Wednesday, December 31, 2008

fresh. clean. new.

I always get a little hopeful at the beginning of a new year. Everything seems clean and new and fresh, as if anything's possible. This is a year many of us have been waiting for for too long. Nineteen days and he'll be gone, that jackass George Bush. Can you believe it? I can't. Happy new year, y'all.

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why i am a socialist

I could not have said it any better; actually, I couldn't have said it nearly as well. Chris Hedges, at Truthdig, sums it up for me.

“Large sections of the middle class are being gradually proletarianized; but the important point is that they do not, at any rate not in the first generation, adopt a proletarian outlook,” Orwell wrote in 1937 during the last economic depression. “Here I am, for instance, with a bourgeois upbringing and a working-class income. Which class do I belong to? Economically I belong to the working class, but it is almost impossible for me to think of myself as anything but a member of the bourgeoisie. And supposing I had to take sides, whom should I side with, the upper class which is trying to squeeze me out of existence, or the working class whose manners are not my manners? It is probable that I, personally, in any important issue, would side with the working class. But what about the tens or hundreds of thousands of others who are in approximately the same position? And what about that far larger class, running into millions this time—the office-workers and black-coated employees of all kinds—whose traditions are less definite middle class but who would certainly not thank you if you called them proletarians? All of these people have the same interests and the same enemies as the working class. All are being robbed and bullied by the same system. Yet how many of them realize it? When the pinch came nearly all of them would side with their oppressors and against those who ought to be their allies. It is quite easy to imagine a working class crushed down to the worst depths of poverty and still remaining bitterly anti-working-class in sentiment; this being, of course, a ready-made Fascist party.”

Coalitions of environmental, anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist, sustainable-agriculture and anti-globalization forces have coalesced in Europe to form and support socialist parties. This has yet to happen in the United States. The left never rallied in significant numbers behind Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader. In picking the lesser of two evils, it threw its lot in with a Democratic Party that backs our imperial wars, empowers the national security state and does the bidding of corporations.

If Barack Obama does not end the flagrant theft of taxpayer funds by corporate slugs and the disgraceful abandonment of our working class, especially as foreclosures and unemployment mount, many in the country will turn in desperation to the far right embodied by groups such as Christian radicals. The failure by the left to offer a democratic socialist alternative will mean there will be, in the eyes of many embittered and struggling working- and middle-class Americans, no alternative but a perverted Christian fascism. The inability to articulate a viable socialism has been our gravest mistake. It will ensure, if this does not soon change, a ruthless totalitarian capitalism.

The fact of so many in this country consistently voting against their own economic self interest is infuriating and baffling. Unified, working people would be unbeatable. There are far more of us than there are of the corporate elite. Together never happens, though, because we're constantly at each each other's throats over issues less critical than survival. At the moment, I am stuck in security mode on Maslow's heirarchy, and I can't even think about anything else but the economy and what might happen in the next year, and the increasingly onerous burden of health care. Europe's progressives are winning hearts and minds. Maybe here too, one day. Probably too late.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008


Home, family, laughing, singing carols, Lutheran hymns, crown roast and stuffing, hot chocolate and Christmas lights, tree in the avenue, quiet house, childhood bed, silky sheets, absolute silence. Content. Church, singing, Nicene Creed, communion, body and blood, it's still in my head and my heart, call and response, creeds and liturgy, still alive. Daddy's hand in mine, Silent Night in German, candles, warmth, love, happy as I've not been in too long. Gorgeous day, brilliant sunshine, more family, more love, shrimp! Nap with the puppies, love from the husband. Companionship, joy, heaven.

This was a perfect Christmas. I hope yours was as well?


Monday, December 22, 2008

capitalist fools and the economic meltdown

Alan Greenspan in congressional hearings this fall:

Greenspan: “I have found a flaw.”
Congressman Henry Waxman: “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right; it was not working.”
Greenspan: “Absolutely, precisely."

I remember that point in the hearings. He sounded absolutely stunned, shocked, amazed. Yes, my ideology was totally fucked up and my persistence in trying to make the world fit the little map in my head has led us to disaster and I just can't believe it! Where is that withered up little bastard? I'd just love to choke him.

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz dissects the economic crisis in "Capitalist Fools," in January's Vanity Fair. It's an excellent read and an important one. If we ever get through the crisis, we'll need to get the history right in order to avoid another disaster.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tim DeChristopher: American hero

Monkeywrenching with a different twist. Tim DeChristopher just got in the middle and fucked up another land giveaway to the oil and gas folks.

An environmental activist tainted an auction of oil and gas drilling leases Friday by bidding up parcels of land by hundreds of thousands of dollars without any intention of paying for them, a federal official said.

The process was thrown into chaos and the bidding halted for a time before the auction was closed, with 116 parcels totaling 148,598 acres having sold for $7.2 million plus fees.

The the US Bureau of Land Management, more accurately known as the Cattle & Oil Barons' Welfare Agency, is in a pickle. And somewhere, Edward Abbey is smiling.

Makes for a joyful Winter Solstice. Happy day.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

christmas dinner?

What's for dinner? I'm "catering" for the parents Christmas eve. We're having a crown roast of pork with apple-cranberry-sausage stuffing, church supper green jello salad, and what? I thought of Brussels sprouts with lemon butter, corn pudding, stuffed new potatoes. Just not sure. Daddy's become so picky it's hard to know what to fix.

