Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami Mommy

One of the Christmas gifts I got was a long and touching, if somewhat scary, letter from my cousin's wife, Texas Martha Stewart (to clarify for those of you who don't know: she's a super-crafty homemaker and from Texas originally), that I read on Christmas Day. I had interpreted it as slightly negative and "American" (please don't take offense at this generalization, I mean it as the atmosphere created by your evil president) in sentiment as the entire thing was about how fear would plague my life now that I was to be a mom, and how I'd never be able to watch the news or read the newspaper again without thinking, "What if that was my child?"

I scoffed at it at first. I am a cool, urban leftie after all. I usually regard fear and worry with disdain, dismissing them as commercial propaganda, instituted to make you buy more stuff to make you feel safe. This does not mean that I am not neurotic in my own right, as is evidenced in my blog, but that I feel you can't go around being afraid of everything that might happen or you'll never leave your house.

And then the next day, the unthinkable happened. That insane tsunami hit the Indian Ocean and I immediately had all the feelings she mentioned in her note.

I keep thinking of women that are pregnant for the first time and near-due like me, who might have been thrust into nothingness by the angry ocean and never had the chance to realize the dream of being a mother. I've thought of those who have gone into labour in the midst of those horrible conditions. And then I thought of all the mothers out there, who would gladly give up their lives in such a tragedy if it meant saving their children. Wow. The maternal force is a powerful one. We are amazing creatures and sometimes, though unfortunate, it takes tragedies like this to make us realize that.

And yet I stlll managed to find (innapropriate) humour in the whole thing, by joking about how I'm waiting for a tsunami in my underpants so that I'll finally know if I'm in labour or not. Typical. But seriously, when's the last time you even said tsunami before Sunday? I'm here till Thursday folks! Try the meatloaf.

Anyway, I encourage everyone to give a donation, no matter how small, to one of the aid agencies. Even $20 bucks can add up. And really, who can't spare $20? Skip your Grande non-fat lattes for a week and you have no excuse at all.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Dupe-Meister Dub, Time's Madman of the Year

My latest poem about the Social Security scam Bush is trying to pull off is called
Dupe-Meister Dub.

I've also written a poem called
Time's Madman of the Year.

And I've given out a few blogger awards.
Some people are happier with their awards than others.

How Much is $15 Million?

TsunamiAccording to reports I'm seeing on TV news tonight, the U.S. government plans to spend $15 million to help the victims of this weekend's tragedy in Asia. For perspective, the following list of actors earn $15+ million for each film they make:

  • Tom Cruise
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Tom Hanks
  • Jim Carrey
  • Mike Myers
  • Mel Gibson
  • Adam Sandler
  • Will Smith
  • Harrison Ford
  • Bruce Willis
  • Julia Roberts
  • Chris Tucker
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Russell Crowe
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Denzel Washington
  • Nicholas Cage
  • George Clooney
  • Vin Diesel
  • Toby Maguire
  • Johnny Depp
  • Ben Affleck
  • Brad Pitt
  • Keanu Reeves


You can also find this entry posted at Rox Populi

UPDATE: Since this was originally posted, the US has committed $350 million + to the tsunami efforts. I never thought I would say this, but props to the Bush Administration.

Monday, December 27, 2004

NOT ONE RED CENT; NOT ONE DAMN DIME

I often leave a comment on a post that's worth making into a post of it's own. As a matter of fact, this post of mine has a bunch of pretty interesting comments accumulating, as we explore the value of the Net effort to get people to stay away from spending any money in retail stores on Inauguration Day as a way to send a message to the Bush administration that we have not changed our minds about how we feel about his policies and procedures.

It turns out there is are two special websites devoted to this effort, where you can sign a petition and leave a comment.
WWW.NOTONEDAMNDIME.COM and WWW.NOTONEREDCENT.COM
Please spread the word if this protest is something that you think is worth joining.

Over on my other post (linked to above), I received a comment from someone named H Boroni, who tried to list the reasons why the Not One Damn Dime boycott effort won't work. This is what I replied:

Well, H Boroni, I guess it all depends on where you're coming from and what you've learned along the way.

1. The NODD Day is a protest statement, meant to call attention to the fact that there are still many, many of us who are enraged by all that the Bush adminstration stands for and has failed to accomplish. Of course not all Americans will join the effort. Not all Americans marched in Washington at various times regarding the Gulf War or the Vietnam war of a woman's right to choose. But the point was made by those of us who did. You're missing the point.

2. The protest is as much to remind people like you as it is to remind the Bushies that half of America does not agree with you all. It is as much to remind the press and the rest of the world. We know that Bush knows. You're missing the point.

3. It's not meant to hurt or help the economy. It's meant to be a visible and newsworthy protest. You're missing the point.

4. Notice that I edited out the statement found in other versions of this call to dissent about "supporting the troops." My support of the troops begins and ends with "bring them home so they don't get killed." That's a whole other issue and doesn't belong, I don't think, in the rationale for this dissenting act. That's my personal point of view.

5. The troops in Iraq are not fighting to protect America. The Iraqis were not the ones who orchestrated and carried out 9/11. The people there hate us and our troops about as much as they hated Saddam. America is more in danger from the actions of Bush than from any actions of the Iraqis.

From my point of view, supporting the current neocon administration is being part of the problem. Urging major governmental overhaul, through protest, dissent, sending emails, writing letters, being intelligently and vocally opposed to the current administration, is being part of the solution, part of the impetus for change. You're missing the point.

To summarize, living in a state of denial, remaining uninformed about the reasons why America is in the mess it's in, is what is stupid. You're missing all the points.


One of my commenters suggested doing an organized spending boycott once a month, on some kind of irregular basis so that the stores can't prepare for the slowdown by telling their hourly workers not to come in.

