Sire Elrick

Politics. Rants. Rhetoric. Watch for mudslinging.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Travel Blog - July 2nd - Inverness

Apparently I'm too aloof of news for my own good - first there was a bombing scare in London with two car bombs that didn't go off when I got to Dubline, then while in Glasgow, there was some big to-do at the airport. I arrived by rail, so I wasn't at any real risk, but I did notice a nice handful of police and yellow jacketss around. This morning I made it out by 8:30, thanked the lovely girl at the front desk and made my way to central station, on the time mentioned on the schedule, and found I was in the wrong station. I made it to two Boots after all. (yeah hairdryers!) On the way I saw my first street violinist, playing Scottish traditional. Getting coffee and then spilling some on my coat all the way there, made it to Queen's station, not that far from central, even within view of George's square. I was tempted to buy a paper, but I found I was going to just make the 10:10 to Inverness. I was able to stay awake most of the ride, tit was a stupendous ride. Had a nice how-de-do with a lady and her kid. Everytime they told each other to look out the window, I snapped a picture. I made it until the last hour to half hour, then I was nodding until we pulled in to the station. I had the most lovely prawns and mayo sandwich, rather similar to good egg salad. Coupled with apple danish and orange-mango-cinnamon tea at the "Pumpkin Bar." I was trying to figure out who was singing on the radio, but got a good 30 pages read on Hobbit. I couldn't help myself at the Victoria Shop across from the station - I bought some celtic music and tapestry of funny gaelic/english translations, as well as ordered a family coat of arms. I decided I'd try my luck finding the hostel and enjoyed the view of the walk - big blue sky, amazing clouds, and far off mountains. At the hostel I had a nice chat with the guys at the front desk, and the first one had been at Glasgow airport and detained. He talked about the delays and officials handing out ponchos in the downpour for those stuck in the rain, and the good attitude of all those there of at least being ok. An accent snuck it's way into our conversation as the second guy came and I asked where I could get money. I deposted my items in the room, no one was there yet. I wanted to make the bike tour, but it was already 5:10 so I walked down the river side and explored the outside of the shops. I was hungry by the end of one branch, so walking back I looked for a fish & chips place, found an Indian one that served pizza. Got a prawn pizza with chips in korma sauce, a mild yellow sauce akin to honey mustard. Had a nice conversation with the guy there. I think I confused him with my accent, I just said I was from North America. He was very pleasent, but I think the boy who came in while I was there annoyed him. I carried the pizza and chips all the way back to East Gate, and I sat down and ate a couple of pieces near the shopping center down one of the side streets. Other people started doing the same with all the benches around. They played old Green day over loud speakers, and I watchd a girl sweeping garbage outside of a Costa. A seagull eyed my food, expecting dinner. I carried what I didn't eat with me into the Morrison's, (much like a Kroeger's, or Sainsbury Center) and found Jaffa cookies - I had gotten money outside, but I needed change, so I got the cookies and water for just under a £. I came back and ate the rest of my food ouside, watching a father play hide and seek with his little girl. I'm still trying to distinguish accents of the four places to no luck. Maybe a little. I watched the last half hour of "the last 100 days of Tony Blair" and crickled my empty water bottle when Bush spoke. The guy next to me looked over occasionally, but did not return my gaze. A guy behind me, kind of cute, looked up when I left. It's past 9pm and it's still incredibly light out. Part of me wants to walk, or drink, but not really wanting to enquire to other suite mates. Various ages, all alone, and I think one is possibly French. I end up closing the front down with internet use at 11pm, and go to bed last of all 6 suit mates.

