November 2nd, 2006

Book Cover

It is raining!!

I cannot tell you what a delight it is for me to hear the first rain of the season.  I hardly slept as I kept waking to listen to it, and it is a true rain.  I showed it to the kitties, and they have chosen to stay inside.  I gonged my gong, and rang my Tibetan bell, and worshipped at my altars and my rain chime is chiming inside, as the rain chimes out.  I think, for me, this is the day announcing life is now lived more within, and it works so well for me, as we enter another winter, another time to feel the chimes within.  I am delight!!

Book Cover

The Great Divider -

Bush, who acts innocuous, is still working to divide the country, rather than unite it.  He distracts from all the problems that  need addressing.  I find it very sad and upsetting, and I try to mobilize myself around the pain, and hope the people of this country truly see through his lies.  

Editorial from the NY Times.

The Great Divider

Published: November 2, 2006

As President Bush throws himself into the final days of a particularly nasty campaign season, he’s settled into a familiar pattern of ugly behavior. Since he can’t defend the real world created by his policies and his decisions, Mr. Bush is inventing a fantasy world in which to campaign on phony issues against fake enemies.

In Mr. Bush’s world, America is making real progress in Iraq. In the real world, as Michael Gordon reported in yesterday’s Times, the index that generals use to track developments shows an inexorable slide toward chaos. In Mr. Bush’s world, his administration is marching arm in arm with Iraqi officials committed to democracy and to staving off civil war. In the real world, the prime minister of Iraq orders the removal of American checkpoints in Baghdad and abets the sectarian militias that are slicing and dicing their country.

In Mr. Bush’s world, there are only two kinds of Americans: those who are against terrorism, and those who somehow are all right with it. Some Americans want to win in Iraq and some don’t. There are Americans who support the troops and Americans who don’t support the troops. And at the root of it all is the hideously damaging fantasy that there is a gulf between Americans who love their country and those who question his leadership.

Mr. Bush has been pushing these divisive themes all over the nation, offering up the ludicrous notion the other day that if Democrats manage to control even one house of Congress, America will lose and the terrorists will win. But he hit a particularly creepy low when he decided to distort a lame joke lamely delivered by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry warned college students that the punishment for not learning your lessons was to “get stuck in Iraq.” In context, it was obviously an attempt to disparage Mr. Bush’s intelligence. That’s impolitic and impolite, but it’s not as bad as Mr. Bush’s response. Knowing full well what Mr. Kerry meant, the president and his team cried out that the senator was disparaging the troops. It was a depressing replay of the way the Bush campaign Swift-boated Americans in 2004 into believing that Mr. Kerry, who went to war, was a coward and Mr. Bush, who stayed home, was a hero.

It’s not the least bit surprising or objectionable that Mr. Bush would hit the trail hard at this point, trying to salvage his party’s control of Congress and, by extension, his last two years in office. And we’re not naïve enough to believe that either party has been running a positive campaign that focuses on the issues.

But when candidates for lower office make their opponents out to be friends of Osama bin Laden, or try to turn a minor gaffe into a near felony, that’s just depressing. When the president of the United States gleefully bathes in the muck to divide Americans into those who love their country and those who don’t, it is destructive to the fabric of the nation he is supposed to be leading.

This is hardly the first time that Mr. Bush has played the politics of fear, anger and division; if he’s ever missed a chance to wave the bloody flag of 9/11, we can’t think of when. But Mr. Bush’s latest outbursts go way beyond that. They leave us wondering whether this president will ever be willing or able to make room for bipartisanship, compromise and statesmanship in the two years he has left in office.

Book Cover

Intelligence -

Bella and Tiger are entranced with their first rain.  They want to go outside, and they are not sure.   Each one waits for the other to go out first.  Then, they stand huddled next to the door, under the overhang.   They sniff the wet deck.  It's just dripping now, so it is not about moisture pouring from the sky, and yet, every cell in their body is awake for this exploration.  They could be discovering Antartica.

I see, through them, how much I sometimes miss, and yet, I, too, am awake today, alert, aware of the sounds and the massage of rain, combing through the air.

