Saturday, May 31, 2008

Don't go to Canada. Go to Costco.

I don't know if this is an urban hoax circulating the internet propagated by a savvy Costco marketer, or by a spurned and angry lover of one Sharon L. Davis. I don't know if Ms. Davis actually exists or if she wrote the following e-mail that was forwarded to me. My guess is that even if Ms. Davis is being punked, the facts listed are probably true or at least, food for thought and further research. I'm just the messenger, the conduit.


This is worth reading. Be sure to read to the end. You will be amazed. Let's hear it for Costco!! (This is just mind-boggling!) Make sure you read all the way past the list of the drugs. The woman that signed below is a Budget Analyst out of federal Washington , DC offices.

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active
ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries. In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America

The data below speaks for itself.

Celebrex: 100 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60
Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin: 10 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71
Percent markup: 30,306%

Keflex: 250 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $157.39
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.88
Percent markup: 8,372%

Lipitor: 20 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80
Percent markup: 4,696%

Norvasc: 10 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14
Percent markup: 134,493%

Paxil: 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $220.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60
Percent markup: 2,898%

Prevacid: 30 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01
Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec : 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97
Cost of general active ingredients $0.52
Percent markup: 69,417%

Prozac: 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11
Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin: 50 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13
Percent markup: 80,362%

Vasotec: 10 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $102.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20
Percent markup: 5 1,185%

Xanax: 1 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024
Percent markup: 569,958%

Zestril: 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) $89.89
Cost of general active ingredients $3.20
Percent markup: 2,809

Zithromax: 600 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $1,482.19
Cost of general active ingredients: $18.78
Percent markup: 7,892%

Zocor: 40 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $350.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $8.63
Percent markup: 4,059%

Zoloft: 50 mg&nbs p;
Consumer price: $206.87
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75
Percent markup: 11,821%

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone should know about this. Please read the following and pass it on.

It pays to shop around. This helps to solve the mystery as to why they can afford to put a Walgreen's on every corner. On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for Channel 7 News in Detroit, did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more.

Yes, that's not a typo.....three thousand percent! So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills.

The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are 'saving' $20. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10!

At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether, or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs.

I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience, I had to use the drug, Compazine, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients & bsp; I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I
checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89.

For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08.

I would like to mention, that although Costco is a 'membership' type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in. (this is true) I went there this past Thursday and asked them. I am asking each of you to please help me by copying this letter, and passing it into your own e-mail, and send it to everyone you know with an e-mail address.

Sharon L. Davis
Budget Analyst
U.S. Department of Commerce
Room 6839
Office Ph: 202-482-4458
Office Fax: 202-482-5480
E-mail Address:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Quick. See The History Boys

If you're in D.C. and have the time and the money, quickly, go online or call the Studio Theatre for tickets to see The History Boys (wiki info here). I'll admit to having loved the movie based on the play, starring some of the same actors that had performed in the stage version in London. But last night I went with Chris to see it performed at the Studio and I gotta say, it's right up there as one of the best productions I've seen in a long, long time.

Poems and Those Who Read Them

A New Poet

Finding a new poet
is like finding a new wildflower
out in the woods. You don't see

its name in the flower books, and
nobody you tell believes
in its odd color or the way

its leaves grow in splayed rows
down the whole length of the page. In fact
the very page smells of spilled

red wine and the mustiness of the sea
on a foggy day—the odor of truth
and of lying.

And the words are so familiar,
so strangely new, words
you almost wrote yourself, if only

in your dreams there had been a pencil
or a pen or even a paintbrush,
if only there had been a flower.

Linda Pastan , Heroes In Disguise , W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Selecting A Reader

First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully up on my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on its shelf. She will say to herself,
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.

Ted Kooser, From Delights & Shadows, published by Copper Canyon Press, 2004

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Father. Son. Amazing.

The radio in my car is broken. It hasn't worked in quite a while. I love listening to NPR and the primary place I'm accustomed to listening to it is in the car. Whenever I drive Avery's car, with radio intact, minus the XMRadio that we somehow seem to disconnect by mistake effortlessly, I listen. A couple of weeks ago was a segment on StoryCorp. StoryCorp is a travelling AirStream, well I can't say if it's actually an AirStream, but whatever it is, it travels around the country fully equipped and ready to record our thoughts. Check out the schedule in case you get inspired. In the meantime, listen to father and son, Bob Chase Junior and Senior, recounting the 1950s. Good stuff. Really good stuff.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm Just Sayin' or I'm Just the Messenger. A tiny messenger at that.

I'm not very politically savvy. I'm like a person who doesn't know much about art but knows what she likes. Oh, I am a person who doesn't know much about art but knows what she likes.

So, here's what I know today. I know that Avaaz exists and is working to become a grassroots power of support for people worldwide. I don't know how it will fare but in my non-politically savvy way I figure it's a step in the right direction. I'm reminded of Jeffrey Sachs' words about global poverty and starvation being not just their problem but everyone's. So if one doesn't feel motivated by altruism, the notion that the success of others breeds success for us might just do it. I know that when we objectify others, whether it be other humans or animals, we take away any imperative to act humanely.
So much for poetry. Grrrrr.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Forgive me. Another poem. It beats my complaints about so much wrong in the world, yes?

I read lots of on-line publications. I subscribe to lots of on-line newsletters. Most of them bring me news about what's wrong in the world. Alternet; The Tyee; Huff Post; Common Dreams; etc. You know the list.

