Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israel and Gaza at War...Continued

Are we ready for the next entry in the Israel, Gaza conflict? I hope so. Now, this post is bound to be controversial. I fully expect to hear about it from somebody, but I intend to speak my mind nonetheless. So without further ado and invoking the previous day’s warnings, here we go.

1. I have friends on both sides of this conflict, Jewish and Arab alike, I love you all but I’m sure that some of what I may say will piss you off. Sorry. I’m going to say it anyway. For those who know me, I would hope that you would feel free to express your views on this matter knowing that I fully respect your thoughts and opinions. That does not mean that my views will change. It does mean that I am willing to hear what you have to say. For anyone else who wishes to comment please know this; your opinions will be equally respected, acknowledged, and considered providing they are given with dignity and tact, and are free from bigoted, slanderous, or hateful remarks.
2. My primary interest in this conflict is humanitarian, not political, but I intend to cover diverse subject matter. This means that this post will be VERY long. I will be subdividing it into the following topics: The history of the conflict; The terrorist perspective; The political perspective; The humanitarian perspective
3. Lastly, some of the discussion and many of the pictures may be difficult for some people to deal with. Please know that my only intent is to draw attention to the serious nature of this conflict in hopes that we may soon see an end to a most horrific situation.

The Terrorist Perspective:

The question that’s begging to be asked in my mind is, “What defines a terrorist?” or “What makes a person a terrorist?” To me, I think the definition is completely relative. I think it all depends on how you look at the situation. In other words – terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder.

Now, I feel that anyone who finds it necessary to kill another human being in order to get something they want, regardless of what that is, is a person who has a lot of moral dilemmas to work out. But lets face it people, a terrorist is a person whose goals, and or agenda, is contrary to the dominating government entity and who takes violent measures to achieve their goal/s. The governing body at the moment will always determine who the terrorists are.

This means that, yes; the people responsible for founding our country were technically terrorists. I would think that you would be hard pressed to find a person in the 18th century British ruling party who thought otherwise. There have been many acts of terrorism throughout human history and it is always the people whose views or principals that are being challenged who jump on the term and tag their opponents as terrorists.

The fact of the matter, though, is like it or not, the so called terrorists may have a fierce principal that they are standing up for, such as say; freedom from oppression. Whatever the reason, a terrorist is only a terrorist to those who oppose him. To others, he/she is a freedom fighter, or even a hero.

I know this argument has been made before, but I think it’s valid and worth reminding people that we need to take a good hard look at those we deem terrorists and try to understand why they are acting the way they are. If we don’t we will never find peace. Also, it doesn’t matter who the terrorists are, when it comes to war people die. And that’s what’s at the bottom of our outrage when it comes to acts of terrorism. People die, and we hurt for them. We don’t want to hurt for the terrorist because they are the ones who have caused the initial pain, and so we label them evil and dismiss their pain. We demonize them, make them less than human so that we can justify to ourselves our own hatred and pain. I think that may be human nature, but it doesn’t change the fact that somewhere out there is someone who has been pushed to the brink by a force that he/she deems to be oppressive.

A terrorist believes that their only recourse is violence. This is why it is near impossible to reason with them or make them believe that other alternatives could be more effective. In their minds, all other options have already failed. This doesn’t make for a very promising outcome. Either the terrorists lose, or the ruling government loses. You would think that a terrorist could see the lack of his/her own best interest in this scenario, but lets face it, too many times throughout history terrorists have been successful. That information probably doesn’t help in the dissuading of a terrorist. I mean think about it. You’ve watched your loved ones suffer, possibly die, under the current regime. You’ve had everything taken from you and are left with no means to express your voice and outrage. You can either give in and except the oppressed life that you’ve been handed, or you can fight. If you fight there’s a good chance that you’ll lose but at least you’ll go out defending your right to live as you see fit, and maybe you’ll be able to set enough of an example that others will follow in your footsteps, hence, keeping the fight alive. Maybe not in your life time, but at some point, the people you care about will be able to live in a manner of their own choosing. And, there is at least some chance that you could win. What would you do?

I know enough people, here in the US, who would be willing to fight to the death over stupider causes than one’s freedom. When a person is desperate they take desperate measures. I don’t think we’re all that far removed, yet, from the animal instinct that causes a strike when cornered. Am I defending terrorism? That’s actually a tough question. Personally, as close to a pacifist as I am; I am not a total pacifist. If I’m being attacked, I’ll defend myself. If I watched a government slaughter my family, or others that I cared about, and then lock me away. I’d have to say; damn straight I’d fight back. Let’s face it that’s one of the things that makes us who we are. Can anyone say…Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood? Hell, I don’t think there’s an American out there today who can’t relate to the movies these guys have been in. Let’s face it, they have all fought (and won) to defend their, beliefs, way of life, and loved ones. In the eyes of a terrorist, they see their self in the way Hollywood makes us see our pop idles. Defenders of what’s good and what’s right, and to them, that’s worth dying for.