I read this editorial  from the NY Times, and hope to gain ever more awareness of the intelligence around me.  I am reminded of the words of Pythagoras.  "Everything is intelligent!!"


Horton Sees an Image

Published: November 2, 2006

To the very short list of animals that can recognize themselves in a mirror — i.e., humans and apes and possibly dolphins — scientists have now added the Asian elephant, or at least three female Asian elephants in the Bronx Zoo. Faced with the presence of an enormous — and rugged — full-length mirror in their enclosure, the animals displayed clear signs of grasping that they themselves were the origin of the images in the glass. One elephant, named Happy, was even able to touch a mark on her own face that was visible only in the mirror. It is still not known whether male elephants are as self-aware.

Such tests appear to mark a boundary between animals that display some form of consciousness and those that don’t. But what they really do is raise questions about the value we attribute to consciousness and our inevitably human definition of it. It is always us setting the rules. How many tests set by elephants could we pass?

Can we even pass the very simple test of allowing them to survive in the wild? The clear implication of the mirror test is that animals who pass it are somehow closer to us and thus more deserving of our protection. But as the fate of chimpanzees makes plain, we are no more likely to save species with a proto-human form of consciousness than animals whose mental life bears no resemblance to our own.

We keep probing the animal world for signs of intelligence — as we define it — and we’re always surprised when we discover it. This suggests that something is fundamentally wrong with our assumptions. There is every reason to value other life-forms as much for their difference from us as for their similarity, and to act accordingly. That may be the only intelligence test worthy of the name.

Book Cover

Quote -

    "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance."

                Oscar Wilde

                                    How delightful is that!!

Book Cover

Time -



“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”


                — Bertrand Russell

Book Cover

Synapses -

Einstein with his massive array of synapses and glial cells had this to say.


            “The Universe is a friendly place.” — Albert Einstein.

What a contrast to our current administration who sees it as a fearful place, or, at least, one in need of control, their's.
Book Cover

Halloween Party!!

Each year I enjoy setting out my Halloween decorations, but I must admit that when I read my brother's description of the Halloween party that my niece Katy, and her friend Lauren, set up with the help of  "Dad," I see my Halloween spirit could barely light a ghost.

He writes:

You missed a good Halloween party that we helped Katy throw Saturday night.  The basement was set up with strobe lights, black lights, and the sounds of tortured screams from a Halloween CD I found and we set up different stations where each person had to try and collect tokens for points so the one who could stay down the longest without panicking could gather the most tokens and win the goody bag.

But the best part was the driveway.  I purchased these hanging ghosts that had a round styrophone head with a face and then draping gauze that spread over their outstretched arms and draped down about 5 feet.  I had eight of those hanging from various positions on the driveway from hooks in the trees about 40 feet up and when they hung straight down they were just above your car window level but a helpful and brisk wind had them sweeping and dancing far up into the air and then back right at the top of your car as you drove down they looked incredibly real in the distance and startling as they swooped right down at your car seemingly from nowhere.  I also had some incredibly realistic scary heads on stakes stuck in the ground and heads hanging from ropes all along the way and tombstones with special lighting and such.  And by the bridge over the river I had this amazing pirate skeleton hanging from chains on it's wrists from the trees and spinning with an electric motor and special lighting on it so it looked like a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.  Then, at the gate, I had torches and a huge ugly skeleton ghost like creature fastened to the gate along with huge black chains and skulls and vultures attached to the top of the gates.  Then I also had a large smoke machine hidden behind the wall so when they pulled up for the party the gates were closed and I, who was hidden behind the wall, hit the button for the smoke machine and then the remote for the gate and it opened automatically to the sound of creaking and screaming and from there they could look down the driveway and see all these incredibly real looking ghosts swinging and flying back and forth from way up in the trees on one side then swooping down near car level and then proceeding way up high onto the other side.

I am setting intention to be in CT. next Halloween.   Clearly that is the place where the ghosts hang out, and people have reason to scream.   Boo!

Book Cover

Patience - May it be so!!

"Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind."

