Friday, April 27, 2007

The Cinderella Effect

For most every little girl, sooner or later they aspire to be a princess. Little boys do as well, but I'll stick with girls for now. Look at this a bit closer:

A "magical" role model, nothing wrong there. But the dress is huge and heavy, the jewels are probably paste and the glass high heels are killers. Well, seriously, it's a harmless enough thing; growing girls dress, fantasize and play as if they were the beautiful princess, observing the doings in their immense castle, and fully assured that the Prince is galloping to her side. To what, to...rescue her? From what? All those servants, the castle, the clothing? Is this little girl being taught that she requires a man to complete her, if she's ever to be a "real" princess in the world?

He may get there and work his way to her heart then rob all the bling and off he goes, that's more the reality! Or more likely, he's coming to supplant her as the one in power. Little girls are never taught to imagine he's coming to join her in friendship, no, instead they're taught he's there to become her King and have dominion over her, to complete her life. Only then will she live "happily, ever after." Phsaw.

Someone please write an intelligent "princess story" where she gets to keep her powers, throwing out the tiara and torturous glass slippers, the huge heavy gowns - let her chose her own clothes - and destiny for that matter. Why the Prince? I mean, nothing wrong with true love and all those hearts and flowers but when you're just a little thing, why should you be made to feel you need someone else to make you whole? Silly.

I say, more books about Princess Elizabeth, who, on her own merits and by her own power, became the great Queen Elizabeth Regina 1. We recall her as "The Virgin Queen" but truth be told, she took her pleasure when and where she wanted. She took no man as her "King" and did so for the sake of her country, a noble Queen, this. The British would never have accepted a man by her side, sharing the throne of England. And this Queen could fight, lead troops to victorious battles, command the respect and admiration of her court and her nation.

Little boys need better fantasies too, if they're to stop thinking they need to save the world, to be "real men" and go out to conquer a woman. What if the little guy dreams about gardening, or fixing ladies' hair? Any problem with that?

Guess I'm yearning for something I never had, but in truth none of us really did, so among all these talented folks surely someone is a passable writer - I wish there were more books on the truth about what little girls can dream of, what little boys can aspire to. Written by adults who as kids had no limitations on dreams. We'd all be the better for it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


        Between me (Cathy) and my brother (Chris)


Chris looked at me.  "I just had a cup of that new decaffinated stuff." he said.

"No", I retorted, "that's the condition of a cow who just gave birth.  De-CALF-inated.  See?"


"What...?"  Chris said.  "And I suppose Russians get their milk from MosCOWS?!  Ludds, you're nuts."


Chris started walking away.

"Awwww, don't be so cow-towed, Chris!"  I yelled.  He walked faster.

"So where ya going, huh?  The mooo-vies?" 

Now he kicked into a full run, stiffling giggles.  I couldn't resist.

"Gee Chris, you're so mooo-dy."  I shouted.  "Come on, wait up!  I can't mooo-ve as fast as you!"

Distinct sounds of laughter coming from Chris now.  He started to slow down, finally stopping with his hands on his knees, head bent down, trying to catch his breath. 

"You're an idiot, Cath."  he managed.

"Yeah, I know."

Chris looked pensive.  "Hey, write those down, and any more you can think of, I have a friend who loves stuff like that."

I thought about it.  "Is he a COWboy?"  I asked?

Moans from Chris.  "No, he's a park supervisor."

"Does he look for moose?  You know, MOO-se?"  I asked with the devil's own smirk.

Chris turned from me, cupping his mouth.

"You think your COWboy friend herds MOO-se?  What do they call guys like that, Mooseboys?"  Chris's eyes were starting to water. 

"Why would anyone need to herd Moose anyway?  Why not owls?  Say!  If an owl got hit with an awl, would it hurt more?"  I pondered.  "What about a trowel?" I mused.  "Why do owls hoot and wolves howl, do you think?"  I looked straight at Chris. 

He couldn't speak, his speech center was choked off by laughter.

"Howling owls, imagine ...." I said slowly, rubbing my chin.

Last I saw Chris, he was sitting at the table, writing something down.








Another Home?

Not too hot, not too cold, evidence of recent water - could it be just right? 

20 trillion miles from where I'm sitting (about 50 light years) astronomers have discovered an outer-galactic planet, yes planet! with signs of "new" water and warming temperatures, could this be another earth-like satellite in its embrionic stage?  A planet found outside our galaxy!  Think.  Life might just be forming there, perhaps in a bacterial form, oh man maybe further along than that! 

All because of our brain.  Without it, we'd do and go nowhere.  The brain can actually contemplate itself!  When you think about your brain, you're using it!  If our brain evolves in a certain direction, it may be able to communicate with other brains!   Earth-like planets, talking brains, I'm so spaced!  Where's the decaf ... 

