Thursday, January 28, 2010

No, I Didn't Watch

   The State of the Union address aired last night.
    I watched "Star Trek." Both the original and "Next Generation." I needed a vision of the world that was more hopeful than what was on network TV.
    A year and a little over I week ago, I watched as President Obama took the oath of office. I wept a little. Was I naive in my prayer that this would signal a new beginning for the US, that the seeds of change and justice planted in the '60's and '70's would finally grow to fruition? The just, tolerant society where no one had to lie bout who they are to survive, where women were in total control of their bodies and destinies, where race was no longer an issue?
    Maybe. I wish I knew. Lately, I've struggled not to turn cynical. Obama's well-intended desire of inclusion may have backfired on the health care front, reducing it from a single-payer or a public option to an unworkable bill that needs to be handed over to one of them there alleged death panels itself. Iraq and Afghanistan continue to look suspiciously like the children of the last regime. Don't Ask, Don't Tell was delegated to legislature when a signature on an executive order would repeal it more quickly. We still have no jobs, and the Wall Street fat cats have grown fatter.
   As Stephanie Miller put it on her talk show fairly recently, President Obama has 100 flaming bags of dog poop left on the Portico by the Bush administration. His task has been deciding which one needs to be stomped out first.
   Just start stomping, Mr. President. Just start stomping.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2:30 A.M. Thoughts

   The problem is not with the vivid dreams  or with Orion or The Spouse making unusual sounds in their sleep. The problem is with getting back to sleep after the images or noises fade. Granted that it's disconcerting to feel that your subconscious is directed by Terry Gilliam, who created the cartoons that did their level best to give coherent transitions to "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and unpleasant to be dragged  by the arms into consciousness in the wee-est hours of the night. However, it's the vortex of thoughts that add fuel to the fire.
    Take this morning, please. After a dream about an argument with a natural pet care expert, I snapped awake, and hoped that it was closer to 5:30. Nope. Only 2:30. Ok, go to the john, try to go back to sleep. Did I turn my cell phone off? Oh, yeah, I'd never turned it on. I likely need a new battery; it's been showing signs that  it may be dying. The song about the internet being made of cats that I saw on YouTube, oh great, that's starting. Ok, try an affirmation. No. Try a visualization. No, not the one with Patrick Stewart and the strawberries. Breathe, and try the white light coming up through the feet and out through the crown of my head, cleansing healing and balancing while oh, great, the theme from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" started playing in my head. Crap. What if I turn over? Ouch; my back is too stiff from the dive I took on the ice last week. Other way. Good, both puppy and hubby are sleeping through this. Puppy. Orion's heart murmur's worse, but for now he's ok and he's doing well with the new supplements.
    I finally got back to sleep just before Orion came in to ask for breakfast at 6.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oprah, Brian, and Keeping Your Sandals On

