Friday, April 29, 2011

In Search of Scientists

I miss my baby.
Two weeks from this very moment, he'll be sleeping in his own bed.  I'm betting Cupcake will be with him which is cool.  The truth is that even though I believe it would not be in either his or Cupcake's best interests to be married with a baby right now, I would kind of like it.  I'm not going to think about it much, however, because the last thing we need right now is for the Laws of Attraction to start working in that direction.

Much better for the Laws of Attraction to attract me a scientist or something.  I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons I'm all into the Activist beat for Worldwide Hippies is that I'm convinced there's a man out there somewhere who is strong enough for me.  Someone I can respect and admire and who makes me want to cook.

As much as I respect and admire Velvet - or Buster or Bill or whatever his name is now that he's not a baby anymore - and as much as I enjoy cooking for him and making a home and all of that cozy stuff - he is no substitute for a real man in my life.

About this time last year, that preacher came out of the mountains to meet me.  It would have been nice if all that had worked out because I still respect and admire his willingness to take a chance.  Since then, there have been two silly incidents on the internet with men - that college professor who fancied that he was a novelist, and the fortune hunter who turned out to be an aggressive lunatic.  It's good to have men on the periphery because you get an attention hit from having someone find you attractive, but they don't interfere much with your life even when it becomes clear that there is no reason to pursue a relationship.  I suppose we have to count that cute little socialist I picked up at Drinking Liberally, but I'm sorry to say that when I consider the men who have passed through my life recently, I often forget about him.  In any case, it's been a peaceful time.  No emotional roller coaster, at least not from that direction.  The turbulence has come from the process of selling the apartment.

These days the emotional roller coaster has become more like a merry-go-round anyway.  I was talking to Woody the other night and realized that it's more like riding on an event horizon that spins around the vortex of my mind.  Of course we were high.  I like getting high with Woody and talking about metaliguistics and language acquisition, curriculum theory, epistemology and phenomenology and other stuff like that.  I figure that any man who gets pulled into the Triciasphere won't have to talk to me too much since I'm always talking to Woody.  Or else he better be able to talk about phenomenology and shit.  Physics too since I still don't understand the relationship between physics, quantum physics and Reality.

One thing I learned from that preacher is that God has nothing to do with anything - so I'm sticking with Scientists from now on.  Sadly, the only scientists I'll be seeing any time soon are the doctors who will be solving the mystery of my shoulder.  I see another one on Monday.  So far one doctor thinks I've been walking around with a slightly dislocated shoulder for some months which makes sense to me, even though I don't like the idea of having surgery to put it back where it belongs.  Apparently when you walk around like that for months, your muscles compensate to the point where your shoulder can no longer be relocated manually.  He sent me to the doctor who did the original shoulder surgery back in 2007, since a dislocated shoulder would indicate surgical failure.  That arrogant, dismissive fellow said I had arthritis.  Now, I much prefer the idea of arthritis to surgery - but I'm not going back to that man any more.  It's a long, annoying story - but the good news is that I know enough about narcissists these days to walk out the door when I see one.

Which is probably why I haven't gotten in touch with that man who won't talk to me - even though I'm missing him too.  He was great in many ways - especially if you're looking for someone to have fun with when you're broke in New York.  Now that Buzz Kill  and I have signed the papers so that the apartment is officially sold, I'll be broke and on my own in New York City.

Not as broke as all that, but I still have to watch my pennies, nickles and dimes.  There are plenty of apartments in Harlem and Washington Heights that I can afford, that are big enough for me and Velvet - even with Cupcake sleeping over.  Some have washers and dryers in the unit itself so I won't have to be nice to my neighbors when I'm doing the laundry.  We may be having peanut butter toast for dinner, but it will be home for a little while - until I decide where I want to buy a place.  If I want to buy a place.  Either way, we'll still be having peanut butter toast for dinner.

