Sunday, April 29, 2007

ONE MAN'S VIEW

This letter was in the local paper today. I don’t quite agree that just because you have a gun will shoot somebody eventually. But it is part of the culture of violence. This is the culture that is killing us. He does have an interesting take on teaching us about the value of life. But I think everyone should have to watch babies being born, not just the boys.

 

HERE’S HOW TO END WAR.

 

That there is even any argument over whether anybody should possess automatic weapons is the height of idiocy. Anyone attempting to claim that guns are not made for the express purpose of firing projectiles to penetrate flesh and disrupt a living organism’s critical functions – often to the point of death – is a liar, a lunatic or both. Guns prevent crime like penises prevent pregnancy. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; give a man a gun, and he will eventually kill somebody.

 

We men need to take responsibility for our gender’s collective life negating insanity. You don’t see women inventing gunpowder, dynamite, Uzis, multi-nuke- tipped missiles, land mines, depleted uranium artillery shells or the splattering gel that burns tissue down to the bone. Women are perhaps to busy with trying to keep the species going.

 

I believe that if any man had the slightest idea of the long and arduous sacrifices necessary just to deliver a single human being into this world, he wouldn’t be so quick to grab a gun or sign up for war. In fact I propose the all too obvious way to put an end to war: a pan cultural imperative that every male by the age of 14 must witness a minimum of three live human births. If you want to see blood, do it in a way that helps you really appreciate this precious and fragile miracle called life.

 

VIP SHORT from Eugene

 

 

Sunday, April 22, 2007

UNDER SIEGE

While we were recovering from the great book case move, I hauled out a movie I taped off the tube several years ago. It’s a made for TV flick I literally stumbled over just as it was starting. It’s called Under Siege and it is NOT the early nineties flick starring Steven Seagal. It’s a story about terrorist attacks inside the US at some unspecified date, presumably the mid eighties. Since it was produced in the mid-eighties they’re a mix of European radicals and Muslims. This film was apparently available on VHS at one time, it isn’t anymore and I’ve never seen it on the tube since. Especially not since 9/11.

 

And I don’t think it’s because it might give the current terrorists ideas. They’ve come up with all of the events that happen without any help from us. The two story lines involve the FBI’s by the book search for those responsible and the political side. There’s not proof Iran was involved but too many of the politicians involved see this as a chance to take out as much of Iran’s ability to train and equip the radicals as possible.

 

You’ve got an FBI director trying to uphold the law and conduct an investigation that will lead to who was really responsible even if it takes longer than is comfortable, a president in the hot seat, a newspaper editor fishing for a story, various hot heads looking for a chance to take out Iran whether it was involved or not, a mixed bag of left wing and Muslim terrorists, and explosions occurring with depressing regularity.

 

Under increasing pressure to “do something” the president agrees, in theory at least, with his chief aide’s advice that they can’t afford to bring whoever planned these attacks to trial. The argument is that his followers and sympathizers will use additional violence to secure his release or disrupt a trial. What they don’t know is that they were a very small group working on their own in the first place and at this point the planner of the acts of terror is the only member of the group left.

 

His motivation? He’s an Algerianleftist whose son was killed in a bombing in Paris just before the Iranian revolution. His disgust with the US, the Soviets, and the radicals who in his eyes have sold out to protect their own lives.  The perpetrators? The Shah’s secret police attempting to take out dissidents supporting the Ayatollah. Oh, what a tangled web we’ve  woven. I wasn’t able to verify the claim of Iran’s UN ambassador that the shah’s secret police killed nearly 150,000 of their own citizens during his reign. A government the US supported.

 

Faced with news stories based on leaked FBI intelligence linking the attacks to Iran their UN ambassador gives the planner’s name and location to one faction of the administration at almost the same time the bureau puts their puzzle pieces together. He’s taken into custody by the bureau while he’s praying. He neither attempts to escape or to deny what he set in motion. The man is assassinated while in custody by someone from a fictional (I hope) CIA task force that is supposed to be a successor to the all too real Operation Phoenix from the Viet Nam era. Collateral damage from the shooting? An FBI agent who got in the way.  A new father whose son’s christening is juxtaposed with the last two radicals moving down a street of shops, throwing grenades through the doors. Scenes of hope contrasted with scenes of despair. And as number of burning shops multiplied mom made the remark “and this is what’s happening over there.” These days this is not a good movie to watch just before bedtime.