Travel Blog - July 1st - Glasgow

Good 9 hours sleep. Took my time getting up, until about 10 am. Went over and asked the desk directions to the nearest internet cafe, went to the one on the way to Glasgow Uni. Saw a Methodist church on the way, debated whether or not I wanted to take on the service, I was about on time. Took the long way around, saw outside of Botanical garden. At the Univeristy, talked to a lovely guard at the gate, asked for info. Went to visitor center and got post cards as well as post graduate prospectus. Ate lunch in front of Hunters's Museum, part of the University. Looked at University garden's marked class rooms and Adam Smith building. Took very round about way to Park Circus, tried to find the Geneology center, no luck. Went through the back way first, very lovely and overgrown. Rained off and on, got cool then hot. Found some stairs next to a street leading down, followed those, decided against Mckintosh exhibit and foudn the "Historionics" exhibit, I think it was the contemporary exhbit the girl at the front desk was talking about. Took plenty of pictures of George's Square in the rain. Found a £ store and could only decide on diet Irn Bru, water, and green sunglasses. Tired and wet, I wanted to give up and go back to the hostel, but I heard some music and headed towards it, thinking of the Jazz fest. The music was coming from a bar, but it was a dry place, a seat to sit, and Jameson to boot. I sipped a shot and read to ease my nerves and rest my feet. Football played on the plasma tv and I thought of the museum's exhibit I had just seen on sectarian violence over teams and backgrounds, Irish v. Scottish. (I had debated at the time over leaving a note on the board in the exhibit about Cubs v. White Sox, or Suburbs v. Chicago.) I was a little disturbed by the random weapons people (mainly kids in school rooms) used to taunt and injure the "others." I finished my one shot at the bar and decided I'd try to find stores on the way back to the hostel, but came across the darkened Scottish Music Center, a place full of desks, sheet music, posters and... I thought I saw cd racks, but can't remember. I went across the street and found a coffee shop called "Tinderbox" and relented on my cheap food idea I wanted to get from the market clear across town, and possibly closed. I got a coffee with espresso shot and lemon pinenut torte. Creamy yet subtle comfort food, excellent. I sat and read, and then decided to get their carrot and corriander soup. Good choice. I had asked the girla at the front about the music scene there, or Scotland in general, and she said she might be able to help me if I gave her some time, as she slowly jotted down some names. While I was eating my soup, she gave me more. Then she stopped by (all this was over a long period of time) and talk to me about Tolkien, since I was reading "Trees and leaf" Didn't want to leave the place, but still wanted to find a place that sold shaving cream. Sainsbury local does not. Boots and Sainsbury Central were closed, so I want west towards that now familiar corner that wraps back around to Garnet, and I can find my way back to Buccleuch. Moss grows everywhere in the oddest forms, like little sponges, fur-like, outcroppings I can't describe. Also in the water closet, the shower reminds me of my Dad's ion our basement at home, complete with the PCP piping. I see men in the streets that could be my grandfather's brothers. I see mainly Indian and Italian immigrants here, relatively assimilated.

Travel blog - June 30th - Glasgow

Thankfully the headache is minimal, but I don't know if my alarm actually woke me or I dreamed myself awake. Showered and out of it, I got out of Avalon around 7am. I make it to the station by 7:25. The ride is beautiful, I get a table area (four chairs facing each other around an oblong oval) Still doozing yet reading I take pictures while reading "The Hobbit" I didn't have time to repack things until Belfast. Drizzly and misty there, but I'm determined to walk to the ferry. I stop at St. George's open market and have the most amazing sweet potato salad and salmon cake. The lady was pleased I liked it. The walkway to the ferry was mildly confusing, but I had several people, at the station, the inland ferry, two officials and a nice cabbie say I should get a ride. The cabbie finally won me over after about 2/3 the way there, he offered a free ride. (Talking to the police man, I found I let a little odd accent show, don't know what kind. His smile made me think of Michael Caine. He was awfully nice.) I asked the lady in front of me if the line she was standing in was for tickets. She made a remark about the timeliness of the service, but let me go in front of her when I admitted I was trying to leave on the 12:20. Thankfully the receptionist could get me on still. The Ferry left around 12:30ish. Fascinating to see how many women looked like Mom, my sister in law and little mes I saw everywhere. Napped in the "Quiet room" most of the way. Asked a gent when I got off how to get to the train, couldn't understand a word he said, delightfully thick accent. The bus he pointed me to was the only bus left in the lot after a while. People on board buzzed complaints and speculation. Finally after several odd comments from the guys with the yellow jackets, they gave us directions to switch buses, possibly the engine in the first one overheated. (It was an odd silence) The new bus took us all the way to Ayr, mainly along the coast. I am in love with Straenear - it reminds me of a place I've often dreamed of. In the rain there's a glow on the horizon, there's hills, then there's the rocky shore. I felt at home. Even the greenery reminded me of Duncan Ave. The hills made me think of the best combo of NY, MA and PA. We switched at Ayr and I almost forgot my big bag, I had been doozing on the bus as well. Picked up Prawn flavored chips, "butter bar" (tastes like brown sugar consistency mixed with fudge - love the condensed milk...) and water, ate later with rest of mushroom cap I had from lunch. (Which also included a great sweet potato salad and mediteranian veg in balsalmic vinegar.) The train ride was interesting, first the amount of different accents, then the lady - was mad over a wedding, I think was the explanation later by the ticket taker. She balled him out and prowled the isles like a pampleteer meets wild cat. I was one of her victims for the sake of my bags on the chair. The couple she singled out as not getting a seat because of me took one seat together - her on his lap, both smilingly. Again, nodding all the way to the station. I got out my map, see it's no good, and then give up and take a taxi. Turns out Margaret MacDonald house is only a handful of blocks away. So far the place makes me think of Chicago. Joe at the desk is chipper and cheery, and the music... could stay just for that. (good alternative, Scottish) I wouldn't mind living here - just need to learn how to pronounce things like "Buccleuch." I just heard Green Day playing on someone's stereo outside my window. I checked out a couple of streets before calling it quits for the night. I found music stores, clothes, and plenty of restaurants plus a local Sainsbury and "24 New Room" Get water, but no sign of internet cafes. Don't know what to do about the phone card thing. The sky was wonderfully magical, mysterious in its colors, the hilss could rival SanFransciso, and I had at least one guy offer to buy me a drink from behind. I smiled at the dark waiter hanging outside the Pizzeria who was bouncing energetically. He smiled. Perfectly Clear sparkling water is excellent - "Summer Fruits" raspberry, blackberry, black currant. Red a little more of the Hobbit before bed.