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Further Adventures of "BORING BUT TRUE"

Just a few niblets to add to Boring But True - The Saga Continues...which contains all of the editions of this little idea.  I thought I might be adding to it now and then, but seems I've created a monster, as I keep finding these interesting facts that having absolutely nothing to do with anything.  Read up: 

In Massachussetts snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.  It is also still on the books as being illegal in this clean State to retire to your bed without first taking a bath.  Say:  how do they enforce that?  ( See further on for more weird and useless laws - funny, but useless ). 

Noah Webster (yes, THAT Webster!) was referred to as "The Question Mark" in his school days at Yale. 

The short-term memory capacity for most people is between five and nine items or digits.  This is one reason phone numbers are kept as short as possible.      

More people are allergic to cow's milk than any other food.  The most common drink given to children is, you guessed it.  However, in all fairness the alarming rate of asthmatic and allergic conditions in children is partly to blame for their miriad illnesses

A year as we know it comprises 365 days.  A "cosmic" year is the amount of time it takes our sun to revolve around the center of the Milky Way, about 225 million of our years (give or take).

Any wine-fanciers?  Then you'd know of the rich embrosia "trokenbeerenauslese" an extremely rare German wine made from vine-dried grapes, so scarce and singularly unique that it can take a skilled picker one full day just to gather enoughto fill a single glass.  Probably more expensive than a pair of Reboks!  (yea, a zillion of them). 

And now for some WEIRD AND STUPID LAWS absolutely still in effect - I'm more frightened that people thought they needed these laws!  Have a read:

In Ohio is it illegal to get a fish drunk.

In Arizona, you may not hunt camels ( and I don't mean the ciggies lol ).

In Paraguay, you may not participate in a duel if you're not a legal blood donor.  ( has an odd logic ... )

In Nebraska if you wish to serve beer, your bar must also have a kettle of soup simmering on the stove. 

In North Dakota, it's illegal to serve pretzels with beer.

In Atlanta, GA, you may not tie your giraffe to a phone pole or street lamp.

In Florida you may not sleep under the hair dryer ( even if you own the salon ). 

In New York you can do most anything for fun.  You can throw baseballs all your want, too.  But if you throw it at someone's head in anger, you'll be arrested.  Now, I have to ask:  why is this even on the books like that?  Isn't this called assault or some such thing? 

In Pacific Grove, CA, it is illegal to threaten or harrass a butterfly.  I don't dare imagine what they'd do to someone who killed one!   

In Alabama you may not wear a fake moustashe to church.  But you may certainly wear your favorite cowboy hat. 

Once again, stay tuned for more episodes of BBT and remember:  People will always tend to judge you based on the worst day of your life. 

           = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 












Sunday, April 22, 2007

Night Of The Earth

I have a choice today:  I can either celebrate the earth in all its mystery and beauty, just for itself, its cascading hills and glorious great waterfalls, its vast and mighty plains, and especially the tiniest of life forms sharing it with me - or I can decry the ruination of so much of this planet, and do what's possible within my limitations to repair that damage.  I can note with awe that this is the only place in our galaxy where life is flourishing visibly and heartily, or I can loudly and without doubt of intention protest the continued paucity of concern in the one species which has affected every other life form on this great, forgiving planet.  There's too many of us.  But nature will see to that, she always does.  When an infection threatens the life of the host body, it is cast out.  I don't want that for my grandchilden's children.  I don't want it for myself.  Or for you.       

In looking at this planet from both ground and sky, it becomes clear that the earth is completely unique, like nothing else we've yet to discover - why?  Because LIFE exists here and in great variety, breathtaking beauty.  Knowing then, that in China people can no longer use the Yellow Sea as it has literally become carcinogenic, I don't think I have the luxury to contemplate and admire anymore; wasted time has forced us into a personal choice - to continue sitting quietly and admire with gratitude this singular realm, our incomprehensible home satellite, or rally voices to ACT upon the ruination we've caused, the ugly future we're leaving as our legacy here, and join our best and brightest minds from all sectors of every science to seek out and develop the answers we sorely need NOW if we're ever to last as a successful species.   We have already sabotaged so much, our only ship in this universe, and we WILL crash.  It's really just a question of how hard we'll go down.  We already know when and where - when is now, where is everywhere.  