Food issues - Ugh. Stay away from fast food. Stay out of the grocery store.
Ethanol - Ugh.
Bottled water - Ugh. Read Elizabeth Royte's book, Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. In the meantime, stop buying it.
Sexism, Racism, Ageism, The War, The Environment . . . You know the list. It's long and getting longer all the time.

So, instead of ranting, how about a poem. Thanks to the Writer's Almanac. Lots of thanks.

The Man Next Door Is Teaching His Dog to Drive
by Cathryn Essinger

It all began when he came out one morning
and found the dog waiting for him behind the wheel.
He thought she looked pretty good sitting there,

so he started taking her into town with him
just so she could get a feel for the road.
They have made a few turns through the field,

him sitting beside her, his foot on the accelerator,
her muzzle on the wheel. Now they are practicing
going up and down the lane with him whispering

encouragement in her silky ear. She is a handsome
dog with long ears and a speckled muzzle and he
is a good teacher. Now my wife, Millie, he says,

she was always too timid on the road, but don't you
be afraid to let people know that you are there.
The dog seems to be thinking about this seriously.

Braking, however, is still a problem, but he is building
a mouthpiece which he hopes to attach to the steering
column, and when he upgrades to one of those new

Sports Utility Vehicles with the remote ignition device,
he will have solved the key and the lock problem.
Although he has not yet let her drive into town,

he thinks she will be ready sometime next month,
and when his eyes get bad and her hip dysplasia
gets worse, he thinks this will come in real handy.

"The Man Next Door Is Teaching His Dog to Drive" by Cathryn Essinger from My Dog Does Not Read Plato. © Main Street Rag Publishing Company.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ted Kooser. Poet.


Today you would be ninety-seven
if you had lived, and we would all be
miserable, you and your children,
driving from clinic to clinic,
an ancient, fearful hypochondriac
and his fretful son and daughter,
asking directions, trying to read
the complicated, fading map of cures.
But with your dignity intact
you have been gone for twenty years,
and I am glad for all of us, although
I miss you every day--the heartbeat
under your necktie, the hand cupped
on the back of my neck, Old Spice
in the air, your voice delighted with stories.
On this day each year you loved to relate
that at the moment of your birth
your mother glanced out the window
and saw lilacs in bloom. Well, today
lilacs are blooming in side yards
all over Iowa, still welcoming you.

Poem: "Father," by Ted Kooser, from Delights and Shadows. © Copper Canyon Press

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Wanna Walk and Talk

John Francis didn't ride in motorized vehicles for 22 years. He didn't talk for 17 years. He did walk a lot and he earned three degrees along the way. I suspect his class presentations in school were amazing.

Anyone who knows me is aware of my dislike of automobiles and driving and my preference for walking. (Forgive me, Julia, for that day in December when I made us walk to buy Jerzy's birthday presents, lugging them back all those miles in the cold. You too Jerzy - sorry about my tirades when anyone wanted to be driven to the shopping center. And while I'm apologizing, I'm sorry for crying in malls. I hope it was okay for you.) There's nothing I'd like better than to walk to everything. Talking is another matter. I barely go 17 minutes without talking, even if just to myself. Fortunately, I was able to keep largely silent during John Francis' talk the other night sponsored by National Geographic. Perhaps I whispered a bit to Chris from time to time. I can't be certain. But I mainly listened.

As trite as it may sound, John Francis is an inspiration. You can watch the video about him if you like.

I bought his book. As soon as I stop yakking to friends and strangers (Who was that chatty woman outside of Starbucks today?) and driving the kids to work and class I'll read it. I hope my cell phone doesn't ring and interrupt me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I read too much poetry

I read too much poetry this morning
I can tell because I have that look about me
And I’m talking that way that says
I read too much poetry this morning

At 11:11 Poe told me to make a wish
The kids have certain magical times to make wishes
I don’t know the times
I only make my wishes when told
So I looked into Poe’s eyes
And I made a selfless wish
Maybe not entirely selfless
I mean what wish could be entirely selfless
But I didn’t wish for a million dollars
Or for health and happiness for myself
Or for the perfect lover
Instead I wished for good things for someone else
Amorphous good things
Not specific like getting accepted into the college of her choice
Or winning a million dollars
Or finding the perfect lover
And then I wondered
Should it have been more specific
Not a million dollars
But something else
Like comfort at work
Or a good grade in school
Or no cavities for a decade
I asked Poe
Can I wish for anything at all
Does a wish work if it’s too big
Like is it a waste to wish for
World peace
And she said you can but I wouldn’t

I read too much poetry this morning
I can tell because I said to my lover
How about we suspend all self and operate with the kindest, gentlest hand
Pretend we're almost strangers, delicate strangers,
Treat one another extraordinarily carefully
Lest we implode, or explode, or simply shrivel

I read too much poetry this morning
I can tell because I’m writing this
And making it look and feel like a poem
Even though it isn’t

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stephen Dunn is a wonderful poet IMHO.