Travel Blog - June 29th - Dublin

I was smart before I setout for the morning - I wrote down directions to the one main area I wanted to see most. I woke when Frankie and John were leaving, about 7:30ish. Ian was kind of stirring, but not really. I took a shower and waited until 10 to 9 to wake him for breakfast. It was crowded and I burned myself on the hot water ( I over pushed the button) for tea. I sat with a German family who would awkwardly pass the jam with me. I finished the two pieces of bread and jam and finished planning in the room. Made it to Dublin castle, but didn't find an entrance, so I want to a tourist shop near it instead. Made it James Joyce Center. Like the man a lot more now. Had lunch at "Candy Cafe" since "Chapter One" next to the Dublin Writer's Museum was too pricy. Good tuna panini, sauce was similar to a bic mac. One of many places run by someone from outside of Europe. Took plenty of time at Dublin Writer's museum, lots of inspiration, actually sat down on a bench and wrote. Debated about price of books, thankfully there is Amazon. Heading back took too far a ways down Dame st and ended up getting dinner at the little coffee shop near the castle I spotted earlier - a sandwich to go (take away) coffee, and he was nice enough to give me a cookie for free. It was dinner time and I found him eating - he had a nice smile. Very good coffee. Checking out where Connelly was, I asked a gent from the parking there, and he led me straight to it, said he had stayed late for a retirement party. Also said he knew people in Aurora. When I got back, planning to have a boring evening, and check email to get to bed early for train in morning, Ian came by to ask if I was still interested in teh Literary pub tour. Bye bye frugality, heloooo Jameson. The crawl was fun, met Helen from Australia, does something similar to what's been explained of the Stevenson center at ISU. Helen's waiting to hear about certificate for PhD. Traveling with Iliona from Finland, we talked of surfing. Ian mentions he went to Costa Rica to surf and work, and it rained too much to be any good. He says best surfing is in Malibu, but too many people. Helen offered Perth in Australia. Cathy and friend (Tyran?) from Cape Town suggested go to South Africa. During that time I met a man and his wife from St. Charles, IL there on holiday, he now lives in Boston. The actors of the actual tour were great, learned a lot from the man/woman pair, and won a t-shirt thanks to a talk during the tour with Ian about Oscar Wilde's sports interest (boxing.) Afterwards Ian, Cathy, Tyran and I talked of horrid adolesent poetry, how the Catholic church scares kids, and politics (along with a very sweet mix of Galiana? Vanila liquer and black currant) first at the Dukes, then O'Neils, where at one of the twnety minute breaks Ian and I talked about his writing on pregnency, then environmentalism and the internet - how to make hippie stuff cool again in free market strategy. The second time round at O'Neils we talked of Tolstoy v. Dostiefsky while finding out how lovely Ireland's whisky is. Also gave whole plot of my story to Ian, probably best shortened version yet. (The female head figure for a boat hanging above the door to the porch was wearing a hoody.) We went dancing with Cathy, Tyran and two new friends, guy from Wales (?) and his girlfriend from Scotland. The place was dark and steamy with a cover charge to make you feel you pay to be a slave in the pit. The Scottish girl from O'Neils lovely, sweet thing, and let me have a puff of her cig, telling me I'd have fun in Glasgow. Rain was still there to greet us outside and showed us the way home. Ian and I were debate directions, but finally just picking a way, we stop to get a fried something at Lucianos (?) just up from Avalon. I was parched, so I got a water there. Place reminded me of La Bamba's, small, bright, foreign staff. When I had left Avalon there was only one other suite mate, from Belgium (Nicolaus?) and now the room was packed, it was about 3:30am when I finally got to bed.

