Thursday, May 31, 2007
picture: some rural road somewhere in texas, may 2005
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
this month will be the third anniversary of casey's death; as everyone who has lost a child or a much loved family member knows, the days leading up to an anniversary are very, very difficult. for most of us this 'anniversary pain' diminishes as the years pass. however, for the last three years cindy has bravely chosen to take a path where she has had to relive her much beloved son casey's death every single day. sadly, I expect this anniversary will be just as painful as that first anniversary for cindy. to add insult to injury the democrats (who one would think would be carrying out the people's mandate "to end the war") essentially just gave W another blank check! cindy, we you are not alone in your grief nor are you alone in feeling betrayed - in fact, we have all been betrayed.
I can only imagine what cindy has gone through these last few years. I admire cindy for her strength, outspokenness, and for carrying on so long. I hope cindy realizes that there are millions of people - all around the world - who admire what she has done, the sacrifices she has made, and for trying so long and so hard. we thank you.
cindy closes her 'resignation letter' with these words:
Good-bye America...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it. It's up to you now.
I can't help but weep.
*please feel free to resurrect and add wayne's world classic NOT!! at the point
picture: cindy being interviewed during the sept 2005 massive anti-war protest in washington, dc
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
at first I was a bit intimidated the box contained 5 dvds and advertised that the series ran over 500 minutes. geez, that's a lot of tube time; but the films were here and mariel did say they were great and the concept does seem right up my alley on so many levels! so I thought let's go for it, on wednesday night after dinner, I asked my husband if he was up for checking out the films. at first he was a little reluctant when I explained to him what the films were about, imagining a big yawn, I'm sure. but he's a good sport and said he'd give it a try, after all if he didn't like it he could pull out his book or go off to another part of the house. however, his hesitation melted away; in pretty quick order both of us were mesmerized by the life stories unfolding before us. for the next three nights we followed 14 british school children from when they were seven up through age 42. these kids are in the same generational cohort as both my husband and myself, so in addition to being captivated by their stories we could also identify with generation-specific 'issues' and fashions.
as I mentioned the project began in 1963. in '7 up' we meet twenty-two children from different educational, geographical and social class situations and are told that the filmmakers intend to talk to these children at age 7 so we can learn of the type of people they will be in 2000. the project initially was to be a one-time film, however, michael apted, one of the assistants from the first film, decided to follow these kids and actually test out that jesuit maxim about 'give me a child at seven.' twenty-two children are a lot of kids to follow and by the next film, we find that apted culled the group down to fourteen - ten boys and four girls, of this group, six kids could be considered as coming from the 'working class, four from the suburban middle-class, and four from the privileged upper-class. the sociological and cultural analysis and accomplishment of this bit of documentary film making is quite amazing. after watching the first six films, we were left wanting to know what's next - fortunately for us, there is still one more -- '49 Up' and the library carries it. sunday morning the hold went in and in a week or two we will be once more checking in and seeing what's up!
Monday, May 28, 2007
in my 'maher moment' postings I have yet to highlight the 'visual interludes' bill does each week. I don't know what he calls these segments, but that's my name for them. every show bill and his team go off on something or someone with a bit of visual humor - most often they make fun of some political or cultural absurdity by creating hilarious book titles or headlines for magazines, tabloids or newspapers. this week inspired by john edwards recent witty and accurate comment where he stated that "The war on terror is a bumper-sticker not a plan," bill and his group created a set of bumper-stickers that president bush can put on his cars. unlike most of the visual interludes these do alright translating to the mouse:
Ask me how
Ask me about my illegal wiretapping
If you can read this you are qualified to be attorney general
Practice random acts of violence
I'd rather be waterboarding
I may be the worst president ever,
but I'm in front of you
....(Carter's) remark hurt George Bush's feelings and we know when you hurt George Bush's feelings, you hurt America's feelings. And when you hurt America's feelings you hurt the truth. And when that happens Tinkerbell's light goes out and she dies.
As for Carter's assertion I was up all night on wikipedia doing an exhaustive study on former presidents. While other presidents have sucked in their own individual ways, George Bush is like a smorgasbord of suck. He combines the corruption of Warren G. Harding, the warmongering of James Polk, and the abuse of power of Richard Nixon.
