March 15, 2008 archive

Pony Party: Friends

In my mid and late twenties, I wasn’t in a good place. A combination of bad decisions and bad luck landed me in emotional and financial ruin.

And yet in that time when I was hardly equipped to make meaningful connections, I met two people who are today very dear friends. They met me at my worst. One was the girlfriend of a friend, and the other I met while taking prerequisite classes to get into nursing school, and they have taken two very different paths.

D was a successful office manager who fell in love with a man, had a child with him and seemed well on her way to a nice middle class Canadian life when the cracks in their relationship and within her led to am emerging manic depression. She says now she thinks she was depressed her entire life and did not recognize it. She fought for years to try and hold on to her version of a “normal” life and now exists on a small disability pension. Her teenage daughter has chosen to live with her father, a bitter alcoholic, her daughter is behaving in ways that make us think she might head down a similar path as D. D was one of two friends who really reached out to me when I went home to visit my mother and grandmother and knew things with my grandmother weren’t going well because she lives in the same apartment building and speaks to her all the time. d is currently going into another manic phase. She is compliant with her medications. She is moving in with a man who I met and seems quite nice. But I wonder if he will really be able to support her in her peaks and valleys. I have a hard time with it and I have plenty of experience. When she is truly manic, she just cannot listen to anybody. She feels good and is frustrated when those around her express concerns.

P is a vivacious, charming, and hilarious woman. She works as a counselor at a community college helping students with various disabilities/challenges cope and navigate college life. Until recently, her obvious intelligence helped her get several jobs, but they were always on “contract” and at age 45 for the first time in her life she has a decent paying, permanent, union job and has bought a house. P has a tendency to try and “fix” people and has been taken advantage of many. She got quite angry with me years ago when I told her that there are some people with whom you have to cut your losses with and move on, because she firmly and deeply believes people have the capacity to transform their lives. She abhors fatalism and is a committed atheist.

The world is a better place when I am hanging with P. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, the world is a better, more interesting place. She is endlessly curious and inspires that in others. She can walk into any place and make a new friend.

When I am with D, I am amazed by her capacity to reach out to others when she herself carries so many burdens.

This is for friends I have drifted from, friends I have lost, and friends I perhaps did not recognize…..

Please don’t rec pony party, hang out, chit chat and then go read some of the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.

Winter Soldier 2008 – News Reports

And so from the spectre of the summer soldier who shrinks from the hard truths and his country’s crises, comes the Winter Soldier who will not look away.  

Docudharma Times Saturday March 15

Grim-faced and forbidding,

Their faces closed tight,

An angular mass of new yorkers

Pacing in rhythm,

Saturday’s Headlines: Behind Bear Stearns Rescue Plan, a Wall St. Domino Theory: Inside the slave trade: Olympic year gives nationalists chance to intensify campaign: We will not let Mugabe be beaten, police and army chiefs warn: Nigerian deals ‘wasted billions’:  I fought for my land against the US. Now I fight alongside them: Iran polls vote count under way: Veto keeps Guatemala executions on hold:  Meet the new mob

Gunfire on the streets of Lhasa as rallies turn violent

Witnesses report killings and attacks on Chinese in fiercest protests for 20 years

China was struggling last night to bring Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, under control after the fiercest anti-government protests for 20 years led to rioting and gunfire on the streets yesterday.

Authorities ordered a curfew and deployed thousands of police officers around the city after a day of turmoil in which eyewitnesses reported hearing automatic gunfire, tanks were seen in the centre and armed police used water cannon and teargas as young Tibetans set security vehicles on fire and stoned Chinese residents.

A witness said Chinese drivers were carried from vehicles with bloodied faces after being beaten by angry youths.

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Excerpted from Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence, forthcoming], in the [Burning the Midnight Oil blog-within-a-blog, hosted by kos, though to the best of my knowledge he doesn’t know it.

I’ve been looking at Tiny Houses, and man, do they strike me as cool.

For example, these above are from The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Their smallest house is the 70 square foot Biensi … but, of course, some people would not consider that a house, since it has no bathroom or shower. To get that, you need to “supersize” to their second smallest floorplan, the XS-House, at 75 square feet.