Travel log - June 28th, Dublin

Landed late, got a Dublin pass good for tomrrow, things to do in the city discount. Tired and hungry on a drizzly gray day. My stomach still doing sommersalts after plane has long since landed. Got bus to city centre - don't know where Aungier St. is, walk a ways until I finally come across it. Stephen, guy at desk, very nice, good info. I got my "cage". I nap a little and have two cereal bars to eat. I've already finished Dorian Gray on the flight, working on "Through the looking Glass" by end of day, start Tokien essay. (What a long, tiring, eye-crossing flight.) Take a walk to find water and locate streets. Got water, found way back to hostel. Play internet tag for a while, finish Alice. Talk to some of other residents. Go back to room, thinking I'll eat and make pub crawl. Meet Ian and talk with him before John and Frankie (who I met briefly downstairs) All of us have various great discussions - from Feminism and literature, Bush and the Neo-cons to places to try and get to while in the city. We all then decide to go to O'Neils near by, John leads the way. We try outside, but still drizzly. By second drink I'm with all three on balcony with great local singers! We're all lovely and buzzed, wonderful craic. We get home after the second bar, and I find Ian has a great philosophy on Asian cooking - whatever you have, goes into the recipe. The machine downstairs is out of water, so I get a diet coke. I still like the large windows and the old architecture in the dark and rain, each corner of the cages, the pool table, the phones, and then the next room with the benches, the internet cafe and the tables for breakfast fill the huge space.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

To the 33 that died. Disclaimers to approaches to understanding.

(Beware the influence of the Neo-Cons)

Cynical comment on Society at Large – Brochure to the 32 -

Welcome to the numbers!

You have made the amazing victim list of the innocents!

You not only have touched the American public as the unknowns you are,

But anytime your names will ever be mentioned, the grief and sadness of

a supposedly unavoidable situation will follow.

No one will ever have known the real you, except for the possibility of your close friends

if even them.

All they will remember is the time they spent with you was not in vain

because you were mentioned on TV.

Welcome to an instant trip to heaven!

Welcome to fame!

Mixed Sympathy for a Killer - To Cho

No, this didn’t have to happen.

That is not solely your fault.

The poetic language you used shows the passion of a leader

but the way you chose to carry out your action

shows the cowardice produced by a society.

The quiet, shy person who did not feel he would be listened to

after going through the motions of the systems of societal norms,

a deaf people interacting around you,

a deaf school room,

a deaf counseling service,

and a deaf government.

People thought you were crazy for how you tried to express yourself before that fateful day

And you were not given the respect of a human trying

to figure out

how to be articulate,

but then driven to silence, to obscurity,

to violence

to get attention.

You were blind to outlets for your ambitions

by this deaf society.

The people around you

promoted blindness for all,

but your frustrations needed a visible outlet.

To these people, your message was unclear,

it was not seen.

I don’t know if anyone will ever understand, or wish to.

The self absorption rate is too high, they are more likely

willing to follow

media coverage of the victims and keep asking “why?” without

wanting the answer.

Your call for help could not be answered

by this society.

But hopefully there will be a people


who will listen.

And not fear for their own

lives, but see the crisis of the


in a society

of faceless, blind consumers,

the public at large.

Shunning the Gunman - To the media as social judge

Who gave you the right?

Is it really your own feeling avenging those who died,

Or is your message made to please those who sign your checks?

Are you allowed to talk about anything else?

Do you really believe the words that come out of your own mouth?

Do you feel empowered because of the money you make,

the influence you have on those who watch you,

or the fact you know who you know within the company that lets you speak to the public

that puts you on the air?

Because your image is mobile, you are omnipotent!

Because all know you by name, your words are all powerful!

Because no one can contest your authority directly, you are safe from ridicule,

your morals are intact, because they are not questioned.

