March 25th, 2008

ayer's rock -

Good Morning!

The moon was a pleasure in the sky again this morning. 

Jane and I spoke about balance this morning.  It began with the subject of distortion in the news.  When one reads or listens to the whole speech of Rev. Wright or Barack Obama, there is a very different response than what comes when one hears the sound bites that are pulled out and blasted everywhere.

There is light and dark, life and death, black and white, and so many shades between.  If one watches the transition from morning dark to light, it takes place over time.  The body is churning and breathing, and slowly, the day awakes.  The same is true at night.  Perhaps it is more dramatic on the equator as the sun falls into the ocean, but where I live the transition is long and slow.  

My word for today, my intention is balance, balancing what I say, think, do, knowing that the center is always changing, and I adjust.

ocean by san base, searby friend

poem from Orion Magazine -

Because We’ve Landed on the Moon but Nobody Wants to Live There

Someone’s got to stand at the door waving,
then busy up the empty house, clear the table, dishes,

her face. Someone’s got to wash away
that smear of relief and regret.

Someone has to keep the birds in check,
break a few speckled eggs, then cry

as if it were all a cruel mistake. Because the eggs
are ruined. Because we never get back

that feeling of lying in the grass, breathing in
the soft earth and the whole of summer before us.

We love celebration, the smell of fireworks,
but we work too long and forget to pick up milk.

We don’t notice or agree. And it’s too easy
to hit someone’s hand with a ruler. And a hundred times

is too many. We need to forge a different taste,
give it a name and shape,

then send an arrow through it. So we can hold
each other. So the phoebe can re-use its nest.

So the flowers can bloom. So the loyal dog
can travel half a continent and return home,

limping and proud. So conversation can be more
palatable than absence—like cotton candy—

sweet, and then nothing. Even so, it anchors us
when we think we might blow away.

- Amy Dryansky

california poppy

another poem from Orion -

The Rest of Life

After the war is over the suicide bomber
who never got the chance to detonate himself
unpacks the explosives from his special vest.

He feels the sadness of someone whose big moment
has passed without a sound,
but the vest goes into the closet,

the dynamite goes to his cousin,
who gives it to her friend the engineer.
He knows a use for it: Kaboom,

and water runs unleashed into
the onion field.  Then crops
turn green, and flocks of birds float

over them in swirls. Boys in shorts
are given work as scarecrows, singing
“Bird, Don’t Poop On Me,”

and “Shimmy Shmalla Wallah Balla Boo.”
At a table in the yard, men curse
the mysterious prejudice of cards,

and a woman wearing black
turns the pages of a magazine.
Cutting out the pictures, carefully.

- Tony Hoagland

calder mobile miniature

poison oak -

I have managed to escape the joys of poison oak for quite a few years now, but one of my cats must have rubbed against it, since it began on my wrists, right where I pick them up, and now, each day has spread a little more.  I, in my wishful thinking,  was hoping it would just go away, but each day there is a little more, so today, I look on-line for remedies.  It seems I can rub a banana peel over it, or cook some oatmeal and make a paste and wrap in saran wrap, or use vinegar, all delightful possibilities.   I'm going to smell tropical or acidic, and be quite a wholesome lunch, as it is, at this point, in quite a range and distribution of places.  Quite fun!

I also note that I found myself dismayed that I have to wait a week for the next segment of John Adams on HBO.  I think of how long his wife, Abigail, had to wait for a letter from France, and feel a little sobered at my impatience and need for instant gratification.   I also see from the series how important one man can be.   Sometimes I hesitate to "put all my eggs in one basket", but I think, at times, that is the way to lead and be led.

We need leaders and vision.  We went to the moon.   Now, let's restore the earth.

barack obama

It is time for Hillary to concede -

I give the last half of the column by David Brooks today in which he points out that Hillary Clinton has only a 5% chance at this point, and yet the damage she is doing by refusing to see that may hand the presidency to McCain.  I am amazed she can't see the damage she is doing to her own legacy.  She is a senator from New York.  That is a respectable achievement.   Why is it not enough?  Each day people turn from her because she won't do what is best for the country.   The ego driving her now is exposed and it is not pretty.   She is not concerned about the country, or us.  She cares about herself, and maybe she needs to wake up, see and acknowledge that, and graciously withdraw.

Op-Ed Columnist

The Long Defeat

David Brooks


For three more months, Clinton is likely to hurt Obama even more against McCain, without hurting him against herself. And all this is happening so she can preserve that 5 percent chance.

When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.

Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish, and willing to put her party through agony for the sake of her slender chance? Are leading Democrats so narcissistic that they would create bitter stagnation even if they were granted one-party rule?

The better answer is that Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.

For nearly 20 years, she has been encased in the apparatus of political celebrity. Look at her schedule as first lady and ever since. Think of the thousands of staged events, the tens of thousands of times she has pretended to be delighted to see someone she doesn’t know, the hundreds of thousands times she has recited empty clichés and exhortatory banalities, the millions of photos she has posed for in which she is supposed to appear empathetic or tough, the billions of politically opportune half-truths that have bounced around her head.

No wonder the Clinton campaign feels impersonal. It’s like a machine for the production of politics. It plows ahead from event to event following its own iron logic. The only question is whether Clinton herself can step outside the apparatus long enough to turn it off and withdraw voluntarily or whether she will force the rest of her party to intervene and jam the gears.

If she does the former, she would surprise everybody with a display of self-sacrifice. Her campaign would cruise along at a lower register until North Carolina, then use that as an occasion to withdraw. If she does not, she would soldier on doggedly, taking down as many allies as necessary.

Book Cover

William Rivers Pitt -

I take this from William Rivers Pitt's column today:

 By William Rivers Pitt

    Tuesday 25 March 2008

    White House press secretary Tony Snow, the third man to hold that post in the Bush administration since 2001, began the June 15, 2006, noon press briefing with a few prepared remarks before opening the floor to questions from the assembled crowd of reporters. The first to speak noted, "American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500," before asking, "Is there any response or reaction from the president on that?"

    "It's a number," replied Snow, "and every time there's one of these 500 benchmarks people want something."

    As of that June day in 2006, the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq had reached "one of these 500 benchmarks" for a fifth time since the 2003 invasion. Snow's unabashed dismissal of the grim reality that number represented was as vile as it was predictable, a perfect illustration of the administration's cold indifference and demented priorities. It's a number. It's a benchmark. People want something. Next question.

    On Monday, that benchmark was reached for an eighth time. Four US soldiers were killed late Sunday when their vehicle was bombed in south Baghdad, bringing the total number of American troops lost in Iraq to 4,000. It's a number. It's a benchmark. People want something. Next question.

cirque du soleil

Poison oak cure -

I'm still looking for poison oak solutions.   I have now learned that one can put on disposable gloves and wipe the animal with baby wipes.  That will get the poison oak off the animal.

Then, for the cure, there is this.

Mix a packet of Pectin (used for canning jam and jelly) into a large pitcher of Orange Juice made from frozen concentrate and drink it through the week.

    I'm off to the store for Pectin and orange juice.

california poppy

Pectin -

After reading on-line in a folksy sort of place, that pectin in orange juice will help poison oak move on through, and, then, drinking a full glass of orange juice vibrant with pectin, I decide the intelligent thing to do would be to better understand what I just consumed.  After reading the following, and remembering that apples are full of pectin, I will now eat an apple to ensure the oil of poison oak is flushing on  through.

This is from Wikipedia on pectin.

Naturally, pectin in the form of complex, insoluble protopectin is part of the non-woody parts of terrestrial plants. In the middle lamella between plant cells, pectin helps to bind cells together and regulates water in the plant.

The amount and structure of the pectin differs between plants and also within a plant over time and in different parts of a plant. Tough parts contain more pectin than soft parts of a plant. During ripening, pectin is broken down; in this process the fruit gets softer as the cell walls break down.

Pectin is a natural part of human nutrition. The daily intake of pectin from fruit and vegetables can be estimated to be around 5 g (assuming consumption of approximately 500 g fruit and vegetable per day).

In human digestion, pectin is not used as nutrient, but passes through the small intestine more or less intact. In the large intestine and colon, microorganisms degrade pectin and liberate short-chain fatty acids that have positive influence on health (prebiotic effect). Pectin is thus a soluble dietary fiber.

Consumption of pectin has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. The mechanism appears to be a decrease of viscosity in the intestinal tract, leading to a reduced absorption of cholesterol from bile or food.


a place to grieve -

I borrow this from Alan's blog.

Why should we hear about body bags and deaths," Barbara Bush said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on March 18, 2003. "Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

One might argue over whether or not she has a beautiful mind, but the inability to let in grief and feel empathy is a reason we have war.  Bush doesn't feel, because his mother taught him, by her standard, well.

alan's marigolds

Look small!

Buson wrote:  Use the commonplace to escape the commonplace.

These are days that call for Blake.

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.