December 1, 2007 archive

On the road again…

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The problem with the Annapolis ‘peace conference’ was that a) it had nothing to do with peace, and b) it was barely even a conference.  

There is Fungus Amongus and Dust in the Wind: Doing it for Ourselves 1.6

On a rainy late fall day (not too unlike today) towards the end of the semester when I was a sophomore in college, my household of roommates and I decided to blow off working on term papers and studying for finals and instead ate a cookie sheet full of freshly picked magic mushrooms. After bouncing off the walls for a couple of hours and then running around a wet, muddy cemetery in Portland, playing slip and slide through the gravestones, while subconsciously recreating scenes from Easy Rider and Woodstock, we all came to a brilliant epiphany. EVERYTHING GROWS MOLD!

I was reminded by this epiphany when I read the headline story of my local paper yesterday,

Mold a growing problem One wouldn’t intuitively think that mold could be a problem in the desert, but the desert states of Arizona and Nevada tied for the rank of 5th in the nation for mold related insurance claims. This is in part due to cheap housing construction materials combined with the predominant use of air conditioners and evaporative coolers to counter extreme heat.

Breathing mold spores in general can cause respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma. Breathing mycotoxins generated by certain mold spores can cause severe illness and even death. It also turns out that breathing at home, taking in regular accumulations of dust and their bunnies can be a real problem too, especially for children. Did you know that household dust is toxic? Yes, the dust in the wind (cue song by Kansas that annoys the living shit out of me) can be incredibly nasty.  This brief article from my same local paper, Household dust laden with toxins, includes this lovely snippet:

From home dust, the average U.S. child ingests the same amount of cancer-causing benzo(a)pyrene as he would get by smoking three cigarettes a day, says a 1998 Scientific American article by researchers Wayne Ott of Stanford University and John Roberts, a Seattle environmental engineer.

In this edition of Doing It For Ourselves, I’ll provide some basic information about molds and household dusts, and what we can do ourselves to control their presence in our homes and workplaces.

You Are Entitlted to Know NOTHING!

The Bush administration is laying out a new secrecy defense in an effort to end a court battle about the White House visits of now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The administration agreed last year to produce all responsive records about the visits ”without redactions or claims of exemption,” according to a court order.

But in a court filing Friday night, administration lawyers said that the Secret Service has identified a category of highly sensitive documents that might contain information sought in a lawsuit about Abramoff’s trips to the White House.

Does this look like government “of and by the people” to you?

Now that the restraining order has expired…

and Buhdy is free of all legal constraints, I’d like to offer my place as a meetup when Buhdy washes up on the shores of San Francisco.  I live in the southern part of SF (close to 101 and 280) and would be glad to spring for Cheetos and malt likker.

The thing is….we need a day and some interest on the part of SF Bay Area docu-alarmists, or whatever it is we’re called.  Well, I’m just called lazy because, as Buhdy reminds me, I’ve skirted all obligations related to this blog, but maybe he’ll forgive me over snacks with Cheezwhiz or cooking out on the deck.  Any takers?  If interested, post some day preferences below and we’ll see what we can work out.

Sioux Scalp Needs Coverage by Olbermann

If someone had told me that someone would be selling a Sioux scalp online on the 143rd Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre; I would have hoped, “Surely nobody would be that barbaric and seeped in genocide denial.” Right? Wrong.

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(Photos will be deleted after the scalp is in the proper tribal hands. For verification only)

Olbermann’s contact information

Crossposted at Native American Netroots

Blue Moon

so called, as once a blue moon or so, a poem might appear. @;-)

Another version of this was written in March, 2003 for the grassroots “Poets Against the War” website,

along with thousands of other poems, from thousands of other poets. The site is still active.

Old Woman and The Child

He said,

“It is dark!

Did the comet die?”

She answered,

“Yes, it is dark,

the comet is gone,

dark prayers are planted in the land.

But look,

here, in the round

we still have our fire.  

I tell you now,

before they come-

drink blood from our fingers

eat bowls of our dead-

we’ll show them the river’s source in the stars,

found in each of their palms.

And one-by-one

they will sit down, and remember.”

The death of Russian democracy

While we’re looking the other way, democracy in Russia is about to die. Accoding to the Guardian:

The Kremlin is planning to rig the results of Russia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday by forcing millions of public sector workers across the country to vote, the Guardian has learned.

Local administration officials have called in thousands of staff on their day off in an attempt to engineer a massive and inflated victory for President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party. Voters are being pressured to vote for United Russia or risk losing their jobs, their accommodation or bonuses, the Guardian has been told in numerous interviews with byudzhetniki (public sector workers), students and ordinary citizens.

Doctors, teachers, university deans, students and even workers at psychiatric clinics have been warned they have to vote. Failure to do so will entail serious consequences, they have been told.

Analysts say the pressure is designed to ensure a resounding win for the United Russia party and for Putin, who heads its party list. The victory would give him a public mandate to maintain ultimate power in the country as “National Leader” despite being unable to stand for a third term as president in March.

In September, Putin dismissed Russia’s government and appointed an ally as prime minister, while the chairman of Russia’s upper house of parliament urged him to run again for president, in 2012. On October 1, Putin hinted that he might retain power by moving from the president’s office to the prime minister’s. And now this rigged election.

