Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thinking Lovingly of Harvest in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir

This design was on the main pillar in the main room of the home where we stayed in Dumkhar in Northern India this summer. When I asked about its meaning and snapped a photo of it (during an electrical blackout) I was told, to the best of my understanding, it brought blessings at harvest time. Now there's another idea for a tattoo.

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Neil Young Original "Harvest Moon"

My favorite song of all time: just enlarge it to full-screen size (by clicking the little square at the bottom, second from the right), turn it up, stand up from your computer and dance to it, wherever you are, nobody will mind. It's just a marvel, so beautiful, utter perfection. Try not to cry. I'm so glad I was alive, and young, when Neil Young was creating and feeling like this, and putting it out there for us to feel it with him. It's a better world, for having transcendent love songs, sung like this.

Other Worlds, Other Times, Other Places: Elton John's "Nikita"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Planning for One's Demise ...(a Little Bit ) Ahead of Time: Gladly Did I Live and Gladly Die

Basically I try to stay on top of things, just enough so that if they find me dead in the morning, they'll be more inspired than aggrieved. I mean, there's the poster of the Dalai Lama, and a very nice selection of books. Surely they will recall that I was funny and laughed a lot and went to church, sometimes slightly irreverently, and had joyfully accepted the fact that I would be gone someday. But did I improve the life of my fellow man? I hope so, at least now and then and here and there.

It could happen to any of us at a moment's notice or less, and if it did, what would matter? Your first inclination is to wonder if your affairs are in order. The truth is, they are often not in order, lawyers being how they are and all, not to mention expensive to consult. Because, what do you want? Well, of course you want your children to live happily ever after, that's a given, and oftentimes your spouse. My ex-spouse was cut short, and unable to make provisions for me or the children, but we've all carried on magnificently I'd say, despite it all. It's going to get harder though, to plan ahead, especially if we go into a depression.

So what do you want them to see after your carcass is carted away by the removal experts, who may have swiped loose change from the dresser, and knocked a picture or two crooked as they carry you down the steps in their black suits, joking under their breaths - undertakers being what they are and all- among the funniest of all people I've ever met, God knows? Do you want your loved ones to see what you were last involved in, the last book you were reading, carefully earmarked, or the letter you were writing? (Best hide the Metamucil each night, just to be sure, for aesthetic purposes) Or maybe the last cake you baked, your last pan of eggs, almost empty but not yet washed, and how good it was, fresh herbs all about? Chances are they'll be preoccupied with other things, and you won't be able to set the mood.

Or would you rather leave only the slightest trace? Some think of it that way. So many better and wiser people have gone before us. "Famous Last Words" and "Famous Epitaphs" are of interest to many people. Clark Gable's "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" has been used. And W.C. Field's proposed "All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." Being somewhat old-fashioned and romantic at the core, I always favored "Beloved Mother"

But what do you want to leave behind? If you can't leave money, which you might not be able to, or real estate, which you might not be able to, given the economy? How about a little flower or some pretty thing upon your breast, if you felt it coming? A note? No, too complicated. A smile? Can't predict how that'll go.

Or how about this: let's not worry too much-just live to fight another day, show them how it goes. We all live by the grace of God. There's not too far to go. We're all in this universe together throughout eternity, what else is there? Energy's neither created nor destroyed, right? Have faith. Carry on. Love one another, as we've been told. And love God above all else. Hamlet: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

"Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave, and let me lie.
Gladly did I live and gladly die,
For I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
'Here he lies where he longed to be.
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the Hunter home from the hill'."

-Robert Louis Stevenson

On A Brighter Note: Sam Cooke's "Don't Know Much About History"

Might as well be dumb and enjoy it, right? Hmmm...is that Russia I see from my kitchen window? Come here, my little hot Toddy. We're gonna look good in that White House during the Depression...

Or better yet, be smart, innocent, pretty, young and Amish and dancing with Harrison Ford in a barn ...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heavenly Birthday at age 62!