However pessimistic this may sound, best look elsewhere for resignation.  The hope I have for human kind is based on the strongest faith imaginable and that is faith in people to eventually do the right thing.  If I can plant a single tree can't thousands re-forest a million acres?  Imagine if we could use that same desire, the same will, the same energy used to tear it all apart to gradually repair the damage?  A superhuman task, and time has become a luxury - yet we can do it, we've already started in many places, many ways.  For instance, for the first time in automotive history, GM sales have come in second to Honda because so many people are buying the air-friendly hybrid they make.  Ingenuity!  Ingenuity is one of the parents that may save us.  The other is action - immediate and focused.   

I would ask of anyone in power who could lobby for a bill setting aside land as federally protected, if a loved one was dying for want of a single medicine, wouldn't they move heaven and earth to get it?  Well that's part of the problem, we've moved the earth around too much - the same medicine that politician would need is found in our rain forests.  Or was. 

So Happy Earth Day To All - if only because we have no where else to go.                

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Contradictory Day?

I'm sure some of you know today was "Holocaust Remembrance Day" yet it was also "Divine Mercy Sunday" in the Catholic faith.  Such tragedies as were endured in those camps, then meditating on the mercy of God, it can be confusing, yet maybe not.  Who will ever know why those atrocities were allowed to happen?  Some said because good men did nothing.  Yet who knows of the unspoken, unknown mercies shown to just one person in one camp?  Good men did nothing...I don't know, I remember reading how alot of men and woman, both good and bad, gave their lives to help who they could.  But a day to reflect on the mercies of God, on the same day - truly, only someone with a deeper understanding than I could comprehend the two.  Blind faith.  It has its place.   

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th? Pshaw!

So this is the day we're supposed to be so a'feared of, eh?  A "bad luck" day, is that it?  HA!  I laugh at such things!  Hear that?  HA!

So what if I woke up at 4 in the morning with a monster headache and in the dark swallowed vitamins instead?  So what if I sat awake for hours waiting for my headache to cease before finally getting it right.  A mere nothing. 

So what if I made the world's most perfect cup of coffee then dropped it in the sink?  HA!  Coincidence, nothing more.

The water I spilled on my computer keyboard?  A mere bag of shells, as The Great One once mis-spoke.  And speaking of mis-speaking, big deal if I said "Corpus Crispy" instead of "Corpus Christi" when referring to a church in our area.  I doubt my sister noticed over the very bad phone connection - another coincidence.  I'm sure all that laughing was just because she was being tickled.  The fact that she was at work for USB means nothing, I tell you.  Rich bankers tickle their employees all the time, don't they?  Of course! 

So WHAT if I deleted ALL my cookies, forgetting I need about a dozen.  An accident, nothing more.  HA!

Now, the piece of paper that flew into my face as I took my daily walk I can't really explain, especially how it just WOULD NOT GET OFF ME!!  (Calm down Cath) N'ertheless?  HA!  Bad luck?  I laugh in your face - hahaha.  ha.....ha.

Is that a clump of my hair that just came off in my hand?  Hmm.  Interesting. 

These glasses, they always worked so well - why can't I see the keyboard clearly?  Odd ....

There's that friend with the SNEEZE for a Buddy Sound!! WHY did she PICK THAT ONE?!?  I've been MEANING to have a word with her - I keep saying "God bless you" it drives me NUTS!!  Okay, deep breath here ... it's only another day, nothing more.  Bad luck, my Aunt Fanny.

Why do people say that?  Does everyone have an Aunt Fanny?  I feel nauseous ... ok, ok.  This is crazy. 

Who said that? 

Did someone call me crazy?  Oh no I just heard a mirror break, I know I did!  Was it mine?  Should I check the place out?  Do I want to KNOW if I'm in for 7 years of....wait a minute, bad luck?  HA!  Again, I LAUGH IN YOUR FACE!

MY FACE!  It feels like leather!  What's happening to me, where's the moisterizer?!?

It's only 2:34 P.M., I better just lock the door and climb into bed.  Wait.  My bed.  They say everyone has dustmites in their mattress ... I can always just sit in my favorite chair - yeah!  That's it!  Ok, now I can move my computer over to my easy chair.  Why do they call it that anyway, there's nothing EASY about that chair!  My favorite chair?  I don't HAVE a favorite chair!  What the heck??  I feel even more nauseous ...

Windows is beeping at me.  Morse e-code.  What do they know?  It's a Microsoft conspiracy, I know it.  They can probably see me on the other side of this screen.  Yeah, that's it, that's how they do it.  Should I wave?  I better turn this off.  WAIT!  No, they'll know I turned it off, and hide behind my mirror - my mirror!!  It broke, didn't it?  Wait, I have another one.  Ok, ok, deep breathing, easy does it Cath you'll be fine.  Just another day, nothing to fear, all will be well .... I laugh in your face.  ha...ha...ha. 




