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Kiss of Death

Positive for lead:

L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red”: 0.65 ppm

L’Oreal Colour Riche “Classic Wine”: 0.58 ppm

Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red”: 0.56 ppm

Dior Addict “Positive Red”: 0.21 ppm

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Al Gore & Sri Chimnoy

I’ve been buzzing all day about Al Gore winning the Nobel prize!
I went to Google news and found he’s been the Dominator today, but at the bottom I found Sri Chinmoy!

Al Gore / Nobel Prize  3,499 news articles
Obama v Clinton  344 news articles
Astronauts  1148
HIV drug  276
Armenia/Turkey Vote  2118
Putin v US / Nuclear treaty  1,350
Bhutto/Musharraf Powersharing  615
Latin American Free Trade  298
Sri Chinmoy Died  175

I have a tin box that I keep special things in and one of them is a little red heart pillow from Sri Chinmoy.
I got it from a Persian Sufi named Hossein Foruzani who got up to go for a 5 AM run along Lake Washington with Sri Chimnoy.  I went to see Sri Chimnoy at Kane Hall, University of Washington.  He was carried in on a pillow by his entourage, and played God-inspired flute and painted spontaneously. 

Mahavishnu(inspired by Sri Chinmoy)

My blue-red heart shall face ignorance-base,
My blue-red heart shall face.
My green-white life shall fly
in oneness-sky,
My green-white life shall fly.
Sri Chinmoy (divinely inspired poem)

I read about Sri Chimnoy in the New York Post, which if I’m not wrong is a tabloid, and also the New York Times.

More about the wierd Sri Chimnoy, from the New York Times:
. born in India
. used strenuous exercise and art to spread message of world harmony and inner piece
. died at a concert
. was able to power lift pickup trucks
. lifted Muhammad Ali and Sting
. said he drew 16 million “peace birds”
. slept only 90 minutes a day
. wrote 1500 books, 115,000 poems, 20,000 songs, 200,000 paintings, gave 800 peace concerts
. advocated seemingly impossible physical challenges
. was an inspiration for Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis
. was guru to John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra (a name he came up with) as well as Roberta Flack!
. had more than 7000 disciples when he died
. came from Bangladesh to NYC and worked as a clerk at the Indian consulate
. swam the English channel
. ran a 3100 mile race every year
. began lifting weights after a knee injury and lifted schoolhouses, airplanes and pickup trucks
. He also lifted Jesse Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Susan Sarandon, Yoko Ono, Desmond Tutu and Richard Gere as well as 20 Nobel Laureates and a team of sumo wrestlers, not to mention Sid Caesar and a (reformed) headhunter from Bornea.
. He lifted a Democrat (Representative Gary Ackerman) and a Republican (Representative Benjamin Gilman) at the same time, possibly his most amazing feat.
. Condolence letters were sent by both Mikhail Gorbachev and Al Gore.

The Dark Side of Sri Chimnoy, from The New York Post:

. He was just a “creepy Queens guru”
. he ran a “cult”
. he cased “disturbing personality changes” in members
. he ordered dreamy-eyed female followers to engage in exploitive sexcapades
. he summoned them for extended sex romps
. he ordered them to have sex with other women while he watched
. he paid for one’s abortion after he got her pregnant
. he was called “vindictive” by Carlos Santana, who jumped ship in 2000, and said, “He told all my friends not to call me ever again, because I was to drown in a dark sea of ignorance for leaving him.”
. he brainwashed people, according to cult deprogrammer Rick Ross
. he had a disciple who drowned in his own bathtub trying to perfect a stunt to impress him for a circus
. he had followers who tried to get attention by breaking records such as for underwater juggling, piggyback riding and balancing a pool cue on one finger
. he airbrushed pictures to exaggerate his weight-lifting prowess, according to his former photographer
. He died while waiting to hear if he’d won the Nobel Peace Prize for his “ceaseless efforts” with the United Nations (Chinmoy led a meditation group at the U.N. building). He didn’t.

Dsc01141 (photo by D. Grieser)

Torture: Suffering for Beauty

I got a little out of the news loop when I was on vacation.  Now it’s 3 AM and I have jet lag, so I’m catching up.  The Blackwater stuff keeps piling up, and Media Matters did me the favor of a day-by-day review of what happened with the Rush Limbaugh fiasco.  I see where some MN vets are being denied the GI bill, and that it is apparently okay to deny medical coverage to small, vulnerable children.

Now Bush says “We don’t torture.”  I suppose that depends how one defines “torture.” 