   There's a book out now that intrigues me. I don't know if it's enough to part with the shiekels to buy it, but it intrigues me.
    A Chicago area yoga teacher spent a year watching Oprah Winfrey's show and reading her magazine. Her question: if she followed the advice, if she bought what had been blessed by the Queen of Talk's mention, would the author be any happier?
     The answer seems "not really." Living Oprah is the chronicle of the experience. The author (whose name escapes me) seemed to have a pretty good life already. Based on the reviews, it sounded as if some of what was touted was silly and expensive at best (i.e. leopard print flats, a specific brand of highlighter to use for reading a specific book) and potentially detrimental at worst (i.e. communicating with her husband a la expert of the week and interrupting the flow of intimacy by insisting on taking a shower first).  The whole thing smacks of junior high when you had to have the right jeans, the same pencils as the popular girls or risk being tormented by the mean ones.
     Even more disquieting is the continuation of the band-aid mentality, that if you buy the right highlighter or read the right book because the popular girl with the seemingly perfect life has influenced you, all will be well in your world. Sorry, dear ones; it just doesn't work like that. If one chooses to model or pattern one's life after another instead of sitting with the difficult questions of what would really bring fulfillment, the illusion of contentment would fade in time. It's too easy to fall into that trap rather than bring forth the effort to create the sustaining satisfaction and inner peace that comes from determining the best course of action for yourself.
     Please don't get me wrong. I have a ton of respect for Ms. Winfrey, even though the last time I watched her show deliberately was probably five years ago when Sting touted his memoirs. It takes a lot to go from a childhood as impoverished and disturbing as hers to one of the wealthiest women in the world, and one who has championed personal growth and healing.
    While much of her empire is devoted to the good, I found my thoughts turning to "Monty Python's Life of Brian" as I contemplated the book. It drew fire and still does, even though it has nothing to do with ridiculing Christianity as some who haven't seen it think it does. Brian Cohen was born the same day as Jesus was in the manger next to him. Would be followers kept confusing the two, despite Brian's frequent protestations that he was neither a prophet nor the Messiah. One scene involved him running down the street to escape a band of rabid followers. He lost a sandal. In a flurry of shouts, the mob all removed one sandal, commenting on his wisdom in doing so while the chase continued.
     Sandals back then offered little protection from the sharp stones and pottery shards and other hazards lining the roads of those times. What would happen if we learned to content ourselves with the ones we have, to see the beauty in each pair, rather than thinking the other woman's would fit us better?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Because It Sells, That's Why

   I'm not real happy with the way this mess in Haiti is getting covered on TV.  To what end will it serve to show the endless footage of the rescued, the injured, the lost souls wandering the street still caked in the cement dust since water is so scarce?
   Where are the political analysts to help the rest of the world understand the history behind the events that caused Haiti to be in shambles even before last week's earthquake? 
    Oh, I'm sorry. They're on NPR, PBS,  the foreign networks and some websites such as .  The job of the networks and CNN and Fox is to sell detergent, personal care products, cars, and TVs so they can increase their revenue and get prettier anchors in preparation for the Even Bigger One that threatens to knock California off the map. As if those trinkets could save anyone. They appeal to the perverse part of human nature that slows down to stare at car wrecks despite our parents' admonishments not to do so. 
   Whether it's the morning shows or the evening news, there seems to be an informal competition to see who can report the same story in the most sensational method possible. It's not just the humanitarian or natural disasters that have dragged the above outlets down to the same level as the tabloids. It's the sleazy stories inherent in the political world, items from the world of entertainment that detract from the real issues of the day (yes, Michael Jackson's passing was sad and of note because of his enormous fan base, but tying up coverage of the health care overhaul and the last weeks of Ted Kennedy's life was inexcusable). 
    The time for mourning the initial shock has gone, and we need to get into the nitty-gritty of the world community doing what is right and proper to literally and figuratively stabilize the situation. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Me Thank God That Cows Don't Fly

Dirty birdy in the sky
Drop some whitewash in my eye
Me no scream, me no cry
Me thank God that cows don't fly...Anon.

     My sister taught me that poem when I was in fourth grade. Worth the scolding from the uptight fourth grade teacher when I shared it with my friends, then her when she came to see what we were giggling about. It's been one of my discreetly chanted mantras since.
      After watching the news from Haiti today--another 6.1 quake hit the island overnight--I'm so grateful that the cows in my neighborhood walk.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Angels Are At Work and All Will Be Well

Mother/Father, we come to You in continued prayer today to ask for the healing of Haiti. We ask that angels be sent to heal the hearts of the frightened and grieving. We ask that angels direct and supervise rescue efforts on Your behalf. Watch over the ones who lived through this ordeal, and bless and protect all who are involved in the rescue and rebuilding efforts. May the people of Haiti be blessed with strength and courage, and that their nation be given a starting point to build a bright future. May all those who gave and will give of themselves be blessed many fold. Thank You, Mother/Father. In all Your Names, amen.


Ok, did you give to help Haiti? Good. Bless you, bless you, bless you. One other job remains.