Favorite side dishes? Have some? And what's for dessert at your house? I'm thinking his favorite turtle cheesecake for him, pound cake for her, and Mexican spicy hot chocolate for all of us after midnight service. But I love the idea of little lemon curd tarts. Help! Tell me what's cooking at your house?

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This cold is bone chilling. We've got ice everywhere. I'm wearing two pair of pants and three shirts just to be able to stand sitting in my office. What to do, what to do?

Chilly Times Chili
* 2 teaspoons oil
* 2 onions, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 lb lean ground beef
* 3/4 lb beef sirloin, cubed
* 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 can dark beer*
* 1 cup strong coffee
* 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
* 1 can beef broth
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 3 1/2 tablespoons chili sauce
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 tablespoon cocoa
* 1 teaspoon oregano
* 1 teaspoon cayenne
* 1 teaspoon coriander
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 4 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
* 4 chili peppers, chopped


1. Heat oil.
2. Cook onions, garlic and meat until brown.
3. Add tomatoes, beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth.
4. Add spices Stir in 2 cans of kidney beans and peppers.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
6. Add 2 remaining cans of kidney beans and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream and saltines make this the perfect antidote to the misery of winter.

*For no beer folks, I use apple juice watered down by half. You could use some of those nonalcoholic beers, but watery apple juice works for this drunk.

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gay penguins? the best daddies of all

Sweet little waddling men, all dressed up in formal black and white and ready for fatherhood.

Money quotes from the Daily Mail:

'We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they've turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,' said one of the keepers. . . .

Wildlife experts at the park explain that despite being gay the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be fathers.

'One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs. Despite the fact that they can't have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,' said one.

One campaigner who did not want to be named welcomed the move and said: 'It wasn't fair to stop them becoming parents and keep them apart from all the other birds just because of the way nature has made them.'

But the best take of all is from Shakesville, where Miss Melissa astutely observed:

And all I could think when I was reading this story was how extraordinarily fucked up it is that, if you want to be a parent, you're better off being a gay male penguin in China than a gay male human in Arkansas.


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Friday, December 12, 2008

songs from a wasted youth still on my iPod: Humble Pie, 30 Days in the Hole

Anyone else remember these guys? Looking back, it's pretty clear that most of the songs of my (much wasted) youth were doper songs.

"Black Nepalese, it's got you weak in your knees, it's just some seeds and dust that you got buzzed on, you know it's hard to believe, 30 days in the hole...."

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Monday, December 08, 2008


Back from Mexico a few days now. The trip was heaven. I am so not meant for cold and dark. When I used to grow all of my garden plants from seed, I'd occasionally end up leaving a flat of tomatoes or poppies or whatever in a dark place for a few days. Once the poor things were returned to the light, they were invariably stretched out and soft and weak and yellowing. Some filtered sun would make them strong again, but they were never quite the same.

I feel like a little pepper plant left too long in the dark. When did winter get to be so miserable? Cold, with winds gusting to 50 mph and dark, dark, dark. There's a reason bears hibernate and I'm feeling like one. As grouchy as a bear, too.

But speaking of gusting winds, we loaded up in Houston about 7:15 Wednesday night, then sat on the runway for 90 minutes. Big thunderstorms were approaching the (ack! ack!) George Bush International Airport from the north, and we were redirected to fly west, thus more fuel for the detour.

At last we were airborn. We didn't crash on takeoff ~ always a fear ~ and seemed to be gaining altitude well. Smooth sailing until . . . until the wings were perpendicular to the ground and the plane swung wildly back the other way and dropped several feet and bucked a few times in a get-this-cowboy-the-fuck-off-my-back kind of bronco bull way. The lights flickered and we bounced around some more and I bit my tongue and then there were lights flashing outside the windows. Lightning?

I don't know. I just know that the first time I quit flying was the result of a trip on a 12 seater Conoco jet (out of fucking Houston again). Flew around, over and under massive thunderstorms for 500 miles. The only thing that saved my sanity was being able to sit with the pilots after we crossed the Red River.

Commercial pilots don't encourage that, but I was thinking of knocking on the cabin door when we rolled again. Rolled. It felt like we were going all the way over. Can commercial jets do tricks? Whatever, it was hideous for a recovering hysterical flier. More drops and jumps and then the back end swung around so we were sort of sideways to the way we'd been going. Lots of loud and unfamiliar noises convinced me the wings were going to come off.

All I could think of after that was that I need to set up a trust or something for the animals. Mo is a sweet cat and anyone would take him, but Bill and Betty, the terriers, are wholly unadoptable and would end up in a shelter or used as bait for fighting dogs.

After that, wouldn't you think the pilot would say something? Anything? Just a "hey folks, mean little cloud there, eh?" or some fucking thing? Not a peep out of these two. Just continued flapping on as if nothing had happened.

So there it is. Nice vacation, big scare, worry about the dogs, too fucking cold, why won't my stepdaughter quit hassling me about NuSkin, I need to get new prescription sunglasses for my old bifocal-needing eyes, little Boo licked a hot spot onto her hip while we were gone, my boyfriend's grumpy too, there's not enough sleep in the world to get me through winter.

And you? How are you? Tell, please.

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