What a day! I woke up loaded for bear about politics and obsessively followed the process on TV throughout the day, something I actually love to do (get obsessed about news, even though I really don't understand most of it at all). I had been saying for weeks that I didn't want a birthday with presents or any fuss made. At my age a birthday card is very much appreciated, and really is enough...

So I went off to perform ushering duties at my dear little St Peter's church in Cape May Point, last Sunday of the season. Those duties include the old-fashioned ringing of a bell in a steeple by pulling on a rope. The usher's duties include ringing the bell for a glorious full minute at 10:30, presumably to wake folks up or alert them to imminent services. At 10:50 or so, the choir assembles on the porch in preparation for a simple procession as the organist ceases to play at exactly 11. At exactly 11, the usher rings the bell three times only to begin the procession.

To my delight, my 3 year old grand-daughter and my daughter showed up for the 11 o'clock service, Maya bringing me a tiny birthday pumpkin right up the steps of the church. I had little Maya's earnest help as I pulled the bell-rope, something I feel certain will stick in her memory forever, bonding her to this special little church. Not only that, but she stood holding my hand as I read the announcements after the exchange of the peace, and she helped me, barefoot and with perfect reverence, deliver the offering to the priest during the Doxology. What a day! Later Maya showed me a buttercup and put it under her chin so I could see that her under-chin glowed yellow - meaning, as her great-great-great grandmother taught, down through the generations, that Maya likes butter. But that wasn't the end of it!

In addition to all this I had the very sweetest cards/texts/conversations possible with a daughter in Texas and a daughter in New York. I heard from some relatives and old friends. Then I had a fabulous loving dinner, hosted by my son and his partner, cooked by my son in honor of the ancestors, my father and grandfather's favorite dinner: Swiss Steak and mashed potatoes, with two daughters, their husbands,my grand-daughter and another couple. Maya brought a balloon and gave me one of her baby dolls for a present. There were wonderful birthday cards and fun gifts.One daughter brought my favorite cheese, Prima Donna Red, and in additon to the sublime red wine served, it was heavenly. But that wasn't all!

One of the dinner guests was a Belgian pianist from New York, former Yale professor, Mikail, who good-naturedly played silly tunes we requested while we all sang along- church hymns, showtunes, torch songs etc., so wonderful to sing at the top of our lungs - my son and daughters and sons-in-law.... Mikhail allowed Maya to sit on his lap and accompany him as he held her hands under his without missing a beat. Then, responding humbly to our insistence that he play "something classical", he blew us as all away, humbling us in turn, with beautiful Schubert pieces that brought tears to our eyes....

Happy Birthday to all, with love and appreciation, and Good Night. How lucky I am to live to the ripe old age of 62. "After this", as my father always said, "everything's gravy."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences as described by Nicoli Ouroussoff in The New York Times

Why are architecture and art reviews so often the most brilliant and world-comprehensive writing? Maybe it's because some artists and architects have a vision that transcends humanity, civilization, and time as we know it, and some writers undertand that from the bottom of their hearts, and are stirred to describe that vision. This article by Nicolai Ourossoff, from yesterday's New York Times,can just thrill your soul. Our travel this year needn't be cost prohibitive. Let's just go see Renzo Piano's new Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park! I want to share in evolution, and in a world-view that doesn't place humans automatically at the top of the heap, but considers them part of a much larger organism.

"Architecture Review
A Building That Blooms and Grows, Balancing Nature and Civilization

The new California Academy of Sciences is capped by two spheres covered with plants. By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
Published: September 23, 2008 New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — Not all architects embrace the idea of evolution. Some, fixated on the 20th-century notion of the avant-garde, view their work as a divine revelation, as if history began with them. Others pine for the Middle Ages.
But if you want reaffirmation that human history is an upward spiral rather than a descent into darkness, head to the new California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park, which opens on Saturday. Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano on the site of the academy’s demolished home, the building has a steel frame that rests amid the verdant flora like a delicate piece of fine embroidery. Capped by a stupendous floating green roof of undulating mounds of plants, it embodies the academy’s philosophy that humanity is only one part of an endlessly complex universal system.

