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ARCHIVE #1

1-14-2009

Okay, I just see children with shrapnel and broken limbs and people with phosporus burns. I don't give a damn about international politics. That's the way I roll. I'm just weird that way. Yeah, sure, the IDF has to bomb those Hamas terrorists and those children and goats and grandmothers are just in the way, blablabla. It just so happens that all the people are crowded into that Gaza Ghetto and the bombs accidentally splatter all over the place, but whaddya gonna do? It's Lebanon all over again. That's how it's been for the last 60 years. Or 2 thousand years. The Holy Land. And after all, depending on your point of view, God really gave us this land.

I really do not believe in the kind of God who makes real estate deals that require people to lob phosophorus bombs onto little children. I do not believe in this kind of bizarre political parsing of meaning either: we must terrrrorrrrize children to stop the terrrrorrrrists! So much for "diplomacy". I just see the woman screaming about her baby with phosphorus burns. And of course I also see the Jewish parents screaming about their own children blown up by suicide bombers. I do not inquire about the political meaning because there is no such meaning for me. It would be the same to me if it was a goat instead of a child. No damn bombs. I clearly do not understand the realities of war and land disputes and religious differences. That's for damn sure. There's always an excuse. A perfectly good political or religious excuse, eh?

Think of the fear and terror of those people in Gaza. Oh yeah, this will really stop terrorism all righty. This is really going to make some allies for the U.S.A. and make us safer. This is really going to make Israel more secure, since they are completely surrounded by angrier and angrier Muslims. And the cow flew over the moon. Yep, we've done a really grand job of supporting our ally in the region.

 

 

10-09-2008

An important thought . . .a single filesharer who is publicly exposed in their true identity means one person who will never be trusted to operate within any business environment or graphic marketplace. Sure, we might not be able to stop filesharing in general, but exposing a few of them and getting them banned from creative marketplaces and communities will have a nice leveraging effect. Filesharing is like terrorism: only a small number need to engage in aggressive thieving attacks in order to poison the atmosphere. But in reverse, only a few filesharing cyberthugs have to be publicly identified and exposed in turn to make the whole lot at least as uncomfortable as they make hardworking ordinary people trying to earn a living from their labor and skills. It's valuable to just point and shout when you see muggings taking place. At least it makes it a little bit less fun for the thugs.

In a small victory over the filesharing scavengers of the Internet . . . Rapidshare, the largest and most infamous of the filesharing hosts, lost a court battle in Germany and has been ordered to proactively remove copyrighted material from its servers.

The company also has to "proactively check content before publishing it" if there have been similar infringements in the past. Rapidshare has to log and check IP numbers of potential infringers as well, according to the court decision.

Rapidshare has been using a MD5 Hash filter to prevent the upload of previously removed material, and it told the court that it it has six employees working full time to remove infringing content. The Hamburg court however ruled that this was not sufficient because infringers would only have to change a few bytes of a file in order to circumvent the filter.

Now . . . what the filesharing cyber thugs will thumb their noses and tell you is that they will just find other filesharing sites as fast as they are shut down and that nobody can stop them from snatching your products and redistributing them. They claim entitlement to endless to free content and products, just as they feel entitled to free everything. They feel morally justified in appropriating anything and everything, just as a pursesnatcher feels entitled to grab your purse on the street and take home the money in your wallet.

After all, filesharers are just poor people who really "need shares" and copyright violations should simply be considered "charity" provided by "rich capitalists". No lie, this is their actual language. These cyber thugs are so out of touch that (1) they don't know what capitalism is and (2) they haven't heard that charity is a voluntary act and that when giving is forced upon someone it's called theft.

However, the legal ruling in Germany is a symptom of the growing awareness of how filesharing aggressively threatens ecommerce and thereby negatively impacts the lives of predominantly working people who try to transact business on the Internet. Filesharing corrupts the integrity of commercial transctions online. It definitely won't help the economy and filesharing cyberthugs who demand products for free have little awareness of the many working class and middle class people who rely on small ecommerce businesses for modest incomes so that they, through their industry and innovation, avert the poverty which filesharers use as their primary excuse.

As an aside for the sociopathic filesharers . . ."capitalists" are people who make a living from "capital" that is gained from the labor of other people. Digital artists such as myself make a living directly from their own labor. And it a whole LOT of labor, too. This is the crux of of the ethics issue in filesharing: it shamelessly exploits the extremely hard mental and physical labor and the financial investment of the individual producer of creative content. Exploitation of the labor of another individual is the heart and soul of capitalism, not matter how filesharers try to turn the issue upside down.

Lots of schoolyard bullies get away with bullying. And many filesharers, hiding behind nicknames, also will get away with what they are doing. Filesharing thugs have claimed to have given away as many as 600 copies of my products within hours, and it's a real hoot to them. In the same paragraph they will also express their astonishment that I wouldn't be more pleasant toward them. It's a very bizarre stance they have, but it would be familiar if you ever watched the Sopranos, LOL. It's a shakedown. But there's no reason to surrender to shameless bullying without publicly identifying it and shaming the practice.

10-08-2008

Uh . . .John McCain is impulsive in the extreme, and has a volatile temper when challenged in any way. Yeah, like I really want a hothead on the end of that crisis telephone at 3:00 a.m.

Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAyK-enrF1g

No way do I want another President who does't think things through and believes his impulses must be honored as the law of the land. Besides, what a cranky old dude. Hey, after all, people fuck with you, just bomb 'em! Bombbombbomb, bomb bomb Iran!

I'm sure you can tell that I'm not a member of the Give Endless War a Chance Club. Besides the fact that I don't have an extra trillion dollars to spend on another war in the next few years, I just think endless war has already had plenty of chances and it doesn't seem to work that great. What works for large defense corporations and for ruling elites just doesn't work out all the well for the rest of us.

10-07-2008

The thing about filesharing sites and forums is that exposing them individually would require posting the url to the filesharing forum or site. This apparently drives traffic to the filesharing site and some of that traffic will be low life fileshare addicts looking for a freebie fix. So readers will have to contact me privately to get the url link to any specific people or sites I want to publically expose and ridicule.

Personally I'm a big fan of public exposure and transparency. I believe filesharing and copyright violation to be a general problem of social mores which will only be solved by a change in general social behavior . . .such as we have in civilized sociaties grounded in the rule of law. Behavior that is illegal, unethical and generally harmful to the public and to the health of ecommerce simply has to be sharply pointed out and denounced. I'm for this exposure at every level, from the presidential to the individual.