May you be judged the same way you judge,

and may whatever supreme power controls this life

have mercy on your soul.

Blame Game – to all of us


We’ve gotten really good at this kind of thing

called blame!

Considering all that’s been talked about in our nation’s

current History.

We like to pass judgment

and analyze the problem more than we like to look at


We think that by giving victims a fair amount of coverage, that will assuage their grief.

Let them wallow in it in for the rest of their lives,

and use it as a crutch in times of desperation

rather than teaching them

how to work through the time in a balanced manner

shedding tears for their personal grief, and

taking action to help others, not alienate

them –

or the next time this process will come will be much

sooner than these victimized people realize,

and their triumphant cause of victim-hood

will only increase the numbers of participants to such a movement.

We have become the picture of a nation of reactionaries.

If we follow the media, if we adhere to their edicts,

we are no better than them.

And forthright, no better than the system that signs their checks of bondage.

Do we want to take the time to analyze the state of personal being,

or perpetuate the victim-hood of an “Us v Them” culture?

What was with Imus’ comments over the radio?

Debate over free speech?


What is Guantanamo Bay?

A place where terrorists are questioned for national security?


What is the real purpose of wiretapping, finding out what you checked out of the library,

heck - even fingerprinting people at the grocery store,

being asked for your social security number over the internet as if it were merely a password,

or being denied recognition, even if you have all these things

if you don’t have a picture ID to validate it.

What kind of a warped surveillance society are we living under?

What kind of covert conspiracies are within society that aren’t already within the government,

Or even perpetuated by the government within our society?

Who can we blame next....

How about looking in a mirror.

Grieve about it.

Then turn the blame

into change.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

There's a Hair in my Capitalism.

Time and Appearance are two commodities which rule our system
Fairly well or Wells of Fair, but there is no fairness in our wells.

In the epoch battle of split ends, ends must be met.
And so heroes go to chop their hair as sacrifice to the gods of Appearance,
despite the lessons of Sampson.

Strength can be sapped by time, the ally of Appearance.
For without the passing of Time,
Appearance cannot be made, met, or thought of.
Thus strength will be kept in a snapshot of time,
but Appearance will be the final judge
of whether or not that strength will be seen.

In a salon of hair, there are maidservants to this ruler Capital.
They use their charms to lure you in, keep you occupied,
all the while they sap your soul.
The trimmings fall to the floor, little pieces of you, fragments of tales,
historic stories chopped in two.
Appearance takes hold, and whether or not “it” comes together,
the maidservant soothes your battered nerves with your un-frayed hair.
The knots are gone, the sheen has been restored, and you are beautiful. Trust them.

You thank them for this service. It is after all the reason
you spent your Time, to gain this Appearance.

You then automatically take out the meanings of exchange
of which you feel is worthy.
You have been told that it is a good thing they give you
this Appearance, not that they take
your Time, your hair, your old self.
They want your money too. Spawn of Capital to be returned to their papa.

Accustomed to using a form of credit which contains the promises of Capital’s children,
you give them a plastic-cut rectangle.
It is a promise of payment, an identification mark, affiliation to credibility,
the lord of their institutions – the bank.

Swipped once, denial.
Swipped twice, betrayal.
Swipped three times, a break down of the system.

Your very reputation is at stake within this rule, your own word is meaningless.
You tell them how you just purchased something from another vendor.
They confess, under their breath, their machine hasn’t been working, and
you aren’t the only one who’s been gypped that day.
But it is not their doing,
and they are as much the victim as you are.

You offer them your information, your driver’s license, your social security number,
your life.
Frantic, panic. Feverish anger,
justification of character through assertive commands.
Take it all. I am good for my word. Please, just let me leave this prison,
Time is precious, I have spent more than I bargained for already here.

A glimmer of hope – another plastic-cut rectangle.
with it you offer your soul once more – please take debit.
I have money in my account, I can pay,
please God let this work...
The offer of last resort - when there has been problems with that card before.
You keep that card more for the sake of pretending it will do you good
than actually trying to fix its problem.

They look at you and tell you they’ve had problems with that bank before.
And the machine only justifies the prediction.
Access denied.

You are incised. You know
your reputation is good,
and their system is bad.
The fact that they have - four times mind you - picked up that phone
and dialed a number which condemns you
as a thief
only makes you want to damage some property.
You tell them to their face,

fix your system.