This building’s greatness as architecture, however, is rooted in a cultural history that stretches back through Modernism to Classical Greece. It is a comforting reminder of the civilizing function of great art in a barbaric age.

The academy building is the last in a series of ambitious projects to be conceived in and around the park’s Music Concourse since the devastating 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Herzog & de Meuron’s mesmerizing de Young Museum, enclosed in perforated copper, opened three years ago. Scaffolding is to come down at the concourse’s neo-Classical band shell this week after a loving restoration.

Glimpsed through the concourse’s grove of sycamores, the science academy gives the impression of weightlessness. A row of steel columns soaring 36 feet high along the facade lends the building a classical air; the sense of lightness is accentuated by a wafer-thin canopy above that creates the illusion that the roof is only millimeters thick. It’s as if a section of the park carpeted in native wildflowers and beach strawberries had been lifted off the ground and suspended in midair.

The idea is to create a balance between public and private, inside and out, the Cartesian order of the mind and the unruly world of nature.

A glass lobby allows you to gaze straight through the building to the park on the other side. Other views open into exhibition spaces with their own microclimates. The entire building serves as a sort of specimen case, a framework for pondering the natural world while straining to disturb it as little as possible.

Mr. Piano’s building is also a blazingly uncynical embrace of the Enlightenment values of truth and reason. Its Classical symmetry — the axial geometry, the columns framing a central entry — taps into a lineage that runs back to Mies van der Rohe’s 1968 Neue Nationalgalerie and Schinkel’s 1828 Altes Museum in Berlin and even further, to the Parthenon.

Just as Mies’s glass-and-steel museum reworked Classical precedents, Mr. Piano’s design invokes Mies’s model, though with a sensitivity that makes the muscularity of the 1968 museum look old-fashioned. The roof of the academy’s lobby, supported by a gossamerlike web of cables, swells upward as if the entire room were breathing. Views open up to the landscape on all four sides, momentarily situating you both within the building and in the bigger world outside. A narrow row of clerestory windows lines the top of the lobby. One of the building’s many environmental features, these windows let warm air escape and create a gentle breeze that reinforces the connection to the natural setting.

From here you can proceed into the exhibition halls, delving deeper into the universe’s secrets. Two enormous 90-foot-tall spheres — one housing a planetarium, the other a rain forest — beckon from either side of the lobby. They are the most solid forms in the building, yet seem to hover in the space. The base of the planetarium sphere floats in a pool; a broad ramp snakes around the rain-forest sphere. Enveloped in gnarled branches, the ramp seems to have been swallowed up by the jungle landscape over millenniums.

Once you reach this point, the genius of the green roof’s design becomes apparent. The mounds of earth visible on the exterior turn out to be hollow: their forms, punctured by round skylights, bulge upward to make room for the giant spheres underneath. It’s as if a lush protective rug has been gently draped over the entire building.

Additional exhibition spaces just beyond the spheres were designed with movable partitions that give them a temporary feel. Large windows open onto more park views.

The museum has also preserved its African Hall, with its gorgeous vaulted ceiling and dioramas of somnolent lions and grazing antelopes, integrating it into the new design. Built in the 1930s, this neo-Classical hall is a specimen of sorts. Its massive stone structure reflects colonial attitudes about the civilized world as a barrier against barbarism. It was intended as a symbol of Western superiority and a triumph over nature.

By contrast, Mr. Piano’s vision avoids arrogance. The ethereality of the academy’s structure suggests a form of reparations for the great harm humans have done to the natural world. It is best to tread lightly in moving forward, he seems to say. This is not a way of avoiding hard truths; he means to shake us out of our indolence. "

Beautiful! And a nice distraction from the news. While the foolish Ahmadinejad is being jeered for saying that the American Empire is coming to an end(yesterday at The General Assembly I believe)- I'm wondering about that old saw "from the mouths of babes (fools)....That may be because I am reading a book (2012) that is utterly crazy but sane and fascinating in bits and pieces ..it has stirred me at times, against my will...and often because of its stance that beings and ancestors throughout the natural universe are speaking to us and will gain our attention very soon....this new building seems to allow for that, or at least to call our attention gently and kindly to human delusions of grandeur, here in a very large and very old universe.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hadron Collider on Hold- til 2012 and Quetzalcoatl's Arrival?