3rd Edition: Quotes Of The Quotable

In continuation of my series "Quotes of the Quotable"Quotes of the QuotableandMore Quotes of the Quotable (See May Archive)I'd like to add a few more of interest.  If I may, I urge you to read the first two entries I have linked you to here.  Humans are prone to say amazing things. 

"Live today, die tomorrow.  Learn today, live forever."  Anon.

"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in your hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover your impotence."  Ghandi

"Conviction without experience makes for a harsh ignorance." csr

"A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil."  Victor Hugo

"A library is an act of faith." Anon.

"There is beauty in everything, even in the eyes that cannot see it."            St. Paul

"If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone."  Belanger

"Faith is a necessity to a man; woe to him who believes in nothing."                               V. Hugo

"To love is a talent."  Anon.

 "O Reader!  Had you in your mind, such stories as silent thought can bring, O Gentle Reader, you would find a tale in everything!"   William Wadsworth Longfellow                                     






Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Never Revisted, But Anew

Why is life so hell-bent on ensuring we learn some deep knowledge from almost every situation ... ah well, in truth I guess I prefer things that way.

Take this Easter.  Once, it was a huge family affair:  we'd do church-play music-sing like loons-open the champagne-eat till you bust-play more music-nap about 15 minutes-eat again-play more music only louder-polish off the liquor-drop in a contented, loving heap on the living room rug.  And if you missed Easter, woe be on your name!  From Canada they came, and Maine, and Texas - every one of us 8 kids knew that this was Dad's favorite time while the grass was turning a deeper green and the daffodils grew wild everywhere.  The days when terms like "global warming" would've sounded normal.  We had a tremendously beautiful house, the picture is in here somewhere, there was open land wherever you looked and horses walked through the backyards, munching on fresh new grass shoots.  Chicken coops and rabbit hutches.  No fences.  And you always knew what season it was.  In a large family, Holidays tend to be special and Easter topped them all.

So what happened ...? things were happy enough, but the melancholy set in after 1988 when my Father died.  He was the "leader of the band" and he also insisted on doing all the cooking.  My Father was the heart and soul of my family, no matter what part of the world we'd find ourselves.  I loved him.  I wish I'd been a better daughter.

When we tried to carry on the tradition we realized my Mother hadn't the knack or interest, and she invested her Easter into all the Masses she'd sing at.  I was her personal accompanist, as always, whether it was church or opera - I was the only person who understood her method of timing.  It actually doesn't exist, she made it up as she went.  You'd need a fine ear to know when to change chords, etc., so I guess it was her compliment to me.  My Mother's incredible gifted soprano voice brought tears to many, and after mass she'd get many individual accolades.  So that was how she spent her Easters.  The rest of us?  We just stayed where we were, and eventually it became just another day.

Then my Mother died in 2005 of lung cancer after never smoking one cigarette all her life, and something unusual happened.  First, the eldest, Marianne in Toronto, left her high-toned job and Victorian townhouse and cared for my Mom and her house.  She had help whenever possible from brother Chris, who worked long hours in a nursing home but came daily anyway.  Other brothers and sisters who lived down the shore visited often and kept things on the same page.  Mom was bed-ridden for less than 2 months when we decided to call hospice care.  That same week, she died in my sister Linda's arms.  She said, "Okay, I've had enough now."  Linda always felt she could've done something, but when Mom made a decision, the Pope couldn't persuade her differently.  She met Pope JPXX111 and kept a beautiful picture of that meeting.  She also kissed the blarney stone (which she was full of lol) and if you've never seen this done, you have to lie on your back, grab onto a bar, and bend your head backwards to plant your kiss on that rock.  It was the only way.  Upside down.  And that's pretty much how mis-matched my parents were; I plan to make a separate entry for that bit of business.

When Marianne brought her friend of 20 years with her for the death rituals, we got to know him well.  Joe was her fourth husband and she never had children.  This was just her way.  Yet something about having Marianne move back to New Jersey after 40 years away, get married, go about the business of helping Joe become a citizen (still ongoing), it put something in place we were all afraid to touch:  the tradition of Easter.

This was my second Easter at Marianne's, and like last year, she made a perfect leg of lamb, just like Dad.  She made everything from soup to nuts and then some.  A different wine for each dish!  We started with a champagne toast, and giant shrimp, again just like Dad.  Though only 4 out of 8 came, it was only because of logistics and I think my younger sibs, who have children of their own, are trying to start personal, separate traditions.  For that I feel a bit like I've lost something, but I understand and respect whatever they chose to do.  They're all in their 40s, they aren't babies anymore that I hand-fed at the Easter table, who liked to throw their food rather than eat it lol.  I can hear my Father's laughter right now .....