Tomorrow I’m going to take a look at the political perspective. Today’s post was rather general in that it didn’t specifically speak on any Israeli or Palestinian terrorist. I guess I did that intentionally. I wanted to examine why a terrorist, any terrorist, chooses that course of action. Tomorrow I’ll focus more directly on the ruling parties of Israel and Hamas, and their political interests. Oh and, sorry for the last picture…I couldn’t resist.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel and Gaza at War

Alright, so here we go. Unless you’ve been living in a hole lately you should be aware that Israel and Palestine have resumed fighting in Gaza. Now, before I get fully into this post I feel that’s it’s necessary to post several warnings to anyone who chooses to read this.
1. I have friends on both sides of this conflict, Jewish and Arab alike, I love you all but I’m sure that some of what I may say will piss you off. Sorry. I’m going to say it anyway. For those who know me, I would hope that you would feel free to express your views on this matter knowing that I fully respect your thoughts and opinions. That does not mean that my views will change. It does mean that I am willing to hear what you have to say. For anyone else who wishes to comment please know this; your opinions will be equally respected, acknowledged, and considered providing they are given with dignity and tact, and are free from bigoted, slanderous, or hateful remarks.
2. My primary interest in this conflict is humanitarian, not political, but I intend to cover diverse subject matter. This means that this post will be VERY long. I will be subdividing it into the following topics: The history of the conflict; The terrorist perspective; The political perspective; The humanitarian perspective
3. Lastly, some of the discussion and many of the pictures may be difficult for some people to deal with. Please know that my only intent is to draw attention to the serious nature of this conflict in hopes that we may soon see an end to a most horrific situation.

The History of the Conflict:

Prior to WWI the Middle East was under Ottoman rule. At the onset of the war Turkey sided with Germany. The British government persuaded the other Arab nations to fight against Turkey by promising them independent rule after the war. With the aid of the Arab nations Palestine was conquered.

Unbeknownst to the Arab nations, however, Britain had also made two other agreements which were contradictory to the agreement made with the Arab nations. First was the Sykes-Picot Agreement made with France. This agreement stated that Lebanon and Syria would fall to France as a zone of influence, while Jordan and Iraq would be dominated by British influence. Palestine was to become internationalized. The second agreement was made between Britain and the Zionist congress. In the Balfour Declaration of 1917 Britain gave Palestine to the Zionists as a Jewish national home. Despite the fact that there were over half a million Palestinians living in Palestine at the time, a slogan stating “A land without people for a people without land” was widely circulated as a means of drawing in a new Jewish population to Palestine. After WWI a large population of Jewish people began migrating to Palestine under the blessings of Britain and the League of Nations in accordance to the Balfour Declaration.

In 1919 the Palestinian people made an official objection to the Balfour Agreement during their first national conference. But by 1920 Britain had been given “official” rule over Palestine according to a mandate declared at the San Remo Conference. By 1922 attacks on the Jewish population in Palestine were increasing. The Palestinians feared the next step beyond the migration, which was declaring Palestine a Jewish state.

In 1936 Palestinians organized a strike to protest the confiscation of land that was taking place. Palestinians were being removed from their homes, some of which had been in their families for generations, and the land was given to Jewish settlers. In 1937 the Peel Commission recognized the conflict as irresolvable and recommended the division of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states with neutral sacred sites. In accordance to this recommendation Britain declared that there would be an independent Palestinian state within ten years. The Zionists rejected this declaration in 1939 and formed two terrorist sects which began a new war between both Palestine and Britain, but Britain remained in control until 1947. By the end of WWII (1945) Palestine’s land ownerships had been divided between Palestinian and Jewish occupants.

By 1947, though, Britain was struggling more and more to maintain control and decided to withdraw from Palestine, leaving the newly formed UN with the decision of what to do. The UN opted to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. The Palestinians revolted declaring their desire for retribution for the Israeli terrorist attacks and massacres that had taken place, as well as the land that had been confiscated.

On May 15th, 1948 Britain withdraws from Palestine leaving an official recognition of the existence of a Jewish state. This day brought with it a full out attack on Israel from the surrounding Arab nations who, in conjunction with Palestine, declared war on Israel. This was the first Arab-Israeli war. Palestine, Egypt, Transjordan (now Jordan), Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq joined together in an attempt to prevent the Jewish state from coming to be. The Arab nations were defeated and treaties were made which placed the Gaza strip under Egyptian control and the West Bank under Jordan’s control. The remaining area fell to Israel and of the 800,000 people living in the now Israeli occupied land, only 170,000 remained. The others became refugees in the surrounding Arab nations.

Over the next two decades conflicts, between Israel and the Arab nations, occurred over the Suez Canal and the formation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In 1967 Egypt insisted that the UN forces which had been in place there, since the Suez Canal incident, leave. Upon the withdraw of UN forces Israel launched an attack against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on the 5th of June, known as the Six Day War. When the war concluded Israel had captured and occupied the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, Arab East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Golan Heights. Soon after, terrorist attacks by members of the PLO began, claiming the redemption of Palestine as their objective.

In 1973 Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in an attempt to gain back the territory lost in 1967. The United States intervened and stopped the Arab forces. In retaliation to the US intervention the Arab nations banded together and halted the sale of oil to the US and other western nations, creating the oil shortage of the 70s. In 1974 Kissinger arranged a truce that gave Sinai back to Egypt and Golan Heights back to Syria. Israel maintained control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. That same year the Arab Summit recognized the PLO as the only legitimate voice of the Palestinian people.

In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon in order to wipe out the PLO presence there. By 1987 the “Intifadas” had begun. These were uprisings that took place within the refugee camps of Gaza and the West Bank which included demonstrations, protests, and rock throwing. In 1990 Yasser Arafat went to the UN Security Council requesting protection for the Palestinian people within the Gaza and West Bank areas. In 1991 peace talks began. In 1993 Israeli PM Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat agree to allow the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to become self-ruled, but in 1995 PM Rabin is assassinated by a right-wing extremist. The Israeli right wing leader, Benjamin Netanyahu becomes the new Prime Minister in 1996.

