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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
. . . 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
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
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
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
. . .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
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.
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
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
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
. . .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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
these moving video clips about the "fighting"
dogs rescued from Michael Vick's dogfighting
kennel . . .
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.
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
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.
U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations",
by Scott Shane, David Johnston, and James Risen,
N.Y. Times Article.
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.
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
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
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.
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:
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
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!
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,
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
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
respond to Michael Vick . . .
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.
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:
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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"
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.
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
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.
"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
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
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".
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
Now I have to walk my Chihuahua Charlie over
to the vet to have his teeth cleaned.