August 11th, 2006

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Morning thoughts -

I see that one is never alone when they have kittens.  They are here,  purring right now, after bounding up and down the halls, and finding whole new areas to explore.  They are wonderfully settled, quite entertaining, and, both, exhilarating, and serene company.  What could be better than that?  I love to hug them, and the feng shui energy of our house is rumbling and dancing about.

Sandy gave me a book yesterday called Heart Steps.  It is by Julia Cameron.   Sandy has been reading Cameron's memoir, and said Cameron had quite a heavy bout with alcohol and drugs.  Then, she pulled herself out.   When I was in treatment, I lived in a cocoon.   Now, I am out, and aware of so much more that goes on, and, perhaps, I have been struggling to adjust to that.   I read this quote of Joanna Macy from Heart Steps.

    If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear.  People who can open to the web of life that called us into being, and who can rest in the vitality of that larger body.

Last night,  I felt fear, and sadness.  This morning, I feel anticipation, and awareness of eternity.  I wrote this morning of having that eternal feeling as when we skip a rock, and our heart goes up and down with it, and then, it sinks under the water to a comfortable place to rest.   I also felt myself reaching like the curled egg white of meringue when it is tipped, then,  browned in the oven.  Now, I feel myself with the weeping of the meringue as it sinks back into the pie.

Perhaps, that is it.  I am feeling myself merge back into the larger body.  I rested there in treatment, and, then, popped out, into some kind of  "me-ness."  Now, I rest back in again.  It is comfortable there.   I am stuffing envelopes for a fund-raiser today.    I look forward to the mindlessness of that. 
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Who's the fascist?

 Fascists of All Varieties
    By Marc Ash
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Friday 11 August 2006

    Reveling in yesterday's announcement that a plot to blow up American Airlines planes departing from British airports had been foiled by British authorities, George W. Bush leapt at the opportunity to sell his "war on terra" to whoever would listen. Using the best Madison Avenue technique money can buy, he was even ready to roll out a new slogan du jour on cue for the event. Today's phrase that pays: We are at war with "Islamic fascists."

    First let me say that if British law enforcement did in fact do all of what the US mainstream press is implying they did, I thank them for finding an efficient, non-violent way to guard the public safety. "Efficient" and "non-violent" being the key words in the preceding sentence.

    Efficiency and non-violence have been glaringly absent from US-British national security operations over the past five years. And that absence contributes greatly to the current atmosphere of conflict. War and a warlike mentality are espoused at every turn as the remedies of choice in dealing with all threats to Western security. As a result, Western security has suffered.

    What worked in foiling the plot to destroy the airliners was good old fashioned police work and a solid investigation. Not military action. The tools used by British authorities are tools that were available on September 11th 2001. They were available the day the US invaded Iraq, and they are available today. We have always had good tools to safeguard our security. Launching massive invasions is not helping, it's adding to the rage that fuels the madness.

    Fascism at Issue

    Since, Mr. Bush, you have chosen to put the issue of fascism before the public, it begs a broader dialog on fascism's role in our lives today. I accept the challenge to enter that dialog. Frankly Mr. Bush, many Americans refer to you as a fascist. There really isn't any other way to state that than bluntly. Blowing up an airliner full of passengers is barbaric and completely unacceptable, regardless of the objectives of those involved, but it really doesn't fit the definition of fascism.

    From Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language:

FASCISM: A system of government characterized by rigid one party dictatorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism, racism and militarism, etc.

    That's really the heart of the matter now isn't it, Mr. Bush. One might wonder if you are troubled by by the specter of fascism in your inner thoughts when you cast the accusation wildly into the public discourse.

    What would the people of Iraq say about fascism if asked? But then they haven't been asked, have they - they've been liberated, of course. What would our founding fathers say about detention without due process, without end? Electronic surveillance of all Americans, without regard for the law? What is democracy if the citizens have no confidence in the integrity of their elections? Our military hurls five-hundred pound bombs all day and all night. They land on whom they land on. It is not an isolated act of madness, it is a coordinated act of state. All the while private corporations profit wildly.

    Fascism, Mr. Bush, is not your strongest card. You should change the subject again.

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What a beautiful world!!

Today, I hear by email from the Berkeley, East Bay Humane Society where we adopted Bella and Tiger.   The foster mother had sent a link of baby pictures of Bella and Tiger.  You can check them out if you are interested at:  http://simi.lbl.gov/lisa/

The pictures don't do them justice, as they are even more beautiful, interesting, and incredible than that. 

The invitations for the breast cancer event are lovely, and I enjoyed helping to get them ready.  If anyone wants to attend, it is quite the event at $200.00 per person, with $100.00 tax deductible, and it sounds fun.  It is appetizers, dinner, a silent and live auction, and dancing.

My mood has lifted, despite reading that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is cutting back testing for Mad Cow disease by 90%, from one cow per hundred slaughtered to one per thousand.   Of course, the obvious solution is to not eat meat, but, still, I am disturbed by this administration's determination to do nothing to protect us where it really matters.   The National Cattlemen's Beef Association applauded.  I wonder how they would feel if everyone in the country stopped eating beef.

I am also concerned that Century Theatres, which includes our beloved Sequoia, has been sold to an outfit from Texas.  I worry that we will lose the distribution of less common films. 

Also, El Paseo, Steve and my all-time favorite restaurant has been sold.  The review says the menu is up-dated and the portions, though delicious, are tiny.   So, life continues, and all is a ball of change.  

The wind is howling, and the doors are slamming.  It feels like summer should around here.   The door to the downstairs slammed shut, with Bella on one side, and Tiger on the other.  You've never heard such crying.  They like to be together, and, now, they are.   A joyful weekend to All!
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from the Atlantic -

"Mark Twain's family was one of the first in Hartford to install a telephone (which had been patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876) in its home. In 1880, Twain, bemused by this new device that permitted eavesdroppers to hear only one side of a conversation, wrote an amusing description of overhearing his wife talk on the telephone."

