November 13, 2007

Pretty tricky -- these Occidentals

Where are people after disasters? Where are they before disasters? If you know a train wreck is coming, do you....
(a) Wait for the train to hit -- cleaning up is cheaper than avoiding it...(b) Divert the train and apologize to passengers for the inconvenience -- and lose $$ when passengers don't come back...(c) Fix the problem
In Minnesota, it is pretty clear they knew something was going to happen. They opted for inspecting ... why? Who knows? I am sure it will be looked into.
My question is why do we inspect and inspect and inspect when you see a problem starting? Do inspections make things safer? Not at all if results are suppressed. Do they delay getting a problem fixed? You betcha. After all, the deal about delay is that if you stall long enough perhaps the people who need a problem fixed will go away and you won't need to fix it at all.
Pretty tricky these occidentals....

Speaking of the Falklands

I never liked Elvis but I l love Rock & Roll the more educated I get about the lyrics.
Here is a For Instance: Vintage Rock & Roll the Kinks.
Living On A Thin Line
Written by: Dave Davies
Published by: Dabe Music, 1984
Chord file
All the stories have been told Of kings and days of old, But there's no England now. All the wars that were won and lost Somehow don't seem to matter very much anymore. All the lies we were told, All the lies of the people running round, They're castles have burned. Now I see change, But inside we're the same as we ever were. Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we supposed to do? Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we supposed to do? Living on a thin line, Living this way, each day is a dream. What am I, what are we supposed to do? Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we supposed to do? Now another century nearly gone, What are we gonna leave for the young? What we couldn't do, what we wouldn't do, It's a crime, but does it matter? Does it matter much, does it matter much to you? Does it ever really matter? Yes, it really, really matters. Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we supposed to do? Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we supposed to do? Now another leader says Break their hearts and break some heads. Is there nothing we can say or do? Blame the future on the past, Always lost in blood and guts. And when they're gone, it's me and you. Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we supposed to do? Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we supposed to do? Living on a thin line.
This song can be found on the following releases:
stereo mix, recorded Aug-Sep 1984 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
Kinks Links
If this isn't a slam at the U.K. adventurism in the Falklands, then I don't know what is. Here is the wikipedia entry on that war. Fought in 1982. Song recorded 1984. Do the math.
I wonder what songs will come out of the U.S./Middle East adventure? And when will they get here? So stay tuned. There are several so far that are likely candidates...GreenDay, etc. But none I've heard so far like this one -- so wistful, so angry, so sad.

Change but Staying the Same Inside

More on Living on the Thin Line
Now I see change, But inside we're the same as we ever were.
Kinks, 1984, Living on the Thin Line
I think listening to the song often, those words actually make more sense as Outside I see change, But inside we're the same as we ever were
And that's certainly is clearer the longer I am awake. Fashions change but people don't. Not really. Not without a lot of sustained effort and then the change is merely a veneer easily scratched off in adversity.

Grammar and the Kinks

Grammar Lessons
Blame the future on the past
More from the Kinks Living on the Thin LineSo true and so easy to do. I'm just not willing to live that way anymore. Present Tense not passive voice


Fall Cleaning
Fall cleaning unearths loads of cool stuff. For instance, this link about a cat named Annie reminds me of an old folktale about a pickle jar and how a thief was caught because he wouldn't let go of the pickle. Here is what I just googled on pickle jar thieves.
The Monkey and the Pickle Jar by A. Ullrich
There once was a monkey who lived in the forest who always bragged about how smart he was. One day the monkey found a pickle jar with a handful of pickles left inside. The monkey was extremely fond of pickles. The monkey put his hand in the jar and grabbed all the pickles. When he lifted his hand, it wouldn't come out. He wasn't sure what to do, so he started yelling, "Help, help, my hand is stuck!" Then suddenly a little rabbit came by and looked over the situation. After carefully reviewing the jar and monkey's hand, the rabbit said, "Poor, poor monkey. Trapped by your own greed and stupidity. Let go of the pickles and you'll be free." And he was.
Moral: Don't ever brag about yourself because some day you might need someone's help.

