Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The SocioCapitalist and Me

Neat new site for those who are interested in truth and sustainability. Please check it out. Browse it, read it, comment on it, bookmark it. Heck, if you want to, you can even think about writing for it.

The SocioCapitalist.com

Oh, and while you're there.....say hello to ME!!!

Medical Loss Ratio What It Means to Your Premium

Monday, August 30, 2010

Housewife Haiku

There is a layer
of dust which coats the front room
Quick - shut the drapes

___

Food is wonderful
There's no way I will cook it
every single day

_____

Cat puke on the floor
barely digested morsels
with luck, he'll recycle.

__________

Eight licked stamps, two spoons,
a box worth of cracker crumbs
where is the mouse pad

_________________


Pillows leak feathers
Silk sheets have no elastic
Close the bedroom door

______________________________

Children with dirty
faces are a gift from God
Please do not adjust
_______________________________________

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Richard Young



The first boy I ever lied to my parents about is dead. That's how old we've become. And my mother has outlived him. That's how strange and fickle death is.

Death has to do with age to some extent, but death is also random and fingers the young before the old sometimes.

This is not to say I wanted my mother to die before my first real boyfriend - only that I would have wanted my first real boyfriend to have outlived my mother, which is different.

In a perfect world, my old boyfriend would still be alive, as would my mother. And whenever she died, he would have died 35 years later.

I am searching my imperfect memory for pictures and thoughts of those long ago days. I remember he had long hair - blonde, unruly and curly, curly, curly, and a ready made smile which lit the world. He was heavy set, but compared to me, Twiggy was heavyset, so that's probably not a true memory. He played bass guitar and sang in several different bands over the years I knew him and I would sit at the edge of the stage and revel in my "she's with the band" groupie-ism. We laid on top of his car back in 1969 and watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. He was tripping and he saw more than I did, but I had chills, anyhow. We went with a bunch of people to his parent's cottage in Michigan (that's where the lie to my parent's came into play) and everyone drank and smoked and partied until most of them threw the hell up. It was fun. It was especially fun because I didn't throw up and it was my very first "vacation" sans parents.

We held hands alot and swore undying love - and then, I forget why, we broke up and moved on. But we remained friends. I got pregnant by someone else and he stuck by my side when a lot of other, less open-minded friends did not. He still dragged me to band dates - I still sat on the edge of the stage, and scandalized the nuns and all the little Catholic girls because of my advanced state of unwed pregnancy. I gave birth and he met a new girl - she, too, became my friend. I believe that she, too, is dead now, although I do not know for sure. We lost touch sometime in the mid-eighties. They were divorcing and she was the victim of a little known genetic disease which had slowly robbed her of her ability to function physically and a demerol addiction which quickly robbed her of her ability to function mentally. The last I heard she was being placed in a nursing home and then silence from everyone.

I did not pursue news of either of them. I had my own angst at the time and it was easier to wait for a phone call which never came.

And then, a few days ago, thanks to Facebook, I thought I had found him. There was a friend of a friend of a friend on mine and they had a link to his old group, Fawn. I joined the Facebook Page, I wrote to the friend of the friend of the friend and asked for news.

And the news was neither expected nor was it good.

RY died 5 years ago, at the age of 54, of Hodgkins Lymphoma.

May he rest in peace and may he be walking on the moon, smiling that 1,000 watt smile down on us all.

Friday, August 13, 2010

One More Revision

My Sister and I


We were the worst Girl Scouts. We did not sell
our cookies we just freely passed them out
to long-haired boys we barely knew and hell-
bound men on low-slung bikes who'd hang about
a day or two until their engines cooled;
until their fresh-inked dragons scabbed; until
our sainted mother dragged us home. She fooled
no one. She wanted us to cry; to spill
our guts; to crack like china; crumb like cake;
surrender unto Mom; to never cling
to strangers but to her; to cower; quake
on sheets still wet with Daddy's sweat; to sing
through tears that only she could make us shed.
She swore to Christ we'd bleed as she'd been bled.