In the years following we have seen too many treaties/agreements come and go. Today, the West Bank is governed by the Fatah led Palestinian Authority while the Gaza Strip falls under the mandates of Hamas. The Fatah party is recognized as a legitimate organization by Israel but the Hamas organization is seen as a group of terrorists. A recent breakdown of a treaty between Israel and Hamas is what has caused the current conflict. Israel claims Hamas broke the treay, Hamas claims Israel did. Who knows? But I do know this: Many Arab nations still wish to see Israel disbanded and declared a non-nation; while many Israelites believe that the Palestinians are incapable of governing themselves. Both of these claims, I believe are completely ludicrous. But here you have the basis for the current situation. I warned you this was going to be a Looooong post. It looks like I’ll be posting the other portions tomorrow. Of course, if I get on a roll this could span out over a few days; we’ll have to see. At any rate, now you know where all of the conflict is stemming from. It seems to me that both sides have made mistakes but well, let’s face it, Britain - this is really your fault. Now, I have to say that the US is also partially responsible since we were the ones who put together the League of Nations and the UN, and lets face it they played a pretty big role in all of this too. Unfortunately, the past is the past and nothing will ever change that, so let’s start looking at each other as human beings instead of ancestral monsters and stop this craziness now. Alright, I won’t make you read anymore today. Tomorrow; the Terrorist Perspective.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Merry Christmas

So, Christmas has come and gone. The holiday rush is over and everyone is chillin’. Around here, all in all, things went well. We didn’t have a lot to spend on the kids but we were able to get them a few things each that they wanted. I think they were happy. Of course, G, our youngest got a broken toy two years in a row now. That really sucked, poor guy. We bought him a remote control dragon that was supposed to do all sorts of stuff including walking. G wanted to be able to walk over the top of his other toys and pretend he was crushing them, kind of a Godzilla thing, I think. He originally asked for a D-Rex, but yeah, right…179.00 dollars. I don’t think so. This one cost 40.00 a considerable difference and would have been perfect. He was very excited when he saw it. Unfortunately, the button on the remote that makes the dragon walk and makes his wings flap is the broken one. The darn thing will do everything else, its eyes light up, it roars, but no walkie. Figures. I plan on taking it back to the store this coming week but man, last year he had a broken dinosaur toy, too. So, the whole large reptilian toy thing just hasn’t been working out well. On the plus side, though, he absolutely loves the harmonica he received, so it wasn’t a waste for him. The other kids were all happy with their stuff, PC games, bedding, Bakugon, Nerf guns, Tini Puppinies, and skateboards all topped the list.

The older kids (the ones who now live on their own) all got a check. It works well for them. But… they also got some homemade sewn goodies. S&B got a Bears apron and overstuffed pillow, K&D got a Bears apron and a Colts overstuffed pillow, and G&J got extra-long fleece blankets. J stands about 7 foot tall so I thought that he may have a hard time finding a blanket that he can wrap up in. I made them each an 8 foot by 5 foot blanky. G’s has white Japanese letters (characters ?) against a black background. J’s has a woodland duck scene. I wanted to find him something cool like Star Wars, or D&D type stuff, but no luck. I think he liked it though. He’ll be able to cover up from head to foot and wrap his feet up, too. He said that they’ve had to keep an extra blanket down at the end of the bed so he can cover up his feet when they’re sleeping so I thin it was a good choice. C has asked for a Bears shirt to be made for him from the extra material. I told him I need to get a pattern, but I think it’s doable.

Well, so much for the Christmas updatey thing. I think I’ll be spending some time in the near future doing some writing. Besides the novel (that has been sorely neglected over the holidays), I also need to write an article and keep up on the blog entries. I submitted the poetry chapbook but I won’t hear anything on it until February. Keep your fingers crossed. Check ya later.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Holiday

K, so the holidays are here and in full swing. Despite the economic crunch I still have much baking, sewing, cleaning, and cooking to do. What does this mean to you? Probably not too much, unless of course, you’re a devoted reader of this blog who can’t seem to go a day without a fix. Yeah, yeah…I know there’s sooo many of you out there *wink*. Seriously, though, it does mean that there’s a good chance my posts will become more erratic for a while. This is not to say that they haven’t been erratic in the past, but I’m just trying to forewarn everyone. I’m considerate that way.

So on with the post of the day – Question: What do a pair of shoes, President Bush, and an Iraqi journalist all have in common?

Answer: If you haven’t heard…During President Bush’s last visit to Iraq an Iraqi journalist threw a pair of shoes at the, soon to be, ex-pres. Now, why shoes? In Iraq it is considered to be a great disgrace to have shoes thrown at you. I’m not exactly sure why, R’s take on the matter was that “You throw a shoe at a dog” which may very well be on track here. Bush was able to duck out of the way and was not injured or even touched by the shoes, but the man was arrested nonetheless.

A couple of things here – Bush’s reply, when asked about the incident, basically stated that he believed this to be the opinion of one man and not at all a reflection of the Iraqi populace’s feelings. My take…OMG get real Bush! Iraq has been thrown back into the dark ages here, their infrastructure destroyed, their way of life altered forever, and lets not forget to mention the tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children who have died as a direct result of this war that was waged in the name of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that everyone but apparently Bush knew were not there. Can Bush, by any minute proportion, actually believe what he is saying? Good God, I give up!