Poem For People That Are Understandably Too Busy To Read Poetry

Relax. This won't last long.
Or if it does, or if the lines
make you sleepy or bored,
give in to sleep, turn on
the T.V., deal the cards.
This poem is built to withstand
such things. Its feelings
cannot be hurt. They exist
somewhere in the poet,
and I am far away.
Pick it up anytime. Start it
in the middle if you wish.
It is as approachable as melodrama,
and can offer you violence
if it is violence you like. Look,
there's a man on a sidewalk;
the way his leg is quivering
he'll never be the same again.
This is your poem
and I know you're busy at the office
or the kids are into your last nerve.
Maybe it's sex you've always wanted.
Well, they lie together
like the party's unbuttoned coats,
slumped on the bed
waiting for drunken arms to move them.
I don't think you want me to go on;
everyone has his expectations, but this
is a poem for the entire family.
Right now, Budweiser
is dripping from a waterfall,
deodorants are hissing into armpits
of people you resemble,
and the two lovers are dressing now,
saying farewell.
I don't know what music this poem
can come up with, but clearly
it's needed. For it's apparent
they will never see each other again
and we need music for this
because there was never music when he or she
left you standing on the corner.
You see, I want this poem to be nicer
than life. I want you to look at it
when anxiety zigzags your stomach
and the last tranquilizer is gone
and you need someone to tell you
I'll be here when you want me
like the sound inside a shell.
The poem is saying that to you now.
But don't give anything for this poem.
It doesn't expect much. It will never say more
than listening can explain.
Just keep it in your attache case
or in your house. And if you're not asleep
by now, or bored beyond sense,
the poem wants you to laugh. Laugh at
yourself, laugh at this poem, at all poetry.
Come on:

Good. Now here's what poetry can do.

Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There's an awful shrug and, suddenly,
You're beautiful for as long as you live.

by Stephen Dunn

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jeri Ann sends me links to YouTube videos of kittens. Sometimes they're just too much. My response to her:

Judith Shapiro wrote:
omg, i love kittens. how will i stop at five cats? i want a litter.

Jeri Ann wrote: I thought I could quell my hunger for a pair of kittens by looking at YouTube videos - right, that's like looking at a sex film so you won't want sex so much.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Julia Katherine

Happy Birthday Julia
Twenty years ago
I remember looking at you in the hospital nursery
(Yes, you were born in a hospital
Not at home with a midwife
Like so many of my hipper friends' babies
But in a hospital
With doctors and nurses
And ultimately the operating room
To save your little life
Or was it to save mine?)
And realizing that you were the
Most beautiful baby
Truly the most beautiful one
And for the first time
I realized why people showed me pictures of their babies
And I remember looking at the oven-stuffer roasters
When I was pregnant with you
I suspect you probably don't want to hear about that
But I did
I'd pick up a chicken in the refrigerated cabinet
In the grocery store
And look at the weight
And look at my bulging belly
And wonder
I knew you weren't a chicken by the way
I knew you were a baby
I just wondered how you were going to get out
(And frankly sometimes thought it was totally weird
Like a science fiction movie
That we grew little people inside us
And walked around on the street
Outside like it was perfectly normal)
What I didn't know was how wonderful you'd be
I didn't know about walking with you
For years
Hours and hours of walking and talking
And watching you grow up
I remember every time you'd get a little older
I'd tell Dianne that this was my favorite stage
Definitely this age was the best
I'm sorry you cut your leg on the file cabinet
I still have the shirt with the teeth marks in it
Holes actually
That you chewed while I held your hand
And the doctor stitched you up
I'm sorry you broke your leg flying down the stairs
I hope it's okay that I let you
Play soccer with your cast on
And Rollerblade
And swim
It was nice of the doctor
To keep adding on to your cast
When you wore it down exposing your skin
Over and over again
He did that five times, right?
Remember when you wanted to name Jerzy Rosemary?
And you named Duck Duck?
And you wouldn't let me smile at Snippy
Because baring teeth scared him?
Remember how people often asked if I was your teacher?
I should have told them,
"No, actually, she's my teacher."
I should have thought of that

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Nutcracker

I remember the summer of 1969. It was the first since I was a little kid that I didn't shave my legs. I remember wanting to shave them so badly when I was little, starting as soon as my mother would let me, like a boy taking off the peach fuzz on his upper lip. I wanted to be like the women - legs shaved, haired teased and sprayed and "face put on" before leaving the house.

Not so for me in 1969. No more putting my face on or setting my hair. Hell, I didn't even iron it anymore. I was in a "Women's Group". We'd meet once a week to talk about Feminism. Not shaving our legs loomed large as a meaningful topic - the feel of the hairs moving in the breeze was a big deal to us. We gave up wearing bras (Oh, how I loved my "training" bra when I was 12.) and made sure we referred to one another as women, not girls. That was then. A kinder, gentler time as it turns out.

Now, Stacey sent me a link to this Washington Post article, "Misogyny I Won't Miss", by Marie Cocco
Thursday, May 15, 2008; Page A15

I am reprinting the article here in its entirety. I have to admit, I've avoided seeing most of what Ms. Cocco mentions during the campaign, but certainly not all. The sexism surrounding Hillary Clinton has been extraordinary. I'm saddened by it. Read Marie Cocco's take. It's short and sweet. Well, I don't know about the sweet. It's a bitter pill we swallow.

I give you Ms. Cocco . . .

"As the Democratic nomination contest slouches toward a close, it's time to take stock of what I will not miss.

I will not miss seeing advertisements for T-shirts that bear the slogan "Bros before Hos." The shirts depict Barack Obama (the Bro) and Hillary Clinton (the Ho) and are widely sold on the Internet.

I will not miss walking past airport concessions selling the Hillary Nutcracker, a device in which a pantsuit-clad Clinton doll opens her legs to reveal stainless-steel thighs that, well, bust nuts. I won't miss television and newspaper stories that make light of the novelty item.

I won't miss episodes like the one in which liberal radio personality Randi Rhodes called Clinton a "big [expletive] whore" and said the same about former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rhodes was appearing at an event sponsored by a San Francisco radio station, before an audience of appreciative Obama supporters -- one of whom had promoted the evening on the presumptive Democratic nominee's official campaign Web site.