Tumbleweed only sells the finished houses that can be towed as a trailer … for the very largest of their houses, like the 770 square foot monster the Ernesti (pictured above left, at the size that 770 sq. feet must seem in the age of McMansions), they only sell plans, as it must be built on site.

Hello, It is Good to See You

This meshes well with the Friday Night at 8 theme.

You many not know me, but I assuredly know many of you. In fact, I have been looking for you.

I was fortunate enough to cut my blogging teeth at a fantastic site called DailyKos. I could not have been any luckier than the day a business associate pointed my zombie self at that site. At the time, I was convinced I had gone mad because certainly the whole country couldn’t be crazy, could it? The news gave no indication that my reasoning was valid, and even the persistent warble and frequent shrieks of my bullshit detector was not registering on the MSM’s radar at all. More than just a social outlet, blogging became the real news for me.

Since I recognize many of the names here, I don’t have to tell you how great you all are; diligent, progressive thinkers bla bla bla, sharing common goals for the good of all man bla bla bla, not encumbered by dogmas or exclusive beliefs bla bla bla, who dispense wisdom in beautiful, susinct little bundles. Bla bla bla.

I would like to share with you a short tale of a brief relationship I once had. It is probably not the most politically correct story, but I’m worn down to a nub so I am just going to tell.

I am a male who is quite enamored with the opposite sex, and this can easily be exploited in much the same way as wrapping a hook with a tasty worm can exploit a fish’s… hunger for food. On one occasion, I fell head over heals with what at first I thought was a woman. She had all the qualities a naive young man might first look for in a woman – a pretty face, and an ample bosom.

Later, when it was revealed that she was not a woman at all, but some form of blood sucking life capable of mimicking human speech did I realize that I should stand on my wobbly legs, try not to pass out, and run for my life. I have talked with women who shared similar tales of encountering man-like creatures. A common thread in all the victims seems to be a willingness to suspend reason and an unwillingness to look directly at the glamor for fear that it is not real. Only when we accept the glamor for what it is can we move on to a happier place for ourselves. Sure nice tits and a pretty face are good, but hearts and brains are sexy too. I have done fairly (ouch!) very well since developing my heart and brain fetish.

It’s not always a case of being victimized; sometimes people simply change. Assigning blame does nothing. Keeping the other person in a hole until it puts the lotion on doesn’t help either. The bottom line is… we all want to be happy, right?

So is a blog a person? Sure many contribute, but it certainly has its own personality too. Off the top of my head, I would say the personality of a blog is about 50% that of the founder, and 50% that of the contributors. That sure sounds like an equal partnership, and either partner is capable of creating a sea change in the overall environment. If the environment becomes toxic to us, we must adapt, move, or die.

I’m not going to leave a GBCW at DailyKos because there are still people writing on that site whom I greatly admire and will continue to check in on. It is still a great font of information and a place I might still ask questions of. However, I posted two bitter diaries there in the last week or so before it hit me that I’m now arguing with a lover over petty shit and that we just cannot see eye-to-eye anymore. I would rather we remain friends than hurt one another.

I got lucky again last night when I noticed Buhdy’s kind tip-of-the-hat to Meteor Blades, mcjoan, and KagroX. I can’t believe it took me so long to take a look here – especially given my brains-and-heart fetish. It’s not like he tried to woo me by showing some leg, it was the comfortable name, comfortable brain, and great heart he showed to three great people.

I had lost the love and I guess I have been looking to be smitten once again.

Smoters, is what you all are; smoters.


Random Japan

Oh, that explains it

Chiba police arrested a 30-year-old local government worker for possessing over 100 videos with footage taken by a camera hidden in public toilets. In admitting the charges, the man said he did it “because it’s my hobby.”

A 44-year-old Defense Ministry official who snuck into a home in Gunma Prefecture to steal women’s underwear said he did so “to satisfy my sexual desires.”

After being arrested for punching a convenience store clerk in Kyoto while drunk, noted film director Koichi Yamashita (Kyoto Meikyu Annai) claimed, “I never hit him.”