However it all falls out, on the day the Bush gets inaugurated --Thursday, January 20, stay out of the stores if you oppose what the Bush administration stands for.

OPEN YOUR MOUTH BY CLOSING YOUR WALLET.

PSA: Earthquake/ Tsunami Relief

Michele at ASV has compiled an extensive list of ways we can all help the victims of this weekend's tragedy in Asia.

A Rather Rambling Introduction From a Newbie

You know, sometimes I just need a break. I know that can be very difficult for parents of "normal" children to understand. I mean you're supposed to love and care for your children with all your heart and soul...24/7...right? Yes. Still there are times I just get really tired and I need a break. That is the reasoning behind the residential respite program here at our local MHMR center. The local mental health clinic. It is a 24/7, nurse on site, professionally staffed residential unit for special needs children. A place for caregivers/parents to take their precious babies, when they just need a break. Like me, like now...this week. A few days to myself to really sleep. Sleep through the night. Ah! I thank God for these services and especially since its covered by Medicaid...its of no cost to me. My precious princess is already familiar with the staff and the facility. She is a favorite! A coupla summers back I was in hospital with heart surgery for several weeks, she stayed there then. So they all know her really well. It was during that time she truly 'blossomed'. Before she went in she didn't speak much at all and I was told it wasn't likely but being there under those circumstances she was forced to speak to get her needs met. There was no doting mommie catering to her every whim. I know, my bad, but what did I know then of autism? Nothing not in comparsion to now a few years later. So we've utilized the respite program since then for much less intensive stays. A few days now and again, so Mommie can get some rest. Princess, that's my pet name for her online, is 6 year old. She is very intelligent. She is very loving. She is a ball of boundless energy. She is my one true love. Now she can communicate fairly well. She goes to a regular school, although she's been held back to kindergarten, not first grade. This is not due to her not being capable of the work, she reads at a 3rd grade level, its more to do with socialization. Her major areas of ...er..concern...communication and social interaction. Most people do not even realize she is 'special' until after they've talked with her for several minutes. She is so beautiful. She is my love. Okay, I'll stop gushing. Its just the two of us and I've no real support system anymore..no family, few friends, so the respite program is my saving grace. Especially during school breaks. She is rather habituated to her school schedule so when she's off..our schedules get wrecked. Mommie doesn't get much sleep. Then there are the night terrors too. Sorry, its been a long day I hope at least some of this has made sense.
I thought this might make for a kinda introduction to my fellow 'blog sisters'. I hope to get caught up on this blog, its an interesting concept.
Season's Greetings and Howdy from Texas!
Cyn

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Secularism and Political Correctness

My last blog entry seems to have rankled alot of readers. And alot was completely misunderstood.

In the comments Arjun made a salient point, and one that I did not make all that clear, but what I also believe. This country, while founded by those who expressed personal faith, was indeed meant to be a secular country to protect the rights of those who did not follow the same faith as those in political power. Secularism does indeed protect the rights of those who wish to have faith as much as it protects the rights of others not to have faith. And a claim of faith should never be used as a means to manipulate the political system.

And I never said I did not support secularism. I have benefitted greatly from the openness of secularism because it has allowed me to experiment with various belief systems. And I don't think I said anything about the rightness of having displays on town hall lawns. That is something that was read into what I said. Because of the diversity of faiths, and that town hall is for everyone, having displays on town hall lawns isn't necessarily appropriate. It isn't necessarily an issue of taxpayer money in that it is that town hall represents everyone, no matter what faith, that lives within the town.

But I would also like to point out the possible rationale behind the decoration of town halls; something that begain sometime in the late 20th century. While I do not have the research and cannot quote the gentleman who did the research on holiday displays, including the original display in Woodward and Lothrop's department store in Philadelphia in the late 19th century, I think the reason that town halls started to have displays was a combination of cold-war fears of "godless communism," of a desire to be more INCLUSIVE of catholic traditions, and a desire on the part of catholic politicians (Irish and Italian) to bring their traditions into the public sphere.

The lack of holiday decorations prior to the late 19th century did not have as much to do with secularism as it had to do with the hard-line protestant belief that there should be absolutely no decorations for the holidays, that this was pagan, idolatrous and had nothing to do with being devout. Most hard line protestants also believed in working thru holidays because idleness left one open to the wiles of Satan and that to truly worship God one should always be industrious.

It was catholics, working with burgeoning labor unions, who rallied to have Christmas off. So, we can thank liberal lefty socialist catholics of the early 20th century for giving us a day (or more) off in December.

The worlds of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, though, were very different from ours today. I don't think the average american in the any of those eras could have imagined that they might be living next door to a buddist, have a doctor who is a practicing hindu, and be best friends with a muslim from Pakistan. It couldn't be anticipated. The most differences they had to deal with were those between mainline protestant denominations, caltholisim, and judaism.

Because there weren't other non-wester faiths present in the U.S. for most of its history, catholics and jews were the targets of discrimination. Betsy's quote from James Madison was actually a direct attack on catholics--I am familiar with that work of Madison's. When Madison speaks of "clergy" he is speaking of catholics, as most protestants of that time did not call their minsters and governing bodies "clergy." Madison (and John Adams and his son John Quincy)was a rabid anti-catholic as were most Massachusetts politicians--and this anti-catholicism was the result of their protestant hatred of those NOT protestant, not because they had been oppresed by catholics in this country. For the most part, most colonial leaders were anti-catholic as much as they were suspicious of quakers and of methodists. Most jews were tolerated because they lived, for the most part, in New York, and did not openly display or compete with the pervading protestant ethos. But they did not hold any political power either, in part because of their beliefs and the suspicions Englsih protestants held about jews.