Filesharing scavengers endanger the livelihoods and reduce the potential income to regular, working class store owners. But when exposed they will quickly tell you that you can't stop them nya nya nya, we're gonna do whatever we want with your products and you can't stop us!!!! And you oughtta be really nice to them or they'll make us sorry for pointing out the thuggery and thievery. In fact, if you just give your products away to them up front, that is the only possible way they might stop abusing you. And then they will wag their finger in your face and say "aren't you ashamed of talking to us so rudely?" Remember my analogy of the schoolyard bully stealing everybod's lunch money?

Since I grew up in a house of frightening life-or-death physical bullying, I developed a real defiant streak toward people who try to hold me for ransom and beat me even as they are exploiting my energy, LOL. Even at the age of 5, I didn't hesitate to point out the abuser. And I was a very articulate albeit tiny abusee. So I don't feel like lying down for cyber thuggery either. The first step with abusers and exploiters, whatever their rationalizations and threats, is to publically identify them and denounce their excuses.

10-06-2008

Ah . . .the problem of filsharing. Otherwise known as piracy. Aggressive, larcenous, exploitive theft. In one of the major forms of illegal and unethical filesharing, customers license the products of designers and artists or programmers (or otherwise obtaining them from other filesharers who have licensed the work somewhere, sometime) and then share the products with hundreds or thousands of people through filesharing sites which are difficult to prosecute. The links to the files are posted on forums dedicated to this practice, but the files themselves are hosted on special filesharing servers.

This practice has become so common that it threatens the income of artists . . .which is most modest earnings indeed but which can become even slimmer due to filesharing. If thousands of people are giving away what you are trying to sell, it represent significant loss of potential income. More and more people frequent these filesharing forums and one person may purchase/license a program or 3d or 2d product, but thousands of people will have access to it through the original purchaser. For many artists, as fast as they put a new product in their store . . .within hours it appears for free in large filesharing sites.

That means that some of my own customers are aggressively exploiting my work. That's a bummer, hunh? Because there are very few ways of pursuing the violator. It's hard to find out who they are. On filesharing sites, the unethical filesharers are using aliases, of course. One can not accuse one's own customers, although this is the ultimate source of the filesharing.

Among the more ironic aspects of this filesharing practice is that those who receive free products profusely thank the person who is violating the copyright of the original artist. The original artist is out of the loop, nobody thanks them, of course. They thank the person who is passing on the pirated products.

In voicing my protest in the forum of one notorious filesharing site, I gathered lots of classic rationalizations and misrepresentations and excuses and ignorant challenges. One of the best one is the repetitive challenge that I work harder and improve my skills and products and stop attacking the pirates. In that way there would be more and better products to illegally and unethically share.

Make no mistake about it: filesharing is not a Robin Hood activity which involves stealing from the rich to give to the poor. It's a social stance of inappropriate entitlement, like all other crimes, which aggresses on ordinary, working class people. It is backed by a set of misperceptions about creative property. And it's no different from playground bullying: I want what you have, so gimme! But filesharing pirates provide many half baked justifications. If we do not refute their nitwit assertions about their rights to free stuff provided by hardworking people, we are just perpetual victims, like kids on the playground who's lunch money is stolen every day by the class bullies.

Some people will say that arguing against the filesharers only makes them mad and that if the violated artist shames them in public, they then try to get even. They certainly do try. I've experienced that. But that is not a good enough reason for victims to lay down and accept the aggressive larceny, as though the excuses really made sense. I think, instead, that shame has its place. Public shame establishes a norm of behavior which is, in this case, missing entirely. Although filesharers claim the honor of thieves (no lie, they actually do this!), there is zero regard for the artist they are ripping off. They treat the working class artist as though they were an elite who deserves to be ripped off. They are simply rationalizing their aggressive exploitive behavior. Appropriate norms of online behavior are exactly what's missing here: there is an entire online population which is not shamed by shameless exploitation and theft of working people's income and energy. The abuse of copyright violators and filesharers make simple, individual online businesses much more problematic. Their crimes are not against corporations but against individuals. So we need a social solution as well as a legal solution. A public social solution.

Therefore, reluctantly, I'm going to have to pick apart every nitwit idea the filesharers present, publish the nonesense, and show it for the shameless anti-social aggression it represents.

I'm simple. I don't favor torture, bombing, or cyber assault of individuals. Although I'm not a Christian, I don't need the bible to affirm that killing people or exploiting other people's energy is not good in any culture. It's common sense. Aggressing on someone's livelihood is also not a good practice and denouncing that behavior is utterly appropriate. And each moronic filesharing excuse will be refuted, one-by-one in this blog.

10-07-2008

So Sarah Palin says the gloves should come off? I've just been waiting for this invitation to point out some painful things about McCain, LOL. I guess nobody wants to say it. So mean to question heroism.

Here's one of the things I've been saving up, inhibiting my natural inclinations in the hope that the presidential campaign could be about . . .uh . . .the real problems plaguing our country and the world. But what the hell . . .

I'm sick of hearing about McCain's heroic POW experience. Okay, he's great at sustaining torture and I'm not. I applaud the physical and emotional stamina of the tortured and have endless empathy for those victims and I don't want to be one of them because I suck at withstanding torture. But I'm not great at bombing villagers either.

How did McCain become a POW? His plane was shot down while bombing men, women, and children in their own country. I do not consider it an insult to the 58,000+ American soldiers who died in Viet Nam to mention that 1 million Viet Namese men, women and children lost their lives during that war. A very high percentage of those who were blown to smithereens by American bombs were NOT soldiers. Just people living in their little villages, which were bombed by pilots who never saw their faces. Yep, babies and village pigs incinerated together. Pregnant women. Old people. This is what happens in war: young men are exploited and trained to lob lethal weapons from a high altitude so that they will land and destroy without any awareness of what happens when the bombs land on somebody's child. So okay, McCain was incinerating and exploding villagers in the service of his country and that should, I suppose, cover the motivational aspect of murder. If it's a war, it's okay to murder civilians. Especially if your government will claim, on your behalf, that it's necessary collateral damage. Young men in flying lethal weapons are covered if they are flying for their country, right? Unless they are on the other side.

But still . . .he bombed non combattants. No doubt. When you drop a bomb you do not know who it's going to land on. That's the deal in this version of male heroism.

We didn't win that conflict even though we were fighting a tiny little country with a fraction of our resources and we through more bombs at them than were dropped through the entire span of WW II. Even though we killed in numbers far vaster than our own losses. Even though we had priveleged sons of military men flying high tech planes over Neolithic villages and working class young men painfully fighting through swampy rice paddies to win an ideological conflict hardly anybody understood anyway - including most of the 58,000 U.S. dead.