Of course the Hadron Collider is on hold following a little transformer break-down! Of course it is! This won't be the last time either. Acording to the book I'm reading, "2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl" by somebody Pinchbeck...- the world as we know it will end in 2012 and we will be transported, apparently, to some other sphere of existence. Ok, ok, I'm not all the way through the book, and don't know what he's talking about, but if things are going to change drastically, and we are going to travel forth with all the mushroom spores through eternity....maybe it'll happen in another few years (i.e.,2012) when they finally iron out the kinks in the Hadron collider and spin us all off into the far-out Mayan heavens. I'm game. But will Georgie Porgy and Sarah Palin have to go too?

Bush looking frightened? Tired? Sick?

Georgie Porgie didn't look like himself at this morning's new conference. When I first saw him talking (suspiciously patronizing)to the President of Columbia, I thought "What's wrong? He looks scared. Or on cold medicines or steroids gone amuck. Something's not right. Does he know something we don't know? Has he received a death threat?

Just now we've learned that the Marriott in Islamabad has been bombed to smithereens, with many casualties. Is something up? Is there more going on? Why am I on edge?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Moving back to Pittsburgh at age 62?!

I am excited this week at the prospect of moving back to Pittsburgh, my hometown. It was a sudden decision and it's not definite yet. My kids are grown and all are nearby, so in that respect I'm blessed beyond words. But the they times are a' changing.

It's too expensive and hard to be 62, single, and to maintain a big old farmhouse in a resort town just so I can have two or three big family dinners every winter. The market is a mess and I'm losing out there, but gas prices and my real estate taxes went up last year. Running my car is too expensive, even with the recent drop in prices.

One of my daughters, the only one with a child, my dear grand-daughter, blithley mentioned that they are thinking of moving back to Santa Cruz where people are more sympatico to youthful ideas, and I don't blame them. Another daughter mentioned that she'd like to give Western Pennsylvania a try. Another daughter is beginning a job in New York, my son travels all the time. My daughter and son-in-law who live around the corner, and who plan to stay in this area, are more than enough reason to make me stay here, but I end up having to call my daughter and son-in-law every time there's a storm or a bat or a snake in the house, and depend on them to cut my grass without adequate compensation....there's a lot of it....and they're going to get sick of me after awhile! My Monday night ladies group- "Boggle"- is so dear to me- we are all of similar mindbents and are really good friends- but really- the whole area is cost-prohibitive and I need to go back to my roots, to the dear hearts and gentle people who live and love in my hometown.

I can come visit Cape May. I have options. Trains are easy. The thought of living in a large (2000 sq, feet) affordable condo in Fox Chapel, with a beautiful lobby and a lovely location on the road where I grew up is so comforting a thought! I could collect a small pension and even social security and find a little job in the community where I grew up. Here in Cape May I have held jobs where English is helpful but not required, (working in a gift shop at the ferry turned out not to be as romantic as I thought it would be)....I have worked at a vegetable stand with an 83 year old woman I loved like a grama, watching the vegetables roll in through the seasons, and listening to her stories...I have spent a dozen years in the school system as a social worker...trying to do good in people's lives, but meeting with resentment every step of the way if I used a vocabulary word more than five letters long. I have dumbed myself down, like America itself, trying to use that common touch I inherited from my parents and grandparents who simultaneously transcended it in their private lives. But I am getting dumbed down so far that my mind is numb. I imagine how much fun it would be to work in a private school like my alma mater, Ellis School in Pittsburgh. How lovely it would be to daily encounter well-educated, confident, successful people. My peeps. My family, my Boggle group, some of my co-workers, my church and my friends in the community are the most important people in my life now, and I would miss them all horribly. But I need to be able to afford to live! I would miss the quirky town people I wave to here and there.... the guy at the hardware, the hot-dog vendor...but we don't even know each other's names really, they could get by without me I guess.