I'm grateful to have had all this time with no relationship because it was really important to me to decide where I want to spend the next few years of my life without any input from a man.  Naturally, Velvet is a consideration and a factor - but he's the only person I wanted to be a consideration and a factor.  My parents are a consideration and a factor, too, but they are healthy enough to manage quite nicely without me for a number of years.  I'm grateful for that too.  Now that I've made my choice, I'd be glad to meet a man especially since all that interacting with Buzz Kill back in January and February led to me being able to finally shout down a bulldozer (Stonerdate 02.05.2011).

The other good news is that after all these years, I've finally learned to communicate with grown-ups.  It's always been easy for me to talk with little kids because there is never any bullshit involved.  With kids, you have to be Real or they fuck with you relentlessly.  I guess it's the same with grow-ups.  I just thought that if you told them what they wanted to hear, they'd be friendly or leave you alone.  That's never what happens.  Now that I've learned to say what I have to say to grown-ups without yelling or crying, it's much easier.

I'll call that Thing of Beauty #010-101.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Inch by Inch, Motherfuckers

Here's Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff. I'm on just after 4:20 talking about Peaceful Uprising and Power Shift 2011. I sound kind of goofy because I talk funny in the first place and apparently when I'm slowing myself down, I talk even funnier. But, it's coming along.

Joe is pretty bent about Charles Schumer and the Drones in Syracuse.

I'm still contemplating my name especially now that we have this latest manifestation of self on Worldwide Hippies. I feel like it's okay for my name to be P.E.Nolan but everybody calls me "Trish." I haven't gotten specific yet, but it's kind of like packaging yourself for internet consumption.  You have to consider your google search results.  That may be the sort of thing they talk about at Netroots Nation.  I had a passing fantasy that I went to Netroots Nation, but in real life that should be about the time I'm moving.  Fortunately Punk Patriot is going, and he'll be sending back reports.

Once I get settled into my new home - which will be in New York City somewhere, but I haven't gotten specific about that either.

PeacefulUprising is going to Appalachia to address Mountaintop Removal.  One of the women who was arrested for disrupting Congress that I mentioned in News & Stuff is working with Friends of Blair Mountain.  There's an event in June during the anniversary of a battle fought between Workers and Owners in 1921

The story on their website begins:
Blair Mountain in Logan County, West Virginia, was the site of the largest open class war in U.S. history. In 1921, after a generation of violent suppression and exploitation of the people in the southern coalfields of WV, 15,000 coal miners rebelled in an attempt to overthrow the control of coal barons.
If you're going to be in that part of the country June 5 - 11, you can find out about the activities at the Facebook page (March on Blair Mountain).

I can't go to this event either because school won't be out, and I'm still having to move - and there's the mystery of my shoulder to consider.  That's how it is when you're a Mom.  I'm proud to be an Activist Mom, though.  We may have obligations and ailments, but we can be very supportive nevertheless.  I always remember that Florence Reece was "just a mom" when she wrote Which Side Are You On?

We don't sing that song with the kids at school, but we sing Inch by Inch

When I heard all those Teabaggers saying liberal schools and teachers indoctrinate the children with socialism, I thought, "That's right. Inch by Inch, Motherfuckers."

I'm excited to have met, via internet, these brave and enthusiastic activists.  I'm betting there were plenty of supportive parents and dedicated teachers in their lives when they were growing up.  Keeping up with what these kids are doing also helps me feel closer to Buster (nee Velvet).  He called in from Utah, and we talked for about ten minutes or so.  He was talking fast because he had a lot of ideas in his head.  One night while they were hiking in the Anasazi territory in a canyon in Utah, the instructor read a passage to the group from a book by Edward Abbey called Desert Solitare: A Season in the Wilderness.  Buster was so captivated that he has read the whole book.

Now, I call that a thing of beauty.  Thing of Beauty #08-101
My kid reads a book all on his own AND
#09-101:  Meeting inspiring people via the internet.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Minute

I'm working on my piece for Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff.  Making little videos is harder than it looks, but I think I've finally learned how long two minutes is.

