Sunday, November 29, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Weekend Food Fun

As some of you know, I am a huge fan of Cakewrecks and the thanksgiving turkey cake posts never disappoint. Seriously how in the world are these people called "professional" bakers. Words just don't mean what they used to.

enjoy. a few more.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

People Ain't Raised Right

I have a lot less patience and tolerance about ignorant behavior than I used to. Maybe it was 8 years of the GOP and George Bush, Maybe it was the summer of tea-baggers, maybe I am just getting old. But whatever it is, I just can't tolerate it when people turn out to be just plain old mean-assholes.

In my little wine bar tonight, a friend was performing. My place has like 20 seats, very cozy and the woman who was tickling the ivories and signing was doing some bluesy-balad-y stuff not raucous rock and roll. One of her sort of friends came with another buddy to hear her sing.

Now I know there is a difference between bars and concert halls. But you know what, no one came to hear you be a dick, so just sit down and shut up while the lady is singing. I mean really- this guy got drunk, started making noises during the songs and just being a pain in the ass. And I just don't get it. Why do people think it is ok to be a 12 year old school yard jerk whenever they drink a few beers? ick. It is seriously the worst part of being in the restaurant and bar business.

Anyway, the music was lovely and after Mr. Gator shushed the guy and then glared at him as only an ex-green beret can... things quieted down and a good night was had. But it does keep me wondering. Why aren't people raised right?

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Open Happy Thanksgiving Thread

Hope you had a bit of a fall feast in your corner of the world. Why not tell us all about it.

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Thanksgiving Journal

(Buttermilk pie)

it was a tough night because i was thirsty and i'd run out of all bottled water, juice, or even soda near my bed. bad planning. i'd been up and around the house earlier, pushed to my limit, and the idea of repeating a foray to hydrate seemed too much to bear. (try to get upright with major joint issues, wearing an abdominal binder and not using any abdominal muscles -- it's an olympic event.) i tried telling myself it was about self-love, but even that didn't work.

dry-mouthed, i began watching a pbs docu about the mamas and the papas, and got engrossed in spite of myself. i was struck by michelle philllips' mature appraisal of her strengths and weaknesses, and her unstinting affection for mama cass -- she called her "huge" with a humor that had no tinge of fat phobia. she deftly put paid to the "choked on a sandwich" canard about cass, and outlined the reasons why cass would have gone on to be a superstar had she lived.

(Mama Cass, Mary Travers and Joni Mitchell singing "I Shall Be Released", 1969)

i intended to watch the independent lens docu which followed called objectified, about design, made by the folks who made the excellent "helvetica", but I fell asleep. when i woke up four hours later, i had the will finally to get up and bring liquid back to my nest. i took my hydrocodone for the day, recklessly not saving it for a pain crisis -- i think it will be okay today. i plan to have human conversation, excellent food, and do some writing. it's a day off.

i couldn't eat my threadgill's chicken-fried steak last night; my capacity and appetite are very diminished, and i begin meals with what my body is most craving, which last night was tomatoes and cornbread. this morning after i was hydrated, the cold meat sounded appealing, so i had it for breakfast while watching the start of the parades on TV. to my surprise, dinah offered to share the meal with me. she typically is skeptical about humin fud but she remarked that any dish containing the names of TWO meats was worth a look-see. she approved. still couldn't finish it so will save the rest, although with the other food here, something will probably get thrown out before being eaten. i do have a slice of buttermilk pie (my all-time favorite) which WILL be eaten.

quick question: is anybody else around my age who DOESN'T have joint problems starting to have serious difficulty loosening bottle caps and jar lids?

aside from cass's soaring voice, what else is intruding into my thoughts is the PBS episode of "secrets of the dead" yesterday about the terrorist attacks on mumbai a year ago. i had mixed thoughts about trying to watch it, but now i can't recommend it highly enough. two different set of survivors, married couples, one of whom (an elderly turkish pair) went through unspeakable slaughter which splattered all around them, gave riveting firsthand accounts which ended, eventually, with a version of compassion for the ignorant, terrified young men who were controlled by a remote terror network into becoming tools of murder and suicide. it was so damned good to hear a detailed, NON-American take on terrorism. catch it if you can, and be ready to grieve in a productive manner.

i'm experimenting with a shareware program that will cartoonize and/or make line drawings of photographs. the one i'm trying for free, photo to cartoon, is adequate but i suspect i could eventually make use of a lot more bells and whistles. anyone out there have recommendations to make? i'm not a skilled graphics person and i use PCs, so those are limits to keep in mind. also it must be either free or low-cost; i'll definitely use it for blogging but i can't justify high expenditure for this, all the same.

okay, it's 10 a.m., i'm going to eat the pie now. my daughter worked for amy's ice cream when she was a teenager, and their employee T-shirt was the first place i saw the adage "life is uncertain. eat dessert first."

i'm past the point of dying young and leaving a beautiful memory. i'm planning for happy, meaningful old age instead. that's new, folk. time to turn off this idiotic parade, eat pie, and untie my brain.

(Maggie and mother Mary Jo in passport photo to India, 1956 -- cartoonized by Maggie)

[Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog]
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Acorn: a Lesson in History and Humor

Alternet has a great story today detailing the history of ACORN and efforts to help the poor.

The real purpose of the right's attacks on ACORN is to destroy a remarkably successful 50-year-old grassroots model for defending the poor and workers.- David Morris

Give it a read- I found it very illuminating.

Also if you want a laugh and you're a twitter-er go online and search for #acornfacts -- some very wonderful lefty bloggers are having a bit of fun giving Acorn the nefarious-and-ridiculous credit for the best and worst of human history. Stealing the thunder from the insane claims of the right. Very nice.

crosspost from FL
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Buffy v. Edward

Twilight New Moon has premiered in LA.

Are you an Edward or a Jacob? A Twi-Mom?

More importantly...
Don't you believe BUFFY would KICK EDWARD'S ASS?

Open Twilight Thread. Plus Buffy.

Spoilers okay. At this point everyone is assumed to have read ALL Twilight books. By all accounts New Moon (the movie) follows the book closely. If you don't want to be spoiled, don't read/comment.

H/T Salon: "Twilight" of our youth.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Atlantis (STS-129) Lifts Off November 16, 2009

Fly Baby, Fly!!!

This time we're up to bring LOTS and LOTS of heavy stuff, things which require the shuttle's cargo bays. There's going to be a 5-7 year gap as the new shuttle's come on line. During that time the International Space Station is going to be, well, kinda on its own with only what we with our supply rockets and other nations with their launch vehicles and supply rockets can get up there. But no one other than the United States has anything close to the Space Shuttle in pure terms of heavy lift, irregular shapes, or both combined. With our shuttle fleet down, the ISS is going to be very much at risk till our new launch vehicle comes on line, well into Obama's second term.