I won't miss Citizens United Not Timid (no acronym, please), an anti-Clinton group founded by Republican guru Roger Stone.

Political discourse will at last be free of jokes like this one, told last week by magician Penn Jillette on MSNBC: "Obama did great in February, and that's because that was Black History Month. And now Hillary's doing much better 'cause it's White Bitch Month, right?" Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski rebuked Jillette.

I won't miss political commentators (including National Public Radio political editor Ken Rudin and Andrew Sullivan, the columnist and blogger) who compare Clinton to the Glenn Close character in the movie "Fatal Attraction." In the iconic 1987 film, Close played an independent New York woman who has an affair with a married man played by Michael Douglas. When the liaison ends, the jilted woman becomes a deranged, knife-wielding stalker who terrorizes the man's blissful suburban family. Message: Psychopathic home-wrecker, begone.

The airwaves will at last be free of comments that liken Clinton to a "she-devil" (Chris Matthews on MSNBC, who helpfully supplied an on-screen mock-up of Clinton sprouting horns). Or those who offer that she's "looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court" (Mike Barnicle, also on MSNBC).

But perhaps it is not wives who are so very problematic. Maybe it's mothers. Because, after all, Clinton is more like "a scolding mother, talking down to a child" (Jack Cafferty on CNN).

When all other images fail, there is one other I will not miss. That is, the down-to-the-basics, simplest one: "White women are a problem, that's -- you know, we all live with that" (William Kristol of Fox News).

I won't miss reading another treatise by a man or woman, of the left or right, who says that sexism has had not even a teeny-weeny bit of influence on the course of the Democratic campaign. To hint that sexism might possibly have had a minimal role is to play that risible "gender card."

Most of all, I will not miss the silence.

I will not miss the deafening, depressing silence of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean or other leading Democrats, who to my knowledge (with the exception of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland) haven't publicly uttered a word of outrage at the unrelenting, sex-based hate that has been hurled at a former first lady and two-term senator from New York. Among those holding their tongues are hundreds of Democrats for whom Clinton has campaigned and raised millions of dollars. Don Imus endured more public ire from the political class when he insulted the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

Would the silence prevail if Obama's likeness were put on a tap-dancing doll that was sold at airports? Would the media figures who dole out precious face time to these politicians be such pals if they'd compared Obama with a character in a blaxploitation film? And how would crude references to Obama's sex organs play?

There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for "change." But for all Clinton's political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I haven't read this yet. But I want to. You?

I read about this on AlterNet. Wanna read it right away. Here's what the publisher says about it. --

Half the world is malnourished, the other half obese-both symptoms of the corporate food monopoly. To show how a few powerful distributors control the health of the entire world, Raj Patel conducts a global investigation, traveling from the "green deserts"of Brazil and protester-packed streets of South Korea to bankrupt Ugandan coffee farms and barren fields of India. What he uncovers is shocking — the real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa, an epidemic of farmer suicides, and the false choices and conveniences in supermarkets. Yet he also finds hope — in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food system.

From seed to store to plate, Stuffed and Starved explains the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.

About the Author: Raj Patel, former policy analyst for Food First, a leading food think tank, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Times and Financial Times, and while he has worked for the World Bank, WTO, and the UN, he has also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them.
Okay, so it's the job of the publisher to make it seem good in order to get me to buy it. And of course the ideals sound too high and lofty -- "stop the exploitation of farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance" -- Sure it's that simple. Not. But, ya gotta start somewhere.

Mary Oliver. Journey

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It truly is time to Move On, isn't it.

I suggest you read poetry by Mary Oliver.

Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches
of other lives -
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey,
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning,
feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over
the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left -
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one's foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

To set one's foot in the door of death, and be overcome
with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird's pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what's coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.

That was then, which hasn't ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean's edge.

I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.

Mary Oliver

Monday, May 12, 2008

Next Mother's Day

This article published on Monday, May 12, 2008 by

Next Mothers Day Let’s Invite the Whole Family
by Medea Benjamin

Next Mothers Day, I don’t want to be organizing yet another rally of Mothers Against War in Washington DC and lamenting the state of our dysfunctional human family. I want to be celebrating the successes of the first 100 days of a new administration. I want to see us healing the collective traumas of the past eight years and becoming a nation that reflects the values of compassion and kindness that most mothers hold dear.

Next Mothers Day, I want us to be welcoming our soldiers home from Iraq and taking care of them when they get here. I don’t want to hear any more bickering in Congress about whether we should provide decent educational benefits to our vets — especially from those who supported the war! I don’t want to read more horror stories about dilapidated VA hospitals and bureaucratic sinkholes that keep veterans from getting the care they need. I want us to come together — whether we were for or against this war — to nurture our wounded sons and daughters.

Next Mothers Day, I want us to have come to grips with the disaster we have wreaked upon the Iraqi people. I want us to mourn their losses, express contrition and help rebuild the nation we destroyed. I want us to ensure a viable homeland for our Palestinian sisters and brothers. I want us to rebuild a relationship of trust and respect with our Arab neighbors so that we can mutually address the threat of terrorism.

Next Mothers Day, I want us to repair old family feuds. I want us to restore relations with the Cuban cousins we banished some 50 years ago, starting with lifting the embargo. I want us to sing and dance and drink mojitos with our Caribbean kin, relishing in our common zest for life.

We shouldn’t stop with Cuba. I want us to reach out with a mother’s open arms toward other nations we are today bullying, from Venezuela to Iran. I want us to bring out the carrots and put away the sticks, as we have recently done in the case of North Korea. I want us to abandon the “do as I say, not as I do” approach to nuclear deterrence and support global disarmament.