Next, and this is really the most important point of my post today, so please if you pay attention to nothing else, read this –
The journalist who has a wife and family to care for has been placed under arrest. He is facing up to two years in prison for throwing a shoe people! Give me a freakn’ break. Let’s be honest here. Ok, so what he did could “technically” be considered (what?) an assault on a government official. What it actually boils down to is a frustrated man, who has been placed under extreme hardship conditions, living in a country where neither he nor his family can safely exist, who attempted to have his voice and frustration heard. He wanted Bush to understand that he blames him for the atrocities he has seen and still has to live with. And how did he do this? By throwing a shoe! Not a bomb, not a knife, he didn’t take a shot at him. He used a pretty harmless object, an object that anyone with children has probably witnessed flying through the air at some point in time. And for this, the man may receive two years in prison. What, long enough for his family to die under the current hardships faced by the people of Iraq? For throwing a shoe he and his family should be given a death sentence? I personally think it’s amazing that an actual attempt on Bush’s life wasn’t made by someone there. What about you? Do you think two years in an Iraqi prison is a bit too much? I’m very interested in knowing how others view this situation. Please, leave your thoughts.

And…Happy Holidays because even when the world sucks, life goes on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Environmental Fugitives

I came across an interesting article today. It seems that there’s a new most wanted list out now. This list doesn’t concentrate on the average criminal, though. The new list highlights environmental fugitives. These are people who are either responsible for, or have aided others, in environmental crimes. Now they have fled in an attempt to evade justice. The list is a way to bring these people’s faces to the public so that it might be harder for them to hide and, therefore, get away with their crimes. Now, some may wonder what the big is regarding environmental crime, so I thought I’d put up some pictures today that show what the big is. The rest of this post will show the sad side of our world. These pictures show the way the world is in too many areas. Our planet is far from pristine, the last thing we need is people exploiting her for their financial gain. I mean really, that’s like them saying “I’m going to come over to your house today and dump some industrial waste in your backyard so I can make a buck. You don’t mind do you? How’s the kid’s sandbox work for you, ok?” The planet isn’t large so anything they do does affect us in some way whether it is dirty air or water, or toxic materials lying in wait. I hate to see this side of our world but it’s a good reminder that not everything in nature is beautiful and wondrous and that our planet needs help. I know I don’t want to look at something like the following for the rest of my life.

Air Pollution

Water Pollution

Nuclear Waste

Industrial Waste

Strip Mining

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What lingers in the fog?

It creeps its way through the back woods and travels along the vacant pathways. Silent, as it descends down the wooden stairs and into the back yard. Gently rolling over the patio, it spreads itself between the flower planters; the cedar absorbs the mist and hides it in their porous beams. As the water beads and drips to the concrete the puddles vibrate and spread. The tiniest waves make their way up to the door and partially reform into a blanket of white that curtains the glass. I look out, unsure. I begin to slide the door open and peer into the vapors. Seeing nothing I step, onto the patio “ARRHHH!!!!” the water sinks through my slippers and soaks my socks. Wet feet, wet feet, stunned and lingering in the fog.

Don’t bother asking me where this came from; I honestly have no idea. It just came out. Sometimes my brain just wonders like that. I’m told that it’s only insanity if you’re poor, otherwise it’s eccentric. Crap! I guess that means I’m nuts, huh? Oh well, today I shall go on my merry little crazy way.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Playing the Catch Up Game

I’ve been introduced to a new phenomenon. Well, ok maybe it’s not exactly new but I’ve never been exposed to it or any thing like it. I’ll spare you the tension…it’s Facebook. Ooo and you thought it was going to be something all out of the ordinary didn’t you? I never got on the My Space kick so I really don’t have any knowledge when it comes to these places. So far, I do like it. It was rather overwhelming at first; there was just so much to take in, but I think I’m adapting now. I’ve been able to have closer contact with many of my friends and I’ve even been reacquainted with a dear friend from my childhood.

It’s sort of bizarre, though, that the technology seems so busy. One would think that a person with a degree in Computer Technology wouldn’t have such a freaky experience with something like Facebook, but here I am. I’m sure that being out of the industry since 2001 has had its effect and left me behind the crowd, but still. I guess the only thing I can figure is that I was a network person more than an applications type. It’s just amazing, though, to find how advanced even the networking has become. So…my amazement aside, that’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of days…working on Facebook.

Yes, that means that I have also neglected my PAD Challenge although I’m not out of luck. I have a few poems to go to finish off the 30 that were requested and I do plan on finishing those. Why, you may ask? Ok…I’ll tell you. It’s because Writer’s Market, the creators of Poetic Asides, have put forth a contest using the November theme poems. Participants are to select 10 -20 of their poems and put them together into a submission where they will be judged. Now, at the moment the only “prize”, so to speak, is bragging rights; it has been mentioned that a really good win may be submitted for a chapbook publication. So, I’m going to submit my work and keep my fingers crossed. Please keep yours crossed for me. Thanks. The winner will be announced February 2nd.

Other catch up news, this weekend is Vampire game weekend. My character is on the verge of being killed due to my “OMFG She Didn’t” experience. It seems that a scape goat may be needed since last game the masquerade was broken when the video made it out to the WWW. This, of course, is very bad for me. I am currently hiding out and may have to abandon my clan and turn to the Toreadors for aid. All of this does seem to be in accordance to our game master’s plan so…I guess this horse will drink deep of the water she has been led to. If anything majorly exciting happens I’ll throw out an update after the game.

As for the bad news….R was notified that the transport company he works for will be eliminating 60% of their workforce by March. Gotta love this economy, huh? We don’t know for sure yet if he will be a part of the elimination, it’s a waiting game now. The cuts will include people from every level, though, so the possibility is certainly there. To my understanding it means over a hundred jobs. Our area here has been hit with this news, and the news of about another 300 – 400 other job losses as well. Hold on folks…it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Holidays Unless You’re Working in Retail

So, I’m sure most of you have heard about the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death; and the two innocent people who were shot to death at Toys-R-Us after two other shoppers got into a gun fight over a toy. And, here we are into the holiday season that celebrates love, joy, and the compassion of humanity.