Could you please go to  and pitch a bitch let them know how you feel about Pat Robertson?
    Yesterday, he said on the "700 Club" that the earthquake was God's punishment to the people of Haiti for their involvement in voodoo. He also said this about Katrina for the debauchery of New Orleans.
     Both incidents impacted population largely of African descent. Both incidents have been used to garner funding to fatten the wallets of CBN using lies about how anyone donating will be blessed (in many cases, further compromising the economically compromised desperate for some hope) while spreading divisive, hateful messages.
      I filed my complaint. Your turn.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Needs Our Help

   Was it just me, or was yesterday an overflowing newsday?
   At the start of our 5:00 news yesterday, viewers were greeted by footage from the hearings in California to overturn Prop 8, scenes from outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital where Maggie Daley, wife of Mayor Richard Daley, was dealing with complications from chemotherapy, the ongoing Conan-NBC controversy, and then there was the footage pouring out of Port-au-Prince.
   Haiti endured a 7.0 earthquake yesterday. The architecture just wasn't designed to withstand that sort of torture. Hospitals, homes, everything has been leveled. No electricity, no water, no communication. As if they didn't have enough problems already.

   In addition to the blessedly ubiquitous Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, MercyCorps, UNICEF, OXAFM, AmeriCares, Save the Children, and Direct Relief International are all stepping up or en route to help. I'm going to. Won't you join me?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why Jesus Gets Migraines

Please activate the John McLaughlin voice filter:

Issue one: Over the weekend, Brit Hume said on the air on a Fox News show that Tiger Woods should convert to Christianity for redemption, forgiveness, and to get his wife back. It should be noted that one of Mr. Hume's children committed suicide because of Mr. Hume's rejection of him on grounds of his sexual preference, it is said.
Issue two: Uganda has drafted anti-gay legislation. As in capitol offense anti-gay legislation. Three evangelical leaders who were giving presentations on "homosexuality's threat to families" and "preventing recruitment of children" last summer have distanced themselves from the movement.

For more information on both stories, please visit

    Jesus and Mary Magdalene admonished their students to "do unto others as you would have done unto you" and "love thy neighbor." Nowhere in the Gospels does it say different about LBGT people.
The hatred and fear of LBGT people came about due to the writings of Leviticus, a cranky homophobic Old Testament prophet, and Apostle Paul being an equally cranky homophobic New Testament prophet.
    It also doesn't say anything about a free ride to salvation if you do something like 21(according to some sources) women during your five-year marriage.  I don't hear anything from them about adultery by a certain terminally horny pro golfer shredding his children's lives. Or about Gov. Mark Sanford, R-SC, lying to his staff about hiking the Appalacian Trail when he'd actually gone to South America to see his mistress.
    While I personally believe that the Bible was divinely inspired, I have one question for those who see it as inviolate: who paid for the translation that you use?

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Double Standard Rides Again

    Ok, we have another messed up celebrity car wreck. Charlie Sheen of "Two and a Half Men" spent the better part of Christmas in jail in Aspen. His wife, Brooke Muller, alleged that he had threatened her and put a knife to her throat when she told him that she wanted a divorce. She recanted the story, and they reportedly are walking hand in hand to some poor shrink's office to patch things up.
      Mr. Sheen has a history of womanizing and was convicted of assault for hitting an ex-girlfriend in the mouth hard enough to send her to the hospital for stitches. He's been in and out of rehab numerous times and blew a .04 on Christmas (granted that Brooke blew a .13 and has had drug and alcohol issues of her own).
      My question is this: Chris Brown beat the living snot out of ex-girlfriend Rhianna last spring. Many stores are refusing to carry his newest CD as a consequence.  Why, then, did the ratings for last Monday's episode of "...Men" hold fairly steady?
     Gee, do you think that race might have something to do with it?
      It doesn't matter. Someone who is prone to violence needs to be held accountable. I personally never want to watch "...Men" again (tolerated for The Spouse's sake).  Anyone else up for writing letters after all this gets sorted out on 2/8/10?