January 25th, 2008

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Good Morning!!

It is raining, a lovely, steady rain that offers sound and movement to my day.   Jane says even in the rain she can feel when the sun rises, can see the shift in light.  She can't see the actual rising even on a sunny day, but the presence is felt, the change to day.   Also, it is obvious that each day is a little longer.  We are shifting from night.

I just read Paul Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal, which I think and feel is another must-read.

Jane and I sprung off of it this morning for our morning free-write.


In Corporate
Who wouldn’t want
the body –
its rootless freedom
its seeming wholeness
and completeness
its singularity
its voice
oh yes especially its voice
its unholy spectre
of death.
With a gift like that
we all would be
bitten by greed
and grow obese
on externalities
and subprime rib
defend our riches
with manufactured fear
and the lesser bodies
of all those
millions who
are starving
will die anyway.

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My morning thoughts -

 In Response to Paul Krugman

        The Conscience of a Liberal

Something sits in my stomach today,

no, in my womb.

A baby rests there, some new way of being,

birthing my own need

to reach, connect, and speak.


There are a group of well-organized people

who are working to take over the United States,

to divide it into rich and poor, to eliminate

the middle class.

They don’t know the middle way,


the ethical joy of health care for all,

education, a pure way of being,

a conscience so clear the light shines through,

and illuminates each precious face,

that face, that is our own.


There is love, and there is fear.

How do we lean?

Do we contract, protect, build fences, walls?

Do we forget where we came from,

All of us, that empires rise and fall?


How short-sighted can we be,

how miserable?

Ronald Reagan lied about the welfare mother

in her Cadillac.   To him, it was a joke,

and children suffer, suffer, suffer,


and the clouds that hold the rain

look down and fall.

There can’t be happiness in theft

or greed.  Happiness is recognizing

we share this air we breathe.



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The rain -

It is raining so hard right now that I look out and feel like I"m on the back-side of a waterfall looking out.  What a treat!

I head over to the East Bay later this afternoon to my book group's slumber party.   It is a good night for a pillow fight, food, wine, and we'll probably discuss books too.

There was a time when our lives provided so much fodder, no book could compete, but life has calmed for us all, and I think we will enjoy a stimulating discussion of The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman, a book I adore.

Sweet dreams, both day and night, for us all!

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The New Yorker -

In the Jan. 28th New Yorker, George Packer has compiled an excellent article called The Choice.  He swings us back and forth between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  As I read the article, I think of the old quote by "unknown," that "people may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel."

Obama makes people feel good.  Clinton is still struggling with overcoming "her own history."   Packer suggests that reading their two books, Obama's Dreams from My Father, and Clinton's, Living History, will give a sense of the two different views of the presidency and leadership.

Both are likable, but come on, this is the presidency.  

You have to admire her determination, but he offers a vision.   She can sway some votes on the Senate floor. He can inspire a nation, a world. 

Of course the question is which one of them can beat John McCain.

The New Yorker also offers an illustrated BAGEL STORY by Dd.  I give you the words, because I think it is a simple guide to happiness.   Read it and smile.

    Plain Bagel -

    Multigrain Bagel -

    Bagel with Everything -

    Bagel Unhappy Despite Having Everything -

    Bagel reassessing its goals and values -

    Plain Bagel.


          We, too, sway.  

Right now, I would like a bagel with cream cheese, and politics at rest.

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Mail to the New Yorker!

The highly qualified Maryanne Wolf writes a letter to the New Yorker.  I edit it slightly and place it here.

    Caleb Crain's superb essay on declining literacy, Twilight of the Books," could have been titled "Twilight of the Reading Brain." 

    To explain, I want to clarify two important points in his description of my book, "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain."  As it develops expertise, the circuitry for reading in the brain becomes "smaller" in its streamlined regions, and also "larger" - that is, more widely activated - in those regions engaged in sophisticated thinking, like inference, critical analysis, and insight.  This type of activation is the basis for "deep reading" and the highest form of thought in a society, from novel thinking to the deliberation of virtue.  My primary concern for the future of reading is that these critical areas will be short-circuited in the next generation of readers, whose formative years may be immersed too early in digitally driven media.  The addictive immediacy and overwhelming volume of information available in the "Googled world" of novice readers invite neither time for concentrated analysis and inference nor the motivation for them to think beyond all the information given. Despite its extraordinary contributions, the digital world may be the greatest threat yet to the endangered reading brain as it has developed over the past five thousand years.

Maryanne Wolf

It is odd to type in the above words as I do spend a great deal of time on-line and I love to google.  That said, I also read books in paper form, and I deal most often with words on line.  I watch the occasional video or youtube, but for the most part, I still gather information through reading.  Of course, I am a dinosaur in this new world, and that is okay with me.  I am the brontosaurus with the long, fluid neck.  I like to nip the tops of trees and wade in swamps.

I google and learn that my beloved brontosaurus, meaning thunder lizard,  is now called apatosaurus, which means deceptive lizard.  In this case, I vote for the past.  Thunder Lizard,  I am.   

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Withdrawal -

I am heading over to the East Bay without my lap-top, so no computer for possibly 24 hours.  Ack!

It's good for me, like cod liver oil and chicken soup.