I am consciously refraining from making any comments regarding what I learned about Two Minutes from Buzz Kill since it would be a cheap shot on Easter morning, but the fact is that from being with Buzz Kill, I got the idea that two minutes can seem like an eternity.  Sometimes when you're trying to keep a bunch of little kids pacified for two minutes while some grown ups figure out their own shit, two minutes can seem like an eternity too.

Poor Joe, the hardest working man in Hippiedom, has had to edit my comments down to two minutes these last two weeks which has been tricky since I keep going off on Dick Cheney.  But really, that Damn Dick Cheney and his evil corporate arm Haliburton have been behind so much bullshit in this country that you can't bring up an issue without finding his fingerprints all over it.  Ronald Reagan's too, once you start looking.  I expect it all goes back to the Koch Brothers and the John Birch Society - or Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.  There have been many prominent players in the decline of the American Empire, but I still think Dick Cheney is among the worst because you get the Oil & Gas industry AND military contractors in one pudgy package.

Anyway, Joe thinks I should do a special report on Dick Cheney one of these days - probably because he can already see that I'll turn into Yosemite Sam once I get going.  For the moment, though, I have to focus on this morning's task which is the video for a report on Peaceful Uprising and their activities last week in Washington DC at Power Shift 2011.

When I'm doing work for Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff, I actually check facts, do research and yesterday I even made phone calls to the organization to discover what's happening next.  Here at Menopausal Stoners, I've occasionally verified facts when it seemed absolutely necessary but for the most part, I've never talked about anything that wasn't already common knowledge.  I would have to look up something like Dick Cheney's birthday, for example, but really - who the fuck cares about his birthday? I'm more interested in the date of his funeral.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Jesus and The Mommy Track

Spring is unfolding differently this year than in the past, for me anyway.  I'm happy to say that I got to experience two spring times due to visiting Texas for bluebonnet season, and now the trees are finally starting to bloom here in the city.  Something inside me feels distinctly different.  A shift in the personal paradigm, perhaps, that goes along with maturity.

There's no escaping the fact that I've matured.  I can see it in the creases around my mouth.

It's come to my attention that I've reached the end of the Mommy Track.  Years ago, when Velvet was little - I have to stop here because in truth, the boy just doesn't seem like Velvet anymore.  He seems like Buster again.  I wrote a children's book once as an assignment for grad school at Bank Street about my son and his invisible friend, and in that book I called him Buster.  They're calling him "Bill" out there in the Wilderness because his first name in real life is William.  Buzz Kill's father's name was William, and it was clear to me a few weeks before the baby was born, Vagina Dentata and Buzz Kill wished the baby's name could be William.  So his first name is William.  I have never once called the child William, but Buzz Kill often does.  It was never an issue until he went up to Tree Hugger because Buzz Kill made a big deal about using William on all the correspondence.

The thing is that Buzz Kill goes by his middle name, and so does my dad and so does my sister.  My brother also used his middle name until he went to court when he was 12 and changed his name to Smiley.  True Story.  Although there are times when a form requires you to fill in the blanks a certain way, mostly all you have to do is put the initial as the first name and spell out the middle name and everyone figures it out.  Whatever.  I'm chalking the whole thing up to general adolescent identity confusion for Velvet since he clearly didn't know his ass from his elbow once he got to college. He'll figure it out sooner or later.

I'm having to sort out my own name issues at that moment.  Right after the divorce, I sent papers to the Social Security Administration so I could go back to using my maiden name.  They sent a letter asking for one more piece of documentation which I never got around to providing.  That was nearly five years ago.  The last name has been problematic this school year because the HR office at work can't handle the concept of paperwork and paychecks going out to a name that doesn't match the social security card, so all this stuff has been in my married name again.  It's a drag because I've been going to doctors on account of my shoulder, and they're all calling me Mrs. Buzz Kill.

We should be signing the contract selling the apartment this week, and I don't mind being Mrs. Buzz Kill on that bit of paper - but honestly, I'm fucking done being Mrs. Buzz Kill.  I still need to be PENolan for internet purposes for personal and professional reasons, but I'm thinking that I'll trot over to the Social Security office on Monday and get my own name back once and for all.  The Drivers License too.

