom does the government serve?"


Monday, October 10, 2011

Read the New York Times lead article today

The Rule of Law in the USA is dead in the water, a stinking corpse among the flotsam begun by George Bush and added to by the current President.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/world/middleeast/secret-us-memo-made-legal-case-to-kill-a-citizen.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

Narcissist - Perhaps


I can't give up knowing that I am important in the general scheme ofthings. After all, I'm a cell in the midst of a mighty organ, the organ ofhumanity. And, I know that one day I must slough off from the human maelstrom and mingle with thefibres of the flannel sheets in the dead of night.

However, right now I am important. I do serve a purpose. I do what mustbe done and a whole lot that probably ought not be done. I work in conjunctionwith all kinds of other cells. Together we make life more interesting,smoother, more energetic than life would be if we were not present.

I am not a cell in an organ like an arm or leg. More like a liver cell,I think. I am responsible for filtering out the flatulence, the fat, thealcohol, the stuff without which the body deals with reality in a fairlycomfortable manner.

My job is to assure that life flows smoothly, that the unit itselfdoesn't have to give much conscious thought about how to operate. I amself-directed and at the same time a genuine necessity.

However, I am decidedly not essential in and of myself.

If I were to decide tomorrow to sleep in, the organ would continue tosift through the detritus of life, but the other cells who did show up on timemight have to expend a tad more energy.

I am not narcissistic although sometimes it may seem so. On the otherhand, I do take credit when credit is due and I do whinge when things don't gowell. I hate it when the organ of which I am a part breaks down and I am notable to do the best job possible because someone else in the scheme of thingsfails in her duty.

And since I suspect my main motivating force is to do unto others as Iwould want them to do unto me, I will cooperate, even though often I think Iknow better than my peers and despair of their ever coming to terms with lifein the way that I have. Did I say I was not narcissistic? Well, obviouslythat's not true. My existence is essential and I don't mean to allow the organto forget that.

Pinch!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupy the Centers of Power

I think FDR would support Occupy Wall Street.

"For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and
strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political
and economic systems are simple. They are:

Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
Jobs for those who can work.
Security for those who need it.
The ending of special privilege for the few.
The preservation of civil liberties for all.
The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly
rising standard of living.

school kills creativity - ken robinson

Teachers!!!!
Take a look...this is so damned important....besides..it's funny and entertaining as well...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkPvSCq5ZXk

Confronting the Malefactors - Paul Krugman

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/krugman-confronting-the-malefactors.html?_r=3&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Check it out! Great Op Ed article in the NYTimes. 

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Spring Thunder Storm

Saturday mornings, we rise early and head to the Kelvin Grove Farmers Market.  The fragrances of fresh bread baking, masses of veggies stacked along the walkways, and just brewed Merlo coffee filter under the brilliant colors of bouquets of flowers, only in Queensland fabrics made into flowing summer dresses and hats,  all of which are accented with just a bit of Chinese dumplings, Spanish Paella, Turkish sweets, and German sausages.

But, this morning as my sleepy head left the soft down pillow, rackets of rain stormed through the house.  Rain is a different commodity when it comes atop a metal deck roof, I promise you.  Thunder followed.

My thought were with the busy folks who must have just set up their stalls in the darkness of a spring morning in readiness for shoppers.  Hopefully, their goods stayed dry.
We'll wait til next Saturday to find out.  Such good gossip and stories await us for our next visit. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Looking for Blasts...

Sorry, folks, I've been missing in action.  Work on the manuscript has once again come to an end.  I have just completed the nth edition of DAS BOOK which is now entitled..

Crossing the Pacific: An Expat Love Story

But who knows, it may manifest in another form at some time in the future.

I am in search of an agent, but have been in search for the past year.

Soon perhaps I can finagle a third person into reading the entire manuscript.  Thus far only two folks have had that honor - the author and a fine fella named Robert, who kindly read the whole thing in about three days.

It now is 49,000 words and 262 pages long...it takes that long to recount the adventure and create a healthful ending, you know..

