Saturday, January 07, 2006

Other writers,

When you're writing something, do you live it? I'm working on a brief and, for the first time in my career, I had an associate who works for me do the first draft. But, even so, I'm living it. I think about it, dream about it, pray about it, walk to work to its cadence.

What is it about writing something that makes it so magical? Why is writing such a powerful act?

It consumes me. I give myself all the way over to the writing in a way that's beyond the way I've ever given myself, witch that I am, over to a human lover. I just live for the sound of the words, for the selection of one set of words over another. I wake up thinking of the best way to say what I want to say and go to sleep dreaming of the way my words might affect three judges and their clerks. I know I'm driving this associate nuts explaining to her why one set of changes works but another won't.

I have some dear friends who are studying Air this year. The direction of East, thought, communication, ideas, new beginnings. Their watchword for this year is "Damn Birds." Birds keep showing up in their lives as they focus on East. I live in the East, make my living by my ability to write. And, there are times, like now, when I can't imagine a different spiritual practice.

is it like this for you, too?

This is the place/ I meet the evening face to face

OK, thanks to the kindness of strangers, I think I've got this blogroll thing figured out and will be trying, over the next few days, to add a blogroll.

Here's a weekend poem for you while I'm at work.

This is my rock
And here I run
To steal the secret of the sun.

This is my rock
And here come I
Before the night has swept the sky.

This is my rock
This is the place
I meet the evening face to face.

-David McCord

Where is your rock? Have you been there lately?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bangs Head on Watertiger's Desk; Petitions Jeffers for Keys to Bedlam

Yesterday’s WaPo Food Section contained the obligatory “food forecast” for 2006, supplemented by the obligatory opinions of Faith Popcorn, trend recognizer extraordinaire. Along with interesting information such as the fact that the use of trans fats is decreasing, while the popularity of “small plates” continues to grow in area restaurants, the article contained this disturbing nugget:

Trend expert Faith Popcorn, keynote speaker at the Future of Food conference last month in Washington, and the person who predicted the “cocooning” craze of the 1990s, sees faith-friendly food showing up in the marketplace, an outgrowth of what her company calls “clanning,” or the desire to belong to groups with common ideas.

Tyson Foods, which makes chicken, beef and pork products, already has begun offering free downloadable prayer booklets on its Web site. The booklets provide mealtime prayers in a variety of faiths.
The article notes that “food forecasters are predicting some provocative trends, including such possibilities as Christian-raised chicken . . . .”

Now, I’m a person of faith and one of the things I try to do every time I eat is to offer some gratitude for my meal. I do it quietly; no one eating with me even knows I’m doing it. But I can tell you that I sure as heck don’t download my prayers from the Tyson Food website, nor can I imagine anyone doing so. But, I checked and, sure enough, Tyson’s is now apparently selling prayers along with processed chicken parts. Most of the prayers are xian or at least Abrahamic, although a few appear to be Native American and a few appear to be based on some kind of generalized religious sentiment. Strangely, given the role women play in purchasing and preparing food, none of them speak of divinity as feminine, although a number refer to a masculine god. I’m sure Tyson Foods thinks they’ve been very “inclusive,” but they’ve failed. But that’s not the real problem.

The real problem is that it’s creepy. WTF is “faith-friendly” food, Ms. Popcorn? It’s apparently not kosher food, which, based upon my very limited understanding, at least requires humane methods of slaughter. It’s apparently not organic food, which, again based upon my very limited understanding, at least evidences some respect for the Earth. No, what it apparently is, is food produced by big corporations who try to dress up their processed food and agribusinesses with advertising that appeals to wack-job fundies. Forget it. I’ll take the small plates, the dark chocolate, and the larger print on the nutrition labels. But I’m not downloading my prayers from the Tyson Food webpage and I’m not buying any xian-raised chicken, either.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Blog Roll

I'd dearly love to add a blog roll to the side of my blog. I changed the "template" to one that allows links, even though I'm not crazy about the way it looks, but it won't seem to let me add any links.

Any one who'd like to advise the newbie, please do so in comments here.

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm Rooting for the Cedars

I used to work for a narcissist. She was a monster. Everyone who worked for her, and I mean everyone, hated her and hated working for her. I don’t call her a narcissist lightly; she’d been diagnosed as a narcissist by one of the best Jungian analysts I know. Everything, and I mean everything, was all about her. You’d go in to talk to her about an issue in your department and spend an hour listening to stories about her ski trip; then she’d be late for her next appointment and you’d never get to discuss the issue you came in to discuss. Since working for her (I left that job and, a year or so later, she was fired, thank the Goddess), I think I can recognize a narcissist when I see one. (Insert obligatory skyatrist/tv joke.) George Bush strikes me as a world-class narcissist.