Next Mothers Day, I want us to be immersed in a crash course on overcoming our oil addiction and cleaning up the mess we have made of our Mother Earth. I want us to stop pillaging the family jewels and instead embrace conservation, restoration and a fairer distribution of our planet’s wealth.

Next Mothers Day, I want us to practice unconditional love. I want us to heed the words of Julia Ward Howe’s original Mothers Day proclamation when she said that “We, the women of one country, will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to injure theirs.” I want us to form kinship circles that stretch across the globe, to teach our children to feel empathy towards other children, to truly embrace the concept of universal oneness.

Next Mothers Day, when we sit down to a bountiful brunch, I want the other members of our global household to be seated at the table. That will truly be a fitting tribute to the women who brought us into this world.

Medea Benjamin ( is cofounder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange. If you would like to help the Iraqi refugees, see

Patrick Phillips is a fabulous poet.

By Patrick Phillips

After the biopsy,
after the bone scan,
after the consult and the crying,

for a few hours no one could find them,
not even my sister,
because it turns out

they’d gone to the movies.
Something tragic was playing,
something epic,

and so they went to the comedy
with their popcorn
and their cokes,

the old wife whispering everything twice,
the old husband
cupping a palm to his ear,

as the late sun lit up an orchard
behind the strip mall,
and they sat in the dark holding hands.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

When I had my first child I became mortal. It actually began somewhere around my sixth or seventh month of pregnancy when I got too big to move fast enough to outrun a would-be predator. Once the kids were born I was keenly aware of my need to stay alive so they wouldn't lose their mother. I'm thankful that I didn't become someone's mother in my twenties or early thirties. How could I have gone rapelling or done any number of other things that might have seemed overtly or even nominally liable to put my life at risk?

We all have our mother stories -- good, bad, funny, poignant, mundane. There's no way around it. Yesterday in Salon was an article, "Little girl lost, little girl found", an excerpt from "Comfort: A Journey Through Grief" by Ann Hood about the death of her daughter and subsequent adoption of a baby from China. "I never thought I'd be able to enjoy Mother's Day again. Then, life brought me Annabelle."

"They mark them, you know," someone told us before we left for China. "The mothers brand the babies they abandon. It's a sign of love."

We had heard stories about babies being found with a yam, a sign of how valuable the baby was. We had heard of a note left that simply said: This is my baby. Take care of her. We had heard of one baby found with a bracelet around her wrist, and another with a river rock to indicate she was from a town near water. But this branding was something new.

The group of ten families with which we traveled to China, all got our babies at the same time, in a nondescript city building in Changsha. Changsha is the capital of Hunan Province, and it is four hours from Loudi and the orphanage. Soon, people were lifting pant legs or the cuffs of sleeves to show the small scars on their babies. "They mark them," one mother said, spreading her new daughter's fingers to reveal a scar in between the index and pointer.

On Annabelle's neck I found a thick rope of scar tissue, round and small. The pediatrician examined it and frowned. "Don't get upset," he said, "but this almost looks like a burn that has healed."
We are all branded, I thought. Some of us more than others. Some of us with unconditional love and security. Others with pain, abandonment, bruality. Some of us overtly. Others covertly. But we're branded just the same.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

As Seen on Changing Aging

And while we're on the subject of stuff Chris told me about, here is a video she saw on Changing Aging. This is an amazing group of humans treating humans humanely.

Animated Cartoons a la New Yorker. Who knew?

Got too much time on your hands? No dirty dishes to wash; cats to feed; kids to drive; dog to walk; bills to pay; work to do; papers to write; books to read; laundry to wash? (I was going to say laundry to fold but realized folded laundry is a low priority, luxury. I'd be happy with washed and dried.) Great. You're in for a treat, a time-consuming treat -- The New Yorker on-line. As if I don't already have unread New Yorkers piling up in print form, Chris has directed me to the on-line version. You know how when the magazine arrives the first thing you do is read the cartoons? (Even smart people read the cartoons first, I've been told. Do you suppose that includes the likes of Madeleine Albright?) Well, now you can go to the New Yorker and watch animated cartoons (I suggest you start with "Surprise Party") first before finding far too many interesting, well-written, informative articles to read -- add them to your favorites file; copy and paste them into the Save for Later Reading folder. Best of luck. I never made it past the cartoons.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sisterly Love or I support self-medication.

Jeri Ann wrote: I have eaten so much chicken today feathers have sprouted between my arthritic little fingers.

Judith Shapiro wrote: gotta go get chocolate. you?

Jeri Ann wrote: I'm on my way - the best selection is down the street at Cost Plus World Market - Swiss, Belgian, oh just a fine display. More later. Love you.

Judith Shapiro wrote: world market, eh? i'm on it.

Jeri Ann wrote: I think the best ones are the ones in the tube - Drosdt? not sure of the name, but there are disks half milk and half dark which are so very fine. Lindt truffle balls are very acceptable too. Avoid the caramels!

May 10, 2008 is Pangea Day

You can go to the Pangea Day site to get info. Here is some of what you'll read there:

The Pangea Day Mission & Purpose
Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film.

Why? In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film.

The Pangea Day Event
Starting at 18:00 GMT on May 10, 2008, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.

The 24 short films to be featured have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from over one hundred countries. The films were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person's eyes.

The program will also include a number of exceptional speakers and musical performers. Queen Noor of Jordan, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, musician/activist Bob Geldof, and Iranian rock phenom Hypernova are among those taking part.