 

When it becomes all too obvious that the evidence found at the shooting was planted the director of the bureau takes it to another member of the administration, that’s when he learns of the possible CIA involvement. The problem now? The CIA can’t operate within the US without permission from the president. What did the president know and did he give the order? I wish I could reproduce the escalating confrontation between the beleaguered president and the increasingly furious FBI director. The director argues that when we adopt the methods terrorists we become terrorists ourselves, that we have no right to deprive ourselves and our children of our hard won protections under the law and most importantly his first duty is not to defend the administration but to defend the law. In the end, he falls silent with an expression of eloquent despair.

 

In the end the camera follows him into the newsroom of the editor/friend who has been dogging his heels for a story. He throws a manila envelope on his desk with the statement “you wanted a story, here it is” and walks out. That is where the story ends and you are left to wonder at the final outcome. What did the president know and when did he know it? Is the CIA representative left to hang out to dry since he trusted the word of the president’s aide or did he actually receive written permission to task a CIA operation within our borders? Does the aide fall on his sword to protect the president? Does the director decide the hell with it and resign?

 

I finally realized that the bureau director and terrorist leader had as least one thing in common. Both are willing to sacrifice for what they believe. One to destroy, the other to protect.

 

As for we have now? This bunch wouldn’t know a dishonorable action if it came up and bit them on ass, or somewhere more sensitive.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

SATURDAY'S MEME

Ok, I’ll come out and play this evening.

 

  1. What is your favorite thing to wear?  Slacks and a sweatshirt. T shirt when the weather is good.

 

  1. Last thing you ate?  Toasted cheese sandwich and cream of tomato soup.

 

  1. Nastiest thing you’ve ever eaten? Liver

 

  1. I say shotgun, you say? Wedding.

 

  1. How many US states have you been to? Washington, California, Idaho.

 

  1. How many of the US states have you lived in? Oregon.

 

  1. What is your favorite romance movie? Return to Me.

 

  1. Favorite type of food? Home made soup and fresh bread.

 

  1. Do you care if your socks are dirty? Afraid so.

 

  1. Have you ever cheated on a test? Yes

 

  1. Has anyone ever sang or played for you personally? No

 

  1. Do you like Bush? He’s worse than liver. I'd sooner try sushi.

 

  1. Have you ever gone white water rafting? No way. I get seasick looking at pictures of waves. Ever see the film Hunt for Red October? The scene where they're floating the life rafts off the sub turns me green every time.

 

  1. Have met a real redneck? “fraid so.

 

  1. How is the weather right now? Raining, again. Off and on all day.

 

  1. Where was the last place you went besides your house? Work. I was going yarn shopping this morning but we finished the big bookcase move instead.

 

  1. What are you afraid of? I have one of those little shadowy creatures too. It lives in the closeet and peaks round the corner. I’m not too fond of ladders either.

 

  1. How many pets do you have? Three cats. The whisker sisters. Lucky, Misty and Bandit.

 

  1. What’s one thing you’ve learned? “ If you’ve already fallen off the cliff, you might as well try to learn to fly.”

 

  1. What do you usually order from Starbucks? Nothing… I don’t do designer coffee.

 

  1. Have you ever fired a gun? No. I have learned to use a bow and arrow though.

 

I read this over on Russ’s blog. He ran out of steam before he got to the end, so these are the questions I know about.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

JUST A THOUGHT

Ran across this on the web.

I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the
pig likes it. 
--Cyrus Ching (industrialist well known for his efforts to treat his workers decently)

I believe this describes how we all feel when we try to confront shock jocks like Limbaough and Coulter. They have no shame. They are sure they're right. You can't get a good grip becuase of the mud. And they enjoy the notoriety. Too bad we can't get an ignore these people movement going. Treat them like a three year old with a tantrum. "Go ahead an hold your breath until you turn blue. As soon as you pass out you'll start breathing again. And in the meantime I'm enjoying the quiet."

I wonder how many buyers actually finish books by folks like Ann Coulter before they toss them under the tv. Trouble is she's already got her money and is laughing all the way to the bank.

Monday, April 16, 2007

FINDING MY GROOVE

Has it been almost three years since I started hunting and pecking? Actually I type a little better than that. (shrug) I put politics at the end of the title but a lot of my best (I think) most passionate entries early on were politically themed. And not just because it was the year the Current Occupant was returned to the White House.