Nixon got in trouble for illegally wiretapping the Democratic National Headquarters, Bush is illegally wiretapping the entire country. Nixon opened up relations with the Chinese, Bush let them poison your dog.
Herbert Hoover who was literally named after a machine that sucked sat on his ass through four years of depression. But he was an actual engineer so if somebody told him about global warming he would have understood it before the penguins caught on fire.
Ulysses S. Grant let his cronies loot the republic, but he won his civil war.
Harding sucked, but he once said 'I'm not fit for this office and never should have been here.' So at least he knew he sucked. He never walked off stage like Bush does after one of his embarrassing language mangling press conferences with that smirk on his face (saying) 'like nailed it!' Or maybe that's the look you get when you have a showdown with the democrats and you win like he just did with Iraq. You don't become the worst president ever without a little help from the other side.....
Sunday, May 27, 2007
~Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of USpicture: soldiers' & sailors' monument draped with origami cranes a global symbol of peace, cleveland
Friday, May 25, 2007
this sunday, may 27th, marks the 100 anniversary of rachel carson's birth. last spring I had the pleasure of joining a group of interested folks from cleveland on a tour of rachel carson's homestead in springdale, a small town nestled along the allegheny river near pittsburgh. we got our celebration of rachel's centennial birthday in nice and early. the day we visited was a cool and misty spring day the drizzle and low clouds seemed to enhance our tour and helped transport us back to the time when rachel lived in the old farmhouse. I always enjoyed touring the houses or environments where people I admire spent time. carson has been a personal hero of mine since high school when I learned of her during the very first earth day. it was wonderful wandering about exploring the house where rachel was born and where she spent her formative years - the years in which her passion for the natural world was fueled. the organization which cares for the house has done a loving job recreating what the house must have been like when rachel and her family lived there. the house is set on a hill overlooking the river and and one time the house was surrounded by forests and meadows. it was easy to imagine a young rachel wandering that terrain for hours on end - an activity she did when young in the company of her mother and later with only her imagination and insatiable curiosity as her companions.
I just heard a clip on the radio announcing that this weekend on 'bob edwards weekend' bob will be honoring rachel. carson is recognized as the catalyst for the environmental movement with her groundbreaking book 'silent spring.' edwards program will focus on providing an overview of the state of the environment during the last 100 years. I love edwards program, the only downside is that it begins at 6:00 on sunday morning on my local public radio station - most sundays I'm up by 7, but this sunday I need to make sure I'm up earlier than usual so I don't miss anything! unfortunately it doesn't look like pri has an audio archive yet for edwards program. so I'll have to be there or be square!
in 1980 jimmy carter awarded rachel carson with the presidential medal of honor, the certificate hangs in the springdale house, on it is written:
"Never silent herself in the face of destructive trends, Rachel Carson fed a spring of awareness across America and beyond. A biologist with a gentle, clear voice, she welcomed audiences to her love of the sea and with an equally clear determined voice she warned Americans about the dangers human beings themselves pose for their own environment. Always concerns, always eloquent, she created a tide of environmental consciousness than has not ebbed."
pictures: top picture the homestead; insert rachel's bedroom with microscope. taken june 2, 2006 springdale, pennsylvania.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
a couple days ago a friend of mine turned me on to a project that she is involved with to help raise public awareness about this tragic and unnecessary situation, the project is entitled the safe motherhood quilt project. when I saw susan the other day she brought along the block she is making to memorialize and honor a mother of who died in march. through the project susan was provided with the name, location and date of death for her mother, however, susan went on to research more details about this woman. what a heartbreaking story, susan discovered. her young woman died while giving birth to her seventh child; along with raising her children, she had been a vibrant and active member of her community in salt lake city. the ripples of her death went far in terms of all the lives this woman's life touched. what is known is that the woman died of an air embolism. this is an extremely rare event that can happen spontaneously but is more frequent with certain medical interventions. from what susan could glean, it is not clear whether this was a terribly unfortunate natural event or an iatrogenic event - in other words due to something that was done to her (physician treatment, a drug administered, or a surgery performed). for me even the possibiity of an iatrogenic event adds another layer of outrage to an already tragic death.
