21 September 2009

E in P Rerun:The Following is NOT a Hate Cartoon!

(If this cartoon is hazy, click on it to enlarge it.)

In modern politics, or in olden politics, for that matter, "handlers" of the candidates try, sometimes desperately, to mold the image of an office seeker to fit what they think is some sort of ideal of electability. This is what is known as "packaging". The same thing that is done with bread, beer, corn chips, and lunchmeat... the four food groups.

We don't complain about this situation very much until election time approaches, but of course it has been going on without our notice all along. This is no surprise... a candidate is really perpetually either running for an office or running from one all their political career.
Go, go, go.
But at election time we notice what we've been trying to ignore, because some politician will bring it to our attention to try to defame his or her opponent. In political terminology this is referred to as "calling someone out" and in regular speak as "the pot calling the kettle black".
Being "packaged" is made out to be a sin, and we are supposed to think these handlers and their "image issues" are devils of deception. We're supposed to wonder what rotten, no-good, low-down, cotton-pickin' rascal this candidate must be deep down if he or she needs to be gussied up like Emma's prize pig at the county fair. Something, somehow, must be gang agley. There's squirreliness afoot someway, and we the public must beware, beware, beware.
This is, of course, utter nonsense. Humbug.
This sort of worrying is like being afraid to fly because the plane is painted purple. It's not of any importance. Not at all, for one simple reason. You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
No, the real problem isn't in what we are told to believe about politicians, because on the whole we're perfectly skeptical. We voters are basically too savvy about the way the game is played to be fooled by the cheerleaders on the sidelines. The real problem isn't in what we are pressured to believe. It's what we talk ourselves into thinking that's dangerous. It's in what we WANT to believe, even if all the evidence is to the contrary.
For example, if we vote for Hillary it's because we want to believe she'll bring this country together, stop the war, fight poverty, give us all affordable health care, correct the economy, and be the perfect representative for all our interests around the world.
Now go back and fill in the foregoing statement with the name of any other candidate you want, and the statement remains true for any of them. I don't care who you plug in, if you want to believe, you will believe, and that's your right, even if you're wrong.
It's really a good example of blind faith in action, the way we vote. But what other choice is there? We could look at the candidates' voting history, maybe? Not much help there. Things and people and their opinions change, as do the times. Look at their professional careers? Maybe, but in the case of the Presidency it's a whole new ballgame with different umpires, and a lot further between the bases.
I decided that I'm not going to expect miracles or sainthood from my choice for President, just that they be somebody I wouldn't feel ashamed of a couple years from now. How can you ask for more than that?

16 September 2009

Women and Their Wants

(When Ann Landers, the advice columnist, passed on, the job passed on too, and the column is now "Dear Annie". I wrote this the other day after reading a particular letter.)

Dear Annie:

After reading the letter of "Disheartened in Louisiana" I feel I need to comment.

This lady, a widow, says "all the men she meets" want just sex, not a relationship. One or both of two things have to be happening here. One is, she is approaching men with the wrong signals. Or two, with the wrong attitude.

I've searched for a companion for thirty years, not just seven, and I have to say I have a lot of discouragement myself over the fact that the women I meet almost invariably believe the outrageous falsehood "Disheartened" seems to believe as well.. that "all men" are sexual creeps out to get only one thing. We are not. We are human beings, we are individuals, and we absolutely do not deserve to be collectively punished in this manner.

I have a strong suspicion that what "Disheartened" finds is what she WANTS to find, and what she sees she wants to see, to back up her prophecies about "all men."

If we men did not show a healthy interest in sex (which she mentions prominently) what would be the case for her then? Aha oho, we'd be instantly rejected! (And labeled.) You cannot vary your rules to suit yourself. This is contradictory and if you operate that way, always testing and holding our behavior up to a changing impossible light, OF COURSE we will not wish to have a long-term relationship. There is no trust or loyalty or openheartedness in such a woman and we will definitely go elsewhere if we have any dignity at all.

Signing off with much more to say but no time...

Much maligned in Michigan

14 September 2009

Domestic Violence

October is National Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Month.

