Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Waiting for normal

Somehow, I keep waiting for life to get normal again, and by normal I mean for things to make sense, be coherent, have an organized structure that isn't misshapen or grotesque.

What I keep getting is life that is completely out of balance, out of harmony, incoherent, disorganized, fractured, and so full of one crisis after another I wonder how anyone manages any sanity whatsoever.

It didn't used to be this way, and NO, I am not being nostalgic. There used to be a genuine order in life. There was a lot less fear and a lot less stress. People had jobs they could retire from and actually receive retirement income from it. Kids grew up, some went to college, others went to work, and most had families of their own. Television showed more of the best in life instead of the worst, especially in terms of human relations and how to get along with each other. And though most of it was idealized, at least it was something to aspire to rather than descend into.

Life wasn't about greed, naked aggression, power-mongering, back-biting pettiness, or expecting to live like royalty. People were more friendly, cooperative, accepting, and forgiving. Their aims were modest as were their desires. Didn't mean things should not be well-built--even economy models were built to last and work well.

These things and more are all but gone. The world is tilted and very little is as it should be. I guess I won't hold my breath waiting for normal to occur anytime soon.

In the meantime, I'll just keep working on my garden. At least it makes sense. You plant, it grows, it fruits, you eat.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mrs. Mrr

I laid Mrs. Mrr to rest today after a valiant battle with cancer. It was found far too late to do anything about it. All I could do was make her as comfortable as possible for her remaining weeks. I will definitely miss her. She was a quite character even for a cat. And quirky tho she was, she was truly a people person.

She filled the house with her presence despite being so small from malnourishment, privation, frostbite, a possible car accident, and maybe abuse in her early life. She was already about 2 years old when she came to me in 2004 and she actually grew a little under our care and feeding.

She knew she had found a good home and was very happy here. She even learned to play again. A good and loving home is my gift to her. Her presence was her gift to me. She was the queen of the house. She ruled the roost. I will truly miss her but I know she rests in peace as a graceful and gentle presence in the fabric of life.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

God's Aquarium

From Billmon's description of the coral reef off the Sinai Peninsula:

Just for a minute, I was able to forget both sets of catastrophes, and simply marvel at the beauty of the planet we all inhabit. These days, that is the ultimate luxury.

The destruction of life on this planet is humankind's ultimate shame. Our own extinction in the wake of this destruction will be the ultimate irony. We failed to value what we did not create and so our existence is, ultimately, without any value.

Open Letter to George Clooney, et al.

Happened to be watching Miami Vice on late night TV. Saw Eddie Olmos and wished Battlestar Galactica was on. But then I recalled seeing Eddie on Bill Maher's show before Real Time got started and how Bill got under Eddie's skin. On purpose. I really felt for Eddie and was thoroughly disgusted with Bill's utter lack of humanity, which he still lacks btw.

Anyway, thinking about that reminded me of George Clooney being politically outspoken and all the other actors who have a sense of the injustices going on in our country and around the world.

This lead me to thinking about what really needs to happen for real change to start happening and for the status quo to actually get its just desserts. So, yeah, George Clooney speaks out, makes political statements with his movies, and is generally trying to do something good for the republic. I am thankful.

At the same time, I realized that what people lack most is a megaphone and an echo chamber. So, for all those who have lots of money that they don't know what to do with it all and rather than just speak up they could do like Al Franken and provide that megaphone and echo chamber. They could pool their money and buy a major cable station or create one of their own. Ted Turner did it and he still has a few stations.

So how about it? How about creating a people's station and putting out the real truth of things rather than relying on PBS to do it? Talk to Bill Moyers, he knows what's going on. You've got all that money. How about doing something really constructive with it? Please?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Life, Music, & Jesse McCartney

Continuing on the theme of music as flowers of the mind and soul, there is the Jesse McCartney hit "Get Your Shine On." It ranks right up there as one of my favorites.

Unfortunately, in order for music to reach the ears of a whole lot of people, it has to rise through the muck of the music industry, and I mean industry given the scale of its mass production and deal making behind closed doors. The whole "entertainment" industry can be slimey with the casting couch and the groopies and all that--hedonism at its most indulgent.

There have been many actors and musicians who have been chewed up and spit out by the system. Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, on down to Britney Spears. Takes an incredibly well grounded person to navigate the shark infested waters of Hollywood and the music scene.

So, when I listen to "Get Your Shine On" I am struck with a strange feeling of wanting to somehow protect and preserve whatever that spark is that Jesse has, a kind of fragile quality like the calm stillness of a glassy pond or the perfection of a cherry blossom that is all too fleeting and yet ever present.