But I was talking about The Mommy Track, which following the stream of consciousness we've just experienced, is clearly linked to my Identity.   When I decided that I felt like getting pregnant, which was right after I decided that I would rather have a baby than get divorced - I quit my full time job in public relations and went to work in the Afterschool program at the local YMCA.  With the exception of the job at Firestarter Academy, I haven't worked full time since because I wanted to be home with my own dang kid.  I'll save the whole rationale for that decision for The Menopausal Stoners Guide to Parenting - which I am committed to writing this year - but the point is that now that the kid is twenty years old, my days on the Mommy Track are at an end.  Coincidentally, my contract with Buzz Kill is also at an end since we're selling the marital residence and dividing the marital assets once and for all.  My alimony runs out in August, and the child support runs out when the child turns 21.  The End.

The last thing I want at this juncture is a bunch of doctors calling me Mrs. Buzz Kill - especially if I wind up having to have surgery on this shoulder again.  I don't want mail coming to Tricia BuzzKill either, which brings us back to the HR office because of my retirement account and stuff.  Mrs Buzz Kill can be packed away forever with miscellaneous documents, and I'll be free to grow again as my own self.

I guess that means that this Easter weekend, me and Jesus are resurrected
Alleluia  - bring on the chocolate bunnies
Here's "My Sweet Lord" by Cosimo Cavallaro, too, just because I love the Chocolate Jesus.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thing of Beauty Number 07-101

I'm back to letting the mystery be again.
It's all part of allowing things to unfold in their own time.
I still think it's important to Witness - like the folks around the Gulf of Mexico will be witnessing this week on the anniversary of the Deepwater Disaster.

Every now and then, we get an accurate glimpse at of just exactly how fucked up things are in America - or any place else in the world, for that matter.   All you have to do is look at the hateful comments left on websites and facebook to see that not only is the general situation fucked up but the hateful people are multiplying.

It must have been much the same back when Copernicus was trying to tell people that the Earth was not the center of the universe.  Or during the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition or during the McCarthy era or World War II or the slave trade. There are plenty of examples of Fucked Up eras in Human History.

Today, I have once again reached the conclusion that we're witnessing the fall of the American empire, and it's a good thing. Collectively, we suck. There are many, many beautiful individuals, but collectively, we suck.

I'm working on Fracking today for Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff. It provides yet another example of Dominionist Bullshit perpetrated by conservatives who believe that when God said men has Dominion over the planet, God meant rich white guys owned everyone and everything except other rich white guys.

I maintain that the troubles we have today are a direct result of the troubles caused during the Constitutional Convention by those dicks who wouldn't sign unless Slavery was protected. John Boehner and them are the political descendants of the Slave Owners.

Again, though, slave trader John Newton eventually had a change of heart great enough to write Amazing Grace which shows that individuals will change even when institutions will not. And when individuals change, everything around them changes little by little. It just takes ten thousand years.

 Amazing Grace to the tune of Gilligan's Island
Thing of Beauty Number 07-101

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pondering Barack, Part 3

Political campaigns are not unlike dating.

Since all genders run for office and all genders vote, we could say that all politicians are, metaphorically, bisexual sluts since they don't care who votes for them as long as they get the votes, no disrespect to bisexual sluts.  The similarity between campaigning and dating is that the candidate will often say whatever s/he needs to say to get elected in much the same way as some joker in a bar will say whatever he thinks will work to get laid.  When somebody wants your vote so that s/he can be elected to serve for four years, there's more at stake than simply getting laid.  It's more like there's a ring involved.  S/he wants a commitment, and once the commitment is made - you're stuck with each other for four years.

It's very rare that a politician will be as transparent during a campaign as the character in this video because voters want to be seduced.  Plenty of people in bars don't mind skipping the small talk.

Maybe bar flies want to be seduced, too, but again - there's a difference between a random hook-up and a Committed Relationship.

