Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters

I'm filling in for Gwendolyn Holden Barry this Saturday on Here Be Monsters.  Once again, Woody Konopeli has agreeed to help me out since I can't talk to myself for a whole hour, and he can talk longer than that as long as someone is there to say, "uh huh." Just follow the link:   http://www.blogtalkradio.com/here-be-monsters/2011/10/29/here-be-monsters--occupy-usa-wall-st-solidarity

As grateful as I am to Woody - and I am particularly grateful since the first time I attempted to host Here Be Monsters my dang internet and land line were so fucked up that the only thing I could manage was playing some songs Gwen had downloaded while Woody was stood by in Albuquerque wondering WTF was going on - I am even more grateful that The Punk Patriot has landed in my living room for the weekend.  He's in town shooting film for Dennis Trainor Jr's documentary project on Occupy! and Oct2011.  Dennis is out in Oakland at the moment.  Here's his latest:



I'm not sure what Punk is up to tomorrow since I left for work this morning before he was up.  He's bunking in Velvet's room.  Yesterday when he came up to school to get the keys,  the mother of one of my young students asked me if he was my son.   Prior to that moment, I was indulging in a little crush on Punk. I'm pretty sure I've had a bit of a crush ever since I started watching his videos a couple of years ago.

Here's an oldie but goodie



Given that Velvet has had that very same manifestation of facial hair, it's no wonder that I'm developing a distinctly maternal affection for Punk. I may have to temporarily adopt him - at least for the duration of the project. There's talk of an Operation Detour where the Occupations in the North would migrate South for the winter, then in the spring, they'd all come back to New York and Washington DC. There's also talk of something resembling a Constitutional Congress where two delegates would be elected from congressional districts - one male and one female - and meet up in Philly on the 4th of July in preparation for the coming Republican and Democratic National Conventions (Roundtree7.com Oct 17, 2011).

For now, though, who knows what will happen?  I fear that the violent response from the cops will escalate since the military moved heavy equipment, retrofitted for use with "non-lethal" weapons, to stations near major metropolitan areas last summer just in case there was civil unrest about the economy (WWH News 08.07.2011).   And lately, the NYPD has boasted that they have the ability to take down a fighter plane.  The way those jerks like to play with their toys, this can't be good news for the Occupation.

I remain jazzed, however.  Wednesday night, Punk was at the march on Police Plaza in solidarity with Occupy Oakland.  Some marchers went over to City Hall, and it turned out that most of the cops were chasing other marchers so there weren't that many at City Hall.  The cops decided to hurl kettling nets on the demonstrators, but the kids somehow got a hold of the nets and ran around the street hollering, "Whose Nets? OUR nets!"  Eventually they kettled the paddy wagon, and went on back to Zuccotti Park.

Sadly, Punk just heard about that activity since he was off with another group.  I hope I get a chance to talk with him before the blogtalk radio show at 1:00 tomorrow so I'll have more news from the front lines.  It sounds pretty cool until you remember that the Occupiers are all at risk.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Choir Practice

From the Church of Earthalujah, Reverend Billy Talen and The Stop Shopping Choir.



Everybody knows I love Rev Billy. I love most everything about Occupy Wall Street, too.  I became troubled, though, after I recently joined a Facebook group called Parents for Occupy Wall Street.

First, let me say that the people in the group seem well-intentioned, earnest, dedicated and willing to work hard. They organized a sleep over in the park for their kids, who were mostly between the ages of two and ten years-old or so. By all accounts, the event was well attended and well received. The Sanitation and Town Planning groups at OWS worked overtime to prepare a kid zone, and those efforts left the park more organized for everyone.   There was face painting and a local "celebrity" children's musician gave a little concert.  All good - if you have young children.

Reading about the final preparation for this event in the Facebook group, in addition to discussion threads on other topics, it sounded as if these parents, like many parents of young children, were so involved in their own experience of parenting very young children that they had apparently forgotten that those of us with older kids still count as parents. Like they hadn't realized that a ton of parents are supporting Occupy Wall Street when they're paying the cell phone bills for all the Twenty-somethings occupying cities across the nation. Let's not forget the "Parent Plus" student loans many folks are paying back while their kids are unemployed. Seems to me that the parents of those young women who got maced by Officer Bologna are surely supporting Occupy Wall Street.

I wrote a private message expressing my concern to the woman who has been managing the Facebook group because I thought she should know why I felt excluded from Parents for Occupy Wall Street even though I've spent 25 years in Early Childhood Education. I was compelled to use all the letters behind my name, as well as my blogging creds with Roundtree7 and Worldwide Hippies.  But my feelings were hurt.