It is a quality we all have, every one of us. In the dying words of Matsumoto in "The Last Samurai" speaking about the search for the perfect blossom, "they are all beautiful." It is the quality of pristine beauty, the expression of life in its most direct and unadulterated form. Jacques Cousteau once said he liked talking with children because they had not yet been obscured by experience.

It is this ineffable quality we all possess that needs our protection and preservation. The beauty within each of us resides in the core of our humanity like a seed needing only the water of kindness and the sunshine of love to bloom forth. Life is tough enough without the sole pursuit of profit and power turning existence into a war of all against all. Let us instead turn to each other and share the treasures in our hearts. Maybe then we can find our lost humanity and cherish rather than corrode and corrupt those who give voice and expression to what is most beautiful in life.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I LIKE life

There are some bits of music and certain songs that make life truly sweet and existence worth the price of admission.

There is also a Disney TV movie where a doll is mistakenly brought to life instead of the dead mom but ends up teaching everyone the importance of enjoying life rather than treating it like some drudgery in hell.

There is no chance that anyone can live a pain-free existence. There is no such thing as happiness without knowing sadness. It takes one to know the other. The deal is to not get so caught up in all the hurt and suffering that even simple joys are neglected or forgotten. Or to avoid emotional pain at all costs or chase an elusive happiness with such a vengeance that evil is created.

As others have said, it is not how long we live that matters, but what we do with it while we have it. I have never understood why anyone would want to actually make life miserable for anyone or seek their own happiness at the expense of another's.

Music is the language of life. It is a treasure that can never be horded. It's very expression is an act of sharing. And it is sharing and touching the hearts of others that makes life a joy.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Where's the music?

Music is the language of the soul. The really good, the really great, songs reach right down into the core of existence and make the world truly beautiful. It doesn't matter what the song is about, whether love, life, loss, or even politics. It could be upbeat, downbeat, a ballad, or poem. All that matters is that it come from the soul.

There was an explosion of music in the 1960s. It well embodied the spirit of the times, not only the general trend of the country and downward spiral of the government, but also what was in the hearts of people. Despite Neil Young's recent album, Deja Vu stands out as THE album of political protest, the trevails of life, the beauty of love, and the search for meaning.

After Woodstock the powers-that-be all but killed music. Since they couldn't stamp it out altogether they did their best to keep it from ever having the kind of power it had in the '60s. Despite that, it rallied in the mid-'80s with a strong beat and techno sound. It waned again with a brief rally in the early '90s with a few gems here and there. But after the Rodney King verdict riots in '92 the powers-that-be have tightened their grip even more so that now very little music has any real life in it. Most of what I get in rural MN is warmed over material from the past made safe because of its age.

I know there is great music being made now. It just never reaches my ears except for the occasional TV commercial here and there.

Without music that touches the soul, the spirit of the people will die. This is the great hope of the powers-that-be so that they may live with impunity as parasites on the backs of the people sucking out all that makes life good and sweet. If there has ever been a time when we need real music it is now. There have been far too many words and too few of the truly melodious notes that emanate from deep within and touch the souls of all who hear it. Where did that creativity of the '60s go? How will it ever be heard being chained as it is to the almighty dollar? Who will unleash it this time?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Saving the fetus and killing the child

Ok, so South Dakota has outlawed abortions and made it a crime to provide a safe, medical procedure.

So, life is safe for the fetus. But is life safe once it is born? Will those who feel that life is so precious that no fetus should go unborn also work to make the life it is born into worth living? Will the mother and the father, if he isn't gone, be loving parents who can provide for the child's needs? Will the child have enough food to eat, a decent and secure place to live, an education that teaches about the world and the people in it rather just how to be a cog in the money machine? Will the country and the world be a good place to live with friendly and kind people in it?

Or are the parents on their own, scratching for their bread, struggling to keep the child healthy, and fighting tooth and nail to keep from losing a job, being evicted, or going bankrupt?

Keeping women from having abortions is not the end of it. The care and feeding of the child must also be taken into account. Otherwise, it does no good to have the child be born only to die later on.

The outlawing of abortions doesn't prevent them and it certainly won't do anything to keep the child alive after it is born. Should the child die after birth from abandonment, neglect, illness, abuse, or privation, instead of saving a child, those who outlawed abortions will have killed it. By ignoring the conditions into which the child will be born, the blood of all dead children are on their hands.