Balancing Points and Bones

Balancing Points

Currently researching CSA...Community Supported Agriculture. Here is a wikipedia link inking it in more fully. I'd have to tell you that China recalls and an obsession about where do bones go has driven me this summer into eating macaroni and cheese. While I surely won't starve or become malnutritioned eating that with all the vitamin supplements I take, I'd like something fresh and scrunchy and local to go along with it. Hence, CSAs which will support local farmers and keep developers out of the garden. Hah, at least that's what I would like to believe. The fact is that in Northern Virginia there is no developable land left. So it is a moot point whether supporting the farmers will help prevent development. But I just never outgrew fairy tales. Sigh. In fact, subscriptions to get produce locally are completely sold out for 2007. Dah! It is September!!!!

Feather Dusters of the Soul

When cleaning House

Feather dusters just aren't strong enough to fluff away sadness. It seems that the more I clean house, the more I organize the place I am living in, the more lonely I become. Never mind the cats, never mind the cell phone which connects me to the outer world. My bet is that the less I have to "busy" myself with, the more I notice that there is less in my life to distract me from ... well, me. And that brings me smack face to face with that elusive character I have tried to avoid all my and who/what/how I am doing/being/committing my time and $$ towards. I rescue to rescue myself. But this endless facing of self is overwhelming at the moment. I don't know if it is the pressure to conform from work, the pressure to conform from my landlord or just the pressure generally. But I am exhausted and truly need to clean house on both levels -- physical and mental.

3rd Quarter

It must be the Phase of the Moon

I dunno. Call it the third quarter, call it the aftermath of Gen. P's paper on Iraq, call it whatever you want. But this year, September came early, stayed on too long and felt like a month of Hurricane Katrina force changes blowing across my desk and TV. Gone are the mind numbing days of re-runs in July and August. Now every single news item either touts a new disease I could have...or a disease my kids could catch or a food additive that will kill my cats. Come On, people! Get a clue. We saw it when the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed that not only is the infrastructure of roads is the help ethic in this nation. When my daughter comments that the troubles in this country are caused by the aging americans (hello) like me over 50 and that we should we ruthlessly weeded out to avoid the overload on Social Security, I start to feel like a crumbling infrastructure s well. Perhaps that is the trouble...perhaps we are all aging and not seeing the issues around us as well as we could. Perhaps we are starting to crumble into the river...and we just won't know until the entire structure comes down completely. I just dunno. My mood of pessimism must be a September thing. I sure hope so.

Drama Queen Advice

Recovering from Trauma

I write to recover from emotional ups and downs. I laugh to open my heart enough to write about what is troubling me. I watch re-runs of funny shows. I watch re-runs of classic movies. I read lists of what artists should do for inspiration. And then ... I realize I am not writing as much, I am laughing more, I am watching re-runs less, and I am finding inspiration inside of me. Go figure. But with more than 30,000 service men and women injured returning from Iraq? How on earth can we help them laugh, open their hearts again, and live? Peace now.

Miss Perceptions

Perceptions Don't Define Us, Only We Do

Bad guys consistently redefine how the rest of us are wrong in our perceptions of the world so they can appear powerful, in charge, total commanders. It has always been that way. On a macro level, the imact of the dictator gets diluted if he is just one fellow. On a micro scale, such an individual has destinies in his care. Case in point, the teacher who points to a student and accusing them falsely of cheating. I get incensed when I am accused of cheating. And when it is my kid being accused by someone who is trying to prove his existence matters by making others look like cheaters, Hell Hath No Fury....

Crazy Cats

Cat Licks

Cat Lick ought to be the name of a town in West Texas or Southern Ohio or somewhere rural. My long haired cats love to groom themselves -- intensively. One of these days, I expect the cat grooming will get too intense and the cat will lick itself out of existence. Lick, lick, lick...tick, tock, tick, gone.....