the safe motherhood quilt project was birthed by ina may gaskin a midwife who many consider the leading voice for safe and woman and child centered birth for over thirty-five years. I 'discovered' ina may in 1978 when I learned I was pregnant. as an incurable researcher I took to the literature to learn as much as I could about my 'birthing options.' in the course of my 'research' I discovered gaskin's wonderful book entitled spiritual midwifery (which by the way is now on it's fourth edition) between reading gaskin's book and suzanne arms equally powerful and ground-breaking book entitled immaculate deception: a new look at women and childbirth in america I decided that for me, a young, healthy, fit woman the safest and 'truest' option was to have a home-birth attended by a well-trained midwife. this decision while relatively easy for me and my partner to come to was, shall we say not well-received by some of our family and friends who could not understand why in this day and age of the 'marvels of medical science' we would opt for a home birth. one dear friend, who was attending medical school in another state, actually accused us of 'child abuse' - her arguments were not persuasive and if anything only strengthened my resolve. it might have been my friend who provided me with my first glimpse of the arrogance of doctors. (hey, don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for many doctors; in fact devoted many years to working with doctors and training doctors and can say completely without facetiousness many of my best friends are doctors.) this old college friend has gone on to have a very successful career in medicine as a gynecologist-obstetrician who specializes in gynecological surgeries; I am proud of her and admire all she does even if I'm disappointed that she has never come around to broadening her acceptance of birthing alternatives. among my family members perhaps my father's objections were the loudest, however, his protests were quickly quelled when I reminded him that he, his six siblings, my mother and her siblings were all born at home - safely and without incident!
I have often said that I wish my experience with childbirth was the norm - the experience I had in terms of everything from prenatal care through postpartum care was a model that every woman should be able to have. I accept that most people can't fathom the concept of a home birth and probably should NOT opt for one, there should be other 'in between' alternatives that are ready and waiting - for instance, free standing birthing centers (an alternative that ironically is become more and more scarce). along with a home birth, my prenatal care was also home based, for the first seven months the midwife came to my home every two weeks to check my blood pressure, provide childbirth education, monitor my psychological and physical progress with the pregnancy, and conduct a physical exam if necessary. the last month the midwife's visits were weekly. the birth of my daughter was incredible, yes physically it was intense, but hey they don't call it labor for nothing. in terms of after the birth care or follow-up, the midwife came to the house several times in the days and weeks that followed to make sure everything was going well and to ascertain whether I had any questions regarding breastfeeding, sleep, or other new mother concerns. my experience with the birth of my daughter was ideal and I believe a model of mother and child centered care; unfortunately, in the united states my experience is almost completely obsolete, in many developed countries, my experience with care and follow-up is the norm. in the last twenty-five years childbirth has become increasingly medicalized, planned inductions are becoming normative, c-section rates in some communities are astronomical, and I have found an incredible sense of fear about childbirth among many of the women with whom I talk. there are many complex and complicated socio-politico factors at work in terms of health and the health care system in the united states. the experience of childbirth should be a joyous, positive, and life-affirming experience. while it might be impossible to avoid all infant and maternal deaths, it is possible to improve the situation significantly.
I often hear people proclaim that 'the united states has the best medical care in the world' unfortunately the data does not support this not by a loooooong shot. while our country does spend more per capita on health care than any other country we lag behind on many key health indicators - among the 191 countries on which the WHO collects and analyzes data, the us health care system ranks 37th, our infant mortality rate is ranked 26th, life expectancy at 24th, and so on and so forth. we have approximately 46 million people without health insurance in the united states. to some extent, the example of childbirth in the united states is perhaps a microcosm of the larger health care system. maternal mortality is by and large a preventable situation.
when there is birth we need to create a system in which the ripples associated with that event will be ones of joy and not of grief. I am very moved by the work of the safe motherhood quilt project and will be joining my friend susan in contributing towards the efforts to help spread awareness of the problem. during one of ina may gaskin's talks she stated that she felt compelled to become a voice for women who have died in childbirth for they can no longer speak for themselves. participating in the quilt project is one little thing to do to help raise stimulate action to eliminate the problem of maternal mortality - good mouse medicine...