Therefore what Atlantis is doing this mission is bringing up heavy and oddly shaped pieces of machinery. Generators, tools to make tools, and so on. The stuff which simply can't be sent up any other way. With the intention that with all this stuff up there now, stored for the most part in vacuum outside until and unless needed, that it'll be enough to allow the station to pull through. I mean, they are UP IN SPACE, speeding along at 4-5 miles a second, roughly 500 miles above the earth making an orbit every 90 minutes. They can't step out to Lowes Hardware Store or call the plumber. Well, they can call the plumber but after the shuttles stop launching the plumber launches from Russia (or perhaps Japan) and it takes several weeks even in an emergency. Their alternative if they can't wait for the plumber to arrive, is riding the emergency escape docking ship back down to earth. *shudders*

As the footage of Monday's Atlantis liftoff cut off early -- stupid broadcast network -- I've included the below AWESOME footage of an Atlantis ride all the way to MECO in February 2008. It is quite simply the most amazing liftoff footage I've ever seen (even if the stupid broadcast anchor keeps trying to talk over the voice from the Cape/Houston.)The final 60-90 seconds as Atlantis hits MECO and breaks free from the fuel tank in the darkness of space lit only by its own engines and the reflection of earthlight -- the sun reflected off the quarter-earth visible in frame. An absolutely beautiful, compelling final moment as Atlantis breaks free of its tank and flies up, up and away, out of frame... and... cut.

Atlantis STS-122 - February 7, 2008

Ride Atlantis all the way to MECO.

The separation of Atlantis from the main tank is AWESOME. We have live video all the way through the separation. Un-fracking-believable. The most amazing space video liftoff footage I've EVER seen... and I've been building models of rocket ships since the Mercury Program. I personally built two scale Apollo's with working LEMs including the Lunar Module. (I had to. My sister [whom every time I start to curse at her over this, I force myself to remember I was very very young, and she is and always will be five years younger than I. *expletive deleted* And yes, I remember the deletions in Nixon's papers as well] The toughest part of building the models was applying the decals. They always wanted to bubble, warp, or end up slightly off center and tilted. Or *gasp*, torn. I hated the damn decals. I had an entire third Apollo V spaceship box which I had planned to keep till, well, till now, really. However somewhere in the midst of the roughly 70-80 different households I've lived in in my life, probably 65 of those since I hit 10, the box and contents got crushed, flooded, burnt, lost, domestic or wild animal wrecked it, moving damage, thrown out accidentally, thrown out purposefully by someone other than I who didn't know its value, insert your own reason here. Grrrr.) Whatever.

The point is I know my rides to orbit. This one is AWESOME.

Watch the footage. Dream.

Human beings are orbiting our planet right now. Damn.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Remembering Steve and Celebrating Life

As I threatened after last Gilly day where some members of our community remembered and marked Steve's Death, again-- From here on out I am going to celebrate his Birthday!

Steve Gilliard was born on 11/13/1964. Somewhere out there I imagine him toasting to life for his 45th Birthday.

Love you Steve and thank you for all you did for me, for the progressive blogosphere and for so many people in American and elsewhere.

Email me if you would like to donate to the 2010 Steve Gilliard Award for Journalism in honor of this auspicious day.

Everyone Raise a glass this weekend, "A toast to your fiercely lived life!"

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

President's Fort Hood Memorial Speech

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Focus, Trinity

(Bill David Barnett, age 2.5, and Maggie, age 5, trailer park in Pecos, Texas, summer 1961)

Today my little brother Bill would have turned 51.

Which means he's been dead almost 9 years. Can't quite understand that.

He was waiting for health insurance to kick in at his new job: We'd watched how medical costs had starved our family when we were kids. So instead of being saddled with a "pre-existing condition", he lay down alone on that green-and-white striped couch and watched TV as a heart attack rolled on into cardiac tamponade and he bled out into his chest.

Universal health care for every human being, no questions asked, without profit linked to medical choices. Now. Get rid of any leader who caves, no matter what other distractions they toss up. The alternative is ongoing pointless death.

[Cross-posted at Meta Watershed.]
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Sunday, November 8, 2009


“Awwwww folks, you just hate to see that kind of thing happen...not!

I believe...yes, I'm almost certain that it was a British poet of some renown from the latter 20th century who famously and through wasp-stung lips howled “You Can't Always Get Whatcha' Want”. It was a simple mantra. One that we, the little people, common folk have always known to be so. It is not a chiller of dreams, but rather a simple statement that sometimes, a grand plan will come asunder like so much sodden tissue paper in spite of one's mightiest efforts to succeed. These things happen sometimes “just because”—maybe the “karma” isn't right...or the timing is a little bit off. And other times it's a direct result of something the desirous person has done or said that dashes the opportunity...a seemingly unrelated statement or deed(s) so ugly and so damning that when the dreamer's chance comes around and he or she must be deemed worthy or not by peers—that ruling is often...well, “not”.

Of course, if you proudly leave a tornado-like wake of destruction behind you—millions of people meanly defamed simply because they are differently colored than you, or are less-abled than you, are a different gender or are differently sexually inclined than you, then you dramatically increase the odds that down the road a piece, said ugly sentiments and deeds will be recalled and considered by those beyond you who hold sway over your dream's coming to fruition.

Bluntly put, there is often a price for a lifetime of assholery.

To which I say, 'Hello, Rush! Nice to see ya'. Enjoy that virtual “fantasy” football team of yours, because that's about as close to “owning” an NFL team as sane folks'll let you get.

Thus was the tale of Mr. Limbaugh's doomed, would-be co-ownership of the St. Louis Rams. His nearly three decades worth of vile and incendiary statements, stands, and stunts were weighed when it came time for him to try and move away from the sordid ghetto of batshit talk radio he helped build and perpetuate. A ghetto where he is the soiled and stinking “King”. It turns out the neighborhood beyond (NFL Team Ownership-ville) where he wanted that second house deemed him undesirable and would not let him move in. There is a delicious irony in that metaphor's working against him, when you consider the numerous exclusionary and flat-out racist blatherings that have oozed from his fat head over the years. And his anger over some of the rough remarks being bandied about under his byline not being his is equally laughable. It's a dodge. Note that his squall wasn't 'I've never said anything racist!', but rather 'I didn't make the racist statements a few people have attributed to me in recent days!' His mewling about oppression and some sort of denial of his rights has been an exceptionally sweet treat—especially when one recalls his recent circus-elephant dancing when President Obama's lobbying of the International Olympic Committee to grant Chicago the right to host the 2016 Olympics went for naught.

Ol' barnacle-bottom could sure enough deal it out then, huh?

“You know, human beings are human beings, they have jealousies. This is the IOC's show, it wasn't The Obama Show. They came over there, they tried to hijack the whole thing and the IOC bitch slapped them. It's no more complicated than that.”

“Sigh!” You've just gotta love his “entertaining” use of violent, misogynistic language (Um...“bitch-slap”? Really?) in his little post-Olympic-diss end-zone dance there, dontcha'? But, to take the ol' football metaphor a wee bit further (“chortle!”) down the field, the problem when you dance in the end zone at another team's expense is that sooner or later—and in this case, pretty much on the next Goddamned play, you're going to have to eat a touchdown against you and endure a mocking dance or two at your own expense.

Homeboy has if you've noticed, not taken it well, kids.