People move. Older people move to condos, always have. There's nothing wrong with that. There's just no condo in a beach community that is affordable and spacious. I'm used to space, lots of it. I'm used to my grand-daughter being nearby, and she recently started dancing school, and I will want to see the recital. So, like grandmothers throughout time, I'll travel to see it! And what do I do anyway? I read,I take walks, I sit at the computer, I text message my kids and they text me, and that keeps me pretty happy. I eat, I sleep. SO what difference does it make? I could probably live in a yurt in Finland. My kids are internationally-oriented, they travel all the time. They need to get on with their lives. I need to sell the house, pay off my mortgage, all my kids' college loans, live without a mortgage, and have a job I enjoy. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Richard Wright passes on


Pink Floyd lost a founding member today, after his short battle with cancer. See how beautiful he is! True blue, caring, meditative, brilliant, productive. Cosmically beautiful, so much of Pink Floyd's music is like a gift to the Gods, something we should all be grateful our culture produced for us, and for the heavens.

David Gilmour wrote the following on his blog today:

"No one can replace Richard Wright. He was my musical partner and my friend.

"In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's enormous input was frequently forgotten. He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound."

He continued: "I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in 1971 on Echoes.

"In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones where he is in full flow. After all, without Us And Them and The Great Gig In The Sky, both of which he wrote, what would The Dark Side Of The Moon have been?

"Without his quiet touch the Album Wish You Were Here would not quite have worked.

"In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but in the early 90s, with The Division Bell, his vitality, spark and humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it's a mark of his modesty that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not to the rest of us).

"Like Rick, I don't find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously."

David Gilmour September 15, 2008

I Desperately Need a Dummies Guide to the Economic Crisis...Are We Going to Lose Every Bit of Our Money?

Lehman Brothers....Merrill Lynch...A.I.G. Insurers....all going down or in serious trouble today. TODAY. Things are happening so fast the common man or woman has no idea what's happening, and probably not enough time to do what has to be done. It's like a hurricane. Tom Friedman says we have to borrow from China, the only one who could help us, to pay Saudi Arabia, the one we really need in order to keep things rolling here in the USA. We'll be owned by the countries we avow to be so different from.

I blame a lot of people, from Georgie-Porgie himself, to those self-congratulatory coked-up Wall St. guys who've been drinking $2000 (and up) bottles of wine and buying and selling $2000 (and up) prostitutes to celebrate their good fortune, as they accumulate and misdirect and squander untold wealth.

I want to know simple things, like should I take my savings, pitiful though it may be, cash in that nestegg- paying all the fees and taxes - and bury it under a tree somewhere,or convert it to gold, and resign myself to living like a hermit with a shotgun and a stockpile of water and canned goods? While the big guys at the top talk over our heads, who is going to explain, in language simple folk like me can understand, what to do? TODAY!

Thank God my grandmother taught me how to live off the land. Now if only I can remember the details.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Watch: Galveston Island, Texas and Louisiana

So sad to think back to past hurricanes, remembering how they can cloud histories for a century. Tonight as Hurricane Ike hits the Texas coast, I'm thinking of all the stories I've read about the storm in Galveston back in 1900 when so many thousands died, and all the frightened, endangered and doomed people facing down the hurricane tonight along the coast of Galveston Bay and beyond.

Randy Newman's song about the Louisiana storm of 1927 is the best, used much in the wake of Katrina, but apt and poignant far beyond.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ground Zero Apple Orchard

Today in New York Barack Obama and John McCain put politics aside and walked shoulder to shoulder down into the pit at Ground Zero. There's still nothing there, no new construction, no memorial, nothing, despite all the talk over the seven years since 9-11-2001. When there was an online contest some years back to submit ideas for the World Trade Center site, I submitted what I still think is the best idea of all: Plant an apple orchard there, a sixteen-acre apple orchard open to the public, with pathways and benches throughout. In the autumn when the trees bear fruit and the apples fall, each apple would be food for the hungry, and worthy of prayer and contemplation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CERN Hadron Collider Rap: Wanna See Something REALLY Scary (but pretty cool)?

Who are these youngsters? Are they the ones in charge?