What Will Happen After Pangea Day
People inspired by Pangea Day will have the opportunity to participate in community-building activities around the world. Through the live program, the Pangea Day web site, and self-organized local events, everyday people will be connected with extraordinary activists and organizations.

Many of the films and performances seen on Pangea Day will be made available on the Web and via mobile phone, alongside open forums for discussion and ideas for how to take social action.

A Pangea Day documentary will be created to catalyze future activities, and dozens of talented filmmakers will make strides in their careers.

In 2006, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim won the TED Prize, an annual award granted at the TED Conference. She was granted $100,000, and more important, a wish to change the world. Her wish was to create a day in which the world came together through film. Pangea Day grew out of that wish.
It's amazing what goes on in the world while I'm walking across the street to check the mail and get a cup of coffee and taking photographs of stray gloves and cigarettes. Amazing.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Yes, Stacey. Don't forget to take your camera.

In a comment to my post, What I learned on yesterday's walk, May 7, Stacey said: "i really need to start carrying my camera around." I say, yes Stacey you do cuz then you can take photos of cool gloves like this one

And this one.

Hymn to the Comb-Over

Wesley McNair

How the thickest of them erupt just
above the ear, cresting in waves so stiff
no wind can move them. Let us praise them
in all of their varieties, some skinny
as the bands of headphones, some rising
from a part that extends halfway around
the head, others four or five strings
stretched so taut the scalp resembles
a musical instrument. Let us praise the sprays
that hold them, and the combs that coax
such abundance to the front of the head
in the mirror, the combers entirely forget
the back. And let us celebrate the combers,
who address the old sorrow of time's passing
day after day, bringing out of the barrenness
of mid-life this ridiculous and wonderful
harvest, no wishful flag of hope, but, thick,
or thin, the flag itself, unfurled for us all
in subways, offices, and malls across America.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sugar. Sugar substitutes. Calorie counts. Whatever happened to food?

I've been thinking about the The Washington Post article, "All Substitutes Are Not Equal" by Sally Squires, Tuesday, May 6, 2008; Page HE01. The HE in HE01 stands for Health. I'm confused. Promoting the continued and increasing consumption of artificial sweeteners is a healthy thing?

Despite the obesity epidemic, a new report in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association notes that Americans still eat more foods with added sugar and fat than they should and often fall short on the healthful fare. No surprise there.

But thanks to a growing number of sugar substitutes and other sweeteners, it's now possible for everyone -- even the estimated 71 million Americans dieting -- to soothe a sweet tooth without exceeding daily calorie goals. That's good, because the average adult has only about 200 "discretionary calories" per day for food and beverages with added sugar, added fat and alcohol.
How exactly is it that an average adult has 200 discretionary calories? Whose discretion? Ms. Squires continues.
In 1970, the Food and Drug Administration banned a widely used sugar substitute, clyclamate, because of cancer concerns. In 1977, a Canadian study found that in large doses saccharin -- the sweetener in Sweet'N Low -- caused bladder cancer in rats. The FDA considered banning saccharin, but Congress stepped in to give the sweetener a reprieve and has extended a moratorium on its ban several times since then.

In 2004, the American Dietetic Association reviewed the use of sweeteners and concluded that "consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners when consumed in a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations."

Since then, some concerns have arisen about two other substitutes, aspartame and acesulfame K.

Aspartame is marketed as NutraSweet and Equal, and found in a wide range of products from diet drinks to sugar-free ice cream. Aspartame contains amino acids -- the building blocks of protein -- and methanol, an alcohol. It isn't heat-stable, so it doesn't do well in baking. An Italian research team found lymphoma and leukemia among female rats in a long-term study of aspartame.

Acesulfame K, sold as Sunett, is not metabolized by the body and so contains zero calories. It's found in baked goods, diet soft drinks, sugar-free gum, Domino Pure D'Lite and Sweet One, a sugar substitute for baking. Some flawed studies in the 1970s linked this sugar substitute to cancer. In 1996 the Center for Science in the Public Interest urged the FDA to require better testing before permitting acesulfame K in soft drinks. Large doses of breakdown products from acesulfame K have been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits and dogs, the CSPI notes.

Manufacturers, the FDA and the Calorie Control Council say that these products are safe. But in the May issue of its Nutrition Action newsletter, the CSPI called these products and saccharin either unsafe or poorly tested. The only artificial sweetener to get a "safe" grade from the consumer advocacy group is sucralose, a.k.a. Splenda.
Yes, Sally, there is an obesity epidemic. And there is a food industry that feeds and fuels it with grocery stores jam packed with all matter of "food" --converted corn products; sugar, salt, artificial flavor and color added to almost everything; processed beyond recognition food products; snack foods with an added twist emerging on the market every day; fast food emporiums that add sugar not just to the sweets but the savory items. Savory. That was meant to be funny. The rest of this is not funny at all.

Come back Antioch. Come back.

Antioch College will be closed next semester, and perhaps for every semester after that. Bad news. Really bad news. Antioch College was the coolest college around when I was in school.

So here's my idea -- The alumni that planned to give $1 million each go ahead and pony up. The administration can stay or go as they wish. The school remains open, business as usual, excellence in alternative education as usual with one added bonus - elders are encouraged to attend along with young people. The specifics can be worked out as we go.

What I learned on Yesterday's Walk.

Wondering what to do with those offensive leaves that fall out of trees, littering your otherwise pristine yard? Bag them up in plastic, leave them on the side of the road for the garbage truck to take them to landfill.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jeff Scher gives us reasons to be glad.

It's just a slice of bread.