John McCain the "Hero" landed in a POW camp because he was bombing, incinerating, and blowing up dirt poor Viet Namese men, women, old people and children (and their homes fields and and domestic animals on which they depended). When you bomb people and the land in their rice paddy, they are frequently quite angry and want to hold you to account. When McCain talks about this, it is as if he has no awareness of the impact of what he did on the people underneath the bombs.

How come we don't talk about the courage of the mothers and fathers under the bombs, those whose legs were blasted off and who had to deal with their children being burned alive before their eyes? Why talk about the courage of the bombers? Okay, for sure those jet jockies are reeeeeally brave and they had worried parents waiting in the Navy fleet. But to me there is a severe disjunction in our thinking about what "courage" really is, when we give all the approval to the bombers rather than the bombees.

I can't hear McCain's manymanymany references to his heroic POW experience without thinking of those hundreds of thousands of people being bombed to death by playboy jet jockie over the many years of conflict. I particularly think of the parents and loved ones of those torn to shreds by bombs dropped by young men like John McCain . . .a man who show no awareness of the human consequences for the bombees. This is the John McCain who makes jokes about bombing strategy in another country now: Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran! Sure, you can maybe take out an Ayatollah or 2 . . .but a whole lot of families with them. But what the hell! If you're a real American hero . . .

John McCain is not such a big hero to me. Jet jockeys have great testosterone attractiveness, but . . .I'm against incinerating other people's children from afar.

 

10-04-2008


I don't blog a whole lot any more because frankly it takes a whole lot of wristpower and mental energy. And in my case it creates a kind of exposure that carries some risk with it. I'm opinionated and a pungent verbalizer, LOL. That means that if I express honestly and without a sugar coating, I'm always saying something that a lot of people won't like. The only way to blog with total safety is to make sweet comments about the joy of life. I can surely do that because there's a lot of joy in my life to talk about. But due to the economic and political crisis in our world - and a lot of other crappy exploitation and unjust behaviors I can't avoid seeing - I don't always have pleasant observations to make.

Going back to blogging, I will want to comment on the march of history and the abysmal state of things in my country. And I've got a lot to say about the problem of filesharing which plagues creative content providers these days. And then, of course, back to the rape and pillage of the natural world and the torment humans are inflicting on animals.

Yep, I'm in a mood to vent, so . . .have to mix some vitriolic observations into my Pollyanna attitudes here.


6-11-2008

Watch these moving video clips about the "fighting" dogs rescued from Michael Vick's dogfighting kennel . . .

Meet the Michael Vick Rescue Dogs

I know many Pit Bull dogs and every one of them has a sweet temperament. These dogs, for the most part, do NOT want to fight. They are "tested" to see if they have a fighting temperament, and they are forced to fight and tortured into it. I do not believe in the concept of "sin", but if I did, tormenting dogs or animals of any kind would be one of the mortal ones.

4-16-2008

For our weekend movie, we watched "Rendition", a film about how an Egyptian man, married to a U.S. Citizen, employed in a great, high-tech job in the U.S., is mistakenly identified as a someone who has received an overseas cellphone call from someone on a terrorist watch list, then shipped to Egypt to be tortured for intelligence purposes. He's innocent, but eventually he confesses to anything they ask him to say . . .making up information to try to get them to stop waterboarding and electrocuting him. But it doesn't do much good to confess in these cases, because they don't really believe him and have to keep torturing him to get more and better information instead of the incoherent babbling people usually do under prolonged excruciating pain. This movie is, in many ways, excellent, but it was torture to me. It's torture to me to share in this kind of suffering and I cannot view suffering without sharing it.

I am against torture. Even John McCain is against it. I have contempt for the usual argument that it's justified if it saves a single life. Our self consciously Christian president lies when he and his Secretary of State claim that "America does not torture". Historical facts demonstrate otherwise. Of course governments torture. Of course our government tortures. It is historical reality as old as the last Ice Age. And to say that it is in the service of saving lives is among the worst of all hypocrisies. It's just a really bad habit that takes a lot of courage to stop. Like war, a reeeeeally bad habit.

When I was growing up, I remember taking pride and finding a great relief in the idea that my country was not like the savage countries we fought in the Second World War. WE DO NOT TORTURE people or incinerate innocent civilians or put them in concentration camps or let people starve to death or leave them defenseless against bloody rapine. As a normally empathic child, I was terrorized by the constant TV and movie depictions of fascist countries and previous savage centuries in which the Inquisition could snatch me out of my home and cast me into a dark dungeon and then torture me for months and then burn me to death. Thank God I live in a civilized country!!!!! Thank God the Gestapo can't get me!!!!!

But I grew up, as an historian, to find out that we do just about all the nasty things everybody else does and I'm no more safe from those horrors than anybody else is.

I do not watch torture in movies. In even the best, prize winning movies, I leave the room or hide my eyes and plug up my ears during those scenes. I know it's not "just a movie" but rather a moving drama of real human experience based upon historic truths. Moreover, drama is intended as catharsis. Acting and dramatic plotting are intended to generate empathy to make an emotional impact. There's no way to watch films depicting torture without identifying with the actors to some extent . . .unless we permit our minds to be split (as in dissociation, as in "dissociative disorder"). Alas, I feel that our national population has a rampant case of dissociation which enables millions of people to view movies with torture scenes as "entertainment". The more bloody and gory, the better. Serious, serious dissociation going on in this country.

But I do not watch torture because I decided some time ago that it is unethical and emotionally damaging to me to treat torture scenes as "entertainment". I'm not able to dissociate from my emotions to that extent. I know enough already to recognize savage realities, I don't need more instruction in historic fact: we are just like most nations and our citizens are like most humans and we will do violent savage things to other humans under if we get a chance or under certain circumstances, if it suits our purposes.

But I say that brutality and savagery don't really suit our purposes and torture is diametrically opposed to our individual and national interests, in the short run and the long run. Anybody who says differently is very suspicious to me.

Torture is wrong, wrong, and wrong. The loudest Christians in a purportedly Christian nation who claim it is really okay under certain circumstances are lying hypocrites who are shamelessly distorting their faith. I am not a Christian, but I'm quite certain torture is wrong. And I'm pretty sure it's not a sign of social mental health when sooooo many people in this country willingly watch sooooo many movies which depict endless violent suffering inflicted by one human upon another and explain: "it's just a movie". If we can watch a torture scene and not be shaken to our core . . .we are in a more dissociative state than those who want to kill us. And such a high degree of dissociation from reality is not a good sign for our security.