Anyhow..I am feeling energized.

I would, could ask each of you to maybe send 'blasts' of encouragement into the cybersphere for recognition of my creativity, courage, and really hard work.

That means, you could stop for a moment before going off to sleep tonight and ask the universe to remind some really talented agent to say 'yes' to one of my QUERY letters....you get the drift..the more energy expended in a positive manner on my behalf, the better my chances of finding an agent.

love you all...farewell for now..

Sunday, October 02, 2011

U.S. Constitution - Article 2 and Amendment 5

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

U.S. Constitution  Article 2

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he (The President) shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." 


What happened?  How could the President of the United States condone and/or order the assassination of an American citizen?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Guardian

The sentinel of the Sierra, a Ponderosa, guards the trailhead to the mother of all mountains - Whitney - at 14,500 feet, the highest peak in the lower 48 states.  In the spring of 1986 I caught this scene one mid morning on my way to Lone Pine Lake, a mere two and a half miles up the trail.
Since then, this photo reminds me of the halcyon days when my then 44 year old legs would carry me into the back country of some of North America's most pristine wilderness.  This lovely pine has served as a reminder of the peaceful, regenerative wilderness that is so important to those of us who are often far too busy to take time to breathe high country ambiance, a joyful reminder of why being alone can be a celebration.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Goldman Sachs Rules the World


http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/get-prepared-goldman-sachs-rules-the-world-trader-warns-bbc-viewers/story-fn7kjcme-1226148440353

Is this trader for real?
Check out this video and see what you think.
As for me, I'm about to do some Google searches on 'how to make money from a bear market' cause I prefer to hedge my bets.

And then there's this response to the interview:
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/cutline/bbc-victim-hoax-no-yes-men-154724196.html


I'd be interested in what  you think about the video if you feel like posting below.

Otherwise, I do hope the comments give you pause to consider your own financial provisions for the future.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

— Mind —


Quietly, desperately he searches
            His rational mind attempts reconstruction of previousity
                                    while brain waves snag on hillocks of stress.
Kookaburra gargles.
Butcher Bird whistles.
Fig bird flits among the tiny fruit.
The rational ONE has forgotten the automatic gesture that stored glasses in a
safe place beneath the right node
over the middle dendrite!
Who remembers such a circuitous route? In the careful walk back over the previous route, no glasses reflect the sun.
Loriketes mimic screaming brain searching for memory
Not half way,
            only at full bore,
                         the amazing human brain hides us from ourselves.
A frustrating companion,
            a partner in deception,
                         it secrets  ‘need to know’ confidentialities in deep crevices
                                    where lost items are stored within the information revolution
topsy turvey
instantaneously connected to the present by tenuous tendrils
 recorded,
filed,
cross referenced 
and silently lost in the labyrinth of gray matter,
stored in no apparent  rational order.
The  automatic system refuses to cooperate with conscious Intention
No rationality in this filing system,
                  Only the unconscious knows where the glasses await their owner.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

MBTI AND WRITING STYLES

http://andreajwenger.com/2010/11/05/punctuation-personality-type-fiction/

Wenger has a blog that, among other things, discusses Meyers/Briggs Personality Preferences and writing styles.  Great information for teachers and for singular individuals who know who they are on the Personality Sorter and more importantly, care what that means about themselves and others.

Enjoy. . . Enjoy - - ENJOY!! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yard Guys

Dueling weed wackers greeted the dawn!  Urgh..what an awful way to greet the dawn.

Not to be outdone, the noisy leaf blowers came in for the finale'
As I stood in my pjs on the front veranda hissing remarks across the street, waving my arms like an orchestra conductor, the yard guys just laughed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Knack for Bashing Orthodoxy

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/science/20dawkins.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha210

Ah, NYTimes, you've done it again.  An excellent article on Richard Dawkins, bane of my favorite science writer, Stephen J. Gould who died of cancer in 2002. 

You may wish to take a look at this article...link included herein.