The discrimination against catholics and jews continued even into the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. In his latest book, Michael Benchloss (sp?) quotes FDR as saying that both catholics and jews were living in the U.S. under sufferage, and were not entitled to the same rights as protestant americans.

So much for the inclusiveness and secularism of some of the founding fathers and modern politicians.

My complaint, however, is NOT with secularism, but with political correctness. These are two different concepts. Political correctness tells people that they must *never* speak of matters of faith because it may offend someone somewhere. That means *any* faith or belief system, although some belief systems are more fashionable than others in p.c. circles. By discouraging open discussion of any faith, political correctness promotes shame and discourages dialogue and experimentation. Because we are not allowed to speak to one another and are shamed into believing we are awful people for having faith, we risk living in ignorance of other faiths and cultures. This can only work to encourange distrust and hatred among people--not acceptance and inclusiveness as others claim.

Personally, I used to believe in p.c.ness until I attended Smith. In a philosophy class, myself and two jewish students were admonished because we would not accept white guilt the way that James Baldwin explained it in "The Fire Next Time". The three of us explained that we were not white in the way that Baldwin discussed whitness--their grandparents had been Holocaust survivors, and my mother's family had been routinely terrorized by the KKK in the 1920's because of our Italian Catholic heritage. We were not quite the same shade of white as our protestant classmates--but our professor would not hear of it. Political correctness told us to just shut up and be white--even if we weren't and had suffered as much, if not more, because of it.

It is this kind of negative political correctness that has pushed many formerly liberal catholics into the hands of the right wing. And this is quite dangerous, as many "christians" on the right still adamantly believe as Madison did that catholics are evil, that they are pope-worshippers and idolators and do not deserve to have a voice in the american political scene. Most catholics who support right-wing causes don't even know that the right-wing will eventually quote FDR back to them and shut them out of the political process. They do not even realize that the agendas forwarded by the right wing as "family friendly" are not in keeping with what most catholics believe. But, because of the fear and intolerance promoted by the politically correct left, it has left many, many catholics with no other political choice. Some of us, though, still rally around Mario Cuomo and men of reasoned faith and stay with liberalism even though it wants to stand on an emotional polticial correctness that pooh-poohs us and wants, too, to push us aside.

But there is a need to acknowledge that this particular holiday season occurs in this country because many people have a belief system that says there is something special about this time of year--that we are not just using the cold winter months as a reason to go on a capitalist spending spree to bolster our flagging economy, which is what it looks like these days. Furthermore, wrongheadded political correctness should not hide behind the banner of secularism in an effort to make people feel ashamed of their desires to celebrate the holidays--whether it is Christmas, Channukah, Ramadan or Diwali. (and if I spelled any of those wrong, please forgive me...just don't have the dictionary handy). Being reasoned and secular often has little to do with the overly-emotional and oppresive political correctness we see today.

--Tish G.

cross posted on Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams

Friday, December 24, 2004

Have Yourself a Merry Little Whatever

Last night the CBS Evening News aired an interesting little tidbit about the effects of political correctness on how Christmas is celebrated in the U.S.

Pastor Patrick Wooden (can't remember the church and the video feed would not load as of this a.m) noticed that many stores advertise "Holiday Sales" but no one really knows what the "holiday" is. He is urging his congregation to shop for Christmas at stores that advertise Christmas sales. Pastor Wooden feels that we are forgetting why we even have a holiday season and would like his congregation to remember.

The report continued to bring up some salient points regarding how we view the holidays at this time in history. One comment made noted that for those coming into this country, not stating what the holiday is creates a bit of confusion. I know something of this from years of living in Central New Jersey, where there is a high concentration of new immigrants from India. In my conversations with them, I found that many wanted to know the roots of American holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some were familiar with Christmas if they had attended Catholic schools in India (yes, they exist in certain parts of the continent), but were still curious to know how the holiday fit into the American scheme of things. And how religious thinking shapes what it is to be American.

When we deny what makes us uniquely American, we deny others the opportunity to know who we are and what we are about. As it stands now, all most immigrants can understand about Christmas is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the Grinch--two entertainment concepts that have existed only in the past 40 years and do not truly represent what the Holiday Season is about.

There was also another comment, by an advocate for the separation of church and state, who agreed that political correctness has gone too far. Yet what this gentleman later said contradicted what he initially asserted. He made a point to note how many people had been "hurt" by Christmas and Christianity.

But do we have to atone for what happend centuries ago? And is re-hashing the wrongs of the European Middle Ages and the Renaissance make sense to us in America?

Yes, we can remember the evils of slavery and the biblical justifications for it--but we should also remember that Dr. Martin Luther King was a Christian minister, and we should also remember how many white protestants put their lives on the line, and the three who died, during the civil rights struggle of the 1960's. And how a Roman Cathoic president and his brother supported this movement.

Yes, we can remember the genocide against the Indians. But this genocide had more to do with capitalism and economics--and land grabbing--than it did with Christianity.

And yes, we must remember the Holocaust of the 20th Century-- because there are so many who still suffer the effect of the Holocaust, and there are others who still want to say Hitler was an okay guy. But if you look into the motivations for the Holocaust, what moved Hitler and his minions had more to do with pagan idolatry and nationalism than it did with Christianity. Hitler's SS wore skulls and lightening bolts and snappy black uniforms--they were more fashionable and secular than they were devout.

But we should also think about how dwelling on the evils of centuries past has created genoicide in the late 20th and early 21st century. We should be reminded that it was the ideas of past wrongs done to Christians by Muslims that spurred on the genocide in Bosnia. It was wrongs "remembered" by the Hutus that caused the genoicde in Rwanda. It is wrongs anticipated and recalled that undergirds the genocide in the Sudan.