NagsHead 2010 Slide Show

Cleaning House

Arghhhh....Half the poetry links on the sidebar here were no longer valid.

I'm old. I've outlived my internet poetry publications, apparently.

Anyhow, I've gotten rid of the deadwood and added a few new ones. Very few, however, since I've virtually stopped submitting poetry altogether.

It's such a small world - and an incestuous one at that.

Having spent the last few years involved in it to greater and lesser degrees I've found that I either don't agree with an editor's politics and therefore do not wish to be associated with his/her ezine or that I don't like them or they don't like me or their friends don't like me and so what's the point? Regardless of how an editor might strive to be impartial it's hard to believe that seeing a known name doesn't bias a person in one direction or another. I'm afraid to send to the editors who don't like me for fear they'll dismiss my poetry based on my name and I'm afraid to send to editors who DO like me for fear they'll accept my poetry because they don't want to hurt my feelings.

For awhile I was concentrating on anthologies but that soured quickly when I would get my "contributor's copy," (which a few times I had to PAY for) and found that I was disappointed in the quality of poetry provided within it's pages. Makes me think that I'm "that bad," too, and it creeps me out.

Don't get me wrong, I like being published, I just don't like the idea that somewhere someone is sitting there reading my poem which happens to be on the page opposite their poem and they're going, "Damn, she's bad. What the heck is she doing here?"

I've also reached the conclusion that no one reads poetry except other poets. Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily, it's just that I really wish it wasn't the only thing.

Besides, I'm in one of my black-Irish phases where I hate everyone.

What I'd like to do is never leave the house again.

Except to get White Castles.

And maybe Fudruckers.

If they only delivered life would be perfect.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

Things that change when the truth becomes known:

1) The NAACP retracts their original damning statement regarding Shirley Sherrod:

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.

The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.

Moreover, this incident and the lesson it prompted occurred more that 20 years before she went to work for USDA.

Finally, she was sharing this account as part of a story of transformation and redemption.


The USDA, who stood firmly by their resignation request and acceptance is now saying, "Of course we'll review it."


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said early Wednesday that he will review the case of a former Agriculture Department official who resigned after a video clip surfaced of her discussing a white farmer.

"I am, of course, willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner," Vilsack said in a statement.

Even Glenn Beck who was one of the first to shout "Off with her head," is now playing magician and magically erasing not only his involvement in spreading "the news" but also absolving Andrew Breitbart, FOXNews and all of it's assorted front men of any culpability by laying all of the blame firmly where he thinks it belongs - on The White House.

Glenn Beck devoted the first twenty minutes of this evening's Fox News program to attacking the Obama administration for their response to the release yesterday of heavily-edited clips a speech then-USDA official Shirley Sherrod gave. Beck savaged them for not waiting to see the full context of her comments before attacking her, saying that it appeared that she was discussing a "turning point," and said that she shouldn't have been fired.

But Beck -- while claiming that "Context matters" -- somehow manages to erase Andrew Breitbart and Fox News from the creation of that image.

All Beck says about Breitbart is that he's "trying to get the full video." In fact, it was Breitbart, without having that full video (the "context" that "matters") who originally posted the clip, claiming that it was "video evidence of racism" by Sherrod, and illustrating his post with an actual "race" card. Breitbart called her a racist without knowing the context of her statements, and has subsequently said that the context doesn't matter, that what he saw in the clip is sufficient to support his claims. Beck doesn't mention that -- in fact, he actively suggests the opposite is true, that Breitbart is engaging in responsible journalism.