Will this special day become one where we 8 orphans will go to separate corners now, and miss out on what we used to treasure so much?  I know I'm supposed to learn something from all this but all I feel is joy at my own wonderful Easter, and hurt confusion (yes, maybe resentment too) that half the family didn't make the same effort to be together the way we used to.  Does getting older mean you have to put your favorite most treasured traditions away? 

Maybe all we need is time. 



Sunday, April 8, 2007

Arise And Be Glad









"This is the Day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Responsorial

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Homeless Man DEAD


He decided it was time to return to his real home, which of course, was my imagination.

In drawing his composite I drew upon Our Lord at this time 2000 years ago.  I did it for a reason.  Read your responses, this is what you would've done for Our Lord.  A homeless, odd-looking, strange sounding man who no one wanted, who the authorities (the high priests) saw as a trouble-maker the moment he started his "babbling" (kingdoms with many mansions, I am that I am, turn the other cheek, love those who hate you, etc) the few people who followed and supported him (disciples) the many who did not (townspeople who wanted the Old Testament as it was, with no talk of a God who asks that we love our enemy) depending upon strangers for food (Jesus ate at a different home each night when invited) being arrested and coming before a judge (Pilate) who saw nothing wrong in being homeless and set him free, the fights that broke out over that deed (He's a traitor, take Him away, crucify Him).  Eventually I would've had Him appear before a judge more like Herod, and then have him sent off to a cruel death.  But that wasn't my purpose.  I wanted something very special, but it had to be genuine:  the reflection of God's own compassion shown in your words.  To me, it proved that one doesn't need to be Christian, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist to have sympathy, compassion and mercy for our fellow humans on this earth.     

Jesus was no ordinary preacher, no ordinary soul upon the earth trying to get a message out there.  Jesus endured all of it for one reason, to bring us news:  GOD LIVES!  My Father lives!  I am that I am, He said.  He exists so that He can.  How confused those people must've been.

And how incredibly fortunate am I to know people such as yourselves, each and every one of you who responded had only compassion and suggestions of help for what you saw as a fellow human in need.  LOOK AT YOUR RESPONSES FROM THE VERY START Is This Necessary? and each "Homeless Man Update" from there.  Every time something happened to "Him" you showed nothing but concern and a frustrating need to do something.

Back then, He was forced to walk "The Stations of the Cross" while being stoned, spat upon, lied about and ridiculed.  We all know the story.  One thing is clear, however, something I always believed and which YOU proved to be more true than not:  Many people died horrible, painful deaths in Our Lord's time.  Many died in far worse pain, more cruel and more bloody.  Imagine being drawn and quartered - both arms and legs tied to one of four horses who then are forced to run in separate directions.  Yes, Jesus endured horrors but my point is this:  What was His most painful torture?  What hurt most?  You helped me bring it out, as I've always thought it to be:  Notice how you all mostly spoke of the lack of compassion, how perhaps he had a mental disease and needed tender my heart, I always felt the worst thing Our Lord had to feel was that lack of compassion, the utter rejection, the lies being told while He said nothing, couldn't defend Himself while in truth all He needed do was blink an Eye and the earth would've opened up.  It wasn't the cross, the whip, the crown of thorns, it was the people.  It was their betrayal, their rejection, leaving Him to the mob.  Their complete and obvious hatred and denial of Him.  Even His best friends ran away.  To be rejected and left alone and hurt is a crushing agony.  He endured it for me.  For you.  I'm so proud of all of you who kept up with my story with such overflowing mercy.  You couldn't seem to say enough.  You even wanted to go to this "town" and leave packages for him in jail. You are a reflection of the love He has for us.  

Here's one other little detail, a lessen in patience and friendship:  Early on in this story, a dear, long-time friend of mine, TreesRGreen78, felt a familiar tug at her heart.  She wrote me to say she recognized how similar this homeless man's story seemed to the story of Jesus.  I had to ask her to stay silent and not divulge my true meaning.  Trees, in her belief in me and to her credit, had to bite her nails and say nothing.  While I don't want to go too far, it's not much different from how Jesus was forced to say nothing as well.  

He couldn't tell Pilate who He really was, they thought Him insane enough already.  Pilate looked at Him and thought, this isn't important enough a matter for me.  Herod did not.  Herod wanted to use Him as entertainment for his court, which he did as he had Our Lord's precious body scored and bloodied, draped with a "royal" cloak and given a proper "crown" as the King He was.  All for the amusement of the crowd - they demanded it.  Just like this "town" demanded the authorities take the "dirty bum" away from their eyes.  Just be rid of him, he's not one of us, he's causing trouble, he's not our type, we work hard to live in this kind of luxury, neighbors are fighting amongst themselves and worst of all, he has the NERVE to talk to our children!  We can't have that!  In that one aspect, they weren't wrong, in their way.     