For crying out loud! I honestly do not understand society’s need to possess as many material objects as they can. People have completely lost their minds. In the first place, why in God’s name would ANYONE wait for hours on end for a store to open? Who cares if they might be able to get a deal? I mean seriously people; I have better things to do with my life, what about you? Has our society become so obsessed by the need to consume that people would trample down and kill other human beings just so they could get the “best deal” on an object that will most likely be thrown out within a decade, or even as soon as next month?

Did you guys know that the people who murdered this man at Walmart were then upset, not because they had caused the death of another human being, but because the store closed for the investigation? It’s crap like this that makes me think the human race really does not deserve to live. I mean really, this is what we have evolved too? We are so intent on gaining material wealth that we would communally destroy the life of an innocent person. You know what really makes me sick, though? It’s the thought that there is probably a good many of those people who were involved who are at this moment justifying their actions. I can hear it now, “I didn’t actually run over the guy.” “I was caught up in the crowd, I had to keep moving or I’d get trampled” or how about the idiots who assaulted the police that were there to try and help, and the dick heads who battered the other employees as they desperately tried to save their associate? I wonder what bullshit excuses any of those people have. I say bullshit, because that’s what it is. If people weren’t so driven for material possessions and had any sense about them, in my opinion, they would never have been at that store (or any store) that morning and so, no matter what they have to say, they are guilty of causing these people’s deaths. That goes for anyone at any store, anywhere that Black Friday is celebrated. You are all guilty, because you are all responsible for causing these insane circumstances.

Personally, I have never shopped on Black Friday, I think it’s the mark of a true sheep. When I was 17 I had to work at a retail store on Black Friday, that was (what?) like 28 years ago and it was horrible then. It’s obviously only gotten worse. I’m of the opinion that the stores would be more likely to offer better deals throughout the year if more people avoided the mad rush of Black Friday. Of course, that’s just my meaningless opinion.

So, let’s hear it for the death of those three people. Yeah! Who cares that they won’t be celebrating the holidays with their families this year? It’s survival of the fittest here and those people that caused their deaths can have a wonderful, happy holiday knowing that they got a good deal on the gifts they are giving away. Besides, it just means that there will be less people to fend off next year. So, to all of you who fought the battle for the best deal and played a part in the cross country madness, my hats off to you. You’re a bunch of dumb fucks! Sorry, I call it as I see it. I think if you play a part in perpetuating this material possession obsession then you deserve to be called a dumb fuck. And for any of my friends who may have been a part of the Black Friday madness, sorry for the offend, but you, too, are dumb fucks – but I mean that in the most loving and caring way possible.

So, with that off my chest, at least there is a glimmer of hope that keeps me moving forward and not totally thinking that the world would be a better place without the human race. Hopefully, you’ll find some meaning in it too. Some
people aren’t afraid to share the wealth

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where have all the people gone?

It’s crazy! Crazy I tell ya! It can’t be true! Surely there must be people out there somewhere. But if there were someone, wouldn’t they have commented by now? I guess I’ll just carry on all by my lonesome. (hint, hint) K, now that I have that off my chest perhaps I’ll be able to move on.

I’m watching a program on the National Geographic Channel about Stonehenge, called “Stonehenge Decoded”. A new theory has given rise to an archeological dig in the surrounding fields. Apparently this man believes it was used as a religious place where the souls of the dead were believed to be held. They’re looking for evidence of a civilization that existed around the same period. I guess we’ll see how it turns out. Ooh, update, they have found the largest known settlement in northern Europe for that time (4,500 years ago) the population well into the thousands.

So, I also read an article today about life on Mars. Scientists have found massive glaciers on Mars that are not near the polar caps. One of them is the size of L.A. and over half a mile thick. They said that with that much water it is possible that life could have existed. They would like to see if they can find any organisms locked inside the ice. Cool.

I’ll close with my day 20 PAD challenge. We had to complete the refrain we wrote on the 3rd day. Here it is. That’s all I’m going to talk about today. Feel free to comment, that way I may begin to believe that I’m not alone.

Some nights I walk in
my garden
outlines of formal paths
display the healing herbs of
classic medicine

Inside the borders a boundless
Zen – peaceful retreat into
breath and passage
creating solitude in an
aching world

Aromatherapy, soothing sanctuary,
the essence of stillness bottled
into dried petals whose
flowering has called me
to amble in their midst

As creation blossoms
within the garden’s sacred places
I am
carried back inside the house
where we touch
in the most tenderess sleep

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some Ketchup...er...Catch Up Please

K, so I haven’t been writing again. You should know by now that it happens. I was playing catch up today on my Poem A Day challenge. I fell behind on that, as well, and found myself having to write, um..yep, six poems. But…on the plus side I think it really put me into a poetic type mood and I really got into it. I’m posting three of them here. The last one…I don’t know…maybe the pressure of having to write so many poems at once caused the break but…I found that I just couldn’t resist. Enjoy. Please feel free to comment on them. I would really like to have the feedback. Thanks.

Day 11 – Deep thought or observational poem

I remember falling from my mother’s
drying body
to the ground. The earth was warmed by
summer’s light.

Laying on the soil nature had its
way with me
and covered my shell with earthly

The world around me became dark I
felt winter’s breath
gliding its ice above me as I
hid swaddled in the dirt

Warmth began to permeate
my inner being
I wanted to live and to grow and I
unfurled the life within me

A tender sprout of green rose
up and into day’s light
I grew tall and strong - a beautiful flower -
in my prime

As days grew shorter I felt myself
Knowing my days were approaching end I
released my seed and mothered my own

Day 15 – A nightmare poem

Leaves blow in the dark October
wind. Seedheads sprinkling their
hardened kernels
onto my face.