He's railed about the unfairness of it all, being dropped from the Rams' buyers' consortium and bleating like a sheep at the abbatoir door about lies set against him (Actually, Limbaugh whining about “lies” against him is like the master burglar complaining to his landlord to put extra locks on his apartment's door 'cause some thief might break in'). How he's being witch-hunted and and McCarthy-ized. A couple of his more abraded-knuckled pals have dared trot out the Dallas/Dynasty-era chestnut of his being a victim of...yes, a 'High-Tech Lynching'. He's even threatened to take the considerable moolah he was going to sink into the team's purchase and by cracky, sue those vile scalawags who besmirched his integri-fucking-ty!

Please...those ducats have already been re-allocated for his next five sex-tours of faraway places where the chickies don't know him and thus won't immediately puke upon his sweaty-browed introduction. And does he really, really want people looking even a little bit closely at the known record of the awfulness he is lead-pipe-cinch documented as spewing? Really?

His anger over this smackdown is interesting though, and...if you know anything at all about him historically, pretty easy to explain.

Number one, he's a frustrated jock, who played the old “if you can't do it, talk about it” bit of wish fulfillment to the ever-lovin' hilt. He hitched his lead-filled caboose to professional sports as a broadcaster of little renown (after a couple of Top 40 stints under such memorable monikers like “Rusty Sharpe” and “Jeff Christie”) and spent a lot of time cozying up to equally politically retrograde actual athletes. When that career fizzled out, he rolled into the world of political talk radio like a five-ton boulder, crushing everything in sight, and re-making the landscape—using a potent potpourri of hate, lies, ridicule, and a brash hyper-certainty that played to the angry rubes looking for a loudmouth leader to worship and rally their “Falling Down” anger around. It worked like magic, as he became wingnuttia's most prominent loudmouth leader in the media—his talk show at its peak pulling in close to 15 million lemming-lobed listeners per week. There were the so-called “books” he “wrote” of consciousness natterings transcribed from tape by his pals Johnny Fund and Joe Farah. Best-sellers, the sense that right-wing books have come to be known where they are “mayfly” classics that are born, flit madly about and then die with no legacy. He got rich off 'em as well as the radio show—super-quick and tried to parlay that “face made for radio” success into television success...

...Which being kind, did not work out quite as well.

Doing radio every day, he could sit on his considerable ass and pontificate for a while, and when he got tired, simply go to an hour's worth of filler—a.k.a. sycophantic calls from atrophy-brained fans squealing ego-fellating “megadittoes” at him. No such chance on T.V. He had a live audience, but as is the case with live TV audiences, if they weren't as they say, “feeling him” he could not count on them eating from his hand like his AM Radioslaves. In fact, they were quite capable of going rogue and chewing his pudgy hand down to a nub. What's more, he didn't translate well beyond radio as he looked exactly like a three-dimensional caricature of what you'd expect of a stuffy, harrumphing, conservative scold. His show was a wingnut proto-“Daily Show”—minus all the funny, and a likable host that is.

And back to radio it was for El Rushbo—and there he has stayed ever since—which is the root of his present frustration.

Ambition...ohhhhhhh, sweet ambition...can be a kick in the mother-fucking nads, especially when said ambition outstrips what you bring to the table in terms of talent, or class. He tired pretty quickly of being boss fly atop the right-wing talk radio turd-pile. But his raging hate and willingness to say the wildest things imaginable has locked him right-damn-there. Much as an asset as he may be to the politicos he pimps (he does get their message out), there has been nothing over all these years they could do to grow him past his tinny-speakered boundaries. There appears to be no self-selected second act for him. No page turn or broadening (pun unintended)—remember the failed “Monday Night Football” color booth gig he imploded on himself thanks to his Donovan McNabb tirade? He's much too toxic to actually move from behind his supposedly gold-plated microphone into politics and succeed, like his liberal arch-nemesis and fellow talk radio-er / now U.S. Senator Al Franken did. (And if you think that little power-move didn't rankle the hell out of him, I have a never-ridden, wild, magical unicorn to sell you. Cheap!)

This is a guy who in spite of his claims of brilliance, self-congratulatory bluster, and power of influence—albeit far more limited than he would care to admit—cannot get beyond the simple reality of what he actually is, namely the very popular afternoon-drive guy who takes over the egg crate-lined studio just after the jock from “Hee-Haw” signs off.

What's super-ironic about his abbreviated, attempted NFL team ownership is the way the whole deal's collapse held fast to the hard-line Rush-ian principles of free-marketeering. He was brought into the Ram's potential ownership group by Dave Checketts, former NY Knicks GM and stealth God-Squadder whose mounting series of faith and self-serving moves helped drive Coach Pat Riley out of town and damaged the team for a decade (i.e. Moves like penning the gutless, holy-rolling goofball Allan Houston to the worst and most team-crippling long-term contract in NBA history). As soon as the heat came down from all circles about Limbaugh's past lunacy, Checketts and his consortium did what any business group would do—they ruthlessly carved out the cancer that was damaging their chances at acquiring the desired commodity and kept on steppin' on. Limbaugh got the boot because he was a liability, a stumbling block and yes, an undesirable in a circle he assumed he would be a favored son in—the steadfastly wingnutteous ownership supermajority in the NFL. Now that's a hell of a thing, being told you are far too right-wing by a group that gave money to McCain over Obama to the tune of a three-to-one ratio but that's exactly what they did, jail-shanking the fat-cat dream of the wannabe baller / shot-caller, Rush.

But how did that happen, considering his near-fellow owners share maybe ninety-percent of his cave-spawned views? Well, the little thing ol' Rushie forgot was that the NFL wasn't like his beloved NASCAR, where the ownership and the performing talent were on the same page politically and culturally. The NFL while almost one-hundred-percent wingnut owned has a performing talent group that is a touch over sixty percent Black—with an exploding number of that sixty-plus percent at the once-exclusive, good-ol'boy cherished position of quarterback. This was a bottom-up “revolt” with the usually feckless players and their union spine-ing-the-hell-up and while not calling for a straight boycott or on-field protests, made it very clear to anyone who would listen that they were EXTREMELY displeased at the possibility of the likes of Limbaugh entering the ownership club—an unprecedented bit of mutiny and a P.R. nightmare for the game itself. In a league where players choreograph personal post-touchdown / sack performances with the precision of Hollywood special effects teams—with no input or real ability for the league brass to stop them, the potential for a supremely embarrassingly series of brass-balled, public call-outs against Limbaugh would have given the game such a black eye and called further attention to Rush's hateful crazy that it would have probably superceded the the 1968 Olympics “Black Glove / Black Power” medal podium protest firestorm.

This was not something NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his network partners at Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN/ABC were willing to risk.

Rush forgot it wasn't the fifties / early sixties anymore, when his sort proudly strode the NFL ownership landscape like armor-plated, walnut-brained stegosauruses, where you had folks like the odious former owner of the Washington Redskins, George Preston Marshall, the not-quite-crypto-bigot whose racist sentiments and enforced bigoted policy manifested itself in team-destructive on-field decisions, and who as a charter franchise owner, led the league's unspoken decade-and-a-half-long color barrier during the height of his powers.

He baited and arbitrarily punished Black players and got away with it—the league percentage of African Americans was between six to twelve percent post-WWII, and those few were still operating under 'Robinson's Rules of Rectitude'—a term we'll use here to describe the 'stoicism in the face of bigotry' style pioneered by baseball's Jackie Robinson, who'd only smashed big league sports' color line a touch over a decade before.