Aren't the kittens above this paragraph cute? Kittens clustered so close put out a lot of thermal energy though. I am all for rescuing animals. I am all for stopping the killing in Darfur. I am all for a lot of things but one of them may or may not be accepting blame as a citizen of an industrialized national for the brunt of global warming. No, nope, nada. Yes, there are a lot of emissions from the U.S. Yes, there are a lot of other issues associated with being big. But it seems to me that the biggest source of global warming and what has sped it up as swiftly is not the put-put-put of the automobile in the U.S. and our dependence on oil. Rather, it is the mechanization of war with the addition of weapons of mass destruction. Who knows the impact environmentally of the oil fields we blew up in Gulf War One? I don't but I bet it was huge. Who knows the environmental impact of WWII? Of the Korean Conflict? Of the Texas Oil fields that were allowed to burn off into the atmosphere? So before I take credit with my measly car, I would like others to take a bow as well for the holes in the Ozone and the glaciers melting. Because after all, these things all add up like the kittens in the picture above.


Drumbeats towards War

I got an email from a friend about remembering the holocaust and excoriating the Iranian President about his Holocaust denial and rabid hatred of Israel. And I am concerned that this is the first drumbeat of a march in a new direction for the American War Machine. It started with Iraq with inuendo and flat out lies. It is starting with Iran in a similar fashion. First it was reports of al-qaida operatives coming from Iran, then it was the Iranian diplomats discovered in Iraq doing something that we didn't like, now it is pulling the indignation card and trying to incite the various Jewish organizations and lobbies. And they might just succeed with the wanna-be Jews for Jesus and the wanna-be kaballah groupies and the wanna-be pseudo Jewish understanding Christians (those who celebrate Passover and think they "know" what it is to be Jewish) who are offended on our behalf but who don't "get" the full picture. It is indecent for this country and certainly for the media to use another person's suffering to incite a riot. It is indecent for emails like this to be circulated among friends who are well-meaning. It is wrong to go to war because we don't like someone's beliefs. We might as well be back in the middle ages fighting in the Crusades. It was wrong then to go to war. Read Barbara Tuchman or any historian of the period. It is wrong now. In fact, it is worse now because in the global society we have with the internet and easy access from country to country we are less informed, less tolerant, less trusting, just less.....

2nd Chances

Second Chances only Happen if you never give Up

Second chances happen to everyone. Last night they happened to the Robinson Rams Freshman Football Team and the results were spectacular. A freshman had just made a terrific run up to the goalposts only for a penalty to be called on the play. Without missing a beat, he re-ran the same play the minute the teams regrouped and this time made the goal. Amazing. And in just that way, we all are given second chances. Albeit, not as flashy and certainly not as noticeable but each and every day there is an opportunity to score even though a penalty is called against us. Waking up each day is the first second chance, then what you make of the rest of the day is up to you. It is in you to do whatever you choose. Choose wisely and run your day like the football freshman last night. Score big for yourself in the game of life and don't let the refs get you down.

Elections 2007

Petty Potentates - Election Day 2007
Today we get to elect representatives. Note the word, Representatives. Not dictators, not privileged people, not royalty. Representatives. Well, I guess we intend to do that. R for Representatives. R for Royalty. In the U.S. it is pretty much the same thing. And that's a problem. Politicians (a.k.a. representatives) forget the people who elect them. Politicians would rather vote themselves pay raises, health care benefits and other perks instead of worrying about the folks who voted them into office. Politicians would rather have business outsource than have the economy adjust downward towards stability. The cats and I say, "Stop outsourcing." But that will never happen. It is just too easy to save money on paper instead of saving souls here in the U.S. Let's outsource Congress instead. Surely, the country would be better run. After all, these politicians are the clowns who got loans from foreign countries so our national debt wouldn't look so bad. Talk about your bloodless coups. Sheesh. Peace please!

