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July 2002

Poisoned! I was poisoned!

It's true. Let me explain...

I have a friend, an odd, but fun guy. We used to hang out and do odd things together (we're both easily entertained...). He got married - his wife doesn't like me much. I guess I'm seen as a corrupting influence... I can't see why really. There was the time we stayed out all night dancing at that men's club (notorious here abouts as a drug haven) - I suppose that might be difficult for her to explain to her pals in the Mommie group... but it's not like we've done anything like that since they've been married and had kids. God forbid anybody have any fun - well, what I consider to be fun. I don't run off and do these things all of the time dragging my reluctant friends kicking and screaming behind me (actually I've become rather respectable in my dotage). But the potential is there, so I'm a suspect kind of character. If, that is, you happen to have married the likes of Carol Brady. Sigh.

I think my friend's wife is trying to kill me off by feeding me strange concoctions that only people who have children and no time to cook can survive. Little does she know that this is not an effective strategy where I'm concerned. Craftier people than she have tried poisoning me and failed. My brother, for instance, once convinced me that model airplane glue was something I had to try and because he was my big brother and I was about four, I did... Milk of Magnesia is not a chaser I recommend to anyone who'd enjoyed ingesting such a palatable and solvent infused adhesive. Yet, my mother had insisted. And so I regurgitated every last drop of both, which had been her plan all along. She wasn't always so keen on my evading questionable foodstuffs. If she had been, she wouldn't have exposed me to such an unseemly array of edible evils. This sadistic regimen included, but was not restricted to, sprouts, liver, kidneys and granola - to say nothing of the cod liver oil, brewer's yeast and the oft dreaded three bean salad.

My friend's wife believes that I pose a threat to her relationship. I think it's interesting to see who's viewed as a threat, and why, in various relationships. In a healthy relationship people look out for each other and let each other know who they think is best avoided (trying to kill them off with unwholesome edibles, while a clear message to the victim, isn't positive relationship behavior... nor is it especially good gamesmanship). I would like to cite an example of positive and healthy communication from my own relationship...

There's a lady who owns a second hand bookstore who's taken a shine to Ume. If we stop into this store and she's on the premises, she starts making her presence known in various ways, trying to capture Ume's attention. I feel it's my duty to point out to Ume (whose nose is generally buried in the natural sciences section) that even if she were tempted by this rampageous bibliophile, their affair would be doomed. It's not out of jealousy or spite that I point this out, it's truly a supportive and selfless gesture. You see, Ume has a dust mite allergy. She can only spend a brief amount of time in that store due to the effect that rooms full of dusty books have on her person. I'm certain that over an extended period of time anyone who works in such an environment is sure to be covered in dust mites and therefore an unsuitable choice for a women with Ume's sensitivities. One must keep one's significant other's best interests in mind at all times. It's the key to a healthy and lasting relationship.

If you're not interested in a healthy relationship, as I am... I suppose poisoning the people you find objectionable is an effective way of maintaining a certain grasp on one's significant other.

Note: My mother went through a highly volatile health food phase. It scarred my family deeply... Not really - we like to joke about it though, because she was as enthusiastic about chili dogs, pulled pork barbeque and fried chicken as she ever was about home baked wheat bread. Only, after the wheat bread she didn't come running after you with a bottle of vitamin C to counteract the damaging effects of the nitrates, etc.

Welcome to corporate sponsored democracy. Like it?

This and more were brought to you by unchecked greed, I mean, deregulation...

Think campaign finance reform went far enough?


Ooh, ooh - this was a while back, but good - Louis Lapham (editor of Harper's Magazine) and Stuart Taylor- intelligent critique - pushin' the compelling buttons (7/1/2002): click here

I enjoyed the commentary on current events.

More recent (7/22/02) - a thought provoking conversation on civil liberties in frightening times. The show focuses on the controversy over the neighbor/spy program: click here

You know how kids are? How their brains work in mysterious ways that are refreshing to adults (whose brains tend to get stuck in ruts and are incapable of seeing the world from anything but a single vantage point - the stressed out one...)?

When I was a kid, I wanted a garden. Our yard was a cross between a tenuously trained jungle and a dirt patch. Depended where you looked. My mother had fought back the woods and weeds around our home to make a loosely tamed, not wholely unpleasant landscape. She had a good eye and a green thumb. She just wasn't consistent about applying either from season to season. Hence the "tenuous"... And she claimed that there were soil issues... hence, the bald patches of dirt.

There were lots of large rocks strewn about the yard, by products of an unruly ice age. I had a lot of fun scrambling around on those. I also had a lot of fun running all over the place like a small maniac, climbing trees, chasing anything that moved (that poor snake that lived out behind the house) and having a fairly good time in general. But then I caught the bug...

On one of my circuits around the yard, I was drawn to what, in some seasons, served as a flower bed. This was an offseason, not an off growing season, one of my mother's off seasons where she was tending more to the house plants than the plants outside. In one of my more quirky and less disturbing obsessive moments (no matches involved), I decided that this patch of dirt would be mine. When I decide things will be mine, the universe sometimes falls into step behind me (it can't just be coincidence, can it?).