If we dwell on the past in a p.c. effort to make others feel good, we could be planting the seeds of ethinic cleansing in our own time.

We cannot constantly be atoning for the evils of other centuries and other peoples whose beliefs and modes of thinking have not directly shaped way we live and think at this time in history. We have progressed beyond the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Colonial Era in America. But when we dwell in the past and constantly beat our breasts with white guilt mea culpas, we gut our idenities of any siginificance, reduce who we are and what our holidays are to nothing more than empty exercises in mass consumption. We look like spiritually empty fools to other cultures that still value spiritualty. And, in a strange way, because American values have such far reaching tenticles, we manage to sew the seeds of ethinic cleansing in other cultures and countries far removed from where we live.

So, I, unapologetically, would like to wish all of you a peaceful and merry Christmas.

(originally posted on Tish G's blog Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams)

Things to learn by the time you're out of high school

Making speeches and selling? Wow...are those the most important social skills a kid should develop between third-grade and college?

Stereotypically, women care a lot about relationship skills, while stereotypically, men hope someone else will silently do what's needed. Well, I hate to feed into that stereotype, but really! Way too many important parts of human existence are missing from Seth Godin's "Top Twenty" list--and even from the somewhat more wide-ranging discussion on Joi Ito's blog.

Even worse, I pictured ambitious, anxious parents creating similar checklists, then ripping the GameBoy out of Junior's hands and asking to "talk." "Junior, my ambition for you is a high credit limit on your platinum credit card plus occasional mentions of your name in Wired--so here's our program."

Typing and algebra are good things to learn, but what's missing from this picture? Kids need a sense that people like themselves, starting out in childhood, can progress to an adult life someone could aspire to. They get this sense from knowing lots of stories -- stories about people who did remarkable things -- stories about people who were saved from disaster by a friend they'd helped earlier -- stories about people who didn't give up when the going got tough.

I invite other sisters to comment, but here's my quick take on a few major skills far more important than typing:
How to:
ask for what you want and give thanks when you get it
encourage and give support to team/family members
pitch in on a job
argue without calling anybody stupid or evil
motivate others to change their behavior without hitting or insulting them
find things to enjoy in daily living

Taking my own advice here, I'm headed outdoors.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Friday Random Ten - The Dingo Ate My Baby Edition

[You'll also find this post at Rox Populi.]

The sly and slippery Lauren beat me to my own meme this week! And, you know us ladies. We're so terribly competitive with each other. Yet, somehow, we don't promote ourselves very well. And when we blog, we don't write about the correct topics. But, alas, that's another post.

If you're unfamiliar with the FRT, here's the deal ------>
  1. Fire up your IPod or MP3 player.
  2. Set your contraption to random play.
  3. List the first ten songs


Here are mine:
  • Slow Ride - Foghat
  • Name - Goo Goo Dolls
  • Mote - Sonic Youth
  • Free As a Bird - The Beatles
  • Underneath It All - No Doubt & Lady Shaw
  • Bizarre Love Triangle - Frente!
  • Silverfuck - Smashing Pumpkins
  • Take Me Anywhere - School of Fish
  • Yer Drunk Again - The Mollys
  • Sleep on the Left Side - Cornershop


Now it's your turn, either in the comments area below or at your own blog. C'mon! You know you want to. Consider it your Christmas gift to me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Rox the Vox, Your Newest Administrator

Here I am, back with the up-to-the-minute, live coverage of the unfolding shakeup at blog sisters, after Elaine determined that she had a life outside of weblogging--huh? Maybe we should check out that concept.

Later.

Now, I'd like to introduce you to the latest administrator of Blog Sisters, transforming the duo of Andrea (who also vomited recently!) and Jeneane into a trio once again: Roxanne Cooper.

Roxanne is the proprietress of Rox Populi, where she writes about politics, feminist issues, pop culture and travel. She's been blogging since March 2004 and has been a member of Blogsisters for almost as long.

In her "civilian" life, she is the director of sales & marketing for a media trade association. She initially started blogging to better understand the medium and is fascinated by the viral nature of trends.

Bucking the cat-blogging phenomenon, Roxanne makes her home in Washington, DC, where she lives with her husband and two dogs.

Roxanne will be responsible for verifying and registering new bloggers to the site. Joining Andrea and me, Roxanne will help us sift through the updating of bios, the ladies who haven't been added to the blogroll since joining (email me a reminder), and I'm sure she'll add some surprises to the site, which we could sure use at our ripe old age.

I'm leaving open the option of adding an additional administrator or two down the road to divide the duties, depending upon how busy we get and how much we decide to do to update the site and add some piss and vinegar.

Thank you to ALL the many women we heard from wanting to help out in Elaine's stead. There will be opportunities. Right now, though, I want to regain my own focus on blog sisters, where we've been, and where we're headed.

Congratulations to Rox, and to each of you for your great writing. This is your weblog, you make it sing, and we will do our best to better maintain and improve the blog in the coming new year so that your experience here is a great one.

And Elaine: Respect.

-jeneane

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Bitch is Back

Yes, I know. When one's esteemed colleague and weblog president steps down, it would behoove the CEO to say a few words to the team.

Except that I've been throwing up, or wiping up throw up, for four days. Stomach flu.

Sorry for my tardiness at arriving here to say to Elaine, thank you Crone and Friend, for going more than a few rounds with me literally and figuratively both in the larger blogworld and especially here at blog sisters. Not everyone knew, but Elaine was always behind the scenes keeping things as up to date as possible and communicating with the women wishing to join, unjoin, conjoin, rejoin, and the like.