For a much more comprehensive view of Putin’s dismantling of Russian democracy, you can visit my link-laden earlier diary: Losing Russia.


The Teddy Bear Army of Muslims

So, last night, I’m settling down for a quiet and very enjoyable evening of National Geographic’s “Interpol Investigates,” I scroll down the channels (sometimes I get really lazy and just punch up or down buttons instead of entering the desired ones…kind of feels like the old days and running through the dial, remember that?  Sometimes, something really cool catches your eye that you would never had given the 2 seconds that hook you), and I see Bill O’Reilly (hey, old chum, you still on the air?) going into hysterics over the Teddy-Bear Jihad in Sudan

Procrastinating the TaleMaster

I haven’t written a thing this week, its already afternoon….Aaaargh!

A suggestion had been made the other day, that I tell how I …do it, I guess. The specifics of how I found my story…or rather how this story found me.

Just before my kids started into teenage years a bookstore opened in town that had an arcade in back. We all read sci-fi so we started hanging out at the bookstore on Fri. nights playing Gauntlet & ordering pizza to be delivered. We met a kid who had been to Darcon and played Dungeons&Dragons and got to talking about it.

I thought it was really cool…an adventure basically in shared imagination.

And there were so many learning opportunities for the kids: how to work together as a team(& kill the beast!), consequences (you can’t scale a wall if you didn’t bring a grapple), budgeting(meager rations can mean a better sword) and so much more.

So we began doing D&D at my house…great adventures starting Friday afternoons and ending really late Saturday/early Sunday. Then sleep through till Mondays. We got so into it we even did live-fantasy role playing adventures in the summer…local kids (high school/college) would come play.

And one late summers day we started a new campaign…new characters, a new world. Everyone’s character was to be from a different area, the maps put together to make a world. We were told to do a 2-3 page character/area sketch & a map. By the time we played I had 8 pages on the city of colours & 3 on my character.

That is where the origins are. As it happens the campaign only lasted 2 games…a new school year changed everything. But the story continued for me…

I dream about what happens…or pieces of it anyway & start writing it down…more just comes…a distillation o all I’ve read and believe I guess.

Its kinda like being a god, in a weird sort of way… because it is my world…and can be anyway I say.

But it has to make sense…the logic of it has to work… for the characters. and the world. and the majik…all of it makes sense. to me anyway 🙂

And then the characters take over, many times surprising me with what they do next.

The names just happen…I don’t really know how. I type with mostly one finger- 2 for shifting. When I need a name I put all my fingers down & play piano…then I make some of those letters work into a name….except for the GoldSmith…the generations of GoldSmiths are done so I can keep up with which generation I’m in…and Sethhh…I just love the sound of it…like a silk curtain blowing across a brass bedpost.

Theres a lot to this world you haven’t seen(& prolly never will); maps, timelines, geneologies. and the city itself- how things work, the agreement between the dwarves and the men & how others came & stayed…. but I just needed all that to be able to tell the TaleMaster.

I’m working on 2 or 3 whole other story lines that connect…well, kind sorta in a wierd kinda way….

The rest of The TaleMaster is Here.  

Sharing our AIDS Stories II

Last year I posted a diary on World AIDS Day asking people if there was interest in Sharing our AIDS Stories.  I started that off telling about my therapist and (I hope) my friend, Kurt Wilhelm (link goes to my nearly abandonned personal blog…there aren’t enough hours in a day).

Then I invited people to tell their own stories.  The response was nearly overwhelming.  I endeavored then, as I will today, to read and answer ever post, until I got some helpers towards the end.  At first the majority of comments were by people who talked about their friends or family who had died or who were living with AIDS, but as the day went on, more and more people living with AIDS started telling their stories.

Art Link

Days Will Come

Days will come

when sanity will

regain supremacy,

when disease will

be battled without

political consideration,

when people’s deaths

will not be occasions

to seek out

personal advantage.

But not today.

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–December 1, 2005

12/2: Voting In Venezuela

Sunday, December 2, 2007, is Voting Day in Venezuela.  This diary is about the referendum and the last minute developments leading up to the vote.

What’s the vote about?  BBC reports:

On 2 December, Venezuelans will decide whether or not to approve a package of constitutional reforms, which include ending the limits on presidential terms.

The changes, which would affect about a quarter of the constitution’s articles, were approved by the National Assembly, which is controlled by President Hugo Chavez’s supporters.

The referendum is the last step needed for the changes to come into force. Around 60% of voters are expected to take part

More across the wide, turquoise Caribe.

Naked City

“Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to see the Naked City…This story was not photographed in a studio…quite the contrary. The actors played out their roles in the streets and buildings of New York itself.”

note: Naked City, a crime drama that focused on the lives of the detectives of New York’s 65th Precinct, was voted “The Best Cop Show Ever” by New York City Policemen. It was first aired in 1958 and ran for 4 seasons and won 4 primetime emmies. This was the first network series to be filmed entirely in New York City.

I was on a stakeout in the 65th when the call came in. I was waiting in my squad car for the snitch with the big break I’d been waiting on. It was now or never, I had one chance to break this case wide open…

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