I’m still passionate about politics but I’m realizing more and more how tightly both parties have locked up the system for their advantage, not ours. We’re outside the glass doors pounding and not making any noise that can be heard inside. The specific scandal may change but the words; well the words from the talking heads pretty much stay the same. That said, this administration has to be the most two faced, duplicitous, lying, conniving, deceiving, obfuscating, inveigling, misbegotten, sorriest, excuses for “public servants” it’s been my extraordinary bad luck to run across in my life. And you’d have to go back to the administrations of Grant and Harding to come close. And both of them were Republicans, God/dess save us.

No, I think the changes are going to have to happen at the most basic level. There are things we have to rethink, maybe redefine. I haven’t figured out that part yet. And I probably won’t be the one who figures it out. I may end up being one of many. Sort of like the railroad crews who worked together to straighten out the tracks. But if we all keep tapping away in the same direction………..

So. Big little word, that. I find my focus shifting. I find I’m repeating myself. The events change but I suspect I’m not the only one who finds herself thinking “here we go, AGAIN.” Thwwbp! :-P!! Bush is a symptom. Not the disease. Even Karl Rove isn’t anything new. He cut his political teeth helping get Nixon reelected. It’s been decades coming on and Ipray my nephews will have the wisdom to do better than we have.

What to do. Keep writing, certainly. I can’t seem to shut up. A little less time on politics and a little more time nurturing our little piece of sacred ground. Maybe a little more on how the more things change, the more they stay the same and a little less on the current example of just how the same things are. Work, gotta pay the bills somehow. Read, bake, knit, hug mom, take pictures and share them, pet the cats, hug my mom again, wish I could hug Lisa more often, bake some more, try to help rebuild the tattered connections between all of us. Give somebody a smile whether they smile back or not. Sing (in the shower, don’t want to scare the cats). Hug my nephews whenever I get the chance. Hug all of you. I wish.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

MISS CROP TOP ET AL

The cartoonist's name is David Horsey. Another goodie from the Go Comics website. This one also appeared in the local paper. The irony is truly wonderful.

Actually the first thing that crossed my mind was "hey miss Crop Top, your arms aren't broken, get your butt in there and clean the bathroom." Same for helpless with the baseball bat. Sheesh.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

ANOTHER MEME

Found this one on Russ and Cin’s blogs. Thought I’d give it a try.

 

  1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I know of.

 

  1. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?  I know it sounds like a clichĂ©. I come close every time I read the damn paper it's that or scream. Misted up pretty bad on the 6th, it would have been the folks 62nd anniversary.

 

  1. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Not much. It gets worse every year. It's not quite bad enough to mimic a doctor but it's getting there.

 

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? None really. Love really sharp, good cheese.

 

  1. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Lucky, Misty and Bandit (cats)  and various scrounging squirrels in the yard.

 

  1. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I doubt it. Likes do not attract.

 

  1. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Too much.

 

  1. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope. Do still have my appendix.

 

  1. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Not on your (or my) life.

 

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Oatmeal with raisins, cranberries, and walnuts.

 

  1. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not usually.

 

  1. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Sometimes.

 

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Deep, dark, chocolate.

 

  1. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Do they look me in the eye when they talk to me and does the smile go all the way to their eyes.

 

  1. RED OR PINK? Deep, dark burgundy.

 

  1. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Are you kidding, I’m perfect. Seriously, I spend too much time in my own head.

 

  1. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My dad.

 

  1. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Robe and jimmies. Blue robe and green nightgown.

 

  1. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Polish sausage hot dog. Haven't had a hot dog in ages.

 

  1. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My copy of the mini series Masada.

 

  1. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I only get one? I want enough to make a rainbow.

 

  1. FAVORITE SMELLS? The yard after it rains and the sun comes out.

 

  1. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE. Sister over in Umatilla.

 

  1. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?  Sorry, not a sports fan.

 

  1. HAIR COLOR? Silver brown.

 

  1. EYE COLOR? Brown

 

  1. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nope, I’ve graduated to bi focals.

 

  1. FAVORITE FOOD? Chocolate.

 

  1. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings if they are believable. Since I prefer history oriented films and mini series I don’t run into very many of them.

 

  1. LAST MOVE YOU WATCHED? Good Night and Good Luck.

 

  1. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? See the entry above about night gowns and bathrobes.