I am currently reviewing folks who've emailed me and said they'd like to help out. A decision and announcement are forthcoming. I would love to tell you that this is scientific and that there's a methodology and order to the process.

That would be a lie. The truth is that I have more vomit to clean off the carpet, that I'll do my best to choose the right person, and that I appreciate everyone's emails--especially the ones I haven't responded to--offering help.

The other truth is that I rarely hesitate to do what I think is right.

It's a new era for Blog Sisters, I congratulate all of you for writing your behinds off over here, which got us noticed by Time, and more importantly, by women looking for a place to exercise their voice online.

Onward and upward we go. Please be patient, keep writing, and pass the Lysol.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Blog Sisters in the News

Peeking in for my morning read of the smart & insightful Lauren at Feministe,* I discovered this morning that Blog Sisters was recently featured in Time Magazine's article "10 Things We Learned About Blogs"-- part of the Person of the Year issue!

This wonderful cooperative site featuring women, run by women, written by women, has made at least someone on a "national stage" notice! The article's blurb on Blog Sisters states:

Most Bloggers Are Women
Men may have taken the lead in the early (read: geeky) days of blogging, but that's not the case now. According to a survey of more than 4 million blogs by Perseus Development, 56% were created by women. More bad news for the boys: men are more likely than women to abandon their blog once it's created. Call blogging a 21st century room of one's own.
So if you're ever wondering if the writing we do here gets noticed, or if women's contributions are ever really valued, (after yet another of those "where are all the female bloggers" articles comes out), take heart. Somebody out there has noticed. As if you needed to be told, what we do matters.

And if you're at a loss for what they meant by "a room of one's own" then here's my enlightening bit of trivia for the day (although trivia is a bad word for it because it implies unimportant, which this piece is far from.) It's a reference to Virginia Woolf's essay that argues, for one, that in order for a woman to write, she needs "500 pounds and a room of one's own, with a door, and a lock." In other words, financial independence and privacy. The essay has been pivotal for women's studies for a long time; there have even been wonderful performances of it that bring the words to life in a voice much like we imagine Woolf would have used. I highly recommend it; it is quite readable, and gives you much to think about. I even have a speech that I gave at a Professional Women Writers' meeting that muses on the idea (along with some others). Food for thought.

Blogging gives women a voice, and while many may dismiss much of what women write as "just journaling" or "not important political writing" they are wrong. It doesn't matter what you're saying-- just keep saying it!

*In a way that shows the collaborative nature of blogging-- it's usually a conversation between people, and often we find out new things from other women writers that we wouldn't have known on our own.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Heart Disease and sore bellies

Hello,
It's been a long time since I commented here. In that time I moved from Massachusetts to California. Economically this has been a very good move.

Today I read a piece of evidence I had read before, that of how isolation from the community contributes to disease, psychicly. The specific reference is G. A. Kaplan, et al.,
"Social connections and morality from all causes and from cardiovascular disease: perspective evidence from Eastern Finland", American Journal of Epidemiology, 1988; 128: 370-80, as presented in Lynne McTaggart's, The Field the Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe. Once again I am reminded that my isolation is not good for me.

During the late Sixties and early Seventies I was busy with my mate making alternative culture. Some part of me wishes we had kept the 80 acre farm we owned in Wisconsin for three years. Poverty clouds the perception of choices. After reading most of the way through McTaggart's book, I wonder how much other people's expectations of me have clouded and hampered my movement toward success.

My journey has been one of Spiritual seeking, and paranormal investigations. I returned to college/university life after being evaluated for disability by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, to whom I am very grateful for their support and guidance. So far I have not been able to capitalize on my degrees as economic forces conspire to channel me into the work they were trying to educate me away from. I'm sure some of you know the problems we are facing in America of talent and knowledge being wasted for all time through mismanagement of personnelle. Some of it is the result of direct gender prejudice. With all the proofs that remote healing and remote viewing effect people no matter what the distance, gender prejudice that holds one person back may be attempted murder by psychic involvement in negative stereotypes.

Right now we are experiencing the White Guy revival. I suspect even some blue White Guys are happy with Ah-mold. Poor Maria! Because of my university training, I have learned there are Guys, and White Guys, and that has nothing to do with ethnicisity. A dose of pigmentation in the skin does not exclude one from being a White Guy. White Guys are a cultural attitude. The predominant attitude is that White is Right and no other way measures up. White Guys believe everyone else is inferior and only they know how to run a world. Condi Rice is trying to be a good White Guy, but guess what? She'll never make it in the end.

White guys want to make Social Security profitable for them. They want to take away a woman's choice about birth. They want all their special friends to get the perks. They want us to shut up and go along.

I don't blame them for anything. We're letting them get away with murder.

So, back a few years I took personal responsibility for my life. I began to work on my attitudes and beliefs. I found a lot of closet cleaning to do. I found a lot of attic work, and cellar storage molded bad. I worked with personal affirmations and applied psychic protection to block negative thought forms like racial (I'm part American Indian), sexist, and gender discrimination. I started to study other people and give them what they wanted for the money. More and more I learned they don't care as much about what you can deliver in product or service as they do about you and me performing the correct "role" as they see it. Most people will allow poor performance resulting in money lost simply to be with someone they're more culturally comfortable with. Playing this game has disrupted my psyche. I suffer from a stomach problem now. I am seeing it as a connection to living the lie of the respectable fit into place cog. When I get there my artwork drops off, I don't go to as many Pagan drum and dance circles, which are fun. I don't do my morning and evening prayers as much. Seems the ripples of the cosmos want me a certain way, and that living that certain way is the most harmonious thing I can do. I must search out meaningful connections where I am now, or the disruption of my waves will continue. Being true to myself is inescapable. The economic side of my life was helped greatly by my attention to my intention, now I find that I must ignore the pressures of the White Guy world (no more negative television!), and begin to intend my direction into that which will create greater healing within me. As I work through this time of isolation, I must keep my focus on the good things of my life and do unto others what they have done unto me, dismiss them from my thinking (aka living rent free in my head). The trick is to dismiss them in a loving way so that negativity does not come back to me threefold.