Healthy people who have been face to face with violent suffering probably don't watch a lot of torture as entertainment, eh?

Torture is wrong and any politician without the courage to denounce it as government policy does not deserve to be in a position of leadership. Under the right circumstances, they would agree for you to be tortured too. That is, in fact, what George Bush has done.

"Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations", by Scott Shane, David Johnston, and James Risen, N.Y. Times Article.

3-25-2008

I've turned it over and over in my mind for quite a while and I'm officially in the Obama For President camp. I want to see as complete a change in the U.S. domestic and foreign policy as possible and I think he has the depth and complexity to lead the country in a new direction.

I was a Bill Clinton supporter and became a Hillary supporter and I could live with Hillary as president. But I actively support Obama over Clinton now. I don't care if he's black, green, pink, or has a strange name. I like the breadth and depth of his mind and his willingness to think in an entirely new way.

One of the things that solidified my support was Obama's response about his pastor's remarks, which turned into a general statement about racial politics and human nature in general. I was struck by his sense of social reality and the fact that he trusted me/us to think like an adult and not continue these knee-jerk dogmatic patriotism reactions by which we condemn anybody who colors outside the line (no pun intended). He was willing to say things that many Americans just don't want to deal with. Like, for example, that there is unreasoning indignation and anger on all sides of the religious and political landscape. And that there are reasons for everybody's anger. But that we can and will find ways of addressing the reasons for the anger without tossing the angry or fearful people out of the body politic. We're all going to have to face complex reality and won't be able to retreat into simple dogmas.

And that's exactly what we will have to do in the coming years: face facts for a change. Too bad if it pinches. Adults have to deal with the way things are. And the way things are, for many Americans, makes them justifiably angry. He was right on target when he said that the problem is the frame and remedy for our anger and our expectation of the future. We will not be able to dissociate ourselves from everybody who is angry and has an idiosyncratic perspective on things. It would mean rejecting too many people, including many we love for many reasons unrelated to their anger.

Also . . .I wasn't personally offended by Rev. Wright's comments. I can't "damn" my own country, but I have excellent rational historical reasons (and every right) to acknowledge the failures of our foreign and domestic policies of my government that don't work worth a damn and which create mayhem for myself and the rest of the world. And so does Rev. Wright. As someone accustomed to pungent self expression to make a point, I am not easily freaked out by the expressive hyperbole of other people.

Many of the things that Rev. Wright cites in his sermons are historic facts. Many people, not just black people, are ashamed of the role our government has played in many situations. We change, however. America changes. And we can change in direct relationship to our ability to self reflect and face the facts and logical consequences of our own behavior.

And Hillary will have to face some facts too: She has totally turned me off with her negative campaigning. I do not want to watch a single additional moment of what's going on with her.

9-11-2007

The 20th Century has been sadly neglected in my lifelong study of History, and most of my attention has been fixated on Medieval and Early Modern Europe. But I've been making up for this negligence in the last few years. 9/11 had a lot to do with attracting my attention to the last century. It certainly did stimulate a lot of interest in understanding what in the hell was going on in the world now and how we got here. But with History, one thing leads to another and you pick up a thread which takes you back and back and branches off into paths you never intended to explore. Because everything is always tied together.

One of the approaches to History I like best is through biography. I love historical biography because it reveals the trajectory of one person's emotional and intellectual development within the context of his or her times. Biography makes History personal and that's what really appeals to me: what were individual men and women actually thinking and feeling and doing, and how did that feed into events, how did they influence other people, how did their motivations translate into behavior and and their actions result in changing something. For me this is really the only way to understand Political History, for example, because otherwise it's so boring I can't bear it.

Do I really care about military history and the chronicles of war? No. But I really care about what actual people, alone and in groups, felt/thought/did during times of rapid change. Right now I'm reading two fabulous biographies of 20th Century contemporaries: "Ike: An American Hero" by Michael Korda and "The Last Lion: Winston Spender Churchill, 1874 - Visions of Glory - 1932" by William Manchester. Both of these writers are Master Biographers. The writing itself is a pleasure. But reading them in tandem provides a marvellous depth to the history of the period because both these writers really know how to set a person in their times and show how they were influenced by and influenced those times. It's a pure pleasure to sit in my chaise longue under my apple tree, feeling a soft breeze, and slowly savor both these books together . . .and remember when times were reeeeally dicey and millions of lives were dependent on real leadership. Something we are desperately lacking now.

I have heard or read somewhere that George Bush likes to refer to leaders like Harry Truman and Winston Churchill and even deludes himself that he emulates their insight and courage. But I can tell you that he's nothing like either one of these men.

8-20-2007

Just to lighten the mood after my vitriolic attacks on poor demonized Michael Vick . . . here a recent photo of our most recent dog, our 4th Chihuahua, my darling Lily, who came to live with us in January and is growing into a wonderful companion to all of us:

8 months old, 5 pounds. She will eventually achieve no more than 6 pounds, but she's not too tiny, she's a nice, robust Chihuahua, as I like them. And what a person! She's soooo playful and engaging and athletic. Confident. She doesn't shiver, she's not afraid of people or new experiences. She roams our very large yard and patrols the perimeter. She has enlivened our other 4 dogs (3 other Chihuahuas and one 100 pound Shepweiler) and constantly engages them in play. She runs like a Greyhound, does flips and summersaults like an Olympic gymnast. And she hunts. So far she has captured and killed both a mouse and a sparrow (!). I didn't expect it, I naturally felt badly for the mouse (I'm also a rodent-lover) and the bird. I had seen her stalking birds and hanging out underneath the birdfeeder that hangs in my cherry tree, but it never crossed my imagination that she could actually catch one. My husband and I were absolutely speechless to look away for a second and then look back and see the bird sticking out of her muzzle (the bird was almost as big as her head). We chased her down and retrieved the bird which must have expired from fright or been shaken to death, because it was warm and we thought it might come back. Robert gave the bird mouth to beek rescucitation as Lily looked on in consternation. But the bird could not be revived and now Lily constantly thinks of the thrill of that capture and spends hours sitting quietly and waiting for a bird to get careless. She stalks, then she rushes like lightening and sometimes actually leaps in the air, barely missing the tailfeathers of the birds.