Marshall was the last of the red-hot n*gger-haters in the NFL brass, and last to integrate his team (in 1962!) post the wild successes of Black stars like Marion Motley, Rosey Grier and Jim Brown on other squads. (And pressure from league brass attuned to the upheaval in America circa the Civil Rights Movement) He wasn't the last racist—because they still exist in large numbers in the ownership ranks, but he was the obvious hold-out of the age where men of his sort still expected Black folks to jump in a muddy gutter before thinking to share a sidewalk with him. And once the league signed a national contract with network TV, such open embarrassments could no longer be tolerated. Marshall's ways—financially damaging ways that is—to the expanding league turned him into a pariah, and his fellow team owners simply waited him out until he sickened and died off.

Rush however, thanks to his daily slams at Blacks, women, and anything not fat, pink-skinned and wee-hung like himself is far more dangerous than the cantankerous, cracker-tastic ol' coot Marshall ever was. Marshall never had millions of drooling, snarling fools checking in for his craziness du jour and acting on said lunatic gospel. He was an institutional racist, not the rabble-rousing demagogue. This isn't to say that the back-room bigot is any better than the street-corner screecher, but in so-called “polite” society, the latter is an embarrassment simply not worth being associated with.

Rush was thrown under the bus by the powerful people who share his opinions and personally like him but just can't exactly be seen out and about with him.

“But baby...of course I love you! I-I just can't bring you 'round the neighborhood...for your own safety of course, you know.” (BEAT) “Oh might wanna know, wipe your mouth. You sorta got something on it there.”

It is from here, this sad relegation to 'fuckable but duckable' by his more urbane pals on the right that his recent anger springs. And sweet son-of-a-sea-cook has it ever! First the tirades against the press, the NFL Players Union, Al Sharpton and hell, probably the ghost spirit of Walter Payton in direct response to this smackdown. Then, realizing one would guess that 'What is, is what will probably always be' for him, that initial “snap” grand mal-ed itself into a deeper mental splintering. Add in the fact that cravenly, he probably feels he just has to step up the crazy to stay relevant, what with his having been blown past on the old cultural relevance-ometer by his “friend” Glenn Beck, who now savvily markets in tears what ol' Rushie once did with cigar-juice infused spittle. But perhaps...just perhaps, we're also witnessing the cumulative effects of the most recent series of “hits” he's absorbed—the drug arrest, the Michael J. Fox tremor debacle, McNabb-gate, the Viagra / Le Sex Tour's exposure, his party's falling from power (in spite of his best-laid plans—and if so, we're looking with deep and chuckle-worthy irony at a reality-concussed brain reacting the same way an over-tackled NFL player's brain does after years of blows against it...with wild, erratic mood swings, dementia, and self-destructive behavior.

It's one way I guess, in spite of losing out on the whole NFL ownership bag for dear, old Rush to stay connected to the game he so loves.

Let's dance to that “connection”, shall we?

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Diary 7 November 2009

(Westward IV screen shot)

In my e-mail today is an offer from Sandlot Games to pre-purchase the upcoming release of their game Westward IV for half-price. These folks already have my business for several reasons: They have equal or almost equal numbers of available heroines in a variety of races, classes, and body types (yes, fat heroines); they deal with historical realms but frequently contradict the white Western take on how things went down (though the Westward series is terrible about ignoring theft of First Nations territory); the action increasingly relies on smarts and cooperation as much as "battles"; and, thrillingly, the last release Tradewinds Odyssey had a small positive lesbian subplot written into one of the sequences. Now, the opening line of the blurb for Westward IV refers to the villainous railway owner as "patriarchal". Sign me up, kids. Pretty soon they'll be offering women-only vegan collectives who are fighting the criminal justice system and power-sex conflation.

Last night I watched a rather timely PBS Empires episode called "Holy Wars" about Salah Al-Din and his reconquest of Jerusalem during the Crusades era -- his decision to not slaughter or terrorize the Christian population made him a legend among Islamic and Arabic nations, but cut him no respect from the bloodthirsty Christianists of Europe. Like Bushies, they viewed compassion and respect for others as a sign of weakness.

When you have a nation (and city) where prevailing values are adherence to authority, a narrow and base-emotion definition of patriotism, and limited funding for "social" issues, internal violence will be the norm, not the exception.

Dinah finally left my immediate presence for a couple of hours to sleep, which I take as a sign of healing on her part. I'm still not sleeping more than a few hours at a stretch, related to pain. I myself sorted through some of my feelings last night with Martha, mostly having to do with being at the literal mercy of anybody who walked into my hospital room and having little room to say no or insist on autonomy. People think giving advice to those who are ill, pushing them to "do what's best", telling them stories about their own medical experiences or those of their friends & family, and/or generally assuming their thinking and decision-making is somehow impaired even in areas it is clearly not, are all manifestations of caring instead of actually simply being roadmaps to the advice-giver's own emotional blocks about what is going on -- i.e., "here's my difficulty with your difficulty, since you're lying there unable to get away or go find other resources, let me demand you deal with my difficulty right now". No wonder we can't think rationally about a simple health care plan, when we're all so bollixed up with panic about ever being truly sick and helplness ourselves.

Work on it, people. Work on it with each other, that's all I ask. Just like you work on your crap about brown people with other white folks, and your shit about women with other men.

Dinah has discovered the yellow "FALL RISK" bracelet from the hospital that I ripped off my wrist I got home and thinks it is a great toy.

My stamina is still so hammered, typing this much leaves my fingers trembling to the extent I have trouble keeping them in line with QWERTY. I guess I'm done for the time being, need to go lie down again. Dress your children in bright colors, not camouflage, and remember what Mark Twain said: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Futures, Declarations, Promises, Trust, and Betraying Teh Gay

Barack Obama in New Hampshire (Jan 4, 2008). Click for LARGE size.
photo Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.

What I Trust Obama For
(and why he gets NOTHING from me)

I don't remember if I contributed to Obama or not during the General election; I don't think I did but I may have, after the primary races were settled. Mostly my contributions went to key House and Senate races where I felt my money would have more of an impact.

I never kidded myself about Obama; it was always clear to me, and I always said to my readers at Group News Blog, even though it pissed off a solid 60-70% of them, that at best, Obama was a middle-of-the-road politician, that his campaign rhetoric was just that, slogans and feel-good imagery designed a) to get him elected (7.2% & 192 electoral points), and b) to let everyone place their own meaning on simple non-commitments without actually committing him or his future administration to any real positions. Further I said, the commitments he does make he will not interpret as actual promises but as declarations, as futures he intends to bring forth, but never as specific promises.

Obama doesn't make promises; that is not the way in which he speaks. The "Presidential Voice" is always that of Declarations, never that of Promises or even that of Assessments and Assertions (which as a former College Professor Obama is familiar with...except that when he went there, as he did a few times on the campaign trail -- *coughLevittown--Bittergatecough*, it got/gets him into trouble.)