I try to rise from the tangled
earth that grasps my legs
with its vines of wrath. Falling
back into the ground.

Crying for aid in the twilight hours
no one hears but skeleton
stalks of herbs gone by
uprooted by panicked hands trying to
grip something unshakable.

Swallowed into the worms and
bugs, crawling across my face
my arms, my neck. Deeper under the earth
until I wake in bed and
brush the sweat from my dream.

Day 16 – Title Prompts
“If it (blank), It (blank)”

“If it (is planted), It (will grow)”

I planted a seed under the ground
I covered it with love
I watered it and gave it food
And watched it from above

I waited long and never strayed
I beckoned it to grow
As days and months came and went
My tears began to flow

I soon began to realize
That my seedling needed more
It would never see the light of day
Why did I plant it in the floor?

Monday, November 10, 2008

OMFG-She Didn’t!

Oh what a night was the Vampire game…a memorable eve in vampire history. The title to this post is the title given to a video clip that was recorded during a social coterie at the Elysium. A coterie is a gathering a vampires for various purposes. A social coterie is just that, vampires get together to socialize. There are many different types of coteries like diplomatic and wartime coteries, each sounding pretty much like what their purpose is. An Elysium is a place where vampires gather and all agree to (basically) behave themselves. In other words, no weapons, no fighting, no clan wars, blah blah blah…get the idea?

K, so back at the coterie a Malkavian, unbeknownst to anyone other than the other Malkavians decided to have some fun. You see, the Malkavians are the crazy vampires, and I do mean crazy as in nuts, out to lunch, the lights are on but nobody is home, crazy. So, Harmony (the Malkavian) decides to round up about 10-20 cats, yes cats, and because it makes her feel at home (she used to do this same thing at the mental hospital she is no longer in) she attached some flashlights to them and released them inside the Elysium. So there we are with cats everywhere and all these vampires going, “What the F***? Where did all these cats come from?” Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’re wondering, “What’s the big?” Right? So what, a bunch of cats.

Well, you see it just so happened that my character was at the coterie. “So what?” you ask. When I created my character I took a flaw. Flaws allow you to gain benefits in other areas so many people take them when they make up their characters. The flaw I took was a “Phobia”. Have you figured it out yet? Yes, my phobia is cats. I freak whenever they’re around me. Now, while I managed to make two rolls that kept me from going into an all out frenzy; I botched a third one.

Frenzies are bad, think 11th century warrior dropped into the 21st century on crack. When a vampire goes into frenzy they’re virtually unstoppable and anything can happen. My frenzy ended after I jumped threw the air trying to avoid the cats, tackled three Nosferatu body guards and then landed directly on the Prince. Oh, it gets better. Not only did I land on the Prince of the city I knocked him off of his throne and rolled with him down the flight of stairs behind him to the landing below where I ended up face to face on top of him. Yikes! As if that wasn’t bad enough.

The evening continued…several vamps got it on tape, so to speak. They filmed the entire thing with their cell phones and then released it out to the ENTIRE vampire community within the city, attaching theme music to it like “Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting” and titled it, yep…OMFG She Didn’t! This was fuel for the fire no doubt. The Prince could have had me killed right then and there, fortune was on my side thankfully, as I and the Prince are in the same clan. We’re Ventrue and fortunately the Prince sort of likes me so he only ordered me to go home and not show my face for a while, quite a while.

Now, while the video was making its rounds, Harmony (she is so dead) crazy Malkavian decided to send a present to the Prince to make him feel better. She boxed up a Persian and sent it to the Prince. When he opened the package the cat went nuts, windows were broken, the Prince’s head was latched onto and…it was all captured by Harmony’s good Malkavian friend, on video.

So, at the moment the Prince and I are the laughing stock of the city. He’s pretty pissed off and I’m trying to do some serious damage control before my career and afterlife are wiped from existence. Damn vampires….Through my investigation (I’m a lawyer) I was able to figure out that the Brujahs were responsible for the first video being made and released. I have decided on some serious just revenge, and…I was also able to piece together who was responsible for the cats because I was there at the asylum when Harmony became involved with our city’s vampire population and kitty’s with flashlights were running a muck. Anyway, revenge is in the works. We’ll see how things play out and I’ll try to keep you updated on the more fun/interesting stuff.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Game Night Tonight

We have our Vampire game tonight. It’s been a while since we played. Everyone had something else going on for Halloween weekend, which would have been our game weekend, so we didn’t play. Since we only run the game every other week we’ve been on hold for close to a month now. I can’t remember what I was doing last game; it’s a good thing I take notes or I’d be all sorts of lost.

I remember that I bought myself a house to act as my hidden haven. No one will know where it’s at. I decided to throw off the usual basement sanctuary and make my sleeping quarters in the attic. I had a construction team come in and conceal the entrance and extra exit. I’ve also had the attic lined with steel plating to prevent the accidental hole in the roof. (Sun bad). I’m creating a rather elaborate tunnel system stemming from the basement. It will have passages that lead out to several shelters that have been placed out in the wooded property. It will also have several hidden rooms where I will be able to keep ghouls and an emergency feeding bank. That’s a bit further down the line, though. I currently don’t have the power needed to nest people there and keep them under control. It’ll come, though. I guess that’s it for Vampire right now. We’ll see if anything big happens tonight. If so, then I’ll probably make a post about it.