Which just reminds us that Chihuahuas are DOGS, not fashion accessories. Lily does all dog-like things: she even buries her toys to hide them from the other dogs, and she steals toys from them, just as they try to guard their tiny belongings from one another. My other Chihuahua, Jolie, has also killed a big rat near our storage shed. So even though we probably couldn't train her to fight, she has very normal instincts. Our Chis are not carried around and do not wear clothing. But they walk all around town on a leash and they love riding in the car, being outside and exploring and protecting our yard. They are a constant source of entertainment and affection. After endless playfighting and gymnastic antics, Lily settles down on my shoulder, under my chin and gives me a gentle washing, just like a little kitten. Every day she washes the faces and ears of all the other dogs, including my 100-pound Xena. And they all love the grooming but don't return the favor, LOL.

I love all my dogs (see Paco's picture below) but I admit that I am totally infatuated with the character and loving affection of my Lily. So hard to believe what is packed into this very tiny brain and body, so much character, so much feeling, so much intelligence:


This is Lily when we first brought her home.
What a dog!

8-27-2007

Michael Vick, that piece of crap testosterone dominated gladiator athlete who invested his success in the torture of dogs . . . apologized to his fan base and his employers and axed for forgiveness and promised to make himself a better person in his press statement. Yeah, that's what really matters here . . . Michael Vick becoming a better person.

Some people are still claiming he has been demonized as a successful black athlete who is being unfairly persecuted. This is a ridiculous argument because it is his very success which makes his choice for dog torture for fun and profit so incomprehensible. What could have been his motive? Just getting more fun and more acclaim from people he was enabled to support from his success.

Further . . . the worst thing . . . he has never yet mentioned THE DOGS. He claims rehabilitation. What about the DOGS THAT CANNOT BE REHABILITATED AND WILL BE DESTROYED? Did he offer to pay Cesar Millan to rehabilitate and find homes for those dogs whose disposition he helped to create FOR FUN AND EGO STROKES AMONG HIS SADISTIC FRIENDS?!

HE NEVER MENTIONED THE INHUMANE TREATMENT OF THE DOGS - THE SPECIFIC, INDIVIDUAL DOGS.

Saying "dogfighting is bad" doesn't cover the meaning of this issue. He talks about his immaturity but leaves out the choice of sadism. He left out WHAT HE DID. THIS IS NOT REMORSE.

No, I don't think his public apology has any value and I believe it was made as a public relations ploy to cut his losses and help save his post-prison career.

This is what comes from paying people obscene amounts of money for skills, however marvellous they may be and however many "thrills" they supply to the public. They may be ignorant, sadistic, egomaniacs who would torture to death a fellow creature . . . but if they keep us entertained, and ax for forgiveness, what the heck, we can forgive them anything if they pretend to feel badly.

Oh yeah . . . and he has found Jesus. What would Jesus have said ABOUT THE DOGS? What happened to THE DOGS? Individuals, every one of them. He left them out of his pathetic plea. I can't believe that, after finding Jesus, Jesus wouldn't have told him that remorse is tied to genuine empathy, and the empathy belongs to the creatures he tortured. HE LEFT OUT HIS EMPATHY FOR THE DOGS WHOSE TORTURE HE SPONSORED. Therefore there IS no remorse and axing for forgiveness means little to me. LET'S SEE SOME EMPATHY FOR THE CREATURES HE HARMED FIRST. It's missing because he still doesn't believe he hurt anybody important, other than his fan base. Being sorry for his wealthy employers and his fan base hardly qualifies here.

And what can you expect from a professional gladiator?


8-25-2007

Dogs respond to Michael Vick . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxP1_VF5K60

This is a cute video. But if you go to Youtube.com, you can see videos of the despicable sport of dogfighting, what it's really like. I couldn't watch it, so I can't post a link in my blog. But let me say it again: what a travesty of justice it is to make a plea to save his multimillion dollar career, as though he deserves it. It's really only about preserving income for the business of football where he is a star.

The NAACP: Oh he's being persecuted so unfairly.

Look at these pieces of crap "football stars" saying that if Michael Vick wants to fight dogs, that's his business and what goes on behind closed doors is private business:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o77coI3O9ps

Poor Michael Vick. Poor millionaire football players, having their gaming fun spoiled. And they are such "role models". How in the hell these people qualify as role models, I cannot fathom.

There are not enough words in the English language to express my contempt for these people who defend the illegal and inhuman activity of dogfighting.

8-23-2007

I have scant empathy for Michael Vick. This is not just a "mistake" he made . . . deriving fun and profit from the ghastly suffering of dogs. This is not the kind of activity someone does as an "accidental" or "mistaken" impulsive choice. This is characterological behavior: betting on dogfights is not just a little slip up. It was an activity pursued over a long period of time which reveals deep attitudes which are unlikely to be easily changed. Vick did not need the money he derived from these cruel, inhumane, and violent activities. He was doing it for the fun of the gaming. He clearly, undeniably, considers it a reasonable way to have "fun" and to provide "fun" for other people and to provide a "fun" way for other men to gamble on pain. A short stay in jail and some fines to a multimillionaire are not going to change his idea of what is justifiable "fun".

But the defense of this behavior I have seen on TV (as from the NAACP and many funloving football fans - "oh, don't ruin his football career") is almost as bad as the original behavior. Several spokespeople have claimed that football fans should not be deprived of the thrills that Michael Vick has provided them on the field, where they watch men slam their bodies together to produce a constant source of painful injuries which will be with them for the rest of their lives. Yes, that's the result of playing football for years: irreparable injuries, a shortened lifespan, and constant pain. It's not that far from dogfighting in my book. I'm married to a man who played football in highschool and college and I've read many statements by pro football players and is a fact that these men get money and prestige for damaging their own bodies for the "thrills" they can provide to fans . . .and the riches that are generated by college and pro football businessmen. This sport simply generates a whole lot of money. I don't care how attractive and fun football looks, its reality is that it is just our ultimate gladiatorial display of testosterone aggressivity and resistance to pain. It's not that different than dogfighting, but these "dogs" don't have fur. It's certainly a way for a lot of men to make a lot of money by sacrificing their health and well being and accepting pain in order to demonstrate physical toughness and power.

But at least football players volunteer and are rewarded and not tortured to death against their wills. Instead, they are paid a whole lot of money for their aggressive skills and talent . . . which someone like Michael Vick can then invest in torturing dogs.

I spit on the "thrill" Michael Vick has provided to his fans. What a piece of crap argument it is that his career should be spared because of all the thrilling moments he has provided to his fans. What a stupid illogical argument it is that he has been vilified more than a wife abuser would be. These arguments do not compute to me at all. These arguments come from men who don't want their fucking fun spoiled.