Beck does not mention Fox's own horrendous coverage, which certainly did not wait for "context" before declaring Sherrod a racist. FoxNews.com's first report on Sherrod -- the first mainstream report on her speech -- gave no indication that her comment might have been taken out of context. It reported that Fox was "seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA," but not that they had attempted to find the full version of the tape or contact Sherrod herself. In the network's first coverage of the comments, Bill O'Reilly said they were "simply unacceptable" and called on Sherrod to "resign immediately." Newt Gingrich said that her comments indicated a "viciously racist attitude," Sean Hannity called them "racially charged," and the Fox and Friends co-hosts agreed they were "Exhibit A" of "what racism looks like."


Sue 'em all, Shirley, sue 'em all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shirley Sherrod Update #1

More information coming forth:

The NAACP had the following statement issued by Ben Jealous on their website:

"Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race."

"We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers."


That statement has now been removed - which is good since she didn't "abuse her power" in her "position at USDA," and if Mr. Jealous had not jumped the gun and done exactly as those manipulating the news wanted him to do, he would have realized that by the remark "right after Chapter 12 for farmers."

It looks as though everyone from the president on down might need to say they're sorry right along with Mr. Jealous.

Sherrod told CNN on Tuesday that she was told repeatedly to resign Monday afternoon after the clip surfaced.

"They harassed me," she said. "I got three calls from the White House. At one point they asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it because you are going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."

Sherrod said the calls came from Cheryl Cook, USDA deputy undersecretary for rural development.



Sherrod is also saying that she and the white farmer she referred to in the video, Roger Spooner, became friends. Apparently this is so because Spooner's wife, Eloise, confirmed to CNN that she and her husband considered Sherrod friends.

"She helped us save our farm by getting in there and doing everything she could do," Eloise Spooner said. "They haven't treated her right."

Sherrod said she told the story to make the point that at the time she thought that white farmers had the advantages because of their race but she learned that was not the case.

"The point was to get them to understand that we need to look beyond race," Sherrod said.

There's more worth reading here, in The Washington Post.

CNN has also just announced that The NAACP has issued a statement saying they are now conducting an investigation into the matter - and after speaking to Shirley Sherrod, the farmer in question and after viewing the entire video they will issue another statement.

Which means they never even bothered to contact either of those people before publicly condemning Ms. Sherrod.

Nor did The White House apparently.



__________________

Shirley Sherrod Video Edited?

I'm trying to find more information on this story but it's either not there or it's slow coming......

There's enough available, however, to mention here, especially since it doesn't seen to be being mentioned anyplace else.

We've all seen the FoxNews, Andrew Breitbart video of Shirley making her speech to the NAACP dated March 27th. We've all heard that she's resigned her position and her resignation has been accepted. We've all read that The NAACP has condemned her actions.

What we're not hearing much about is the fact that in the video Shirley states that this white farmer incident took place shortly after Chapter 12 was established for farmers. Chapter 12 for farmers was established in 1986. In 1986, Ms. Sherrod worked for The New Communities Black Farm Coop in Georgia - she was not employeed by the government in any way at that time. It also means that the white farmer in question came to a black organization for help - 24 years ago - in a different racial climate and a different time. It's not unreasonable to believe that the farmer in question was not associated with the black coop and thus not eligible for help from the coop which Shirley worked with.

What's more, in a telephone interview with Ms. Sherrod this morning, The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that Ms. Sharrod told them the following:

Sherrod said what online viewers weren't told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago -- before she got the USDA job -- when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with the farmer and his wife.

"And I went on to work with many more white farmers," she said. "The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it's about the people who have and the people who don't. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race."


The AJC is trying to recover the full video footage of Sherrod's speech to the Douglas NAACP.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Flip That Room - By Joe

Before

After


Before

After




Before

After


Before

After


Before

Middle

After

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Tilt-A-Whirl - Journal of Repeating Poetry

New journal out today - brought to you courtesy of Kate Benedict, who's also the editor/publisher of Umbrella.

This one is called Tilt-A-Whirl and deals strictly in repeating-formal poetry.