 

  1. SUMMER OR WINTER. Can I have both? In January I look forward to July. In July it’s the opposite.

 

  1. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs, from a few people. I don’t like hugs from people I don’t know.

 

  1. FAVORITE DESSERT? Chocolate.

 

  1. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? Switching back and forth between Thermopylae-the Battle for the West and Brother Juniper’s Bread Book. Man is that a combination or what?

 

  1. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? The one at work has a wolf on it, the one at home is black.

 

  1. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? MASH reruns.

 

  1. FAVORITE SOUND? Rain on the roof.

 

  1. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Neither. Never really been a rock fan. I do like Celtic type music.

 

  1. WHAT IS THE FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Los Angeles. An aunt and uncle and their family live down there.

 

  1. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I bake a mean loaf of French bread and I knit a very cool prayer shawl.

Friday, April 13, 2007

SHOCKED, JUST SHOCKED

Don Imus's sponsors, network and corporate remind me of the police inspector in Casablanca. He's "shocked, absolutely shocked" to discover that gambling has been occuring nightly at Rick's place. Of course he's being handed his most recent winnings at the time. LOL

I guess they thought ol' Don had been inviting the vicar over for tea all this time. Yeah, they'd been discussing croquet over tea and crumpets.

And I'm really Gandalf the Grey in drag.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

DOGWOOD

The dogwood blossoms are well open. And we had some rain this morning so it really brought out the color.

Close up of the blossoms.

You can even see the little raindrops on the blossoms. Got some good use out of my digital camera and tripod this morning. And after downloading how many sets of pictures onto the computer it finally sank in, duh, you make your own cd's. So, I spent some time putting together a compilation for the sister who live in eastern Oregon and hasn't had a chance to get over since we've made the big chages. How long have I had the camera and computer? Like, duh. read the options on the side once in awhile Jackie.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

MORE TULIPS

These red beauties have been getting taller and taller every day. They're actually dwarfing the daffodils.

We have just a few of these variegated ones, they don't seem to be very hardy here.

The white and magenta is absolutely striking against the green autumn crocus foliage. These are actually about two thirds the size of the big red ones. Lovely to come home to in the evenings.

 

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

FREEDOM?

The Current Occupant of the White House (I refuse to call this man president) and his advisors continue to claim that we live in the freest country on the planet. Is that true? And what would our ancestors think of the freedom we do have?

We do accept certain limitations on our actions. Most of us obey the speed limit (most of the time), keep most of our clothes on (most of the time and this time of year it’s a necessity) keep certain “recreational activities” indoors where they won’t upset the neighbors and scare the livestock and most of us accept that walking down the middle of a busy freeway at high noon in our birthday suits is probably Not A Good Idea.

But, what of the freedoms that we do seem to have?

The freedom to what the current administration attempt to politicize justice in this country. Claims of voter fraud seem to translate as try to make sure the other party doesn’t win. Competent US attorneys are forced out and replaced with yes men and party hacks.

Voter lists in key states have been purged of minority voters under the guise of making sure that voters with felony records can’t cast a vote.

Precincts in at least one key state, Iowa, had more voting machines in suburban precincts than they needed and not enough in inner city precincts that were expected to vote democratic. And enough of the machines didn’t work that potential voters stood in line for hours only to be told to “go home, we’re closing the polls.”

The freedom to be a minority voter in rural Texas and find a sheriffs’ cruiser parked near the polls on election day. That little tit bit was in one of Molly Ivins last columns. A hundred and forty years since the end of the Civil War and more than a generation since civil rights and voting rights bills were passed by Congress and signed by earlier presidents and there are still parts of the country where it isn’t safe for minority voters to exercise the most basic right of citizenship. Oregon’s vote by mail looks better all the time. And I just had a really nasty thought. There’s been talk of privatizing mail delivery. You can’t tell the race of a voter from the envelope the mail in ballot is in, but there are parts of the country where you can infer it from the mailing address. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

The freedom to watch contamination spread from the meat supply to farm produce. Those of us who have switched to a largely vegetable diet to avoid contaminated meat and fish get caught in a double bind. Just treat everything as if you’re in a third world country and either cook it or wash it very well. But what happens when one of our freedoms comes to include paying increasingly high prices for clean water?

The freedom to pay low prices for products so poorly made you have to replace them twice as often.