Therefore Obama speaks in Futures, in Declarations. Any promises he makes must always be understood, be listened to inside the possible futures Obama is bringing forth in this moment, and like all futures, Obama knows that Futures are Probabilities, not certainties. Some Futures may be more probable than others. Some Futures may be strongly more likely, almost dead-certain. But in a moment, everything can change due to an unexpected event from a change in the market to an assassination to war or peace breaking out to a natural disaster. There are moments when certain Futures are possible and other moments when those Futures are not...and these moments are not under the control of anyone. Life comes at us as it comes. We can prepare; we can be in the moment ready to act. But Life, she just happens.

Obama -- and any student of history -- knows this in their gut. Thus Obama is ready, always, to dance from one set of possible futures to another set of possible futures, and is never truly committed to any one specific set. Instead he is looking in every moment to bring forth, to produce what he considers the best, the most open (in his world, what he considers "best" and open"), the best possible set of futures which fit HIS standards, given the circumstances and politics, the resources and the economics, the weather and the world situation and all that jazz, of THIS moment. Ten days, ten hours, ten months from now, Obama will be working to produce a different -- yet clearly related -- set of futures, which is related not just by the way the world and the political, economic, and all that jazz circumstances have changed, but also which is clearly related by Obama's commitment to his own standards,e.g.: none of his possible futures will allow television advertising of cigarettes, some will have public option health insurance and some will not, and likely only in very few of them will Obama ever do more than give lip service to civil rights for gay marriage or anything Teh Gay.

Why? Because Obama doesn't give a flying fuck for Gay Rights. Regardless of the words which come out of his mouth, the futures he declares, the soaring words he speaks, he and his administration and the DNC have made ZERO ACTIONS consistent with these futures. Thus, bullshit. Bullshit across the board.

Here's the good thing. This bullshit means we can trust Obama in this domain. No longer any need to get crazy about it. Seriously.

I trust Rush about gay rights as well. I trust that Rush will absolutely, given the opportunity, fuck me, fuck my daughters and son, fuck my mother, fuck my friends, and fuck everything I and my family and colleagues stand for in the domain of rights for people who are GLBT. Rush is absolutely trustworthy in that he WILL fuck all of us over given any opportunity in this domain. Even more, Rush will go out of his way to CREATE opportunities to fuck us when it comes to gay civil rights. He's a scorpion; he stings. It is who he is; it is what he does. I am not upset about this; it does not freak me out. I don't waste any time being crazy wondering where Rush stands or damming the Gods that Rush is this way. Water is wet, rocks are hard, Rush fucks teh Gay, and this is how it is. *shrugs* I trust completely that Rush is out to fuck me and act accordingly without it getting in the way.

After Maine, after this week's Fall 2009 election, I now know how to trust Obama with respect to Gay Rights. I have for myself -- and others will have to do this (or at least can do this) for themselves -- clearly separated the Declarations of possible Futures Obama keeps making (his speaking), from the Actions (his doing) that he and the entities he is accountable keep making.

Obama -- just like Rush -- I say, is absolutely trustworthy. Obama is a) trustworthy not to screw us, that is, he won't fuck us over. This first part is fairly weak. He'd give this one up and actually screw us over if need be. So best not to rely on this one too strongly. None the less, at least for now, Obama is trustworthy to not actively screw us. More importantly, Obama is also b) trustworthy to do nothing. This is for what he can be primarily counted on. No matter what Obama says, no matter what promises Obama makes or futures he invents, proclaims, or declares beautifully, Obama's actions over time lead me to be certain what Obama is trustworthy to do and all Obama is trustworthy and count-on-able to do in the domain of GLBT civil rights is nothing. We can count on Obama and groups under his control, when it comes to gay civil rights, to do jack-shit. Obama is trustworthy for that. You and I do not need to suffer or worry about what the President and DNC will do; we now have sufficient history that we can trust them...they will do—nothing. Period. Full stop.

Seriously, it is good to know this. Truly. It means we don't need to suffer trying in vain to get them to do something. It means we don't get upset afterward due to unfilled expectation having thought the folks who claimed we could count on would do something (and then they did it poorly, not at all, or screwed it up so badly one might suspect they sold us out intentionally) or should have done something.

See, it is truly silly to be upset at someone for not doing something or expecting someone to do something, when the grounded interpretation/assessment about them is, they are trustworthy for doing nothing. *laughs* So they did nothing... well Duh... Nothing is PRECISELY what they were trusted to do. I would never be upset at Rush for doing nothing. (Or at a cow for shitting in its stall. Cows shit. Have you ever seen a big pile of cow shit? [Click on photo at link to enlarge. *grins*] People make enormous sums of money dealing with cow shit. But first (to make the big bucks) you have to accept that cow shit is natural for the cow and part of life for the rancher.) Obama (in the domain of civil rights for gay people) is trustworthy to do—nothing. Rush... Hell, I'd be happy if that fuck did nothing. Because what Rush is trustworthy for is to fuck us over.

Upsets come when from unfulfilled expectations, thwarted intentions, and undelivered communications. In this case we primarily have unfulfilled expectations (the expectation that Obama would do what he promised/declared), which when done would handle the intent (which is thwarted and now, continues to be.) But the intent is a secondary thing. Communications are being delivered just fine, but positively and negatively. The upset here comes from the unfulfilled expectation.

That there is an expectation at all is because we -- you, me, everyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, has a family member, a friend or loved person, colleague, or is in any way committed to the success of the GLBT community -- have been expecting the Obama team to deliver. We have believed they were trustworthy in the declarations and promises they made. Now we know better.

Knowing Obama, the administration and the DNC are trustworthy to do nothing, means that if I expect anything to be done, I know it's going to be other entities -- perhaps even my daughters and I -- who get the job done, as just happened in Washington State where my daughter and her pals worked their asses off campaigning. And won! Go Kyle, go her buddies. Good fracking job!!! Most of all, I know NOT to give a fracking penny, dime or dollar to Obama or the DNC. Because I do not EVER fund people who don't have my back. Not funding people who fail to support my goals is simple common sense.

I stopped funding NOW when they backed that slimeball Joe L. for reelect in CN, those gunkies, as well as writing off the DNC who sucked his ass while he crapped all over them. (And look how well it paid off; he's about to take a big steaming dump on all of us with the Health Care bill. Well done, Democratic Leadership. Good work.)

Now I know also to not fund Obama, even if he is the leader of my Party, as well as still to keep not funding the DNC. Again, why? Because they don't have our backs; they look at me and mine as vending machines. Screw them and their corporate donors whose teats they suck. What is now clear is Obama, the administration and the DNC would rather dance with corporate donors and try to get religious conservatives to vote for them (who won't, ever) than keep their word given in battle to the heart and soul of the Democratic party. Believing we have nowhere else to go, they are trustworthy to write off GLBT people, their familes, and the people who support them. Writing us off is up to them.

This is what is up to us...

I am not going to waste my energy or emotions getting angry or mad. To do so would be to damage who I am. I'm stronger and wiser than to waste myself getting angry with Obama and the fools he has advising him how to sell out his soul. Instead of getting angry, I'm simply walking away from Obama, the administration, the DNC, and everyone associated with them. I am going to donate my money, my time, and organize and blog, campaign and write, and give as much of myself, my family, my resources and energies as possible to people who DO have our backs, to people who are trustworthy down in the trenches. *waves to Al Franken and Alan Grayson*

I'm also going to tell everyone precisely why Obama and the DNC are on my shit list... because they are trustworthy to promise one thing, while doing another. They say they support Teh Gay, but what they really want is Gay Money while doing jack-shit for civil rights for ALL Americans. Fuck that, fuck them, fuck this.

