Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I've been on a top secret mission prospecting minerals in a little-known African country - well, no. That's silly. Actually, what I've been up to is much more pedestrian - I have accepted a full-time job as a crossing guard. No, that's a bad pun. No, seriously, what I've been working on is developing a cactus that pulls up oil from deep in the ground - by the time the cactus is 10 years old it is saturated with crude, ready to be harvested and squeezed without any expensive drills.
Wouldn't that be nice! Actually, no, that's not what I've been up to.
My baby has started speaking in utero and so I've been spending my nights at Sarah's belly, teaching him Italian, determined that he will be a bilingual child from birth. There is so much bullshit in the world, he's going to need at least two languages to help address it.
Don't believe that either, do you? That's why I love you, dear reader, you are smart. You know that some of this blog is utter fiction, some of it is autobiographical, and that at any moment what comes out is simply whatever made me laugh at that moment, in raw form and rarely revised. The crudest stuff you could squeeze out of a cactus.
I have not been here much this week because I've been working on other projects. Doing some improvisational acting with some nice and talented people in the Fairfax district; drafting an actual written contract to use for wedding officiant services (now that I've married so many of my friends, I'm started to be referred to people I don't know as well and, well, there are very good reasons to put things in writing); finished up a draft of a new play, and another one is starting to emerge from my fitful pencil scratches.
So this week I am posting a bit less often but I haven't wandered far. But if a latecomer stops by and wants to know where I am, you folks just tell him I'm mining Rhodizite in Madagascar, won't you? Let's have some fun on a Tuesday.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
MS. PERINO: The purpose of what the President said is that al Qaeda should not be allowed to have safe haven in Iraq and take over -- [[Evasion.]]
Q How can they take over Iraq's oil reserves -- [[Yes, can we get back to this lie?]]
MS. PERINO: Well, if we were to leave we would certainly ensue chaos and not be able to -- if we were to leave too soon, it would certainly be chaos and it would be terrible for not only the innocent Iraqis, but the entire region and, in fact, our own national security. That's what the President --
Q But the Iraqis would let a foreign terrorist organization take over their oil? [[Attempt #3.]]
MS. PERINO: You're missing the point, and I think that you should go back and read --
Q No, I --
MS. PERINO: Yes, actually, I think you are missing the point. And I call on you because I see what you write about how you come here and you really want to have questions asked. And I'm calling on you and I'm providing it to you, but I suggest that you read the President's speech and read it in context, because that's -- what you're suggesting is not what the President said.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Even when it became clear we had been swindled into a pre-meditated war, a compliant Congress went along with the tyrant's program, faithfully funding his insane and aimless project, and doing nothing effective to curb his overreaching abuse of executive power and the American people.
On the fifth anniversary, he repeats the lie that this foreign occupation makes our country "safer" when exactly the opposite is true.
No President has broken his oath of office more flagarantly or with more lasting damage. And the institutions of our country were completely baffled in their role of oversight. A malignant administration ran amok and the United States could not defend herself.
Five years later, one must seriously question our republic's ability to fend off the advances of a dictator more capable and determined than George W. Bush or Richard Cheney. It is a question we should give long, sober thought. And since the press will not ask this question, the people must bring it up. Every day, anywhere we discuss politics. We must talk openly about tyranny and authoritarianism for the sake of national security and the survival of Constitutional government.
We must ask the candidates for President.
Yesterday, one of the candidates gave a speech many consider brave and inspirational, saying some frank things about race and class in our country. We must be as brave and as frank in discussing the abuse of power that has taken place over the last eight years, the drastic expansion of executive power and the unchecked power of the justice system, and how Congress can safely rein in a disasterous war.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Actually, in the Congress, Democrats had a good week.
At the risk of appearing as a Hillary Clinton basher (a "monster" if you will), just want to say something that CNN and other news media appear unwilling to say; and it's a phenomenon in public discourse that is not unique to Hillary Clinton.
Here's the CNN headline: "Clinton Apologizes To Black Voters."
They go on to report: "Senator Hillary Clinton did something Wednesday night that she almost never does. She apologized."
Here is the alleged apology: "You know I am sorry if anyone was offended. It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive."
No fault is admitted. The incident is written off as a misunderstanding. No recognition of hurt feelings (I'm sorry IF anyone was offended). Whatever it is she is trying to say, she is not really apologizing.