The freedom to watch the contractors that produce these shoddy products move from country to country in search of increasingly cheaper workers while American workers who produced products you’d be proud to own lose their jobs.

The freedom to discover that certain corporations deliberately steer their low paid help to emergency rooms and Medicaid for their care while either offering no insurance or pricing it so high that their employees can’t afford. In other words, we’re subsidizing part of their labor costs with our taxes and insurance premiums while they reap the profit.

The freedom to be herded into “free speech” zones in the name of security whenever our elected hired help comes to town

The freedom to vote for whichever candidate the moneychangers figure they can get the best deal from.

The freedom to attend the church of your choice but discover that only certain groups appear to have a pipeline to the elected hired help.

The freedom to watch the religious right tail wag the political dog.

The freedom to vote for the Democrat or Republican of your choice. There wasn’t much the 2005 session of Oregon legislature could agree on, but they did agree on this, by the time they were done is was much harder for a third party or independent candidate to get on the ballot.

I guess I could go on until I ran out of room but I think I’ve drawn a pretty clear picture. I’m not feeling very free right now, is anyone else?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

NEW SHRUB

We pulled the clematis out of the front. It's a beautiful plant but we pulled the trellis when we had the house redone and didn't want to replace it, plus you have to cut it back for the fall and which takes time and leaves you with a stack of debris to get get of. We're trying to move away from things that need trimming.

We already have a couple of Japanese andromeda. They are great shrubs this time of year. The white clusters of blooms, green foliage and the new leaves coming in with the red are spectacular this time of year. And they stay green all year round.

Close up of flower clusters.

We headed out to the nursury intending to get another of what we already had, because frankly we didn't know there was anything else out there. Surprise, surprise they call this one Valentine.

Spectacular red blooms and dark greean foliage. The new leaves come in with a red tinge but I'm not sure if it will be as red as the other. It may bloom a little later too.

Another close up of the Valentine.

COMBINED JOURNAL

I'm going to post this on Cottage too, just I don't miss anyone.

Awhile back Lisa suggested a sort of combined blog involving several of us. Each of us contributing what we could. We all thought this was a good idea and that’s really as far as it went. The best reason being that is was Lisa’s idea and she’s been working seventy odd hours a week. And that’s just at the cafĂ©, that doesn’t include house keeping, cat supervision and finding time to spend with her wonderful husband.

 

And congratulations Lisa and having three great days back to back. Hey, what’s fifteen bucks less on day three? That is so wonderful.

 

Sooooo, I’m going to make a suggestion. At least to get the ball rolling. Most of those who read Lisa’s Coming to Terms stop by my journals once in awhile. One of us, me maybe I’m open to suggestions, could propose a topic, we’d have a week or two to work on the idea if it’s something we’d be interested in, send the entries to that person and they would post them in a separate journal. I’m going to jump in with both feet and suggest mirror sites, one on AOL and one on Blogger.

 

I suspect our interests are very similar, and it would be fun to see how each of us would handle a topic.

 

Obviously I’ve been turning this over and have some ideas that might be interesting to kick around.

 

Certain politicians and pundits speak about a “culture of life.” What does this mean when we support companies that try to insert a terminator gene into plants so they can make more profits selling seeds? Of even the whole concept of factory farming plants and animals.  Drug companies and their advertising.

 

If we don’t believe in war how do we remain faithful to our beliefs when we’re faced with those who are willing to kill their own people to oppose us?

 

If we’re fighting a war for oil, what does it mean to use precious fuel to bring fresh produce and seafood in from the other side of the world? Would you spend time and money to go to a restaurant that served only local products and cuisine?

 

Most of us have a Christian background. What does the Great Commission mean you? Do we look for similarities in beliefs and work from there or do we believe in converting everyone to our beliefs. Now, there’s a patch of quicksand for you.

 

If you could plant the ideal garden, what would it be?

 

What do you think of when you hear the word family?

 

Is there a book or books that mean a lot to you? Is there a special reason?

 

The same with movies.

 

Do you bake, or have time for some other craft? Why do you do it?

 

As a matter of fact. Why are we doing this in the first place? Why do we write? My first journal is nearly three years old and some of you have been doing this longer than I have. So, what are we doing here?

 

So, what do you think? I’m not trying to run the show but I do work a job with nice regular hours and I don’t have kids. I do believe it’s good idea and I believe all of us could do something really great if we could just figure out how to get the balloon off the ground.