Obama and the DNC get NOTHING from me -- no cash, no support, no good press, no volunteering, nothing -- till they not only speak great declarative Futures (which they're great at doing) but until they cease the hypocrisy -- UNTIL THEIR ACTIONS ARE COMPLETELY CONSISTENT WITH THEIR DECLARATIONS, WHEN IT COMES TO GLBT CIVIL RIGHTS, OBAMA AND THE DNC GET NOTHING FROM ME.

*smiles sweetly*

Trust is an assessment, grounded in Competence and Sincerity. 

Let me give you that again...

Trust is an assessment, grounded in Competence and Sincerity. The Obama administration's declarations (and promises) regarding gay civil rights are competent; they are not sincere nor were they made in sincerity. People and organizations who make declaration/promises from a place of competence while intentionally making insincere promises/declaring futures to which they are not committed, are assessed as CRIMINAL with respect to that domain of declaration and promises.

Why everyone is SO FREAKING PISSED at Obama regarding all this is simple. It is clear he and his team have intentionally used the Gay Community to raise campaign money for himself with no intention of fulfilling his campaign promise. This is a CRIMINAL act. Perhaps not legally (although perhaps), but absolutely socially. Barack Obama personally, and the Obama administration as a whole, have intentionally and deliberately violated, breached, betrayed their word, after already collecting -- repeatedly -- enormous campaign contributions which were given in exchange for the promise that Obama WOULD make gay civil rights a major priority, that he, Obama, would personally get this handled. And now we see it was all a lie. *sighs*

Obama took our community money and got himself elected. California was not possible, not possible without television commercials which would have cost (forced) Obama's campaign to (have to) pull TV spots and other major media buys from all over the country...which would have cost him electoral votes, and who knows what might have happened then without A-Gay Money and old-school Hollywood Support, hmmm? Plus every other GLBT flat-out breaking their piggy-banks open for Obama because he PROMISED a whole new world. He PROMISED.

We now know the Candidate, now President, made us a flat out CRIMINAL lie, a betrayal. (We won't get into parsing the other distinctions of how breaking a promise settles out. Just know that if someone is competent and insincere, linguistically people assess that kind of lie as CRIMINAL. Think Dick Cheney or Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon. Criminal betrayers, both of them. Competent liars, yet insincere in the promises/declarations they made.)

I trust the Obama Administration to do nothing for teh Gay. *shrugs* The made a cold-blooded determination it was less costly for them politically to take our money and do nothing than to take our money and keep their word. They lied and did so knowingly to over one-tenth of all Americans, said "Fuck You..." You're not even as valuable as 3/5ths of as an American. But please... we want your money and your vote.

It's a political calculus of the coldest kind. They figure we have nowhere else to go. Plus they've already got our money. Obama's already in office. What, they think, are we going to do? Throw a fit? Tell our Senators and Congresspeople to vote against the White House position on all the other bills we want? Piss on our own (well-tailored) shoes?

Obama thinks he's got our money and our votes and in addition, has managed to screw us over in broad daylight, thus gaining votes with middle America. (You know whose strategy this was. But Obama went along and he's the President, not Rahm.)

Until Obama, the administration, and the DNC stop talking about change and actually ACT on the change the promised, not one dime, not one bit of campaign support, nothing. We are DONE.

If they want me to trust them to something, they need to change their actions. But for right now, I trust them to do...


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Thursday, November 5, 2009


(Maggie and Nilmoni cropped from larger photo, 1958 Kolkata, India)

Too long for Twitter, again: Dinah prowled and wailed every half hour all night long. I'd call to her and she'd come at a trot, need extensive contact to stop vocalizing. I had an endless fount of reassurance. I can hardly take in how painful this separation must have been for her. Finally, mid morning, she slept on my chest and then slept two feet away on the bed. Whenever I noticed her eyes opening, I'd tell her how much I love her, need her, missed her.

I found a long-lost cat toy near my bed, which nearly broke my heart -- I can imagine her trying to bring it to me, only to remember I was gone. We played with it for a while. Also have had regular dispensing of treats. Despite her food bowl being empty, she's not lost weight, and she's eaten from the refilled bowl but not ravenously. I think she figured out the big bag of cat food here by my desk was not sealed tight and helped herself, which is a relief.

Early afternoon the news about the shootings at Fort Hood broke into Rachael Ray locally and I followed that off and on, except when KBH or Chris Matthews were on the screen. I can't access wifi in my bedroom on my little netbook and don't have a cord to reach into my study where my main PC is, but at the moment the solitude -- or rather, being alone with Dinah -- is still an enormous pleasure. I need to sleep and dream a lot more. Scenes from Ginny Bates, past and not yet written, keep breezing through my head. They are some kind of palate cleanser for the hospital experience, I think.

I am lucky as Myra (the main character based on me in Ginny Bates, who wins the lottery as well as love). I know much of my luck has faces, names, heartbeats. I am reminded of the poem by my bed, written about in a post of mine at Meta from March 2008:


The darkness lifts, imagine, in your lifetime.
There you are - cased in clean bark you drift
through weaving rushes, fields flooded with cotton.
You are free. The river films with lilies,
shrubs appear, shoots thicken into palm. And now
all fear gives way: the light
looks after you, you feel the waves' goodwill
as arms widen over the water; Love

the key is turned. Extend yourself -
it is the Nile, the sun is shining,
everywhere you turn is luck.

(by Louise Glück, from The House on Marshland)

(Dinah above my computer, May 2005)
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Going Home Today

(Mary Jo Atkins Barnett and Maggie, 1955, passport photo for going to India)

When I woke up from the RT shakiing my shoulder at 7 a.m., the Roches were singing in my head "We're going away to Ireland soon" with muted glee. It's been three weeks today since I was admitted, and I cannot account for a lot of that time. My Narrative has defiinitely been interrupted. A lot of memories wade in and out like scenes from a bad 60's "message movie".

Everytime I think about getting out of here, my chest relaxes a little and I breathe better. It will be hellishly hard on my own but no one will be opening my front door without my choice, and no more small talk, which is to conversation as WalMart is to small town main street commerce. Pajamas and keyboard, that's enough for me. (grin)

One thing that has emerged as my attention returned is that my attraction to folks who are looking for a place to tell their troubles has spread up and down the hall, apparently. I'm a better listener than I am storyteller, but at home I have a stopcock to control who dips into my well. Yesterday I earnestly told Erlinda, the tech of techs, how much everyone here admires her quick learning and leadership. She was clocking out for the day, but stayed at my bedside for half an hour to tell me what it was like raising her three abandoned nieces the past 9 years. Honestly, it's a tale I'm honored to have heard, altered my appreciation for others ever upward -- but what is it I do that inspires others to confide in me? In Erlinda's case, I wanted to hear. Otherwise, I am not even watching the daily reruns on cable of "Grey's Anatomy" -- my own body and midstream ordeal is swallowing the lion's share of my focus right now, and as Stuart Smalley would say, "That's okay."