- Leonardo da Vinci
(1452 - 1519)

Book Cover

Though it is long -

I'm placing this column by Keith Olbermann here, though, I know it is long, but so is the grief of those who lost someone in, or because of Iraq.   Bush turns everything around.   We must continue to stay awake to see.   Note how he ends it.   It seems the conscience of Edward R. Murrow is back.

  Bush Owes Troops Apology, Not Kerry
    By Keith Olbermann
    MSMBC Countdown

    Wednesday 01 November 2006

Bush "appearing to be stupid" about Kerry's joke.

    On the 22nd of May, 1856, as the deteriorating American political system veered toward the edge of the cliff, U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina shuffled into the Senate of this nation, his leg stiff from an old dueling injury, supported by a cane. And he looked for the familiar figure of the prominent senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner.

    Brooks found Sumner at his desk, mailing out copies of a speech he had delivered three days earlier - a speech against slavery.

    The congressman matter-of-factly raised his walking stick in midair and smashed its metal point across the senator's head.

    Congressman Brooks hit his victim repeatedly. Sen. Sumner somehow got to his feet and tried to flee. Brooks chased him and delivered untold blows to Sumner's head. Even though Sumner lay unconscious and bleeding on the Senate floor, Brooks finally stopped beating him only because his cane finally broke.

    Others will cite John Brown's attack on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry as the exact point after which the Civil War became inevitable.

    In point of fact, it might have been the moment, not when Brooks broke his cane over the prostrate body of Sen. Sumner - but when voters in Brooks' district started sending him new canes.

    Tonight, we almost wonder to whom President Bush will send the next new cane.

    There is tonight no political division in this country that he and his party will not exploit, nor have not exploited; no anxiety that he and his party will not inflame.

    There is no line this president has not crossed - nor will not cross - to keep one political party in power.

    He has spread any and every fear among us in a desperate effort to avoid that which he most fears - some check, some balance against what has become not an imperial, but a unilateral presidency.

    And now it is evident that it no longer matters to him whether that effort to avoid the judgment of the people is subtle and nuanced or laughably transparent.

    Sen. John Kerry called him out Monday.

    He did it two years too late.

    He had been too cordial - just as Vice President Gore had been too cordial in 2000, just as millions of us have been too cordial ever since.

    Sen. Kerry, as you well know, spoke at a college in Southern California. With bitter humor he told the students that he had been in Texas the day before, that President Bush used to live in that state, but that now he lives in the state of denial.

    He said the trip had reminded him about the value of education - that "if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you can get stuck in Iraq."

    The senator, in essence, called Mr. Bush stupid.

    The context was unmistakable: Texas; the state of denial; stuck in Iraq. No interpretation required.

    And Mr. Bush and his minions responded by appearing to be too stupid to realize that they had been called stupid.

    They demanded Kerry apologize to the troops in Iraq.

    And so he now has.

    That phrase - "appearing to be too stupid" - is used deliberately, Mr. Bush.

    Because there are only three possibilities here.

    One, sir, is that you are far more stupid than the worst of your critics have suggested; that you could not follow the construction of a simple sentence; that you could not recognize your own life story when it was deftly summarized; that you could not perceive it was the sad ledger of your presidency that was being recounted.

    This, of course, compliments you, Mr. Bush, because even those who do not "make the most of it," who do not "study hard," who do not "do their homework," and who do not "make an effort to be smart" might still just be stupid, but honest.

    No, the first option, sir, is, at best, improbable. You are not honest.

    The second option is that you and those who work for you deliberately twisted what Sen. Kerry said to fit your political template; that you decided to take advantage of it, to once again pretend that the attacks, solely about your own incompetence, were in fact attacks on the troops or even on the nation itself.

    The third possibility is, obviously, the nightmare scenario: that the first two options are in some way conflated.

    That it is both politically convenient for you and personally satisfying to you, to confuse yourself with the country for which, sir, you work.

    A brief reminder, Mr. Bush: You are not the United States of America.

    You are merely a politician whose entire legacy will have been a willingness to make anything political; to have, in this case, refused to acknowledge that the insult wasn't about the troops, and that the insult was not even truly about you either, that the insult, in fact, is you.

    So now John Kerry has apologized to the troops; apologized for the Republicans' deliberate distortions.