Still on the gaming topic, but now on D&D. I’ve started running a game for the 4 youngest kids on our off game weekends. They’ve wanted to play for some time now. They see the adult game going on and long to participate. So, I figured it would be a good time to start them out. Their ages are 8, 9, 10, & 13 all but the 13 year old will be advancing a year within the next couple of months. It’s also a learning experience for me. I’ve never DMd before (run the game). I figure if I mess up they won’t notice, so…why not?

The kids are actually doing quite well. I was surprised at their level of understanding so far. Our 9 year old is playing a rouge and has really taken to the role playing aspect of the game. She does a wonderful job of playing in character. She’s always been extremely creative, though, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprise; but I am pleased. The youngest is playing a fighter. He still has a ways to go, I think, before he really gets into it. At the last game he was confronted by 4 goblins, as a dwarven fighter, he should have just kicked their butts, no questions asked. Instead he ran away…silly dwarf. I discussed it with him and found that he was afraid his character would die. (of course, that does happen from time to time). What he didn’t understand, though, was that if the character does die he can just make up another one and continue playing. He thought he would have to start over at the first level and lose all the XP he had gained. I assured him that he would be allowed to bring a new character in at the average party level. I think that made him feel better about fighting. We’ll see next game.

Man, look how I’ve rambled on about this stuff. I really do enjoy playing, if you hadn’t noticed. I guess I’ll cut it off here, though. The kid’s game has really been a lot of fun and I’m sure I’ll post some further updates on it. For now, though, I must go and clean the house, run to the store, and prepare dinner for the game tonight. Check you all out later. Have a good one and, oh…they say it’s going to snow tonight. I wonder if we’ll have our first accumulation *shrug*

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 6 of PAD

The challenge today was to write a poem of praise. This is what I came up with. Sorry the post is short; I have two articles that are quickly approaching deadline. So, without further waiting
Oh...and without a title...big surprise
Here's my poem of praise

Rose petals in the air
tossed in screaming
jubilation beckon the ground
landing to patterns of whimsy

Scents spring through the air
as pointed spires of rosemary
brush like feathers and
tickle my face

Kitties roll, they dig,
knock over containers of cat mints
as peppermints watch
safe from the scurry

Spider, brown and yellow like
fallen leaves of autumn
awaits its supper dodging
back and forth in webs of
graceful steel

Life, life sings its living
song and dances through
the waiting days of

Monday, November 3, 2008

Let the Challenge Continue

Nicholas Culpepper

It’s the second day in the PAD challenge. I’ve written and posted my poem. The prompt was to make a declarative poem. I created mine with the voice and perspective of Nicholas Culpepper a famous herbalist and physician of his time (1616-1654). Since my theme is Herbs it seemed to fit.
I’m actually pretty unhappy with the last stanza. I just don’t like it and I’m sure there’s a rewrite in the future. Anyone who would care to offer some feedback wouldn’t go unthanked…hint, hint.

Oh! One other thing that I wanted to mention.
Dave, a recent visitor to my blog has a poem on his site in which dialogue was used. I thought this was a really neat idea and so…decided to give it a try myself. Thanks Dave for the inspiration.

Alright – Here it is

Culpepper’s Declaration

“The shrub is so well known by every boy and girl
that has but attained
the age of seven years, that it needs no description.”

How is it now, how could I see
that so few elder
and scarcely a child know - not even by name
or less by sight – Barberry

“The face being washed with the distilled water
of them – cureth the reddest face
that is.”

Cucumbers now
the women slice and like pennies
on the eyes they lie to the
swollen bags dismay.

“The juice of the leaves is a remedy
against the bites of serpents,
and for those that have taken

Baked in pies to fill the stomach
Mulberry treats now warm
the heart. Feed the body
and the devil’s forgot.

Endless flows of time
resonate adversarial motion toward
arts of old once held dear
now enter this day all things are new
but plants still live and grow
as I find peace beneath them.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Poetry for You

Well, I’ve noticed that I really haven’t been writing any poetry lately. I’ve been writing, writing fiction, writing articles for two magazines, writing in my blog, even writing some monologues but no.. that’s zero, notta, zip, zilch…poetry. So…

I found myself at the Poetic Asides blog where there is usually some really decent poetic activity going on. I was rewarded with a PAD (Poem A Day) challenge. Robert Lee Brewer has decided to challenge readers to create a chapbook by writing a poem each day that focuses on your chosen theme. He will provide prompts for each day’s writing. Of course, this just seemed to be one of those things that falls into your lap, slaps you in the face, and yells “Hey stupid! Wake up; you wanted to write poetry, well, here’s your chance!”

Um, yes, I heard the call and I’ve decided to go for it. I made my theme “Herbs” and have written the first one. Robert refers to this poem as “The Hook” the one that draws the reader into the theme. I’ll probably be posting quite a few of my PAD poems throughout the month of November. That’s how long the challenge lasts. I hope you enjoy and I would very eagerly welcome any feedback from friends and/or critics.

I seem to have a serious problem coming up with decent names for my poems so this one is still unnamed. If anyone has a suggestion I wouldn’t mind considering it. I don’t know what it is about naming a poem. It’s just so hard for me; nothing ever seems good enough for it. I don’t know *shrug* So, without further ado here’s “The Hook”

Foods ring pungent in my watering mouth
fresh as melting sun and living fire.
Sick bodies are guided back to bloom or
granted merciful passage into summerlands.
Apparel liberated from a lackluster life
released into a world of effulgent hue.
Witness to the sight of flowing fields that dance a tempoed waltz in the wind
they sing in their garments - the bells of mother’s ball.
Bearing alms that are gathered by diverse desire
defenseless immolation scattered to aspirations of imagination.
Generations, heirloom spirit sprawls the boundless sphere,
antics of delicate stature camouflage wellborn privilege;
worshipped by some unnoticed by others
rooted in the soil of human animation.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Mayan Prophecies

I’ll be getting to my topic today in a rather round about way. Not that it makes it so different from other days; I just thought I would mention it. We (my family) have finally arrived in the 21st century; we now have cable TV for the first time. R has wanted it for a while. It didn’t really matter to me as I never watched TV anyway. The kids have wanted it, and now that we can afford it, we decided to go for it.