That Cern Particle Accelerator...darn...might create some mini black holes and swallow up the universe

There is some joking going on in the news about today's start-up of the particle accelerator in Switzerland. I have been following the development of this thing for years, since way before its aborted construction in Texas, and believe me, this thing is no joke.

First of all, today isn't the day to say "Whew, we're safe!" Today is only the start-up of a beam of protons making a one-way seventeen mile trip around the ten-billion-dollar Cern tunnel. There's no collision yet, not much happening til the "end of the year" which is eerily near. The jokes say (as do some respected scientists) that the end of the world could come because this little 17 mile ring of subatomic action might create mini black holes that could swallow up the earth and beyond. Supposedly Stephen Hawking isn't worried but for some reason I find no comfort in that.

If I didn't have to get ready for work, I would go on and on about something I only understand through a glass darkly. But I encourage you to read about it. It's fascinating, thrilling, frightening. There must be aged scientists hanging on for dear life to see this dream fulfilled. Perhaps they want to experience, Dr. Strangelove-style, the feeling of the universe being swallowed into a timy black hole. They want to have a look around in there, across time and space, in the swoosh of eternity.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sarah Palin's Hair etc: How Can Things Be So Easy For Someone So Dumb?

Sarah Palin comes out of nowhere looking like a huge mistake, and next thing you know the Republicans are neck and neck with Obama.

After a day or so, the world learns that her teenage daughter is preggers, and it turns out to be a demographic coup.

Palin blatantly lies her way through her acceptance speech, and comes out smelling like a rose.

She attended six colleges, none of them anything much at first glance, and it turns out nobody cares.

She winds her hair up in a topknot and dons expensive glasses (to downplay her natural beauty, she implies) and starts a style sensation.
I came from somewhere, looking like a well-crafted woman full of promise, and end up looking like a cake that didn't rise.

I struggled to be vigilant and raise children who would make it through teenage years unscathed by pregnancy, and learn eventually that maybe it's best to have babies young.

I told a lie once: "Officer I thought I was only going 55." I paid a heavy price, in fines and higher insurance rates.

I got a quality liberal arts education from an excellent college, and always thought good education was essential to a meaningful and productive life. But a woman can clearly be very successful without all that effort...maybe even President of the United States some day.

I can't just flip my hair up willy-nilly like Sarah....so I go to the hair salon and pay an arm and a leg for a fancy haircut and leave the joint, looking like Zelda Fitzgerald in her final year in the asylum.

What the hell? What's it all about? Ok so Sarah's lucky. John McCain too. One thing I know: the Republicans aren't worried about you and me. They aren't even worried about Sarah Palin. They just don't care. They will do the despicable "deny, deny, accuse" thing, and lie, cheat and steal their way to power once again, based on their disregard for the American populace, employing their vengeful and dishonorable tactics to keep power where they want it...in their own pocketbooks. Now I've vented. I'm heading for the hills!

Sarah Palin's frightening view of the world

I got this email this morning from a friend who said she hoped it wasn't true and that Snopes will (she hopes) prove it wrong.... If it's true, and if Sarah Palin is put into office, there will be an exodus from the USA of bright good productive people who can't believe what has happened. Canada here we come! Horrifyingly, I was impressed last week by Sarah Palin and, in her shadow, John McCain. My family members didn't fall for it. I am an affirmed supporter of Barack and will not waver. But since I was basically spawned in a Republican petrie dish sixty years ago, I have some vulnerabilities when it comes to Republicans. But this is frightening, that this terminator-machine called Sarah Palin could insinuate herself with simple "PTA pluck", into the American gestalt, and lead us all down the path to damnation.

(ED note: The book list of books that Sarah Palin supposedly wanted banned in Wasilla has been removed- not necessarily true.)
"This is unreal. Below are some actual quotes by
Governor Palin during a series of interviews by the Anchorage
Daily News in 2006 when she was running for Governor...