There is no journalistic ethic, no standard of impartiality, that requires a reporter to refer to an apple as a vegetable just because a politician says it is.
Yet they call this transparent spin an "apology."
Monday, March 10, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Have not secured permission to put hers up, but here's mine - wrought with colored pencils, acrylic, oil pastels, and whatever else I found....
Friday, March 07, 2008
Noticing a tease on the cover about "the koan of parenting," I had a look inside and found (along with an ad for a Buddhist dating service!), an article by Karen Maezen Miller, a student in Maezumi Roshi's lineage - "A Cypress Tree, A Kiss Goodnight." It was beautiful and genuine and doggone it, said what I knew what she was going to say because this is so (in her words): "Through your own eyes, animated by your own intuitive action, the course becomes clear. Any parent, regardless of their beliefs, awakens to the whole of Buddha's teaching by not knowing what it means."
Or, as Paul Haller once whispered to me warmly at a sesshin on Cape Cod, "It's gonna happen the way it happens."
At my own office, a man named William is anticipating the arrival of his son as soon as next week. Yesterday I asked him if he and his wife had been taking birthing classes and we got to wondering how prepared anyone could be in advance, how much one could ever figure out about becoming parents, with all the information and advice fizzing in the atmosphere. William summed it all up by saying, "Doesn't matter. Baby gonna come out."
Zen Buddhism is a practice, it's not a philosophy or an aesthetic. This why the koan analogy is apt. Koan practice, the question and answer practice unique to the Zen tradition, when it sinks into your bones and gets underneath the mask, is indifferent to all of the mind's precious darlings. Here is your situation - what is the relationship? How will you act? Baby gonna come out.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
It is no mere status symbol: these devices are actually in use. I have become used to approaching people carefully, miming a handphone and mouthing "Are-you-on-the-phone?" before I speak to them. You have to be delicate with them, like rousing a sleepwalker. At any time while I am conversing them, these individuals are liable to break eye contact, direct their gaze somewhere over my shoulder, and begin speaking loudly to someone who is not in the room with us. The disembodied voice usually takes precedence over conversation in the flesh.
My boss has a personal assistant who works a few hours per week. Yesterday, she arrived talking into the air, waved to me, put her things down, pantomimed a request to be let into a locked office, followed me in, opened up a drawer, and commenced working without missing a beat in her conversation. I never did get to exchange a proper hello - at some point during the day, the assistant was gone, and I imagine her walking down the ramp toward her car, alone and talking. Or perhaps she simply disappeared in thin air - "dropped," like a broken cell phone signal.
Al the security guy is in on it, too, but he doesn't have a "bluetooth" or similar device that clips to his head. He has an old fashioned plug-in earpiece, and he walks around with the earpiece on, the cord dangling by his side.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Thanks to the DVD release (which crops the picture against the director's wishes), I saw the movie this weekend and all I can do is scratch my head and wonder at the negative reaction. Hopeless? Repulsive?
Weren't these critics falling all over themselves to praise Pan's Labyrinth that year? There were scenes in that movie I had to watch through my fingers, and I left the theatre feeling brutalized.
Tideland is even more upbeat than Gilliam's own Brazil (1985). Both movies depict an innocent person escaping traumatic circumstances into a fantasy world. In Brazil, a guileless bureaucrat is trapped in a dystopian, fascist police state with no way out. In Tideland, the circumstances take a couple of sad and disturbing turns, yet we see the innocent child at the center of it maintain her innocence, survive the situation, and at the end she seems to have found a way out, unlike poor Sam Lowry.
There is almost no violence - a single slap. As for disturbing images, I've seen worse on television medical dramas, and there is no malingering. The movie briskly moves along - not at the pace of a Hollywood blockbuster, perhaps. The narrative is linear, and the blurring of fantasy world and real circumstance is carried out in a straightforward manner.
Wisely, the little girl at the center of this spooky wonderland, and the pre-pubescent tension between her and her male friend Dickins, are kept perfectly innocent. It is, in fact, a very deft job by a director who is better known for big-budget, image-driven, large-cast spectacles.
Indeed, it lovingly portrays a child who uses her imagination to integrate a shocking event, in a way that is beautiful to watch. And for Gilliam, a very interesting artist who seems to be gifted with difficult luck, it is an achievement.
So I'm saying rent the thing and give it a try, won't you?