    Thus, the president will now begin the apologies he owes our troops, right?

    This president must apologize to the troops for having suggested, six weeks ago, that the chaos in Iraq, the death and the carnage, the slaughtered Iraqi civilians and the dead American service personnel, will, to history, "look like just a comma."

    This president must apologize to the troops because the intelligence he claims led us into Iraq proved to be undeniably and irredeemably wrong.

    This president must apologize to the troops for having laughed about the failure of that intelligence at a banquet while our troops were in harm's way.

    This president must apologize to the troops because the streets of Iraq were not strewn with flowers and its residents did not greet them as liberators.

    This president must apologize to the troops because his administration ran out of "plan" after barely two months.

    This president must apologize to the troops for getting 2,815 of them killed.

    This president must apologize to the troops for getting this country into a war without a clue.

    And Mr. Bush owes us an apology for this destructive and omnivorous presidency.

    We will not receive them, of course.

    This president never apologizes.

    Not to the troops.

    Not to the people.

    Nor will those henchmen who have echoed him.

    In calling him a "stuffed suit," Sen. Kerry was wrong about the press secretary.

    Mr. Snow's words and conduct, falsely earnest and earnestly false, suggest he is not "stuffed," he is inflated.

    And in leaving him out of the equation, Sen. Kerry gave an unwarranted pass to his old friend Sen. John McCain, who should be ashamed of himself tonight.

    He rolled over and pretended Kerry had said what he obviously had not.

    Only, the symbolic stick he broke over Kerry's head came in a context even more disturbing.

    Mr. McCain demanded the apology while electioneering for a Republican congressional candidate in Illinois.

    He was speaking of how often he had been to Walter Reed Hospital to see the wounded Iraq veterans, of how "many of them have lost limbs."

    He said all this while demanding that the voters of Illinois reject a candidate who is not only a wounded Iraq veteran, but who lost two limbs there, Tammy Duckworth.

    Support some of the wounded veterans. But bad-mouth the Democratic one.

    And exploit all the veterans and all the still-serving personnel in a cheap and tawdry political trick to try to bury the truth: that John Kerry said the president had been stupid.

    And to continue this slander as late as this morning - as biased or gullible or lazy newscasters nodded in sleep-walking assent.

    Sen. McCain became a front man in a collective lie to break sticks over the heads of Democrats - one of them his friend, another his fellow veteran, legless, for whom he should weep and applaud or at minimum about whom he should stay quiet.

    That was beneath the senator from Arizona.

    And it was all because of an imaginary insult to the troops that his party cynically manufactured out of a desperation and a futility as deep as that of Congressman Brooks, when he went hunting for Sen. Sumner.

    This is our beloved country now as you have redefined it, Mr. Bush.

    Get a tortured Vietnam veteran to attack a decorated Vietnam veteran in defense of military personnel whom that decorated veteran did not insult.

    Or, get your henchmen to take advantage of the evil lingering dregs of the fear of miscegenation in Tennessee, in your party's advertisements against Harold Ford.

    Or, get the satellites who orbit around you, like Rush Limbaugh, to exploit the illness - and the bipartisanship - of Michael J. Fox. Yes, get someone to make fun of the cripple.

    Oh, and sir, don't forget to drag your own wife into it.

    "It's always easy," she said of Mr. Fox's commercials - and she used this phrase twice - "to manipulate people's feelings."

    Where on earth might the first lady have gotten that idea, Mr. President?

    From your endless manipulation of people's feelings about terrorism?

    "However they put it," you said Monday of the Democrats, on the subject of Iraq, "their approach comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses."

    No manipulation of feelings there.

    No manipulation of the charlatans of your administration into the only truth-tellers.

    No shocked outrage at the Kerry insult that wasn't; no subtle smile as the first lady silently sticks the knife in Michael J. Fox's back; no attempt on the campaign trail to bury the reality that you have already assured that the terrorists are winning.

    Winning in Iraq, sir.

    Winning in America, sir.

    There we have chaos - joint U.S.-Iraqi checkpoints at Sadr City, the base of the radical Shiite militias, and the Americans have been ordered out by the prime minister of Iraq … and our secretary of defense doesn't even know about it!