if anyone is interested contact the project: safe motherhood quilt project
42 the farm
summertown, TN 38483
or email: email@example.com
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
on monday morning emma called. she had a plan and was needing to make some tools to help catch the ducklings, she was wondering if I had any dowels and a staple gun. I had a staple gun, but didn't have any dowels and suggested she stop at the little hardware store between her house and my house. I had just been in and knew they had dowels. when em came by to pick up the staple gun, I suggested that perhaps a butterfly net would work to catch the ducklings she said that she too had thought of a net. I told her I had recently seen butterfly nets at joann fabrics; we called and found that not only did they have a few left they were now 50% off. so off she goes - she was soon outfitted with all the supplies and tools needed: butterfly net, materials needed to improvise a chute for the mama duck, and a cat carrier in which to house the family for their journey to their new home. an hour or so later emma called to report that she successfully wrangled the ducks and was heading to the nature center. earlier she had called the nature center and confirmed that they would provide sanctuary, and if necessary care, for a mother duck and her babies. she also reported that between when she left work the previous evening and then there had been an additional loss - there were only three live ducklings and also in her haste she left her house without her camera!
it turned out the nature center was delighted to take in the mama duck and her babies. they told emma that they would be tagging the ducklings. emma will have to keep an eye on the courtyard, who knows maybe in a few months a migrating mallard with a tag will pop in to check out its birthplace and say 'quack, quack' to emma the duck wrangler!
pictures: above -mama duck and her babies, picture taken by emma when all the babies were alive and well. em stated it was quite difficult getting a picture 'ducks can move pretty quickly when they want to'; below - the duck wrangler's boots
addendum: this story has been updated reflecting the correct number of ducklings, only nine ducklings are visible in the picture above - one little guy was quite adventurous and was off on his own.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
in 2003 my bookgroup selected spiegelman's maus books as one of the books for our year of reading. that year the us invasion of iraq dominated many of our thoughts and we selected war as the theme for the year. it was a difficult year of reading, without exception the women in my bookgroup can all be considered 'women of peace.' despite the depressing and discouraging nature of many of the books we delved into, the maus books were one of the highlights of the year. yes, the tale was depressing and despairing, but those emotions were balanced by the enormous power spiegelman displayed in telling his family's story during wwII as jews in poland trying desperately to evade the nazis. his family's tale was enhanced by his 'commingling' of image and text.
spiegelman continues to share his family's stories with the stories of our times. a few years ago he created In the Shadow of No Towers this time he directs his unique visual and storytelling gifts to explore the after effects of 9-11. the book considers both the impact on his family, who were living in the shadow of the towers before they fell, and the effect 9-11 has had on our nation. I look forward to his next book Breakdowns: The portrait of an artist as a young @#%! (or something like that). I agree with the the ny times magazine which stated that "Art Spiegelman... to the comics world is a Michelangelo and a Medici both, an influential artist who is also an impresario and an enabler of others."
if you haven't figured it out kimmelman is on the left, spiegelman on the right.
the spiegelman-kimmelman performance was just one of the wonderful events sponsored by cleveland public library - if you haven't figured it out yet, I am a huge booster of the cpl - to me it is one of the best things about living on the north coast! by far it is the best library system I have every experienced and I've been a library hound since childhood!
Friday, May 18, 2007
alas along with revisionist history-making another wonderful trait of today's america seems to be cultural amnesia. hello, does anyone remember the type of things mr. falwell routinely said? here's a few if you your memory needs a jolt:
"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."
"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."
"The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior."
"It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening"
"The whole global warming thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability."
and least we forget his words following the 9-11 tragedy:
"God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
when I was a child I attended catholic school and my early years of religious instruction was 100% pure baltimore catechism (which emphasized memorizing 'key beliefs and principles'). many years and much personal searching, growth and transformation have passed between my days as a schoolgirl at st. ann's in memphis and today. however, many of the lessons from st. ann's about christianity and christian principles have been enduring touchstones. however, oddly the christian lessons and values I learned, hold dear and revere seem to be missing when I look at the concerns of american fundamentalists christians. when I consider what it means to be christian, I think of jesus' sermon on the mount (you know the where he proclaimed: 'blessed are the meek...blessed are the peacemakers...blessed are those that hunger and thirst for justice and so on and so forth); the golden rule 'thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,' and the 'works of mercy' (give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick, shelter the homeless, etc.). there's a wonderful bumper-sticker I saw a couple years ago it said: "When Jesus said love thy neighbor, he didn't mean to kill them"
okay I guess that's it for my 'rant' of the day. I don't want to come across as being unkind to rev. falwell (however I do have unkind thoughts about what he nurtured & left behind. I never wished the man ill; if he had ever visited me I'd be warm, gracious and give him something to eat and drink). it's sad when people die and at only 73 his death seems premature, I'm very sorry for all the grief his death sparked. my only hope is that the legacy of intolerance, self-righteousness, and the orgy of mixing 'religion' & politics' his movement and take on 'christianity' helped create in america would also rest in peace.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
but over this last year of being voluntarily car free, I've grown to love my choice and I don't want to take the easier 'route.' being car-free has made me feel so much more connected to my community. using public transportation instead of private transportation increases my chances of having a conversation with some interesting person, of stumbling on some 'everyday' miracle, or it just gives me some extra time to read a book or to gaze out the bus or train window taking in the sights while moving about the city. I have found that choosing public transportation can be, well - if you let it, be very centering and has helped me act on my beliefs about community.