A 50-year-old Sapporo man who claimed to be blind but who could actually see well enough to hold a drivers license was arrested for welfare fraud.

A female high school student in Oita was found in violation of both the Cannabis Control and the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Control Laws after cops busted her with pot and ecstasy.

Red Sox brace for long flight to Japan and 4 games against the Athletics

Big Papi has big plans for the Red Sox’ very long flight to Japan – eat, sleep, and win all of Jonathan Papelbon’s money playing cards.

“He’s a good player, but he’s got bad luck,” David Ortiz says. “So he better bring his whole bank account on the airplane. We always kill him. He’s loud when he’s winning, then boom, he’s quiet.”

Fortunately for Pap – and maybe for Papi – Boston’s star closer was rewarded with a $775,000 contract this month, nearly doubling last year’s salary of $425,000.

House denies telecomms immunity.

The U.S. House of Representatives today refused to grant telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for assisting dictator George W. Bush in his illegal spying.

I interrupt this report for a brief rant: I really wish Reuters and other news agencies would cease using the word ‘defy’ and its derivatives when reporting about stories such as this.  Congress is the legislative body, and the branches of government are supposed to be co-equal.  Congress cannot, according to the Constitution, defy the executive branch because it is not subservient to it.

I now return to the story at hand.

But the 213-197 vote was far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a promised veto by Bush. He has demanded that any telecommunication company that participated in his warrantless domestic spying program secretly begun after the September 11 attacks receive retroactive immunity.

As MSNBC reports, ‘Because of the promised veto, “this vote has no impact at all,” said Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri.’

Republicans falsely accused Democrats of endangering national security by refusing to grant immunity.  But their arguments are based on deception; since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — passed in 1978 and updated in 1994 — set up a secret court that doles out ninety-nine percent of all warrants applied for, there is no legal block to using the power of the federal government to spy on alleged terrorist communications.  It is also unlikely that terrorists would be foolish enough to use telephone and Internet services to pass on information.

Bush’s illegal spying on American citizens is motivated, like Richard Nixon’s administration, to keep tabs on political enemies and to monitor dissent.  If telecommunications companies face prosecution for their role in helping him break the law, they may be more likely to cooperate with investigators to go after members of the White House who ordered the illegal wiretaps.  Bush wants to provide immunity in order to take away any incentive for that cooperation, because testimony and evidence is likely to directly implicate him in lawbreaking.

Cross-posted from EENR

Tibet Crisis Continues + ACTION ITEMS

In case you haven’t heard, there’ve been protests in Tibet the last few days marking the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. These are some of the biggest demonstrations the country’s seen since the 1980s. The Chinese government has clamped down hard and violence has broken out.

Violent protests erupted Friday in a busy market area of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say the protesters burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.

The chaotic scene marked the most violent demonstrations since protests by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on Monday, which was the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The ongoing protests have been the largest in Tibet since the late 1980s, when Chinese security forces repeatedly used lethal force to restore order in the region.

The developments prompted the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to issue a statement, saying that he was concerned about the situation and appealing to the Chinese leadership to “stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people.”

This particular media report skipped the last part of his statement: “I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.”

Funkalicious Friday: Interesting Days

Yessireebob, indeed, indeed yes indeedy do… doobt aboot it, by golly…ayup, ayup uh-huh

Friday Night at 8: Temptation

Mick Jagger, it is said, didn’t like this version of the tune so didn’t release it for a long time.  But it suits my purposes for this essay, and I kinda like it.

Pleased to meet you … hope you guessed my name …

Found an interesting etymological factoid about the word “temptation”:

[Origin: 1175-1225; ME temptacion < L tempt?ti?n- (s. of tempt?ti?) a testing.

Emphasis mine!

Pony Party: Going, Going….

… but not gone quite yet.

The movers were here. Mostly everything made it. Movers were great guys.

I’m drinking wine.  I’m exhausted.  I can’t think of anything else.

What’s going on with you… and yes, I know the pony is late.

Don’t rec the pony…

Load more