A couple of quotes to whet your appetite:

"From that experience he drew a dislike of the current establishment insistence — bordering on mania — for standardized tests and curriculums. (He views this as antithetical to true learning.)"

"Our glory as a species is that we can overcome our genetic impulses, he says, acknowledging that the book’s title “perhaps lent itself to misunderstanding.” The Selfish Gene

“Religion teaches you to be satisfied with nonanswers,” he says. “It’s a sort of crime against childhood.”

"But it would not be a school for atheists. The idea horrifies him. A child should skip down an idiosyncratic intellectual path. “I am almost pathologically afraid of indoctrinating children,” he says. “It would be a ‘Think for Yourself Academy.’ ”





Tuesday, September 20, 2011

$150


You thought I had disappeared?

Well, it rained and you know about the big wet and witches! I melted!!

Now, the sun has come back out and dried up all the drains and witchetty grub me has re-formed again! How's that for an international story?

Anyhow, today while I was busy playing solitaire on my computer waiting until it was time to head off to lunch, I heard a male voice calling, 'Hellooo,' from the front of the house. I live in this rather large Queensland Colonial and my office is in the very back on what becomes the second story because our house is located on a hillside.

I knew that my housemate, Emily, was sleeping cause she worked the graveyard shift, so I scurried down the long front hallway to see what the racquet was all about.

Leaning on my front gate with his arms spread from one gatepost to the other was a square man with a Tongan accent. 'We're working in the area today. Would you like your palm trees trimmed?'

 He waved both of those long arms to encompass the four very tall palm trees growing in the front garden. All four had window dressings of palm nut bundles all tied up in a date like arrangement, ready to fall to the ground where I would later be picking them up.

Below the palm nut bundles hung dead yellow seven foot palm fronds. An underdressing that would also  eventually fall in the next big wind and bounce off the fence or topple one of the lovely shrubs growing beneath them in the garden.

From the top of the front veranda stairs, I asked, 'How much would you charge me for all four?'

'Humm, that one is extra high, more than a 25 feet, cost more to climb up that one. $180 for all four and we'll take it to the dump.'

I really wanted those palms trimmed, but that was just too much money.'

I thought immediately about the old dying mango tree in the side garden. I might be able to get a deal from him for taking it down too.

'Do you trim other trees?'

A nod of his head. 'We may be able to trim these for $150.'

Monday, September 19, 2011

DIET

So, the dr. has prescribed a white bread and puffed white rice diet for me.  Yikes! 

I think I prefer to have the disease/irritation.

Instead I bought rice cakes and rice crackers.  Can't even imagine a brekkie of puffed nothingness.

Will try boiled eggs instead.  Still, seems a waste of calories, doesn't it.

I'll report later to let you know whether it makes any difference at all.

His last cure didn't have any effect on my system.  I think he knew it wouldn't.  He prescribed it just to convince me that I need steriods.  I'd rather be sick than take steroids.  Really, I would.  Well, right now I would.  We'll see how I react in a few days.







Thursday, September 15, 2011

I love Government - Paul Begala - Newsweek


With everyone from Rick Perry to Barack Obama bashing Big Gummint, the time has come to defend it.

Wildfires have consumed 3.6 million acres in my home state of Texas since December 2010. That’s about the size of the entire state of Connecticut. At least 700 homes have been destroyed, and four people have been killed. Of the 10 largest wildfires in Texas history, six have occurred this year. Think about that.

Now think about this: Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry has cut funding for volunteer firefighters, who are the first responders to 90 percent of all wildfires in Texas, by 75 percent.

Conservatives talk about government as if it were something foreign, alien, or extrinsic when in fact the Constitution says it truthfully and simply: “We the People.” Government is us. It’s capable of true greatness, real nobility, and majestic triumphs. I’d go further: the U.S. federal government is the greatest force for good in human history. Period.

The federal government freed the slaves and defeated Hitler. It built the interstate highway system, won the Cold War, integrated the South, put men on the moon, and killed Osama bin Laden. By the way, it also created the Internet, with Al Gore’s leadership. So there.