Further, there is a big difference between someone who has been polished by Madison Avenue and a random bar fly. When you're voting for somebody you mostly know through campaign advertisements and scripted speeches at arranged events, you're buying an image just like you are when you into a convenience store and choose Coke or Pepsi.  Just like there are differences between Coke and Pepsi just like there are differences between Democrats and Republicans, but they are minor. It's all carbonated chemicals in a can with a logo.

In the land of advertisements, it doesn't matter whether a person is buying a beverage, a political candidate or sporting goods.  The image is key.   When the stakes are high, corporations choose spokespeople whose accomplishments have already established an image which the company then packages to enhance the image of their product in the eyes of the public.

In presidential campaigns, the stakes are high, images are carefully groomed, and the point is still to get people to buy something - namely the candidate.

Now, I don't know what Tiger Woods said to Elin Nordegren to get her to marry him.  Maybe she was foaming at the mouth to marry him - what do I know?  But I do know that once you get married, you're expected to give up dating in general, and you're especially not supposed to be jumping into bed with porn stars even when there's an iron clad pre-nup.  When you start jumping into bed with cocktail waitresses after you're married, your spouse will feel betrayed - just like Americans who were committed to Barack Obama felt betrayed when he moved his banker buddies into the White House.

Geithner and Summers

The Health Care bill, while certainly an improvement, didn't go nearly as far as Barack himself had promised - and we see today what's happening with the budget bullshit.  I fully acknowledge that there's only so much Barack Obama can do about Congress, it's just that during this whole process, his own corporate sponsors have been revealed.  We haven't even needed Toto to pull back the curtain to expose a fumbling, little man. He has been there all along in plain sight despite the progressive language.

It's much easier to understand Barack Obama now that I've realized he's not a bit like Martin Luther King - except the he was a black man giving a big speech on the mall in DC in January.  You expect great things from a man like Martin Luther King.  From Tiger Woods, you expect a good golf game and that's about it since he's a golfer who became a corporate spokesperson.  Barack Obama may have been a great senator before he became a fully sponsored corporate spokesperson.  He has certainly demonstrated that he has mastered congressional procedures.  Even still he's just Barack Obama, a corporate spokesperson like Tiger Woods who found himself compromised.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pondering Barack (a work in progress) Pt 2

I suspect a lot of folks confused Barack Obama with Martin Luther King, Jr.  There were times when Barack himself encouraged that perception especially at his inauguration.  At the time, ABC News reported:
To mark Martin Luther King Day, Obama released a statement linking King's "I Have a Dream" speech on the Washington Mall 45 years ago and his own ascension to the nation's top job, saying, "Tomorrow, we will come together as one people on the same mall where Dr. King's dream echoes still" (Jan 19, 2009).
We often hear the reminder that Barack never made any secret of his goal to shift the war to Afghanistan because of Pakistan.  I remember him talking about that when he was debating McCain.  And everybody knew Barack got boucoup campaign bucks from banksters.  Once he got elected, though, jubilation at the thought of seeing Bush and Cheney depart was so great that caution and healthy cynicism about politicians in general gave way to pervasive buoyancy.  Democrats love to think, "Happy Days are Here Again," and I am no exception.

Then that plane landed in the Hudson, and filled American hearts with the idea that the nation as a whole could be saved from disaster.  I myself was so optimistic about America at the time that I was inspired to link to a petition demanding George Bush and Dick Cheney be tried as War Criminals (Flight 1549 provides a Metaphor for America, Stonerdate 01.16.09).  I hadn't forgotten about Henry Kissinger, but sometimes a girl just wants to believe dreams can come true.

I still think dreams can come true for individuals.  Actually, I believe it for the whole world, too - I just think it's going to take generations and generations.  On Barack's inauguration day, however, the stage was set to encourage hopes and dreams, particularly Martin Luther King, Jr's dream since, as it happened (and I say that with all the emphasis Bokonon himself intended) it was Martin Luther King Day, and the mall in Washington DC was filled with a diverse crowd, tearfully cheering America's first African-American president as the embodiment of MLK's dream.