Imagine that this man has million of dollars and this is what he invests it in and how he derived ego strokes and fun: torturing dogs emotionally and physically. And imagine that we should not torture him in return by taking away his million dollar meal ticket, which he used to invest in dog torture for fun.

That's what it is, folks. Plain and simple. People defend Michael Vick largely with the argument that we should not take away his ability to supply us with thrills by ruining his football career.

If we do not stand up against animal abuse in such flagrant, shameless forms - including a public acknowledgment that perpetrators do not deserve to receive obscene amounts of money in order to indulge in it freely - then I will truly feel despair for the Roman Empire state of my country.

How's this: if there are men who find dogfighting fun, why don't they spend their money on a ticket to Baghdad, where some real bloodsports are going on? They don't need to torture dogs in safety, while drinking bear and shouting and revelling in their "sport" - they can go watch some honest to God torture and put their own lives at risk. What shitty cowards these men are, what nasty little boys. And that denigration goes for any woman who knowlingly shares a life with any man who would do such a thing. Shame on the lot of them. They don't deserve the same torture they inflicted on those dogs . . . but they deserve to be relieved of their public acclaim and obscene monetary rewards.

Sure humans can always be redeemed. But I have neither seen or heard Michael Vick say anything that indicates a second of empathy for the despair and pain of the dogs who were tortured and killed . . . and those still living, whose lives are now forfeit. He's a poor excuse for a man who is sorry for being persecuted for a little thing like dog torture. I have not heard a single word yet that shows that he could put himself in the place of those dogs or that he values their lives.

No, a short prison stay is NOT ENOUGH TO REPUDIATE THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR. TAKE AWAY THE MONEY AND THE ACCLAIM ON WHICH IT WAS BUILT. This is the only long term solution to change attitudes and behavior: take away the rewards on which this arrogant, aggressive, shameful license to hurt was founded. And make that publically clear as the standard response to reprehensible inhuman practices.

I don't give a damn how many thrilling moments this nasty rich goodlooking gladiator who is dedicated to the worst kind of thrillseeking has provided to his fans. I don't care about the fans either. But I do make a connection between thrillseeking and grossly inhumane behavior. I piss on people who think their thrills are so valuable that they must save people like Michael Vick from a deep and lasting lesson. And the only thing that will really last is the end of his gravy train . . . which he invested in DOG TORTURE.

Every one of the dogs involved was more valuable than Michael Vick and his "thrilling" moments on the football field.

But worst of all . . .this kind of behavior is symptomatic of a culture which thinks that suffering IS a thrill to observe.

1-4-2007

I was truly inspired by Nancy Pelosi yesterday. I almost felt hopeful about politics, watching her being installed as the first woman Speaker of the House. Not to mention the fact that the Dems are now in a tiny majority. Even if the Republicans are whining now about procedures and Shrub is dithering while bodies pile up in Iraq . . .taking his time to think things through. As though he could think. As though the world should sit here holding our breath waiting for a single decision from this single man. The colossal insanity of power.

 

10-13-2006

So far we watched 2 terrific films this week on our beloved 57 inch HDTV: "The 3 Burials of Melquides Estrada" (Tommy Lee Jones, ya gotta love him) and "Sleven" (Bruce Willis and Josh Hartnett, fab-u-lous). Really worth renting these flicks. The first film was very moving to us. "Sleven" was interesting and good to look at, but not a "great" film. Josh Hartnett is well worth watching and I'd always watch Bruce Willis. The plot is intriguing with genuine surprises. We belong to blockbuster so these were our 2 bonus movies. Usually we get our movies mailed to us and can sit in the comfort of our big couch, lounging on one another, with a log burning merrily in the fireplace and all three of our doggies nestled up to us and the high definition screen right across the comfortable living room. I gotta say I much prefer this to driving to a theater and sitting upright with a lot of strangers. When I watch a movie I just gotta have dogs with me and you just can't take them into a theater, hunh?

10-12-2006

Weather so perfect this week it could make you weep from joy. . . .cool misty mornings turning into brilliantly sunny and crystal sharp afternoons in the low seventies. I took many long walks with Xena, shuffling through leaves and gasping at glorious trees. I stop working about 1 in the afternoon, strap my MP3 player on my arm and turn on the Gypsy Kings, put Xena's back pack on her, and set off, mamboing gayly through the Fall neighborhoods. Both of us truly dancing down the sidewalks. I'm about a mile from the waterfront and a few hundred yards above sea level, so as I walk walk along I can often glimpse the brilliant blue waters of Commencement Bay/Puget's Sound and I can see the green of Vashon Island in the distance. I actually do stop to smell the roses along the way. And there are still lots of roses left form the summer in people's yards. The houses in the neighborhoods around me are varied and fascinating, 1 and 2-storied craftsman bungalows and Victorians, great big Queen Anne Victorians, brick colonials, mullioned Tudors, houses built in the 20's, 30's and 40's and updated, well kept, with beautiful gardens, deep porches, all different, all personalized over the years, many with spectacular views. Pumpkins are on the porches. Some houses have trees so beautiful you would buy the house just to have those trees. I get ideas for my own landscaping projects. My walk gives me about 40 minutes of sheer delight and then I go back to take a little lunch, a half hour read, maybe a short doze, then back to work on something pretty. Life is good for me. God I wish things would get better for some other people.

10-5-2006

Does it matter a whole lot that a noted politician flirts with young male congressional pages online? I guess it does. I'm mildly disturbed by it. But I'm not nearly as disturbed by recreational sexual stuff as I am by murder, rape, and pillage. But then, I'm not a Fundamentalist Christian or Muslim. So I lack the theological basis for towering indignation over sexual misbehavior. I'm definitely against adults having sex with children, but I could care less about the same sex aspect of this and . . .these young men are not exactly children. It's pretty disgusting and stupid what Foley did. It's predictable how the Republican leadership handled it. But it's just a national shame that so many people put so much energy on this kind of issue instead of the life and death matters of morality that are currently in our faces.

Based on the predominant focus of the news media today, apparently many people are more interested in recreational sex scandals than about the women in the Congo and Sudan who are being raped to death and then stabbed in the vagina for good measure, while their children are shot and starved. And then there are our soldiers who are being blown up today. Not to mention the bottomless suffering of the Iraqi people. Yeah, the focus on naughty congressmen kinda seems symptomatic of what's wrong with our political system: it's always about power, isn't it? It's not at all about the young men who have been corrupted. It's about who can get the goods on who and turn it into some leverage for . . .basically no useful purpose at all. Millions continue to starve and suffer while our politicians confer about how to save their prestige bacon so they can continue to pretend to be highly moral people.