Yesterday as I was warshing up (as one tech says it), I examined the altered corpus Maggie carefully. The blown IV sites and JP drain scab will go away entirely, I think. But the contours of my front are permanently rearranged -- large capstone bulge gone, everything listed to the right, and a wicked ruck from just below my breasts through my navel like the Hayward Fault when viewed from Mount Diablo. There'll be no problem saying "Yep, that's her" if I wind up mangled on some CSI slab.

Surgeons go directly to the source of an issue and tend not to deal with the aftereffects. This is seen as more efficient, as all versions of Henry Ford compartmentalization are now revered as most productive. I always question this ethic but especially now, as I hear the muttered resentment techs have toward nurses (who say "call a tech" for ass wiping) and the sullen obeisance nurses display toward doctors who breeze in and out far more obliviously than even the most gritty TV drama depicts. When we added making a profit to the work of caregiving -- and especially Reagan's permission to be greedy as an America ethic -- we created the monster that our government is currently too feckless to tame.

Thanks to Jill Cozzi, by the way, for reminding me of the excellent meaning of that word, feckless.

In contrast, a Quaker man, Sean Carroll, is arranging for a CarShare to get me home after my discharge today, since he doesn't own a vehicle. He's already done all the shopping I need to be safe-ish at home , except for the correct size diapers, which will arrive via FedEx tomorrow -- although at least 1/3 of all American women weigh 200 lb. or more, this hospital doesn't stock diapers that go beyond that size, nor would they research finding them for me. Thank g*d I was alert enough and able to get online to meet my own basic dignity needs.

You know, lesbian-feminism of the early 1970s is where I first encountered the concept of political correctness, and it's never been a joke to me. At bedrock, political correctness is about striving to express respect and kindness according to cultural values which may vary from the ones you were raised with. Respect, privacy, pluralism: arch enemies of the fear-based Right.

I don't know why, but for the last 24 hours a particular memory has been popping into my head, as it did just now. It's my first memory, and occurred when I was around one year age. We were living in Kolkata and I was out for the day with Nilmoni, my ayah. We were in what my mother called a rickshah, which was in fact a horse-drawn cart with a single horse. We turned into a street clogged with a mob. Nilmoni began shouting at the cart driver to get us out of there, but we were already being surrounded and horses have to be turned, there is no reverse gear. I was in her lap, held tight, and she put one hand over my face to block my vision. I tugged at her fingers ineffectually, then discovered if I opened my eyes I could see between her slightly spread fingers. I went still, watching with interest.

The crowd was all Indian, which was normal to me, I thought I was too. It was all male, and they were angry, but I wasn't worried because I was with Nilmoni. They were holding aloft, above their outstretched arms, two items: a round of bread and a man, passing them toward one side of the street. The man was struggling, wild-eyed, shirtless. It was intriguing to see an adult passed around as easily as I was.

At the side of the street was a two-story building with outside stairs to an upper landing. The stairs had no railing but the landing had a wooden frame around it. A rivulet of the mob swirled up the stairs and the flailing man was passed upward from arm to arm. Someone on the landing had a rope which was tied to the porch. As the man reached the landing, the other end of the rope was knotted around his neck. With a roaring surge, matched by Nilmoni's shrieks at our cart driver, the shirtless man was thrown over the railing in a small arc. He slammed against the side of the building and a seond later reached rope's end. He scrabbled frantically at the stucco wall with fingernails and feet to find a purchase. Before he could, our cart finally turned out of view. I tried to turn my head to watch but Nilmoni held me fast.

I didn't understand what had happened, and there is no negative emotion in this memory, only excitement about curious adult behavior. It is vivid -- the bright sun with dust in the air, hoarse shouting, Nilmoni's smell, and the look on the face of the shirtless man, his dark sweaty skin and the visible ribs on his torso. Years later, when I was six or so, I began telling my mother about the memory to ask her what it all meant; I thought of it often. She sat down heavily in her kitchen chair, her face horrified, repeating "My god, my god."

She knew the incident. Nilmoni had told her about it when we got home that day. They were both reassured by their belief I hadn't seen anything, and did not want to discuss it with me. Mama said the man was from the untouchable class, still a strong practice in 1956, and he had stolen the round of bread.

Now I have two versions of the memory, my original and the unspeakable horror of what actually occurred as Mama gently explained it to me later.

Sorting out this cacophony we call life takes up all our time. I'm going away to Ireland soon, will be home tonight, and can resume my sift in solitude. Aching, incontinent, exhausted, in a mess of a house, but with just me and Dinah to accommodate. There is peace and wonder to be found in any situation, even death, they tell us. I'll write again as soon as I can.

The Roches singing "The Troubles" in 1983

[Cross-posted at Meta Watershed.]
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Cheney and the F.B.I.

I Don't Know Nuthin'

'bout no Valerie Plame stuff...

I don't know nuthin' bout no talking with the press...

I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no goddamned babies....

I do know that Congress, 'specially that Leahey chump, can go fuck theyselves.

How long will we stand to listen to this absolute contempt for our laws, our freedoms, and our very way of life? He is, and has for most of his public career viewed that things like law and simple human decency are for the "little people."

Not big important sons of bitches like himself.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Morning Maggie Jochild Update

Three Items

1. Maggie's using Twitter.


that is

to post updates.

She says "I can manage 140 characters."

Her Twitter feed is totally worth reading. She's a poet, right? She gets a LOT into her 140 characters. *smiles*

2. Maggie probably won't be discharged today.

At the moment from reading the orders the Fill-In Doctor has left, it appears Maggie will not be discharged till at least tomorrow. We believe (but don't know for certain) that Good Doctor will be back tomorrow. Good Doctor is the one who has been standing up for Maggie.

Her physical strength gets stronger day by day. No matter when she gets discharged, going home will be very very hard. She will endure and survive; it is what she does.

3. We still need to raise $1500 (or more); we just have to see.

Maggie's Binder, a device she wears around her entire abdomen and back in order to keep the surgical incision from coming open, which makes it DAMN difficult to do many ordinary functions (as the Binder goes WAY up almost over one's ribs and down low to the bottom of the lower belly thus leaving one's entire middle in a splint) which means for the next two months Maggie will not just have big difficulty, pardon me, cleaning herself after using the bathroom, but she'll also find it difficult to sit up straight to use the computer (her little Netbook is different, and no, her work software won't load on her Netbook), to walk through her apartment to put away food or cook a meal, or any of the basics of life. She can lie down; she can prop against some pillows; with difficulty she can turn over. She can NOT ever ever ever put any fracking strain on her abdomen. At all. Or she might (literally) find her guts all over her bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen floor.