when we first moved to cleveland I got a job working in medical education in the city's big public hospital. although I loved my job, I only stayed for seven years, it took that amount of time before the 'politics' of the hospital and my department got to me. during the last year I worked there, the atmosphere of the place became increasingly difficult and it seemed as though the mission to service, education and health was becoming secondary for so many of the 'higher ups' - what mattered more and more was 'the bottom line.' I was instructed that I needed to concentrate less on education and community-building and instead pursue activities that would contribute monies toward the 'bottom line.' let's say that did not sit well. around me my fellow workers were getting increasing frustrated, disenchanted, and morale was low. for myself, I thought 'time to make a change!' which I did - I have always taken the view that change is good especially when we are able to initiate the change ourselves and work on creating a better situation. okay, I digress, there is a point, while I was in that job, one of my titles included the word "community" - which of course did sit well very well with me. I felt that since I worked in a 'public hospital' and was an appointed 'community guru' (self or other appointed who is to know) I would work and try to enhance the sense of community in any way I could. it might seem silly, but one of the first things I did was order a few 'how to build community' posters for the clinic from the syracuse cultural workers catalog. these posters, by the way, were wonderful catalysts for initiating conversation among the clients in the waiting rooms. nurses, doctors and other clinic staff were often asked where the poster came from. over the years this poster has become a kind of 'talisman' for me, while I'm sitting in a bus or on a train or walking about my neighborhood or city, I often think about the 'laundry list' of community building advice offered on this poster -- powerful 'mouse medicine' for a building a healthy community.
anyhow, back to yesterday's journey (my tangents and digressions connect, I promise, I promise), instead of giving myself one hour to travel to meet my buds, since it was such a beautiful day and I had spent most of the day inside stitching, I gave myself two hours to head to the east side. I figured I would spend the extra hour wandering around lee road (the cedar lee theater is located on lee which is one of cleveland heights art and retail districts). the movie started at 7:15 and I left my house at 5:15. and yes, my propensities toward arriving a minute too late were in order - as I was walking out of the convenience store on the corner where I popped in to get change for my pass (a great deal, by the way, only 3.50 to ride the city's buses and trains all day! right now this is just a bit more than the cost of a gallon of gas - which would take me 25-35 miles depending on the car but not cover other hidden costs!), I saw a bus drive by - but no worries, I had no more than 15 and possibly only 5 or 10 minutes before another bus would come by. when I got to the rapid station surprisingly my timing was perfect, I was on the platform just a minute before a train came. when I got to the university circle rapid station I found I had a lot more than an hour before I had to be at the theater, I decided instead of jumping on a bus to lee road, I would walk. I'm not sure, but I expect it's only 2 1/5 or 3 miles from the rapid to the theater and on such a beautiful evening, it would be a lovely.
as I walked up the hill the first thing I encountered was a rabbit, sitting peacefully just five feet or so from the sidewalk. me being me, the first thing I thought of was drat, no camera! but then I realized I did have my cell phone which has a camera in it. so I stepped off the sidewalk bent down and snapped a picture of the rabbit. I felt terrible, the sound startled the rabbit and she jumped up and hopped a little way off. but when she did there was one of those little everyday miracles I'm so fond of - the rabbit was a mama rabbit and she was sitting on a litter of baby rabbits! I didn't want to 'contaminate' the area and make the mother rabbit abandon her babies, so after a quick glimpse of the sweet little fur balls, I turned back to the sidewalk. I proceeded to walk up the hill wondering why in the world a mother rabbit would choose that spot right along a noisy road just a few feet from a busy intersection. most curious. after meeting the rabbit, I soon found myself walking by a house under construction. I've driven by this house dozens of times, in a bus or in a car, but it was only yesterday while I was on foot that I noticed that this house being built is a straw-bale house.