On Creationism:

The simple yet elegantly awkward moose proves
God's creation and not evolution is the source of all life.
Hoq could something as oddly shaped and silly looking as a
moose evolve through so-calle "natural selection?"
Is evolution a committee? There is nothing natural about
a dorky moose! Only God could have made a moose and
given it huge antlers to fight off his predatory enemies. God
has a well known sense of humor, I mean He made the platypus

On oil exploration and drilling in the ANWR:

God made dinosaurs 4,000 years ago as ultimately
flawed creatures, lizards of Satan really, so when they died
and became petroleum products we, made in his perfect
image, could use them in our pickup trucks, snow machines and
fishing boats.

Now, as to the ANWR, Todd and I often enjoying
caribou hunting and one year we shot up a herd big time, I
mean I personally slaughtered around 40 of them with my new,
at the time, custom Austrian hunting rifle. And guess what?
That caribou herd is still around and even bigger than
ever. Caribou herds actually need culling, be it by rifles
or wolves, or Exxon-Mobil oil rigs, they do just great!

On Alaskans serving overseas in Iraq:
Well, God bless them, and I mean God and Jesus because
without Jesus we'd be Muslims too or Jewish, which
would be a little better because of the superior Israeli Air

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Tonight I fell in love with a six pound stone. It's been around awhile. It's been around my house as a doorstop for twenty years or so. It's been under the ocean for...oh I don't know, maybe a few hundred years or more, before my commercial fisherman husband brought it home one night and told me it was probably a ballast stone from a sunken ship. I consider it a gift from him, God rest his soul, even though I picked it out of a pile of his stones, and I've kept it in my kitchen for many years, as a memento....and tonight I studied it and held it and developed an understanding that it's been used as a tool by human hands for generations. I swear it has at least a hundred years of use on it, maybe five hundred, maybe more. No one generation could wear a stone down so purposefully like this. It's been used carefully to grind something. It's worn down by thumbs and firm grips by many people. It would have been a village's favorite stone, useful for grinding corn or whatever grain needed to be ground by someone devoted to the task, like me, like I would have been in another, earlier, life, the life where maybe I used this very stone.

I once met somebody who collects these stones, he went to South America in search of them, finding and buying them from unsuspecting? proprietors in alleyway shops, where the stones were being used as...what else?...doorstops. They have a name, but I can't remember it now.

The stone is so heavy and so smooth in places, and has obviously been so well-understood since that eon when it was created by God, that I can only humbly admire it.

It weighs six pounds. It's big enough and smoothly sculpted enough that I could use it for a pillow if I had to, if I placed my ear up against it just so ,(and tonight I tried briefly, and later will try again). I wish I had had the stone in India, I could have placed my head against it and fallen asleep comforted, on many a weary night. But who can carry a stone the weight of a newborn baby, through customs, without raising eyebrows?

So what? you say. Well I am lucky to have found this stone and to have examined it thoughtfully and to have felt its life in my hands, to have felt, through it, the strength and vitality of other human hands across the millennia, as we all often could, if we awoke and opened our hearts to the past. Look at Michaelangelo, listen to Shakespeare, feel a stone that has been used by primitive people....you will see how art and endeavor can allow one human to reach hundreds or thousands of years across time, from one heart to another, and flesh comes alive, and its spirit comes trembling through.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Topsy Turvy With the Republicans- McCain's Speech was Substantive and Inspiring (for the chosen masses)

Wow.I have no idea how to think about this presidential campaign. There's just nothing to compare it to. McCain was fascinating tonight, talking about WARSHington, as if he'd never learned phonics and didn't care. But he made some sense, and was himself, unadorned and unpretentious. I guess all rumors of his "practicing" were real, and that maybe he really did practice the speech in front of the mirror, in front of his mother, in front of ...I want to say...in front of GOD.

The other night I fell for the Sarah Palin trick. Most of my kids and co-workers nearly strangled me to death for saying even a little bit positive about her this morning. By noon, I had allowed them to convince me that I was crazy, caving in. It took me all day to get my defensive footing back and to square my shoulders, preparing to listen tonight to McCain's speech objectively. But now, I'm starting to believe it all, starting to fall for it all again, bamboozled, stirred, shaken, uplifted, yea, UPLIFTED by a Republican.