And I is in the premiere issue with one of my all time wacky, twist-around-come-back-and-bite-you-in-the-ass favorite forms The Rodeau.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Already Read Used Books - Read More of Them

Dan and I are truckin' on down to Nags Head again on Saturday for a much needed week of sun-soaking, sand sitting, gull feeding, crab watching and hoping to catch the occasional daybreak dolphin dancing in the surf.

And what do we do when we're not watching the sun rise over the Atlantic? Why, we read, of course. (HA!! Fooled ya, didn't I?)

Today we went on a trek to find a decent used bookstore since I read at the speed of lightening and it pains me to spend upwards of $10.00 or so for a paperback book that I'll blow through in a matter of a coupla hours.

And, much to my delight!!! It was a EUREKA moment. We found, courtesy of our beloved IPhone - a neat little nook called Already Read Used Books right here in Alexandria, just West of Old Town on Duke Street.

Very neat owners - friendly, helpful, down-to-earth and knowledgeable. Big bonus in Gwenievere - a fairly vocal, very pettable purple-nailed tailless biblio-cat whose sole purpose in life is to ease you through the check-out process.

If you're in the area, check it out. You won't be disappointed. They've got a large selection of just about everything you could possibly be interested in reading and the prices are modest. We got a big recycled bag full of books, enough for two speed-reading-type people spending a week at the beach, for less than $60.00.

Go!! Visit!! Buy!! That's an order.

Really.

K. Thx. Boi.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Amazing Courage of Roy Benavidez

Roy Benavidez

If you don't get a chance to read anything else this Memorial Day weekend - read about Roy - a first generation orphaned immigrant who dropped out of school in the 7th grade to become a migrant farmworker.

God Bless Military Personnel, keep them safe, and grant them the courage that very few of us will ever have.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Things I Have Been

Daughter, Granddaughter, niece, cry-baby child, student, sister, Catholic, teenage runaway, grocery store clerk, babysitter, page at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, bill collector, advertising agency secretary, homeless, disowned, unwed mother, welfare recipient, scared, frightened, alone, hospital laboratory clerk, wife of a heroin addict, battered woman, atheist, divorcee, aunt, waitress, cocktail waitress, bartender, bar manager, rape victim advocate, suicide hotline worker, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, used car salesperson, wife of an alcoholic, step-mother, bitch, mother of two, mother of three, home health hospice worker, agnostic, housecleaner, chronically ill, divorcee, medic, firefigher, ambulance driver, content, CPR instructor, EMS instructor, dead tired, homeowner, mother-in-law, published poet, published freelance writer, mourner, Washingtonian, grandmother of 1, medical secretary, wife of a good man, deist, great-aunt, POA and parental caregiver, grandmother of two, unemployed housewife, happy.

[edited to add] Mary wrote and told me I had forgottn to add "good friend." So - consider it added.

That's about it - but it's enough and I wouldn't change a thing of it. Accomplishments are sometimes made simply by living through it and the greatest accomplishment is looking back and smiling and knowing that you got where you got by getting there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Words Die and Take On New Meaning

It's just a word - how much weight can it carry? Can a word's meaning change over the years? Like the word, "gay" for instance - it used to connote joy and wild abandon - like in the "Gay '90's." But now, 100 years later, it's meaning has changed entirely.

Or take "bad." Bad used to mean, well, it meant bad. Now it means, "good." Like saying, 'Man, Randy Moss was baddddd in last night's game," when, in fact, he scored 3 touchdowns.

"Christian" is another changing word. Used to be anyone who believed in Christ was happy to be defined as a "Christian." Now, not so much. It's been commandeered by the extremists - and other religions, such as Catholics, are shying away from using it as an identifier because they do not want to be identified with the fanatics who've claimed it as their own. It makes me feel very sorry for the few remaining real "Christians," - those who carry Christ in their heart and soul and practice doing the things He did in their every day life with joy and personal committment but without the fanfare and self-administered pats on the back we're beginning to distance ourselves from.