They look down at the machine for refuge, knowing that the system
has worked before, it is not something which fails them
as much as strangers can.
You swear the people on the other end of the telephone are made up.

The dependency on the plastic-cut rectangles is still palpable on each side.
An ATM is just around the corner. You can get real money there.
Paper will succeed plastic this time.
When technology fails, the previous system is still viable.

You are tempted to just walk out. You came for the Appearance
in hair, of which is starting to grate.
The light and fluffy nature of the textured do
only makes you want to tear the rest of it out.

Being a reputable sort, you ask directions from a friendly cookie vendor.
Her smile either reminds you of your sanity, or the carnival situation in which you find yourself.
You head towards the machine.
It is small, but almost a shrine to the lord of Capitalism.
It is out of order. A man who’s been looking at it says it’s probably the phone line.

You head back to the salon, feeling bound by duty to report your findings.
They are no longer happy to see you, but tired, and one is possibly frightened.
The sweet nature of the cherubs turns to haggard waifs under the control of a ravenous lord.
Finally, there is a compromise.
They keep what you purchased, take your information, and a record of the failed transaction.
Considering you mentioned you do have checks, they will try one more time to trust you,
since you have held yourself there, and come back to find a solution.
By holding part of your appearance hostage,
they will allow you to retry participating in their system.

You are tempted to leave them again, but this time you are allowed
to go home to get the checks.
You wish never to come back. But instead, you race home to grab the checks.
You come back
into that now familiar cave
and wait.
With a smile.
You understand the taxing purpose
of social relations under the strictures of Capital
and it’s sickly aid of Appearance.

You start writing the check.
One of the maidservants sees you and says she’ll be right with you.
She is surprised you returned within the night.
She didn’t expect customers to be righteous.
Or if she did, not to be so extreme about it
within a system that promotes leisure.
Why should one be so hard on themselves or others?

With courtesy, but little eye-contact on either part of the transaction,
mainly due to lack of food,
it’s late,
they haven’t had a break,
and neither have you,

there is full repayment of the original amount.
Tip still included, because the job was sufficient.

The transaction is finalized, and you receive your prize,
the shackles of Appearance, and
the continuation of Capitalism.
Vindication is won,
feelings hard pressed,
but how is justice realized?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sounds bite

News bites.
Numbers, numbers, happenings from after they happen, don't know why they happened, only blame who is involved, and identify the victim. We are all victims to this kind of reporting, and there seems to be little way to get out of this mentality. Any self help group would listen patiently, but at least one member would be very tempted to say, "Snap out of it!" I don't want to hear why I should pity you, I want to know why I should love you, why I should care for you, why I should listen to you. If all you're doing is telling me the bad stuff, of course I'm going to want to hate you!"
This is what we hear from the news, in the form of a sound bite, in an afterthought, in something that hasn't been thought through. There is no interest before a "story" hits. The definition of a story has become nothing but saying something happened, not why it happened. The only thing it tells us is we should feel sad by the state of our society. I feel sad about the state of news reporting if it's gotten down to that. I don't want to hear numbers. I don't want to hear about victims. I want to hear people's story of hope. I want to hear something in the process, rather than something that's doomed to fail, because it is failing already. I want to hear information that hasn't been predetermined by the order of events, because even though that may seem unbiased, it's really another form of it.
Bias has been one of the main things news has tried to avoid - it can't. There will always be something that biases a story. However, the bias can show both sides of an argument, give equal time - this would seem egalitarian, and it is. It is a bias as well. But it is one which gives rules which does not show favor, and allows the sides that it reports upon to make themselves look good or stupid. This kind of reporting takes skill, time, and unfortunately now, money. It is not one which can be afforded in a Capitalist economy that is eroding in our nation. The bias which is reported is what is "popular" or what is "politically correct" based on the criteria of the owners of the news station. This is part of why the view of victimhood and emphasis on numbers has become prevalent. The news people have tried to fight back. There are still Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh. People do listen to personalities, and Anderson Cooper is the hottie of CNN. But the foundational reporters (like Wolf Blitzer) have become the main kind of reporter who struggle with the networks to report, but to find a vehement compromise, there are pundits who speculate rather than give real information to back such claims up, and there are numbers. First headline of the day which hits both fronts - "2 suicide bombers kill 93 in Iraq." You want to see? Just look at the link for the video, they hide nothing, except the back story of why this is important; what kinds of things these people were engaged in up until this point, what faction they were with, were they a part of a faction? Were they frustrated, were they intelligent, what progressed to get them to this point, as well as how does this make any difference to other people's plans, where was it at, why does it all look the same, why do the numbers not matter any more... Oh yeah, because that's all we hear about in the headlines. All the hope is in domestic politics with an election that's still over a year away, with two minority candidates in the same party already being pitted against one another. How is this fair to either the Iraqis' or any of the candidates? We show the progression of the candidacy, mainly because we're too scared to try and impeach a president who deserves it. We wait. We wait for everything to just wash over us, because if we wait, if we're patient and be good little children, the parental government will just take care of us... The system is just too strong for one measly little voice to try and say, "No! I will not stand for this crap! Down with bureaucratic nonsense!" Reform needs to kick the governmental budget system in the pants, not by cutting back, but by not penalizing those who are fiscally responsible! This is why people compete for more money, or wasteful spending happens. Fiscal responsibility should not mean punish those who are responsible, it should reward them! If we're going to live in a Capitalist system, we should have a government which is apt to work with the system rather than against it. By making appropriations so freakishly laborious, Christmas tree bills pass with ease, no one wants to contest this. And why are they focusing on appropriations bills? How did only a hundred years of change create a process which fills up the agenda of the politicians, rather than the issues or arguments which matter most to the state, as well as to the politician? Why did money in the government become a burden rather than a liberator?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The elusive