After due consideration my mother decided that I, a growing child (I was eight or so), could handle the responsibility of a five foot by three foot plot of dirt. She also knew that I had the attention span of a juvenile gnat with A.D.D. and I'd probably forget the garden by the time I'd turned around and headed back to it.

But I had a grand scheme to sustain me! My plot would teem with flowers of every sort. It would burst with color and a wonderful springy fragrance. I would spend my summer sitting beneath the plum tree that overhung it, perhaps I'd even sit in the tree, as I sometimes did, and look down fondly on my boisterous plot of flowers. I set to work...

Having lived where I did, I had a lot of experience removing stones from dirt. It was a local preoccupation. It took some doing, but I managed it (I still can't believe I got that far...). I had the stones moved out and I looked at the harassed dirt. It wasn't neat and the larger stones that rimmed the area, well, they weren't either. I spent some time finding new ones and filling in the gaps. That left the untidy dirt. I got a rake, the kind with the steel prongs on it. I got a watering can. I tilled, watered and raked the dirt until you could see even rows across it.

In retrospect, I can see a lot of my life's struggles and triumphs wound up in that little plot of earth. The contradictions and the simple realities. At the time, I sat looking at it, one small tamed area in a yard left to it's own devices, and I sighed. Something clicked.

I never planted a thing there. From time to time I'd go and rake the dirt until it was evenly covered with lined furrows. I'd sit and look at it and I'd sigh. Life was good.

Years later when my mother was ill and I spent a summer helping my father take care of her, I made another garden. It had a few flowers, but you probably won't be surprised to hear that the garden was fairly minimalistic. I covered the dirt that abutted one side of the house (we'd moved when I was an adolescent, so this was a different plot) with flat rocks, patterned in a swirling wave. My mother was pleased that I'd put my minimalist gardening urges to good use (she'd always appreciated the Japanese aesthetic).

That garden was a great way for me to channel a lot of the grief that I didn't know how to experience at that time. A need for something to take order, if not my own life, was overwhelming. And the three of us, my mother, my father, and I had all taken part in it's creation as we'd tried to deny the inevitability of my mother's death that summer. It was a surreal experience, an exercise in futility, but a constructive one.

I've not made another garden, but I've helped out in a couple. The place we're in now is an asphalt paradise, no gardening space for rentoids. I'm thinkin' of doing a window box thing on the porch. As soon as I clear the pigeons off of it...

Pop! Bang! Fizzle... bang!

I love fireworks.

Hope you all are having a fun (and safe - watch those fingers!) 4th holiday weekend.

Okay, the world is spinning. There have been so many things in the news - my head's spinning too... but it's still there. Here's an item that may not have screamed out at you from the morning headlines, the afternoon headlines or the evening headlines (honestly, it's been non-stop gasp-inducing stuff).

Something wicked this way comes...

Want a cold chill to race up your spine? Check out what our beloved enemy reactionaries are up to these days: click here

These people don't just want to enforce their idea of family values (Dad at work, Mom obediently at home tending to the brood... and to Dad) on Americans, they want to inflict it on the entire world. And guess what? They've found some interesting bedfellows to help them warp the documents coming out of the U.N.

Some people have already tuned me out - surfed on. "Ew, more liberal/feminist paranoia about the right or fundamentalists or whomever." If you don't have a clue that there are people out there who want you and me gone (and I'm not talking about anti-American zealots - in this instance), you're operating in an alternate reality (how's the weather? send me a postcard). And if there's any doubt that our beloved enemies will resort to underhanded practices to get their agenda on the books (so that they can come after us with impunity) - read the above article to the scary quote at the bottom - and check this out:

BOSTON -- The Attorney General's Office has received several complaints about deceptive practices by some people gathering signatures on certain initiative petitions. Voters said they have been asked to sign a petition for a law to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption, but when they indicated they want to sign that petition, they said they were given another, different petition to sign -- one that proposes a constitutional amendment stating that only the union of one man and one woman shall be recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts.

After receiving those complaints this week, the Attorney General's Office did some spot checks which revealed that some voters may have signed a petition they did not support. Based on these complaints, the Attorney General advises the following: (the rest of the article appears here: click me)

This is how these god fearing, queer hating lovelies got a DOMA bill into our legislature - they lied and cheated to get it there (explain that to your god when you're dead, I'm sure he'll be thrilled that you undermined the democratic process in the name of hate). If you want to read about this nasty bit of trash that's eeking it's way through the Massachusetts legislature - click here.

Do I think it will pass? No. Not in it's present state. But they'll keep it up and try to find one that will. These things have been passed all over the country.

Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have to go meditate in order to send love and kindness toward my beloved enemies. For they surely offer me my greatest opportunity to practice compassion.

2002 Déjà vu- June - May - April - March - Feb. - Jan.

2001 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov. - Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - Misadventures- April

Compassion Fatigue Entries - 2001

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