There! Now I'm back in the Blog Sisters.

Robin Marie Ward

Friday, December 17, 2004

WANTED: A NEW REGISTRAR FOR BLOG SISTERS

Back in March of 02, when I was a lot, lot younger, I joined Blog Sister founder Jeneane Sessum's exciting bandwagon and took on the job of registering new Blog Sister members and putting them on the blogroll. That was before. Before my almost-89-year old mom, of whom I give/take care, began to become increasingly befuddled. Before I had a grandson with whom I really like to visit. Before the bad guys won (well, that's a whole other predicament, isn't it.)

My Medicare card arrived in the mail last week. I've discovered that it's true that the older you get, the quicker time goes by. So, with this post, I am submitting my resignation as registrar of Blog Sisters.

I have a list of emails from women who want to join to which I haven't responded. The blogroll is terribly behind the times. I can't keep up, and I'm putting a call out for a Sister who might have the time, energy, and interest, to

-- be the contact for membership inquiries
-- serve as an administrator of the Blog Sister's site
-- respond to the inquiries by logging into the template and sending out the invitations to join
-- enter the new Sisters into the blogroll

Anyone interested should either leave a comment on this post or contact either Jeneane at ewriter@bellsouth.net or our blog "techie" Andrea James at roceal@jngm.net. One of them will have to select the new registrar and provide the instructions for how to do the job. At some point, it also would be a good idea to contact existing members and see who's still out there and still interested. There are quite a few who haven't posted in a long while.

So, until there's someone to take over, new memberships are on hold. My apologies to those whose inquiries are still sitting in my inbox. If I can get to them, I will. Otherwise, I will pass them along when someone steps up to the plate.

Keep in mind that it's not that being registrar is a lot of work; it's rather these days my life is all work and no play. I need more play.

And so it goes.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

One More Good Reason To Workout

One More Good Reason To Workout

When I was sweating through my crunches and squats and abductor lifts this morning, I was thinking about how much fun it is to work out when you have a new lover and every effort you make working out, will give that person something lovely to look at in bed.

Even if you don't have a new lover, the idea that you can workout hard, basically getting ready for one that might just drop into your lap, so to speak, is a helluva motivation. Hit the gym folks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Homeless life span short, sickly


A study conducted by researchers in Seattle offers some new insight into who the homeless are and what ails them. I realize we think we are already know who the homeless are. The panhandler in front of Safeway or Trader Joe's who will curse you out if you don't hand over some money. The 'rider' who can clear the gathering at a bus stop just by showing up sans bath and deodorant. The stereotypical drunken Indian you step over or walk around to get where you're going. Some of us have factual information about the homeless. We know there is a correlation between being homeless and a former ward of the foster care system, or a military veteran, or low level employee, such as a security guard. The researchers delved deeper by looking into one of the most telling aspects of a person's life: what he or she dies from.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the story.

SEATTLE, Wash. -- The average homeless person in King County died prematurely at age 47, and most likely suffered from alcohol or substance abuse, a new study found.

Some homeless people had as many as eight health problems but the average was three, said the study released Monday by Public Health-Seattle & King County, which reviewed 77 deaths that occurred last year.

Roughly two-thirds of the dead had a history of alcohol or substance abuse, more than half suffered from cardiovascular disease and a quarter had a mental-health problem, the study said.

The most common cause of death was acute intoxication, followed by cardiovascular disease and homicide. More than half of the deaths occurred outside, the study said.

It is estimated that about 8,000 people are homeless each night in King County.

Having spent more time than I should have at a blog dominated by Right Wingers this year, I been told over and over again that poverty either does not exist in the United States, or, that those mired in hopelessness deserve to be. The results from the King County study reveal the interplay that makes escape from the worst kind of poverty impossible for many of those caught in the cycle. To acquire a job, housing and consistent health care, a person needs to be at least moderately functional. Many homeless people aren't because of their ill health. Their addictions make a difficult situation a futile one.

Dr. Alonzo Plough, director and health officer for public-health agency, said the study reveals the complex health challenges faced by homeless people as they struggle to survive.

"It reflects the harshness of life on the streets and in shelters, inadequate access to health care, enormous human suffering and loss," Plough said in a statement.

Though the study is not large, and is localized to the most populous county in Washington state, its findings are similar to those elsewhere in the U.S. The lives of the street dwellers seem to have changed little despite our progress as a technological society. Seattle in 2004 could be Charles Dickens' London of 1804. Life on the margins is still short, sickly and brutish.

Note: This entry also appeared at Mac-a-ro-nies.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Upstart Egalitarian David Takes On Matriarchal Goliath

I was so peeved by Eve Ensler's recent appearance on The Jane Pauley show, and her continual insistence that all of women's problems have to do with "The Patriarchy," that I wrote a rather scathing indictment of Ensler's position.

I thought of posting it here, but realized that some of y'all might not want to read it, so it is over on my own little blog.

But I'm hardly an addle-brained heterosexual enthralled to a man. Quite the contrary...I'm the product of Smith College (highest honors, yadda-yadda-yadda) and of an Italian Matriarchal Dynasty. I was excommunicated from the Matriarchal Dynasty because I went to College. Go figure. So much for Matriarchy.

Overall, my feelings are if Patriarchy is so bad, what makes some people think Matriarchy will be any better?? Any "archy" is probably going to be repressive or oppressive to *someone,* so why repeat the mistake?

