Sunday, December 25, 2005

... and so this is Christmas...?

Thursday in the mall… Christmas shopping with my other and his son… I often buy lots of small boxes of chocolate for friends and family… small, delicious treats they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves but I know they enjoy… I’m waiting at the kiosk. They have three people working, all young. The young man is helping his friend. They are exchanging tales and the sales person is cajoling his friend into trying a particular piece of candy. It is a slow and lazy exchange. One young lady is waiting on someone on the other side, and the third sales person is in front of me organizing chocolates in the display case. She looks up. My other and his son are standing several feet away. She spots the son, a very attractive young man. She makes a bee-line for him. She has to walk around me to get to them. She asks them if they need help. My other motions toward me. The young lady looks disappointed. She walks back by me and begins again to arrange things in the display case. Someone else walks up and she waits on them. By this time the other young lady is free. She too arranges things in the case. I stalk away, surprisingly angry and strangely hurt. No chocolates this year.

Then we go to a store where they sell videos and dvds. The wait is long. The young lady who finally checks us out looks up after we pay and says with great sarcasm the line I’m sure they’ve been ordered to utter… “Have an enchanted evening…” “You too…” was my sad response.

Looking out over the humanity that fills the mall; the clinging couples, the packs of teens, the floating solitares, friends arm in arm, crying babies and beleaguered parents and grandparents struggling with packages and the transport of their young – all of us consuming as an act of celebration, I’m wondering about the meaning of Christmas.

Friday, the grocery store… We have people coming into town and so we brave the crush of shopping carts and people. For breakfasts and dinners we search for what will make our Christmas like a Rockwell scene. Did you get cream? bread? sugar? What else do we need? More babies and parents, and older people who use their carts as walkers as they move down the aisles alone… how many are far from family?... We stand in line, another line, to check out. $160 is the cost of a small feast for six.

Then home… we walk in the door and his son stands there… reaching out to take bags from us. “They’ve had a wreck… (a heartbeat)… but they’re ok.”


“They’ve had a wreck but they’re ok. They flipped the car twice. It’s totaled but they’re ok. A few cuts and bruises, but they’re ok.”

“You’re kidding, you’re lying.” (A response from a childhood Christmas when I awoke and was told our house had burned down. The same incredulousness.)

“No, No… they’ve had a wreck… but they’re ok.”

Phone calls, phone calls… “Go to the hospital.” “No we won’t go.” “Back to Alabama?” “No… we’ll come on to Cleveland…” “Are you sure?” “If we change our minds, we’ll let you know.”

Christmas Eve, another day of shopping, my other and I are trying to find the gaps we need to fill with gifts and to decide which gifts need to fill those gaps. We try to be efficient and thoughtful all at once. I eye with welled up emotions the chocolates. (Still no chocolate for friends. My pride won’t let me.) We finally struggle home. Done or not, we have to get ready. Not completely sure if they’re coming… my other’s two other children; another son and a daughter, his former and now her other too. The day is long and tense. Lots of getting on nerves. Reports from the road confirm that they are in fact heading toward Cleveland, now packed tight into his former’s other’s car. Near midnight they arrive.

All the fears finally fall away as we see them face to face and they are whole. The work that kept hands and minds busy has done its job and suddenly things seem reordered. The girl at the chocolate kiosk doesn’t matter. The money doesn’t matter. The fact that all those gaps weren’t completely filled doesn’t matter. They’re here and they’re whole. A second’s worth of difference and our world would have changed and instead of waiting to open presents we might have waited in the hall of a hospital. (I am glad to see them all including my other’s former and her other too.)

A re-ordering of the universe… a setting into place the value of things…

Thursday, December 22, 2005

what remains...

To deny humanity beauty is to deny the human soul...

what remains is a hard and bitter shell,

unfit for habitation.

Peace be with us.

Monday, December 12, 2005

oh my God!

Even Bush admits that 30,000-- yes I said 30,000 civilians have died in Iraq!

We lost approximately 3,000 on 9/11.


Friday, December 09, 2005

my best blog award...

There are these blog awards... I'd rather give my own.

I want to give my best blog award to "Words Light Fires" -- you'll find the link under "blogs" -- It is concise, well written and Jeanette and Marie like the Beatles... What could be better? They also maintain great links (including some to videos) that you should check out. Give it a visit if you get a chance...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

random things said in dreams...

“It’s not a direct question, ‘Did I love her?’ Looking back on things, remembering things that I said or did, I must have loved her – it’s the only way I would have said or done those things… but the truth is mutable, time and memory changes it… Sitting here now I can’t imagine that I ever loved her.”

“Your parents, like most parents, did the best that they could. They did the only the thing that they knew how. There were no conscious decisions about what was good or bad… there was just doing, reacting. Would they have changed things if they had known what harm they were doing? Certainly, without a doubt… they would never have wanted to cause such harm to their children. It’s the same for me… if I could go back and change things, I would, but I can’t. It is the source of greatest regret for me.
“So try not to blame them, they did the best that they knew how.”

“Let go of grieving. It does no good.”


Good night John.