I know things are different today and real predators exist waiting only for that chance to grab one of our most precious babes.  I've no doubt whatever that such people existed 2000 years ago as well.  Then I remember the accounts of how Jesus acted when children would follow Him.  Children are always interested in what adults get riled up about, so they would follow Our Lord and pull at his robes, asking for stories and perhaps a small bit of attention.  Children.  Innocent, pure, in need of the loving smile of an adult - they got it from Our Lord, who took them on His knee and smiled into their faces with such love, such care, such genuine respect for these blameless ones.

So what does it all mean?  That we're good people?  That we care about the unseen, forgotten, rejected hungry souls out there?  If you think that isn't important enough to go to all this trouble over, I'll remind you that those who bothered to read and respond to this story were anxious to be heard, to tell their own stories, to show mercy for the homeless, the helpless, the alone.  Those who felt otherwise didn't bother to comment.  I know there are people who feel the homeless are a nuisance, they're useless people giving nothing back to the community, they have nothing to contribute and everything to take.  Those are the ones who need our prayersYour loving friend doesn't need them, it's your unloving enemy who does.  It's the person too cowardly to express their true feelings in print.  But they exist, I talk to them every day, so do you.  "Why don't they learn English, how did they get into this country, look at them all on welfare, crowding our jails" and on and on ...

If you saw Jesus in this story, I ask that tomorrow, the holiest day in the Christian faith, a day to celebrate rebirth and the triumph of life over death, of love over hate, to please pray for those who have no faith.  Pray for those who reject you, who leave you to the mob, who lie about you, who mock and betray you.  Pray for those who judge you.  Most of all, do it with the same genuine compassion and care and love shown in your comments about that one, solitary Man.   



Friday, April 6, 2007

Welcome Home UK Detainees

As most already know, the 15 British captives who have been "detained" in Iran were released yesterday, UK time, and seem none the worse for wear - just very happy to be home.  The question has been put that, had they been Americans, we'd see a much different outcome.  That theory could be argued forever and a day.

What gauls me is the way these folks were paraded by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad both on TV and in those news interviews where they were made to lie by admitting to having "unknowingly wandered into Iranian waters".  Bunk of course, but they did what kept them safe and no one in the West is troubled by that - we're troubled mostly by the ill-use of these 15 Royal Navy personnel who, it seems, were forced to act like nothing less than tourists!  President Ahmadinejad even had the audacity to proclaim that Iran was "happy to accomodate our forced vacationers - hahaha."  Is this guy kidding?  He thinks this is funny??

Meanwhile, across the border in Afghanistan, we've reached close to 3,000 dead since the war "ended" 6 years ago.  Speaking of which, though the Taliban was dispursed in 2001, they were never abolished and are said to be stronger now than ever in their bloody history.  With the drug trade supporting them, it's no wonder Nato is almost useless.  Makes one think very, very hard about our upcoming electoral vote.  

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Homeless Man Beaten and Jailed Again

The recent little "parade" of supporters for our homeless friend turned very ugly last night, and I'm so sad to report that fighting broke out in full around 7:30 pm., after everyone had their dinner and took to the streets again.  The supporters kept Mr. Homeless as safe as they could, but a few of the angry residents starting throwing rocks after they threw insults.  This is now a very divided community.  Aiming right at him, someone managed to hit his skull pretty hard, and according to this morning's news clips he went down.  A few younger people jumped him and beat him badly.  He didn't defend himself, it seems, and his supporters just kept fighting with the other side.  So no one really noticed when the police pulled up and carted the homeless guy off to hospital, then to jail.

This morning's latest update says he was "stitched up" at the local hospital and immediately jailed for causing a riot.  Disturbing the peace. In this particularly small and peaceful (HA!) community, it's a serious crime to "disturb the peace" of these people's little enclave, their isolated existence.  He remains in jail, and legally can be held 72 hours, once again.

The residents didn't want to be interviewed or seen on camera but I saw a few staring at the news van.  They look  like ordinary, normal, hard-working people who want their town to remain small and secluded.  They want to know who lives next door.  They want to know their butcher by name.  They want their kids to have the best education possible.  Is there anything they want that most don't?  So I'm once again torn.  However, this beating makes it a bigger issue, one that I naturally don't approve of but understand.  It took just this one dirty, smelly, hungry, babbling homeless man to bring out the vitriol in people who thought they knew their neighbors.  Now they're divided, but not even thinking about what they did to one human being.  I called the sheriff's office in this town, just to see if people can bring food or clothes or comfort to the guy, but was told "he's being taken care of."  So there you are.   