When Pete Seeger was singing "This Land is Your Land," in that goofy hat at Barack Obama's inauguration, I thought for one brief shining moment that We the People had elected a man of the people who would speak for us.

Then Barack appointed all his Goldman-Sachs buddies to manage our nation's economy.  Some people started howling that very moment, but I didn't really know who those guys were anyway.  I vaguely remembered them from Bill Clinton's days and no matter what anybody says, I love Bill Clinton.

The trouble is that I hadn't been paying attention to current events for years and years because I was focused on my own troubles - particularly divorcing Buzz Kill, the Summer Boyfriend Reality Show and the ongoing pleasure that is my son, Velvet aka Buster aka Bill - the budding Rainbow Warrior.  I had enough trouble in my life without bringing Dick Cheney and George Bush into the living room on the nightly news.

My mother had already told me that Bill Clinton was Republican Light.  I just didn't realize Bill Clinton was the best Republican we'd seen in decades - and I sure didn't suspect that damn Barack Obama was the first Black Republican elected to such a prominent position.  Now, of course, I suspect that Wall Street Bankers paid for Barack's graduate school as part of a brilliant strategy to divert America's attention from their own shenanigans with a Token Negro in the White House.

Which brings me to Tiger Woods . . .

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pondering Barack (A Work in Progress)

Since watching Cornel West in this video last January - at Martin Luther King's Birthday - I've been pondering President Barack Obama.

I'm pretty sure that I made the mistake of thinking, as Dr West says so many of us did, that Barack Obama was THE fulfilment of MLK's dream as opposed to A fulfillment of that dream, although that certainly wasn't my perception from the moment Barack appeared on my radar.

During the primary season, I believed that he was a politician like any other, beholden to a system that is currently driven by rich guys for their own benefit. Maybe Rich Folks have been oppressing poor folks for 10,000 years, ever since our tribes started farming, and the sociopolitical, economic structure in America is simply another manifestation of that bullshit - I'm not worried about that right now. I'm looking at Barack Obama in the world as we know it today. And in that world, you can't get to be President without sucking up to Rich Guys. You can't hardly get to be dog catcher without sucking up to Rich Guys because campaigns depend on advertising, and advertising costs money.

Looking at Contemporary American Culture, we could easily get bogged down in a discussion of people's lamentable gullibility vis a vis advertising and propaganda which is particularly lamentable given that the mainstream media has deteriorated into propaganda for the corporate state. And we could despair over an educational system committed to undermining critical thinking capabilities among the general populace so that We The People don't make connections between the Koch Brothers, the John Birch Society and the Tea Party, for example.  We could explore the sources of a pervasive sense of isolation, alienation and apathy which leads the vast majority of Americans to ignore current events all together and leads to a dismally small number of people who actually vote.  Lots and lots of variables swirl around in the equation that is Contemporary American Culture. But here, we're only looking at Barack Obama.

Since I'm doing the looking, we're looking from the perspective of a privileged white woman in the grandma zone who has been steeped in what we'll call Progressive philosophy, for lack of a better term.  Some would call us "Too Liberal For Obama," or the Hard Left.  Whatever.  The issue at hand is the vast disappointment so many of us feel when we compare President Barack Obama with Candidate Barack Obama.  I'm thinking that a lot of that disappointment stems from confusing Barack Obama with Martin Luther King, Jr because, you know, not many black men have made speeches to enormous crowds on the mall in Washington DC.

Looking closely at the evolution of my perception of Barack Obama, I think the trouble all started about the time that airplane landed in the Hudson River a few days before Barack Obama landed himself under the statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cliff Dwellers, Gorrillas and Bidder Number 70

It's Velvet's birthday.
He's somewhere in Utah, out of contact with "The World." The last time I talked to him, he was saying that after talking to friends and family here in The World - he didn't feel like coming back to civilization at all.
I can't blame him.

He'll be back in about six weeks, though, whether he likes it or not, and I'll be glad to see him.  I'm betting Cupcake will be happy to see him too.