    And here we have deliberate, systematic, institutionalized lying and smearing and terrorizing - a code of deceit that somehow permits a president to say, "If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one."

    Permits him to say this while his plan in Iraq has amounted to a twisted version of the advice once offered to Lyndon Johnson about his Iraq, called Vietnam.

    Instead of "declare victory and get out" we now have "declare victory and stay indefinitely."

    And also here - we have institutionalized the terrorizing of the opposition.

    True domestic terror:

    Critics of your administration in the media receive letters filled with fake anthrax.

    Braying newspapers applaud or laugh or reveal details the FBI wished kept quiet, and thus impede or ruin the investigation.

    A series of reactionary columnists encourages treason charges against a newspaper that published "national security information" that was openly available on the Internet.

    One radio critic receives a letter threatening the revelation of as much personal information about her as can be obtained and expressing the hope that someone will then shoot her with an AK-47 machine gun.

    And finally, a critic of an incumbent Republican senator, a critic armed with nothing but words, is attacked by the senator's supporters and thrown to the floor in full view of television cameras as if someone really did want to re-enact the intent - and the rage - of the day Preston Brooks found Sen. Charles Sumner.

    Of course, Mr. President, you did none of these things.

    You instructed no one to mail the fake anthrax, nor undermine the FBI's case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Sen. George Allen, nor have the first lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry.

    No, you did not.

    And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry's rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

    All you have to do sir, is hand out enough new canes.

    I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck.

Book Cover

Noticing -

I managed to slash my thumb yesterday when I was cutting broccoli.   Now, all that I do is consciously chosen.   Yep, it's worth it.  I've learned to type on the side of my thumb.  It is not a big deal, but it does bring up vulnerability, and dependence on others.  Like that, we might need someone to help us do simple things.  I can still do them, but the awareness and appreciation are important to me today. 

 And the rain comes down.   Hooray!!    I feel my plants exulting.   Water to drink and branches and roots to spread.   What joy bursts forth this day!

I am remembering now that in California, because of the cycle of rain, fall can be considered spring.   Perhaps, that is why so many of us jump enthusiastically this time of year.  Happy Spring, Winter, and Fall!!
Book Cover

A nest -

I walk in the rain to meet a friend for lunch.   My head is uncovered and I revel in the feeling of lift.  There is enough hair for the breeze to play with.  I feel open and free, and, then, I feel angry.   Why did this happen to me?   Perhaps, it is the first time I have felt that.  I have been so grateful for life, and maybe I didn't have energy for any more than that, but today, there is play in my hair and step, and, there is a place for some reflection that this year was tough.   Just that.  Tough!!

My nest is strong enough to feel that.  
Book Cover

Do the math -

A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-Gebra is a problem for us," Gonzales said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.  As the Greek philanderer Isosecles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'."

 When asked to comment on the arrest, George W. Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

Aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.

I believe I have posted this before,  but it is good enough to see again.   Happy counting your fingers and toes.

Book Cover

How easy is this -

The rain continues, and I love it.   I realize Bella and Tiger don't have to do anything but be, and I love them.  They let me pet them and I am in bliss.  When they come to me, and snuggle, I feel so blessed.    Can't I let it be as simple for me?   It was when I was "sick."   Now, I sometimes think I need to stir a little more interest, when really I can just be, a honey pot for bees.
Book Cover

Fire -

I make a fire, as it is the first night of winter rain, and Tiger is mesmerized.  He can't take his eyes off it.  I periodically do, and I see how wise he is to lie there enchanted with the display.  It has been quite the day for Bella and Tiger - their first rain, and, now, their first fire.    Luxuries abound.
Book Cover

Fire -

I watch Bella in front of the fire.  I see how, to her, it could seem like an animal.  It has a smell, a sound, and moves.   Then, I realize each of us does have fire within.   Somehow, I "get" on a different level how we are made of the elements, and I see the animal of fire in myself.   The rain is soft tonight.   I sit with my own earth, water, fire, and air, and the metal that binds.
Book Cover

Love -

    "One word frees us from the weight and pain of life; that word is love."