Women and Men are complimentary-- it seems to work better when we cooperate and have a great sense of humor about it all.

--Tish G.

P.S....if anybody can tell me how I can list myself on the sidebar, and have my sig on the bottom of my posts, please email me a clue :)



Political Poems & an Ode to Starbucks

I've gone political poetry mad, with new poems about Dubya's Homeland Security Secretary nominee Bernie Kerik, the GOP's no-time-to-read-just-vote insanity, Halliburton's latest screwup, and the infamous privacy invasion tax clause.

Plus, in a time-out from politics, I wrote an Ode To Starbucks.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Been Gone L-o-n-g Time

Hey everybody I have not logged in here forever, I don't know how long it has been really, maybe a couple years. This is because I was in school and after graduation became a VISTA volunteer for the Community Tech Centers. It has been a trip to say the least. I mean, I have always wanted to get my degree and now that I have it, nothing has changed much. Is this because I am over 50?

I also got very involved with the election process more than I ever have before. Let me tell you something, I have learned something about myself through all the caucuses, distirict meetings and the election. I have learned that I am a gossip even though my mama told me that people with class talk about things not other people and I have always tried to follow that philosophy. But I guess I am more of a gossip that I thought I was, lol.

For instance I was at local caucus last spring and I overheard some "insider" people talking about this meeting they attended that included some local politicians at the city and state level. One of them started to tell a story about how a local politician stood up at this meeting with his hat in hand and confessed he had voted for Nadar in 2000. There I am around the corner listening to this because I was standing in line for my name to be marked off.. Honest. I was not there to liten to them. But to my own horror, I left that line and edged closer to hear more. As they talked and gossiped about how shocked the whole room was and how another elected official read the riot act to the confessor, I listened, fascination at what I heard. I was also wishing like hell I could join in the conversation. I wanted to say that our vote is secret and this man did not have to say the way he voted and that I thought it was awful that he was lambasted that way. I mean really, who can you trust? Evidently not people from your own party that you have known forever, for one!

Another thing I learned is that politicians are like peacocks. You know how those birds strut around and try to wow the female by expanding out their tails into a heueueueueueuge fan? Really, whether or not it impresses a female or scares another male, they are nothing without that tail. Politicians are like that. They strut around and get real big and try to impress you with a bunch of talk and that talk is like the peacock's tail.~ and it does not seem there is any difference between men or women, they both do it.

So now I am hooked. I will most likely be part of politics until I die. I have realized that every factor of my life was preparing me for it. From the time I knew not to tell my daddy something because I knew it would make him mad to the dynamics of a room I walk into, who likes whom and who is the tattletale and who is the power behind the throne, I have been learning about politics. I am glad I am a woman because we already know sometimes we have to be subtle and indirect to get things, you know? And yes, sometimes we have to fan out our tales in order to get things done, all right. Though I am past that part now at my age.

So now what do I do with this knowlege? I am getting old and I am not sure where to put it. I guess I will just sit back and wait. Maybe I will I will teach younger women what to do with it. Or maybe I will run for office because there are some issues I have some ideas about. Or maybe I will just take it all to my grave, who knows? We will see...

Friday, December 03, 2004

DOMINANCE?

I'm still taking time out, to devote time and energy to the "other" things in my life, but the familiar yearnings are stirring, the faint longings for some Dominant authority are here.

Compartmentalizing my life into pigeonholes, in order to best manage this interest and not pay too high a cost in my well-ordered world, is an imperative. It does not overlap into any other part of my existence, like a foreign and separate thing; I must mentally and emotionally journey to "this place" in order to partake of it, play, scene, experience. Unlike many I know, I'm just not willing to confuse my worlds...nor am I willing to make any changes. It is, at times, dissociative. I wonder at that. What price, this lifestyle? What cost, my kink?

The vanilla ones I've confessed to -- I've lost ground. I can feel the chasm widening, the invisible divide yawning and separating, cementing into a permanent crack. It is the silent withdrawing that comes from being different. I see it and can do nothing more than watch. How do I let J know that I miss her, that I am becoming invisible, that she moves with different tides and that it can't ever be the same? Like seeking out like isn't what I'd imagined for lifetime friendships. If I'm honest, though, it isn't JUST my kink....

One foot in, one foot out, I find it harder going when the worlds collide. Compartmentalizing it seems a less chaotic way of experiencing it all. None of my "kinky" friends crossover into my non-kink world...and vice versa. Except James.

Ah, James...

He is simultaneously, confusion, an aggravation, a frustration, an outlet, a lover, friend...Dominant? Disciplinarian? I wasn't prepared for him or his presence in my life. Foolish me. But no matter how uneasiliy I allow him access into all my worlds....He is a a gift. My gift...I belong to him, naturally, easily, fluidly...even though that knowledge dismays me.

I cannot imagine a world without Him.

Odd that one so easy going, polar opposites to my fiery and intense nature...He has the ability to bring me to heel without being the Ogre Dominant (that which I despise and loathe and cannot respect nor submit to). Without crushing me or my spirit, He has managed to provide the barest of fences for me. I am not an easy submissive soul. I am....at times...impossible.

I wasn't prepared for anyone, reluctantly acknowledging this kink even to myself...grudgingly accepting and anguishing over my need, creating vulnerable need. Polyamory or infidelity, whatever. There are no adequate labels. I know that I am lucky, to have two intelligent, strong souls...loving me. Each, so very different, laying claims to different parts of me. One anchors me while the other sets me free. I make no apologies -- both know of the other, each support and encourage and accept the limits I have.

I am lucky.