I've been following the story of Tim DeChristopher - the young, passionate Environmental Activist who went to jail because he impersonated a bidder at an oil and gas auction in 2008.  He went because the auction was kind of like George W's last gift to the bastards who would destroy the planet simply because they own the mineral rights.  As if God Himself gave them that right when He allegedly gave them Dominion over the Earth and all its creatures.  As he watched the last surviving areas of Utah wilderness being gobbled up by Dominionist Bastards, Tim was compelled to pick up a paddle and start bidding.  He bought a shit load of leases before the Domionists figured out what was going on.  They were so confounded that the auction was stopped so they could send Tim to jail (Bidder 70, Robert Redford, 03.03.2011).

He's touring the country now, speaking about climate change and other environmental issues until his appeal is heard.  Anyway, Velvet has been floating down a river and hiking through canyons in the very same area of the country that Tim DeChristopher successfully protected for a little while.  People say, "Think Globally, act locally."  That's what Tim did.

As it happens, the same sentiment motivated Martin Luther King, Jr during that bus boycott where legend has it, a bunch of pissed off, passionate "colored" church ladies pressed young Martin into service.  Martin was standing with sanitation workers when he was killed on April 4, 1968.

I'm pretty sure national politics are so fucked up that we should all be focusing on making changes in our own little corner of the world in the hope that little by little, those changes will be felt nationwide.  My mother says that's what those John Birching Baptists did over the last forty years or so - maybe longer.  Look where it's gotten them today.  I'll say this for the Dominionists, once they decide to take over something, they don't play around. 

Woody recommended that I read a book called Ishmael by Daniell Quinn.

The story is about a gorilla who achieves consciousness and the conversations he has with his human pupil.  Those conversations focus on Leavers and Takers - two kinds of human culture that have evolved over the past 10,000 years since agriculture was introduced.  The Leavers adhere to the laws of nature.  The Takers have bent the planet to their will so that every living thing - including other humans who don't comply - is killed off over time.  According to Ishmael, we're standing on the brink of destruction - and that was in 1990.

There is hope, however. Ishmael leaves the man with the notion that if the man can teach 100 people about The Leavers and those 100 can teach 100, then the human perspective will shift enough to save the world.Other people say the same thing all the time - they just don't use the term Leavers and Takers. Eckhart Tolle talks about ego vs enlightenment. Marianne Williamson and others talk about Love vs Fear. If I remember correctly, the Unity Church addresses Love vs Fear all the time.But people will get nervous talking about Spiritual stuff - so it's nice to have a gorilla doing the talking for people who like to intellectualize their spirituality so that it's more comfortable.

It's all the same message, ultimately, presented through different channels.  I'm pretty sure Carlos Castaneda made the same point about Hunter Warriors in all those Don Juan books.  My dad was totally into the Lessons of Don Juan when I was a kid, and he confirms that Castaneda frequently recommended setting ego-based notions aside.  Ishmael the Gorilla doesn't talk about Ego, however, and he never uses the term "Dominionist."  He's more interested in deconstructing the development of culture so that we see how modern man - a Taker - holds himself above the natural order of things.  Things like Seasons and Gravity, for example.  Leavers, on the other hand, recognize that man is part of nature and learns how to work with it.

That seems to be the point Tim DeChristopher was trying to make when he grabbed a paddle and became Bidder Number 70.

I'm hoping that Velvet absorbs some of that spirit while he's hiking through canyons filled with the relics of the Anasazi cliff dwellings.  When he came home at Thanksgiving, Velvet was convinced that the only way we would ever see justice in this country is if the Banksters were six feet under ground (Subverting Family Traditions at Black Magpie).  Although I had no argument with his opinion, I had to tell Velvet that I wasn't into the idea of him being a violent revolutionary.  He acknowledged that it wasn't very Zen and went on to talk about the image of himself that would appear on T-Shirts and his admiration for Pablo Escabar.

I would much prefer for Velvet to follow in the footsteps of Bidder Number 70 than of Pablo Escabar.