George Carlin talks alot about “euphemisms.”  You know – where they simply replace words that make people uncomfortable, to shade the truth?  So “toilet paper” becomes “bathroom tissue”?  A “mattress” is a “sleep system?”  “Torture” is now “interrogation methods”.

So anyway, the President says we don’t torture, but maybe the shock has just worn off.  Otherwise, how do you explain this commercial?!

(Thanks toNyc Alberts, NYC, who originally saw this commercial on television late at night in a longer version, and finally tracked it down & also wrote about it)

By the way, The New York Times Sunday editorial was entitled |”On Torture and American Values” and contained this statement:

“Once upon a time, it was the United States that urged all nations to obey the letter and the spirit of
international treaties and protect human rights and liberties. The people in much of the world, if not their governments, respected the United States for its values. The Bush  administration has dishonored that history and squandered that respect.”

UPDATE: I posted this after it had been up all day at Democracy Cell Project and I wanted more discussion.  On Nyc’s suggestion, I sent it to the main women at Feministing, who he’d contacted after he first saw it.  I’m headed for Docudharma.  Any other ideas, let me know.  Don’t see comments on here but have gotten some email such as “It’s no better than if it were about child molesting” or “It’s an obvious example of corporate propaganda to soften the image of torture.”

Not to mention:
Ordinary commercials (which are usually in bad taste or have crappy music) are annoying enough….

Have we gotten so low in our degradation scale under the Bush administration that we can make light of torture, the worst thing we can do to our fellow human beings (and other animals on the planet) and casually accept pseudo-torture to sell beauty products…? (Beauty products?!?)

I find the commercial offensive in the extreme. Eeeeeeeeowwww doesn’t begin to describe the mental/emotional recoil I had when watching it.

Gotta go wash out my eyes and disinfect my ears… but how do I get the images and the sounds out of my brain…?

Creepy, in the extreme.

See also Nyc’s blogpost which paralleled mine, at A Pen Warmed In Hell.

Blandness Girl

I remember a time about 25 years ago when it was possible to find unisex toys quite easily and more people were motivated to do so.  The assumption I made was that things would gradually get less oppressive for women, minorities and children and that society would progress.  After all, the Cold War was coming to a close, and the Berlin wall was taken down in this era.  We had not had a recent major war and the worst shadow was Reagan, but that didn’t seem insurmountable.  I had highest hopes for feminism and environmentalism and wasn’t ashamed to be linked with either movement, despite the demonism of “Liberals” by the right.  I guess I was aware of the nascent danger posed by the “Silent Majority” bullshit and the “Christian Coalition” concept.

However, I did not anticipate that things would get worse, much worse, in the arena of children’s toys.  I work with children, which is an excuse to play with children’s toys, and I have helped develop them when I was in research. 

The toy aisles are segregated once again, from the dollar stores to that big toystore downtown with life-sized elephants.  Boy colors are black, blue and maybe red and girls live in a pink, purple and turquoise universe.  If a boy wants a “doll” it had damn well be an action figure, particularly a military one, with “accessories” such as tanks and guns. 

& now we keep hearing about poison toys – lead, mercury, magnets to swallow.  & the contagion has spread all over the world as unscrupulous manufacturers have the toys made where labor is cheaper.  It’s kind of revealing when the manufacturer has English-as-a-Second language, as this doll found in Paris at Oberkampf Market reveals.  (see also Silenced Majority Portal

Dsc05196(Oberkampf Mkt, Paris)

French People Are Terrified of Diebold Machines

I was just in Paris and talked to quite a few bartenders and so forth.  Suffice to say the American dollar is barely worth the paper it’s printed on, so we may have spent most of our time in the more dodgy areas of town.

That said, I believe we interviewed quite a cross-section, in our pidgeonish Franglais.  I was repeatedly told variants of the following:

1. Bush and Sarko (Sarkozy) are the same.  (usually followed by an obscene gesture)

2. Sarko won because a weak candidate ran against him.  (followed by a warning not to do the same in US)

3. Diebold voting machines are stealthily and gradually being installed in France.  (followed usually by the comment, “We don’t want to happen in France what happened in US” = stolen election(s).

4. Unions are getting weaker and demonstrations and strikes are ignored in US and France and anywhere else they’re tried, because of globalization. 

There were Chinese products everywhere, and a few suspected sweatshops, lots of immigrants “sans papiers” (& a demonstration planned to try to get preschool services for their children).  Alot of things seemed familiar (though we are still having “reverse culture shock” upon returning to America).

We were staying in the area of Paris that was formerly known for incidents such as the “storming of the Bastille,” which was inspiring, but I have no doubt that something of the like needs to be done periodically, whenever the rich get too uppity.

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