Nope, I don't think the Foley scandal really measures up in my hierarchy of horrifying realities we need to confront.

10-4-2006

I'm humbled by the courage and compassion of Robert Fisk (author of "The Great War For Civilization") because he doesn't shrink from describing what war actually does to people. Real people, not fictional people.

When you realize that the "CSI" dramas are among the most popular of all TV series in history. These are programs watched weekly by multiple millions of Americans, which graphically present the curious ways a character can get dead. It gives you pause for thought. Then consider "ER", which shows us endless bloody tragedy dramas every week. And how about the immense popularity of extraordinarily expensive hackandslash epics, in which hundreds of thousands of men and horses perish in less than an hour. Or . . . how about horror flicks like "Saw" and "Scream" and "Grudge" and stories where innocent teenagers fall into the clutches of infinitely creative serial killers. Dontcha ever wonder about the obvious American enthusiasm for infinite images of fantasy suffering?

Here's what I wonder: why don't we have a comparable appetite for viewing the reality of war fought (presumably) to protect consumption patterns? Why do we think that we should be discrete in publicizing the impact of Our Bombs and Our War Machines when we are so openly avid for fictionalized (but utterly realistic) gore? Why isn't real suffering as popular as fictional suffering?

Just for drill, let's have a cheer for reality! Why not skip your favorite bloody gore series tonight and view some Truth instead? Robert Fisk at least provides us with some actual human beings who are really damaged by honest to God bombs which were paid for by our tax money and accidentally-on-purpose dropped on real people thanks to politicians who have simply lied to themselves and us. We don't need slasher movies, we've got war, in which truth is bloodier than any fiction.

Here's a link you can always turn to for a general shot of human suffering in case fictional fantasy gore momentarily loses it's attraction: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3459.htm.

See if you can figure out who are the terrorists among this bunch:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3462.htm

Well, gotta get back to my fabulously pleasant life now. Gotta take care of my lush grass and plant some bulbs. Gotta nourish that split mind that enables me to feel both the joy of life and the infinite shame of participating in so much human suffering without running out in the street and shrieking.

10-3-2006

Today I feel so badly for the Iraqi people. And I feel pretty awful for our troops who have been thrown under the bus by the Bush "Stay The Course" administration. I provide no apologias for suicide bombers. But suicide bombing is what one can expect to arise from Shock and Awe Conquests which are followed by inept, under-manned occupations.

I am reading "State of Denial", by Bob Woodward, but it's duty reading to me. Most informed, thinking people knew what he is detailing some years ago, so there's no big news here for me. But this book literally flew off the shelves and Woodward is a powerful voice, so I want to know what other Americans are going to be confronted with. I want to see wha the influence is going to be like within the voting public. I find Woodward actually pretty dull going. As I've written before, he's a true journalistic writer: soandso said this and then soandso said that and then and then and then . . . Not artful narrative and no analysis whatsoever. He's reporter, so it's like reading a booklong newspaper article. But . . .I gotta read it so I can see how/if millions of Americans are going to catch up to what some of us figured out many years ago: The Bush administration is just a huge catastrophe for us and the rest of the world.

Now . . .back to thinking about those poor people in that awful place, living in constant terror.

10-2-2006

This is just utterly delicious: "Imperium: A Novel of Ancient Rome", by Robert Harris, who also wrote "Pompei". No lie, it's just a delight. It's about Cicero and the Roman Republic. A terrific, complex, engaging, fascinating historical novel. I consider myself a connoisseur of historical fiction and Harris is right at the top of my list.

Every day about midday, I take a rest. Usually I get horizontal, or nearly so. If it's sunny, I lay on my chaise longue on the deck outside, with a book. Always a dog on my lap, tucked under my shoulder, or laying on my feat. In this pose, I read for about a half hour and then sort of nap/meditate for another 15 minutes. It's like rebooting my brain and it takes a lot of pressure off of my spine. But sometimes I have a book so engaging to read that I can't easily nod off, LOL. "Imperium" is just such a book. I always use a good novel for my lunch break so I'm looking forward to this rest every day. I just sped through Dean Koontz's thriller "The Husband" and had the luck to have "Imperium" next on my list. Now I'm totally thrilled because I know the entire rest of the week is going to be great in the middle of each day.

10-1-2006

I'm not a member of the "Give War a Chance" Club. A glance at history reveals that war has had a whole lotta chances. Ironically, although it's always touted as the path to a "lasting peace", war has apparently never achieved it's goal. It looks to me like war is a permanent global condition characterized by temporary lulls in fighting in some places while organized slaughter continues elsewhere. Temporary peace can last for years somewhere but never more than a generation anywhere. There really is no end to war, there are just little spaces where we can catch our breath and rebuild the war machine. Otherwise the global arms industry might not be so profitable . . .and where would we be then?

War causes war. Isn't that obvious by now? Warfare is a positive feedback loop which generates endlessly expanding warfare even if it temporarily achieves a peace for the dominant group for a short while, somewhere. That's because the act of domination inevitably generates it's own opposition, producing tension that builds and builds and eventually erupts into overt resistance. And we must never underestimate the power of oppositional behavior. Opposition can expand just as relentlessly as the dominance which gives birth to it. As we are finding out in Iraq. Or we *would* find out if we could wake up from our Tom Cruise "Mission Impossible" fantasies.

I'm damned if I can figure out why so many people continue to delude themselves that war is a means to peace. Clearly, it isn't. Usually, it's people who are temporarily living in peaceful circumstances, who think war is a great idea to inflict on somebody else, somewhere else. Like that would make us all safer, LOL.

World War I was called "The Great War" and "the war to end all wars" but in fact it was just a huge slaughter with an intermission leading to the next huge slaughter, by virtue of having established a peace guaranteed to product the next generation of angry, dispossessed warriors. World War II? Pretty much the same.

But being against war is a very dangerous position to take. It's so funny, really. To say that you are against slaughtering people instantly brands you as a dangerous person. But I can't help it. I just don't think war works very well as a strategy for local, regional, or global wellbeing. I know it's an extraordinarily popular solution, but really . . .it just doesn't work worth a damn.