I did not mention that there are plenty of reasons to work for peace, economic justice and sustainability whether a person has kids or not.

This thing with the Parents illustrates a larger issue regarding Special Interest groups within the movement.  Certainly parents of young children are a subset with specialized concerns - just like people who are African American, or LGBT, or who have Aspergers or Dyslexia, or who are faced with immigration issues. Whatever - we all have our individual voices, and those voices all surely belong in the choir of the 99%.

Sometimes, the tenor may sing a solo, for example, but then the voices blend again. It's the same with an orchestra when the violins are featured for a few measures, for example. Even though our voices sound different, it's the spirit inside us that moves us to sing.

We all share that same spirit. When we isolate ourselves into special, separate interest groups, we run the risk of becoming disconnected from the common, human spirit that unites us all. Especially when people are so attached to their individual identities that a divisive element is introduced - as is often the case with Religious Extremists of all varieties.

Nobel Laureate Tawakkul Karman, an activist from Yemen, spoke eloquently and passionately with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about the drive toward Democracy in her country (http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2011/10/21/exclusive_nobel_laureate_tawakkul_karman_on).  She was in town talking talking to the UN and specifically asked for the people of the Untied States to back up her people in this struggle.


From where I sit, she looks like one of the 99% too.  Yes, her voice is strong and she represents a whole lot of people working to assert their human rights.  Maybe that looks different in their neighborhood than it does in mine. But when Tawakkul speaks, you can feel the human spirit soaring from her.  We all deserve peace, economic justice and sustainability, and no group is more deserving than another.

One of the Parents for Occupy Wall Street suggested that they become a working group as part of the General Assembly.  I suppose that's the appropriate protocol for any special interest group who wants a voice in the GA.  I'm still learning about the evolving, horizontal decision-making process at OWS, but I have faith that the community will find the right path.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quickie

I had to share this clip Woody Konopelli had up on his Facebook wall from Cult of Dusty



There's a post of mine up over at Roundtree7.com called In Defense of Barbie. I have been pondering the relationship between Barbie, cognitive capabilities and masturbation for a while, but thought I'd put it all in the blender and give it a whirl for the Menopausal Stoners Guide to Parenting.

One of these days, I may actually write that book.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This is What Democracy Looks Like

Since there's little chance that the man who took me out for drinks Saturday will ever find the blog, I feel I can safely say that he reminded me of a garden gnome.  I went out with him in the first place because I was impressed when he told me on the phone that back in the early 1980's, Townes Van Zandt convinced him to move to Austin years ago to try his hand in the music business.  He lived in Stevie Ray Vaughn's old apartment while he played his guitar around town with lots of bands I recognized.  He's picked up his guitar again now that he's an old poop.  I can dig it.

He left Austin after a year, returning to the East Village to pursue painting or something like that.  He wound up going into digital design and dot com stuff, and made a comfortable living.  Some years ago, he and the woman from whom he is not fully divorced bought their dream house in Nyack.  Hudson view, jacuzzi, deck - he's stuck with it because it's a bad time to sell that sort of property.

If you have to be stuck in the suburbs, Nyack is a reasonable commute, but it's still the suburbs and the man himself is short and stout. Like a Lawn Gnome or a Smurf.  He didn't have a full beard, though.  He had a skinny soul patch which I guess makes him JazzMan Smurf or something.

He asked me to suggest a place to meet, and all I could think of was the bar at  Fish Tag.  I like it because of the white pinot noir and smoked salmon pastrami.   Nevertheless, I wasn't going all Smurfette on a man who was not fully divorced and said he was looking for the love of his life before I had even got settled at the bar.  He made me nervous.  And besides, he really did look like a Lawn Gnome  A horny Lawn Gnome.  I guess that's what makes him JazzMan Smurf.   Naturally, I ran up a bar tab, but when I reached for my wallet, he waved it off very nicely.   As a rule, I prefer men who pay my bar tabs over those that don't so I did give him a perfunctory kiss when he dropped me off at my apartment.

It never occurred to me to ask him up for a night cap.

He wrote me the next night, saying I was attractive and fun, but he was not convinced there would be a romantic connection.  I wrote back to say he was right to be unconvinced since I was in no way interested in having sex with him at this time.  However, I did not hate him and I was willing to let him touch me.  In my book, that's major progress.