I thought can my walk get any better - first baby bunnies and next a straw-bale house? no sooner than this thought entered my mind, I looked to my right at this wonderful old house with a great wide porch - two elderly black guys were sitting on the porch enjoying the fine evening. I saw them and smiled, they waved and shouted a friendly hello. I replied that it was a beautiful day. they nodded, said a few words and waved again and I proceed with my walk. how nice to be on ground level - it's at this level where one really feels part of the community - where one can see rabbits and baby bunnies, people helping the planet by building straw-bale houses, and where I delight in the fact that I live in a city of established neighborhoods with old houses with front porches where people like to sit and wave and say hi to passers-by.
today there's a campaign going on to not buy gas for the entire day of may 15th. somehow this act is supposed to send a message to the oil companies? while the intentions are noble, my basic reaction to this idea of not buying gas for a day is: geez, how bogus. if people really want to send a message to the oil companies we don't need to not buy gas for a day -- we need to change our habits - we need to not drive our cars for a day, a week, a month. we need to be part of our communities. we need to embrace sustainable practices and habits. we need to not always take the easy route and join the action at ground level - we need to walk, ride a bike, take a bus, take the train! let me tell you when you do, it's a gas!
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
picture: my mother, brother, raggedy ann, and I, mexico, 1956 or 1957
the picture was taken by my father who gave me my first camera, a brownie bullet when I was 8 in 1963. geez, I wish I still had that camera! my dad shared his love of photography with me and I'm afraid put me on the path of documenting just about everything. thanks dad for the brownie (and for all the others you gave me over the years) and for your eye. mom thank you for giving all your kids and grandkids your unconditional love, an endless supply of hugs and kisses, and sharing your love of stories, your understanding of the importance of family and friendship, and your fondness for fabric, food and flowers ~ most of all thank you for making me be a person who wants to make you proud! my hope is that I am able to pass some of these 'family traits' on to my daughter. happy mother's day!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
the whole point of today's post was to say I love car trips because when my husband and I take one it gives us an opportunity to listen and discuss audiobooks together. during our recent car trip to dc, one of the books we listened to was This I Believe. in february I mentioned the npr segments in a post, my friend cindy added a comment where she stated that she was currently listening to the audiobook. after reading cindy's comment I immediately went to the cleveland public library website and placed a hold on the book. finally a couple days before our trip to DC , the book came in (yes, there was quite a wait! but when it did come in the timing was perfect!) the essays in this book include contributions from the original series in the 1950s, when edward r. murrow was the host, and contributions from the current npr broadcasts. there is something incredible and almost transcendent listening to the voices of so many people - and know many of these folks are no longer alive but their words and thoughts live on and we can still hear them share thoughts about 'the meaning of life' in their own voices. the collection is an eclectic mix of both the famous and the unknown - but regardless of the person's station in life all of the essays are stimulating - at times provocative and at times inspiring. by the way, as you might have guessed, the quote which started this post is from the wonderful essay by oscar hammerstein II. if you ever wondered what jackie robinson, helen keller, isabel allende, joy harjo, bill gates, or martha graham believe in or sound like check this audiobook out! best put it on hold today - it might take a while to come in!
Friday, May 11, 2007
picture: Thinker on a Rock, 1997 (barry flanagan, wales) national sculpture garden, washington, dc
after seeing jenclair's sweet pictures of the rabbit in her back yard, I guess I have bunnies on the brain! well, maybe not rabbits, but gardening is on my mind this morning! peter rabbit and mr. mcgregor aside, the association of rabbits with gardening is a culturally widespread phenomena. this tidbit was brought home again after our recent trip to the national museum of the american indian which showcased several examples of the importance of the rabbit in native cultures. throughout the americas the rabbit symbolizes fertility, crop cultivation, and the moon.