He gave us another example just this weekend:
After meeting with wounded personnel at Brooke Army Medical Center, Bush joked about what he termed his own injury in combat — from an encounter with a tree on his Crawford ranch.
"As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself -- not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won," he said. "The cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, [a] colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, colonel."

When you think about it, this is quite an amazing statement. Bush, who never served, goes to visit seriously wounded soldiers and comes out to make a joke about his own “injury.” Of course, many of us have noted Bush’s propensity to get injured in weird ways when he’s out of the public eye for several days, but whether he was drunk or sober when he went out to clear brush, he’s got a freaking scratch, for Goddess sakes. He’s apparently incapable of giving a statement that does not focus on him.

Narcissism is defined as: An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). Only a narcissist would start a war because Saddam threatened his daddy and he wanted to get Saddam’s gun to wave around. Only a narcissist would insist that anyone who criticizes him must favor the terrorists who attacked America on September 11th. Only a narcissist, with a exaggerated sense of his own achievements and talents, would dress up in a flight suit and strut his codpiece across the deck of a carrier decked out with “Mission Accomplished” banners.

And only an asshole would stand in a hospital full of wounded soldiers and talk about his own stupid scratch. I'm just sorry the cedar didn't give him the cockpunch he so desperately needs.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Battle of Manassas

They’re the “family values” crowd. But if your sister has breast cancer and needs chemo, don’t think that you can take in your niece and nephew and have them live with you while she recovers. Better to send them off to an orphanage, I guess. They’re the “family values” crowd, but don’t think that when your favorite Great Aunt gets too old to live alone, you can bring her into your home and let her impart her wisdom and values to your children. There are nursing homes out there and someone makes a profit running them. They’re the “family values” crowd, but don’t think that you and your two favorite cousins can pool your resources and buy a house together. Better if you each rent a one-bedroom apartment, live alone and isolated, and don’t invest in the American dream of owning a home.

At least in Manassas, Virginia.

As the Washington Post explained earlier this week, it’s apparently more important for Manassas, Virginia to hate on illegal immigrants than it is to promote the “family values” that the conservatives are always shoving down our throats. Actually, since the law they’ve passed in Manassas does nothing to target illegal immigrants but is clearly aimed at immigrants, maybe we could just drop the pretense and admit that, in Manassas, Virginia, it’s more important to hate on anybody who isn’t a white suburbanite than it is to promote the “family values” that apparently are only “valuable” when being used by the MSM and the Republican Party to dupe the rubes at election time.

Manassas, as the WaPo explains, adopted an ordinance on Dec. 5th that ”changed a definition of ‘family’ in the zoning code so that, essentially, households are restricted to immediate relatives, even when the total is below the occupancy limit. With a few exceptions, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and other extended relatives do not count as family in Manassas anymore. For instance, six cousins living in a six-bedroom house would be illegal, even though the number does not exceed the occupancy limit.” Although, like the school board in Dover, city officials are now denying that the ordinance was passed for the obvious reason, last month the Vice Mayor admitted that it was aimed at what he was pleased to term “the larger problem in Manassas of illegal immigration,” which he blamed for problems such as “parking and strained school budgets.”

Dear Mr. Vice Mayor: Bite me. An illegal immigrant doesn’t take up any more parking spaces than a legal immigrant. (And likely less space than the fucking Escalades that the white suburbanites in Manassas appear to favor.) Children of illegal immigrants don’t take up two desks due to the fact that their parents are illegal immigrants; Manassas’ schools are strained because overpopulation, execrable public transportation, and the housing situation around Washington, D.C. have sent people way the hell out to bumfuck Manassas. Which used to be almost completely lily white, but now finds itself with a population that is -- horrors -- 15 % Latino and 13% black! You know that blue that’s been creeping south and west from Arlington over the last few elections? Hmmmm.

Anyway, the citizens of Manassas ought to be outraged over this waste of taxpayer money. Manassas will waste money defending this racist, anti-family ordinance, money that could have gone to build schools, provide public transportation (voila! less need for parking!), or build affordable housing. And then, they will lose anyway. No matter what they say, they’ve clearly violated the very line that the Supreme Court laid down almost thirty years ago in Moore v. City of East Cleveland, Ohio, 431 U.S. 494 (1977).