This is a photograph of some graffiti in some ruins in Syracuse, NY. It represents what it feels like to be sexually or physically abused by someone you love (or don't).

12 September 2009

order out of Chaos

Fractals are a result of chaos theory. I love the designs, which seem
very ordered to come from chaos.


I feel as if I am caught beween a rock and a hard place. And about to
tumble into space.

Pacifists of the world unite!

I've been reading Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver. Great book. Have you read it? What did you think?

I'm 3/4 of the way through the first rough draft of a children's chapter book. It's keeping me very busy--and you?

11 September 2009

"Belinda's Price"

Her chosen grave before him, Paddy brought his shovel down
And pierced the breast of Ireland to prise it from the ground
He lift his eyes to heaven and he cried out sad and clear:
"Oh Lourd, why take Belinda and her Spirit from us here?"

"Ah, Lourd," prayed sturdy Paddy, "ye have giv'n us this Earth
And all which grows upon it and beneath, for what it's worth
But why did ye see fit to give us poor Belinda May
If only as a flower seven years and snatched away?"

"What did she in her little life not holy in your Sight?
What sin had she committed? None! so what gave you the right
To take her back untimely? Well, for taking her away
I take this stand...I'll be hell-damned if I won't make You pay!"

"Belinda's Price from You, oh Lourd, is lasting Peace on Earth
My price for her removal is redemption from our curse!
You may not wish to pay this price, but I say all the same
My name is Paddy Donnell, and by God I make the claim!"

The blessed Moon, in crescent, like a silver scimitar
Slid sideways through a smoky sky and left behind a scar
A Star shone through that rifted cloud of midnight in the mist
And took a fair position over Paddy's outflung fist.

And Lo! a Voice, a Rumble, like a thousand raining stones
In tumble down a mountainside in mashing, crashing moans
As if from many miles away, yet to one ears are borne
Such came the Voice of God to Paddy, answering his scorn:

"I hear ye, brother Paddy, oh ye simple, foolish man...
I hear ye as ye bellow badly, questioning my Plan
Such arrogance as you display deserves no recompense
But as I am a gracious God, to PEACE I will consent."

And from that moment all the people, land to burning land
Cast off from war and fighting, and instead began again
To take this World and make it in the Image of Above
And drown all hate in charity, in hope, and faith, and love.

And children gathered flowers, woven in a grateful garland
And in Belinda's memory they danced the fields of Ireland
And Irish mothers smiled on them, and knew, forevermore
Their sons would be no sacrifice to foolishness of war.

By Paddy's sons' and brothers' toil a monument was raised
A "Statue of Belinda", carved and placed above her grave.
And every morn about it were a thousand petals flung!
And everywhere those blossoms fell, a thousand seedlings sprung.

But what of Paddy, father, left to ponder what God wrought?
Well, after many months had passed, with Peace at long last bought
He pined for poor Belinda, and her blessed presence lost
And in the end he muttered, "Lourd, it wasn't worth the cost."
Original Poetry by M. Serafin (2003) Reprinted by permission (2009) All rights reserved.

The Beachcomber

Leaflady Gail has been in California for a couple years now, and she often visits the nearby beaches at Arcata near Eureka, which for those of you who are geographically challenged is on the coast north of San Francisco.. quite a ways north, actually.

Gail says the climate there is not what you'd expect. I looked on the weather and saw that while they had 100 degree temperatures recently near Los Angeles, Eureka had temps in the low sixties. And Gail says that's typical.. YEAR 'ROUND.

This explains the misty fog and Gail's attire.

I miss having Gail here in Michigan as much as she misses the wide variation of weather we enjoy (and sometimes complain about), but fate separates us.

If you see this, dear LL, remember me and smile, OK?

01 September 2009

The Price of Excess

One too many clubs in your bag at Barclays? Sorry, guy, it'll cost you.. penalty strokes for each hole played in non-compliance.

It cost Jim Furyk 14 places in the standings (from sixth down to twentieth) and a cool ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in prize money.

That's a lot of brewskis.