Monday, May 31, 2010

The Flowers of St. Claire

"I am sorry Captain, but we sisters of the Convent of Sainte Claire do not recognize your authority - only that of God. I must ask that you take your soldiers and leave us in peace."

Even as she spoke, Sister Eva was shuddering in fear as she spoke into the ice blue eyes of the Nazi enemy.

"My men and I will take this place of refuge and use it against the Americans, who are but an hour away. This will be our ambush! Gather everyone and meet in the back gardens, so I can speak to your Sisters. We will find a place you can go, but you cannot stay here. My orders are final!"

This Captain did not rise in the ranks of his fascist party just to listen to some French nun.

As the frightened Sisters rushed into the garden, holding each others hands in fear, Sister Eva begged them to be brave.

"God will protect us. Pray, pray

The Nazi Captain shouted for six of his men to follow him to the gardens. As they arrived, they stood in formation, silently awaiting orders.

Then he spoke: "You have all been found guilty of conspiracy against the leader of the Nazi party, our Fuhrer Adolph Hitler. The punishment for this is death."

When the guns were finally still, small bodies in white linen cloth were covered in blood, like the flowers that lay beneath them. The soldiers turned and without thought, continued about the further business of war.

These too, were soldiers.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


What matters more than personal sacrifice? And what should matter least of all is whether or not a war is "good or evil" - ALL war is unjust and unworthy of claiming young, vibrant, noble lives. This has naught to do with patriotism or heroics. Few soldiers rush into battle thinking how wondrous to be a hero, then charge into the fire. No, this is about sacrifice. AND WE REMEMBER.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Prayer Before Being Born"

I am not yet born; I beg you pause to hear me.
Let not the greedy or guilty come near me.

I am not yet born; I beg you, console me.
I fear the human race may build high walls
to hold me - or keep me out,
and with lying calls
lure me to danger about.

I am not yet born; I ask of you
a white light in my mind
to guide me.
with water and flowers each day
provide me.

I am not yet born; look close and forgive me.
Forgive me for the sins that in me, the world will commit.
Forgive my words when they speak me,
my thoughts when they think me,
my life when they live me,
my death when they kill
using my hands
in unholy lands
to keep hearts still.

I am not yet born; I beg you, teach me.
Teach me in the ways of the parts I must play
when old men scold me
in the hour of the day
when mountains will turn from me
and all lovers spurn me,
when the sea foam seeks to churn me
conspiring to drown and
disown me.

I am not yet born; watch for me
when ugliness would steal me
from anything as grand as my gift to a beggar
who refuses it from my hand.
when the desert calls me to doom
too soon, and I stand
with my own children.
Help and rehearse me,
as they ready themselves to now curse me.

I am not yet born; I beg you, hear me.
Let not the beast who thinks himself God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
with strength against those
who would freeze my humanity
rage against my sanity,
making me a mere face, a thing,
and like water in a hand,
spill me.

Otherwise - kill me.

This is a fetus speaking to the disconnected living. It's a very deeply philosophical poem, and I used the basic framework idea after reading a poem by Louis MacNeice. I kept his ideation of the unprotected life which knows it will soon enter fierce, strange, harsh, gray violently miraculous waters of life, and we who are still asking WHAT IS IT? If people could define it, they'd understand when it starts, an unborn human would be considered true life, untouchable and sacrosanct if only because it exists. Anything, to my mind, which acts alive, IS. A cell that makes its first division, is living. It acts and moves on its own genetic instructions. And when life is removed, it's our biggest crime against ourselves, in my humble opinion. Many might counter with tales of how some babies would enter the world - products of rape or incest, disease, true horrors. I would only ask one thing:

How does that make them any less a life?

Thank you in advance for your honest personal views.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Secret is EARTH

The answer is there, if you know where to look. It's under your feet. Turn up the volume!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ólafur Arnalds - 3055 Official Music Video This must be the sound track to the best part of being human. Listen to it all and you'll see.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pushy Parasites and Suicidal Bugs

I was searching for something on Mother's Day, which made me think of roses which brought thoughts of bugs which dared me to ponder unusual facts about parasites which inject themselves into said creatures. Ready?

A grasshopper infected with the parasite hairworm (spinochondodes telinii) will seek out water and toss itself in, a clear suicidal behavior. This action insures the hairworm will reproduce. Spooky.

Rodents infected with toxiplasma gondi exhibit strange behaviors. They lose their instinctual aversion to cats. This is beneficial to the parasite because it sexually reproduces in cats th
at have eaten infected mice or rats. Then the cats spread toxi through their droppings. But wait:

People infected with toxiplasma gondi act a little nutty too. If you're infected with this parasite through cat droppings, you're likely to act neurotic and uncertain. They've even studied the correlation between countries with a high rate of toxi infections and mental illness. Holy moses, they need to study my relatives!

Some crustaceans, once infected by tremotodes, will shy away from light, another suicidal or evasive behavior, as it makes them crawl around in the open looking for shade, hence more likely to be eaten by birds - who in turn, are now infected with the trematode parasite. Pretty sneaky.

Ah - plasmodium! The cause of malaria, affecting both mosquitoes and animals. Once infected, a mosquito is more likely to bite more than once in a night, spending far more time drinking blood. In turn, if a human is infected with plasmodium he becomes more attractive to mosquitoes, thus continuing the life cycle of the parasite. Astonishingly brilliant.

Of course, all this makes fertile ground for science fiction, with parasites invading the brain and taking control of the human. Ewww!

The truth is, retroviral infection from parasites and microbes have had quite an effect on human evolution. Over millions of years, they have been incorporated into our genomes. It is estimated by biologists and other high-thinking persons that as much as a third of our genome consists of bits and pieces of old retroviruses - remnants of ancient virual infections.

So what the heck are you talking about, Cathy?

Fair enough. It basically means that these very old microbes, with us for quite awhile, may be part of the reason humans evolved their intellect quicker and on the scale we have. These living viruses cannot leave the host cell and infect other cells, so you'd think it would die when the host does. But by evolving mutations in their own genetic code, now get this - it can use the host cell - US - to make copies of itself including a protective protein which allows it to leave the cell and go infect other cells. To travel! Parasitic life forms have evolved with us, and made us...smarter?

It's something to dare think about.
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Note: I have not posted any pictures to help keep you from losing your lunch.