I have to admit, at this moment, that I have found myself mysteriously drawn to the History channels. We also have some nature and science channels that run a close second for me. So, yes, I have started to watch some TV for the first time in, oh, about 11 years. It’s the TV that brings me to my topic today regarding the book The Mayan Prophecies.

I was watching Ancient Discoveries on one of the History channels the other day. They were investigating the Mayan culture, their calendar, and the prophecies made by one of the known Mayan priests. The prophecies correlate with their calendar, which is amazingly accurate. The Mayan’s had a knowledge of time and astronomy that is unbelievable. It could be seriously argued that the Mayan’s knowledge of these topics actually surpasses our own modern day understanding. That said, if you get a chance to watch the program I would highly recommend that you do.

I noticed, while watching, that the program also had a lot of information that I recalled reading about in a book entitled The Mayan Prophecies by Adrian G. Gilbert. I read the book about, ironically, 11 years ago and I was impressed by the amount of technical information that was made available on Mayan society and their knowledge of science and mathematics. I would also recommend reading the book if you are at all interested in the topic.

According to both sources, it seems that one of the prophecies foretells the end of our age. Now, we’ve all heard the doomsayers and apocalyptic jargon that gets tossed around, but I think this information is worth examining further. The prophecy states that on December 21st (some say 22nd) of 2012 the end of the world (as we know it) will take place. Ouch! That doesn’t give us much time now, does it? But…this post is NOT about doomsday. It’s about the day after.

Here me out here. It’s not just the Mayans who have talked about the destruction of the world as we know it. This has been seen throughout history by many cultures and religions. The Mayans, just happen to have put a date on it. A date that, well if you read the book or watch the show, will seem quite impressively possible. The point here is this. All of these people have claimed it will be the close of the age, including The Bible, depending on the translation you read. It never states it will be the end of the world, that mankind will fail to exist, or that the world itself will fail to exist. It will, instead, be the dawning of a new age.

Now, I don’t know if catastrophe will proceed the new age or not. Heck, I’m just a simple blogger. I do know, that no matter what happens, mankind will be in a position to choose our path. The Mayans also have a prophecy for the new age. They say it will be one of peace, where mankind units, and where religion is not an issue. So, I guess amongst the meandering, my point is really this. I want people to focus on what the world could be. Let’s look at how our lives will be better if, say, we can stop global warming, overcome our need for fossil based fuels, stop the religious wars, feed people, and increase the quality of life. These may seem like dream filled goals here people, but can anyone of you truly claim that they are not worthwhile? With that in mind, and knowing that our ancestors believed that we could make it happen, I guess we’re left with the question…Are we going to make it happen?

Tomb Picture

Lid of Palenque

The Crystal Skull

And what would Halloween be without the picture of the cave spider inside the tomb?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Samhain AKA Halloween

Samhain, pronounced [SAW-hin] is, of course, the original Halloween. Actually, the word itself is Celtic and means November. To the ancient Celts the day signified the beginning of the New Year. The night before the New Year was considered to be an opportune time to communicate with the gods because the veil between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest. The thin veil, however, worked both ways. Not only did it allow the Celts to speak more easily with their gods, it also allowed beings from the otherworld to cross back over into this world. It was believed that the spirits of the people who had died that year would revisit this world on Samhain eve. To discourage the spirits from coming into the village proper, the Celts would build large bon fires and take offerings to the outskirts of town. They would place the food there in hopes of luring the spirits away.

The Romans considered Samhain sacred as well, however, they called it Pomona Day. To them it was a day of celebration for the end of the harvest. They gave thanks to their gods for their bounty and paid tribute so that the gifts of the harvest would be there again the following year. It was a holiday of tremendous merry making and joy.

Around 500 BC or so, the Romans made their way into the Celtic lands. War ensued and cultures clashed. In the end, the Romans and the Celts managed to combine the holiday traditions and melded beliefs from both cultures. Halloween, the term we know for the holiday, wasn’t actually given until many centuries later when Christianity was introduced to the Celtic lands.

When the Christian faith began to spread, the church found huge amounts of resistance to their pleas to give up the pagan holidays and traditions. They decided it would be more effectual to try and change these holidays into Christian celebrations. With that, they created All Saints Day; on the first of November the Catholic Church honors all of the saints who do not have their own holiday. The night before All Saint’s Day became All Hallows Eve to signify the holy evening. Over the years the term, through mutations of speech, became Halloween. Now, while the church has overtaken many, many pagan holidays, including Easter and Christmas (those are blog entries for another day), in this manner; Halloween just couldn’t be subdued. People enjoyed the celebration too much and the night has now become known to us as a day of spooky mischief making and treats. Yummy.

Somewhere along the line the idea of dressing in frightening costumes also came along. I believe the intent here was to scare off potential spirits that may have meant you harm. I’m not positive on this, but I think it may have come from the Spanish/Mexican influence stemming from their Day of the Dead (November 2nd). So, what are you going to be this year? I plan to hand out goodies to the kids and then sit around with the family telling ghost stories and watching scary movies. Apple bobbing and popcorn balls will most certainly make their appearance as well. America really is a melting pot of culture and our holiday celebrations attest to that fact. Happy Halloween!