That statement would be the cue for someone to mention Munich, Hitler, and World War II. But . . .look . . .as soon as that war was over we were right back and it and here we are again today with the same rhetoric and same strategy: "they are evil", "we are good", and "let's get 'em!" Unfortunately each side thinks the same thing.

9-26-2006

It's a glorious beautiful early Fall day here. No, I mean . . .a gloriously beeeeeeautiful day. High seventies with a fresh breeze. The world is still green here, but the leaves have started to turn and I saw a scarlett tree yesterday that took my breath away. This is my favorite time of year and although I've lived in some beautiful parts of the world, the Pacific Northwest is just about paradise. The north end of Tacoma is one of the little known perfect places in the universe.

This afternoon, I took Xena and Jolie for an off-leash walk down a forrest ravine that is full of very tall trees smothered in ivy and covered with ferns, deeply shaded and dappled with sunlight. They were trembling with excitement. So many things to smell. This is a trail that I call my "Hansel and Gretal" trail because it winds up and down and around through trees so dense they meet overhead and form a magical tunnel. I hadn't been on this particular trail since we had moved from Tacoma to Bellevue several years ago. I used to take the dogs for off-leash romps here when Xena was just a puppy. She recognized it right away. It was so delightful to watch the little blonde Chihuahua race down the path on the heels of the big 100-pound Shepweiler. They are great friends and Jolie feels very confident as long as she's right by Xena. Every now and then, they'd both turn back to look at me over their shoulders, make sure I was right behind them, and then they'd run back towards me and act impatient, like I should move faster. It must be heaven for them to be turned loose in so many wonderful smells. Jolie got caught in some vines and I had to extricate her. She wasn't really "caught", just surprised that the vines got wound around her little Chihuahua legs and so she went into one of her "poor little helpless Chihuahua routine", then raced off after Xena once I got the vines out of her way.

It was pure pleasure. The kind of pleasure I depend on to make my heart sing on a daily basis. I am reeeeeeally grateful.

9-23-2006

Regarding "collateral damage" . . .I don't believe in it. In armed conflict, there's either killing or not killing. Invading countries in tanks, "Shock and Awe" bombardments, assassinations that go wide of their mark, suicide bombings, lobbing missiles into cities - it's all the same to me, no matter who's doing it or what their intent is. If your child, mother, sister, brother, friend, father, cousin or your dog is murdered before your eyes, that's all that matters to most people. You will not be able to verbally categorize the loss out of your heart. But apparently many people can categorize the deaths of *other* people's loved ones out of their hearts.

Let's say you're sitting down to breakfast on Sunday morning and a stray missile lands in on your kitchen table and your 2 year old's brains are splattered all over your Quaker Oats. How do you feel? Do you rationally consider what the intention of the killers are? Do you think about the historic meaning of the struggle? Or do you tear your face and shriek to God to kill the people who sent the missile - and those who paid for the missile and those who even thought of missile design? Later, when you see a politician from another country explaining that it was a "terrible tragedy" that children were accidentally torn to pieces, but they were just trying to hit some evil terrorist bombers who hid in the civilian population, but they were forced to incinerate everybody around the terrorists. Do you then dry up your tears and say to yourself "yes, that makes sense, surely my baby's brains were spattered for a good cause".

Maybe you didn't understand what Donald Rumsfeld has explained: "war is tough" and "stuff happens"? Maybe people haven't learned the lesson of the last few thousand years that war kills people? No shit, Sherlock? Maybe we need an arrogant, contemptuous, dismissive, smart allecky throw away cliche to explain to us that "war produces heaps of corpses" in order to defend "freedom". Seems like we would all have seen enough movies to know that much.

I don't think people forgive globally or regionally dominant countries for accidentally ripping their children's heads off in the course of stopping terrorists. I don't think they feel reconciled; think they feel terrorized. Terror is terror, no matter who is doing it. And when we hear these prissy homilies mouthed by the head of the most dominant power in history OR the rage spewed by ragged, dispossessed guerilla fighters, it doesn't make us like terror any better.

I despise the disingenuous use of the term "collateral damage". The use of these formulas is a political ploy used by powerful people to help the populace dissociate from what they are ultimately responsible for. The application of distancing cliches helps war to remain as popular and delusional as it has always been. I feel worse than contempt for leaders who justify their crimes with dismissive statements like: "stuff happens". The chaotic looting of Baghdad and postwar disorder leading to outofcontrol insurgency happened because there was inadequate policy and planning for which our leaders are fully responsible. It didn't just "happen". One solution would be to have men like Donald Rumsfeld re-educated by 10 years of huddling in a filthy, disintegrating building, in 120 degree heat, trying to keep a baby alive without water or food or medicine - or pampers - while missiles are exploding all around him. Yeah, let them cope with no electricity or water and daily bouts of babyshit and baby suffering . . .then we'll see how glib his "stuff happens" responses are. I spit on these glib ivory tower politicians and consign them to caring for feverish babies in poorly equipped hospital wards for several decades.

When I see images on TV, such as I saw during the Israel's punitive bombing of Lebanon, I can only think of one thing: what a desperate woman has to do to keep her children alive. I would feel that compassion for *any* woman *anywhere*. And I would feel contempt for *any* man who could turn that struggle into a phrase like "but goooollly! war is tough".

9-20-2006

In the last couple of days we transitioned into Fall. Which means it started raining. Delicious rain. It's so tasty, you would want to eat it - just stand outside and open your mouth and bite into the saturated air. One of my core pleasures is air tasting. It's one of those delights available to anybody, anywhere, any time. I've learned this pleasure focus from hanging around with dogs. What I do for my first pleasure of the day is to step outside onto my deck as soon as I wake up, whatever the weather, and take a sniff and bite out of the morning air, and see what it brings me. This morning in particular, the air is kind of like eating apples (from all the fallen apples lying around my tree and my neighborhood) but with a beachysalty hint of Puget's Sound, and a little tang of earthy vegetation from all the summer gardens that are full of harvest stuff but starting to decay, and an undercurrent of woodfires because we've all started to use our fireplaces every evening. I'm also painting leaves these days, so when I go for my daily walk with Xena (my Shepweiler), I gather leaves for inspiration and sniff them, too. The leafy vegetation smell is growing by the day. If you should see the digitally painted leaves I will soon be offering, remember that I picked those leaves up and held them to my face and that the scent of them is mixed into the digital color.

Every minute of the day, around the year, everywhere you go, the air smells just a little bit different. If you hang around with dogs you can't miss this.

Now I have to walk my Chihuahua Charlie over to the vet to have his teeth cleaned.

 

 

 


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