the picture to the right is of a rabbit mask. this mask was worn during the rabbit dance preformed in native communities in what is now mexico. according to the accompanying plaque, the people no longer perform the rabbit dance in this region, but rabbit masks are still popular and continue to be made for commercial purposes.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
for me this museum is a treat as it brings together interesting exhibits on design, engineering, architecture, and urban planning. however, even if that kind of thing isn't one's cuppa tea, the building which houses the museum is an experience in an of itself. the museum is housed in spectacular structure. originally built to house the pension bureau, over the years the building has been the headquarters for many different government agencies before its current purpose as a museum. inside and out the building is a marvel of design and engineering. an exterior frieze (measuring 1200 feet long and 3 feet tall) surrounds the entire building. inside the first thing that strikes the visitor are the eight colossal corinthian columns, at 75 feet in height, these columns are among the tallest interior columns in the world!
a couple tidbits from the current exhibit which reinforces the belief that we need to think "GREEN" and embrace sustainable practices: 1) an individual in the US consumes 6 times the amount of energy than the world average and the US with less than 5% of the world's population comprises 23% of the world's total energy use. 2) the world's oil reserves are expected to last about 40 more years; natural gas reserves may last 67 years. 3) every year sprawling development engulfs 1 million acres of open space and less than 20% of the world's old growth forests remain today.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
"The past never changes. But the way we understand it, learn about it, and know about it changes all the time. What was 'gospel' then is often in disrepute now. Yesterday's truth becomes false or irrefutable or offensive today. And visa versa."
(from introduction to museum - part of the 4th floor permanent exhibit)
Monday, May 7, 2007
today was as the day to play tourist. we couldn't have asked for a better day - great weather, no crowds, no travel snags. but no sightings of the queen and for some reason we weren't invited to tonight's white tie state dinner - go figure! we picked two destinations: the national museum of the american indian and the national building museum....perhaps pics to come once I'm back home home of some dc highlights.
the visit has been great and in terms of the reason for coming it has been wonderful to see my folks and report that they look great and are doing well! always a BIG WHEW when parents are getting 'up there.' perhaps more musings later, not used to posting at night, alas a blogger of habit.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
-Yehudi Menuhin, violinist (1916-1999)
picture: monks constructing a kalachakra mandala at cleveland city hall (see march 11 post)
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Friday, May 4, 2007
moving away from thinking about the current slate of the republican presidential candidates - gosh, it's enough to give me angina and make my blood pressure rise! I'd like to use today's post to give kudos to local pundit dick feagler.
on wednesday feagler, a plain dealer columnist, tried to set some of his colleagues straight and confronted them about their terrible treatment of dennis kucinich. in addition to barely covering the story of dennis bringing articles of impeachement against dick cheney, the editors ridiculed dennis mercilessly in an op-ed piece.
feagler doesn't support dennis' campaign to impeach the v.p. even though he believes that there is cause. feagler believes moving on impeachment will have the consequences of tying congress up when what the congress should be doing now is getting us out of iraq NOW.
he makes a good point.
excerpt from column (link above):
War is merely politics if you haven't got a kid in the fight. The political sham going on in Congress this week should make us all ashamed. A bill goes up to the White House, there's a presidential veto, and then everybody swirls around to try to fashion an agreement while many more kids are killed.
Dennis doesn't like this. And we're going to make fun of Dennis?
I don't see it. No, he won't be president. Hasn't got a chance.
But I'm damned glad he's shooting his mouth off.
That's what he's there for. And I'm glad he's there.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
yesterday I brought the sewing machine down to the living room to catch up on 'my two shows' from last week - real time w/bill maher and bill moyers special 'buying the war' mentioned in last week's 'maher moment' post. if you missed moyers report seek it out - it was one fine piece of journalism. although I am aware of the manipulation of the media during this administration, I never had imagined the levels of deception by the administration and complicity of the media in endorsing the bush war machine. along with the general populace (another video for the new political 'house party' circuit?) every member of congress needs to watch this report - perhaps a wealthy donor will mail each a dvd! if you missed it and want a preview of the show and want to read what folks are saying click here.
okay, again more I have more than one moment from the maher show - but I'll restrain myself and highlight just two. cleveland's favorite son rep. dennis kucinich was one of bill's special guests. dennis is so right on with where he stands, where his heart is, and his vision for the u.s. unfortunately, we live in the era of big money politics (not to mention other 'issues') so the chances of dennis getting the democratic nomination are long odds indeed (but as they say 'if not for hope the heart would break'). I offer the following bit from bill's interview with dennis:
Bill M.: No one considers you're going to win this nomination.