In the morning, I received a note from him via MatchMail saying that he'd had epiphany after two therapy sessions.  The love of his life was his guitar and he was committed to pursuing his passion.  He'd be willing to try again with me if I wanted.  I said: Thanks but No Thanks.   I was not getting mixed up with JazzMan Smurf's mid-life crisis in Nyack.  Honestly, I"m glad he likes to play his guitar and for all I know he's as wonderful as he says he is.  Some suburban matron will be glad to sit in a bar and watch him play.

Me?  I'll be down in the drum circle on Wall Street.  I was there Monday afternoon.  I didn't find Malcolm but I found Jesse LaGreca surrounded by young men in their late teens and early twenties. He was giving them on the spot media training for dealing with malicious reporters who try to trick you into looking stupid for their own purposes.  He was gathering a little posse in case they needed to record and/or shout down the reporter Geraldo Style, like the Occupiers did the other day.



I hung out with Jesse for a while, talking to bloggers similar to myself who wanted information about him.  I happened to know how to spell his name and his twitter address, and fell into the role of Personal Assistant with my handy note pad and pen.

Jesse listening closely to a woman's question.
The fellow on the right is a Senate Intern listening closely to Jesse.

Sadly, he didn't remember Malcom at all.  But I'm sure he'll remember the conversation we had about his own self being single.  He's a nice boy.  I noticed some other attractive men in my demographic hanging around on Monday, and I've got a feeling that the Men of the Occupation are not Patriarchal Dickwads.  I'm under the impression that the Lawn Gnome from Nyack and the Yoga Master are both Patriarchal Dickwads.

After I said Good-Bye to Jesse, I stood at the periphery of a group around Amy Goodman and Democracy Now.  Amy Goodman's boots were fabulous.   Then I went down to the drum circle for about an hour.   I haven't been able to get to sleep ever since because I've been too excited.  I was dancing with a couple of young, black men.  Everybody chanted together:
SHOW ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE
I like the way the rhythm gets the energy of the Occupation flowing in my veins.  It's very stimulating.  I've been waking up with the chant in my head, and can't wait to get back down there on Friday again.  It's supposed to rain, and I'm thinking about bringing a bunch of jingle bells.  That way I can hold my umbrella and still play along.

There are so many beautiful things happening at Occupy Wall Street that I don't even know how to list them for the Explore Beauty Challenge.  While I'm pondering that, I'll declare The People's Library to be #34-101.

The People's Library
Many of the books were donated by authors who came to speak or give a class to the Occupation.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chasing Malcolm

I'm off to Occupy Wall Street in a little while.  After physical therapy.  I'm pretty sure this appointment will be my last at this location.  The therapist is perfectly fine, but I believe my situation has moved beyond his skill, and since my benefits ran out and I'm paying for this treatment out of my own pocket -
I believe my treatment needs to include more massage.

There's a guy down at OWS named Malcolm.  He's my age and attractive.  I'm not sure if he's single or not. I met him the other day after I noticed this guy in the computer station and went over to say hello.  He's a blogger named Jesse LeGreca (@jesselagreca). He went to kiss me hello and if I'm remembering correctly, the kiss landed on my neck. Apparently he's getting a lot of attention lately,  but I'm looking for Malcolm.



Now that I'm officially Chasing Malcolm, it's come to my attention that Malcolm has already taken on such symbolic significance that it really doesn't matter if I meet the man again in real life or not. I'm not sure exactly what I'm chasing right now, but I've been chasing it my whole life. Could be Malcolm has the key.

Could be that I've found my tribe and it's down in Liberty Park - although I hear the occupation has spread to Washington Square Park, which I have to say is infinitely cooler. I'll stick with Liberty, though, because it's a straight shot down the Westside on the 1 train. I don't like going down to Chambers street much on account of the World Trade Center, and all the damage that has been done on account of that bullshit. Like the War and the erosion of our civil liberties in the name of Homeland Security.

In honor of Columbus Day

Liberty Park, known as Zuccoti Park on Google Maps, is in the shadow of the construction site down there at the pile. I don't know who was behind the WTC situation, but whether it was an inside job, Al Queda or Mossad - I can see why somebody wanted to fly a plane into those banskster motherfuckers. I personally don't see a hell of a lot of difference between flying a plane into the World Trade Center and drones hitting neighborhoods in Pakistan while Obama is aiming at one cleric, but I digress. What do I know? Obama is the one with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Anyway, it's easier for me to get to Liberty Park than Washington Square Park even though Washington Square is a nicer park. The main thing is that I've gotten my ass out of the bar at Bergdorf's.

I'm thinking that if Chasing Malcolm has to do with finding my tribe, then this whole fiesta must be related to first chakra stuff and Kundalini rising.