And yet the demonization of government persists. Sure, when the fires rage, Perry praises “the brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect Texans’ lives and property.” But even as the wildfires burned he hotfooted it to the Reagan Library on Sept. 7 for some good old-fashioned bashing of Big Gummint.

President Obama argued against the GOP's antigovernment assumptions in his Sept. 8th speech to congress., Jim Young / Reuters-Landov
Even President Obama sometimes adopts the antigovernment premise, like when he killed his own administration’s air-quality standards. As if cleaner air, less asthma, and lower cancer rates would cause massive layoffs. But he got it right in his Sept. 8 speech to Congress, pummeling the notion that “the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is ... dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own—that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America.”

The president is right. The truth is many of our problems were caused by too little government, regulation, and taxation (at least of the rich). Wall Street was deregulated, and when the casino went bust, taxpayers bailed out the gamblers. Regulators cozied up to oil companies, and 11 working men were killed in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy as BP’s well gushed millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico. After 29 miners were killed in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in West Virginia, an independent investigation found that the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration “failed its duty as the watchdog for coal miners.”

The media have a responsibility here as well. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bashes retired teachers for getting an average pension of about $35,000 a year, why does no one point out that they’re worth it? Or that New Jersey students have the highest AP test scores in the nation? Because that wouldn’t fit the antigovernment narrative.

The truth is teachers didn’t cause our recession; firefighters didn’t cause layoffs; nurses and cops didn’t turn a record surplus into a record deficit. Politicians and corporate greedheads did. And yet government remains the villain.

There has always been a tension in the American character. We are at turns intensely individualistic and deeply communitarian. But right now the only side that’s speaking out is the individualists’. Why doesn’t some Democrat point out that our Founding Fathers, so revered by the Tea Partiers, gave us a motto: e pluribus unum—from many, one? They did not choose canis canem edit—dog eat dog.

Some of this country’s bravest and best work for the government. Yet in the GOP debate at the Reagan Library, Perry simultaneously praised the Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden and claimed government doesn’t create jobs. Precisely whom does he think those SEALs work for? Enron?

If Perry hates government that much, maybe the next time his state’s on fire he can call a CEO.

--

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spiritual Masters - Not for Me!


What I've Learned from the Spiritual Masters
 



'So what is life's purpose? A grand enterprise shared by all humanity, it is the achievement of God-consciousness or Divine awareness.'

My response to Dr. McSwain includes my contention that his assertion is the 'selling point' of all major religions..the way they market their product, the way they make their money.

Instead, I assert that life's purpose is to act in such a way as to assure the continuation of our species.  The other stuff is just window dressing that somehow makes us seem like we are more important than in fact we actually are in the natural scheme of things.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's a global world.. to prepare youngsters to operate in that world it is essential to have a "global classroom"- Kathleen Norris

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Meadows

Meadows

Myriad green scripts
on brown papyrus soil
written translation impossible
patterns older than human letters,
Meadows  create art everywhere.

Wide high Sierra duff,
Guyot Flats,
brown pine needles,
soften foot fall at 10,000 feet.

Wider yet, Tuolomme green grasses
peppered with stark blues, red, yellows, oranges
of short lived  wildflowers seeded by deep winter snows.
Keep to the trail
protect delicate August blossoms.

Looping off to the horizon
Utah meadows filter through red rock monoliths
sparse sage and  salt bush hold tenuous desert cement
in meadows
as winds sweep extreme afternoons.
Coolness crosses the landscape with stunning  sunsets

Is there a meadow I love  best?

Potted with clear blue lakes,
Ponderosa and white pines filigree the edges,
Cotton Wood Meadow, home of Dragons
who wander the earth protecting the riches of meadows everywhere.

Ah, and the meadows of the mind,
relaxing, verdant moments
when one  wanders unbeleaguered by the pressing issues of the day,
stepping round the hillocks of color,
breathing the fragrance of the unfiltered common space  in the collective unconscious;
aware that the skies above and the earth below
                                                      have created  meadows of reverie.