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Homeless Update

Things are both better and worse for the homeless man I've been telling you about.

Months back he wandered into a posh community several towns over from the inner city where I live.  He decided it was "home" and proceeded to dig out his own little spot.  Usually babbling on with words no one understands, he doesn't beg exactly, but it's so obvious with his dirty clothes and look of need that he could use a sandwich here and there, which is what a very few people started to do.  It was only when a mother complained to police that "this bum" likes to hang around the grade school kids, talking to children, that he started making even more enemies.  These folks are the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. working-types who give up time with their families just to keep a clean, equity-rich town.  They feel they have as much right to the place they chose to live and work in as this homeless guy, who doesn't seem to do anything they would call "productive."

According to the news, as I reported, when he was arrested the judge could find no cause to keep him jailed, and in fact no evidence of any crime.  The little girl couldn't keep her story straight even though her mother claimed "she's just nervous".  I believe a few lies may've been told.  Yet the law is for everybody, so the judge dismissed the case and released him back into the society.  This angered many, it seems, but others with a different slant attempted conversation, gave him food, tried to befriend and hopefully help him.  Unfortunately, those people are few and far between.  They themselves have even lost friends over this issue. 

The other day his supporters, small as they are, took to their streets with signs and slogans, and the homeless man himself (who seemed very bemused) with shouts of "Be Fair To Failures" (really!) well at least it was something - I know, it sounds so condescending, but these are high-class snooty types who never encounted a homeless person on such an intimate level.  Now that they have, they seem eager to help.  I think a few are trying their best.  I see in the newsclips that they shake his hand, which is dirty, listen to his talking, which sounds very foreign to them, and offer sandwiches - which he eats with thanks.  Truly, I don't believe these rumors about his motives with the children.

I think he just enjoys watching them, they're too young to have developed prejudices yet, they may laugh at his appearance but hold no ill will toward him.  Besides, most of what these kids take in about the man come at the dinner table from their folks - and they listen.  They hear things like, "I don't want some slob like that hanging around our town, we should have more laws" etc.  This homeless guy likes watching kids play their ballgames, yelling out to them to "go for a strike" or "I know you can do it" things like that.  Plus, for those of you thinking "YOU NEVER KNOW!" you're absolutely right.  You don't.  That's why wherever he goes, a policecar isn't far behind.  And wherever he choses as his bed for the night, whether in the bushes in someone's yard (angers citizens more so he's chased away) or just on a street bench, those police are continually watching, waiting, ready.  Yet what has he done...?  It's almost as if they want him to fit their stereotype of a single, dirty, homeless man who enjoys watching children playing. 

His small contingent of supporters all agree he needs psychiatric help.  They feel he must be mentally ill.  Others suggest a shelter but he won't stay - and he's within his rights.  When asked by a TV anchorwoman, he mumbled that "this town needs me" and he's decided to stay.  He doesn't seem to understand the concept of "ownership" of property, and though my sympathies are mixed since I know how hard one must work to gain what these people have, I'm forced to ask:  "Why don't any of them know about the homeless?  Have they been so busy making money all these years that they don't remember the 1980s when it was epidemic?  And who said it still isn't?"  I have to wonder ...

So he's walking a thin line right now - this man with no name (when he gives it, no one understands what he says).  He's sitting on a fence andsomeone who doesn't like him could push him over to the wrong side, that being the enemies he's made by not leaving, and by hanging around children alot.  Then the others, who want to help but don't know how, they could push him to their side where they know nothing about homeless people or their needs.  This is a hot situation and someone is going to break it wide open. 





Sunday, April 1, 2007

Full Moon Madness

There's a word for bad astronomy, it's called astrology.  And I really wish it weren't so, because I'd love to believe all the ages-old stories about what a full moon can do, the havoc it can wreck, the changes in humans it can inflict.  You ask any policeman or nurse and they'll swear that crime and violence goes up during the full moon.  Strange happenings, too.  How we love our werewolves.  Let's not forget the tides of the oceans - and the fact that we humans are 80% water.  That would draw one into the conclusion that the full moon affects our behaviors.  I want this to be scientifically true, so much so that I can talk myself into thinking it is.

But it's not.

With science as our ever-neutral, always objective guide, we find no rise in homicides, births, deaths, or vampire sightings.  The truth is a bit more plebeian.  The moon does pull on the ocean and create tides, but that's because of the emmense size of our seas.  The oceans have tides because they're so big - now take us little humans, with our pittance of water in our bodies in comparison.  Not enough to measure, no less affect our behavior.  I know, it's a let down, and I feel that same sense of the loss of something we always saw as mysterious in its ways.  