Thus DME (Durable Medical Equipment) for rails on her bed, rails in the bathtub, a higher toilet seat, and much other stuff. Maggie will need enormously higher quality food than she can usually afford (her regular food budget is $140 per month; yes, seriously. If you've ever had a meal or even a meal for two that cost $140 or more not including booze, raise your hand. Look around. Notice that over 80% of our readers have their hand raised. Thank you. Okay, put your hands down please.) and more medicines than she normally can afford (at best she can maybe afford $10 in generics per month plus another $10 in OTC medicine. That's on a good month. The rest of the time she goes without and suffers. I who have health insurance -- and I complain about my prescription drug copays -- pay about $120-150 per month on average for prescription drugs (which I must have or I'd be in the hospital or dead or unable to work and then in the hospital and then dead; like in the same situation as Maggie, so poor I'd be absolutely fucked plus pain beyond compare from the lack of meds... Most likely I'd end up, well, let's not even go there. *shudders*) Some months I pay $200-250 if I get extra sick or the doctors want me to try something new. The retail price of the medicines is around $2500-3500, I'm not certain; I've never really checked because the most I ever pay for a drug is $50, most are either $5 or $25. And being in the upper-middle class I can afford them.) Maggie will need cab rides to visits with her doctors, physical therapists, x-ray examinations on the surgery, at least some of which she'll likely have to pay for in cash as there's no way her Medicare will have come through by then. (We're working out how to pay for these services but some of them don't look good; if we can't pay for them it may be she'll just do without if we don't raise the money... which is how we got into this mess in the first place.)

Bottom line, we still need to raise much more money for Maggie.

My request is that folks subscribe, that is commit to a monthly amount via PayPal of $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, mix and match. Or you can go to Meta Watershead and in the top right corner, hit the Donate button with any amount for a one-off donation. At Meta the Subscription buttons are also there for $5 to $10 monthly, to $20 or $50 a month, and for a number of you, $100 or $200 a month.

A choice: If you're choosing between a one-off donation of $50 or less and a subscription of any amount, please go with the subscription. What, huh? It's simple, really. We'd much rather have the certainty of knowing Maggie can count on that amount from you,  even if it's only a large cup of Starbucks cappuccino or a dinner out. Or maybe a dinner out for two. *smiles* The reliability of being able to trust the subscription in the months to come means much more than a larger one-off donation now. It means stability. It means knowing Maggie has her bills paid every month. It means cash-flow.

Speaking of cash-flow, frankly the present-value of a smaller subscription over time is MUCH less to you than a really big one-off donation now. Now obviously we'd love for you to make a big subscription (don't kid yourself; feel free to subscribe to those $100 and $200 buttons, that's why they're there. I and I think two other people are on the $200/mo subscription. Plus I made additional donations every month.) but we're cool if you don't. What we're saying first is that the present-value to YOU is better if you give less each month than if you dig really deep and make a one-time really big donation. Plus that way you get to keep all that interest till PayPal sends whatever the amount is off to Maggie.

From our point of view, a bunch of monthly subscriptions means we can all breath a little easier knowing each month isn't a scramble for Maggie to survive financially. (And yeah, we've applied for all the various financial aid programs, federal, state and even local, but it's going to take at least half a year for them to kick in, and that's assuming all goes well. We have this on good authority from the financial aid/social worker at the hospital Maggie's in whose job it is to get this aid for people.) So for now, y'all... we ...are everything Maggie has financially.

Thus, from two and a half weeks ago until we reach whatever the financial goal turns out to be, $4,000 or a bit more (and we're just not sure yet; ye Gods how I wish we were) what there is is for me to ask you... Please:

Please reach out for Maggie. Step up and make a monthly subscription: $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, or jumble them as you wish.

Your generosity to date has been overwhelming. Not just with money, but with your good wishes, with people offering to help -- we have one person running errands in Austin, y'all have donated not one but two Netbooks (and maybe a third, not sure yet) and we're still figuring what to do with the extra one, and most of all your heart in being there, talking to Maggie on multiple blogs and emails blows me away.

She, and I love all of you so much, are so deeply moved by who you are and what you are doing to help her. As a group of people and as individuals you have really stepped up. You amaze me; you inspire me. Thank you for the gift you have been, and for the gift and contribution you continue to be to Maggie. I honor you for who you are and for the difference you make. Maggie is alive and getting better each day and it would not have happened without her friends and all of you being the difference in her life. Thank you for being you and for loving one another.

Every religion has some version of the Golden Rule. You my precious readers and friends, are living examples of how both the Practice of spirituality and the Golden Rule are designed to work on the ground. The Blessings of the Gods on each and all of you, your families, loved ones, and those with whom you work and associate.

Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog.

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Happy New Year

(Trail through grass, photo by R. Planck -- my current desktop image.)

In the house of long life
there I wander.
In the house of happyness,
there I wander.
Beauty before me,
with it I wander.
Beauty behind me,
with it I wander.
Beauty below me,
with it I wander.
Beauty above me,
with it I wander.
Beauty all arround me,
with it I wander.
In old age traveling,
with it I wander.
On the beautiful trail I am,
with it I wander.

In the culture of the majority of my ancestors (Scots, Welsh, Irish), today is the New Year. Here in Central Texas, it is Dia de Los Muertos. Since I am bound and cannot go even to Friends Meeting, I am repeating the Dine morning prayer to myself and contemplating the treat of a bagel for brex. If they'll let me have it and if it comes with a schmear. Onion or garlic if I'm very lucky.

I was at Shungopovi for the Antelope Dances the last time I spoke with my mother. I camped on Second Mesa and had to drive a ways to find a phone to call her. Something unexplainable happened that day at the dances; I try to write about it but can't tell it right. The next day I went to Canyon de Chelly, and the following afternoon she died in the blink of an eye, finally having escaped my tether.

I don't know the connection yet, but since awakening that old Alix Dobkin song "OKOY" has been playing in my head:

Maybe time alone will soothe our bones
And clo-o-ose the wounds

I'm angry that I don't have the language of my ancestors, maybe Gaelic has tenses or vocabulary to tell the stories lodged in me. I'm angry at how far the the edge I slid, toward my mama and brother's path despite swearing to myself (and Martha) that I would not. I'm angry that my values and choices mean poverty in this culture, and that poverty is not simply limiting but interpreted by institutions and much of Christianity (founded by a man who chose poverty) as dishonorable.

I'm angry about Steve Gilliard's death on a whole new level, as if he were my little brother.

I'm right at the edge of being able to go home and fend for myself. A man with whom I sat in Friends Meeting here for decades, Sean Carroll, contacted Jesse to help me in town. He has been shopping for the DME, household supplies, and good food I'll need to return home -- using money y'all sent. He doesn't own a vehicle but keeps borrowing one or arranging for CarShare to run errands, and has offered to be my ride home when I am discharged. He is bedrock that arose from the waves. He keeps thanking me and Jesse for the opportunity to be of service.

I know how he feels, that's the thing.

I'm terrified about how hard the next two months of recovery will be, even as time and good will closes the ruptures of this year. The only way to face it, this new year, is to remember I walk in beauty and to rest in the altered manner taught to me yesterday by Heather the PT -- who also grew up poor and decisively called me on what Mama always said: "Use it up / Wear it out / Make it do / Or do without." A bad adage when it comes to bodies, although the poor and working classes often have no choice about it.

I just stopped to order breakfast -- yes to the toasted bagel with cream cheese.

I am the only person left to tell the stories of my people in a way so they quilt together with your own stories. I was born and raised to do this. I'm not done yet. Narrative may be our most persistent delusion, but it's how we recognize one another in the dark and this introvert really does want to be with you all, as long as I can have a room of my own too. More to come.

[Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog.]
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CEO of Google, interviewed at Gartner Symposium

interesting stuff.

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