My brother says the Ken Burns documentary on Mark Twain is excellent.   Here is Twain's comment from 1880 on the telephone.  


June 1880

A Telephonic Conversation
by Mark Twain

I consider that a conversation by telephone—when you are simply sitting by and not taking any part in that conversation—is one of the solemnest curiosities of this modern life. Yesterday I was writing a deep article on a sublime philosophical subject while such a conversation was going on in the room. I notice that one can always write best when somebody is talking through a telephone close by. Well, the thing began in this way. A member of our household came in and asked me to have our house put into communication with Mr. Bagley's, down town. I have observed, in many cities, that the gentle sex always shrink from calling up the central office themselves. I don't know why, but they do. So I touched the bell, and this talk ensued:—

Central Office. [Gruffly.] Hello!

I. Is it the Central Office?

C. 0. Of course it is. What do you want ?

I. Will you switch me on to the Bagleys, please ?

C. 0. All right. Just keep your ear to the telephone.

Then I heard, k-look, k-look, k'look— klook-klook-klook-look-look! then a horrible "gritting" of teeth, and finally a piping female voice: Y-e-s? [Rising inflection.] Did you wish to speak to me?"

Without answering, I handed the telephone to the applicant, and sat down. Then followed that queerest of all the queer things in this world,—a conversation with only one end to it. You hear questions asked; you don't hear the answer. You hear invitations given; you hear no thanks in return. You have listening pauses of dead silence, followed by apparently irrelevant and unjustifiable exclamations of glad surprise, or sorrow, or dismay. You can't make head or tail of the talk, because you never hear anything that the person at the other end of the wire says. Well, I heard the following remarkable series of observations, all from the one tongue, and all shouted,—for you can't ever persuade the gentle sex to speak gently into a telephone:—

Yes? Why, how did that happen?

Pause.

What did you say?

Pause.

Oh, no, I don't think it was.

Pause.

No! Oh, no, I didn't mean that. I meant, put it in while it is still boiling,—or just before it comes to a boil.

Pause.

WHAT?

Pause.

I turned it over with a back stitch on the selvage edge.

Pause.

Yes, I like that way, too; but I think it 's better to baste it on with Valenciennes or bombazine, or something of that sort. It gives it such an air,—and attracts so much notice.

Pause.

It 's forty-ninth Deuteronomy, sixty-fourth to ninety-seventh inclusive. I think we ought all to read it often.

Pause.

Perhaps so; I generally use a hair-pin.

Pause.

What did you say ? [Aside] Children, do be quiet!

Pause.

Oh! B flat! Dear me, I thought you said it was the cat!

Pause.

Since when?

Pause.

Why, I never heard of it.

Pause.

You astound me! It seems utterly impossible!

Pause.

Who did?

Pause.

Good-ness gracious!

Pause.

Well, what is this world coming to? Was it right in church?

Pause.

And was her mother there?

Pause.

Why, Mrs. Bagley, I should have died of humiliation! What did they do?

Long Pause.

I can't be perfectly sure, because I haven't the notes by me; but I think it goes something like this: te-rolly-loll-loll, loll lolly-loll-loll, O tolly-loll-loll-lee-ly-li-i-do! And then repeat, you know.

Pause.

Yes, I think it is very sweet,—and very solemn and impressive, if you get the andantino and the pianissimo right.

Pause.

Oh, gum-drops, gum-drops! But I never allow them to eat striped candy. And of course they can't, till they get their teeth, any way.

Pause.

What?

Pause.

Oh, not in the least,—go right on. He's here writing,—it does n't bother him.

Pause.

Very well, I'll come if I can. [Aside.] Dear me, how it does tire a person's arm to hold this thing up so long! I wish she'd—

Pause.

Oh, no, not at all; I like to talk,—but I'm afraid I'm keeping you from your affairs.

Pause.

Visitors?

Pause.

No, we never use butter on them.

Pause.

Yes, that is a very good way; but all the cook-books say they are very unhealthy when they are out of season. And he does n't like them, any way,—especially canned.

Pause.

Oh, I think that is too high for them; we have never paid over fifty cents a bunch.

Pause.

Must you go? Well, good-by.

Pause.

Yes, I think so. Good-by.

Pause.

Four, o'clock then—I'll be ready. Good-by.

Pause.

Thank you ever so much. Good-by.

Pause.

Oh, not at all!—just as fresh—Which? Oh, I'm glad to hear you say that. Good-by.

[Hangs up the telephone and says, "Oh, it does tire a person's arm so!"]

A man delivers a single brutal "Good-by," and that is the end of it. Not so with the gentle sex,—I say it in their praise; they cannot abide abruptness.

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in case you missed this -

Answers from the Bush Quiz:  The Twentieth Hundred Days by Paul Slansky.


George W. Bush said, "There are limits to how much corn can be used for ethanol.  After all, we got to eat some."

What did George W. Bush say was "the best moment" during his years in the White House?  "When I caught a seven-and-a-half-pound largemouth bass on my lake."

What words were among the top ten responses in a Pew Research Center poll when voters were asked for the first word that comes to mind when they think of George W. Bush.  "Incompetent,"  "idiot,"  "liar," and "ass."

James E. Hanson is the NASA official who said, "It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States," after the Administration began censoring climate scientists who tried to speak about global warming."

George W. Bush believes his job is this:  "to go out and explain to people what's on my mind.  That's why I'm having this press conference, see?  I'm telling you what's on my mind.  And what's on my mind is winning the war on terror."


Well, he certainly has a strange way to go about it, but, then, he has a very strange mind, and, so it is.