Fine Arts -- Drool Style

The Art of Drooling
Ok, ok, I admit it. I am an art geek. I drool for Chinese scrolls, Japanese swords, zen paintings, Rousseau Fauv-ist prints, and water lilies from the impressionist period. I drool for folk art, 19th century New York school transcendental art, James Whistler, and art in general. A good line draws me in every single time. I didn't realize how big of a geek I was until today when a friend described the re-do of the Chicago Art Institute. And I started to leak from the corners of my mouth. Mind you, I am not a Newf or a cat with a drool problem. An art geek with a drool problem? Sounds fine by me. Much better than other things I could be drooling over.

To Fall in Peace

Fall Thoughts
"In the midst of life we are in death." Book of Common Prayer, The Burial of the Dead, First Anthem. ("Oxford Dictionary of Quotations," Fifth Edition, edited by Elizabeth Knowles,Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2001). It is the end of the week. Nearly the end of a year which saw the final endings for many friends. To bring a child into life these days means a resolute facing of the fact that children die. Some sooner than later. And then adults die. And certainly animals we surround ourselves with as surrogate family die. Ah, well. It is a sigh and goodbye if we are lucky enough to have the time to do that. And even though this blog entry sounds sad, I am not sad. It just is what it is and that is enough. Peace.

The Belly -- A Lead Up To Thanksgiving Parable

Ever Notice?
There is a wonderfully funny movie 10 Things I Hate About You. The dad in the movie is a crazy obstetrician who is obsessed with his girls not having s.e.x. So obsessed that everytime they talk with him about boys, he has them wear what he calls "the belly." Now the belly is an add on device that really makes a persons' profile look pregnant. I mention this because lately I am seeing lots of people -- men as well as women -- look as if they are wearing the "belly." It is bad enough for us moms. But when the guys do it too? Pathetic!

Clues Your Cat Has an Eating Disorder

My cat and I have been to the vet so often with his eating issues they need to dedicate a revolving door. So ...Here are some clues if you have a finicky eater:

Here are a few my cat (who has issues) and I have put together:
Is your cat skinny and still eats like a hog?
Does your cat toss his cookies after each meal?
Does your cat constantly want different food?
Does your cat refuse to eat all together?
These are the serious questions my cat posed for me and my vet last week. And yes, he is anorexic.
Only I think he also is metrosexual. Here is what he does that makes me think this:
He always is posing.
He has a large freckle on his nose, probably from his girl friend's indelible eyeliner makeup.
He rearranges rugs I put down.
He is meticulous in grooming and constantly wipes his paws on the walls/floor after he uses the facilities and after he eats too.
And he is always checking other cats out to make sure he is the best looking one around!!
I mean, Sheesh!


Welcome to All Embracing Casablanca-Land
America, land of the slurb and the traffic jam. Home of the schools that have students who need support for 47 different languages here in the DC metro area. America is also the land of last resort for those driven out of their home nations either through war, economic hardship, famine or what have you. America, land of the world warriors. We bring war to Southeast Asia and acquire Vietnamese/Laotian/Cambodian refugees. We bring war to Europe and acquire East European refugees. We bring war to Iraq and refuse the refugees admittance. Makes me scratch my head on that one. America is the place of last resort for people who no longer exist in the "wild" outside of our borders. I refer specifically to parts of the world destroyed by good old American technology. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South/North Korea all have sent many refugees into our country. Some landed here in Northern Virginia and for a few years there were no cats seen roaming outside. They were collecting freezer burn as the newest immigrants discovered a new food source like the ones they had left back home. The immigration resettlement officer had to deal with that one. But new people are not always the cause of bad things. It is sort of like seeing a snow leopard in repose. You sort of know the leopard isn't safe but golly gee, isn't he beautiful. I bring this up because of the Dalai Lama recent visit here to Washington, D.C. The Tibet he represents exists only in memory due to the cruel repression of the Chinese government. We are becoming Casablanca, MiB-Land. Folks exist here even though they no longer thrive outside our borders. As we ready to eat the thousands of slaughtered turkeys, let us remember that the turkeys who run this country are not immigrant friendly, not foreigner friendly, but are the only thing between the repressive governments like China (with whom we trade now) and us. Sigh. Happy Day. Peace Now Please