Speaking of Kundalini, the Yoga Master turned into a great big Zero.  He asked me out to dinner last Saturday and said he would call to tell me where to meet him.  Our date was set for after 9:00. When he hadn't called by 9:30, or texted to say he was tied up, I was pissed.  When he called at 9:45 on Sunday morning to ask me out again, I figured I had enough insight into why his wife wanted a divorce.  I had a date with a different fellow from Match this weekend.  He paid the bar tab, and I didn't hate him.  I'm not sure he likes me, though. I hung on his every word just like I was supposed to, I told him he was wrong to confuse the Way of the World with Human Nature.

Which brings me back to Malcolm.

Aside from being a straight man in my demographic - we still have to see if he's single, half-way sober and somewhat employed - the thing about Malcolm is that he's fully involved in The Revolution.   I want to be fully involved also.  I'll be calling in this afternoon at 4:00 to Gwendolyn Holden Barry's blogtalk show, Here Be Monsters.  Gwendolyn has been working non-stop to share the good news from Wall Street and Washington ever since the occupation began on September 17.  I like calling in because it's a simple way to stay connected with a lively group of progressive bloggers who are scattered across the country in real life. I'm going to do the show myself on Wednesday - maybe with the help of Woody Konopelli since he's perfectly capable of talking to himself for an hour and I am not.

Maybe I'll find Malcolm.  Maybe not - but either way it's great to be in the middle of that energy.  And for the record, the New York Times' interest and focus on public toilets in the area is Bull Shit.  Lee Camp addresses that issue in his latest Moment of Clarity.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We Hold These Truths to be Self Evident


The Mainstream Media continues to say that the Occupation has no clear message.  As the propaganda arm of this Fascist Corporate government, the media is part of the problem.  
Last night on Countdown, Michael Moore told Keith Olbermann that the people saying there is no clear message are just like the people who first saw The Beatles and said that music was noise.  During the Vietnam War demonstration, activists were dismissed as Dirty Hippies by the same people who are dismissing the activists now.  They even still say Love it or Leave it.  When I was on the way to Wall Street myself, thinking about all the arrests by White Shirts spraying mace in the faces of our children, a song popped into my head.

Just sing: Won't you please come down to Wall Street . . .



The New York General Assembly has released the following statement.  A link to the General Assembly is in the first line of a document I lifted from their website.  To find out about how you can participate in your own town, or from your own living room, go to http://www.occupytogether.org/

This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on September 29, 2011, with slight adjustments in wording on October 1, 2011:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet: Friday 9/30

By now, everyone should know about the 700 demonstrators who were arrested yesterday on the Brooklyn Bridge in an entrapment situation by a police force that reportedly received 4.6 million dollars from JPMorgan as a donation to offset overtime costs associated with Occupy Wall Street (Daily Kos)  Transparent Fascism: coming soon to a town near you.  I have to say, though, that as inspiring as I find the occupation, I'm glad I wasn't on the Brooklyn Bridge for that bullshit.

I'll go downtown again one day next week with another donation for the food table and the comfort station.  Anyone who would like to contribute from anywhere in our great, if fucked up, land can follow this link to the New York City General Assembly:  http://nycga.cc/donate/

The Occupation can receive packages at the local UPS store:
UPS Store 118A
Fulton st #205
New York, NY, 10038


There is nowhere to cook down there, so they need non-perishable food items like trail mix and dried fruit. They also need arnica, melatonin and homeopathic remedies since the medical station can't distribute Advil or other over-the-counter medications. They need trash bags and ponchos, for sure, but anyone who wants to simply donate cash so the occupiers can get what they need at any given moment can also do that at the General Assembly page.

I still haven't quite figured out how to deal with photos with my new set up, but I'm working on it.  Meanwhile, here are some I took last week down on in Liberty Park:


The sign display - and of course they reuse the signs over and over again when they're marching

Cute Kid


But it's not just kids.  This grandpa wants everyone to know it takes all kinds of folks to make 99%.  There was even a lady in a wheel chair.  The guy sitting under the blue umbrella is working at the information desk.  


Regarding the Media:
Who knows where this guy is from?  Not the Mainstream Media, that's for sure.

Citizen Journalist

CNN van.  They're jacking off in there . . .

Here are some people getting ready to march to One Police Plaza.  Note the old guy.  Honestly, there are old folks all over the place.  


No one was arrested that day.  The cops must have been plotting to corral the marchers on the Brooklyn Bridge less than 24 hours later.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Rumor Running Around

I'm over at Roundtree7 today talking about The 99%, Apartheid and these overfed motherfuckers.
A Rumor Running Around



Miriam Mekeba too

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