Dennis: I think I am
Bill: But what I want to get to is if you go through your platform let's see there's universal health care -
Dennis: not-for-profit health care, not having the insurance companies subsidized by the government
Bill: - and having everybody covered. Ending the war. Getting serious about the environment. Getting out of Iraq right away. I just don't know why you're the 'crazy one.' None of this seems radical to me. And if you poll the democratic electorate, especially the base, they would agree with most of your platform. Why do you not poll higher among the candidates?
Dennis: It's only a matter of time before the American people realize I'm the candidate who would end these polices that keep us in war and create an America that responds to the goodness and greatness that exists in this country. These policies of preemption, unilateralism, first strike are all dead ends. Our role in Iraq was immoral and wrong from the start...I'm talking about the end of war as an instrument of policy, reconnecting with the world community in a way that America will be loved world wide and focusing on things back home.
[ah....yes, we can hope]
the other moment is from bill's closing monologue, again my unofficial transcript:
In light of the tragedy in Virginia, George Bush said that when somebody sees someone exhibiting abnormal behavior you do something about it. Thanks for the head's up McGruff! If that's the case I want to warn the country about a man I saw last night on T.V. He's six feet talk, Caucasian, and goes by the title 'President of the United States"... I'm not kidding. George Bush is the crazy person we need to keep an eye on. He needs to quit taking money from the pharmaceutical companies and start accepting samples.
There's an old frequently used definition of insanity which is: 'preforming the same action over and over and expecting different results' and then it says 'see the surge.'
Now, I'm no doctor, but I am on TV and in my professional opinion George Bush is a paranoid schizophrenic. He thinks the terrorists hate us for our freedom and believes they are going to follow us home - that's why he keeps obsessively clearing brush so they can't use it for cover.
Other symptoms: Do you see things that aren't there? Such as a link between 9-11 and Iraq?
Do you feel things that you shouldn't be feeling? Such as a sense of accomplishment?
Do you have trouble organizing words into a coherent sentence?
Do you hear voices that aren't really there? I don't know, like your imaginary friend Jesus telling you to start a war in the Middle East?
Well, guess what? There are a large number of people out there suffering from the same delusions, because there are republicans, there are conservatives, and then there are the 'bushies.' This is the 29% of Americans who still believe he's doiing a heck of a job. And I don't believe it's a coincidence that almost the same number - 25% - told a recent pollster that they believe this year, 2007, would bring the second coming of Christ. I have a hunch these are the same people, because if you think you are going to meet Jesus before they cancel 'Ugly Betty' then you're used to doing things by faith. And if you have so much blind faith that you think this war is winnable you're nuts and shouldn't be allowed near a voting booth.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
yesterday while I was on a photo gig I met barb - another transplant to cleveland. barb has lived here seven years, this summer will mark my tenth year. unlike me, who came to cleveland after living for years in new england and being a self-identified 'easterner,' barb is pure southern charm. prior to moving to cleveland barb and her husband lived and raised their family in the south - arkansas, louisana, mississippi, and kentucky.
despite our different paths to cleveland, barb and I discovered a mutual love for cleveland and all it offers. barb shared a story about how a few years ago she was on a plane, the man sitting next to her asked her where she's from. she answered "cleveland" his response was "oh, I'm sorry." barb said her immediate response was to launch into this guy and ask him when was the last time he was in cleveland! she let him know that cleveland is a great place and maybe he should visit cleveland and learn that for himself!
before barb moved to cleveland she admitted that she shared her fellow passenger's attitude and actually swore to her husband that she would "never" live in cleveland! well she moved here, in addition to learning never to say never, in short time she discovered that she loved cleveland. she and her husband will soon be retiring and moving back down south in order to be near their kids and grandkids. but it's with a heavy heart that she will be leaving. although she said she won't miss the cleveland winters she will miss the friendliness of the people here and the ease and comfort of everyday life.
I hope that this cleveland + campaign is effective - the region has so much to offer. however, until folks experience things for themselves, they will often hold on to biases and prejudices. at one time cleveland was known as the 'mistake on the lake' but it's been a long time since its lived up to that reputation. cleveland + is re-inventing itself - we are moving away from the rust of its industrial- manufacturing past and toward a bright high-tech, cultural inventive and intensely green future!