The idea of the image is as just as elusive as the idea of happiness. By the idea of which we conceive happiness to be, it is already gone. In the way in which it can creep up on us, it remains until we decide to go after it. It is as elusive as the muse or music which keeps us content, and even spontaneously entertained; but not in the way in which is cultivated, rather inherent inside of us when we are least focused.

It is because of this lack of focus that vision, or image, or muse or music can come into being without us having to ask for it. Yet as Eastern meets Western ideas of being within a religious practice, there is need for stillness which must be taught, an absence of thought which would otherwise perpetuate pretense.

It is this absence of pretense which allows for clear sight because the camera is not tilted, moving or having to constantly readjust. There is an allowance of Present.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

For the Little Engine

There is fear in this country of trying. This fear is put into us at an early age by the way our structures are set up – we want to win, but if we don’t do well, few people will stand up to the tide of pressure which builds to either try again, or to question why they were being pressured. By simply allowing themselves to be swallowed up by feeling incompetent in one area, they are only allowing for their incompetence to be proved right. However, if they do take a jab at it, it shows at least courage to be noticed, even if they are wrong, considering the interpretation of whichever arm of interpretation their opposition uses. However – the one thing they need to remember is even though their opposition may be upheld by a system of thought, and even though they might be extremely well versed in it – it doesn’t mean their opposition are wholly right. They might hold a portion of the truth, but even they are as human as the mode of thinking which they are repeating. There is an equal ability for you to be just as right as they are. However – the whole dichotomy is based upon rules, a system. So if you are wrong, you are wrong within the system, not because that’s the way it truly is. Which is why systems need to be checked – either for the way you want to be involved in the system, know you will not have all the right answers all of the time, or find a way to reform the system, or find a new system.