Mostly, the reason things go awry during the full moon is because it's so noticeable, people tend to gaze at it more, becoming distracted and almost hypnotized by watching it.  Another "ancestral memory" perhaps?  Either way, if no one were to notice it, the full moon would lose its mystery and penchant for creating werewolves and serial killers. 

Believe me, this is not an idea I embrace.  But it is true. 

Scientific studies for years back it up.  Record keeping in hospitals and police stations over the globe do as well.  And let's not forget the all-seeing human eye:  how many times have you seen a traffic accident and not seen a full moon?  But if you did see one, you tend to correlate the two.  We forget all that happens under a clear sky.  We're romantics at heart who once saw this bright orb as a god, and paid it homage at the very risk of our lives, so we thought.

Oh fear not, Luna Maria still holds untold mystery, or we wouldn't have spent billions getting to her.  She can tell us about the earth's earliest beginnings, having once been part of it.  She has the power to block out our view of the night constellations just by her refracted light.  And she can also infuse the night air with a soft light only lovers can truly understand.  Luna will never lose her mystery, facts or no.  

I will always examine those facts, and dismiss the fantasies if I want the truth.  And at the same time, I know I will always be in awe of her.  

With help from author Phil Plait, see also   


Dream Of An April Fool

Such dreams I have!

Should I ever bother to try and interpret them, I'd most likely implode lol but sometimes I learn more than expected, probably because my consciousness is open and alert.

Around dawn, the REM time for dreaming, I entered into something quite odd for me - a dream I couldn't control - a non-lucid dream.  These can be frightening as I'm accustomed to being able to insert a superhero or even my deceased Father into a nightmare to save the situation.  All my life I've been a lucid dreamer.  In high school I was prone to night terrors but only a short while.  As a young person it became clear that most of my real adventures seemed to take place in dreams.  My waking life was lively enough, but now as I age and find untold wisdoms in the smallest stone, I look to those dreams as guides, for direction, for self knowledge, for insight.

Yet something went off course in this non-lucid dream.  It went on and on without me!  All my living loved ones, family, friends, relatives, were animals of a kind.  If they were dead of body, they were plants or flowers.  If they were dead and mythical (Zeus) they were vegetables, like carrots.  Let me tell you more, unless you're already on the floor in hysterics lol. 

I was standing "guard" in front of our now-sold-to-another-family house, where we all grew up.  My brother Chris was a small moose with a mink stole, his wife was a purple butterfly with a flower pattern on her wings.  She was the Mayor of our "enclave".  I was a cockroach, meant to last.  We were on the alert because a large Aztec Indian chief was invading our village!  I felt sleeping fear in the part of my brain which controls emotions, but this was different, I couldn't change the dream.  So it went on:

Ricky, my brother with MS, was a daisy, and lost most of his ammo on the first drop.  A Mormon pigeon going door-to-door bombed the chief with his droppings to blind him.  My Mother was a rose/gladiola, meant to look nice and do nothing.  My sister Marianne was a chipmunk who climbed up the hairy leg of the Aztec.  My sister Karen was a mean-tempered mussel who kept clamping onto his toes.  Dead souls were fighting, but loosing their roots by coming out of the ground.  My sister Linda was a very large crow-like blue-jay who dive bombed in to "bark" at him.  She was ferocious with red eyes.  Then Thor, the Viking God, appeared.  He was the carrot who speared the chief, but it didn't slow the chief down.  He ate it instead.  By eating the Viking, this Aztec became more powerful.  I think by now in my sleep I was drenched in fear because I wasn't able to change the scenery.  We were trying, but losing.  I saw Martin Luther King. Jr., he was a lush tropical orchid whose aroma distracted the chief long enough for Penny the Mayor to make a few flybys and drop her flowered wings to annoy him.  Penny was brave.  I heard everyone yelling "Another term!"  A friend Jane as a snail came slowly out from a rock and left a poisonous ooze to trap the chief.  Genesis singer Peter Gabriel was there as a gazelle, running in circles to make the chief dizzy.  He, too, wore a mink stole.  What else ...

Then something strange happened (like none of that was strange? LOL) No really.  Seriously, I remember crying out in my sleep - it woke me up completely.  So I calmed down, made some green tea and read a book called "Europe on $10 a Day" where that came from who knows.  But it put me to sleep, and next I knew, I was crying softly which I often do while sleeping, unconsciously, and I heard myself talking, having a clear, easy conversation with someone.  Happens alot, too.  My own voice and the use of my vocal cords wakes me usually.  Oh well.

I love my dreams.