I'd never heard of Jeff Scher until today. For some reason I looked at videos on the NY Times this morning. When I first encountered the video section of the Times I was enraged, no, too strong a word, uh, put off. How could a newspaper, all about black and white and read all over, stoop to video. Are they pandering to an audience that doesn't want to read the written word? I don't care anymore because that's where I get to see all matter of fun; interesting; painful; entertaining; horrific things and where today I found Jeff Scher, experimental artist and filmaker - Animated Life: "All the Wrong Reasons"

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Times is vindicated. A great article about the elderly. Phew.

Every once in a while I wonder if I'm being punked. Years ago it would have been, am I on Candid Camera? Such was the case when I read the article in Fashion about dresses. Jeri Ann told me she thought maybe it was an SNL skit. Here comes another NY Times article sent to me by Julia, this one, a good one. "For the Elderly, Being Heard About Life’s End" by Jane Gross, May 5, 2008. Here's the blurb: “Slow medicine,” which encourages less aggressive care at the end of life, is increasingly available in nursing homes."
And a quote:

The term slow medicine was coined by Dr. Dennis McCullough, a Dartmouth geriatrician, Kendal’s founding medical director and author of “My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing Slow Medicine, the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved One.”

Among the hard truths, he said, is that 9 of 10 people who live into their 80s will wind up unable to take care of themselves, either because of frailty or dementia. “Everyone thinks they’ll be the lucky one, but we can’t go along with that myth,” Dr. McCullough said.
I heard Dr. McCullough talk about his book a couple of weeks ago so, as is my custom, I bought it. It sits in the bookcase. Don't gonna do me much use there.

If you or anyone you know plans to live into old age, I suggest you read this article. Julia called my attention to the left hand edge where you can link to audio of Carol Armstrong reading two of her poems about aging. Definitely worth a listen. Definitely.

Remember black and white television.

Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray brought to my attention by The Very Short List

I'm sorry. What year did you say it is? Sexism reigns.

Julia just sent me a link to an article in the NY Times Fashion Diary, April 24, 2008, "Long Live the Dress (for Now)" by Guy Trebay. Here's the message she texted to my cellphone about it: "OMG I just read a Times fashion article that made me so mad. I'm going to email it to you." I thought, huh? What could be so anger producing? Uh, this article can, that's what.

It begins with three photos of beautiful, slim women in dresses, with the following caption underneath: "The summer dress, in all shapes and styles, is preferred by many women, and by men who like watching them."

I thought, aha, it's the caption that bothers Julia. Yes, it is a bit sexist. But, alas, I read on. In discussing the fashion industry prediction that the dress is dead, Mr. Trebay expresses his own dismay and then suggests that

"It may also come as unwelcome news to the female members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose wildly anachronistic Laura Ingalls Wilder frocks, Skechers and wave-pool hairdos have become as much an obsession in certain Manhattan circles as their polygamist habits and 416 children."

Hmmmm. Was Julia taken aback by his racist remarks about the Mormons? I just don't know. I thought I'd better read on.
It is also, for what it’s worth, unwelcome news to me.

That is because, unlike Ms. Slowey, I am not eager for women to become “a little more hard-core, a little more androgynous, a little more butch.” Yes, gender play is fun, and trousers are a useful wardrobe default for the woman in business. But unless you are Thomas McGuane and find nothing sexier than a woman with crow’s feet, tight Wranglers and suede chaps, you will have to concede that, for flattering a woman’s body, nothing is quite like a dress.
Trebay writes about Irwin Shaw.
Irwin Shaw covered all this is in his classic story “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses,” the tale that secured him a permanent place in anthologies if not exactly a perch on literary Olympus. And for all the creakiness of this warhorse about the fragile dynamics of love and desire, there remains in Shaw’s descriptions of the women on the streets of Manhattan, in their ripe young multitudes, something unexpectedly fresh and also recognizable.

Shaw wrote the story decades ago, in the era that directly preceded the feminist one that first killed off the dress, a time when women wore them all the time and not with irony. When, as Shaw wrote, “the warm weather comes” and the streets of the city were filled with women in shifts and shirtwaists and tunics and baby-dolls and sheaths, arms and legs bared, the effect they had on the urban landscape was a glorious thing.

Here are a couple of other snippets to whet your appetite.
"It’s my anti-mommy-blob outfit,” said Lesley Hartnett, who was out shopping one warm noontime last week and looking lean and sleek in a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress. “I feel glamorous in a dress, and it’s easy.” This view was shared, it would seem, by a lot of women stopped that day by a reporter on the street.

“I’m a girlie girl,” said Jacqueline Kelly, whose flowered dress was bought for her, she said, by her mother, a tiny blond bombshell. “I find that dresses are slimming, and they cover all the problem areas and highlight all the curves.”

The dress, Jennifer Emory, another midday shopper, said: “is very easy and very flattering — a no-brainer, really. It’s comfortable, and you can easily go from day to night. And guys like it because it’s so feminine.”
Do check out the article for yourself. It's a short read and it's not rocket science. No, it's not even close.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

If the show is half as good as the review . . .

I like radio. More specifically, I like NPR. TV, as Borat might say, not so much. One show that I always loved, although I've only heard it if I happened to be in the car at the right time, is "This American Life". I knew it became a television show, but not being much of a TV hog, I've yet to see it. Whoa. After reading the May 04 review of the second season by Heather Havrilesky in Salon, I'll be recording it now from now on. Here's a snippet.

Some days you merely survive. You brush your unwashed hair and pack something crappy for lunch. You trudge from the car to your office. You sit and check your e-mail, the highlight of your day. And now the real work begins. You pick up the phone and close your eyes. Your co-workers say "Hi!" and you struggle to muster an appropriately chirpy yet professional response.