The more any one group of people use a word to define themselves the more that word becomes the new definition in the minds of those hearing it.

I have a feeling it is going to be so with the word "Patriot." More and more people are narrowing the definition of the word to suit their own personal needs or beliefs. More and more fringe groups, such as The White Patriot Party, the Tea Party, and numerous extremist militia groups are tossing the phrase around or incorporating it into their selling point as if it belonged to no one but them and anyone who disagrees with them or their views are suddenly "unpatriotic."

Given time, overuse and misuse of the word itself and it will become something to avoid for many people. It will have been co-opted by a few to the distaste of the many. People will still love their country but they will be too disgusted by the ever-narrowing "them or us" mentality of those who incessantly use the word for their own gain (Sarah Palin, The Tea Party and the Oath Keepers come to mind) to continue using it in any old and familiar sense of the word.

It is my personal prediction that the definition of the word "patriot" that we grew up with will become obsolete and come to mean something entirely different - probably within our lifetime - maybe within the next decade.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gun Rally in Gravelly Park & Fort Hunt

The rally in Va. today - the one in which people are carrying their loaded hand-guns and waving around their (supposedly) unloaded assault rifles, is being held in a National Park. (Gravelly Park.)


I've seen a few clips on the news so far - random interviews with the participants - and each of them, when questioned, say they are there to protest a possible repeal of The Second Amendment or they say that they are there because we are in grave danger of losing our rights to own/carry weapons under the current administration and they want to make people aware of that danger.

The rally organizer said he put this all together to protest the Democratic Congress's capitulation to a "totalitarian socialism" that tramples individual rights.

Washington Post

Here's the "you, moron" part:

This is the first year that they've been granted the freedom to assemble at all - thanks to President Obama signing into effect the recent law which permits the carrying of loaded or unloaded weapons into a National Park.

Guns allowed into Federal Parks

Does this really sound like a president they need to be afraid of and a congress which is "trampling the individual's right" or does it sound like a great opportunity to show off how well your internet-ordered green and black fatigue cammie's go with your new AK and, oh yeah, check out this shiny new black leather ankle-holster and my intimidating but classy bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition which I have artfully draped over my shoulder while you're at it?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The High Cost of Less Taxes and the Accompanying Loss of Freedom

It seems very odd to me - like we have a whole nation, that wants to move backwards.....back to the "old days" which were not "the good old days" at all, but rather a time when life expectancy was low, health was poor and life was hard. Back when the average worker had no recourse if he were put at danger, if he were abused by his employers, if his situation was an unhealthy and unhappy one. A time when corporations called all the shots and no one monitored them or watched over them and they could do whatever they wanted, to whoever they wanted, whenever they wanted. A time when people had 12 and 14 children for two reasons - one being that there was no such thing as health insurance and so you had to produce many so at least a few would live. The second reason being that you needed them to live long enough to support you, their parents, because you sure as hell couldn't save enough and there sure the hell was no pension plan or social security to work for or to rely upon.

It was a time of very little "government interference," granted, but it was also a time when children routinely ate lead paint and got brain-damaged. A time when conditions in factories were horrendous and people routinely suffered life-threatening injuries - and were promptly fired without compensation when they did - and all because there was no mandatory insurance protecting them. A time when people went hungry, children of hard working fathers suffered rickets and malnutrition, gainfully employed men died from untreated pneumonia and undiagnosed ulcers, mothers of 10 children died giving birth to their 11th - and all because there was simply no money to pay the doctor and there was no employee-sponsored insurance plans. A time when, because there were no unions to speak for the common man and there were no government agencies making sure safety laws were passed and enforced, men and women worked 16 and 17 hour days, 7 days a week in the most hellish conditions and children under 12 were routinely hired at half the wage of an adult and made to do the same job as the adult would have done.

Is that what we want? All in the name of "freedom" and all in the name of "being mad as hell and not wanting to pay taxes" any longer?