Do I think that the Bush Administration has mis-led the American people? Per Encarta’s World English Dictionary definitions 1 & 3… yes… we’ve been misled. If we grant that number 1 may have occurred without conscious knowledge, nevertheless number 3 still stands unmitigated.

Misled – past participle of mislead; past tense of mislead

mis·lead vt
1. to cause somebody to make a mistake or form a false opinion or belief, either by employing deliberate deception or by supplying incorrect information
2. to be responsible for making somebody, especially somebody younger, do wrong or adopt bad habits
3. to lead somebody in a wrong direction

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.


I cannot believe that it's been 25 years... It seems like only yesterday I woke up and I heard the news... We need more people like John today... voices, voices, we need a clarity of voices that remind us of what we truly value.

my position...

No matter who was or was not for the war in Iraq… Democrat or Republican… I never was. I remember the correlations drawn between Iraq and 9/11 in the months leading up to the war. I didn’t buy into them. I didn’t believe that Iraq was a real and imminent threat. I thought that going to war with Iraq was a mistake. I felt that we should finish the war in Afghanistan and then help to rebuild that country with the Christian generosity our leader would seemingly embrace.

And I was not alone. There were others who felt as I did and as I do now. There were others who protested and cried out against the prospect. I remember in the early weeks of March 2003 hoping that something would stop what then seemed inevitable.

I do not support the war. I support the people, soldiers and civilians who are caught up in it. It was a grave error that has wasted lives. Lives American and Iraqi – not numbers, every number is just a place holder for a life, for a person – with family and friends and a future. “I’m sorry for your loss.” Like it’s a car accident rather than ritualized fratricide. It is absolutely an abomination that we participate in killing while we play games of religious rhetoric.

The long and the short of it – I don’t care what Kerry (or anyone else) says unless he moves to LEAD us in some reasonable way out of this morass.

It is not for me a subject of light or academic debate (and there are many other such subjects I feel likewise about.) I do not wish to engage in tit for tat debate. I write to express in the clearest fashion I can manage those matters that concern me most. I undertake this to preserve my friends and vent my frustrations with our failed leadership. I am not interested in defending the comments or actions of others unless I take them on as mine to defend.

I am a liberal – a raging, radical liberal – and it is not an epithet that I am ashamed of…

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

i ramble sometimes...

If you’re in Cleveland, there’s a pretty nice show up right now. Cool, clean and fairly elegant.

2220 Superior Viaduct
Cleveland, OH 44113


The name of the show is Multiplicity and it’s up through Jan. 6, 2006.

Danielle Julian Norton’s delicately lit rice boats are the nicest, most poignant part of the show. It’s success as a piece is assured by the curling tethers of monofilament that mark the loss of one of its vessels. The missing vessel’s place in the air armada remains unfilled – a void.

It’s strange – I’m an artist and I love art but very little of it really moves me. --- I said this to my students recently and they asked me why, if so much of it leaves me flat, do I dedicate my life to it… I had to tell them that it is a statement of faith. To believe in art is to believe that there is something beyond the grinding practicality of this day to day life. It is an expression of a belief in a reality that consists of something other than hard surfaces, a turned gilder, and an end without remorse.

Fate is an illusion created by history and video tape. When the nineteen screwed their courage to some unknowable sticking place and crashed into those hard surfaces, they exploded into the ashes of an un-accounted number of lives… a rose is a rose is a rose… instant replay… the image of that moment was repeated over and over again… repeating it, like Gertrude’s rose, made it real, somehow comprehensible… It also seemed to make it possible to hold back that moment through the watching… but rather than staying that execution it writes it down as fate.

Fate is created in an instant.

And here we are… our future, and our fate, was written in a response to a response and now we are playing it out…

Was it just yesterday that eleven American soldiers and thousands of “others” were taken…

Who do we grieve for? Our own? And what about those “nameless” others? Those who know their names – how do they grieve? Let us humanize one another…

reading list...

The following makes for interesting reading…

(cut & paste again...)

Iraq disarmament crisis timeline 1997-2000

Iraq disarmament crisis timeline 2001-2003

MEET THE PRESS - Transcript for Sept. 14
Sunday, September 14, 2003 GUEST: Dick Cheney, vice president
Tim Russert, moderator

For Immediate Release
From the Office of the Vice President
Dated October 10, 2003
“Remarks by the Vice President to the Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.”
9:25 A.M. EDT, March 20, 2003


Jimmy Carter
Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis
NPR story and interviews relating to Carter’s book:

Leo Braudy, Ph.D.
From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity
Publisher: Vintage
Excerpt (although not the excerpt I would have chosen) and Amazon link

** If links don’t work, please cut and paste. Thanks.

PS – Dear Senator Kerry, I saw you on "Face the Nation" and it occurred to me that you may not have noticed that many people do not have the depth of knowledge that is required to tease out your various arguments. Most people are not academics or highly trained intellectuals. Most people come from working-class backgrounds and have direct and common sense. Speak accordingly. It is not that the average American is incapable of understanding the complexities of your points, it is that they require a language more like their own.

PS PS – Also, try not to give in to the temptations of adopting that which is not your own in order to accommodate those that you imagine