And just when you think the day is all about getting by, a glimpse of sunshine out the window or a melancholy song playing in your headphones sends you out of survival mode into some dreamy, nostalgic state that makes the pragmatic world of work feel horribly mundane. Your quest to simply get through the day is replaced by a painful longing for more. The world is full of hope and heartbreak and lukewarm coffee and glasses that don't fit quite right, and you have to do something about it. You want to walk outside and spend the day wandering around in the springtime sunshine. You want to pick your kid up from day care and take her to the park. You want to bail on that lunchtime meeting and go see a movie down the block. You want to get a pedicure, and then have a sandwich and a big glass of iced tea. You want to stare at the wall and let your eyes go unfocused.

And then, when you go to lunch alone and you sip iced tea and stare at the wall with glassy, unfocused eyes, you recognize Glenn Miller on the stereo, and that gets you thinking about how romantic and unmatched the big-band sound was, how maybe it was the war raging overseas or the styles at the time. Thinking about it makes you want to go back and live in some smoky, noir, black-and-white version of the early '40s. You'd wear cinched dresses and uncomfortable pumps with neatly pinned hair and red lipstick. Even though you know your vision is formed from some sentimental, blurry mix of old movies, newsreels about Rosie the Riveter and your dad's Time-Life books about the Third Reich, you still think it would be nice to live back then, writing letters to the troops with an ink pen, and baking cookies in your bad shoes. You'd probably be married to someone rigid and unyielding, and you'd be forced to look good, forced to smile politely when people made ignorant, inane remarks, like the poor, pent-up, chain-smoking heroine of "Franny and Zooey." Modern times are too permissive, after all, and someone like you, with your unwashed hair and your dog-hair-covered sweater, would clean up nice and thrive, really, under oppressive societal conditions. --snip--
Lots of wonderful descriptions of the show follow, including a segment on Haider Hamza and his "Ask an Iraqi" booth. You gotta read about him and his conversations with "Americans". Havrilesky continues --
There's a feeling of magic in "This American Life," the kind of feeling you get when you read a great novel or listen to truly inspired music. After watching this show, you start to experience the little things around you through a different filter: the dogs sleeping on the bed, the clothes turning and turning in the washing machine, the sound of kids playing next door. Instead of intrusions, each of these mundane details feels like a gift.

Can you ask for anything more from a TV show? Of course you can, but you also want to wear tight dresses and bake cookies in your bad shoes, so we can't exactly trust you on this one.
If you've got TV, with a review like this, how can you resist the show. In the meantime, I'm gonna look for more stuff written by Heather Havrilesky. If it's half as good as this review . . .

Saturday, May 3, 2008

From the Urban Dictionary, The word for May 03 is Shituation

n.: a bad situation, 2.: a dramatic, usually negative happening resulting in utter shit in one's life.

Having GW in office sure is a shituation for da nation.

And from my own personal Dictionarian, Matt, Internets, it seems, is the new word for Internet, as coined by our illustrious leader and wordsmith W. I guess that's 'cuz it's a bunch of interlocking nets?

The Lost Generation

This is quite some documentary. Brought to my attention by The Women's Media Center, it is about Iraq's refugee children.

Award-winning journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is touring the United States with her latest film, “The Lost Generation," a documentary on Iraq’s refugee children produced for Great Britain’s prestigious TV station Channel 4. So far, Obaid-Chinoy has been unable to find a U.S. station to televise the documentary. “A few of them have expressed reservations about showing this,” she says.

Focusing on children who have taken refuge in Jordan and Syria, the film addresses their future prospects back home, a country that has undergone constant turmoil since 2003. In the past five years, more than four million people, 20 percent of the entire Iraqi population, have been driven from their homes as a result of the war and sectarian bloodshed. Two million have become exiles, living lives across the border in Syria and Jordan.
Let's hope you can find it on the big screen. For now, here it is on the little one.

God damn George W. Bush and his cronies. Just god damn them all.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Iraq body count.

Thanks to Sharry at Embodied Aging I've just been introduced to the Iraq Body County Exhibit. The photos are powerful. Each red flag stands for 5 American deaths, each white flag for at least 5 Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003. I'm hoping to see lots more of this one as it travels. God damn George W. Bush and his cronies. Just god damn them all.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Not the Beach Haven Times, 1968, but it could have been.

Powell River News
Aug. 5, 1965

We stare out from the yellowed clipping
with its scholarship announcements, our faces serious,
hair carefully arranged. College-bound,
the article brags, though a few of the girls
decided to marry instead, and some of the boys
went straight to work at the paper mill.

The local real estate ads
are on the other side:
fixer-uppers and cottages by the sea,
spare bedrooms and mother-in-law units,
new roofs, deep wells,
must be seen to be believed,
so affordable I am more amazed
at what I might own,
—if I could slip back in time—
than what I might say to the girl in the picture,
the one who was me.

I know she had no use
for houses. She was going to travel the world,
be the next Emily Dickinson,
go looking for Heathcliff.

The stiff faces of my graduating class
are keeping their secrets,
and those houses
where we might have awakened
to the sound of a fresh westerly wind
banging the screen door,
are long since sold,
and maybe sold again.

But holding this bit of paper in my hands
I wonder if the tide is lapping
at the steps of those cottages now,
or if the Canada geese passing over each fall
still leave a hole in the air
that fills up with our longing

Barbara Bloom, The Hummingbird Press, 2007
Poetry of Barbara Bloom