Sometimes, the more laws we have, the more oversight and safety that's provided, the more free we become.

Those days of lower taxes and less government intervention - people weren't "free" then. They were slaves to making a dollar - that and only that. There wasn't much joy to go around, nor was there any "freedom." A person is not free when he worries constantly about a dangerous work place, an illness that he can't afford, a child he cannot feed, an old age he cannot support, a house full of lead paint and asbestos, two parents who are destitute and looking to him for sustenance.

All good things come at a cost - the cost is sometimes taxes. If we were to suddenly have all taxes repealed, as well as the loss of all those things that government provides us by virtue of our paying those taxes, how much better off do you think you'd be? How much richer? Does a few dollars a week more in your paycheck offset the cost of providing your own health insurance, the painfully higher cost of commercial products which do not contain things like lead and asbestos, your own retirement fund - without matching funds from your employer, your own workman's comp. insurance in case you get hurt in your suddenly way-more dangerous workplace, tuition for your children's schooling since the government will no longer be able to subsidize them, your own security since the police force will be full of under-qualified patrolmen because salaries will not longer be competitive, hauling your own trash to the dump - which will be full of radioactive junk and harmful materials, since the government will no longer regulate things like waste? The list could go on and on, but you get the point, I'm sure.

The Tea Party is telling us what they don't want....they don't want government interference. They are telling us what they do want - which is LESS TAXES. What they are not telling us is how we survive if and when they succeed.

They are telling us what they want to give to us - but not what it will cost us in the end - or what we will be giving up to get it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How Revisions Work

Poems are made to be tinkered with.....change a rhyme, fix a meter, adjust a thought. It's a boring process for the most part - except to the author, of course. To the poet it becomes a puzzle, a labor of love, almost. The search for perfection which never gets found.

It's hard to give it up sometimes - and it can be done to death.

This is where the poem posted a few days ago has ended up....there's not much changed, actually, but it's taken hours and hours of time and thought to do. No one will even notice, I suppose, except me. But I heard a neat thing last night and it made the agony that no one will notice worth it.

"Better to have no public and write for yourself than to write for others and have no self."

Anyhow - here's the revision: See if you can find the changes.

My Sister and I


We were the worst Girl Scouts. We did not sell
our cookies we just freely passed them out
to long-haired boys we barely knew and hell-
bound men on low-slung bikes who'd hang about
a day or two until their engines cooled;
until their fresh-inked dragons scabbed; until
our sainted mother dragged us home. She fooled
no one. She wanted us to cry; to spill
our guts; to crack like china; crumb like cake;
surrender unto Mom; to never cling
to strangers but to her; to cower; quake
on sheets still wet with Daddy's sweat; to sing
through tears that only she could make us shed.
She swore to God we'd bleed as she'd been bled.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Sister and I

My Sister and I

We were not good girl scouts. We did not sell
our cookies. Instead, we gave them away -
to long haired drummer boys in bands and hell-
bound men on low-slung bikes who'd let us stay
a day or two until their engine's cooled,
until the new ink tattoos crusted and
a worried mother dragged us home. She fooled
them all. She wanted us to cry; to bend;
to break; to fold like butter; crumb like cake;
surrender onto Mom; to never cling
to strangers but to her; to sleep and wake
on sheets still wet with Daddy's sweat and sing
through tears that she alone had made us shed.
Her daughters had to bleed as she'd been bled.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

295.34

295.34

I hear his voice inside my head.
I count the dried stains on the bed.
The sounds and stains begin to blend.
I'm drugged, unable to defend
or to repeat the things he's said.

My walls are white, his whisper's red.
There's blood to spill and flesh to shred,
grave rituals we must attend.

His is the voice

that no man hears but all men dread.
Eventually the sound will spread.
He keeps insisting I depend
on him alone, my only friend.
He leads; I follow; needle; thread.
I heed his voice.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Yikes!! I have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Voluntarily, no less.