I was there in the 60's when music was at its best, and we knew there'd be a revolution. I was protesting peacefully in California (at UCSB) when Reagan was governor, and swore I'd leave the country if Nixon was elected, but I didn't. I was the first Democrat ever in my family, and the source of disappointment and some shame I'm sure. My grandfather was a Republican senator for 32 years. I strove for Democratic ideals, such as they have been, for many years as I raised my family. I never cared about money or capitalism and free enterprise. I know now, in my sixties, that that was risky, given the education and advantages I had had in life. As the little wooden plaque above my other grandfather's chair said: "We grow too soon olde, and too late schmart". But still, what the Republican party is now is not what Winston meant by conservative.

I've thought a lot about McCain's captivity in the context of the era when he was in Vietnam, and in the context of psychology, and decided some time ago that his refusal to accept that offer of freedom from his captors could have been more a result of an Oedipus complex than anything else, a slap in the face to his father the admiral, who had been pulling strings for him. Sort of a "F+++ you, dad, I'll show you what a REAL soldier is, and make mom proud"- but those things (deeper meanings) get brushed aside in men's lives, as well they should, I suppose, to keep things simple.

Tonight I'm remembering that Winston Churchill said something like "If you're not a liberal in your twenties, then you have no heart. And if you're not a conservative by age 40 or 50, then you have no brain." I'm just wondering which I'll be by light of day.

In any case, all things considered, I'm moving to Canada.

Republican Convention Blues: The Jig is Up! Any easy Hara-kiri Alternatives for those of us who want to opt out?

I was just out there on the street thinking about throwing beer bottles at cars. Well not really, but some friends and I were joking about it. It must feel good for at least a few hours a day to feel totally degenerate, don't you think? Try to imagine our electorate- so many folks who end up just giving up and giving in to all the things people at the bottom have always had to give in to when their jigs were up. Helplessness because of addictions that comfort them, anger that makes them feel powerful for a short while, and then friendlessness, loneliness, hopelessness. If you suffer those things with the cushion of wealth, you can cruise through and build a network of acceptable excuses to be joked about later.

But if you suffer all that in poverty, you can't joke about it very easily. You are vulnerable to take-over and manipulation by the first people who come along, see something they can use you for, and don't mind promising you the moon without the slightest intention of delivering on their promises. They'll take what they want from you and move on. The Republican party is taking advantage of the unfortunate American people who feel that particular brand of hopelessness that creates victims for predators.

But that's it for my compassion for what's going on in politics this week. I cannot believe the conniving goings-on to create a government in a vacuum, in a bubble, in a Chinese-like isolation from the people.

Try to imagine the kind of people at the top who are such lying scoundrels that they think the Sarah Palin video will work...did you see it? It's beyond shameless pandering to the weaker people of the nation - those with lesser intellect and those who haven't had the advantages and opportunities we;ve had and that we've provided for our children.....

We have to deal with reality. Sarah Palin is reality in America today. She is the product of what America calls education nowadays, which isn't much, and of our Jerry Springer society. She did her party time, as in PAR-TAY!!!! and she did what she had to do to capture the American imagination....she prostituted herself to politics. So now she's on the money honey. While we sit here and weep and wail.

SOme people say it's the dumbing down of America. I am amazed and blown away by what I'm realizing about America and how America has declined from the lofty place I knew as a a child. But now, where can we go?

The "drill baby drill" chant really was a terrifying turn. The terrifying part was that, if it's dependence on foreign oil we're talking about...the zealots could be right. When I stop throwing beer bottles and calm down, T Boone Pickens seems pretty reasonable.

Oh hell, this is a mess! I didn't even know you were allowed to say the words "off-shore drilling" out loud, let alone get thousands of Americans to cheer for it.

I just can't believe how the Republicans have been so smart. The whole bit about poor little Johnny practicing his speech in front of the mirror and in front of his mother, and pacing back and forth....genius b.s.!!! Amazing!

Is there some painless moral equivalency of hari-kari I could try for awhile? Something honorable but easy perhaps? Or is it going to have to get REALLY SCARY?