An Odd to Linus, or Merry Chri$tma$

The traditions of organized religion are used as an excuse. It’s a power struggle. If a religion is in power itself, then it imposes it’s will on the other people – but of that religion.
This is why people wanted to get away from religious persecution. There is an exclusionary factor which makes it hard for anyone to “be a member” of any religion. By doing this however, you don’t give the people within the religion much room to move. This restrains them, and if they fall from grace, they feel chastised and unwilling to go back to the standards of which they would seek to better themselves in the first place. The “religion” ends up ruling, and the people loose. They become slaves to “tradition” and have no way of finding a way to get out of the problem which David faced – no matter how well he did the rest of his time, no matter how much glory he gave to God, all the things God would want for him – the one time he really screwed up, he was not forgiven. But by screwing up it proved he was human – all the prophets were essentially human. There was something about their nature which held them back from being perfect. They were called by God from the masses to be His spokespeople, so to speak, but they cold only do so much. Moses ended up talking through Aaron most of the time. Jeremiah didn’t think he could get through to the people because of his message.
Jesus is the only one of whom would not be held back. Whether or not his birth was what we think it was, the one thing he could teach us was not to be held back by our fears in and of humanity. And with that gained knowledge of freedom be able to free others from their shackles, shackles which can be real and imagined. Only by testing these walls of fire can we try to stand up to the problems of this world, things like the fears which have been perpetuated by the standing of “religion.”
Organized religion takes what should have been the teachings of these people, or teachings for certain events, and makes them into poor representations of a rule structure which essentially re-creates the bonds which we were trying to get rid of in the first place. However, since they have the history of being freeing in their beginning, we feel must use them or fail. If we don’t even want to try them because we know we will fail, then we don’t want to learn about the religion at all, and blame the one who told us these things in the first place, God. God becomes the scapegoat for our society, even though it is the evolution of society which has brought out “the worst in God.” We become immobilized by fear, we are blinded by our narrowness of interpretation of these traditions, and we don’t want to listen to some crazy lunatic standing behind a pulpit telling us how to live our lives. How do they really know? Is this the word of God, or is it the word of a tradition long muddled from human interpretation?
The only way to get out of this bind is by trial and fire. By questioning, and being willing to be proved wrong, but to continue trying nonetheless, there is a possibility to learn how to see these interpretations for what they are, and start hearing the good that is in them as well as the mush. The fear will slowly be relinquished from the people and tradition which has been set for so long. The true being to not just fear, or respect, or to honor, but to be in awe of is God – by not trying, by not living your life, by giving into the absurdity of these traditions and not wanting to believe solely because these interpretations only give out a tinny, smallish reflection of what is something more real, something almost tangible, something that is greater than you, me, or anyone – is only leaving you out in the cold. Does this life really have something to offer if it doesn’t allow you to really live it to the fullest? What does this shackling system of Capitalism really have that would make us happy?
The way Christmas is set up at this moment only perpetuates the religion of Capitalism. By only looking at what you can get for others or what you can get for yourself only shows the superficial layer of what Christmas is about. We talk of the gift giving as giving of ourselves, or giving in the spirit of Jesus’ birthday. He got presents, so why shouldn’t we give and get? St. Nicholas is a great example to show the need to give to the children, because Christ himself was born this day, a babe in swaddling clothes, and he would talk of children’s importance in his teachings. We are all still children at heart, and want to continue the magic which we had at those young years. We know that it grows old as we grow old, but we still hold onto these traditions because of that original promise of magic. Not every year afterwards like that can bring back the fun of what we had as children, yet the whole amazing part about those beginning Christmases weren’t necessarily the things we got, but rather the newness of it all to us. What we remember more than what we got was how we felt, the tingle that the beginning of the season brought in with the first winds of snow, or the first sung round of “Deck the Halls.” That is something which should be a lesson for how to keep looking into the real meaning of what we perceive as Christmas as we grow older – there is more “magic” than the simple traditions we hold tell us.
However, when the traditions are kept alive by something which does not pertain to the actual meaning anymore, then the holiday is not holy, it is merely a “bank holiday.” Holy implies a lesson learned, a broadening of horizons, a filling of the soul. Bank holidays merely represent a day off in reward for doing a good job the rest of the year, and here’s a butt load of gifts to show how much we appreciate your diligence. It falls flat. The true magic of the holidays should be in the wonder of the holiday, the amazement of new things found out, something quite awesome to behold, and the importance of the true needs in life to be met.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

For the love of Betsy

Government seems to be the easiest target of “bad press” meaning no one pays attention to it because it is inherently a place for corrupt individuals (which we do vote into office…) as well as red tape from the bureaucracy it has become only makes it slower than a parade of slugs.
I argue government is the only place openly honest that people are people. Flawed when put under the microscope, but still possible of good deeds. That possibility isn’t paid as much mind however, since it does not go with the “public” mindset. Why do people feel so out of touch with their government – is bias like this taught at such a young age as to make it seem impossible to try and work with the system? Does no one want to grow up to be president anymore?
I think the bad press such offices receive can only lead to a vicious cycle of distrust and disillusionment that leads to nothing happening. The few who believe in our constitution still try and be activists, but it’s to a deaf crowd they preach. Who wants to listen to that kind of news – it’s myth, and we’re realists.
Yet our government still exists – why? It’s become independent from the people it’s supposed to represent, or at least in our ideology of civil rights from African Americans, Women, Immigrants, everybody who lives under our flag. Do they care? Why should they care?
Do they want to feel safe, or do they mind being abused by this willful segregation? It’s a splitting of the real possibility for a Democratic Republic, for which we supposedly stand. One nation, indivisible? Truth and justice for all…