It shouldn't surprise me to have what I need, to be my own determinant. I cannot make apologies for the gaps in my life, my hubris which allows me to grab for those things forbidden and unsafe. I find, in my fettered ties....I am free. Without compromise, without apology, without second thoughts. Simply, I am an inconvenient woman. Yet, I am free. However, with that freedom comes a price tag -- and I will spend forever paying my debt to both. It is enough?

For over two years now, I've been challenged by James -- it has never been easy to love me, nor me to love in return. Need is not a word that sits well in my lingo. There are days when I feel the burdensome weight of it all, like Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his broad shoulders. I have, by turns, spurned, denied, tested fences, dared, challenged, behaved outrageously. I have come undone. In this one laid back soul, I have perhaps, met my Dominant equal? Even if my direct cognitive brain seeks an outwardly Dominant Authoritarian, perhaps, the one I seek would have broken me or failed me by now....

Well-read soul that I am, I keep looking and checking for the similiarities of my story to...anyone else's. Trite, that. He has never stepped on me, crushed me, broken me, even though, perversely, I try to get him to. Control is an interesting game. Have I been underestimating this all along?

Perhaps the Dominance I seek...isn't so readily packaged nor recognized, brand-labelled? Perhaps, Dominance, at least what works for me, cannot be brutal, overpowering, direct....perhaps, it is quiet, reasonable but implacable, rational, calm? I don't have many rules, yet I sought them out, wondering why He won't provide me with what I 'know' is a standard expectation in the kink?

Is it Dominance, to be ruled and tamed by the heart, rather than the lash? Is respect first gained from the heart -- outward? Can one tame with a soft word, a look? Can one be humorous, gentle, loving -- and still be Dominant to...ME?


2004 Weblog Awards

[You'll also find this cross-posted at Rox Populi.]

Wizbang, which I never read, is holding his annual Weblog Awards contest. As you may know, I think these "best blog" voting contests are more than a bit silly. Even so, I'm asking you to go here now and vote for Feministe. According to the rules, you can vote once a day, now through December 12th.



In addition to being one of my blogosphere homegirls, Lauren really does have the best blog out of those nominated in her category.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Couch Potato Nation

Believe it or not, according to the jounal Science, and reported in The New York Times today, a study of 909 women in Texas proves unequivocally that women in general are most happy when they are watching TV by themselves.

Excuse me, but I don't think a study of 909 bored and possibly neurotic women in Texas should be held as the benchmark and bellweather for the rest of us in the Nation.

I'm off to have a hot chocolate and listen to some Italian jazz--and maybe move to Canada.

*Please note: an entry similar to this (although a bit more tart) appears at Tish G's blog

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Gregoire to challenge 42-vote 'win'


Democrat Christine Gregoire would like to challenge a ballot recount that gave opponent Dino Rossi the governorship of Washington with a 42-vote margin. That means she must raise $700,000 as a deposit on another recount of at least some districts. If discrepancies are found in selected districts, that will trigger a statewide recount.

Gregoire must make an official request for a recount by 5 p.m. Friday. About 9.2 million votes were cast in the race Nov. 2.

The Olympian reports.

"Our goal is to have a statewide recount. . .the trick is raising money. If this happens tomorrow and we have to raise $700,000 by Friday, it presents a challenge," Gregoire spokesman Morton Brilliant said Monday in Seattle.

He said the organization has less than half the money needed.

Brilliant did not specify how much money is in hand, but said: "We are raising money for a hand recount right now. . .These are a lot of small donors coming in now."

Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, will certify the elections results today. That will initiate a process that allows the person on the short end of a very close contest to request a recount. The previous recount was automatic and the costs were covered by the state. Gregoire will pay for the new recount if it occurs.

. . .When Reed certifies the election results, Rossi will become the state's governor-elect, but the title might not be as significant as it usually is.

"With the race this close, one thing I've made clear to the Rossi folks is that it doesn't really mean a whole lot, because we expect a recount," Reed said.

So many voters. Such a small margin. How did it happen? Rossi, who is anti-abortion and quite far to Right on other issues, has downplayed his conservatism. In 2003, Rossi earned a 100 percent rating from the Washington Conservative Union (www.washcon.org). Like former candidate Jack Ryan of Illinois, he relies on a pleasant demeanor and hints at moderation to enhance his electability. His reputation, as a self-made millionaire in real estate and budget wizard, may also have impressed some voters. Gregoire may have been hurt by her gender. There are still voters who will favor a man over a woman in electoral politics. She was doubtlessly harmed by the higher than usual turnout by voters who oppose gay marriage, and, voted Republican. Some also say she ran a low-key campaign, not touting her achievements enough.

The Associated Press cites a more direct reason why Gregoire trails -- write-in votes from Democrats for other candidates.

SEATTLE -- If Christine Gregoire officially loses the race for Washington governor her supporters might blame 502 voters in King County who wrote in Ron Sims.

The King County executive lost to Gregoire in the primary. His supporters may not have known that a candidate who loses in the primary cannot be a write-in candidate in the general election.

The write-ins disclosed by the county also show 40 votes for Gary Locke, who is not seeking a third term. His wife Mona got one vote.

Other write-ins included Phil Talmadge with 28 votes, Mike the Mover with nine votes, Edgar Martinez with nine, Norm Rice with six, Donald Duck with six votes, Ralph Nader with five, Alice Cooper with two and God with two votes.

Neither Nader nor God drained away enough votes in King County to make a difference. But, 502 ineligible votes for Ron Sims may cost Gregoire the election.

Reasonably related

The Seattle Times describes the transformation of Dino Rossi's image from hardcore conservative to moderate.

Update

As of Dec. 1, Democratic Candidate Christine Gregoire is soliciting donations for the recount through the national party. The online donation site is here.


Note: This entry also appeared at Mac-a-ro-nies.